|on being a woman||I was all geared up to write about the wonders of menstruation today, but I got too busy and just had to put it off. But I know if I start the topic I'll come back to it, and if I don't I'll forget, so here it starts. I will say only this for now: that there is strength here that can be tapped, that some of the very characteristics of menstruation that most make it seem like a problem can actually be used to great advantage. There are a few hurdles to overcome, most of them social but some physical, before a woman can see it this way; but once she does, the entire precious cultural mystique about it is blown out of the water, and it turns out that primitive peoples (read, "men") were not so stupid after all, to have fea red it so desperately and attempted to make women feel weak. It is a terrible force indeed.|
|philosophy of physics||
Tom wrote recently |
There are certain things that "Man Was Not Meant To Know", and physical law is finely tuned to make sure t hat woman can't know them either. That is, there are certain things that are--that must be--unknowable to everyone, absolutely, in principle. If they weren't, then the wheels would fall off the universe.
And his poetry makes it sound as though the wheels staying on the universe is dependent upon what human consciousness can know in a very direct way. In other words, it sounds as though he is saying that the universe checks with humanity to find out what it is allowed to do, and it alway s acts in such a way as to ensure its survival, and it turns out that that way requires keeping secrets from us. This is not, of course, what he means, but it's more fun to say it his way, especially since it will annoy orthodox Objectivists by causing their Primacy of Consciousness detectors to flash and make loud noises.
What he means is that the conditions responsible for keeping the wheels on the universe, are the same conditions responsible for making unknowable certain aspects of existenc e. That isn't the same thing at all. At least, I think that's what he means. In support, I quote him again:
We can't know very much about that larger frame, simply because creating the conditions required for knowing about it would making know ing--to say nothing of living--impossible.
On the indistinguishability-as-such, however, he appears to be serious. Something tells me that 'distinguishable' wi ll be one word he'll have to give up in favor of a replacement, if progress is to occur, as I've argued. The word is unintelligible, without a distinguisher.
Consider the idea that a person of low self-esteem is to be abused, criticized, chastised, berated, and blamed for everything bad in the world.
This is how objectivists often behave. I probably don't need to qu ote from Rand's various books to prove that this is the way she thought. People can be considered to be bad, because they have low-self-esteem, and they have low self-esteem because they are bad. It's quite a trap, and it's not clear how to get out.
Normal folk psychology at least pities people for having low self-esteem, and pity may not be the most fun emotion to be the target of but at least it is better than cruelty and blame. In any case, it's not clear how either one is supposed to do anyt hing but make the person who feels them, feel better. I wonder if anyone really believes that criticizing someone for having low self-esteem will prompt the person to have higher self-esteem.
|wildlife||Last night a single coyote howled for about an hour. No yips this time, and no friends. Just one. It was a drawn out cry, about 15 seconds long, starting low and rising in pitch, levelling out, then dropping back down quickly. The sound was like a human voice crossed with an ambulence siren. The moon is almost full, but I don't know if coyotes and wolves really do notice the moon and howl at it. It could have just been soliciting mates, or singing a song, or having a c onversation with another animal too far away for me to hear.|
Bad news! I met Rion on Tuesday for Splendid Frizbee and a Murderous Uphill Ride at Black's Beach, and saw an official sign that said "No Nudity." Although I had no intention of becoming nude that day, or most days even
, I found that very disappointing for the neighborhood. I do have some
preferences against nudity in certain places, but these have nothing to do
with sex and everything to do with sanitary conditions. Buses and theaters, for example, would be asking for a
lot more janitorial work, if people were invited to use them without clothing. One can barely count on people to wash their hands before handling food in restaurants or to bring a towel with them to the gym; I certainly wouldn't trust people to be clean
enough to sit in my theater! But on the beach? Why should anyone care?
Revisiting my list of objections to pornography: This is a pretty easy one, I think: That the people who model for pornography a re desperate, and don't have any good reason for doing it.
Since I don't personally know people who model for porn, I can't say anything about any model's motives for doing it. However, I can say a lot generally about people's motives for engagin g in money-making activities.
1. What is the motive most people have for engaging in money-making activities? Most people do it because they need the money. If you consider the number of people there are in the US, say, as compared to the number of kinds of ways there currently are to make money, you'll see that most people are not doing their jobs because they love them and can't imagine wasting their time with anything else. From my point of view, my going to work in a cubicle somewhere would b e an act of desperation: I would have to need money so badly and be so at a loss to think of anything better, that I would be willing to do again one of the most awful things I've ever done. It could happen, too! The mere fact that some people work this way for extended periods and don't know anything else, doesn't make it any better, if they'd really like something else more. So then the question arises: how many jobs and professions will we question on the basis of the fact that some or many of the people who partake of them, are just desperate for money and have no better motivation than that?
This is not to say that we shouldn't question them. I'm merely suggesting that we try to use consistent standards across professions.
2. Now I'm tempted to say something about degradation of women in other professions and jobs, given the above. But nothing detailed today. Only this: degradation is in the heart of the sufferer. I can recommend that someone get out of the cubicle and find a better, less degrading way to make a living, based on the way I would feel if I worked in a cubicle. That says nothing about the way the cubicled person feels. Similarly, there's not much point in declaring that porn just is degrading to women, if the particular woman doesn't feel degraded. And if other women feel "metaphysically degraded" knowing that she's doing it, that is really none of her business. True, she might simply not understand the psychological effects it has on her. But maybe she really does have a different attitude toward it than onlookers.
Reason Number Eight to Live In La Jolla
The tall, elegant, open-crowned trees that stand out on the ridges and line the highways with bluegreen leaves and yellow or red bottle-brush flowers--these are eucalyptus. They are native to Australia, but like every other plant, they love it here. It rarely rains. But when it rains, the clean wet air is pungent with their essential oil--the one that is used in Vicks produc ts.