The Daily Logos XVII
“Modern despair is the effect of a disappointed hedonism and centers principally around Sex and Death…. The primacy of Sex is to a great extent due to Sigmund Freud, whose basic principle in his own words is: ‘Human actions and customs derive from sexual impulses, and fundamentally, human wishes are unsatisfied sexual desires…. Consciously or unconsciously, we all wish to unite with our mothers and kill our fathers, as Oedipus did—unless we are female, in which case we wish to unite with our fathers and murder our mothers.’ The major concern of thought is Death. The beautiful philosophy of being is reduced to Dasein, which is only in-der-Welt-sein.1 There is no freedom, no spirit, and no personality. Freedom is for death. Liberty is contingency threatened with complete destruction. The future is nothing but a projection of death. The aim of existence is to look death in the eye.
“Jean-Paul Sartre passes from a phenomenology of sexuality to that which he calls ‘nausea,’ or a brazen confrontation of nothingness, towards which existence tends. Nothing precedes man; nothing follows man. Whatever is opposite him is a negation of his ego, and therefore nothingness. God created the world out of nothingness; Sartre creates nothingness out of the world and the despairing human heart. ‘Man is a useless passion.’
“Agnosticism and Pride were the twin errors the Church had to meet in the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception; now it is the despair resulting from Sex and Death it has to meet in this hour. When the Agnostics of the last century came in contact with the world and its three libidos, they became libertines. But when pleasure diminished and made hungry where most it satisfied, the agnostics, who had become libertines by attaching themselves to the world, now began in disgust to withdraw themselves from the world and became philosophers of Existentialism Philosophers like Sartre, and Heidegger, and others are born of a detachment from the world, not as the Christian ascetic, because he loves God, but because they are disgusted with the world. They become contemplatives, not to enjoy God, but to wallow in their despair, to make a philosophy out of it, to be brazen about their boredom, and to make death the center of their destiny. The new contemplatives are in the monasteries of the jaded, which are built not along the waters of Siloe,2 but along the dark banks of the Styx.
“These two basic ideas of modern thought, Sex and Death, are not unrelated. Freud himself hinted at the union of Eros and Thanatos. Sex brings death, first of all because in sex the other person is possessed, or annihilated, or ignored for the sake of pleasure. But this subjection implies a compression and a destruction for the sake of the Eros. Secondly, death is a shadow which is cast over sex. Sex seeks pleasure, but since it assumes that this life is all, every pleasure is seasoned not only with a diminishing return, but also with the thought that death will end pleasure forever. Eros is Thanatos. Sex is Death.”
-Servant of God, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, The World’s First Love
1 To anyone unfamiliar with this terminology, it is from the philosophical discourse of Martin Heidegger. Dasein is a compound word, the combination of “there,” Da, and “being,” Sein. This term, Dasein, is used to designated human existence. The following phrase, in-der-Welt-sein, translates as “being-in-the-world,” a significant part of the Existentialist dimension to Heidegger’s philosophy, but laden with insights the German philosopher himself seemed to reject on grounds which may only be speculated. Summarily, the work of Heidegger is immensely important in the search for truth, but the reader must be wary of the untruth with which it is laced.
2 The pool where Christ gave sight to the man born blind. See details here.