Sunday, December 2, 2012
how the puritans created the modern world
as a long-time theater guy, i've been struck by the radical difference between how playing the elizabethan characters differs from the way they must be played after the puritan revolution (the culmination of the protestant reformation). shakespeare hated the new sectarians and mocked them brutally. in measure for measure he showed the underlying sexual hypocrisy. and what's important for me, everything with him lay on the table: no internal dialogue not matching the said, no wicked masturbatory thoughts sensed for satisfaction in the privacy of one's own home.
yes, freud right, sex makes the difference. the protestants threw individuals back upon themselves. i'm obsessed with self-examination. well, that's where it came from. damn, i have to think about everything: who i am, what's acceptable to others, can i successfully hide my seductive maneuvers and still acquire satisfaction of my 'evil' desires? this split between inner and outer exploded the atom of thought and science, a tremendous energy released. suddenly, all answers were up for grabs.
i do thank the puritans for inventing pornography. i'd explode and everybody else in the world without it. the visual splendor captures all our lo0se electrons and channels into an area where they dissipate into fantasy. and they created the big bang. why else would we conceive the universe as the result of a giant orgasm?
and maybe the discovery of sexual repression limited crime in a satisfying way. i once read about the number of murders in a small community, oxford, england, during the middle ages. if washington d.c. produces more murders than any other city in the world, i think without oliver cromwell the numbers would be even more staggering. and i'm not sure we've more rapes than in the pagan world. as i said, we've the lightning-rod of pornography. in fact i've heard 80% of the traffic on the web due to it, perhaps an apocryphal tale, and yet not as devastating as richard III.
so, if the world's grown lighter since the bard's time, i can give credit to electricity. without the intensity of the scarlet letter i wouldn't be able to use my e-reader in the middle of the night. and i'm eternally grateful for the excitement of political scandals gracing the pages of our newspapers, almost always a transgression against physical decency.
yes, i can think only as myself once the puritans landed on the planet. they did come from mars, of course, without our knowing it. alien extra-sensory perception did not exist before them. let's drink to the quantum leap!! if it weren't for the break-up of the perfect universe, we wouldn't all be walking around with cell-phones, attempting to communicate with each other. here's to nanotechnology and the brave light-waves, particle-beams of the future, the enlightenment leading to a different form of eternal life.