Today's post, My Way was originally published on 17 April 2009. A summary (taken from the LW wiki):


I sometimes think of myself as being like the protagonist in a classic SF labyrinth story, wandering further and further into some alien artifact, trying to radio back a description of what I'm seeing, so that I can be followed. But what I'm finding is not just the Way, the thing that lies at the center of the labyrinth; it is also my Way, the path that I would take to come closer to the center, from whatever place I started out. And yet there is still a common thing we are all trying to find. We should be aware that others' shortest paths may not be the same as our own, but this is not the same as giving up the ability to judge or to share.

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This post is part of the Rerunning the Sequences series, where we'll be going through Eliezer Yudkowsky's old posts in order so that people who are interested can (re-)read and discuss them. The previous post was Of Gender and Rationality, and you can use the sequence_reruns tag or rss feed to follow the rest of the series.

Sequence reruns are a community-driven effort. You can participate by re-reading the sequence post, discussing it here, posting the next day's sequence reruns post, or summarizing forthcoming articles on the wiki. Go here for more details, or to have meta discussions about the Rerunning the Sequences series.

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1 comment, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:16 PM

So this about my gender politics: Unlike the case with, say, race, I don't think that an optimal outcome consists of gender distinctions being obliterated.

This seems a bit silly to me.

What does it mean to say that "race distinctions are obliterated"?

Someone looks at my outward appearance and then makes some inferences about what sort of person I must be.

What does it mean to say that "gender distinctions are obliterated"?

Someone looks at my outward appearance and then makes some inferences about what sort of person I must be.

What's the difference between the two?

Most people believe gender differences in psychology are both genetic and non-genetic, whereas most people believe race differences in psychology are only non-genetic.

From a social standpoint, why does it matter if the distinctions are genetic or not? Self-awareness of myself with respect to gender is not conceptually different from self awareness of myself with respect to culture. Since they are isomorphic, they should both be "obliterated" or both be accepted...why the double standard? I'd argue that either you condone the use of both heuristics, or neither...

I think the problem stems from OP being a gender essentialist, but not a racial essentialist.

For my own part...I think it's possible to use gender and race as heuristics without implicitly retreating into essentialism.

I think that men should become more aware of themselves as men, so that being female isn't any more special or unusual or abnormal or worthy-of-remark than being male.

I like this on one level - it's good in that it encourages men not to view themselves as "default". I don't see why it's restricted to men though -I think it can be applied to any privileged group.

On another level, you don't really need to use heuristics to conceptualize already know a lot about yourself, and comparing your own actions to gender/race heuristics won't really further that knowledge.