Friday, June 8, 2018

Masculine / Feminine

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Jordan Peterson is a Canadian psychologist, best-selling author, and wildly popular YouTube star promulgating backward and deeply unoriginal biological determinism with certainty, zeal, and a lot of Jungian mumbo jumbo. - The Nation*
- That was you I saw sitting outside late at night at Starbucks?
- What was I doing?
- Watching something on your computer. No one else was there.
- That was me, having what turned out to be an interesting night. You'd hardly believe it.
- Try me.
- I was watching Jordan Peterson lectures and interviews. You know, the Canadian clinical psychologist and psychology professor who became famous when he made a video challenging a law that all transgendered be referred to by a pronoun of their choice, not the speaker's.
- Why? You're generally not interested in politics.
- I was interested in his ideas on the differences between the sexes.
- How does he say they differ?
- Women are interested in people, men things. Women have compassion, men ambition. Women are agreeable and prone to be neurotic, men aggressive and prone to criminality.
- That reminds me of something.
- 19th century psychology of dark mysterious individual passions blocked or channeled by an order imposed by society. He says modern day research confirms this difference between the sexes. Political correctness assumes that there are no fundamental differences between the sexes, therefore sex roles can be taken on at will by for example transgendered.
- If there are no fundamental differences why take on one role rather than another?
- The professor thinks the answer is a relativism or nihilism that denies the existence of meaning altogether thus making every choice equally good.
- Why were you interested in differences between the sexes?
- I'd had my own idea I was mulling over.
- Which was?
- Peterson describes his opponents as suffering from an imbalance of compassion.
- Hyper-femininization.
- Yes. In his clinical practice prescribes to sufferers of life-confusion and failure heavy doses of masculine discipline, order, and social responsibility.
- You think he has set up his conflict with the powers of political correctness as a war between the sexes? That's your idea?
- Yes.
- Then he's got to lose that war. With his masculine discipline imposed on female compassion he is the patriarch of the feminist's nightmares. We know the problem with 19th century psychology is the lack of communication between dark forces and the order that can't explain it but only block, divert or contain. A woman's compassion is something good in itself, a man's discipline and repression definitely not something good.
- The professor doesn't see it that way. He worked for years counseling corporate lawyers, and expresses only admiration for them and their unending work done for its own sake. He rages against a compassion unmediated by an end outside itself, a compassion for its own sake, rages against political correctness, against a 'whining' demand for a safe place; yet he himself was dedicated to disciplined order for its own sake. His lectures are filled with exhortations to young people to grow up and accept discipline. Not me! The absurdity of both his work for the sake of work, and political correctness' feeling for the sake of feeling, was precisely what I had trouble with since I was young about adult life. In fact it looked to me that 19th century nihilism and relativism were in reaction to becoming aware of these two self-contained and opposed roles.
- And what did you end up accepting instead? If women were not about people, and compassion, and men about order and ambition?
- I proposed that male and female both sought to love, while conditions allowed, but when not conditions had to be altered to allow a return. Woman, I suggested, made a specialty of returning as quick as possible to a secure home of love, while men went out to remake surroundings if possible so as to allow love when returned to to last longer. Male and female both love and have compassion, but the female aims at homeostasis with the world while the man goes out to change the world. Neither the compassion expressed being at home nor the ambition of remaking the world free-floats from reason and purpose.
- And do you think these differences between the sexes are natural, not culturally imposed?
- I think that both men and women have the same capacities of compassion, discipline, ambition, attention. I think men and women do tend to put these capacities to use differently in taking the different paths I described.
- Ok. That's your opinion. What was so crazy about your night?
- Life had decided, as it often does, to act out my ideas for me. You saw me: there I was, sitting late last night with computer in my lap on Starbucks' terrace. A bicyclist rode by, slowing to take a closer look at my bike locked to the parking meter directly across from where I sat. A minute later he was back on foot. I recognized him, had seen him before at this time of night: very tall and thin, dressed in black with various heavy chains around neck and wrists. He twitched and jumped constantly, talked to himself. He stopped right in front of me without apparently seeing me. Then went around the corner of Starbucks and looked through the two glass walls at my bike, returned, walked past my bike, turned and stood in the street with his back to the parking meter, jumping, twitching, talking to himself.
- What's this got to do with political correctness?
- He was black. He was out of his mind, poor guy, suffering from mental illness, he was a drug addict from a disadvantaged home who now was expressing great male discipline and order in overcoming his disadvantages trying to steal my bike by lifting it locked to the meter over the meter's top.
- Right in front of you?
- Yes. I shouted, 'Hey! That's my bike." He stood immobile two, three seconds, then he started lifting the bike again. I shouted again, 'That's my bike!' and got to my feet. He gave up and sauntered down to where he'd leaned his bike against the next store's window. Feeling my eyes on him, I guess, as he rode away he crashed into a parked car, falling to the ground, getting up with a comical jump he got on the now wobbling bike and rode off. Where he'd crashed a large hand saw had fallen. I went back to watching the professor lecture, though it's not long before another bicyclist appears, eyeing not my bike, but the salad in its circular plastic container that Starbucks' manager had given me. (Not just me, all the regulars were offered their choice of leftover food.) This time my visitor was transgender: young, with long dark curls falling to his shoulders. He told me he was hungry, could he buy my salad? I said I'd give it to him. Could he sit down next to me? Yes. But, he asked, why was I looking suddenly so sad?
- Ok. I'll ask: Why were you sad?
- Because, as I said, I saw the world when I was young as the world was presenting itself to me tonight: idiotic meaningless work for its own sake...
- The fall-down dumb bike thief.
- Yes. And emotion that had no reason to it...
- Transgender choice to be agreeable.
- Yes.
- But you had a better idea, right?
- Maybe I had, but I can't say the world I live in has heard the news.
* I Think My Friend Is A Jordan Peterson Fan. And see Testosterone Rex: 'There is no “male brain” or “female brain”. But as soon as your maleness or femaleness is recognised, other people start to treat you in ways that form you into a man or a woman, with the support of toys, books, role models and a million other subtle nudges.' And yet, watch: Fairness vs. Sameness.