Most intellectuals, writers and journalists are mediocre. But this doesn’t bother me much. There is a lot of good stuff to read out there on the internet. If you are an intelligent teenager or young adult—or even a full-grown man who disagrees—where should you begin?
Thomas Szasz’ work against psychiatry is great, and I’ve been reading much of his work over the past few weeks. Yesterday, I saw a report on how psychiatrists try to cure people of homosexuality in some bogus country. What people do not know is that Homosexuality and masturbation—and even reading books or being runaway slaves—were seen as mental illness not long ago, by all smarties. Thomas Szasz’ arguments against the concept of mental illness are the best I’ve ever read.
Less Wrong is a community blog which makes you really think.
Satoshi Kanazawa was fired from Psychology Today for saying black women are not very attractive. I am not surprised that much of the prose in Psychology Today is very mediocre.
It’s good to start with this paper on how geniuses become less productive when they age. Continue reading
When people ask me why I do not write for the mainstream, it reminds me of an incident that happened over a year ago. I mailed Psychology Today’s editor Hara Estroff Marano, saying that I would like to write on Asperger Syndrome. I am sharing this exchange, to illustrate why—much as I would like to—the effort is often not worth it for me. Contrary to what people believe, editors do respond (This is not true of Indian editors. They have poor personal standards.), and are not prejudiced against unknown writers at all.
May I write an article for Psychology Today on why direct communication is a great virtue, in people with Asperger’s Syndrome? As a man somewhere on the autistic spectrum, it was never clear to me why the direct communication style of people with Asperger’s Syndrome is considered harsh and insensitive. Some psychologists like Simon Baron-Cohen think that the people with Asperger’s Syndrome communicate directly because they have an extreme male brain, and hence, low ability to empathize. But, if directness makes people uncomfortable, this is perhaps a problem with people and not with direct speech. People are indirect when they are not fully comfortable telling you what they really think. An Aspie can easily claim that he finds it more exhausting to interpret the indirect demands of people, defend himself against their implicit accusations, and meet the indirect demands others impose on him.
I often notice that people are unable to put themselves in my shoes and understand that my disagreement does not indicate a conflict, or personal enmity. This is a classic case of failure of introspection. I suspect that this means that the neurotypicals are deficient in the cognitive component of empathy. They are also unable to be nice to Aspies despite the disagreements they might have. I suspect that this means that they are deficient in the affective component of empathy. Now, is it the people with Asperger’s Syndrome who lack empathy? If someone is willing to defend true, unpopular positions even when most of his peers disagree with him, I think he is a dynamo of self-responsibility. I think literalism and disagreeableness are the fountainhead of human progress. The triumph of the disagreeable over the agreeable is what the progress of humanity is all about.
Here is a published work on mine. A book review emphasizing the autistic cognitive traits I noticed in Warren Buffett. And on why people like Buffett thrive in the information age: