As someone with autism, it is always taken for granted that neurotypicals have excellent social skills and I should aspire to one day attain their level of acumen in that field. In earlier blogs, I have mentioned how society treats a lack of social skills, those resulting in offensive or otherwise abnormal behaviors, as a lack of ethics and unethical behaviors. This is stupid and untrue. Yet, a greater question is begged. What if neurotypicals don’t have great social skills, themselves? If social skills are defined by how to engage in interpersonal intercourse in such a manner that begets the greatest welfare and eudemonia, protects individual rights, celebrates the dignity and specialness of the individual, and is most kind to humanity and the natural environment in all regards then the etiquette of a culture can be defined as something other than being the epitome of possible social skills.
That’s a very moral definition and also a very political one and also a quite Asperger’s one. It posits that the purpose of human relations is to improve humanity. It has within it the hard logic my condition is known for. A neurotypical usually has no aim in their etiquette, it is merely to conform to convention, not to engender a better world or uplift the other party in the discourse. When I enter any discourse, as per my logic, I think of the end to which the discourse serves. It also proves I’m not a postmodernist, that I have an objective definition of right and wrong and that a culture cannot define it nor can anything other than God or, in more secular terms, the universal truths of the omniverse. Etiquette is a utility that serves God.
I don’t like generation bashing but this is going to focus on Zoomers but a liberal definition of Zoomer since the Zoomer traits are also bleeding into the older generations. Just like with Blackpink and Bieber and Swift and other pop acts, what starts with the youth quickly encompasses every generation. So by Zoomer, I basically mean what mostly started with Zoomers and then infected everybody else to varying degrees. The current generations are ever inclined toward ghosting but it is scientifically known that the psychological consequence of ghosting is very negative. A phenomenon that used to be associated with ending romantic relationships is now, likely, the most common way to end platonic relationships and professional relationships and more.
Also, from my experience, there is little understanding of reciprocity. If I miss two platonic coffee dates in a row, I’ll probably offer to spot my friend the drink next time to show I value their time and am repenting for my former misdeeds. Nowadays, the Zoomers don’t do that. Also, when someone invites me to eat, I break bread with them. I don’t go to lunch with someone and not eat. That’s impolite. Those and other gestures of hospitality are less common among the Zoomers. They don’t try to make people feel warm when you meet them and they get uncomfortable when you’re warm with them. Their conversations tend toward the human interest story. They speak in clickbait and that makes sense if the mouth and larynx is competing with the phone. The gossip sounds less like E! and more like Nancy Grace. As said earlier, we live in a “demon-haunted world” of True Crime and Horror dominating the airwaves. Every sucky boyfriend is a domestic abuser. Every platonic breakup was the result of a “toxic” relationship. The social scene is no longer a world of innocent play but a psychosomatic horror movie.
That prevents social skills. A world where every stranger is a stranger is a world where the capacity for friendly intercourse is impossible and human culture becomes alienated and isolated in the cells borne of its own, largely, psychosomatic fears. I don’t watch True Crime or Horror. Game of Thrones had dozens of acts of rape and I didn’t watch a single episode. I sure as fuck didn’t watch Fifty Shades of Grey. The last movie I saw in theaters was 1917. I don’t watch any what-should-be R-rated movies. Titanic, for example, is rated-R but it shouldn’t be and I consider it PG-13. The Shawshank Redemption is my favorite movie and I consider it PG-13 although it’s technically R-rated. I also don’t listen to Rap. I keep my media fairly clean. I don’t live in a demon-haunted world and therefore am better able to engage in friendly discourse. When I, in the capacity as a political worker, deal with the scary issues of society, the solutions to these problems are not discussed by the people who are afraid.
That’s all a tangent but an important one. Every generation has had their antisocial norms and I’m just mentioning the what and why of this generation’s antisocial norms and pointing out that I don’t participate in those norms. I don’t ghost people. I treat people warmly and break bread with them because I’m not afraid they’re going to slit my throat. Unlike this generation, I forgive people. If someone isn’t a rapist or a murder, I’m not going to hold a grudge over someone’s bad day for a decade. I’ll break bread with them in two weeks. It’s why I won’t join a social media mob over an uncouth post and will, in fact, likely reach out to them. I won’t even unfriend them. I don’t unfriend or block anyone unless they’re a scammer or I’m very pissed but, in those cases, it’s temporary. These are all social skills I have that my peers, literal and older generations who merged with my peers, lack.
I believe that neurotypicals need to be taught prosocial classes. They need to learn how to interact as humans. A lot of other things need to be done, most of the items I’ve mentioned have to do with the media environment and other have to do with social media. Yet, in addition to changing those things, basic social skills need to be taught to neurotypicals. They don’t know how to be friends or run a friendship. It’s just beyond them. The reason my social life lacks now has less to do with any social skills I lack and more to do with the social skills they lack. We live in a world of ghosts, we need to live in a world of humans.