a cry towards the absurd

The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.Camus
mail list ° site map ° @  

  existentialism ° art ° poetry ° exquisite corpse ° chat ° search engine
( the cry ) Philosophy Discussion Board

Re: what I read from what you say

[Follow Ups] [Post Followup] [(the cry) philosophy discussion board]

Posted by Spratley on Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 13:17:52 :

In Reply to: what I read from what you say posted by Indira on Thursday, December 05, 2002 at 00:48:16 :

: a person whose skin color is black has certain physiological traits that made him liable of slavery and torment.
: excuse me jason, but this is my interpretation of what you're saying, and I think this is wrong.
I person who's skin is black is distinguishable from those who's skin is white because they have different origins. O Na small time scale we say they have diffeent historical origins ofr geographic origins. If the time scale was huge we'd say they have different evolutionary origins. People with black skin "grew up" in a different place, under different conditions, developed physical/physiological, linguistic, cultural characteristics unique to them because they were adapting to the conditions they found themselves in. Same goes for people with white, yellow, red, blue skin.

Africa and Europe have very different environmental conditions and cultural legacies, thus the humans living in those conditions and from those legacies have very different characteristics. Some important characteristics are that the European humans are rugged, opportunistic people used to exploiting anything they can to forge a comfortable and secure life, and European societies developed from "civilized" cultures that beleive that ends justify means, that the way they do things is Absolutely Right, and that anyone that gets in the way is wrong and must be supressed.

African people did not necessarily develop this way. They did not have this Absolutist culture that civilization had (or else there wouldn;t have been so many tribes and so many languages in Africa before the west got its hands on it), and they did not have such voracious, exploitative ways of living. They lived in a mild climate, amidst rich resources, and so they developed more pastoral, naive lifestyles.

This is what facilitated a situation of slavery and torment. A rugged, determined, exploitative, selfish culture that believed that anything they did was absolutely correct and appropriate came into contact with cultures not equipped with the wariness, defensiveness or overwhelming numbers that a European existence might have given them. They were not prepared to be victimized en masse, because of the conditions they evolved and developed in, therefore they were overwhelmed.

I'm not saying they were asking for it. I'm not saying that blacks were somehow inferior to whites and that's why the whites were able to victimize them. I'm not making the common racist argument that they fell into slavery because something genetic about them is inferior. I am saying that environment shaped physiology, the two shape culture, and when an aggressive culture meets a less aggressive culture, the aggressive one will usually win.

: actually, both erfan and you are talking as if philosophy was either a separate isolated field where anyone interested in the matter could just get into it without any consideration of his/her situation, or a special closed system where certain physiological traits would allow a reduced number of people (men) realize the path to its thought and follow it as a parallel line to everybody's path.
: from my point of view, both things are incorrect.
Wait. What I thought I was saying was that not every person will catch the philosophy-bug. Some people just aren't disposed to it --either they don't care about the big questions or they don't have the linguistic ability to engage in it. Some people are predisposed to think philosophically and engage in philosophy, and they are mor likely to pick it up as a hobby or profession or obsession. And it appears that men more often have those predisposing characteristics, therefore in a moment of stereotyping and generalization, I call those traits "male." I then went on to say (so I thought) that societal situations cannot be viewed as separate from physiological predispositions, since those predispositions have a hand in shaping a society. That's all I thought I was saying.

: first, erfan does not define what he calls philosophy. No definition needed, maybe not, I don't need anyone to define philosophy for me, unless he's trying to make a sociological point.
: what is philosophy for erfan, I don't know.
: I consider politics to be philosophy sometimes, and I've known quite a few women involved in it more seriously than arguing at an internet board.
Well let's define --a definition that all can agree with. Philosophy is an interest in ideas --whether pure ideas or applied ideas-- and the practice of working with those ideas towards epistemological ends. Pretty basic, pretty vague, but I think it describes the basic impulse to philosophize. Some people look at the sunset and then do something else. Some people look at the sunset and think its beautiful. Some people look at the sunset, think its beautiful, and then wonder why they think its beautiful. The last group is the philosopher's group.

Politics can be a philosophical endeavour. Politics can also be devoid of philosophy. One doesn't need to care about the nature of freedom to work in the medium of freedom. One doesn't need to have a formally worked out opinion on welfare to make decisions about it. But even so, female interest in politics doesn't necessarily disagree with what I have said. There are billions of people in the world. Unless AS MANY women as men were nvolve din philosophy, I still feel comfortable stating that philosphy involves mostly-male traits.

Besides, you do have philosophical predispositions. . . its no wonder you are aware of females with similar inclinations --they are in your group.

Let me also say this, though it may make you doubt that you are not understanding me completely. Men have been in control of our culture for all but the last 100 years or so. The current forms of government, the current institutions, the shape of the culture itself was affected mostly by men. Thus, the culture favors "male" values. Thus, women that are highly visible within the culture will tend to exhibit cvalues favored by the culture. So inasmuch as we can call the cultureal principles we live by male, those women who are prominent within it have strong male qualities. Look at all the female business executives that mimic male dress and behavior. Its analogous.

I am not saying that women should be one way or another. This is not about forcing roles upon anyone. I am saying that women represent a set of human qualities, and men another set. If you agree that women can think in ways that men cannot, or can have emotions that men cannot, then there is no reason to disagree with me now.

: second, philosphy as an intellectual activity, is related to everything that happens in everyday life. the image of the philosopher, or the poet, beyond everyday life, is a cliche. most philosophers have to eat and sleep, and you don't do that just thinking. for how long have women been not allowed to read, or study, and have been kept in the dark to raise the children and do the minor tasks of cleaning the house and knitting? it doesn't happen now, not everywhere at least, but societies do not change from one day to the next, and changes happen only when needed I think.
When we use philosophy as a specific term --for after all, everyone thinks, but not everyone philosophizes-- we are speaking about specific attributes, right? Let us consider two concurrent images. Enlightenment Europe: There are men invetigating ideological mysteries, empirical mysteries, theological mysteries, using logic and rational argumentation methods and premise, premise, conclusion, rebuttal, defense. These are topics and tools of philosophy. We can capitalize Philosophy is that makes the concept more acceptable. Secondly, we have women engaging in holistic practices, "pagan" practices, environmentalism, nature worship. They were called witches and burned. Both the men and women were tapping into great sources of wisdom. But they did it in fundamentally different ways. I say this to make a distinction between Philosophy and othe forms of wisdom-gathering. And I say it to illustrate how one appears to have been he domain of men, the other women. There were cors-overs, yes --there would likely be corssovers because I am not talking about something attached to the genitals, but rather simple gender-based trends. Commonality.

: For how long have women been taken almost as slaves, with no right to do anything without their husband's or father's permission?
: how can anyone pretend to find in history, which by the way was written mostly by men, women philosopers, when history has taken the job of turning women into a useless object whose main power was social acceptance and reproductive skills?
There doesn't have to be disagreement. What I originally said was that societal characteristics have a basis in physiological characteristics. If men oppressed women for so long, isn't it natural to assume that something about men cused them to do this? Perhaps that the male of the species is interested in power while women are not. Men are physical and aggresive while women are not. So men were physically aggressive about asserting dominance in their communities, women didn't hav the physical strength or the physiological predisposition to make them stop asserting dominance over them (brecause dominance just wasn;t something that showed up on their radar like it did for men.) Therefore men beat women down and lorded over them.

Men feel a need to be right, to be obeyed, to get to the bottom of things, to have their solution be final and binding. Women work less linearly ON AVERAGE, less finally, less status-oriented-ly. Thus, because they didn;twant to play men's games, men continued to play the games and ran rough shod over the women. This doesn;t diminish the injustice done to the women, but it explains it a little better than "men oppressed women." Instead it says, "Men favored qualities in themselves which led to the oppression of women --who didn't favor or possess the qualities necessary to stick up to men.

: third, I don't think it's about linear thought, I think it's about the possibility of thinking, which is something that has been banned from women for too long. no one can pretend to wake up one day and say, now women, c'mon, think!
: women have tried to escape from their prisons in many ways, philosophy not being the most important way out, since it was made and preserved by men, who, by the way, where they really fond of women?
Why are we disagreeing!? "Philosophy not being the most important way out, since it was made and preserved by men." Why did men make it? Because they are predisposed to behave in certain ways --ways reflected in their products.

Imagine: On a planet there are only men. These men build prisons. Because all they know are men, they design the prison to house men. They know that men are physically strong, and they know that when you imprison a man, you never want to let him get out because he will revenge and wreak havoc. So they build these prisons with strong iron bars that can't be bent, and they seal the doors shut so a person can never get out. Sometimes a man will be strong enough to bend the bars and escape --its the only way anyone has ever escaped.

One day they find a woman who's space ship has crashed on the planet. They try to reason with her in the only way they know how. But she just doesn't seem to respond to it, she doesn't seem to make sense of it. Its as if she doesn't speak the language. So they decide to lock her up. Now, on her planet, they have locks and keys. Locks can be picked. So she tries to escape by picking the lock. But she soon finds that there is no lock. What a strange planet? What kind of door doesn't have a key-lock? She is too small to bend the bars, so she remains trapped in the prison.

Why? Because the men have designed their world based on their own identities and dispositions. She comes from a different world with different identities and dispositions, so when she finds herself in a different world --a man's world-- she is not equipped to manipulate her environment as esily.

Have I made sense? I've tried to iillustrate that the world in the way it is because certain characteristics that men possess do ot match characteristics that women possess. Its like trying to loosen a metric bolt with an inch-wrench. This is why environmental and messages are not received well by most politicians --because the thought patterns of politicians don;t match those of the environmentalists, therefore when the environmentalist speaks, the right circuits don't get tripped in the politician's head and empathy isn't induced.

You say women were oppressed because they weren't allowed to think. I say that you can't stop a person from thinking. Do you think that a Middle Ages woman didn't have opinions about what was going on in their world? Do you think she didn't have the mental activity necessary to see what an overbearing oaf her husband was? I can't beleive that women simply didn't think about things, didn't perceive and ask and investigate. I have to beleive that their thoughts simply didn't matter in the public sphere because the public sphere ws designed on the male model, and thus didn't appreciate female insight.

: what do greeks say about women? and a thousand more examples, through philosophy's history, to demonstrate that women have been intentionally excluded from philosophy.
: homosexual relationships are to be considered a matter of philosophy, but women are like slaves?
: what are we talking about when we say philosophy, except that most of the times we have to swallow whatever shit that comes attached to philosophy, in order to get a glimpse of what men have been trying to say in the last centuries?
: most criticism done to chauvinist philosophers has been done from the feminist point of view, a failure from the start considering that it is just a pose.
Its not about point of view or content of thought. Its about the structure of thought. The biggest criticism of feminist philosophy is that it repeats the same patterns as male chauvanist philosophy. . . it just makes the female the central figure instead of the male. This means that feminist philosophers are adopting male ways of thinking --they are not feminine but feminist.

: and last, society is the result of power fights between different communities. it is an intentional system, and it has been ruled by religions and political (religious?) powers since the beginning.
So every act and aspect of a society is 100% intended and engineered? Two footbal teams can get together, everything each individual player does is exactly what he or she intends to do, and the result of the game is entirely intended by the team that wins? What about fortuitous bounces of the ball? What about intended actions with unintended effects? What about limits on skill and fitness? If the world today is as it is precisely because every human living before me wanted it to be this way exactly, then. . . then nothing. Its bull. Individual brain cells doing their individual jobs can't possibly intend Mind. The brain cell is just an on/off machine. Fire or don't. How does that translate into sympathy for a puppy?

: everyone has a plan, and society is the result of this plan.
: imagine twentieth century without women being freed from their chains: what would had happened, with industrial revolution having covered almost every area of material production?
: what would it had happened to "work" without eager workers trying to "emmancipate"?

: I think that your main point is wrong. society does not, and could not possibly interpret that a beat repeated a hundred times with a music loop behind would please some interesting percenteage of the population, to create techno music. (and sell like crazy, computer made loops)
: I hope you don't find my response offensive?
: Indira
I don't beleive that is what I was saying. I'm sorry, but I'm not even sure what you are saying. What I did say was that nothing is discrete and independent. Its all interdependent and interrelated and inter-causative. Society is the way it is because of the decisions the constituent members make. The individuals make the decisions they make because of the predispositions their biological matter has condensed according to. Their predispositions are what they are because of the conditions they grew up in. Males and females are born in a state of fundamentally differeing conditions --differnt chromosomes, different hormones, different body size. I beleive therefore that their predispositions must be different, that their behaviors and decisions will br different, and therefore their intellectual produce will be different. The only reason male produce rules is because somewhere along the line they found themselves in conditions which predisposed them to aggression and dominance. That some of those conditions were already existing cultural norms put down by previous male-types makes no difference --its all a feedback loop of interdependence.

: : : Joe,the society force women to behave such a
: : : way that men like,what do you think?
: : --------------------
: : Erfan, I think that we can only put responsibility on society (as opposed to something phiysiological) if society is a totally intentional system. Because if its not, then society could be a reflection of physiological traits --soeicty could force women into certain roles because of the physiological traits of men and women.

Follow Ups:

Post a Followup

Optional Link
Optional Image Link

thecry!!! existentialism