There have been many measures taken to try to turn the educational system towards more control, more indoctrination, more vocational training, imposing a debt, which traps students and young people into a life of conformity… That’s the exact opposite of [what] traditionally comes out of The Enlightenment. And there’s a constant struggle between those. In the colleges, in the schools, do you train for passing tests, or do you train for creative inquiry?
Passing tests doesn’t begin to compare with searching and inquiring and pursuing topics that engage us and excite us. That’s far more significant than passing tests and, in fact, if that’s the kind of educational career you’re given the opportunity to pursue, you will remember what you discovered.
Brijesh Arya, a Mumbai-based social worker who has been working with the homeless for over seven years, concurs. “To make one identity proof in India, one needs to provide a bunch of other documents, that’s how the system works. To make a ration card you need a PAN card or a driver’s license or a passport or an address proof. To make a PAN card, you need a ration card or driver’s license or a passport and an address proof. To make a passport, you need bank statements, ration card, address proof, birth certificate, driver’s license, PAN card and a whole lot of other things. The problem is, where does a homeless person begin? It’s a circle that just doesn’t end. It’s so confusing that regular people can barely get through the long, meandering process.
Once had a guy ask: ‘Would you mind telling me your bra-size?’ I replied: ‘No, but tell me first how big your cock is!’ Amazingly he was shocked and found MY comment highly inappropriate." "Apparently the answer to ‘Are you a legs or tits man’ is not ‘Sorry I’m not a sexist’." "I was walking to college when a group of thirtysomething men approached me. One of them asked me: ‘Is it true you can get an orgasm from riding a bike?’ (I wasn’t even riding one.) I replied: ‘I’m more likely to get an orgasm from a bike than you.’ His friends all laughed at him as I walked away." "Guy at work used to think it was OK to only ever address me as big boobs. ‘Morning big boobs’ etc. I started addressing him as ‘small penis’ – he soon realised that maybe saying ‘Morning, Kate’ would be a better way to address me." "Tired of cold callers asking to speak to the ‘man of the house’, I now I put them on to my six-year old son … he sings them ‘Sexy and I Know It’." "Guy on bus: ‘Do you know where the Playboy club is?’ Me: ‘Sure, it’s the next stop.’ That 25-minute walk’ll learn him. #haHA" "Dear guy I caught jacking off in your car while staring at me on the sidewalk, please enjoy the giant dent in your door.
There are two problems with this. The first is that it plays into the tired stereotypical notion that to be a feminist is to be angry, when in fact being a feminist just means believing that men and women should be treated equally. Realising just how unequal they are, however, is enough to piss anyone off. But the fact that some feminists do sometimes get angry doesn’t set them apart from anyone else in the general population, statistically speaking, and given the level of abuse they face, they’ve probably got more reason for it than most.
No, of course it wasn’t the most important feminist victory of all time, but it left me smiling. Quickly, however, I started receiving messages from people (mainly men) suggesting that to use humour as a means of communicating feminist ideas was to belittle the severity and importance of the cause. The tone of my response, it seemed, was not angry or serious enough for them. And this is a common charge levelled at feminists – that they are being TOO FUN and should put on a frown and get on with the proper business of being the shrieking harpies they’ve so often been painted as.
Speaking as a woman, I can certainly say that being able to explore my young adult life without the constant, grating questions of “When are you going to fulfill your purpose and start popping out kids to pay for?” is pleasant (though I am under no illusions that my reprieve from baby-making pressure will last forever). And yes, having to grow up with the expectation that I would be fending for myself and not relying on a man to subsidize my life, while initially difficult, undoubtedly results in a life that is far more fulfilling and full of choice.
I really believe in history, and that’s something people don’t believe in anymore. I know that what we do and think is a historical creation. I have very few beliefs, but this is certainly a real belief: that most everything we think of as natural is historical and has roots — specifically in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the so-called Romantic revolutionary period — and we’re essentially still dealing with expectations and feelings that were formulated at that time, like ideas about happiness, individuality, radical social change, and pleasure. We were given a vocabulary that came into existence at a particular historical moment. So when I go to a Patti Smith concert at CBGB, I enjoy, participate, appreciate, and am tuned in better because I’ve read Nietzsche.
- Connection: Long before there were any primates with a neocortex, mammals split off from other vertebrates and evolved the capacity to feel social pains and pleasures, forever linking our well-being to our social connectedness. Infants embody this deep need to stay connected, but it is present through our entire lives.
- Mindreading: Primates have developed an unparalleled ability to understand the actions and thoughts of those around them, enhancing their ability to stay connected and interact strategically. In the toddler years, forms of social thinking develop that outstrip those seen in the adults of any other species. This capacity allows humans to create groups that can implement nearly any idea and to anticipate the needs and wants of those around us, keeping our groups moving smoothly.
- Harmonizing: The sense of self is one of the most recent evolutionary gifts we have received. Although the self may appear to be a mechanism for distinguishing us from others and perhaps accentuating our selfishness, the self actually operates as a powerful force for social cohesiveness. During the preteen and teenage years, adolescent refers to the neural adaptations that allow group beliefs and values to influence our own.
A neuroscientist explains the science of why our brains are wired to connect and the three ways we do it (via explore-blog)
Tumblr Should have a ‘Lists’ Post, rather than chat!