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Gnostic Gnasties

Gail Dines writes soberingly of the misogyny of porn.  (ht Tim Chester)

And here Doug Wilson speaks of how porn has ironically dampened men's sexual interest in real women.  He concludes with this memorable line:

Porn provides the kind of sex life that someone living in a Matrix pod could enjoy.

Which is another reminder of how Gnostic pornography is.  Just like gnosticism, it's anti-women (a hatred of the other).  Just like gnosticism, it abstracts sex from its physicality and locatedness (including, of course, its relational locatedness).  Instead it sells a kind of essence of sex.

Now we could talk about the ways pornography trains men in misogyny and objectification of women.  We could talk about how it destroys a man's own masculinity (like here).  We could talk about how it destroys marriages.  We could talk about it as "memorialist sex" (like here).  But what I want to mention here is a more general worry - pornography is a powerful training ground in gnosticism.

Wilson's point is not just that men in a Matrix pod would choose porn but that living porn users are trained to prefer life in the pod.  Porn is a powerful reinforcement of that gnostic air that we breathe which always prefers the ideal and the universal to the real and the particular.  And porn comes along and it wants you to desire a general, unrelated, essence of eroticism - not to engage with an actual, physical person in relationship.

Now men have always prefered pleasing themselves to pleasing others, always feared entering into real relationship and engagement.  But porn reinforces this in the most powerful way.  And in such a pornified culture is it any wonder that we see these perversions of true masculinity multiplied: the man who dreams dreams but never follows through; who fears he doesn't have the substance to actually make an impact in the real world; who withdraws from the roles assigned to him and seems to regress in maturity; who spends all his days in blue sky thinking and neglects actual work; who indulges in grand idealism but never steps out to make his mark.

These tendencies exist in all men, but porn uses and multiplies them. And it's this disengagement from the here and now - the real, the physical and particular - which characterizes both porn and gnosticism and which has a real grip on this generation of men.

Having said all this.  Blogging can fall under much of the same criticism!  Hmmm.  I'm off outside...

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