Luke Niebler

Pornogrammatology.

Luke Niebler

Q: I used to like watching porn a lot, but recently I've been feeling guilty about it. I feel guilty because I'm in a relationship, and because I feel like I might be exploiting the person who's video I'm watching. Should I feel bad for watching so much porn, and what kind of porn is best to watch?

Yours,

 anybody with an internet connection

 

A: You say that you “used to like watching porn,” which places you as an outside observer, the omniscient Gaze that observes but doesn’t touch. Enjoyment, in this case, is based purely on your own egoist desire, asymptotically approaching the object without fully obtaining it. In fact, attainment of an object often leads to increased disappointment since it is the end of desire, and thus the end of your will to being. Your use of pornography creates the illusion of panopticonic control—you can see but the actors cannot. However, since you have no power over these particular actors, your twisted need to see without being seen also operates outside of satisfaction. Pornography, like a Mobius strip tease, endlessly doubles back on itself, continually moving closer and farther away from the object of desire.

 

Now that you have a more complete understanding of desire, you can see that your satisfaction has taken place totally within the confines of desire—it entirely egotistical and never directed to the exploitative art form that has become its focus. You must begin to see desire as an object/ive in-and-of-itself, rather than a symptom caused by something outside of yourself. Indeed, fully reaching and incorporating something outside of the Ego would cause the Self to utterly collapse, creating a new synthetic Self with little relation to “you.”

 

As a result, avoid exploitative forms of commodified art; you can find similar erotic desire from watching bread rise or reading the phone book. Perhaps you should start masturbating to Nordic Slow Television or Andy Warhol’s film Empire.