Thursday, June 14, 2007

On Equality of the Sexes, part whatever

The statement that "men and women are equal" is well and good as a principle of law, as an enlightenment value and societal goal, and so on. However I think that few forget how rooted this principle is in theism - the notion that all have equal dignity and are absolutely valuable becomes incomprehensible when our common divine origin is obscured.

But suppose we do just that, being good modern philosophers and not taking for granted theistic principle. Then, what can we say about the equality of the sexes, or the equality of anybody for that matter? In fact this is not a worthless question, for it re-asks the question from a strictly naturalistic standpoint, and could serve to say something (in a round-about way) about God.

Sub specie aeternis, I do not say that "Men and women are equal"; as an abstract principle it is empty and meaningless. Rather, I say that men and women live in an infinitely recursive alternation of natural superiority and irreducible complementariness. Naturalistically speaking no male and no female is ever in a relationship in which "equality" has any currency; rather, owing in part to the roles their sexes take in different stages of life, and in part to other reasons, there is always, always a differential, and one is always giving deference to the other. There is always a primary, a secondary, and owing precisely to this differential, a special and unique fruit of the interaction. Equality, in an abstract and numerical sense, kills fruitfulness; but infinitely alternating inequalities are the rich soil of civilization.

"Woman is not independent of man or man of woman in the Lord. For just as woman came from man, so man is born of woman; but all things are from God." 1 Corinthians 11:11-12


Suzanna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Suzanna said...

Sorry about the above. I wrote a comment and realized it needed to be edited but blogger doesn't allow for that.

I'll just condense it for the sake of repetition:

People don't understand obedience. Many people don't understand what is so natural and right about a hierarchy that "goes both ways."

Matt of CG said...

Thanks, Jeff.

While being a roommate of Marci's a few years ago, I was irked by the intent of the Lifetime Channel because I couldn't think of a reason for it beyond,"This is a man's world; even unto the end of television programming. Now they've got something from their perspective, I guess."

This channel happened to be Marci's favorite. What bothered me about it was that it's purpose seemed to antagonize the current notion of the male persona, which is fine considering the willing debasement of the man in popular culture. I get pissed off all the time thinking,"What's this nonsense? Look at the way my brothers are behaving. He just called a woman a bitch in his stand-up comedy routine and nobody boo-ed his sorry ass! I'm a minority too, I would have been all over it! What have we become as men? This doesn't represent my feelings towards the value of the woman at all! How sad it is that neither man nor woman sought to object."

We so ardently strive for equality without compoimise that we become our own stagnant antagonists. To achieve the fruitfull vacillation of which you speak, we must first approach one another with humility. This is the single viture that could save the world. (Especially in domestic politics. All the "what's in it for me" infighting and bickering is a grave waste of time and energy. Energy that could be spent saving the world. This would of course require my fellow man to believe in the virtue of hope. No faith, no hope, no progress.)

I was too busy thinking of Marci's self-destructive behavior and her killer body to put into words the conclusion to which you have come.

I would have loved to share your "Brief point." with her.

Matt of CG said...

You're absolutely right, Suzanna.