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No. It is not oppressive. The actual content of the random differences between people is completely unimportant except that it creates a difference between people.
It's exactly the same reason that interracial marriage and children is a good thing. Not because I, as a white guy "deserve" darker skin in the way you mean, but because *humanity* deserves a world where there aren't people who have light vs. dark skin, people who have beards vs. those who don't, people who wear makeup at the club vs. those who don't.
Do you see where I'm going? Me having light skin isn't oppressing anyone either except to the extent that my light skin makes me white.
Also me having a beard wouldn't oppress anyone except to the extent that it reminds the world I am male and not female.
I see where you're going and I don't like it. Differences between people make life interesting. We should embrace and celebrate each others' differences, not seek to eliminate them. Your ideal of a world where everyone is the same is weird and I can't support it.
I agree. It seems like you're moving towards mandatory uniformity thucy. I'm fine agreeing it would be better if there was no stigma attached between the two sexes for a give action/aesthetic choice, but it should still be a choice.
imposing the full measure of sameness we are capable of would indeed decimate our world and its system and much of our humanity. for reference see Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron."
His central point I hold to - we should not seek to mitigate the differences in people's abilities. Only superficial things like appearance do we seek to mitigate.
So the question to ask if you want to know if a difference has any place existing is:
1) is the difference necessary, i.e., can we eliminate it if we choose to? 2) is the difference perpetuated only by custom, and not by a practicality?
if the answer to both of these is yes then it is firstly a difference i hope will disappear and secondly a difference that WILL disappear provided the continued advancement of our egalitarian civilization. it is only a matter of time or civilizational collapse.
So, let's try some examples:
1) Sexual organs 2) Codes of dress 3) Abilities in sport 4) Attractiveness to mates 5) Hair colors 6) languages
1 is necessary in that we cannot meaningfully change this. It is also practical in that sexual organs are our primary means of reproduction. These differences will remain if technology doesn't much change.
2 will coalesce because as I was saying our modes of dress are nothing more than a product of historical norms. Just as women are now wearing the clothes of men, men will more and more wear the clothes of women as feminism achieves total victory, eventually blurring the lines between men and women's fashion totally. Physical differences will remain but fewer and fewer artificial and arbitrary differences will persist. The last to die, of course, will be those that exaggerate womens' sexuality thanks to the sexual behavior of males, but they too will go - if they can do it in Muslim countries ("it" meaning create a culture of non-sexual dress) then it can be done elsewhere, if in a vastly different way for vastly different reasons
3 - these will not go away because it is competition and difficulty that gets our blood boiling. differences in ability will remain because they are what make us individual - if they are removed there will be pushback until the state of nature is regained in this regard - see Harrison Bergeron
4 - These things may appear to change but will not actually change. People may begin to dress similarly across cultures and genders but are unlikely to change a hierarchization in terms of attractivess - as long as we are interested in sex, we will continue to publish "hot lists" and such, no doubt.
5 - Hair colors. This may begin to coalesce thanks to dyes, and indeed already has to the extent that any person can have any hair color. But what is more important is the eventual combination of humanity's genetic material into what amounts to a single phenotype, and thus a single hair color, probably black or dark brown. same with skin color and other "racial" features
6 - this will continue to coalesce for the same reasons other topics of globalization are in the middle of unifying, but there is a significant loss associated with language diversity in terms of cultural intelligence that may merit the attempt to preserve languages, although the difference is usually perceived by ordinary people to be a nuisance and an arbitrary custom which leads people to strive to learn each others' languages. as long as this force is at play and no collapse comes to our communication technology it is reasonable to expect all people will speak a mutually intelligible language one day.
see what i mean?
Coming back to the beards allow me to put my choice to shave (for the reasons we've been discussing anyway) in different terms.
If a women who puts on pantsuit (an outfit whose appeal draws from its similarity to men's business suits, affording some of their legitimacy, credibility and power to women) is conforming to patriarchy by assuming elements of masculinity, which has up until now been the primary motion as women are liberalized and enter male domains, then my choice to shave is so-far-uncommon example of a common male choice to conform to matriarchy, i.e., to make oneself look more like a woman. it is thought men began to shave originally so as not to scare away women, because beards are shown among both men and women to engender feelings of mistrust and unease - stemming from the difference, just like people are shown to be uneasy around people that don't look like them more often than with people who resemble themselves.
So that's why I embrace it - our culture currently contains precious few examples of opportunities for men to embrace matriarchal norms of personal appearance while remaining within cultural legitimacy.
it also seems to me that you chums think i am predicting a future where everyone essentially wears a uniform - it's not that at all. it's just a world where no area of fashion is off limits to any person. there's not a "black" way to dress or a feminine way to dress. there are just ways to dress.
the last to go will actually almost certainly be modes of dress related to class and income. if we ever truly fix up our world these may also disappear but that is almost impossible for our limited minds to truly conceive at this point in history
How do you deal in intellectual inequality in this future of yours, Thucy? Lets say racial, sexual, and class barriers are finally overcome. People will aspire to do the jobs they are best able to do without anything standing in their way. The highly intelligent will mix more and more purely with only other people of high intelligence. The same will be true of the less intelligent. Give it a few generations and you will have devisions in society based on intelligence that are potentially more damaging than those we are used to.
You can see this happening even now. In the good old days of the class system the ruling classes were made up of the bright and the buffoons. In factories, on farms, and in shops you would find extremely bright people of the lower classes, from the ranks of whom came the great revolutionaries, union leaders and social reformers who made the world what it is today. Now the crappy jobs are done almost exclusively by idiots, which is a reason why service is so awful these days.
Yeah as I said Octavious merit and ability will never be mitigated - all people would be helped to excel as much as could be done but if differences remained those would be a part of society as they are now.
Jamie - it would be a good thing because, just behaviorally speaking, people who look like each other treat each other better. It's stupid, it's irrational, but that's just the way we are.
Nope, not as they are now. You help people to achieve their potential and it will taken to an extreme far more advanced than anything we witness today. And the discrimination will be a lot worse than anything experienced before. Things got pretty bad when the differences were more imagined than reality. Think of how ghastly humans could be to each other when the differences are real?
You're talking about Brave New World style Alphas, Betas, etc.?
Yeah that's a risk. Humans are never going to be perfected. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try... so I don't really see what you're saying. Unless you're saying we shouldn't try which is laughable.
@ Thucy: Your logic is still massively flawed in my opinion.
People treat each other differently based on their appearance. It's stupid. It's irrational. So the answer is not to tackle the symptom, as you propose to do by making everyone look the same, but to tackle the cause, by deconstructing people's attitudes and pursuing an ideal where people are *not* disposed to treat people favourably or unfavourably based on the colour of their skin or hair.
You think that racism should be eliminated by abolishing race. I think racism should be eliminated by abolishing racism. You think ill-treatement of women should be eliminated by blurring the lines between genders, I think ill-treatment of women should be eliminated by abolishing sexism.
Now since you admitted you were talking about an "ideal", why is your approach better than mine?
Well, that's the thing Jamie, you can't de-program human nature. You just have to cope with it. Your brute force approach will never fix it up completely.
Despite my personal beliefs I irrationally act on such criteria as personal appearance - and we all do.
We need to do what we can now to eliminate racism, but I can assure you that racism will never truly die until race itself is dead.
My ideal is a world without discrimination, but I am just not fooling myself believing that it can be achieved by talking about it.
The human condition is defined by the beautiful and moral workings of our rational minds in opposition to our implacable irrationality. Humans are supremely irrational creatures and we always will be unless our biology is intentionally altered. So you just have to deal with it.
We do this all the time in other areas. For instance I know that I am not disciplined or rational enough to just awaken right when I need to. So I use a technological aide, an alarm clock.
Here's another example - we know that human beings are prone to making bad choices regarding things like killing each other or smoking. So we create systems that discourage that behavior. Even though, sometimes, we ourselves would have done it, we attempt to correct for our irrationality by legislating it.
Here is another example: I know my brain doesn't work well enough to recall what the teacher wrote on the board in its entirety. So I snap a picture of it.
These all have these things in common:
-First we recognize that something that we want, or something that is rational, is outside our irrational nature. -Second we create a system to circumvent this dilemma that helps us act correctly.
Essentially we cheat our own flawed system and improve ourselves.
This is the same with discrimination. We observe that we discriminate against people based on appearance. Even those of us who are opposed to such discrimination cannot completely eliminate it, despite wanting to. How then can we eliminate it? All that can be done is to eliminate the difference itself.
Oh, one more example - my ex-girlfriend and I had a bad split - so much so that I know rationally that if I speak to her again I will have a lot of pain. So I deleted her phone number - I don't know the phone number. I can't call even if I want to.
This is wise - because if I want to, it will be from irrationality, not rationality.
I'm saying we shouldn't try according to some sort of grand plan. Your vision of the best realistic future that you want to work to is the stuff of nightmares. I'd rather die than do anything that makes it more likely to happen. Humans should do what we have always done. We see something is wrong and we try to fix it. Whenever we try an implement some sort of grand ideal it doesn't work because the world and people our too damn complicated.
Inspired by Sarg's comments in this thread: http://webdiplomacy.net/forum.php?viewthread=851524 I wrote this song for Ava! I used my friend's twelve string for instrumentation. The link works in this thread. Or it did for me. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUdxAQznH9E
I am currently upset with the mods of webdiplomacy. I allowed my younger sister to make an account on webdip with the use of my personal email. Soon after i am recieving emails accusing me of multi accounting when they can clearly see that my account and my sisters share no games what so ever.