Thursday, August 1, 2019

Pornosophy: Voyeurism and Exhibitionism

There are many so-called paraphilias that are not what they appear to be. Take voyeurism. Peeping Toms are deemed to be pathetic creatures who stealthily intrude on their innocent victims. The body is possessed of secrets and the thrill, for the voyeur, is supposed to lie in uncovering them. However, many voyeurs would not be happy in nudist colonies since they'd not only have nothing to do, but would be missing the thrill of transgression from which the catharsis ultimately derives. Exhibitionists similarly are not great candidates for vacations to nudist colonies since no one is going to go ooh and ah. They’ll just be one more naked body in the crowd. When a person takes their clothes off on a public beach where everyone else is wearing a bathing suit or even decides to walk naked in the street you have a different situation. Hans Christian Anderson famously wrote “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” but that would not qualify as exhibitionism since the emperor is under the delusion that he’s dressed. However, exhibitionism has a subtext which is often missed by those who perpetrate as well as enjoy being its audience and that resides in the desire for truth. Nudity is a metaphor for revelation. Nudity, in both its physical and metaphysical senses, not beauty is truth. And so the  voyeur complements the exhibitionist as a seeker after a certain kind of reality, the ideal form veiled by shadows, that Plato talks about in the cave allegory.

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