Please allow me to introduce myself…


Hello everyone!

You all know me as Brony, Social Justice Cenobite and I’ve been a commentator in these parts since before FTB was FTB or was centered on Scienceblogs. This was back when Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars (before Ed moved on) and PZ Myers at Pharyngula were independent bloggers with some shared readership. I’m gratified that this blogging community seems to think that I might have some things worth sharing. Those things are related to neurodiversity, social conflict, and places where atheists and the religious are the same. They are all connected issues on a personal level through the second topic, social conflict. The name the this blog, Primate Chess, reflects this.

I’ll also touch on mental health in general as I have finally found a job after three years of unemployment. That is what delayed my first post here (and likely others) as it’s really serious shit that I need to focus on. I’m a technician at a mental health facility doing long term behavioral intervention for people of all types. To give you an idea of how serious I recently had a conversation with a minor who was comfortable speaking casually about killing one of his friends, and another about triggers from sexual abuse and how I can help with respect to how I interact with them when they have a conflict with another patient. It’s a pretty intense place but it’s important work and it feels like a good fit for me in a way I’m still trying to figure out. I can see that I owe this community a lot because I would not have been prepared for this without what I have learned here at FTB and other social justice spaces.

 

Social Conflict and My Experience of Tourette’s Syndrome.

There is a place where the symbolism that we use in social conflict divides into content intended to reflect reality, or simply “being correct”, and a place where the content has to do with “winning”. I like to think that I’m practiced in the textual version of this from about two decades of exchanges with creationists and other individuals and groups of people that have problems accepting the way the world really is. We are a species that can win a social conflict and be wrong about the reality that it is supposedly about and I internally think of that part of human social conflict as “Primate Chess”.

Think about the round-and-round-and-round of two people trading text-walls on politics, religion, health, science, philosophy, society and more. I actually see it as something analogous to a martial art like grappling where instead of limbs, joints, mass, force and torque the opponents use rational and logical structure, shared meaning (or lack of), emotion (it’s always a factor) and strategy. But as serious as it is it can often be like a game in that games tend to be instinctual practice for more serious things. The serious thing in this case being real physical conflict, the failure mode of politics. As I move forward on this blog I’m going to try to objectify how I see people argue and I hope to see many of you adding your experiences to this so that our experiences can be refined into broadly useful knowledge.

As strange as it might seem it turns out that my Tourette’s Syndrome (TS), ADHD and sub-clinical OCD tendencies are benefits when it comes to social conflict. My story is one of discovering how the ways we traditionally divide up “normal” fail many of us when it comes to innate developmental differences and dispositions that blend into personality. As a result of work I have done I’m pretty comfortable talking about TS and my relationship with it.

Lately advantages have been discovered for people on the autism spectrum, people with TS, people with ADHD (trickier to define, but I’ll get into it), and I’m certain that the same is true for many other mental conditions. It was a group of four studies describing cognitive enhancements in people with TS that gave me positive motivation to figure  my live after my diagnosis seven years ago. Since then I’ve been able to discover how I am shaped on a basic human level that lets me take advantages and disadvantages into account. There is no single piece of information(1), it’s a collection of:

*Journal articles studying the psychology, neruobiology and anatomy of TS, ADHD and related conditions.

*Current and historical examples of people with TS that seem to have used the characteristics to their benefit that allow me to average out general features. Combined with the studies describing cognitive enhancements I’ve been able to make some useful tentative assumptions about what my advantages might be.

*Discussions of the experience of TS with other people that have been diagnosed with the condition in internet and meatspace support groups that let me farther strengthen some of my assumptions.

In this post I’m only going to highlight the features of TS relevant to social conflict that combined with my life experience as anill-defined flavor of non-straight(2), probably-cis(2), white male raised in a conservative, fundamentalist protestant military family in the US during the last decade or so of the cold war. I’ll do posts that are more specific about TS in general and other topics after this introduction. This stuff gets very sensitive and quite frankly I owe this community and other social justice communities a great debt because it’s helped me to be empathetic and socially conscious enough to be me morally and ethically given the fact that these features of TS do intersect with problems that many disadvantaged communities face. As a result I have a kind of insiders view of problematic people by sharing the history and psychology, but not the choices. When considering the following keep in mind that all human instinct and ability has good and bad expression and I suspect that people like me have found social roles in many cultures (3), but in others we seem to blend into “demon possession” as you go back in time.

*Heightened sensitivity to social information. Think about the fact that many of the urges we experience have to do with insults, slurs, physical boundary violations (common as children and quickly socialized out of us), obscenity related and non-obscene related urges to do the opposite of what is considered “normal”. It pretty much feels like everyone is yelling at me all of the time so I’ve had to learn to control my reactions all of the time.

*More intense feeling of aggression and social dominance instincts, and problems controlling rage and anger. The stereotype of the person with TS ranting angrily does have a basis in fact. I used to be pretty bad with video games in particular but I’m very in control of my anger today and can successfully remain rational and logical while angry. As an adult that enhanced control is very useful here and I’m experienced in feeling and seeing the good and bad things that people do when angry, and controlling my anger so that it is a tool and I am not it’s tool.

*Oppositional tendencies reflected in more co-diagnoses of Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Combined with the above urges to do the opposite of things and a lifetime of choosing to do the right thing gives an interesting perspective of the different “sides” in social conflicts.

*Greater awareness of the use of non-literal language. That paper discusses things in terms of “impaired understanding of non-literal language”, but I see this as a result of how these studies see humanity as a whole. It’s better to say “more literal than the population at large”. I can understand non-literal language, it’s just less important to me. In my experience having your brain continually remind you of the literal meaning let’s you create an effective “bullshit detector” in social conflict. Think about the abuse of hyperbole when people get called out for sexism or racism. I don’t care about the “witch hunts”, I want to see the reality that does not involve metaphorical mystical women getting burned at stakes and I can almost never get a person who was called a sexist or a racist to show me that. Characterizations of things are less useful than descriptions of things in a social conflict.

*Obsessions with aggression, violence, sex, social rules, checking, counting, and symmetry. The social rules OCD is often called the “religion OCD” or scrupulosity. What’s a person with unpleasant urges who does not want to hurt people to do but get obsessed with the rules for not hurting people. I have an odd view of OCD where if a person gets control of the urges and compulsions they end up with a powerful filter for perceiving and thinking about the subject/object of the obsession/compulsion. It’s a matter of controlling instincts and associated emotions.

*More cognitive control of the rule-based parts of the mind related to the above. See the links having to do with enhancements and articles like this. The cognitive control is not limited to the motor domain and is also present in other areas where we have to exert control.

*Enhancements in rule-based physical and cognitive processes. That’s the four papers above that gave me positive motivation to figure this mess out. The paper on rule-based language enhancements is particularly interesting in light of the achievements of Dr. Samuel Johnson, a historical figure with TS from England that I consider a biological role-model. If I had to summarize how TS intersected with his life I would say that he had an extraordinary ability to understand how the language was objectively used in his time which let him to produce his famed Dictionary of the English Language at an increased efficiency relative to peers and even come up with innovations that set a standard for what we consider a Dictionary.

A lifetime of that and you develop a very different view of how people fight with words.

 

The social symmetries between the religious and the non-religious.

This last one is about how atheists and the religious are the same, a thing I have been more interested in over the last six months to a year or so and stems from my experiences of the ongoing schism in the atheist community. The events surrounding elevatorgate and Dear Muslima pushed me from occasional commentator to regular commentator here at FTB as people who wanted social abuse and neglect to be recognized and dealt with, received more abuse and aggressive attempts to drive them back into silence.

It was a period of training for me and I won’t pretend that it was pleasant for me or for the people who took the time to critisize me for my own flawed attempts to be supportive. I fucked up a lot and had to learn how to fight for other people. I had to learn to put aside my reasons for fighting and fight for other people’s reasons. I won’t claim any level of quality as an ally (which too often has negative connotations) other than the fact that people have told me that I have been helpful because I fully expect there to be many more places where things need changing and refined.

Regardless of anyone’s intentions it was necessarily a social conflict because there were people attacking other people in action or reaction. It was also a time of writing of mythologies (in the neutral sense of “a story of a group of people”) as the two sides faced off, told stories about one another, and socially postured. Those stories and postures do not equally reflect reality and the two sides are not equal in their ability present reality. I am quite comfortable on the side I have chosen.

Pejorative comparisons with religion were and are quite common and there are legitimate insulting comparisons to be made with respect to fallacious reasoning, means and manner of respect/support/attack/defense for group and authority, shitty beliefs/manner of thought/behavior/communication and other things. I started thinking about what was being associated with religion in atheist/skeptic culture and decided that a lot of it actually had to do with universal human behavior independent of any supernatural appeals. Figuring out what some atheists think religion is became useful as many were tossing out perfectly good kinds of human interaction like weekly group socialization and celebration of general things human. In my view religion is simply an expression of how we collectively do social organization, interaction, and activity. That is a thing that the atheist and skeptic communities need to do a lot of work to ensure healthy and effective communities.

I also experienced a second schism at the time as an outspoken feminist at a Brony image board. First as a user and then as the moderator of the serious discussion board. For now all I will say is that two schisms let one look for look for common patterns and I’m glad I was trained as a scientist.

 

So that’s what I’m planning on writing about. Along the way I would love to be able to make sure that can adapt these subjects to people in general and would welcome other perspectives on these issues. While my perspective is unique, it only exists because of other people and it’s only when it’s averaged with that of others that universally useful things can be found. Thank you for reading! I’ll be sure to try to work some figures into the next one so that it’s more interesting.

 

(1) The reproducability problem is very relevant to brain science. The collection of work on cognitive enhancements, historical examples, discussions with others with TS and my own observations of the consistency between my experiences and the literature on TS increase the strength of support to the point where I am comfortable making some assumptions and taking advantages of my own TS benefits.

(2) Tourette’s Syndrome puts me right in the middle of issues surrounding sex and gender, but in a way that makes me more privileged since the characteristics would be considered “hyper-masculine” as a male with TS. For female people with TS the the situation is the polar opposite since they also share the more masculine characteristics. There is also the 3:1 ratio of male to female people with the condition (which is certainly affected by inheritance and culture/society, and probably bias in diagnosing), and other things. I’m going to address this topic at some point, but I am very carefully considering how to do it inclusively and with respect. Any criticisms I receive will be taken seriously. I depend on criticism to be a good person.

(3) I’m currently trading emails with an anthropologist of Lakota descent who has recommended some colleges to me. I consider the Heyoka to be a role-model for how I can express what I am for my chosen communities. This is another area where I owe a debt to the FTB/social justice community because I have the tools to think about these kinds of comparisons respectfully.

 

Comments

  1. Smelly Roses says

    Fuck yes! Brony power my friend!

    Been a long time fan of your work in various comment threads and asides from maybe Nerd of Redhead there is no long timer more worthy of their own blog. Looking foward to picking up what you’re putting down.

    Can you explain the name of the blog? You a chess player? Will you be focusing on the Brony community and culture very much? There’s not enough blogs and social media platforms that provide serious content from that lens. Like feminist or skeptical Bronies or Pegasisters.

    • says

      Thank you! It’s a little strange realizing how long it has been. I think I still have bookmarks from the original Pharyngula buried somewhere.

      Thanks for letting me know that the name of the blog was not explained as clearly as I intended. “Primate Chess” is supposed to refer to the way that social conflict bears a resemblance to a “game” (I hesitate to use the word as it’s unpleasant to many people, but it fits here and even military strategy has game-like elements) with strategic elements, especially on the internet where one can take their time with text. The way that the strategic elements work remind me of grappling, but the progression is more like chess where the opponents functionally have “moves”. Otherwise I have not played chess in years.

      I could talk about the Brony community, and probably will as I discuss what it was like experiencing two schisms at once (which seemed to be part of an uptick in conflict between people for and against social justice across the web). There were common elements to the conflicts and even more interestingly after two years there was a “reverse schism” as the site that split off of the original (mlpchan) community rejoined the original (Ponychan). Now that I think about it I will probably have a lot to say about it since Ponychan was largely fed by people from 4chan since it’s origin came about because Bronies were banned from 4chan. Social evolution as it relates to social conflict is something else I have some observations about. I don’t often post about 4chan’s or other image board’s positive aspects because to me it’s more important to support people who have been harmed by the negative aspects their respective communities allow, and for quite a while Ponychan was wonderful and tried to have rules that would allow the target audience of the show to participate. But over time interpersonal differences became more noticeable than the love of the show and the experience of the community soured. It was not uncommon to have to deal with 4chan/pol/ type posters more than enjoy interactions related to the show or other things when my current break from the community started. On a positive note our Fluttershy mod (I was the Twilight mod) founded an image board (ponyville) that intends to keep that sort of thing out and was still a great place to post when I took my break from the Brony community.

      As for posting about the show and community in general, I’m willing but unsure what would be interesting.

  2. says

    I look forward to reading your postings!!

    I am particularly fascinated in the problem of diagnosing disorders through behavioral inventory and self-reported symptoms. I’m sure you’ve seen me go on about that issue elsewhere. 😉 I think we’re all pretty much able to agree that there are disorders but it always seems a bit weird to diagnose someone as “having a disorder” when there is no understanding of the disorder other than symptoms. It seems to work, don’t get me wrong, but it also appears that occasionally mere behaviors get treated as disorders and then I’m curious whether it matters – I suppose if you give someone antidepressants for a behavior, and it improves their outcomes, so what. I do worry that today’s psychologists will be viewed with the same horror as yesteryear’s leeches are by today’s doctors.

    I’d also be interested to learn what you think of some of the talking therapies such as DBT. A friend of mine and I were doing some DBT exercises and it appeared to really benefit PTSD – though there’s some evidence that pretty much any talking therapy has positive outcomes (is that human nature as social animals?)

    I am very interested in your way of interacting textually/verbally with trolls. I’ve been thinking for a couple years about some models for confronting verbal abuse, and I plan to write about them in my blog here. I had no idea that TS affects your experienced mood – I’d always heard it described more as a verbal tic. I look forward to closely reading what you have to say on that topic.

    • says

      Thank you!

      I have some general thoughts about how mental conditions/illnesses/disorders are diagnosed, but that is not an area that I have given an in-depth treatment to as it’s own subject. My views on that are based on what I know about how society views mental conditions (the most neutral word I can think of) that are very likely to be parts of our collective natural diversity and the way that this skews how we treat people in many parts of society. In fact I’m convinced that we are currently chopping up “normal” into a set of “kinds of humans”. That does not mean that everything in the DSM-V is something that would works this way though. I can give some thoughts.

      The way that we currently categorize things we call mental illness and disorders is basically by (anyone can feel free to suggest something I am missing):
      1) Sets of symptoms and characteristics that statistically come together more often than random chance.
      2) The phenomena in question is perceived as harmful to the patient by the patient, or harmful to other people.

      The underlying cause of the condition is not part of the diagnosis.

      This not a problem on the surface, but rather the problems come from how individual and social psychology interacts with the idea of mental illness. The problems that arise from my perspective are:
      1) Something I call the “negative medical bias”. Medicine rationally focuses on people in pain or people causing pain in others. As a result when a diagnosis appears society as a whole interacts with that diagnosis based on these negative examples. For conditions that are part of human normal with examples of expression that is also neutral or positive society develops a skewed perspective of people that have the characteristics of psychology and personality that match these diagnostic criteria. The result is bigotry and xenophobia, ablism. The benefits of being these kinds of people are hidden from society and too often from the people themselves and the don’t get the opportunity to figure out how to hone their natural advantages and gain control over their disadvantages and excesses.
      2) Society views mental illness as people who are essentially “broken” and “unnatural” allowing it to be a means of othering people. While this looks similar to #1, this considers mental conditions that are actually normal and natural ways that brains and the minds they generate can exist, but they always feel negative or bad or painful to the person (I don’t want to exclude people who don’t see positives to what they endure). If given the choice the patient might want it to simply “go away”. This would be things like PTSD, depression, maybe schizophrenia (that one seems to be maintained by evolution too) that do have some measurable benefits, but are outweighed by the negatives.
      I think a useful way of looking at it is in defining “broken” as one end of a spectrum. An example of broken might be the effects of a harmful mutation that causes an illness or disease all by itself and is never seen as any kind of positive like what occurs in cystic fibrosis or Huntington’s disease. On the other end of the spectrum things like autism, TS and ADHD don’t have single mutations associated with them. Attempts to map genes find hundreds of genes which I would argue suggests that it’s a system or process. If the observations of epigenetic involvement become strongly associated with environment induced non-genetic inheritance I would feel comfortable asserting that society should see those conditions as part of human normal (basically stop treating them like it’s a matter of “broken”, in truth I’m already at this point).

      I believe that we will view mental health and related research in horror. Research articles refer to differences in anatomy and physiology in things like TS, autism and ADHD with language that suggests brokenness. “Pathology”, “disorder”, “abnormal”, “disease-related” and similar were in a citation I just found in Pubmed by doing a simple search for “Tourette’s Syndrome”. These people are supposed to know that a brains are things with lots of individual variation even in a control group. So the control ends up this averaged “normal” that does not really exist, and the useful information gained about general trends in the subject group under study are discussed with language that suggests the existence is a bad thing.

      I some thoughts about depression, but this is also a situation where my views are based on the likely naturalness of the phenomena. When I read about depression I see people who are reasonable responding to living in a shitty, painful environment. To me depression seems to be a way that we respond to an environment that is consistently more negative and painful than positive. So on one level we may be medicating the reaction to society instead of dealing with the problems in society. On another level I don’t want to judge people that are suffering and are getting the help that they need to survive in the circumstances that they find themselves. So I’m hoping that we focus that horror on the parts of society that cause the depression as we help depressed people. In a lot of ways a lot of mental illness looks like phenomena that worked better when we were living more like chimpanzee or bonobo troops, but don’t work as well in modern society with our groups that are too large for how empathy seems to work.

      DBT, CBT and their offshoots like the TS specific CBIT are useful and I would honestly describe the communicative forms as highly structured and process oriented conversations meant to enable the patient to objectify their own emotional responses and choose (insofar as they can, there is a lot of diversity here) how they want to feel about and react to things. It’s useful but possibly not necessary in every case to find the underlying experiences that led to the person reacting and feeling they way that they do.
      Part of the problem is the way that society looks at emotion and mood as phenomena. An emotional response is a reaction to something in perception based on previous experience with what is in perception. That response consists of at least five things: the felt component that represents body responses (that are also simulated when remembering), changes to our perception, changes to how we access memory, changes to how we think, and the stored behavioral responses to what is being perceived. The early parts resemble what is called “mindfulness meditation” which I see as objectifying interoception and exteroception so that the patient can clearly feel the emotional response in an unbiased manner. Later stages involve helping the patient recall the original experiences that created these responses, and desensitizing themselves, choosing how they want to feel about things, or creating alternative responses (or other options for change). It takes time though and can be derailed by many things. Mood interacts with this as a kind of “background emotional tone” that biases how one reacts in an instant. The process is often meant to chop away at negative mood over time.
      Another part of the problem is in a patient having a supportive social environment that reinforces the desired changes. We are social primates and the group has profound emotional impacts on the individual. I believe that we have whole separable cognitive systems for the group to influence our emotional reactions as they are being created, recreated and changed. The psychologist alone can often not be enough to help the patient create change, especially if the person has been used to the social component being present (I think this is also an area where the reality of religion and what it is/does is important, as well as how atheists/skeptics often neglect the group-social aspects).

      TS inherently has to do with felt urges with respect to perception, thought, memory (OCD comes along with TS about 50% of time, ADHD comes along 80-90% of the time, mood disorders come along at increased rates relative to the general population) and action (the physical and verbal tics, though I see changes in percpetion and thought as “actions” too). Tics and compulsions tend to blend together as phenomena in the literature and look like different manifestations of an underlying phenomena. The stereotype is based on what people can see easily from the outside. These urges feel disconnected from our intention and control and often as a disembodied external “other”. I liken it to the “locks” keeping habits and routines that normally get released in response to something in perception being “weakened” or even “broken”. This also results in normal responses to what is in perception occurring more easily and more strongly, and we feel it as more intense emotion and emotional reactions. Things like the mammalian dive reflex and the pre-pulse inhibition to startle are more intense in the former, and less intense in the latter. All of this gives a really good knowledge about people in general when I separate out the TS from the phenomena that are related.

      As for TS and trolls, I do see myself as something of a “troll hunter”, though self-aggrandizement can be risky (one risks Trumpishness).
      My current goals do intend to objectify how I see social conflict as a means of coming up with useful ways of modeling how it works at the individual and social level, what the various characteristics and variables are, what the various strategies and goals are, and I want to do this in a way that is inherently advantageous for people that tend to be victims of harassment and abuse and are dealing with associated trauma, and disadvantageous for harassers and abusers. I also want to make sure that the previous does not bias the general patterns that are neutrals at the species level. It’s quite a list of goals and dependent on adjustment by the perspectives of other people as any skill I have here is dependent on my observations of other people in conflicts (or causing them for good or bad) and my experiences of them when I am involved.
      Before my diagnosis I saw myself in terms that resemble how society sees “just like everyone else”. We don’t really let things relating to shape of brain and mind this detailed and specific become part of the way we see one another beyond how personality is seen in pop culture. After my diagnosis I unavoidably started objectifying how I am different from the average person and that is when I started seeing places where I was not like “everyone else” when it came to my experience of social conflict. I currently liken it to the way that people on the autism spectrum experience a sensory overload that they learn how to manage and eventually can (maybe will) become a more finely detailed experience of the world that is seen as resistance to things like change blindness. In my case the sensory overload has more to do with social information and subjective experience than the subjective experience of objective content (the difference between intereoceptive processes vs. exteroceptive processes, or the difference between “what and where” versus “how and why”). But I have to emphasize that this is very tentative and subject to change, especially via comments from people on the autism spectrum (describing ones opposite or inverse is risky). I can’t say with certainty that TS is only about social phenomena and that autism is only about objective phenomena.
      Whatever the reality my perception and memory tends to focus on action and movement and the reasons and meaning associated with them. So I see textual conflict in terms of what people are doing with objects and emotions and working out why they are doing it. As a result general rules and patterns tend to drop out such as functional similarities (and differences! That symmetry OCD is kind of useful) in how xenophobic bigotry works among different categories of like sex, gender, race, ability…

      This was a long response but you brought up a lot of things that I have thought about and was worth it.

  3. Peter B says

    With a little from my friend Google it appears that “cognitive enhancements” are both meds and electronic brain interactions.

    I am interested in learning about both. Info and your observations. Will stay tuned.

    -Peter B

    • says

      The kind of “cognitive enhancement” I am talking about here has to do with how different kind of people measure against a “normal” control group with respect to measurable parts of brain/mind function. These are things that have to do with natural aptitudes and variation in a population.

      I have read a little bit about medication or device related enhancements (such as use of trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, TMS), but I don’t know if I can say anything that is of much worth. The best I can do currently has to do with possible consequences of how any enhancements would have to work and potential unintended consequences. For example if one were to try to use TMS one would be altering how a part of cerebral cortex functions, but brain anatomy tends to have the same computational effect on different parts of processing. Any “enhancements” would probably have to be linked with either specific activities that one wants to perform better at, or exercises that could give general improvements to kinds of thought. Brain enhancement apps are plagued by the problem of only improving one’s ability to do those activities, similar to IQ being a measure of taking an IQ test (but I have heard, but not investigated, that there are more generally useful exercises).
      Another potential problem could be strengthening of bad habits or processes that contain errors if one is not careful when doing activities while using a TMS device.

      If I learn more about those kinds of enhancements I would be willing to post about it though.

  4. Sven Magnusson says

    Welcome! Congratulations on the new blog home! After Richard Carrier’s departure, it is gd to see that Freethoughblogs as brought on another writer who writes a similar style of extremely lengthy, thorough, in-depth, and informative posts.

    Also, congratulations on your new job!. I have a question though. I am from Sweden and have never been to America. When I read the blogs here at FTB and at The Orbit, I noticed that a great many of the American bloggers are dealing with long-term unemployment and have to resort to asking for money from their readers (I donate when I can). Why is this? Do American employers discriminate and refuse to hire atheists? Is it something else? I notice that a lot of social justice oriented atheists are neuroatypical. Do American employers discriminate against people with intellectual disabilities? Things must be really bad in America, because in progressive countries like mine bloggers don’t have to worry so much about making a living.

    Anyway, congratulations on the new blog and I look forward to reading it!

    • says

      Thank you! It’s a relief because after three years I was feeling myself falling apart on a more basic human level.

      I’m sure that the phenomena of bloggers mentioning unemployment and requesting help has lots of causes and discrimination is one of them.
      1) People who are unemployed or need money are in pain and many people in pain will seek out community. (Though after a while I started becoming more isolated and I’m trying to break out of that)
      2) Minority status is a factor in unemployment rates and FTB and the orbit have more of a focus on those issues. Discrimination plays a part in that, though since atheists can hide what they are more easily it’s probably less of a factor, though just as shitty (My psychological issues were a factor in my unemployment at a lot of levels, but not because I have a TS verbal tic problem. More of a depression + did not know about ADHD/TS so I could not take into account problem. I might write about that some time.)

      I think that atheist + social justice communities are more willing to be honest about what we are and oppose social structures that prevent people from talking about and being what they are. I would say that there is discrimination based on mental ability and characteristics but that it’s often justified by phrasing it in ways that characterizes a person as a problem employee or a bad fit for the job/working environment.
      Also (and not a widely held view) I believe that there is no “neurotypical” and that the term is currently useful for social and political reasons (a positive thing). Some of us have had our part of human diversity more concretely defined by science and medicine, and in my case that has been extremely advantageous in some areas even though society still has problems dealing with the reality. Science and medicine will come for the rest of you soon enough and then we all get acronyms! 😉

      Relatedly there are job placement services that specialize in placing people with autism for example. That Danish company has US branches now.

  5. says

    Just to let people know what is going on, I have comment moderation on as a way of “feeling out” what I need to do, and have to depart for work for much of the day and get home late enough that I don’t get to approve or respond to comments until the following morning. If things look good over the next couple of weeks I may turn comment moderation off, but first I need to get the wordpress app set up so I can deal with problems more quickly.

    And I need to go to work so I’ll respond to you tomorrow Sven and Great American Satan!

  6. says

    Also, about comments – you can leave moderation on, while approving people on an individual basis, so the approved people won’t be in the moderation queue.

  7. The Mellow Monkey says

    Awesome to see you’ve got a blog here, Brony! I look forward to reading your stuff in more depth than comments alone.

  8. says

    Dood. All this time commenting on the same blogs and I never knew you were you. I even used my real name, and got not an indication that we knew each other. Tsk, tsk. Oh, well, glad to see you’ve got stuff going on. Gotta say, it sounds like things have been interesting for you since college. Hope to read from you more later.

    • says

      I guess I was not specific enough when I sent you that Facebook friend invite XD. I remember saying something like “I feel like I should send an invite to one of the only other open bronies on FTB” but I did not say which one I was. I debated using my real name here, I don’t have a reason to be paranoid about people figuring out who I am and I’ve even told people I’ve argued with outside of FTB who I was when I had previously argued with them inside of FTB. I’m probably should have mentioned it.

      • says

        No prob. Didn’t really occur to me to wonder, anyway. I figured since we hung out in college and have a lot of mutual friends it was only natural you’d come across some post of mine. But, yay, now I know. And knowing is half the battle.

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