A 'critical' conversation - 2

'second part' of this podcast.


sowmya said...

Hi suresh..
Heard few of your podcasts. Its really amazing and appreciable to hear these kind of talks. Its very rare to find people who talk their views openly, even its controversial with the society and its norms. and ofcourse , you need lots of guts to express the views which you really feel.I am happy that I got an oppourtunity to hear you people. I would like to share my opinions regarding certain areas which you covered.I heard only two of your podcasts.I dint hear this post podcast.Let me hear after my office time.

Thank you so much to you and to my friend who asked me to hear you.


Suresh said...

Hi Somya,

You're welcome. I'm glad you liked this episode. It'll be interesting to known your opinions (or experiences) related to what we had spoken about. Cheers

Anonymous said...

About the argument about some not digging deep before concluding, "all colours are the same":

The way I see it, there's no appreciable difference between the way they (your friends) arrived at the conclusion and your way. (I am not taking your friends' preference to 'dark' over 'fair' into consideration here :D, which is a different point altogether.)

Suresh said...


I've thought about it too. I would agree with you to an extent. The problem is that (if any), as I mentioned in the podcast, they were not able to explain or justify why I was wrong. So it looked like they were saying something that they themselves didn't believe (which is a very likely possibility).

I can relate this to your earlier point in the first episode (that not all have to know about 'social constructs' to condemn racism). On a personal level it might work, but it doesn't help when you try to convince others. When people throw words like 'instinct', 'nature', 'fact', 'obviously' etc., you're caught wondering if you're deluding yourself.

The song "karuppu dhan enakku pudicha colour" is an apt example here. The song, though it seems to carry a very 'liberal' message, is essentially patronizing. It just goes on celebrating "blackness" quite irrationally, and relates that to 'godliness', popularity (quoting Rajini's 'success'), 'manliness' etc.

It's like the liberal hypocrisy about gays. While a lot of people "are fine with gays", being mistaken for being gay is taken as huge insult. Because, many of them still believe that there's something terribly wrong with them despite their pretence to be "cool with gays". That's why always stress that we need to 'dig' as deep as 'practically' possible on these issues.

Subhash said...

I gather that the conversation revolved around proving that some instincts are socially constructed. I am rather interested in the claim that you make about Incest. Aside from the fact that I am attracted to my cousin, but don't feel guilty about it(even though she did when I told her) and I wanted to read more about it. I chanced in on articles about the Israeli Kibbutzim community.

Kibbutzim was basically an experiment in community living gone horribly wrong. Children were brought up communally in age groups, away from their parents. A study looked at how the adolescent girls and boys within the same clan behaved. It was observed that girls would normally be conservative around boys from the same clan and that intra-kibbutz marriages were very rare. Another example to show that sexual aversion with cousins is not a social construct is to look at the traditional form of Chinese marriages. It is normal practice for chinese families to send a daughter, when as a kid, to another family to be raised as their own along with a son. When both of them reach sexual maturity, they are married off. It has been shown that these kind of marriages were generally unsuccessful because children raised together developed sexual aversion to one another.

So, is it because of an 'evolutionary imprint' that forces the humans to somehow know that inbreeding within an own family contributes to 'weaker Darwinian' offspring. But Darwin himself rejects this notion. He married his first cousin and championed a cause for scientific investigation towards prohibition of incestuous marriages. However, later scientific studies do prove that 'risk' to offspring in such marriage was often low. In fact it was much lower that any man who decided to mate within his own family (mother or sister) had higher probability of producing an offspring than somebody who decided not to. A complete subconscious analysis of the consequences of close-relative mating would therefore involve a trade-off of the positive and negative consequences of inbreeding and the positive fitness consequences of close-relative mating. It is hence not surprising that some cases might actually favor close-relative mating versus incest avoidance. In fact, evolution (social or biological) or social construct are little too simplistic explanations of reality.

May be evolution still hasn't been exactly understood. Incest, like homosexual intentions, may be purely personal and has no evolutionary or social significance.

Note that the analysis is not to judge whether some patterns or 'good' or 'bad'. I am just trying to understand the natural process.

subhash said...

And what's your prediction for the Roddick vs Federer match. I mean the score, not the result.

sowmya said...

hey, could u give your skype id.

Anonymous said...

On incest, you must've read this post at Ravikiran's, but anyway.

Subhash said...

I did read that and some basic evolutionary biology about parentage.

Suresh said...

before I read and reply others

@ Subash

I quite totally missed it. The game just got over. What the hell? I predicted that it will be 3 set game with the first set being a tie-break (the rest 6-2, 6-3).
So except for the 3-setter thing and the result itself, I got nothing right this time :)). parava illa vidunga, finals'la paathukalam.

Subhash said...

Oh Shit! The way Roddick was beaten was amazing. 6/4 6/0 6/2. But he was serving badly and without his serve he is as good as world no.100

How I wish Gasquet played Federer. Would have been an exhibition in artistry, even if Federer won.

Subhash said...

A good idea is to cancel the next semis and have them both play federer in the final. I think they would still lose.

Suresh said...

^^ enna periya Gasquet, pressure cooker gasket, neenga dhan mechikanum!

I know, Federer humbled Roddick like never before. Roddick actually started to believe that he had a chance this time (like Indians talking about becoming the “super power”). You could see it in his eyes when he walked into the court. aana pavam paya nondhu noodles'a poitan when he left.

@ about incest

Ravikiran's post and your discussion both throw reasonable pointers. But my interest in this whole thing wasn't about what's right or what's preferable or how we are 'programmed genetically'. Even the avoidance of inbreeding among some animals is confined to their understanding of who belongs to their pack/litter. Animals don't have the cognitive ability to identify their siblings in the absence of a common matriarch (usually their mother). The same goes to humans too.

In the absence of a social understanding of a relationship (identifying siblings included) the random probability of being sexually aroused by an individual of the opposite sex can be applied between siblings. Any lack of sexual arousal is only equatable to general probability and a corresponding outcome.

But when they are made aware of the existence of a social relationship -- 'transgressing' which is considered a serious taboo -- you can expect an overwhelming majority of them complying with it. So social constructs, especially like those on incest taboos, have far greater influence on an individual's behavior than whatever their “natural genetic instincts” exerts them to. So in essence even “instincts” can be socially constructed. (This was my point.) I don't consider one superior over the other.

Either way we are only talking about 'most', not all.

@ Sowmya

englishtamil is my ID for Skype and Gtalk. I'm mostly online in Gtalk.

Subhash said...

It's impossible to argue that social conditioning does not play a greater role than any other in curbing incest practices. But, I wonder why the society was conditioned that way. I am more interested about that.

Note: No condescending tone.

I wonder if you followed Federer when he started of as pro in 1998 or even after he beat Sampras in 2001. The fact is that until 2004, he was just another kid with 'exceptional talent' and the mind of a zombie. As for Gasquet, he does have the rare ability to hit winners from some 3-4 meters from behind the baseline and from any side of the court. True, his game and his tactics do need some fine tuning. But he is not bad. If you did watch the match against Robredo that he lost in the 4th round. His tactics were more a preparation for the QF (I am assuming here.) But how else do you explain a baseline player approaching the net more than 60 times. What probably killed Gasquet was his serve. The lack of bite. The lack of imagination. Note that at 20, Gasquet has more titles, more masters series finals (2) and has beaten virtually everyone in the top 20 except Nadal. I believe that he has the potential to be in the top 10 by this year (he is already 15th when the rankings release next week) and be in the top 5 next year. Whether he will realise it, is something no expert in tennis can predict.

There are others like Berdych, whose game almost resembles Federer, except his weak backhand and a much stronger serve. And Murray, whose court coverage is next to only Federer may be. But to me, Gasquet is special player. Much like I always like Gustavo Kuerten, who had the most beautiful game until 4 years back.

Suresh said...

^^ adada I know Fed's history. I was just pulling man. For I haven't seen Gasquet's game long enough to make any judgment. I'm sure he has the metal to be a strong contender in the coming tournaments.

Priya said...

Hi Suresh,

This conversation is very good. To think that we have taken a lot of things for granted. Only when we think through it again, can we realise that the opposite is true. I am very interested to listen to your conversation on religion. Take your time and upload it, please.

You are using Gtalk? That's good. Thanks for informing me. I didn't know:)


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