Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Human and Subhuman Sexuality

Let's begin where we left off yesterday. Yes, let's talk about love, both human and divine.

First of all, love obviously requires two parties. With love itself, that makes three: lover, beloved, and love.

However, if the system is functioning as it should be, there will be two lovers and two beloveds united by one love, which makes five. But two lovers focused solely on each other is a kind of static situation; plus, it is as if the love only radiates "inward" instead of outward, in an essentially narcissistic manner.

Thus, I think real love can only flourish when the two are united by one love, but also focus their mutual love on a beloved "third." The most obvious or "natural" third is the child, but it doesn't have to be, especially after the children are grown. There are any number of "symbolic thirds" that can unite a couple in their exteriorized, or radiated, love.

Recall that we've been discussing the complementarity of individual <--> collective, with a particular focus on how the person is central to Christianity (i.e., infinitely precious and worthwhile in his own right; or let us just say loved by God), whereas in eastern religions the individual is essentially an obstacle to enlightenment or liberation.

I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens. And of course, from a Christian perspective, it "happens" in love.

My favorite chapter in The Mystery of Individuality is the last one, which deals with love and marriage. It is full of wisdom that people need to know, and yet, are generally unaware of.

By way of contrast, think of "sex education," or indeed, the entire field of secular "human sexuality." Deprived of the type of quintessentially human wisdom discussed by Perry, these disciplines are not even "animal" or "primate" sexuality. A more accurate term would be subhuman sexuality, which is neither human nor animal, but a kind of rebellion against, or rejection of, our human nature.

Perry begins with the observation -- uncontroversial for 99.99% of human history, prior to the ascension of tenured stupidity -- that "the mystery of individuality must include an image of it seen through the prism of the masculine and female duality which divides the individual into two incomplete halves, as it were." He adds that the cosmos is "ruled by polarities," but I prefer to say "complementarities," since this latter term implies an underlying harmony.

And in fact, Perry adds that, "though divided, these polarities presuppose an underlying unity without which they could not oppose each other." In this case, male and female are united in their essential humanness. As Jung observed, within the male is the latent anima archetype, just as within the female is the latent animus archetype.

Perry writes of the need for a functioning cosmos to be characterized by complementarities such as positive and negative or attraction and repulsion. Without these, "the universe would collapse and be reabsorbed into Non-being..." It would be like a dead battery, or a lesbian marriage.

First and foremost -- or at the first degree of cosmic manifestation -- we might say that masculine and feminine are personifications of Absolute and Infinite, respectively (a subject we have discussed in a number of previous posts). These terms -- Absolute and Infinite -- may be "prolonged," so to speak, in various iterations.

For example, masculinity, writes Perry, achieves "its purest intensity as Truth and Strength," whereas femininity does so in the modes of Love and Beauty. But again, beneath the complementarity is the oneness of, say, beautiful truth or loving strength (the latter being the Good Father). Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance.

Perry naturally says a lot of things that are politically and academically incorrect, which I suppose is a good gauge of their veracity. For example, "What woman loves in man is essentially his strength and intelligence, or his liberating objectivity, and in this respect man is equated with the motionless center or the static or axial principle..."

Conversely, "what man loves in woman is essentially her beauty and her love, her kindness and mercy, or the mystery of her liberating subjectivity..." It doesn't mean this is all he loves in her, but it is difficult to imagine being attracted to a woman in the first place if she lacked these things; or, conversely, if she were as rigid, severe, cruel, unmysterious, and unyielding as, say, Gloria Allred.

Elsewhere I remember Schuon saying something to the effect that (I'm paraphrasing here) woman finds her axis, or center, in man, whereas man finds his "space" in woman. I think this explains why women become more conservative when they marry, because their vulnerability to emotionalism and flightiness is disciplined by a masculine center (which is already in them, as animus, but is most often first encountered in projected form).

Likewise, this is why we see an Obama campaign specifically tailored to the emotionalism and flightiness of single women (not all of whom, obviously, respond to such childish, illogical, selfish, and generally Fluked up appeals).

There are also "pathologically masculine" appeals, but not so much in the mainstream. For example, there can be an element of this in dogmatic libertarianism, or perhaps in those irrelevant militia groups. Nazis and Islamic supremacists also come to mind.

An important point to bear in mind is that pathological masculinity almost always contains a background of pathological femininity, and vice versa. For example, the angry and dogmatic feminazi is a kind of perverse caricature of masculinity, whereas the aggressive statism of an Obama is bit like mommy with armed thugs.

This is why, as Perry observes, there is something unnatural about a man without courage, just as there is something unnatural about a woman "lacking in tenderness." It hardly means that a man can't be tender and a woman can't be courageous. In fact, in a life properly lived, we will develop and assimilate complementary virtues, in balance with the existing ones.

To be continued...

20 Comments:

Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Love these underwater dog photos.

10/24/2012 10:33:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Would be interesting to try it with cats...

10/24/2012 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

Cats would be harder to see for all the blood.

10/24/2012 10:46:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

When our son got married, my wife went to the bridal shower and the married ladies were asked to give my DIL-to-be advice on a happy marriage.

My wife's advice was, "It takes three", meaning it's important to bring God into the marriage. I think it got a bit of a laugh, though, before she had a chance to explain.

10/24/2012 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

I am so lucky I swallowed my beverage before reading those first three comments...

Mushroom, your wife is a wise one. I cringe every time I see teenage girls commenting on FB about what they expect from a boyfriend. It's all take and no give, usually lists of brittle rules and unyielding demands. To the extent that they bring their faith into a relationship, they seem to consider themselves, by virtue of being female and pretty, to be women worth more than rubies.

They have the Beauty part down without even trying, but they don't seem to leave much room for Love...

10/24/2012 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger mushroom said...

She's been putting up with me for forty years. It's either the Holy Ghost or the Jose Cuervo.

10/24/2012 01:37:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Wonderful post. It rings true.

10/24/2012 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Julie, as in everything else, consumerism runs rampant through everything, and has for a long time.

There are gains, but the interior noise is self-referential, and deafening.

10/24/2012 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Magister said...

Mushroom

Holy Ghost or Jose Cuervo?

Why choose?

: )

10/24/2012 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Magister, I hadn't thought of it in terms of consumerism, but you may be right - except that the product being sold - perhaps "pushed" would be a better word here - is the self. The combination of the self-esteem movement and social networking has taken the normal (and relatively innocent) narcissism of teenage girls and turned it into something far more malignant...

10/24/2012 05:39:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

"I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens."

"So we finish the 18th and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

10/24/2012 10:30:00 PM  
Blogger EbonyRaptor said...

Please forgive this intrusion, having nothing to do with this post, but this line just cracked me up and I have to share it. From Rick Wilson's article (at Ricochet.com) on Obama's flailing campaign ...

"Vice-President Malaprop wanders Ohio diners, touching people's food and getting biker chicks to sit in his lap."

10/24/2012 11:00:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

For example, masculinity, writes Perry, achieves "its purest intensity as Truth and Strength," whereas femininity does so in the modes of Love and Beauty. But again, beneath the complementarity is the oneness of, say, beautiful truth or loving strength (the latter being the Good Father). Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance.

10/25/2012 01:07:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"I don't know about you, but if I ever achieve enlightenment or liberation, I want to be there when it happens."

I cooncur. Otherwise what's the point? And would you even know it if there was one?

Besides, if you ain't there you certainly can't witness it.

Can I get a witness? :^)

10/25/2012 01:10:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Those are fun photos of the diving dogs. Thanks.

Yes! Cats would be interesting. I have seen underwater tiger and liger photos which are pretty neat, but they love water.

There's an untapped market for the industrious (and brave) photographer willing to try underwater cat photography.

10/25/2012 01:20:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

"There are any number of "symbolic thirds" that can unite a couple in their exteriorized, or radiated, love. "


Whether its a Relationship, a Friendship or even an Aquainance, each has a life (or life span of its own). It has its birth (with all the wonder of discovery), its youth (doing and sharing of things and activities), maturity (establishment of trust), and also aging towrds death (ennui & Boredom) and its death spiral. Can any of you be able to determine the age (what part of the life cycle) that each of your Aquaintances/Friendships/Relationships are in?

Now mind you, The spiritual aging of your Relationships do not follow the linear progression of time (like our bodies do). Infact, the aging process may reversre itself many times and can grow younger. If you are caring, it can last a lifetime. But that requires the almost lost art of husbandry.

"Dualism implies a kind of battle, whereas complementarity is a dance."

Perhaps the demise of dance in our culture is a manifestation of our cultures distancing from God. As Competition (or desire for battle), with its touch of murder, is countinuing to be infused, the understanding (and thus desire) for dance becomes less. As I have said before, Competition is work ethic on the cheap: Fast, dirty and incomplete. A proper tool in some areas of your life, but not a pancea for all areas.

10/25/2012 04:21:00 AM  
Blogger Cond0011 said...

" Competition is work ethic on the cheap: Fast, dirty and incomplete. "

It also has a kind of Codependent Pathos being that it requires an 'other' for its animation. Thus, a enemy (or rival) is required. If there is no enemy, one needs to be made up if one is to become animated. Thus the pathos.

10/25/2012 04:27:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Cond0011, those are some great points. Re. dance, I don't know that it's dying necessarily, but rather that, like sexuality, it has become flattened and pornified. In popular culture, it no longer serves to elevate, just titillate.

10/25/2012 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger Magister said...

Speaking of thirds, an Orthodox composer named Arvo Pärt weaves two voices of music together, thinking about them like this:

The melodic line or M-voice always signifies the subjective world, the daily egoistic life of sin and suffering. The triadic part, or T-voice, meanwhile, is the objective realm of forgiveness. The M-voice may appear to wander, but it is always held firmly by the T-voice. This can be likened to the eternal dualism of body and spirit, heaven and earth; but the two voices are in reality one voice, a twofold single entity. One line is like freedom, and the triad line is like discipline. It must work together.

The triad is naturally triune. His method is often very simple, but the results are (at least in my opinion) sublime. Diatonic dissonance is part of this sublimity.

The image of a melodic line being "cradled" (Pärt's word) by something so fundamental as the notes of the tonic triad is, in a way, a nice image of marriage being cradled, whatever the passing dissonances, by divine grace.

10/25/2012 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger ge said...

holy triad of pressure points

10/25/2012 08:18:00 AM  

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