An article, “Do the Heath Benefits of Neonatal Circumcision Outweigh the Risks?” in the Wall Street Journal, June 17, 2013, discusses the pros and cons of neonatal circumcision. The issue of circumcision illustrates a crucial difference between functional and mechanistic approaches in handling the living. Functional thinking views an action not in terms of the intent of the individual ( intentions are subjective and frequently open to question) but rather on the objective effect that it has on the living. That is, a particular action is viewed according to its life-enhancing or life-destructive aspect. This leads directly to an understanding of the emotional plague, which may be defined as man’s destructive behavior in the social realm.
The mechanistic scientist is unable to think clearly about human destructiveness. He cannot recognize others’ arguments as rationalizations when they support socially destructive acts because he himself is caught up in intellectual rationalizing. The essential point, such as the cruelty and barbarousness of circumcision is thereby lost.