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The third thing...

Justina Robson
I've been overdosing on other blogs, and articles and books recently.  It's been great.  I'm in awe of the great blogsters out there (Charlie Stross, Justine Larbalestier and you others...) and getting spun around by all the 'research' (ie sitting at my computer surfing idly) I've been doing into women who write SF and that whole gender deal.  One article that hit home was http://www.memdir.org/video/ben-barres-dearth-of-women-in-science.html     So my head is spinning with opinions but I keep coming back to a central wonderpoint, which is: 

clearly there are differences between the genders which exist at a biological level
and these express themselves physically, mentally, emotionally in everyone
and they express socially in everyone's behaviour

the first is biochemistry
the second is the nature/nurture cocktail and how it worked out for you
the third is a cultural construction

It's the third one that causes me the most trouble.  I think this is the least visible of the 3, and the most difficult to handle.  No, there's nothing overtly obvious about the first two that would suggest that men be taken more seriously than women in a million daily situations: buying tickets, waiting tables, eating dinner, talking to colleagues...  and yet, I know from studies and my own behaviour that it is so. 

If I'm not concentrating I can hardly help myself deferring very pleasantly to any damn man, no matter how unsuited, in any situation, for example.  I just tend to do it regardless.  I can't tell you how that sticks in my throat when it happens, though the resulting burst of shame and anger don't help me gain much ground.  And if I, a verifiable geek girl pro-woman sort of person can be like this (unless I am struggling hard inside and 'correct' myself, which, incidentally, makes me experience a horrible churning sensation in the gut like the floor is about to drop out of the world), then it's some powerful juju, it is. 

So, what the hell is that all about?  Is it biology, hardwired into my mammalian brain or even the reptilian bits?  Is it something that happened to make a natural female character into a particularly spineless form of pinky goo?  Or is it the invisible smite of culture coming at me all the time through everyone else's behaviour?  Because clearly if you ask me straight out in a blog I'd say that we are all, men, women, children, to be taken seriously and given the opportunities to express ourselves equally.  Obviously.  And that would cover race.  It goes without saying.  I'd just assume that I was unshakeable on the subject.  And then I watch my own behaviour from the inside and...poof!  I'm like a double agent for the bad side, spurred by anxiety (very palpable) and what I can only describe as a kind of calculated overpoliteness intended to keep my head safely below any enemy-style radars.  Yuck!

But the primal kind of responses it evokes in me lead me to think it can't just be a cultural thing, or even a personal thing.  And its ubiquitousness also suggests it must be rooted in the infernal relation of biology and environment (I mean social environment).  Because it leads to inequalities, present political thinking suggests it ought to be eliminated or rooted out, but how do you do that?  Should I prosecute myself for being a silly girly or would I be stupid to change my behaviour according to a plan?    There's oodles of work to be done before we can find answers or explanations that really match the reality here, even though we must all be experts because we live it every day.  I've yet to see a study on how male and female styles of behaviour mesh with each other to create benevolent wholes though, in spite of their many different strategies and plays.  I'd like to see that but it's prob'ly because I'm a girl and want everyone to get along nicely....

Comments

( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
martyn44
Aug. 14th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
I have worked in a call centre. I have your BBC announcer telephone voice, dark brown, well modulated, educated, the voice of authority. Nobody ever lost their temper with me. Nobody ever shouted at me. Nobody ever swore at me. Yet my female colleagues - every bit as competent as me, and probably more so - were regularly subject to the sort of obscene verbal vomitus that most would expect to hear only outside the roughest pub on a Saturday night. Not just from men. Women were as bad. Men and women alike of foreign persuasion tried to play the 'racist' card when advised they weren't going to get what they were not entitled to get because they hadn't paid for it.

It annoyed the hell out of me and still does. That is the social conditioning, I think. Whatever it is, it is wrong and shouldn't be tolerated.

Quite how we stamp it out - what a manly expression! - is entirely another matter.
dracosphynx
Aug. 14th, 2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
Not sure if this exactly helps, but might put some perspective on the problem before people get too frustrated...
"If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn't." -- Emerson M. Pugh
purpletigron
Aug. 14th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
Gender vs sex vs ?
"clearly there are differences between the genders"

I'd just like to draw attention to the difference between sex, which is biological - phenotype, genotype, etc. ; and gender - which is social, psychological, linguistic etc.

Sex and gender do not vary together in lock-step. They are certainly not synonyms. Neither are binary.

(Then we have sexuality ...).
justinar
Aug. 15th, 2009 08:36 am (UTC)
Re: Gender vs sex vs ?
Yes, I didn't think of that distinction, but it's one of those that I always wondered about though maybe I just don't like the terms as I find them too fuzzy. When people discuss things as being social, psychological and linguistic I feel that there's this silent rider that more or less assumes these features are constructs of the mind which emerged without a biological spur or cause. It implies there's something you can do about the structure of those things by top down intervention. If it didn't why would anyone bother with so many awful social engineering projects?

But there isn't a clear distinction to me between the biology of the body and the emergence of these behaviours such that the behaviours can be considered separately. I don't say that they are in lock-step - the variations must be enormous, within individuals and across populations, but I think they are much more in lock step than present political thought would like to endure. I'd also tend to put sexuality in there with the psycho-features as it is the emergent behaviour of the complex system underneath. Genitalia notwithstanding there are probably hundreds of factors influencing sexuality, from brain structures to hormonal balances and the rest. This sounds like I'm trying to root everything in biochemistry and of course the temptation would then be that you can tinker with that...and the desire to put certain things beyond tinkering is probably well founded given our record on that kind of thing.

I'm sorry if my lack of clarity upset you. I didn't want to get into a gender (what is it) discussion so I hoped that by saying there were differences across genders people would assume I meant all kinds of gender differences, because I bet there are such distinctions although because the non-majority genders are so small in the population it might be hard for them to express their natural tendencies of self expression given the enormous pressure to socially conform. Plus, the majority may be socially blind to it anyway...

hope this doesn't land me in hotter water
purpletigron
Aug. 16th, 2009 06:28 am (UTC)
Re: Gender vs sex vs ?
First, I wanted to apologize for posting when I was tired (which always makes me a little cranky and terse). It is important to me on both a personal and an intellectual level to preserve this linguistic distinction, because of the real concepts underlying the words.

Second, many thanks for such a thoughtful response to my comment!

Third, I'm not angry, and I'm sorry my comment seemed angry.

Fourth ... an actual response to your comment content :-)

I really don't have a handle on all the ways in which genotype, phenotype, gender identity, sexuality (including polyamory) and so on interact with culture, mind, emotion etc.

I do know that the sex-linked aspects of my phenotype doesn't simply predict my gender identity (much less my sexuality :-) - and I don't actually know what sex chromosomes I have!

I appreciate that you didn't want to get into the details of the whole discussion. My intent in my comment was merely to flag up the complexity.

Many thanks.
brownnicky
Aug. 14th, 2009 09:13 pm (UTC)
I suffer a bit from the same problem. I don't defer to men but I do flirt with them - all the time, without thought. I am forty eight for God's sake what is going on?
When I am making a serious point - I always smile sweetly so that I don't hurt the man's feelings. I get horribly irritated when I see other women doing the same thing. I find Harriet Harman horribly irritating even though I think she has a point.

I was brought up to think like a man by my Dad and to be a ( stroppy) fifties woman by my Mum. I think like a man and act like a girl and yet as no men or girls I know actually act according to stereotype even these words are meaningless.
We haven't had reproductive freedom that long, it isn't so long ago that we couldn't be granted degrees, that it was legal to rape your wife, that we didn't even have the vote. What we read and what we see is shaped by the concepts of other generations. I think it will take a while to work through the sociological and cultural inheritance let alone the rest.
justinar
Aug. 15th, 2009 08:39 am (UTC)
Yes, the flirting thing is difficult. It's a kind of grease on the wheels that can allow you to get away with things you'd never manage in a direct way. I don't like it when I see it, because all manipulative behaviour is inherently dishonest, but there's a kind of two way street with flirting, like a game, which seems to rebalance it as fair as long as both parties are aware of what's going on.
samotarski
Aug. 15th, 2009 12:29 am (UTC)
I tend to reason 'IF this is True, how can it be made Right?'. I read Simone de Beauvois when I was in my twenties; “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman" & “in all known societies, woman has always been looked upon as the other”(a viewpoint that may need to be tempered with the studies of, say, Margaret Mead). Could we create an isolated single-gender society uncontaminated by culture? All kinds of ethics issues there. How else can we know outside of trial an error unless remove the context from our minds completely?
justinar
Aug. 15th, 2009 08:40 am (UTC)
You know, those books that tried to create single gender utopias 'uncontaminated' by culture always freaked me out more than any amount of vampires, zombies and slashers. Man, that is COLD. More than that it is so inhuman, so un-animal, so MAAAAD. There can't be a removal of context, obviously, so we'll just have to never know I guess...
dimwit68
Aug. 15th, 2009 11:13 am (UTC)
Nature vs. Nurture.
A slight tangent in terms of how much human behaviour is 'wired in', maybe :)

There appears to be evidence that if you are brought up with your identical twin and that twin develops schizophrenia, then the lifetime risk of your developing schizophrenia is about 48%.

This suggests to me that non-heritable factors can have a significant effect on human behaviour, and that these factors can be subtle.

I'm a bit vague on this because I only have a brief summary. The source referenced is I.I. Gottesman, "Schizophrenia Genesis: The Origins of Madness", W.H. Freeman & Co., 1991. (Amazon says it's 1990, but I think it's 1991). It's also a bit of an old reference... :)
dimwit68
Aug. 15th, 2009 11:14 am (UTC)
Re: Nature vs. Nurture.
PS/ It could also suggest that we don't understand very much about the brain and human behaviour :)
(Anonymous)
Aug. 19th, 2009 08:05 am (UTC)
Genetic programming vs environment
Slightly at a tangent, but I think it helps in working through the general question of how much is programmed in ... Sonia Lyubomirsky's "The How of Happiness" quotes a lot of research which averages out as saying that your basic day-to-day happiness is 50% genetically / biologically determined, 10% by circumstance (ie what happened lately), and 40% by the attitude you take to what happens to you.

Daze

PS: She also says even big things that happen (from death of loved one to winning the lottery) only shift you off your base "set point" of happiness for about three months. You can shift it by changing that 40%. How do you do that? - again, lots of studies to get the answers: 1) live in the now, 2) be grateful for what you have, 3) give up on envy, 4) practise kindness because it makes you feel better than it does the person you give to ... well, duh ... but why don't we all do it?
stroppybrunette.wordpress.com
Aug. 19th, 2009 09:01 am (UTC)
My first thought: what's your mother like with men? Are you copying her on a subconscious level, or are you reacting against her example?

I like Wendy and Rex Stainton Rogers' book, The Psychology of Gender and Sexuality, which has loads of great references which I always intended to follow up.
justinar
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
My mother is omnicompetent and largely unimpressed by men. There's no way she'd defer to anyone, I'm thinking. Perhaps I am being reactionary, hard to say.
weirdmonger
Sep. 6th, 2009 03:36 pm (UTC)
Alsiso
Hi,

I recently reviewed your 'Alsiso' here:

http://weirdmonger.blog-city.com/the_alsiso_project.htm

best wishes, des
justinar
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:04 am (UTC)
Re: Alsiso
Thanks for your thoughtful and kind words on the story.
justinar
Sep. 29th, 2009 09:58 am (UTC)
Re: Alsiso
Thanks for your thoughtful words on the story. Most kind.

Justina.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 9th, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
Don't underestimate biology
A role for biology can be seen in this. Human males evolved the hunting/security role of the pair. This was augmented by higher testosterone levels to increase aggression and confidence. So in paranoid cultures such as the one ours developed from (and still is) it would be natural for people to defer to the dominant male (hence your natural deference). [in uni I had a female chem teacher who noted with great frustration that the males, even incompetent ones, had much greater confidence in themselves than even the best female students] This can and has then been taken as a basis for structuring society in most surviving social systems. And we end up where we are now, trying to dig ourselves out of the inequalities. Hence we have biology leading cultural construction.

It is interesting to note that, for purely survival/evolutionary reasons, that system does seem to work as witnessed by the almost complete domination of patriarchal societies over matriarchal ones. i.e. many of the aboriginal races were matriarchal and, while they had more nature-oriented societies, in the harsh, dog-eat-dog, claw your way out of the primordial soup before you neighbour does, world of evolution, they ultimately lost out. Equally obvious, however, (and I'll note it quick, before I get flamed) is that the single-mindedness of the patriarchal societies have led us to the brink of planetary ruin. Once again, your mother is right 'everything in moderation' and what is needed is equality between the sexes at the level of policy making. [hmm, perhaps the next political system should have 2 prime ministers, one male, one female...how would that work?]

Okay, this is getting long, so I'll just add that the role of biology can be seen as the foundation of most aspects of our society. Why do we incline toward idol worship (the successful/beautiful people)? Inherently, biologically, we believe they have the best genes and would produce the best offspring. Why do men almost always control security? Why do women outnumber men in nursery and pre-school settings? These are biological issues that have then been reinforced by society.

So the way I see humans is that we are constantly in an internal battle between our biology and our intellect. We know that, in a civilized society, all people should be treated equally, have equal rights, etc. but biologically we still have inbuilt prejudices toward: men for security, women for nurturing, beauty for breeding...
justinar
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
Re: Don't underestimate biology
Thank you for this very interesting post. I've delayed responding because I wanted to think over it.

I don't know that I entirely believe that matriarchal societies are nicer places, ecologically or otherwise, in spite of the fantasies written about female utopias and patriarchal dystopias. That aside, I am uncomfortable about allowing some Darwinian processes the power to put personal responsibility off the hook.

It does seem to follow observed patterns that male dominated groups pursuing aggressive tactics have overcome any significant matriarchal groups which might have been unprepared or unsuited to opposing them. It does look like that's true. Whether they do so because of singlemindedness or because they just have nothing else to do with their testosterone and energy I don't know. I tend towards a Lord of the Flies reading on it personally, and think that there are two reasons groups go about the business of conquering: one, they are low on the level of consciousness and high in surplus energy, two, they are smart and realise that taking over the neighboring patch means more goodies for them. There's a kind of wish trend in feminist literature of the utopian kind that wants to say that women's compassion consciousness is so high they wouldn't stoop to this kind of thing but i really doubt it. However, there is something about the man/woman gap that is reminiscent of predator/prey distinctions at the same time. Not that within the sexes there aren't the same divisions between weak and strong, driven and passive.

With regard to the remark that patriarchy has led us to ecological ruin - well, maybe, but a patriarchy contains women, they're not just passive objects no matter how hard men try to make them so. At some point, for some reason, women have allowed themselves to take up positions on a scale that moves from Almost Involved At The Top to slavery at the bottom. Theorists say that the culture is patriarchal in its nature, so women can rise only in conforming to its ways, which are not their ways. And yet I keep being nagged by the feeling that, yes, there is a big biological underpin to this, no, it isn't possible to override it globally by policy, but at the same time women individually can still choose. Those choices may utterly suck however, if you face death for speaking out, for instance. So no surprises there aren't many takers. I suppose I'm getting to the point where I think the reason women don't have a revolution is that we have no common consciousness as women, don't see ourselves as a unified group and therefore react only as individuals. There was some truth in that biting gripe, 'What to men and women have in common? They both hate women.'

Myabe that's proof enough that it's a man's world.

I guess my last question for you would be: you say we have inbuilt prejudice towards various behaviours, for biological reasons, and that implies that 'reason' is superior to biology. But how can a biological fact be a prejudice? Isn't it just a fact? It may not fit with some theories, intended to stop unfairness so all can live in peace, but those theories are flying in the face of nature, which is not fair, transparently, not at all. Whilst doing all we can to make our lives more pleasant, shouldn't we be tailoring things to accommodate our biological reality, and not our fantasy ideology?

Ugly cities, ugly buildings, urban alienation - products of design that came out of abstract theories of art (and hideous political theories that tagged along with them) instead of any comprehension of or sympathy towards actual human behaviour. My example for something that isn't gender based.

And yes, we have to be perfectly clear about what that biological reality is and we should strive to provide the best circumstances in which a huge range of individuals can flourish.

Beauty for breeding: that's just sense, as I understand it, because beauty means a lesser load of potentially damaging genetic mutations.

I need to stop pontificating and work instead...
(Anonymous)
Sep. 17th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
Sibs
Perhaps if you'd have had an older brother then you wouldn't find yourself deferring to a man at all, ever. Apparently key to anyone's dealings with the opposite sex is whether or not you've got an opposite sex sibling.
justinar
Sep. 18th, 2009 11:32 am (UTC)
Re: Sibs
Yes, maybe. I'll never know.
(Anonymous)
Dec. 14th, 2009 03:06 pm (UTC)
The sexes and stuff
Okay, but: how to explain the fascination many women have with hentai (gay) manga and anime, nowadays loosely known as yaoi? And the number of women who write, and read, explicit gay fiction? Sex is not just about breeding and hasn't been for many thousands of years. . . it transcends the gender-gap, social mores and hard-wired ethnic tribalism. It evolved as we evolved and surely part of the reason for all of humanity's disparities is that some people are terrified of its power while others see it as a potential weapon. Quite where that fits in the Quantum Gravity series (can't wait for the fifth book) beats me!
Nigel Foster
foster@europemail.com
justinar
Apr. 12th, 2010 11:50 am (UTC)
Re: The sexes and stuff
Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, I don't know that I am up to explaining human sexuality and its variants but I suppose that we are all fascinated by what attracts us. With regard to the straight-people-like-gay-entertainment issue that seems to be a case of more=better to me. Seeing the objects of one's lusts cavorting is only amplified and perhaps made oddly less threatening to one's own voyeurism if they are cavorting with each other? I don't think that this equates to lusting after gay people of the opposite sex either. I'm sure there is some much more astute analysis of this in the Yaoi forums, wherever they may be. There are so many features impinging on people's sexuality and its expression that almost everyone is a case unto themselves it seems. As you note, the power games involved are mindboggling and consuming.

Does it fit to Quantum Gravity? Possibly if I had taken the time to explore that part of the characters' activities more it might have but as it stands I am a bit disappointed myself to find that I didn't manage to get time to review it. I feel that the style of these books ran off with me a bit, leaving little space for contemplation. Or I was afraid of contemplating and becoming boring. Hard to say. T

:)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 9th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
Gender.
Justina
Just read one of your novels ( Natural History ) and was emailing my mates all excited "Ooo ooo, look what I found, what fun". I enjoyed your writing style, the depth of your characters, the various "Big Thoughts" about identity, and the sheer humanity of your story,the compassion in it. Top book mate! I have not enjoyed a book as much for a long time.
Part of the email was just exactly about this gender issue!. So I just thought I would comment here, say thanks very much for the great read, and also this.

Us mere males also suffer from genetically/culturally programmed faults that consciously we would choose not to suffer. Not unexpectedly, because after all, we are all human, our culture wasn't designed, it just grew. You speak of deferring to men, but I am sure that isn't ALL men, is it?. I know you wouldn't defer to me in a writing contest, now would you.
We defer to men too, in almost every case of interacting, one or two have the deference of the others, Top monkey bad, bites little monkeys tail! little monkey sad now. It is just a defense tool, women and men have evolved.

Any society or group, regardless of its makeup is going to have dominant groups, as anyone who has been on a committee will attest. I won't be the only man to have been the sole representative of the breed on a committee , I am sure, and let me just say, not only didn't I run it, I didn't get to have much of a say in anything either, all those subs I paid to the Patriarchy, a complete waste I can tell you . :)

Keep writing out your Big Thinks for us, you rock hard at it.
justinar
Apr. 12th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
Re: Gender.
Thanks for your thoughts here - a very good point. I suppose we're just stuck with the whole social ape ethos of dominance and submission on a lot of levels. Thanks for your kind words too, much appreciated :)
lightmagician
Mar. 15th, 2010 12:26 am (UTC)
I realize this is completely off-topic to your post, and I apologize for that. I'm a fan of your Quantum Gravity series, and I finally got around to going to the No Shows website in hopes of listening to the music, but the site doesn't seem to be functional. Is that music around somewhere that you could point me to?

Thanks in advance.
justinar
Apr. 12th, 2010 11:39 am (UTC)
Sorry about that, I don't know what happened to the page but I am working on fixing it up. I have been changing domain registrars, providers etc and am still mixed up in that. I apologise for the inconvenience.
lightmagician
Apr. 13th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm looking forward to listening - and to reading the next books.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 8th, 2010 09:54 am (UTC)
My website fiasco is still unresolved. :(
I am hopeless at this side of things, alas. I'll let you know when a new site is made
wozzaker
May. 30th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
Our Real Selves & Thanks
Hi Justina. I've waded through the setup, despite impatience, so that I can have the opportunity of thumping you on the back for a great job of generous, free, and ouch-sharp thinking in creating Natural History. I was a bit intimidated to start with by the dry and snappy detail and repartee, but was enormously glad that I persevered with this free-wheeling future possibility. It possibly feels like sooo long ago now for you, particularly as you've written plenty more, and also have kids I believe (Time warps for some of us whilst parenting). Somewhere I read that you had lived with Buddhism for a while, but needed to feel more "involved in living" than "they' seemed to encourage. For my part I want to use this life to grow sufficiently to be able to see it as clearly as I can in all its layers, and to actually embrace it sincerely. I've also said to people over the years that the Nirvana concept is not so much about losing apparent individuality, but rather gaining more of the whole of The Universal Intelligence from which we initially grow as a distinct part. It's all cool, and that is beautifully expressed in the afore-mentioned bookly creation 'a yorn. Now, I just look at it that our own parcel of bright-eyed awareness (soul) organizes with its immediate team to enter a vehicle suitable for achieving the next gulp of desired expansion of awareness and joyful profundity, and launches. Now said vehicle may be any appropriate sentient being anywhere in this Universe or any other, and if human, may be Male or Female amongst all the other options of circumstance. If we repeat this process then we will no doubt try both genders many times. I too have noticed the survival programming of the Female vehicle, but the sneaky (for you) knee-jerk deference to the male you justifiably bemoan has indeed been a strong and efficient tool in more brutal times past to ensure "our" own survival as women, the wellbeing of our children, and the successful taming and constructive manipulation of the impulsive male. These are great skills, and married to these is the tendency to natural grace and beauty in feminine expression, which can result in a very annoying and debilitating gush of coy and naive worship in us (at present for me) males! These and other "twisted" trappings of behaviour just add seious zest to the challenge of this "earth" game. Fortunately pretty much the worst that can happen to us is we die, we go Home, to our truer, unconstricted awareness, and are free to in due course pick a new character and enter the game again. Fortunately the compassion eventually resulting from experiencing suffering serves to enhance the urge to love and experience joy. Funny bout that. Unlike many of the Buddhists (bless'em) I have known, my urge is to encourage people to love and trust their life setup as being a deliberate creation of our own choosing before incarnation, and therefore to be moshed right into.
Anyway,you have an awesome talent, Justina, and you'd probably find it boring being a male anyway. A respectful ahoy - Warwick.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 8th, 2010 09:50 am (UTC)
Re: Our Real Selves & Thanks
Thanks for such a thoughtful and lovely comment :) It arrived on a day when I was really struggling to write anything and was really welcome. Sorry it took me so long to reply.

Your post also arrived in one of those Not Coincidence moments where a number of much needed things, all related, collide. I was reading Colette Baron-Reid's books about Spirituality, thinking about the big spiritual plot issue in my novel (QG5) and also talking to a few people about the contrast between Unity and Individuality. It's been an intense couple of weeks. Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I agree much more with your vision of the Nirvana concept than I did when I wrote Natural History, and after that when I wrote Living Next Door To The God of Love in which the same ideas get mauled differently. I rather wish I could go back and re do that last book, and fix something in it I couldn't fix at the time, because it was my understanding that was broken. Hey ho though, onwards!

I really enjoyed reading your beautifully expressed concepts of life, gender and the possibilities of many lives on the material plane. I LOVE those ideas but I sneakily suspect they may be a fabulous story. Not that this makes them untrue... I am at a stage of awareness right now where my understanding of reality is warping a lot so I can't comment and make too much sense. As time goes on I find myself wanting to write much more about experience and much less about the nuts and bolts of reality as presented by scientific mind patterns. I used to want to bring them into a unity of vision but actually both seem incompatible as present paradigms. I find myself struggling to find a new way of seeing that can have both represented in the same 'system' but presently it's only a struggle. This leaves my hopes for QG5 slightly flattened because if I do try to make the leap towards a unified vision it will be an artistic sleight and not a real insight, I'm afraid. And I'm frustrated, but the amount I can fiddle with it is limited now. I feel like I get these great ideas that are potential vehicles for much much more than I am able to do with them. But receiving letters like yours makes me very happy that I tried. Thank you so much. And yes, I agree on the Moshing bit too :)
wozzaker
Jun. 10th, 2010 02:45 am (UTC)
Re: Our Real Selves & Thanks
Hey Ho indeed, Justina! Thankyou for your gracious reply. I understand your need to recognize what is TRUE and not buy into what is fanciful, despite what your heart tells you as it strains at the leash. To my delight I have come to accept my yearning dreams as far greater indicators of the actual plot than what the workaday human mind/personality thinks is real. If my take is true, and obviously I am in no way alone here, then when we are incarnated we experience a memory wipe as we squeeze into our new vehicle. I believe this is so that we buy into this reality as sincerely as possible, and thereby participate as wholeheartedly as poss.. This way we stand to gain as vivid a set of experiences as possible, thereby gaining maximum learning/wisdom. Expansion of awareness is a very exciting, satisfying and addictive thing. When we drop with Arny into that jungle in Predator, armed only with what we "believe" might be effective, our awareness is zoomed out to the max, and our excitement at having no prewarned advantage but having to rely on our guts is teetering on "fever pitch". People PAY for that sort of personal-expansion adventure. You guessed my drift - that's what we're all doing here. Okay, pain stimulous may not come from barked shins and hot breath between fangs brushing your sideburns - it may come as a slowly pressure-cooked boil of frustration at continually succumbing to fear and tossing away self-respect. In any event, a strategy of neccessity is called for. With heaps of lifetimes we can try all SORTS of intriguing scenarios.
Now, okay, I have always instinctively believed this. Many people will announce that there is no evidence for it or for even continued existance of any consciosness after demise. This to me is purely part of the strong programming in place in the human vehicle at birth (by design) to treat this life "seriously" as mentioned. If one actually chases info., the floodgates open. There is a fantastic site called near-death.com, which has voluminous quantities of stories etc. - no, I haven't read much of it - but I have read the famous 70's book "Life After Life" by Dr.James Moody M.D.PhD, as well as a later book of his, and also one by an Aussie girl, also an M.D.. They "did" theses based on a broad basket of case histories of people from all walks of life and age groups who had had often startlingly graphic Near Death Experiences. Toowtally fascinatin' stuff.
It stands to my reason that if this life is crafted purposefully by our overarching "superintelligence" buddy (UI, or...God(in a little voice)) then the number-crunching intelligence required would find it no great shakes to attend to the tiniest detail of connectivity, or coincidence, and throw in a nice proportion of flexibility that nontheless results in a return to the desired curriculum, based on past achievements. Trying to plumb the mechanics of this with a plodding 4-d brain is never gunna satisfy. We can't even imagine a the infinity of a Universe that simply can't "end", or being outside time. We don't even know what gravity is. So the clue must be in another"expanded" form of consciousness, and the closest we can get whilst in the human vehicle is through consciousness wavelength alteration, so that we can access the more conceptual thinking of our greater self - our spirit form. Meditation is great for kicking the frantic mind machine out of gear enough for relief and revelations of insight. There are famous stories (you probably know) about people who felt stumped by the willing but insufficient power of their logic, notably Edison, who used to retire to his couch at the back of the factory and come back after a nap with a new inspiration, gained in the conceptual state of waking ("one foot in, one foot out"). (End Part 1)
wozzaker
Jun. 10th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
More Of The Same From Me (i.e.Part 2)
One last thing (of course). If we come from a "greater" world of which this earth environment is just a part, and in that world we gravitate to the states of mind and fellow beings that we resonate with, and communication is actually "communion" of concept, emotion, and humour, then wouldn't we miss that intimacy, quick intelligence, and love when we're shoehorned into one of these 4-d units? We long for love, honour, meaningfulness and total purpose - and guess what - in the overall (truest) sense we absolutely have it. We often just don't get to the point of realizing that great news until we die and are met by our true "family". (As audacious as that sounds to some!) That's all absolutely fine because we're only here for a restricted time (funny how physical bodies are mysteriously programmed to die) and it's all part of the "fun", the game, of Life.
Thanks for allowing me space to pull up my soap box with an eager scraping noise and start getting excited. No wonder I didn't know what I wanted to be when I was younger! I actually knew all along but there wasn't a ready made vocational hat that fitted, except of course that of scrambling, discovering (ouch!) human bean.
I've borrowed Silver Screen from the libraire, by the way - hey, no pressure! You have a lovely day, and good vibes with this present project, which I'm sure is awesome (as Stephanie, my good buddy 16 y.o. nearly 17 daughter, and therefore also I, would say).
Alla' the besta' - Warwick.
samvimes
Nov. 21st, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
Hello Justina, and thank you for writing the Quantum Gravity books. I've been reading them aloud to my partner Susan, and we've just finished Chasing the Dragon. They're great fun - all the characters are rich, Lila Black is incredibly hot, and the complexity of the universe is far more challenging to readers than most. I'll definitely be on the lookout for Down to the Bone.

I ended up here after trawling the Internet for more information on the series. On the gender war question, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. It delves unblinkingly into the biological differences between the sexes, and how the differing behaviors of men and women have evolved to satisfy our species's unique evolutionary approach to reproduction.

Please do keep writing.
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