6. "The Shadow Side" with Oral bT.
7. "Inwagen’s Natural Evil" by Anne Eva Dewer.
8. "'Individual' : Is it Possible?" by Jaime Rohrer.
9. "Theokotos, Or, THE GOD-BEARER" By Dom Lucius.
10. "Ted and David; An Ethical Case Study" by Dom Lucius.
11. "Man the Virtuous?" by Brian Park.
PAGE 1: (5 more essays)
Download the December Forum
and read at your leisure.
"The Shadow Side" with Oral bT.
gonna knock the taste out of your mouth with my verbal clout
out of the south
came the imperialist state to slave trade that gets the gods of transnational fame paid
with GE & GM controlling the AM & PM
and their wage that's paid to age the brain so you consume more and spend more until you're all about the same
your ethics that twist the right from might to fright so now the guerrilla force is framed to ignite
pro castro and lacto
vegetarian de facto
cause if the signs are not heeded the effects will be astro
nomical and comical because the media's diabolical
more coverage of coverage that covered the coverage of stars and bars and dictates our suffrage
you got it
I said it
that's right don't forget it
Oral bT gots the news that's not dietetic.
Back to Index
"Inwagen’s Natural Evil" by Anne Eva Dewer.
In his essay, "The Magnitude, Duration, and Distribution of Evil: a Theodicy," Peter van Inwagen alleges a set of reasons that God may have for allowing evil to exist on earth. Inwagen proposes the following story – throughout which there is an implicit assumption that God is all-good (perfectly benevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient) and deserving of all our love. God created humans in his own likeness and fit for His love. In order to enable humans to return this love, He had to give them the ability to freely choose. That is, Inwagen holds that the ability to love implies free will. By giving humans free will, God was taking a risk. As Inwagen argues, not even an omnipotent being can ensure that "a creature who has a free choice between x and y choose x rather than y" (197)1. (X in Inwagen’s story is ‘to turn its love to God’ and y is ‘to turn its love away from God,’ towards itself or other things.) So it happened that humans did in fact rebel
and turn away from God. The first instance of this turning away is referred to as "the Fall." The ruin of the Fall was inherited by all humans to follow and is the source of evil in the world. But God did not leave humans without hope. He has a plan "whose working will one day eventuate in the Atonement (at-one-ment) of His human creatures with Himself," or at least some of His human creatures (198). This plan somehow involves humans realizing the wretchedness of a world without God and turning to God for help.
The telling of this story provokes many questions. Why didn’t God, being all-good and benevolent, "immediately restore His fallen creatures to their original union with Him?" (202). Why does God allow his creatures to experience pain, suffering, or other results of evil, at all? Inwagen answers that for God to reconfigure the world so as to restore paradise immediately after the Fall would require Him to extinguish all memories of the events leading to the Fall. Such an act would be deceitful – a quality we assume a perfect being does not have. Furthermore, were God to immediately restore man to union with Him, there is no reason to believe that man would not fall again. By allowing man to experience the pain and suffering of evil in this world, God allows man to come to know the real and wretched consequences of turning away from God. The sooner man realizes the hideousness of the fallen world, the sooner he will complete the plan of Atonement, turning his love back to God and asking for His grace. By making the restoration of union with God (in Heaven) a gradual process of living in an evil and wretched world, God’s looking out for man’s eternal welfare, assuring that man will not fall again. In the mean time, the more evil, pain, and suffering God allows man to experience here on earth, the faster man will turn to God and secure goodness for his life eternal.
So far, I have given an abbreviated version of the story Inwagen presents, and the gist of the explanations he uses to defend it. Now I will address one aspect of Inwagen’s defense, specifically his account of natural evil. By natural evil, I mean those large-scale natural events or disasters that commonly result in pain and suffering: e.g., tornadoes, earthquakes, and avalanches. Natural evil poses a problem for those who, like Inwagen, hold that evil in the world and the pain and suffering associated can be directly attributed to the free choice of man. (This type of evil, because it is the result of man’s choosing, is typically referred to as moral evil.) But supposedly, natural disasters occur whether humans will them or not. Complicating the issue further is the view that natural disasters are a direct result of God’s creation. Granted, (arguably) God may not be able to control the free choices of man, but presumably he could have made the world such that it did not contain natural phenomena that result in suffering. If God is all-good, as Inwagen and others assume, then it would seem that He would not directly inflict pain and suffering upon man. Inwagen approaches the problem of natural evil by first explaining that there is nothing inherently evil in the events commonly referred to as natural disasters. It is not the events that are terrible, but rather the potential they have to harm people. Inwagen then suggests that God accounted for this potential destructiveness before the Fall by endowing humans with "preternatural powers" (200). That is, before the Fall, humans had some sort of cognitive faculty resulting from their union with God that enabled them to avoid natural disasters. Thus, the Fall, though primarily a moral ruin, was also a cognitive degeneration of man. In a sense, then, natural evil is reduced to a form of moral evil because it too is the outcome of a choice of man.
This story of Inwagen’s carries the implication that potentially dangerous natural phenomena existed before the Fall. Inwagen makes this implication explicit in passages such as the following (writing as the voice of God):
"Even I can’t make a world which is suitable for human beings but which contains no phenomena that would harm human beings if they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The reasons for this are complicated, but they turn on the fact that the molecular bond that hold you human beings together much be weaker by many orders of magnitude than the disruptive potential of the surges of energy that must happen here and there in a structurally and nomologically coherent world complex enough to contain you. My providence dealt with this fact by endowing you with the power never to be in the wrong place at the wrong time…" (209)
This passage not only clarifies his claim that natural disasters existed on earth before the Fall, but also suggests that God could not have made a world capable of sustaining human life without natural disasters. This fairly bold claim comes dangerously close to questioning God’s omnipotence. If the nature of omnipotence involves unlimited power, then God could create any kind of world he desired; one would suppose that a world capable of sustaining human life and free of potentially harmful natural phenomena would be included.
There are many ways to interpret Inwagen’s above-mentioned passage (and other supporting passages found throughout his article). Perhaps Inwagen means to say that God’s omnipotence is restrained to that which is possible, and that the only (or at least the best) worlds capable of sustaining human life also necessitate natural disasters. Under this interpretation, God maintains the ability to create a world free of natural disasters, but this would entail changing the laws of physics He established in such a way that human beings could not exist. (Why God chose to create humans over some other similar species seems an inexplicable question, but one possible answer may involve the belief that humans were made in God’s likeness.) Though this interpretation is plausible, it still places restrictions on what is possible for God. To avoid binding Inwagen to such unnecessary premises, I would like to present another possible interpretation of his above-mentioned passage. Assuming that God is all-good, and that omnipotence, omniscience, and efficiency are qualities possessed by an all-good Being, it would be reasonable to say that God, having sufficient power and knowledge, created the world in the most efficient way possible. (Granted, efficiency is deemed valuable by men because of our limited time and energy, considerations that do not restrict God. However, efficiency may still be valuable to God because of the beauty and elegance produced by a maximally efficient world.)2 This way involved complex relations between molecular bonds, to which Inwagen makes reference. God accounted most efficiently for this structure of the world by giving humans "preternatural powers," something we lost by our own selfishness in the Fall (200). Thus, the pain and suffering that natural disasters cause is not traceable to an oversight of God while creating the world, but rather, man’s choice. I have already touched upon Inwagen’s argument for why God didn’t simply eliminate natural disasters after the Fall – this would necessitate God being a deceiver.
One might object to this premise by saying that God is not only omnipotent, but also omniscient. Thus, in creating this world and giving man free will, he would have foreseen that man would fall from Paradise, and created the world such that man would suffer less after the Fall, e.g. by avoiding the inclusion of natural disasters even if they were the most efficient. This objection relies on the premise that omniscience involves knowledge of all events past, present, and future. However, an argument could be made to claim that ‘God is omniscient’ and ‘God could not have foreseen the Fall’ are not logically inconsistent. When God granted man free will, he was taking a risk. This risk primarily involved relinquishing His power to ensure that man always chooses X over Y. It could be said that not knowing what decision man will make is essential to not being able to control whether or not man makes a certain decision. To put it another way, the nature of chance is that, although there are odds about what the outcome of a situation will be, nothing is certain. Because of this, God could not know what decisions man would make until they were made. Thus, God created the most efficient world he could, in which man initially lived free of harm. It was man who chose to ruin this, and is the sole source of evil. However, this line of reasoning could be refuted by a claim that omnipotence and omniscience need not go hand in hand. Simply because God cannot make or control our choice does not mean He cannot know what choice we are going to make.
Whether God did or did not foresee the Fall, it is a safe assumption to say that omniscience at least involves being aware of the chance of the Fall, and the chance that some natural phenomena may eventually cause man great suffering. So, this form of evil, though a result of the choice of man, is excessive and should have never been allowed. For this final point, I turn to Inwagen’s defense I briefly mentioned earlier in this paper. Perhaps, God saw the good role natural disasters played in the creation of a most efficient world, and also the potential they had to harm humans and decided not to make a different world. In his infinite wisdom he knew that to let man suffer in a world without God could serve some good purpose for man. It could serve to expedite man’s realization that "man on his own" is simply a wretched state, and help him turn to God. So, natural evils, though essential reduced to moral evils, are different in the sense that they can be linked more closely to God’s creation, but similar in the sense that God did not eliminate them after the Fall for man’s eternal good.
Of course, one may claim that moral evil is enough for the completion of God’s plan, and that He certainly could have afforded to eliminate natural evils from the mix. In his article, Inwagen proposes that there is not a minimum or maximum amount of evil required by God’s plan, and that the question of how much evil exists is a fruitless pursuit. At one point in his article, Inwagen explicates the task before the free-will theodicist:
"What theodicist must do, given the facts of history, is to say what contribution – what essential contribution – to God’s plan of Atonement is made by the facts about the types, magnitude, duration, and distribution of evil that are made know to us by historians and journalists (not to mention our own experience)." (199)
I will conclude by attempting to bolster Inwagen’s argument, and propose one avenue he might pursue in explaining what essential contribution a certain type of evil – natural evil – makes to God’s plan of Atonement. From the fact that Inwagen reduces natural evil to a moral evil and adequately explains moral evil’s role in the plan, one may not see the necessity of this suggestion. However, I would point out that, even if natural evil is only a subcategory of moral evil, it is different enough from other moral evils to confuse a great many philosophers, past and present, into thinking that it is actually an entirely different category. If only for this fact alone, it deserves some explanation. I have explained above precisely why Inwagen believes that moral evils serve some essential purpose. I point to the following passage to suggest the essential role natural evils play in this story: "People who do not believe in God do not, of course, see our living to ourselves as a result of a prehistoric separation from God. But they can be aware – and it is a part of God’s plan of Atonement that they should be aware – that something is pretty wrong and that this wrongness is a consequence of the intrinsic inability of human beings to devise a manner of life that is anything but hideous" (203). Nowhere does experience prove this inability of human beings to escape the hideousness of the world more than in the case of natural disasters. They have existed as long as the human race, and though it may be possible for a person to delude him or herself into believing he or she is living a good life in a seemingly good world, no one can deny the horrible dangers that natural disasters present.
Back to Index
"'Individual' : Is it Possible?" by Jaime Rohrer.
What is an individual? How can one become an individual? Is it even possible to become an individual in society? Can we successfully distinguish ourselves from the majority to make our own decisions? How does your family affect your personality and every day decision making: your ethics and morals? How does your childhood affect you today? How does it affect our subconscious-something we can not control and we do not have access to? Is it possible to go back in time and completely erase everything we have been taught through years of brainwashing and manipulation, not only from the system that we are brought up in but also the family and lifestyles that are now part of us?
The term "individual" as seen from the Webster's New Universal Unabridged Dictionary states as follows:
1. Originally, not divisible, not separate.
2. Existing as a single, separate thing or being; single, separate, particular.
3. Of, for or by a single person or thing.
4. Relating to or characteristic of a single person or thing.
5. Distinguished from others by special characteristics, of a particular or striking character, as an individual style.
People claim to be individuals every day. Everywhere we go " individuals" follow us. They are on television, in movies, newspapers, magazines, they even live with us, in our homes. Everyone has a deep desire to stand apart. " Pave your own way." A classic example of individualistic patterns set from a society that at the same time pushes you away from that idea.
In a very literal sense to be an individual you need to live every moment of your existence in your very own personal way. Not hindered by the outside and inside persuasions, you make your own choices. What does it mean to " make your own choices? " Does it mean that you choose everything based on instinct? Can we trust our instincts to lead us in a personal, unorthodox way? Does it mean that we spend our life in pursuit of this great task of erasing our past? Is that possible? Does it mean that we question everything we do in order to make our own choices? Would not that mean we are being affected directly from the exact thing we desperately need to escape? Would not it be incredibly easy to rebel against the "norm" to appear individual? If you rebel against the way of everything else then you are doing the exact same thing that everyone else is doing. Rebelling does not institute individualism. There is no environment that would serve the purpose of producing an individual. Once we use these words "environment " and "producing," we instantly defeat the purpose.
In The Soul's Code by James Hillman he states, " The category "unshared environment" is an invention of hard sciences to locate the cause of individual differences " (Hillman, 149). An environment that is unshared by it's surroundings is a fallacy. He goes on to state, " Even the pillow on which I lie breathing as I float into my own private midnight dream bears traces of duck-down, polyester, and cotton and the environments from which is was manufactured, as well as of the traffic of mites sharing the pillow with me " (149). There is no environment capable of testing the individual outside of society.
One of the major American Values based in our society is the freedom of
each person to be an individual. " The freedom of the individual is regarded as one of the most important values in American life; Americans believe devoutly that they are and should remain "free" ", states Robertson in Sociology the Third Edition (Robertson, 65). People in todays' society have the strong desire to be separate and special in relation to its fellow humans. Everyone wants individuality and that is why people rebel against the idea that it is impossible to be an individual.
In conclusion, it is not the fact that we are all individuals separate from each other or society. The fact remains that it is impossible to delve into your own subconscious and erase everything we have been taught and brainwashed. The important idea to remember is the relationship we have with our society and each other that truly is unique. That is where the individuality comes into play. Trying to separate ourselves and prove ourselves different is only going to frustrate even the most intelligent of characters. The world that we live in, no matter how incredibly large it may seem, is made for each and everyone of us. What we do with what society has set in us and what we do with all that we have been taught is the true answer in the ultimate question: Individuality- Is it possible?
Back to Index
"Theokotos, Or, THE GOD-BEARER" By Dom Lucius.
Artemis, Ishtar, Aphrodite, Isis, Anahit, Astarte, and Minerva were all names attributed to the Great Goddess at the temple-city of Ephesus. It was in this city in the year AD 431 that a council of the Christian church was held to determine and make law on the subject of the Mother of the Christ, Mary. During the five centuries since Christianity’s birth the matter as to whether Mary’s conception had literally been of God remained unsettled. Some believed that it was indeed a virgin birth while others held that Christ was a normally conceived child who had become "endowed by God upon baptism in the river Jordan" (Campbell 60).
In the year AD 431 in the Near East in the city of Ephesus, greatest of the Great Goddess’s temple-cities, Mary the mother of Jesus Christ was lawfully
acknowledged to have been literally impregnated by God. It was then that she was formally proclaimed Theokotos, or God-Bearer (Campbell 60).
The concept of the Virgin Birth is not isolated to this one explicit utterance made in Ephesus. It permeates every mythology and religion known to man. In Teutonic myth all of the Valkyries and Heroes were children of the gods in the mortal strain. In Greek and Roman mythology the figure of Zeus (or Jupiter) sired several children by mortals, with Perseus and Hercules being two of his more illustrious sons. In fact, virgin birth was so common that the British usurper Vortigern (of the Authurian mythos), in an attempt to make his troublesome collapsing tower remain standing, was advised by his astrologers to find a child " born without a mortal father" with whose blood he could bathe his tower’s cornerstone. So Vortigern sent messengers throughout the land to find one, as though such children were in abundance. They returned with Merlin, who was indeed the son of no mortal father (Bulfinch 389).
In the Bible, too, we can find other instances of virgin births (or facsimiles thereof). Isaac was the son of Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who was far past the age of child- bearing (Genesis 17:16- 19, 18:9- 15, 21:1- 2). The famous Samson was the son of Manoah’s unnamed wife who had never before given birth to a child (Judges 13). The most curious of these, though, is the reference to Emmanuel: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:23).
It is unclear whether the virginity or the preternatural conception is the primary indication of sanctity. It is clear that cults dedicated to virgin goddesses were numerous and prosperous long before the advent of Christianity. Even after Christianity had taken root the metaphor of the Virgin goddess survived, being woven into the Bible and even into the Koran, Islam’s holy text where Fatima, the daughter of the prophet Mohammed, is often endowed with maternal aspects and called the Virgin (Weitz 186). These virginal goddesses were also as a rule more "positively viewed than their sexual counterparts" (Weitz 177). Excluding Christianity, the relationship between maternity and virginity may be subtle in most western religions, but it is still very much present. The entanglement of virginity and maternity are deep and powerful. The sizable impact of this relationship molds the "symbolic lives of men and the actual lives of women" (Weitz 186). This influence can be seen manifested in the extensive menstrual taboo found in primitive cultures and that can still be noted in our own more modern culture.
The main focus of the taboo is often concerned with prohibition of sexual intercourse and the touching of men’s food during menses. Judaic law requires niddah (separation) for women during and for seven days after the period, and even then sexual intercourse remains prohibited until the woman is immersed in the mikvah, or ritual bath. There are the Mae Enga peoples of New Guinea who also still fear "sexual pollution" from contact with menstruating women (Douglas 174-5). The menstrual fear is also often more pronounced in men than in women (Weitz 161-2). I asked myself what power menstruation has that could cause such fear. It seems that ‘what power’ is exactly right. British anthropologist Mary Douglas states in her book Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo that "…the source of tabooed danger in society is symptomatic of a source of unarticulated power" (174).
There are many theories about the fear of menstruation but I hold that the most significant is the fear of the vaginal "wound." The amount of blood lost through her vagina by a woman in menses is enough that, to an uncultivated mind, it should be indicative of a mortal wound. If a man were to lose this amount of blood he would surely die, but in the woman the blood comes and goes regularly and leaves the woman mysteriously unharmed. The unknown reason for the menstrual blood, its harmlessness to the woman, and man’s inability duplicate or even adequately imitate it attributes to the vagina a mystical orientation.
Man is also in awe of woman’s power of childbirth (Weitz 181). This unconscious creative power not only reinforces the vagina’s mystical orientation instilled by the vaginal "wound" of menstruation, it confirms its status as a force to be reckoned with. As man can not duplicate or even adequately imitate menstruation or childbirth, he can not produce this force independent of woman. He has tried to identify with the woman through rites of male circumcision and sub-incision (the act of making a small slit between the base of the scrotum and anus) to no avail. These inabilities to effectively recreate, imitate, or even understand the vagina’s enigma furthers his envy of the woman and adds to the vagina’s extraordinary character. Our ancestors, much as I myself might have done, accounted for the anxiety caused by this "source of unarticulated power" (Douglas 174) with in their mythologems. The mythographer Joseph Campbell was well aware of this tendency to mythologize and states in his book The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and Religion:
For myths and dreams, in this view, are motivated from a single psychophysiological source- namely, the human imagination moved by the conflicting urgencies of the organs (including the brain) of the human body, of which the anatomy has remained pretty much the same since c. 40,000 BC. Accordingly, as imagery of a dream is metaphorical of the psychology of its dreamer, that of mythology is metaphorical of the psychological posture of the people to whom it pertains (p. 12).
At this point we should come to our first inquiry into the nature of the Virgin Birth. You and I understand that man’s myths represent what he is thinking and feeling. Reconsider the verse concerning Emmanuel: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:23.) Does this mean that God is with us, that Emmanuel is himself a god or that he is the God?
When I try to rationalize my appetite for a spiritual experience or the need in my life for religion of some kind, I usually distinguish two elementary ideas. First, that I need this sense of interconnectedness with every thing else in the universe, man, animal, vegetable, mineral, and conceptual to feel fulfilled. Second, that I am not alone in this need and that it is an instinct. When I say instinct the natural arrogance of advanced civilization fills the hearts of its citizens. Modern man feels that he can change himself without limit, that it is preposterous to think that humanity has come this far under the subjugation of instinct. He represses the knowledge and internal reality that despite civilization and all of its lessons he is not absolved of his instincts and is still subjected to the beast of nature when it beckons from within (Jung 18).
I can see the effects of this instinct of the universal need for connection with the heavenly all around me, in every culture and in every era. Man seems to do everything he can possibly imagine in an effort to recapture at-one-ment (atonement). He commits great acts of philanthropy, selflessness, commitment, and devotion. He breathes piety and violence on the same breath. There is acquisition and colonization in his symbolic quest for salvation. Land is won and lost, sanctified as the Holy Land, the Promised Land, and the Sacred Land. It is an attempt to re-achieve Earthly Paradise. We seize this territory because of its mythologization. Man hopes that by projecting his spiritual landscape onto earthly geography he can transcend his isolation (Campbell 61).
But how and why did we become isolated from God?
I am not sure we are or that anyone can explain definitively, but we still carry this question with us. This idea, too, is found in all of our myths and religions as the Fall from Grace or the separation of Heaven from Earth. Somehow, in some way man became separated from the Creator or God and Heaven, and became trapped in existence alone.
Man suffers this burden of separation and aloneness and carries the instinct, the original intuition to reinstate himself as a part of the original consciousness, the Creator from his inception in the womb. Man deals with this burden of instinct by manifesting in his environment the residue of the original intuition of this unity. He possesses and colonizes land in an attempt to repossess unity with the Creator. Logically, if he desires to again be at-one with the Creator, to possess him, he must also imitate (or attempt to imitate) him- as he imitates (or attempts imitation of) woman.
Woman is the logical extension of Heaven.
To man, woman is the anthropomorphication of God the Creator, of Heaven. She is a microcosm of the Creator and the Created, of the universe and the original consciousness that it came forth from. We mythologize land by projecting our spiritual landscape onto earthly geography so we can transcend our isolation (Campbell 61). Man manifests in woman the remnants of his original intuition in exactly the same way he does so in the Earth. And since the only true remnant of the Creator and creation that he can actually possess in the tangible world is woman’s power of childbirth, he proceeded to colonize her.
When I think about this statement I snigger because it is a phallocentric and bloated idea. It is even antiquated by modern standards of thoughts and the correct order and properness of the world according to these standards. Yet I still shudder at the incredible gaps in our knowledge of man’s truest and original motivations and desires. It is not hard to accept sex and aggression as modern drives. Nor is it difficult to accept that the quest for religion and spirituality is prevalent among all cultures in extant mankind. We still maintain that marriage is distinct from childbearing and kinship networks even though we are aware that marrying for romance and love are essentially ideas popularized by Americans and born out of our "right" to freedom. I suspect that if the luxuries of birth control and the possibility of independent economic prosperity were unavailable the institution of marriage would quickly become just that again- an institution (Weitz 119). The idea of colonizing women would not be so bitter a draught to take if it were still socially acceptable to admit to the belief in women as property. Consider the rape of the Sabine women in the days of the Roman Empire. The Roman men had run low on their supply of fertile women, so they kidnapped and colonized those of the Sabine. In all societies and cultures it’s the woman who is exchanged. Anthropologists speculate that woman exchange is the predominant cultural bond (Weitz 117). Even at our advanced stage of civilization there is "little doubt that male regulation of sexual access to women is vital to our contemporary marriage systems" (Weitz 118). The climate of today may allow for more "latitude" in regards to sex role standards, but the endurance of the sex roles in civilization are attested to by the fact that when an individual does act out of the assigned sex role it is they who are viewed as deviant and not the role (Weitz 4).
This can be misleading to us however, as we try to discover the truest and original motivations and desires that evolved into female colonization. Do not disguise instinct beneath the pretense of being strictly biological, especially concerning our sex lives. While the ability to perform sexually is made possible by hormones, our culture plays the lead role in the determination of our sexual behavior (Insel 2). I support this distinction of instinct by offering the evidence that modern man’s drive to colonize women is still intact and not solely based on the sexual urge, but also on the elementary idea that woman is the logical extension of Heaven. The following statistics were issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on Sex Differences in Violent Victimization, 1994 by Diane Craven, Ph.D. and Violence Against Women: Estimates from the Redesigned Survey August 1995 by Ronet Bachman, Ph.D. and Linda E. Saltzman, Ph.D. I encourage you to use caution in your interpretation of the statistics offered within these studies because in 41% of male homicides and 31% of female homicides the relationship between victim and offender was not identified.
As a rule, aggression in civilization is the domain of men. The phallus is known to be the "natural symbol for the aggressive quality of maleness" especially in regards to homosexual behavior (Weitz 180). The erect penis has been revealed by some primate research as well to be used as a " threat behavior in territorial marking" (Weitz 27). The violent crime trends reflect this. Men are more likely to be the victim of a violent crime (6.6 million violent victimizations of men in AD 1994 compared to 5 million of women) (Craven 1) and were more likely to be seriously injured (17% of males to 9% of females) (Craven 12).
The male trend to colonize women becomes apparent when we see that women are more likely to be attacked in a private home (45.8%) or private vehicle (47.8%) than any other place. In homicides where the victim- offender relationship was identified intimates, or former lovers killed 30% of the women accounted for (Craven 10). Men were only attacked in a private home 25.8% or a private vehicle 39% and were killed by an intimate 3.8% of the time (Craven 10, 14). This could represent the male proclivity of aggression, but the number of victimizations of women by intimates or friends far exceeds that of those committed by strangers. Overall women were attacked by people they knew 62% of the time, while men where attacked by people known to them only 22% of the time (Craven 1). " About three- quarters of all lone- offender violence against women was perpetrated by an offender whom the victim knew" (Bachman and Saltzman 4).
These statistics could all point to the speculation made by Susan Brownmiller in her book Against Our Will that "…female fear of an open season of rape… was probably the single causation factor in the original subjugation of woman by man, the most important key to her historic dependence, her domestication by protective mating" (16). Even in some mythology woman’s sexuality and its temptation for men alluded to a negative image of her, thereby serving to nullify her link to Heaven. The fear of rape and the destructiveness of women’s sexuality appear in Deuteronomy 32: 25: " The sword without and the terror within shall destroy both young man and virgin…." But there is one more fact.
In AD 1994 there were 5 million victimizations of women. Of these 4,017,600 were committed by lone offenders, 67% of whom the victim knew. Out of the 500,000 rapes and sexual assaults committed only 28% involved strangers acting alone. What does this indicate? Examination and analysis of these phenomena attests to the idea that there must be an underlying belief that power can only be achieved when acting singularly. These are not acts of raw biology based in hormones and sex drive. I learned early on that rape is about power, but couldn’t this power be achieved more easily with multiple offenders? The power seems to lie in the solitary act of vaginal possession. Man must colonize.
We mythologize land by projecting our spiritual landscape onto earthly geography so we can transcend our isolation (Campbell 61). This must not be wholly correct. He does utilize earthly geography as a canvas to superimpose his spiritual landscape on, but it does not seem to be a sensible sequence of events that would begin with him mythologizing the Earth and then mythologizing women. If woman is the logical extension of Heaven and she is the original vessel that held him, then she is the true sacred vessel and due to his aggressive nature, his quest for at-one-ment must begin with her and then spill over onto his tangible landscape as his power grows. His power must be feeding on something attainable and accessible that he can actually grasp in his literal world.
Women have been systematically possessed through marriage and kinship laws, identified exclusively by their sexuality and denied self-actualization by putting them in either-or roles, either virgin or whore. The Virgin goddesses were considered helpful while sexually- realized goddesses were seen as destructive and evil (Pomeroy 8).
In AD 431 Mary, the mother of the Historical Jesus was declared the literal Theokotos, the God-Bearer. Her womb and her vagina carried God the Creator. Her vagina was not alone. Many other women carried sacred burdens. Many were God-Bearers; in fact, all were Theokotos. All wombs and vaginas were declared capable of creating God. To man, woman is the anthropomorphication of God the Creator, of Heaven. She is a microcosm of the Creator and the Created, of the universe and the original consciousness that it came forth from. And somehow, in some way man became separated from the Creator or God and Heaven, and became trapped in existence alone. Man suffers this burden of separation and aloneness and carries the instinct, the original intuition to reinstate himself as a part of the original consciousness, the Creator from his inception in the womb, his first at-one-ment: At-One with Heaven.
"Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us." (Matthew 1:23.) The virgin who produced this god in her womb and birthed him through her vagina became a God-Maker. Man’s original intuition is to repossess his relationship with the unity of Heaven; he desires to again be at-one with the Creator. If he can possess this woman, this virgin who was the God-Bearer and is now the God-maker, he can again be at-one with Heaven. He can possess the Creator. As her vagina that beared God bears him, he becomes God. Her vagina makes him the Godhead. The vagina, the Theokotos, was colonized by man and can not be shared, for his godhood is fragile and complete possession is the only path to salvation.
"Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Exodus 20:3).
"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God" (Exodus 34:14).
Woman has now become a unit of measurement. Her purity and his access to her vagina feed and rate his status as Godhead; she, like the Earth and the Universe, is only a vehicle for his achievement. Economy and its flower, Civilization, are born of the establishment and control of units of measurement and their ensuing trade.
Jung, C.G. Mysterium Coniunctionis. Trans. R.F.C. Hull 2nd ed.
New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1970
Campbell, Joseph. The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. New York:
Weitz, Shirley. Sex Roles. New York: Oxford UP, 1977
Brownmiller, Susan. Against Our Will. New York: Simon and
Pomeroy, Sarah. Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves: Women in
Antiquity. New York: Schocken, 1975
Insel, Paul. "Do Hormones Affect Our Sexual Behavior?" Health-
Line Magazine Mar. 1996. 11 June 1999 <http://www.healthline. com/articles/hl960305.htm>
Bulfinch, Thomas. Bulfinch’s Mythology. 1997 ed. New York: Crown
The Bible. 8 June 1999 <http://www.Ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/ascii/sdvv.txt>
Craven, Diane. U.S. Dept. of Justice. Sex Differences in Violent Victimization,
1994. NCJ- 164508. 8 June 1999 <http://www.Ojp.Usdoj.Gov/bjs/pub/ascii/sdvv.txt>
Bachman, Ronet., and Linda E. Saltzman. Violence Against Women: Estimates
From the Redesigned Survey August 1995. NCJ- 154348 8 June 1999
Back to Index
"Ted and David; An Ethical Case Study" by Dom Lucius.
The intent of this study is to determine exactly how much responsibility Ted Kaczynski must accept for his actions as the UNABOMBER. The essential problem of the situation is that Kaczynski claims complete responsibility, but he has been ruled mentally ill by the State. He adamantly denies his illness, stating that social maladjustment, although technically a sickness, is distinct from an organic based illness, and therefore within his realm of free will. We will also address the role his brother and sister-in-law played in the tragedy, their motives, and the impact their pleas have brought to bear on the dilemma.
We will examine this ethology from an existentialist perspective, as this is the most applicable to Ted Kaczynski himself.
During an 18-year period as the UNABOMBER, Ted Kaczynski wounded 23 people and killed 3 with pipe bombs. He is a vehement anarchist and Luddite who feels that oversocialization and technology are destroying Man and strangling out any kind of Freedom he may have ever possessed. According to section 114 of his manifesto, "The system HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function…. Bureaucracies HAVE TO be run according to rigid rules…. It is true that some restrictions on our freedom could be eliminated, but GENERALLY SPEAKING the regulation of our lives by large organizations is necessary for the functioning of industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of powerlessness on the part of the average person. It may be, however, that formal regulations will tend increasingly to be replaced by psychological tools that make us want to do what the system requires of us."
Evidenced in this passage is the nature of the UNABOMBER’s jihad- an omission of the label of morality when discussing ‘psychological tools’. This is fascinating because we already know that Kaczynski himself operated outside of any set ethical system. This is why I choose to analyze this problem from an existential angle, so that the circumstance of choice and responsibility can be fully exploited..
Ted kaczynski has placed the ethical betrayal firmly in the camp of his brother, David, who turned him in to the FBI. He says that it was not so much a moral or lawful decision for David, but one of complex sibling rivalry.
We will put aside all issues of sibling rivalry (which are complex problems including jealousy over David’s marriage, uneven distribution of parental attention, and David’s initial idolization of his older brother Ted which was left by the wayside with his own new found domestic happiness). The central issue is not of David’s decision to implicate his brother, but his plea to spare Ted the death penalty because of insanity. This life of confinement is the antithesis of Ted’s ideals: "He knows very well that to me prison is an unspeakable humiliation…. I would unhesitatingly choose death over incarceration." This is an ‘unspeakable humiliation’ because confinement is an utterly unnatural existence, which was exactly what Ted killed to combat.
This is an ambiguous dilemma. Ted is, in his eyes, fully responsible and capable, and therefore entitled to the death penalty. To be called insane, and therefore not having acted of his own will, invalidates his battle and his life.
David, however, loves his brother dearly and sees within him a mind that suffers from the torment of dissociation, isolation, paranoia, and schizophrenia. He can not be sane and should not be killed. If he is allowed to live, albeit in confinement, could he find redemption? And more importantly, if Ted were to be redeemed and found to be acting out of an uncontrollable cause, could David find salvation from his own inner conflict?
David was torn by fidelity between his brother and his wife. Ted had long felt his brother was servile to his wife Linda (which is actually a common opinion). She on the other hand felt Ted (whom she had never met) was crazy and dangerous. She was also fearful of his control over her husband.
David also knew that he lived within the shadow of his brother who visibly manipulated him with ridicule and derisive tactics.
The obligation that David (and Linda) put forward as the primary concern is that of non-injury. Both husband and wife are Buddhist. Many will defend their family, even if a member is murderous, so it is uncertain if their religious beliefs truly influenced the decision or if this position was taken as the most ‘noble’ and ‘extra-ordinary’ one available.
Profitability is outwardly said to not play a part.
They have set up a fund consisting of all rewards to be given to the victim’s families. I am not so sure that the obvious profit of finance is the foundational profit though. Linda had a lot to gain- she openly admits to being jealous of the attention her husband has received. She says she had just as much of a say, if not more, in the decision to implicate Ted Kaczynski. David also has profited. He was a man who always lived in the shadow of someone else (his brother and then his wife). Now he is thought of as an ethical superhero.
The ideals are more confusing. The right to life is the central idea of this case. The UNABOMBER’s entire crusade was about man’s inherent right to live a free life, a life free from technological tyranny. He felt that all men had a right to live as he chose to. David also believed this. But he felt that Ted did not have a right to wage a war to achieve this ‘abstract’ freedom. He also felt that those who were not in control of their actions have a right to transcend their flawed perspective. That is why he begged for his brother’s life to be spared. But in doing this he is taking freedom away from that individual (in the same way that Ted took the right to freedom away from those he attacked.)
So where does justice come into play? Obviously, Ted felt he was acting justly in his war to regain the freedom he felt was being taken away from him. He does not however feel it is just for him to be punished with his greatest fear and indignity- lifetime confinement. He begs to be killed, although I am not so sure it is because he thinks eye for an eye. In fact, he admits that if he were released he would continue his bloody campaign (in a roundabout admission). David felt it was just for Ted to be stopped, but not have his life taken. Who is right?
The effect of this is a man who killed for freedom in eternally human captivity and a brother in captivity to his own dreams of salvation for his errant sibling (and himself?).
The ultimate value in this case is that of Justice. Ted kaczynski, in his fight for freedom, took that very ‘right’ of reedom and justice away from his enemies. Now, in an ironic twist, not only has his actual freedom been taken away, his free will has been taken away in the label of insanity that was intended to give him the mercy of justice. He has essentially been told that he was never free to make his own choices because he is paranoid schizophrenic and so it would be unjust to subject him to the death, a penalty for criminals of free choice.
David has facilitated his brother’s loss. And he will forever carry the burden of this. Ted knows he is mentally free, but no one else does. His brother is forced, finally, to accept his own freedom in the form of responsibility to relieve Ted of his freedom.
Existentially, David has made the dominant decision in the end, and the truly free decision. Ted, as do most ‘martyrs’ (which is how he views himself) has chosen to sacrifice his freedom by not ending his own life. Right to die? He has it every day when he looks around him. If he leaves his right to die in someone else’s hands, he accepts no responsibility and therefore does not truly exist as a free individual, and therefore does not have a right to die.
The strengths of this model are that there is an intrinsic master and slave: this is also the weakness, because Ted denied the existence of the master in that all men were there own masters.
Unlike Ted, who claims to accept responsibility but actually denied it by denying the inequality of existence, his brother did accept the responsibility by choosing to exist in dominance.
Back to Index
"Man the Virtuous?" by Brian Park.
Inwardly examining his own nature, man would prefer to see himself as a virtuously courageous being designed in the image of a divine supernatural force. Not to say that the true nature of man is a complete beast, he does posses, like many other creatures admirable traits. As author Matt Ridley examines the nature of man in his work The Origins of Virtue, both the selfish and altruistic sides of man are explored. Upon making an honest and accurate assessment of his character, it seems evident that man is not such a creature divinely set apart from the trappings of selfishness and immorality. Rather than put man at either extreme it seems more accurate to describe man as a creature whose tendency is to look out for himself first, as a means of survival.
It is true that on many levels humans act in a cooperative way to benefit all-- but does that warrant a claim that man is genetically altruistic? Perhaps the reasoning behind his actions would lead to another view. As Ridley examines man's dependency upon others in his species, it becomes apparent that man is not necessarily a savage beast out to do everyone in, but rather a lone creature trying to ensure his survival. In comparing man as the lone hunter to the cooperative being he is today it is evident that his species has thrived and survived with much greater ease in a cooperative society as opposed to a lone hunter. Though it can be easily argued that this cooperation between man, is at some level a sort of mutual altruism, it may better be understood as a selfish means of survival. The saying goes that "there is safety in numbers, " this could not be more true for man's plight. Because alone man stands little chance of perpetuating his genes, he flocks to the community where he has the better chance of survival, as do his genes.
So to better understand the reasoning behind man's need to be in the community it is imperative to look at nature. In the wild and brutal game of life the only measure of true success is whether genes are passed on. Like any other animal this measure of success measures man's success too. For all creatures, to survive is the chance at continuing a gene line, and it is this necessity to continue the line that is innately imbedded in man and all other creatures. For example if the plight of the squirrel is considered it becomes true that it is the need to keep the genes alive that measures heavily on the creature. Seemingly an example of a communal altruistic act, the squirrel makes a peculiar noise to divert the attention of predators away from the group and to the individual. However, upon close examination to the reasoning behind the scream it becomes clearer that it is more a selfish need to preserve genes and not the group that impels the squirrel to make its call. Because the call will only be made if a certain number of the squirrel's close relatives are around, it is presumable that it is the motivation of preserving one's line that takes weight over the community. But does this apply to man as well? Though with few exceptions, man naturally places the preservation of his own genes ahead of those of others. For example of this phenomena one only needs to look at the everyday circumstances that require man's intervention but do not receive it. As in the case with a stranded motorist, how often is it that a the average person tries to lend aid? Or the starving kids of African countries, how difficult would it be to not buy the pack of gum, but feed the empty collection jar that dollar? It is far more beneficial for the human animal to look out for its own than to risk endangering itself for others.
The human animal, naturally motivated by self-interest, is compelled by the need to ensure the survival of him and his own. Though it is apparent that man is a selfish being like all others in nature, why does he have the propensity to create the false image that he is somehow more noble than all other creatures? In response to such a question Ridley states, So the first thing we should do to create a great society is to conceal the truth about humankind's propensity for self-interest, the better to delude our fellows into thinking that they are noble savages inside. It is a distasteful idea for those of us who think the truth is more interesting than the lies, however white. But the distaste need not worry us for long, because the white lying is already happening. . . .People wish to believe in noble savages. (Ridley, 261)
Agreeing with Ridley on this point, as conscience beings, man needs the moral justification of his actions through lies. Man needs to conceal his innate need for self-interest, because the true selfish nature of himself would mean he is like every animal in the wild.
Though it does not stem from a need to hurt others, man does have the need to ensure his survival at all costs. This self-interested means of survival is selfish but it does work; seen in the communities he forms and the relations formed within the society. Man naturally works within the guidelines of a society because it offers a better chance at perpetuating his genetic line, not out of a innate compulsion to do goodwill for his fellow man. And in the nasty and brutal game of life, the need to pass on genes is the only measure of success.
Bibliography:Ridley, Matt. The Origins of Virtue. New York: Penguin Books, 1996.
Back to Index
Aaron Paul Bell