Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Reason, Intuition, and Instinct

Most of what we say or do, most of how we appear in the world, filters through reason, intuition, or instinct. Add self-interest as motivation, and even a casual observer will have a pretty good grip on his environment.

I head the story of Pat Robertson's latest gaffe several mornings ago on a local radio program. 

 To a minister like Robertson, marriage is empowered by the almighty himself as the holiest of institutions. It is the most unbreakable of bonds, well, except in one case. Calling Alzheimer's disease a "kind of death," in a Sept. 13 700 Club broadcast, Robertson advised a man whose wife is suffering from the incurable, degenerative disease to "divorce her and start all over again." Unsurprisingly, the clip has gone viral and, like the many Robertson gaffes before it, prompted condemnation from others in the faith-based community. 
Alzheimer's is an ugly thing, made worse by the idea that the person we want to nourish likely does not recognize us or the love expressed. But Robertson is supposedly a Christian evangelical, and Christianity is a faith that demands sacrifice and love beyond self.
The comment is simply stunning, a minister of a religion based on selfless love advocating self-interest over love. 

There are several video clips circulating the Internet focused on the statement, but nearly all of them are edited to frame an argument. Here is a clip issued by Robertson's group, the Trinity Broadcast Network, and it is interesting to listen to his complete unedited remarks on the issue. It is the first question answered and Robertson's reply continues through two minutes.

I am not sure from where Robertson's answer came, but surely it is not reason nor intuition. Instinct? Yes, the instinctual fear we all have of losing ourselves.

1 comment:

Ramsey Hootman said...

Wow. Interesting. I think partly he's right, in the sense that it's never wise to rush into condemnation, especially with someone suffering so painfully. And I think what he was attempting to say (and didn't quite articulate well) was that if the guy has decided to go out on his wife anyway, the right thing to do is divorce her so that at least he's not being adulterous.

That said, I personally do not think Alzheimer's is the end of personhood. I used to care for a couple in their 80's, and the wife had advanced Alzheimer's. She remembered almost nothing - except her husband. He was her anchor, and as long as he was nearby, all was well. When he passed, life became much more confusing for her, but still, her personality was THERE. Even as her mental state deteriorated, she was still herself, if that makes any sense.