Lust is historically accepted as the insatiable craving for sexual pleasures [hell of a beast!] one we best associate with serpentine imagery; a kind of sensual serpent with a knowing secret smile, eternally persistent. Lust is deliberate never accidental. If we accept this idea of Lust as represented as a serpent then it would follow that opinions of Lust may be best understood via a two-pronged approach: that Lust exists in both the sacred and profane levels.
Religious persons will associate the “sin” of Lust with the craving for sexual pleasures. In fact, most religious practices would deem the idea of “sexual pleasures” an oxymoron. I struggle with the Modern Church’s doctrine of the Seven Deadly Sins when I consider the opulence of the early Church leaders perched in chambers whose walls were adorned with gold leaf and contained mosaics dripping with Lapislazzuli penning doctrine against sins of the flesh. I can however commiserate with monk Evagrius Ponticus who struggling with the isolation and solitude of a monk’s life listed eight Evil Thoughts that would hamper a Christian’s progress in a life of devout existence.
If we consider that five of the Ten Commandments offer sacred counsel against the sin of Lust; it is no great wonder that we continuously wrestle with Lustful wrongdoings.
6 – You shall not murder
7 – You shall not commit adultery
8 – You shall not steal
9 – You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour
Not all crimes are pure acts of violence, some are motivated by the need to have that which we do not have ∙ that which we desire.
The last Commandment, Thou shall not Covet Thy Neighbour’s Wife is positively for sinners who might commit Lust. This is a complex directive as it implies that one who covets, is one who carries a concealed desire. You might be tempted to protest, “but if it is a secret desire; how is it sinful?”
It seems the nature of “sin” is not only in deed, but also in thought. As a mere human [non-denominational] I dare not touch the notion of Lust in that religiously consecrated realm.
Commandments are meant to protect [or prohibit] humankind from sinful behaviour. The only way to prevent sinful conduct is to follow the path of resistance. Resist temptation at all costs. The product of resistance is a conflict. You are constantly in a battle with temptation.
I believe the idea of Lust would not exist without this notion of forced segregation, or prohibition. Lust is borne out of a sense of intense deficiency or starvation. If you starve yourself of a thing or person long enough, you will live to want it [ladies if you’ve ever been on a diet you can testify]. If Lust is insatiable, we can never have enough — the “sin” is in never being satisfied; for being satisfied implies contentment. You strive for nothing. Desire nothing. Where’s the fun in that?!
Without desire; there is no Lust. Yet at what point can we regard desire as deviant?
The elements of desire include curiosity, and flirtation; and it seems there we can judge instances where one can cross the line between satisfaction and sin:
- Curiosity vs. Prying
- Flirtation vs. Stalking
Buddhists say desire is the cause of all suffering; and to eliminate desire is to eliminate suffering. At some point we all flirt with desire; and society only judges us deviant when we have overstepped the mark ∙ gone too far beyond reasonable bounds. I’m not entirely convinced that one can use reason to curtail desire [if you’ve starved yourself of a thing long enough, you will live to want it].
That is the crux of Lust isn’t it? Want
Advertising is rooted in Want. The nature of advertising is to seduce us with promotion until we have no choice but to fall helplessly into submission. If we were equipped with a Lust button, advertising stokes at it every second of every day. It be said that those of us who practise the plastic arts through Advertising are in the business of inducing Lust. What that says of our ultimate destination as beings beyond the earth is a matter for serious consideration. For as long as we operate in the earthly realm, Lust reigns profanely.
Lust n. Intense sexual desire or appetite. Uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire. Ardent enthusiasm or zest i.e. a zest for life. Please or delight. Desire or inclination
To suggest that Lust has control, is to be naive; however Lust is only Lust with external stimuli or impulse. Lust is a fire. It burns deep. It is dangerous. And uncontrollable. It is an energy and a spirit so intense that one loses all sense of propriety when attacked by Lust. [I call it an attack because it is a vicious and relentless fire]. Lust will turn you into a los-panty [please believe]
You can get so consumed by the fire you lose all sense of self. All sense of reason. Lust has no rationale. No logic. Lust is defies explanation for it is sensorial. You have to feel it to believe it. Lust is lived, and not spoken. If you’ve experienced it, you know. Lust is felt.
Lust is a ravenous hunger ∙ you check your table manners at the door. If Lust is a natural “spirit” we have no way of measurement or guide; no such thing as a Lustbarometer. When can we say it is too much? Or too little? Lust is alive. It can be fed. It can be fanned. It can be fizzled.
Lust is not always an action. It is also a pleasure a distinct enjoyment in the enchantment of something or someone. When you are so fascinated by a thing or a person that you simply revel in the knowledge, you are where Lust begins. You are also involved a private operation; one that loses its magic through sharing. You take pleasure in the mere knowledge of your Lustful object or deed. There is a point where the pleasure turns perverse. No one can measure how soon this perversion occurs, you cannot judge when you’ve gone “too far”. The very nature of Lust is that it has no gauge or guide.
Even as we seek to understand we can never claim to have overstood.
Lust plagues us. It follows us. It chases us. We are Lust’s play things.