Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by Pathless, May 5, 2009.

  1. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    fantastic,
    l like the highest wisdom is kindness.
    watched a programme tonight bout a women in search of the tribes [all humans] who had travelled from where the 'first' mother created progeny [north africa-ish]; in this episode she stayed with some northern aborigines [after travelling via s.india and malayasia and noticing 'african' features in some 'tribes', especially those who stayed by the coast] whose creation story was of the 'creation mother from across the sea', which was completely different from the interior aborigines origin myths.
    lets not talk about guilt spilt:)
    l like the humour though:D
     
  2. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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  3. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I understand your objection, however that doesn't in any way make his language less dangerous. For me this isn't about what happened to Means' people. That's in the past. I am more concerned, in general, with the world as it exists today and where it is going than with how it got that way. We can learn from the past, yes, but we live in the present, for the future.

    I'm not attempting to project my own response onto you, just to draw a parallel. And was my example wrong? If so then I think it's likely another example would have worked in its place. You've already suggested a few.

    To give another example, hasidism has an extremely negative view of non-Jews. This formed after many generations of persecution and negative stereotypes against Jews. At the same time, some of the ideas presented in hasidic texts are very progressive or of value in personal development. Hasidism began, for that matter, as an anti-authoritarian movement in Poland when the Jewish leadership, which had been given authority by the Polish government over the Jewish community, had become corrupt. I can get with the progressive ideas and personal growth stuff but I'm still critical of the anti-gentile language even if the reason for that language seems likely to have been persecution. What's more, their cultural dogmas became institutionalized. Now the anti-gentile language has become problematic. Chabad maintains those views and is one of the most active groups in terms of educational outreach toward other Jews. They're now educating noahides according to a cosmology that views gentiles as inherently less than Jews. I could excuse their language because some of what they say is good, but I don't. I criticize it. And I can't stand with them. So why risk the possibility that the language go that far? It's better to address it at its root.

    I'm generally in the company of progressive folk. One thing I've observed is the way that those on the far left aren't all that different from those on the other end of the spectrum. For example, when I was a vegan I had a very difficult time relating to other vegans because of their dogmas. My reason for being vegan was the suffering of an animal while alive, its suffering during slaughter being less of an issue for me. For this reason I considered hunting an acceptable practice and would have eaten meat that was hunted had I been given the opportunity. But that difference in perspective didn't agree with their dogmas. If I expressed my opinion I frequently found myself ganged up upon.

    Because I was attempting to play to widely held biases in order to most likely cover your own. The culture doesn't matter, only the analogy.

    Is this an accusation? My arguments have a moral impetus that I've stated multiple times. Means' use of language is potentially dangerous. There are other people who've made similar cases without the same type of language, hence there's no reason to get behind Means and good reason to criticize him.

    Now you're just playing word games. It's manipulation when someone else does it and not manipulation when you do it. Manipulation according to this definition is toward ends that you don't agree with. If it serves an end that you do like, then you don't consider it manipulation.

    The definition that you linked to isn't in agreement with yours. You would have been better off just presenting your own definition. Also, you're using the words 'dogma' and 'position' to refer to synonymous situations. Why not be honest and say "there can be no comparison of the act of advocating "anti-establishment" [dogmas]..."? That's what's at issue. In this case too we see "manipulation of emotions and opinion". Criticism of the establishment isn't at issue. I've no gripe with that.

    I don't think that's at issue. I recently spent some time studying social constructionism for my IBA. Much of what I wrote was criticism of hard constructionism and what I coined constructionist-structurism, acting as if what has been unmasked is objectively true even when alternative and equally possible explanations exist, while acknowledging my own weak constructionist tendencies. My advisor is very into cultural studies. She reacted defensively and made assumptions about me that were untrue. This I have noticed is not uncommon for those who hold similar views, both the defensive reaction and the assumption that the critic falls into a particular category of people. It was for this reason that I had to clarify, and I will do so here as well, that I am critical of both status quo dogmas and those that are anti-status quo when they become overly dogmatic or morally problematic. In Means' case, I feel that both apply. To leave Means uncriticized would be to ignore a moral imperative.

    Your position, as I understand it, is that Means' position isn't morally problematic and that criticism of him is. This is the likely core of our disagreement.

    -- Dauer
     
  4. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I would like to add to what I wrote above.

    I decided to do a little reading into Dashu before hitting the sack. I couldn't find much academic material that took her seriously as a scholar (though I admittedly haven't had a chance to look through any of the academic search engines yet.) Most of the sites linking to her are interested in some form of gender politics or women's spirituality, not academic studies. To her credit, she has spoken at a number of universities but that doesn't legitimize her research. In fact the only academic critique of her work that I have seen could be found here, where the most relevant statements appear near the end of the page (and this is by no means an in-depth critical essay):

    The Goddess Lives

    Note these comments were not directed to her writing, but rather to an essay similar to her critique of Eller which would have made a critique of her paper redundant:
    One of the interesting things about the article to me is that it attempts to deconstruct the culture in which Dashu is enmeshed much in the same way that she criticizes academia. I think it's worthwhile to note that both the author of the article cited above and Eller are female and Eller appears to still be active in gender studies.

    I am no scholar of the ancient world and I leave it to those who know better about the subject to figure what's what. I do know that it's not difficult for a motivated and believing individual to string a convincing narrative together out of inconclusive evidence. Dashu's is only one side of an ongoing debate that is better represented by more serious scholars whose views, as far as I can tell, generally side against her. She does of course cry foul against the academic community. Given the hit after hit in a simple google search for her name by groups that are involved in one way or another with gender politics I see little reason to give her words weight over the community that she criticizes. Being in a minority doesn't make a person more correct. While Dashu must appeal to "covert agendas" in academia, Olchowski is able to cite example after example of the gender politics that influence the writings of Dashu and other similar authors.

    If the presentation of material by Dashu is only meant to make the case that matriarchies which were, due to the nature of matriarchy, superior to patriarchal societies -- which are inferior due to the nature of patriarchy -- may have existed then I have no objection. It's possible despite the lack of conclusive evidence. That possibility doesn't justify Means' rhetoric.

    -- Dauer
     
  5. Sensei

    Sensei Interfaith Forums

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    Interesting thread. I especially like the first post in this thread.
     

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