Juxtaposing the Carnal and the Spiritual through Attraction.
Theme: Perspectives on the Topic of Attraction
Length: 2,200 words
Reading Time: 13 minutes
- DeepStrength wrote a response about Objective and subjective attraction measures and what the Church can do about it (2022-8-18).
- Thedeti has written a large number of comments and a post, The Delusion of the Good (2022-8-19), arguing for the immutable paramountcy of “natural” evo-psyche attraction.
- Juliana wrote another email to me with some additional thoughts.
- Update: Catacomb Resident has voiced his evaluation of this discussion in Desire versus Desire (2022-8-25).
Here, I’ll respond to Thedeti’s comments and DS’s post, report some relevant comments from Juliana, and summarize the main points of the discussion around the topic of a “Christian Culture of Attraction.”
Ironing out the Issues
“There seems to be some confusion and possible disagreement on various objective and subjective attraction measures…”
Yes. Some readers have latched onto the idea that my last post was largely concerned about somehow changing the nature of “natural” evo-psyche based attraction. I agree that it isn’t possible to change the visceral effects of the basic SMV vectors of attraction which have been exhaustively discussed around the sphere. But this wasn’t my point.
One of the big postulates in my last post is that much of what we call sexual attraction is primarily of the flesh. Men’s obsession with T&A and sowing their wild oats is fleshly in nature. Female hypergamy and women’s attraction to bad boys is fleshly in nature. The Bible calls us not to be fleshly minded, but to set our sights on the things of the spirit (e.g. Romans 8). (I know this is easier said than done.) Would this not also apply to how we regard attraction?
My argument in the last post was not that sexual attraction can be changed such that women are not hypergamous, not attracted to bad boys, and so on, but that it can be regulated and guided to some extent, for both men and women, at least enough to allow sanctification in marriage. It must be possible, otherwise Christian marriages will be held hostage by the fleshly nature, as well as the secular world’s systems of values, and therefore doomed to fail. The concluding point was that we as Christians should understand how to do this, develop methods for doing this (readers have already contributed several actionable steps), and then do what we can.
You Breed What You Feed
“I think Jack errs a bit in using his own experience for saying that “You Breed What You Feed” and using his own example.”
I don’t think “You Breed What You Feed” contains much of an error.
- A guy who jerks off all the time will succumb to lust.
- A guy who watches cuckold p0rn will develop a taste for the same.
- A woman who hates and distrusts men will be rejected by them and learn to hate them more.
- A woman who bangs Chads will develop a strong affinity for Chads to the exclusion of all non-Chads.
- A woman who remains a virgin until marriage and cultivates love and respect for her husband will find more satisfaction in marriage than one who does not.
- My own story (in my last post) was offered as another example of this. I had more positive interactions with Asian women, so I learned to appreciate it and got more of the same.
And so on. This should be common sense, but apparently it is not.
With attraction, we can chase after the desires of the flesh, and stoke up our sinful passions until we are either acting them out or are frustrated for not doing so, or else we can focus on the things of the Spirit and learn to place our hope and faith in God. I realize that this is an unsatisfying dilemma, and that it is hard to face this truth. But this is the same choice that Christians have faced since antiquity, hence all the suffering for the sake of righteousness.
This brings up the question, how are we to concentrate on the things of God in spite of our own fleshly desires, and make this a self-supporting habit even while we are constantly inundated by the world’s influences?
Sex me up with Sexy Sexed up Sexualized Sexuality! Gimmee SSSEEEXXX Baybeee!!!
Another issue of confusion is that it is extremely hard for us to break free from the secular sex-centric thinking and value system that has engulfed Western society and has become prevalent even within the church. From my observations, Western readers are wholly incapable of comprehending just how deeply this is embedded in their psychology and values. This completely ubiquitous preoccupation with everything sexual (culminating in 74 gender identities, a high divorce rate, gender dysphoria, polysexuality, widespread immorality, and so on) is the cathartic idol of our age, and women’s behaviors are the proof. It is like a blinding obsession that must never be violated in principle.
“I wonder if it’s even possible to completely understand the depth of sexual wounding we’ve all suffered, and to explain how entirely obsessed we are, seems even more difficult. It is, however, something we must attempt if we are to survive.”
I have no doubt that many people (maybe most of us around these parts) are in the habit of ruminating over some aspect of the self (e.g. desire for companionship, loneliness, marriage, masculinity, sexual expression, sexual temptation, supercharged libido, etc.) in the hope of finding contentment, fulfillment, healing, peace, and restoration. Our sexuality is an integral part of this.
All these factors make it difficult for us to take off the sex colored glasses.
Aren’t we Overemphasizing the Carnal Component of Attraction?
When Thedeti argues for the immutable paramountcy of “natural” evo-psyche attraction, I read this as him saying that the flesh is more powerful than any faith in the Spirit and that it is useless for us to think otherwise. IOW, we are all slaves of sin, subject to the market dynamics of the SMP, and faith in Christ makes no difference. Hoes gonna hoe, and God doesn’t care if you find a wife! This reckoning is anathema to the gospel.
DS’s post emphasizes the individual man’s development of the “natural” evo-psyche qualities of attraction (e.g. staying physically active, lifting, looksmaxing, losing weight, etc.). DS finishes his post with this.
“These are things that can be implemented in various Churches and the wider community, as well as teaching men and women that some of their feelings/desires in the opposite sex are flirting with disaster…”
“Preparing young men and women for that is critical, and it needs to be followed through.”
Yes! This conclusion agrees with the purpose of my last post. However, although these habits are helpful and maybe even necessary towards mastering the flesh (1 Corinthians 9:24-27), it is still an effort in the flesh. For the grand majority of men, this is an uphill climb with limited benefits, and many men have already come to the conclusion that this is not enough.
Juliana reached the same conclusion, but for different reasons.
“The idea of sexual attraction so you can’t “see straight” is nonsensical and removes female agency. God would not hold us accountable for sexual sin if we were unable to see straight when doing it. Women know exactly what they are doing when they give themselves sexually.”
I’m flabbergasted!!! Do women have agency?!? /S (I’ll examine this later this year.)
Jesus Came in the Flesh
2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God.1 John 4:2-3 (NKJV)
14 Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.Hebrews 2:14-15 (NKJV)
The perfect incarnation of Christ is a mystery that we accept on faith. But attraction, bonding, marriage, sex, and trust are avenues through which we may better understand how the carnal and the spiritual are intertwined.
Of course, sexual attraction is an integral part of a sanctified marriage, and so it must be included and accounted for, but it should be noted that the fleshly desires (e.g. male lust, female hypergamy, etc.) are the prime motivators behind a “natural” evo-psyche style attraction. Furthermore, we cannot rely on attraction as a blanket reason for justifying the demands of the flesh and the deeds of the sinful nature. Even if a man or woman succeeds in making himself more attractive, enough to find a mate, then it doesn’t mean that he has made any spiritual progress in sanctification or in mastering the sinful nature. The latter will lie dormant until a time when circumstance and opportunity let it emerge to do its damage. Getting himself together, losing weight, working out, and so on, might make him more attractive to women, but unless there are marriage worthy women available and willing to tie the knot, it also exposes him to more temptation and more opportunities to screw around. Real spiritual growth and a bit of Red Pill awareness, OTOH, will attract better quality women who would be more likely to marry.
Remember DS’s Rule of Reciprocality: Like attracts like; Birds of a feather flock together.
Also remember, our eternal goal is our sanctification and to glorify God, not to satisfy our insatiable sexual appetites and our desire to be humbled through aesthetic and visceral attraction.
Isn’t there a Spiritual Component of Attraction?
In her letter, Juliana said DS is correct in saying those pictures of men’s ideal body types (on DS’s post) create attraction for women, in the same way similar pictures of women create attraction for men. But what he doesn’t explain is that if you take away the character and personality, then of course everyone would choose a particular range of body types. For this reason, she says,
“I object to the idea that visceral attraction explains everything about attraction.”
“One of the reasons I read everything Zippy wrote is because he opened my mind to the errors of nominalism and reductionism. I’m not nearly as smart as he was and so I don’t totally understand the ways modernity has damaged us, but I do know that reducing people to only their sexual attractions is very bad. The long tradition of monasticism should at the least inform us that it is possible to rise above our appetites with the help of God.”
In a couple comments, I described a little about the role of mythos in attraction. This will be the subject of an upcoming post. I don’t think mythos can completely account for all the metaphysical aspects of attraction, but it is certainly one important piece of the pie.
Case Study – Juliana’s Story
Juliana wrote her own testimony about how this all worked out for her.
“It looks like supporting Zippy’s point by using my story has ended up with the post being highjacked. To clarify: I was sexually attracted to my husband, [even though he was not at all like one of the ideal body types in DS’s post], and he is not what some of your commenters would call alpha. (I intensely dislike the reduction involved in the Greek letter system, so please don’t read this as saying anything at all about my husband.) I chose a man I was both attracted to and who would pass my dad’s requirements. My sister also chose [a man who didn’t have the ideal body type]. These men were on our radar because they were held up as examples of husband material, which by definition was a good man. They were normal weight, but otherwise didn’t match [what is purported to be an ideal physique]. We now have enduring marriages, but not as a result of sexual attraction; rather, as a result of our total commitment to marriage as a sacrament. Personally, I have found that attraction increases as oneness increases.”
Make of it what you will, but I see this as evidence of metaphysical attraction. I suppose the male equivalent would be wife goggles.
In addition to personal development, we need to foster a family / community environment that is not so much focused on gratifying the desires of the flesh, but is instead marked by (1) a Biblical / Red Pill awareness of the fleshly nature, (2) protecting women from becoming slores, and (3) guiding young people to make conscious decisions and wise choices in order to achieve sexual contentment and marital sanctification. This is why a supporting community is necessary.
“I believe the way forward is catechesis, not some “meet cute” magic, because God has given us what we need. His remedy of marriage isn’t culture dependent, but right now most Christians just don’t understand what marriage is – [the church’s] reduction … of marriage to nothing more than a remedy for burning is not terribly compelling, especially given the nonstop negative assault on it. It is most especially not compelling to the feminine mind.”
In my previous post, I called this Christian Red Pill catechesis + family / community environment a “Christian Culture of Attraction” for lack of a better description. I suppose it is my fault that many readers have jumped on the word “Attraction” and ignored the words “Christian Culture”. I should be more apperceptive of our sex-centric thinking.
The challenge for us now is to identify ways to do this, and to then carry them out. More on this will be forthcoming.
- Σ Frame: The Feminine Dilemma (2018-10-27)
- Σ Frame: Sexual Compatibility is dependent on Sanctification (2020-3-2)
- Σ Frame: Humility and Defilement (2020-6-17)
- Σ Frame: Sanctification and Sexual Compatibility (2020-6-19)
- Σ Frame: The Masculine Dilemma (2020-12-13)
- Σ Frame: The Christian Marriage Dilemma (2021-2-26)
- Σ Frame: How is Godliness Attractive? (2021-9-1)
- Σ Frame: Elements of Spiritual Maturity (2021-9-15)
- Σ Frame (Red Pill Apostle): Dating in the Lion’s Den: Relying on Faith when the options are daunting (2021-12-13)
- Σ Frame: Towards a more complete appreciation of Sanctification (2022-1-10)