Monday, 17 December 2007

Sucking Someone's Life Out



This is a fascinating interview with an ex-porn producer turned trainee pastor (!). In it, he recollects how new models would turn up at the studio, and in a matter of weeks you could see the life being sucked out of them. There was always a transformation, and always for the worse.

I made the mistake of drinking coffee at 7 p.m. last night, which meant I had the opportunity to lie in bed wide awake until 4 o'clock in the morning, thinking about the things that interest me. And I tried to figure out, what it means to have the 'life' sucked out of someone. Somehow, I feel I know what this means. I've experienced both 'life', true life, overflowing vibrancy in which my interconnectedness to this creation was so complete the thought of non-existence was terrible. And I've also felt 'death', the feeling that something vital has been destroyed, leaving a vacuum between me and the world of which I, technically, should intrinsically be a part.

But what does that mean!? I'm sure there are some great theologians or philosophers out there who can explain this to me. For now I'm just left to muse. I'm sure it has something to do with the true meaning of 'shalom' as interconnected wholeness, the goodness of creation, the relationality of our being, the insufficiency of an isolated existence. Pornography seems to utterly deny all of that.

So, any thoughts or pointers would be appreciated. This post should tide me over till tomorrow, when I hope to pick up my main thread and talk about the criteria of prophetic truth.

3 comments:

J. K. Gayle said...

Thanks for posting that awful thing.

I'm sure there are some great theologians or philosophers out there who can explain this to me.

My guess is that Paule Marshall writing/ singing her Praisesong for the Widow or Gayl Jones crying out in her novel Corregidora can give you better hints of "what this means" than Donny Pauling, or I, or any other (especially male) thinker about God(s) and thought(s).

Thanks for taking a break from the main thread to help shine a light on awful things that stay too often in the dark shadows.

Drew said...

It distracts one and pulls one out of one's natural inclination to receive the Good. The more habitual this is, the more chained one is to the inevitable outcome of not receiving the Good and that is death. Simone Weil illustrates this with the word affliction and there has been no other philosopher to grasp the notion of nothingness apart from the Good and the redemptive nature of grace through the Good. In this sense we are stuck somewhere between the love of God which gives us the Good through grace and affliction which renders us as nothings, sub-human beings who have lost their ability to receive the Good.

Phil Sumpter said...

Thanks J.K. Gayle, again, for your input. I'm sure these people can express that far better than a theologian can. I'll keep an eye out for them. I'm interested, however, in the theological dimension. I think there's a lot of truth to the statement that these porn actresses are having the'life' sucked out of their eyes. I feel that this metaphorical use of the word, along with its implied metaphorical use of 'death', touches on a genuine element of our reality. This metaphorical use of life says more about real life then a biological diagnosis can, and I'm wondering how that fits in with biblical views of creation, fall, human nature and identity, redemption. Ezekiel's use of resurrection, for example, was metaphorical, but is read literally in the NT. I don't see that as an abuse of the term, but a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of things.

Drew,

thanks for your angle on this. In what sense does being a porn actress/actor distract you from receiving the Good and thus leave you dead? I wonder how having meaningless, objectifying sex on demand in order to stock up the industry leads to that state.