Mar 13, 2022

flesh becomes ensouled

What a long and tricky process, no? To meet someone, to get to know them, to want to possess the good for all time by passing it down with them, and to celebrate and instantiate this in the moment of sex. It’s almost as if…one couldn’t do it in a single night. Surely it must take time, letting the body of another human being gradually take on this responsibility, the responsibility of being a physical symbol of a spiritual craving.

I learned from my earlier researches that in sex the soul makes itself flesh and the flesh becomes ensouled. In the fulfillment of eros, the following-through on the captivation with another person, it is not just the soul generally speaking that is made flesh, it is the soul at its very best, the best of that soul, ready to be immortalized. When I have sex with someone about whom I have this feeling it is as if I say to her: “You are good, and I want to take the good in you and pass it on, which I find sexually arousing.” Thankfully I don’t say these things out loud, nor do I recommend doing so. Nor does one need to say them, because the body says them. And I have no idea how the body could say those things to another body it has just met; that is a gap that requires time for the crossing.

—from S.G. Belknap’s startlingly original essay called “Sex and Sensibility” in the winter issue of The Point. Sometimes the philosopher’s commitment to first principles can make him an obnoxious party guest, but just as often that commitment is exactly what’s called for: a digging past the vague unease with life’s conundrums, a refusal of agonized self-awareness as the stopping point of all observation, and instead a relentless search for enduring ideas in contemporary life. A dialogue with the ancients and a lucid candor in both intellect and affect. A search for what is true.