Gómez Dávila was aware that most people view sensuality and religion as contradictory, but he was determined to keep both these basic features of his personality together. He did not deny that sensuality, in isolation, can be a vice; instead of being discarded, however, it needs to be joined with love—love not of an abstract concept, but of an individual. Indeed, the object of love is the “ineffableness of the individual.” In Gómez Dávila’s philosophy, the sensual, by virtue of its union with love, is intimately united with the individual.
But, what exactly is the sensual? If the sensual is merely defined as the opposite of the abstract, an important element of the sensual will be missing. What is missing is value, an important and recurring term in the Escolios. “The sensual is the presence of a value in the sensible.” One of the most important ways of perceiving the presence of values—which are immortal—is through art. A good painting, for example, gives the spirit “a sensual enrichment.” True sensuality wants its object to enjoy eternity. This mention of eternity, in conjunction with the immortality of values, indicates the ultimate goal of sensuality. If the sensual as the embodiment of values, aspires to eternity, it must be a longing for the only being who is eternal, God. This explains why for Gómez Dávila it is not sensuality, but abstraction, that leads us away from God. This praise of sensuality may sound foreign to many Christians today, but one cannot help but be reminded of St. Thomas Aquinas’ statement: “It must be that God is in all things most intimately” (Summa Theologiae, I, q. 8, art. 1).