Navel-gazing = "To be self-absorbed."
We live in a culture of navel-gazers and a manifesto of modern culture would look something like this.
The purpose of life in our modern culture is to have as much selfish pleasure as I can find before my life ends.Thinking through this topic has brought home that we aren't only navel-gazing in our culture - we are also groin-gazing. The purveyors of porn have given our culture what it always wanted - unlimited, easy, free, private access to pornographic pleasures. Nobody needs to know.
Pain is the opposite of a good life.
Life is about me.
Others are of no use if they get in my way of pleasure, including children. That is why we need such things as contraception, abortion, euthanasia, sexual liberation, and freedom from the guilt that comes from ancient moralities tied to religion.
Sex is what I worship, because it is what brings me pleasure. Porn is my god. I am my god.
Others are my rival in my pursuit of attaining pleasure, and thus at best they are tools for me to use to get it.
Money helps buy me pleasure.
Power helps me attain it easier.
To indulge is to satiate my passions for a while, but I can never have enough pleasure. I need more.
Give me more.
More feeling good.
When we look at our sexuality and at any sexual act as merely indulgence of my selfish pleasure, then we become groin-gazers, who are so self-absorbed that we are unable to love others. They are objects. They are not unique and un-repeatable people who are created in the divine image. They are things. We matter. They don't.
Groin-gazers don't love - they use.
Groin-gazers cannot truly love. As Karol Wojtyla (JPII) wrote in Love and Responsibility:
"Man's capacity for love depends on his willingness consciously to seek a good together with others, and to subordinate himself to that good for the sake of others, or to others for the sake of that good. Love is exclusively the portion of human persons"Thus, groin-gazing, unbeknown to most of us, is a denial of human dignity.
But, groin-gazing activities (sex for my own pleasure) is exactly what the culture calls "love". What a paradox. Here is what JPII says:
"'Love' in this utilitarian conception is a union of egoism, which can hold together only on condition that they confront each other with nothing unpleasant, nothing to conflict with their mutual pleasure. Therefore love so understood is self-evidently merely a pretense which has to be careful cultivated to keep the underlying reality hidden: the reality of egoism and the greediest kind of egoism at that, exploiting another person to obtain for itself its own 'maximum pleasure'. In such circumstances the other person is and remains only a means to an end..."Do we really want to be all that we can be as humans? Then the selfishness inherent in groin-gazing must be cast out. Because to be human = living a life for others = love.
Love is the fullest realization of the possibilities inherent in man....The person finds in love the greatest possible fullness of being, of objective existence....Be human.
How should we do this? By being chaste. Not chastity as is commonly thought of. But, chastity that frees us:
"Chastity can only be thought of in association with the virtue of love. Its function is to free love from the utilitarian attitude….The virtue of chastity, whose function it is to free love from utilitarian attitudes, must control not only sensuality and carnal concupiscence, as such, but--perhaps more important--those centers deep within the human being in which the utilitarian attitude is hatched and grows...the more successfully the utilitarian attitude is camouflaged in the will the more dangerous it is...To be chaste means to have a 'transparent' attitude to a person of the other sex--chastity means just that--the interior 'transparency' without which love is not itself"Lord give us all this gift of chaste love.