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Logic and the aspie point of view

I want to talk about aspergers and logic, or how aspies use facts to explain life and also to explain themselves.

Super-logic could describe what happens when you try to argue with a calm aspie. When an aspie is calm and in possession of the facts, there is no point in even opening your mouth. It won't matter what you say, you will be proved wrong.

I say this in all humility, believe it or not. I'm just being logical. I know that it's often me who gets worked up, takes things the wrong way and seems to provoke confrontations in the most unexpected situations. I just mean that when I'm actually right about something, it's no good you going and getting upset about it.

I've had many conversations with people who expect to come out as being right. They are used to me being a dithery, confused-face who will pause in the middle of a conversation while I play it back to see what was said. Yes, I admit it, I can often be an infuriating person to talk to as I forget what you've said, almost always forget what I've said too and then can't remember what we were talking about.

How incensing it must be, then, to have an argument with me and suddenly find my brain has tripped some kind of robot-overlord switch where I know all the facts and can disprove your point of view again and again.

Oh dear, the times this has happened and a nice conversation has turned bitter. You see, as aspies, we're used to being wrong about things and usually take it with good grace (unlike some non-aspies, I may say). We're used to giving the little smile, or the shrug and apologising.

When we know what we're talking about, though, there's no stopping us. Similar to the obsessions that carry us along, knowledge, once stored, is there forever and if we access it at the right time and place, we then access the whole of it. And we know it's true.

So in an argument (and it always becomes an argument), don't try to get us to back down if we know something. We read it, we heard it, we watched it, we stored it and now we're telling you about it. Whatever it is, it probably disproves the thing you were talking about. Your point of view is irrelevant because it came up against the solid wall of the Known Fact.

At this point, the aspie can be at their most annoying. Yes, even more annoying than when they ignore you, or make that weird sound on the escalator. Aspies when they're being eccentric or zoned out are bad enough: aspies who are being in the right are unbearable. Truly awful.

Sometimes, when I'm in the middle of proving whatever point it is, I catch sight of the whole situation from the outside. One of those rare moments of insight sneak up on me and I'm able to see it all as if I'm watching it.

If this happens, I can see that I'm being obnoxious. I can see the other person is inflamed and probably upset. I can understand how I look and sound, this monolith of logic, repeating the right facts, carrying on regardless.

You know what? The pull of logic is so strong that even when I have these moments of insight and realise I'm acting like a giant, phlegmy boil on the backside of humanity, even then I still say to myself, 'It can't be helped, I'm right.'

It sounds horrible, doesn't it? I've made myself and other aspies sound as if we couldn't care less that you feel so upset you don't know whether to cry or start throwing Grandma's crockery. It's not like that, though. Honest.

You see, things are what they are. Some things, lots of things, are confusing and unknowable. Other things are transitory pieces of knowledge, kept for a little while then set free. There are so many things to know and learn, we just can't keep track of them all.

But, if we grasp a hold of something and do keep it, then it's ours. We know it, we know it so much that we can feel it. It belongs to us and becomes part of us! The triumph of the gold-coloured Fact, the wonderful shine, the lustre, the feeling that here, right in our hand, we have something that we are certain is correct.

So, if that Fact comes up later, perhaps years later, in a conversation, we whip it out so that it can shine in the sunlight. We know it, we share it with you. If it doesn't fit what you know, then that's a shame because we know it's true, which is why we told you about it.

If you are determined to carry on the conversation as if our lustrous Fact didn't matter, then what else are we to do but draw your attention to it again? After all, it's important, because it's true. If you had listened properly, then you would know by now. We'll tell you again.

Why you might get worked up or upset is one of those little mysteries. As I said, we also get upset over things but are used to being wrong, so perhaps it's less of a trial to us. Now that we are right, there's no need to be upset. Just listen and you'll find out what we mean.

This can go on indefinitely, Readers. I know that most of you will walk away or scream first, then walk away. Mostly, these arguments won't get as far as Grandma's crockery. Sometimes they will. They can become those silly rows that end up in life-changing drama.

The trouble is, an aspie in the right, with the Facts to hand, is an immovable object. They have the Facts, you do not. They present you with the Facts, you ignore them. Repeat as necessary.

The carelessness with feelings which seems to accompany this ritual is not really intentional. It seems to be a by-product of firmly, stoically, repeating what you know in the middle of an illogical conversation. The conversation is illogical because it is failing to recognise the aspie's Fact as truth. And so on.

The aspie themselves may also get upset but that won't make the Fact any less true. The aspie might be the one to leave, to do the dramatic flounce out of the room, door whallopped against the wall, picture tumbling to the ground, feet on the stairs as the sound of a distant crash hails the meeting of temper and book shelf.

None of that matters, either. If the conversation is revisited, as a way of soothing and reintroducing peace, the Fact will still be true and had better be avoided.

Now, look at all that again and imagine how this plays out if the Fact isn't true. What happens then? What if the aspie is wrong or the Fact is old news, out of date and reinvented since learned?

That's the tricky part because if the aspie knew this, they'd back down. But it's no good just telling them and expecting it all to be over. Like all the other information that didn't make the transition into shining Fact, your new fact is small and easily lost. It isn't to be trusted, not like the one the aspie knows.

You can only replace the original knowledge in another time and place, by coming at it from a different angle. Is it important that the truth be known? If it is, then try and do it gently and with subtlety. If it isn't important, it's up to you whether you shy away or bring it up again.

Logic is such a funny thing. It can give aspies strength as it doesn't rely on feelings, expressions, learned behaviour, accepted humour or any of the facets of a troubling world. Logic is of itself, a clearly-defined creature with limitations you can spell out.

As such, Logic is smooth, stress-free, like a cool breeze on a hot day. You can turn your face into it and smile, knowing there won't be any rough edges or surprise corners to make you think again. Logic is a friend who can be trusted.

It appeals to the obsessive side of the aspie to believe in Logic, because if something is so utterly trustworthy, then it can be controlled. It's only the unpredictable side of life you have to watch out for.

In an argument, if Logic, in the shape of known facts, is under attack, then so is the aspie's feeling of control and safety. We know this Fact is true, truth is safety. You say it isn't true, but I won't back down. You can't take my safety away from me without a fight!

This isn't the thought process, but it is the feeling that comes with it.

Logic in the aspie world can be likened to the characters in the Wizard of Oz. No, I'm not suggesting we all trip off down the yellow brick road. That would be silly. It would mean leaving the computer, not having access to a kettle and biscuits and also seems to require linking arms with strangers, dancing in public and raising your voice high enough to be heard when you sing.

What does Logic have to do with this strange reflection of reality, in Dorothy's trip to Oz? Well, at the end of the story, Dorothy and her friends learn that what they thought they knew was always wrong. The Scarecrow could  be clever, the Lion could be brave, the Woodsman had a heart and Dorothy always had the power to go home.

Would they have agreed with that at the start of the film? No. Did it mean they were stupid or wrong to set off on their journey, in full and certain belief that they could reach their destination? No, of course not, because without the journey they would never have discovered the real truth.

Every aspie, even the ones with unassailable Facts, is travelling that same journey. We think we move along this way, for that purpose. What we are really doing is running through life, trying to learn enough along the way to do what needs to be done. We want to be bigger, better people, with more knowledge, a better understanding of others and the courage to keep facing the world.

We want to be able to find our way home and are always looking to other people to show us the answer to this and our other questions.

Aspies, like everyone, have the answers already inside them. It's logical to look outside and think we can learn the Facts there and there alone. What we aspies have to do, and what you best-beloveds must help us to do, is to look within and trust ourselves enough so that we don't need logic all the time.

It doesn't have to make sense to be true. It doesn't have to be logical to feel right. The facts aren't always what they seem, because they cannot stand alone, they must measure up to the world around them.

As aspies, we must learn to yield ourselves to fortune and other people. Yes, I'm saying we need to learn how to link arms with strangers and dance in public. Not literally, perhaps, but the need to connect is what saves us from the kind of rigid thinking that makes logic the king of every conversation.

For even aspies like me, who have random tattooed on their hard drives, are also slaves to logic. I believe, so many times, that I must do this to get that. I believe that life follows a pattern and if I learn the pattern then I'll know about life.

Through writing this blog and re-discovering the many ways my brain and heart can work together, I see there are more paths to knowledge than the one I follow. I need to make my own way, trust instincts before facts, be my own person first and a traveller second.

Readers, I hope you can join me and my fellow aspies as we learn that logic, knowledge, facts aren't always the answer. Be there to pick up the pieces when we learn we got it wrong. It can be terrible when logic fails you, when you feel deserted by a reliable friend.

Try not to notice that we got it wrong and just help us get started again. Pick up those apples, put them back in the basket and off we go again. It'll be all right, if only you are there too.


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