Re: rape and dominance

Bjorn Conrad Fry (bear@USNET.US.NET)
Thu, 19 Jan 1995 03:46:04 -0500

Wonderful Ian!

This hits close to home. It seems to me that we (as healthy individuals)
essentially always act, at one level or another, in our own self-interest,
as we perceive it. The "level" of perception is understandably critical, I
would say. We can basically act from a most base and superficial
(animalistic) level all the way to the most enlightened and deeply
considerate one. Real applicable knowledge is ultimatly enlightenment. It
is only overly relativistic and corrupted egalitarianism that can turn
everything on its head. Then knowledge and thought becomes almost useless.
It is then that rape becomes just another cultural choice, or the lack
thereof, that is no better or worse than any other.


Ian Mast wrote: <Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 23:24:24 -0600>

> I would agree that dominance is the exercise of power over another
>to further one's own self-interest. Thus my question would not concern
>the definition of dominance but the definition of self-interest.
> I have done a bit of thinking of late regarding the motivations
>behind my own actions, and it would seem to me that in one way or another,
>all of my actions are a product of my own self-interest.
> I wonder if definitions of self-interest and altruism are merely
>constructed upon time-scales rather than upon differing motivations. More
>specifically, those actions which seem to have immediate reward for the
>individual seem to fit in the camp of self-interest, while those actions
>which seem to have little immediate reward for the individual are
>generally considered altruistic. However, are "selfless" acts really
>devoid of self-interest.
> As an individual, I am concerned with the development and
>well-being of my wife, my friends, my community, and I suppose the general
>populace, (excluding various relatives and jerks who cut me off in
>traffic; hey, who's perfect?) Thus, the motivation for selfless acts of
>"sacrifice" or altruism serve well my own general outlook on life. While
>giving time to my wife may have immediate disavantages in regard to my
>professional life, I recognize that doing so may have certain positive
>long-term results. While the value and the outcome of the behavior may be
>disputed, the motivation is most certainly, in this case, laced with
>tinges of self-interest. In this regard, I find it hard to single out any
>single action of my own that does not serve my own interest, or in the
>very least, serve to reaffirm my own value system; which in and of itself
>can be comforting to the self.
>Maybe I'm just a jerk who's missing the point, but I'm not so sure.
>How does this relate to rape and dominance? Maybe the question of
>dominance should not center around power and self-interest, but around the
>issue of self-interest.
>I believe rape is an abominable abuse of human relations, but I do not
>refrain from its practice because of some inherent altruistic goodness
>within my character. Rather, I have been sociallized through cultural
>means to believe that it is "bad" for me to hurt others. In keeping with
>my own culturally defined self-interest I choose not to hurt others. In
>this way, I avoid feeling "bad".
>For me the truly enlightening thought within this jumble of speculation is
>the role of belief sytems and cultural knowledge in defining my own
>character. It would seem that culture could be a powerful tool in
>overcoming negative actions such as rape. I have strong aversions to
>proselytyzing, but it would seem that until individuals are "converted" to
>a cultural frame of reference in which rape is harmful to one's
>self-interest, rape will continue to be an efficient way for some
>individuals to wield destructive power over others.
>Confusingly yours,
>Ian Mast