Proposition: John Boswell was a Reincarnation of Immanuel Kant

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Also on this website:

Toby Johnson's books:

GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness

GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe

SECRET MATTER: updated, revised & expanded edition from Lethe Press with Afterword by Mark Jordan

GETTING LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE: A romance novel set in the 1980s and the 1890s.

THE FOURTH QUILL, a novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil

TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with the Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams

CHARMED LIVES: Spinning Straw into Gold: Reclaiming Our Queer Spirituality Through Story


About ordering

Books on Gay Spirituality:

White Crane Gay Spirituality Series

  Articles and Excerpts:

Read Toby's review of Samuel Avery's The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness

Funny Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"

The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate

Why gay people should NOT Marry

Wedding Cake Liberation

Gay Marriage in Texas

What's ironic

Shame on the American People

The "highest form of love"

Second March on Washington

A Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality

 The cause of homosexuality

The origins of homophobia

Q&A about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness

What is homosexuality?

What is Gay Spirituality?

My three messages

What Jesus said about Gay Rights

Queering religion

Common Experiences Unique to Gay Men

The purpose of homosexuality

Interview on the Nature of Homosexuality

What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Mesosexual Ideal for Straight Men

Varieties of Gay Spirituality

Waves of Gay Liberation Activity

Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality as Artistic Medium

Easton Mountain Retreat Center

Andrew Harvey & Spiritual Activism

The Gay Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the  "Statement of Spirituality"

"It's Always About You"

The myth of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara

Joseph Campbell's description of Avalokiteshvara

Avalokiteshvara at the Baths.

You're Not A Wave

What is Enlightenment?

What is reincarnation?

How many lifetimes in an ego?

Emptiness & Religious Ideas

Experiencing experiencing experiencing

Going into the Light

Meditations for a Funeral

Meditation Practice

The way to get to heaven

Buddha's father was right

Advice to Travelers to India & Nepal

The Danda Nata & goddess Kalika

Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva

John Boswell was Immanuel Kant

The Two Loves

Curious Bodies

What Toby Johnson Believes

The Joseph Campbell Connection

Campbell & The Pre/Trans Fallacy

The Nature of Religion

What's true about Religion

Being Gay is a Blessing

Drawing Long Straws

Freedom of Religion

The Gay Agenda

Gay Saintliness

Gay Spiritual Functions

The subtle workings of the spirit in gay men's lives.

The Sinfulness of Homosexuality

Proposal for a study of gay nondualism

Priestly Sexuality

 "The Evolution of Gay Identity"

"St. John of the Cross &
the Dark Night of the Soul."

 Eckhart's Eye

Let Me Tell You a Secret

Religious Articulations of the Secret

The Collective Unconscious

Driving as Spiritual Practice


Historicity as Myth


No Stealing

Next Step in Evolution

The New Myth

The Moulting of the Holy Ghost

Gaia is a Bodhisattva

The Hero's Journey as archetype

Marian Doctrines: Immaculate Conception & Assumption

Teenage Prostitution and the Nature of Evil

Allah Hu: "God is present here"
Adam and Steve

The Life is in the Blood

Gay retirement and the "freelance monastery"

Seeing with Different Eyes

The mystical experience at the Servites'  Castle in Riverside

The Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis

The Techniques Of The World Saviors

Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the Tar-Baby
Part 2:
The Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara
Part 3:
Jesus and the Resurrection
Part 4:
A Course in Miracles

The Secret of the Clear Light

Understanding the Clear Light

Mobius Strip

Finding Your Tiger Face

How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated

In honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke

Karellen was a homosexual

About Alien Abduction

What are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?

The D.A.F.O.D.I.L. Alliance

More about Gay Mental Health

Psych Tech Training

The Rainbow Flag

Ideas for gay mythic stories

Kip and Toby, Activists

Toby's friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.

Harry Hay, Founder of the gay movement

About Hay and The New Myth

About Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first man to really "come out"

About Michael Talbot, gay mystic

About Fr. Bernard Lynch

About Richard Baltzell

About Guy Mannheimer

About David Weyrauch

About Dennis Paddie

About Ask the Fire

About Arthur Evans

About Christopher Larkin

About Sterling Houston

About Michael Stevens

Our friend Tom Nash

Book Reviews

Be Done on Earth by Howard E. Cook

Pay Me What I'm Worth by Souldancer

The Way Out by Christopher L  Nutter
The Gay Disciple by John Henson

Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry

Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth A. Burr

Extinguishing the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois

Over Coffee: A conversation For Gay Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson

Dark Knowledge by Kenneth Low

Janet Planet by Eleanor Lerman

The Kairos by Paul E. Hartman

Wrestling with Jesus by D.K.Maylor

Kali Rising by Rudolph Ballentine

The Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada

The Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook

The Scar Letters: A Novel by Richard Alther

The Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel

Missing Mary by Charlene Spretnak

Gay Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez

Cut Hand: A Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman

Nights at Rizzoli by Felice Picano

The Key to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo

The Door of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar

Occam’s Razor by David Duncan

Grace and Demion by Mel White

Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L. Rigoglioso

The Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery

The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass

Immanuel Kant was the famous philosopher who proposed the radical distinction between what we human know (the phenomena) and what is "actually" out there (the noumena).

Kant was probably what we today would call a gay man. Despite being famous for being rather strict, he was quite popular and evenkant famous for throwing wonderful dinner parties and entertaining with his stories. (See Thomas de Quincey's Last Days of Immanuel Kant for descriptions of Kant's personal life--and enjoyment of the attentions of young men. De Quincey's "novella" is an English translation of reminiscences of Kant's life told by his friend Ehregott Andreas Wasianski. For info about de Quincey's book, see this interesting essay by Justin Erik Halldor Smith called Immanuel Kant and His Man-Servant Lampe. Smith does not go as far as I do in suggesting a homosexual subtext to all this.)

Central to Kant's story is his relationship with his long time man-servant Lampe. About two years before Kant's death there was some sort of breakup and Kant declared he would never say the man's name again. That was the beginning of his decline into death. In his will, he left Lampe a comfortable pension.

There's a joke that he gave a lecture to an empty room because his students had questioned whether he would--out of "duty" to the categorical imperative--so they played a prank on him by cutting class.  His answer to the prank was to give the lecture. But really the categorical imperative would not require that.

John Boswell was a Yale University professor who did extensive research into the history ofboswell homosexuality and the Catholic Church. One of his great conclusions was that the condemnations of homosexuality in Christendom DID NOT come from Jesus, St Paul or the early Church, but developed following the Black Plague in Europe. The Church used homosexuals as scapegoats for the plagues while simultaneously (and importantly) motivating people to engage in reproductive sex in order to repopulate the continent.

He is known, therefore, for making a distinction between what we think Christianity teaches and what it "really" is.

John Boswell, tragically, died young of AIDS. On the back cover of his most important book, Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality, the above photo of him appears.

Of course, my proposal that John Boswell was a reincarnation of Immanuel Kant is whimsical. Reincarnation itself is a myth/metaphor for the fact that people's lives in the present are affected by the lives of people who've lived before.
  kant                 boiswell  
But don't these two images even look sort of alike.
Don't Kant and Boswell have the same eyes and cheeks?

I think Kant would be quite pleased to be remembered as a lookalike for the attractive gay thinker of our age.

I got fascinated with Kantian thought in college--the best paper I ever wrote argued a parallel between the Kant's "categories" and C.G. Jung's "archetypes."

Immanuel Kant was apparently a homosexual. He was a short little blond man with curly hair and babyface who was very popular for the dinner parties he held. He never married and had no family. There's a story of how he got quite jealous and angry at a friend of his who stole a young man away from him who'd been brought to see him on a "blind date."

Noumenon and Phenomenon

I've come to understand that the distinction Kant is most famous for between noumenon and phenomenon is, in fact, an intellectualization/metaphysicalization of the distinction homosexuals experience between the gay world and the straight world. That is, a closeted homosexual (as Immanuel Kant as a college professor in 18th C Germany would have naturally been) experiences a huge difference between the world as other people say it is and the way he experiences it; there is a "secret reality" he knows about that the others do not.

The distinction between the "normal world" and the "secret reality" is a perfect parallel to the distinction between phenomenon and noumenon.

The phenomenal world is what everybody experiences, the world as it is resolved in the human mind and that everybody agrees on (with, at least, a "working definition"). The noumenal world is what "really exists" out-there, beyond the filtered perceptions of the human sensory apparatus, i.e., what "God" experiences. (And indeed Kant proposes there has to be a God -- for categorical reasons -- to appreciate that the right and the good are consistent with the noumenal reality.)

A HUGE part of gay consciousness is the realization that we experience the world differently from "normal" people; we see things others don't; we know "what's really going on" (at least with regard to a hidden current of homosexual motivation--and activity--that pervades human culture and history unbeknownst to most people).

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Toby Johnson, PhD is author of eight books: three non-fiction books that apply the wisdom of his teacher and "wise old man," Joseph Campbell to modern-day social and religious problems, three gay genre novels that dramatize spiritual issues at the heart of gay identity, and two books on gay men's spiritualities and the mystical experience of homosexuality. In addition to the novels featured elsewhere in this web site, Johnson is author of IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE SEXUAL UNDERWORLD and THE MYTH OF THE GREAT SECRET (Revised edition): AN APPRECIATION OF JOSEPH CAMPBELL.

Johnson's Lammy Award winning book GAY SPIRITUALITY: The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness was published in 2000. His Lammy-nominated book  GAY PERSPECTIVE: Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the Universe was published by Alyson in 2003. Both books are available now from Lethe Press.

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