Nick Benton’s Gay Science No. 91: This Series’ Core Thesis: The Promethean Identity

The core thesis of this series is the novel notion that same-sex erotic attraction is a variant and derivative of the natural bond between humans more akin to empathy than the physically reproductive impulse.

It is designed to set a framework for further scientific pursuit of this idea based on its importance in the following ways:

1. It liberates the homosexual impulse from being understood as a form of deviation or corruption of the heterosexual reproductive impulse. If that is how it is seen, even if it is seen as a consequence of natural processes, then it must be that the impulse is somehow inferior to an ideal norm, which is species reproduction. The political response in this contruct is to see it either as a dangerous or benign for society — either it must be repressed, or can be tolerated as non-harmful.

2. It links and interconnects the homosexual impulse with other attributes associated with empathy, including its impulse to serve others through natural healing-like gifts, such as for the creative arts, and an affinity for the underdog, such as women, children and the elderly and dispossessed in the face of societal leadership that brutalizes them.

What we call empathy, science is learning, is a critically important attribute supplied by nature for the success of species, as I have shown earlier. Linked to notions of altruism and the sacrifice of the individual for the benefit of the species, it marks the difference between survival and failure in many circumstances observed in nature. Therefore, for humanity, it is an indispensible and positive element of culture. That’s what where we homosexuals fit.

The dominant society has defined false parameters, internalized by homosexuals, for the very definition and expectations of same-sex erotic attraction, linking it unduly to simply sexual contexts, including extreme and bizarre forms, and, overall, consigning the phenomenon to evidences of weakness and inferiority.

But this is based on a false epistemology derived from the very brutal nature of straight male dominated militaristic culture, itself.

Straight male dominion and its savage might-makes-right axioms justifying the subjugation of women, children and suborindate labor, including slaves and conquered people, to the tyrant’s lust for accumulating and preserving the natural and human resources needed to enhance that dominion, suffered its first major setback in modern times in the radical Enlightenment ferment of the 1700s that resulted in the American revolution.

The core political notion underlying the American revolution was that human beings are valued according to their merits as contributors to the social good, and not simply because they are straight males or straight male heirs of royalty and privilege.

The straight-male premise of monarchy, thus, was violently opposed to this American revolution, and devoted the next century to undoing its impact while also conniving ways to ensure it would never happen again.

On the latter point, it encouraged continental philosophies that argued for the primacy of the isolated individual ego in all arenas of human behavior, undermining and discrediting in the process, notions of human empathy and solidarity as primary.

To the extent they created a philosophical movement to this end, it produced (and promoted) individuals like Nietzsche and Freud, who took the isolated ego and bifurcated it into two parts, the socialized ego and the animalistic, anti-social id. In Nietzsche’s “Gay Science,” the title of a book about poetry, the ego is identified with the Greek god Apollo, and the id with Dionysus, the rebellious lover of pleasure for its own sake.

Same-sex erotic impulse was brought under this false construct as a manifestation of Dionysus, and that core notion has persisted to this day.

However, as I am right, according to the preponderance of evidence I have accumulated in these papers, then the same-sex erotic impulse is more accurately associated with the Greek god of Prometheus, the god who acted in defiance of Zeus but on behalf of humanity.

The Promethean archetype was at the heart of the revolutionary ferment of the latter 18th century, both in Europe and the American colonies. It represented exactly what the straight-male dominated old monarchies hated and sought to extinguish.

The rise of the modern gay liberation movement since the Stonewall riots in 1969 provided the opportunity for a massive outpouring of the Promethean spirit across the land. Prometheus had been willing to suffer for his disobedience because he had given life to humanity and he, too, was ultimately liberated.

However, the enemies of the life-giving Promethean spirit that had created American democracy and helped to spread it around the world pounced on the ferment of the late 1960s with a new, escalated round of self-centered hedonistic extremism that diverted the gay movement, and society as a whole, toward the “me” generation of mindless consumerism.

For many gays, depersonalized sex for its own sake replaced a native impulse toward creative empathy, and their humanity so diminished, become jaded, cynical and cruel echoes of the greater culture.

Humanity as a whole suffered as a result.

To be continued.