|Foucault: History of Sexuality part III (1984)|
The care of the self
Artemidorus The interpretation of dreams
-sex foretells destiny in social life. Ambiguity between sexual and business meaning
Epicureans: to find a fuller, purer, more stable pleasure
Stoics: preparation for possible deprivation. Learn what is absolutely essential so that even the worst misfortune will not deprive one of the things one absolutely needs. To keep a detached mind in midst of abundance.
Self and others:
1/ changes in marital practice - new way to conceive oneself in relation to wife, others , events, civic and political activities, and as the subject of one’s pleasures
2/ modification of rules of political game - with decline of city-states, general withdrawal from political life. Status came to depend more on proximity to the prince, on a civil or military ‘career’, on success in ‘business’, more than an alliance between family groups => marriage freer in choice of wife, and decision to marry. More value placed on personal existence and private life. People in the grip of world powers. Philosophies of escape.
The reality constituted by the couple has a value greater than that of its component parts. More restrictive for spouses.
Formerly ethics implied a close connection between power over oneself and power over others => aesthetics of life that accorded with one's status. In Roman society existence was public, and large gulf separated very small number of wealthy people and very large mass of poor => accentuation of visible status symbols and, in reaction => defining what one is purely in relation to oneself.
Maximus of Tyre lectures - opposition in male relations between true love (virtue, friendship, modesty, stability) and love that is only a simulation (excess, hatred, immodesty, infidelity). Former: take care of beloved, go to battle with him to the death, public. Latter: lover flees the sun and avoids being seen with the one he loves.
Plutarch Dialogue on Love: opposition between relation with boys (doomed but will find other ways of expressing itself in poetry and art) and women. Dialogue about older woman pursuing boy who has a male lover. Assumes two forms of the same love, only difference being object. In boy love, boy ruled by older man, in adult love, law rules. True love for boys could only be a pure love if free of sexual desire (eventually this caveat transforms into strict prohibition).
Boy love contrasts what is artificial about women (adornments and make-up) with naturalness of boys. Sex is natural appetite to draw the two sexes to each other for procreation, and excludes love. Love of boys is higher.
Critic: fancier of boys poses as philosopher and sage but really wants sex. Sex with boys => either rape or consent (=> effeminate). No possibility of uniting Eros and Aphrodite. Pederasty is a love that lacks grace.
Elaboration of a general erotics linking Eros (E) and Aphrodite (A) changes the terms of argument. A sans E is only momentary pleasure. E sans A is also imperfect, like drunkenness without wine (no fruit, no fulfillment from passion) cloying and quickly wearied of. With love of women, can link E and A => enduring friendship.
Pseudo-Lucian Affairs of the heart: nature as provident mechanic (sex for procreation) vs. world formed out of chaos (demiurgic Eros conquered primeval disorder by creating things with a soul (harmony and friendship). Love of boys is bond that triumphs over chaos (love of women merely circumvents extinction of race). Process of civilization is gradual release from primary necessities (not descent into depths of pleasure). The arts and skills make escape from these pressures possible. Weaver’s art: use of animal skins ~ love of boys: intercourse with women. I.e., the higher, more abstract and perfect ideal. Women are ugly, unshapely, requiring make-up, indulging in secret cults.
To go on loving a boy past twenty means lover plays passive part (problematic but not necessarily to be condemned). Transform boy love to manly form when youth at last is capable of reason and can give love in return, obliterating erastes/eronmenos distinction.
Critic: boy love not mutual (boy doesn’t get pleasure (if he does, then he’s effeminate)) vs. with woman. But there is “virtuous commonality” that is exclusive privilege of love of boys.
With Christianity sexual act considered evil. Only OK in marriage. Love of boys unnatural. Sex feared also because many connections with disease and evil. [Today, medicine and birth control (except for AIDS) has allowed relaxing of view of sex as evil/ diseased.] Emphasis on frail individual. Harness sex to nature and reason in more highly structured society. => self-renunciation and/or union with wife for spiritual fulfillment (vs. self-projection (with or without sex) in boy love).