Friday, February 25, 2011

Sexual Secrets of the Normal

I'm a little surprised that Dante, like the ROTC, hasn't been formally banned from elite university campuses. For his third ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell is "the zone of the Sodomites, the 'violent against nature'" (Upton). In the liberal world, this is a conversation we're not even permitted to have, for if you have any reservations whatsoever about homosexuality, you are to keep them to yourselves.

It would be nice if the liberal totolerantarian had the tolerance to practice "don't ask don't tell" toward us heterophilic deviants, but that is not how the insecure tyrannical mind operates.

Such a brazen rejection of nature is naturally going to generate doubt -- how could it not? -- so the doubt is dealt with through forced conformity, just as in any repressive religious climate. Anyone who questions the orthodoxy is, in one way or another, burned at the stake in order to maintain uniformity. Human sacrifice is always unanimity minus one. But then, one normal person makes a majority, does it not?

First of all, we are dealing here with the world of principles, not individuals. Let us stipulate at the outset that what Dante is saying applies to everyone, for these principles are universal. As I have mentioned in the past, it is commonplace for heterosexuals to violate these principles, so it would be a mistake to look only at the outward, superficial behavior, i.e., the choice of sexual object.

For example, many heterosexual men may look like they're having sex with another, when they are actually masturbating with a projected fantasy figure. There is no real relation between persons, which is to say, love.

As Upton explains, "the Sodomite is violent against nature because he denies relatedness to the Other; his erotic energy is turned inward." This is indeed the key point. Man cannot engage in mere animal sexuality without sinking beneath even the animals, who are innocent in their animality.

Conversely, properly human sexuality naturally includes animality, so long as it is in the service of the higher, which transforms it into something beyond itself. Nevertheless, It is impossible to convince the fool that there are pleasures superior to those we share with the rest of the animals (Don Colacho's Aphorisms).

"If he were to open himself to the opposite sex he would encounter the Spirit, but he doesn't want this. The barrenness of the Sodomite is intellectual as well as sexual; [in Hell] he wanders on hot, barren sands" (Upton).

This is an excellent image, for animal sexuality cannot proceed deeper (or higher), since depth is precisely what is denied in the person exiled from Spirit. Therefore, they replace this with a kind of anxiously compulsive sexual acting out, drifting from partner to partner in search of what can never be found in this way, for you can never get enough of what you don't really need. In short, verticality is replaced by horizontality -- or quality by quantity.

But no amount of quantity amounts to quality, except perhaps the qualities of glut and jadedness. Furthermore, we devalue that which is in infinite supply, so this barren life inevitably devolves to chasing after something that decreases in value with each use -- just like the drug addict. In chasing the high you reach a new low.

Dante contrasts a particular hellbound secular humanist intellectual -- the details are unimportant -- with his own devotion to Beatrice, who is obviously "the Divine Feminine, the symbol of Holy Wisdom." She is very clearly Other, someone Dante does not, and cannot, possess. And importantly, this inability to possess opens up the space in which longing and idealization may occur and grow into love.

Conversely, the spiritual Sodomite "will associate with others only so long as they are in some sense his own reflection. Unlike Dante, he refuses the encounter with anyone or anything which might cause him to witness spiritual realities beyond the circle of his ego" (Upton).

In turn, this is why the left's attempt to efface sexual differences is so deeply demonic, for it would essentially turn us all into heterophobic homophiliacs.

For if sex does not involve an encounter and union of two archetypal Others, then it is either mutual masturbation or homosexuality, just bodies rubbing together. Again, to deny sexual difference is to eliminate the very space in which sexuality is transmuted into something beyond itself. For To mature is to discover that every object desired is only the metaphor for the transcendent object of our desire (DC).

And only the crudest intellect would fail to see how this applies to all worlds inhabited by man, for sexual polarity is merely a higher principle projected into the world of biology. Thus, there are "intellectual sodomites" who "are intelligent on a certain level" but who "remain spiritually blind." These are what we call infertile eggheads, and the ovary towers of academia are full of these yolkers.

Upton makes another subtle point, that "there is something in homoeroticism" that not only "has to do with group identification" but more specifically "with the adolescent peer group, the gang."

This is the stage in which the opposite sex is regarded as "icky," which is precisely how feminists regard both sexes, which is to say, human sexuality itself. These feminist gangsters obviously reject the femininity of which they are deeply ashamed, but also the proper masculinity that would awaken the ancient desire of their femininity.

But men will do pretty much anything for sex, even if it requires them to not be men. So where have all the good men gone? Killed by feminism every one.

It just so happens that I am reading another book cowritten by Jennifer Upton with her husband, Charles, Shadow of the Rose: The Esoterism of the Romantic Tradition, which focuses on the male-female relationship as spiritual path.

The Uptons note that this is a uniquely Christian path, for "if Jesus had not championed the cause of particular men and women," "romance would never have been born in the western world." This involves a new value placed on "the inner psychic encounter with one's contra-sexual archetype," and a way to worship "the Formless by means of form." The so-called battle of the sexes is -- or can be -- a deeper one "between the ego and the spiritual Heart," and a "transformation of lust into true love."

Unfortunately, in the contemporary postnormal world, if holy matrimony-as-spiritual path isn't denied outright, then it is either sentimentalized or unrealistically idealized as way to solve all one's problems. But marriage cannot hold up under the weight of such unrealistic expectations. Just as the church you join immediately becomes less than ideal by virtue of your being a member, any marriage that includes us is going to be marred by our presence.

I will leave you with a couple of contrasting aphorisms:

As the uniqueness of each individual reflects the incomparability of the Divine Essence..., so each relationship of love between two human beings is, as it were, its own 'Name of God.' --Shadow of the Rose

Monotonous, like obscenity. --Don Colacho's Aphorisms

Sorry, but you two are not permitted in the faculty lounge.

69 Comments:

Blogger Rick said...

Great post.

“To mature is to discover that every object desired is only the metaphor for the transcendent object of our desire (DC).

This one may be my favorite.
What value!

2/25/2011 09:45:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

“Upton makes another subtle point, that "there is something in homoeroticism" that not only "has to do with group identification" but more specifically "with the adolescent peer group, the gang."

I’ve heard this referred to as “Lifestylization. But I like Upton’ use better. And, as you said, heterosexuals are hardly immune.

2/25/2011 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

“The Uptons note that this is a uniquely Christian path, for "if Jesus had not championed the cause of particular men and women," "romance would never have been born in the western world."

That is a bloody brilliant insight.

2/25/2011 09:47:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This Dante series would be great if assembled in the sidebar.

2/25/2011 09:48:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Of course human marriage - the union of opposites that creates a 3rd entity, whether literally or symbolically - has its root in divine Creation. Existence itself depends on the interplay of opposites, positive/negative, yang/yin, male/female. This is true from the micro sub-atomic level to the macro interplay between the Creator and His Creation. Without such divine opposition and its balancing, Existence does not exist, period.

Again, marriage is the manifestation of this divine principle on the material level, the "as it is below, so it is above" equation. To extend marriage to homosexuals is no less than a rupturing of the divine contract. I suppose in some ways, I would liken it to a rupturing of our divine contract with Israel - the consequences are going to be just as severe.

So Obama declares the Defense of Marriage Act "unconstitutional", even as he goes about throwing Israel to the wolves. One thing you can say about him - he's consistent and he's thorough in his efforts to separate Man from his divine origins.

2/25/2011 09:51:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

you may be cheered to know that at the local college [where I ogle-- i mean shop] the cashier has had a copy of Inferno open-being read bewteen customers the last few visits

2/25/2011 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Sometimes word veri just scares me -- like today. It says, "Stalin". It's only random letters, repeat.

With all the people from which to choose, it's tough to come up with a poster boy for this post. I'm going to nominate Charlie Sheen just because he's in the news.

I generally have more sympathy for the homosexuals than for those heterosexual men [who] may look like they're having sex with another, when they are actually masturbating with a projected fantasy figure.

I also feel pity for the females who get caught in the game of trying to relate to these boys.

2/25/2011 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

The girls create them, which confers an Eve-like counter-spiritual creative power.

2/25/2011 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

As Will said,
"To extend marriage to homosexuals is no less than a rupturing of the divine contract."

And denying that there is anything more to marriage.

Maybe this should go without saying, but there exists proper, genuine love between women and between men. I think one of (if not the central or at least unconsciously implied) arguments by same-sex marriage supporters is that we say the love is wrong.

I mean, there was mention in an earlier post that Dante or maybe it was Virgil was almost ashamed of the depth of his love for the other.

2/25/2011 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger robinstarfish said...

"if Jesus had not championed the cause of particular men and women," "romance would never have been born in the western world."

I had the same reaction as Rick.

2/25/2011 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

As the uniqueness of each individual reflects the incomparability of the Divine Essence..., so each relationship of love between two human beings is, as it were, its own 'Name of God.'

2/25/2011 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

OT
Bob, I saw The King's Speech yesterday. I think you would enjoy it as well as approve of the portrayal of the doctor. I wish I could remember when it was but while in the middle of the movie I caught a glimpse (in a way) of the doctor as Virgil.

2/25/2011 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Rick, We loved The King's Speech - on so many levels. I think its great success speaks to the hunger that people have for serious representations of the human spirit overcoming adversity.

Here's a good shout-out to its particulars.

2/25/2011 11:46:00 AM  
Anonymous will said...

Mizz E -

>>As the uniqueness of each individual reflects the incomparability of the Divine Essence..., so each relationship of love between two human beings is, as it were, its own 'Name of God.'<<

To quote the poet Rilke: "a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude . . "

In other words, a good marriage is one in which each partner enables the other to become truly individual, that is, more reflective of the Divine Essence. And the more truly individual we become, the more we contribute to the redemption of the world.

2/25/2011 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Will -- Yes. Winnicott talks about that being rooted in the capacity to be "alone together" in the infant-mother dyad. It's a profound and paradoxical concept whereby speech is less intimate than silence.

2/25/2011 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I once pointed out to Mrs. G that every time she said can we talk?, it not only meant that something bad was about to happen to me, but that I was about to be drawn into something bad that was already happening. Nothing good can come of that question!

2/25/2011 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Nothing good can come of that question!

Heh - nope. It's probably even more dangerous than "does this make me look fat?"

***

Speaking of normal and abnormal sex, this is a bit of a tangent but I was subjected to the following conversation today (I didn't contribute, just kept my head over my sketchbook and tried not to blanche too much; there was even less point arguing there than there would be with a troll here):

Woman: I've come to realize Sarah Palin is the Paris Hilton of the political world. She serves no purpose, and all she cares about is attention.

Man: Yeah, all that's missing is a sex tape.

[laughter]

Woman: Yeah - with a moose!

[more laughter]

Man: yeah - if she can find one that would have her!

***

People who seem perfectly decent and normal, until this sort of thing comes spewing forth. Maybe I'm just practicing selective memory (we all have our moments, after all), but I really don't think it ever occurs to me to fantasize that way about people I don't like. I don't want to think about Obama engaging in relations of any sort, period. I don't even wish him grievous bodily harm. I just wish he'd leave me alone, and his nosy wife, too.

2/25/2011 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

On the subject of adversity, today is the anniversary of the birth of Pierre-Auguste Renoir, a man who, to his last day when crippled with rheumatoid arthritis, strapped brushes to his wrists to be able to create. Renoir's painting was always beautiful and optimistic! So was his view of life and his painful condition. In his words, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains” - sort of like the space of quiet contentment achieved by a long time couple after the growing pains.

Today I posted a wonderful video of Renoir paintings at my maestra de arte blog. Enjoy.

2/25/2011 12:38:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

There was an excellent meditation on love by Caryll Houselander in Magnificat this morning that speaks to this.I'll post it later- babysitting at the moment.

Mush- you don't want to know what the wv for this is. Let's just say it's apropos.

2/25/2011 12:41:00 PM  
Anonymous will said...

Bob -I think the trick is to be able to speak, move, act, and boogie in the spirit of silence. Paradoxical, yes, but possible!

>>I once pointed out to Mrs. G that every time she said can we talk?, it not only meant that something bad was about to happen to me<<

Yes, I feel the same way when Joan Rivers screeches "Can we talk?"

2/25/2011 12:58:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Mizz E, what a lovely website!

2/25/2011 01:05:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"First of all, we are dealing here with the world of principles, not individuals."

(Leftie stands & addresses his org) "Ok guys, this one isn't for us, nothing to see here, lets move on"

2/25/2011 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"For example, many heterosexual men may look like they're having sex with another, when they are actually masturbating with a projected fantasy figure. There is no real relation between persons, which is to say, love."

This might be TMI, but there was a, um, particularly active moment in the experience of quantitties back in the band days, where I realized this, and from that instant forward I ceased trying to "... get enough of what you don't really need", put the hunt for quantity behind me and became open to quality.

And whadayaknow, she was right there waiting for me all along.

2/25/2011 01:58:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Every once in a while the News is just as apropos as wordveri:

First Openly Gay Man Chosen as the New White House Social Secretary

2/25/2011 02:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Bloom said...

The word 'humility' comes from the Latin word 'humus' which means fertile ground. To me, humility is not what we often make of it: the sheepish way of trying to imagine that we are the worst of all and trying to convince others that our artificial ways of behaving show that we are aware of that. Humility is the situation of the earth. The earth is always there, always taken for granted, never remembered, always trodden on by everyone, somewhere we cast and pour out all the refuse, all we don't need. It's there, silent and accepting everything and in a miraculous way making out of all the refuse new richness in spite of corruption, transforming corruption itself into a power of life and new possibility of creativeness, open to the sunshine, open to the rain, ready to receive any seed we sow and capable of bringing thirtyfold, sixtyfold, a hundredfold out of every seed.

2/25/2011 02:42:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/25/2011 02:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

With that in mind, it is easy to see how homosexual 'union,' being noncreative, is lacking in humility, and filled instead with the sort of infertile hubris that rejects the seeds of love and growth ideally sown within marriage.

2/25/2011 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Additionally,

Just as the church you join immediately becomes less than ideal by virtue of your being a member, any marriage that includes us is going to be marred by our presence.

And yet, when holy matrimony is seen as a spiritual vocation, it, too has a miraculous way of "transforming corruption itself into a power of life and new possibility of creativeness." With, of course, a healthy amount of humility on the part of both spouses.

2/25/2011 03:00:00 PM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

Thanks Rick. I value your 'good eye'.

-----
Re: New WH SS - FYI: DNC Finance Director Rufus Gifford and his life and business partner, Jeremy Bernard, were early and significant fundraisers for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign. In January 2008, the LA Weekly dubbed the duo "Obama's Gay Gold Mine."
Source

2/25/2011 03:02:00 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

For those interested: Book reviews from a Christian perspective.

2/25/2011 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger gringagirl18 said...

Bob had a brilliant way of getting me to stop saying the dreaded "we need to talk" comment.

One night he said, "Have you noticed that when everything is fine, we don't need to talk?"

I am pretty sure I haven't said it since.

It was a sudden flash of light in a dark room when he said that. So obvious and easy to verify.
Mrs. G

2/25/2011 09:23:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I think in my case it was just realizing that whenever "we" needed to talk, it was because I had a problem. It's been a mighty long time since "we" have needed to talk, thank goodness :)

2/25/2011 09:37:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Back to flogging an earlier point, I'm still ruminating on the conflict between homosexuality and humility.

Can there be anything less humble than demanding that everyone recognize same sex relationships specifically as marriages? What I mean is, marriage as most people recognize it is meant to represent a very specific sacrament. At its best it is a spiritual calling every bit as important as joining a monastic order. To demand gay marriage is to demand to have gay relationships recognized as not merely a partnership, but a sacred union. In truth, it is something that no man can declare sacred, no matter how much anyone wishes it were so, and no matter how many of the rites and rituals are followed, or what pieces of official documentation are signed.

2/25/2011 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Oh dear Bob - what tripe!

Condemning homosexuality is not so brave. It is pretty standard across the world. Not all that long ago homosexuals in Germany were sent to concentration camps. Under the “Extermination Through Work” programme there are records of SS soldiers using homosexual men for target practice. In the even more recent past homosexual behaviour in pretty much every Communist country in the world led to lengthy prison sentences. The Iranian government – to bring it right up-to-date - recently declared that since the Islamic revolution over 4000 people charged with homosexual acts have been executed.

I think that “gay rights” has been one of the great achievements of free societies. Something which advocates of a free society should rightly be proud.

The “New Left” has indeed taken up the cause of “gay liberation”, but condemning homosexuality because of the intolerant actions, and immoral beliefs, of Leftists (homosexual or otherwise) is to criticise the Left not homosexuality. Although to be fair to American Leftists I am not aware that they have advocated burning doctrinally incorrect heterosexuals at the stake – although this this is a policy that has been associated with the Christian Church.

Given that homosexuality does not lead to reproduction it is certainly the case that it is in this sense “against nature”, but since the sexuality of the one percent of the population who are homosexual is highly likely to be biologically determined, being condemned to hell-fire for this sensibility seems a little harsh.

Of course you could argue that people should be forbidden to act upon their sexual desires, but this (consistently applied) would lead to the extinction of humanity, and if an exception was made for sexual activity which has the purpose of reproduction (i.e. not celibacy – which is a state against nature) this puritanical requirement quite at odds with what can reasonably be expected of human nature.

I think that the claim that homosexuality is not directed to another is a pretty feeble argument, given that sexual attraction to the other is precisely how the sexual drive manifests itself. Of course this drive (if we are to be human) should rightly be accompanied by moral considerations, and a Leftist culture (deriving in the Modern left from De Sade) has indeed sought to demoralise sexual behaviour, but I very much doubt whether those without homosexual desires will generate these sexual desires if instructed to do so. Besides I think that “gay liberation” is about those who do not share homosexual desires refraining from persecuting those that do, just so long as those desires do not involve children or animals, which bring up an entirely different set of moral considerations which apply to heterosexual and homosexual desires equally.

In the case of other human beings these moral considerations are (as you say) very much bound up with recognition of other persons, but I fail to see why homosexuality and recognition of other persons are mutually contradictory. I agree entirely that including sexuality in the pursuit of the idealization higher has been a civilizing force in Western civilization, but I detect in Augustine and Paul and even (God forbid) Jesus himself (never mind Plato and Anselm and Michaelangelo and all the other usual suspects) some evidence of a homosexual sensibility that you and Dante are keen condemn, a sensibility that has seems to have sublimated itself into a higher (and very sincere) love of God.

2/26/2011 12:32:00 AM  
Blogger wild said...

If a Christian were to tell me they they thought that Christianity is driven by love not hate, and as such they do not see it as unchristian to encourage everybody (including homosexuals) to form loving relationships (in the highest sense of that word) I would not think them a person who should be consigned to hell, even if the Pope himself were to deem their claim a heresy. Nor do I see homosexuality as incompatible with the desire to replace the horizontal with verticality. It is certainly the case that”gay liberation” seems to have led to glut and jadedness, but I do not see homosexuality as any different in this respect from the heterosexual behaviour “liberated” by the “sexual revolution”, and if male homosexuality is even more associated with promiscuity, this probably has more to do with the greater promiscuity of the male than it has to do with the uniquely sinful quality of homosexuality.

Nor do I believe that homosexuality carries with it hostility to the other sex, since anybody orientated towards the good, whatever your sexuality, desires, I would have thought, to see each and every person in a mutually loving relationships.

I appreciate that there are good grounds for believing that homosexuality carries with it a greater risk of vanity, but vanity is hardly unknown in heterosexual relationships, and if the Left is striving to erase all sexual difference, such a project is doomed to failure, and if that is its end, it has little to do with homosexuality. Homosexuality is after all attraction to a particular (although not opposite) sex!

2/26/2011 12:33:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

USS Missus tends to bypass the "we need to talk" stage and proceeds to the "you need to duck" stage. :^)

I'm usually not aware "we" are at that stage until it's too late to avert it.
It does keep my reflexes well-honed so there is that.

Ok, I keed...sort of. :^)

2/26/2011 12:58:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Wild-

I was gonna say read this again:
"First of all, we are dealing here with the world of principles, not individuals. Let us stipulate at the outset that what Dante is saying applies to everyone, for these principles are universal. As I have mentioned in the past, it is commonplace for heterosexuals to violate these principles, so it would be a mistake to look only at the outward, superficial behavior, i.e., the choice of sexual object."

However, based on your meandering and over-the-top in the melodrama dept., vital, emotion-driven rant it's likely you would still completely miss Bob's point altogether.

The nazi's, commies and jihadists have done the same to heterosexual Jews and Christians so your dishonest attempt to evoke sympathy for one of the pillars of perpetual victimhood and support for your false accusation is pathetic.

Ask yourself why your take on this post is so disconnected and twisted and proceed from there.

2/26/2011 01:58:00 AM  
Blogger wild said...

"Let us stipulate at the outset that what Dante is saying applies to everyone...it is commonplace for heterosexuals to violate these principles, so it would be a mistake to look only at...the choice of sexual object."

Yes I got that bit. But I am contesting that homosexuality falls short of being an encounter with the other.

Thanks for your critical feedback that you found my post meandering (I was trying to address the points in the sequence they occurred in the post) and "over-the-top" (I thought they were quite focused!) but although I believe that a certain amount of emotional engagement is desirable before making a comment, if you got the impression I am all hot under the collar, then all I can say is that this is certainly not the case.

I am certainly less emotionally engaged than you seem to be! I am not quite sure why you think I will disagree with you when you say that "commies and jihadists have done the same to heterosexual Jews and Christians" but if it helps, yes indeed. As for your final remark that I am "pleading for perpetual victimhood in order to support my false accusations" I think you must be confusing me with somebody else.

2/26/2011 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wild, as to your points I think many of them have either been addressed in the post, or else can be summed up in the simple concept of "love the sinner, hate the sin." I don't think, for instance, that God hates gays. I do, however, have good reason to think God very much prefers that people not engage in sodomy, regardless of their orientation. No matter how strong one's urges, nobody that I know of has died from lack of sex. Lots of people, however, have died from having ill-advised sex. Particularly, I might note, lots of gay men. Make of that what you will.

Your insinuations about the inclinations of men in history, including Christ, do bring to mind another cultural phenomenon that has grown out of the gay pride movement: the terrible damage done to male friendships as they were historically expressed in times where every show of brotherly affection was not immediately seen in a sexualized context.

Half a century ago and more, it was not at all uncommon to find, in literature and lore, examples of men expressing their love for each other and even showing physical affection in ways which everyone now views with a raised eyebrow and an innuendo. Everything from comics to Tolkien to virtually any epic tale of adventure I can think of from back in the day featured some sort of friendship along these lines. Presumably this had a basis in everyday life, and represented an ideal of male friendship of the sort that often went deeper than brotherly love, but which was not at all about sexual attraction.

Women are still allowed that sort of friendship: we've all seen a cluster of female friends greet each other with hugs and open declarations of love, which nobody thinks to decry as making them appear to be dykes. Such open friendship has been stolen from men, and I think that's truly tragic. It is, in fact, yet another failure of love.

Going back to my dead horse of earlier this week, things changed in the mid-twentieth century. Culturally speaking, we bought into the lie that sex could be had without consequences. All kinds of sex. As a result, we no longer know what it is for, nor what human beings are for, but we are paying the price on a massive scale.

There ain't no such thing as a free f*ck.

2/26/2011 03:46:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/26/2011 04:12:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Julie at 9:47 and afterward..

Precisely. Scripture simply does not bless this sort of union. So either marriage has a sacred aspect or it doesn't. If it doesn't then it shouldn't be desired in that way. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks about it. There is something, if not central, to marriage that can never be. It has no telos, is the best I've seen it described. And this is no small thing.

It is almost as if the homosexual act has little to do with the point. Although it does in a sense illuminate the potential failure that may remain in blessed unions.

Wild get's close here:
"Yes I got that bit. But I am contesting that homosexuality falls short of being an encounter with the other."

We all fall short. No one is spared.

2/26/2011 04:13:00 AM  
Blogger Rick said...

Ben,
"USS Missus tends to bypass the "we need to talk" stage and proceeds to the "you need to duck" stage. :^)"

Aw man that was too funny! I did not see that coming.

2/26/2011 04:17:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Ben that was a LLOL -- a literal laugh out loud.

2/26/2011 06:38:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Wild: Your arguments are not persuasive. I recommend that you read Dennis Prager's Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism (and then Christianity) Rejected Homosexuality, and then get back to us.

2/26/2011 06:56:00 AM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Prager, keep my paladins out of this...

2/26/2011 07:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Yeah, Right you Ninny said...

Well, God created homosexuality, so He knows what results He desires from it.

WE sure don't. All we can do is guess. People with powerful minds, like Bob, back up their guesses with 1000 persuasive words.

All perfectly useless.

And, as far as the "can we talk?" comment: the utterance of the brave one who undertakes relationship maintenance tasks agaist the monotholithic resistance of partners who don't pull their weight.

For shame. Relationshps require constant heavy negotiations. The "better not to talk" crowd are lazy and are shirking.

So once in a while, YOU ask "can we talk?" and then your partner will get a glimmer of hope that you aren't going to be a burden for the rest of his/her life.

2/26/2011 09:05:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Thanks for the Prager article, Bob - I've heard him talk about this in bits and pieces, but had never seen it all tied together in one place.

2/26/2011 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger gringagirl18 said...

Ben,
Too funny!
Mrs. G

2/26/2011 10:35:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Re.

...heterosexual men [who] may look like they're having sex with another, when they are actually masturbating with a projected fantasy figure.

***

The girls create them, which confers an Eve-like counter-spiritual creative power.


Apropos, and here.

2/26/2011 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Sal said...

"As to our love, it cannot fail to be creative love if it is Christ's. Love that we had supposed to have no importance but for ourselves- love between husband and wife, parents and children, sisters and brothers, the love of friends- all these natural loves, if we love with Christ's heart, increase the life of the world, and build up the kingdom of heaven here on earth. That harder love to achieve, the love of our enemies, of those who hate us and persecute us, does not merely bring us pardon in our own sins, but is redemptive; it has a reach as wide as the cross, and not only brings nercy to those who are its object, but to the whole world.
Every one who lives the Christ life, and therefore loves with the heart of Christ is adding to the divine love in the world, which is the only force opposed to hate. Whether they love their betrothed, their wife, or children, or their enemy, whether their love is happy and fulfilled or is one that they must forego and seem to frustrate, they are adding to the sum total of the love thst is redeeming the world.
-Caryll Houselander

2/26/2011 11:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Prager said...

There are humble individuals and arrogant individuals on the right and on the left. But there is no arrogance like leftist arrogance. If you hold a leftist position, you know that you are smarter, wiser, and more moral not only than conservatives, but more so than the Bible, more so than the Constitution, indeed often more so than everyone who lived before you.

Same-sex marriage is a perfect example. The fact that neither Moses nor the Hebrew Prophets, nor Jesus nor the Buddha nor any great secular humanist thinker, ever advocated defining marriage as between members of the same sex does not cause the Left to rethink its advocacy of same-sex marriage; it only proves to them how morally superior they are to Moses, Jesus, the Prophets, and everyone else who lived before them.

2/26/2011 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Off topic, deals at Borders.

I was at one last weekend that was closing. The line for checking out was wrapped around the inside of the store, but it was moving pretty fast. Notably, they had good deals on a selection of music CDs, including some Jazz albums.

2/26/2011 11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Mizz E said...

The majority of new customs are old behaviors that western civilization had shamefacedly confined to its lower-class neighborhoods. -Don Colacho

2/26/2011 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Sal said...

Asked my husband to look for the Musa DC at Border's belly-up sale, but he found it at B&N.

In his translator notes, he insists that a translator must first be a great lover- to the point that he sacrifices his personal inclinations, feats of expertise and literary conceits to the voice of his author.
IOW, his vocation is to let Dante be Dante, as much as is possible in another language.
Kind of a "marriage of true minds".

A great read for anyone who likes to hear an expert (in the good sense) explain their creative decisions.

2/26/2011 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Sorry I only just now had a chance to look at the article by Dennis Prager.

I notice that he claims that when Judaism demanded that all sexual activity be channelled into marriage, this rendered Western civilization possible. He also makes it clear, in a post on these pages, that he is against homosexual marriage.

The first claim may or may not be true, I do not rule it out as true, although I think it probably isn't, it may be true to some extent, and there certainly was a Western tradition of marriage in which Christianity has played a major role. If it is true that it is the Jewish tradition of marriage that was foundational, I think it is a very interesting claim, which may even be true.

But it is in obvious conflict with the second view, which rejects homosexual marriage. For what it is worth I think marriage makes sense within the context of bringing up children, so if I was asked to be decide about gay marriage I would be against it.

So where are we so far? Well I am agreeing that closed marriages may well have been a major part of the success of the West, and with regard to the issue of "gay marriage" being against it does not seem to me to be unreasonable.

So I read on.....

Prager quotes David Greenberger who claims that no early civilization prohibited homosexuality, and that it was Jewish Tradition (followed by Christianity and Islam) that invented the forbidding of homosexuality. Again I find this an interesting idea, and although I doubt it, because I would be surprised if some degree of hostility towards (male) homosexuality was pretty universal in human cultures, but once again, if it is true, and it may well be, it is an interesting claim.

Prager asserts that those who declare that homosexuality is compatible with Judaism or Christianity bear the burden of proof that their claim can be reconciled with their Bible, given not only the condemnation of it (along with lots of other prohibitions such as cutting your hair or mixing different fabrics in the same item of clothing) in not only the Old Testament, but by Paul in the New Testament (the gospels make no mention of the subject) and once again I think this judgement is fair enough. The claim seems to be (if Paul not Jesus is our authority) that homosexuality goes against Nature, and therefore it should be condemned.

You could argue that it is in the NATURE of homosexual men to be homosexual, but let us not quibble. Let us just conclude that for Paul homosexuality is not good. Prager reminds us that the Old Testament lists it as amongst the "abominations" (along with worship of idols presumably) practised by the peoples living in the land that will be conquered by the Jews.

2/26/2011 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Male homosexuality is bad because it fails to lead to children, and it has a negative effect on women. Although a Middle Eastern approach to the status of women it not what comes immediately comes to mind as a tradition that elevates the importance of women, if you look at, for example, the cult of the Virgin in C12th medieval Europe, a good case can be made that the Christian tradition did elevate the status of women. According to Prager Judaism makes it clear that not to marry is a less holy life. I have no reason to doubt it. Although in Christianity there seems to be (from at least Paul onwards) a different traditions, that favours celibacy, at least in the priesthood.


So far so good. Then comes the conclusion. If I jump to the end. Prader suggests that denying or delaying gratification has been a key element in the the creation of Western civilization. This (to some extent) is clearly true. I say to some extent because all civilized behaviour requires restraint, and, conversely, the industrial revolution which generated the wealth which enables us to have our high living standards, was driven by prior consumer demand, but as a basic principle it is clearly correct. We are then offered the conclusion that it is biologically normal for men and women to reproduce. Well indeed. Why have a reproductive apparatus? So have I reached the end of the article and found nothing really to disagree with?

Nope.

Prager rushes through the bit upon which the whole weight of the article depends. He claims that humans are naturally bisexual.

He claims that humans are not biologically programmed to have a sexual identity, and therefore homosexuality is a choice.

Prager then suggests that homosexuality is an illness. He says that Freud (that well known reliable inquirer) claimed that homosexuality is arrested development, and that a different psychoanalyst (this time called called Rangell) said that he had never seen a male homosexual who did not have a phobia of a vagina!

Well giving Prager the benefit of the doubt that these claims are not incompatible, we have

Homosexuality is a choice - which leads to a mental disorder.

Mental disorder has bad consequences for both the individual and for society – and therefore it would be better for everybody if people did not decide to be homosexual. So if we accept (we are pushing onto shaky ground here but let us grant this assumption that homosexuality is in some sense a mental disorder) we are left with a bold claim. We are naturally bisexual. Which is to say we are naturally mentally disordered. We can choose the ordered state of heterosexuality or the disordered state of homosexuality. As a society we ought to seek (I am presuming that killing people or imprisoning people for homosexuality is not what is being advocated) to persuade people not to become homosexual. All very logical.

Except with an obvious little flaw. If we are not naturally bisexual, and homosexuality is not a choice, the whole argument collapses.

2/26/2011 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

Wild,
You may be surprised that although I thought Prager made many good points, with all due respect to him, I didn't care for the article all that much. Seemed a little cold or deadpan or scientistic when the central point should be about the sacred aspect. As I said, with all due respect. Maybe after I spend some time with the guy I'll warm up to him. No offense to fans.

What it lacks, I think, is that it seems to stop short of having an absolute point. As I understand it, from reading the work of theologians, early fathers, the Orthodox and such, God does not wish us to be moral and love each other as if that is the end of it. As if He just wants Him to be over here and us over there in the world having healthy relationships and not hurting each other and loving each other, peace and love.
He wants us to have those things certaily, but as they are on a way toward returning to Him. Prager hints at this when he says - to go from Animal-like to God-like. But even that is not enough. Since we are all fallen by nature of being man, God loves us and wants us to return. As we are learning in Inferno, one must be suitable for that place. You could say that that is what is meant when that person says arrested development.

2/26/2011 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

I think he was trying to stay on a sociological, psychological, and anthropological level specifically because most people -- and all elites -- simply tune out purely religious arguments.

2/26/2011 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I think so too.

2/26/2011 08:10:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Re. Prager, that does make sense, given that he's arguing while trying to achieve clarity, which generally requires keeping things to a level that your intended audience can comprehend.

2/26/2011 09:21:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew Casey Smallwood said...

GB-
This is an absolutely spot on meditation on the nature of sex. You may be interested in Charles William's work on Dante, which addresses precisely this angle of Romanticism & the West via sublimated sexual love.

2/26/2011 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

orgasms
are something else
"O, God..."

2/27/2011 02:52:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Julie -- Also, unlike me, Prager very much wishes to have an impact on people who disagree with him!

2/27/2011 06:00:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Without my lovely wife's throwing arm this joke wouldn't have been possible. :^)

Thanks for the Prager link, Bob.
Explains a lot.

2/27/2011 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

This is the stage in which the opposite sex is regarded as 'icky'"...

Somehow, for some unknown reason, I completely skipped this stage. I never understood the concept of "cooties".

"You mean you don't want them to touch you????" -- me, [or an accurate translation of my thoughts] at a very young age

3/07/2011 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

Yeah, though I enjoyed Prager's comment here (thoroughly), if the article itself claimed that humans are naturally bisexual, I'm going to have to disagree with that assertion.

If I made a choice it was unbeknownst to me. From as far back as I can remember (which is pretty far) ... well ... George Thorogood kinda summed it up for me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNpo1z8bZg0

I'm catching up on Badgdad Blog here tonight. I'm finding that a lot of the things being discussed here are things I've been talking about over at my place and with "friends" on facebook.

Finished "One Cosmos Under God". Bought a copy for a friend and sent it to him. And recommended it to another.

Great book, and such a worthwhile blog here. I need to keep up better so I don't have to do these marathon reading sessions.

And at some point I'm going to have to get back to my other books. And of course balance all of that with actually ... you know, living life.

3/07/2011 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger philmon said...

Ah. I see that Prager posits no such thing (that men are naturally bisexual). He presents it as a possibility -- one that might be raised to weaken his argument, but goes on to assert that if true -- which he does not say one way or the other -- it would actually strengthen his argument.

3/07/2011 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger wild said...

Philmon,

Prager claims that

"Human sexuality, especially male sexuality, is polymorphous...Men have had sex with women and with men"

he argues that

"Judaism's restricting of sexual behavior was one of the essential elements that enabled society to progress...To appreciate the extent of the revolution wrought by Judaism's prohibiting homosexuality...it is first necessary to appreciate just how universally accepted, valued, and practiced homosexuality has been throughout the world"

Prager asserts that there is no evidence that being a homosexual is biologically determined, but even if it was biologically determined

"if...society can successfully repress homosexual inclinations, it can lead to either of two conclusions — that society should do so...or that society should not do so...one could argue that people are naturally (i.e., biologically) bisexual (and given the data I have seen on human sexuality, this may well be true)...however, if this is true, the argument that homosexuality is chosen is strengthened, not weakened. For if we all have bisexual tendencies, and most of us successfully suppress our homosexual impulses, then obviously homosexuality is...surmountable and chosen."

and therefore

"it is society, not the individual, that chooses whether homosexuality will be widely practiced"

Homosexuality should be suppressed because

"The creation of Western civilization...took a constant delaying of gratification, and a re-channeling of natural instincts...the family is...a value that must be cultivated and protected. The Greeks assaulted the family in the name of beauty and Eros. The Marxists assaulted the family in the name of progress. And...gay liberation assaults it in the name of compassion and equality....At stake is our civilization."

1/15/2014 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Wow - has that comment been waiting in the queue all this time, or did this thread just stick in your craw for three years?

1/15/2014 06:19:00 AM  

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