Friday, October 4, 2019
3 a.m. All right, shall we proceed?
Mineral, vegetable, animal, celestial, with humans bridging the animal and celestial kingdoms. Your experience of life ought to illustrate the two kingdoms being bridged. Human sexual experience, for instance, always has a sort of embarrassment connected to it, no matter how much delight or other sensation or emotion is involved. We suggest that this is because of the inherent conflict of animal and celestial nature that is human.
Do we in fact know that everybody’s sexual experience includes embarrassment? And what do you mean by the word? I take it you mean that we are embarrassed, in describing it to others, that we were overcome by sexual passion? Yet that doesn’t seem quite right. So what do you mean?
This isn’t something you have paid a lot of attention to – you as an individual, you as a culture – but it is true nonetheless.
Sex in the West seems supercharged with expectation – unrealistic expectation, in my opinion. Sexual union is supposed to provide transcendence; it is supposed to be the important thing in life; it is, as we all know, used to sell anything and everything because it has been so hyped and disseminated. (Yes, I see the pun.) But it isn’t that way everywhere. I don’t see that the West’s experience of sex can be used as a guide to a universal human generalization.
We say only this. Humans come to sex in a way they do not come to any other experience. Furthermore, they experience it in ways entirely different from other members of the animal kingdom. And it is in that difference that the learning may be found.
Go ahead, then.
Sex is procreation, everywhere, but humans – only – separate the act from the result.
Sex is unitive, bringing two people as close as people can come to each other, yet it may also be the opposite, objectifying one or even both rather than recognizing and celebrating personality and essence.
Sex is instinctive and universal, expressing in a range from heterosexual to homosexual to even more or less isolated. What is “normal” is so broad a spectrum of feelings, behaviors, activities, as to be incapable of being reduced to rules, though of course people do, perforce; societies do.
Sex is disruptive unless severely or naturally channeled. We do not mean by this what you might hurriedly assume. We mean, in societies with few sexual taboos, sex may be taken more for granted and therefore may not build a head of steam behind walls that confine it. Conversely, in societies with powerful and effective taboos, the steam may build powerfully, but the walls channel it in some other direction. It is in societies with ineffective or inconsistent taboos that sexual energy may overflow and disrupt everything around them. When sex sells breakfast cereals, or fuels the news cycle, or enters into people’s semi-conscious thought on a continual basis, — well that is your society, you know what it is like.
I always think there is a tremendous pretense in our society about sex. Guys pretend it’s all they care about, except when it’s time to watch a football game, or to play the stock market, or to get involved in politics or pursue any of a whole lot of interests. The part sex actually plays in our lives, as opposed to the part we pretend it plays
You don’t mean “pretend,” so much as “assume.”
Okay, I stand corrected. Anyway, there’s a big disconnect there.
Yes. Do you suppose elephants or lions or housecats or dolphins experience the same thing? Certainly they procreate. Certainly some species observe great fidelity between mates, while others may be entirely polyamorous (if that expression may be used where it is not quite descriptive.) Certainly sexual behavior – norms, if you will – vary among species and within species. But where other than in the human kingdom (if we may call it that) is sex disruptive and variant by sub-groups within the species?
I’m no biologist, but I’d say, nowhere.
We began by mentioning embarrassment. Can you imagine animals being embarrassed by having to acknowledge that they were overcome by sexual passion?
I’m still not sure that is the human response.
The word isn’t quite right, but we don’t know a better one. We will have to circle the subject to get across what we mean, unless you can intuit and translate our meaning.
Well [long pause] I get that you don’t mean embarrassment, exactly, more like a lack of naturalness. Some people brag, some deny, some feel guilt, some want it to be (allow themselves to feel it to be) only one way, or as one thing, rather than freely
You’ll need to explain your explanation there.
Yes, I saw the awkwardness as it came off the pen. That last bit meant to say, some people want sex to be only one thing, only sensation, say, or only romance, or only whatever their preconceived definition of sex is.
Better. So, take a Hemingway, an acutely sensual man, enjoying sex as a physical activity. Yes, as an acutely romantic man, in another mood sex might seem to him an affirmation of transcendent love. And as a man acutely sensitive to the non-physical world that interpenetrated the physical world, sex might transport him: “la gloria,” as he expressed it; the earth moving out from beneath the lovers; the act – described in some places by him as it was never described before or after — as an energy phenomenon rather than as the mechanics of sexual attraction, manipulation, and gratification.
Yes, I’ve seen all that in his life and work.
Well, think how complicated it is, to live among such contradictory simultaneously existing feelings, conceptions, impulses, understandings, longings. And all this, notice, is entirely without reference to any given societal norms. It isn’t about regulation or “forbidden love” we are speaking.
Now, remember Hemingway in a different context talking of aficionados discussing their aficion for bullfighting as if it were a shameful shared secret. That sense of a shameful shared secret is close to what we meant by embarrassment.
I’m very much aware, in all this, of knowing only the male end of the spectrum. Is it so for females?
What have we said that applies only to one and not the other?
Well, I don’t know if women brag or are embarrassed or are transported or are conflicted in the way you are indicating.
Then you haven’t been paying much attention to the novels you read or the movies you watch or the biographies and histories you have gone though.
That’s a point. Still, they all can lie.
Taken as a whole, patterns emerge.
Yes, I suppose so.
Now here is our point: Only among humans is sex this complicated, because only among humans is sex having to bridge so wide a gap within the nature of the individuals and within the species.
Because we are half in the celestial kingdom?
Because your consciousness is half in the celestial kingdom. Bear in mind, everybody and everything is in all kingdoms as in all dimensions, and for the same reason. But one’s self-definition, and, more, one’s self-recognition, or call it one’s experience of life, defines the boundaries one sets up to shape such experience of life.
We experience meaning according to how we limit our awareness of it.
Yes, that’s more or less it, remembering that the limitation is an unconscious, not conscious, process, seen from the 3D point of view.
If I get it right, this discussion of sex was mainly to have us experience how humans are different from the rest of the animal kingdom.
And from the celestial kingdom. You will remember the sons of the gods being tempted by the beauty of the daughters of man. There was meaning behind those scriptural words. It wasn’t just soap-opera.
But enough for the moment. If you wish to copy an example of Hemingway’s descriptions of sex, you can find one easily enough, and you can do so far more easily that most of your readers. However, it isn’t required.
If I find it easily, I will. I won’t put a lot of effort into it.
Till next time, then.
Our thanks as always.
[It didn’t take long. This from For Whom the Bell Tolls, Chapter 13:
[“For him it was a dark passage which led to nowhere, then to nowhere, then again to nowhere, once again to nowhere, always and forever to nowhere, heavy on the elbows in the earth to nowhere, dark, never any end to nowhere, hung on all time always to unknowing nowhere, this time and again for always to nowhere, now not to be borne once again always and to nowhere, now beyond all bearing up, up, up, and into nowhere, suddenly, scaldingly, holdingly all nowhere gone and time absolutely still and they were both there, time having stopped and he felt the earth move out and away from under them.
[“Then he was lying on his side ….”]