Monday, November 17, 2008

Technology and the men's movement

Part one

Join me in my light aircraft for a quick ride. I think you will find it most interesting.

Imagine we are flying low and looking down on a large field full of people. Thousands and thousands in every direction. A bit like at a large music festival.

Look a little closer and you can see that all these people are men.

Look a little closer still and you will see that each man is holding in his hand a little digital PDA computer. Like a Palm Pilot.

Closer examination reveals that there is one man standing on a platform at the middle of the field. He has a loud-speaker in his hand and is communicating to all the men in the field, he is asking them questions:

"Do you think all men have a right to see their own children, apart from in extreme circumstances?"

"Would you rather be in a relationship where YOU are the leader of the household, or the woman is?"

"Would you rather be paying more or less taxes?"

"Which do you value more: security or freedom?"

On and on the man broadcasts his questions to the mass of men in the field.

As he asks each question, the men each press a key on their PDA. They are each voting their answers. When he presses "Yes" a little green light flashes and sound is made, when he presses "No" a little red light flashes and a different sound is made.

The votes are then sent wirelessly to the man in the middle where he registers them all on his own computer.

The answers to many of the questions that the man is asking - in particular the ones outlined above - are remarkably consistent. A majority of the men are in agreement on these issues. Of course, there are some issues where the men are more split. But there is a consensus of opinion on a wide range of topics amongst these men.

Now, lets move over into the next field.

Here we see the same scene: thousands more men.

And the same in the next field, and the next.

Several miles away there are some fields in which all the people are women. The same situation is occurring here. The women are being asked the same questions as the men.

However, the behaviour of the women is different from the men in three significant respects:

1. The women - as a whole - are less interested in their consoles than the men are. Indeed, many of the women find it hard to focus on them, and keep breaking off to chat to the other women. Indeed, some of the women have been heard to complain that the consoles are mere "boys toys".

2. There are a lot of questions on which the women are far less in agreement with themselves than the men were. Equally, there are a lot of questions on which the women provide answers that are much closer to what the men are saying than to what the current spokeswomen (the feminists who claim to speak on behalf of women as a whole) usually say.

3. A lot of the women, a lot of the time are less sure about their answers than the men are. Whilst vast swathes of men are confident that there are right answers to these questions, a lot of the women want to be "inclusive" and they are instinctively drawn to the postmodern idea that there are no correct or valid answers, that all answers are of equal value. Hence they are less convinced oftentimes of their own answers. There is less power and conviction behind them.

We then rise higher in our light aircraft and eventually we are looking down on one million men, and one million women in the fields. All voting on their little consoles.

As the men are asked particular questions, sometimes there is a bright burst of one or other of the colours and a loud resonant chime of the same sound produced as the men form a consensus answer to the question. Huge patterns are formed. As we pull up even higher, almost to the edge of space, we perceive these patterns of light and sound as massive global movements. Almost like a huge living organism.

Well, actually two organisms: the male and the female.

However, the flashes of one colour are more often stronger from the 'male' organism than from the 'female' one. For the reasons stated above, the 'male' organism is more prominent than the female one, and the organism of men from all around the world is most certainly orders of magnitude more prominent than the feminist one - which has hitherto been able to silence these ordinary men on the sex and gender issues that affect their lives and relationships. After all, the world is comprised of around 3 billion men, I've no idea of the number of feminists but its certainly way smaller than that!

Of course, what I have just done is described a way to visualise the Internet

(and also other digital networks and technologies, more of which in a future part).

These new technologies are creating a sort of global consciousness. Or at the very least a global intelligence.

I argue that the gradual emergence of this global consciousness will be profoundly beneficial for most of the world's men, and indeed for the world at large.

One of the little tricks of mis-direction that feminists play is saying "Men rule the world."

The people who are at the top of the pyramids of power may indeed be men, but the vast majority of men in the world are not anywhere near the top of this pyramid. Also, these men who do have power do not tend to use it favourably towards other men. In fact, quite the contrary. Those in the highest positions of power, particularly in government, seem to forever be oppressing ordinary men, taxing them excessively, curtailing their civil liberties, and supporting policies that punish fathers.

etc. etc.

This kind of treatment of men by those in power is rife.

As Angry Harry writes:

“Men die seven years earlier. They suffer more from nearly every medical disease and ailment that there is. They are educationally disadvantaged massively compared to women. They make up 80% of the homeless. There are more of them in care homes (as BOYS) and in prisons. They are more likely to be wrongfully arrested, wrongfully imprisoned, mugged, assaulted or murdered. They are 5 times more likely to lose their children, 4 times more likely to commit suicide, 3 times more likely to lose their homes, 20 times more likely to be killed or injured at work, and, probably, about 1000 times more likely to be demeaned, denigrated and ridiculed by the media.”

We don't exactly seem to be living in a world where the leaders care too much for the wellbeing of the average man and boy, do we?

In contrast, the men in power tend to pander to women. Women form the largest block of voters and purchasers in most countries. Therefore its essential for the men at the top in government and business not to offend women as a whole. Therefore its not hard to see how even when the person at the top of an organisation or government is a man, its not men as a whole who benefit from their actions.

As Aristotle said: "But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same."

The fact that the top 1% of people in our societies who have historically been in charge of things have a penis between their legs does not mean that "Men" - as defined as the mass of ordinary men in society - have been in charge. When women say "Men rule the world" they are misleading us. In any tribe or society run, ostensibly, by a small minority of men, they will run it for the benefit of themselves and the women. The mass of ordinary men must be kept under control, as they see it.

Also, the fact that so few men have had such a large influence over so many ordinary men opens the system up to massive corruptions of power, and influence from lobbying groups, such as feminists.

The fact is that feminism really only represents the aims of a very small, but vocal and aggressive percentage of women. And then the mass of ordinary women get brainwashed by them, or at least intimidated into shutting up if their beliefs clash. The feminists do not accurately speak for the vast majority of women at all. If all women had an equal voice, the messages we hear about 'what women want' would be substantially different.

But if there was more even power between all women, if it was like a democratic vote, then a lot of ordinary women would want to support ideas that the feminists hate.

For example, a lot of women deep down DON'T want to put their career first. They may want to gain an education, and do some interesting work, but they would, when the time comes, rather prioritise having and nurturing a family.

A lot of women deep down DO want a man to be stronger than them.

So giving ordinary women more of a say in what they want will actually end up weakening the feminist position.

However, even if it didn't, the men's position is so much stronger than that of the women or the feminists.

Feminism itself is now endlessly split and incoherent, You will find extremes of belief amongst people who call themselves feminist. For every woman who calls herself a feminist, you will find another feminist who holds some diametrically opposed beliefs.

Its not one coherent philosophy.

The men's movement offers a much more coherent set of aims. Coherence builds strength.

And they are a set of aims that the general public would find much more sympathy with than the feminists ones. Feminists from the very beginning had aims such as destroying the nuclear family. The men's movement's aims are far more family friendly.

So, looking back at our analogy of the men and women voting on their PDAs for or against various concepts, we can see that the global male brain - the men's movement - not only completely overwhelms the 'voice' of the feminist movement, but the global female brain is also fairly out of tune with the feminist movement too. This new system of power is so widely and flatly distributed. Its not a movement that is being imposed from the 'top down' (i.e. a relatively small amount of people preaching an ideology), but rather a spontaneous uprising, a movement from the bottom-up.

In the past the mass media has acted as the brain's of society. However, its power has been waning in comparison with the Internet, and digital media like DVDs and computer games. The Internet is a far more democratic medium of information. Like the men's movement: its bottom-up rather than top-down.

Its also worth remembering that while men have already made huge strides in spreading their influence via the Internet in a way that they would NEVER have been able to via the mass media, the majority of men on the planet still are not online. And the men who have yet to get online are, largely, not going to be well disposed towards feminism.

All in all things are starting to look pretty bleak for the feminists! But I've barely begun to make my case yet. This is merely my opening shot!

To be continued.

In part two I will explain why I believe a new technology will soon create a revolution in communication that will particularly benefit men and boys.

Part Two

In part one I described how due to the growth of the Internet, ordinary men will have a louder voice and a greater influence in the world than ever before.

The ability of the Internet to allow ordinary people to coalesce into powerful groups is not to be underestimated.

As a recent article in Business Week said: “The nearly 1 billion people online worldwide – along with their shared knowledge, social contacts, online reputations, computing power, and more – are rapidly becoming a collective force of unprecedented power.”

The things that this force could achieve will be the subject of part 4 of these articles.

The voice of ordinary men across the globe is getting stronger, and how this has big implications for the men’s movement. I pointed out that up until now the world has been run by a minority of men for the benefit of them and of women. I also pointed out how a tiny cabal of women calling themselves feminists have dominated all discussions about gender issues over the last three decades, effectively warping what ordinary women think they want, and silencing them if they dare say otherwise. However, the dawn of the Internet age is allowing ordinary men to regain their voice, and their voice will be orders of magnitude stronger than the minority of male rulers or the feminists. Also, due in part to things like male competitiveness, and the fact that there are a core number of issues over which the vast majority of men strongly support, the male voice will also be stronger than the female one.

There is another, related point that needs to be made,

Next I want to talk about how some of the new technologies will also play to the strengths of men.

First let us take a look at a curious phenomenon: the fact that IQ scores have been increasing throughout the second half of the twentieth century to the present. Between 1932 and 1978 there was an average 14 point increase in IQ scores in America. Between 1947 and 2001 there was an average 17 point increase in IQ scores. Per year, from 1947 to 1972, IQ was going up 0.31 points per year. By the 1990s it was going up 0.39 points.

About 60% of variation in IQ is due to genetics. This raises a mystery, because if only 40% of IQ variation is due to environmental factors, then how come such huge gains are being made over a relatively short period of time? Education and nutrition have been ruled out as the reason as only minor increases in the quality and availability of these were made after the 1940s.

So what is the reason?

The current leading theory as to why this is occurring is the increase in new media technologies that the public has had to interact with since just after the second world war. Firstly television, then VCRs, video games, personal computers, the Internet, DVDs and so on. A great deal of Intelligence tests are based around visual patterns, and predicting the next item in a series of visual patterns. With successive generations of youngsters in the second half of the 20th Century being more used to decoding complex visual information it would not be surprising if they are becoming more adept at dealing with complex visual patterns.

And it seems that this trend will continue into the future as computing and visual-interface technologies continue to develop and become more widespread.

In essence, what I am saying is that children – and in particular boys – are going to become more and more fluent in ‘visual grammar’. We can already see this as today’s youth are extremely visually sophisticated, and navigate computer interfaces and video game environments with virtuoso ease.

This shift towards a visual culture is far more beneficial to men as it is well known that males tend to perform better on tests of visual and special awareness (things like mentally rotating objects, and map-reading). Indeed, many of the greatest thinkers of all time, such as Albert Einstein, made their intellectual breakthroughs through imagining visual representations. Tesla was said to be able to invent mechanical devices in his visual imagination

Furthermore, this visual ‘culture’ could gradually elaborate into what one might call a visual language, or at least a visual mode of communication.

Consider the technology of ‘virtual reality’. This was something hyped in the early 1990s but pretty much forgotten about now. The reason is that the technology hasn’t quite developed to the complexity and cheapness needed to make it available on a commercial basis to the public. But do not think it has died. Its merely being developed gradually and largely out of sight. There are plenty of industrial and military applications for it already. As computer processors become cheaper and faster, eventually virtual reality applications will start emerging into the mainstream. To begin with they will probably be driven by the games industry, but then eventually become the way we interact with computers and visual interfaces. Think of the scene in the film ‘Minority report’, where the characters navigate their ‘windows’ type screen (which is a 3D holographic projection hovering in the air in front of them) by moving their hands around, and literally picking up windows to move them, and pressing things in the air with their fingers.

Humans evolved mental mechanisms for dealing with navigating the landscape. These mechanisms are particularly developed in men, as during the hundreds of thousands of years that men spend their days hunting, they would have to be able to navigate large distances and remember where they had been. The power and efficiency of our visual navigation systems can be shown by the powerful memory techniques developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans and still used today by world memory champions. How it works is if you have a list of items to remember, you imagine a physical location, such as your house, and imagine placing those items along a route in your house. Because of the strength of our visual/navigation abilities, this trick allows us to easily remember vastly more things than we could otherwise.

So think of the potential for computers once we can interact with them in a 3-dimentional visual way. It will create the ultimate man-machine interface, and I predict that men will be much more at home with this than women will be.

Eventually we will be able to create whole environments that we can walk around in and share with other people. Imagine walking around in a futuristic version of photoshop, in which you can create apparent 3-D objects with a movement of your hand, or a command such as “Computer: show me a box, about 3 feet square.”; as they do on the Holodeck in the TV series Star Trek.

And, in the not too distant future, it’s possible to imagine a braincap that you wear on your head which gives you the ability to interface with the computer and navigate and create such 3D environments directly with your thoughts. This is not as distant and science-fictional as it sounds. Devices are already in existence that use the electrical patterns produced by the brain to allow disabled people to move a cursor around on the screen or make a selection from a number of options just by thinking. Also, recent fMRI studies demonstrated the ability to tell from a brain scan which of several possible images the subjects had been viewing several moments earlier.

It will be like dreaming while awake and being able to share that dream with others.

This technology is possible, its coming soon, it will revolutionise the world and it will be particularly good for men.

In part three I will cover some of the inherent dangers of new technologies, and explain why these will actually work in favour of the men’s movement.

Part Three

The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything except our way of thinking – Albert Einstein

Thousands of individuals, perhaps even millions, may someday acquire the capability to disseminate “Weapons” that could cause widespread (even worldwide) epidemics. A few adherents of a death-seeking cult, or even a single embittered individual, could unleash an attack - Britain’s astronomer Royale, Martin Rees

In the first two parts of this series I argued for some redeeming potentials of new technologies that will greatly empower men and boys. However, there are also dangers of some new technologies, and it is these dangers I wish to address in this part.

Put simply, during the decades ahead, the technology to create widespread destruction is liable to become widely available to anyone who should so wish to access it.

However, the problem is far larger than just a wide accessibility…

The problem is also that the new ‘weapons of mass destruction’ have the potential for much wider destruction than the ‘traditional’ weapons such as bombs (even nuclear or radio-active bombs).

Furthermore, the ability to create such weaponry is being brought nearer to the public by the ever increasing powers of computers – which could bring problems of their own (of which more later).

Fields of material science and biology are merging with computing – turning these fields into information sciences. Knowledge about the genetic structure of various lifeforms, and of the atomic structure of various ‘objects’ (including little micro-scopic machines), can be held digitally on computers and passed on to other people, and manipulated and used to build such viruses and machines. Within a decade or two, the ability to create new life and new atomic structures will be able to be carried out on desktop computers.

Within two or three decades computer processors will be a million times faster than they are today, and this will allow us to re-engineer the world at a fundamental level.

But it’s not just the physical processors that will continually improve, there are likely to be vast improvements in computer algorithms (i.e. the efficiency with which our computing codes solves problems).

Combining the vast improvements in processors and algorithms, it has been estimated that by 2030 computers will be 1,000,000,000,000 times more powerful than the ones we have today. This is the same ratio of the power of a match-head with the power of a nuclear explosion. Therefore it is pretty clear that the true computing revolution has barely started. What we are currently seeing is just the little glow from a match that is about to light a very big bomb.

A calculation that would take 1,000 years on today’s computers could be done in 8 hours on the computers of 2030. One that would take a year today would 30 seconds in 2030.

It is this extraordinary power that will enable easy storage and manipulation of genetic and atomic information during the 21st Century.

During 20th Century we faced the threat of nuclear, and to a lesser extent, biological and chemical weapons. These weapons were developed with military resources, with little commercial value, and requiring large scale activity to create and operate, mining of rare materials and the knowledge required was not widely available. Only really a couple of nation states – the USA and USSR – had the capability to destroy us all with these weapons.

However, the weapons of mass destruction of the 21st Century will be much easier to create.

Genetic engineering and nanotech are largely being developed by the commercial sector. These technologies have huge commercial value. As I mentioned before, they are fast becoming information sciences, operable small scale facilities, even on person computers. Knowledge about them could become widely available.

In the information age, everything is information. Weapons of mass destruction will be available to an individual or small group.

These new technologies are also self-replicating, a virus might not just effect a city, but could spread across a whole country, continent or even the world. The same is true of some kind of nanotech machine that could be created to eat away at our very biosphere, replicating itself along the way. It would be nigh on impossible to stop or contain such an attack once unleashed.

Therefore they represent a form of WMD that is potentially far more lethal than a 20th Century WMD such as a nuclear bomb.

The knowledge itself is also self-replicating. The blueprint for smallpox or ebola only needs to be made public once for it to spread and get into the hands of a terrorist, psychopath or just a disgruntled individual. An artificial disease could be created within two decades according to experts in this field. Such a disease could be engineered to be as virulent, or more, as smallpox or ebola.

It could be argued by some that the huge risks posed by these fields mean that they should not even be pursued. However, the trouble with controlling information from the sciences of genetic engineering and nanotech is the same techniques that could be used to cure diseases and improve Human health are likely to be the same as those for creating such weapons. These fields will be the subject of huge research efforts because of the expected pay-off. It will not be easy to control information from these fields.

Such technologies represent the prospect of 21st Century pestilences. Modern people have little first hand experience of even natural pestilences. We haven’t seen such things in our living memory, but history is full of them: the 14th Century plague (during which a third of Europe’s population died) the 16th Century Americas had a smallpox epidemic, and there was an influenza epidemic in 1918. Antibiotics and sanitation in the 20th Century helped us keep such pestilences at bay.

Until now.

These threats are like giving everyone access to the nuclear button. It is very unlikely that we can engineer any perfect solutions. Therefore the best we can do is vigorously pursue ways to minimise the likelihood of these things happening.

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