Boundaries – Personal Space / Species Variables

personal space / noun: the variable and subjective distance at which one person feels comfortable talking to another. Also called personal distance. Unabridged Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.


This distance is allegedly about 3′ away from another person. Yikes! To me, this is extremely close. The discomfort of a person who requires more distance, who is suddenly “surrounded” by people with “small” personal spaces, can be extreme: sensitivity to sounds, smells and acute detailed vision serve to produce the experience of being overwhelmed. Physical invasion creates physical responses in Asperger people.

 Observational distance is important to me: in order to see patterns and structures, I need to be “outside” the chaos and turmoil of social interaction, the majority of which is about the establishment of social status, which is in constant competitive disequilibrium.  The actual words and phrases of social communication are used as tools and weapons; they have no meaning outside of “the pyramid game.”

An observer (me) may discern the “flow” of the social river from the vantage point of a bird, which may be interesting. Of course, social people understand the social river by being “in it” – a kayaker or river runner experiences what cannot be experienced any other way.

This doesn’t imply that I can’t converse with individuals.

Psychic boundary / no set definition: this “idea” falls into the “psychics, shamans, New Age religion” domain and is frequently mentioned as a problem for “psychics” who believe they possess (are cursed with) psychic empathy.

However, I do think it is a useful concept, especially for Asperger individuals. The phrase I would choose is psychic domain, meaning space that belongs to me, in the same sense that a mountain lion has a territory, which it establishes and maintains. The “edges” are physical and defined by need: a secure den; secluded vanishing places; cover for hunting and sufficient prey. A psychic domain also belongs to me in the sense that it arises from my personality – it is the space needed to relax and express myself. I discover the environment that allows my “being” to flourish, which is no different a task than for any other animal. For me that means a “big” natural environment without the “chatter” of human activity. Like finding the correct frequency (and ignoring the rest) when obtaining electromagnetic “signals” from space; visible, microwave, x-ray, or radio waves.

NO, I do not want to “come across” a mountain lion up close. Cats ambush from behind, so we don’t walk where there is cover for them to hide; there really is no cover – just sagebrush and no trees, but they do travel through our area.  

Mountain lions are solitary. They are very territorial and avoid other cats except during courtship. Their ranges vary – 10 square miles to around 370 square miles. 

I see cat tracks all the time, but small- Lynx.

I see cat tracks all the time, but small – Lynx.


Cats will kill wolves and vice versa. My sole experience with a mountain lion: One walked up the sidewalk and ran between the houses, likely looking for a “doggie snack.” It left a trackway about 30′ long. Game & Fish came over and confirmed it was a young male.

Mountain Lion / National Park service info.

Common Name: Mountain Lion
Scientific Name: Felis concolor
Size (length) English & Metric: 6′-9′ (1.5-2.75 m)
Habitat: all mountainous regions and swamps
Diet: commonly deer but also anything from elk to mice
Predators: wolves, other Mountain Lions

Also known as cougar, puma, panther, yellow cat, catamount, etc., the Mountain Lion is North America’s largest member of the cat family. These majestic creatures once roamed throughout North America, but today, their range is limited to British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, the twelve westernmost states in the US, and Florida.

These large cats, as adults, can be 30 inches in height at the shoulder, and approximately 8 feet long from nose to tail. The tail of the Mountain Lion is about one-third the entire length of the body. Mountain Lions usually weigh between 75-175 pounds. The largest Mountain Lion ever to be documented weighed 276 pounds, but a Lion of this size is extremely rare.

Biology & Behavior:
Mountain Lions can survive in a variety of habitats, including high mountains, deserts, and swamps. Human activity has encouraged Mountain Lions to retreat to the rugged terrain that remains largely uninhabited by humans. Mountain Lion habitat must provide an adequate prey base as well as cover for hunting.

The vision of the Mountain Lion is one of the animal’s most important adaptations for hunting. The animal’s eyes are quite large, and the retina contains more rods than cones, lending to the cat’s excellent night vision. Although Mountain Lions cannot see in complete darkness, they can discern details in much lower light than humans.

In addition to its’ excellent vision, the Mountain Lion has extremely sensitive hearing. This is also an important tool for hunting in low light. Lions can detect high frequency sounds that allow them to detect hidden prey. By comparison, Mountain Lions have a weak sense of smell. This is the trade-off cats made millions of years ago. Evolving short muzzles increased biting power, but decreased the sense of smell.



2 thoughts on “Boundaries – Personal Space / Species Variables

  1. After decades of exploring the social world, I think I can see quite clearly what social humans are doing. ( I didn’t understand for a long time, and after I “got it” it took me many years more to believe it) I just still don’t understand or “feel” their motivation. Do you have any idea why some people tend to come much too close when talking to you? Or touch strangers? Or put their hand on someone they are just talking with? Usually, my DO NOT TOUCH! attitude is working just fine. It’s a bliss to be disliked or maybe feared. You’re being bothered less then. Some people just don’t get it or are unable to stop invading other folks’ space. Nowadays, I tend to bear it – if it’s not done in an effort to manipulate or dominate. Hugs? OK, that’s 1,4 to 1,8 seconds. Just go ahead while I’m off… 🙂 But WHY? Stepping back is not an option as they’d misunderstand that, being always in competitive mode.
    Once a puma invaded my personal space (he probably had seen it the other way) just before I wanted to sleep. Making his presence known with his voice maybe to find out how this human lying there will react. I had a torchlight at hand and was not pleased to see that animal. If the cat would have been more confident and patient, it would have had something to eat for several days. In this case, retreating was the option I chose. Slowly walking down the mountain, knowing that they can jump 8 or 9 metres. Still it was a better interaction than a normal social one. No bullshit between this cat and me.


    • Up late watching the Olympics; talk about social behavior! Asperger “difference” suddenly hit me like a Tsunami! Like you said – motivation. This may sound weird, but it has a lot to do with logistics: the “commentary” guys pointed out a mother who had flown in from Guam to watch her son. I can’t imagine flying to Brazil for any reason: I would never survive an airport – get through security, customs; be trapped in a tube with 100+ people and then land among 11 million people in a cauldron of infectious disease. Why would anyone do this?

      It’s this inability to undergo HELL that disappoints people; they expect friends and family to “show up” – to prove loyalty, affection and “support” in very big social displays. Fine. It’s easy to see that this makes many people happy. On my part, my “feelings” don’t have temporal or spatial constraints: in fact 24/7 “in person” relationships are a huge impediment to affection. Social typicals can’t understand this: how can the very glue that makes their lives livable and brings fulfillment, be HELL? What they don’t understand is that they didn’t choose to be the “way” they are, and neither did we, but we are supposed to “beg forgiveness” for being different; pretend to be social humans, or simply “go away” where we won’t present an alternative type of Homo sapiens.

      I do love watching sports: I can identify with single-minded dedication, but not with the PAIN of forcing one’s body to do things never intended by nature. These are truly special humans: motivation? It’s who they are; it’s social reward; it’s attention on a global scale. I think the telling phrase is, “Once you’re an Olympic (gold) medalist, you’re an Olympic hero for life. No one can take it away from you.” Oh yeah? There are 2012 winners who are already “has beens” – dead meat in the relentless medal chase and silver and bronze winners who are forgotten in minutes. If only we could convert the energy, resources and material of war into sport (original motivation for the Olympics) we’d really have accomplished something.


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