[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: EmergentBehaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Sean Kelly sean at f4.ca
Thu Oct 13 09:13:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On Sat, 17 Sep 2005, Sean Howard wrote:

> We see correlation all the time, but we all too frequently confuse
> it with causation. Gender is an obvious differentiation. We can
> measure it rather simply because it's a little checkmark beside
> either []Male or []Female.  However, just because we can measure
> it doesn't mean that it is the causing factor.

What about gender identity?  Even physiology leaves a lot out,
though it's sufficient for a large enough portion of the population
that it's Pretty Good.

> The idea is really simple, since we can't choose to be male or
> female, and we can't change it, then it obviously must be a
> grounding case. It must be the foundation for other decisions we
> make. I'm not so sure. I think the decisions we make are far more
> localized to the brain BEFORE gender is actually involved.

See above.  It isn't entirely clear to me whether the confusion over
gender identity is learned or innate (or perhaps both), but it's
clear that we can choose to be associated with what our culture
considers male or female, whether we have the plumbing for it or
not.  Gender roles are social norms, and while they may have arisen
as a result of general biologically-derived behavioral differences,
they are not absolute classifications.

> The fact that it changes over time indicates that it is a learned
> behavior rather than a built in one.

Agreed.

> The other behaviors you mentioned (aggression, sexuality) are
> actual chemical differences between males and females - ie
> testosterone, estrogen, etc. This behavior can actually be changed
> based on your diet (chickens feature a bunch of estrogen to make
> the meat tender, meaning that people who eat only poultry and not
> red meat may have more trouble growing facial hair). It's
> partially innate, partially environmental.

It's interesting to note that history has no record of any true
Matriarchal society (unless you consider the legend of the Amazons,
I suppose).  There are Matrilineal societies, and societies where a
woman had significant influence in various areas, but none that were
truly matriarchal.

Sean
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