What Do You Believe That You Cannot Prove?

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There is some really thought provoking stuff over at esr.ibiblio.org – Armed & Dangerous – (esr.ibiblio.org/index.php?p=184 full story here), an excerpt follows below:

“I believe, but don?’t know how to prove, a much stronger version of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis than is currently fashionable. That is, I believe the way humans think is shaped in important ways by the linguistic categories they have available; thinking outside those categories is possible but more difficult, has higher friction costs. Accordingly, I believe that some derivation of Alfred Korzybski?’s discipline of General Semantics will eventually emerge as an essential tool of the first mature human civilizations.”

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Just War?

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“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy)

One little problem with Livy’s idea is that a last hope may still lead to a stupid and unnecessary war. Many wars seem to be caused by people with ’emotional issues’ who cannot bear to be wrong or to have their will thwarted. Until leaders of nations stop letting their egos and psychoses drive decision making war will always be with us.

NB: I once wrote a 10,000 word essay on just war in the middle ages, it did not seem to be possible then either

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What is it with Baby Boomer Women?

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More food for thought from Ally about women, men & feminism

As Ally notes, “What too many women do not understand is just how privileged we truly are – especially in today’s climate in the free world. We are not caged by our womb – we are given abilities and boundaries that are broader than men will ever have. We can choose to have children – or not to have them. A man has to nail down a willing female. We can choose to work, or stay at home with our children – not only is it socially abnormal for a man to stay home (that is, outside of the current norms), psychologically, it is hard for many men to accept that role due to their own instinctual male needs.”

I’ve just finished reading a book called When Work Doesn’t Work Anymore – Women, Work & Identity by Elizabeth Perle McKenna (ISBN: 0671856006). This book is a passionate diatribe outlining (as per the back cover blurb), “the unliveable bargain women have made in order to have meaningful work in a world whose rules are still designed for men”.

This book looks at what are termed ‘hidden trade-offs, submerged values and outdated premises that keep the workplace from working for women”.

Reading this book really annoyed me! And I was vociferous about my annoyance, which did disturb the televisual enjoyment of my partner.

The forces discussed in this book are actually the same for men & women if they want to make the same life choices, for example taking time out of the work force for child care. The book failed to distinguish between the results of lifestyle choices and the results of gender discrimination.

Gender discrimination does remain a fact in some places. But now inequity in the workplace tends to result from lifestyle choices. The fact remains that people who work longer hours tend to move up the food chain more readily than those who do not. And, people who run companies sacrifice very large parts of their personal lives to do so.

McKenna also talks about women being passed over for promotion, as if men are rarely passed over for promotion.

Her perspective is one that I am familiar with. It is the perspective of yet another whiney baby boomer who thought they could have it all, and who has just realised that they cannot have it all. In the end one must assign values to the alternatives that we each face in life, then make decisions based on what seems right to us at the time.

Women in the western world live a very privileged life. No one wants to kill us to preserve family honour if we go out with the wrong guy, nobody wants to perform female circumcision on us, we eat well, and we can do pretty much any work we care to. Yet there remains an ongoing stream of woman as victim stuff coming out. In the west women do not have to be victims for the most part unless they choose to do so.

Baby boomers seem to feel that they are entitled to things that are actually impossible to achieve. This has appears to have made some of them a bit grumpy in their middle age.

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