I’ve noticed that people who like dark comedy tend to be high in social intelligence. There’s probably an element of disagreeableness in there too. I’d also distinguish comic relief from dark comedy. Comic relief is cracking a dad joke in the eye of the storm, dark comedy is a clown going into a woodchipper.
It’s often noted that intelligent aspies tend to grow out of their autism, in the sense that they learn the rules of the game. I’d put myself in that category, with a few caveats. I’ve mostly figured it out though, so that I wouldn’t be described as socially handicapped anymore. Sure, I don’t know much about pop culture, but I’ve learned enough of the things that most people absorb from pop culture to get by.
Anyway, I never used to understand the point of mixed feelings. I certainly didn’t ever experience mixed feelings. One can only react to one thing at a time, after all. And I didn’t like art forms that expected me to experience mixed feelings.
Well, I still don’t like those art forms, but I do appreciate them. They’re probably the most edifying thing I can take in. I just don’t want to. It’s an effort of will to make myself watch something like Lawrence of Arabia, even though I appreciate it as a great movie. It makes me a better person, which I want to be, but I don’t want to do it. I want to watch Star Wars, which is energizing precisely because it’s simple. One has mixed feelings about Walter White and T.E. Lawrence. Yoda, not so mixed.
So the interesting thing is I’ve grown the capacity to simulate these situations where I have multiple interests being pulled in separate ways, but I don’t enjoy the balancing act. It’s kind of like how I hate management games. I like games like Ninja Gaiden. An extreme, specialized expression of a simple thing.
My buddy’s been trying to get me to play Faster than Light for years. It’s a spaceship game where you have to manage resources and crew and the fighting is all about multitasking and making snap judgments about expenses while running around literally putting out fires. It exhausts me. I like making big expensive decisions over the course of a month of research. I’m good at that.
Intriguingly, the same game studio put out a game called Into the Rift that I can’t get enough of. It’s basically chess. I think I mentioned it before in the context of Operation Headache. We compared notes on number of hours played and decided it was due to cognitive styles. Faster than Light is relaxed mindfulness, Into the Rift is hyperfocused critical thinking. I spent an entire hour thinking about one move one time. It’s supposed to be a very difficult game but I beat the hardest mode without losing a guy on my second try. Just one of those times when you feel like “I was born to do this.”
Getting back to the original point, I think a lot of social intelligence is this desire/ability to balance interests (and therefore emotions). And it probably comes from experiencing a lot of strong emotions at once in puberty, which is the experience aspies lack. Likely this is driven by conflicting desires to individuate in different directions (I want to be goth, jock, slacker, and prep…I want it all!). But even more than that, it’s about a lack of boundaries between their own desires and other people’s, driven itself by the need to manage ever-fluctuating social dynamics. So they’re simulating everyone else at an emotional level at the same time.
Aspies eventually catch on to the cognitive simulation part because social failure drives you to understand the need for empathy. (Ref. That study where low-status people are more likely to draw the E on their foreheads so other people can read it: https://aeolipera.wordpress.com/2019/04/26/how-dopamine-drives-solipsism-in-insulated-elites/) But this desire for empathy is contingent on the environment. If I become bigly successful, I will presumably lose interest in this multitasking emotional balancing act because I don’t do it for its own sake.
That’s probably the main reason why aspies can’t form a separate nation. Our elite class would degenerate very, very quickly. “Balance national interests? No, I don’t think so. I think I’ll hyperfocus on a single interest at a time at the expense of everything else, because I’m rich and the consequences aren’t instantaneous.” Keep your weird Breakfast at Tiffany’s flirting and give me those anime girls with the big eyes and straightforward emotions.