Intellectualism vs. Emotion: How We Can Differentiate Between the Two Part 1


I’m keeping the post short today with some facts I’ve learned recently while doing research on intellectualism.  A lot of people on the autism spectrum tend to be intellectual rather than emotional.  Now, the general idea most people have about intellectualism is that it’s supposed to mean ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’.  What it actually means is pretty different, but with a few similarities.  People who have an intellectual mind are people who make decisions based on what is rational or logical, rarely what their ‘feelings’ or ’emotions’ are telling them.  To put it simply, people with an intellectual thought process make decisions from the brain, not from the heart.  The idea that the person processes things from a ‘logical’ standpoint is where a lot of people tend to think of intellectualism as simple ‘smarts’, when in reality it really is just the ability to observe things in a way that most people should.  Using your head more than your heart is something that has always proven to be the smarter choice anyway.  Using your heart has proven to lead to hasty, irrational decision making that I myself have done to a fault too.

My girlfriend is a perfect example of one I know personally who makes decisions based on rationalism and logic.  She’s easily the Spock in the relationship and I’m the Kirk.  She’s the brains of the relationship and I’m the heart, as we both have acknowledged at one time.  Though this has sometimes led to us butting heads over certain things, we don’t try to encourage each other to think more like the opposite of how we already think.  Allowing the relationship to be balanced out through two different modes of thinking has allowed us to feel satisfied in the relationship since we’ve been willing to make compromises for each other, and we learn to understand how the other thinks, therefore we don’t try to do the same thing over and over again.  I have the tendency to feel emotions across a wide range and in certain points to an extreme, while my girlfriend mostly stays reserved and only feels about two or three emotions, most of the time feeling them in the extreme since they’re not things she feels often in the first place.

Now, to cap this short article off, not every person on the autism spectrum is an ‘intellectual’.  Obviously, since I’ve been diagnosed on the spectrum and I’m writing this blog.  There are people on the spectrum who think intellectually and there are people who aren’t on the spectrum that think intellectually (I can even think of a few people I know who are in the latter).  What I’ve observed when it comes to intellectuals and emotional people who happen to be on the spectrum, I’ve found that if a person fits one category, it’s usually to the extreme.  An autistic intellectual may seem like he or she has very little emotion at all and can even come off as mechanical.  This isn’t to say of course that we should just assume they have no emotion at all and therefore treat the person differently.  People have some range of emotions no matter how limited it may be.  An autistic person who’s driven by emotions might act dramatic as he goes about it and work tirelessly to succeed in doing something if it’s on his (keyword:) heart.  As I’ve said before, autism is a wide spectrum, and while most people on it will share some of the same traits, most of them have very different traits as well.


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