A Culture At Rest Tends to Stay At Rest

A Culture At Rest Tends to Stay At Rest

I am certainly skeptical of some of the views expressed on this blog. I am neither polyamorous or steeped in the glamor of the fashion industry. I am politically conservative on not only economic but social issues as well, I believe that religion has value that science cannot replace, I hesitate to equate what’s natural with what’s normative, and as a business consultant I spend most of my time in airports and board rooms. Obviously, my beliefs and lifestyle aren’t exactly aligned with the themes of this blog. Yet, Polyglamorous and I have a couple of fundamental beliefs in common. We believe that constant questioning is critical to human progress and that young people today aren't doing enough of it.

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Robert Heinlein - Novelist, Philosopher, #Jungler

Robert Heinlein - Novelist, Philosopher, #Jungler

Robert Heinlein was a best-selling novelist, prolific science fiction writer, and philosopher who lived 1907-1988. "Heinlein's critics cut across all ends of the political spectrum, as do his fans." He was an author who probed ranging issues such as sex, race, politics, and individualism. He was a fallibilist whose views evolved throughout his lifetime, earning him both praise and criticism.

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The Unlikeliest Cult: Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and the Cult of Personality

The Unlikeliest Cult: Ayn Rand, Objectivism, and the Cult of Personality

The following excerpt has been reproduced word-to-word from Michael Shermer’s book Why People Believe Weird ThingsI do not hold copyright to this excerpt. It has been reproduced for educational outreach, without the author’s consent. The copyright is held by the author “Michael Shermer” and the publishers:

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#Junglers Don't Slut Shame

Aporia refers to an emotional reaction to an unresolveable internal conflict. It's like one moment you see the world one way, and then suddenly you can't anymore. It can happen if you suddenly doubt something you once believed certain. I have felt aporia several times in my life, at once it was scary, but now I don't fear it. It feels like your world (or your mind) is collapsing. It's like being washed in uncertainty and doubt. It's kind of scary at first, so a lot of people choose to emotionally shut down at the onset of its sensed approach, others see an idea is interesting when you are afraid of taking it to its logical conclusion. The fear of uncertainty doesn't last long, especially if you are certain that you are uncertain. Each time I have felt aporia has made me stronger and more secure with residual good feelings. I am more interested in being right, so I am not afraid of being wrong–that is why I welcome aporia.

There is fading stigma against being sexual. But why is there any stigma against being sexual in the first place? Besides cultural guilt, I think a lot of it stems from jealousy and fear. It's an "I'm not doing that, so you shouldn't be doing it either!" attitude. Or "we must be careful to preserve our customs and traditions!" No need to be sentimental, traditions are merely repetitions masquerading around as truth. Currently, a lot of people go through romantic life believing their purpose is to find "the one." In this landscape, hypersexual people are seen as a threat, because they create increased competition for potential exclusive partners. Hypersexual people can also seem like lures who cause otherwise would-be exclusive partners to stray. So in the past, promiscuous people (primarily women) have been shunned, shamed, and a little feared.

In the article, referred to in the image above, Rashida Jones got flak for telling pop stars to stop acting like whores, suggesting that she absurdly thinks selling sex is immoral. It was negatively interpreted as a reprehensible form of slut shaming.

What is the message pop culture is communicating regarding sex? Paris Hilton's, Kim Kardashian's, and Farrah Abraham's sex tapes have all resulted positively for the women. I would even go so far to say it empowered and helped them grow.

With google search engines and gmail, data mining on our iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram– avoiding leaving a digital footprint is impossible. We have accepted it as part of life. Furthermore, people use Snapchat to sext, people use their iPhones to make amateur porn, and we are becoming more indifferent to the possibility of ourselves exposed on the internet. I think this will result in more forms of behavior to become acceptable. These are new customs, old ones are leaving. Things change, nothing is constant, and it's not actually scary or weird, it's quite natural and normal. Kids these days have been inundated with these cultural messages and sexual images, and they see no ethical (or practical) dilemma with being open or sexual. In fact, they probably see that being open and sexual leads to comfort, opportunity, and personal growth.

Belle Knox is a famous porn star who is a student at Duke University, one of the most elite colleges in the world. When she was first outed as a porn star she encountered a harsh barrage of criticism and hazing, however the well-spoken performer (she obviously reads books) flipped the table on her critics. The internet community rallied to her corner when she defended herself in an article on XOJANE. Duke supported her position, and now she's a major celebrity with a skyrocketing career. There is no shame in that. She's even about to host a reality show called The Sex Factor.

On the other hand, being open and sexual does make you vulnerable. Being open with others ensures you will occasionally be ostracized or criticized, and maybe even hurt, but that isn't the end of the world. These moments can be positive stressors that make us grow and self-reflect, as we should continue to do throughout our lives. If you've ever had your feelings hurt, or felt let down, don't close up! You could forget how to feel and how to attract the compassion you need and want. You can just as easily experience post-traumatic growth as you can experience post-traumatic stress, it's all about how you think. If you learn to be comfortable being vulnerable, you will find power in vulnerability.

Slut-shaming obviously still exists and sometimes it's covert. For example, a lot of bachelor men perpetuate this problem by being jerks who objectify women for selfish enjoyment, unfulfilling women before shunning them. This is a strange emotional punishment for both parties, and as a result I think it contributes to people feeling more lonely than they should. It doesn't hurt to be nice (and it's actually in one's best interest!). For men, I recommend reading She Comes First: The Thinking Man's Guide to Pleasuring a Womana dose of The Athena Doctrine: How Women (And the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule The Future, and The Moral Animal.

Here is a great article by Olga Khazan in The Atlantic, called "There's No Such Thing as a Slut." In the article, Khazan references a study on "sluttiness":

"... despite the pervasiveness of slut-shaming, there was no cogent definition of sluttiness, or of girls who were slutty, or even evidence that the supposedly slutty behavior had transpired. In the study, she notes that though 'women were convinced that sluts exist' and worked to avoid the label, some of their descriptions of sluttiness were so imprecise ('had sex with a guy in front of everybody') they they seemed to be referring to some sort of apocrypha–'a mythical slut.'"

"'The term is so vague and slippery that no one knows what a slut was or no one knows what you have to do to be that,' she told me. 'It circulated around, though, so everyone could worry about it being attached to them.'"

"Perhaps no recent example of slut-shaming is as horrifying as the shooting in Santa Barbara last week. Before killing seven people in his rampage, Elliot Rodger vowed to 'slaughter every single spoiled, stuck-up blonde slut'— all while complaining that those very same 'sluts' refused to sleep with him... the shooting highlighted that 'slut' is simply a misogynistic catch-all, a verbal utility knife that young people use to control women and create hierarchies. There may be no real sluts, in other words, but there are real and devastating consequences to slut-shaming."

I think the negative emotional connotation attached to the word slut mostly implies people feel like it is immoral. I define a slut as someone who is promiscuous– and I don't think that is immoral or reason to feel shame. The Ethical Slut written in 2009 is a great book that proudly attempts to reclaim the word slut in a positive light.

Our culture cues indicate that we are moving in a more sexual direction. Lars Von Trier's recent movie Nymphomaniac deals with explicit sexuality. And he wasn't even the first, there was a film in 2003 at the Cannes Film Festival with Chloe Sevigny (Brown Bunny) where she gave fellatio on screen. A peak in the new high fashion sensation TVTOR MAGAZINE further hints that porn and high art are merging.

So what is going too far? I don't know, but I don't think it is for us to tell. I think people should be free to express themselves, and I think hypersexualization is a cathartic therapy curing us of embedded cultural guilt and shame associated with sex.

The anti-slut shaming movement is here. This is great news for everybody and Tinder has arrived just in time (Jana and I have even produced two of their videos, see if you can spot us in them)! It's the 21st century, and I think it's time we grow up. There should not be sexual double standards between men and women. Instead, we should continue to strive to learn how to love better.

So go be a slut. Or don't. It's your choice. Whatever you do– don't be a bigot. Feel good. Be free.

Bad Philosophy

Wake up and smell the universe.
Wake up and smell the universe.

I wanted to take a moment to share some excerpts from David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity (a New York Times bestseller). This is one of my favorite books. I think it has some flaws, but in it David Deutsch eloquently presents a lot of essential ideas better than anywhere else I've encountered.

In it, he defines bad philosophy as "philosophy that is not merely false, but actively prevents the growth of other knowledge."

"Error is the normal state of our knowledge, and is no disgrace. There is nothing bad about false philosophy. Problems are inevitable, but they can be solved by imaginative, critical thought that seeks good explanations. That is good philosophy, and good science, both of which have always existed in some measure. For instance, children have always learned language by making, criticizing, and testing conjectures about the connection between words and reality."

"Bad philosophy has always existed too. For instance, children have always been told, "Because I say so." Although that is not always intended as a philosophical position, it is worth analyzing it as one, for in four simple words it contains remarkably many themes of false and bad philosophy. First, it is a perfect example of a bad explanation: it could be used to 'explain' anything. Second, one way it achieves that status is by addressing only the form of the question and not the substance: it is about who said something, not what they said. That is the opposite of truth-seeking. Third, it reinterprets a request for true explanation (why should something-or-other be as it is?) as a request for justification (what entitles you to assert that it is so?)... Fourth, it confuses the nonexistent authority for ideas with human authority (power) – a much-travelled path in bad political philosophy. And fifth, it claims by this means to stand outside the jurisdiction of normal criticism."

"One currently influential philosophical movement goes under various names such as postmodernism, deconstructionism and structuralism depending on historical details that are unimportant here. It claims that because all ideas, including scientific theories, are conjectural and impossible to justify, they are essentially arbitrary: they are no more than stories, known in this context as 'narratives'. Mixing extreme cultural relativism with other forms of anti-realism, it regards objective truth and falsity, as well as reality and knowledge of reality, as mere conventional forms of words that stand for an idea's being endorsed by a designated group of people such as an elite or consensus, or by a fashion or other arbitrary authority."

"Elegance is a heuristic guide to truth." There is a "need to create objective knowledge to allow different people to communicate."

The Prison vs The Jungle

The Prison vs The Jungle

The famous philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer says the best way to accustom yourself to life is to view it as a prison. “That’s depressing,” I thought. However, the prison does ensure certain securities.

There is less uncertainty and danger in a prison compared to, let’s say a jungle. The prison is constructed by man to impose order. The jungle, abiding by the laws of nature, is pure chaos. Chaos is the law of nature; order is the dream of man.

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