Recent advances in biotechnology requires us to reach deeply into our thoughts and feelings about when and how life begins and ends, and to what extent we ought to regulate or control the natural patterns of life that we observe around us. And although the interface of biotechnology and human morality is being explored by academics, social commentators, and to some extent in the political arena, I wonder if the many challenging issues involved are being sufficiently considered by the general populace in ways that promote the kind of informed, creative dialogue that leads to new, life-enhancing insights?
One of the most challenging situations we face today stems from fairly recent enhancements in our understanding of human sexuality and the various (and sometimes complex) roles it can play in forging personal identities. And although great strides have been made in realigning attitudes and behaviors related to these roles, I think a widespread, genuinely equitable acceptance of sexual diversity is still a work in progress. In this regard, however, I was heartened by a recent CBC news item (Nov. 16, 2020) about a group of young people in the Yukon who took it upon themselves to get conversion therapy banned in their Territory—a wonderful example of informed, social responsibility in action.
It is to be expected that, at a time of such rapid and significant change as ours, moral quandaries will abound. A hundred years ago, for instance, who could have anticipated the moral dilemma depicted in a recent article in “The Guardian” (Nov. 16, 2020) about a UK court’s rejection of a transgender person’s wish to be legally recognized as the father of the child he gave birth to. This article clearly draws attention to the radically new situations we face as individuals and societies with respect to the diversity of human sexuality.
Clearly, new insights into and attitudes toward human sexuality are currently challenging many longstanding societal norms. So, it is incumbent that we pay attention to what is happening around us in this area of life, and do so in ways that are well-informed, respectful, and aimed toward enhancing our unity, our fundamental interdependence. Surely, regardless of how we think or feel about any particular issue, this is the kind of socially integrating activity that brings out the best of human creativity, and impels us on our evolutionary path onwards.
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Living in the middle of things involves a willingness