Posted by Peter Lawler
Why professors should have "brain sex" with their students...not that there’s anything wrong with that. And why the movies have been portraying professors as losers who finally resort to having that other kind of sex with students...that’s not good.
That was one of the most insightful articles I think I've ever read. Good job finding that . . .
Thanks, Peter, for a very intelligent and literate article ... about us (?) It reminds me of a question I've never been able to answer for myself: is the Platonic description of brain sex between teacher and student true for my experience as a teacher. To be sure, I find Plato's account beautiful and evocative; and, despite my limitations, I have had some very rich and powerful experiences as a teacher. But I'm still not sure what Plato wants to evoke is what I'm experiencing.
I think I may be hindered by a certain post-Puritan "chastity" even when it comes to "brain sex." It's as if I'm not comfortable with any eros being directed towards me, even momentarily as I serve as the deflecting mediator to something Higher.
You know my fondness for one movie cited: "One True Thing." "She was my one true thing." This one true thing is a kind of love that may apparently do just fine without High intellectual attainments.
And yet I am myself very addicted to the life of the mind and convinced of its intrinsic connection to, its ultimate union with the Highest Good.
So help me sort all this out.
I can't match your eloquence this morning. But if you mean "brain sex" seems pretty close to any oxymoron, and the Platonic ladder of love doesn't quite right true, then I'm with you. I'm a small college guy with lots of overly intense and devoted students, but there's no brain sex going on. A lot of puppy-like joy in discovery etc., maybe and some ambiguous eros, but not brain sex. I'm not puritanical at all when it comes to saying anything in class to keep students stimulated, but I really, truly don't mean sexually stimulated (I'm getting pretty old and have a heavy teaching load).
I suppose "brain sex" is a good alternative to mental masturbation.
Something happens in the classroom that is hard to explain, but it is not erotic. There is some other vital excitement that leaves students agape and unselfconscious, absorbed in the topic at hand. I forget myself, too, absorbed in getting the thoughts out for my class. It is about giving what you have got, sharing what seems like some great secret to some of them. (And last year, I just taught Freshman Composition; words and how to use them.) Discovery is in it, and when I think about what happens, staring eyes are there, too. Maybe using the term "eros" is the only way to relate to the loss of self that can happen, but it is not a sexual stimulation, it is some other sort.
Kate, You are right...
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