So I thought I’d try something a little different this week and offer two allegories to you. The underlying theme is marriage, with each allegory attempting to address different aspects of some of the arguments you may or may not have heard concerning the definition of marriage. The first is primarily concerned with the “function” of marriage, specifically related to procreation. The second is a broader consideration of how society views what marriage is.
First Allegory: The Firearm
Anyone trained in firearms knows that there is an inviolable rule when it comes to handling firearms–it is always loaded. You never, ever, treat a firearm as though it is “safe”–even if you have verified that it is. This means you never point it at anyone or anything that you do not intend to shoot at and possibly kill. Even when cleaning your firearm, you constantly treat it as though it may still go off. And if you’re not treating it this way, get yourself to a gun safety course.
Anyway, let’s say that we go the gun range, and today we are only shooting blanks. In fact, the entire range is only shooting blanks that day; no live ammunition is allowed anywhere. You load your magazine, watching and verifying that there are indeed only blanks in your clip. You insert your clip and ... How are treating your firearm at this point? Is it loaded? Are you pointing it at anyone? Are you in fact treating it any different than you would if there were live rounds loaded in it?
Why? What is your rational for continuing to treat a weapon which you know is incapable of firing an actual bullet as though it could? Could it be because you know that once you do–once you allow for an exception to this rule–then the overall respect and attention to why the rule is there at all becomes eroded–even meaningless?
Is it possible that rational reasoning alone cannot always explain the usefulness or necessity to maintain a traditional view of something?
Second Allegory: The Puzzle
Have you ever put a puzzle together only to find out that pieces are missing? Or that another puzzle’s pieces have gotten mixed up in the set? When this happens, have you ever tried to put two pieces together that you intuitively know don’t really fit, or aren’t “supposed” to go together, but you jam them together anyway?
Now, this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem if your only goal was to physically put the puzzle together. If you’re not at all concerned with the intended design of the puzzle, then allowing pieces which we intuitively know (or even factually know) to be “fit” into the puzzle is just fine. So too if you’re not at all concerned the puzzle at all, and instead are trying to create a piece of art or some other expression. Of course, if that is your goal, then it would not make much sense to continue to insist on calling it a puzzle. Maybe we can disagree about the “correctness” of doing something different with the puzzle than was intended by the puzzle's designer, but you can’t really expect people to keep calling it a puzzle.
Is society trying to put puzzle pieces together that we know don’t fit or belong together? Or trying to force people to redefine what a puzzle is?
What do you think?