My thoughts on the video “Becoming A Feminist”

Watching and reacting to this tonight:

For starters, she and I are very different people who came up in different lifestyles (I went into some of how I came up and got into feminism in this video). She reports having been fairly tomboyish and involved in sports, whereas I was certainly not a tomboy, didn’t get into competitive sports (P.E. became the class I dreaded most), and didn’t care much for sci-fi until about midway through my 20s. As a pre-adolescent, I hung out with girls primarily and tended to bicker with boys, though in my teen years I gravitated more toward men and boys, partly due to falling out increasingly with girls, and this trend has strengthened to this day (to where I now stand with only one close female friend who lives in another state, plus my Grandma). BUT, I don’t necessarily have hard feelings toward womankind. Irritation and bewilderment are the words I’d use to describe the situation, coupled with a sense of awe that admittedly has been waning a bit over the years.

BUT, I am a woman as well, regardless of how well I do or don’t get along with others of my sex. Not like I hit it off with every man I come across either.  LOL  No, members of both sexes can and do drive me nuts, but I recognize the value of both sexes overall despite my quibbles and frustrations. Don’t appreciate each and every individual in existence today, but ah well, humanity itself is valuable and individuality as a concept deserves to be protected.

Yes, I agree that it would be great as a woman to not be so readily dismissed as “neurotic” or “feminist” because I offer up one female perspective. I’m a woman — it can’t be helped. Same goes for a man, yet we don’t as a society challenge and scrutinize that perspective in the same way, or at least we didn’t use to. I don’t enjoy having my ideas overlooked until a man restates them either necessarily, though I don’t take as extreme issue with this as I might’ve once upon a time. Why? Well, because the role of muse is valuable in its own right. I’m not the best speaker and my writings can run long (haha), so if someone else can state some of these ideas more cogently, go for it. Prefer not to have my ideas ripped off and/or bastardized though. Living and learning is a creative endeavor that can’t help but be cooperative in the sense that we pick up information and ideas from others along the way. In simple terms, no human is an island. Might as well accept that and be gentlemen and gentlewomen toward one another where possible. As in mentioning credit where it’s due (hence why I keep bringing up Erich Fromm whose books have had a transformative influence over the last several years on my own way of looking at life and humanity).

Because I’m a woman and can’t avoid being impacted by laws specific to women (one clear example is abortion access) doesn’t imply men’s matters are of less concern. Most people I care deeply about are men. Doesn’t mean I view all men as equal though either, and same goes for women. And it’s here where the concept of “equality” breaks down for me. To each expect fair treatment under the law is one thing, but this idea that every human is automatically of equal value isn’t accurate. Some people actually do possess more value than others. Take myself for instance, I’m probably not all that valuable in the big scheme of things.  lol  Take my partner, so far as being helpful in direct and important ways, he’s probably more valuable to greater society. I accept this as how it stands currently. Not everything in life has to be a competition, jealous as I do sometimes get of his natural “sunshine” ways. But anyway, such is life. Some people serve more utility for more people than others, though there’s no reason to undermine the individual purely because they haven’t proven terribly useful in their time to others. Plenty of major contributors to life as we know it were shunned by people in their day, even executed in some cases. So… based on this consideration I say we have to let individuals stand on their own merit and be careful with our dismissals and ostracism — some deserve harsh judgement and treatment, but not any one group categorically or individuals simply because they won’t toe the line some or even many may subscribe to.

It’s a tightrope of sorts that we all face, but it’d be nice to not be so swiftly “discredited” simply because I happen to be a woman. The harsh judgment that my criticisms or concerns must stem from completely biased, self-serving agenda is the assumption of ideologues who can’t see beyond blacks and whites, for us or against us. I reject such simplistic thinking. I am not FOR all men, just as I am not FOR all women, nor can I be. As stated already, too many assholes in each pile to go along with a strategy like that. Some men and women I vehemently disagree with or aim to remain protected from, and that’s just the way life goes. Not all black people are on one team (as evidenced by how common  black-on-black violence has become) and the same goes for the sexes. Men are capable of stabbing a person in the back as fast as women could — might stem from different motives, but the end result is it severely sucking nevertheless. I don’t put all my eggs in arbitrarily-defined “camps” like that. Why do so? What substantial good comes from it?

Hence why I still am unable to call myself a feminist. I support women’s rights where I believe that’s actually what’s going on, since oftentimes it isn’t and plenty is paraded as in favor of women and children when really it’s just an attempt to expand the scope and power of Big Government under the guise of angling for an unfair advantage. I don’t like being used to serve unjust bullshit ends of that sort. The feminist movement all too frequently these days does endorse problematic legislation, and I can’t go for that. Better to be a social nomad than to go there, IMO. Better to stand as an individual voice than be absorbed by a movement that doesn’t at bottom have people’s, let alone women’s, best interest at heart.

“Being an Arrogant Bastard”

Eric Orwoll’s “Being an Arrogant Bastard”:

Posted this months ago, then he made it private, so I deleted the post. Now his video is public once again, so there it was. Watched a bunch of his stuff, some of which I grasp, some of which I struggle to. But the gist is followable.

Shakespeare doesn’t ring my bell — a bit overrated, if you ask me. But whatever, the gist there is caught too.

Patience is needed, people are too quick to jump to conclusions. What’s wrong with chewing on ideas for a while?

Nice to see others pondering life and possibilities.


Watching and reacting to Stefan Molyneux’s “How We Are Broken”

Stefan Molyneux’s video titled “How We Are Broken”:

Let me begin by stating I didn’t realize Stefan was sick until seeing this, and my heart goes out to him and his family. That’s a very troubling state of affairs to have to contend with, yet he still finds time to share his thoughts with all of us. That shows determination. [Edit in 2016: Do note that this guy turns out to be “sick” in more ways than that. I am no longer a fan of Stefan Molyneux and have been turned off on his material for a couple years now. He goes way beyond reason that I can back on so many levels that it has become extremely difficult for me to take him seriously. Just noting that since I’ve decided to let this post remain public. Watch enough of his content and see for yourselves. And look up Tru Shibes on YT while you’re at it for illuminating excerpts, then go to his original videos in question to place it in greater context.]

Pausing at 5:59, a thought that leapt to mind while he was talking relates with the story of Jesus. A few years ago I watched or read something where there was talk of the story of turning the other cheek being misunderstood in modern times. Now, I won’t defend this claim one way or another, but I found it very interesting that it was proposed that by turning the other cheek, rather than this being a purely submissive gesture, it was intended to allow aggressors to defile themselves. The claim was that back in the day there was a taboo over using the left hand while conducting certain activities, and doing so showed oneself to be base and primitive and basically uncivilized by standards of that society.

My immediate question upon hearing that claim was what if the aggressor backhands you with their right hand? Which likely would’ve been the case in a society where using the left hand for that sort of thing would be viewed by others as degrading your own self. According to some sources, it was common to backhand someone deemed to be a lesser, like a slave or child or wife, and that hitting with a closed fist was reserved for fights between equals.

What’s interesting here is the difference in context and how much that shifts the meaning of the message, at least in this one teaching. Also, let me say that I see there is much within the Bible that contradicts other parts or that appears barbaric compared against standards of today; plus, what’s been included and excluded from the Bible and how often it’s been altered over time — all of that undermines the reliability of that text in making sense of the context in which it was written originally. We’d have to learn to read Hebrew and become scholars of the Bible ourselves in order to gain a deeper understanding of the historical and social context during the rise of Judaism and then of Christianity. The inquiry remains quite obscure despite so much talk over it, and most of us base our opinions on what we’ve read in King James or newer versions of the Bible or on the claims of others going off limited information themselves. Common as it is for people to speak as if it’s granted that we know well enough about people 2,000-4,000 years ago, the reality is we do not. To delve deep into these religions and how they’ve transformed over time would literally require scholarly devotion.

So, going with my limited, unscholarly knowledge on the subject, I’ve read that such taboos did exist in first-century Palestine. And when we consider the passage in question, along with similar others, taking into consideration views from people who have investigated older versions of biblical scripture, the message seems quite clearly to not be asking us to submit to violent rule, per se, but rather to respond in a way that is neither passive nor violently retaliatory. Excerpts from a writer who discusses this can be found here (not that I’ve read more from this author than these excerpts, nor do I agree 100% with his position as stated — it’s offered as interesting food for thought).

Just felt like sharing that. Carrying on in listening to Stefan.

Children are born rational? Lost me on that one.

Parents pass their beliefs on to their children. That’s the way parenting tends to operate, though some do a better job of passing on quality principles, whereas others use religion and tales of fire and brimstone to command obedience for its own sake. But to say that parents do not possess the right to raise their young to share in their worldview is false, and this creates a tricky situation. I don’t know where the lines should be drawn, but I do know that outsiders, even the majority, do not reserve the right to dictate to all parents how they must raise their children. When we start talking like that, we forfeit any real notion of freedom. Now, I may agree that we can attempt to impress on one another when we do not agree with teaching and parenting methods, but can a reasonable person assert that children should be protected from enduring religious upbringings? What about healthy spiritual beliefs being handed down to children? Where could the line be drawn here? Are children to ONLY be raised in accordance with what’s scientifically-tested and child psychologist-approved?

See, as much as my own upbringing turned me away from wanting to have kids, it’s talk like that that weirded me out the rest of the way. Rights. How might we go about determining these rights are being violated, and then how might we react? Send in CPS and social workers to remove the children from their homes, even where physical abuse or neglect isn’t present? See, that’s where Stefan’s views really break with my own, and I can see the tyranny behind his message, regardless of what he may be envisioning. I understand his desire to protect children from unnecessary suffering and mistreatment, but it takes a leap of faith to believe public resources stepping in will much improve the situation in many cases. I understand he considers himself an anarchist who takes serious issue with our government, wanting to see it done away with altogether, but then who will then be made responsible for protecting children’s welfare? Will enough law enforcement remain intact to tackle this issue or will corporations step up to the task? And what does it mean to be free if the outside world has the ability to determine for you what is and isn’t taught to your own young children?

It’s a sticky debate, because we obviously do step in when abuse and neglect is reported, and perhaps that’s the right action (though sending kids off to foster care, where they face a higher risk of sexual abuse, comes with a host of problems all unto itself). But when it comes to teachings, words and ideas, religious or otherwise, can we claim it proper for adults to police each others’ “crazy shit”? When it comes to raising children, he argues the answer is yes, but I wonder how that could be enforced within a setup where all use of force is recognized as wrong.

In fact, I don’t comprehend his vision of a completely non-violent, non-forceful society and individuals therein. That strikes me as so non-human at its core, and I presume the means of achieving such a societal goal will require altering people severely in an attempt to fit this idealized mold. Because we’re prone toward violence and irrationality at times, and we do pass along our beliefs, whether right or wrong. How else do you get around this reality? How do we do away with all irrationality while retaining our humanity?

And how might we effectively deal with psychopathy and sociopathy without any use of force? I get that he’s hoping through changing our ways that we will create fewer psychopaths and sociopaths, but this assumes that all such ways of being are due to abuse or neglect, and that isn’t always the case. What about in cases of organic brain damage brought about through an accident? What about the child who’s abandoned during their fragile formative years by a parent who dies? (In that latter case, I actually know someone like that who was very young, maybe 3 or 4, when his mother suffered a brain aneurism while caring for him at home one day and died in his presence. It was hours before his father returned home from work to discover the situation. His father was never abusive, yet this boy grew up to become a pyromaniac and then a kleptomaniac, landing him in Boystown during his teenage years. I met him in his 30s and learned of the carnage he had done to everyone in his family and to his ex-wives and his children. Yet he was never a victim of abuse or neglect and had many opportunities afforded to him that he squandered, preferring instead to live as a predator on others. Just pointing out that even the best intentions don’t always produce a positive outcome, we being unable to control all possible variables. This man is a criminal, through and through, and always will be until someday he is stopped. That will require force. I’m not sure how to get around that.)

There’s a point where idealism loses me. I have trouble seeing as bad all that’s lumped into his categorization — to me there are so many shades of gray to where I’m careful to not paint all aggression or all forms of violence or even all existent forms of government as wrong and bad and needing to be completely done away with. It all depends, though I can see where philosophical guidance here is of the utmost importance. It’s just a matter of what philosophies we adopt and follow.

Personally, I cannot imagine a life free of every single form of coercion or force, and I’m not so sure I’d want to. But at the end of the day, it probably doesn’t matter. The future is coming regardless of what I or anyone else happens to think, and it looks like it’s going to get worse before it gets better. That’s enough to say tonight.

Neil Postman on Cyberspace and Technology

This interview of Neil Postman is said to have been recorded in 1995:

Neil Postman discussing his book Technopoly on CSPAN2’s Booktv:

Francis Collins – The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence of Belief (plus my thoughts)

Still learning about Francis Collins’ views, and this video went a  long way in letting me know where he’s coming from. He and I come from different places and our views do differ in terms of how we envision or understand God to be. But I greatly appreciated this talk and Q&A. Dr. Collins does a good job of laying out that there’s more to life than science can explain, now and possibly ever; it’s just his conception of God that I have some serious quibbles over. To me, Christianity is interesting, but I see it as yet another narrative in a long line up through history. I cannot accept its deity in full, though I can appreciate what these people 2,000 years ago were attempting to point to. All religious narratives were attempting to describe that which we call “God,” and I believe all fell short. All have so far been caught up in and limited by our human lens. We are incapable of fully comprehending such wonders, that is my belief. To describe God as a He or a She or an It is inadequate and misleading. People take biblical scriptures wayyy too literally these days, and that seriously clouds people’s judgment, religious people and atheists combating them alike.

There’s more to life than science can allow us to understand, this I strongly believe to be true. And this ties into our social, psychological, and moral realm where science is already clearly demonstrating its limitations. This is my primary qualm with the psychiatry and mental health professions today — so-called “experts” are attempting to treat social and interpersonal and system-induced difficulties as if they were medical maladies, “diseases” being the popular term nowadays. That route will never bear fruit, messing with neurochemistry without deeply examining the societal and environmental influences on emotional turbulence and/or apathy. People wish to believe a cure can come in the form of a pill, but oftentimes this is not so, especially not when it comes to addressing our natural reactions to social upheaval. We blame people for not “adjusting properly,” but according to what standard? It’s according to the standard set by our economy primarily. People must function in order to serve it; that seems to be the dominant concern. And most of us are not adjusting well, despite plenty being very good and consistent actors.

For me this all relates back to my own inquiry into that which we call God. It involves a moral dimension that science alone cannot sufficiently address.

But that is all I have time to say tonight.

**Update 5/25/13: That video spurred me to order Francis Collins’ book The Language of God in audiobook format, which arrived a couple days ago. Nice having something new to listen to and concentrate on as I drive between appointments. Audiobooks rock!

Dr. Faye Snyder speaks with Stefan Molyneux

What an excellent interview and discussion between Stefan Molyneux and Dr. Faye Snyder. So glad I was turned on to looking her up today. All this talk about childhood and development has me tripping down memory lane a bit, reflecting and thinking…

[TMI story-sharing since removed.]

“The Century of the Self”

This film is one of my personal favorites, offered by the BBC and titled “The Century of the Self”:


Key name to take away from this video: Edward Bernays, the grandfather of American public relations (a.k.a. propaganda) and nephew of Sigmund Freud. Very important information there that tells us so much about the last American century and how we as a people have wound up where we now sit.

One man pondering reality

A fantastic video I wandered across tonight:

Which I came across via this playlist.

Understanding Exponential Growth

Tonight I’m sharing a presentation by Albert Bartlett, retired Physics professor at University of Colorado-Boulder, titled “Arithmetic, Population, and Energy” on how exponential growth works, breaking it down in a clear and straight-forward manner and explaining how this relates to the resources we depend on (recorded in the 1990s):

A quote mentioned in the video above taken from Bill Moyers’ interview of Isaac Asimov back in 1988 (the full transcript available here) stated this:

MOYERS: What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues at its present rate?

ASIMOV: It will be completely destroyed. I like to use what I call my bathroom metaphor: If two people live in an apartment, and there are two bathrooms, then both have freedom of the bathroom. You can go to the bathroom anytime you want to and stay as long as you want to for whatever you need. And everyone believes in the freedom of the bathroom; it should be right there in the Constitution.

But if you have twenty people in the apartment and two bathrooms, no matter how much every person believes in freedom of the bathroom, there is no such thing. You have to set up times for each person, you have to bang at the door: “Aren’t you through yet?” and so on. In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn’t matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.