With a Whimper

Someone told me that gay marriage has been accepted in New York.

When I heard it I said it was just a matter of time anyway – soon the whole Western world will be ruled by hedonism. One might say that it’s not hedonism, that no-one can’t help it whether he loves boys or girls. But then again the fact that you are urged or inclined towards some preference doesn’t automatically mean you should give in to it. Who is to say that there is not some Nobility in struggling against the preferences we find in ourselves, should we judge them to be wrong?

Which begs the question: “Wrong, according to what standard?” And who is it that sets the standards today?

The idea commonly established in the Western world is that convenience and pleasure should prevail above everything, and that no behaviour matters as long as it does not diminish the convenience or pleasures of others. This is the instinct that wins out in most people naturally, and also the Utilitarian philosophy that would inevitably prevail as soon as the Axis powers were defeated in World War II.

Utilitarianism in turn built itself up on the terms laid down by Hobbes: a form-expression of subjectivism. Don’t judge – its best not to judge, we shouldn’t judge other people’s ideas, we should only react once they become violent. The attitude that we tolerate all value-judgements, all ethical systems, that all we ever condemn is violence. Or, otherwise conduct that we don’t like, but we don’t criticize or judge anyone’s ethical system as good or evil, better or worse.

The idea that convenience and pleasure should prevail above everything, and that no behaviour matters as long as it does not diminish the convenience or pleasures of others, can also be referred to as pluralism. It rests on the core notion that no code of conduct or idea for a human aspiration is intrinsically more worthwhile than another. Therefore, so it would follow, we might all be best off pursuing the impulses we are endowed with by nature, to seek happiness in the pursuits of temporary pleasures.

In turn, one might argue that the natural urge to pursue temporary pleasures was instigated by nature to sustain life in its most primitive level: If we wouldn’t have received pleasure stimulation from tasty foods and cute girlies, we wouldn’t have been here today to begin with. Yet, as we moved past that level we developed intelligence to give us further answers to further life. And with it came ideas such as Honour, Reverence, Destiny, Perseverance, Prestige, Transcendence, Heroism, Duty, Serenity and Ascendancy. Yet today these ideas would be declared as subjective value-constructions with little tangible benefit.

These ideas would therefore be reserved for the private domain where people will be free to indulge at them without larger consequence. Whereas totalitarian systems of Europe in the 20th century took these concepts and made them the centre of the political stage, the education system, and through the gleichschaltung of every part of society at large. However these regimes perished in flames, and with them their visions of life.

Today, someone finally asked me whether the situation could be turned around or if we would perish with those principles.

As far as I can tell that would be hard, because you would have to convince people that there should be legislation against sodomy, adultery, bestiality and otherwise dishonourable conduct. But then people would say that this is a grey field of opinion, and that it really isn’t clear how society takes damage from these activities. People would argue that you were merely trying to use the legislative powers to make your subjective preferences for human aspirations into rule of law.

To express yourself you would have to speak in a vocabulary which has not pleasure-pursuit but living up to worthiness as the centre thought, and that is an aristocratic vocabulary your audience would feel estranged by.

What it comes down to is that people who take as their stance in life that the human being has a Higher Purpose to live up than merely to follow whatever impulses and desires well up in him, are a select few members of a dying breed. And through egalitarianism and democracy their voices will be drowned by the chattering of the masses and the TV’s. And that’s how History will end – not with a bang, but with a whimper.

22 Comments

  1. John D says:

    I fail to see the connection between permitting gay marriage, and the devolution of our culture into mindless hedonism. Homosexuality will persist with or without our recognition of it being acceptable. While it is of course true that many homosexuals end up marrying straight partners, they won’t experience the same meaningful connection with their spouses that they otherwise might.

    “Honour, Reverence, Destiny, Perseverance, Prestige, Transcendence, Heroism, Duty, Serenity and Ascendancy”
    I think that few would actually argue that any of the above words describe anything undesirable, and I’d also say that they aren’t immeasurably different from our more primitive desires. One could compare the seeking of instant gratification with more disciplined and honorable goal, but they are both influenced by biology and experience. This post seems to be arguing that in order for our society to destroy itself, people must be cognizant of the fact that it there are no eternal rules for humans to follow, despite the fact that personal freedom is something that has been upheld by this country since its conception.

    Why must sexual orientation be a center for one’s struggle for a higher purpose? Why should we as a society prevent homosexuals from entering into lifelong bonds with each other, where they might otherwise engage in promiscuity or feel irreparably marginalized?

    1. Mihai says:

      “I fail to see the connection between permitting gay marriage, and the devolution of our culture into mindless hedonism.[...] ”

      While homosexuality always existed and will exist in one quantity or the other, it must be recognized for what it is- a psychic imbalance, a form of mental abnormality in channelizing one’s sexual energy. The masculine and the feminine are two complementary principles – the positive and the negative- thus one’s purpose can be fulfilled by combining with the other, thus achieving unity. Trying to combine a substance with another of the same is an impossibility, hence it should be considered an imbalance, an aberration.

      What I am talking about here is not limited to strictly the material function- that is fecundation- but also to the higher purpose contained in sexuality, recognized by the majority of spiritual and metaphysical systems throughout the world. One cannot fully understand the relationship between the sexes, unless one studies a little bit these spiritual traditions. Of course, western man regards “spirit” as nothing more than superstition and delusion because he has lost every higher reference point, anything higher than the purely material functions, which he considers mechanical anyway.

      Let it be understood that I am not of the opinion that homosexuals should be stoned to death or other such extreme measures, however, homosexuality should definitely NOT be considered as perfectly normal, acceptable, “diverse”. It should be recognized for what it is- an imbalance, a deviation, and homosexuals be forced to keep their sexual affairs entirely for themselves, without demanding aberrant rights and privileges.

      “and I’d also say that they aren’t immeasurably different from our more primitive desires. One could compare the seeking of instant gratification with more disciplined and honorable goal, but they are both influenced by biology and experience. [...]”

      This paragraph clearly assumes a form of reductionism, starting from the conclusion that everything a human being does is conditioned by inferior impulses and that these inferior impulses are the ones that, in any case, are the goal, the end result for which our activities strive.
      A truly capable and superior type of person will only regard the goal of survival as a means to an end, not an end in itself, because surviving without a greater purpose, perhaps even with price of crawling on one’s belly the whole of one’s life, is not only useless, but degrading and horryfic.

      I know that even a part of right-wingers will disagree with me, but a society governed by secularism, devoid of transcedental values and of a spiritual center cannot, in any way, reach beyond individuality. Without a higher point of reference, a spiritual point, it is impossible to say what is above and what is bellow, what should be higher and what should be lower.

    1. The Cheese Lord says:

      A fair cause its enough to keep the fight.

  2. Ouroborus says:

    Truly, I do not care if someone is gay. I know a few older (late 50s early 60s) gay couples and they are dignified, non-flamboyant and good people. It seems that recent culture trends have turned gays into more of an hedonistic phenomena, rather than homosexuality being a sort of “default” hedonism.

    That being said, I still do not support gay marriage. I think only man and woman should be able to marry, and that we should full champion the nuclear family as the “good” and the “norm”.

  3. Nicholas Marville says:

    John D, I don’t think you’ve quite understood the article…

    –> It’s not the point that people think Honour and Duty and all that are undesirable. They wouldn’t say that it’s undesirable. They would simply say that it can be preferable to some in a private/subjective situation. Basically like you say, that it’s not per definition better than primitive desires.

    –> It has nothing to do with society destroying itself. Society will not be destroyed by it, it will simply stop being Epic or Heroic. People will massively settle for instant gratification. Basically like Brett Stevens argued, a society that turns into a shopping mall without higher aspirations.

    –> Homosexuality is largely a construction. Even if there was homosexual action in times before the later half of the 20th century, there was no such thing as a homosexual identity. The fact that today a homosexual identity is celebrated in many countries as a thing to be proud of, shows the rise of the hedonistic trail of thought; feel a desire, go for it. Who’s to stop you? If it’s true that homosexuality can’t be helped since it is genetic (which probably goes for only a part of the cases) then there also is not a point in celebrating it as a culture, for example in parades.

    –> I also think that Mihai made an articulate point concering the (in)compatability of substances and mental instability. His reductionism argument demands respect. I have to agree that [1] we degrade ourselves if we equate instant gratification with higher purposes. In that case we reason like Utilitarianism (both provide an amount of pleasure so they can be exacted against one another). [2] Having homosexual tendencies is one thing, but it remains the question whether these should be restricted to the private domain or whether it should be publicly displayed as something utterly usual.

    1. John D says:

      I positively agree regarding your/Brett Stevens’ view that the world is becoming: “a society that turns into a shopping mall without higher aspirations.” My use of “destroying itself” was meant as a synonym for a loss of heroism and so forth.

      The difference is that I don’t see homosexuality as a part of that. One wouldn’t say that a husband and wife maintaining a sexual relationship were acting according to a hedonistic trail of thought (unless so influenced by his religious faith), and two members of the same gender/sex shouldn’t be compared with the hedonism we generally use to describe promiscuity, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.

      Life persists based on its ability to survive, grow, and reproduce. Both our animal-like tendencies and our desire for higher purposes are necessary in a functioning/powerful society. I think we should control them in a manner that is ultimately most beneficial, rather than eliminating any that might make others uncomfortable. The emergence of a homosexual identity is important in keeping homosexuality out of the bizarre/hedonistic category.

      But let’s say that homosexuality really is an example of selfish desire. Would you then say that its only reason for being undesirable by the rest of us, is that it is a gateway for other selfish acts? I would agree that our modern age’s hedonism has been necessary for homosexuality to become accepted, but the homosexual identity is a result rather than a cause, and in my opinion not a dangerous or repugnant one.

      I also think it’s important to refrain from catagorizing all higher purposes as one set of goals, and innate/basic desires as other impulses. Internal motivators are necessary for creating and interpreting art (and I think “art” describes a vast number of elements in our daily lives, even if they are only attempts). Would you then say that it is important to suppress creating art simply because it often motivated by abnormality or irrationality?

  4. Cynthia says:

    “I fail to see the connection between permitting gay marriage, and the devolution of our culture into mindless hedonism.”

    Then you have analyzed incorrectly. Homosexuality is a perversion like many other ills. The ideal is two biological parents (a mother and a father together) and anything else falls short of this ideal (meaning liberal heterosexuals whom endorse deviancy, homosexuals and transgenders). Homosexuals can never be united in the sense of a truly natural, moral God-ordained union despite liberal Christianity’s and libertarians irrational and unsustained claims that they can do so.

  5. Cynthia says:

    “I know that even a part of right-wingers will disagree with me, but a society governed by secularism, devoid of transcedental values and of a spiritual center cannot, in any way, reach beyond individuality. Without a higher point of reference, a spiritual point, it is impossible to say what is above and what is bellow, what should be higher and what should be lower.”

    Agreed.

  6. Ouroborus says:

    Isnt there good evidence that homosexuality actually is biological? Or at least that is what everything points to? It is at least found all throughout the animal kingdom.

    1. Isn’t there good evidence that homosexuality actually is biological?

      Some will say that we have many biological urges, but we’re defined by our ability to discipline them and apply them more sensibly.

      Others might say that there’s a difference between your bachelor uncle who’s been good fishing buddies with his friend Dave for 20+ years, and the guys staggering out of The Rainbow Lounge in the sailor costumes.

  7. Avery says:

    I’ve known the T.S. Eliot lines “This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper” for some decades now but only recently a Japanese girl asked me what a “whimper” was. I looked it up, I had thought it was some sort of mumble or fizzing out, but it actually means “a feeble whine” of course. And that’s really what this article about: the gay marriage fight is a feeble whine as our society runs head first towards economic collapse.

  8. Person says:

    Our collective western politeness may run weary in time.

    Despite what “the polls” say there is an unsettling silence by the majority of people who have critical views on gay marriage. If one is to avoid social ostracism then the only option is to remain silent while the pity parade pushes their agenda “loud n’ proud”. The silent resistance is to down play the issue by avoidance.

    After all, we’ve been cornered into the passive-aggressive stalemate. Have a strong public opinion and you will be giving credit to the gay marriage movement by merely showing up to the debate. Be critical of homosexual culture and you will be painted as a white, nazi, intolerant christian nut-job who HATES all gay people.

    Most people don’t seem to mind individual homosexuals but however are bothered by homosexual culture. This is what I believe is the the normal view. We all know some gay people who we want no harm done to them but we would also prefer that they should not form the basis of their identity by their sexuality.

    Gay marriage creates a “problem” out of nothing. Homosexuals should be left alone to carry on their lives as if its no big deal and join society. The active promotion and push for state recognition of homosexual culture only divides people, not unites them. “Equal Love” runs to counter to any legitimate aims the LGBTIQ (plus whatever victims they want to add to the acronym) movement may have.

    As polite individuals we are more than likely in time to grant these special requests to people who seeming want more and more with no end in sight. However there will come a point where we will say ENOUGH!

  9. nicholas marville says:

    Thank you all for this civilized and thoughtful discussion, I especially thought that T. S. Eliot (Avery) had very accurately expressed the gist of the article with ‘the feeble whine’. It does capture the idea that political agendas today are primarily controlled by economic issues -who pays how much tax over how much wage- and the question of the most worthwhile mode of life has been pushed into the fringes, into the private sphere, into sheer irrelevancy.

    “Both our animal-like tendencies and our desire for higher purposes are necessary in a functioning/powerful society. I think we should control them in a manner that is ultimately most beneficial, rather than eliminating any that might make others uncomfortable.” – John D.

    Let’s take homosexuality between men for example, I wouldn’t say that it should be pushed back into the private life because it makes people uncomfortable. That’s just the same thing as saying that stability should prevail over everything else, regardless of the underlying drives, values and causes. The universe knows objective forms of beauty and properness that art, which you refered to, does its best to express. You have a thing and you put it in a place within the universe, and depending on the thing and the place, you might say: ‘yes, here it is at place. Here it is most eminently itself, with its potential most optimally realized.’ That means that by putting the thing in that place, you are being true to the objective idea behind it.

    The homosexuality between men is a breach with that objective form of beauty and belonging. What the corrupt economic order is trying to do, is to make you think that there’s no such things as an objective idea behind things and that it’s all just a matter of private opinions and subjective tastes. If you look at man and woman, however, it becomes clear that the universe intended them to be together. There is an objective ideal behind man to aspire to, towards what he could be, which is the process of self-elevation. Endorsing sex between men is a step away from this self-elevated state and not towards it. Even though the media, Postmodernism and many others try to convince us that every form of self-expression is equal (as long as it doesn’t do damage to others) and therefore really don’t matter.

    1. John D says:

      I find this explanation to be the most helpful, due to its emphasis on, and awareness of, the objective universe. While it seems clear to me that societies should always identify characteristics with which they associate success, this does not in turn mean that the universe has our societal standards in mind or that it cares about our lifestyles. How can we say that it is clear that the universe (or nature, or God) intended anything? We tend to assume too much of our own ability to interpret our environment, as if the environment were adjusted in order to correspond with our senses, and not the other way around.

      So if homosexuality is an obstacle to be mastered, what about the deficiencies shared by all humans? As I’ve heard Christopher Hitchens point out; our frontal lobes are too small, our adrenal glands too large, our opposable thumbs not all that they could be. And that’s not to mention the appendix, which does not seem to have any use.

      If we are to make the comprehension of our universe a priority, then we need to make adjustments when confronted with new information. Our social standards and our goals will always be needed in order to “live up to worthiness,” but these must be recognized as a construction, a subjective will that motivates or inspires us, rather than something we accept without question. It is not blind subjectivity that causes us (or the people around us) to revel in mediocrity, but rather a lack of competence to see those ideas to fruition.

  10. Cynthia says:

    “The difference is that I don’t see homosexuality as a part of that. One wouldn’t say that a husband and wife maintaining a sexual relationship were acting according to a hedonistic trail of thought (unless so influenced by his religious faith)”

    John it seems you not only misunderstand what has been said but you believe in gender equality perhaps. It has already been said that a father and a mother (two biological parents) are the highest ideal and what is moral. A husband and a wife are in a relationship radically different from anything outside it (this includes liberal deviant heterosexuals, homosexuals and transgenders).

    “The emergence of a homosexual identity is important in keeping homosexuality out of the bizarre/hedonistic category.”

    It changes nothing. With or without a homosexual identity homosexuality will always be a less-than ideal (another ill or perversion).

    “Despite what “the polls” say there is an unsettling silence by the majority of people who have critical views on gay marriage.”

    I’ve always found the system of democracy to be flawed.

  11. [...] Nicholas Marville – “Euro and Drachme“, “With a Whimper” [...]

  12. M says:

    The whole gay marriage thing is laughable really. Why do people get married? FOR MONEY. Remove the financial incentives for marriage and let churches refuse to marry people (such as homosexual couples and serial divorcees even) and most homosexuals wouldn’t bother to kick up a fuss.

  13. Daniel Black says:

    I personally take an evolutionary stand on this, if homosexuality was a prevailing gene, then how would our societies exist today without our ability to reproduce ? Simply because technology today permits us find a way around this problem, that doesn’t mean this was the case one century ago and shows you the direction of my argument.

    My understanding is that marriage was designed to further spread our unity. Correct me if I’m wrong, but borrowing your neighbor’s husband/wife for one night stand just to continue spread of our specifies doesn’t give us unity at all. If anything, it builds up a dependency for personal abuse, because the aid of neighbor’s wife no longer is required after she fulfilled her purpose, therefore there is no longer need to care about that person. This constitutes the opposite of unity, and opposite of having marriage all together.

    Simply because something came naturally into existence, doesn’t automatically give it a natural right for political “endorsement”. Some people are genetically predisposition towards diabetes, which ruins all nutritious balance in their body, and makes such people much more likely to get fat. If all such people get together and attempt to make obesity to be a brand new legal “healthy status” ,simply because it is the way they are. If all it takes is an enormous mob and personal/emotional self-interest, I do not see that as a victory for freedom, I see that as insanity because I feel that logic and a rightful purpose should be present(just in case). All laws must be acknowledged on a logical agenda, all of emotional self-interest must be put aside. Emotions change from time to time, when logic is resistant to such changes.

    Last thing, all of our current laws have boundaries and limits, and I don’t see the need to move these limits unless there is a logical and a meaningful purpose. Right now, most place acknowledge marriage as an agreement between two people(a man and a woman). To change this limit, one must have a logical reason. If we take(I was born this way, this is what I want), then why not let 3, 5, 10, 20 people marry as one couple just because its their desire ? Same argument, similar circumstances. If groups of people can get married, then what is really the difference between a married couple and the rest of our society if technically the rest of our society will be allowed to marry all together ? Think about it.

    1. JooPe says:

      “My understanding is that marriage was designed to further spread our unity.”

      No, marriage was designed to secure your biological line, thus ‘adultery’ as a severely punishable crime was also introduced.

      “Simply because something came naturally into existence, doesn’t automatically give it a natural right for political “endorsement”… If all such people get together and attempt to make obesity to be a brand new legal “healthy status” ,simply because it is the way they are.”

      Obesity did not occur naturally.

  14. JooPe says:

    Well i am here. Now i expect to be shown what ‘evidence’ or even hypothetical reasoning you have that supports your assertion homosexuality is a choice, and that it inherently destroys society.

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