Tuesday, August 30, 2005

utrum malum sit animalum domesticarum electronicer recordare?

Unlocked Wordhoard has the following loaded discussion topic: Pet Blogging: Evil, or Just Misguided? Imagine my surprise when I found the following relevant article from St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologiae:

"Whether pet blogging is evil?"

OBJ. 1. It would seem that pet blogging is not evil. For blogging is a form of communication. Now communication is neither good nor evil per se, but only insofar as its matter is good or evil. Now any legitimate concern of man may be communicated without sin. But pets are given unto man’s dominion for his comfort by God, so they are a legitimate concern. Therefore pet blogging is not evil.

OBJ. 2. Moreover, in the hierarchy of being, God is above man, and man above animals. Now pet blogging is merely the making of a record of one’s preoccupation with lower beings. But the Bible is the record of God’s association with, and love for, a lower being, viz. man; so that the Sacred Scriptures are, in effect, the Divine Blog. Therefore it is not unfitting for a being to create a log about that being’s love for a lower being, and this includes pet blogging.

OBJ. 3. Moreover, blogging is done for two reasons, for others or for oneself. When done for others, it is an act of charity. When done for oneself, it is at least not a hurt to anyone. Thus, either way, pet blogging is not positively evil.

ON THE OTHER HAND, the Philosopher asserts that while individuals differ according to matter, the form or nature of an animal does not change; thus the natures of horses and cats are stable and fixed [respectively]. But God has no body, or matter; rather he is pure spirit. Thus pets are most like God in their natures, but not in any individual pets. But pet blogging glorifies individual pets. Now we should only do things which lead us to God. Therefore, since pet blogging leads us away from God, it is evil.

I RESPOND it must be said that evil is nothing other than a privation of a due good. This good may be either physical or moral. Now pet blogging is a moral evil, insofar as it is an act of frivolity, comprising a waste of resources and general poor stewardship of God's gifts. Moreover, as will be seen below, it unnecessarily puts animals on equal terms with man, which contradicts God's plan for man, who is destined for eternal life, while animals are only meant to serve man, not to be served by man. Yet pet blogging indicates an inordinate degree of service of animals, which service should be rather given to other things. Thus pet blogging is a lack of a due good, which is evil. Indeed also, pet blogs cause strain on the eyes and sensibilities of those who stumble upon them. These are physical evils; therefore pet blogging is also a physical evil.

Thus we proceed to the objections:

AD 1: It is true that communication is neither good nor evil per se, but only insofar as its matter is good or evil. However, the matter of pet blogging is not good, for while the proper care and keeping of animals is a legitimate concern of man, pet blogs keep both the owner and the reader from such care, by distracting both with endless pictures, which neither teach nor edify. Thus regular reading, and surely regular posting, to pet blogs must be classified as excessive, and this is evil.

AD 2: God associates with man, it is true, out of His infinite love for him. However this love is effective, in that it effects in us the Divine Love, and makes us more like Himself. Now, whereas by God's love man is raised higher than he can attain by himself, pets are not by our love raised higher. Moreover, as has been said above, pets are given to man for man's comfort. Therefore insofar as pet blogging demonstrates the consoling power of God, it is a legitimate activity. However, the means should not be esteemed as much as the end. Therefore, insofar as pet blogging demonstrates inordinate preoccupation with our consolation through a lower being, rather than He Who Consoles, a higher being, it is not legitimate.

AD 3: The principle of double effect requires that we take into account evil consequences of morally good or neutral acts done with good intentions. Thus, e.g., walking is neither good nor evil, and when done to help someone may become good, but that good must be commensurate with the foreseen evil of stepping on people as we walk. Now of the three aspects of human actions that must be accounted for in making moral judgements, act, intention, and circumstance, pet blogging is not evil in act, since communication is morally neutral. Moreover, it is possible for the agent to avoid evil intentions. However in circumstance, pet blogging is most definitely evil, given the foreseen consequences of waste of time, undue glorification of lower beings to the detriment of higher beings (whether man or God), unpleasantness to the ocular sense, offense to man's inborn sense of order, contravention of the transcendentals of truth, goodness, and beauty, and morbid fascination with irrational animals. Therefore the argument of not intending evil is not sufficient to prove that pet blogging is not evil.

From this it should be evident that pet blogging is not an act of charity, but against it, and those with informed consciences refrain from such activities.


Derek the Ænglican said...

[These recently discovered at the end of a parchment bearing nail holes from Wittenberg...]

96. The diminishments of Man's supplementary companions, especially that form known as "pet blogging" is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

97. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that pets and pet blogging are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love as they increase the human owners in the habit of love extra nos.

98. They preach man who say that the appreciation of domestic companions are of less intrinsic worth than most abstruse of etymological oddities.

99. My cat's friggin' awesome and if you disagree I'll dump a tankard of beer on your head!

invierta en franquicias said...

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