Sexuality Versus Dharma

Suppose we are not so radical as Borges’ heresiarch, but desire humanity to persist, and even to improve itself, what then? In that case, we might consider the effect of sex on our general behaviour: namely the promotion of ruthless competition, egotistic self-assertion, and above all, deceit and manipulation. The race is not to the swift, said Ecclesiastes, nor the battle to the strong. Indeed not, the sexual race is to the conniving bastard and the play-acting coquette. We see this easily enough in others, but imagine that our own relationships are honest and altruistic, at least until the moment they break down on us. Even then, we generally blame our heartbreak on the other player, rather than on the game itself.

The dichotomy between religion and sex is a false one; they have the most important thing in common. Namely that religion is a scam, and so is human sexuality. Our genital organs are the first and greatest con-artists, promising far greater benefits than they actually deliver.

The tragedy that any religious, ethical or intellectual person must sooner or later perceive is that sexuality involves a set of incentives that run just exactly counter to those that might be offered to human beings to live the life of devotion, the life of right action, or the life of the mind – and what is more, incentives that are much stronger. Instead of talking about bodily fluids and “repression”, we should rather imagine the master trying to teach a pupil meditation or logic, and seeing that the pupil has no care for anything but a passing bimbo or hunk, whom the master knows for a fact is a shallow and destructive individual.

Those personal qualities that are useful in a settled and peaceful society and those personal qualities that cause sexual charisma are generally antagonistic. Women are attracted to bad boys and men to bad girls. It can be argued that the ideal “righteous man” would be a sexual failure. Moreover, religious teachers cannot help but notice that all the heavenly incentives offered to the sexually attractive man endeavouring to be good are easily outbid by the earthly incentives provided by the women for him to be bad. That is why the missionary needs to convert the women first, by persuading them that the joys of being frigid moralistic harridans outweigh the joys of hot sex with the alpha males. Were thoughtful women to claim that the same is true for their own sex, mutatis mutandis, I should not be greatly surprised.

Nuns who work in the world always say that it is not a matter of missing out on sexual love, it is a matter of what sexual love no longer makes them miss out on; and it might be educational to ask or wonder what that might be; that is, the price we pay for being so intent on sexual success.

One might follow Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, gazing at the intolerable truth and passing into defiant life-affirmation on the other side, but that is by no means the same thing as failure to understand the problem. The gnostic challenge to be faced is depression over the mutual incomprehension between the sexes, horror at the ruthlessness and cunning manipulation of all sexual competition, disgust with the strutting and preening required, and despair over the malignant idiocy of human sexual taste.

Posted on October 11, 2009 at 11:01 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: AGAINST NATURE, Distrust Of Sex -- The Better Reasons

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