Apostate commented on the discussion between myself and Happy Feminist. She agreed with 95% of what both of us said, and concluded that we are both stuck in personal narratives.

I don’t see our two positions in that discussion as narratives sitting side by side, each correct, overlapping, and each talking past the other. I see my vision as understanding hers in a wider embrace than she is capable of, such that I have insight into her own position that she can not see. I see her viewpoint as being incapable of even acknowledging the demonstrable facts that my viewpoint points out. Her narrative must exclude what does not fit in, in order to remain viable, while my viewpoint embraces and includes and then goes farther to point out insights others have not seen. I contain her, she excludes me.

Stepping back from the various attitudes towards porn and adopting a laissez fair attitude is less myopic than trying to win an argument – but a broad view is not all that single-minded attention to all the details in a discussion can provide. From small pieces piece pictures that link in patterns wide out in all directions, such that a single puzzle piece is your good friendly neighbour to distant and unrelated factoids. A big picture has value coded right in – this is better than that – this is more correct than that – this viewpoint can contain more of factual sensory data than that viewpoint can.

Did you ever see the Colombo made for TV movies? He would puzzle and puzzle over one tiny little fact. One piece that just didn’t fit.  Each puzzle piece that we get has to fit in not just with the adjacent pieces – it has to fit in with everything we have ever experienced or learned. It has to fit in with our totality. If something doesn’t fit in with all of all that we know, then we need to re-create our being in order to accommodate. We don’t just be laissez fair and let it slide and live comfortably in its little corner.

It isn’t an exercise in intellectual domination to have these discussions, it is the act of building personal and communal organizations of thought that make the most sense; include the most data. It isn’t an impersonal jerk-off king of the hill battle. There is more to discussion than comparing emotions – we are fabricating a new neural network through which to see – we are refining our lenses. Damn straight let’s not be laissez fair each and everyone go your own way, and let’s allow some single minded attention to the details. What was it that was supposed to be in the details again?

Heinlein coined the verb “to Grok”. His notion was that if you understood a subject deeply enough, you would begin to identify with it and automatically feel compassion for it. Unless you feel compassion for men or women, as they are right now, you don’t understand them.

I engage in polemic on gender issues not to strengthen my narrative, but to shake the barriers to our shared empathy.

The big bang idea that explodes into my various precise positions on feminism, porn, and gender relations, is that empathy combined with an unwavering search for truth leads to an ever expanding sense of well being and happiness. So unless underlying the search for power-equality in gender relations is empathy and a search for truth, winning the battle can lose you the war. You can wind up feeling victimized and oppressed and hating men, picking out and highlighting all the negativity you can find, to feed righteous indignation. That doesn’t lead to growing contentment or growing empathy or even to an accurate way to find truth.