Fantasies are the one unique thing about us. They are what make us individuals, allowing a subjective view of reality. As such, our fantasies are extremely sensitive to the intrusion of others. — Zizek
it’s ironic how, especially in western countries, we have been indoctrinated to believe that freedom can be across the board. that we can all be equal. the issue with that is that we as westerners preach this message of equality but don’t believe it. we can see demonstration after demonstration on the street led by a mass of shouting voices and hopeful visionaries for a better future. whether the issue be on war, religion, farming, and the gay community.
now, i am not saying freedom can’t be realized across the board. i believe it can and it should, what i am dealing with is a society that says we believe in equality and yet lethargically stands by and believes the lie that everything already is equal. its like the person who stands under an umbrella when its pouring down with rain and is adamant that it isn’t raining, even though everyone else around him is soaked with rainwater. its a convenient denial to say everyone is equal. we know this isn’t true, but, our behaviour speaks a lot louder than our belief in democracy. how we treat one another says a lot about what we value.
let’s focus a bit on the gay community. i have many good friends who are gay. i personally have no issues with homosexuality. but i would be naively ‘under my own umbrella’ to assume it is a non-issue within society. i could easily pick on christianity and how they have a sordid history of mistreating and maligning the gay community. but, i think its a bigger issue than how christianity has treated the gay community, or any one religion for that matter. i think most of our religions, like it or not, have been duly informed by society. and yet society has been duly informed by religious expression, especially in terms of morality and ethics. america boasts of its christian origins and there are many battle lines still being drawn on many issues, including having an issue with homosexuality. again, i still think our issues as a society with homosexuality run deeper than one religion. i think its a social issue.
we need conflict to feel purposeful.
i borrow a term from philosopher Slavoj Zizek who speaks on many socio-political issues, he speaks of a ethnic fantasies in reference to multicultural tension. i want to use that here in terms of the tension between society, religion and the homosexual community. if we are people who need a purpose, (i will use the word ‘tension’ here in place of the word purpose) than we look for things that give us a purpose. if we love the outdoors than a portion of our interest/passion lies in finding the perfect forest to lay our heads upon. if we have become passionate about morality and ethics than we keep searching for things to give us the tension with which to give us something to pursue. and when we run out forests or moral things to chase, we have to make them up. (i am in no way implying that there aren’t moral/ethical issues to still deal with; read an article on human rights issues).
in this right the homosexual community has become a fantasy issue. (not that the issue isn’t a real one) not just for society but for religion as well. its much like the person who thrives on tension. they can’t live without it, and if they find a moment of peace than they have to do everything in their power to create more tension to find purpose and meaning. this is what i refer to as the fantasy of meaning. the fantasy of meaning is the attempt to find meaning in the things that don’t really have meaning. (i am also not implying that the homosexual community has no meaning). when we create issues, we then create a model of overpopulated fantasies. and then the other issue that arrives from these fantasies are that not all fantasies can survive.
all the fantasies will be vying for power.
so, if society says the homosexual community is a problem, then a religious community enters the scene and supports that statement, and the gay community stands up and says it isn’t an issue than what you have is a war of fantasies. or as Zizek once said: “fantasies cannot coexist peacefully”. When we create a fantasy such as the ‘gay myth’ than representatives from the gay community are then forced to play-along in that fantasy. not only creating the illusion of agreeing to that fantasy, but also being forced to defend their community within that fantasy, and there is a tendency to demonize those who are the minority. and so the gay community then becomes a metaphor for an even bigger issue – the social construct of the minority and majority. and us and them. out of our need for tension/fantasy we have created borderlands, we’ve created unsafe space and territory where our fantasies have discovered a place to live.
the issue is that there shouldn’t be an us and them. this is where jesus’ message of lifting up the woman, valuing the child, loving our enemies comes into clear view. but we tend to treat this message as part of our rear-view mirrors. we look back on it and playfully suggest it has something to do with today but are not sure how it all works. i think the first place to start is our attitudes and fantastical allegiances. and also understanding that we don’t need to be a society that thrives on our subjective fantasies, but can work together toward a better society where the ‘us and them’ no longer exists. maybe that is what could be in rear-view mirrors?