Friday, 26 September 2014

Why Bad Parents Need Not Apply In Any Discussion

While it's hard to fully define what makes a parent great, there are a few things at least most of us can agree on. These things include not yelling at a child, or using harsh language. One should also not use physical violence or otherwise be rough with the child. What one should do, however, is explain why something isn't right and why it's inconvenient or even painful to other people. The trickiest part in this all is teaching the child that hurting others is a bad thing which one should never do, as morality is a rather elusive and hard to pin down thing. Why not hurt another person if you stand to benefit from it in some great sense?

One could then say that it's somewhat ironic that in many ways the same things which make a parent great also makes a person who spearheads or represents a movement or organization into a most suitable person. While there is some evidence pointing to bias being a genetic thing [1], humans as a whole tend to be at least somewhat reasonable beings, even if it's mostly on the same emotional level as a child. Here the good and bad parents come into play.

Whether it's with the whole feminism, SJW, MRA, pro-/anti-choice, pro-/anti-marijuana, pro-/anti-nuclear power, pro-/anti-infant genital mutilation, intersex vs DSD and heavens know which other generally aggressive and sometimes violent movements exist today, the central theme always seems to be that there are a few at the foreground with the loudest voices. These tend to be the bad parents, as they violently, aggressively and uncompromisingly attack their opponent, making undiluted statements with as goal to inflict as much damage as possible. We have seen quite a few examples of this in the feminism camp over the past months, for example, with figures like Anita Sarkeesian probably having set back the feminism movement by years due to collateral damage.

The thing is that regardless of whether the person you're talking to is a child or an adult, the fact remains that the other person does at that point not think like you and you wish to make that person think like you. If you tell your child before heading off to visit a birthday party or such that if he breaks or damages anything there that he'll be severely punished, because children just don't ever behave, then you're being a bad parent. Why? Because you're starting off with a negative impulse before anything negative has even happened. This only makes the child feel bad and unhappy despite not having done anything yet.

Similarly, if in a discussion or in some video one almost immediately makes scathing, negative remarks and accusations regarding one's discussion opponent or the topic of the discussion (i.e. men in general, or a particular group of people who may support the cause you disagree with), then you start off by punishing them with negativity. You're saying that they're just like that and you dislike them for being the way they are. That doesn't create closeness or enables mutual understanding.

One of the hardest things I know is to make a child understand something that is relatively abstract, such as why they shouldn't hurt another person, or take something that isn't theirs. The best way to do this is through reflection. By inverting the question and asking the child whether they would like it if someone else did such a thing to them and how it'd make them feel, one creates a sympathetic response in the child by enabling them to see and feel the issue from both sides.

I'll gladly admit to being a mostly 'pro, but...' kind of person in most topics. I understand both sides of the discussion, but I also try to see the nuances. Sometimes it's clear that one side in a discussion is so far removed from reality that it's not even funny (usually by avoiding/twisting scientific facts), but I'll still place some question marks by statements made on the side I essentially agree with. No one in a discussion is simply wrong, though. They started off in the same place as everybody else with their reasoning. They just ended up in the wrong place due to a hiccup in their navigation system or construction work.

Much like how all children I have talked with tend to respond quite well to this method of reflection and patient indulgence, so too do adults I talk to. In essence an adult is nothing more than a child with many more layers of complications wrapped around it, after all.

That's why in the debate (for so far there is one right now) on intersex human (and children's) rights I'll never raise my voice, make hateful remarks or otherwise be negative. I will use reflection, sympathy, facts and the bridging of understandings to make those involved see both sides of the issue without forcefully trying to make them decide. I'm not here to pass judgement. Ergo in every interview so far where I got asked whether I hate the doctors and others who have mistreated me I have always replied with: "No, but but I feel frustrated.". Same as one would feel frustrated at a child which doesn't understand yet, but one would never feel anger towards the child.

I'm convinced that in this world where so-called doctors every day gleefully chop up the genitals and internal organs of intersex infants without a second thought or feelings of remorse that which is truly at fault here is not these individuals, but instead The System. People respect The System and thus everyone inside it. People accept that what The System says (through its 'priests') is truth. Meanwhile fractures are beginning to form in The Medical System, with a small minority fighting their way out, but facing overwhelming resistance. What they need is our support, not our negativity and scorn. The only way to bring down The System is through the people which form and sustain it, meaning that we have to encourage change, not condemn the parts which still refuse to change.

In the end any changes in The Medical System will have been too little, too late for myself and most of my generation. That's an unfortunate thing we have to live with. Same as with the African-Americans in the USA of the 19th century who fought for equal rights who never lived to see the fruits of their work in the latter part of the 20th century, we are the first generation to first fully raise our voices in protest against the discrimination and blatant human rights violations against intersex individuals. The 19th century saw both violent and peaceful protests by African-Americans. This century will see both as well. Only question is how long it will take before we win.

Because we will win. We will persevere. We will slay The System that has caused us so much harm and continues to do so every day. For everyone of us who falls, another will take their place. Some may hijack the movement for their own selfish or misguided goals, but they will fade again. It's the same pattern throughout history. Over and over the same story plays out, with only the topic and the duration of the conflict differing. Yet the conclusion is always the same.

Even if we will never live to see the results, we will fight. For we are the ones with history on our side. We cannot relent.

Even if it's a goddarn waste of our bloody time dealing with these stubborn children who just can't get some basic things through their thick skulls.

Because we are the good parents.


Maya


[1] http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/biology-ideology-john-hibbing-negativity-bias

1 comment:

Patrick Horgan said...

You have clearly and succinctly described what is wrong with my life AND the remedy. Love you muchly.