Falsehoods As Seen From An Aspie’s Perspective
I was recently accused of purposeful deceit by someone I know and trust; not only was it untrue, but I consider falsehood to be one of the worst sins there are. People on the autistic spectrum are truth loving people. Lying is not in our natures as people. For me, I first started to understand the concept of lying purposely when I entered middle school. Prior to that, I was unaware that you could do that.
For me, truth is the ultimate of ultimate. As I’ve grown older, I have realized that lying in our society is important if you want not to be constantly persecuted. So I’ve learned to not tell people what I think of them; I withhold information in that case. I have learned that on occasion, as Spock said in The Undiscovered Country, even exaggerations are admissible. And of course, there is always the concept of lying through accidental misrepresentation or understanding of the truth; but I’ll get to that later.
In middle school, for the first time in my life, I learned of another form of lying. I learned that kids could lie on purpose, and for cruel purposes. I learned that what people representing themselves as friendly people would tell me one thing, then turn around and say something else; all for the sake of deception and a laugh. In fact, I see teasing as deception as well, because teasing distorts truth.
I also learned that lying was admissible when used as a survival skill. When kids asked if you’re scared, you learn to say no; even if it is a complete lie. Thus, although lying is one of the most horrible things I ever experienced, I was forced to lie in order to survive. Isn’t that the most horrific thing in the world?
As I know them, Aspies are truthful types. In fact, truthful is, at least to me, a shade less that truth worthy, if that makes any sense. Truthful seems like you have to say it, just to prove it. They are truthful. To me, aspies are in a state of truth. They just are in that state. They aren’t truthful, but rather it’s more like it just sums it up to say, “Aspies are,” and leave it at that. I am.
Not “I am truthful.” But “I am.” And that is me and that is how it is, and there is no point in defining it, because, simply, that is how it is. You don’t even have to define it, because to me, defining it, is more like making a copy of the truth itself; like in Plato’s shadow world. Real is a shadow of the real; making it less than. I am; not,”I am this.” It’s inherent, you see. It is. I just do. More than that, even saying anything at all seems like a copy. Because saying it, is restating it in our words. I prefer to think of it as though it is more in my existence, than in saying it is in me.
In existence, I am truth–or at least as close to it as I can make myself be.
My therapist and I have discussed this, but we don’t completely see eye to eye. He thinks that falsehood/lying was only exhibited by those who were two-faced towards me; pretending to be my friend while either laughing behind my back or by telling me the wrong ways of acting in various situations.
My distinction, on the other hand, is that there is no distinction. I consider all teasing to be falsehood. Teasing–joking–with a person is only funny to both people if BOTH people are in on the joke. One sided teasing translates to bullying, for me. I think that people who grew up teasing one another in fun don’t understand that idea of NOT understanding it. Being made fun of is only fun to the person making it.
In other words, their treating me like that led me to understand that they viewed me like that; that they viewed me in a false sense placed there by their invalid view of my actions; either that, or I felt that their joking/teasing/playing was statement of fact that I was (for example) actually stupid or inept. They lied about my state of being.
I understand the world in several different ways, but in its most basic level, there are two categories that predominate: the world as it relates to the me in my head, and other people’s views about that same world. Thus, I used to try (and still do in certain situations, like during class) to combine the two into a compromise of understanding. But when what I see and what everyone else is APPARENTLY seeing, via their own words (serious or otherwise) are so completely different, then I begin to find doubt in my understanding of reality. If, like at that time in my life, everyone else apparently sees this stuff, but I do not, then the problem must lie with me and my view of life. Simply put, this experience would be seen as being invalidated by others.
Thus, to me, this invalidation, this purposely cruelty, highly exaggerating my perceived characteristics out of meanness and judging me without input from my point of view, is a form of dishonesty/deceit, and thus, a falsehood. Cruelty is a falsehood. So the act of being mean to others, just because you CAN, is false.
In this case, I choose to take these definitions of falsehood (from
A falsehood is a statement that distorts or suppresses the truth, in order to deceive.
An untruth is an incorrect statement, either intentionally misleading (less harsh, however, than falsehood or lie) or arising from misunderstanding or ignorance.
“The act of speaking incorrect statements whose origins come from misunderstanding or ignorance becomes a lie when the perpetuator of those statements does not attempt to investigate, understand, question or think about the origin or person of origin from which the misunderstanding/ignorance arises from.” – thus says Lastcrazyhorn on the subject of teasing being synonymous with lying.
True, perhaps the investigative skills of children are not the best (mine were pretty good, but they would have been better if I had discovered the internet before 9th grade), but they are still able to at least talk to other people and discover some level of understanding that way. And if they are not able to learn via that method, then people who do understand the distinction should take the time to explain and model the correct behavior.
Which leads to an entirely other related problem. The various incorrect memes that allow people to think that teasing is harmless fun, and the ever popular “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” being teased is part of growing up, and the idea that it will somehow give you character. I’ve got three words for you. Crock. Of. Bull.
So they say that people on the autistic spectrum demonstrate a lack of empathy for other people? I give the same answer. Crock. Of. Bull.
As my experience dictates, by the time I had been in school for a couple of years, I had honed my level of empathy to pick up on two different states exhibited in children: nice and mean. By the time that I was fully immersed in middle school, I had redefined these two states into: safe and unsafe. By high school, the definition had spread somewhat into: real and unreal, and then from there, the different sub-levels of safe and unsafe, nice and mean, became evident.
I was much more aware of the feelings of my peers than they ever were in regards to mine. Perhaps the problem lay in the differing levels of understanding these states. Perhaps NT (Neurotypical) children are born with an innate ability to automatically understand the more ambiguous layers of these states. And strangely enough, as someone who is so adept with details, what I was able to see was only the big picture.
Either way, I kept a higher respect for the feelings of others because they were the ones who had power over me, and the less surprises I had, the better off I was.
In short (I find that my thoughts are often somewhat complex, and to shorten my style of communication process would also result in committing falsehoods, thanks to misunderstandings from lack of explanation), there are several difficulties here that generally led to deception/falsehood on the part of the children in question.
My basis for this statement can be stated with a general modicum of truth thanks to an overwhelming amount of personal experience.
These difficulties include: a lack of empathy on the part of the children, a lack of good behavior models for the children, a lack of empathy on the part of the adults (they also could have provided good models if they themselves had some inkling of understanding the severity of the overall problem), the expectation for falsehood on the part of those fully emersed in society, the various bad memes currently at work within society regarding teasing, a lack of devotion to truth, and a general misunderstanding of the idea of truth.
~ by lastcrazyhorn on November 15, 2007.