Which is not to say that I have not been thinking. Nor that I have left my ego behind. No, it is still very present as I type this - then go back and delete what I have already said. I still want to appear clever and am very pleased when people tell me that I am. I have been wondering, in fact, how much of my desire to write is just a grown-up way of saying, "Look at me, mummy!"
And, of course, much of it is. Furthermore, I have the definite suspicion that much male endeavour - whether it be in the arts, sport or business - is simply refined primate display behaviour - to gain access to sexual partners.
Perhaps. But I do not believe it matters and it certainly is not the whole story. Freud's major insight was that many of our drives are unconscious and that sexuality was an important part of this. He was wrong, however, in his dismissal of spirituality - although he is certainly not alone in this as many modern prosyletisers of scientism such as Richard Dawkins also claim that human behaviour is largely determined by the need to reproduce.
Such materialism, however, whether it be freudian theory or evolutionary biology, seems to me to miss a major point. Whatever the mechanism, life itself and the self -awareness to observe it is fundamentally inexplicable in scientific terms. We can measure, perhaps, the "how" but the "why" remains mystery. We can be told that "why?" is a meaningless question but it nevertheless remains and is ineradicable. We seem programmed to ask questions, "why?" being foremost among them, as most parents will testify - I know that I have at times, in sheer frustration, found myself repeating the authoritarian line I swore I would never use - "Because I said so!".
And I wonder why we as a culture seek to impose standards of sexual behaviour on others and condemn those who do not conform to a perceived ideal. Perhaps it is because sexuality and spirituality are not, as we have been taught, adversarial but are inextricably intertwined. Things that are taboo are things that are, or were, regarded as sacred. And nothing is more tabooed than sexual expression, particularly those forms of sexual expression that deviate from the norms sanctioned by those in positions of power who have all, by and large, inherited their sexual attitudes from the last five millennia of patriarchal thinking. This is unavoidable for we cannot think completely "outside the box" - all we can do is imagine.
And here I will quote Louis MacNeice, who in January 1939, as he saw Europe sliding towards inevitable tragedy, wrote
...of a possible land, not of sleepwalkers, not of angry puppets
But where both heart and brain can understand the movements of our fellows
Where life is a choice of instruments and none is debarred his natural music
Where the waters of life are free of the ice blockade of hunger
And thought is as free as the sun.
What is our natural music? How many people can in honesty say they are playing it? I know that most of the time i do not play it but try to dance to other people's tunes. And at the heart of this is shame - that deep within I am ashamed of my own desire. Of my own sexuality. And this means that I have to hide who I am and try to express myself within a set of parameters chosen by others - and at which I constantly fail. And, as spirituality and sexuality are both expressions of the will to be and become, then in denying one, I deny the other.
Which is not to advocate a free-for-all. Central to this is the question of consent for without full and informed consent by all parties it is impossible for each "to play their natural music".
In all the debates about contemporary sexual mores one thing is certain and that is that there are multitudes for whom free and joyful sex is a meaningless set of words. Our sexuality and thus our spirituality are deeply ill and this disease could be terminal. As an old hippie, I remember chanting, "Make love, not war!" I still hold by that ideal.