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Old 04-29-2017
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People judge, and will always judge other people by what they can practically do. By what their merits are.

A person could be well-read; a person could be a morally good person; a person could be amiable; a person could have interesting hobbies. But if that person doesn't have a tangible skillset to compliment those qualities, the world looks down on them.

People only care about what you can do for them; they care about whether you're competent. This is why society values the engineer, the doctor, the businessperson, the handyman, but not the philosopher.

And right now I don't feel so competent, although I think I fit the former qualities above. Historically, I've felt that I deserve respect because I'm a nice person, or because I can hold an intelligent conversation. But no one gives a **** about those things, nor do they take you seriously unless you're someone of "importance," someone pragmatic. And when I feel that people see me this way, it gives me social anxiety. So, I guess it's time to get competent.
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Old 04-29-2017
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theres something that people care abut above ALL of that and its ridiculous to think its so important : looks . we live in the age of Facebook and instagram.
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Old 04-29-2017
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I suppose if you're young. But as you get older, I believe competence is held above all else.
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Old 04-29-2017
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And I should also note that--and it may be obvious--the same as being incompetent or being perceived as incompetent can contribute to SA, I think the opposite is also true. Being competent and being perceived as such will bring confidence, and help fight SA.
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Old 04-30-2017
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I think a lot of folks are neither good at school, nor good with their hands or "handy stuff" or whatever. According to you, these folks would have no value. But that is not true. That's very black and white thinking.

I know some folks like that, and they're not all just "hiding away" or whatever. They have other things to offer, that "conventionally skilled" folks do not offer.
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Old 04-30-2017
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Originally Posted by Bronson99 View Post
I think a lot of folks are neither good at school, nor good with their hands or "handy stuff" or whatever. According to you, these folks would have no value. But that is not true. That's very black and white thinking.

I know some folks like that, and they're not all just "hiding away" or whatever. They have other things to offer, that "conventionally skilled" folks do not offer.
What I mean is that if you have skills that aren't very impactful or don't have any skills whatsoever, the majority of people are going to see you as, well, not as much of a winner as someone who does have desired skills.

If all a (probably very nice) person does in their spare time is recreationally read books, or play video games competitively, or lazes about and gets drunk, or enjoys recreational basketball, or acting, or playing music, or watching movies, or knits sweaters for their friends and family, other people tend to perceive them as complacent, ambitionless people because none of those things yield solid, tangible, career-enhancing, and for all intents and purposes, money-making results. However, if these same, formerly "ambitiousless," people are already conventionally successful, like say, a doctor, then all of those things suddenly become acceptable because their competency as a valuable member of society has already been established.

This is the society we live in. Or maybe it's human nature. And quite possibly both. It's a superficial way of thinking... and any hobby/interest/demeanor that does not contribute to your bank account, or in some form of currency that benefits others, is seen as superfluous.

Personally, do I find value in people who have unconventional skills or those that simply have good hearts? I do. But I think the majority of society doesn't. I see how people operate in our society (mostly out of greed for money, power, and respect), and I can't help but want to be a part of it so I can fit in and also be respected by people and not have to deal with SA. I'm consistently torn between pursuing practicality for this reason, and being a hedonist.
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Old 04-30-2017
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I'm not sure who you hang out with, but in my circle, unconventional hobbies are valued and admired. I did notice though, that in the mainstream circles, if I could call it that way, what you're saying is true on the surface. However, if you dig just a little deeper, you sometimes realize that people actually have some admiration for unconventional things, only they won't talk about it for fear of being labelled a weirdo, unless they feel absolutely safe that they won't be judged negatively for liking these things (usually happens if a couple of socially esteemed people mention that they like it as well). By the way I think you may be mistaken when you say a weird hobbie becomes more acceptable if it's practiced by someone successful. I've known successful people with weird hobbies and they don't really talk about it at work. What makes you think it's more acceptable?

About the competence and meritocracy, I understand your frustration, I've been there. But I'm not sure it could be otherwise. Our merit is measured by our capacity to provide for ourselves and to survive. To do so, you need a set of skills that will be useful to make money in the system we have created. If you were living in the forest, your merit would be measured by your capacity to find food and to build a safe shelter. So I don't think there is any escape. You need to develop whatever set of skills that allows you to survive. Of course we live in a capitalist world where wealth is valued more than anything else, it determines your social status, the media make sure we never forget that we always need more because the bigger we buy, the bigger we become. But at that point it's your choice to care or not. People of your own social status won't mind your money income if you don't.
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Old 04-30-2017
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Originally Posted by Pacific_Loner View Post
I'm not sure who you hang out with, but in my circle, unconventional hobbies are valued and admired. I did notice though, that in the mainstream circles, if I could call it that way, what you're saying is true on the surface. However, if you dig just a little deeper, you sometimes realize that people actually have some admiration for unconventional things, only they won't talk about it for fear of being labelled a weirdo, unless they feel absolutely safe that they won't be judged negatively for liking these things (usually happens if a couple of socially esteemed people mention that they like it as well).
Unconventional things, relative to conventional things, I think are not nearly as well respected, even if they do get some respect. The vast majority of people will always respect the doctor more than the Human Resources Supervisor who has legit juggling skills. For all intents and purposes, my post applies to "normal" society, since "normal" society is composed of people who adhere to traditional conventions, and these people are the ones that give me SA. It'd be nice to fit in a little bit better, and one way to do this is to become traditionally competent.

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By the way I think you may be mistaken when you say a weird hobbie becomes more acceptable if it's practiced by someone successful. I've known successful people with weird hobbies and they don't really talk about it at work. What makes you think it's more acceptable?
My line of thinking goes like this: If someone displays a level of competence that is admirable, then whatever that person does in his free time will become more acceptable. I.e. "If he's such a competent person to begin with and I respect him, then maybe his unconventional hobbies aren't so bad!" For example, a man makes his living as a doctor, but he trains as an amateur boxer in his off time. Most people find boxing on its own brutish and violent, but if a doctor, who is considered intelligent, competent, and at the peak of the career pyramid, is doing it, well, maybe it's not so bad; it's good exercise and he's tough. Take that same man and make him a grocery clerk, and people might respect him because they know he can fight, but they will certainly think of him as a violent brute, and probably not very smart.

Similar scenario: If an engineer is playing video games in his off time, no one bats an eye. He's seen as competent, intelligent, a person that contributes to society and brings home good money. So what if all he does is game in his off time? Take an Uber driver in the same scenario: no ambition, what is he doing with his life, why doesn't he learn a PRACTICAL skill so he can get a job that makes more money and contribute to society?

See what I mean?

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About the competence and meritocracy, I understand your frustration, I've been there. But I'm not sure it could be otherwise. Our merit is measured by our capacity to provide for ourselves and to survive. To do so, you need a set of skills that will be useful to make money in the system we have created. If you were living in the forest, your merit would be measured by your capacity to find food and to build a safe shelter. So I don't think there is any escape. You need to develop whatever set of skills that allows you to survive. Of course we live in a capitalist world where wealth is valued more than anything else, it determines your social status, the media make sure we never forget that we always need more because the bigger we buy, the bigger we become. But at that point it's your choice to care or not. People of your own social status won't mind your money income if you don't.
Yup, I certainly agree that competence is an inherent part of survival, which is why people value it. If you're competent, not only will you survive, but other people will most likely be able to depend on you. And it is true, that people tend to go above and beyond the needs of mere survival, or even beyond the needs of pleasure, by working their lives away to make shitloads of money. Money is apparently the most accurate indicator of competence.
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Old 05-01-2017
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Originally Posted by Pacific_Loner View Post
About the competence and meritocracy, I understand your frustration, I've been there. But I'm not sure it could be otherwise. Our merit is measured by our capacity to provide for ourselves and to survive. To do so, you need a set of skills that will be useful to make money in the system we have created. If you were living in the forest, your merit would be measured by your capacity to find food and to build a safe shelter. So I don't think there is any escape. You need to develop whatever set of skills that allows you to survive. Of course we live in a capitalist world where wealth is valued more than anything else, it determines your social status, the media make sure we never forget that we always need more because the bigger we buy, the bigger we become. But at that point it's your choice to care or not. People of your own social status won't mind your money income if you don't.
So an autistic person who has a jagged skill profile and lacks conventional gifts, has "no value to society" nor any "social status" to offer? I say, nonsense.

This is just black and white thinking, even if it may have a bit of superficial truth.

A man's value is not just the sum of his marketable skills. I think a lot of folks may act as if this is the truth on the surface, but don't actually agree with it. The proof? A lot of (the same) folks suck at school and don't necessarily have other special skills, but they generally still act self-important and confident--well, they don't have SA.

So don't let these "stereotypical" beliefs derail you, man, it only leads to self-loathing. Probably most folks don't necessarily even believe it.
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Old 05-01-2017
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Aaaaah, to HELL with it all, is what i say!!!
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Old 05-01-2017
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*grabs popcorn*

This debate is getting good.
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Old 05-01-2017
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Originally Posted by Bronson99 View Post

A man's value is not just the sum of his marketable skills. I think a lot of folks may act as if this is the truth on the surface, but don't actually agree with it. The proof? A lot of (the same) folks suck at school and don't necessarily have other special skills, but they generally still act self-important and confident--well, they don't have SA.
First of all, I agree that a man's value is not just the sum of his marketable skills, though his marketable skills may fall very high up on the list of what makes him appealing to others.

Secondly, are you saying that the so called "average" person doesn't care one way or another about their competency, and are satisfied as they are? This is some good food for thought.

It's all well and good if "average" people can feel that way. I'm glad some people can find solace in mediocrity. I damn well wish I could. However, their own abundant self-confidence doesn't mean that others will give them respect or attention. It only means that they are self-confident. Maybe they get disrespected and ignored all the time, but aren't bothered by it. Alternatively, maybe they've accepted their mediocrity. People settle for circumstances all the time.

But for those of us that are bothered by disrespect, by being ignored, by mediocrity, which I think are most people--even those without social anxiety--gaining societal value will likely act as healing medication for some of those occurrences and attending feelings. To know that you are valued by your peers can be a powerful thing.

From an evolutionary standpoint, as well as my armchair, this too makes sense. The most competent of a tribe probably received the most benefits: more food, better shelter, more attractive partners, and thus, also confidence and respect. Our society is just an extension of our ancient tribes and tendency to reward those that can provide for us.

And anecdotally, it feels to me that the only truly confident people I know are those with some sort of valued skill. They come off as well-adjusted, courageous, outgoing(even if introverted), and generally happier than those I know who aren't skillful, or merely average. I've noticed that those without any skills are usually awkward, eccentric, submissive, and aloof.

I can only think of one person I know that isn't particularly competent in anything, but is still cool and confident. She's an aberration from my point of view.

I apologize if these posts are coming off as judgmental. They certainly sound judgmental to me, but these are my thoughts nonetheless.
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Old 05-01-2017
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So an autistic person who has a jagged skill profile and lacks conventional gifts, has "no value to society" nor any "social status" to offer? I say, nonsense.

This is just black and white thinking, even if it may have a bit of superficial truth.

A man's value is not just the sum of his marketable skills. I think a lot of folks may act as if this is the truth on the surface, but don't actually agree with it. The proof? A lot of (the same) folks suck at school and don't necessarily have other special skills, but they generally still act self-important and confident--well, they don't have SA.

So don't let these "stereotypical" beliefs derail you, man, it only leads to self-loathing. Probably most folks don't necessarily even believe it.
Well, I don't think I said that people with non conventional skills were worthless to society, not at all. That would mean that children, animals etc. would worth nothing, which is obviously not the case. I was talking about how to survive in society and why this society judge us according to our skills, since it seemed to be the concern of the op. Maybe I didn't express myself right.
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Old 05-01-2017
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Probably the biggest thing that's helped me overall in dealing with SA is caring less what others think of me. I know I'm a good person, a nice person.

Respect me, I'll respect you. If you don't I'll wipe you from my life. I have skills but I couldn't care less if you have skills. If truly treat others as I wish to be treated. I can't stand it when people go around treating others as inferior. Makes my blood boil.

I guess you could say I'm kinda protective when it comes to others being treated unfairly.
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Old 05-03-2017
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Probably the biggest thing that's helped me overall in dealing with SA is caring less what others think of me. I know I'm a good person, a nice person.

Respect me, I'll respect you. If you don't I'll wipe you from my life. I have skills but I couldn't care less if you have skills. If truly treat others as I wish to be treated. I can't stand it when people go around treating others as inferior. Makes my blood boil.

I guess you could say I'm kinda protective when it comes to others being treated unfairly.
I think this is the best way to think about this "topic," overall.

I think probably I took some of this a bit personally, which colored my thinking. Objectively, I lack competency despite being well past the age where I should have gained it.

The question remains if there are supposed to be folks who are basically "not good at anything." Could it be possible that in my case, it's the self-loathing and anxiety that destroyed motivation? Or am I just defective and worthless, and that's that?
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Old 05-03-2017
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I think this is the best way to think about this "topic," overall.

I think probably I took some of this a bit personally, which colored my thinking. Objectively, I lack competency despite being well past the age where I should have gained it.

The question remains if there are supposed to be folks who are basically "not good at anything." Could it be possible that in my case, it's the self-loathing and anxiety that destroyed motivation? Or am I just defective and worthless, and that's that?
I'm sorry if I've offended you, Bronson. I am simply trying to flesh out my thoughts in these posts and see if others are thinking along the same lines I am. Thinking in a vacuum can lead to nebulous and one-sided philosophies, a mistake I've made many times and something I try to avoid.

As stated in my first post, I don't feel like a competent person, and I'm not exactly a spring chicken either, which is why I feel like I need to work toward it before it's too late. I really do care what other people think about me.

I am in no way saying that people who aren't competent are inherently "worthless," but rather that society probably looks past qualities that aren't traditionally useful. The latter is my primary point.

For what it's worth, I can tell you are an intellectual person based on your posts. I bet you do a lot of reading, which is a characteristic I very much respect.
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Old 05-03-2017
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People judge, and will always judge other people by what they can practically do. By what their merits are.

A person could be well-read; a person could be a morally good person; a person could be amiable; a person could have interesting hobbies. But if that person doesn't have a tangible skillset to compliment those qualities, the world looks down on them.

People only care about what you can do for them; they care about whether you're competent. This is why society values the engineer, the doctor, the businessperson, the handyman, but not the philosopher.

And right now I don't feel so competent, although I think I fit the former qualities above. Historically, I've felt that I deserve respect because I'm a nice person, or because I can hold an intelligent conversation. But no one gives a **** about those things, nor do they take you seriously unless you're someone of "importance," someone pragmatic. And when I feel that people see me this way, it gives me social anxiety. So, I guess it's time to get competent.
Society values you for what you can do for society, just as any human values another human for what they can do for them. Maybe that other human cooks you food or fixes your car. Maybe they just give you pleasant feelings. If they don't do anything for you then you don't assign them a high value.

Being well-read might impress someone, maybe. It might be of value to someone else who is well-read--assuming you're well-read on the same topics as they are and share the same opinions on those books.

Being morally good is highly subjective and the vast majority of humans consider themselves the "good guy". Feeling that you are "good" counts for precisely nothing. If others see your actions as good this may enhance your reputation, but without visible actions and others interpreting them as "good" it still has no meaning to anyone but you.

Being amiable is also highly subjective. Given that most people with social phobia are behind in their social skills (since they require practice) to some degree, most social phobes will not be as "amiable" by common perception as a typical person.

Having interesting hobbies is likely to only be of value to those who share those hobbies. Even then you have to have a certain degree of social fluency to talk about them in such a way that the other person feels good when you two are conversing.

So...yes. If you wish to be valued by society at large then you need to develop skills which have value to others. On the bright side there are many skills which can be learned with a minimal of social interaction (especially since the internet came about). Learning these skills can help you be sure of your own value to others, which yields confidence and in turn helps with the social phobia.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cracked article

Let's say that the person you love the most has just been shot. He or she is lying in the street, bleeding and screaming. A guy rushes up and says, "Step aside." He looks over your loved one's bullet wound and pulls out a pocket knife -- he's going to operate right there in the street.

"OK, which one is the injured one?"

You ask, "Are you a doctor?"

The guy says, "No."

You say, "But you know what you're doing, right? You're an old Army medic, or ..."

At this point the guy becomes annoyed. He tells you that he is a nice guy, he is honest, he is always on time. He tells you that he is a great son to his mother and has a rich life full of fulfilling hobbies, and he boasts that he never uses foul language.

Confused, you say, "How does any of that ****ing matter when my [wife/husband/best friend/parent] is lying here bleeding! I need somebody who knows how to operate on bullet wounds! Can you do that or not?!?"

Now the man becomes agitated -- why are you being shallow and selfish? Do you not care about any of his other good qualities? Didn't you just hear him say that he always remembers his girlfriend's birthday? In light of all of the good things he does, does it really matter if he knows how to perform surgery?

In that panicked moment, you will take your bloody hands and shake him by the shoulders, screaming, "Yes, I'm saying that none of that other shit matters, because in this specific situation, I just need somebody who can stop the bleeding, you crazy ****ing *******."

"I don't get it. Would it help if I put on a lab jacket? Here, one sec, let me just ..."

So here is my terrible truth about the adult world: You are in that very situation every single day. Only you are the confused guy with the pocket knife. All of society is the bleeding gunshot victim.
Source article.
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Old 05-03-2017
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Being morally good is highly subjective and the vast majority of humans consider themselves the "good guy". Feeling that you are "good" counts for precisely nothing. If others see your actions as good this may enhance your reputation, but without visible actions and others interpreting them as "good" it still has no meaning to anyone but you.

Being amiable is also highly subjective. Given that most people with social phobia are behind in their social skills (since they require practice) to some degree, most social phobes will not be as "amiable" by common perception as a typical person.

Having interesting hobbies is likely to only be of value to those who share those hobbies. Even then you have to have a certain degree of social fluency to talk about them in such a way that the other person feels good when you two are conversing.
Yes, perception is, of course, very important as well. If you are a competent person but lack what people perceive to be good, friendly, and interesting characteristics, then you'll most likely be shit out of luck when it comes to forming positive relationships with others, though probably, you'll still get some degree of respect for merely being competent, even if you are an *******.

For sure, being seen as competent and good and friendly and interesting is a winning formula.

However, the point of my original post was that if one lacks competence, but has those other attributes, others are likely to look down on them, or be unimpressed at the very most. Good, friendly, and interesting characteristics are merely icing on the cake of competency.

And I agree that the definitions of good, friendly, and interesting can all be subjective and culturally relative, but I think we can also agree that there are superficial schemas of what it means to be "good and friendly" (ex. don't murder or cheat people, be respectful and kind to others), that are dictated by a society at large. In the context of this thread, this is how I am defining those terms.

To be interesting is another interesting point you've made. It makes perfect sense that people with shared interests will find each other interesting, as you've stated. But this phenomenon does not exclude people who don't share common interests. For example, I'm sure someone who isn't interested in rock climbing could very easily consider someone that actually participates in rock climbing, to be interesting. It's not merely the hobby that makes that person interesting, but the fact that they are doing something that is generally considered to be "cool" that makes them interesting (and of course, this is part of perception and probably "social fluency"). However, one might have a harder time being found interesting if their hobby is World of Warcraft, simply because this is not seen as a "cool" activity by people outside of the game's niche participants. But this last paragraph seems like a slight digression from the original topic.

Let's just say that many things go into the appeal of a person, but that (I think) competency is probably ranked highest when it comes to first impressions and the beginning of relationships at the very least, and perhaps, how society views a person from the "outside."
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Old 05-04-2017
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So...yes. If you wish to be valued by society at large then you need to develop skills which have value to others. On the bright side there are many skills which can be learned with a minimal of social interaction (especially since the internet came about). Learning these skills can help you be sure of your own value to others, which yields confidence and in turn helps with the social phobia.
I think it might be easy for a gifted person with multiple college degrees, to say such a thing, and inadvertently, make others feel worse in the process.

Just saying, even if I know it's a "tough world" and it's not fair, or whatever.

It's interesting that you did not touch on the question of what a person is supposed to do, when they lack the innate foundation for developing competency. As an autistic person, I would not be alone in this, given how some studies show 85% are chronically underemployed, and often lack higher education. Nor is there much of a silver lining for "social fluency" here, given it's an autistic disorder, which impairs social skills (SA is the byproduct.) In other words, uselessness, all around!

Anyway, thanks for linking to that Cracked article, which for sure, brightened my day, mate!
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Old 05-04-2017
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In other words, uselessness, all around!
Or in other words, "master of one trade, jack of none"
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