As a person with Asperger’s, I am told, by way of internet research and social reactions from others, that I “suffer” from an inability to read social cues and understand unwritten social rules. However, as I contemplate my inability to “get along” in society, I question who made up these rules? The short answer is that majority always rules. So we have a contrast between what is ethical communication and what the larger populace deems worthy of social communication.
For instance, I have had several conversations with people about proper etiquette when communicating with others in a social situation. With today’s technology, specifically cell phones, it is now very common for people to communicate with each other face to face, while texting on their phones. This is common place in modern day America. When I ask someone for undivided attention, and to not text (have another conversation) while I am talking to them, I get the sense they are looking at me like a four eyed monster. I am called “rigid” in my ways.
Before I knew I had Asperger’s, for the sake of getting along with people, I researched how to have good communication. They specifically stated that eye contact and being present in a conversation is ethical and shows the person you care about what they are saying.
I find that having Asperger’s draws special attention to this since we are the ones who some how are clinically classified as having poor communication/social skills. At least for me, I beg to differ and will even go as far to say that maybe Asperger’s is a cry in our communities to develop better communication between all people. Less judging ‘books by their covers’ and more engagement and curiosity about who you are speaking to. What is life without other people? Lonely.
Below is an excerpt from a book I am reading in my Ethics class. Copyright 1951. It seems from a philosophical stand point, communication has been the disconnect in human interaction for quite some time. And there are many of us begging for a different sort of majority to rule on better communication between people.
I have a long road ahead of me as I realize the word Asperger’s strikes everybody differently. It is difficult to understand, and from what I have heard from others, there is little understanding about it, and many choose not to even try for the sake of humanity, community, and peace. Now days they have a good excuse. We are all burdened by our trials and the fast pace of life. However, if we do not start trying to know each other more deeply, we are only going to be faced with more disconnect, more strife, more isolation, ever burying ourselves in our computers, TVs and text messages. I hope those of us that really see this, start becoming more efficient leaders.
However, the reality is, “with great knowledge comes great responsibility.” Many have the great knowledge, but few want to understand their responsibility with that knowledge. Hopefully we can become more supportive with one another making it easier as we bear this great burden together.
Here is the excerpt from Karl Jasper’s Way to Wisdom, An Introduction to Philosophy, pg. 25-27:
“In all past history there was a self-evident bond between man and man, in stable communities, in institutions, and in universal ideas. Even the isolated individual was in a sense sustained in his isolation. The most visible sign of today’s disintegration is that more and more men do not understand one another, that they meet and scatter, that they are indifferent to one another, that there is no longer any reliable community or loyalty.
Today a universal situation that has always existed in fact assumes crucial importance: That I can, and cannot, become one with the Other in truth; that my faith, precisely when I am certain, clashes with other men’s faith; that there is always somewhere a limit beyond which there appears to be nothing but battle without hope of unity, ending inevitably in subjugation or annihilation; that softness and complaisance [sic] cause men without faith either to band blindly together or stubbornly to attack one another.
All this is not incidental or unimportant. It might be, if there were a truth that might satisfy me in my isolation. I should not suffer so deeply from lack of communication or find such unique pleasure in authentic communication if I for myself, in absolute solitude, could be certain of the truth. But I am only in conjunction with the Other, alone I am nothing.
Communication from understanding to understanding, from mind to mind, and also from existence to existence, is only a medium for impersonal meanings and values. Defence [sic] and attack then become means not by which men gain power but by which they approach one another. The contest is a loving contest in which each man surrenders his weapons to the other. The certainty of authentic being resides only in unreserved communication between men who live together and vie with one another in a free community, who regard their association with one another as but a preliminary stage, who take nothing for granted and question everything. Only in communication is all other truth fulfilled, only in communication am I myself not merely living but fulfilling life. God manifests Himself only indirectly, and only through man’s love of man; compelling certainty is particular and relative, subordinated to the Whole. The Stoical attitude is in face empty and rigid.
The basic philosophical attitude of which I am speaking is rooted in distress at the absence of communication, and in the possibility of the loving contest which profoundly unites self and self.
And this philosophical endeavour [sic] is at the same time rooted in the three philosophical experiences we have mentioned, which must all be considered in the light of their meaning, whether favourable [sic] or hostile, for communication from man to man.
And so we may say that wonder, doubt, the experience of ultimate situations, are indeed sources of philosophy, but the ultimate source is the will to authentic communication, which embraces all the rest. This becomes apparent at the very outset, for does not all philosophy strive for communication, express itself, demand a hearing? And is not its very essence communicability, which is in turn inseparable from truth?
Communication then is the aim of philosophy, and in communication all its other aims are ultimately rooted: awareness of being, illumination through love, attainment of peace.”