Message #204

From: Guy <>
Subject: RE: [MC4D] Saying hello
Date: Fri, 07 Oct 2005 21:09:13 +0200

A fascinating suggestion!

I don’t want to push this one too far, as human motivations are complex,
personal and frequently opaque (unlike cubes, which are non-complex,
impersonal and mostly transparent except the 5^4 which is so opaque I have
great difficulty seeing all the pieces) and generalisations can be
offensive; also, being able to solve a 4D cube is not a qualification in
psychology. But my pet theory, to be interpreted lightly, is that accepting
random, pointless and difficult challenges is a typically male way of
showing off, akin to rutting. Its transfer from physical tasks, such as
those undertaken by Hercules and Theseus (who, it should be noted, could not
have escaped the labyrinth without help from Ariadne) or mediaeval jousters,
to mental feats is easy to understand. I suspect the male ego has been a
significant influence historically on the advancement of science. We have no
idea how many people actually solved the cube – all we know is how many let
the world know about it. And I, for one, basked in Melinda’s praise.

I teach International Baccalaureate theory of knowledge and recently had a
fun lesson where the kids had to escape from the Dark Room
( on the rather weak pretext of illustrating
empirical method in science. The girls enjoyed it just as much as the boys
and were just as good at it in the lesson. But only the boys came to me the
next day to say they had spent all night finishing it (I was duly

No offence to anyone, especially not Kate! Ignorance never stopped me



De : [] De la part
de web2k2bew
Envoyé : vendredi, 7. octobre 2005 15:33
À :
Objet : Re: [MC4D] Saying hello

— In, "Guy Padfield" <guy@g…> wrote:

> I have been bugged by a different question since I joined the group.
Why is
> it that of 45 3^4 solvers, only one (I think - there are unfamiliar
> for me in the list) is female and all the rest are male?

At grave risk, I will hazard a hint toward my answer to your question.
Generally, in Western Culture, (add as many qualifiers as necessary
to restrict this millieu) boys are raised with a significantly higher
tolerance for ambiguity than girls. This results in their being more
willing to insert themselves in situations in which there is no
prescribed method for finding a solution. The psychic rewards for
being sucessful in these situations results in an attitude which
welcomes the circumstances.

How are boys raised with this tolerance? An example–a son exhibits
aggressive, competitive behavior. He is told my his mother: "Nice
boys don’t do that." He is told by his father: "Way to go, Tiger!"
Generally, girls are counseled toward the same behavior by both their
mother and their father. Faced with conflicting directions, the boy
develops a tolerance for being told to do things and not do things at
the same time. Hence, a tolerance for ambiguity.



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