Posts Tagged ‘intimacy’

Family Intimacy

January 2nd, 2010 by Collin Canright | No Comments | Filed in History, Philosophy, Psychology

I stayed away from anything related to the Tiger Woods drama. Well, for the most part. When my wife and I first heard the reports as a strange story, we knew basically what it was about: a family fight and affair. My manner of gossip related mostly to media reporting of the affair and how much play the story got and how typical that is in our celebrity-obsessed culture.

In looking today for news reporting family and intimacy, I came across “Wood’s story shows our priorities awry,” on from Knoxville, TN. Monty Walton, the writer, asked, “But have we stopped to ask what this story tells us about ourselves? . . . Aren’t we teaching an entire generation of young people that relationships are built on physical intimacy rather than emotional and spiritual intimacy?”

Aren’t we indeed. The the writer answers from a religious and somewhat moralistic point of view. Yet the questions and answers have created a tension since the beginnings of Western philosophy and thought, and intimacy, even in marriage, has been defined largely in physical terms and then decried on moral grounds.

Not for the better, either. “Intimacy fought for in the 1960s and 1970s lost out to morality in the 1980s and 1990s,” I write in “Historical Perspectives on the Family and the Development of Intimacy,” a paper written for my master’s degree at the Wright Graduate Institute for the Realization of Human Potential. In the paper, I trace questions of family and intimacy to a long-standing tension between Platonic and Aristotelian philosophical views.

It’s a tension reflected in questions such as the state support and individual choice that continue today, and it’s a tension that goes beyond the political and moral rhetoric that has become a staple of our political and cultural discourse. The Tiger Woods drama does indeed show that our priorities are awry, but neither making him a public spectacle, as the public and the media have tended to do since Victorian times, nor shunning him in the form of lost corporate endorsements will straighten out priorities.

I suggest we ponder Walton’s first question, “But have we stopped to ask what this story tells us about ourselves?” Download the full paper to tead my initial observations on the historical tensions in family and intimacy.

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