1. On pendulums and society

Questions:

You have a pendulum swinging from side to side. It is very heavy, and you along with millions of other people are allowed to throw objects at each of the sides of the pendulum to slow it down or accelerate it.

1. If you can see the pendulum at all times, and get the following options on what to do when the pendulum is about to pass the middle position, which should you pick?
a. give it a push in the direction it is already moving
b. don't touch it at all
c. give it a push in the opposite direction of what it is moving in

2. If you saw the pendulum a while ago, but then had to close your eyes, and now without opening them again have to make the same decision as that above, which would you choose?
a. give it a push in the direction that it was moving when you closed your eyes
b. don't touch it at all, leaving it to those who can see the position and velocity of the pendulum, or leaving it to friction to slow it down
c. give it a push in the opposite direction of what it was moving when you closed your eyes

3. If the time it takes the pendulum to swings from one end to the other is around one to two lifetimes, and you see the pendulum when you're young but then stop looking at it, what answer would you give to question 1 when you reach the age of 50?
a. give it a push in the direction that it was moving when you were young
b. don't touch it at all, leaving it to those who can see the position and velocity of the pendulum, or leaving it to friction to slow it down
c. give it a push in the opposite direction of what it was moving when you were young

I won't discuss how I think this applies to politics, I merely wish to see if these questions are perceived as easy in this isolated form, to see if it is the recognition of this pattern, or the reasoning about this isolated problem, that often makes people make what to me seems like odd decisions in such questions.

1 c
2 if you were alone, it's not possible to tell, but probabilistically, b is the best option most likely to be best in most cases
3 c
A better option not available above is of course to try and look at the pendulum again under 2 and 3, but that wasn't part of the question.

2. Re: On pendulums and society

I'm pretty sure the answer to 1 is "grab the pendulum so that it stops instantly at the middle".

3. Re: On pendulums and society

Edit: It's an incredibly heavy pendulum, you don't have that option. I edited the post above so it's more clear now.

4. Re: On pendulums and society

Then your experiment can't be compared to society.

5. Re: On pendulums and society

If you could just grab the pendulum and stop it, it would be the equivalent to you being a dictator with 100% unlimited power, and that wouldn't be comparable to society. Can you please explain what you think makes it so the current version can't be compared to society?

6. Re: On pendulums and society

What are the perceived affects of the pendulum's movement?

7. Re: On pendulums and society

but if the pendulum is womens rights i believe it hasn't got to the middle yet, and it is losing more and more momentum as it gets closer to the centre. To start with theres was alot of call for the pendulum to move to the centre even men thought it should, then women had the vote, laws were applied to equal the sexes, sexual discrimination in workplace ect.

and so the pendulum has got to where it is today where the equality is almost there, there is still a difference in pay and amount of women in boardrooms but i think exact equality on these would probably mean women are being encouraged ahead of men whereas there should be slight differences based on the types of jobs men and women choose.

But as the pendulum reaches the centre the power behind it is rapidly vanishing.. what women would throw themself under a horse for womens rights today ? (in a free country) I don't even think most women themselves want more than men just equality....

8. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by drone
What are the perceived affects of the pendulum's movement?
Just that some people get to suffer much when the pendulum goes far from the middle, it can be different people at each endpoint the pendulum goes to, or the same in both cases. Some of the people who along with you can give the pendulum a push belong to either of those groups that suffer at the endpoints.

9. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by LittleGrizzly
Ok, that is promising

Originally Posted by LittleGrizzly
But as the pendulum reaches the centre the power behind it is rapidly vanishing..
If it truly is losing power, that is the best thing which could happen, as it will then be able to stop at the centre after going back and forth in very small steps for a while around the center.

Originally Posted by LittleGrizzly
I don't even think most women themselves want more than men just equality....
I agree, but too few of these stand up against the extremists, I think. If they would stand up against the extremists better, it would be easier to improve the situation for those who are innocent (probably a majority). In most other political questions the same holds, that extremists on your own side often hurt your cause more than those on your opponent's side.

10. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Rodion Romanovich
If you could just grab the pendulum and stop it, it would be the equivalent to you being a dictator with 100% unlimited power, and that wouldn't be comparable to society. Can you please explain what you think makes it so the current version can't be compared to society?
The problem with your pendulum analogy is that pendulums have momentum that can only be stopped by pushing in the opposite direction. Whereas a societal movement stops instantly when people stop pushing it. I assume you are talking about feminism, remember the goal of feminism is equality. When we reach that point the movement will be over, unlike a pendulum which will keep swinging.

11. Re: On pendulums and society

If it truly is losing power, that is the best thing which could happen, as it will then be able to stop at the centre after going back and forth in very small steps for a while around the center.

this is what i believe will happen basically, it will either stop at the most eqaulity we can get or go a little bit over and gradually make its way back

I agree, but too few of these stand up against the extremists, I think. If they would stand up against the extremists better, it would be easier to improve the situation for those who are innocent (probably a majority). In most other political questions the same holds, that extremists on your own side often hurt your cause more than those on your opponent's side.

I agree its usually the extremists that mess it up for everyone but i think with womens rights as we get nearer the centre there is no cause for new extremist feminists to get caught up in the ones who are already extreme will either mellow or some will see more inequality and try to push but there will just be no popular support left and no new extremists to support the cause.

12. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
The problem with your pendulum analogy is that pendulums have momentum that can only be stopped by pushing in the opposite direction. Whereas a societal movement stops instantly when people stop pushing it. I assume you are talking about feminism, remember the goal of feminism is equality. When we reach that point the movement will be over, unlike a pendulum which will keep swinging.
No, society doesn't work like that. Let's take an example. People measure inequality in wages by looking at average wage compared to which sex you belong to. This hides the very important fact that there's a great difference in average wage ratio man/woman for 50 year olds than for 20 year olds, for example (for 20 year olds, there's in many industries a massive advantage for women today). So, with this measurement method, you would think it's time to keep pushing the pendulum in the direction of "more to the women". The problem is, in doing so you build up regulations and society structures which remain in society for some time until they are explicitly removed. It's not always apparent which those things are, until it has starting swinging into the other direction. That's one of the reasons it won't be as you say, in this issue as in other issues. There are always massive delays in how long it takes before the effects of a decision appear in a measurable form. If you measure average wage over all ages, for example, there's a huge delay. It's much better to measure average wage for the youngest generation of workers. But even then, there are delays, which are however too complex to be worth going into detail about (but their effect is limited - all they matter for this discussion is that there needs to be a preparedness for a plethora of such effects, and the need to regulate back a bit in the other directions once effects of such things begin appearing).

Additionally, you have the problem that in some areas, too much progress is made, while almost no progress is made in other areas of a problem. For instance, increase in percentage of female bosses and female boss wages in non-private organizations are going too far in many places, whereas the average woman benefits nothing from this development, and still has disadvantages. The rich boss women now join the complaints about inequality that the poor women make, and use this as an excuse to increase female boss wages further, whereas the problem still remains for poor women. So you will have passed the middle point by far in many areas, when you reach the middle in others. Some people use the free ride of the pendulum to push themselves far beyond the middle. And these boss women are some of the most fervent spokesmen of taking feminism further, and often manage to fool the masses of women that they are "the good side". So unless these are actively fought, by the time you get female wages for poorer women comparable to what poorer men get, you will have a big problem with almost all state organizations being controlled by heavily overpaid women.

These two phenomena, among many other, in their more general form, are what makes it so that the pendulums often are pushed beyond the middle and so that oppression of one group is followed by oppression of another. It is a rare thing in history that people can truly stop the pendulum when it passes the middle. No, when someone gains momentum in their struggle on the very point of passing the middle, they gain confidence and are often taken over by greed, and begin wanting to push further. Especially if there are spokesmen who stir up hatred towards the group that is about to become victim when the swinging pendulum changes power balance. It's no coincidence that the French revolution ended in mass-beheadings and so on. You can see the exact same developments today in many other phenomena. Take political correctness in immigration issues for instance. There's an ideological crisis in which Western Europe because of odd misconceptions of the 1930ies feel they must call someone racist or nazi if they oppose massive immigration and creation of a segregated, worry-filled society. Such political correctness madness, and society structures built up to further delay all effects of attempts at moving towards the middle with the pendulum, now create a new form of chaos because of the too desperate (and because of the desperation so misdirected and not thought through) immigration policies developed today. That's why the extremist feminists should be fought more actively, as they hurt both innocent average women and men.

13. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by LittleGrizzly
this is what i believe will happen basically, it will either stop at the most eqaulity we can get or go a little bit over and gradually make its way back
Ok good. The important thing is that people are prepared to quickly recognize a swing over on the other side of the middle, and that political correctness and society structures don't prevent regulating it back towards the middle again.

Originally Posted by LittleGrizzly
I agree its usually the extremists that mess it up for everyone but i think with womens rights as we get nearer the centre there is no cause for new extremist feminists to get caught up in the ones who are already extreme will either mellow or some will see more inequality and try to push but there will just be no popular support left and no new extremists to support the cause.
I agree, but there are some small-scale phenomena that require a good awareness among all for it to work in this way. And above all, that political correctness and similar doesn't taboo criticism towards women and feminism, because then such taboo will prevent moving back towards the middle once the middle has been passed.

14. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Rodion Romanovich
No, society doesn't work like that.
And it most certainly does not work like a pendulum.

15. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Rodion
words
Men aren't oppressed. There's injustice sure, but I'd say they still have it easier than women.

Of course the extremist feminists are wrong; I don't think any great number of people supports extremism. You are coming across as an extremist though.

There's a certain amount of injustice in the world but it's not some feminist conspiracy.

16. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
Men aren't oppressed. There's injustice sure, but I'd say they still have it easier than women.

Of course the extremist feminists are wrong; I don't think any great number of people supports extremism. You are coming across as an extremist though.

There's a certain amount of injustice in the world but it's not some feminist conspiracy.
Well, let me phrase the problem more clearly then. There's a major problem in that if a man, an individual, gets oppressed, there's taboo for him to say he was oppressed, whereas if a woman says she's oppressed, she gets support. Women may receive lower wages on average, but men have been deprived of freedom of speech and the needed and deserved support they should get when becoming victims of plots of immoral women who abuse their power. If you're a man and end up oppressed by a sick woman, you can give up any hope of justice through legal means, and have few options but suicide.

Another interesting aspect about female wages being lower is that they more often pick industries which generate less income, because they go by taste rather than income when choosing jobs - then some people claim they should be compensated for their low wages. But shouldn't men who pick by taste instead of money be given the same compensation? And there is way too much female representation in the top in industries where there are almost no women. Say, in politics, 9 of 10 participants in many parties are male, yet a much higher percentage than 10 of of women is given minister posts now (a lot of governments making a point to have 50% women in them). To claim this is fair is to claim men are 10 times less competent than women, and we know this is not true - it is an outrageously chauvisintic and discriminating claim. The winners in current society are men and women who want to get much money with little work. The losers are men and women who work their ***** off and get almost nothing. And so feminism goes back to its roots: upper class women trying to gain legitimacy for taking the positions otherwise granted to lower class men (who struggled their entire life to get somewhere) away from them, and take them for themselves, to get even richer.

Feminism without applying a class perspective is contra-productive. As it is now, it's not women getting more, it's the upper class getting more, poor women getting the same as before, and poor men getting less than before.

17. Re: On pendulums and society

I have really no idea what society you get this "oppressed men" idea from. Where I am from, if there is any favour, it typically is tipped in the favour of men. Regarding equality, the latest here is that men might be favoured in jobs dominated by women, like nurses. I see nothing else but a society that is reaching the middle way and that is slowing down in its movement; in this respect that is.

18. Re: On pendulums and society

What do you do if there's a giant pendulum controlling society?

Cut the rope.

19. Re: On pendulums and society

LittleGrizzly and Sasaki have expressed it well. Men still have the gender advantage in western society, and in some societies they are in a position of very unbalanced power (Saudi Arabia, for instance). The shift toward equality is a good thing, and one of the most promising social advances in the west in recent centuries. It is not complete, and is not likely to go far beyond the equality midpoint, if it reaches that point at all. Extremists are always aggravating, including feminist extremists, but our society at large doesn't care enough about them for them to have real power.

You seem very paranoid about this issue, Rodion. I for one support Obama over Clinton, but because I dislike Clinton, not because I dislike the idea of a female president. I think both a dark-skinned president and a female president would be very healthy experiences for this country.

Ajax

20. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Rodion Romanovich
No, society doesn't work like that. Let's take an example. People measure inequality in wages by looking at average wage compared to which sex you belong to. This hides the very important fact that there's a great difference in average wage ratio man/woman for 50 year olds than for 20 year olds, for example (for 20 year olds, there's in many industries a massive advantage for women today). So, with this measurement method, you would think it's time to keep pushing the pendulum in the direction of "more to the women". The problem is, in doing so you build up regulations and society structures which remain in society for some time until they are explicitly removed. It's not always apparent which those things are, until it has starting swinging into the other direction. That's one of the reasons it won't be as you say, in this issue as in other issues. There are always massive delays in how long it takes before the effects of a decision appear in a measurable form. If you measure average wage over all ages, for example, there's a huge delay. It's much better to measure average wage for the youngest generation of workers. But even then, there are delays, which are however too complex to be worth going into detail about (but their effect is limited - all they matter for this discussion is that there needs to be a preparedness for a plethora of such effects, and the need to regulate back a bit in the other directions once effects of such things begin appearing).
I'm pretty sure that I have seen in IT wage breakdowns on Age, Gender, Location, Qualifications, Job Role. I'm also pretty sure that I've seen despite all other things being equal a woman in the same categories of Age, Location, Qualifications and Job Role earn less then their male counterparts.

21. Re: On pendulums and society

My wife is in upper middle management of a financial company. Been with the company for 18 years. The last 12 years her performance reviews have been at the highest or second highest rating. One of the men who reports to her (i.e. she's the boss) makes substantially more money than she does, yet he is performing his at job at a level expected from someone 2-3 levels lower than his current position. I don't think my wife (or I) see the pendulum in the same part of the swing as others do.

22. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Papewaio
I'm pretty sure that I have seen in IT wage breakdowns on Age, Gender, Location, Qualifications, Job Role. I'm also pretty sure that I've seen despite all other things being equal a woman in the same categories of Age, Location, Qualifications and Job Role earn less then their male counterparts.
The equal pay-debate(at least here) isn't about just that though. It also covers the gap between jobs women "are fit to do" and the "manly jobs". The gap had it's place in the 20's because the man had to provide for the family and the woman simply worked to gain some extra money, now, however, things are different as women need their pay just as much as men do. Today, jobs needing a lot of education and responsibility pay lower than jobs with 0 responsibility and education, simply because the former is rated as a job for women, and the second is a manly job.

For example, let's compare a trucker(man) and a nurse(woman):

Nurse: 4-year college education, and you're responsible for the lives of patients. Less than the doctors are, of course, but you still have a lot of responsibility.

Yearly pay: 260 000 NOK

Trucker: Get the license, and you're done. No education required at all, and 0 responsibility.

Yearly pay: from 300 000 NOK and up

Now, how is that fair?

23. Re: On pendulums and society

I'm not going anywhere near touching the pendulum if millions of other people are allowed to throw objects at it at the same time!

24. Re: On pendulums and society

...AND you don't know where it's been (if you just opened your eyes) DJ.

25. Re: On pendulums and society

Do I understand some of you correctly when it feels like some of you make the fallacy "average women get a slightly worse situation than average men in some aspects in some countries, therefore no individual male can have a worse situation than a woman". If you didn't notice it yet, it is indeed a fallacy. What's worse is that I often find there's a taboo against saying that any individual man would be in an oppressed situation, especially if the oppressor happens to be a woman.

When people start treating people as "part of a group" and based on the averages within that group, rather than as individuals, then society becomes a dangerous place and it doesn't take long before extremism arises. Especially when freedom of speech is infringed by the strongest form of censorship of them all: uncontrolled mass-hysteric rage from the masses putting a taboo on making certain statements.

26. Re: On pendulums and society

Do I understand some of you correctly when it feels like some of you make the fallacy "average women get a slightly worse situation than average men in some aspects in some countries, therefore no individual male can have a worse situation than a woman". If you didn't notice it yet, it is indeed a fallacy. What's worse is that I often find there's a taboo against saying that any individual man would be in an oppressed situation, especially if the oppressor happens to be a woman.
In the OP you are comparing society to a pendulum, no mention of individuals.

Trucker: Get the license, and you're done. No education required at all, and 0 responsibility.

Yearly pay: from 300 000 NOK and up

Now, how is that fair?
There's no inherent reason education should make you paid more. And driving a truck comes with a lot of risk and is frankly a pretty crappy job. There are lots of "no education required" jobs that pay more than higher education jobs. I don't believe there is an actual wage gap--studies that account for all the factors show a very slight difference. Individual cases of misogyny aside.

Some studies have shown in the past that as previously male only jobs become open to women salaries decrease, however that's just the effect of a larger pool of applicants driving salaries down.

27. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Sasaki Kojiro
In the OP you are comparing society to a pendulum, no mention of individuals.
I seem to recall mentioning there were millions of individuals, but please do keep denying inconvenient truths.

28. Re: On pendulums and society

Originally Posted by Rodion Romanovich
I seem to recall mentioning there were millions of individuals, but please do keep denying inconvenient truths.
You claimed we were supporting a fallacy. If the averages are in favor of men, that doesn't mean individual men couldn't be worse off than women. This is true; however, it has nothing to do with your original argument, which is what Sasaki was pointing out. Individual men having it worse than individual women is no reason to mess with the pendulum. Only the averages should affect such choices.

Ajax

29. Re: On pendulums and society

I'm curious Rodion, if you had a choice would you prefer to be born male or female?

30. Re: On pendulums and society

I guess it wouldn't matter, what matters isn't primarily what group you belong to, but what fate gives you as individual.

Of course the question is also a bit odd - being a male, the thought of being a woman seems absurd and strange to me. But I'm convinced that if I had been born as a woman and grown up as one, I probably would think being a man would be similarly absurd and strange.

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