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ANAHITA  July 1997

ANAHITA July 1997

Subject:

Re: No Subject

From:

don walter <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Women and Gender in the Ancient World <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 13 Jul 1997 21:13:21 -0700

Content-Type:

text/plain

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Mary Engle recently wrote, among various other things:
>...
>A good friend of mine is full blooded Apache and he has stated
>that this matriarchal system has always existed within the Apache tribal
>system....
>This does deal with women in antiquity and is also an example of a system
>that has continued to exist despite all efforts to destroy it.
>While I cannot use any type of scientific objectivity to validate my belief
>system, there is enough evidence for me to know that I am not that far off
>the mark in my re-member-ing. Besides, quantum physics states that no one is
>objective to the point of not influencing the outcome of any attempt to test
>or prove any argument.
>
>Blessed Be    Maia
>

Well, you have stepped on several of my hobby-horses again, so I will
respond again.  Some American Indian social systems may well be matrilocal,
and may well have been so for a long time (although I could tell you
discouraging stories about the credibility of modern Sioux in South
Dakota...); but I thought most of the argument was about Antiquity, not just
antiquity-- that is, the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was
Rome-- and not about just any culture which has some past... Of course, if
the tale about the Apache makes you feel happier with your re-member-ing,
please feel happier; but don't please use feeling that as if it was much of
an argument in favor of your feelings' re-presenting something that happened
widely in Antiquity.
        As others have indicated in posts in this thread, there certainly
have been Bad Ol' Boys, who have suppressed evidence, or mis-translated in
sneaky or not-so-sneaky ways.  But many on this list (I believe--- correct
me if I'm wrong about this) would like to see correction of the suppression,
correction of the mis-translations, etc.--- but based on persuasive
interpretation of texts or artifacts, as well as, to a small extent, on
"tribal memories," sutiably calibrated for those who disagree with those
memories, vagaries of memory (very likely also flavored by prior
convictions, whether misogynist or feminist), etc.
        Finally, quantum mechanics.  There are several plausible
"interpretations" of QM floating around (along with several wildly
implausible ones, in my opinion).  The particular gloss or popularization of
QM that you seem to be citing is a very literary paraphrase of one of the
fairly accepted interpretations; you are welcome to believe what you stated,
but I wish you would not credit it to "quantumphysics", unless you take a
little more trouble to look a little further into what that interpretation
really says about observation and disturbance.  For one thing, it is all
very quantitative, and puts limits on sizes of effects, which your gloss or
popularization doesn't preserve; and quantum physics is about invisibly tiny
particles, not about Persons (your "no one" is a vast extrapolation from
what QM, as far as I read it, is willing to say.  Perhaps there are sources
which say substantially what you have stated, but I think that this list
deserves to have them cited, somewhat as you might wish others to state
which inscriptions (in the old-fashioned sense, of stone monuments or the
like) they are referring to. Given the source, we could then form our own
conclusions as to whether we will choose to accept that formulation, modify
it, or reject it.  Without some indication of a source, we may prefer to
treat it like your re-member-ing-- nice for you, but not necessarily
persuasive to us.

Don

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Diotima's address: http://www.uky.edu/ArtsSciences/Classics/gender.html

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