General05 Dec 2007 08:27 pm

My investigation into the male sex drive has led me to a few important related tangents. When we discussed how the male sex drive is treated in our culture we realized that it is at best ignored and at worst denied. Men are often told that they should put their sex drive on a short leash or completely overcome it. Instead of celebrating one of the strongest drives in nature men are told that their sex drive is bad or at least an obstacle to overcome.

Yet, this negative view of men’s natural drives finds itself appearing in many other natural ways of our being in the world. In fact our very ability to sense and be in the world is often slammed and viewed as a negative. In many religions perceptual life is either deemed an illusion or the cause of all suffering. We are told that the false reality of the mundane world, the sensual/perceptual world of human existence needs to be replaced by the world of the sacred. While the temporal world of human experience is rooted in suffering, the ideal world of God and the sacred is eternal and blissful.

I realize that this view makes sense when viewed from the perspective of the fight for survival and the suffering endured by much of human history. Yet, even now when a great number of people are able to live relatively pain free lives we still have a need to down rap human experience and look for happiness beyond experience.

I see this coping mechanism as a potential problem in many people’s lives. When a coping mechanism isn’t needed its use can detract from the quality of one’s life. One should wear a coat and gloves when it is cold outside, but wearing such protective gear would hinder our ability to feel and experience life during warmer weather. Coping mechanisms, like winter woolies, are beneficial in protecting us during harsh times, but actually can reduce the quality of our lives when used during warm times.

To me life is a celebration. I do not see the male sex drive, nor our senses as inherently negative aspects needing to be repressed or overcome. In fact, I think there is great harm done when one unnecessarily inhibits or restricts these natural drives.

I mentioned before that in my work in the field of human services I have noticed some pretty strong patterns. One pattern is that the denial or repression of natural drives more often than not ends up causing problems. A child neglected or abused whose basic needs have not been met will have significant impairments in their ability to find joy and happiness in life. When talking of the male sex drive I noted how repression of this basic drive often results in perversion or problems with aggression.

In situation after situation I have observed how repression of basic needs and drives results in coping mechanisms and behavior which are often unsuccessful in maintaining mental health. These patterns have led me to conclude that the more direct a person is able to get their needs met, the more healthy and happy they will become. In other words, my definition of mental health is when a person is able to get their needs met in a direct and satiating manner.

In recent posts I’ve talked of how narrow and restricted our view of our body is. In these discussions I’ve tried to talk of the body not as a collection of tissues and bones but rather as the part of us that naturally takes up and lives in a world. Not only is my ego not involved in my decision to breathe, but also it is not directly involved in my walking, talking or engaging in a number of tasks. While the body lives in the world my conscious mind (ego) is that which guides and takes credit and responsibility for how I behave.

Just as our body has been dissed by saying that our sensorial life is an illusion to be overcome, likewise our conscious mind has been negatively cast. In modern psychology the conscious mind has been made the blind servant to the Unconscious or the Collective Unconscious. Just as the very narrow view of the body caused us to flesh it out with an idea of spirit, so too our narrow view of consciousness has led us to create the modern view of the Unconscious. In some future essays I’ll apply the more realistic expanded views of the body and consciousness to discuss the appropriate space of the unconscious in context with the preconscious, subconscious and our general body awareness.

When the body and consciousness are viewed in this manner one does not have a need for a term such as spirit, for there is no gap in our experience needing to be filled by such a term. The benefit to dropping the term of spirit or spirituality is that it is more in tune with our actual experience and avoids the tendency of most people’s use of spirit to deny and dehumanize life.

When we exult the sacred we denigrate the mundane. When we devise an essence such as spirit which never dies and survives us after we die, we make human life inessential and meaningless. I am a thinking and feeling human being, all of my experiences are a combination of sense experiences and consciousness. While the body generates and is experience, the conscious mind (ego) is the experiencer. Human experience is dependent on both of these elements. One needs a body to experience and a consciousness to savor and find meaning in these experiences. As I mentioned before when life is viewed from this perspective there is no need for spirit. More often than not the term spirit is used to once again denigrate and deny human life by making life an illusion or a subset to something else (like immortality or enlightenment).

Death gives life meaning just as time and space give meaning to experience. An elephant only exists for me because I see a beginning and an end to the gray beast and space around it. A life, too, is only a life if it begins and ends. Immortality and the eternal are not livable concepts – they are beyond life, for life is finite and absolutes are infinite. Just as I see no need to deny the male sex drive, nor overcome perceptual life, I also see no need to deny my mortality. Just as one can expect perversion and sickness when basic human needs are repressed and denied, one also can expect harms to the quality of one’s existence when one attempts to deny or repress our innate mortality.

Jim Guido

One Response to “Life, Death and Denial”

  1. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

Trackback this Post | Feed on comments to this Post

Leave a Reply