OK, let me say that this post has little to do with either the Millennium series of books or the Film of the above title based on the first.
I have been wanting to comment on two things for a while now, and I simply have not been able to come up with an appropriate movie for a direct reference, or even it seems as a first derivative, it seems tangential is about as close as I am going to come.
As you are likely to have figured out by this point, I am a deontologist, that means that rules and classifications of things tend to be my primary intersection for judgement on the right or wrongness of a thing:
Let me start with classification: I classify people and situations with respect to rules along the following lines:
- Universal Applicability
- Those who voluntarily identify with an idea that I also identify with.
- Every one else
Basically, I am stricter towards the top and loser at the bottom.
You probably need an example:
I belong, voluntarily, to a particular sect of Christianity that ascribes to something called the ‘Regulative Principle of Worship’ The easiest way of describing the RPW is to say that those things, and only those things commanded of corporate worship should play any part in corporate worship. Regulative basically means those things and only those things described should be a part of something, I am being very simplistic here, but I suspect you may be getting the idea. So for example according to the RPW, the Psalms have a place in worship, hymns do not.
So if you belong to a sect/ denomination that ascribes to the RPW I expect that you will abide by it. If you are a christian and belong to a denomination that ascribes to a different principle (frequently it is the normative principle meaning anything not expressly forbidden in worship is allowable), I expect you to abide by that principle [again these are gross oversimplifications.] Of course if you are not christian, I expect that you would abide by neither.
Does this mean that I think it is OK for anyone to do anything so long as they believe it to be right? No, it means I expect them to do what they believe and be consistent to it. The motto of the White Horse Inn is particularly relevant: Know what you believe and why you believe it. There is a reason I believe that such a motto is important, the reason is because I believe my beliefs are better than any others I have ever encountered. WHOA! Wait a minute there buddy that sounds awfully bigoted. Come on now how many of my posts have you read now? You know that if I throw a grenade out there it is to allow me to explain how my view of things is different than what you might expect. So lets get to that now…
My ideas are better, why? Well let me start off by saying they are NOT better because I believe them; rather, I believe them because they are better. Put another way the way things work is I believe that which is consistent and best, again it is not made best because I believe it. Put still another way, the way to change my mind is to convince me a different idea is better than the one I hold now, or alternatively to convince me that one of my presuppositions is wrong. If you want to control what it is that replaces my belief you should do the first, if not, then the second will work just fine.
So the flip side of the coin is that I do not expect everyone to agree with me, in fact if I find someone who agrees with me completely, I know one of us is wrong. Seriously, though I do honestly believe that if you know what you believe and why you believe it, that once you encounter my ideas, you will adopt them as well because they will represent a better explanation of things. It also means that the more I respect someone, the more I expect that they will be able to defend their beliefs and, resultantly, the more likely I am to argue with them about such. This is something, once again, that makes sense to me, but likely does not make sense to my reader. I argue with people so that one of the two of use will be proven wrong. One of us will have a better explanation for things, and whomever holds the superior belief will win and convince the other to move closer to that belief. So, yes I argued a LOT in seminary. I wanted to be forced to defend my positions, I wanted to be exposed to other ideas. I wanted the best ideas to win, and I wanted them to become mine, so that I might be better.
So all of the above is so you have some context to the next grenade, and you will note I left out some large swathes above.
Lets talk about tattoos.
Tattoos mean different things to different cultures. Kind of. They actually have very similar meanings for almost every culture, but as to whether it is positive or negative depends on the culture.
So for example, if you are Jewish (Chassid, Orthodox, Conservative) a tattoo is verboten. Tattoos not only show recognition of foreign gods, but they are a reminder of what was done to us during the Holocaust. Piercing follows much of the same general trend, except that a male may voluntarily pierce his ear to be shown as a slave. I have already said though that there are different expectations based on different cultures and that I tend to classify things so lets call the first iteration of tattoos this: Ascription to a higher belief or power.
There is a second reason for having a tattoo in my classifications and the classic example is the sailors tattoos. Many different tattoos have a meaning in a sailors life, the one that comes immediately to mind is the shellback turtle for having crossed the equator. So lets call such a tattoo a remembrance.
That is it, those are the only two reasons I see that justify a tattoo.
Let me say something else though, I actually like a good tattoo as art. I have seen some absolutely gorgeous ink in my time. That being said I have never seen a tattoo that improved on the looks of a person.
This brings me to subject 2a. Scars. I find scars that are earned to be beautiful. WTH is an earned scar? Any scar an individual obtained without the intention of getting a scar. In other words, scars to be are like tattoos of the second type. They are mementos of survival and I see a beauty in survival. Let me use an example some would consider misogynistic: Breast scars.
For me, the scars of a mastectomy are beautiful. They show that the individual has overcome something that tried to kill them. Be proud of such scars, they show your strength. Tattoos should never be used to cover up a scar, it to me is like trying to hide your survival. On the other hand, the scars from breast augmentation surgery, not so attractive at all, in fact the opposite. Such scars tell me that something like physical appearance mean more to the individual than what is inside.
Yes there are modifiers to everything and I really am talking about things at the first level of rules.
Not for anyone else.
If you decide to get ink, do so knowing what others will think, knowing how you present yourself and most importantly, why you are doing it and for whom you are doing it.