Ghostbear wrote:It doesn't, but you could have chosen, as an adult, to get a circumcision before that date. Or you could choose to get a circumcision afterwards (perhaps even because of that experience). It's a quality that is changeable for you. Flip-side: you get rejected by a hot date because you are circumcised. What can you do for future dates? Nothing, because it is permanent.
Why does this matter? Either way, I've lost a chance for a hot date based on a decision somebody made. Whether that somebody was me or not--in what way does that change anything?
When you describe this quality as 'changeable', I think you're using a dangerous word. It's not changeable--not in the most realistic sense. Every decision we make--whether it's for ourselves or for someone else--represents an unchangeable, irreversible step. I want to make sure that those steps lead people to finding happiness. I've noticed that people are less happy when I dictate those steps for them. So I try to let them find their own way.
Opposing circumcision because it represents an 'irreversible decision' versus a 'reversible decision'--or a 'changeable decision' versus a 'changeable one'--that strikes me as a trap, partly because it assumes there are such things as 'changeable decisions', and partly because it 'fetishizes' bodily autonomy.
Ghostbear wrote:All decisions are irreversible in that utterly pedantic sense, yes.
But this isn't pedantry. This is reality.
I accept the linguistic utility of 'permanence vs impermanence', and if all you're really saying when you describe circumcision as 'permanent' is that it's got a higher risk for unhappiness than non-circumcision (i.e., it's more likely for you to be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is for you to be unable to reconcile your non
-circumcision), then there's no actual
disagreement here--we're just playing with words.
But the vibe I got from your previous posts was that you ascribed a deeper sense of permanence to the act of circumcision than to the act of non-circumcision--as if non-circumcision somehow represented a 'reversible' decision. But decisions aren't reversible--time flows in one and only one direction.
Yeah, shaving my beard isn't a 'permanent' decision, but what we actually mean by that word is that it's a low risk
decision--i.e., it's unlikely that my decision to shave my beard will carry any significant consequences down the road, since I can just grow it back in time. But all decisions carry consequences, seen and unforeseen. And the reality is I shaved my beard, and nothing I do will ever change it. So in its most precise usage, it is a permanent decision--and if we are to make decisions for others, it's critical
that we understand that1
All the things we're talking about re: circumcision--this is about probability
. Figuring out what decision will maximize the probability for future happiness. Reverse the situation a little and maybe you might see what I mean: Assume circumcision was critical in Western culture for any sort of scholastic advancement. You couldn't even get into a proper elementary school without one. Your parents' decision to not give you one suddenly takes on a new dimension--that's a decision that ripples
through your life in ways that are clearly irreversible, in all
usages of the word! Suddenly, you never attended elementary school! You never had any form of adequate education! Once you were old enough to decide you should have a circumcision, it's too late
: You're over a decade behind everyone else, academically!
In that given situation, which strikes you as more important: Your happiness, or your right to bodily autonomy? Which represents the more "irreversible" decision--the one that cuts a bit of skin off your genitalia, or the one that denies you access to a proper education for over ten years?1 Let's say you shaved my beard off while I was sleeping as a joke. I wake up, and I'm mortified. Horrified. Utterly fucking traumatized. You don't understand, because for you, this represents a 'reversible' decision--I can just grow my beard back. But for me? Maybe the time between 'not-beard' and 'beard' is of critical importance. Maybe I'm never going to win the once-in-a-century beard-off because of you. Or maybe the woman of my dreams will reject me because of my beardlessness. Or maybe I'm just incredibly weird, and this is incredibly important to me. Either way, you parse it as 'reversible', and I parse it as 'irreversible'. Reversibility, in this context, is subjective--after all, you could always undergo surgery to have your circumcision 'undone'. Maybe some people are satisfied with that--for them, circumcision might, in fact, be 'reversible'!
That's my problem with your usage of the word here: It's relative, and I'm not interested in relative terminology here. I want to be clear, and I want to use words that remain true regardless of the context. Hence: Circumcision isn't an irreversible decision--it's a high-risk one (in comparison to non-circumcision). It is more probable that you will be unable to reconcile your circumcision than it is that you will be unable to reconcile your non-circumcision.