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  2. Philosophica et Poetica: Perspectives from a Postmodern Vantage Point by Ronald F. Davis
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Nation is not a choice but is, for individuals, as indelible and foundational a fact of life as their own birth. No longer does Marxism espouse freedom — it is now calling for the concept of the historical community, the nation, to be destroyed; it is now advocating a world of open borders where all are immigrants, and nobody can identify with his or her people without being called a fascist. For nearly 1, years, between the end of the reign of Augustus and the explosion of European creativity and self-confidence in the eleventh century, the West had no nation: the amorphous imperial mass during the long, drawn out decline of the ancient world, then collapsed into chaos — broken up into fiefdoms and micro-kingdoms.

Coincidentally, that period between the autumn of Rome and the winter of the Dark Ages was not the most glorious in Western history. Europe began to re-emerge as a civilization when nations started to flourish during the High Middle Ages, the same time that Christendom became self-aware and set off to fight, to conquer again successfully in the Iberian Peninsula, less so in the Holy Land.

To use an inexcusably cheesy image, it is as if a loose pile of rocks were to start getting compressed and take the form of several planets different from one another but all part of the same system, all circling around the same sun, the Christian faith. The process was obviously imperfect, conforming to entirely different shapes and speeds. France had begun to form much earlier, with Clovis and Charlemagne, the latter, moreover, was also the father of Germany; Spain would initially get compressed not into one, but into two great kingdoms; Portugal sprang inexplicably almost out of nowhere why did the people of the small Portucalense county, between Douro and Minho, suddenly begin to consider themselves a nation, rather than a mere fiefdom as might be expected?

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Why so early on, so far removed from everything? There are countless characters and idiosyncrasies to this history — some nations were formed through war, others through language or literature — but the course followed in all cases was the same and everything pointed in a common direction, the nation. The nation came to embody the vitality of the Western spirit. The French Revolution all of a sudden challenged the nation. The most extremist among the revolutionaries wanted a world where there were no classes, no borders, no God, no family, no traditions, no nation.

In school, we all learned to celebrate this dark period of history and we learned to despise the American Revolution, unaware that it could be viewed as true victory for the spirit and for freedom. The truth is that France only managed to shake off its homicidal, suicidal revolutionary rage when it became a nation once again, under Napoleon Bonaparte — who then went throughout Europe sowing, either by imitation or counter-reaction, the desire for nationalism, stirring it up or reviving it in Italy, in territories that would become Germany, in Russia, and even in Switzerland.

Romanticism rewrote all prior history in the light of national feeling, recreated and reorganized myths to reveal something profoundly true — the fact that the human soul is nationalistic, that the history of the West has only meaning and only embodies a destiny — unlike a simple heap of facts — in the context of national feeling. From that last decade of the eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century all of the spiritual and political lineages emerged to challenge the world, and they do so to this day.

It can be argued that any political tide we see today is descended intellectually from Babeuf and Robespierre or from Goethe and Chateaubriand. Romanticism-based nationalism prevailed until World War I, when the cataclysm came and brought about so deep a crisis in the self-conception of the West that we are yet to recover. It arose again, at the same time, with the Bolsheviks, the great revolutionary enemy of the idea of nation. To fill the void left by the vilifying of nationalism, a new enemy, financial internationalism symbolized by something shortly before the war, the creation of the Federal Reserve in began to arise.

Based on the Nazi-fascist experience and the fact that any real national feeling was now polluted by the socialist revolutionary movement, nationalism was virtually no longer viable in the West, or at least in Europe, also because, following World War II, the massive Marxist propaganda machinery managed to erase every bit of the essentially socialist character traits of fascism and Nazism, laying all the blame for the catastrophe on nationalism.

Each one is a whole world alone. But it was not the end. Pessoa believed a nation could be reborn — his own nation as well as the nationalist principle, which he considers one and the same thing, since the idea of nation exists only because there are specific nations, and vice versa if I understood my Plato correctly. Where you are, with no day, in the old bosom, watchful, a baby once again! Brazil, too, is the son whom that aged, but eternal, infant Portugal has become. Over the decades, however, we Brazilians abandoned our connection with the old Portuguese soul to the point that we can no longer perceive ourselves as part of that play and, imitating the Europeans, we have abandoned any sense of the sacred in reading our history.

Why did it so soon afterwards hide that name and changed it to the name of a tree? How have we been, or can again become, that true cross? Axis mundi of so many cultures, the Nordic Yggdrasil the tree that connects the earth and the sky , the tree of life in the Hebrew Kabbalah , which, in the Christian Cabbala , also becomes the cross of Christ. And what about the mythical island named Brazil, which the Celts — at least since the fourteenth century as attested to on maps — believed to lie west of Ireland, but which emerged from the mists for only one day every seven years?

Was it by mere coincidence that we were given the same name? Why do we settle with knowing so little about our history? The sugar cycle, the gold cycle, the coffee cycle, the empire, the republic, the dictatorship, democracy, etc. Is that all?

Exactly years ago, in late , Oswald Spengler did the final editing of the first volume of his magnificent Das Untergang des Abendlandes The Decline of the West , published in , followed by the second volume in Das Untergang was a book by an amateur. Spengler — a secondary school history teacher — talked about everything, but talked very little about the very decline of the West, hence the title of his book was enough to spark debate, which has been going on since then, about the death of our civilization and its imminent end.

Humanity without nations would end up being something dry and poor. As a culture, however, it is organic, as against being mechanical; it has a life cycle and hence is born, grows up, and dies. Thus, the disappearance of a civilization like the West or any other is irreparable and inevitable. It could even be argued that when Spengler published his book, the West had just perished in the trenches of the Great War. In fact, looking back, we see World War I as bringing the West to an end, certainly in terms of its heyday.

The world of was completely dominated by Europe and its culture — the rest of the planet submitting to that great empire, either as a colony or as a revenue source. If not the end, it was certainly the beginning of the end of a wonderful political and cultural structure. Europe as a center of civilization disappeared in World War I and the West would have died then and there were it not for the United States flying the flag of that dying West.

US leadership and centrality in Western civilization became clear thereafter, becoming indisputable after World War II, although Europeans, full of intellectual snobbery, have never really admitted to this fact. From , and especially from , the fate of the West the West as a destination was in the hands of the United States.

The United States had the weapons, the economic power, and the cultural vitality to give the West a survival in which the Spenglerians would have no belief. The United States is the only place classical culture itself is celebrated and experienced as part of its own heritage, whereas in Europe it has been worn thin in the academic arena on the one hand, and in tourism, on the other.

Europeans no longer feel that they are part of the same history as their ancestors, just like they felt up to the early twentieth century. They no longer considered themselves actors in the same play that put on stage the Cretans and their minotaur, the Achaeans at the Gates of Troy, Aeneas falling to his knees upon realizing that Lazio was his promised land salve fatis mihi debita tellus , Salamis and Thermopylae, Alexander on a quest for immortality, Hannibal with his elephants at the gates of Rome, the legions arriving at Lusitania and marveling at the first glimpse of the majestic waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the logos of Heraclitus and the logos of St.

John, St. The establishment of the European Union made all of the past null and void and sanitized it. Contemporary European historians writing about Greece and Rome, for example, or about any other subject, are interesting when read side by side with those who were writing in the 19 th century, prior to the great cataclysm, before the great denationalization of the West, beginning with World War I. Those writing today offer up a history that is cold — their characters lifeless, mere sketchy images.

But contemporary American historians — at least some of them, those who write for the public at large rather than for academia — resemble those nineteenth-century Europeans, for they still recount American history as flesh-and-blood history, a history capable of linking the present with the past. Americans are the last set of traditionalists in the West to quote Professor Christian Kopff, director of the Center for Western Civilization, University of Colorado at Boulder: it would be useful to also ask, how long will the politically-correct wave in American higher education allow this center to keep that name.

The only ones still taking the history of the West seriously, the only ones who continue to be players rather than mere spectators, are the Americans — or at least some Americans. It is much easier these days to find a dyed-in-the-wool Westerner in Kansas or Idaho than in Paris or Berlin. The US defended the West against communism and believed that when communism ended, it was mission accomplished — end of story.

But nothing had ended. Beginning in the s, nihilism fueled by cultural Marxism was believed to have replaced the communist enemy. Indeed, it may be argued that Soviet communism was only one of many masks for this fundamental nihilism as a forerunner to Lenin and Stalin, before Marx, before Nietzsche, coming from the anti-Christian atheist philosophers who paved the way for the French revolution. The West is indeed not based on values, nor is it based on tolerance, nor on democracy, but on Plato and Aristotle, on Caesar and Alexander, on St.

Paul and St. Augustine, on Washington and Jefferson, on battles and miracles, on passions and wars, on the cross and the sword. The West has a face, a name, and blood; and ideals and values, of course. The West was simply a metaphor for a military alliance. The United States has been entering the Western decline boat, indulging in nihilism, by not identifying with itself and by deculturation, by replacing living history with abstract, absolute, unquestionable values.

It was entering that boat, until Trump arrived. The post-modern West that was the result of all meanings being deconstructed is also a politically-correct West where meanings are imposed, taboos are established, and thought is set in stone. The West was born questioning the meaning of words, but it has given up lately. Underlying that interpretation, which is so common among well-meaning people, is the assumption that ethnic diversity within a country thus triggers the most serious conflicts.

An obvious corollary is that African borders should, ideally, be redrawn along ethnic lines, avoiding diversity within the same country. However, the same well-thinking people go to extremes to promote diversity in Western countries, arguing that not only is it a moral duty but also that, given its supposed benefits, saying that the diversity provided by immigration stimulates intellectual advancement, cultural output, and the economy.

Quite interesting. The only way to rationally explain this reverse sign of diversity — bad in Africa, good in the United States or in Europe — is to assume that certain people have the capacity to live with diversity while others do not. Such an explanation would, of course, be met with rejection by an outraged dominant ideology. How, then, do they explain it? The West, Western nationalism, is a symbolic system. Postmodernism had been denying man, a symbolic animal, this essential nourishment, the symbol man shall not live by bread alone but by every word….

Man had been losing his symbolic function, unable to think except based on some stereotypical categories oppression, justice, humanity, etc. He was losing the symbol and at the same time was losing his intellectual reasoning. All he was allowed were different mixes and remixes of outdated concepts, but no thorough examination of each of these concepts.

Were we to view culture as something organic, rather than mechanical, from a symbolic or mythic perspective in the deepest sense — as advocated by Spengler, as called for by Trump — we would see in the economic system and in liberalism clear signs of decay and cultural decline, not signs of progress. The West that Trump wants to revive and defend is based neither on capitalism nor on a denationalized, disembodied liberal democracy, detached from a historical personality, but rather on symbols. Liberal democracy, as practiced today in Europe and in America up to the Obama administration, was unable to nurture this symbolic dimension.

In this scenario, God himself is always a symbol, the supersymbol — while being at the same time real and superreal. Nothing of the sort! Our culture today ignores this God. How could we have become so impoverished and blinded? Western thought and history, with their inextricable faith, create a massive spiritual palace that is ours, but we choose instead to live in a shed next door, surrounded only by two or three ideas produced, combining the most primitive materialism with the shallowest humanism. In calling for God, at Warsaw Square, Trump was attacking the very heart of post-modernism.

The Internet came to rip this dictionary apart, to retrieve language, and to reopen a symbolic space controlled neither by the state nor by official political forces. More Details Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Philosophica Et Poetica , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Philosophica Et Poetica. Lists with This Book.

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. All Languages. More filters. I lack not only the experience of such writers, but I also lack their literary and analytical skills. Peter Gay, as I say above, is a good example of such a writer. The vast increase in the knowledge base does not seem to have benefited the discourse on sexual ethics. This freedom has not been that useful in helping them, though, in the regulation of the sexual urges.

The general recognition, and institutionalisation, of the variety of sexual experience has had a relativising effect on traditional morality. For a brief period in the 20th century the struggle for liberation from the constraints of morality, traditional and other, appeared to provide an ethic for sexual behaviour.

But the utopian vision of sexual liberation has degenerated in practice into a set of hedonistic precepts that hardly constitute a moral system at all. There are now lists of organizations and institutions of professional sexologists and sex researchers, sexual behavior scientists and philosophers, to say nothing of the myriad of non-professionals from a vast range of religious and secular perspectives, for people to draw-on, at least those with access to the vast landscape that is cyberspace.

There are now self-help groups, social groups, indeed, all sorts of groups of enthusiasts who deal in the muddy, although sometimes clear, waters of sexology. There are now many websites on the subject with their various reading agenda to keep people occupied with this subject in perpetuity. Part 7: I have entered both my marriages with a commitment to faithfulness, to a relationship which I hoped would endure. I am more than a little aware, though, of the complexity of this last statement, and its need for unpacking, for an extended and extensive nuance. It is a complexity which many books now unpack in their discussions of contemporary marriage and of serial monogamy, of bigamy and of polygamy, of polygny and polyandry, of companionate marriage and group marriage, as well as what are sometimes called polyfidelitous families formed by two heterosexual couples who become a four-some and live together as a family.

They can and do change over time, as anyone with only a little familiarity with history is only too well aware. One example is marriage and the family during the Roman republic and empire. Over the more than years of this civilization there were many changes. Back in the s I taught Roman history and I became aware of these changes. This circuitry played a strong role in my life for decades.

Helen Fisher, in her book Why We Love, argues that there is also an attachment circuitry which comes into play in relationships which are long-term commitments of the couples involved. It is this pair-bonding, this other circuity, says Fisher, which brings the greatest amount of sexual satisfaction. After nearly five decades in a total of two long-term relationships, I have become more than a little conscious of this 2nd type of circuitry.

Eros in Greek mythology was the Greek god of love. His Roman counterpart was Cupid. Some myths make him a primordial god, while in other myths, he is the son of Aphrodite. Reading about the mythological origins of Eros in the West provides a complex context for the struggle implicit in the concept. Now it is philosophers and other members of the cognoscenti who take the field of dealing with what was long ago the domain of mythology.

In Sexual Desire, Roger Scruton is bent on recapturing eros in the name of the old morality and restoring eros to his proper place in the ethical zoo. No relativist Scruton; for him the sexual project, descriptive and prescriptive, the correct analysis of the nature of sexual desire, needs to give rise to appropriate rules of behaviour.

Without some framework of rules, philosophy really cannot help. I write about Scruton and his views below, before leaving his ideas to readers with the interest. Across the spectrum from an extreme liberalism in relation to matters sexual, to an entrenched and traditional conservatism, there are now writers and experts to chose from who reflect whatever a reader wants a writer to reflect.

Part 7. He is an English philosopher who specialises in aesthetics. Scruton argues that the major feature of perversion is "sexual release that avoids or abolishes the other," which he sees as narcissistic and often solipsistic. His list of perversions includes: masturbation, bestiality, necrophilia, pedophilia, sado-masochism, homosexuality, incest, and fetishism.

Scruton considers homosexuality a perversion because it does not involve sexual difference: desire directed towards the other gender elicits its complement, but desire directed toward the same gender elicits its simulacrum. Scruton argues that sex is morally permissible only if it involves love and intimacy.

Scruton criticizes psychoanalytic theories about sexuality. Sexual Desire is described by Alan Soble as "certainly by a long way the most interesting and insightful philosophical account of sexual desire produced by analytic philosophy", while Christopher Janaway notes that Scruton's work challenges the conventional boundaries of that branch of philosophy.

Norman O. Brown writes that Scruton correctly sees Baruch Spinoza as his philosophical antagonist. Sociologist Jonathan Dollimore sees Scruton's philosophy of sex as open to many possible objections. Philosopher A. Ayer dismissed the book Sexual Desire as "silly. Mark Dooley, a philosopher, praises Sexual Desire as "magisterial". He writes that Scruton's objective is to show that sexual desire trades in "the currency of the sacred.

One just has to do some Googling and focus on the subject that is our concern for as long as it takes to find the intelllectual support structures we require. Among his aims was to locate the historical moment, the time in history, when sexual desire became a particular focus of moral attention. It was published in just as I was settling-in to the first full year of my second marriage, after a warm-up of some 8 years in my first marriage, to His book was not published in English until by which time I was getting ready to move to Tasmania for a second time.

I was dealing at the time with yet another episode of bipolar I disorder. I knew nothing of this French thinker although back in the mids, I was teaching several of the social sciences to students working on their B. I was teaching and lecturing at what is now the University of Ballarat in Victoria Australia. That 'desiring man' had antecedents in the specialised confessional disciplines of Christian monastic life.

Sadly, for most students Foucault is not easy reading. The second volume of his history of sexuality was entitled The Use of Pleasue. It was followed by The Care of the Self both published in By then I had began to work on my own autobiography and my bipolar disorder was stabilized by lithium which seemed to have a positive effect on my literary and creative life.

I was 40 years old in It would be another decade before this French thinker came onto my intellectual radar screen. Foucault explained that the form of his investigation by the s had changed. Foucault was interested in the creation of the sexual subject and how the individual was constituted. In The History of Sexuality, he argued that in the western world during the 18th and 19th centuries, people's identities became increasingly tied to their sexuality. As I said, Foucault is not, and was not, an easy read.

Part 9: This second volume, The Use of Pleasure, the first of what came to comprise his trilogy, is a study of Greek medical and philosophical texts on the proper conduct of sexual activity; the last two, Care of the Self and Confessions of the Flesh, not yet translated, continue the same inquiry through Roman and Patristic literature to the Christian era, concluding, rather than opening, on the threshold of modernity. In a striking departure from previous practice, Foucault makes full use of current scholarship in the areas in question and gives generous acknowledgment to the work of others.

Readers, at least most who come to Foucault, get lost in the verbiage. Part Erotic literature has always had the power to arouse the reader sexually. Indeed, that is often its primary intent. This literature is found in the form of: novels, short stories, poetry, true-life memoirs, and sex manuals. Much of that information was deficient or of doubtful value. This was especially true during the period following puberty when my curiosity about sexual matters was the most acute. The deficiency of my knowledge had all sorts of implications.

So was this true in the wider society. This deficiency became increasingly evident by the increasing incidence of teenage pregnancies, especially in Western countries after the s. Of course, readers here need to keep in mind that the sexual experience of the two billion who existed in my world in , and the sexual experience of the more than 7 billion now on the planet, is immensely, staggeringly, varied. As part of each country's efforts to reduce such pregnancies, programs of sex education were instituted, initially over strong opposition from parent and religious groups.

My sex education both within the family and in-school hardly existed, at least as I now recall after the passing of half a century. Alfred Kinsey, Masters and Johnson, Shere Hite and, in the last two decades, many others can be added to the significant scholarship. This scholarship has begun to provide those who want to know with an increased knowledge and understanding of sex in all its dimensions: physiological and psychological, sociological and cultural, economic and legal, historical and scientific.

That diary and that blog had been a mystery for some time. Journalists, always excited by mysteries, strove to find out who she really was. Was she really a woman at all? Surely no mere female could concoct a diary so exactly fulfilling male fantasies. The book was turned into a television series. Readers will not find here an account of my sex life as a great-hearted Don Juan with women waiting in every city.

I create no story which will result in a whiff of leering admiration, particular delight, or special reading-erotic-pleasure for that matter. My account is clearly not a tale that inspires skepticism about the nature of my sexploits due to some braggadocious, some boastful, tendency on my part.

Readers, who are interested in the sex lives of others, now have access to a rich tableaux of detailed narrative across the landscape of cyberspace, to say nothing of what is available in other forms, especially the graphic-and-visual forms, of electronic space.

As far as the graphic and the visual aspects of the sexual are concerned, readers here are in need of no advice on how to access such aspects, such depictions. Silverman Professor of the Humanities at Columbia University. He succeeded Martin Amis as professor of creative writing at the University of Manchester. Sadly or, perhaps, not-so-sadly the whole page, the several paragraphs that I had placed here back in this southern hemisphere's winter in , were lost. This company tried to correct the fault, the dropping-out of the material, but they were not able to correct the fault, to retrieve what was lost.

My design company and I decided in consultation early in December , three years ago as I write this, that theythe web design companyDefine Studio, would do a back-up of all the material at my site every two weeks. And so it would be that, if what I wrote dropped-out again, it would not matter because the entire site would be backed-up every fortnight.

I rewrote the material that was lost, and readers who had been waiting, and who were keen to read my story will, I trust, be rewarded in these paragraphs below at my website. Readers should not get their hopes up too high, though, for like many writers I discuss my sex-life largely by indirection. Readers will find in these paragraphs a great deal written about my sex-life, if they are willing to read on to the end, before the subject changes to deal with other aspects of my autobiography at the many paragraphs below.

The voyeuristic, those interested in pornography, and those who like to read about the sexually explicit, will be disappointed, though. If readers expect any personal gratifications in the above areas to which I have referred, areas to satisfy their needs for the sexually explicit and the graphic, they will not find them here.

Philosophica et Poetica: Perspectives from a Postmodern Vantage Point by Ronald F. Davis

Wikipedia has an excellent overview of the subject of pornography which I discuss further below. But whatever reticence I do exhibit is partly a result of my respect for the only two women with whom I have had lengthy relationships and who became my wives for 8 and 40 years, respectively. I have no extra-marital escapades to report on of any substance, and these paragraphs do not deal with my pre-marital sex life in the s and s except in very general terms.

As the famous poet and novelist Robert Graves once said in an interview: "I'm on simple hugs-and-kisses terms with several friends. That's all right. But promiscuity seems forbidden to poets. As far as this poet is concerned, sexual promiscuity is something I have tried to keep under control, for the most part successfully, since the sequence of events in my pubertal development occurred by sensible and insensible degrees from, say, 11 to 17, to I have to frankly admit that I have felt a strong susceptibility to the beauty of women, both before and after marriage.

In the two years between marriage number 1, and marriage number 2, between the time I left the home in which my first wife and I lived, and the time I had a ceremony with a marriage celebrant celebrating my second marriage, between October and December , I also have to frankly admit to a very complex 26 months for my several erogenous zones. Those 26 months are a separate story which I do not deal with here.

Perhaps I will at a future time. My sexual experiences before marriage number 1 in August , and in the interval of separation from my first wife, and before marriage number two are dealt with in my now lengthy autobiography and in my journal or diary. This journal may or may not be published by my literary executors. I will make some general comments below, though, in relation to these pre-marital periods. These were periods in my life before the age of 32 in I could compare so many to the beauty of the rose; they were more lovely and more varied in their pose. I saw them early on in life when but a young child until illness struck and my tired eyes had come to file all I saw in a fatigue-laden haze that brought no bliss, and brought no desire to touch or warm to their kiss.

But for all those decades of my life my eyes were hot and kept my heart on heat and mind in fight to not go too far, too far in touching and in sexual passion with eyes finding much beauty in each their fashion. I could never say these things: this poetry will dare to uncover my true feelings over so many years and in the process draw what I have seen across the land. Masturbation is the self-sexual stimulation of the genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys or combinations of these.

It can be a substitute for, or coextensive with, sexual penetration. Readers who feel they are missing-out by my reticence to outline this aspect of my sexual history, might enjoy an excellent overview of the subject. This overview will provide readers with much more information than I could possibly provide about my life in this particular sexual domain.

Nor will readers learn about my sex-life, as I say above, before my first marriage in August of Neither of the wonderful women to whom I have been married would appreciate having such details aired-in-public, and I have no intention of discussing such details before my reading public. I am no scholar of sex and sexuality, anyway. Nor do I write about or utilize sex in a humorous way as many now do with much success.

Readers will find that those writers who do have such literary skills may be able to entertain them with pleasure and delight, if their literary interests of readers lie in this now vast and it would appear, expanding domain. With a little Googling, a visit to a good library, or to an online book-shop like Amazon, such readers can read on in perpetuity. Here are two good links to the sex lives of all sorts of people.

There are millions of ordinary people looking for stimulation of many types from many sources in cyberspace. Sex is, not only a source of immense pleasure-bonding, but also of great frustration and conflict. The lives of people I do not know, will never know, and don't particularly want to know, all have their own stories of their sexual highs-and-lows, ecstacies and tragedies. Our rich mental associations, imaginations, fantasies, and conceptualizations, have transformed human sexuality tremendously at least for the affluent and leisured millions on the planet. Part It was first published in a very readable form in by R.

I was living, at the time, in a dry-dog-biscuit of a city, in the semi-desert region of northern South Australia, in the seaport of Whyalla.

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I became familiar with Pepys when I retired from a 50 year student and paid-employment life of half a century, to It was a diary of over a million words. What seems extraordinary, at this remove of more than three centuries, is that Pepys was never exposed during his lifetime. Through misuse, abuse and manipulation our sexuality can lead to distancing and troubles in a relationship. My nearly five decades of marriage have not been characterized by deep and satisfactory sexual intimacy for all of those months and years.

The mixture has not always brought me sexual peace. In I was 15; I had once thought that I completed puberty at the age of 13 in A study of human development, though, informs me that boys usually complete puberty by ages 16— I came to know, especially in my study of human development in the '90s, that the 1st ejaculation for a boy is, on average, My 1st ejaculation is not part of my memory-bank.

In all likelihood it passed unnoticed by me, if not by my mother who washed the sheets. In all likelihood I had wet dreams much earlier than the age of 20, but I don't remember. I certainly recall with sharp and graphic memories the push and pull of sexual or carnal desires, libidinous or concupiscent urges, erotic or prurient attractions, as well as lust or licentious inclinations in the day, and what is called nocturnal penile tumescence at night, all as part and parcel of my adolescence.


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Dr Schnarch shows how the details of one's sexual style, from kissing to daring erotic behaviors, are a window into your life, your partner's, and your relationship. Passionate Marriage is the sexual "road less traveled," an erotic "Care of the Soul" that integrates sexuality and spirituality in deeply positive ways. It is about real passion and wet sex. It's about how relationships are spiritual journeys. It's pragmatic, explicit, practical, and erotic, but it's not simplistic and doesn't focus on technique. It takes a down to earth, "in the trenches," unglamorized, honest view of relationships.

I like the thrust of this book, and I will report on the success of its philosophy and modus operandi in this section of my website at a later date as I go through my 70s from to , and my 80s beyond , if I last that long. People have difficulty with intimacy, such has come to be my view, because they're supposed to, at least when viewed over an entire lifespan.

It's not something to be "solved" and avoided. Problems with sex and intimacy are important to go through because this process changes us. These are the drive wheels and the grind stones of intimate relationships. The solution is not a simple 'going back to the passion of early relationships' because what that is, and was, is sex between strangers; it's about going forward to new passion and intimacy as mature adults or, at least, adults striving to be mature.

If we use relationships properly they make us grow into adults, capable of intense intimacy, eroticism, and passion. He is an American social thinker known for his work in the field of psychohistory. He did graduate work in political science at Columbia University and he later trained as a lay psychoanalyst. A lay psychoanalyst is defined as a psychoanalyst who does not have a medical degree. DeMause is the founder of The Journal of Psychohistory.

I first came across deMause in when I was a senior tutor in human relations at what is now the University of Tasmania. This highly focussed writer has made major contributions to the study of psychohistory. This field involves the study of the psychological motivations of historical events. Anthony Giddens has written a book full of insight and hope for the present and future development of relationships between women and men in contemporary society. He writes of the possibilities offered by what he describes as "plastic sexuality", that is sexual expression freed from the needs of reproduction.

He contends that this could and should lead to a "democracy in personal life" and, moreover, contribute to what he describes as a "reflexive view of self". He talks of the emergence of a pure relationship, which is part of a "generic restructuring of intimacy" p. He examines the various social and ideological factors that have contributed and do contribute to these changes. Among these factors, he cites the emergence of toleration of homosexuality.

These are essentially to do with the idea of personal autonomy. Such autonomy is the capacity of individuals to be self-reflective and self-determining p. He says that the characteristic trend of development of modern societies is towards their realisation. Giddens asserts that intimate social relationships have become 'democratised', so that the bond between partners, even within a marriage, has little to do with external laws, regulations or social expectations, but is based on the internal understanding between two people.

It is, he says, a trusting bond based on emotional communication. Where such a bond ceases to exist, modern society is generally happy for the relationship to be dissolved. Thus we have, he continues, a democracy of the emotions in everyday life. London, , p. This is a review of: Bernard Shaw. At the beginning of this volume we find GBS, the hero, newly married but sick.

A suspiciously long series of accidents and illnesses postponed the consummation of his marriage for so long that abstinence became the very basis of the union, and so it remained. In fact, he was in his way extremely interested in sex, not only, as it were, philosophically, as in Man and Superman and other plays, but in the ludic side of it in real life.

He thought society, rather than he, was in an absurd muddle about sex. It is touching, therefore, that Love, outlawed by his metabiological programmes, had its revenge, striking him down, with Murdochian violence, when he contemplated the attractions of Mrs Patrick Campbell. He had flirted with other actresses, but did not carry the pursuit to its end; with Stella, his first Liza, he committed himself, but this pursuit also failed and she slipped from his grasp.

In a way it is a comfort to know that once, at any rate, love had been a deeply melancholy experience. Part 2: I say 'comfort' in that last sentence, though, because hurt and melancholy, GBS's experience, are also part of what happens to people like you and me, and millions of our fellow humans. Joy and tragedy lurk below the surface of millions of relationships, both within the marital bond and without.

The total picture, though, is far from simple; indeed, the complexity across the planet, both now and in history, has a staggering diversity. This diversity is so extensive, that I'm not sure one can enunciate a set of principles that apply across the board to ensure the greatest happiness to the greatest number. Of course, this has not prevented many writers and thinkers, philosophers and religious enthusiasts from trying to textualize and contextualize such principles and guidelines. I post the above paragraphs because in my nearly 50 years of married life, and in another dozen years when I was not married, sexual fulfillment was a rare, or at least a periodic, experience.

It was a year before Top of the Pops in the U. I discuss Lady Chatterley below for those readers who are enjoying this part of my website. Larkin, of course, was writing about the greater public discussion of sex, and its easier availability for the mass public in the West. There was a strange dance of the permissive with the banned in many areas: child abuse, sexual expression's openness, paedophilia, inter alia.

That dance is far from over. Child abuse, has also come onto the public and popular culture agenda in the last decade or so. Such abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional maltreatment or neglect of a child or children. There are four major categories of child abuse: neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological or emotional abuse.

It inevitably raises the question of why he needed to keep a diary in the first place. Was it an exercise in sheer vanity? Was it the compulsion of a born record-keeper? Was it a bid for posthumous fame? Was it the basis for an autobiography? Was it a deliberate confessional? Did he have a secret desire to be found out?

Was it done out of sheer devilry, or fun? I could ask these same questions about what and why I write here about my sex life. I could say these same words about my thoughts. I have asked many questions about why I write, why I write what I do, why I only reveal a moderate confessionalism, and why I am obsessed if, in fact, I am--as my wife informs me and as I often think I am.

The world of obsessiveness and compulsiveness is a topic unto itself, and I shall make only one or two remarks about it here. Surgeon General, David Satcher, in issued a call to sexual health and responsible sexual behavior. This Call to Action provided an evidence-based foundation for developing a public health approach to sexual health and responsible sexual behavior.

It identified the problems and then discussed the risks and the protective factors. Numerous intervention models that had been evaluated and shown to be effective, as well as some that were promising but not yet adequately evaluated, were also presented. The last step, implementation of effective interventions, depended heavily on individual communities and their members.

Most of the to national and territory governments around our emerging planetary civilization deal with the vast complexity of problems in this area by fits and starts, policies here and there, plans and programs, usually responding to some crisis or emergency.

A crisis is any event that is, or is expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society. Crises are deemed to be negative changes in the security, economic, political, societal, or environmental affairs, especially when they occur abruptly, with little or no warning. More loosely the word 'crisis' is a term meaning "a testing time" or an "emergency event". The story, the subject, of sexual health is becoming more and more exposed, described and discussed in the print and electronic media.

In the U. Perhaps the 20th and early 21st centuries will be remembered for, among many other things, a vast tableland of sexual expression in a society drowning in its myriad manifestations. I make no attempt to deal with and discuss this great matrix and milieux of sexual intimacies and issues in this part of my website. The internet is awash, though, with reading material for anyone wanting to update themselves on the morals and mores, the crises and catastrophes, have have been part of the human condition in relation to sex and sexuality in both recent decades and further-back in history.

THE CONCEPT OF WOMEN The concept that a woman should be a brood-mare, an old concept, was certainly still prevalent back in the s and s when I was growing-up, but men who were smart at the level of teachers or advertising executives, lawyers or business-men, among other categories, had already begun to question this view, this image. When Marilyn Monroe swivelled her hips in Niagara, a thriller-film noir, released by Twentieth Century-Fox and starring Joseph Cotten and Jean Peters, there were already plenty of men who knew such blatant sexuality was a joke.

By the early s the ideal of blatant sexiness had already given way to something far more subtle in the mind of any man who could read and think, ponder and try to understand what goes on below the surface, below the visual, reality of life. Do I have to take my socks off? Can I just lay here while you do the work? Wait 'til the children are in bed.

Millions go through the motions. The novelty and the lust of the early years of a partnership are often, some would say usually, replaced by familiarity and routine and, hopefully--as it happened in my caseby a new intimacy, one resulting from decades of memories, of raising children, of being a grandparent and suffering the slings and arrows of life, as well as the inevitabilities of the aging-process.

This is certainly part of my story. I could be writing the story of Everyman, although I am only too aware that, on a planet of 7. To tell the story: i of the history of sex and sexuality, ii of the contemporary expression of sex in our global society, and iii of the details, the permuations and combinations, of several decades of sex in my own life, would require several volumes.

This brief survey will have to suffice for readers who have the interest in my views and my experiences in the sexual domain. I am told by a Japanese friend that partners, husbands and wives, in Japan do not say: "I love you. There are many messages that the sexually eager adolescents and young adults need to hear; these messages are often equally applicable to older adults. We can love our sexual partners and enjoy the intimacy that comes from knowing someone for years, but not feel like having sex.

We may not feel like having sex on a daily or weekly, monthly or even annual, basis. The variation here is immense. That said, someone has found a scientific connection between love and sex among heterosexual adults. Data from a survey indicated that U. An increase in the frequency of sex has a similar effect. Knowledge of this subject in all its forms is burgeoning.

Readers with the interest can now Google in perpetuity. His global perspective and persuasive writing link such diverse issues as adolescent sex in Uganda and Thailand, Japanese pornography, Irish women seeking abortions abroad, the Fiji NGO Coalition on the Right to Sexual Orientation, and the "gay marriage" issue in the United States. I highly recommend readers obtain a copy of Altman's book Global Sex. It's a good book to read from cover to cover for a global context on the subject. In our world of print and image glut, though, I do not expect all those who come to this part of my website to take up my suggestion with enthusiasm.

To each their own in the print and electronic media world, and in just about every other world. I must add, too, that disappointment was experienced by me, as well, from time to time over all those years. Anyway, after all the waiting, especially by those who now consider themselves my faithful readers, waiting for the paragraphs on the subject of my sex-life, I hope that at least some of the readers who peruse these paragraphs will find my sexual expose, my analysis and commentary, worth their wait and their effort.

My personal revelations are made largely by indirection, with some made by commentary on the generalities and ambiguities of these epochs in this age that are the years that constitute my life. These epochs of my sexual activity will certainly not cause the cherubim, the seraphim, indeed, the entire angelic hierarchy to be embarrassed.

Any sense of shame or inadequacy, deficiencies, flaws or failings that I have had in life will not topple the towers of cities or arrest the sun's climb. I hope to update this description and analysis as the months and years go on through my 70s, and into my old-age, the years beyond 80 in again, as I say above, if I last that long.

It does not see itself as one among competing social groups and organizations, each vying to establish its particular social agenda. They must do this in order to develop and manifest inherent spiritual qualities that characterize their true selves. Some of these impulses and desires are physical, while others are emotional or psychological.

He or she must endeavour to respond, to the best of his or her ability, though it be little by little and day by day. In so doing, all believers face challenges, although the specific type or extent of a test may, indeed, usually does, differ. There is much in society that I do not approve of, but I acknowledge its existence. I comment on the subject of pornography briefly below, after alluding to it occasionally in the above paragraphs. Sex is part of life, indeed an essential part.