Monday, June 26, 2017

Ripped from the comments section of The Atlantic online*

Sam Smith –

The problem with abortion is not whether a human being in the womb is a human being. People who believe abortion is moral and proper have a time and place dysfunction.

In the womb a human being is a certain age. That is a time function. There are no differences between a young human being and a newborn other than growth and development, a function of time.

In the womb or out of the womb is a place. There is no difference between a human being in the womb or out.

Adoption is the only moral answer to an unwanted pregnancy.

The Pessimistic Shrink –

No, Sam, it’s not that simple. Let me entertain you with some psychology (borrowed from a Canadian psychotherapist).** Child, home from school, tells his mother: Mommy, mommy, the teacher was unfair to me today! Mother responds: Now dear, the teacher was only trying to do his best. She likely believes she is trying to soothe her child’s feelings. In fact, she is not. She is soothing her own feelings and ignoring her son's. The boy is on fire with humiliation: The teacher, let’s assume, laughed at him and the class followed suit. He needs his mother to take his pain away. Instead, she doesn’t hear his message, his feeling, and replies with a parental platitude. The child now has nowhere to go with his pain. He must shut it down (repression and suppression). This burial of his true feelings is the beginning of the depressogenic process – the loss of the real self in childhood. The lesson here is that parent's lack of empathy is one of the most injurious kinds of parenting: A child will disappear in the face of this blindness. And yet no one would be foolish enough to call Child Protective Services on this mother. CPS, you must investigate. There’s a mother out there who lacks empathy!

Point is – There is an eternal conflict between a person’s legitimately living her own life, with her own errors, and another person's legitimate judgment of that person. Knowing what a mother’s or fathers lack of empathy can do to a child, I’d hypothetically like that parent to be strung up by the toes for an indefinite term, or be required to be monitored by some overseer – from the same moral urge that would cause you to threaten or prevent a woman from having an abortion. Here psychology fuses with philosophy: Each of us is a solipsistic universe who can only live, for the most part, by his own lights and flaws – the imperatives of his or her unique energy – yet each of us judges the other person’s flaws and resultant behaviors.

Knowing the harm you are doing, should I be allowed to send you to prison for slapping your son on the face or for shaming your daughter with crushing words?

Sam Smith –

Sorry you had to write all of this but of course it is that simple. Everything else is just your justification for supporting an immoral action.

The Pessimistic Shrink –

Sorry, Sam. What is simple is you.

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I believe morality can never be an objective fact. We can only have individuals trying to make their life work: That is all that human motivation can be, whether the result is altruism or selfishness, self-sacrifice or violence, adopting a child or child neglect, narcissism or obsequiousness, drinking or suicide, making money or giving money. If there will ever be a consensus good, sometime in the far distant future, it will only be when love is ubiquitous and all acts are linked to it. There is, though, a catch to this love: Its definition comes from psychological knowledge more than from any other domain. It requires one to have been loved for being his or her own unique child. It requires foundational respect for one’s child’s mental processes – thinking and feeling. In that place where life is valued for itself, where pain is not injected deep within children to come out later at the world, each person’s natural solipsism will be trustable when the most difficult decisions are made. I will understand that you simply cannot afford to give to that helpless person, but I may be able to. You will accept that this woman is too emotionally fragile to give birth, though she loves life, and new life. We won’t have reason to judge anyone, in this future time, because people will be fully human.

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* My sections edited for improved clarity and civilized talk.

** Vereshack is quoted quite a few times in these posts –

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Comments are welcome, but I'd suggest you first read "Feeling-centered therapy" and "Ocean and boat" for a basic introduction to my kind of theory and therapy.