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When being social ruins your special interest

Discussion in 'Friends, Family & Social Skills' started by zozie, Jun 22, 2021.

  1. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, it's been a long time. I hope everyone here is well and I apologize for my absence. When I started school in January things were really great until I got overwhelmed with assignments. I did well that semester, though I cut out a lot of stuff in order to do so. This summer term has been a nightmare and I've had to cut out even more just to pass. So my apologies.

    I'm wondering today if any of you have experienced engaging in a special interest socially? Not among other NDs, but in a wide group? I'll give my situation.

    I love astrology. The ancient variety out of the Hellenistic period, so Greek, Babylonian, Egyptian, that sort of melting-pot era. Moreover, astrologers who study ancient astrology also have to be versed in philosophy well enough to read ancient texts, and I love philosophy, too. It's my jam.

    Recently I signed up for a year-long course in ancient astrology, delivered by webinar, and it's quite rigorous and engaging. I was excited for the corresponding social media group until I found myself having panic attacks when people started paying attention to my posts and commenting on how smart they think I am. Almost being deferential, which made me super uncomfortable.

    I don't think I'm that smart. I am articulate in my writing, but that's not the same thing. I hated the attention in this group and that's when the troubles began. If I had just said, "I'm sorry, I hate all this attention," well that's rude, isn't it? And at the same time, it's unfair because I love talking about ancient astrology. So, I sort of feel upset that I'm unhappy for putting a social group in the impossible situation of paying attention to my ideas without being able to pay attention to me, and at the same time, I don't know if I can really talk about what I'm going through.

    And as anyone who has a special interest can confirm, when the teacher gets it wrong you really want to correct them, so I've been trying to bite back my desire to correct a point my teacher has gotten wrong, and that has been upsetting, too. It wouldn't be an issue if I weren't in this corresponding social group of fellow astrology students, but if I'm not part of the group, who do I talk to about it? Also, the students really love the teacher. If I correct him, then, that looks really bad for me, and I go from an "expert" to a "know-it-all", neither of which I feel like I am.

    It almost seems like no matter the subject, I only ever get along with other autistic people.

    Does anyone else have an experience where being social has ruined their special interest?
     
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  2. Aspychata

    Aspychata Serenity waves, beachy vibes

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    This makes me think of two things. First subject tests for the teachers who probably a majority of them wouldn't pass.

    Second thing, your original creative thinking, which your classmates would all flunk out on so it's easier to ride your coat-tails of contributions then and add to the discussions.

    But it sounds like a fantastic class and it's great you are pursuing your interests.
     
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  3. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    I sometimes feel like a wet blanket, you know? Here's this group, and everyone is sharing their Sun, Moon and Rising signs, and talking about how they wish love and light on everyone, and all I want to say is, "So, when we learned that Plato has true respect for matter over spirit, how does that square with claim of 'pleasure, being the greatest incitement to evil'? in his Timaeus?" But people don't do that, I guess. There's a ritual of small talk and I didn't do it.

    And it's like, I don't know. I feel like I landed myself in the Mean Girl universe, except that half the people seem really nice...they just...can't relate.

    What I really want to do over the course of the next few years is envision astrology to include the neurodivergent experience. Not in a predictive sense, not in the diagnostic sense, but to speak to a person's experience with sensory overload, or attention, or specific interests and patterns, and what have you, and be identified and leveraged through an astrological lens.

    I have had a couple of autistic members say that they're really interested in this pursuit of mine. They've either come to me privately or have spoken up in plain sight.

    I suspect what will happen is that I will forego the astro community in favor of studying more or less alone. Maybe I will be able to venture on in a sporadic way, but the all-or-nothing is strong when it comes to social media.

    But yeah, it is a fantastic class, when the teacher's not wrong.
     
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  4. Thinx

    Thinx Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    As a teacher, I'd have to veto subject tests for the teachers. I'm reliant on my handouts to impart items of information. I can't be expected to actually know things surely? Just joking.

    But it's pretty hard to always be right. Could you just tactfully let the person know this bit of info? They possibly do have plenty useful to say, despite being wrong about something.

    Your subject sounds fascinating. Maybe you have joined an open access group, so a lot haven't been studying at a high level? Your comments are very keenly appreciated, I hope you will get more comfortable with that.

    I wonder if the way you are about it could be more related to your background / upbringing than to autism? Hence might be something you could work on or change?
     
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  5. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure how to tactfully do it, I just know that when I try, misunderstandings happen so these days I mostly avoid disagreeing with a teacher unless I know I can get them alone in private, and that's not possible, I think there are around 500 students, if not more.

    The forum is open to all skill levels, yes, and my bachelors in Philosophy is both a blessing and a curse. If I had not read Plato, I could believe that the ancients did indeed revere the darkness, changeability, and embodiment of matter as much as the eternal and unchanging spirit. But alas, I know better, and not just because I took a class. I honestly studied the material hoping I'd be wrong. Nope, Plato is as problematic as he ever was.

    I don't know that I'll ever get comfortable with keenly appreciated comments until or unless the readers challenge me in turn. I don't know what to do when I sound like an authority without even trying. I am grateful for the appreciation but then it seems like ...hmm, sort of like when someone tosses you a bean bag in the game "hot potato" and you stand there holding it and everyone is watching and waiting and you're also watching and waiting, with no idea that you're supposed to do something. What I mean is, I feel like there's a step that I'm missing. Am I supposed to validate the people who are appreciating me? What if I don't know them well enough to say anything meaningful?

    A friend of mine said it best, when she was first researching autism. She said, "Sometimes I'm terrified that I'm secretly an a**hole."

    As far as what to change, well, it's hard to say. What I am noticing now is that I forget sometimes that I have a delayed emotional response, and I was really stressed out about this group like 3 days ago and it's only catching up today. It's a good thing to ponder. A constructive thing. I'll have to wait until I'm not stressed out, whenever that is. A few more days perhaps.

    Thank you for your reply, and for other replies on this thread. This forum always has interesting and enlightening things to contribute.
     
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  6. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    I hope it’s okay to respond despite not yet reading through all the other’s.

    Being articulate and knowledgeable and enthusiastic will pretty much always cause waves socially. Your class now becomes much more than just a cool class on a subject you love.

    Most of your peers aren’t going to be good writers, it’s relatvely rare. So if you pop up you’ll be noticed, for that alone.

    You probably already know this but will say it anyway: don’t correct the professor. Just. No. I have done that & can attest that it is not a happy thing.

    If you have a point to make about an error, then use your excellent writing skills and weave your argument into a presentation indirectly.

    p.s. the subject sounds really fascinating!
     
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  7. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    This made me laugh out loud. I remember once, way back in 2014 when I was young and naive to the ways of neurodivergence, I presented a final project in my Propaganda and Persuasion class with this introduction:

    "The professor has not provided us with a sufficiently workable definition of propaganda. Therefore, the presentation that follows and all claims I am about to present are problematic, but in lieu of a more concise definition, I did the best that I could. I apologize for any confusion in the arguments I present today."

    I suppose it goes without saying that this (and other situations like it) also were not happy things. But to be fair, I wouldn't have had to nitpick a definition if my Propaganda and Persuasion course had been taught by the Philosophy department. Instead it was a prof from the Communication department.

    But I have learned a little in the past 7 years and I did find a way to air a grievance to the astrology teacher and make it look like a question and not an accusation (read: statement of fact). As such, I was able to get some information that might help me out a bit, and if nothing else, will keep me distracted from the social media group for the next 10 days or so. That should be enough time to figure out a strategy, hopefully.
     
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  8. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Oh wow
    excellent story. Keep that paper filed away.

    “...envision astrology to include the neurodivergent experience. Not in a predictive sense, not in the diagnostic sense, but to speak to a person's experience with sensory overload, or attention, or specific interests and patterns, and what have you, and be identified and leveraged through an astrological lens.”
    ^
    Could it be your thesis? Are there some departments that co-exist with the philosophy departments at all, at schools you respect?
     
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2021
  9. PastelPetals

    PastelPetals Well-Known Member

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    I know it can be hard I tend to just want to lecture. You seem to have some good ideas and I think you can make this class work. Others have given ideas but I have never been good at school so I will give what I can: My inbox is always open you can info dump you can ask questions from me or don't seriously whatever works for you all the stuff you can't say and all the stuff you can't correct can go in my inbox, on the forum blogs, in the forum itself etc. I understand how frustrating it is but maybe posting here will alleviate some of the stress of not correcting and let you engage in an interest purely for the fun of it. I have done that here and it's worked wonderfully.
     
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  10. unperson

    unperson Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    You could be unwittingly in a dating club, hobby classes can be like that. They're probably sizing each other up for potential relationships, while you're there to work. I used to go to work to work, but others go to play social games.

    ...sounds like it's too easy for you academically.
     
  11. Martha Ferris

    Martha Ferris Seeking answers

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    You can get around the "know it all" problem by formulating your correction as a question.
     
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  12. OkRad

    OkRad μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος οὐλομένην V.I.P Member

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    I have corrected teachers, too. Some accepted it, some did not.

    As to Plato or any ancient literature,-----pm me anytime. I studies classics for more than 2 1/2 decades.

    Per Plato......When reading his dialogues, keep in mind that his "ideas" shift as the speakers shift.

    In Symposium, for example, one of the interlocutors is in favour of pederasty (Pausanius), but this does not mean at all that either Plato or Socrates felt the same. In fact, in Plato's Laws he speaks against it. This was a dialogue comprised of drunk guys and the writing reflects that. However, people HAVE taken this as a defense of pederasty. And that is only one example.

    There are countless others, especially from the Republic where Plato is being cheeky and taken seriously. The Athenians would no more have their children raised in common groups than most of them would believe in the fantastical afterlife at the end which became a core component of the ideas of Christian hell!! That poor man has been scandalized.

    Once those in power realized they could quote Plato and/or Aristotle out of context in a time when no one could read and only the elite knew Greek.....wow...it was a joy ride. Suddenly all sorts of things were "legitimized," things at which the Athenians would be aghast!!
     
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  13. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure I will present a theory of autistic astrology at school, but I hope to eventually share it with the more scholastically-minded astrology community when or if I manage to develop one. I'm not impatient, just determined. There are several global astrology conferences held each year and people present there just like at academic conferences. But that's looking very far ahead.
     
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  14. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    I think I have a leg up in some ways with my philosophy background, but not in other ways, like being familiar specific astrological texts.
     
  15. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    We read Plato's Timaeus to get a feel for the distinctions between primary motion (that of the sun and the stars) and secondary motion (that of the planets) and their symbolic associations with spirit and matter respectively. But Plato also makes value judgments about those two, so I'm trying to look past that. My teacher recommended the Hermetica, so I'm actually quite excited to sink my teeth into a new text and learn what it's about.
     
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  16. watersprite

    watersprite inadvertent vagabond V.I.P Member

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    Do you by any chance have a book you could recommend (in English) with Timaeus?

    I’ve been on a bit of a search as to what or who was behind Augustine & his justification for the Inquisition, and that led to the stoics etc., etc
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2021
  17. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    For a good introduction, this seems to be a translation most people like. There are other copies that include commentary, but this seems to be a basic intro.

    https://www.amazon.com/Timaeus-Critias-Oxford-Worlds-Classics-ebook/dp/B006NTMD16#customerReviews
     
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  18. Neonatal RRT

    Neonatal RRT Well-Known Member

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    I think there are a few things going on here. One, you've recognized the difference between knowledge and intelligence,...that, in and of itself,...is a sign of intelligence. So, don't be so hard on yourself. People are seeing you as an informational resource,...nothing wrong with that,...as long as you are responsible and are willing to acknowledge when you don't know something. Two, as far as dealing with your instructors,...in my case, physicians,...when you appear to have disagreements,...I do one of two lead in statements. (1) "I have a concern." or (2) "What are your thoughts on...." Either way, it opens up the dialogue in a non-threatening and respectful way, it allows one the opportunity to listen to a different perspective, and it opens up the potential for each other to learn.

    As far as "ruining" a special interest, if you just look at it from a learning perspective,...more importantly, from a "cognitive empathy" perspective,...it may actually give you a more complete understanding of your special interest. Recognizing how you interpret and use your knowledge of astrology and philosophy is your own,...and that others can look at the same thing and get something else from it,...that's handy information that you can use,...giving you a more complete understanding.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2021
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  19. Skittlebisquit

    Skittlebisquit Keep trying to be as amazing as you really are

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    I think a know it all is just fine generally. Courtesy and decency are pretty easy, espescially online. You have more time to think online. Tact is a challenge for me.

    I'm not familiar with the material you study. I would welcome an intelligent well read participant in a webinar I was paying for, it's like a bonus.

    I have to meet with nt ppl in person soon. It's to help maintain a relationship that's important to me. Makes me feel nauseated, and kind of sweaty. is that just fear, or the more complex type of fear that is social anxiety?
     
  20. zozie

    zozie Well-Known Member

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    It's a good question. I tend to feel sick after the social situation is over.

    The fervor on the astrology forum is dying down, which I'm thankful for, because honestly I'm so strapped with summer term schooling that I'm having panic attacks trying to complete my assignments on time.

    How did your social engagement go?