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Do you *deserve* it? - squirrelboiler
Do you *deserve* it?

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(picture done by Kittiquin on DeviantArt)

Welcome to the Saturday Philosophy edition. Feel free to continue sleeping. Heh.

Once in a while one comes across a trope so strong it opens one's eyes just that little bit wider. Later on that. For now a couple of situations that perplex and as disparate as they are, they are connected.

I have epilepsy. One of the triggers is the monthly cycle. When I was unable to continue taking the strong anticonvulsant anymore, I came up with a solution to this. I told the doctor and he was doubtful but saw the reasoning in it. I went on B.C. pills of low dosage to control my cycles and took an anticonvulsant 'lite' type of drug. And all...was well. But as I approached that all-too certain age I reckoned nature would take care of the cycles ( by eliminating them) so I could stop taking the pills. But all was not well in blender-disease land . Oh, dear. So the doctor suggested I go back on the pill regardless .

Here's the thing. I *hate* altering my body chemistry unless necessary and also, one reads a lot of horror stories about the pill or HRT for older women.
And here is my question: When the hell will medicine ( a purported *science* )stop bowing to useless social morality? Now bear with me. I am NOT saying that medicine should abandon ethics - far , far from it. If you want to understand how I am differentiating try saying these two sentences and you will see the difference. 1) " I wish he would stop being so moralistic " 2) I wish he would stop being so ethical". See? There is a nuanced difference ( I can hear Teacups rattling but will dodge that for now). The point is I went on-line to find as much information as I could about the benefits or potential dangers of taking hormones at my age.
Holy crap!. Finding good information was a Herculean task. All I wanted was INFORMATION. I did not want to hear the extremities of some kind of social debate about whether women should allow themselves to have hormones beyond a certain best-by date. I don't need to 'embrace the many benefits of aging' nor did I hanker after hearing about the wonders of the fountain of eternal youth as brought to us via hormone replacement therapy. All I wanted to know was...is it ...safe? Not *socially safe*, physically safe.

Well forget it. I could not find enough good information devoid of propagandising so I elected to take the damn things and hope I don't keel over with a blood-clot and am presently feeling like the Montgolfier brothers are experimenting with my body. But the brain-fiz is gone.

His young lordship came in the other day and was fulmanating about The kinds of phrasing that is almost always used to describe certain situations. The one that was getting to him was in an article that spoke of a child who *bravely battled* a disease and recovered. What himself said was " Does that mean the children that don't recover are COWARDS! " Here is brave little Timmy who battled and won and over there is that lily-livered squirming coward Jane who lost and died". Good point, Sprod.

Which brings me to that trope I was talking about. It is called (among other things) the 'Just World Phenomenon'. I've ganked this off Wiki because it explains it simply ( though it's quite complex, I must say) and this will do for now.

"The just-world phenomenon, also called the just-world theory, just-world fallacy, just-world effect, or just-world hypothesis, refers to the tendency for people to want to believe that the world is fundamentally just so when they witness an otherwise inexplicable injustice they will rationalize it by searching for things that the victim might have done to deserve it. This deflects their anxiety, and lets them continue to believe the world is a just place, but often at the expense of blaming victims for things that were not, objectively, their fault.

Another theory entails the need to protect one's own sense of invulnerability. This inspires people to believe that rape, for example, only happens to those who deserve or provoke the assault. This is a way of feeling safer. If the potential victim avoids the behaviors of the past victims then they themselves will remain safe and feel less vulnerable.Two studies gave women what appeared to be painful electric shocks while working on a difficult memory problem. More women of broadly the same age and social group who observed the experiment appeared to blame the victim for her fate, praised the experiment, and rated her as being less physically attractive than did those who had seen her but not the experiment.

In another study, female and male subjects were told two versions of a story about an interaction between a woman and a man. Both variations were exactly the same, except at the very end the man raped the woman in one and in the other he proposed marriage. In both conditions, both female and male subjects viewed the woman's (identical) actions as inevitably leading to the (very different) results."

Powerful stuff. But as I worked my thoughts through the various conundrums and ideas that present themselves , I began to see how pervasive this fallacy is. It even pertains to the two earlier examples. Think about it.

You know, even though *I knew* I wasn't to 'blame' for the terrible trauma that happened to me in the U.K. , I spent the next 3 years castigating myself for it - guilt, shame, blame.

Himself and I were discussing this last night and he remarked that this notion of a 'Just World' is so deeply ingrained in our psyche in our culture it's almost impossible to avoid falling into the kinds of attribution it exacts. But now I have another facet of social analysis to add to my maunderings and I shall be more wary from now on. Especially because when 'emotional thinking' gets into the hen-house along side of empirical thinking, the ole lizard brain triumphs every time.


Current Mood: contemplative contemplative

3 comments or Leave a comment
teacup52 From: teacup52 Date: December 20th, 2010 10:17 am (UTC) (Link)
2 points:
"I *hate* altering my body chemistry unless necessary". Your body chemistry is altering all the time.... Breathe in, breathe out. Eat something, digest something, absorb chemicals (nutrients). Bodily movements change your body chemistry.
"a child who *bravely battled* a disease and recovered. What himself said was " Does that mean the children that don't recover are COWARDS! "
NO it does not follow. The qualifier "bravely" refers to the battling, not the outcome. His lordship is committing the error of affirming the consequent.
squirrelboiler From: squirrelboiler Date: December 20th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

I realize it's summer there...

And I detect some gnat straining.

Funny, I thought you'd go for the 'morals' versus 'ethics' dichotomy and was 'bravely' sharpening my definitions.

It's true I should have put that I objected to altering my body chemistry in large fundamental ways. The coffee I am drinking is altering my body chemistry it's true but not by much whereas cranking up the reproductive system is a fairly major alteration. I sit corrected but the alteration remains.

As to 2 - I disagree. I think his young lordship is inveighing against the fallacie of presumption, esp. suppressed evidence. The term 'brave' does not apply in such situations, 'win' or 'lose', so I guess this use of the term also invokes appeals to emotion making it a double-whammy of misplaced attribution . Indeed, one must even question the term 'battle' in this regard as I feel that word calls for a qualifier and there can only be 'with one's shield or upon it'. That makes it unfair to everyone by subtly (or not) turning a physiological situation into one that is described in a person via their emotional affect.

I am not a philosopher nor do I play one on T.V. but I know dodgy artfulness when I see it. Or something. Heh.


squirrelboiler From: squirrelboiler Date: December 20th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC) (Link)


I was not referring to your comments as dodgy but about yellow journalism.

3 comments or Leave a comment