Feminism; Equality Takes Two

It is a strange world we live in; where one could decide they would like all things to be equal, and yet not decide they believe in feminism. The core concept of feminism, being that in a primarily patriarchal society, it is about time that women were given the same rights as men, and not be subjected to petty rules based on a pre-defined gender at birth. Ultimately, it is about shaping the world so that women are not classed as second class citizens. It makes no sense, to pay a woman less, to require she work harder to achieve the same goals, or to assume she must perform “housework”, must put on make-up or go through additional “grooming”, or must perform “womanly duties” because she is a female.  It’s creating fictitious rules one must abide by, simply because of their sex. This is archaic, it’s misogynistic, and it needs to change.

In the defence of those who are not yet feminists (one must assume ignorance before maliciousness), it may be that they are indoctrinated by a male dominated media, who have managed to swindle the case of feminism so that it appears all supporters are radical. It’s a common technique, called minimalising. Where you make an issue seem small, and that only extremists could care about it. Of course with all causes there are radicals. But it is important to remember they are called as such because they differ from the norm. It is vitally important, that you do your research, and understand what feminism really means. It is important, that women are given equal opportunity in the field of journalism, professional journalism, so that they may steer the view-point. With more women in the field, in the positions of power and with the ability to make change, so too will this trickle down to the masses, who will be educated on the other side of the the debate.

Equal Work Opportunity

Now what must be understood, as a matter of physics, is that to start moving an object takes more energy than for it to continue moving. So while it is unfair, the task is upon the world to make an effort, to gain the momentum we need, to reach the place we should be as a society. And that requires the participation of all peoples. Or all genders and sexes.

And yet, what is problematic, is that some are falling into a trope of assuming you must be radical to be true to the cause. What’s more upsetting, is that some vocal speakers, believe that feminism requires misandry. As a male – I come across a common issue when trying to comment on feminist issues, to show support for it. I come across the issue, where I am immediately made to feel not welcome, or when I do enter a forum and read a horrific story a woman has went through, the top and most up voted comments are to the effect of “Typical man.” or “Of course it was a man who did that.”

And when you do try to comment with your own perspective, you are touted as not being eligible to have an opinion on the matter.

Some people are under the impression to be a feminist, you must be a female. This is categorically false – and remarkably short-sighted. This would be similar to saying you cannot believe black people are treated unequally because you are not black. Which would be a very stupid thing to say. If we could only comment on qualities we posses, then one could not believe disabled people require support; unless you are disabled, or that gay people deserve equal rights; unless you are gay.

Long story short; you are allowed an opinion on a matter, even if you are not the direct subject of it. To say “You aren’t X so you don’t have an opinion.” is moronic, and cowardly. We all fit into the society we are creating, which means we are all allowed our takes upon it.

To say, “Typical man” or “Of course you’re a man; you would act this way.” is the very definition of sexism. Do not fall into this trap. I understand, as a male, my struggles to enter the feminism debate does not equate in any way to the struggles of the brave women out there who have had to endure endless ridicule and denigration because of their sex – what I am saying – is that there should not be an additional barrier to being a feminist. Especially an invisible one.

Because the Male Sexists of the world will use it as ammunition. They will be given evidence, however false, that will allow them to spin stories, and tell lies about feminism. They will point to the one negative article surrounding feminism, and ignore the adjacent positive hundred. It’s very easy to convince large groups of people, when you show them a narrowed perspective. This in turn will slow the move towards feminism, which will in turn increase frustrations, which may lead to more misandry, which will in turn slow the transition more, and so on.typography-2730340

The fight for equality requires that we both participate. And while the rules of progress are still debated, please ensure you are moving towards the solution, and not simply creating a problem.

Lastly, if you are a man, and you believe this is a fight.  You believe this is a fight, where the women are stealing your power, they are stealing your advantage, they are stealing your ways and the traditions of how the patriarchy has operated for thousands of years, then understand this; this is a fight we must lose. 

We are on the side of the privileged – and in a world where we should all be given an equal opportunity, it is important then that we lose this advantage. You are not losing your opportunity – you are just ensuring others have it too. In the race of life, we must all start on the same line, as best we can. We cannot make education, opportunity, work, money, healthcare, safety, politeness, caring, kindness, or priority, different for one sex – and not the other.

This is unfair. Just because it has been the way, and the way for a long time, does not mean it must continue to be. You must not continue making a mistake, simply because you have committed so much time to it. This, is a honey pot.

As we move towards equality – a world where men, women, and children of all genders, ethnicity, and sexual orientations are allowed equal opportunity – we will move towards a world of peace, of understanding, and of a forgetting of past bitterness and unfairness. We do not have to be dystopian children; dystopian dreamers. We can have a future, and a beautiful one at that.

Be sure that in the future, when you look back upon your contributions; you see you fought for the winning side; the side of feminism.

 

 

Shorts: Brevity Vs Verbosity

Brevity, alone, does not make you intelligent.

It is fine to speak a statement, and mean it exactly as it is said. To speak succinctly, and to the point. But the “problem” in language, is its open interpretation of it. Without clarification, you would be better off saying nothing at all. And yet it seems as though often, people regard it as profundity. As though to say, “With strength, you are delicate.” is insightful. When in fact, it provides no information at all. No evidence, and merely contradicts itself. And yet people can apply it to the self; “Well yes, I am strong, and yet I have feelings… so this is true!” … But actually that wasn’t what was said… in fact, that was just what you wanted to hear. In the context of when they wrote it, they could be a bodybuilder and have meant as your strength training increases, so too does your likelihood to injury yourself, and remain fragile. So actually, nothing of note was said, because we still don’t know what they said. So we may as well have thought to ourselves what we wanted to hear.

Obviously, the intended point of some forms of literature, such as poetry, is brevity. And it is to evoke personal feelings, discussions, and emotes, in as few a word as possible – so of course for the sake of this argument, poetry and certain forms of artistic prose are excluded.

Equally verbosity is not intrinsically the solution. With the addition of words that can be taken in multiplicity, you increase the chances of contradiction, or fulfilling a point that you did not make. Which obviously increases your appeal to a wider market, but your intended point might have never been heard. Remarkably enough, this can also allow someone to come across as intelligent or insightful, as long as someone persists long enough to find what they want. If someone were to write for twenty paragraphs, briefly touching different topics, the chances you cannot agree on a single thing they say, is insatiably low. Someone could say something horrific, bigoted, and downright rude, but if they justify it with, “We all want to move towards a brighter future for the children of tomorrow.” you would be inclined to agree with that end statement. And so you might consider something you otherwise would not have, simply because you feel like you agree on some points.

You must not hammer home the point, when it has already been made, for risk of bending the nail. But equally, it does not make you intelligent to say something to confidently, yet so vague, that it can be taken not so literally in so many different ways.

It is then important to understand, that extremes of either, do not fulfil a need, alone. We have all read poetry that makes no sense, because of its determination to succinctness, and yet we have all read books, that ramble on for hundreds more pages than they should have, to the point even the author becomes a little lost. Instead, a careful balance of the two may be the solution. To keep it brief as to say exactly what you want, without allowing for a thousand iterations of what you might have meant. Equally, try not to keep it so brief, that you almost cut it off in the middle of your –

A Response to a Selfish Writer – RE: Orphans

All it takes is a great reader, a great speaker – a great writer – to challenge the absolute core of your beliefs. Of that which you are, and that which you stand for. And while this is the beauty of human interaction, that it makes us cement our values further or change them entirely, either way allowing us to grow stronger or in a different direction – equally it is an extremely dangerous tool when someone has manipulative intent for their own agenda.

I don’t often use the word “I” on this blog, or speak in the first person – as I try to talk to everyone and engage, rather than focus inwards. However, this is an exception.

To provide evidence to my point; I read an article from a rather selfish man (which is leading, I know), who had disabled comments on his blog, perhaps because he knew there would be a backlash from the ways in which he speaks. I am aware there are a number of reasons one might disable comments, but I digress. I will not call out the exact name of the post, or the authors name. This is not a doxxing attempt or a witch hunt. But in his post, he wrote very clearly and categorically that we should not feel sorry for orphans, because even non-orphans can be alone.

Now forgive my stunned silence, but these two points, are irrelevant. This would be as though I were to say, when a rich person dies, don’t feel sorry for them, because their family have money. Or that you can’t have a bad day, because there are war-torn countries whose people live in fear everyday. It doesn’t make sense. Pain and grief, good and bad, exist in all facets of life, in all manners, relative to that person whom is experiencing it or can determine a perspective upon it. Because someone else feels worse than you, does not mean you cannot feel bad also.

I cannot emphasise more strongly, how much you should ignore this kind of thinking, this kind of talking. This is someone, who had felt alone, as we all have and is deciding to inflict his own need for attention, his own requirement to be victimised, upon the reader. In doing this, he’s calling out a vulnerable group. Which is deplorable. This would be as though I were to say, “Don’t be appalled by police brutality towards an ethnic race in your country, I’m not that race and was pulled over for a speeding ticket the other day. I get it bad too.” It doesn’t make sense, and it’s just targeting a group to make a point, that you aren’t even making well.

Now to his credit, he then went on to say how he visited an orphanage and they were all living in the moment and enjoying life, free from a virtual world. Which is great… but this is not their fault. Because he feels sad, alone, perhaps distanced in an online world, does not somehow validate his point. We can still empathise with an orphan, who has lost their regular home, their security, and the loving embrace of parents. Equally, of course parents can be bad influences, but it is scientifically proven that significant trauma is likely to be caused in a child, whenever a significant life event happens upon their parents. E.g They leave the family, they pass away, they get divorced, etc.

Fortunately, the author wasn’t a great writer. He had numerous (obvious) spelling errors, and clearly did not manage to sway my views. But if he had been, someone may have walked away believing this. In fact, it had likes on it, so some people did.  Some people were convinced, that you should not empathise with an orphan, because you can feel alone, or lost in your own family. Of course you should empathise. Just because a non-orphan can feel sad or alone too, does not diminish in any way, the plight of the orphan.

To that point; what is upsetting, is that this author had numerous likes already on his post, after only posting it recently. Perhaps his blog had some followers already, or perhaps people who were vulnerable themselves, were easily swayed upon the read. And relatively, this post disputing his point, based on basic human kindness, may not receive any attention at all.

 

Discussion: Language, without barometer

Suppose that in ten million years, humanity has been long wiped off the face of the planet. Some life still remains, but it has regressed to a more primitive state, due to some cataclysmic event, caused by our own iniquity, or some element of chance.
No animal that could understand the basics of calculus has existed on the rock called Earth for a very long time.

When one day, entirely by chance, our no longer blue planet is discovered, by some nomadic civilisation, who managed to achieve travel into the stars without using that same technology to blow each themselves up. In the ruins alone, under the assumption that concrete has eroded into mere particles that blew in the wind, and pages from books lost their ink; this civilisation would be able to piece together very little of what we were. Even if somehow some homestead had managed to endure the withering of time – if it had been cocooned in a blanket of ice, for instance; where would you even begin to understand what objects were?

A slab of metal and glass filled with silicon lines, in the corner of a room, where every piece of furniture is pointed at it. Knives and forks on the dinner table, for fighting no doubt. Window frames on the second floor, because we could jump so high, and often used that for quick access. Cloth in wooden containers, powdered energy in glass jars, animal carcasses in large white frozen boxes. It would be a frightening world of guesswork without a basis by which to guess. Everyone has had that experience of trying to tell a story, that was funny at the time, but after telling it out loud you find the other person does not find it so. Think of this, except not only do you not speak the same language, but you share no history, no culture, no prospects, no allegiances, and perhaps not even the same galaxy.

Now let’s suggest that humanity as a collective decides that the idea of a future civilisation discovering our remains and not being able to fabricate who we were is just too harsh a thought to bare. So they decide to devise a solution to this, or at least to devise a means in which to help these future nomads. And as a collective, they have decided to accept applications from anyone on the planet, and accept any ideas anyone on the planet may have on how best to communicate with the future visitors.

The problem then becomes the focus of this article: How do you communicate with these visitors? How do you construct a language, without barometer? In our own world, translations of works are inherently different to the language in which they were originally written, mainly because there is no word which translates over 100% – but at least we have something by which we can vaguely relate it to. But with an alien visitor -you don’t even have a set of words, objects, animals, or plants, by which you could guarantee you share. Not only this, but you cannot even predict the senses this alien might use to perceive the world around them. It is not enough to suggest you could communicate in a language that is a concatenation of a number of languages that are most frequently used or most expressive; because you cannot guarantee this creature has ears. Or perhaps they do but do not hear in the same frequency as we do. Perhaps you wish to communicate in symbols? – Well it has taken us thousands of years to build up semiotics to the point we can look at something and register to which category it belongs to at a glance, and even now most humans struggle with all of them, they differ in time and they differ from culture to culture. Equally, as before, the visiting nomads may not have eyes. Or if they do, maybe they do not see colour in the same range that we do. Lets say that they do have eyes – well what do they even register as a note? Say they looked at English at a glance, they could interpret the white space between the letters as the symbols rather than the letters themselves.

The possibilities are near endless for interpretation. This would be fair to say of something that came from our planet, or even our galaxy. But this could be a visitor that we may not even recognise as intelligent life, and yet regardless, it is. So much so that it had travelled through the stars to find us.

Furthermore then, we have an obligation to protect intelligent life as best as we can. To avoid any kind of pain and anguish where we can. If something can intelligent understand the universe and perceive its own consciousness, it must be our responsibility to ensure it.
It is important then to have this discussion – say we are aware of what brought about our destruction. It is our obligation then, to warn these visitors of the dangers we could not avoid. Perhaps areas of contamination, physical or otherwise, should be left in the past and certain technologies either avoided or proceeded with caution. The question being, how do we do this?

How would you communicate to something that may not even perceive the world in the same way that you do? And on a more personal note… Would you? Would you personally make an application to share your thoughts on how best to do this?

Arguably our only efforts to communicate without language thus far, is music. For thousands of years, we have communicated celebration, happiness, fear and war to others through music. No lyrics required to communicate exactly how we feel. Perhaps this would be our best bet to begin. Perhaps the sound of children laughing, the rain forest, or the ocean reaching the shoreline. The times at which we as a species were most at peace.
But then, while this may provide an example of our environment – it doesn’t necessarily define who we were or are. When we were good or bad. When we loved, and when we hated.

If we continue on a scientific trend – would we leave behind a hologram of a child as an ark of information, to provide context to who we were? Would this be the most realistic option, to convey our messages of peace in as many images and as many words as we possibly could? Could this child hold out a hand, with the bumps on his hand spelling in braille, and his words echoed in every other language, and Morse code? Would what the child spoke even resonate on any parallel? Should we literally throw sounds and light in some form of pattern, and hope that something sticks? Data dump our history and languages in as many different patterns as possible? Perhaps an AI, that can use everything that we are currently to determine what COULD be encountered in the future? Statistically, this is probably necessary. As much as they would like to earn us, we may need to learn it first, in the form of some machine learning. To discuss topics not only do we not understand yet, but we may never even have encountered in our cosmically short lifespan.

What if we decided that we wanted to communicate, only that which we wanted to communicate. I.e. perhaps we would wish to leave out the horrid parts of our history, or tell much more embellished versions of it in myth, legend, and art rather than the much more hard to swallow science and objectivity. If we were to do that, how could we separate semantics from pragmatism? To say very clearly what is, and not what we meant to say. This applies to our language, and also our visualisation of our culture. Say we built, or painted, or sculpted a grand cathedral, and hid it in some frozen ark – we may try to convey how complex and grandiose we were in our architectural choice – only to find that our visitor friends interpret the use of space as inefficient. They may regard our distinct lack of compactness instead, as a sign we were not intelligent whatsoever. That we were too wasteful. Perhaps then, they would be right.

The questions are endless, and arguably you could discuss for the millions of years we are hypothetically wiped out discussing what we could and should do – if and when we should – why and where we should. In fact, this question, which its infinite possibilities seems to grand a task to bestow upon us, and too great a burden to endure.

But if something is important enough, you must always try. Even if the expected outcome, is failure.

However; the question remains: Would you? And if so, how? How would you begin to construct a language to speak beyond the stars, without barometer?

Go.

What Are You Worth?

What are you worth?

It’s not a thought that often crosses the forefront of our mind, but I’d wager that for many, an arbitrary value exists somewhere in the recesses of thought.

This topic was brought about by a conversation I had with some close friends, where I proposed them the following scenario with a single question;


 

“Suppose you are diagnosed with a chronic illness. And unfortunately, the doctor informs you that this illness will bring about your imminent demise. In fact, you will die, tomorrow.

However, the doctor informs you that while there is no cure, there is a treatment, in the form of a single pill. Now what this pill does, is keep you effectively staving off the effects of the disease, for one day.

There are many of these pills, and they are readily available to you. The pill cannot be stacked, but it will work continuously.

i.e. You cannot take six pills and live for six more days, but for every pill you take, you get to live for one more day, specifically the following. So you must take this pill every morning, to continue living for the rest of that day.

Now for the question; at what cost, do you STOP paying for the pill?”

*Perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

I found this such an interesting question to pose to my close friends, particularly because of the first response I got, when I had asked a clearly startled colleague

Although I am not afraid of death, and in fact, I struggle to identify when you can even call someone truly dead (a topic for another day), I still would always answer – “I would pay anything for the pill.”

I assumed this was an obvious answer, that everyone has the same zest and desire for life, and that my colleague would respond in kind. But instead she replied, “Nothing. I would not pay anything for that pill.”

I was shocked. This completely bewildered me. My colleague doesn’t come across as an unhappy person, and yet I must confess, this was my immediate reaction, although I did not vocalise it. But then immediately, she followed it up with, “I wouldn’t want to leave anyone behind, with a burden of paying for that medicine.”

In a roller-coaster of emotion, I now felt incredibly selfish. I had not even considered the people I would leave behind. In my mind, I thought I would do anything to continue paying for that pill, in the sense of I would accept every inch of the responsibility. But then on further examination of my conscience, I think even if I did leave a burden upon the living… I don’t know. I think my answer still might be “I would do anything for that pill.”

While I cannot know for certain, and it is indeed all a thought experiment, I cannot think of a time when I would condemn myself, to my final day on Earth, voluntarily.

And yet, I then decided to propose a different scenario upon myself alone, based on the famous trolley question;


 

“Suppose I am working in a laboratory, and there is an accident with a spilled contaminant. This contaminant bubbles and breathes gas into the lab. This chemical is lethal when inhaled.

You and your lab partner, the only people in the room, rush to the two hazmat suits in the corner. But unfortunately as you get there, you discover one suit has been ripped, and is rendered useless.

The person who does not wear the suit, will not die a painful death. But they will die over the next minute. There is no cure as of yet, and they will not be revived.

Your partner has abstained from making the decision, and will readily accept yours.

Do you take the suit for yourself, or do you give it to your partner?”

*Again, perhaps answer the question for yourself, before reading any further.


 

Now with this question, my answer immediately would be, “I would give the suit to my partner.”

But again upon closer and initial inspection, it seems that there is a bit of an oxymoron between these two answers on my part. It doesn’t rightly make sense for me to fight so unyielding for my life, and yet on a different breath, give it up so readily.

Now perhaps I am perfectly willing to sacrifice my life for another’s. And I’m sure most people would like to believe this also. Hopefully we will be fortunate enough never be put in that situation, and have to even find out.

But here is where I am torn. I believe you should work hard to leave some part of you on this universe. That you should leave it in some kind of better state than when you found it.

And the idea of granting someone a life, by sacrificing mine helps me fulfil that. But just giving up on my life, doesn’t necessarily fulfil it for me. I think that’s why I fight so hard for the pill. With the pill, I can still try. I can still try with every second of my life to make the universe better in some way. But what if in doing that, I actually make it worse for those I leave behind?

What I’m also concerned with, is I think I would fear the idea of my last day, and my last thoughts, not being good ones. The idea of going home, putting on some TV, calling up far away family members to tell them the news, and gathering with closer family to be with me, and then just passing away – I don’t think it makes the cut for me. I could not have, an ordinary day be my last, without knowing if I truly made the world a better place with my time spend on it. But with the chemical spill thought, I can at least die a hero. Regardless of what I’ve done, some of it may be redeemed, and my successor can continue to do good in this world, because I gave them that chance.

Ultimately; I don’t know.

I don’t believe for the time being I have an answer to these questions both. I think it will take many more conversations and much more time thinking about this before I could propose an answer. Maybe by the time I come to the conclusion, my thoughts on the whole thing might have changed. This, I really do not know.

But with my thought and opinions as they stand today fully out there, let me ask you; What are you worth?