Feminism Part 1: Woman’s Way Of Knowing

In the feminist book entitled Women’s Way of Knowing originally published in 1986, the authors
develop an epistemological thesis meant to challenge the supposed phallocentric concept of how a
people think. In this book, a distinction is made between separate-knowers and connected-knowers.

Now, separate-knowing is described in this book as “the game of impersonal reason” that has
belonged traditionally to men. The quote continues; “separate-knowers are tough minded. They are
like doormen at exclusive clubs. They do not let anything in unless they are pretty sure it is
good….Presented with a proposition, separate-knowers immediately look for something wrong- a
loophole, a factual error, a logical contradiction, or the omission of contrary evidence”. Separate—
knowers play the doubting game.

Now, separate-knowers are juxtaposed to connected-knowers. Where separate—knowers play the
doubting game, connected-knowers play the “believing game”. The authors continue to state that
quote, “many women find it easier to believe than to doubt”.

Peggy McIntosh developed her own variant of this separate-knower/connected—knower breakdown.
Why, she asks, should there be such a focus on the people at the top – “on the mountain stronghold
of white men” u when we need to study the “valley values” of women and minorities. McIntosh
continues on with her mountain-valley metaphor in distinguishing her two ways of knowing; a
narrow, patriarchal, male, “vertical” way and a richer, female, “lateral” way.

The male dominated elite- the “vertical thinkers” aim at “exact thinking, or decisiveness or mastery
of something, or being able to make an argument and take on all corners, or turning in a perfect
paper.” Vertical thinking is triggered by words like “excellence, accomplishment, success, and
achievement”. Lateral thinking on the other hand, is more spiritual, relational, inclusive. McIntosh
thinks that women and minorities tend to be lateral thinkers. For laterals, the aim is not to win, but
to be in a descent relationship with the invisible elements of the universe.

McIntosh continues on to say that “the quest for knowledge as a universal human undertaking” is
vertical thinking that has a “hidden ethos” of “using logic in it’s either/or, right or wrong, kill or be
killed” style of thinking. From this McIntosh concludes that “young white males are dangerous to
themselves and the rest of us, especially in the nuclear age.” Their orientation towards logic and
achievement is what makes them so threatening.

Peggy McIntosh’s project is to slowly shift the curriculum in schools to move away from vertical
thinking and towards lateral thinking; towards a listen and believe disposition.

Let us think a little bit about what has just been said. To do this, however, I will need to put on my
“vertical” thinking hat; it must be that white maleness in me acting out again. Hmm…but am I a
vertical thinker because I am white or because I am male? McIntosh does not say but from what she
argues, if minorities tend to be lateral thinkers, and a black man can be a minority, then it follows it
must be my whiteness that is causing this thinking. But then white women would be vertical thinkers
too. However, women are argued by McIntosh to mostly be lateral thinkers. From this is must follow
that vertical thinking is some interplay of whiteness and maleness.

Another interesting consequence of this argument is the claim about minorities are lateral thinkers.
Surely a black man is a minority in the United States but he could hardly be considered a minority in
Nigeria. Does the black man in Nigeria still think laterally when he is neither a woman, a minority, or
white? Again, Mclntosh does not say. But perhaps this is not a problem in her argument but just my
vertical thinking acting up again.

But let us look at the broader consequences of what has been presented in Woman’s Way of
Knowing. Now, feminism has the concept of the patriarchy. This concept has been described in such
nebulous terms that it is difficult to conceive intelligibly what feminists mean. I want to use the
concepts found in Woman’s Way of Knowing in an attempt to make patriarchy intelligible for us
vertical thinkers. First, let us make a simple distinction between feminists. To do this I will use
religious symbolism.

You have the feminist laity. These are the mindless protesters converted to the message but who
have little in-depth insight into the origins of their convictions. They are the useful and publicly
visible idiots of feminism. Big red would be one of the laity.

Now, you have feminists like Anita Sarkesian. Anita is, as l see her, the equivalent of a tele-evangelist.
She aims at generating money by preaching the feminist message. Whether or not she believes in
the feminist message is not important. The message itself is merely a vehicle for profit. Next, you
have a contingent of gender studies academics. These are the clergy. They have some core books of
worship that they preach from and their mission is conversion of the laity and ordination of more
clergy.

Finally, you have a contingent of academic philosophers which i would consider the true believers.
These are the women who write the feminist holy books. They write these books because they truly
believe in the message. These books are not necessarily best seller. These books are usually
consumed by the clergy and some of the laity. Let us call these true believers the feminist prophets.

These prophets would be women such as Andrea Dworkin, Simon de Beauvoir, Judith Butler, and so
forth. There is one final group I would like to call out. Those are the fanatics; these are the radical
lesbian activist types such as Valerie Solonas. They are mostly of the laity but much more radicalized.
These fanatics are also true believers but they are not quite up to snuff in producing influential
material.

Now, the prophets are by {air the most interesting group because their ideas are feminism as pure as
the driven snow. it is feminism in its most philosophically attuned form, as far as one can ever, can
these women philosophers. These prophets create the seeds from which grow all further feminist
thoughts. The feminist clergy have a large hand in growing these seeds. The clergy does this by
interpreting the Hoyt Scripture produced by the prophets, scrutinizing it, refining it, publishing books
and articles about the ideas, and so forth.

The sophistry of the prophets is complex, nuanced, and sometimes surprisingly full of vertical
thinking. These works are dispassionate and cold misandry but here too we cannot come to see their
words as being intentionally misandrous. No. Misandry is not the source of these words, it is merely
a necessary corollary to the truth the prophets see. Let me clarify.

For Nietzsche, atheism was not a goal, not a position he fought for. Atheism was what necessarily
followed from what he perceived as true of reality. In Nietzsche‘s reality, God could not exist on
logical grounds because reality did not allow for such a being. So in this way too, these feminist
prophets have misandry as merely the logical consequence that comes out of how they perceive
reality.

Whether these prophets represent “real feminism” or not is not of interest to me. What is of interest
to me is that these prophets are the foundation for a feminism that indeed exists, 3 feminism that is
massively influential, a feminism that is changing the world. These prophets offer the purest
distillation of that feminism.

Now, the products of these prophets are ideas like the patriarchy. Once we come to understand how
the patriarchy is constructed in thought, so too will it start to make sense why certain changes are
pushed by feminists. I posit that the changes that are taking place due to feminism are legitimate
changes in combating the patriarchy.

But, what is the patriarchy? Well, it could not be any simpler of a concept. I posit that, according to
these prophets, the patriarchy is the entirety of that which has been created through vertical
thinking. As feminists assert that all things are socially constructs, so too all of creation becomes a
construct of the mind. More specifically, a construct of the white male mind.

Now, let us give some exposition to this as it might be hard to understand. Let us imagine something
as simple as a cup meant to hold water. The construction of a cup is patriarchal in that it adheres to
logic. A cup is not a horse after all, therefore it is an exclusive and not inclusive concept. A cup is also
bound to the logical function of holding water. Through vertical thinking a cup is only a good cup if it
can hold water, and it is a bad cup if it cannot hold water. In fact, the latter of the two would hardly
be considered a cup at all. This entails that a thing is either a cup or is not a cup. This again is vertical
thinking.

So too in this way, can we look at more complex objects. Let us look at something in nature this time
around. Let us look at a tree. Now. Let us distinguish between two things here. First, we have the
sensory experience that develops while we gaze upon a tree. The second thing is the concept of the
tree. The concept of a tree is not the sensory experience itself.

When we think of trees in this second way, we will think in terms of patterns; in universals. We will
think that there are types of trees, each type distinguished from another based on some attribute
we deem worthy of distinction. But how very patriarchal of us. We have chosen to distinguish based
on differences and not on commonalities. This classification system is itself patriarchal. Why do we
distinguish on differences instead of commonalities? Why do we distinguish at all? To distinguish is
to be exclusionary. To distinguish is to say a thing is or is not that from which it is to be distinguished,
and as such, patriarchal.

But if we continue this process and look at every concept ever conceived, what we find is that all
concepts are littered with vertical white male thinking. If this is true, then patriarchy truly is
everywhere and within everything. How could it not be?

But if it is the case that patriarchy is everywhere and in everything, and it is also true that minorities
and women think laterally and not vertically, then it indeed would be the case that the intelligible
world discriminates against women and minorities. I have tried to think of an analogy to try and
relate this idea existentially to our poor vertical male minds.

The best I could come up with is the following. Imagine yourself arguing with a hysterical feminist.
Imagine the anger bubbling in you. You start to feel your blood boiling as you hear nonsense
spewing from her mouth. You cannot make any sense of what is going on. Your mind cannot wrap
itself around the combinations of words she is using. She is telling you that the smell of red is
happier than the taste of the C major scale. Your vertical mind cannot resolve the words to their
concepts and still yield intelligible meaning in what has been said. Your vertical mind is not set up to
think this way; it is not lateral.

Now, imagine that that is how women and minorities experience everything in reality. To women
and minorities, white men sound like feminists sound like to white men. Imagine what it would be
like if cars were engineered like the speech of a feminist. Would you not feel discriminated against
as a white male vertical thinker if you could not figure out how to drive it by using logic?

Though a little dramatic and hyperbolic, I imagine that, existentially, this is what the feminist
prophets mean when they describe their experience of the patriarchy. From this account then, male
privilege makes sense. Male privilege then is simply having the world immediately intelligible. Male
privilege is cars constructed using a logical system. Male privilege is road laws that have exclusionary
practices like the “right of way” or driving only on one side of the road. These things are patriarchal
male privilege. These things have been designed with logic and fit the male vertical way of thinking.

But, what would lateral thinking look like? Well, this too is nicely explained by feminism. White men
do not have epistemic access to this mode of thinking. White men cannot conceive of it because
they are behind the veil of privilege. As everything is organized, including language, to the male
mode of vertical thinking, it is impossible for a man to think otherwise. This is where men need to
“listen and believe” women’s lived experience.

Now, to us vertical thinking men, this can be analogized to someone having a religious experience. If
I have a religious experience, and it is the case that you do not have epistemic access to my
experiences, then you can either believe what I describe or dismiss it; no amount of words Wm be
able to convey the experience itself.

Now, if this Is the case, then we can look upon vertical thinking and lateral thinking as two systems
that cannot be explained in terms of the other. This is similar to the conflict between emotion and
logic. More specifically, emotion cannot be reduced to logic because if it could, then emotion would
be a derivative of logic. In the same way, logic is itself not reducible to emotion as then logic would
be a derivative of emotion.

Now, if lateral thinking could be reduced to logic, then this makes the patriarchy impossible as
lateral thinking would merely be a version of vertical thinking. If vertical thinking could be reduced to
lateral thinking, then it would follow that ultimately the patriarchy would be a product of lateral
thinking. As feminists claim that the patriarchy exists, and that white men are vertical thinkers, and a
shift to lateral thinking will dismantle the patriarchy, then it follows that lateral thinking and vertical
thinking cannot be reduced to each other.

So what this means is that any attempt to use vertical thinking concepts, such as logic, to argue
against lateral thinking is not valid. It would be like me trying to logically disprove that you feel angry.
Such a proof is not possible.

So, if we take it all together, it would appear that not only do white men have no access to this
lateral thinking, but we also do not have a valid tool to speak about it outside of faith. If this is true
then any attempt to argue against lateral thinking is simply oppression. Now. What also becomes
immediately intelligible as a consequence of this is the feminist notion that all white men are
oppressors.

This one is easy to demonstrate. If indeed white men are only capable of vertical thinking, and the
product of vertical thinking is the patriarchy, and the patriarchy is oppressive, then white men are
only capable of creating oppression as every thought will be a vertical thought that just adds to the
patriarchy. Therefore all white men are oppressors. Our only salvation is to listen and believe. But
even then, we should only ever repeat pre-digested lateral thoughts because any independent
thought will necessarily be an oppressive vertical thought. Is this not what feminists have been
trying to tell us? Surely it is.

But perhaps to view white male thought as oppressive, to view vertical thought as oppressive, is not
nuanced enough. What sort of oppression do they refer to? Surely they mean racism, sexism,
homophobia, Islamophobia and so on. But how can these things be linked back to vertical thought?
This too is easy to explain. If everything that exists is patriarchal, and racism, sexism, homophobia
and so on exist, then it necessarily follows that racism, sexism, and homophobia are patriarchal. The
corollary to this is that racism, sexism, and homophobia are products of vertical thinking.

However, I do not believe that the feminist prophets hold men responsible for these forms of
oppressions; at least not in a coarse way. I think they see racism and sexism in the way that
Nietzsche saw atheism. Racism and sexism necessarily follow from white male vertical thinking. The
analogy I would use is that racism and sexism are like a side effect of a drug that also does
something good. Sort of like heart medicine that also causes nightmares. The white male has good
intentions by making the heart medicine, but inevitably he brings nightmares with it.

As vertical thinking was a medicine applied to the masses in order to produce civilization, it
produced the side effects of racism, sexism, and overall oppression on all those lateral thinkers. I
believe that the feminist prophets see lateral thinking as a medicine for society that in turn does not
have these side effects. Why do they believe this? I will cover that later in the next video in this
series.

So what does a feminist mean when she says she wants to smash the patriarchy? Well, this is a
threefold project. In the first place, she needs to stop the bleeding; meaning, she needs to plug as
many sources of vertical thought as she can. She needs to shut down as many white male spun”
as possible so no more poison seeps into the world, after all, we had previously shown that all white
male thought is vertical, therefore oppressive.

Policing of all male spaces is also necessary. Policing male only spaces stops any vertical thought
from brewing, for where men gather without the supervision of women, so too vertical thinking
follows. So in this way the workplace needs to be policed. Draconian quotas need to be put into
place not so that women reach parity with men in representation but so there is no place where
men are free to think vertically. This holds true at least for all knowledge worker occupations;
occupations where thinking forms the core of productive activities.

The second thing our feminist liberators will need to do is gain control over methods of distribution
of ideas. After all, even if all white men were exterminated, their books would remain. Their ideas
would continue to be proliferated. Once generation of new vertical thought is slowed, proliferation
of existing vertical thought needs to be slowed and ultimately stopped. But how? Through
censorship of distribution channels. Social networks need to be censored. Books need to be
censored. All educational material need to be censored. And finally language itself.

Thirdly, our feminist liberators will need to erase all historical records of vertical thought. After all,
history is merely his story. We need a new history, her story, herstory.

If the patriarchy is understood as I had previously posited, namely, the entirety of that which has
been created through vertical thinking, then all the policies and methods we see applied by feminists
make sense. Indeed, their project is consistent with the idea of smashing the patriarchy.

Now, several questions are still left unanswered. The first and most important is how does the
disposition of a feminist prophet come into being. What is the constituting force behind misology?
Misology being the hatred of argument and reason. How does such a hatred develop in a human
being? This will be the subject of my next video in the series. In answering this question we will
cover other related questions. Questions such as, how can we know that lateral thinking is superior
to vertical thinking, and how do we know that oppression will not result from lateral thinking,

Thanks for listening.

Go team.

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