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196. Conflict (III)

You are a super-special snowflake. There is nobody like you and there never will be—there never was in history, and there never will be again. This is true from every angle, from your genetics to your spiritual disposition—nobody stands at a bus stop like you, even in the little acts you are unique. “We knew it was you from a mile off!” Everything you do—when you cook, when you clean, when you work—bears an unmistakable stamp; it is “you”, we all know it when we see it.

On the other hand, you are a number and completely replaceable: you better get with the program. You better get humble. You better learn you are less than nothing: there are a thousand men who would kill for this job; if you think you are too good for it, well, we can always find another—no problem. The rules that work for everyone else work for you, the rules must be respected. “Get used to it, you’re not special, mate—everyone has problems, just get on with it.”

And, of course, both positions are true together: everybody is exactly the same and everybody is completely different. The reason for this is not hard to grasp, and everyone knows why really. If I mapped sex differences with Cartesian coordinates I would end up with blobs on the graph; the blobs would cluster together—and those clusters represent what we call “male” and “female”. No two blobs would be in exactly the same space, a number would overlap—there is usually an intermediate zone, a fuzzy boundary where androgynous people live. Yet, on balance, a person could glance at the graph and say: “This cluster is male and this cluster is female.” The same is true of many other characteristics, such as race—and even the characteristics that constitute individuality itself.

The integrated position noted by C.G. Jung: there are statistical generalities that are true, and yet no individual is entirely reducible to generalised statistical laws. In political life, we are unintegrated. Progressive liberals pick outliers from various clusters and say: “Look, this woman beat up two men! Women are strong, as strong as men! Don’t you see? People who say they are different are oppressors, with their straightjacket of patriarchal science.” On the other side, the liberal right says: “The science is clear, there are men and women—just look at the genetics, it’s as simple as X and Y. You are not a super-special snowflake: facts and logic!” Yet it is recognised that when a surgeon opens up a body that the organs are never exactly where they appear on an anatomical chart; the organs are in the general vicinity, with a few radical exceptions. As the hippies used to say: “The map is not the territory, man!” Those hippies went too far, they threw the entire map away; maps are actually quite useful, if not the final word on navigation.

As a general rule, the position that we are all unique and special is feminine; women are very similar, being mirrors, and so are very concerned that they are unique, since they lack this quality. Men are unique because they bind themselves to a discipline that destroys the ego and allows the self to perceive in an unadulterated way; only men can be personalities, women reflect the strongest personality around; Sun and Moon—yet men are proud and bridle against the yoke that humbles, precisely because it feminises. Hence men tend to talk about general rules, whereas women are more interested in individual difference—in actuality, women are uniform and men are differentiated; each sex is interested in what it does not possess.

The breakdown of these positions into two camps—the left and right—is disastrous because it leads people to identify in a tribal way with one position or the other: either everyone is understood under a uniform “scientific” eye or they are atomised bubbles of uniqueness—neither position is correct alone.


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