Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The LGBT Debate in America and Archetypal Psychology

          This same sex topic is a touchy issue to be sure. As an archetypalist, I am far more and primarily interested in the phenomena surrounding this issue than any "position" of right or wrong. I think both sides would do the nation a favor by toning down the angry rhetoric and spending more time actually researching and educating themselves and then others. Many in America do not know that this is not exclusively a Christian problem. As far back as Plato, Aristotle and the Greeks, same sex relations were viewed as being against "Nature". In Greece there was a tradition of males becoming sexual with younger men in a subservient educational setting, but the dominant males were always married to women and producing children. You can find it discussed in Plato: Laws, Book VIII (835b - 842c) and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, at 1138b30The Greeks actually had more to say about this issue than the Bible--and Christian theology was heavily influenced by the Greeks. Views similar to the Greeks were held in ancient Persia and in the Arab tribes. The Chinese seem to be an exception until modern times. Historically, morally and philosophically this is much more than a Christian issue. Obviously these historical positions do not necessarily prove anything about what is right or wrong, but they do reveal that the topic is not new--it has always been something of a sexual or erotic "issue". Eros is frequently behind change, whether personal or cultural.

          It seems to me that both "sides" in this American same sex love debate operate more out of ideological passions than an actual desire for understanding the often legitimate ideas from the "other side". And the media--from CNN, MSNBC to Fox, etc.--often appear to fan the ideological flames in order to keep their passionate devotees tuned in to the advertising which pays their salaries. Chris Matthews makes 5 million a year, Piers Morgan makes 6 million a year, Diane Sawyer makes $12 million, Sean Hannity makes 15 million, John Stewart makes 16 million, Bill O' Reilly makes 20 million, etc. What they have in common is money--lots of it! I am all for the freedom to make lots of money--but I am suspect of "news" sources which make their living by keeping angry ideologically motivated viewers tuning in each night in order to rile them up and raise their blood pressure rather than their IQ. If these news programs actually sought understanding through informed discussions and historical education, people on both sides might actually be able to change their minds rather than just get pissed off. The news media has become Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four "Two Minutes of Hate" keeping the masses apoplectic toward "Goldstein" -- dogmatic audiences of zoned out ideological Zombies chanting their slogans against the "other". One rarely moves a person from his/her passionately held beliefs by mocking, vilifying and opposing the "other side". Generally such attacks and rhetorical bludgeoning preclude us from gaining any real understanding--exacerbating the conflict.

          Plus, we have become an obligatory moral culture--on the left and the right--passing laws and enforcing morality by court order and threat of punishment. The Supreme Court, in my opinion, is the new American tyrant--an oligarchy of 9 who now make the big laws by 5-4 votes! And each ideological side is focused on getting one of their "people" assigned to the court in order to enforce the "correct" laws. Where once there was conversation about what constituted Virtue in an America under a Constitution, there is now moralized legislation by court-fiat. Without conversation and education based on some sort of agreed upon standards of human and humane Virtue, we end up enacting more enforced obligatory legislation on bitter and unconvinced citizens--and war in some form is always close behind. The job of the LGBT community, as I see it, is to convince others that their view of love and sexual experience is not contrary to Goodness. It seems to me that it is a legitimate argument which can change the minds of opponents. This is confirmed by the 2013 Barna Research Group's study on religious attitudes toward LGBT related issues. Major shifts have occurred over the past decade: LGTBQ Study

                  Lastly, I see the LGBT debate as psychologically beneficial--as another course in the classroom of the World-school of soul-making. Whenever our emotions are stirred, the tutorial Unconscious is seeking entry into an entrenched personal and cultural ego--no matter whether one is on the left or the right. Persons on both "sides" have something to learn if they are emotionally riled up. Of course both sides typically feel the "other" side has something to learn from their side which is the CORRECT side. Instead of responding to the angry knock at our own emotional doors of consciousness, we typically open a window and yell at the annoying intruder rather than open the door of our brooding psyches, invite the Unconscious in and have a soul-making conversation. Many of us have no clue about how to even go about such a inter-psychological conversation.


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