Posts Tagged ‘Philosophy’

Women and brilliance

“Linking success in some fields to intellectual talent undermines women’s interest in them … Overall, these experiments found that women showed less interest in career areas that were linked to “brilliance” relative to other traits, such as dedication. Men, however, did not generally show differential interest in these areas. The results also pointed to the “brilliance = men” stereotype as a reason for these gender differences.”



Women are not generally brilliant so the term does not generally get applied to them. In the same way, men rarely get called winsome.

Secondly, confidence is necessary for success because a certain arrogance gives a person a reason to believe he or she will succeed. Women in science for example undermine themselves by choosing small subjects and topics. The big fields like high energy physics and cosmology attract men because we have big ambitions. Small fields like botanical taxonomy and illustration attract women. Nobody wins a Nobel Prize for botanical taxonomy.

As usual this article gets cause and effect wrong. Fields that require brilliance and daring attract men because men tend to be brilliant and daring. What really bugged feminists about the Shirtgate scientist was not his naughty t shirt (anyone could see he was just a nice, jolly kind of fellow). What really bothered them was his masculine brilliance and daring in landing a probe on a comet.


sorrows forgotten

Billowing red roses like bursting
hearts on stakes, lined the garden,
as many as the sorrows forgotten 
by those walking by; for nothing 
remains that is not in cultivation.

Julian O’Dea

She sounds like the perfect wife

” … executing violent orders with the sort of calm efficiency you’d expect from a bio-engineered humanoid designed for subservience … “

This Is the Actress Behind Blade Runner’s Terrifyingly Calm Villain, Luv


I am not entirely kidding.

“Luv is loyalty personified”:


Blade Runner reprised

We just saw Bladerunner 2049.

It helps obviously to have seen the first one, although the sequel makes more sense than the first film.

I think it’s a good film. But a cult film, with the usual long set pieces, some of which work, and some of which don’t.

There have been complaints about the character of Joi, the hero’s holographic girlfriend, but I got the impression that he renounced such “imaginary girlfriends” in the end.

One of the most interesting characters was a replicant (robot) villainess called Luv. By comparison, the most important female character was a little bland really.

I don’t think it was as good as the original movie, but it will, as they say, keep fans happy.

The iconic “Rachael” character makes a sort-of appearance. But not a very happy one. It’s interesting that the movie obsesses over her shiny red lipstick. Ridley Scott did too when he directed the original film. One addition to the canon is that supposedly Tyrell set up the meeting in the original movie between Deckard and Rachael precisely so that they would become a couple and have a child.

This is the recreated Rachael from the new film (it is such an irony that the original actress Sean Young is too old to play Rachael but technology has recreated her nonetheless):


I think it could have lost at least half an hour.

I would give it at least 7 out of 10. But it’s a bleak, violent movie and that would limit its appeal.

Three more points.

There is a theme of lying and deception throughout the film. The replicants may be more compliant but they are better liars.

Luv flirts with the male replicant/robot protagonist. In some ways this is the story of Deckard and Rachael again, but entirely negative.

The theory that Deckard himself is a replicant is strengthened but I am not sure it is quite conclusive.

Luv, the stylish replicant villainess:
Luv, as people have noted, was the most interesting new character. It’s a shame that they killed her.

Wearing funny hats

Here is an analogy or a parable.

I sometimes think we all go about in life wearing (symbolically) a strange-looking hat on our head. We can’t see it: but other people can, clearly.

The hat looks foolish. We are oblivious to it. Everybody else has a foolish hat we can see. But we can’t see our own. As far as we are concerned, we don’t personally have one.

It is nearly impossible for a person to hide his or her hat. One person’s hat might be composed largely of anger. Another’s of lust. Or greed. It is often all too obvious. Except to the person himself.

We constantly betray our true faults. By word. By choice of phrase. By what we don’t say. By what we do. By how we spend our time.

We are all wearing an ugly or ridiculous hat. One we can’t see.

Nietzsche on tall and short women

” … small females seem to me to belong to another sex than tall women …”

This saying is quoted by Nietzsche but mocked by one of his best-known translators. But I think he might have been onto something.

Taller women do seem more like men than shorter women. More of a match for men. It is possible that they are more intelligent than shorter women since there is a positive correlation between height and intelligence. And being literally closer to men in their build presumably affects their conception of themselves.

A group of women of average height can seem like munchkins to a man. Whereas a taller woman is a different proposition. When a male writer wants the reader to take a female character seriously, he often makes her tall.

More questions from a woman (“L”) answered

Mr. O’Dea,

Thank you for answering my last two questions, but like I said I have more.

My next question:


I am rather curious about your Catholic faith.

What does being Catholic mean to you?

[My response: It gives structure to my life and thinking. Ultimate meaning. A set of moral precepts to provide a rough guide to ethics.]

How much of an impact does it have on your life?

[My response: A lot. I think about ethical issues a lot, from a Catholic perspective. I am very interested in religion and naturally religious. But I am not very spiritual or mystical. My faith and practice tend to be mainstream. To give a mundane example of the effect of Catholicism on my life, there are various sex acts that I enjoy, but choose not to do if possible because they are contrary to Catholic morality.]

What is your favorite part of being Catholic? (ie Mass, confession, communion ect)

[My response: I suppose I am impressed by how much the Catholic Church has contributed to culture, especially perhaps visual culture. And I am pleased that people take the Catholic Church seriously, even if they don’t like it. And that they find it mysterious and intriguing. That said, it has not been a good time to be an ordinary Catholic in recent decades. And yet young people continue to become nuns and priests, with great hope and enthusiasm. Being a Catholic has not brought me much social satisfaction though, apart from occasionally getting a tasty fish dish for Good Friday in college (we Catholic kids got something special at a college at university once, which was nice of the college people, because it was a secular college.) But more seriously, sometimes there is a pleasant fellow-feeling with other Catholics – although I don’t find them generally better people than non-Catholics – as a rule.

At times there is the negative of always being slightly an oddity in an historically Anglo-American Protestant culture. Very occasionally I have felt that something I am reading or watching is more-or-less anti-Catholic. More recently, having traditional Catholic views on marriage and life issues has made me feel that society as a whole views me increasingly as some kind of extremist.]

When do you feel closest to God?

[My response: As I said, I am not the mystical type. Sometimes I feel what CS Lewis called “Joy”. Sometimes I feel that God is nearer than usual. But, as a scientist, I tend also to be sceptical of subjective feelings. I have a feeling or intuition that God has guided me, in a broad sense, in my life. But I don’t like to make too many such claims.]

What and when was your most meaningful religious experience?

[My response: I am not sure that I have ever had such a thing. Some people are “religious geniuses”, which can have its own problems. But I am definitely not a “religious genius”. I suppose I believe or at least hope that my being taken to Lourdes as a small boy might have given me graces to lead a full life despite being born with a moderately serious congenital condition. But a sceptic would disagree of course.]

From von Krafft-Ebing

“I have also fantasised myself to be his female slave, but this does not suffice, for after all every woman can be the slave of her husband.”
Richard von Krafft-Ebing, Psychopathia Sexualis: The Case Histories

Robot flirting

Notice how she gets down on her knees:

She does it here too:

Sophia the robot



“Robots like Sophia could develop consciousness within a few years”. (Quite a claim!)