How nice for you.
Sure we do. They did because they could. Given an opportunity, humans have a natural instinct to exert power over others to gain personal advantage. Historically, men have had a physical advantage over women that allowed them to dominate, and they leveraged that advantage as human civilization evolved from the domination of violence toward the domination of cultural norms to develop those cultural norms in a way that perpetuated their advantage. Had women been the ones to have the physical advantage at a time when that was the primary thing that mattered, then our culture would likely have developed in the opposite direction.
Of course, this is a gross generalization that is only true at a statistical level. Individuals are capable of transcending instinct (and culture) and there are plenty of men who don’t use their advantages to dominate women.
If that were true, we’d never been able to build up any kind of shared, unified culture at all. Building any kind of community takes the ability to work together. Human history has plenty of examples of people working together, even as there are counter-examples of domination and competition. I would argue that it’s more contextual than anything else.
I’m not convinced that’s true. If it were, brutality would be the norm. The reality is that collaboration seems far more common than domination, at both an individual and a global scale. I think the brutality is the abnormal thing we actually end up paying more attention to. It’s flashier but I don’t believe the numbers support it being more common.
This is especially true in the modern era, because of capitalism and western imperialism working hard to justify itself. Once “because God ordained it” became less acceptable of an answer, people sought to make capitalist logic seem like the natural order of things. All of a sudden, “competition” between humans is “natural” and you need strong states in order to stave off the “natural” Hobbsian order of things… But all you really got to do is see what happens to people when there is some sort of emergency that upends our normal day, and you see most people rushing in to help each other rather than using it as an opportunity to tear each other apart…
i can tell this topic is headed somewhere good /s
Fair enough. We’re complicated, and clearly humans are not only motivated by the instinct to dominate others to personal advantage. There’s even a good argument that cooperation is the stronger instinct. Otherwise we’d have been unlikely to ever build civilizations. Still, I think the historical record supports the idea that, given the opportunity, people will exploit their advantage over others for personal gain (not 100% of the time, but often enough). We’re even pretty good at cooperating in order to gain more advantage over others for us to exploit.
I would say that there is plenty of evidence that our “natural” instinct is cooperation, not domination.
It can happen, but there is plenty of historical evidence to the contrary. It’s just that most people think of history, they think of wars and men of power dominating the narrative. But much of human history is not big cataclysms, but working together.
Yeah, she certainly was not lacking in power as a well regarded teacher. Like the mathematician in her, she must have felt some gratification in controlling the process of seduction with a singular goal, without regard for consequences for her victims. And for her, she might find herself extraordinarily disempowered by this experience.
This was rape. “Seduction” does not play into it, no matter what she might have believed.
I hope her victims get the support and care they need to heal.
Soft-pedaling headlines that euphemize and romanticize the violence done to these kids (by calling it “having sex”) are heinous and awful, and I hope her victims don’t see those (hopefully they’re not BoingBoing readers…).
Humans are not always rational actors who weigh these kinds of things when making decisions. Sometimes, people just give in to their basest impulses. She could have and should have thought about it, but she didn’t.
There’s giving in to a stupid, destructive impulse, and there’s
“there may be more victims”
Once may be a moment of madness, but “there may be more victims” starts to look like something systemic.
Indeed. People who give into their basest impulses once are bound to do it again. And the more they do it, the baser they become.
I see it’s time for Stephen Jay Gould again.
The patterns of human history mix decency and depravity in equal measure. We often assume, therefore, that such a fine balance of results must emerge from societies made of decent and depraved people in equal numbers. But we need to expose and celebrate the fallacy of this conclusion so that, in this moment of crisis, we may reaffirm an essential truth too easily forgotten, and regain some crucial comfort too readily forgone. Good and kind people outnumber all others by thousands to one. The tragedy of human history lies in the enormous potential for destruction in rare acts of evil, not in the high frequency of evil people. Complex systems can only be built step by step, whereas destruction requires but an instant. Thus, in what I like to call the Great Asymmetry, every spectacular incident of evil will be balanced by 10,000 acts of kindness, too often unnoted and invisible as the ‘‘ordinary’’ efforts of a vast majority.
There are days when remembering this is all that gets me out of bed.
The whole article is good.
You are right, she likely didn’t see it as rape, rather to her like a seduction or game or power trip. And now, disgraced, she lacks much of the power she once wielded.
Edited once for superfluous word.
it doesn’t really matter how she saw it. motivation for a crime like rape doesn’t and shouldn’t come into the picture.
i guess it’s also worth saying that being “disgraced” isn’t really how the criminal system works. she will “lack power” because she will be in jail or prison. and – assuming she’s convicted – she will never be able to work with children again.
As I mentioned in both of my posts, her “power” that she utilized will likely be stripped and to a significant extent, it already has been, even though she is now “free” on a bond. It’s a crime and a shame.