top of page

Philosophers and Autists

(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).

The philosopher and the autist share a common goal -- to be understood as much as possible when conveying verbally-complex messages. Philosophy in general is hard to understand because of this exact complexity, that not anyone has the time, nor energy, to try and understand. The same is for the autistic person, for it is, after all, a verbal disability, making even other-wise possible words to be "unnecessarily" complex. The quotation marks are there to convey that there is, more often than not, no alternative for over-complexity to be generated when communicating.

This is a greatly offending comment I received the other day when I attempted to explain myself in one of my articles:

"Utter gibberish from a horrible writer".

Now you tell me, audience, how is a visually-impaired person supposed to be an extremely decent lookout; how a deaf-born person supposed to enjoy music like a normally-hearing person and so on. You can't expect someone to be very competent at something, as if a certain disability they have, does not exist! How am I supposed to write as if my verbal disability does not exist? I cannot make it disappear; there is no cure.

Transferring this reasoning to philosophy -- every philosopher has a great burden on their shoulders -- keep their audience interested enough in their work to actually endure reading or hearing it. The fact that the subject is philosophical, means that it is going to be complex, and it's not going to be easy for the "average" person. The philosopher, metaphorically, makes people "autistic" by projecting this burden on them, by letting them experience material that is the equivalent in difficulty to a social material to an actual autist.

In other words, reading philosophy can be theoretically as difficult as being autistic, unless, of course, you are an exceptional reader. The same burden may also lie on the philosopher when attempting to convey lengthy philosophical content.

Philosophers and autists share an additional burden: to please those who don't understand, so they will stop harassing, condemning, or insulting you. As a reader once told me, "If you won't make them understand, they will eat you alive." Some people in this world feel as if the world owes them something, even if they don't say so explicitly. This is especially true nowadays, in the age of fast information, where people read less and watch more. Such people, unless unavoidable, should be avoided at best, whether you're a philosopher or an autist, because they will give you a hard time unnecessarily.

In the end, the external imperative of philosophers and disabled people in general is to be understood. Otherwise, they will be condemned and shunned from this world, where they, to quote another misunderstander, will "go home and be quiet". The thing with autism is, that it is pretty much a "silent" disability. If others will not know that you're an autist, they will mercilessly condemn and/or bully you. The parallel to that in philosophy, is having your thoughts being called "bullsh*t" or "hogwash". Why? Because not everyone is willing to respect the existence of a perspective that doesn't correlate to their own.

Just like some people, when it comes to eccentrics. Some people are eccentric by nature, and might resume being those no matter how long they will live. My grandfather, Zwi Drucker, was one. However, many people "forgot" how to be kind. Because in their eyes, the norms are above many other values.

Being an autistic philosopher, the difficulties are exacerbated because not only are you impaired in your communication, but you also have to convey complex messages in a way that will be understandable. Some may regard my writing to be wordy and pompous, but such people need to understand that I don't do it for the sake of sounding as such, but because I am incapable of communicating otherwise. The niche of philosophy is even more challenging in that regard because it requires even more verbalization. As of 2023, I give this notion the benefit of the doubt.

And the thing is, there is no solution to either case, combined or not. The first by essence requires verbality, and the second by essence makes you verbose. I tried, during my school years, to communicate more normally, but it wasn't a habit I could maintain with proper, constant guidance.

This leads to a very specific consequence: suffering for things that are not your fault. You may think that it's okay to not harass the blind, the deaf, or the mute; but if you're an autist, you will be harassed for being born a certain way, and as a philosopher, you will be harassed for doing your job. It can be compared to the role of a security guard, who is born a guard, lives as a guard, and dies a guard.

I chose specifically my representative symbol to be about endurance, because regardless of who you are or what your circumstances are, life will ultimately be a game of endurance; of the constant attempt to explain yourself to those who are confident enough that they know more than Socrates, who declared "I know nothing." Because even in the age of fake news, it's easy, and often comforting, to believe you know more than you, I, and all actually do.

94 views0 comments

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.

צילום מסך 2023-09-14 194035.png
bottom of page