Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Living "As If", Socrates, Plato, Sinatra, Shirley


The article is on transgender and the basic conclusion is that there are tremendous conflicts about what the whole political transgender movement is, or even wants to be. That isn't what this post is about, the following paragraph struck me:

Maybe, however, this transgender person means that he wishes to live as if he were a woman, rather than to be a woman. Nonetheless, living as if one is a woman is not the same as being a woman, which is what gender identity is taken to mean. Living “as if” one is a woman appears to conflict with the idea that one’s gender is determined by one’s deepest self-perception. Surely the very concept of identity is what one is, not what one pretends or wishes to be.
The core of religions, cultures,  gangs, cults, groups, marriages, etc is simply "living as if" much of the time at least. If we take that paragraph as gospel, we are doomed to forever be completely disconnected "identities", fated to be alone.

Animals are driven by instinct to perform instinctual behaviors. Man is blessed and cursed with consciousness, reason and will, which allows us to CHOOSE what emotions, impulses, stimulus, etc we will seek and how we will react to what happens in our lives. For animals, doing and being are always one.

The base of this question is one of the oldest of religion and philosophy, What is man?  What does it mean to be human? The old joke that Socrates said "To be is to do", Plato said, "To do is to be", but Sinatra is the greatest philosopher, "To, be, do be, do!"

Grace or commitment? Are you saved by Grace, or are you saved by "giving your life to God"?

I'm not attempting to answer these questions today -- nor at the moment am I even searching my blog and linking to some of my and others opinions on them. What I AM doing is pointing out that simply stating that "Surely the very concept of identity is what one is, not what one pretends or wishes to be" is no reason to call someone Shirley! (and YES, I understand that "fixed gender" is the conservative position and variable gender is the liberal position ... this is about thought, not gender other than a jumping off point).

"We are what we are" vs "You can be whatever you want to be"! To a large extent, that is the greatest personal question and drives pretty much all political thought. Any person of thought knows that there are elements of both in all our lives.  As a Christian, we are what God created us to be  (male or female being part of that), and if we submit to his will, we will perfectly fit with and DO what is his will is for our lives, and therefore be temporally and eternally divinely fulfilled.

To be "liberal" means that there is no created order and personal choices about "being and doing" are completely open to individual and state interpretations defined by power. Might is right, because there is no higher authority. There is no fixed reality, and "we" are only temporary physical creatures, nothing else.

To be "conservative" means that the universe is ordered and intelligible. Man and everything else is here for a transcendent reason. The problem of life and culture is accepting (through revelation), or searching for that reason and then conforming our "lower selves" (the animal part) to that purpose. Each person is eternally "more than this world", and we live by transcendent values above the physical and animal world.

"Being fruitful and multiplying" is a core purpose in religion, as well as in a naturalistic / deistic evolutionary view. I find it is no accident that abortion, gay issues and transgender are at the forefront of the "culture wars". Although our current overlords try to prevent even the most cursory of thought beyond the mere nominalist, the "there, there", the spiritual, keeps showing through.

Without the perspective of the eternal, even laughter becomes difficult. Without light there is no dark, and without the serious and ultimate, there is no true humor.

The very least the liberals could do is to stop calling us Shirley!

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