Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This isn't about Tiger

This is entry isn't about Tiger Woods, or whether his infidelity is our buisness or not....  I think thats a purely a subjective matter.  Some people are interested financially, emotionally, or whatnot in Tiger's life and so they in a sense care.  Clearly some people care, and some people don't...  And whether or not he has a right to privacy on this particular issue is also not easily answered, since he is a public figure and public figures naturally give up some of their privacy rights by the fact that they are public figures (not to say that they have no privacy rights at all.... just some.... what those are exactly, I'm not terribly sure.)

What I want to talk about is infidelity in general.  Clearly, there is something wrong with it.  I think at the very least we can say it is a broken promise, assuming that there was a promise of fidelity, which is pretty common between most monogomous couples.

However, I think most people enter into the promise without a full understanding of the difficulties of monogomy.  Whether humans, or more specifically men, are evolved to be monogomous or to play the field is really rather irrelevant.  People have to make a decision, and this decision is not a genetically determined one (lest there be a gene forcing people to pick up phones and call mistresses or a gene that compells people to engage in a tryst... And some would argue that it is the case, but I'm pretty sure they would be on weak scientific grounds.  And if they are correct, then we might need simply concede everything to genetic determinism.)

So if we acknowledge the difficulty of monogamy, what then?  I think when we recognize the difficulty of what most people are commiting themselves to, then we must be more lenient when they fail.  Few would question the character of an individual who fails to climb Mt. Everest.  But many are quick to pass judgment on people, public figures especially, when they fail in monogamy. 

No doubt, Tiger is morally blameworthy for his actions.  But the real question is how much does this really tarnish his moral character?   The easier it is for us to resist a particular temptation, the more we can rightly judge the person to have a tarnished or vicious character.  It is easy for us to resist killing people, typically, so when one fails to resist, s/he has a particularly tarnished character.

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