Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The "Pornographic Imagination"

Letihart is reading Paul W. Kahn who isolates what he calls the "pornographic imagination" as a feature of our culture.
I found the description compelling, although it depends to some extent upon a theory of "the sacred" or "religion in general" that is disputable. Whether or not an extra-temporal and extra-cultural space is anywhere close to what I consider to be the substance of "religion" or "the sacred", Kahn's supposition that the pornographic urge is one that is an essential rebellion against time, culture, language, limit, and responsibility, and, more particularly, family, seems hard to refute.
In this respect, the title of the phenomenon under consideration may be too exact, as it is really much broader than pornography per se. I smell the specter of what has been called gnosticism here, and of a fairly degraded form. Indeed, the "pornographic imagination" seems to me but a cubicle within the broader gnostic workplace.
I'd be interested in reading the book. And, what is more pressing for me and should be for all who recognize the force of such a principality, is the question: How does one successfully resist the lure of the deformed imagination? And further, why is it that we yearn to be at once anesthetized and beyond the grip of time, place, culture and constraint?
What true and legitimate desire has gone wrong here, and how is it properly satisfied?
Such a phenomenon cannot but be a parasitism.

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