The problem is this: We post-Stonewall gays are collectively as if an entirely new species, being fully open and “here” for the first time in the history of the species. Yet we have yet to define ourselves to ourselves.
Instead, we are defined by default by an era of hedonistic excess and reductionist categorization.
Indicative of this problem is the inability of any of the post-Stonewall historians, who have worked so diligently to fill in the cavernous silences on matters of same-sex relations over the centuries, to describe same-sex desires and practices in any terms other than the pursuit of pleasure.
Even in the rare cases where efforts at sustainable relationships are found in the record, the homosexual act is understood in terms solely of the pleasure derived from it.
This is not surprising, since the sexual act in the heterosexual context is clearly geared to procreation, to reproducing the species. There is no such procreative element to a same-sex encounter, so, they argue, it can be explained only by the pleasurable experience it brings.
However, the claim that there is nothing to gay sex but the experience of pleasure is a fallacy perpetrated by the false prophets of post-modernism such as Michel Foucault and his predecessors, the socially-engineered “sexual freedom” movement of the 1960s, the scions of the “Beat generation,” and the benefactors of Nietzschean, proto-fascist doctrine that might (and pleasures that derive from it) makes right.
This is the regrettable legacy that, by default, has persisted in the post-Stonewall gay movement to this day, as “gay liberation” has come to be understood simply as “liberation” from restraints, either in the outside society or in one’s own psyche.
Yet, an alternative interpretation of the meaning of gay sex, in the context of the nature of things, been here all along, one that does not deny the procreative role of sex, but embraces it fully and gives gay sexual desire a special role in creation.
In mythic-poetic form, it is contained in the ancient Greek myth of Ganymede, and it is spelled out more explicitly by the aged female prophet Diotima in The Symposium by Plato (427-347 B.C.).
Erotic attraction for purposes of reproduction is one of the two greatest driving forces of life. It and the mother’s protection of her young account for the perpetuation and survival of the species, and nothing is more important to Mother Nature than this.
When the same powerful erotic attraction is found to be directed in the case of some (the ancient Greek Zodiac has it at one, Ganymede/Aquarius, in 12, a plausible proportion) to the same, not opposite sex, then it is also designed to perpetuate the species. But it goes beyond the simple physical acts of reproduction and protection, which do nothing to account for the progress of the species, but only its survival.
Erotic attraction (which Diotima says is itself a “spirit”) to the same sex provides the passionate ground for the cultivation of beauty and truth in both parties.
“When a man, starting from this sensible world and making his way upward by right use of his feeling of love for young men, begins to catch sight of that beauty…This is the right way of approaching or being initiated into the mysteries of love, to begin with examples of beauty in this world, and using them as steps to ascend continually with that absolute beauty as one’s aim…from physical beauty to moral beauty, and from moral beauty to the beauty of knowledge, until from knowledge of various kinds one arrives at the supreme knowledge whose sole object is that absolute beauty, and knows at last what absolute beauty is,” Diotima says.
The most passionate of erotic attractions and of sexual desire, when drawn from attraction to one of the same sex, is present in creation not simply to devour pleasure, but to be the compelling force that directs both the lover and loved toward a higher and higher appreciations of beauty and knowledge, which leads to universal justice:
“There are some (gays-ed.) whose creative desire is of the soul, and who long to beget spiritually, not physically, the progeny which it is the nature of the soul to create and bring to birth. If you ask what that progeny is, it is wisdom and virtue in general; of this all poets and such craftsmen as have found out some new thing may be said to be begetters; but far the greatest and fairest branch of wisdom is that which is concerned with the due ordering of states and families, whose name is moderation and justice,” Diotima proclaims.
With Stonewall, for the first time since this was written 2,500 years ago, we come onto the scene of history capable of fully embracing and advancing such a potent force of the universe. That notion, that level of personal fulfillment, must not longer be sidetracked by the dogs of shallow hedonism.
To be continued.