“Man’s creative intention risks making the child an object at our disposal”

Publié le : 13 February 2013

 In an interview with the daily La Croix, the philosopher Damien Le Guay explains how "the child is no longer perceived as a gift but as something owed." The philosopher points out that "for a long time, the procreative intention and biology were interconnected in a relatively balanced way." In effect, "when couples wanted to become parents, they appealed to Nature and worked with it," so that "the child was ‘coproduced’ by the parents and Nature." But over recent decades, this "interconnection" between "intention" and "biology" has been undermined and "we are witnessing two opposing movements." "On the one hand, in certain cases, biology ‘expresses’ the intention or takes its place. That is how to interpret the multiplication of requests for recognition of paternity. […]. On the other hand, we see emerging a ‘desire for a child’ dissociated from biology. Contraception allows us to arrange ‘the right time’ and medically assisted procreation [MAP] helps couples who are partly sterile." But, Damien Le Guay points out, "with MAP extended to female couples, they could have a child without ‘naturally’ having the means to do so. All they have to do is ‘borrow’ genetic material without giving it back." Hence, the philosopher points out, "medicine no longer arranges but invents the filiation", and "by making the will sacred and by downplaying the role of Nature (now become a genetic stock), we finally end up with a dualistic conception of man which opposes a noble spiritual principle (the will) to the body, which is seen as available genetic material."            

Thus, "our relationship with the child to be born" is no longer the same. “A shift occurs" whereby "the child is no longer perceived as a gift but as something owed." He explains: "the gift: I receive it and it goes beyond me. […] Receiving a child as a gift means that I participate in its coming into the world, in its pro-creation, without mastering the process. I am the instigator of an origin prior to me and of a child which will have its own life. […]. Inversely, if the child is owed to me, that give me a right over the child that I have ‘made’. We are no longer in a situation of accompaniment but rather of a demanding and creative will, with the risk of making the child an object at our disposal."       
Asked what he thinks of the fact that "in the name of legality and of the fight against discriminations, medically assisted procreation may soon be available", Damien Le Guay says that "it is indeed by appealing to the principle of equality that homosexual couples demand the very same rights as others have." And he wonders: "but where is equality going when it comes up against Nature? The irresistible logic of equality refuses all the forms of limitation: to my role in the home, to my body, to my identity. Everything must be able to change: who I am or how I am. Everything must become vague, uncertain, trans, bi… So the realities (being a man when I want to be a woman, not being able to ‘have’ a child with a partner of the same sex) are seen as inequalities. The law has to correct them, repair them." He adds: "those who refuse to correct the ‘failings’ of Nature are guilty of prolonging a sexist, patriarchal and homophobic order." Damien Le Guay concludes, "manifestly, what we are seeing is a broadening of the conception of the struggle for equal rights."

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