Earlier today in the shower I realized something about myself.  I realized I enjoy trying to piece together things that are seemingly unrelated.  It’s even better when there is some sort of irony connecting the two unrelated things outside of how they are immediately connected.  A good example of this would be a Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker in which he describes the moral parallels between dogfighting and football.  The irony in this obviously comes from the Michael Vick incident a couple of years ago.  Gladwell seems to have a knack for finding connections like in this example and that is probably why I’m such a fan.

All of this is of course a preface to what I found so interesting today after my shower, because after all, you should have all known about that Gladwell article, because I wrote about it last month in this very blog. (And as objectively meaningless as this blog is, I would like to think that I’m a little bit above posting about shower epiphanies that are only self realizations) No, the reason why I brought up my affinity for parallels and irony is because of a literary reference/ interpretation that I saw today.

One of my favorite bands of all time is TV on the Radio.  If you’ve experienced them and still aren’t a fan, you’re S.O.L. because that means that you have neither functioning ears nor eyes, since their written verse is just as fantastic as their sound.  I listened to Staring at the Sun and in the ensuing exegesis of the text on songmeanings or, I scrolled down to find some interesting interpretations of the song’s meaning.

Someone said the song was about the very moment after death.  Most referenced- and it’s a safe bet considering this is a strong recurring motif of their work- that sex is a large part of the meaning.  Then it came.  Some girl said that it could very well be both, due to the French metaphor, La petite mort.  It translates to “the little death” and it is a reference to an orgasm.  Death and orgasm- similar?  According to Wikipedia, Surrealists like Dali thought that there was something to this analogy.  Also according to Wikipedia, science supports this similarity as well:

“A recent study of brain activation patterns using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) give some support to the experience of a small death:

‘To some degree, the present results seem to be in accordance with this notion, because female orgasm is associated with decreased blood flow in the orbitofrontal cortex, a part of the brain that is crucial for behavioural control.”[1]
It’s strange then that biologically we are predisposed to, if not driven by seeking sexual gratification, when a large part of the pleasurable sensation is similar to death, the anti-life.  This is more of an irony than a contradiction, but still it’s worth pondering. We are driven by death toward death.  I wonder how much more pleasure can be derived from lowering brain activity? I’m going to go take a nap and see if I can find out.

1 Comment

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One response to “Deathtacy

  1. tom

    “Ah, love, you know. The body, love, death, are simply one and the same. Because the body is sickness and depravity, it is what produces death, yes, both of them, love and death, are carnal, and that is the source of their terror and great magic!”

    this is from the magic mountain by thomas mann; the love and death parallel is one of its most prominent themes; checkidout brosfala

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