Editorial

The Philosophic and Linguistic Equality of 3DX and Porn


Since the 20th and, more specifically, 21st centuries, the continuing evolution of sexual stimulation has come to yet another logical extension of humanity’s diverse taste in arousal. This newer extension is 3D pornography often created using the Rhinoceros 3D software, and is affectionately referred to as simply 3DX. If you are reading this article, then you are most likely well acquainted with the rendered delights of perfectly crafted beauties performing whatever act their designer wishes. If not, I would direct you to Miro’s fabulous article explaining and arguing for the many benefits 3DX has going for it. A frequently spouted critique of 3DX would fault the genre as never being as good as “the real thing,” i.e. pornography with human actors/subjects. This is a highly contentious point for more reasons than the easy reversal of saying that no porn is “the real thing,” i.e. sex. In this article, I will argue that the merits of 3DX are philosophically identical to that of “real porn” through the tenets of subjective idealism and structural linguistics.

A diagram of subjective idealism. Think of the object as all of reality, 3DX and porn included.

A diagram of subjective idealism. Think of the object as all of reality, 3DX and porn included.

First, we must understand why “real porn” doesn’t even exist in the first place by defining subjective idealism and structural linguistics. Subjective  idealism (sometimes referred to as “immaterialism”), is a school of thought first formulated by an 18th century philosopher named George Berkeley  who penned the concept in his 1710 A Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge. In this seminal work, Berkeley challenges 17th   century realist philosopher John Locke and his belief that the world is a material place composed of both matter and mind. Berkeley argues instead  that one cannot conceive an object existing unperceived by stating that, “all the [world] have not any subsistence without a mind […] [if] they are not    actually perceived by me, or do not exist in my mind or that of any other […] they must have no existence at all.”¹ This may seem familiar to you if    you’ve ever been asked about a tree falling in the forest with nobody around to hear it. For Berkeley, the world can logically only be composed of immaterial minds which perceive ideas as opposed to Locke’s belief in both mind and material matter. More simply, Berkeley’s well-known maxim “esse est percipi” or “to be is to be perceived,” illustrates the idea. The object, Berkeley uses furniture in his example but I like to think of Charlize Theron (which is not to insinuate that she is a mere object), does not actually exist as we perceive it. Instead, the perceiver (you and me) has only a perception filtered through our own unique lens (I see Charlize in an entirely different way than you). Thus, individual ideas trump the true existence of objects. Think of Locke as the critiquing voice of 3DX, claiming that because Sayako exists in a virtual state as opposed to a “real,” she isn’t the same as Sasha Grey, and is somehow lesser because of it. Berkeley and the 3DX fans, however, argue that Sasha Grey isn’t “real” either, and that they are principally the same.

Tara's perfectly rendered and body.

“Futūtiō ergo sum.” I fuck, therefore I am.

Now, if you are buying Berkeley’s immaterial argument, you may suddenly think that Affect3D is actually the greatest pornography site in the world (which wouldn’t necessarily be incorrect) and that 3DX is the logical conclusion to all porn because someone has designed Tara’s perfect body and therefore knows her programmable truth value. I know my model exists because I rendered her, right? Well, this simply isn’t so. Instead, think of 3DX as a literal representation of subjective idealism. Although the entanglement of language and subjective idealism is only alluded to by Berkeley himself, he does consider ideas, which is how the human mind is supposed to interpret the material word (consequently fictionalizing it), to be subject to irrelevant descriptors, “great and small, swift and slow, are allowed to exist nowhere without the mind, being entirely relative, and changing as the frame or position of the organ of sense varies.”² This sort of thinking is precursory to the work of Swiss structural linguist Ferdinand de Saussure; whose Course in General Linguistics (c. 1916) argued that language is a formal system of differential linguistic signs. All words are a sign, and all signs are composed of two parts: the signifier and the signified. Essentially, the signifier is a phonetic sound or construction of the word, while the signified is a concept, or combination of ideas that culminate into what the word is conveying. For example: a C-O-C-K is fleshy, cylindrical, topped with a head, hard or soft, possesses a urethra, and so on until what you describe can only apply to the idea of a C-O-C-K. For Saussure and Berkeley, language is how reality is both inherently constructed and arbitrarily interpreted. Saussure’s point on “l’arbitraire du signe” is a double of Berkeley’s previously quoted irrelevant descriptors, “[the signifier] is unmotivated, i.e. arbitrary in that it actually has no natural connection with the signified.”³ C-O-C-K, as we know it, actually has nothing to do with a cock because language is a constructed reality assigning arbitrary meaning to the material world. Nothing can be conceived beyond what we think (perceive) of an object.

An image of a C-O-C-K (the signified) as it is referred to in other languages/slang and described (signifier). What is a C-O-C-K?

An image (signified) of a C-O-C-K (the sign) with signifiers in other languages/slang in black text and described in white text. What is a C-O-C-K?

Whether by Berkeley’s argument of irrelevancy or Saussure’s principle of arbitrariness, 3DX should be understood as a literal manifestation of how both Berkeley and Saussure would view reality (and therefore porn): Tara is a 3DX model that we perceive with the same predisposed uncertainty as our lovers,  neighbors, or dogs. Why is this important? By both subjective idealism and structural linguistics, 3DX is  definably identical to “real porn.” The reader is good to note that Berkeley and Saussure would argue that  “real porn” does not exist beyond ideas in the first place and thus there is no tangible division between  3DX  and something from professional porn produces or amateur couples. I perceive Ayako’s incredible  fellatio  just as I would Heather Brooke, both of which possess absolutely no difference in terms of objective truth.  Neither Ayako nor Heather can, for a certainty, exist beyond my own filtered and arbitrary perception  of  them. Our reality, which includes porn, is as non-physical as 3DX models. It is then suffice to say that  3DX is a literal construction of ideas that reflects the arbitrary nature of “real porn.”

Aside from simply saying “coming is coming” and so what one comes to is fundamentally irrelevant, I argue  that even beyond the sexual satisfaction, 3DX and “real porn” are philosophically the exact same due to both  having an inherent reliance on the perceiver’s perception of an object. This position carries over to a  multitude of other pornography platforms such as hentai, comics, or the nifty looking virtual sex on the Oculus Rift. It is still fair to have a preference for one type of porn over another, but in a purely philosophical sense, there isn’t really a distinction between the reality of them. At the end of the day, I hope that there is an amount of solace found in the idea that 3DX models, porn stars, and Hollywood actors are just as “real” as the other, though perhaps not in the most ideal, or perhaps objective, of ways.

References:

[1] Berkeley, George. “The Principles of Human Knowledge.” Jessop, T.E. The Works of George Berkeley Vol. II. Camden: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1964. pg. 43

[2] Berkeley 45

[3] Saussure, Ferdinand de. “Course in General Linguistics.” New York: The Philosophical Library Inc., 1959. pg. 69


1 Comment on The Philosophic and Linguistic Equality of 3DX and Porn

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  1. Pathetic

    3DX porn cannot hurt anyone directly – real porn can. I have personally known many women in the adult entertainment industry (many have done pornography) and the ones that are clear headed will probably tell you that it damages a woman’s soul. Most porn is a very dehumanizing thing for women and often very degrading. I am not going to argue this as it is fact – if you can watch most porn today and honestly say it is not degrading for women then you have real issues, imo.
    And it is getting worse. In the 90’s there was dialogue (however lame) and story lines and attempts at making proper movies in the pornographic industry. It was still degrading for actresses, but MILES less so then today where it seems to consist of finding the smallest, cutest gal and stuffing her with the biggest dick that can be found. Little dialogue…just set her down, bang away at her with as much cock as she can take until he cums (and she pretends to) and that is that.
    And this shows in the talent. Compare the looks of the average female porn ‘star’ today that is under 25 today to the same from 15-20 years ago and there usually is no comparison. You treat women worse and you end up with ”worse’ looking women.
    Unfortunately, 3DX pornography is just not there yet…but it has improved leaps and bounds what it was just ten years ago, imo.
    When the masses are able and can afford to make 3DX pornography quickly and of the calibre of Girlfriends4Ever – only then will it have a chance to really make a massive dent in ‘human’ pornography.
    Unfortunately, that situation seems to be many years away. But I welcome that day when it comes. Then, hopefully, women in porn can basically just run their own cam sites and make good money doing only what they wish. And leave the degrading stuff (and hopefully, the less degrading stuff as well) to 3DX.
    That way everyone makes money, we get our porn fix and far fewer women/men are degraded.

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