Tag Archives: society

Love is a Mental Illness – Part 3: Why Love is Necessary For Human Survival

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Left To Their Own Accord, The Human Race Would Cease To Exist

When humans gained their prefrontal cortex, it was a tremendous boon for the human species. The ability to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, future consequences of current activities, working towards a defined goal, predicting outcomes, and the ability to control urges, are all moderated by the amazing prefrontal cortex.

But this was a problem for nature and the future of the human species. If humans were always in a rational state of mind and had the ability to easily overcome emotions or urges, no one would want to have babies. Think about it: Raising children is a huge drain on our individual resources. Not just time and money, but our mental and emotional resources too. Not only do we have to feed this baby, clothe it, and provide shelter for it, when it reaches the age of twelve, they start hating you for no apparent reason. They start demanding that you buy them clothes with esoteric logos that makes them “unique.” They think they know everything and can live independently on their own. They talk, yell, and scream back at you. And when they’re finally 18, you have to refinance your mortgage because your kid is compelled to go to this place called college, which is essentially a 4-year-long party for most kids who attend. Who, in their rational mind, would want to put up with that?

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If we could take the essence of nature, or evolution – I’m using both terms synonymously – and give it a voice we could understand, we would probably hear it saying “OH F*CK” when it realized people wouldn’t want to procreate anymore after doing a rational cost-benefit analysis. What essentially gave humans the ultimate edge in the world would simultaneously lead to their demise if nothing was done about it.

A serious problem, if evolution’s goal was to have organisms procreate into perpetuity successfully. They needed to break the humans’ rationality; not disassemble it completely, because that would be a waste of many millions of years of evolutionary work, but just enough so the species can reproduce without thinking so much about the burden of parenthood. What nature ingeniously came up with was temporary insanity, or what we would nowadays call it: Love.

Once someone becomes enraptured by love, they are no longer the calculating, rational being we once were. They are overcome by madness, thinking about this one person day and night; when they wake up in the morning, as they brush their teeth, as they work, as they eat dinner, as they fall asleep. They shower this one person with gifts. Even the most linguistically and culturally challenged person is able to sudden gain the ability to sing and write poems for this person. In the throes of love and passion, they dismiss the use of contraception even after years of being taught about its importance. Love is an obsession. Love is expensive. Love is time-consuming. Love is wasteful. Love is irrational. But love is necessary.

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Love is nature’s way getting what it wants: progeny. It inflicts us with temporary insanity, not enough to incapacitate us completely, but just enough to have us mate, procreate, and continue the human race. The conflict between intellect and evolutionary objectives does not arise in animals because they simply follow instinct. When it comes to sexual reproduction, they become automata – females go into heat, they release pheromones, the males go crazy for them, they mate, and the species continues. And to a large extent, this is what happens to us too. But the fact that we can self-reflect and rebel has necessitated the evolution of a safety mechanism. This safety mechanism throws reason and rationality out the window and enslaves us, albeit temporarily, to our primitive mating instincts. This is love. It is a drive created by evolution to ensure the continuation of our species. 

Love is not merely an unstable state of mind, it is a drive – perhaps even more powerful than the sex drive. If you ask someone to go to bed with you, and they say “no thank you,” you certainly don’t kill yourself or slip into a clinical depression. But around the world, people who are rejected in love will kill for it. People live for love, they kill for love, and they certainly die for love.

Sources:

Love Sick: Love as a Mental Illness

Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love

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Politics of Homosexuality: Sexual Prohibitionism

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What Does the Bible says about Homosexual Behavior?

The Bible is very clear when it comes to the issue of homosexuality: it explicitly condemns homosexual acts. This is the word of god. We must take the bible seriously and literally. Or should we?

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination. If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”  (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13 KJV)

One man shall not lie with another man. It is also clear that the penalty for committing such an act is punishable by death. But lets put that into perspective. Another quote from Leviticus says,“the man that commits adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 20:10 KJV) Anyone who commits adultery, according to the Bible, is also punishable by death.

The Absurdity of Taking the Bible Literally

If biblical literalism is the argument, then why are fundamentalist republicans not campaigning to execute all homosexuals? Why is there no campaign to execute all the adulterers? (A conservative estimate of those who engage in extramarital sex is 20 percent through nationally conducted surveys) God is clear that he wants all homosexuals and adulterers dead. If people argue that the Bible needs to be taken literally, then it is simply not enough for one to discriminate against them and deny them their civil rights; you must equally advocate for their execution. If not, the argument for biblical literalism is incoherent.

How Do Catholics Try To Justify Their Discrimination Against Homosexuals?

Now, Catholics are a little smarter. In justifying their bigotry towards gays and lesbians they also cite the scriptures to teach the unacceptability of homosexual behavior but they maintain that their rejection of homosexuals is not an arbitrary prohibition. It, like other moral imperatives, is rooted in natural law—the design that god has built into human nature.

To clarify, the Roman Catholic Church holds the view of natural law set forth by Thomas Aquinas, particularly in his Summa Theologica. Their take on natural law reasons that people have a basic, ethical intuition that certain behaviors are wrong because they are unnatural. Human beings were designed by god to procreate and therefore, be heterosexual. To some level, the church believes that homosexuals do not exist. They believe that we are all born heterosexual but some of us choose to engage in behavior that is unnatural; a revolt against nature. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered. They are contrary to the natural law.” (CCC:2357) Thus, sex acts that prevent it from reaching its natural end, i.e., conception, is perverting this natural law.

Obviously, a man and a man or a woman and a woman cannot procreate. Therefore, the entire purpose of sex and sexuality is being perverted away from its natural end. Similarly, a heterosexual couple who engages in sex with contraception is equally perverting this natural law because they are deliberately trying to stop conception. This is also the reason why the church is equally adamant on their stance against condom use or birth control pills.  Their argument is not to single out homosexuality as evil per se, but that it merely falls under the larger prohibition against perverting their definition of natural law. You can now understand why they are also against masturbation and abortion as well. (sex with no chance of procreation is a no-no)

Makes perfect sense, right?

Exceptions, Exceptions And More Exceptions

But what about heterosexual infertile couples? Should people who cannot bear children, through no fault of their own, be equally prohibited from engaging in sex acts, knowing full well that their ability to conceive is zero? Going by their position on natural law, the church should prohibit marrying such people, and equally condemn any sex between these two couples. Do they receive the same condemnation as homosexuals or condoms? Nope.

During a woman’s period, it is equally impossible for the woman to conceive. Same when the woman is pregnant. Does the church prohibit sex during these times? No. How about women who are post-menopausal? They are biologically no longer able to bear children. Does the church condemn these woman for having sex after she is unable to conceive? Of course not.

Their argument concerning natural law is riddled with exceptions. To say that homosexual acts are unnatural because they have no chance at procreation, is violated in many other occasions with straight couples.

So then why are gay people not worthy of an exception? Simple. It is an act of stigmatization. It is an act of discrimination. It is an act of bigotry. And this bigotry comes from the church that has engaged in the most grotesque cover-up of sexual abuse than any other institution in the world.

But miracles can happen, right? Look at Virgin Mary. She never had sex but she still became pregnant. If miracles can happen, maybe a gay couple can become pregnant and have a baby as well! Who are you to put a limit on the power of GOD?

sources:
“Understanding infidelity: correlates in a national random sample” Journal of Family Psychology, 2001.
“Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey” Journal of Sex Research, 1997.
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Sex in Japan: An Introduction

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SEX IS EVERYWHERE IN JAPAN. But the country suffers from a declining birthrate.

JAPAN’S COMMERCIAL SEX INDUSTRY ACCOUNTED FOR $20 BILLION IN 2001. But they’re strictly off-limits to foreigners.

IT’S LEGAL TO POSSESS CHILD PORNOGRAPHY IN JAPAN. But the distribution of it became illegal due to UN and international pressures.

Sex is everywhere in Japan. Stores like Don Quijote have a sex toy section that’s cordoned off by merely a thin curtain, not even three feet away from the area selling portable air conditioners and imported Pringles chips. Behind the main streets of Akihabara, Shibuya and Shinjuku, an adult video store is just as common as a Lawsons or a 7-Eleven. And let’s not forget about those Love Hotels, catering exclusively to ‘couples,’ offering rooms for both daytime ‘rest’ or a night-time stay.

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Anyone who has traveled to Japan knows tissue packets are given out like condoms at Columbia University (very freely and frequently). But did you get the ones that advertise hostess clubs, oral-sex parlors, and “soapland” bathhouses? Walking through Yokohama or Shinjuku at night, you see  hundreds of neon signs that light up the streets pointing you, a potential customer, to one of the many karaoke clubs or an upscale restaurant. But have you ever seen a sign that pointed to nude theaters, peeping rooms, “touch pubs”, and “image clubs” with elaborately decorated fantasy theme rooms? Probably not.

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Joan Sinclair, author of Pink Box: Inside Japan’s Sex Clubs, explains that the sex industry in Japan is “not an underground industry” but a heavily quarantined one. Sex paraphernalia such as adult videos, erotic magazines, sex toys, condoms, and used schoolgirl panties are easily accessible to everyone, including minors and foreigners, but the actual act of sex itself is tightly controlled.

Japan is one of the few modern societies where the social contract and the influence of social norms outweigh market forces. The uniquely Japanese phenomenon of honne and tatemae is still considered to be of paramount importance in Japanese culture. How individuals portray themselves in public became a cultural necessity resulting from the large number of people living in a comparatively small island nation. Thus, the Japanese tend to go to great lengths to avoid conflict, especially within the context of large groups through cooperation and sincere consideration.

Being able to navigate these complex situations is quintessential to being a “good” Japanese person. The great complexity and rigidity of Japanese etiquette and culture is very difficult to grasp for foreigners, even for a Japanese-Americans like myself. How to politely refuse a gift before accepting it, to remembering where a person with the highest seniority sits in restaurant, or how long and how deep you are supposed to bow before parting ways with a coworker are just a few of the many rituals one has to remember in order to maintain an awkward-free encounter. In short, Japanese people don’t want individualistic, hedonistic, narcissistic, and obnoxious Westerners completely oblivious to these social rituals to trample over their existing delicate and intricately woven social fabric. Simply, they don’t want foreigners to come fuck up what they have come to perfect. Almost all establishments will actively discriminate against foreigners, from refusing service to blocking the entrance outright (there are a few that cater specifically to foreigners but those are few and far between). And since its almost impossible to prove discrimination in court, they have no problem keeping their establishments exclusive.

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So the sex industry in Japan is not only a product of society, but a part of society. The clubs are a reflection of modern Japan: a xenophobic, literate society where the rules are written out, prices are not negotiable, and fantasies are predetermined, pre-scripted, and prepaid. The menu at sex clubs take the form of breaking rigid societal rules the Japanese abide by on a daily basis, with a common theme of fondling the cleanest and purest teenage girls in role-playing scenarios. Clients immerse themselves in fantasies and surreal fetishes, from hospitals settings with nurses without panties, naughty stewardesses and elevator attendants, bondage, softcore groping, and kinky stages with elaborate sets, the list goes on. But to all foreigners wanting to experiment with their sexuality the Japanese way, better luck someplace else.

Everybody’s got a dark side
do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
but we’re worth it
you know that we’re worth it
Will you love me?
Even with my dark side?
– “Dark Side” by Kelly Clarkson
 
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Book Recommendation #1

Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights

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Lucid, lyrical, and compelling – a wonderful blend of memoir and legal analysis. This is what legal writing should be. A former English scholar, law student, and now professor at Yale, Kenji Yoshino beautifully articulates the unfortunate phenomena of “covering,” a term used to describe an individual’s attempt at minimizing or hiding a fundamental part of one’s self or identity that others may see as inferior.

The law is clear that protecting peoples’ differences based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age, and (dis)ability, is a fundamental part of our civil liberties. Despite this, however, we still routinely deny equal treatment to people who refuse to downplay differences along these lines. Racial minorities are pressed to “act white” by changing their names, languages, or cultural practices. A case study he examines is about a black women who worked for American Airlines and fired for defiantly wearing cornrows. She sued arguing that wearing cornrows were an intrinsic part of her race/culture but lost. Women are told to “play like men” in white collar workplaces but simultaneously expected to be feminine and dress sexy. We see this often; a double standard and usually a catch-22. Gays are asked not to engage in public displays of same-sex affection. Yoshino recounts a story of a woman who was offered a job at a law firm but immediately had the offer rescinded after being found out that she was lesbian and planning to marry. She sued and lost because courts deemed that the “flaunting” of her sexuality is not legally discriminatory.

It’s a very fine line. It may be illegal to refuse to hire or fire someone for being gay but it is completely legal to regulate and discriminate against certain behavior. Since the courts do not see behavior (a black woman wearing cornrows or a gay man having overtly effeminate mannerisms) as an immutable aspect of ourselves, they are not protected under equal protection laws. We can be gay, but just not act gay. How asinine. 

Reviews:

“‘Covering’ is essentially a book about Civil Rights, its past, present, and future, and what role the law has played in this epic American struggle. In a stroke of brilliance, Yoshino intertwines his own personal coming-out story in between the pages; in a beautiful and quite amazing blend of memoir and history and jurisprudence.” – James Hiller

“Drawing on actual cases, he persuasively illustrates that the courts fail to protect men and women who refuse to “cover,” mute, or conceal those aspects of their identities that are socially stigmatized (i.e. their gayness, their status as mothers, their racial identities). If this were all the book did, it would be significant enough. But Yoshino combines his legal and historical arguments with a memoir in which he “uncovers” his various selves–his lawyer self, his gay self, his Asian American self, and his poetic self.” – Natasha

“This book should be an absolute must-read book for anyone in the areas of law, ethnic studies, women’s studies, LGBTQ studies, sociology, and human rights. As a minority myself, Yoshino’s articulation of his story resonated greatly with my own life. He is so clear and concise in his description of American laws and recommendations to improve equality for all.” – KP

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