Lightning (FF XIII), alpha female, and gender role (Part 3)

So, this will be my last post for this topic. As you grow older, you realized that majority of the people who reached adulthood have a good understanding of general rules of life. Of course, those general rules are not perfect, but it is a good platform for most people to regulate their life. Instead of starting from blank state, those default rules enable people to manage complexity of life. These rules of life can be found from ancient religious scriptures, classic philosophies and natural observation.

Of course, the wise people are also aware of the limitation of general rules (It is unable to capture outliers (90-99th percentiles). The thing that differentiate wise people from the mass is the ability to find the solution to handle outliers which is reasonably satisfactory for many parties without compromising those general rules. Here, I want to offer my humble opinion to tackle the issue of gender relation.

First of all, I should acknowledge that as a believer, God the Father has established the headship of men over women across three pillars of society which are established by Him (church, state and family). Lord Jesus has chosen twelve apostles to be the head of the church and not a single of them are women. From my memory, throughout ancient Israelite history, God had never ordained any single queen to be ruler of Israel (Of course, Jezebel was not God’s choice…and Esther was not the ruler of nation of Israel…). Apostle Paul denied the right for women to teach inside church and confirmed the husband to be the head of the wife.

Many people who protest against this ordained right for men are typically approaching it with mentality of meritocracy, tooth and claw, or warfare (might is right, so whoever have greater social status, earn bigger paycheck, or greater physical strength, will rule with force). They are thinking ordained right granted right to exploit the people under authority. Such worldview make healthy relationship among human race are impossible. That thought is a source of constant dispute which is a hell on earth. The ordained right does not entitle abuse because it come with a set of ordained responsibilities. If headship is continuously disrupted because of performance issue, there will be constant disorder as it make long-term planning impossible.

However, this birthright also enable men to be secure without constant need to ‘prove’ his manhood over his wife. Granted that for most men, God granted the ability to be more driven and capable in the workforce compared to their wives as I believe He intended most women to be homemakers (Proverbs 31). However, as with other things, outliers still exist. God gave some women like Lightning talents that normally associated with manhood (ability to earn good money, STEM or athletic talents). If we think the performance in the workforce as main factor deciding the headship, then Lightning should be the head of the family (which is not allowable).

Hence, we should then discard the idea that the headship always equals competency to be breadwinner. We can see from animal kingdom where the lioness is the one that hunt for the food for majority and hence she is the breadwinner (See this). So, there is actually no restriction for Lightning to be breadwinner (since such thing exists in nature…) as long as it is approved by her husband. However, the key here is that Lightning need to acknowledge the headship of her husband by other means. The lioness let the lion take the first portion of the prey. If it is translated into human, it means that the wife need to let the husband enjoy the first portion of fruits of her labor.

The key idea here is reciprocity. The superiority does not entitle ability to exploit or boasting but as a channel to serve and contribute to others. The same with our Lord Jesus (who is the real Alpha) who washed the feet of the disciples although He is the Son of God. It is the same for alpha females, I do not care whether they are the lioness of the family or warrior goddess. Lightning should reject the toxic idea of power and manhood role equals independence. For Scriptures said that women is not independent of men and men is not independent of women (1 Corinthians 11: 11). Men and women need to corporate to build future society through family and they are better doing so by the adhering to God’s command and not by constant warfare.

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Lightning (FF XIII), alpha female and gender role (part 2)

I recently visited one of my elderly relative and told the story about her adopted daughter. This woman came from China mainland to marry Singaporean husband for search of better living. It turned out that the husband really come from dysfunctional family and he and his brother had been jailed several times, uneducated and unable to hold steady jobs at all times. Worse, they have three kids and both her parents and parents in law stay at the same apartment. As the result, she effectively become sole family breadwinner. I am sure that such stories are not uncommon across any society, as the middle class economy deteriorate and a lot of blue-collar jobs that traditionally dominated by men are either outsourced and automated, more and more female are forced to engage in the workforce.

And then, this dynamics quite obviously affect the gender relation as the natural female hypergamy necessitate that she married someone which is more capable or higher social status than her. Of course, in Christianity (and any monotheist religion), all men are expected to be head of the household and it is more natural for women to submit to men if they recognize their husband has higher capability and hence make better family leader than them. However, for the Lightnings of the society, the number of men with higher capability or social status than them is so few and hence there will be three available options for careerist women: Polygamy, spinsterhood or role reversal.

Traditional societies of the past let men with high status to marry multiple women. Some of the church fathers (I forgot their names) also allowed polygamy for procreation purpose (Although they did not like the practice very much). In the Bible, God Himself said that He gave King David his wives (explicitly approved his polygamy). However, most of modern nation (except some of Islamic states) ban polygamy and hence it is a difficult option. There can be some workaround for those really insists, like having this relationship without registering to civil courts. While It is true that the wives and their offspring marrying alpha males will be taken care of…..I personally also dislike polygamy as it will exacerbate social inequality. The top guys will get all highly-valued women whereas many of average men with decent personality who will make for good father will be single, society will decline hence these men do not have good motivation to toil as no future for them. The Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply applies to all able-bodied male and not just alphas.

The next option for Lightning is to remain unmarried (which is what happened the end of the story….although somehow it make some of the fans unsatisfied and created cartoon and animation to pair her with Hope or Noctis…). This is also, in my opinion, is not a good option. A lot of these women have high-paying jobs but wasting much of their money on luxurious living (traveling, dining, beauty treatment, and much more). Alternatively, they also may spend their entire life on building their empire and raising through ladder to obtain fame and respect.

After observing so much about many philosophy and lifestyle of many prominent figures upon which society is built upon, I concluded that even visions to build and shape society with both ‘religious’ and ‘secular’ tone are simply out of touch with reality. The world is not intended to be perfect and most of the time, your empire worsen the world instead of improving it. The realistic purpose of life, other than knowing and worshipping God, is to raise a godly family and obtain long lasting friendship with people you encounter in society.  Luxurious living or empire-building is short-lived and leave you with regret. It will leave the God’s command to be fruitful and multiply unfulfilled, which leave Lightnings with the last option…

Yes, unfortunately role reversal is the most realistic option for Lightnings. Since she is capable and achiever in her career, and since a proper family with children will need both a breadwinner and a homemaker, to fulfill God’s command of be fruitful and multiply, she need to find a husband who is nice guy, supportive of her career and willing to be homemaker. Note that this should not negate the obligation of her respecting her husband. Her breadwinner status should not excuse her to render God’s command as void. The leadership in the family is something that is ordained by God and not by meritocracy. In fact, you can see many instances in society, leaders are not necessarily more competent than their subordinates. This is something that need to be preserved because contractual tenure based on constant performance measure lead to instability, fake promise, and short-term thinking. We should judge leaders based on their commitment to adhere to righteous principles and not just by capabilities. Having said that, I would not say it will not be easy to the male ego… (The world is a complex thing….).

In the next post, I will elaborate on my thought how ideal living arrangement for normal men and women

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Lightning (FF XIII), alpha female and gender role (Part 1)

As the mid-year reached, it is a relatively calm period for me (just doing some paper reading, summarizing them and taking several machine learning courses) and I have a time to catch up with some update of Final Fantasy series. Last series I play is FF XII, which is quite some times ago. And hence these 1-2 weeks, I have a decent leisure time to watch all cutscenes from FF XIII, XIII-2 and XIII-3.

So, basically, at first, I was very disappointed with relatively dull gameplay at the first half of the game (in Cocoon) and extreme scenario (what a heck, you are a group of cursed people that being chased by entire world….how do you do buy and sell things in cities?). Also, lack of unique personality of the main heroine, Lightning, compared to previous FF series’ hero which I played (Cloud (FF VII), Zidane (FF IX) and Vaan (FF XII)). She do not display much emotion or interest or romance in anything or anyone…except that maybe she is the first FF main character who is female….She is a typical depiction of alpha female in game, without any visible weaknesses….which is freaking unreal.

However, as the game goes on, the story become more interesting as it involves demi gods, artificial intelligence and somehow Supreme God (who they called as Bhunivelze). I have to endure to nonsensical philosophical principles behind this story line as somehow Supreme God is unable to read (and even despise) human heart and emotion, possibility of humans and demigods to ‘kill’ (or freeze?) Supreme God, and a claim that humanity somehow can live without Supreme God (Yeah, I am sure 21 years old pinky-colored goddess, 18 years old time traveler, and 14 years old hockey player…who do not even old enough to possess national ID card somehow able to judge the world with their evil people fairly instead of Supreme Being who live forever).

Anyway, actually, despite all those nonsensical philosophy (which is a lot), I want to highlight and discuss its main character, Lightning. In real life, there is not a lot so-called alpha female like her. My definition of alpha female is a women who possess a lot of drive, dedication and talent in their chosen career. Of course, since 1960s, women have been entering workforce en masse and producing a lot of Lightning everywhere. This is also supported by the fact that most of the jobs which require great physical strength or dangerous jobs have been decreasing significantly because of continuous machinization and automation. Hence, there is not much gap between male and female workforce.

The other factor is the push for gender equality by ruling elites by various means, such as statistical propaganda (pay gap between male and female), negative campaign against default wife’s role as homemaker, unrealistic career expectation as ultimate life aspiration, promotion for egalitarianism in public school and policy, insane inflation rate (especially property) which necessitate both husband and wife working, and flawed ideology about human society.

And actually, religious organizations have already reacted and doing counter campaign for this domain. This is because most religious organization recognize family as fundamental building block of society. The Christian scripture has its most prominent passage about ideal homemaker in Proverbs 31. So, it seems that the war is set to categorize young women’s lifestyle into two paths – homemaker as prescribed by all societies since dawn of time and careerist women – taking a position of men in public institution like Lightning (by choice or by forcing circumstances).

Since I have already married, this is also personal life question for me. How should I react to this phenomena of emerging Lightnings in current society as Christian men and husband? I will continue the discussion on next article

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Mid-year reflection

I just want to recap my life with many things happen for the last 6 months:

  • My current RA advisor refused to take me as his PhD student, so I was forced to settle with my second option – which is out of my anticipation. However, it was not so bad because I found himself to be supportive person since I communicated to him my lack of background in machine learning and he is willing to wait for me to learn. Additionally, I just knew that he also has expertise and papers in IoT domain, which is my secondary interest after program and binary analysis. However, the grant only spans for 2 years after which I need to find another one.  My takeaway from this incident is that academic is a small place and if you somehow have unresolved conflict with your previous advisor (regardless of whose fault), it is very hard to actually find another advisor which field is very similar because most likely another advisor is your advisor’s collaborator or unwilling to take risk of taking you because he perceive you to be hard to manage.
  • My new advisor linked me to NUS life long course manager to opportunity to deliver security course (prepare slide, conduct lecture and design assignment) to external IT staffs. Although the pay is very good, but I am still waiting confirmation for grant approval and I think if I am about to take this course, I will need some help as this is my first time experience
  • God has not given my family a child and I have done fertility test on my side but the doctor said my sperm is normal. I have conflicting feeling inside me of having a child. On one hand, I understand the importance of having children for our family and society. However, the financial restraint of my family and the fact that my family is not very cooperative and the dire condition of our society let me think that having child at the moment is not really good thing. Definitely, life is not colorful but also save me more trouble for now. Somehow, I also feel missing Indonesia here and occasionally have feeling of isolation although I have been in Singapore for 14 years now…
  • The process of understanding complex materials required for PhD is unlike working for most industry jobs. It really take intelligence, patience and focus of your mind because the materials are filled with abstract math symbols. To digest them really take months of intense effort, unlike reading emails or even business contracts…Not sure if quick thinking will be helpful for this because I saw even many of those Science Olympiad participants failed to publish any good papers during their PhD…

That’s all for this time! I wish to post more interesting things in next article other than life experience

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If everybody do not appreciate leisure, why is there need to have children?

Outside the financial realm, what I see in the modern phenomenon is the constant need of luxury, middle class wasteful lifestyle, fame, career achievement (by becoming top 1% or 10% in work), asset accumulation, none of which is impossible without sacrificing large amount of leisure time and current community one has. As the result, majority of time humans spend their time in workplace (Around 50-60 hours per week). Which begs the question, if anybody prioritize financial security and career so much and willing to sacrifice large amount of their leisure time, why some busy people feel there is a need to have children? The natural state of children is enjoyment of leisure activities. However, people generally do not enjoy leisure activities and children are not productive member of society, so how could one withstand to nurture such creatures for 10-15 years (for first child, not counted for second and third child and so on)?

For religious and traditional people, that is because they believe it is a divine mandate to do so. However, I saw a lot of religious people want their children but do not enjoy of children for what they are. Every inch of free time is used to either voluntary works, part time jobs, or their full-time lucrative work. And then they pay other people to take care of children. This is done for the sake of financing middle class lifestyle. Society is also paying lips service on getting people to have children for future economic growth. Except that they do not want to pay that bills. If they are willing to pay bills, they will not develop artificial intelligence and sophisticated machinery to automate large percentage of available jobs to replace ‘costly’ human. Jobs are only available for the smartest, and most obedient members of society which are willing to agree to this nonsense. By this incentive, one can see that pretty soon society will not sustain itself. Neither machine nor robot will buy stuffs that they themselves produce. However, leaders of the society want us to believe that regardless of this nonsense, our life is actually meaningful because we work for them to finance children that we never see because of our 50-60 hours per week work.

So in the society whereby everybody is obsessed with work, asset accumulation and financial security with both religious and secular people, why should one strive for having children? You should not!


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