Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Westian Porn

There is always a subjective aspect to beauty merely by dint of the existence of a beholder. Yet this subjectivity reinforces the recognition that beauty is objective. For that is a recognition to which one's subjectivity is called in beholding it. Beauty draws a person out of himself, for instance.

Part of the power or authority of the objectivity of beauty is that it is made manifest in the transformation of the subjective - without making the transformation of the subjective its object. In such an encounter of beauty, the subjective undergoes a purification which is not felt as one's object, but in a freedom in which it encounters infinity, and sweetness and pain are as one. This could not be so if beauty were entirely subjective.

Our experience of beauty is limited. Our ability to love is limited. We are limited creatures. This is not a statement of capitulation or resignation, but a beginning fact. If one thinks otherwise, then one may want to take one's Pelagian illusion up with Jesus Christ crucified on the cross.

For therein lies our transcendence. Answer me this: how is it that we, finite and limited creatures, can have mercy on God?

But so it is. Jesus on the cross gives to the repentant a staggering role reversal in which we are given the ability to exercise mercy. That is not at all to say this mercy He begets from us removes our sins - He alone does that; nor does it alter the Deicide of the crucifixion, which each one of us has personally done and does; but it is to say that the way under which Christ comes to us in our repentance, and even in the midst of our sins, is that He gives Himself to us and says, "Do with Me what you will." It should be noted, this is how He gives Himself to us; it does not mean He is indifferent to what we do with Him or that He does not make commandments of us.

He blossoms tenderness from us that is in fact the potency the sinner desires. This is how He masters the sinner: "Do with Me what you will".

The evil of viewing pornography does not at all consist in that the viewer objectifies the model/actor in the photograph or film, or "limits" the model/actor, or "uses up" the model/actor in that or any instance of viewing pornography, but that the viewer in the act of viewing gives acquiescence to being completely subjective - infinitely subjective - towards himself, sealed with all the "authority" and insistence of the intoxicating pleasure; the means of obtaining the pleasure/feeling/connectedness is the inevitable objectification of himself. The fact that he is beginning with a photo or film of people as the means of his object - pleasure, feeling, connectedness - rather than with actual people, bears this out.

Let's repeat: the primary and paramount evil in viewing pornography is not that you are limiting the infinite worth of the model/actor you are looking at, but that you are abusing yourself. Right from the get-go, this is the dominant key in the evil of the entire business of viewing it. Even if there is no physical impurity, called masturbation or Onanism, just by purposely viewing pornography you are abusing yourself - very much in the same sense that one is abusing himself by inviting impure thoughts through the abuse of the imagination (except that viewing porn is way worse). Just by aligning one's gaze with pornography on purpose constitutes self-abuse, and this self-abuse, which inevitably will seek to drag others down to its own reduction, is the very impetus and final object of pornography, of what has been termed "pornovision".

How this later transpires in real encounters with real people is of course naturally proven, scientifically and historically, that the person will objectify others, out of the opaque deadness of his spirit; that person who, in accessing that empty fruit which never gives what it promises, has objectified himself, bending himself more and more in that emptiness as a pleasure/satisfaction-receiving object. The person will act accordingly from the same logic by which he derived the intoxicating pleasure, and under which "authority" he now abdicates himself. It is a sort of natural law that as a person acts towards himself, so he acts towards others.

The person (model/actor) that was photographed or filmed was already objectified in the photographing and filming. You are looking at the end-product (photo/film), the finalized/unchanging stamp and distillation of that past objectification, and now you are the one being objectified - by you. In the squelching softness of your infinite subjectivity, you are abusing yourself, via the end-product of a past act of objectification, and this is the primary evil of pornography. And what a sad and empty evil that is.

Moreover, to emphasize that a person who views pornography is objectifying the person in the photo/film, and to hold this as the primary evil of viewing pornography, is to de-emphasize the actual, real objectification that took place when the person was photographed or filmed.

This, by the way, is what Christopher West does when he talks about pornography as having something good behind it - the body - and that the problem is the vision which objectifies the person in the photo. But that person in the photo was objectified in the photographing, and not only objectified by the pornographers, but objectified by herself or himself as well, in posing.

So when Christopher West uses the speculated woman or man in the porn photo as that which has something good behind it and that which the viewer should not objectify with his lust, West is in fact giving acquiescence to the objectification of the person as it is set in the porn photo. That is the locus in which he is referring to the person: as that person has had his or her objectification frozen in time by the photo. That is the locus in which we are to refer to their "totality": as though that person was not objectified in the photographing or filming, when in fact the best declaration of that person's totality as regards the porn photo would be to destroy the image.

And what if the person in the photo was an unwilling sex slave? The possibility is not unlikely, of one being forced into poses and forced to put on come-hither looks, either totally unwillingly or because of the need for money. Then the photo has in it something that is good and it's the viewer who is doing the objectifying? Huh?

Pornography is a lie not in the sense of "blinders that need to be removed"; it is not a "skewed vision" about sex and the body; it is a falsehood from seed to root to tip to fruition, and that which is a falsehood through and through has a driving force of evil behind it that cannot be simply relegated to those areas of anthropology. In its beginning and in its end it is empty death. And what did Jesus say about thorns bearing figs?

The falsehood of pornography is inextricable from its visual; and it is a falsehood that takes root in that which is most inextricable within our being - one's sexuality. And the ways in which one's sexuality bears upon the decisions we make is not simple; it is fundamentally complex. And to recognize that fact is an essential simplicity. Our sexuality is not primarily a sign; it is primarily a concrete reality unto itself.

It is not one single bit "puritanical" to regard pornography as something to be destroyed and shunned: such a stance is on the side of liberation and the first ability to be unafraid of feeling, bearing, and facing one's wounds.

So I guess here's a big let-down for you Westians: when you view pornography you are not "using up" the person's beauty in the photograph or film. But nice try. You are not even accessing that person's beauty. Not even in any remote sense. You are, with every second, closing yourself within your infinite subjectivity, whether realized or not.

The progeny of lust is blindness.

Lust is not a progeny of blindness.

Lust is not a progeny of skewed, stilted, or distorted vision.

Lust is a capital vice.

In the renewal of our baptism we renounce sin and Satan, and we use the words, "empty promises".

Of all the sinful things one can think of that so immediately and roundly encapsulates this notion of "empty promises", in our age pornography takes the cake. It is an out and out fantasy that is utterly empty and will do nothing but capsize a person's life. Murderers and rapists have proven what that capsizing can look like, for their hell-bound journeys often get their start in viewing pornography. It is absolutely deadly and entirely empty.

Yet Christopher West points to pornography as having something good in it, using this as the preoccupation and basic starting point for his "catechesis". Among his many examples of normalizing porn by its use in analogy for his "catechesis", he recounts how before the Blessed Sacrament, he resuscitated pornographic images he had viewed in the past, to have them redeemed.

What a fraud.

Why is this fraud receiving the accolades of certain bishops?



6 comments:

Charles Van Gorkom said...

well written, well thought.

DeaconJR said...

"Why is this fraud receiving the accolades of certain bishops?"

You mean, like my bishop?

Maybe it's because they are theologically well-trained, pastorally sensitive, and following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, given to them in a special way at their consecration?

God bless you,

Deacon JR

Paul Stilwell said...

Thank you very much Charles!

jvc said...

Because, after endorsing Obamacare before its passage, we all know the Bishops are super authoritative and helpful on just about anything.

David said...

I believe there are only two bishops who have offered public statements in support of West, which does not say much; and not to mention there are also now some who have forbidden him from speaking in their dioceses and/or cancelled previously scheduled presentations of his, so people are catching on.

JR above also repeats a tactic West himself uses: if you support West you are following the promptings of the Holy Spirit, etc., but if you don't then you are blocking them. How one could conclude such an internal disposition is beyond me, but this is also rather manipulative, whether it is intentional or not. It has the effect of dismissing critics a priori and making them feel bad about raising questions, telling them that they are the one with the problem.

Anonymous said...

I'm very new in discovering the scourge that West seems to be.... But even before his convoluted justification for porn usage, I can't get past the fact that if my hubby engages in anything sexual that doesn't involve ONLY me, (and for the record, he doesn't) it's sinful! I don't need to go any further than that fact alone to know that this guy is whack! That could be because I'm a woman, however, and am nowhere near tempted to entertain the idea that porn could have any value.