brain sex, robot style

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
      If this be error and upon me proved,
     I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 is my favorite. I’ll never forget the first time I heard my favorite line- “Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”

I could care less about romantic love. Scott says something is wrong with me and I’m ruined, but I can’t stop giggling when frogs pop into my mind in the middle of it. I think, for me, the real connection is a brain thing. Personally, I believe the roots of true love start between parent and child, and that whole alteration thing is about accepting each other for who we are and not feeling compulsed to fix or change each other to suit our own whims. Still, this sonnet sparks a little deep thought (I’m not using it in context as discussed at Shakespeare’s Sonnets).

Going forward, strong caution on this post. Maybe I should have titled it Sexual Synesthesia and Asperger’s or something, but I think the title I’ve got is catchier. I’m putting this post out there as a ‘forewarned is forearmed’ before I get super serious and put this stuff into one of the books I’m working on. This book in particular will look at the darker side of growing up with Asperger’s, although there is plenty of cute to go around as well, like in aspie lovin’, which I think fits perfectly with Sonnet 116.

I describe the synesthesia I live with at Synesthesia. I’ve written about my sexuality sysnesthesia in the following posts, so I’ll leave that up to readers to play catch up, because I think it’s redundant to say it all again. I’ve read them so I’m going to skip down to the next paragraph.

sex is wrong, or coming out of the pandimensional closet

Lexx and psychological health, perhaps

Twitter friends have been having fun joking with me about whether I am a robot (it’s the world’s greatest pickup line, & the robot name variations on Pinky keep growing- Pinky 5, Pink-E, Pink3PO), little knowing the depths of chaos theory I’ve investigated and what that portends for artificial intelligence. I keep saying I’m not a big fan of robots, but over the last few days it’s become apparent that I’m actually quite familiar with a plethora of scifi robot characters, including androids, cyborgs, and synthetics. My most favoritist robot is the Electric Monk from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. I’ve also touched a little on brain studies in a number of classes, and although I’m no expert, I’m probably more familiar with the human brain than most people I meet. From physical and psychological development to the philosophies of self and existence and all the weird fiction I can get in between, I seem to have had a fixation on brain stuff most of my life.

A couple of the neatest things I like about brains is the inherent propensity for symbology and mapping. Even simple brains must associate recognizing something in the outer environment as a memory of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in relation to what the organism feels compelled get done in its life, and by the time brains reach the size of walnuts there is already extensive social mapping. Humans are so brainy that symbols take on multilayers of meaning and context, allowing us to enjoy things like sarcasm, while mapping grows so complex that humans literally invent more things to map just to keep mapping, resulting in a gaming industry that is currently rocking the planet.

I’m uniquely interested in these kinds of things because, while I am in no way mentally deficit, I am socially deficit and have spent my life putting extra time into figuring other people out and how I fit into their viewpoints. The kinds of thoughts I have are not the kinds of thoughts people around me generally have, and general consensus is that my kinds of thoughts occur because something is inherently wrong with me to begin with. None of us knew for years that I skirt the fringe of autism, although my poor mother suspected long before it was fashionable for definitions to stretch out and allow little things like the word ‘verbal’, because I really don’t shut up, and it’s usually not long before most people find me very annoying.

One of my favorite fiction authors for retrospective thought on thought itself is Douglas Adams. Like the Grebulon ship, there seems to be a hole where my central mission module belongs. If you’re the sort of brainiac who loves brain melt puzzle thinking and you haven’t heard of these things, click those links right now. I’ll wait for you.

I’ve often said I feel like I should be able to plug into other people like R2D2 plugs into a wall socket to get information. I’ve had to go out of my way to learn the social dance etiquettes that most people pick up on automatically while they’re still children. I tend to prefer function over form, which makes me obnoxiously rude sometimes, the way people in Star Trek might think Vulcans are rude, but it’s cool because I tend to think of them back the way Vulcans think about humans, so we’re even. All the same, it’s a relief to me when I find ways to expedite interactive processes because having to route around all the extra words of ‘how was your day’ without lapsing into literal interpretation kind of wears me out. Once I finally realized I don’t have to actually diagnostically report in, life got a little easier.

The internet is a godsend for me. It is exactly what I want when I interact. Words go straight into my head without the social cues, and oddly, I actually get the social stuff just fine like this, although other people still inject emotion into the content I share and that mystifies me. I’m starting to get the hang of subtext, but I find it disturbing that other people don’t find it disturbing how prevalent subtext really is. What is the point of language and symbolic exchange if words are rife with unspoken words and don’t exactly mean what they look like they say? But, again, once I realized that it’s more like playing a game, things got a little easier. All the same, even though information exchange on the internet is blissful for me, if that’s all it is then it’s kind of sad. I do, after all, need human contact, so I am learning to say ‘Hello, how was your day’ on a keyboard. Irony and I are bedfellows.

Brain sex is a phrase I coined a few years ago to describe to myself the thrill I get connecting to other people and their ideas and enthusiasm on the internet. I don’t necessarily need to play the comment-on-each-other’s-blogs game, but it’s fun to run into stimulating ideas coming out of other brains. I kind of feel like this is Borg Basic or something. The internet started out being an extension of our brains, but now our brains have become extensions of the internet. Whatever is going on, I like it. Twitter especially is a mental polyamorist’s dream come true (and therein lies the scandal in using the world’s greatest pickup line, perhaps).

Brain sex is only a metaphor, you say. Ah, but I experience real chemical changes or chemical reinforcements when I play on twitter, I say. I think we all do. Talking to each other is titillating to the point where stronger bonds are made in 140 characters or less than are made in chat rooms and forums, which in their day made stronger bonds than between people living next door to each other. Twitter has become a living thing, a self organizing system efficiently channeling like thinkers together.

The thrill for a brain gamer like me is the quantity one can get into a thought that is restricted to a tiny configuration. Word construction rules fly out the door in favor of packing space, and people who get really good at it can actually receive twitter awards. Knowing a few word tricks can get a person’s twitter content picked up by internet publications, and it’s been all the rage on other media to follow hashtag feeds on twitter as a way of sampling what a general population is thinking about this or that. But again, it’s the connection to actual people in real time that brings the satisfaction. I like feeling like I’m part of the world, maybe special enough to be part of a twitter gang.

But it’s not often I run into someone who can stop me dead in my tracks with four words, certainly no one had ever done it before on the internet until about 5 days ago on twitter. I have no idea what any of it means outside of my own head, but I think I have found someone who can brain game with me without having to fake it. I could be wrong, but it sure felt like brain sex to me.

I’ve been torn the last few days, but if I’m going to play the subtext game, I think I’m going with “Yes, I am a robot.” If you’ve come this far and missed it, I’m talking about the Asperger’s. Kinda took the question literally, but since it was my first time being the recipient of the world’s greatest pickup line, I had to work my way through the logic loops and construct loop counters when I couldn’t find my way out of the maze. I’m a really advanced robot.

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