Thursday 20 June 2019

Why was 1960s style hedonic sexual individualism abandoned?

It is easy to get distracted and misled by the fact that the sexual revolution began (mid 1960s) with an explicit assertion of the 'rights' of individuals to 'do whatever they wanted with whoever/ whatever they wanted' - the principle of open-ended and impulsive hedonism. Free love etc. - with an emphasis on extreme heterosexual promiscuity (because that is what most men 'want' at the purely-hedonic level).

The 'problem' was to persuade most women that they wanted it too. And in practice this required social indoctrination (by the fake female peer group of the mass media) and liberal usage of alcohol and drugs, and engineered pro-promiscuous social situations.

Most people fail to recognise that this ultra-libertarian and individualist 'let it all hang out', 'follow your dreams and impulses' spirit has long since been replaced by something very different in spirit: something collective, bureaucratic, totalitarian.

Perhaps the feminists began it with the slogan and idea: The personal is political.

This, unnoticed at the time, was a repudiation and reversal of carefree, individualist hedonism - and the assertion that all thought and actions (including sexual) were primarily political, hence collective, statements. At exactly this point - and, significantly, under the explicit guidance of women - began the assertion that The System had the authority, right and power to take-over sexuality.

Nowadays, the realm of sex and sexuality has been drained of hedonic significance and become a realm of earnest and hectoring political monitoring, propaganda and control - in an inverted morality by which sexual acts, including their discussion, are the primary theme used to enforce a top-down, collective ethos.

To be included in the totalitarian system, sex must be made explicit and universally discussed. But - as everyone feels and knows - the realm of sex is thereby enslaved to that system. When everything is shared socially and officially, and when that social and official realm has been absorbed into the social control system (with rewards, threats, sanctions) - we have what we recognise as modern reality of the sexual revolution.

60's sexuality was always a 'stalking horse' - a fake policy, a temporary battering ram for use against the 'repressive' Christian churches, behind which the real (global establishment) agenda was advanced.

Nowadays, the pro-impulsive sixties ethos is merely exploited as a lure (e.g. in pop videos, adverts and similar), to get people interested, to get them pro-sexual revolution with the promise of pleasure; before the transition into top-down, bureaucratic totalitarianism; where sex and sexuality becomes a controlled, symbolic demonstration of everybody's subordination to The System.

Note: For the sex n drugs n rock-and-roll generation, the sexual revolution has been a classic example of 'bait and switch'. They began as selfish, hedonic rebels; and ended as titled and awarded chairmen of bureaucracies encouraging/ celebrating/ imposing ever more laws, procedures and codes-of-practice and crushing all freedom and pleasure in the name of 'diversity' and 'inclusion'. Their always-evil-motivations are clearly revealed by the fact that so very few of them have chosen to refuse this trajectory, or even to acknowledge the U-turn in the sexual revolution. The few that have done so tend to be notorious and vilified - Camille Paglia is an example, who apparently remained an unreconstrcted 60s radical, and denied/ was refused the Establishment plaudits of her contemporaries. The System has attempted to crush her more than once, and currently. 

Further Note: I refrained from the use of the (handy) Steiner nomenclature; but I am obviously describing the way that a brief Luciferic hedonic anti-System sexual revolution in the 1960s; fed-into a prolonged Ahrimanic phase (still ongoing) in which the sexual revolution is primarily a series of excuses for more bureaucracy, hence further extension and tightening of the totalitarian System. The trajectory from anti-System to Pro-System - and many individuals undergo this exact same trajectory in their own personal development - because without God The System is inevitable and supreme as the only societal source of meaning and purpose - so being anti-System is ultimately futile, and Lucifer always leads to Ahriman.


Alchemist said...

When I was young I read an article in National Review titled 'Monogamy and it's discontents' by William Tucker. At that time I was rather young and quite naive, filled with libertarian notions and Heinlein ideals. I filed away Tucker's essay in my mind as an interesting theory - interesting in the abstract, but not terribly significant in practice. Today I am haunted by the idea that the drives to upset western culture outlined in that article underly all of what we see in the social and political sphere.

I am enjoying reading Steiner's lectures.

Tucker's essay is reprinted on the web:
Monogamy and its discontents; challenge to western sexual values

Chent said...

I couldn't agree more but with some nuances.

"The 'problem' was to persuade most women that they wanted it too. "

Part of this was that women were able to access men who have been inaccessible until them, although in short periods of time. This gave women (which are hypergamous) the (false) impression that they could land a better catch than with the old system.

On the other hand, I don't think "the personal is political" is that important. IMHO, it is more important than "individualism" and "collectivism" (Luciferic and Ahrimanic) are the two sides of the same coin. No wonder Rousseau has been used to argue for freedom and for communism. Hedonic sexual individualism was doomed from the very beginning.

For a society to work, the anti-social actions of some individuals have to be repressed. There are only three mechanisms to do that: conscience, social pressure and incentives (mostly the law). Traditional societies regulated themselves with conscience and social pressure. For example, in the sexual realm, people were not promiscuous because they though it was evil and because they feared that neighbors labelled them as "degenerated" and marginalized.

The sexual revolution was the abandonment that these mechanisms in the name of freedom. This could only mean lots of conflicts (as you have explained in old posts): single mothers, unhappy people, more criminals, etc. These conflicts should be solved so the society could work (even in a suboptimal state). The only mechanism you have to solve these problems is the law. So the law grows to cover the cases that were addressed before organically (with a combination of conscience and social pressure) until society becomes totalitarian. We are only at the beginning of this path.

The hedonic sexual revolution couldn't last. It only lasted a short period of time until the problems began to manifest. Going back to the traditional society was no longer possible (and it was not desired either by the elites and a perverted people) because systems always evolve towards bigger entropy. Once you have broken the glass of water, you cannot revert it to the "unbroken" state.

This does not negate your insights: of course, it was bait and switch. But I don't think "the personal is political" is the cause but a rationalization of what happened.

Chent said...

I wanted to make another observation, different from the previous one. I guess it will be completely useless and, of course, you will not agree, Bruce. But for me it is important to tell the truth.

I admire you and I have learned a lot from you (even quoting you before my students and having translated about a dozen of your posts only to allow my sister and brother-in-law to read them). But I think your theory of Romantic Christianity is flawed.

According this theory, during the Enlightenment, mankind was at the verge of a "great leap forward": an awareness of conscience. Traditional Christianity (with its blind adherence to rules and churches) was going to be replaced by Romantic Christianity (with the individual adherence to the Good and its expansion of conscience).

Then people refused this change and used their individualism to follow evil. Not only during the Enlightenment but for the last three centuries. Not only collectively, but individually, billions and billions of people. Not only once, but billions of times.

The problem is not about Romantic Christianity. The problem is about billions and billions of people that don't use it well billions of times.

Now, in the previous paragraphs (from "According to this theory" on), replace "Romantic Christianity" with "liberalism" and you will be one of the propagandists of the current system. It is not that liberalism produces evil, it is only that people don't do liberalism well.

Being human beings broken and imperfect (original sin), a system that only works when operated by angelic beings is a lousy system. John Adams said: "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other". This is like saying "Our hospital is only for healthy people. It is wholly inadequate to the healing of any other".

For a moral and religious people, any Constitution and any government is good. The goal of government regulations (such as the Constitution) is to handle the cases where people are not moral and religious (the role of the law is to handle the cases that the conscience and social pressure have not handled well, see my previous comment).

This does not mean that Romantic Christianity never works. It works in isolated cases, such as brainy types like you. But evidence shows that does not work as a basis of a society because the vast majority of people reject it. No "great leap forward" was going to follow the Enlightenment. It was only the freeing of the selfish impulses that have been previously repressed. This had to be sugarcoated in some way so it was sold as an awakening of conscience, like the hippies telling they were entering the age of Aquarius while having sex and drugs.

The utopist is big in you, Bruce. I think it is a case of lingering liberalism (which all modern human beings have, including myself). But it is easier to see it from the outside.

I don't think you will agree with me. I have only written this comment for other people to read. If you don't think it is worthwhile, feel free to delete it.

Since I plan to keep on reading you and keep on learning from you (and I occasionally feel the urge to leave a comment), please have you the last word on this topic.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Chent - I wouldn't regard Personal as Political as the cause, but as a signal of the next phase.

I agree that L and A are indeed two sides of the same coin of evil; but that is one of the great unrecognised/ denied facts of the past century.

I would disgree that the the Ahrimanic/ Bureaucratic was introduced to make society 'work' - because it has demonstrably sabotaged society in a far more comprehensive way than possible for the Luciferic. Or, bureaucratic totalitarianism makes society 'work' only as a system-of-corruption - but not economically, not politically, not militarilty, not as being effective at education, science, medicine etc.

I also disagree with your characterisation of 'what women are like' as a generalisation - it is important to recognise that modern women behave the way they do as a consequnce of a truly colossal and sustained social effort in terms of propaganda/ advertising/ popular art, dis-organisation (destruction of parental influence, destruction of marriage and families), the provision of free contraception and abortion etc. etc. -- and yet still most women need to get drunk-high in order to be as promiscuous as their fake peer group tells them they should be.

Joe said...

A common symbol of repressive tyranny (seen in the epic of Gilgamesh and Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro) is the droit de seigneur: governmental power asserting its primacy in sexual matters. Whether it was ever a real policy or practice, its use as such a symbol assumes that everyone will clearly see, instinctively, that it's obviously an outrageous abuse of power and unjustifiable. The sexual revolution is like a democratic droit de seigneur.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Joe - Interesting comparison.

As I see it the sexual revolution begins with an assertion that nobody has the right to tell anybody Not to do/ be something sexual - and tries to make this moral by asserting a notion of 'consent' that simply cannot bear the weight put upon it - and anyway such arrangements are not amenable to the underlying totalitarian imperative.

So the SR very rapidly becomes a bureaucratically regulated system by which (in the absence of God) 'the law' (inclduing corporate/ institutional rules and practices) takes the place of morality; and changes in the law (including the changing application, implementation, interpretation of law) are understood to be mandatory changes in morality.

This regulatory apparatus being changed only on authority of the evolving mainstream mass media consensus (i.e. the dominant views of 'a few dozen paedophile devil worshippers' as Vox Day recently termed them). It is implicitly accepted that the mass media can legitimately demand moral change, while the mass of ordinary people's wishes are 'populism' hence intrinsically evil, and as such necessarily excluded).

Lucinda said...

I think part of the problem is that women in civilization SHOULD have antagonistic feelings toward men generally with few exceptions. Women should not give men generally the benefit of the doubt. Women need to be highly selective, not just about who they mate with, but about which men they sympathize with. And for women, the personal should be political in the sense of promotion of healthy marriage and family culture.

What feminism has done is to grab a hold of this fundamentally healthy attitude, and convinced women to use their bodies as weapons against the wrong men. On the one hand, destroying the hopes of most fatherhood-oriented men of finding an actually faithful wife, and on the other, inducing growth-stopping despair in immature men who seem unable to keep themselves from impregnating women who will destroy the man's offspring, either killing them as infants or ruining their lives in other ways as they are raised (like teaching little boys that they should be little girls.)

That's I guess where the Ahrimanic comes in, the realm of the perverse mother run amok. The Luciferic gave birth to the Ahrimanic.

Bruce Charlton said...

Lucinda- Thanks for that.

The Luciferic evil must come first; but the Ahrimanic is much more powerful and pervasive.