From: Nashville, TN
You're basically saying - people should have the right to destroy themselves however they want?
Yes. I do think we should be concertedly vigilant as to making sure there are not genuine biological and/or chemical issues at stake that put the person into the mindset to choose that...but the entire soft science of psychology is essentially based on self-diagnosis and the assuaging of symptoms, rather than any affirmed means by which to universally (and sensibly) declare one person incompetent and another sane, since the measuring sticks are flexible, based on culture and geography.
It is a fine line sometimes at putting the effort of ethics to permitting people to be free to do what will make them happy while at the same time offering up enough interest to analyze (as best we can) that those people are in fact making the decisions in line with their happiness structures.
This is why I tried to stress that neither I, nor most anyone who I think is arguing in similarity to me, actually has some personal relishing for people harming themselves. It's just a very twisted path of understanding that has to be dealt with that shows us that there is no objective measuring stick to measure someone's competence and contentment in making a decision (again, unless obvious biological/chemical factors are in play) apart from that individual's say-so. And, even in the event of biological/chemical issues, we are dealing with fundamentally altering the 'being' of someone if we try to decide for them that those factors must necessarily be a trump card if they demolish the person's happiness...even if it's delusional or illusory.
Human civilization specifically makes exemptions to support certain sorts of delusions that bring inner peace/happiness while declaring others morally or 'health-wise' unacceptable. Are they genuinely any different (so long as they are not harming others non-consensually)?
I'm not sure whether I agree with that or not. In the abstract, theoretical sense it sounds right but when you put it to individual applications it sounds less right. Much less right.
Actually, quite the contrary...because no objective measuring stick is ethically sensible if we are using it in place of someone else's happiness when we are talking about that person's life.
If something genuinely makes someone fundamentally happy, what characteristics do we presume to be sufficient to take it upon ourselves to deny them that happiness because of how we think happiness should be measured? It's all an arbitrary system of value where it is presumed that X equals happiness and if an individual actually is made happy by Y instead, we must consider their mental state.
And, while biological health seems like a sensible base-point upon which to measure things, it goes contrary to humanity which has, in a feat of horrific and wondrous mutation, adopted self-reflective sentience and can now psychologically supplant what is necessarily healthy with what makes them happy. We take this obvious fact for granted with people who willingly undergo cosmetic surgeries or scarifications or even tattoos and piercings...and I suggest it is only the degree to which something has been made common in our eyes that makes it any different in actuality.
Regardless, 'you should be able to destroy yourself' and 'you should be able to destroy someone else if they ask for it' are two different things.
They both come back to the same points, though. Barring the loose means we have to denounce someone as incompetent, we seek to relieve someone of an act which brings them happiness.
Like I said before my problem is less with her and more with him. If someone came up to me and told me they wanted me to beat them halfway to the point of death if I was angry at them I wouldn't do it. I'd think that person was suffering from emotional disturbance and try to help them.
And I'm sure tons of audience members would say the same of me and former partners at any point I was using my cat-o-nine-tail, or breath-playing. What we use to determine the emotional status of someone is a mixture of cultural customs and ethical habits...nothing more.
This is where the line between genuine concern and zealotry gets fuzzy. How far do you seek to sabotage a relationship of a friend who says she's happy, continually, if you cannot fathom how she could be so? And how can you be so sure you'd be right?
Maybe you're right that help shouldn't be shoved down their throat, but if enough people say "no, honey, that's really self destructive" rather than take advantage of her sickness, she might eventually look toward other options.
I'd like to think that this can be properly dealt with in the same way as the sex-education topic is: that proposing an "abstinence only" plan is ignorant of how people function but that it doesn't mean we cannot be there constantly providing information, alternate viewpoints and the feelings of our own personal experiences.
I really do think that being willing to let your partner kill you if s/he wants to is beyond the pale of sanity.
It does sound like it, yes. But we'd be prone to view martyrdom for idealistic morals as virtuous, yes? We view signing up into a military branch during wartime as patriotic though it directly put the likelihood of death into our path.
How far a step is it to say you'd take a bullet for someone from putting your life in their hands to do with as they will? Obviously, her Master is not contemplating how to kill her (or presumably she'd already be dead). And then death becomes another tricky subject. It is inevitable for us all. Many of us feel rather strongly about getting to decide (as best we can) how we do go (I recall a touching story of an elderly couple in the UK, if I recall, where both elderly partners chose euthanasia upon learning of the impending death of one of them. They, through assisted means, died peacefully in beds, holding each others hands)...is there something more than the shock factor of one means over another that really makes a fundamental difference in the end?
It's ridiculously codependent. But I think that being the person in the relationship who makes it clear you'll beat and kill the other person in anger is not only beyond that pale, it's a far more sociopathic form of insanity.
Perhaps. I don't think that's quite the situation at hand here, though. However, we still need to muddy the waters even if such a case were true and both people genuinely wished for it that way.
This is why I keep bringing up the irony card: because we are often just moving the ethical goalposts as to what is sensible or acceptable when we, compared to a vanilla world, find it an everyday thing to flog your partner to heavy bruising, but somehow consider more extreme physical violence unacceptable.
Now, yes, the question of how that violence manifests is an important factor to consider, but I still don't see an underlying difference between the s-type who consents to a playscene that will yield physical pain and torture from an s-type who consents to be in a relationship where such a reaction can potentially be a punishment or an understood consequence.
We in our society shun pedophiles, even though a small minority might cry "who cares if she was 12, she's old for her age and she came on to him!" We do so for two reasons - to protect those we feel (whether it's true or not) are unable to make decisions for themselves, and to ostracize those who refuse to temper their desires to fit into the standards of the society in which they choose to live. All the arguments you put forth here could be put forth in cases of pedophilia, especially in our current stage of sexting-naked-pics-at-age-12 societal decay.
They could, yes. It's not even a universally agreed-upon thing. Hell...it's not even a nationally agreed-upon thing. I have sex with a 17 year old in my state and I'm looking at felony charges. If I do the dame thing with a 17 year old resident of a state north or west of me, I'm perfectly within my rights.
Age as a means of determining capacity for consent is a really sticky topic. This is why I've just been going under the accepted stance that we treat minors of a certain age as presumed to be incapable of it (until a thread dealing with the topic comes up and we end up with just as many pages as we have here!).
Is there really any difference between inability to consent due to age and inability to consent due to severe emotional imbalance, or is it just that the general umbrella of kinks you prefer is being breached?
There is no easy answer to that. It's a genuinely poignant question and one that gets often shunned into being treated like a 'porn' issue ("I know it when I see it"); a response which is intellectually flaccid and not really informative or useful at all.
< Message edited by NihilusZero -- 10/8/2009 9:46:39 PM >
"I know it's all a game
I know they're all insane
I know it's all in vain
I know that I'm to blame."
~Siouxsie & the Banshees
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