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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 04:23 AM   #21
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Re: Whose truth?

The latest quote my sister sent me from her 5 y.o. son:
"People are machines that make mistakes."

He's just gotten the official dx of Aspergers's syndrome, if that wasn't apparent just from the quote. It's quite difficult to really communicate with him because he lives in his own little pedantic world where's he's the boss. This can be in turns charming -- "Hi! I'm Eris! I'm a trans-Neptunian object!"--or a nightmare. He will seriously and aggressively strangle his 3 y.o. sister because she's singing, or because she's playing a game "wrong" (rules are in his head).

Some people on Aspie forums put forth the notion that Aspies can't or don't have a tendency to lie... not due to a superior morality, but partly because they can't process the emotional affects or effects.. There is also the "theory of mind" by which you comprehend that others don't have the exact knowledge you do. Autistic kids don't have this: if you take a second kid's toy and move it/hide it somewhere else in front an Asperger kid.. and then ask him "where will Suzie look for the toy?", he'll say place B (where you hid it) rather than place A (where Suzie left it). He can't process that Suzie isn't equally omniscient as he, despite her having been out of the room when the object was moved. What HE knows, "everyone" knows (so lying, as we think of it, is pointless).

My nephew certainly has told lies when it suits him.. but through the prism of Asperger's a lot of social contact is "a lie", so they have a hard time getting around a phrase like, "Nice to meet you."

I sent Sis a translation of an incident I found on an Italian site about Asperger's:
Quote:
Matteo on Monday goes to therapy with a group of kids of his age; they went a bit over time and one mother was worried because she had to go pick up her other child at school. She rushed by Matteo saying, 'I'm leaving because my kid's getting out now..' Matteo asked her (note that this woman was thin as a rail) 'Are you pregnant?'. She: 'Why? Do I look fat?' Matteo: 'No, because you said you have a kid getting out.'"
This sounds like a joke.. but with these kids (and adults) it's serious; you have to be very careful about the language you use in order that it be comprehensible. They can't understand what it means to "laugh your head off", to "draw a conclusion", or to "be on the ball".

The "Fair Witness" quote sounds like what a lot of my old friends from a certain Northeast technical school would say. Heinlein was their god.

Quote:
I think we could all agree on that in New York City, on a cloudless day, the sun would rise in the east and set in the west.
Psst.. bssc.. The sun is neither rising nor setting. WE are spinning around the globe such that it looks that way.
See what I mean? It's easy when you know how!! (to be a pedantic PITA).

--
Quote:
Many of our discussions are about decisions already rendered, the array of intelligent sounding reasons we've assembled around those predispositions, followed by angry retorts when the air is let out of them.
Along these lines, I read once somewhere that new car ads weren't aimed at prospective buyers so much as they were designed to reinforce good vibes in existing owners of this or that brand, confirming their wise decision.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 07:23 AM   #22
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Re: Whose truth?

ladelfina. could be your nephew will learn in time to incorporate the aspergers into a fairly normal social life. maybe after a while of observing how people react to how he takes cliche literally, he'll find the humor and a way to incorporate that into his repertoire.

60 minutes tv show did a piece this week on george finn, "the brain man," a guy with savant syndrome ( http://tinyurl.com/yprgya ). one point george makes is that he was raised in a very large family & his parents were so busy that he realized early how he needed to learn socialize skills in order to survive. seemed like a really nice guy who has not only learned to deal with his so-called disability, he is thriving with it.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 07:41 AM   #23
 
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
No one would know more about hairballs getting in the way of truth than you, CFB.
We are in complete agreement on this! - reminds me of a Sales VP we hired once. He came into the company stressing being a 'team player'. This guy was the last one I'd pick for any cooperative teams instincts. I think he got dinged in a previous performance review for not being a team player and was trying to head this off at the pass.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 08:17 AM   #24
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Re: Whose truth?

LGFNB.. thanks, interesting link! The "numbers are my friends" is definitely somewhat along the lines of my nephew's thinking, except he'll say to his little sister, "You be Triton and I'll be Callisto". When she "fails" at this role-playing she gets stabbed, kicked, bitten and punched for her trouble.

I know with time he'll be able to work out some strategies to compensate for not seeing things the way everyone else does, but it will be a long and painful road.. (probably more for his family than for him, actually).

--
I just brought the whole thing up because it's forced the whole family to reconsider what is real/unreal.. true/untrue.

You can't convince my nephew that the piece of toast with a natural hole in it is "the same" as the next piece. The milk in the red cup is not "the same" as the milk in the blue cup. His food "tastes different" if someone is sitting next to him or not. His perceptions are frustrating, unpredictable, incomprehensible. Imagine a day in which EVERY SINGLE object or person you interact with has to undergo this kind of (apparently arbitrary) scrutiny and verification in fifteen or twenty dimensions rather than just the two or three we normally employ.. and is therefore constantly found lacking/unacceptable to the point where you can't handle it. Much less interpreting people, he even has a hard time interpreting the "static" known world. We take all this for granted!
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 09:19 AM   #25
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
I just brought the whole thing up because it's forced the whole family to reconsider what is real/unreal.. true/untrue...The milk in the red cup is not "the same" as the milk in the blue cup. His food "tastes different" if someone is sitting next to him or not.
i have no doubt by your desciption that it gets pretty intense, at least now, but it is not too unlike my "normal" mother who couldn't enjoy her sun tanning if i was nearby wearing a sweater or my niece who somehow finds and cuts off the crust from a slab of matzah.

we can be born with advantage that plays against us, or we might be faced with challenges growing up which at first seem like a fault but later, if integrated into the self in a healthy way, can be a beneficial attribute. so often, as noted, it depends on how you look at it.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 09:23 AM   #26
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina

You can't convince my nephew that the piece of toast with a natural hole in it is "the same" as the next piece. The milk in the red cup is not "the same" as the milk in the blue cup. His food "tastes different" if someone is sitting next to him or not. His perceptions are frustrating, unpredictable, incomprehensible. Imagine a day in which EVERY SINGLE object or person you interact with has to undergo this kind of (apparently arbitrary) scrutiny and verification in fifteen or twenty dimensions rather than just the two or three we normally employ.. and is therefore constantly found lacking/unacceptable to the point where you can't handle it. Much less interpreting people, he even has a hard time interpreting the "static" known world. We take all this for granted!
While we may note that "hairballs" and processing new info based on old beliefs can lead to some faulty conclusions, it is important to recognize that the assimilation of info our brain performs is tremendously complex and works amazingly well virtually all the time. We notice the exceptions to the rule, but if we were all reduced to re-investigating everything without benefit of the prior framework we've constructed, we'd be unable to function. I'll keep my hairballs, thank you very much. Just like any tool, it's good to know a little about it works, what it does well, and when it might let you down.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 10:38 AM   #27
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Re: Whose truth?

great thread....how about putting a group together to study it further...
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 11:03 AM   #28
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
LGFNB.. thanks, interesting link! The "numbers are my friends" is definitely somewhat along the lines of my nephew's thinking, except he'll say to his little sister, "You be Triton and I'll be Callisto". When she "fails" at this role-playing she gets stabbed, kicked, bitten and punched for her trouble.

I know with time he'll be able to work out some strategies to compensate for not seeing things the way everyone else does, but it will be a long and painful road.. (probably more for his family than for him, actually).

--
I just brought the whole thing up because it's forced the whole family to reconsider what is real/unreal.. true/untrue.

You can't convince my nephew that the piece of toast with a natural hole in it is "the same" as the next piece. The milk in the red cup is not "the same" as the milk in the blue cup. His food "tastes different" if someone is sitting next to him or not. His perceptions are frustrating, unpredictable, incomprehensible. Imagine a day in which EVERY SINGLE object or person you interact with has to undergo this kind of (apparently arbitrary) scrutiny and verification in fifteen or twenty dimensions rather than just the two or three we normally employ.. and is therefore constantly found lacking/unacceptable to the point where you can't handle it. Much less interpreting people, he even has a hard time interpreting the "static" known world. We take all this for granted!
My family has members with autism spectrum disorders, including asperger's, so I know what you are talking about. The literalism can be hard to deal with.

One of my sisters has a nephew that is autistic. My sister and I look much alike. He calls my sister Auntie Ruth. He calls me Aunti Same. But if you give him mashed potatoes (which he loves) on the wrong plate, it is not the same and they taste terrible.

Depending on the degree of Asperger's he may have a very hard time or may adapt to one degree or another. I am not in the camp that either can be cured.

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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 01:21 PM   #29
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
Psst.. bssc.. The sun is neither rising nor setting. WE are spinning around the globe such that it looks that way.
See what I mean? It's easy when you know how!! (to be a pedantic PITA).
Hah, everyone knows that the world is flat and that it moves through space on the back of four elephants that stand on the back of a giant space turtle. Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 01:35 PM   #30
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bssc
Hah, everyone knows that the world is flat and that it moves through space on the back of four elephants that stand on the back of a giant space turtle. Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.
I would like to take up the hobby of breeding space turtles. Does anyone have any information on this?
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 01:46 PM   #31
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Re: Whose truth?

bssc:

Quote:
the assimilation of info our brain performs is tremendously complex and works amazingly well virtually all the time.
samclem: Absolutely! I'm always amazed at how FEW people are "insane" or mentally handicapped, given the amount of physical bumps, scrapes, and outright handicaps most people face to some degree at one point or another. Our brains are really the most resilient of body parts, yet in some ways the most fragile.

The aspect of religions and other ideologies that supply people with notions about the universe (like the world being supported by a giant turtle) is interesting, because it shows up 2 basic needs: one, to think like others around us, not just to "go along" (which is comfortable) but to be able to function within that world view (which is practical). Two, the need to find creative meaning in ALL our thoughts, ideas, and opinions, which "meaning" doesn't exist in an aseptic world devoid of myth, religion, or politics.

Sgeee.. first you buy a very, very, very large terrarium... say 100k or 200k miles in diameter.. then put in a bunch of lettuce.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 02:34 PM   #32
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgeeeee
I would like to take up the hobby of breeding space turtles. Does anyone have any information on this?
I am sure that there is someone at the Unseen University who could help you. They are much better than alcapas. Maybe you could start with a fifth elephant.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 02:56 PM   #33
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Re: Whose truth?

Human beings build mental models of the world so that they can predict what will happen, then act. We can't help it. What models are available to us are (mostly) socially constructed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
when asked what color is the house, a fair witness will only reply that the house is white on this side, making no presumption about sides not witnessed.
Even "white" is a perceptual construct -- so the Fair Witness in Heinlein's book is actually wrong about what she sees, even though she is trained never to be wrong. Except in very low light, our "white" receptors are off -- our retinas have 3 types color receptors and our brain visual system learns (at a very early age) to manufacture color perception from their combined signal.

"White" itself seems to be a universal human construction. But other color perceptions are not -- societies differ in what distinct input objective spectral combinations are considered perceptibly different colors. Hard to believe, but true.

In the OP's "convenience store stickup" example, the subjects each constructed a model of what happened, based on their different actual inputs and their different pre-conceptions of what was likely to have happened. Then in discussing it and thinking it over, these models were refined. When asked about the events, people queried their models, not their non-existent "brain videotapes". Since they probably only saw fragments of what happened, and weren't paying close attention, their models were mostly built from social and personal experiences, not evidence.

Autistic people seem to perceive things differently. At least partly due to different "wiring" in the brain. It is hard to believe that other people don't actually see the same thing you see when you look at the same object. But this can be true, and is probably more common than we think.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 03:18 PM   #34
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Re: Whose truth?

I always wondered as a kid whether others saw colors the same way I do. My blue could be your green and we would never know, because every time you saw something reflecting that portion of the spectrum, we'd both say, " that's blue!" "yep!". We see things exactly as we see them, then society, language, culture etc. gives them labels to make it possible to communicate, perhaps this causes a narrowing in concious, who knows? Our ability to communicate and cooperate is a huge asset, but we are like signal lamps in the fog. No one really knows another's mind, do they?
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 03:47 PM   #35
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
My blue could be your green and we would never know
Oh, that explains why your tie always clashes and why you picked that green carpet.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 03:54 PM   #36
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Re: Whose truth?

I wonder how space turtle cheese compares to the beaver varieties... :P
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 04:17 PM   #37
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bssc
Hah, everyone knows that the world is flat and that it moves through space on the back of four elephants that stand on the back of a giant space turtle. Anyone who says otherwise is not telling the truth.
Yes, but remember, no one knows what the turtle stands on.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 04:17 PM   #38
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Laurence
I always wondered as a kid whether others saw colors the same way I do. My blue could be your green and we would never know, because every time you saw something reflecting that portion of the spectrum, we'd both say, " that's blue!" "yep!".
Color perception is frequently used as an example by philosophers and cognitive scientists to explain why subjective experience is impossible to share.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 04:26 PM   #39
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers
Yes, but remember, no one knows what the turtle stands on.
It's turtles all the way down.
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Re: Whose truth?
Old 01-30-2007, 04:40 PM   #40
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Re: Whose truth?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Khan
It's turtles all the way down.
That's silly. Everyone knows that space turtles can fly.
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