Body Self-Governance

One topic I hear often, and most often from Libertarians, is that people ‘own’ their body. These people espouse body autonomy and self rule. In fact, this is a starting point and they extend it out to some imaginary boundary of limited government.

This sentiment is captured by pithy statements like

Your right to extend your fist ends at my nose.

Some guy

This all sounds well and good, yet there is no objective case that defends body self-ownership. Taking this position is simply latching onto normative, emotional rhetoric.

Personally, I like the idea that I should have some control over decisions leading to what happens to my body, but save for the idea content, I am under no delusion that this is self-evident or otherwise guaranteed. By extension, there is no reason in particular why sovereignty can be defended except through mutual contract and the tacit (and sometimes explicit) violence and the threat thereof, as I’ve commented on before.

The Value of Experience

I hear people say this:

Experience is more important than material wealth because you can’t take it with you.

This is silly on so many levels.

Firstly, you can’t take experiences with you any more than you can take material, so the entire logic is faulty.

Secondly, although unsaid, this is typically uttered by those who equate experience with travel to other places, and so one needs some notion of material wealth to do so.

Thirdly, just being alive and somewhat aware is an experience, but I understand the notion implies a diversity of experience.

Fourthly, you still can’t take it with you.

Personally, I love aphorisms, those near-phatic quips that no one really thinks about, yet they feel that these are somehow guiding principles.

Opposites attract.

versus

Like attracts like.

Which of these is correct?

In fact, each of these statements may be correct; it simply depends on context. The issue is that people spout these off to make a point.

Opposites attract is how we justify when two unexpected people, for example, are together. It is also the basis behind the Jungian anima-animus concept.

Like attracts like may be either to justify why person A is with person B, but it sometimes further is meant to imply a sort of guilt by association.

The other issue is one of dimension. When applied to people, they are multidimensional. So which dimension is opposite and which is like. Of course, we’ll choose the dimension that fits our purposes.

Perhaps a 172 cm brunette woman is a police officer has a life partner who is a 172 cm blonde man, who is a criminal, and who both enjoy art museums.

Without specifying what percentage the likeness needs to be to qualify,
if like truly attracted like, wouldn’t the 172 cm brunette policewoman be attracted to another 172 cm brunette policewoman? Or would just another taller policewoman be good enough?

Anyway, nothing earth-shattering here. This is simply another example of the imprecision of language. That, and I couldn’t sleep.