Philosopher Planning to Create 'Better Porn'

May 18, 2012 8:15 AM PST

LONDON — Swiss philosopher, author and entrepreneur Alain de Botton, best known as a highbrow everyday self-help guru, wants to revolutionize porn.

The founder of the London-based School of Life said that because the Internet has made porn so prevalent and mundane, he’s wondering what’s next?

He intends to meet with porn professionals and leaders in the art world in order to create “Better Porn” with an accompanying website to be announced soon.

A School of Life press release reads, "Ideally, porn would excite our lust in contexts which also presented other, elevated sides of human nature — in which people were being witty, for instance, or showing kindness, or working hard or being clever — so that our sexual excitement could bleed into, and enhance our respect for these other elements of a good life.

“Thanks to the internet, the modern world is awash with pornography. This pornography represents a threat not just to those who make it in terms of the exploitation involved, but also to those who consume it, in terms of the conflict it can set up between the values encoded in the porn and their responsibilities and values in the rest of their lives.

The philosopher’s proposed website would deliver a more intellectual look at porn with new examples.

“We shouldn't have to choose between being human and being sexual (the Ancient Greeks knew this very well). Ideally, porn would excite our lust in contexts which also presented other, elevated sides of human nature – in which people were being witty, for instance, or showing kindness, or working hard or being clever – so that our sexual excitement could bleed into, and enhance our respect for these other elements of a good life. No longer would sexuality have to be lumped together with stupidity, brutishness, earnestness and exploitation; it could instead be harnessed to what is noblest in us,” the statement continued.

“The real problem with current pornography is that it's so far removed from all the other concerns which a reasonably sensible, moral, kind and ambitious person might have. As currently constituted, pornography asks that we leave behind our ethics, our aesthetic sense and our intelligence when we contemplate it. Yet it is possible to conceive of a version of pornography which wouldn't force us to make such a stark choice between sex and virtue — a pornography in which sexual desire would be invited to support, rather than permitted to undermine, our higher values,” de Botton said.

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