Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The real ground of disagreement

To write a post is, at least for me, a demanding thing.

To write, period, is for me demanding.

Why? you might ask.

Simple, because of the creeping civil war.

The easiest thing is to take side, and to write for one's own side. But it is equally easy, by so doing, to fall into the traps laid by the other side, and accept its premises.

A widely accepted premise, is that sexual matters concern morality, and that morality is tied to religion, and that religion is out of discussion – meaning that it is something about which no discussion is possible, being a matter of personal opinion and not of truth.

Only remains to distinguish right and wrong, according to this premise, the law. It also follows that the only limit the law can put to people's right to do what they want, is there being consent among the parties involved. Which have to be, therefore, on an equal footing.

It is hard, when that basic premise is granted, to argue otherwise. If one tries to do it, claiming that there are not negotiable moral values, he can be easily silenced with the accusation of wanting to thwart people's rights. And he can be singled out for public disapproval if some of his associates have indulged in practices that violate the requirement of consent, as the only criterion for judging of right and wrong

Am I defending them? No way, I am only trying to understand why the present debate goes the way it does.

It goes in a way that the real premises on which agreement fails remain actually hidden.

Disagreement is not about morals – not at least if morality is understood as described above. It concerns our self-understanding as "men": let's say, bodily beings conscious of their being such.

There is then one side, that keeps on speaking of spiritual matters, where actually our bodily being is looked at as important for what we are and for how we should relate to each other. There is another side, agnostic in spiritual matters if not utterly negative toward them, that actually looks at our bodily being as irrelevant, just a sort of property of which we can dispose at our will.

Do you find this obscure?

If you do, I wouldn't be surprised, because it is so far from our contemporary culture, dominated as it is by a mind-body or spirit and matter dualism. That's why writing is, as I said, a hard and demanding thing.


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