Sex & Modernity
thoughts on the train
We think that we are more important than we are, staring out the moving train window with a book in our lap. There’s the subtle radiation glowing around me as I read a couple paragraphs and put the book down; I have grown much smarter than I was in the moments prior to that; and now I sit looking out the window, knowing that one day will come when the words will come pouring out of me onto the page, where who I was would be etched in history forever, sitting somewhere on a back shelf in Barnes and Noble collecting dust.
Life is about having sex with people. The will to life is embedded in the knowledge that we’re going to die. If we were to live forever, I’m unsure if people would be so motivated to make an impression in the world. The reality of impending death is the motivator to sex, particularly for men. Castrate a man, and what is there to live for? Much of our energy to be someone and do something comes from that sexual energy: to conquer lands, kill the proverbial lion, climb the corporate ladder, to write the next best novel or poem… all in pursuit of being noticed, cherished, talked about, and finding another person that we could fuck. Perhaps what Freud meant by libido energy. Candide meets that eunuch who is incredibly accomplished but alas, he says, what good is it all without my balls.
Sex is an impetus to motivate us to act, rather than lay around limp. Given an eternal amount of time to live, I’m skeptical that civilization would have ever progressed. But I could be wrong, because for much of human history humans have achieved nothing, done nothing, save for some advancement in agriculture. And suddenly in the last 2000 years, and our nation’s 300 years we have propelled ourselves higher than ever before.
Then again, existential philosophy is quite new to us, at least in the written word. The enlightenment was a burst of individualism, idealism, romanticism, and frequented the constant reminder that we’re all hurdling toward death. With the death of religion, it makes sense. Man no longer believed that he lived in a fairytale where his death would be the start to new life; but rather he’d be gone forever. And so… we have the last 300 years of human progress unparalleled at any other time in our conception, and it’s doubtful that’s somehow a coincidence. So maybe death is important, after all, including sex— they’re the duo eliciting the reassuring consummation that, for being such despicable and self-loathing pieces of shit, someone will fuck us.
And so are born the modern times, where a man can believe he’s going to be a very important man because he read two paragraphs and the winter sun is beating on him from the outside, giving his lonely excursion a brief feeling of grace as he thinks about that girl in his class who he almost fell in love with and now torments himself with the reality of her carrying some other poor man’s child.
But the sun went down again, and grace doesn’t exist.