quinta-feira, dezembro 29, 2016

Analysis of Andrew Solomon's Far From the Tree

Solomon would consider a “good life” one that brings the most happiness and the least suffering for the greatest number of people, thus, falling in the utilitarian category.
The author seems to think of acceptance, individualism and autonomy (or freedom from any self-determined-moral-standard) as virtues. He believes individuals should be free to connect with any type of community they want - as long as they do not interfere with or undermine each other's life choices; and be able to be whoever they want to be - not who their parents or the community in which they were born want them to be; also, he believes they should choose their own moral standards, regardless of any other moral standards, such as the Catholic Church's rejection of abortion and of homosexual lifestyle.
Solomon attempts to persuade his readers by, first, creating one category that includes both biblically reproachable characteristics (such as “gayness”) and biblically-non-reproachable characteristics (like dwarfism). He names that category horizontal identity. The fact that sinful characteristics were put side by side with non sinful ones might make readers more prone to forget about the biblical moral standards of differentiation and, instead, start thinking of both “gayness” and dwarfism, for example, only as “characteristics that are the same in their 'immutability', that one can't choose to change”. This suggests that readers should treat “gayness” and dwarfism as basically the same thing. Secondly, Solomon uses his own life's story and emotionally-loaded interviews he'd conducted to show readers how much suffering people who are “different” have to go through because of society's cruel treatment to people carrying unusual horizontal identities.
The author's use of character lies on his belief that a virtuous society is one whose members displayed acceptance and diversity (in terms of types of identities). In terms of duty, people are to hold neutrality as a standard for establishing relationships, meaning that one should not judge other people's life choices as right or wrong. When it comes to results, that society should work towards this goal: that no individual would ever be ashamed of their life choices. Finally, the author suggests that a society has acquired a correct vision about acceptance, diversity and neutrality (which, in his own words, “appears to lie halfway between shame and rejoicing”) when it no longer shows a need for identity-affirming-activism.

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