The modern self

The Self since the time of Descartes has been stranded, split off from everything else in the Cosmos, a mind which professes to understand bodies and galaxies but is by the very act of understanding marooned in the Cosmos, with which is has no connection. It therefore needs to exercise every option in order to reassure itself that it is not a ghost but is rather a self among other selves. One such option is a sexual encounter. Another is war. The pleasure of a sexual encounter derives not only from physical gratification but also from the demonstration to oneself that, despite one’s own ghostliness, one is, for the moment at least, a sexual being. Amazing! Indeed, the most amazing of all the creatures in the Cosmos: a ghost with an erection! Yet not really amazing, for only if the abstracted ghost has an erection can it, like Jove spying Europa on the beach, enter the human condition. ― from Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-Help Book