Aspergers from the Inside

WELCOME TO ASPERGERS FROM THE INSIDE!!

My name is Paul and I discovered I have Aspergers at age 30.
If you’re new you can check out a playlist of some of my most popular videos here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-FpBZR7DbpvNj5UrFN8qUA.

Yes, I know, I don’t look autistic. That’s exactly why I started this blog, because if I didn’t show you, you would never know.

As the name suggests, this channel is devoted to giving you insight into the world of Aspergers. This blog started off being just my story, but I’ve learned SO MUCH about my own condition from meeting others on the Autism Spectrum that now I make sure to feature their stories as well.

I’ve come a long way in my own personal journey.
Now I’m sharing what I’ve found so you don’t have to learn it the hard way too.

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// WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS BLOG

I value your time which means there are NO YOUTUBE ADS on my videos.
You can expect me to get the the point with concise useful information.
I focus on what is most important and don’t shy away from difficult topics.

The best way to learn about Autism is to see it in real life ( i.e. via the stories of many, many people on the spectrum).

In this channel I endeavour to show you what Autism and Aspergers look like in real people and to also give you some insight as to what’s happening on the inside.
I upload a new video every weekend with some bonus content thrown in mid-week too.
There’s always new stuff coming through so be sure to check back and see what you’ve missed. (Is this where I’m supposed to tell you to hit that subscribe button?)

Topics Include:
– What is Aspergers/Autism?
– Aspie Tips, coping strategies, and advice on common issues
– Learning Emotional Intelligence (this is my special interest!)
– Autism in real life: stories from special guests

Everything I do is and endeavour to go deeper and take you ‘behind the scenes’ to understand what may, at first glance, seem ‘odd’.
oh, and I love busting stereotypes and turning preconceptions upsidedown 🙂

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// ABOUT ME

I discovered I have aspergers at the age of thrity.
It has been my life’s mission to understand these funny creatures we call humans.
My special interest is a combination of emotional intelligence, psychology, neuroscience, thinking styles, behaviour, and motivation. (I.e. what makes people tick)
My background is in engineering and I see the world in systems to be analysed.
My passion is for taking the incredibly complex, deciphering the pattern, and explaining it very simply.
My philosophy is that blogging is an adventure best shared.

Thresholds of Violence

But Granovetter thought it was a mistake to focus on the decision-making processes of each rioter in isolation. In his view, a riot was not a collection of individuals, each of whom arrived independently at the decision to break windows. A riot was a social process, in which people did things in reaction to and in combination with those around them. Social processes are driven by our thresholds—which he defined as the number of people who need to be doing some activity before we agree to join them.

.. riots were started by people with a threshold of zero—instigators willing to throw a rock through a window at the slightest provocation. Then comes the person who will throw a rock if someone else goes first. He has a threshold of one. Next in is the person with the threshold of two.

.. Next to him is someone with a threshold of three, who would never break windows and loot stores unless there were three people right in front of him who were already doing that—and so on up to the hundredth person, a righteous upstanding citizen who nonetheless could set his beliefs aside and grab a camera from the broken window of the electronics store if everyonearound him was grabbing cameras from the electronics store.

Granovetter was most taken by the situations in which people did things for social reasons that went against everything they believed as individuals. “Most did not think it ‘right’ to commit illegal acts or even particularly want to do so,” he wrote, about the findings of a study of delinquent boys. “But group interaction was such that none could admit this without loss of status; in our terms, their threshold for stealing cars is low because daring masculine acts bring status, and reluctance to join, once others have, carries the high cost of being labeled a sissy.” You can’t just look at an individual’s norms and motives. You need to look at the group.

.. the way to explain the school-shooting epidemic

.. think of it as a slow-motion, ever-evolving riot, in which each new participant’s action makes sense in reaction to and in combination with those who came before?

.. Then came Columbine. The sociologist Ralph Larkin argues that Harris and Klebold laid down the “cultural script” for the next generation of shooters.

.. Harris said he wanted to “kick-start a revolution.”

.. Larkin looked at the twelve major school shootings in the United States in the eight years after Columbine, and he found that in eight of those subsequent cases the shooters made explicit reference to Harris and Klebold.

.. Larkin says six were plainly versions of Columbine; of the eleven cases of thwarted shootings in the same period, Larkin says all were Columbine-inspired.

.. The kid who wants to be a chef and hears “non-specific, non-violent” voices requires a finely elaborated script in order to carry out his attack. That’s what Paton and Larkin mean: the effect of Harris and Klebold’s example was to make it possible for people with far higher thresholds—boys who would ordinarily never think of firing a weapon at their classmates—to join in the riot.

  • Aguilar dressed up like Eric Harris.
  • He used the same weapons as Harris.
  • He wore a backpack like Harris’s.
  • He hid in the changing room of the store until 11:14 a.m.—the precise time when the Columbine incident began—and then came out shooting.

.. Between Columbine and Aaron Ybarra, the riot changed: it became more and more self-referential, more ritualized, more and more about identification with the school-shooting tradition.

  • Eric Harris wanted to start a revolution.
  • Aguilar and Ybarra wanted to join one.
  • Harris saw himself as a hero. Aguilar and Ybarra were hero-worshippers.

.. “My number one idol is Eric Harris. . . . I think I just see myself in him. Like he would be the kind of guy I’d want to be with. Like, if I knew him, I just thought he was cool.”

..“He appears to lack typical relational capacity for family members. . . .He indicates that he would have completed the actions, but he doesn’t demonstrate any concern or empathy for the impact that that could have had on others.” The conclusion of all three of the psychologists who spoke at the hearing was that LaDue had a mild-to-moderate case of autism: he had an autism-spectrum disorder (A.S.D.), or what used to be called Asperger’s syndrome.

.. When should he attack? April made the best sense, “because that’s the month that all the really bad tragedies happened like . . . Titanic, Columbine, Oklahoma City bombing, Boston bombing.”

.. He was even more scathing about the Boston bombers’ use of pressure-cooker bombs. He thought they made a “crappy design of it.”

.. In the world before Columbine, people like LaDue played with chemistry sets in their basements and dreamed of being astronauts.

.. The idea that people with autism-spectrum disorders can stumble into patterns of serious criminality has a name: counterfeit deviance. It has long been an issue in cases involving A.S.D. teen-agers and child pornography. “They are intellectually intact people, with good computer skills but extraordinary brain-based naïveté, acting in social isolation, compulsively pursuing interests which often unknowingly take them into forbidden territory,”

..  But the riot has now engulfed the boys who were once content to play with chemistry sets in the basement. The problem is not that there is an endless supply of deeply disturbed young men who are willing to contemplate horrific acts. It’s worse. It’s that young men no longer need to be deeply disturbed to contemplate horrific acts.

 

James Damore: Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber

Highlights from the document that got Damore fired:

Personality differences

Women, on average, have more:

  • Openness directed towards feelings and aesthetics rather than ideas. Women generally also have a stronger interest in people rather than things, relative to men (also interpreted as empathizing vs. systemizing).
    • These two differences in part explain why women relatively prefer jobs in social or artistic areas. More men may like coding because it requires systemizing and even within SWEs, comparatively more women work on front end, which deals with both people and aesthetics.
  • Extraversion expressed as gregariousness rather than assertiveness. Also, higher agreeableness.
    • This leads to women generally having a harder time negotiating salary, asking for raises, speaking up, and leading. Note that these are just average differences and there’s overlap between men and women, but this is seen solely as a women’s issue. This leads to exclusory programs like Stretch and swaths of men without support.
  • Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance).
    • This may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs

.. Men’s higher drive for status

We always ask why we don’t see women in top leadership positions, but we never ask why we see so many men in these jobs. These positions often require long, stressful hours that may not be worth it if you want a balanced and fulfilling life. Status is the primary metric that men are judged on, pushing many men into these higher paying, less satisfying jobs for the status that they entail. Note, the same forces that lead men into high pay/high stress jobs in tech and leadership cause men to take undesirable and dangerous jobs like coal mining, garbage collection, and firefighting, and suffer 93% of work-related deaths.

Non-discriminatory ways to reduce the gender gap

Below I’ll go over some of the differences in distribution of traits between men and women that I outlined in the previous section and suggest ways to address them to increase women’s representation in tech without resorting to discrimination.

  • .. Women on average show a higher interest in people and men in things ○ We can make software engineering more people-oriented with pair programming and more collaboration.
  • .. Women on average look for more work-life balance while men have a higher drive for status on average
    • Unfortunately, as long as tech and leadership remain high status, lucrative careers, men may disproportionately want to be in them. Allowing and truly endorsing (as part of our culture) part time work though can keep more women in tech.
  • The male gender role is currently inflexible
    • Feminism has made great progress in freeing women from the female gender role, but men are still very much tied to the male gender role. If we, as a society, allow men to be more “feminine,” then the gender gap will shrink, although probably because men will leave tech and leadership for traditionally “feminine” roles.

.. . Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of humanities and social sciences lean left (about 95%), which creates enormous confirmation bias, changes what’s being studied, and maintains myths like social constructionism and the gender wage gap9.

.. As it became clear that the working class of the liberal democracies wasn’t going to overthrow their “capitalist oppressors,” the Marxist intellectuals transitioned from class warfare to gender and race politics. The core oppressor-oppressed dynamics remained, but now the oppressor is the “white, straight, cis-gendered patriarchy.”

.. For the same work though, women get paid just as much as men. Considering women spend more money than men and that salary represents how much the employee sacrifices (e.g. more hours, stress, and danger), we really need to rethink our stereotypes around power

.. I’m advocating for quite the opposite: treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group (tribalism).

.. As soon as we start to moralize an issue, we stop thinking about it in terms of costs and benefits, dismiss anyone that disagrees as immoral, and harshly punish those we see as villains to protect the “victims.”’

.. Stop alienating conservatives.

  • Viewpoint diversity is arguably the most important type of diversity and political orientation is one of the most fundamental and significant ways in which people view things differently.
  • In highly progressive environments, conservatives are a minority that feel like they need to stay in the closet to avoid open hostility. We should empower those with different ideologies to be able to express themselves.
  • Alienating conservatives is both non-inclusive and generally bad business because conservatives tend to be higher in conscientiousness, which is required for much of the drudgery and maintenance work characteristic of a mature company.

Have an open and honest discussion about the costs and benefits of our diversity programs.

  • .. Discriminating just to increase the representation of women in tech is as misguided and biased as mandating increases for women’s representation in the homeless, work-related and violent deaths, prisons, and school dropouts.
  • .. These programs are highly politicized which further alienates non-progressives.
  • I realize that some of our programs may be precautions against government accusations of discrimination, but that can easily backfire since they incentivize illegal discrimination.
  • De-emphasize empathy.
    • I’ve heard several calls for increased empathy on diversity issues. While I strongly support trying to understand how and why people think the way they do, relying on affective empathy—feeling another’s pain—causes us to focus on anecdotes, favor individuals similar to us, and harbor other irrational and dangerous biases. Being emotionally unengaged helps us better reason about the facts.
  • Prioritize intention.
    • Our focus on microaggressions and other unintentional transgressions increases our sensitivity, which is not universally positive: sensitivity increases both our tendency to take offence and our self censorship, leading to authoritarian policies. Speaking up without the fear of being harshly judged is central to psychological safety, but these practices can remove that safety by judging unintentional transgressions.
    • Microaggression training incorrectly and dangerously equates speech with violence and isn’t backed by evidence.
  • Reconsider making Unconscious Bias training mandatory for promo committees.
    • We haven’t been able to measure any effect of our Unconscious Bias training and it has the potential for overcorrecting or backlash, especially if made mandatory.
    • Some of the suggested methods of the current training (v2.3) are likely useful, but the political bias of the presentation is clear from the factual inaccuracies and the examples shown.

Bill Gates: The Billionaire Book Critic

Of the novel “The Rosie Project,” by Graeme Simsion, Mr. Gates wrote: “I started it myself at 11 p.m. one Saturday and stayed up with it until 3 the next morning. Anyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger’s syndrome who goes looking for a wife. (Melinda thought I would appreciate the parts where he’s a little too obsessed with optimizing his schedule. She was right.)”

Michael Burry Profiled: Bloomberg Risk Takers

“Bloomberg Risk Takers” profiles Michael Burry, the former hedge-fund manager who predicted the housing market’s plunge. He forecast that the bubble would burst as early as 2007, and he acted on his conviction by betting against subprime mortgages. The former head of Scion Capital LLC was profiled in Bloomberg columnist and bestselling author Michael Lewis’ book “The Big Short”.