What an English clergyman said about pornography 250 years ago

Discussion in 'Rebooting - Porn Addiction Recovery' started by AZ2121, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. AZ2121

    AZ2121 Fapstronaut

    12
    27
    13
    These are words taken from a sermon of an English clergyman and man of letters called William Dodd, who preached during the reign of king George III:

    "Loose and obscene prints and pictures, which, to the great scandal of good manners and religion, are not only engraved and sold, but publicly exposed in the most frequented parts of the metropolis, are a species of corruption eminently fatal to the minds of our people in general, and of our youth in particular. Let me exhort, let me advise, let me beseech you, my young friends, never to contemplate, much less to purchase or possess any of those seducing and lascivious representations, which you will find the panders and patrons of vice so solicitous to recommend to your notice and attention. They should justly be held in abhorrence; as monsters which, however enchanting they may seem at the first view, are foul serpents in the end, full of poison, and the mothers of Death."

    "You will find, my young friends, the combat with your passions sufficiently strong. You will find that every method you can use to keep those passions in subjection will be requisite. But if you allow yourselves the use of anything which serves to inflame and arouse those passions, how can you ever expect a victory over them?"
     
  2. bigman73

    bigman73 Fapstronaut

    19
    8
    3
    Great post man,seems he was really up to something at that time
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  3. That post is so relevant today even though it was put together all those years ago.
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  4. VexedCoffee

    VexedCoffee Fapstronaut

    52
    46
    18
    I'm a huge C.S Lewis fan :)

    "For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself . . . . And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination.

    The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce, art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions etc. which ought to be sought outside in the real world—e.g. picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving. Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison."
     
  5. Ocean Man

    Ocean Man Fapstronaut

    146
    107
    43
    Strong words for a strong cause.
    Really interesting stuff right here!
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  6. AZ2121

    AZ2121 Fapstronaut

    12
    27
    13
    Thank you for your kind words everybody. @VexedCoffee Thank you for that most interesting quotation, which I have made sure to save.

    I thought it would be curious to add one more quotation to this thread, which I also met with only very recently: As it turns out, Aristotle, one of the greatest philosophers and scientists in the history of Western civilization, who flourished 2,400 years ago, thought pornography so harmful that he wanted to outlaw it, which he states in his Politics, 7.1336b. These are his words in full:

    "The lawgiver ought to banish indecent talk out of the state altogether (for light talk about anything disgraceful soon passes into action)—most of all from among the young, so that they may not say nor hear anything of the sort; and anybody found saying or doing any of the things prohibited, if he is of free station but not yet promoted to reclining at the public meals, must be punished with marks of dishonour and with beating, and an older offender must be punished with marks of dishonour degrading to a free man, because of his slavish behaviour. And since we banish any talk of this kind, clearly we must also banish the seeing of either pictures or representations that are indecent. The officials must therefore be careful that there may be no sculpture or painting that represents indecent actions, except in the temples of a certain class of gods to whom the law allows even scurrility; but in regard to these the law permits men still of suitable age to worship the gods both on their own behalf and on behalf of the children and women."

    Put together this quotation, the one from Dodd, and that from C. S. Lewis, and you have testimony from eminent people respectively flourishing 2,400 years ago, 250 years ago, and 80 years ago, all expressing their firm conviction as to the harms of pornography.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2016
    VexedCoffee likes this.
  7. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Fapstronaut

    love this!
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  8. wj2727

    wj2727 Fapstronaut

    191
    393
    63
     
  9. wj2727

    wj2727 Fapstronaut

    191
    393
    63
    So inspiring and so head and heart based. Thank you op
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  10. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Fapstronaut

    love this too!
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  11. Yesodi

    Yesodi Distinguished Fapstronaut

    317
    315
    63
    Thanks for adding that interesting quotation by Aristotle. However, it might be relevant to point out that what was considered "decent" or "indecent" in Aristotle's time -- and almost certainly by Aristotle himself -- is drastically different when compared against today's standards. Specifically, pederasty, often with pubescent boys as young as 12, was an accepted norm -- which today would surely be considered pedophilia.
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  12. AZ2121

    AZ2121 Fapstronaut

    12
    27
    13
    @Yesodi The word here used in the original Greek referring to what class of pictures and sculptures should be prohibited is ἀσχήμων or aschemon. Both it and its cognates refer to any and all things of an unseemly nature, including sexual things. Now something as visually mild as this was by the ancient Greeks considered "ἀσχήμων": "Plutarch, writing in the late first century A. D., records that Philip of Macedon was sitting down with his tunic pulled up in "an unseemly way," exposing himself in front of slaves. The person who pointed this out to Philip was declared to be a true friend." (Moralia, 178D.) Again we are informed by Plutarch that men who stripped off their clothes in the baths with women were committing an act which was ἀσχήμων. (Fragments, 85.) So that, if it was considered ἀσχήμων for a man to wear his tunic in such a way as to expose himself, or for men to go naked in the baths with women; what Aristotle here refers to by the word ἀσχήμων in regard to statues and pictures, must certainly include all imagery which we should today conceive of as being pornographic.

    It is not directly pertinent to this discussion, and it would be inappropriate to delve into the matter too deeply in this subforum, but, as you have raised the point, I will just briefly point out here that there is a great deal of popular falsehood associated with the notion of there having been a universal toleration towards pederasty in ancient Greece. Plutarch, for example, gives us the following anecdote about Aristotle's most famous pupil, Alexander the Great, in his work "On the Fortune of Alexander": "When Philoxenus, the governor of the coast-lands of Asia Minor, wrote to Alexander that there was in Ionia a youth, the like of whom for bloom and beauty did not exist, and inquired in his letter whether he should send the boy on to him, Alexander wrote bitterly in reply, "Vilest of men, what deed of this sort have you ever been privy to in my past that now you would flatter me with the offer of such pleasures?"

    Again, the same writer informs us, in his Ancient Customs of the Spartans, that "Affectionate regard for boys of good character was permissible [among them]; but embracing them was held to be disgraceful, on the ground that the affection was for the body and not for the mind. Any man," he continues, "against whom complaint was made of any disgraceful embracing was deprived of all civic rights for life." I might adduce many dozens more quotations to these; but, as I say, this subforum (I suppose) is not really the most appropriate place to discuss the matter, and so I shall leave off here.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2016
  13. Yesodi

    Yesodi Distinguished Fapstronaut

    317
    315
    63
    Well, it's quite obvious that you are very learned in these matters, so who am I -- a total layperson -- to argue? :oops:
     
    AZ2121 likes this.
  14. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Fapstronaut

    this was actually a 'custom' that was 'picked up' from the persians (still goes on in Afghanistan) and like homosexuality in republic rome -was a seen as foreign, imported decadence.
     

Share This Page