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Philosophers and Autists -- How I Became a Ruthless Communicator

Updated: Apr 11


A young lady and a boy are staring at each other

(2023 Note: Now that I compared myself to other autists, I've realized I have Asperger's Syndrome, which can be considered part of ASD, or the Autism Spectrum Disorders. I, however, am no longer sure if I am indeed an autist, even though I was diagnosed with both Asperger's and ASD. Please, take this article with a grain of salt, as I expect you to do, with any of my articles).



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A Shared Struggle for Clarity


Philosophy in general is hard to understand because of its inherent complexity. Not everyone has the time or energy to grapple with these intricacies. Hence why, for both philosophers and non-philosophers, this field can be stressful and exhausting.


The same challenge faces autistic people, for whom verbal communication can be a disability, leading to many predicaments in communication. This can make even simple ideas seem "unnecessarily" complex to express, even though they aren't. The quotation marks are there to acknowledge that, often times, autistic people have no alternative but to use complex language when trying to communicate.



And the attempt to explain themselves properly to people, including their families, can often lead to social fatigue and autistic burnout, caused, in part, by being misunderstood. As such, in their shared struggle of clarity, they both might withdraw into solitude, as loneliness is often caused by not being clearly seen for whom we really are.


Therefore, the truth plays a core element in both philosophy and autism. A practical element, at that. One that can help others see things and beings more clearly, and that includes themselves as well. Both the philosopher and the autist, for their tendency to be naturally blunt, may be faced with social risks by simply being who they are, instead of masking their true thoughts and feelings.


That is despite many autists and philosophers being able to greatly contribute to humanity despite their societal shortcomings.


The best way to allow both philosophers and autists to be of use is to cooperate with their intention to be clear, and to try understanding where they come from. And that advice can apply to people who are autists or philosophers themselves! We all need to learn, and the best way to do it is to be open to the opportunity of understanding reality in a clearer way. That can be done by listening and tolerating those who are more eccentric and weird, instead of dismissing them as irrelevant, pretentious, infantile or arrogant.


By being too quick to judge, to conclude, we prevent ourselves the possibility to learn more about reality around us, with the help of those who process reality differently than us.


Bridging the Gap In Communication


The sting of a comment like "Utter gibberish from a horrible writer" can be deeply discouraging, especially for someone who may struggle with communicating normally. It raises a crucial question: how can someone navigate communication challenges when clarity seems impossible?


Think of it like comparing visual or auditory limitations. We wouldn't expect a person with visual impairment to be a perfect lookout, nor would we expect someone deaf from birth to enjoy music in the same way. Similarly, judging someone's writing solely on the basis of their verbal difficulty, ignores the inherent difficulties of expressing complex ideas. For an autistic person, clear communication can be an ongoing struggle, not a deliberate choice.


I've been practicing the art of article writing on my lonesome since I was 15. As of 2024 I am 26. To quote Nathaniel Hawthrone:


“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”

I am grateful to be able to be an auto-didact and to have a lot of free time on my hands, which allowed me to ruthlessly train myself to be the writer I am today. However, not everyone has these virtues unfortunately, and that includes autists, who may struggle more in interaction than the average person.


Philosophy, by its very nature, delves into intricate concepts. Just as some philosophical texts might feel like complex social situations for someone on the spectrum, there's a burden on both the philosopher and the reader, the autist and the people in his or her lives.


The philosopher strives to keep the audience engaged with challenging material, while the reader invests effort in understanding it. This complexity is inherent to the field, similarly to the fact that an autist's contact often needs to invest efforts in understanding them.



In both cases, the reader and the contact must be open minded, avoid hasty judgement, as well as the whole-person fallacy, and most important of all, be willing to learn.


Often, what makes the philosopher and the autist similar is their ability to process reality differently from other people. As such, they may develop a unique set of values and beliefs that differ from that of many other people. The attempt to approach them in the same way one would approach a neurotypical, or someone else who has no affinity to philosophy, can often be met with evitable conflicts and frustrations.



Both philosophers and autistic individuals share another challenge: the pressure to be readily understood. The fear of being ostracized or dismissed can be paralyzing. Rejection has been proved to be physically painful at times.


As one reader put it, "If you won't make them understand, they will eat you alive." It's a world increasingly focused on speed and simplicity, where deep dives into complex topics seem out of place ordinarily. However, avoiding those who demand instant gratification isn't always an option.


Thus, to endure this reality, where we naturally are dependant on people, we must be strong. For our struggle is often unseen, and thus, dismissed. Being a content creator, which is what a philosopher partly is, requires the strength to endure certain interactions. As such, both philosophers and autists face challenges in communication that can, and deserve to be overcome, in the name of a less painful experience of reality. Reduction of pain in ourselves and in others is the moral thing to do.


Reality As an Autistic Philosopher


Some people, like my late eccentric grandfather Zwi Drucker, simply possessed an inherent quirkiness, which caused him to be a recluse from society. Others seem to have forgotten the value of kindness, prioritizing social norms over empathy for our fellow human beings. Empathy can simply be defined as the attempt to understand the other person from their own shoes. That can be done cognitively, making it a worthy habit to develop for a more inclusive, tolerating and accessible society..


For an autistic philosopher, the challenges described in the article are amplified, requiring me to be stronger and to reduce my sensitivities further. I do not only face communication difficulties with others, but also the burden of conveying complex philosophical ideas in an understandable way. I choose to carry my self-given duty without relent.


I do not expect empathy or even mercy from anyone. This makes me different from many autists, who often share their burden through the need to be validated, and through the participation in safer spaces.


Many of them advoacte for self-acceptance. However, since humans are not logical by default, and that includes myself, I have and choose to constantly work on myself to become a more logical being. I cannot be a good philosopher without improving, and the best way to improve is to not be satisfied with myself, and take that for granted, as well.


Autists often experience reality in a more intensive way, being suspectible to feeling overwhelmed even by things that are seen by many as minor. Slowly but gradually, I learned to not pay much attention to my own suffering, for it stands in my way to be a competent, clear-headed thinker. Many autists are more-attuned to their unique resonance with reality; Philosophy compels me to depersonalize myself from it.


Effective communication inherently requires verbal ability, while autism can make one naturally more verbose. During my school years, I attempted to adapt to a more "normal" communication style, but maintaining it proved difficult without consistent guidance.



Instead of resignation from society, I needed to adopt a different perspective. If others aren't willing to better understand me, I have no choice but to be ruthless towards myself, and be the better communicator myself. If we can't foster understanding and respect, even when faced with challenges, then it's my job to mercilessly work to bridge that communication gap myself.


And alone, through the solitary pursuit towards the mastery of my craft.


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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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