- Are dogs really marking their territories when we take them for walks or are we using dogs to mark our territories?
Like all of culture, stereotypes have to be learned. But once they are, they are extremely difficult to purge from one’s mind, or even to subdue into cultural curiosities that have no power over our behavior or thinking. Neuroscientists have long known that it takes much longer to unlearn incorrect information than it takes to learn it in the first place. Holding on to stereotypes is especially easy because evolution wired us to look for patterns as a survival skill. Successful hunting, gathering, farming and escaping predators all rely on forming patterns from our observations.
To father a child and to mother a child have very different meanings. Father is used as a verb to mean create or procreate, while mother means to take care of the child after it is born. How can we escape the legacy and expectations of patriarchy when it is so embedded in our language?
Words and expressions reveal the basic values of a culture. It’s not all bad – our culture has some good values. For example, the fact that treating people humanely means to treat them with kindness and respect implies a deep-seated belief that the nature of humanity is kindness. This belies the common assertion one hears that human beings are basically selfish and violent. Read the rest of this entry »
It occurs to me that visitors to this blog may be here for different reasons. Some of you may be looking for posts involving word play. Others might be interested in essays on school reform. Still others might have clicked a link to the word “pussy”. Looking over my posts, I can break most of them down into eight general categories. While I encourage you to click on the Index button to peruse all of my posts, the following organization might be a good way to get started finding posts that interest you. A few posts appear in more than one category. Good luck! Read the rest of this entry »
The other day a gentleman friend of mine was confused when I explained that as a vegetarian, I only buy clothes made from woman-made materials. Read the rest of this entry »