Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Chill'en. A Reflection on Wisdom

In my experience, clients who are torn apart by their own, inner conflicts, or by conflicts with others, often wish for a peace they characterize as being "more Zen"; for the younger amongst them that peace may be described as being "chill", "chilled out" or "cool". Personally, I associate what they are seeking with being more wise, which leads me to embark on what could easily be seen as a pretentious exercise: reflecting upon the meaning of wisdom. Pretentious because it seems to imply that, at the very least, I have some idea of what constitutes wisdom, or that I aspire to wisdom, or, at the very most, consider myself to be wise; the last of which I would definitely consider pretentious.  Were I to propose reflecting upon foolishness, implications that I either aspire to or consider myself a fool would be somewhat less likely to be drawn and less likely to be seen as pretentious.

I suppose that is a reflection of the fact that one of the characteristics of a wise person is that he or she would be unlikely to refer to themselves as wise, which points to a characteristic of wisdom: humility. Someone who felt the need to tell others they were wise would be considered both pretentious and foolish; uttering a statement that self-negates. Wisdom must be recognized and ascribed by another, yet, in many cultures, it is not seen to be particularly rare, but as an appropriate accomplishment of old age. "Listen to the wisdom of our elders" is an oft repeated injunction, especially in societies lacking a written, historical record.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Combatting Sexual Abuse of Children and Social Control

Sex-negative cultures are those which are not comfortable with sexual pleasure being enjoyed for its own sake and which employ the regulation of sexuality as a major means of exerting social control. Cultures within the Christian, Islamic and Jewish traditions clearly tend toward the sex-negative, especially in their more primitive, fundamenalist manifestations. Conservatives within both the United States and Canada incarnate that ideology. Recently, there have been two striking illustrations: Rick Santorum, the second most likely Republican candidate for President of the USA, amazingly asserting that sensuality is the work of the devil and a significant threat to the American Way; Vic Toews, the Public Safety Minister in the Conservative government of Canada, promoting his Omnibus Crime Bill as chiefly a strike against the sexual abuse of children and child pornography, even though those crimes represent a very minor consideration of the Bill itself, which contains harsher penalties for growing dope than child abuse.