April 16th, 2006

Ah Easter, a time to remember the true meaning of spring: sex, sex, and more sex.

It’s also a time to sit down, lick the decadent ooze out of a Cadbury cream egg, and reflect a bit on ourselves. April, after all, is “the cruellest month,” when, like it or not, our love for life and our libidos return with the changing weather.

And just like April, our love of sex keeps coming back for more. Nothing to be done. The question is “Why?” Of course, our bodies are programmed for it — millions of years of evolution and the like. But really, in our technological modernity, why bother?

Sex, in short, has moved beyond its reproductive function. We’ve even brought it onto the internet, a place where the reproduction is no longer even possible. So why (and yes, be forewarned, this is a philosophical question) do we keep wanting sex when sex — and therefore maybe we too — has outlived its use?

We are physical beings progressing into a virtual world. What will become of our bodies? What will become of evolution? And what has become of us already when our physicalities and our realities no longer coincide?

A happy, and thoughtful, Easter to all…

Tags: Blog

10 Responses to “Make like the Bunnies”

  1. Patrick Says:

    I spent my Easter stoned from morning till passing out at 11:00, and I only knew it was Easter when I ignore my parent’s phone call and checked the message they left. Evidently someone died for our sins and ressurected. I wonder what Jesus would have thought of Second Life (it took him thirty three years to learn how to fly).

    I get proportionally more action in April than any other month of the year, its crazy. As I type this I’m actually kinda horny. This is probabaly because our body chemistry has been tuned by millions of years of evolution (though does it make sense to have babies be born in the fall?).

    I like what you’re saying about the human race progressing into the virtual. Its totally fucking happening. And when I say totally FUCKING happening, thats just how I mean it.

    So far I’ve encountered three metaphors for interactivity, conversation (turn-based, platonic, the Crawford defintion), sex (god bless Brenda Braithewaite, and uh, Kelly too, since she reads this blog) and psychotropic substances (games as drugs, thats my personal favorite).

    So in the virtual or the real, interaction is what goes on. But its nice when its all wet and sweaty.

  2. Brummbar Says:

    We are physical beings progressing into a virtual world. What will become of our bodies? What will become of evolution? And what has become of us already when our physicalities and our realities no longer coincide?

    Much love, Herr Doktor von Bonnie, but we are not even remotely close to this state of affairs. It’s far more likely that, in the near future, people will be able to breathe underwater through bio-mechanical surgical alteration. Radical heightening of visual and auditory acuity are also right around the corner. All sorts of good/bad stuff is coming, but we’re going to be stuck in these meatbags for quite some time to come.

  3. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    Brummbar: All sorts of good/bad stuff is coming, but we're going to be stuck in these meatbags for quite some time to come.

    Sure, in a physical sense, but think about the number of ways in our modern world that we disconnect from our physicality. The internet is, of course, the greatest example of this. I know I’m not the only person who’s forgotten that they were hungry, or that they needed to use the bathroom, while sitting in front of a screen. There’s already a large disconnect from our corporeal forms, and how we present ourselves online. Games like Second Life only further demonstrate this. There’s more than one way to escape a meatbag. -sj

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Games as drugs, thats my personal favorite
    Do explain…

    Much love, Herr Doktor von Bonnie, but we are not even remotely close to this state of affairs.
    Oh, Brummbar, I don’t mean it like that. I know we’re not going to be floating through cyberspace any time soon. I mean: What are the philosophical ramifications of living non-physical lives through physical bodies? But breathing under water does sound fun :-).

    Sure, in a physical sense, but think about the number of ways in our modern world that we disconnect from our physicality.
    And don’t forget the overworked players who die from physical exhaustion. Talk about a breaking point between the physical and the virtual.

  5. FerrousBuller Says:

    It’s so cute how young people always think they’re the first to discover sex is fun. :-)

    Sex moved “beyond” its reproductive function the first time we noticed it was a pleasurable activity, just as eating moved beyond sustaining the body the first time we noticed how tasty food can be. The root of both those pleasures may be our biological imperatives, but we moved past necessity a long time ago.

    Furthermore, “sex without sex” has been around a long time, too. Phone sex, I’m sure, has been around since someone figured out how to make a buck off it. In Ye Olden Days, “making love” to a woman didn’t mean having sex, it meant romantic conversation – i.e., flirting. And what is flirting if not verbal foreplay? Imagine, coining a term for that before it became an euphemism for actual sex! And what is the love letter if not an effort to stoke the romantic passions of both the writer and the reader? Sure, the Internet has provided us with new tools and broadened our horizons; yet we’re still using it to explore the same old shit. :-)

    As for our “virtual lives,” a bit of a reality check, let’s all bear in mind that we represent a relatively tiny sliver of humanity: those with sufficient access to technology and the economic means to sustain a virtual existence, coupled with a prediliction towards enjoying – if not outright preferring – our digital lives in addition to our physical ones. The vast majority of humanity is still stuck living mundane, all-too-physical (and frequently crappy) lives. While we may represent the future of the world’s intelligentsia, to argue that we will determine humanity’s future evolution is a bit like arguing that a particular breed of Shitsu will determine the future of all canines. :-)

    Finally, ignoring the needs of one’s body to the detriment of one’s health is hardly new. People have had the capacity to be self-destructively obsessive for a really long time. MMORPGs just give us an interesting new way of doing it. :-)

  6. MD² Says:

    Sex moved "beyond" its reproductive function the first time we noticed it was a pleasurable activity.

    :?

    I don’t know, I’d rather say sex became a pleasurable activity as a countermeasure of our noticing it was a function… but then people say I’m twisted.

    Furthermore, "sex without sex" has been around a long time, too. Phone sex, I'm sure, has been around since someone figured out how to make a buck off it. In Ye Olden Days, "making love" to a woman didn't mean having sex, it meant romantic conversation – i.e., flirting. And what is flirting if not verbal foreplay? Imagine, coining a term for that before it became an euphemism for actual sex! And what is the love letter if not an effort to stoke the romantic passions of both the writer and the reader? Sure, the Internet has provided us with new tools and broadened our horizons; yet we're still using it to explore the same old shit. :-)

    You should read french medieval treatise on chivalry from the 12-13 century, I’m sure you’d be pleasantly surprised. :)

    So why do we keep wanting sex when sex "” and therefore maybe we too "” has outlived its use?

    Has it ?
    Isn’t it more something like the next step in evolution ? A portion of the population keeps tending to the procreative needs of the population while a minority of economicaly favored takes steps further in the machine/human symbiosis. Thus is one problem (over-population) slowly getting dealt with (in due time, when the new strucutre in which populations can easily re-locate according to societal needs has come to fruition) while a new one (a general loss of community via hyper-balkanisation, yet general uniformisation of cultural processes, if not form and content) is created.

    Late Happy Easter.

  7. Bonnie Says:

    A couple of things re: Patrick’s comment that occurred to me last night:

    I get proportionally more action in April than any other month of the year, its crazy. As I type this I'm actually kinda horny. This is probabaly because our body chemistry has been tuned by millions of years of evolution (though does it make sense to have babies be born in the fall?).
    A baby conceived in April wouldn’t be born in the fall. Not to be condescending, but 4 + 9 = 13, so you’re looking at a January birth. Does that all make sense in an evolutionary kind of way? – not really, actually, based on the way winter food supplies normally work. I could never get a straight answer from an expert on this one though…

    So far I've encountered three metaphors for interactivity, conversation (turn-based, platonic, the Crawford defintion), sex (god bless Brenda Braithewaite)
    Where does Brenda talk about this? I mean, I get that she’s a sex developer, and that she has worked on forms of interactive sex, but, unless I’m missing something — and feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — that’s certainly not an original idea.

    Anyways…

    As for our "virtual lives," a bit of a reality check, let's all bear in mind that we represent a relatively tiny sliver of humanity.
    We may only be a sliver of humanity, but other people are similarly passing up their bodies in other ways. TV, desk jobs, you name it. The question applies to plenty of things beyond MMO’s.

    Sex moved "beyond" its reproductive function the first time we noticed it was a pleasurable activity.
    I suppose you could look at it that, but, more literally, we’re living in a time period that is very different than the rest of human history. Technology physical removes us from our sexual partners; effective contraception removes sex from its reproductive purposes. It’s hardly the same old same old.

  8. FerrousBuller Says:

    “The question applies to plenty of things beyond MMO's.”

    Yes, but so does my answer. :-) Again, those with the economic means for and access to such indulgences remain a fairly small portion of humanity. And the tides of history can easily sweep us away: I’m sure the Romans felt quite confident about their place in the world right up until Rome got sacked by the Visigoths.

    “It's hardly the same old same old.”

    *shrug* Depends on how you look at it. The more technophilic tend to think about the ways technology will “revolutionize” our lives. I’m usually more cynical about human nature: some things never change.

    We still need to eat and drink and sleep and shit. We need clothing and shelter – protection from the elements – most of the time. We’re petty, stupid, selfish, small-minded, materialistic creatures of instinct, of want, of need. We fight over land and power and money, usually in the name of God. While some are driven by higher pursuits, for most life remains a struggle simply to survive.

    The fact technology has broadened our leisure time pursuits doesn’t really change any of that. Just means those of us living in bubbles have more ways of keeping ourselves amused.

  9. Bonnie Says:

    We fight over land and power and money, usually in the name of God.
    Ah, but here’s something that is changing. Where’s God on the internet? How many MMO-goers engage in in-world religions? Maybe are needs really are shifting. Or maybe God was just a way to fill needs that technological is meeting in other ways…

  10. FerrousBuller Says:

    Religion has never been an off/on thing. Faith has always existed on a continuum. There are those who are quite devout in their beliefs and those who pay their religion only lip service and those with doubts and those who reject religion entirely. And obviously, there have been a multitude of religions throughout history. The advent of MMOGs hardly heralds a new era in spirituality (or lack thereof) for the general mass of humanity; and for the majority of those who play, they’re just a pastime, not the focus of their lives.

    Or put another way: even if every person in an MMOG is a godless heathen, they still only represent a sliver of humanity as a whole; and there’s nothing new about godless heathens. :-)

    The general point I’m trying to make is that I don’t think the fundamental questions and concerns about human existence change; new technology just gives us interesting new ways of approaching those questions. The Internet itself is just the latest permutation of an age-old human activity: the exchange of information and, in the process, the building of communities. The nature of those communities are quite different from real-world communities in a number of respects, but they are all the same in the most crucial element: people drawn together by common threads, interacting with one another.

    Now, in 20 or 30 years, when we’re all brains in jars, we can have this conversation again and see where we stand – or float, as the case may be. :-)

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