Thursday, September 20, 2012


As you know, I always try to have an interesting angle on things.  I haven't blogged much about anything beyond the ongoing reshaping of my book - Naked Man With Naked Man - a title which I must say has challenged the women in my life.  My mother doesn't know what to make of it.  My wife happened to notice it the other day when I left my laptop on when I walked away to do something else.  'Oh, you've developed an interest in naked men.'

Taking twenty minutes to explain that the title comes from an ancient fragment discovered in a Palestinian monastery really didn't help.  'So you are saying that Jesus was gay.'  No, that's not what I am saying.  After spending twenty minutes going from that topic to whether 'all priests' are homosexual we eventually started talking about something else.  

Of course, my book is really about the conversation we were having.  I know it makes me sound like a misogynist, and perhaps I am one, but I really wonder - do chicks dig Plato?  I know they have a handle on 'Platonic love.'  That's when they want to remain friends with a guy because their not sexually attracted to him.  But really - does the Phaedrus resonate with women?  

I know that most men haven't a clue about what Plato says in that book and when they hear there are references to pederasty no politician is going to want to admit that he is 'for' Platonism.  But really, let's suppose for a moment that Platonism is the sublimest expression of philosophical thinking in the history of literature.  Surely it has to be acknowledged that most people - whether male or female - are not going to 'get it' simply because they aren't worthy of it.  

Now where is there proof that women 'dig Plato.'  I've never met a female Platonist.  I know they have existed in the past.  Aedesia the fiance of Proclus in the fifth century was a noted Platonist.  Hypatia was another more famous example.  At the very least examples exist in the past and presumably the same thing is possible today.  Indeed how many card carrying male Platonists exist today?

I can't help getting over the idea that men invented Christianity while women are the ones who keep the carcass alive today.  My supposition - wrongly or rightly - is that men were always attracted to the Platonist core of the original message.  Look at the ascetic movement throughout the ages.  This was nothing more than 'practical Platonism.'  I hesitate to ask the question but - is this what women want from religion?  Have women ever been demonstrated to enter a convent so they can study Platonism?   I don't know.  

Whenever I have attended a traditional Christian service (= non-Protestant) I can't help but seeing the faded bones of some sort of neo-Platonic mystery religion.  I am not sure that women had any part in establishing this religion.  I even think that part of the reason it has faded away is simply because the Phaedrus doesn't speak to them.

I think if they read the Symposium badly it can kind of 'make sense' to them.  'It all comes down to the lover and the loved.'  'We are all looking for our other half.'  Anecdotes like this 'work' for everybody.  Even the distinctly Christian idea that God descended to the earth in order to establish people like paired angels is tolerable.  But I think women have a problem with the idea of unrealized or unactualized sexual attraction.  Desire should lead to something.  Maybe most people think this way.  I don't know.

Yet we need only look at the male sexuality in the modern world.  Because of the influence of the internet pornography has become as easily accessible as drinking water.  Having sexual relations with a partner has essentially become an 'option' for most men.  I don't see the same thing happening with respect to women for the simple reason that the idea of sex at least will always be connected with idea of intimacy (notice I didn't say sex = intimacy).

The bottom line is that for Plato and men of the ancient world no less than the modern world sex has little or nothing to do with intimacy.  While it may be uncomfortable for the average heterosexual male to acknowledge it, his only real 'intimacy' is in same sex relationships.  Here he can 'go to the ballgame,' ogle the attractive blonde in the stands all the while eating a hot dog, drinking a beer and 'being himself.'

While this caricature does not sound like a textbook example of the Platonic ideal it is given to make a point.  I really believe that because sexuality is so important to the male psychology, men and women not only can't be friends - a point already made by Nora Ephron - but more importantly that Platonic and even Christian notion of a divine intimacy which helps one grow wings to get to heaven can't likely be shared by heterosexuals.

Just go look at the way old people socialize in Europe.  All of this is a roundabout way of saying I have suspicions that this new 'Jesus had a wife' fragment is a fake.  It seems to be a modern contrivance.  

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Stephan Huller's Observations by Stephan Huller
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