Monday, 7 January 2013

Fashion, therapy, enhancement, self-mutiliation... the slippery slope.

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It is obvious that in modern secular society there is a slippery slope by which people first modify their bodies simply to fit in with fashion; then justify further modifications in terms of self-therapy (e.g. enhancing their self-esteem, overcoming anxiety or misery due to some aspect of their appearance); and/or justify further modification enhancing their appearance (making themselves look better than otherwise they would have) - the process ending-up with grotesque (and, presumably deluded) self-mutilation in which there is either a psychotic indifference to the result (e.g. old women living behind the crude flesh mask of a younger woman), or even a deliberate self-infliction of ugliness.

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The most obvious example is the path from use of make-up and hair dye; to cosmetic plastic surgery, to serial usage of 'enhancement' plastic surgery which tips-over from creating a fake youthfulness to varieties of repulsive grotesquerie; to forms of permanent self-inflicted uglification with piercings, tattoos, scarification... and the rest of it.

This slippery slope has been descended rapidly in Western societies - within a couple of generations - and accelerating as it goes.

These phenomena are now increasingly common, even among the (more-or-less) respectable people in society - and the extremity incrementally increases with (so far) no sign of reaching a plateau - a true slippery slope. 

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Yet, among traditional and religious societies, the first stages of using make-up, hair dye, cosmetics and clothes fashion, therapy or self-enhancement do not lead down a slippery slope - but stop at a certain point that is socially sanctioned. Those who go beyond that point are met with significant explicit social sanctions, and therefore such transgressions are rare.

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So this particular slope is not intrinsically slippery; but is slippery in a secular society in which there is no overall transcendental framework for evaluation.

Thus, a traditional and religious society evaluates all actions in terms of some overarching scheme - and the use of cosmetics, hair dye; fashions in clothes etc are all subordinated to larger aims and meanings.

By contrast, modern secular society is fragmented, and no fragment has primacy; so that cosmetics, fashions, styles in hair, plastic surgery, tribal self-marking... all are perceived as autonomous, and unconnected - developing under their own internal dynamics, regulated by a circular process of validation that whatever is - is good.

There is no overarching scheme under which such choices might be subordinated - thus these choices become taboo - especially in Leftist-privileged groups   

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Is all this trivial?

No, not at all - these broadcast very strong and significant social signals, and these signals have an effect in first gaining acceptance for, then normalizing, then lending a positive evaluation to advanced self-manipulation of appearance.

In particular, the deliberate public display of 'extreme' cosmetics, forms of hair style and colour, clothes, types of body mutilations and modifications, cosmetic plastic surgery and the like make a highly reliable (although obviously not completely reliable) signal of being anti-traditional-religious in general, and anti-real-Christian in particular.

That this is true is obvious - but why? Although some people deploy their appearance in a way which is deliberately subversive of Christianity, this is not usual - most of those who subvert Christianity by their appearance are not motivated specifically to do this; and might hotly deny that subverting Christianity is in fact, objectively, what they are doing.

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But the association between 'extreme' appearance and anti-Christianity most typically arises because it is evidence of a person's primary allegiance.

At its simplest, a person who follows every fashion wherever it leads, or a person who has face and body carved into that of a younger or different person, or a person who marks or mutilates himself and displays the result with pride... such a person is advertising their subordination to secular values. 

So these extreme pathologies of appearance are - as might be expected - a mark of enslavement.

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Enslavement to what? Enslavement to the meaninglessness, purposelessness and nihilism of modern secular culture.

That is, enslavement to evil.

So many modern people are walking, talking acts of aggressive subversion of the good, and (mostly unwitting) advertisements of allegiance to values that are negative, destructive, short-termist, selfish.

They are living advertisments for wickedness; just as if they were covered in propaganda slogans or broadcasting slanders.

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Simultaneously, the distorted 'kindness' ethic of modernity renders the whole phenomenon uncriticizable on the basis that it is mean and hurtful to point out what is going-on.

Thus, the proudly anti-Christian message infiltrates almost everywhere - into the mass media and news, into libraries, bookshops and other cultural centres, into schools and churches, into children's TV, movies and books... 

Fortunately, even though the damage to a body is often irreversible, the damage to a human soul is not - and although flesh cannot usually be wiped clean and restored to its natural state, the soul can - the soul may - with repentance - be washed clean and made new by Christ's forgiveness and love.

Then there would be no more proud and unchallenged display of the anti-Christian propaganda of the body

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