Comparisons are odious
Created reality is replete with complementarity. For this reason comparisons are odious.
You cannot compare ‘apples and oranges.’ You cannot compare ‘males and females.’
People mock a supposedly ‘binary view of the world.’
But, in fact, they are disparaging the symbolic, complementary nature of human existence which, when accepted and embraced, leads to deep harmony and peace.
Note the fatal mistake of the Pharisee in the Parable (Luke 18: 9-14). He compares himself to another human being:
The Pharisee stood there and said this prayer to himself, ‘I thank you, God, that I am not grasping, unjust, adulterous like the rest of humanity, and particularly that I am not like this tax collector here.
It is futile to compare oneself to another human being: histories vary, backgrounds abound, cultures differ, gifts are graces not rights.
In the spiritual stakes, all that matters is where I stand before God:
The tax collector stood some distance away, not daring even to raise his eyes to heaven and beat his breast saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’
Honesty, not comparison, is required. Yes, I am not who I should be.
A little ‘breast beating’ won’t go astray.
Sometimes I hear practising Catholics say:”Thank God, I’ve still got the Faith. Everyone else in my family has lost it.” Really? How do they know? Do I need to know? Like the wind the Spirit blows where it will. Judge not.
Comparisons may be ‘odious’, but we also need to ensure that in using the term ‘complementarity’ we are not, perhaps inadvertently, acting as if one half of the complement has more notice, more choices, more status than another. Do men complement each other too? Or is it only men and women who complement each other? Is the world really binary? What about people with different abilities? People from different cultures? People with broader gender experiences? Are these all complementary too? It feels like the article was written in response to something, but we don’t know what the something was?
Why can’t you compare males and females?
In our society we are pigeon holed by gender (race, age, ability, disability, socioeconomics etc.)
As a female we must wear certain clothes and shoes that restrict our mobility, play with single use toys that don’t expand our mind, stay at home and cook, clean care kids/elderly/disabled as unpaid work.
Or often work and do the majority of the unpaid labour in the family unit.
Gender dictates so much of our lives.
The less our life is dictated by gender roles the better the world will be.
Jesus said to Martha “Mary has chosen the better part”. – was this telling us that women need to do less in the background and more to learning and living?