Thursday, November 09, 2006

ST reports that Parliament has repealed our archaic laws on "unnatural sex". Guess that means that Zoe can "swallow" without guilt now, as long as she does it outside of the public eye. But seriously, I'm surprised that there was such a law in the first place. Who are we to demarcate what is "natural" and "unnatural"? Nature itself has set some remarkable precedents in the animal kingdom for reproductive practices that might seem utterly perverted by our reckoning!

By nature, most animals are promiscuous, apart from the wolf (ironically) and perhaps certain species of whales. As long as a mate offers the potential to sire a generation with strong survival genes, there's little loyalty between mating couples.

Mammals have no qualms about incest, and we human beings have taken advantage of this casualness by creating bloodlines of champion purebreds best suited for their utility in helping us get our myriad businesses done.

Some invertebrate species change gender on the fly, depending on the preference of their mate, or by some other biological trigger. Some insectoids literally eat their mates in their afterglow, a post-coital ritual that we find extremely difficult to stomach.

Nature is as wondrous as she is perverse in terms of reproductive techniques. So what exactly do we mean by "unnatural"?

I think one of the reasons why we put such emphasis on regulating our sexual practices is due to the perceived guilt associated with the guilt experienced by Adam and Eve when they discovered their "nakedness" after their "eyes were opened" (our laws derive from British Law, remember?). To us, we tend to link nudity to sexual perversion though, as evidenced by nature's innovations, that interpretation just seems tenuous at best.

So what was the "original sin" in our first couple seeing each other starkers for the first time? I propose that "nakedness" might refer more to the realization that they didn't posess anything they could call exclusively their own. Clothes, after all, distinguish one person from another. Clothes (apart from uniforms) establish our individual identities; and distinguish me from you, us from them. Clothes determine who's in and who's out, who has more and who has less, who should do this and who should do... eeew, that! And they separate the discrepancies with a barrier that is nearly impossible to cross.

So part of our original sin was to desire an identity separate from one another, and in Christian circles, apart from God himself.

Another part of our original sin was to realise that things from nature can be transformed from their naturally intended purpose and turned into other things that suit our selfish purposes instead. The natural function of a fig leaf is to transform solar energy into bio-energy to sustain the life of the fig plant. But to Eve, it became a fashion accessory that served the Very Important Function of decorating her nether regions with. I'm sure the fig could have done without a single leaf but to be fair, the fig needed it more. Adam probably found other uses for sticks and rocks that set in motion a dangerous chain of events leading to the state of our world today.

I think we've got a lot more to worry about than how people want to relate with one another. But then again, I'm no theological scholar. What do I know about this sort of thing?

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