As I was writing my musings about Cowen’s ”Create your own economy”, my twitter-feed was pointing me (over and over and over) to a NYT article about Love and Aspergers. A quite interesting, and well written account. Razib Khan (who I avidly follow), commented on it in his “aliens among us” post. He comments first on how he shares some traits with some of the high-functioning/high IQ community (I’m thinking this will be like reading the DSM – everybody shares some symptoms with loads of diagnoses, without really having the kind of issues that get diagnosed). But, he points out another interesting feature, grounded in Boyd and Richerson’s work (and, which prompted me to order another book…). Our strong capacity for cooperation is probably an evolved/biological trait, and as such, we have an innate capacity to (subconsciously) adhere to the culturally local norms. We speak with our peers accents, and pick up on our local manners. Finding these are necessary, and we learn them effortlessly it seems (well, some of us. I used to think that everybody else could figure these rules with their little toes, and I was mystified. No, does not make me on the spectrum. I think I have other issues).
Razib points out how the people described (and people he has met) seem to have these micro-cultures. Culture of family perhaps – he mentions that someone having the accent of parents rather than peers may be a marker for autism spectrum. Micro-cultures. Cultures of one? That it is then difficult to negotiate with others that may have their own micro-cultures. And that, still intact, is the underpinnings for finding norms and rules. But, it isn’t of the peer group, but of something much smaller. And, that makes sociality that much harder to negotiate.
I do think I have some on-line friends like this. Some of whom I enjoy very much. But, they are virtually impossible to influence – must be enjoyed for their sharp and interesting minds, rather than as play-mates. But, it is a fascinating topic, psychologically, to explore.