Sex, Masculinity, God Portal

Sex, Masculinity, God

This is a portal to all the original live videos for the recording of the book series Sex, Masculinity, God between Kevin Orosz, Daniel Dick and myself.

Sex Masculinity God

cadell.last@gmail.com

The following trialogues represent a multi-year project between three men with different perspectives but a shared desire to better understand the relation between sexuality and knowledge, the unique challenges of contemporary masculinity, and the best methods for approaching questions of metaphysical significance.

The first round of the trialogues took place between October 27 2018 and May 1 2019. The second round of the trialogues (as a pure repetition of the first) started on August 13 2020 and is currently on-going. As the second round is completed the videos will be added and coupled as compliments to the completed first round. One can find all of the first trialogues organized as a book with exclusive prologue, introduction, conclusion and illustrations at sexmasculinitygod.com.

Trialogue #1: REality of Sexual Difference

In this trialogue we focus on attempting to understand, not the unity of the sexes, but their necessary difference, and the role it plays in informing tension and polarity.  We seek to investigate how tension and polarity, although experientially difficult and demanding, can also become a source of joy and growth, an opportunity to see the world from a totally other point of view.  Here we presuppose that this difference can best be expressed as the difference that we call “masculine” and “feminine”, but we do not presuppose that these essences are precisely mapped onto biological or genetic programs, but rather that they are differences of energetic form or expression.

Original live stream: October 27 2018

From the first trialogue focused on sexual difference, in the second trialogue we focus on the nature of sexual difference as that which precedes the emergence of the different sexes (“a difference which precedes a difference”). In this affirmation of a difference before the emergence of sexual difference, we attempt to understand the consequence of such an affirmation for the way we construct and relate to sexual difference in historical reality (specifically the flaw in the ideology of “two becomes one”).

Original live stream: August 13 2020

Trialogue #2: HISTORICAL EMERGENCE OF ARCHETYPES

This trialogue discusses the “Historical Emergence of Traditional Archetypes”. This title was carefully chosen and foreshadows our discussion in the third trialogue. “Historical Emergence” brings up notions of temporality, evolution, and the new; whereas “Traditional Archetypes” brings up notions of eternity, staticness, and the old. The coincidence between these two opposing levels of discourse invites thought to reflect on the way in which what appears eternal, pre-given, and unchanging, like the archetypal images of the masculine and feminine, are in fact historically conditioned, subject to evolutionary pressure, structured by a certain logic of materiality, and so forth. Thus we investigate why the masculine appears as the masculine today, and why the feminine appears as the feminine today. And perhaps more importantly, we seek to investigate how these forms could change, introduce novelty, improve their dynamical interaction; as history becomes conditioned differently, as evolutionary pressures change, and as the logic of materiality becomes other than our past. How will the archetypes transform?

Original live stream: November 2 2018

In the second trialogue on the Historical Emergence of Traditional Archetypes we shift attention from the historical conditions for the emergence of archetypes, and move more towards attempting to understand the source of the virtual potential that could shape other identities in new historical conditions. From this focus on virtual potential we theorize the possibility for future identities that our contemporary consciousness would relate to as alien otherness.

Original live stream: August 26 2020

Trialogue #3: EVolutionary and religious worldview

In this trialogue we hope to explore how abstract intellectual manifestations, like evolutionary theory and religious dogma, can implicitly or explicitly relate to our sexual energy and the way in which it is expressed in embodied, historical reality. Of course, these two worldviews are often seen as antagonistic opposites. The evolutionary worldview is often framed as secular and humanist, scientific and empirical; whereas the religious worldview is often framed as spiritual and supernatural, theological and transcendental. However, from this book’s point of view, what is interesting about these worldviews is the way in which they can be inscribed into ethical and moral dimensions of sexual life. The evolutionary worldview gives one a sense of connection and continuity with the animal kingdom, and thus a lens through which to view the human animal (and its sexual behaviours) as a part of this connected continuum. On the other hand, the religious worldview gives one a sense of a transcendental discontinuity or rupture with the animal kingdom, and thus a view that often inscribes sexuality (or its overcoming) in a mystical and idealistic beyond.

Original live stream: November 9 2018

In the second trialogue on the evolutionary versus religious worldview we attempt to build on our original notions that a synthesis between evolutionary and religious worldviews can be found in the fact that religions themselves evolve. In order to build on this notion we explore the possibility that not only do religions evolve, but that religions lead to their own form of transcendental evolution in and through becoming its own emergent location of virtual causation.

Original live stream: September 3 2020

Trialogue #4: GENDER TROUBLE

In trialogue 4 we shift focus to the “History of Gender Theory”. This topic mixes well with our discussion inscribing traditional archetypes into a historical, evolutionary perspective, but also the following trialogue on masculine identity. For most of history, and in most cultures, gender has been represented as a binary. Here we assume that this binary representation is useful, but also recognize that there are many examples where gender has been represented in other, more complex configurations, for example in triads, quadrants, or even more complex intimate geometries, which could also be useful and authentic. Thus, from this frame of mind we discuss the benefits of binary representations, but also the possibility of thinking more complex geometries, and what those more complex geometries would look like. This discussion is specifically reflective and attentive to feelings of rigidity in identity, as is evident in the Feminist and LGBT+ movements, which seek to redefine what it means to be a modern woman, and what it means to be non-heteronormative sexual form, for example. What is of particular relevance to us in this discussion is the way in which the masculine can be expressed, and can even long for, a more androgynous form, which could be its own form of emancipation.

Original live stream: December 7 2018

In the second trialogue on gender trouble, we move from thinking about the different possible categorization schemes that can represent gender beyond the binary categorization schemes, towards the possibility that sexual difference itself makes a coherent categorization scheme of any type impossible. Instead, we suggest that the “trouble” about “gender” is in fact that there is something that escapes language internal to our language itself: sexual difference. Consequently, all gender categorization schemes may be an attempt to capture something that cannot be captured, entirely, and stands for our universal desire for love and connection with the other.

Original live stream: September 16 2020

Trialogue #5: MASCULINITY AND MASCULINE MOVEMENTS

The transition into trialogue 5, “Contemporary Masculinity and Masculine Movements”, picks up where we left off in trialogue 4. In this trialogue we discuss the nature and struggles of modern masculinity, as expressed in the philosophy of (what is being called online) as “The Red Pill” movement. From this perspective modern masculinity appears to be reactive against what it perceives as a culture dominated by feminine energy and ideals, and which lacks a positive and motivating image for what it means to become the ideal masculine energy form. Throughout the discourse we approach the opportunities and dangers that are inherent to masculine movements, as they can become catalysts for new positive relationships and motivational structures, but also catalysts for ultimately self-destructive and empty or anti-social behaviour. The structure of this discourse drifts into conversations about the social organizing function of historical religions as masculine movements, and the potential ways in which future masculine movements would differ or resemble religious organizations.

Original live stream: December 20 2018

The second discourse on masculinity and masculine movements shifts exploration from the red pill community and the connection between masculinity and religion, towards an ethics of action, or general principles, that would possibly help ground real masculine movements in the 21st century. We speculate that a key to these ethics and principles can be found in the coincidence between men who have transcended pathological attachment to feminine identity, asserting themselves with a purpose and mission “beyond” the feminine; and at the same time men who are capable of integrating the feminine other by helping them to achieve their own true potential beyond their traditional constraints, without sacrificing authentic masculine drive.

Original live stream: September 23 2020

Trialogue #6: PAIN AND SUFFERING IN SEXUALITY

We then take the trialogue into more general emotional territory with the topic “Nature of Pain and Suffering in Sexuality”. Sexuality is of course an experience that can be extremely positive and filled with joy. However, sexuality can equally be an extremely negative experience and filled with pain and suffering. Indeed, many of the world’s religious traditions perceive the fundamental nature of reality to be pain and suffering. In this context, we attempt to open up a conversation about the nature and meaning of pain and suffering when sexuality can become overwhelmingly negative. Specifically we situate our thought at the locus of a paradox between tendencies to structure sexual identity as a reaction or a defense against pain and suffering, and a tendency to challenge and transform sexual identity by actively confronting and overcoming pain and suffering. Here we attempt to be nuanced and open in how we think about this paradox, and ultimately reflect on how the character traits of bravery and courage are necessary to explore the real of sexuality.

In the second discourse on pain and suffering in sexuality we discuss the nature of order and its necessary transgression as a contradiction that brings pain. The idea here is that in order to keep authentic order in long-term relationships, the transgression of this order must be included in order to preserve its vitality and life, since every structure, without its transgression or deviation, becomes a dead order without the conscious inclusion of the messiness of life. In including transgression or deviation into the structure which seeks to contain temporality, the initial pain of the contradiction, can in principle be overcome, or even enjoyed in a paradoxical form.

Trialogue #7: ReLATIONS AND ABSOLUTES

From this discourse we approach “Absolutes and Relations” which can be blended or integrated with previous discussions about evolution and religion since we are approaching metaphysical questions about sexuality. The notion of an Absolute is the notion of something necessary and eternal. The notion of a Relation is the notion of something contingent and temporal. Of course the metaphysics of the religious worldview is based on something Absolute, whereas the metaphysics of the evolutionary worldview is based on something Relational. From this intersection we discuss the strange way in which sexual relations in a mostly secular and scientific culture manifest as “Absolute”. Thus, in this conversation we seek to better understand the way in which sexuality is the location of a divine expression in modern human beings, even if it is mostly unconscious and repressed, and consequently not brought to the surface in self-conscious abstraction, and made explicit in formal worldview structures.

In the second discourse on “Relations and Absolutes” we process the relational and the absolute worldview as a metaphysical paradox that involves attempting to understand relations between self-conscious observers. In this paradox, a concrete idea is explored, that of the way in which both scientific metaphysics of relations, and the religious metaphysics of the absolute, both struggle to understand the process by which humans relate, specifically because the human process is structured by beings that desire “absolute autonomy” (or freedom). Such desire is fundamentally problematic when it comes to understanding the nature of relations in the domains of sexuality and death.

Trialogue #8: ETHICS AND MORALITY IN SEXUALITY

In the next trialogue we approach “Ethics and Morality in the Sexual Space”, which brings together two dimensions which we define as in a type of paradoxical relation. The dimension of ethics is defined as fidelity to the truth of one’s desire, whereas morality is defined as a type of fidelity to the symmetry of action with the other(s). From this framing individual ethics and social morality collide in the problem of how to stay true to one’s desire and act in relation to the field of others in a moral form. In this problematic we immediately use the notion of truth as an orientation point for discussion of its relationship between the expression of libidinal energy in courtship and other sexual contexts. Here we dance around notions of un-enlightened sexuality being based in different nuanced forms of deception, and the possibility of enlightened sexuality being based on transparency and honesty. However, the major stumbling block to such a transition involves the irreducible fact that human beings are emotionally damaged and motivated by unconscious forces which are usually just as alien to them personally as they are to everyone else. Is it possible for us to process these blocks in order to reveal true sexuality from a place of emotional healing?

In the second discourse on “Ethics and Morality in Sexuality” dives back into the antinomy of ethics and morality, where we find the problem of authentic desire (which can undermine morality) and social symmetry (which can undermine ethics). The problem of authentic desire and moral duty are explored with recourse to the relation between Kantian universal morality (which aims at the subject’s responsibility to altruistic morality) and Hegel’s theory of good and evil (which aims to unite good and evil as a spontaneous process from evil to good). In this relation one finds that it is selfish to be good, which ultimately has the possibility of uniting moral duty and authentic desire.

Trialogue #9: Future of Sex

Towards the end of the first trialogues we take a turn into some strange but extremely thought provoking territory.  Trialogue 9 explores “The Future of Sex” from the perspective of transhumanism and general futurist theory.  From this perspective we are interested to understand how future technology, like artificial intelligence, robotics, or virtual reality, may augment or qualitatively change the way in which we engage with sexual energy.  Such notions of the sexual field becoming transformed by technology opens up an expansive horizon for thought to speculate on possibilities and opportunities that are currently impossible due to technical limitations.  Thus this chapter is a type of speculative meditation on radical expansion of limits and transformation of obstacles.  Here we start to meditate on just how polymorphous and multifaceted sexual energy can become, and how unaware we are about how our desires and motives become conditioned by the historical constraints of a given appearance of being.  

In the second discourse on the “Future of Sex” we continue to interface with the philosophy of transhumanism, where sexuality as a form of communication becomes primarily focused on intimate relation over and above its relation to biological reproduction. In this exploration we unpack the metaphysical possibility that human sexuality is structured by an underlying impossibility which signals the immanence of the separation of human sexuality from biology and into the potential level of the transhuman. The biggest questions here are in relation to the mediation of sexuality, from the traditional metaphysical world where sexuality is linked to biology, to the post-modern metaphysical world, where sexuality is explored as a polymorphous expression.

Trialogue #10: LOVE AND DEATH

Finally, we come to the end, and appropriately meditate on the topic of “Love and Death”.  In this trialogue we attempt to think the way in which notions of love and death bring our thought into a more sobering and heavy reality that feels in some sense more real than other realities.  When it comes to love and death there appears to be no more doubt, and only a type of certainty, about where we are and what really matters.  We also reflect on how the place of love and death is oftentimes, and suspiciously, ignored in our culture, which tends to be in a hyper critical and skeptical mode about the nature of reality.  In this context we discuss how we relate to our sexual energy in the context of love and death, and how such reflections force us to consider the ultimate meaning of our identities and the way in which we relate to other human beings and the universe as a (w)hole.  

In the second discourse on “Love and Death” we continue to explore the connection between love and death, which can be found in our deepest feelings, common language, and normative behaviour. This connection seems to become deeply problematic for human beings because of the nature of time, and the way something which seems eternal, comes to an end. Here we explore the possibility that a “solution” to this can be found in the notion of the Freudian death drive, where non-being (love, death) is included as a fundamental aspect of being (pleasure, life). Such a dimension of reality opens up interesting interpretations and possibilities for the ethics of the event of love, not as a transcendental guarantee, but rather the commitment to the work of love as time.