• Bitter Crank
    8.8k

    Since every person has the right to a normal life, we all have a right to sex.
    — TheMadFool

    That's nonsense, since it fails to account for at least two very important factors: capacity and consequence. Firstly, if someone is not capable of living a normal life, then it makes no sense to say that they have the right to live a normal life.
    Sapientia

    Current thinking about disabled people is that they have a right to live their lives as close to normal as possible. Students with mobility limitations, for instance, should not be sorted and then isolated into classrooms of only mobility limited students; blind students should attend class with sighted individuals (with appropriate accommodations). People in wheel chairs should be able to access any public building without unnecessary barriers. (Hence, retrofitting entrances with ramps, buildings with elevators, public toilets with wide doors, and 'least restrictive' rules about caring for disabled people.)

    And secondly, if the cost of what it would take for someone to live a normal life outweighs the benefit, then they do not have such a right. Hence, with regards to the latter point, I'm against forcing people to have sex with those who are disabled in that regard as some sort of nightmarish notion of social assistance.

    Well, I don't think anyone has proposed 'forcing people to have sex with those who are disabled" or with anybody else. For instance, if I were a care giver, I could without squeamishness, conduct erotic massage with a client (if such were deemed to be legal and appropriate -- which it probably wouldn't be in the US). I could do this because it's "a procedure". It's not "having sex", or "making love". It's 'intimate contact' but so is catheterizing a patient or carrying out a colonoscopy (hopefully it's more pleasant than either of those items).

    Doctors performed s procedure something like this in the early 20th century when electrical vibrators were invented. It was discovered (probably seconds after being invented) that vibrators were terrific sexual stimulators. Female patients suffering from "hysteria" (nervousness, agitation) found this therapy extremely helpful. Naturally--they were experiencing regular orgasms, finally. This wasn't a customer doctors could keep, because vibrators soon appeared in the market place and women learned that they could accomplish wonders at home by themselves.

    But back to you, "if the cost of what it would take for someone to live a normal life outweighs the benefit, then they do not have such a right."

    There's a difference between having a right to do something and having the resources to do something. I have a right to go to the airport and buy a ticket to Paris this afternoon--first class. I can't afford it, but I have the right to do it. Students have a right to basic education -- they don't have a 'right' to attend school in marbled halls with fine woodwork, antique carpets, and original old masters on the wall. But they do have the right to attend school in a safe building, not some moldy, dilapidated wreck that is likely to collapse at any moment.

    Disabled people have a right to sex -- if they can afford a $500 an hour out-call prostitute, and they can dial a phone, they're all set. If not, they'll have to make do with something less expensive.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Typical. My comments never get picked, but flawed comments like the one that you quoted do.Sapientia

    No kind deed goes uncriticized.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I disagree with you immensely on this point, and let me widen the area of disagreementBitter Crank
    That is, I think, because you didn't understand what I am saying, and are instead reading me through the prism of other things you have read/heard. Let's see...

    I maintain that actualization of potential is part of a normal life, and without such actualization we are consigned to a decidedly arid, barren existence (and it isn't something we choose, generally).Bitter Crank
    :-O I agree! "But... you contradict yourself" No, I actually don't. I said a normal life doesn't REQUIRE the actualisation of (I would add "some") potentials. Not that actualisation is not a part of normal life. It totally is - in fact I cannot imagine a normal life where one does not strive to actualise their potentials. But this may not be possible in some cases - where it is impossible - striving to actualise that specific potential is a mis-directed effort. The impossibility of actualising a potential, in itself, is not a harm to oneself - this is what I'm saying - it should not drive one to despair. What IS a harm is when the actualisation of potential is prevented by force - be that social force, or physical force. For example - it is no harm to me that I currently don't have a woman to be intimate with - not actualising this potential is of no harm. Why? Because I have simply not met such a person, and demanding that I did meet them when in fact I haven't is stupid (and wrong). Furthermore, looking to people who can't fulfill this role as if they could is also stupid and wrong. What would be a harm on the other hand is if I had, for example, found this person, and society, their family, my family, etc. prevented us from sharing our intimacy and love together by force - either social pressure, physical force, or any other kind of oppressive force.

    99% of us are actively prevented from striving toward self-actualization because our lives are exploited (alienated labor) and actualization is repressed in the interests of tight social control and maintenance of supporting moral systems which devalue the lives of workers (who are, more or less, 99% of the population).Bitter Crank
    :-O I agree! I would add another thing which prevents us - lack of real intelligence, and this society's hatred for, and oppression towards intelligence. It is because of lack of intelligence that people go on and on slaving away for their corporate masters; lack of intelligence and lack of courage.

    Your phrase rings in my ears and knots up my gut because this is EXACTLY the sentiments of the corporate world toward its workforce and towards it's necessary consuming population. "Never mind your potential personhood, just keep buying this crap."Bitter Crank
    It may be their sentiments, they're not mine. On the contrary, I have said that PREVENTING the actualisation of potential by force is WRONG and an EVIL - and this is exactly what the corporate world is doing. And I agree that what they are doing is wrong.

    Being forcefully stopped from actualising your sexual capacity is wrong because it deprives you of your freedom and the potential that exists within your being.Agustino

    Living a normal life does not require actualising your potentials. It just requires that you HAVE those potentials (preferably), and that you COULD actualise them if you so decide.Agustino
    I do understand why you misread me though BC. I do understand, I think, what you are striving to achieve here (do correct me if I am wrong please). Your point really is that people can and DO get very hurt when societies prevent them from actualising their potentials (and I agree). Your further point is that one must actually actualise their potentials, necessarily, in order to be able to live fulfilling lives. This, i would guess, mirrors the road you have travelled. In order to get your sense of self-worth, I would venture to speculate, you had to break society's oppression - through different actions, including having sex, which did validate who you are. Perhaps (and most likely) you could have done no differently to free yourself. But this is because you were born in a crooked society, which has oppressed people who, for example, like you, have a different sexual orientation. They have used force to prevent you, which is indeed wrong. Mostly, I would imagine, social force was what was used. Their use of force to prevent you, has, naturally, driven you to despair, and to probably have strong negative feelings. As such, the path you took was the only path open to you at that point - the only path that could lead you to self-actualisation and freedom from those negative feelings.

    I am saying however that we should focus on fixing society instead of promoting this path. I rather promote the high path - self-actualisation comes FIRST. I first am confident in who I am, and in my sense of self. Then I can think rightly about sex, not obsessively and compulsively. Sex will not be a reaction to my society, but rather something I freely choose. Then I will be open to understand the real meaning of sex - the meaning that is lost when sex is performed as a compulsion, as an ugly (but sometimes necessary) reaction to an oppressive society. In the end, the only thing that using sex to break the oppression of society does is that it leaves one equally lacking any meaning. Only that, their mind, is now no longer obsessed about sex and its meaning, so, paradoxically, for the first time they are free to assert who they are, without fear, and without compulsion.
  • Michael
    9.1k
    Firstly, if someone is not capable of living a normal life, then it makes no sense to say that they have the right to live a normal life. — Sapientia

    Reg: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan, you're putting us off.
    Stan: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.
    Francis: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
    Stan: (pause) I want to be one.

    (pregnant pause)

    Reg: What?
    Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on I want you all to call me Loretta.
    Reg: What!?
    Stan: It's my right as a man.
    Judith: Why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
    Stan: I want to have babies.
    Reg: You want to have babies?!?!?!
    Stan: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants them.
    Reg: But you can't have babies.
    Stan: Don't you oppress me.
    Reg: I'm not oppressing you, Stan -- you haven't got a womb. Where's the
    fetus going to gestate? You going to keep it in a box?
    (Stan starts crying.)
    Judith: Here! I've got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can't actually
    have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody's fault, not even the
    Romans', but that he can have the *right* to have babies.
    Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to
    have babies, brother. Sister, sorry.
    Reg: (pissed) What's the *point*?
    Francis: What?
    Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have babies, when he
    can't have babies?
    Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.
    Reg: It's symbolic of his struggle against reality.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Current thinking about disabled people is that they have a right live their lives as close to normal as possible.Bitter Crank
    Like all human beings, they too must be given the freedom required to fulfil their potentials.

    Students with mobility limitations, for instance, should not be sorted and then isolated into classrooms of only mobility limited students; blind students should attend class with sighted individuals (with appropriate accommodations).Bitter Crank
    I always wondered if this is a good thing. I would imagine they must feel alienated to look around and see everyone being different. They would feel much more comfortable in a community of people sharing similar conditions that they are having. Why would you say this is not the case?

    I could do this because it's "a procedure". It's not "having sex", or "making love".Bitter Crank
    This is exactly what it's wrong with it. It's a procedure, a duty. Not something done out of love.

    I have a right to go to the airport and buy a ticket to Paris this afternoon--first class. I can't afford it, but I have the right to do it.Bitter Crank
    No you don't have a right to actually do it, you have a right to the possibility of doing that if you so desire to make use of it, and of course have the resources necessary to make use of it.

    Disabled people have a right to sex -- if they can afford a $500 an hour out-call prostitute, and they can dial a phone, they're all set. If not, they'll have to make do with something less expensive.Bitter Crank
    They have a right to actualise their sexual potential (which again I maintain is objectively intimacy and/or reproduction) IF THEY SO DESIRE. They further have a right to use their sexuality as they wish (even misuse it so long as they are not directly harming others).
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Sexuality is one part of an embodied life, one of several elements which demand actualization. We've flogged sex long enough, for now.Bitter Crank
    Indeed. But I don't go to the extreme of promiscuity just because we have been abstinent and repressive in the past. I am not like a pendulum swinging from one extreme to another. I want to take a balanced position - neither extreme - just the truth.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    This is what I call a rhetorical device, which is ultimately intellectually dishonest, but its function happens to be to move the will, not the intellect ;) . Good post!
  • S
    11.8k
    Current thinking about disabled people is that they have a right to live their lives as close to normal as possible.Bitter Crank

    Sure, but within reason. I don't have any objections to the examples you gave.

    Well, I don't think anyone has proposed 'forcing people to have sex with those who are disabled" or with anybody else. For instance, if I were a care giver, I could without squeamishness, conduct erotic massage with a client (if such were deemed to be legal and appropriate -- which it probably wouldn't be in the US). I could do this because it's "a procedure". It's not "having sex", or "making love". It's 'intimate contact' but so is catheterizing a patient or carrying out a colonoscopy (hopefully it's more pleasant than either of those items).Bitter Crank

    There is an implication - whether intended or otherwise - in the way in which the question is worded (as others have also picked up on), and this is what I was rejecting. Whatever you call it, I think it should be voluntary rather than mandatory. I don't think that social carers should be obligated to wank off (or provide that kind of "intimate contact" for) those under their care, but if both parties willingly consent, then I don't have any problem with it.

    Doctors performed a procedure something like this in the early 20th century when electrical vibrators were invented. It was discovered (probably seconds after being invented) that vibrators were terrific sexual stimulators. Female patients suffering from "hysteria" (nervousness, agitation) found this therapy extremely helpful. Naturally--they were experiencing regular orgasms, finally. This wasn't a customer doctors could keep, because vibrators soon appeared in the market place and women learned that they could accomplish wonders at home by themselves.Bitter Crank

    I'm open-minded enough to allow or even encourage sexual advice about the usefulness of vibrators, but I'm against medical practitioners and social carers just picking one up and using one on their patient or the person that they're formally responsible for without them fully understanding or consenting to it.

    But back to you, "if the cost of what it would take for someone to live a normal life outweighs the benefit, then they do not have such a right."

    There's a difference between having a right to do something and having the resources to do something. I have a right to go to the airport and buy a ticket to Paris this afternoon--first class. I can't afford it, but I have the right to do it. Students have a right to basic education -- they don't have a 'right' to attend school in marbled halls with fine woodwork, antique carpets, and original old masters on the wall. But they do have the right to attend school in a safe building, not some moldy, dilapidated wreck that is likely to collapse at any moment.
    Bitter Crank

    Yes, I agree, there is such a difference.

    They are capable (with some assistance if necessary) of entering an unsafe wreck of a building. But the risk outweighs the benefit.

    Similarly, the cost of imposing such a "procedure" in a nonvoluntary way has convinced me that it would not be acceptable as an institutionalised or enforced practice in social care.

    Disabled people have a right to sex -- if they can afford a $500 an hour out-call prostitute, and they can dial a phone, they're all set. If not, they'll have to make do with something less expensive.Bitter Crank

    Again, provided there's mutual consent, I don't give a hoot.
  • S
    11.8k
    No kind deed goes uncriticized.Bitter Crank

    Especially when it overlooks me. It's all about me, you see.
  • S
    11.8k
    Brilliant. Where's that from?

    Edit: Ah, Life of Brian. It has been too long.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Again, provided there's mutual consentSapientia

    More than mere consent would be needed at this point. There is no legal framework at this point for allowing care providers engaging in explicitly sexual contact with clients.

    I raised the topic as a philosophic issue, not as a 'best practices' discussion at a social work conference. A prosecutor would probably view aides engaging in sexual contact with clients in about the same light as they would view aides assisting clients in killing themselves. The trial would be short and the prison sentence would be long.

    Besides, not every disabled person is crying out for sexual stimulation, not every disabled person would tolerate a caregiver shifting from physical care to an erotic service, lots of care givers would be unwilling to provide erotic services, poorly performed sexual assistance might well be much worse than nothing at all, and society is not ready to have a conversation about this just yet. It's a non-starter.
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    What? Prostitution?? Who talked about prostitution?Agustino

    BC did when he offered the solution of sex workers.
  • Michael
    9.1k
    More than mere consent would be needed at this point. There is no legal framework at this point for allowing care providers engaging in explicitly sexual contact with clients.

    I raised the topic as a philosophic issue, not as a 'best practices' discussion at a social work conference. A prosecutor would probably view aides engaging in sexual contact with clients in about the same light as they would view aides assisting clients in killing themselves. The trial would be short and the prison sentence would be long.

    Besides, not every disabled person is crying out for sexual stimulation, not every disabled person would tolerate a caregiver shifting from physical care to an erotic service, lots of care givers would be unwilling to provide erotic services, poorly performed sexual assistance might well be much worse than nothing at all, and society is not ready to have a conversation about this just yet. It's a non-starter.
    Bitter Crank

    Have you not heard of sexual surrogates?
  • S
    11.8k
    I know that more than consent would be required. I was just expressing my approval, or rather indifference, to such things occurring or being permitted to occur, provided certain conditions are met: mutual consent being perhaps the most important, but also, for example, privacy would matter.

    There is philosophy behind what is deemed 'best practice' in social care, ya know. Laws, policies, and guidelines are often in place for good reason. But please note that I am agreeing with your philosophical views on this issue, provided you don't view what I was objecting to as acceptable.
  • Hanover
    5.8k
    The problem with everything (well, maybe 99%) of what you say in this thread is that it's not philosophy nor is it any sort of scientific psychology. It's just your own particular sort of stupid way that you think life is best lived, proved to you through periodic revelations you have received throughout your oh so examined life.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    The problem with everything (well, maybe 99%) of what you say in this thread is thatit's not philosophy nor is it any sort of scientific psychology. It's just your own particular sort of stupid way that you think life is best lived, proved to you through periodic revelations you have received throughout your oh so examined life.Hanover
    Asinus... how is an examination of the role of sex in life (and on man's psychology/well-being) not philosophy? Or do you always cry and point fingers at everything you disagree with and don't have any real criticism to make? :s If you have any SPECIFIC disagreements with what I say, please point them out and provide reasons for maintaining them. You just have to understand that pointing at something, stomping your feet, and crying that it's wrong doesn't belong on a philosophy forum - it belongs back in kindergarten.

    And by the way - what I've said is PHILOSOPHIC, in-so-far as it 1. addresses a philosophical topic, and 2. is thorough and coherent in its analysis of the issues at hand, following largely lines that have been developed in philosophic tradition (talking about the purpose of sex, for example, is a reference to Aquinas (only that, unlike him, I don't take the purpose to be strictly reproduction), talking about the badness of the some of the motivations for sex is a reference to Kant amongst others - but of course you can't know any of this without doing any reading). And what I've said is SCIENTIFIC in that it paints a theoretical framework that is COMPATIBLE with what we know empirically about sex. I totally despise ignoramuses like yourself making some vague and general claims, with no backing, meaning just to make a silly rhetorical point and insult real thinking. That's just disgusting. If I disagree with you, I put an argument forth. Like I did here, to expose your nonsense. I don't just point fingers and cry and insult like a child.
  • Hanover
    5.8k
    I stand by my prior observations.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I stand by my prior observations.Hanover
    Yes you can stand by whatever you want, fact of the matter is that you proved nothing, and your post lacks any philosophic or scientific content, quite ironically. Even your so called "observations" are mere prejudice, and are embarrassing for someone to put on a philosophy forum, especially after I have shown how wrong they are. You have engaged with nothing from what I wrote or expressed. Really Hanover, this is shameful. Shame on you.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k
    It's your obsession with perfection and then it's supposed demonstration through your arguments.

    Hanover's point is you use your arguments to proclaim just how much better and wiser than everybody else, a gigantic stroking of you own ego and its love of being superior to everyone else.

    Rather than egaging with people as they live, you ignore them, belittle them, misunderstand their motivations and values, all because you are caught up in listing all the thoughts and experiences which have saved you from the lowely life of the rest of us philosophical plebs.

    Your misunderstanding motivations and expressions of sex is a good example in this thread. You acted like casual sex was purley about feeling sexual pleasure, as if it could be replaced with masturbation if people only understood what they really wanted.

    Yet, the need for another was there or along. Casual sex, even in it most crass an exploitative form, involves a need for someone else, something masturbation cannot fulfill. You spend paragraph supposedly giving us grand insight to the motivation of casual sex, but you utterly miss a basic point about its motivation.

    Your "theoretical framework" which supposely gives us the grand insight into humainity, which "explains" us, is pointless. If you are describing sex and its motivations, you are talking about what people do. There is nothing to fit into the world of human sexual behaviour. It's only a matter of describing people and their behaviour themselves.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    Your misunderstanding motivations and expressions of sex is a good example in this thread. You acted like casual sex was purley about feeling sexual pleasure, as if it could be replaced with masturbation if people only understood what they really wanted.

    Yet, the need for another was there or along. Casual sex, even in it most crass an exploitative form, involves a need for someone else, something masturbation cannot fulfill. You spend paragraph supposedly giving us grand insight to the motivation of casual sex, but you utterly miss a basic point about its motivation.
    TheWillowOfDarkness
    What does this say Willow?
    1. A misguided pursuit of intimacy can be one such reason - often masking a fear of commitment, and a fear of intimacy - the person seeking sexual gratification is nevertheless motivated by intimacy; however they are afraid of what it may entail, so they do not want to jump in - they want just a small sip of it instead. If the being in question is a stranger, this is perceived as a less risky situation, so the stranger is preferred to the friend.Agustino
    :-d Again, I simply don't know what you Willow are reading, because you clearly are not reading what I wrote. The need for intimacy IS the need for another. What I've argued is that casual sex ultimately ends up NOT fulfilling this need (but rather frustrates it), and so, one is better off without.

    Your "theoretical framework" which supposely gives us the grand insight into humainity, which "explains" us, is pointless. If you are describing sex and its motivations, you are talking about what people do. There is nothing to fit into the world of human sexual behaviour. It's only a matter of describing people and their behaviour themselves.TheWillowOfDarkness
    My theoretical framework shows how their motivations end up being contradictory and self-defeating through these behaviors that have been illustrated, which leads to their (as well as others') suffering. Thus, my theoretical framework gives the knowledge and understanding required to live more intelligently.

    Hanover's point is you use your arguments to proclaim just how much better and wiser than everybody else, a gigantic stroking of you own ego and its love of being superior to everyone else.TheWillowOfDarkness
    Let Hanover speak for Hanover please. On a secondary note, I do not stroke my ego in this manner. There is no joy in being "better" than others. The joy is in the virtue itself. I simply want others to share in this joy as well, so that is why I share my understanding with them. The more people share in understanding of the truth, the better it is for everyone.

    It may be people like Hanover, or perhaps even like yourself, who do think I want to feel better than others by showing how bad they are, etc. It's your right to think that, but I am convinced that you are wrong about my motivation when it comes to that, as I've explained above.

    Rather than egaging with people as they live, you ignore them, belittle them, misunderstand their motivations and values, all because you are caught up in listing all the thoughts and experiences which have saved you from the lowely life of the rest of us philosophical plebs.TheWillowOfDarkness
    No, quite the contrary, I don't ignore it as I have noted that some people live that way. I have acknowledged that many are motivated by something that is, in itself, good, intimacy, but, through their method of seeking and achieving it, they are bound to always fail and come short. I have merely shown that such a life, lived in that manner, ends up harming the one who lives it more than benefiting them - ultimately it betrays their own REAL self - their own REAL good. I have further shown that many do not even know what they are seeking - they are merely fumbling through the dark.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I have acknowledged that many are motivated by something that is, in itself, good, intimacy, but, through their method of seeking and achieving it, they are bound to always fail and come short.Agustino

    In your psychological theory, Intimacy is inherently good, and sex which does not aim for intimacy must fail. If intimacy is the only goal, the ultimate goal, and the only good goal, then I suppose it is true that all other goals, or methods that are not intended to produce intimacy, will fail. The deficiency in this theory is that there are other goals which, I assert here with total conviction, are worthwhile goals whose pursuit will, in itself, cause no harm.

    Among those goals are adventure, pleasure, variety, danger [for the risk seeker), community, and relaxation. I don't think any of these need to be explained (save community: people build networks of sexual connections which can be very useful elsewhere in life). STDs? Disease is quite transmissible in bona fide intimate relationships. Unwanted pregnancy? Entirely possible in 100% faithful, intimate relationships. Abuse? It happens in intimate relationships fairly often.

    Intimate, cozy, secure relationships are nice. But.. they are are NOT the only nice around. Further, when they fall apart (and they often do fall apart despite the best intentions of everyone concerned) the failure is generally far worse than the failure of a casual relationship.

    I have merely shown that such a life, lived in that manner, ends up harming the one who lives it more than benefiting them - ultimately it betrays their own REAL self - their own REAL good. I have further shown that many do not even know what they are seeking - they are merely fumbling through the dark.Agustino

    Evaluations of other people's lives need to rest on something more substantial than dogma. You do not know whether "a life lived in that manner ends up harming the one who lives it more than benefitting them". You can not know that as a dogmatic rule. I can say, for myself, that the pursuit of casual sexual relationships has been beneficial to me. I can say, on the basis of study, of leading numerous discussion and therapy groups with gay men who practiced a lot of casual sex, and for 45 years participated in many capacities in a community years which has valued casual relationships as well as intimate relationships, that it appears entirely possible for people to live happy, fulfilled lives while pursuing casual sex. Further, the pursuit of casual sex does not prevent them from establishing long term intimate sexual relationships. (Of course, some people have difficulty with intimate relationships, whether they pursued casual relationships or not.)

    Casual sex is one of several possible experiences people can have. Intimate relationships are another of several possible experiences. Solitude, withdrawal to a monastery, sex work, sexual performance in video productions, lifelong monogamous marriage, polygamous marriage, divorce, remarriage -- and so on are all possible experiences people can have. The all can (and are) given human value and meaning. There is no such thing as meaningless sex.

    What works best? Depends on the individual in a given setting at a given time. There are no hard and fast rules or dogma which can specify what will work best for an individual. The individual has to work this out through experience.

    Your problem is epistemological: You can not know what people really want, (especially if people themselves don't know). There isn't any theory that can predict what sort of sexual experience will fulfill any given individual. The best test is to ask them after they have had enough of a sample of life's possible offerings: like... after their 45th birthday.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    If intimacy is the only goal, the ultimate goal, and the only good goal, then I suppose it is true that all other goals, or methods that are not intended to produce intimacy, will fail.Bitter Crank
    Intimacy and reproduction are the goals of sex in my theory, not necessarily of any other human activity. They are further not the only interests of a human being.

    adventure, pleasure, variety, danger [for the risk seeker), community, and relaxation.Bitter Crank
    None of these are inherent to sex, that's the problem with your position. For this reason they cannot function as inherent purposes and goals of the activity. Reproduction is something that only sex, or sex-related activities can fulfill. Intimacy of this kind is again something that only sex, or sex-related activities can fulfill. That is the reason why I call them purposes or goals of sex.

    The desires for adventure, pleasure, variety, danger, community, relaxation etc. while perfectly human cannot be anything but accidental in sex. For this reason, having sex based on such motivations (as if they were primary, inherent motivations for the activity) is a misuse of one's sexual potential - it would be like eating something but gaining no nutritional value from having eaten it - it defeats the inherent purposes of the activity, EVEN IF other accidental desires are fulfilled (such as it tastes good). Luckily for eating this is hardly possible - as most things that one can eat do have SOME nutritional value. Posions make an exception, as well for example chewing a piece of lasagna, and then spitting it out instead of swallowing it (which would be a highly immoral abomination btw).

    Intimate, cozy, secure relationships are nice. But.. they are are NOT the only nice around. Further, when they fall apart (and they often do fall apart despite the best intentions of everyone concerned) the failure is generally far worse than the failure of a casual relationship.Bitter Crank
    Again, fear of intimacy. I am familiar with this, I too know the fear. But just because something may fail is not a reason not to pursue it. Just because it is logically possible you may fail to attain a good is not to say that you should not pursue it.

    Evaluations of other people's lives need to rest on something more substantial than dogma.Bitter Crank
    Why do you think my theory is dogma? It's only dogma if you maintain that we cannot know the purposes of sex, and further, that it is ethical to use other people as means to an end.

    You do not know whether "a life lived in that manner ends up harming the one who lives it more than benefitting them".Bitter Crank
    If my premises are correct, then I do know that. And so I must take it that you disagree with my premises, and your objections are fundamentally of an epistemological nature, in which case the real question that we should be talking about is how do we come to hold true premises?

    I can say, for myself, that the pursuit of casual sexual relationships has been beneficial to me.Bitter Crank
    And I may agree, but I would venture to say that they have been beneficial only negatively - they freed your mind of something, or, accidentally because of it, you met someone, etc. On the other hand, I would suggest that there have been ways you have been harmed by it as well. Whether the harms outweigh the benefits or not to you personally, I cannot say.

    The all can (and are) given human value and meaning. There is no such thing as meaningless sex.Bitter Crank
    If we take meaningful to mean fulfilling the inherent purposes of the activity, then no, some of the activities you mentioned are not meaningful.

    Your problem is epistemological: You can not know what people really want, (especially if people themselves don't know).Bitter Crank
    I knew you'd say this sooner or later. I'll have to get back to you on this later, perhaps I'll open another thread. You assert I cannot know what others want. I say that I can and do know, in some cases better than they themselves know, and in other cases worse, what they want. My point will be that we CAN know, even if this is difficult and arduous.

    There isn't any theory that can predict what sort of sexual experience will fulfill any given individual.Bitter Crank
    Depends what you mean by fulfil. If you mean just subjective fulfillment, then I agree with you. But if you refer to objective fulfilment, then I disagree, because clearly if the purposes of the activity are met and the person experiences a subjective sense of fulfillment that is visible in the world, one can safely say that the sexual experience has objectively fulfilled the individual.
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    I knew you'd say this sooner or later.Agustino

    You did not.

    I'll have to get back to you on this later, perhaps I'll open another thread. You assert I cannot know what others want. I say that I can and do know, in some cases better than they themselves know, and in other cases worse, what they want. My point will be that we CAN know, even if this is difficult and arduous.Agustino

    It's an attractive idea that we can know for sure what others are thinking, what others want, or need.

    I'm pulled both ways by the idea that we can know what other people are thinking, feeling. On the one hand, this is trivially true. We can figure out what people want when they are displaying cues, or if we know them well. I know Jack wants more coffee right now because he's standing there with an empty cup. I know the dog wants what I'm eating because of the intense stare she has focused on my dish.

    On the other hand, I don't know what my parents thought of their lives, or what some of my elderly siblings want at this point in their lives. I don't know what, exactly, the unhappy custodian at church wants. I don't know exactly what I want for the remainder of my life . I want, but what?
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    You did not [know].Bitter Crank
    Well you have a right to think that and to disbelieve me if you want. When I claim I knew it, I meant to say the following. I have studied and thought about these matters for a long time. I know that my logic is not wrong, and hence the only possible point of my being wrong is on the premises. And the only reason to disagree on the premises MUST, almost a priori in this case, be of an epistemological nature - you will claim, after all other objections are shown to fail, and it is clear that given my premises my conclusion follows inescapably, as you in fact did, that I (or anyone else) cannot know that the intrinsic and inherent purposes of sex are reproduction and intimacy only - a premise that my conclusion requires. So yes, I have foreseen this objection, and I have answered it in my thinking long before you even brought it up. I'm not saying that it is impossible that you bring up something that I haven't thought about; I'm just saying that so far nothing of this sort was brought up. Again, if you are so inclined, feel free to doubt my honesty - I cannot do anything but tell you what I think. So that's why considerations of method (and epistemology) need to be discussed so that the way of reaching true premises can be determined. These discussions are much more relevant than just regarding the sex question, which is why I'm tempted to open a new thread. They are relevant because epistemological skepticism underlies almost the entirety of the modern (and esp. POMO) movements, with the majority of real problems faced by the modern age (not just regarding sexuality) stemming from there.

    I'm pulled both ways by the idea that we can know what other people are thinking, feeling. On the one hand, this is trivially true. We can figure out what people want when they are displaying cues, or if we know them well. I know Jack wants more coffee right now because he's standing there with an empty cup. I know the dog wants what I'm eating because of the intense stare she has focused on my dish.Bitter Crank
    I agree.

    On the other hand, I don't know what my parents thought of their lives, or what some of my elderly siblings want at this point in their lives. I don't know what, exactly, the unhappy custodian at church wants. I don't know exactly what I want for the remainder of my life . I want, but what?Bitter Crank
    Are you sure? Don't you know that your elderly siblings want to be happy? Don't you know that you yourself want to be happy for the rest of your life? Don't you know that you want to grow and expand the potentials that exist in your being? The only question that remains, again, is what ARE those potentials? What is happiness? What is your "self"? And are these things the same for you, as they are for your neighbour? (A question which I answer with "yes"). Because again - the only reason, as I told Sapientia before regarding Hume, that anyone could disagree with these matters IS epistemological skepticism - and this too serves to explain why most philosophers in history have agreed about the wrongness of casual sex (for example), while the moderns do not - the moderns (and POMO lovers too), at least a large share of them, are epistemologically skeptical, which allows them to ignore certain truths, labeling them as unknowable, subjective, or even false. But this view can be shown to be wrong - we can and do know these matters; I largely think that Aristotle sketched the correct view of happiness as explained by Aristotelian Mortimer J. Adler below:

  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    These discussions are much more relevant than just regarding the sex question, which is why I'm tempted to open a new thread.Agustino

    I agree. Do open a new thread.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I will open it sometime today most likely. Need a bit more concentrated time than I have at the moment (in the meantime, if you want, you can open it, outline your position, and I will proceed to add my bit later :) - either way, I don't mind).
  • Bitter Crank
    8.8k
    Are you sure? Don't you know that your elderly siblings want to be happy? Don't you know that you yourself want to be happy for the rest of your life?Agustino

    Of course "I know" they want to be happy. I want to be happy. Everyone wants to be happy. That part isn't difficult, and I can probably even manage my own happiness.

    Don't you know that you want to grow and expand the potentials that exist in your being?Agustino

    Of course. That we desire growth and expansion of our potentials is a general truth. It applies to everyone (except when it doesn't). There are, for instance, a minority of people who do not desire expansion of their potentials. They are complete, done. This is not altogether unusual in the elderly, but it's a tragedy when it occurs in younger people.

    The only question that remains, again, is what ARE those potentials? What is happiness? What is your "self"? And are these things the same for you, as they are for your neighbour?Agustino

    Right, and this is where thinking about other people's happiness gets complicated. My siblings do not each have the same potentials. An individual's potentials are not the same throughout life (we hope they expand). What is happiness for me, for my siblings, for my neighbors, for anyone, will not be the same, and won't be the same all the time for a given individual.

    For instance, the death of a spouse is a grievous event, but in time may open up new horizons for the survivor. How someone will complete grieving and move on, develop new habits and interests, find new things to do, new ways to live, is difficult to predict without knowing a lot about that individual. And even then... I have no idea what my 77 year old widowed sister will do, or what will make her happy at this stage in her life. She is only gradually coming to see options that haven't existed for decades (dairy farming screws you tightly to the milking schedule, year in, year out).

    If one does social work, or counseling, or teaching (and the like) one has to have confident assumptions about other people that justifies the work one does with them. One has to believe that teaching people literature, or helping them resolve knotty conflicts, or helping them adjust to permanent disability, is both possible and worth doing. BUT, critical reservation, there are definite limits to what one can know about what is good, bad, and indifferent for other people.

    For instance, someone may legitimately qualify for disability. Fine. Apply for benefits. However, for some people, disability status in itself becomes a second disability. Some people don't manage well without an imposed daily structure--something which a job can provide. In these instances, disability may not be advantageous. Oddly, the struggle and difficulty of work might be better for them. Might be better? Sure, but 'might be better' is not so certain that it entitles the social worker to scuttle their disability application. Our ability to know what is good for other people is limited.
  • TheWillowOfDarkness
    2k
    You don't answer the question though. All you state is "happiness," "perfection" or "expanding ponential"." In your arguments you hardly ever talk about a living happiness (or otherwise). It's all distant potential someone supposedly reach, bound-up in the heady rush of saying how perfect we'll all be.

    The lived happiness is not going about saying how happy everyone will be. It's in one's connection, interactions and sense of self worth with respect to their own works. Family, friends, building, honesty and expression of one's goals. It's never "happiness," "perfection" or "want."

    Bitter Crank can't say what he wants because the question is absurd. One cannot reduce a life to a moment or happiness or celebration at getting a single moment where a desire is fulfilled. The "happy" life premised in your argument is an empty one. A life so unknown and unexamined it substitutes in this notion it is all for "happiness" where description and comprehension of moments should be.

    I can say I most certainly do not want your "perfection," "happiness" or "expanding potential." Going off your proclamations I have no idea if this means having a joyful relationship my family, turning my sibling into a social pariah because them had sex with five people or gleefully laughing at my mother's funeral becuase happiness is the constant for everyone. You are all a whirlwind of worshiping "perfection". Observing lives as the are lived is sadly missing from your approach.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    There are, for instance, a minority of people who do not desire expansion of their potentials. They are complete, done. This is not altogether unusual in the elderly, but it's a tragedy when it occurs in younger people.Bitter Crank
    Completion is achieved only sub specie aeternitatis, never sub specie durationis, hence one can never be done. There never exists a point in life when you are done, because every single moment is a moment when you are manifesting your potentialities. And that includes old people. However, many old people have come to the wisdom that one does not have to actualise all their potentials right this instant to be content and happy - an illusion of which I've spoken before and with which many young people are drunk.

    My siblings do not each have the same potentials.Bitter Crank
    Largely we all have the same potentials. Sure, you may not actualise your physical potential by playing golf, the way I do. But we both have the potential for physical activity, unless one of us is in a wheelchair. We all have the potential for understanding of the world, unless we are mentally impaired for one reason or another. We all have the potential for intimacy with ourselves and with others. And so forth. These potentials are universal, the means for actualising them are not necessarily the same for all men.

    What is happiness for me, for my siblings, for my neighbors, for anyone, will not be the same, and won't be the same all the time for a given individual.Bitter Crank
    I argue that it is the same, precisely because, you are all human beings, and as human beings you share in some objective potentials, such as the potential for friendship, the potential to love and be loved, the potential to understand, etc. These are not universal in the sense that absolutely all human beings share all of them - no. But they are universal in the sense that no human being can exist without having at least a large share of them. You can be born physically handicaped for example, in which case you may not have physical potentials that other human beings have. Nevertheless, you are still a human being, as you do have the potential to love and be loved, the potential for friendship, etc.

    For instance, the death of a spouse is a grievous event, but in time may open up new horizons for the survivor. How someone will complete grieving and move on, develop new habits and interests, find new things to do, new ways to live, is difficult to predict without knowing a lot about that individual. And even then... I have no idea what my 77 year old widowed sister will do, or what will make her happy at this stage in her life. She is only gradually coming to see options that haven't existed for decades (dairy farming screws you tightly to the milking schedule, year in, year out).Bitter Crank
    Indeed, but finding new ways of fulfilling these same potentials which exist does not mean that the potentials have changed.

    BUT, critical reservation, there are definite limits to what one can know about what is good, bad, and indifferent for other people.Bitter Crank
    Yes, but these reservations do not extend to the basic potentials that all human beings share in. Neither does it lie in questioning contradictions between our actions and our objective potentials (as in the case of casual sex). These matters are clear, objective and unassailable.

    For instance, someone may legitimately qualify for disability. Fine. Apply for benefits. However, for some people, disability status in itself becomes a second disability. Some people don't manage well without an imposed daily structure--something which a job can provide. In these instances, disability may not be advantageous. Oddly, the struggle and difficulty of work might be better for them. Might be better? Sure, but 'might be better' is not so certain that it entitles the social worker to scuttle their disability application. Our ability to know what is good for other people is limited.Bitter Crank
    "Might be better" is an empirical consideration which takes into account their own psychological limitations. Surely, someone, because of the way they grew up, etc. etc. may not be capable of perceiving and feeling love and affection (for example). This does not mean that love and affection cease to be objectively relevant to them - merely that they cannot percieve them as such - they are perceptually blind to it. The work with such a person involves causing a shift in perception in them - so that they can come to realise the objective truth. Not saying "ye ye, let's just try to get you to FEEL satisfied". That's what the greedy capitalist who is just superficially interested in people (and much more interested in their money) would say. In fact, it is precisely this sort of capitalist psychologist who uses the phrase what "might be better". It "might be better" in that circumstance for the person to focus on what he enjoys, instead of trying to develop his perception of love and affection, an effort which makes him unhappy. The real carer for the soul knows, largely, what is better, and strives for this - strives to decieve the person they are helping into the truth as it were; as Kierkegaard put it, strives to smuggle Christianity back in Christendom - strives to collapse the false assumptions of the person in question into the truth, while appearing to take on these assumptions.

    You don't answer the question though.TheWillowOfDarkness
    Which question? Be clear. You haven't quoted any part of my post.

    In your arguments you hardly ever talk about a living happiness (or otherwise). It's all distant potential someone supposedly reach bound-up in the heady rush of saying how perfect we'll all be.TheWillowOfDarkness
    A living happiness is fulfilment of your potentials. It is knowing who you are, understanding the world and your self. That is happiness, and it is the highest good of man.

    It's in one's connection, interactions and sense of self worth with respect to their own works. Family, friends, building, honesty and expression of one's goals.TheWillowOfDarkness
    Agreed.

    Bitter Crank can't say what he wants because the question is absurdTheWillowOfDarkness
    You just love speaking in the name of other people no? :P First Hanover, now Bitter Crank... we might need to get you into a practicing law firm, your talents would clearly be useful there ;)

    One cannot reduce a life to a moment or happiness or celebration at getting a single moment where a desire is fulfilled.TheWillowOfDarkness
    I agree, neither did I ever think otherwise.

    I can say I most certainly do not want your "perfection," "happiness" or "expanding potential."TheWillowOfDarkness
    Very strange. First you say that you don't even understand what my "perfection" "happiness" etc. are, and then you are dead sure you don't want to reach them...

    Going of your proclamations I have no idea if this means having a joyful relationship my familyTheWillowOfDarkness
    Yes it does mean having a joyful relationship with your family among other things.

    turning my sibling into a social pariah because them had sex with five peopleTheWillowOfDarkness
    No, it doesn't mean this, people need to be taken care of, not abused for making mistakes.

    gleefully laughing at my mother's funeral becuase happiness is the constant for everyone.TheWillowOfDarkness
    No, it doesn't mean this either. Mourning at your mother's funeral would be the right thing to do, but this does not mean that the element of happiness ceases to exist in the background. Even when I'm sad, paradoxically, I'm happy. Somewhere deep down happiness remains even through suffering; in fact, despite suffering and loss.
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