An important part of the study of the instinctive center has to do with sex. This function, so deeply embedded in the machinery of life, has been described by some investigators as a center in its own right. We can, if we choose, speak of a sex center or a “sexual brain” located predominantly in the hypothalamus but with many ramifications both cortical and subcortical and with a hormonal feedback mechanism linking it both to the pituitary and to the gonads. Or we can think of the sexual function as a part of the instinctive center which, in man at least, is no longer really instinctive but dominated by the “higher brain,” hedged in by all manner of artificial taboos.
The interference of the roof brain with the sexual function is peculiar to man and a source, as Freud never wearied of proclaiming, of much of what passes for “mental” illness. It seems to be characteristic of the human animal that it cannot accept its sexual function in the same uncritical way as it accepts its need for food and air. Both the intellectual and the emotional centers interfere with this function, and their interference, in many cases, is disastrous in its effects. Indeed, some of the most horrendous doings in the history of the “bloodstained hominid” (the witch hysteria of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, for example) were the direct outcome of the interference of these centers with the sexual function.
The student of Creative Psychology, raised in a culture which still tends to put sex in a big black box and hide it under the bed, is liable to encounter difficulties when he approaches a study of this function. His confusion is apt to be increased by the pontifications of various so-called authorities, especially those affiliated with the Judeo-Christian Guilt Cult, who declare that celibacy is a condition of the “higher life” and that there is some special virtue in continence. The view is not confined to the Christian tradition; it occurs in Buddhist and Hindu teachings, also.
Actually, there is no evidence to suggest that abstaining from sexual experience enhances a person’s capacity for attaining either the fourth or the fifth state of consciousness. Indeed, there is much evidence to the contrary. The “struggle with the flesh” that engaged that engaged such a large proportion of the energies of hermits, monks and “holy men” produced, in many cases, mere cripples and neurotics or devil-obsessed psychopaths whose ingrown lusts, transformed into cruelty and religious intolerance, compelled them to project their deformed fantasies onto the minds of their fellowmen, whom they proceeded to burn alive for such fancied offences as having sexual intercourse with devils. These people would have been healthier, happier, better adjusted and more filled with the milk of human kindness if they had accepted Eros intead of denying him.
The Christian tradition has long tried to put love into two compartments, one labeled “sacred” and the other, “profane.” This has no biological justification. The sexual function can be used as a means of experiencing higher states of consciousness, a fact well known to the ancient world, from which orgiastic rites had not been banished. However, such an experience is possible only when the sexual function has been trained to operate without interference from the intellectual brain. In our culture sex has become more and more cerebral. We think about it, write about it, talk about it, cold-eyed sexologists gather statistics about it, so that the whole sexual mechanism becomes permeated with verbalizing. This, plus the residue of guilt and shame that, despite more enlightened attitudes, continues to haunt us, puts pure sexual experience out of the reach of many people. They simply cannot let the sex center alone and allow themselves to be carried along on the flood of direct erotic awareness, a powerful primeval force and one which is essentially benign.
If left to itself, the sexual center can teach us much. It is wise, profound, ancient and very powerful. It can operate at different levels of consciousness. In the second state, the Room of Dreams, it can conjure up the entire sexual act, providing a dream partner and inducing, in the male at least, both erection of the penis and seminal discharge. Its operation, in the third state of consciousness, may range from a mere transient relief of tension to a profound, insight-giving experience which, by its orgiastic power can force even scattered disharmonized human beings to become aware, if only for a moment, of its wordless wisdom and its primordial magic. Operating in the fourth state of consciousness, it puts a man or a woman directly into contact with the enormous generative force working all through nature once worshipped in the form of Eros and Aphrodite. In this state sex can reveal to a man or a woman certain secrets concerning the energies of the body that are difficult to attain by other means.
Some of the secrets are hinted at in various Tantras, in which the use of maithuna is described. These practices appeared most improper to the authorities during the days of the British raj and the view became widespread that there was something very obscene and wicked about the Tantras in general. Actually, all talk of morality in this connection are irrelevant. There is an aspect of physiological yoga in which sexual energy is utilized to awaken certain powers within the body. There is nothing particularly perilous about the practice, but it involves mastery over nervous pathways which, in both male and female, are associated with the training in sexual awareness, conscious control of processes that are normally autonomic. Intentional placing of awareness picks up and amplifies certain faint signals from within the depths of the organism. The practitioner is brought into contact with deep biological levels of his own being and with the being of his opposite, his shakti, the female element. What he learns is beyond the reach of words. He cannot describe it. If he tries to do so, he merely spoils the experience. The symbols of the intellectual brain can never fully express the quality of Dionysian experience.
[A cute video done by BBC on babies and the instinctive reaction to food: “Human Instinct”]
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