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If You Didn't Know


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This idea owes to Kant and John Rawls. It is found in Jung's psychology and Whitehead's philosophy. I goes like this:

 

If you did not know you were male or female ...

 

If you did not know your sexual orientation ...

 

If you did not know whether you were liberal or conservative ...

 

Put anything you like in the formula and then ask, what would you think is fair? What is just?

 

The version I struggled with is "What if I did't know I was Christian or ...?

 

Myron

Edited by minsocal
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If you did not know you were male or female or Christian or not then you would be as pure as a child and Jesus said.

 

Matthew 18:3

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

 

Philippians 2:15

so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

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I don't quite know whether I should tremble in awe, or laugh with the humor of it...but I think Intuition has been working cooperatively within more than one of us here...things within this post or yours, and others today, are echoing some the very same thoughts on my mind, that I came here to share...I think you'll see what I mean when I get it written and posted under sharing from personal journey heading...

 

Jenell

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If you did not know you were male or female or Christian or not then you would be as pure as a child and Jesus said.

 

Matthew 18:3

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."

 

Philippians 2:15

so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky

 

soma,

 

That is the image I grew up with. It is Kant ... "The starry heavens above and the moral law within."

 

Myron

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I had to think hard for a while! What if I didn't know I was...

 

Mmmmm, I think I would be just who I am. My life circumstances have forced me again and again to be or do things I never thought myself capable of (in a good way). I think when we choose or are compelled to go beyond the familiar, we grow.

 

Thank you for that post. It certainly makes one think!

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This idea owes to Kant and John Rawls. It is found in Jung's psychology and Whitehead's philosophy. I goes like this:

 

If you did not know you were male or female ...

 

If you did not know your sexual orientation ...

 

If you did not know whether you were liberal or conservative ...

 

Put anything you like in the formula and then ask, what would you think is fair? What is just?

 

The version I struggled with is "What if I did't know I was Christian or ...?

 

Myron

 

Bold added for clarification

Edited by minsocal
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what would you think is fair? What is just?

Maybe I'm dense today but I wouldn't have an answer until I knew something about my identity. Then I would have to deal with my privileges and prejudice and lack of experience. I purposefully chose to attend regularly a "gay" church because I knew that my psyche had not caught up with my brain.

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Maybe I'm dense today but I wouldn't have an answer until I knew something about my identity. Then I would have to deal with my privileges and prejudice and lack of experience. I purposefully chose to attend regularly a "gay" church because I knew that my psyche had not caught up with my brain.

 

Dutch,

 

You have already done what this exercise suggests. Others have not. Intersubjectivity is blocked by lack of contact. You removed the barrier.

 

Myron

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Well I don't think I should get many kudos lowering the barrier to inter-subjectivity. There quite a few barriers in the luggage I carry and I can probably name only some of my many privileges. The church I attend is one which is not overtly or obviously "gay friendly"; it is family friendly, whatever your family looks like. The church I referred to was overtly gay. All those men were gay, no doubt. We attended for 6 months to see if we wanted to join. Annie called it the party church. One of my reasons for attending was because I knew the experience would be uncomfortable. Seeing men kissing is still a challenge for me. Their worship was joyful. As good as it gets for celebration.

 

If the issue is about fairness, then I think children are the wrong place to start. As an example of unmediated experiencing children can teach us a lot. As a model for fairness and justice I think they are where we start - with a very egocentric idea about the nature of fairness. first they know when they don't get what they want. Next they know when they don't get the same as someone else. Dogs and chimps have this sense of fairness. Expanding circles from the ego out represents a maturing in a sense of who is us and what is fair.

 

If I want to experience delight in the world, let a child lead. If I want to experience fairness and justice, let it be in a mature and compassionate society.

 

Dutch

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Well I don't think I should get many kudos lowering the barrier to inter-subjectivity. There quite a few barriers in the luggage I carry and I can probably name only some of my many privileges. The church I attend is one which is not overtly or obviously "gay friendly"; it is family friendly, whatever your family looks like. The church I referred to was overtly gay. All those men were gay, no doubt. We attended for 6 months to see if we wanted to join. Annie called it the party church. One of my reasons for attending was because I knew the experience would be uncomfortable. Seeing men kissing is still a challenge for me. Their worship was joyful. As good as it gets for celebration.

 

If the issue is about fairness, then I think children are the wrong place to start. As an example of unmediated experiencing children can teach us a lot. As a model for fairness and justice I think they are where we start - with a very egocentric idea about the nature of fairness. first they know when they don't get what they want. Next they know when they don't get the same as someone else. Dogs and chimps have this sense of fairness. Expanding circles from the ego out represents a maturing in a sense of who is us and what is fair.

 

If I want to experience delight in the world, let a child lead. If I want to experience fairness and justice, let it be in a mature and compassionate society.

 

Dutch

 

Why then, as a gay male, is it not a challenge to me to see a heterosexual couple kissing?

Edited by minsocal
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I can change my thinking, but it is more difficult to change my response. I was just being honest. The answer: exposure I think.

 

I think you are right about exposure making a significant difference. I can say that I have an uncomfortable reaction to overly demonstrative displays of affection in public, gay or straight.

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I've been thinking on this one, trying to get my mind wrapped around it.

 

What I've come to, which is probably not very profound, but its the best I have for now.

 

It seems to me that we can only be in a state of not knowing we are ..... is if we do not have (knowledge of) a set of parameters that both defines what ...... is, and what .... is not, ie, that excludes everything else, that is not .....

 

The first and to me seemingly the strongest example would be the newborn infant, that is not yet able to differentiate even itself from the environment as it experiences it, or to differentiate the environment as it experiences from itself.

 

One of the earliest cognitive tasks for the infant is discovering this concept of parameters that differentiate what is and is not of itself. That seems the same or at least close to, saying that I know or don't know that I am ......

 

Jenell

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I made a mistake when I titled this thread. I should have said: "Imagine you did not know ..."

 

If I did not know I was male or female I would not develop predjudices based on gender, etc.

 

The source is Kant's Categorical Imperitive. Never formulate a moral principle that cannot be universalized. Whitehead suggests a different technique. If their is a conflict between two principles, play one against the other in your mind and see if any adjustments are required. There is no formal name for this process, but I call it Whitehead's Method of Adjusted Contrasts. These are ways to correct dualistic thinking.

 

Myron

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