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The Tao of Porn

Money is getting tight. More accurately, we are starting to come to a more conscious awareness of the fact that the free-wheeling lifestyle of our stock-option boom days has come to an end. I see this as a positive development for us.

Huahnchu Daoren, a Chinese civil servant, retired from his public position around 1600 AD and settled in to write down the insights he derived from his long term in public life. He produced a volume of meditations he titled "Vegetable Root Talks." It sits on my computer desk, or on the nearby art caddy; an English translation by Thomas Cleary bearing the title Back to Beginnings: Reflections on the Tao. Its warped pages, stained purple from an encounter with a glass of wine, offer up insights so apropos to my situation that they seem more like a message sent directly to me than something found by chance.

For example:

Those who live simply are often pure, while those who live luxuriously may be slavish and servile. It seems that the will is clarified by plainness, while conduct is ruined by indulgence.


In matters of desire, don't get hastily involved because of easy availability; once you get involved, you will sink in deeply. In matters of principle, don't back off for fear of difficulty; once you back down, you will lose your ground entirely.

The relevance of the first quote to our financial situation seems obvious. The second quote leads me to think about commercial pornography.


I've built the content of C-Realm.com slowly over the last five years, adding to it daily with the Thought of the Day and the daily comix, and now with LiveJournal, and while my site bears the moniker C-Realm.com, ("com" short for commerce) I have only recenctly turned my attention to emphasizing the commercial end of things. Put another way, I've been following my bliss and now I'm looking for a way to generate an income from what I have built and continue to build day by day.

I've made a little money so far; mainly from the Amazon.com associates program, but not anywhere near what I need to bring in to make our life here in paradise sustainable. Some programs look quite promising. At present, the one I can recommend with the clearest conscience remains the suite of products and services centered around Ken Evoy's Make Your Site Sell. But the fact remains that the income stream I've built so far won't pay our electric bill, which has recently soared to over $200 a month.

Of course, I do know of one product that sells like mad on the web. Sex. Or a bizarre facsimile of sex called pornography. I have a long history with commercial porn. It has certainly shaped a lot of my fantasies and expectations. I've used it as visual reference for my comics. I've just plain used it, too. Were it not for my exposure to and interaction with pornography I wouldn't structure my life and art the way I do.

And yet the more I examine commercial porn and the effect it has on the way I experience my body and my sexuality, the less I want to have to do with it. Sure, you can find some classy erotica for sale on the web, but from what I've seen, the money goes to the sites with the flashing pink banner ads, ubiquitous boob jobs, and spread labias, which is the stuff that really turns me off.

I don't like most commercial pornography. I don't want to promote it. I certainly don't want to make myself financially dependent on it, but the temptation remains.

I shared my dilemma with another graphic artist in an email discussion. He wrote:

As a lackluster Christian and a macho feminist, I can't encourage you to advertise porn. That said, I certainly understand the temptation for new revenue, especially with a new baby in your home. Then again, with a new baby, you are probably feeling that you want the world to be better than it is, less crass.

You're in my feeble prayers.

Now, with my quandary spelled out, let's revisit the advice that Huanchu Daoren sent to me across the Pacific Ocean and down a five hundred year path:

In matters of desire, don't get hastily involved because of easy availability; once you get involved, you will sink in deeply. In matters of principle, don't back off for fear of difficulty; once you back down, you will lose your ground entirely.

Thanks, Huanchu.

Click here to read some gems from Huanchu Daoren that I have used in the Thought of the Day.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 13th, 2001 02:03 pm (UTC)
steffan - about electricity
you should seriously look into alternate energy. my father is an odd man, a bit of an innovator, and he possesses an intimidating intellegence. When he bends his will to a task, it will get accomplished. He decided we were spending too much on electricity. He reworked our house to not be entirely solar, but to simply take advantage of the heat and energy provided by the sun. He found a number of technologies that were considered "inefficient" compared to electric heat, and he modified them until they worked. He then put in a external wood heater and duct system. He now burns wood, and usues solar assist. His electricity bill is never larger than $50. (And he runs a woodworking shop on that, as well as our home.) This was in 1988. Advances in solar power have been considerable in recent years. (Which makes Dubya's axeing of solar power research doubly insulting. (Man, I'd like to get a look at that man's stock portfolio, so that i know who he's REALLY working for.))
Apr. 14th, 2001 11:22 am (UTC)
Re: steffan - about electricity
We actually have a wood-burning furnace in our house. We have just never learned to use it because the heat pump works with the touch of a button. Still, I expect we'll take that step eventually, although probably not before it gets cold again.

As for the solor option. It's definitely on the long-term "to do" list. I'd like to get off the grid entirely. Autonomy remains my goal.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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