Friday 7 October 2016

Are Western people fooled? If not, what holds them back? Sexual fantasies...

I wonder, most days, whether people really are fooled by the stuff in the public domain - the media, the official channels, the bureaucraies, the outputs of powerful corporations...

For example, are they fooled by 'tough talk' about Brexit into supposing that anything has actually happened - or do they notice that nothing whatsoever has happened? Do they imagine that the Conservative party is going to lead Britain out for the European Union in any real, meaningful and hopeful sense?

Of course, the Brexit vote itself is evidence that people are not entirely fooled - that they see-through some if it; but in almost all other respects English people (and those in all other Western and developed nations) behave exactly as if they are fooled.

And, if people aren't fooled, why don't they actually do something about it - in what they say and in their own lives? Why is it undetectable?

My best guess is that - at present - people en masse are held captive by their decision to cling to the sexual revolution; by which I mean that their lives are - deep down - organised around sexual fantasies made possible by, socially supported by, the sexual revolution of the past 50 years.

This is not a rational thing, but a gut-level thing - mostly inexplicit and denied. But fundamentally, peoples' hopes are pinned to some kind of sexual Nirvana. They are fantasies of overwhelming and consciousness-obliterating pleasure; freedom, growth, power, status...

These fantasies are very various between people, often in opposition between people and in one person; which is why the coalition of the Left is so large.

But for people to deny these fantasies - in the modern context of secular materialism - is to fall into demotivation and despair; they cannot even entertain the prospect.

Which is why people are fooled and trapped. Ultimately, they are existentially desperate - and desperately want to be fooled and trapped. People build and maintain their own prison in order to retain the privileges of a prisoner.

Since nothing is deeper than sex except religion; this situation will continue unless or until there is a spiritual revival.


Samson J. said...

I'm curious, when you write things like this, whether it's partly based on your experience as a psychiatrist, delving intimately into people's minds.

Bruce Charlton said...

@SJ - No. That was a long time ago! My evidence is inferred from what economists call 'revealed preferences' - i.e. what people do, the choices they make.

David Balfour said...

So to me the obvious question seems to be how can people practically overcome a kind of enslavement to the dark temptation of a fantasy life that is the subcurrent of their daily lives? How can the addict (who may very well wish not to be an addict but is not able, for whatever reason, to overcome the powerful hold their addiction has formed for them) be free of the enchanting spell of fantasy (Sexual, power-seeking or otherwise). How can Smeagal avoid becoming Gollum when the temptation is just so strong and its just a harmless little ring anyway?! (Or so it seems?) Obviously repentance is key but if the obsession/fantasy is strong is repentance alone enough when the behaviour or sin is repeated (partially against the weakened will of the addict)? A repentant addict may still perish physically because of an addiction but what about spiritually? What advise would you offer to such a person. If we are honest, many or most of us have an addiction of this kind and the modern world rushes to reinforce them and support their chronicity

Joel said...

"""My best guess is that - at present - people en masse are held captive by their decision to cling to the sexual revolution; by which I mean that their lives are - deep down - organised around sexual fantasies made possible by, socially supported by, the sexual revolution of the past 50 years."""

I have thought the same thing. Sane people try to arrange a future so that they can successfully create a family, raise that family, and see it prosper. And they vote for that future. The sexual revolution made people less sane on all of those topics, and now they vote their new preferences. It's not a surprise that a great divide in modern politics is between the single and the married.

It is probably possible to map out various sexual ideals into the worldviews that they create (why is feminism still a major issue in modern politics when any justification for the movement disappeared a century ago?). I wouldn't wish that research project onto anyone though.

Dualist said...

“Ultimately, they are existentially desperate - and desperately want to be fooled and trapped.”

It’s very strange. If somebody was existentially desperate, one may suppose they would actively be LOOKING for that which would truly fulfil their most profound desires. Now, if you don’t happen to ‘believe in’ Christianity, that’s one thing, but I don’t think anybody could deny that its tenets are MORE existentially fulfilling than the Sexual Revolution’s. So isn’t it strange that people are so desperate NOT to talk/think about the spiritual? It has reached the stage where most seem tangibly repelled by it. Whereas for the past 50 years it appeared that ordinary people (ie. not card-carrying leftists) were merely growing lukewarm, the recent trend has been towards a spiteful, uncontrollable hatred directed towards God (or at least towards a caricature of Him).

For me, it is this type of situation that points towards the demonic, the faint but persistent whisper bubbling up from our subconscious telling us that ONLY material pleasures can fulfil. Before the deChristianisation of England, men still wore armour to protect against these attacks – even the worst of them set aside an hour or two each week to nourish Faith, while the best prayed/meditated daily and grew in spiritual strength to the point of being virtually unassailable. But the poor youth of today have been denied so many opportunities to fill their intellects with knowledge of God, and are given many more to fill it with the evil; and so a much smaller proportion ever makes the Intellectual decision to say ‘yes’ to God, with even fewer making the Spiritual decision. Hence they leave themselves wide open, so to speak... They end up desperately trying to fill the void with those sensations that are, as you said, the second most powerful in us. In their blindness, they confuse a lesser Good with The Good.

Or can we look at it another way? The sexual impulse is in both Good and Evil men equally, by Nature. And the Left were fully aware of the power of UNBRIDLED sexuality as a subversive, revolutionary force, and one they fully planned to exploit. In his ‘Why I am not a Christian’, Bertrand Russell suggested the idea of sex-education as being simply a means to get rid of the youth’s ‘natural shyness’ about sex. (He also thought that kids being encouraged to see their own parents naked should fulfil a similarly wholesome role).

So the Left (whose main aim has always been destruction of the Good rather than anything creative) have encouraged even the working classes to be completely subdued by polymorphous perversions. The Pill has made it possible to do this with less physical consequences, and now internet porn has made an abyss of dehumanisation available in every locked teenager’s room. So perhaps it is people becoming more sexually shameless that has LED them to become existentially lost.

As often, the truth is probably somewhere in between, like the addict who keeps using mainly to forget about how bad his life as an addict is. Either way, the main outcome is that people now opt more towards evil in everything, not just sexuality. The Brexit vote demonstrated this, with the younger generation being duped almost to a man. As was discussed the other day, this situation is surely not the most profound desire of people’s Souls, but their minds have been warped by…something, or a sequence of somethings, very ‘deep down’.

Misanthropist said...

Manipulating sexual impulses is a very effective means of controlling and demoralising the population, something the elites have understood for a long time. We live in a society where there is a vast array of sexual stimulation everywhere (such as easy access to pornography, the way women are encouraged to dress, the content of the mainstream media etc.), and yet real sexual outlets for much of the population have become more problematic due to factors such as draconian sexual harassment policies, increase in false rape allegations, vastly expanded legal definitions of rape etc. etc. Particularly for heterosexual men, you have a situation where desires are deliberately stoked up to the maximum level, while outlets for sexual release are restricted and criminalised as much as possible.

This cannot be healthy. Yet it is also clearly the exact opposite of how a sane society would manage such things. In a sane society, sexual desire would be dampened down as much as possible. Yet there would also be some outlets for those who cannot really help themselves. Which is closer to how things were throughout much of history. Women were encouraged to be more modest, and society wasn't awash with pornography. Yet things like prostitution were not uncommon and within the reach of the common man.

For the Left, the promise of sexual liberation and unrestricted hedonistic pleasure is used to undermine existing society. Yet once it has achieved that purpose, they then move towards their own form of repression such as allowing the feminists to do their worst in the areas of repressive laws and policies. It is a classic bait and switch operation. Undermine the previous order with a promise of unrestricted freedom and pleasure. But then replace it with an even more repressive and authoritarian system of control once the Left have destroyed the old order and are firmly in control.

William Wildblood said...

David, to answer your question, it's what Dualist says, prayer. Frequent and sincere prayer.

Rainforest Giant said...

I think it is worse than you probably imagine. I have thought about this because I was raised by my grandparents and great grandparents and I raised my children over a thirty five year span.

I have seen subjects that children and adults would never have even imagined are now simply assumed by most if not all. A world where men or women who roomed together were not sexually involved used to be assumed. Now two men or women together must be involved or the potential at least exists regardless of who or where they are.

Perversions that no one could have imagined are now common place on television. Television doesn't even allow for safe spaces. Only a true Christian spiritual revival will save humanity and this civilization. Even our religious institutions are corrupt and of this world. We need a 'messianic' moment. One that leads the world back to God.

I guess we need a miracle or miracles.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, in the modern world sex *is* love. People don't have anything else.

knifecatcher said...

Libido Dominandi, Sexual liberation and political control.

Ugh said...

There is, I believe, fear of ridicule for not conforming to the social fallout of the sexual revolution. This is definitely true for the young, but we were all young once and have been beaten into submission by the prevailing culture. Even, and maybe especially, Christians have it en-grained that we are not to judge, that is left only to God, so we smile and nod at the diseased culture as if there's nothing wrong with any of it.

The ridicule can take multiple forms. The youngster remains a virgin until marriage and is treated as an oddball. The adult Christian becomes a judgemental scold and hypocrite when he or she is 'the greatest of sinners' too, and a whole faith is derided because of the obvious hypocrisy of a few. So, the rest of us say nothing out of fear of being ridiculed.

I'd say yes -the inner demons of sexual fantasy is part of it- but fear of public ridicule is too.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Ugh - Yes, and hypocrisy has been distorted, as part of this:

Robert Brockman said...

We can observe that there is a frenzy of sexuality all over the Western world, beyond all reason and sanity. We also see low birth rates among the productive classes, due to birth control and the public believing that children are mostly a nuisance.

Here's an odd hypothesis for you:

What if the frenzy of sexuality is in part *caused* by the low birth rate? Maybe at some level, people know that something is wrong, and are driven to Dionysian solutions. These solutions don't work, of course, because of the birth control and the collapse of the cultural support for having children.

Note that people with large families don't seem to participate in the frenzy of sexuality as much -- perhaps because they are fertile and in a stable situation. We may have the causality backwards: if we fix the family situation the sex frenzy might then dissipate on its own.

Bruce Charlton said...

@RB - I would say that the cause of both these phenomena is loss of primary faith in Christianity (or, more generally, loss of religion) - since religion used to regulate both sexuality (as an ideal) by subordinating it to relgious goals, and provide a framework for fertility (by the same means).

Lacking religion, sex and fertility are in the first place severed utterly, treated as utterly separate phenomena (I am not saying they are, or ought to be, linked 100% or anything like; but linked and made meaningful in an ultimate, teleological sense, yes), and conceptualised purely as potential agents of pleasure/ suffering (with zero consideration to biology - let alone to spiritual or religious frames); and then regulated (by policy, and among individuals) by the ideal utilitarian goal of maximising social or personal pleasure/ minimising perceived suffering - hence the problems.