Frontpage Summary Full text (free) Audiobook (free) Buy the book Videos Podcasts

2.1. Socially free

We stick-children need closeness too.

In practice, it looks like this: Someone like me is invited into a conversation or goes on his own initiative to others. Others often dare not approach us. I listen a little, maybe half a minute, until I have an overview of the topic.

Then I open up a small spring flood of associations, blend in some specific factual information, make a slight linguistic twist to hint at a context, and conclude as quickly as possible.

People only manage to keep up for a moment before I land a seemingly obvious «truth» that most people perceive as interesting, curious, redemptive, competitive.

It is a truth, or as far as anything, e.g. a joke or derailment, which hardly anyone is able to follow up.

It takes me fifteen seconds to be labelled a weirdo, likely for life, in the eyes of my interlocutor.

As a child, I tried to do as the others. Girls, soccer, swimming, volleyball, youth club, apple scrumping, giant outdoor games with lots of kids in late autumn evenings.

Good memories.

I did all this.

I was allowed to join. No one dreamed of shutting me out because I had some powers, albeit incomprehensible, that were beyond the control of others. They understood that I was «intelligent» and unapproachable. Also, I was a favourite among the teachers at the school. I was, in a way, at the level of the adults already as a child, intellectually. Often past too.

Socially, however, I was totally underdeveloped, first and foremost because I could not bond with anyone because of the injury, but eventually also because of a lack of challenge because most people left me alone.

This strange creature, the stick-child, the nerd, the weirdo, the introvert – has some advantages.

This person walks freely.

This person also has the ability to penetrate what it should be in several ways.

I can apply to people what I have learned about social gaming. Manipulate.

But that is uninteresting. It's not my game, either way. I do not work that way.

I'm not a soldier. But I can control the battle, develop a strategy, ensure quality and increase efficiency. Predict. That's what I automatically do all the time.

I never manipulate. It's a dirty game, too easy when you have such potent weapons.

Instead, I let people set traps and fall into them themselves. Like Socrates in the square in Athens, he challenged the city's citizens to answer philosophical questions and thus discover the answer for themselves – or their lack of insight.

I can also take control when needed – when the situation is exceptional.

Because I am neutral and do not belong to any herd, I am not unambiguously defined – I can take any solo role and stand up with credibility.

I have plenty of answers if anyone should ask about the basis for the authority I suddenly show. Logical, sensible solutions – and counter-questions if necessary.

The stick-child possesses substantial knowledge and does not care what others may think. The departed, engrossed, introverted child suddenly takes control. The others do not dare. They do not dare to leave the group.

If someone else wanted to take over in a more humane, inclusive and probably also more competent way, I withdraw immediately. Authority is as uninteresting as normalcy. Only tools.

The socially «maladapted» person also has another advantage.

As mentioned, I was not banned anywhere. I belonged nowhere and everywhere.

I was just one person. No threat. I'm still not a soldier; I do not function that way. Then you don't get enemies, or rather, the enemy does not know how to take up the fight with someone who is not fighting back. You can probably guess that I'm a conscientious objector.

I did not compete with anyone. I got to join.

In addition, I sought out environments in the marginal zone. Gays, punks, radicals, drug addicts. The others who, they too, have not found themselves at ease either.

I am one of them. My flock is this vast group of maladapted, often rather devastated people. I let myself in. They recognise me, the outsider.

I will not go into detail, but there is wealth in this.

I have gathered impulses, experience, knowledge and wisdom from many sources. I have obtained a small dose of love and belonging without actually having received it. Those who have little share what they have because they know what it's worth.

Because I am not a «normal» type, do not belong to a particular social environment, but have looked into many – I imagine I have a broader and deeper perspective than «the normal». It's not better in any way, only different.

When people around me have prejudices and certain opinions, I keep quiet.

My relationship with people and environments, in general, has thus also given me access to women.

I behave in part the way women often do. Listening, passive, observant. I grew up an only child with a mother and grandmother, no father or grandfather. I have two daughters, no sons. But I can not become a full member of the women's community. I am a man.

Then I'm still not a typical man, not a dangerous man, not (just) a stupid man, not on a team with men. I'm on a team with women, most similar to them. And I do not bring other men along with me.

But I'm a man. A sexual object in the eyes of women. At the same time, I am so weird that I appear to be a hopeless amateur in flirting, as I am an amateur in most social situations.

Still, I have one advantage when it comes to connecting to people.

Listen now.

The stick-child's mind is a pattern recognition machine.

Some of us experience – sometimes physically – that our head absorbs data in massive amounts and grinds continuously so that almost all capacity is occupied at any given time inside there, in mind. The function of our own brain and mind is also the subject of our research.

We look inward. We have an active, operational relationship with intuition. We listen to ourselves.

I have gradually discovered that I am often in a strange state of what others will call meditation.

Okay, now I'm introducing a new element here. Let's get this in order.

So, I'm talking about two things. One is that many of us are overdeveloped analysts. Then some of us also seem to have another well-developed trait to a greater degree than others.