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On Intentionality. Or, What Is It For = What Does It Do? September 25, 2012

Posted by FCM in authors picks, books!, feminisms, gender roles, logic, radical concepts.
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there exists a tendency in various discourses to insist — and to theorize from this place — that patriarchy is just some grand mistake, or misunderstanding.  the evidence on which this conclusion is based is never quite spelled out, and in fact does not appear to exist, as it flies in the face of the actual, real evidence.  which leaves its adherents with essentially the status of cult-members, does it not?  more on that below.  so, the mistake-believers (or “cultists”) tend to advocate “educating” men and anti feminist women to induce feminist change, or they insist that, just as women arent naturally fuckholes and slaves for men, that men also are not naturally dick-sticker-inners or sexual, reproductive and domestic slaveowners.  the poor male babies!  they are just mistaken, you see.  misguided.  acted-upon.  its not their fault.  because reasons, which have nothing to do with intentionality (or design).

now, im not saying than men are or arent naturally anything, behaviorally speaking — who can prove that afterall?  i am saying that its highly probable that womens twisted, victimized servitude (or “femininity” if you will) isnt our natural state.  let us feminists concentrate on women for a moment, shall we — we feel this dissonance, this incongruousness strongly, and indeed the evidence would suggest that, because women as a sexual class hold neither the power nor the resources to build a local, regional or global culture that reflects ourselves back to us, that our culture does not, in fact, reflect ourselves back to us.

the fuckholeness, the servitude is not *us*.  while currently impossible to prove, we speculate that this is true.  but it is not baseless speculation — the evidence suggests we are right.  the evidence of our lack of power and resources to create something reflective of or congruous with *us* being, well, our actual lack of those things.

the same cannot be said of men of course, and whether or not “culture” (lets just say patriarchy instead of culture, shall we, its the same damn thing) is reflective of mens values, tendencies, preferences and solutions.  they created it, afterall.   in fact, in the case of men, the evidence would tend to show the opposite of what it shows for women — that its in fact highly probable that mens violent, destructive and dominant “role” is their natural state, or reflective of men on whatever level.  that patriarchy does reflect mens values, tendencies, preferences and solutions.  that patriarchy — and the utter destruction, degradation and decimation of women and of pretty much everything for that matter — is congruent with mens Z.  if you dont like the word “nature” then dont use it.  call it Z, or green eggs and ham for all i care.  or refer to it by its elements (values/tendencies/preferences/solutions).  it doesnt change what it is.

now, i would like to propose a thought exercise to highlight the difference between intentionality and coincidence.  “coincidence” connotes “unintentionality” or unrelated by cause or effect.  mary daly talked about causation and intentionality (we discussed it here and here) where she noted that, once an outcome is known, any continuance to produce that outcome is intentional.  “unintentional” pregnancy — within the PIV-as-sex paradigm — might be the most obvious (its also a reversal).  daly chose to talk about men surgically lobotomizing women, knowing that the surgery removed all of womens creativity and made them good housekeepers.  the “psychosurgeons” can, did (and do) wax poetic all day about lobotomizing women as a “cure” for this, that and the other, but it cannot be denied that they were intentionally creating brain damaged fembots to clean house and be compliant semen receptacles for men.  if they didnt like or want that outcome, they wouldve stopped doing it.

so regarding intentionality versus coincidence…think “kitchen gadgets” for starters.  does anyone think this is a coincidence?  lots of people need to open cans, and coincidentally, a handheld device appears with two rotary cutting blades that neatly accomplishes that very thing?

coincidence?

or, was it intentional?

or…take a look at this.  assuming you recognize it as a garment, (it could also be used for other things i suppose) through simple observation of this objects physical characteristics, you get a very good idea about some of the physical characteristics of its intended user:

how many fingers do i have?

please dont tell me this was a mistake mkay? im not hearing it.

now, objects might be a bit different from systems.  so lets go there.  some systems “just exist” like some objects “just exist” and they dont really do anything.  like a rock exists of its own accord, without being a specifically functional object some systems just “exist”.  sometimes you just make observations about what they do, like this:

the solar system

its not really “for” anything, or anything that we know about, it just *is*.  and no, i would not say that this is a life support system for humans, even though it functions as one.  like a rock isnt a hammer exactly…

some systems just “exist” (naturally) and you make observations about what they do, and from that, you can also make conclusions about what they are for, like this:

the respiratory system. what it does *is* what its for.

what it does = oxygenates the bloodstream.  whats its for = oxygenating the bloodstream.  in the case of the human respiratory system, these things are the same.  like the solar system, its a functional design — but one that works toward an ends, rather than merely staying out of its own way?

some systems are created by people (men, more specifically).  like all systems, these systems do stuff.  and like *some* systems created by nature, *all* systems created by humans were created for stuff.  to solve a problem, or fulfill a need.  like this:

the US highway system. gets you from here to there usu. via terrestrial vehicle (or walking, to a lesser extent).

it seems that systems that were created by humans do stuff “because reasons” that have everything, actually, to do with intentionality.  what they do = what they are for.  otherwise, why bother?

so if we agree that patriarchy is a system, (is it?) created by humans, (it was, if men are considered human) if we want to know what its for, and to consider issues of intentionality, functionality and design, the question we have to ask ourselves about patriarchy, i guess, is what does it do?  acknowledge what it does, and you will know what it is for.  and that its not a mistake (far from it) and that it *probably* adheres to certain physical realities as well.  think: glove.  or…skyscraper?

i maximize rental income for the property owner, among other things.

and note, for example, that the US highway system is built horizontally and adheres to physical principles, and isnt made of gallons and gallons of chocolate pudding.  because reasons.

it also occurs to me that the solar system is essentialist.  it just *is*.  and that patriarchy — while still a system — is more like the US highway system than it is like the solar system.

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