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  • Category Archives Semantics
  • Intersectionality is thorny

    Intersectionality is thorny in ways that both sides of the conservative/liberal divide don’t appreciate. Intersectionality refers to the idea that when someone is a member of more than one marginalized group their experience is a singularity to people who only belong to one of said groups. The analogy of a street intersection is used. If someone is both black and disabled they can get hit via either street but they wouldn’t necessarily ascertain whether it was one or other or a combination of both. The point is that like medical comorbidities, belonging to more than one marginalized groups adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

    I am someone with both a physical disability and mental illness and the two have added up to more than the sum of their parts because if just one part of you is broken then you lean heavily on the parts of you that are still whole. But if more parts are you can’t do this, for example with me being a social mentally ill social moth needing company my physical disability makes it so I can’t drive to force myself on people to befriend.

    What makes intersectionality more thorny than either side of the divide will admit is the fact that every way someone is has advantages and disadvantages similar to chemical compounds interacting where they can produce novel reactions. Case in point the black male. Maleness is no gravy train even if you’re white but what muddies the waters is the fact that the males feminists focus on as the patriarchy are the top 20% of men. If you just take those and ignore everyone else then yeah men are doing great. However when you start looking further down, particularly at the bottom 50% of males, a darker picture emerges. Males in this cohort of every race suffer because the three things that hit men harder are poverty, not having a father or father figure, and inability to control their anger. Now imagine being a black male, adding racism, Jim Crow, and police brutality to all of this. The intersectionality of blackness and maleness actually becomes worse than the sum of its parts because the parts of maleness that manifest themselves in men further down actually hurt them and this is amplified by the fact that aggression is actually punished more severely if you’re black not to mention the bias in the legal system.

    A female walking through a store will be be ignored, a poor white male will be watched while a black male may be accosted. Anti male and anti black bias come together in multiple to make things worse. Women of all races get treated much better than men in the legal system (though it’s the worst for black men).

    It’s politically incorrect to be a men’s rights activist but I think this angle can help us understand racism better.



  • Ask and Tell

    Modern society has made it that much more confusing to navigate with the fact that some asks are really tells. In the olden days there were more tells, in traditional culture there were right and wrong things, for example the Ten Commandments. Nowadays modern psychology runs pretty much everything and people don’t like to be told things outright so they frame their tells as asks. For example I had a job coach who really wanted me to go somewhere and get some IT training. She didn’t tell me this, she just asked about it. But later on I realized when she brought it up again that that was what she really wanted me to do.

    This can also be seen in self care. The party line is that exercise, yoga, meditation, eating vegetables, and chores are good for self care. While this might be for some people I think this is a situation where people are being prescriptive but somewhat disingenuous about it. For me exercise doesn’t help at all unless it is done with people who I have a positive relationship with. Meditation doesn’t work for me, stemming (muttering, yelling and even cursing, rocking back and forth) helps me. I like to drink sweet things (mostly diet pop) and watch trashy TV like Married with Children. None of these are approved ways to deal with things but when suspect an ask is really a tell you’ll just be inundated with blow back.

    The whole enterprise of therapy is a tell framed as an ask. That’s why I’ve had three women cut me off telling me to “go get help”. They wanted someone to change me because they obviously found a flaw in me they couldn’t change themselves.



  • Show Values

    Show values permeate our existence to such a degree that it’s easy to start believing they are actually true. Obama comes to mind, persisting to believe in the better angels of our nature even after being given evidence otherwise over and over again. The other side of show values is if you straight up say you don’t believe in one (like the idea that man is basically good) you get shot down really good.

    As an individual with a disability I live at the intersection of show and actual values. Show values say you get the job your merit affords, actual values say you get the job your physical appearance affords. If I had known the only job I could get was a janitor job then why was so much time, treasure, and hope invested in educating me.

    My latest issue involves something I’ve brought up multiple times on this blog. Show values say that a person with a disability will be tolerated by all but the most ignorant of us. Actual values say that for a person with a physical disability every one of their interactions with the abled world is an incursion that must be apologized for. Granted believing this about people is unflattering which is why the show value of tolerance is pointed to. My problem is because I have impaired social skills I need guidance on how to diffuse the “bomb” of my visible physical disability’s presence in a manner that will appease the room.



  • Judging as You Are Judged

    Really interesting TED talk about judging your thoughts the way people judge you to quell the like/dislike monster. The book he references Evolving Beyond Thought has you memorizing Sanskrit philosophy to help quell the storm of thoughts in your skull.

    The two questions you need to ask of every thought are “is the thought useful” and “how does the thought behave”. These are basically the two questions people ask of you when they judge you. So it’s turning the whole judgement on its head and holding your thoughts up to the standard others are holding you up to when they judge you.

    I don’t know if this would work for me but I like it.



  • Money in Your Brain

    I want more money. Money in the real world lets you go on all kinds of fun trips (at least pre-COVID) and gives you all kinds of health and security.

    Money in your brain does something similar, you can spend it to produce beliefs in happy delusions. That’s why religious people refer to faith as a gift. It’s actually not a gift, it’s paid for by money in your brain.

    Just as it is hard to make money in this economy that is going to Hades, it’s hard to get money in your brain. You have to have had a lot of positive experiences or have a brain that is really good at playing cognitive tricks.

    The younger generation is less trusting and religious and more mentally ill so I surmise that they don’t have much money in their brain.

    Some poems:

    learning how to think critically
    can actually deplete your brain of money
    because happy delusions melt away
    (assuming you didn’t have an abusive childhood
    you start out with a lot of money in your brain like monopoly)

    the way to be saved by “grace”
    is to have looks in your heart
    and money in your brain

    if you have money in your brain
    you can buy astroturf, to astroturf the bad things
    so things make sense in hindsight
    you can buy the ability to play cognitive tricks
    so you can make lemonade out of cyenide



  • The easy route is to not forgive

    Following up on my Forgiveness and Indra’s Net post, I think a lot of times forgiveness just makes things more difficult.  I know this is not an opinion that is going to be popular with religion or modern psychology but my experience has been it’s been true.  Wrongs never go away in my mind, particularly ones that have caused the most fallout.  I still try to treat the perpetrators of these wrongs well and this s a lot harder than just cutting them off or treating them like crap.  And this non ill treatment is what’s the hardest.  I think people who are jerks to people who wronged them are generally not rabidly evil, they just don’t want to put forth the effort to take the high road.

    Underlying all of this is a current in neurotypical culture where some things people say are true while others are knee jerk dissembling reactions to hard truths (generally noble lies).  The idea that forgiveness always makes you feel better is one of these noble lies (like money and status aren’t everything for a man).  Forgiveness can really be healing but it can also be wounding and subject the forgiver to increased depression.



  • Disability… in Slow Motion

    Pretend intelligence is smartphone quality.  The better quality the smart phone the faster frames per second it can record.  So for example you can do super slow motion shots of people jumping off the diving board with the most expensive phones.  Now bring it back to intelligence, the smarter you are the more information you can process in the same amount of time.  So you could say a smart person trusting their “instinct” is processing a huge amount of information on the fly.

    So what does this have to do with disability?  Well, unlike racial prejudice, disability based prejudice doesn’t go down as much as IQ goes up.  I think this is because disability introduces some additional negativity and fries people’s sacred cows on the griddle.  During the process of encountering a person with a disability, intelligent people are unconsciously thinking things like the below.  It’s kind of like a row of balloons being popped in this OK Go Video.

    • I have innate worth.  A person with a disability really puts to the test the idea that everyone has innate worth which deep down most people know is a lie.  But this person is shoving this lie in your face by showing you a test case of someone who, if innate worth were true, you would think would be worth something.  But in acknowledging this individual’s worthlessness you acknowledge that your worth is based on function and nothing more.  But this is not something you appreciate being shoved in your face.
    • I can express myself in any way I choose and still be accepted.  Individuals with disabilities also test the limits of free expression.  What you find is that just like tan skin is tolerated but only if you’re not a minority, disability is only accepted if it is seen as temporary.  So for example if you have a cast on your arm but are expected to heal people will treat you well but if there is something wrong with you they perceive to be permanent then they won’t.  “You do you” only applies to things that aren’t irreversible (for example a funky hairdo).  As an individual with a disability you understand how life giving conformity is and see through the “be yourself” ruse normal people are never required to.
    • I want to bring children into this world.  Almost everyone becomes a temporary antinatalist (someone who thinks procreating is cruel) when they encounter an individual with a disability.  I always thought “I wish you were never born” was communicated through disability based prejudice (as opposed to race based prejudice which is “I wish you’d die”). Disability reminds people that their life, on balance, could contain way more suffering than joy. And why would you bring anyone into this world if that was what was waiting for them? Of course after the encounter with an individual with a disability ends instead of moving towards antinatalism these people project their negativity on that individual. And why not? Cognitive dissonance is experienced as emotional pain by most people.
    • Medical science can fix people good enough to function as good as new in society.  As an individual with a disability I have gotten this one a few times.  On a diet of seeing shiny new smartphones we’ve been brought up on this narrative that science is going to fix everything which is far from the case.  For both my disability and mental illness I’m basically using treatments that were invented in the 90’s.  And I’m the lucky one, for others there are even less treatment or none at all.
    • God can heal people.  People of faith (particularly Charistmatic Christians) do not like encountering individuals with disabilities because they demonstrate God’s inaction in action.  A question mark is an enemy of most people of faith and a question that gets brought up is, “what does God really promise?”.  If nothing, is the faith really worth it?

     

    See a reply at The Realistic Autistic.



  • incarnate

    The deepest truths are not true or false like a Boolean variable, they are incarnated.  This is partly why people get so angry when you are living a life that, by their philosophy, your outcome should be different.  This is why the people conservatives save their worst for are the ones who worked hard, were moral, and still failed miserably.  And this is why the people Christians save their worst for are the ones who sincerely sought God and found nothing or worse (that’s me, read earlier entries for more details).  If these truths were not incarnated, if they were just like math problems where you could derive a simple answer, then there wouldn’t be so much emotion around them.

    Every human is an island, whether you are allowed to believe so or not.  Most philosophies of life are one size fits all but what fits for one person may be the opposite of what fits for another.



  • Religion Counting

    I don’t think it’s fair to count people who are forced to practice their religion in religious censuses or at least break the two figures out.  Of course this would be impossible to find out because admitting one was forced into their religion isn’t something those forcing religion on these people want known.