Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Pornosophy: Meta-Sex

Estrous Cycle (Out slide)                                         

Can we all agree that from an evolutionary perspective the purpose of sex was, at least initially, procreation? Pleasure was in the service of genome preservation which inevitably was a matter of natural selection. Similarly ingestion was a function of survival with somewhere along the way taste whetting appetite, as the world became a more competitive place. With the development of culture, sexual pleasure like taste began to become a more a complex matter and there came a point in history where both pleasure and appetite were cultivated for their own sake. Sex began to have its codes and mores which were formulated in ancient texts like the Kama Sutra and in the case of food, numerous treatises written by theorizers from Epicurus to Escoffier. The cultivation of pleasure and appetite were actually proto acts of post-modernism since they put both “sex,” once a matter-of-fact biological moment in human or animal life, marked say by estrus in a female mammals, and “feeding” for nourishment, in quotes. The purposes of sex and eating were no longer limited by the original function of procreation and nourishment. The philosopher Thomas Nagel famously wrote “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” And there have been some very interesting experiments in which parakeets have been taught words and phrases. But essentially it’s impossible to know what animals are thinking. Indeed it seems improbable that there's any species outside of man who has attained a high enough level of self-reflexive consciousness to experience what we might called meta-sex, or that form of sex in which pleasure rather than procreation plays the major role. There is a famous statue of Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders in Rockefeller Center and that's a little bit like the predicament posed by thought. Like Atlas mankind in general has been given extraordinary powers which can also turn into a burden. Again while it’s hard to tell, most anecdotal evidence would point that to the fact that once its mating period has ended, the average mammal seeks out different pleasures. However, the neurogenic pathways of men and women are so wired by thinking that they seek to relive the memory of past pleasures which they ideate and conceive, long past their biological mechanism’s ability to effectively convert  urge into action. In lay terms, a youthful consciousness is not a very good tenant for an aging body.

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