Ugh, this is like saying “the only axiom is there can’t be axioms”. Being correct or incorrect, which in English are generally considered synonyms for right and wrong, is provable. Look, you are an intelligent person, and the only issue I have is the apparent cognitive dissonance that phrases like that appear to show.
I come from a place of respect and sincerity. And I concede I am wrong (heh ) quite often.
This is very much what I was try to (poorly) explain. Saying that I was being “explicit” might seem an overstatement for emphasis. But what I meant was that when I state that something is but one of numerous opinions, by one of numerous people, that there are no claims of it being “reality” - mine, theirs, or anybody’s. I am (as it were) aware (more or less) that subjective/objective, fact/opinion are not straight, reality-splitting dichotomies which comprise any bedrock of existence. But I have always found it more accurate to use language which acknowledges and assumes that there is a boundary between this organism and all else, even if this boundary appears to be shifting, permeable, and temporary. If for no other reason to make as explicit as possible that my models are not reality.
This sounds more inflexible than I’d like. It might be more accurate to say that when “the outside world” is a factor, I am more trusting of checking things by means of some formal reasoning. But this is just a helpful error-checking mechanism rather than anything absolute. When it’s just me and my thoughts I don’t mind indulging in surrealism, mysticism, or that which is even more blatantly irrational - just for fun.
I could write a whole book about what I think gender really is. The easiest thing to do is simply ask people what their gender (or race, or anything else) might be. As for the performative “you are what you do” as put forth by AcerPlatanoides, I agree. But mapping of a person’s subjective state to one’s own models of inter-personal interaction is a difficult process with no certainties - hence all of the stereotypes we encounter. It is hard to say that one knows how a person performs their gender in any definitive way.
People who embody gender polarity I think of as being twins. They are composed of two (usually) principles or aspects which have both their own, internal dynamic - and also interact with the internal poles of other people. Any labels people associate with these, such as masculine/feminine, gay/straight seem to be completely arbitrary. For example, in the Hindu tantras, the “male” is the passive principle, while the “female” is the active principle. In the Buddhist tantras, these roles/labels are reversed. How I think this works with regards to gender identity is that most people have no idea, at any given time, which pole is participating in themselves, or the other. A person can assume they are “straight”, yet their male body is embodying a male principle which is attracted to the corresponding male principle in a female’s body - so is it a straight or gay relationship? These polarities can even change over time within the same partners. Likewise, a person who appears “gay” may be involved with the opposite polarity within their partner, as might be implied in some top/bottom relationships. My experience is that those who are decidedly, adamantly masculine/feminine, gay/straight are choosing an identity rather than being aware of this flux of polarities. Some who appear more fluid might be monopoles, duals who never stay constant, or truly polyvalent. People seem to like their dichotomies. But the content of them is often superfluous, the poles could be lemon/lime, chocolate/vanilla, or nearly anything else.
I don’t pretend it’s okay for anyone to wear pajamas to court, any more so than I think a passenger should steer a ship. People are totally welcome to suffer the logical consequences of not giving a darn what other people think!
You can’t be right or wrong, only your ideas or behaviors can, but those aren’t you. It is tempting to assume that we know reality, and do this more or less accurately. But it seems more likely that we create models of it. Those models can change over time, or even cohabit with other, contradictory models. People more often than not seem to compartmentalize apparently incompatible ideas for their daily convenience. I’d say that this is a process it helps to be aware of, and that it doesn’t make the person right or wrong for doing it.
The problem, I think, is that the phrase - although well-known - carries the baggage of older, inaccurate ways of thinking about thinking. This is the very basis of the ad-hominim remarks which often occur - that it is easy to confuse the idea for the person, and critique the person. Since the process bears so strongly upon how people frame social problems and personal relationships, I suggest that the distinction goes beyond simple semantic nitpicking.
For example; consider, if you would, in cognitive/behavioral therapies the distinction made in helping people to recognize and work with the subjectivity of their states. A person who asserts that “people are making me feel this way” gives up a degree of their agency, self-control, and capacity for meaningful action. Rather than modelling the process, transaction, or whatever - they become rigid and reflexive, assuming a direct emotional transference between others and themselves. Taking a step back, they might consider that “somebody did something, and then I felt a certain way about it”. Which in contemporary psychobabble might be called “owning your feelings”, or some such thing. The same mechanism becomes apparent when trying to modify one’s own less-than-desirable behaviors. How would this even be possible if we couldn’t draw a distinction between our self, and our behaviors? Otherwise, I AM my addiction, my ignorance, or my tendency to pick my nose at business meetings. And if that distinction exists between myself and my behaviors, how much of a leap is it to assume that this might apply to others as well?
No, it is not a choice. Perhaps it us as much of a choice as breathing, but that just drops the conversation to absurd levels.
When you say on the one hand All identity is pretense, but on the other that identity is a choice, then you have made an explicit stance that all people are perfectly logical. But we aren’t, and there are frequently biological imperatives that take ‘choice’ and ‘pretense’ out of the picture.
Like was mentioned above there are no spherical cows, and we are big bags of squishy meat.
And I to you, in return. So if we all pay it forward, the respect we’d like for our own opinions, we might do well.
For my part, I come across as an ass, but look at what I respond that way to. Because it’s exactly this gap. I choose to be an ass to make a point when other people expect special rules for their own opinions that they do not offer in return. Special rules only means one thing, bullying.
Nobody wants to fight, but someone has to know how to.
Obviously you’ve already declared this “overly bellicose” so I’m not going to dwell on it, but I don’t think that’s problematic. If identity is a pretense that that is no more or less true whether you are cis or trans.
That is exactly the point being argued. What are you? It would seem to me like @popobawa4u thinks that a person is actually a thing that is apart from their beliefs and behaviours. @AcerPlatanoides thinks people are behaviours, rather than ideas and behaviours. Depending on which day you catch me on I would argue either one of those things or I would argue that a person is a bag of meat and ideas and behaviours are the bag of meat equivalents of the tendrils grown by slime mold.
I know that sounds like philosophy class talk that doesn’t mean much in the real world. It sounds to me, though, that the idea @popobawa4u keeps presenting that is hard for people to understand is that we could actually apply that “philosophy class nonsense” (which, in this case, isn’t so much nonsense as it is a probably better empirical view of reality) to actual life.
It’s feels like a huge relief to see someone resort of talking about existence or lack of a boundary between the organism that they refer to as themselves for social purposes and the world outside that organism. Rather than “accurate” I would say “socially necessary” to describe why I would use the word “I” to ambiguously refer to some combination of that organism, the mind that exists most prominently in that organism and the movements that organism takes. I can see how it is “accurate” in the sense that it probably hits the mark being aimed for. I feel like it’s a lie I have to tell because the truth in inexpressible.
I suppose it can! Maybe there is a continuum between all or nothing? Something can be automatic, but still become far more optimal with practice. To extend your example, I actually do practice my breathing! So I can breathe better generally and in many more ways than I did originally. The same can be said of any sort of “discipline”, such as hygiene, athletics, or education. Just because there is some baseline of circumstance need not imply that we cannot do something with it. Some people have actually complained to me that not choosing to have a self is the same as one denying that they exist! Not choosing to have an identity doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen on its own. But through not being attached to it, I feel more able than I would be otherwise to navigate it’s inconsistencies, rather than taking it for granted.
But we are our organism. When I have a stroke at 70 I will not be the same. My mind is not going to be uploaded to the singularity. And when I pass I hope to make some damn fine tomato fertilizer. There are no spirits, no external consciousness, and nothing besides organic material in this wonderful dance of entropy.
It may sound dark, but I think acknowledging our imperfections/compartmentalized behaviors and owning it to be enlightening.
When somebody – me, certainly, and just about everybody I know except you – says “you’re wrong” or “you’re right” they are indulging in metonymy - they are substituting “you” for “that thing that you were talking about that I don’t feel the need to go into extraordinary detail about because the context should be clear to anybody that isn’t a stateless bag of logic.”
So, you’re wrong.
@Humbabella - my wording may be overly bellicose, but the idea that gender and sexuality is a choice (which then suggests that one can choose not to be gay or straight, a stance with which I widely hold no truck) or that ones identity can be ignored, so that if somebody tells me they are woman I can than say “nope, you’re a trans-woman, and that ain’t no thang at all thangyouverrahmuch” is another no-truck-with situation.
There is the ideal me – the Platonic solid that is perfectly vapid; and the real me – imperfectly dense.
I don’t think acknowledging that people have an identity construct of some kind is the same thing as imagine that everyone has an identity construct of some kind. I dont’ think that @popobawa4u has to understand what it feels like to have an identity, to have an identity construct, or to care about such things. But I think that’s different than being able to understand that people DO have identity constructs and what that means for others. I think there are probably ways to acknowledge things you don’t understand, rather than dismissing out of hand, which is the sense of I get from @popobawa4u. I’m more than happy to acknowledge the fact that an identity construct isn’t in the cards, desirable, or even understandable for some. That doesn’t make them any less human and worthy of respect.
But pretense is also off-putting, in the sense that it comes off as dismissive of the whole thing. Just because something is constructed socially or individually, doesn’t mean its any less real or that it has less power. I’m not here to exclude the way that @popobawa4u imagines themselve, just to address why some people find them off-putting on issues like this.