Thursday, June 11, 2009

Kierkegaard's "A" on the web

Via the secular right blog, I found the interesting blog Roissy in DC. What makes it interesting is that Roissy, from my admittedly casual inspection, seems to be an unselfconscious example of person "A" from Kierkegaard's Either/Or.  For those who don't know or need to be reminded, Either/Or is written in the form of short essays that were "found" by the pseudonymous Victor Eremita. Eremita does not know who wrote the essays, but he is able to deduce that they were written by two different people whom he labels "A" and "B". "A" may be classified as an intellectual hedonist, someone for whom pleasure is the highest good, and to the pursuit of which he turns his considerable intellectual ability. The theme running through A's essays is the nature and pursuit of the erotic, since it captures desire in its most potent form. The first part of Either/Or ends with the famous Diary of the Seducer, the account of a man's quest to capture and exploit the heart of a young woman.

Roissy is reminscent of A, but he doesn't seem to have A's refinement or deep sense of the erotic. Compare, for example the 16 Commandments of Poon with the Diary of the Seducer. Johannes the Seducer would scoff at the "alpha male" stuff, not because it isn't true, but because it aims so low. Getting a girl to go to bed with you isn't that hard, or even getting her to be your "girlfriend." Getting a girl to fall in love with you, real head-over-heels traditional romantic love, then using her and breaking her heart - now that is a challenge and a game worthy of a man. It is a challenge because you must first understand the truly erotic yourself, then educate your woman in it... only then do the highest pleasures of the erotic become available. And you will never understand the erotic if you are locked into a materialist, reductive mindset.

Like A's essays, despair seeps through the cracks of Roissy's blog. Check out rule VII in the Commandments of Poon. "A" was self-aware enough to know that despair is the great enemy of the aesthetic life, and that the true aesthete knows how to keep it at bay through techniques like the "rotation method." Whether such tactics actually hold despair at bay is, of course, another question.


Tony said...

"It is a challenge because you must first understand the truly erotic yourself, then educate your woman in it... only then do the highest pleasures of the erotic become available."

I really like this post, but I have to say that I am kind of on the fence about whether the alpha male or the Seducer is the "better man" (especially considering the secondary source obsession with the possibility that the Seducer is a eunuch).

As the romantic equivalent of Charles Bovary (plus self-consciousness) I might hope that the Seducer gets the upper hand precisely because he achieves erotic interest without ever consummating the ruin of the woman he seduces (therefore avoiding the risk of being known).

But what about the erotic interest of waking up with a woman--what about "holding her close in the morning?" The option isn't either Don Juan or unconsummated aesthetic interest - isn't the risk to "interest" that repetitious love requires the real issue?

Isn't the better man the one willing to risk his entire education and potential aesthetic achievement--his entire style?

David T. said...

yes, that's a good point. The alpha male takes a risk by actually waking up with a woman in the morning.

It may not be as big a risk as we think, however, because the sort of women the alpha male will conquer won't pose a significant erotic challenge anyway. One of the commandments given is that the alpha male should be sexually aggressive, and quickly. This may work on a lot of women, but not on any women worth pursuing, i.e. women with some level of erotic sensibility. It works on women who are used to waking up with strange men anyway, so when the alpha male wakes up with her, what's the big deal? When she gets boring, he dumps her and moves on, and neither of them cares. "Holding her close in the morning" has no substance for the alpha male because he has emptied it of all significance. The alpha male might get Britney Spears, but Scarlett O'Hara dismisses him with a wave of her hand. Erotically speaking, I would say the Seducer wins if he is able to capture the heart of one Scarlett O'Hara (even if he doesn't consummate it), no matter if the alpha male scores a busload of Britney Spears.