[Some people] think that sex is a physical capacity which functions independently of
one’s mind, choice, or code of values. They think that your body creates a
desire and makes a choice for you — just about in some such way as if iron
ore transformed itself into railroad rails of its own volition. Love is blind,
they say; sex is impervious to reason and mocks the power of all philosophers.
But, in fact, a man’s sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental
convictions. Tell me what a man finds sexually attractive and I will tell you
his entire philosophy of life. Show me the woman he sleeps with and I will tell
you his valuation of himself. No matter what corruption he’s taught about the
virtue of selflessness, sex is the most profoundly selfish of all acts, an act
which he cannot perform for any motive but his own enjoyment — just try to think
of performing it as an act of selfless charity! — an act which is not possible
in self-abasement, only in self-exaltation, only in the confidence of being desired
and being worthy of desire. It is an act that forces him to stand naked in spirit,
as well as in body, and to accept his real ego as his standard of value. He will
always be attracted to the woman who reflects his deepest vision of himself,
the woman whose surrender permits him to experience — or to fake —
a sense of self-esteem. The man who is proudly certain of his own value
will want the highest type of woman he can find, the woman he admires,
the strongest, the hardest to conquer, because only the possession of a heroine
will give him the sense of an achievement, not the possession of a brainless slut.
He does not seek to gain his value, but to express it. There is no conflict
between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body…
Observe the ugly mess which most men make of their sex lives — and observe the
mess of contradictions which they hold as their moral philosophy. One proceeds
from the other. Love is our response to our highest values, and can be nothing
else. Let a man corrupt his values and his view of existence — let him profess
that love is not self-enjoyment but self-denial, that virtue consists, not of
pride but of pity or pain or weakness or sacrifice, that the noblest love is
born, not of admiration but of charity, not in response to values but in response
to flaws, — and he will have cut himself in two. His body will not obey him,
it will not respond, it will make him impotent toward the woman he professes
to love and draw him to the lowest type of whore he can find. His body will
always follow the logic of his deepest convictions; if he believes that flaws
are values, he has damned existence as evil and only the evil will attract
him. He has damned himself and he will feel that depravity is all he is
worthy of enjoying… Then he will scream that his body has vicious desires
of its own which his mind cannot conquer, that sex is sin, that true love is
a pure emotion of the spirit. And then he will wonder why love brings him
nothing but boredom and sex nothing but shame….
Only the man who extols the purity of a love devoid of desire is capable
of the depravity of a desire devoid of love.
All that is an excerpt from “Atlas Shrugged.” And I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently. I just think it’s pretty much the most amazing thing I’ve ever read. Made me look inside and really… really look at what I’m REALLY attracted to. Like, what I think I deserve. I mean, I’m “attracted” to… any number of guys. Good lookin’ ones, Godly ones, well-spoken ones, etc. But the guy that I really feel in reality with… I wonder about this.
I feel wretchedly like I “deserve” the outspoken, socially-awkward, neurotically-controlling, pot-smoking freak… AT MY WORST. That is, when I’m not really dealing in reality and accepting the “me” that God created. This is probably why I stick with God… because He says I’m the perfection of Christ. And I’m wiggle-giggle hoppy-happy when I accept that. Because it’s REALITY-BASED. It may be reVEALED by Faith, but because of Faith, I’m completely convinced of it’s Reality. I hope that made sense because I’m NOT going to repeat it.
Anyway… I just read something else. So Hank Rearden had been having an affair with Dagny Taggart, and his he just told his wife. Or, his wife just found out. He said this: “Lillian, I’m glad that you know the truth. Now you can make a choice with full understanding. You may divorce me– or you may ask that we continue as we are. That is the only choice you have. It is all that I can offer you I think you know that I want you to divorce me. But I don’t ask for sacrifices. I don’t know what sort of comfort you can find in our marriage, but if you do, I won’t ask you to give it up. I don’t know wy you should want to hold me now, I don’t know what it is that I mean to you, I don’t knwo what you’re seeking, what form of happiness is yours or what you will obtain from a situation which I see as intolerable for both of us.
“By every standard of mine, to maintain our marriage will be a vicious fraud. But my standards are not yours. I do not understand yours, I never have, but I will accept them…”
So then she huffed and walked off (basically). And it goes on…
“It was a sense of freedom, as if he stood alone in the midst of an endless sweep of clean air, with only the memory of some weight that had been torn off his shoulders. I twas the feeling of an immense deliverance. I twas the knowledge that it did not matter to him what Lillian felt, what she suffered or what became of her, and more: not only that it did not matter, but the shining, guiltless knowledge that it did not have to matter.”
(I just typed that all very, very fast, without looking… forgive any typos… ) SO, what I’m getting from this… the parallel that I’m drawing to be able to apply it to my life… is this:
I have a set of values called “The Flesh,” also known as “The World,” or “Reality.” This is a system of sacrifice, where, if I KILL, I must BE killed. It’s innate. Everybody’s got it. So, living in this, I incur debt. Because I don’t get what I deserve. I try to ignore the fact that I’m racking up a huge heap of judgement (from whom?) for myself, by talking about other “systems” I could “choose” that would take away the necessity of dealing with it.
Make sense so far?
I end up just living in this fog of denial though, which sucks, and feels to my soul like a knapsack of rocks on my head… ANYWAY, so: Hank and Lillian (the married couple) where joined together by the LAW of “You give your word, you keep your word,” even though they hate each other and their bond. It has ENSLAVED them; they are BOUND to stay within their code of values. Hank wants freedom though. He wants to deal in REALITY and FACE the opposition to his enslavement. So he does! And the feeling he has when he enters reality sounds: SO. STRANGELY. FAMILIAR.
::freak out:: This is the GOSPEL MESSAGE. Freedom for the oppressed!!! LIVE IN REALITY. FACE the FACT that we made an AGREEMENT with the OPPOSITION of REALITY. We are living, bound to Evil, bound to an oppressor with our GUILT as HIS CHIEF WEAPON. AAAAAUUUGGGHHH!!!!!
I think I need to take a deep breath here. Wow. Wow, wow, wow.