Vomit the Lukewarm
Porn and alienation
Porn is a fantasy that seeks to be acted out. It is also a fantasy that is unattainable. By definition, it must lead to despair.
But assume for a moment that it is possible to attain the fantasy, and that we would want it if we attained it. Assume that women became hyper-socialized automatons, who spoke only as a bridge between liaisons. Assume that twenty minute coitus was normative, and not tedious. Assume that you could actually be attracted to a woman who would copulate with any sentient being in the room. Assume that you wouldn't leave a porn encounter with a vendetta against reason, and take every possible drug to avoid living with yourself. Assume That the scene would abruptly change after climax, and you wouldn't have to be faced with that horrid "what now"? Assume that onanism was everything you always wanted. Assume that Women would not hate or resent you for subjecting them to every manner of contortionist novelty. Assume that you would never conceive a child.
Are you living fantasy yet? No. Something remains. Even in this state, what are you? A performer
You are doing what you have seen: you are acting
This is your show. You are not in love, but on stage. The self who copulates is someone you observe and ogle, rating his performance, admiring his power, fearing his failure. The woman is not your lover, but your audience, and your porn persona is alone on stage. Your true self watches from the balcony; a petty critic, alienated and alone.
So let us grow forgetful for an hour
What weighs us down might soon return:forget.
and glow within the hour in the sun
apart from what we press upon the day.
Do you remember how we spoke of joy?
or how we thought about tranquility?
they both were far off lands we saw in dreams,
they both we mythic lands of sailors tales.
Forget, and let the hour show my love,
to clear the want, your want, and mine.
purge the reservations, purge the thought-
forget and see, and see the want of dreams
and when this present hour's later not
Let's still forget the thing we can't remember.
I have seen at least 500,000 sexualy themed pictures in my life. This is a rough estimate: but since a dependable source tabulated the average number of sexually themed images seen on TV by one person at 14,000 per annum... I did the math and threw in a paltry couple thousand more.
We modern people see knowledge of sex as one of our great goods. Times before us were not as aware of it as we are. This opinion seems good: isn't knowledge better than ignorance? Isn't this the only thing that modern schools are able to teach well?
I'd be willing to accept that we are more aware of sex now than those who came before us (who can beat 500,000 images?)... But this is so much the worse for us. Sexual images may teach us about sex, but they kill the very power that gives rise to sexual desire:Eros.
Eros is not a desire for sex except per accidens
. Eros is the desire for immortality. Because reproduction is the most knowlable way for us to be immortal (inasmuch as we are bodies, we really do live on in our progeny) it is easy to confuse Eros with sexual desire- but they are not the same thing.
Sexual desire only renders us immortal inasmuch as we are bodies (and if our line continues). Nothing of the incorporeal part of man is present. This kind of immortality can be achieved imperfectly through our arts, where something of our intellect lives on in the admiration of others (we do call the last supper "a De Vinci"; when we point to the "Republic" we say "this is Plato")
But none of these ways gives us the immortality we want fully- where we can say with all fullness "this is eternal life". What we mean by this is the life of the blessed in heaven, which we know by faith. This is the term to which all Eros tends; this is the fullest desire of Eros; it is what we have been searching for all along.
The problem with sexual education, and the 500,000 "erotic" images I have seen is that they let Eros rest in the Eros which is most known to us, and they hamper the Eros which seeks that thing so mysterious and obscure. But the mysterious and obscure thing is the thing which Eros seeks must truly. Sex education takes all the confused, powerful, divided, schizoid, enrapturing feelings we have as erotic lovers and it says to them: "all you really want is coitus". Something dies when you teach about sex, we no longer have a desire for immortality, we no longer have a vague and powerful longing for something, which we seek for ravenously- all we have is a desire for "doing it".
It is not naivete to be ignorant of sex (though who among us has not said this a thousand times?)
sex can be learned in less than a minute, without any training, you would figure it out in an instant. I would have rather first found it this way. But now I must forget in order to rise above what is most known in Eros (by us) to what Eros most fully is.
That there is some object in the mind is obvious. Either the object informs our minds, or our minds inform the object. Either our minds are matter to the object, or the outside world is matter to our minds. Now in art, our mind informs something external, which stands to our mind as matter- the question is whether all our knowledge is this way- if all knowledge is a making- or if knowledge as distinguished from art is possible.
It is also obvious that we are some natural thing, or at least that every other person we see is.
If we are informed by the object, we are allowed to stand as matter to the object, and can take the object as the measure of ourselves. The nature we ourselves have is also ennobled, and in a certain sense becomes the measure of our thoughts also. This leads to what is classically called "natural law" where the nature of man, considered as object, informs the man himself as to the nature of good and evil.
If we inform the object, then nature must stand as matter to our thought, and we become the measure of all things. And so the nature we ourselves have becomes matter to our own thought, and to the thought of others. This leads to the rule of minds over nature, even if the mind ruling is other than ourselves, and we are the nature ruled. The inevitable consequence is slavery and murder of one kind or another.
So again, in the end, there are only two philosophies. We all will take one, and only one can be taken.
The very idea of becoming leads to the inference of privation: if X comes to be, there was non-X before. These two things are called contraries. What is
comes from what is not.
at the same time, nothing can come from it opposite: what is there in "the non- white" as such
that can give birth to white?
Since both these statements are true, we need some third thing, which is capable of containing both contraries. It can lack This
reality, but it cannot lack reality altogether. It must have contraries in some way, yet it must not be wholly non-existent.
There are two ways of looking at contraries: either we see them as ordered to the "is" or the "is not". If we see all ordered to the "is" we see generation as desired, and corruption and death as perhaps necessary, yet unintended by nature. If we see all ordered to the "is not" we see death as the intended order, and life as perhaps necessary, yet unintended by nature. There is no third option, for there can be only one account of nature's desire per se
. we must choose. There are only two philosophies.
My eight year old pupil defined a scales today as " hard, overlapping, all-covering and external parts of a fish, designed for protection"
My five year old pupil had a metaphysical epiphany as she considered the difference between the words "this" and "that"
and my three year old yells out all the Latin cases, more or less at random- but who wouldn't have high hopes for a kid who waddles around the room yelling 'DATIVE...No...Accusative, ACCUSATIVE!"
The revolution comes.
To insist upon the truth of something, when the reason for the truth is not given.
sometimes the reason cannot be given, for the reason is something too intelligible. Flowers are visible in sunlight, but sunlight is not visible- still less the sun- who can ever get a good look at it? At the same time, who could ever miss the fact that it's there? It is invisible by being too visible.
all dogmatism insists on the fact that the giver of the dogma has a greater kind of mind than the one who must receive it. When said of some givers, this is obviously true.
But not if the giver is a man. Some are more trustworthy, some are more clearsighted, but in the end they must reduce what they know to those things known by all, or known by all good men. In this sense, all men are created equal.
To the extent that we desire to be as gods, we hate this equality. This is one of the deepest desires of our race.
Thomas Aquinas described the opinion of David of Dinant as "stultissime" (the most foolish/stupid). The opinion was that God was "pure potency".
This is the only example of such harshness in Aquinas (his challenge to Siger of Brabant is not this harsh). It is worthwhile to ask why Aquinas, who never said anything he couldn't prove, dealt so harshly with David of Dinant. I think I have a plausible reason. First I have to clarify some terms.
Theology is the study God, and everyone understands the word "God" to mean the first cause of everything. He is "the highest thing in the universe" or the "greatest being". Everyone intuitively knows that if someone denies the existence of God, he is denying the existence of some ultimate principle of things, some being which stands at the root of all things, and "runs the show". Everyone understands in some way (often explicitly) that if there is no God then all must come by chance, that all must proceed from something which is infinite and unordered. Nothing can lay claim to being "the greatest being" for there is no first being in the universe.
But if it is given that God is the greatest being, he can be so in two ways, either he is a being in potency, or in act. Both of these are said to be, but not in the same way. When I say "Joe is a chef" the word "chef" means that Joe is ABLE to do something, namely cook. But when I point to a road and say "this is a road" I don't mean to say that the road is able to do something, but rather that it IS something.
David of Dinant thought that God was able to be anything, that he was pure potency, that he was wholly indeterminate and contained all other beings potentially in himself. Thomas Aquinas proved the being called God to be Pure act, that he was wholly determinate, that he contained all beings within himself by causing them. If the world were a painting, Dinant would say that God is the paint, and Thomas Aquinas would say he is the painter.
Why is it that Aquinas dealt with Dinant so harshly? I believe that Aquinas saw that Dinant was making not just any mistake, but the most fundamental mistake- in a sense, the highest misses one could make. Dinant was reducing all things to pure potency- he was reducing everything to what is not actual. Dinant made the father of all things a great and formless abyss. In the beginning... The earth was void and empty, and the Spirit of God WAS the void.
The principle of the universe must be all or nothing. For Dinant, it must be nothing actual- and all proceeds from it by the void becoming determinate. For Aquinas the principle must be wholly actual- and all proceeds from it by it's causing some less actual being by it's own wholly determinate being.
Let me suggest that there are,in the end, only two philosophies: Dinant's and that of St. Thomas. Either the most imperfect, unactual being stands at the bottom of the universe, or some most perfect, actual being stands on top. All other philosophies will be led eventually to one of these two extremes. Marx, Nietzsche, (early) Sartre, and almost all the contemporary Philosophers have thrown in their lot with David of Dinant. All philosophy from the tradition of Descartes has established principles that lead eventually to Dinant as well, in spite of all their attempts to avoid it. This is a trickier point to prove, but it can be done, perhaps in a later post.
Neither is it the case that we can posit both principles, as though there were two gods: For both "gods" are posited as the principle of all things.
Beware all philosophies grounded in the human subject, and all philosophies of consciousness- every philosophy which sees the outside world as suspect, or possibly not there. Man is a part of the universe, and any philosophy which destroys the outside universe will eventually swallow man with it. This will leave only a void: a void which Dinant most foolishly said was God.
"blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted"
So God gives comfort to those who mourn, and the comfort is a blessing. Inasmuch as the mourning is a cause of comfort, the morning may be a blessing also: but not necessarily.
Like most of the beatitudes, the terms are not entirely straightforward. What kind of mourning will be blessed- any kind? DOes all mourning lead to comfort, or only certain kinds? If it is all kinds, does some other element need to be present?
Mourning is a kind of sorrow, and sorrow is either over some presence of evil, or some lack of good. will both these kinds of sorrows be blessed? If so, under what conditions?
The traditional reading of this beatitude is that it refers more to those sorrows which are a lack of the good, that it refers to the sorrow that the saints feel at the lack of heaven, like st. Paul's desire to leave this word that he might be united to Christ. I think St. Teresa used to hear in every chiming of clock bells the approaching hour of her death, when she would get to be with the Lord. This is probably the primary meaning of the beatitude.
But there may be another sense in which we can understand this Beatitude to to refer to the type of sorrow which proceeds from the presence of evil: but another element must be present. Not everyone who has evil present in them will be comforted, but only those who mourn.
I confess in my own life that I have never felt this beatitude in the traditional sense, or at least not as the saints felt it. But I know what it means in the second sense. My life is and has been a train wreck of folly. It would be no use to enumerate the faults, and since you who read this are human, you know what I'm talking about. If anyone were to tell the secrets of his heart to the world, no one would speak to him again.
And yet I have always found comfort- I have found comfort to this very hour. Perhaps it only came from a very poor mourning- but we are not asked for more than we can supply. The sting of guilt and regret is the most important thing- and it can find it's comfort in charity, which it trusts to find by hope, and knows to find by faith.
I said that I would have to think on blogs: I lied,
Ready for now to Play the Gin drawn drum
when playing cheap in eros I withdrew
to sit in ocean's warming on the beach
WHERE THIS IS THERE AND THEN TO EAT AGAIN
I saw frustration nipping at the heels
and when in armchair sleep I saw the mark
There was a wall of awkward to get o're.
So dance, and dance and wind round wend again
without the answers gleaning on the cue
you shall in islands lay and bide the time
Till ill informed say that you should be
but I have say in many times like this
and hoped for nothing stronger than a kiss