Pondering Differences

March 26, 2012

I do a lot of reading, trying to understand what makes people think and act as they do. What motivates us. Why we think this is moral and that is not. I also try very hard to limit my own bias in hopes of actually understanding, even if not accepting other points of view. These two articles were  thoughtful reads.

The first, a review of the book ‘The Righteous Mind,’ by Jonathan Haidt.

“To the question many people ask about politics — Why doesn’t the other side listen to reason? — Haidt replies: We were never designed to listen to reason. When you ask people moral questions, time their responses and scan their brains, their answers and brain activation patterns indicate that they reach conclusions quickly and produce reasons later only to justify what they’ve decided.”

And, “The problem isn’t that people don’t reason. They do reason. But their arguments aim to support their conclusions, not yours. Reason doesn’t work like a judge or teacher, impartially weighing evidence or guiding us to wisdom. It works more like a lawyer or press secretary, justifying our acts and judgments to others. ”

The second post is brief, but pertinent: ” Why Republican Women Vote for Santorum

“I would hypothesize that women who have accommodated themselves to living an evangelical lifestyle have nothing to gain from questioning the premises of Christian patriarchy. Their lives are more comfortable, less fraught with domestic conflict, if they simply decide to be happy and make the most of their assigned roles.”

And, “How many of us want to challenge the social constructs within which we have created active lives that are reckoned as meaningful? ”

This is a puzzle I have been pondering, and discussing with others.  We cannot all be activists. And I have often wondered if people, as a rule, aren’t more comfortable with certainty – knowing their role, feeling they can predict and define in black and white. Security feels safe.

Uncertainty  and self-responsibility are hard taskmasters.


Does This Make You Angry?

November 30, 2011

It should.

My Face Is Up Here

June 25, 2011

This would work far better for me if it were Guittard, or Droste, or Lindt…uh, okay. I’ll stop thinking about it now.


Anyways :


Calling It Like It Is

June 11, 2011

Let’s put the blame on the offenders – yes!


Wonderful post.

I am vindicated!

All those myths about successful relationships… bunk!  I’d figured most of these out on my own, but society as a whole is lagging behind.

Love Cracked.com. Good information with slightly over-the-top humor.


If only he knew what I really wanted  (ignoring that fact that most of us live in a nebula of vague wants, not clear and specific star-points).

If I have to tell him to say he loves me, it loses all its meaning (men don’t seem to think talking about feelings is as important as women do).

Men are so different from women  (and women are different from men) (and you are different from me) (and everyone is different from everyone else)

But –

We are also all the same. We all want to be shown that people respect us, like us, love us… we all want to feel connected.

So, hey, why not go out on a limb here and tell people what you need, and ask them what they need, and then start being kind to each other !


Opening Words?

May 11, 2011

I’m writing a novel about a woman who is struggling to find her life and her dreams again after getting into a relationship with a man who squashed her quite thoroughly. She still has her career – she’s a philosophy professor. This allows me to put in all sorts of ideas and such – which is great fun for me. Pruning them back out again is not quite so much fun.

She will, of course, get far more from her quest than just ‘her life back’.

For those who survived my post on /first person catharsis/, this is The Novel my editor made me convert to first person.

So – I have written this. It encapsulates her story-to-date as seen from her starting point in the novel. I just can’t decide if it should be the opening or not.


I was conceived in love, born in despair, and nurtured in cold, grey duty. I escaped. I escaped into the limitless world of the human mind. All the glories of art, literature, science: ideas were my solace. Being naturally prone to skepticism, I learned early on to question what I experienced, and even what I thought I believed to be true. This did not sit well with my father. He Believed with a very capital B. Beliefs are dangerous things. What we believe is right for us is not what is right for others. My father had no imagination and no tolerance for other beliefs.

I escaped again: to college. This time my escape cut me off from the dubious securities of that closed-minded home, but gave me a glorious wide world. More ideas, and now experiences to add color, life, and vitality to the ideas I’d pondered for so long. I thought I’d found my life’s path, but then a new idea, a Belief with a smaller, but still capital B took over my mind’s freedom. My belief in a man. That I willingly subverted myself to that belief was no comfort for the return to cold, grey duty. Beliefs are dangerous things. What we believe we are is not who we truly are. Belief keeps us from becoming ourselves.

I escaped once again. I have been lucky in my escapes. But now I was afraid to trust myself. I looked back in horror at how my own body and emotions overwhelmed my mind, and wondered if it could happen again.

I have a chance to find my life again. Either to create a balance that encompasses heart, body, and mind; or to leave one or more behind. This time, though, I will not leave my mind. My career, a career of ideas, is the best of me, the me that is most true to who I am.

This of course requires that I know who I am. To Know Thyself is no easy task. It is, like skepticism or scientific inquiry, a constant process of questioning, doubting, seeking proof, and never relaxing until you can prove what is known and what is yet to know; and discern how to explore and resolve the challenge that our ignorance offers.

In science or in ourselves, the more we learn the more there is to learn. People change. I was not the girl, nor the student I had been; nor even the woman I was two years ago. I was being born again. Who would I become?

*  *  *  *  *

My fingers fell from the keys. So few words to encompass a life of almost thirty years. So cold. Emotionless. Distant. But that was how I felt. What joys, what eager enthusiasms I’d once felt now lay shrouded beneath cobwebs of bitter memory.

And yet… why had I chosen to write these words? I wiped slow tears from my cheek, and blew my nose with a hint of defiance. Something was stirring, some shift in the winds that blew my resistless shell; some nebulous tendril of life emerging from the dormant seed that was still buried somewhere inside me.

I was curious now. I would find it.

But how to start the quest?

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