If there is any aspect of autistic life that elicits the most philosophical questions it is that surrounding oxytocin. Is having oxytocin a part of the human experience I should have? What does liberal society have to say about that? I don’t have oxytocin and, from what I can gather, society’s position is that the disabled should not have it. Even without oxytocin, I managed to get in trouble for platonic harassment which is weird. Just going by the neurochemistry, that should not have happened. The fact that such did happen despite a lack of oxytocin betrays the immense human tragedy of categorical social rejection and mind-breaking loneliness.
Life without oxytocin is a life without heartbreak or infatuation. The principal symptom of an oxytocin defecit is the lack of personal attachment to relationships and other people. Which you think would make it easier to be socially rejected and lonely and it does but only up to a point. One does not want particular people but the indignity of being feared, hated, or degraded as a retard or a cripple is extremely painful. Being slightly uncanny makes large areas of life into a sundown town. Being on the spectrum often entails a lack of normal human relationships. Even the semi-friends I have made have almost never allowed me to come to their houses. And despite my lack of any romantic pursuit or violence, I live in pereptual fear of being reported. And if that’s the case without oxytocin, I can’t imagine how bad the situation would be with it and still on the spectrum.
And yet, society extolls the virtue and normative righteousness of oxytocin in its media as a key part of the human experience. From my perspective, this is hypocritical since they basically scream that myself and my people should slink back into our holes. If they believe, in the normative, that oxytocin is constituent in the ideal human eudemonia then they should be consistent. While oxytocin, per se, is absent from me and most of my people, it is not impossible to compensate for and when I say oxytocin, I refer to the experience as much as I do the neurotransmitter. Serotonin, norepinphrine, and endorphins combined can give a similiar euphoria from social experiences, they just lack chronic attachment. I can feel warm and fuzzy; I can’t make interpersonal bonds.
However, the lack of oxytocin is extreemly freeing. Oxytocin has been the reason my life is miserable because it is the source of anti-outgroup bias which is, ironically, the ultimate reason I got in trouble for platonic harassment. Oxytocin made me a monster and a pariah for being slightly different. I lack such feelings. It makes people vindictive, somber, and obsessed with social politics. I’m above social drama, grudges, and heartbreak. It is the etiology of my Abbie Hoffman, my Lenny Bruce, my Diogenes, it makes me immune to peer pressure, and while I cannot chemically love people, without the propensity for hatred and grudges, I can more easily love every child molester, serial killer, terrorist, and every other feared and hated pariah my religion commands me to love. It makes me the yurodivyi I have spent my life being.
The lack of oxytocin doesn’t preclude moral emotion. My serotonin is slightly above average and compensates well enough in terms of sympathy and as a punishment when I have less serotonin when I feel guilt and I get dopamine rewards from the pride of seeing myself as noble or mature and the corresponding dopamine defecit when I feel shame or dishonor. My two main moral emotions are serotonin-based sympathy and dopamine-based honor but I lack oxytocin-style empathy. Insofar as empathy is a synonym for compassion in the vernacular, I have empathy, and I have cognitive empathy, but I lack chemical empathy in the strictest neurochemical sense.
The biggest difference between life with and without oxytocin is there is much less social drama and less interpersonal emotions. To use an easy example, oxytocin-dominated people feel more anxious about their social capital and more intense emotions about relationships so they’ll ghost an awkward, non-dangerous, social situation while my lack of oxytocin and my dopamine-induced sense of honor and shame mean I don’t ghost non-dangerous situations. I think to myself “I going to be a gentleman and not abscond my responsibilities. Just shoot down an asprin and cookie with a four shot Americano and get this over with.” It is a lot less TMZ and Bravo and a lot more BBC and documentaries. I’d rather write a symphony over tea than shoot a dick pic over vodka. That’s life devoid of oxytocin.