Part III – Chapter22

On “sexual liberation”.

Contrary to what popular psychology teaches, so-called sexual liberation is in fact enslavement to passions. Sexual indulgences of various sorts may give one a momentary feeling of relief from the pressure of sexual urges, but their longer term spiritual (and indeed physical and psychological) effects are mostly devastating.

Masturbationis not a solution to sexual urges, but a further problem. Masturbation diminishes sexual potency, and general energy and health levels; it reduces self-respect and self-confidence, and lowers attractiveness to the opposite sex; it produces inner conflicts, and makes one melancholic[1]. However strong one’s urges, they can be overcome. Never indulge in masturbation at all: it is not worth the trouble!

Nowadays, posing as “sexologists”, psychologists, journalists and other opinion-makers, shamelessly tell youth that masturbation is harmless and even good for them. But in truth, such teachings and encouragements are spiritually destructive; their purposes are, in the last analysis, commercial and political. They serve only to enslave people to their baser impulses, and thus to weaken them physically, psychologically and socially.

The same popular opinion makers and “sexual liberators” have given modern society widespreadpornographyandhomosexuality. Sexual activities, which less than a generation ago were commonly regarded as among the most ugly and depraved, have apparently become fashionable and are defended with “righteous” indignation[2].

The destructive effects of such ignoble behavior, on individuals and on the fabric of society, are willfully ignored. Do not be a “fashion victim”; do not believe in these media figures, those who pretend to liberate (from moral restrictions and rules) when they in fact enslave (to sensations). They are just seeking to justify their coarseness and perversity of spirit, by sullying everyone else.[3]

Next in line arepedophiliaandbestiality, no doubt. Today these are frowned upon and illegal, but who knows for how long more? I just read on the Internet that efforts are being made to change that already[4]. From the spiritual point of view, this is just a logical development: once the floodgates of sensuality are sufficiently loosened within them, people lose all sanity and become slaves to increasingly weird passions. The abnormal then seems normal.

It is good and wise to have certain inhibitions. Anyone intent on spiritual progress has to learn tomastertheir sexual impulses and behavior. This refers to all sensuality, whatever form it takes, from the normal to the deviant. Control your thoughts and words, as well as deeds; remember: first come tempting thoughts, then come encouraging words, and finally the deeds are done.

In this matter as in all others, the psychological sequence of events is as follows[5]: first, we perceive something (or someone, e.g. a beautiful girl); then we evaluate it, finding it likeable (or disliking it); then we desire to have greater or more permanent contact with it (or to avoid it); then comes imaginations (building up the desire by projecting its satisfaction) and rationalizations (so as to fit, however artificially, the idea of such action in one’s belief system); finally, we take action (and eventually have to face the consequences).

To say we have free will is to admit that we can at any stage in this sequence of events intervene in our inner or outer behavior, and to stop or reverse things – although this is not meant to deny that such good will may get more difficult as things proceed. To realize this freedom of will, one has to understand that the perceptions, affections, appetites, imaginings and self-justifications that precede volitional action are just onlyinfluences(of varying intensity) on such actions, they can neverdetermineit.

The simplest intervention is to avoid the initial perception, i.e. to deliberately steer clear of potential temptations or turn one’s eyes away from them when they accidentally occur. Next, we can challenge the evaluation, and suggest that the object is not as likeable as it may seem. Or again, we can admit the object likeable in itself, but still avoid desire by pointing out its incidental disadvantages. If desire persists, we can still control ourselves by not indulging in imaginations or rationalizations that reinforce it and make it more likely.

Finally, however weak we have been till now, we can still at the last moment opt out of the misdeed concerned; or having already put it in motion, we can still change course. It may be increasingly hard to do, but it is still in our power. This is why we are held morally (and legally) responsible for our actions – and this power of choice is also our great dignity as human beings. So never say “I can’t stop myself” – you would only be lying so as to excuse yourself!

[1]Moreover, I suggest, it draws many to homosexuality, or at least increases their tolerance towards it – for two reasons: firstly, masturbation is an intrinsically sexually ambiguous act, since the man or woman engaged in it is effectively playing both sex roles, the active and the receptive; secondly, the pornographic stimulants in use often involve images of people of one’s own sex (in couples or groups), or worse still people of the same sex (one’s own or the opposite sex) in homosexual situations. Such licentious behavior is antithetical to spiritual progress.

[2]This reversal of moral roles has to be noticed and understood, especially by inexperienced youths.

[3]Don’t let them tell you “it is okay, it is natural” (as they keep hammering,ad nauseum) – it certainly is neither okay nor natural. It all depends where an opinion is coming from. If a person is spiritually base, his or her opinions are accordingly muddy. Inversely, if a person is spiritually high, his or her thinking is accordingly clear. You do not have to first believe in any tradition to despise homosexuality – just live a pure life and you will be able to see for yourself the spiritual corruption it causes in the people concerned. Opposing it is not “just a religious prejudice”, as its proponents contend, but a clear insight from spiritual purity.

[4]“Pedophiles in the Netherlands are registering a political party to press for lowering the legal age of sexual relations from 16 to 12 and to allow child porn and bestiality. The [party], which plans to register tomorrow, says it eventually wants to get rid of the age limit on sexual relations” ( news alert, 30.5.2006).

[5]Based largely on descriptions in Buddhist psychology.

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