After a weekend of adjusting to change, and processing the emotional fallout of those around me, I have reached some level of clarity. Perhaps the change was good for me.
As one with autism it is understood, and on some levels expected, that I would have difficulty with change. Change means processing new people, habits, patterns and input. This creates in me the need to define everything, working them into a series of measurements which I refer to as algorithms. True, algorithms were not designed for use in humans, so to speak, but they are for me as the host of a brain that runs more like a computerized machine than a fluid under the effects of evolution. I am an alien. I know that.
To avoid rewriting my algorithms, I found it easier to avoid change. But is this wise? Perhaps change is one of those necessary evils that can produce a positive outcome, even for Aspies? I need to weigh the data.
To begin with, I must list the changes that have occurred recently in my life.
- Accept new people into my inner circle (or what I call Tier 1).
- Adjust my schedule, especially to make room for more spontaneity.
- Converse more. More people means more conversation.
- Face my fear of the telephone. Coordinating socio-economic activities often requires a discussion on the telephone, as does maintaining friendship with those who do not like to type.
- Process more emotions. Anytime you add people, you add their emotional color to the social exchange. I know this even though I can’t always read it.
To weigh these, I use my negative weight scale, or n-weight. Each of the items on the list hold a 1 n-weight, making this a 5 n-weight list. The scale itself measures from 1 to 8, with 1 being a minor adjustment, 5 being a significant change and 8 being a total life over-haul. For example, taking care of a plant for someone has a 1 n-weight as the change in my surroundings and routine is minimal. Having a baby, on the other hand, is an 8 n-weight, as it requires complete change in every aspect of daily life. A 5 n-weight list may contain a series of 1 n-weight items, but the sum of them is still 5. This means I must undergo a significant paradigm shift to adjust to these new changes collectively.
On the flip side, comfort is also measured. Let’s say that I stay the same. I accept no changes and live nestled into the scenario to which I am most accustomed. No change = comfort, to which I assign 2 positive weights, or p-weights. Comfort outweighs change 2 to 1. This means that against a 5 n-weight list, I have a 2 to 1 comfort ratio, making the resistance of change a 10 p-weight motive. Clearly not changing is a more positive result, on my scale.
But what happens when the change brings something or someone into my life that ultimately brings comfort, once I have adjusted to the change? How then can I weigh the differences? Three of my changes on the list above are impacts from the inclusion of one person or event, whereas the other two are derivative events. These changes were all n-weighted in the start, but as I proceed the changes to my current paradigm, the added comforts out ranked my 2 to 1 scale system of no change versus change respectively. As a matter of fact, the new comforts are still undefined, as to origin and weight assignment, but seem to display quite clearly an overall p-weight that reached beyond my system. How is that possible?
How is that possible?
Maybe this is what Susskind said as he saw particles move as a wave? Maybe this is what Pavlov said to his dog? Maybe this is what onlookers said as they saw science students disappear under a fabric they invented?
It seemed like a problem. Then there was the Planetarium. I was attending a presentation at the Fernbank Science Center on “Bad Astronomy.” Essentially the program debunked the validity of alien sightings and the accuracy of Astrology. Anyhow, during the presentation, they posted Newton’s Law as a basis for their argument over the effectiveness of planetary gravity on human behavior. I was quick to contemplate the math and use it as a perception filter for recent events.
F=GMm/d2, was the formula presented at the planetarium. It was used to explain how distance effects the gravitational pull plants have on humans here on earth. The greater the distance, the less effect gravity has on the mass of the two bodies. When I saw this I knew that G is a gravitational constant, simplified as 6.673×10-11Nm2/kg2 with a standard uncertainty of 1.2×10-4, and immediately thought this could be why my human p-weight versus n-weight system is failing. I never considered that p-weights increased in mass as the subject grew nearer to Tier 1.
As distance decreases between two humans, it changes the effect they have on one another. As long as I remained in a constant state, or unchanged, I kept the p-weight effect of people on me minimized. The distance lessened their p-weight. Distance helped lessen the n-weight effect of change itself. Comfort was also based on distance, but proportional to the avoidance of pain. This made a perfectly logical host for the 1 n-weight to 2 p-weight system.
In the past, I had never considered the inverse, the positive effects of people once they broke through my discomfort barrier. The positive effects of love, companionship and even mutual idea exchange grow stronger as the theoretical distance between the two subjects decreases. Context of human interaction has crept up on me from behind, again. I had never thought to calculate the diminishment of distance.
So, if I am adding comfort weight based on no change at a 2 to 1 rate but then decreasing n-weights as distance decreases, my n-weight versus p-weight system is obliterated. What does this mean for me? Is the score set at Libido 1, Logic, 0?
I decided to head out of the house to search for clarity. I went to Starbucks for a tea, grabbed a NY Times and snuggled into a large chair to read the paper. My mind halted at the sight of an article title in the science section of the paper “…Proposal Puts Practicality Ahead of Sacrifice.” It suddenly made sense what I needed to do. I needed to put what was working ahead of my sacrifices, system or no system.
My system was ideal for weighing medial, day to day decisions such as what movie to watch or what food to eat. When it came to the complex interaction of humans, I would have to accept that personality can not be weighed nor could I predict the impact of personality on me. The need to quantify everything had removed me from the prison of fear but transferred me directly to the prison of isolation, at least where Tier 1 penetration was concerned. The system was effective at holding out trouble, but it inadvertently filtered out the amazing people who could change my life for the better. Much like antibiotics, I was taking out the good with the bad.
My life trajectory has changed and for the better. I have learned that the unexpected can usher in enlightenment, change can bring about comfort, and, as said in This Side by Nickel Creek, “sometimes the unexplained can define you.” Unexplained, this change in my life is, but unexplained doesn’t mean undefined, I know that will come to me one day. Unexplained can mean immeasurable, and that I am ok with.