If you came to this post because the title led you to think this would be something cool about science by Steve P., you are out of luck. Instead, it is a riff on John Crawford’s post from last week entitled The Black Hole. Crawford explains convincingly how our tendency to just throw up our hands when it comes to understanding male sexuality is unproductive. We apparently are content to stumble along thinking that every single man on earth is just a hunka hunka burnin’ lust, so what are ya gonna do about it? It’s really no mystery why we continue to struggle with the same problems over and over, with no measurable progress.
The tendency to treat people as groups rather than as individuals is understandable and sometimes even necessary. But I think there is often a very high cost, especially when we assign to the entire group the worst traits that we can observe in any individual member of the group. Everybody understands how destructive racial stereotyping can be, so it is unsettling to see how comfortable we are with other stereotypical black holes. In addition to the Hulk stereotype of male sexuality, here are some others you might have heard about:
- Women. You can’t live with them, and you can’t live without them. They are hormonal, incomprehensible bundles of irrational emotion who yak too much and who cannot do algebra.
- Teenagers. It’s best to just ignore them, since they are just sullen, ungrateful, moody acne farms who we hope will snap out of it when they walk through the front door of the MTC.
- Other Christians. Everybody knows that they show The Godmakers every Sunday, unless they’ve already scheduled a presentation by somebody who thinks Jesus co-existed with Tyrannosaurus Rex.
In my experience, when I see just a member of a group instead of a person, I miss out on most of the interesting things about that person. And when that person is someone close to me, like a family member or neighbor, I am failing to love them as I should, and as I want to. Black holes are barriers to love and empathy. After all, that 18 year old hunka hunka burnin’ lust surfing on a tsunami of testosterone and the hormonal, irrational woman who feels like killing somebody because of PMS have a lot in common. They are both experiencing the way our bodies and brain chemistry can tempt us to sub-optimal behavior. We really are not that different.