Brain-hacking pr0n

· Miscellany

What makes pornography (let’s stick to visual porn for the sake of discussion) work the way it does? That is, how do images of bodies, body parts, or sex arts stimulate sexual arousal in a way that’s useful for masturbation?

I would suggest that porn deliberates manipulates (pun intended) inherited, evolved, largely genetic but clearly somewhat socialized as well, impulses or tendencies in the mind. In other words, the porn images hack into your brain and fool it into thinking that procreation is imminent. Shwing.

If you look at that curve (is it a breast, the undercupping of buttock?) you are fiddling with your brain chemistry. The photographer or cinematographer and publisher of the porn are the hackers, in collaboration with the consumer.

This is not unusual. Most of contemporary human existence relies on these forms of interventions into animal drives, these layers of feedback loops and intentionality that feel like being conscious (I think). Drugs are the more obvious example (think aspirin as much as cannabis).

I once read Andrew Weil suggesting that the same power of visualizing that enables people to arouse themselves (with fantasies, the imagination, without props) can be applied to health: curing illness, transcending allergies, etc. I can foresee a time when our palette of brain-twiddling levers make today’s interventions look like rocks tied with twine.