Friday, 20 May 2016

"A man without a law is a beast."

Why is incest wrong? What is incest? When the Nine Witch-Queens include a mother and a daughter, Gratillonius will not have sex with both. Why not? I would not call that incest. However, I share his repugnance when his own daughter becomes one of the Nine. He says:

"'The law of Mithras forbids...A man without a law is a beast.'"
-Poul and Karen Anderson, Dahut, Chapter IX, section 2, p. 190.

I think that our ancestors devised the incest taboo for sound biological reasons, then invested this taboo with divine authority. I heed neither the law of Mithras nor that of Christ but my own moral judgment. As it happens, I have been brought up in such a way that I cannot be sexually attracted to close relatives because I do not see them as potential sexual partners in the first place so there is no temptation towards any incestuous relationship and, in that sense, it does not become a moral issue. However, I think that the taboo makes sense although it need not be legally enforced.

Dahut, fully at one with the Gods of Ys, wants to consummate her marriage to her father. An older Queen says:

"'...all that is to come will spring from you, how you bear your burdens and, what road you choose to fare.'" (pp. 191-192)

If Dahut had been able to accept, as her father suggests, that she is the first Queen free to let her prince find her, then maybe that would have been the new Age of Ys. Queen Forsquilis fears "'...a war between Gods...'" (p. 191) If it were that, then human beings would have to stop following Gods and begin to make their own destinies.

1 comment:

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

While I certainly agree there are sound biological reasons for why persons who are closely related should not mate, I do wonder how well THAT was understood in past centuries. Very, very, very often it was CUSTOMARY for closely related persons to marry--for reasons like keeping wealth and property within a family. Egypt, for example, had the custom of brother and sister often marrying, down to its conversion to Christianity. And many Muslims in the Mid East still practice even now uncle/niece or first cousin marriages.

How does the Catholic Church define and regard incest? The definition given us by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ on page 192 of his POCKET CATHOLIC DICTIONARY (Image/Doubleday: 1980, 1985) is of interest: "INCEST. Sexual intercourse between those who are related by blood or marriage and whom the Church forbids to marry. It is a sin against both chastity and the virtue of piety or reverence to those closely related to us. Between parent and child, or brother and sister it is also a crime against nature."