Dogs and Gravity

I'm going to pull a Chesterton and paraphrase a thought from a source whose name I do not remember.

The idea went something like this:

It is not counter-productive for women, in feminist literature, to do bad things and sometimes even to be portrayed as morally depraved.  Adherence to traditional patriarchal mores and ethics is another way that men subjugate and oppress women.  The character who neglects or abuse her children, betrays her lovers, and harms others for the sake of herself is one who is enlightened because she is free to explore an existence outside that which is expected of her.

My thoughts upon reading this were:


It is the feminist point of view that women are constricted by man-made morals?  That's like saying that dogs are forced to stay on the ground by that antiquated, fowl-favorable, man-made Law of Gravity.

Our canine friends, who are aerially challenged, get together and determine the best way to overcome this obstacle is to ignore the Law of Gravity altogether and just do what they feel like.  Far from realizing their folly, they applaud the boldest of them that launch themselves from cliffs and jump from the roofs of doghouses with reckless abandon.  True, they're injured from their defiance and sometimes even killed, but darn it, at least they showed those close-minded anti-quadrupeds what's what.  And they've explored what it means to be dogs, not just what humans say it means.

Okay, I think I squeezed every last drop of usefulness-just-dodging-ludicrous out of that metaphor!

My paraphrase probably oversimplifies the author's original intentions, but it is an interesting thought nonetheless.  It reminds me of the often-dragged-out charge against Christianity that Christians have long subjugated women because they blame Eve for the Fall (and cite Augustine, as if infalible, to prove it), but smoothly overlook that

a)  Adam was complicit; it took the two of them to ruin Paradise.  When Adam tried to put the blame solely on Eve, God didn't let him.

b)  Mary the mother of Jesus gave life to the Child who would reverse the ill effects of the Fall and rescue us "poor, banished children of Eve."  She is probably the most revered and honored single woman of all time.  That's all.

Morals aren't man-made.  They are formed by natural law, as natural as the Law of Gravity.*  They can be found etched into the heart and soul of every person regardless of religious, ethnic, and geographical background.  You could even call it conscience.  And rebelling against that law, whether man or woman, exiles.  It doesn't free.  It's as simple and as difficult as this

versus this

Since I started with him, I'll give the last word to Chesterton:
"When I finally saw what was nobler than my fate, the freest and the hardest of all my acts of freedom, it was in front of a gilded and very gaudy little image of [Mary] in the port of Brindisi, that I promised the thing that I would do, if I returned to my own land."
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*Perhaps even more so.  For natural laws of science can be suspended, which is what a miracle is.  But to suspend conscience in a human being is to rob him of that which makes him human.  And yeah, I know that there's a fundamental difference between science and philosophy.  Don't read the dog-and-gravity metaphor too literally.


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