Thursday, July 16, 2009


The Jesuits battered first semester freshmen with this horrendous word.

It has to be the un-sexiest sex word, intended as verbal ice water for pubescent spontaneous erections.


The Jesuits told us concupiscence is the tendency in humans to follow base, selfish motives, even when they conflict with what reason tells us is "the good."

Main Entry: con·cu·pis·cence 
Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin concupiscentia, from Latin concupiscent-, concupiscens, present participle of concupiscere to desire ardently, from com- + cupere to desire

A tennis player I see in the park shares the Jesuit high school experience with me, only his was in Calcutta, or Bombay.  I asked him if he had ever come across this word.

He had only a vague recollection, not necessarily associated with the Jesuits.

I explained briefly the perspective I was taught (there are various views, mixed up in original sin theory): desire vs reason.

Derrick, bless him, pointed out that reason is no more consistent  than desire is serving "the good."

Humans' capacity for rationalization renders the brain no more reliable than instinct as a source of good decisions.

Whatever it takes, I guess, to delay parenthood for us. Never once, this was the early 1960's, were we told to use condoms if we did have sex.

This approach to sex education was a form of child abuse.  Shame on the Jesuits.

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The Blue Elephant said...

You should write a book on the Jesuitical education. In my latest Tarot reading, my initial card was THE DEVIL. As you know, where there is a GOD there is necessarily a DEVIL, and he chains his victims with guilt about concupiscence. But the Devil is the Catholic distortion of the original the god Pan who did not fear the senses and celebrated them. And so, in the Tarot, the Devil card is meant to prompt laughter at the devil as bugaboo; it laughs at repressive rules and how we too often drag the chains of those rules too far along into life. I have a new saying: "It loses all power if you make a devil laugh" -- keeping a healthy sense of humor about our natural selves that some will describe as imperfect.

sfwillie said...

Supposedly the early Christian Gnostics beleived that Yahweh and the devil are lower-order beings and that ultimate reality lies beyond the sturm und dreck.