Re: The moral problem of abortion

Posted by M Win... on 13. November 2012

Those who view abortion as an inhumane act of cruelty must bear in mind
that we cannot expect to remove all the dark aspects from life. We must
stop pretending that life could be perfect, and void of moral
difficulties. The conclusion is that we cannot avoid dirtying ourselves.
We must try to remain as morally untarnished as possible, but we mustn't
believe that it is possible, except for Jesus. If we think that we are
perfectly good, we are also very prone to castigate others as deviants,
just as religious zealots do. It is nothing but zealotry to believe that
there are ways of remaining a perfectly clean and moral upstanding
citizen. It makes people very judgmental towards others. I discuss the
acceptance of dark nature in my article Symbolic Poverty:
http://home7.swipnet.se/~w-73784/symbolic1.htm



Mats Winther



"M Winther" skrev i meddelandet




"The moral problem of abortion"



Earlier in history the baby acquired status as a human being only at
the moment of birth. Prior to this moment, it was seen as merely an
organism, a fetus. In fact, during epochs in history, the child had to
undergo a ritual, e.g. baptizing, before it acquired full status as a
human being. Before this, the parents could get rid of the child. This
was, of course, due to factors of poverty.



Historically, people had recourse to a symbolic and religious
worldview. The "rule" was that human life begins when the child is
born. This is the moment when it takes its first breath and starts to
live as a separate organism. We still celebrate this as our birthday,
when our life began. We don't view it as beginning a few months
before. Astrologers have always regarded this as the moment when life
begins. Although we have lost this "naive" worldview, I don't think
it's possible to live without a symbolic outlook. We must still have
recourse to symbolic rules to live by. The moral burden gets too big,
otherwise.



I think we should be less sentimental about abortion. Up to a few
months, abortion should be legal. It is true that it is cruel, but we
cannot expect to remove all the dark aspects of life. Most
importantly, human life isn't holy. There is a tendency of putting the
human being on a pedestal, as if he were a divine being. But homo
sapiens is the most destructive and evil creature that has ever
existed on this earth. There is no grounds for worshipping human life.



There is a conflict between qualitatively valuable life (intellectual
life, spiritual life, artistic life) versus vegetative life, i.e., the
life of the child; motherhood and the rearing of children, etc. Among
simple people, such as the majority of the Nigerian population, there
is really no alternative to a vegetative life, so they give birth to
children en masse. But in the white population there are people who
have greater horizons than a mere instinctual and unconscious life,
which implies a qualitatively valuable life, capable of enhancing the
conscious dimensions.



The meaning of human life isn't simply to propagate the species. For
instance, if a woman wants to pursue a career as a musician, it might
be necessary to do an abortion. Thus, something spiritually valuable
can take root. Life isn't only about quantity. Quality is equally
important. So this is a conflict which we have to live with. We have
to put up with the painful and conflicting sides of life, and not
simply remove that which is morally difficult, as in the Islamic
countries. Arguably, a single meaningful human life is worth hundreds
of unconscious and mechanical lives (in a metaphorical sense).



A meaningful human life is a life that can reach its potential. Think
of the many women in history who had to sacrifice their individual
talent for the sake of motherhood and kitchen duties. An immense
number of philosophers, musicians, artists, poets, scientists, and
spiritual personalities, were never given a chance. It is very painful
not to be able to develop one's personality, and instead be confined
within a suffocating space. Many people, not only women, have been
driven insane by the stifling morality of society. It has created
immense suffering in human history.



When I speak of "meaningful life" I don't mean to say that all other
human life is worthless. I mean that people who have an impetus in
themselves, to manifest their inner nature, will experience life as
meaningless if they are confined within too narrow constraints. Such
people have an urge to live a meaningful life, whereas the majority
just take a seat on the train, visit all the stations in life, and
then die. Of course, their lives are probably meaningful in some
religious sense, but their lives aren't meaningful in the personal
sense of the creative individual. There are different variants of
meaning.



I am not saying that it is self-evident to terminate the life of
fetuses, but nor is it self-evident to always let them live. We must
accept that life is wrought with difficult moral problems, and we
cannot always expect to make easy decisions according to ready-made
rules. If the fetus has a serious genetic disease, such as Down's
syndrom, etc., I would find it easier to take this decision. But if
such a child were born, I would be capable of loving it.



But don't swallow the fundamentalist argument, that abortion is always
wrong. We are unceasingly taking the lives of living beings. A pig,
for instance, is a vastly more intelligent creature than a fetus, and
it has a full spectrum of feelings. Don't elevate human beings to
divine creatures that under no circumstances can be put to death,
whereas other living creatures can be killed as if they had no value
at all.



Mats Winther



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