Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Move to Ban Square Circles Fails

Males form sexual associations with females not out of a tiresome, dutiful, pious, half-unwilling obedience to the demands of the culture but in fulfillment of the biological nature of the beast. The family is not the creation of culture: without the family there would be no culture! --Weston LaBarre

As always, I begin this post not knowing if it will go anywhere or whether I will be able to finish it. Except that today I’m doubly unsure, because I don’t know if I can put my feelings into words. This must be how liberals feel all the time, but they don’t seem to have the slightest bit of difficulty in finding the words to express their unthinking.

But I wanted to say something about the “homosexual marriage” issue, for there is almost no one on either side of this debate that discusses it with any depth or substance. Both sides are reduced to strong feelings that are merely backed up with boilerplate language. In the case of the left, they imbue their feelings with the language of human rights, whereas the right frames it in terms of religious values, tradition, and the welfare of children.

Although it is surely a truism that children ideally require a mother and father for optimal psycho-spiritual development, the materialistic left is always able to find some deeply flawed psychological study that disproves the obvious. Psychology is a field which is dominated by people with no intellect properly so-called, so they produce “studies” as a debased replacement for their inability to know metapsychological truth directly. Scientific psychologists have also in the recent past proven that pedophilia is normal, that children are not harmed by sexual abuse, that dreams are meaningless, that early childhood experience has no impact on adult development, and that treating boys and girls the same will eliminate gender differences. So psychology as a field (individual brilliant psychologists notwithstanding) has little to contribute to the issue.

“Psyche,” of course, means soul or spirit, so a true psychologist is someone who inquires into the spiritual basis of humanity, which is to say, the human basis of humanity. At its deepest level, our humanness is coterminous with the very foundations of the cosmos. It cannot be otherwise, for if we eliminate the subject that apprehends it, the cosmos vanishes into nothingness. Can you imagine a cosmos that cannot be imagined, perceived and experienced? Of course not. When we inquire into the nature of the psyche, we are ultimately examining the metaphysical foundations of the cosmos, not just individually but collectively. Any psychology that doesn’t recognize this fact is both trivial and subhuman.

These deeper layers of the psyche are covered over by various accretions, to such an extent that we no longer see and understand them. Rather, we generally only feel them. If we turn our gaze within and try to apprehend the foundations of our being, we get no further than looking at the night time sky and trying to see the edge of the universe with the naked eye. Although we cannot see it, we know that it’s actually there. As matter of fact, at its farthest edge, it meets back up with the subject at the bottom of the psyche.

Religious language is a way to talk about these ultimate terms of existence that are beyond the horizons of mere egoic knowability. Genesis, for example, deals with the hidden roots of ontology, anthropology and psychology. Genesis is not about our horizontal existence--i.e., about the world literally being created in six days, or about a garden and a serpent. Rather, it is trying to resonate with the deepest layers of our being. It is trying to tell us something about ourselves that we already know--we cannot not know it--but which we can easily forget or be unable to articulate. In fact, Genesis is so sophisticated that it even takes this perpetual self-forgetting into consideration in a self-referential way.

One annoying aspect of the marriage debate is that it is automatically framed in the misleading, two-dimensional language of the left. Thus, on Drudge there is the headline “Gay Marriage Ban Falls Short,” as if there was ever such a thing as “Gay Marriage” and that someone is trying to “ban” it. The headline might as well read “Square Circles Banned.” If you live in the two-dimensional secular world, then there really is no reason why “gay marriage” shouldn’t exist. Divorced from any deeper ontology, human beings are merely animals with special rights, including the right to marry anyone whom they please.

But what is marriage, anyway? This reminds me of one of my mentors, the psychoanalyst W.R. Bion, who would never inquire into whether or not a patient was married, because he wanted to discover for himself whether the person was married internally, regardless of whether they were married in the technical, legalistic sense of the term. For marriage is--and can only be--the union of two primordial categories of existence, male and female. Legal marriage is simply an acknowledgment of this existential fact.

Obviously, the marriage of male and female is a “naturally supernatural” institution that exists prior to the state, for it is the foundation of the state, not vice versa. The state did not come into being and then invent the thing called marriage. Rather, its legitimacy can only be founded on its respect for the human nature or “natural rights” that precede it.

Of course, it is always possible to have a state that not only doesn’t respect human nature, but violates it or even tries to reinvent it, such in communist or socialist regimes. Unfortunately, even in the United States we are well down the road of trying to remake and redesign human nature, not just with regard to the marriage issue, but in many other aspects of humanness as well. This is why I scoff at secular humanists, because theirs is a philosophy that is specifically subhuman, for any philosophy that severs human beings from their transcendent source is ipso facto a barbarism that reduces us to animality and regards us as beasts.

For me, the marriage issue has nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality, regardless of whether one adheres to the fashionable theories of a genetic basis for it. It should go without saying that I have nothing against the individual homosexual. However, when the “homosexual movement” joins forces with a larger movement that wishes to redefine the very basis of humanness, then I get concerned. But opponents of this anti-humanistic movement must be able to articulate exactly what it is that they are concerned about. It won’t do to sputter like a liberal about your deepest feelings. Reduced to the language of feelings, liberals will win every time.

The family is a moral structure, a biologically validated “truth” now permanently imbedded in the physical and physiological nature of man....

.... A man has the pride and privilege, with his maleness, of returning to a woman a shared pleasure, like but unlike that which another woman, with her breast, conferred upon him first as a baby. Cherished and nurtured to strength by his mother, he may then protect and cherish another woman in his turn. And of all the things in this world these two, maternal and conjugal love, are without any qualification wholly good.

.... A boy must become a man by similarly admiring manliness--in a rival he may hate or envy--through the mysterious love of male
logos, not of physical males. --Weston LaBarre

19 Comments:

Blogger R. Sherman said...

To use Christian language, marriage is a sacrament. It is more than a physical union, but rather a union of souls, wherein two persons become spiritually one.

As you point out, that only happens with a man and woman.

Thanks for helping me to clarify my own thinking on this.

Cheers.

6/06/2006 08:53:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Have you ever noticed that in many gay relationships one partner has more visible female characteristics and the other partner has more male characteristics? Can these archetypal identity opposites join together in a form of marriage that is comparable to a traditional definition of marriage?

Personally, I really don't care about the gay marriage issue and don't take it as a threat to my marriage. I do understand many people are against it for reasons you have elegantly stated in your post. Why can't gay leaders call it something other than marriage and have it contain the same legal rights as marriage, such as gayrriage. That way everyone can be happy or miserable(depending on your view of marriage)!

Another way to look at it is economically. Think how happy this will make divorce lawyers, event planners, florists, etc.

I just hope gay leaders don't take it to the extreme and force everyone into gay marriage!;0)

6/06/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

P.S. When will we be able to order our "Ban Square Circles" bumpersticker?

6/06/2006 08:58:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

The male/female polarities are the very essence of all Existence - without the positive/negative polarities, there would be no Existence. Thus the uniting of the polarities is indeed sacred in that it fulfills, completes Creation. It brings the Whole into focus, and in this sense, it gives birth to God.

Marriage between man and woman, whether we are conscious of it or not, is the sacramental acknowledgment of this divine process. By all means, let homosexuals have their secular, civil unions. But there literally can be no marriage in the truest sense between members of the same sex. To call such a marriage is to deny the sacred, and to deny the sacred is to reverse the process of Creation, which is to descend into true chaos.

6/06/2006 10:22:00 AM  
Anonymous The Oracle said...

This is interesting take on homosexually, and the gay marriage debate. Of course it begs a much larger and profound question which can only be asked here. This is my argument:
1. Homosexually exists, and has been documented throughout history.
2. If Homosexually is some how genetic it most have some survival value otherwise it would disappear as humans evolve.
3. If Homosexually is a choice then it is a choice made independently by different people throughout human history. Why choose homosexually? What need to it fulfill?
4. All humans have a telos, or ultimate end. Does homosexually serve that end somehow? It has been with us for at least recorded history.
Many of the arguements against gay marriage assume that homosexually is wrong somehow. But if it has been with us for so long it seems that it might be a part of God's plan. The interesting question is what role does homosexually play in the evolution of humans towards the telos?

6/06/2006 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Oracle:
Yes, homosexuality has been with us for as long as history has been around to record it. But so has hemophilia, epilepsy, hunchbacks, cleft lips, and club feet. The human being is the most complex structure in the universe. Unfortunately, while in the macrocosm of creation nature is perfect, it often falls short of perfection in the microcosm of its individual components. I doubt if we will ever have a conclusive answer as to why. A Buddhist or Hindu might point to karma. God is notoriously silent on those questions.
As far as the question of choice goes, I recall a conversation I had with a gay friend many years ago. I asked him point blank if he lived a gay lifestyle because he genuinely found other men physically attractive, or if he really just enjoyed the opportunity to have a lot of sex without the bother of engaging in the trouble that it took to court and win the intimacy of a woman, and the emotional entanglement that usually follows. He admitted that the latter was more of a component than the former. I realize that this was the answer for only one individual, and that there are as many different levels of response to that question as there are individuals.
Without a doubt there are individuals who are just gay, period. They don't have much choice in the matter, and people who denigrate those individuals are as despicable as any other bigots. Having said that, I believe that homosexuality is a regrettable condition, and not the equivalent of the heterosexual norm. The notion that gay couples should be allowed to "marry" or especially adopt and raise children strikes me as as a profoundly bad idea. I have known many gays and lesbians in my time. Most of them at the core are very bitter and unhappy people who bear vast, and toxic resentments toward the straight world. That they could provide the kind of balanced reciprocity of masuline and feminine virtues needed to raise an emotionally healthy child is a pretty doubtful proposition.
Let me state again, so as not to be misunderstood. No gay person of either gender should be ridiculed, ostracized, or discriminated against. Bigotry is detestable. But society needs a firm set of standards at its foundation. Normative male/female marriage is one of those standards, and should not be tampered with.

JWM

6/06/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Tamquam Leo Rugiens said...

Marriage is the foundation of culture and of civilization, that much is clear going back at least to the end of the last ice age. I am very reluctant to tamper with anthropologically primordial mechanisms, see the law of unintended consequences. Marriage is a right in only the broadest meaning of the word, culture and society have always defined how, where, when and with whom the marriage union is to take place. The right to marry has been regulated this way precisely because the survial of culture and civilization depend on it. What the Left has done is to reduce marriage to a sentimental, romantic relationship devoid of the rigor and commitment necessary to fulfill its cultural and civilizational function. To the Left, and to far too many, marriage is no more than an excuse to party hearty and get "legally" laid.

6/06/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Oracle - homosexuality is prima facie dysfunctional. I can't compare it exactly with, say, a person's penchant for alcoholism, but that too has been around for millennia and is also a dysfunction. What possible factor do such play in the human telos? Only, I think, that they be eventually transcended - whatever crosses we may have to bear are tools for possible transcendence.

Why would a person be so burdened with a penchant for homosexuality? I don't know. But I might wager a guess. Believe in karma? Cause and effect echoing across lives? If such exists, a person who was sexually overindulgent in a prior life might well be born with a decided inclination toward homosexuality. Being "born that way" does not justify its rightness any more than would being born a person with a tropism toward alcoholism - which also might be a result of karmic cause and effect.

I'm with JWM (and the current pope) - abuse of homosexuals is abominable and is not to be tolerated. But homosexuality is indeed deviant from the higher norm to which the spiritually-minded attain.

6/06/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger R. Sherman said...

I think one thing may be missing. Homosexual behavior certainly has no benefits for species survival. Like others, I can't see it as a conscious choice. What if it is learned behavior?

Cheers.

6/06/2006 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Not to be too argumentative but is it better for unwanted children to be adopted by gay parents if no hetero family is available or continue to live in a state-run group home? What about adoption by a single person?

I understand the hetero family structure is the healthiest. I am unsure of how many hetero family structures are willing to adopt unwanted children to completely solve the problem without involving gay couples or singles.

6/06/2006 04:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa-
So gay couples are volunteering to adopt only children unwanted by hetero couples? You know that isn't true. It's like the abortion debate: "wouldn't it be better for all children to be wanted/cherished/cared for?" Of course. But more abortion has led to more unwanted children, not fewer (as birth control, abstinence and hurried marriages decrease, more children are born into single-mother families). Gay marriage will lead to fewer adopted children raised by hetero couples as no one will be allowed to prefer hetero couples over gay couples. Unintended consequences part 56.

6/06/2006 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I am not sure how you can numerically correlate more abortions to more unwanted children. The population in total has increased. Is that number taken from another one of those exit polls?

6/06/2006 07:40:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I just saw Audrey Rose for the first time. Man, was that scary and intense. They don't make movies like that anymore.

There is no end to the soul.

6/06/2006 08:59:00 PM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Well, 6/6/06 has passed and the world is still here. I waited till 6:06 to fix dinner in a last ditch hope that the angels of the apocalypse would provide me with an excuse to get out of cooking. No luck.
Yesterday was odd- one of those days where you get the idea that the universe is trying to tell you something. I went over to Time Out burgers to pick up a hamburger for my mother. The owners weren't there and a new girl was working behind the counter. Shorts way too short, and too tight. Top way too low. She was leaned over the counter forehead to forehead with her boyfriend- a big dude just a little too nicely groomed. Another guy was leaning on the takeout counter waiting for his order. From where he was standing he probably had a pretty good view. I stood there for a minute waiting to get the girl's attention. Suddenly the boyfriend turned to the guy leaning at the takeout window.
"What're you lookin' at, eh?"
no comment
"Hey, I said what're you lookin' at!"
The girl tried to shush him. She quickly came around the counter, and spoke very firmly and very quietly. The boyfriend took a step back, palms in the air, "I'm a Christian, man. I don't like that stuff..." The cook turned around, and I caught his eye. We had a whole silent conversation within the span of a second. He got the girl's attention and directed it to me. The boyfriend left; the other guy got his food and got the hell out of there.
After dinner my wife and I went to Starbucks. There's a couple of fast food places there, and two good sized patios, one of which is always crowded, and another that is seldom used. A group of about a dozen guys had decided to use the middle of the main patio for Bible study, chairs arranged in a big circle, piety on display for all who had eyes to see and ears to hear. Their meeting was just breaking up as we sat down.
We've been going to this Starbuck's corner for a few years. Like any such place there are regulars: My wife and me, the gal with the tattoo, the guy who trains seeing eye dogs, and tonight- The Very Annoying Man who will not take a cue. Before we had our first sip he spotted us. "See that car? It's a police car. You can tell by the license plate. I'm waiting for my friend. He has a big motorcycle." We learned long ago not to acknowledge the guy, because if you do you won't get rid of him until one of you leaves. "Do you know what they call that antennae? It's a CB antennae. Did you ever have a CB?"
It's a tough call. The guy is harmless, really, and I don't want to be cruel, but he is- well- annoying as hell. As it was it took him almost ten minutes of being ignored before he spotted someone else to annoy. One more time I resisted the urge to just tell him to leave us alone, and get the hell lost. But it means that there will be one more time that I will have to put up with him.

JWM

6/06/2006 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

The guy at Starbuck's -- in a cleaner age, I think there would be no free-floating altruism, no need to pretend to be amenable to the guy. Then a saint would go home and pray all night for his welfare, soul and mundane.

Likewise any kind of perambulating in-your-face developmental deficiencies, sexual or other.

I'm not there yet, either place.

6/07/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Anonymous The Oracle said...

Thank you for your comments JMW and Will. Karma can be difficult. The idea of being born gay as Karma for sexual crimes in a past life, and being born gay means you have a harder road to travel towards Telos. This doesn't seem fair, you make a mistake and the road gets harder. However, life is rarely fair. I would like to say that homosexually is not an obstacle to a spritual life, but confess I can't think of any examples were homosexually was a factor in moving someone towards telos. It would be interesting to find such an example.

6/07/2006 08:56:00 AM  
Anonymous jwm said...

Oracle:
I'd refer you to the same place a sage recently referred me- the book of Job. It puts the fairness question into focus.

JWM

6/07/2006 09:16:00 AM  
Anonymous jodie in LA said...

I agree totally. And to preserve the institution of marriage, having children out of wedlock should be a capital crime and couples with children that divorce should be subject to civil if not criminal sanctions for violating one of the insitutions on which our society is based and permanently scarring innocent victims.

6/10/2006 06:30:00 AM  
Anonymous marriage sanctity advocate said...

jwm:

I have a number of friends who have had multiple affairs divorced their wife who is mother of their children and remarried. It is a fair assumption there are millions like them.



As far as the question of choice goes, I recall a conversation I had with one of those friensds many years ago. I asked him point blank if he lived a promiscuous lifestyle because he genuinely found women other than his wife irresistible or if he really just enjoyed the opportunity to have a lot of sex without the bother of engaging in the trouble that it took to court and win the intimacy of a single woman in marriage, and the emotional entanglement that usually follows. He admitted that the latter was more of a component than the former. I realize that this was the answer for only one individual, and that there are as many different levels of response to that question as there are individuals.

Without a doubt there are individuals who are just promiscuous, period. They don't have much choice in the matter, and people who denigrate those individuals are as despicable as any other bigots. Having said that, I believe that promiscuity is a regrettable condition, and not the equivalent of the heterosexual norm. The notion that serial adulterers should be allowed to "remarry" or especially adopt and raise children strikes me as as a profoundly bad idea. I have known many serial adulterers in my time. Most of them at the core are very bitter and unhappy people who bear vast, and toxic resentments toward the monogamous world. That they could provide the kind of positive virtues such as basic honesty needed to raise an emotionally healthy child is a pretty doubtful proposition.

But society needs a firm set of standards at its foundation. Normative male/female marriage is one of those standards, and should not be tampered with. Therefore individuals who have had children in marriage and divorced due to their infidelity should be subject to the most severe criminal sanctions if they have a child from a second wife. The statistical risk that they will once again stray in marriage and create an unstable home is just too great a risk for society to take.

6/10/2006 06:40:00 AM  

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