A few more thoughts about sex, guilt, multi-culturalism, and freedom

Sexual liberation is rooted, historically, in interpretations of Freud and developed by Herbert Marcuse. It’s all related to guilt.

Multi-culturalism has used a confusion strategy to assist it. Various cultures have varying sexual mores, the argument goes, therefore there are no sexual laws that are not mere cultural impositions.

The great crisis of multi-culturalism is precisely that there is no such thing as a multi-culture. Throw 50 cultures together and you have a new culture. If the leadership of that culture chooses a radical relativism as the foundation for decision making then the members of that culture will not have wise guides or principles to live by. Everything will be regarded as an imposition and everybody will be confused.

It’s analogous to learning manners. They’re binding at first, liberating later. It’s not comforting to never know what to do in a given situation.

The notion is that all conventions are impositions and limitations. They are not. They are means by which individuals become members of a community. They are means by which individuals rise from the aesthetic to the ethical. They are means by which individuals discover themselves, their powers, their tastes, their identities. And then they turn those identities, discovered in part by breaking from the stranglehold of community (something they could not have done if the community did not have a “stranglehold”!) and turning back into the community and serving it with wisdom, virtue, and self-denial.  

It’s also analogous to learning how to speak. Does it liberate you or bind you? You will always find it difficult to escape the patterns of thought and the limits of thought established by your language. So are you freer to think if you don’t know any language? Are you more liberated if your use of your own language is radically limited? Language is both the opportunity and the limitation of relationship.

But our supposed desire not to impose our morality on people from other cultures or religions or whatever is a fraud and a self-deception. First of all, it is a fraud. Those who champion the sexual revolution are not morally neutral. They have a worldview and a moral system that they have imposed with extraordinary success on our culture, especially through the colleges and universities and the entertainment industry (this may be the single most significant stupid thing Christians did in the 20th century when they regarded the entertainment industry as necessarily evil and let it go its own way rather than make movies that could have been sound aesthetically and morally responsible).

Secondly, it is a self-deception by the cowards who acquiesce. They have persuaded themselves that they are ever so kindly not imposing their own morality (as though they hold to a sound moral code themselves) on the young people under their own authority. Which is to say they are refusing to exercise authority, thereby abandoning their responsibilities. They are closet tyrants a la Dead Poet’s Society.

Do we believe for a moment that the university system would be so unspeakably immoral if it weren’t taken over by and now run by two classes of people: perverts and administrative cowards?

To be free from guilt over things that are wrong is not liberation. The guilt will submerge itself and manifest itself in other psychoses. When we do things that are self-destructive we ought to feel guilt – that is one of the evidences of self-respect.

And what about love? Isn’t that the hymn of the age? Are those free from guilt suggesting that sex without love is a good thing? Because that is the price of sex without guilt. The reason we should feel guilty about extra-marital sex is because somebody isn’t being loved; spouse, future spouse, self, person with whom one is uniting oneself. Thus the only way to avoid guilt is to completely eliminate love from our conscience in relation to the sexual act. Some freedom.

This is leading to a paganism that will enslave women into temple prostitution within two generations.

Teaching things and conventions

Much mischief has been accomplished in educating children about symbols without first giving them a thorough and dynamic experience of the living idea to which the symbol points.

Children doing math who only think conventionally may well conclude that they aren’t “math people.” Children doing letters think conventionally (letters are conventions), but hardly realize that these letters represent the sounds of normal existence – sounds they’ve been making since they were very little. But they ought to realize that.

The sounds only become symbols later in life. First they are sounds. And sometimes they take on a distinct meaning in a child’s mind – they communicate an idea apart from the conventional use.                                 

But the conventions are brilliant for a number of reasons: we can read with them. They multiply the number of sounds a child can master. They multiply our ability to think and communicate. They are undeniably powerful conventions. But they are conventions nonetheless.

 

Though language itself comes from God.

teaching living ideas

At the heart of the Christian classical curriculum and methodology is the presentation of living ideas. The soul feeds on ideas, and its health is determined by the quality of those ideas and the life found in them.

When we teach children about butterflies, we do not begin by showing them dead butterflies pinned to a board. We show them living butterflies in their natural environment.

When we teach them about moral habits, we do not begin by memorizing definitions of the virtues. We present living virtues by modeling them ourselves and providing vicarious experiences through literature, music, and the arts. This does not mean that we reduce stories, music, and the arts to moral lectures; rather, we concentrate on human works that are excellent themselves (the artist was virtuous in his performance) and that embody the virtues in the work (e.g. heroes who model courage, rhythms that are temperate, color selection that is appropriate).

Sometimes students need to learn things that are not “natural” but are man-made, such as letters and digits. In cases like this, an additional difficulty arises because these man-made conventions do not have a “natural” state. They are symbols for other things. In this case, the children simply need to learn the conventions (the man-made symbols). However, before learning the conventions, they will experience as much of the natural thing as possible (e.g. the sounds that go with the letters and the numbers that are represented by the digits).

Christianity and the Classical Mind

You hear a lot about Tertullian’s outcry: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Less commonly heard are these words from Clement of Alexandria, perhaps because, like Tertullian, Clement went to some extremes. Like Tertullian. Anyway:

Before the Lord’s coming, philosophy was an essential guide to righteousness for the Greeks. At the present time, it is a useful guide towards reverence for God. It is a kind of preliminary education for those who are trying to gather faith through demonstration. “Your foot will not stumble,” says Scripture, if you attribute good things, whether Greek or Christian, to Providence. God is responsible for all good things: of some, like the blessings of the Old and New Covenants, directly; of others, like the riches of philosophy, indirectly. Perhaps philosophy too was a direct gift of God to the Greeks before the Lord extended his appeal to the Greeks. For philosophy was to the Greek world what the Law was to the Hebrews, a tutor escorting them to Christ. So philosophy is a preparatory process; it opens the road for the person whom Christ brings to his final goal. Solomon says, “Surround Wisdom with a stockade, and she will exalt you; she will shiled you with a rich crown,” since once you have fortifed her with a fence by means of the true riches of philosophy, you will keep her inaccesible to the sophists….

Every line makes for a good and profitable discussion.