Having Been Human
<Previous Next>
Sun May 13 19:20:48 2012
Anti-superstition and Body Language

Today: went to a gathering held by an anti-superstition society, which was pretty decent but my social batteries apparently ran dry after about an hour, and they did so suddenly rather than gradually, leaving me with an urgent need to flee and twitchiness. I've somehow never really connected the urge to go suddenly hide by other introverts to my own, and may not have been as understanding as I should've been. Maybe my recent stronger-troubles-with-depression-than-usual are related.

I've been noticing body language of people-in-relationships a lot recently; trying to decide how to parse the parts of how they interact on a physical level versus the ideal; the normal framework by which I see humanity is that we're a layer of ideas/ideals/conscious thought riding on top of many layers of animal instinct, and not to expect too many ties between people's ideals and self-identity and the intellectual levels in which they interact versus the physical layers. Or at least, not to demand consistency between them. When people think they want an equal relationship, do they mean equal-on-the-easily-mentally-accessible-levels, or some kind of a deeper as-if-we-dont-have-genders-at-all-equality? I may have underestimated the complexity of the questions on holding doors for people of the other gender (or the same gender?); is the position that finds that sexist (which is my stated position) one that is not self-aware enough?

But then, while I see gendered differences in body language all the time even among people who claim, like me, to be a gender-role-abolitionist, I am having trouble finding much in my actual desires where I desire to be treated differently than any partner I have in a relationship. Sure, I do think jealousy (and monogamy) are part of a good relationship, but there I want to give as much as I take; I want my partner to be jealous (in an entirely reasonable way, of course) and want my monogamy as much as I want my partner's (parts of the not-straight-communities I've been at at various parts have claimed that monogamy is not natural for one gender and natural for the other, creating a natural inequality in monogamy, although the factions have never agreed on which gender has it naturally and which is forced into it). I'm not sure that my introspection on the topic is sufficient for me to say that there are no relationship gender-norm-differences hidden away inside me though, and I'm not sure if being bisexual-and-heteroromantic plays into this at all.

I think what originally spurred this line-of-thought was hearing a long interview with someone commenting on the psychology of political opinions, and they said something rather provocative; that their liberal identity was shaken when they came to the conclusion when doing their research that conservatives generally have a better understanding of human nature. Could that be true? I think we'd have to wonder which conservativism and which liberalism they're talking about; refined, perhaps "Are there areas where liberal perspectives are easier when people have fundamentally deluded notions of human nature where conservative perspectives can be more realistic?". A few candidate areas spring up, but I can imagine versions of liberalism (non-multiculturalist, mature positions) that are willing to embrace hard facts and keep liberal values in the face of them on these topics; this is something I've striven to do in my adult life, offering a liberalism that's more rigourous, that takes the hard positions that any careful liberalism must and acknowledges hard facts. Plus there are areas (very different areas though) where I think American conservatives have misunderstandings and are averting their eyes from hard facts. Like untenability of moral absolutism. Maybe I'd say that conservative errors don't fail the test of practicality as badly, while liberal errors don't fail the test of philosophical depth as badly? I might say that the kinds of liberals I have problems with hold unnuanced versions of good ideals that lead to positions that are not workable given human nature, and they're the kind of thing that people outgrow when they get older (hopefully without giving up on liberalism entirely at the same time, but sadly often doing just that).

Maybe it's destined to usually be an odd thing when we catch glimses of the animal layers on which we ride, even if we have to take care to satisfy those layers.