Friday, August 10, 2012

Trust - Masculine and Feminine Evaluations

In Theory Camp this year we are reading about trust.  Specifically, we are starting with Francis Fukuyama's Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity.

One of the men in the group remarked that trust seemed like such an emotional idea, and therefore not something one could reason about.  However, when we understood Tocqueville's argument (transmitted, in this case, by Fukuyama) that our self-interest is best served by serving our community and building a trusting society, then trust was rescued from irrationality. Trust, on this view, is not self-justifying; however, if trust is a means to a material end, then it is shown to be secretly rational.

For the women in the group, the value of trust did not have to be demonstrated.  They started from the view that trust is a good thing, and an obvious goal of a happy society.

I think these two approaches to social trust - justified as a means to self-interested ends, vs. a social good in itself - are characteristically masculine and feminine responses to the value of trust.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Turkey 6: Atatürk

Kemal Mustafa was given the name Atatürk, "Father of the Turks", by a grateful nation. He is not just the father of modern Turkey, he is the object of an ongoing national cult.  His mausoleum, erected on the most visible hill in the capital, is a massive pilgrimage site for Turks, and an obligatory stop for foreign dignitaries. Since Muslims must be buried in the earth, his body is not in this tomb cover, but sixty feet below it.

The ceiling of the great, open-air hall is a mosaic in the form of a Turkish kilim rug.

Directly above Atatürk's tomb marker is another mosaic, in the form of a Turkish carpet.
The exterior faces a large ceremonial plaza. We went to many ruins of Greek temples in Turkey. At Atatürk's tomb, I got a sense of what it would have been like to see a civic temple in its prime.