First of all, I consider existence in general (and by extension, my existence) to be a joy. Not that I think it's always pleasant, much less for everyone -- but certainly that I think there's very much worthwhile to do, think, perceive, and experience.
Life is an utterly precious thing.
Whenever I pause for a moment to consider what it means to be a person in reality, it is sometimes almost too awesome to bear.
Like I almost want to crawl under a blanket or table or something and let in little bits of it come in one micron at a time, through interlaced fingers.
I can do certain things: art, a bit of writing. I'm not bad at math. I've always loved science.
Other people I know can do different things, and I have no doubt those things hold as much joy and value for them as my preferred things do for me.
I don't understand first-hand what it's like to really enjoy baseball, for instance, but I would not begrudge someone else their love of it, or the associations it lights up in their brain.
Anyway, though, there's a fear I have. I don't know if I've ever put it into words before. But it's based in both (a) some things that have happened to me, and (b) some things I've seen happen to other people.
And that is basically the phenomenon where someone is very obviously (to me, at least) doing and/or saying things that speak very much to the validity of his/her experience of existence, but who is in turn being accused of emptiness.
There are some things I've come to be able to articulate.
But I couldn't always articulate these things.
And I wasn't any emptier then than I am now.
I've also seen other people, who perhaps aren't articulating certain things in ways easily recognized by their peers (or by anyone), but who nonetheless are very clearly responding to things around them and having inner experiences.
I am talking here about various different kinds of people: autistic, nonautistic. Verbose and taciturn. Old and young. Different people get thought of as empty for different reasons.
With me, it seems to (at least in some cases) be a matter of insufficient patience.
I know I am Real and not empty.
But there are people who've said: oh, tell us what you think. Communicate. Please. We'll be here if you need someone to listen.
Only they don't actually listen (or read).
Instead, they tell me to just tell them something verbally (instead of writing it).
Or they tell me they don't want to read something so long.
Or they don't respond at all.
I've read a lot of people's writing.
I regularly read a lot of people's writing.
Some conversations I'm okay stepping into, but others I'm not. Others I'm leery about because of the degree to which, even when I generally like and respect those involved, there's a tendency to want to shove people into categories that make them easy to dismiss.
This is not to say that everything has genuine substance. There are definitely some cases in which this isn't true. Advertising is a good place to find a whole lot of nothing: I mean, what does "Made With 100% Juice" actually tell anyone?
Also: some really destructive patterns I've come to recognize, and I try to avoid getting into altercations with people exhibiting them. There are also some things that bother, scare, or just plain repulse me ("pickup artistry" is one of these things; it makes my skin crawl).
But: I tend to think that, perhaps to a fault, people trying to communicate about certain subjects (especially those pertaining to figuring out how reality works) all have something to say.
If not with their words, with how they experience life. Which can't always be seen from the outside, especially not immediately.
Hence, I give a lot of people a lot of "benefit of the doubt".
Overall, when it doesn't seem like someone's trying to push a weird agenda I can recognize, I at least make an attempt to get to know over time what they might be getting at.
This has, more than once, put me in the bizarre position of seeing two people each accusing the other of "not saying anything"/"having nothing to say", when from where I sit, they're both saying something.
It may not be something I agree with, but it's definitely not nothing.
And frankly it worries me that this happens as often as it does.
I do have a lot of hope for the future and willingness to work toward a good future -- but I think that in order for a good future to actually come into being, we shouldn't be so quick to presume someone else is empty just because we can't understand what they're saying. Or to presume we do understand what they are saying and that there simply isn't anything there.
Because even though there are cases where people are just spouting fluff, I don't think that's the usual case. And I would much rather risk being wrong or looking silly than risk doing something that essentially works toward erasing someone.