• Jack Cummins

    I have never discussed masturbation with a priest. The main point I was making was how I disregard puritanical views.
  • Ignance
    The main point I was making was how I disregard puritanical views.Jack Cummins

    and rightfully so, very archaic.
  • Jack Cummins

    I don't want to be too archaic. How would I be seen as postmodern. Perhaps it would involve art work involving torn shreds of Kant's writings. But I don't hate him. I don't think he much pleasure but perhaps his writing life was more enjoyable than masturbation.
  • TheMadFool
    There seems to be a deep and hidden meaning to masturbation. What is masturbation after all? Isn't it a poor quality simulation of sex and what is sex but merely the mode of reproduction for a certain segment of the living world.

    The mind is, in essence, letting the cat out of the bag, it informing itself, as weird as that sounds, that the body's been cheating and forcing it to act/behave in certain ways by, literally, hooking us onto drugs (pleasure-inducing neurochemicals). The very fact that some of us masturbate bespeaks the primary aim in the act (sex/masturbation), the real motivation as it were, is orgasmic ecstacy and coincidentally there's a highly addictive drug by that name. Masturbation then is the cardinal sign of the body manipulating the mind which manifests as typical behavior in men, women and even children.

    Cheating and forcing someone, something in this case, that something being the mind, is unethical and using drugs (irrestible pleasure-neurochemicals) for that purpose simply takes the whole sordid and sad business of the mind-body relationship to the mother of all nadirs and to a point where trust seems impossible between the two.

    Too, this reminds me of hedonism and the experience machine. Perhaps I'm too quick to judge the matter; after all, masturbation is a kind of substitute i.e. real sex is more preferable but the fact remains that some of us who do masturbate seem satisfied with just the orgasmic experience of it, not requiring an actual man/woman.

    Hedonism has an ethical dimension. Does masturbation support hedonism by exposing our contentment with ecstasy (via orgasm) simpliciter or does it undermine hedonism by the (slight) dissatisfaction everyone who masturbates undergoes because the act doesn't involve an actual partner?
  • Jack Cummins

    Perhaps the Buddhist middle way could be a useful way of thinking in between the extremes of hedonism or Kant.

    I know that your post is not a particular response to my post but when I mentioned Kant's writing life I was trying to say that there are higher pleasures rather than just physical pleasure. I am in favour of masturbation but not as an end but as a means to an end, in terms of creativity. For to forbid an act is to increase desire.

    I am aware of the some traditional ways of thinking about meditation which suggest that we can sublimate sexual desires into creativity and I do wonder if this is possible. One whole area of thinking about meditation is the whole tradition of thought about the kundalini lifeforce.I have read a book on this by Gopi Krishna.

    The awakening of kundalini is a perilous quest, but of course many would question the whole idea of the chakra system but I certainly feel aware of my chakras, and I believe that many have a certain degree of opening of chakras awakening of kundalini or triggered through drug experimentation.

    You mention about drug use, especially you refer to the drug, ecstasy. I think that this has a lot of relevance because so many of us are searching for ecstasy. But this is often to cope with the opposite state, the misery of depression. So, on one hand we may have hedonistic yearnings but this is often thwarted to the point of clinical depression. It is quite interesting that both the drug, ecstasy, and the SSRI antidepressants, which include Prozac, both work on the serotonin receptor points. It is just that Ecstasy gives it in a big wave, all at once, unlike the small steady rate of the antidepressants.

    So, one question is do we need less misery or less hedonism?
  • TheMadFool
    Buddhist middle wayJack Cummins

    do we need less misery or less hedonism?Jack Cummins

    I get the impression that a lot of people misunderstand hedonism or is it just me? You be the judge. I used to think hedonism is all about pleasure and the dictionary reinforces and perpetuates this, my, misconception.

    Definition from Google
    Hedonism: the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence.

    I had, what seems now, a fortuitous encounter with a book on critical thinking and it defines hedonism as a philosophy that pleasure happiness is, should be, our primary target and happiness, as it turns out, has a precise definition which I'm more than glad to share:

    1. To experience pleasure and not to suffer (self-explanatory)
    2. The satisfaction of desires (to be able to achieve our goals guided by ethical considerations)
    3. The development of talents (to be able to become proficient in a productive manner one's special skills/abilities)

    So, hedonism, if it's a pursuit of happiness thus defined, is

    1. Down-to-earth: it cuts through all the bullshit we tell each other about how happiness as an objective is somehow a symptom of a deficient mind and gets right to the point with a simple question, "why do we do the things we do?" The answer is very simple and also very true, "we do the things we do because they make us happy"

    2. Mature: we finally get to know ourselves - what do we really want? The sooner we come to terms with our nature, the more fruitful our efforts will become. Recognizing ourselves, knowing our innate dispositions, will usher us into adulthood and we can finally talk of profits and losses without people trying to accuse us of some kind of moral transgression (selfishness to be specific).

    3. Noble: what could be more noble than a person who makes a clean breast of faer intentions, someone who shows his cards up-front? "I'm involved in such and such because it makes me happy and not because of anything else" is frank declaration of intent and aim but, most importantly, true for all of us. A sign of nobility in my book.

    As for the Buddhist middle-path, it's a contradiction. Hedonism-wise, a human on earth is happy relative to a being in hell, tortured continuously, and a human is sad relative to a being in heaven, indulging in every conceivable pleasure. Ergo, necessarily that a human is both sad and happy and this is twice the burden: one the guilt of being happy compared to souls in hell and the other of being envious of those who are in paradise. By extrapolation then everything about the middle-path is a contradiction. Perhaps that's the real message the Buddha wanted to share - the underlying contradiction in reality.
  • Jack Cummins

    At least the Buddha is not giving us a fixed rule. Perhaps each of us to find our own way and balance. This allows for us to experiment with the extremes.

    I remember my dad, who was a strict Catholic, brought up in a school run by the Christian fathers in Ireland, coming out with a surprising comment a couple of years before he died. He said that he had 'an elastic conscience.' My mother looked a bit startled and I never got round to asking him what he meant.

    But I do believe that the worst possibility is when people dictate on morality, and masturbation is private, so I do think it is something we can make personal choices about. It is one aspect of life which does not affect others directly.
  • praxis
    The main point I was making was how I disregard puritanical views.Jack Cummins

    Puritanical masturbation is hot, you don’t know what you’re missing.
  • Book273
    “Free-spirited, varied sexual encounters in pornography produce a sharp contrast versus the restrictions, commitment, and responsibilities associated with family and relationships and make the latter appear as particularly restrictingIgnance

    So, clearly, these guys were doing things wrong in their married or serious relationships. Restricting relationships are restricted, I get that, but the blanket statement that family and relationships appear particularly restricting when contrasted with porn is more a reflection on the individual making the claim of restriction.
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