The Corner

On Two-Ness

From a reader:

Sir, you wrote:

“I don’t want to get into the philosophy of mathematics — not my expertise –…”

(My apologies then…)

“But aren’t numbers more abstract than the actual flesh and blood typologies of man and woman?”

W/ all due resect, it seems to me that man and woman, as “typologies” go, (besides being arbitrary at conception) are a couple surgeries and some hormone therapy away from changing in to one another, whereas two is simply two. And we have a habit here of accepting limits set to specific numbers or percentages that are otherwise somewhat arbitrary.

The thornier question I think is why same-sex marriage is less moral or rational than serial marriage, marriage for TV ratings, marriage-on-a-whim, Bill-and-Hillary marriage, marriage at 60, etc.

Me: I think it’s clear that if you read my post, my point was that two-ness is as arbitrary as man/woman. Moreover I disagree that sex is as malleable as this reader suggests. Surgery can help change gender but I’m unaware of any surgery that can make a man into a woman capable of having children or a woman into a man capable of producing viable sperm. In fact, it seems to me it’s a lot easier to make 2 into 3 — just add one! — than it is to make a man into a mother. As for the rest of his points about the other problems marriage is facing, I think he makes fine points.

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