Sex, Sugar and the Circle of Life #25
St Augustine on why the pleasurable isn't always good
The best explanation I’ve ever found of what’s wrong with our technological culture comes from a monk who lived 1500 years ago in the deserts of Algeria: St Augustine, bishop of Hippo, and a very modern critic of our age of machines.
St Augustine, of course, knew nothing of chemistry or modern factories. But he knew something about sex, and being a Christian bishop, he was rather wary of it.
Sex, the Saint said, has a function, and that function is, in principle, good: it allows us to make children and keep the human race alive. Certainly, God has wanted it that way, and so there could be nothing wrong with that. So where’s the problem with sex?
The problem, Augustine said, is when we separate the function (what he calls “the good”) from the pleasure of an activity.
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