An atheist friend has told me that he gets no pleasure at all from music, never has, and cannot see what all the fuss is about. He also never reads fiction and does not understand why anyone would want to read something made up since it cannot give you a true picture of anything.
This is a well educated individual with a degree from the University of California in psychology and someone who has performed well in his job.
I've never known anyone quite so literal minded. And i can only remember one other person who did not like some kind of music, an old woman who said it made her want to howl like a dog, He is a life long depressive and has a hard time empathizing with people, yet he seems quite normal.
Have any of you run into this kind of personality?
Indeed. Reading is the best escape there is. I have a house with books in every room. (Yes even the three bathrooms are stocked with books and the garage as well. There must be somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 now and I go on buying them.
After some difficult times, I formed a habit of going to the London book shows every year. Getting on a comfortable flight with a book or two in hand and a glass of wine, away from the telephone and troubles, was an incomparable delight. It saved me.
I don't know about forming one's identity by reaction, Bud. My father brought us up with a huge emphasis on math and science. He taught us at home in addition to school. His homeschooling sessions involved him screaming at us a lot that we were idiots. His face would be purple with rage, the veins in his neck swollen. Once he threw a pencil at the wall in his rage.
I was good at math, but he managed to poison it a good deal for me, and he poisoned intellectual pursuits in general for me, a good deal. But "rebelling" by becoming disinterested in math and science didn't seem like a good answer, because it would also have been reactive.
I have also been into dreamy fantasy stories, to get into another world. Megan Lindholm. I have a lot of problems with being sick now though, which interfere with a rich fantasy life.
I consider myself fortunate that my parents raised me with music. It is still one of the great joys of my life, an addiction if you like. I can't imagine life without music and books and a dog. Reading has been a major occupation and books a principal interest my whole life. My parents were not great readers and we had few books at home, but as soon as I discovered libraries and bookstores, I was deep into reading.
A really good book or a great musical performance provides immense pleasure. As Somerset Maugham said, "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all of the miseries of life." Maugham himself was addicted to reading as many authors are. He had the knack for telling stories as almost no one else in the first part of the twentieth century.
With the reference to someone who is "quite so literal minded" along with some of the other comments sounds like possibly they may be on the autistic spectrum.
I don't pay much attention to music anymore; most just seems like noise. I'm more likely to read history, science, and philosophy these days.
I don't pay any attention to current popular music, but classical music is something I can't do without. It takes careful listening, but the reward is great.
Could be, but how do you tell? What does it mean to be on the spectrum?
The condition is called a spectrum because it effects people to widely different degrees and indeed some widely different ways but there are some significant factors.
Interacting with others is generally difficult since they have difficulty understanding and predicting emotional states in other people. Being hugged may make them feel very uncomfortable and they may avoid direct eye contact. They also may be fairly solitary and develop set routines and get disturbed if these are not followed. They may have a very organised mind, so as a child they might organise building blocks by size and colour rather than trying to build something with them. They can develop an interest in a single topic and become very knowledgeable in that subject almost to the point of obsession. If they start a conversation it may be one sided rather than a full two way conversation. They may also take anything said by other in a completely literal way.
This is a short summary the person may not exhibit all of these but you should be able to see a pattern, if you need more information or have more questions feel free to ask.
I fit some of this, M J, but not all. Interacting with others is not difficult for me, I just don't like a lot of people, and I will look anybody in the eye. I am solitary and a semi-recluse, but I have an organized mind and a point of interest that can pick something and take it to almost an obsession. (TV antennas is an example here.) I do tend to have many one sided conversations with others. In fact, I am a talking magpie and often am like an encylopedia of sorts.
Otherwise, nothing in your post applies to me.
There are several symptoms of Asperger's that I experienced with delayed food allergies:
- light and sound sensitivity
- emotional reactivity
- difficulty with social cues. I "got" people a lot better after I eliminated the foods.
- tendency to take others literally, which is a kind of difficulty with social cues
People sometimes say their autistic or Aspergers children do better on a gluten/dairy free diet.