Sunday, June 21, 2015

Carnal Lite II: The Virtues of Eros.

One of the most important concepts in biology is the concept of conditioning. First described by Pavlov, conditioning is the learned association between between an innate response and some other stimulus. It is a powerful mechanism of learning in aversion therapy, i.e. when you want to teach a patient to avoid a certain behaviour. It is worth keeping in mind in my comments to follow.

Now, the reason I bring this up is because of a recent post by Dalrock, Don't blame Heartiste for the equation of Alpha with virtue, which I believe raises an important question with regard to the relationship between the two. Now, in order to help those who suffer from concept conflation,  I want to distinguish between alpha male traits--traits which women find sexually attractive--and the the PUA lifestyle, which involves the bedding of multiple women.  The two concepts are separate and when I speak of Alpha male behaviour, I'm speaking of the specifically of the traits, not the lifestyle.

Now the reason I raise this point is to pose the question: Is it possible to be properly masculine without reference of alpha traits? Or is alphaness something that forms a component of masculinity?

If you look at it more closely, many of the alpha traits which women find attractive aren't explicitly sexual traits but are rather personality factors, which demonstrate a strong internal locus of control combined with a strong sense of social awareness. Can a man be manly without these factors? Personally, I don't think so and am more of the opinion that a man needs to posses some alpha factors in his personality to be properly masculine.

In other words, Alpha behaviour is a component of masculinity and sexual attractiveness is a sort of virtue. A better way of thinking of it is as an Arete, an excellence of masculinity.

As I've argued previously, Christianity has downplayed this excellence and has sometimes been out-rightly hostile to it, and has in may ways laid the foundation for the current sexual dystopia, by blurring the sexual dimensions of the person, seeing moral goodness as sexually androgynous. When we tend to think of a good man for instance, we don't tend to think of him as a attractive muscular personage, rather we tend to dismiss this aspect and evaluate him solely on his character traits. Likewise for women. Christian goodness or badness seems to seems to evaluate the "vessel" in which the moral actor subsists as morally irrelevant. It's hard to develop a theology of sexual polarity when the underlying religious assumptions regard physical sexual identity as if it didn't matter.

The problem with taking this approach is that it become very difficult to then to analyse deficiencies or excellences of sexual polarity within any type of moral framework. Even Christian conceptions of Eros, tend to "decarnalise it" seeing it as an appetitve element, a thing of desire, rather than as a thing of desire for the opposite sex. If anyone doubts this, have a read of Benedict's speculations in his Encyclical Deus Caritas Est, and Benedict is not stupid. This Christian approach to Eros deforms it into a meeting of souls instead of a hedonic delight in the carnal nature of each other. Eros is primarily concerned with the flesh.

Eros is a type of love that brings the opposites together and therefore it's virtues are those which facilitate union. Masculinity under such a framework  must posses qualities which are attractive to the opposite sex, likewise femininity is composed of the qualities which attract the male. The Erotic virtues are those which conform to this ideal and a good man under this analysis is not only a man who is pleasing to God but is also attractive to women. Furthermore, masculinity in this construct becomes a matter of empirical observation instead of some philosophical construct. A component of masculinity must include what women like.

This "carnal lite" view of the sexes leads to other more profound problems. It tends to analyse intersexual relationships without reference to actual human biology, tending to evaluate male female relationships on a "platonic" dimension instead of an "erotic" one. Marital dysfunction is seen more as a "friendship" failure rather than a failure of Eros.  Now by erotic failure, I don't just mean an explicitly sexual failure--i.e a failure in the bedroom--but rather a more inclusive failure of either masculinity or femininity. Wives come home to men who can't make a decision and men come home to whiny bossy wives.  Marriages fail not just because men and women don't posses the character traits to be friends, rather marriages fail because the partners fail to maintain their sexual polarity.
Christianity just doesn't operate on this level of analysis.

Now the reason why I think this is important is because many Christian types feel that the institution of marriage would be all right and dandy if wives would just simply" submit to their husband" as per Paul's command. Paul says much more than this on the subject of marriage and is, in fact, quite explicit that both partners should try to please each other. But what's important here, amongst those who love to emphasise this passage of scripture, is the usual accompanying disregard for the erotic component of male-female relationship, and given the anti-carnal tendencies of Christianity, "pleasing" is quite readily assumed as not including the broader sexual dimension. Therefore Christian marital advice focuses on "understanding" and "patience" instead of losing weight and property maintenance without nagging. Furthermore, Christianity does not seem to grasp that their may be a class of "erotic sins" which wound a marriage.

Now telling women to "submit" without reference to their carnal nature leads to some very interesting and poisonous after effects, especially in light of recent psychological research on the subject of disgust. Accumulating evidence suggests that the emotion of disgust is the sexual gatekeeper in women and it's inhibition through the mechanism of arousal is what permits sexual activity to occur.

Which brings us back to the subject of conditioning. If a women is compelled to have sex without arousal, her innate response will be to associate the act with disgust, The thing that needs to be remembered is that this is a "hard wired" biological response not some choice. Over a while,  a conditioned response will occur and avoidance behaviour will set in, resulting in the marital aridity of folklore. Now the good woman may choose, out of her love of God, to grit her teeth and perform for the husband but she will be acting against her nature and gradually, as the cycle is repeated,  the conjugal aspect of the marriage will become dysfunctional. No matter how you cut it, arousal and disgust matter. Eros is more than just desire, it's about the qualities of the other.


Greg said...

How would you go about convincing churches (RCC, etc) that their path towards total feminization (of attitude, of masculine concept, etc) is wrong and destructive?

How would you convince said churches that a more complete alliance with feminism is only going to lead to misery?

The Social Pathologist said...


How would you go about convincing churches (RCC, etc) that their path towards total feminization (of attitude, of masculine concept, etc) is wrong and destructive?

I think the first step is to reaffirm a theology of the body, in other words the goodness of the flesh. Sexuality, particularly, needs to be evaluated without a procreative bias, which is intrinsic to our traditional understanding of it. Rather, the legitimacy of the unitive factor needs to be recognised the factors facilitating it appreciated. Fleshy desire is a good thing but it needs to be regulated in light of Caritas. For too long we have approached the subject as if the two elements were opposed.

Anonymous said...

This is subordination of that which is superior, the spiritual, to that which is inferior, the flesh which soon passes away."For what things a man shall sow,those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit of the spirit shall reap life everlasting" Galatians 6:8." It is our duty as Catholics to resist the flesh, lest we fall away into the great multitude of infidels and apostates who live as filthy disgusting beasts, thinking of nothing but gratifying their basest inclinations without restraint. What is life but a preparation for death? We are here to save our souls by corresponding with God's grace, not to be the willing slaves of our flesh.

One must admit that many Catholics today are unmanly, thoroughly imbued with a pacifistic spirit that is not at all Christian. But this is not because they are insufficiently "fleshly" for lack of a better way to put it, quite the opposite, they pamper their bodies and love them altogether too much to dare risk them by combatting the enemies of the Faith. That is why all these blasphemers, sodomites, communists and various other breeds of two-legged cockroach get away with so much. As far as failed marriages go, this has happened throughout history, it is a result of fallen human nature, not a failure on the part of men to spend all their time toadying to their wives trying to figure out how to keep them attracted. "As the climbing of a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of tongue to a quiet man. Look not upon a woman's beauty, and desire not a woman for beauty. A woman's anger, and impudence, and confusion is great. A woman, if she have superiority, is contrary to her husband. " Ecclesiasticus 25:27-30.

Those who marry can expect to suffer. The difference now is that those who run things have decided to do away with the family in order to better retain and strengthen their own power over those they consider to be their cattle, and so they deliberately made unjust laws that cater for women, enabling to them to gratify their every caprice, which of course brings about the ineluctable destruction of the family. One must admit it was a stroke of genius on their part as women are generally unable to foresee the consequences of their actions. They figure that if they just divorce this boring fellow who has dared to not provide the life of a Disney princess that all the films and television programmes have promised, then tomorrow she'll most certainly find the long awaited prince who will usher her forthwith into the joys of a terrestrial paradise. Of course if she thought it through she would realize the utter impossibility of such a thing, but she doesn't think, that would interfere with her over-wrought emotionalism. Anyhow it's all over. The west as it is usually termed has had its throat cut and is now in its last few spasms flopping about on the floor in a spreading pool of its own blood. The worst part of it is that the people were handed the open razor and voluntarily, enthusiastically cut their own throat. It was to use the old term, a case of self-murder. The decadent western "democracies" (really plutocratic oligarchies) will sooner or later be overrun and crushed by the more disciplined and vigorous people of the east. It must needs be so. "But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing anymore but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men." Gospel of St. Matthew 5:13. I pray that you will renounce this aberrant train of thought and do penance. May God have mercy on us all.