"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." - Albert Einstein
"You can do anything you set your mind to." - Ben Franklin
If there is an afterlife, I wonder if you can tune into modern times and watch it like a reality show...
Martin Luther King Jr. is sitting next to Gandhi, gesturing wildly and yelling at the screen while Gandhi just shakes his head; Jesus is sitting in the back talking quietly with John Paul III with a look of concern on his face; Hitler is sitting alone, on the edge of his seat, staring intently at the tv and barking at everyone to be quiet so he can hear better.
Ben Franklin is beyond annoyed and can't sit still, so he's pacing back and forth, muttering under his breath about "those idiots", and "taking everything so literally". He keeps shooting dirty looks at smug faced Einstein, the smiles in his eyes silently laughing at him....
Where does Franklin's mantra fail and Einstein's succeed? Why does one quote threaten to tear our social fabric asunder while the other stitches it back up? How does this impact third wave feminism?
It comes down to the the power of words.
Our brains are are both primitive and complex, a contradiction in terms which which gives us no insight into keeping our cool in the face of alethic pluralism. Concepts that are true in theory but false in practice are divisive, and none more than the idea that women can do anything men can do.
In theory, we don't have to be Einstein to understand this dualistic idea. In practice, Franklin's string of words have led western society into a bad case of pluralistic ignorance; in public, we nod together that "anyone can grow up to be President", and "all it takes is hard work" because if you want it badly enough, "nothing can stop you". But behind closed doors we come to our senses and stifle a snicker at the poor kid singing impossibly off key at auditions - because no amount of "hang in there" posters is going to fix that hot mess.
Even with the latest in machine learning technology, we have not yet invented AI that can definitively prove Franklin's inspirational message theoretically false. This is the case because Franklin included two variables with infinite limits: "you" and "anything". Einstein, on the other hand, instructs us look within ourselves to find the limit and accept it as valid before we even begin. In fact, since the limit is tailored to us, the mandate is optimized.
As individuals, we run the Franklin function by self-imposing limits we are comfortable with. As a group, we have no idea what limits to place. We keep exchanging looks that ask, what are you setting the limit to. Since no one is talking, the default lets collective consciousness set the limit. Well...that mind is so large we have to turn off error alerts and slog through stack overflow. At least, I assume our minds are bogged down and distracted and that's why the issue of gender discrimination doesn't seem to get better, no matter what we do.
I don't believe, in the least, that men are superior to women. Just as we accept that gravity acts on every object we drop, every time, for every story about a stupid woman who did something really dumb the misogynist presents, I have a counter example of an exceptional woman doing something brilliant. The burden is on him to prove it false; defining parameters, such as narrowing the slice of society down to a male-dominated industry, may prove that men are superior in male-dominated fields, but that's like saying apples are the best fruit for making apple pie.
There's no way you're going to change his mind, though. In the end he'll still insist women aren't as good as men, and that's where the problem lies. We can use the scientific method to uphold "a woman can do anything a man can do," but if we pluralize the language, "women can do anything men can do", we have to align every woman with an equal man before a conclusion can be summarized, and that involves a limitless number of associations, just like Franklin's mantra.
You might be thinking, it doesn't matter if you prove gender equality using logic: I have eyes. I would be lying if I said this somehow proves gender discrimination doesn't exist. I have eyes, too, but I'm no Einstein. He can answer the lingering question: how do we get rid of gender discrimination in a society that gives equal opportunity for all? "Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them."
It is disingenuous to expect Women to feel equal among men if there is an unfair advantage bestowed upon one of the genders. We have to stop demanding special treatment. We have to accept that certain industries will be male dominated - just as some will be female dominated - and stop coercing them into hiring under-qualified women.
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. - Newton's Laws of Motion
Einstein can't help but smirk at Franklin because, for all his acclaim as a polymath, Einstein clearly had a better understanding of how the universe works. Diversity hiring programs feel good, but for whom? There is a cascade of problems we create every time with every instance of inorganic discrimination. One of those problems is an obfuscation of the organic discrimination that persists in the shadows of purposefully generated bias. How do we eliminate imposter syndrome without stemming the tide of imposters?
I agree that certain industries need more diversity, but you cannot take an individual and turn her into something she is not.
The solution is not to change the people, the answer is to change the industry.
This is how you make room for a woman on your team: ask the men what they hate about their jobs. Et, voila! Women with high math ability have even higher verbal ability, and tasks requiring verbal skills are the most disliked tasks among men with high math ability.
If you are a manager at a tech company, here's a fun trick to play. Call one of your product development teams into your office and tell them , "we need more diversity, so we're hiring a woman to join your team."The pressure in the room from all the heavy exhales will make your ears pop.
Then follow up with, "she's going to stand between act as a liaison between you and management but her main task is to make sure the solution is
ensure your product is aligned with the requirements and "A hound is centrally focused on discovering what the user really wants. They are observing and interviewing multiple users, discovering patterns, and identifying areas of opportunity for the team to innovate. They keep the core focus on the user so the team does not get married to a solution, but focuses on creating a solution that is actually solving a problem for the end user."
For just a moment, Franklin feels a surge of unfairness. It's not his fault the editor cut out the succeeding clause. What he actually said was, "You can do anything you set your mind to; and to which your body is able."
"Oh, Ben," chuckles Einstein, "even if you did say that - YOU were the editor!"