5-18-13 Hodgepodge

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Exhibitionism vs. Eroticism

If you find modern culture to be awash with sex, and yet completely unerotic, Emily Esfahani Smith has written an essay for you. She asks, "Is Sex Still Sexy?"

Eros, in fact, is everything that Speak About It and the hookup culture are not. Casual sex, readily available sex, publicized sex, sloppy drunk sex, sex for the sake of self-gratification and self-discovery--this is not eros. "Sex-on-tap," Nehring writes in A Vindication of Love, "attenuates rather than inflames passion. It is for this reason that the relentless emphasis on sexual climax that distinguishes our day from most others in historical memory has a largely depleting effect on the life of the emotions... The natural distances between people have been diminished so radically as to make romance--which depends on the retention of other-ness, tensions, and reserve--impossible."
I don't agree with everything she says here, but find her piece thought-provoking, and a good description of the general state of modern culture. Smith is clear that her objections to this state of affairs are not religious. She makes a point to noting that one commentator she quotes is an atheist, for example.

I am reminded of the following, by another atheist thinker, Ayn Rand:
Sex is a physical capacity, but its exercise is determined by man's mind--by his choice of values, held consciously or subconsciously. To a rational man, sex is an expression of self-esteem--a celebration of himself and of existence. To the man who lacks self-esteem, sex is an attempt to fake it, to acquire its momentary illusion.

Romantic love, in the full sense of the term, is an emotion possible only to the man (or woman) of unbreached self-esteem: it is his response to his own highest values in the person of another--an integrated response of mind and body, of love and sexual desire. Such a man (or woman) is incapable of experiencing a sexual desire divorced from spiritual values.
Yes. Sharing everything lessens mystery, but one must also have something to share. Merely not talking about mindless sex isn't the solution.

Weekend Reading

"It's virtually impossible to get a point across to anyone who feels that you're meddling in something that's none of your business." -- Michael Hurd in "10 Tips for Good Communication", at The Delaware Coast Press

"Consider apology as a way of honoring what you know to be true, while at the same time honoring yourself and those you care about." -- Michael Hurd, in "Apology as the Last Word", at The Delaware Wave

My Two Cents

Michael Hurd's treatment of the subject of apology shows that the conventional wisdom on the subject is both wrong and harmful. It is easy to forget, in this age of insincere, conditional "apologies" that making an apology can be moral and practical.

Explosion on the Moon

My daughter's love of the moon has made me more alert to stories like this one:
"On March 17, 2013, an object about the size of a small boulder hit the lunar surface in Mare Imbrium," says Bill Cooke of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. "It exploded in a flash nearly 10 times as bright as anything we've ever seen before."

Anyone looking at the Moon at the moment of impact could have seen the explosion--no telescope required.  For about one second, the impact site was glowing like a 4th magnitude star.
There is video available at the link, but you need to view it as a loop to really see anything.


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