Somebody invents the pornographic film in our century as a bad perception of the realism, in fact very similar to the "socialist realism". It is the film that "looks like life". "The He-Taster" may get the satisfaction to see sagging bellies like his own, skin hanging in the actors' armpits and graying hair with incipient baldness. "The She-Taster" may enjoy not depilated armpits, rich wens, and the frequently sagging breasts.
Everything has a very real tone, "as life", where the raw man in his fifties meets his love freshly divorced in her fortieth spring. And we don't like it. We go on watching, in most of the countries, movies with beautiful women and strong men, characters whose love excites us or at least brings us joy. Even those among us that are not "tasters" like more to think of the second possibility rather than of the first. Statistically, that is a fact. Let's walk. There, the married man, newspaper in hands, irritated by the walk that is spoiling his Sunday of laziness, remembers the sun in the light of the ankles of a student holding her briefcase tight at her chest.
There, the matron, tired with slapping the naughty kids, casts a glance at the long lashes of the Creole waiter between two mouthfuls of sausages, the sauce of which is quickly absorbed by the cardboard. A little farther, benches and couples. Real couples rarely take sausages. Maybe the smoke draws them away or they are simply looking for places where they can touch each other's knees. Not so frequent, but if you look well you'll find them, the old couple who are still holding each other's hands. And they're looking. If we come in the proper sunny Sunday, they're even looking.
One at another? Maybe yes, it depends on who do we think that one and the other are. Typically, we would be tempted to think they're looking at a memory as if we didn't know or learn until we reached the age of twenty that rarely can you look at a memory longer than 12 months. I think they're looking at reality, but at a reality in their minds, a reality that they know to belong to the other and that couldn't last in the absence of the person. The memory survives. Instinctively, we are conditioned to let our imagination fly at the sight of the delicate ankle but that doesn't happen always and with all the ankles, as in our personal history there is a moment of choice - based or not on the ankle. Conditioned so strictly as we are, we gave up choosing according to the criteria of natural selection a long time ago.
Everything is either artificial, as those are inclined to believe who see in any human achievement an artificial thing, be it good or bad, or everything is natural, but a different thing, natural only for our species. The selection is even subtler if we are to think also of the pheromones. Do we choose our pair? For women, the answer may be yes in most of the cases. But this is true out of social restrictions on the verge of eradication today because she is traditionally less accepted through the method of attempts and errors. Usually we choose only our sex partner. When we come to think of the other partnership which, at least in intention, should last a lifetime or even when it comes to define one's "boyfriend" or "girlfriend", we'd rather choose them on different criteria. So for many people the pheromone choice is natural, or we may call it the "spring" or "ankle" choice.
The man hidden behind his newspaper, bored by his partner's dimensions and age, he is natural. And the choice of the old man in the park is artificial, as his partner is for him only the best actress to perform the ideal role. Driven to its last consequences, what is natural in love should refer only to the interval between courtship and the moment when the young ones stand on their own feet. Natural and human are two contradictory terms. And it is our private job to prefer one or the other. As for myself, I'd rather believe I have an essential solution for this dichotomy, an Alexander-like solution: the human is part of the natural as long as we don't persist in measuring the natural quality by mammal laws.
The pollution, the help for handicapped individuals (they're helped not only to live but also to procreate), the artistic beauty, and sometimes self-destruction etc., etc., these are all natural things for man. It's not less natural that some of these, like pollution, are noxious and we try to reduce it as we belong to a rational species. What's more, the idea according to which man and his products are artificial seems to me stupidly arrogant and it is a normal thing that it leads to the systematical failure of any practical results. It seems to me quite monstrous to believe that man is not part of nature anymore. Under these circumstances, the more independent of the physical reality are the criteria of choosing one's partner, the more human and less animal the choice is. Not more or less natural but only more human. Our partner has rarely the looks, smell and shape of the prime models of the world.
Our image of him or her makes him / her beautiful and if our own imagination has such an important role in this, our partner's capacity of supporting well this image has also an essential role. Our partner plus his / her image excites us, realism on the screen makes us sick. As obviously we don't have an image to envelop the shape of the filmed ugliness. Certainly, one shouldn't understand from these lines that, in the name of this imagined beauty, I would reject realistic cinema but the distinction is clear: here we watch filmed love scenes, there we watch art creating a world... There are different criteria and a different judgement.
So, when another screen is offering us the possibility of this choice, when there may be little time left until our society is going to look like the once-imagined Solaris, we should better think of this axis of our life in these terms: more human, knowledge and - why not? - Further survival, through reason, of our soul and (for some of us in concept) of the Word. A Word that, artificial or not as we may consider it, makes us into what we are.