Archive for June, 2017

A Personal View of Masculinity

28. June 2017

I would say that a fairly conventional list of the minimum requirements to be a man presented to boys would consist of the following:

  • Financial Independence
  • Strength and Courage
  • Wit and Humour
  • Intelligence (Wit and humour serve to show some degree of intelligence)
  • A Competitive Edge. An ‘I will be the best at this thing’ attitude.

Masculinity is flexible, as long as the basic criteria are fulfilled a man can be good or he may be evil but he still is a man.  These attributes may be found in many women too and the reason for this is that masculinity isn’t much of a way to differentiate men from women as much as to tell apart the men from the boys. In effect, this differentiation is not so different to the distinction between a child and an adult but the differences which warrant a gendered term are in the details.

At its most fundamental level, the differences stem from the generalised experience of male to female courting. Just as the male gaze brings out certain behaviours in women so do the generalised preferences of women, for lack of a better term, the female gaze, define and select for what the characteristics of masculinity are. Of course, men may then impose such characteristics on each other but the contribution of each gender to its formation is unquantifiable so I suppose it is safer to say that society as a whole is responsible for it.

The two most common criticisms levied against masculinity is that it promotes violence and aggressiveness towards others and that it causes repression of feelings in men. To the first two which are essentially one I have to say that in some instances violence and aggressiveness are in fact desirable and the capability for violence especially in men must not be demonized, in fact being incapable of violence is not a virtue in itself, having the capability to overpower others and yet also the restraint not to exercise it irresponsibly is a virtue, therefore the lower rate of violence in women is not necessarily a virtue either. The bottom line is that men are not broken women.

The repression caused by masculine ideals is a product of how men generally prefer to deal with problems in a practical manner, that is to say that men generally see no practical utility in sharing their feelings with others profusely, of course they are human and may speak to other men or to some of their friends usually while engaging in some sort of activity predominantly practiced by men, like I don’t know playing some violent video-games or whatnot but in any case an approach focusing more on the practical problems of men (like say unemployment) rather than their feelings is more likely to yield results. At any rate, it would work better to try nothing than trying to emasculate men for sharing or for not sharing what’s wrong with them, if they feel like it then they will share what they feel if not then let it be and seek another avenue to try to help them if that is what one really wants to do.

The one criticism I will accept about masculinity tentatively is that it stifles individuality to an extent by pushing an ideal onto him, by discouraging some behaviours and promoting others, but who finds every human behaviour to be acceptable? Well, anyone who doesn’t is in effect pushing an ideal onto others and stifling individuality.

Does it matter if we don’t have free will?

27. June 2017

“Yes I have free will; I have no choice but to have it.” Christopher Hitchens

So long as the consequences, the outcomes are what they are? Does it matter whether you have agency or not? There are two reasons to want free will, the first is that it’s nice to have a choice, the second is that it is hard not to believe that there is no personal responsibility at least when it comes to the things that other people do, but in effect does it really matter why an action is done, so long as it is done, so long as the consequences remain the same? Does it matter why people do what they do as long as they do it? What if humans are just very complex machines like Mark Twain suggests in What is man?

Beauty is (not) in the eye of the beholder

26. June 2017

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but what if the beholders have come to a consensus?

‘The cruelty of selection is what makes beauty, beauty.’/ ‘Beauty is beauty due to the cruelty of selection.’

– Masami Tsuda, Kare Kano

In practice it hardly matters whether the standard of beauty is objective or subjective so long as there is a consensus. And there is  always a subjective consensus, the problem is that you can’t get rid of consensus you can only alter it. It is subjective but only in a collective sense, and precisely because the standard of beauty is subjective the only point of reference that matters is consensus. This is true for beauty in art and also for beauty in physical appearance.

In the former case one only needs to look at what works are considered to be great works of art and in the end whatever measure is used to judge art, to select, amounts to subjective consensus, there is nothing objective about evaluating art but this does not mean that the artistic consensus does not matter, in effect it is the thing that matters the most, after all there  is hardly anything more important in human life than it after the basic needs have been fulfilled.

In the latter case this is even more true because while it is quite easy to ignore all aesthetic judgement directed towards art for most people it is much harder to ignore the aesthetic judgements directed towards them, and their physical appearance.

The question which arises then is, ‘Should we strive towards no aesthetic judgement? Is the ethical thing to do to abolish beauty?’ Which is a meaningless question because the consensus on beauty cannot be abolished and is by definition primed to be selective, if everything is beautiful then nothing is, even those who seek to adopt(i.e. promote) a standard of beauty diametrically opposed to the present one are not abolishing the consensus only trying to gerrymander it because they would benefit socially from an altered consensus. For example when fat models assert that they are beautiful (which is the equivalent of claiming that Peter Pan is as good if not better than King Lear) they are in effect expecting that the consensus will be changed in their favour, that other people will think that they are beautiful. After all if beauty is subjective all that matters is the consensus of beauty and if beauty were objective all that would matter would be the consensus anyway. Similarly those artists creating abstract art are just trying to change the subjective consensus to adopt their standards to something that benefits them. A deconstruction is after-all nothing more than a non-superimposable mirror image, a parody which attempts to displace what it parodies.

Note: I have done my best not to discuss whether there is an objective standard for beauty that can be derived from evolutionary psychology or from some other means because frankly such a topic is beyond the scope my knowledge and I would only end up making a fool of myself if I already haven’t. Let me know in the comment section.

Reputation is Stereotype

26. June 2017

Humans are pattern seeking animals. Stereotypes are common patterns found in a group of people, a sort of group reputation. It is irrelevant whether it is justifiable to superimpose a groups identity/reputation onto an individual as this will happen anyway, what can be done however is to gerrymander a group’s reputation through propaganda, by making caricatures of groups in the media, for example portraying the Jews as evil manipulators,  and women with achievements in five different scientific fields and able to beat up five men twice her size in the media, but such a thing will come off as nothing more than a caricature when the real thing is placed next to the false one, or in other words a lasting group reputation needs to have some basis in reality (i.e. Asians in America tend to have higher test scores). Stereotypes could become self-perpetuating and self-fulfilling prophesies to an extent but they cannot defy reality and ultimately individuals are responsible for their own reputation. It should be the individual who is being stereotyped to bear the burden to prove that he is the exception to the rule, and when there are enough exceptions to the rule it ceases to be a rule or a stereotype. Asking society to lift the stereotype is asking society to pretend as if the stereotype has no basis in reality and when someone does fall into the stereotype this further strengthens the stereotyped as society feels that it is being asked to pretend not to see what’s right in front of their nose.

For example if the African American ‘community’ would commit less crime then that would alter their stereotype in s in the media  and in the police. The root of the problem is the crime in the real world not the stereotypes in people’s minds. Convicting people for thought crime is ultimately useless.

Note: This post was made in response to the The Daily Prompt: Commit

The Patriarchy, or The Magical, Invisible, Omnipotent Cock and Balls in the sky

25. June 2017

I think the title of this post says all that I have to say on this subject.

An Addendum;

  • MALE MPs REPRESENT WOMEN AS MUCH AS THEY REPRESENT MEN.
  • THERE ARE NO RESTRICTIONS FOR WOMEN TO STAND FOR OFFICE (IN THE UK) NEITHER SHOULD THERE BE ANY SPECIAL INCENTIVES.

The Political Motive: Imposition

25. June 2017

Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. And unselfishness is letting other people’s lives alone, not interfering with them. – Oscar Wilde

But what if living as one wishes to affects other people? What if it compels others to act in a different manner in effect imposing one’s will on to others,  well this may be because their will is weak enough to be affected by someone else, but if “no man is an island” and if the ‘bell tolls for thee’ then can we really allow people to have personal autonomy regardless of how it will affect others? I am not talking about clear cut cases such as whether we should allow murder, of course we should not but what about something more subtle than that such as say a drug addict who is negatively affecting the life of his family,  a sexually liberal individual who is once again affecting his family negatively, someone who wants to divorce herself even if it will harm her children, someone who wants to have a late-term abortion or a racist or homophobic person, or a mysoginist who has an unpopular bigoted opinion which will negatively affect those to whom it is directed towards by spreading harmful stereotypes? The question is if society and more pressingly the state should impose limits on behaviour then how far should they go? Should these limitations stop at any point in any part of people’s lives at all? Should personal autonomy be banned entirely if possible? Is someone’s liberty always an imposition on someone else’s freedom? Well, Peter Hitchens and Karl Marx seem to believe that that is the case. And if that is the case why have any respect for liberty at all and why not treat it as none other than a temporary compromise because it is impossible to impose one’s will on every other ideological group in the country? Couldn’t Erdogan’s analogy of democracy being a bus ride that one gets on and then gets off once one has reached one’s destination, also be applied to ALL liberties?

Let’s say you are a part of ideological group A and you hate ideological group B and what they stand for. Now let’s say that group B gets into power, tell me, is there any reason that B should not impose its will unilaterally on  if B has the power to do so effectively? Why should liberty not be discarded in favour of whatever right-wing or left-wing ideology you may hold to be true?

Another problem however is the less violent of imposition in society, for example if you have certain conservative views about homosexuality, race and gender you may be denied employment in certain sectors especially if you can affect public opinion, isn’t this a form of imposition? However how can one be against this if one is in favour of impositions onto the side such as that two people should remain married whether they want to or not? In both cases innocent people are being affected, in one case minorities are purported to be affected by the spreading of harmful self-fulfilling stereotypes and in the other children may be affected negatively by the lack of a parent. It doesn’t have to something as heated as that, what about the proposition that there must be a day of rest every week, what right does the state have to be allowed to impose such limits onto businesses other than the simple fact that it has got the power to impose such a thing? What about taxation to help the destitute? Isn’t that an imposition too? It almost seems like all political motives(and this includes those of the religious right) have a way of degenerating into the pursuit of the power to impose one’s ideals onto others.

There is no solution to this conundrum but a step in a right direction would be to promote(once again at what level of level of ‘promotion’ does it become ‘imposition’) a belief that the state is not there to solve everyone’s problems, it’s just there to maintain stability and freedom so that we can each solve our own problems. I don’t think it is possible not to interfere with others, which must mean that according to Wilde we are all selfish, but that doesn’t warrant us to be as selfish as we want to be by going out of our way to impose our ideals onto others, and if we do so we immediately open the gates for them to try to do the same to us, which I suppose we can’t help but do.

On Holocaust Deniers, Lolita Hentai and Censorship

23. June 2017

I think that those who advocate for censorship ought to be given a taste of their own medicine and be censored into oblivion until they will squirm and beg for freedom of speech. I am afraid unless this is done they will never be able to grasp such a simple point.

What I like to point out to those moral busybodies is there are those find their tripe as harmful as they think that pictures in a comic book are harmful and many who find their beliefs just as if not more disgusting than lolita-themed hentai or holocaust denial.

I know that this may sound ridiculous to those seeking to censor others when public opinion is against that thing that they want to ban but if I were them I wouldn’t rely on the mob as much as the mob will turn on you. This is the reason that freedom of speech is there to protect the minority opinion no matter how reprehensible the majority finds it.  And if an artist is deprived the freedom to draw little children in sexual situations or a writer denied the right to pen an article denying an historical fact then the gates are opened for public opinion to simply decide which things can see the light of the day and it might just so happen that something you think will be unpopular unless if you have any individual opinions.

I am not saying that you should support Holocaust denial or that you should draw lolita-themed pornography but both of those things should be tolerated, people should be free to do these things.

It’s not Just a Meme

23. June 2017

Most political cartoons in newspapers are left-wing and most and most memes on the internet, at any rate political memes are right-wing.

fucking fascists

Right-wing Memes

The cartoons seem more likely to come off as propaganda because they are caricatures trying to distort reality and they are not funny. They are unconvincing for the very same reason that American caricatures of the Japanese and Nazi caricatures of the Jews are unconvincing. They try to create an augmented version of reality but when the real thing is placed next to the augmented version it becomes just a caricature that exists to push an agenda and couldn’t exist otherwise even in the eyes of those who believe in the rhetoric.

 

Memes, on the other hand, are purely fantastic. Even from the time that the left used to clearly have the upper hand on the internet  around 2008 to early 2013 there isn’t much in the way of image based humour from that period except  some anti-Christian memes by some atheists but nothing as fantastical as pepe the frog. Of course I am aware that much that goes on the internet is inconsequentional and that that is made further so by the segregation of different ideological groups into different corners of the internet. There are some who have tried to change this (i.e. to reach out to the normies) but it still is an interesting phenomenon that such ‘subversive’, ‘reactionary’, ‘problematic’, ‘counter-culture’, ‘irony’ what you will call them will depend on your political affiliations, at any rate, these ideas are not mainstream or socially acceptable can be made socially appealing  through humour.

Left-wing cartoon

I am not convinced by the ‘it’s just a meme’ excuse at all, that they are doing this just for shits and giggles and to say the things that most would not dare to say. I think many of them believe in what they profess. It would be just as well to claim that the great composers and poets faked their faith in God.

 

 

Some thoughts on ‘communities’

22. June 2017

I am starting to hate the word ‘community’ as much as the word ‘consensus’ for two reasons. First it disregards whether something is actually right or wrong when appeals are being made to what the community ‘thinks’ about a certain subject usually determined by asking self-appointed and screened community ‘leaders’ and secondly because it simultaneously creates a false sense of bond and division between people tribalising them into groups (i.e. the Muslim community, the Black community) replacing the bonds between individuals with those between groups as if groups were individuals. The funny thing is that it is often employed in an attempt to show that we are not divided in the face of one attack on another by citing the solidarity between groups but if there was so much solidarity as the media claims there is why are there distinct groups in the first place?

Paradoxically the more diverse the groups living(well, inhabiting) together the harder it becomes to remain an individual within a group rather than a mere member in a group (as in a mere foot or a hand whose desires will readily be ignore for the greater good of the group). The reason for this is that in such a diverse environment one’s differences become magnified and one has to act like a representative of one’s group (that is to say a representative for hundreds of thousands or millions of people one has not even met). Everyone becomes a foreigner to each other.

There are two kinds of tribalism we can choose but not neither. Those in favour of multi-culturism often present it as the opposite of tribalism but in effect it is tribalism WITHIN the nation state rather than between nation states.

The Japanese are often presented as a hive-mind, The Borg, individuals who are unable to speak and stand for themselves (i.e. the invertebrate Japanese salary man who is too eager to bow and prostrate himself to suck-up to his elder superiors in an environment  where longevity is rewarded over merit as opposed to the American rugged individual, the thrawed but unyielding young entrepreneur in an unending cycle of creative destruction who will sacrifice all comfort and security that he could gain by just obeying others and who only has to answer to himself,  of course most normal Americans and Japanese do not fall exactly into either of these boxes though many may fall in their proximity) and who instead feel the need to speak for ‘we’ the Japanese whenever confronted by a foreigner(1).

Well, what I want to say is that in an indirect manner such a society offers more individuality than a diverse one like England(Not Britain) and America because Japanese people have so much in common that any anomalie that arises within itself cannot be disowned (This reminds me of Haruki Murakami’s book ‘Underground’ on the Tokyo Subway Sarin Gas Terrorist Attack by the Aum Shinkiyo cult where Murakami claims that there was a considerable effort by the media and society to disown Aum as a not being a  Japanese phenomenon though foreigners correctly did saw it as Japanese) even the world-renowned and hated at home otaku deviant porn culture cannot be effectively disowned by the Japanese. On the hand in a compartmentalized society into groups like Britain there is effectively no such thing as society as people live parallel lives not just in the modern sense that they do not interact with their neighbours but by natural segregation primarily interacting of their own ethnic-national-religious background only interacting with other groups to conduct business. And when some members of one group(usually but not always Muslims) decide to violently attack other groups, it becomes obvious that the groups have different interests which is why, to repeat myself, they are different groups in the first place.

The solution is not to force people to interact with others with ‘intergration’ that will only unbalance the situation but to let it happen naturally over time and bringing in more migrants will only make the process not just harder but more unlikely to happen at all. I understand that limiting immigration will have a negative effect on the economy due to our shrinking workforce and aging population however we have ignored the cultural effects of migrations for too long. The current prosperity is the glue that holds these diverging cultural groups in Britain together but the fortune of nations comes and goes, of course I believe that we should try to keep it but not at the expense of both the individual and society.

Notes:

(1)This may in effect only be a reaction to being being confronted by a foreigner, feeling the need to act as some sort of representative, while when they talk to each other while having differing opinions it would be quite idiotic to claim to speak for everyone when apparently they are not speaking for those who are disagreeing with, politicians all over do this all of the time of course.

 

In Defence of the “Male Gaze.” An argument in Favour of Sexual Objectification.

5. June 2017

A great object can be a great subject too.

scarlet johansson

Scarlett Johansson Source: The Daily Mail

The argument in favour of sexual objectification is the very same in favour of homosexuality, it doesn’t need anyone’s endorsement in order to exist and it will not disappear because of anyone’s disapproval. It can only be hidden, the way some Islamic society do by turning women into walking anthropomorphic tents. To end it therefore would mean to end sexual objectification then would mean to end or severely limit all human interactions especially those between individuals of the opposite sex.

 

It goes without saying that we exist in this world as objects and that we are not formless shapeless spirits, so it is obvious that the issue is not with the objectification itself, most of us cannot remember the faces of bus drivers or street cleaners let alone care about their personalities and lives as long as they do their jobs properly and fit into their roles, they are nothing more than a utility for us, and that’s okay, why should you be forced to know and care about every detail of the life of strangers you meet? The problem people have with sexual objectification is not with objectification, we are all objects to each other, instead it has to do with its sexual aspect.

The criticism to sexual objectification comes in two forms, that it is unfair to those who are being sexually objectified or that it is unfair to those who are being less sexually objectified. One of my favourite attacks on unfairness comes from George Orwell who laments how poverty had robbed a girl of her youth and femininity and how it was apparent just by looking at her that she knew what was happening to her,

“At the back of one of the houses a young woman was kneeling on the stones, poking a stick up the leaden waste-pipe which ran from the sink inside and which I suppose was blocked. I had time to see everything about her—her sacking apron, her clumsy clogs, her arms reddened by the cold. She looked up as the train passed, and I was almost near enough to catch her eye. She had a round pale face, the usual exhausted face of the slum girl who is twenty-five and looks forty, thanks to miscarriages and drudgery; and it wore, for the second in which I saw it, the most desolate, hopeless expression I have ever-seen. It struck me then that we are mistaken when we say that ‘It isn’t the same for them as it would be for us,’ and that people bred in the slums can imagine nothing but the slums. For what I saw in her face was not the ignorant suffering of an animal. She knew well enough what was happening to her—understood as well as I did how dreadful a destiny it was to be kneeling there in the bitter cold, on the slimy stones of a slum backyard, poking a stick up a foul drain-pipe.” – George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier

Was the unfairness is due to Orwell’s attitude towards sexuality, that is to say his assumption that a woman would want to be young and pretty, or was it due to her material? What should have been changed, you can’t say that both should be changed because when the one is changed the other becomes irrelevant, for instance if the assumption that a woman would want to be young and pretty is removed then there is no reason to attempt to change her material conditions, but the problem of course is that it doesn’t work the other way around, when the material conditions of young women in Britain changed they did not cease to be sexual objects, one explanation is that it is the men’s fault that women still prefer to be sexually attractive (which is another way of saying sexual objects/sexually objectified) because men have most of the power. The point that I am trying to make is that the ‘male gaze’ is male and female sexuality. Half a year after the of the second world war and the nation of Japan had been utterly devastated Ango Sakaguchi wrote in his essay “A Discourse on Decadence” which is a defence of decadence wrote that: “Within the space of half a year, the girls who sent off their men with such brave hearts, will have grown increasingly businesslike about the task of bowing before their husband’s memorial tablets, and the day is not far off when their chests will find room for the faces of other men. It is not that humans have changed. Humans have been like this all along, and what has changed is only the surface of things.” “During the war, writers were prohibited from telling love stories about widowed wives. Military and political leaders feared that such stories feared that such stories would lead to moral degeneracy among widows. It was the design of the military politicians to prevent war widows from being incited to decadence, no doubt wishing to have them live their remaining lives in nun-like devotion to the husband’s spirit. The military had a most sensitive understanding of corruption, and the fact that they should go to the extent of contriving such a prohibition was a result, not of any lack of understanding of a woman’s heart, but rather of all too clear a knowledge of it.”

I am afraid that these calls for less sexual objectification will only ever be able to hide it and badly at that turning us into hypocrites much like the Japanese leadership during the last war. In both cases an affront to human sexuality was made for ideological purity.

The unfairness of sexual objectification stems from the fact that people are treated differently according to their appearances in all interactions including sexual ones. The solution proposed to this problem is to reduce ourselves to out thoughts and feelings and whether you like it or not that is not going to happen. Virtue-signalling by proclaiming how you would never judge people by their appearances and that neither should others do it is useless. The correct response is to try and adjust one’s appearance according to how one wishes to be treated and let others make the choice of how they want to treat you. It is argued that that many women have to work very hard to maintain a sexually desirable physique and that is indeed, quite true, but my answer to that is “so what?” They like everyone else are free to do what they like, if they want to be sexually desirable (objectified) then they may have to work for it, if they are fine with not being sexually desirable that is quite fine too. So far I have mostly talked about women who feel they are not sexually desirable (sexually objectified) but what if women who are sexually desirable/objectified do not like the way they are treated? Well, to them I have to say that there are worse fates than theirs.

To me it all seems an attempt to guilt trip men for their sexuality and nature, for liking women according to their experiences even though women often do the same and judge men according tot her economic security which they can provide which is fine too.

Human nature isn’t infinitely malleable, this does not of course mean that we must tolerate every kind of human behaviour but I don’t think it is possible to substantially modify what we are sexually attracted to let alone to abolish its preferences and therefore discrimination, every kind of discrimination is allowable and practised in the sexual marketplace, the principle being that in exchange for allowing others to discriminate against you, you get to discriminate against them. Unless you are willing to let the principle be suspended for you then do not attempt to suspend the right to give consent of others by trying to induce guilt in them. I for one do not feel guilty at all of my sexual preferences and standards of beauty and will not apologize for them. If have a different standard of beauty that’s fine but don’t expect others to like it just because you do. In some cases it is even worse, with people pretending to have different beauty standards to guilt other people into liking them. Sexual objectification is what humans do when are they are free and if they are not free they will still do it just not openly.

One last topic I want to touch on, is that a great object can be a great subject too, this is a false dichotomy, just because something is an object that doesn’t mean that they are not a subject too. For instance if a man was looking at a picture of a beautiful woman with lust in his eyes, who of the two is affecting is affecting the other? Who is acting upon whom?