Existence IS symbolism, which makes it so hard to translate thought from our abstract minds into symbols–words. This is the ultimate challenge of human communication–seeing our way through all of the symbols to send and interpret the correct meanings. On this episode of The Axiom Amnesia Theory, Heit & Cheri challenge you to put aside the societal programming and make your own interpretation of what you see before you.

Topics discussed include child advocacy, Jada Pinkett Smith’s defense of Willow Smith’s individuality, symbolism of gender roles, Black women and natural hair, logic of mathematics, symbolism of language, and more!

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Segment 1

  • Discussion about parenting and children. Cheri posted a question on Facebook asking, “Where is the children’s lobby?”
  • Heit explains that there are plenty of groups that view themselves as lobbying for the children–groups that work for advocating children’s interests.
  • Society looks at children as if they are know-nothings, therefore they rarely consider their thoughts, beliefs, and ideas.
  • jada and willow smith

  • Discussion about Willow Smith, and her level of individuality. Much of this has to do with her parents, Will and Jada Smith, and the fact that she is rich. The consequences for her individuality aren’t the same as for “regular” children.
  • Smith has taken a lot of heat for “letting” Willow dress as she pleases, even shaving her head. She defended her actions as allowing self-determination for her daughter:

    “This subject is old but I have never answered it in its entirety. And even with this post it will remain incomplete,” the 41-year-old mom of two wrote. “The question why I would LET Willow cut her hair. First the LET must be challenged. This is a world where women,girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination.”

    “I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are HER domain,” she added. “Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair. It’s also a statement that claims that even little girls have the RIGHT to own themselves and should not be a slave to even their mother’s deepest insecurities, hopes and desires.”
    Source: EOnline

  • Discussion about Jada Pinkett Smith’s parenting style.
  • What a novel idea to “let” a human being be in charge of themselves!
  • Discussion about whether the Smith children’s image is of their own choosing.
  • People want society to be what they think it should be, so they think children should be treated and behave in a manner according to their choosing.
  • justin bieber overalls

  • Discussion about Justin Bieber taking heat for meeting the Prime Minister of Canada wearing overalls.
  • Why should he have to dress up–bend to the societal rules–in order to meet the prime minister? None of us have to bend to this.
  • You don’t respect me enough to dress like I like dress, so why should I dress like you?
  • Discussion about the mainstream notion that some people are more important than others, therefore the less important people should do things to show that they respect the people “higher” up the rung than they are.
  • Discussion about the cloak of programming that comes with societal programming.
  • Discussion of the word “cisgendered“, which means that you conform to society’s gender-based rules for behavior and appearance.
  • Each society has different social norms for males versus females. For instance, in American society, it is generally considered more feminine to have longer hair than shorter hair.
  • Discussion about how people accuse you of following after a particular culture if you style yourself a particular way. They’re not paying attention to the fact that people in other cultures may be doing these things. For instance the current trend of tattoos and lip piercing did not originate with the current American culture partaking in these stylings. You can look else where in the world and see that people in African and South America practiced these body alterations.
  • Discussion about the ego-centrism of American culture.
  • All of this boils down to symbolism–people identifying symbols and attaching the meaning to a specific thing. They fail to see that people use the same symbols for different reasons. For instance, different cultures use the same dress for different reasons, or have some of the same body modifications.
  • This is why it is important for us to understand history and look around to see what people beyond our own borders are doing. Or, use common sense–the common logic of people from a certain society–something most people there would understand.
  • Discussion about whether Black men get a hard time about sagging their pants, while Black women get a hard time about their hair.
  • Example of the common “curly” look that is claimed as natural hair. This may or may not be “natural.”

  • Discussion about Black women wearing natural hair. It seems like “natural hair” today means that the relaxer isn’t left in as long. Are women who claim they have natural hair really relaxing it?
  • Discussion about Black women wearing natural looking weaves.
  • Discussion about this notion that natural hair today means this soft, curly look, instead of the thick afros of 30 years ago.
  • Surely everyone today doesn’t have hair that is the “curly” look naturally.
  • Discussion about how it’s the same anti-gay people who are buying from gay designers.
  • Some people tend to look at things through one narrow bubble–whether it’s gayness, Blackness, femininity or anything else.
  • Discussion about the “one of the these kid’s just doesn’t belong here” songs that they used to play on Sesame Street. It would depict three kids doing similar things, and one kid doing something different. The goal was to pick out the kid who was doing something different. The programming begins early:
  • The whole point of the exercise was learning to identify someone who was different. They were careful not to be obvious and point out things like race or gender. People complaining about Justin Bieber are the adult example of the point of this type of exercise.
  • Further discussion about how people have been trained to pre-judge on the basis of outward appearance. The media shapes how to identify certain characters.
  • Discussion about how the culture says it values individuality, but it really doesn’t. They are sending mixed signals. They have people believing that conformity IS being different. It sounds like that book 1984 where opposites are said to be equal.
  • Discussion about educated people and well-read people are not necessarily thinkers.
  • Discussion about the academics of philosophy being just studying other people’s ideas, not really developing your own.
  • Discussion about the logic of mathematics with the notion that anything times zero is “undefined.” Heit explains another way to look at that.
  • Discussion about there being no space for deviation from the logic of mathematics.
  • Discussion about how the human brain can’t even conceive of nothingness.
  • Existence is symbolism, and this is why it is hard to take things from our abstract minds and convey it to other people using symbols.
  • Discussion about how we all have our own “thought language.”
  • The purpose of school is to make you shed your thought language in favor of the society’s language.
  • Some people, however, maintain their bilingual or even multilingual abilities in this respect.
  • Discussion about how people judge other people’s symbols according to their own symbols, rather than those of the other person.
  • This is the challenge of human communication–seeing our way through all of the symbols to find the meaning.