Sunday, September 9, 2007

Triple Sex

The Jewels Of Denial

Sex sells. Ask anyone in a Madison Avenue advertising agency. Whether it is overt, subdued, or subliminal; sex sells. In our Western music tradition, like it or not, love and sexual desire have been an unreformable ingredient in the creative process. Throughout human history the songs of love and sex far outnumber all other subject matter including the writing deemed as sacred . Ignoring the Eros factor is like ignoring a hurricane. If you can manage to do it, you succeed only in deluding (and deluging) yourself. So this week here at Considerable Sounds we ask you to participate in our questionnaire. Please rate our random selection of musicians for their ability to conjure up the prurient interest. Since the package has become more consequential than the contents in the music biz, lets play along. Just for this week, there is no discussion of relative artistic merit, craftsmanship, or theoretical philosophy. We will simply enjoy the aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics. Keeping the old Chinese proverb in mind - When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.



HOW TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
CONSIDERABLE SOUNDS
PRURIENT PALPITATION POLL

0 stars = bowl of oatmeal/ auto erotica preferred

1 star = tuna sandwich /maybe, if intoxicated enough

2 stars = fresh salad with radishes and ranch dressing, /only 1 margarita necessary

3 stars = corn beef special w pickled jalepenos on the side/ yeah- but no eating crackers

4 stars = bowl of Texas chili w fresh cilantro & cumin garnished w guacamole and julienne pablanos Key lime pie and an espresso / soitenly! nyuk, nyuk, nyuk...crackers are non issue in boudoir.

5 stars = golden osetra caviar, brown Peruvian habaneros , a sorbet to clear the pallet, South African lobster tail, pheasant under glass, asparagus tips in hollandaise, a bottle of Dom PĂ©rignon, and a Belgian truffle with a dark and milk chocolate center blended with 12-year-old Glenmorangie single malt Scotch, then rolled in cocoa. Demitasse and a Cuban Monte Cristo.
Yes Yes Yes Oh Yes!

(Female Photos here)


(Male Photos here)



DIGGING IN THE DIRT -PETER GABRIEL






Sex Is Better Than Logic, But It Can't Be Proven


It seems to me, that human beings divide themselves into 2 metaphysical camps regarding their sexuality. There is a gorge between these 2 views that would make the The Valles Marineris canyon seem humble and insignificant. These 2 camps are neither masculine nor feminine. Hetero nor homo. The division is far more significant. The first group we will call “sexual optimists” and the second we will call “sexual pessimists“.
The sexual optimists might include Plato, Bertrand Russell, Irving Singer, or Shakespeare. The sexual pessimists would include St. Augustine , Immanuel Kant, or Virginia Held. What might your own judgments be about the value and role of sexuality in the quality of life? Are you a sexual pessimist or a sexual optimist?

Sexual Pessimists

Sex, says Kant, "makes of the loved person an object of appetite. Taken by itself it is a degradation of human nature" (from Lectures on Ethics). Kant suggests that manipulation and deception seem to be required prior to engaging in sex with another person, or at least are so common as to appear to be part of the nature of the sexual experience. As Bernard Baumrim points out, "sexual interaction is essentially manipulative--physically, psychologically, emotionally, and even intellectually" (from Sexual Immorality Delineated). We go out of our way, for example, to make ourselves look more attractive and desirable to the other person than perhaps we really are, and we go to great lengths to conceal our defects. And when one person sexually desires another, the other person's body, his or her lips, thighs, toes, and buttocks are desired as the arousing parts they are, distinct from the person. The other's genitals, too, are the object of our attention: "sexuality is not an inclination which one human being has for another as such, but is an inclination for the sex of another.” (Kant, Lectures). Paraphrasing a thought from sexual pessimist Roger Scruton-"In desire you are compromised in the eyes of the object of desire, since you have displayed that you have designs which are vulnerable to his or her intentions" (Sexual Desire, p. 82). A person who proposes an irresistible sexual offer to another person may be exploiting someone made weak by sexual desire (says Virginia Held, in "Coercion and Coercive Offers,"). Kant says in Metaphysics of Morals
"For the natural use that one sex makes of the other's sexual organs is enjoyment, for which one gives oneself up to the other. In this act a human being makes himself into a thing, which conflicts with the right of humanity in his own person". Those engaged in sexual activity make themselves willingly into objects for each other merely for the sake of sexual pleasure. Hence both persons are reduced to the animal level. "If . . . a man wishes to satisfy his desire, and a woman hers, they stimulate each other's desire; their inclinations meet, but their object is not human nature but sex, and each of them dishonours the human nature of the other. They make of humanity an instrument for the satisfaction of their lusts and inclinations, and dishonor it by placing it on a level with animal nature" (Kant, Lectures). Sexual pessimists see desire as a passion that challenges reason. Due to the inelastic insistent nature of the sexual impulse, they feel people often end up doing things sexually that they had never planned or wanted to do. Compelling some ( you know the headlines) to seek satisfaction involving rest room gropings, anonymous acts of questionable hygiene and health risk, or getting married impetuously.
Much of Christian thought has been sexually pessimistic. Certainly the Calvinists and the puritanical sects viewed their sexual impulse as an enemy. In the words of St. Augustine: "A man turns to good use the evil of concupiscence, and is not overcome by it, when he bridles and restrains its rage . . . and never relaxes his hold upon it except when intent on offspring, and then controls and applies it to the carnal generation of children , not to the subjection of the spirit to the flesh in a sordid servitude" (On Marriage and Concupiscence, book 1, chapter 9).
The irony is that if indeed the “ideal spiritual state” is one of celibacy as St. Paul suggests in Corinthians. Then Homo sapiens as a genus is doomed. No sex, No babies. (However unlike the evangelicals, and so called “Christian right” who dominate headlines in the U.S., in fairness I must point out the Vatican, on it’s web page entitled “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality” says that “Femininity and masculinity are complementary gifts, through which human sexuality is an integrating part of the concrete capacity for love…” which is not a particularly pessimistic statement!) In conclusion the sexual pessimists look down on sex as something only to be tolerated as a means of reproduction. This thinking has pervaded American politics on the right. It is the root of the reactionary calls to war against equal rights for homosexuals and against Roe v. Wade. These issues ignite the pessimist ultimately because someone has sex without procreation. The peripheral arguments are merely excuses gathered to camouflage the underlying denial of human sexual existence. Given such a pessimistic view of the metaphysics of human sexuality and their conclusion that sexual impulses are morally wrong, how is it this type of thinking has not disappeared? If indeed they abhor sex, how is it they reproduce and spread their philosophy?
The answer is simple. Hypocrisy. Without hypocrisy this thinking could not survive.


Sexual Optimism

Sexual optimists suppose that sexuality is a bonding mechanism that naturally and happily joins people together both sexually and nonsexually. Sexual activity involves pleasing the self and the other, and these exchanges of pleasure generate both gratitude and affection, which in turn are bound to deepen human relationships and make them more emotionally substantial. Further, sexual pleasure is a valuable thing in its own right, something to be cherished and promoted because it has an intrinsic value. So the pursuit of sexual pleasure does not require intricate justifications, explanations, or excuses. sexual activity surely need not be confined to procreation. A good and virtuous life, while including much else, can also include a wide variety and extent of sex . Russell Vannoy makes this case in his book Sex Without Love.
Irving Singer is a contemporary philosopher who expresses one form of metaphysical optimism: "For though sexual interest resembles an appetite in some respects, it differs from hunger or thirst in being an interpersonal sensitivity, one that enables us to delight in the mind and character of other persons as well as in their flesh. Though at times people may be used as sexual objects and cast aside once their utility has been exhausted, this is not definitive of sexual desire. . . . By awakening us to the living presence of someone else, sexuality can enable us to treat this other being as just the person he or she happens to be. . . . There is nothing in the nature of sexuality as such that necessarily . . . reduces persons to things. On the contrary, sex may be seen as an instinctual agency by which persons respond to one another through their bodies" (The Nature of Love, vol. 2)
Pausanias, in Plato's Symposium asserts that sexuality in itself is neither good nor bad. He recognizes, as a result, that there can be morally bad and morally good sexual activity, and proposes a corresponding distinction between what he calls "vulgar" eros and "heavenly" eros. A person who has vulgar eros is one who has a lust that can be satisfied by any partner, and selfishly seeks only for himself or herself the pleasures of sexual activity. By contrast, a person who has heavenly eros experiences a sexual desire that is attached to a particular person; he or she is as much interested in the other person's personality and well-being as he or she is concerned to have physical contact with and sexual satisfaction by means of the other person. A similar distinction is described by C. S. Lewis in The Four Loves, and it is likely what Allan Bloom had in mind when he wrote, "Animals have sex and human beings have eros, and no accurate science or philosophy is possible without making this distinction" (Love and Friendship). I know what your thinking, where did Sigmund Freud fit in? He seemed to be equally in both camps and it’s a judgment that I can not discern. Perhaps you can.


The divide between optimists and pessimists might, then, be put in this way: metaphysical pessimists think that sexuality, unless it is rigorously constrained by external social norms that have become internalized are vulgar and morally wrong. While the metaphysical optimists think that sexuality, by itself, is not vulgar or immoral, that it is intrinsic to human nature and healthy.

Of course how can we conclude an article like this without a limerick?


A famous conductor from Rio
Fell in love with a lady called Cleo.
As she took down her panties,
He said, “No andantes!
I want it allegro con brio!

IN THE BLOOD OF EDEN -PETER GABRIEL


Peter Gabriel live footage is from the Secret World tour
Personnel: Peter Gabriel, Paula Cole (vocals); David Rhodes (vocals, guitar); Shankar (vocals, violin); Jean Claude Naimro (vocals, keyboards); Tony Levin (vocals, bass); Levon Minassian (doudouk); Manu Katche (drums), Papa Wemba, Reddy Mala Amissi, Styno Mubi Matadi (background vocals).


Update On Last Weeks Article "Lindsay Anderson -If "
Upcoming shows
07 SEP - FRI - Schubas - CHICAGO, IL RECORD RELEASE
19 SEP - WED - Schubas - CHICAGO, IL Estrojam Festival

Lindsay was kind enough to address some of our readers questions this week.
From Lindsay:
“It's interesting how many people get excited about L.A. - the filmmaker. I saw his movies early in my 20s and loved them and the fact that I share his name. I have his biography but have only read bits and pieces so that I don't entirely morph into this man... I wrote the song 'If' in 2004 after the birth of my son and the death of my and my partners' grandmother-- a cycle of life type of theme. The song has nothing to do with [film maker] Lindsay Anderson , besides being a tribute. When it came time to name the record I was struggling. My partner said, 'I always thought it was named If'. A novel and dangerous idea indeed! To [use] his name and his title? Well, ok, why not? It would be fun. Now that the record is coming out, Lindsay Anderson - the filmmaker fans are crawling out of the wood, so to speak, and contacting me to make sure I know about him. I've had movies sent to me, one fan drove 3 hours out of his way to hand deliver out-of-print copies! I guess it's working to my advantage, since these people otherwise may not pay attention to my music. But I hope that all LA - the filmmaker fans come to love LA - the musician as well. While our art is so different, we do share the similarity of always struggling against the grain. I'm hardly ever willing to compromise, which is why a solo record had to be done after working in a partnership for so many years with my first group, L'altra. I needed my own true voice to be heard and this album 'If' is that voice. No, I'm not in my 20s, but I am incredibly sexy, and I will continue to explore and evolve my voice and compositions so that one day someone else may be compared to Lindsay Anderson, the musician.”

Lindsay will be adding dates to her performance schedule over the next year (in The U.S. and Europe). Hopefully we’ll all get a chance to enjoy her music live. Lindsay is also responsible for all the visual art related to her project ( graphic arts) and will be launching a new web site soon. I can’t recommend her music highly enough. I know we are all thankful Lindsay and others like her are creating new works for our enrichment.

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