Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Deliberate self-mutilation is an evil

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If someone was to spray-paint Durham Cathedral with graffiti, or slash all the best paintings in the National Portrait Gallery, or blast a Vuvuzela during the climax of a great operatic performance - we would (or, at least ought to) recognize these as evil acts in their varying degrees; as destructive the Good.

We should not be distracted because deliberately wrecking Great Art, deliberately marring beauty, is somehow 'not as bad' as torturing or killing - wrecking Great Art is bad: that is the point. 

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The same applies to the human face and body - deliberately to mutilate the human face and body is bad, is destructive of Good, is evil.

It is an act of desecration - a vandalism of sanctity.

And this is an objective fact - not a matter of opinion.

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(As we all covertly recognize: our very viscera inform us of the fact.)



Even worse when the mutilation is permanent, scarring, cannot be undone.

Even worse when the mutilation is proudly advertized - so that others may be exposed to the act of evil; challenged to accept it, encouraged to emulate it.

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Even worse when mutilation is normalized - brought into desirable situations in art, TV, movies, drama, news - into cultural institutions; into situations where the mutilation is accepted - perhaps after a struggle, or in face of ignorant hostility and prejudice - or simply made part of the background, assimilated unconsciously.

This is propaganda for evil - and far worse than oneself sinning (sin is inevitable in fallen Men; but the propagation - by favorable association, advertisement, by normalization - of sin is a voluntary act of  strategic evil).

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Evil cannot be undone, but it can be repented.

However, only at the cost of Pride.

Advertizing, normalizing, boasting of sin is a highly regarded activity in the modern world - by contrast it is regarded as evil to point-out sin, to reject sin, to say that a sin is bad and should elicit shame rather than admiration - because to do so is hurtful - humiliating, even.

But repenting evil hurts, it ought to hurt - it reduces one's self-esteem and status among others to say 'I made a mistake, I did a bad thing'.

But that is what ought to be done.

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3 comments:

Wm Jas said...

What do you make of the fact that in Old Testament times the ritual mutilation of the human body was commanded by God?

bgc said...

@WMJas - I follow St Paul in assuming that this was superseded by the new covenant; as to why it was imposed in the first place I don't know.

From anthropology I know that mutilations are usually practiced as part of an initiation into an in-group - they are not optional nor individual, more like a form of ritual torture.

Proph said...

@Wm Jas--

Deliberate self-mutilation is a NATURAL evil.

Like all natural evils, the prohibition on it must give way to divine commandment.