What is the meaning of sex?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

     It may come as a surprise to many to consider the possibility that sex has no intrinsic meaning. While the ultimate purpose of sex is undoubtedly procreation for any living plant or animal, none other than humans attach any meaning to it…as far as we know.
     There seems to be a stigma attached to having sexual thoughts or activity outside a sanctioned relationship such as marriage.  It may be that we attach a lofty purpose like "commitment" or "intimacy" to sexual activity to prevent feelings of guilt. Just because many of us have been taught that sex is bad does not make it so.

     But if we consider sex as good and wholesome, what boundaries should apply? Most would agree that holding a positive view toward sex does not give one license to be promiscuous. Each person will make choices consistent with their own moral compass, however diverse these might be between individuals. Therefore, communication leading to understanding the meaning that a prospective partner holds about sex may prevent unnecessary heartache. But have this conversation prior to the intimacy. A discussion of the value of nutrition or the process of digestion never enhanced any dining experience.

What does it mean when we experience wonder and awe?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

     Despite the fact that our lives sometimes seem boring, mundane and perhaps anxiety ridden, it does have its finer moments. We might experience these moments when we hear a particularly beautiful piece of music, witness the glory of a sunset or contemplate the vastness of the cosmos. Perhaps a chill or tingling stretches from head to toe or a tear falls unbidden down our cheek, not of sadness, but of wonder and awe.

     The esteemed philosophers attending the session on November 7 examined the occurrence and dynamics of this human phenomenon. Why the sensation various from one individual to the next depends, in part, on the richness and variety of their experiences. It seems that the more experiences one has, the fewer opportunities one has for experiencing the sensation. This is why we experienced it more as a child than we do as an adult, since everything was new to us in the beginning. Gender differences have an influence on what triggers wonder and awe, but males and females are equally open to having the experience.

     One's fundamental outlook on life will have a decided influence on the experience. If I wake up in the morning full of vim, vigor and vitality, I am more likely to experience a thrill at seeing the sunrise than if I hate getting out of bed. Also, setting aside one's preconceived notions and prejudices contribute toward being open to the experience of wonder and awe.

     The moments of wonder and awe may be rare, and fleeting when they do occur, but they always add to the richness and quality of our lives.