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April 10, 2010

Mystery of the Ages

I found this amusing:

Most popular notions about the male brain are based on studies of men ages 18 to 22 - undergrads subjecting themselves to experiments for beer money or course credit. But a man's brain varies tremendously over his life span, quickly contradicting the image of the single-minded sex addict that circulates in mainstream consciousness.

In all fairness, the biggest proponents of the "that's all we ever think about and we can't control ourselves" meme tend to be ... men. Why do guys talk about themselves that way?

Posted by Cassandra at April 10, 2010 07:47 PM

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'cuz it's true.

Posted by: Mike Myers at April 10, 2010 08:00 PM

Then why do you guys get mad when a woman says what you've been saying all along? :p

(not that I say that about men - it's just a thing I've noticed)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 10, 2010 08:02 PM

Most people try to find things in common to talk about it. Since men now lack the ritual hunt, the ritual kill, the ritual duel, the ritual whatever, one necessarily replaces it with the lowest common denominator indicator of mutual connection.

Chasing women is far broader a chance at connection than football or sports. There are men not interested in watching or playing such things. The chances of finding a man not interested in talking about women, however, is so low that in almost all cases the risks can be discarded.

At the same time people wish to find commonality, men seek competition in the social hierarchy. Too much love dovey cooperation does not fit well with evolved instincts that were bred for the hunt, the kill, plus the inter-tribal wars and battles.

Sports is a mutual point of common understanding that nonetheless promotes a competitive environment, with such a thing as losing and winning. If that sort of one up manship may seem crude in a civilization's regard, simply realize that more advanced protocols of behavior, synthesizing feminine and male attributes, are reserved for a small segment of any given population. There is no commonality gain to rare incidences, given that rareness by definition must exclude what is common.

This is the difference between rule of virtue and rule by majority. It depends on whether one seeks is excellence or whether it is simply base numerical advantage. In terms of normal social discourse, the most important element between one individual (male) and another individual (male) is to find the most inoffensive point of mutual acceptance, while at the same time demonstrating one's social rank or terminal threat potential.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 10, 2010 08:55 PM

You know, Ymar, that is a really great explanation. I have no idea whether it's true or not (not being a guy and all that) but it makes a lot of sense.

You amaze me sometimes :)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 10, 2010 09:33 PM

"Daddy-specific ways of playing with their kids -- more rough-housing, more spontaneity, more teasing -- can help kids learn better, be more confidant, and prepare them for the real world, studies have shown."

Hah! I'm going to print that out and nail it to the wall, so I can point to it the next time we have an outbreak of whining around here. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 10, 2010 09:56 PM

Dads are important :)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 10, 2010 10:23 PM

I owe it all to Obama. He told me in the dead of night that he learned all this in maneuvering through academic school life. He wanted to bring Ayers but I told him that would mean he would, at least at minimal, have to bring one casket.

Humanity amazes me all the time. Given the things people have tried as humans, I'd have thought there would have been more fireworks. But even the most energetic of forces tend to get subdued by time and various other forces.


Then why do you guys get mad when a woman says what you've been saying all along?

Taking the stereotypical reaction, which may not be disruptive emotional states so much as insecure reactions, there's a way to go through the eye.

Often times when communication fails, one or both parties can't figure out how to recover. This necessarily stipulates the sending of an unconscious emergency message to survival instincts central. From that point on, unpredictable behaviors become predictable. Some people will react better and some will react crazy.

This could get rather complex but the short of it is, people are more likely to take something as an insult when they don't feel a mutual bond with the other person.

One man could talk about the chase for women with another man, and while insinuations or direct comments may be made, the underlying assumption is often that because there is a mutual connection, what is said of one person is true of the other person as well. It is an understated effect of human social bonds. When there is no assumption of that at work, usually you see this happen when one man from Tribe A tries to kill the other man from Tribe B. Because there is no assumption of mutual protocols, things are more likely to deteriorate down to the most common of all mutual connections: violent mortality. If you can't communicate with the other person via words to set up a mutual understanding, at least you know when you bash his brains out into paste, that he and you both understood that event very well.

Men don't assume that women know what it is like to chase women, because the underlying assumption is that women seek men and men seek women. A woman talking to a man about his woman chasing ways (in a negative fashion), is stating the unstated claim that what is said about the man does not apply to the woman. These calculations are going on in the human monkey/lizard brain totally parallel what goes on in people's conscious minds.

They don't notice it until those parts give them the digest. And if they still don't get it, you can see a good example of it in something called "denial of violence". Meaning, the prospective victim of a mugging ignores the danger signs from a person; the danger signs their brain gave them but they didn't understand. Thus projecting to the world that this person, at least, has no idea what is going on in terms of mutual termination deterrence (aka safe target).

The alternative is that people realize something has happened and they panic because it was a surprised. A shock, as the younger generation of Japanese like to say. A trauma, even.


This stuff about human communication protocols isn't something written on a billboard. Nor is it taught to the general public. There's no reason to. It's in people's genes. If they wanted to know about it, all they'd have to do is to study themselves. Not that hard to do, even for poor people. However, because this is the result of an evolutionary process extending several orders of magnitude greater than the lifespan of a human mortal, things end up being rather complex and subtle. Thus while studying human behavior isn't hard, comprehending it is. It wasn't designed to be comprehended. It was designed to be effective. It was only our brains that ended up being able to understand what wasn't supposed to be understood to be effective. Unfortunately, people aren't in control of all their brain capacity. Unintended or perhaps intended side effect.

I just read the studies and i don't know what's up with these studies. They could figure most of this stuff out by testing deductive premises from the viewpoint of what would be the most effective evolutionary bag of instincts.

By the by, I think the Mystery of the Ages is why the Galactic Bureaucracy hasn't come to Earth to levy some sort of barbarian tax on us for the privilege of being a protectorate (sort of fake liberal noble savage zoo).

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 10, 2010 10:38 PM

I'm coming down rather heavily opposing you on the point.

Posted by: smitty at April 10, 2010 10:38 PM

Because they are also more emotional than women, right up to the point that they realize the emotion is there, and they get all distracted by women they see and then immediately forget them ...
that kind of instability must be unnerving.

Posted by: valerie at April 10, 2010 11:02 PM

Oh ya, I forgot something important.

Many people have issues with changing their mental track. If they know they are going to talk to a person that doesn't have much in common with them, like an associate or something, they can prepare themselves. But if they're talking amidst buddies about women, and a woman, that isn't part of the group, then talks about the subject, there's a mental gears shift that happens.

If a person isn't prepared for it, friction happens. And when friction happens, one gets stress and stress produces weird emotions. People say things under emotional duress that they wouldn't say normally. The funny thing is, often they don't even know what they have said.


Back in the day, when man A met man B from a different tribe, they had to rely upon common protocols like appearing with your hands open and free of weapons to communicate stuff that couldn't be communicated using regular societal conventions. Because they had different societal standards and templates. But there are many who don't know what to do and problems ensue because of it.

Humans no longer fight much in terms of organized raiding, in the US at least, so we have to find something else to entertain our time. And that's dating. Amazingly, individuals on youtube have figured out what all these official research lists and pundits haven't. And at far less the price.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 10, 2010 11:10 PM

As much as I hate to admit it, my first thought when I see a women is as an object. As I get older, my second thought gets faster, which is to tell my brain to knock it off and re-route.
I am not sure that the thought process ever changes, it just gets over-ridden faster as we mature.

Posted by: Russ at April 10, 2010 11:26 PM

On the matter of the genetic-gender identity called 'man', there is a distinction between boys and men. Just as there is a distinction between alpha males and beta males.

And then there's the distinction between good and evil males, of which there are beta and some alphas too. Although normally alphas are just the boss in the chain of command, normally neither good nor evil particularly.

Males at an early age are engineered to be competitive, perhaps socially and hormonally. At this stage is where they are the most sensitive to social perceptions, the most motivated to climb the social ladder (due to hormones and other issues), and the most uncontrolled and inhibited. That lack of inhibition serves a particularly useful function, as it motivates young and inexperienced males to take risks, gain experience, and either win through the doing or die with their shields.

Again, evolutionary warfare at work here. Those males that have gained experience, usually see the benefits of restraint and the status quo. They don't need to overturn the world for they have a legitimate and adequate social position, maybe not the best social rank but adequate.

The problem here is, humans somehow got hold of free will. They can challenge their destiny as pre-programmed drones of nature.

That's when things get tricky. Now a days older males can artificially suppress maturity and leadership abilities. Just look at the Left and Obama if you don't believe me. On the other hand, one can accelerate one's own development by say, the US Marines and combat duty. Grim can perhaps say more on that philosophy.

So this ends up either inverting or totally disregarding the whole experience vs non-experience, young male vs older male, dichotomy. Because it messes up all the usual signs that were more predominant in older and more tribal climates. Those days, age meant you had beat off all the idiot challengers and their wannabe foreign mercenaries. These days, who knows what happened. Could be a Ted Kennedy or a John Kerry or a Murtha. Got rich and powerful by exploiting the weak. Any chief that tried that back in the day would have been hacked apart by someone stronger.

Still, one has a few non-floating islands to grab hold of. Of these, alpha leadership positions would be one of them. No matter what one's age or even gender is, the position of an alpha is kind of fixed in DNA given the demands of human hierarchy requirements. Requirement 1, we need a chain of command. Requirement 2, we need a leader. Requirement 3, the boss has to somehow not make us all die with orders.

This gets us to a simple logical conclusion. Psychotic leaders make for psychotic group behavior. Sane and good leaders produce sane and good results. Compassionate leaders geared towards cooperation and mutual benefit, creates wealth from mutual benefit. Militarily strong leaders produce militarily strong results.


Idiotic leaders... Sociopathic leaders...

Well, that doesn't need to be said.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 10, 2010 11:43 PM

Oh ya, PS

I don't mind immature people being called men. Obama's either a boy or a man, doesn't really change what he is to me. The fact of why is very simple to me. No matter whether someone is or is not a man, he has a social rank and position.

The stronger he is and the more power he has, either personally or given to him by others, the higher he is on the social ladder.

Inferiority is a staple of any hierarchy. This is no liberal lala land of Absolute Equality in Utopian metaphysics. Somebody's got to do the dirty jobs, which necessarily means that somebody started at the bottom.

Now we all may have started at the bottom, or rather the non-politicians did, but the benefit of the US social hierarchy is that one can move up with relatively good chances. Given that aspect, it doesn't really matter what social rank a man has or how immature he is. He is either an obstacle, a tool, or his own person. And regardless of which one it is, that can be changed eventually.

The issue with the Left isn't so much that they steal property and money and dignity from individual Americans; it is that the Left will create a permanent caste system where there will be no social mobility. Men will become violent thugs because that's the caste the Left created and that's the caste nobody will get out of.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 10, 2010 11:50 PM

Why do guys talk about themselves that way?

Because we *can*.

Posted by: BillT at April 11, 2010 04:42 AM

Ah, but the point of my question was to ask, "Why would they want to?"

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 10:05 AM

I think it's a defensive crouch, for many who grew up since the advent of "men are bad" educational culture. I know you don't like it when people blame feminism for things, but the anti-male feminism really is responsible for a good part of this.

Look at Russ' description of his behavior: 'my first thought of a woman is as an object.' That's not right at all. I'm willing to bet heavily that there's not a single object in the world that Russ reacts to as he reacts to the sight of a beautiful woman. Mailboxes, say.

The right thing to say is that his first thought of her is as a woman, and then he remembers to treat her according to the civilized norms of society.

The distinction is important. It's natural, and healthy, for a man to respond to a woman as a woman. It's unnatural and wicked to respond to her as if she were an object. Feminism has driven the second concept so deeply into our consciousness, through control of education and academia, that even folks like Russ use the language as a reflex. It has demonized this natural, appropriate and healthy reaction.

Many men choose to say: "OK, we're bad, now let us be." That way, they don't have to fight, and they don't have to do the impossible (i.e., stop having the initial reaction from biology).

That's why you get even good men (like Russ) accepting such terms. It's only a few men who like to fight so much that they'll re-fight a battle that they've already lost a hundred thousand times.

Fortunately, I like to fight that much. :)

In any event, if we could restore the idea that a natural and healthy reaction is appropriate -- so long as it is controlled and resolved by the norms of honor and gentlemanly conduct -- you'd find a lot more men willing to stand up for honor and gentlemanly conduct. The reaction that I get every time I write about chivalry, though, shows how hard that is: I get angry responses from women, who think chivalry is code for oppression; and angry responses from men, who think chivalry is code for submission.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 10:50 AM

Look at Russ' description of his behavior: 'my first thought of a woman is as an object.' That's not right at all. I'm willing to bet heavily that there's not a single object in the world that Russ reacts to as he reacts to the sight of a beautiful woman. Mailboxes, say.

I'm not sure I agree, Grim. I've never been a big fan of the "If you think that way, you're allowing yourself to be controlled by feminists" argument. It's fundamentally disrespectful, for one thing. But more importantly, it discounts the fact that people can come to the same conclusion for very different reasons.

One of analogies I've heard guys use over and over again is that to them, looking at a beautiful woman is no different than looking at a beautiful car: IOW, what they see is not a person at all, but rather something they'd like to own/drive.

There have been some very interesting studies that track the parts of the brain that are activated (but more importantly, deactivated) when men look at photos of scantily clad women:

Fisk also tested the men for levels of sexism and found a surprising effect those who scored high on this test, "...the hostile sexists were likely to deactivate the part of the brain that thinks about other people's intentions. The lack of activation of this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens. It’s a very reliable effect, that the medial prefrontal cortex comes online when people think about other people, see pictures of them, imagine other people."
"Normally ... people’s aim is to figure out what the other person is thinking and intending. And we see in these data really no evidence of that. So the deactivation of medial prefrontal cortex to these pictures is really kind of shocking."
To be sure this is a preliminary study, and Fiske intends to follow up with a larger sample, but nonetheless she concludes, "...these findings are all consistent with the idea that they are responding to these photographs as if they are responding to objects and not to people with independent agency."

I don't think the study is dispositive by any means, and it's important to recognize that what it measures is a primal response rather than the totality of what goes on in a man's mind at any point in time.

Another thing I've heard time and time again from men is that having daughters changes the way they view both their own reactions and their view of women in general. Fatherhood personalizes their interactions with women in a very powerful way - they become far more aware of women as people.

Are these Dads allowing the evil feminists to control them?

I doubt it. More likely this is part of the maturation process (just as with my example a while back about how I began to dress more conservatively after my husband-to-be almost got into a fight with a guy who was pestering me). It wasn't all about me and my subjective likes and dislikes, nor about my ability to protect myself. I became far more aware of how my actions impact those I care about.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 11:40 AM

It is much easier to claim "addiction" than admit to poor judgement or a moral failure.

Posted by: crazy mike at April 11, 2010 11:43 AM

Another quick thought:

To a far greater extent than women, men are able to "depersonalize" interactions with other people. This is a characteristic with great survival value, but it has a dangerous side as well.

In wartime, for instance, it has been customary throughout history to portray the enemy as less than human. It's easier to kill someone if you don't view them as fully human. It's harder to compete aggressively if you are preoccupied with the feelings of those you are competing against (whether the other guy needs that job more than you do - to feed his starving family, for instance).

So, the characteristic has good and bad aspects: there are times when survival requires us to detach and think only of ourselves. But a person who does that all the time is a sociopath.

Recognizing this honestly isn't the same as self loathing or buying into feminist doctrine. As I've said a million times, we are more than the sum of our instincts.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 11:48 AM

So, your reading is that (some) men really see women as objects, no different from other physical objects?

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 11:53 AM

A final thought: the initial impulse to see women as objects is amoral - until acted upon, it is neither good nor bad.

Once acted upon, the impulse may become immoral (i.e., guy throws woman to the ground and takes what he wants) or moral (Guy recognizes that he's looking at another human being he cannot just take by force and offers her something she values - affection and possibly protection - for something he values: exclusive sexual access.)

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 12:00 PM

So, your reading is that (some) men really see women as objects, no different from other physical objects?

If this is not the case, how do you explain human trafficking?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 12:13 PM

It's only a few men who like to fight so much that they'll re-fight a battle that they've already lost a hundred thousand times.

Hey, hey, that's what nukes are from. As well as kinetic orbital bombardment.

Fortunately, I like to fight that much. :)

Tell us something we don't know already, heh.


I get angry responses from women, who think chivalry is code for oppression; and angry responses from men, who think chivalry is code for submission.

I do remember the responses at such threads. But I don't think I fit into either camp. How would you describe my position vis a vis chivalry so far, Grim?

It's easier to kill someone if you don't view them as fully human.

It's also easier to do it from so far a range that the targets appear as nothing but dots on a digital screen, thus making it easier to think of them as abstract bunnies floating in the endless sky, up until you push a button that makes them all float away.

In a mushroom cloud.

The survival instincts are an apt topic. If a person cannot think of the target as a non-human, then they could never have done the bloody work of killing with bare hands and spears, something required of ancient humans. There was no distance, no abstract screen, to allow people to deceive themselves that what they are doing is something apart from killing another human. They're so close they can see the color of the pupils of their eyes and smell the breath on their tongues as they gasp for breath. At that point, if you cannot switch your brain from "human" to "target", the violence will end up being used on you. And then it'll all be over.

What has gone haywire isn't the instinct. It is the ability of modern humanity to make it much easier for humans to turn people into abstract ideas and caricatures. A photo isn't a person. It represents an abstract symbol for a person, a specific person. An engineered failure. People found a way to use abstract conceptions, 1 million is a statistic, one death is a tragedy, to devaluate the male-female relationships and replace it with something that better serves ideological or political goals.


men really see women as objects, no different from other physical objects?

Replace object with property. Some property are more valuable than others. Your point is valid that a woman, even if an object, would be different from any other physical object. That's because the use to which tools or property can be put are based upon their value, rareness, and so forth.

Then again, people see the federal budget as their own personal fiefdom, so it is not like the idea of turning humans into property is something new under the sun.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 12:34 PM

(just as with my example a while back about how I began to dress more conservatively after my husband-to-be almost got into a fight with a guy who was pestering me)

Almost? Who de-escalated the conflict then.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 12:36 PM

As I recall, the other guy backed down :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 12:46 PM

If a person cannot think of the target as a non-human, then they could never have done the bloody work of killing with bare hands and spears, something required of ancient humans. There was no distance, no abstract screen, to allow people to deceive themselves that what they are doing is something apart from killing another human. They're so close they can see the color of the pupils of their eyes and smell the breath on their tongues as they gasp for breath. At that point, if you cannot switch your brain from "human" to "target", the violence will end up being used on you. And then it'll all be over.

Except it doesn't work that way, other than in the abstract.

You *do* see him as human, and that's the cast-iron bitch of it.

Posted by: BillT at April 11, 2010 01:05 PM

You *do* see him as human, and that's the cast-iron bitch of it.

Bill's comment touches on something I tried to say earlier in response to Grim, but gave up on b/c I was pretty sure it would be misunderstood.

There's a difference between literally seeing a person as a thing/object and seeing another person as either less human than you are or as someone whose wishes don't count.

But although these things may be different in the abstract (or simply to you), to the other person they often amount to the same thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 01:14 PM

Except it doesn't work that way, other than in the abstract.

Human self-deception isn't an abstract thing. While temporary and not entirely consistent, it still has substance. Enough to motivate actions, provide backing or justification.

If a person can't keep up that self-deception afterwards, if they then begin to have doubts or guilt, that just means their capacity for self-deception isn't as strong as some other things that was going on.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 01:36 PM

As I recall, the other guy backed down

What was the face saving product that was used to justify backing off?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 01:37 PM

John Kerry for example, I think has superhuman self-deception capabilities. I don't think he ever once felt guilty for hunting down Vietnamese civilians and executing them. Or the various other war crimes he said he did.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 01:39 PM

What was the face saving product that was used to justify backing off?

To justify the other guy backing down? Gosh, I have no idea. This was an awfully long time ago Ymar - over 30 years!


Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 02:59 PM

I thought we had government insured time travel vacation time? We paid into it, so shouldn't we reap the benefits!!

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 03:53 PM

I recall a bit from Larry Miller's old standup routine comparing aroused men to lions watching antelope.

But it also reminds me of the scene from "Hud" when Patricia Neal confesses to Paul Newman that the sight of him over the years outside the kitchen window, talking off his shirt to work in the yard, had more than once made her put down her dishcloth. Earlier, he'd told her how often he dallied with the bored housewives in the neighborhood. Neal says, "I declare I don't know how some women find the time." He answers, "Honey, they just drop ever'thing." I don't figure these women were much interested in his soul.

Grim, you've nearly converted me to the value of chivalry. One of these days I'll quit harassing you about it.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 11, 2010 04:03 PM

I'm sorry...I just can't help myself.

Grim, does this mean that I have become an "Object Lesson?"

Posted by: Russ at April 11, 2010 04:16 PM

There's a difference between literally seeing a person as a thing/object and seeing another person as either less human than you are or as someone whose wishes don't count.

I'm glad I gave you time to revise and extend your remarks, because this is a much more reasonable position. :)

I don't think it's possible -- psychopaths aside, I suppose -- to look at a human being as 'an object.' This isn't because we're necessarily better than animals, but because even animals of a similar order do this: a dog, seeing another dog, will react to it in a way completely different from how he reacts to a bus or a plane or a tree.

The combat response you describe isn't a case of even suppressing someone's humanity, but of pushing aside the emotional responses for a time. This is why PTS/D reponses are very common, indeed almost universal, in those who have been in combat; you can push it aside, but you can't kill it.

Now, you mention the question of slavery, and wonder how it is possible. The answer I would give to that is evil. I don't think that evil means objectification, though; if evil men looked at women as mere objects, they wouldn't go to such risk and trouble for them. It's precisely that the woman has a special relationship for them that makes women valuable to the wicked.

Starting from what's natural, though, is the way to build a workable virtue; denying what's natural is a bad way to do it. The objection to that might be that Christianity demands perfection, though it manages that demand only through being exceedingly humane in forgiving departures from perfection. Even at that, though, it's my understanding that there's no sin (of lust) in feeling an initial attraction to someone as long as 'you don't entertain it.' It's not considered imperfect; it's natural, with a virtuous response being to learn not to entertain it.

This goes to your question about why men might suggest that they 'couldn't help' their responses. There are parts of the response which are, indeed, pre-conscious: and these probably really cannot be helped. It's not clear that we should want to help them, in any case: we ought to accept what is natural and normal as healthy, to avoid causing other problems.

There are follow-on, conscious decisions that certainly can be helped. The defense of these under the heading 'can't be helped' is what I meant to say was a defensive crouch: the reason that these men object to my bringing up chivalry is that it abandons the defensive position.

"Can't be helped!" is a way of avoiding having to help it; and it seems to be the compromise position of the anti-male feminists and the men who don't want to try to help it. It lets the anti-male feminist believe that the men are wicked and bestial, which they wanted to believe; and it lets the PUA-type men chase skirts without feeling responsible, which is their preferred position.

You and I occupy different positions, but much closer to each other than either of us are to either of those.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 04:22 PM

Russ:

Touche. :)

Ymar:

As a young man interested in the arts of war and honor, you seem to be trying to learn how several different earlier traditions of such men have thought about these matters. I'm not sure if you've settled on Western-style chivalry, or something slightly different, because I don't recall your making a declaration on the subject. Nevertheless, I think your heart is in the right place.

T99:

At your service. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 04:26 PM

...if evil men looked at women as mere objects, they wouldn't go to such risk and trouble for them.

Men (and women) have gone to considerable risk and trouble to gain the possession of mere objects, too :p This used to be a recurring theme in classic movies.

It's precisely that the woman has a special relationship for them that makes women valuable to the wicked.

You chose to compare the desire to possess a woman to the desire to possess a mailbox (an everyday, commonplace item of no great value or beauty). I used the metaphor - which, by the way, did not come from me but from men describing their own behavior and thoughts - of a beautiful car.

Of course it sounds silly if you pick an object that will make it sound silly. But people have gone to enormous risk and trouble to possess jewels, paintings, other artwork, historical artifacts... you name it. And very often, the desire to possess these objects is so great that it causes the person to completely disregard the rights of others: they will steal, commit murder even, to gain what they desire.

So I don't think it's true at all only people are desired in this manner.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 05:26 PM

It's worth remembering that evil people will commit murder over $20 in your wallet, which is less than the price of a mailbox (let alone a car -- your mention of that drifted out of my consciousness because cars are a kind of object for which I've never felt any special desire; whereas my mailbox has been busted and open to the rain since the mail carrier got tired of the sticking door and ripped it off, which has caused me to have "mailbox" in my "things I might desire" pile for a while now).

But what we don't want is to run natural and normal desires in with wickedness. We don't want the natural and normal recognition (by Russ, our "object lesson") of a woman as a woman to be run in with human trafficking. The one kind of behavior is not something we ought to want to consider blameworthy; and indeed, his description of his response to this natural reaction is praiseworthy.

While still not convinced that it is even possible to react to women as if they were an 'object,' even an exceedingly valuable kind of object, I think we can agree that there is a problem with treating human trafficking as if it were the same kind of of thing as Russ is describing. It is not of the same kind at all.

Feminism is at fault here. I don't mean to say that it is solely at fault. I do mean to say that it is at fault to the degree that it has made it seem ordinary for Russ to describe his reaction to women as a reaction to 'objects'; or for us to be drawn into a discussion that somehow elides a natural human response to an attractive human of the opposite sex, controlled by the reason in accord with virtue, with the sort of thing that leads to human trafficking. That is wrong thinking: one might go an entire life having natural reactions to attractive women (or men) without ever once thinking of enslaving them by force, let alone actually carrying out such a plan.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 05:58 PM

*sigh*

Grim, I'm not sure how you decided I was conflating normal and natural desires with human trafficking but that's why I hate these kinds of discussions. I say something that seems quite reasonable to me, only to discover that I've implied that Russ is a white slaver.

To pretend that any human behavior or attitude isn't exhibited to varying degrees by different people (or that certain instincts are fine in one context and destructive in another) seems perverse at best, not to mention completely contrary to what I said earlier.

I can question certain stereotypically male behaviors without hating all men.

You are misapplying my response to a fairly narrow question: do I think SOME men view women as objects? And yes, I think SOME men do see women in a way that is little different than if they were a possession, just as SOME women may well view men as walking wallets to be exploited. I can think that without thinking Russ spends his days plotting to enslave women he passes on the sidewalk because equating evil with instinct formed no part of anything I've said on this post.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 06:11 PM

The reason I am concerned that there is a danger of running the things together is that your proof for 'can men see women as objects?' was human trafficking; whereas we had begun with Russ' description of seeing women as 'objects.' If you want to draw a bright line between those things and shake hands on it, you and I are in complete agreement.

It's not very important to me whether we view human traffickers as 'those who are evil' or 'the sole and only class of people who view women as objects.' I think they're the former; but whether they're the former or the latter, I can blessedly claim little special insights into their opinions or mental states.

(Also, remember that I was ready to put psychopaths to one side; so it's not my position that no men of any kind might see another person as a mere object, only that this is not possible for normal or natural men.)

I'm not sure how you mean for me to apply this statement:

To pretend that any human behavior or attitude isn't exhibited to varying degrees by different people (or that certain instincts are fine in one context and destructive in another) seems perverse at best, not to mention completely contrary to what I said earlier.

You have asserted that you don't intend to read Russ' behavior as a mere "varying degree" of the sort of behavior that leads to white slavery, which I agree is right. This comment seems to weaken that commitment, insofar as it might be read as saying that you really do mean that the same behavior is at work in both cases. ('Right in one context, wrong in another.') However, since you've just declared against that position, I don't want to misread you as supporting it after all.

I'd like to be sure that I don't misunderstand you here: do you agree that behavior of Russ' sort is completely different from 'viewing women as objects' as you see white slavers as doing? Or do you think it's the same instinct at work, 'right' within some contexts, and 'wrong' in others?

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 06:25 PM

You have asserted that you don't intend to read Russ' behavior as a mere "varying degree" of the sort of behavior that leads to white slavery, which I agree is right.

NO, NO, NO. That's not what I said at all.

The whole "leads to" thing is your assertion, not mine. And honestly, that sort of conflation seems to me to be at the heart of the defensiveness I so often don't understand.

If you are going to impute things to people that they never said, well then yes: I get why people would be defensive. If what we say no longer matters and will be taken to the illogical extreme, we should all be in a position of eternal defensiveness.

This has nothing to do with feminism, though. It has to do with taking everything to the illogical extreme and imputing extreme positions to people who never advocated them in the first place.

I think it's the same basic instinct at work. I have no problem with the instinct in and of itself. As I said before quite plainly, the instinct itself is neither good nor bad.

It's where you go from that instinct. Russ (at least in my view, and please correct me if I'm wrong Russ) seems to understand that instincts are only one part of who and what we are and have decided to be.

As to this:

do you agree that behavior of Russ' sort is completely different from 'viewing women as objects' as you see white slavers as doing?

THERE IS NO "BEHAVIOR" ON RUSS'S PART THAT COULD RATIONALLY BE EQUATED TO WHITE SLAVERY because he doesn't act on his instincts.

Jesus Christ, Grim. Women are natural seductresses and exhibitionists, but we don't have to act upon our desires. In fact, it is precisely the degree to which we harness our natural desires to a moral and ethical framework that differentiates good/responsible people from criminals. It ain't as though we don't all have the same impulses.

You are equating thoughts with behavior and they are not the same thing at all. Not even close.

An initial instinct to see women as objects rather than people IS NOT BEHAVIOR. As Russ pointed out, that initial instinct is followed by a rational response: "It would be wrong to let this impulse guide me", or "I need to channel this impulse into a less destructive path".

Answer me this: can a man who fully recognizes that women are just as human as he is endorse slavery?

I don't think so, because recognizing the humanity of another person necessarily means that you view any action towards them in the context of whether you would want to be treated that way. Human trafficking is an extreme manifestation of the tendency to view other people as objects which exist to be used rather than people whose rights and wishes ought to be respected.

It would be a very perverted world if that were equated to a temporary and natural impulse consciously suppressed.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 06:46 PM

I'm trying to be very careful, Cass -- perhaps I haven't always been in the past, but I am trying to be sure not to attribute things to you that you don't believe.

So, when you say:

"THERE IS NO "BEHAVIOR" ON RUSS'S PART THAT COULD RATIONALLY BE EQUATED TO WHITE SLAVERY because he doesn't act on his instincts."

... it seems like you might be saying that, after all, this normal male instinct really is of the same type as the white slaver's instinct. If only he had acted on it, it might...!

I honestly doubt that is the case. Even if he had acted on it, how far would he have gotten? As far as realizing that he wasn't doing the right thing, and repenting? That seems the most likely answer to me.

The wickedness that allows for things like white slavery seems so removed from this basic instinct -- this simple reaction to the presence of an attractive person -- that I think it's a basic error to connect them. It's not a question of whether you 'act on it,' or not. It's a difference of kind. There is no amount of indulgence in simple 'awareness of attractiveness' that might lead this ordinary man to rape, let alone slavery. Ordinary behaviors are not things like rape; they are not things like oppression. They're ordinary. There's nothing wrong with them.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 07:10 PM

Now, it may be that you are trying to say this same thing, and we've simply misunderstood each other again. It wouldn't be the first time we were furiously arguing the same thing against each other! :)

I'd just like to clarify the one point, because you mentioned white slavery as a proof. Do you believe that there is any connection between these ordinary behaviors or instincts, and things of the sort of evil that slavery represents?

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 07:13 PM

Perhaps I might appear to be trying to lure you into making a declaration without making clear my own position.

Just to be clear, I think the absolute vice that can result from 'being attracted to a woman' in an ordinary man is something like adultery; or, in the unmarried, the PUA behavior of seducing women with the intent of leaving them. I don't think that it leads to rape, let alone slavery (a sort of enduring rape); that seems to me to require at least an additional sort of evil as an ally.

Vice is not quite evil, even if it is vicious. Viciousness is bad, because it represents an insensitivity to what is best in life. Evil is something worse: not just failing to do what is best, but failing to do even what is merely good.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 07:36 PM

Slavery is first an economic interest and secondly a social structure.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 07:42 PM

I don't understand why you are equating attraction with objectification?

That is certainly not something I have done. I have observed men doing this a lot - running things together because they are just sure that the other person has done so, even when they have not done so.

I think men are capable of all kinds of "attractions". One is simply the base urge - the so-called "target acquisition mode". Another is when they see a woman who attracts them on several levels: not just physical but mental, emotional, spiritual.

Those two things are not the same at all. And they can co-exist. You seem to keep trying to get me to conflate things I don't think are properly conflated.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 07:48 PM

I'm not trying to get you to conflate them. I'd like to hold them as non-conflated.

It's just that we started with my rejection of Russ' statement that he was responding to women as 'objects.' Not so, I said: he was responding to them as women. There was no mere object that could possibly elicit the same response.

You offered, as a proof that men can view women as objects, white slavery.

That's why I'm pressing you on the question of whether you believe attraction can lead to, or is a form of, association. If you want to hold that these are "two things [that] are not the same at all," then we agree! I'm perfectly delighted for you to hold that position; I just want to be sure that is indeed the position you hold.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 07:53 PM

There is a significant typo in the last post. I wrote:

"That's why I'm pressing you on the question of whether you believe attraction can lead to, or is a form of, association."

I meant to write:

"That's why I'm pressing you on the question of whether you believe attraction can lead to, or is a form of, objectification."

I'm not sure how to account for the error, except for absent-mindedness. That suggests it should be a Freudian slip, except that I can't see how to read it as such. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 07:55 PM

Do you believe that there is any connection between these ordinary behaviors or instincts, and things of the sort of evil that slavery represents?

Of course I do. The latter is simply the former, unchecked and taken to the extreme. They are opposite ends of the same spectrum - on one side there are guys like Russ who understand the difference between morality/reason and instinct. On the other side are people who allow instinct to rule them, crowding out their moral sense.

I think you're creating an artificial distinction where none exists because you don't like where you think admitting they are related might lead.

Women have a natural impulse to seduce men. It's ingrained, and it's neither right nor wrong.
That natural and amoral (i.e., neither right nor wrong) impulse has moral and immoral expressions.

It's not wrong for me to serve dinner to my husband wearing only a black bra, a thong, and CMFM shoes because we're married and he enjoys sex just as much as I do. I enjoy seducing him and he enjoys the chase. I put on a display but don't give in right away (IOW, I tease him and make him chase me). Win-win: we both get to express our natural desires in a moral context. No one is hurt, and in fact we're both measurably happier for the experience.

It would unquestionably be wrong for me to show up at my best friend's house when I know she's out of town on business and serve dinner to her husband in the same attire. We might get what *we* wanted but we would be breaking a solemn vow and hurting our respective spouses.

Same impulse, but right or wrong depending upon the manner in which I choose to express it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 07:57 PM

I think we can agree that there is a problem with treating human trafficking as if it were the same kind of of thing as Russ is describing. It is not of the same kind at all.

I think that's a useful distinction. I wouldn't care to make a statement on whether one thing is another when it comes to human as property values, but when applied to more concrete positions then something can be done about em.

Grim, I'm not sure how you decided I was conflating normal and natural desires with human trafficking but that's why I hate these kinds of discussions.

From my view, Grim by using philosophy and various other definitions of reality states, must necessarily follow a logical track to the various destinations listed. It doesn't have to be stated by anyone here, for the logical conclusion to be raised.

Grim, thanks for the assessment. It was of good use. On the part of not declaring a stated or fixed philosophy, your observation is true in that regard. Which is why I wanted an external assessment of such an ambiguous state.

If we speak of how to stop slavery, then feminism should be stopped. Because they're involved in slavery, of one sort or another, indirectly or directly.

Does it really matter how one defines slavery and the feminist political correct thought police rules. If all one seeks is to destroy slavery or to replace it with a better system, then one must necessarily defeat organizations like modern feminism. On that regard, things get very simple, though not easy. The matter of definitions are no longer a world eclipsing event.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 08:00 PM

I don't understand why you are equating attraction with objectification?

Probably because other people in politics and power do it. And they are infringing on Grim's space, so Grim has to talk about it eventually, or let the barbarians ride over him.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 11, 2010 08:01 PM

"That's why I'm pressing you on the question of whether you believe attraction can lead to, or is a form of, objectification."

Lots of things can lead to other things, Grim. The important question is: did they?

I don't believe sexual attraction in men is quite that one dimensional. It has different components.

I don't think it's healthy for either men or women to be ruled by their sexual instincts. Hopefully we have more going on than that.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:01 PM

Probably because other people in politics and power do it.

Yes, but Grim isn't arguing with these other people, but with me :p

I don't mind him objecting to what other people have said. I do mind the implication that I have said things I clearly did not say.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:04 PM

Of course I do. The latter is simply the former, unchecked and taken to the extreme.

This is the distinction I've been trying to get at in this discussion. I don't agree that the "extreme" form of attraction is slavery.

The extreme form of attraction is seduction, perhaps: your model of visiting your friend's husband and trying to seduce him as inappropriate seems to work there.

The question is, would you knock him over the head and keep him in your basement? I don't mean, would you consider the possibility as a joke, but is there any chance you might really do it, even if you were sure you could get away with it?

Of course not. Even if you might (in some sense) think of seducing him as a logical extreme of your natural instinct to seduce men, that kind of thing would never occur to you as a serious possibility. I frankly doubt that you (being virtuous) would even seriously consider seduction of a friend's husband except as an exercise in philosophy; but the other thing is so far outside the realm of possibility as to be laughable.

All I'd like to suggest is that normal men are in the same state. Is there some logical sense in which I could imagine committing adultery as an extension of the worst vice I commit? Certainly. Would I therefore seriously kidnap a woman and keep her in my basement to satisfy my lusts? Good God, no.

The one thing is a vice, taken to an extreme. The other thing is an actual evil: not just rejection of "what is best," but embrace of the wicked. It's not just a different level, I believe, but a thing of a different kind.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:07 PM

"I do mind the implication that I have said things I clearly did not say."

Please forgive me if there have been implications of that sort. I have tried to avoid any implications: my desire has been to try to clarify exactly what you did mean to say, not to imply that you had said anything you did not intend to say.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:09 PM

The question is, would you knock him over the head and keep him in your basement? I don't mean, would you consider the possibility as a joke, but is there any chance you might really do it, even if you were sure you could get away with it?

No, I would not do it because my impulses are not unchecked.

If you take unchecked impulses to the extreme, yes - women have actually done things like that. And so have men.

That is just the far end of the spectrum, Grim, at which your own desires are the only consideration and the wishes and rights of other people are ignored.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:19 PM

I don't agree that the "extreme" form of attraction is slavery.

Once again, you insist upon reducing a complex phenomenon (attraction) to a fairly basic impulse. I reject that formulation.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:20 PM

The extreme form of attraction is seduction

Again, I disagree. Seduction offers a choice that may be accepted or rejected. It presumes free agency - it is not compulsion, but persuasion.

Slavery offers no choice.

Attraction with no recognition that the one who attracts is a person just as you are is not a good thing.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:23 PM

All I'd like to suggest is that normal men are in the same state. Is there some logical sense in which I could imagine committing adultery as an extension of the worst vice I commit? Certainly. Would I therefore seriously kidnap a woman and keep her in my basement to satisfy my lusts? Good God, no.

The entire premise of this post is that the vast majority of men CAN control themselves (IOW, they are NOT ruled by their instincts).

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:26 PM

It's fine to reject the formulation, Cass, but I'm not sure what you're trying to put in its place. You seem to be affirming the model: 'Yes, if you take unchecked impulses to the extreme.'

That suggests you have a model in which Russ' response to a pretty woman is the same kind of thing that leads to slavery -- if it is acted on, without checks from other considerations. I find that a little difficult to accept, even if 'women have actually done things like that.' Slavery is not a hypothetical either, but it seems to me to be fairly far removed from ordinary male behavior -- even the abusive and condemnation-worthy behavior of PUA types. They may be vicious, but they are ultimately obtaining consent; that seems a different kind of thing from human traffickers, let alone from ordinary (normal, healthy) attraction. It seems like it's odd to assert that these things exist along a range.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:26 PM

Why on earth do you keep equating unchecked impulses to "normal male behavior"?

What on earth is sexual slavery but the unchecked exercise of a primal impulse? That is the very definition of "unchecked" - it controls your actions. You seem to want to equate "unchecked" with "normal male".

That is bizarre. The very fact that men and women DO check their basic impulses is what separates us from savages. Or slavers.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:30 PM

Perhaps an argument by analogy might help.

Let's say I take my desire to drink beer 'out of gear' for the evening. For the whole night, it's unchecked. Do I drink myself to death?

Almost certainly not. Probably I have a hangover in the morning, but don't even end up in the hospital.

Do people drink themselves to death? Yes. What relationship does this have to ordinary consumption of alcohol?

Not much. It seems to be an unusual case, even among people with alcohol disorders.

So, should we assume that drinking a beer of an evening is the same kind of thing as drinking yourself to death?

Surely not. That seems out of line.

Perhaps that makes it more clear what I am arguing. Consumption of alcohol, in spite of clear signs of distress, in spite of personal and professional failures, in spite of health risks, etc., is clearly of a different kind than ordinary consumption. We need to be able to draw a bright line between the person who -- for some reason -- cannot engage in the normal behavior, and the person who can.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:36 PM

Slavery is not a hypothetical either, but it seems to me to be fairly far removed from ordinary male behavior -- even the abusive and condemnation-worthy behavior of PUA types. They may be vicious, but they are ultimately obtaining consent; that seems a different kind of thing from human traffickers, let alone from ordinary (normal, healthy) attraction. It seems like it's odd to assert that these things exist along a range.

Jeez Grim. Think about it for a moment. At one end of the spectrum you have men who have certain impulses but either refuse to act upon them or channel them appropriately and honorably.

At the other end you have men (or woman) who act on their base impulses without any moral filter whatsoever. IOW, they're utterly selfish. Their own gratification is all that matters to them.

Somewhere in the middle you have PUA who, not being able to obtain consent by straightforward offer and acceptance, deliberately manipulate women by appealing to very powerful basic drives and making it difficult (but not impossible) for them to act in accordance with their moral conditioning.

It's not coercion, but it's not straightforward dealing either. It lies midway between full recognition of a woman's humanity and the complete negation of same.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:39 PM

What relationship does this have to ordinary consumption of alcohol?

It's extreme and unchecked :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:40 PM

So, should we assume that drinking a beer of an evening is the same kind of thing as drinking yourself to death?

They satisfy the same urge. The question is, do you control the urge or does it control you?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:41 PM

Consumption of alcohol, in spite of clear signs of distress, in spite of personal and professional failures, in spite of health risks, etc., is clearly of a different kind than ordinary consumption.

I disagree. The only thing that separates it from normal alcohol consumption is the absence of (or inability to exercise) normal restraint.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:46 PM

It lies midway between full recognition of a woman's humanity and the complete negation of same.

That is the endpoint, then, for my quest to clarify your position. You do in fact believe that ordinary men are at one end of a range, and white-slaving-men are at the other. PUAs are in the middle.

I would put virtuous men at one end of a range, and PUAs at the other. White slavers, I would put outside the range ('beyond the pale').

The distinction is important, I think, because we can distinguish between appropriate levels of coercion. PUAs should be restrained through persuasion; perhaps through limited physical violence (punching out a man who was mistreating a lady). But for the most part, as they are obtaining women's consent, the proper recourse should be to moral suasion (as you sometimes say); they should not be criminals, but should certainly be shunned.

White slavers should be killed; or if they cannot be killed, for some unfortunate reason, they should be subject to the full range of criminal penalty. They are beyond the pale.

That is what I mean by a difference in kind. I understand what you mean; Kant speaks of treating humanity in another as 'respecting them as an end in themselves, rather than as merely a means to your own ends.' But there is a difference beyond what Kant considered: between treating them as a means with their consent, and not caring whether they consent or are compelled.

Indeed, there is a further difference: between not caring if they need to be compelled, and luxuriating in compelling them. The last of these things is demonic, not merely evil.

It seems crucial to me that we be able to distinguish between these kinds of things. We should not make the error of assuming that the man who is attracted to a woman is somehow related to the man who would love to whip her into submission. The last kind of man is in serious peril of damnation; the first kind, is probably on his way to lunch.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:48 PM

We should not make the error of assuming that the man who is attracted to a woman is somehow related to the man who would love to whip her into submission.

You keep asserting this as though it were a logical consequence of something I've said when clearly it is not. Who assumed this?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:54 PM

And by the way Grim, just to really make your head explode...

I consider a person who deliberately exploits the weaknesses of others to gain what he or she cannot gain by a straightforward appeal to be exerting a form of coercion.

It is not a form that cannot be resisted (even a death threat can be resisted if one is willing to accept the possibility of dying). But it is coercive nonetheless.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 08:57 PM

A fair question. I am reading this:

"At one end of the spectrum you have men who have certain impulses but either refuse to act upon them or channel them appropriately and honorably. At the other end you have men (or woman) who act on their base impulses without any moral filter whatsoever... Somewhere in the middle you have PUA..."

...as a suggestion that there is a range along which all of these kinds of men are related. It appears to be your assertion that it is merely a question of how much the impulse is checked by other, competing demands.

If you mean to say something else, or if I have not understood, please help me understand.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:57 PM

..just to really make your head explode...

I've spent the last few months learning how symbolic logic relates to modal theory, so that we may discern (to twenty places or more) what is "necessary" or "possible" in nearby possible worlds; even though we cannot prove that any such worlds exist.

Do your worst. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 08:59 PM

...to be exerting a form of coercion.

That's fine, but does that push them over the line into criminality in your view? I'm OK with that, actually; but I think it needs an argument. Otherwise, we end up eliding non-criminal (but non-virtuous) behaviors with criminal behavior; it's no longer clear why we are right to employ state-based coercion in the one case (violence v. a non-consenting woman), and not in the other (nonviolent coercion toward a woman who does consent, but shouldn't have because she was unfairly treated).

Again, it's OK with me that we do that, but I think we need a solid explanation of how we draw that line.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 09:13 PM

We should not make the error of assuming that the man who is attracted to a woman is somehow related to the man who would love to whip her into submission.

Are you seriously asserting that good men who would never do such a thing in real life never have those kinds of fantasies?

Sexuality doesn't work like that.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:15 PM

That's fine, but does that push them over the line into criminality in your view?

No, because the woman still has a choice. Pressure can be resisted. So can temptation.

I would say such a man is immoral and that his behavior is wrong. But the degree of coercion he has exercised is not extreme enough to relieve the woman of her own moral responsibility. As an example, I would not hold a woman who was enslaved and raped criminally liable for prostitution.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:18 PM

I'm asserting that fantasy is not very closely related to what we might really do.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 09:18 PM

Who said it was?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:20 PM

As an example, I would not hold a woman who was enslaved and raped morally responsible for fornication.

Well, of course not. In such a case, the woman rightly enjoys our entire sympathy.

But let's not lose sight of the case that we're trying to draw the line between normal and honest behavior, and immoral and blameworthy behavior. Does the man who sees a woman and appreciates her beauty deserve any blame? We seem to agree that he does not, if he insists on treating her well.

If we read him as being on a range with slavers and rapists, even his initial (pre-conscious) reaction is morally blameworthy. Yet it seems we shouldn't say that; it is natural and beyond control.

What we should want to be able to say is that (a) the pre-conscious reaction is normal, natural and healthy -- not something to be seen as on any range with objectionable behavior; and also (b) that it is important to treat the woman with respect and honor in spite of your attraction to her.

That, at least, should be a point of agreement. All that remains is to distinguish just how bad various offenses are; and to associate appropriate levels of coercion with restraining them.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 09:23 PM

That we're drawing the line in the same place on criminality, by the way, suggests to me that we're closer than it might appear to agreement. What remains is refinement; even with the apparent disagreement, we're approaching something akin to unity in practical opinion. Our underlying assumptions may differ, but that is to be expected of two people with deep and different experiences.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 09:38 PM

Grim, I really don't agree with pretty much everything in your comment.

You have continually re-stated Russ's initial comment about momentarily viewing women as objects in a far different and more flattering light (sometimes it's "attraction", sometimes it's "appreciating beauty", but neither is what Russ said). I don't have any problem with what Russ said because it seems to me that he properly separates impulse from action.

You, on the other hand, seem to want to say that an action that is the full, unchecked expression of the impulse has nothing to do with the impulse, and if I refuse to agree I am equating impulses with behavior!

Sorry. I don't agree with you. And I don't agree that I must consider Russ as evil, wrong and bad for having an impulse that he rightly declines to act upon. In fact, I respect him for recognizing that if he were to allow such impulses to control him, he would not be a good person.

Aye yay yay.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:40 PM

Then we must separate for now, without alignment. I read Russ as having said something he was trained to say by a bad ideology, that has taught him to view his natural impulses -- natural appreciation of beauty, or the attraction of man to woman -- as 'objectification.' That is the very flaw of feminism I would point to here.

If you wish to stand by that flaw as if it were a good thing, then for the moment we cannot reconcile. But I hope that, in the future, we might be able to do so.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 09:44 PM

If we read him as being on a range with slavers and rapists, even his initial (pre-conscious) reaction is morally blameworthy.

No, it's not. That's your assertion, not mine.

I may covet my neighbor's house. If I harness that impulse (envy) and use it to spur myself to earn a home of my own, there is no moral blame.

If, on the other hand, I kill my neighbor and force his wife to marry me so I can live in his house, I am morally blameworthy.

In both cases, I was initially motivated by envy. Same impulse.

I am not conflating impulse with action. In fact, I have repeatedly distinguished them.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:51 PM

I read Russ as having said something he was trained to say by a bad ideology, that has taught him to view his natural impulses -- natural appreciation of beauty, or the attraction of man to woman -- as 'objectification.'

And I think that's presumptuous of you. You attribute disagreement to brainwashing rather than conscious thought or moral agency simply because you don't agree. That robs him (and me, who I suppose must be similarly brainwashed by the evil feminists?) of the presumption that we're capable of thinking for ourselves.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 09:55 PM

"...use it to spur myself to earn a home of my own, there is no moral blame."

Are you sure there is no moral blame, if your sole reason for doing something is envy? The commandment says "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's...", after all. The question of how you respond to that sense of covetousness is not mentioned. It is the fact of coveting that is considered.

Indeed, if my only reason to want a bigger house is to show that #$@R%@ Jones!, I would seem to be at fault not merely with the ten commandments, but with the Great Commandment: "Love thy neighbor as thyself, and forgive as thee would be forgiven."

I might be in better case if I forgive Jones for noticing the beauty of my wife; after all, she really is beautiful, and as long as he didn't act on it, it's not really blameworthy at all that he might have noticed her long, black hair.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 10:00 PM

"You attribute disagreement to brainwashing rather than conscious thought or moral agency simply because you don't agree."

You're right: I do read it as, not quite brainwashing, but as a way in which the language has been affected by constant usage. Yet he is here present, and so are you; and both of you may object if I am mistaken. You might say, "I think men really do consider women nothing but objects," as you have, for slavers; and he might say, "No, I really mean that they are nothing but objects to me."

You did the one, and he did not do the other; and I suspect that is because he recognizes the joke. It is not that he sees women as objects (whether mailboxes or sports cars); but that they really are unique. Only women are women; there is nothing in the world like women. That is the point.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 10:04 PM

"I think men really do consider women nothing but objects,"

If I had said that, you might have a point. The fact is, however, that I did not say anything of the kind.

I cannot speak for Russ. If the two of you see some joke here that has eluded me, you are free to enjoy it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2010 10:07 PM

The joke is God's, on us: that women we love and admire might be so difficult to understand, even though she and we share the same basic goals; and that we might understand the wicked and the evil more readily than we understand each other.

All the same, God knows I admire you; and if we cannot at once understand one another, I trust that in God's good time, we might.

Posted by: Grim at April 11, 2010 10:11 PM

I speak again with trepidation. There is a line in a Boz Scaggs song that fits:
"Hey Miss Riddle, I'm stuck in the middle again
I don't know how but you've got me playing both ends of a game I should know all about but you came and turned inside out"

Grim said: "The right thing to say is that his first thought of her is as a woman, and then he remembers to treat her according to the civilized norms of society."

I have to either give him this point or edit my statement to read "object of desire" from "object" as it is a woman in all of her allure that I see in the moment before I put temptation behind me, or not, if it happens to be my bride.

I believe what Grim is saying is that the act of looking at a woman and seeing a woman of desire is a normal process. Society, or parts of it, has deemed that normal process to be abnormal, even with a fast acting moral response to temper the temptation. He is saying that my reaction to the sight of a woman is biological, while my response to my reaction is "controlled and resolved by the norms of honor and gentlemanly conduct."

I believe that we have 2 problems here.

Problem 1: Define what I see.
a)Do I see women as "objects", which implies moral depravity, or
b)do I see women as "women-a biologically delightful and pleasant form of human?"

Problem 2: The response to the definition of problem 1.

Cassandra, I think most of the disagreement has to do with the separation of what I said into these two problems. You and Grim cannot argue problem 2 without answering problem 1.

As Grim said, Milady, the joke is on us.

Posted by: Russ at April 12, 2010 01:52 AM

Why on earth do you keep equating unchecked impulses to "normal male behavior"?

It is necessary as part of an ethical argument. In order to say that an action is good or evil vis a vis something else, one must necessarily state one evil action as being opposed to one good action. This is not an equivalent of saying A equals B in metaphysics. It is only a comparison for purposes of elucidating ethical differences.

Rather, if Grim starts off on the ethical track and reverse engineers backwards from, the definition of what the world consists of biologically and instinctually becomes relevant. But he still would have started off with an ethical question of what is good as opposed to what is evil.

What on earth is sexual slavery but the unchecked exercise of a primal impulse?

All things sexual are individual, but slavery is social. When you combine the two, one cannot limit it strictly to individual primal impulse. The impulse was not designed to create slavery or to shackle women. For another thing, human society isn't built upon primal impulse, but a sort of group-chaos theory set of impulses. In terms of causality, impulses are not the prime cause of the end results of the human behavior called slavery or human trafficking.

So, should we assume that drinking a beer of an evening is the same kind of thing as drinking yourself to death?

This becomes an ethical argument concerning what is good and what is evil. Because it necessarily concerns itself with human benefit and human loss, ethics has always rested upon a foundation of the real.

Ethics is not normally relative in the sense of moral equivalence. One action isn't equal to another different action. In point of fact, the only things that are equivalent on the scale of good and evil, are the same actions. Thus one distinguishes similar kinds of actions from different actions from the same actions. The distinction is important because different actions compel different ethical consequences. And since ethics concerns itself nominally with those consequences, it cannot simply blender up the initial first causes. No matter how similar something may seem. Petraeus ordering the killing of terrorists vs terrorists ordering the killing of civilians and captive US military/civilian members. The moral equivalence argument says that drinking is the same, no matter who does it or how it is done. The ethical argument, the proper path to take, is to distinguish actions via the results and the method used to act.

At one end of the spectrum you have men who have certain impulses but either refuse to act upon them or channel them appropriately and honorably.

The thing about the spectrum reminds me of something. TFT delineates violence and aggression into different slots. Aggression becomes a social hierarchy fix while violence becomes asocial. Asocial violence isn't on the spectrum of social rank climbing, but entirely apart from it.

The idea here is that a spectrum can be escalated. Something on one end can be escalated to something on the other end. But when things like asocial violence are totally off the scale, then what happens isn't escalation. It is teleportation. Two different concepts of motion. While I used asocial violence as my example, any example would do as well if the subject is a spectrum.

Somewhere in the middle you have PUA who, not being able to obtain consent by straightforward offer and acceptance, deliberately manipulate women by appealing to very powerful basic drives and making it difficult (but not impossible) for them to act in accordance with their moral conditioning.

Isn't that what politicians do?

Who said it was?-C

He's answering your question.

Are you seriously asserting that good men who would never do such a thing in real life never have those kinds of fantasies?-C

Grim is asserting on the level of ethical judgment and conduct that internal fantasies is too far separated from action to have impact on the value judgment of good or evil actions.

I'm asserting that fantasy is not very closely related to what we might really do.-G

This is a very simple ethical discernment. It's the difference between liberty and the thought police.

Since ethics, in the form of justice, should be behind laws, the law should not punish virtuous or ethically neutral actions or thought crimes. The law should punish evil actions and mitigate its consequences.

To a certain extent, it helps when people agree on what is good or evil, what should or should not be outlawed, but that doesn't tell the entire story. There are plenty of people that may ostensibly disagree on a political policy recommendation, yet nonetheless have the same kind of thinking, the same epistemology, and very similar metaphysics. There are others who disagree on policies, but actually have very similar ideas of what would be knowledge, what is real about the world, and so forth.

A simple reduction in complexity of this would be that even if two students get the right answer to 2+2=?, one of them would be wrong if he had added up 3+1=4 instead pf 2+2. Same answer, different method.

Grim, I really don't agree with pretty much everything in your comment.

It helps if you view it from a philosophical background. Which I have some familiarity with. Grim has more than that.

You attribute disagreement to brainwashing rather than conscious thought or moral agency simply because you don't agree.

I think the same about people. It's not simply because they don't agree with me, although that is part of the issue, but because there's an existential issue here with people's will not being their own. Well, generally speaking, people's wills are always constrained by first reality and then the social group they are in. But when social pressure tries to change the nature of humanity, outlawing what is a natural survival instinct and turning it into a moral evil, then things are going evil and corrupt. A cult brainwashing.

With the rise of the Information Age, brainwashing has never been easier. There were con men back in the Wild West, if I take reports as true. Not just snake oil salesmen but pastors and priests as well. Not to mention railroad tycoons promising a railroad that led nowhere. Brainwashing is brainwashing. But if a person clears out their brain themselves, then it is much easier.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 07:20 AM

When it comes to Leftist parasites, the joke is always on the host.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 07:20 AM

A few points here:

1. Russ's original comment was brief. I interpreted it literally, which seems more reasonable than my arbitrarily deciding he meant whatever I wanted him to mean or perhaps telling him he has been brainwashed by feminists.

2. I have a problem with this formulation:

Problem 1: Define what I see.
a)Do I see women as "objects", which implies moral depravity, or
b)do I see women as "women-a biologically delightful and pleasant form of human?"

It appears to me that Russ meant 2 rather than 1.

I do not accept that if he had meant (a), that would imply moral depravity and Grim has made no argument that comes even close to convincing me otherwise.

Most people's first or instinctive impulses are what I would call self-absorbed rather than selfish. This makes total sense because no one has a greater stake in our own survival/well being than we do. I see no moral depravity in one's primal impulses being centered around the self rather than other people. If we don't eat, we will die. When we see food we don't think, "Oh look - a hamburger! How can I share this with my fellow humans and therefore benefit all mankind!"

We don't wonder whether the hamburger wants to be eaten either, because that is stupid. We don't think of all the poor cows who no longer moo at passersby, nor do we scream "MEAT IS MURDER!!!" silently to ourselves.

The hamburger as something that, if consumed, would end our hunger at least temporarily - a means to an end. And we think: "I want to eat that hamburger".

There is no moral depravity in this. Hunger is natural and eating is the way we address it.

Likewise, I see no moral depravity in a man looking at a woman and (as a first impulse) thinking, "Man would I like to have sex with her." I don't expect him to have any consideration whatsoever as to whether she wants to have sex with him, nor to whether having sex with her is the right thing to do. It's not "moral depravity" to think of yourself first, nor to momentarily think of a woman in a somewhat one dimensional way: as a means to an end rather than as a person in her own right. Remember - this is an impulse, not a philosophical dissertation on the nature of attraction we're talking about.

Human trafficking is the extreme, unchecked version of this original impulse where women are never viewed as anything but the means to the end of gratifying lust. The mental "check" Russ mentioned, where he stops and says, "Oops, I'd better not go there because I'm married", or "I'd better not go there because she's only 16", or even "Hmmmm.... I probably shouldn't walk up and ask her to sleep with me right now because most women would find that disrespectful", is the moment at which other considerations (among them the notion that she exists for her own benefit and not to satisfy his appetites) enter his consciousness.

I think Grim is way overcomplicating this. I don't understand the whole idea that we HAVE (no, I don't) to blame anyone for having a momentary, self centered biological impulse.

There are any number of biological drives we humans possess that, if unchecked, would cause us to violate the rights of others on a daily basis. That doesn't mean they're bad, or that we should blame people for having them b/c they have survival value.

It simply means that people should be in control of their appetites rather than the other way around. Blame doesn't enter into it.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 07:54 AM

That's an interesting analysis, Ymar.

I'm not sure that I would say that brainwashing is really at work in this case. All I mean to say is that the "everything on a single range" model contains a basic error that, applied to the world, rationally leads to the additional error of considering normal, natural behavior as if it were a kind of evil. It's not that people are acting unreasonably, then: it's that they are quite reasonably applying a flawed ethical model.

One of the tests of an ethical model is that it should not consider normal, natural, healthy behavior to be unethical. If a model does so, it is properly called "inhumane," and there's a flaw in it that we have to identify and correct. (To refer it to your favorite topic, leftism, this is the flaw at the core of Marxist thought: it ends up demonizing a wide swath of normal human behaviors, with predictably bad results.)

They may have adopted the model for reasons entirely unrelated to the error; doubtless most early Marxists really believed that they would be creating a better society. The error that leads them to criticize normal human processes (like the profit motive, or a desire for private property) produces bad results, but it's not why they bought into the system. They bought in because they wanted to help the poor against what they saw as oppression by the rich; but they ended up building gulags filled with normal people who just wanted to do what normal people ought to want to do.

This wasn't brainwashing. It certainly was moral agency. It was, even, a rational application of the ethical model they had bought into for good reasons. Yet it was inhumane, and led to bad results.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 08:06 AM

I see men and women talking past each other, as seems so often to happen. I believe Grim and other men who post here must genuinely have a reaction to women that we women don't completely experience in reverse. The way we usually put the contrast is that men, when behaving badly, see erotically pleasing women as objects to be used sexually, while women, when behaving badly, see men as a checkbook to be exploited financially (or, in rougher times, a strong arm or sword to be used callously).

But surely only the most abandoned woman sees the practical usefulness of a strong or rich man before she can perceive his nonsexual humanity, whereas men seem to be telling us that it's quite common to see the woman's beauty or erotic allure for quite a while before they can bring themselves to imagine her as a human being with an interior experience much like their own. I think women know at all times, deep down and without real effort, that men are real people. I always assumed that men knew the same about women, but I'm really starting to wonder. Maybe it's only something most men can be brought to see with great effort?

Of course I agree with Grim that erotic attraction is not at all "impersonal" in one sense of the word. But Grim, in another sense, that's exactly what it is: it's an attraction that exists only in the context of a human being, certainly, but that seems to have almost nothing to do with whether the human being is independently conscious and not just put on earth to be sexually gratifying to a man.

I also agree with Grim that a good and grownup man masters his initial impulse and succeeds in treating a woman -- even an attractive one -- like a real person. But I think what Cassandra and I have a hard time with is the casual admission that the initial impulse is so generic, so non-individual. It's overwhelmingly alien to a reaction we can imagine having to a man, be he ever so erotically charming -- or rich or successful, or whatever the female cognate is supposed to be.

When we use the phrase "viewing women as objects," that's what we're talking about. An object is something that may be very attractive and valuable, but isn't an individual like ourselves with its own life and soul and purpose and destiny. That's a kind of consciousness of independent reality we also tend to suppress in our most depraved dealings with other people in corrupt institutions like slavery, as well. It's what I understand God to be cautioning us against when he says "Love thy neighbor as thyself."

Posted by: Texan99 at April 12, 2010 10:43 AM

I hope the impression given is not that 'great effort' or 'quite a while' is necessary for a man to overcome the initial pre-conscious reaction; the effort should be negligible and the period of time should be a second or less; or a few seconds, at the very most. I only mean that the brain processes the information in something like the following way:

1) Visual recognition: this is a woman.
2) Instantaneous appreciation, pre-conscious and unwilled (in the same way that you will experience a vision of a pink elephant if I tell you, "Do not think of a pink elephant").
3) Conscious thought, which is subject to the will, takes place: this is where moral rules are applied.

Now, if that's right -- and if it all happens in a second or less -- then the unconscious impulse is not morally blameworthy. Cassandra and I seem to agree about that.

The problem isn't really with how she or I see things differently, because (in spite of the differences) we're quite close, and certainly very close in terms of the kind of behavior we define as virtuous. The problem is in the educational theory that Russ encountered, which led him to write initially:

"As much as I hate to admit it, my first thought when I see a women is as an object."

That's wrong in two ways. We've discussed the idea about 'objects,' but the other one is that he should "hate to admit it." That's the point at which we have a theory that is demonizing normal, natural, and pre-conscious behavior.

Rather, he should be proud to admit that he has developed a virtuous character! This is just what he should be doing, not something he should have to be slightly ashamed to do.

We all have original sin to deal with, and a lot of it seems to reside in the pre-conscious desires we have. Nevertheless, this is what virtue looks like, and we shouldn't adopt a model that carries the claim that there is anything even slightly shameful about Russ' described reaction.

The point might be clearer if I put this on the Aristotelian model that you and I have discussed before. I'd say that Russ' reaction is the virtue between the poles of insensitivity and adultery/PUA behavior. Insensitivity would be, for example, a married couple that allowed themselves to come to a point at which they were no longer able to see each other as man and woman, but had let the sexual part of their love die out. Adultery or fornication is letting your sexual drive cause you to break important rules, like your oath; or to act on lustful feelings without regard for the other.

The question of enslaving someone doesn't appear on this range. Slavery is an evil, not merely a vice; it is not related to the virtue at all. It is a rejection not only of the virtue, but even of the vice: as such, it's of a different quality, and shouldn't appear on our range of natural virtues and vices.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 11:19 AM

This is just what he should be doing, not something he should have to be slightly ashamed to do.

But it's hard to make slaves out of those with virtue. Can't you sympathize with the slavers just a little bit?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 11:34 AM

Or are you just going to go with the orbital bombardment (Damocles) protocol.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 11:34 AM

The question of enslaving someone doesn't appear on this range. Slavery is an evil, not merely a vice; it is not related to the virtue at all. It is a rejection not only of the virtue, but even of the vice: as such, it's of a different quality, and shouldn't appear on our range of natural virtues and vices.

Sorry, I don't agree. One can enslave another person for many reasons, some of them having nothing to do with sex.

To maintain that enslaving another human being specifically to gratify sexual desire has nothing to do with feeling sexual desire makes absolutely no sense. If one individual sees a woman and decides he has to have her and subsequently kidnaps her and keeps her in the basement so he can have sex with her, he was motivated by sexual desire.

That doesn't mean sexual desire is evil, nor that it inevitably leads to rape or kidnapping. What happened here is that his desire was never moderated or balanced with consideration of her wishes or rights. We don't have to reject that realization out of some bizarre fear that feminists will decide that normal men kidnap woman and keep them in the basement for sex.

The world is full of people who say dumb things, but pretending desire has nothing to do with sexual assault is really pretty laughable.

Virtue cannot exist without temptation. A person who feels no desire gets no "credit" for resisting a feeling he has never experienced.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 11:38 AM

It's not resistance that's wanted, though: it's the right use of the natural desire. Both insensitivity and adultery are vices; the virtue is, well, to do as Russ does. Both starving oneself and gluttony are the wrong use of hunger; it's not resistance, but proper government, that we call virtue.

When you get to virtue, you ought to be happy with it. We shouldn't have to "hate to admit" that we still feel hungry, or still feel desire. That's what I mean to label as inhumane: the inability of this model to be proud of the virtue, instead suggesting that it's something a little shameful. It's not. It's natural, and this is how one virtuously governs this natural impulse. Russ should be proud.

The question of the feelings of rapists and slavers is, as I said before, something into which I claim no special insight. It doesn't seem to me that they're practicing a mere vice, which if they regulated it better could become a virtue. That's why (as we agreed before) PUA-type behavior ought to be corrected through moral suasion, whereas slavers should be subject to physical coercion.

Ymar:

If I love my neighbor as myself, I can kill him if it keeps him from doing things that I would rather die than be guilty of having done. That's the limit of my sympathy for slavers; and it also happens to fulfill my duty under the Great Commandment.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 11:46 AM

By the way, when I say "the inability of this model," I don't mean your model. You and I seem to agree about what the virtue is; we're debating about why it is a virtue, whether to distinguish between vice and evil, or how to model these distinctions in a useful way that preserves our instincts about them.

I mean the model is inhumane that Russ was taught, whereby he learned to be ashamed of being virtuous. That's the model that we ought not to accept, and must find a way to repair.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 11:57 AM

I never thought Russ was ashamed of being virtuous or that he thought he was a bad person for being attracted to the opposite sex.

It seemed to me that he merely wished that his original impulse was not so self centered (as opposed to selfish) in much the same way that I wish my first impulse on hearing my husband say he was deploying was to hear the Star Spangled Banner playing and a spontaneous wave of transformative patriotism rather than to think, "Damn it all, how is this going to affect ME?"

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 12:04 PM

Well, that is a regret (perhaps) of original sin; and perhaps we ought to regret our sinful nature! But I also think that we should test our ethical and moral systems, so as to avoid inhumane systems.

As Chesterton said, Christianity doesn't tell us neither to swagger nor grovel; it says: "Here you can swagger and there you can grovel!" I suppose we might still grovel in the face of our sinful nature, while we're in church; but we ought to be able to swagger in the street if we manage to achieve practical virtue in spite of that nature. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 12:09 PM

I don't understand the whole idea that we HAVE (no, I don't) to blame anyone for having a momentary, self centered biological impulse.

The subject isn't anyone here, from my view. It may look that way because that is what is on the topic, so to speak, but the ultimate subject so to speak is an external third party/agency.

Thus it isn't what we do or do not blame, but what they are doing. That's a distinction that affects our persons. But, it is a distinction about another entity entirely apart from us.

That doesn't mean they're bad, or that we should blame people for having them b/c they have survival value.-C

There are many organizations that don't agree. Can you not recognize the truth of Grim's statement that there are such organizations and that what they are doing is wrong? Or is individual perception more important than what group organizations are or are not doing, to you?

Even when the subject calls for a group, not individual, focus.

If I love my neighbor as myself, I can kill him if it keeps him from doing things that I would rather die than be guilty of having done. That's the limit of my sympathy for slavers; and it also happens to fulfill my duty under the Great Commandment.

Heh, you noticed that part about my favorite subject, I see.

So I suppose you'll choose the Orbital Bombardment solution vis a vis slavery.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 12:11 PM

No one has more cause to detest slavery than a Southerner, who has had ample occasion to witness the depth and lingering nature of the evil it represents.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 12:14 PM

As much as people have the popular opinion that slavery and the South was connected in a sort of downward doom spiral, I came to believe differently. That it was the Democrat party that when combined with the South, sent things into ruin.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 12, 2010 12:19 PM

"It seemed to me that he merely wished that his original impulse was not so self centered (as opposed to selfish)"

Does that not take us back to needing to define my use of "object?"

I used "object" as a learned, controllable impulse.

Grim countered that I was dealing with a biological, uncontrollable impulse. (The initial view) With a learned controllable override.

Texan99, As Grim said, the joke is on us. God designed men with a very strong reaction to visual stimulus and then told us to control it. The learning to control part is what makes you a man instead of a beast.

Posted by: Russ at April 12, 2010 12:32 PM

It's this caliber of discussion that keeps bringing me back to this blog. :)

Posted by: colagirl at April 12, 2010 12:37 PM

Russ:

That is, indeed, why we might both grovel and swagger. The sinful nature is basic; but the behavior here is praiseworthy.

Ymar:

Of course Cass can understand the distinction. The fault is mine if I was not earlier clear on where I disagreed with her, and where I was disagreeing with what you call "institutional models," which is why I offered the clarification at 11:57 AM.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 12:46 PM

*sigh*

Can you not recognize the truth of Grim's statement that there are such organizations and that what they are doing is wrong?

I don't believe I was contesting this. How many times do I have to say the same thing? That's a very different thing from saying that if I don't agree with Grim about some particular I'm being controlled by feminists.

People have been talking about what Grim calls 'original sin' (but don't you dare call it immoral!) for centuries. Certainly long before feminists came along and provided us all with the ne plus ultra of excuses.

You give them way too much credit.

Grim countered that I was dealing with a biological, uncontrollable impulse.

Actually (and again) I said exactly the same thing myself. Multiple times. But the impulse is not uncontrollable in the sense that if you have the impulse, you can't control yourself (please go back to the original post).

It's just that you can't help having the impulse in the first place.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 12:49 PM

...what Grim calls 'original sin' (but don't you dare call it immoral!)

The Church does a very good job of splitting the vice off from the sin, so to speak. Thus Aquinas can hold that a lustful look is a lesser transgression than a kiss, and an un-entertained thought is no example of a vice at all; but Jesus said that the man who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery, and is as damnable as the actual adulterer.

Aquinas demonstrates the need for both a practical, humane model of vice and virtue, which can guide us achieving the good that there is to achieve in this world, and avoiding the harm -- even if that model of vice and virtue stands alongside an unattainable model of perfection from sin. We don't end up released from Jesus' high standard, for which we need grace; but we are also given a humane standard to live by, from day to day.

We might say it's reasonable to hold to both; I don't know that we can wisely dispense with one or the other. In addition to which, I don't recognize anyone besides God as having the authority to demand an impossible standard of us. From God, I submit to such a demand, and recognize my failure; but from a man, an institution or a government, I regard such a standard as injustice and tyranny. We rightfully resist in the face of those things.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 01:26 PM

I realize I'm coming in late, but let me see if I understand where the positions are.

Cass:
You are arguing that there is a scale, let's call it 'Objectification' for lack of a better word (I'll be happy to relabel if you think of something more appropriate) upon which say "Damn she's hot" is neutral or 0, "I wonder if she likes Thai food" (i.e thinking of her as a person) is a reduction or -10 and maybe complete celibacy is the extreme at -100. Similarly the PUA would be a +10 (as it is an increase in objectification) while slavery exists at the extreme at +100.

Therefor Russ starting at 'object' and quickly moving to 'woman' can not be equated with slavery since -10 is not the same as +100.

This would be a completely correct usage of "not equating".

Grim:
You are arguing that there are two scales, each orthogonal (independent) to each other. One, which before I called 'Objectification' but neither celibacy nor slavery exist on this axis. The extremes of this axis are, on the lesser side, She's a Complete Person, and on the high side, She's a mailbox. Celibacy and Slavery are instead on the other orthogonal axis (again, because I can't think of anything better) which I will call 'Morality'. At 0 or neutral, you also have Russ' "object" as the initial reaction is neither Vice nor Virtue. Moving on the Virtue side of that scale you have, say honesty at +10 and the sheepdog at the extreme of +100. On the Vice side you have fraud at -10 and the wolf at the extreme of -100.

Thus, you argue that extreme objectification is not enough to reach slavery. You would need both a +100 on objectification *and* -100 on Morality, an objectifying wolf, to reach slavery. After all, one could view women completely as objects and still be highly protective (sheepdog) as some people do go to rather extreme lengths to protect their cars.

In this sense, if one were to take the two axis of say length and mass and were to put the 1kg value of mass on the 20m value of the length axis one could be said to be "equating" length with mass even though the values don't match (i.e. 1 is not 20).

So am I getting close to understanding each of ya'll's positions? Or am I lost?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 12, 2010 01:59 PM

Crap. The greater than sign in the posts were supposed to be a less than *and* greater than sign. "<.>." meaning "not equal" but they didn't show up right. I guess that's what I get for not using "!=".

If you could change it, I'd be appreciative.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 12, 2010 02:02 PM

You are arguing that there is a scale, let's call it 'Objectification' for lack of a better word (I'll be happy to relabel if you think of something more appropriate) upon which say "Damn she's hot" is neutral or 0, "I wonder if she likes Thai food" (i.e thinking of her as a person) is a reduction or -10 and maybe complete celibacy is the extreme at -100. Similarly the PUA would be a +10 (as it is an increase in objectification) while slavery exists at the extreme at +100. Therefor Russ starting at 'object' and quickly moving to 'woman' can not be equated with slavery since -10 is not the same as +100.

Fairly close, Yu-Ain.

First of all, I interpreted Russ's statement about seeing women as objects to mean that in the very first flush of seeing an attractive woman, he was thinking of her as someone he might want to have sex with, without necessarily worrying one way or another what her reaction to that might be, or whether it was right. This may not be what he meant, but it's what I heard.

IOW, there is no thought of morality in the initial reaction: it's a biological instinct.

If we were all to act out our initial impulses in life ("I want that, so I will take it - who cares if it doesn't belong to me?") as though other people's wishes or interests did not matter, I can't imagine how that would be a "good" thing.

But most people DON'T act on their initial impulses. Something else - moral reasoning, social conditioning: I don't care what you call it - kicks in and we are reminded that the world does not revolve around us and our desires.

My scale measures the extent to which a person acts on their biological impulses without the moderating effect of moral or social conditioning. So at one end you might have a guy who sees a woman, lusts after her in his heart, and is plunged into a fury of self loathing. This guy has taken moral/social conditioning WAY too much to heart to the point where he hates himself for having instincts (IOW, for being human). Other people's needs are more important than his own and that's not healthy.

On the other end of my scale is the guy who sees a woman, wants her, and decides to shut out both social and moral conditioning. His needs are more important than anyone else's, so he takes what he wants and the poor woman ends up in his basement. Obviously this isn't healthy either.

Russ (if he truly does feel bad about an impulse he can't help even though he doesn't act on it) is somewhere in the middle but closer to the first guy.

My point was that all of these cases start with exactly the same biological impulse: sexual desire. The degree to which the natural urge to act out the impulse is tempered by social or moral conditioning determines where you are on the scale.

I can't see how an untempered impulse to view a person as a means to your end rather than as an independent person who exists for her own purposes can ever be a good thing.

The thing is, the vast majority of people are far more complicated than their impulses. So to "blame" a person for having an impulse that is resisted or rejected out of recognition that other people's wishes matter too makes no sense. I don't understand all this talk of blame.

A lustful impulse cannot harm a woman. The unrestrained expression of that impulse absolutely can.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 02:42 PM

IOW, there is no thought of morality in the initial reaction: it's a biological instinct.

Which is why I put it at the neutral or 0 spot, but it sounds like it shouldn't be there at all because neither the strength nor direction of the initial impulse is particularly relevent only the resulting action is.

But if we are to stay on one axis and we say that the self-loathing is on the minus end of the objectification scale while "see woman, take woman" is on the plus side of the scale, Which end does the "Complete Person" go on? Or is that the 0 or neutral position?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 12, 2010 03:10 PM

It depends upon whether you want a practical scale (in which the "average" person's response is the default) or more of a moral scale (this focuses more on what ought to be than how people behave in real life).

In the second case, the zero position is someone who evenly balances his own desires with the wishes and rights of others. He sees the woman as someone whose wishes are just as important as his own.

Thinking of a woman being coerced into doing something he would find painful, frightening, or unpleasant bothers him just as much as thinking of those things being done to him because, after all, she is a person just as he is.

I think this is an ideal, and it comes closest in my mind to the dismay women feel sometimes when men talk about themselves. I can't even stay in the room when someone is being hurt on TV - their pain is not distinguishable from my own whereas men often actively enjoy watching things that involve people being hurt (sometimes to the point where they die).

I don't think I have no right to exist or to have selfish desires. I just don't think my selfish desires are any more important than someone else's. It often seems to me that men do think what they want is far more important than what other people want. It is easy for them to dismiss or ignore other people's feelings.

As I said earlier, there is great survival value in that ability. It exists for a reason, just as my empathy exists for a reason. But a smaller, weaker person is stupid not to worry about a larger stronger person who finds it easy to disregard her wishes or even her rights.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 03:24 PM

I can't even stay in the room when someone is being hurt on TV - their pain is not distinguishable from my own whereas men often actively enjoy watching things that involve people being hurt (sometimes to the point where they die).

Paradoxically, this empathy disassociation is one of the reasons I *don't* like blood&guts horror films. They seem pointless. You might as well be cutting a sofa in half with that chainsaw as that expensive mannequin they are using. In fact, I'll likely be more interested in the sofa. (who hasn't wished they could take a chainsaw to their cheap grungy nasty college couch?)

The opening of Saving Private Ryan, while graphic, gets a different reaction. It's not just gore for the sake of gore. And thus while there may be some level of empathy dissassociation, "enjoy" is probably not the right word. But that disassociation may allow us to "appreciate" it for it's role in conveying mood, setting, character development, actions, and motivations in a way different than women do. In some ways, also paradoxically, I would say I would be more empathetic with the characters for having seen what D-Day was like than if it had been left out.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 12, 2010 04:25 PM

I find violence easier to tolerate in a movie if it is clearly related to the story line (IOW, it's not gratuitous but intended to underscore some incredibly profound idea like, "War sucks big time").

I had an interesting conversation with my spouse back in January when he was home on leave.

For as long as we've been married, I have complained about the amount of violence directed against women on TV. It really bugs me.

He has always sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Who cares/it's not a big deal." Of course he is mightily offended by commercials that depict men as lovable dufusses but can't understand why it bothers me to see channel after channel of women being beaten, raped, or abused in diverse manners.

Anyway, he has been in Afghanistan for the better part of a year. Needless to say there is no TV there.

So he's home on leave and something came on TV that would normally cause me to turn the channel or leave the room. And he says (without my bringing the subject up, mind you): "You know, being away from TV all this time really changes your perception of what is "normal" and acceptable. This is the first time I've understood why all this violence against women bothers you so much. Having not seen it for several months, it bothers me much more than it used to (which was hardly at all)."

That is what I like about marriage. Sometimes you get past that invisible barrier that can make your spouse seem like someone from a different planet.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 05:11 PM


In the larger arena, teaching a class on domestic
violence was something that was dreadfully uncomfortable for me. I had never, in my life,
encountered it. I was truly sheltered in that
regard.

But as I learned about it, it occurred to me that
men who abused their wives and children, or allowed others to take advantage of them were truly selfish, especially if they *knew* they were doing this.

I don't like horror/splatter films either, and avoid them for a number of reasons. The battle scenes in 'Saving Private Ryan' were real, and the result of a war, not violence for the sake of the thrill.

OTOH, the 'Dirty Harry' movies have some really weird scenes that don't seem to advance the plot.
While I like the premise of the films, they get successively darker, and 'Sudden Impact' is NOT a favorite, precisely because of the supposed weakness of the Sondra Lock character.

Posted by: Cricket at April 12, 2010 05:23 PM

You know, I haven't had a television that played any form of TV since 2005. I'll bet it would irritate me too.

Y-a-G:

The Aristotelian scale I was proposing for virtue/vice is a "negative" on both ends. But, it's a sliding scale: virtue might not be at the exact middle, but rather will lie somewhere in the middle, away from the poles.

So, for if we were building a scale for courage, the poles (both vices) are rashness on one side, and cowardice on the other. A Marine being ambushed in Afghanistan will find the virtue (the 'sweet spot' on the scale, where the best possible actions arise) very close to the 'rashness' pole -- not in the middle. He needs to attack into the ambush, etc.

A doctor in Africa, encountering an unknown and fatal disease, will find the sweet spot on the scale much closer to 'cowardice.' Certainly he will want to be very cautious, and take many precautions both against personal exposure and spreading!

For (male) sexuality, then, the poles are insensitivity on the one end, and adultery/PUA-type abusiveness on the other. Insensitivity is a vice as in the example of a married couple who allow themselves to stop being able to feel sexual attraction to each other. They stop being sensitive to the sexual impulse in each other, which is a vice because sexuality is a good thing if it is properly (virtuously) managed.

The vice at the other extreme is being so focused on the sexual impulse that you break your oaths, lie or cheat others, manipulate them into sex, etc. This could include 'objectification,' although in T99's sense of the term -- i.e., we really can't see her as a 'mailbox' here. It's precisely because we see her as a woman that we've in danger of this particular vice.

Engaging in human trafficking just seems to me to be entirely off the scale. It's so much worse than mere vice that we're really talking about a different quality entirely (in my view; Cass has explained her own quite different view at length). It's not that it's a potentially good quality that needs better management; it's a genuine evil that cannot be turned into a virtue.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 07:37 PM

And yet I've read about guys who have taken advantage of these "services" with unwilling providers who (once they were confronted with exactly what it was they were doing) broke down in tears.

I don't believe that evil can never be turned to good. Sometimes, evil happens because people shut out any thought of how others are affected. But if something brings it home to them, suddenly they get it.

Not the way I am, but then not everyone has to be like me.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 08:29 PM

I can certainly see how you could wedge in "using a prostitute who happened, without your knowledge, to be a sexual slave" on the end of the scale (with other forms of abusive sexuality). I might even consent to cases where they should have known but refused to know, in the sense of "refusing to think about what I'm doing."

Trafficking itself -- actually rounding up the slaves, shipping them, beating them into submission, etc. -- is what I mean to say is entirely off the scale. There's no way to manage that kind of behavior so that it becomes virtuous (unless, I suppose, you built a scale with "Marxism" on one side and "Slave-trading" on the other, with the virtue being "Lawful commerce" -- but that is stretching the concept an awful lot!). :)

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 08:49 PM

I don't think it's a case of "managing such behavior until it becomes virtuous". It clearly is not.

I have to say that I don't see much daylight between those who buy the services of slaves and the slavers.

The second is the reason the first exists.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 12, 2010 08:56 PM

It's hard to find much daylight in such dark places. Still, your example is what I was thinking of: that some of the users might simply be refusing to think about the reality of what they were doing, and simply focusing on the sex without considering the woman at all.

I don't believe the slavers have that option: they have to be actively mentally engaged in the business of slaving, just as any other business requires active mental engagement. (Doubly, perhaps, since they would have to be actively mentally engaged with the business aspects, as well as the avoiding-going-to-prison aspects.) If you tried to 'bring home' to them that they were engaged in slavery, I don't see how we could expect them to be shocked, as if it was something they'd just long avoided thinking about.

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 09:07 PM

Now, we've had a lengthy and very serious discussion, so how about a good laugh?

Posted by: Grim at April 12, 2010 10:36 PM

whereas men often actively enjoy watching things that involve people being hurt (sometimes to the point where they die).

Here, Cassandra, do you mean real violence, or video game/TV show violence? In at least the latter case, I know many women who enjoy watching things like that as well. I feel I have to speak up at this since I'm one of them, insofar as some of my favorite video games of all time are more than a little violent (Fallout 3, especially with the Bloody Mess perk :D; BioShock 1 and 2; I don't even count Mass Effect in this one because it's nowhere near as graphic as the first two).

I will say though that the violence in the video games I play isn't really the point (though it can be really destressing after a rough day to come home and spend some time blasting virtual people apart with the Minigun in Fallout, or setting them on fire with plasmids in BioShock). What I enjoy most is the story line and world building; the violence, while often quite graphic, is appropriate to the kinds of worlds that these video games are set in, and the worlds themselves are often dazzlingly constructed with plotlines that offer plenty of food for thought. (I really cannot say enough good about the BioShock series here.) Stuff like "Saw" doesn't interest me because it's just too boring.

I also want to address what you say here, because I think you had a really interesting point:

For as long as we've been married, I have complained about the amount of violence directed against women on TV. It really bugs me.

He has always sort of shrugged his shoulders as if to say, "Who cares/it's not a big deal." Of course he is mightily offended by commercials that depict men as lovable dufusses but can't understand why it bothers me to see channel after channel of women being beaten, raped, or abused in diverse manners.

Violence directed at women in TV/movies (and I would expand it to other media as well; books, video games and comics) sort of does and doesn't bother me. Or rather, I should say, it bothers me to the extent that I feel the violence is being directed at her because she's a woman. For example, if a TV show shows a female police officer being shot in the line of duty, that doesn't really bother me because it seems to me that the violence there is a function of her role as police officer.

However, TV shows showing women as victims of a domestic abuse situation, or targets of a stalker, or victims of sexual assualt, really turn me off. *Especially* the sexual assault stuff. It *really* gives me the creeps, to the point that I stopped watching the Sopranos, a show I had up to that point rather enjoyed, after they had the female therapist raped. Why? I don't know. Maybe it's too real, too close to home. I don't think there's a woman alive who hasn't at some time or other contemplated the fact that she could be raped, or who doesn't have a female friend who has been. My own mother was sexually abused as a child, though it's difficult to disentangle the fallout of that from all the rest of the crap in her life. I think it's very difficult for me to see these sorts of violence against women without picking up a lurid, sort of exploitative vibe as well. Maybe it's only coming out of my own head. But it's what I feel, and it's just a real turnoff.

I don't know if you've heard of it, but there's a site, Women In Refrigerators that was launched a while ago, discussing violence against women in comic books. Various comic book creators weighed in, many talking about what they did or didn't do in various storylines, and the specific reasons why, and there are some very interesting responses there.

Posted by: colagirl at April 13, 2010 02:17 AM

Here, Cassandra, do you mean real violence, or video game/TV show violence?

I was thinking of both, really. There are things like cockfighting or boxing in real life as well as what you see in action movies on TV. I watched Casino Royale again the other night and the scene where Bond is tortured really bothered me. I suddenly "found something to do" in the back of the house until it was over :p

I've had my doubts about some of the more extreme video games but for the most part wasting cartoonish people with a button doesn't bother me that much. I don't have any desire to do it, but it's a bit more removed from the real thing.

re: TV violence against women. I agree - there are times when being female is incidental (the female cop in the line of fire) and that doesn't bug me - I think for the reason that Saving Private Ryan didn't bother me either. I made myself watch that.

What I don't like is the stalking/rape/domestic abuse stuff. It is so pervasive, and often it's just casually tossed into the script even though it bears little relation to the rest of the story.

It's funny - in the same conversation, my husband also noted how much more crass TV seemed to him after not watching for a long time. He's never been a huge watcher of TV - during the work week he just doesn't have time and on the weekends we're usually out doing something.

Lately I've taken to watching a lot of old movies.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 05:15 AM

Tangentially related... I cannot watch sitcoms. Seriously. When the character is setting themselves up for humiliation and embarrassment, I literally feel embarrassed just as if I were that character. This extends into real life as well, where if I am at a restaurant and someone else's children start acting up, I feel embarrassed for them (now if only I could make them correct their child's behavior then we might make some progress). I over empathize in those cases.

Violence bothers me less so for some reason, but shame? Yeah, that makes me squeamish.

Posted by: MikeD at April 13, 2010 09:36 AM

Grim,
That helped, but I'm still not quite sure where you're at.

You have one axis where the middle zone is roughly the positive and both extremes are negatives (sort of like temparature: both extreme cold and extreme hot are bad). In this you line up perfectly with Cass. But you only address one scale/axis. This is confusing, because if there is only one axis, everything must fit on it, there is no "off the scale". No matter how long something is, 1 meter to 1*10^1billion lightyears there is no distance that is "off the scale" of length.

To do that, you would need a second axis. A kilogram is "off the scale" of length, but that explicitly means that there must exist a seperate axis for it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 09:43 AM

When the character is setting themselves up for humiliation and embarrassment, I literally feel embarrassed just as if I were that character.

I can't watch sitcoms either. The characters are so moronic that I get annoyed/uncomfortable just watching them :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 10:09 AM

You have one axis where the middle zone is roughly the positive and both extremes are negatives (sort of like temperature: both extreme cold and extreme hot are bad).

This was my problem with Grim's scale - the "extremes" aren't really all that extreme. If a thing gets bad enough, he wants to call it something entirely different (which doesn't make sense to me). If we're measuring sexual virtue/vice, it makes sense to me that extreme virtue would be (perhaps) celibacy in service of some higher cause and extreme vice would be when sex becomes an end in and of itself to the extent that the person is obsessed with it and will do anything (even hurt or kill others) to get it.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 10:15 AM

It's funny what we can and can't watch in a show. I can watch almost any kind of violence done to people and find it easy to tell myself, "It's not really happening. It's just fiction." But I'll turn off a movie in mid-stream if an animal character is about to get hurt. Suddenly it doesn't matter if it's fiction; my hindbrain just says "get out of here right this instant." I can't watch "Old Yeller," for instance, or "The Yearling." Obviously this isn't a moral reaction. It just punches some kind of button I can't account for. I think it has something to do with preverbal attachments.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 13, 2010 10:53 AM

If a thing gets bad enough, he wants to call it something entirely different (which doesn't make sense to me).

This, I do understand*, but it's incompatible with what I understand Grim's framework to be.

*No matter how long a line is, its area will always be 0. If you need area, you can't just say you can make the line longer (more extreme) and get there. Area is "off the scale" of length. But for that you need a second axis. You can't talk about Area on a single axis. It has no meaning. But it appears (and I may be wrong) that this is what Grim is trying to do.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 11:11 AM

But you only address one scale/axis. This is confusing, because if there is only one axis, everything must fit on it...

Not so. If the scale is for measuring courage, then everything from rashness to cowardice fits on it. Choosing whether to drink beer or wine with dinner tonight is not on the scale: it has nothing to do with what the scale measures.

In other words, a speedometer is a scale for measuring speed. It doesn't measure engine temperature. Engine temperature doesn't fit on that scale at all; you need another scale for that.

Evil is a different kind of thing from vice. It doesn't fit on a scale like this because the scale isn't designed to measure this kind of thing.

If we're measuring sexual virtue/vice, it makes sense to me that extreme virtue would be (perhaps) celibacy in service of some higher cause...

Where a virtue is located depends on circumstances: recall the example of courage, with the right place on the line being different for the Marine in Afghanistan v. the doctor in Africa.

Extreme celibacy might be a virtue for monks. It would be a vice for you or me, because it would be a violation of our duty to our spouses. For us, the virtue of chastity (not "celibacy!") is in loyalty to them, but also in remaining interested and active within the context of our respective marriages. If we adopted a rule of celibacy 'for some higher cause,' we would be doing something wrong -- we would be, in a sense, violating our duty as husband or wife.

If a thing gets bad enough, he wants to call it something entirely different...

So do you, actually; you just don't recognize that you're doing it. Our bright line is even drawn in the same place.

We've agreed that the PUA behavior is immoral, but should only be resisted through moral suasion and not physical violence -- whereas slaving should be subject to physical restraint and coercion in order to stop it.

The advantage of my model is that it recognizes the bright line, and gives us a good reason for placing it where we do. The PUA is merely practicing a vice, which we might hope to train into a virtue. The slaver is practicing an evil: there is no way we can get him to "govern" his slaving so that it becomes virtuous. Were we to legalize it and subject it to regulations, for example, we could never eliminate the essential evil of it; whereas, if a PUA were to be trained to 'do' his seduction in a way that was more mindful and respectful of the other person's interests, he'd be doing all we'd ask.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 11:53 AM

It's funny what we can and can't watch in a show.

You know what I can't watch? Love scenes.

I inevitably get up and leave the room when television programs or movies get to the part where people are professing their love for each other, or making love. It seems wrong to spy on something that -- although fictional -- is so private, and would be meaningful if the drama were real.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 11:56 AM

I inevitably get up and leave the room when television programs or movies get to the part where people are professing their love for each other, or making love.

Is that because those scenes are almost inevitably socially embarrassing to some effect? Meaning, if the characters are not comfortable with themselves, watching them be uncomfortable in a private moment accelerates your feeling.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:02 PM

Socially embarrassing? I don't know that I'd put it that way; but I don't like to see people humiliated (except Congressmen, of course).

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 12:29 PM

It's funny what we can and can't watch in a show.

This may sound really stupid, but I can't watch the last Pixar movie "Up." The movie was good, but I just found the opening montage too emotionally devastating. I was crying like a baby in the theater the first time we saw it, and it hurt so much I couldn't even enjoy the rest of the film. I've watched it once since then, when we got the DVD, and I still cried. I can't imagine I'll ever be able to bring myself to watch the movie again.....

Posted by: colagirl at April 13, 2010 12:37 PM

We've agreed that the PUA behavior is immoral, but should only be resisted through moral suasion and not physical violence -- whereas slaving should be subject to physical restraint and coercion in order to stop it.

Grim, you seem to be conflating an awful lot of things on what is supposedly a single scale. I believe you may have created a 4th dimension :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 12:37 PM

Not so. If the scale is for measuring courage, then everything from rashness to cowardice fits on it. Choosing whether to drink beer or wine with dinner tonight is not on the scale: it has nothing to do with what the scale measures.

But then you must have a different axis for alcohol consumption. You can then be a rash beer drinker, a cowardice wine drinker, cowardice beer drinker, a rash wine drinker, or you could be rash or a coward while sober or any number of different combinations of the two.

*If* there is only one axis, then yes, everything does have to fit on it. *If* everything does not fit on it, then you must have more than one axis.

There are no other options.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 12:38 PM

In Grim's defense, I could accept that someone in the business of providing sexual slaves might not fit on my scale if he didn't actually sample the merchandise.

He might more properly fit on a moral scale that has to do with what one is willing to do for economic gain, with legitimate commerce at one end and illegal/criminal enterprises at the other.

However, the guy who kidnaps a woman and keeps her in his basement would belong on my scale, as would the rapist. These are just increasingly severe manifestations of an immoral expression of sexuality.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 12:43 PM

I've never had cowardice beer -- is it something like lager?

Posted by: BillT at April 13, 2010 12:44 PM

He needs to attack into the ambush, etc.-Grim

Are you referring only to Close Ambushes or are you including Far Ambushes as well in that response?

I think it's very difficult for me to see these sorts of violence against women without picking up a lurid, sort of exploitative vibe as well. Maybe it's only coming out of my own head. But it's what I feel, and it's just a real turnoff.

Colagirl,

I am familiar with the games you have mentioned. But on top of that, I had numerous chances to experience another take on violence-entertainment-drama-story, from Japanese creators.

I would like to say, however, that there's a certain strain in American entertainment that tends to assume women have a place, as weaklings and targets, and that this won't get any better without a Social Justice solution from a Strong Man type: like Obama.

I see this as exploitive of people's vulnerabilities, notably women but it can be any group that is preyed upon by the Left or the Leftist enabled criminal.

They do not promote a civic self-defense initiative. They don't try to get women to learn how to use the tools of violence. They reserve the tools of violence to the elites, the military and the police, and in their personal opinion, we don't even need the military half of things. The only ones that deserve protection are the rich and powerful, protected by private bodyguards and police forces. Everybody else can burn for eternity. That's their philosophy, unstated though earlestly believed.

One notable difference from the Japanese fold is the tsundere character development process. With that, women or girls are actually noted for their fearsome physical and aggressive actions. In a sort of 3 Stooges effect of practical pranks, the tsundere or tsundara hits the foolish guy, and the foolish guy then acts with fear as if he was intimidated.

Sort of like how people tease each other here.

The Japanese also are very good at making jokes out of serious situations. The cultural conceptions for the modern Japanese generations are slightly out of phase with American conceptions, youth wise. Older generations are also out of phase, but in different places.

In Eien no Aselia, we see a story about a hero that has to fight, get stronger, and defeat more and more powerful enemies. That's the normal epic story line. However, the Japanese interpretation, originating from the vision of a single creative author (not a committee of profit seekers or critics or journalists), attempts to relate to the hero as an insecure alpha, trying to protect his family. His family is in a castle, while he has to fight battles to conquer more and more territory. His army is made out of slave soldiers. His family, under house arrest determined by his results in battle. How would an insecure alpha handle such a situation, given that he now commands this army? Will he discard the people under his command as mere tools, for the morality of protecting his family? If he comes to care for the people under his command, how will he then send them to their deaths in order to win the war? As a commander, the emotional state changes, not the physical conditions of war, are what determines the drama and the character relationships.

In Bioshock 1, you don't know what you are doing in Rapture until the story plot break. But while you are interacting in Rapture, you are building up an emotional state and that emotional state then reacts to the plot. If you just started off, and then skipped to the plot overturn point, well then it wouldn't be as dramatic.

In Scrapped Princess, the world is ruled by divine prophecy given and interpreted by the spiritual elite. In one particular year, it was prophesized that the youngest princess of the royal family was fated to bring about the destruction of the world. Half the family wanted to throw the child off a cliff (the Obamas) and the other half wanted to give her a life and chance, free will (freedom fighters). Due to certain circumstances, a knight of chivalry was commanded to throw her off, on the power of his loyalty to the state. Fast forward 16 years and we have Pacifica traveling in a covered wagon with her two bodyguards. Traveling the world, never remaining in one place, for the entire world is turned against her very existence. Should she decide to order the deaths of people who attempt to kill her, in order to preserve their world? Should she destroy the world as fate would fortell? Should she just kill herself and end it all, no matter what the sacrifices of those around her who had kept her alive?

The Japanese portrayal of violence is very personal, in the sense that it absorbs you as the wielder of violence, not the observer of someone being raped or the one being raped. The Japanese authors, for whatever reasons, put you to the test, and their characters to the test, of how to use violence. That, I think, is a far more healthy perspective than cowering in fear from violence, depending upon the state to wield violence for me, or various other states.

When the character is setting themselves up for humiliation and embarrassment, I literally feel embarrassed just as if I were that character.

Related to my remark to Grim, I get that often as well.

In Tsukihime (moon princess) you take the role of the main character, a high school boy. While walking around back from school, you see someone. The visual novel then leads you to follow this beautiful person around for awile. Most normal people would assume that her beauty has enraptured you, given that your heart beat is up, and you are following her around in a daze.

That is, until she opens the doors after you rung the bell, and you stepped in and sliced her apart. Congratulations, you have now become a murderer. He, you, snaps out of the daze, with the body on the ground. What follows afterwards, of course, is something you'd have to read the visual novel to find out.

But let's just say that the normal reactions of guilt and the fear of turning into a monster, apart from society, would be perfectly normal for a high school boy, without sadistic tendencies, to ponder. And for those of us that have used violence or have studied its use, it may even be an apt description for how that kind of knowledge separates you from the normal people around you, that can't defend themselves and know nothing about violence.

Society says violence is wrong and evil. If you use it, how can you know whether you are right and society is wrong. Isn't it easier to assume you, the violent war criminal, is wrong and peaceful society is correct? But doesn't that mean sacrificing all that you would care to protect? Will there be an alternative to the personal usage of violence? Of course, the Left says, just leave it to the state and worry about your own business. Don't interfere. Don't get in the way of the police. Don't break the law. Don't use violence. Violence is evil.

Well, if violence is bad, how come Hollywood likes to worship it? Or is it only the reality of violence that is bad, because it would motivate people to fight back. Is it only Hollywoodized violence that is good, because it makes people feel like victims. Victims in need of Big Obama here.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:44 PM

My personal view of why Hollywood does this is that people are insecure, so maybe they fantasize about actors acting how they would act and that improves ratings. Or people like to see happy, but simplistic, endings to humiliating situations, because those humiliating situations are what ticks people off the most. Even though they can never resolve it themselves (this is anything from job, marriage, dating, war, politics, etc, etc).

Hollywood, instead of taking the role of an alpha leader and taking care of the needs and interests of the audience, instead deliberately go out of their way to maintain unstable emotional relationships, unhealthy behaviors, and conflicting states of interests for the group.

Both men and women are better off under a stable chain of command, because it is the best way to ensure that the most people get most of their interests and needs covered. Better hierarchies produce better results (America vs Britain), but it's still better than 30 civil wars in 50 years.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:50 PM

There are multiple virtues (each with their own standards for judgment), but not multiple axes, Y-A-G. You don't have an X and a Y axis, for example, giving you a grid in 2 dimensions (Cass thinks I want four).

So, for beer drinking, I would look at the virtue of temperance; and the vices at the poles would be something like 'denying my body things it needs' on the one hand, and 'becoming excessively focused on consumption of beer/wine/steak/whatever.'

...you seem to be conflating an awful lot of things on what is supposedly a single scale.

It's not my position that 'there's only one scale.' It's my position that we're talking about two different kinds of things, so it would be a mistake to put them both on the same scale. A gauge that measured both speed and engine temperature, for example, on a single axis -- it's not clear what meaning that would have. "You're in the red!" would be bad, I suppose, but does that mean I need to slow down or check my coolant?

Worse, if I'm only 'in the yellow,' I could be there because my engine is boiling over but I'm not going that fast -- in other words, a real problem can end up being masked by the fact that we've conflated unlike things in our standard.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 12:50 PM

I'm mostly on Grim's side of the camp here, but that's only because we think in a similar though also very dissimilar fashion.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:51 PM

Socially embarrassing? I don't know that I'd put it that way

For what particular reasons do you say you wouldn't put it that way?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:53 PM

I would also like to say that the Hollywood conception of America, broadcasted to the world, paints a very poor picture of the American freedom fighter, the American alpha leader, and the American civic body. The real civic body, not the Leftist wannabes.

Americans, historically, have understood violence and human pain as much as anyone else in human history. Americans simply found a way to implement better solutions than those that have tried before.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:56 PM

There is no way to have a PUA be more virtuous, whatever the method the goal is the same. A PUA is no different than the slaver in the sense that they objectify a person for a desired purpose. I guess I've gotten old.

Posted by: crazy mike at April 13, 2010 12:57 PM

This may sound really stupid, but I can't watch the last Pixar movie "Up." The movie was good, but I just found the opening montage too emotionally devastating. I was crying like a baby in the theater the first time we saw it, and it hurt so much I couldn't even enjoy the rest of the film. I've watched it once since then, when we got the DVD, and I still cried. I can't imagine I'll ever be able to bring myself to watch the movie again.....

What did you think of Clannad, the pc game, fan translated from Japanese?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 12:58 PM

Grim, you've argued several times that slaving belongs in a different scale but I still don't understand the specific reason why. Bringing in your response to a thing or whether or not you think the malefactor can be brought to see the error of his ways, or whether or not you can use force against him doesn't make it not belong on my scale when my scale only measures sexual virtue or vice. You are arguing that slavery is evil, not vice. And yet the definition of vice encompasses evil.

See this:

vice 1 (vs)
n.
1.
a. An evil, degrading, or immoral practice or habit.
b. A serious moral failing.
c. Wicked or evil conduct or habits; corruption.

or....


Main Entry: 1vice
Pronunciation: \ˈvīs\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin vitium fault, vice
Date: 14th century

1 a : moral depravity or corruption : wickedness
b : a moral fault or failing
c : a habitual and usually trivial defect or shortcoming : foible
2 : blemish, defect
3 : a physical imperfection, deformity, or taint
4 a often capitalized : a character representing one of the vices in an English morality play b : buffoon, jester
5 : an abnormal behavior pattern in a domestic animal detrimental to its health or usefulness
6 : sexual immorality; especially : prostitution

or...


vice
1   /vaɪs/ Show Spelled[vahys] Show IPA
–noun
1.
an immoral or evil habit or practice.
2.
immoral conduct; depraved or degrading behavior: a life of vice.
3.sexual immorality, esp. prostitution.
4.
a particular form of depravity.
5.
a fault, defect, or shortcoming: a minor vice in his literary style.
6.
a physical defect, flaw, or infirmity: a constitutional vice.
7.
a bad habit, as in a horse.
8.
(initial capital letter) a character in the English morality plays, a personification of general vice or of a particular vice, serving as the buffoon

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 01:02 PM

Also, it's worth noting that you and I have a basic disconnect in how we think about right-sexuality. You seem to be concerned mostly with self-centeredness: the person is right who is giving up their own interests out of respect for the other person; the person is most right of all who is giving up their interest (in sex) entirely for some greater cause (like joining a nunnery); the person is bad who doesn't think of the other person as being important; the person is worst who uses another person as if they were a disposable thing rather than a human being.

I think of 'right-sexuality' in terms of human flourishing. Self-centeredness can be a concern, but it isn't the only concern. What is important is that people flourish, enjoying as much of the good this world can offer. For some, that may be joining a nunnery; for others, it means a loyal and lawful marriage in which sex is important (i.e., where celibacy would be unfair and destructive). Becoming insensitive to sex is bad because it means giving up a vital human function; even the monk or nun should be sensitive to it, in order that their sacrifice for the glory of God should be something they value. Becoming abusive or exploitative is bad, because it means you are so focused on the impulse as to be driven by it, and no longer in control of it.

That's why the "axis" or "axes" question is problematic. I'm trying to play along with it, but there's a lot to be considered in this model; it's not a single variable (self-centeredness, say) that can be tracked on a chart.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 01:03 PM

That's why the "axis" or "axes" question is problematic. I'm trying to play along with it, but there's a lot to be considered in this model; it's not a single variable (self-centeredness, say) that can be tracked on a chart.

If philosophy could be tracked on a chart, you wouldn't need those heavy philosophy texts, Grim.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 01:06 PM

I don't see how you can measure virtue or vice independently of harm caused to the self or others.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 01:08 PM

...yet the definition of vice encompasses evil.

Ah, I see. Vice means something specific in Aristotelian terms: it means, not merely doing the thing opposed to virtue, but endorsing and structuring your life around it. So, it's not just that you don't know the right thing to do; it's not that you do know the right thing, but fail to do it; it's that you are doing it on purpose.

But these are often small matters. A person can live a life of vice without being evil, as for example a coward: he does not have the virtue of courage, and as a result is pitiful, but he has no evil intentions. He's just a coward. He is a problem because he will do nothing to stop evil; but he will also do nothing to create it, because he's afraid of that too.

But let me try to lay out the precise difference I mean:

If we are speaking of a vice, this is something that is wrong; we can tell you why it is wrong; and we can tell you how to do that kind of thing in a way that would be virtuous instead.

If a thing is evil, there is no way to make it good. We can still explain why it is wrong. We can explain why it is a problem. But there can be no way to make it right.

Slavery is evil. There is no model of "right slavery" as there is a model for "right sexuality." There is no model of "right murder," as there is for "right courage." These things are simply wrong, flat wrong, and they cannot be made right by adjustment.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 01:13 PM

...how you can measure virtue or vice independently of harm caused...

By capacity, in some cases. For example, courage can be used in horseback riding, where it allows you to control and train a horse. Without courage, you could never do that. There wouldn't be any harm, really; but this creates a new capacity.

Harm to self and others can be important! It's just not the only thing that's important. For example, the courageous Marine in Afghanistan really needs to cause some harm to certain others; if he tried to avoid harming others, he would be failing to be virtuous in that case. It's not even that he's protecting "himself" or "his fellow Marines" -- there is an additional good, which is doing his duty and carrying out his mission. That is a factor outside the question of harm to self/others; and he needs to try to inflict some harm in order to carry out this other good, which is his duty.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 01:18 PM

Ymar:

"For what particular reasons do you say you wouldn't put it that way?"

I'm not sure exactly what you mean by "social" embarrassment. I know what embarrassment is, and if you'd asked me if I didn't like watching people being embarrassed, I'd agree that I don't (although I also don't like to intrude -- even if they were not at all embarrassed, but simply in passionate love, it's not my business and I ought to be elsewhere).

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 01:47 PM

If a thing is evil, there is no way to make it good. We can still explain why it is wrong. We can explain why it is a problem. But there can be no way to make it right.

This is related to absolute ethics, but the term absolute is often misleading without an adequate epistemology and metaphysics prerequisite to build a particular ethics.


There is no model of "right murder

Murder is defined as unjustified killing. But the matter of justification differs depending on what ethics you are using. It's a sort of definition of a definition used in this way.

there is an additional good, which is doing his duty and carrying out his mission.

Not to mention forcing evil to run low on human tools.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 01:47 PM

I guess I what I mean by the social part of it is that it must involve more than just a single individual. Meaning, instead of one person being embarrassed and nobody else noticing it, acting normally, this is everybody being embarrassed. This is a person being embarrassed for the sake of another person, that is embarrassed at the fact that everybody is embarrassed at them.

The more I use that word, the more I get the feeling that it came from the juxtaposition, etymology wise, of Bare + Ass. Technically, if you are alone and have that, it's not social.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 01:51 PM

(although I also don't like to intrude -- even if they were not at all embarrassed, but simply in passionate love

What if we change the situation to something more positive, just as personal, but not sexual.

Meaning, instead of a sex scene or something that is embarrassing, how about just a scene where two people are speaking their inner most hearts and doing so in a manner that communicates what they mean to the other.

This would also count as an intimate moment, but the emotion it expresses in an observer is far more positive than the emotion that would have been expressed had the observer been observing sex or social embarrassment.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 13, 2010 01:55 PM

There are multiple virtues (each with their own standards for judgment), but not multiple axes, Y-A-G. You don't have an X and a Y axis, for example, giving you a grid in 2 dimensions.
{snip}
It's not my position that 'there's only one scale.' It's my position that we're talking about two different kinds of things, so it would be a mistake to put them both on the same scale. A gauge that measured both speed and engine temperature, for example, on a single axis -- it's not clear what meaning that would have.

The latter is incompatible with the former. You cannot say that they do not belong on the same scale and then say you also cannot cross them.

You could, very easily in fact, construct a X-Y grid that displayed both speed and engine temp. There is absolutely no requirement that the axis be scaled in the same units.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 02:00 PM

"Murder is defined as unjustified killing."

No, I have a specific definition. Murder is the intentional killing of the innocent. (Obviously, I mean by "innocent" the normal human sense, and not the divine sense; otherwise, there could be no murder!)

"What if we change the situation to something more positive, just as personal, but not sexual."

In that case, I think it becomes difficult to hold up the metaphor. In a drama, if you won't listen to people speaking their innermost thoughts, you can't follow the plot! (Whereas the love scenes are somewhat gratuitous, as we know from watching older movies: they managed to express everything that needed expressing about the plot, without intrusion into private lovemaking).

However, in an actual scenario like that, I would certainly want to leave if I shouldn't have been hearing the conversation. Eavesdropping is very rude.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 02:01 PM

"You could, very easily in fact, construct a X-Y grid that displayed both speed and engine temp. There is absolutely no requirement that the axis be scaled in the same units."

Yes, but what relevance does that have to our discussion? I said I didn't want an X-Y graph, and I don't; I have no use for one.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 02:02 PM

I'm not sure what you think I'm trying to model, in other words, such that I would need or want a Y axis. You could build a graph that modeled both the number of apples (X) and the number of oranges (Y); but that doesn't mean I want to compare apples and oranges.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 02:03 PM

No, but if as the number of apples go up the number of oranges also go up, or say that one goes up and the other goes down, that does provide useful (and usable) information. One could, in the former, say that the weather that is good for large orange crops is also good for apple crops or, in the latter, that weather that is good for orange crops is bad for apple crops. No comparisons between apples and oranges are needed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 02:16 PM

OK, fine: but what do you think I'm trying to model that would be usefully represented in that way?

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 02:29 PM

Similarly, a farmer that produces those two crops (oranges in spring, apples in fall) may be able to break even so long as one of the crops is successful. Thus the "failure region" is only the one quadrant where both have failed together.

Thus for your model, objectification (of any magnitude) alone would not be sufficient for slavery as it also requires the additional presence of evil in the same way that no matter how bad the orange crop is, you won't fail unless the apple crop is also bad.

One could, in this model, say that no matter how much one views a person as an object it wouldn't necessarily lead to slavery, murder, or other acts of evil. It's hard to think of anything much worthless of an object than a rusty old car, but we still don't see people torching them for jollies. There must be something else *in addition* for that to happen.

The presence of any one extreme is not sufficient, you would have to be at the extremes of both.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 02:34 PM

OK, I see where you're going with that now.

The distinction I'm trying to make between vice and evil, though, is a 0/1 proposition. It's either the case that the quality is of the sort that can be retrained to virtue (vice); or it is the case that it is not (evil). You don't find slavery anywhere on the range of vice-virtue-vice, because it's got that different quality (you might say it is "zero" for reformability).

That suggests to me that only things that are "one" for reformability belong on the virtue/vice scale, because only those things can possibly be moved toward virtue. Having a second axis might give the impression that something like slavery might become virtuous, if only we reformed it in just the right way.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 02:39 PM

Having a second axis might give the impression that something like slavery might become virtuous, if only we reformed it in just the right way.

Only if slavery exists as one of the axes.

The construct I used when first trying to understand your position may be instructive.

Let's say that there are 2 axes.

The X shall be the objectification axis. At -100 you have the complete objectification of the self, you are a doormat whose own human needs are completely subservient to others and at +100 you have complete objectification of others. Only you matter, other people's interest are of no concern to you.

The Y axis shall be violence. At -100 is the proverbial wolf, and at +100 is the sheepdog. At 0 would be the pacifist.

Slavery, then, could occupy the region around +100 on the objectification axis and -100 on the violence axis. Slavery itself cannot be reformed. It is where it is. Furthermore there is no attribute along which slavery is reformed to be a good.

If you could move the violence axis to 0 you, at best, get condesension or apathy. He no more cares about you getting sawed in half than a 2x4. If you were to move the violence axis to 100 you end up with the He-Man-Woman-Hating-Club Protector who thinks women should bow down to him in gratitude for bestowing his undeserved protection upon them. If you were to move the objectification axis to 0, you get The Joker. He doesn't think you have a right to life because he doesn't think he does either. Move it along to -100 you would get the self-loathing masochist who self-sabotages his life because he thinks he deserves it. Nothing here is particularly "better".

You could theoretically move *both*, but let's face it, even though violence can have positive and negative aspects, you don't "reform" a violent sociopath.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 05:43 PM

Cass, if I may rewind back to the start of the thread: I think the big problem with the methodology employed by Fiske and similar studies is the fact that they are using photographs. And photographs are not real people. Consider: a person who was actually unable to distinguish between a photograph of a person, and the actual person, would be classified as psychotic, would they not? And psychosis is, by definition, a diagnosis of severe mental mis-wiring.

For that reason, I think it's a big mistake to believe that people's instant mental reactions to a photograph of a person will be the same as their reaction to meeting that person in the flesh. Your first gut reaction to a photograph probably isn't going to be "what kind of person is this", because you have no way of finding out -- the photograph can't converse with you or answer any of your questions. That makes that line of thinking pretty pointless. So your brain goes in a different, shallower direction that's actually more appropriate for the two-dimensional object that you have been presented with. Some of the thoughts that come out of this may seem inappropriate, but very few of us interact with inanimate objects the same way we react with people. And if we did interact with them in the same way, we'd probably be hauled off to the rubber room.

I think this problem invalidates most of the results that Fiske and similar studies have seen. They need to do these studies with real models instead of photographs.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 13, 2010 06:04 PM

The puppy blender has an article about that that found that men were predisposed to be more empathetic to real women than hypersexualized CGI characters.

But to the original question, why is it that men seem to be proponents of this stereotype? There's a couple of answers, I think.

1) It excuses them from responsibility for their own behavior.
2) See Jeff Foxworthy & Redneck jokes.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 06:23 PM

That aligns pretty well with my own take on the phenomenon, Yu-ain.

Speaking of cringeworthy things I can't watch: I think Bill Engval and Jeff Foxworthy are pretty funny most of the time. But Larry the Cable Guy really creeps me out. I mean to the point where I have literally shuddered during his routines.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 06:54 PM

Dave:

That sounds very plausible except for one thing: men were shown photos of scantily clad women and fully clothed women.

In both cases, they were looking at photos, not real women. So it seems unlikely that the fact that they were photos and not real women is the only thing going on here.

Maybe it's partly b/c our clothing gives off subtle hints about our personalities. Or maybe it's just that when the women were scantily clothed, the whole reptile brain thing kicked in :p

I found the study interesting b/c I've read several studies where men were shown photos of attractive, scantily clad models or other photos of fully clothed women.

The men were asked a series of questions about their mate:

1. How satisfied are you with your wife?
2. How attractive is she to you?
3. How happy are you with your sex life?

When the men were shown photos of scantily clad women, the answers to all these kinds of questions were far more negative and indicated more dissatisfaction with the relationship and with their wife's looks.

Similar studies (by the way) have been done showing men photos of young, muscular male models, no photos, or photos of average looking men and asking them to rate their own attractiveness.

The control group (men shown no photos) consistently OVER rated their own attractiveness on a scale of 1 to 10, relative to the ratings other men and women gave their photos.

The group shown a mix of average guys did about the same.

The group shown attractive male models suddenly rated themselves accurately or even UNDER rated themselves relative to the ratings given them by other men and women. Any way you look at it, men's perceptions of their own attractiveness were downgraded after looking at more attractive men.

I've always thought it pretty lame to think that people's perceptions are unaffected by their surroundings and whatever is on offer. All of which suggests that there is probably a rational basis for women to be concerned about their mates looking at lovely, half nekkid womens :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 13, 2010 07:32 PM

In both cases, they were looking at photos, not real women. So it seems unlikely that the fact that they were photos and not real women is the only thing going on here.

While this doesn't have any bearing on your ultimate point, I would just say that men's reactions to fully clothed women and scantily clothed women are not necessarily going to be the same as men's reactions to pictures of fully/scantily clothed women. It is possible it could act anywhere from being an amplifier to a inverter. The link from Instapundit does suggest that pictures/real does make a difference.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 13, 2010 09:18 PM

Let's say that there are 2 axes. The X shall be...

A model of this type -- not just here, but anywhere -- is workable if and only if it really can account for everything that matters using only two variables. Even one counterexample, where a third factor is important to the outcome, breaks the model.

The vice-virtue-vice model may seem less complex, because it has only one axis; but it's actually a lot more complex, because you may be factoring any number of things into deciding whether you're acting with undue rashness or excessive caution. E.g., in the case of the Marine, you could be looking at the harm done to others (one variable); or to the harm you want to avoid for yourself and your Marines (another variable); or to the duty of performing your mission (which might outweigh both of the preceding variables); or to the impending flanking maneuver that you're just now learning about on the radio; or...

It's always tempting to try to create mathematical or geometric models for morality, but it's really tricky to make it work. The model I suggest isn't really meant to be a working model that can accurately (mathematically) predict results; it's just meant to be a tool for trying to help you visualize what I mean by how vices can be pushed to virtue by proper governance, whereas other kinds of things (evils) really can't be.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 09:34 PM

...men's reactions to fully clothed women and scantily clothed women are not necessarily going to be the same as...

I think you can make the stronger claim: their reactions will necessarily not be the same. We know, for example, that pheromones play a tremendous role in behavior; they will be absent in photographs. We know that body language is important; that is minimized in the case of a photograph. Etc.

The consequences of that to the study are not clear, as you rightly say. The "photos of X" study may still be useful in determining what we might want to consider when making glossy fashion magazines, etc., or running ads on television, or other similar cases in which there are going to be images of people in the public space.

Posted by: Grim at April 13, 2010 09:38 PM

I don't know about women in general, but I don't respond much at all to still photographs of men, no matter how gorgeous or naked. Maybe one reason women generally prefer erotic romantic movies to outright porn is that they're more attuned to men in action and in context than they are to merely visual images. Our attention is more likely to be caught by men saying and doing things in a particular social or emotional context. Silent men not doing much are more boring than alluring.

Colagirl, I haven't seen "Up." What happens in the intro?

Posted by: Texan99 at April 13, 2010 11:21 PM

Our attention is more likely to be caught by men saying and doing things in a particular social or emotional context. Silent men not doing much are more boring than alluring.

Whereas I suspect that with men, the vain hope that there just *might* be such a thing as a silent woman is a considerable part of the thrill :p

*rim shot*

Posted by: I am *so* going to Hell for this.... at April 13, 2010 11:27 PM

Be Silent, Woman!

And Bring Me A Beer.

Posted by: Ducky McTrivit at April 14, 2010 09:43 AM

"Yes, dear" :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2010 10:06 AM

A model of this type -- not just here, but anywhere -- is workable if and only if it really can account for everything that matters using only two variables.

Depends on how you define "What matters". The planetary model of the atom is very workable. In fact, you couldn't teach high school chemistry without it. Let's face it, trying to teach chemical bonding through quantum mechanic orbital shapes is a lost cause. These are kids that don't yet understand that Chlorine only has 7 electrons in it's outer shell and really wants 8.

The actual quantum shapes of the electron clouds "matter" up until the time they don't.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 14, 2010 11:24 AM

Cass, let me go look at the studies a little closer. I still claim the difference is such a large uncontrolled-for factor that it invalidates the studies. As for the three questions, I'm not sure that the results would be any different if you reversed the roles -- if you gave a group of women romance novels to read or chick flicks to watch, and then immediately afterwards asked them to rate their husbands, you'd get similar results. In either case, the subjects are being embarrassed -- "you could have had this, but you settled for that. Now don't you feel like a chump?"

I don't know about Fiske, but I've seen a couple of similar studies where the researchers and sponsors clearly had an agenda. I don't think I have to spell it out for you.

Posted by: Cousin Dave at April 14, 2010 12:44 PM

As for the three questions, I'm not sure that the results would be any different if you reversed the roles -- if you gave a group of women romance novels to read or chick flicks to watch, and then immediately afterwards asked them to rate their husbands, you'd get similar results. In either case, the subjects are being embarrassed -- "you could have had this, but you settled for that. Now don't you feel like a chump?"

I'm not so sure either, but doesn't that underscore my point rather than undermine it?

My point wasn't that only men do X (that has never been a theme of my writing) but rather that both men and women are human and despite our differences, tend to react similarly to circumstances :p

I always find the "romance novel" meme amusing. According to proponents of the Romance Novel meme, Harlequin novels are no different from hard core pornography.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

Also, all men - without exception - use porn because as we all know, life really is not worth living without it. It's just as much a need as food or water or shelter :p

Which leaves me wondering... do all women read Harlequin novels?

I don't. None of my friends do.

I suspect any "study" (especially one that extrapolates from a sample of 20 college students to "all men, regardless of age") that draws sweeping conclusions like "All men do.... well, anything now that I think of it."

Talk about having an agenda!

I still claim the difference is such a large uncontrolled-for factor that it invalidates the studies.

I agree that it could cast doubt on their accuracy/applicability, but I think invalidate is a bit strong. In this case, I caveated even my reference to the studies as opposed to the many bloggers who have gleefully seized on that idiotic "all men watch porn" study as conclusive proof :p

To me, this stuff is interesting but I'd hardly claim any of it "proves" anything.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2010 01:05 PM

He needs to attack into the ambush, etc.-Grim

Are you referring only to Close Ambushes or are you including Far Ambushes as well in that response?-Y

I'm curious as to whether this is something you don't want to talk about or whether it was missed in the great upheaval here.

I'm still interested in a response, if you would care to give it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 10:08 PM

The planetary model of the atom is very workable.

I take the point; but note that it's also my point. I'm representing things on one axis, but there's an almost infinite number of variables there. So it's a teaching tool, meant to convey an idea; it isn't intended to capture everything that matters in a way that will offer predictive functionality.

Are you referring only to Close Ambushes or are you including Far Ambushes as well in that response?

You attack both. There are different methods in play -- you can call fires to free yourself up for maneuver in a far ambush, instead of bearing the weight yourself with grenades, etc. The Marine will want to destroy the ambush, though. After all, for the moment, he knows where the enemy is: and that's all a Marine normally asks.

Posted by: Grim at April 14, 2010 10:43 PM

it isn't intended to capture everything that matters in a way that will offer predictive functionality.

Things get complex when people wish to see the underlying reality of the universe. First it starts with quantum mechanics then it gets more complex from there.

Reduction to simplicity, brevity as the soul of wit, nonetheless is not lossless compression. After all, some people are more simple than others, others more wittier than some.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 10:55 PM

you can call fires to free yourself up for maneuver in a far ambush

In the case of a tactical situation without fire support or air supremacy, what then?

After all, for the moment, he knows where the enemy is: and that's all a Marine normally asks.

The threat is the enemy, a thinking and able human. Once neutralized, the threat is neutralized. It is the same principle as TFT's H2H training methodology. Demonstrated in form and function by a number of actions: the USS Johnston's torpedo runs on a fleet being somewhat more obvious than others, including the eventual death ride.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 11:05 PM

In the case of a tactical situation without fire support or air supremacy, what then?

Then you do it the hard way. Or not; the duty is to the mission, and not to getting distracted by the enemy from completing the mission. If you had adequate cover so that you could withdraw, and you felt the enemy was not going to pose a danger to your rear as you maneuver to complete the mission, you might reasonably avoid them rather than letting them fix your position.

After all, 'find, fix and finish' is the tactical approach for the superior force. If that isn't you, because you lack air superiority, the main thing might be avoiding being fixed (and finished).

Posted by: Grim at April 14, 2010 11:12 PM

I wonder whether the plutocrats of America have had it relatively easy so far with their power and influence that they can no longer even imagine a condition where they will have to do it the hard way instead of simply brushing aside the lowly ants with force overwhelming.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 11:31 PM

I just remembered that as Rome went from a Republic to an Empire, the Senate class became more and more powerful in comparison to the small landowners that made up the bulk of the Roman legions in the beginning.

I wonder how long our Senate class will take before they get to Nero like proportions if left unchecked.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 14, 2010 11:36 PM

I suspect there's a very small overlap between "plutocrats" and "Marine sergeants." The ones who need to know how to do it the hard way still know.

As for checking the Senate, that's important. I still think the state-led Constitutional convention is the way to go.

Posted by: Grim at April 14, 2010 11:54 PM

Texan99: The intro to "Up" presents a silent montage lasting perhaps five minutes or so of the movie's hero as a young boy meeting a young girl, the two of them growing up together, falling in love, marrying, finding out they cannot have children, living together and sharing life's joys and sadnesses, growing old together, and eventually the wife's terminal illness and death. I found it to be the most devastating thing I've seen in years. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

Posted by: colagirl at April 14, 2010 11:54 PM

Colagirl:

That short film is available here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYmGt7RnTlI

We did not make the rules of the world. God save us from them. Until he does, we must live with them; but they are not our fault.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 12:11 AM

That does sound heart-rending. I doubt I'd have trouble watching it, though, no matter how sad it was; I might like it all the better just because of how sad (and cathartic) it was. The animal thing isn't about how sad it is, it's about a really uncontrollable over-reaction that I don't fully understand, like a phobia. All my doors just slam shut.

Posted by: Texan99 at April 15, 2010 12:14 AM

I like sad endings, although this was defined by a limited and relatively simple set of emotions.

I like sublime endings too, which combine two parts sadness with one part joy at the end.

I remember telling Grim about how I despise the classic Hollywood ending, not because it was cliche, but because it was designed with the idea that happiness is a treat and not a struggle. it's also propaganda lite in terms of dealing with real human emotions.

Grim came back with the Cold War issue. Can't remember exactly what it was about, though.

I suspect there's a very small overlap between "plutocrats" and "Marine sergeants."

It is the very fact of that contrast that made me think of it. I think in terms of great contrasts. Pain and pleasure. Beauty and ugliness. Evil and good. The sublime joy and pain of human existence.

The eternal truth was never solely an illumination for me. It was always a contrast, not simply the presence of the light but the total darkness as well.

To me, all things are tangents: some are useful measurements and others are simply dead ends or non-useful ends.

I still think the state-led Constitutional convention is the way to go.

I am reminded of various reforms attempted in the days of the Roman Republic and Empire. None of them worked for that long a time. But that's human mortality for you. The Marius Reforms, an alternate solution for the lack of Roman manpower in the legions, had to be implemented because the Senate wouldn't give up their huge slave Latifundias. The Roman middle class was having all their property taken by these Senate plutocrats. The political power of the plebes as well as their military power, due to Roman laws about citizens needing land, inevitably decreased. And then we had Julius Caesar, who gained the loyalty of his legions by providing them with retirement, leadership, and social support. Something the Senate was supposed to provide, but I guess parties, luxurious foods, and women took up most of the Senate's funding. And then the Senate took him out. Probably because he threatened their power and the stability of Rome, as they saw it. That then started up a couple of triple play civil wars.

It is an interesting tale. More so because it took place over both a long time and a short time. Regardless of where the breaking point was, once the system was rendered dysfunctional, it was very hard for one person to change everything at once.

Here in the US, we have many people who still have the political power to do some fixing up. But, should the Senate be unchecked, as you term it, their political power will be stripped. Not de jure, but simply de facto. Given that the government can simply take over people's businesses and properties, offloading the loot to their henchmen, it is a de facto decrement of the plebes' political power and stature.

It's funny that Shakespeare made Caesar into a tragedy. What will people imagine America to have been like, in the far future?

I like these short films, btw. They are far more true to the power of individual initiative than anything produced by Big Hollywood. Various counter parts are Voices from a Distant Star and Nine.

Watch it

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 10:26 AM

Regardless of where the breaking point was, once the system was rendered dysfunctional, it was very hard for one person to change everything at once.

To clarify, I mean for the better. Even with Boadicea's revolt, people tried to change things for the better. Even Emperors after Nero tried that. Didn't work. The Roman culture was still pretty strong, judging by how the Britons assimilated into it readily. But Roman power had started to recede. More parts of the world fell into darkness, without the light of civilization. Those like Attila that could rally the barbarian hordes, inevitably could not build a civilization upon the ashes. Course, he died after the Pope visited him, so that looked like an interesting coincidence there.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 10:30 AM

One of the reasons why these short films are closer to the truth than Hollywood produced trash is that the Everlasting Happy ending is not just a fantasy, like a fairy tale, but it is an intentionally designed ideological argument. It argues that what brings us happiness in relationships and in our nation is a Never Ending happy ending.

Isn't that Perfect, Everlasting, Utopia? And is not everlasting peace, prosperity, and unchanging slavery the very dogma of the Left.

Yet on the other hand, art that which deals with life as it is for humans, must inevitably deal with death. And death may or may not be very permanent, but it produces a very high contrast with life as we know it. Understanding human mortality teaches us that all things, as affected by human hands, are finite and temporary. There is no ever lasting Utopia. Unless one seeks Heaven or Hell, and even that may simply be a mythological creation. Nonetheless, it is not something human knowledge can access without dying and coming back. That implies divine heritage and power.

But if the Left succeeds in telling people that permanent security AND permanent prosperity without costs is available at a time limited Deal from the Chicago and Urban Population Left, then all kinds of sacrifices in the present can be be accounted for and justified because the Left will provide everyone with a Permanent increase in their quality of life.

Permanent. What does that mean? It means that any kind of human atrocity can be justified for this end goal. Because it is permanent. Whatever suffering the Left does to you, will be made up Eternally later on.

But if we are taught the value of life, with the existence of death, then we will not believe in this kind of permanence, in this life as offered by human hands. It would violate the very existence of human mortality.

But then again, the Left already thinks of themselves as divine. So it may make sense to them.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 10:40 AM

T99,
That was my reaction to it. It was very heart-rending, but you need to see it to really appreciate and understand the old man's perspective and motivation.

Yes, it's a child's movie, but it really is a wonderful story. I cannot possibly recommend it highly enough. Go.See.This...SQUIRREL!


I take the point; but note that it's also my point. I'm representing things on one axis, but there's an almost infinite number of variables there. So it's a teaching tool, meant to convey an idea; it isn't intended to capture everything that matters in a way that will offer predictive functionality. - Grim

Except, that given Cass' and my confusion it, perhaps, maybe, possibly, wasn't doing that job particularly well? While hypercomplexity is certainly a problem, oversimplification can be as well.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 10:49 AM

Colagirl

I found it to be the most devastating thing I've seen in years. I'm tearing up just thinking about it.

I read the Japanese visual novel, Clannad, and because of various reasons, I like to think that how women react to what some may term "chick crack" is actually what I felt from seeing the various endings of Clannad.

For some odd reason, Hollywood movies or just entertainment in general are hard pressed to hit the same emotions in men as it hits in women. The emotions exist the same, but they are triggered differently for men and women.

While it's hard to do this, I don't think it is impossible.

The Left (though Grim calls it my favorite subject, it may be more accurate to say that it is a subject with higher priority than others) has had a monopoly on emotional manipulation for awhile now. By promoting individual artistic expression, crusaders like O'Keefe, and various other grassroots organizations or individuals, one can break through the genkai, the glass ceiling.

A glass ceiling for human drama? Indeed, perhaps.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 10:51 AM

Except, that given Cass' and my confusion it, perhaps, maybe, possibly, wasn't doing that job particularly well? While hypercomplexity is certainly a problem, oversimplification can be as well.

I don't believe that was Grim's model. It was yours to begin with, wasn't it. Grim simply tried to make things more comfortable and familiar by taking other people's models and using them, even though it was difficult and non-intuitive for him.

If your own model can't explain things, that's because of the inherent limitations of that model.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 10:53 AM

When I first started talking to a philosopher in California (not a Leftist), it was hard understanding what he was talking about.

I had to go around the net and read a lot of basic foundations in philosophy as well as learn some extra vocabulary.

This is because any philosophy that talks about aesthetics, politics, or ethics, is already replete with a bunch of pseudo and concrete assumptions that are never stated. And never can be stated in the limited time and place of a discussion: physical, actual, virtual, or otherwise.

I've been reading this particular discussion and its dynamics for awhile now. What I see is that people are trying to argue 1. epistemology, 2. metaphysics, and 3. ethics all at the same time, as if they were the same things, in the same location.

They are not the same things, they are not in the same location, and they aren't even located in the same space-time in terms of causality.

It's reasonable and logical people would get confused, because (most of) philosophy wasn't built this way and it is so complex that trying to argue it from the end point of ultimate complexity (ethics and aesthetics) is like trying to reverse engineer technology 2,000 years ahead of you.

It takes a lot of work, assuming it can be done at all.

There's also some kind of funny scientific methodology going on here. With people bringing up examples and trying to prove a hypothesis with the data. Combine that with the deductive logic of philosophy, the basic axiomatic premises and constructions based upon those premises, and there are issues. Big issues.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 11:04 AM

I don't believe that was Grim's model. It was yours to begin with, wasn't it.

No, since I have yet to put forward my own model as I do not have one I feel is adequate.

To this point, I have only tried to understand what models were being offered by Cass and Grim with an eye toward increasing clarity since it seems they are talking past each other.

Cass argues that slavery is an extreme form of objectification which Grim refutes. But it seems he does so by simply saying "Well, that's different". In my opinion, this is a cop out. If the issue of slavery matters (and it appears that it does) I think the question "OK then, then where is it?" is a fair question and thus deserves to be placed within the model and not outside of it.

I have simply offered a proposed change to Grim's model that would do that. I have not, to this point anyway, endorsed nor rejected either model.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 12:10 PM

DAMN YOU!!!

I DEMAND THAT YOU ENDORSE MY MODEL IMMEDIATELY!

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 12:13 PM

But it seems he does so by simply saying "Well, that's different". In my opinion, this is a cop out.

As I noted before, it's an ethical distinction. Meaning, a distinction in the field of ethics, which has its own standards and values.

Grim may not have outright laid that context out, but for me he didn't have to. For others that aren't familiar with this to the same or similar degree, it's a different story.

There's a reason why ethics has to distinguish things like this. It doesn't matter what one thinks is right or wrong, but the entire field of ethics has to make compartments that are air and water tight for various reasons. Most of those reasons depend upon what epistemology and metaphysics it was constructed from.

I think the question "OK then, then where is it?" is a fair question

Whether it is fair or not, I wouldn't say for myself. What it is, however, is a rather geometric perspective. Combined with the x-y axis, it is even more geometric, but only in the Euclidean sense. However, there are other geometries, such as non-Euclideann geometries. Before the question of "where is it" comes up, one must necessarily ask "how do we define a place and how do we know that we know it is there".

If these questions have been asked and answered, and people have come up with x-y axis or various other ways to explain mathematical, discrete, physical, etc models then we can proceed on a common foundation. But those questions have not been asked nor answered. Instead, there is an instant teleportation to something else entirely.

Teleportation is nice if you just want to get there. But if people want to understand how it happened, then they probably should not use the teleport just yet.

I have simply offered a proposed change to Grim's model that would do that.

The issue I raised is whether Grim started (introduced) the geometric model of X-Y axis or you did. I remember that it was you, not him. If you assume that X-Y axis applies to Grim's explanation of ethics, that is only an assumption. It is neither a question nor an answer to a question.

If Grim did not introduce it, then the idea of an X-Y geometric model is not his, but rightfully the one who introduced it initially. As far as this discussion is concerned, at least. Even if Grim used it later on and tried to make it fit with modifications, if he did not introduce it initially, then he did not introduce it initially.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 12:30 PM

To use a relatively simple example that happened here, Cassandra used a dictionary definition of virtue. While that is adequate for normal discussion of non-technical subjects, it is not valid or useful for philosophy. Philosophical debate even more so.

That is just one of many many stacks of unwarranted assumptions that come about from not being familiar with the particular context and background of a particular philosophy or philosopher.

Think on how this relatively simple misunderstanding can have gross consequences later on. And this was just one word. One word out of a field that people have dedicated their entire lives to building and creating and fortifying.

This doesn't need to be complex or erudite even. If people isolate what they are talking about to one thing and then hash it out, such as defining what virtue is, then you can build the wall block by block. Too many assumptions, meaning too many unwarranted and unstated axiomatic premises, is going to lead to a block in philosophical debate. Especially when tho sides are using different axioms.

Philosophy is slightly different in that while all people make assumptions, philosophy wants to talk about them first and foremost. The problem is when philosophers stop talking about their assumptions because they have a higher order subject to work on. Then it looks like they're speaking another language. And people like David Hume and others, may even be rightly accused of making philosophy more complicated than it had to be, since many intellectuals believed it wasn't for the un-educated.

In this case, people have to assume that people understand each other's definitions. That works, for the most part. It stops working, however, when people start speaking of things they know that the rest do not know or are not familiar with. Then one must go back to axioms and check them against the other. If that can be done, progress can be made.

Technically speaking, Aristotle's Virtue Theory is in Nicomachean Ethics but the overall ethics of good vs evil is, well, part of NE and not part of NE.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 12:43 PM

Yes, I proposed an X-Y model. I, however, did not assert that the X-Y model was what was not working as a teaching aid. I made that comment about the X-only model and that was Grim's model, not mine.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 12:46 PM

You'll have to add in your comments on this one, Grim, to help me out.

Aristotle should have laid down his idea of ethics as being happiness. He defined happiness, however, as some kind of abundance or presence or balance of virtues, however, not simply an emotional state. A happiness of developing one's inner strength, wisdom, and such.

Using this ethical system, and there are plenty of other ethical systems, one can say that slavery, because it depresses, destroys, and eliminates the possibility of human happiness, to be evil. If happiness of humans is the good, then that which prevents it from happening is the evil.

Grim will probably comment in and add on my memory of it.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 12:49 PM

Cassandra used a dictionary definition of virtue. While that is adequate for normal discussion of non-technical subjects, it is not valid or useful for philosophy. Philosophical debate even more so.

As the readers and commenters here are not professional philosophers, I would submit that this was the appropriate definition to use: i.e., the commonly understood one.

This is where I have a real problem with a lot of discussions online. It's fine if a person has some special expertise they want to contribute to the discussion, but in the final analysis you have to meet people where they live.

If you can't explain it in plain English, the "cost" of conversing on your terms is unacceptably high. People do not want to have to go and read Aristotle's entire works just so they can discuss some real world phenomenon :p

Nor should they have to.

This is in no way a criticism of Grim, nor an assertion that he can't employ philosophical constructs in his argument.

It's just a general observation that if, as Ymar says, others won't be able to understand without doing extensive outside reading, that is perhaps not the most practical foundation upon which to build an argument.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 12:55 PM

I made that comment about the X-only model and that was Grim's model, not mine.

I understand the distinction you are making here.

At the same time, however, I don't think one should correlate whether the model works as a teaching aide to whether Grim's ideas themselves work.

That's because I don't see them as the same. They're independent, in other words. If Grim, by choosing a limited model that had its flaws, ended up unsuccessful, one could say that this is a lack of capability on Grim's part. I, however, would say that it is a lack of capability of the geometric model, which includes any number of axis, X, Y, or Z.

In other respects, geometric models, like graphs, are rather foreign to the field of ethics, from a philosophical perspective. Statistics and such tend to be more applicable to politics, which is based upon an ethical construct (constructed ethics).

Regardless of why it doesn't work, that it doesn't work is indisputable to all parties, I presume.

Which implies the need for a replacement.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 12:58 PM

Hah! I'm going to print that out and nail it to the wall, so I can point to it the next time we have an outbreak of whining around here. :)

I just realized something when I read that again, Grim. If you did that, wouldn't that be fostering.... pro-psychological studies bias?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 12:59 PM

Grim may not have outright laid that context out, but for me he didn't have to. For others that aren't familiar with this to the same or similar degree, it's a different story.

Don't disagree. Which is why we've been having this conversation so that a translation (if you will) can be made between unfamiliar contexts.

Before the question of "where is it" comes up, one must necessarily ask "how do we define a place and how do we know that we know it is there".

This I do disagree with. At this point, I don't so much care "where it is" or how you define a place, (Euclidean, Non-euclidean, Rectangular or Polar, or Polynomial Vector Spaces, whatever) only that it be included in the model. Where you put it is irrelevent. But when the entire issue is over the phenomena of slavery a model which says "Does Not Exist" seems incomplete.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 01:07 PM

At the same time, however, I don't think one should correlate whether the model works as a teaching aide to whether Grim's ideas themselves work.

Whether they work or not, I cannot ascertain as my understanding of it contains a great big hole. I tried to close this hole by adding another factor. Something, to which, Grim seems to adamantly oppose.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 01:12 PM

It's just a general observation that if, as Ymar says, others won't be able to understand without doing extensive outside reading, that is perhaps not the most practical foundation upon which to build an argument.

I do not claim that others would not be able to understand without outside sources. I claim, however, that if you don't know what you don't know, then you are unable to ask the right questions here to progress the argument, of any side. If that is the case, what is the point of arguing. It will go nowhere, predictably. Because people are singing off key. Even if they get through the entire song, I'm not sure what they would have gained, except a little experience. And a method to torture terrorists with.

If you are willing to put time into arguing here about the subject, why would you not commit time to understanding that which is being talked about. It makes little practical sense for someone to keep on doing something (and not getting it) when they know that they can do it better if they just spent some time studying.

Now if they don't want to study, that's okay too. They'll just be confused. If people are okay with being confused, is that okay? If that's okay, then there's no problem. If people here have an issue with being confused... well, that's only going to be solved by time. Not explanations, time. A difference.

Btw, this is not an issue where somebody tries for a little bit to explain and then quits because they say you can't understand if you don't know X, Y, and Z authors. Grim has put in actual time and effort, relative to 1 or 2 or 3 of his major posts at Blackfive. That's just an estimate on my part, of course.

This is also not an appeal to authority. It does not guarantee that a position will be demonstrated right and correct, if you read X, Y, and Z authors. It simply says that you can actually understand, counter, and make an argument once you understand X, Y, and Z. Or at the minimum, you can ask the right questions here about what you don't get and also what you do get.

In the end, you stop being confused, you start learning the subject, and you can fight back with your own arguments. This is a bad thing in return for the time invested, in say, equivalent to what was invested here? How bad of a thing is this, really.

People do not want to have to go and read Aristotle's entire works just so they can discuss some real world phenomenon

As you yourself have said, people are lazy, fallible, mortal, and don't like to take risks because they don't like getting hurt. It's personal responsibility, is it not.

Whose fault is it? Whose responsibility is it to teach you things you don't understand and do not get?

I look at things from a group hierarchy and social-economic-political framework first and foremost. There is, however, no chain of command cause, no social, no economic, and no political reason why people on the internet (here) won't go and learn stuff that they obviously want to know but don't want to expend the time to know it.

On this basis, my view is very personal orientated and not very orientated on the group.

only that it be included in the model. Where you put it is irrelevent.

How can it be irrelevant. Are you not using the model to distinguish what Grim means by "somewhere else" vis a vis slavery? If you didn't care where slavery was placed outside the continuum, then why make up a geometric scale in the first place.

Why make it be in the model, if you don't care where it goes. I know that the unknown causes a curiosity itch in people's brains, but is that really a legitimate reason for this. When people know it can be done another way.

But when the entire issue is over the phenomena of slavery a model which says "Does Not Exist" seems incomplete.

Anything created in a transient conversation is incomplete. I think it's unavoidable. It's the same as saying a differential equation doesn't have a solution. Solution=does not exist if C1=u

I don't see a need to create another model to see where what doesn't exist here, is. I suppose it can be done, but for what purpose. It isn't going to help create a solution in the first place.

Ultimately, people have to read philosophy because philosophy=time. It's the same reason people read history and other people's experiences. It equals time. Time you don't have yourself. You can see reading philosophy or Aristotle as wasting time or using up time that doesn't benefit you. Or you can see it as learning something useful both in the context of this argument as well as in the context of your own life and the life of this world.

People have worked decades of their life on this country. We read about it, not because we have time to spare for entertainment, but precisely because our lives are finite and we gain much from learning how other people have tried and failed, or tried and succeeded. History. Economics. Politics. Ethics.

How different are they, truly, from each other, in terms of providing a time boost to people's mortal lives.

The internet has digested much of the background philosophy and provided summaries. A plain google search may even find them, although I can't guarantee their fidelity or even comprehensibility.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 01:34 PM

http://www.iep.utm.edu/virtue/

This was unavailable back when I checked months ago. But now it is.

It is the source I first used as a primer on philosophy. It's very well organized, if you ask me.

If people don't want to read books, if they don't want to read this, and if they are still worried that they don't get something said here.

That becomes an obvious issue right then and there. Personally, I wasn't handed anything of this caliber. I had to find stuff out for myself. That colors all my perceptions from here on to infinity.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 01:50 PM

Which is why we've been having this conversation so that a translation (if you will) can be made between unfamiliar contexts.

I'm not lobbying against that, of course.

I'm unsure of its success, however.

I'm unsure because when Grim objected to something he didn't or couldn't tolerate, I understood and agreed with it. But YAG and Cassandra didn't agree or disagree. It is, as you said, a hole.

Translation from text to text is possible. How's one going to translate a blank slate to text though?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 02:17 PM

Ultimately, people have to read philosophy because philosophy=time.

Clarification. That entire section afterwards wasn't supposed to imply that I was addressing YAG. It was intended towards Cassandra's comments.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 02:21 PM

Ymar:

To say that unwillingness to do extensive background reading about X in order to discuss Y is "lazy" is a bit much.

Especially when it is quite possible to discuss Y without knowing anything about X. If someone engaging in a conversation about Y demands (and Grim has not done this) that the conversation can only be held by viewing the issue through the prism of X even though that is quite clearly not the case, well, I'd have to say that resisting such arbitrary demands is not only quite reasonable but entirely appropriate.

I see people do this all the time on the Internet and it is, in fact, a variation on the appeal to authority: "If you would only drop everything you're doing and read something that explains my argument for me, you would understand why I'm right and you're wrong."

That's nonsense. If you are right, you ought to be able to justify your position on your own. And if you cannot (or it is, perhaps, to time consuming to do so) then that is the wrong way to make the argument.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 02:25 PM

The illustration has worked well elsewhere, but in this case our starting points may be so different that some confusion is to be expected. In that case, it's necessary to talk it out until we do come to understand each other.

I think the confusion in this case is that you (and Cass) both want a model that really does account for everything. You've asserted that I have to do that: "*If* there is only one axis, then yes, everything does have to fit on it. *If* everything does not fit on it, then you must have more than one axis. There are no other options."

That's true if and only if you can really reduce human morality to a set of variables. I don't think it works that way, and I think an attempt to impose such a structure on it leads to error.

The error I think we've got with the 'slavery is just an extreme form of objectification' proposition is this: what a young guy is doing in looking at a young woman walking down the sidewalk is just nothing like slavery. It's like those radical thinkers who end up declaring that all sex is rape, or that marriage is a form of rape; once you've assented to the idea that ordinary, normal, healthy behavior belongs on an axis with things like rape and slavery, it becomes hard to draw boundaries.

These problems exist even when things really are of the same kind: what is the difference between having hair and being bald? Is the border, say, one thousand hairs exactly? So, would you then say that a man with 1,001 hairs has hair, but the man with 999 hairs is bald? Probably you can't make the distinction, so we end up saying that someone is "balding." OK, but now how do you define the difference between "balding" and "bald"?

Well, roughly: you do it by instinct or intuition. People have different intuitions, though, so they come up with different answers. To you, I may be bald; to Cass, only balding. That's fine, because nothing really hangs on the question of whether I'm "balding" or "bald." However, quite a lot hangs on the question of how you draw the boundaries between marriage and rape. A good place to start might be by saying: "That's just wrong; there is just no comparison between consensual marriage and rape. We might give you cases of forced marriages in other societies, but what we're calling 'marriage' here in America is not rape. It's not a kind of rape; it's not a lesser kind of rape; it's not a species of rape. It's just completely different."

That's all I'm doing here. Does slavery involve something like what Cass and T99 are calling 'objectification'? Sure, and a lot of other things: violence, criminality, sexual desire, etc.

It's not, however, a behavior that should be placed anywhere on any kind of range with 'guy sees a girl on the sidewalk.' It doesn't really matter how much daylight you place on that range between the one thing and the other; they just don't belong together.

Things that do belong on that range: 'guys sees girl on sidewalk and wolf-whistles'; 'guy sees girl on sidewalk and chastely looks away, for fear of giving offense'; 'guy sees girl on sidewalk and chastely looks away, thereby giving offense because she really wanted him to notice her'; 'guy sees girl on sidewalk, notices she's carrying an anthropology textbook and strikes up a conversation with her using anthropology as a pretext'; 'guy sees girl, etc., and really is interested in anthropology as well as the girl'; etc.

We shouldn't, though, take this ordinary case draw a line from it to "slavery." Regardless of how far away we put 'slavery' on that line, the idea of drawing the line seems unreasonable to me on its face.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 02:53 PM

"You have to draw the line somewhere." --W.B. Travis

Posted by: BillT at April 15, 2010 02:59 PM

once you've assented to the idea that ordinary, normal, healthy behavior belongs on an axis with things like rape and slavery, it becomes hard to draw boundaries.

No, it doesn't. The argument for where those boundary lines should be drawn is still decided on the merits, not as a consequence of taxonomy.

I see an extremely clear distinction between them and I'm the one saying that they exist along the same continuum (possible immoral/moral human responses to sexual desire, for instance). I cannot prevent others from doing something that is both factually inaccurate and unreasonable. The notion that unilaterally stipulating something will keep unreasonable people from doing unreasonable things is... well, unreasonable!

You cannot prevent some people from saying that behaviors that lie at the extreme opposite ends of the same continuum are, in fact, the same. You cannot "control the dialogue" by insisting that they look at it your way.

This is precisely the same error I have seen with that whole intentionalism thing: it strikes me as problematic to say (in effect) "I am controlling the dialogue by telling you you have to use my [artificially narrow, from the other person's point of view] interpretation rather than your own".

Of course, you can say that.

But when you do so, you are neither controlling the other person's actions nor changing their mind. It just looks arbitrary.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 03:09 PM

It doesn't really matter how much daylight you place on that range between the one thing and the other; they just don't belong together.

You keep saying that, but you have yet to make an argument as to why they don't belong together except that you're afraid someone will conclude that they are "the same" even though they quite clearly are not.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 03:11 PM

This is the stuff that drives people insane.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/ont-arg/

The kind of internal logic it takes to work this thing around on its hamster wheels would also be useful in destroying Leftist dogma.

No wonder Greek logic or the thinking of philosophy isn't a popular subject in public education. A bad idea to start giving new slaves things to sharpen their minds on.

That could make somebody into a weapon. Can't have that.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 03:12 PM

...but you have yet to make an argument as to why they don't belong together except that...

One problem I'm having is that you don't recognize that I've made two different arguments on that very subject. I'm not sure if you don't recognize that this is why I keep bringing up these points, but I certainly have made the arguments.

One reason is that we normally distinguish sharply between these things in terms of solutions. There are problems we solve with coercion, and others we solve with argument -- or agree to tolerate if we can't solve them. That's one reason these things don't belong together: we have a very clear sense that these problems are different enough that they require categorically different solutions. If two different problems require entirely different categories of solutions, the problems also belong in different categories. One is not just a worse kind of the other: for example, insect infestation in your house might occur slightly or horribly. But you wouldn't have a different category of response to it: in both cases, your response would be to try and eliminate the insects. Since the response is in the same category, it's reasonable to think that even a small insect infestation (a fly in the kitchen; flyswatter) is of the same category as a major infestation (hundreds of wasps under the deck; hire a professional to spray insecticide).

So that's reason one: our responses to these problems suggest that they belong in different categories.

Another reason these things don't belong together is that one of them is necessarily wrong, whereas the other one is not. Slavery is wrong necessarily. There is no way to do it right. Feeling sexual interest in a person is not wrong necessarily: there is a way to do it right. Therefore, they are two separate kinds of things.

So that's reason two: while one of these things is necessarily wrong, the other is not necessarily wrong, and can in fact be virtuous if done the right way.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 03:35 PM

o say that unwillingness to do extensive background reading about X in order to discuss Y is "lazy" is a bit much.

I'm saying that given your past words on human nature, whether it was spoken earnestly or sarcastically, I will repeat those words, whether exactly or only by paraphrase, back to you. And you can either defend against your own words or you can redraw your statements to the effect that it is consistent and coherent.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 03:38 PM

*sigh*

Grim, by definition my scale included both moral and immoral responses to sexual desire. So to say that a thing doesn't belong on such a scale because it is "always wrong" makes no sense when by definition, my scale includes things that are wrong.

Likewise, to say that a grossly immoral thing does not belong on my scale because it's so grossly immoral that we are justified in using force against the actor also does not make sense. If a feature of the scale is that it measures responses to sexual desire (both moral and immoral) it - by definition - includes the full range of responses.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 03:52 PM

If someone engaging in a conversation about Y demands (and Grim has not done this) that the conversation can only be held by viewing the issue through the prism of X even though that is quite clearly not the case, well, I'd have to say that resisting such arbitrary demands is not only quite reasonable but entirely appropriate.

Since when has it been appropriate to view knowledge as a demand.

As you noted, it is not Grim making the arbitrary demands. It is those demanding of him an explanation that when given, cannot or will not be understood. It is non-sensical to demand something which you cannot use. Even after realizing that the answers received cannot be used, continual demands can now be categorized as arbitrary.

How is demanding knowledge of others, with no pre-requisite work by the self, entirely appropriate in your view.

A virtual conversation is not a physical conversation. The differences define their limitations and ranges. What is normal in a physical conversation, need not be explicitly normal in a virtual conversation. What would be normal in a virtual conversation (googling background data for an argument or subject) would not be necessarily normal in a physical conversation.

Nobody says to their conversation partner, "go google this term and I'll wait 20 minutes for you to finish and continue our talk". In a virtual conversation, nobody says, "the fact that your eyes are looking somewhere else and you're doing something else before replying, is rude given that I should have your undivided attention for the length of this conversation".

Stuff that looks the same, acts the same, even have the same content, may not be the same.

I see people do this all the time on the Internet and it is, in fact, a variation on the appeal to authority: "If you would only drop everything you're doing and read something that explains my argument for me, you would understand why I'm right and you're wrong."

I've already addressed this line of argument. Why waste time bringing up stuff that no longer matters. If you have people on the internet that do this, bring them here and argue against them. How does this concern me again?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 03:54 PM

Ymar:

There is a big difference asking someone to refer back to something that is directly on point and without which it is not possible to have the discussion at all and demanding that someone read something that is necessary, not to the discussion itself, but only to your decision to frame your argument in a particular way.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 03:56 PM

Cass:

I understand your scale. I'm just saying that building such a scale at all represents a category error in your approach to ethics.

I've explained why I think so. You're free to disagree. Still, you might consider how you'd apply the 'category of solution indicates category of problem' principle to another case: is President Obama right to say that we're no longer waging a war on terror?

If you agree that he is not right, because we are using solutions from the category of "war," then you endorse the principle in another context. But that's a separate argument; I mention it merely as something to consider.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 04:07 PM

Likewise, to say that a grossly immoral thing does not belong on my scale because it's so grossly immoral that we are justified in using force against the actor also does not make sense.

So you think my telling you that you should read an internet article, not even a book, on this subject is arbitrary because I say it is necessary to comprehend something essential. You think this is not directly on point.

On the other hand, after getting arguments or answers out of Grim you are still in a position where you say it makes no sense.

What makes more sense. Reading an internet article to obtain more knowledge so that you can understand what Grim is saying so that you can disagree with him on the same, not your, the same level, or telling me that I'm being arbitrary in stating that you need to read background on this stuff because it is necessary.

If you don't think it is necessary, then by all means, it doesn't have to make sense. So stop talking about it. Wouldn't that be the logical solution. If it is neither necessary nor does it make sense to you ...

Isn't that case closed already.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 04:07 PM

not to the discussion itself, but only to your decision to frame your argument in a particular way.

This is silly. Understanding what Virtue Theory or Virtue Ethics is or is not, is very important to this discussion.

Stop confusing it with 'framing my argument'. Pretending that I'm that guy who keeps saying "read this and this, you're wrong, and I'm right" is pretty laughable by now, Cassandra.

I do not particularly care how you do it. But if you cannot do it here, with the time I've seen invested here, why is it unreasonable for me to provide the tools and resources so that people can get it. How is that arbitrary even.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 04:10 PM

No, Ymar, it is not "silly".

Understanding what Virtue Theory or Virtue Ethics is or is not is very important to YOU. It is not in the slightest bit important to me because there are other ways to have the discussion that work just fine.

I believe I will take you up on the "stop talking about it" suggestion.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 04:17 PM

I understand your scale. I'm just saying that building such a scale at all represents a category error in your approach to ethics.

Only if I accept that your approach to ethics is the only possible or proper one. And I don't, Grim. It may be the one you prefer, and if so you may be entirely correct to say that by your approach, I'm doing it all wrong.

But I'm not interested in having a conversation that demands that I concede that there is only one correct way to look at things - yours. There are a lot of analogies I could use here, but I'll refrain.

I'm perfectly happy to agree that my approach is inconsistent with yours. I am not willing to agree that my approach is wrong because it is not yours.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 04:23 PM

It is not in the slightest bit important to me because there are other ways to have the discussion that work just fine.

Oh, I see. If that's how you wish to frame your arguments, then.


By the by, I have no reason or need to make arguments on behalf of Aristotle or Virtue Theory. Grim is doing that and there's no point in me duplicating his efforts.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 04:29 PM

I believe I will take you up on the "stop talking about it" suggestion.

I doubt your conception of what "it" is is very similar to what my idea of "it" is.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 04:31 PM

If my only reason were, "This is the right way because this is the way I see it," I'd be forced to concede your point.

However, please notice that I have actually offered several reasons to think that your approach -- lumping these things in one category -- is mistaken. It is you, not me, who is responding merely by saying, "I see it differently."

And, really, you're welcome to see it differently. Your method hasn't led you to any bad results. The flaws are at the margins and boundaries; as you stay safely within the zone of what is moral, it doesn't really matter if your map gets blurry at the frontiers. For you, it works just fine, because you weren't going to the frontier anyway.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 04:33 PM

It is you, not me, who is responding merely by saying, "I see it differently."

I have said a great deal more than that. But when a conversation gets to this point, it's time to let it go.

I already conceded that if we were all to adopt your framing of virtue and ethics, your scale might make sense. Apparently, that was not enough.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 04:42 PM

OK, lots have been said so this will be rather disjointed. I apologize in advance.

Whose responsibility is it to teach you things you don't understand and do not get?

When one is trying to persuade you to their perspective, then it is their responsibility, not yours. They accept the burden of persuasion when they take on that task. Thus Cass' duty is to present her model in a way that Grim can understand and Grim's responsibility to present his model in a way Cass can understand. And were I to offer a model it would be my responsibility to present it in an understandable manner to them. It may be nice for them to conduct some research on my perspective, but it is by no means their duty to do so.

How can it be irrelevant. Are you not using the model to distinguish what Grim means by "somewhere else" vis a vis slavery? If you didn't care where slavery was placed outside the continuum, then why make up a geometric scale in the first place.

OK, what I meant was that I am perfectly willing to let Grim decide the where and the how of placing it. If he wants to a spherical geometry in a n-dimensional polynomial vector space using polar coordinates, that's fine. It makes no difference to me. But if slavery is going to matter (and again, it appears that it absolutely does since we have spent nearly 200 comments talking about it) it must have a place in the model or, as Grim says, the model is broken.

It doesn't really matter how much daylight you place on that range between the one thing and the other; they just don't belong together.

You've made this type of assertion before. Essentially that slavery cannot be reformed to be "good". That, however, is not necessarily true.

The taking of life is Murder.
The taking of property is Theft.
The taking of liberty is Slavery.

How is it that only the first two can be reformed to no longer be evil? Taking the life of the person who has broken into your home and is trying to rape your daughter is not evil. Taking the property of the thief to return it to its proper owner is not evil. Likewise, it seems to me the "reformation" of slavery is jail. Both take the liberty of a person, but one does so for reasons we deem proper and the other for reasons we deem evil.

That conclusion is also why I happen to agree with this:
The error I think we've got with the 'slavery is just an extreme form of objectification' proposition is this: what a young guy is doing in looking at a young woman walking down the sidewalk is just nothing like slavery.

Jail, like slavery, is not an *individual* phenomena. They require societal sanction. We see murder and theft without societal acceptance plenty. We ban murder, it still happens. We ban theft, it still happens.

But we ban slavery and it stops.

That, to me, suggests that there's something else besides just going to extremes that's happening.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 04:58 PM

But we ban slavery and it stops.

No, it does not stop. Slavery exists right here in the United States, it exists in Europe, it exists in Asia.

It exists in all kinds of countries where it is illegal and making it illegal did not stop it. What it DID do, is make it a punishable offense.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 05:03 PM

And slavery absolutely IS an individual phenomenon.

If one person kidnaps and enslaves another, it is individual. There are cases like that all the time in the DC area. Sometimes it is sexual slavery, sometimes domestic slavery.

It also happens on an organizational level, just as there are individual crimes and organized crime.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 05:05 PM

Depends on how you define slavery, I guess. The prostitute who runs away from her pimp will not be returned to him.

The same could not be said about Southern US slaves, or Mayan slaves, or Amazonian slaves, or Egyption slaves or African tribal slaves or ...

It took more than a single person to do that. It takes a collective effort.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 05:15 PM

It took more than a single person to do that. It takes a collective effort.

There's the individual vs group focus thing again.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 15, 2010 05:24 PM

FWIW, I do think that things like what happened to Jaycee Lee Dugard absolutely do belong on the axis you propose. I absolutely do think it is an extreme form of objectification.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 05:27 PM

Actually, that's not completely accurate. I absolutely think that an extreme form of objectification is a prerequisite. It is a necessary condition. I am still on the fence that it is a sufficient condition.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 05:33 PM

First of all, I agree with you that I bear the burden of explaining myself in terms others can understand. If I fail to do that, it's my fault (assuming that the others are trying to understand, and not just trying to disrupt the discussion; internet trolls, in other words, do not get this benefit).

Now about this:

How is it that only the first two can be reformed to no longer be evil? Taking the life of the person who has broken into your home and is trying to rape your daughter is not evil. Taking the property of the thief to return it to its proper owner is not evil. Likewise, it seems to me the "reformation" of slavery is jail. Both take the liberty of a person, but one does so for reasons we deem proper and the other for reasons we deem evil.

Murder is not the taking of life; I defined it above as "intentional killing of the innocent." So, killing the guilty is not murder; killing the innocent by accident is not murder either. Thus, I have no problem with the concept of shooting someone who has broken into my home with rape on his mind; indeed, I would view that as an occasion to exercise the virtues of courage and prowess.

Theft may be properly defined as the taking of property; but I can't wrong the thief in the way you describe. The property I take from him isn't his... that's why he's a thief!

So, for your model to hold, I'd need to show that there were cases in which the intentional killing of the innocent was right; or that it was right to steal from people who actually did own the property I was taking. (The outside limit on that is 'stealing bread from a rich merchant because you're starving: is that morally right, or is it still wrong, even if we can have enough sympathy that we might forgo punishing the thief?)

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 05:36 PM

The question of whether government (or society) will protect your "right" to enslave others is a different question from whether people will stop enslaving others if that act is not only *not* legally protected, but legally punishable?

I was trying to figure out: has there ever been a legal form of "murder" (the taking of another person’s life without legal justification or provocation)?

I say "no" because the absence of "legality" is part of the common law definition of "murder".

Has there ever been a legal form of "slavery"? (A civil relationship in which one person has absolute power over the life, fortune, and liberty of another.)

Aside from the detestable treatment of teenagers by their parents, yes. It was once legal for one person to "own" (buy/sell) another. I would even argue that many years ago, some marriages would have qualified because in some jurisdictions married women did not have enforceable legal rights to buy/sell property, contract freely, refuse sex, leave the marriage. And LEOs did return women to their husbands.

Has there ever been a legal form of theft (The unauthorized taking and removal of the Personal Property of another by an individual who intends to permanently deprive the owner of it)? We could argue over whether taxation or eminent domain constitute theft. Confiscation?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 05:42 PM

Hi guys. Sorry I'm late. Did I miss anything?
Wait, before you begin, you should read this article about The Manliness Movement or some such thing. Guess the name of the Rutgers prrofessor trying to push for a "Mens Studies" program. C'mon, guess! Give up?
Professor Lionell Tiger. Lionell Tiger! The dude should be at Princeton.

So, what are you guys talking about?

Posted by: spd rdr at April 15, 2010 05:46 PM

Y-A-G:

It occurs to me, on reflection, that you've actually offered a perfect defense of the category principle that I was asserting! Thank you. :)

You begin by saying, "Murder is the taking of life," and then immediately offer something that is "the taking of life" but not "murder." So, it is ejected from the category.

Note, too, that the 'categorically different responses means we're talking about different categories' principle holds here.

What response would we use against the man who intentionally kills an innocent? Jail, prison, death.

What response would we use against the man who kills a rapist who has broken in to his house? Praise, buy him beer, give him a medal.

The fact that our response is categorically different indicates that these two things shouldn't be in the same category. We can see that this is reliably true.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 05:52 PM

or that it was right to [take] from people who actually did own the property I was taking.

It's called taxes. Which, when done justly is considered proper and when done unjustly it is considered evil (tyranny).

Murder is not the taking of life;

Conceeded, I was sloppy. Still, when the taking of life is done justly it is considered proper, when done unjustly it is evil. Thus murder is simply one value on the scale of taking life. But that does not mean that the taking of life cannot be done properly. Murder is simply defined to be the unjust side of that scale.

Under this framework, so to, the taking of liberty. Liberty may be taken justly (jail) or unjustly (slavery). Slavery cannot be done right because it is definitionally the unjust side of that scale. Like murder, it is a value on the scale, not the scale itself.

**None of this should be taken to say that I hold to this framework, only that such a framework can be constructed.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 05:59 PM

So, what are you guys talking about?

If you can explain that to me spd, you're a better man than I am...

...ummm.... D'OH!!!!

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 06:04 PM

Taking the life of the person who has broken into your home and is trying to rape your daughter is not evil.

Actually, I could be wrong about this but it's not that the law says that taking the life of your daughter's attacker isn't murder. According to the legal definition, it IS murder.

Elements of murder:

1. The taking of a life
2. With malice (intent)

Element #2 requires more explanation:

...the concept of "malice aforethought" is a complex one that does not necessarily mean premeditation. The following states of mind are recognized as constituting the various forms of "malice aforethought":

1. Intent to kill,
2. Intent to inflict grievous bodily harm short of death,
3. Reckless indifference to an unjustifiably high risk to human life (sometimes described as an "abandoned and malignant heart"), or
4. Intent to commit a dangerous felony (the "felony-murder" doctrine).

If you kill your daughter's attacker, element 1 is satisfied: you did take a life.

And if you intended to kill him or to inflict GBH, element #2 is satisfied.

So it IS murder.

It's just that the law recognizes situations in which we will not punish you for that act. Defense of others is such a defense.

It's worth noting here that you cannot just kill your daughter's attacker in order to claim this defense. You have to reasonably believe killing him is necessary to save her life.

So the whole "throwing it out" thing isn't accurate here. The law does recognize the act as murder but also declines to punish the act due to mitigating circumstances.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 06:13 PM

Liberty may be taken justly (jail) or unjustly (slavery).

All that means is that you need to adjust your category, just as you did with murder. Instead of standing on the original category ("slavery is the taking of liberty"), you adjust as we did with murder.

The 'category of response' offers you a reliable way of doing that. What response do we feel is deserved by a citizen who captures a notorious murderer and turns him over to the law? Praise. What response do we feel is deserved if the same citizen captures a helpless girl and holds her in his basement? Death, or at least prison.

The categorically different responses show that these things should not be grouped together. Placing them together is a category error.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 06:14 PM

The 'category of response' offers you a reliable way of doing that.

Actually it doesn't, because there is no universally accepted response to rape or slavery. In parts of the world they're quite legal.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 06:25 PM

The categorically different responses show that these things should not be grouped together. Placing them together is a category error.

I don't see this at all. The category of taking life can certainly hold both self-defense and murder with no problems whatsoever.

I was trying to figure out: has there ever been a legal form of "murder" (the taking of another person’s life without legal justification or provocation)?

This kinda gets where I'm going. Murder is usually considered the individual action. When done by state/societal sanction we usually no longer call it murder, but genocide, democide, holocaust, etc. Similarly, we usually don't call individual action genocide even when it is the exact same thing.

Slavery also usually carries the connotation of state/societal sanction. The individual case is still horrible, because it *is* the exact same thing. And if we are to be limited to one axis, I do agree it would fit at the extreme end. But as I said earlier, it seems that extreme objectification is certainly a necessary component, I'm just not convinced (one way or the other) at the moment it is sufficient.

Intuitively it just seems like their needs to be something else too, but I can't construct an argument out of intuition.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 15, 2010 06:40 PM

The category of "taking life" holds, but it is not an ethical category. What we discover is that "taking life" is not something we have a categorical ethical sense about: we divide it naturally along these lines.

...there is no universally accepted response to rape or slavery...

Or anything else.

Even "murder" is very slippery. For example, at times in Japanese history a samurai could kill a peasant for no reason at all: in one famous example, just to test the edge on his sword.

Now, that meets your test for being not-murder in a trivial fashion, because it has a 'legal' justification. But it fails mine: it is intentional killing of the innocent.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 07:05 PM

"Intuitively it just seems like their needs to be something else too..."

I think what you're trying to say is that it's worse when an evil is endorsed by the state, than when it is merely being practiced in secret by an individual. And indeed it is objectively worse, because evil then becomes possible on a very wide scale: since you can do it openly, and without difficulty or punishment, anyone can do it.

That's why I make no real reference to the law in constructing ethical systems. The mere fact that a law does or doesn't ban something is irrelevant; we know there can be unjust laws. If Congress were to re-legalize slavery tomorrow, and we found that underwater homeowners were selling their daughters to pay off their mortgages, we would still be right in expressing moral horror.

That's the good thing about having an 'evil' category. Evil can't be justified or moderated, or trained to the good: so when we see people doing evil, we can condemn it regardless of how popular it is, or how well protected by law.

The category of 'abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother' is an example of an evil thing. It has extraordinary protection under our current laws. It's still entirely wrong.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 07:10 PM

Grim:

Even the question of innocence is subjective. Very much so, in fact.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 07:23 PM

I agree: although, in this case, it does apply both by the samurai's standard and mine. It wasn't that the peasant did anything; it's that he wanted to test his blade.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 08:03 PM

Sounds like extreme objectification to me :p

*running like helk*

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 08:07 PM

Yes, but not murder, according to your model! It was legal.

Actually, this may be a case of real objectification: entirely unlike the cases where men are reacting to women as women, all the samurai wanted was something adequate to testing his blade. Presumably a pig would have done just as well. Whereas there is no substitute for a woman for a man who likes women, a pig would have substituted for this peasant perfectly; so, to that degree, this may be the new limit case for objectification as you and T99 use the term. It might even be a case that would satisfy my terms for objectification, because all he really wanted was an object (not a peasant or even a man; just a flesh-and-bone object for sword testing).

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 08:24 PM

I have no "model" for murder.

I presented two different legal definitions. Neither is "my model" and under the second definition it most definitely WOULD be murder.

Whereas there is no substitute for a woman for a man who likes women

A man who truly "likes" women doesn't objectify them. He recognizes that they are people who exist for their own benefit and not for his. There are a great many men who do not even believe women are fully human.

You may choose to call that "liking" women. I have another name for it and it has nothing to do with liking, respect, or even basic decency.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 15, 2010 08:46 PM

Well, I only meant 'likes women' in the sense that some men 'like boys.' That's merely an ambiguity in the language, though; your point about the term 'likes' holds for either women or boys.

Posted by: Grim at April 15, 2010 08:49 PM

I presented two different legal definitions. Neither is "my model" and under the second definition it most definitely WOULD be murder.

Then what is your model. Skepticism and moral relativity can't be it, presumably.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 16, 2010 12:51 AM

Ymar:

We are not discussing murder and developing a model for murder goes far beyond the scope of this discussion. As for this part of your comment, it is unworthy of you and certainly unworthy of the standard I try to set for discussions here at VC:

Skepticism and moral relativity can't be it, presumably.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 16, 2010 07:48 AM

I think what you're trying to say is that it's worse when an evil is endorsed by the state, than when it is merely being practiced in secret by an individual.

That's true, but not it.

This may not exactly be the same thing, but there are 3 individuals in this world whom I know whose (by their own actions) entire existence I am completely apathetic to. I would not celebrate their misfortune. Nor would I lament their success.

To me, because of their own actions, they are not human. I mean that in the way that if that Samurai had tested his blade on them I would feel no different than had he had used a pig. Just.Don't.Care.

But I still don't have it in me to "test that blade" myself. Couldn't do it. Perhaps this is because I haven't dehumanized/objectified them enough, but it feels like it would take something else, something different to reach that place.

But, as I said, feelings and intuition are not arguments. This is why I have tried to understand/poke holes in the ones ya'll have offered: to try to see if either could be patched up or even cobbled together because, right now, both leave me unsatisfied.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 16, 2010 10:15 AM

I still don't have it in me to "test that blade" myself. Couldn't do it. Perhaps this is because I haven't dehumanized/objectified them enough, but it feels like it would take something else, something different to reach that place.

I don't have it in me, either. But there are people who do have it in them.

How do we explain that? How do we explain people who don't care if other human beings are degraded, hurt, shamed, or abused so long as they are "entertained"?

And that is a very real part of the human sex drive. I don't even think it is on the fringes, really. Women have rape fantasies who would never want to be actually raped. Men have rape fantasies who would never actually rape a woman.

I don't know that this is the answer, but I sense that that unwillingness has to do with the degree to which the other person is viewed as "human" or "like me". If we identify with another person, we are not likely to wish to see that person hurt or abused in any way.

How do we explain folks who not only have these arguably "normal" (in that they are shared by a large proportion of people) fantasies, but are willing to either hurt others directly or see them hurt?

I admit that I cannot understand this. The only explanation I can think of is the inability or outright refusal to think how you would feel in that situation: a lack of empathy. If certain treatment would be painful/degrading/abhorrent to you, it seems natural to assume it would be thus to others.

Unless, of course, you convince yourself that they are not like you and therefore it is OK to treat them in a way you would never tolerate yourself or permit those you care about to be treated.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 16, 2010 10:34 AM

Some of it seems to be a difference in brain function: in some people, you can see on the brain scan that their head just works differently with regard to these questions. It's not that they fail to have empathy, so much as they are incapable of empathy.

I said above that I don't think fantasy is very closely related to how we act, and I think that for roughly the reason you cite here. It's nowhere clearer than in Japan today, where you have these manga comics that are just horrible -- we used to see them in China, too -- but a population that is among the most law-abiding and orderly in the world. Presumably the comics say something real about their fantasy life; but they haven't attempted to construct a society that would allow them to live out those fantasies. I doubt many of them really want to live them out.

Y-A-G says that intuitions are not arguments, but they're often a good place to start looking for the truth. Here's my intuition.

I don't think that empathy is what stops me from killing people -- at least, not "empathy" in the sense you mean it, "Those people are like me!"

What keeps me from killing or hurting people is a strong sense that it's wrong to do so. Not, "I wouldn't like that myself, so I should extend this to others," but a primitive sense that it's wrong. I don't think I either have, or need, a rational process for this.

One reason to believe this might be the case is that I feel the wrongness more strongly in cases where the person is less like me. For example, insofar as I belong in a category of humanity, it would be something like: adult male human. Presumably I see other adult male humans as more like me than children, or women. Yet that very category is the one where I feel the least objection to causing harm. There are lots of cases in which I feel no objection to causing harm to members of that category; and quite a few in which I feel I would have a positive duty to cause harm to members of that category.

On the other hand, I have a very strong, primitive desire to avoid causing harm to women or children, and to protect them instead.

If empathy were at the root of this for me, then, we'd expect me to extend benefits especially to people who were very close to being like me; maybe somewhat less readily to those who were further away. The opposite is true, which suggests that empathy is not (for me) at the root.

Posted by: Grim at April 16, 2010 11:08 AM

Perhaps this is because I haven't dehumanized/objectified them enough, but it feels like it would take something else, something different to reach that place.

Normal humans require a justification great enough to use violence. Not because there are physical limiters on the tools available the mind-body connection, but because of an internal restriction.

Any kind of human emotion serves as a short cut to a justification to use violence. Any thug, loan shark, knee breaker, or those engaged in hot blooded killing, requires a justification. The violence must serve a goal separate from simply the death of another.

Depending on the person involved and their concept of social legitimacy, moral fortitude, and character integrity, the justifications that would be able to start up violence may be sufficient for one but insufficient for another. Because violence is a tool to accomplish the desires of humanity, used by humans with a motive, it is inevitably subject to the subjective whims and perceptions of the individual user.

There are individuals that can short cut the necessary steps, although even serial killers must have some motivation, if only personal gratification, for killing. The difference is that humans normally view other humans as a threat or an obstacle precisely because they are human. Thus one necessarily needs to think in a social setting, that this person is an obstacle to one's rise in the hierarchy or some such monkey politics, in order to think about the justifications for violence. Others don't need to think, they just feel humiliated or something equally strong of an emotion, that propels them to use violence to get what they think they can get using violence.

The coldest killers don't even think about what they are doing as killing humans. It is just some abstract action, same as eating bread or going to the toilet, done upon some object that moves in a certain way and sounds a certain way. There's no so social dilemma, no social guilt, no need to go through the hoops of social ostracization or social acceptance. The idea of "society" even matters not to the sociopath. People are not people, but just things that can trigger pleasure or satisfaction once a certain action is done upon them.

Normal humans cannot simply forget about society. Both for evolutionary reasons and because of indoctrinated behavior. Self-deception only works so far, because it has to be maintained. One never totally forgets that one is in a social setting, with other humans that act like us, think like us, that may actually be like us. Even for those killing others because they wish to protect their clan, the recognition that their enemies are humans and will not stop endangering your family because they also have emotions and families to protect, never entirely goes away. Inevitably, for those that tell themselves that they aren't killing humans, yet necessarily thinks of their targets as having human emotions and behavior, the contradiction wears upon the soul eventually.

As for this part of your comment, it is unworthy of you and certainly unworthy of the standard I try to set for discussions here at VC:-C

I'm not entirely captivated by your attempts to configure things in such a fashion that relatively simple observations on my part are distorted in both action and deed by your continual refinements.

Since you won't actually involve yourself in the details of what you insinuate, imply, and think my views are, I have no duty to elaborate upon what I mean beyond the simple claims I have made. You claim it is not silly and I can claim that it is. That's the extent of things. Somehow this "violates" some kind of purported standard. The Veil of Illusion if you ask me. If you will not give your reasons why things are so, neither will I.

I do not assume you know philosophy's view of the school of skepticism, because that may be outside the boundaries of this discussion, no. There is the vernacular definition. Somehow even this is beyond some illusionary boundary. Presuming that you are not speaking of skepticism (that you simply have your own alternate) and that this alternate isn't moral relativism in the guise of an institution like international law, is now somehow beyond the pale? Your definition of such is ridiculous. I did not state that I wanted to know what your model on murder is. I gave you an open ended subject. What I got back was nothing very good.

We are not discussing murder and developing a model for murder goes far beyond the scope of this discussion.

How many more of these kinds of claims am I going to have to read from you, Cassandra. Who is this "we" you are talking about here. Is the "we" as you define it, those that were talking about legal definitions of murder or simply something else entirely. This We vs the Other dichotomy is very parochial and very old.

It looks to me like somebody was talking about "models" and "murder" and "legal definitions". Now while I cannot claim full cognition of what these things mean to various people here, there's no reason why I shouldn't be asking for elaboration. Is there a reason why I shouldn't ask for elaborations here, Cassandra? If you don't want to elaborate, why not say so. If you don't understand, why not say so. It's not like it'd be something new under the sun for this discussion.


P.S.

I don't want to hear what it is you think unworthy. You have already refused basic generosity on my part, refused to even recognize the value of knowledge for knowledge's sake, and with a short sight of vision proceeded to set arbitrary hard limits on what this discussion should or should not be about. That's tolerable, because I am a guest here. There's just a small problem, however.

I suggest you lay off on the personal comments about what you think of me, Cassandra. I'm not at the point where I would be unwillingly to respond in kind. But if you keep pushing, you become the aggressor. There's a big difference in defending your own boundaries and trespassing on mine. Try and remember where the line was and get back to it.

I do not recognize that you are someone with the right to tell me what I am or am not. I would be curious as to know who made up this entitlement, however.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 16, 2010 11:20 AM

What keeps me from killing or hurting people is a strong sense that it's wrong to do so. Not, "I wouldn't like that myself, so I should extend this to others," but a primitive sense that it's wrong.

If you are speaking of what is primitive, why not go all the way back and look at the evolutionary benefits of social cooperation vs unfettered killing of humans by humans.

Inevitably, there should be a strong correlation between the survival of a tribe and a tribe's ability to get along, if not well at least peacefully, with other tribes. Human warfare isn't something new under the sun, but without the benefits of civilization, wars between tribes would inevitably have led to the starvation or complete annihilation of the losing tribe. And perhaps even the winning tribe.

There should have been some evolutionary benefit to tribes, leaders, and social customs that allowed the conservation of strength from fighting other humans to fighting humanity's natural environment.

If empathy were at the root of this for me, then, we'd expect me to extend benefits especially to people who were very close to being like me; maybe somewhat less readily to those who were further away.

Empathy can be used for social cooperation. But I think the truth of the matter is that empathy is also very very useful for warfare and killing. Knowing the heart and mind of someone else, makes them very easy to kill. Or at least, easier than otherwise. In terms of assassination, treason, murder, or warfare, empathy is a very very nice tool in the box. Subtle, though. Very subtle. After all, a traitor is dangerous because he knows us better than the enemy does. He knows our weaknesses better than the enemy does. He is trusted by us, so he can do more damage using that trust. Empathy allows the traitor to project what I think he should feel. It allows him to pretend to have emotions based upon an analysis of the emotions of others.

I suppose the popular refrain is that empathy always leads to compassion, thus is an Ultimate Good. I don't think that's the case.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 16, 2010 11:29 AM

In general, Ymar, it's a good thing for women to be involved in setting standards for us (and vice versa). Especially in their own house. :)

Besides, it was a compliment. "That's unworthy of you" means "I think you're better than that." It'd be wise not to try to prove her wrong. :)

I realize you didn't mean what you said the way she took it. She's misread me several times here too, but that's just a danger of internet communication. It's important to be forgiving when it happens, and remember that the person you're talking to is someone you know -- from long experience -- to be a good person.

Posted by: Grim at April 16, 2010 11:32 AM

"...why not go all the way back..."

Well, right! That's more or less what I do mean to do. I think we have to go all the way down to the meat to find the root of a lot of these things; and the meat was programmed by evolution.

I suppose the popular refrain is that empathy always leads to compassion, thus is an Ultimate Good. I don't think that's the case.

Interesting point.

Posted by: Grim at April 16, 2010 11:34 AM

The violence must serve a goal separate from simply the death of another.

But if the target isn't human...? Is it violence to shoot a paper plate?

I care about the welfare of those 3 individuals about as much as I care for the welfare of a paper plate. But I would have no problem shooting the latter but a strong aversion to the former.

Maybe that's because I just haven't gone extreme enough, but my intuition tells me that's not it.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 16, 2010 11:58 AM

Ymar:

You have repeatedly characterized decisions you either don't agree with or don't understand in a manner that is insulting.

There is nothing wrong with offering additional reading material for those who may be interested so long as you understand that they have no duty to read it unless it, in fact, interests them.

Offering additional reading material and then asserting that people who choose - for whatever reason - not to read it are "lazy" is personally insulting and unacceptable. There are many reasons someone might not care to read what you offered.

Calling what I said, "silly" rather than stating what you disagree with in my statement is not argument but ridicule. It is EXACTLY what I got all over "pond" for doing. I have objected to that sort of remark every time I've noticed it here and it should come as no surprise that I objected to it again today.

Finally, there is nothing wrong with asking a question (which, by the way, the other party has no duty to answer) that is, at best, tangential to the topic we're discussing. But asking "What is your model then?" and then adding:

Skepticism and moral relativity can't be it, presumably.

...adds nothing to the discussion. Again, that is precisely the kind of backhanded swipe I have objected to in the past and I will continue to object to that sort of thing. Continuing to do what I have done for years should come as no surprise to anyone.

I spend considerable time preparing material for this site, and considerable additional time participating in the discussions (something many bloggers DON'T do because of the time and effort involved). Lately, both time and energy are at a premium due to the requirements of my job. Just getting a post up in the morning and participating in the comments is difficult to fit in with everything else I have to do.

So I really don't appreciate the insinuation that I'm "lazy" for not taking on even more work. That sort of remark just uncalled for, whether it's directed at me or any other commenter here.

I don't appreciate the distraction of having to police the comments section. I don't really have time for this.

And I really don't think I have a track record of being arbitrary or unreasonable. If anything, I have repeatedly been taken to task by various readers for putting up with too much and not nipping uncivil behavior in the bud sooner, which in my view is just more evidence that no matter what I do I end up taking flack for it.

I have a long fuse, but it is not infinitely long.

And if I object to something that is said here, it is not because I want to take offense. The course of least resistance is to let things go.

It is because I have considered the matter and don't see any other way to take that comment, and because it violates the standards I try to set here so I cannot let it pass. That does not mean there is never any other way to take it, but that if there is I don't know what it is.

Now maybe Grim can explain to me what it is that you meant by the preceding examples and where my interpretation is in error. If so I would be glad of the explanation. Failing that, I am left with the way it seems to me.

Finally, I have made no "personal comments about what I think of you", except to say that I don't think of you as the kind of person who is normally insulting. And I have asked you to stop making the same types of remarks that I have asked others (many of whom are old friends with whom I'm on good terms) to refrain from.

If this is "aggression" or somehow violates your boundaries, then we appear to have a real problem because I am asking you to do nothing I have not asked others to do.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 16, 2010 02:15 PM

I just read Ymar's "presumably" comment to be non-sarcastic. I haven't noticed him to resort to subtlety swipes very often; it's normally his habit to go full-bore when he's got something to say. :)

Posted by: Grim at April 16, 2010 03:54 PM

But if the target isn't human...? Is it violence to shoot a paper plate?

Depends on what people's definition of violence is. There are various kinds. Some of them even politically correct. That may be hard to believe for some, but it is true.

Some people think of violence as being like a social mandate that police and military and politicians have, but nobody else. Now if the paper plate was owned by the state or even owned by an individual, then the state has a right to use violence because it is their mandate. It's not so much definitions, as a way to justify actions. Some people can call it violence or not, but it all depends upon whether they are justifying something or not for their own benefit.

Other people view violence as a tool. Other people view violence as only applying to people, because they want to do something with violence against people, used by people. I can't control what people view violence as. Even brainwashing wouldn't be able to do that with complete efficiency.

So we are left with the metaphysical question, the question of what is real, about violence. That question, I can answer because there actually exists an answer. And not just a plethora of people's opinions that are equally valid.

Is violence being used to shoot a paper something or other? I have to define violence as the Triad. Penetration, rotation, and injury. The bullet does all of that by itself. Violence doesn't need a human to use it. Nature does it for example. When the sun goes nova eventually, that'll be violence as defined here by me.

But humans don't really need to deal with nature's violence. Because we can cope with nature's violence. Evolution should have taken care of that. Obviously in a lightning storm, you shouldn't be waving around a lightning rod at high altitude. Unless you're a mad genius, of course, researching electricity. We can't stop it, because the forces are too great, but we can avoid being harmed by it by using our brain. Most humans are concerned with human on human violence.

But I don't think that logical focus should then mean that somehow violence becomes entirely a human social tool. There has to be a recognition that violence is not something created entirely by humans. That much of it already exists in the natural laws of the world. If we define it as only applicable to humans, then we get into some social engineering problems. Giving people the idea that if we can engineer humans a certain way, that they would stop using violence against each other.

That might be feasible if violence only existed by human intent and will. But if it doesn't, then what's the point of getting rid of it from human hands. It'll still be here if aliens come or if the sun goes nova.

I care about the welfare of those 3 individuals about as much as I care for the welfare of a paper plate. But I would have no problem shooting the latter but a strong aversion to the former.

That's a personal distinction, yes, but logically it is the same as A=A, A cannot equal B and also equal A. The identity law in other words.

3 individuals do not equal the welfare of a paper plate, for example. The reality of their existence is different. If we could reshape the world according to our desires by pretending individuals were paper plates, that might be something we would do, if it worked. It doesn't work, though. Individuals can fight, for example. Pretending they are paper plate, can have drastic consequences. It may not be something humans are consciously aware of all the time, but their lizard brain of fight vs flight knows it very well. It's hard to deceive that part of the brain in human survival instincts.

It's like treating your finger like a twist off cap. Take a hammer and bang it on some cap or not and then pretend your finger is the same way. Can't do it. Because they aren't the same things, and we would have to be doped on drugs to the extent that our perception of reality is no longer sane to be able to believe otherwise. That's without even mentioning that you have no reason to use a hammer on your finger. Because while hammering in nails solves a problem and gives you benefit, hammering on your finger creates a problem and does not give you a benefit. Unless you are a masochist, of course.

Humans are able to sort of do abstract reasoning, like say 1 million people is somewhat like actual people we know, but it's hard for human imagination to go beyond what we perceive to be real. For example, whatever you feel towards those 3 people, it's because they are self-aware agents. If they were inanimate objects, there would be no reason for you harbor them any enmity or hostility. One may abstractedly reason that apathy for inanimate objects equals this apathy for people, but I don't think that kind of logical identity proposition would be correct.

Besides, it was a compliment. "That's unworthy of you" means "I think you're better than that." It'd be wise not to try to prove her wrong.

Other people may take it as that, but that's crossing my line. It's not an adequate justification for an attack of aggression. It is enough for me to clearly define what type of behavioral correction is needed.

I am not contesting Cassandra's rights to her property here. I said before that while I didn't like how she does things here in relation to certain topics, that it is nonetheless not something I'll keep protesting. But her rights to her property and the ability to set standards does not apply to proclaiming personal judgments of me.

I am not in the habit of letting other people define me by their personal perceptions. Especially if they harbor non-positive will. This is a privilege given by me and only by me. It's not something people should try to usurp.

It'd be wise not to try to prove her wrong.

I think you're missing the point. The fact that anyone, her included, thinks making a claim about my morality or character is a legitimate "debate" topic here is out of bounds. What you think is your personal boundaries, Grim, only applies to you. If you don't pay close attention to the space around other people, you'll never avoid conflict that could be avoided. A person standing in your house may be, to another person, standing in their equivalent of a yard. Those who are welcome in one's house, are invited into one's house. There's a public property and walk space, then there's the yard which is one's property but not entirely ours and thus we are not endangered simply because someone stands there. Then there is the door and the threshold of our houses, which is closer to our inner hearts, something we claim as our own, but it is also somewhere to greet guests, neighbors, or strangers. Just because you would be willingly to let someone in a particular room of your house, does not mean I have to do the same with my own boundaries, Grim. I hope you understand that distinction. It's an important one.

It's not about whether I am proving her right or wrong. It's about her need to not trespass where she was not given an invitation to. It's not a subject of debate nor is it something that can be compromised. It's also not something that I'll argue about. It is what it is.

While this is the internet, that didn't mean all social protocols simply disappeared. It also doesn't mean we can go wherever we want to go, say whatever we want to say, or involve people however we wish to involve them. If any member of the internet community wants to secure their own boundaries, a basic requirement is that they respect everybody else's boundaries.

Is that so hard to do? It may be, which is why it should be done.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 17, 2010 09:04 AM

Especially in their own house. :)

I used the house as an example because it was the one taught to me. It's not exactly equivalent to your own usage, however. I would like to make note of that.

For example, the house boundaries can be used to simulate what is in effect people's real world boundaries in violent or potentially violent confrontations.

The lesson, to cut things short, is that if you perceive a threat, or feel a strong emotion, or just want to defend your property, you can chase people off your property or make a threat display.

Chasing them into their own house, and forcing them to defend themselves, is often what really happens though. The person who thought he was just defending his property, now becomes the de facto attacker. Emotionally, of course, they think they're still defending their property, because the "threat" is still in front of their eyes. (Evolutionary wires crossing there)

That's why it is important to have a clear perception of boundaries. Not just what one's emotions say is our boundaries and what somebody else's boundaries are, but what the actual lines of de-markation are.

Because we're not telepaths, we have to work this stuff out manually. Using words, social customs, etc.

Remember that Bendigo Shafter novel in your book club? What happens when somebody comes on horses to your settlement in the middle of nowhere and don't stop when you tell them to stop? Are you proving them right that you are not neighborly because you somehow think they should stop when you tell them to stop? Of course not. There's an actual situation developing here. People may want to pretend otherwise, but it is real. Because the boundaries are real. It's not even people's perceptions and emotions. The boundaries are real. In this virtual space, it may not feel space, but even here it applies.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 17, 2010 09:13 AM

If we look at violence as a tool, then it is results that matter. People or objects and their properties matter, but only with respect to the results. Some means don't ever go to certain ends.

If a boulder was blocking vital water supplies or in the way of an evacuation, we would use the necessary force to get it out of the way. If a person is using violence to interfere with an evacuation, we would use the necessary violence to get it out of the way. This doesn't require that people and boulders be equivalent. The results are what matters when violence is a human tool.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 17, 2010 09:25 AM

This is me being rather simplistic again (oh stop with the whining, will you?), but isn't there research that backs up the portions of the brain affected by sex and violence?

Posted by: Cricket at April 17, 2010 09:31 PM

I use a thumb drive to back that stuff up...

Posted by: BillT at April 18, 2010 06:49 AM

In other respects, geometric models, like graphs, are rather foreign to the field of ethics, from a philosophical perspective. Statistics and such tend to be more applicable to politics, which is based upon an ethical construct (constructed ethics).

Regardless of why it doesn't work, that it doesn't work is indisputable to all parties, I presume.- Y to YAN

I make the note that I said the same thing to YAN. In other words, that I presume something to be the case. If anyone wishes to disagree, they were given the chance to do so without prejudice.

When I stated that I wanted to know what your model was, it was an open ended statement, not a question. If you haven't noticed, then I surely noticed that you had something against "being forced to do things".

You could have raised any number of subjects or perspectives and justified it from the initial word "model". It didn't need to be a model of murder, although that was the first and foremost thing on your mind. It was not on my mind, however. In thinking about what I wish to know more about, I automatically exclude that which I know it isn't. So that is why I said "presumably". It is a presumption. Had I said, "I presume your model of things isn't moral relativity and skepticism", it would be a different phrase. The key emphasis in the way that is phrased, however, would rest upon "I presume". Presumptions have a negative connotation and people sometimes don't react well to them, especially when the ego "I" is involved. That's why I stated the negation, what I thought was not the case, while attaching "presumably" in order to avoid making the subject about myself. Don't tell me that you would have been happy if I had stated my presumption in a command like phrase. After all, "don't tell me" is a statement phrased as a command while an indirect phrase could have avoided phrasing it as such. I notice these subtleties because it is something I have paid close attention to over the years. Just as I notice invariably that people have things they want to say to me, but don't say so outright. When they use insinuations, implications, and what not, I'm not just going to ignore it forever. I don't treat you any less fair than I treat others on this matter.(Continued past next quote)


Again, that is precisely the kind of backhanded swipe I have objected to in the past and I will continue to object to that sort of thing

Unlike my presumption, which I put out clearly in order to allow everyone a chance to make their own decisions, your presumption that my behavior had something mimicking "pond's" behavior here, was unstated and implied. In point of fact, you raised this unknown other person that you said was acting badly, implying that this had something to do with your claim that you don't have to read Aristotle or Virtue Theory. I told you to bring this unknown person out here if you wish to argue with him. You ignored that and continued making indirect comparisons about what you did or didn't like, attaching it to my position in order to sink it. Only implying, but never stating outright, just what it was in my arguments you didn't like.

If you thought you were being kind or respectful by doing so, Cassandra, you thought wrong. There are few things I take more offensive than people who have hidden agendas attempting to cover up what they think about me with indirect comparisons, attacks on other people (proxies), or reaching for friends and family and bringing them into the debate as "character witnesses" (human shields).

In this incident, we can restrict the issue to the "indirect comparison" topic.

There are many reasons someone might not care to read what you offered.-C

Indeed. And one of them looks to be that you didn't want to read what I recommended because you thought I was someone named pond or some such. It may even be a different person. You didn't say. Which is the point, that you thought of someone but didn't say it outright that you thought I was doing the same thing as them. (Continued past next quote)

Calling what I said, "silly" rather than stating what you disagree with in my statement is not argument but ridicule.-C

That's why I called it silly. Because that's not an argument I consider valid. I don't consider it (check above) an argument at all. I consider it a joke. A bad joke. That's why I called it silly. It is even insulting, but because I can pretend that the comparison wasn't made explicitly (you hadn't named anyone until now) and you can pretend that you aren't thinking about me as if I wasn't here, it could be ignored. Obviously that's not practical once you come out into the open.

It is EXACTLY what I got all over "pond" for doing.

On another topic entirely, just when exactly did "pond" get here? Should I have said that you thinking that I was doing the same thing as "pond", given what I know of him, was "ridiculous" or "dai ridiculous" or "dai baka" instead of merely "silly".

This is where I have a real problem with a lot of discussions online. It's fine if a person has some special expertise they want to contribute to the discussion, but in the final analysis you have to meet people where they live.

If you can't explain it in plain English, the "cost" of conversing on your terms is unacceptably high. People do not want to have to go and read Aristotle's entire works just so they can discuss some real world phenomenon

What is this, supreme irony, Cassandra. I did meet you on your terms. Instead of the Entire Work of Aristotle, I gave you a relatively short internet article instead. Written *gasp* in plain English.

Understanding what Virtue Theory or Virtue Ethics is or is not is very important to YOU. It is not in the slightest bit important to me because there are other ways to have the discussion that work just fine.

So now I saw. At that point, I saw what you were attempting to hide. I had at this point already told you several times not to make these indirect comparisons about me and my position. I guess you took that to mean you could now assume I was doing something you thought I was doing only because you were thinking about those "other people on the internet".

But that's tertiary to the matter. What really matters is that I had taken your comments at their face value. You said "in the final analysis" people had to meet people where they live. Which I took to mean that compromises are necessary. Or that boundaries exist. Invitations can be extended, but attendance should not be coerced. You mentioned the cost of a lack of plain English. You talked about what people want.

I don't particularly care what people wanted, it is only what they need that concerns me. However, for the sake of social compromise, I was willing to back off a bit, stop talking about reading Aristotle or philosophy or What Is Nicomachean Ethics, and go look for an internet sized article instead. While this internet article certainly had a lot of philosophy in it, it was equivalent to any other kind of internet link on politics, so I thought it was very generous on my part, to do something I did not have to do, in order to make it easier for those who wish to read things in plain English and who didn't have the time or interest to read Aristotle's entire works.

In the end, you weren't willing to compromise at all. You could have said in the beginning that you had no interest, whatsoever. Instead, you talked about compromises, plain English, suggesting, implying, that a deal could be struck. In the end, however, there could be no deal because you had a deal breaker hiding under the table.

And I really don't think I have a track record of being arbitrary or unreasonable.

Arbitrary was your word. I searched for it and confirmed it here.

Because I was dissatisfied with your insinuations or implications, I kept stating that I wanted to know what you were really thinking and that you should stop thinking about other people and focus on what my positions actually were. Because I was suspicious that you had a hidden agenda, but didn't see any incontrovertible evidence for it, I kept it quiet and stayed on topic. I didn't make accusations where I only had suspicions. Sometimes those suspicions are false and unwarranted, after all. But still, I wasn't just going to ignore your arguments that I was being arbitrary. In the interests of securing my interests while not going on the attack, I adopted your words to ensure that I not only kept on subject but didn't go past any boundaries. Because I didn't know what was going to set people off, I couldn't use my own emotional judgment (not without voice tone, body language, and various other things required for an empathy circuit) to determine what was aggressive and what was merely defensive. If you didn't like how that word was used in relation to yourself, why did you think it was okay to use it to refer to a whole bunch of other people?

Especially when it is quite possible to discuss Y without knowing anything about X. If someone engaging in a conversation about Y demands (and Grim has not done this) that the conversation can only be held by viewing the issue through the prism of X even though that is quite clearly not the case, well, I'd have to say that resisting such arbitrary demands is not only quite reasonable but entirely appropriate.

Offering additional reading material and then asserting that people who choose - for whatever reason - not to read it are "lazy" is personally insulting and unacceptable.

I told you what I meant when I wrote "lazy". At the time in question, you had not categorically or certifiably refused to read it. You set conditions. The "people" also didn't categorically refuse. You only said the people didn't want something. Not that they wouldn't read it. You mentioned people first and I commented about people. This is equivalent. This was not escalation on my part. If you were not satisfied with my explanation, if you thought it was still out of bounds or was a personal insult, then you should have kept stating your position and not hiding it. Not ignoring it. It's not like there was anything stopping you.

These laundry lists of personal issues or perceptions you have, Cassandra, are not something I can do anything about. As I go back and read over what I said, there were many many times when I stated I wanted or desired more of a response, more elaboration, on what it is you really thought. If you had wanted a resolution on those points, Cassandra, bring it up when I could have done something about them. It's all in the past now. I have no responsibility to deal with your issues after negotiations have failed.

Btw, I did not end those statements for elaboration/clarification with a question mark because I perceive too many questions to be both incoherent and too demanding. Fine for jokes not so fine for debates. The lack of a question mark implies that one can ignore it as a question if one wished, which you did, but in the end, you probably shouldn't have. Because they were phrased exactly as questions would have been. But it saves face if a person ignores it, because both sides can pretend it wasn't a question. This is as opposed to badgering a person to answer, answer, nane, nane, NANE, NANE, NANE for the Answer.

This is just a digest of the process I went through, from my own perspective. Even after offering to meet you half way, you rejected out of hand that anything I had to say was worth anything. Then afterwards, you try to step over into my space acting like it is yours. You even insinuate that I am not me, that I am someone else. Someone who you think you can judge as a person. Like hell I'll accept that. If you want to judge other people, Cassandra (pond, etc) you are welcome to do so. But do me the favor of not taking my words or actions to be theirs, simply because they were the first one you thought of when conversing with me. You, who did not even give me the courtesy of asking what I really meant, must have been without doubt that you knew what I was thinking, what I was saying, and what kind of person I am. You don't know nearly as much as you think you do, Cassandra. But even if you did Cassandra, you were never given the permission, so don't act like you had permission to state what I am or am not worthy of.

The reason why one asks for re-statements and clarification is to bridge the void of human misunderstanding. To meet people part way. Not to agree, but simply to understand so that agreement becomes possible.

Grim speaks of forgiveness. Forgiveness is not mine to give. I am merely satisfied with social co-existence. For vengeance is the property of eternal powers. I will be merely satisfied so long as you step back over the line that separates my space from yours, Cassandra. I do not hold lists of laundry in my head forever and ever ever and UNTIL ETERNITY ENDS, given that it is inconsistent with social co-existence. Appearances to the contrary, I only went back and looked stuff up because somebody wanted to talk about em and me. Far be it for me to disabuse them of what they wanted to talk about. I did not and will not habor ill intent from a previous confrontation or argument to a new one. I won't pretend that I have some other motivation than my true one.

It is because I have considered the matter and don't see any other way to take that comment, and because it violates the standards I try to set here so I cannot let it pass. That does not mean there is never any other way to take it, but that if there is I don't know what it is.

This may seem obvious but I'll restate this for general utility. When you or anyone else, Cassandra, are in the grips of any emotion, your perception of reality becomes distorted. That means you alone deciding "what it is all about" ultimately means making a mistake.

Finally, I have made no "personal comments about what I think of you", except to say that I don't think of you as the kind of person who is normally insulting.

Why should I be telling you, or anyone else here, that given a choice between taking a comment as innoculous and insulting, that one must necessarily ask for clarification first and foremost. Even, or especially, if one is "100%" certain that it is what it is. Those are emotions, not actual reality, talking there.

People who don't think I'm the kind of person who is normally insulting, when they see an apparent insult, would ask me what I meant. They don't assume out of hand that they know me better than I know myself, sitting in that comfortable chair. They don't presume to then cast judgments of who I am or the worth of my behavior/existence, as if they are the decider. You are not the decider, Cassandra. And on this matter, not even your private blog property/ownership/responsibility, can justify it. This is not a matter under your jurisdiction. The more you attempt to justify it, the more you pretend that I'm too blind to see that you're still standing on my line of the divide. The more you pretend that you didn't do anything, the more apparent it is to me that you refuse to step back over, the more I realize that you think my space is actually your space. The more you think what you did was right and harmless, the more of an intentional harm it becomes.

Why am I saying something that should be common sense here? Haven't people here been talking about stuff like this since eternity came on?

his habit to go full-bore when he's got something to say.

Indeed.

Didn't this entire thread start out with objectification, seeing people not for who they are but as tools/objects. This is a good place to stop at, because I can make a lot of baka mono jokes about that issue that I probably shouldn't.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 10:07 AM

I went back and searched for my phrase. Presumably, it would work.

Then I found another "presumably".

They were all from Grim, per chance.

It's nowhere clearer than in Japan today, where you have these manga comics that are just horrible -- we used to see them in China, too -- but a population that is among the most law-abiding and orderly in the world. Presumably the comics say something real about their fantasy life; but they haven't attempted to construct a society that would allow them to live out those fantasies. I doubt many of them really want to live them out.

Presumably a pig would have done just as well.

One reason to believe this might be the case is that I feel the wrongness more strongly in cases where the person is less like me. For example, insofar as I belong in a category of humanity, it would be something like: adult male human. Presumably I see other adult male humans as more like me than children, or women.

This is actually a subject of interest of mine. I believe I've seen some of the manga Grim has referenced here. Presumably, they are the same. Also, presumably, the common sense issues pertaining to them would also be that which Grim would raise foremost here.

Presumably, this is your fault, Grim.

Ah, get the joke?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 10:15 AM

The more I learn about the Japanese, the more interesting their society looks. Even though it is intensely stratified, highly competitive, and weirdly duty bound. I say weirdly, because the Japanese have a particular notion of the "weird" that is relatively hard to translate into American terms.

I mention it not only to mean their sense of the aesthetics of what is weird, the value judgment of what is weird, but even the jokes their youngest generations make about people being weird. And often times, it is not entirely negative. For a conformist society like Japan was and still is to a certain extent, being a weird may just be a reality of human nature.

On the topic of mangas, the distinction is very real that there is a difference between real humans being exploited and simply characters drawn on paper. If, like drugs, there is something almost as addictive but totally harmless to self or others, then that alternative could very well supplant the economic production of drugs including its deleterious effects on humans. While such manga creations will not entirely erase human evil, I believe they do mitigate its effects somewhat. And if even one person was helped by this, because people's desires were satisfied by a non-human harming product, then it is enough for me. Because my personal solution would end up with bodies being stacked like cordwood up to the moon. And no one can say that this would be a non-human harming event.

Social engineers and busy bodies, of course, say otherwise. But even still, even if we discount the Japanese segment of that market, the entire market is made feasible by certain economic realities in Japan: specifically niche markets. H-rated visual novel and games are very popular in Japan and are often the original sources (written by a single author most times) for the mainstream anime for the education of the Japanese population, mostly teen aged.

Why would Japan tolerate such? Because the Japanese, when they strip the H scenes out and put the game or visual novel on play station, only strips the H scenes out. The H scenes are only put in there as "spice" for adult audiences, which is what visual novels usually are orientated towards. But the original story itself, that itself is a piece of artwork. Stripping out the H scenes to market it on PS2 or mainstream anime, does nothing to detract from the quality of the story itself.

In some cases, there is some distortion effects, in other cases the story actually gets improved.

There is a kind of consistency in that kind of up market commodities trading (or whatever you call it), that I don't see with Hollywood. It's like the production setup for Hollywood is.

1. Hire a terrorist.

2. Get story from intrepid reporter.

3. Have reporter give info on location of convoy to terrorist cum stringer.

4. When terrorist attacks convoy, report attack as victory for violence in Iraq.

5. If reporter is in convoy when attacked, report the terrorist attack with a "human angle".

6. Do not mention any US soldiers that died protecting the reporters in the ambush.

7. Get funding and produce a Hollywood movie.

8. Pundits talk about movie.

What the hell is this going to teach the new generation again?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 10:32 AM

Presumably, this is your fault, Grim.

I don't mind taking the hit on getting you into trouble, if you'll also follow my lead on getting out of it.

Posted by: Grim at April 18, 2010 02:49 PM

Aaaaah. Gonna show Ymar where you find the vids she likes, eh?

Posted by: BillT at April 18, 2010 03:56 PM

I'm just trying to give him... what's that phrase he likes? "A face-saving product to justify backing off." :)

Posted by: Grim at April 18, 2010 04:13 PM

I don't mind taking the hit on getting you into trouble, if you'll also follow my lead on getting out of it.

Don't worry about it, Grim. I know you want to get a peace deal. But there can be no deal with a deal breaker on the table. If that is taken off, then something can be done.

There can be no negotiations without common ground, a word known as compromise. And I will not move a single step backwards at this point.

There's no way to get "out of trouble" because I refuse to be chased into my own home by a trespasser who thinks something of mine is freely available for public consumption.

I respect the boundaries of other people's homes, both here and at your place. It doesn't mean problems are non-existent, but I do my best at coming up with real solutions. Not just the strong subjugating the weak type solutions.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 06:09 PM

It's not a question of being chased into your own house, Ymar. This is her house, and that means she gets to make the rules. Although Cass has sometimes argued that the whole internet is a public space -- which is a reasonable position, excepting perhaps those areas behind password firewalls -- she pays the bills for this particular part of the space.

If she says you're out of line, and you disagree, you might say something like: "I'm sorry to have offended you; I assure you I meant that differently than you read it, but regardless, I will of course abide by your rules in your house."

Declaring that you won't back up a step, when you're in someone else's house, is to say that you are entitled to be there whether they like it or not. A person who says that ceases to be a guest and becomes a trespasser; and that's not a good position to be in.

Posted by: Grim at April 18, 2010 06:15 PM

Declaring that you won't back up a step, when you're in someone else's house, is to say that you are entitled to be there whether they like it or not. A person who says that ceases to be a guest and becomes a trespasser; and that's not a good position to be in.

I already covered this, Grim. But before we get into that, everyone here needs to be aware that me coming to this blog is almost, but not quite, the same as being invited to somebody's house.

There are two issues at work here. One, the person being invited needs to follow some basic rules or limitations while in somebody else's home. The privilege of being in somebody else's private place is to obey the specific private rules of a person. If one can't obey such rules, for any number of reasons, then one cannot legitimately accept an invitation.

In cyberspace, however, the limits of one's home and one's person are not as clearly defined. There's a certain amount of space stacking that doesn't happen in real estate.

What's happening here is that I have obeyed the rules here, both in writ and in spirit, but my status as a guest was not protected.

There is a natural security issue when one comes to another's home. There is the risk of poisoning, of ambush, or of some other issue concerning the physical safety of the person being invited over. In return for obeying the rules of the house, the house protects the guest. This is basic hospitality and it is a way to both guarantee that guests don't feel threatened enough to fight and to guarantee that guests can harmoniously behave within the confines of another's private space, the home.

I respond to your comment that you know how I can get out of trouble as if I was in my own home, because I am in my own home. After accepting Cassandra's invitation, in good faith on both sides, I said something that was not meant as an insult, but was taken as an insult, and instead of giving me the same courtesy she would have given anyone else here, troll or not, she refused to ask me what I meant and instead violated the concords of hospitality and directly attacked me.

By using the justification that she owns this house, by saying that she was paying me a back handed compliment, by saying that she didn't do anything wrong, all of that adds up to the same.

If it was taken in isolation, it would be something else entirely. If she had said that I had broken a rule, the same rules everybody else obeys, then it would be one thing. But by singling me out personally, using personal comments, one can no longer use the justification that this is about a guest violating the rules of the house. Now it is personal, because the words made it personal. After all, no other guest gets treated the same way, even those that have had far more serious infractions.

I honestly do not remember any troll being told something to the effect that their behavior or words were unworthy of them, while at the same time assuming, without a question for clarification, that what they meant was an insult. On the surface, it may seem obvious why. The trolls are not long time associates. While I may be classified as someone of an acquaintance.

But hospitality rules are the same. They cannot be different for some people, while excluding others. If guests could only rely upon the protection of the house if they were long term associates or friends, then it would be a problem.

So when I say I won't move one step back, that means Cassandra has pushed me far enough into my own private space that my back is against the wall. Should I turn around, as you suggest Grim, and leave, I am essentially granting Cassandra the right to treat me with disrespect that she gives to nobody else, rude trolls or not.

Just awhile ago, IC said something about the military in the DOD budget thread and Cassandra asked him "what do you mean". Even though IC appeared to harbor something against the military, implying some kind of usage of the DoD as an attack on something political, Cassandra still asked him what he meant. Perhaps more than once. I don't remember being asked what I meant before Cassandra tried to call me on the carpet using the dual combinations of the word "unworthy" and "rules".

The deal for this place is that you can come here to comment only if you obey Cassandra's rules. The deal wasn't "the moment you come here, Cassandra can decide who needs to be treated like a felon entirely based upon personal and arbitrary reasons".

This is her house, and that means she gets to make the rules.

Come on Grim, I really don't want to repeat myself. So I'll ask you a question. How many times have I said what you just said? Here that is. If you can answer that question, that would be good. Because I hope you can answer that question correctly.

If she says you're out of line, and you disagree, you might say something like: "I'm sorry to have offended you; I assure you I meant that differently than you read it, but regardless, I will of course abide by your rules in your house."

*shakes* You're missing it, Grim. You're still missing it.

I can no longer say that, even after stating that position before. The reason is simple. I can no longer be certain that I won't be attacked again like this in the future, regardless of whether I abide by the rules or not.

You should have seen it, Grim. It may be buried in a ton of comments here, but there it was, plain as day.

Cassandra has already perfectly communicated to me that my guarantee of hospitality as a guest here can be repealed whenever she sees fit, regardless of whether I am following her rules or not.

If this was an issue about me doing something she didn't like, it wouldn't be such a big issue. It's more complicated than that, Grim. I would like for you to re-frame your perception here. Given what you seem to think has happened or is happening, I believe your methods for resolving it might work. But your perception is incomplete by a critical degree, if you ask me. So long as you assume you know how to resolve this situation, you can't really see the situation for what it is. That includes the reality, the actuality, as well as the mixed perceptions of observers and participants.

Making an assumption first, then looking at what happened, provides a distorted view of events and people's motivations. So what I would like you to do is to anti-assume that you know how to get me out of a situation that you do not yet clearly see.

I acknowledge that you wish to resolve the situation to the benefit of both parties. I acknowledge that, Grim. But I do not acknowledge that your view of what is happening here is correct. Still, I suppose it is better than pretending that there is no situation or issue.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 06:56 PM

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 16, 2010 11:20 AM

This is a good spot to read once again, the past.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 18, 2010 07:10 PM

Ymar:

You have accused me multiple times of harboring some personal motive for what you claim is arbitrary, capricious, and unfair treatment of you.

I do not agree that you were treated any worse than others who have said things I believed were a violation of the civility rule. If you say you meant no insult by anything you said, then I must accept that or implicitly call you a liar. To do so would truly be insulting and I will not go there because that's a pretty serious charge and I don't throw out accusations like that without proof.

On the other hand, despite Grim's opinion that (contrary to insulting you) my comment was meant as a compliment and my own assertion that I meant no insult by it, you have said you do not believe me. Where I come from, you are openly calling me a liar and moreover, you do so on no evidence but your own opinion.

You have also claimed several times now that my treatment of you was unfair and motivated by personal animus rather than a sincere belief that your comments violated the rules here.

As "evidence", you offer a single exchange with ICBS (ignoring, by the way, many times when he has been treated far more summarily than you were the other day). You claim I have shown you disrespect, but in my view you have been treated with a deference and forbearance seldom granted others.

I am not sure what I could possibly say that would satisfy you. I will not say that I did not believe your comments clearly violated the rules at the time because that is not true. I have already admitted that I might have been mistaken in that regard.

If I was mistaken and you did not mean to be insulting, then your comments were not a violation of the rules here. However, I do not accept that I must ask for clarification before expressing an opinion as to what does or does not constitute a violation of my own standard. I have not always done this in the past and don't guarantee to do it in the future. Nor do I accept your "right" to tell me how to run my own site.

Your remarks, as perceived by me, were offensive to me. I have accepted your word that you didn't mean them that way and hold no grudge. Nor am I demanding that you "take them back", nor am I demanding an apology from you.

It appears to me that you are demanding the "right" to interpret my remarks as you choose, to repeatedly impute base motives to me during what I view as a regrettable misunderstanding. So in your view, it is you who decide what I meant and what my motives are while I must accept your word for what you meant and what your motives were.

Not a lot of wiggle room there, Ymar.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 18, 2010 08:12 PM

You know, sometimes a Southerner likes to tell a story. Here's one that I remember having told recently:

A Federal agent pulls up on an old farmer's property and shows him a warrant. He says he's going to search for drugs. The farmer says, "Go ahead, search anywhere you like, but don't go out in that field right there."

The agent flips out his badge, and lectures him on how that badge gives him the authority to go anywhere on the land that he pleases. The farmer shrugs and lets him go.

A few minutes later, the agent comes running across that very field, with a bull right on his tail. The farmer leans on his hoe and yells, "Your badge! Show him your badge!"

...

The upshot of that story is this: I may not understand your perspective completely. I might not, for example, know much about warrants and badges, or what rights or powers they give you.

That doesn't mean I don't know where the bull is. You go out in that field any further, and there won't be much I can do for you.

It also doesn't mean you'll be able to persuade the bull. Sometimes, when you meet a dangerous creature, you have to meet their terms more than you might have expected.

That's just folk wisdom, though. As Hondo Lane said, you do what you want to do. I hope it turns out all right.

Posted by: Grim at April 18, 2010 08:17 PM

You have accused me multiple times of harboring some personal motive for what you claim is arbitrary, capricious, and unfair treatment of you.

We all have personal motives. Some are more positive than others. Ulterior motives that are not for my benefit, but indeed, at my expense, is not something that should be hidden. Or rather, the fact that it needs to be hidden suggests that it would not be something would benefit everyone to hear.

The requirements of social co-existence, however, doesn't demand full truth or complete disclosure. Things can be kept private, if it doesn't affect your treatment of others. Such things are your own business to tend and others who get in the way of such business can be rightly seen as trespasser or interlopers. However, should your behavior be affected by whatever personal issues you have, then once your behavior affects others, those others have now a vested interest in what was once your private issues. It would be unreasonable to expect others to sacrifice their self-interest, solely because an issue was once one person's private affair. Situations change.

This is as true for friendship as it is true of enmity.

I would be careful in making assumptions about what I mean by personal motivations or ulterior motives. Those do not have set definitions in my world. Nor are they entirely negative. Or even mostly negative.

I care more about the public, not private, behavior of individuals. I am not concerned with what you feel, Cassandra. I am concerned about you taking actions inappropriate to the limits I have set for myself. I'm not here to set limits on your blog. But that's just the thing. Your blog is not the same thing as my person, character, or what not. What is mine, is mine. What is yours, is yours. To take what is mine and pretend it is yours, to act as you perceiving me to have broken your rules is the same as having the right to call me unworthy, is always, and will always, be over the line.

The fact that you can't even see the line, is the problem. All the other behavior transgressing against me comes from it. The fact of the matter is that I don't just back away and pretend this never happened is because you have demonstrated a lack of perception of those boundaries. This implies to me that this kind of thing will happen again in the future. Had I a guarantee that this wouldn't happen again, I could let any number of insults or sly insinuations slide on by without a worry in the world.

It doesn't matter if Grim here doesn't know where I perceive the lines of boundary to be. He is not the one with power here. It would matter if I was at his blog, but only if he started doing the same things. This isn't Grim's blog, so he is never in danger of saying or implying that my personal space is actually the property of his blog. Nor does anyone here have the power to insult me and threaten my security, because they lack the power of their threats. Insults are insults. A threat to security is more than an insult, however. I have to take the latter more seriously than the former. And while I'll let personal insults slide for the most part, it's not the case if I feel an actual threat exists should I let it slide.

The chain of command is important to all individuals. So is the same for security. A guest at anyone's home can cause disturbances, but that guest is actually under the power of the home team. Because the owner of the house is on his territory and controls that territory, he has power over guests. Both to harm and to protect. Thus the amount of protests the guest can legitimately claim is not equal to those with a higher position. If a guest treats the other guest with injustice, one guest or another can call on an arbitration from a higher power. If a guest has a dispute with the owner, then the owner has most of the power in that exchange. It's not justice, but that's why I have always said that an imbalance of power between any two parties will always cause injustice to occur. It's not just, it's just reality. Human nature, even. Something we can't do anything to change permanently.

The entire point of a social contract, thus, is to ensure that even though two parties have unequal powers, both sides can have their interests met in a way that doesn't infringe upon the dignity or safety of either side. However, this contract can't have deal breakers in it.

I would like to talk about the military chain of command and how commanding officers shouldn't use their position and power to personally attack subordinates all the time (for one thing, because subordinates have a hard time saying anything back), but given the difference in power between me and you here Cassandra, I don't think it would be a beneficial example to use. Besides, it most likely would be a tangent. And I really don't like tangents, of that kind.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 01:33 PM

That doesn't mean I don't know where the bull is.

I've heard that story before, but even I can see that this is a very weird comparison.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 01:59 PM

I hope it turns out all right.

Was that before or after the Indians attacked?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 02:02 PM

Ymar,

You are losing ground here. Stop digging.

You said something that was percieved as insulting to the owner. To act as the injured party for being called out for said rudeness is not helping. To insist on the "protection" of said owner you just insulted is really not helping.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 19, 2010 02:07 PM

I just remembered something. I should have said this before, and I did mention some of it when I said I don't carry or wish to carry laundry lists of dirty water under the bridge type incidents around with me.

Whenever there is conflict, the resolution to that conflict will never come when one side or another starts bringing up the past. This is a good rule of thumb for various reasons. And I'll give the example that was used to instruct me. Grim may like this one particularly given his background in Anglo-Saxon history/culture.

But here's the rub. It's been our experience that when people are busy being concerned about their own emotional well being, fears and "rights" they're basically too busy to think about anyone else.

While that may sound judgmental, we can back that statement up with science, physiology and psychology.

That is to say when you kick into an emotional mode, even though you believe you're reacting to 'what is happening,' you are, in fact, reacting to what you think is happening! And although it doesn't seem like much, that is a HUGE difference.

While emotional many people are in the middle of what Daniel Goleman calls "an emotional hijacking" (in his book Emotional Intelligence). Even if you aren't in that extreme, you don't realize how physiology is effecting your "reality." When you are emotional, a combination of bio-chemicals and physically ingrained pathways in your brain kick into action. Your brain is awash with chemicals and memories. Basically... you are temporarily stoned or drunk. And that's effecting your perceptions, judgment and behaviors in the current situation. You may think you're being logical and rational, but that may not be the case (1).

In this chemically altered state it is difficult to accurately self-analyze and assess your own behavior. Your perception might well be that you were being reasonable for the circumstances, but to others it looks way different. Realize, we're not just talking witnesses here, we're talking about the other person ...who is just as likely to be trapped in his/her own emotional loop as you are!

Understanding how your body functions under these conditions is a huge factor in conflict resolution and self-defense. In fact, we have an entire section dedicated to how your brain functions in crisis mode.

What we have discussed thus far works on a continuum. Understanding this about the physiological effects of emotions can greatly assist you in conflict resolution, de-escalation and improve your interpersonal relationships and career opportunities. That's because it takes you out of auto-pilot.

The key to it all is communication.

Effective communication is a subject far beyond the scope of these pages. But it is a critical component of being assertive instead of aggressive.

Let us give you a small example. When something someone said hurts you, learn to ask "Excuse me, but when you said that, what did you mean...?"

Instead of assuming that the person intentionally meant to inflict emotional distress on you, check to see what is going on. It is amazing how often you will find that a comment that you found hurtful wasn't meant as such. By asking what the person meant instead of accusing them of what you thought they meant ("Are you saying that I'm ...") you are not only giving the person a chance to explain, but you are keeping yourself from wrongfully attacking.

It is worth the time and effort to find out what is really going on; this instead of reacting emotionally and striking back at the person who you feel hurt you. The reason the latter strategy doesn't work very well is to that person's perception, you're the one who suddenly got vicious and mean. He didn't say anything hurtful, YOU DID! See how easily this can lead to two people both believing that they are defending themselves against unwarranted attacks?

Learning to communicate effectively has a major effect in reducing the amount of violence you will find yourself in the middle of. With this in mind, we'd like to give you a couple more tips about how to communicate assertively without becoming aggressive.

Criticism vs. Complaint
Defining the difference between a complaint and criticism is one key to understanding the distinctions between aggressiveness and assertiveness. You have the right to lodge a legitimate complaint, but you do not have the right to criticize. Complaints are attempt to fix a problem; criticisms are an attack. Complaints can be generally labeled as assertive; criticism tends to be aggressive.

A complaint refers to an immediate issue that needs to be negotiated and resolved. A criticism is an attack that is unsolvable at this moment and tends to be generalized. The causes usually extend back in time.

An example of this difference is a complaint would be, "What you just said hurt my feelings." This addresses an immediate problem and is a statement of fact. It opens the door to discussion, negotiation and compromise.

Whereas a criticism will often follow a complaint, such as, "You always say rude things to me. You are so insensitive, you jerk!" What was a legitimate complaint has now turned into an attack. What's more, by bringing back generalized past wrongs that cannot be fixed, the person being criticized is not only being attacked, but robbed of power to fix the current problem. The problem has now been extended to perceived past wrongs. And after being attacked in this manner, the odds are that the person won't be interested in fixing this wrong.

I was aware of many of these aspects at the start of this. The reason why I don't like carrying around laundry lists of the past, is that it is water under the bridge. It is why I said that I can't do anything about it now. So Cassandra, if she had an issue, should have brought it up, repeatedly if necessary, back when I could do something about it. Not now, when it is way back in the past.

In light of that, we can go back to this quote.

You have accused me multiple times of harboring some personal motive for what you claim is arbitrary, capricious, and unfair treatment of you.-C

This is not a deal breaker in negotiations. But also it doesn't help. If you wish something productive in a deal, bringing up perceived past wrongs with the other party, as a negotiating point, is just going to end up with negotiations failing.

If you say you meant no insult by anything you said

That may seem like it is an important point to me. But actually it isn't. What I wanted was stated way back up stream from here. To re-quote it for emphasis.

P.S.

I don't want to hear what it is you think unworthy. You have already refused basic generosity on my part, refused to even recognize the value of knowledge for knowledge's sake, and with a short sight of vision proceeded to set arbitrary hard limits on what this discussion should or should not be about. That's tolerable, because I am a guest here. There's just a small problem, however.

I suggest you lay off on the personal comments about what you think of me, Cassandra. I'm not at the point where I would be unwillingly to respond in kind. But if you keep pushing, you become the aggressor. There's a big difference in defending your own boundaries and trespassing on mine. Try and remember where the line was and get back to it.

I do not recognize that you are someone with the right to tell me what I am or am not. I would be curious as to know who made up this entitlement, however.

I don't think I obfuscated any points in the proposed deal here. It seems simple to me that in return for my recognition of certain things you want, you should recognize what I proposed. It had little to do with wanting you to recognize that I am telling the truth. If you don't know what I meant, then the truth is relative. The issue I raised was that you got personal. And you intentionally did not ask what you would have asked others in similar or more extreme situations. My proposal was not that you believe what I said. My proposal was that you stop making comments about my person. Framing this as something that didn't happen, doesn't qualify as agreement. Secondly, I want a guarantee that this won't happen in the future in the form of you agreeing to ask me what I meant if you thought I had made an insult, WITHOUT first checking off the "guilty" mark next to my name.

Btw, the "unwillingly" part wasn't a mis-statement of two negatives. It was a clear recognition that what you had said had sparked an emotional reaction. One which I did not want to get worse, which is why I told you to step back, because you're somewhere that you shouldn't be. I don't know for certain that you have stepped back to somewhere that I consider appropriate, but you don't seem to be advancing. Thus negotiations can continue.

The deal is a win-win situation. However, by bringing a deal breaker, there is no deal. And, thus, there can be no negotiation so long as the deal breaker is on the table.

There are many things that are deal breakers. It doesn't matter which one it is. A deal breaker, if you want a simple explanation, is anything that makes demands of me that I cannot fulfill or that which harms my interests without giving me something equitable in trade.

However, I do not accept that I must ask for clarification before expressing an opinion as to what does or does not constitute a violation of my own standard.

A deal breaker, essentially, is when one side says "I win, and you will lose". Instead of win/win, I will be forced to stop negotiations and make it lose/lose. Because I would rather have lose/lose than you win, and I lose. After all, it does not need to be win/lose, when my proposal originally was intended for a win/win scenario.

Oh, I forgot Grim's example. The above wasn't it.
It is rather hard to find, however.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 04:19 PM

To act as the injured party for being called out for said rudeness is not helping. To insist on the "protection" of said owner you just insulted is really not helping.

Injured party? What are you talking about. This is the internet. What injury can I possibly receive here.

Where do you believe I insulted the owner?

You are losing ground here. Stop digging.

Should my soul be covered in the filth of ages and be in the deepest black pit of hell, I will continue digging my way to freedom and self-worth.

That is who I am. I, and I alone, decide that. It is neither a declaration of aggression nor an insult others. My deal is mutually beneficial to all parties. I respect their property and space and they respect what is mine.

I understand your sentiment that you believe you know what is in my best interests. But social co-existence is not about one party having all the power and the other party having nothing. Social co-existence implies cooperation, compromise, and mutual gain (win/win deals).

Is a win/win deal not good enough, YAN?

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 04:30 PM

Injured party? What are you talking about. This is the internet. What injury can I possibly receive here.

Ego, Pride, Reputation, Honor? You tell me. You certainly are protesting your (mis)treatment rather strongly for some reason.

Where do you believe I insulted the owner?

"Skepticism and moral relativity can't be it, presumably" (emphasis, mine) does sound rather snotty, dismissive and like a backhanded cheapshot in what was supposed to be an intellectual discussion. I certainly took it as a low blow and given that Cass' objection was over that exact sentence (stated twice, I might add), I'm shocked that I had to tell you the third time.

Should my soul be covered in the filth of ages and be in the deepest black pit of hell, I will continue digging my way to freedom and self-worth.

If freedom were down there, I might agree. I won't bother telling you what is since it is quite appearent that you couldn't care less.

Is a win/win deal not good enough, YAN?

Doesn't look like both sides are winning here, to me. Looks like you expect to be treated better than you treat others. An offence given makes no nevermind. Nary an apology nor even recognition that an offense was even given despite being told explicitly at least three times (and now once more) exactly what it was. But any offence received warrants a 10,000 word treatise on how objecting to the offence breaks the social contract or some such nonsense.

The situation is simply this, you struck the first blow. Perhaps this was unintentional, in which case, "the social contract" would stipulate that *you* apologize. You may swing your arm all you want up until the point it hits my nose. Especially if it is accidental, it is not my duty to apologize to you for my nose being in the way.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 19, 2010 05:56 PM

Ego, Pride, Reputation, Honor? You tell me. You certainly are protesting your (mis)treatment rather strongly for some reason.

So you think you have something to offer me that will benefit me? What may that be then. If you wish me to do something that you stipulate, certainly it is obvious that I require equal compensation. So what do you think would equally compensate me.

Since I'm not asking you to do anything I want you to do, make the offer. Otherwise, I don't really have a reason why I should do what you wish. After all, this isn't an issue between you and me, unless you are making it one.

Are you raising an issue specifically between me and you? So far it looks like you are making a proxy argument on behalf of Cassandra. If you are a party to her side of the negotiations, then you may have something to offer me that would allow me to negotiate down something on the table for either side. But for now, I will divide what you wish from what Cassandra wishes, until both of you confirm that you are making a coalition as a bargaining position.

I'm asking you, YAN, because it's important for me to know who I am negotiating with. One person, one party, or two different people from two different parties, or two people from the same party.

This reduces the level of complexity down to something understandable by humans.

"Skepticism and moral relativity can't be it, presumably" (emphasis, mine) does sound rather snotty, dismissive and like a backhanded cheapshot in what was supposed to be an intellectual discussion. I certainly took it as a low blow and given that Cass' objection was over that exact sentence (stated twice, I might add), I'm shocked that I had to tell you the third time.

Regardless of what it sounds like, it was neither a personal attack nor intended to be a backhanded cheapshot. Given that Grim has used the word "presumably" several times, the reason why it may sound like a underhanded trick to you, must be because you are looking at things from your own emotional perception.

I can't do anything about your emotional perception. The only one I have absolute control over is my own reaction and emotional state.

It is not the case that I struck the first blow simply because somebody perceived I had done it. There's perception and then there's actuality, what actually happened. In this case, objective observers are rather useless. All we have is the words transcribed, which may be good enough. But what I mean is that there is no video evidence of it. And eye witnesses here did not witness the internal states of either person. This is the virtual world, after all. It's one of the little issues it has.

So to clarify matters. Your position, YAN, is that you or Cassandra (or both) can believe that I like using personal insults and cowardly insinuations and deceptive comments because you feel something I said meant what you think I meant, without the need to ask for clarification even once.

That is your position, yes?


If freedom were down there, I might agree. I won't bother telling you what is since it is quite appearent that you couldn't care less.

Let's not get angry here. There's no call for it. Besides, it is not going to help you in any way. I don't know what is apparent to you until you clearly write out your thoughts to me. Come on, YAN, I won't reject you if you do it. So there's no risk to it.

It's poetry. I'm not very good at poetry. But Grim likes poetry. And some poetry I can even understand and like both at the same time. Like Grim's example of the bull, there's no cow or hell here. Stories are stories. Metaphors could be good stories or bad, I guess.

Doesn't look like both sides are winning here, to me.

When things look bad, the good must combine. There's no cause to try to give up things or to actively sabotage them.

Looks like you expect to be treated better than you treat others.

It looks like that to you. But when you think I'm making snide comments that I didn't make, well all I can say is that your perception reality isn't actuality.

As I said, this is not something I can do much about. I don't have control over your perceptions if I don't know what you are thinking or feeling at any particular thing.

An offence given makes no nevermind.

From my perspective, it is the same way. But there's a difference. While I believe that offense has been given to me, I'm not willingly to attack others or to assume they said things that they didn't say, simply because I want to win.

It is better to always strive for the win/win scenario, YAN, than to simply declare that the only thing you care about is your own reality. People in order to cooperate, must care something for the interests of others. Not even the federal government can ask anything of us without some kind of equitable recompense. We as individuals may not have as much power over each other as the federal government, but because we are human we have a responsibility to use our power wisely. To secure the interests of all those we relate to, not just our own.

I do not apologize because I am asking for no apology. That would mean someone here has to admit that they did something wrong. It doesn't matter to me. Not really. I can say that Cassandra did this wrong or that wrong, but what good would it do. Making her admit that she did something wrong, if she believes she did something right instead, only angers people. And makes them unwillingly to close a deal.

Do you not understand that, YAN?

A win/win scenario only happens in a deal that secures the interests of both parties. It's a life skill. It's not something of trivial value. Nor is it a game of honor, pride, emotions, or what not.

When I call it negotiations, I mean just that. It's hard. It takes time. It doesn't automatically happen. Sometimes things fall through or talks are sabotaged by one thing or another. That's why humans should work, always, always, for the win/win deal, the one of mutual benefit.

The world is a sad place that only has lose/lose propositions or win/lose propositions.

But any offence received warrants a 10,000 word treatise on how objecting to the offence breaks the social contract or some such nonsense.

It is nothing personal. When Grim says I go full bore when I want to talk about something, it was true. This subject interests me. I can't deny it. Even if I had no personal connection to it, it would interest me. The length isn't because I want to badger people, I do not. It is just there are a lot of topics and people to talk to. I don't want to mix them together too much, so I separate out the topics as if they are the only person I am talking to. If I mixed things around, misunderstandings may develop that I was making backhanded comments about somebody else, while talking to, say, Grim.

Why do you call it nonsense? I'm only using it to clarify understanding between parties so that peace, mutual everlasting peace and security, can exist. Have I called anything you ever said, nonsense, YAN?

Perhaps this was unintentional, in which case, "the social contract" would stipulate that *you* apologize.

The thing is, Cassandra also struck a first blow, unintentionally perhaps. Should she also have to apologize? I'm not stating that as something I require on the table. But if she wishes to offer it, I can offer something of equal value. If she wishes to compromise and sacrifice something that is dear to her, then I will have to match her offer.

If you wish to see a mutually acceptable deal, why not ask her thoughts on this matter.

The social contract isn't something static. It's just what people, like us, develop to work out our own problems. Whatever i say to Grim on this subject shouldn't be taken as my definitive view of things. All politics are local, and so are social contracts. These things aren't something everybody agrees to, because everybody has a hand in making them. Everybody's input is taken, because the power of a social contract is based upon the power of everyone bound up in it. Because that contract exists to secure the interests of everyone in it.

Especially if it is accidental, it is not my duty to apologize to you for my nose being in the way.

In the 10,000 or so words, that you say I have used, I have not asked or demanded an apology. Grim mentioned an apology, but that was Grim. He is not representing me or Cassandra. Not because I have something against him, just that nobody here should take his views as something that isn't his.

Also, can you stop using personal pronouns. If you are talking about Cassandra, it would be better to use the accurate pronoun. When you use I or "myself", it gives the impression that you have a personal stake in this. I don't want to give the impression that anything I say here is something designed to attack you. It is a misunderstanding that can be easily avoided if you don't use personal pronouns when speaking of issues that are related to other people.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 06:36 PM

I'm shocked that I had to tell you the third time.

Actuality and perception of reality by any single individual aren't always the same.

I ask because it helps me to ask. It prevents misunderstandings. Those that don't ask, eventually end up attacking others unjustly. Because sooner or later you will make a mistake in your perception of reality, and if you don't check before hand that what you think is happening is really happening, you will launch an attack on someone who had done nothing wrong.

You aren't Cassandra, YAN. I don't want to treat you two like you're the same person. That would be kind of ridiculous, wouldn't you say. I can't assume that what she tells me, is the same as what you tell me. This matters a lot. Because if I was angry, asking questions would really help me see what is really going on. It would help me to not assume things about YAN that I perceived from Cassandra, or vice a versa.

This is an important thing to do if you ask me. I keep repeating it here precisely because I think it is an important thing. Not because I say so, because it helps you live a better life, be a better person. Not because I control your fate, but because it allows you to make your own decisions about your own. I want to make the same decisions for my own, so I should help others do the same for themselves.

There is also a difference between a complaint (good) and a criticism (destructive). It was covered in the bolded portions I quoted.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 08:16 PM

Ymar:

You keep talking about a deal, but I'll be darned if I can see what your contribution to this deal would be?

You want me to stop making "personal" comments about you (although how I am supposed to know in advance what you might interpret as "personal" when I so clearly don't understand you remains something of a mystery). Also, you want me to promise that if I you ever say something that strikes me the wrong way, I will stop and ask for clarification before assuming you meant what I thought you meant.

So we know what you want. What we don't know is what you proposing to do in exchange for this?

Posted by: Cassandra at April 19, 2010 09:17 PM

The situation is simply this, you struck the first blow. Perhaps this was unintentional, in which case, "the social contract" would stipulate that *you* apologize. You may swing your arm all you want up until the point it hits my nose. Especially if it is accidental, it is not my duty to apologize to you for my nose being in the way.

There's a misunderstanding about personal space and shared space. I had got the feeling that there was something wrong with the definition Cassandra placed here about her blog. While it is her property and she has to set standards, those standards are designed to provide benefit to all or at least all that wish to abide by the code of conduct. It is not the same as her personal space. It is not my personal space. Thus the argument that my personal space is not part of the shared space, this space called a blog which we all use, is a logical proposition. It simply states that personal space is not shared space.

The moment anyone in shared space tries to make that shared space into their personal space, that becomes a transgression. The author I like to use often puts it this way. The reason isn't unreasonable.

This is a difficult subject. My ability to explain the complexity of this system may not be adequate for the job given people's individual perceptions. But I have to at least try.

Personal and shared space
Now let's look at something else that is tangible, but also can be applied to the concept of boundaries. That is the idea of personal and shared space. Human beings need both to exist.

If you ever have had a roommate, you're acquainted with one of the better ways to explain this concept.. Personal space can be likened to your individual bedrooms. You have one, your roommate has one. And that space is yours and yours alone. How personal space is used, what is done in there is entirely up to the individual. How it is kept up, who is invited in and who is kept out are the rights of the person whose space it is. Shared space, however, is a space you both used. (e.g., the living room and kitchen). The rules were different in shared space. One of the most significant differences is that everybody must compromise.

Personal space is your space alone. It is your body, your thoughts and your emotions and if you live alone, your home. These are yours and nobody has the right to dictate how you maintain them, keep or use them. In as far as these boundaries go, you are literally the king or queen of your own domain.

Shared space, however, allows everyone there to fulfill life’s extra needs. Basically shared space is any situation were we have to go outside of ourselves or our private area in order to achieve an end or goal. These are areas were we gather, work, socialize, shop or take care of life's other's needs. They can also be social groups and their conventions or a relationship. While our personal space is for our own benefit and needs, shared space is for the benefit of everyone there.

However, there are responsibilities and rules that come with shared space. It is through convention and mutual agreement that we operate in shared space. Many of these issues are culturally determined, and we unconsciously adhere to them (see Dr. Desmond Morris, Manwatching) others are determined by a specific group or situation, while specific details are negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

Shared space can come in many levels, tangible publicly shared space can be supermarkets, malls, theaters, parking lots or workplaces. There is a large number of unwritten social rules about how people behave in shared space -- so as not to intrude on another’s personal space. How long do you look at a stranger (if you even look at him or her at all)? How closely do you pass on an uncrowded street? A crowded street? Where do your eyes rest in an elevator full of strangers? Even in publicly shared space, we have personal space. Many of the covenants of public shared space are designed not to invade another person’s private space.

The source of many problems
It is a lack of understanding about the differences between personal and shared space that is the source of a great many conflicts, hurt feelings and stress. Some people have no concept where their personal space ends and shared space begins. Others intentionally treat shared space as though it were personal space. In either case you have a violation.

This is where the concept of "boundaries work both ways" become important. One of the most common trespasses is to treat shared space as personal space. To act - although you are in shared space - as though it is your own space. As such, you can do what you want or do to it what you will with no regard to anyone else's benefit or need. You do not have the right to dictate how things will be in shared space. That power is solely limited to inside your personal space.

A more egregious violation occurs, however, when someone tries to extend their personal space, not only through shared space, but into another's personal space.
..........
Where do your rights start and end?
There is a much talk these days about "empowerment." Unfortunately, this model of personal and shared space tends to render that concept a moot point. When it comes to your personal space, your boundaries and your power, nobody can take it away from you. Only you can give it up or lose it. You can give it up by holding something more dear (i.e., security or personal beliefs) and sacrificing it to maintain that more valued ideal. Or you can lose it by frittering it away by not acting in a manner consistent with maintaining power. As such, another person is not so much, taking your power away as he is pouncing on an opportunity to get something. An opportunity that you presented him by not knowing your boundaries and what it takes to maintain them.

As stated, your personal space is yours and nobody else's. Nobody has the right to negate your thoughts or emotions. Nor do they have the right to tell you what to think or feel. Most especially nobody has the right to inflict their desires on your body without your expressed permission. These are your boundaries, your land, your home. And you have the right to do whatever it takes to defend against encroachment into your legitimate personal space. And the harder they push to encroach over that boundary the harder you are justified to push back to keep them off your land.

The author sounds very similar to what I have said here. Surprisingly, this is the first time I read that particular piece.

So now let's look at what's on the negotiating table.

As for this part of your comment, it is unworthy of you and certainly unworthy of the standard I try to set for discussions here at VC:-C

This is a personal comment about me. That is not disputed from what I have seen. It is, also, a negative personal comment about me. Not because it is a derivative of the backhanded comment "I think you are better than this" but because it purports to tell me what my comment meant. My input wasn't required in this process.

This is essentially a negation of my personal space. That's why I said I wouldn't stand for it. That's why I said that this is a trespass. It isn't because Cassandra said something about the shared space. It is because Cassandra said something about me. My personal space is not the same as the shared space here.

Now, on the table, is the issue of how we are going to deal with this. Cassandra says that she will believe me if I say that I didn't mean "presumably" as an insult. However, that isn't the issue. The issue, the act of trespassing, is that she didn't ask me first before making a personal comment about me. Combined with her comment about this blog, this shared space. Not only that, but there were connotations that this blog was hers alone. That she alone gets to decide how things will be. That is not only a conflict between my personal space and this shared space, but it's a blurring of the lines between Cassandra's personal space (her thoughts and values and emotions) with this shared space (blog). What this means is that anything bad that happens on this blog then translates as a personal attack on Cassandra, from Cassandra's perspective. That, I think, is why I was more careful than usual in simply defending my personal space, and not even stepping into the issue of shared space until recently.

Again, I'm not asking for some public statement of apology over some perceived past wrong. What I want is a recognition on Cassandra's part that my personal boundaries exist, that she should not go there without my permission, and that she not claim that stepping into my personal space as the same as stepping into the shared space of this blog or even her own personal space.

It isn't a matter of right or wrong. Just don't do it. I'm still waiting on some responses to what's on the table from Cassandra. So I can't really make too many suppositions or guesses as to what she will or will not accept. That will have to wait for a response to what's on the table now.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 09:31 PM

(although how I am supposed to know in advance what you might interpret as "personal" when I so clearly don't understand you remains something of a mystery). Also, you want me to promise that if I you ever say something that strikes me the wrong way, I will stop and ask for clarification before assuming you meant what I thought you meant.

So we know what you want. What we don't know is what you proposing to do in exchange for this?

Okay, I just saw this.

The issue of what is personal and what is yours as opposed to what is shared, I think is clarified in the last comment of mine.

As for understanding me, even I don't have a full comprehension so it doesn't matter if somebody else has a less than sufficient level there. What I want to be understood isn't what I wish or what my whims are, fluctuating daily. That would be purely selfish on my part.

I just want you to recognize that these boundaries are real and that I didn't give permission to you, Cassandra, to somehow get past them without knowing that they are there. The reason why I kept making the comments that I did, wasn't because I was adamantly claiming that I was in the right and you in the wrong, but simply stating that there was a boundary you had crossed, and I wanted you to know that this had happened. Because if I don't let you know, basically the only other things I would do would be to keep quiet then I would explode on you when you said something innocuous to me later on. It would also be me willingly giving up part of my personal space, as if the public or you owned it. I wasn't willingly to do that. If I hadn't spoken up, adamantly or stridently or however people would wish to characterize it, I was de facto letting my boundaries be defined by others.

What I want, a security guarantee of sorts, from you isn't for you to always do that in this shared space. What I want is a little more complex. It only relates to me and you, of course, not to anyone else. Thus shouldn't be impossible for you to do. You can make personal comments about me. This includes both compliments, insults, or any other sorts of personal comments. But never never

never imply or directly relate, in a sentence or paragraph, that what you think I am, did, or said is in any way shape or form the same as the rules for this shared space, this blog, or in any way shape or form the same as your own personal emotions and beliefs.

This isn't just me. This is everybody. Maybe I'm this way because I see these things more often or am just more sensitive, but whatever. But this is me, in the sense that this is my space. And everybody has a personal space, it is just different. Defined by them, it is different.

Whether you do this by asking what I thought or simply saying that the rules for this shared space doesn't include snide insults, "so would you please follow the rules", doesn't matter to me. I don't care how it is done. So long as it works.

As for what I am proposing to do in exchange for this, you have to set down your bargaining position and proposals. I don't know what you would like, so I could end up guessing until forever. We don't have 1 to 1 real time communication, so that'd be ineffective. Simply list what you would wish from me, and we can re-negotiate certain issues.

That is true of the new terms here as well. If you don't like something, simply say that you won't accept it. Then perhaps you may suggest something that you would accept. If you don't like something I have done, propose how I will change it in the future. Let's not talk about the past, because I can't change the past. Neither can you. I can only change the present or the future.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 09:53 PM

What I also suggest would be to put down your deal breakers on the table. You probably have some.

Also define the boundaries between your personal space and this shared space (blog). I can't do it for you. I don't know what you consider your personal space and this blog. But I do know that if you don't know, then certainly I don't know. That's not a good position to be in, because no matter who does what to anyone else, we won't be able to come to a deal if you don't know where your boundaries are. So you have to define them.

Both for me and for yourself.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 19, 2010 10:09 PM

...never never never imply or directly relate, in a sentence or paragraph, that what you think I am, did, or said is in any way shape or form the same as the rules for this shared space, this blog, or in any way shape or form the same as your own personal emotions and beliefs.

Ymar, there is a fundamental disconnect between your perception of the world and mine. In my world, I am the only one who knows for certain what I mean and what I intend.

You don't know either of those things, nor do you have the ability to decide what I intended. If I say something, you may have an opinion as to what I meant, but it is not really an informed opinion since you cannot read my mind. Your opinion is just that: yours. It belongs to you and has more to do with you and how you see the world than with me.

You're right: I can easily promise never to intentionally equate anything you've said or done with my values or my rules. And I'm happy to do that. But I cannot control what you think I meant or think I intended. Therefore, I can never promise that you won't ever think I have done those things.

I control (and am responsible for) only my own actions, words, and perceptions.

As for what I want, I don't want anything. If I consider something private and personal, it will never show up here at VC.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 19, 2010 11:49 PM

This will be disjointed because having to reply to a 10,000 word comment is difficult 5 minutes at a time.

Ego, Pride, Reputation, Honor? You tell me. You certainly are protesting your (mis)treatment rather strongly for some reason. - Me

So you think you have something to offer me that will benefit me? - Ymar

How in the heck do you go from the first statement where I posit that despite your protestations you are certainly acting "injured" (perhaps aggreived may be a better word?) have anything at all to do with offering you something. This is not a trade, not a negotiation. I am not paying you to read my words. I am putting them out there and you are free to read them or ignore them as you like (or not). I ask for no payment nor offer it.

If you wish me to do something that you stipulate, certainly it is obvious that I require equal compensation.


I do not ask you to do anything. I merely assert that to do something would be a good idea. You are free to act in any way you choose. This is much the same way that I think being a jerk is a bad idea and people shouldn't do it. That does not imply any desire nor duty to pay (in any form) people to not be jerks.

Regardless of what it sounds like, it was neither a personal attack nor intended to be a backhanded cheapshot.

It is not the case that I struck the first blow simply because somebody perceived I had done it.

And yet, your perceptions, despite *her* protestations to the contrary, does make it the case that Cass struck the first blow.

Convenient that. Which is really, despite the voluminous verbage is the central point. You offend Cass and it's Cass' fault for perceiving a slight that isn't there. She offends you and it is *still* Cass' fault for you perceiving a slight that isn't there. Heads you win, tails Cass loses.

So to clarify matters. Your position, YAN, is that you or Cassandra (or both) can believe that I like using personal insults and cowardly insinuations and deceptive comments because you feel something I said meant what you think I meant, without the need to ask for clarification even once. That is your position, yes?

No, it is not my position. My position is that when you say something and the response you get is something on the order of "I find that statement personally insulting", the appropriate response if offense was not meant is not "How dare you impugn my character! That is completely out of bounds, you are supposed to protect me!" but rather, "I'm sorry, I did not intend to offend. I'll try to be more careful in the future."

Let's not get angry here. There's no call for it.

Not angry at all. But there you go again where your perceptions are valid and actuality doesn't matter. I simply made a statement of fact given your negotiation framework whereupon my opinions have 0 compensatory value. There is no risk, but there is also no reward. So bogging down the conversation is pointless.

Doesn't look like both sides are winning here, to me. - Me

When things look bad, the good must combine. There's no cause to try to give up things or to actively sabotage them.

Again with the tangents. Who said anything about sabotage? I'm simply saying that I agree that win-win is ideal in a negotiation. But what we have here isn't in any way, shape, or form "win-win". And, in fact, can't be since there is no negotiation taking place. This is persuasion, not negotiation.

While I believe that offense has been given to me, I'm not willingly to attack others or to assume they said things that they didn't say, simply because I want to win.

See? Here again, you persist in believing an offence was given to you despite Cass' protestations to the contrary, and you believe you are not "assum[ing] they said things that they didn't say"? Those are two completely contradictory statements. They logically can not both be true at the same time. You cannot claim that it is proper for you to believe an offense was given over the other person's protestations while at the same time claiming that it is improper when the roles are reversed.

Why do you call it nonsense?

Because of the tendency to go off on tangents. Compensation, negotiation, anger, sabotage, I could go on. No one else brought those up, you introduced those things. Having to address them simply adds verbage not clarity. Sure, we can talk calculus on a topic of rectangular area, but to do so is nonsensical.

The thing is, Cassandra also struck a first blow[snip]

*A*? Either something is the first blow or it is not. There are not multiple firsts. And if you really want to keep score: "Lazy", "Silly", and "Presumable" -- you were up 3-0 before Cass's "Unworthy" comment. After that, you have repeatedly refused to accept her statement that an offense was not meant and have so added the insult of "Liar" to the list giving you a 4-1 lead. So, again, acting like you are the one who has been mistreated here isn't exactly helping to persuade me to your perspective.

[snip] unintentionally perhaps. Should she also have to apologize?

Given the 3-0 "score" at the time, IMO, it was time you were offended. That Cass did not mean it that way speaks to her favor, not against it.

Also, can you stop using personal pronouns.
Using "one" all the time as in, "it is not one's duty to apologize to another one for one's nose being in the way" get's rather tedious to keep track of who is whom. And since you have offered me nothing in terms of compensation, I shall continue to do as I please. (See how this whole "negotiation" thing isn't helping?)

This is a personal comment about me. That is not disputed from what I have seen.

Then I shall point them out to you:

'Finally, I have made no "personal comments about what I think of you", except to say that I don't think of you as the kind of person who is normally insulting.'

So even if it was a personal comment it is a positive one not a negative one. If you were to persist that it is a negative one because it purports to inform you what your own comment meant, then that works both ways in continuing to persist that an offense was given to you (for the umpteenth time) despite her protestations to the contrary. Why is it unacceptable for her to make personal comments about you, but you get to make personal comments about her with impunity?

Furthermore why is it that when, according to you, she tells you what your comment meant that is unacceptable, but when you, according to her, you tell her what her comment meant this is entirely proper?

At least she has accepted your contention that no offence was meant. You, on the other hand, have not.

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at April 20, 2010 01:17 PM

In my world, I am the only one who knows for certain what I mean and what I intend.

You don't know either of those things, nor do you have the ability to decide what I intended. If I say something, you may have an opinion as to what I meant, but it is not really an informed opinion since you cannot read my mind. Your opinion is just that: yours. It belongs to you and has more to do with you and how you see the world than with me.

That's my position as well, from my point of view that is. I also say that you do not have permission to decide what I intended. This is a good common basis for negotiations to have. We each then have the same definitions of our boundaries. Now we just have to define how that connects to this shared space.

But I cannot control what you think I meant or think I intended.

That's a legitimate point. Of course, I don't think you can control what I believe or that I can control what you believe. The whole point of what I am negotiating for, the security deal on the table, is that I don't want you to control what I think or feel. It isn't a solution if I propose that the solution should be me doing it to you.

There are, however, some simple things that can be done to prevent miscommunication. Aside from these control issues, do you have anything against the other things on the table?

On the specific point, I don't want a guarantee that this will never happen (vis vis my part). I just want a guarantee that, after recognizing these boundaries, that you won't try to juxtapose the spaces together. Instead, clearly separate them in meaning and intent. Sentences from sentences. Paragraphs from paragraphs. These are just examples of how it can be done in my view, they don't spell out the whole story. There are probably other ways to do it. I can't think of any at the moment.

Again, regardless of which method you choose, I will consider the deal met if the result is successful.

As for what I want, I don't want anything. If I consider something private and personal, it will never show up here at VC.

Wait. I don't think we're talking about the same thing. I mean, what is it you wish in exchange from me, for agreeing to the conditions on the table now, from me.

Isn't this what you asked me before? I'm just saying that I don't know what it is you expect of me until you say it. You may have already, but it wasn't entirely direct. It should clear things up if you directly say what it is you wish as a return. It can be as simple as what you have already said, but still, I would like it to be definite.

I understand some of what you mean by not putting up anything entirely private or personal, to you, here at VC. What I'm talking about, however, is mutual security. Meaning, I have explained and drawn out the boundaries that are between this shared space and my personal space. There are some normal social customs that prevent a single Western individual from stepping on anyone else's personal space. If people recognize what is shared space and what is my space, it'll be easier for them to avoid seeing one as the other.

What I am talking about, then, is where along VC, the blog, the comments, the posts, the rules, etc, do you consider that you and you alone decide, and what about it is open to mutual compromise.

To guarantee my security, I don't want people to confuse what is VC and what is me. But this also includes not confusing anybody else's personal space with VC, either. I can do that with Grim and others here, because they don't own the blog. I am not in danger of telling them what to do here and they aren't in danger of telling me what to do here. The assumption is always that we have equal bargaining power, that we are indeed negotiating between two parties. But as Grim has said, you do own the blog. Yet it is not entirely yours. So the danger of appearing like I'm claiming your personal space or this shared space as my personal space, is a real danger. If I can avoid that danger, with your help, my security would increase. This is what I mean by mutual security.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 20, 2010 04:35 PM

That's a legitimate point. Of course, I don't think you can control what I believe or that I can control what you believe. The whole point of what I am negotiating for, the security deal on the table, is that I don't want you to control what I think or feel. It isn't a solution if I propose that the solution should be me doing it to you.

Ymar, read that again:

Of course, I don't think you can control what I believe ...

But:

The whole point of what I am negotiating for, the security deal on the table, is that I don't want you to control what I think or feel. It isn't a solution if I propose that the solution should be me doing it to you.

How can I control what you think or feel when you've already said I don't control what you think or feel?

My head just exploded.

Look, I do not want anything - at all - from you in return for my promising not to do intentionally do something that I (A) don't believe is possible in the first place, and (B) did not intend to do.

Such a promise costs me exactly nothing because even if I thought I could do it, I wouldn't want to.

I've already agreed to what you asked and I am done discussing this. It's just going around in circles.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 20, 2010 05:25 PM

How can I control what you think or feel when you've already said I don't control what you think or feel?

You seem to see this as a contradiction. Although it looks to me more like it is common ground. But regardless. Since it's a fine point, it can be passed on over.

I've already agreed to what you asked and I am done discussing this. It's just going around in circles.

Alright. I'll take that offer then. While I'm not exactly sure what happened to the top of the table, if you're unwillingly to continue then we can consider the matter closed.

Posted by: Ymarsakar at April 21, 2010 07:05 PM

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