About the U.S., identifying with it, caring, calling that society and self together as “we”, it’s emotionally dangerous, as it leads to permanent rage. I had to leave. It was my duty while living there to self educate, to see the whole system and not just be an ignorant watcher within it, and then once a bit educated I had the aim to try to help to make things better, but what instead happened was that being educated was being enraged, disheartened, frustrated. It’s easier to be cynical, and easier still just to forget the whole damn thing, as you’ve forgotten the Muslims. If I’m to make waves in this world, influence some temporary patterns, it won’t be in reaction to impenetrable cartoon icons like Bush and the power systems of the U.S. government. Choose my enemies wisely. Instead I need to focus on what it is that I can give, and work on that. Creamy people congretate and rise, and if we get a lot of creamy people, that’s a creamy little society, and stupid people tend to want to hang on those coat tails, and from that we get social change. For or agin Bush is just arguments, and doesn’t really change people – people know what they want to believe, they don’t really want anyone to explain to them why their opinions are correct or incorrect. Few people are capable of rational thought that can examine their own beliefs, and thus be persuaded to change in any way by any argument. People follow the cool, use emotion and social association as their guiding lights. So the duty of the cream is to be creamy, I think. Even a charismatic like Arlo Guthrie influenced masses largely by his creamyness – not by his ideas. Even social commentators whose ideas become popular have to establish their credence among the creamy, then the masses follow. The merely famous don’t really influence people for long, as they don’t have the right grass roots interest in their ideas – they aren’t legitimately creamy. Pop music is famously flash – no one cares much or for long what is in Britneys head. And who in 10 years will wonder at what Bush ever thought? He has no creamy credence. He is merely a nexxus of power – very damaging. Wish he was so dead as to be never alive. What must it be like to live in a really repressive regime? The infulential in those countries were influencial by being creamy without getting creamed. They made sly political movies, kept up a decent life in spite of it all, and influenced through sly example of what the good the true and the beautiful remain. Fighting the commies head on too hard would be a distraction without traction. In other words, people need to be inspired for the personal growth required in order to see the world differently, and the way they are inspired is by having heros of a high social class – the cream of society, whom they identify with. To influence society, help to create and become part of the cream of society. Directly dealing with power structures is like creating pop music – it can be flash, but after time, it can be forgotten and replaced. Enduring social change comes from widespread recognition of values that we first admire in heros – it has to work it’s way into what people feel, what they can feel. For instance in the 60s, social change came from women and men choosing to fuck around. The cool and the hip, the in crowd, the people with social clout, fucked around. From that we now all take for granted the individuals right to fuck as she sees fit, irrespective of mom, dad, or church. The social change didn’t come from battling the church, it came from being cool and fucking around. From being emulatable and having recognized status as being creamy.
>You’re so right. About everything. How do your
>instincts and intuitions fall plop, on exactly the
>right spots? You’re magic.
If you look at each sentence in that email, you’ll not find one original thought. What seems like insight is just reading comprehension and general integrity. If I find something interesting enough to grab my attention, then it makes a personal relationship with me. I won’t remember where I read it, but the idea becomes part of me. It is the same for names and faces, I can not remember them until I have a personal meaningful relationship to them. So, each of those individual ideas in that email are part of me, so in writing around the subject, they all simply came out, all together, related. It looks like insight, but it is just integrity.
For instance many activisits have said that activism without personal growth is not effective, and that real social change comes from individuals changing as people, more than from trying to change the structures of society. From several unrelated sources in books, articles, and from life experience in forums and girlfriends, I’ve learned that the majority of people are not swayed by argument. From what I’ve heard about how advertizers post fake blog and newsgroup postings and pay the hip for branding, from what I’ve noticed from watching pop culture trends, from noticing what old books and people made lasting influences on society, from the term “cultural creatives”, from what I’ve read about the importance to adolescents of having hero’s during a stage of development, I’ve received the information that it is the alpha males and females with the deepest support that imprint most of the enduring patterns on society. Not necessarily the biggest support, but the deepest – in the same way not all pop music endures. The alpha’s that are respected by the alphas. Neuton. And on and on – all the little information imprints would never come together as a whole unless they were all interesting enough to me to have a personal relationship with. I want to understand the world, and my curiosity files all these things into my understanding, and each new piece fits into the whole. They aren’t separated – they all fit together.
If they were just separated information bits, what would I be? That’s no way to live in the world. I had no idea that they were a package that was not spoken of before until writing to you – once I put them in a package, it looks like a unique personal insight, but it’s just age and care and a personal connection to the world. It’s not really instinct, as much as interest and age. How could I fail to see that, given all my experience and learning? If I failed to see it, it would mean more than not paying attention, it would mean I don’t love myself enough to be honest about how things fit together. I’m no orange. To be an orange is a failure of love and courage and curiosity. Each piece demands relations – that is how they come into me – demanding relations – otherwise it is not personal, not of the world that I am of. I’m not watching TV for a life – this is no dress rehearsal. It is either real or not – and it is all real. So real things have many relations, all over the place – they fit together, and if not, that’s a puzzle.
At first, I think, a person has to meditate and learn very strict rationality in order to get the habit of allegience to truth over temporary emotional comfort. From that, love means integration and the rest follows. Most people, as you know, refuse such a strategy, and it is sad and frustrating to try to show the obvious to those who don’t want pain. But people with discipline to be hurt and curious are the creamy ones who, overall, make the deepest and most enduring waves. It just follows from that simple principle of self love and acceptance, no matter how brutal and ugly is what is self. From that, comes integrity, because there is no shyness to incorporate everything personally – no shadows, no hidden corners – it can all relate and play and be. God needn’t supervise and the karma police aren’t monitoring. It’s all me, it’s all me, so I want to know. That’s why I dated Sarah, partly. Cause she’s so insane. How else can I love myself? If I refuse to even know deeply what it means, how it relates, where it is. The ugliness is neither really here nor there, when it comes to understanding and acceptance. I loved an insane woman, and learned a lot and loved a lot, and am more personally bounded now as well as more penetrating. I see more clearly where little pathologies lie, what I need to personally avoid, what magic powers can happen even when people are dumb and crazy, how some fundamentals of relations are not at all what I used to think they were. By being in all that craziness, I had to re-order things into a tighter better fitting whole, make sense of it in a personal way better. It’s very similar to sitting on a meditation cushion, noticing thoughts – it’s a matter of integrating self. That’s me, that’s me, that’s me.
Well, that just might be a unique insight. That insight is really just integration, and that integration is making a whole by personal relationship to parts, identifying with it, including it.
The opposite would be the mentality of watching TV, or the mentality of pain avoidance as a life driving force. That’s a big mistake – pain avoidance is not a life driving force – not the fundamental intelligence – it is only a part that we include. Again, all of that is shown by resting with restlessness. I think you can’t have cohesiveness without changing that old habit of taking pain avoidance as the center of self. It isn’t the center of self.
Regarding the tension between truths and political aims, I think it comes down to nuance. Debono came up with a nice metaphor for nuance. He said to imagine a large flat rubber sheet, onto which a metal marble, representing a word, drops. The marble creates a catchement around it. Drop a similar word near that catchement, and it will fall into the same basin, but drop a dissimilar word onto the rubber, such as that it won’t fall in proximity to the 1st, and it will make a distinct impression. So we agglomerate concepts, and make heaps out of parts. The trick to thinking with nuance is to have many fine catchements. That’s why English is so powerful, because we have many nuanced words. And more so, the words are nuanced because of their histories and multiple meanings.
I once had a long and fruitless web forum argument with a fellow who was a staunch equal rights activist who, one day, had all his faith and respect for all of Wilber’s writings put in jeapardy, as he had thought that maybe Wilber had some political motive of elitism in his work. My point to him was that either things Wilber said were true, or not. Wilber’s ideology was powerless to affect the validity of his arguments. The activist disagreed. But even a Nazi funded by the Clan can do good science. To prove it bad, you disprove the science, not the politics of the scientist. Ideas stand, or fall, on their own merits and demerits. There is no guilt by association, it’s fine to have commy friends – it may even be fine to be a commie. The questions that matter are what is real and what works, not who is tainted by what. Trudeau thought Reagan’s ideas on the spread of communism and funding the Contras in El Salvador was rubbish. If some sort of communism was actually helpful to those people in that place, why not let them go ahead, was Trudea’s pragmatic notion. If it works, fine, don’t sweat over what it is tainted with. If it doesn’t work, fine – show how and why. Slander is not an argument.
So I don’t think there is much tension, really, between the political aims of feminism and all the possible implications of S&M. Subjugation, domination, roles, biological determinism, genetic and mental and cultural differences between the sexes, and all issues aren’t at odds. One needn’t prove that men and women are merely different because of social reasons in order to advance equal opportunity. All one need do is to take the pragmatists meritocratic view. Any one of similar merit should have equal access. Merit can be measured. And the converse implies that not all people should vote, not all people should be protected equally under the law, etc. Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, and if a person doesn’t have the capacity to accept certain responsibilities, neither do they have the rights that go with them. Someone with loud tourettes, for example, should not expect the right to view a movie in a crowded public theater. This view assumes that merit belongs only to individuals, and can’t be meted out accurately to groups, and so from a legal standpoint, there should be no discrimination to groups, although there could be reverse discrimination allowing rights only to the individually meritorious.
So the nuance here, the separation of similar concepts into distinct cachments, is that subjugation and domination as expressed in human power plays, family bonds, social structures, is distinct from legal rights. People should be free to insult and diss and try to hold down anyone they like – equally – we all should be equally free to dominate. In a group there is always social hierarchy – actually multiple social hierarchies – people naturally find their places, and those places shift around. You can’t legally legislate that away, nor would it much help anyone to do so. Hierarchy only becomes oppressive and pathological when it constrains the rights of those below, and denies the meritorious their due expressions and growths.
For instance in a coorporation you have cooperation among thousands to do what small groups could not. The CEO is not the oppressor, he is a needed hierarchical facilitator, without whom the enterprise would lack oversight. If he shares out profits not in line with who deserves them and workers go lacking, that can be oppressive. For instance, if the product is a pharmaceutical, profits need to be shared between R&D, investors, manual laborers, and managers. There should be some upper ceiling constraint on what a manager’s man-hours are worth compared to a laborers. Certainly not 100 to 1. And there should be an upper limit on any salary – no ones happiness is much improved by wealth after necessities are taken care of. An upper limit would allow for the lower limit to be raised. Or there could be a lower limit – once all workers are well off, only then can the higher ups get unlimited salary. But really, the larger system should also tax profits such that workers and students and citizens outside of the workforce could also benefit, and so we don’t really need capitol as concentrated Bill Gates’ fortune. My point is that the workers merit a percentage of the profit, and that their merit may be smaller than that of the inventor or marketer. A non-hierarchical socialist system of equal distribution won’t function. For a co-operative enterprise to work, you need to acknowledge differences in merit and allow for hierarchy. As well as limit the excesses of oppressive hierarchy, through labour unions and enforced federal legislative oversight.
And so for feminism. Any individual woman should have legal rights to be whatever she wants that she merits, and discrimination based on the natural human tendency to see patterns and group them into clumps should be discouraged as much is reasonable. But you can’t stop people from noticing what’s true, and creating a mental utopia will not work, long term, as people will eventually notice that it isn’t real.
Affirmative action was a nice idea, but people got pissed seeing an underqualified student next to them when their brother who was more able was not admitted. It didn’t wind up dragging blacks up to the extent that the originators of that policy had hoped, nor would it ever. The ideology of it was out of line with the realities. All that people could honestly claim, for ideology, is that Blacks of merit be given equal opportunity to Whites of merit. I don’t know why anyone said with a straight face that blacks can’t earn their own merit, due to historical inequities. All we can do now is address inequities, we can’t effectively redress them through reverse inequities – even if we wanted to it simply does not work. Individuals only have as much talent as they individually have, and groups do have different mean I.Q. levels and different other talents. So it comes down to trying to allow individuals with merit to have equal social and financial mobility, and we do that by offering scholarships to poor smart and motivated people to attend the same schools as those with similar ability, not by offering scholarships to a quota of those of a group who have any level of merit.
Basically, if there is a problem somewhere, it is a problem for something that actually exists. So we need to see what actually exists first, rather than start with what should be. Otherwise thinking get’s mixed up. You can’t, as my web forum colleague tried to do, start with what should be, and exclude anything that won’t fit into that. In the long run, that’s not going to work, because reality will keep intruding. He wanted ideas to be free of negative associations, so that he could be sure that we were all moving kindly together towards a nice and good goal. But we aren’t and never will be moving together towards the same nice and good goal. It’s more pragmatic to be pragmatic – what actually is, and how do things actually work, and from there we can create new associations. You can’t enforce propaganda to create a just society. People will only buy it for so long, then that will fall apart. I used to believe that the differences between men and women were entirely socially caused, but living in the world eventually showed me otherwise. There is just too much data out there about the real world for propaganda to have precedence. So if our utopia has the meta-purposes of lack of oppression and equal opportunity, we have to see how to get them from what is, rather than try to impose them as social values. Social values will always talk to our measurable real world. For instance for the last many decades people try to slur any notion of differences between groups with HITLER. HITLER HITLER HITLER!! But that doesn’t stop racist Nazi groups or general racism at all. And people are still learning more and more about real world genetic differences between groups, and that science won’t stop just for lack of funding because of politically correct concerns. The truths are what they are, so eventually they out. The top down propaganda based re-creation of values was never broadly effective for long, because it lacked nuance. Nobody takes seriously anymore that nurture is the dominant cause of social differences between men and women. People can sniff propaganda. A better way to fight the war on drugs is with full disclosure and honesty. Pot won’t fry your brain, but it can lead to these memory and mood problems, and if used between these ages you can expect these long term deficits. Then kids will more likely believe it when you point out the more serious deficits of heroine. And then we can have a just social system that is less oppressive, jailing people for the food they eat, and charging tax payers to keep them warehoused. All around, it’s best just to be cynical, and take it from here. It’s a more interesting and beautiful place than utopia anyway, even if it is much less simple.
So if there are tensions between political realities and other realities, the other realities will get their voice eventually – the world we live in always speaks louder than the one we want to live in. And I do believe that harmonizing ideology as finely as possible with what we know to actually be true produces the best results all around, including politically. It just doesn’t do to try to live in a world that isn’t this one. Utopia doesn’t create utopia. Socialism in the USSR quickly turned to just another form of despotism because people didn’t pay enough attention to the facts of the human condition, and preferred the dream of equality. If you want the virtues of socialism you have to start with the ways that things actually work – a social revolution isn’t likely to make something so enduring as a new human condition. Hierarchical capitalist social democracy is more in tune with the human condition. It doesn’t expect quite so much of us.
In all cases I think a political movement can speak to the widest possible group, if it remains grounded in what is known to already exist, and then takes it from there. So for feminism, we can start with acknowledging all social and biological differences, and then talk about meritocratic inclusion of all. There is no need to talk about everyone being “equal”. And talk of oppression and willful subjugation is all very inspiring, but what if someone really wants to feel protected and cared for and doesn’t really want to be responsible for building and maintaining the nest? What if someone likes being a bottom? Is that a bad thing? An uneducated thing? Something to rescue someone from? If so, I have no idea what that means. Just a lot of blaberab, to me. People will do what they want to do anyway. Those that want otherwise can be offered that type of freedom, but we don’t need a lot of “freedom” to be equal. I used to think that Sue was uneducated and backwards for expecting the man to be the provider. Maybe she was. But she wasn’t backwards for wanting to be taken care of by a man who wants to be a provider. If that works for her, fine. If I have expectations for a woman to clean house, that could be limiting to her. But enjoying and accepting it when someone pays attention to me that way isn’t diminishing, nor is structuring a complementary lifestyle with division of labour suitable to different temperaments. If Sarah wanted to go to school and get a job, that would have been cool, but I learned respect for her geisha ways, over time. It’s a worthy profession also, to serve the household. I could not have appreciated that from my feminist schooling. It’s funny, on the one hand I had heard of how housewives ought to be valued and treated economically properly, but I never heard of how the housewife truly does perform a meaningful profession. Because it was always put into economic terms. But the value of it isn’t economic. By equating it economically, the value was actually diminished. It’s not an economic value. If feminists could have acknowledged that real world fact, their position and argument would have been stronger, instead they focused on economic parity. There is already a greater social parity than admitted. Geisha’s have a worthy profession; housewives who offer devoted care do more than provide a service that can be measured economically. Feminists strangled their own cause by diminishing the value of the geisha, turning her into a foolish subservient slave. It’s not like that. “Equality” doesn’t come about from having the same abilities and same economically attached values. Men and women find equality in complementarity, and aren’t even always measurable by the same measures. Trying to force equality by using the same measures diminishes more than it frees. A woman can find worth in sweeping. A woman can find worth in cutting carrots. A man can find worth in chopping logs, or building a cabin. It doesn’t have to add up to dollars and shoulder pads. It isn’t subjugation to belong to someone, and to take care of them. If it were, then men are subjugated to women, because we pay most of their expenses.