What the World Might Be Like

I was watching Monty Python on Saturday and as always I am just captured by their brilliance.  But a thought occurred to me and it showed me how much I have changed from the 16 year old Monty Python addict I used to be.  I watched these 6 comedy geniuses and wondered do I only know them because at the time they made the show, it wasn’t possible for 6 female comedy geniuses to share the airwaves.

When I look at the figures in history who have amazed and inspired me.  All of them are men.  Then I thought about all the many scientists who have changed the world, the famous artists and musicians who we still herald as the greats of all time, the great and wise leaders, philosophers…99.99% of them are men.

I guess I don’t doubt that many of these historical greats would still rise to the top, but what would history look like if, through millennia women were allowed to compete too?  How much more textured would our world be when the other half of the population were actually allowed to participate?  So many opportunities for competition and collaboration lost.  Right now our world is shaped by men, and I think that a history in which women had an equal say in it’s direction would have been a better one.  I hope humanity does make it another 10,000 years at least so at some point someone can look back as I am doing now and see a much more pluralistic history.  One that has been truly shaped by all that humanity has to offer.

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29 thoughts on “What the World Might Be Like

  1. Completely agree … and Netflix has quite a few Python documentaries available right now, each showing us that they were full spectrum people, that is they were dicks as often as not.

    men are too afraid of women to allow them to compete fairly. They cannot forget their domination by women (their mothers) and the reproductive power they have, so they idealize them and place them on pedestals, far enough away from things to compete with us.

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    1. Yes, I’ve been watching the documentaries as well. I mean I think it’s often part and parcel with people so talented, they tend to be less than humble at times and this usually results in a good bit of dickishness!

      men are too afraid of women to allow them to compete fairly. They cannot forget their domination by women (their mothers) and the reproductive power they have, so they idealize them and place them on pedestals, far enough away from things to compete with us.

      I think there is some truth to this, but it sounds a little too Freudian to me. lol Seriously though this may be sometimes the case, but misogynistic attitudes often really are demeaning, and seem far from any sort of idealization. But perhaps they I idealize is different than others. I suppose their are less and more healthy forms of idealization. It seems possible to revere women though and still see them as valid participants in society. I also wouldn’t say that all mothers dominate their sons, mothers are also quite nurturing. I guess the nature of that nurture might depend on how you already see gender roles in your society. It’s a bit of a chicken and egg.

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    1. Obviously I could make the same post and talk about race as well. And yes, I guess I am a dreamer. Guilty is charged. Thanks for not smacking me with too much reality. Well I do see a better future in the long run, but it’s a slow march with apparently a good deal of faltering along the way.

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        1. Indeed. If there is one thing that is modeled by the evolution of the universe, and the evolution of life is that from simplicity comes complexity. Or in other words, things are built from the ground up.

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    1. I do agree that women have their strengths and perhaps you are right about cooperation and collaboration. But I think there is something more to it than that. For instance it requires quite a lot of cooperation and collaboration in being part of an army and men can do that rather well also. Perhaps the more fundamental thing missing is the on average less aggression in women or that inner understanding of what it means to create life and an aversion to destroying it. I don’t know.

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      1. OK, since you mentioned the military. When soldiers are trained, they are first broken down so that they obey orders without question. To me, this is not at all the same thing as true cooperation and collaboration. I think women are by nature the sort of people who gather in, who look to support and elevate rather than to compete and break down, though there are certainly those women who have learned to do these things effectively in the workplace. It’s a fundamental nature thing I’m trying to get to, so I reserve the right to be wrong

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        1. Modern military tactics of breaking soldiers down is quite different than the way it used to me. I’m even talking about hunting, or any type of coordinate effort for attacks. I do think that women in general are better at organizing. I think from the perspective of leadership and strategy they are quite good, but I think cooperation is a basic primate strategy that is in the best interest of all genders. For me the difference lies more in what we are cooperatively trying to do. Cooperating for a violent attack, or cooperating in peaceful diplomacy are both cooperation, but both have very different consequences.

          Again, I’m not saying your wrong, it’s just not obvious to me I guess that all of us don’t have cooperation in our genes as part of being a social species.

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            1. I think the most important point is, let’s give it all a shot. The fact is we don’t know whether it will better, the same, or worse, because it’s just been assumed that men simply do it all better, and that is simply an unwarranted assumption. Once we truly have an egalitarian society with leadership that reflects our population, then we can make more informed decisions about who does what better. I don’t think an honest conversation can truly be had until we have a more honest society.

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            2. I couldn’t agree more – you nailed it, Swarn, with ” … once we truly have an egalitarian society with leadership that reflects our population …” I am beyond thrilled to see Muslim, Native American and Hispanic women now elected to the House. It’s a start! And to be clear, I’ve advocated for this sort of parity and progressive representation since the ’60’s. Government is a cumbersome beast, but for the first time since the Presidential election, I feel a glimmer of hope for the future of this nation. It is high time to usher in a more honest and egalitarian society, to be sure. Aloha!

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            3. I agree, this election was a cause for some optimism in that regard. I think I’ve been a bit too “glass is half empty” about it all because there still is a long way to go. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that progress is slow…progress is still progress.

              As always Bela, your presence is like a breath of fresh dewy Hawaiian air. 🙂

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            4. Aww, you’re too sweet. I, too was (more than) a bit ‘glass is half empty’ for quite awhile after 2016. But most encouraged by these new developments we have discussed. Progress is still progress, yes. And the collective does move exceedingly slow. But reading as much history as I do these days, I am further encouraged that ‘we’ are moving much more rapidly than it might at first blush appear. And we will need to, too – in order to continue human evolution on Planet Earth. Love to you and yours, Swarn. Aloha.

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  2. I’m not sure that it’s totally because women aren’t allowed to participate and/or compete.

    I tend to think it’s more because those that do are ignored/overlooked/put down. And quite often actually criticized for stepping outside of their “right and proper place.”

    I might be just a wee bit prejudiced, but I truly think mature women (past the hormonal stages), if allowed to act on their own, would be far superior to men in nearly all areas. No insult intended.

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    1. Thanks for your comments Nan, and no offense taken. You may be right, but even if you aren’t I think we should at the very least give it a try. Certainly female leaders like Margaret Thatcher and to a good extent the type of leader Hillary Clinton would have been might not be the best example. But I think largely such women are only able to advance by surviving in a man’s world. I think once we have a truly equal playing field, we can truly see the advantages women offer. I think we even see it with younger women in areas where we do have an equal playing field between men and women.

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  3. I do believe that the best will only happen when we embrace both feminine and masculine sides in both men and women. This isn’t an either/or topic. It is so patriarchally defined at this moment, men are discouraged from exposing the feminine side, and women are trying to be men. This is the great divider. Full appreciate and develop both sides in each of us would imo, be the ultimate period of enlightenment.

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  4. It seems ‘woman as superwomen’ is part of the new world dream.

    Maybe, due to my age or life experience – or whatever -, I no longer believe in humanity without inhumanity. Logically, nobody is perfect. Sin or – if one is more secular minded – corruption are AS ENDEMIC to human character as sociability or altruism. How is it women will be any more effective in changing these facts? They won’t be. It is not their fault they are not superwomen but, they are not.

    Some may think I’m demeaning women but I’m not. It would be demeaning to attribute something which seems messianic to their gender. [Admittedly, women as Messiah is not your claim, but I can’t help attribute the quality to the constant din of feminine succor.] Even Christ is not Messianic due to gender.

    Also, you’re being influenced by men is not much different than women being influenced by women, though the cacophony will insist otherwise.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. I guess I don’t quite agree with your point of view, and maybe partially just my own intuition. I don’t think corruption is as endemic to human character as sociability or altruism. I think this may be only the case as a result of how civilization is structure. We know hunter-gatherer tribes are far more egalitarian than civilization tends to be, and so I think part of why corruption is so prevalent is more because we are living in a world far different from that we evolved in. That being said, there is no turning back and thus you may be right from a pragmatic point of view here.

      I guess I would more strongly disagree that Christ’s gender doesn’t matter as a Messiah. I think that when you look at religions that have been made since civilization began out of our move to farming, head gods are primarily male and I think that says something about the importance the value societies placed on males vs females. While Christ is certainly not sexual, I do think that the choice of gender here is not random. I think Christianity is a good example of a clear message that males can be your Gods or your Messiahs, your disciples and your prophets, and women, well just read the bible and you get a sense for what role women play.

      It seems unarguable to me that a world in which half the population is oppressed is a less moral one than if that was not the case. Certainly nobody is claiming that bad stuff would ever happen. I’m quite sure we would still have racism, but the layers of dehumanization matter. A world where genders are equal might still have been racist towards black people, but the hole you have to climb out of as a black woman is much harder than it would be in a world in which we had a more egalitarian view towards gender.

      It also seems unarguable that if both men and women are educated and whether through competition or collaboration we simply have more ideas in the marketplace and a faster pace to come up with better answers to solve our problems. I make no claims that the world would be perfect, but it would be a more honest one, and more representative one, and I think that matters a great deal. And there are at least on average differences between men and women and I do think there are qualities that are complimentary to each other that don’t come together in so many areas of society.

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  5. This is something to truly think about. I’m currently learning about healthcare quality and the concept of “systems thinking”. In essence, it stresses the importance of bringing everyone to the table to resolve issues and improve performance. When everyone, people of all races and genders and socio-economic walks of life are brought to the table we have the best chance of creating the most influential and sustaining improvement. These are universal concepts that speak to the fact that with many counselors much more can be accomplished. We as mankind would achieve so much more if everyone was included.

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    1. Thank you for this excellent comment Heather. This is quite along the lines of my thesis here in that, how can we have an honest conversation about how to solve problems when we aren’t bring a good representation of who the problems impact to the table. The fact that men have been largely the sole researchers and the sole legislators over women’s health and their bodies for so long, it’s almost mind-boggling how anybody thought that was a good idea.

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  6. Think of Cecilia Payne, who’s 1925 work on stellar interiors (A Contribution to the Observational Study of High Temperature in the Reversing Layers of Stars) was described by the famed astronomer and author of over 900 scientific papers, Otto Struve, as “undoubtedly the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.” In England she couldn’t even enter a doctoral program because she was a woman.

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    1. And she was a person who ended getting to write a thesis. How many intellectually gifted women never even set foot in a classroom? It’s mind-numbing to think of the numbers of brilliant mines we’ve cast aside in our history.

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  7. Ahhhh Haaa Swarn,
    But we are here, you are not recognizing us!!
    Hypatia 350 BC
    Pope Joan, commonly referred to as Johanna, AKA John Anglicus of Mainz, Germany born in 814. [Women of Power: A Quiet Revolution] https://goo.gl/swRu94
    Marie Currie and her daughter Irene Currie
    CEO Ursula Burns (the first African American CEO): “A tidal wave is coming.” Ursula was referring to women – feminism, as a collaborative emergence of equality.
    A Legacy of Women – Queen Elizabeth I https://goo.gl/qwTgdT
    Queen Elizabeth II
    Hassanal Bolkiah Brunei
    Margrethe II Denmark
    Gertrude Bell Desert Queen
    Any Woman who has spoken on TedTalks !!!!
    Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a feminist writer, lecturer, and thinker at the turn of the 20th century
    Suzanne Valadon, self-taught artist of Bohemian Paris

    Do you want more???

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    1. Hi MicheleElys. I certainly didn’t say that there were no women of significance, but I’m quite sure there would not be enough time in my life to list notable men, powerful men, playrights, authors, artists, philosophers that have shaped society. What you are citing are drops in an ocean. Certainly a history is long as ours isn’t going to be empty of significant woman, but the disparity is glaring and unbalance to a significant degree considering this is has always been half the people who have ever lived

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