Difference and being authentic
Difference is from my point of view, more subjective than objective. As an adult Ive tended to be open minded, but less so in my younger years, I feel this experience gives me a broader perspective, an ability to relate to a range of peoples situations.
Being honest with myself is a journey I started in my twenties, it is at times a difficult process, as not all truths are easily identified when assessing oneself.
A question I have been pondering is: are we capable of standing outside of ourselves as a non biased observer and give accurate self feedback?
Provisionally, I think that is a skill that would take years to practice and would still be open to corruption.
Within the autism community, though we have much in common with a shared interest, there are naturally different experiences that have shaped our interpretations and responses to situations, some chosen by us with agency and some of those interpretations and responses have been conditioned by our social circles.
John Donne coined the term ‘No man is an island’, we are all connected, we exist as social beings and in my case at least our childhoods are shaped by our environments, the people within the social systems, it is their interpretations and responses we take on board as normal. We can in essence inherit our perspectives.
How can a person ensure that their perspective is authentically their own, is it possible?
In my opinion, no one can actually do this, regardless of neurology. Some people can be more objective than others and it's a skill that can be cultivated. You can detach yourself from your own emotions, feelings and desires, but you cannot completely detach yourself from your own thoughts and they will be, at least in part, subjective.
And the feedback we give others and others give us is also biased, but I think accuracy is something that can be cultivated. Or am I being too literal about what you mean here?
Some people have flashes of lucidity, but they are usually very painful and more oriented towards the outside (the world), than the inside (the self). And as I'm writing, it also occurred to me that what we consider "lucidity" in others is probably also biased
I understand and agree. But this can be changed, even dramatically so. Significant changes in environment, cultural point of reference, social/family circle, and the way we think can do this. It's still not really "objective", just different, sometimes very, very different. But it's my experience that we can "re-wire" even our cultural and childhood conditioning to a great extent.
Now that is a big question, a philosophical one. I don't know, there are a lot of theories to choose from and these days I'm thinking more and more that we choose to believe what we want to.
This is my objective: objectivity
I had a whole line of thought on this about a decade ago that I’m going to attempt to dredge up from the depths...
Ok, so: after some rather hair-raising experiences involving too much Nietzsche, too many books on alchemy and way too much skunk for over a year: I ended up visualising the essence of individuality as an absence circled by pure animal urges.
(This was terrifying at the time: I sat still in the same position for twelve hours convinced I had to think my way through it to not go completely insane).
It occurred to me that the acculturation process is:
a) ongoing throughout life.
b) subject to choice as adult awareness develops.
c) therefore can be self-directed to an extent.
d) is different for every single human being (in that the exact same interaction of neurology, and experience and influence can never be repeated)
e) is the very process by which personality come to be.
So: my provisional conclusion was (and is) that there is no conflict between authenticity and acculturation: without the second there would be no personal subjectivity to be authentic to, and the uniqueness is forged by living life... not some inner truth that precedes the living of life.
Hope that makes sense on it’s terms, even if you think I’m blathering nonsense (always possible)
We have to acknowledge that "total objectivity" is a Utopian notion.
Sort of like knowing the "meaning of life," or finding "the ultimate Truth."
However......I seriously believe in seeking to achieve as much objectivity as possible in all my interactions with everything.
Thank you Bender you aren't being too literal.
Accuracy can be cultivated, but there will always be bias in our perspectives, in ourselves and in others.
Oh yes it is possible to re-wire unhelpful conditioning, things we accept as truth about ourselves seem less accurate when a person gains a new perspective, through experiences or just the passage of time...
What is true about me now is different to 5 years ago, change is a constant we are guaranteed in life.
I might save that question for the philosophy section, or a variation of it... can a person be aware of their own bias, enough to have personal agency.
To be well in ourselves there are 2 basic needs, attachment and authenticity, both are areas that people on the Autism spectrum anecdotally seem to experience extra challenges.
It made sense, I had to read a few times so just to check that I understood correctly.. Individuality is a vacant space between our basic urges?
Its shaped throughout life, with self awareness bringing a unique element of self directed choice and all this culminating with active and ongoing personality formation?
If we didn't live through acculturation we wouldn't be authentic ...
Hmm it is, even the self aware individual cant truly be objective in their perspective, of themselves and of others.
That’s the essence of what I was going for... at the time it was more elaborate in both the thought and the language: but I haven’t focussed on the issue since then, and never got round to writing it down at the time...
I don't think it's possible to be entirely unbiased, but that it is feasible to learn to detach yourself from your personal feelings about things and look at your behaviours/thoughts/etc. in the view of how you'd see someone else. That would still have bias because you can only really know how you view other people, but it's still more useful than basing everything off of how you view yourself. This is actually how I developed more self awareness.
If you mean "authentically their own" as in "without being influenced by other people", I don't think that's really possible. You can try to isolate your views and thoughts from the people around you, but the way you grew up, the people you associate with, etc. will always have an affect on how you handle and view things. Even if the people you currently associate with are very, very close to you thought-wise they will still have differences in their childhood and the people around them, which affects them and may eventually affect you.
Agreed. Hmm this leads onto another thought, thanks Hylian...
Perhaps its possible through self awareness to have a consciously self-constructed perspective, seeking feedback from those who know you well...
I sense this links back in with Benders point about people believing what they want to believe, if the person is self aware and receptive to constructive feedback it could work out well, their perspective could be generally reliable; but if a person believes they are self aware without the need to seek an honest outside perspective to measure their own perspective against, it could be a life lived as a servant to the unconscious mind.
I may have to revisit this topic again, I've tied myself in knots thinking about authenticity and well-being.
I think self-analysis is difficult for anyone because we all have a cognitive bias.
That we are are able to think about such cognitive bias and be aware of it goes some way to looking at things from the outside. Some people can't even do that, and over estimate how perceptive they are.
I also think there are a number of myths based around the whole notion of empathic thinking and Theory of Mind, that might incorrectly lead to the conclusion were are unable to do this analysis.
If anything. inherent behaviour can be a disadvantage because that is not the same as thinking about it. It is a reaction. Their rationalisation of their behaviour could be counter to the actual biological mechanism at play.
If something else is happening their incorrect rationalisation of that process can serve another social purpose, as a meme. Although they don't have theoretical understanding, it isn't necessarily a disadvantage to them.
However a better analysis of the process can help someone on the spectrum chose how they interact with them, rather than to try an emulate their inherent behaviour, with the whole issue of cognitive delay of what isn't an inherent behaviour.
If you think of the stereotype of the autist who talks in the third person. Well what is that if not someone who perceives themselves in that way? Ok sure they may not be perceptive about in how that person fits in with society but in other ways they can be extraordinary perspective about the world around them.
I have been able to adapt my analytical skills to study human behaviour quite effectively. Even the person that lead my assessment commented on that.
I class myself as hyper-analytical. This comes with a cost, it is expensive in term of my mental resources, so I have to ration it.
What has helped figure out what actually matters a an a appreciating of relativism.
You may not know everything, but you can focus on your strengths, and figure out how achieve the things we wish to, tackling internal factors as the arise.
Sometimes the idea that there is somethign in our psyche preventing reasonable goals is the complex itself Sometimes the initial limitation is no longer relevant. It becomes a fundamental belief.
Overestimating one's abilities isn't all bad.