According to a recent Canadian study, 79 percent of young men and 84 percent of young women report significant sexual problems, including low levels of satisfaction, low desire, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, an inability to achieve orgasm and injurious pain. The study suggests they are having sex not because they want to but because they think they should.
We are quick to see violence in others, slow to see it in ourselves. Humanity is steeped in violence. Are we not human? Where in the teapot is there no taste of tea? Ambition is violence. Winning is violence. Sport and fandom are violent. Wanting is violence. Pornography, politics, poverty and religion are violent. Putting the young in uniforms, training them to kill—this is not violence? Our penitentiaries legalize criminal behaviour in the name of good government. Women are paid less than we are. Our daughters are assaulted, raped, murdered, disappeared. But no, I am not violent. Not me.
The human personality is an edifice to the past. It is the conditioned self, the sum total of all of our experiences and of our reactions to those experiences. It’s why some of us are left-handed, others of us stutter, and why Glen Campbell did what he did while drinking like a fish and being unable to read a note of music. We haul this accumulation around with us. We think it is who we are, but it isn’t. It’s just mental and psychological stuff, a moldering pile of bellicosities and beliefs, of preferences and aversions, of memories and habits, of suspicions, traditions and worry patterns. It is good, now and then, to drop this congealment. To draw a breath. To see a bird without naming it.