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Celibacy

I am thinking of celibacy.  Not for myself, of course, but rather as a general concept.  (However it crossed my mind to pretend that I was interested in celibacy - after all, that would be an attention grabber - though not as good as when I stopped talking out loud a few years ago.) I am thinking of celibacy as a spiritual course, not as a run of bad luck.  One must actively be celibate in order for whatever magic it may bestow to have any power whatsoever; celibacy is worth less than promiscuity if one is merely trying to get laid and failing.  Like so many things, the effectiveness of celibacy is based on principle as much as it is on practice; even if you go your whole life without having sex; if you don't mean to be celibate, then you will reap none of the benefits.

This is the part where I start to wonder about the benefits.  It is tempting to imagine a life uncluttered by all those pesky temptations and lustful hatchings.  Everyone of us probably has a story (some secret, some not-so secret) about how an overly sexualized lifestyle or relationship got out of hand and how quickly meaning can get lost in a jumble of flesh and panting.  To me, this is blaming the messenger.  Sure, sex is a powerful thing and can quickly become a vice when practiced by someone who is not in a emotional place to do it right - whatever "right" might be. On the contrary, however, a healthy sexuality is probably easier to achieve than celibacy (at least a celibacy correct in both practice and principle).

Of course, there is a Buddhist thought that prescribes celibacy as means of stopping the Great Wheel - since all Life is suffering, one way to stop the world's suffering is to stop the act that leads to Life and therefore leads to all this suffering.  To me, this argument loses a lot of power in this post-birth control middle america that I live in.  Sex can be, and often is, about something very different than the creation of Life. 

I think the most tempting aspect of celibacy is the illusion that you too can return to those golden days of childhood and all of its inherent innocence.  Why worry with dating or marriage when you and your perfectly innocent friends of all genders can just merrily skip along cooking delightful dinners, making daisy chains, and drinking with no hangovers?  This, to me, is nonsense.  Does anyone actually remember childhood?  Personally, I have blocked out huge portions of it - but I can say this, that the lack of sexuality did not, I repeat, did not, make me more productive, did not make me more charitable or kind, did not clear my head of all extraneous subject matter, did not suffuse my very veins with some sort of supernatural purity.  There probably is no such thing as supernatural purity, buit if there is, you can rest assured that it is not for you, rest assured that you, as a mere mortal and as human as the rest of us, you cannot have it, you cannot touch it, you cannot experience it in any way. 

You are a person.  It is your lot to experience human things.

Celibacy may be a one of those human things to be experienced, or it may simply be the denial of a core function.  I wouldn't know.  What I can say about it, and will, is that if celibacy is an attempt at reaching a higher plane - more power to the celibates.  However, if that higher plane is a mere attempt at return to some sort of innocence (I almost have to spit out the word), then it is a dead-end practice and those considering should try very hard to find someone nice with whom they can have a lot of sex.






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post #553
bio: blaine
perma-link
7/15/2008
08:48

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