It's a woman's world, thank the goddess

The truth is that we live in a woman's world. It's a pretty nice place, even for men. Especially for men like me, who like to go several decades between beatings by bullies and who appreciate the verbal arts. So before you think that this is a misogynistic rant about the fall of men or contrarianism for cuteness sake, turn off that crap filter and hear me out, because it's none of those things.

Round versus square. Without diving into religion too much here, there's a reason why lots of creation stories focus on woman be created after men or the supreme being is a woman. Men are humans 1.0, women are 2.0. Men have external genitalia, poor impulse control, weak immune systems, limited verbal abilities and bizarre hair placement. Women seem to be better designed in all these respects. Men are square and utilitarian, women are roundy and curvy. Note that almost anything in nature that is considered attractive is round or curved. The sun, the Earth, the moon, the eyeball, the pupil, flowers, clouds, rainbows and women. So the world literally is a woman's in the sense that both have intrinsic aesthetic appeal. Don't believe me? Put a picture of a human face (round, with round eyes, round mouth, round ears) next to a 2x4 and tell me which one your eye is drawn to.

The Female Memes. In all the important aspects, all human societies are run according to female sensitivities (not that all women share them, or that all men don't). And to the extent that ancient societies were more run by men's ideas, there is a huge shift away from those and towards women's worldview. Societies are verbally-oriented. Violence is considered horrible and is stigmatized more and more. Children and babies are adored, sex is frowned upon. Disease has been hunted down by insisting on doing those things that men resist - proper cleaning, cooking, and education. Stable, safe and happy lives and homes are expected to be a major priority for each person and is reinforced by mothers, sisters, wives and girlfriends.

Yes, in the unimportant aspects, men still superficially run human affairs. They run corporations, governments, armed forces and social institutions. But none of these has ever been responsible for getting society conditioned to say please and thank you. And the oppression of women continues every where in the world including in the United States. But the men in charge are consistently pushing the feminine memes: safe food, environmental protection, protecting children, maintaining civil society, etc. And women are quickly gaining on men where it counts, like in their higher college graduation rates, a sign that even the window dressing may not be male dominated in the future. Neither gender is in charge of the world, but both are actively spreading the feminine memes, or ideas.

And yes, there is much in the world that shows a profound lack of respect and dignity for women. But is treating women properly and equal to men necessarily a female meme? Do women practice that with one another when no men are around? Do they even believe it? If so, why are there unceasing mommy wars, cattiness, cliques, etc. etc. at all ages? How come every woman thinks she's ugly when she has aesthetic beauty? Are these masculine memes that only affect women and have managed to survive the general ascendancy of feminine memes? Possible, but unlikely. Men don't have anything approaching that kind of intra-gender sexism and self-loathing. So not all feminine memes are good, just as there are a few masculine memes that are good (and the reason that last clause sounds so strange is a sign that we live in a woman's world.)

Not a man's world. Still don't believe me? Okay, let's picture a man's world.

  • Nothing would need ironing. Clothes would be disposable or recyclable and highly flammable.
  • Everything would be dirty and food poisoning would be a major cause of death.
  • You could cut in front of any line by growling or beating the people in front of you. There would be no such thing as manners.
  • Babies and children would be sent to reservations to grow up to keep them out of public view and earshot. People who like to babysit would be considered freaks who can't control their deviant desires.
  • Organized religion would cease to exist. So would the PTA.
  • Every teenage boy would start lessons at the local, publicly funded walk-in tantric sex clinic at the onset of puberty. This would be done mostly as a mental health initiative, to reduce juvenile crime and to get them all to graduate from high school.
  • Belching after a meal would be considered complimenting the cook.
  • The environment would be completely totalled.
  • Women would be free to go out with that asshole they find attractive and would never have to settle for the boring nice guy.
  • Paintball and powertool operations would be major sports in gym class at school. At every education level there would be a recess after each class that required sitting still for more than five minutes.
  • Life expectancy would be about 45, as would the literacy rate. Except for the nerd colonies that would protect themselves with the coolest weaponry ever built.
  • There would be no subtlety in interpersonal communications.
This is not our world. And I think everyone can agree that what we got is a lot better. It's the feminine memes that make civil society... civil. So thank the goddess and pass the meme.

Going Future

The truth is that our language has been taken over by the worst empty phrases and words to ever come from hacks in a corporate PR shop. "Now more than ever" is particularly bad and representative. It doesn't mean anything other than 'this is important' but it is consumed by a shallow attempt to create the appearance of newness where none exists. "This blog, now more than ever, is composed of words."

Since 9/11, we've had to endure the phrase 'times like these'. This is especially prevalent, now more than ever, in ads targeting the elderly. "In times like these, it's hard to get a good night's sleep..." This makes it sound like 9/11 events were a daily occurence. Is the world ending? Is it 1935, or 1106, or 1863? In times like these, life is actually pretty good by any objective measure. Unless you're a senior citizen that is under the impression that whenever you were young things were better, in which case, you are kinda delusional, now more than ever, and in this country.

The worst hack phrase, in times like these and now more than ever, is the phrase 'going forward.' Used to be that when people meant some time later, they would say 'later' or 'in the future' or better yet, the decree-like "from now on". Now we here crap like "Going forward, the government is going to improve it's ability to pretend to do something about the prescription drug program." If they wanted to say that they would continue doing something despite opposition or setbacks, they would say 'I will not stop' or say they were 'resolute' or 'undeterred'. Now it's "we continue to go forward." Can you imagine the civil rights movement succeeding with a wimpy-ass theme song titled 'We Shall Keep Going Forward'?

The only use of this phrase is to describe physical movement, as in "he put the car in reverse, but it continued going forward." Programs, movements and plans, none of them can go forward. They can advance, happen, continue, overcome obstacles, and persist.

I think the rise of the going forward stupidity is because of fear of the future. We used to embrace the future in this country but now we fear it, perhaps now more than ever. Maybe it's because we live in times like these and people think that the future can only be worse. These people need to wake up and smell the color cell phone and the longer life spans. We shouldn't shape our language around these cowering fools.

Or maybe an aging society is more nostalgic than forward-looking. So the hacks figured that we should just avoid talking about the future. It's not PC, meaning polite. The Trackball will have to post about this irritating trend some time in the future. You're either forward looking or backward looking and the entire society really depends upon us keeping ours forward.

Or maybe the future is so bright, we have to wear shades. My meaning is that the future promises so much more change and uncertainty and possibility that the hacks have figured people have to be focused on little steps or you'll scare them into catatonia. And steps are like movement, hence the use of going forward. I say stick the future in their face, because I want to live there and it's a nicer place than this.

Don't put the future into the hands of the hacks and the fearful. Going into the future is the only way to go.

The Secret Project (or things to do with a lifespan before you're dead)

I think there are actually one or two people out there who are wondering what the Secret Project is. How interesting.

Let me first explain the context of what it is I am doing, because that will be much more interesting than the substance to many of you.

The Context:
Every person has a set of gifts, talents and strengths. They might be something learned or discovered or genetic or a bit of all three. They're usually enjoyable and can easily dump you into a flow state.

The truth is that whether we use these talents and how often can define not just how enjoyable a life can be but the entire trajectory of that life. The ToT has been intrigued by the idea of what would happen if more people realized this, or even if economic productivity came to rely on people being in flow on the job more often than it occurs now. What if the school system was geared to help kids discover what it was that got their juices going? What if it worked and the pace of change accelerated while society also got better at everything it does?

The ToT has also been trying to organize his life around moving from one flow-inducing activity to the next. In that lies the route to happiness. After a bunch of decades of existence, I have a real good idea what those activities are and which one of those are talented areas for me. There is one particular activity that has been a big deal in this regard for me going way, way back to before I could even read and write.

There's the context. What's the Secret Project? In a way, I've already told you here. It is fraught with the possibility of failure, complicated as all hell, a learning experience, intellectually challenging and impossible to stop doing. Can you figure it out?

Tribalists amongst us

Lately there's been renewed focus on religious, ethnic and racial tensions around the world. The ever present but more noticeable anti-Arabism in the U.S. and especially in Europe, muslim sectarianism in Iraq, old feuds in Russia, Chinese-Japanese antagonism and the rise of fundamentalist religious extremists everywhere. And then there's the gall of old fashioned white supremacists proudly meeting in public in Northern Virginia.

What's going on?

Among the Trackball's earliest forays into truth were earnest efforts in the realm of race relations. Growing up in a rabidly racist place that was about 95% white and 99.99% closeminded, combined with my ability to see things as they really are, lead to some uncomfortable conclusions. 1) I had to get the hell out of there, because amid the desperate straining for homogeneity in everything, the Trackball was already an outcast, and 2) prejudice is alive, well, voluntary, more a mental disorder than an opinion, and relatively easy to spot. Coming out of undergrad, I was seriously planning on working on racial relations in grad school.

This is a long way of saying that I've followed this issue quite closely for a long while. Even took the Harvard implicit racism test and, no surprise, I scored as not preferring whites over blacks or vice versa. How did you do?

The problem is that the prejudiced discriminators are shifting in numbers and tactics. They can be divided into a couple of groups: the Overts, Quiets, Deniers and the Tribalists.
  • The Overts openly discriminate and don't care who knows. They are a shrinking breed of haters thankfully.
  • The Quiets maintain a neutral front, but when pressed or when they feel comfortable within their group, they'll cop to their prejudices, often shamefully.
  • The Deniers really seem to believe that they're not prejudiced, even though they keep showing otherwise over and over again.
  • Then there are the Tribalists, who are prejudiced because they think that life is a zero-sum game for groups and that they need to do their part for their side.

Somewhere along the way, many of the Quiets figured that they could take it up a notch and become Tribalists. They began to feel free or even obligated to 'help' their 'team.' They feel that others are getting more tribal, so if they don't, then they're group will lose out. Even though it's wrong, and they know it, they figure that people in a particular group just need to do whatever they can for their 'team.' They think they're being realists, when they're only rationalizing immoral behavior. But the rationalization gave them a new lease to be actively prejudiced.

Here's but one example from a recent Courtland Milloy piece on the PG county school superintendent:

The majority-black school board on Thursday selected a white superintendent from a tiny district in California to run one of the largest predominantly black school systems in the country.


"Let me tell you, this was an agonizing decision for me," said Howard W. Stone Jr., vice chairman of the school board, who is black. "We've had three black school superintendents who didn't work out, and I sure didn't want to leave black people and especially black students with the impression that a black can't lead.

"Did I want to turn this system over to a white man? Not if I'd had my druthers. But after looking at all of the candidates, this was the best guy to lead the system, raise the test scores and get our kids the best education possible."

Judge those statements as you will; I'm not sure who should be more offended, blacks in the county or the new superintendent. But to some extent, it's irrelevant. As you can imagine, the Tribalists have turned every effort to turn back discrimination into an opening salvo in some group-based Oklahoma land rush for jobs, money, housing, celebrity, etc. They cite the gay agenda, America and the West, gentrification, affirmative action, secular government and schools, development, the women's movement, democracy, etc. like they were mob hits on their group and that they should be free to hit right back. I guarantee you that at least a dozen white Tribalists read that article in the Post and decided to give a black person the shaft that day in retaliation. Never mind that their true fear is that individually they won't measure up without the help of some unfair group-provided advantage which is disappearing.

This of course leads to the worst possible feuds, where the prejudiced in each group sees evidence that the others are being tribal, their numbers swell, and so the cycle continues. Tribalist prejudice activities have exponentially negative effects. How to stop them?

Well, the reason I didn't follow through on the racial relations work in graduate school is because I realized that prejudice's voluntary nature makes it nearly impervious to external persuasion. It's a mental illness that is eagerly sought. No amount of research or public policy will dent it.

The only cure is for moral leaders to strip away the false rationalizations
and explain that in fact we're all worse off when the Tribalists gain power over us in sections. This would marginalize the Overts, shame the Tribalists back to Quiets, the Quiets back to Deniers and make some Deniers become enlightened. Everybody but the Overts know that their prejudice is wrong, but when moral leaders remain silent, all rightly assume that these leaders have become Quiets or even Tribalists themselves.