Library of Babel

The Portal
Make WWW Great Again
Mount Paozu
DOS/Win9x Game Shrines
Town of ZZT
The Quarry
Library of Babel
Red Forest
Haunted House
Macula's Maze
Reptile House
Wildcat Den
The Scratching Post
The PortalUFOPer-BastMake WWW Great AgainMount PaozuDOS/Win9x Game ShrinesTown of ZZTThe ObservatoryThe QuarryLibrary of BabelRed ForestHaunted HouseMacula's MazeReptile HouseWildcat DenThe Scratching PostThe Dock

The Other Dreaded "C-Word"

Somewhere close to a year ago, I either became lamentably (and uncharacteristically) desperate for social interaction, or decided that too much time had passed since I did anything particularly foolish (5 minutes). Seeking to remedy the situation, I decided to get a reddit account under a pseudonym that will not be mentioned. Perhaps I was just desperate to believe that popular web forums with a high quality of discourse haven't been grossly outnumbered by the Bigfoot population since around 2007-2010. Let's call my journey a research expedition in cryptowebology.

As mentioned in my suicide prevention rant, reddit is the kind of place where the average user is an oversocialised chump who will pay real money to give an e-badge to someone for pelting suicidal people with copypastas about wholly unhelpful hotlines. Needless to say, I came back from my quest for a booming and intellectual web forum empty-handed and disgraced. I did later find the majestic world of Neocities and set up this humble homestead here, so the story had a happy ending after all.

One of my main watering holes on reddit was the autism-related sub-reddits, which do occasionally have some good content and discussion. Sadly, like most of reddit (and other mainstream social media,) it is tainted with the festering infestation of enforced conf*rmity. The denizens of the website live and die by the upvote - ganging up to downvote any posts that don't conform to their delicate sensibilities to oblivion, while virtue signalling incessantly to farm as many upvotes as possible for themselves.

4chan most certainly has more than its fair share of problems, but it is still the only big web forum/social media website that I can take seriously for the very reason that it has no algorithms or upvote/downvote mobs interfering to decide what content I get to see. Sure you may have to skim past misogynistic drivel and bizarre LARP threads to get to any good content, but that's the cost of freedom. Until humans evolve to rid themselves of their many vestigal instincts, obsession with conformity arguably being the chief one, that have gone from being important survival skills to irritating hindrances, the 4chan model is the best we can get from large-scale forums.

The Internet wasn't always like this, and I know many other people here remember and reminisce about the freer and more vibrant Internet of old. It's disheartening that in an age where nearly 5 billion (!) people are allegedly online, the Internet and the Web are only getting more and more stale and homogeneous overall. One would expect the opposite to be true after all - people are far more likely to feel free to express themselves uniquely if they live in a city full of millions of strangers, than in a small town where everyone knows and cares about everyone else's business. What should've been a grand cudgel to shatter the collective oppression of forced conformity became just another ball and chain with the advent of social media.

The important aspect about the 5 billion number lies in percentages. Even the most insignificant minority can balloon into a boisterous mob when the total population size grows large enough. For example, one common estimate for the autistic population is approximately 1.85% of the population. While a measly percentage, this indicates that there potentially over 92 million of us online if the percentage holds true to the online population. If we were a country, we would dwarf the United Kingdom! Indeed, while I am sadly entirely bereft of even (known) autistic acquaintances in real life, I am lucky to have befriended multiple autistic people online, and have an overflowing folder of bookmarks to websites by the autistic community.

Just as the Internet has allowed a renaissance for autistic people, it has allowed many others to shatter the shackles of conformity and bypass the mundane normies/NORPs around them and find kinship with others like them all over the world. It allows people to filter out the sand of the desert and leave them surrounded by only the rare buried gems.

Circling back to the topic of the autistic community on plebbit, what ultimately completely turned me off from that scummy NPC haven was the aggressive and common sentiment that autistic people are obligated to conform to arbitrary neurotypical norms and suppress all of our natural behaviour in order to make normies more "comfortable." Completely harmless behaviour like quietly stimming, or not making eye contact, specifically. The proliferation of such views in what is intended to be a haven for autistic people is as perfect of a representation of the intellectual tumor that is reddit as the suicide hotline bots spreading their worthless copypastas left and right.

I will never abide or even entertain the offensive notion that anyone should be forced to suppress their natural or cultural behaviour so long, at least so long as it does not cause them to harm others. People today rightfully condemn the atrocious cultural and intellectual genocide that took place in the boarding schools where Native Americans were brainwashed to abandon their culture, language, and even their own names, and assimilate into the dominant Anglo culture. Yet even now the basic idea behind this atrocity - that anyone who lies outside of the arbitrary norm owes a debt of suppressing their natural self - still trudges on unmolested as if nothing happened. The exact same atrocity is actually happening to autistic children today in the form of ABA - a medically sanctioned atrocity.

One of the most enraging stories that I have ever heard was that of a left-handed individual I know being forced to go through the difficult and unnatural process of learning how to write and perform other activities with their right hand in the Soviet Union because being left-handed was frowned upon. Try writing with your non-dominant hand right now and imagine if you had to learn how to properly do this and all other activities with that hand all because some conformist normalcattle worm was made uncomfortable by how you currently do them. For some people, an eternity of burning in Hell is a slap on the wrist.

In spite of the childhood trauma that I incurred as a result of it, I ultimately find myself at least somewhat fortunate for how inherently different I am from everyone around me. Between my autism, coming into the school system as an immigrant child who couldn't speak any English whatsoever, and having an IQ high enough to make attempting to connect with the average person a tiresome chore, I was never going to fit in. Not even knowing exactly what autism was or that I was autistic even well into my 20s and only knowing beforehand that I was a complete weirdo for some reason or another did not help.

I say I was fortunate because ultimately it made me into a genuine life-long nonconformist. The kind that snaps early in their childhood from being told too many times they should hide a plethora of things that are a natural part of their being and their identity and stops caring what other people think altogether, not the "I'm an anarchistic Satanist vampire who does whatever they want, MUM! The Hot Topic that me and all of my nonconformist friends wear says so!" kind. No sense in wasting time and energy on a game that is rigged against me, so if I'm going to be the weirdo/freak no matter what, I may as well be myself all the way.

Autism is directly linked to being a nonconformist so that was a boon, and is one reason that I argue that autism is a healthy difference and not a disability. Considering how many foolish and horrific endeavours world governments and other large organisations have pursued with the blind support of millions of deluded followers, the world could only improve with more individuals that think for themselves and refuse to follow or comply with any movement that violates their principles or does not sound like a logical endeavour. To quote the great Mark Twain: "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Truly a quote that has aged well.

Now, openly violating social norms does alienate many commoners, but just as the Internet provides a convenient filter to allow people from niche groups and/or with niche interests to find each other, so too does this filter out judgmental normalcattle that aren't worth the time of day and leave behind the people actually worth interacting with. Anyone that automatically discounts me due to a harmless natural difference is in the process revealing themselves to be a close-minded buffoon who is unworthy of being graced with any further notice.

I know that I have an excellent mind and many positive traits, and I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of wonderful people who have accepted and liked me for who I am, in spite of (or possibly because of!) the oddities. I am a firm believer in the idea that it's infinitely better to have 1-3 excellent and genuine friends than 100 mediocre casual friends. I daresay that even dying from a lonely heart is a preferable alternative to insipid companionship.

To quote the illustrious psychiatrist Carl Jung: "To be normal is the ideal aim of the unsuccessful". Virtually all of the greatest minds in history diverged from the norm in far more than merely their accomplishments. From the classically autistic genius artist Michelangelo, to the the extremely antisocial, obsessive, and likely also autistic physicist Isaac Newton, to the the comically eccentric yet brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla.

That is of course, not intended to mean that anyone who isn't a normie is an accomplished genius. That notion can be disproved so easily that it is not even worth devoting space to doing so. My reason for invoking the names of these great thinkers is to demonstrate the sort of great minds that are discounted by holding the belief that anyone who diverges from arbitrary norms is inherently of lesser value.

If our simian ancestors had all lived their lives with no greater goal than fitting into the status quo, we (or rather, our equivalents in this hypothetical scenario) would all be the same simple creatures that they were. Although seeing how many conformist NPCs with no mind of their own there are today, perhaps we as a whole are not much better.