Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Institution or Institutional Madness

Ever wonder what a shut out is? What it feels like?

We live in a society where we have shut outs. They are so intergrated into the system that we barely notice them let alone acknowledge them. I want to concentrate on one shut out. The one I wish to candidly speak about and is close to my heart is the shut out the smart people enforce and the ordinary live by. Case in point the famed SOL.

Its a website for nomads. The first thing you notice when you log into the site is the number of people signed on during the night hours. The other is the division of content.

1st Division:- We have the Camel Milk Debate. Its subtext boasts of intellectually social debates. Make no mistake you enter this section at your own risk. The members who post here speak of evolution, natural progression, nationalism, world politics, ethics etc. The range of topics is expansive but more to the point is the tone of voice in each piece. Personally and I have remarked this on occasions I feel like I am reading a dissertation. My mind tries to grasp what the person's point is but finally it gives up. Maybe I am just lazy or my brain is fatigued but I feel inferior when I venture into this section. I remember the first lesson I learned in English composition. Write for a range of audience, do not insult their intelligence yet inform them at the same time. Guess this rule goes out the window here.

2nd Division:- Here we have the women section. Why the separation? Are there somethings in this section that are not meant for the male eyes? Personally I believe that both sexes have a lot to share with each other. Segregation of a certain section of the website to female orientated subjects doesn't sit well with me. There are many things that we as Somalis hold as taboo and would not discuss in mixed company due to xayat reasons. Case in point FGM and virginity. A society is compromised of males, females, young, old, rich, poor ...........thus shouldn't we all be given a chance to be heard in an equal setting if the end goal is information and education?

I am going to stop dissecting each section because I haven't got the time right now. I will wrap up my point by saying that SOL started out as a website that was a break from the childish talk. A place where one felt among their peers and would benefit from others leading overall to a better community . I am sad to say that for me SOL has not fulfilled this goal. I usually feel like there is a competition when you read the posts. People are so bent on sounding smart and knowledgeable that they leave a good number of us uninformed. By the time I sift through the superficial layers and looking up works and books of people, I have lost interest and track of the read. I close the page and go back to reading my books. It might seem that I might be daft or slow or intellectually challenged but I can hold my own in an argument, I just do it in a professional and undaunting way. I lull my subjects to a sense of equality. I bring them to my level of thought progressively almost like teaching a child to take their first steps. I let go of their hands and Lo and behold they take their first steps without assistance. The first steps into a society of forward progression and not of Instituitionalization.

I yield my pen to you


Flower.of.Chaos said...

Hayaaaaay! Na maxaa kuu geystey SOL’na? Who are you on SOL anyway? Huh? HUH?

There is a difference between selling your ideas to people (in which case ‘lulling the subjects with equality’ would be to your advantage) and debating with people. People on SOL debate (maybe not in a proper way). But the point of a debate to is refute (respectfully) the points of your opponents. This often comes across as belittling or institutionalizing, but it’s a small price to pay for a great debate! (As long as you’re ‘institutionalizing’ ideas and not people)

Did I just bring SOL's combat debating style to your personal refuge? LOL. Sorry.

SleepDepraved said...

Finally, I knew u had it in you. Its amazing that you should put a price on debates. Belittling being the price I think its too high. The forum was set out to share ideas and by "belittling" your opponent you don't share but merely put him on da defensive making him not actually comprehend what you are saying. Thats y I said instituitionalized. The people on SOL have cliques and enemies there is no fair n neutral territory.

Flower.of.Chaos said...

If you say yoga is great and wonderful and I say its crap... would you feel belittled?

SleepDepraved said...

FOC hoorta shaax macaabta?

I thought you could read between the lines. Your defense was that and I quote "This often comes across as belittling or instituitionalizing but its a small price to pay for a great debate". SO meesha kasooco noh bood boodka dhaaf.

Yoga is great and if you said its crap I would take it as a personal opinion but I guess that within the context n tone of voice you used I could probably try to read y u don't like it.

Simply put communication skills are lacking :)

Anonymous said...


The operative words in the quote are 'comes across as'.

And when I say 'its a small price to pay' for any belittlement that is felt by one or more of the debaters, I'm speaking from a spectator point of view who has been fortunate enough to read great and convincing arguments – the ultimate goal.

I've also made it clear that being respectful and 'belittling' ideas, not persons is the way. This of course, can also be construed as a personal opinion too.

p.s. 'I thought you could read between the lines' can be construed as belittling. Why r u belittling me now? EH? See, in any debate, its best not to address the person but the argument. Any disparaging comments directed at the person writing the argument can and will be seen as belittement...And it’s not something I approve of, of course.


SleepDepraved said...

FOC lol you made me reread my blog to try to find where I mentioned belittled. My bad that was you. My apologies if my query to your ability to read between the lines was belittling.

I will clarify the point of the post. I wrote it as a puzzlement to how people write out their arguements to the masses. Reread the post if you want because I believe it was based on the smart people keeping a constant flow of ideas with people who are like minded with them. Men of equal status. There is no filtration of those ideas down to the simple minded or the moderate intellectuals. It has being instituitionalized to the point that you need a membership of a high IQ or a very patient mind to sift thorough all the non essentiality that you constantly have to weave through to get to the core of the arguement. Thus a shut out.

PS:- there are some people that are worthwhile to read through their posts on SOL but they are a dime a dozen.