What is the Asperger “Blank Stare” all about?

What is the Aspie blank stare and why is it a disturbing facet of Aspie behavior?

Complaint from an Aspie ‘Mum’ about her son, decoded:

MUM: In my experience, I would get a blank stare when I asked (my Asperger son) a question.  It could be, for example, what he would like for dinner? What happened at school? You know – normal sorts of ‘Mum’ questions!

Answer: Social typical questions tend to be vague and non-specific. A specific question would be: “Would you like pizza or hot dogs for dinner?” Or try, “We’re having hamburgers for dinner. I bought the kind of buns you like and you can add tomatoes or pickles or cheese, or whatever else you like.”  “What stories did you read in reading class today?”

MUM: How did I interpret the blank stare that I got?

At the time, I believed that ‘the blank stare’ was used by (SON) to avoid answering the questions I asked questions I thought were easy to answer! I realize now, that in my frustration over not getting an answer, I would pile on the questions one after another, and (SON) didn’t have time to process even the first one! I would get cross with him, frustrated that he seemed to refuse to respond to my requests for information, and I would give up.

Answer: One of the big mistakes that social typicals make is to attribute INTENT to Asperger behavior. This is because social typicals are “self-oriented” – everything is about THEM; any behavior on the part of a human, dog, cat, plant or lifeform in a distant galaxy, must be directed at THEM. Example: God, or Jesus, or whomever, is paying attention 24 / 7 to the most excruciatingly trivial moments in the lives of social typicals. We’re not as patient as God or Jesus.

The Asperger default mental state is a type of reverie, day-dreaming, trance or other “reflective” brain process; that is, we do “intuitive” thinking. The “blank face” is because we do not use our faces to do this type of thinking. 

Sorry – we’re just busy elsewhere! When you ask a question, it can take a few moments to “come out of” our “reverie” and reorient our attention. If you are asking a “general question” that is meant to elicit a “feeling” (social) response, it will land like a dead fish in front of us. Hence the continued “blankness”.  

MUM: What is the real cause of the blank stare?

I believe that SON uses the blank stare while he is processing a question. If give him enough time, he will think deeply, and consider his response, which is often unexpected.

Answer: The “blank stare” is due to our type of brain activity. We process questions; processing questions adds to response time. Some questions are so vague that we simply cannot answer them. Some questions aren’t questions at all, but are an attempt to get our attention and to get a “social” something from us. This is truly confusing. 

MUM: (I’m told that) at any given moment an Aspie is taking in lots of information from the world around them. They notice details that normal people ignore. These details can easily result in sensory overload. The blank stare is used by Aspies as a way to ‘zone out’, or ‘go into themselves’ as a coping mechanism for when their senses are overloaded.

Answer: Not correct (in my experience). Sensory overload is another matter entirely; sensory overload results in the desire to flee, and if we can’t “get away” we experience meltdown. Other Aspies may have a different take on this.

Aspie chat concerning “The Stare”

“I watched “Rain Man” again recently. There was a scene where Dusty was sitting on a park bench and just looking at the ground, and Tom Cruise started YELLING at him. I felt like, “Hey ! sometimes I just sit and think about things, and maybe I’m staring at the ground, so cool it Tom.” We tend to look off into the horizon while we’re talking, and really, it’s not a big deal …”

“At work I’ll be at my desk just working away and people will tell me to cheer up when I don’t feel at all down. Also, if I’m standing around somewhere, and not focusing on anything in particular – and feeling fine, someone will ask me if I’m OK or if I’m pissed off about something. Something about my neutral (not happy or sad, just contented) expression makes people think I’m depressed or angry.”

“People are always doing one of the following: Ask me if I’m okay because I’m staring off into the distance; look behind their back to see what I’m staring at; or tell me to “SMILE!” because I don’t have any facial expression.”

Yes, social typicals are self-centered and demanding. They don’t want to “put up with” a blank face; it damages their perfect narcissistic universe, in which it is everyone’s job to make them feel important.

And then, there is the other “eye” problem:

“I dont get it…..my teacher tells me to look at her when she talks and when I look at other people they tell me to stop staring at them. What the…?”

“Apparently staring and looking are two different things, not that I know how to tell the difference.”

The teacher demands eye-contact because it indicates OBEDIENCE – SUBMISSION. Authoritarian adults demand instant obedience from children. But if you stare at a  “regular” person, that causes another problem. You are claiming higher status; predators stare down prey; you, dear Aspie, are unwittingly behaving like a predator.

“I stare because I get easily distracted by details and I want to see more; it’s just attention to detail. I’m doing better at straight eye contact, but open my eyes too wide because I’m trying hard to focus and pay attention.”

“If I am interested in what a person is saying – it’s new to me or important information, I will stare like a laser. Also if I am trying to recognize someone that looks vaguely familiar, or there is something interesting about how they look and I want to examine it. If I’m not interested, I won’t look at them. However, that does not mean I am not listening just because I am not looking at them.”

It seems to me, that Aspies use our senses as nature intended: We use our eyes to see and we use our ears to listen. 

 

 

 

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The Mismeasure of Man / Math and Medicine / Stanford Video

Let’s face it: Human interpretations of “technology-data” suck.

Perception does not equal reality. Observer variation messes up medical decisions.

Human Perception / Aesthetics as Equilibrium “The Optimum State”

Humans have more than five senses, according to how “sense” is defined. As usual, there is a range of opinion about the subject, so the reader is welcome to plow through the debate elsewhere. But, however many there may be, the brain must coordinate sensory information as perception.

I think that there is an aspect of perception that sets some of us on a special path through reality: the aesthetic conclusion or judgment. For social humans this perception is attached to other people and is experienced as emotion, as connections to family and friends, but emotions are short-lived and fickle. The euphoria lasts but a few seconds and people are stuck trying to regain those feelings of “aesthetically pleasing emotions” by obsessively manipulating their own feelings and the feelings of others. For all but a few relationships, it’s an exercise that is doomed.

If emotions are the aesthetics of life, life will be perpetually dependent on momentary satisfaction, followed by a letdown (change in body chemistry) and the subsequent struggle to regain the external certification of self-worth that comes after social acceptance. Emotions are temporary reactions to the environment, but this doesn’t stop modern social humans from elevating “feeling” to an experience that dominates everyday life. This dependence restricts aesthetic satisfaction to a fleeting experience that lacks continuity; and when emotional connections aren’t there? The artificial “high” supplied by drugs and other addictive behaviors is pursued.

Other animals experience their environments via a wide variety of senses, many of which are entirely alien to humans, and even with technical help, we cannot “see” or “hear” the electro-magnetic spectrum as many animals experience it. Aesthetics may or may not be expressed or experienced in a fish or a bear; we tend to assume that “lower” animals are robotic and lack deep connection to the environment.

Aesthetics may exist as a reference point around which an animal’s behavior is contained; interaction between the bear or bird and its physical environment achieves equilibrium, and allows for rest, recuperation and play.

I think that “aesthetics” has a similar source in humans; awareness of what constitutes equilibrium can be formed or “intuited” – a state of calm, receptivity, a “joining with” nature and one’s surroundings; a letting go of the attempt toimpose behavior on oneself and other human beings. It is commonly believed by social humans that a specific cluster of behavior defines “being human” and can be applied to every human on the planet. Imposing our own warped and egomaniacal conditions on other humans is disastrous, and yet we persist with all our might in remaking the world. What we have managed to do is to create environments that are disordered, unhealthy and out of balance: social environments lack “aesthetics” as the fundamental guide to optimum functioning – nature’s primary aesthetic.

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I would have to say that exposure (confinement) in a chaotic or unbalanced environment is the trigger for many of (my) Asperger symptoms. When I was a child, my reactions were unconscious, immediate and inexplicable to other humans. I was told over and over that I ought to love “people” events: crowds of pushing, shoving, loud, incoherent, aggressive beings – with no escape. I was supposed to say things I didn’t mean, to suppress my awful discomfort, to pretend that unlike the bear or tiger, I had no internal sense of my proper boundaries. Only after a lifetime of living with “invasive and alien” social requirements have I come to understand that an intuitive “aesthetic” that is inherent in animal sensation may underlie the conflict.

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Mothers and Children in America / The Grim Reality

Mothers and Children: the grim reality.poverty%20by%20fam%20structure Children Living with Mother Only-bwh graph

United States of Denial.

Day in and day out government experts and “charity” groups who “own” the poverty discussion ignore the single most obvious fact about child poverty: Single female households. All the cupcakes, balloons, fun-walks and promotional T-shirts in the universe cannot make a dent in child poverty. But again, belief in the supernatural dimension, and the belief in the power of “magic words” to create reality, keeps Americans from ever mentioning the obvious. Single parent households are the #1 indicator of low income, low education, low ability to support and raise children.

Shhhhh. Don’t say that; we might hurt the feelings of single mothers.

This dire situation is not an accident. Social Policy is geared toward stocking the bottom of the pyramid with women and children who will remain a permanent class of uneducated and powerless poor, and guarantee a class of male “criminals” who are effectively barred from participation in “normal” society. The “helping, caring, fixing” industry relies on the poor as conduit of wealth that pumps ever more profit to the “businesses” who control the upper reaches of the social pyramid.

Think about it:

Where does all that government money go? Not to the people who supposedly “milk” taxpayer money through welfare – if so, poverty would have ended long ago. Money is  are channeled through the poor and powerless to a “welfare industry” that receives billions of dollars in bureaucratic wages, private corporate profit – a massive giveaway of grants, studies, contracts and agency funding, Medicaid payments, rental subsidies (no poor slumlords, that’s for sure) super-high prices at poor-quality stores and a host of parasitic “advocacy” services. This array of wealth-seekers doesn’t even scratch the surface – more profits are skimmed by the “justice” system, lawyers, prisons corporations, rehab clinics – the War on Drugs. It’s a bonanza and it stinks.

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The truth is: Government is not a substitute for Fathers.

Human speech, breathing, swallowing / Bizarre

This video is a very clear video and graphic combo of “how it works”

A note: It is obvious that “socializing” requires heavy use of verbal communication. I suspect that for some Aspergers, the resulting feeling of exhaustion may be due to an actual physical problem within the “breathing-talking” system. One reason I don’t like “talking a lot” is that it “hurts” (feels awkward and even unnatural) and I quickly  become hoarse and my throat sore. Have other Aspergers noticed anything like this?  

So much is made of the language abilities of humans, but the price for verbal language is the danger of choking to death, as well as numerous breathing problems. Sleep apnea can really mess up restorative sleep, brain activity and/or cause death.

We have a typical counter-intuitive problem in evolution. People (including scientists) speak of humans as somehow being able to make complex changes to our anatomy (from apes to “us”) in order to facilitate modern speech.

Ai, yai, yai! This is not how evolution works! There is no evolutionary destiny, goal or plan; what works must work “in the present time” in a specific environment, in which the organism is a “part of a whole” system.  Time (and physiology) do not flow backwards from the future; from human concepts of narcissistic evolutionary supremacy. The environment drives change; organisms are equipped (or not) to adapt. It’s about reproduction, not sentience, metaphysics, philosophy or science.

The fact that changes in human breathing, feeding, and noise-making anatomy are actually BAD DESIGN for individual survival raises questions. This specific physiology is but one “flaw” or challenge that relates to becoming bipedal. Is human “speech” a consequence (side affect, artefact) – an “adjustment” to overall anatomical change, one that “turned out to b” useful and exploitable? How does human speech “promote” viable reproduction?

We do not know, nor can we claim, that even with the advent of anatomically modern humans that speech as language – as we know it – existed in Homo sapiens, since a prior processing and communication system existed: visual processing of sensory acquisition: a much more detailed, “correct” representation of physical reality that provided superior memory and recall of patterns, connections and “packages” of information about plants, animals, weather systems and organic and inorganic materials; a system that has served, and still does serve, survival of thousands of species.

When and why did dependence on a (very generalized and inaccurate) word model of reality, overwhelm this more specific, concrete, and necessary ancient “sensory-visual thinking system”?

How “modern” is human language? How recent? Since present day language, in all its variety, its subjective content of sound, meaning and “non-universality” is the dominant “method” of social processing of information (social thinking) this question is important. How is mutually unintelligible “verbal language” an “improvement” over visual communication, which can be “understood” across groups, and great distances and deep time?

Whatever our early ancestors “spoke” is lost; their concrete physical products are not; from tools to markings on bone, ivory or stone; from painted symbols, animals and people, to jewelry and textiles, these communicate to us from vanished worlds, if we do not impose our “word-magic” beliefs onto them.

Our “modern languages” must still be translated from one into another; meaning is imprecise, vague, misleading and easily misinterpreted. Word language in practice, is very poor communication. Relationships between individuals, groups and nations is a “guessing game” of meaning and intent, contrary to what “psychologists” portray as a “hooky-spooky mind-reading” ability being a pan-species “magical  property” of the “normal” human brain. Tragedy may hinge on one poorly selected and culturally dependent word or phrase.

The “real power” of verbal language is not in clear communication, but in deception.

The question remains: How does this “dangerous flaw” in anatomy, which provides for human speech, promote viable reproduction of our species?

Maybe it doesn’t. We don’t know how this anatomical evolutionary trial will turn out; will word language contribute to extinction or extension?

 

 

 

Believe in demons? / You’re Normal.

Finally, a social pyramid for the mentally disordered.

2012 Public Policy Polling Survey: 63 percent of young Americans ages 18-29 believe that invisible, non-corporeal entities called “demons” can take partial or total control of human beings. The poll showed that this belief isn’t declining among Americans; it’s growing.

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The comment (below) was posted to a recent article in the New York Times that discusses whether or not it’s proper to diagnose an ‘out-of-control’ boy as a psychopath. With this type of radical judgement looming over children, especially those who displease and annoy adults, can there any doubt that some children may become  phobic, antisocial, anxious and frightened?

VERBATIM COMMENT: “I would suggest that this child is possessed by a demon. And I don’t state this out of ignorance, as I am professor in a western University. The signs and symptoms are all there. There have been many cases like this that have been documented. Of course to the western rational mild this is pure poppycock. But this child’s condition will not be alleviated until the true causes are recognized and dealt with. This is a spiritual problem that needs spiritual intervention from an experienced priest, Catholic or Orthodox, traditions which recognize this condition and have a 2000 year history dealing with it. The answers will not be found in science as his condition will worsen and never go away. Such arrogance in the scientific community and the scientific mindset will keep this poor soul tormented.

In case you think this is the view of one ignorant and scary person, this comment was given 57 thumbs up by readers.

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Anyone recognize yourself? That’s me in the middle!

 

 

The MAN CAVE / Still Popular after 40,000 years

imagesRRROIZPSThe “man cave” has become a popular joke:

 

“You can be a man, but do it in the garage or basement.”

In most of the American West, the entire region has always been a Man Cave, not only for invaders, but for the Warrior society natives.

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Sadly, manly expression for some domestic males is confined to household “fixit” projects, like maintenance of the house, appliances and plumbing. Hence “Homo habilis” the Handy Man (thought to be extinct).

Manly-Garage

The garage however, can be a secret passage leading to the hunt for trophies of the Anthropocene: Note the common association of vehicles with “Paleolithic Goddess” imagery.

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Of course, the man cave never really “went away.” Extravagant animal trophy rooms, and indeed, entire houses and museums, are still being built to house dead animals procured in both legal and illegal hunts.

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Man watching Baseball on television

Man Cave with Modern Hearth

40c31440-742d-4898-a541-495e26513449Tastefull H Trophy Photo

Can men be “neutered” and remain men? That’s a rhetorical question.

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When do men smile? After they’ve killed something.