Content Advisory

Content Advisory: Whereas: this blog occasionally employs "colorful language,"

may also occasionally contain implicit and explicit references to

tobacco, alcohol, and other substances, as well as sexuality,

and favors logic over dogma, any or all of which may offend some,

and whereas I may occasionally give disclaimers,

but I do NOT give "trigger warnings,"

therefore, be it resolved that: this blog is intended for mature readers.

However, this blog is not age-restricted.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What Are Little Girls Made Of?

What Are Little Girls Made Of?
Stop Muddying the Waters,
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

"This above all: to thine own self be true
And it must follow, as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
~ William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act 1, Scene III

Recently, a young Trans Woman by the name of Blaire White released a video with the title "Transgenderism Is A Mental Disorder."  Now, Ms White has made this claim before, but this was the first time she devoted an entire video to the claim, and, as she expected, it received some backlash from various circles.  The backlash occurred with good reason.  But before I address what she said, I'll put her video here so those interested in her words can hear for themselves.

No.  It's not.  Now I will explain why it's not.

The symptom is not the cause.

"Gender Dyphoria," which is the name of a symptom and not the name of the condition itself, is not regarded as a "mental illness" in the medical community anymore (and hasn't been in several decades, although it took the APA a while to update the DSM and they still waffled a bit with DSM V), but even if it were, the symptom is not the cause.  "Gender Identity Disorder" is no longer considered a legitimate diagnosis of anything;  it's been removed from the DSM as of DSM V.  "Gender Dysphoria" is a diagnosis of a symptom, and is usually required before a person is approved for the various meds to begin transition.

Gender Dysphoria is a symptom of Transsexuality, not the state of Transsexuality, nor the cause of Transsexuality.

That's where people are missing the boat.

(A note on language:  A variety of words are in use, some not always used correctly, some preferred by one group, others preferred by other groups, but the general consensus, particularly among healthcare professionals, is that a "Transsexual" is a person with a particular condition, while "Transgender" is a larger umbrella term under which "Transsexual" falls.  In her video, Ms White was discussing Transsexuals in particular, and so am I in this post.  Some, even among healthcare professionals, use the terms "Transgenderism" and "Transsexualism," which I find, well, frankly, stupid, and prefer "Transsexuality" for the state of being which is the subject of both Ms White's video and this post, for purely linguistic reasons, and to be precise, for etymological and morphological reasons.  The Online Etymology Dictionary explains:

-ismword-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc., from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus (source also of Italian, Spanish -ismo, Dutch, German -ismus), from Greek -ismos, noun ending signifying the practice or teaching of a thing, from the stem of verbs in -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. For distinction of use, see -ity. The related Greek suffix -isma(t)- affects some forms.

Again, The Online Etymology Dictionary explains:

word-forming element making abstract nouns from adjectives and meaning "condition or quality of being ______," from Middle English -ite, from Old French -ete (Modern French -ité) and directly from Latin -itatem (nominative -itas), suffix denoting state or condition, composed of -i- (from the stem or else a connective) + the common abstract suffix -tas (see -ty (2)).
Roughly, the word in -ity usually means the quality of being what the adjective describes, or concretely an instance of the quality, or collectively all the instances; & the word in -ism means the disposition, or collectively all those who feel it. [Fowler]

In short, then, words ending in -ism generally refer to a doctrinal credence, as in a philosophy or religion, or a political or economic perspective, while words ending in -ity generally refer to a state of being.  Being Transsexual is not some cult (more on this later), but a state of being.  This is why I regard the terms "Transgenderism" and "Transsexualism" stupid, and use the term "Transsexuality" instead.)

Transsexuality is a condition with PHYSICAL causes (with physical manifestations which can be measured in clinical tests of stimulus-response and through clinical observation such as in autopsies), which has at least one psychological symptom ("Gender Dysphoria").

And that symptom makes perfect sense:
If your body is so incongruent with what you know to be your identity, usually from a rather early age, it would be remarkable if you didn't have any dysphoria.

Here is the first response video from a Trans Woman which was shown to me:

This Woman in the video says transitioning helped alleviate her dysphoria, which I've heard from other Trans Women, and which also makes sense.  Indeed, some Trans Women have been encouraged by ideals such as the quote from The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark which I placed at the start of this post, to be true to themselves.  Others might find the following biblical passage (from the New Revised Standard Version, which I find to be the translation most matching my own) to be convincing:

"Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.  But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

"And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.  But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

~ Attributed to Jesus in The Gospel According to Matthew, Chapter VI, vv. 1-6

This biblical passage is a condemnation of hypocrisy, of pretending to be what you are not in order to gain public approval, of being, in the words which Shakespeare put into the mouth of Polonius, true to oneself;  the passage also has relevance for the so-called "Transtrenders," whom I will discuss presently.  For someone who is Transsexual, living a lie in order to be "accepted" by society eventually usually becomes unbearable, at which time they enter into a crisis and the outcome of that crisis can be tragic;  some Trans folk at that time choose to simply end it.  Others, however, find the will to be true to themselves, to be who they truly are and stop pretending, or, as some might call it, "playing a role."  They choose, if you will, to remove "the mask of masculinity" (in the case of a Trans Woman) or "the false face of femininity," and expose their true face to the world.  This can also have tragic results, the loss of friends and family, loss of job, social ostracization, religious condemnation and persecution, and so on.  Many Trans persons in former times packed up and moved to a new location (when they could afford it), made their transition (there will be some debate about whether or not there can ever be an end to transitioning, but for the purposes of this discussion, I mean that they did the counseling, began the "Real Time Experience" of living as their true gender 24/7, did the medications necessary to affect some physical changes, and underwent other procedures including surgery/surgeries), and then moved to another location again and started an entirely new life where nobody knew them from before.  Most who go through this process are considerably happier with themselves after the process is over (but then come other challenges, like dating, romance, sex, marriage, when to reveal if ever, and so on, which can cause some significant Angst), because most actual Transsexuals really just want the chance to live a normal life as their true gender, rather than to have any publicity over their state of being, who they seemed to be, and who they are, unless they earn that publicity for something unrelated;  there are some exceptions to this, which may have to do with a generation gap, but may be due to other factors as well or instead.

Before I proceed further with this discussion, I'll include another response video from another Trans Woman, and let her speak for herself:

I made a claim earlier in this piece that Transsexuality is a physical condition with at least one psychological symptom, but physical causes.  I stated that there are measurable physical manifestations which support this claim.  Some of my readers may be reeling at that, but here's the evidence, a collection of links gathered by a Trans Woman who is herself a scientist (although not in a field related to these questions, but certainly trained in the Empirical method and critical thinking), mostly from peer-reviewed, scholarly medical and other scientific journals (and a legal case or two):

Transsexual and Intersex Gender Identity

As for "Gender Dysphoria" and "Mental Disorders" and "Mental Illness" and so on, Dysphoria is not a full-blown psychosis, so calling it "a mental illness" is pushing the envelope.  Let's just have a look at what "Psychosis" means:  NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness | Early Psychosis and Psychosis.  Calling Transsexuality a "mental disorder" is denying that the reality is real.  Psychosis is the term used for the most severe psychological dysfunctions, which involve a break with reality.  Tell me what "crazy" means.  Or "insane."  Or "mentally ill."  And I'll tell you that you're talking about full-blown psychosis.  In ordinary parlance, "mental illness" (and even "mental disorder") means "wrong in the head," "crazy," "delusional," "insane."  What professionals call "psychotic."  Lots of people have minor character disorders or dysfunctions like OCD.  Are they "mentally ill" (psychotic) or just have some "issues" which they need to work out (sometimes requiring medication)?

Again, what is "Dysphoria" in a medical sense?  Not "Gender Dysphoria" specifically, but "Dysphoria" in a general sense.

"A mood of general dissatisfaction, unhappiness, restlessness, depression, and anxiety; a feeling of unpleasantness or discomfort.  The opposite of euphoria."

And then what is "Euphoria" in a medical sense?

"1. A feeling of well-being, commonly exaggerated and not necessarily well founded.
"2. The pleasure state induced by a drug or substance of abuse."

Lots of people would be "mentally ill" if dysphoria (gender or otherwise) were a mental illness, then, yes?  Lots of people are in fact dysphoric in the sense given above, in one way or another (although for most, the state of dysphoria is a transitory one, whereas for someone with Gender Dysphoria, it is persistent, at least until such time as that person transitions).  Some might even need some treatment for it.  But that doesn't mean they're psychotic.

The difference is in how extreme the situation is. A minor psychological disorder/dysfunction is not a full-blown psychosis.  Trans people are not disconnected from reality as a whole class (some certainly may be, but their being Trans is not the cause of that, any more than smoking a reefer will cause Schizophrenia;  what I mean is that, if someone who is Trans happens to be disconnected from reality, then that disconnection is due to some other condition, and not being Trans, because being Trans in itself is in no way a disconnection from reality, nor does it in itself cause such).

Here's the basic message.  Ms White is wrong in generalizing from the symptom to the entire condition, whether the symptom can be called "a mental illness" or not.  It's only a symptom of Transsexuality, not Transsexuality itself.  Transsexuality itself has physical causes, and physical differences have been measured in clinical testing, autopsies, and so on.

Before I go on to address some other, somewhat related topics, I suppose some may want further references.  Alright.

APA Says Being Transgender is No Longer a Mental Disorder | The Bottom Line

DSM-5 Fact Sheets | American Psychiatric Society

So, then.  We come to the topic of people whom some call "Transtrenders."  Like many other neologisms, this term can be misapplied, and until it finally makes it way into a dictionary (if it should ever do so), the term may have no clear, agreed-upon meaning.  So, for some, going back some years, there were ... well, here, I'll just let yet another Trans Woman (who also has her own response to Ms White's video, but the video which follows is about something else) explain, in another video:

I'm not quite sure I agree with everything Ms Lee has to say in the video above, but I think she makes some good points.  Now, to be sure, I agree with her that the older use of the term "Truscum" was catty and denied the reality of others simply because they had not yet transitioned.  Transsexuality is about who you are, not about what you do (or have done to yourself) or how you look.  A person is born Trans, and some would say that person remains Trans even after transitioning.  Transitioning does not make someone Trans;  it's just a process in their life.  Indeed, for some older Trans Women, being "Trans" was something they regarded as their past once they did transition.  Here's an example piece by Allison Washington where I have highlighted a portion of the text expressing this idea (the link should take you directly to the highlighted bit):

My experience during the Trans Dark Ages – Medium

She writes, in case the highlight doesn't show up for you and the link doesn't take you directly to the portion to which I wish to call your attention (but please read the entire piece;  it's very interesting):

I don’t think any of us ‘identified as trans’. We saw ourselves as women in deep trouble, working under the temporary label ‘transsexual’. Once we’d had surgery (and that was the goal) we considered ourselves ‘former transsexuals’; we disappeared into cis society and left ‘trans’ behind forever. The notion of retaining ‘trans’ as part of who we were would have shocked us. I still have trouble getting my head around this concept — I’ve lived decades thinking of myself as no different to any cis woman, and the idea of moving away from that, after having struggled to get there, feels strange.

What I'm not sure about in Ms Lee's video is the critique of "non-binary."  A lot of people operate under the assumption that there are only two genders.  I don't think that's accurate.  I think gender is more complicated than that.  At the same time, however, the phenomenon of "Facebook Genders" or "Tumblr Genders" is a concern, because, rather than helping to dispel misunderstandings about what it means to be Transsexual, it adds to those misunderstandings by spreading misinformation.  There are not 37, 56, 58, or 71 genders.  And there aren't more than 71 genders, either (one list gives a staggering 114 genders!).  I've seen absolutely NO scientific evidence to support such a claim, and I've actually looked.  Evidence that gender may be a spectrum?  Sure, there is some such evidence, but 37 (or more) genders?  No evidence.

You're not a special snowflake, wholly unique from every other person who has ever existed, and you don't get to make up your gender as you go.  Gender is.  It's not something you choose.  This isn't a creative writing class.  This is life, and your claims and behavior, like Ms White's, have consequences for other people who are trying to dispel misconceptions and be accepted without the stigma of being associated with people who want to be "Trans-Racial" or "Trans-Species" or "My gender is Attack Helicopter" or "I'm Female on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but Male on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays" or any of that "Oooo, look at me!  I'm so special and you have to accept it, and if you say anything which 'triggers' my neurosis, I'm going to accuse you of 'violence,' because I have no idea what 'violence' actually means!" business.  You are the people who are called "Transtrenders," and with good reason.  It's just a fad with you, a trend, and eventually, you'll grow out of it (hopefully).  This is not the case with actual Transsexuals.  They don't grow out of it, because it's REAL and not merely some effort to out-weird someone else (and I have the greatest respect for weirdness, but please, stop muddying the waters for people who are only just beginning to be understood by the wider society;  go find some other way to be weird).

The facticity of our society at the current moment is that being Transsexual has become more well-known, and significant popularity has come to settle on a few Trans people.  This situation has led to people exploring possibilities, and while there's nothing wrong with exploring possibilities, getting up in other people's faces and demanding that they embrace the idea that you are "Abimegender" or "Abamasgender" or "Juxera" or any of these other alleged genders, is not only immature, but presumptuous.  You do not have to make up new categories for situations or states which already have names, like "Androgyne."  That's a thing.  It's been around for ages.  I'm sorry if it's not "specific" enough for you.  Communication is challenging enough already, and there's no scientific evidence of which I am aware which justifies these 37, 114, or 8 billion "genders."

"I refuse to be categorized!" or "I'm a paradox!" or "I'm on a totally different plane from male and female" is not an adult response to the question of gender.  It's just adolescent rebellion or New Age mumbo-jumbo (at best).

And it does significant harm to those who ARE Transsexual, by undermining the cause of educating others and winning acceptance.

But those who have embraced selfishness and youthful rebellion and New Age phantasies don't stop to consider the harm they cause;  some just don't care, while others are too busy trying to be "unique" or to get attention or to impress others with how imaginative they are.

That all having been said, limiting gender to two and only two is to ignore reality as well.  The existence of Intersex individuals alone ought to suggest that a person can have no gender identity, or can have both (and yes, I am very much aware of the fact that "Intersex" refers to a group of physical conditions and people who have such a condition, and not to gender identity, but insisting that such people have to fit into gender categories which don't even match their physical nature is rather presumptuous and, frankly, asinine).  As such, I would suggest that the number of genders is four:  Female, Male, Agender, and Bigender.  Anything which goes beyond those four should simply be regarded as being under those four "umbrellas," if you will.  And no, I'm also not suggesting that people who are Agender or Bigender are Trans or that they require any kind of treatment in a medical sense (although some may need counseling).

In conclusion, Trans People with an audience, or with a particular ideology, may do significant harm to other Trans People, and to the cause of getting ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE information out to the rest of society and the intended greater acceptance of Trans People by the wider society as a result of giving them accurate and up-to-date information.  And people who are claiming to be "Trans"-something which has no relationship whatsoever to Transsexuality may do harm to the same people and their cause.  Which does the greater harm?  I wouldn't presume to know, nor to be able to arrive at a conclusion without significant research and application of Inductive Logic (which isn't really my thing;  I prefer Deductive Logic, because it suits my philosophical positions better), but harm has been being done, and it needs to stop.

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 7;  episode 7 overall;  production code 10.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

Copyright notice

All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2017 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine). 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Stop Letting Yourself Be Used,
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

An Open Letter to Heidi Hess of CREDO Action,
from Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

Dear Heidi,

I am very tired of hearing the buzzing of the drones of the Queen (Wanna)Bee.  If your would-be queen were as competent, experienced, and intelligent as her drones have insisted, then she would have remembered that she had to campaign to the people across the country, and not just in those few high population areas where she did campaign.  She did not, however, not that it would have helped her much;  country folk have a way of seeing through such obvious fakeness and condescension as have marked her since she was the First Lady of Arkansas (if not before).  Point being, she lost, fair and square, within our system.

You see, we don't have a pure democracy in which the mob rules and gives us a dictatorship of the majority or elevates one among them to lord it over the rest of us.  No, Madison and the other Founders wisely gave us the Electoral College, a tripartite government, a separation of powers, and checks and balances, in order to prevent that kind of dystopia.  Did you never take Civics or US History?  The United States is not a democracy and was never intended to be.  It's a democratic federal republic, a representative democracy and a rule of law, not a rule of whatever fad happens to be trending among the masses at the moment.  The election of President is more than a mere popularity contest, by design.  If we had remained true to the ideals of Madison and Washington, we would not now have these "factions" (political parties) within our republic, but that cat's out of the bag and isn't going back in.

The Democratic Party shot itself in both feet and now blames "Russia" for its own stupidity.  The Republican Party is by no means righteous, but this incessant Bifurcation Fallacy with its attendant Argumentum ad Metum produces increased polarization into two camps which have no substantial differences from one another and yet demonize each other (and anyone who, rightly seeing that there are more than two answers, refuses to join either of the two sides which falsely insist that they are the only game in town).

is a demagogic man-child.

is a pimp for Wall Street and the Neocons.

Neither one of the two is worthy of the office of President of the United States.  Of the two, however, I agree with Doctor Jill Stein's assessment that Hillary posed the greater danger, because she was already banging the drums of war for her masters on Wall Street and in the CNAS.

You partisan Democrats should have given us Bernie.  He was imperfect, but he was a better option than either of those two.  There was election interference, alright, but it came, not from "the Russians" or Vladimir Putin, but from the Democratic National Committee and the corporate media.  Read the emails and see.  They have digital signatures which demonstrate their authenticity, and nobody is even trying to pretend anymore that they were not authentic.  But somehow, we continue to hear nothing from the complicit main stream media but the idea that how those emails allegedly came to light is a worse crime than the blatant anti-democratic behavior of the DNC and the collusion of the fourth estate in favor of one rather miserable candidate who ran an incompetent campaign based on sunshine and lollipops for her Basket of Gullibles and the same condescending insults of anyone who refused to praise the Great Feminist Hope (as if she were remotely Feminist) which she used the last time she tried to contend for the office.

Trump is bad, mkay?

But Hillary would have been worse (on so many levels), and Pence would also be worse (I hope I don't have to explain why) if your lot somehow managed to get enough Congress critters to support articles of impeachment against Trump, because no, impeaching Trump would not mean that your Queen (Wanna)Bee would somehow be declared the winner.  No, we'd have Pence.  If you think Trump is bad, "you ain't seen nothin'."

All I hear is "OMG, Trump!" and "RUSSIA, RUSSIA, RUSSIA!"  Your lot is now claiming (again) that Senator Sanders was an unwitting tool of the Russians.  Grow up.  Your lot told us that we were "being ridiculous."  Your Queen (Wanna)Bee, however, declared that anyone who would refuse to accept the results of the general election would be a danger to "democracy."  At least have the decency to be mature about the election results.  Go look at the so-called "evidence" of Russian hacking and "interference" with some damned critical skills.  Pay attention to elected officials from your own party admitting that they want to go to war with Russia.  WAR.  With the NUCLEAR power Russia!  Are you that apathetic, that gullible, that dense, or just that insane?

The only "catspaw" in all of this is the group of partisan tools who keep pushing this nonsense about Russians.

You and your people at CREDO do some good work, but stop sending me this hysteria based on a lack of critical evaluation of the claims of the USIC;  this is nothing but childish dreck, and I'm excessively tired of it.

And do NOT try to force any more Neoliberals or Neoconservatives (or anyone who, like Hillary, is both) on us, or we'll have another four years of Trump (or whichever other candidate the Republicans put forward, who is likely to be one of the anti-liberty, pro-establishment, reactionary, far Right Wing idiots more typical of their party, if they don't nominate Trump again [and the jury's still out on exactly how typical of Republicans Trump is, despite the farcical trial by media currently being attempted by the establishment Democrats and their toadies in the MSM, aided and abetted by the little delicate fragile neurotics who are triggered by Democratic partisan rhetoric and still refuse to recognize that Reagan, Bush the Elder, Bill Clinton, Bush the Lesser, and Obama were all already Fascists and that Trump's presidency is unlikely to be any kind of radical departure from that trend into some kind of Fascism beyond what we've already had in the USA since 1981]).  I know this demand will fall on deaf ears.  In 2020, the Democrats will again put forward someone who, like Hillary, is a Machiavellian opportunist caring nothing about anything but his or her own ambition, although the Democratic candidate in 2020 may actually have some charisma, unlike the Queen (Wanna)Bee.  Hopefully, though, it will be a figure already known to the voters as an establishment Democrat.  Maybe then the Progressive Leftists who are now stubbornly clinging to the pipe dream of reforming the Democratic Party will finally come to their senses and join the rest of us under the Green umbrella.  Stop voting for the "lesser" evil.  Choose the greater good instead.  Go Green.  It's in our hands.

Giovanna Laine

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 2, episode 7;  episode 36 overall;  production code 30.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

Copyright notice

All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2017 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine). 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Menagerie, Part 2 (a), or, Dimensions of Perspective Revisited

The Menagerie, Part 2 (a),
Dimensions of Perspective Revisited,
by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

~ William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, Act I, Scene 5


In a previous post here, I discussed seven dimensions of a given person's perspective, or seven axes on which such perspective could be plotted.  In the end of the post, I presented a two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional object with what might be seen as an "allegorical" explanation of the image expanded into seven dimensions.  I here reproduce the image from the previous post:

As I explained it in the previous post, I included seven dimensions or axes:

We see the blue triple intersection as our traditional three-dimensional axes, with X representing depth, Y representing width, and Z representing height.  The other letters here are shown at the corners of the cube.  A line from A to H would symbolize a fourth axis, another line from B to E would symbolize a fifth dimension, another from C to F a sixth dimension, and one more from D to G a seventh dimension.  We might then say that the the X axis represents Politics in the sense of Statism vs Anti-Statism, the Y axis represents Economics, and the the Z axis represents Civil Liberties, just as in Max Barry's ideocube.  But then we have A-H, B-E, C-F, and D-G as well.  I will arbitrarily assign these as follows:  A-H = Centralization/Decentralization, B-E = Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, C-F = Social Views, and D-G = Cultural Views.


The previous post takes account of the standard three dimensions and the four space diagonals of the cube.  I would like to expand upon this, as the allegory can be extended to twelve more dimensions by adding the face diagonals of the cube.  For the cube, a Platonic solid, there are six faces, eight vertices, twelve edges, and sixteen diagonals (four space diagonals and twelve space diagonals).  The face diagonals would be represented by lines connecting A-C, A-E, A-G, B-D, B-F, B-H, C-E, C-G, D-F, D-H, E-G, and F-H.

I have already assigned the previous seven to: Politics (Statism vs Anti-Statism), Economics, Civil Liberties, Politics (Centralization/Decentralization), Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, Society, and Culture.  In assigning the twelve additional dimensions, intersections with some of the others would be nice, but challenging by virtue of what I am suggesting as the twelve additional dimensions.  However, I will assign the twelve as follows, and some intersections will be seen, but not in each case (for example, in the case of A-E, Globalism vs Localism, which intersects with concepts represented by both A-H, Politics (Centralization/Decentralization), and B-E, Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism, in that Globalism involves Centralization and Imperialism, while Localism involves Decentralization and Non-Interventionism):

A-C = Epistemology
A-E = Globalism vs Localism
A-G = Aesthetics
B-D = Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation
B-F = Idealism vs Pessimism
B-H = Ontology and Metaphysics
C-E = Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
C-G = Ethics
D-F = Romance and Sexuality
D-H = Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
E-G = Religion and Sacred Tradition
F-H = Mysticism

This, then, gives us a total of nineteen dimensions of perspective, as follows:

  1. X = Politics (Statism vs Anti-Statism)
  2. Y = Economics
  3. Z = Civil Liberties and Civil Rights
  4. A-H = Politics (Centralization vs Decentralization)
  5. B-E = Imperialism vs Non-Interventionism
  6. C-F = Social Attitudes
  7. D-G = Cultural Attitudes
  8. A-C = Epistemology
  9. A-E = Globalism vs Localism
  10. A-G = Aesthetics
  11. B-D = Ecology vs Exploitation
  12. B-F = Idealism vs Pessimism
  13. B-H = Ontology and Metaphysics
  14. C-E = Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
  15. C-G = Ethics
  16. D-F = Romance and Sexuality
  17. D-H = Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
  18. E-G = Religion and Sacred Tradition
  19. F-H = Mysticism

Of these nineteen, numbers 1 to 7 were explained in the previous post.  That means that I have to explain numbers 8 to 19 in this post.  Without further ado, then, I shall do so.  Please note that I will generally be referring to "one side" and "the other side," rather than "one end" and "the other end" or "one extreme" and "the other extreme."  However, in some instances, I shall put names the extremes.  I should also state from the outset that a full treatment of each of these dimensions is beyond the scope of this discussion (although I will say more about some than others), but I have discussed some of them in greater detail elsewhere in my writings, and am likely to discuss others in greater detail in future writings.

8. Epistemology
Epistemology is the branch of Philosophy which deals with several related questions.  One of those, the key question, is "What is knowledge?" (in the sense of ἐπιστήμη or "epistêmê," which is to say "propositional or intellectual knowledge," as distinct from "relational knowledge," or "knowing about a thing" as distinct from "knowing a person;"  epistêmê is also contrasted with δοξία or "doxia," which means "opinion").  The answer to this is, amazingly, something on which all philosophers agree:  "Knowledge is justified true belief."  What that means is that if a subject S know a proposition P, then S believes P, P is true, and S is justified in believing P.  This is where the agreement ends.  From this point, Epistemology proceeds to seek answers to the questions "What is truth?" and "What justifies a person in believing a proposition?"  On these questions, philosophers disagree and diverge into four main schools of thought:  Rationalism, Empiricism, Pragmatism, and Skepticism.  These would be ranged with Rationalism on one side and Skepticism on the other side, with Pragmatism between Rationalism and Empiricism, and Empiricism between Pragmatism and Skepticism.

9. Globalism vs Localism
Globalism vs Localism seems to me to be self-explanatory, but in case my meaning in these terms is not entirely clear, Globalism would be at one end and Localism at the other.  In between would be varying stages including Continentalism, Nationalism, Regionalism, and ... "Provincialism" (for want of a better term, and with a meaning distinct from the Fallacy of Provincialism).

10. Aesthetics
Aesthetics is the branch of Philosophy which deals with the questions "What is beauty?" and "What is Art?" and in this context, I extend this to include personal preferences and styles, and not merely the dictates of the Academies.  This also affects one's views on Social, Political, and Economic matters to some extent, as, for example, in the case of those Social Conservatives who oppose Homosexuality because they find it "gross" or "disgusting" not in an Ethical sense, but in a purely Aesthetic sense (which, however, Social Conservatives tend to associate with Ethics for reasons not immediately apparent).  This has been demonstrated in psychological and neurological studies, such as Yoel Inbar, David A. Pizarro & Paul Bloom (2009), "Conservatives are more easily disgusted than liberals," Cognition & Emotion, 23:4, 714-725;  John A. Terrizzi Jr., Natalie J. Shook, and W. Larry Ventis (October 2010), "Disgust: A predictor of social conservatism and prejudicial attitudes toward homosexuals," Personality and Individual Differences, 49:6, 587–592;  Jeanna Bryner (26 October 2011), "Conservatives Are More Squeamish than Liberals," Live Science;  and Jonah Queen (17 January 2012), "Disgust and a New Political Neuropsychology," The Neuroethics Blog (hosted by the Center for Ethics, Neuroethics Program at Emory University).

11. Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation
Ecology/Equality vs Exploitation refers to an idea which I see as one, but which could be separated into two distinct dimensions.  In each case, "Exploitation" is one side.  The other side in one idea is "Ecology," and in the other is "Equality."  What I mean here is (1) in terms of Nature and her resources (Ecology vs Exploitation, then, would refer to conservation of natural resources, sustainable and renewable approaches, and respect for Nature, as against Exploitation of Nature and her resources without concern for conservation, sustainability, renewability, and so on), or (2) in terms of People (as either Equal or as some lording over others, dehumanizing them, and treating them as mere exploitable "resources").  I personally include People within the category of Nature;  we are as much a part of our Ecosystem as any other lifeform in it.  Therefore, I see "both" of these as one, the exploitation of "Nature/Natural Resources" would include the exploitation of people, and the recognition of ecological concerns would also involve the recognition of equality of persons.  There will be some who will get their panties in a bunch, or their knickers in a twist, over my choice of the word "equality," and will insist that we are not all equal, because some are more capable than others inherently, and not due to any unfair advantages of wealth or the like.  I will suggest that they are committing the Fallacy of Equivocation, and attempting to use the term "Equality" in a sense other than what I intend.  Of course each person has his or her own talents or "gifts," as well as inclinations or interests or predispositions, and thus some will be extremely proficient in a given thing while deficient in some other given thing, and people will be arranged in hierarchies due to experience, greater training, and so on, but I am speaking of social, cultural, and political equality, of being treated as Human Beings no matter what one's status in a profession or vocation may be, and no matter how much or how little wealth a person may have.

12. Idealism vs Pessimism
Idealism vs Pessimism is an axis which I think is best explained thusly:

"People who are too optimistic seem annoying. This is an unfortunate misinterpretation of what an optimist really is.

"An optimist is neither naive, nor blind to the facts, nor in denial of grim reality. An optimist believes in the optimal usage of all options available, no matter how limited. As such, an optimist always sees the big picture. How else to keep track of all that’s out there? An optimist is simply a proactive realist.

"An idealist focuses only on the best aspects of all things (sometimes in detriment to reality); an optimist strives to find an effective solution. A pessimist sees limited or no choices in dark times; an optimist makes choices.

"When bobbing for apples, an idealist endlessly reaches for the best apple, a pessimist settles for the first one within reach, while an optimist drains the barrel, fishes out all the apples and makes pie.

"Annoying? Yes. But, oh-so tasty!"

~ Vera Nazarian, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration(italics in original)

What we see here is that Idealism and Pessimism are the two extremes, while Optimism lies somewhere in between the two.

13. Ontology and Metaphysics
Ontology and Metaphysics are also branches of Philosophy which are intertwined.  An ontological perspective will result in a certain metaphysical tendency.  Attempting to formulate a metaphysic without first considering Ontology will result in a metaphysic based on assumed and unexamined ontological views, which, however, will usually become apparent as the metaphysic becomes more developed.  Ontology deals with Essence and existence, with Being and is-ness.  Metaphysics deals with Reality and actuality, questions of "One or Two or Three or Many," and what Plato called "Ideas" or "Forms," which later, Scholastic philosophers in the Mediaeval era would often refer to as "Universals," contrasted with "particulars."

14. Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity
Diversity vs Uniformity/Conformity has to do with one's place in society; namely, does one maintain diversity, or conform with society's predominant comportment?  This also has to do with society's perspective on any given member thereof;  namely, does society accept diversity, merely tolerate diversity, or attempt to impose uniformity?

15. Ethics
Ethics is the branch of Philosophy which seeks to apply the concept of Justice to individual conduct.  Ethics in the context of Philosophy as discipline is the systematic study of conduct with regard to the virtue of conduct on the individual level;  it is concerned with "internal justice," by which is meant conformity of the individual's will to an external standard of conduct (see link below for differentiation between Ethics and Scruples).  A variety of schools of thought exist within the field of Ethics:  Situationism, Intentionalism, Consequentialism, and Legalism represent the most well-known.
a. Legalism: affirms that acts in themselves are good or bad (or "evil").
b. Consequentialism: affirms that acts are not good or bad in themselves, but rather, that consequences of acts are good or bad. A well-known type of Consequentialism is Utilitarianism, which affirms that "the greatest good for the greatest number" is the aim of an ethically praiseworthy person.
c. Intentionalism: affirms that acts are not good or bad in themselves, and that consequences ignore motivations and so cannot be relied upon to determine good or bad, but that the intentions or motivations in which an act is done, or the attitudes behind the acts, are good or bad.
d. Situationism: affirms that context must be taken into account when judging good or bad.

Legalism insists on Laws (both positive injunctions as in "Do this," and negative prohibitions as in "Do not do this") as the standard of conduct, and tends to dualism of "good vs evil." Consequentialism, Intentionalism, and Situationism advocate Principles, rather than Laws, as the standard of conduct, and are less likely to accept a dualistic perspective, instead seeing "good and bad," or "good and an absence of good," or perhaps "Order and Chaos."

All of these have flaws:

Legalism is famous in the flaw of the Catch-22 situation, where one is in a situation in which no matter what choice he/she makes, she/he violates the ethical laws by which he/she seeks to live.

Consequentialism is famous in the flaw of expressing the notion that "the end justifies the means" (and Utilitarianism would rationalize harm to a minority based on its aim being fulfilled for the majority).  I will repeat another well-known critique of Consequentialism in two parts, which may perhaps help to convey more of the imperfection of Consequentialism:
1. If person S pointed a pistol at person P and pulled the trigger with the intention of murder, but the shell were a "dud," the consequentialist would say that person S had done no wrong. This is patently absurd.
2. If person S saw person P drowning and jumped into the water intending to save person P's life, but both drowned, the consequentialist would say that person S had done wrong. This is also patently absurd.
Obviously, therefore, consequences alone cannot be used to judge the rightness of behavior.

Intentionalism is flawed in that one may have entirely heroic motivations and still fail to accomplish good.

Situationism's flaw is that it tends to relativism, with extremely vague principles which fail to provide sufficient guidance for conduct.

I propose a fifth division, which should probably be called something like an "Holistic Ethic," which would not completely disregard the act itself, but which would subordinate the act to the consequences, and which would in turn subordinate the consequences to the motivation/intention/attitude and the context taken together, and which would advocate Principles as the standard of conduct.  Some might be tempted, based on a similar impetus in Epistemology which yields an epistemological school of thought named "Pragmatism," to refer to this as a "Pragmatic Ethic."  However, "pragmatic" is not a word that many would be comfortable using in the context of Ethics, as the very word in itself suggests ethical relativism (indeed, "Pragmatic Ethics" is a term already in use in the field of Ethics, and its use in the field is to name a particular type of relativistic ethic). To think in ethical questions "What is practical?" is to disregard "What is ideal?" and this turns Ethics in the sense of a standard on its head, for Ethics is concerned with the concept of "oughtness." Ethics asks "What ought to be?" and "What ought I to do?"

For some additional considerations related to Ethics, see my earlier discussion "Ethics, Morals, Scruples, and Folkways," here.

16. Romance and Sexuality
Romance and Sexuality (and no, I'm not going to separate this into two distinct dimensions, at least not here) both deal with intimacy, Romance dealing with emotional intimacy and Sexuality dealing with physical intimacy.  Some overlap exists, at least occasionally and/or for some persons, but the two are not coterminous.  Attitudes toward, and beliefs about, these types of intimacy have an effect on the individual's perspectives which may influence his or her views on social, political, and economic questions.  For example, if someone believe that Homosexuality is somehow ethically wrong, aesthetically repellent, socially harmful, etc, then she or he may favor efforts to legislate against Homosexual acts, public display of same sex affection, the legal recognition of same sex marriages, and/or efforts to prohibit discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation, etc.  On the other hand, one whose beliefs include no ethical condemnation of Homosexuality, who recognizes same sex relations throughout nature, who understands that social harm often has more to do with ignorance and prejudice than any flaw inherent in those subjected to ignorant and prejudicial attitudes, etc, would tend to take the opposition positions on such legislative questions.  Attitudes and beliefs pertaining to these types of intimacy may also influence a person's views on the legality of divorce, or the conditions under which it may occur, or the legal question of "fault" in a divorce, and so on.

17. Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy)
Politics (Democracy vs Autocracy) is here concerned with who has a voice in making decisions.  I touched on this briefly in the previous post, but focused on Politics in two other dimensions, one pertaining to Centralization vs Decentralization, and the other pertaining to Statism vs Anti-Statism.  Here, however, I will address Politics in the sense of voice in decision-making.  Does one person dictate to the majority, or do all members of a society have an equal voice?  Those would be the extreme positions.  In between are various stages including Oligarchy and Polycracy.  Here too could be included the question of just how decisions are reached.  In the purest form of democracy, decisions would require either unanimity or consensus;  unanimity would mean that all members of a society have to agree, while consensus would be a general agreement among all.  In the latter case, the peril of mob rule or "tyranny of the majority" is a factor.  Polycracy (also called Polyarchy), which means rule by many, is a form of government in which all members of a society vote to elect representatives, who then vote on decisions on behalf of their constituents, but here again, the question of how those representatives vote arises.  Do they make up their own minds, do they consult their constituents before casting a vote, or do they employ some blend of the two methods?  Also in a Polycracy, the question of eligibility for the position of representative must be considered.  Are all members of the society eligible, or must they meet certain conditions in order to be eligible.  An example would be the original conception of a Senate, that is, a council of elders (Latin "senatus," which means "senate," derives from "senex," which means "old," just as Old Irish "senad," which means "senate," derives from "sen," which means "old," both derived from Proto-Italo-Celtic *sen-, and ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root *sén-;  the concept of a council of "elders," therefore, is likely an ancient one, but is by no means restricted to Indo-European cultures;  also worth noting in this context, however, is the related word "senile," which might suggest that elder status ought not to be considered alone and apart from the concept of competence), who would presumably have to be the older folk in the society.  Oligarchy is rule by a few;  an example of this sort of polity would be an Aristocracy (a government by nobles, who generally inherit their position from a family member, although this is typically not a completely closed system in that non-nobles may be elevated to the position of nobility).  Again, the question of how these persons reach their decisions must be considered, as in Democracy or Polycracy.  Typically, however, an Oligarchy does not take much thought of what the members of society may desire, and thus is a "top-down" government, while Democracy is a "grassroots" government, and Polycracy tends to be likewise (at least in its beginnings).  Finally, Autocracy is rule by a single person, who makes all decisions for the entire society.

18. Religion and Sacred Tradition
Religion and Sacred Tradition may on the surface seem to be identical;  they are not.  "Religion" is purely religion, separated (allegedly) from its culture of origin, and typically imperialistic in the sense that its adherents seek to convert others.  A "Sacred Tradition" is culturally specific, and while it includes elements which would be considered "religious" by Sociologists, Cultural Anthropologists, and Philosophers, is itself inseparable from the wider culture and cannot be reduced to its "religious" aspects alone;  practioners of a Sacred Tradition do not typically seek to convert others, unless the culture itself be imperialistic in a wider sense (that is, if that culture be one which engages in other forms of imperialism, such as military and economic conquest, its Sacred Tradition will likely also be imposed on the conquered along with other aspects of culture such as language).  However, this is not the extent of this dimension;  it also reaches to Agnosticism and Atheism.  Both Religions and Sacred Traditions include both doctrines and ethical teachings.  Agnosticism and Atheism are not devoid of ethical concepts, contrary to the rhetoric of some ... religious imperialists.  Discussion of this particular dimension could go on indefinitely, and so I will cut it short here and say simply that one side of this dimension would include religions and sacred traditions, and the other side would include Atheism, with Agnosticism somewhere in between, and various shades of each, the extreme end of one being "Militant Atheism" or "Anti-Religious Atheism" and the extreme at the other end being "One True and Only Way Intolerant and Imperialistic Religion."

19. Mysticism
Mysticism is the belief that a deeper union is possible, and incorporates various techniques designed to facilitate such union.  The union in question may be monistic or dualistic, which is to say, it may be akin to the idea of a drop of water falling into the ocean and thereby becoming one with the ocean, or it may be more like the union of two individuals in a dance, a romance, and/or a sexual encounter, where the two may at times mingle, but yet remain separate.  The "object" (if you will) of the union may be the divine, nature, the universe, humanity, something more precise, or something more vague.  On this axis will also be the opposite perspective, which is a denial that such a deeper union is possible, and/or a lack of interest in such a state;  this may be due to non-belief, a materialistic metaphysic, ennui, Angst, and/or Weltschmerz, to name a few possibilities.  Mysticism can also extend into the dimension of Romance and Sexuality, as well as other dimensions.

(to be continued in a later post)

The title of the post comes from Star Trek (The Original Series), Season 1, episode 12;  episode 12 overall;  production code 16.

Fair use notice
This blog contains copyrighted material the use of which may not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. I am making such material available in my effort to advance understanding of scientific, environmental, political, human rights, economic, philosophical, psychological, cultural, and social issues, etc. 
I believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.  No challenge of ownership is intended or implied.
For more information:
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. 

Copyright notice

All original content in this blog is © Copyright 2013-2017 & an. seqq. by "Liviana" (Giovanna Laine). 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Announcing "The Progressive Flame"

The Progressive Flame

by Liviana (Giovanna Laine)

I have begun a new project at Medium:  an "e-zine" which I have named "The Progressive Flame."  I aim to provide news and articles from a Progressive, Leftist, and Green perspective at the e-zine, and the first articles to be featured there have come from this blog.  I am the Owner and Editor-in-Chief of The Progressive Flame.  Please, have a look and maybe subscribe:

The Progressive Flame, an e-zine publication at Medium