07 Aug 2011

Porn, Pie, and St. Paul

I just had a dialogue on Facebook with a friend, and I ended up blurting out some things that I feel are probably worth sharing in a state less transient

07 Aug 2011

I just had a dialogue on Facebook with a friend, and I ended up blurting out some things that I feel are probably worth sharing in a state less transient than a Facebook status update. Here it is:

Status update: Whoah!! So I’m hanging out w my girls at my moms house. Flipping through the channels, and found Dane Cook doing a routine where he is imitating a woman masturbating, rather explicitly. Damn…. I had no idea stuff like that was on regular TV. No bueno.

Paul Duane: I mean, I’m all for women masturbating… but I think it should happen in a place that requires you to be 21 to see it, or to pay, or after a fun evening together with her, or something like that… but NOT on TV where my kids can get to it. Seriously.

Jessica Schultz Lemon:
Not entirely surprising. I remember babysitting and flipping through the channels and seeing some “racy” stuff. And that was back then! When pornography was circulating the bus of my kids’ elementary school, we decided to create an open dia…log with them. We decided that since we can’t always protect them from it, we should prepare them for the times when they do see it. Since they have a plan, it’s easier to stay away. They all talk to us about it when they have a concern, and vice-versa. Of course, we still do our due diligence, keeping internet filters, checking their phones, ipods, etc from time to time. It’s nice that they talk to us about just about every subject. I totally believe in explaining the “why” behind the “do’s and do not’s”.

Paul Duane:  Totally agree, Jessica. Trying to keep kids from it is preposterous, it’s just so pervasive. I think all you can do is be super frank about it and keep a really open conversation going. Shrouding things like porn in shame and secrecy is a fantastic way to foster an addiction to it.

Jessica Schultz Lemon: Exactly. I wish our society was more open about the addiction. The people who struggle with it are not bad people, just like alcoholics are not bad people. Recovering alcoholics are respected for their strength much more than those addicted to porn. And a porn addiction is so strong. It would also help the spouses. As it is, they can’t get a good support either.

Paul Duane: Here’s the ironic thing that I experienced in my life. All growing up, and during my marriage, I struggled immensely with “porn temptations”, shall we say. Once I had the spiritual experience that inspired me to let go of organized religion, I found that my desire for porn pretty much went away. I mean, I absolutely love seeing a beautiful woman… but it’s different now. For instance, I went to lunch with a gorgeous woman yesterday. I got far more pleasure out of just being around her and enjoying her beauty, than I ever do from looking at a Playboy.

I believe that the porn “problem” has a few aspects to it, and I think it’s worth outlining them:

1. Whatever you do… DO NOT think of a BLACK CAT right now. What? You thought of a black cat? I told you not to. I think that one reason I could never stop thinking about porn is that I was constantly bombarded with reminders of it at church. They never shut up about it! Geez!

2. A great number of people in our culture are suffering from cognitive dissonance. They know that they are not living in a way that is 100% congruent with what their inner compass tells them. There are a lot of people that agree with 90% of what the church teaches, but feel like the other 10% is not true. I’m one of those people. There is very little difference between me and 98% of the active membership of the church. People who suffer from cognitive dissonance develop depression and anxiety. People deal with cognitive dissonance / anxiety / depression deal with it by medicating themselves. Some people use apple pie. Some use Xanax. Some use Prozac. Some use chemicals that are identical to what they could get from the pharmacist, but choose to get them from people who produce them in home laboratories. Some people bury themselves in self sacrifice, overburdening themselves with church callings, to create feelings of self importance or to otherwise distract themselves from their dull pains. Very related to using applie pie, some use their genitals to create changes in brain chemistry to temporarily relieve the suffering.

3. A change of heart: It has been my experience that Paul, in the New Testament, was really onto something when he talked about becoming “born again” and becoming a “new creature” and losing the desire to do evil. I believe in this process. I believe that people are amiss when they presume that this human experience is limited to the context of Christianity. I assure you that a great many people in Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Agnosticism, and a hundred other traditions, have experienced this change of heart. This is a human experience that happens between you and your Source. None of us really comprehend the full and true nature of our Source, but, we all can connect to it and realize our true relationship to it. That relationship transcends description, it defies language, and truly is something that cannot be spoken. I believe this is what is being referred to when various spiritual texts refer to spiritual truths that “cannot be spoken”. The problem is… that they then proceed to do JUST THAT! As the Tao Te Ching says, “The Tao that is named is not the true Tao”. I believe that in most cases, organized religion keeps people from connecting to their inner compass, because organized religion institutionalizes that compass and tries to impress it upon the hearts of it’s constituents. The message is essentially, “Listen to the still small voice… as long as it agrees with us”. There are few more spiritually destructive concepts in this world than that. HENCE…. the cognitive dissonance and self medication.

Paul Duane These have been my experiences and observations. I’m not sold on an objective reality and accept that other people have experienced life differently.

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