Something that has fascinated me these passed few days is how many people have been against the panic of the recent Pandemic™. Everywhere you turn, people are bemoaning the fact that society has gone for a ball but no, they are definitely not one of the mooing masses who are panic buying and making rash decisions about canned food.
Which begs the question; who are these throngs of media-mesmerized fools that we keep hearing about in the news? If everyone is so shocked at the aftermath of human nature so as not to be joining it, who exactly has been smauging the bog-roll and replacing their blood with surgical spirits?
Definitely not me, they keep saying, you know I cant understand where all the panic is coming from, they continue to protest, everyone must just calm down, is usually their final salvo.
And so the masses who are forgoing social appointments, sanitizing their infants, eating TP and taking baths of baked beans continue to move among us unnamed.
Except, no, it can’t be… everyone couldn’t possibly be lying could they?
Oh yes. They definitely are.
Which brings me to pornography.
Even the most cursory search on google for the word “boobies” yields topics which extend far beyond what would be of interest to medical students and six-month-old babies. By and large, a whole swathe of internet culture is dedicated to titillation, so much so that one could argue the web exists solely for us to search symptoms in between confusing your fitbit. The point is, Pornography is hardly niche, limited or a small facet of our information age. It is a large, throbbing hulk that somehow manages never to see the light of day despite growing stronger every moment anyone is left alone with semi-reliable wifi.
There is so much porn because we watch so much of it.
But this is the thing, we don’t do it when anyone is watching. Nobody turns on the tube at family gatherings to watch Filthy Moms 4: Vacuum Attachments Boogaloo on full volume and with a beer. We do it out of sight, indulging in our private behaviors away from condescending eyes.
We do it when nobody is looking. We all do it when nobody is looking.
We do it when nobody is watching because its socially unacceptable. Even the idea of someone saying they watch porn is seen as contra boni mores. Yet those same people will go home, and in the dead of night when nobody is around, auto-rumpy-pumpy to Blonde Hot Wax Party 9: Essential Oil Vacation.
Porn is proof that we live double lives, all of us. Not that everybody watches porn in their double life, but the fact remains that we do Jekyll and Hyde on a daily basis. Bentham got it right, we do behave differently when we know people are watching. But the moment there is privacy, who do you become? What do you become?
This idea is far more pervasive than I let on. How many of us have an internal monologue that is completely at odds with what we know is socially accepted? How many harbor anger, racism, fear, mistrust and lechery? We work to not betray these opinions to the outside world. We put on a front that society would hold us to a higher standard, but sure as hell don’t keep that standard within our own heads.
We are told not to panic, yet we do. We are telling each other not to panic yet we are. We are pretending that we are not panicking, yet the evidence of the contrary is all around us.
I ask you, who is the you that nobody sees? Are you the pious, fearless pillar of society that has not given into panic? Or do you just want to be seen that way because it’s easier. Do you hold yourself, in your private hours and private mind to a high standard? Or is that only when someone else is watching?
How accountable you are to yourself is ultimately the true measure of your character.
Who are you when nobody is looking?