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Was the sexual revolution a government psy-op? Masturbation has long been seen as a political soporific

The cure for fascism (Warner Bros)


December 10, 2022   15 mins

In the young, online manosphere, there is growing movement to refrain from masturbation as much as possible. This manifests itself every year in No Nut, or NoFap, November, a time for total abstinence from “fapping“, as certain online circles call it. Young men have set themselves this challenge, not out of religious conviction, but from a determination to reclaim for themselves a certain degree of self-command. It is the rare appearance of ascetic practice in a society that is at once libertine and shot through with a political moralisation of sex.

The main thrust of that moralisation has been to protect women from male sexuality; here is an instance of men seeking to protect themselves. They do so on the supposition that their vital energy has been dissipated and colonised by a culture, and an industry, of pornography that is predatory and dehumanising.

One might suppose, then, that this movement would find sympathetic allies among feminists who notice a symmetry of concerns. And surely there are such feminists. But we also hear alarm, in a register typical of today’s politics: these young men are displaying disturbing fascist tendencies.

Say what?

There may indeed be an overlap between the no-nutters and the online Right. That is certainly how it is characterised by those who find it threatening. If there is such an overlap, the common thread is surely the reappearance of “vitalism” as a point of orientation for young men who feel smothered and demoralised in a society that has little use for male energies. European vitalist thinkers include Friedrich Nietzsche and Henri Bergson. In the American context, the vitalist tradition is represented by figures such as Teddy Roosevelt, William James and, arguably, Mohammed Ali. Its most vivid recent articulation may be found in the movie Fight Club, which depicted a masculinist revolt against the androgynising and enervating effects of a consumerist, white-collar existence that offers little place for male solidarity. Its current avatar is the notorious, beloved Bronze Age Pervert (BAP to his fans). As the historian TJ Jackson Lears points out in his forthcoming book Animal Spirits, the vitalist orientation does not appeal solely to men. It may be found also in “sex-positive” feminists going back to Margaret Sanger and Mabel Dodge in the 19th century.

Whatever meaning and political valence the no-fap movement has for its adepts, the journalistic Left’s ready identification of sexual self-regulation with “fascism” has a definite genealogy. Retracing this gives us a glimpse into a fascinating chapter of 20th-century social engineering, a programme of sexual “liberation” that is still with us and can feel, if not obligatory, certainly on the agenda for all who would be well-adjusted. Acquaintance with this history should disabuse us of the idea that the sexual revolution was an entirely organic eruption of cultural change, and that it happened in the Sixties. Sexual liberation was the goal of a therapeutic para-state whose organs sprang into existence almost overnight at the conclusion of the Second World War. Its political purpose was to forestall the possibility of fascism in the United States. It would be too simple to say the sexual revolution was a government psy-op, but neither has the role of government been adequately appreciated. With the spectre of fascism once again haunting the American political imagination, and attendant worries in some quarters about inadequate masturbation, this is an episode worth revisiting.

In the early Thirties, one wing of the psychoanalytic movement splintered off and became politicised under the leadership of Wilhelm Reich. Reich was convinced that fighting fascism would require a psychological transformation of the entire German population. Their susceptibility to authoritarian politics and attraction to the Fuhrer were due to the unhealthy festering of irrational forces in individual psyches, rooted ultimately in sexual “repression”. Through the efforts of Archibald MacLeish, arch-WASP literary man of the Ivy League and liberal activist, these ideas gained influence in the American security services during the war, and particular the OSS, which was planning for the reeducation of the Germans upon their defeat and subsequent military occupation. And, in fact, the US-led Allied High Commission took up this project of Freudian political therapy in its rule over the defeated Germans, which lasted until 1955.

To put the matter crudely, the Germans were going to have to start masturbating more. More seriously, the working-class family, with its sharply distinguished sex roles and ideal of a strong father, was found to be at the root of the political problem.

Reich called himself a Freudo-Marxist. The term announced a political program that would require nothing less than a moral revolution, working at the deepest level of the individual. For society is not only unjust, it is sick. His project might reasonably be compared with that of Rousseau, whose popular works of sentimental reeducation supplied (however wittingly) the emotional idiom of the French Revolution, and the character ideal its enthusiasts sought to realise through that cataclysm.

Psychoanalysis was to be used for revolutionary purposes. Conventional Marxists made economic conditions the focus of their science; the Freudo-Marxist focused on moral conditions. Where the consummation of the Marxist project brings the withering away of the state, Reich’s political therapy required nothing less than the dissolution of the superego, that “sham social surface” and impediment to the instincts, which are taken to be pure and good. Here, too, we see an echo of the French Revolutionists’ Rousseau-inspired cult of sincerity or self-exposure. Let it all out.

The public tyranny of capitalist domination and the private tyranny of conscience form a circle of mutual support, on Reich’s view. Revolution cannot succeed unless it works ruthlessly on the psychological level. Indeed, revolution carried out on the level of economy and politics alone leads to bourgeois “defense reactions”, the most disastrous of which is fascism.

It is in the family that repressive authority is incubated and reproduced. Someone less invested in moral revolution may object that it is in the family that our faculties of moral perception develop, a gradual training of the affections whereby the child begins to apprehend an objective order of good. If all goes well, he comes to prefer virtue over vice through the mediating guidance and concern — the authority — of his parents. Reich would entirely agree, but with an opposite thrust. That is, he agrees that the moral sense is a product of authority, but insists that authority can only be repressive, never generative. It is always exercised self-interestedly, never generously for the good of another. Morality is the very thing that needs to be liquidated in the revolution.

As Philip Rieff puts Reich’s point, “A revolution must sweep out the family and its ruler, the father, no less cleanly than the old political gangs and their leaders…. The destruction, then, of the ancient mystique of fatherhood defines the revolutionary task.”

All this may be interesting as a nugget in the history ideas, but does it have any relevance to today’s politico-sexual landscape? Reich wasn’t just one more radical crank, fascinating to intellectuals but of little consequence. In fact, he was part of a larger intellectual movement that gained a substantial institutional footing in the United States in the decade immediately after Second World War.

One such institutional perch for Freudian ideas was the Army. The scale and intensity of violence in the Second World War are difficult for us to comprehend today. It was a war in which the civilian populations of entire cities were incinerated in a matter of hours. For B-17 bomber crews in the European theatre, the odds of surviving a complete tour of 25 missions was about 50% in 1943. We should not be surprised that of those American soldiers removed from service before completing their tours, approximately half were deemed unfit for psychiatric reasons. Sustained, abject terror will do that to a man. Of those who completed their tours of duty, many were deeply troubled.

Immediately after the war, the War Department undertook a study to determine the causes of psychiatric breakdown in American soldiers, using interviews to probe their minds. According to Adam Curtis’s BBC documentary The Century of the Self, the study was conducted under the guidance of refugee psychoanalysts from central Europe. The focus of these interviews, however, was not the soldiers’ wartime experiences but their childhoods. The stress of combat had merely triggered buried memories.

And what were the findings of the study? The problems of these broken soldiers were due, not to violence, but to the repression of violence, and of sexuality, typical of family life. Small town life in middle America, it turned out, was a breeding ground of precisely those unhealthy character traits that, under the right conditions, give rise to fascist movements.

In The Century of the Self, one Martin Bergmann, a US Army psychoanalyst from 1943 to 1945, speaks into the camera in a thick Mitteleuropa accent, recounting the train trip he took from the East Coast to the West Coast of his newly adopted country and his fascination with “what goes on in all those little towns”. His work gave him “a privileged tour into the inner soul of America”. What he found is that “the ratio between the irrational and the rational in America is very much in favor of the irrational”. It is “a much more problematic country” then you would think, given its cheerful self – image.

The problem with Americans was that they were latent Nazis. Presumably this came as a surprise to those soldiers who had lately placed their young bodies in the service of a national effort to defeat the Nazi regime.

In 1946, President Truman declared a mental health crisis in America, a watershed moment in the emergence of the therapeutic state. As Curtis put it, “the Second World War would utterly transform the way governments saw democracy, and the people they governed”. The American government, in particular, would turn to the Freud family for guidance on how to control the enemy within, convinced that “hidden under the surface of their own population were the same dangerous forces” that had led to the death camps. The inner lives of Americans were now something that needed to be managed. Anti-fascism in the United States would be a science of social adjustment working at a deep level of the psyche, modeled on the occupation government’s parallel effort in Germany.

“What is needed is a human being that can internalise democratic values,” said Bergmann, the US Army psychiatrist. “Psychoanalysis carried in it the promise that it can be done. It opened up new vistas as to how the inner structure of the human being can be changed so that he becomes a more vital, free supporter and maintainer of democracy.”

One must pause whenever the word “democracy” is used in such utterances. In fact, a central premise of midcentury social management was precisely that the free contest of responsible citizens in democratic politics does not reliably produce a properly “democratic” personality. “Changing the inner structure of the human being” so he becomes a reliable supporter of a political program — creating a New Man — was supposed to be the hallmark of totalitarianism, but evidently appeared necessary to some significant part of the American political establishment. Liberalism would have to become, not anti-totalitarian, but rather a countervailing project of man-making, no less total in its reach.

Following passage of the National Mental Health Act of 1946, its principal architects Karl and Will Menninger trained an army of hundreds of psychiatrists to fan out across America. In the late Forties, “psychological guidance centers” were set up in hundreds of towns, staffed by psychiatrists who “thought it was their job to control the hidden forces inside millions of Americans”, according to Adam Curtis. Thousands of counselors offered marriage guidance; social workers visited homes. As Robert Wallerstein of the Menninger Foundation put it in The Century of the Self, the operating assumption in these times was that “you could really change people. And you could change them almost in limitless ways.”

Freud’s daughter Anna was the guiding figure for the new para-state organs of psychological adjustment. Heir to her father’s movement, “her whole life rotated around the spreading of psychoanalysis”, according to her nephew Anton Freud. Curtis points out that this evangelising spirit marked a shift from Sigmund Freud’s efforts to understand the psyche to Anna Freud’s mission to modify the psyche. While Sigmund had a tragic view of the human being, emphasising the irreducible conflict between self and society, Anna had a reformer’s faith in the efficacy of psychoanalysis as a technology of personal and social improvement.

Let’s step back for a moment and consider the political soil in which these imported Freudian seeds would germinate. In his 1991 book, The True and Only Heaven, Christopher Lasch notes that “around the turn of the century, social reformers began to refer to themselves as progressives rather than liberals”. He quotes a work titled Liberalism in America (1919) in which Harold Stearns offered a portrait of the ideal political personality as “scientific, curious, experimental…urbane, good-natured, non-partisan, detached”. I don’t know if they had yard signs back then, but these were the traits of what H.L. Mencken called “the civilized minority”. They were tied to specific political positions, opposition to which could be taken as signs of ignorance, superstition, and intolerance.

Lasch writes that in the early decades of the 20th century, liberals convinced that the mass of their fellow citizens were impervious to reason believed they “would either have to master the new techniques of advertising and propaganda, … or seek to minimise the influence of public opinion on policy, … and see to it that policy – making was conducted exclusively by experts.”

In fact, both strategies became important. On the policy front, Woodrow Wilson addressed the growing gulf between popular preferences and progressive policy goals (recently exacerbated by an expansion of voting rights to less enlightened elements in society) by transferring political initiative and discretion from the democratically elected legislature to the bureaucracies of the nascent administrative state, where matters could safely be decided by experts. But it is the propaganda front that concerns us here, as it intersects intimately with the premises of Freudian political therapy.

The art of propaganda had taken great strides forward during the First World War, when popular fervour against “the Hun” was whipped up in the United States to support an unprecedentedly destructive war, the point of which nobody could say. Edward Bernays, one of the architects of the wartime propaganda effort, turned to advertising after the war as the logical venue for his craft (he would later put his talents in the service of the CIA). A nephew of Sigmund Freud, with whom he was intellectually close, Bernays developed his art on the premise that human beings are irrational, subject to subconscious drives that swamp any capacity for reflective deliberation.

Between the wars, liberals in the United States were watching developments in Europe with unease as fascist movements began to get traction. In the United States, there was significant sympathy with European fascist movements, not only on the anti-semitic Right but also on the New Deal Left. The putative irrationality of ordinary people was beginning to look like an ominous political fact. The premise of irrationality offered a lever of social control through the manipulation of subconscious drives, while the gathering political threat provided a reason for the principled use of this lever to steer the masses away from dangerous territory.

In this period, Walter Lippmann and H.L. Mencken were influential among liberals in their embittered view of the public as unreliable partners in the democratic project. What was wanted was democracy without a demos. This becomes less paradoxical once you understand that the term “democracy” was serving then, as it does now, as a term of approbation naming something in no way dependent upon the procedures of representative government, and a character ideal defined in explicit opposition to the deplorable masses. The mantle of “democracy” was the homespun worn by liberalism when it went about in public, seeking a wider political legitimacy than would otherwise be extended to the preoccupations of a civilised minority pursuing “experiments in living”, to use J.S. Mill’s formula.

Immediately after the Second World War, this distrust of the people among America’s Northeastern Protestant liberals got joined to an imported version brought by European émigré intellectuals who had narrowly escaped death at the hands of a Nazi murder state that enjoyed a kind of terrifying democratic mandate, in the narrow procedural sense of winning the support of a majority in its rise to power. These émigrés were therefore understandably ill-disposed to the masses, and toward democracy in its primary sense of rule by the people.

The concerns of this politicised psychoanalytic movement got grafted onto the regime of technocratic administration that liberals had been advancing in the US for half a century. The fateful consequence, clearly visible in retrospect, is that the administrative state became the therapeutic state, with the “helping professions” serving as expert handmaidens to the new regime. Flush with victory in its first ideological war, confident in the surfeit of legitimacy that comes with victory, the government took up anti-fascism as a wider mandate of moral and social transformation.

At the same time, the academic discipline of sociology took an activist turn. The American-led occupation government in Germany favoured sociology departments in universities as a vehicle of German re-education. The effort was led by scholars returning from forced exile in the United States, some of them connected to the Frankfurt School. In the US, five collaborative works, together titled Studies in Prejudice, were sponsored by the American Jewish Committee’s Department of Scientific Research. Of these, The Authoritarian Personality (1950) was the most influential. “No volume published since the war in the field of social psychology has had a greater impact on the direction of the actual empirical work being carried on in the universities today,” wrote Nathan Glazer in Commentary in 1954. The research was conducted by a group at Berkeley headed by Theodore Adorno of the Frankfurt School.

The massive study offered a set of criteria to discern personality traits said to indicate authoritarian tendencies. With the impressive machinery of social science, it ranked Americans on an “F Scale” where F stands for pre-fascist. An early version of its questionnaire to detect right-wing personality traits, deployed in California in 1947, was used in police work and in the psychological assessment of public school students.

The survey built on earlier studies conducted in Germany at the Institute for Social Research, but with a different slant. Openly Marxist in its original, Frankfurt iteration, it had placed its subjects on an authoritarian personality/revolutionary personality axis. (To the extent you are not revolutionary, you are authoritarian.) Repackaged for America, this was changed to an authoritarian personality/democratic personality axis. The shift of terms was well-attuned to the political idiom of the study’s American sponsors: in the United States, the vanguard named itself “democratic” rather than revolutionary.

Which is not to say that TAP’s adaptation of Freudo-Marxism to the American context was merely superficial. No less a figure than Peter Berger failed to see that an important shift had occurred between Reich’s The Mass Psychology of Fascism (addressed to a German audience in 1933) and The Authoritarian Personality (addressed to an American audience in 1950). Berger saw the latter as continuing the attack on the family coming from the Communist Left, which found the roots of “authoritarianism” in bourgeois-capitalist family structure. Accordingly, Berger saw the 1950 American volume as lending support to the commune movement that was gaining traction in Western Europe and America. Christopher Lasch points out that, in fact, “the general conclusions reached by Adorno and his collaborators fitted comfortably into a liberal consensus that condemned the allegedly repressive family patterns typical of working-class and lower-middle-class milieux and advocated as an alternative not ‘communes’ but the enlightened family patterns already adopted by the professional and managerial classes”. (451) These were the very patterns that would be demanded by capitalism in the coming postindustrial economy, which would accelerate an ongoing erasure of sexually differentiated forms of work.

Items contributing to the working class’s high scores on the F-scale included a belief in distinct sex roles and a “rigid” sexual morality. A woman with a “self-image of conventional femininity,” for example, was sure to develop an “underlying bitterness” which often took “deviously destructive forms”. We can note as well that, from the perspective of late capitalism, someone “clinging to femininity” is someone who has failed to become an all-purpose “human resource,” a labor unit minimally prone to pregnancy and maximally adaptable to the workplace.

Rosie the Riveter, that well-muscled emblem of the munitions economy, was one of the government’s most successful propaganda campaigns. In Norman Rockwell’s magnificently butch, 1943 image of Rosie for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post, she has her foot resting on a copy of Mein Kampf. She would become the hero of capitalism’s next stage, in which feminism plays a structural role. The type of social science pioneered by TAP would provide expert grounds for the emerging bourgeoise sexual morality, in which sexual difference itself is viewed as a hangover from a lower stage of human development.

Another trait that earned one a high rank on the F-scale was a “punitive” and “moralistic” style of child-rearing. As Lasch writes, “The Authoritarian Personality revealed more about the enlightened prejudices of the professional classes than about authoritarian prejudices among the common people” who “may have good reason to… reject a middle-class conception of easy-going parental discipline.”

Rather than consider the pros and cons of sexually conservate attitudes, the authors of TAP treated them as manifestations of a “social disease”. Lasch points out that this influential work “substituted a medical for a political idiom and relegated a broad range of controversial issues to the clinic — to ‘scientific’ study as opposed to philosophical and political debate. This procedure had the effect of making it unnecessary to discuss moral and political questions on their merits.”

Around this same time, Alfred Kinsey released the first of the Kinsey Reports on Americans’ sexual practices (1948). It was a publishing phenomenon that had no precedent for sales in the 20th century and became the focus of intense public discussion. Kinsey understood his work to be serving a “mass psychotherapeutic function”, namely, the eradication of shame. He also assimilated the nascent concept of the “authoritarian personality” to lingering sexual moralists of various stripes. Kinsey relied on his status as an entomologist (who just happened to turn his attention from beetles to humans) to claim for himself the persona of a disinterested man of science, rather than a cultural crusader.

In TAP and its antecedents we see the ground laid for a novel politico-cultural consciousness. It would become apparent only in the next cohort, the Baby Boom, perhaps because this consciousness required a generation of conditioning by government therapy and activist social science to achieve: ware groovy astronauts of the libido (as against our repressed parents). Whatever the reality of their individual mindsets, which are no doubt as various as that of any other generation, this is the official story told about the Boomers by their self-appointed spokespersons. At the same time, a new “professional managerial class” arose that would have a deep identification with expertise as title to rule and source of class solidarity

This history is important not least for helping us to see that the century-long colonisation of ordinary people’s moral judgment by psychology, dating from the rise of the social worker in the 19th century, and more broadly the idea that common sense should defer to expertise located in a scientific clerisy, got a big boost from the psycho-sexual turn that anti-fascist politics took after the Second World War. Initiatives by the federal government spawned a wider apparatus of psychological adjustment, located in schools (above all, sex education), HR departments and any institution devoted to forming and policing character according to the priorities of a vanguardist minority. Given mid-century America’s institutional investment in fighting fascism, it became invested also in construing the world in such a way as to justify that investment. The world has ever since been saturated with something like fascism, however invisible it may appear to most people — especially after our grandfathers had defeated the real thing on the battlefields of Europe.

The valour of that effort was borrowed by social engineers and attached to their own campaign. The military campaign had required a self-confident and still mostly self-governing people to risk their lives on behalf of human dignity. The domestic campaign required cultivation of a diminished picture of the human subject, now viewed as an irrational tangle of psycho-sexual compulsions. However partial and inadequate the new anthropology, it became “too big to fail”. The politics of anti-fascism have proven highly elastic, adaptable to the needs of an expanding, therapeutic para-state that has not hesitated to substitute morally cognate terms such as racism and sexism for the original. These too are expressions of dark irrationality, and cunningly increase in society precisely by appearing to decrease.

With this pocket history in hand, we can speculate as to why the no-fapping movement could cause alarm. Keeping the appetites at a high pitch of activity, stimulating desire and then satisfying it, can serve as a political soporific. Porn may function as a soma of the masses and in particular of the male— that toxic element in society that has lately attracted special interest from the organs of political therapy. Untoward eruptions of ascetic self-command are inconvenient to the governing anthropology; they would seem to cast doubt on both the need for, and the means of, social management. Reciprocally, for men and women both, the experience of self-command can create a taste for more, and possibly even lead to curiosity about a corresponding political possibility long thought obsolete — that of self-government.

This essay is the first in a series I am calling the Archedelia Project.

 ***

Order your copy of UnHerd’s first print edition here


Matthew B Crawford writes the substack Archedelia


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Greg Morrison
GM
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

Interesting article. It gives a lot of support to Peter Hitchens’ various writings concerning an alleged goal of the modern Left being the ‘de-moralisation’ of society: especially via school sex education etc.
As disconcerting as it is to think about this, it is good to remember that ‘the permanent things’ (Russell Kirk) are indeed permanent: and that although the Kinsey-type de-moralisation has done and continues to do a lot of harm, it cannot really ever win. Honest young men still know that lack of self control is a vice not a virtue, although they may lack the vocabulary or the metaphysics to articulate this insight. And honest young men still know that the ‘innate desires of man’ are not wholly good, as promised by Rousseau and every liar since him: which is why they still protect their sisters from other men, and – when they are themselves grown men – their daughters.
The permanent things remain.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Great comment. Unless we’re prepared to acknowledge that darker side of all our selves (both males and females), we’re doomed to keep repeating ideological mistakes and condemning our societies to failed experiments.
This has nothing to do with lack of religion either; simply being willing to accept our humanity and find better ways to live alongside each other.

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It has nothing to do with a lack of religion if there is no God and that the ground of Being and Consciousness is unconscious. As an intellectually very satisfied Catholic, I love the brevity of the remark by Fr Most.
“First they lost Christ (the Reformation); then they lost God; (atheistic materialism), then they lost their minds.
This article is painting that picture.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Yes, Catholics do seem very self-satisfied.

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I was actually just referring to my formal studies in western philosophy from the pre-socratics to the modern and the solid case for theism from reason. I do expect a bigoted remark pretty much ever time however. Catholicism with its affirmation of Christ still present today in the sacraments He gave Peter and the apostles and their successors actually presumes our incompleteness and insufficiency. But if you want to call that self-satisfied then you of course are free to do so, at least ontologically.

Mr Bates
Mr Bates
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Paul,I think the issue is that it is not only Catholics that would hold that view most Anglicans and Lutherans would agree too. However I for one am very grateful for the Catholic clarity on these things, and worried about the strange hybridization with wordly social movements that is going on in other denominations and am fearful that it is long term systemic ‘heart rot’ in a much beloved tree.

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bates

Hi Mr. Bates. It sure is a time for ecumenical cooperation alright. I am so grateful for the Natural Law philosophical tradition that is open to any person of reason. The CRT gang is great at working Christian guilt to sell disguised racism and faux community alright. Gushy calls to embrace and “include” or “equity” get swamped in a bottom line tyrannical dictatorship of sentiment. A misplaced mothering instinct. I hope we can all make a positive contribution to a saner world. There’s one hell of a mob out there. Cheers

Blenda Richter
Blenda Richter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

“Socialism is only a degenerate form of Christianity. In fact, it preserves a belief in the finality of history which betrays life and nature, which substitutes ideal ends for real end to enervating both the will and the imagination.” ~ Albert Camus

Publius NH
PN
Publius NH
1 year ago
Reply to  Blenda Richter

Socialism is a degenerate form of Christianity in the way that feces are a generate form of filet mignon.

Publius NH
Publius NH
1 year ago
Reply to  Blenda Richter

Socialism is a degenerate form of Christianity in the way that feces are a generate form of filet mignon.

Blenda Richter
Blenda Richter
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

“Socialism is only a degenerate form of Christianity. In fact, it preserves a belief in the finality of history which betrays life and nature, which substitutes ideal ends for real end to enervating both the will and the imagination.” ~ Albert Camus

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bates

Hi Mr. Bates. It sure is a time for ecumenical cooperation alright. I am so grateful for the Natural Law philosophical tradition that is open to any person of reason. The CRT gang is great at working Christian guilt to sell disguised racism and faux community alright. Gushy calls to embrace and “include” or “equity” get swamped in a bottom line tyrannical dictatorship of sentiment. A misplaced mothering instinct. I hope we can all make a positive contribution to a saner world. There’s one hell of a mob out there. Cheers

Mr Bates
Mr Bates
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Paul,I think the issue is that it is not only Catholics that would hold that view most Anglicans and Lutherans would agree too. However I for one am very grateful for the Catholic clarity on these things, and worried about the strange hybridization with wordly social movements that is going on in other denominations and am fearful that it is long term systemic ‘heart rot’ in a much beloved tree.

Publius NH
Publius NH
1 year ago

Satisfied at having lost their minds.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I was actually just referring to my formal studies in western philosophy from the pre-socratics to the modern and the solid case for theism from reason. I do expect a bigoted remark pretty much ever time however. Catholicism with its affirmation of Christ still present today in the sacraments He gave Peter and the apostles and their successors actually presumes our incompleteness and insufficiency. But if you want to call that self-satisfied then you of course are free to do so, at least ontologically.

Publius NH
Publius NH
1 year ago

Satisfied at having lost their minds.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Yes, Catholics do seem very self-satisfied.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It has nothing to do with a lack of religion if there is no God and that the ground of Being and Consciousness is unconscious. As an intellectually very satisfied Catholic, I love the brevity of the remark by Fr Most.
“First they lost Christ (the Reformation); then they lost God; (atheistic materialism), then they lost their minds.
This article is painting that picture.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Human nature anyone?

Edmund Paul
Edmund Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

No such thing!

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Hardly anyone has improved upon Aristotle’s definition of human nature as man being a “rational animal”. The neoMarxist ideology that informs virtually all of the leftist fascism of our time is an incoherent postmodern self contradiction. We are necessarily free willed rational beings , our so-called “spiritual” nature which we can understand as active powers or principles that are not reducible to matter. Why Marx was wrong. And deadly.

Edmund Paul
Edmund Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

No such thing!

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

Hardly anyone has improved upon Aristotle’s definition of human nature as man being a “rational animal”. The neoMarxist ideology that informs virtually all of the leftist fascism of our time is an incoherent postmodern self contradiction. We are necessarily free willed rational beings , our so-called “spiritual” nature which we can understand as active powers or principles that are not reducible to matter. Why Marx was wrong. And deadly.

Tim F
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

True. And is it not better for a society to work with the grain of human nature than against it?

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Great comment. Unless we’re prepared to acknowledge that darker side of all our selves (both males and females), we’re doomed to keep repeating ideological mistakes and condemning our societies to failed experiments.
This has nothing to do with lack of religion either; simply being willing to accept our humanity and find better ways to live alongside each other.

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

Human nature anyone?

Tim F
TF
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  Greg Morrison

True. And is it not better for a society to work with the grain of human nature than against it?

Greg Morrison
Greg Morrison
1 year ago

Interesting article. It gives a lot of support to Peter Hitchens’ various writings concerning an alleged goal of the modern Left being the ‘de-moralisation’ of society: especially via school sex education etc.
As disconcerting as it is to think about this, it is good to remember that ‘the permanent things’ (Russell Kirk) are indeed permanent: and that although the Kinsey-type de-moralisation has done and continues to do a lot of harm, it cannot really ever win. Honest young men still know that lack of self control is a vice not a virtue, although they may lack the vocabulary or the metaphysics to articulate this insight. And honest young men still know that the ‘innate desires of man’ are not wholly good, as promised by Rousseau and every liar since him: which is why they still protect their sisters from other men, and – when they are themselves grown men – their daughters.
The permanent things remain.

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

Wow what a read, and I almost didn’t read the article given its title. Piecing this together like here in fact explains so much, it’s an eye opener. I’m looking forward to more of this series.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Absolutely agree. I read a bit then stopped. Then I went back and read the whole thing and found it beautifully put together.

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I am halfway there.
I retired exhausted and in need of the Englishman’s Crutch – a cup of tea. Lesser breeds have a w***.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Walk?

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Weep

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Weep

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

does no-one else use the audio feature

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I never noticed the audio feature… thanks 😉

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I never noticed the audio feature… thanks 😉

Rhonda Culwell
Rhonda Culwell
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m having a coffee, and resting my mind a bit.

Tim F
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Me too.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I must get some new glasses. I read this as ‘the Englishman’s Crotch’ – though I suppose that’s mildly relevant as well.

Brett H
BH
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Walk?

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

does no-one else use the audio feature

Rhonda Culwell
Rhonda Culwell
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’m having a coffee, and resting my mind a bit.

Tim F
TF
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Me too.

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I must get some new glasses. I read this as ‘the Englishman’s Crotch’ – though I suppose that’s mildly relevant as well.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I am halfway there.
I retired exhausted and in need of the Englishman’s Crutch – a cup of tea. Lesser breeds have a w***.

Peter D
PD
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Totally agree. This does explain a lot. My gut feel for quite a while now is that our society seems steered from the top down with a great deal of pressure.
Natural change usually comes from the bottom up.
This does not surprise me one little bit. I am looking forward to reading more. Glad to read that there is something to my instincts.

John Ramsden
JR
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

More of this series?! This article on its own was epic in length. How can the banal topic of masturbation be so staggeringly complicated and convoluted?

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

The topic of the article is not masturbation. But it takes a while to realise that.

Edward Seymour
Edward Seymour
1 year ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

You have misunderstood. The author simply uses “No Fap November” as a hook on which to hang an analysis of the technocratic therapeutic society.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

The topic of the article is not masturbation. But it takes a while to realise that.

Edward Seymour
ES
Edward Seymour
1 year ago
Reply to  John Ramsden

You have misunderstood. The author simply uses “No Fap November” as a hook on which to hang an analysis of the technocratic therapeutic society.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Absolutely agree. I read a bit then stopped. Then I went back and read the whole thing and found it beautifully put together.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

Totally agree. This does explain a lot. My gut feel for quite a while now is that our society seems steered from the top down with a great deal of pressure.
Natural change usually comes from the bottom up.
This does not surprise me one little bit. I am looking forward to reading more. Glad to read that there is something to my instincts.

John Ramsden
John Ramsden
1 year ago
Reply to  Emre S

More of this series?! This article on its own was epic in length. How can the banal topic of masturbation be so staggeringly complicated and convoluted?

Emre S
Emre S
1 year ago

Wow what a read, and I almost didn’t read the article given its title. Piecing this together like here in fact explains so much, it’s an eye opener. I’m looking forward to more of this series.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I don’t think society has come to terms with just how destructive the rise of divorce has been. It crushes the children while they are young and stops them forming happy marriages themselves when they are older. In Britain we are up to 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 50% of kids born out of wedlock. Perhaps the US is even worse. The porn-addicted generation described above are the result of this.
Our forefathers knew this and so marriages were sanctified and divorces were very difficult to obtain and unhappy couples were expected to make the best of it for the sake of the kids.
I think the acceptance of easy divorce and the abandonment of marriage in favour of shacking up are consequences of the intellectual endeavor the author describes.

Peter D
PD
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

It also shows the following generation that if things get tough, just quit or don’t bother trying in the first place.
Divorce is not healthy for society. Marriage is not perfect but it requires effort and work and through this comes reward for all involved.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

As a child of divorce myself, your first sentence resonated with me. The underlying message children receive is indeed that nothing works so why bother? It’s a very self-defeating backdrop by which to live, and takes years if ever, to break that mould. You also learn never ever to rely on others for anything, which makes you stronger in some ways, but diminishes you in others.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Sad but true, Julian, but not in all cases. Every divorce is different, just as every marriage is different.

lewis guignard
LG
lewis guignard
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

M. Farrows,
I regret that while a parent I divorced. I concerned myself with the effect on my children and did the best I could, under the circumstances to alleviate that. But a statement made elsewhere is pertinent: how to find the right person. I ended up divorced 3 times, because I chose someone too much like my mother in some ways, but not enough like her in others. Still, I don’t believe that is the problem people make it to be. There is the rest of society which can help raise children. Public school, but that, reading the article, which doesn’t call schools out, as I recall, were once a help, when run on a very local level. They have become supportive of the agenda the author points out, They no longer teach children self control, but that of allowing their every whim freedom.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Sad but true, Julian, but not in all cases. Every divorce is different, just as every marriage is different.

lewis guignard
lewis guignard
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

M. Farrows,
I regret that while a parent I divorced. I concerned myself with the effect on my children and did the best I could, under the circumstances to alleviate that. But a statement made elsewhere is pertinent: how to find the right person. I ended up divorced 3 times, because I chose someone too much like my mother in some ways, but not enough like her in others. Still, I don’t believe that is the problem people make it to be. There is the rest of society which can help raise children. Public school, but that, reading the article, which doesn’t call schools out, as I recall, were once a help, when run on a very local level. They have become supportive of the agenda the author points out, They no longer teach children self control, but that of allowing their every whim freedom.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter D

As a child of divorce myself, your first sentence resonated with me. The underlying message children receive is indeed that nothing works so why bother? It’s a very self-defeating backdrop by which to live, and takes years if ever, to break that mould. You also learn never ever to rely on others for anything, which makes you stronger in some ways, but diminishes you in others.

Last edited 1 year ago by Julian Farrows
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Fine. So can we please make the distinction between divorce during the child-rearing years and divorce after that point? There’s many an unhappy life that’s salvaged through the divorce route once the children become independent, especially now we’re all living longer. Why continue in a miserable state when there’s no specific need to?

Matt M
MM
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes I think that is a wise and humane distinction to make.

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Yes, the word “humane” is used to justify other abominations, such as abortion, euthanasia and tolerating, yea, celebrating perversion.

It is not for me to judge individuals but I fail to see what is “compassionate toward humans” about divorce at any stage.

Paul Hendricks
PH
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Yes, the word “humane” is used to justify other abominations, such as abortion, euthanasia and tolerating, yea, celebrating perversion.

It is not for me to judge individuals but I fail to see what is “compassionate toward humans” about divorce at any stage.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I must admit that I just love the sanity and truth of the Catholic church which I gradually came to understand as the only radically true and sane edifice extant, as one should expect given He who sustains her despite all of our human failings. She grants annulments based upon a demonstration that the prerequisite maturity and understanding required to engage in a licit marriage … an irrevocable gift of oneself… becoming one with the other.., did not prevail at the time of the marriage. As Christ said. “I tell you no divorce.” One cannot unmarry what is married. And there is a Third Person involved.

Kat L
KL
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Perhaps handing down a blueprint on how to pick a compatible mate? Choose wisely in the first place and this can be avoided?

Matt M
MM
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Yes I think that is a wise and humane distinction to make.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I must admit that I just love the sanity and truth of the Catholic church which I gradually came to understand as the only radically true and sane edifice extant, as one should expect given He who sustains her despite all of our human failings. She grants annulments based upon a demonstration that the prerequisite maturity and understanding required to engage in a licit marriage … an irrevocable gift of oneself… becoming one with the other.., did not prevail at the time of the marriage. As Christ said. “I tell you no divorce.” One cannot unmarry what is married. And there is a Third Person involved.

Kat L
Kat L
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Perhaps handing down a blueprint on how to pick a compatible mate? Choose wisely in the first place and this can be avoided?

Cathy Carron
CC
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The one-parent, mother-only family has all but destroyed black inner-city communities in the USA. Today, over 75% of blacks are born out of wedlock, about 55% for Latinos and 35% for whites. Welfare programs of LBJs ‘Great Society’ ensured that black fathers were not to be in house in order to receive welfare. It is a fact, that black families in the USA were doing far better socially and economically pre-WW2 – blacks had a lower divorce rate than whites and home ownership was on the rise. Intact families matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Matt M
MM
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

A complete tragedy Cathy.

Mordecai Jones
MJ
Mordecai Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

My generation put a lot of work into civil rights, passing “those N-word laws” as LBJ called them, as he relied on the opposition party to pass them when his own party would not support him. Now we are getting old, many of us have already departed in peace, thinking we did a lot of good work; and along comes some upstart and tells us our parents were well on the way to a good society and we ran off the rails and created a society of narcissists and thieves and murderers. Recently we have again been hard at work, creating a cancel culture to protect ourselves against people like you who insist on looking at reality – and now here is a site on our Internet that is out of control, no telling what evils that will unleash upon us. For almost a century, the politicians in our major cities have kept our minority friends and neighbors out of sight and out of mind in “inner-city communities” – then along comes a President from the other party and fires up the economy, creates jobs, so the minorities think they are just as good as white people. Sure is lucky we got rid of him. Creating jobs is just another name for returning to slavery. Keep up the good work; I hope you are using a false name here to make it hard to find you:-)

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Mordecai Jones

“[Unherd] is out of control”
How I wish that were true…

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Mordecai Jones

“[Unherd] is out of control”
How I wish that were true…

Bo Harrison
Bo Harrison
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

So true; and my (evangelical?) church is susceptible to the Marxist lie that the real problem facing black folks in America is systemic racism, rather than the engineered destruction of the nuclear family

Last edited 1 year ago by Bo Harrison
Matt M
MM
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

A complete tragedy Cathy.

Mordecai Jones
MJ
Mordecai Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

My generation put a lot of work into civil rights, passing “those N-word laws” as LBJ called them, as he relied on the opposition party to pass them when his own party would not support him. Now we are getting old, many of us have already departed in peace, thinking we did a lot of good work; and along comes some upstart and tells us our parents were well on the way to a good society and we ran off the rails and created a society of narcissists and thieves and murderers. Recently we have again been hard at work, creating a cancel culture to protect ourselves against people like you who insist on looking at reality – and now here is a site on our Internet that is out of control, no telling what evils that will unleash upon us. For almost a century, the politicians in our major cities have kept our minority friends and neighbors out of sight and out of mind in “inner-city communities” – then along comes a President from the other party and fires up the economy, creates jobs, so the minorities think they are just as good as white people. Sure is lucky we got rid of him. Creating jobs is just another name for returning to slavery. Keep up the good work; I hope you are using a false name here to make it hard to find you:-)

Bo Harrison
BH
Bo Harrison
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

So true; and my (evangelical?) church is susceptible to the Marxist lie that the real problem facing black folks in America is systemic racism, rather than the engineered destruction of the nuclear family

Last edited 1 year ago by Bo Harrison
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
ER
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

From personal experience, observing what happened to their school friends, divorce seems to be hugely damaging to the children and invariably so

Marshall Ballantine-Jones
Marshall Ballantine-Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You can go a step further now – the rates of children raised by single parents, or non-married cohabiting parents (often transitory) is increasing astronomically, where they never even know the promise of having stable, committed loving parents

Last edited 1 year ago by Marshall Ballantine-Jones
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

God help those kids.

Matt M
MM
Matt M
1 year ago

God help those kids.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

It also shows the following generation that if things get tough, just quit or don’t bother trying in the first place.
Divorce is not healthy for society. Marriage is not perfect but it requires effort and work and through this comes reward for all involved.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Fine. So can we please make the distinction between divorce during the child-rearing years and divorce after that point? There’s many an unhappy life that’s salvaged through the divorce route once the children become independent, especially now we’re all living longer. Why continue in a miserable state when there’s no specific need to?

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

The one-parent, mother-only family has all but destroyed black inner-city communities in the USA. Today, over 75% of blacks are born out of wedlock, about 55% for Latinos and 35% for whites. Welfare programs of LBJs ‘Great Society’ ensured that black fathers were not to be in house in order to receive welfare. It is a fact, that black families in the USA were doing far better socially and economically pre-WW2 – blacks had a lower divorce rate than whites and home ownership was on the rise. Intact families matter.

Last edited 1 year ago by Cathy Carron
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

From personal experience, observing what happened to their school friends, divorce seems to be hugely damaging to the children and invariably so

Marshall Ballantine-Jones
Marshall Ballantine-Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

You can go a step further now – the rates of children raised by single parents, or non-married cohabiting parents (often transitory) is increasing astronomically, where they never even know the promise of having stable, committed loving parents

Last edited 1 year ago by Marshall Ballantine-Jones
Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

I don’t think society has come to terms with just how destructive the rise of divorce has been. It crushes the children while they are young and stops them forming happy marriages themselves when they are older. In Britain we are up to 50% of marriages ending in divorce and 50% of kids born out of wedlock. Perhaps the US is even worse. The porn-addicted generation described above are the result of this.
Our forefathers knew this and so marriages were sanctified and divorces were very difficult to obtain and unhappy couples were expected to make the best of it for the sake of the kids.
I think the acceptance of easy divorce and the abandonment of marriage in favour of shacking up are consequences of the intellectual endeavor the author describes.

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

Fascinating, well constructed etc. But I think the problem is simpler. Many men use porn due to the current lack of alternatives, i.e. the lack of a non-abusive dating market. Consequently, many men are now addicted to porn. Nobody likes being addicted, it makes you feel dirty and dishonest. Hence abstinence, duh.

Or from a different perspective. The culture says that men can’t ask for what they want, sexually or otherwise anymore. But men are also lambasted for being too meek. i.e. not asking for what they want, sexually or otherwise. The cognitive dissonance this creates is “challenging.” How about absolutely infuriating. But men aren’t allowed to be infuriated anymore though. Hmmmm.

So what to do with all this unresolved energy? On solution is Just stop “doing” sex on any level. If one stops thinking about sex, then one will stop being tormented by the lack of it. And if there is one thing guaranteed to get one thinking about sex then it’s a regular masturbation habit. Fueled by porn usually.

So if one goes no-fap, then those pesky erotic thought processes are attenuated and the cognitive dissonance will go away. Or so the theory goes.

This is difficult outside of a monastic setting. Just ask any Catholic.

I think it’s a brave attempt by disenfranchised men to take back control. Abstinence from anything that you are addicted too can lead to strong feelings of agency, dignity, mental clarity; there’s a long list actually. It’s a great trick, if you can pull it off. But I say again, ask any Catholic.

So, if like many men, realistically, your chances of finding a sexual mate are slim. And if finding that mate involves an assault course confusion, doubt and anxiety. Why bother? Total abstinence not just from masturbation, but sex as a whole. Many men are choosing this path, but as a choice rather than as a result of not feeling welcome in the sexual market place. Again many benefits can accrue, but it’s difficult outside of a monestary.

I salute the endeavour of the no-fap “movement,” just go chat to a Catholic first though, eh?

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

You can do it outside of a monastic setting. You just need to pray or meditate. This counteracts the constant societal engorgement of the lower energies, at least to a degree that you can live without sex and porn and…(insert more of society’s dubious ‘pleasures’ here).
The purpose of sex is reproduction. It is understandable that we think it’s about pleasure. But that comes from boredom and a lack of motivation to pursue things that matter. I’m happy these guys are working on ‘nofap.’ They may find something greater than mere abstention.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Whose purpose? The purpose of sex from the standpoint of our genes is reproduction. The purpose we are “given” in our proclivities which induce us to seek it is pleasure, generally.

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago

If you like. But when you’ve walked that road long enough, you may come to agree with your genes. Desires indulged lead to more desire. You may be tempted to think happiness lies in their satisfaction, but it continues to elude.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Our gene’s interest and our own in the sense of our conscious selves are not always aligned. There are all kinds of genetic tendencies we learn to restrain or sublimate. I am not a hedonist by any means. But in some ways I try not to be a slave to my genetic tendencies either. I think this is a good thing. And I’ve walked my road quite some time to come to realize that (I could throw a rock and hit 70).

Jeff Cunningham
JC
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Our gene’s interest and our own in the sense of our conscious selves are not always aligned. There are all kinds of genetic tendencies we learn to restrain or sublimate. I am not a hedonist by any means. But in some ways I try not to be a slave to my genetic tendencies either. I think this is a good thing. And I’ve walked my road quite some time to come to realize that (I could throw a rock and hit 70).

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago

If you like. But when you’ve walked that road long enough, you may come to agree with your genes. Desires indulged lead to more desire. You may be tempted to think happiness lies in their satisfaction, but it continues to elude.

LCarey Rowland
LR
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Not only that, but. . . fatherhood is quite a satisfactory mode of being, functioning also as an “identity.”

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

I tried to a avoid mentioning meditation as this is usually a turn-off for most. But you are correct in that a certain level of awareness about causal emotional processes is essential, and meditation is a great way to train for this.

Unfortunately half an hour of mindfulness or body bliss practice or tantra visualization or whatever, a day isn’t enough, not long term.

The process of arousal through to ejaculation is a great way to resolve surplus sexual energy. If you choose to disengage from that process by going no-fap, you have to do something else with that energy. If not it will squirt out inappropriately, (Fnar! Fnar!) and you’ll end up getting into pointless arguments with strangers or maybe (probably) buying random shit you don’t need. This is when you really need a stable mind. Sure, sitting practice hones those skills, but the application of said skills happens “in the wild.” Practice has to come off the cushion at some point.

This is all possible away from a monastic setting, I never took robes for that reason. I never needed to, but it is much tougher. And you can traumatise yourself too, if your not careful, especially if you end up doing crazy shit. Consequences, consequences.

As to the purpose and meaning of the drive for procreation or the “generative urge,” shall we say, I don’t speculate. I just want the wasted energy expended on unrealistic sexual fantasies available for other projects; like getting enlightened of some other woo woo shit.

Go me!

Last edited 1 year ago by Howard Clegg
Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Whose purpose? The purpose of sex from the standpoint of our genes is reproduction. The purpose we are “given” in our proclivities which induce us to seek it is pleasure, generally.

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago

Not only that, but. . . fatherhood is quite a satisfactory mode of being, functioning also as an “identity.”

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

I tried to a avoid mentioning meditation as this is usually a turn-off for most. But you are correct in that a certain level of awareness about causal emotional processes is essential, and meditation is a great way to train for this.

Unfortunately half an hour of mindfulness or body bliss practice or tantra visualization or whatever, a day isn’t enough, not long term.

The process of arousal through to ejaculation is a great way to resolve surplus sexual energy. If you choose to disengage from that process by going no-fap, you have to do something else with that energy. If not it will squirt out inappropriately, (Fnar! Fnar!) and you’ll end up getting into pointless arguments with strangers or maybe (probably) buying random shit you don’t need. This is when you really need a stable mind. Sure, sitting practice hones those skills, but the application of said skills happens “in the wild.” Practice has to come off the cushion at some point.

This is all possible away from a monastic setting, I never took robes for that reason. I never needed to, but it is much tougher. And you can traumatise yourself too, if your not careful, especially if you end up doing crazy shit. Consequences, consequences.

As to the purpose and meaning of the drive for procreation or the “generative urge,” shall we say, I don’t speculate. I just want the wasted energy expended on unrealistic sexual fantasies available for other projects; like getting enlightened of some other woo woo shit.

Go me!

Last edited 1 year ago by Howard Clegg
Tim F
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Self-denial is a great sweetener of pleasures.

Laura Kelly
LK
Laura Kelly
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim F

Also, people seem to have forgotten the concept of “forbidden fruit”. When nothing is considered naughty, things are a lot less fun!

Laura Kelly
Laura Kelly
1 year ago
Reply to  Tim F

Also, people seem to have forgotten the concept of “forbidden fruit”. When nothing is considered naughty, things are a lot less fun!

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

The Author of Love does indeed want us to see that self discipline or rather grace inspired discipline is simply the path of integrity. Men and women are literally made first by and for Love , and for most the most significant dimension of this is responsible self controlled love between a man and a woman. Another forbidden truth these days as we confuse behaviors with “identities” a notion with only an obscurely, dimly understood final causality or end. Cheers I do really admire the monks and religious among us; warriors.

Michael Stanton
MS
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

I’m with you, sir!

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

And I with you! Thank you sir. Our culture desperately needs to catch a glimpse of what Aristotle and Aquinas called final cause; that necessarily transcendent and spiritual actual “Unmoved Mover”. It really is Love and that is not a poetic indulgence. We are moved by some alpha and omega who grounds truth, beauty and love. Immanence and transcendence. Cheers

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

And I with you! Thank you sir. Our culture desperately needs to catch a glimpse of what Aristotle and Aquinas called final cause; that necessarily transcendent and spiritual actual “Unmoved Mover”. It really is Love and that is not a poetic indulgence. We are moved by some alpha and omega who grounds truth, beauty and love. Immanence and transcendence. Cheers

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Not only that, but. . . fatherhood is quite a satisfactory mode of being, functioning also as an “identity.”

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Absolutely. The cosmic identities of mother and father.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  LCarey Rowland

Absolutely. The cosmic identities of mother and father.

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Hey Paul, thanks for your comment. Sadly I don’t subscribe to the concept of an “author of love.” I’m afraid I’m a po-faced “early” Buddhist. What happens when love, or it’s author, isn’t present? Life goes on, and everything that happens is just as causal and significant as when love is present. But we still have to deal with the consequences one way or another.

So should we wait for the arrival of love, or “grace” or “presence” before we do anything of significance? Hell no, divine grace is fickle and only shows up when you’re not looking. In the meantime, best get on with life in all its messy glory.

I’m still waiting for someone to convince me that no-fap is a bad idea. Come on, you optimists, let’s be having you!

And yes, monastics are sorely misunderstood.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Hi Howard. Thanks for the response. Love and its author is always present as BEING Himself.. the alpha and omega of all being spiritual and material. Everything is good insofar as it exists or has being and even evil is an absence of a good that should be there.
I have had some profound spiritual experiences that I will remember all my life, but my faith and reason are informed (o use a nice Platonic and Aquinian word..:-) )
by a recognition of that Final Cause discernible by reason where God is analogically understood and seen in truth, beauty and goodness . Its a synthesis, the divine milieu. In a sunset you are really looking at the beauty of God even more manifest in a child or a fireman walking into a burning building to save one of God’s precious ones.
I get what you refer to as those Aha.. moments when God is obvious and manifestly present, but that is really just a function of our attention spans. God manifests in crucifixions endured in love. Cheers

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Hi Howard. Thanks for the response. Love and its author is always present as BEING Himself.. the alpha and omega of all being spiritual and material. Everything is good insofar as it exists or has being and even evil is an absence of a good that should be there.
I have had some profound spiritual experiences that I will remember all my life, but my faith and reason are informed (o use a nice Platonic and Aquinian word..:-) )
by a recognition of that Final Cause discernible by reason where God is analogically understood and seen in truth, beauty and goodness . Its a synthesis, the divine milieu. In a sunset you are really looking at the beauty of God even more manifest in a child or a fireman walking into a burning building to save one of God’s precious ones.
I get what you refer to as those Aha.. moments when God is obvious and manifestly present, but that is really just a function of our attention spans. God manifests in crucifixions endured in love. Cheers

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

I’m with you, sir!

LCarey Rowland
LCarey Rowland
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Not only that, but. . . fatherhood is quite a satisfactory mode of being, functioning also as an “identity.”

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Boire

Hey Paul, thanks for your comment. Sadly I don’t subscribe to the concept of an “author of love.” I’m afraid I’m a po-faced “early” Buddhist. What happens when love, or it’s author, isn’t present? Life goes on, and everything that happens is just as causal and significant as when love is present. But we still have to deal with the consequences one way or another.

So should we wait for the arrival of love, or “grace” or “presence” before we do anything of significance? Hell no, divine grace is fickle and only shows up when you’re not looking. In the meantime, best get on with life in all its messy glory.

I’m still waiting for someone to convince me that no-fap is a bad idea. Come on, you optimists, let’s be having you!

And yes, monastics are sorely misunderstood.

Laura Kelly
LK
Laura Kelly
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Gotta disagree. Any man can find a mate if he is honest about his level of attractiveness and seeks woman of similar looks and means. Those toxic women you reference, and there are many, are all seeking “high value” men, mostly out of their ballpark. Those guys who can’t find a date? They’re all looking for a supermodel or an anime pixie. It’s historical fact that old time circus freaks had remarkably affectionate and long-lived marriages largely because they approached their relationships from a position of gratitude, because, after all, the dog-faced girl was lucky to find a husband at all, and she knew it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Kelly
Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

You’ve got a good point. I have a wonderful romantic relationship. The key is that my girl is humble and self-reflective. She is beautiful, I think. She is no dog-face! But it is deeply helpful to her own happiness that she thinks she is. I hold the diamond of her, and she of me. And to the world, we are two dull rocks. 🙂

Paul Hendricks
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

What is the incentive for a man to settle for a mate of equal looks or means when in most markets there are a surplus of women of higher attractiveness and means? None. (I don’t mean to come across as pedantic, I just don’t want to add to the confusion young people are facing.)

Women if they are being honest don’t place so much value on physical looks; appearance would be more accurate, and even this, not so important. As for money, broke men will calculate that they just have to set the age parameter of potential matches on the app to 20-24–in other words, girls who are just beginning their careers and so don’t have a lot of money or, being largely or at least to some degree supported by relatives, don’t need it from a mate. In fact, given other factors–“feminist equality” and the fact that everyone’s broke, to name two–a man doesn’t even need to spend money on dates before “hooking up.” Some men will happily discover that young women, who are likely to be working, shopping and socializing from home and so have more money than they know what to do with (and who being women enjoy spending it) are basically happy to spend money on a man if it helps them compete for a mate.

It is more accurate to say that any man can find a date by spending enough time “on the apps,” because “it’s a numbers game.” Yes, there will always be men who are slower to figure this out. But if they don’t become demoralized first they’ll figure it out. Just keep “swiping,” no reason not to aim high.

Ironically, single professional women are encouraged by every online “therapist” to spend time on the very same dating apps that afford men an unlimited menu of easy, commitment-free sex with women who calculate, whether or not they are aware of it, that their best strategy in current conditions is to have sex first and hope for commitment later. After all, they know the market is competitive and they will just be “ghosted” if they don’t have sex.

No wonder that so many men and women “drop out” and find consolation in this or that drug or fantasy.

Men looking for a committed relationship are advised to become active in a church–preferably Catholic.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I find that Catholic moral law perfectly expresses our actual human nature. Men and women are only intelligible with reference to one another. We are called to be stewards of love and life. With permanent commitments of course; the gift of self to one’s spouse and becoming one.. materially evident in the eyes of a child. 🙂

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Paul Hendricks

I find that Catholic moral law perfectly expresses our actual human nature. Men and women are only intelligible with reference to one another. We are called to be stewards of love and life. With permanent commitments of course; the gift of self to one’s spouse and becoming one.. materially evident in the eyes of a child. 🙂

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

Hey Laura, maybe maybe not. I’m super hot, apparently; got money, good job, all my own teeth etc. But can’t get a date on Tinder, Bumble etc. I think I’d do better shouting into a cardboard box for the good it does. For men, this is a really common experience apparently.

Outcomes on these apps are wildly asymmetric depending on gender and demographic. What you say makes perfect common sense. Unfortunately the modern dating market is not sane or rational. It full of people chasing impossible dreams.

Now, I am that impossible dream. Apparently. I have been called a “bronzed god,” “perfect in every way,” and my personal favourite, last week in the pub, some women bumps into me, looks me up and down and and says “F*ck me no! I can’t be dealing with that tonight!” “That” being me, thanks babe Then she ran, yes ran away.

I have all the bits that women say they want. But when they do actually meet one such as I, they look terrified, hide behind their friends, pot plants, their hair etc. They like to look though, all night long, but then disappear with some nondescript dork who been hiding at the back. Probably an old friend who she gives charity f**ks to when she realises she doesn’t have to balls to talk to someone new, especially some bloke who looks like he just stepped out of an aftershave advert.

I sit at the very top of the “high value” pyramid. It’s rather lonely, but I have an excellent view and it’s a sh*t show right down to the very bottom.

No-fap has a lot going for it, even for a “bronzed god.” We’re all f*cked.

Last edited 1 year ago by Howard Clegg
Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

You’ve got a good point. I have a wonderful romantic relationship. The key is that my girl is humble and self-reflective. She is beautiful, I think. She is no dog-face! But it is deeply helpful to her own happiness that she thinks she is. I hold the diamond of her, and she of me. And to the world, we are two dull rocks. 🙂

Paul Hendricks
PH
Paul Hendricks
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

What is the incentive for a man to settle for a mate of equal looks or means when in most markets there are a surplus of women of higher attractiveness and means? None. (I don’t mean to come across as pedantic, I just don’t want to add to the confusion young people are facing.)

Women if they are being honest don’t place so much value on physical looks; appearance would be more accurate, and even this, not so important. As for money, broke men will calculate that they just have to set the age parameter of potential matches on the app to 20-24–in other words, girls who are just beginning their careers and so don’t have a lot of money or, being largely or at least to some degree supported by relatives, don’t need it from a mate. In fact, given other factors–“feminist equality” and the fact that everyone’s broke, to name two–a man doesn’t even need to spend money on dates before “hooking up.” Some men will happily discover that young women, who are likely to be working, shopping and socializing from home and so have more money than they know what to do with (and who being women enjoy spending it) are basically happy to spend money on a man if it helps them compete for a mate.

It is more accurate to say that any man can find a date by spending enough time “on the apps,” because “it’s a numbers game.” Yes, there will always be men who are slower to figure this out. But if they don’t become demoralized first they’ll figure it out. Just keep “swiping,” no reason not to aim high.

Ironically, single professional women are encouraged by every online “therapist” to spend time on the very same dating apps that afford men an unlimited menu of easy, commitment-free sex with women who calculate, whether or not they are aware of it, that their best strategy in current conditions is to have sex first and hope for commitment later. After all, they know the market is competitive and they will just be “ghosted” if they don’t have sex.

No wonder that so many men and women “drop out” and find consolation in this or that drug or fantasy.

Men looking for a committed relationship are advised to become active in a church–preferably Catholic.

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago
Reply to  Laura Kelly

Hey Laura, maybe maybe not. I’m super hot, apparently; got money, good job, all my own teeth etc. But can’t get a date on Tinder, Bumble etc. I think I’d do better shouting into a cardboard box for the good it does. For men, this is a really common experience apparently.

Outcomes on these apps are wildly asymmetric depending on gender and demographic. What you say makes perfect common sense. Unfortunately the modern dating market is not sane or rational. It full of people chasing impossible dreams.

Now, I am that impossible dream. Apparently. I have been called a “bronzed god,” “perfect in every way,” and my personal favourite, last week in the pub, some women bumps into me, looks me up and down and and says “F*ck me no! I can’t be dealing with that tonight!” “That” being me, thanks babe Then she ran, yes ran away.

I have all the bits that women say they want. But when they do actually meet one such as I, they look terrified, hide behind their friends, pot plants, their hair etc. They like to look though, all night long, but then disappear with some nondescript dork who been hiding at the back. Probably an old friend who she gives charity f**ks to when she realises she doesn’t have to balls to talk to someone new, especially some bloke who looks like he just stepped out of an aftershave advert.

I sit at the very top of the “high value” pyramid. It’s rather lonely, but I have an excellent view and it’s a sh*t show right down to the very bottom.

No-fap has a lot going for it, even for a “bronzed god.” We’re all f*cked.

Last edited 1 year ago by Howard Clegg
laurence scaduto
LS
laurence scaduto
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

That phrase “the sexual marketplace” explains so much.
Thanks for the great comment.

Marshall Ballantine-Jones
Marshall Ballantine-Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

With respect, an even simpler explanation lies in a factual description of why modern men develop their addictions. The vast majority of male porn addicts develop their habit in early teen years, simply because they get a mobile phone. Average age of first access to porn is 11-12. This is irrespective of their later relationship status, and your thesis that this relates to adult singleness is untrue and irrelevant.
The desire of many men to develop self-control is because they hate being addicts. Men everywhere are increasingly aware of the powerlessness addiction affords, and they want regain control.
This ‘no-fap’ phenomenon is particularly true of the generations who, as teens, were raised in the internet era, where high-octane porn plus mobile phones means their saturation levels defy anything comparable in history. As they reach adulthood, or have dated a while, and discover the infinite disconnect between porn and real sex, they grasp for a different narrative. If we can’t stop their addictions forming, we should at least support their efforts for gaining agency..

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

Hi Marshall, porn is ubiquitous, and let’s face it, really really good. I remember the 80s, when porn was proper seedy, black and white, and hidden under your dad’s side of the marital bed. Accessing porn was like a military operation. So how do we counter this, when actual sex is so completely different. I don’t think we can unless we state the obvious. That porn is not sex, it’s a consciousness hack that is very very effective. But it’s really not sex.

Fighting porn is like fighting cocaine, got to reach the user. But porn is the perfect capitalist commodity, so good luck with that. I wonder how much money porn makes? Just a thought.

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

That is what no-fap tries to do, to tell the truth about what porn actually is. We might look into using shame, an old technique to reduce undesirable activity. If you look online, you’ll see this being done. A porn-consumer is called a “coomer.”

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

That makes me a coomer then. Seriously? Can we not find something a bit snappier, like pornonaught for example?

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Begging your pardon, good sir, but the object of derision rarely gets to choose how he is named! ;^)
But since the name you choose seems to imply a willingness to move away from that material, I’m gonna deliver my 2 cents: Consumption of the material heightens thoughts of pleasure in the use of bodies. Over time, the body cannot help but become an idol in the mind of the man consuming. And here is why our enemies smile when we consume pornography: the man who believes in the body can imagine its pain as well as it’s pleasure. And so threats of torture to his own flesh will work on him more quickly than other men, because he has overdeveloped his imagination in regard to its usage.
Such a man will more quickly deliver up the location where the grandmothers and children are hiding. That is how I see it. I could be wrong, of course, but the precautionary principle applies because we’re talking about situations both exceedingly rare, but also exceedingly dire should they come.

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Begging your pardon, good sir, but the object of derision rarely gets to choose how he is named! ;^)
But since the name you choose seems to imply a willingness to move away from that material, I’m gonna deliver my 2 cents: Consumption of the material heightens thoughts of pleasure in the use of bodies. Over time, the body cannot help but become an idol in the mind of the man consuming. And here is why our enemies smile when we consume pornography: the man who believes in the body can imagine its pain as well as it’s pleasure. And so threats of torture to his own flesh will work on him more quickly than other men, because he has overdeveloped his imagination in regard to its usage.
Such a man will more quickly deliver up the location where the grandmothers and children are hiding. That is how I see it. I could be wrong, of course, but the precautionary principle applies because we’re talking about situations both exceedingly rare, but also exceedingly dire should they come.

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

That makes me a coomer then. Seriously? Can we not find something a bit snappier, like pornonaught for example?

Michael Stanton
MS
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

That is what no-fap tries to do, to tell the truth about what porn actually is. We might look into using shame, an old technique to reduce undesirable activity. If you look online, you’ll see this being done. A porn-consumer is called a “coomer.”

Howard Clegg
HC
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

Hi Marshall, porn is ubiquitous, and let’s face it, really really good. I remember the 80s, when porn was proper seedy, black and white, and hidden under your dad’s side of the marital bed. Accessing porn was like a military operation. So how do we counter this, when actual sex is so completely different. I don’t think we can unless we state the obvious. That porn is not sex, it’s a consciousness hack that is very very effective. But it’s really not sex.

Fighting porn is like fighting cocaine, got to reach the user. But porn is the perfect capitalist commodity, so good luck with that. I wonder how much money porn makes? Just a thought.

Chris Topher
Chris Topher
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

First I have to congratulate all the contributors to this discussion – as a new reader I am gratified by the quality and courtesy on display.
An earlier comment mentioned ‘human nature’. This is the key to me – if we see the two words as two sides of a coin rather than a single expression.
We are human, born of nature. Nature came first, and underpins every aspect of our existence. Instinct first. Emotion next. Intelligence last. And that’s how we respond to life. Instinct trumps emotion trumps intelligence. That’s why the news always leads with fight or flight, followed by sex, then sadness or joy. Intelligent reflection is not news.
The human is defined not by what we share with the rest of nature but by how we are different. Self awareness, self-reflection, our conscious awareness of our own mortality, and yes, arguably most important, self control.
In this context it’s a fair to suggest that we are at our most human when we choose intellectually to do things we don’t want to. Or refrain from activities we want to do for their emotional or sensual reward.
There’s a long history of this, and like every approach it is vulnerable to absolutism. Everything in moderation is still the best maxim I have found.
But I have to say, if the internet was around when I was a teenager, I’d have been all over the porn. It’s how we manage our way out of these challenges that defines us. And there will never be a policy, strategy or law that can fix that. Life is a personal struggle. All we can do is try, with a little help from our friends.

Michael Stanton
MS
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

You can do it outside of a monastic setting. You just need to pray or meditate. This counteracts the constant societal engorgement of the lower energies, at least to a degree that you can live without sex and porn and…(insert more of society’s dubious ‘pleasures’ here).
The purpose of sex is reproduction. It is understandable that we think it’s about pleasure. But that comes from boredom and a lack of motivation to pursue things that matter. I’m happy these guys are working on ‘nofap.’ They may find something greater than mere abstention.

Tim F
TF
Tim F
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Self-denial is a great sweetener of pleasures.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

The Author of Love does indeed want us to see that self discipline or rather grace inspired discipline is simply the path of integrity. Men and women are literally made first by and for Love , and for most the most significant dimension of this is responsible self controlled love between a man and a woman. Another forbidden truth these days as we confuse behaviors with “identities” a notion with only an obscurely, dimly understood final causality or end. Cheers I do really admire the monks and religious among us; warriors.

Laura Kelly
LK
Laura Kelly
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

Gotta disagree. Any man can find a mate if he is honest about his level of attractiveness and seeks woman of similar looks and means. Those toxic women you reference, and there are many, are all seeking “high value” men, mostly out of their ballpark. Those guys who can’t find a date? They’re all looking for a supermodel or an anime pixie. It’s historical fact that old time circus freaks had remarkably affectionate and long-lived marriages largely because they approached their relationships from a position of gratitude, because, after all, the dog-faced girl was lucky to find a husband at all, and she knew it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Kelly
laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

That phrase “the sexual marketplace” explains so much.
Thanks for the great comment.

Marshall Ballantine-Jones
MB
Marshall Ballantine-Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

With respect, an even simpler explanation lies in a factual description of why modern men develop their addictions. The vast majority of male porn addicts develop their habit in early teen years, simply because they get a mobile phone. Average age of first access to porn is 11-12. This is irrespective of their later relationship status, and your thesis that this relates to adult singleness is untrue and irrelevant.
The desire of many men to develop self-control is because they hate being addicts. Men everywhere are increasingly aware of the powerlessness addiction affords, and they want regain control.
This ‘no-fap’ phenomenon is particularly true of the generations who, as teens, were raised in the internet era, where high-octane porn plus mobile phones means their saturation levels defy anything comparable in history. As they reach adulthood, or have dated a while, and discover the infinite disconnect between porn and real sex, they grasp for a different narrative. If we can’t stop their addictions forming, we should at least support their efforts for gaining agency..

Chris Topher
Chris Topher
1 year ago
Reply to  Howard Clegg

First I have to congratulate all the contributors to this discussion – as a new reader I am gratified by the quality and courtesy on display.
An earlier comment mentioned ‘human nature’. This is the key to me – if we see the two words as two sides of a coin rather than a single expression.
We are human, born of nature. Nature came first, and underpins every aspect of our existence. Instinct first. Emotion next. Intelligence last. And that’s how we respond to life. Instinct trumps emotion trumps intelligence. That’s why the news always leads with fight or flight, followed by sex, then sadness or joy. Intelligent reflection is not news.
The human is defined not by what we share with the rest of nature but by how we are different. Self awareness, self-reflection, our conscious awareness of our own mortality, and yes, arguably most important, self control.
In this context it’s a fair to suggest that we are at our most human when we choose intellectually to do things we don’t want to. Or refrain from activities we want to do for their emotional or sensual reward.
There’s a long history of this, and like every approach it is vulnerable to absolutism. Everything in moderation is still the best maxim I have found.
But I have to say, if the internet was around when I was a teenager, I’d have been all over the porn. It’s how we manage our way out of these challenges that defines us. And there will never be a policy, strategy or law that can fix that. Life is a personal struggle. All we can do is try, with a little help from our friends.

Howard Clegg
Howard Clegg
1 year ago

Fascinating, well constructed etc. But I think the problem is simpler. Many men use porn due to the current lack of alternatives, i.e. the lack of a non-abusive dating market. Consequently, many men are now addicted to porn. Nobody likes being addicted, it makes you feel dirty and dishonest. Hence abstinence, duh.

Or from a different perspective. The culture says that men can’t ask for what they want, sexually or otherwise anymore. But men are also lambasted for being too meek. i.e. not asking for what they want, sexually or otherwise. The cognitive dissonance this creates is “challenging.” How about absolutely infuriating. But men aren’t allowed to be infuriated anymore though. Hmmmm.

So what to do with all this unresolved energy? On solution is Just stop “doing” sex on any level. If one stops thinking about sex, then one will stop being tormented by the lack of it. And if there is one thing guaranteed to get one thinking about sex then it’s a regular masturbation habit. Fueled by porn usually.

So if one goes no-fap, then those pesky erotic thought processes are attenuated and the cognitive dissonance will go away. Or so the theory goes.

This is difficult outside of a monastic setting. Just ask any Catholic.

I think it’s a brave attempt by disenfranchised men to take back control. Abstinence from anything that you are addicted too can lead to strong feelings of agency, dignity, mental clarity; there’s a long list actually. It’s a great trick, if you can pull it off. But I say again, ask any Catholic.

So, if like many men, realistically, your chances of finding a sexual mate are slim. And if finding that mate involves an assault course confusion, doubt and anxiety. Why bother? Total abstinence not just from masturbation, but sex as a whole. Many men are choosing this path, but as a choice rather than as a result of not feeling welcome in the sexual market place. Again many benefits can accrue, but it’s difficult outside of a monestary.

I salute the endeavour of the no-fap “movement,” just go chat to a Catholic first though, eh?

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago

Since most governments are incapable of doing something so simple as ensuring delivery of the mail on time, I’m always a little reluctant to credit them with organising an epoch spanning psy-op. Nevertheless, I think it’s clear there are subversive forces at work.. always have been.. always will be. But the explanation is no doubt simpler.

Most people prefer the lane of least resistance. Most people have animal urges that need to be restrained for the good of the community.

These two factors, taken together, will always lead us inexorably to where we are now. The left (in the Rousseauian mold) will always want to break down every taboo and release their animal passions. Those of us with a functioning brain will want to stop them.

Unfortunately, if you’ve ever had a toddler tugging at your sleeve asking for a sweet… there comes a point when your patience wears thin, you take the lane of least resistance, and hand over the sweet.

The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father, handing over sweets for a quiet life, then complaining about the medical bills for dentistry and diabetes. We are where we are because Conservatives have failed to hold the line… and the continue to fail. Their cowardice is as much to blame as the left’s degeneracy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fletcher Christian
Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

“The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father” ?? What on earth are you talking about? Do you mean Tory, or something else? And what about women?
Also, you do realise your email address is showing in the ‘edit’ line?

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I mean precisely what I say. And I include women in the metaphor… and yes.. my email address is showing in the edit.. I don’t know why.. feel free to email me if you wish! 🙂

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I certainly won’t be emailing you, but i’d advise you get in touch with Unherd to prevent the email address from being used by those with less benign intentions.
I’d also advise that making sweeping statements which includes whole groups of diverse people doesn’t lend weight to any point you might be making.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It is not a sweeping statement. It is an accurate description of all conservative minded people as a collective. They have failed to hold the line. That this is true appears to me to be self evident.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

In that case, use lowercase for “conservative” as in your latest reply. By using uppercase, you obfuscated your point, since Conservative is a political party. That’s what i was trying to clarify with you. It needn’t have taken three attempts to do so.
But since your clarification, your point is still a sweeping generalisation, and is very far from being self evident.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I may be totally wrong here, and I’m sure that I’ll be corrected if I am, but I took it that when Fletcher Christian says “The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father,” he was using a metaphor, and he did mean the Conservative Party in government now.

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago

Correct – thank you!

Fletcher Christian
FC
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago

Correct – thank you!

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It is self evident in that nothing has been conserved and therefore conservatives are failures. Certainly in the moral or social spheres. Nearly all institutions, no matter how old, have been conserved in name only and actively work to undermine and usurp the old moral and social order.

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I may be totally wrong here, and I’m sure that I’ll be corrected if I am, but I took it that when Fletcher Christian says “The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father,” he was using a metaphor, and he did mean the Conservative Party in government now.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It is self evident in that nothing has been conserved and therefore conservatives are failures. Certainly in the moral or social spheres. Nearly all institutions, no matter how old, have been conserved in name only and actively work to undermine and usurp the old moral and social order.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I view myself as a classic liberal which is one who at least in claimed aspirations seldom fully realized sees the divine milieu of Teilhard de Chardin in which we participate.
And as called by conscience or the radical goodness of being as divinely given, forever calling us back to the course of life.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

In that case, use lowercase for “conservative” as in your latest reply. By using uppercase, you obfuscated your point, since Conservative is a political party. That’s what i was trying to clarify with you. It needn’t have taken three attempts to do so.
But since your clarification, your point is still a sweeping generalisation, and is very far from being self evident.

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago

I view myself as a classic liberal which is one who at least in claimed aspirations seldom fully realized sees the divine milieu of Teilhard de Chardin in which we participate.
And as called by conscience or the radical goodness of being as divinely given, forever calling us back to the course of life.

Fletcher Christian
FC
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It is not a sweeping statement. It is an accurate description of all conservative minded people as a collective. They have failed to hold the line. That this is true appears to me to be self evident.

Steve Murray
LL
Steve Murray
1 year ago

I certainly won’t be emailing you, but i’d advise you get in touch with Unherd to prevent the email address from being used by those with less benign intentions.
I’d also advise that making sweeping statements which includes whole groups of diverse people doesn’t lend weight to any point you might be making.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

I mean precisely what I say. And I include women in the metaphor… and yes.. my email address is showing in the edit.. I don’t know why.. feel free to email me if you wish! 🙂

Jeff Cunningham
JC
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Same here on the psyop theory. I thought it was interesting that now we have yet another sort of “fascist” in the form of anyone who deliberately abstains from sex and masturbation. Sounds just like Brave New World.;
I edited this just to see if my email shows up too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

What is ironically interesting is that fascism is the alignment of the political powers with the corporate and economic powers and it is radically clear that the fascism is overwhelmingly on the narcissistic hedonistic left. In Canada we can be imprisoned for insisting that our son or daughter is actually a son and daughter while Disney makes Groomer films for teachers to use on the poor little souls. Meanwhile the body manifests the type of soul one is.

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago

What is ironically interesting is that fascism is the alignment of the political powers with the corporate and economic powers and it is radically clear that the fascism is overwhelmingly on the narcissistic hedonistic left. In Canada we can be imprisoned for insisting that our son or daughter is actually a son and daughter while Disney makes Groomer films for teachers to use on the poor little souls. Meanwhile the body manifests the type of soul one is.

Mordecai Jones
Mordecai Jones
1 year ago

The modern conservative lives in a country where the majority rules – perhaps with a little restraint from a written Constitution in some countries. Conservatives largely failed to win elections in the USA this year, for various reasons mostly related to lies told in the campaigns and reinforced by the news industry and the unsociable media. It should have been easy for us to win, just run against the disastrous results of the last two years, but we got bogged down in the details and the socialists escaped responsibility and fooled enough of the people, enough of the time. A particularly interesting example is the continuing success of the left in telling us that former President Trump and all his friends are racists – even though he had more support among minorities after 4 years of service than he did the first time; our minority friends and neighbors could see the results, not just promises, but white voters believed what they saw in the news. Millions of conservative voters are not demoralized, but many politicians have a problem with that. Time will, as it always does, tell.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

“The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father” ?? What on earth are you talking about? Do you mean Tory, or something else? And what about women?
Also, you do realise your email address is showing in the ‘edit’ line?

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Same here on the psyop theory. I thought it was interesting that now we have yet another sort of “fascist” in the form of anyone who deliberately abstains from sex and masturbation. Sounds just like Brave New World.;
I edited this just to see if my email shows up too.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jeff Cunningham
Mordecai Jones
Mordecai Jones
1 year ago

The modern conservative lives in a country where the majority rules – perhaps with a little restraint from a written Constitution in some countries. Conservatives largely failed to win elections in the USA this year, for various reasons mostly related to lies told in the campaigns and reinforced by the news industry and the unsociable media. It should have been easy for us to win, just run against the disastrous results of the last two years, but we got bogged down in the details and the socialists escaped responsibility and fooled enough of the people, enough of the time. A particularly interesting example is the continuing success of the left in telling us that former President Trump and all his friends are racists – even though he had more support among minorities after 4 years of service than he did the first time; our minority friends and neighbors could see the results, not just promises, but white voters believed what they saw in the news. Millions of conservative voters are not demoralized, but many politicians have a problem with that. Time will, as it always does, tell.

Fletcher Christian
Fletcher Christian
1 year ago

Since most governments are incapable of doing something so simple as ensuring delivery of the mail on time, I’m always a little reluctant to credit them with organising an epoch spanning psy-op. Nevertheless, I think it’s clear there are subversive forces at work.. always have been.. always will be. But the explanation is no doubt simpler.

Most people prefer the lane of least resistance. Most people have animal urges that need to be restrained for the good of the community.

These two factors, taken together, will always lead us inexorably to where we are now. The left (in the Rousseauian mold) will always want to break down every taboo and release their animal passions. Those of us with a functioning brain will want to stop them.

Unfortunately, if you’ve ever had a toddler tugging at your sleeve asking for a sweet… there comes a point when your patience wears thin, you take the lane of least resistance, and hand over the sweet.

The modern Conservative is the lazy, demoralised father, handing over sweets for a quiet life, then complaining about the medical bills for dentistry and diabetes. We are where we are because Conservatives have failed to hold the line… and the continue to fail. Their cowardice is as much to blame as the left’s degeneracy.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fletcher Christian
Richard Parker
Richard Parker
1 year ago

An excellent piece: writing such as this is the reason I subscribe to UnHerd. I’ll also look the author up on Substack. Wonderful to find such an interesting, engaging, extended read: bravo, and thank you.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Likewise, Richard – this legal of analysis has generally only come from the great social thinkers (including the current ones following Leo Strauss et al.

The destruction of “Bourgeois values” has been at the center of Reich and the Frankfurt School and their progeny, and “German Nihilism” since Rousseau first used the word Bourgeois and excoriated it, and found all evil commencing with private property (in the Social Contract ).

I too am going to hunt this author down, and hope that UnHerd has the sense to keep publishing his work!!

Paul Boire
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Great comment. I prefer Aristotle’s four types of causes.. the efficient, material, formal and final… to the marketplace and its reductionist analogy. Aristotle would describe a red rubber ball as efficiently formed in a mold, formed in a spherical shape of the material we call rubber and most importantly ..its ultimate sine qua non.. cause… the joy of a child. Joy is a deep cause and blows materialism away.

Paul Boire
PB
Paul Boire
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Great comment. I prefer Aristotle’s four types of causes.. the efficient, material, formal and final… to the marketplace and its reductionist analogy. Aristotle would describe a red rubber ball as efficiently formed in a mold, formed in a spherical shape of the material we call rubber and most importantly ..its ultimate sine qua non.. cause… the joy of a child. Joy is a deep cause and blows materialism away.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
1 year ago
Reply to  Richard Parker

Likewise, Richard – this legal of analysis has generally only come from the great social thinkers (including the current ones following Leo Strauss et al.

The destruction of “Bourgeois values” has been at the center of Reich and the Frankfurt School and their progeny, and “German Nihilism” since Rousseau first used the word Bourgeois and excoriated it, and found all evil commencing with private property (in the Social Contract ).

I too am going to hunt this author down, and hope that UnHerd has the sense to keep publishing his work!!

Richard Parker
RP
Richard Parker
1 year ago

An excellent piece: writing such as this is the reason I subscribe to UnHerd. I’ll also look the author up on Substack. Wonderful to find such an interesting, engaging, extended read: bravo, and thank you.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Well, at least the eye-sight of these men will remain good into their old-age.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

If they don’t die of prostate cancer first! Not “clearing one’s cache” has an effect on the prostate.
How Does Sex Affect Your Prostate? – Ben’s Natural Health (bensnaturalhealth.com)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It wasn’t that long ago that some boarding schools (mainly Catholic) used to make adolescents wear boxing gloves at night to prevent the SIN of self-abuse!

Malicious rumours we also circulated by the staff saying that self-abuse caused blindness!

If all else failed there was always Bromide in the tea!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Tim F
Tim F
1 year ago

Boxing gloves should be used to get boys to box – use up surplus physical energy which otherwise leads them to all manner of things which land them in the courts.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

We had bromide tea at Pirbright!

CHARLES STANHOPE
CS
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I can think of one or two commentators on UnHerd who could DO with a good dose of Bromide!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

I can think of one or two commentators on UnHerd who could DO with a good dose of Bromide!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Tim F
TF
Tim F
1 year ago

Boxing gloves should be used to get boys to box – use up surplus physical energy which otherwise leads them to all manner of things which land them in the courts.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

We had bromide tea at Pirbright!

Edmund Paul
Edmund Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s a lot of action.

Last edited 1 year ago by Edmund Paul
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

It wasn’t that long ago that some boarding schools (mainly Catholic) used to make adolescents wear boxing gloves at night to prevent the SIN of self-abuse!

Malicious rumours we also circulated by the staff saying that self-abuse caused blindness!

If all else failed there was always Bromide in the tea!

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Edmund Paul
Edmund Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

That’s a lot of action.

Last edited 1 year ago by Edmund Paul
CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Isn’t the caption photograph from CLOCKWORK ORANGE?

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Yes. Malcolm MacDowell, I believe.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
1 year ago

Yes. Malcolm MacDowell, I believe.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago

If they don’t die of prostate cancer first! Not “clearing one’s cache” has an effect on the prostate.
How Does Sex Affect Your Prostate? – Ben’s Natural Health (bensnaturalhealth.com)

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Isn’t the caption photograph from CLOCKWORK ORANGE?

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago

Well, at least the eye-sight of these men will remain good into their old-age.

D Bagnall
DB
D Bagnall
1 year ago

Thank goodness sesquipedalianism eschews obfuscation.

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  D Bagnall

Have an upvote to counter the downvote given by some humourless oik.
I eschew long words simply because I can’t spell them.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  D Bagnall

Have an upvote to counter the downvote given by some humourless oik.
I eschew long words simply because I can’t spell them.

D Bagnall
DB
D Bagnall
1 year ago

Thank goodness sesquipedalianism eschews obfuscation.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
1 year ago

Well, that was definitely worth the read. It managed to inspire something akin to a sense of civilizational or existential dread in me. A number of disparate threads seem to get weaved together for me. If even half of it is true then it goes a long way to explaining our current cultural and spiritual malaise.

R Wright
RW
R Wright
1 year ago

Well, that was definitely worth the read. It managed to inspire something akin to a sense of civilizational or existential dread in me. A number of disparate threads seem to get weaved together for me. If even half of it is true then it goes a long way to explaining our current cultural and spiritual malaise.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

Wow! Just clicked on one of the links in the essay. Was completely gobsmacked to see a p0rn site moralize against young men trying to give up masturbation. When p0rn distributors are in a position to judge and lecture others on abstaining from unwholesome activities, you know something must be going horribly wrong with our society.

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

They are, and there is.

Michael Stanton
Michael Stanton
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

They are, and there is.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

Wow! Just clicked on one of the links in the essay. Was completely gobsmacked to see a p0rn site moralize against young men trying to give up masturbation. When p0rn distributors are in a position to judge and lecture others on abstaining from unwholesome activities, you know something must be going horribly wrong with our society.

Saul D
Saul D
1 year ago