The simple and the complicated

A friend remarked yesterday, in a conversation about the – what to call it – the Official Ostracism of Me, that we’re all learning and it might be quite a good idea to be patient and not-horrible while we’re learning. Not the exact words, but that’s the gist.

It made me realize that one of the things I like most about having a blog is that I can write about what I’m learning, as I’m learning it. I can think aloud about what I’m learning. It’s note-taking, and discussion, and sharing. That’s what I like in other people’s blogs, too.

But, weirdly, we’re not allowed to learn about this subject. We’re supposed to have accepted particular conclusions, which is quite different from learning something (even if your learning takes you to the same place). We’re supposed to utter particular formulas, and answer yes to abrupt simplistic yes-or-no questions. That’s antithetical to learning, and to thinking as well.

Mind you…as I spelled out last week, I am willing, and more than willing, to answer yes to moral and political questions, even some yes-or-no ones. “Will you treat people as they ask to be treated?” “Yes, of course.”

But questions about what we mean by identity, the self, experience, mental states, conformity, stereotypes, gender roles, gender expression, performance…those I want to discuss rather than affirm or deny.


  1. dogeared, spotted and foxed says

    “identity, the self, experience, mental states, conformity, stereotypes, gender roles, gender expression, performance” All of it. I have so many questions, ideas that are only half-baked, areas of confusion but nowhere to work through it. Liberal sites refuse to discuss the greater political picture. The websites of gender-critical feminists refuse to accept the humanity and needs of individuals.

  2. nb says

    Surely there are many cases where the right answer to the question “Will you treat people as they ask to be treated?” cannot be “Yes, of course.”? For example where an abusive husband asks to be left alone to beat his submissive wife because “it’s our traditional culture”. A better question would be “Will you treat people as they deserve to be treated?” That would lead to a productive discussion on what are the right standards of justice to use in treating people as they deserve.

  3. johnthedrunkard says

    Which people? and which treatment?

    The formation of instant orthodoxies around unprecedented social and medical conditions is Not a Good Thing. There are already dueling ‘correctnesses’ about gender that demand continuous war between them.

    As new groups of people become articulate in public space, there MUST be room for THEIR outlook to be expressed. And that outlook is absolutely certain to change in the process.

    Abolitionists who put their lives at risk against slavery…but didn’t necessarily believe in racial equality.
    Advocates for gay rights, who were bound to the ‘underground’ orthodoxy of their time.
    Feminists who could or would not extend their view beyond their own class and culture.

    The list can be extended…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *