Kamis, 14 Maret 2013

Porn and the Contemplative Life

Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Christian (Patheos.com)


...There are perhaps several reasons for [Web porn and the contemplative life not mixing], but Alain de Botton offers one in The Wall Street Journal worth considering.
 
Certain kinds of [character-building] suffering are beneficial, even necessary for human flourishing, he says, particularly struggling through periods of anxiety and boredom.
 
Porn diverts us from those struggles. “Our anxious moods are genuine but confused signals that something is amiss,” he says, “and so they need to be listened to and patiently interpreted -- which is unlikely to happen when we have to hand one of the most powerful tools of distraction ever invented.”
 
Sex and the single (opensourcejokes.com)
To combat boredom with this overpowering distraction is equally harmful because “pornography weakens our tolerance for the kind of boredom which is vital to give our minds the space in which good ideas can emerge....”
 
In both cases, we are unable to attend to [our spiritual center], to give it the necessary time and attention because our faculties are otherwise employed.
 
(TED TV) Alain de Botton’s "Atheism 2.0"

An unoccupied mind is essential for serious contemplation. Times of quiet reflection allow the mind to gather up its loose strands of thought and put them in order and even at times offer them as prayer. Resorting to pornography deprives the mind this opportunity.
 
Testosterone makes the man
Interestingly de Botton, who is an atheist, says only religion seems to fully understand this diversionary aspect of sex. In our liberated time, “Only religions still take sex very seriously,” he says, adding:
In so far as religions warn us against sex, it is out of an active awareness of the charms and power of desire. They wouldn’t think that sex was quite so bad, if they didn’t appreciate that it could be quite so wonderful -- and if they weren’t brave enough to admit that this necessarily means that it will also get in the way of some rather important and precious things...
A mind consumed with pornographic images cannot pray [contemplate, meditate, reflect, recollect the good, hear the still small voice of conscience...]. I think de Botton is very helpful in showing why. In some sense it’s a question of focus and capacity. More

BUDDHIST COMMENTARY
Dhr. Seven, Ashley Wells, Wisdom Quarterly
Geek Love: the sexiest Comic Con 2012 cosplay geek burlesque outfits (tgdaily.com)
  
Saint Stewie says...
But what would or could replace sex? Maybe shame can. Or guilt, or confusion, or self-loathing?
  
Sex is fine. Self-expression is natural. "Sexual misconduct" is the problem. 
 
And most broadly this can be defined -- not as the ten partners the Buddha said to avoid if one wished to accrue merit or beneficial karma while steering clear of demerit and dreadful karma -- avoiding harm
  
Whom might we harm? We might harm ourselves, our partner, our family, our partner's family, our spouse, our partner's spouse, our community, our partner's community, our society, our partner's society. Indeed, many might be harmed. We should weigh that potential harm and avoid it just as we would not wish to be harmed by another's carelessness and would wish that that person had avoided harming us.
 
This is not as simplistic as the golden rule because we are not the standard. Looking at the Big Picture -- this lifespan and lives beyond, this reputation and our future character, habits now and tendencies to come -- will give us pause. "Y.O.L.O." and a previous generations' "Live fast, die young" mottos are very misleading.
 
Everything we do actually makes sense; that is not to say that it is something that should be done. It may be better to be left undone. In this way we have sex and maintain ourselves profitably. Consensual sex, free of exploitation or deception, may seem or may be hard to come by, but it is possible, and it is joyous to breathe a sign of relief that we are blameless even as we live and live it up.
 
If we aren't sure what is appropriate, we find out. We ask. We study. We explore. "Our mind is like a parachute; it only works when it's opened." Similarly, it is wise and compassionate to look before we leap. And if we don't have a parachute, "Don't leap yet" is the best advice.

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