Wednesday, 11 February 2015

The World As A Puzzle

When I was young, I thought of the world as being like a giant jigsaw puzzle - the sort with about ten thousand pieces, which seems like just a jumble of fragments at first, hundreds of bits of blue, and lots of blurry brown and grey, and where on earth does that red bit go? But then you find this bit links up and then that bit, and then suddenly a whole part of the puzzle becomes clear, and you go, Oh! I see what it is now! I thought the world was like that, and if I could figure out enough of the 'pieces', suddenly I would understand the world, it would make sense at long last. Because it certainly didn't make sense to me at the time, in fact it seemed like a vast, swirling, chaotic mess, with rules that I could never figure out, and which I was constantly tripping over. I was terrified someone would realise how ignorant I was, and how much I was 'faking it', and so I thought if I could just figure the world out, I wouldn't have to anymore, I'd 'just know' all the things everyone else did.

It never did make sense, the puzzle remained a puzzle. These days, though I know a lot more about the world, and have put some small parts of the 'puzzle' together, the world still overall seems, well, puzzling. Only now I've realised it's actually a ginormous three-dimensional puzzle, crossed with a vicious game of snakes-and-ladders and a really, really, really complicated Rubik's cube. And the thing about the Rubik's cube, is that if you think you've nearly got it, you've in fact got it all wrong. Plus, the whole thing completely switches itself around every now and again, and introduces new pieces. Just to confuse you even more! Or so it seems anyway.

So in short, I've given up trying to figure it out. And I've realised that NTs don't necessarily understand the world as a whole better than I do. Once when I said to my mother something about "figuring out the world", she asked in astonishment, "can anyone figure it out?!" Even to her, it seemed, with her long experience of life and far greater understanding of people, it could still seem a very confusing place. And I wonder if that's so to other NTs as well - they know their 'pieces' of the world, their little corner or corners, but how much do they really understand of the bigger picture? They've probably never thought about it much, never had the urge I did, to try and make sense of it all.

The difference being, I suppose, that they do understand their corner of it, its social rules and so on, and have a general understanding of the rest, and of people in general, and that's enough for them to get along in the world. We aspies don't. We don't really have any corner that we understand, any milieu where we know the rules and so can relax; or for that matter much of an understanding of the broader social world. The result being that we stumble and bumble our way through life, trying to make sense of what doesn't actually make sense, not knowing or understanding what others consider so basic as to be not worth mentioning. And so perhaps we have a greater need or impetus to figure it out. I suspect that it's why so many aspies (the ones that aren't science/maths/tech geeks that is) go into the social sciences, to figure out both themselves and the strange creatures that share the planet with them.

How do you view the world?

1 comment:

  1. As a neurotypical I can assure you that many of us are indeed very interested in trying to understand the world.