Saturday, July 09, 2011

Porn, the easy payoff

Naomi Wolf has a new article on Huffington Post in which she speculates on the possible relation of the pornography culture to the rash of politicians like Anthony Weiner who have exposed themselves carelessly in the the social media.

She refers there to an older article, The Porn Myth, published several years ago in New York magazine, in which she refers to a debate about pornography she had with Andrea Dworkin, one of the early feminist anti-porn crusaders. Dworkin felt that porn would result in the increased objectification of women and lead in turn to more sex crime.

Wolf debunks this conclusion as a myth and postulates that it was rather resulting in different kinds of desensitization, especially among the young men who had become habituated to its use. One thing is certain though, the common thread in both their ideas is that those who are habituated to the use of pornography increasingly tend to depersonalize or objectify women.

Towards the end of her article, Wolf comes to the conclusion that the demystification of sex and the absence of a sense of the sacred in sexual love is the greatest loss that results from liberal access to pornography.

The young women who talk to me on campuses about the effect of pornography on their intimate lives speak of feeling that they can never measure up, that they can never ask for what they want; and that if they do not offer what porn offers, they cannot expect to hold a guy. The young men talk about what it is like to grow up learning about sex from porn, and how it is not helpful to them in trying to figure out how to be with a real woman. Mostly, when I ask about loneliness, a deep, sad silence descends on audiences of young men and young women alike. They know they are lonely together, even when conjoined, and that this imagery is a big part of that loneliness. What they don’t know is how to get out, how to find each other again erotically, face-to-face.

She points to some traditional cultures, particularly orthodox Judaism, where prudery and modesty in the public sphere was more than adequately compensated for in the private boudoir.

To say that this is a serious social and psychological disease is no understatement. If we recognize that prema is the goal of human life, then perhaps it is the most serious of all.

I would like to point out that there is an evolving connection between pornography and the consumerist work ethic of North American culture, which is the bastard child of the Protestant work ethic, the this-worldly asceticism that Max Weber pointed out was the basis of Western capitalism.

In the course of time, consumerism took salvation's place as the driving force behind the work ethic. But the carrot of consumption is backed up by whips driving towards ever-increased productivity, efficiency, and "added value."

In American society, this is coming to a head, as the quality of life (based for decades now on the exploitation of poor country resources and labor, and debt-based consumption) is finally headed to the verge of collapse. But in the meantime, capitalist society continues to try to squeeze every drop of blood from its workers in the name of productivity.

And this is where pornography comes in. Porn is the mechanization of sex, the "productivization" of masturbation. Get rid of the urge as quickly as possible so you can get back to the grind. Like all consumerism, it is depersonalization and commodification.

The complications of human relationships are eliminated; you are better off with a less costly, time-efficient video and a life-sized rubber doll.

I read somewhere that men, on average, watch pornographic materials for between 2 or 3 minutes at a time -- the time it takes them to masturbate to orgasm.

Television, which after all is merely another part of the same complex, has the same effect: vicarious living in the service of productivity.

Love is a sadhana. It requires time and effort and commitment. The crushing life of forced, ever increasing productivity in wage-slavery, leaves no time for sacred intimacy, or developing deep, meaningful, ever-evolving relationships that are integral to one's spiritual development. So pornography becomes its efficacious substitute.

It makes people lazy in pursuing the goal of sacred love, which is where true human value lies. Porn is prem preempted by an easy payoff.

2 comments:

EteRniTy said...

while searching about SKK, I found your blog. I felt good to find lot of information at one stop.

I could not go through all of the posts, but yes I might have hit one good post "porn, the easy payoff" already.

I am moved by your perception. It is a whole new different angle to see it.
I liked it.

Jagat said...

Thank you very much, Eternity. I am sorry I responded so late. I have been a bit neglectful of the blog lately. I am glad you liked this article, which does indeed encapsulate an important part of my thinking.

Jai Radhe,

Jagat