Philosophy is an interesting attitude because you need to go about it as an attitude, a way of life, or more controversially, as a religion like the classical Greeks did.
The first philosophers were the first critical thinkers because they hesitated, they refused common sense for a far more profound contemplation of existence and the myriads of phenomena that shape our realities.
Agreed, my reality might be fundamentally different from that of the other 7 billion advanced apes on this planet, and here is the scary bit, each and everyone of those 7 billion advanced apes might hold totally different ideas or realities; immediately, this is an invitation to chaos but it’s not all as horrible as it seems because we possess one distinct and redeeming essence that clearly differentiates us from other animals and plants and microbes- we can think, you know.
Psycholinguisticians? can fully appreciate that thinking is one phenomenon on a different plane, thinking is not thinking if we cannot articulate those ideas in audio or visual data for others to know we are actually thinking.
René Descartes actually used thinking as the basis of his influential and seminal works on existence, he boldly sums up the totality of life and our existence in this famous philosophical maxim;
‘I think, therefore I am.’
This here is the essence of all philosophy, human beings doing some thinking, but we don’t always go about it the right way.
I will digress a bit and quote a Kanuri proverb about the Fulanis of West Africa;
‘You can never tell what a Fulani man is thinking.’
Here, they use it as a cautionary line to show the Fulani’s laconic attitude doesn’t mean he is not aware of his environment and the various dealings with others, it’s beautiful to see that centuries ago, we realized we all had the potential to think, but how well we go about it is another matter entirely.
Philosophy is by far a better way of going about this business of thinking but it has its own inherent flaws in that it isn’t afraid to ask big questions but at the same time is not willing to force an answer; some philosophers might even tell you that there is no answer at all to some questions.
However, there are some areas were philosophy becomes pragmatic and gives us insights and guidance on how to go about life and our shared coexistence.
Anyone can think, but there are immutable principles or methods to proper thinking and conduct. One of the areas of philosophical tradition is morality and no other aspect of humanity has it come to bear than sexuality.
Through morality and ethics we treat human beings decently irrespective of their sexuality provided they are not harming others and sex therefore must be consensual to a very large degree or the whole length, this is were I want you to think and perhaps articulate – going forward.
I have read about human beings who pay money to be beaten or abused during sex- one example I heard was a Nigerian immigrant who insisted on his British girlfriend calling him the n-word during, this is his reality and express choice.
This kind of sex ticks the mutual consent box but doesn’t tick the other box that says do not harm another human being.
I find it very hard to contemplate an answer because this Nigerian is a high-flyer and law abiding citizen working in a financial institution so clearly he is intelligent and of sound mind.
Is it moral for me to impose my views of nonviolence on their private affair?
Is it even right to discuss such issues in public?
We all agree that having sexual relationship with a ‘minor’ is morally wrong-here is the tricky bit as ‘minor’ now has a definite legal age.
So this becomes a matter of legality not morality anymore, laws are always not perfect or uniformly applied but moral values ought to have some sort of universality.
A sexual offender in the state of Texas might be a celebrated chief in Nigeria especially the northern parts because they follow a literal version of Islam that makes sex with a young person halal provided they reach sexual maturity.
The topic under morality therefore ensues- moral and cultural relativism- were the individual’s actions are judged based on his reality not as imposed from a different culture.
Who is morally right between the American and the Nigerian?
I know, I know, we all agree the Nigerian is wrong but is he legally or morally wrong?
If legality is the bone of contention, is it right to judge him by a foreign standard or only proper to do so based on his own sharia and culture?
Under sharia, he is legally right but is he morally right?
How about the whole concept of moral relativism?
Should we not judge an individual based on his own reality?
Lots of questions abound and philosophy makes you talk, from ideation to articulation but we can’t all claim to be absolutely right while another absolutely wrong on certain issues but we can find a common ground.
I don’t know what you might think of this but my opinion is based on a thought experiment to prove therefore that the Nigerian is morally wrong, I am not interested in legality because sharia is still a legal system no different from British Common Law in that it has its own flaws.
Questions on morality must attempt therefore to avoid flaws and here is a brief thought experiment designed to that effect;
Imagine a perfect world, a tropical utopia with sunny beaches but the temperature is not as suffocating as in Nigeria though, in this utopia called Etinan, every citizen has abundant riches, food, and security;
Would you marry off your sexually matured teenage daughter to a scrawny old man with political power or riches?
The answer is vehemently ‘no’ because you have riches also and with optimal security and perfect justice, you need not fear the suitor’s political power.
Nobody would want to even marry and consummate with hold man when so many virile and handsome peers abound.
This is the aspect I fault Mohamed the Islamic patriarch for formulating such laws, he wasn’t alive to his philosophical responsibilities and made laws not based on deep thought but basic instincts for a philosopher through sheer will would forgo sexual gratification in lieu of a higher and noble way through philosophy.