On Self: How to insert “I” in “WE”?

Social Contract

Why should I be nice to another citizen in the society I live in? If I am stronger and smarter than that person, and there is no risk for me to take from them what I want, including their life, what is there to stop me from doing that? The Social Contract is an ambitious political and sociological notion that stipulates that the strong cannot prey over the weak in civilized society. This notion presumes a community with agreed-upon moral and social precepts, that allow us to set the stage for legislative measures that will bind each citizen to one another, in mutual dependency. I therefore depend upon the weak to respect his part of the contract as I do the strong. In essence, then, the Social Contract nullifies the “natural state” where the strong prey over the weak.

Some even go so far as to say that the Social Contract is simply being used by the weak to force the strong to behave in society and not take power. To a key, this is true, but time has proven that civilizations who flourish have some kind of system like “law and order” in place. Not always, however. Sometimes, the social contract is inferred rather than institutionalized. This was the case for Lakotà tribesmen and women, who obeyed a natural order, but there was no written text or document for systematic legislation of these social mores. These people are not alone, but to go from them as an example, we can attest that this contract has its roots in biology, and that any society that thrives is one where “members” cooperate to a common goal.

For Western societies right now, the common goal is economic prosperity. In the past, for the Lakotà, it was living in harmony with nature, exchanging wisdom and culture at every turn. While we deal in economic capital, they dealt in cultural capital exclusively. An inevitability in all cases for any social contract is the eventual breach. What happens when the contract is breached by one or many members of the society that hosts it? Depending on the society, there are contingencies in place that are more or less effective.

Some societies may rely upon the wisdom of an elder to decide upon a litigious matter and others may rely upon the government or a police officer, while some others may do justice themselves, etc… In the end, these have all had some presence in history and have had varying levels of success, based on the era they existed in. Self-justice nowadays would definitely be seen as wrongdoing by the law, but it could be seen as “proper” justice by the people who do tend to fantasize putting the guilty behind bars themselves or doing the execution.

It remains to be said whether one method works better than all others. A liberal would say that the legislative system is better, a libertarian might say that self-justice is ideal while another, the anarchist, might say that things must be discussed as a group prior to be carried out, even things such as punishment for wrongdoing. The red line across all of these is the notion of justice and how it must be done. That is how the Social Contract remains even when there are people who breach it.

Justice

Why is justice so important to a social contract theorist? Because like any contract, there are clauses for breaching. You cannot simply decide to forego the conditions for the contract to remain and still wish to be respected as an equal member of society. If you do wrong unto another, you must be brought to justice so that the field can be equalized once again. Equality is thus extremely important to the social contract. Without it, justice would not make sense.

Why not? Because if you had the presumption that some citizens are better than others, then there would not be any need to provide them with justice when wrong is done unto them. On the contrary, you might even say that this injustice is a worthy price to pay for their character. One of the main characters in the Social Contract is the Legislator, he who holds the power to enact laws that bind individuals together and allows the Magistrate to condemn using this law, those who breach the contract. At this point, it becomes quite apparent that although the individual is imbued with some free will, he must restrain himself for the preservation of the Social Contract, which he should recognized is the only thing that keeps society from becoming utter chaos.

The basest instincts of humanity must be held back by an adequately structured government that will provide both the protection of the weak from the strong and the regulation necessary for growth and self-actualization within society. One would be hard-pressed to find a reason to privilege the individual in front of the collective, with such a notion as a social contract, because for the individual to thrive in society, he must depend upon other people’s willingness to honor the social contract.

Growth in equality

Is it possible that too much legislation causes those who are inherently “better” to have to underperform so that those who are “less” can keep up? Not necessarily. When you legislate in order to provide equality, you do not equalize with the intent of restricting one’s privilege with regards to another. The legislation does not account for individuals but for the collective. As such, the collective may be represented in averages or medians, and as a result, regulation can be put to allowed the bare minimum to oscillate around the average of performance in society, so that people can at least perform on average with others.

Performance here refers to the ability for citizens to grow and acquire wealth (in the case of a capitalist economy) on the same level as others in minimum. Therefore, for this to be possible, the average citizen must be capable of at least (for example) buying a car, having an apartment, making an average salary that allows them to live comfortably, having a decent education level, etc.

Where such is not present, it is indication that the social contract is being breached behind the scenes or insidiously, within society itself. Referring to the idea that certain people are to be legislated against because of a perceived lesser worth than others, economically speaking, we may find that there are holes in the social contract that do not account for behaviors. Simply because the law is the will of the people, does not make it right. One should question the stability of the social contract at all times, because as times change, societies evolve and old laws eventually become void. They must be done away with or amended to change with the times.

If the law of a land does not change while its people does, there risks to be serious anachronistic discrepancies between the people and its legislative texts. As such, magistrates will protect the people from something they might no longer identify with or that a large enough portion of society no longer identifies with. Therein lies the risk of legislation with old-aged virtue that cannot possibly be bound to the will of the people.

In Rousseau, this was to be amended by making the Legislator’s existence bound to the will of the people, but as history has shown us, we’ve grown outside of these reverences of philosopher kings. This sort of ideology of stoic, centrist distance from politics has allowed for many to abuse the lack of involvement in the Republican system, for example. When you have the environment, as Spinoza says, for people to abuse and become corrupt by nature of having access to so much power, it is inevitable that this would happen, if we believe the little people unable to resist their urges, how can we believe the Aristocrats to be able of the same thing?

Only through a vision of natural inequality can we come to such a conclusion.

Revolution

When a collective loss of identity can be perceived in the general population, that is when upheaval occurs and when the government becomes too detached, too stoic to recognize the basic desires and needs of the people, their identity loss will be found in radicalized and simplified worldviews, that through their simplicity, provide strength to their defunct reason, due to being told that they are less-than. An inevitability thus exists between the distancing of government from the people and the likelihood of revolution. The more aristocrats believe themselves to be working for the good of the people, the less they think about the people itself. How easy must it be to look at a budget in terms of excesses and losses? It would not matter to one who is not of the people that an excess is necessary, based on the needs and that a loss might be indication of lacking administration, not of indecent funding.

Austerity rises at this junction, because those who would do good believe that if the government’s treasury is emptying, then the whole of society is at risk, and their positions must be justified by the safekeeping of such public funds. Why is it then that despite that, the powers that are held by those to whom it most righteously belongs keep them from acting against those who would diminish the people’s sovereignty? A notion that Jean-Jacques Rousseau spoke of very well in the Social Contract, when he said that the people are ultimately the sovereign to whom the government must answer. Yet, we see that “the good of the people” can be easily interpreted as doing what magistrates wish with the wealth of the people, and give it to fellow aristocrats, who then send it overseas in tax havens.

The Liberal institution of the Republic as it is known, particularly the constitutional Republic, serves not the good of the people, but the thing that allows the people to be kept in check for the powers that be. Every revolution was preceded by apathy from those in governmental institutions, in the last few centuries. There is no reason to believe we are not at the eve of a similar event, even in 2017, considering the way our governments behave with extremely pressing issues, as if they should be seen from the point of view of the economist.

Teleological liberalism

The teleology of liberalism is that of a guardian, in the Panopticon of Jeremy Bentham, which leaves the inmates wondering whether they are being watched and behaving solely for the hope of being seen as ideal prisoners, while wishing nothing more but to tear down the tower which surveys them. An Overseer as cruel as the Republic seeks nothing more than to feed itself off of the misery of the people, to preserve the power of its caretakers: the Aristocrats. Without them, the system falls to representative democracy, which gives the managers of the prison more incentive to be watchful of their own behavior, for the people are not only prisoners, but also guardians, who can decide when the watchful eye is to be taken down from its thrown at a whim.

Conclusion

Certainly that last paragraph veered into metaphysical meanderings, but that is because the reasoning behind liberalism is metaphysical in itself. The a priori conceptions of liberalism is that the people are irrational and must be bound by a set of rules, a constitution, that will force them to do so, by risk of being ousted by their society. However, contrary to a democracy, where the people could do so themselves, the Republican system said “let us take care of that for you” so that the people could mind their own business and think about anything. Anything… other than politics and who governs them and why?

The only reason we should be nice, it would seem, is to preserve the status quo.

 

Dissertation on Atomism: Analysis of Epistemology and Ontology

Introduction

In this article, the aim is to demonstrate the existence of objective and subjective reality and our profound relation to the latter versus the former. Using atomism as an analytical framework, we shall ground the basis for the theory of Ontological Epistemology. We shall first present Ontology and Epistemology as being separate, before working on three key arguments to indicate their inseparable nature in shaping how the world is perceived and then known.

Firstly, the world as it is perceived and as it is presented must be understood as subjective, even if the data we are presented with can be objective, it remains that a human source must interpret this data to include it in subjective reality, to give it meaning.

Secondly, that in the event we are capable of finding all that we can find about the universe, we will never be capable of having more knowledge than the universe contains.

Thirdly, that based on the above arguments, the only possibility for us to make sense of subjective reality versus objective reality is to merge the principles of Ontology with Epistemology, to create Ontological Epistemology, of which Atomism is the instrument. Grounded within reason, this theory intends to defy the claims of objectivity by challenging the logic behind arguments, so as to exemplify how there is always more to be said about an object.

We shall conclude that in order to gain the best picture of the world, we must work in the delineation of atomism until there is nothing more for us to perceive or to know.

Objective versus Subjective

Kant, in the Critique of Pure Reason, presents the merging of empiricism and rationalism as an ideal manner with which we can gain knowledge of objects and phenomena. The noumenal and the phenomenal thus oppose one another. A thing in itself is different from how I perceive it, because I only see it from the point of view of a human being. I would have to ignore the multi-dimensional facets of perception by restricting myself only to human knowledge and not experience. Sense-perception thus includes the idea that the objective becomes known solely by a priori conditions followed by a posteriori sensations and perceptions.

There must be a rock for me to be able to perceive it and to identify it as a rock. As such, I am a human being gifted with the ability to appreciate the world as it is presented to me. Schopenhauer, in contrast, believes that this conjecture can be demonstrated to be false, as the thing-in-itself cannot be understood except from the point of view of a human being, and that beyond what it gives us in the phenomenal plane, it may have qualities that escape our perception and knowledge. Objective statements are therefore an oxymoron, as we would have to speak on behalf of nature itself to be able to claim an absolute from perception. We require instruments to create a better picture, yet despite that, we remain with the need to project our experience onto knowledge.

Therefore, we are constrained to the subjective plane of existence, for which the universe is the contingency. For us to exist, there is a condition, and that condition must be a plane of existence, which the universe provides. We could not therefore say that our existence is objective, considering that to be objective, we would have to become the universe. An impossibility such as this confirms that the subjective always takes over the objective. That is not to say, however, that subjectivity can have objective qualities. I could not therefore presume that each person’s perception of that rock changes how it appears objectively. Russell advised against such an idea of reality, in the Art of Philosophizing, by saying that a steak always tastes like a steak. Were reality entirely subjective, we would be able to choose at will how steak tastes like.

Certainly, we can disagree on the taste of a steak, but its taste is what is objective, how we taste it is what is subjective. The taste of steak could not suddenly become that of apple or cotton candy, unless reality had been altered somehow. We must therefore subscribe to the idea that there is an objective reality of which we have no control over, that provides to our subjective reality the necessary resources for it to be substantiated. Without an objective reality, we would not exist, but an objective reality can exist without subjective reality.

The World in Itself

But if for instance we had tasted all the steaks in the universe and every reaction to the taste of steak had been recorded and anyone whoso wished could experience all the various reactions to the taste of steak, would that person have enough knowledge to understand the objective nature of the taste of steak? No, that person would be capable of seeing the multitudes of how humans taste steak, but they would not be able to ascertain an objective measure of the taste of steak.

In order for such to happen, one would have to be capable of perceiving all of the world’s perceptions in an instant. Something like that cannot be allowed to introduce itself into the laws of logic or even physics, but if we were to humor this possibility. What would be the conditions necessary for someone to be objectively capable of tasting steak?

That person would have to be the Will to Life, as per Schopenhauer’s notion. We would have to concede that this person can understand the objective nature of the universe. Despite that, the Will to Life does not contain the world in itself, rather the metaphysical will that directs all life, whether inanimate or animate. We cannot become one with the Will to Life, though we may come to understand it, yet we would still not understand the World in Itself, as to do so, we would have to become the world. The notion of interconnectivity between species, although powerful on spiritual grounds, speaks only to our incapacity to view the Universe as anything but Beings within it. Body and Spirit meld into one, for one cannot be separate from the other.

The reason behind this is that based upon the above arguments, the thesis appears to outline an objective statement about subjective reality. Can this truly be possible, if we are to be absolutely rigorous, with regards to the impossibility of objective knowledge? Yes, it can be. It is within subjective reality that we can ground ourselves into a subjective perception of the Universe and thus form, within ourselves, the objective nature of our own knowledge. It is from there alone, that we can approach objectivity, but like a utopia that can be imagined, true objectivity is never attained by beings whose existence is dependent upon an ontological contingency.

Ontological Epistemology

Heidegger described philosophy as being “ontology” itself, with Being as its primary theme. If we were to follow Heidegger’s theories, we would have to conclude that any abstraction of reality is ours alone and is not pre-existent within the Universe itself. “What is the mode of being of that being in which the world constitutes itself?” Heidegger asks, pointing to the husserlian problem of how the world constitutes itself in our conscience. The world is thus constituted of the commonly agreed-upon ontology by human beings, which can only be attained via the principles of epistemology. As such, the only way through which we can make sense of the world is through a collectivized effort to understand how the thing-in-itself appears to us as a whole.

Our knowledge is restricted to an ontological epistemology, for which the knowledge we gain further gives solidity to how we perceive the Universe, but not inversely. Worsening the notion that the world can be contained within consciousness, we can see Being and the Knowable as being intrinsically tied to one another, but an ontology presumes awareness and knowledge presumes being. The two can no longer be separate and can only form that which we can know of Being without becoming Being itself.

Conclusion – Atomism as a tool for Ontological Epistemology

Reuniting the prior arguments, we can conclude that via atomism, we may come to a holistic understanding of subjective reality, which is what we must contend with, as children of Being, so that we may accept – with humility – that we may never know what it is to be Ontology but rather the result of Ontology itself. Atomism creates the contingency with which we must observe Being with the Knowable. This contingency must entail: Existence is a condition for Being, but this Existence cannot be without knowing of itself and therefore Being.

Circular and sound, it would appear, this contingency would bring a close to the problem of Being, as it were, considering that Being becomes all that can be known and all that can be known is all that is. Everything else must be left to Objective reality, which is beyond Being and could not be understood lest we become Objective reality, a logical impossibility, given the fact that we can only know what is given to us by the thing-in-itself. Like  the peeling of an apple, we can shed layers, but in the case of Objective Reality, we may never perceive its core. Perhaps, by squinting our eyes very hard, we could begin to see its radiation upon ourselves, but to see objective reality would be to insert it within Being, and at that moment, it would cease to be objective.

Any knowledge, in atomism, which would describe the Universe is to be called “ontological epistemology”, and that should be defined as follows:

“Knowledge of the thing-in-itself as it can be known through Being.”

 

 

On Feminist Theory: Exploitation

How are women exploited in society?

And are women the only ones that are exploited in a patriarchal society? History has shown that although men also suffer from the patriarchal society, in terms of unreasonable expectations and frequent majority figures in suicide statistics, women’s exploitation is a pre-requisite for the continued existence of patriarchy. That is accomplished through a variety of means, but I’ll begin by laying out the main guidelines.

Unpaid Labor

In feminist theory, materialism comes into focus the moment we speak of women’s work in society. That is, the work that they do at their own expense and without any proper monetary compensation. Work that is largely expected of them as a duty enforced by social expectations and tradition. However, when women began to be inserted into the workforce alongside men, this change did not also reflect at home. So, while women WERE allowed to work on similar jobs to men, they remained the sole contributor for household labor in a majority of cases.

2nd-wave feminism went into this and I would advise reading up on Christine Delphy’s theory of exploitation, if you would like to get deeper into this subject.

The unpaid labor results in an accrual of work hours that are not accounted for in the woman’s work. Time spent at home to do chores, cooking, taking care of children (when they are included in the mix) account for sometimes up to 80 hours of work per week for women, whereas men’s household duties extend their total working hours to about 50 a week. Most recent figures regarding this can be found in a study by Graciela Chichilnisky, where she analyzed, via nash equilibrium models, this discrepancy in particular, and found that if we were to be consistent with economic growth, we should desire that men and women share equal amounts of household duties, to permit maximum output.

Now, that is wonderful and everything, but why is working at home while having a job exploitation? Why don’t women simply stay at home until the children are ready to go to school or kindergarten, and then go back to work? Well, if you were to ask the same question of a man, you’d find that they would rather go back to work as soon as the child is born and healthy. Women cannot do that right away due to convalescence and also due to an expectation that they will remain at home for the first few years.

After 2nd-wave feminism, however, this changed. Kindergartens have allowed women with career ambitions to leave their children with a worker in a child care center, to take care of them while they are at work. While this obviously reduced the amount of time women had to take off their work, it did not have the cultural effect of making women less liable to spend more time taking care of household duties.

On the contrary, atop still making women the purveyors of children’s growth (more kindergarteners or babysitters are women than men), it did nothing to change the mindset on a majority of cases. This new notion is now known by feminists as “mental load”.

Mental Load

Mental Load is what can be attributed to the cognitive dissonance between the cultural acceptance of women as equals to men, yet a persisting unequal share of work at home. As a result, men will tend to forego doing things like dishes, tidying up rooms, cleaning the toilet, bathtub, etc… Because of a pre-existing realization that these things are taken care of by the woman in the couple. As a result, women’s requests of men to take care of certain things they normally don’t do will be seen as out of the norm. “You should have asked” will be an appropriate reaction in these situations, because men are unaccustomed to helping women in household duties.

It is thus worthy of note that although we may believe ourselves more egalitarian, our cognitive reactions to chores differs based on our gender expression. Mental Load theory therefore establishes that men should not wait for women to demand of them to carry out everyday household tasks. Mental Load, when not addressed in relationships, leads to women and men ignoring these things as being second-nature. In fact, as the male gaze, patriarchy, heteronormative society, all of these things are socially constructed.

Without an equalized share of the mental load at home, men and women cannot come to an understanding of equality or even equity within their lives. Naturally, the idea that tasks should be separated equally is not as valid as some might think. It might be that some tasks are better carried out by the man or the woman, and each case warranting specific intervention, it may be that to stabilize the equity in household duties would still result in unequal shares of these duties.

The fact remains, however, that as a society, the norm has been oriented toward women having a bigger mental load, and although this might work for some, it is not a “biological” division of tasks but still very well socially and mutually constructed. While the man in general comes home from work and spends his night watching TV or doing his hobbies, the woman is more likely to have to pick up after the man and do chores that the man might very well be capable of doing as well, from time to time.

Sex work and hypersexualization / objectification

Women make up a majority of sex industry workers…

“Reliable information on the number of prostitutes is lacking. In 2003, it was estimated that there were between 20000 and 30000 prostitutes. However, it is believed that the number decreased also as a consequence of the former economic crisis and the closure of a number of brothels. According to TAMPEP, in 2008, there were approximately 10000 to 15000 prostitutes, of which 90% were female. The majority of female prostitutes are migrants, mainly from Eastern Europe, although a downward trend in the number of female migrant prostitutes from 2000 (80%) to 2008 (60%)121 was perceived.”

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/etudes/join/2014/493040/IPOL-FEMM_ET(2014)493040_EN.pdf
(Note: This statistic is with regards to Europe, but similar numbers can be found across the globe and within multiple other countries)

They also appear as heterosexual eye-catchers for a primarily (assumed) male audience. (more in the Male Gaze article) In general, women are seen via the male gaze and as such, the colloquialism “women should be seen but not heard” emanates from this preconception of women. As accessories, women are particularly desired from the media, mostly to add to the prestige of a male figure.

I would contend that the knowledge of women being overwhelmingly more present than men in prostitution rings probably has something to do with that, like some kind of subconscious self-realization. We recognize that there is a problem, but our lackluster decision to act against it is reflected in the glorification of men who can “pull ass”. Such a declaration can only be made true if we look at who the clients of such prostitution rings are.

Clients of prostitution have very diverse academic levels, family situations, careers, and revenues. Prostitutes are mostly women, and most studies showed that the great majority of clients are men.”

http://www.fondationscelles.org/en/prostitution/who-are-the-clients
*Citations provided in the article

http://www.ejhs.org/volume11/brewer.htm

Statistics show a variety of men from different backgrounds, but men still overwhelmingly represent clientèles of the sex industry, both for prostitution and pornographic consumption. That is not to say that someone who consumes pornography automatically wishes to undermine women’s place in the world, but this will inevitably build some kind of cognitive signal that women’s sexuality must be hidden, as is men’s, considering that men were more likely to respond to interviews if their anonymity was to be preserved.

This generates a kind of apathy or double-speak with regards to women’s rights. If we were to look at this from a different angle, however, as plenty of feminists do, the sex industry could be made less stigmatizing for women. For example, some people have suggested that sex workers could be unionized and proper regulations could be put into place to protect them from abuses. Certain Dutch brothels requested that a “panic button” be installed in each of the girls’ rooms, indication of frequent attacks against prostitutes.

I am of the mind that prostitution can be made into a positive thing, to empower women, but the statistics I have stated above seem to indicate that women who are part of the sex industry would rather leave it. It is not a career choice, most of the time. Certain studies appear to indicate a causal relation between poverty, homelessness and prostitution. As a survival instinct, in a heteronormative, patriarchal society, women understand that their submition to the “male supremacy” will earn them men’s money if they do little other than surrender their dignity.

It does not have to be this way, however.

 

On Feminist Theory: The Male Gaze

Past Patriarchy, into Masculinity

Masculinity is of course a byproduct of patriarchy, and feeds off of this self-identification for men to be praised and women to be shunned. It is not right, in patriarchy, for women to exhibit masculine traits, in that it labels them as alien to the concept of what a woman is. They may co-exist with men, but women who are “masculine” are an oddity to be viewed as an anomaly, not as a rule. As such, the “male gaze” is not with regards to “masculinity” but rather what are the things that profit sentiments of masculinity. What are things that generate sentiments of masculinity and what makes masculinity so good for those who wish to self-identify as masculine individuals?

In my previous article, I mentioned that although men and women both suffer the rigid structure of a patriarchal state, I have not mentioned specifically through what mechanisms. I did mention the male gaze, and that is what I will be going into now.

Viewing the benefits of society through a masculine lens

What does this mean? It means that the patriarchy, in order to make sense, must view the ins and outs of society through a bird’s eye view that belongs to the man. Things are shaped around the needs of  the man and thus, everything must support a man’s view of the world. If the society is heteronormative (that is, it normalizes and systemizes heterosexual couples as the norm), it will push a definite divide between things that profit men and things that profit women, both on a cultural and economic sense. The male gaze also dictates how women should behave, based on a male point of view. So, if the man is dominant, women should be submissive, wear feminizing clothing, speak a certain way, keep quiet when men are discussing serious matters that escape their scope.

Via the male gaze, women also absorb a psycho-social perspective of how other women should behave. The idea being that women who are successful are women who appeal to men. Now, women who will defy this convention are going to defy the male gaze. If the society is patriarchal, other women who have been used to this psycho-social perception of themselves will react negatively to the one that ceases to cooperate.

For example, if women in patriarchal societies are meant to be seen as pure, innocent and dedicated wives, a wife that would cheat on her husband or otherwise have pre-marital sexual relationships with men she has no intention of remaining with, loses marital value with men, but she does have a certain amount of power that other women don’t. She defies the male gaze and begins to stride out of scope for the male-centric society. In western culture, women like this have been dubbed “femme fatales”, who tempt men into sinful relationships. Not unlike the biblical Succubus, the femme fatale can sometimes use her wiles to lure men and kill them when they least suspect it.

As such, sexual ability in a man is comforted, as men are wise, in control and virile. They must dominate. Women who dominate, being anomalies, must have a specific desire to destroy men, and the male gaze should suggest that straying from the natural disposition of submission to the patriarch is done with the specific aim of hurting male dominance. After all, in a patriarchal society, there is no ethical justification for women to stray from men’s care-taking and masculine protection. Deciding to live without a man and be independent thus removes the dominating aspect of a man’s relationship toward women.

It may be that a woman does not feel attracted to a man, but in patriarchy, she will always express herself in that regard via modest refusal, bordering on making herself only temporarily unavailable, until the man tries again. The male gaze thus puts women who are single at the forefront of masculine accomplishment. A man who is of age, alike a woman, must marry, with the aim of having someone at home who will take care of things. Women, similarly, should seek a man who is self-dependent and can protect them against outside invasion. Thus, a woman should only seek a man who is “alpha”, that is a man who is strong in all senses of the word: Emotionally stable, physically strong, intellectual and if need be, wealthy.

The pressure exists on both sides, to this end: Men must ensure that they are viewed as the alpha by their ideal woman and women must ensure that the man they marry is “safe”: that is, financially and mentally stable, physically strong and aiming for prestigious promotions in the company he works in. Because in the male gaze, women and men’s value are mutually enhanced by the job that the man has and the devotion and skill the women has with taking care of family matters.

In the end, that we prioritize men’s desires seems to create a mutually beneficent circumstance that promotes stability: Men must be dominating, women must be submissive; the woman’s submission helps the man’s desire to dominate and increases his status; the man’s domination shows the woman that she has great taste in men. However, any divergence from this route may be seen as a potentially unstable situation and must be corrected when such is found.

Causes of instability with male gaze

As in the previous article, one of the failings of the male gaze is that while it forces values and traditions based on a male-centric organization of society, it is based almost entirely on superstitious naturalistic fallacies. The presumption being that men are always fit to be dominant and women always fit to be submissive. History has shown us otherwise, and particularly recent history, once feminism went into the mechanisms of patriarchy to try to change it. When women begin to dream and seek regions yet unexplored, that defies the idea of their inherent submission to men, whose society decides what their dream is: To have children and serve their husband. Once alterations are brought to this system, the entirety of it can now be called into question, and the patriarchal society ceases to be rationally justified through intellectual means.

The only way for men to retain this patriarchal organization is through force or obstruction against women who would seek to change things. Such a reaction may be logical, however, given that men believe themselves to be dominating and when women step out of line, it should be their duty to force them back into place. It still raises the question: Why should men have to force women back into submissive roles, if women don’t always feel like they should be submissive and likewise, men don’t always feel like they should be dominant?

Questioning this new variable brings into light the fragility of the patriarchal enterprise: That by forcing the view of society through a masculine and patriarchal lens, we constrain ourselves from other worldviews and when they challenge our perspective, as a patriarchy we have no choice but to react in “masculine” fashion, that is violence. Therefore, a man who would lose control of his wife, should use force to put her back in her place. The masculine man must however concede that if his woman was insubordinate, then it was because he was not directive enough with her or certain limits had not been adequately identified for her not to cross. It does not have to bring into question his masculinity.

Yet, were it that women are naturally subservient and men naturally assertive, the woman would never have felt the need to test the man’s masculinity, based on the male gaze. So, inherently, the patriarchy, if doubted, and sufficiently trounced, loses all legitimacy on a societal level. As I said in my previous article: Nothing keeps certain individuals to live based on a patriarchal understanding of family, but that view should not be forced upon women as a whole or men as a whole.

Essentially, then, the male gaze must be applied specifically on an individual sense. A man who seeks to dominate women should seek a woman who seeks dominating men, but this does not have to be normative. Otherwise, those who do not subscribe to this view will find themselves ostracized for no other good reason than not playing by the rules. It isn’t my intent, with these articles, to tell people that being patriarchal is always bad, but it should not be expected that society is shaped to fit a patriarchal lens or indeed a matriarchal lens either. Neither views would be acceptable, because the inverse situation would be broken by men not wanting to submit to women.

Male Gaze in consumption

I have spoken briefly about how products are tailored to fit men’s needs, but I thought I’d give a few examples in every day life, so we can be on the same page. Video games are dear to my heart. I have played them for as long as I can remember, but while I do enjoy games that would appeal to this male gaze, I must also acknowledge that they portray a rather toxic view of masculinity. In the game series Tekken, for example, there is a definite shift across the games in how the male and female characters are displayed.

In the first few Tekken games, the women, although slender, were not depicted too sexually. In later games, like the 4th and later titles, the Tekken series has taken to a much more visually stimulating portrayal of women characters. The male characters are however not designed to attract a female audience. Their visual design is meant to make them appear bad-ass first and foremost. Comparing the two does not produce an equalizing portrayal of genders. Rather, while the men are portrayed with a minimum amount of body fat, the women have jiggling breasts, curvy and smooth-looking bodies, and in most cases, highly feminizing outfits. Take with that the addition of accessories and secondary outfits who almost always feature less and less clothing or more and more fetishized perspectives on the characters; Anna Williams has a nurse outfit, while Nina has a high-heeled skin-tight outfit with the chest opened to reveal her voluptuous breasts and the thickness of her hips, both outfits complete with breast jiggle physics.

The male characters in the Tekken series have boasting entrances, where they make show of their martial prowess, where the female characters mostly just show off their bodies or have a passive position, where they appear to be waiting for the opponent to attack them. Examples being Asuka Kazama, who either simply knocks her hands together, or walks away from the camera (showing off her butt in the meantime, if you use her main outfit) before turning around to wait for her opponent, taking position; Julia Chang is seen arranging her pony tail, then patting her face, as if she’s just gotten done getting ready to leave the house; Anna Williams makes a salacious dance, while egging the opponent to “come over here, let me talk to ya real close…”, whilst wearing femme fatale outfits…

Conversely, Heihachi Mishima is sitting down meditating, and then quickly gets into position or he stands ready and powerful, electricity rousing from his body; Jin Kazama stands quietly, then utters “Don’t get in my way!” at his opponent, his gaze aggressive; Kazuya stands with his arms crossed, a mocking gaze toward the opponent “So you’ve come…”; Feng Wei arrives at the scene and does a series of katas to present himself to his opponent; Hwoarang tells his opponent to shut up or arrives at the scene already ready to fight, throwing kicks in the air; Craig Marduk makes a show of strength before aggressively taunting his opponent…

While the series has gone lengths in recent titles to try to give more representations of women in the roster, the female characters keep following a strict design pattern: Slender and short, curvy and short or curvy and all. Personality wise, they are always standing in three archetypes: Angelic, innocent, suggestive and evil, emotionally manipulated by a male character in the series to participate in the fight.

Now in the end, what attracts people to Tekken isn’t SOLELY its attractive female roster, but the gameplay. Tekken games are very good games in themselves, and I question myself whether they need such hyper masculine representation of men and such hyper sexualized representations of women? Sales figures would indicate perhaps that is correct, but why do men need to be motivated by titillating female figures in video games in order to buy them?

The idea behind the male gaze is of course to perpetuate this ideation of women with a specific body type and a very libertine type of clothing. However, despite being dressed quite lightly, these characters will most always have no sex life whatsoever, no boyfriend to speak of. Similar to the men, in this case. There is still a rather virginal aspect given to their personality, which gives them this sort of oblivious reaction (again, in general) with regards to sex, but there will be no in between: The female characters are either virginal or balls to the wall seductive.

In the end, the male gaze is well present in the Tekken series, as the characters are all designed with a heteronormative male gaze.

Why feminists don’t like the male gaze

Feminists tend to live and let live when it comes to video games, even if we give Anita Sarkeesian shit for even mentioning the male gaze in her reviews of video games. The male gaze is bad not because it makes women appear attractive to men, but because it tailors the content of the game for a specific type of player, mostly the men and women who buy into patriarchal society and heteronormative behavior in men and women. You can think of how male homosexuality is less popular than female homosexuality in the pornographic industry. That is because porn producers know that it is men that watch porn mostly and most of these men are at least heterosexual. The idea behind lesbian pornos usually is that the women are enjoying themselves for the male watching them, not of their own volition.

So, aside from hetero-normativity, one of the reasons why feminists don’t like the male gaze, is that it makes the consumer-based economy mostly geared toward male desires, making their desires secondary, and making them buy “male-oriented” products when none exist for them. Easy solution to that is of course to buy male products or to make “female equivalents” to these products, right? Wrong.

The solution would be simply to not create products with a specific gender in mind, but perhaps a conglomeration of both, so that it can be appealing to either gender. Now therein lies another issue: If men are used to male-centric products and are then brought to buy “gender equal” products, will they be turned away? It is possible, but that is only because of the existence of a patriarchal society.

If we truly seek to get rid of patriarchy or to not be a patriarchy anymore, we must look for these discrepancies and find ways to either mitigate or eliminate them altogether.

 

On Feminist Theory: Patriarchy

Get the Big one out of the way

I thought I’d start with the one that gets the most attention in feminism, because it’s sort of used by opponents and skeptics alike to decry a form of irrationality in feminism, particularly toward an unjustified sentiment of oppression that could very easily be explained away as “classism” by the more radical socialists of the left, who tend toward a universal analysis of inequality, rather than gender-specific.

Patriarchy, if you take a dictionary, will give a definition like this:

A system of society or government in which the father or eldest male is head of the family and descent is reckoned through the male line.

Oxford Dictionaries / https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/patriarchy

Now, if I know my history of feminist theory (and I do), that’s not the only way which patriarchy is known to feminists. So, comitting a reductio ad absurdum by constraining ourselves to the dictionary definition is of course self-defeating, because such a society is not easily defined in the West. Some might even say that patriarchal societies don’t exist anymore in the West, based on this very definition.

The problem with such a strict interpretation of patriarchy is that it denies the multitudes of other factors that perpetuate a patriarchal society, beyond hereditary male privilege. So, in order to explain this to my worthy readers, I have to delve deeper than the definition, by outlining a couple of points of contention in feminism about what exactly patriarchy is.

Masculinity vs Feminity

In a patriarchal society, there is a definite cleavage between masculine and feminine attributes, which are often reduced to natural arguments of society. As in: Women have less muscle mass, therefore they should do the child rearing, while the men should be the bread-winners. So, contrary to popular belief, there is a kind of logic in the patriarchal society which would not directly expose a form of sexism, but rather hearken to a so-called biological origin of this separation of gender roles. Ah, what are “gender roles”?

Gender roles are roles determined through (but not only) culture, society, and state preservation. The perservation of the state requires that these roles be kept verbatim because any confusion that would arise from women attempting to switch roles would inevitably cause a kind of revolution on cultural and social grounds, making the preservation of certain privileges for the Patriarchs moot. As such, it is preferrable for a patriarchal society, that gender roles be very well defined and highlighted as positive.

For example, patriarchal societies will glorify both the masculine aspects of war and the feminine aspects of child rearing and education. Men have to be strong to be able to defend the country and women should remain at home to provide children with what the man cannot. It’s a mutually beneficient society, so it would seem. Thus, in order for the state to be constantly rejuvenated with a healthy generation of able-bodied warriors to wage war with, women must stay at home and take care of the soft skills that will allow men to interact both with their brothers and their future wives.

Wives, who on the contrary, learn to be modest, pure, and submissive to the masculine will of the husband, who is the master of the household. Any kind of substraction from this tradition risks the destruction of unity, and when such destruction occurs, it is used as leverage against the emancipation of either gender, so that “men will be men” and “women will be women”, because in order for the state to function as it does, it needs a singularity of similarly-shaped workforce individuals. That way, we can streamline production toward specific genders, and the growth of the economy is left unabated by any delusions of similitudes between men and women, other than that they are both humans.

On the surface, then, patriarchy appears to be a proper model for maintaining cultural and social norms, through the dominance of men and through the submission of women. Both simply have to know their place and that they should not derogate from this trail. If men are condemned to be profitable workers to the capitalist society, women have to allow the men to work on their dreams, while theirs should be the creation of worthy offspring and future generations that hopefully, will be prosperous.

Surface Tension

Like the physical term of the same name, when you start to dig deeper into the motives behind patriarchy, you find a series of flaws that make it into an untenable political and economical tradition. First of all: Women are not biologically engineered to be unable to fight, they simply have a lower muscle mass in general than men. However, due to biology itself, some men are born with more feminine traits and some women are born with more masculine traits. Yet, both are still forced (socially or culturally) to abide by the normalized gender roles within their society. So, despite a woman having a propension for sports and perhaps even warfare, she will be ostracized in a patriarchal society, because other women think it is unsightly for a woman to try to do a man’s job and men will find it unsightly for a woman to try to do their job, and thus refuse to consider her a worthy marriage option, because who will take care of the children?

As you can see, one of the flaws in the reasoning is that if women also work highly demanding jobs like men, no one will take care of the children at home because men are not predisposed (through biology, we would presume) to take care of children. The patriarchal idea is that men work and women take care of children, so the moment women begin to want to skip through to the other side and vice versa (men wish to do child rearing) there is a visible social ostracization of these people. Once that occurs, the patriarchal society pains to maintain its hold onto these gendered norms.

Now, of course, a series of generations that have kept the means of production and the wealth in the hands of men, presumably men who approve of the patriarchal system, will put in methods through which women and men cannot easily transition between roles. For example, a man who works cannot decide to go back home, because no one else works in the family. If he chooses to do so against his will, he will become a dependent of the government, and in patriarchy, there is no worse a fate for men than to become dependent on the state. It is a dishonor.

Whereas if a woman chooses to leave the home to become a worker in the workforce and do a similar job that a man would, and the man chooses not to go home, the children are left to their own devices and various household chores will have to be performed by either the man or the woman or both. Now, if we take both parties as being strangers in their respective “new fields”, this cannot bode well. Men may not be capable of doing what the woman was doing and the woman may have difficulty adapting to a much more aggressive environment. The only way this can happen is if the system changes to replicate both these people’s desires.

Generally, what has happened in these cases, however, is that men have refused to sacrifice work hours to be more present at home, leaving the child rearing still in the hands of the women, despite having worked similar hours that their husbands did. In this situation, it would become logical for any overworked woman to simply forget about it and return to the traditional situation of rearing the children and giving birth to offspring, and maintaining the household.

Therein lies another problem…

Change is inevitable

The presumption of the Patriarchal system is that men and women have inherently different desires in life that will never changed, based on this naturalistic fallacy. Meaning that even if women begin to dream and have ambitions or simply to be allowed to work in the factory or as a janitor, the patriarchal society does not have appropriate jobs or environments for them to work in, because of the presumption of their feminity making them unqualified to do traditionally male jobs and vice-versa for the men. There is no equality, in that sense, in a patriarchal society, between men and women, because women do not get renumerated for rearing children. Their wealth is entirely dependent on the man’s salary and capital.

In reality, men and women sometimes share similar ambitions and although not initially visible, these ambitions sometimes interconnect, but in a patriarchal society, the primarity of political and economic relevancy is left by default for the man. If women seek to participate in the world of a male-dominated workforce, they must adapt to it. Now, this is in contradiction with the patriarchal values attributed to both genders. If women are naturally endowed with their feminity, it should be denied outright that they can work in the same environments as men. Thus, as change occurs, the patriarchal society makes concessions.

Women are given roles that do not necessarily dissociate them from their child rearing at home: Teaching, administration, textile industry, cultivation, accounting, kindergartening, all things that while allowing women to make a wage of their own, still keeps them in a subservient role to men. The purpose of this, of course, is to maintain gender roles even in the workplace. Now this paints an increasingly clear picture of what “masculinity” and “feminity” is for. It ascribes specific occupations based on the person’s gender, but more specifically, their sex. I won’t go into detail about the differences between gender and sex, but to be clear: Women in the patriarchal society are not dissociated between gender and sex. These are mutually inclusive, meaning that women are inherently feminine and therefore inherently subordinates to men.

When this vision of gender-specific roles is challenged, and we see men being able to do child rearing and women being able to create wealthy enterprises that make sizeable amounts of wealth and create valuable capital, we find that the patriarchal interpretation of society is what we call “heteronormative”. It does not consider the ambiguity of certain biological traits that exist within humans and it considers as a scientific fact that only men and only women exist in society (disregarding the notion of gender as being separate from sex). So, for example, it is impossible, in a patriarchal society, to envision a male-male or female-female relationship, because it does not further the human race and supposedly halts growth. It also looks down upon a couple that does not have children and chooses instead to be mutually co-dependent: The husband and the wife both work but have no children.

Once these changes become recognized by science, both biologically and psychologically, the patriarchal society has no choice but to make even bigger concessions, and at this point, the patriarchy becomes a vague myth of male supremacy over women. It manifests itself in traditional values and anti-feminist movements that would deny the existence of a divide between gender and sex, even if science has recognized that this divide exists (with some reservations, of course). Historical representations of this argument exist, as far back as the Greek and Roman civilizations, the Japanese and Chinese civilizations and the Enlightenment.

Why do feminists have a problem with patriarchy?

Now, in the end, it might be best for people to simply cooperate with the patriarchal system, but as history as demonstrated: no system is perfect, and patriarchy is along for the ride on that train. Feminists have a problem with patriarchy on two grounds:

  1. It shapes society around the male gaze (things must be made to benefit men first).
  2. It glorifies masculinity and undermines feminity, to the point of treating women like grown children.

The male gaze requires a whole article on its own, but the second point can be addressed here. One of the main points of contention in feminist theory with patriarchy is that the patriarchal system does not give enough importance to the work of women, as is noticed through history where male figures are taught in various spheres of academia, but hardly any women. Part of that reason being that women were, for as long as the patriarchal system reigned supreme, simply obscured partners. Workers in the shadow of men that allow them to rise to the highest peaks of social standing. While this point is recognized by proponents of patriarchy and even used as an example of why patriarchy works, it disregards the fact that these women are seldom named or taught or even referenced in works of academia.

In a patriarchal society, feminine traits are more likely to be used as an insult in social transactions between men. Such as calling a sensitive man “a little bitch” or “screaming like a girl”. Men who court women a lot are called “womanizers” and once again glorified for their seductive antics and effectiveness with copulating with the opposite sex by other males and even females. A lasting image of this psycho-social representation persists within James Bond, who represents the peak of masculinity, intelligence and womanizing. Any which woman who would in turn do the same would be given negative traits by the patriarchal society.

“Harlot”, “slut”, “whore” come to mind when women are capable of similar antics as men, but in cinema, contrary to men, are regarded as “femme fatale” which from french means “Fatal Woman”. The idea of a woman who is accessible is that she will cause your doom. Her seductiveness is only paralelled with her deadliness. Whereas James Bond is simply an “agent” working for the Queen of England. Representations of women’s sexual promiscuity have traditionally been negative across society, and those that fall under the charm of men are simply guilty of their own naivety. In cinema, once again, femme fatale’s who charm men usually do so with the intent to use their sex appeal for the sake of killing them later.

A good example resides within a very recent video game called Hitman: Absolution, where Codename 47’s adversary sends his salacious concubine to kill the assassin, and her tactic is to try to seduce him in order to render him defenseless to her wiles and the subsequent assassination attempt when she pulls out a silenced pistol on him. The series goes to great lengths to put the assassin as some kind of asexual killing machine, so his reaction to women who show him affection is usually that of stoic indifference.

Now, these examples are in fiction, but the point of using them as such is to show how women are portrayed in fiction and that the fiction of video games and cinema cannot be dissociated from the reality of our society. Thus, while we can freely say these are works of fiction, they refer to deeply seated prejudice about relationships between men and women.

When we turn to everyday transactions between men and women, we’ll find that women tend to keep quiet when men speak (unless they have started to try to take more space) and when they do begin to take more space, their forwardness is seen as negative from women and men respectively, when the looming shadow of patriarchy remains. While men are praised for being forward, women who do the same are called “bitches” and are told they should try being nicer.

While it is completely possible that women can be forwardness to a point where it is simply arrogance, our reliance on presuming that a woman who is forward is immediately a bitch is what becomes problematic in this view. In the end, what this should tell us is that when men do something that is traditionally within the boundaries of their gender roles, and women do the same thing, it is almost always regarded as negative when women do it.

Should Patriarchy remain?

I have identified in this article a few things that patriarchy does well: For instance, it seeks a form of stability by dictating social situations based on gender, and to a key, this can be a good thing and it can be used as a model to extrapolate elsewhere. Considering the advances of science and of social sciences particularly, it makes no sense to wish to erect a patriarchal system (pun intended), as we have found that gender-specific roles can be broken and are only indirectly rooted within biology. It is we that decide upon these roles, and had biology proven that women WERE predisposed to child rearing and soft science education, there would not have been a feminist revolution nor a transgender revolution or indeed a homosexual revolution.

Patriarchy is thus devoid of any strong value, once we look at the facts, other than “traditional morality”, but as it is otherwise steeped into superstitious dogma, it must be done away with. Men and women can choose to be subservient or dominant to one another or neither of these things, but it is no longer up to society to dictate that. It is up to each and every one of us to choose how we wish to live our lives with our loved ones.

If you wish to be a stay at home mom or dad, so be it. If you wish to be served by your significant other, and that significant other agrees to be your submissive servant, then that is all the best for you. There is no need, however, to expand this notion of gender roles onto the whole of society. Not anymore, at least.

 

Political Analysis of Current Events

The War in Syria just took a turn?

Some would like to believe that, but the recent intervention of America in the war, particularly against the aerial installations of Bachar Al-Assad’s forces would indicate, according to many political commentators, a change in President Trump’s political rhetoric. That of putting “actions behind words”. Is that really the case, though?

Although the sudden airstrike against Syria was a change in American involvement and alignment in the war, it serves as a continuation of meddling in the affairs of foreign powers, particularly those whom it knows is in bed with an ever-present enemy: Russia. In fact, my analysis will probably base itself more on the last half-a-century of America’s foreign policy, than on Trump’s specific action. Many saw him as a figure of hope, to bring America out of its miserable, corporate chains.

As it turns out, so far, Trump has been taking money away from programs that would benefit his voters the most and putting it where it benefits their “bosses” the most instead. He was supposed to avoid a war with Russia, by warming them up to American politics. The attack on Syria has effectively reduced what efforts he’d done in the first few months of his Presidency to ashes, as Russia and China both now decry the actions of the American government.

Let us not forget the reactions of those in middle-eastern countries that neighbor Syria and for the most part, do not like that America seems to want to engage itself further into the conflict. This has definite repercussions, because it looks eerily a lot like how most destitutions of dictators in the middle-east took place, and have always ended up with worse people getting their seats.

At that point, though, the West pulls out and calls it a day. Basically, we’re looking at a repetition of events past, but with the added geopolitical tension that permeates the coming elections of many countries, and the rise of far-right populism and extremism. Opposition to war in foreign countries is a frequent demand in much of these movements, and yet, right-wing populism has not kept the Trump Presidency from being involved in the Middle-east.

Failed States and American Foreign Policing

In the book “Failed States” by Noam Chomsky, we get an outline of just how much America likes to get involved in countries that should a priori seem like people we shouldn’t associate with. What starts as a cordial relationship with a relatively brutal dictator, invariably ends up with some kind of international campaign of fear against that dictator, ending up with an American-orchestrated take-over. It takes the form either of propaganda against that country, “poisoning” the debate to encourage revolution or an outright investigation of some kind of crime the regime might be committing, followed by direct action despite a lack of supporting evidence.

The presumption here is that America is trying to fix a Failed State and install democracy into it. It shouldn’t be surprising that the countries America considers Failed States are generally tied in some way with Russia. Now, of course, Russia has its own Failed States that it turns into puppet states, as America does. Both America and Russia try to police their parts of the world, like two school bullies attempting to force everyone to their side until an epic fight in the schoolyard.

Only, this isn’t school, this isn’t a schoolyard fight. This is a war with belligerents who have the most nuclear capacity in the whole world. Thankfully for all of us, Russia and America have stuck to the Mutually Assured Destruction tactic, considering that nuclear warfare ends with total annihiliation of all parties involved. What does that entail? It entails waging war for territory but only indirectly.

America and its allies waging economic and military war with Russia and its allies.

A politico-economic war of attrition?

It would seem so. For each gain made by Americans seems offset by a reactionary response from the Russian government. Russia feeds off of white supremacy, at the moment, which is required to make America’s allies skeptical of their need to police the world. If the people no longer support waging war with Russian puppet-states, then Russia gets to increase its presence in these theaters of war.

Vice versa, if Russia becomes more democratic, more equal, it suffers from the influence of American culture and thus, problems of endemic racism and sexism start to diminish and make the Russian people skeptical of their beloved leader’s intelligence. Perhaps unknowingly, intellectuals on both sides push forth the rhetoric of their own political protégés. The middle-line ends up supporting both at the same time, but when you support both ends of one battle, you always end up hurting the side that’s winning.

In this war where America and Russia vye for international agreement to continue their exactions upon puppet states (or sometimes completely override it), the end-result cannot be anything else than eventual total war between the two. At that point, the Doomsday Clock will reach Midnight, and it will be time to get to the bunkers.

Conclusion: How to avoid this?

We need to stop seeing wars in the middle-east as being an America vs Russia proxy war and more a continuation of a war that has yet to end, despite news to the contrary in the 90s. The Cold War may come to be dubbed “The Great Proxy Wars” by historians. Where political, economic and military means are used to conquer territory, instead of direct conflict. Once we realize this and the folly it was to rely upon monotheistic interpretations of power, we may emancipate ourselves and humanity not as subjects to a regime but as part of one whole. A self-managed whole.

The Ever-Present issue of Humanity

Repeating the past

In a nigh-cyclical manner, we humans have repeated the past despite the warnings of our forefathers. In my research, thus far, I have come upon the conclusion that the emotion we find ourselves drawn back to with ease is hatred. Now, should Hatred function like the black plague and spread through the hearts of millions in an instant, it can be the sole constance across these tragic historic moments. Any civilization in this world has had these moments, no matter how civilized. My contention here is that the reasoning behind these is our need to dominate both ourselves, the other and nature.

While revolutionary, the ideology of individualism and freedom of property brought with itself unending greed in the face of capitalism. A boon for civilized societies, it became an outright curse for third-world and developing countries. Despite the existence of the poor, the sick, and the needy, the ever-growing need for more resources to support the massive consumption zones that are First-World countries has created this divide. A divide which is maintained by the willful ignorance of these countries to engage themselves in battling this inequality. Because all plants require soil to grow, capitalist societies presume that someone has to be on the receiving end of the wealthy. If someone is a millionaire, another must be a stray.

Simple economic laws and inevitabilities of our society.

Yet, does it REALLY have to be this way?

Prior assumptions

If my prior assumption of hatred is correct, there is always an underlying form of hate that comes with ignoring the other and their needs. Ignoring nature and its needs as well stems from hate: the need to control is hatred, because it requires coercitive action. While acknowledging that humanity can never do away entirely with the quite human emotion of hatred, it would serve to have it channelled toward good deeds. I should hate passiveness, ignorance, a lack of compassion or empathy or indeed sympathy. Within myself firstly, of course, so as to not impose upon others that which I do not yet possess yet claim to hold virtuously.

We have chosen for ourselves this system, this economic science which appears to work without our consent and without our acknowledgement. Like a well-oiled machine, economic progress moves on regardless of what you and I believe to be right. The market economy needs to control, and as such, it must hate those that consume its fruits. To hate, to have in contempt, the economy needs to keep away from itself those that are the most likely to threaten its continued existence.

A people is thus helpless to obey its own desires and wants, these transcending reason to become needs. In turn, the new “needs” are put in priority over those that our bodies and our minds must have in order not to reach old age too quickly. We live longer, yes, but our minds become stale and our bodies fractured by the method of consumption that permeates our lifestyles.

In order to control, therefore, the market economy of Capitalism, like the Republican system, needs to keep the people at bay. Not everyone can or SHOULD be a millionaire, but we must make them believe that they are. Give a man seduced by consumption the possibility to own a car he believes he never will be able to afford, through the banking system, and will he truly spit upon the opportunity? Like the Hobbesian dialectic, capitalism created a solution to a problem it also brought to the surface.

It is presumed that men are greedy, but greed is a learned behavior. If I am forced to take only what I am told I can take, and then I see my neighbor enjoying fruits of better quality than I, despite the fact I’ve been told I was not meant for his, I will want what he has. What happens if I fail, however? I wanted to have a big house, a nice car, a beautiful wife and two beautiful children with a german shepherd. Yet, I am too poor to afford any of this, and I may never be able to.

Clearly, according to the market economy, this man’s wealth is due to some kind of skill I lack. My place is now known, but how much I dream – how much I wish – that I could, for even one day, own half the things he does, wear his shoes, drive his car, make love to his wife, embrace his children, play with his dog… I will not only start to hate myself, but also him.

Because, in the end, my failings may not be entirely my fault. As all things, there is nuance. Without demanding that he give me his dog, I could perhaps start looking at how the system is built, and soon I realize that the reason I am so poor and he so rich is due to a myriad of reasons that make the capitalist system nothing more than a tyranny of money.

Ruling Power

Money is perhaps the only real God that we could say exists, because its will is mysterious, yet what it says goes. You cannot ever escape its pull, for in our world, money is power. Should democracy be upheld as our societies claim it is, everyone would have a roof over their heads, decent lodgings, food, transportation and air. Rather, much like the Republic, capitalism structures itself with the three primary modes of governance, being Monarchy, Aristocracy and Democracy.

The Monarch is the President.

The Aristocrats are the Vice Presidents and Managers beneath the President.

Democracy are the everyday employees that perform specific tasks, alienating their lives as they do so.

Let it be said however that any members of this formulation can feel alienated by their work and as such see the problems of the system. However, the reason things are built this way is that those that will be most willing to change things are in the Demos. Aristocrats live well, even if they do notice (and usually, they do) the inequality in this life, they believe that they must remain wealthy in order to help the poor. Even if their help tends to be donations to corporate-backed charities. I see measures like corporate charity as being workarounds for an endemic problem, that is the increasing divide between the 1% and the 99%.

Trickle down economics have always been a dream that only oligarchs and aristocrats high off of their greed could perceive. If the man who hates those he controls wishes to keep them at bay, he gives them his bread crumbs, so that they will be grateful unto him and demand he provide them with his mercy. Much like the problem of hatred, however, trickle down puts a balm on an ever-expanding wound.

Eventually, all the oceans in the world will not suffice to fill the hole left by extreme poverty. We can all attest to giving to the poor at least once in our lives, but the problem resides not in giving to the poor, it resides in eliminating the SOURCE of poverty, and one does not need to be a rocket scientist to see what that is:

Economic inequality.

Sociologically speaking, humans live in a variety of circumstances and most of these circumstances make becoming rich like the 1% an impossibility. If really money was democratic, one could and should wish to move from opulence to poverty at will. Yet, it is quite clear that no one wishes to be poor. Not when we know of the opulence that our society can provide to us. What use have the poor for my crumbs, when I am sharing with them the crumbs of those wealthier than myself? Yeah we can always point out to success stories, but why do we need those to remind ourselves we can be rich?

Is Manuel, working 50 hours a week in a sweatshop not privy to some kind of monetary compensation? Or does the fact that he is so devalued by our system mean that he is getting his just dessert? Concentration of wealth the way we have done it puts control in the hands of those who will never relinquish it. Banks keep your money, insurance companies keep you from becoming anxious about fatal “what ifs”, car companies want you to dream, beauty products want women to feel unsatisfied with themselves, video games want people to forget who they are in the real world, to become someone special in a virtual world.

All things that exist to distract, to make humans DEMAND to be controlled. This, with their full knowledge. There is no conspiracy here, if that’s what you think I am getting at. Like Marx indicated: The proletariat and the bourgeoisie are both interlocked in this war of classes. We wished this for ourselves, because over time, we allowed a few ideologues to tell us we are horrible people that must be kept distracted, else we kill one another over petty things.

That has not changed, yet we have preserved this system, because it makes us happy for shorter and shorter amounts of time. We crave more and more, and the planet is starting to suffocate off of our needs, while the greedy become only richer. When all fails, these men will disappear or be killed, as all the foundations of the Republican and Capitalist systems also fall. All our greed will have served nothing but these men, who will at once fall victim to their own greed.

In conclusion

Prophetic as my text might be, the point that I wish to illustrate here is that things do not need to be this way. We do not need to be savages that must be kept on leashes, because we are NOT savages. We are more than that, so much more. See these samaritans that help old ladies cross the streets. See these millionaires that provide millions of dollars to sick children. Women who stand up for other women in situations of war, to have equal rights. Men who support other men even if it makes you a pussy to cry in public.

Let’s look at humanity not as a bunch of rabid savages, but as a bunch of samaritans, who good or bad, will do what is needed, for better or for worse, until death do us part.