I don’t like to rely solely on my experiences to unravel what might be going on with Asperger types, but sometimes it’s all one has. We read that Asperger individuals either over react to pain and discomfort, or will not notice pain at all. Another of those “gotcha” symptoms in which we are either “over or under” the “normal” human behavior or experience, but in the case of pain, which is a subjective experience, what is “normal”?
Now is a good time to think about this, since I have a toothache (not another root canal!) and severe allergies. I’m a mess. I hate being sick; I’m very active and have trouble staying in bed or on the couch, resting as one should.
Questions arise. What was I like as a kid whenever some illness like the flu was going around? The plot thickens: how did my parents behave toward us (I had an older brother) when the inevitable sick days that kids have, came round?
Not good! My brother was six years older and from my point of view, was babied. He always had something “mysterious or nebulous” going on, and that meant staying home from school or being spared from regular tasks and chores that he didn’t want to do. This was very bad; by the time I arrived, a dysfunctional triad of parent-child relationships was already in place.
You say you’re sick? PROVE IT
The short story is that my brother received gifts, toys and attention if ill, but I was punished. If I said I didn’t feel well, I had to prove it; have a measurable fever, be vomiting or otherwise possessed of some obvious bug going around school, and parents had been asked to keep symptomatic kids at home. I wasn’t allowed out of bed, or to have books or toys. Although my mother was merely peeved or angry with me, when my Asperger father came home, he would state how he never became ill (it was true) and that illness was a sign of weakness and failure; why wasn’t I like him? This message came through loud and clear and has been a negative influence – absolutely. When unwell, I have to fight feelings of inadequacy and failure, and a residue of abandonment. It’s ridiculous.
Here’s the question: Is this cruel message served up by my father a product of Asperger’s, or is it something else? Although his attitude was obviously hurtful, I also knew my father’s story: he had been a premature twin and his brother died at birth. He was not expected to live, but he pulled through. My father’s childhood had been a living Hell of beatings and hard work on the farm, dished out as tough love by his father in order to make him strong. In one of those “tragic” outcomes, my father ended up being a highly fit and healthy adult. Tragic, because he believed his father’s cruelty was responsible for his good health.
I attribute my father’s survival to having good care as an infant, and good genes, not magic or cruelty. If a premature baby survived in the 1910s, long before the elaborate interventions of today’s medical devices and drugs, he or she had to have had a package of healthy provisions on board, just to survive the first year. I was stuck with a mystery; was my father a product of nature, or “severe” nurturing?
It just wasn’t my father’s nature to be cruel. His weak – strong theory of life descended like a dark curtain when issues of vulnerability appeared. Otherwise he was generous with his time and attention and I primarily remember that side of my father. Unfortunately, he had no insight into the brutal treatment he endured as a child, and let’s face it, American males are subject to the irrational fear of being labeled as “weak” or “like a girl” – a fear intensively cultivated by American culture, then and now. And, the outcome for my brother being spoiled, was that it left him entirely dependent on my parents, but some “ill-treatment” did prepare me for an independent life; the challenges were great, but made me an adult – slowly, but at least I made it.
It is my view, after two years of reading and thinking about Asperger’s, especially the bizarre dogma of psychology, medical information, and anecdotal references, that Asperger’s is a personality or temperament type, characterized by an intellectual focus, that is simply not socially-oriented, but attuned to the physical world: sensory attention, logic based, not word-supernatural based.
Conformity institutions (like psychology, corporations, religions and schools) simply cannot tolerate people who think for themselves. It’s the old story of domestication: dogs are useful to humans because they “work for food” and “adjust to” cruelty from humans, because – mostly they have no choice, and have been bred to various behaviors like extreme herding behavior or tracking of drugs, criminals or lost people – exploitations of their more accurate and extensive sensory abilities. A lucky few (?) become family, and are classified as “pets” – literally, we stroke and hug them, overfeed them bad food, and lock them in tiny apartments, basements or porches, abandoning them for long hours. Many breeds have been literally deformed to physically fulfill the awful constraints of being substitute infants for infantile people: purposely deformed, as if we were acceptable to “create” humans with severe physical distortions and disabilities, because it satisfies some warped idea of “cuteness”.
The desire for lifeforms to be either perverted to do work – or to be enslaved as “cute social objects – status symbols” is domestication.
Wolves are despised and exterminated because they can’t be tamed; they remain free to be competing predators. Myth, fairytales and fabrications place wolves close to the devil. It’s not true; like any competing predator species, they have been hunted by human predators to near extinction.
There is no doubt that humans have domesticated humans: slavery is “forced ” domestication followed by sexual selection from the “survivors”. The designation of an individual, or group, or class of humans as having “potential” to be tamed – that is, be forced to work without resistance, as dogs and horses and other animal laborers do, has always been paramount. Humans were selected just as animals were, to be reshaped into “useful” tame forms. Over thousands of years of this “civilizing” process, the owners of grand cities and the agricultural and manufacturing systems necessary to their existence, simply exterminated all things wild and increasingly cultivated submissive behavior, just as we continue to do today.
The relentless selection of human form and abilities “useful” to the predatory hierarchy changed humans into “specialized” organisms; varieties of people that have become “natural” to us – the class system as it exists today, in which domestic types – peasants, wage slaves; the middle and low classes; immigrants, and others who do the “shit work” for the upper and ruling classes, are fed scraps from the economic table because like dogs, they have been bred to this condition, which no “wild human” could or would, tolerate.
Pain and its subjective experience by individuals is a tricky subject when you look into it. We are amazed and frightened by the “dangers” that wild animals live with 24 / 7 – but we forget that “pain” in nature is usually swift and brief: a few seconds to a few hours – and the animal has either recovered, been “finished off” or has died of stress; lack of water, blood loss and shock.
The human “domestic” condition may be seen as far worse. Someone said, “The problem with humans is that they will put up with anything.” One of the most obvious “changes” to the human animal has been the development of tolerance of very bad treatment by other humans, not unlike the dog that is chained to a post or fence, day after day, with little or no food, a dirty bucket of water (if that) and is expected to demonstrate “wild affection” at the appearance of its tormentor.
Human empathy, compassion or kindness? The system provides relief, but not freedom, and an “easy” new form of slavery – to religion, to drugs, to alcohol, to violent punishment and sadistic entertainment; to hopelessness and lies. Pain in humans is not swift; it is chronic and lifelong. Pain is stretched out over decades, and declared to be “progress” when medical intervention patches people up, so that they can return to fulfilling their role in the social hierarchy. Pain does not go away; it is a protracted state of dependency cultivated by the hierarchy. “Modern pain” is a result of domestication, which has become panhuman, and is “considered” to be normal; pain and mental suffering have been socialized.
The “idea” of pain, despite the knowledge that this is a highly subjective and variable physical experience, is so controlled by social rules that Asperger types are classified as defective, because “supposedly” our experience of pain is “abnormal” – that is, we do not respond like domesticated animals; we do not respond with compliance to pain applied as punishment and control: our “reactivity” falls outside the imposed parameters of “being suitable for use as a slave.” We “leave” – physically if possible, and we suffer greatly if we can’t. Withdrawal into a better world that exists in nature and which satisfies our curiosity and need to acquire knowledge (denigrated as obsessions by neurotypicals) is a healthy reaction – too healthy for society to tolerate.