Sunday, October 09, 2011

From Asperger's to a "feminine personality" and insisting on exposing the Truth; "The Road Ahead". (Analyzing presidents, analyzing me.)

What? We have an aspie in the White House?

That was my first reaction to the long op-ed by Scott Wilson leading off the Outlook Section of the Oct. 9 Washington Post, “The loner president”, link here

The author quickly writes “Obama is, in short, a political loner, who prefers policy over people who make politics in this country work.”  Like, Obama should go watch Ryan Gosling’s acrobatics in George Clooney's “The Ides of March” (aka “Farragut North”).

My mind flashes back to what my father said, shortly after my William and Mary expulsion, at the end of 1961, that the psychiatrists had said, “You don’t see people as people.”  Instead, as aesthetic objects or "foils"  to be measured against a standard wrought by “the knowledge of good and evil”?

I’m also reminded of some in-person chat at the Ninth Street Center in New York City back around late 1973, when the “powers that be” these said that we had a psychologically feminine man in the White House (in fact, a Rosenfels “subjective feminine”, like me).  Yes, Richard Nixon (around the time of the Saturday Night Massacre) was interested in power as an abstract ideal, not in really experiencing it as a person.

I also call to mind Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2010, Mark Zuckerberg, who, because of the role of his Facebook (and of some other sites like Twitter) in helping facilitate "The Arab Spring" (and maybe some misplaced domestic rowdiness, too) is in a position where his "ideas" (about having a singular public identity as a prerequisite for moral "integrity") could become almost decisive in the course of future changes toward democratic culture around the world.  "President of the World" -- by manipulating proxies for people rather than people themselves "as people"? 

Recently, I posted my update book, “Do Ask, Do Tell III: Speech Is a Fundamental Right; Being ‘Listened To’ Is a Privilege”.  I wonder if I should modify the title with “Free Speech…”

Certain things were indeed “done to me” by “others”, particularly early in life and then again for a spell later.  And I reacted in a certain way, sometimes with attention-getting behavior, why retreating from real emotional engagement with others, on their terms rather than mine.  The question before me (as I address in the booklet) is, what did people want?  What was their motive?  It seems easy to say, in many cases, how I should have been “expected” to behave.  The logical question becomes, how should someone who “is different” behave toward others, and vice versa, how should “they” behave toward him?  (It starts, predictably, with the expectation that the "different" individual is responsive in an immediate sense to others, but then the "policy" questions come and sharpen the crisis. Oh, there is no “they”.  Not even at the 1961 William and Mary tribunals that I played hooky on.) What do we have to “learn” from this body of experience that applies to “policy”?  (Yes, Obama’s “policy before people.”)

Again, my concern is mainly about the moral rules for  "the individual", both directions, but not about group grievances  ("class warfare" as with some of the recent domestic protests) as such. However, as Bill Clinton once said (in talking about DADT), group remedies can really subtract from particular individuals/  

I could say that this leads to an exercise in “inductive reasoning”, the way they taught us to understand it in high school Plane Geometry.  Put in proper perspective, “inductive reasoning” can only suggest that some general principle (as in ethics) is likely to be true, from a probabilistic assessment of the observations at hand.  (Census work is based on such academic ideas.)  It’s different from “proof by mathematical induction” or even “transfinite induction” which is a deductive process. It’s not perfect (and an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy could apply here, look at this). It seems ironic that my 15-year battle over “don’t ask don’t tell” should lead me back to basic notions of logic outlined in graduate school texts in topology for courses taken 45 years ago.  But, I remember those fights with my father in the late 50s: everyone was being “irrational” in what they demanded.

Yet, we come up against a wall in our thinking, perhaps a canard. We have to live together on a finite planet now, and sometimes in much smaller, more primitive spaces .  (Try “Terra Nova”.)  Rationalism (associated with hyper-individualism) seems to break down sometimes when you need common goals and social cohesion.

Brightstorm's video hits it right on the money, showing how Inductive Reasoning involves recognizing patterns, common on many standardized tests in schools and in job applications (like the Post Office and TSA tests):

After-thought, or "Retrospect":   Why do I have bizarre dreams after listening to the F#-minor Adagio of Beethoven's "Hammer-Klavier" sonata?

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