Thursday, September 12, 2019

Pornsophy: Nihilism

Peter Kropotkin (c. 1900)
There are kinds of porn that act like porn but aren’t porn per se to the extent that there is no sex or naked bodies. If the end result of porn is an obliterative stimulation that allows an instantaneous escape from reality, nihilism can function as a form of pornography since it immediately steels the personality into a euphoric state of uncaringness. Nothing matters, everything is shit or as Hamlet says, “by a sleep to say we end the heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.” Of course, negativity has a subsidiary function as a form of exorcism or emetic. You have to get the poison out to make room for the elixir of hope. “When he himself might his quietus make /With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear…” Hamlet continues. Bazarov was Turgenev’s famously negative character in Fathers and Sons and then there’s Chekhov’s Solyony in The Three Sisters whose negativity results in the death of the Baron, in a meaningless duel. The Russians were experts at nihilism and revolutionary anarchists like Kropotkin provided the ideologies for literary mouthpieces. But underneath can it be said that like porn, extreme negativity ultimately entails a search for enlightenment?

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