If you don’t hear from me

If you don’t hear from me for a while, it means I’m doing fine. It was only ever the sheer misery of failure which drove me here, to find in the relating of events some relief from sorrow, guilt and shame.

Of course, my absence could also mean a more profound failure, the failure to feel shame, some sort of cutting loose of my will to act from any consideration of the sort of person I would like to be. Some might call such a failure a success.

But none of that matters anymore. I feel I am dealing with a dead subject.

Could it be that I am free?

Maybe. For the moment. But if I am free of one burden, it is only because I have accepted another.

What more can be said?

I’m sending love into the breeze, and hoping it will find whom it was meant for.

The importance of being Wilde

For some time now I have wanted to write something about Oscar Wilde, as well as some other topics, but I have always either put it off, or stared at the blank computer screen, thinking that there’s nothing to write. In fact, Wilde himself came to this point, in the end. He was living in Paris then, spending his days aimlessly, sometimes going to the cafe to drink, if he had money, or wandering the streets, feeling his want of money, or sitting in his hotel room, oppressed by the wall paper. When urged by his friends to write something, he responded: “When I did not know life, I could write. Now that I know life, there is nothing more to write.”

Just thinking of him in those final days in Paris, I find oddly inspiring, and deeply poetic. It is just like all tragedy: mean and oppressive to the protagonist, but deeply moving and beautiful to the observer.

Still, it seems that anything I would attempt to write about him would be trite, a mere regurgitation of facts and opinions, already widely known to anyone who would take an interest in the topic.

I thought of him today, how he lamented, after the trials, from the depths of his prison cell, that he had made his name a byword for a very dark and mysterious brand of immorality. I then recalled a line from Maurice, E.M. Forster’s posthumous novel, where the title character, in an attempt to confess his sexual proclivities says to his confessor: “You know…like Oscar Wilde.” He was immediately understood, and his confession treated with horror and disgust.

But the immorality hinted at from the depths was something more than homosexuality. This was briefly alluded to by one scholar in a documentary I saw many years ago. He said something like: “Of course, Wilde is a martyr for gay rights, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s something else.”

Again, I read somewhere on a website, which I can no longer find, the point confirmed by the leading gay activist at the time of his trials. He was asked about the impact which the trial would have on his campaign, then still carried out in a necessarily quiet and discreet way, to extend gay rights. I cannot recall his exact response, but it was pretty clear that, although he saw that the trial would be useful to the cause, he understood that Wilde was not really “one of them.” There was something else about his crime, something which separated him from other homosexuals.

Again, in the same website, and it is a pity I can no longer find it (it is a comprehensive website, containing dozens of brief biographies of all of the principal personalities who had relationships with Oscar Wilde at the time), in the same website, there is the story of one elegant and well-to-do woman who, upon reading one of Wilde’s early sonnets, remarked, long before the trials, that there was something profoundly sinister and dangerous in it.

I felt it too, when I read one of his fairy tales. I can no longer recall the title, or even the fairy tale, but I remember the language: heavy, eloquent and purple, and a dark influence, a personality who guides one to an existence beyond or beneath any moral restraint.

In the beginning, when I was younger, and could better feel and experience the beauty of life, and the promise of a delightful art, I liked Oscar Wilde because of the literary life which he represented, a life steeped in that mysterious beauty which gives birth to great art. As the years went by, and my sensory and expressive powers became deadened and dulled by betrayal, loss, and the withering hand of time, I appreciated him more for his trials and sorrows, and the life he lead, even under the crushing hand of poverty and despair. In one’s own despair, the despair and ruin of sin, and repeated sin, one can think and reflect upon his life, and feel a strange sort of comfort, strange because he died in failure and disgrace. Still, there was something beautiful in it.

Falling

Let me write briefly of last night’s episode. Of course, there’s not much that is new in any of this.

It began during the day, when, in an indolent mood, I started browsing the Twitter profiles of the various young girls posing as dominatrices, starting out in the way mentioned before: clicking on connected hatch tags until one gets to the sort of thing one is looking for.

I stopped at some point to attend to my duties, and, afterwards, when I had some leisure time, I employed it in other recreational activities until a very late hour, thinking, perhaps, in this way to crowd out the opportunity for pornographic viewing. It did not work. Rather, at that very late hour, sometime after eleven and close to midnight, I resumed browsing the profiles. I did this for perhaps an hour, when I went to bed. I fell asleep, but it was not fifteen minutes before my mind entered a sort of dream state, in which I could feel my body responding to a deep mental stimulus. There was an emission. I washed myself, and returned to bed, and could see in my mind’s eye moving, talking, active imagery, a host of it.

Curiously, the images and sounds which now resounded in my mind, a dizzying display, did not come from the imagery I saw on the internet. It was as if a door had been opened within my mind, a breach, and through it came hundred of images from hundreds of pornographic and sexual scenes which I had never seen before, but I was seeing and hearing them now, in all their coarseness and vulgarity. At the same time, my prostrate was causing me pain. My mind was numbed, and I felt utterly broken and miserable. At that time, my only connection to reality, to some tangible substance, or to some inner core of existence, was to ask myself repeatedly within my mind:

“Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do this to myself?”

It would be nice to end this entry there.

I could attempt to answer the question though, because, once one recovers (and it is an amazing grace and mercy that we do recover) one begins to think of doing the same thing again. Why?

Up until now, I have dwelt mainly on the mechanisms and concepts which bring about sexual arousal, which create feelings of desire within the mind. I have dwelt on the unique features of my own sexual conditioning, the sorts of things which captivate my mind, which capture my interest. But none of this provides the answer to the question: “Why?” because once one knows the answer, one will know enough to stop doing it.

As it is, the core desire activated by sensations of corporeal beauty remains, and I still try to satisfy it in whatever practical or impractical ways occur to me. I do not purposely set out to bring about a discharge of semen, but this is the inevitable consequence of all of my sexually motivated actions, whether it is browsing the internet, or glancing at some person lustfully, or remembering and embellishing within my mind the features of some person seen.

It amounts to a strong attraction for certain bodily types, and the features and characteristics instantiated in a person within a certain group or category of body. When I search through the Twitter profiles, I am searching for people within certain categories of gender, age, and ethnicity. Then I am looking for a certain mental attitude, something akin to vanity. There is some attraction to the person behind the image, but there is no means of relating to them outside of the scripts and conditions which make the interaction possible. But ultimately, it is the stock language and imagery, much of which is experienced as instantly revolting, and which alters the mind in such a way as to bring about the involuntary emission, and the bodily sensations of momentary pleasure which accompany it, which is the actual functional aim of the search.

The pleasure of the emission, as I am sure I have mentioned before, comes largely from the manifestly false idea that the person who is bringing it about is someone other than myself, some person who embodies all of the characteristics, both physical and mental, which arouses my sexual interest.

There is something which could be said about the sorts of things I saw on the Twitter profiles which brought about that mental alteration. I think that the essence of what it is that resonated within me was the strange contrast which exists between the person engaged in the sexual behaviour, and the behaviour itself: Human beings engaged in dehumanising activities. Maybe I’ll write something about it later. There is also something to be said about the contra-positioning, so to speak (I’m sure there is a better word for it) between that which is made for sexual arousal and emission, and that which is actually attractive. Perhaps another time. I have said something about it before though.

Continuing with the Manifesto

We continue with the manifesto from where we left off, about a year ago. Under the subtitle “Breaking the shackles” the second paragraph reads:

Don’t give up. We shall never give up our commitment to Truth and Beauty. We shall search for them with all our hearts. The fantasy and the associated behaviours are periodic. They come and go. But our commitment to higher values can remain permanent. And if we do indulge in the fantasy, we shall keep the limits, and never allow it to even approach what is real, what we really value. Why? Because we are at war, and the enemy must never be allowed complete freedom.

The construction of anything requires limitations. Any construction entails a delimitation of space and time, the object constructed fulfilling a particular function for a certain period of time. It is the same with the fantasy.

Of course, the nice thing about fantasies, if we may put it that way, is that within them we can do things which we could not do in reality. We can push the boundaries and transgress social norms. But, if we look into the matter objectively, we must acknowledge the existence of certain rules which make the fantasy possible, even while existing only within the mind. For example, the fantasy could not take place if there were no participants, if there were no social space in which they interact, if there were no emotional tension between them, or, conversely, if the fantasy allowed for the intrusion of any one of the host of intervening factors which exist in the real world.

The existence of these “intervening factors” is that which the fantasy is designed to preclude from vision in the first place. Within the confines of the fantasy, none of those duties and obligations which have a claim to our regard, which accompany our particular social standing, can be allowed to stand as they are, that is, as those objects which connect us to the reality of the precariousness of our position.

The point can be stated more simply: no one in their right mind will allow for the fantasy to overthrow that which makes the fantasy possible in the first place, that is, a certain, bourgeois lifestyle. Yes, the fantasy can, and must incorporate subversive elements, or rather, the inversion of particular principles, such imagined inversion being the basic substance of the sexually compelling image. The assertion of the beauty, the power, and the dominance of the other is taken to the utmost extreme: a forced exercise in placing the object of the sexual fantasy in the place of God. Of course, this is merely assertion for the purposes of sexual arousal. The person imagined or contracted to the role of accepting such statements as “You are almighty God, and I worship you,” can do little more than that, and, of course, give expression to the utter contempt which such asseveration deserves. They never actually act in the generally understood idea of God, as the maintainer, the advisor, the friend, the guide, the judge, and so forth.

The fantasiser can make such statements and enact such fantasies only in the comfort of his privileged position within the social structure, and his ever-present fear, his sheer terror, that such a position will one day be swept away, either by the gradual ruin and destruction of his body by the aging process, or by the viciously competitive nature of the social world in which he strives for economic development, lend fuel to the urgent compulsion to forget, or ignore it all within the immolating drive of the fantasy.

Yes, the image of the worshipped other must be imagined as exerting complete control over us, as obliterating all our hopes, dreams, loyalties and values beneath her foot as she laughs in contempt. And when she has drained us of everything we have, and everything we value, when we become utterly worthless, she will kick us in the face and go on to embrace another. This is the basic drive or the impulse of the fantasy, but, the point being made here is that, even within such a sustained image, or narrative, we must, and even necessarily do, preserve certain limitations. At the very least, even after we have been drained, we must still exist, and existing, must be able to renew our standing, even if it is only to experience the painful pleasure of being drained again. But more than this, we must also maintain the limitations which we impose upon the other, the person, or their image being worshipped. Those limitations have been spoken of before. Her actions, speech, gestures, and so forth, must be constrained within the basic structure of the sexual fantasy.

But over and beyond the necessary limitations which make the fantasy possible, there are also those moral limitations which we choose to maintain, and to keep distinct and separate from the realm of the fantasy. Yes, within the fantasy, we can turn our backs on everything and everyone, so long as by “everything” and “everyone” we are referring only to those concepts which are relevant to the creation of the sexual roleplay. There are, of course, and always will be, those people and things which have nothing to do with the fantasy, which are neither required for the purposes of sexual arousal, and which are altogether preserved, by some internal decision, from participating in such fantasies.

One can feel the presence of such values within the mind, even in the midst of the fantasy. There is a suggestion that we should incorporate them, but we resist, knowing full well that not to do so can only lead to utter stupidity, and, in such a state, we would no longer be able to construct and enjoy such fantasies at all.

I am stating things really poorly tonight, and am struggling to carry on. It seems that I have arrived at a point of acknowledging that the attempt to resist the drive of the compulsion to fantasise and to engage in idolatry, is part of what maintains it, which is probably quite a discovery, but I don’t think I can make much more of it tonight.

Let me just conclude with something under the rubric: “where the fantasy lies”: A middle-aged man, almost naked, is kneeling before a young brattish dominatrix in her early twenties. She holds in her hand a remote control device. When she presses the button, it sends an electric shock to his genitals. She presses it again and again, and he moans in pain. She looks at him with anger and contempt. She is young enough to be his daughter. He is old enough to be her father. But now they are engaged in this inversive act, for which he has paid her money. In the course of the act, he makes the statement: “I worship you.” And she seems to become more angry and disgusted. The statement does not sound convincing. Nothing of what they say sounds convincing, because they are simply enacting a pre-existing narrative. He would have said the same thing to anyone else who would have agreed to do the same for money. Of course, he must retain his earning capacity if he is to further enjoy such pleasures, at least for a little while longer. She must retain her youthful beauty, or make up for its loss with the humility which naturally accompanies sole reliance upon sexual expertise for generating a living wage.

Platonic relationships

Generally, I have only tended to write something here just after some sort of relapse into pornography, having the urge, it seems, to make something useful of a useless activity. But there are many times when I have a good idea, and I think: “I should write something about that,” but, being complacent and comfortable with my less reproachable pleasures, I let it slide by, content to be hypnotised by my chosen forms of comfort. The trend is to continue like that, until, growing bored and dissatisfied with ordinary pleasures, I give myself permission to seek for pleasure in the recordings of perverse sexuality, but even that fails to satisfy.

If I were less fortunate, I might more readily be persuaded to seek that satisfaction in the most readily form of sexual enactment available, regulated by the cash nexus. Luckily, that has for many years remained the step too far, although I have contemplated it. The contemplation, however, always takes the form of the fantasy, and, from there, one becomes lost in the spinning of one’s imagination, behind which lies the hope, maybe even the expectation, that the fantasy will one day come true, without having to pay for it, and without having to rehearse it. Of course, even if that should be the case, the moment will pass, and one will be left feeling pretty much the same, or rather worse for the experience.

Now, some of those “good ideas” I wanted to write about, just now seem vapid and uninteresting, but still, let me try.

The most recent idea was inspired by the feeling of desire for a particular person (years of rain upon the land) and the impulse which it gave me to attempt to ingratiate myself with her, using as an excuse for doing so, an already existing form of social relation. I do not wish to go into great detail about this, being more interested in the abstraction.

It is like this: In any social setting, a man may develop feelings of attraction for a woman, and, sometimes, or maybe always, these feelings of attraction are inappropriate, or rather, acting upon those feelings is inappropriate. There are many examples of this. For instance, in the recently popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” the main character, Beth, is at one point approached by her rival, a chess master, who offers to be her chess coach, in preparation for her next big match. At the outset, he feels the need to say: “No sex.”

Now, why did he feel the need to say “No sex”? Well, it is for two reasons, I imagine. The first, he is already sexually attracted to her, and supposes that she is equally attracted to him. Secondly, he wants to keep the relationship focused on chess, and understands that their sexual union will interfere with this goal.

Now, we can take this principle and apply it to so many other social settings. How about the doctor and the patient? The school teacher and the student? The lawyer and the client? There are many such social relations, but the ones mentioned are particularly circumscribed by strong ethical codes which would severely penalise the intrusion of the sexual interest in the primary purpose of the interaction. A doctor who has sex with his patient may lose his license for that indiscretion. Similarly with the other professions. The utilisation of the social role to pursue sexual interest is condemned by the codes of conduct regulating the professions. But the main point is that the pursuit of sex is seen to work against the proper goals of existing social relationships. [Hence the necessity of pre-arranged marriages in any highly civilised society – where the sexual need is taken care of by purposive social arrangement].

This is not to say that sex desire cannot fuel such relationships, lending them an energy, or a piquancy which makes them more enjoyable, if even only on a subtle platform, and this brings us to the question of whether the feeling of desire for a particular person within some pre-existing social relation can ever be turned into something morally, or even spiritually elevating. The idea has been famously expounded by Plato in Symposium. In brief, it is put forward as a teaching of Socrates that what begins as a physical attraction between the lover and the beloved can, by proper application, be transformed into a spiritual relation which elevates both parties to the realms of eternity. The “proper application” referred to is not very clear, but certainly, it involves the active party in the relationship, the lover, to deliberately forego any attempt at sexual union with the beloved. The transformed relationship has since been called “Platonic.”

It has been some time since I have considered the platonic relationship an impossibility when it is between a man and a woman, that is to say, when referring of the transformation of the sexual attraction between a man and a woman. Indeed, when Socrates speaks of the platonic relationship, he is clearly referring to a relationship between a man and another man, speaking to the nature of sexual practice amongst the Greek aristocracy of that time. Such homosexual relationships, between the older lover and the youthful beloved, were evidently highly regarded amongst those who enjoyed them, being viewed as a mystery to be understood only by the properly educated, but, if this was the case, then the actual basis for that esteem had long since been forgotten, and it took the presence of a man like Socrates to remind them of it.

In any case, I have regarded such a relationship as impossible when referring to the relations between man and woman, because, where sexual desire between them exists, it generally must be fulfilled without the intervening presence of overwhelming external and fortuitous obstacles, because man and woman were made for sexual union.

However, if the transformation of desire is to occur at all, and here we speak of the active party in the relationship, the lover, as yet unknown, or unacknowledged by the beloved, for it is in the power of the lover alone to direct the courses which his desire may take, then it will occur only by means of the already existing social relations, or the institutional relations which has made their mutual contact possible in the first place. In other words, if a platonic relationship is to occur between a man and a woman at all, then it is to occur only in instances of appropriate social intercourse. For example, a doctor who has fallen in love with his patient can elevate his desire only by his appropriate treatment of her within the already existing relation between them of doctor and patient. Indeed, his regard for her will only impel him in the deeper application of his art as a doctor. And thus, when the desire which a person feels for another is invested in the proper application of the social relations already existing between them, and when such investment leads to the greater perfection of his general practice, then the platonic relation can be said to exist, even if it is without the conscious knowledge of the beloved, as indeed, it must always be.

There is a fine line, however, between the elevation of desire through the application of art, and the utilisation of art for the fueling of desire, the former being that which enriches the art as it elevates the relationship, the latter degrading the art by employing it in the service of sexual exploitation – and such sexual exploitation always begins as something appearing quite innocent, a phone call, perhaps, or a text message, or a photograph of a flower, or whatever.

In the finer application of these principles, one must find that the true intention to elevate one’s desire for another, to be worthy of their trust, rather than to appear so, the investment of one’s energies into the art form mediating their relationship must necessarily involve the exercise of restraint in the participation in any direct contact with the beloved. Indeed, to the outside observer, even to the beloved, it will appear that the lover has no special regard for the beloved whatsoever. It is something which only he will know.

I guess that if it works at all, that’s how it will work.