Wednesday, 29 January 2014

I Feel You - Emotional And Cognitive Empathy

Author's Note: I must apologise in advance seem overly emotional at any point in this piece. I'll do my best to remain completely neutral, but it's a subject I feel very strongly about and I hate some of the misunderstandings the general public have about it.

Empathy. Apart from general social difficulties and anxiety, this is probably the most talked about part of Asperger's and autism. The general consensus seems to be that autistic people lack empathy, and are unable to tell how others are feeling. To put it bluntly, I think that's flat wrong, at least for the most part. I, and other autistic individuals, are nearly all perfectly capable of feeling other people's emotions, we can just have some difficulty recognising that emotion, like reading it from body language. So I think I should start with a few definitions.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Mini Update: The Posts Are Coming

Yes, yes, I said I'd stick to my schedule and I haven't. But I do have a post half typed out and another one in the planning stages. I may also make an extra one to make up for last week. I was just so caught up in doing my EPQ for college that I literally ran out of time to create a post.

On a side note, it seems that a lot of Aspies apologise either too much or too little, because it's so hard to read the social cues for the correct response. I think I err on the side of caution and apologise a little too much, but I have one friend who apologises for almost everything, day in, day out. It's like 'I'm sorry but...' is an instinctive part of his speech patterns. Maybe I'll elaborate on the topic sometime.

See you guys soon,


Saturday, 18 January 2014

It's Saturday! You know what that means...

Yeah. It means I have to do my Saturday post. I really should have planned this better, I haven't given myself enough time to get things done this week. So, what to talk about...

Let's talk about music! I did say my Saturday posts won't necessarily be about autism, or even be serious at all. But don't worry, Wednesdays will be as fact filled and informative as I can manage.

Music is an interesting thing. Done properly, it can cause total mood changes, bring people out of moods, put other people in them, and do many other things. People argue over the different genres, and even about definitions within particular genres. In fact, some of the most vicious arguments I've seen have been about whether a particular band should be in this genre or that one.

So what is it about music that gets people going? And why do people like different kinds? Is it the rhythm? The particular sequences of notes? The sense of community gained from listening to the same music as other people? I suppose it's probably a mix of them all.

Personally, I'm a big fan of music. I like a lot of different types, from old pop to a little bit of classical, but the bulk of my collection is composed of rock and metal. It seems quite a few people think that's an odd choice for someone who is as 'academic' as me, but I tend to think the opposite. For me, rock and metal have a complexity and structure that mainstream music like radio pop just doesn't. I don't want to listen to people who are guaranteed a top 10 hit by releasing the same thing over and over, I want to listen to music with depth and focus. Music that was made to be popular just doesn't appeal to me at all.

Of course, not all modern pop is like that, some of the singers are genuinely moving and sincere, especially the singer-songwriters. It happens that I don't personally like most of their work, but I appreciate and respect it. The same goes for rock, there are a lot of bands who also put out the same thing over and over again. Unsurprisingly, again they are the most likely to be heard on the radio. Nickelback I'm looking at you.

So, other than the style and sincerity of the music I like, what else makes me like it? I suspect the biggest reason is obvious when you take a step back and look. It's my friends. Most of my friends like rock and metal, hence I do also. I'd assume that's why mainstream pop is so popular. If a large group of people like it, other people can like it and fit in, thus attracting ever more people. For mainstream pop it also helps that there's practically nothing else on the radio. The stuff is unavoidable! It would certainly be a lot easier to just listen to it and be done with it.

I think that people should listen to whatever music they like, whatever makes them feel happy. Or feel anything really, depending on what they're after. I just wish they could find it themselves, rather than having mass marketed noises parceled up and thrown at them constantly.

So, that's my two pence for the day. I hope you don't mind me having opinions on Saturdays; it's often said that the internet is the worst place to have an opinion. Anyway, that's it for the day, see you on Wednesday!


Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Year's Resolution! Sort of...

Happy new year! We made it through another year! Except this time, nothing much seemed to happen, especially compared to 2012, which was filled with all kinds of much more exciting stuff.

Anyway, hi guys. I know, I know, I'm not only almost two weeks late for new year, but it's been nearly 2 months since the last time I posted. But it's 2014 now, and I have a plan! I can hear you all now, 'You said you had a plan last time, and look how that went.'. Well, alright, but it's still 2014 now. I'd say my plan is a new year's resolution, but it's more just a plan that happened to start near new year. It could have been a July plan, or a November plan, but instead my brain decided to drop it on me while I was looking the other way over Christmas. So here we are, with a plan.

Now, on to the actual plan.

THE PLAN! *cue fanfare*

Wow, you can really tell this is quite an informal post now...
So, the plan is, I'm going to post exactly twice a week. Ok, I might do more, because I sometimes have ideas that I just have to do at that moment, but I won't do less, because otherwise you people will hunt me down and kill me for not posting. Again. I'm thinking that the posts will be on Wednesdays and Saturdays, starting next week, and each will be a different topic. Sort of like this:

The Wednesday:
The midweek post, to get some thought going in the middle of the week, when Friday is literally as far ahead as Monday is behind. This post will be the explanatory, or informative post, where I explain a particular part of living with Asperger's, and maybe coping strategies. This will probably be quite a well thought out post, maybe typed up over a couple of days.

The fun Saturday night, where everyone just wants to kick back, relax, and forget that Monday morning is only 36 hours away. This will be either an opinion piece about something I've heard, or a Thoughtsplat, or just something related to autism that I find interesting. You know, just a bit of a freeform thing to read on a Saturday evening.

Any extra posts:
Anything else that takes my fancy really. Something big that can't wait until next week, or an extra opinion piece, or basically pretty much anything. I think extra posts will generally not be based on autism and Asperger's, they'll most likely be interests of mine instead, like art or something to do with technology.

I'm thinking around 6pm GMT, seems to be a time when most of my readers are around to see it, anyone at work will get back when it goes up, in the US it'll be nearer the middle of a day to match a lunch break, things like that. It also gives me time to work on it a bit in college.

There we go then; my blogging plan for the year ahead. Now, I'm really quite good at planning, but no one ever believes me. Mostly because I'm absolutely terrible at following through on said plans, as you may have noticed. So, I've come up with a solution. I'm going to tell my friends who are interested in this blog to tell me to do my posts on time. That way, I can't get annoyed at them and rebel when they tell me to post, because I've already told them to tell me. Make sense? Hopefully, it'll be so confusing to my subconscious that it'll tie itself in knots and let me get on with posting.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and new year, and I'll see you on Wednesday!