At the essence of pornography is the image of flesh used as a drug, a way of numbing psychic pain. But this drug lasts only as long as the man stares at the image. . . . In pornographic perception, each gesture, each word, each image, is read first and foremost through sexuality. Love or tenderness, pity or compassion, become subsumed by, and are made subservient to, a “greater” deity, a more powerful force. . . . The addict to pornography desires to be blinded, to live in a dream. Those in the thrall of pornography try to eliminate from their consciousness the world outside pornography, and this includes everything from their family and friends or last Sunday’s sermon to the political situation in the Middle East. In engaging in such elimination the viewer reduces himself. He becomes stupid.
— David Mura, A Male Grief: Notes on Pornography and Addiction
(via “Big Red Son” by David Foster Wallace)
One can become lost in a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, thinking about whether one will get a pay rise, the rent, the mortgage, carrying anger against one’s beloved for some trivial matter, self-justification, ten thousand things that are not one self. Why single out pornography? It is only the image of the beloved, warped and distanced because one is separated from the reality. It is not the object of our identification that is at fault, but our identification with it.
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