Saturday, December 1, 2012

CDSH on AVFM

I've written an article  about the Feminist Protest Art(?) up at AVFM.

Thanks to Paul Elam for encouraging me to write the article and thanks to Art Professor Pete Smith for inspiring it. I was struggling with the article, so I began writing a response to his letter-style comment of his. It began to get fairly long and I realized that this comment was the article I should post.

So far, the comments posted at AVFM nicely sum up the thoughts that I had that didn't make it into the article. I have to say, that this week has been very emotional. I was worried that something would be misinterpreted or I would say the wrong thing.

There has been a lot of second guessing and I sometimes wondered if the whole thing was a mistake. As I mentioned in the post, I initially tried to send the pictures in an email to an MRA, hoping they'd run with it, but I don't think the email went through. Paul also offered to write an article about it, too. In the end (if this is the end), I'm glad I wrote this article myself.

I have a lot of thoughts boiling up inside and I hope I have time to write them down. For now, I need to unwind. Trying to combat insanity like feminism is draining.

CDSH




Thursday, November 29, 2012

Response to Feminist Protest Art(?)

OK, lot’s of comments to address. Now that the kids are off to bed, I have a tiny bit of time to take it all in and do my best to respond.

First of all Sailor Mars, it’s  hilarious that you think I’d post anonymously on my own blog. It’s an anonymous blog. So, you don’t think I’d post with my pseudonym? Or, do you think I’m the only crazy man walking this earth who actually challenges feminist bullshit? See, I work during the day. I don't have time to spout nonsense over at tumblr all day. I have what are called responsibilities - work, family - and I take them very seriously. Something I also take seriously is my responsibility as a citizen of a democracy. I know that the vast majority of people are willing to ignore people like you and all politics in general, but I'm not the vast majority. I see the damage that delusional people like you can cause and I'm willing to stand up to it.

So now I'm a Sailor Basher? Really laughing now. Let's see the replay. First, Sailor Venus came and called me "a fucking joke." I thought that was rather childish, so I responded in kind and she went away. Then Sailor Mercury had an equally mature comeback. So, I called my son's favorite cartoon character, Pikachu to come and lay some battle moves down. I guess that did her in and she's no longer able to battle. Then you come in with some serious shaming language and a accusation of hiding from an "authority" figure. I just got a chill, is the Kremlin involved now?

Also, DO YOU KNOW what catcalling even *IS*?
Oh. Oh. Oh. I know this one. Cat-calling is a tool of the Patriarchy used to subjugate women and let them know their place. It is not a call for sex, because women never, ever, ever respond in a positive way. All women are fearful of being cat called because it poses a threat and leads to rape.
Am I close?
I know you don't like having anything explained to you, so, for the rest of the readers (I know, I have readers now!) I'll provide an alternative opinion. You can just shuffle on back to your studio and collect those worthless credits.
Cat-calling is a low-class (sometimes demeaning) way of getting attention from women. It can work on certain women who like the attention from aggressive males. Most women are turned off, because it speaks to the low-class nature of the cat-caller. So, the cat-caller risks ever having a relationship whatsoever with a girl, even an embarrassing rebuke, if she doesn't like it, but since there are so many women and so many different kinds, he eventually finds success enough to continue the practice. It is all part of the mating ritual embedded in human nature.
Cat-calling can always be considered rude, however, it is seen as less inappropriate in certain circumstances, such as "clubbing" streets frequented by people in the "hook-up" culture during the club hours. In this circumstance, the street is considered a more dangerous extension of the clubs where people often go to meet people.
Recently, feminism has vilified most expressions of male sexuality and painted catcalling as nearly as bad as rape. The basis for the belief is Patriarchy Theory which states that rape and catcalling are part of a "rape culture." In this rape culture, rape and cat calling is supposedly about power, not sex. The culture allows and even encourages rape as a tool to keep the male position of power over women. However, if this were true, then there are a lot of rapists in jail wondering why society asked them to go around raping women and then betrayed them by throwing them in jail. Rape has always been illegal. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to prove in a court of law. Feminism, has used the fact that not all rape accusations (even false ones) result in convictions to support it's theory - preposterous.

Anonymous (Dear Pete Smith),
Thanks for putting it clearly and concisely. But, you know that the signs aren't sexist against men, don't you? The signs are cis-sexist. See, she doesn't want to rip Men's dicks off. She only wants to rip people who have dicks, dicks off. Not all people with dicks are men, so she's not being sexist against men... or something....
http://feministartdegree.tumblr.com/

S.Mars (again) < It's important to point out that such a test would only be effective if gender equality was present (spoiler alert: it isn't),

So, when women become the oppressors (as Mike has argued they are now), would it be OK to say hateful things toward them again? Is hate speech defined as speech from a oppressive group toward an oppressed group? Interesting. When we HAVE equality, THEN we can start treating people equally. Until then, hate away, right?

Now to the art professor Pete Smith:
I find your existence sad. Not that you're a painter or an art professor - I appreciate art as well as anyone. But, the fact that you encourage students to behave like this without trying to temper their hatred, words or actions with compassion. That you are using a publicly funded institution to spread this hate is disgusting. Not surprising, mind you. All of academia is infected with feminist theory these days.

I did not want all of this attention. I was actually reflecting on whether my mild pre-occupation with feminism and men's rights was an over-reaction. When I saw your student's posters, however, posters like those really justify the entire men's movement. You see, they prove that feminists do not get enough scrutiny. They expect that their ideas are just unquestionable. That is why I had to post the pictures.

Your last paragraph is funny really. It reminds me of my very first post here. Go and read it, I actually used the word patriarchal. I began writing because I was worried about a way of life. I wanted to examine that way of life and hopefully save it. I like it here (admission: I don't really live on a cul-de-sac, it's a crescent). I like my neighbours (who are not all white). I like that I can afford a house here with some grass around it and still have access to fields and facilities for my kids to enjoy sports, art and other activities. It's a struggle and I've always worked hard and sacrificed to be able to enjoy this lifestyle. I suffer for it. I know you may suffer for your art as well. I wish you well in that. You can live in the city, but the city runs because of people like me who work hard. I don't know why you feel such bitterness towards me and others like me. But, I ask you to please, please stop spreading it to the youth who look up to you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feminist Protest Art(?)

So, I was walking along a Toronto street last week when an interesting sign caught my eye. I immediately stopped and did a double take and noticed some more interesting signs in the street level window display.  I stood there reading the signs in disbelief.  I had never been so face to face with feminist misandry before (well, at least not since University).  The place appeared to be an artists studio with many work stations with drafting boards and art supplies.  I looked at some other visible stations and some displayed pieces of modern art, but this one was the only one that had political messages. 

I kicked myself for not carrying my smart phone with me, but, I was able to return the following day to snap some photos.  I'll let you judge what the messages mean.  I apologize for the glare, but the lights were out in the basement studio and it was a bright day outside. I did not want to stick around too long with this kind of mad person lurking.

This is the one that initially caught my eye.
 

This one is the most disturbing.  (Do NOT compliment this woman on her fashion sense).
In case you can't read the other photo.
 

A lot of  thoughts went through my head.  As a blogger, one that is loosely affiliated with the manosphere, I immediately planned to post the pictures here. I worried, however, that there was some danger in posting these.  What if this sparked a controversy?  It definitely would if a man was saying this about women.  Somehow, this woman feels justified in advocating aggravated sexual assaut, genital mutilation and humiliation for the "crime" of saying, "Hey, you're looking mighty fine."

I decided to email these to an MRA and see what she thought about it.  I have not had a response, so, here I am, posting about my experiences.
The wall was covered in posters.  It looked like a Slut Walk staging area.

Presumably, whoever is responsible, likely thinks of this entire display as "art". The pink punching bag, the baseball bat decorated with glittery stars.  But, anyone can stensil slogans on bristol board.  I guess it takes a feminist art degree to use a heart shape so ironically.

I am lucky that I got these photos when I did, because, the cat calling sign has been removed along with the Kill Your Rapist poster.  Who would have thought that it wasn't a good idea to display threats of murder and assault in a public window?  I don't know why they were taken down, maybe someone complained directly.  I thought of calling the Police myself.  Even though I am a staunch defender of free speech, the messages could be interpreted as an illegal threat.  Even though Canada has strong anti-hate-speech laws, it is hard to imagine that messages with an anti-rape theme would get called to a human rights tribunal, even though, this is the epitome of hate speech.  Besides, they don't look like they have a lot of money.

Today, the posters on the wall are different, but, in some ways, more hateful.
Oh, those awful nice guys are after you.

In a world where you can be arrested for being Shrodinger's Rapist (H/T Neckbeard Chronicles - adieu good sirs), how is one to interpret the messages displayed here, on a busy street with plenty of foot traffic?  When rape can defined as having sex with a woman who's had one drink too many, can this be considered a demand for a legal way to commit murder?

The fact the someone feels justified in making this display is a sign that feminist hatred of men has gone too far.  To the casual observer who might agree that rape justifies murder, if it can stop the rape, these signs might seem harmless or even funny.  To someone who follows the current thinking common and understands the nuances and double-speak, this is highly disturbing.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Links

NOTE: I'm trying to take my time with my longer posts make them more succinct and polished. When I drop them without publishing, I often never go back and finish, but I'm trying to change. So for now, here are a couple of links.


NYT: Why Men Fail, via MR: Why Women Succeed?
This theory has less to do with innate traits and more to do with social position. When there’s big social change, the people who were on the top of the old order are bound to cling to the old ways. The people who were on the bottom are bound to experience a burst of energy. They’re going to explore their new surroundings more enthusiastically.
What if the workplace (and schools) has been changed to favour women's traits and personlities and men have largely lost their enthusiasm.

Favorite comment by Jude HOWSEXSELLS Hammerle: 
In other words, men play DOMINATE like gorillas, while women play SUBMIT like chimps. Remember that chimps are much smarter than gorillas. --Jude Hammerle


This makes some sense, since men are still over-represented at the highest levels, while women are over represented at the more numerous positions where following orders is more of a requirement.



As a T-Ball coach, I thought I should mention the Washington Post article on Throwing Like a Girl.  Most people throw like girls unless they are taught, or have natural athleticism.  You can read my other thoughts on  GLP's post.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I'm Free

As I was walking down the train platform this afternoon, I couldn't help noticing the average people on the train are victims of the system and society for which they are working.  Commuters like me spend a great deal of their time working for a system - whether private concern or government - that has no interest in advancing their understanding of truth.  Each spot filled on the train, seating or standing, represents a specialized understanding of specialized information in order to perform a specialized role that enables their department to perform its intended function within the organization.

Beyond this special knowledge and skill, these people are at the mercy of government and other corporations to for information required to make crucial decisions what is best for their well being.

I began riding these trains about 8 years ago when I moved to the suburbs.  At that time, despite being much younger than the average rider, I felt rather average.  I didn't think of myself as over weight, but, I carried between 25-35 extra pounds.  It didn't matter if I was in a workout phase or not, I carried extra weigh, mostly around my waist. 

Fast forward to this afternoon, when I walked down the platform looking at my train-mates, I noticed that probably 2 out of 3 of them are where I was or worse.  I feel like the fortunate misfit because I've lost most of my stomach fat and I can lithely bounce up the steps and glide effortlessly down the platform while my former self would have struggled to keep pace.  I get comments, such as, "You're lucky" from people who don't realize that I've lost so much weight.  I shrug and say that it was easy to lose weight once I understood how.

I can't blame people for thinking that.  There truly are people who are lucky enough to stay skinny despite putting very little thought into how they eat.  I am not one.  Before discovering the manosphere and learning of the paleo/primal diet, I followed the conventional wisdom put forth by the system that I supported with my daily labours.  I ate whole grain cereal with soy milk and a banana for breakfast.  When the hunger came raging back in a couple of hours, I alleved it with whole grain oatmeal or whole wheat bread, fruit and yoghurt.  Lunch was left overs from the home-cooked meal the night before - usually meat with vegetables and rice.  It was what you called a balanced diet, although, I must admit, it was not low in fat.  I didn't worry, because my cholesterol readings were great and so was my blood pressure thanks to genetic predisposition.  But, the gut and all the extra weight remained, while friends stays rail thin eating burgers and fries for lunch almost every day.  Of course, many were more overweight than I was.  These people tried to tell me that the difference was all about how I ate and worked out.

Now that I know better, I feel like Tommy from the rock opera by The Who (I'm Roger Daltry sprinting down the beach while people mindlessly stare out of their cars with sunglasses):

If I told you how to reach the highest high
You'd laugh and say nothing's that simple.
But you've been told many times before
Messiahs pointed to the door
No one had the guts to leave the temple
 
Like the character Tommy, I feel this urge to spread the news I've discovered.  I stare at the people who share my car with their varying states of overweight and know that I can't reach them.  They could feel as good as I do, but they're victims of the system that asks for them to devote all of their time and considerable brain power to performing their duty.  Nobody is challenged to take time to read blogs or volumous books like Taubes' Good Calories Bad Calories to understand how the messages that conventional wisdom are misleading them.  One person actually said when I explained the basics, she felt like I was asking her to change religion.  I acknowledged the similarities and said that the proponents of conventional wisdom are like blind followers and can't see the problem because they are part of it.  Overall, I try to temper my enthusiasm so I don't sound like a preacher.  I just say things like, "Yeah, I don't need that bagel, because I had three eggs and some bacon this morning, as usual." while they stare agog.

I think that Keoni's post called Feedlot USA sums it up the best.  The people are not concerned that their waistlines are growing while the system takes care of their every need and tells them what to think.  It's a shame, but the only way for any person to do what I have done is to seek the truth.  The Internet is an enormous resource filled with information, however, for most, it is not a priority.  They just don't have the desire, energy, time and/or ability to challenge the status quo. There is an inate urge to challenge the BS that they are fed.  Everyone scoffs and rolls their eyes at something when their BS detectors go off.  But the system has people too confused to know what they're scoffing at.  There is so much conflicting information and all of the information is never provided, or is only provided piecemeal and twisted, so people can't put all the pieces together.  It's a nagging uneasiness that slowly eats away at you if you let it, or it gets subdued with junk food and beer until it rolls over and goes to sleep.  But, if you follow truth - that elusive goal, you can control your health, your state of mind and even your destiny.  Truth, if you're brave enough to face it, can set you free.

* edited ending  since I was deprived of sleep at time of publishing.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Stay The Hell Out of My Crucial Life Decisions - Spanking ed.

The Canadian Medical Association Jounral has come out and said that spanking should be banned. Editor-in-Chief, John Fletcher is calling on the goverment to remove the protection for parents who use reasonable force to discipline their kids (read the G&M article if you want the wording of the law or read the whole thing here).
This is the problem when health experts try to influence the law and politics.  They are so blind to their religion of science that they can't see its flaws.  I am not one to go around calling science a religion.  True science has nothing to do with religion.  But, when you have well-meaning people jump all over shoddy scientific studies to advocate criminalizing normal parental behaviour.

Listen to the study that is being held up as evidence.
Harsh physical punishment such as pushing, grabbing, shoving, slapping or hitting was associated with increased odds of mood disorders, anxiety disorders, alcohol and drug abuse, and several personality disorders. Researchers found 2 percent to 7 percent of mental disorders were attributable to harsh physical punishment
 
Ok, pushing, grabbing shoving, slapping are not the same as spanking. This earlier G&M article doesn't even mention these details.

It's hard to let these experts realize that it's a whore they are sleeping with.  They have real feelings for her and they obviously aren't the ones paying, so you just have to shout at them:  SCIENCE IS A WHORE!

Dr. Fletcher says he’s not advocating for the criminalization of the occasional poor parenting choice. “If the aim is to improve parenting,” he writes, “then calling the police is the wrong approach.”
Instead, he’s hoping to shift the focus to how ineffective spanking actually is.

 Just what does he think he's doing?  Obviously he is a medical expert, so he is not too knowledgable about the law (neither am I), but when you criminalize a behaviour, you are calling for the troups (police, CPA) to move in.  The point of the law, is not to protect child abusers. It is to protect parents -who are human and make mistakes and have to deal with real day-to-day issues in the best way they can - who might otherwise have their lives destroyed by the system that has a monopoly on legal violence. The whole unintended consequences argument is totally lost.  I'm not saying that spanking is always necessary - it should probably be used perhaps 1-2 times for most children (in the entire time it takes to raise them).  But allowing the government into the homes of parents should only be done as a last resort in cases of serious abuse.  This do-gooder (mostly leftist) notion to let no single act of harm go unpunished is deeply disturbing.  Do they really blindly believe in the holy grail of government so much that they can't see that the loss of freedom and the potential for severe punishment of minor transgressions is far more harmful than a parent spanking their child once too often?
I truly believe that the love between parents and children can overcome the pain from overuse of spanking (not abuse) and we are better off letting the love heal the wounds rather than some over reaching government agency.

Monday, September 3, 2012

The Reality of Free Will - To Be Who You Are

I've been reading plenty of books.  Not as much as I'd like, because I am a wage labourer.  To get the most out of what little time I have to read I tend to read academic non-fiction rather than fiction, although I'm trying to catch up on the classics right now.  I found The Three Musketeers on my new smart phone and I've found it rather enjoyable - better than playing some game app, at least.  I've also read 1984 recently and picked up a copy of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which I chose over book Eating Animals that was recommended by the staff at Chapters. I skimmed the Jonathan Safran Foer offering and found it too biased in favour of veganism and full of guilt trips to sacrifice my money or time on.  I've found this choice to be rewarding, so far, as I'd rather follow the Mark Twain character as he struggles for survival on the Mississippi River than suffer through passages of a book that provide a slanted view of an complex issue that I've already made up my mind on.  If I want to read nitwits, I'll at least do it online where I can talk back to them; it's less frustrating.

Now, was this choice to consume a classic piece of American literature over a semi-intellectual non-fiction piece really a choice?  Or was I compelled to do it by my utter disdain for vegetarians and my realization that the book was going to argue factory farming, animal cruelty and environmental issues are somehow proof that we would all be better off eating just plants when I know that animal fat is biologically necessary for most human being to be healthy.  I'd rather spend my time reading about how leprochans are the new clean energy source than be guilted into thinking the wrong way about diet.
Still, I returned the book to the place I found it and noticed Huckleberry Finn there on the Recommended Titles display.  It roused an emotional reaction, (the carefree, barefoot boy holding a make-shift fishing rod on the riverbank awoke something primal in me) twinged with guilt for somehow avoiding this work although I hold a degree in literature.  ITh did not have to walk over to the counter and wait in line - my wife was already ringing up the children's books we were purchasing.  There was certainly a compulsion, but I made this choice of free will, knowing that I could probably pick up an e-book version for free.
In his book The Moral Landscape, Sam Harris argues, as do many in academia, that free will is an illusion. 
Our belief in free will arises from our moment-to-moment ignorance of specific prior causes.  The phrase "free will describes what it feels like to be identified with the content of each thought as it arises in consciousness. Trains of thought like, "What should I get my daugher for her birthday? I know, I'll take her to a pet store and have her pick out some tropical fish," convey the apparent reality of choices, freely made.  But from a deeper perspective (speaking both subjectively and objectively), thoughts simply arise (what else could they do?) unauthored and yet author to our actions. (p. 105)
 Earlier:
We are conscious of only a tiny fraction of the information that our brains process in each moment.  While we continually notice changes in our experience - in thought, mood, perception, behavior, etc. - we are utterly unaware of the neural events that produce these changes. In fact, by merely glancing at your face or listening to your tone of voice, others are often more aware of your internal states and motivations than you are. And yet most of us still feel that we are the authors of our own thoughts and actions.

All of our behavior can be traced to biological events about which we have no conscious knowledge: this has always suggested that free will is an illusion. (p. 103)
 Basically, our brains are pre-wired to feel and think a certain way and it is doing so without our knowledge.  Our thoughts are formed before we are aware of them, so we are not acting upon our own free will, but under the control of our biological processess within the brain.  Basically, our state of mind is not a choice, but determined by our circumstances and our breeding.  As an intelligent person under pressures of the culture of which I am a part, I was compelled to pick up the copy of Mark Twain, cleverly placed there by store staff who knew that someone like me would want to own it sooner or later and that there was a good chance I would decide that now is the time to own it leading to a sale (ka-ching).  I was like compelled to pick up a book called Eating Animals as it is a subject I hold dear (I love*∞ eating animals) and I am always eager to explore the moral and dietary dilemas as the book claimed to do objectively.  Alas, I had time to skim it and concluded that it was not so objective, at least was more concerned with animal welfare than human health (viz. no sale).


So, how can I determine that free will exists even though I cannot help but feel hungry as the noon-hour approaches (although, the paleo diet has helped me control my need for snacking) and this inveriably leads to thoughts of slicing animal parts into bite-size morcels, chewing and swallowing them until satiated?  Note, that I am taking it one step further than Sam Harris, because our stomachs act like a second brain that sometimes take precedence. As Odysseus said when disguised as a beggar, everyone is ruled by their stomach.  Quite simply, the same way that Harris has proven his point - by semantics.

Harris seems to think that true free will would be free of interference from the very factors that make us who we are. He ignores the fact that our biology is our essence and has been trained by various social and environmental factors to create our sense of self.  While it is true, that I cannot help but feel remorse for mistakes that hurt a loved one or want to help others when they are in need, each instant of my life offers a choice of action.  I can hit publish right now despite the fact that this post is incomplete, or I can continue to write this sentence.  While it is true that it would not make sense and it would go against all my instincts which compell me to write a coherent and complete blog post on this important matter, it is entirely within my control.  I could walk away from the computer right now, or just hit save and leave this in my ever-growing list of unpublished posts, but I don't think I will, even though the real world compells me quite strongly right now to leave the office (it's a nice day outside, my children are home and it's well past lunch-time now).

Harris uses the word "inscrutable" in a sentence and then muses that he had no choice but to use that word because it was the one that came to mind.  Even after debating the merits of using the word "opaque" instead.  Am I free to feel that "opaque is a better word, when I just do not feel that it is the better word? Am I free to change my mind? Of course not. It can only change me. Such as it is, that is correct. But, to say that choosing a less-apt word despite his preferences would be free will is absurd.  Free will is actually the ability to act upon ones preferences.  Say that some editor had forced him to use "opaque" or that some regulator had outlined the acceptable uses of the word "inscrutable" and his sentence did not comply.  Despite his desire to use the word, he would not be able to use it.  He would not be able to act of his own free will.  He has internalized the concept of free will to the point that our own impulses and desires are not our own.  As if the brain is not a part of us.  We own our emotions, even as they own and control us.

I want to eat tenderloin steak or prime-rib from grass-fed beef every day.  I cannot stop wanting this, despite the fact that it would be extra-ordinarily expensive and even if I could afford it, I'd be better off mixing some salmon and other meats in once in awhile (eating plenty of greens as well).  Just because I can't stop my desires, does not mean I will go broke and ignore all other priorities to get my fix of beef.  My children still need clothes and shelter and desire to live in a fairly nice neighbourhood.  I choose which desires take priority.  All these thoughts and desires arise on their own because of my evolutionary instinct for survival and my conscious and sub-concsious assessments of my environment.  The more I am aware of them and their purpose the better I am able to meet those desires and control the desires that cannot be met.  If I can subdue my desires for a period of time (future time orientation), I am more likely to become rich and then meet more of my desires.

Why do I blog when I'd probably be better off honing skills I use at work to earn money?  Well, I'm compelled by my nature.  If you blocked my ability to blog, I'd have no avenue to express my desire to express myself.  That would be denial of free will.  Why did I study Literature when I would have been better off studying something more economically practical?  Well, I thought it would make me happy.  Of course, it was also because I realized that I did not possess the correct state of mind or discipline to study science as I had hoped, although I know I had the brains.  I found that science was not giving me the pleasure I thought it would so I wound up in Literature (too bad for my future self, but here I am).

Harris seems to argue from the point of view that free will must not arise from any base urge or unconscious thought in order to be genuine.  Of course, there is no such thing as a thought or desire that does not arise first from a biological process somewhere deep in a brain.  Unless you believe in God, there is no such thoughts in the universe.  I do not believe in God, however, I believe that the notion of free will that some believe was endowed upon man by God is not that you can do or think anything.  If that were the case, than to truly have free will, you would be able to turn yourself into a chicken and then think like a chicken one day and turn yourself into a lion the next day and think like a lion.  The fact is that lions think like lions and chickens think like lions and they have free will because they can act like lions and chickens until something stronger imposes its will upon them and prevents them from acting as they please - say by cutting their heads off and roasting them.

Lion and chicken thoughts are much less complex than human thoughts, as far as we can tell. Speaking as a human, I can tell you that many, many thoughts strange and wonderful vie within my brain for attention and action.  Somehow, I choose which of those thoughts I act upon.  The biblical meaning of free will was that God showed man the proper way to behave and each individual had a choice whether to act upon his desire to attain primal satisfaction in a way that pleased God or in a way that angered him.  Or, in the face of eternal damnation, would it be wiser still to deny all efforts to attain primal satisfaction and live like a monk, guaranteeing entry to heaven?  It's his choice - free will.

As an atheist, and I am strongly influenced by Sam Harris's thoughts on morality, I see it a little differently. I am aware of my primal desires and speculate on the reasons I feel them.  The more aware I am of them and the more I can reason, the better able I am to act of my own free will.

It is true that if you punch me in the nose, that I will feel angry and desire retribution.  However, I have to weigh the advantages and risks of open combat.  I may decide that you are much stronger and I will be better off swallowing my pride and succumbing to your will.  I may decide that I can take retribution now and win in the fight.  I may also decide that although you are stronger, I am better off fighting and taking another punch or two until I am thoroughly defeated, just to save face and potentially avoid being the target of others who would want to fight me if they witnessed me backing down.  All three of these thoughts, and more, would arise in my head as I debated the best course of action.  Once I was aware of all of the possibilities, I would choose what I thought would most likely lead to my happiness - or the least misery.  I cannot help but feel these feelings, but once I am aware of them, I can determine what I would most like to do.
****
I bring up this point, only to show what the origins of sub-conscious thought really are: assessments of reality. They arise only from external and internal stimuli. So, a punch in the nose (external stimuli) causes messages to be sent to my brain (internal stimuli) and my brain reacts in various ways causing a cascade of internal stimuli, adrenalin for example, to speed up assessment of external and internal stimuli to choose the required fight or flight response. How bad am I hurt? Who is my attacker(s)? What routes of escape exist? Are there openings for attack?  I am thinking these things because they are appropriate for the reality of the moment.These thoughts are mine, even though I cannot stop thinking them. I assess my own skills and strength versus my assessment of the reality of the situation, possible because of my fight/flight response and act accordingly.

To deny that our sub-conscious thoughts are the result of internal and external stimuli would be to argue that any thought is possible at any time and thoughts arise into the conscious mind randomly and only illicit our attention when they are needed. In the seconds after being punched in the nose, I might have a thought about whether a meatball sub would be a good choice for lunch and have to push it out of the way to deal with the amount of blood being lost and ducking the next incoming punch. If that were the case, I would imagine most fights would end up in a turtling response as the number of thoughts bouncing around in the brain would be debilitating.

So it goes with all thoughts from the emergency response in times of crisis to the slow deliberate assessment of nature that goes on in philosophy. Reality causes stimuli and brains process stimuli consciously and unconsciously. But regardless, the thoughts belong to the thinker and it his perogative to contemplate them.
****

I believe that Harris's dislike for the concept of God and religion has biased him.  He desires to separate man from religion, so he would like to denounce free will since it is such a basic concept in the hearts of religious believers.  While rhetorically, he is correct - no individual thought can be initiated of one's own free will, he ignores the fact that the human mind is conscious of many competing thoughts - all originating from the same internal part of the body which the individual owns.  Once the human mind is aware of the the many thoughts it holds, it can truly use free will to decide which thoughts to champion and in which actions to partake.

****
Edit: I thought this section was the main point, skipped over in haste. Added Nov 27, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Our Sports Prove That Humans Are Predators


Perhaps proof is a strong word.  Sports are very powerful evidence in support of the theory that our species has evolved to survive primarily by hunting for food.

Think about the way most of our sports are played.  Baseball, football (football), soccer (football), hockey (ice and field), basketball, tennis and lacrosse to name a few all involve tracking a fast-moving playing object (ball or puck) with the eyes to chase down and catch or strike, much like our ancestors tracked down prey of various sizes.  Some involve various forms of struggle to gain control over the playing object which adds another twist mimicking the competition between hunters.  All this activity simulates the activity of hunting for prey.  Throwing demonstrates from the quintessential human adaptation of hunting with arm-flung projectiles.  Anyone who has ever played sports knows the deep seated drive to chase after any moving ball – it’s pure instinct.

Compare our sports to other members of the animal kingdom.  The only obvious examples of similar, chase-the-ball type of play are our two most common pets – dogs and cats.  Both are obligate carnivores whose primary method of obtaining food is hunting. The instinct we share is obvious if you’ve ever picked up a ball near a loose dog or dangled a string near a cat.  It is hard to think of another animal that plays in a similar fashion, but you can see hunting roots of certain dolphin behavior. See how this dolphin artfully plays with rings of bubbles.  I do not know whether the dolphin was trained to do that, but it appears to be having fun independent of human interference, as does this dolphin playing with a ball.

Contrast these carnivores to the apathetic reactions of these baby elephants to a soccer ball. Witness this playful demonstration of skillful manipulation by a young pachyderm.  Notice how unlike hunting this behavior is. They treat the ball like an animal might treat an inanimate piece of fruit, say a coconut.  Strike or bite it until you are satisfied that it is inedible then ignore.  Witness also, fully grown animals playing an actual game of soccer.  Notice the riders guiding their mounts to the ball and proper position.  The point to be gained from this comparison is that nobody has to train a dog to chase a ball.  Retrieving, of course, is another matter entirely. 

Elephants and other large herbivores have contests of dominance with each other and I have to include this one of hunters freeing two bucks with their antlers entangled).  Parrots can be trained to play with balls and bicycles, but only predatory birds can be trained to track down and tackle flying objects.  I’ve never had a pet rabbit, but I can imagine how a rabbit would react to a ball – with complete indifference.  The same goes for gerbils and other rodents.  Basically, if herbivores developed intelligence and developed an Olympic style contest, unlikely if you read gnolls, you would expect to see sports involving one-on-one team battles, racing games and probably some unexpected sports that we would never think of, but few, if any, sports with surrogate prey like a soccer ball or hockey puck.  Just imagine what sport a herding animal like sheep might develop.  There is almost no pressure on herding animals to develop high-IQ individuals, but what if some DNA experimenter created some intelligent sheep and they started playing sports?  Perhaps they would play team sports whereby the team navigates a course in the tightest formation.  Maybe jumping games would develop.  I just could not see sheep manipulating a prey-like object.  Of course, sheep don’t use tools at all.  Why would they?  They are not hunters.

Sports are driven by instinct.  Humans are imbued with hunting instincts.  Our eyes are positioned in the front of the head to enable 3-dimensional tracking of moving objects, like most predatory animals.  We have an instinct to chase to acquire food.  Watching players chase a soccer ball along the field, you could easily imagine them chasing an animal in a similar manner.  We have abandoned hunting as the main source of food, but our evolved instincts remain as evidenced by the thrill of chasing down a fly ball or a tennis serve.  Think about this the next time that you hear someone spout some nonsense about evolution and vegetarianism.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Links Old and New


Adrian Coyne discusses Quebec election debates in full utopian dream mode.  Imagine a place and time when ideas are discussed fully and openly.  Who has time for that?  One day, elections will be preceded by frank, in-depth discussion of the issues in a variety of formats that foster thoughtful insights to find the best course of action for government.  I do think that the one-on-one format could be an improvement on the usual 3,4 or 5-way formats often used in Canada, but keep dreaming Adrian.  It's a good dream.  Perhaps we could use blogs and Internet forums to discuss issues and find consensus.  I just don't think human nature is built for honest, open discussion - not from what I've seen so far.

Transgendered mother (trigger warning: creepy bearded lady) thinks that it's not enough to breast feed while sporting a goatie, but must become a breast-feeding leader for LeLeche League, or become a victim of "old-fashioned" human rights violations.  Strange Sentence: Mr. MacDonald said in an interview regarding mothering and fathering as two distinct concepts is “old fashioned.”
Culdesachero says:  This lady made a choice to have her body altered and to take hormones  to appear more like a man.  Then she changed her mind temporarily to give birth.  She needs supplemental milk fed through a tube to "breast feed" her child, but she thinks she'd be an ideal candidate for breast feeding coach.  I'm not certain, but, if I was a new mother seeking help for breast feeding (the epitome of female power), I don't think I would choose someone who has rejected her femininity.  Perhaps she should become a breast feeding consultant for other transgendered mothers (that position could require travel and long periods of unemployment).
I guess I'm dating myself by saying that my two children have ONE FATHER and ONE MOTHER (both wonderful people).

Economist blogge W.W. on social responsibility and corporations (i.e. Chick Filet). Interesting point: Doesn't the demand that corporations act responsibly in the interests of society, in ways other than profit-seeking, directly imply that corporate leaders who find same-sex marriage socially irresponsible should do something or other to discourage it?


Sunday, August 12, 2012

London 2012: Choreo-Gasm-A-Delic

I'm watching the closing ceremonies and I feel lie puking.  I've never-never-never been one for glossy, feel-good, highly choreographed entertainment.  The opening and closing ceremonies is always so full of this cheerful atmosphere that it becomes sickening to the cynical like me.

The London opening and closing ceremonies were more enjoyable than most, because of the focus on the music.  A lot of my favourite classic rock artists were highlighted in the mish-mash of music and dance.  Much of the music, however, is actually rather dark - unbecoming an extatic event like the Olympics.  No matter, they just choreograph the whole thing to with a few skipping, jumping dancers and everyobody feels ok.  The Who provided a brief medly for the finaly, graciously cutting out the chorus of "teenage wasteland" from Baba O'Reilly.  We're not introducing the image of drugged out mods on this scene featuring the world's top athletes.  But acts such as Pink Floyd, Paul McCartney (too hippy) and Muse(too dark and edgy) don't really fit the scene either.

Nevermind.  This is the Olympics and everything (I mean EVERYTHING) is wonderful(especially if it is British).  Criticism not welcome.  Everybody smile and be happy.

It would be fine if this lack of criticism was only extended to the ceremonies.  Britain gets to showcase the best their culture has to offer, past and present.  However, the Olympic spirit is also taking this one step further into the realm of the athletics.

Nobody seems to be asking questions about mechanically enhanced athletes.  I don't mean to belittle the feat of a double amputee running as the fastest athletes in the world.  I think it's a great achievement of engineering and personal will.  In a word, it is awesome.  But, you cannot tell me that this Oscar Pistorius is participating in the same sport as the other runners in this race.

Read one reporter's fauning op-ed about the heart of this athlete.

The Wikipedia article mentions the struggle he endured to be approved.
After a two-day hearing, on 16 May 2008 the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Pistorius's appeal and the IAAF council decision was revoked with immediate effect. The CAS panel unanimously determined that Dr. Br├╝ggemann tested Pistorius's biomechanics only at full-speed when he was running in a straight line (unlike a real 400-metre race); that the report did not consider the disadvantages that Pistorius suffers at the start and acceleration phases of the race; and that overall there was no evidence that he had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.
So, the test to prove whether an advantage was gained was pushed aside because it did not take into account certain disadvantages.  Here is the biggest question that nobody wants to ask.  What will happen when those disadvantages are eliminated through developments in the technology?  If Pistorius is given an advantage at full speed and can start just as well as a regular runner, would the entire apparatus not be considered advantageous?  Human ingenuity will eventually overcome all of the short comings and allow amputees to run faster than anyone else; this is absolutely inevitable and likely happening sooner than later - 2016 perhaps?
Here, then, we are brought to a cross-roads.  Either, ban all limb replacement devices and mechanical assistance in running sports or regulate them to provide no apparent advantage.  It is no easy task to determine some level of advantage gained by replacement legs.  Considering that without any mechanical apparatus, he would not be able to run at all, any apparatus is an advantage.

But ignoring that fact, as the IAAF seems to do, officials would have to determine some standard by which any apparatus could be judged and accepted.  The mechanical advantage would have to be similar to the human body and engineers would basically have to calibrate it as such.  The question would be, to what kind of human should it be calibrated.  Usain Bolt is the worlds fastest human.  Would it be fair, then, to provide a leg that provides as much energy return as a Usain Bolt leg?

This is where it gets morally sticky.  Amputees would be given Usain Bolt legs (or whatever standard is decided upon), while everyone else would get the legs that they're born with.  In that context, would not mechanical legs be considered an unfair advantage?  If you take 100 amputee athletes, you could simply customize a leg for each one and have half of them running the 100m in 10 seconds, albeit with hard training.  You could random pick 100 able bodied athletes and no mater how hard they trained, you'd be lucky to find one to run near 10 seconds.  Again, I can't deny Pistorius heart and desire, but it is simply unfathomable, that he his anything more than a good athlete.  Good is fine, but the competition at the Olympics MUST be elite.  If you can take a good athlete and attach an apparatus to his body and make his run about as fast as elite athletes it is called cheating.  Why can we allow this if we are so upset at the mere allegation of drug enhanced performance?

How long before the first person has his legs replaced on purpose to allow for faster replacement legs to be attached?  How long before it is a common practice, like Tommy John's surgery is for baseball pitchers?

One day Usaine Bolt's records will be broken. If it is by a man who has his legs amputated and is wearing similar devices, will people be able to honestly look him in the eye and that it is the same as what he did?  Or, will our Very-Nice People in charge of the Olympics with their feel-good politics and inability to speak truth when it might hurt go into overdrive as we gush for the all-wonderful Olympic Dream?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Marketing Newspeak in Everyday Conversations: Playpen or Play Yard

I recently had a conversation with some friends that went basically like this:

Friend: "My baby is outgrowing the bassinet. I think it's time to put him in a crib."
Culdesachero: "I guess he's growing."
F:"Yeah, it's a lot sooner than with our first. We didn't move her until she was X months old."
C: "Oh really, interesting."
F:"Of course, with her we didn't move her directly into the crib."
C: "Where did you move her?"
F:"Well, she moved to the play yard first."
C: "You had her sleeping, like, on the floor?"
F: (Slightly indignant) "No, of course not. It was in the play yard."
C: "I'm sorry, what do you mean by play yard?"
F:"It's a square thing you put the kid in so they don't get hurt. But this has extra sleeping and change table attachments."
C: "Oh, so it sounds just like the playpen we had for ours."
F:"Yeah, but they're also called play yards."
"Sorry, when I think of a play yard, I think of those little fences with gates where you just go in." making little gate-swinging motion.
F:"No. A play yard has a floor..."
C: "I guess a couple of years makes a big difference in the language."
F: Scoffs.
C: "It's still called a playpen. No matter what the marketing geniuses try to rebrand their product as. It sounds like they're just trying to separate the idea that you're penning your child in there like a dog."
F: "huh? That's just what they call it."
C: Cheekily, "It's CALLED a playpen. You don't have to invent new words. The word already exists."
F: "Well, at least you're open minded about it."
C: Laughing, "That's me, Mr. Open-minded."


Inside, I was facepalming like mad. If I hadn't deflected the conversation in a lighthearted, self-deprecating, "I'm-so-stuck-in-my-ways" manner to let everyone know that I understand that it's not really a big deal, this could have gotten pretty heated. Still, the point was made, although, I'm sure some participants and observers are of the opinion that I'm just a jerk.

Child exercising in "The Yard"
Do I take life too seriously? It amazes me how people accept corporate re-branding and renaming things that have existed for centuries with so little thought. Am I the only one bothered by this? Three years ago, nobody would have equated the terms playpen and play yard. Now, because my friends either read about play yards somewhere in some corporate-sponsored articles or talked to a slick saleperson who insisted on calling them play yards instead of playpens, they've completely erased the term playpen with this newspeak term play yard at the behest of marketing executives. (Yes, I really think about these things.)
I've never looked at one of these things and said, "Wow, look at that yard for babies to play in". I've never met a baby who liked to play in one regardless of the term used to describe it, but that's besides the point. The definition of yard means basically, a tract of ground next to, surrounding, or surrounded by a building or buildings, ofen enclosed. Whereas, a pen is defined as a fenced enclosure for keeping animals. This does not mean that pens have floors, but the definition of yard specifically mentions the word ground. So, pen may or may not have a floor, while a yard can not have a floor (other than the ground). Therefore, play yard is an incorrect term for a device with a floor designed to safely, temporarily confine and hopefully entertain small children while mom and dad are busy, but within earshot. But, you say, this is for indoors. Ah, I guess I'll give you that, but if you were to extend the definition of yard to an enlosed indoor area, the floor of the room would become proxy for the ground in that case, meaning you can call an enclosed area of floor could rightly be called a pen or a yard, a playpen that keeps the child off of the floor could not be called a yard.

Wikipedia currently has the following definition:
A playpen is a piece of furniture in which an infant or young toddler (typically those less than 35" tall and 30 lbs) is placed to prevent self-harm when her/his parent or guardian is occupied or away. The earliest use of the word "playpen" cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is 1902. More recently they have also been called "playards".
Recently(?) they have also been called playards????  Try, recently, a marketers have tried to remove the negative connotations of penning children like pigs, replacing it with the notion that they can be let "out" into the "yard" as if for fresh air.  I'm sure Lenore Skenazy could have some spin on this.  I mean, parents are being reported to police for letting their children play unattended in their own back yards.  Could this be the "yard" of the future?


I can picture the smarmy salesman speaking to the soon-to-be parent:
Mom-to-be: "But, I would never confine my child in a pen like a pig or a dog!"
Smarmy Salesman: "Of course not, madam, that's why you should consider our newest line of play YARDS for your precious ones. They'll enjoy the yard while you do their laundry or heat up their Kraft Dinner."
Mom-to-be: "Oh, well if you put it that way."

Makers of playpens have always had to deal with the notions of these insensible people who can't decipher between keeping an animal in a pen and confining your child to a safe place for short periods of time while you take care of important personal and household matters. The term pen always holds these connotations and, in the mind of marketers, prevents sales from reaching their full potential. So, they've invented a new word and are doing their best to wipe the old, more accurate, term off the face of the earth. When I google playpen, I get over 6,000,000 hits and images are fairly uniformly of playpens. "Play Yard" in quotes gets just under 3,000,000 and images vary widely between playpens and outside yards suitable for play. What we are witnessing is a corporate sponsored shifting point between these two terms. Nobody is much bothered by it except people like me who actually feel meaning behind words is important and who resist new expressions that loose accuracy. Granted, PLAYpen is using the word "play" fairly liberally, since all most kids do in them is scream to be let out.

Since the PC cleansing of our language that replaced such horrible terms as fireman, manhole cover and retarded with more inclusive or pleasant sounding firefighter, maintenance hole cover and developmentally delayed, we have become primed for such language adjustments. Strangely, it bothers me less that fireman has been changed to firefighter because at least the term does not conflict with its meaning. I'll still say fireman or firefighter interchangeably, but, I will not say play yard for a child containment device that has a raised floor.

Such conflicting terms have always bothered me, even before I finally completed Orwell's 1984 and learned more about the purpose and origin of Newspeak. It bothers me regardless of the motivations (power, money, goodwill). But, what truly disturbs me, is the ease with which the new words are accepted by people. I have this alarm in my brain that goes off whenever I see or hear something that conflicts with my previously held truths. If you tell me that something is blue and opaque and it is obvious to me that it is clear and yellow, my internal-conflic alarm will go off and I'll be forced to call you on your misconception. You cannot then say to me, "Let's agree to compromise and meet half-way. Perhaps it is green and transluscent." There is no perhaps about it. I can see that it is yellow and I can see through it clearly. There is no discussion. Your assessment is incorrect. As Winston Smith said, 2 + 2 = 4.

















Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fairness in Sports

Maybe I can't figure out Jezebel's comments, but, it doesn't seem to want to take my comment  (I don't want to think that there is a delay or something in moderation).  So, I've been reading other comments, I came across some real genius logic.
From bearsandmuppets:
"There is no reason why we can't allow women to use better clubs in golf and compete at the same tees. There is no reason why we can't give women metal bats in baseball (if that would be safe). Or, just impose a 50/50 rule in sports. I don't really care. But, I do care that watching sports is like watching male dominance and homophobia put on display. There is absolutely no reason why we need to continue to glorify these values in society."

So, to conclude, women are just as kick ass as men. Therefore, we should alter the rules to accommodate them at the elite level.

Other commenters called her out on this, to which she replied, " I do want them to play by the same rules. The fact of the matter is you are demanding every current rule to be the essential rules of the game. When you play monopoly with someone who has trouble rolling dice, do you automatically exclude them because they can't do it without help? No. That's foolish. So is excluding major-money golf from women because they can't hit it as far. They put and have a short game that are equal. The heart of golf is how accurate you hit it, it doesn't have to be how far you can hit it"

Ok, the physical act of rolling the dice makes no difference in the game of Monopoly. That's like saying someone with no arms can't play chess because they can't move the pieces. If they can still say communicate "queens bishop to Kings knight 5" (if that makes sense) they can play chess and it makes no difference to their ability to play the game. Giving special clubs or bats to women so they can play professionally with men is more like the way I play chess with my six-year old by starting with no queen.  Perhaps it would be like giving someone Park Place or Boardwalk to give them an advantage.

Now, bearsandmuppets' logic does not seem out of place on an Internet comments board.  Perhaps she's too young to understand fairness.  However, GLP's new post about the Paycheck Fairness Act seems to suggest that the same logic is used in Washington. 

I admit that this Jezebel article is low-hanging fruit and the comments are even lower.  I have many more in depth posts to write, I just don't have time.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Everyone Else Links with Jezebel, Why Can't I?

GLP linked to this zaniness at Jezebel.  Talk about grasping at straws.

My comment posted:
"When I was a kid, there was no WNBA. There were no female professional athletes."

The latter is simply not true - there were professional female figure skaters, skiers, gymnast/acrobats, synchronized swimmers.  Girls usually excel at different sports than boys. Not all of them are big spectator sports.

The study quoted takes a single data point from one sport - freestyle swim times - and extrapolates a wild conclusion - that girls at age 8 are just as good as boys at all sports.  It doesn't warrant explanation that personal best scores at age 8 are more indicative of how much training was done as 8 year-olds are still learning and developing basic skills and technics - despite the assumption that freestyle eliminates the training element and is "more likely to be influenced by muscle function".

I've coached young children in soccer and T-ball and, although there are some really good girls at young ages, most young girls are not nearly as good as average boys at the same age.  This is despite their aggressive, pushy mothers desperate that their 5-year-old girl must play elite-level sports one day.  It was no surprise when a local soccer club decided to split the boys and girls into separate leagues even at 3&4 years old.  I think it will have a positive affect on the girls divisions in times to come since less will be frustrated by playing against boys.

Finally, since when was a tie the same as kicking someone's ass? [end comment]
I guess Jezebel hasn't heard of the trend of injuries among Warrior Girls.
Femaleathlete is sensitive to criticism about her appearance.  Even though she's no model, she is probably at least a 6 or a 7 on the looks scale.  (Realistically speaking, not in the unrealistic scale that guys seem to use - i.e. perfect 10's don't exist and the hottest 2% score above 8 and 5 is average looking).  I distribute all women evenly on the scale - the top 10% are 10's, 10-20% are 9's etc.  Addlington is nowhere near ugly, especially judging by some of the photos posted by commenters [boob-flash].  I imagine that any athlete would want to avoid distractions before the biggest event in her career, so, I can't say I blame her for staying off twitter during the Olympics.  I'll just say that the Internet is a cruel, cruel place.  Don't post pictures of yourself unless you're willing to be humiliated.



Jezebelsuggests that 20-somethings consider freezing their eggs to ensure optimal fertility.  Don't consider, egad, seeking an older, stable mate and having children before you're thirty.  That's crrrrraaaaaaaazzzzzyyyyy talk.


Aging, one-hit-wonder, teen-pop-star, Alanis, reborn-as-pseudo-intellectual-hippie-chick, flash-in-the-pan, alternative-pop-star Alanis Morrisette is into attachment parenting [Boob-flash].  I don't think much of most of the attachment parenting philosophy (Mommy and Daddy need room in bed just to sleep, let alone get busy, so, letting kids sleep in their bed is just not going to work), but, I still love to see feminists so divided about a movement that both elevates The Female and encourages traditional roles at the same time.  There's just something so OPPRESSIVE about humanity since children leach so shamelessly off of their mothers.  If I could design a species, I tell ya, they'd be mowing the lawn by the time they were 12 months old.


Of course, everything about the Alanis piece speaks to her love for her child and the fact that she wants what's best for him, except the fact that she named him Ever.


[update:  I DID post that comment at Jezebel, but, it seems to have disappeared.  So, I've reposted.  See if anyone notices now.]









Friday, May 25, 2012

Not Too Busy for a Short(ish) Post

I haven't been posting lately, because I've been busy.  I work 5 days a week and it is now baseball season.  I think that coaching Little League is a lot more beneficial to the world than writing here.  So, it's taking up most of my time.

I'm done 1984.  I find that the Internet, is much like the telescreens in Orwell's novel.  The millions of postings by people like me are like flags to anyone who would be interested in finding out who is asking the kind of questions that they might not like.  I do not think it is too paranoid to think that governments are scanning the comments and cataloging the activities of individuals.  Partly, it should be their job to identify people who might be planning something harmful.  But, I'm sure that there are government strategists wondering how to deal with non-conforming opinion writers. 

In Canada we have hate-speach legislation.  I believe that it may be a crime, in the near future, to link to a website that contains what someone considers hate speach.  If that is so, I could post a link to OneSTDV or GLPiggy or even the NY Times where someone posts a hateful comment (I'm not sure if it happens more at OneSTDV or at the NYT) and end up contravening the law.  I don't think the lawmakers understand how the Internet works.  New York wants to ban anonymous blogging (GLP)

One more thing about the job of Winston, in 1984.  Does the Internet make his job (re-writing publications to suit The Party's motives) easier or obsolete?  Now, one person could simply re-write every article in real-time rather than having to re-print thousands of issues.  OR, would Winston just become a contract mercenary blog-poster?

I find the transient nature of Internet frustrating when I link to an article, but, then it disappears.  I have a friend who actually scrapbooks with newspaper clippings.  I've always wished I could track the shifitng of public (published) opinions, but, I'll never, ever have the time for that.  I feel like Winston when the Party announces that chocolate rations are being reduced to 20 grams per person from 30 one day and then congratulates Big Brother for raising the ration to 20 grams the next.  I've often noticed much smaller, more nuanced changes in wording and in the standard narrative from MSM that seem to erase the old narrative without so much as a peep from competing politicos or anyone.

Now, I'm reading Steven Pinker's latest book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature".  So far, it is going over much of the ideas covered in The Blank Slate, but, focusing on the violence of past cultures comparitive to ours.  I remember reading an account of an English explorer going to live with native Canadians.  Travelling to hunting grounds, they came across a group of Inuit men fishing.  All of the Inuit Men were killed.  I always think of civilization, in its ever expanding powers, as a great bringer of peace, despite all of its problems.

Other News:
Montreal Students demand free crappy government education rather than the good subsidized education they can now get.  If you really believe that arts education is worthwhile, you should pay for it.

It is still dangerous to climb the world's tallest mountain.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Am Finally Reading 1984

I'm very familiar with this book even though I've never read it.  I'm finally getting around to it.  Orwell would truly understand why it is so hard to counteract today's prevailing government, PC rhetoric.

The best quote so far:

Talking to her, he realised how easy it was to present an appearance of orthodoxy while having no grasp whatever of what orthodoxy meant.  In a way, the world-view of the Party imposed itself most successfully on people incapable of understanding it.  They could be made to accept the most flagrant violations of reality, because they never fully grasped the enormity of what was demanded of them, and were not sufficiently interested in public events to notice what was happening.  By lack of understanding they remained sane.  They simply swallowed everything, and what they swallowed did them no harm because it left no residue behind, just as a grain of corn will pass unigested through the body of a bird
Winston's rebellion is more ideological than Julia's.  She just wants to enjoy her life and the party wants to stop her.  So, she rebels by doing things like have forbidden sex, while, he rebels against the entire apparatus of the Party.  She can't care less that the news spouted through the telescreens is complete nonsense or that history is nonexistant.  Outwardly, she is able to appear completely in line with the orthodoxy of the Party line because it just doesn't matter to her.  While Winston cannot hide his deeper resentment for Big Brother because he understands how truly insidious it is and is easily picked out by Julia and later by O'Brien as not conforming.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The History and Future of Marriage

Hawaiian Libertarian linked to this article at No Ma'am which outlines the history of marriage as spelled out almost everywhere in the manosphere.  I've heard it from Girl Writes What most effectively (I linked to her profile rather than her specific video posting - you'll have to start at the beginning, just like I did.) 

Whenever I read the basic premise, I think, "Wow, that really makes sense."  Then I get this feeling of dread knowing that I am in a Marriage 2.0 contract.  I know that if something goes wrong at any time, I'm going to be dividing my possessions and assets and looking for a new place to live.  I'm brazen writing this, since, Mrs. Culdesachero has "threathened" to read my blog.  She knows about it, and knows that it's not complementary to feminism, but, doesn't read it except when I say, "Look, some one's talking about me!"

So, the sense of dread starts to grow as I read, and then, I think about my wife.  I remember what a sound, sensible person she is and how much she loves me.  I also feel how much I love her and remember the feelings I have when I stand beside her.  I like being married - if feels like I have a partner to help weather the storms of the world.  Together, we're stronger, happier and we need each other to do what's best for our children.  My marriage looks nothing like Dalrock's (we're atheists), but, I value his perspective as a traditionalist who questions modern morality.  I rarely read Athol Kay and haven't read his book, but, the concepts of his that I've absorbed seem to have helped me become a better husband and I feel closer to my wife now than I ever have.  There is no doubt that the truths I've discovered in the manosphere has helped me become a better man and strengthen my marriage - even though many voices within it would rather see men give up on marriage altogether.

Can this truth, about the history of marriage as an economic agreement, whereby the sexuality and reproductive power of the woman became the property of the man and the labour of the man became the property of the woman, be accepted by the general population?  If so, can it help society come to terms with what has become of male-female relations?  I think it is rather too much to digest, although, I will bring up the male half of the equation whenever the feminist trope of "women were once owned by their husbands" is brought up.

My wife is reasonable person.  She once sent me an article about the book Spousonomics.  She mentioned that we basically followed the ideas already and that she didn't mind doing more of the housework if it meant sitting down to watch Dexter together sooner.  If she can accept the word of economists when dealing with the sticky issues of matrimonial bliss, can the world understand the economic definition of marriage as outlined by a site called No Ma'am?

Personally, I think that the term "ownership" is too strong to accept by society at large when applied to any part of a person (including general terms such as labour or sexuality).  The general populace still thinks of another atrocious part of history when the words "ownership" and "person" are used together. 

Another problem, is that not only is marriage by the old definition dead, the world in which it thrived is dead.  No longer is traditional male labour all that valuable.  Male and female earning power is very close and society is set up to allow working mothers to thrive.  People no longer live in places where bears need to be chased away from the front door (except in Thompson, Alberta and Newfoundland) Marriage had to change - not to say the current arrangement is acceptable. 

I think the evolution of marriage will continue to stall until we admit what the original purpose of marriage was - to raise children.  However, right now, it is important for the left to suppress this fact until gay marriage is pushed through.  This is why I wish that the gay marriage non-issue would resolve itself.  Right now, it is just another issue that sticks under the conservative movement's craw making it very useful to the left as a wedge which many people are willing to hammer into the foundation of traditional society.  This is why I wish that the Republican party would listen to How The World Work's point of view.  If the left thinks it is a big issue, the right should make it a NON-ISSUE.  Allow gay marriage (who cares if two men or women want to call themselves spouses) and move on.

There, I've figured out marriage and how to get back on track toward fixing it.  Anyone want to start drawing up proposals for conditions for the next version of the contract?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Feminine Psychology cont.


Commenter Sew A Word In Edgewise has raised some very good points about my post on Feminine Psychology.  I was inspired to write that post by YouTube Video Blogger KellyJones00.  I started to respond and ... well, here it is.  Please tell me that I haven't gone off the deep end here.
SWE's comment:
Still, I feel that both feminists and non/anti feminists seem to think that being masculine is the only appropriate way to behave, and I dislike that just as much
Well, this is the crux of the whole issue.  It really deserves a full post.  The feminist myth is that The Female is undervalued in society while, in actuality, it has always been valued higher than The Male, evidenced by the protections females garner.  However, feminism has tried to attack masculinity and “male-dominated” realms and encouraging women to take a more masculine identity, thereby devaluing feminine psychology.    On the other hand, The Feminine is considered sacred and, although the prevailing mantra is that men and women are no different, feminists have demanded still need more shielding and advantages for women. 
So here is the rub.  The feminine identity is one of caring and nurturing.  This is vital to society.  However, if one allows too much of themselves to take on the feminine identity, it draws away from the ability to use reason and value truth as more of oneself is devoted to being nice.  This is not acceptable in politics, science, business and the search for knowledge.  So, if one assumes that women will display more feminine traits than men, due to their biology, we can conclude that women will be less prevalent in these pursuits.  If one wants to pursue a career these areas, male or female, the person must set aside the feminine traits, at least part of the time, to focus completely on the task at hand.  Setting aside the feminine psychology is what, I believe, Kelly Jones is advocating, at the detriment to the nurturing side.  This may be suitable for certain individuals or groups, but, it is certainly not acceptable for most people to deny what is inside them.  I certainly wouldn’t want to give up some of the less rational parts of my masculinity.  On a larger scale, I think it is disastrous for society to try and eliminate this feminine psychology (as it seems Kelly Jones advocates). 
Ideally, we would have value and a voice for The Feminine*.  The nurturing attitudes of Feminine Psychology must be openly celebrated, while, realizing that to truly understand reality and make serious decisions, it must be curtailed.  Everyone should think about this and decide where they reside on the spectrum.  Some women will choose to be more masculine and some will choose to be more feminine.  Neither should be admonished.  However, the consequences should be known.
Any individual can express more masculine or feminine traits as suits their personality and goals.  However, the realms where reason and wisdom are essential will invariably be more masculine.  It all boils down to the fact that we have two types of people and these traits evolved for certain reason to be more pronounced in one than in the other.

*I believe that it always has had one, but, feminism actually stifled it in a way (by demonizing men) and then, when it failed to go away, absorbed it back into itself causing a sort of bipolar beast.