philotransIn 1662 the fresh little organisation that was called ‘Royal Society for Improving Natural Knowledge’ was given a charter by Charles II to publish the world’s first Scientific journal, “Philosophical transaction”. It was a major development in the history of science, because it was the first peer-reviewed journal that function much like the journals of today. That’s where the dissemination of ideas of science started in a serious way.

Finally the printing press, which had been invented hundreds of years before, was starting to have an scientifically intellectual impact on the world, and one could say that the start of this journal marked the first tentative steps into the Age of Enlightenment. In 1499 the book “Hypnerotomachia Poliphili” was printed in Venice by, supposedly, Francesco Colonna.

poliphiloSo, one hundred and sixty-three years before the natural philosophers who started “Philosophical Transactions” thought that it would be nice to have some form of writing for the betterment of mankind through reason and knowledge, Colonna thought “Do you think I can make a penny by selling sex-books?”

As a sex-book, Hypnerototomachia is very tame and allegorical and symbolic, but it skirted courtly romance and dealt with the passions of a man who was spurned by his beloved, which caused him to chase her through a dream world. For the time, however, it must have been quite shocking to the nobility of Venice and Italy, that passed the book around amongst themselves. But, the example goes to illustrate that the saying that “internet is made for porn” is true about any media.

The courtly love and the erotic passions faded as the first modern erotic novel was published by engraver Marcantonio Raimondi and poet Petro Aretino in 1524, when they had sixteen commented engravings with figures from Classical Antiquity that copulated. This effort earned Raimondi a year-long prison sentence by the enraged Pope Clement VIII. Yes, people quickly founded uses for that new-fangled printing press, and it was not uses which the elites of the time had suspected or anticipated.

Bibles and porn, those were the big things to do with the new presses that spread like wild-fire through Europe at the time, and of course these alternative uses made states like the French impose heavy sanction on them, supposedly for the good of morals and for the people. I mean, Gutenberg invented the press after being involved in a scam to sell holy light to pilgrims in Aachen. He hoped to capture light from holy relics in mirrors. The pilgrims weren’t so easily fooled however, and Gutenberg needed a new project… Not even spam is new, thus.

Today we, of course, celebrate the printing press for the fantastic invention that it was, and at the same time the elites try to impose control of the internet for the good of morality and for the people because the only thing that people do on the internet is to argue, view cute and silly pictures of cats, and to watch porn.

Like with the printing press, the porn industry quickly saw the potential of the new medium, and now porn is everywhere on the net. The internet wasn’t made for porn, but like always, porn quickly grew the medium until people started to think that the medium could indeed be used for more high-brow purposes. So, don’t feel guilty about viewing porn. You’re participating in a tradition as old as man and technology.

At Abri Castanet, a 37 thousand year old site for cave art, anthropologists discovered, in 2007, that the ceiling of the cave had depictions of the female sex organ. As soon as mankind learned to depict his world in art, he also started to produce porn. With each new medium, that has always been one of the first uses of it.

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