Hegelian Paradigms in Relationships

Is Leo DiCaprio immoral in his dating relationships with of-age women of whom he is decades their senior? Instinctively, I have two responses. One is my libertarian response, which says that, while discomforting, our society is about right with regards to age of majority at eighteen, they are brain developed enough to ethically consent and judgments are superficial. I come from the Burning Man side of the left and, mostly, feel consenting adults should be let the fuck to do what they want. At the same time, I feel that it is unbecoming a man of honor to reduce oneself to such base desires and that such creepiness is beneath me and should be beneath everyone else.

Neither of those is how to philosophically answer it and creepiness is very subjective. The issues are of power dynamics, mostly, and language of consent. The latter regards the cultural and social understandings that constitute mutual understanding. To put it one way, a Bernie Sanders analog and a college sophomore both well educated in the same canon of Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, revolutions, and social movements could easily have discourses so high-level and esoteric that they would forget they were of different superificial generations. For them, age is just a number.

Generations, really, are subcultures and consent is based on mutual understanding. So, absent a difference in power dynamics, if both have the same intellectual development and cultural language, ageism is superficial. Objectively, Greta Thunberg is a highly educated, very mature, woman who could hold her own with anyone her chronological senior. Now, is Leo DiCaprio a creep? Yes. While Greta Thunberg and John Stewart could have an equal relationship; Leo DiCaprio and the models he dates cannot have one. Greta Thunberg and John Stewart can exist in the same Hegelian paradigm while Leo DiCaprio and his girlfriends cannot.

Another factor to consider is intent and humility. When Leo DiCaprio seeks a model to date what does he want with her? Now, this has less to do with age and more to do with what makes any relationship creepy but is more important when age differences are at play. Any romantic relationship should entail Plato’s third type of friendship where there is a sincere and genuine investment in the other’s whole person and welfare. It seems he has no interest in her soul or inner-beauty and sees her as a trophy and an object of visceral pleasure. As far as humility, when one does have a power dynamic of more power, that can be counteracted by humility. I don’t say that it is impossible for a superior to ethically have romantic relations with a subordinate but to do so requires considerable humility. If one is not down at the level of one’s partner, one must bend to that level: humility.

The most important beginning in any human relationship is Kant’s “Principle of Humanity”. That other humans should be the the ends, never the means, of one’s uses. The most creepy thing one human can do to another is to objectify them. To reduce them from the 86 billion neuron brain and God-created soul they are to something less. It is an ultimately lack of empathy, a lack of consideration of another person’s feelings and experiences and humanity. There is nothing wrong with taking physical attractiveness into account choosing a romantic partner or even a platonic friend but there is for disregarding everything or almost everything else about them. Is Leo DiCaprio employing Kant’s Principle of Humanity? Or are the girls utilities to the end of his chemical high? Are they just syringes of dopamine devoid of humanity and soul to the man?

The same can be said of an outsider entering another culture. If there are different languages and levels of power. It can, in part or whole be counteracted by intent and humility. An anthropologist is welcome to join a hunter-gatherer tribe with their modern technology, the associated power, and with a feeble knowledge of the tribe’s inner structure. The vital elements in that otherwise delicate situation so easily liable to abuse are intent and humility. Walk into the tribe at their level and with a concern for their welfare and a view to their souls. Leo DiCaprio satisfies none of these qualifications so my verdict is that he is a creep. There are ways to thread that needle carefully so that it would not be, per se, creepy but he comes nowhere close.

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