Worse than the Sickness of the Phlegm

It is in Foucault’s Care of the Self that we find the Greeks’ interpretation of therapeutically engaging sex as healing to the sickness of the phlegm. This character of healing is interesting because it gives off everything, the neurotoxins in the body, the foreign dusts and whatever tension it can do away with during the intercourse. It treats as a sign of release, an awakening of the senses even for just a short span of time. Now what happens after this raging release, and this is why it is engaging, is terribly passive: one gives way to a release that leaves one powerless, fragile, fatigue and vulnerable. And upon reaching this state, a dying warrior says ‘more’, as though willing to fight the weakness off in spite of itself. But I claim, that while this weak portion of post-coital moment is interesting, more often what reality tells us is that this time is worse than the sickness. It was awakening at first but slowly it subverts, gives in to that feeling where one can only describe as the ‘aridity of the spirit’ – everything becomes dry like one living in a desert.


One might think that this aridity concerns only the physical mechanism governing the act, but it concerns the spirit more – the spirit gives in more and struggles against the fragility the body provides. The spirit during the act is more than willing, asserting itself to the raging and engaging fascinations that it allows for the body to overtake, that is, to allow the release to happen integrally. During such allowance and avowal to the intensifying movements, one carries the burden of a deciding battle. Not only does the warrior want the fight again even after it had been lost and led into the desert of weakness, it also, and more importantly, wants to prolong the battle before it shall end.

This draws the line between an adolescent and a veteran warrior – the former, because it has more time of recovery and reserved strength in understanding the flow of release and the schema of the battle, resorts to an easy allowance to weakness, the latter, being experienced and knowledgeable, understands the battle as something that needs victorious conquering the more it lasts and lasts to fight. The veteran warrior imposes his own battle-insignia over the duration of the war – to make it something unforgettable, something more penetrating than just the battle itself – in short, in understanding that the battle is more important than what happens after, in realizing that this moment of freedom shall not happen again at least not in the same way as the first, he knows how to make use of the battle more intensely, releasing abruptly or slowly depending on the pace of intimacy occurring within the act.

Everything changes in the post-coital stage. Aridity is not something in reference to convalescent types – it heals slow, produces less intrigue in the spirit – the spirit becomes less vibrant, non-passionate; the spirit loses its taste. Indeed, worse than the one it heals, this state is terrible. A warrior cannot preserve his strength over this. The battle is over; the next time will have to be millions of eras away.

Quite the contrary then to the understanding that sex heals is a further effect of dryness, a relapse into the state of quietude where one confines oneself for a battle recovery. The spirit, upon experiencing this dryness, sleeps in abode towards itself against the raging motions it has intersected.


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