Untidy Wilderness: Seeds of Contradiction
Drypoint on 240gsm Arches etching paper, 2009, Ed 25. by Chris Diedericks
Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
From Song of Myself - Walt Whitman.
In classical logic, a contradiction consists of a logical incompatibility between two or more propositions. It occurs when the propositions, taken together, yield two conclusions, which form the logical inversions of each other. Illustrating a general tendency in applied logic, Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction states “one cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time.”
By extension, outside of classical logic, one can speak of contradictions between actions when one presumes that their motives contradict each other.
In the light of the above, “don't ask, don't tell” is the common term for the policy about homosexuality in the U.S. military mandated by federal law. Unless one of the exceptions from the policy applies, the policy prohibits anyone who "demonstrate(s) a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts" from serving in the armed forces of the United States, because "it would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability." The act prohibits any homosexual or bisexual person from disclosing his or her sexual orientation or from speaking about any homosexual relationships, including marriages or other familial attributes, while serving in the United States armed forces. For obvious reasons, the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is a complete contradiction in itself.
The kind of naïveté that is displayed by the “don’t ask don’t tell” policy is astounding. If America is really a country that is attempting to stray from oppression, it is imperative that we treat each American citizen with tolerance and acceptance, rather than making them hide their true selves because we are uncomfortable with the implications of a wider acceptance of homosexuals. The “good order and discipline, and unite cohesion” clause that was added into this law as justification is beyond ignorant. Gay people are not going to fall in love with every man or woman in the military merely because they are gay; nor will they necessarily act differently from other soldiers. They are people, yet this law segregates them as if they are immeasurably different than a heterosexual human being. Obviously displaying inappropriate behavior would result in discharge from the military, but people should not be denied military service just because they may possibly do something wrong. Women are not denied entrance to the armed forces merely because they might be attracted to the other soldiers, so the same rule should apply to gays and lesbians.
However, it is once again the concealed metatext in my work Untidy Wilderness: Seeds of Contradiction that excites me most. The metatext deals with a much larger occurrence of intolerance towards gay people all over the world. Gay people are everywhere, in all walks of life, in huge corporations, in hospitals, on law benches, in governments, in all families. Gay people cannot choose to be straight, and it is wrong to make them resent how they were born by implying that it is somehow “immoral.” This is synonymous to saying that it is immoral to be one color over another, which history has proven to be completely preposterous.
My work, Untidy Wilderness: Seeds of Contradiction urges viewers to get rid of their preconceived notions about gay people in order to bolster a more cohesive, harmonious and unified world. Our world is still an “untidy wilderness” and too many governments are still sowing “seeds of contradiction”, undermining the basic human rights of all our planet’s colourful inhabitants.