Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Philosophy of Politics - Keeping to the Code.

Haha, it seems I'm getting lazy and letting Storyteller Knight take over for me with a multitude of guest posts. (Speaking of which, there will be another one coming up in a few hours... and I will be sharing my formal guest post policy, should anyone else want to submit something. I've actually had requests! Imagine that! By the way, if you're reading this, I do plan on emailing you back as soon as my ADD permits me!)

As previously mentioned, I've been busy with NaNoWriMo, and work, among other things, and I just have not gotten around to writing anything for this blog lately. So I thought now would be a good time to share some (very, very random, unpublished) thoughts regarding the Philosophy of Politics. (Yea, I know-- it's been a while, right?) Forgive me if this starts to sound too Cosmo. I was probably a little bit drunk. And there's totally a point to it... somewhere.

How do I put this... I was bored and wrote all of this up way back in September. I had been thinking back on on childhood fads and oral traditions passed on to us by the older girls on the playground...  So I thought we could examine the philosophy of politics and law from another angle... Keeping to the Code. Girl's Code, that is.

For example, most women are aware of an "unwritten" moral code by which we are supposed to conduct ourselves, in order to maintain peace within the Girl World. (The Code has been written down occasionally, but has always been considered oral tradition.) Rules may vary by region or age group, but the general message is the same. (Unlike the Rules of Dating, the Girls' Code is pretty concrete.) This sounds silly, and yes, to some extent it is, but believe me, it matters more than many realize. Men have a similar code as well. (I will be getting around to gender issues later...)

Girls' Code of Honor (and how it compares to the men)-
1. This is the most important (and most complicated) rule of them all -- You do NOT mess with the guy your friend likes, is dating, has recently dated, guys who have used her, etc. This includes hanging out (without the friend present), extensive conversations, etc. You do NOT hook up with a friend's ex. It is completely off limits-- unless it was a one-time hookup. After an extensive time period, for any of the above situations, you may ask your friend. If she says it's ok, you may consider it, but don't be surprised if it's weird afterwards. However, if she is not dating a guy and claims she doesn't like him [i.e. a guy she used to like] but he likes you, he is fair game.
To simplify this - if your friend has any sort of history with a guy, for the sake of your friendship, it's best to avoid getting involved with him unless she insists that she's ok with it (& even then, tread carefully). It's already complicated enough, and you would be hurting your friend in the process. Which means more to you, a guy or true friendship?
(Guys' code- an ex is an ex and therefore fair game any time.)

2. If you and your friend like the same guy, he is OFF LIMITS. If one person indicates she likes him before the other person does, then we refer to rule 1. If it is discovered at the same time, refer to rule 2. If guy asks for your number, and Rule 1 is in effect, you are required to "campaign" for your friend first. (Guys' code - whoever gets the girl wins, unless friend was first to admit he liked her, a.k.a. called dibs.)

3. Do NOT let your friends do stupid things while drunk. This includes hooking up with random, shady guys, table dancing, going home with shady guys, (Guys' code - "Feel free to make your own stupid mistakes. In fact, we'll encourage you.")

4. Do not choose a guy over your best friend. You should find equal time for both. Friendships come before relationships. (Guys' code - "Bros before hoes.") Friends should be understanding, but ample notice should be given before breaking off plans with your girls to hang out with your guy! Not cool.

5. Do not ever diss a friend's crush or boyfriend unless said guy has done something absolutely worthy of it (i.e. cheating, dumped friend). You may politely nod along if she says something about him being a jerk/asshole/bastard, but you CANNOT initiate such language. Upon a breakup, you are obligated to remind your friend that she deserves better. (Guys' code- If you don't like the girl your friend is dating, you should always tell him.)
6. Never insult your friend, but give honest advice (tastefully, of course) and don't share each other's secrets.
7. If you want to date a friend's brother (or other close relative), you must first ask your friend for permission.
8. A Girls' Night Out is for girls only- no inviting boyfriends.

As we can see, it begins with issues of ethics and social justice (and respect). It is all based very loosely on a "do unto others" type of morality, rather simplistic, yet favors a complex egalitarian system of ethics. (How would you feel if your best friend asked out someone she knew you really liked?) Girl code exists as a means of protection for (and from) each other. It's safer to follow the laws than it is to disobey, because of indirect consequences-- e.g. causing conflict between 2 female friends would lead to more harm than the direct consequences of table dancing while drunk. These laws are designed to minimize and avoid tension. Girls are socialized to use psychological means of warfare instead of displaying physical aggression. However, as we are also socialized to be in tune with our emotions (and openly display them), this type of battle has the potential to be more harmful. Aggression is internalized by both parties, and can lead to far more emotional scarring than physically fighting. Consequences can lead to bullying, exile, shunning/social rejection, etc.... and in many cases, suicide.

The men's code, however, is far more simplistic in that it literally advocates an "every man for himself" type of system. Interfere if you want to, but it's fair game.

So what does this have to do with politics in general? If you really need me to answer that, you weren't paying attention... But the point is that everything we do is politics, and politics are all philosophy in action. Without it, we might be a bit of a mess, but maybe not-- after all, these here are unofficial laws. Anarchy does not have to mean chaos. All animals & organisms, whether tiny ants or humans, create for themselves systems of acceptable behavior that can be either implicit or explicit, and self-government is not only entirely possible, but instinctual-- provided that all are in agreement with only engaging in "appropriate" behaviors... (And as we can see from our own society... that's kind of impossible right now.) It's not a matter of rulers and constitutions, etc, but one of conducting ourselves in a manner that is conducive to our survival as a species, and as a society. (Is it just me, or do I kind of sound like a textbook today? Sorry, must've been the tofu...) Differing opinions without regard for conducting oneself in a constructive manner leads to the sad sort of tribal warfare it seems our nation has been reduced to, at least as far as the MSM is concerned. Maybe one of these days the pathetic in-group/out-group dynamic will fizzle out when we realize that we're all the in-group this time around...

I'm a live and let live kinda girl, except when someone's hurting someone else. That's my code - do no harm. (Well, irreparable harm... Some things in life are unavoidable.) And at the base of most laws not tainted by one group's idea of morality, that seems to be the case. When we think about what the world used to be like, and how it is now, how is it that some universally "bad" behaviors survived while "good" behaviors were suppressed? Hurting others for convenience, vs. expressing & enjoying natural human behaviors. (Think  insurance companies vs. sex outside of marriage, and the argument that one is just the "free market" and "the American Way" and the other is "perversion" that means a person will spend all of eternity in unbearable agony. Yay.) In losing our instinctual roots and codes of behavior in favor of "religious values" and whatnot, we've suppressed our potential not only for equality and true passion for life, but for unequivocal peace. (Do not take my words as an attack on religion; I may not be fond of the subject, however that's not my point. Today.) We as humans know the difference between right and wrong without needing to be told. Children understand right and wrong at a very young age -- I should know, I've read at least 3/4 of the literature on morality for my senior thesis! At the age of 4, children can definitively identify what is "good" and what is "bad." We learn from our parents, from our teachers and friends, through word of mouth, not law. From how it feels, not from what a judge has decided. But as a result of some ideologies, especially those descendant from the Abrahamic religions, we have lost far more than what's been gained. Anyone not copulating within "wedlock" with a member of the opposite sex (provided you were both also socialized to follow the "correct" behaviors of your genders as well), became inferior and reviled; our bodies were covered up in shame of our natural beauty; our own rights to our own bodies were now the property of others; the substances we choose to put into or onto our bodies are now marks of inferiority and "sin," even though the vast majority of us cause less harm to others than those who condemn. I do have to wonder, if we were left to our own devices, to follow our own natural codes of law, what would our society have become? Would we still be fighting each other for equality? Would it be worse? Would ethnocentricity have had such a profound effect on history? (Need examples? Slavery; World Wars I & II... the Holocaust...)

What bothers me isn't that it probably wouldn't be much better, if we take into account the full history of slavery worldwide, and women's rights, etc, but that it isn't much better now. We are supposed to have evolved from those sorts of things. The Western World is supposed to be the most advanced in terms of rights, and law, and politics. Yet everywhere in the world, and within our own borders there is still some form of slavery, and women are still being subjugated, and anyone not exclusively in a heterosexual, monogamous, "married" relationship is still being punished, whether it's by bullying, or by denial of rights given to all others--  or by death, or tortured, or raped as a "corrective" measure. What is it that is inside of us that allows these things to happen? How did this become our idea of "justice?" More importantly, what the fuck is it inside of us that does these things to our fellow human beings? What is it that allows us to not care? Where has all the empathy gone? And somehow, it all leads back to politics...

Anyway, I suppose that was me rambling through things as usual. I need to get back to NaNo now. (But again, awesome guest posts to follow!)

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