Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
This stuff is endlessly interesting to me.  

And I am having one of those moments when various, otherwise unrelated facets of my life are coming together in a common theme.

It's all over the Camus I am reading.  

I have a friend who is a devout Christian and talks about her initial acceptance of Christianity being practical in nature.  It works.  For her, the basic guidelines, etc., just work.  Of course those guidelines aren't limited to Christianity or to religion at all.  One does not need God to understand the benefits of being honest or faithful.  But a leap is required to take something from the "practical" to the "good."  

And it is not just religion which requires a leap of faith.  Take classical liberal ideals to their logical end and you'll still end up like Camus' absurd man in the desert.  The road ends abruptly before you get to the place you ... are now, or the place where you can explain how and why you are now.    

So I think so much of these stories that create subjective reality are just tools.  Story telling has always been a tool to explain what is as yet unexplainable.  And if a tool works for you and does not cause too much harm to others, I see no reason to be hostile toward it.  It's the assumption that your stories and tools are the best stories and tools for everyone and that they deserve priority over really basic factual objective reality when the two come up against each other that upsets me.  And the complete dismissal, to the point of an absence of curiosity or inquiry, of someone else's subjective reality really gets under my skin.  There's an arrogance in it that suggests you alone have to take no leaps or accept no absurdity in your life.  That's why sometimes religion embarrasses us.  We can see when people are lying to themselves and asking us to go along with it.  

But why this idea that admission that something may be interesting or useful implies an acceptance that it is legitimate?  

Anyway, I find astrology interesting.  It touches a nerve, and I can enjoy it without "believing in" it.  

I say I am a Virgo.  What does it mean?  Can the alignment of the stars determine my personality?  Doubt it.  But after growing up hearing about how overly critical and perfectionist and freakishly neat and generally uptight and unsatisfied a child I was, it was comforting to know that just maybe I was meant to be that way.  So rather than trying to change those parts of me, I embraced them proudly.  They are characteristics of my celestial tribe.  lol.  So it is a tool I have for living with myself.  And Virgos find it hard to live with themselves. ;)

And I also think that, you know, if the weather can effect my mood (scientifically proven, you know!), maybe the alignment of the universe can also have a subtle effect on us.  I don't know that it does.  I don't know that it doesn't.  I do know that we live in the universe and are made of atoms like everything else, that we don't know how life began, and that denying we have any connection to anything outside our immediate environment is ... again, arrogant.  And embarrassing.

I don't need God to make me be honest and I don't need astrology to accept myself as I am.  But tools make the job easier.  Stories which connect us to a larger, mysterious realm make us more interesting to ourselves.  And there is room in the world and in our brains for both objective reality and storytelling.  If we have no place for anything outside the realm of rational thought, let's empty our libraries, our museums and theaters, our concert halls and brothels.  Mow down our gardens.  Stop breeding animals as pets.  Don't fall in love.  Don't wear a pretty dress.  Swear off chocolate and wine and drugs and sex and sleeping in.  Stop crying.  Stop flirting.  Stop daydreaming.  Stop dancing.

But we won't give up these things because, in one situation or another, they "work."  They keep working when rational thought reaches the point in the desert where it no longer cares if we are ok.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 03:29:50 PM EST
There appears to be a gender bias in these discussions that reflects a certain problem with ET. ET needs to get in touch with its feminine side ;-)

Helen can referee, and I mean that seriously. Helen is the only one of us to have experienced what it is like to have been both genders. That is a fantastic insight, admittedly seen through a haze of beer accompanied by hearing damage.

"Focus and priority" is what afew me duck is always telling me. Focus on what? Prioritise what?

An army marches on its stomach.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 04:47:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My use of poppycock to describe astrology was possibly ill-advised. I should have said that I can find no possible scientific explanation.

Neither do I have one for acupuncture, but there is evidence that it works - and psychosomatic effects are as important as any other effects. If they work.

I do have a detailed chart reading from about 1978 that proved quite accurate - even ignoring possible generalizations. I also a have chiromantic reading done in 1971 by Ben Paul, that has proved remarkably perceptive - two daughters and their characters described 20 years in advance.

But I also have found Bob Dylan quite predictive.

Energy is a vital subject, but it exists as a problem within a wider context. What are we fighting for? Why do we want to solve the problem? These are questions that can be approached from different philosphical paths, and all are equally valid imo.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:00:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Certainly won't argue with you about there being bias.  

But I get the impression you think certain qualities, traits, ideas, are either 1) a result of one's gender or 2) have genders of their own.  I don't know where I stand on that.  I think that often men and women experience the world differently, but often as a result of social norms.  So do we assign ways of seeing the world a gender because we think it might be dangerous for men to stray from their day jobs or for women to have too much power?  Do we assign them genders as a way of judging them (rational v. irrational)?  Last time I checked, men and women had the same capacity for rational thought and for irrational feeling.  They are just encouraged to express them differently.  Still, the day my brother stops falling madly in love with every girl he meets and calling me at 3 am to talk about it, and the day my girlfriend gives up engineering as her profession and political science as her hobby, I'll be a bit more open to the idea that a person's perspective is implicitly gender-based.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:05:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Social norms are very influential. But the fact remains that males and females have different proportions of drugs running through them. There is a quantifiably different effect resulting from the release of estrogen or testosterone - to note the key biochemical difference. Ask Helen. There are many other semi-hormones that are less easily placed prominently either side of the male/female physiological divide.

My belief system agrees with the yin-yang symbology that the uniting of male and female is what is needed to make the perfect homeostatic world. I am not sure that it depends in implicity, but it is surely the best fit with evolutionary principles.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:22:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hormones?  I've been a guinea pig in one hormone experiment after another.  Nothing so radical as Helen's.  But enough to induce severe vomiting and nervous breakdowns.

Through it all, my way of seeing the world did not change.  Fortunately, medicine did.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:29:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Doctors- huh! Whadda they know ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 05:40:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_perfect homeostatic world. _

i was taught that was the definition of death!

from free growth and chaotic change emerges relative order.

absolute order would be death too.

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 08:14:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is a dynamic equilibrium state in either an open or closed system.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 02:17:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now that's a lucky brother. Not only does he fall in love a lot but he gets to talk to you about it.

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 08:38:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A gender bias ?? Most people who've studied this area believe there are more differences within the genders than between them. There are many aspects to personality that might be posited as tending stereotypically male or female and we can all be placed at different places on each continuum. So within each individual there will be "female" traits and "male" traits that blend together to make the uniqueness of the individual.

Of course, men will tend towards taking stereotypical male traits and women female ones, but it is anything but a black/white position.

Whether each of these is cultural or innate is open to question. To my mind, there are innate aspects, but these reflect as potentials that cultural opportunities can expoit or deny. You might say I am innately female, but culturally male. It makes for a bittersweet experience.

However, as for something concretely experiential, I explained something of this in this diary a year ago.

As to being a referee, thank you for the offer of promotion but I'm not sure there's that much to do that can't be done by honest appreciation on each side. However, whatever my qualities of understanding maleness, experience has taught me that women generally are uncomfortable with/do not accept that I can speak for the female experience. I have no wish to irritate the women of this blog with my assumptions and so must refuse.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 08:45:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You'll just have to wet your whistle in some other manner ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Aug 22nd, 2007 at 09:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
great comment, poemless..
welcome to the first day of your sunsign..

happy oncoming b-day!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Tue Aug 21st, 2007 at 07:54:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Occasional Series