Pornography Divorces Body From Soul

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For thousands of years the name of Eve was blackened and reviled.  She dared to disturb the peace, to go against the prevailing wisdom of the time. She had the temerity not to stay in her place, and there was a certain price to pay.  The Christian Church took on the stern voice of Jehovah as soon as one of the saints, Augustine, proclaimed that Eve was not, after all, a bestower of life but a perpetrator of the original sin, passed down to us all ever since.

From Augustine on, the wisdom of Eve was reviled.  The beauty and life of the manifest world came to be seen as temptations drawing the spirit away from its true home in some heaven that would only be fully appreciated in the afterlife.  Body and spirit were seperated, and the soul was chased out of this world.  The world of living beings, including the human body itself, became a world of things, of objects devoid of their own meaning and intelligence.  The animals and trees fell silent.  Life was carved into two: right and wrong, good and bad, spiritual and carnal. This was the true act of original sin.

Endless sufferings have trailed in its wake, most of them in the name of righteousness.

So the erotic life was trampled underfoot, or held hostage behind tight lips and prim and proper facades.  Nowadays, itis concealed in even cleverer ways.  Sex and pornography are a booming business, which only goes to show, some people say, what a liberated and sensual culture we are.

But pornography divorces body from soul and turns the body into a thing, which can be used like any other thing for profit in the marketplace.  Pornography is a caricature of the erotic: it can only exist by denying relationship.

It demands anonymity, as Eros did before Psyche shone her light on him.  Without relationship, there is no connectedness, no feeling and no valuing of the other person.  There is no soul.  There is only sensation, for its own sake.  Sensation is only skin-deep; it's effects are immediate and short-term, and like a ride on the big dipper, its risks are mostly hypothetical, rather than real.  Sensation, unlike the erotic, lets us off lightly.  There is nothing to give, except the cost of the ride.  To skim the surface of life, however, leaves us on our own, and ultimately lonely.  Far from being an erotic culture, we are probably one of the most disembodied and anti-sensual cultures of all time.

Excerpt from Soul and Sensuality by Roger Housden

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