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Re: Sexism

Dec 09, 1996 08:27 AM
by JRC

On Mon, 9 Dec 1996, Tom Robertson wrote:
> >Alan
> Translation:  Since I regard Tom to have a different estimate of the general
> level of intelligence of a certain group of people than I have and since
> some people who share what I perceive to be Tom's estimate have been
> vicious, underhanded, and hateful, I therefore conclude that Tom must also
> be vicious, underhanded, and hateful, and, since the organization to which
> he belongs has referred to the organization to which I belong as a "Rival
> organisation," I, in the spirit of brotherhood and since I have no
> intelligent response to what Tom has said, regard him as no friend of mine,
> disregarding the fact that, in personally attacking him, I am guilty of the
> same prejudice and hate of which I accuse him, never for a moment
> considering the possibility that I might have misunderstood him and never
> bothering to find out before I distort the meaning of what he has written to
> be "demeaning and insulting."  My crime?  How could avoiding the making of
> distinctions, as the 2nd object says, by never making comparisons between
> any two individuals and between any two groups of individuals, be a crime?
> After all, aren't all differences between people mere illusions?  It is
> those who do not realize that brotherhood depends on seeing the Theosophical
> truth that all people, and all groups of people, are identical that we must
> most vigorously reject.
Gee for someone apparently upset about people misunderstanding you, you
certainly seem willing to utterly alter the meaning of the words of
others. I didn't think Alan's letter needed any translation at all.
Perhaps we should all start "translating" your posts?

Several people responded to your posts "intelligently", and you ignored
them ... preferring to respond instead as though you are some sort of
victim. You want an intelligent discussion? Then start making intelligent
points *backed by some sort of argument or evidence* - as that is what
generally constitutes "intelligent" discussion. For instance, you made the
almost preposterous statement that most women want to be dominated by men.
You made this statement on a list containing a number of *very* strong,
intelligent women - I personally have pretty much tuned out most of what
you've written since then, as if this is the level of your thought it
isn't barely even worth reading ... but I noticed a couple of people *did*
decide to do engage the topic - asking for some sort of evidence and
telling you that you could in no way know what "most" women "want" - in
fact much of your writing seems simply full of huge generalizations with
almost no foundation or evidence - however, you responded by giving a list
of people some sort of Stats 101 lecture (gee, you mean the behaviour of
many can *really* be mostly estimated from the behaviour of a smaller set?
What a revelation!). The person then (I believe) responded by saying ok,
so where is the *evidence* ... where *is* that poll of 1000 american women
in which "most" of them said they wanted to be "dominated" by women? I
notice this question - not only an "intelligent" question, but *the*
question that goes straight to the heart of your assertion, and that *had
to* be answered if you *genuinely* wanted an "intelligent" discussion, was
never answered, or even addressed.
 In fact I've noticed you've ignored most of the intelligent responses to
your assertions, and instead simply kept making generalizations and
assertions, never defining terms, never offering anything resembling
credible evidence. Instead you respond to the increasing number of people
who simply blast you - as though you are some sort of poor victim who
only wanted to have a "rational" discussion and is now being beat up by
"feminists" ... carrying some sort of banner that alleges that it is
simply because of your "unpopular" ideas that everyone is ganging up on
you - you are the bold one standing up for truth in a sea of feminist
emotionalism. In fact, a lot of the ideas you are asserting are getting a
much *milder* response than they would in many other areas of American
culture - they are atavistic and out of the mainstream ... I'd love to see
you walk into any American university, into the offices of any large
corporation, in fact even into most churches (save those of the radical
fundamentalist nature) and say "Most women want to be dominated by men".
The response you've gotten on this list is *kind and compassionate*
compared to what you'd experience elsewhere.

You want to just state "unpopular" ideas that have huge emotional charges
behind them, make the statements in the form of sweeping, generalized
assertions, with no definition of terms, no evidence to back the claims,
and no response to requests for such evidence, and then *complain* when
people attack you, paint *yourself* as a victim, and say people aren't
engaging in constructive conversation with you? Fact is, this list is
pretty much *full* of intellectuals, a lot of Theosophy's best authors are
here, the *average* educational level is probably that of the Master's
level, and the tendency is usually to over-intellectualize. These are not
people who just blast away - but *you* are not engaging in intellectual
debates ... not offering the substance needed to engage at the level you
complain that no one will engage you at ... but still keep making the
assertions ... and so people are increasingly responding *at the only
level at which you have permitted responses to be possible*.

What this list *does* do over time is help people refine their thoughts,
achieve a far greater precision in expression ... maybe, just maybe, you
should perhaps take a day and sit back, and consider perhaps whether some
of your ideas might actually be *wrong*? That there are some assertions
you've made that are not backed up with argument and evidence because they
*cannot* be so supported? That some of them may actually not even *be*
ideas so much as simply tired cliches that have no basis in reality any
longer ... a level of thought that *cannot* be engaged intellectually. Has
it occured to you to try to get beyond your own defensiveness and take the
increasing negative responses from a good number of people as
*information*, as a sign that it may not just be a bunch of overly
emotional feminists blasting you because of your unpopular "truths", but
rather as a sign that *your own* conceptions of women are *not correct*,
need substantial reformation and deepening, perhaps need to be re-thought
from the ground up?

On this list we've seen many come and go - and almost everyone that has
stayed in the long run has undergone a blasting, the alchemical hot-fire,
and has become rather more open and fluid ... but we have had many come on
the list, assert a bunch of rigid ideas, be completely closed to altering
their own perspective, start complaining loudly about how mean and nasty
everyone is, and leave after a month or two in a snit, or a huff, or with
the self-justification that they were badly misunderstood victims who were
just innocently trying to raise points. It is almost a syndrome, the
stages are so predictable ...

For my own part, I hope you make it past the list "initiation" ... but
that is your choice ... as it stands now, continuing the current discourse
is useless. If you *really* want intelligent, "rational" discussion with
people, start making arguments stronger than those that could not even
survive a freshman philosophy seminar intact ... you want to make
assertions about "women", then *back them up with something* - but this
means you will of necessity need to actually seek evidence I suspect
you've never sought ... will necessitate throwing out a lot of your
assumptions and perhaps facing some unpleasent truths - but what may
happen in the long run is a much fuller understanding of men and women,
and probably vastly improved relationships with the women in your life.

But get this ... you are *not* being victimized on this list - rather,
offered an opportunity to refine your own thought ... and the ones
blasting you the hardest are, whether you grasp it or not, your best
*spiritual* allies.
							Regards, -JRC

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