Thursday, 18 June 2015

boredpanda:15+ Of The World’s Most Magical Streets Shaded By...


15+ Of The World’s Most Magical Streets Shaded By Flowers And Trees

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Wednesday, 17 June 2015


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Society is strange

If you get through this whole thing, I will personally give you a high five (if it's convenient for both of us).

There is a minimization of minority and women's struggles simply because of the fact that the system was pretty much run and recorded by older straight white men.  Never mind the active oppression of everyone else's views that has taken place hugely in history (Nazis are a favorite example), and more subtly today, even the best-intentioned straight cis white male (better intentioned than me) will under- or mis-represent the issues facing minorities and women to their thought processes (let alone any other form of idea communication or construction) just by being a straight cis white male.  While it is possible to achieve a general understanding of the issues, it isn't possible to completely understand.

     That's not to say anyone should stay out of it or give up right to hold an opinion, cede office, or really in any way give up our rights as citizens, but we need to learn from those who do not have our biases, in order to give oneself a better defined concept of one's own biases and limitations, in order to create a society that works for everyone, not just oneself, because we live in a closed, integrated environment - each of us a piece of a greater whole -  affected by each other piece just as our actions reverberate around to everyone else.  Their struggles are ours in a very literal sense.  Though in many cases it goes unnoticed to the majority because it's a societal and cultural rather than sharply personal and evident in daily life (it is evident, but... people don't think critically much so unless it's outside of the 'norm' it's gonna be taken for granted), which leads to white guys being terrified of their apparent victimization by equal rights groups because, in order to fight a greater problem, they might for example lose out on a job to someone equally qualified who was selected as part of an affirmative action campaign.  The fact that this is an isolated case and pretty much everywhere else, all other things being equal, the white guy will benefit, doesn't occur to the guy that didn't get the job.  He doesn't see or care about things that benefit him, he can only see what's immediately in front of him, and this made him frustrated, and, not having an understanding of the greater problem, he's going to obtain some unfocused anger towards equality groups in general, further cementing his lack of motivation to educate himself about the issue, and lapsing into purely, or at least mostly, experiential, close-minded reasoning.

     I don't think this makes him worse than the average person.  I say that because, despite his advantages as a cis straight white male, life is a bitch for everyone.  Being human is full of cognitive biases that cloud our ability to function effectively, we all experience pain, guilt, pleasure, loss, regret, shame.  The fact that it's better for him than for others is completely lost on him because he doesn't have the experience to contrast the two experiences of society, or the education to learn from someone who does.  That said, this fictional character sounds like a dick to me - being unaware of racial and gender issues today requires some pretty big blinders - but cherry picking evidence is extremely common, and generally unintentional, so I suppose I kind of pity him, and attempt to recognize that behind his ignorant action is likely an individual who would like very much to be a good person, and simply needs help getting there.

I guess I'm just trying to explore, with a bit of hopefully obvious and at least partially self-aware bias as a straight white cis male, why people of my classification are so infamous for spewing ignorant hate and being unwilling to help others.  Honestly, I think most people are this way to some degree, but since they are and have been in a position of power for a long time, their words weigh more heavily on the collective mind, their lofty position in society ingrained into even the most mundane cultural contexts.  I guess.

     It's tricky, trying to see something from the point of view of a different person, and becomes more so the more different your experiences have been, so there' s a bit of an extra effort there... I'm not sure.  Frankly, I would be better suited researching work by equality groups, the history of social movements, and firsthand accounts.  But I like thinking for myself.  Even though this is taking me a great deal of time to basically conclude that everything above is biased and therefore on its own not useful as a basis for action or ideals.  I can but try to learn where I can and hopefully people will be patient with me, as we really are all in this together.  Though I have and will continue to benefit from this system, that doesn't mean I can't help those who have been hurt by it, or that I want it to continue, though I am likely much more hesitant about drastic action to alter a system that I depend on to supply what I am accustomed to getting, but at least you're forewarned.

I have alcohol, I'm working on the hesitant part.

That was a joke.


Hopefully, rather than being viewed only as the oppressor, people can reach out to me and help me understand so we can change our reality for everyone's benefit.  I'll attempt to be understanding, patient and to pass on what information I have, with as little bias as possible, though I hope you can understand I am still very much a flawed human.

explore-blog: Neil Gaiman on what stories do for the human...


Neil Gaiman on what stories do for the human spirit and how they last for generations

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Monday, 8 June 2015

colsmi: Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer guest-edited last...


Neil Gaiman & Amanda Palmer guest-edited last week’s New Statesman, which included a conversation about sci-fi, fantasy, super-heroes & “the politics of storytelling” between Gaiman and Kazuo Ishiguro. Above are Tim McDonagh’s illustrations for the piece, which is well worth reading. (Find it at the New Statesman site here.)

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