Toynbee's A Study of History

Favorite Quotes


Found this on-line, by "Sarah", and it is a frank summary of where we are in the area of male/female relationships. (By extension, I'm pretty sure non-traditional relationships will soon begin suffering this same syndrome soon, if they have not already.)

Back in the "good old days", people got married. If they didn't get married, they by and large didn't have sex either. This applied equally to men and women. Infamous womanizers in those days were not looked upon kindly by society at large. For a bunch of them to get together to exchange tips and tricks for bedding women faster would hardly have been publicly tolerated. "Players" of the time, like the eponymous Giacomo Casanova, largely made their trade by seducing unsuspecting damsels with promises of marriage and then absconding into the night before their fathers found out. It was a dangerous Game back then.

Then came feminism and women's "liberation"--these women, for some reason, felt that the old rules were not so much for their own protection as for the sick enjoyment of evil patriarchs who got off on oppressing women by making them submit to possessive patriarchal desires. These women wanted the freedom to have sex with anyone and everyone with impunity, and the evil patriarchs, being the sadistic [people] they are, gave the women exactly what they wanted.

Now, it was okay for a woman to be as [promiscuous] as she liked, and consequently, it was also okay for a man to sleep with one without any designs for marriage. This opened the field for unapologetically professional players. Those men who found the lifestyle of a serial conqueror alluring could now practice their craft with impunity, and "liberated" women were available in ample supply to give them all the practice they wanted.

Now, "The Game" was truly born. Regular Joes could avail themselves of the practically inexhaustible [promiscuous women] supply of their home cities without having to run from shotgun-wielding fathers while doing their day jobs on the side. Players' reputations could spread, and they could find each other and network, and no one had anything to say to that. The "seduction community" was formed.

Wherever information gathers, innovation will flourish and scientific progress will accelerate. So, too, in the seduction community, it didn't take long before its pooled talents had distilled the process of getting into a girl's pants into very pure and very effective forms. Armed with unprecedented tactical knowledge, players of a new breed never before seen flowed forth into the streets, bars, nightclubs and grocery stores.

Before the new breed of trained players, women were rendered powerless. The [promiscuous girls] and the shy girls alike fell before the might of the industrially optimized players--right onto their beds with their Birkenstocks in the air.

Women are slowly starting to wake up to the fact that it's getting difficult to secure commitment from men any more. Not all of them are ready to face the fact that giving the milk away for free isn't the greatest way to sell the cow, and even those who face facts can do little about the abundance of free milk available to any man willing to learn The Game.

What women really ought to do if they want to make men commit again is push for the reversal of their original "liberation", but I'm not holding my breath for that one. What they are doing instead is further shooting their own gender in the foot with dating advice that'll guarantee a lonely cat-filled future.

The feminists made their bed, and now their daughters lie in it with men who won't remember their faces a month and ten more girls later.

Very harsh. And right on target. Makes me wonder if all the feminists (and even publications like Cosmopolitan) aren't actually insidious tools of men to retain the current climate of promiscuity...

More and more of us agree that our country is headed in the wrong direction, but there is no agreement on a specific fix. Although it is rather abstract, one crucial thing we are missing which would make the greatest difference is an increased ability to think clearly and rationally about the world. There is no law we can pass, nor any speech anyone could give that would be as valuable to us as the ability to reach conclusions that are more likely to be true.

This is not an easy thing to do, nor does it come naturally to most people. We are feeling creatures, and those feelings make many of our decisions for us--not just in areas such as romance and other life-changing things, but also in how we vote, what products we buy and so on. Rationality is what separates us from the rest of the animals on the planet, and gives us what blessings of prosperity we have. Mere feelings on the other hand, are what usually lead people into harmful relationships. Advertisers, politicians, and acquaintances ply our emotions for their gain. We allow ourselves to be taken advantage of when we reason improperly about things.

By elevating reason and critical thinking, many will think I'm advocating that everyone become rational to the point of coldness. I am not suggesting that we become unfeeling or unsympathetic to others. Rather, I am proposing that we will be happier if we reach right conclusions more often.

Something as important as critical thinking must be taught in schools. People won't study this voluntarily. Nor is a single class period discussing being skeptical of advertisers sufficient. One course in practical reasoning somewhere in high school will not cut it. A debate class studying how to argue effectively is insufficient. No, I am talking about an education track as continuous as reading, writing, science and arithmetic, from grade school through college.

A proposal this radical and time-consuming will require pushing something out of the current American educational plan to make room. I have just the thing to jettison, namely the least useful, most frivolous part of every American child's education: the study of fictional literature and the surrounding fluffy esoterica.

From grade school through college, American students read hundreds of fictional short stories, novels, and poems which do nothing measurable for their ability to reason clearly. Let me lay out the contrast with examples:

We teach students about the metric forms of poetry, their names, and how to write sample poems in those formats. This knowledge is never useful again, unless the student becomes an English teacher or a poet. Meanwhile, we fail to teach students to recognize demagoguery coming from a politician merely bent on acquiring more power.

We force students to memorize definitions for such terms as "foreshadowing", "synechdoche" and "internal rhyme", which they will never use again unless they become an English teacher or a fiction writer. Yet we fail to teach students how to spot simple fallacies in arguments used by influential editorial writers every day.

We insist that students write lengthy reports analyzing works of fiction in depth. But we do precious little to teach students to recognize bad science.

We have time to teach students details about Homer and his writings, which are good for little more than answering Jeopardy questions. But we have no time to solidly teach young people to resist the siren calls of advertisers, who get us to waste our money by manipulating our emotions.

We have students study "hamartia" and "soliloquy", but we fail to teach future generations to look at a prospective leader's character realistically, employing a sound knowledge of human nature.

Despite the clear need to make this change, I imagine there will be many objections to such a proposal. I wish to address those that I perceive would be the most common:

You can't stop teaching reading and writing! I am completely in favor of teaching reading and writing--as long as it is done via non-fiction.

But the "classics" would be forgotten! I am not suggesting that we completely cease studying the "classics". I'm fine with students in colleges and universities voluntarily devoting themselves to such studies. And anyone is free to read fiction in their spare time for entertainment. By all means, keep the classics around for their historical value, and for pleasure. But don't try to tell me that they are more important to the preservation of liberty in Western civilization than teaching young people to reason correctly.

Good morals can be taught via fiction. People's consciousness about social issues can be raised via fiction. You would deprive young people of all the good that can be done. And I would deprive them of all the harm that has been done too. Not all fiction conveys an accurate view of the world. What truth it does contain, it dispenses through the thick veil of an irrelevant story line. I'm sure that good teachers only employ good fiction that promotes good ideas. But are we sure that all teachers are that discerning? Are we sure that they share our viewpoints? It is much harder to pervert the teaching of good reasoning abilities than it is to mislead young people with fiction.

Fictional literature is the only part of the school experience that some children enjoy. That may be, but that will be to their detriment. By the same token, it is the most hated subject of other students, many of whom recognize it as pointless. Let it be elective.

So-called "non-fiction" can also be false and misleading. That is true, and that is why critical thinking skills are essential. I cannot help that much of the written word is false. All I can do is advocate that we teach good reasoning skills so students can learn to critically examine everything they read.

Fictional literature can explore history. Yes, but non-fiction writing can also explore history, without all the fluff and baggage that surrounds fictional accounts. Besides, if you hadn't noticed, nobody learns the lessons of history anyway.

But you'll turn our kids into little Mr. Spock's! That will drive us nuts! If it drives you nuts that they disagree with you on factual grounds, then I can't help you. You should be pleased that your children will be more often correct about matters, and that they will have better lives for it.

But fiction is the only part of most English curricula that most English teachers actually enjoy teaching. It gives them a chance to enjoy the classics all over again, sometimes discovering new tidbits hidden in those precious pages. It gives them the chance to relive life as the Lit majors they wanted to become. Now we've hit the nail on the head. I am more concerned for our nation's future, and reaching that goal requires smarter people.

The great popularity of the Beatles was due primarily to the rapid growth of technology, combined with good old-fashioned human nature: Our increase in prosperity after the war (WWII) allowed teens to own their own radios and phonographs. So instead of listening to radio programs approved by the adults (on the lone family radio), or records purchased by the adults (and played on the family's one phonograph), teens could—and did—begin listening to their own music. The shift from an agrarian to an urban society, plus the affordability of the automobile, also facilitated the formation of the "generation gap", and allowed pop culture's influence to exceed that of parents. The shrinking globe meant that bands did not have to travel and be seen in person at the local ballroom to become famous on a large scale. Television, radio and records allowed one band to be seen and heard worldwide.

Given those events, it was only a matter of time until some band put all of these things together, and simultaneously began appealing directly to youth—whose tastes are by definition, not as refined as those of adults. Therefore, we witnessed the death of lyrics that would actually make good poetry if merely read aloud. And we witnessed the proliferation of music based merely on catchy melodies, simple harmonies and repetitive lyrics. Sure, the Beatles may have played around with different instruments and technologies (e.g., backward masking), but others have done that. They were the beneficiaries of the combination of factors needed to propel one band to superstar status for the first time. Music styles today are so diverse that no single band will again garner the concentrated attention and admiration that the Beatles did. This creates the illusion that they will never be equaled, even though their talent was not all that unique.

Diversity is an interesting liberal value. It's supposed to be a good thing but you never hear a substantive justification for why it is good. It fails to pass muster on several counts:

Vagueness. The first question one should ask about diversity is, "Diversity of what? Race? Religion? Gender? Height? Age? Morals? Skin color? Intellect? Political opinion?" It is rarely specified.

Inconsistency. As with many liberal ideas, this one contains contradictions. In going through the above list, you quickly encounter them: Should we have diversity in our political opinions? Liberals would not agree with that. Diversity of religion? Atheists would say there should be no religions of any kind. Diversity of morals? The anti-gay stance adds diversity to the moral landscape, but liberals oppose the anti-gay viewpoint.

Don't get me wrong: I welcome racial and gender diversity. A room full of people with diverse intellectual skills is a wonderful thing to behold. However, moral diversity causes societal strife. Other applicatons of the concept are vague and inconsistent as practiced by the very people who preach it. So, beyond racial, gender and intellectual diversity, can anyone give me a substantive justification for why embracing this value makes us a better nation? I suspect it is little more than a mechanism of guilt assuagement for the 60's crowd...