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Marriage and Language

No end of people throughout the centuries have treated marriage and human sexuality from all possible, impossible, plausible and implausible points of view, except (I stand to be corrected) sound metaphysics. Is it possible to define marriage metaphysically?

If so, friend and foe would accept, or reject, such definition exclusively on moral grounds. On intellectual or religious grounds it would stand as an immovable rock visible in all places and at all times, unchallenged and unchallengeable.

If on the contrary such definition were impossible, the present anarchy concerning marriage would be justified, together with the classical philosophical errors of confusion, separation and reduction that inevitably accompany it.

The Grim Reaper

Scowling out of its dark cloak, and holding its sharp sickle, Death observed one day a young couple: he hardly over 20, she still 15, a teenager, advancing smiling.

Who are you? What do you want?

We are a man and a woman. Our names don’t matter. We have come to challenge you to a fight to the death.

Have you really? Don’t you know that neither of you can escape me?

We do, but we shall defeat you. Our offspring will perpetuate our selves, both in quantity and quality. And your power will not transcend our mortal bodies.

The dialogue is imaginary. Not so the actors, who have already gone to their reward: he after 20 years and she after 62 since the challenge, leaving behind ten children, 47 grandchildren and 43 great-grand children – and counting.

It is difficult to beat the proposition, I submit, that the top purpose of the relation called “marriage” is to transcend death by bringing into being and towards perfection new units of human capital. Death is thus defeated at two levels: physical and cultural.

Alternatives

Those who oppose this definition have a point. Marriage is not necessary to bring into existence new humans. So why burden the two with an impossible lifelong commitment? Let them love each other as best they can, and let procreation and education take care at other levels as well as can be done.

This attitude mistakes love for a sentimental relation, begets fruitless social disorder, and unconditionally surrenders the couple to the power of death. A man and a woman who come together for purposes other than procreation and education of an offspring march towards death leaving nothing behind. By the same token, children begotten outside marriage struggle thought their lives as they lose on the cultural matter.

Let us therefore consider how disorder increases as we move away from the metaphysics of marriage.

Unity versus Disintegration

Every human tends towards unity, but against severe odds. Achieving such unity is not automatic. It requires a lifelong struggle. As St Augustine remarks, every circle has a centre of unity and a circumference of disintegration. For man, unity means dominating the circle from the centre; disintegration, trying to grab as much of the circumference as desire dictates. Paradoxically, he remarks, and human experience corroborates, the more circumference gets grabbed, the poorer the grabber becomes.

The spouses are loaded with their double handicap of existential disorder wrought in human nature by the legacy of original sin. Add the same legacy in each of the children and you begin to realise what an awesome task marriage is.

Marriage is a special type of relation: a covenant, which differs from a contract for being a commitment to hand over not goods and services but persons. What is inevitable in a covenant, therefore, is a loss of sovereignty over one’s person, not just over one’s body. Put another way, marriage is the most elementary form of political union, where compromise becomes the only possible form of leadership. The matrimonial polity gets more and more complex the more children are born and brought up, this being the gauntlet the spouses have thrown into the face of Death.

Therefore marriage requires self-surrender. The union of two wills is impossible without each of them giving up some of the self. Ditto for the union of two minds, two sets of passions, of tastes etc. Even the sexual union, if reduced to no more than self-gratification, will destroy the unity of marriage, not strengthen it. That is why it is called debt. Debts are owed to another; in marriage not just to the spouse, but also to the offspring, by means of unity, fidelity and love.

From Divorce to LGBT

Divorce is a practical application of the main confusion affecting modern man, i.e. freedom with independence. It acted as the thin wedge that in a little more than 200 years has slowly demolished the institution of marriage, reducing the family to what it has become.

The Gadarene slope stepped onto at the time has eventually brought the onslaught of LGBT ((lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) forces, imposing their views by sustained propaganda and deception.

Whereas propaganda is manipulated by conniving financial and political forces wielding political power, deception relies almost exclusively on ignorance, especially of language and the humanities (The humanities are studies about human culture, such as literature, philosophy, and history), as illustrated by the following anecdote.

Beijing 1995. A lone Chinese woman is spotted carrying a placard conspicuously claiming FREEDOM FOR LESBIANS. A journalist approaches her:

Do you speak English?

Yes

Do you understand what are you campaigning for?

But there is something I don’t know: Where is Lesbia?

There is, as a matter of fact, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea called not Lesbia but Lesbos. It was the homeland of Sappho of Mytilene (fl. 600 BC), a poetess rumoured to have entertained erotic relations with women. But there is no country called Lesbia anywhere in the world with its people hankering for freedom as the lone Beijing woman had been brainwashed into believing.

Even if true, it would be slanderous, therefore unjust, to expand to the inhabitants of a whole island an epithet deserved by only one of them, however famous.

The problem remains of how to call these women. Sapphic? The word belongs to the English dictionary, but with another meaning. If actual Lesbians (the inhabitants of Lesbos) have no objection to being treated that way, it is their own affair.

Another issue is words such as “gay”, daily – and violently – pushed down people’s throats as being more palatable (for them) than “homosexual.” This attitude deserves not so much a moral as a linguistic analysis.

The terms “homosexual” and “heterosexual” to begin with, whether users are aware or not, are an oxymoron and a pleonasm respectively, for the Latin word sexus (also secus, from secare, cutting off) denotes a clear split, an unbridgeable gap.

How to call men that consider it normal to unite the seed of life of one of them to the excreta of death of another? Whatever term they wish to use to denote themselves, it is not, cannot, and must not be, “gay”.

Technically, the institution promoted by the practice described above is “all-male concubinage”. That such people should feel, or feign, gaiety, i.e. the sensation of being full of mirth, light-hearted, carefree, sportive, airy, offhand[1] is irrelevant. Their sustained effort at imposing this euphemism on everybody is to be objected to linguistically. I do not suggest the use of no longer accepted disparaging terms, which will not be mentioned here. And I do not suggest alternatives. Language exists to communicate ideas and to call things by their names. If all-male concubines don’t like to be called that way, let them propose a better term. I for one have never used the euphemism and never will.

A further term to be discussed is “homophobe”, a monstrosity in its own right. Language manipulators want it to mean “dislikers of LGBTs” but its etymology tells another story.

“Homo”- is a Greek prefix meaning “same” as in homocentric, ~gamous, ~genetic, ~morphic, ~phone[2] etc. “-phobe” is a Greek suffix meaning “afraid”. That something fearful should also be annoying or disliked is normal; the other way round is not. A xenophobe is one who dislikes foreigners because he fears them, not one who fears foreigners because he dislikes them. The first attitude could plausibly follow plausibly unpleasant experiences with foreigners; the second is irrational.

So what is a “homophobe”? Etymologically it means “fearful of the same”, but the same what?  The term is meaningless. Again, this article is not to suggest alternatives, but to urge users of language to go an extra mile to find (or craft) terms that convey desired ideas, not whims and fancies.

There remain the B and T of the acronym. “Bisexual” has two accepted meanings: a) one who cannot figure out to which sex (he/she) belongs, and b) one who feels an erotic attraction for both sexes (more learnedly “amphierotic”). Linguistically it is correct for either of the two, so let it stay.

Transsexuals (more learnedly “gender dysphoria sufferers”) are those who for one reason or another are psychologically dissatisfied with the sex to which nature has “condemned” them, and hunger for “freedom”.

Wishing good luck to all such innovators let us tackle “gender”. It is not a euphemism, but a long-established term reserved to grammatical use. English and Latin have three genders: masculine, feminine and neuter. Their usage is not obvious but traditional; for instance trees, in Latin, belong to the feminine gender. The Romance languages have dropped the neuter, so they have two, not three genders.

But of late there has arisen the tendency to use “gender” instead of “sex”. The hidden agenda is to cancel sexual awareness in the receivers of such propaganda. Genders increase and multiply at will by promoters of such extreme equality, but are resisted by those who do not intend to submit to the destroyers of language.

Therefore, if you reader agree with me, never transfer the use of that word from the realm of grammar to that of biology. And beware of linguistic sleights of hand.

[1] As per Concise Oxford Dictionary.

[2] As per Concise Oxford Dictionary.

AUTHOR: Den Anoisíes (Email: [email protected] ; Follow on Twitter: @Den_Anoisies)

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