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How would you approach this? Course content and lgbt narrative

SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran

So, I'm currently studying a distance learning course in psychology at university level and I feel a bit uneasy about what I perceive is a bias towards liberal, social constructionist, views on sexuality, which seems to be scientific consensus these days.

I would say I am quite conservative in my views. I oppose discrimination but at the same time I hold traditional views on sexuality. Especially recently when some life events have forced me to look at issues around gender roles, what is masculinity etc., I realised I believe a lot of problems have been caused by the feminist agenda etc. But I'm careful not to fall into extremist views.

Truth be told, I'm just confused about it all.

I just don't want to unquestioningly swallow something just because this is a prevalent view in society (bear in mind, I'm in Britain so it may look slightly different than in the US).

I probably won't continue with the course this year anyway, due to falling behind too much. But the other factor is this feeling of having to agree with everything, which doesn't sit well with me.

Any thoughts?

Comments

  • ShanJieshi2ShanJieshi2 bahia blanca Veteran

    Healthy and natural sexuality can be straight with no agenda or homo with no agenda. It can be people of all kinds finding their way without the need for imposed agendas. Obviously this imposition is not something innocent and casual, but has a great impact through media and education.
    If you are studying and this dilemma presents itself to you, it is also a lesson that in due time you can propose your point of view to whoever wants to listen to you.Our purpose in the Dharma is not to preach and it extends to other areas as well.
    I send you a masculine embrace

    BunksVimalajāti
  • ShanJieshi2ShanJieshi2 bahia blanca Veteran

    finishing your studies without allowing yourself to be indoctrinated will also be a victory for humanity, represent us!

    Bunks
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited February 24

    Maybe you should stay and learn something new. Of course, I say this in large part because I'm frightened by conservative views and gender of sexuality and how they are hurting people, whether through laws (such as in Texas) or through the actions of people who discriminate against and harm LGBTQ+ individuals.

    howShoshin1Vimalajāti
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @SattvaPaul

    This is probably nothing you have not heard elsewhere but us Buddhists are known for our endless repetitions of the obvious.

    There is no need to unquestionably swallow anything, whether in a university course or here.
    A diligently met meditation practice can teach you how to be able to allow whatever data passes through your sense gates, an unobstructed passage that is not deliberately clung to, rejected, or ignored. To the degree that a student can develop such a practice, a wider intelligence beyond the limitations of a self, an acquisition, a possession, the habituated conditioning of identity or the support of tribal membership, becomes accessible.

    Here, a ceasing from evil, a doing of good & a clarifying of your heart/mind can be all that is needed to lead you where to go and where to stay.

    Shoshin1personKotishka
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran

    @how, I see where you're coming from

    My problem is (I guess) that in life we need to take sides. Too long I've been in this state of "neither this nor that" which just feels incapacitating. Letting things unfold the natural way, I often see in hindsight that my "not clinging to views" was in many cases just a kind of cop-out.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @SattvaPaul said:
    @how, I see where you're coming from

    My problem is (I guess) that in life we need to take sides. Too long I've been in this state of "neither this nor that" which just feels incapacitating. Letting things unfold the natural way, I often see in hindsight that my "not clinging to views" was in many cases just a kind of cop-out.

    So what would be the other option? To be a vocal proponent of whatever view takes your fancy, and for the sake of consistency to have to constantly reiterate that? That doesn’t sound very appetising at all.

    I would suggest ‘live and let live’ as a policy on this issue, and let the rest of the world go its own way. Its not necessary to create difficulties for yourself or others, and if the impulse is there to argue the point with your course facilitators, perhaps this is a good opportunity to practice and look deeply into your own motivations?

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    What would the Buddha or Jesus do?

  • I don't quite understand the situation, OP. Is this an introductory psychology course? So they're teaching basic concepts? What is mental illness, the types of mental illness, for example. Or is it a course specifically on sexuality and psychology? Are they saying sexual identity or how sexuality plays out is socially constructed? Vs....what--innate?

    That strikes me as very similar to the age-old nature-vs-nurture debate re: personality. My position on that is, that it's "all of the above" and more. Past life experiences are a third, commonly overlooked influence. IMO real life is much more complex than any simple formulas and categories.

    Perhaps you could explain a bit more what it is about the course material, that's causing an issue for you, so we can better understand.

    Bunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited February 25

    My initial reaction is that it isn't necessary to agree with someone in order to understand them.

    I have quite a few thoughts that I hope might help, but they're scattered and a bit random so this post will probably be all over the place.

    I'm not a conservative, I'd consider myself a center left moderate with libertarian tendencies (at least by US standards). I find myself having more in common with center right people usually than I do with the progressive left, as such I too often feel out of step with many of the Buddhist and academic spaces in the world today. I'd say its better to learn where people are coming from and try to understand, or steel man, their point of view, rather than rely on often strawman version presented by your own ideological bubble.

    I think there is a more general trend going on that the internet has brought about. With the ability to connect with anyone around the world it made it much easier to interact with others with similar views and interests. I think this has been a very positive development in many ways, I've been a contributor here going on 12 years now, with other like minded people. However being able to do that has also meant that people now often mainly interact only with people who think like themselves. This leads to thought bubbles where opposing opinions aren't heard and ideas aren't challenged or tempered. This is an issue for society at large today and academia isn't immune. The left lean there has gone from maybe 4 to 1 left to right to more like 15 or 20 to 1, and some disciplines conservative thought is non existent.

    Anyway, lots of people, especially those with minority status have a similar sort of experience to yours. That they want to participate in something but feel very out of place. Its helpful if these places can make room for differing experiences and points of view, but its not always an easy task.

    Just today Dan Harris had on the author of an article written several years ago, "The elephant in the meditation room". About a conservative view of Buddhism. The article, the podcast, bonus article by the same author

    If you're after a less left biased source for psychology and spirtuality I can recommend the top rated psychology podcast, The Psychology Podcast. The host Scott Barry Kaufman is more of a classical liberal than a conservative, but the general perspective doesn't lean so heavily to the left. Also, the YouTube channel Rebel Wisdom takes more of an integral approach to spirituality (if you're familiar with Ken Wilbur's Integral Theory). Let me also throw in a pitch forBraver Angels Braver Angels and their mission to help facilitate conversation across the political divide.

    Dakini
  • Shoshin1Shoshin1 Veteran
    edited February 25

    @SattvaPaul said:
    So, I'm currently studying a distance learning course in psychology at university level and I feel a bit uneasy about what I perceive is a bias towards liberal, social constructionist, views on sexuality, which seems to be scientific consensus these days.

    I would say I am quite conservative in my views. I oppose discrimination but at the same time I hold traditional views on sexuality. Especially recently when some life events have forced me to look at issues around gender roles, what is masculinity etc., I realised I believe a lot of problems have been caused by the feminist agenda etc. But I'm careful not to fall into extremist views.

    Truth be told, I'm just confused about it all.

    I just don't want to unquestioningly swallow something just because this is a prevalent view in society (bear in mind, I'm in Britain so it may look slightly different than in the US).
    I probably won't continue with the course this year anyway, due to falling behind too much. But the other factor is this feeling of having to agree with everything, which doesn't sit well with me.

    Any thoughts?

    No...Well not any which will make you feel comfortable...

  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran

    I can't help to think that something is wrong, if we have cases of people being "cancelled" for saying things like a transgender woman is not biologically a woman, or gender reassingment treatments being pushed on kids by a state-run gender clinic, etc.

    lobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited February 25

    I believe in truth so I think there should always be room to question things. But I also believe in kindness so think about the impact of what you say and the way you say it has on others. Especially those who are more regularly shunned and mistreated than others.

    Basically even if you think someone is wrong, you don't have to be a dick about it.

    Also, I find it rare that anyone is ever 100% right or wrong about something. Most points of view have at least something useful to contribute.

    JeroenBunks
  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran

    @person said:
    I believe in truth so I think there should always be room to question things. But I also believe in kindness so think about the impact of what you say and the way you say it has on others. Especially those who are more regularly shunned and mistreated than others.

    Basically even if you think someone is wrong, you don't have to be a dick about it.

    I agree 100%. I hope you're not implying I've done those things here, I hope I haven't. I guess it's down to intention.

    Bunks
  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    It should be possible to discuss views, as long as all involved are sensitive about it, even if those views are conservative or do not conform to the dominant liberal view.

    I have been a great fan of the Buddha’s advice to Prince Abhaya ever since I came across it:

    “[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
    [4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    JeffreyBunksperson
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited February 25

    @SattvaPaul said:
    I can't help to think that something is wrong, if we have cases of people being "cancelled" for saying things like a transgender woman is not biologically a woman, or gender reassingment treatments being pushed on kids by a state-run gender clinic, etc.

    Who is responsible for your thoughts, opinions and speech?
    Me? You? The Pope? The State?

    Is gender/sexuality/racial reassignment your responsibility/business?

    FleaMarketShoshin1
  • Different strokes of the paddle for different folks on the raft

    Bunkslobster
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Jeroen said:
    It should be possible to discuss views, as long as all involved are sensitive about it, even if those views are conservative or do not conform to the dominant liberal view.

    I have been a great fan of the Buddha’s advice to Prince Abhaya ever since I came across it:

    “[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
    [4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
    [6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    Its hard for me to remember those rules in the moment, it isn't always obvious how to apply them in real time.

    However, whenever I reflect on something I've said if I feel good about it or critical of some aspect it usually falls into these categories somewhere.

  • JeroenJeroen Do it with a smile Netherlands Veteran

    @person said:

    @Jeroen said:
    It should be possible to discuss views, as long as all involved are sensitive about it, even if those views are conservative or do not conform to the dominant liberal view.

    I have been a great fan of the Buddha’s advice to Prince Abhaya ever since I came across it:

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.058.than.html

    Its hard for me to remember those rules in the moment, it isn't always obvious how to apply them in real time.

    However, whenever I reflect on something I've said if I feel good about it or critical of some aspect it usually falls into these categories somewhere.

    I remember them via a series of shorthand rules…

    “[1] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Don’t talk rubbish.

    [2] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Don’t just spout facts.

    [3] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

    If its a fact and would help, but not be welcome, be sensitive about when and how you bring it.

    [4] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Don’t say sweet nothings.

    [5] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    Don’t say sweet truths which don’t help the other.

    [6] In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

    If its a fact and would help, and be welcome, be sensitive in when and how you bring it.

  • Although, fair warning to everyone here, this site is 100% a welcoming and safe place for LGBTQ+ community.

    As a wer-lobster, I am trans-species and have been welcome here … B)

    vive la différence

    Shoshin1
  • yagryagr Veteran

    @SattvaPaul said:
    So, I'm currently studying a distance learning course in psychology at university level and I feel a bit uneasy about what I perceive is a bias towards liberal, social constructionist, views on sexuality, which seems to be scientific consensus these days.

    Why? Or more precisely, is there any cause for your uneasiness that has to do with anything that is not a thought of yours?

    Truth be told, I'm just confused about it all.

    Excellent place to find oneself. Probably doesn't feel that way.

    I just don't want to unquestioningly swallow something just because this is a prevalent view in society (bear in mind, I'm in Britain so it may look slightly different than in the US).

    I probably won't continue with the course this year anyway, due to falling behind too much. But the other factor is this feeling of having to agree with everything, which doesn't sit well with me.

    What is the purpose of taking the course? Are you there to learn some new beliefs? Perhaps you're there to reinforce old beliefs? Perhaps it has nothing to do with that and you're looking to fulfill a requirement for a degree or a job requirement. In the latter case, being able to regurgitate the information fulfills the requirement and doesn't require you to swallow anything - with or without questions.

    personShoshin1
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Sides are for coins and pillows.

  • SattvaPaulSattvaPaul South Wales, UK Veteran

    @David said:

    Sides are for coins and pillows.

    Finally! I feel liberated from all sides and can sleep peacefully tonight (which side of the pillow though?)

  • Something to ponder @SattvaPaul

    lobsterJeroen
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