A 40 years long dead end road: Iranian Woman after the ’79 Islamic Revolution

They were dreaming of freedom and individual fulfilment, but they soon found themself hidden under a Tschador or Hijab, and helplessly kept hostage in a regime of personal violence and political oppression.  40 years ago, at the decline of the Shah monarchy, the woman of Iran were fighting as their male comrades for democratic and liberal reforms.But hardly anybody had to pay a higher personal price for this engagement after the islamic regime of the mullahs conquered power.  Despite its autoritarian political regime, under Shah Reza Pahlevi they were encouraged to take a job, they could go out wearing lip gloss and make up, they could dress as woman like to dress anywhere in the world and could go swimming with their friends and relatives, wearing bikinis as would people do in Paris, Mailand, or Berlin.
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Iranian students pictured in the Seventies

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Iranian basket ball athlets in the mid 60s. The regime of Shah Reza Pahlevi promoted a modern, western living style of woman.

But this period of personal freedom came to a immediate end: On march 7th Ayatollah Chomeini announced, that all woman have to cover their head in public. This old wannabe despote argued that woman should not be encouraged to go out and show up naked on the streets. This new law caused an uproar among the Iranian woman, mainly those of the urban society. On the following day, March 8th or the International day of Woman, tens of thousands from all political factions were out on the streets. Carried out by mothers, daughter and their grandmas, religious and non-religious people, this was the first stand up against the islamic regime.

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Rebellion against the new islamic variant of indoctrination: The Iranian woman were the first who went out and demonstrated for freedom and civil rights after the new Chomeini regime tried to silence all political opponents in 1979. Foto: Bettmann/Getty Image

40 years later, all the dreams have gone in vain. The pursue for freedom is kept hidden under the omnipresent Tschador.

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Spending most of their lifes under the chador. The daily problems of financial and material decline left no space for dreams of freedom and self determination.

And the woman of the younger generation can rarely imagine what their grand-mothers were demonstrating for on the roads and squares of Tehran some 40 years ago. For the students who grew up only under the mullahs-regime, freedom of expression and the pursue of self-determination bears the flavour of heresy.

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The young generation of woman dream of a little bid of “normal life”, i.e. less economic problems, but more financial security. Political or intellectual freedom has to come secondary.

To be continued soon: J.D.Salingers amazing stories

This was really a great news what J.D.Salingers son Matt revealed a couple of days ago: that a whole treasure of yet unpublished texts by his late father Jerome D. Salinger has now been evaluated and awaiting its release to the reading audience. I can not say how impatient I am from now on, to have the first post-mortem new short stories by one of the great figures of 20th century modern literature in hand.

The last text that could satisfy the appetite of Salingerites was a non-fictional, but partly imaginary essay by Frédéric Beigbeder about the realtionship between Salinger and Oona O’Neill (Oone Chaplin). But the prospective of reading stories or novels by the master himself is of course another category of shit.

Having seen the loss of so many amazing writers durign the last years (Philip Roth, Lars Gustafsson, Amos Oz, to name just a few) always came with the certainty that one cannot expect any new words from their desk and their mind. This was it, finito. You might read their published books again and again, until you know every sentence by heart, but don’t wait for any novelty any more. In some cases, such as Philip Roth, the sadness about the end of an autors productivity in fact already started years before he died physically. In any case, other than for many rock stars who annonced their final concert again and again (to sell more tickets, of course), with writers one can be quite sure that when they say “Last Call” they stay to their promise. And when they die (always too early, of course), rarely are there still unpublished manuscripts in their heritage that can cope with their already published books. The news from Salingers son, however, could changed this now. As he revealed in an exclusive interview with the Guardian, his father has definitely never stopped writing and that “all of what he wrote will at some point be shared”. Matt Salinger told the Guardian his father “teemed with ideas and thoughts – he’d be driving the car and he’d pull over to write something and laugh to himself – sometimes he’d read it to me, sometimes he wouldn’t. And next to every chair he had a notebook. And these notebooks were filled for the last 45 years of J.D.Salingers life (he died in 2010 at the age of 86). As Matt Salinger described his father, “He just decided that the best thing for his writing was not to have a lot of interactions with people, literary types in particular. He didn’t want to be playing in those poker games, he wanted to, as he would encourage every would-be writer to do, you know, stew in your own juices.” This sort of reasoning could also come from Thomas Pynchon, and as he has shown so perfectly creates not the worst condition for creating excellent literature. Therefore, I have hope now that soon some new books can be added to my J.D.Salinger collection, which entirely dates from the 70s and 80s.

You can see here that they all look a bit used, and they are of course all from East-German publishers (Reclam, Volk&Welt).

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East-German editions of J.D.Salingers few books

The first one (“Catcher in the Rye” or “Der Faenger im Roggen”) I managed to by in an export book shop in Prague in 1979. “Franny and Zooey” and “Hebt den Dachbalken hoch” I was lucky enough to grab from the army book store at the baracks in the mid 80s (I had established an illegal traffic network that allowed me to get every rare book before it was put on the shelves). And the last collected short stories “Neun Erzaehlungen” and I received from the central East-German books wholesaler. There a lady from the neighbors appartment were working, to whom I occasionally did babysitting for her daughter.

In the high-street book stores, however it was virtually impossible to buy these books: The printed copies were to few (just 10 or 20 thousands), and the young people were so much in reading, especially modern american writer. So despite “Catcher in the Rye” is considered one of the most published post war books in the West, economic and political restrictions in East Germany prevented a similar popularity there. Therefore, the story of Holden Caulfield and his peculiar view onto life and the world remained a sort of secret or elite knowledge on the Eastern side of the iron courtain. But with some extra effort and some dealing, everybody could explore and discover Salingers universe for himself.

What is funny, but also sad: When I ask around my colleagues at work or friends here in the traditional West Germany about J.D.Salinger, I soon realize that this name does not sound very familiar to them. For most of them, “Lord of the Rings” and “Karl Mays Winnetou” is the highest form of literature they ever encountered. Therefore my excitement about the prospective of J.D.Salingers hidden books now is slightly over-shadowed by my worries that they wont become best-sellers any more, as were his novels and stories in the 70s and 80s. But for the few Salinger afficionados and literature critics it will become a highlight.

Tyrannocide – A Pledge

When one thinks about the event that happened 40 years ago today, it might be a good occasion to reconsider tyrannicide, i.e. the right to assassinate a tyrannical dictator. On February 1st, 1979, Ajatollah Khomeini entered an airplane in Paris, where he lived in political asylum, and returned after 15 years to Tehran. Iran was suffering from political vacuum after Shah Rezah Pahlevi had abandoned the Peacock throne, and the poor and angry mob was raiding the streets. Khomeini quickly picked up this unique chance, presenting himself as the people’s savior and turned from an islamic scholar to the “supreme leader” of the country. Initially sugarcoating his real intentions with the promise of political freedom, democracy, civil rights and an equal share of the countries wealth to everybody, he soon let fall down his camouflage and without remorse announced his unsatiable appetite for tyrannical power. He ordered the assassination of everyone he considered an political enemy, and openly declared that jurisdiction should strictly follow Allah’s command. Political opposition (such as the Tudeh party, or the Mujahedin-al-Khalk) he declared apostasy (moharab), and its representatives to be killed with or without trial. Estimates amount to several tens of thousands, who were guilty of nothing more than keeping their intellectual independence and were killed by Khomeini’s thugs for this “crime”.

So with our current knowledge it is clear that anyone who would have killed Khomeini would have earned great merits for deliberating the Iranian people from tyranny. And indeed, when in the afternoon of February 1st 1979 the airplane with the Ayatollah on board entered Iranian territory, there were fears among the passengers – Khomeini was accompanied by several political allies and reporters such as the German Peter Scholl Latour – that the air defense troops still bound by oath to loyalty to the Shah might shoot them off the sky.

Its somehow a tragedy, that at this moment the army was already paralyzed by the defection of their supreme commander, and apparently none of the lower ranks had the courage of committing a proactive tyrannicide against Khomeini.

Tyrannicide has been morally justified by several politicians, philosophers and theologists, such as Thomas de Aquin, Plutarch, Benjamin Franklin, John of Salisbury, Abraham Lincoln or John Milton. The German writer Frederik Schiller in his ballad “The Pledge” (German: “Die Bürgschaft”) showed the high moral standard of the central character, Damonius, who is caught after an attempted assassination of the gruesome tyrant Dionysius.

Die Buergschaft (engl.: The Pledge) by Fredrik Schiller. One of the rather few cases that a German thinker morally defends a tyrannocide.

But in the cases of the airplane which carried Ayatollah Khomeini back to Iran, and the idea of shooting them down with a ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile one has to partially understand the dilemma of the air defenses troops and their commanders: Perhaps not even in the darkest imagination could they foresee in January 1979 the scale of atrocities, violence, tyranny, which the Islamic leaders would commit against the Iranian people during the next 40 years. The idea to prevent a crime by arresting (or eliminating) the criminals before they become active is still a fantasy in a Spielberg Movie “Minority Report”. But for a political crime (like tyrannic dictatorships) which involves the destruction of the life of so many innocent people, this would be a great gift to humankind.

Affirmative Action: Being torn between heart and reason

My reasoning brain tells me that affirmative action is something against nature. Because if nature would have allowed affirmative action, than the gazelle would have never developed into such a fast running and beautiful animal (intended to escape the predators), but evolution would have stalled at the stage of slow and lethargic goats. Instead, survival of the goats would have to be promoted by arbitrarily punishing a hunting cheetah with electric tasers, in order to fulfill a moral mission of supporting life of a creature in an unsuitable environment .

But one even does not has to go as far as to Darwinian evolution and survival of the fittest to find reasons against affirmative action:  Already on the submicroscopic level of macro molecular structure, the proper folding and hence functionality of proteins is governed by rewards and penalties which follow eternal, naturally given rules. Positively and negatively charged amino acids have a tendency of attraction, hydrophobic groups hide in the the center and hydrophilic groups are more exposed at the periphery of a protein. Affirmative action should encourage us (for the sake of justice) to equally allow also the hydrophobic amino acids to be exposed at the proteins periphery. Wouldn’t it be morally wishful to give any amino acid – independent on its inherent properties- the chance to be “visible to the outer world” ? And indeed this would be possible, at least in a lab environment: Just heat up the proteins, and let them cool down slowly, and they will take any random configuration, with any of its amino acids having the same chance to pair with any other one, and equally likely being located on the outer surface or in the inner space.

Protein Folding

By increasing the thermal energy (i.e. the temperature) the protein first unfolds to a more or less “anarchic” state. And when one reduces the temperature again, it will adopt all sorts of non-native meta-stable configurations (as shown by the local minima in the curve above), at which most of the amino acids occupy positions that are non-canonical but random. Here we might have an endless debate about what is canonical and what is not. Maybe one preferes one of the many metastable protein configurations much more than the native state. In fact you might like or dislike what you want, but fact is that the protein functions only in its native state. So whatever our moral subjectivity tries to tell us, there is only one configuration that works. And at this native configuration, all amino acids occupy their intended position. All the non-native states at which amino-acids are allowed to adopt non-canonical positions will in most cases lead to severe funtional impairment and diseases. In fact, some of the most devastating diseases – and some of the less treatable ones – are known today as being caused by protein misfolding. Alzheimer disease, Parkinson, Morbus Huntington, Cystic Fibrosis or other so-called proteopathies are of cause not the result of affirmative action by a benevolent human being, but of the detrimental interplay between genetic mutation, environmental factors and maybe a slow decline in  cellular check-up machinery. But the result is the same: The distortion of a native state and the formation of random and hence pathogenic states.

As a scientist, I therefore have big objections to a widespread use of affirmative action. I don’t think it serves any good to promote – for good intention – a self-declared suppressed minority by discriminating the rest of the society. The human society is so diverse and complex that one can easily and arbitrarily define sub-groups (“tribes” to use a modern term), which by using questionable surveys can be shown to “suffer” from one or the other form of social discrimination.

Take for instance something very obvious: your home address. When we lived in London, our house was in the nice middleclass neighborhood of Battersea/Wandsworth. Our postal code was SW11 2AZ. A friend at work then asked me how it feels to live in such a wealthy borough.  Wealthy boroug ??? I asked him, after I had been involved in a fight with a drunken neighbor a few days before. It appeared that SW11 is in general considered to be of a good socio-economic background, and indeed just a few hundred meters away lived bankers, layers and folks from the media business. I was told that with my address and the SW11 postcode, I could easily apply for a well paid job in the financial industry. In the UK (and apparently other coutries like the US as well) your address postcode is used as a synonyme for your social status. On the other hand, of course, living at the “wrong” postcode (for instance Bethnal Green E2 6AU or Peckham SE15 5RJ) can be a really obstacle if you want to get a good job or intend to apply for a mortgage (“location, location, location, that’s what counts”). When we believe in the beneficial effects of affirmative action, then we should turn this upside down and provide special quota of job positions or mortgages to be given to applicants from “dodgy postcodes”.  With my SW11 postcode, I would have than been blocked from getting a good job or an affordable mortgage. But wait, our address in Battersea/Wandsworth was Jansen Walk 13, and isn’t number 13 known to be considered also a bid scary ? Maybe I should have tried to promote myself as member of the discriminated tribe of No.13 residents. With some lobby work and some social media activities it should be possible to raise enough attention to fight for my (or OUR) case. At least in the case of getting a negative answer to a job application I could accuse the employer of discrimination because of my house number 13.

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Janson Walk 13 in London SW11 2AZ: Excellent postcode, but suspicious house number.

Affirmative action is not such a big issue here in Germany, (except for womans quota) and maybe that was the reason that against my own judgement I recently followed my heart and not my mind. It happened at the refugee camp nearby, where I regularily help the school kids of the asylum seekers with their home work. And sometimes the parents of the kids also ask me for help with the language or with some beaurocratic issues. Nilab, a young mother from Afghanistan initially wanted me to help her with the language. She currently attends an integrative school to make her fit for a proper job training. For this, she already applies for apprenticeships as construction draftswoman. After a written application at a technical college she was asked to participate in an online test (obviously, the college forwared all applications to an assesment center).  Nilab was pretty nervous, considering that she is still not 100% familiar with the German language, and the online test requires a really quick understanding and answering.  So I agreed to “assist” her with the online test, which of course is against the rules. And “assisting” did not ment explaining her the question (which would have taken much to long), but I answered about 80% of the questions myself. I knew that this was not right, somehow in violation of my feeling that one should not positively discriminate a person to provide her with an advantage in a competitive situation.  I found the proper term for my doing, “Affirmative Action” only recently in the book “12 rules for life ” by Jordan Peterson. Whereas in many points I can agree with his arguments, in the special situation of Nilab, a war refugee from Afghanistan, who is running her young family, living in a single studio of a refugee camp, learning a difficult new language, and above all is committed to learn a good and ambitious profession I saw no problem of promoting her against many obstacles of a western society.

Prague revisited

Well, Prague, this beautiful bohemian capital that stretches along the river Vlatva (Moldau), was perhaps always a place were time had a less defined and mechanical meaning, but was always a subject of being easily to manipulate. In the novels of Gustav Meyerink, Franz Kafka, Karol Capek or E.E.Kish time was more like a veil being blown around by the wind of history, rather than the irreversible counter of seconds or years as we see it in the industrial society with its Just-in-Time manufactures.

What I want to justify with this reasoning is the fact that our recent visit to Prague already was in October last year, but for some reason I only recovered the few pictures of this jurney today. But the city is so full of pleasure and lovely events that the memories on the few days we spend there are still very present.

I am also very pleased that now, 12 years after our last short visit to the city, the bad memories of having our car stolen including a lot of personal belongings, are completely eradicted and overwritten by nice impressions of the extremely rich cultural heritage, the relaxing atmosphere and the friendly people there.

Just one tiny detail: We went to Prague for a 5 days short visit accompanied by our lovely dog Ivo. And it was an absolute surprise to see how the Czech people are simple in love with dogs. So often people stopped buy, smiled to Ivo, told her some nice words of love or even asked us to carres her. Finally, all the stories in Jaroslav Hašeks “The Good Soldier Švejk” about stealing dogs on the street makes much more sense to me. The people their are ready to steal another owners dog not because they cannot afford to buy one, but because they might haven fallen so much in love with one, that they cannot sleep anymore but have to have right this one. So they “order the theft” of a defined dog at Svejk. In this sense, the Czech people carry some typical Eastern habits, considering that further in the Orient (like in Georgia, Azerbaidshan, or middle Asia) it is common by young men to “highjack and steal” the girl they are fallen in love with.

Here are the pictures of marvellous Prague.

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​Superlatively superficial

A while ago the famous, traditional London book store Hatchards organized a reading by a female writer, Laura Jane Williams, on the occasion of the release of her book BECOMING. Most of the stories she writes there are comprehended from her internet blog Superlatively Rude
I heard about the event at Hatchards on a radio program, and was interested. Therefore I searched for the original blog on the web. I should have been warned right away by all of its pink and creamy design and the hundreds + of unbearable selfies of the author. But having some spare time at a long railroad trip I started to read. And was shocked and disappointed by the shallow ideas of this blog, and in particular by realizing that even with an awful lack of english literacy it is possible today to find a publisher for a book in the UK.
The author, with an BA in english language, has no problems of writing sentences like
“… I did it when you called me your friend, too. You said you’d marvel at seeing me collect a BAFTA, one day, one day soon, and you’d say– but I interrupted you. You’ll say, oh hey! That chick sucked my dick back in the day! I supplied. You shook your head. I was going to say look! That girl is my friend! actually. I couldn’t tell if I’d hurt your feelings.
So I write on the note that I’m proud of you too, and wish you a happy housewarming because I’d shown up two days before empty-handed and full of intentions. When you text to say you got it and I finally get to exhale, you say it is thoughtful and cute and sweet and other words that don’t match who I am, and I explain to you: They’re succulents. Succulents are pretty, but low-maintenance. You know. For the busy man….”,  what somehow should have alerted the editor of Hodder and Stoughton Ltd, unless they are going to develop a special label for schoolyard conversation. Its hilarious to read that with such a missing sense for proper English grammar L.J. Williams use to teach foreign kids in language schools.

blog  Superlatively Rude.

104 letters of solitude

When everyone else has left you, it is loneliness that you feel. But when you have left everyone, it will be solitude that you feel.
(by Alfred Polgar).

Sukkot

It is October, i.e. harvest time, and most religions use to celebrate this in different context. The German protestants call it “Erntedankfest”, the US protestants “Thanksgiving”, the ancient Persian zoroasts had their Mehregan (Mithra) feast.

But although it all has to do somehow with the joy of successful harvest, the focus is differently. The Americans start eating XXXXL meals of turkey, mashed pumkins etc as if tomorrow the famine would start again.  The Germans officially celebrate the grace of God who – admittedly – is responsible for all the fruits on the field and gardens, but deep inside they are proud that their protestant working ethics finally paid out.

Most of all types of harvest feast I like the jewish Sukkoth (feast of booths), because it involves constructing a nice, airy booth from organic material. This booth is called Sukkah, and you see it here in our garden, both at day light (immediately occupied and defended by our dog) and at night (with a lantern to illuminate it).

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I am sure that if their would be a higher diety, Jahve or Flying Spaghetti Monster or Allah (none of them has given me any evidence of their existence yet), he/she would most of all like the Jewish way of celebrating, since it has to do with a pioneer spirit rather than with passive devotion.

Philosophy goes Tinder

The term Philosophy – as we have all learned once in school – simply means “love of wisdom” (from the greek term φιλοσοφία). But wisdom is of course generated by people, and mostly it is also represented by living people. I don’t want to argue again with some religious hypocrites which come up with the idea that there is something like a “devine wisdom”. There is no such a think, and wisdom only developed from the first human beings when they understood that by approaching a deer against the direction of the blowing wind, chances are higher that the animal won’t recognice them.

Philosophy can be traced back at least to the 6th century BC in ancient Greek and probably much earlier than that in India or China. But at a certain point it becomes vague as what should be categorized as Philosophy.

And it took till 1998 when suddenly the modern society re-thought of this “love of wisdom”. In this year a user on the Livejournal blog invented the term Sapiosexual to describe not the love for wisdom, but the sexual attraction to a “wise” person.

In 2014 the dating site OKCupid made the term even more popular by including it on their list of sexual preferences, to give their users a more precise option when searching for a partner.

People who self-identify as sapiosexuals, or those who say intelligence is the most important sexual trait, are having a moment. Critics of the movement say it’s at best pretentious and at worst discriminatory.[from Steven Blum, Broadly]

This reminds me of the TV serie “Masters of Sex” , where Dr. William Master, a medical researcher of rather unspectecular physical features, unwillingly attracts the attention of his enchanting lab technician Virginia Johnson. Despite working in a hospital environment with plenty of handsom, well-build and self-confident men, Ms. Johnson becomes hopelessly devoted to Dr. Masters, who lives mainly in his world of diagrams, statistics and weired instruments that shall kick out all mystics from human love.
But it is not the very subject of Bill Masters work, that made him so irresistable for Mrs. Johnson, but it is his very character. He could probably study the morphology of cactus thorns or the frequency of thunderstorms with the same devotion as he did his sex-studies, and still would attract some girl as Ms. Johnson. Sapiosexuality, as represented by her in this TV Serie, is perhaps a rather new classifier in the field of reseach because it is a non-exclusive term. This means that one can be highly attracted by an intelligent person, and at the same time be gay, hetero, lesbian, SM etc. But others aren’t so convinced and argue that being attracted to intelligence doesn’t qualifiy as a sexual orientation, and that by self-labeling as sapiosexual one is simply discriminating other person based on their class, educational record or their abilities.
Steven Blum writes in Broadly: Put simply, a sapiosexual is someone who finds intelligence to be the most important sexual trait— the kind of person who quotes Sylvia Plath in bed or, on the other end of the spectrum, argues about microeconomics on a first date. The term was allegedly coined by a top-hatted LiveJournal user named wolfieboy, “while on too little sleep driving up from SF in the summer of ’98.” But since its inclusion by OkCupid, the identity has gone mainstream: This past month, Merriam Webster announced it was debating whether or not to include it in the next edition of their dictionary. Meanwhile, a new dating app called Sapio would like to help you shoo away potential suitors who can’t quote Sartre on command.

It’s beautiful when you find someone that wants to undress your conscience and make love to your thoughts

Whatever the intention, though, the label has certainly stuck. On OKCupid, 9,000 users identify as sapiosexual. The sexual “identity” also boasts a Facebook page and numerous photos on Tumblr that seem to link sexual and intellectual pleasure — one image hashtagged “sapiosexual” shows a brain being fingerbanged; another depicts a man reading a book while doing it doggy style. Other users post quotes like, “It’s beautiful when you find someone that wants to undress your conscience and make love to your thoughts.”

Expanding the spectrum of sexual orientations to include sapiosexuality might make those who cream their pants while reading dissenting opinions from Ruth Bader Ginsberg or the latest N+1 feel affirmed, but desiring smart partners isn’t a unique or non-normative preference. According to Lora Adair, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Lyon College, men and women have always craved intelligence in mates, whether they go out of their way to identify as a sapiosexual or not.

“When it comes to identifying traits we perceive as ‘necessities’ when searching for long-term mates, men and women of varying sexual orientations tend to put intelligence and kindness above other sexually attractive attributes, such as physical attractiveness,” Adair said.

This is true across species, although in non-human animals, “intelligence,” or cognitive ability, is “measured morphologically,” she said.

“Take the male bowerbird, which constructs elaborate ‘homes’ adorned with brightly colored, scarce objects from their environments to attract ‘choosy’ females,” Adair said. “The ability to find these scarce objects, and protect against the theft or sabotage of other males may serve as indicators of cognitive ability, and overall genetic fitness.”

Adair believes the rise of sapiosexuality can at least partially be explained by the blurring of lines between “nerd culture” and the mainstream. “What were once fringe interests reserved for the stereotypically introverted, intellectual, ‘nerds’ of the world— comic books, characters, and comic-inspired films and TV shows, Sci-Fi and fantasy like The Star Trek reboots and Game of Thrones—are now essential features of 21st century American culture,” she says.

You’re not attracted to intelligence, you’re repulsed by disability !

But the identity has also provoked a backlash among those who see it as a way to discriminate against potential suitors based on ability and class. As one Tumblr user put it,“Sapiosexuality/romanticism is a bunch of ableist bullshit[.] You’re not attracted to intelligence[,] you’re repulsed by disability.”
Others see the label as limiting the conversation around intelligence. In a Buzzfeed quiz titled “Are You Actually A Sapiosexual,” one of the questions literally asks readers whether they’re “repulsed by the idea of having sex with someone who had never gone to college, or had no interest in higher education,” seemingly normalizing the idea that it’s okay to discriminate against those who don’t have college degrees or explicitly academic aspirations.
This is reductive for obvious classist reasons but also because intelligence comes in various forms; furthermore, discriminating against suitors because they didn’t spend four years accumulating debt isn’t an identity or a sexual orientation, it’s a limiting preference deserving of scrutiny.

The bias also doesn’t need to be codified because it is innate. At one point, intelligence was a quality that “helped our ancestors in their forging of social bonds and alliances, their abilities to forage for food, shelter and safety, as well as their abilities to use tools or solve problems in ancestral environments,” according to Adair, and it is something we still read as incurring short term benefits, like higher earning potential, and long term benefits, including more genetically “fit” offspring.

Taking this natural bias and making it your dating identity is superfluous. And, of course, it arguably makes you look like a pretentious asshat.

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Wet Dreams

Sorry that you opened this post expecting to read some adult content. I have to tell you right away you wont find what you expect, unless you are interested in psychology, in particular in the archetypical fear that I occasionally experience. I indeed talk about fear, rather than anxiety, even though anxiety is a more common issue in psychology or psychatric disporders. I am probably anything else than a candidate for a psychatric studie, and the fact that I am to clearly describe and evaluate how a rather surreal fear can take hold of me is perhaps the best evidence for this. Anxiety is something very common here in Germany (“German Angst”), and right now several proponents of radical political changes misuse the susceptibility of the German population for diffuse anxieties.

But fear is by definition something specific, related to a particular object. In my case this object is the base for all life: WATER. And there comes the wet dreams into play, which I will describe shortly. But to write in a chronological order, I have to start with something that struck me half an hour ago.

Sitting in my office and doing some correction work on a students thesis I suddenly felt an unpleasant sensation. Goose bumps, muscle stiffness, cold sweat, and a feeling of unsafety amidst my most common work environment (and despite a supermodern electronic entrance security system which our research centers management has recently installed). So where came this irrational feeling of discomfort from ?  Outside the office there was apparently just the usual noise of people talking about institutes issues, roaring coffee machines, slapping doors, high heeled technicians strutting along the hallway. Nothing special. Except there was occasionally a silent splatter sound. This was new, and perhaps it would have got completely unrecognized, unless one has a particular high sensitivity for it. It appeared that the cleaning personal used a new kind of wet cloth today to wipe the floor. And when they rinsed this wet cloth in a water bucket, it made this typical splattering noise, as if you pure water from a cup into a filled bathtube.  I can not blame the poor cleaning guy for intentionally causing unpleasant sensations on me. Of course his biggest concern was to keep the institute in a tidy condition, which most people consider of uttermost importance for their personal well being.

But in this particular case I seem to be the collateral victim of his cleaning work. Don’t get me wrong, I usually like splattering water. I like to take a shower, watch water fountains, jump from the highest diving tower into unknown waters or irrigate the garden and careless dogs or people with a water hose. But I hate water that is floating around, uncontrolled and occupying areas that should be dry.

Therefore, the worst pictures that I saw in the news recently were the flooded streets, houses and basements in Huston/Tx. The number of casualities after the hurrican Harvey was not very high, but the pictures made it deep into the very ancient areas of my mind (brainstem and amygdala). Simply the imagination of water that rises more and more, that can not be stopped worries me much more than the imagination of a fire, an earthquake or an avelanche, all of which are usually more life threatening than a flooding (unless you go to the extremes of a tsunami).

Hurrican2017

Huston/Texas after the August 2017 flooding by hurrican Harvey

I discovered a long time ago that there must be an archetypical fear deeply written in my inconscious memory, a fear of rising and floating water. This is when I have “Wet Dreams”, which I should better call “Wet Nightmares” (but “Wet Dreams” definitely attract much more traffic to my blog). Dreams in which I wade through some centimeters of water in our house or appartment, where the water comes from some cracked pipes or a defunct washing machine, when the “basis of all living matter” simply follows the laws of gravity and quickly soaks all floors and walls down to the basement, eager to find a tiny gap through which it can leak further down into the unknown, such visions make me sweating cold and can temporarily undermine my universal convidence in the general harmony of the universe.

And of course, in the long term, I will be right. The Texas flooding after hurrican Harvey will dry again, and even from the mythological flood described in the Epic of Gilgamesh (and later transcribe into the old testament) little is to be seen nowadays except of beautiful beaches and peaceful orchestrated waves. According to archaeologists Ryan and Pitman the great deluge happened at around 5600 AD in the Black Sea basin.  And I can not imagine a time that gives me more “peace of mind” than sitting there on the beach, observing how well behaving the water is that splatters around my feet, reading a book and thinking 7617 years back in time, when the torrents broke through the bosphorus and turned a former sweet water epicontinental lake into what is today the Black Sea.

At the Black Sea coast, near Varna/Bulgaria. 7617 years ago the great deluge happened right here.

Of course my peace of mind can only be spoiled if somewhere behind me an unlocalized sound of splatter happens. But this in fact might come from some other tourists, who can not sit there quietly, watch the sea, read a book, drink a cocktail, but who have to start some water construction work.

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Macho man on the beach can not stop to reshape the landscape. Or are they also afraid of flooding water ?

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