The Power of the Mind

The mind is a powerful tool: you can achieve a lot, and it begins with what you believe you can do. It is at the heart of yoga, meditation and de-stressing. They humorously say it’s just “mind over matter.” If you don’t mind, then it does not matter.

How I wish everything was that simple. In philosophy, we learned from Rene Descartes cogito, ergo sum: “I think, therefore I am.” The challenge is on what the heck you are thinking. The picture above from babylonbee.com just takes it to the next level.

It seems that just because someone, or a group of someones, thinks one way, then the rest of us have to accept their reality. It does not appear relevant what that might be. If they believe it, then so it is, and everyone else has to abide by it or be branded whatever-phobic. We are suppose to accept their reality regardless of what it may mean but the other side’s reality is then ridiculed as an antiquated view of life. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous what they believe is real, the opposite side will always be the biased one. The unreasonable one.

Let us be clear: I have no issues with them believing what they believe. I can respect that. I can accept that. If that’s what they think, then I’m fine with it but if you expect me to accept what they are thinking as truth, then that is a whole other matter. Something I hope they will equally respect.

Take flat-earth societies. If that is what they believe in despite all evidence to the contrary, then so be it. However, I will stick to a round Earth thank you very much.

Recently, a transgender female (male to female, or MTF) cyclist smashed the world record for women’s cycling. Naturally, there were those who questioned the wisdom of allowing MTF in women’s events, me included. He defended himself saying that he lost 11 of 13 races to a female athlete. If you don’t mind his pink colored long hair and dark nail polish, then you would say, yup, he is male.

In any case, there were pro and anti comments on the news article, and someone posted an article on whether or not the MTF has an advantage over females. The long and short of it is that we do not know. There are not enough studies on the matter and not enough MTF competing in women’s events to make a valid conclusion according to the article.

The International Olympic Committee appears to have a rule allowing MTF to compete in women’s events if they present a sworn statement that they identify as females and they should be taking testosterone lowering meds for a year prior to the event. The problem is that there is weak monitoring — in fact in some countries, you can just self-declare — and there is no science to the thinking that the one-year dose is enough to level the playing field.

According to the same article, there appears to be a study that found that there is a 10% reduction in performance in MTF if they do abide by the IOC rule. This covers runners and cyclists. The problem is of course what is the starting point of the reduction? The 10% reduction would mean nothing if the male performance was high to begin with.

Also, once you’ve grown up male, how much does one really lose when you take the meds? You’re already built as a male. Adding breast implants may mean nothing in terms of performance. Yes, the meds are intended to reduce bone density, muscle mass and increase fat but what is all that when you continue to train?

Lastly, wouldn’t the taking of testosterone inhibitors be like reverse doping? Instead of trying to even things out, it may end up creating new advantages for MTF.

In the end, the whole thing is a red herring. The fact remains that males are competing in female events. Period. The MTF may think they are females but the reality is that they are males thinking they are females. To reiterate, I can respect the fact that they think that way but I cannot accept their reality. To my mind, they are males. I can readily accept that among males, there are some more feminine than others. It does not, however, mean they are females.

I mean, think about it: if someone thinks he’s a dog — even walks on all fours and wears fur and a collar — then does that make him a real dog? A man in his 60s identifies as a 40s male to the point that he actually sued for recognition…and failed. There are whites who identified as blacks and even put a “black face” on. Finally, a white guy also identified as Filipino. Does that make him a Filipino? To answer that one, we look to the Philippine Constitution that follows jus sanguinis or bloodlines to determine citizenship but the point in all of these is that just thinking one way does not mean it is real.

No, not everything you think is real, is.

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