“What I hear, I forget;
What I see, I remember;
What I do, I understand.” -Confucius. 451 BC

Ask anyone that has been a motorcycle rider about what the experience is like and you will get the same response; you cannot really explain it, you have to experience it.

There are a lot of things in life that are very hard to explain and don’t make sense until you actually experience them. Part of it is that you can hear or read about something, but until you are actually in the situation you cannot really wrap your arms around it.

I have friends that are completely against gay marriage, and therefore against a same sex couple being able to adopt children. I don’t understand why the institution of marriage is a members only club for the heterosexual folks, but I find the situation very sad. It seems that nobody understands what is like to be told what you can and cannot do until it happens to you or someone you love.

I am not sure if it is because I have the experience of being an immigrant or because I have had true friends that are in the LGBT community (and some of them have adopted kids.) but I find it hard to believe that anyone would oppose another human being in any of those issues. Sexual orientation is not something you chose like what shoes you wear in the morning. It is no different than your liking being told sweet things while making love or liking dirty talk. It’s private, it’s what you do with your significant other, it has nothing to do with anyone outside of your bedroom.

I joke around with one of my friends about the BDSM world all the time because everyone that has not experienced that world to some degree thinks that is full of “freaks.” What most people don’t realize is that those freaks might be your dentist, your lawyer or the dude fixing your computer. What they do in their private life is their business… however, it does not make them any more freaks than your secret trips to the fridge at midnight when you think nobody is watching.

I am not saying that you need to go see a dominatrix to understand the world, but that judging others or even excluding them from the rights they should have is a very narrow view of the world.

Stigma is a powerful thing and makes people feel really threatened. I play video games online and I have met several people that simply refuse to let their family and friends know that they play them. I understand that the professional world might still have some negative views about online gaming, but now that everyone is playing Angry Birds maybe the stigma will start to disappear.

Don’t wait until one of your kids or someone close to you is discriminated against to change your world view. Be open minded about everything and find the root of your “moral” stances; don’t be afraid to challenge them or change them. If they are based only in fear or what someone else says, re-evaluate them.

12 comments on “Understanding

  1. I am basically tired of people being labeled as ‘close minded’ simply because they do not agree with something that is abnormal to their moral belief. I urge you to be more open minded to the NAMBLA who state that men and boys should be allowed to have intimate sexual relationships and they are not pedophiles but simply, minor loving. If that statement made you sick to your stomach, then you understand how it feels to be on the close-minded side. I find the thought of such topics completely disgusting. Simply put, I do not change my moral ethics, even if it does conflict with friends or family. I stand firm in my core beliefs. I am not wishy washy. Period.

  2. Travis,

    You just compared sex between to consenting adults to relations between a child and an adult?

    That is truly a new low.

    Nobody is asking you to change your moral fiber, or you ethics. There is no reason to hate anyone based on them being different than you. I am disgusted by people eating live animals, but that is common practice in other cultures. I don’t hate those people, don’t agree with practice… but then, I don’t understand it either.

    UNICEF is one of the organization our household supports, and I think that sexual relations with a child is abuse, therefore not the same thing as two consenting adults wanting to engage in a monogamous relationship or marriage.

    I am not asking you to accept, I am asking you to understand and see that people not having equal rights because they don’t adhere to the same moral code as yours is wrong.

    I guess I don’t see those things as repulsive because I have seen the other side of things. A couple providing a loving household to a child in need to me is beautiful, regardless of the sexual orientation of the parents. A child without a home or parents is a sad thing.

  3. Travis, those who “stand tall” because of their moral and religious beliefs are primarily responsible for the polarization and separation of this country. If people could learn to be tolerant of others – especially those who have no direct impact on their own life in any way – perhaps this country could move forward as a nation.

    Instead, we have to fight about abortion and same sex marriage and civil unions for what seems like an eternity, because it was (sort of) written about in the bible and because people “feel strongly about it”. People need to grow up and realize that what is right for one person, may not be right for another – but that doesn’t mean we should preclude others from doing something. The failure of this country to separate church and state is not the problem, but it will most likely be our demise.

    The NAMBLA “connection” attempt was just pitiful, btw….

  4. A new low? Really? It just points out the apparent hypocrisy that continues to exist in these arguments. Again, you subjugate me to name calling and demeaning labels. There really is no difference in the argument other than the fact that you have become ‘open minded’ to homosexuality rather than pedophilia. Perhaps you could become open-minded if it affected a close friend or family member? No? Hypocrisy. Perhaps something more acceptable like beastiality? Still disgusting? Hypocrisy.

    I hold views that are different than yours because of individual preference. It’s like belittling me with a verbal beratement because my favorite color is different than yours. Like somehow I am in the wrong for not having the preference to being open-minded to blue. All of this sounds ridiculous because it is. You are taking about a preference based on emotion, thus it holds no logical wrong or right. As soon as you govern by emotion, you are creating this fallacy where you judge others as inferior because they do not share your same views. Thus your prejudice is no more discriminating than those you target. Yet somehow you are enlightened and open-minded. I reject that. You use reverse discrimination and bully tactics as a means to push a perverted agenda from a minority status to the plurality. And undertaking this task fails two-fold on the front that 1.) neither of us are gay so why do we even debate this, and 2.) to recognize the institution of gay marriage as recognized by the state in its very definition goes against the separation of church and state. In fact, the state should not even recognize marriage as a legal institution. Marriage should only be recognized by the church, who therein should control the rules of the institution of marriage. The very involvement of gov’t is what has tainted this issue and created the problem at hand. We’re debating something that should not even be an issue. Yet the institution of marriage has already become a bastardization into something consisting of monetary benefits.

    Regardless, I don’t care. If you want to go have anal sex with a little boy or a golden retriever, that is your business. But if you expect the government to protect one set of moral beliefs that you follow, you cannot expect them to break down the moral beliefs of those that you have become more open-minded to. And that’s the bottom line. Leave gov’t do regulate logical laws, not emotional ones. We can discuss speed limit laws to fuel efficiency standards. Those can be debated with facts. We have no business regulating whether gays can marry and adopt children who themselves cannot consent to that perverted arrangement any more than consent to being the sex toy of a grown man.

    When you say that you’re not asking me to accept, but portraying it as a choice between right and wrong, you are still pushing tolerance. All tolerance begs is a one-sided argument because the one on the soap-box for tolerance is himself intolerant of the beliefs of his audience. Once you get beyond the personal bias, you’ll see just how pathetic pandering to emotion for the purpose of debate really is. And that’s why I have told you before that I do not argue on the side of emotion because emotion trumps logic. All it does is incite feelings of anger.

  5. Jdizzle,

    It was not pitiful, it was an attempt to show you how one portrayal of a moral argument appears to those who find it disgusting. It points out the hypocrisy of the debate.

    Furthermore, it is strange how it is not those who are the perversion of the norm that are dividing this country, but rather the majority view? That’s absurd. If you all believed that 1+1=3 and marched for that belief, would it be those who are educated in math that are causing the ruckus because we are not open-minded to such belief? Think about that when you speak of divisivness.

    And if you should know, I am a pro-choice atheist. Your attempt to group me as part of your anti-audience in itself is pitiful. It shows just how lame the argument stemming from emotion allows for the prejudice to seep into the debate. Prejudice is not just one-sided. It’s pre judging another based on your own personal views. Our personal views do not carry a label of right or wrong. It’s only when you label me negatively that your position fails to carry weight.

    One size doesn’t fit all. I urge you to stop trying to force everyone to have the same preferences. Diversity is the spice of life.

  6. Travis, it is a new low because NAMBLA is a joke… I mean even SouthPark made an episode about it. Comparing Bestiality to same sex marriage is like saying that donkey should be able to vote. You are comparing apples and oranges here my friend. While someone might see the BDsM world as an aberration, I personally don’t because I have met people that live inside it and are great people… what they do in their free time is their business, same as having a same sex partner or just simply liking dirty talk or your significant other to dress up like princes leia. That has nothing to do with the illegal act of pedofilia that our society has long seen as child abuse equate to same sex marriage in your head?

    Nobody is calling you close minded, my post like all of my posts is supposed to make you think of the other side of things. Being close minded is opposing something that you don’t understand.

    The reason to recognize gay marriage is because it is the right thing to do. To promote equality and give other Americans the same right I have, to adopt a child, to visit my loved on in their death bed. That there are laws that could separate children from good parents is sad, simply because of what they do in private. If you could have your children take away because your significant other gave you a blow job, would you then follow the law as well?

    Having sex with animals or children is not a moral belief… not sure how that gets mixed in your head with same sex parenting or marriage.

    I am pushing tolerance, but not all tolerance… because like you have clearly illustrated I am firmly against child abuse, and I guess now against animal abuse as well.

  7. Ridiculous John. Again you lead with Right vs Wrong. It’s a moral argument. The apples and oranges are not so different friuts when you talk about what you have accepted as an enlightened view from the norm vs. what you still think is irreprehensible. Whereas I can agree that NAMBLA is absurd, the comparison is valid. There are literally people who argue on the side of pedophilia who are actually trying to change the name of pedophilia and looking down upon the word in the same historical fashion that was done to the words “nigger” and “retard.” Yet because I don’t think that gay marriage should be legal that makes me in the wrong? You see the comparison as absurd because you have already put one part of the belief in your camp whereas they both sit alike on the other side of my fence. Even you are logical enough to understand that.

    I don’t need for you to appeal to my emotional side or try to appease me in the sense that you’re not including me in the close-minded category as a feel-good measure. We’re friends. I love you as a brother. But we share a mutual respect that disallows me to simply fall in line behind your blog articles with a clap-clap-clap and kiss your ass. I disagree. I do it simply to provide you with a logical rebuttal vs. the group-think kiss ass you probably usually receive. I expect the same from you.

    It’s not a matter of right or wrong. And to argue from that stand point is futile. I believe in one sense the same way you believe another. The moment your attempts become a means to guilt-trip your audience into making your favorite spice their favorite spice, you’ve derailed the debate. I don’t salt my food, John. Thus if you add a bit, it may not be salty enough for you but it is already too salty for me. It doesn’t mean the food is any more or less delicious. It just means we have differing preferences. That’s my whole point. Because for crying out loud, I can give a rats ass about a bunch of faggots railing each other.

  8. Travis, you talk about not caring and diversity… and kudos btw for being antheist ( I lumped you into that bible group because honestly, those are the ones who typically DO care), but if you don’t care, then why stand behind laws that would indicate you do care? I am not following your point there…

    and no, the comparison is not valid in any direct manner other than showing that you believe it is wrong in our eyes as it may be wrong in your eyes for homosexuality – that is just one believing in one thing or another, not a comparison of the actual beliefs themselves. NAMBLA is wrong, homosexuality is naturally occurring and not something people “choose” to be, but that doesn’t mean they cannot love people or have civil unions or should not be allowed the same rights as those who do, and it definitely does not mean they molest children.

    “Furthermore, it is strange how it is not those who are the perversion of the norm that are dividing this country, but rather the majority view? That’s absurd. If you all believed that 1+1=3 and marched for that belief, would it be those who are educated in math that are causing the ruckus because we are not open-minded to such belief? ” <<< well, considering half of the country believes in such a thing as a "job creator" and that wealthy people care about them or their jobs, and vote against their own financial , social and personal health interests… then yes. Logic is not something that general population seems to contend well with, nor is caring for others in any way that MAY be deemed as socialist. It would appear that perhaps half of the country does believe gay marriage is wrong and the other have does not. Why can't those who do not, simply let the other half live with at least somewhat comparable rights under the law?

  9. Travis, I am not trying to appeal to your emotional side in the sense that I am not asking you to put yourself on anyone’s shoes. I do think it takes being in a situation to truly understand it. So having a child or a friend that is gay might make you see things in a different light and make you understand better. No I don’t want you to change your politics or your morals, or those of anyone… I simply wanted people think of how sometimes it has to be experienced to truly understand some thing… like riding a motorcycle.

    You insist on bringing homosexuality as an aberration or a deviation that somehow attacks your moral makeup. I don’t see it that way at all, and that is maybe because what I see as deviant behavior is completely different. Child abuse and bestiality to me are out of my comfort zone and really not things I think should be “protected” by any law.

    Everyone has a line on sexual deviation from just missionary position, but some have been clearly established as social norms, while others died in practice in the west long, long ago. Athenians I think were the last ones that openly had the whole (young companion thing) but I think even Plato was against it and saw the mentor relationship more platonic than physical.

    I am sure there are people that could argue that point, but it does not mean that it should be respected. Everything in life is about boundaries and how far are you willing to push them.

    The same sex marriage and equality thing for me is clear because I don’t see homosexuality as an aberration or something I should be against. I see people that are gay simply as other human beings that deserve the same rights I have. I don’t think people should have the right to have sex with a minor.

    I have no idea where you get that I am arguing a right or wrong point here. I am not salting anyone’s food, I am just simply stating that sometimes it takes a little bit of experience to truly understand a situation. If you don’t care about the issue, don’t, if you are against it, be against it. This post was not to advocate tolerance, it was just a nice quote I read and what it made me think about.

  10. Your back tracks are the biggest copout I have read since Bill Clinton asked what the definition of is, is. Each rebuttal is so full of contradictions that a trial lawyer would have a field day.

  11. In a way I am glad there are still people in the world that have never experienced any kind of discrimination or being labeled “the other”. It means they have had relatively good lives. But you are right, this lack of experience could, not will but could, lead to a lack of empathy with those who have.

    I’m a white, English as a primary language, marginally Christian (at least on paper) straight male. In the US that would mean other than the whole being fat thing I am among the least persecuted groups around.

    Your readers who know me may have realized I am the friend with a BDsM background. But I want to add that in addition to my kinky friends I have friends who are gay, Jewish, immigrants, bisexual, mentally/developmentaly disabled, Muslim, Black, Athiests, Asian, Pagans, and several other minority groups. I have never experienced first hand discrimination, persecution or harassment but I have seen the results in my friends who have. And it fucking sucks.

    My grandparents were big old racists, & my Mom is borderline homophobic. I have also seen how their issues diminish their own lives as well as those they hate. It closes off an avenue of human interaction & experience that they may never regain. Also it saddens me to see all the energy they expend on hate and fear.

    Sadness for my family members does not equal forgiveness tho. As bad as they have it, those on the other side of the equation are actually the wronged party. I am just saying there are no winners in the hate game. And in respect to the ongoing discussion it is hate, not opinion that I am against.

  12. … I work with lawyers, every day… but I digress.

    Somehow asking people to be open minded is calling you close minded? I lost you a while back I guess.

    The post is about a lot of things, mostly my thoughts. One of the actually applies directly to you… you felt like you had to defend your position as not one coming from a religious point of view. That is stigma and I wish we lived in a society where everyone could be equal and not feel attacked and prosecuted by the discussion of simply understanding topics that maybe you are not familiar with or touched by in any way.

    How you get any kind of hate or prosecution from me saying that I am sad that same sex couples don’t have the same rights to adopt children or how that encroaches you is beyond me.

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