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Post 40

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Robert,
You are being sneak here. ;-).  I had thought this was the continuation of the typical male rant about females started by Luke here.

If you want to leave things as it is, ("Viva la difference" huh), why such male rant about females always come up once in a while at SOLO?

Curious though, I've yet seen any female SOLOists rant about males. That says a lot about the characters of our esteemed SOLO sisters.

Hong







Post 41

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 12:08pmSanction this postReply
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Hong ranted:
You are being sneak here. ;-).  I had thought this was the continuation of the typical male rant about females started by Luke here.

If you want to leave things as it is, ("Viva la difference" huh), why such male rant about females always come up once in a while at SOLO?

Curious though, I've yet seen any female SOLOists rant about males. That says a lot about the characters of our esteemed SOLO sisters.
I sit here and roll me eyes in disappointment.

I hope Hong does not suggest that women should take food, clothing and shelter from husbands for granted, nor expect husbands to carry all the financial burden in a marriage while offering nothing in return.  I will admit up front that men can be as guilty as women of abusing their partners in this fashion.  However, that was not the comedy album I quoted!

Since you are the SOLO Parenting leader, perhaps you can comment on what you consider a fair and equitable division of labor in a household.  At what point should a breadwinner in a household "throw in the towel" and walk away from a financially draining relationship?




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Post 42

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 12:35pmSanction this postReply
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Hong,

I hadn't even seen Luke's earlier "rant."  Nah, I'm not "ranting." Although I confess that some of my past relationships have given me ample cause to rant!  ; ^)

As for YOU, Luke Setzer:  First you encourage me to post this essay, and now you want to divert this thread off the topic of male-female psychology and into a male-female food fight...perhaps literally, since you are talking about "breadwinners" and household chores. Good grief! Does Objectivism even have a position about divvying up household chores? It would be our version of shiar'ia.
 
Ed: We need to distinguish between effective communication and "social metaphysics." The latter pertains to altering the content of one's views or statements or actions, regardless of truth, in order to appeal to or assuage others. It means selling out. That's NOT what I mean or advocate by effective communication. It means simply translating your ideas into terms that your audience can best grasp and relate to.

Nobody would accuse an English speaker of "social metaphysics" if he addressed a French audience in the French language. Nobody would accuse a parent of "selling out" to his child by explaining some moral lesson by using a story instead of a philosophy text.

Why then would it be "social metaphysics" or "selling out" to realize that a given listener or reader may find examples, metaphors and aphorisms more compelling and easy to grasp than symbolic logic -- and to employ these more concrete forms of communication instead of abstract technical language to convey one's points?

If the reply is that you shouldn't care whether your listeners or readers understood you, then why not speak and write in some private code? If you truly don't care, why speak at all? Why not live on a desert island, or in a monastery imposing a vow of silence?

Even a Howard Roark used language, and explained his ideas and values to his friends, and in fact to the world. So did his creator, Ayn Rand. And she used just the methods I'm endorsing...including such fictional symbols as Roark.

Communication is not a failure of one's independence. And individualism is not solipsism.




Post 43

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:01pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,
It seems I have been poking you forever. hehe.

All I can comment is that you should distant yourself as far away as possible from any women who "take food, clothing and shelter from husbands for granted, ...(and) expect husbands to carry all the financial burden in a marriage while offering nothing in return."

I have managed not to have any such person among my acquaintances. And I have no interest or time to analyze their way of life.




Post 44

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:06pmSanction this postReply
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It seems I have been poking you forever

Oh my!  Hong, I know this was unintentional humour and this is meant in good spirits, but do you realize what you're saying here?  Ha!

Jason




Post 45

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:10pmSanction this postReply
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Ooops, have I just committed another blunder?!   How typical! 



Post 46

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:12pmSanction this postReply
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Don't censor yourself, Hong - that was a welcome chuckle :-)



Post 47

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 8:13amSanction this postReply
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Robert, your essay points out why I don't much care for other women!  (Objectivist women excepted.)  As Rand's character Jinx said in "Good Copy,"  "women are the bunk".  I could never relate to this touchy-feely communicating/interpersonal relationship stuff.  Any other women on SOLO have the same reaction?



Post 48

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 9:19amSanction this postReply
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Robert- a wonderful article. I come from a family of three brothers and one sister, and we all fit in to the point of this article perfectly. Being homosexual, with the rest of my siblings being straight, I also see that I "bridge the gap" more than my brothers.
I wonder if there is anyone my age or older who read this who didn't think of Rex Harrison in "MY Fair Lady", singing, "Why can't a woman be more like a man?"



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Post 49

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 10:02amSanction this postReply
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I like Jason's "just do it" approach. But I disagree that it's "not a matter of attracting women to Objectivism."

Couldn't we solve the problem of too few Objectivist women participating in group meetings by introducing more women to Objectivism to begin with? Aren't Objectivist women introduced to this philosophy the same way as Objectivist men? They pick up a Rand novel and the ideas behind the characters make sense.

Maybe it's part of the environmental influence Hong is talking about and the experience level James is talking about. We could expose more women to this philosophy. (I think the same case could be made for any class of people, whether by race or income level or age, etc.)

So, share your books. Buy an extra copy of your favorite and give it to a woman you admire. Then talk with her about what she read. Tell her about your favorite part. That's exactly how I became an Objectivist. (Coincidentally, the person who loaned me a copy of Atlas Shrugged is a woman.)

Becky



Post 50

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:42pmSanction this postReply
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Robert, your essay points out why I don't much care for other women!  (Objectivist women excepted.)  As Rand's character Jinx said in "Good Copy,"  "women are the bunk".  I could never relate to this touchy-feely communicating/interpersonal relationship stuff.  Any other women on SOLO have the same reaction?

Amen, sister.  ;)




Post 51

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 1:55pmSanction this postReply
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Robert asked:
Does Objectivism even have a position about divvying up household chores?
The closest I have seen is Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World.




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Post 52

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:04pmSanction this postReply
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Laure, James and Becky,

Thanks for your input.

Incidentally, I hadn't done this before now, but click here and count the female faces relative to the men.

You might expect this at ARI or TOC. But it's true even here on SOLO.

'Nuf said.

Becky, I honestly don't think that the problem lies in how many women are introduced to Objectivism. Millions have read Rand, perhaps as many or more than the number of men who have. The problem is in translating their interest from the fiction to the nonfiction. The style of presentation of the philosophy in the nonfiction is entirely different: it is abstract, analytical, full of formal definitions and chains of logic. It dissects; it differentiates; it explains.

But unlike the fiction, it does not do as good a job of personalizing, concretizing and inspiring. And that's where we lose them. (Rand explained why: re-read "The Psychoepistemology of Art.")

It isn't that women lack the ability to grasp that sort thing. It's that few of them want to. Works like Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical and The Contested Legacy of Ayn Rand don't speak to their personal concerns and interests, or in familiar language. You, Laure, Hong, Jennifer, Barbara and the other ladies on this site are quite rare in your interest in that analytical method of approaching and communicating ideas. Yet even so, on this thread we've seen that Barbara and Ginny, to name two, declare that what I am saying really spoke to them.

Contrast the typical abstract, systematic presentations of the philosophy such as those above to the kind of messages that churches, motivational speakers and self-help experts (like Dr. Phil McGraw) deliver. Observe the relative sizes of the followings. Hell, just look on TV today at the vast crowds lined up to see the Pope's body. And then observe the male-female ratios in the audiences. 

The difference from what we see at Objectivist events is startling.

Our abstract, theoretical presentations are to popular communication what theology is to a church sermon. We do superb Objectivist "theology," if you will: we speak and write not unlike Talmudic scholars or Jesuit seminarians. But that is not the same thing as communicating a code of values to ordinary people in a personally meaningful, compelling way. Churches learned centuries ago that they needed not just theologians, but skilled communicators -- priests and ministers who could translate abstract theology into parables, examples, personal anecdotes, etc., and then apply it all to everyday lives of the people whom they address.

When we decide to venture outside our intellectual bubble and communicate in a language that ordinary people, both men and women, can relate to, this movement will begin to take off.

After all, that's exactly what Ayn Rand did.




Post 53

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:31pmSanction this postReply
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Robert, your essay points out why I don't much care for other women!  (Objectivist women excepted.)  As Rand's character Jinx said in "Good Copy,"  "women are the bunk".  I could never relate to this touchy-feely communicating/interpersonal relationship stuff.
But Robert, is this what you intended to be the effect of your article? Can't you see that while you say "viva la difference", people do interprate your article as shedding negative lights on women in general.

Perhaps here I am different from Laure and Jennifer (urrgh), that I never consider myself rare or exceptional, because I strongly relate to most women I know. I am one of them.



Post 54

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:33pmSanction this postReply
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Hong, I can't be responsible for how people take the information I'm reporting; I'm just the messenger boy. If it is valid information, people will have to make of it what they will, I guess.



Post 55

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:40pmSanction this postReply
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Bidinotto said: "I'm just the messenger boy."

Now there is a quote that I will *not* soon forget!

George




Post 56

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:42pmSanction this postReply
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Bravo, Robert. The only criticism I might have is that in my opinion there is perhaps more variation within the sexes than you have indicated.

Just as a personal observation: I am a structural engineer with a background in scientific programming. I am also highly visual and intuitive and, I believe, creative. But one thing that utterly turns my mind blank is the kind of presentation that tries to diagram concepts. A prime example is Luke's article:

http://solohq.com/Articles/Setzer/Experiencing_Objectivism_through_the_Enhanced_Tri-Quation.shtml

Sorry, Luke, I'm sure that this kind of presentation could convince some people of the value of Objectivism but if it had been my first exposure my eyes would have just glazed over.

Paul




Post 57

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:44pmSanction this postReply
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George, ahm just a humble, simple guy.

Sam, good point. I have the same problem with charts and symbolic presentations.




Post 58

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 2:49pmSanction this postReply
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Hong, it seems we do differ in that regard, as I do not connect easily with most women.  I feel like I'm drowning in an estrogen bath of giggles and gossip.  :)  This is not to say that I do not appreciate being warm, friendly, and intuitive -- which is a trait I think we both share.  :) 

Having said that, I think a lot of Robert's points here are valid, and can easily be seen somewhere like the TOC conference, where the art and music lectures have proportionately larger ratios of women in the audience than some of the more abstract lectures.  (I'm making a generalization here based upon what I remember seeing at the conference.)  I was relieved to see the more aesthetic options on the schedule, as I tend not to gravitate toward the other kinds.

So I guess I fall somewhere in the middle of all that, but in general, I think Robert is on target.




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Post 59

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - 3:17pmSanction this postReply
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Robert,

I read your paper with much interest.  I don't know enough to proclaim the differences of which you speak as biological, but I do think that there are indeed many cultural messages that are absorbed, sometimes tacitly, with regard to the kinds of "thinking styles" that are "appropriate" to male and female.  I think that there is an enormous amount of research that needs to be done about how culture, pedagogy, and perhaps biology might interrelate and affect the ways in which different people process the information in the world around them.  But we'll most likely find that the neat male-female division doesn't work as well as we might think, because there are so many variables even within the dimension of sex:  sexuality, gender identification, and orientation, for example, might have differential effects of which we are not fully aware, and the effects might vary considerably when placed in the larger context of each individual's life, upbringing, psychology, etc.

This is not an uninteresting subject to me because for years I fought the "analytic" tendency of many people in Objectivism who had a visceral negative reaction to the kinds of "holistic" methods that I identified as crucial to Rand's "dialectical" orientation [in Ayn Rand: The Russian Radical].  (I often define dialectics as "the art of context-keeping.")  Anecdotally, I can tell you that my exposition seemed to connect with more women than men, and more "creative" types than with the conventional "instrumentalist" inhabitants of the planet Mars.

Interestingly, Rand may have smiled when Mises called her the "most courageous man in America," and she was actually attacked by many feminists and women philosophers because she seemed to embrace the male "orientation":  "analytic," "deductive," "rationalistic," "phallo-centric."

But I do believe that Rand went way beyond that kind of instrumentalism.  People like Nathaniel Branden in The Disowned Self, and Leonard Peikoff in "Understanding Objectivism" have done a good job at showing the error of treating Objectivism as a form of rationalism.  She was among the most "dialectical" of philosophers, with an emphasis on system-building, and fully contextual thinking that sought to transcend the analytic-synthetic division.  She also offered important insights into the subconscious integrations at work in human creativity, and these were on practical display in the remarkably integrated works of fiction that she herself created.  (In fact, I often tell my own students that those who focus on Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology as the first and last word of epistemology in Rand's philosophy get it all wrong:  they need to "chew" Rand's fiction as well as all of Rand's insights on the "tacit" dimensions of consciousness---in her essays on aesthetics, and in her various lectures on fiction and nonfiction writing.)

Ironically, it was partially because of my own "dialectical" presentation of Rand's work that I was invited by Penn State Press to co-edit with Mimi Gladstein, Feminist Interpretations of Ayn Rand.  There was something about the "dialectical" ("contextualist," "integrationist") emphasis that seemed to appeal to people in women's studies. Whatever one's view of that volume or of feminism, I do think that these are dimensions in Rand that often get obscured by those who present her philosophy in more "analytic" or "deductivist" terms.

Granted, all of this is still within a scholarly/academic context, but it seems relevant to some of the distinctions you raise in your article.

(Edited by sciabarra on 4/07, 3:57pm)




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