Monday, May 09, 2005

Condom Coca Cola culture: the myth of product-as-solution

The myth of "product-as-solution" underlies most advertising including the disguised advertising which so much of the AIDS talk in fact is; it implies that human problems are reducible to material and mechanistic terms, thus implicitly denying the spirit, the person, human freedom and thus the very roots of morality.

This is why the condoms-against-AIDS lobby and the abstinence-against-AIDS lobbies are at cross purposes: one deals with people as machines, the other as souls.

A product can at best be only a part of a solution, and then only if it is correctly conceived as part of a human solution addressing a human problem.

Instruction in the use of contraception - in theory as well as actual practice - is worlds apart from the education of the heart required for chastity and abstinence. cf the abuse of the word "education" in the term "sex education".

When comparing the missionary and the NGO approaches, if it was possible to find a way of comparing their respective "benefits", the figures might well speak for themselves, even in plain economic terms. This could be interesting in motivating donors to give more to traditional charity organisations run by religious rather than to NGOs. Not an easy task I imagine, especially given the reality that in the main NGOs and donors are interested in promoting certain agendas rather than being open to holistic notions of human development.

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