Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Sex As Metaphysical"

Sex, in Ayn Rand's identification, is "a celebration of [one]self and of existence"; it is a celebration of one's power to gain values and of the world in which one gains them. Sex, therefore, is a form of feeling happiness, but from a special perspective. Sex is the rapture of experiencing emotionally two interconnected achievements: self-esteem and the benevolent-universe conviction.

Sexual feeling is a sum; it presupposes all of a rational man's moral values and his love for them, including his love for the partner who embodies them. The essential meaning of such a feeling is not social, but metaphysical; it pertains not to any single value or love, but to the profound concern involved in all value pursuit: the relationship between a man and reality. Sex is a unique form of answering the supreme question of a volitional being: can I live? The man of self-esteem, using cognitive, conceptual terms, concludes in his own mind that the answer is yes. When he makes love, he knows that yes without words, as a passion coursing through his body.

Sex is a physical capacity in the service of a spiritual need. It reflects not man's body alone nor his mind alone, but their integration. As in all such cases, the mind is the ruling factor.

Leonard Peikoff, Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, p. 344.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Sex And Morality

Note how dreadful the general attitude on sex is: since all [the accepted] philosophies damn man, his life, and the earth—men's attitude on sex is a degrading, ugly, corrupting evil, in all the many variations. And this is another proof that sex is the expression of one's entire philosophy and attitude toward life. Since most people's philosophy is a hodgepodge of contradictory bits, so is their attitude on sex. But man cannot exist without a basic philosophy, from which all his actions, emotions and desires will come.

The cheap little schools of "free love" attempt to glorify sex on a silly sort of materialistic basis—simply glorifying physical joy, considering themselves "vital as animals." They are unable to discover a moral, spiritual premise to justify sex—so they try to enjoy it without any morality, and, of course, it doesn't work, it doesn't bring them any sort of spiritual happiness, and not even much satisfaction.

This is the same mistake as that of the materialists who—in protest against mystical morality—declare that existence on earth has nothing to do with and requires no morality. This attitude merely drives people back to church, to mystical morality—and people drag themselves back to it regretfully, reluctantly, knowing that it is unsatisfactory, that it cannot work—but knowing also that they cannot exist without some form of morality, some code of values. This is another example of the vicious cutting of man in two—and setting his spirit against his body

Ayn Rand, The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 609 - 610.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hank Rearden And Sex

"He learns that the capacity of sex is physical, a mechanism for the use and expression of his spirit, the means of expressing in physical form one's greatest celebration of life, of joy, of one's highest self-exaltation and one's highest moral values in regard to man—that is, in regard to himself and the woman of his choice. He learns that sex is the means and form of translating spiritual admiration for a human being into physical action—just as productive activity is the translation of spiritual values into physical form, just as all life is a process of conceiving a spiritual purpose, based on one's spiritual code of values, then giving it a material form—which is the proper, moral, and complete cycle for man's existence, for the relation of man's spirit to physical matter. The spirit sets the purpose and uses matter as its tool, as material; the spirit gives form to matter. Just as pure "spirituality," divorced from physical action, is evil hypocrisy—so is the materialism which attempts to have matter give man purpose, value, and satisfaction. Just as "Platonic love" is evil hypocrisy—so is purely physical sex, which is an evil destruction of one's values."

Ayn Rand, The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 606 - 607

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Difference Between Ayn Rand's Morality And Hedonism

"This is the difference between my morality and hedonism. The standard is not: "that is good which gives me pleasure, just because it gives me pleasure" (which is the standard of the dipsomaniac or the sex-chaser)—but "that is good which is the expression of my moral values, and that gives me pleasure." Since the proper moral code is based on man's nature and his survival, and since joy is the expression of his survival, this form of happiness can have no contradiction in it, it is both "short range" and "long range" (as all of man's life has to be), and it leads to the furtherance of his life, not to his destruction."

Ayn Rand, The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 597.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Uniting The Mind And Body

"(Perhaps sex is the one field that unites the needs of mind and body, with the mind determining the desire and the body providing the means of expressing it. But the sex act itself is only that—an expression. The essence is mental, or spiritual.)"

Ayn Rand, The Journals of Ayn Rand, p. 555.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

"The Personal Enjoyment In Human Relationships"

I would like to add that whenever a young man shaves or a young girl makes up her face, or either of them puts on attractive clothes, it is done for the implicit purpose of arousing sexual thoughts and desires—which does not mean the intention of rushing to bed with every stranger, but merely the wish to be admired, to receive a tacit acknowledgment of one's sexual value qua man or woman. This type of acknowledgment creates the heightened interest, the excitement, the color, the personal enjoyment in human relationships with the opposite sex.

There is only one ideology that would condemn it—the ideology that opposes man's enjoyment of his life on earth and holds sex as such to be evil—the same ideology that is the source and cause of anti-obscenity censorship: religion.

For a discussion of the profound, metaphysical reasons of religion's antagonism to sex, I refer you to my article "Of Living Death" (The Objectivist, September-November 1968), which deals with the papal encyclical on contraception, "Of Human Life." Today, most people who profess to be religious, particularly in this country, do not share that condemnation of sex—but it is an ancient tradition which survives, consciously or subconsciously, even in the minds of many irreligious persons, because it is a logical consequence implicit in the basic causes and motives of any form of mysticism.

Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter, Thought Control, p. 249

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Thought Control and Sex

"Apparently, the Roth decision considers discussions of sex permissible (particularly, as it points out, "in art, literature and scientific works"), but prohibited if they appeal to sexual interest or arouse sexual desire. I submit that a work of art or literature which deals with sex without appealing to such interest, is guilty of lousy craftsmanship."

Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter, Thought Control, p. 248

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Sex Is Not a Separate Nor A Purely Physical Attribute Of A Man's Character"

"The subject of the five "obscenity" cases was not obscenity as such—which is a marginal and inconsequential matter—but a much deeper issue: the sexual aspect of man's life. Sex is not a separate nor a purely physical attribute of a man's character: it involves a complex integration of all his fundamental values. So it is not astonishing that cases dealing with sex (even in its ugliest manifestations) would involve the influence of all the branches of philosophy. We have seen the influence of ethics, epistemology, politics, aesthetics (this last as the immediate victim of the debate). What about the fifth branch of philosophy, the basic one, the fundamental of the science of fundamentals: metaphysics? Its influence is revealed in—and explains—the inner contradictions of each camp. The metaphysical issue is their view of man's nature."

Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter, Censorship" Local and Express, p. 240.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"One Of The Most Important Aspects Of Human Life"

" I do not regard sex as evil—I regard it as good, as one of the most important aspects of human life..."

Ayn Rand, The Ayn Rand Letter, Censorship: Local and Express, p. 230

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Francisco and Hank

Francisco and Hank:

"Do I strike you as a man with a miserable inferiority complex?"

"Good God, no!"

"Only that kind of man spends his life running after women."

"What do you mean?"

"Do you remember what I said about money and about the men who seek to reverse the law of cause and effect? The men who try to replace the mind by seizing the products of the mind? Well, the man who despises himself tries to gain self-esteem from sexual adventures—which can't be done, because sex is not the cause, but an effect and an expression of a man's sense of his own value."

"You'd better explain that."

"Did it ever occur to you that it's the same issue? The men who think that wealth comes from material resources and has no intellectual root or meaning, are the men who think—for the same reason—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 in a spirit 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 … What's the matter?" he asked, seeing the look on Rearden's face, a look of intensity much beyond mere interest in an abstract discussion.

"Go on," said Rearden tensely.

"He does not seek to gain his value, he seeks to express it. There is no conflict between the standards of his mind and the desires of his body. But the man who is convinced of his own worthlessness will be drawn to a woman he despises—because she will reflect his own secret self, she will release him from that objective reality in which he is a fraud, she will give him a momentary illusion of his own value and a momentary escape from the moral code that damns him. 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 ultimate 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. He has equated virtue with pain and he will feel that vice is the only realm of pleasure. 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."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, p. 455 - 456