Dark Social Matter

This will be a sort of a spitballing session. I’m just working through this false social meme thing still. So, Dark social matter.

It’s ninety percent of the social matter in the human universe, the invisible majority of what is going on in our lives, and the reason our equations don’t add up.

Knowing I’m holding back some clarity on this point, I will say that statutory abuse, the abuse we mostly all agree is abuse, meaning abuse over a legal line, is only ten percent of all abuse. The rest is either abuse we don’t see or abuse we don’t mind, like parental or criminal punishments, or wars we condone. This is the dark abuse that we are socialized to, this is the stuff of our antisocialization.

To draw a line between the two, this is not science, and this is the failure of social science, to imagine that only those with documented statutory abuse have been abused and that this premise has any basis. For a science, negative experience must be the measure, not some socially determined list of experiences that are accepted as such. If a stimulus is ubiquitous, then it matters, ubiquitously, we don’t simply reset our base! This sort of relativism is self-imposed, a self-fulfilling meme. If everyone is abused, everyone is abused, it shouldn’t matter to an actual science that we like it this way, it’s a fact, dislike it or not. Every human is ninety-seven percent water; we don’t ignore water in our science.

What I want to do here is a list of examples, how this blindness to dark social matter causes so many of our biggest misunderstandings, how it makes things seem impossible to understand at all. I’ll mine my Twitter feed:

 

maura quint‏Verified account @behindyourback  39m39 minutes ago

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love to live in a world where men complain female ghostbusters ruined their childhood memories but finding out Cosby’s a rapist didn’t

 

Rape, like all abuse is antisocializing, meaning it produces bad feelings and generally feeds the antisocial forces in society, gearing us all for war. As long as our society feels a threat and is geared for war, abuse generally and rape in particular aren’t going anywhere.

 

John Harwood‏Verified account @JohnJHarwood  1h1 hour ago

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Cosby mistrial

Cop who shot Castile walks

young woman convicted for boyfriend’s suicide

 

Rape, as above.

Police killing of unarmed blacks being apparently legal shows the prioritization of antisocializing (terrorizing) the citizenry over the appearance of fairness or justice. This follows the basic ratio of dark matter generally: we get ten percent apology (words) and ninety percent intimidation, who kills who. That they never prosecute a cop shows that good will is meaningless against the dark reality. This scenario terrorizes, angers, and drives people mad, exactly what is desired for a wartime population.

Antisocialization Theory has it that if we are a straight-up warrior society, this young woman has strengthened the tribe by taking out a weak link – but women winning these fights, women being in control, perhaps that is more dangerous to the war effort in the long run. I don’t feel that overly, though, I admit. Maybe this scenario runs counter to the general trend, she did what warrior society boys do maybe, but because she’s a woman she just doesn’t get a pass from the law.

 

Vice President PenceVerified account @VP

Follow

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It is the greatest privilege of my life to serve as Vice President to @POTUS Donald Trump – a man devoted to American ideals.

 

  🌈ProvaxShill 🗽 ✌🏾‏ @ProvaxShill  24h24 hours ago

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Replying to @VP @POTUS

You’re the VP for the people, not the POTUS. This servile obsequiousness to the president is a mockery of the Constitution.

 

Here’s an example of people not simply not understanding antisocialization or abuse, but power generally. When a man prostrates himself like this in public, suffers this sort of humiliation, it is not indicative of his free will, and for us to spend our energy criticizing the victim in this bullying incident shows a deep misread of things. This goes a step bigger still: this is how we talk about corrupt politicians generally, as though corruption is rare and voluntary. * This is victim shaming – a staple of antisocialization, of warrior societies. Have we ever broken it down, analyzed it? Or is it another false meme? Here’s what is perhaps this meme:

“Bad powerful people use their money to influence the world and our lawmakers, and some politicians are corrupt, just in it for the money.”

What is missing: bad, powerful people have always engaged in war and conflict. They do not simply offer money, they also make threats, irresistible threats. What does the meme suggest – that if no politico takes the money, they just shrug their shoulders and wait for the next election, maybe we’ll get a scumbag next time? I simply feel that this is not a thing we could misunderstand about politics unless we misunderstand power generally. The salient point is that victim blaming is extremely stressful and antisocializing.

 

Hmmm.

Maybe that’s enough for this Saturday morning. I imagine I’ll be appending this, as my Twitter feed demands.

 

Cheers,

Jeff

June 17th., 2017

 

* This is the signature of dark social matter at the macro level: corruption is rare, paedophilia is rare, physical abuse is rare, suicide is rare. Of course, in reality, societies that are free of corruption, and families that are free of serious abuse and suicide, these things are in the minority.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Reality. A Better Metaphor, Part Eight.

I’ve been going on about this idea, the social meme or metaphor, what Benjamin David Steele (https://benjamindavidsteele.wordpress.com/ @MarmaladeSteele ) calls a social parasite, although that sounds like a person. It’s a solid point, though, so perhaps it should be ‘parasitic social metaphor’ or something. That’s going to have to be close enough, because it’s these parasites that have their way with labels and not the other way around. I haven’t yet gotten back and read Dawkins’ definition myself, because the concept of the parasitic meme fills an irregularly shaped hole in our knowledge perfectly and so its shape seems to reveal itself; if you get what it does, then you see what it is. I don’t see how it couldn’t be real, or at least how the parasitic metaphor isn’t one of the better metaphors we have.

So, I think I’ve beaten the consequences meme into the ground in this series, ‘A Better Metaphor’ and today I would like to concentrate on the moral kernel of it. I think the world has turned on this “good and bad” thing.

I’ve talked around it a little maybe, but I’ve tried to say that the sort of “good” an organism can have beaten into it will be a response to what a beating is and not to what the organism delivering the beating may hope he’s achieving, meaning stress and pain and a need to either avoid them or at least unload the stress after the fact. Further to that, I’m trying to paint a picture of a near-universal human adaptation, that violence at home helps to support warrior societies against their warrior neighbor societies, keeps them strong and fighting, and so, beating their children is a “good” thing, because what could be more “good” than surviving the bloodthirsty apes next door? It is my position that this was our original foray into sculpting our children, the one that worked, that this has always been our proof of the “nurture” principle. The reason the socialization researchers haven’t found their evidence is because they’re looking for something “good,” maybe prosocialization, something like that. Our theory seems to be that parents did something “good” that worked at some point in the past, so now we can’t help but believe in the positive power of “nurturing,” but that it just can’t be found anymore? No, this is the secret: we’ve switched what is generally “good” in our minds between when we started this behavioural adaptation and now.

Now this conversation can take a hard left turn.

Trouble is, it’s still what we believe, deep down: pain is good, stress is good, and a “good” person is an antisocial one.

That is the fascist manifesto.

I think it’s all our built-in manifesto, or perhaps it’s only built into our cultures, or the parasitic social meme, but that in peacetime we live in a sort of balance, and when war and/or fascism looms, the balance has been lost and a sort of a positive feedback loop results. When that violence-masking consequences meme takes over, when peaceful memes fade, then we become caught responding to all problems with a single answer, the consequences. I can’t say why it may ever not happen with this model, but it seems clear that when the problems you are trying to solve are antisociability, then bringing the consequences only makes it worse. People start to get angry, so they lash out, angering one another further, and we get the picture: it’s a race to the bottom. It’s Jacob’s Ladder, but the stuff’s in the water. But this is fascism, and this makes everything that the current administration does make sense. Antisocializing is the purpose behind all their trolling, both rhetorical and legislatively homicidal.

Pain is good, stress is good, and a “good” person is an antisocial one.

Again, true enough and important in our evolving and aboriginal situation, so we believe it, deep down. This is how the president has gotten a pass so far: the strongman, the disciplinarian, the authoritarian promises to make things “good” with exactly the meme’s meanings and he is delivering, daily. We are confused, we can’t glean his meanings, what is it we’re supposed to do differently so he stops with the threats and punitive bills? It doesn’t matter, they are using the abuse as evolution uses it, to drive us to madness, violence, and war. It is antisocialism as bare as it can be: no-one can make the sense in it. The only operative thing must be the subtext, the abuse, the fear, and the bad feelings. No matter where it comes from, if we receive stress, we must unload it somewhere, whether we want to or not, so this administration’s torments drive even the pacifists inexorably closer to madness and therefore to war.

It was indeed shocking when American evangelical Christians continued to support the now-president after the recordings of him bragging to the reporter about his casual sexual abuse came out, but there’s a lesson in it. Sure, on the face of it, sexism, plain and simple, but sexism serves antisocialization when that is the dominant social meme and not the other way about, this president clearly hates women, but there’s more – he only like white people too. If the white folks like the evangelicals want their strongman, their white warrior king to fight the brown tide, then his accusers, the women who came forward to attest to his predatory behaviour must also be punished, shunned, shamed and so antisocialized. They were abused already (all we know about them, abused by the now-president), but not abused enough, because they were trying to hurt the white warrior king’s chances for election, they were positioned against the hoped-for race war, they were peaceniks, weak links that wartime cannot afford. Abuse solves everything. As Rich Harris described among the Yanomamo (and other warrior societies, I think), boys who do not fight are tormented until they do or they die; it’s antisocial or dead in warrior societies, and either result for Forty-five’s accusers would serve the war effort better than holding their strongman to the law.

It’s not a happy story, but happy stories, like our metaphor about consequences bringing civilization, make for unhappy realities. We can hate and revile, we can call the voters who invited fascism into the light names like evil and such – I mean, it’s hard not to, same as it is for them, social groups are almost all human beings have for morality – but we need to understand what’s at work too. This isn’t just politics, or the adversarial courtroom process, I mean it is, it’s metaphors in competition – but it’s also real life. Maybe if we get a little closer to it, the truth can settle the argument.

 

Jeff

Mar. 18th., 2016

Here’s the whole series:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/04/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-one/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/05/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-two/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/07/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-three/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/02/23/human-nature-or-let-me-tell-you-what-we-think-of-us/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/10/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-five/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/11/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-six-abuse/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/16/ast-a-better-metaphor-part-seven-the-abuse-truth/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/03/18/the-good-the-bad-and-the-reality-a-better-metaphor-part-eight/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

and a bonus nipple-twister:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2017/02/23/ast-and-child-sexual-abuse/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true

Updated! AST and Child Sexual Abuse

I hate paedophilia, and that is the name for the human practice of adults having sex with children. I know a bunch of victims, some very close to me. When I say something like “sex is nicer than violence,” I don’t mean for human children, and if I say “sex is nicer than violence for children,” then I am talking about bonobos and chimpanzees, or about our own deep, deep past, barely more recently the time when we and the chimpanzees were the same creature. This is about origins. I have a certain insight, that we do what we do for biological reasons, but that the way we understand those reasons, and the way we talk about why we do what we do is upside down and backwards in some very important ways. In fact, I think we are subject to a kind of ‘false national narrative’ at the species level and our origin story needs a closer look. I imagine there are some smart scientists who are far ahead of me here, but generally, humanity at large speaks with a single voice.

 

I followed a train of thought about punishment. I wasn’t really looking to analyze child sexual abuse, kind of the opposite! I was running from thinking about that for personal childhood reasons, pleased to meet you.

 

The theory I came up with seems to explain a lot, though, antisocialization theory, or AST. For one, it gives a new angle from which to view our taboo regarding paedophilia. With it’s focus on punishment and abuse in human life, AST considers humanism to be new and only making a faltering start so that the safety and protection of children only works as the driver of the taboo if the taboo is also new in the world. If the taboo has deeper roots, then humanism is not likely to be the reason for it. If the biologist’s explanation about genetic addition of disease risks is the main reason, then our biology can find other answers too, and doesn’t require that we talk about it, but we do. Of course, our biology doesn’t require that we know everything about our behaviour, only that we do it – but society’s a different story. That’s where what we think about our biology matters also, what we think about our behaviour affects our choices, our policies, public and private.

 

I think our origin story has us at an impasse on both huge issues, the physical punishment and abuse of children and child sexual abuse, and AST can break us out of it. A brief definition is coming up soon.

 

I think probably AST and the associated book is the place to say that humans fuck their kids just like the chimps and bonobos do – I mean, a lot of them – sorry, us, I mean, a lot of us (I’m still running). Enough of us do that if we saw that that percentage of elephants were fucking their kids, there would be no debate, it would simply be listed as an elephant behaviour. Of course, it’s not acceptable human behaviour – but it’s human behaviour. That is not to excuse anything, quite the opposite: if it is not a human behaviour then it may follow that there aren’t victims. It absolutely is and there absolutely are, way too many, so to all the victims yes, this is a human behaviour, this happened and this happens. To make it clear for everyone else: paedophilia and incest are not nearly rare enough to be outside of the ‘normal’ fields of study and they’re not rare enough to be only a ‘personal’ issue. This is a human behaviour, a human problem, and one that we have not yet addressed in such a way as to change much about it.

 

That is true, and true things require some logic to drive them, so there will be some logic to work out here, what effect our modern situation has had on that, how we have somehow turned an act of monkey love into a powerful antisocializing force. Wait for it . . . the definition:

 

Antisocialization theory has it that abuse contributes in a powerful way to the antisocial side of our socialization, that the pain, confusion, and powerlessness associated with abuse and punishment create antisocial feelings and ideation to some degree in those who experience them. AST postulates that a more antisocial member of the troop is a more effective soldier, self motivated and tough, and that perhaps human or proto human troops that did not go to lengths to antisocialize their children were out-competed in battle. This article is not intended to be anyone’s introduction to AST, but this short version is what’s important in AST regarding child sexual abuse: punishment, violence and abuse are antisocializing factors, designed to make us crazy, angry, and violent beyond perhaps what we may have been without them.

 

Perhaps if at some point if we knew, if we were aware that we were perhaps easily killing off the less antisocial apes, or perhaps the more prosocial apes around us, and so if we had instituted a program of abuse for its effects (if we were beating our children to toughen them up and make better troop soldiers), if we were all in for making war and not love so much, then it makes sense that we would certainly also probably put the kibosh on much of our prosocializing.

 

Looking at the bonobos as a view perhaps beyond our early human past, we do indeed see that sex is a powerful prosocializing force in their lives, and as ubiquitous for them as perhaps authority, hierarchy and punishment are in ours, and the young are not left out of the never-ending orgy. It appears that adult bonobos are not antisocialized from their experience, that, in their primate life, sex exists on the positive side of the social ledger.

 

This is one way in which AST makes our previous understanding so clearly backwards: the taboo regarding sex with children, if it is as old as humankind, isn’t any sort of harm reduction strategy at all. The bonobos, they say, have very little violence and pleasure seems to be their social currency; their sex with their children looks like regular sex albeit with bonobos of all size and shape, voluntary and pleasurable. AST says human beings spend far more time punishing their children than pleasuring them (just saying, not arguing), at least today, and it’s my guess that we have made a choice.

 

We didn’t make a taboo of sex with children because sex hurts them – again, unless we only decided this recently. We did it for military reasons, because loving touch spoils soldiers. According to antisocialization theory, I mean. To put it another way, how long do we think there have been advocates for child abuse victims? Do we imagine the protection of children from sex was a cause that took over the world sometime in ancient history or prehistory when protecting them from violence remains a remote and unlikely goal today?

 

Our social injunction regarding incest is only part of the bigger, antisocialist injunction, not the proscription of harmful child rape, or of shallow gene pools, but rather the proscription of a prosocializing behaviour.

 

Of course, it didn’t stop child sexual abuse, and it’s something we will battle forever, probably, especially within the existing narrative about it. It’s a trauma for us, so how can we imagine we stopped it when it wasn’t a trauma, let alone because it wasn’t one? Despite that it looks nice when bonobos do it, when a human adult fucks a child, it is a bad scene, violent, criminal, abusive, ostracizing, all of it, so it’s hard to see the connection, but it’s there, buried somewhere in our past.

 

Trauma is not why we outlawed it in the first place, is all I’m saying, all antisocialization theory is saying. We can’t imagine ourselves making that sort of choice, but if we can look at the bonobos and imagine them making the choice to outlaw sex with their kids . . . then maybe for them, we can see that it would be an antisocial move. Just in case: I’m not advocating for humans to start living the bonobo life, I ain’t advocating for sex with children. My heart’s in the right place and my wick’s dry on this. I am not advocating and I ain’t asking for sex with kids. It’s just that I have a theory and it makes sense of things, that’s all, and that theory has brought me to where our outrage regarding paedophilia seems to be part and parcel of our love of violence. These are emotional, dangerous topics and perhaps that is in part because we don’t quite understand them yet – but AST can help.

 

Right, wrong, prosocial, antisocial, we outlawed child sexual abuse for antisocial reasons, not for prosocial ones, not to protect kids and not to avoid birth defects. At some point, we’ll have to tether ourselves to that reality, because this misunderstanding – that sexual activity, rather than violence, is somehow the greatest cause of evil in the world – simply fails to generate any real progress on either issue. To repeat: do we really think someone was advocating for the children and against child sexual abuse by adults for as long as we’ve been human, or for as long as we’ve been writing? Hardly! But we have been beating our children and so socially engineering ourselves for conflict and war that whole time. Humans have things to do, destinies to achieve, battles to fight, and we don’t really approve of those lazy bonobos just laying around playing swallow the leader all day. That’s the context in which that taboo came into existence and remains with us, as a part of the warrior code.

 

That’s the secret: sex makes you happy and peaceful, and we worry that we’re not mean enough to deal with the neighbors already, so it’s out, except for procreative sex. After all, the army needs soldiers.

 

That’s how taboos work. You’re not allowed to pick it up and turn it over, not allowed to see what’s underneath it. What’s under this one – surprise! – is violence, and our deep love of and identification with it. Not to minimize child sexual abuse, but the exposed core belief was the secret here, the thing that we have an opportunity to learn: our core belief is not a prosocial one. The truth, eventually, will set us free.

 

Jeff

Feb. 27th., 2017

A Conflicted Society – Rape, Part #3 – Yes Means Yes

I’m examining a few aspects of rape in this series. I know that rape is to a great extent a violent crime and not so much a sexual one, and I do try to deconstruct the roots of violence generally elsewhere, particularly in a series titled “It All Starts . . .” but I am focussing on the sexual elements of rape in these posts, because it seems to be the sexual aspects that make rape so much less prosecutable than other violent crimes.

Here’s the first posts:

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2014/12/09/a-conflicted-society-rape-1/

https://abusewithanexcuse.com/2015/01/17/a-conflicted-society-part-4-rape-part-2/

I think this, from Part #2 needs some development:

“My advice: let’s make our lives more conscious, let’s drag sex out into the light. Maybe we lose some of the excitement, some of the mystery, but maybe we also lose some of the rape.”

That sounded good to me – I mean I love the sound of my own voice. If no-one else reads me, I will – but it needs a little more detail to be of any use, so here goes. No means no, of course it does, but if it can also mean ‘yes,’ then that could be part of the problem. Yes, I’m going there. This series is getting progressively less PC. I’m sorry, but if you have reason to feel that the politically correct voices on this subject have it all under control and that this problem is close to being solved, you’d better share it with me. Otherwise, I’m just going to push on. (Good Lord that sounded bad! No evil pun intended, really. Those things keep cropping up, and I’m sorry.)

I don’t think I’ve ever pursued a girl in order to bed her, I don’t think I ever tried to talk a girl into bed, sold myself to a girl – that always seemed humiliating to me. I guess I was lucky, I looked good enough as a young man that there were partners often enough without me having to work for it. I think I’ve had sex with maybe ten girls and women, I mean, I had some lonely years too, when I was no fun and the girls seemed to sense it. If my confidence was abysmal then, I suppose it was never high enough to pursue a girl and risk the rejection. The girlfriends and liaisons I had when young always came about through mutual attraction, naturally – well, I guess a few of the girls pursued and bedded me. (Life sucks – and then you die!) Those relationships didn’t last long; I couldn’t hide my indifference, I guess. But I’m a freak and that’s not the game as we all know it, is it?

The game is, or has been, boys chase and girls choose.

Right?

And Good Girls Don’t, right, so a girl isn’t supposed to say ‘yes’ right away . . . Good girls don’t. That idea is still out there, and it’s part of the problem. The boy is supposed to work for it. I hate to tell you, folks, and it’s a good thing I have no reputation to lose, but unfortunately, that situation, – the State of the Union, if you will – means that sometimes ‘no’ means ‘yes.’ If we can’t see how that is a part of this complex problem, then God help us. Why the male players in the game like this arrangement, I can’t say with any certainty, I personally don’t like it, but maybe it is a natural thing, the aggressiveness of testosterone, the thrill of conquest, or maybe it’s a less natural, more modern, psychological power game, and probably also things I have no idea about. As for women, well, same sort of thing I suppose, a natural priority women place on their desirability, or perhaps some less natural function . . . of course, also, any number of things I don’t understand. I’ll swallow my ego and try to face the possibility that such things exist.

Of course, those possible factors, natural and possibly unnatural power dynamics, for both genders exist on a continuum the far right end of which means rape and the rape culture. If being an object of desire has a positive feeling, if it’s an ego boost (which, I know, ladies, it is if the fellow is attractive enough, not so much if he’s not), and if the uptick in our self-esteem produces a feeling of well-being, perhaps this leads to sexual and/or emotional arousal. Or maybe just the presence of another person’s desire creates some arousal, maybe a pheromone thing. Honestly, that’s my theory, really basic:

Sex is sexy, desire is sexy, simple like that. Another person’s desire is a turn on. Referring back to Part #2 again: this is probably why rape is possible without injury. Carried to an extreme, if another person’s desire can create our arousal, then perhaps there are times when another person’s extreme desire, a desire so strong it will not be denied, can produce a strong response, the sort that makes reporting a rape and believing the victim, uh . . . problematic. Come on – if this stuff was simple, we’d have solved it already. Right?

Oh, I’ve lost track. All of the preceding two paragraphs belong in Part #2. Where was I?

Oh, yes. No means No. I’ll just skip to the end.

The thing is, in the culture of Good Girls Don’t, when a girl knows she’s supposed make the boys work for it or risk being labelled, reviled and ostracized as a ‘slut,’ there really isn’t always the ‘yes’ option for a Good Girl, is there? Fine to say ‘no’ means ‘no,’ but that’s a bit of a setup when there can be no ‘yes.’ I mean, when ‘yes’ is not an available option in the real world, we have left ‘no’ to mean both ‘no’ and also ‘yes.’ That is a foundational element of the rape culture. So here’s my idea.

First, as a child of the sixties, I can’t believe I have to say this, I thought we’d had the sexual revolution already, but the more things change, the more they stay the same: sex is not evil. Rape is, because it’s violent, but unforced sex is natural and normal. This is clearly true, and people should remember it when they’re dealing with their own and other peoples’ sex lives, in their real lives. This is what we should teach our children, and slut-shaming should be a thing of the past.

So, ladies, here’s the thing: say ‘yes’ when you want to have sex. Break out of that bind, reject the idea that good girls don’t. Clearly, good girls do, everybody does. Learn to say yes. I’m not saying fuck every guy who asks. I’m just saying say ‘yes’ to the guys you do have sex with. That would clear things up immensely, and could make some progress for us all in the fight against rape and the rape culture. Now a word for the boys.

When you’re trying to bed some girl, maybe it’s a pick-up scenario, maybe it’s a love story, whatever. If the girls says ‘no,’ let it be no. I mean of course, when it’s really ‘no,’ it means ‘no,’ all the anti-rape folks will tell you that, ‘no’ means ‘no,’ damned straight, but the other times. When it’s the game, when she just feels she must make you work for it . . . hold her to it. Just walk away. It could really mean ‘no’ of course, so leave her alone, but, and here’s the thing: if she’s bluffing, call it, call that bluff and walk away. We have an opportunity to help these ladies break out of the Good Girls Don’t bind, to set our ladies free. We can help bring them out of the game that supports the rape culture and into a more honest life.

We can let them know that if they want it, they must say so. Of course, it’s normal and natural to say yes. Our ladies need to know that, and they need to do that.

It’s good for us, too, fellas. I think we’d all want to know when we’re wanted, wouldn’t we? Are we beasts? Are we happy to leave every sexual encounter not knowing if the girl really wanted us? Well, we can usually know their bodies wanted us, I suppose – but wouldn’t it be nice to know that they wanted us consciously? That they knew that they wanted us?

If that seems like a stretch, at least we possibly agree that shining a light on our sex lives in this way could go a long way in making a net increase in the honesty in all our lives, and so, again, create a dwindling habitat for the scourge of rape.

A Conflicted Society, Part #4 – Rape, Part #2

OK, this should be a challenge. Delusional as I may be, even I don’t expect we’re going to get to the bottom of this today. All journeys begin with a single step, though, so off we go!

Just as I don’t really know why I have to be one of those whiney, high-maintenance, gluten-free types other than that it keeps me from consuming Chips Ahoy cookies by the package, taking on this challenge should keep me safe from ever imagining that I might do something crazy like running for public office. This will certainly contain material that with the simplest of spin or the slightest will to misinterpret will insure that. I mean, along with my usual legal and medical incompetence, of course.

Waivers: I am no sort of lawyer, doctor or psychologist. I think of myself as a sort of generalist, plus also, I think the experts don’t seem to be solving the rape issues, maybe they know too much. It is too often the accumulation of details that protect the status quo, that somehow override the principles we are trying to keep to, or trying to create. What I bring to the table, I think, is exactly a positive non-expertise. I like to think of my musings as somewhere between childish fumbling and moral philosophy. So to it, then.

I’ll Pick up where Part #1 leaves off, but first, disdaining the status quo as to how to write well (as well as of most other things), I’ll give up the best part right off the bat.

  1. “The victim liked it.”

I hope someone will correct me if I’m setting up a strawman here, but it would seem that rape is difficult to find sympathy for and difficult to prosecute if we think the victim liked it. Is that fair to say?

Injury, that is evidence of a beating or tearing of the muscles and tissues of the vagina and or rectum, this is the most persuasive evidence we see, I think. With that sort of evidence, a victim can reasonably hope for at least an attempt at prosecution, and these cases probably produce the greatest number of convictions. Sadly, the absence of this trauma can make rape invisible to some people, in some ways; the lubrication that makes sex possible without injury hurts the victims’ case. Cultural attitudes play their part, of course. Apparently lubrication still carries a stigma of sin, despite many factors, such as:

  • lubrication and arousal are physical responses, and as such should not be considered to supersede conscious choice or consent; if the lubrication was the result of consensual play, same answer: not an override for non-consent of anything that follows.
  • lubrication and arousal are physical responses, and as such may very well occur without any consensual play whatsoever. It is my possibly unpopular contention that sex is sexy, that even unwanted sex, even forced sex can produce the physical responses. (Men, remember the early puberty erections in school? Were those convenient, were they wanted? Would they excuse someone raping you?) That the physical responses imply consent is rubbish, something only rapists and their enablers should be advocating. Same for orgasms: even the world’s greatest orgasm means nothing as regards consent. If we could get that straight, all this confusion might be over already.
  • While I’m at it, while we’re all trying to look at the uncomfortable physical details of rape, we might as well get the worst of it out of the way. I’ll say it, if no-one else will: rape victims probably mostly do become aroused and lubricate – I don’t know how calloused your penis is, gentlemen, but for me, and I imagine for most of us, moisture is sort of mandatory for sex to be pleasurable instead of painful (I can’t speak for the uncircumcised. Perhaps that’s somewhat different?). I expect that when the tearing and injuries occur, that the rapist must be very drunk, that he too probably sustains some injury that he wasn’t able to feel at the time. It seems to me, if a rape victim didn’t lubricate, there would be very few sober serial rapists (of course, many of these rapists would probably simply dish out beatings instead of rapes. It really isn’t most often primarily about sex). Logical? Gross and uncomfortable yes, I’m sorry – but logical, right? Something we should probably face if we’re serious about dealing with this thing?

I should note, that the preceding ideas are surely known to doctors, lawyers, and other professionals who have the sad duty to deal with rape and its victims, plus, of course, to rapists and their victims. I don’t think little ol’ me is going to teach any of the pros anything; this is just for the average person, the voter, who perhaps knows little enough about these issues and may end up electing the wrong people because of it (such as some of the American politicians who have famously tried to weigh in on the subject in recent years, armed with only puritanical ignorance and little else).

But that’s not all there is either. That argument still leaves us at the status quo, because those points are already being made. Let’s take one more, tiny step.

So what if the victim liked it? Seriously: so what?

The argument that the victim enjoyed it only works for sex crimes, because of the aforementioned cultural baggage; for understanding, perhaps we should slide the argument over into some less confusing and emotionally loaded areas. What if it was about food, for instance?

Suppose I loved ice cream and all things sweet (hypothetically!) but that I was for any number of reasons trying to avoid it, reasons of health, weight, reasons of Calvinist self-denial, whatever. Now suppose you offer me a hot fudge sundae (I hear people like those) and I decline your offer. Now suppose you force me to eat it, whether you simply threaten me, or whether you hold me down, pry my mouth open and force it down my throat. Perhaps everybody knows I love hot fudge. Maybe I’ve kept my diet for weeks or months and I can’t deny the pure, childlike pleasure it gives me to eat it. Here’s the point: is one private citizen assaulting and force feeding another not a crime? Hold on, that analogy was a little too good, it still looks like a possible grey area! What about this:

Suppose, for whatever reason I enjoy pain, or maybe I get some mental or emotional payoff from being hurt and victimized. Now suppose that uninvited, you beat the living shit out of me.

See it now? Suppose I think I’m in too high a tax bracket, I need a loss to balance things out, and you rob my store?  (What about selling drugs? When my dealer got busted, no-one opted not to prosecute her on the theory that her customers liked it.) You know what? Just in case I’m leaving too much unsaid, just on the off chance that someone might rat me out to Pinker, I’ll spell it out.

Assault, battery, and armed robbery (as well as drug trafficking) are still crimes, despite that the victim might have a complex, real-life reason to enjoy it. Why wouldn’t that be true for rape?

Rhetorical, of course: it is.

  1. Complex, Real-life Reasons

 

I won’t be the first one ever to say that sex and power are tangled together in the human psyche – but maybe those of us who would like to change that are in the minority. Feminists, those that are talking about rape culture – certainly many of those folks don’t think that men, nearly half of the population, are serious about wanting to separate the two things. Plus, there are certainly plenty of women who wouldn’t wish the power dynamics of sex away completely. The positions the original two genders hold in the power dynamic are a big part of how we identify each other as potential or actual sex partners, and the cliché and therefore likely the majority opinion has been vulnerability is sexy in women and not so much in men, and the other side, strength is associated with maleness – and “genderness” as such is what we have mostly found to be sexy. Manly men, womanly women, this is what most folks have been finding attractive; womanly men and manly women, these have been the minority attractions for much of our history. This is not news to anyone I’m sure, these ideas are definitive, aren’t they?

(BTW, this is the obvious reason why paedophilia and homosexuality have nothing to do with each other in most cases. If a man is homosexual, that probably means he likes men – manly men, like straight women have mostly liked: big, strong, aggressive, hairy men. The specific suite of what the paedophile imagines to be sexual markers in children have traditionally been some of the womanly ones, namely small, weak, and hairless. Right?)

So we wouldn’t expect a real majority of the male gender to wish away the sexual aspects of power or the power aspects of sex, because mostly, men have been enjoying the upper hand there, and I think many women like most things about the current state of affairs also, although definitely not everything. So for the good, normal and repressed people of the world, the power dynamics of gender and sex are just a part of the fun, the dark side of which – rape – seems to be regarded as an unrelated phenomenon. Vive la difference! Then there’s the BDSM community, for whom the normal dynamics of gender and power are only a stepping off point.

All of this is to say, mostly, we like it this way, and very likely there is a huge evolutionary component to the way things are. Certainly wife-stealing and wartime rapes have been known to broaden the gene pool in some small groups. For many creatures, rape is pretty much all there is, and if only the males of a species ever wanted sex, that species may get on just fine and rape for that creature would be critical for the survival of them all. But comparing us to other animals, while instructive, is always fraught with error.

When we look at other species, or when we try to look into H. G. Wells’ ‘deep well’ of our own pre-historic past, we are simply making empirical observations without any chance or thought as to what they were thinking when they engaged in the observed behaviour. In this way, making human/animal comparisons can become only a way for us to deny the responsibility for our choices in life. Of course, just as our ability to continue as a species isn’t threatened by a small portion of homosexuality, neither would it be threatened by us more effectively cutting back on rape. This leads me to a point, eventually: sex and our conscious, rational, civilized life have always inhabited divergent worlds.

Christian it must be in origin, but I, for one, have personally never been able to reconcile the rational, moral life we lead when we have our clothes and the lights on with the irrational, animal world of sex. I literally need some fifteen minutes to move away from the repressed rational life I have with reading and my attempts at writing before I can switch gears and make love to my wife. How younger, more sexually driven people have any competence in their modern jobs while always living in the sexual animal mind is beyond me. That some exceptional people actually integrate the two sides of life – well, I don’t really believe it. When I hear of some brilliant artist’s life of sexual exploitation, I assume he has a split personality – again, Christian sexual repression to be sure, but as I write this, my self-esteem isn’t at its lowest and I’m not assuming that I’m the only one with problems. Repressed I may be, but a lifelong obsession with sex isn’t necessarily proof of an absence of neuroses either. Having said that . . .

If my life were all about sex, I mean if sex was the most important thing in my life – I’d probably be a bisexual bottom. I have masturbatory fantasies that range from consensual straight sex through cheating scenarios, to forced sex with big, fat women and beyond, all the way to me being the unwilling Chinese finger-trap for a pair of rough, scary men in a prison shower. I have these fantasies, and I never know from day to day which fantasy is going to be the one to work, but these are fantasies. This is not an invitation to anyone out there, and it is not – I want to make this perfectly clear – not consent. I am a happily married man, and I want to keep it that way. At the end of my life I will be happy to have missed out on some life experiences and also to have avoided their consequences. This is a conscious decision for me, and if I don’t get too drunk in scary places, I expect I’ll stick to it. I ain’t all that young and pretty, and that should help limit my opportunities to make a liar of myself in that way: no-one’s asking me. Ha.

I say “bottom” – check the Urban Dictionary if you don’t know that one yet – because I don’t have “top” fantasies, I don’t dream of dominating anyone or anything. With my wife, I have raised two girls to adulthood and near-adulthood from birth with no punishment whatsoever. I have never owned a dog, because I would want a big one, and I don’t want to have to dominate it. Repression again, sure, but I have lived my life in terror of any personal power I might have; I’m prone to guilt and I don’t want the responsibility of hurting anyone. I think there have been times when my sanctimonious judgment has hurt someone’s feelings, and besides feeling awful about it, it gave me an exaggerated sense of my own power. Again, it’s exaggerated, neurotic, and arrogant: fine for you to stomp around hurting people, but not me.

Perhaps some time embracing some personal power and pushing someone around would be good for me, liberating. I wonder how many rapes happen that way, some overly passive person trying it, ‘just this once?’ I don’t expect I could get it up – but there’s a pill for that, isn’t there? What a horrible line of thought! Maybe those sorts of experimental rapes are on the increase these days . . . crimes of self-discovery. I’m sorry. That was a depressing digression. Where were we? Oh yes, fantasies of having sex forced on us.

I have them, and I don’t imagine I’m the only one. I expect, if I were raped, by an intimidating man, a big, strong woman, or a diabolical smaller woman with some handcuffs and the element of surprise – that I would respond physically, arousal and orgasm, and maybe a really great orgasm. But rape is rape, because crime is crime. If I wanted that, my wife would be right to divorce me, and things in my life would be considerably worsened – so I don’t want it. Not sarcastic. No wink, no fingers crossed. That’s what fantasies are for, we get a sense of the nasty experience with none of the real-life downside. Many are the ways in which what is good for our libido is bad for our lives.

This is the false choice we hear around the water cooler, and God forbid some of our co-workers having these conversations wind up doing jury duty: ‘she was raped,’ or ‘she liked it.’ The complex, real-life fact is, sex is sex, and we all like it, and we like it even more for its power imbalances, but there are still problems with it. There are still STIs, unwanted pregnancies and unwanted abortions, and there is still shame and regret. Of course there is still violence, fear, and rape. Most of these musings are true just for the sex in rape. Of course, the violence in it only makes all of this even clearer.

Robbery, violence, rape, these are crimes. It doesn’t detract from it that these things can be fun and exciting. The crime is in the force, in the psychopathic disdain for another human being’s freedom to choose what happens in their life.

Anyone who knows me, any of the tiny handful of people who’ve read me, you know that I also consider punishments to be crimes. Although prosecuting and punishing rapists today would indeed be an increase in fairness for victims of rape, as well as for rapists, who possibly have an unfair chance of never paying for their crimes, compared to the perpetrators of non-sexual crimes, that really isn’t my endgame. I have a particularly expansive delusion: I want us all to behave better voluntarily. So here’s what we need to do.

Give up the fun. Learn to live without the excitement. If, in some level of maturity and self-knowledge, you want the power or the vulnerability and the excitement those things bring – then sign a waiver or something. Establish parameters of consent. Maybe we all need something like a flight recorder – if what you’re doing is within your rights, why not? Men, get consent, written consent, secure video-recording, something to protect you from false charges. Ladies, get and give some form of provable consent, protect yourself from the present day difficulties of getting the protections that are theoretically provided by law. Again, unless you’re a rapist, or a willing victim, why not?

My advice: let’s make our lives more conscious, let’s drag sex out into the light. Maybe we lose some of the excitement, some of the mystery, but maybe we also lose some of the rape.

I’m that way about everything. I’d lose the ‘magic’ of Santa Claus in favour of not telling mind-destroying lies to our children too. Mystery and magic are overrated; consciousness is the way forward. Most of this magic and mystery in sex is a man-made pile of confusion and lies anyway. At its core, sex is procreation, it’s how species are continued, and every ‘beast that crawleth upon the earth’ understands enough about it to continue down through the ages. Much of the mystery and gaming we associate with sex is the product of the fact that humans are on a divergent path from the rest of life on Earth and we have over-complicated it. If we could enjoy the simple payoff of sex, of succumbing to the procreative urge, if we could enjoy it in its simple, pure forms, we could be as happy as well fed, well fucked rabbits. That, plus a life lived consciously can be a great source of satisfaction and joy as well. Don’t knock it ‘till you’ve tried it.

  1. Conclusions

 

  1. The absence of injury or proof of arousal and orgasm should have no bearing on the question of consent, they are completely separate issues. A helpful memory aid might be this: consent requires conscious personhood, and genitals are not people.
  2. Crimes are crimes despite that their victims may have a reason to like them. Crimes are crimes because society is victimized; otherwise, they’re just personal disputes.
  3. Rape exists at one end of a continuum that has a reasonable division of traits and or duties between the genders at one end and a lot of “normal” sex role expectations in the middle. Therefore support for the principle – distinct gender roles and power sharing – also (inadvertently for most of us) supports the rape culture.
  4. (Male paedophiles are nearly the opposite of gay, the disorder and the orientation are unrelated.)
  5. Sex lives in a different compartment of our lives than rationality and consciousness, and this may be a reason why rape’s status as a crime is confusing and therefore difficult to prosecute.
  6. Many people may enjoy fantasies of being dominated or even raped, but fantasies are fantasies and many consciously prefer to live without the realities and their consequences.
  7. Suggesting that the idea that humans have always raped or that some species routinely rape is a fallacious argument as regards present day humans and effectively condones male domination and rape as natural and inevitable. It’s an argument that ignores the most important premise of law and civilization: consciousness.
  8. Consciousness is the way forward. If we can learn to deal with sex in our lives consciously and honestly, rape will have fewer places to hide.

Now, I usually like to wrap my posts up with a pithy ending. That seems to be automatic, my particular, manipulative talent, and it embarrasses me sometimes, but I have no such summary for this one (if we don’t count that I sort of did that already, before the ‘Conclusions’ section). I’m just groping here, spitballing. I honestly don’t know why I think I have anything more to say on this subject than anyone else; I just hope that I’ve had something to say to some few of you . . . if you made it this far, I thank you. Any sort of comment would be very much appreciated. I expect this won’t be the last time I try to wrap my head around this very difficult topic.

A Conflicted Society – Rape #1

There’s this great, thinking-outside-the-box bit Louis C.K. did at least once, I saw it in the beginning stand-up bit on one episode of his TV show, “Louie,” where he aligns perfectly with me in the idea that punishing can backfire badly. I’ll paraphrase, I’m sure it’s copyrighted. He says something along the lines of ‘if we hated the people who have sex with kids a little less, maybe they wouldn’t feel they had to kill the kid afterward.’ The punch line is something like ‘so, rather than us getting a call that our kid is missing or has been found dead, we’d get a call from the child-rapist instead, saying “Hey, I just fucked your kid. You want me to bring him home, or should I just take him straight to soccer?”’

I guess the laugh comes from the shock and surprise, hearing something from the ‘things we never thought we’d hear’ file, but like a great many great jokes, it’s a stealthy way to express a great truth. Of course that would be a terrible phone call to get, but it’s clearly preferable to the other one. Louie, the genius, is telling us that our kids would be safer if we hated ‘people who have sex with kids’ a little less., that our desire for retribution is a part of the equation that puts the kids at an even greater level of risk.

Now if we can handle that example, the next one should be relatively easy: rape.

Is it possible that we hate rape too much?

I don’t mean it’s not that bad, don’t get me wrong. It’s all that bad and more. I’m just trying to help, and I’m wondering if we’ve allowed the word to get too big and too bad, so that no-one is willing to use it! Has it gotten so bad that men are unable to believe it about each other? So bad that we think of it as some sort of gargantuan mythical evil that is just too heinous to charge each other with?

Like Louie’s idea that if we hated the paedophile a little less his victims might be allowed to live, perhaps if we brought the idea of rape back into focus, back into the realm of human reality, we could prosecute it without feeling like we’re accusing the rapist of something akin to genocide or cannibalism. After all, as horrible as it is, and as devastating as it is for the victims, it’s clearly common enough, pervasive enough that we can think about it as normal, that is, as a normal enough crime that convictions for it shouldn’t qualify as extreme in anyone’s minds. Rape should be considered a normal crime, and should carry something closer to a normal rate of prosecution.

Obviously, we’re very split on the subject. Obviously, some men don’t think of it that way, and sadly, for some men rape is just business as usual. Part of the bitterness that the subject carries for women and innocent men must surely arise from the horrible irony of knowing the worst sort of rapist can escape prosecution partly because some other men think or pretend that rape is simply unthinkable. Maybe the rest of us men should stop being afraid to talk about our fear that these swine are laughing at us and make that part of the conversation, along with everything else we don’t like to talk about in regards to rape, sexual aggression and outright violence. For instance, why is it that the only people that want to talk about all the ways we’re conflicted on the whole subject of sex and all the factors that make rape prosecutions so problematic are policemen and defense attorneys?