Pragmatism and Pornography

By Guy W

At school one day there was this religious kid (I forgot whether he was Christian or Muslim, but as I recall both these religions are very similar on their views on pornography) who was complaining that there was so much pornography nowadays on TV, on the Internet, and pretty much everywhere. I was a little shocked because I always thought that this kid was into his porno like I was. I didn't expect him to turn into a Ned Flanders all of a sudden.

I told this kid that porn was good because it made me feel really good. Consider that I was only about fourteen years old at the time and my Christian or Muslim friend was about the same age. I asked my friend whether he had masturbated before and he said, "No way!" I then told him whether he wanted me to show him how it was done. We could go into the toilet, find a cubicle, he could take off his pants, and I would show him how it was done. I was willing too. He then accused me of being gay and then told me that God would punish me for my pornography obsession.

I was quite disturbed by my friend's words. I told him that pornography was perfectly okay. When you look at pornography you feel better. He told me that pornography and especially gay pornography should be banned. Even heterosexual pornography should be banned, he believed, because it makes people more accepting of all other sexual deviancies, leading to a slippery slope in which all forms of pornography, from animal sex to golden showers are tolerated. I said that the reason why pornography is allowed is because of the importance of freedom. Pornography also doesn't physically harm anyone. Therefore, if someone chooses to look at pornography, that's his choice. My friend told me that freedom is wrong, that freedom is the reason why homosexuals nowadays exist. He said that my emphasis on the importance of freedom was just "my opinion." I told him that if freedom is not important, then what should the government do, regulate sex? He said that anything goes, that whatever happens happens. We follow the normal procedure for changing laws and if homosexual sex is banned then so be it. I thought that was fine. If everything is just opinion, if everything is just based on nothing, then this world is a battle between those for porn and those against, and whoever wins wins. I hope my friend realized that based on the pornography statistics I've seen his side is losing the battle.

Anyway, what my friend said to me about how everything at the end of the day was "based on belief" and that whatever anyone says is just "opinion" kind of got me thinking about philosophical questions of truth. You see, even though I masturbate and have a huge 19.5 gigabyte collection of pornography on my computer (categorized and rated), I still think about philosophical questions. I went to the library and did some study about philosophy. I them stumbled across a philosophical school of thought that captured my attention. It is the philosophy of pragmatism, a uniquely American philosophy. Pragmatism holds that what matters are results, that truth is based not on axioms or deductions but by the empirical outcome. Anything is good if it achieves what is useful. Pragmatism also states that there is no absolute truth, that all knowledge is formed based on experiment and experience. What works is what is held to be true. This is captured in the quote, "It works, therefore it is true." Pragmatism I think is also a philosophy closely associated with that of success. Deng Xiaping said, "Seek truth from facts," as well as, "It does not matter whether the cat is black or white, so long as it catches the mouse." Have a look at the phenomenal growth of the China today. It seems likely that this growth has been the result of a change of philosophy. Businessmen are also "results driven," often focusing on profits. When you arguing against a religious guy, whether he is a Muslim or a Christian, and if you are finding that truth is hard to grasp-or maybe because the religious guy tells you that there is no truth (which is not what a religious person should do)-then pragmatism is a good philosophy to look at.

I find that pornography works for me because it makes me feel good. But feeling too good for too long may not be good, as I soon learnt. That is why today I engage in pornographic study (see the essay BOOST GRADES WITH PORN). I use pornography to fuel my studying, which allows me to boost my grades. The more potent the pornography, the better because then I study more. This means that any pornography goes, from the hardcore porn to the animal sex ones. I once read a story about a young boy who went to a farm and had sex with the horses there. Initially I was really worried about reading something like that but what matters is what works and sometimes you have to experiment with different things to find out whether it works or not because that is the only way that truth can be found.