Monday, August 26, 2013

Homosexuality is a choice

"Genet's early states of sexual agitation- those he experienced before entering the reformatory- must be regarded as rehearsals, experiences and experiments, not as manifestations of a bent. Can any man maintain that he never dreamed, in childhood, of caressing a playmate? And what of it! And even if there were an actual exchange of caresses, would that be a reason to speak of homosexuality? It is only afterward that these tentative efforts take on meaning. When the individual definitely takes one path rather than another, "the retrospective illusion" then detects in them the premonitory signs of disorder or decides to regard them only as inconsequential deviations. Inversely, our inventions are mainly decisions and clarifications. What we think we discover in a moment of special insight is what we have been inventing for years, bit by bit, absent-mindedly as it were, without being completely involved."

-Sartre (Saint Genet, p.78)

For Sartre, homosexuality is merely one among billions of ways in which an individual consciousness (what he would call a being-for-itself) manifests its relations with the world. But as a manifestation of this consciousness, it is strictly a manifestation of freedom. Sartre insists (rightly, I believe) that there is no being which is capable of acting on consciousness, since consciousness has no outside to be acted upon. It can be limited only by itself. Thus the homosexual in his very homosexuality is a choice, and nothing but a choice. This was not thrust upon him by some pre-determined nature or βιος, neither by parents nor society.....nor did education force him into it, nor the circumstances of his life (for Sartre, the circumstance, even if it be as great and as vast as a world war, is authored by the individual). The homosexual is RESPONSIBLE for his homosexuality.

This will enable Sartre to say quite simply: "A person is not born homosexual or normal." (ibid.)

It is interesting that we learn of this from a sodding godless atheist, but the church will not speak for fear of having its toes stepped on! Even those of the fundamentalist right will usually concede that there is a sort of pre-embryonic sin nature that will determine the future acts of the homosexual. Mind that Sartre doesn't stand up on the day of Christ and condemn this generation of post-Christendom Christians for saying what their own cowardly minds and souls refuse to say, though their own scriptures insist that they say it! The homosexual is responsible. His refusal to admit this only proves that he is utterly ashamed of himself, like the child who under question will say that his older sibling made him do it.

In the vast literature of Sartre, the homosexual usually becomes the object of comedy and satire. Not, mind you, because Sartre believes that homosexuality is wrong. "Where's the crime? Where's the enormity? Human relations are possible between homosexuals just as between a man and a woman. It's surely better to get into bed with a boy friend than to go travelling in Nazi Germany when France has been defeated and strangled." (ibid., p. 225) Sartre rather pours his disdain on the homosexual because, "...acknowledging all the facts which are imputed to him, he refuses to draw from them the conclusion which they impose." (Being and Nothingness, p.107) The homosexual becomes, in the paragon and man-loving exemplar Marcel Jouhandeau, a "phony soul." He will acknowledge each of his acts but insist that Another is doing them.

I have maintained in the case of Africa and our local Indians that ethnic collectivities can never recover the dignity they so ardently desire for themselves so long as they place the weight of their history's failures into the arms of a foreign oppressor. To be sure, this post-colonial method of masking a failure is VERY impressive and catching, but it is for all that a mask...and qua mask quite pathetic for the considerations of sincere philosophy. The same problem lies with the homosexual. If he is not willing to be the author of his own deeds, nay, his own nature, then he has already admitted to the world that he is sub-human.

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