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Decay of the Old Social Order
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The Dreaming
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 9:29 am    Post subject: Decay of the Old Social Order Reply with quote

I have a friend who is a very religious and spiritual person. One day I asked him "If the reason for something to be a sin goes away, does it remain a sin?" As an example I gave him some old Jewish laws. The reason that Jews don't eat meat with dairy is because they used to eat meat on wooden plates. Dairy would seep into the plates and rot, making the owner of the plate sick. Thus it was a sin to combine meat and dairy.

Then I say to him "what about sexual morality?" The reasons for abstaining and being monogamous have been very clear cut and good ones for centuries. The rules of sexual morality were absolutely essential to the workings of society. At least, until the invention of the condom.

We live in an age with almost completely reliable birth control. Thus, all old the old reasons to avoid promiscuity (illegitimate children, children born to teenagers, producing too many children) disappear. However, people still people cling to the old mores desperately. For some reason, sex seems to be impregnable to social re-order. (Especially in my country)

It is very difficult for someone in my day to hold a belief in "free love". There is something inside of me (my inner prude, everyone has one) that shouts out against this idea. However, I have been unable to find any viable argument to support it.

I would also like to note that this does not mean I am a whore (even though I am a man, I hate double standards). I still believe in the spiritual goodness of sex. I believe in the depth of meaning it is capable of having. I would never have sex with someone I did not love.

However, I also want to know where this myth that you can only love one person in your life came from? Or even one person at a time? It seems to me that the world was never a worse place because there was more love in it. I think some people fear love. They are suspicious of it, and fear to let go wherever it can. And with birth control, why must we limit it to platonic love except for that special one?

I read an excellent version of the Arthurian legend about a year ago. It was Mary Stewart's Arthurian saga. In her story, Arthur knows about Geneviere and Lancelot, and does nothing. He knows that if he were to act upon the sin they were committing, they would both be taken away from him. Not only that, he actually feels happy that the two people he loves most in the world love each other. I can find no fault with Arthur. And this version of the tale seems to me the most beautiful I have read.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:04 am    Post subject: Re: Decay of the Old Social Order Reply with quote

Whoa, this post has a bit of everything. Let me see what I have to say Wink

The Dreaming wrote:
"If the reason for something to be a sin goes away, does it remain a sin?"


For a start, "Sin" is a very shaky notion to begin with. As I've mentioned elsewhere, I believe the only true sin lies in hurting others unnecessarily. Leaving that aside for the moment, I doubt that religions view the origination of their "sins" as merely common-sense rules that made sense at the time.

As far as I'm concerned, this is perfectly true, and your question makes good sense. I would say that IMO, in the case of those rules which could only be effectively communicated by making them "sins" at the time, the "sinfulness" should no longer apply when advances overcame the problems those rules attempt to guard against. As I said however, it's unlikely that religions share the same view.

The Dreaming wrote:
Then I say to him "what about sexual morality?" The reasons for abstaining and being monogamous have been very clear cut and good ones for centuries. The rules of sexual morality were absolutely essential to the workings of society. At least, until the invention of the condom.

We live in an age with almost completely reliable birth control. Thus, all old the old reasons to avoid promiscuity (illegitimate children, children born to teenagers, producing too many children) disappear. However, people still people cling to the old mores desperately. For some reason, sex seems to be impregnable to social re-order. (Especially in my country)


This is a tougher one. I certainly agree that the old reasons for a rigid "sexual morality" have pretty much fallen by the wayside. One remaining problem of course, is that although the reasons for these constraints can be overcome, that is not to say that people make use of the opportunity. Teenagers are still becoming mothers, too many children are still being born, disease is still being spread.

Despite all the education, there are still people who are not taking advantage of the means to negate these problems. Ultimately, responsibility is almost impossible to teach.

By these lights, there should be nothing wrong with incest either, provided it's consensual, and precautions are taken?

The Dreaming wrote:
It is very difficult for someone in my day to hold a belief in "free love". There is something inside of me (my inner prude, everyone has one) that shouts out against this idea. However, I have been unable to find any viable argument to support it.


Back to Heinlein here, and the notion of sexual relationships based on jealousy. It doesn't make any sense. But as you say, we all seem to contain that little voice. Although in theory, I agree with you completely, in practice, (or reality), I still couldn't feel happy at the thought of sharing my GF with anybody, even should they love her equally. Does the fault lie in generations, if not millenia, of social conditioning? Is it biological? I'm not sure. I am sure however, that jealousy is the primary reason for our "free-love" inhibitions.

The "Social Order" is a remarkably persistent thing. To this day we struggle with class-discrimination and stereo-types, with what is "appropriate" or "inappropriate" in any given situation, and how it relates to our surroundings. Literally for millenia, those in power have attempted to keep everybody in their place. For the benefit of the powerful, and no other reason. Life is full of little homilies, changed perhaps from their original form, but maintaining the intent (even if the intent is no longer applicable, and regardless of whether we notice it).

Chess is a good example. If, as a little insignificant pawn, you struggle and strive, and eventually reach the final square, you'll become rich and powerful too. It's a little moral tale of sorts, designed to keep everybody working for the perpetuation of a social order which no longer exists in our perceptions.

"Don't worry about how lousy life is, or how much you suffer here, once you die and go to heaven, it'll all have been worth it, provided you keep the faith, keep your place, and do what you're told."

Sound familiar?

Why put up with suffering here? Instead, let's try and improve the "here and now", and let the afterlife take care of itself. Life can be pretty damn good in fact. Try to keep it in mind. Wink

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 5:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right, improve the here and now. I think that's one of the things that would be more readily done if we pawns were worried about square one instead of the post game Razz

As far as the jealousy-vice thing is concerned, boy, I have some conflicting views here. My logical side is totally in favor of free love, and the increase of love, and acceptance of others love, etc.
But wow, does my emotional side disagree.
Let's say your girlfriend tells you that she is in love with your best friend. How many people are going to take that as good news? I mean really... I don't think you'll find that count going incredibly high.

I guess I don't have a problem with it if others think that's ok. But if I was going into a relationship with someone who feels that way, I think i'd want that made known to me up front so I could seek alternative options.

Casual sex with friends sounds like a great idea, but I've never known it to work out, either. Strangers maybe, but not friends...of course, I'm sure others have had an experience that disagrees with mine. But I always wonder if that opinion is shared by both parties involved.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JemCheeta wrote:
Right, improve the here and now. I think that's one of the things that would be more readily done if we pawns were worried about square one instead of the post game


I agree totally. Pawns are easy to underestimate though. In fact, the inside of my box of chess pieces bears the advice: "Watch the Pawns!" Wink

JemCheeta wrote:
As far as the jealousy-vice thing is concerned, boy, I have some conflicting views here. My logical side is totally in favor of free love, and the increase of love, and acceptance of others love, etc.
But wow, does my emotional side disagree....I guess I don't have a problem with it if others think that's ok.


Yeah, I know what you mean. To know something intellectually can often be quite different from knowing it emotionally. You can't do better than making sure any opinions like that are made clear up front though.

JemCheeta wrote:
Casual sex with friends sounds like a great idea, but I've never known it to work out, either. Strangers maybe, but not friends...of course, I'm sure others have had an experience that disagrees with mine. But I always wonder if that opinion is shared by both parties involved.


I certainly agree in terms of casual sex between friends not working out, but, purely out of interest, the GF and myself were friends for a year or two before getting together, and that was seven years ago Smile

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Seven years eh? Huzzah for that Smile
I only hope my relationship follows suit.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
By these lights, there should be nothing wrong with incest either, provided it's consensual, and precautions are taken?


Certainly theoretically, and if you don't take other things into consideration, like the fact that society will view it as wrong anyway.

I think society should piss off and let everyone get on with their lives as long as they're not hurting anyone else. (obviously that doesn't really make sense, but you know what I mean)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember, 'society' doesn't actually exist except in its reprocussions. Individuals exist with individual opinions. Only the existence of the representative goverment actually facilitates the 'society' to be able to take action.
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nathan wrote:
Quote:
By these lights, there should be nothing wrong with incest either, provided it's consensual, and precautions are taken?


Certainly theoretically, and if you don't take other things into consideration, like the fact that society will view it as wrong anyway.

I think society should piss off and let everyone get on with their lives as long as they're not hurting anyone else. (obviously that doesn't really make sense, but you know what I mean)


You're wrong Nathan, that makes perfect sence. At least to rational anarchists like Av and I. (and Proffesor De La Paz)
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always thought that negative behaviors made themselves known by their consequences, and were thus eventually avoided.
Conditioning on a species level is not incredibly hard to get to work. Take serious drug addictions...while they still exist, most of them explode into being before people have any information on the drug... the effects of long term use become known, and the drug eventually loses its popularity... it happens to a degree with almost all hard drugs I think, although I'm not sure about Heroin. The drugs use persists of course, but never to the degree of the original explosion.

I assume the reason that incest isn't practiced very often by the majority of people is a combination of familiarity and culture... in this case it would be the overall culture who learned that incest is not a good idea due to its results, and also the view that society has on those who practice it.

While it still persists, it is not a common practice.

This is all off the cuff by the way, I don't stand by it.
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 09, 2004 5:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nathan, The Dreaming is totally right. Your statement makes perfect sense.

JemCheeta makes an excellent point when he says that society exists only through the representative state. In fact, it could be said that the government is society. And not even necessarily a fair representation of it.

And therein lies one of my problems with democracy. Everybody has a fair and exactly equal say in running the country. Everybody has an equal amount of power.

Until you vote. By voting, you give that power to the person you vote for, and then have to trust that his position will continue to match yours. Once you've surrendered that power, your "representative" can do anything he wants with it. So the amount of say you have in the actual day to day running of your country, is effectively zero.

I'm not sure though, that the kind of conditioning you talk about can be considered "species" conditioning. Perhaps "societal" conditioning would be a better term for it, simply because it probably doesn't affect the entire "species" simultaneously.

If, as you suggest, "negative" behaviours are avoided because the consequences become known, (which makes sense), does the negation of those consequences through whatever means, suggest that those behaviours are no longer negative?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2004 6:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to say yes, but give me an example so that I know what you're leading my yes into Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Avatar summerized the entire argument of my original post. In it I draw a logical series of examples.

Quote:
As an example I gave him some old Jewish laws. The reason that Jews don't eat meat with dairy is because they used to eat meat on wooden plates. Dairy would seep into the plates and rot, making the owner of the plate sick. Thus it was a sin to combine meat and dairy.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 10, 2004 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh yeah, that's what we're talking about....
Then yes. If SOMA did not induce complacency, I'd be all for it. I'll sign up for that. Without a negative consequence I don't think there's a negative action.

Of course.... I guess an eternity burning in hell would count as a negative consequence, even if there were no consequences evident. Heheh.
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This would be a great discussion for the Close.......
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would you like me to move it Baradakas? I'm happy either way, so let me know.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you would, please....
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 19, 2004 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hahaha... this thread has been CLOSED... hahaha...new verbs...
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really, I think the topic would belong in either the close or the think tank, whatever you want to do with it oh mighty Moderators.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wherever this ends up, I was curious... is there anyone involved in the discussion that was around for a previous social order? Smile I'm only 21, I know very few ages of other people I talk to on here, although I get the impression most are young.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 20, 2004 6:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm going to jump in the pool and muddy the waters a bit. Keeping the original question's Judeo/Christian context, we need to take a closer look at the original questions definition of "sin".

First of all, I agree with the original assertion that Mosaic Law was designed to keep a contentious group of ex-slaves alive while they learned to travel together and, ultimately, govern themselves. In this context, the discussion here of the dietary codes of that Law - and it's lack of relevance today are right on target. (To paraphrase Chris Rock, "Nowadays, we've got refrigerators, we've got Saran Wrap. Nowadays, if you're starving in the desert, a porkchop'll save your LIFE!")

Where the discussion, I feel, got off track was in the reasons behind the sexual mores behind the Code. In trying to keep a group successful while it wanders around in the desert and prepares to invade - and ultimately retake - their homeland, ANY children (even those of un-wed, "too young" mothers) are a boon for the group.

The reason for the mores supported, and imposed, by the parts of the Code pertaining to sex are simple: Jealousy.

Most of the discussion on this board backs this up, and think about it: If we STILL can't handle the idea of our best friend and our lover/spouse having sex, what chance did a bunch of slaves (whose own lives had been lived meaning little) wandering around in the desert (where death is the only socially viable option for law-breakers) have of holding a society together in the face of the Jealousy, Betrayal, Anger, and Envy that still accompanies "un-regulated" sex?

To answer the original question: Where these effects of the "sin" of Adultry still exist, so to does it's status as "sin". Where these effects of Fornication do not exist (possibilities include: one-night stands, friends with benefits, "open" relationships) neither does the "sin".

I also want to propose the idea that the anecdotal nature of most discussion of social "sins" is why we now legislate without the "sin" concept in play. (And why we leave the "punishment" of such transgressions to the individuals involved, instead of just throwing rocks at the offending parties until they die.)
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