tales by the unexpected

My story, my tales, my life

Pagina 2 van 14

Hello boy. (a letter to my future child)

 

Hello,

I know you had a hard day. School is hard. Trying to fit in is hard. I know how you feel.

Getting up on time. Remembering to dress properly. Don’t forget your lunch, your backpack. Have you made your homework? Could you do your homework? Did we help you? Did you need help?

I know it’s hard. I know how you feel.

Recess. The loud noises. Everybody running around doing things. You might be sitting alone. Or walking around alone. Thinking about things. Ruminating. You have tried making friends. But it is hard. Fitting in is hard. I know how you feel.

You grow up. Other school. Different teachers every hour. You have more pressure to fit in. Puberty. The loud noises of before are still there. Maybe a few friends. Maybe not. Mocked for who you are, your clothes, the things that make you different. Your cellphone is out of date. Anything can make them not like you. Trying to fit in is hard. I know how you feel.

I know that you feel insecure. I know that you doubt anything about you. Even your diagnose. Is having it even a good idea? Why does society hate you? Why do they hate people that are different?

Put this between your ears and keep it there. What if you were dancing naked. Naked. And having fun. For no apparant reason. What would people say? What reason would they make up? Why do you do it? Only one person will know for sure. You. The sooner you learn that only your opinion matters on anything about you, the better.

The sooner you learn that everything: which cellphone, the way you dress, the way you do your hair. Anything about your appearance is only for you to criticise and judge, the better. The sooner you learn that the way you look is ok. The way you behave is ok. The way you are is ok. The better.

I would let you read psychology, so you understand the people around you better. Why they do things. Tested in lab enviroments. Thanks to hours of observation. It might give you an idea how they operate.

I would also strenghten your analytical powers. I would teach you about philosophy. Stoicism. How to survive in a world not build for you.

And only you matter. What people think about you, is their opinion. You are what matters. You are you. No two alike. I would teach you that people are obsessed with perfection and don’t see the long term concequences of their actions. They think perfect is ok, but they don’t see that it is an imaginary construct, put their to keep them distracted. There is no perfect. If you try to define perfect then it falls apart like a Fata Morgana when you go close up to it. Forever out of your reach.

You are good as you are. The most valuable thing you can give yourself is knowledge. Knowledge about the world. About the things around you. The only thing you need to develop and nourish, is curiousity. Never let them take that away from you. Be curious about anything. It will lead you far. It will make the journey more interesting.

The gospel of Judith Newman

 

I didn’t realize until today, that I actually must thank Judith Newman. It seems weird. This woman has written the most ableist book of the last year, has actively helped suppress autistic voices in regards of her review. Has spread false claims that have further suppressed our voice, has actively set up a boycott of autistic voices on Amazon (with the help of an Amazon employee) and thanks to her, no media attention has been given to this.

So why, oh why, must I thank her? And why have I baptised this article “her gospel”. This is the gospel of a white woman (although jewish, but not the suppressed jewish kind). This is the gospel that show that anybody with the right connections will use it to suppress minorities, claim false things to further their message and will actively keep doing what they do.

She stopped calling herself “autistic very friendly” on her twitter header, and this is rightly so. In the last few months we have seen her true face. We have seen a woman so powerhungry that she will reach out to friends in places that help her fight (yes, fight!) against minorities, a minority she addresses in her book, a minority she gave a home in her own home and which she treats so badly it is almost a wonder that she still bears the title of mother.

This episode in my life with that book, showed me that there is still a lot of work to do for autistics, to be accepted, to be seen as truly human, to be seen as credible, to be accepted, just everything.

This episode also showed me that no review on Amazon can be trusted anymore, because it can be manipulated on the inside. I will still read. I will probably still buy Kindle e-books (because of convenience and cheapness (yes, I am money concious). But I will never trust Amazon fully anymore.

What it has also showed me is that there are a lot of autistics that will stick together to further their cause. I have met a lot of great autistics, and for this, I can’t thank Judith Newman enough. We have become more closely knitt together.

Something has come out of this that can never be broken down anymore. We are becoming stronger together, and this can’t be undone by one book. Ever.

This book has setup a movement that won’t stop until autistics everywhere are treated with dignity and respect. That won’t stop until we are seen as fully human and respected by everybody for what we are capable off.

I can only thank Judith for this, because she has shown me, thanks to her book, how naive I had been in the past. I am not so anymore.

Book review: Our final invention by James Barrat

 

I read the book: Our final invention by James Barrat. It discusses AI and if it will be the final thing we do. The book was published in october 2013. Although it is a few years old, the discussion in it and the points made are still relevant up until this day.

James Barat is a documentary maker, public speaker and writer. He has worked for National Geographic previous to writing this book. His book was named one of the definitive tech books of 2013. So let’s find out if this title is deserved.

A summary of the book (as written on Amazon):

“Artificial Intelligence helps choose what books you buy, what movies you see, and even who you date. It puts the “smart” in your smartphone and soon it will drive your car. It makes most of the trades on Wall Street, and controls vital energy, water, and transportation infrastructure. But Artificial Intelligence can also threaten our existence.

In as little as a decade, AI could match and then surpass human intelligence. Corporations and government agencies are pouring billions into achieving AI’s Holy Grail—human-level intelligence. Once AI has attained it, scientists argue, it will have survival drives much like our own. We may be forced to compete with a rival more cunning, more powerful, and more alien than we can imagine.
Through profiles of tech visionaries, industry watchdogs, and groundbreaking AI systems, Our Final Invention explores the perils of the heedless pursuit of advanced AI. Until now, human intelligence has had no rival. Can we coexist with beings whose intelligence dwarfs our own? And will they allow us to?”

The writing style of the book is formal, but not done overly. A reader with normal comprehension of English will not constantly be grabbing for his dictionary. What I liked is that no previous knowledge about AI is necesarry as everything relevant is explained in the book. It really guides you through and helps you understand everything necessary to understand the discussion that is happening in the book. Although the book deals with a hefty subject, that of AI, it really is a pleasant read.

People that are interested in technology will gain most of this book. Philosophers and people interested in advancements in society will pick up this book as it is a great read to see what the future will bring. I don’t think it markets to a specific audience. This book is accessible for everybody even slightly interested in the subject as they will get sucked into the discussion almost immediatly. The writer has a very pleasant writing style and a very clear way in making difficult matters understandable. I had no previous knowledge of AI and gained a lot of new tidbits to think about and play with in my mind.

To be honest, this is my first book on the subject, and it sets the bar high for other books on the subject. If all books were explained this clearly, then it would be fun to read. This book explains the dangers and advantages of AI. It explains what the future might bring and the things to look out for in the future. It details the past of AI and what the future might bring and brings different points of view on that future. Some might be gloomy and dystopian, others are kinder. All give us a warning though.

The book focuses this one question: “Will developing AI possess any danger in the future?” It answers this clearly through pitting different points of view against eachother, which gives a clear image of the thinkers in this area and will help you make up your mind on the subject.The book is not so dense to include every single detail of AI and all it’s history, but it gives you enough. It gives you the barebones so you can make an informed opinion on the matter. It really strikes a balance between to little and to much information. The information provided on the subject of AI is enough.

To really propose his argument he uses case examples, he interviews leading researchers and theorists and developers of AI, which, as stated before, gives you a multi-layered perspective of AI and the possible dangers, also the possible advantages. The evidence is based on theories, off course, as we don’t live in that future yet. So it is speculative, but enough information is given to support his point of view and that of other researchers, which helps you learn more and have an informed opinion. Other books might supplement the subject matter, but if you only must read one book on the subject, this will do.

A plus point that I found in the book is a quote I marked in my digital copy, (which can also be applied to autism, and explains phenomenology was this one):

“But consider concepts such as bright, sweet, hard, and sharp. How would an AI know what these perceptions meant, or build upon them to create concepts, if it had no body? Wouldn’t there be a barrier to its becoming intelligent at a human level if it didn’t have senses? To this question Granger said, “Was Helen Keller less human than you? Is a quadriplegic? Can’t we envision a very differently abled intelligence that has vision, and touch sensors, and microphones to hear with? It will surely have somewhat different ideas of bright, sweet, hard, sharp—but it’s very likely that many, many humans, with different taste buds, perhaps disabilities, different cultures, different environments, already have highly varied versions of these concepts.”

As you might have noticed, I recommend this book highly. You can get a copy through my affiliate link here.

How it feels: Stimming

There are 2 kinds of stimming. Physical stimming and verbal stimming. Both are best explained by Amythest Schaber from the “ask an autistic”- series.

Verbal stimming:

Physical stimming:

Both are awesome videos that explain a lot of stims and that helped me realize that I did it too. My stims are even masked, which is why I myself didn’t even notice them at first.

I have the tapping leg stim, which I had most of my life. I can’t sit still! (it’s fun to be ADHD!), I also have vocal stims, especially when I’m gaming. I do voices, I try to beatbox (I try. I can’t, but I try.) I can do the sound-effects from old Kung Fu movies, which I often do (especially when I am playing a fighting game).

The stim I didn’t notice at first, is mine with a deck of cards. I am a magician, so me having a deck of cards in my hands, is not unusual. I noticed this when I was in the psychiatric ward for my suicide attempt. I noticed on days that I had a relapse of suicidal thoughts, I needed my deck in my hands. I couldn’t walk around without that deck (I mostly do one-handed-cuts, do some repetitive sleights or shuffle it in different manners, some even one-handed).

it brought me a kind of focus. The same with fidget spinners. Mine broke (I dropped it to much), but it gave me something to focus on. It helps me to feel focused.

When I had my 2 days of bowel attacks in 2008, I had anxiety attacks when I left the house (still do… some days are worse than others. I have a form of agoraphobia). I couldn’t leave the house and had to relearn to take the bus without having anxiety attacks. I developed my own system, which I am going to write down here, because it might help other people.

First trips, I put in an ipod and took a book (so I couldn’t see or hear where I was) I developed a habit of stopping to read and looking around, so I could guestimate where I was, so I could calculate in my head how look it would take. The ipod and book gave me enough distraction so I couldn’t hear where I was and could only focus on staying in that moment. The music was more a distraction than really for listening. The book was to keep my mind occupied (I have adhd so this is a big task). I still have a habit of taking my phone or tablet with me, with my complete Kindle library.

Later trips, when I felt more confident, I only used the book. On even later trips, I could put the book down and “enjoy” the trip on the bus. I also noticed, that when I had a bowel attack on the bus (which does happen) I could calculate (because I have a visual memory and can visualize the whole trip), that if I can hold it for long enough that I will always find a stop where I can go to the toilet. These points became my focus points and my deliberate points where I would stay longer in case of doubt.

Usually when I went out, it was all or nothing. When I doubted at the first stop, I wouldn’t go any further. But in later trips I decided to take the bus and if my anxiety level rose up to a point that I couldn’t take it anymore, I would get off at a point that I felt more comfortable.

I don’t stim on the bus, but I use books as a way to calm me and keep my mind occupied. Music helps too, if I don’t know anybody on the bus. Sometimes (although rare) I will take with fellow passengers that seem interesting, or have an interesting feature that I can comment on and in this way strike up a conversation. This has helped me to get to know a lot of interesting single serving friends (term from fight club that is appropriate here).

Stimming is mostly something I do at home. I do rock when I am in the supermarket, but this is when I reach my level of comfort on the brink of becoming uncomfortable. This is also a time when my speech becomes less sophisticated and I might begin to grunt instead of using words.

I have explained the stims. The feeling it gives me, is one of focus. I mostly stim to help my thoughts. I usually also, when I am really, really overwhelmed, on nightly walks (less people and can speak to myself on those (out loud)). This helps me to straighten my thoughts out and I will become more clearheaded. Baths help with this too (but we have a shower). Stimming is not something I do deliberately. It happens. It’s not something that I conciously control. Sometimes I notice after I have started stimming that I am stimming.

To be honest, I have masked for so long, that I am now discovering stimming and the ways that are great for stimming. I might make a post in the future of new stims I have discovered in the mean time, but now you know why and how I stim, at this moment.

Black mirror: a new blog-series

For those of you who haven’t seen black mirror yet, you should. This series on my blog will talk about the profound ideas in the series and talk about what are the implications of that kind of future and how we are going there, as some of the things in Black Mirror have become real. Some of the ideas have happened and had implications for that person.

I will talk abouthe philosophy from the series and what ideas influenced it. I will also add my personal opinion in these pieces, so they will be a combination of subjective and rational.

There will be spoilers in this blog serie, so beware if you haven’t watched the series yet, and if you haven’t yet, but are reading these blog articles I hope this blog inspires you enough so you will start to watch this anthalogy, as it is a great watch for those of us that like their entertainment with a bit of though-provocing.

Theory: Autistic learning

I have been working on a theory on how people learn for a while now. I have been fascinated by the process, ever since I read about it first. To me, the logic behind the standard IQ test is baffling as if we all live on a one line. This is why I love the spectrum idea of autism: All autistics are autistics, but we have all difficulties in other areas and some very similar to eachother. Essentially our brains work the same and yet so different.

Explaining learning fascinates me, because so many have tried, and nobody has completely succeeded so far. I have a book about it that I still need to finish, but up until then, will this be my thoughts on the matter.

There are the 4 stages of competence that are of interest. These stages have been attributed to Abraham Maslow although they don’t appear in any of his major works.

Unconcious Incompetence

This is the stage that you don’t know that you don’t know something. You can have accomplished a part of a certain task, but you don’t know that you don’t know that much about it. For example: you know the toilet, you use it everyday. Now explain it to me. How does it work. What happens when you push the button to flush. (I myself can’t do it, but this goes neatly over to the following phase).

Concious incompetence

I now made you aware that you know a toilet, but can’t explain it to me. This made you concious of the fact that you don’t know. Concious incompetence is exactly this. You have read about a subject, you have the gist of it, but you know now that there is a lot you don’t know yet. You still need to learn a lot more. For example: When you start to program. You have learned about the different programming languages and you know about a compiler and some other basic stuff, but you don’t know the syntax of the language yet. Back to the toilet: you know how it flushes, but you don’t know the forces at work or how it does things. You can also go so far as to want to learn the history of the toilet and become a master of the subject.

Concious competence

You can program now, but you still need to think and reason your way through. (this analogy is going to bite me in the ass, as all programmers need to reason to some degree). Let’s use a spoon as a reference then. We have all learned to eat with utensils at some point. So to go through the stages as a recap: Unconcious competence: You don’t know there is a spoon and slurp your soup (or try to eat it with your hands. Concious incompetence: You now know what a spoon is, but you are still learning to use it. You are being fed. You observe the people around you how they use their spoons and probably are fascinated by it. You follow their spoons with your eyes. Concious competence is what this toddler demonstrates. I like to teach by visual material, so this is the perfect video. He knows what a spoon is, he knows how to use it, but doing so requires great concentration. He is still slow at it.

Unconcious competence

To use the spoon example again: you can eat anything with a spoon without spilling (I still can’t. I think this is a family trait.) You have mastered eating with a spoon.

During my explanation of the stages of competence I have also explained another theory, not by skinner, but another. Skinner is the one where ABA is based of off. A very old theory, on which even modern ABA, thanks to Lovaas is still based.

I just learned that Albert Bandura’s theory of social learning is a direct result of a criticism offered by Noam Chomsky. His criticism is that  Skinner’s theory doesn’t explain how language is learned, which is not learned purely by stimulus-response.

The Skinner theory works like this: Stimulus and response. You prompt the subject with something and the subject will do something. You can see already why this is lacking. Bandura’s theory is different: There is input. There is a thought process (or mediational process) and there is a response or behaviour. According to Bandura there are 4 mediational processes: Attention, Retention, Reproduction and Motivation. You can read more here.

Skinner’s theory is purely based on behaviour. Bandura’s theory explains how humans learn better and if you take Wendy Lawson’s theory in consideration (explained in “the passionate mind: how autistics learn”) then this could explain why autistics learn slower.

Wendy’s theory is that autistics can only do one thing at a time. For example: from my own experience, I read. And I only read at that moment. I put on music, but don’t tell me what song I’m listening to, because I won’t know. This is why during reading, I mostly play electronic music that is very dull sounding and has no lyrics, because once I become concious of the lyrics, I can’t read anymore. (Classical music works perfectly for this too). To go further in our social learning theory. Retention is also an unconcious thing, but requires time. This is why mostly after reading, I have to do something that takes my mind of the reading. Mostly reflecting or doing something completely different (especially if I have been reading non-fiction. With fiction I can do things much faster). The fun thing with fiction is, depending on how it is written, I can make images and I can read more books through eachother and can pick up any of them, because I have these images of what happened before. This is why lord of the rings is so difficult for me to read, as it centers more on which language is used instead of creating images. A writer therefore is a painter with words.

If you now know that there are 4 mental stages required before you can output anything (verbally or by behaviour) you now know why autistics learn slower, and why using ABA on autistics is harmful and can damage their self-perception. I speak for myself at the moment and I notice that I can only do one thing. Like pay attention to this or listen to the music in the background, I can’t do both. Another example: I can watch a tv series and eat at the same time, but I will have to rewatch the episode again if I want to know what was being said, as I can’t do these things at the same time.

Another example: during my trainee period (and this is something I have learned now is what more autistics do) is when I got verbal instructions on how something worked, I wrote them down, in steps. So I had the instructions printed, so I could refer to them over and over again, and made notes where I forgot something (in another color) so the most times I had to ask something was 3 or 4, depending on where I forgot something. But after I know the process and it is written down properly, I can work in peace and don’t need any instructions anymore. The fun thing is, is that once I have memorized them, I can come back years after, and if you still work with the same processess, I can begon working in your company immediatly without any further instructions. I will still have them memorized.

Autistic learning is different in the sense that 1. We need more time to process between steps and 2. We can only do one thing at a time. So transitioning between things is difficult for us because we are still processing the thing. Maybe this is why we have such difficulty with change. Change means that we have to learn something completely again. Starting from scratch.

I hope this article has been informative, as this is just my opinion (based on science i’ve read, but this hasn’t been objectively tested. I would love to know opinions of professsionals on this though).

school as an autistic: kindergarten

It might seem strange to some, that I can remember a moment that happened almost 28 years ago so clearly. The last time I tried to write about my childhood, it came all rambling (pre-rilatin), so this is a new attempt at writing about my schooling.

I have two elder sisters and one of them went to the school in my town. I wanted to go with her. I was bored at home. I wanted to learn. I wanted to be with her. I already started to ask myself questions like the letter “U” and wondered what it was. I clearly remember me saying it over and over questioning what it was and how it could be used. I remember lying on my parents bed, next to my sleeping mom and making the sound over and over again in a questioning manner. I wanted to learn.

I once asked my mom, while she was on the toilet, if I could go with my sister to school. I really, really wanted to learn. My mom told me, that if I could go potty, I could go to school. I know that I had a blue bear potty.

Mine was light blue though. Same shape. I ran over to it, sat down and went potty, and after that day, only had a few more accidents. I was clean and could go to school.

I remember the smell and how it looked, although the school itself is completely changed and the kindergarten teachers I had have been retired since, I still remember my first 3 years.

I remember miss Mia, and the chocolate milk she gave me. The overwhelm of the lunch hall. The tupperware bowl (orange or cyan, depending on the day). I remember the bread with chocolate pasta between them, or jelly made from pears.

I remember the bullying. Most of the people I was with in that class, I was still with in elementary school (which stops here at 12). I remember the bullying. I remember being constantly sick. I couldn’t go swimming with the rest because I was constantly having troubles with my lungs (and my mom smoking like a chimney around me didn’t help me either).

Kindergarten was a mess, but I remember one girl. I remember her clearly, as I have seen her only a few more times, but she was my lightbeacon in kindergarten. I have never expressed this sentiment to her, and probably ever will.

I know that I had a good time with teachers and only a few moments really stand out to me. Only a few people I really remember, that I can conciously recall, most people, if I meet them in the streets, I will recognize them as being in kindergarten with me. I have a very good visual memory of it.

I remember that I was bullied a lot, even in kindergarten. My parents were poor and most of the kids in my school were middle-class or just plain rich.

I don’t remember meltdown. I do remember going mute sometimes. I hardly spoke. I was much on my own. I loved the story time and still remember the story our teacher used to read to us. I still remember a classtrip involving flowers and candy and a story about gnomes. I can still see the visuals.

I remember that during a school-recital, I was dressed as a monkey and we all got a banana. We weren’t allowed to eat it, but I did. I remember that I didn’t want to give the monkey tail back. I really liked that tail. I really liked being a monkey. But I wasn’t allowed to keep it. Not all was bad during this time, but a lot was. My elementary school was worse though, but more on this in a later article.

 

Book review: The passionate mind: how people with autism learn by Wendy Lawson

A lot has been written about Theory of mind by great researchers. Theory of mind is that theory that autistics are unable to predict or have enough imagination to intuite what a person might be thinking or feeling. Most of this has been written by non-autistic researchers.

Here comes Wendy Lawson, whom is autistic herself and has written a wonderful, although rather unknown book about theory of mind and how the past theories all have flaws into them. In this book she proposes a new theory that might help understand autistics why they have difficulties with certain things and not with other things. It also takes into account sensory processing difficulties besides our difficulties of intuiting peoples thoughts and emotions.

I think this is a must read for everyone involved with autistics, as it might give a better understanding on how autistics think and feel and how we process information especially. It might help further the research in autism, as she says herself that her theory needs to be tested more to become a viable framework for autism.

My personal opinion is that this theory should be valued above all other theories because it is written by an actually autistic and takes into account everything about an autistic, which makes it a very plausible explanation for the way our mind works.

If you want to read the book for yourself, then you can click on the affiliate link here and buy yourself a copy.

review: Plantronics RIG 400 HX

To start the new year, we are going to start with posting hardware reviews as well, next to other tutorials that might be of use to you guys.

We got the opportunity to test for you guys the Plantronics RIG 400HX. This lightweight headset, especially designed for the Xbox one, is praised on the website of Plantronics as “Lightweight”, “Comfortable” and “Noise-Canceling”.

With it’s 203 grams, compared to other headsets of comparable quality, this feels lighter, but objectively it isn’t. It isn’t a heavyweight headset. Comfortable, this is the trademark of this headset. When you take it out of the box, you will notice that he is covered with cussions, at the ears, where there are normally cussions, but also on the headband, which makes this headset very comfortable to wear for longer gaming sessions. He covers your whole ear, which helps by not letting you lose any sounds, and makes that enviroment noise is cancelled. A plus is also that, thanks to the 3.5 mm jack, you can use it with other devices like an Ipad or Ipod if you would like. The mic also surpresses enviroment sound, whereby he only registers your voice.

Music through this headset sounds amazing and you get a complete soundexperience, even the bass. The sound from all games is very, very pure and you hear the slightest sound, whereby you notice faster from where the enemy is going to come in a shooter, which gives you a better experience of the game.

Because this headset supports Dolby Atmos, is it possible to play games (like Assassin’s Creed: Origins) with this extra experience, whereby you hear the full 360 range of sounds. The list of compatible games for Dolby Atmos, is still small, because it’s still a relatively new technology, but the list is expected to grow in the future. Here is a link if you want to see the list.

It is a member of the RIG family of plantronics, which means that it is highly customizable to your own taste. You can change the look and feel of your headset with componants of the headset. You can change the wiring and the plastic parts until you have a headset that is completely yours, which makes the gaming experience so much more unique and creative. For the price of approx. 50 euro, it has a very good buildquality and especially the sound is what makes it stand out against competitors. This makes a good choice for a first headset for budget gamers, as you will have years of pleasure out of this buy.

Conclusion

I recommend it highly. Qua comfort it is much better than others in the same price range. The earmuffs are comfortable and are good to keep the gaming sounds directed at your ear and the enviroment sounds out of it, so you can get completely immersed in your gaming. Sound is of a high quality with this headset. The only thing that I didn’t like about this headset is that the 3.5 mm jack is curved, so if you plug it into your controller, and it moves a little, it will start disturbing, but this is only a minor nusance of an otherwise awesome headset.

If you would like to buy one, you can click my affiliate link here.

How it feels: Love

This article is written because in a book was stated that a mother doubted that an autistic could actually love, or be able to fee love, or be able to be a father of a child (which is an act of love, for me).

First to make this work, we have to find a definition of love to work with. I will take a look at philosophical concepts for this.

In Philosophy, they distinguish love as 3 concepts: Eros, Philia and Agape.

Eros is the desire. This is were the english work erotic comes from. It means a passionate, intense desire for something. When seeing the word Eros and that erotic is derived from it, most will make the natural leap that it is most often used for sexual desire. The desire to just be with someone and to miss them when they are gone, to me, also falls under Eros. Eros, the god, is where cupid is derived from. When Eros shot his arrow, you felt an intense desire for the person you, and you fell completely in love. You couldn’t be away from that person. This intense desire is Eros.

Next is Philia. With Philia, you will make the natural leap to all words ending with philia. Most of them have a negative connotation, but philia in itself isn’t negative. Philia means a fondness and appreciation for the other. This is the phase of a loving relationship where you like to be in eachothers presence, where you just like eachother. Where you like to be in eachothers company. Philia is a friendship. Friendship can be something short, like a business friendship that only lasts as long as the deal is on, or something that takes up your whole life.

Agape is the concept of loving all equally. A sort of universal love, like  a love for humanity and that you would never harm another human.

I think with these 3 concept we can begin to see if autistics can love. Autistics can feel passionate and desire for something, be it a subject or a person. I will use myself as an example. When I am in a relationship I don’t think about myself. I always try to take the other person into account. For example: when I buy something for myself, I will always try to buy something for my partner as well, even when it’s with coupons that I got for a special occassion, like a birthday. I will always take my partner into account.

I also show love in small things, like doing to dishes or bringing her coffee. Just telling her I love you, or putting extra effort into cooking and dressing up the dinner table, with candle lights. Forgiving when a person has made a mistake is also an act of love. My partner and I are both humans that make mistakes, some graver than others, but if you are a good couple and you truly love eachother than you forgive (up to a certain extent).

I like being with my partner, otherwise I wouldn’t be in a relationship. I couldn’t be in the same room or be in the same village with a person I don’t like or love. I have a period of at least a year when a relationship ends to put the memories and the emotions at the back of my mind and still then. When my partner told me that my ex was pregnant, that threw me into a shutdown. Although she has been abusive towards me, something inside me still loved her. It is weird to admit this, but yes, I feel something for my exes still, not for the abusive one, but for the other two, yes. I am not afraid to admit this. Loving a person and wishing them well doesn’t end because one person doesn’t want to be anymore. I would still do a lot for my exes if they asked, but as another kind of love. More like friendship.

I will try to treat all humans kind and in the same manner. I will not harm them, unless they have harmed me, but I am not flawless. I will make mistakes.

But as you can see, if you take all these things into consideration, autistics can love. Maybe even more so than neurotypicals, as I have still to meet the first neurotypical that couldn’t get a new relationship in a year because he was still not over his last relationship.

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