Monday, April 04, 2011

On pornography (even better than the real thing)

Used to be a time that a young man would come home alone drunk to himself and his loneliness, after a night on the prowl.  Rejection was painful.  Now, rejection is coupled with intense pleasure.  With a push of some buttons, the body awakens, though the conscious mind knows that it's not real, we engage almost in an involuntary trance. 

Modernity can make you feel so numb, at times.  And when something offers to move and make you virile, how can one resist?

The glow of the screen, the beep of a text message, the constant connectivity prey on our biology; our weakness for excitement and engagement. 

The high minded and civilized scoff at pornography in all forms.  The involuntary, the play to base instincts, horrify a person of class and dignity because elements of instinct and nature, need to be mixed with restraint and subtlety for them to have value.  It can't be enough that it feels good - that is not justification enough for action.  For if we only did what was initially pleasurable, all fecund pleasures would vanish.  Reading, music, architecture, combine  elements of passion and work.  No, animals do what they feel like, though civilized people enjoy things that are a result of work, sacrifice and craftmanship.    

And there is something about taking the easy way out that does not sit well with this civilized crowd.  There must be an element of impracticality - a risk, an indulgence, that separates and differentiates those with values and those without.  Thus, the liberal arts, the theater, the opera, high fashion, it's not just that they are expensive, it's just because their value is uncertain, and they constantly evoke a debate between what it's worth, to which many of this class assert:  That if you have to ask, then you don't know what it is worth and never will.  

From my side, as a philosophy student, and a purveyor of high culture and travel, I'll say that many things, especially beautiful ones, do much to expand the limited realm of mortality we find ourselves in.  No one but people from this class, more than any other, is as conscious of their own and the world's demise.  This adds an a special element of urgency, hedonism, and carpe diem, if you like, to the proceedings.  And constantly the line is drawn and smudged between self absorbed egotism, or truly rapturous transcendence - brilliance.  Modern Art is an Apt metaphor.  So much of it is BS, but then Jackson Pollack and Basquiat and Warhol shine though it to make us live and think in new ways.  Not always convincing and THAT tension, is what drives us forward.


No comments: