Archive for the '“Erosophia.Blogspot”' Category

Sexual Intelligence Awards

by Jason Stotts

On his blog Sexual Intelligence, author and therepist Dr. Marty Klein, hosts a yearly round up of those people who “challenge the sexual fear, unrealistic expectations, and government hypocrisy that undermine love, sex, and relationships—and political freedom—today.”  This is called the Sexual Intelligence awards and this year Dr. Klein honors some very interesting thinkers.  Definitely go and check it out and, if you’ve never done so, take a look at the rest of his blog.  There is a lot of good information there.
Sexual Intelligence Awards

The Office

by Jason Stotts

If you like The Office, you’ll be sure to love The Japanese Office.

Relationships: A Continuum of Permissiveness

by Jason Stotts

In this essay, I want to explore the concept of permissiveness and exclusivity as they relate to relationships.  I want to explore the idea that relationships exist along a continuum of permissiveness with a completely jealous relationship at one extreme and an open relationship at the other, with exclusive relationships and swinging relationships in between.

To start, let’s define our subject.  Permissiveness, as used in this essay, is an agreement between partners for what actions they allow in their relationship.  We will leave aside the issue of partners who break their commitments and are dishonest as being outside the scope of this essay.  The basis of their agreement is how much they are willing to allow their partner to do before they could not stand the relationship anymore or consider there to no longer be a relationship.

At the completely non-permissive side of the continuum, where the partners are not permissive of any sort of outside relationships (up to and including friendships) with their partner, is what we will term the “jealous relationship.”  This relationship is characterized by an extreme kind of insecurity where one or both of the partners feels insecure in their relationship and so cannot trust their partner to remain loyal to their relationship.  It is frequently, and perhaps properly, characterized as a relationship where at least one of the partners considers his partner to be property and then tries to jealously guard his property.  In the extreme versions of the jealous relationship, at least one partner is forbidden from any sort of contact with others: even close friendships are beyond what the jealous partner can tolerate.

Moving to a somewhat more permissive position, we have the classic “regular relationship” which we will call the “exclusive relationship.”  This relationship is characterized by an agreement between the partners that outside obligations are fine, as long as they are not of a sexual nature or involve romantic love.  Some partners make agreements about how much time can be committed to activities outside of the relationship and some do not.  However, the important point is that each partner has the freedom to do as they please as long as they don’t have sex with others or fall in love with them.

Moving to an even more permissive position, we have the non-sexually exclusive romantic relationship or what we will call the “emotionally exclusive.”  This relationship is characterized by a couple who is much like the exclusive relationship from above, except they do not reserve sexual action for only between the partners.  That is, they are emotionally exclusive, they do not allow the partners to form other romantic love relationships, but they are not sexually exclusive.  In the classic case of “swingers,” the partners act together to engage is sexual relationships with other people besides their partners.  This is not to say that they are always literally with each other, but that they act in concert.  Alternatively, the partners could act individually and have sex with outside people at their own discretion without the need to discuss this with their partner.

At the far extreme of permissiveness, we have the completely permissive couple to whom very little is barred, or what we shall call the “open relationship.”  This relationship is characterized by a relationship that is neither sexually nor emotionally exclusive and in which partners may have sexual liaisons or form romantic relationships with people besides their “primary partner.”  The concept of primary relationship is very important in this kind of relationship and serves as a focus around which people operate their activities.  Typically, although not always, primary partners function as any other relationship: they live together, consult each other for important decisions, etc.  However, they need not consult each other in order to have sex with others or to develop emotional connections.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the subject we’ll be working in, we can see that these relationships do indeed operate along a continuum of permissiveness.  However, we still need to understand the key term here: permissiveness.  Permissiveness implies permission for action.  They key to understanding it is to understand in what realm one is permitted to act.  Obviously, in the subject at hand we are talking about permission in sexual action and forming emotional connections.  We need to be careful not to limit emotional connections to just love, because some people can be jealous of any kind of emotional connection.  Now, obviously permissiveness and exclusivity are inversely related; the more one is permissive, the less one is exclusive.

The degree to which a relationship can be permissive is a function of at least two things: one’s security in oneself and one’s trust in one’s partner.  Leaving aside moral concerns for a moment, it is clear that the couple who is insecure or does not trust each other could not be permissive.  Their very permissiveness would cause their relationship to disintegrate.  The less secure the relationship, the less permissive it can be without falling apart; the more secure the relationship, the more permissive it can be without falling apart.  This is simply a practical matter that we can note if we leave aside the moral issues; however, when do we ever leave aside the moral issues?

The problem with the moral issues is that they are exceedingly complicated here.  There are a number of moral concerns at play and we don’t yet have a complete theory of sexual ethics by which to judge the applicability of the competing principles.  For this reason, I will continue to withhold judgment until we can complete the account of the differences in relationships and their impact on a person’s life and happiness.

As a final thought, I want to point out that there is at least one serious counter-example to the above-proposed framework.  That is the case of the person who thinks that he owns his partner and so is willing to share her sexually.  It is true that one can only share something that one owns.  This means that if a person shares his partner sexually, it means he owns his partner sexually.  The error is that the statement “one can only share something that one owns” uses the word “something” (some+thing) and people are not things.  Indeed, in the above-described examples, one is only “sharing” one’s partner in a very loose sense as both partners are making the choice, as agents, to engage in sexual and/or emotional activities.  The very paradigm of thinking about “sharing one’s partner” is founded upon an error and loose thinking.  However, this does not mean that people do not think and act this way, and so it could be considered a counter example.  Nonetheless, I want to insist that it exists outside of the proposed spectrum because it cannot be held without error.

In the future, I will be using this continuum in order to try and understand the different ways in which people structure their relationships and whether any of these seem to be better constituted to achieve a person’s rationally selfish long-term happiness.

TED: Temple Grandin

by Jason Stotts

In one of the most epistemologically interesting videos I’ve ever seen, Temple Grandin talks about what it is like to think as an autistic person.  From the description:

Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works — sharing her ability to “think in pictures,” which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids.

The implications for epistemology that different minds can think differently is astounding!  In fact, it could completely change the way that epistemology is done today.  Instead of assuming that one human nature means that there is one right way to think, it might mean that there are multiple valid ways to think.  This means that we may have to have an epistemology that is capable of accommodating these different thinking styles.  For example, “pattern thinkers” have a distinct advantage for mathematics and music.  As an abstract cognitive thinker, I find music and art impossible, but Philosophy very easy.  Epistemology should be able to integrate all of these different ways of thinking and be able to give a cogent account of them.

I’m going to be getting her book soon and I’m planning an essay on this subject for sometime in the near future, after I learn more about it.  Until then, take a look at her video from TED.

McDonlad v. Chicago

by Jason Stotts

In case anyone wants to read history as it happens, the oral arguments of the Supreme Court case McDonald v. Chicago on Second Amendment Rights and Incorporation is now available on the SCOTUS website: here.

I read the entire thing and I have to say that I quite enjoyed it.  I actually laughed out loud at a couple of points when the Justices grilled the lawyers and said lawyers (especially for the City of Chicago) walked themselves right into a corner.  Definitely check it out.

As an informal poll of Erosophia readers, what do you think of incorporation and the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms”?  (Leave comments)

Freedom From Religion

by Jason Stotts

The Freedom from Religion Foundation has a scholarship contest running now about, you guessed it, freedom from religion.  In case you’ve never heard of them, their “about FFRF” is:
The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women’s right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church.
There are a couple of different contests you can enter, depending on where you are in school.  If you’re still in school and are atheist (which you almost certainly are if you’re reading Erosophia), think about applying.  For further details on the contests, see their contest page.

2010 FFRF High School Senior Essay Competition
First Prize: Herbert Bushong Award–$2,000
Second Place–$1,000
Third Place–$500
Honorable Mention(s)–$200
Subject: The Harm of Religion, or The Harm of Religion to Women
Topics: Write about the harm of religion from a historic or topical perspective. Or write about the harm of religion to women — why women need freedom from religion.
2010 FFRF College Essay Competition
First Prize: Michael Hakeem Memorial Award–$2,000
Second Place–$1,000
Third Place–$500
Honorable Mention(s)–$200
“Why I Reject Religion,” “Why I am an Atheist/Agnostic/Unbeliever,” or “Growing Up a Freethinker”
Topic choices: Write about growing up a freethinker (atheist or agnostic), or why you reject religion, using a personal (biographical) or philosophical approach, or describing why you choose reason over faith. Experiences in rejecting religion in a religious society may be included.
2010 FFRF Graduate/Mature Student Essay Competition for Students Over Age 25
First Prize: —$2,000
Second Place—$1,000
Third Place—$500
Fourth Place—$200
Why We Need to Get “God Out of Government” and/or Why We Need to Keep Religion Out of Politics
Topic: Write a persuasive or advocacy essay about what’s wrong with “god in government” and/or why we need to keep religion out of politics. Debunk the myth that the United States is “one nation under God.” You may wish to use examples of the harm created by acceptance of this myth, and by religion in government and politics from a legal, topical and/or historical perspective.

Psychological Perspective on Whipping

by Jason Stotts

I found an interesting account of a woman explaining why she likes to be whipped.  The post is from the blog Beautiful, Depraved (apparently now defunct) and is called ‘6’: The 400 Blows: Pleasure is Pain. (Warning: the site contains nudity)

I have a strong mind and an even stronger will. While I’d been waiting for years for someone who could subdue me, sometimes I wasn’t all that easy to subdue. Even if I wanted to be. Even if I wanted to reach that place of softness, of opening, of letting someone in, I couldn’t necessarily command it into being.

So he’d whip me.

There was an element of ritual to these whippings. A footstool was placed in the middle of his living room that he’d bend me over. I’d be on all fours, with my ass in the air, expectant. Scared. Sometimes the sweat would drip from my armpits, as I knelt poised on the edge of anything-could-happen. I could not move away or flinch or he’d whip me harder. The only recourse I had was acceptance. I could hear the whoosh of the crop through the air and its subsequent sting, slicing my ass, or my upper thighs, would reverberate through my entire body.[…]

There is a gift in someone who dares to be so rough with me. Most men would never dare. I need to know that a man will be so bold, that at least he is capable of this sort of wielding. Then I can trust him. The flimsy men, the ones who would never dare to hurt me, to see me flinch, to bend me over and take me anywhere, anytime; I have no use for. Their trepidation is suffocating to me. And reflective of their behavior outside the bedroom. It always is. You can tell a lot about someone by how they fuck: Timid or decisive. Experimental or staid. Hard-driving and fierce or languid and droopy. My selection criteria is all about this crucial element: Can this man take charge? Does he dare?

Now, I don’t think that there is anything wrong for two people who want to consensually use pain for pleasure. In fact, I think that pain can be used to heighten pleasure and can be a valuable part of a sexual encounter. However, what I find more interesting in this article is the psychological confession of its author.

In the article, the author says that she is a strong and independent woman. Further, although she sometimes wants to submit to a man, she just cannot always do so. Consequently, her partner whips her to force her into the place of submission to him. The problem is, though, that if the only way she can submit to him is via whipping, then it means that he is unable to dominate her in the way she actually wants: he cannot get her to submit to him as a man and so must get her to submit to him as a master. This says to me that her partner is not masculine enough for her, otherwise they wouldn’t need whipping for her to submit to him. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with whipping or that the masculine man could not whip a woman, it’s that he would not need to do so in order to get her to submit to him sexually.

Nonetheless, I really liked reading this psychologically revealing account of whipping and I think that there are interesting things to be learned by looking at people’s deep reasons for doing the kinds of sexual things they do.

"Excused Horrors"

by Jason Stotts

Back in November, Walter Williams wrote a piece called “Excused Horrors” that I meant to blog about, but it somehow got lost in the shuffle.  However, it was good enough that I still think people should take a look at it and think about Williams’s point.

Nazis were responsible for the deaths of 20 million of their own people and those in nations they conquered.

Between 1917 and 1983, Stalin and his successors murdered, or were otherwise responsible for the deaths of, 62 million of their own people. Between 1949 and 1987, Mao Tsetung and his successors were responsible for the deaths of 76 million Chinese.

[…] the reason why the world’s leftists give the world’s most horrible murderers a pass is because they sympathize with their socioeconomic goals, which include government ownership and/or control over the means of production. In the U.S., the call is for government control, through regulations, as opposed to ownership. Unfortunately, it matters little whether there is a Democratically or Republican-controlled Congress and White House; the march toward greater government control continues. It just happens at a quicker pace with Democrats in charge.

I’d like to point out that 138 million is almost seven times more deaths than the NAZI’s (National Socialists).