Philosophy and sexuality10 Nov 2010 10:20 pm

It is interesting to note that when we talk about qualities of being human we often choose to frame these skills in a not so flattering manner. When we hail human beings for being at the top of the food chain we often point out that man’s ability to lie and deceive as one of the most distinguishing factors. A skill that allows him to rise to the top of the animal kingdom.

Man is not the only animal that can deceive or give false information as many animals protect themselves and survive through some manner of artifice. Some may play dead, others use camouflage while others will puff themselves up or pretend to be an harmless object in their environment. Yet, man uses deception in a wide array of circumstances and situations which often have nothing to do with survival. Man often lies for convenience, laziness, or even humor.

Yet the ability to lie and deceive is really a small subset of a more important and astounding ability and that is the ability to live in the possible and not be imprisoned in the actual. Living in the possible allows man to anticipate, plan, and project a future as well as a past.

This ability of playing with the possible allows him to invent, create, dream, empathize, sympathize, problem solve and love. This same ability is at the core of his appreciation of art, music, and his quest for truth.

Despite all these wonderful ramifications of man’s ability to seek and create the possible we still have a tendency to focus on the lying and deceptive aspects of the possible and are remiss to discuss the more positive aspects.

Another example of how we under value and in some ways demean a remarkable human trait is in our handling of the male sex drive. Being male, I’m focusing on the male sex drive though much of what I’m about to say could probably apply to the female sex drive.

The male sex drive is often thought of as being something of an evolutionary hurdle to overcome or a limitation. The sex drive which was necessary from an evolutionary stand point is now thought of being out of touch with our current life world. Men are often accused of being too obsessed with sex and that the male sex drive reduces females to dehumanized sex objects. Males with a strong sex drive are often referred to as Neanderthals which again implies that modern males need to overcome their innate sex drive to evolve and become a part of the modern world.

In modern psychology the best they could do to acknowledge the positive aspects of the male sex drive is in the concept of sublimation. Yet, this positive use of the male sex drive is pretty limited. The following definition of sublimation will suffice to make this point.
[ trans. ] (esp. in psychoanalytic theory) divert or modify (an instinctual impulse) into a culturally higher or socially more acceptable activity : people who will sublimate sexuality into activities which help to build up and preserve civilization | he sublimates his hurt and anger into humor.

This definition implies that the male sex drive is a generally inferior instinctual impulse in need of being modified in order to become socially acceptable or beneficial. Yet, I would contend that just as lying and deceiving is a subset of the possible that the male sex drive is a subset of desire.

My sense of desire is fueled by and highly influenced by my sex drive. Desire is not a sublimation of my desire but rather my desire is an expression of my sex drive. The male sex drive has been a pervasive force in my life since early adolescence. Now, in my mid-fifties this force is lessening, but my sense of desire owes its existence and form to my sex drive.

It was my sex drive which propelled me towards intimacy. The intensity of desire that became the goal and joy of so much of my experience was born and maintained by the sex drive. I wanted to know, to savor and enjoy every pore of my lover. I wanted to know her every thought and wanted to please her in every sense that she pleased me. This desire, intensity and intimacy of the loved one became my template for all forms of desire and activity. My love of ideas, language, music and people in general is formed from that pervasive desire inherent in the male sex drive.

My love of life is an expression not a sublimation of the sex drive. The sex drive was not something to alter, redirect or channel. My sex drive was an atmosphere which imbued all of life with a sense of excitement. My sex drive was the catalyst propelling me towards being engaged and enraptured with life.

The longer I live the more awed I am by the very process of life itself and of human experience in particular. In this post I focused on two aspects of being human, the faculty of fiction or the possible and the male sex drive. Our experience of life, meaning and satisfaction are deeply steeped in both of these faculties.

In my next post I plan on talking about another amazing feature of human existence and that is the realm of words and language. Any discussion on words and language could go on forever, so I’ll try to center the discussion on my love of painting my world with words.

I”ll end with the lyrics of a song I wrote well over two decades ago which deals with some of the ideas expressed in this post. It is called Fictional Space and is to be found on my I Rock Therefore I am CD in the music section of this site.

Fictional Space

There’s something of the mind which plays off circumstance
Like a servant pampered king it can be wise of frivolous
Unencumbered one used for strategy of evasion
Place me straddled on this life

Vision gives me power and might
Bash their monstrous heads, the survivors scheme
Lovers engulfed orgasmic anticipation
The hunter laughs at the snap of the trap

Fictional space

There’s something that’s the style which I won’t represent
It’s a feeling of denial wan discouragement
Harlots of the soul lost in merriment
Visceral drives buried by excitement

Moments take pride in invention
Problems provoke awkward hesitation
Solution, look to friendly vistas
The future beckons the agile dancer

Fictional space

Make me alive set me on fire
Make me alive celluloid fire

Jim Guido

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