For the Buddha, lust is controlled or eliminated through attaining a higher consciousness. This idea can also be found sporadically in the Western canon; indeed, Baudelaire goes so far as to suggest that the artist, who is consciousness personified, should never have sex. The more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes… Only the brute is good at coupling, and copulation is the lyricism of the masses. To copulate is to enter into another—and the artist never emerges from himself. As well as being destructive to its subject, lust is also destructive to its object.
Lust is the only appetite that is for a person rather than an object, but a person qua object rather than a person qua person. Either the other is seen as an object, or as other than they truly are. Through the subconscious processes of idealization and projection, the other becomes what is wished for or needed—quite literally, a fantasy. These sharp words belong to Kant, who asserted that a person should never be treated as a means to an end, but always as an end in herself. It is perhaps in the nature of lust that it seeks to possess the other, to incorporate and degrade the other by destroying his dignity and autonomy.
So as to hide that shame, many cultures made use of a male demon who lay upon sleepers, especially women, to have sex with them. This incubus and the less prevalent female equivalent, or succubus could then be blamed for embarrassing nocturnal emmissions, disturbing claims of adultery and abuse, and even unexplained children.
Another way of dealing with the shame of lust is to deceive ourselves into thinking that our lust is in fact love or underpinned by love. While lust is shameful, love is respectable, even commendable. Thus, while we may look warmly upon a couple holding hands or hugging particularly if they are very young or very old, on the presumption that these groups are asexual , we look around for the police if they start acting out their lust. Love is the acceptable face of lust, but the love that is not love is even more perverse and destructive, and in that sense, even more shameful, than the lust that knows its game.
How to tell lust and love apart? Often, with difficulty. But while, in general, lust is hasty, furtive, and ashamed, love is patient, measured, and constant. While lust subverts propriety, love is thoughtful and nurturing. While lust is all about taking, love is all about sharing.
Lust can lead to love, but it is a poor start, and a poor basis, akin to choosing your favorite book by the picture on the cover. Of course, there is nothing wrong with sexual desire in itself, and none of us would be here without it. Sexual desire is a life force, to be enjoyed and even celebrated.
Shakespeare and Philosophy
But, as with wine, the problems arise when it becomes the master rather than the servant. It is very important to be able and ready to recognize lust for the blind and destructive force that it is. Lust is by definition hard to suppress, but it can more readily be redirected or sublimed. If a person feels angry with her boss, she may go home and act out her anger by kicking the dog, or she may instead go out and play a good game of tennis.
This second instance playing a good game of tennis is an example of sublimation, the channelling of unproductive or destructive forces into socially condoned and often constuctive activities. As Baudelaire said, the more a man cultivates the arts, the less randy he becomes. For Plato, lust is not something to be shunned, but the first step on his so-called ladder of love. By loving one beautiful body, he comes to realize that this beautiful body shares beauty with other beautiful bodies, and thus that it is foolish to love just one beautiful body.
His audience, accordingly, will be extremely niche.
The Philosophy of Lust
People hardly read books anymore, let alone allegorical German ones. However, if you persevere with Isham, the rewards are there. His books are available on Amazon. Previous Next. Isham Cook blogs at ishamcook. This is a incorrect term and accusation toward the true church as having sex with ones spouse in the bible when studied correctly is one of great pleasure and intimacie and enjoyment, what denomination of the so called church you may of got that info from ha biased your opinion from true teaching of sex in bible and Gods people, fornication, sex outside marriage is the result of unbridled passion lust, it is not a Sin to enjoy sex within marriage!
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Lust, Love, and Law
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The Philosophy of Lust Is lust really the first rung on the ladder of love? The Philosophy of lust Submitted by Thomas on September 20, - am. Just wanted to challenge a statement in a paragraph of your article Post Comment Your name. E-mail The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Notify me when new comments are posted. All comments. Replies to my comment. Leave this field blank. About the Author. In Print:. Hypersanity: Thinking Beyond Thinking. View Author Profile. More Posts. Plato's Allegory of the Cave And why it is still relevant today.
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