Monday, February 28, 2011

Hymnowitz Interview

Kay Hymnowitz was involved in a live chat over at the Wall Street Journal. I've excerpted some of the comments and for those who are interested, added some commentary.

Ms. Hymowitz, Your essay draws a number of generalizations from anecdotal evidence, and while it may not be far from the mark, let me respond with an anecdote of my own. I'm a 20-something guy with a bachelors from Harvard and (soon) a law degree from Columbia. I eat healthy, work out, am reasonably good-looking; I have a job lined up at one of the top firms paying $160,000 per year; and I'll be clerking for a federal judge. And after spending years looking for the classy, ambitious, and charming gal that your essay proclaims to be the norm, I've all but given up the hunt. I've met girls at bars and parties, through blind dates and friendly set-ups, and here are the results of my own informal survey. At least two-thirds are far more interested in the "hookup scene" than I am, and couldn't care less about "sensitivity" or "smarts." The other third is either looking to be a Stepford wife, or is so inflated by her own sense of accomplishment that the only suitable match would be a billionare financier or a royal prince. So to put the question back at you: where have the good women gone? [SP: This was my experience as well when I was dating. Lot's of girls acted cheap, but what  used to disgust me the most were the women who would not give me the time of day before I was a doctor but were fawning over me after I became one. I suppose they saw me as a potential income stream. In order to "screen" for this type, when people asked me what I used to do, I'd reply "Human Resources".]


Kay Hymowitz:
I got a lot of questions in this vein: where have all the good women gone? As I said in my earlier response, I'm not crazy about using the notion of blame here.[SP: Hymonwitz avoids any judgement of female behaviour. I honestly think that she has swallowed the idea that a woman living the Sex and The City lifestyle is mature.] Men and women are reacting to huge changes in our economy and culture and there aren't a lot of clear rules anymore. But to answer a little differently: yes, I think women are sending a lot of confused messages to men and are quite confused themselves[SP: Agreed] in many cases about what they want.

[Comment From Denise JonesDenise Jones: ]
Don't you think that feminism has played a large role in creating the discrepancy between women's academic achievements [SP: I'd like to see the breakdown of those academic achievements. How many of them are in the hard sciences, math and the classics and how many of them are mickey mouse degrees in office management and creative dance. The deindustrialisation of the West has hit men particularly hard, it perhaps may not be that women have improved as much as men have job opportunities disappear]and men's and in creating the "pre-adult male"? The anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better attitude of women's libbers, or women in general, has put more high school girls in calculus classes than boys. I recall a time when I was the only girl in a roomful of males in the only calculus class offered (the other two girls enrolled withdrew --to many males). Feminism seems to have backfired.


[Comment From Richard CummingsRichard Cummings: ]
You wonder where the real men are. Don't you think that the women's movement, which denounced overly masculine men for being dominant, has something to do with the feminization of the culture? [SP: Nope. I don't respond to the feminist movement. I ignored them. It was a bunch of stupid males who bought into that crap and rolled over.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Feminism has played a huge role in the phenomenon I describe in my book Manning Up. Feminism made it possible for women to achieve as well as they have, of course. But some of the less appealing (to my mind) strains of the movement encouraged a kind of "I don't need men" attitude. The truth is women need men just like men need women. [SP: There is a logical error here. How does the I don't need men movement lament that there are no good men?]

Kay Hymowitz:
To add to that previous point, feminism also made it so that women were sure they could and should act just like men when it came to sex.[SP:True] Some women were fine ith that, but a lot are not. I hear from young women all the time that the hook up culture is part of the problem in meeting good guys. Some women assume hooking up will lead to real relationships. Sometimes it does. But usually not.

[Comment From Single in the CitySingle in the City: ]
As a woman in her mid-twenties living in Washington, DC, I find myself forced to navigate an unfulfilling--and almost non-existent--dating scene full of these exact 'guys', these post-pubescent boys as I refer to them. My question is what are my alternatives for graduating into adulthood--dating, finding a partner, being respected for being more than a "disposable estrogen toy", other than just giving up on the idea of a husband and family life or making the choice to "got to a sperm bank and get the DNA"--neither of which I find to be a satisfying solution. Is there any alternative for young, professional, heterosexual women other than being victimized by our own privilege?[SP: Victimised by their own privilege. That comment alone tells a whole lot about her mating failure.]

Kay Hymowitz:
Single: I think most women would agree with your preference here. And it's also, I would argue, good for men to have the responsibilites - and pleasures - of family life. My essay might have left the impression that there are no good men out there. That is just wrong. There are many and you will surely meet one of them. Hang in there!

[Comment From DKRDKR: ]
Why do video games have such a bad reputation among women? As a young male professional video game developer, I find that bringing up my career is akin to saying I have an STD. Despite my work being creative, challenging, engaging, and very well-paying, my date's uterus shuts like an airlock when she hears what I do. Are women just offended that men have interests that they don't share? And how is this different from the masculine interests of our fathers, like sports, or poker?[SP: Date's uterus shuts like a airlock? Sauve, No?]

Kay Hymowitz:

I thinkf your question answers itself. Most women would rather you didn't talk about their uteruses - that is, at least until the second date. (joking) Could it be that video games do not encourage the kind of manners and thoughtfulness that a lot of women might want?[SP: No, it's just plane old dorkiness]

[Comment From RP Westchester CountyRP Westchester County: ]
I enjoied the article as it really hit home. My son is 28, single, living inthe city and has yet to grow up. He grew up in an affluent household( father is MD, mother administrative RN. His is very brite but took 5 yrs to get throug college because of partying etc. He is narcisistic but very popular socially. Girlfriends are numerous but never last more than a month or two. He has a good job on wall street with room for advancement .[SP: And what are you trying to prove? Most young men would say that you have raised him perfectly, for most men he is living in Nirvana. He has no complaints.] My husband and I keep waiting for him to grow up so to speak. We both have a guilty conscience about this and feel that his behavior is as a result of us spoiling him as a child. Interestingly, we have a daughter who is exactly the opposite, very mature, married and quite successful age 30. Should we feel quilty ? RP

Kay Hymowitz:
RP I keep hearing this sort of story. No, you should not feel guilty. Clearly there is something in the culture that is not doing well by young men.[SP: From the perspective of the average young man, this is what is best about modern western culture, it's an endless cornucopia for the pre-adolescent. ]That's what we're trying to discuss here today.

[Comment From OffTheCuffOffTheCuff: ]
I'd like to give the perspective of the guy women *claim* to want. I'm a parent of three young children, and I met my wife when she was 18 and I was 20, and married her a few years later. Guys like me get out of the dating scene very quickly, because it's clear to us by then, most women our age prefer to sleep with "bad boys" than men of character. We then have a choice: So I got out, and got out fast. The longer it takes for women wait to learn to choose men based on character, rather than tingle, the more difficult it will be to find us, because the pool shrinks and shrinks fast. Men like us don't want to be your fallback-choice when you're 35 and have slept with half the city. What do you think about women's responsibility to prioritize the kind of men they choose, while still young?

Kay Hymowitz:
Off the Cuff; This is a theme I've heard a lot from men. Women don't seem attracted to the nice guys. I think this is truer for women in their early and mid twenties. [SP: Here the dark Id of the female pscyhe is opened. With the near absence of any censure or restriction by society, the woman today is free to choose to her hearts desire. The choice of bad boy is not due to faulty character of the woman but simply by the desire generated by his traits. Girls who think with their vagina act on their impulses. Churchy girls feel the same desire but they have other social and cognitive forces enable them to choose otherwise. But the "good" boy without any alpha features will, for the Churchy girl,  be a lukewarm love ] By later in their pre-adulthood they may have grown out of the bad boys but a lot of the good boys are taken.[ SP: They fall off the carousel]


Allison Lichter: 
We have a few questions on the same topic....


[Comment From CharlesCharles: ]
Plz enlighten the ignorant....why should a young man want familial responsibilities?[SP: At its most primitive, a man wants to leave a legacy, a bit of himself to the future. It's a primal desire]


Comment From HankHank: ]
Why is a lack of family responsibilities a state of limbo?


[Comment From DianaDiana: ]
Why does a man need to be married to be considered an adult? I know PLENTY of men who are single and aren't living at home, have a great job, dating... etc. I consider for them to be adults. But they aren't married.[SP: Anecdote is not argument.] So Kay, do you consider them pre-adult because they're not married? And if so, how many guys are married and still play video games, love Will Farrell, and have unclean houses? [SP: And the divorce rate is 50% for what reason. Retarded commentator, women initiate divorce because they find their husbands unsatisfying.  Most women don't leave their husband to run to another man, its just that perpetual adolescent and irresponsibility is a turn off to women. As  a greneralisation, women don't like responsibility, that does not mean that they can't be responsible, it's just that they like to be a relationship where the other party is capable of acting in a way that is responsible. They don't have to carry all the psychic load.]Probably the same number... they just have a wife that keeps it under wraps from the rest of the world.

Kay Hymowitz:
A man does not have to be married to be an adult, nor does a woman. But adulthood has always been intertwined with marriage and children IN EVERY SOCIETY. That's because rearing the next generation is about the most important thing we do. I don't mean that in a sappy way. I'm thinking in terms of social needs here.


[Comment From BozBoz: ]
Kay, but don't most professional women who have gone to the trouble to get a solid education want to wait until their 30's or later to have kids anyway? What's the point of marrying in your twenties, or growing up and settling in your twenties[SP: Legitimising the carousel] when you will live to be 80-90 yrs old. Especially considering that most women don't even know who they are until their thirties?

Kay Hymowitz:
Boz; you're right. A lot of women want to wait.[SP: Experience life, euphemism for riding the carousel.] Here's the problem: women in their thirties do not have the same pool of men to choose from that they have in their twenties. It's a sad and painful truth that men in their thirties remain attractive to younger women. Women do not attract younger men, by and large. This is what I describe in my book as a mismatch between biology and culture.[SP: Or fantasy clashing with reality]

[Comment From Grady StebbinsGrady Stebbins: ]
This is an interesting topic. I honestly think men will adapt to whatever circumstances around them dictate is necessary for (sexual) success. If women desire a family-head, "old fashioned" type of mate (as their fathers likely displayed), men will adopt that role. With women insisting on a more serious role for their own lives, possibly they respond more positively toward juvenile and entertaining (funny) behavior in men. Admittedly I fall partially in your demographic, 26, college education, successful at work, and in a long term relationship with no immediate intent to marry. My girlfriend responds much more to me making her laugh then if I were to balance the checkbook exactly (which I do anyways, for good measure.) I'm curious what you think the effects of women changing their responses to male behaviour would be?

Kay Hymowitz:
Grady; I share your belief that men pretty much adapt to what women demand of them.[SP: Bingo, feminism would have been stopped dead in its tracks if men stayed to the script. Yet feminism's greatest triumph was intertwining female "liberation" with sexual liberation. Most men, worshipers of the the pussy God, were more than happy to tear down the Western Edifice for a chance at a greater amount of poon.] This is a sore point among a lot of women; they don't see why they should be in charge of "civilizing" men. [Most women realise that they can manipulate a man with sex. And once they can manipulate him they having noting but contempt for him. Hint. libido killer.] But that irritation doesn't change the equation.

[Comment From NicholasNicholas: ]
There's an assumption in the original article that marriage is for the purpose of having children- which is largely not true in American society any longer. I wonder if some of the rejection of commitment is tied to a similar rejection of having children. I know it is true for myself.

[Comment From StuStu: ]
Hi Kay, previous generations didn't marry and settle down because of social needs, they did so due to cultural norms with respect to roles of men and women. I am skeptical that men of 200 years ago were any more interested in marriage and monogamy than they are now, it's just that it was more difficult then to have access to sex without marriage and kids.

Kay Hymowitz:
Interesting comment, Nicholas. My reading of history and anthropology is that     marriage was designed largely for the purpose of raising children. A lot of young men - and women - in their twenties think they don't want kids. I get it. A lot of people are having a good time and enjoying their careers. The women, at least, often change their minds when they reach their thirties. According to most surveys, though, the large majority of men and women say they want to marry and have children - someday.[SP: IVF allows one to postpone the day of reckoning.]

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Thoughts on Kay Hymowitz's Immature Men and Good Women.

The two articles (Link 1, Link 2) penned by Kay Hymowitz have certainly generated a lot of comment in the manosphere, most of it being idiotic. Hymowtiz's assertion, that men are stuck in pre-adolescence, in my eyes at least, certainly has some truth to it.  The Western Male today seems a pale counterpart of his father.

The vigorous response by the manosphere to Hymowitz's article seem to follow several common themes. Namely:

1) Hymowitz is a feminist.
2) Hymowitz is correct in that men are pre-adolescent but they have become that way because of women's behaviour. (In other words, male culture is the product of female punishment and rewards.)
3) Wanting to get married is not a determinant of maturity.
4) Marriage is a bum deal for men and that's why men are opting out.

While some of these points certainly have a small degree of truth to them none of them really counter her claim that lots of men are stuck in an extended adolescence and are therefore unattractive to women who want to get married.

Many of the manosphere totally missed the point of her article. Nowhere did Hymnowitz say that men should be forced to marry, her lament was that the pool of marriageable men from which women could choose from was so small. At the heart of her article is the claim that many of today's Western males are unattractive as long term mates, in other words, there are few marriageable alpha's.  Hymowitz did not say that the older frat boy should marry, in fact she clearly saw that such a man was a poor long term mate, it just that men who are "beta providers" and who live in star wars inspired decor are also sexually unappealing.

The prime cultural exemplar of Hymowitz's contention was George Sodini. Here was a man with a responsible  job,  house, normal BMI and with a desire to find a permanent mate; all features which Hymowitz ostensibly mentions as the traits of an ideal man, yet was completely invisible to women.
He ticked all the right boxes with regard to "responsibility" yet is still considered a loser by women,  and therefore unmarriageable, because he had no alpha features.

This view of course syncs with the Roissyite view that many men are beta's and therefore sexually unattractive to women.  It's therefore a bit rich seeing Roissy's accolytes attack Hymnowitz when she states that beta males are unattractive whilst alpha men are. Her post essentially channels Roissy.

Where She and Roissy differ however is on the subject of Marriage of a marker of a responsible male. Personally, I think Roissy is perfectly correct in his position provided you're a hedonistic atheist. (Though that may be open to debate.) If you're a Christian male on the other hand, marriage is a desired state of affairs and a sign of adulthood.

A useful thought exercise would be to ponder what if Hymnowitz could get her dream and have all men alpha up. The results will probably be to her expectation. Roissy has written about this before:
No, the solution is to give the New Girl Order *exactly* what it wants: Game, and an army of cads that practice it. Force feed the beast until it is choking on its own gluttony. The emissaries of the Great Lie must have the consequences of their ignorance and treachery shoved down their throats. In time, the unabashed pursuit of hedonism and the embrace of Darwinistic nihilism (two potent forces which, coincidentally, happen to have truth and pleasure on their side. Exhibit B: God is dead) will raze the neoliberal monolith to the ground, and from the ashes the eternal human cycle will begin anew, strengthened and revitalized. A complete reconciliation with our tragic destiny gives us the only chance to avoid it.
On the other hand, what alpha Christian male wants to be sloppy sixth's to the modern shrew? The problem for this type of guy is the lack of quality women out there. He wants to get married but the pickings are so slim.  Hymowitz thinks that today's average girl is "quality" product, however I think that there is a fair amount of legitimate disagreement as what constitutes quality No matter what her career achievements, a woman who has ridden the carousel and perhaps made a few trips to the abortuary is not quality material from a Christian point of view. A mature and responsible christian male would think such a woman is high risk material for infidelity and divorce and by-pass her.  If there were an en masse movement to alpha up, the following would happen. The hedonists would pump and dump while the Christians would become more choosy; the pool of marriageable suitors for women would shrink.

No, what keeps the alive the hopes of today's modern women is a pool of supplicant betas who will do what it takes to secure the sexual love of a woman and will agree to any terms.

(Something to aspire to long term?)

Where Hymowitz errs, is in the assertion that today's woman is in some way more "mature" than the pre-adolescent male upon which she rightly heaps her scorn.  She labours under the illusion that the modern woman is some sort of prize that men will aspire to. Hymowitz has framed her argument in such a way that would be laughable to the good men of the past.

Men and women of the past would both agree that men today leave a lot to be desired, but the fall in quality has been most marked amongst women.  From the vantage point of the past, the modern woman today is vapid, slutty, superficial, unfeminine and hence extremely poor quality material.

What marks the transition from adolescence to adulthood is the gradual assumption of responsibility, maturity and independence. What separates the child, the adolescent and the adult is the increasing influence of reason over emotion. The mature adult takes his emotions into account but is not ruled by them. Enter the concept of the Rationalisation Hamster.  The concept needs to be understood as the cognitive mechanism by which thought is subordinated  and aligned to emotion. The function of this "hamster" is to provide a superficially plausible (if not logically consistent) series of thoughts to align and justify whatever action is required by the emotional state.  It is effectively the thought process of an immature adolescent.

The "triumph" of modern Feminism has been to culturally and legislatively legitimise this rationalisation hamster. Marriage is no longer seen as a reciprocal relationship amongst two people, but rather a flexible arrangement of convenience based on the emotive state of the parties.  The logic of abortion as a woman's rights issue (ignoring the rights of the father) is another example. The furthering of women into fields that they are totally unsuited to, such as the military, police and firefighting services yet another.  Feminism has also been able to reframe feminine identity; what previous generations would have thought trampy and flighty, modern feminism has been able to portray as mature.

When Hymnowitz points to the Star Wards nerds, all I can think of is the "mature" female SATC equivalents. I admit that men sitting in mom's basement jerking off to online porn are pretty shallow, but so are the women who spend their lives shopping for bags, clothes whilst riding the carosel waiting for the enabling supplicant whom will provide them with lifestyle to which they are accustomed. People from a less enlightened age would consider a person who endlessly obsesses about their looks, the latest pair of Jimmy Choo's and who Brad is dating now, pretty superficial. It's the pot calling the kettle black.

One of the recurring comments from the men that are "players" is how the  experience of women leads to a contempt of them. It's an interesting phenomenon since wouldn't experience of these wonderful, empowered, educated SATC types at least lead to fond recollections and a overall impression of female goodness? The common explanation is that these men are unable to bond and are narcissistic.  However another explanation is never considered: Perhaps these women aren't worth bonding to. Perhaps they are nothing more than an esotrogen toy and without their sexual potential would be ignored by men. Perhaps the reason they are dumped so often is that they have no qualities which lead men to love them. It's a thought.

The problem with Hymowitz's article is not its assertion, which I agree with, but its balance. The shortage of good men is portrayed against a surfeit of good women. But she should have asked around more. It's not just a problem of an abundance of loser men, as any committed male committed Christian who wants to get married will tell you, "Where have all the good women gone?"

(Another example of the "Mature and accomplished behaviour,  check out Dalrock's Single in the Suburbs.)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Natural States.

"Five minutes of alpha is better than five years of Beta"
(Commentator Whiskey)

A common theme running through the "manosphere" at the moment is with regard to the deplorable state of modern woman. The average Western Woman, after marriage, is percieved a frumpy, fat, fickle and frigid. The accumulating sexual undesirability of the married western woman is reason enough for many to eschew marriage and pursue a life of "pumping and dumping". And to be fair, there does seem to be some justification for this view.

Then of course, there is the female view. Once again, a common theme running through "girly-world" is that there is a shortage of "good men", that is marriageable men. It needs to be understood that these complaints are voiced by both promiscuous and chaste women. The conventional manosphere analysis is that this turn of events is solely the result of feminism and hypergamous female sexuality.   These social phenomena have eliminated the incentives to get married and hence men are "opting out".  Now its worthwhile considering who exactly are these men opting out.

By opting out, we mean men who don't want to get married to other women. (We'll exclude the homos)
From a sexual point of view, these men can be divided into the following groups.

1) Asexual men (rare)
2) Sexual men with the ability to get regular sex. (Alpha)
3) Sexual men with the inability to get regular sex( Beta-Omega)

Next we consider what a woman means by a good man. In girlspeak a "good man" is a man that ignites all of her desires. Considered as a group of attributes, the ideal man has none that are unattractive. The "goodness" of a man declines as do his attributes. Now it also needs to be understood that a good man is not a convenient man, a man who despite his obvious flaws, serves some purpose in marriage. For example, an unattractive beta schlub who is a good provider may be a convenient suboptimal mate but he is no way ideal or good.  Given today's liberal divorce laws she may choose to "trade up" if the opportunity so presents.

Hence when women refer to the shortage of "good men" they are really referring to the group (2) individual, the men who are sexually attractive and who don't want to commit. The group (3) individual is not really a "good man" from a woman's point of view, he is sub-optimal. So when group (3) men talk about "opting out of marriage" they're deluding themselves, since they really weren't first choice in the marriage market to begin with.

The reason I bring this up is because over at Mark Richardson's there has been an interesting discussion going on with regard to opting out of marriage. There is the usual analysis with regard to the matter but its my contention that maybe in some instances the female critics may have a point.

I urge you to have a look.

With the modern redefinition of marriage(a relationship based on an emotional state) and the sexual revolution it is to be expected that women would gravitate towards the alpha males in a form of soft polygamy. The main losers of course in this arrangement were the non-alphas. Whilst I can appreciate a lot of the Beta-Omega pain and angst, a lot of them seem to bear anger towards women for the result, especially the more traditional types. In their view women are bad for wanting alpha males and a society works best when it restricts female choice and channels women through rigid laws and mores, towards beta males. (A doomed concept since our knowledge of hypergamy leads to the conclusion that this state of affairs will lead to tepid sex)

Seeing, that when women are given a free choice, they want to "alpha up", the losers of the arrangement yearn for a time when women were forced to "beta down". This of course is not what happened in the past. Their view of traditional society is wrong.

Social mores and customs did limit the alpha access to women, but it did have a flipside, society also expected men to become alpha. The naturally beta/omega male was not left to his own devices, he did not live as he saw fit, rather society expected him to behave as a man. The beta male, was through shame and social pressure "alpha'd up".  The metro-sexual and gay cultures would have been fringe movements in the 40's as the average man displaying those features would have been beaten up. As I said before, there was strong social pressure to alpha.

With the dismantling of communal culture, what we are seeing in the first world is default to a more primitive state. Perhaps humanity's default setting. Man devoid of social norms assumes his natural state, a small pool of alphas, a mean of betas and a tail of omegas.  For most men, being "themselves", will mean being unattractive to women.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

PC: The Rationalisation Hamster in Religious Thought.

PC seems, to my eyes at least,  seems most entrenched in what could be best described as the Protestant countries of Europe, and it's my belief that that the two are more than just casually linked.
It's my belief that that Protestant culture effectively puts into place conditions which allow PC to thrive.

As a Catholic, I have doctrinal differences with the Protestant religion, but perhaps Protestantism's most malign error lays not in its doctrine but in its understanding of man, namely in his capacity to think. It's what Paul Gottfried described as the "rationalist fallacy". The belief that everyman is a profound and clear thinker, able to objectively look at the facts without bias; It's the myth of the rational everyman.

The truth is that men are rational when things are simple to grasp, immediate and concrete in concept, but as the subject matter become more remote, abstract and non-pressing so does the capacity of men to rationalise well about them. In this regard, religion is more likely to be prone to intellectual errors simply due to its subject matter than the house plumbing.

Religions can be though of being both pure and applied, in that the real world application of the religion may sometimes be at odds with the divine message. The average man's conception and practice of religion may be at odds with the theology, simply because he does not understand or is incapable to bringing together separate strands of thought.

For example, Protestant critics of Catholicism frequently lay the charge the Catholicism is a form of crypto-paganism with Catholics worshiping other deities beside God. They, of course, base this charge on their observations of Catholics and their relation with saints, relics, and the Mother of God. "Pure" Catholic theology recognises that the only proper object of worship is God, however as a Catholic, I can understand the Protestant claims because many of the faithful behave in manner that justify them. Simple men, trying to grasp the complexities of Catholic thought, corrupt it into neo-pagan forms. They carry crucifixes for good luck, and celebrate, rather too fervently for my liking, saints and relics. This subject deserves several posts on its own, but suffice when Catholicism becomes corrupted it assumes a pagan flavour.

Just as Catholicism, in corruption, assumes a certain flavour, so does Protestantism. When a Catholic goes theologically bad, he goes pagan and become superstitious, when a Protestant goes bad, he becomes utilitarian and "ethical". It's not Protestantism per se which fosters political correctness but its practical corruption by the common folk.

In theory, the Protestant has a personal relationship with God, a good and reflective religious life, and free of Papal Authority, the Protestant is free to read the bible and apply it to his life. The assumption being that the average Protestant can do this objectively, logically and without bias. And it is true that amongst rigorous and honest thinkers, this can produce quite holy men, the problem is though that rigorous thinking is always exceptional in any society and in the end what happens is that average Protestant behaves like the average catholic, he pretends that he thinks and muddles things up.

The Rationalisation Hamster whilst nearly supreme in women also operates to a degree in men and the end result of its operation is contingent upon the cultural milieu in which it operates. In a religion that allows you to self-interpret the bible, strong willed men and women of shallow thought and objectivity will frequently find that their interpretation aligns with their feelings (Quelle surprise!); The end result is social sanctified practical utilitarianism. Once again this not Protestantism as it is meant to be, but its corruption by the average thinker.

This effect was mitigated somewhat whilst church attendance was practiced. The preacher, usually with some theological training, could sway the most shallow thinkers and prevent the most stupid errors by providing a convincing argument, but as church attendance has faded, the average man has been left with his own thoughts. The ship is adrift.

Religion is the basis of a society's culture and in a Protestant culture without a defacto  central authority, morality becomes aligned with feelings. The Good God becomes the fluffy-bunny God in rudderless protestant cultures, because in the end, the human rationalisation hamster ensures that morality aligns with desired feelings. (Some people enjoy being miserable. Is Puritanism the inevitable product of miserable religious people in Protestant culture?) The religion goes "soft" and it's in this cultural milieu that PC establishes its roots.

However it would be a mistake to assume that a Protestant cultural environment causes political correctness. It doesn't. For PC to really establish itself something else is needed.

The second factor that needs to be considered is the societal cognitive process. i.e how a society as a group thinks. Now it needs to be understood that very few people, in any society, are independent thinkers, most people think along the lines that they have been taught. Here the pernicious effect of cultural Marxism rears its ugly head. The entrenchment of Marxist thought in our universities means that the products of that system--our future governing/managerial class--think along Marxist lines. This does not mean that the products of our universities are explicitly Marxist, rather the graduates tend to interpret life through the Marxist perspective In effect, what the universities ensure is that graduates end up with a de facto Marixist rationalisation hamster.

A digression. The Left is far more represented by graduates of  the arts and the social sciences than by the STEM majors. Why? In my opinion, it's the strict empiricism of the STEM courses that provide a de facto inoculation against structuralist thinking; it's very hard to find oppression in chemistry or physics. Thinking along stucturalist lines in these disciplines results in failure.

PC can then be thought of a fusion product, resulting from the convergence of abuse of Protestant Christianity into "Christian-fluffy-bunny"  utilitarianism and Marxist cognitive interpretation.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Aquinas's Razor.

As mentioned in the previous posts, the faith-sense faculty lacks acuity. We see "through a glass darkly" with it and are liable to mistake error as a truth. The task then is how to discern if the conviction is true or not? St Thomas gives the following advice:
The gifts of grace are added to nature in such a way that they do not destroy but rather perfect nature. Thus the light of faith which is infused to us by grace does not destroy the natural natural light of reason divinely given us. And although the natural light of the human mind is insufficient to manifest what is manifest through faith, nonetheless it is impossible that what has divinely given us by faith should be contrary to what is given us by nature. One or the other would have to be false, but, since both come from God, God would then be the author of falsehood, which is impossible. Rather because there is some semblance of the perfect in the imperfect, the things known by natural reason are likenesses of the things given in faith.

( Exposition of Boethius's On the Trinity, Question 2. Article 3)

What I think St Thomas is getting at here is that faith and empirical evidence cannot contradict. Either our understanding of one or the other is wrong. Reality is seamless fabric.

Now since our physical senses have the capacity to "sense more clearly" the reality about us, our physical senses can be used as a tool to prune away erroneous faith conceptions. So when the Catholic Church authorities tried to assert that Galileo was heretical in his astronomical claims, they were wrong, in that their assertion conflicted with Galileo's observed facts. In layman's terms, factual evidence trumps faith. In fact, faith which is contra to factual evidence is a wrong faith. In some instances, it doesn't necessarily mean that the faith-sense is wrong, rather our understanding of some matter of the faith may be.  The Bible is a guide to conduct, not an astronomy text.*

It follows then that science is not opposed to faith which reflects reality, but to erroneous conceptions of it. The battle is not between science and religion but science and bad religion. Faith must be coherent with observed reality.

*( It's funny that Fundamentalists bash the Church about this issue. Because here is a clear instance of the Church asserting sola scriptura on the issue and they got it wrong)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Whittaker Chambers

I thought I would add to s short series of faith-as-a-type-of-sense posts with the example Whittaker Chambers own experience of it.  Chambers was an intelligent man and gifted writer, eventually ending up as one of the editors on Time magazine, earning the then astronomical sum of $30,000 dollars a year. He was communist in his young adulthood, working actively in the support of the Stalinist Soviet Union, both as a spy and as an agent of influence.

As a result of his conversion, he gave up his job, his friends and reputation, to "rat" out on his former communist buddies, particularly Alger Hiss. The Hiss trial was America's version of the Dreyfuss affair and polarised the nation.  Although Hiss was convicted, one certainly gets the impression reading American history that "polite society" was on the side of Hiss. It was glamorous left v's stodgy right. Chambers may have been right but he was boring, Hiss evil, but stylish. American society preferred the stylish.

I've not done much reading on Chambers but from what I have, he and I seem on the same "wavelength". I've just ordered a couple of his books and hope to have something intelligent to say about him in the near future but his own description of his "turn from the Left" is a clear example of the faith-sense in action.
But I date my break from a very casual happening. I was sitting in our apartment on St. Paul Street in Baltimore. It was shortly before we moved to Alger Hiss's apartment in Washington. My daughter was in her high chair. I was watching her eat. She was the most miraculous thing that had ever happened in my life. I liked to watch her even when she smeared porridge on her face or dropped it meditatively on the floor. My eye came to rest on the delicate convolutions of her ear-those intricate, perfect ears. The thought passed through my mind: "No, those ears were not created by any chance coming together of atoms in nature (the Communist view). They could have been created only by immense design." The thought was involuntary and unwanted. I crowded it out of my mind. But I never wholly forgot it or the occasion. I had to crowd it out of my mind. If I had completed it, I should have had to say: Design presupposes God. I did not then know that, at that moment, the finger of God was first laid upon my forehead. 
(My bold typing)
Once again, as in C. S. Lewis's conversion, an involuntary conviction took residence in his mind. A thought which he had not willed and a though which he actively tried to suppress.  Many who fail to understand religion rationalise that the religious experience is created in order to satiate some type  of psychic need. Clearly, in this instance, Chambers had none and in fact was surprised by the ideation;  his psychic needs tended in the opposite direction. The proposition with regard to his child's ear was not some form of rational construction, rather the thought, "popped" into his head the same way the vision of the coffee cup in front of me "pops" into my mind: it was sensed.

The atheist has no idea how unsettling to the mind the experience is, how unwilled, and how "out the blue" it. And how sometimes the sensing individual will do all he can to "rationalise" the experience away. I was tired, bad onions, too much to drink, etc and I suppose with enough effort a man can suppress it. But more often than not, it forms a vague conviction.

As a result of his experience, Chambers became a Christian, but he never did settle on one denomination. It appears that he did not really care all that much about the theology of God, only the reality(and the implications) of His existence. Communism, and its parent atheism, were incompatible with that view.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Some More Thoughts on Faith.

In the previous post's comment section, commentator Brockman asked the following:
Question: Can you come up with a short list of statements, your knowledge of which comes largely or entirely through this extra sense, rather than through normal senses, indoctrination, etc?

Clearly there could be some statements which one person believes because of indoctrination -- "I believe Jesus rose from the dead because authority figure X told me to believe in it (or else!)" -- where another might believe because of the extra sense -- "Well, I read this old book, and this part about Jesus really seemed completely inescapable".
Sure.  In My personal case, some of the propositions are:

1) There is such a thing as objective reality.
2) Catholicism is the "most right" religion.
3) Theft is intrinsically wrong.
4) Moral precepts bear the same relation to reality as physical things. The wrongness of lying is as real as the keyboard in front of me.
5) The non-perfectibility of man. (The doctrine of Original Sin)
6) The existence of God.

First a bit about myself. Without this faith sense, the person who would be my closest intellectual mirror is Roissy.  My natural tendencies drift towards atheism, hedonism and objectivity. To a certain degree, my religion runs against my grain. Now, whilst I was indoctrinated in some of the above beliefs as a child, there is no way that I would accept any of them if I thought they weren't true. In my adolescence, I held them as convenient beliefs, to be ditched when necessary, I was an effective situational ethicist.

If, for example, God didn't exist, life would be eventually meaningless. But as much as I would hate that meaninglessness,  it would be a fact of life; something I'd have to get used to. Comfortable thoughts are useless if they are lies, and I'm repelled by the thought of believing in bullshit and living my life according to it.  I religion is a lie then despair or hedonism are the only logical choices left.

Rationally, all the propositions listed above fall short of logical certitude and there is room for rational doubt in all, but this faith sense tells me that the above are true, not because of probabilistic calculations, but because I intuitively experience the truth of the them.  Stripped of its religious connotations and thinking about it as an epistemological mechanism,  it as a faculty which lets you recognise truthful propositions which cannot be demonstrated according to strict empirical criteria.

Another non-religious example that worth thinking about, is how can we prove that we are not connected to the Matrix?(A movie which illustrates Berkeley's subjective idealism) There is no objective way as self referential systems cannot validate themselves.  Yet I know that I'm not connected to the Matrix, I know that matter is real and exists independently of my being. When I'm dead, the atoms that make up my body will still exist, they are not figments of my imagination.  Still I cannot logically demonstrate this, the only way of  Berkeley's Matrix is not with logic but with faith. It's this faith sense that asserts convincingly that the world is real.

For many people faith=religion, whereas it really should be faith=sense, the religion is a derived product from the sense.

Commentator Thursday made the following comment:
This is essentially the argument from religious experience. The problem is that such experiences do not interpret themselves. They may reflect something real, or they may be the mind playing tricks on itself.

There also seems to be the problem that such experiences seem to be artificially inducible. IIRC, scientists have induced mystical experiences through stimulating certain parts of the brain. But one need not refer only to modern science: the use of drugs in religion has a long history

Yes and No. It's not necessarily a religious experience. It's more often than not an unwanted intellectual conviction. More factual than emotive. The C.S Lewis example in the previous post, illustrated this phenomenon quite nicely, in that Lewis was being nagged by something that he didn't want. In the end he acceded to the conviction that there was a God: there were no angels, fairies or mystical visions. In Lewis's case, it seems to be an effect that operated through rationality.

The thing is though, that faith seems to be doled out by God arbitrarily, he "calls" us through it. That's why the phenomenon is so incomprehensible to those who don't have it. Being outside this subjective experience they cannot relate to it. The question is though, does this subjective experience have any bearing on reality or not? It would appear however that the insights gained from Christian faith seem to correlate rather well with human happiness and well being on objective measures. It's either a series of extraordinarily consistent "lucky guesses" or there is something to it.

It is true that the mind can play tricks due to a variety of internal and external factors and that the insights gained may not reflect reality. That's why the Church fathers instructed that everything be put to the test as they understood that it was a sense with poor acuity. Faith may cause an assertion of the unprovable but the insight is false if it asserts the falsifiable; since faith and truth cannot contradict. If after having a few beers, you were to suddenly develop the insight that God said it was alright to fornicate, you would be contradicting a substantial amount of Christian tradition. Therefore either Christian tradition is wrong and the Christian conception of God is wrong, or you're wrong. A lot of the mystical experiences, drug induced or not, are immediately rejected by this type of analysis.

I'm not a biblical scholar but I do understand that there were may other gospels circulating around in the early Christian period. That fact that the Chruch only settled on four tells you that a lot of the "mystical" experiences felt by the early believers were felt by the Church leaders to be rubbish.