Sunday, April 1, 2012

We Are All in This Together. . .

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I’m reading a book on moral psychology.  One technique that the author describes using in the testing of the moral decision making process, is to create little stories of troubling moral situations, often times where the impact of the problem is limited exclusively to one person.  One little vignette the author used, was as follows:

A man goes to the grocery store and buys a chicken.  He takes it home and in the privacy of his home has has sex with the dead chicken before cooking and eating it.

The psychologist, would have several hundred people of different socioeconomic levels, in several different cultures answer read this story and explain whether this behavior was morally wrong and then give the reasons for their answer.  From their answers to this and other questions,  he then would try to develop a theory about people’s moral decision making processes.

My immediate reaction to these little stores, was to recall how morally adrift I was before becoming a Christian. Many of the vignettes I read in this book were easily answered by familiarity with the moral teachings of the Bible. The Bible is clear that sex, in whatever form it takes, if it is outside of the formal institution of marriage then it is sinful.

Sex is not just another physical activity which can be equated with picking your nose, or washing your hands. There are much deeper emotional, and spiritual levels alloyed with, and indivisible from sex.  Within marriage, sex it a totally positive, uplifting, and strengthening behavior.  Outside of marriage on so many levels. . . physically, emotionally, and spiritually sex is destructive. . . You cannot put it in any other terms.  Sex outside of marriage is always destructive and never positive in its effects. . .

The technique used of setting up the questions to be apparently limited in scope, by a wall of the subject’s being alone at the time, is a false representation of reality.  No one on this earth is truly isolated from the rest of society.  We all interact with one another and are influenced by each other.

Again taking ideas from my recently concluded engineering simulation class. . . To look at a problem of a model. . . (read this as a problem of society). . . you must break the model apart and look at the forces acting upon the individual elements of the model.  The steps of solution are:

1. Apply material to the model
2. Apply restraints to the model
3. Apply forces to the model
4. Mesh the model (divide the model into finite elements ~ look at the individuals in the society)
5. Solve for the problem that you have set up

If you look finely enough, any force applied to the model. . . and any restraint applied to the model will have a measurable effect upon upon every other model element. No model element ever exists in isolation.

A man having sex with a chicken and eating it, and cannot be viewed only as a still picture.   He did not arrive at this behavior, as the initial expression of his sexuality and this will not be the ultimate destination of his sexual aberrancy. To have a need to go to such a length, to find satisfaction is symptomatic of an addiction. No addict arrives at their low point in one step, but addiction is universally a process of spiraling downward.  The destructive behavior always increases. . . more drug is required. . . more frequent binges. . . greater sexual aberrance to achieve satisfaction. . . that is inherent to the addiction process and that process must be viewed as a movie.  To see that process only as a still photograph misses the destructive journey the addict has taken to arrive at his or her destination.

This is not to say that we need bedroom police inspecting and prosecuting us for that which takes place behind closed doors, but neither must we be foolish enough to think that that which takes place behind closed doors has no impact on social interactions beyond those doors.  Society needs taboos.  To be a healthy society we must recognize that there are behaviors which are rightfully rejected as being acceptable.

Currently we seem to have adopted the “if it feels good do it” philosophy.  We are trying to look at individual elements. . . individual behaviors and acts in isolation without seeing their impact upon all the elements around them.  We are trying to look issues which are processes, by viewing them as still pictures and not movies, thereby missing the destruction direction of the process represented by the behavior. . .

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