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November 25, 2005



Bravo! Bravo!! You are awesome! I liked your comments, and you are "right on" about your remarks on modesty. Too bad a "SHA" program is so shallow, and it is bizarre that their program is mandatory, especially when it is such a cheap, tacky "fun and games" approach. I think someone needs to tell the Princeton Sexual Health committee that their "jeopardy" program is in jeopardy--they should halt all efforts and take direction from you! It is very clear from your writing, that your approach is far more healthy, grounded, strong, and so wise for your age. Keep up the great work. I look forward to reading more!


Article: "It is said that freedom is not doing what you want but doing what you ought."

Rather interesting quote. I heard someone say something similar a few years ago. At the time, I thought it rather original and profound. I guess it was far from being originated by the speaker...

Article: "Unfortunately, our society has lost a sense of the “ought” due to an impressive primacy on moral relativism and radical individualism. However, without that “ought,” there can be no concept of modesty."

That smacks of finger pointing. Playing devil's advocate (as I am apt to do) for a moment, from whence did the need for 'moral relativism and radical individualism' emerge? Nature abhors a vacuum. Could it be the manifestation of a backlash against a structure that relied on shame, stigma and scare tactics to get people to do what "ought" to be done?

Article: "Many people associate modesty with a religious background for good reason."

This is why I usually refrain from referencing religion on this matter. While such autocorrelation may be attributed to a "meme complex," it is very unfortunate because the structure (mentioned in the previous response) also happens to be the object of the backlash. This may be why sexual modesty (despite its benefits) unfortunately remains unpopular in certain circles.

Article: "Religion can be a way to better know yourself. Many people find their identities in a particular religion which gives life a purpose and also directs them to what they ought to do."

Very well said. Emphasis should be on the word "can." The religious undertow of deprivation and repression should not be underestimated. Many unknowingly fight the undertow and lose themselves in the process. At the same time, one must be careful not to surrender to the undertow; allowing one's self to be directed from without can be risky business. Caveat Emptor.

Article: "Modesty as a philosophical concept is independent from religion, but I think that religion can be an appropriate foundation for building modesty."

No argument from me on that matter, but as has been mentioned earlier, the autocorrelation does exist. The lack of clarity on this matter should be cause for concern as it may very well dissociate modesty from enlightenment (and freedom.)



In his "Contentions" series, Abdal-Hakim Murad (aka Timothy Winter) described modernity (although I interpret him to actually be referring to secularism) as "the nuclear winter of the Reformation". In other words, the Western world turned against political Christianity because of revulsion at the carnage of the Thirty Years' War.

If secularism is the nuclear winter of the Reformation, then moral relativism is the nuclear winter of 20th-century totalitarianism. The very idea of holding values is often seen as ethically suspect, because it is equated with a desire to violently impose those values on others.

Lisa Nash

Great post, Nene! :) I completely agree. I have a little daughter and I have been thinking of how I will communicate this message to her. For me, growing up, the hardest part about modesty was feeling invisible and ignored and lonely, especially in those critical teen years of about 14-17. I could have gotten a lot more "positive" attention by throwing off modesty. Of course now, I am glad I stuck it out for the most part, and looking back it scares me how vulnerable I was and how close I came to compromising my ideals for some attention. It can be so tricky to be a girl these days! I think that giving our girls positive attention for their many good qualities is a great way to encourage modesty, so that trading their modesty for attention won't seem like such an appealing bargain. What does everyone think?

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