11 November 2010

The complementarities of covenant

Covenantal relations honor the property rights of all the others in the eco-system. Covenantal relations are largely about the complementarities (gifts) in the system, with occasional allowance for rivalries, just as transactional relations are largely about substitutions (prices), with the occasional allowance for complementarities. 
The complementarities of the covenantal domain come of the dissimilarity of the agents in that domain. Because the agents are 'other' of each other their natural ordering of tastes and preferences are complementary with the tastes and preferences of their covenantal partners. In the limiting case of covenant, the waste of one covenantal partner is the food of the other while the waste of the other is the food of the one, i.e., pure symbiosis. In the world of pure symbiosis there is no need to delineate property rights because A wants B to have his waste, and B wants A to have his, and neither A nor B want their own waste. Symbiosis is the indirect, free exchange of waste. 
Sexual relations are symbiotic with the added feature that the symbiosis requires the covenantal partners to enter into a temporary state of union where the symbiosis can take place. That shift into an altered symbiotic state of union requires the sexual partners to enter into a state of simultaneous arousal. That simultaneity is achieved through the intense pleasure of sexual foreplay. It is perhaps not accidental that the erogeneous zones center on the organs typically associated with excrement and waste. The bio-morphology of gender specific species makes the waste organs of each gender complementary to each other. 
The self-restraint of honoring the marriage vows comes of recognizing the residual permanence of the two mated sexual partners’ temporary state of arousal. Honor makes institutional, and thus permanent, what needs to happen symbiotically and temporarily. Honor thus defines the time frame. Institutional structure lengthens the time frame from the immediate state of arousal to the permanent status of membership in society. 
Private property is also a creature of honor and the institutional needs of the longer time frame in society. Honor is the self-restraint members of society impose on themselves in exchange for the mutual self-restraint of the other members of the society. That honor is what the political philosophers call the social contract. Honor shifts into the covenantal domain what otherwise would be subject to incessant and destructive rivalry. Coveting one's neighbor's wife and land and livestock is where private property issues are engaged in the ancient world. The honoring of private property is the repression of that coveting impulse. 
Both prostitution and homosexuality also impinge on the institutionalization of the sexual covenanting. Prostitution moves the indirect, free exchange of waste, which is the basis of pro-creation, into the direct, contractual exchange of mutual arousal. It moves the covenantal character of the servicing of sexual pleasure above the pro-creative sexual function which is the exchange of issue between the covenantal partners – seed in exchange for fruit. 

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