Welcome to Xanthippa’s Chamberpot

So, what is this all about?

Well, a while ago, there was this guy named Socrates. Very famous chap….ancient Greek city of Athens, the ‘father’ of the ‘Western moral philosophy’, died rather than compromise on his ideals…if you haven’t heard of him, curse your education system and Google him.

Socrates used to stroll about Athens, a clump of students/admirers/hangers-on following him like puppies, and he demonstrated his supreme cleverness by asking questions……well thought out questions, where everyone but his poor victim knew he was faking daftness in order to draw them into saying something that would prove to the audience the silliness and stupidity of the victim, and how clever and sophisticated Socrates really was. One
day, he began to question a pretty young girl….named Xanthippe.

Though never formally trained in this mega-smart field of philosophy, Xanthippe’s intelligence, ready wit and composure soon showed that she was neither silly, nor stupid… She is the only person ever known to have bested Socrates in a debate!

From here, the story takes a familiar turn: elderly respected man meets a hot, smart young woman….can’t dominate her intellectually, so he does the next best thing – he marries her! First, they are happy….but three kids later, he is still walking about Athens demonstrating how stupid everyone else is, while she starts asking him to actually do something to put food on the table. He may be wined and dined, but his kids were whiny and hungry. It is at this point that Socrates realizes that what he really can’t stand is an argumentative shrew of a wife!

So, theirs was not the most harmonious household. But, can you really blame Xanthippe (the name literally means ‘yellow horse’)? Her grandfather-of-a-husband was busy being admired by his groopies, making tons of ‘wild yellow horse’ jokes (some claim that Xanthippe was a natural blonde – and that Socrates was the originator of the ‘dumb blonde’ jokes, though I wouldn’t bet on it), and avoided all parental responsibilities…I’d be a tad miffed, too.

There is a story that one day, Socrates got up and prepared to abandon his family again, when Xanthippe had a few choice things to point out to him about the pragmatic considerations of physical existence….but could not engage her husband’s attention. To help him focus, she emptied the contents of a chamber pot over his head…. Rather an effective technique, I think (though some ‘cleaned up’ versions of the story report it was a ‘bucket of water’ rather than a ‘chamber pot’).

The moral of the story is that in ancient Greece, if you were intelligent, insightful, eloquent and male – you became a famous philosopher. If you were intelligent, insightful, eloquent and female – you became an archetype of the quarrelsome, unreasonable shrew of a wife!

Though I have endured more than my fair (pun intended) share of ‘blonde jokes’, I know I am no Xanthippe – so I have taken the liberty to alter the name slightly. Yet in homage to Xanthippe, I would like to use this space to help us all focus on some of the issues surrounding us: current events and the ripples they create against the background of the ancient principles from which they – ultimately – arose.

I take it all in, chew on it, digest it – and present the results for your examination in this here humble ‘chamber pot’!

Just a little ‘housekeeping note’:  I am a strong believer that ‘ideas’ must not be ‘owned’.  If they are to enrich our society, they must be spread freely and without limitations.  After all, we are exposed to so many ideas all of our lives, the lines between the ideas we have heard or read – or even rememember reading or hearing or learning – and where our own ideas stemming from this process lie are so blurred as to be indistinguishable.  Therefore, anyone may use the ideas and thoughts expressed in my words here in any way, without reservation (or citation).

22 Responses to “Welcome to Xanthippa’s Chamberpot”

  1. Xanthippa’s Chamberpot « A Different Voice Says:

    [...] Xanthippa posted a comment on my piece about the Asperger’s Marriage, and I found her blog – Xanthippa’s Chamberpot.  I thought others might like to have a look at it.  Xanthippa, her husband, and her two sons all [...]

  2. Apar Says:

    Wow! Thanks to my school system…I have heard of Socrates, but Xanthippe is new to me. Thanks for the info :) Am now hooked on to your blog and am blogrolling you!!

  3. xanthippa Says:

    Thank you!

    • angelgriffin Says:

      Hi, I’ve been reading articles on your site all day. It’s fascenating! I came across a yellow page on the rules for posting, moderators and how their regulations work for Xanthippa’s Chamberpot, etc. I accidentally closed the page and could not find it again. I would really like to read about how it all works. Can you let me know where to find this page again? I’d like to get involved in working for and developing Xanthippa’s Chamberpot, but I don’t know the rules or who to contact. I’m new to this game, so I thought I’d find a wordpress site that I really liked and voluntere to do whatever you need done. What can I do you for, please!

      Xanthippa says:

      It is very easy: if you google for this site, a google search will bring you here.

      Then, you can post comments: the only comments I have ever not permitted have been obvious spam or comments in languages I could not understand and thus could not judge if they were spam or not…otherwise, I have permitted all else to be published – with the caveat that I may comment on it!

      • angelgriffin Says:

        Sounds great! I still have a lot of dumb questions. I love to write. Is it ever possible to help with an article? Do you have spaces you want filled and topics you might like covered? If so, how would I be able to find out about such opportunities?

  4. jamble Says:

    Interesting and well-written posts! I’ll subscribe to the feed.

    Where did you get the narrative of Xanthippe as having “intelligence, ready wit and composure” and defeating Socrates in debate?

  5. xanthippa Says:

    Thank you for your comment.

    I came across much of this on the internet… just reading it. I’m afraid I didn’t bookmark it, but will look up some of this and either edit the story to insert links, or just paste the links into the comments… But since I ‘got’ this over the years, I’ll have to do some fresh digging…

  6. william Says:

    re
    Jack L – should be ‘ moot point’

  7. Christopher Jenkins Says:

    I completely agree with everything in this post. keep up the good work

    Xanthippa says:
    Thank you! I’ll try – though, lately, I’ve just been ‘limping along’…

  8. hot girls myspace layouts Says:

    Hi, i’ve been come to your blog and it looks really really neat. I’m making a family home page and struggling to make it look good. How hard was it to create your blog? Could someone like me, an amateur make this? I really want to make something like this. Just wanna let you know your home page seem broken when I browse using Chrome.

    Xanthippa says:

    Thank you!

    As for the site – it is very easy. Just sign up with WordPress.com and follow the easy step by step instructions. This is one of their standard layouts – all you do is pick a few options and begin adding content.

    Since this is a standard WordPress template, I have no control over the way it appears in Chrome….the drawback of not having had to do the work.

    Good luck!

  9. Kaffir_Kanuck Says:

    BCF brought me here because of the latest Surra. Added it to my favourites and will revisit to read your guide, the appeal and the Big Picture later on. Looks like you’re part of the community. Gotta vist more often.

    Take care and Gods bless.

    Xanthippa says: Thanks!
    BTW – some of the pages are in REAL need of updating…..like, really…

  10. Twilight fan Says:

    id you guys know that Twilight eclipse has leaked…
    see here http://secretshack.info/twilight-eclipse/

  11. Kaffir_Kanuck Says:

    I wanted to let you know that thanks to your help among others for posting my coffee fund, after PayPal fees and conversion to American, $715 has been put into the coffee fund for this month for B Crew here in KAF.

    I wanted to send you a copy of the email that went around to the crew but you don’t have a contact email on your site. Well, none that I could find.

    Thanks again.

  12. angelgriffin Says:

    I found this site today and think it rocks! I found a couple of yellow pages that seemed to be the rulebook on how to post messages and how they are moderated. I closed the browser by accident and lost these pages I wanted to read. Can anyone help me find my way back? –Angel

  13. YourGrannie Says:

    I am curious to know how other ‘Aspies’ think about this article.
    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/12/19/wyo-college-killer-suicide-note-blames-asperger-for-troubles-life-as-bottom/?intcmp=obinsite

    Xanthippa says:

    My personal opinion is that there are troubled people from all walks of life, from all races, of all religions, in all socioeconomic groups and all that. It would be surprising if, every now and then, there were no troubled people who also have Asperger’s.

    That was the ‘general’ answer. This article, however, was about a person who considered himself victimized for having Asperger’s – for having been born an Aspie. So, I will go a little deeper into this specific case.

    The troubled young man wrote of his ‘right not to have been born’…I think that bit tells us a lot about him: he may have had Asperger’s, but what crippled him was depression.

    Unfortunately, it is not all that uncommon for Aspies – especially adolescent and young adult Aspies – to suffer from depression. This is – and I am guessing here, not making a medical diagnoses – likely because in that stage of our lives, we learn to grow apart from our parents and begin to form our individual identity. All young people who perceive themselves to be somehow stigmatized and thus not valued by society, for whatever reason, are at at increased risk of depression during this process.

    This is because they may perceive their ‘differentness’ as a serious flaw which will prevent them from having a healthy self-image…which is where the depression sets in.

    That is why it is essential that Asperger’s is not treated as a disease or a disaster.

    I’ll illustrate what I mean by contrasting two examples:

    My friend has three kids. When her middle daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s, the whole family took the diagnosis as a disaster. The older sister came to talk to me and was crying about the ‘horrible sentence’ her sister was dealt. The father turned more religious, and spent a lot of time praying to God to ‘fix’ his daughter and take that curse off of her….

    Needless to say, the Aspie daughter took was devastated by all this and spun into a depression…would not get out of bed, flunked out of high school and lost all interest in just about everything. It took two years before she started going to a special school to try to finish her high school.

    She considers herself as being victimized byhaving Asperger’s.

    On the other hand…there is my younger son. My husband and I had been diagnosed with Asperger’s when our older son was and they did a battery of tests on all of us and all three of us came up Aspies… In addition, many of his cousins are also Aspies – including his favourite one whom he has always identified with and emulated.

    So, years later, when he was ALSO diagnosed an Aspie, he was thrilled!!!

    He said ‘Finally, I’m one of you guys!’

    And, I even got a call from his teacher to please ask him to tone it down with his Aspie pride, because he was making the other children feel inadequate for not having a dignosis of Asperger’s…

    I suspect that the difference in attitude towards the diagnosis of Asperger’s is what makes a huge difference in how people will cope in life.

    Because, cope is what we must all do – Aspies or not.

    Each one of us has personal traits which are positive and negative, which make it easier and harder for us to succeed in whatever we do and how we live. It is up to each and every one of us to maximize our positive traits and minimize our negative ones – or even find a way to make them work for, instead of against us. The attitude with which we approach this will make a very real difference.

    If we lament our negative attributes ans feel ourselves aggrieved and victimized by them, if we wallow in self pity, we will grow into bitter and unpleasant loosers.

    If we accept ourselves for who we are, but think we cannot change our selves – including our negative qualities, this will become a self-fulfilling prophesy and we will not improve ourselves.

    But if we accept ourselves for who we are and understand that, for whatever reason we got our traits, each one of us is now an individual who is responsible for all of ourselves, and for what we do with our traits, we can utilize both the good and the bad to our best advantage and improve ourselves. We can develop coping mechanisms to overcome the bad traits and capitalize on our good ones.

    And, we will be able to take pride in who we have become because we will understand that we have maximized our potential!

    Asperger’s is not a disease or an illness – it is a set of personality traits that require specific strategies to properly integrate into society. Some Aspies despise the expression ‘being diagnosed with Asperger’s’ as they consider it stigmatizing. They prefer the term ‘being identified as an Aspie’. Perhaps this difference in attitude is more important than we know: you don’t get ‘worse’ because you were diagnosed – you will be exactly the same, except that now, you will have identified some of the tools that may be helpful to you to overcome your negative traits and maximize your positive ones.

    But, I digress…back to the example at hand.

    This man said he was self-diagnosed as an Aspie. This suggests that he never received specialized help in how to overcome his difficulties. Perhaps that is why he could not maximize his potential: he did well in a highly structured environment, like school (he had master’s degree in engineering – they don’t hand those out for just showing up), but could not cope with the unstructured world outside of academia. His father and his father’s girlfriend were also academics – so they would not have been particularly useful in helping him integrate into a non-academic world, which is very different indeed.

    In fact, there is very little in our school system to prepare people for the non-academic world, but that is a different rant. Suffice it to say, a person who has difficulty with social integration, but who had successfully (masters in engineering) integrated into the academic world would indeed have terrible difficulties adjusting to the non-academic one…and without help, he might indeed ‘crash-and-burn’. If, in addition to this great disappointment in himself, he also has the attitude of wallowing in self-pity and not taking responsibility for himself (which are personality flaws not associated with Aspergers – they occur across all of our species), such a person might indeed commit a horrendous act…

    But blaming his dad for passing on Asperger’s genes is just scapegoating, nothing more!

  14. YourGrannie Says:

    That was a very thoughtful, thought-provoking answer, friend. I appreciate learning more about Asperger’s – having basically only heard of the term from your blog. I follow you with great interest.

    At 56, I find there is so much yet to learn in order to make sense of in this world and our interactions in it. I guess what was upsetting me was the way the media started “spinning” opinions about “mental health” and “guns” after all those little kids in Connecticut just got shot. The “spin” on this article made me think of you first for balancing my own thoughts.

    I concur that blaming someone or something else for our own conduct is utterly an unprofitable and immature reaction.

    As I suffer from “The Long Dark” of winter, I can appreciate how depression can become so overwhelming and oppressive that one simply cannot stand it any longer, though.

    Thanks. Merry Christmas!

    Xanthippa says:

    You are very welcome – glad I was able to help.

    And – Merry Christmas!

  15. personal protection Says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you penning this post and also the rest of the site is very good.

  16. Shaifali Vampyre Says:

    This is one of the best blogs ever about that baldy who went mouldy and his brilliant wife!

  17. mytopsecretid Says:

    The info about Xanthippe being a master debater was written by, I think, one of her husband’s disciples. It’s been a while since I’ve dabbled in Ancient Greece, but I do know for sure that it wasn’t Plato who wrote that. He only mentions her in relation to her husband’s trial, and described her as a devoted wife. It is also from him that we have reason to believe she was at least very much younger than her husband, since Socrates was 70 at his trial, yet Plato says that Xanthippe had a very young child in her arms. The chances of her being in her 30s, or even younger, are quite high.

    Historians are certain Xanthippe was almost certainly from, if not an elite family, then a more elite family than Socrates. The key fact is that the tradition in Ancient Greece was to name a firstborn son after his most prominent, prestigious grandfather, and the eldest son of Xanthippe and Socrates is names after her father, not his. This is a very clear sign that she was from the more illustrious family. Some of the sources indicate that she was related to Pericles, the famed Greek statesman and ruler. If true, she would have been from the very highest echelons of the upper class. How she wound up with daft and dirty Socrates will forever remain a mystery.

    Anyway, if she did come from a prominent family, then it’s entirely likely that Xanthippe was given a considerable education, or at least received one indirectly, from frequent exposure to the educated class of her day. There is a very strong chance that she was far better educated than her husband, since we know Socrates wasn’t educated until much later in life. He was the son of a stone cutter, after all, not exactly an intellectual class in those days.

    So if Xanthippe were indeed well-educated and had intelligence, too, it wouldn’t be a surprise at all that she could out-debate her husband.

    • xanthippa Says:

      Wow!

      Awesome!

      Thank you for setting the record straight – Xanthippe’s even more fascinating than I thought!

  18. Angel Says:

    God, Xan! Your site keeps getting better and better! Congratulations!


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