4
$\begingroup$

I'm curious about this, as I was recently looking through a question titled, "Wrong Planet, What would an Aspergers' planet be like?" dealing with a society of individuals with Asperger syndrome.

Being on the autism spectrum is often described as a feeling of being on "The Wrong Planet" So I'm wondering what the right planet might be like...

For those that are unfamiliar:

  • Social conventions aren't always obvious to the average person with Aspergers'
  • Non-verbal communication is often difficult. (Making eye contact and recognizing facial expressions)
  • Stimming is common.
  • Sensory issues are also somewhat common. (sensitivity to lights, sounds, textures)
  • There's some evidence of trouble with theory of mind
  • Highly specialized areas of interest are a key feature.

I really liked some of the answers, especially the answer from user apaul. I got curious though, as no one seemed to have an idea of what romance would be like. Romance is, of course, important, as reproduction is important to keep a species alive and well. But in an Aspie society, how would the aspect of romance change?

Would it simply be person A saying and asking, "Hey I like you. Do you like me?" to person B? Which is efficient yes, but there is less feeling involved. I get it, we're bad at reading social cues and such, but we can still recognize the love of a mother, can't we? We're not completely devoid of all emotion, just bad at showing or seeing it. Wouldn't this make romance a bit harder if we took feelings into importance?

If we did, would it be more complicated than that? Like it is now?

What I mean by the above question: Take how romance is now, where you have to take a certain number of steps to get a relationship. As well as more steps to get said relationship to reach it's true potential, whether it be for romance or friendship. In an Aspie world, would it still be this complicated?

$\endgroup$
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ Would you mind explicitly stating what an Asberger's planet and an Aspie society are. Some users (myself included) may not be familiar with the concept. You can click the edit button beneath your question to edit in the information. $\endgroup$ – Gryphon Nov 5 '17 at 0:38
  • $\begingroup$ Since a great many surgeons are Aspies (that is why they can be so objective and so focused about what they are doing) think about a planet full of surgeons. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ Perhaps the greatest popularly known Aspie representation is Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. So, think of a planet full of Sheldons. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 4:57
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I know two or three people with Asperger syndrome, and my girlfriend (M.D.) even "accused" me of having mild form of it. And you know what? I see no reason for romance to be any different. For people with heavier form of it, it's unique per person. That's why it's called an autism spectrum, so it is for you to decide if, and how, it affects your society, and what form, if any, dominates. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Nov 5 '17 at 13:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It's also worth noting that 'aspie' may be considered a derogatory term: english.stackexchange.com/questions/287458/… $\endgroup$ – walrus Nov 6 '17 at 12:31
9
$\begingroup$

As you said yourself, people with Asperger syndrome (AS) are not void of emotions. They are just not so good at identifying and expressing them. Although, there is a big question whether this 'not so good' relates to our social norms (which are arbitrary and way too often unnecessary) or innate inability to process emotions.

People with AS are very much capable of feeling love and establishing interpersonal relationships. Moreover, unless traumatised in childhood and adolescence, they actively seek relationships with other people. They are just not proficient in small talk and elaborate social rituals that 'normals' use (why are 'normals' making it so hard for themselves?).

I think that a 100% AS society will not develop anything close to our mind games when it comes to social interaction. Everything will be very much streamlined in terms of feelings and emotions. However, it does not mean that there will be no elaborate rituals. People with AS love rituals. It is even possible that their rituals will be more rigid and more detailed than what we are used to.

For example, courting ritual might have 100 distinct steps that everybody knows. Every step might have 2-3 specific and well-defined exits. No more 'she still did not call me, what should I think? Does she like me?'. If she does not call within the first 24 hours you will know for sure she is not interested. The ritual might not be simple. But it will definitely be easy to interpret.

I am not sure if the progress of a relationship will be slower or faster. On one hand, lack of small talk and going straight to business might speed things up considerably. On the other hand, if this society chooses very elaborate rituals to establish compatibility it might take much longer.

There is always an option of arranged marriages or mating. Romantic love as a requirement for reproduction is a very new development. Prior to the 20th century, the absolute majority of marriages were arranged. With good match-making services, the society might be much more stable than ours.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ +1 While not an aspie myself (afaik), I share some characteristics and have know some aspires reasonably well for years. There would probably be very little teenage angst. Courtship would probably be spontaneous, highly ritualized as you suggest, but short and matter of fact. $\endgroup$ – pojo-guy Nov 5 '17 at 4:36
  • $\begingroup$ I think a pure Aspie society would be almost entirely mind games. Satire, puns, word games, innuendo, plays on words, saying exactly the opposite of what you mean, talking in riddles, are all part of Aspie thinking and communication. Pure lateral thinking. Free association with the language. You just wouldn't get the emotional trauma that neurotypicals exhibit to mind games. Since everyone would be playing them, they would be enjoyable for everyone. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 4:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ctd Mind games are only negative for those people who are emotionally fragile and susceptible to being slighted or insecure. The social isolation of Aspies is BECAUSE neurotypicals respond so adversely to the mind games they play. Not giving a direct answer, because they can't FORM the direct answer, is all part of being an Aspie. It is the neurotypicals that just don't get it. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 4:54
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Olga One of the symptoms of Aspie language is that they take things literally. 'Throw out the garbage' means exactly that - take the garbage and throw it. To a neurotypical, this looks like obstructionism, mind games. They should obviously know what was intended. An Aspie would say 'Then say what you mean'. Latter in their learning, an Aspie would realize the imprecise nature of English, and play with it. Again, a neurotypical would call this 'playing mind games'. An Aspie would consider it 'exploring the language'. Aspies very quickly learn that neurotypicals are just plane weird. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 16:49
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ ctd Contrary to your assertion, given a non-critical environment, Aspies love to explore the vagarities of the language. They love the lateral thinking that 'literal' can change from context to context. They just learn not to in the presence of neurotypicals. Neurotypicals tend to get very upset and confused when they do. In the presence of other Aspies, they really 'go to town'. Their conversations can sound really, really frustrating to neurotypicals, but other Aspies understand them perfectly. Amelia Bedelia was probably an Aspie. $\endgroup$ – Justin Thyme Nov 5 '17 at 16:55

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.