Consciousness / A Damaged Word – plus other important terms

Language has a problem: words, even those meant to have specific definitions and uses, gather extra meanings once “let loose” in different environments, including academia, popular conversation, and ethnic, religious, and social groups. Words can become so degraded that they no longer have a specific (or even consistent) meaning and must be re-evaluated.

Conscious(ness) is one of those words.

Human beings are severe hoarders – any and every idea is saved, whether valid, nonsensical, or incomprehensible. Archaic ideas are held to be as true or accurate as modern knowledge. The result is that human thoughts, from the confused and valueless, to the sublime and revolutionary, are a tangle of debris, like that of a  Tsunami that collects everything in its path. And now that we have the Internet, no one is cleaning up the clogged beaches.

Any discussion of “being conscious” must first define what “being conscious” is, but few writers bother to do this. I think that an individual animal (human) is either conscious or not. Qualifiers such as “partially conscious” or “levels of consciousness” demonstrate that we don’t have a clear definition or understanding of being conscious.

If we want to make progress in the study of human behavior, we must strip away the overburden of “supernatural and archaic” deposits that murkify the idea of a “conscious state.” There needs to be a valid intellectual scaffold on which to arrange concrete evidence. I don’t care how in love with psycho-babble our culture is, consciousness must be rooted in physical reality.

Humans not only hoard objects, we hoard ideas that no have no purpose other than screwing up our lives.

Humans not only hoard objects, we hoard ideas that clutter and devalue our thinking.

A short list of terms that I use in evaluating information.

Natural: Having a real or physical existence as opposed to one that is supernatural, spiritual, intellectual, or fictitious.

Supernatural: A being, object, location, concept or event that exists outside physical law: a dimension that exists solely in the human mind. 

Religion: The ritual presentation of the culture myth that includes the —-“isms” Patriotism, Consumerism, Nazism, Militarism, Capitalism etc. (From Joseph Campbell)

Mind: The sum of an organism’s or group’s reactions to the environment. Instinct is the source of automatic reactions; other reactions may be learned. So-called “emotion” is a physiologic response to the environment and belongs to mind.

Culture: The sum of an organism’s or group’s interactions with the environment. These interactions may be instinctual, learned or invented.

Mind and culture are not exclusive to Humans. Bacteria react to, and interact with the environment.

The criteria that I use to define mind and culture removes the “supernatural” barrier between our species and what is referred to as “lower animals” or “the rest of life” or plants, and all that “alien” stuff such as fungus, which do react and interact with the environment in amazing ways and therefore possess mind and culture.

Consciousness is the use of verbal language to process and communicate information. (Not limited to other humans; we talk to anything alive or dead.)

This definition recognizes consciousness as a process; it is not a “thing” – not a bump on the brain nor a nebulous supernatural fog. This definition frees us to talk about the characteristics of human consciousness, without having to project our type of verbal consciousness onto other life forms. It also recognizes nonverbal communication and the ALTERNATE states produced by using other languages –  music / mathematics / visual-spatial and other languages of which we are unaware.  These other brain processes require new definitions and terms. Individuals whose primary communication is by means of mathematics / music surely experience brain states not available to concrete visual thinkers like me.

Conscious does not = self aware. Animals such as apes or dolphins are self aware as demonstrated by the mirror trick, but as to what subjective state occurs when they use their languages, we are not in a position to know. Their languages surely convey information, but their subjective experience is outside our knowing.

The Psych Industry, Pop-Science and abstract thinking

How is the concept of abstract thinking used in “the helping, caring, fixing” industry, which claims to understand and describe THINKING as a human behavior?

Quotes from psych and other sources: (Very far removed from any “coherent” definition: ridiculous, actually.)

Abstract Thinking

“Abstract thinking describes thoughts that are symbolic and conceptual and not concrete or specific. Concrete thinking focuses on the present or here and now specificity (facts and specific objects exist temporarily, but thankfully for NTs, they vanish in a nanosecond) while abstract thinking is based on concepts, principles, and relationships between ideas and objects.”

“For example, a statement derived from concrete thinking would be “There are 3 dogs.” An abstract perspective could be thinking about numbers, different types of dogs, how some animals are pets, or how wolves and dogs are related. Young children are essentially just concrete thinkers – abstract thinking develops with age.” (Or doesn’t)

How about this gem”? 

1. Concrete thinking does not have any depth. It just refers to thinking in the periphery. On the other hand, abstract thinking goes under the surface.
2. Concrete thinking is just regarding the facts. On the other hand abstract thinking goes down below the facts.
3. Abstract thinking may be referred to the figurative description whereas the concrete thinker does not think so.
4. Unlike the concrete thinking, abstract thinking involves some mental process. (Unlike concrete thinking, which originates in the spleen)
5. A person with concrete thinking does not think beyond the facts. They do not have the ability to think beyond a certain limit. (The supernatural delusion that there is a magic “space” behind, above, outside reality, which contains, a priori, all the nonsense that the NT brain is capable of generating) 
6. When compared to concrete thinking, abstract thinking is about understanding the multiple meanings.
7. While abstract thinking is based on ideas, concrete thinking is based on what the person sees as well as the facts.

Following is by an Asperger. Note that concrete vs. abstract doesn’t enter the picture; accurate use of language (and self-knowledge) is stressed, and also visual processing. 

I feel that the whole empathy thing is an example of the danger of NT language. The concept is that autistics do not intuitively know what NTs are thinking and feeling and do not automatically share those thoughts and feelings with NTs. Same thing happens in the opposite direction. But NT language has turned this concept of empathy into the word “empathy” which has become {equivalent to} or more like {made an umbrella for} the word “compassion” and the phrase “caring about people” and the phrase “ability to love”, all of which words or phrases describe different concepts, but all the different concepts subsumed under this one word “empathy”, such that the simple concept of lacking empathy has come to mean also lacking compassion, caring about people, being able to love people. But in reality, each concept is like a different big giant chemical structure, but all these structures are being given the same verbal label by NTs, who see the world in lower resolution than autistics do and therefore habitually apply low-resolution verbal labels to cover all manner of distinct structures, or concepts.

In autistic language, this conflation would be harder to make, because instead of applying this generalized highly abstract verbal label “empathy”, autistics would just say, more explicitly and concretely, “I don’t know, automatically and instantly, what you are thinking and feeling, and I don’t share your thoughts and feelings, because the same stimuli generate different responses in me vs. you, so you’re going to have to explain your perspective for me to have a theoretical understanding of it (the catch here for NTs is that they may not be able to explain their behavior, thinking or “feelings” at all; may not understand their own “state of mind” because they have never thought it through! They have been “taught” all their lives that the “shallow social formulas” that they obey are the only possible and correct reactions.) … and I will explain mine to you afterwards, because guess what, I do want to know your perspective, because I do care about you and therefore want you to feel happy as much of the time as possible, and the first concept I talked about explicitly was what you call ’empathy’ and the second concept that I talked about explicitly was ‘caring about people’.”

From two psychology websites:

Jean Piaget uses the terms “concrete” and “formal” to describe the different types of learning. Concrete thinking involves facts and descriptions about everyday, tangible objects, while abstract (formal operational) thinking involves a mental process. 

Concrete idea Abstract idea
Dense things sink. It will sink if its density is greater than the density of the fluid.
You breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. Gas exchange takes place between the air in the alveoli and the blood.
Plants get water through their roots. Water diffuses through the cell membrane of the root hair cells.

Would someone please explain to me how the phrases in the “right column” “involve a mental process” (and where does concrete thinking take place, in the feet? In a cabinet? On the moon?) when these are only more detailed descriptions of concrete objects doing concrete things?

These are abstract formulas.

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Abstract thinking is the ability to think about objects, principles, and ideas that are not physically present. (Where are they?) It is related to symbolic thinking, which uses the substitution of a symbol for an object or idea. (A dove means peace)

A variety of everyday behaviors constitute abstract thinking. These include:

  • Using metaphors and analogies;
  • Understanding relationships between verbal and non-verbal ideas;
  • Spatial reasoning and mentally manipulating and rotating objects;
  • Complex reasoning, such as using critical thinking, the scientific method, and other approaches to reasoning through problems.

How Does Abstract Reasoning Develop?
Developmental psychologist Jean Piaget argued that children develop abstract reasoning skills as part of their last stage of development, known as the formal operational stage. This stage occurs between the ages of 11 and 16. (Really? Or is this over-generalization?) Yes… However, the beginnings of abstract reasoning may be present earlier, and gifted children frequently develop abstract reasoning at an earlier age. Some psychologists have argued that the development of abstract reasoning is not a natural developmental stage. Rather, it is the product of culture, experience, and teaching.

Children’s stories frequently operate on two levels of reasoning: abstract and concrete. The concrete story, for example, might tell of a princess who married Prince Charming, while the abstract version of the story tells of the importance of virtue and working hard. (Is this really abstract thinking, or delivery of a “hidden” socio-cultural message?) While young children are often incapable of complex abstract reasoning, they frequently recognize the underlying lessons of these stories, indicating some degree of abstract reasoning skills. (Abstract reasoning leads to “getting the social message…”)

Abstract Reasoning and Intelligence
Abstract reasoning is a component of most intelligence tests. Skills such as mental object rotation, mathematics, higher-level language usage, and the application of concepts to particulars all require abstract reasoning skills. Learning disabilities can inhibit the development of abstract reasoning skills. People with severe intellectual disabilities may never develop abstract reasoning skills, and may take abstract concepts such as metaphors and analogies literally.

WOW! Here we have the CONFLATION of “abstract reasoning” (undefined) with intelligence (also undefined), which is limited to a “grab bag of skills” – from the visual manipulation of objects (is visual-spatial mental activity the same as abstract thinking, or is it sensory thinking? ) to maths (much of which is follow-the-rules grunt-work) to “high level language usage” (language use based on social judgement as dictated by the Top o’ the Pyramid folks). 

From a teacher resource center:

WHAT ARE CONCRETE AND ABSTRACT THINKING?

Abstract thinking is a level of thinking (thinking is a pyramid built of a hierarchy of types of thinking) about things that is removed from the facts of the “here and now” (facts only exist in the present? Bizarre!), and from specific examples of the things or concepts being thought about. Abstract thinkers are able to reflect on events and ideas, and on attributes and relationships separate from the objects that have those attributes or share those relationships. Thus, for example, a concrete thinker can think about this particular dog; a more abstract thinker can think about dogs in general. A concrete thinker can think about this dog on this rug; a more abstract thinker can think about spatial relations, like “on” (and a concrete thinker can’t use a preposition such as “on”? This is bizarre.) 

See: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/grammar/word-classes-or-parts-of-speech)

A concrete thinker can see that this ball is big; a more abstract thinker can think about size in general. A concrete thinker can count three cookies; a more abstract thinker can think about numbers. A concrete thinker can recognize that John likes Betty; a more abstract thinker can reflect on emotions, like affection. (So abstract thinking requires an activity called reflection? Definition?)

Another example of concrete thinking in young children is a two or three year old who thinks that as long as he stays out of his bedroom, it will not be bed time. In this case, the abstract concept of time (bedtime) is understood in terms of the more concrete concept of place (bedroom). The abstract idea of bedtime comes to mean the concrete idea of being in my bedroom.

Wow! I’ve noticed something very strange.  

In myriad examples of “supposed abstractions”, the mistake is made of confusing  “non-time dependent” abstractions, like the mass, density, volume formulas above, with the crazy notion that abstractions do not occur, and are not applicable, in the present, which tolerates the very temporary existence of “facts”. This is utterly “NT” bizarre; NTs fear facts. I suppose banishing them from the past and future makes facts less scary? Wait a second, and they will magically “go away”… 

Another example that applies to two or three year olds is the following. One of the favorite Dr. Seuss books is Green Eggs and Ham, which ends with the narrator changing his mind from rejecting green eggs and ham under any circumstances to trying them and actually liking them. At a concrete level of understanding, the story is about a stubborn person changing his mind. At a more abstract level of understanding, it is about people in general being capable of modifying their thoughts and desires even when they are convinced that they cannot or do not want to do so. This more abstract level of understanding can be appreciated by two and three year old children only if the higher level of meaning comes out of a discussion of the book with a more mature adult. At older ages and higher levels of thinking, this same process of more mature thinkers facilitating higher levels of abstraction in less mature thinkers characterizes the process of teaching abstract thinking. For example, this is how great philosophers, like Socrates and Plato, taught their pupils how to think abstractly.

WOW!

So abstract thinking is “a higher level of thinking” (there goes most of applied science and engineering; most skills; most technology; most human creativity – making art, music and performing dance, and innovation of any “concrete object” of value into the “trash bin” of low-level thinking).

It is suspicious that “abstract thinking” is represented as providing a higher level of meaning; in this context, higher level of meaning = “the social message of obedience” and abstract = hidden or deceptive.

Be a good girl or boy: Eat your eggs and ham, even if they are covered in green mold that will poison you.

I’ve given myself a headache, again…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self Awareness / OMG What a Hornet’s Nest

What made me awaken this morning with the question of self awareness dancing in my head? It’s both a personal and social question and quest, and so almost impossible to think about objectively. And like so many “word concepts” there is no agreed-upon definition or meaning to actually talk about, unless it’s among religionists of certain beliefs, philosophical schools of knowledge, or neurologists hunched over their arrays of brain tissue, peering like haruspices over a pile of pink meat.

My own prejudices lean toward two basic underpinnings of self-awareness:

1. It is not a “thing” but an experience.

2. Self awareness (beyond Look! It’s me in the mirror…) is learned, earned, created, achieved.

From a previous post –

Co-consciousness; the product of language : “In Western cultures verbal language is inseparable from the process of creating a conscious human being.

A child is told who it is, where it belongs, and how to behave, day in and day out, from birth throughout childhood. In this way culturally-approved patterns of thought and behavior are implanted, organized and strengthened in the child’s brain. 

Social education means setting tasks that require following directions, and asking children to ‘correctly’ answer with words and behavior, to prove that co-consciousness is in place.

This is one of the great challenges of human development, and children who do not ‘pay attention’ to adult demands, however deftly sugar-coated, are rejected as defective, defiant, and diseased.

Punishment for having early self awareness may be physical or emotional brutality or abandonment and exile from the group.”

Who am I? is a question that most children ask sooner or later – prompted obviously by questions from adults (no child is born thinking about this) such as “What do you want to be when you grow up?” (Not, Who are you now?) The socially acceptable menu is small: “A famous sports star” for boys, ” For girls? “A wonderful mom and career woman who looks 16 years old, forever”.

How boring and unrealistic. How life and joy killing. Adults mustn’t let children in on the truth, which is even worse. We know at this point that a child can look in a mirror and say, “That’s me! I hate my haircut,” but he or she is entirely unaware that someday firing rockets into mud brick houses, thereby blowing human bodies to smithereens, may be their passion. Or she may be a single mom with three kids, totally unprepared for an adequate job. Or perhaps he or she may end up addicted to pills and rage and stuffing paper bags with French fries eight hours a day.

If a child were to utter these reasonably probabilistic goals, he or she would be labeled as disturbed and possibly dangerous. And yet human children grow up to be less than ideal, and many  dreadful outcomes occur, but these are the result of the individual colliding with societal fantasies and promises that are not likely outcomes at all.

The strangest part of this is that we talk about self awareness as a “thing” tucked into a hidden space, deep with us, but it isn’t. It is a running score on a test, that once we are born, starts running: the test questions are life’s demands, both from the environment into which we are born, and the culture of family, school, work and citizenship. The tragedy is that few caregivers bother to find out enough about a child to guide them toward a healthy and happy self-awareness. This requires observing and accepting the child’s native gifts and personality, AND helping them to manage their difficulties. This is not the same as curing them of being different, or inflicting life long scars by abandoning them, or diligent training so that like parrots, they can mimic conformist behavior and speech.

Self awareness comes as we live our lives: self-esteem is connected to that process, not as a “before” thing, but an “after” thing: a result of meeting life as it really is, not as a social fantasy. Self awareness is built from the talents and strengths that we didn’t know  we possessed. It also arises as we see the “world” as its pretentions crumble before us. Being able to see one’s existence cast against the immensity of reality, and yet to feel secure, is the measure of finally giving birth to a “self”. 

 

 

 

I’m satisfied that loving the land is my talent and that this is not a small thing, when there are so many human beings who don’t.

Down and Dirty Primitive Hunting Technology / Videos

HUNGER: The prime motivator of human behavior and technology. Primitive tools compensate for “puny human” lack of claws, reduced olfactory sense, and other assets possessed by the competition: other hungry animals, including many much smaller than humans, had superior strength, speed, meat-or tough vegetation-tearing teeth (cooking required), protective fur, athletic ability, specialized body parts and instinctive tactics. Early humans HAD TO develop tools!

Our type of brain most likely developed as a “tool” that compensated for (and competed with) the “equipment” of other animals in particular environments. The brain as technology – think about it! LOL

New Topic / Intuitive Empathy

The by-now totally clichéd estimate of Asperger empathy is that we have ZERO ability to “sense, feel, react to the emotional state of other humans” which ranks us below the ability of a GPS system, which “voiced” by a human-sounding digital response has some friendly or concerned tone to its responses.

For (some) Aspergers this is a strange notion about empathy, or the lack of it,  and the idea of empathy is also confusing, thought-provoking and mysterious. I think what we lack are the stock social responses that are required to “prove” that we care about people. The troubling belief on the part of social typicals is that these “canned” commiserations are the sole content of “empathy.” The mistake is in overlooking or ignoring intuition as a means of understanding “the other” being, whether or not it is an animal or “the human animal”. Intuition functions without conscious awareness and lacks words (until the intuitive process is grasped by intellect) and may not be demonstrated outwardly. But, neurotypicals demand an immediate and scripted social response – which is not compatible with letting intuition do its work.

There is much going on inside a person, and what they are doing or saying may not be the “truth.” Whatever situation they describe may not be what they are actually concerned with; their emotions may tell a different story. I know that my reaction to a hearing someone’s hurt or disappointment is to automatically engage my “intuitive” way of learning; can I help the person to see their feelings more clearly or objectively, and therefore alleviate emotional distress? This does not mean that I don’t “feel” for their suffering, I merely distance myself in order to be helpful.

I believe that this is something I learned to do; as a child I was supersensitive to other people’s “emanations” of pain. Looking back, I can recognize that instances of “meltdown” were triggered by seeing people who were injured, diseased, maimed or disabled – and I simply fell apart. I was seriously chastised for being “unfeeling” for having such a severe reaction; one was supposed to “not notice” such things because it upset the poor unfortunate person in a wheel chair or other obvious damage. Is being invisible better? The social etiquette was to ignore suffering. Only outside of an afflicted person’s presence did one gossip about misfortune.

As I grew older these reactions subsided and I believe it was because I learned to dampen emotion and switch to “solution” mode. This seems natural given my personality as a problem solver. It should be obvious that I don’t write a blog about Aspergers, but the intersection between “us” and the neurotypically dominated world of society, for no reason. Yes it’s personal, problem-solving, and satisfying to my curiosity, but I also empathize with the huge number of modern social typicals who suffer from the same ridged, boring, shallow and life-stifling environment of American culture that drives Aspergers to despair.

It hurts me to see people be miserable, confined and bored and not know why – and to blame themselves for not living up to impossible social demands; to be trapped in the lie that moment to moment emotional chaos is LIFE. Social attention is held to be the sole value to living. 

Only contrived gestures count and questions on surveys, tests and magic brain scans.

This is an actual card that one can purchase and send to a woman who just had a miscarriage.

This is an actual “Empathy” brand card that one can purchase and send to a woman who just had a miscarriage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facial Hair / Not just for Humans

Apes: Not so different after all.

Monkey Mustaches Reveal Evolution of Facial Hair

https://www.seeker.com/monkey-mustaches-reveal-evolution-of-facial-hair-1769477454.html

Mustaches and eyebrows help certain monkeys (same species) recognize each other, research finds.

Distinctive facial hair, like mustaches and eyebrows, are not unique to people — those traits also help certain monkeys identify each other. Mustaches, beards, bushy eyebrows and other facial hair might have first evolved in primates to help them easily recognize each other in forest environments, according to new research in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

The study shows how much primates rely on vision in their social networks.

“Primates are a visual group that have lots and lots of face-to-face interactions,” co-author James Higham told Discovery News.

“The evolutionary history of primates is one of increasing reliance on vision at the expense of olfaction, which is the sense that is used more ancestrally among mammals.”

For the study, Higham, an assistant professor of anthropology at New York University, and co-author William Allen studied guenon monkeys, which sport all sorts of quirky facial hair, from ear tufts to beards and bushy eyebrows. Both male and female guenon monkeys have these features, to the point that humans looking at them cannot always tell which monkey is a male and which is a female.

The researchers designed a computer algorithm that could assess 500 photographs of 12 species of guenons. The images were collected in various settings, including at U.S. and U.K. zoos and at a wildlife sanctuary in Nigeria. The photos were of both male and female guenons.

“We sought to test a computer’s ability to do something close to what a guenon viewing other guenons’ faces would do,” explained Allen, who is now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Hull.

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Sexual selection for “tame” females produced neotenic “symptoms”: little to no facial / body hair, baby faces, select fat deposition, monthly instead of yearly fertility, arrested development at juvenile developmental stages.

This selection produced easy visual recognition of females; females became “easy prey” animals – a domesticated animal. Modern Western female ideals include physical features of young males: boys with boobs syndrome. ______________________________________________________________ 

Chimps actually have “patchy” body and facial hair.

The computer succeeded in correctly identifying individuals and their species, but like humans looking at the images, it too was stumped at trying to figure out if the photos were of males or females. It also could not categorize the photos by the age of the monkeys.

There seems to have been selection for a role for facial appearance in species recognition, Higham said. For age and sex, he speculated that “perhaps if you live in a stable social group, and you have individual recognition, then you can just learn those other individuals and whether they are old or young, or male or female, and so do not need this to be encoded in their facial appearance. “This makes sense for guenons, which often live high in rainforest canopies with many closely related species. For breeding and other social purposes, they need to quickly identify their own kind.

The distant ancestors of humans were also tree dwellers that likely lived close to similar species. A growing body of evidence even supports that more recent members of our genus co-existed, such as Neanderthals and early Homo sapiens sharing some of the same territories.

While guenon monkeys, owl monkeys and some other primates have males and females that look nearly identical, it is usually very easy to distinguish a human man from a woman with just a glance. Facial hair in our case takes on a sexier function.

Sexual deception by visual disguise: Ducati ads, etc. 

Are men imitating women, or women imitating men? 

https://www.naukrinama.com/stressbuster/men-copying-womens-pose/

“In humans, mustaches and beards are what we call a ‘sexually dimorphic’ trait, i.e. they are present in one sex and not the other,” Higham said. “This suggests that they are a sexually-selected trait, and perhaps play a role in mate choice or in competition between individuals of the same sex.”

Allen and Higham believe that the computer technique could be used to analyze the facial traits of all sorts of other animals, helping to determine the function of these traits and why and how they evolved in the first place.

Perfection / A Social Trap

Yes; begin where you can.

Begin where you can.

Perfectionism is just a word until one begins thinking about the role it has played in one’s life. As usual, it is an activity, which when fused with social expectations, becomes an object of practical, moral and economic opinion. Perfectionism is not a “thing” but a tool with which to assess standards and compare outcomes, especially in art, literature and other creative endeavors.

Intelligent-creative people, minorities, and the disabled are held to much higher standards of “achievement” than typically-abled humans.

Google “perfectionism” and a highly negative picture appears. Once again, psychology has made a judgment about PEOPLE who are perfectionists; they are bad, unhappy, trapped in a corner, wasting their lives. We see the “pyramid scheme” poking through: common everyday perfectionists are self-abusers, unhappy, and paradoxically, create failure, but upper echelon “money-makers,”  are praised as perfectionists. A start up company, or artistic catalogue, once it becomes “trendy” and profitable, is contrarily opined as a positive result of perfectionism. Long hours, dedication to a goal, the march of progress and final economic success are added to the unending search for human perfection.

Athletes and immigrants are particularly subject to having their lives rewritten as journeys that fulfill the cultural need for success; rags to riches, American Dream, unlimited opportunity; the story of those whose early deprivation presented signs of future fame and influence. Perfect performance is always a component of the myth, but the expectation of perfection can be destructive.  How many “celebrity” children are crushed by such demands? And, the distance between failure and perfection grows and grows in American culture. It is no longer enough to be a “millionaire.” One must be a “billionaire.” One cannot simply post a funny video; it must generate millions of views globally. One cannot have a handful of close friends; one must garner the notice of thousands of strangers. And so, the perfect life is money and attention; not for any good reason, just because notoriety is the new “unreachable” scale of perfection.

We lie to children and torment them with one treacherous statement:

“You can be anything you dream of being,” is a bald-faced lie.

This pompous assertion cuts off actual potential by a “mental device” that has become typical in the U.S.; by presenting a socially reverse-engineered pop-culture myth, the “you can be anything” statement is delivered by individuals who have already achieved great success. The accompanying myth of their (supposedly) meteoric rise always includes magical signs that predict greatness – a “lucky”  legitimacy and foreshadowing of destiny by a chance meeting with a superstar; an injury that turned out to be a blessing; a lost parent who directs a child’s fate from the afterlife; a sudden supernatural voice, at the right moment, that said, “never give up.” These motivational events happen to almost all humans, but do not produce fame and fortune in the majority. The seed is planted: anything less than extraordinary destiny becomes failure.

Dream big! Achieve little.

The goal of becoming an adult who can find satisfying work, a worthwhile partner and the means to raise a family, has fallen to the bottom of the pyramid, when this “outcome” is the common denominator by which “average people” express the greatest source of happiness. But this achievement is not possible: everyone must put up the appearance of becoming more, and more and more.

I do think that Asperger individuals have a tricky relationship with “perfection”. Perfection as the act of seeking and creating meaningful work I see as no problem, but when our “passion” becomes a “fate” by which we are judged, it becomes a noose that tightens against our “defects”. Expectations as “the gifted child” create a problem: our lives have been laid out before us as a burden and an obligation; “gifts” are dangerous in a mediocre society. This is an ancient human theme in which those who arrive with something “extra” are expected to save everyone’s ass by acts of sacrifice, but are also expected to “disappear” once they are no longer useful.

We see this again and again in young men who are asked to die by old men;  soldiers have difficulty in not identifying the two as one and the same: Young males must die for the old. Isn’t this upside down? Why isn’t it the old and useless males, who have had their chance at life who are expected to “volunteer” to “save” young fathers and sons from unwarranted tragedy?

We encounter perfection and want to merge with it, which for me at least, is my subjective experience of “bliss”. Mythologies the world over warn of such improper boundary crossings by humans into the realm of the gods. Countless myths offer up Heroes who are granted “fire stolen from the gods” that costs them everything, but in the long run restores balance to society, which is the real goal of their existence. So, in this philosophy, talents and abilities are not the end in themselves, but means to ends; ends that are available to humans in general when an individual applies his or her abilities toward a realizable goal.

American culture is blind to this deeper and wider actualization of success. In the U.S., only those at the apex of the Pyramid count. The promise is to elevate “the peasants” to the upper levels of the pyramid, but this is logically impossible. The top 1% needs the 99% of humanity at the bottom to fail – and defines failure as “not being” at the top of the hierarchy.  

Aspergers are susceptible to being judged on the basis of success as something elevated beyond “normal”. In the neurotypical scheme of life, a child obsessed with knowledge dares to pass into factual reality, which contains the secrets of the universe; a domain where few socially typical individuals dare to go. Taboo, because neurotypical predators crave domination: any “successful” neurotypical would use intelligence to exploit other people. The idea that “Aspergers” have little to no social ambition is simply not credible; in fact it is a source of derision and fear – and opportunity for social predators. .

As a young child I was terribly confused. My intelligence was superficially praised, but harshly received. Intelligence was tested and tracked and presented as important, but forbidden to girls – actualization of “power” was a crime against nature, religion and males of any kind: against all of “defenseless” neurotypical humanity. Ironically, extra abilities and the good fortune of “beauty” could be exploited for family status (marry a rich man, become a “beauty queen”, an actress or celebrity) or to manipulate others behind the scenes to benefit a husband. Selfish ends were quite okay, but a desire to improve a greater sphere of human need was forbidden. To expand knowledge, opinion, laws or the frontiers of human stupidity was, and is, forbidden.

It has taken a lifetime to construct a workable “fix” for myself: Perfection happens. Nature is the domain of perfection and it is informative that nature never rests, but is the continual unfolding of possibilities within a set of laws (boundaries) – a balance of change and continuity that is perfect only in the moment. It’s okay to strive for perfection in creative work, but it’s good to understand that perfection is ephemeral.

Life may be a tool by which the universe acknowledges its own perfection.

However, no human is required to be perfect: What a relief. Nor is any child or adult required to fulfill any expectation that the label “Asperger’s Disorder” attempts to place on them. 

 

 

Body language: The crotch displays of men (primates)

Right: This is one area where I’m relieved that “social conventions” restrict males from walking around naked. If they did, we’d have to put up with this type of behavior. LOL

Bipedalism was not a result of the crotch display, but it gave male bipeds a great opportunity to enhance traditional primate displays, and to threaten and intimidate other males. 

 x

The original “blue balls”

Body language: The crotch displays of men

(nipped for brevity)

https://www.psychmechanics.com/2015/05/body-language-crotch-displays-of-men.html

One way in which males display dominance is by displaying their crotch…this behavior is something that we’ve inherited from our ancestors. The most common way in which men display their crotch is by taking up the thumbs-in-belt gesture.

Thumbs in belt or pockets

This gesture is used by men to display a dominant, sexually aggressive attitude. It’s perhaps the most direct sexual display a man can make towards a woman. (You’ve got to be joking!) Men also use this gesture to stake their territory or to show other men that they’re not afraid. This gesture communicates the non-verbal message, “I am virile, powerful and dominant”. 

The Obama White House criticized Putin’s posture. I guess the seated crotch display, when done properly,  does intimidate the Hell out of other males. LOL

In a seated position, it becomes kind of difficult for men to assume this gesture but they don’t shy away from displaying their crotch if they want to communicate the message of dominance. They’ll spread their legs and lean slightly backward so that their crotch comes forward and in full display.

Watch any group of young men who’re engaged in an activity that requires them to display a macho attitude and you’ll notice that they often stand with their legs apart and their hands somehow highlight their crotch.

For instance, when sports teams are ready for ‘action’ you may notice the players continually adjusting and re-adjusting their crotch as they unconsciously try to assert their masculinity. Interestingly, this crotch display gesture is also seen in apes and some other primates. Even though the apes don’t wear any belt or trousers, still they highlight their crotch with their hands when they have to stake their territory and show other apes that they’re unafraid.

Some primates such as baboons are a bit more direct. They display dominance by spreading their legs and displaying their penis, giving it continual adjustment or even waving it at their enemies.

What’s even more mind-boggling is that the same penis-waving tactic is also employed by some New Guinea tribes even today who are essentially cut off from modern civilization.

This clearly indicates that such a behavior is an evolved tendency in homo sapiens.

Dropping the pants

I must have been around 11 or 12 years old. It was a bright Sunday morning and we had arranged a cricket match with some schoolmates. Everything was normal as the game progressed and as usual, both the teams rejoiced at the high points and wore disappointed expressions at the low points of the game.

A rather strange thing happened when the game was over. It was a narrow contest right to the end but our team lost. Needless to say, the other team was elated. They jumped with joy, yelled and screamed. But one particular boy was over-excited. He felt so powerful and dominant due to the win that he dropped his pants and showed his penis to our team. (Why not to the other team?)

My team-mates laughed it off but I was taken aback.

I never forgot that incident. I wanted to know why he did that. What possible motive or desire could force a person to resort to such an extreme behavior? (Was the writer really so naive?)

It remained an unanswered question, an unresolved problem in my psyche for a long time until years later, when I read about human evolution and body language, the whole picture became clear to me.

Another similar and common incident that men experience at least once in their lives is when they jokingly question the size of their friend’s penis, the latter usually gets defensive and retorts with something like, “If I show it to you guys, you’ll become afraid and run away”. (Really? Guys say this?)

He may not realize it but unconsciously he knows that the penis display is an effective way to display dominance, and so do his friends.

I’m sure you’re intelligent enough to understand, by now, why people display their middle fingers when they want to offend someone and/or to feel dominant.

It’s not an acceptable behavior anymore in a civilized society for adults to drop their pants and show their penises so they use their middle fingers to symbolically convey the same feelings.

Some of you might ask, “Why do women who wear jeans assume the ‘thumbs-in-belt’ gesture?” or “Why do women show their middle fingers, when they have no actual penises to display?”

Well, it’s most probably a behavior that they’ve learned from men. (Ya think?) Penis display, symbolical or not, has come to be strongly associated with offending someone or showing dominance in the human psyche, thanks to its effectiveness.

I’m sure you’re intelligent enough to understand, by now, why people display their middle fingers when they want to offend someone and/or to feel dominant.

It’s not an acceptable behavior anymore in a civilized society for adults to drop their pants and show their penises so they use their middle fingers to symbolically convey the same feelings.

So, women are just using a tool from men’s psychological repertoire because they know how effective it can be.

Subtle forms of crotch display

No, no, no, never…

Yes. 

Belt and crotch grabbing while dancing is a subtle (?) form of crotch display and men across different cultures do it- from Michael Jackson to Salman Khan. Other subtle forms include wearing tight fitting pants, small-size speedo swimming trunks or even dangling a large bunch of keys/chains on the front or side of the crotch.

Baseball players are particularly “crotch grab prone”. The NHL crotch grab: a puck to the nuts. 

Rather ambiguous message, don’t you think?

The wallets that have those chains dangling on the side of the crotch became popular among men because it helped them draw attention to their crotch. 

To conclude consider what George Carlin, the late American comedian, had to say about wars:

“War is nothing but a whole lot of prick-waving. War is just a lot of men standing around in a field waving their pricks at one another. Of course, the bombs, the rockets, and the bullets are all shaped like dicks. It’s a subconscious need to project the penis into other people’s affairs.”
______________________________________________________________

Are Japanese women tired of neotenic males, perhaps? 

Caption: REALISTIC male mannequins. How pitiful…

How subtle sensory signals combine in the brain / Research

Looking for papers / articles about sensory processing that might provide clues as to ASD / Asperger sensory experience.

March 23, 2017, Brown University

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170323105807.htm

Summary:
New research explains how the developing brain learns to integrate and react to subtle but simultaneous sensory cues — sound, touch and visual — that would be ignored individually.

A new study describes a key mechanism in the brain that allows animals to recognize and react when subtle sensory signals that might not seem important on their own occur simultaneously. Such “multisensory integration” (MSI) is a vital skill for young brains to develop, said the authors of the paper in eLife, because it shapes how effectively animals can make sense of their surroundings.

For a mouse, that ability can make the difference between life and death. Neither a faint screech nor a tiny black speck in the sky might trigger any worry, but the two together strongly suggest a hawk is in the air. It matters in daily human life, too. An incoming call on a cell phone can be more noticeable when it is signaled visually and with sound, for example.

“It’s really important to understand how all of our senses interact to give us a whole picture of the world,” said study lead author Torrey Truszkowski, a neuroscience doctoral student at Brown University. “If something is super salient in the visual system — a bright flash of light — you don’t need the multisensory mechanism. If there is only a small change in light levels, you might ignore it — but if in the same area of visual space you also have a piece of auditory information coming in, then you are more likely to notice that and decide if you need to do something about that.”

To understand how that happens, Truszkowski and her team performed the new study in tadpoles. The juvenile frogs turn out to be a very convenient model of a developing MSI architecture that has a direct analog in the brains of mammals including humans.

Neuroscientists call the key property the tadpoles modeled in this study, the ability of brain cells and circuits to sometimes respond strongly to faint signals, “inverse effectiveness.” Study senior author Carlos Aizenman, associate professor of neuroscience and member of the Brown Institute for Brain Science, said the new paper represents, the first cellular-level explanation of inverse effectiveness, a property of MSI that allows the brain to selectively amplify weak sensory inputs from single sources and that represent multiple sensory modalities.”

Tadpole trials

To achieve that explanation at the level of cells and proteins, the researchers started with behavior. Tadpoles swimming in a laboratory dish will speed up — as if startled — when they detect a strong and sudden sensory stimulus, such as a pattern of stripes projected from beneath or a loud clicking sound. In their first experiment, the researchers measured changes in swimming speed when they provided strong stimuli, then weaker stimuli, and finally weaker stimuli in combination.

What they found is that more subtle versions of the stimuli — for example, stripes with only 25 percent of maximum contrast — barely affected swim speed when presented alone. But when such subtle stripes were presented simultaneously with subtle clicks, they produced a startle response as great as when full-contrast stripes were projected on the dish.

To understand how that works in the brain, the researchers conducted further experiments where they made measurements in a region called the optic tectum where tadpoles process sensory information. In mammals such as humans, the same function is performed by cells in the superior colliculus. The tadpole optic tectum sits right at the top of the brain. Given that fortuitous position and the animals’ transparent skin, scientists can easily observe the activity of cells and networks in living, behaving tadpoles using biochemistry to make different cells light up when they are active.

In many individual cells and across networks in the optic tectum, the researchers found that neural activity barely budged when tadpoles saw, heard or felt a subtle stimulus individually, but it jumped tremendously when subtle stimuli were simultaneous. The “inverse effectiveness” apparent in the swim speed behavior had a clear correlate in the response of brain cells and networks that process the senses.

The key question was how that inverse effectiveness works. The team had two molecular suspects in mind: a receptor for the neurotransmitter GABA or a specific type of glutamate receptor called NMDA. In experiments, they used chemicals to block receptors for either. They found the blocking GABA didn’t affect inverse effectiveness but that blocking NMDA made a significant difference.

NMDA’s role makes sense because it is already known to matter in detecting coincidence, for instance when the spiny dendrites of a neuron receive simultaneous signals from other neurons. Truszkowski said the study shows that NMDA is crucial for inverse effectiveness in MSI, though it might not be the only receptor at work.

Developing the senses

The research is part of a larger study of multisensory integration in Aizenman’s lab. Last year, as part of the same investigation, the researchers found that developing tadpole brains refine their judgment of whether stimuli are truly simultaneous as they progressively change the balance of excitation and inhibition among neurons in the optic tectum.

Aizenman’s lab seeks to understand how perception develops early in life, not only as a matter of basic science but also because it could provide insights into human disorders in which sensory processing develops abnormally (or differently!), as in some forms of autism.