Whenever I visit the mountains of rural Southwestern Pennsylvania, I feel like I should live there. Part of that feeling doubtless comes from being on vacation, but there's more to it than that. The small town where my folks have their summer home is only a few miles from the not-quite-as-small-but-still-very-small town where my grandfather grew up, so maybe there's something in the soil that speaks to something in my blood. I don't know, but I do know that it's awfully pretty there.I understand the seductions of the city, but:
Greeeeeeen acres is the place to be
Farm living is the life for me
Land spreading out so far and wide
Keep the DC metro suburbs with their traffic and their damnable August humidity, just give me that countryside
I always feel most at home when I'm driving on some hilly country back road that I don't know very well. That happens a lot because we'll often set off for a known destination without my having bothered to think through the route very carefully. As a result, I end up driving through peaceful, largely uninhabited areas until I come to a road I recognize and find a service station that sells maps. Whereupon I make a correction, and we drive on another road I haven't taken before and arrive at our destination somewhat later than intended. I find the entire process somewhat revelatory. I abhor driving in the city and suburbs, but out in the country, it's very nice indeed. The kids take it pretty well in stride, and I get to scout out a lot of locations for my notional monastic order, the Brothers of Perpetual Extasis.
I figure that most of what I like about the city can be recreated in an appropriate rural monastic environment. As long as there are plenty of men, greenhouses, plenty of men, high speed Internet, plenty of men, occasional vacations, plenty of men, mail order houses, and plenty of men, I'm going to be happier starting my day with a cup of coffee and a trip to the henhouse than with a forty-minute commute.
Starting a monastery is a practical impossibility for me, of course. The sad thing about capitalism is that to escape it, you can't just flee it, you have to beat it on its own terms: large spreads of land, greenhouses and herds of goats aren't free for the taking. I'd either have to make a ton of money in business or find a very good spiritual sugar daddy, and I have no real talent for either undertaking. It's a shame, though. I'd be a pretty good wise man/abbot. Plus, I know how to keep books. I'd make a lousy preacher, though, so finding converts would be as hard for me as finding a revenue stream: I'm very good at advising like-minded individuals, but I generally have no interest in persuading people to believe what I believe. But the impossibility of creating such an institution doesn't make thinking about how it would operate any less fun.
The fundamental principle of Extasisism, naturally, is belief in the spiritual power of sexual pleasure. As such, brothers in the order will be expected to participate in communal and/or solitary erotic activity on a regular schedule and on a daily basis. Sacred erotic activity (SEA, for short) would begin just before sunrise so that the brothers could take advantage of the morning light as well as morning wood. Matins would be a communal SEA, as would Vespers, which would begin just before sunset and continue into full darkness. There would be a period of solitary SEA/meditation in the afternoon, and the format for the night/overnight SEA would be up to the individual brothers. Each brother would have a simple cell for solitary sleep, sex, and meditation, and there would be a number of large communal beds, which would see frequent use. After all, when you believe in the spiritual power of sexual pleasure, you want to share and magnify that power. Besides, the motto of the Brothers of Perpetual Extasis is whatever "the more, the merrier" happens to be in Latin.
Latin notwithstanding, the Brothers of Perpetual Extasis will be following patterns more closely aligned with Earth-based religions than with anything as recent as Christianity. Accordingly, special celebrations will occur based on the movements of the Earth and the moon. While ejaculation will not be required (neither will it be discouraged, of course) in any particular daily SEA, the full moon ceremony will be a fertility ritual and will thus involve the simultaneous ejaculations of all brothers. I know that sounds difficult to arrange, but while the Brothers of Perpetual Extasis are by nature a laid-back group of guys, their masturbatory discipline is a beacon unto the world.
Similarly, the winter solstice celebration involves a form of ritualized sacrifice in which the selected brother is bound to the altar just before sunset and is then edged by the other members of the abbey. They allow him to ejaculate only upon the sun's return. The volume of ejaculate he produces and the distance it travels will be indicative of the spiritual energy the brothers have channeled through his body and will help to ensure that the coming year is a good one. The experience of being edged for sixteen or more hours is an exhausting one, to be sure, but the brothers recognize it as the surest path to enlightenment.
Edging is not limited to the solstice, however. After all, while the monastic life lends itself to much looking inwards, the brothers have a very real, outward-looking mission: to provide spiritual light to the world through perpetual extasis. And this mission can only be achieved if, at any given moment, at least one of the brothers, somewhere, is in a state of ecstasy. An experienced monk who has made it his life's work to achieve sexual enlightenment will be able to edge himself for at least four hours every other day. Novices will not be so disciplined and may require a more experienced hand to keep them in the same state for a shorter period of time. But through dedicated practice, loving teaching, and careful scheduling, the brotherhood will ensure that the light of wordless joy is never fully extinguished ("Quinze!"1). Of course, a large number of monks at multiple locations would help a lot, too.
It's not all semen and wordless joy, of course. An abbey has to sustain itself. It needs to provide for the physical needs of its members. I'm still working out the details for how to provide the order with a revenue stream, but I suspect that it involves a tastefully trashy Internet porn site, and perhaps the export of its excellent goat cheese, ale, and sex toys. There will be some manual labor (I mean in addition to all the hand jobs), but this, too, can be a path to enlightenment. And while the brothers will mostly toil within the confines of the abbey and provide a place of refuge and orgasm for visitors, they will also make forays into the outer world to spread the good news of Extasisism, even unto the very gates of Chelsea and the Castro.
Also -- and here again, I haven't worked out all the details -- I'm thinking that any vow of poverty will have to be temporary. I can't understand why anyone would want to leave the Brothers of Perpetual Extasis, but we have to take into account that vocations may be withdrawn as easily as it's given. So if you join the order, you contribute most of your worldly goods, but you get a limited partnership interest in exchange, and if the time ever comes when you decide to move on, you get to cash it out at its (highly appreciated) value. Man, alas, does not live on sexual energy alone.
And speaking of that, if anyone knows of a foundation (or a foreign government, or just some vulnerable older guy who could be convinced to write me into his will) that would be willing to fund a social experiment of such value and nobility, send them my way.
[By the way, if you're interested in becoming a monk, but you're for some reason not ready to embrace Extasisism, you might want to go to this site. Apparently it's easier than you think.]
1A cookie for anyone who gets the reference.