The Porn Matrix 2 – Sustaining The Evil Establishment

In the previous post, we saw what the Porn Matrix is and how one gets recruited into becoming part of it by consuming pornography. However, consuming pornography is not the only way one could get recruited but it is perhaps the most common. Various ways of getting recruited involve all that result in strengthening the Porn Matrix. This post shall explore how the Porn Matrix is sustained and made to continue having the negative effects it has. As we shall see it is primarily sustained by those recruited via consumption of pornography, but others sustain it as well.

The Porn Matrix

Gaze and the Imagination: The Life Blood of The Porn Matrix

“You don’t need a celibate body, you need a celibate mind” – Barry Long

Whereas science likes to talk about porn in terms of (embodied) Dopamine rewards within the brain, a more familiar language is Lust. Lust is not an activity like a process of Dopamine reward, instead Lust is a state of the a person’s psychology. Our perception of the world, or our respective realities, are then necessarily shaped our psychology. We know from recent science that our sense perception is not as accurate as we perceive but it is in fact the brain that makes them accurate (through error correction processes). The brain is in control of the outcome of perceptions of our senses, and we know this when people hallucinate without sensing anything but their brains convincing them they have. Regardless of the lens through which we claim to view/understand the world, it is our psychology that ultimately colous it. This leads to the questions as to whether our psychology does not contradict our professed beliefs. On the other hand, the role of our psychology in shaping our reality may provide insights into this culture of pornography; The Porn Matrix.

Imagination is one of the most potent abilities at our disposal which we may put to good use or not. What is the relationship between images and imagination? In its flamboyance, imagination could cause an image to appear, while in its modesty it could embellish an image to suit our psychology e.g. when we simply look at some people and feel we don’t like them because we have a judgement against the way dress. We constantly imagine things. Which means that even as one stares at an image in front of them, the imagination gives it the final touches, which may not be far from the objective image if the psychology holds no strong feelings towards the image. However if a person’s psychology is dominated by any one state, that state would take control and affect all that one perceives. That state could be the sate of lust.

Our brains are quick to identify danger and even get us to react involuntarily by preparing to avoid it. This is what happens when a person feels scared; it is the heart/brain preparing us to react to safety. There is a part of the brain (Amygdala) that responds to this emotion by “short circuiting” the brain so that actions (like running away or jumping) instantly happen; without going through the rational/deliberating part of the brain for evaluation. Similarly, a lustful psychology with lustful imagination creates a short circuit on the brain so that any image of the opposite sex is automatically reduced to an image of sexual arousal. Does it ring a bell to the charge that men are animals (on heat)? This explanation on imagination is not based on any concrete science, simply my explanation to the observation. Not only that porn consumption restructures the brain physically, there are many genres of porn which are specifically targeted towards enhancing the imagination to be a pornification software i.e. to make many things sexual. A common example is the sexualization of women such that to men, every woman (modestly dressed or not) is a sexual object. This is more than objectification of women, it is the pornification of men, it is the Porn Matrix.

Now let us revisit the ayah concerning lowering the gaze  (Q24:30-31). Given the reference to sexual organs, “gaze” here appears to also mean a lustful gaze. The English word gaze is a good translation of the Arabic since it is almost always translated as such. To gaze implies looking, often intensely, with eagerness for a long time; and dictionaries agree with this. A popular hadith instructs us not to look more than once at a sexually arousing image. We could take the first look to be simply a look (as in: let me have a look), and subsequent looks to mean looking intensely or eagerly for an extended time i.e. gazing. The hadith seems to be telling us that we are not sinning by looking, but by gazing. Gazing is deliberate and full of imagination, in this case lustful imaginations. Taking the verse and the hadith, we see that (lustful) gazing itself is the major sin. A sin resulting from a lustful psychology, leading to a befitting imagination.

The Messenger of Allah (Peace & Blessings of Allaah be upon Him) said: “O Ali, do not follow a glance with another, for you will be forgiven for the first, but not for the second.” (Reported by al-Tirmidhi, 2701; see Saheeh al-Jaami’, 7953)

Some images are arousing with little or no imagination, whereas other images require some imagination. Therefore, for those determined, a Hijab is just an obstacle that requires more imagination. I recall listening to one person bragging about how he can see through Hijabs (with imagination not x-ray vision). Not to talk of those with fetishes about Hijab; meaning those who get sexually aroused by seeing the most decent dressing. This begs the question: what is the role of the Hijab or any decent clothing in presence of someone in the Porn Matrix i.e. seeing the world through lustful imagination? Is Hijab then about men and their wild arousal or about the woman sacrificing her feminine appeal to be treated and respected for other than her sexual appeal? Porn consumption certainly makes one excessively lustful and imaginative, as we mentioned earlier that there are porn genres that essentially train the mind to be imaginative in everyday life. What about the argument that Hijab is a deterrent to rape predators? A psychology counselor’s testimony in a Muslim country says otherwise, because the rape predator is likely conditioned by Porn Matrix which does not discriminate between those in Hijab and those not.

Frankly it is disappointing when the best argument men give against “slutty” dressing is that they could provoke rape, such that many a times when rape does happen the victims are blamed, while the porn induced action of the man is embarrassingly excused. It is even more disappointing when this argument comes from women! A little insight into the porn minded (lust and imagination) can get us to start putting the blame where it is rightly due, and perhaps feel sorry for the attention seeking “slutty” dresser whose moral agency is broken like a phone with broken screen. In fact some are of the opinion that the injunction to where “Hijab” and cover their bossoms (or cleavage according to some translations) must be understood within its social/cultural significance, not only its sexual significance. The social significance is that the act of covering is a mark of status, protection by someone powerful/principled (as this would be relevant in Pre-Islamic Arabia), and decency which is a message understood by even the most uncultured in a society.

An ex-porn consumer expounded on the fetish and perversion in Internet Porn. He wondered if porn were a person and he asked Porn what it means for something to be sexual, Porn wouldn’t have a clear answer. This is because Porn is not really in the business of sex, but focused on sexual arousal (hence Arousal Addiction), which means anything that could lead to sexual arousal is sexual. He said Porn would answer: choking a woman is sexual, raping a woman is sexual, slapping a woman is sexual. And I add: a woman in hills is sexual, a woman in red is sexual, a woman in blue is sexual, a black woman is sexual, a Chinese woman is sexual, an Arab woman is sexual, a woman in wig is sexual, a woman in uniform is sexual, a woman in Hijab is sexual… basically anything goes and it is open season. All it takes is for a Porn producer to have this “genius” idea, make a few movies out of it and be sure there would be Porn Consumers seeking new things who will come across this and add to their fetishes. Remember we learned in the previous post that in the Porn Matrix, novelty trumps nudity i.e. Internet Porn consumers are constantly seeking new varieties of pornography, as long as it is something they haven’t seen before.

In all of this, it is clear that lustful gaze and imagination are vital to the sustenance of the Porn Matrix. What happens if we take control of our psychology and make it less lustful?

 

Marriages as Arena for The Porn Matrix

What is seeking a solution without acknowledging the underlying problem but an exercise in futility. Unlike drug abuse, which we are beginning to acknowledge as a major problem (in Nigeria), consumption of pornography doesn’t seem to leave obvious traces in the demeanor or behavior of the consumer, nor is it the best vice to brag about among friends because it is considered a pathetic attempt at the brag-worthy vice of illicit sex or unfaithfulness. Many Muslim marriages suffer from this cancer which sucks the energy, the patience and perhaps even the blessings from the marriage. A number of accounts have mentioned how Muslim women have had to take up these issues with “scholars” seeking solutions to their marriages’ (husband’s) helplessness. Fatwa and public counselling sites, as well as online forums for Muslims, are indicative of the ackknowledgement on the porn issue in the Muslim community. I don’t know the extent to which it is a problem in Nigeria and to what extent it is being tackled. I suspect it is because many in my generation (the Internet generation) have married, so we shall take a leaf from other documented experiences elsewhere.

Emotional Wedges

  • Small Lies
  • Loss of time
  • Unaddressed sexual insecurities

Sexual Wedges

  • Skewed Expectations: Spouse has to compete with the Dopamine high attained while watching pornography
  • Objectification of Women: Spouse is emotionally blackmailed to perform porn fantasies even if unpleasant (not to talk of how the disappointment of Muslim husbands is an implicit threat with polygamy)
  • Focus on Male Gratification: Focus on male gratification is self serving and uncharitable which goes against this hadith: “And when the one of you makes love (has sex) it is a rewardable charity. ” (Muslim)
  • Regular Marital Relations Becomes Less Stimulating: We have seen this as the effect of high flow of Dopamine in the first post

An interesting revelation is that some (Muslim) sisters share porn videos especially prior to marriage which they use as a form of sex education. As was pointed out in the first post, pornography and sex education are different especially in their purpose; the former is to arouse, the latter is to educate. Certainly the material from either could be used for the other purpose. Therefore there are two sides to this: the producer of the content and the consumer. The producer of sex education is to make the content educating without sexual arousal as much as possible. The consumer on the other hand must approach the material with the mind/intention that they are seeking education. Remember that pornography is categorically prohibited in Islam. When pornography serves as sex education before marriage which actually de-educates about real sex in order to maximize arousal, coupled with the effect of being desensitized by pornography, what could that lead to in the marriage? What is to become of the sexual relations of a marriage built upon and maintained on values of pornography?!  This is a marriage that is simply a stage for the Porn Matrix.

 

Sex in Front and Behind the Camera

In Front: Advertising

Give me a minute of your time and I can sell you a hot afternoon tea in sunny Gwagwalada (a hot location in Nigeria of mythical temperature). This would be a sale’s person I would watch with caution. It is not impossible to achieve, as impossible as it sounds, as long as two ingredients are available; attention and association. If only one thing can offer both, then sex is capable. Sex in advertising has saved many companies the effort of convincing the customer; why convince when seducing is cheaper? Sexually suggestive images and language are used to catch the attention of the potential consumer, then by taking advantage of the brain’s associative prowess the product is advertised explicitly with an implicit sexual promise. And how does it feel? Your brain simply feels it likes the product as if getting it would give you pleasure (as if an unsaid promise would be fulfilled). Not withstanding the sexual image may have nothing to do with the product. Of course the sexual intensity of the content varies from very faint to in-your-face; what matters is that the advertisers do so purposely.

All of this is primarily driven by the reigning consumer culture… World class advertisers as a matter of advancement in their profession understand that sex is easy to be sold with many products. They even study sex and human psychology to understand that there are at least 3 aspects of sex which could be capitalized for successful marketing; the biological, the emotional, the physical. That is what is meant when we say “Sex sells”.

When sexuality is used in advertising, certain values and attitudes towards sex are necessarily ‘sold’ along with a product. In advertising terms, this is called “the concept”. The message may be that “innocence is sexy” (as used by Calvin Klein when it uses young people in provocative poses), or that link pain and violence with sexiness and glamour (as used by Versace), or that women enjoy being dominated, or that women come with a product (e.g. in the advertisement for Budweiser Beer), or that the use of a certain product is naughty but legal, or that use of a certain product will make the user more attractive to the opposite sex, and many other messages. (Wikipedia)

Even I have had an ear for these use of sex in local (Nigeria) advertisements e.g. cliches of a beautiful woman using soaps, or the husky successful young chap, or chocolates like Galaxy always sexualized adverts. Then local radios promoting themselves: “you can do it in the car, you can do it in the kitchen”, “tune to us because everyone’s doing it”, “we are like a good skirt, short enough to keep from getting bored, and long enough to cover the subject matter”.

Another example is how people use sex to advertise themselves. I can honestly say that I have met many girls who dress “slutty” but when you talk with them you get the impression their sluttiness is simply their cry for attention; they mean no sexual advance and would be just as devastated if violated sexually as any Hijabi would. They are quite confused, in a psychological crises; seeking attention at high cost, and getting it the tested and proven method of using sexuaity. Nevermind they rationalize it with claims of female independence and freedom of expression; appreciation of the history of western feminism, or a session of psychoanalysis, would easily give them away. The same applies to all the “slutty” music divas who basically sell sexual arousal not music. So do we take them as evil; like we do already? We could look at it another way and see them as broken, seeking for help, craving for attention; we end up feeling sorry for them, for being recruited into this Porn Matrix as agents by taking advantage of their psychological insecurities. Perhaps their evil is in the arrogance of their rationalization.

“This is the main hall, not your practice space, get back in your place, we mask this face, your fans only use you to masturbate” Jean Grae (The BBQ with Eternia)

 

In Front: Porn Media

Even the legal definition of pornography makes it clear that pornography may be masqueraded in other artistic expressions, but make no mistake for it is simply to arouse sexually. Some could argue that nudity itself does not constitute porn and that it may be art, but that would depend on the social background which may or may not serve the function of porn to viewers. The point is that the goal of sexual arousal in porn media content overwhelms the art/activity that has been used as a cover for it. As a result porn videos are the most unrealistic of sexual relations; either in its settings or its duration or its standardization of reaction to an experience that is perhaps unique to every couple. These have consequences as we shall see.

Being aware of this unrealistic depiction, and keeping in mind Arousal Addiction, the Internet Porn industry is constantly exploring new genres, not to depict reality more accurately, but simply to offer something different, something new for sexual arousal. There is even a genre called “reality” as if to tell it’s critics: okay since you want something from reality, here you go, come and join, we can act reality for you, as long as we keep you clicking for sexual arousal. A contradiction that escapes many. There are many strategies to keep the consumers consuming, apparently even the critics of their unrealistic-ness.

 

Behind: Child Porn and The Exotic

An efficient market in an unethical capitalism reacts to the demands of its customers, their every whims regardless of ethical implication, as long as it is profitable. The Internet Porn industry no doubt is a booming industry worth billions of dollars. For an industry that is based on arousal addiction, it goes to great lengths to satisfy the customer. The result is the concoction of ever new genres of porn which even to regular porn consumers seem outrageous… at least at first before their brains learn (forming new connection) how to derive arousal from it. Take for example the two genres of: child pornography driven by fetish about child innocence, and race genres driven by fetish about the exotic.

Despite strict laws against child sex in many countries, child pornography flourishes in these same countries. Perhaps the illegality of it all adds to their excitement/arousal because it is dangerous. We are not here to rationalize the perverted mind but to sympathize with the child victims. The child is taken advantage of (period)! I believe this is obvious enough and requires no explanation. Every child looks to their future, not by scrupulous planning and strategizing but by a psychological (if not spiritual) connection to the adults they have in their lives. For as long as the porn does not involve obvious physical coercion, we have to accept the explanation that the child is deceived by an adult that has been entrusted with their trust. How innocent children are, scarred by deception, betrayal and exploitation that only the most evil and perverted mind may conspire. Think of the girl who thought she was on an adventure with an “uncle” only to be violated in front of a camera, she might even have dreams and illusions of becoming a movie star.

The other genre (race genres) looks not into domestic lives but across borders to lure their games with the promise of a brighter future. How many females have been smuggled into a country where they are most vulnerable due to their illegal residency status, with the ever sweet honey of a better future only to find themselves as sex slaves awaiting their next act in front of the camera. Think of the countless women exploited in this situation, when their moral compass is broken.

Why do the perpetrators go through with these cruelty and inhumanity, and capture it for sharing or selling on the Internet? Because there is demand for their products. Because someone is on the internet right now not aroused by the regular stuff and is seeking novelty. Because someone is clicking their way to new stuff, because the producers of different genres gamble that perhaps they can have one more consumer of their products even as they are quite aware they are loosing some to other genres… all these reasons disregard the traumatized girl and the exploited immigrant!

What did the Prophet have to say about this? A young man once approached the Prophet asking for permission to commit fornication.

Hearing this request, people nearby started to rebuke him and advised him not to ask such things. The Prophet then asked him, “Would you like such permission to be granted so that another man may lie with your mother?” The young man said, “Absolutely not!” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Neither do others wish that.” The Prophet then asked, “Would you like such permission to be granted so that a man may lie with your daughter?” The young man replied, “No, absolutely not!” The Prophet ﷺ then said, “Neither do others wish that.” The Prophet then continued asking, “Would you like such permission to be granted so that a man may lie with your sister?” The young man replied “No, absolutely not!” The Prophet ﷺ again reminded him, “Neither do others wish that.” The Prophet then asked, “Would you like such permission to be granted so that a man may lie with your aunt?” The young man replied, “No, absolutely not!” The Prophet ﷺ then gently reminded him, “Neither do others wish that.” Thereupon the Prophet placed his hand upon the young man and prayed, “O Allah! May you forgive his sins, purify his heart and make him chaste.”

 

Culture and Language in the Porn Matrix

Given the relationship between sex and advertising, it is easy to see how appeal to sex could feature in any activity that involves us trying to draw attention to ourselves; attention being the first goal of advertisement. This would cover a large chunk of our activities; or other people’s activities if they want our attention even if briefly. Let us look at three cases from recent and common experiences; Fifty Shades of Grey, Sex Metaphors and “Daren Farko”.

The novel Fifty Shades of Grey (The first of a trilogy) is basically porn; a deviant one at that. No I have not read the book but I have heard from those who read it, and among these are those who don’t think porn is really wrong. Literature readers whom I respect their opinions seem to unanimously agree that unless one approaches that book with porn in mind, the book fails to give the reader anything new accept in deviance of the sex . Even those who thought the author wrote well, admit the deviant sex is the dominant theme of the book. Simply check out reviewers of the book online and this is what one gets.

The first few chapters of book one set the scene…naive, bookish girl meets attractive, billionaire CEO and lust ensues. The rest of book one was sex. Explicit sex. And at first it was “steamy.” But I quickly found myself wondering when it would end. I read it all, though in reality, I could have skipped entire chapters and really missed nothing. (Book reviewer on Amazon.com)

Al Vernacchio has taken it upon himself to bring awareness on metaphors used to describe sex are focused on male gratification and competition (e.g. first base and second base in baseball) rather than mutual gratification and variety on cravings (e.g. sharing a pizza). These are “values” that porn preaches and Porn Matrix considers truth. Even if it cannot be concluded that porn caused the use of these metaphors, porn itself aims for the same, which means it may not be from porn, but what matters is that it supports the Porn Matrix establishment.

“Daren Farko” means “the first night” in Hausa. Meaning in this case the first night after wedding. This is from a conversation I was privy to, where a groom to-be brags about how he would make the bride “suffer” that night. To this he received some applause from the attention he bought, so expensively. Three things happened there which may be rooted in the Porn Matrix. The first is bragging about his sexual prowess… did I mention that he intended to use a performance enhancing drug? The second is the focus on female domination which results in focus on only male gratification. Third is the violent language for sexual intercourse. These are signatures of the majority of porn. This is Porn Matrix thriving! When we put together this groom-to-be and our discovery that brides-to-be share porn videos as sex education, we see there is an underlying pressure, if not anxiety to the quality of sexual performance with one’s spouse, especially the first time. Should there be? Certainly, the unrealistic standards set by the Porn Matrix makes it inevitable to lead to these results. I read somewhere that a couple should give themselves at least 6 months before they can understand each other’s sexuality. Take it easy and give yourselves abundant time. Don’t worry about your first night, matter-a-fact do nothing on your first night, worry about the rest of your life. Caving into the pressure of performance, or domination, is promoting and sustaining the evil Porn Matrix!

Next post, we shall see how to bring about the fall of the Porn Matrix establishment.

 

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