Monthly Archives: July 2014

Should Women Rule the World?

The prospect of a global matriarchy coming into being is actually a lot more possible than you might think. In fact, I would go as far as to predict it. In this connection, if you haven’t read Liza Mundy’s book The Richer Sex, you certainly should. (Here’s a very brief summation of the book’s main point.) She points out that, if current trends continue, women will become the overall main income-earners in America by the year 2030, if not sooner. I would point that once that happens, once women acquire the balance of economic power, it will only be a short matter of time before women also acquire the balance of political power and all other forms of social power and are thus enabled to set the terms of social arrangements writ large going forward (economic power being the root of all other forms of social power). The main thing leading this trend is the difference in the amount of education that men and women are respectively getting. As soon as women were allowed to go to college, they started enrolling in huge numbers, surpassing male enrollment by the start of the 1990s. Men have been slower to do the same. Men remain more tied to this 20th century vision of getting a middle class job right out of high school and using that to support a family. Well here’s how the application of that vision works out in the modern world: These days the guy gets a crappy, working class job right out of high school instead that kinda could use a supplemental source of income, so he uses that income, together with student loans, to put his girl through college (precisely in order that she can ultimately provide that supplemental income), whereupon she graduates and gets a higher-paying job, thus reversing the economic balance of power in the relationship. Since the long-term historical trend is toward universal college enrollment, eventually this imbalance favoring women will probably correct itself, leading back in the direction of balance, but not before we’ve experienced a matriarchal generation or two or three. There is likely to be a whole period of American history beginning around 2040 wherein most doctors, lawyers, scientists, politicians, etc., are women. The next question is whether that likelihood is a good thing or a bad thing.

I actually think it probably would be a good thing to have at least one matriarchal generation, if only as a corrective to historical patriarchy. For example, such a situation may be necessary to finally abolish pay discrimination against women. Why? Well because a situation wherein most men find themselves economically dependent on women is the kind of scenario wherein one can envision the majority of men too joining in the chorus demanding equal pay for women, as it would then be in their objective interests (at least their individual interests) for the women supporting them to get paid at the same rate as the men in their field doing the same amount of work. The increased demand for pay equity would likely translate into corresponding public policies getting passed. I also feel that one or a few generations under female rule would tend to make the world a much more peaceful, civil place to live. One of the genuine differences I feel that men and women do have is that women tend to be somewhat less predisposed to emotional volatility, favoring communication over force as a means of problem-solving. If you look at what the World Economic Forum currently ranks as the world’s most gender-equal country, Iceland, I think you can see a strong concentration of that fact in that Iceland is a country that just so happens to have no army at all. Concurrently, I feel that a global matriarchy would tend toward the abolition of militaries, and also just make for an all-around more civil, stable living experience. Matriarchy would probably witness the general banning of both public and private armaments, a more serious crackdown on domestic violence, the banning of physical punishments, and probably a great deal of social stigma being attached to harsh language in general. You can see some small movement in that general direction already now, even well before a matriarchal situation has been realized, corresponding substantially to women gaining more ground and social influence over time. These are some of what I think the benefits of a matriarchal period would be. The danger though is…what happens if this situation doesn’t eventually self-correct, with men eventually enrolling in college at the same rate as women? What if it demoralizes men to find themselves on a campus that’s more than 70% female? What if that development convinces men that higher education, and its resultant benefits (like access to high-paying jobs) is now a “girl thing”, reversing the old prejudice against women and thus creating a situation wherein men believe it’s just “natural” for them to be the dependent party? That’s the danger and that’s something I wouldn’t support. So while one or a few generations of matriarchy would, I feel, be a healthy corrective for society, a permanent matriarchy would be genuinely oppressive to men, and I think that that would definitely be wrong. You have to believe that women are the superior sex to support that. I don’t think there is a superior sex.

My Five Favorite Video Games of All Time


For the sake of clarity, there are four versions of this game available in North America, two of which are titled Final Fantasy III (the Super NES and Wii Virtual Console versions) and two which are titled Final Fantasy VI (the PlayStation and Game Boy Advance versions). The explanation is that, while this is objectively the sixth installment in the Final Fantasy series, it was only the third to make it to this side of the Pacific back in 1994. Most people describe the game as FF VI since it’s objectively the sixth installment of the series. Anyway…

The video review below does such an excellent job of laying out why this game is about as close to perfect as any game could possibly get that I don’t really feel compelled to offer my own alternate explanation on this particular title, with the exception of adding that all Final Fantasy games have a core them and the core theme of this game is love. Not love in a romantic sense, but love in the sense that you don’t have to take life on alone, and that in that fact you can find the meaning to life that you seek. And if you’re unable to find that meaning, you become capable of anything in the worst possible sense. That’s why this was and is such a powerful game to me. Life often feels like a chore to me, and it is a challenge. But this game’s brilliantly told story reminds when I’m down that I don’t have to face that challenge alone. That’s why this game is more meaningful than any other to me. I think it always will be.

If you don’t mind using a keyboard, you can play the Super NES version of this game here, where it’s called Final Fantasy III.



This story-driven, science fiction adventure game (now available in HD as a downloadable for the PlayStation 3) is about an investigative journalist’s quest for the truth behind rumors that your government is secretly aiding the forces invading your planet. You government is a military dictatorship that came to power in the wake of the alien invasion by promising to defend your planet. You gradually discover that, in reality, your government is indeed helping the invaders convert your planet’s citizens into their slaves behind the scenes of the war, thus perpetuating the conflict indefinitely so that the dictatorship can remain in place forever. You find and reveal more and more evidence to the masses, thus touching off a revolution. The story is told well and seemed timely when it was released back in 2003. At it’s core, this game is about Nietzsche-esque radical doubt, as its name implies. It also invokes Nietzsche in other ways, including at the end when you confront the main villain and nearly lose control of your soul in the process of fighting him, alluding to Nietzsche’s famous quote: “Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster…for when you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” A hardcore Nietzsche fanatic I may not be, but I’ve gotta say that this is the best game inspired by Nietzche’s worldview that you’ll ever play. It’s genuinely thought-provoking! And fun!



And now for the philosophical opposite of Beyond Good and Evil: a game about faith. Specifically the Shinto folk religion of the Japanese people.

The basic premise of this positively gorgeous and well-crafted RPG (the graphical style for which, appropriately, closely resembles that of many traditional Japanese paintings) is this: A descendant of the hero Nagi and self-proclaimed greatest warrior breaks the seal of the demon Orochi because he doesn’t believe in the legend behind it and wants to prove it false. Orochi escapes and curses the lands, sapping the life from every living being. Sakuya, the wood sprite and guardian of Kamiki Village, calls forth Amaterasu, the Shinto sun goddess, known to the villagers as the reincarnation of the white wolf Shiranui who defeated the demon Orochi a century previous, and pleads for her to remove the curse that covers the land. Accompanied by an inch-high artist, Amaterasu (whom you take on the role of) is able to restore the land to its former beauty. Only with the restored faith of the people can Amaterasu summon the strength needed to seal Orochi away again.

This is a game about faith at a time when its rare for people to be open about such topics. It’s about how the abandonment of faith leads to disaster, including the abuse of nature, and what religion needs to do to restore people’s faith: It needs to help people and bring healing. I may not be a religious person, but this game tells its story so elegantly that it makes me want to religious. Therein lies its power.

There are multiple versions of this game, but the PlayStation 3 downloadable version is the one I most recommend, as it’s in HD and allows you the option of either controlling the Celestial Brush with a control stick or with the PlayStation Move motion controls.



As explained in the video review below, this game was a Japanese-exclusive Nintendo 64 release, which meant that you had to understand Japanese to get very far in the game. Not to worry though: A English fan translation of the game is now available. You can use an emulator to the English version on your computer, but like the reviewer in the video, I too will recommend using an Ever Drive 64 so you can play the game on your actual N64 system the way it was meant to be played.

This game is part parenting simulation, part story-driven, science fiction adventure. It’s divided into two chapters: You spend the first chapter programming an android named Josette by teaching her a range of life skills in any order and manner you want. In the second chapter, Josette must apply those life skills in a quest against an empire. The second chapter is largely hands-off; Josette plays out the bulk of it herself. If you’ve programmed her well, she’ll perform correctly and win. If not, she’ll mess up, leading to all sorts of comical-but-frustrating situations. The review below does a good job of filling you in on how it all works.

I think a big part of the reason I find this game so addicting is because it’s probably the only sense in which I’ll ever have a child. :(



Originally released on computers in 1985, this was one of the earliest RPGs to use customized characters and multiple-member parties. But Ultima: Quest of the Avatar differs from most RPGs in a fundamental way: in that the game’s story does not center on asking a player to overcome a tangible ultimate evil. The game’s premise is this: In the newly-reunified land of Britannia, the ruler, Lord British, feels that the people lack a sense of purpose now that their struggles against the triad of evil (from earlier Ultima games) has ended. Concerned about their spiritual well-being in this unfamiliar new age of relative peace, he proclaims the Quest of the Avatar: He needs someone to step forth and become the shining example for others to follow. The object of the game is to become that shining example — that spiritual leader — for the people of Britannia to follow by focusing on the main character’s development in virtuous life. The game follows the protagonist’s struggle to understand and exercise the Eight Virtues. After proving his or her understanding in each of the virtues, locating several artifacts and finally descending into the dungeon called the Stygian Abyss to gain access to the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom, the protagonist becomes an Avatar. Conversely, actions in the game could remove a character’s gained virtues, distancing them from the construction of truth, love, courage, honor, and the greater axiom of infinity, which are all required to complete the game. Though Avatarhood is not exclusive to one chosen person, the hero remains the only known Avatar throughout the later Ultima games, and as time passes the Avatar is increasingly regarded as a myth. (The franchise’s symbolic allusions to real-world mythology are obvious and provide an interesting take on it.)

I think a big part of the reason I like this game so much is because its premise and objective are so unique. To me, it feels defiant to be into a game that revolves around the development of one’s moral character here in the age of Hitman and Grand Theft Auto. :D

If you don’t mind using a keyboard, you can play the NES version of this game here.