in the shadows
"I have more thoughts, but I've also got to do some laundry"
I do not believe it is a modern issue that most women's lives are made up of virtually endless, mostly mindless, details. It is only my personal belief that life is more easily lived as a male; it is more entertaining, offers more options, provides access to more freedoms, has fewer limitations. A male life well lived can provide an endless supply of women to meet an equally endless supply of purposes, including providing the freedom to sit and philosophize. Archeology and its younger sister Anthropology rediscover that reality on a regular basis. Organized academic Philosophy is, and continues to be, the product of access to the luxury of free time and free intellectual space.
It is no secret that there are gender differences that can be defined as typical in the structure and wiring of human brains. These differences without question influence how perception and thought are processed, but just as all roads may lead to Rome, all thoughts no matter what their origin may lead to the ultimate understanding of existence; the paths taken simply may be different.
Grandiose speculative thoughts, insights into human existence, the flashes of observational understanding, etc., that have fed the beast of Philosophy throughout time, may run as easily through a female’s neural network as a male’s. The differences seem situational.
I have often thought Occam’s Razor was a gift from his mama, but he had the time to write it down. My guess is that she might have said to him something like, “Don’t deny the obvious child! It’s getting dark! Get in here and wash your hands, then sit down and eat your dinner before it gets cold!” as he dawdled in daydreams of angels dancing on pinheads in spotlights filtered through the deceptions of a late afternoon’s deepening orange sunbeams while his mama prepared the household for night. Much later in life, maybe while the next Mrs. Occam darned his socks to keep the hapless philosopher’s feet warm, he would drag up out of the jumble of thought and memory:
"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate"
"Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora"
"Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily."
"When you have two competing theories which make exactly the same predictions, the one that is simpler is the better."
Or, in perhaps the cleanest version of Occam’s Razor, "Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."
My own favorite version though always has been, “Don’t deny the obvious child.”
Aristotle was able to observe that “Nature is opportunistic” simply because he had the opportunity to connect the dots and the time and resources to write down the thought. A woman with a laundry basket on one hip, a baby on the other and pasta boiling on the stove is not likely to write on the laundry room wall an epistemological epigram, no matter how brilliant. She might understand the thought and even accurately value its brilliance, but by the time she has cleaned up the boiled over pasta and quieted the baby, she has to feed the family, sort the laundry and not take time to jot down notes.
Formal philosophy, and all that has flowed from it right down to the palest academies of today, is the luxury by product of a leisure class. Even within the leisure classes of history, women have been kept more busy. For example, the planning of an aristocratic wedding, no matter how politically practical the union might be, could take a decade; the needlepoint work alone could take years. There may have been time for the women of the court to sew angels into the tapestry borders but no time to speculate on how many could dance on the head of a pin. While all that was going on, the male principal player was learning to hunt, fish, fight, plan military slaughter, drink, carouse, gamble, dance, plot and contemplate; though not always encouraged to do so, he has had the time to write down his contemplations and he has spent almost all his youth in the company of other males.
Testosterone is many things. It is an hallucinogenic drug, an irritant disrupting sleep, a catalyst that produces explosive outbursts of violent behavior and of argumentative thought; it accelerates linear thought and triggers quantum brain processes, encourages narrowness of focus, distorts time perception, drives the user to pursue ecstatic experiences, and it produces amnesia. It leads the user to be convinced of the ultimate brilliance of his insights and thoughts. It promotes the belief that his thoughts are so brilliant they must be shared with others. It is a mental steroid that fuels philosophical thinking. “This is the brain; this is the brain on testosterone.”
Now having shared all that, I think I am going to see if one of the house pets has done the laundry and, more importantly, has made my coffee.