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Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 7:54amSanction this postReply
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Regi,

Extremely well written and thought provoking! One of the most concise and clear arguments I have read on the subject. While I do not agree with the totality of what you have written (especially in writing off all of psychology as a fraud), your fundamental premises are intelligently argued.

The paragraph that I believe will be most assailed is the one that includes the following statement, “Because our genitals have a specific nature, how they may be used for pleasure is limited and determined by that nature. Homosexual practices are abnormal because they violate that nature.”

The reaction to this will be a laundry list of heterosexual sex acts that could not remotely even come close to a ‘procreation’ function.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the context in which you are speaking is a very ‘general’ context of the pleasure derived from any form of sexual contact between males and females, and not a specific context strictly defining all ‘specific’ sexual acts as having to directly lead to a procreation result.

Once again, very well written and articulated.

Sincerely,

George W. Cordero

 

 




Post 1

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 8:32amSanction this postReply
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Geroge,

Thank you for the good comments.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that the context in which you are speaking is a very ‘general’ context of the pleasure derived from any form of sexual contact between males and females, and not a specific context strictly defining all ‘specific’ sexual acts as having to directly lead to a procreation result.

You are not wrong. That is exactly the context I had in mind. Mr. Perigo very kindly let me go over the length limit for a Free Radical article, but there was still a limit, so some details that might have been included were left out. I assumed the sincere readers would understand that context. Since you apparently got it, I will be suspicious of those who pretend they do not.

The concept is even broader then you suggest, I think. The reason there are males and females in the first place is because the human means of reproduction is sexual. That is the biological reason for the difference, but human beings are integrated beings, their biological and psychological natures work as a complex whole. The male/female design is not just physiological, but psychological as well. The pleasures associated with the male/female relationship extend far beyond mere eroticism, and that pleasure, in any form it takes, is appropriate between them. It does not matter what a male and female do together, as long as it is not physiologically or psychologically harmful to either of them, because all aspects of the relationship is consistent with their nature. No aspect of the homosexual relationship is. 

Regi




Post 2

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
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Thought provoking, indeed. The argument is very well presented. I can tell you I have thought long and hard about what makes me homosexual. Your comparison to the disorder of pica ( something I had never heard of, and also very interesting) as I understand its relationship to homosexuality, could be stated as follows: just because you discover that you are drawn to a certain behavior sometime in life and you can't identify the source of that desire, it does not follow that that behavior is innate.
I certainly agree with that statement. Regi, can you describe in general terms the approach a homosexual should take to examine and correct his abnormal behavior?
Also, in your answer to George above, am I right in reading in to your response that NOT to have a a number of psychological differences between a man and a woman would be abnormal?



Post 3

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 9:38amSanction this postReply
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Firstly, let me congratulate Lindsay in permitting Regi his forum. It shows that under all his bombast and insults there is a person who will permit alternative views to be aired.

Secondly, I concur with George Cordero in that the rejection of Nathaniel Branden's (and of virtually all of the psychological community's) theory of repression as "psychobabble" is not justified. Rand admitted that her understanding of psychology was inadequate and Regi should recognize that his is, also.

However, Regi has many commendable points in his well-written article. Thanks, Regi.

Sam




Post 4

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 9:45amSanction this postReply
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James,

You stated: “Regi, can you describe in general terms the approach a homosexual should take to examine and correct his abnormal behavior?”

I realize that that question was directed at Regi, so please just let me know if my interjection is unwelcome. But as I see it, the word ‘should’ in this question is out of place. Since a consensual homosexual relationship is an individual choice and does not involve the initiation of force, the ‘should’ is better stated as a ‘could’. Assuming for a moment that the question you asked is not merely rhetorical in nature (such as when one sarcastically says, “so tell me why I should become a Hari Krishna”), the answer to that question is a matter of personal motivation and personal self-reflection.

If on the other hand, one rejects the fundamental arguments made by Regi, and accepts that homosexuality is not abnormal to the sexual nature of humans, but rather is merely a variant of that nature, then that begs the question; What is the nature of human sexuality, and does that nature have any parameters or objective standards to define it?

George

(Edited by George W. Cordero on 9/11, 10:59am)




Post 5

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 10:51amSanction this postReply
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Sam (and George),

Thank you for the kind comments Sam. I agree, and frequently state, that Lindsay always allows opposite views to be presented.

As for psychology, that is my personal view (which does not arbitrary), and was only in answer to Chris' statement that I quoted no psychologists. As for Mr. Branden, I believe he is sincere, but mistaken, but I do believe his "psychology" (teaching, not his own) is harmful. But I have presented no arguments for this position and expect no one to agree with this view based simply on my statement. I will present those arguments in another place.

Until then, your criticism is quite fair and understandable.

Regi




Post 6

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:09amSanction this postReply
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George- Your interjection is most welcome. I mean no sarcasm. "Could" rather than "should" is an improvement on my question. I ask it, because I find my homosexuality so basic to my self-definition, that I am unaware of how to look at it in an internal sense of exploration that I haven't tried. I am not going to be destroyed by an answer of "abnormal" vs. "normal", as my sense of self-worth isn't that flimsy. I believe that my relationship with my partner is one of the best "couple" relationships I have seen. It certainly is multifaceted, but sex is an important element of it, so I confess that I don't know where to even start with the psychological male/ female argument put forth by Regi. However, I don't claim any scientific evidence to support my evaluation of my relationship.



Post 7

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:40amSanction this postReply
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Regi wrote:
As for psychology, that is my personal view (which does not arbitrary), and was only in answer to Chris' statement that I quoted no psychologists. As for Mr. Branden, I believe he is sincere, but mistaken, but I do believe his "psychology" (teaching, not his own) is harmful. But I have presented no arguments for this position and expect no one to agree with this view based simply on my statement. I will present those arguments in another place.
I look forward to reading such an article.  Perhaps your article can evaluate the works of Dr. Michael Hurd and Dr. Ellen Kenner as well as those of Dr. Branden.  I have not read those of Dr. Thomas Szasz but understand from reviews that he shares much of your skepticism of the bulk of modern psychology.  I would also like to see you explore the idea of the "other than conscious" mind since much of what people do arises from unquestioned premises of which they may not find themselves immediately "conscious".  So a distinction between "other than conscious" and "unquestioned premises" would strengthen your forthcoming article.  An exploration of how fetishes form and how that ties to the overall development of one's sexual attitudes and behaviors would prove insightful as well.


Luke Setzer




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Post 8

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 11:50amSanction this postReply
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Regi,

It's refreshing to see such a respectful, intelligent examination of this issue. In fact, this may be the most respectful, intelligent dialogue on this issue in existence (I have not ever seen such respectful intelligence, with regard to this issue).

It's refreshing to note that you did not retreat to the draconian, theocratic interpretation of Natural Law - which the Catho-holics self-righteously imbibe in (sex is wrong - if it doesn't lead to procreation).

It's also refreshing to note that Chris did not retreat to the "you're-straight-so-you-couldn't-understand-this" position.

Both you guys deserve much praise for directing your mental powers to such an important issue - and with such discipline that it is inspiring to others. Others who themselves are aspiring to be great thinkers, and would benefit from good examples in this regard.

Ed



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Post 9

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 1:13pmSanction this postReply
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"The homosexuals treat the genitals as though they had no particular purpose, no context, no reason for being what they are, as though their existence were just some happy accident. But the context of their existence is procreation, it is their function, their purpose for existing, it is why we have them, and why they have the nature they have."

what is the "purpose for existing" of a sterile person's genitals?

whose purpose? nature's?

man sets his own purpose, and uses his body to accomplish it.

sex can be used for reproductive purposes, but it can also be used for pleasure.

our hands can be used to grab tree branches, and to dig up roots, but they can also be used to write, or to build.

our ears can be used to hear a lion stalking us, or some other warning signal, but they can also be used to hear music.

to limit man's bodily functions to those which primitives used them for is folly.

i am not saying i consider homosexuality to be completely moral (for all i know, it really does stem from bad premises). I am saying only that it is not wrong for being "abnormal".

The purpose of every other creature on earth may be the survival of its species. The purpose of man is his own to define. Mine is my own happiness, and if homosexuality was towards that end, i would adopt it (not that it isn't. just not for me really... like i say, i don't know much about homosexuality).





Post 10

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 1:26pmSanction this postReply
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James, George,

I see Mr. Cordero has undertaken to answer your good question, James.

First let me thank you for your kind comments. Your question is a difficult one to answer, but not one that is without answer.

If a homosexual, or anyone else who questions their own practices or behavior, determines the way he or she is living is not good, meaning, it is in some way self-destructive and inimical to their own long-term happiness and enjoyment of life, the only thing that must be done to correct that behavior is to determinedly choose to make that change and to be willing to pay the price. There is always a price.

The price is also a result of our nature. The longer one practices anything, espeically if that thing involves pleasure and is a part of many different aspects of ones life, the more all of one's thinking and behaving related to it is habitulaized. Because habitualization is such a powerful and necessary aspect of a rational consciousness, the stronger that habitualization, the more painful and difficult it is to reprogram it and habitualize a more benevolent set of behaviors.

That is the answer to the easy part of your question. The hard part is "the approach a homosexual should take to examine," his life. I take your question at face value, and assume the homosexual wants to examine his life. You apparently have, because you say, "I have thought long and hard about what makes me homosexual."

The very first difficulty is what you and I mean by "homosexual." When I say homosexual, I mean the practice of homosexuality, but your statement, "I have thought long and hard about what makes me homosexual," is a tacit assumption it is something you are, not something you do. But, in fact, everything we do is for some reason, and the motivation for all action is desire, even when the object of desire is very remote. If we desire nothing, we do nothing.

There is another aspect of this question that makes it particularly hard for me, because I have no idea, experientially, why one would choose to be a homosexual (I mean the behavior). I must assume, the homosexual means, when he says, "why am I a homosexual," it is not his behavior he means [because the answer to that is he chose to], but, "why do I have desires or feelings which make me want to behave as a homosexual?"

The reason I think it is paramount to distinguish between homosexual desires and homosexual behavior is because lumping them together and treating them as though they are an individual's identity ignores the most important aspect of all human behavior, it is all chosen--that is what makes us volitional moral beings.

In that light, when you asked yourself the question, "what makes me homosexual?" there are two different things being asked, "what makes me choose to behave as a homosexual?" to which the answer must be, you have a desire to and you choose to fulfill that desire; but the other question is, "what makes me have those desires?"

It is the second question that today is answered by homosexuals and psychologists, "well, one is just born with the desires they have." But we aren't born with any specific desires, only generalized ones. We are born with the desire for food (hunger) but have no idea what food is, or what kind we'll like, or which is good for us or which is bad. The general desire for food does not tell us, we must use our minds to discover it, and only after we learn those things do we develop desires for specific foods, for example.

Sexual desire is no different. The ability to experience pleasure from stimulation of the genitals exists, possibly from birth, but at least from those ages when the first learning is taking place. Part of habitualization (I know technically there is no such word) is association. Part of how we develop our sexual desires (like the way we develop our gastronomic desires) is by association. We associate those things that accompany pleasure with the pleasure itself. One very important aspect of sexual pleasure and desire is that merely thinking about it produces both some pleasure and some desire.

We are not born with any specific sexual desire (i.e. for any specific object or action to fulfill it) but develop those specific desires through our associations, experiences, and thinking. I do not know why homosexuals develop the desires they do specifically, because obviously my associations, experiences, and thoughts were not those that lead to those kinds of desires. I suspect I was subjected to many of the same kinds of experiences that could have lead to homosexuality, if I had thought about them differently, but that is only conjecture on my part. Those homosexuals I know personally who have taken the time to explain some of their own experiences all came to their homosexuality along different routes and from different experiences, but all of them at some point made a conscious choice, almost a defiant one, to pursue sexual pleasure in that way.

Can a homosexual change? Honestly, James, I doubt very much someone who has been a homosexual for very long will change, because they are probably never going to reach that place in their life where they want to. Even if that should happen (and it has) the reinforcement of those particular habitualized behaviors is so strong, and changing them so difficult and painful, I must honestly say, I think there is little possibility of change, except under some extraordinary circumstances.

Does that let those homosexuals who have decided it is not an appropriate practice "off the hook" morally, I mean, if they cannot change. Yes, I think it does in this sense. We are morally responsible only for what we know and what we can do. I think it would be wrong for the homosexual to attempt to pass-off his behavior as, "normal," but it is not immoral. And, of course, the homosexual must take all the ordinary precautions in sex to insure no one, including himself, is harmed.

I doubt that this answer is adequate. There are so many questions it obviously does not answer. I believe homosexuality is ultimately a result of the choices one makes, and I think those choice are mistaken. I think all mistaken choices have bad consequences. In the case of homosexuality, only the one making those choices suffers those consequences, and however wrong they are, it is nobody else's business, not even mine. But you asked.

Regi




Post 11

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 2:29pmSanction this postReply
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Thank you all. Regi, when I say what makes me homosexual (above), I completely meant what produces the desires. I certainly know that my behavior is by choice, but I do feel that with my desires, behaving in any other manner would be working against my own happiness. I don't know what specifically in my past makes me homosexual, if some external factor(s) is the reason. It does seem that homosexuality exists in many species. That could indicate an innate factor involved, but I am not an expert here and I could well be wrong about that. I am suspicious of a "homosexual gene", but I suppose it is possible.
I think the answer to the question, "what makes one homosexual?", is, to date," we don't know yet". I wouldn't have chosen to be homosexual when I was young, not for any revealed moral reason, but because I would have liked living in a family unit with my own children* and because it is much more difficult in this society to be homosexual. But now, at my current age and with my current relationship, I wouldn't want to be anything else.

*yes, I know I could have done that, but it had greater costs to me than to someone who is heterosexual.



Post 12

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 5:05pmSanction this postReply
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James,

Thank you. I appreciate your candor.

I truly hope you find all the happiness and enjoyment in our life that is possible to a human being. As an autonomist and Objectivist, my hearts desire is to see all men enjoying their lives as best they can, by their own lights and ability, without the meddling or interference of any others.

Regi




Post 13

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 6:06pmSanction this postReply
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Luke,

Thank you for the confidence, and for the good ideas. I have not planned to write an article on this issue (assuming it is to large a subject for that treatment), but your suggested questions, I think, could be dealt with in one or two or three articles. The subconscious, (which I deny any meaning to whatsoever, by the way), and the nature of "fetish" (which I have said in my book is actually the nature of sexual development itself--we only call it a fetish when it is exaggerated or otherwise inappropriate to human nature) are both subjects that could be treated independently.

I confess I am not sure what the expression "unquestioned premises" means in the context of psychology. I have not bothered to keep up with some of the latest developments (read outrages) in psychology since I discovered its fraudulent nature. Please enlighten me, or give examples, or both. I love learning new things.

I am familiar with Dr. Hurd, and Dr. Thomas Szasz, of course, but not Dr. Ellen Kenner. (By the way, I find Dr. Szasz' writing style extremely difficult, but I so much appreciate his views, he is one of the few "turgid" writers I bother attempting to wade through.) I would rather not criticize any particular individuals views; I prefer going after the essentials. If some individual happens to be a good example of one of those, I will refer to them.

Regi





Post 14

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 6:17pmSanction this postReply
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eli,

i am not saying i consider homosexuality to be completely moral (for all i know, it really does stem from bad premises). I am saying only that it is not wrong for being "abnormal".
 
Either am I. But for someone to intentionally choose that which is contrary to their nature (like attempting to live as a parasite rather than a creator) is immoral. The same principle applies to any choice. If one knows something is contrary to the requirements of their nature, no matter what their desires are, and they choose to do it, that is immoral.

Keep in mind, the two requirements of moral responsibility are knowledge and ability. Nothing is immoral concerning which one does not have the knowledge required to make a correct choice or the ability to perform the correct action.

Regi




Post 15

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 6:53pmSanction this postReply
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"If one knows something is contrary to the requirements of their nature, no matter what their desires are, and they choose to do it, that is immoral."

yet, other than some health risks, you have not shown that homosexuality is contrary to the requirements of their nature. of course "requirement" implies something which it is required for. with objectivists, and like-minded, i am assuming this something is their greater happiness.

it could be the case that the benefits of homosexuality, for those who choose the path, outweigh any negative health risks in this regard.



Post 16

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 7:08pmSanction this postReply
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eli,

it could be the case that the benefits of homosexuality, for those who choose the path, outweigh any negative health risks in this regard.
 
You do not regard one's mind as having a specific nature? Are "health risks," only physiological? If one chooses to do something which their best reason tells them is contrary to their nature, you do not consider harboring such a contradiction is detrimental to one's mental health?

Regi




Post 17

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 7:18pmSanction this postReply
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Regi wrote:
I confess I am not sure what the expression "unquestioned premises" means in the context of psychology. I have not bothered to keep up with some of the latest developments (read outrages) in psychology since I discovered its fraudulent nature. Please enlighten me, or give examples, or both. I love learning new things.  I am familiar with Dr. Hurd, and Dr. Thomas Szasz, of course, but not Dr. Ellen Kenner.
"Unquestioned premises" refers to those principles or assumptions about the nature of things from which one reasons and acts without challenging them.  Most people do not question many of the so-called "principles" learned as they grow from infancy to adulthood.  As nearly as I can tell, the cognitive therapy that Hurd and Kenner practice exclusively deals with helping the client to introspect and identify the ideas that drive the behaviors the client wants to change.  Since the client may lack skill in such self-examination, the therapist has the task of coaching the client to master that skill.

Because these ideas lay beneath the client's immediate or conscious awareness, cognitive therapy assigns these ideas a level of subconscious.  As I recall, Ayn Rand used the term "subconscious" in a similar fashion.  Note that the formation of mental habits or automizations of value judgments and consequent actions can happen without the subject giving these any real conscious focus and consideration.

The Franklin Covey Reality Model lays out this process as a flow chart the average person can comprehend and employ for his own benefit.

For these reasons, I find myself reluctant to discard the term subconscious wholesale.  As with other words like capitalism and selfishness, I think this key term has salvageable value and utility.


Luke Setzer




Post 18

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 7:37pmSanction this postReply
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"If one chooses to do something which their best reason tells them is contrary to their nature, you do not consider harboring such a contradiction is detrimental to one's mental health?"

contrary to their nature? for that to have any significant meaning for me, it must be interpreted as "contrary to their nature's requirement for their greater happiness."

you have yet to show homosexuality as such, aside from physiological risks.



Post 19

Saturday, September 11, 2004 - 7:46pmSanction this postReply
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Regi and Others,

I had seen a televised biography of Anthony Perkins some years ago and recall that a major component involved his struggle with his orientation.  He purposely sought a counselor who specialized in helping homosexuals to "become" heterosexual.  Evidently, it worked, at least for a while, because he married and sired two children.  But he eventually died from AIDS, so I question the effectivity of that "treatment".

I found a link where you can read a little more at

http://www.biography.com/search/article.jsp?aid=9437779&page=2&search=anthony+perkins

which reads, in part:
Famous for timidity with women in his private life, Perkins revealed that while he had had a sexual encounter with another man, he considered the great stabilizing influence in his life to be his wife, the former Berry Berenson, whom he married when he was 41. Perkins and Berenson had two sons together, Osgood and Elvis.  After Perkins was diagnosed with AIDS, both of his sons and his wife tested negative for the HIV virus.
So there you have more food for thought.


Luke Setzer




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