Myths, I hold, are mirrors
in which, if we dare,
we may catch glimpses
of our repressed selves
Otherwise, predictably we remain
in love/hate relationships
with the gods and ghosts
reflecting who we are yet,
if ever, to become
At best, this is a new theory about the evolution of masculinity in history, an analysis of the effects of repression on the family triangle, a pointer toward potentially improved individual mental health and more functional social structures.
At least, in its most limited review, it is only a private confession projected onto the screen of an imagined view of human history based on selective analysis of a few carefully chosen myths--that is, only about me, my problems, and what I see.
The gist of my conclusion is that masculinity itself has been unwittingly but systematically undermined in family structures over the long haul of history, in service of social stability and family support, and that femininity has likewise been short changed and boxed in by evolved religions and social mores.
The major villain, typically unrecognized, is personal repression, a perversion of consciousness, turned in on itself rather than artfully used as evolved for creative living. Specific consequences of near universal self-repression in service of social acceptance include: repressed masculinity, emotionality, and creativity in males, plus sexuality, aggression, and rationality in females.
Obviously, the conclusions I reach are finally personal opinions based on my own limited experience and knowledge. Although honest and confessional--that is, true-for-me, they may not fit for others, and may even be entirely in error in an overall sense. Even though I imply there have been massive negative consequences of repression in the evolution in personal living and social structures, it may well be that they have been necessary sacrifices for the success of civilization so far.
Perhaps what I view as high costs in terms of individual well-being ("salvation" in religious terms) have been essential prices to be paid for advances in overall social stability which is, of course, a pre-requisite for individuality (individual existence).
I hang my summary analysis of family history on clues revealed in mythology, which I see as a socially accepted mirror reflecting prevailing repressions of each era. My theory is that by analyzing major elements in certain myths we may be able to back-track and find clues to what was actually occurring in family structures but being denied in awareness at the time.
Even if I err in my interpretations of the myths, including the four I select for analysis and one I create, and only borrow them to project my own views, the process has been valuable for me in my personal quest for self-understanding as a basis for maturing (becoming my fuller or whole self). The myths have proved to be a distant mirror, a round-about way of approaching myself indirectly and more safely than my attempts at direct self-seeing (seeing myself without mirrors to reflect my projections).
Perhaps other persons may find the same process useful for them, even as I have. In either case, I do not claim that my interpretations are right in the sense of being exclusively correct. Obviously, each myth is capable of bearing many interpretations, depending on insights one brings to their reading. But even if I am wrong in my translations into global type explanations, they seem accurate for my projections into them, as amplified in my confessions in the last section of this essay.
My title, Jocasta Complex, is a coined phrase related to the more familiar term, Oedipus Complex, introduced by Freud in the early part of the 20th century, based on his understanding of an early Greek myth. In broad summary, Freud theorized that the first part of the myth about Oedipus and his father, Laius, mirrors major roots of human pathology, especially for males, from earliest times, even until today.
In his view the major source of many current neuroses can be traced back to castration threats and fears inherent in father/son relationships. Although Freud gave most of his attention to theories about causes for current neuroses from a male perspective, his practice of psychoanalysis with female clients led him to posit comparable speculations about female psychology, most notably in what he saw as "penis envy" in girls, as though they too had been castrated. Using the Greek myth to mirror his thinking, he came to refer to the core human problem as the Oedipus Complex.
I conclude that while Freud pioneered in major advances in understanding male sexuality and its place in later neuroses in adults, he stopped short of comparable explorations of female psychology, and especially of personhood beyond gender differences. We owe him much for enlightenment about the unconscious mind and realms of dark sexuality; but, as I understand, existential issues were largely ignored in his psychoanalytic theories.
I have concluded that the latter part of the Oedipus myth, namely, about the mother/son relationship (Jocasta and Oedipus), which Freud largely ignored, may give invaluable clues about other limitations and dangers in the family triangle, especially about existential problems beyond sexuality itself.
Freud focused on Oedipus and his father, Laius. I turn to the second half of the myth and focus on Oedipus and his mother, Jocasta, for clues to further understanding about human problems, both family and societal, today.
Hence my title, Jocasta Complex.
My observation is that many advances made in civilization to date, especially in terms of current family values, have come at considerable costs in personal well-being in the midst of fairly successful social structures. My implication is that a clearer understanding of these factors may lead to better ways of achieving an even more functional balance between individual well-being and social stability.
In particular, I posit that we have now advanced far enough to begin phasing out personal repression as the major tool for civilizing children, and find new ways of achieving greater success in both arenas.
I use the term, Jocasta Complex, to summarize clues given in the second part of the Oedipus myth, possibly reflecting deeper sources of both sexual and existential limitations or errors affecting individual and social well-being today.
Before amplifying these mythical clues, I jump to my final, bottom-line conclusions about what I see as dangerous psychic errors resulting from personal repression as the major path to social stability:
-- Mother/son complicity in emasculating fathers, setting the stage for cloaked mother/son incest.
-- Mother adoration and son self-emasculation (giving "balls" to goddess) in quest of female favors.
-- Mother self-suicide rather than facing the truth about emasculation of fathers and sons.
--Son self-blinding (repression) to denial of natural masculinity, emotionality, and creativity.
-- Son marrying a cloaked mother seen as wife, thus setting the stage for repeating the same path in successive generations; in this case, son becoming father who is even more vulnerable to further emasculation by his own son and wife/mother.
-- Possible evolution of males into truly mature gentle-men who avoid repression, embrace natural capacities, and learn to wisely be themselves and love woman rather than becoming wimps or ass holes, etc.
I am grateful for my mother and many other females, especially Anita, who have mirrored unembraced aspects of myself, and patiently, even lovingly, endured my extended learning/becoming process so far.
I will be pleased if any reader finds my experience and opinions useful in his or her own maturing process.
As humans have evolved throughout the course of history, so have our common repressions "in here," and consequently the myths created to mirror them "out there."
Obviously, personal repressions are not visible, either to us who make them or those who see us doing so. But if I am correct in my opinion that myths reflect our projections, then by examining the mythology of an era we can make educated guesses about personal denials of those who shared beliefs in then current myths.
In this essay I borrow four myths from the past which I see as reflecting human history in general, still being repeated today, especially in the lives of boys and men: Cronos, Oedipus, Attis, and Jesus. Also I create another imaginary myth for the future, which I call New Man.
Although Jesus is seen by many as a real historical person, not a mythological figure, I intend him here to symbolize or represent qualities personified in stories surrounding his life. Whether Jesus actually lived or not, or whether events popularly associated with him, e.g., being virgin born, walking on water, performing miracles, etc., are real or mythological is incidental to values I see represented in the way he is popularly viewed.
The same is true for Cronos, Oedipus, and Attis. Whether or not they existed as individuals in history is incidental to facts I view as personified in tales surrounding their lives. Even if the truths I see in each are totally my own projections--that is, if I am completely wrong in associating my observations with these four figures, still I think my speculations may be valid observations about male history, past and present (and certainly my own).
My primary focus is on the traditional family triangle: father/mother/child, with most attention given here to parents and male children--that is, what I see as typically occurring between fathers, mothers, and sons. Later, in another essay, I intend to explore the traditional triangle with primary attention given to daughters; but here I begin with what is most personal for me and consequently interests me most.
John Doe is my personification of an average male today, not every man. Certainly there are many exceptions to the generalities I point out--that is, men who differ at both ends of the scale. Some are less repressed and therefore more whole, while others are more repressed and consequently more emasculated. Probably most readers will be more whole than my mythical John Doe; but they may still see reflections in him of who they once were.
A number of my personal conclusions (so far) underlie observations I make in this essay. They are, in effect, "where I am coming from" in points I make. A reader, therefore, may follow my observations better with awareness of my premises. Among them, are these:
-- Consciousness is an evolved human capacity, not present in ancient, fresh-out-of-the-jungle, higher level animals. Human capacity for holding great quantities of information in mind's eye, called con-sciousness (meaning with-knowledge, as contrasted with knowing only) is a Johnny Come Lately on the evolutional stage. Humans existed for eons as highly developed animals who lived primarily by inherited knowledge only, that is, by relatively blind instincts. They simply, as we might say today, "did what comes naturally," without "having to think about it."
Only as civilization advanced, calling for more knowledge than primal genes could bring, did consciousness evolve as needed for advanced coping skills required for living well in more complex relationships.
-- Repression is a negative by-product of consciousness. Ideally, consciousness brought expanded capacity for holding knowledge; but with it came the opposite possibility of denying or "not-knowing" what one might otherwise know--that is, repression.
-- Projection is the flip-side of repression. The nature of this psychic device is that what is "pushed down inside," in effect, "pops up outside"--that is, what is not-seen as being "in here" inevitably appears to be "out there" in the form of images or mirrors-for-reflecting inward projections.
-- Idolization, or literally, idolatry--that is, creation of images or icons for worship (mythology) is a by-product of human repression. Without repression, idolatry is not possible, because by nature of itself worship requires icons, and these are impossible without consciousness and its perversion into non-sciousness.
-- Non-sciousness is a perversion of consciousness, as distinguished from natural unconsciousness (literal not-knowing-awarely), as operative in pumping blood, digesting food, healing wounds, etc.
Non-sciousness is not natural, but only comes to exist when an individual denies awareness of what is otherwise evident. In other words, we inherit large measures of unconscious knowledge about operations essential for human existence; but we also acquire additional personal knowledge as we activate inherent capacities for perception (via 5 senses). This later type of knowledge may, with the gift of consciousness, be "held," as it were, "in mind's eye"--that is "kept" in awareness (or available in memory for recall when needed).
But, conversely, such knowledge may, by acts of personal choice, be pushed out of consciousness into dark realms of non-knowing what would otherwise be known. This is what I coin the word non-sciousness to represent--that is, personal knowledge that has been individually transformed into not-knowing (as distinguished from volumes of truly unconscious knowledge).
-- Mythology reflects historical progression of family values through time--that is, the nature of the triangle of father/mother/son. By examining imagery and decoding, we may catch glimpses of the family triangle as civilization has advanced.
-- World history is repeated in the life of each family triangle today; we can use mythology for projected glimpses of what typically happens in many current families.
-- All human capacities have evolved with accompanying power generated. Perceiving, for example, generates internal power ("can-do-ness"), just as do all emotions, such as, energy to fight or flee what is perceived as threatening.
-- Every era in human history comes with established myths commonly seen as religion at the time. In ordinary understanding, mythology is a name given to religious beliefs of a previous era. Each era typically views its own religion as "real," and only past beliefs as "myths."
-- Myths, whether seen as real or recognized as such, are all projections of human repressions--that is, the images, figures, and events seen "out there" are actually mirrored reflections of capacities and their associated powers "in here" but denied or not yet evolved into consciousness.
Mythic figures are images shaped to bear powers created by unembraced human capacities. As noted, activated human capacities generate associated amounts of power. When generated power is not embraced inwardly, for whatever reason (is "repressed") then it appears "out there" in envisioned images.
Ideally, image powers are proportionate to forces denied within; but, by nature of this psychic device, images typically take on exaggerated proportions when shielded or protected from lights of reason (sense-making).
-- The more we remain ourselves--that is, the less repressed we are, the more graphic, immediate, and close-at-hand are our images (mythological figures).
-- The more repressed we become, the less empowered we find ourselves, and the grander and more distant are our images. As we get weaker in mind's eye (due to repression), images become stronger in our imaginations.
-- Theoretically, in the absence of an individual's repressions there would be no empowered images and hence no personal mythology. All self-generated powers would be embraced and activated in service of personal and group goals.
But I say theoretically because, so far as I know, there are no totally unrepressed persons. We all, it seems, bow before powerful forces of society (memes) to some extent, and repress threatening aspects of ourselves in quest of apparently essential social acceptance.
-- Human consciousness evolved in parallel with advancing civilizations. The greater demands of increasingly larger and more complex social groups, including expanding contacts and inter-relationships between intact societies, called for and were met by expanding personal capacities for conscious reasoning.
Whereas primal humans in small groups apparently survived quite well with dominant instincts and minimal "thinking," as civilizations advanced with greater demands on individuals those who evolved with greater "think-abilities"--as consciousness allows, predictably survived longer and better.
I theorize that increased survival demands were the cause of Mother Nature's gifts of higher degrees of consciousness--that is, natural selection favored those who "thought more" than others yet determined by blind instincts alone, and thereby resulted in expanded consciousness in surviving human races.
Whatever the cause, I observe that times of recorded history can be characterized by escalated evolution of human capacity for consciousness, along with the increasingly greater challenges in civilized living outside the jungle. Whereas primal genes alone, that is, inherited drives for survival, were adequate for smaller groups of humans in pre-history times, greater social demands called for greater social powers (memes), and consequently for increased personal capacities for meeting them.
But Mother Nature's gift of expanded consciousness is a two-sided sword--that is, a weapon capable of cutting both ways. On one hand, ideally, it is used to enhance external survival midst escalated social demands (coping with memes); but on the other hand, challenges of group living can be temporarily eased when consciousness is turned in on itself--that is, used to suppress awareness of internal instincts which are problematic in society (most notably, genes for selfingness and self-replication).
This latter case is the reason for these observations about the evolution of consciousness. The relevant point here is a psychic fact that whereas consciousness is ideally used for increasing odds of social survival (the possible cause of its evolution) and escalated personal satisfactions, it is all too easily perverted into a mental tool for instinctual repression, as typically occurs when persons suppress natural drives in service of social expectations (or for any other reason).
-- Evolution of mythology in civilization's history is paralleled by personal mythology in a typical individual's life--that is, average persons today, beginning at birth, tend to reflect the course of mythological history in our private lives.
The macrocosm of mythological history is typically reflected in the microcosm of an average individual's personal life.
--Although we may individually create personal mythological figures--that is, make up original images to match and reflect suppressed personal powers, we all are born into the midst of prevailing social myths, often religious in nature.
We may be creatively original, but not necessarily so; each social group brings ready-made myths to every child's world. Such established myths, both religious and secular, already tried and perfected, are readily available for mirroring common internal forces.
One need not be original or personally creative in finding functional images (mythological figures) for mirroring personal repressions. All a child has to do is listen or pay attention to parental and peer group myths for more than enough images ("beliefs") to bear the powers of typical human repression. Perhaps a little personal flavor may be added to established beliefs in gods and ghosts, but in the main, simply accepting already present myths is adequate for average persons.
After recounting the four myths and giving my translations of repressions I see projected into them, I imagine a New Man who is largely a speculation on how males may evolve in the future if we find more creative ways of coping with society's requirements.
Then I include several pages from my private journal reflecting personal experiences and insights leading up to this essay.
Occasionally I quote outside sources and have included an extended list of related quotations in a separate section of the essay. For convenience, I abbreviate references to each quote by giving an arbitrarily assigned number correlated with sources listed in the Bibliography at the end of the essay. For instance, "(8 p. 36)" refers to page 36 in a book by Sigmund Freud, entitled Moses and Monotheism, printed by Vintage Books in 1967, and numbered "8" in the Bibliography.
Bible quotes are mostly from the King James Version, abbreviated KJV; others from the Amplified Translation are noted as Amp.
Four myths form the background for this essay on males in history: Cronos, Oedipus, Attis, and Jesus. In the course of time many versions of each myth have evolved through repeated telling and writings by many authors. I have selected what I consider to be the most common versions. After a brief re-counting of each one, I list salient features relevant to this study.
Although this myth is better known by the name of the father Uranus (meaning The Sky), the principal acting characters are mother Gaia (The Earth) and their seventh son Cronus. Later myths have more to do with historical events, but this ancient story relates back to the dawn of creation--to, we might say, the first family triangle.
In early parts of the story, Uranus, fearing that his first sons, the Cyclopes, would depose him as ruler of the universe, threw them into Tartarus, a gloomy place in the Underworld.
Other versions say that he pushed them back into their mother's body. In either case, mother Gaia predictably became angry with him and wanted revenge.
She made a sharp sickle out of flint and asked her remaining sons to help her punish their cruel father. Cronus, her youngest, was the only one who dared help her. He set up an ambush and waited with sickle in hand until Uranus went to lie with his mother.
Then he rushed forward, cut off his father's sexual organs, and threw them into the sea.
Hesiod, in his epic poem Theogony (circa 700 B.C.), describes the event thusly:
"The last of the offspring of Gaea and Uranus was Cronus...There follows the savage story of how, at his mother's prompting, he castrated his father Uranus.
And from his hiding place his son
reached with his left hand
and seized him, and holding in his right
the enormous sickle
with its long blade edged like teeth,
he swung it sharply,
and lopped the members of his own father,
and threw them behind him
to fall where they would...." (11 p. 99)
1. Presence of a threatening father
2. Bonding between mother and son
3. De-powering the father
Oedipus was the son of Laius, King of Thebes, and Queen Jocasta. While Oedipus was still an infant an oracle warned his father that the boy would kill his father and marry his mother. To protect himself and his kingdom, Laius bound up his son's feet, took him into the mountains, and left him to die. (Oedipus means, "swollen foot.")
A shepherd found the child, took pity, saved his life, and then gave him to another shepherd who in turn gave the boy to the childless King and Queen of Corinth (Polybus and Merope) who brought him up as their own son.
When he had grown into a young man, believing himself to be the royal son of the King and Queen of Corinth, Oedipus was told by the oracle at Delphi about the earlier prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. Horrified, to protect himself and his parents from this fate, Oedipus fled the kingdom and vowed to never return.
He then wandered toward Thebes and by chance met his real father on the way. Of course he did not recognize him. Then in a scuffle over right-of-way on the road, Oedipus killed the man, not knowing who he was.
Next, he encountered a dangerous monster called Sphinx, who had been disrupting the kingdom of Thebes because they could not solve her riddle. Oedipus succeeded in de-coding her lethal puzzle, after which she killed herself. The kingdom of Thebes, then in mourning because their king had never returned, was so joyous that they took him to be their king and gave him Queen Jocasta to be his wife.
Oedipus and Jocasta lived happily as husband and wife, and had four children together. In time, however, plagues and famine came on the land. Oedipus sent Jocasta's brother Creon to Delphi to implore for the gods' help. Creon returned with the good news that the gods would heal the land if the murderer of King Laius were punished.
Oedipus set about to find who the murderer was, so he could punish him. He called in a local seer who in turn told him about the shepherds who had saved the life of King Laius' son. As the truth about Oedipus's real parents began to emerge, Jocasta urged him to stop his futile quest for what had happened in the distant past.
In Sophocles's version of the myth in his 465 B.C. drama, Oedipus Rex, while Oedipus is struggling to find the truth about his real mother, and Jocasta is trying to stop him, Oedipus pleads: "But surely I must needs fear my mother's bed?," to which Jocasta replies: "... But fear not thou touching wedlock with thy mother. Many men ere now have so fared in dreams also; but he to whom these things are as nought bears his life most easily." (23 p. 376)
Determined, however, Oedipus continued his search until he finally discovered the truth that he was indeed the guilty party in the death of his real father and that he had in fact married his mother.
As Edith Hamilton describes the scene: "A cry of agony came from the King. At last he understood. 'All true! Now shall my light be changed to darkness. I am accursed.' He had murdered his father, he had married his father's wife, his own mother. There was no help for him, for her, for their children. All were accursed." (14 p. 260-61)
Just then, while he was consumed in grief about his awesome discovery, witnesses came to tell him that Jocasta had committed suicide. He rushed into her chambers, only to discover that they told the truth; she had indeed killed herself.
Doubly distraught now, Oedipus, according to Sophocles, "...tore from her raiment the golden brooches wherewith she was decked, and lifted them, and smote full on his own eye-balls, uttering words like these: 'No more shall ye behold such horrors as I was suffering and working! Long enough have ye looked on those whom ye ought never to have seen, failed in knowledge of those whom I yearned to know--henceforth ye shall be dark!'
"To such dire refrain, not once alone but oft struck he his eyes with lifted hand; and at each blow the ensanguined eye-balls bedewed his beard, nor sent forth sluggish drops of gore, but all at once a dark shower of blood came down like hail." (23 p. 388)
Or as we might more simply say: "He blinded himself."
Later, while his moaning continues, Sophocles has Oedipus add: "'...but the hand that struck the eyes was none save mine, wretched that I am! Why was I to see, when sight could show me nothing sweet? ....So had I not come to shed my father's blood, nor been called among men the spouse of her from whom I sprang: but now am I forsaken of the gods, son of a defiled mother, successor to his bed who gave me mine own wretched being; and if there be yet a woe surpassing woes, it hath become the portion of Oedipus.'"
To which the observing Chorus responds: "I know not how I can say that thou hast counselled well; for thou wart better dead than living and blind." (23 p. 391)
Or, with slightly less drama, Edith Hamilton describes the scene thusly: "Within the palace Oedipus wildly sought for his wife that was his mother. He found her in her chamber. She was dead. When the truth broke upon her she had killed herself. Standing beside her he too turned his hand against himself, but not to end his life. He changed his light to darkness. He put out his eyes. The black world of blindness was a refuge; better to be there than to see with strange shamed eyes the old world that had been so bright." (14 p. 261)
Finally, we are told, after the tragic scene ended, Oedipus went into exile, and as Bulfinch describes: "...wandered away from Thebes, dreaded and abandoned by all except his daughters, who faithfully adhered to him, till after a tedious period of miserable wandering he found the termination of his wretched life." (3 p. 148)
1. Typical family triangle: father/mother/son
2. Father threatened by son
3. Father tries to get rid of son
4. Son inadvertently kills father
5. Son marries mother
6. Son and mother live happily
7. Truth is discovered
8. Mother commits suicide
9. Son blinds himself
10. Son wanders aimlessly till death
Like all ancient myths there are many versions of those surrounding Attis and the goddess, Cybele; however, all have a central theme and include the same major events. Here is my summary drawn from correlations between many of them.
Attis was a son of the goddess Cybele's earthly incarnation, the virgin Nana. It was said that she miraculously conceived him by eating an almond or a pomegranate. "Thus he was a typical 'god without a father,' the Virgin's son." (25 p. 77)
But in time Attis deserted the Goddess and fell in love with a young Nymph whom he wished to marry. Cybele became extremely jealous of her son's infidelity to her. Then in an effort to regain her favor, her son-lover castrated himself and flung his dismembered testicles in her face.
In other words, to appease his mother, he emasculated himself; he literally gave her his balls. There is no mention of Attis ever returning to the Nymph he loved. He remained faithful to his Goddess mother until he died. After his death, it was said that he was resurrected on the third day.
In the religion which evolved from this myth, ceremonies where held to celebrate the death and resurrection of Attis, who was in may ways a forerunner and prototype of the later Jesus. During these ceremonies, priest-initiates castrated themselves in imitation of their castrated god, and also presented their severed genitals to the Goddess. Their male remains were deposited in a sacred cave of the Great Mother.
-- First, in this family triangle the father is missing. Thus the traditional triangle is already reduced to son and mother only. In the Oedipus myth the father was killed by the son; now he is simply ignored, as though he has ceased to be present.
-- The tale begins with the son viewing his mother as a goddess.
-- As the son grows, as is typical in real life, he eventually falls in love with a "pretty girl."
-- Faced with jealousy of his goddess-mother, he chose to desert his lover.
-- Then, to affirm devotion to his original lover, he castrated himself and literally "give his balls" to her.
-- Thereafter he remained faithful to his mother till his death.
Because Christian mythology and Jesus stories are generally well know,, I simply point out representative figures and events as recorded in the Bible. Again, I avoid controversies about whether or not the stories are "really true." Even if, for example, Jesus did not "really walk on water," etc., indeed, even if he did not "really live," prevailing beliefs about the religion of which he is the central figure, namely, Christianity, are the myths being explored here. Like the gods and mythic figures of the ancient Greco/Roman world, of concern here is what they may have meant to those who believed in them.
Except for his circumcision at eight days of age, little is known of Jesus early life past his miraculous birth, until the age of twelve. At that time his parents took him to Jerusalem for the annual Feast of the Passover. After the celebration they started home, assuming that Jesus was with the company of their friends. But after a day, they found him missing and returned to Jerusalem to look for their lost son. After three days searching, to their amazement they found him in the temple sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions.
"And all who heard him were astonished and overwhelmed with bewildered wonder at his intelligence and understanding and his replies. And when Joseph and Mary saw him they were amazed, and his mother said to him, Child, why have you treated us like this? Here your father and I have been anxiously looking for you--distressed and tormented." (Luke 2:47-8 Amp.)
Cryptically, Jesus said to them, "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. Then, he went back home to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them." (Luke 2:49-51 KJV)
Nothing else is known about Jesus until around age 30, except this summary recorded by Luke: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52 KJV) Then he went to be baptized by the prophet John and, following 40 days of confronting personal temptations "in the wilderness," he returned to Galilee and began his public ministry. "And there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues." (Luke 4: 15-16 KJV)
Soon he began to add healing to his teaching ministry, and for some three years he went about the country preaching, teaching, healing, and performing various miracles, such as, turning water to wine, walking on water, giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, making the dumb to speak, feeding 5,000 people by expanding 5 loaves of bread and a few small fish, and even raising the dead to life.
Among many other notable events recorded in the Bible about Jesus life, I choose three related to the family triangle as relevant to this essay:
First, early in his ministry, Jesus went to a wedding feast where his mother was present. When they ran out of wine, she came to her son with this problem. After some hesitation, he responded by turning six pots of water into what was said to be the finest of wines. John concluded: "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee." (John 2:11 KJV)
On another occasion Jesus was with his disciples and a crowd when his mother and brothers came to see him. They sent word to him that they were there and wanted to speak to him; but strangely, instead of inviting them in, he turned to the crowd and asked: "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" Then, looking at those who sat about him, answering his own question, he said: "Whoever does the will of my father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!" (Mark: 3: 35 Amp.)
Finally, after three years of ministering to others, Jesus was rejected by religious leaders, turned over to Roman authorities, and crucified like a common criminal. But while still suffering on the cross near the end of his life, "When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home." (John 19:26-7 KJV)
After his death on the cross and burial in a borrowed tomb, Jesus, like Attis before him, was resurrected on the third day. After appearing to his friends and disciples on several occasions, the Bible records: "And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight." (Acts 1:9 KJV)
In other words, he disappeared.
-- Son was virgin born--that is, there was no sex even for birth, The family triangle: Joseph, Mary, and Jesus, was characterized by 1) minor father figure, 2) non-sexual but honored mother, and 3) Intelligent, independent son.
-- Son with miraculous powers, attributed to a heavenly father; "Good son" performs a miracle to please his mother.
-- Life of public service to common people; put others first/self last.
-- Sided with common people in opposition to authorities (was rebellious?). Messianic vision of son with goal of "saving the world," that is, improving the lot mankind, especially as dominated by corrupt and unjust authorities and repressive social systems. For example, making sick people well, poor people provided for, and all people loved as of equal value.
-- Sacrificed self interests in favor of serving others; mode of personal self-sacrifice and dedication to role of "helping others."
-- Finally sacrificed life itself in death on cross "for others." Martyrdom in service of religious goals is presented as highest human ideal, as represented in the glorified crucifixion of Jesus.
-- Rose from bodily death; set stage for idea of post mortem resurrection of a dis-embodied, immortal soul, with belief in good people going to heaven to be with God, and bad people punished in hell forever and ever.
-- Ultimate reward for self-sacrifice: Jesus went to heaven to be with his father God (finally got his father back).
Significant overall changes in relationships of the three characters in the family triangle, namely, father, mother, and son, include these:
1. Father is again included, but is relatively out of the picture. Joseph, Mary's husband, is a minor character.
2. Mother, who was prominent before in Cronos, Oedipus, and Attis stories, is now moved to the background. Mary is still sacred, although not a goddess like Cybele. Also, she is presented as non-sexual, that is, pregnant and birthing a child without having intercourse with a man, in contrast with earlier sexual mothers, like Gaia and Jocasta. Still, there are allusions to Gaia as Magna Mater when Mary is seen as "Mother of God," but her son, as in Attis myth, does not overly patronize her. Yet he remains attentive to taking care of her, even from the cross.
3. Son is now the truly main character in the story, with both father and mother shifted far into the background.
4. Although the earthly father is out (de-powered), father images yet exist and are projected onto a heavenly father. Jesus is still a son, but, with increased prominence over Cronos, Oedipus, and Attis.
5. Male repressions, symbolized earlier in Oedipus's self-blinding, are beginning to unravel. To be amplified later, typical male sacrifices at the altar of femininity are twofold: mind and body--that is, masculine type thinking and male sexuality. Jesus certainly "thinks for himself" rather than simply accepting and living out beliefs of his parents and prevailing religions of the time. As such, he represents the beginning unrepression of male "minding."
6. But the second arena of typical male repressions, namely, masculine sexuality, remains un-faced. Jesus, though a man who "thought for himself," was essentially feminized in many other respects. He was not a "mother's boy," but still he embodied more feminine characteristics than typical male traits. He was, in effect, a "good boy" grown up and "doing good" in the larger world, but not yet fully masculinized. He, in effect, took his mind back, but was still repressed in other ways (at least as understood in typical biblical interpretations).
7. The drama ends without portraying the challenges of de-coding God, humanizing mother, and
growing up as oneself.
Myths are about inward psychic events projected outward onto physical images--that is, personal experiences translated into impersonal happenings, spiritual occurrences portrayed in graphic pictures, emotional or intangible events transposed into tangible forms.
Here I am reversing this process by translating outside pictures back into possible events they may have come to represent. I am de-coding images into conceivable experiences they may have mirrored.
Before amplifying specific ways in which inward events outwardly portrayed in mythology are effected in daily life, I note the psychic fact that conscious thinking ("reasons") and even obvious facts, are entirely disconnected and irrelevant to emotional consequences. For example, even with the best of intentions one may cause destructive results in other persons. Just as, "I didn't know the gun was loaded," is irrelevant to the fact of a murder, so "I didn't meant to hurt you" means nothing in regard to spiritual destruction.
Understanding this disconnection is critical in looking clearly at the nature of psychic events commonly repressed from awareness and consequently projected into mythological stories. Otherwise, absence of "meaning to" or presence of "good intentions" may make the descriptions which follow seem highly unlikely to be true, even grossly wrong.
By nature of themselves phenomena (e.g., emotions) which myths mirror are hidden to open inspection. In a sense, myths are like night dreams in that they function to partially conceal rather than openly reveal what they represent.
At night we tend to dream in representative symbols, usually about things we avoid seeing clearly in waking life. In a comparable way, myths are "day dreams" like night dreams in that their "language"--the images, figures, and events which comprise them, is symbolic in order to represent yet partially conceal what they stand for.
Consequently, to understand--that is, to "see" what mythic figures represent (and try to conceal), we must translate their cloaking "language" into visible ("understandable") terms. We must, in effect, de-code them in order to "see what they mean." Translating, or de-coding myths (or night dreams) is like detective work in that, since the objects (or persons) being sought are hidden, we begin by looking for clues or signs which may point toward their hiding place.
Unfortunately, however, unlike detective work that does have some types of proof, such as, fingerprints, DNA comparison, or objective witnesses, translating myths is, in e final analysis, not subject to proof by objective evidence. Even when or if a translation is correct, there are, so far as I know, no scientific ways to prove that any translation is definitely right "beyond any shadow of doubt."
At best, translating a myth or de-coding any figure or event within a myth is more like an educated guess than a proven fact. Since no outsider is ever privy to direct observation of what is going on in another person's inner life, at best we can only surmise, hopefully with good data, about an inward experience (e.g., an emotion or desire, etc.) being mirrored in a myth.
Nor can we simply ask another person about the meaning of their myths, because by nature of repression, one who projects into a myth does so unconsciously. Those who, for example, believe in any myth, do not consciously know what it means--that is, what the symbols represent for them.
In fact, true believers in any myth are the least likely of all persons to know what the myth's various characters and events represent for them personally. Inevitably, and functionally for believers, mythic figures are seen as "real"--that is, as objective "things out there." For example, a child who projects inward fears onto an outside ghost (or whatever) truly believes that the ghost (or tiger in the closet, etc.) is real, actually out there somewhere in the dark.
And so with those who believe in any myth.
Although one, for example a parent, may try to explain or be reasonable with a fearful child by turning on lights to prove there is no ghost under the bed, etc., it cannot finally work because by nature of themselves, beliefs are not subject or vulnerable to reasons.
Non-believers in any myth may be reasonable among themselves in "proving by objective facts" or "logical thinking" that mythic figures are "unreal" or "figments of imagination" of believers; but sense-data, even the most logical of reasons, is finally irrelevant (pointless, without weight) to a believer, due to the unconscious nature of repression/projection.
Logical proof, for example, about the reasonable impossibility of a miracle (or any element of a larger myth), may serve to drive a belief further underground--that is, into the unconscious mind of a believer, thus hiding it further from view (or from reasonable discussion); but no objective proof can ever truly dissolve or erase any subjective belief. True beliefs, as any true believer can honestly testify, are always by faith rather than by proof, and therefore not subject to reasonable analysis, let alone dismiss-able or erase-able by mental logic.
Although no mythic belief can be seriously effected by reasonable proof, understanding the psychic nature of myths may help an outsider make sense of what is happening, and consequently to relate more realistically to believers. Such understanding may also be of limited help in de-coding one's personal myths. At least I have found it so.
Elsewhere I have amplified what I call the Creative Process of all basic human experience. Summarizing, I see this primal process as broken down into five steps or phases: 1. Perceiving, 2, Emoting, 3, Imaging, 4, Conceiving, and 5, Becoming.
Instinctively (naturally) we first perceive (sense or "grasp") something. Then we react emotionally to whatever we perceive; next we form or shape mental images out of these sensations and feelings. Proceeding normally, we immediately begin to de-code images into concepts--that is, we try to make sense "in here" of what we have imaged "out there."
Relevant here is my observation that image-making, Step 3 of the Creative Process, is a natural phase of all human experience. First we perceive, then "feel about" what we grasp via perception. Next, we naturally give form and shape, that is, create mental images to represent or stand for whatever we sense and feel.
Ideally, we begin immediately following any image creation to translate or de-code a graphic (visible) image into a mental concept (or group of concepts, called "explanations"). One, for example a child, who images a gift-bringer at Christmas as Santa Claus, naturally begins trying to make sense of the image, to translate "Him" into reasonable concepts. "How," for example, "does he get down the chimney with a bag of toys?," etc., etc.
But I say ideally, because proceeding on in the Creative Process is in no way assured. Activating the psychic process of repression, of perverting consciousness by turning it in on itself, one may stop natural experience at any level or stage. For example, one may stop at Stage 1 by squelching perceptions (e.g., "not looking"); at Stage 2 emotions, by suppressing feelings; or imaging (Stage 3), by remaining trapped in dark emotions; or conceiving, by "refusing to think about it (not daring to de-code)."
This latter stoppage sets the stage for mythology. When naturally formed images, either creatively made for oneself (such as, ghosts), or accepted from others (like, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or the Stork for bringing babies) are, in effect, frozen in time, then static beliefs are substituted for lively, on-going, thinking. Seemingly objective images are assumed to "really exist out there" and a believer refuses to move on in the natural process of transforming primal perceptions, feelings, and images into mental conceptions--that is, of de-coding images into ideas.
With this brief summary of the Creative Process of natural human experience, mythology--all the way from simple childhood ghosts and Tooth Fairies to complex adult religions with gods and demons, may be understood as an interruption of normal experience at Stage 3 (Imaging) of the overall process.
Obviously, also, frozen images of true believers, either children or adults, are inherently invulnerable to reasoning (sense-making) because de-coding any image effectively destroys it as a powerful symbol and undermines the personal repression/projection which set it up to begin with.
One of the major functions of repression, and hence freezing images onto which projections are made, is to objectify and control powers generated by perceptions and emotions, especially when they may threaten essential social acceptance (e.g., mother's favors) at the time.
Thereafter the threat of de-coding images into concepts is confronting again the very powers they were created to contain in the first place. This, obviously, may require much courage by anyone who dares to translate mythology, especially for themselves (or so I find it to be).
Although this next explanation is not immediately relevant to my subject of mythology, it may be useful in clarifying the issue of power. Until now, I have avoided reference to the 5th Step of the Creative Process, namely, Becoming, or absorbing concepts into self. De-coding images (Step 4) is essentially an intellectual or mental process, "all in one's head," we might say. Reasoning or sense-making transforms what seemed to be an objective entity or event into a subjective idea or set of concepts, but, and this is the relevant issue here: mental understanding of a powerful image is only an intellectual process, that is, power previously projected onto the image is yet to be dealt with.
Moving on to Stage 5 involves re-embracing powers previously projected onto an image. It is, we might say, the body part of the mind activity in Stage 4. With de-coding any image, one "sees" in mind's eye ("in his head") what an image stands for. He gains "intellectual understanding."
But the Creative Process is not completed until powers associated with mythic figures are re-embraced or absorbed back into oneself, where they were originally generated. I call this stage becoming what one knows, as distinguished from merely "seeing" in mind's eye, or "having knowledge." In this final step, the noun knowledge is transformed into the participle knowing. Or, in older terms, mental information is transformed into experiential wisdom. Literally, Stage 5 is a re-empowering of one's-embodied-self--acknowledging, accepting, and embracing self-generated forces previously projected onto images at Stage 3.
Although this theory of the Creative Process may be useful in explaining or making sense of just how mythology is related to natural living, it in no way guarantees an accurate translation of any particular myth or personal belief in objective powers. Translation, as noted before, is at best an educated guess based on clues or signs, and is never subject to external proof as is possible with other types of detective work.
What follows are my translations of particular, repressed, internal forces commonly projected onto socially established myths. They are my educated guesses, based on personal experience and knowledge, about what large numbers of humans may have, over the long course of time, repressed within us and consequently projected "out there" onto prevailing and commonly accepted myths of each era.
Any reader may, of course, see otherwise; and, indeed, I may in fact be totally wrong in what I now see, perhaps only projecting personal repressions into these translations. Even so, they represent my best understanding so far. Perhaps in the process of spelling them out in the following section, I will further clarify my darker insights--or maybe even revise, change, or drop them if I dare escalate personal honesty.
What is a translation of a myth? What do I mean when I try to interpret deeper meanings of outward symbols? Answer: A translation is an educated guess about unrecognized psychic events projected into a myth itself. A translation is an answer to: What was/is occurring below the level of inward awareness and dimly seen "out there" in figures and events in seemingly impersonal stories? If a total analysis could occur in which all dark psychic events were suddenly thrust into the light, what would we see?
My first assumption (speculation?) is that the myths selected here most basically reflect unrecognized events occurring in the family triangle of: Father/Mother/Child. Since myths were probably told and recorded by males, the focus is predictably on male children--that is, on sons rather than daughters. Had females been telling the tales and recording them, probably daughter events would be the third part of the triangle, with son happenings left unexplored.
But the facts are that myths, most likely created and perpetuated by males, focus on what occurs for boys rather than girls. (I plan to explore the family triangle with focus on daughters later; but here I deal with myths as written with focus on sons.)
In summary: My attention in these translations is on what may have historically occurred in primal family relationships between fathers/mothers/sons, and, as noted before, what I understand to be typical occurrences today--in other words, I begin with attention to the macrocosm of human history first, as implied in ancient myths, but with the assumption that individual history today is also a microcosm of the big picture of old.
One further clarification may be useful before I begin exploring translations. Myths that survive are, I conclude, about typical, average, or common family triangle occurrences. But obviously there are many other a-typical situations necessary for the tales to become common. This is to say that in many specific families the recorded tales do not apply. Triangle scenarios are often different, even opposite to those presented in the myths.
I understand this to reflect the fact that all psychic events, including those in typical family triangles, may occur in many ways, most easily seen in directly opposite situations. For instance, instead of fatherly emasculation (to be amplified next) which is more common (and consequently told in the abiding myths), in some families the opposite occurs--that is, father is idolized and set up as "King of the Castle") rather than being pushed out of the triangle as a power image.
These contrary possibilities are further complicated by another psychic fact, namely, the existence of deception and duplicity--that is, that deeper psychic deeds may be covered and cloaked by opposite outward stances. For example, a mother/son team actually engaged in emasculating a husband/father may cloak their secret moves by appearing to honor and elevate him, all the while undercutting his authority and functional powers.
Here, however, I stick with myths as recorded, which I see as more common history in typical family triangles. A careful reader may, however, imagine an opposite case for each of my translations, in order to remain alert to a wider range of family triangles.
My first observation is that this tale begins with a powerful mother figure, called Gaia, in the myth. She is pictured as the original Creatrix, both of her "husband" Uranus, as well as her son Cronos.
The significant fact I pick from the tale is de-powering the father figure, by an alliance of mother/son against father. In the myth, what I translate as "de-powering" is pictured literally as castration or emasculation of the father.
The first major event in the ancient family triangle was de-powering the father, portrayed (imaged) in the Uranus myth as castration, and accomplished by complicity between mother and son (Gaia and Cronos). If, as I theorize, mythic portrayals give visible form and shape to unseen inward psychic events, then by nature of the process the acts of mother and son are essentially unconscious--that is, they effectively de-power the father "without knowing what they are doing." The end result is a relatively impotent father; but how it is accomplished remains unrecognized by the two co-conspirators.
Before attempting to translate this myth back into specific modes of operation--that is, analyzing just how mother and son may go about symbolic castration in daily life in the family triangle (then and now), I re-iterate this fact about conscious innocence. Although the myth tells the story as though mother and son talked about castrating the father and consciously plotted about how to do it, in everyday reality this must never be the case; hence the utility of mythic portrayals "out there" for unrecognized psychic events "in here."
If psychic events were recognized in awareness, there would be no need for myths to begin with, and certainly not to be told and retold, then written down in the course of history. And, as is true in the course of mythic history, so, I hold, when mythic events are re-lived in the history of immediate families today.
One further point about the graphic nature of symbols used in myths, in this case, male testicles: Even though inward events being portrayed outwardly are consciously unseen--that is, occur with outward innocence of those who carry out the deeds, myths suggest that a deeper recognition is projected into the stories.
On some lower level of awareness, myth tellers must intuit dark facts cloaked by innocent appearances in daily life--in this case, what I translate as innocent psychic "de-powering" is not unlike the physical cruelty of actually cutting out male testicles. In fact, I also hold, in many instances long term suffering caused by "innocent de-powering" is far greater than would follow from a single physical event as portrayed in the myth.
Whatever the case in mythology, my point here, before I begin translating, is twofold: 1) In modern day life mythic history repeats itself in typical family triangles. Even though we no longer re-tell such graphic stories, and may even read them with horror about "primitive times," I think de-powering effects of mothers and sons today are no less widespread than they were "back then" when the myths were re-told regularly.
2) In those families where mythic type events are re-lived today, the chief characters, father, plus mother and son in alliance, are all blind to what is occurring. Mother and son don't consciously mean to de-power father; and dear old dad doesn't know he is being, in effect, symbolically castrated by seemingly normal, even unavoidable, everyday events. All are, as it were, innocent victims of circumstances.
In summary, the two major events in the Cronos myth relevant here are: first, bonding between mother and son; and secondly, de-powering father brought about by this mother/son alliance.
The first event seems so natural that further explanation is probably unnecessary. What could be more predictable than an emotional bond between a Creatrix and the son she created within her own body? Certainly brief sexual intercourse and the father's sperm was necessary, but the long nine months of literal connection via umbilical cord and uterine holding, followed by extended time of intimate caring, can but set the stage for deep emotional as well as physical connections between all mothers and their sons.
Also there may be some sort of primal awareness that a mother's genetic heritage is through her son, not her husband. Taking care of a husband may be a practical way of keeping him around for needed services; but nurturing a son, though seemingly self-less on the surface, is also the height of motherly "selfishness" in quest of her own genetic immortality. Since half of her genes are present in him, they stand greater chances of continued life in the potentially larger number of children he may sire later.
At the same time, an infant son's care and feeding, as well as his safety, comfort, and well being, is primarily through the services and good graces of his mother. It may be nice to have a father around at times, but life and love for a son are typically received from the creating caretaker he will later learn to call "mother."
Point: Deep, unseen, emotional bonds between a mother and son are perhaps the most predictable and abiding of all elements in the eternal family triangle.
The second major symbolic event in this myth, namely, castration of father by a mother/son conspiracy, may require more explanation for clarity of understanding. What are the unrecognized "innocent" occurrences that result in an unwittingly de-powered father? What is it that commonly transpires leaving a so-called "head of the household" relatively impotent in practice?
Here are some typical tools unconsciously manipulated by mother and son in modern day "castrations" of unsuspecting and equally "innocent" fathers:
-- Exclusion from mother/son intimacies in the daily care and feeding of the infant child, as maternal bonds are being strengthened and potential fatherly connections stifled. "You don't know how to do it right," a mother may think and sometimes say during her careful tending, as she turns away from father in devoting herself to "proper nurturing." Even if unintentionally, such exclusions may result in a father's feeling less powerful in relating to this new presence in "his" castle.
-- Mothering the father. Perhaps in an unconscious effort to balance emotional books, a mother may begin to extend the same type of motherly care to a father as she does to her son. Maybe maternal genes activated in pregnancy and birth of the child are simply extended blindly to his father in adult forms of "taking care of daddy"--as in, feeding him (preparing meals); clothing him (buying his clothes or telling him what to wear); "picking up after him"; doctoring him; reminding him of what he should be doing, as well as how to carry out his "fatherly responsibilities."
Fatherly participation in this unwitting undercutting of male powers is abetted by the ease with which "being taken care of" by a wife ("like mother used to do") may tempt an otherwise responsible male into unconscious regression to childhood wishes (if not actual reality) about "good mothering." In other words, fathers may blindly encourage wives to extend mothering to them as well as to a son, thus participating in their own gradual de-powering.
-- Son's actual attachment to goddess mother and wanting her "all to himself alone," plus the relatively foreign nature of crude male attempts at nurturing which does not come as naturally for men as for women, may easily reflect in "giving dad the cold shoulder" in predictable preference for mother's warm attentions.
Although these preferred intimacies with mother rather than father are natural and understandable, a son may unwittingly exclude daddy and evoke further jealousy about "losing my wife to my son."
Although jealousy of fathers about being "crowded out" by an infant son is commonplace (and will be portrayed openly in the Oedipus myth), because it may seem so unreasonable by a father who also loves and is proud of "his" son, these dark feelings may be denied in awareness, resulting in further de-powering of father due to inward ambivalence created in the process.
-- Withholding sex. When wives withhold sex, husbands may "feel like" and even say when among other males, "She cut me off." Although other men consciously know the reference is to refusal or unwillingness to have sexual intercourse, I suspect that deeper feelings--the kind which in olden times were projected into myths, may be revealed in literal implications of the phrase--that is, cut off implies far more than mere coldness in the bed room.
On an unconscious level, males who have blindly identified themselves with their sexuality, may feel personally threatened, indeed, "cut off" as though being castrated, when faced with sexual refusal--for whatever reason. Female denial then becomes far more than "just not wanting to do it right now"; indeed, a male's sense of himself is often at stake.
Even if a female clearly understands that she is not "cutting him off," or doing anything at all to him, but perhaps only dealing with the biological fact that following childbirth her major interests have shifted from father to son, the results with such males may still be the same. Whatever her reasons, no matter how sensible or unrelated to him they may be, sex-identified males may still feel "cut off." The fact that she "doesn't mean to hurt him" becomes irrelevant.
Even though these emotional transactions, namely, overt refusal to have sex and covert or unconscious male threat, go unrecognized in awareness, the consequences in terms of "emotional castration" may still be the same.
Point: These familiar bed room events (literally, non-events), all conscious reasons and intents aside, may be one more unwitting tool in a mother's participation in de-powering the "man of the house."
-- Left out. Although emotional destructiveness of "feeling left out" is entirely unreasonable and often results from inevitable circumstances of motherly responsibilities in childcare, unconscious effects are often the same as those related to "being cut off" sexually.
I pause here to reiterate the psychic fact that conscious intents and emotional results are entirely disconnected. Emotional (literally, "spiritual") destructiveness may predictably occur when the perpetrator is entirely innocent--that is, doesn't in any way "mean to cause" spiritual harm.
This psychic fact is perhaps nowhere more relevant than in a father's deep, even unconscious, "feeling left out" when a mother's attentions are shifted from him to their son. Facts about time and circumstances are completely irrelevant to these predictable fatherly feelings. Even if a proud papa otherwise takes delight in a newborn son, hands out cigars, brags to other males, and consciously understands the demands placed on a mother bearing most of the responsibility of child rearing, the destructive effects on a father's sense of himself when he "feels left out" are commonly the same.
"Feeling left out," for whatever reasons, is de-powering to fathers who are emotionally dependent on mother's attentions.
This second myth begins with the originally all-powerful mother, creator of both father and son, reduced to the status of a lowered Queen secondary to a powerful King. Here she has become the "power behind the throne" rather than the openly managerial matriarch.
The significant events are:
-- Father and son blindly against each other in deathly competition for getting wife/mother "all to themselves alone." This is symbolized in the myth as Laius trying to have his son Oedipus killed without being directly responsible himself, and then later, Oedipus killing his father, again, without realizing he is doing so.
-- Son marries mother, unwittingly, and then both participate in unrecognized incest.
-- Mother kills her "self" as an individual to avoid acknowledging her unholy love for her son. In the myth her self-killing (the inward psychic event) is portrayed as physical suicide of bodily life.
-- Son blinds himself in the myth, symbolizing the beginning of psychic repression--that is, not-seeing what is in fact easily visibly (apart from repression).
On the surface of typical conscious thinking, probably no grown son would want to kill his father in order to marry his mother. So what could this graphic portrayal in the Oedipus myth possible represent? Obviously the myth has survived relatively intact for a long time, implying that some deep human nerve must be touched by its content. But what is it?
Here is my translation of the psychic events projected into this gruesome story: First, as with all mythic imagery, the events are symbolic--that is, representative of something like murder and marriage, but not the same. Still, what in a small boy's mind could be like or in any way similar to what adults see as murder and marriage?
My translations are: zapping and possessing, or eliminating and having. There must be a near universal small boy wish to get rid of daddy in order to have mother all to himself alone--that is, to own a magical goddess without having to share her with anyone, like having a private genie in a bottle, or a magical wand which cannot be taken away by anyone else.
I choose the term zapping for the first part of tale ("killing dad"), as drawn from computer game playing. Zapping is simply eliminating or getting rid of an opponent who stands in the way of a personal goal. There is nothing necessarily malicious or evil in such a wish. Indeed, eliminating competition in the way of reaching a personal goal is probably an innate desire in all natural selfing.
But the psychic problem arises when a literal translation of this understandable small boy wish is the adult crime of murder. Unfortunately there is no tangible counterpart to impersonal zapping--that is, for mere elimination with no evil intent required, other than getting rid of an enemy.
So, when a small boy's innocent and easily understandable wish to own a goddess--that is, have his mother all to himself alone, is projected into adult imagery, murder is the most likely symbol. What could portray magical zapping (as easily done in computer games with the mere touch of a key) more realistically than the adult crime of murder?
Backing up to the beginning of the Oedipus myth, where Laius tries to get rid of a potentially threatening son, similar to how the son will later eliminate his father, the symbol is far less graphic. Laius does not simply murder his son personally, but privately sends him away, assigning the dirty deed to circumstances and other people.
I translate this difference to reflect the fact that fathers, well aware of the implications of consciously chosen murder, and yet with understandable zapping urges, might well have a less threatening symbol for their similar desires. Binding his feet, as in the myth, and having a shepherd take him away, would be more acceptable to an adult mind.
Even so, given the universal fact that in the family triangle mother is the major prize, and father and son the inevitable competitors for her attentions, both will predictably want to "eliminate the competition." The father, however, already understanding consequences of personal murder, would try to be a bit more discrete by approaching the problem of a son's elimination indirectly. Less burdened by adult knowledge, a still innocent son would still see killing as the best way to zap a dad.
My summary translation of the father/son parts of the Oedipus myth, where Freud projected his understanding of the so-called Oedipus complex, is that it reflects the universal conflict inherent in competition for having the wife/mother (goddess) for oneself. In the myth, in my interpretation, Part One merely sets the stage for Part Two, namely, son marrying mother and the predictable consequences.
Although Freud correctly (in my opinion) recognized the universal threat inherent in father/son relationships, and its possible place as source of many adult "complexes," he settled, I think, for only an upper level explanation, namely, seeing the conflict as sexual in nature (about fears of castration and ambivalence about father admiration) rather than about the events in Part Two of the myth.
In my translation, penis size and fears of being "cut off," as has apparently already happened to females, are secondary to the deeper conflict over who will have the mother--father or son, and whom will she choose as recipient of her favors. Only after dad has been zapped (eliminated from the triangle) is the deeper truth of the myth portrayed.
Now back to Oedipus, the son, after whom the myth is properly named, and the challenges inherent in son/mother relationships. First, as noted before, marriage in the myth translates into exclusive possession or simply "having" the goddess-like mother for oneself alone. Infant sons are, of course, ignorant of legal structures like marriage, even as they are about malicious acts of murder; but they do "know," even on genetic levels, about primal needs/desires for life-resources as essential for survival and as available from the mother, plus the threat of losing access to her presence, most immediately by father taking her away from him.
A son may reasonably "like" and admire his father who is sometimes present, but he cannot but deeply "love" his goddess-like mother who both created him and keeps him alive and happy in the early stages of life, and who he wants all the time.
Summary: Marriage in the myth translates having in real life. Part One of the myth is about who will finally have the mother: father or son? Son wins the competition by zapping father, thus setting the stage for symbolic marriage--that is, sole possession of goddess favors.
Now to Part Two, after father is eliminated from the triangle and son "owns" mother for himself alone.
What is the relationship between having one's mother and having sex with her? Are possession and incest synonymous?
I think not. I see possession as a more primal matter related to self-survival, and having sex as related to a secondary instinct for self-replication. Certainly being sexual is a significant part of one's larger self; but long before puberty and the possibility of having sex ("doing it"), staying alive while dependent on mother's favors is far more relevant.
From father's side of the triangle, sexual possession of mother, as the avenue to further self-replication, may be more relevant, with magical wishes for wife-as-mother secondary; but for a young son I surmise that threat of possible castration by father (as Freud posited) is far less relevant than fear of real separation from mother.
Point: Sons, I think are less concerned about long range incest dangers than about not having mother as needed for immediate survival--not to mention, present satisfactions related to comfort and love.
The situation for mothers is exactly the opposite. A mother has no need for her son to support her personal survival; indeed, he can't, and is more of a liability than an asset insofar as her personal life is concerned. But for her secondary urges toward self-replication (continuation of her genetic heritage), her son is crucially important, in fact, far more so than husband or daughters.
Her son, once she nurtures him past puberty, may sire many offspring, thus multiplying her odds of genetic immortality; but a daughter can only offer a precious few "grand" children.
This means, in practice--all consciousness about incest dangers aside, nurturing a son's emerging sexuality, even as she does his body born to carry half of her genes, must be a genetically sound agenda for any mother. A neutered, castrated, or homosexual son leaves her heritage limited to him alone; but a sexualized, potent, heterosexual son offers her genes far more hope for their future.
Point: Although a mother's conscious thinking about incest may be repugnant, unconscious genetic urges to insure and speed her son into overt sexuality may be powerfully present. While only "thinking about" a son's physical health and her platonic love for her creation, indeed while avoiding awareness of his emerging sexuality, a mother may be unconsciously engaged in covertly nurturing his emerging sexuality, while all seductive behavior is cloaked with attention to essential care and tending of his body only.
Another realistic factor may further encourage unconscious seductiveness with a son, namely, the fact that a small boy, even if there were no incest taboo, is incapable of having sex with her. Unlike her relationship with her husband where any sign of affection or overt sensuality may lead to immediate demands or pressures for "doing it" when she does not care to, the situation with her son is entirely safe from such threats.
With her son, a mother can be as affectionate and sensual as she naturally desires. She can touch, caress, kiss and "love" her son, even undress and bathe before him without any thought about sex, all under cover of "good mothering." She can even stroke his genitals and anus--the most sensitive of his sexual parts, while only "trying to keep him clean."
Point: Regardless of a mother's unconsciousness about sex, either her own or her son's, she has good long range genetic reasons for nurturing his emerging sexuality, and at the same time she has immediate possibilities of being safely sexual ("sensual") in his presence without any "doing it" threats commonly present with his father.
In the myth, Jocasta, mother and wife of her son, Oedipus, kills herself when faced with truth coming out about their relationship. Suicide must have seemed easier than living with the conscious knowledge that she and her son had an incestuous affair.
I take this dramatic, graphic, physical event to represent the extreme depth of denial that mothers may experience in regard to what is perhaps a near universal psychic event in family triangles--then and now. In a colloquial expression, Jocasta dramatizes mothers who "would rather die than admit" complicity in being sexual with their sons.
Although the myth is primarily about Oedipus, the son, I suspect that this event about the mother may in fact reflect some of the darkest and most influential factors in a family triangle. Although Jocasta is the most passive character in the myth until this dramatic personal event, she seems to be the most concerned and, like a typical "behind the scenes" Queen, to be operating in a covert manner throughout. (Hence my chosen name for this essay: Jocasta Complex)
The first and perhaps deepest female denial--as best I as a male have been able to determine, which I see projected into the myth, is related to female sexuality itself, that is, the pervasive and powerful nature of woman's drives associated with personal passions. Females, I speculate, are in fact far more sexual, both in regards to overt intercourse as well as sensual passions related to "doing it," than they seem to me to commonly be conscious of.
Genetically speaking, I theorize that dark female sexual drives have evolved as useful in "sperm selection" for initiating conception--that is, having sex with multiple partners in quest of best available sperm; but they may also reflect urges for sexual pleasures related to intercourse when pregnancy is not relevant. Given the nature of our differing gender roles in intercourse, in particular, the physical fact that males are generally limited to one orgasm while females are capable of multiple spasms of pleasure, I speculate that deep urges toward sex-for-pleasure are far more pervasive in femininity than commonly acknowledged.
As best I can yet tell, only dark "killer instincts"--that is, capacities for violent, overt, aggression and destruction (as personified in the Indian goddess, Kali), are more deep-rooted and commonly repressed than are these for powerful, pervasive, female sexuality. I speculate further that typical repressions of overt, personal sexuality are supported by the ease with which females can now pervert their natural sexuality into a tool for power in managing males--that is, the ease of using sex-for-power may have supplanted awareness and attention to experiencing sex-for-pleasure.
Whatever the case and regardless of reasons, I think the whole arena of female sexuality is the second most commonly repressed aspect of feminine capacities in present society. Although males are typically seen as "more interested in (even compulsive about) sex" than are females, I suspect that this observation is more related to conscious thinking and overt actions than about natural instincts--that is, that males are not nearly as sexy as we seem to think, and that females are far sexier (inclined toward overt passion) than they consciously think.
Summary: Although there are no direct references to these possible facts about Jocasta in the myth, I think they must surely underlie powers that modern day females bring to the family triangle. Specifically, if I am correct about common female unconsciousness of urges toward sex-for-pleasure as well as replication--that is, the pervasive nature of unacknowledged female sexuality (in comparison with exaggerated notions about male passions), then a mother's self-denials could not but be projected onto her son as well. If, that is, she does not allow herself to be aware and acceptive of her own natural sexual passions, then her private values will inevitably spill over to her son as well.
If her "love" is all platonic--that is, devoid of sexual implications, then surely she will project and expect the same of him. While encouraged to "be loving," he certainly will not be consciously supported in being sexual also. Although I hold that sons are ultimately responsible for our own repressions, growing up in a context where mothers systematically deny their own sexuality cannot but be a powerful invitation to sons to do the same.
Secondly, past possible influences of repressed female sexuality on the family triangle, especially on a son's emerging masculinity, are common denials about just how freely and maliciously (albeit unawarely) females may use their sexual attributes for purposes of power rather than passion. While unconsciously functioning in a seductive manner with her son, inviting his emerging male desires, a mother may blindly use these same awakening male passions for wielding power over him.
Summary: Mother suicide portrays mother/son sexual relationships as deep, dark, anti-social threats, so that a mother would rather kill herself than face these truths--that is, acknowledge facts and take responsibility for her part in their sexual relationships.
On learning that his mother/wife has committed suicide, Oedipus takes a broach from her clothing and uses its pin to scratch out his eyes. Sharing his mother's shame, but less willing to accompany her in death, he blinds himself while still alive.
I translate this outward tragedy about physical eyes to represent an inward tragedy about mental eyes--that is, a son's capacity to "see" in his conscious mind what has occurred before the eyes of his head--or to not see.
In psychological language, this inward act is called repression or unconscious denial. As noted before, Mother Nature's latest gift to humans, namely, capacity for consciousness, can be perverted from positive use in expanded "seeing" inside, into negative use for "not seeing" what is actually visible. We can, in effect, blind ourselves to what would otherwise be clearly seen. We can "not know" consciously what we actually "do know" below levels of awareness.
I take Oedipus's act of self-blinding the eyes of his head to represent a common-but-unacknowledged son's act of blinding the eyes of his mind by repressing otherwise obvious knowledge.
As in the myth, specific knowledge Oedipus wanted to avoid is about being sexual with his mother, classically known as incest. I speculate that the myth was created, told, written, and has survived because of the near universal psychic experience it represents, namely, existence of commonly denied sexuality in mother/son relationships.
Perhaps Oedipus's response is less drastic than Jocasta's because sons are slightly more willing to acknowledge--that is, be conscious about sexuality than are mothers. Still, mental blindness, even though less dramatic than "putting your eyes out" may be even more destructive than the myth portrayed insofar as personal well-being is concerned.
In was said that after Jocasta's death and his blinding himself, Oedipus "wandered aimlessly" for the rest of his life. And so it may be with sexually repressed sons of all ages. Even with outward worldly success, repressed grown sons may still be "wandering aimlessly" in the arena of becoming their fuller selves in daily life.
Summary: I conclude that the son's blinding represents mental repression rather than physical castration--specifically, 1) Repression of guilt for emotional murder and mental incest (killing and marrying); 2) True ambivalence about father: love/hate; admire/threat; 3) Facing self responsibility past goddess errors.
Perhaps a re-look at the near universal incest taboo may shed light on the depth and significance of this act of a son's repression. Commonly, understanding incest is limited to physical acts of sexual intercourse, especially between son and mother--that is, "fucking your mother" or "seducing a son" into "doing it" with his mother. As such, breaking this taboo will apparently be an extremely rare occurrence, so rare as to seem hardly worth making a myth about.
But a better understanding of the psychic event of repression may follow if incest is seen in its deeper, existential sense--that is, related to being sexual as distinguished from simply having sex. Apparently, mothers and sons "having sex" is relatively rare, even after it becomes physically possible in later childhood; but perhaps the myth reflects a far more common, and even more dangerous-in-the-long-run psychic situation, namely, repression of awareness of mothers and sons being consciously sexual with each other.
Being sexual, as existential experience, may or may not be expressed or culminate in "doing it"; but in either case, inward passions may be abundantly present. As adults we may more easily distinguish between desire and behavior, "wanting to" and "doing it," but in the nursery, where a son's sexuality is first emerging and a mother is safely protected from having to have overt sex with risks of intercourse and pregnancy, sexually based "feelings" may be both rampant and unrecognized as such.
When so, literal experience in being sexual--that is, consciously feeling passions rooted in replication urges, can easily be cloaked and consciously understood as "innocent affection," "just touching" as necessary for cleanliness, and/or "platonic love." Innocent in such descriptions is commonly understood as a synonym for non-sexual.
As I have amplified elsewhere, I think the weight and deeper focus of the ancient and widespread incest taboo has been both more pointed and consequential in regard to being overtly sexual in the family triangle beyond father and mother only. Certainly sexual intercourse may be a culminating act expressing sexually based passion, but I theorize that risks of a mother and son actually "doing it" are not as commonly relevant in the triangle as are threats related to gaining or losing a goddess-mother's "affections"--that is, the deeper danger is more about emotional possession of mother, which overt passions might support and indicate, than about less-likely sexual intercourse with each other.
A father's fear of losing "his" mate in the inevitable competition with his son, who holds obvious advantages as his mother's beloved creation, may be the deeper basis for the taboo focusing on overt sex only.
Summary: Overt sex, as in, a mother and son "caught in bed doing it" is the outward focus of the incest taboo; but its deeper aim, I speculate, is preventing the far more likely and dangerous risks of "alienation of affections," both associated more with feeling sexual passion than limited to intercourse only.
I conclude that the overall goal of the incest taboo is more related to protection of the family triangle than to avoiding overt sex. For the father, it is more about a son's "having mother" out of bed than in bed--that is, cashing in on his natural advantages in beating father in competition for who has the mother.
From a son's standpoint, denying conscious passions and the power they generate, protects him from overt competition with his physically more powerful father.
From a mother's perspective, repressing awareness of natural passion protects her from excessive temptation to disloyalty to the father in favor of total devotion to her son, especially when she is probably more interested in closeness than in sex with her husband.
Finally, I conclude, whereas the incest taboo is commonly seen as only against physical intercourse, its deeper and more consequential effects result from repression of being consciously sexual in the family context. Some of the most dangerous consequences, especially for sons, will be explored next as I translate the Attis myth.
Story-wise the Attis myth is relatively simple; but its implications, I conclude, are profound. If ideal human development occurred, there would be no reason for a myth such as this to survive. However, given the way ancient history has evolved and is yet being re-produced in our lives today, the tale may graphically portray in outward images what all too commonly occurs in inward psychic events.
In broadest summary, my translation is this: Attis represents a son in the typical family triangle; Cybele is the goddess figure portraying a mother. Balls is a colloquialism representing masculinity, and emasculation symbolizes a boy willingly giving up certain elements of masculinity in quest of the goddess-mother's smile. Smile, obviously, is the opposite of frown. Both these facial expressions represent the favors or good graces of the mother figure, or their absence.
For amplifying my translation of these symbolic events in the ancient tale, I begin with two present-day colloquial terms: balls and cunt. Although neither is found in Webster, both, as commonly understood, may be useful in looking below traditional modes of thinking--as myths have evolved to do.
As I intend the terms here, balls represent major elements of genetic masculinity as it is below modes of social adaptation and popular perspectives. Cunt stands for genetic femininity, off-scene ("obscene") like the word itself, in socially-acceptable views of womanhood today. As I mean the terms: A good man "has balls," and a good woman "is a cunt." Certainly balls and cunt are not all that a man or woman is, but the terms may clearly represent gender aspects of who we are.
More commonly, however, as we have come to exist in civilized history in general and in our individual lives today, the myth portrays males who have "lost our balls" and typical females who "think of cunt as dirty," certainly not the way they would represent themselves existentially--as I do in my definition of the terms. Consciously, most males think they "have balls (or wish they did)" and few females think they "are cunt (or at least hope they aren't)."
Even so, past typical judgments, I think that with colloquial understandings (or my definitions in case I miss what they may mean to others), the terms may be useful in trying to see what the outwardly graphic symbols may represent in inward psychic realities.
Before attempting to translate the myth itself, a clearer perspective of primal masculinity and femininity, here summarized as balls and cunt, may be useful. Although generations of psychic repression, both in history and in individual lives today, have dulled, even hidden, many of our primal gender characteristics, leaving us with distorted and unrealistic views of who we are as males and females, analysis of conscious thinking and typical behaviors may reveal deeper truths about ourselves.
What follows is my summary analysis of primal masculinity and femininity as I suspect we all are beneath cloaks and cover stories of how we typically think of ourselves consciously. Because many gender characteristics, particularly of males, are socially difficult, even dangerous in group settings, we have, with good social reasons, tried to suppress their activation. And, conversely, because many natural female characteristics are beneficial to group life together, we have supported and magnified these traits, all the while denying other womanly attributes which are perhaps even more difficult to integrate in society than are certain male instincts.
Even so, I think we have sufficient clues about genetic reality, as often contrasted with social structures (genes versus memes), to more clearly see, at least in mind's eye if not in practice, what basic gender instincts and urges are probably like beneath our functional efforts to merge males and females into families, which are then connected with larger and larger social groups (family, clan, city, country, world, etc.).
Probably everyone who attempts such an analysis will see different aspects of our gender roots. Consequently I don't presume that my attempts to characterize masculinity and femininity--as inherited in genes rather than as acquired via memes (social structuring), are right in any ultimate sense, or even fitting to any other person than myself; but these are the distinguishing ways I have come to understand us (males and females) beneath more familiar modes of thinking and functioning as evolved through the course of human history.
First, an overall genetic picture: As I understand genetics we are each born with two major instincts, the first for individual survival ("staying alive" as ourselves), and secondly, for replicating ourselves (keeping our genes alive after we die as individuals). In general terms these may be summarized as drives for: "keeping on breathing (survival)" and for "making babies (sex)." I put self-survival first because I theorize that we all have 44 out of 46 chromosomes in each of our multiple cells which are basically geared to "keep us alive as persons," and only two, X and Y, later to evolve for replication via sexual means rather than cloning (as older life forms did and still do).
However, these last-to-evolve chromosomes for reproduction by "sex" seem to have powerfully influenced development and activation of the other 44 "managers" of life in general. In other words, we may be more deeply geared to "stay alive" than to "make babies," but the challenges of re-production are so great, especially in organized societies, that sex-related drives now seem to be the most moving of our inward urges. Or, it may be that genes for life itself are so deeply ingrained and far below levels of consciousness, that we "don't need to think about" breathing, etc. as much as we do in order to be sexually successful in reproducing ourselves.
Whatever the case, I conclude that our gender directives (rooted in XY chromosomes and their powerful influences on other "staying alive" priorities), are now the basis for primary ways we typically see ourselves--that is, as male or female, rather than as persons who just happen by accident of X and Y chromosome connections (males with XY and females with XX) to have been born with external rather than internal genitals.
From this perspective, no matter how or why we got this way, I see our most challenging gender differences rooted in ways we have evolved: a) to reproduce ourselves (by sexual means), and b) to cope with life in general--that is, how we "make babies" as males and females, and how we "manage staying alive" as male and female-type persons.
For analysis, in the following chart I distinguish what I see as typically contrasting but complementary traits of males and females, first as focused on replication (sex itself), and then as evidenced in our contrasting ways of coping with life in general, past reproducing ourselves--that is, how we differ in roles for "baby-making," and how we differ in the ways we try to "manage the world" so as to escalate personal satisfactions ("good living") before and after "raising a family."
In the chart, I use single words or brief terms, some of which I amplify in later explanations:
-- Overt sex (millions of sperm) -- Covert sex (few ova)
-- Lusting -- Mothering
-- Scoping -- Beautifying
-- Touching -- Being touchable
-- Smelling for sex -- Smelling good
-- Making Love -- Loving
-- Multiple partners -- One good man
B. Survival (Coping)
-- Overt; On top of things -- Covert; Behind the scene
-- Like King on throne -- Like Queen behind throne
1. Physical Modes
-- Active aggression -- Passive aggression
-- Dominance -- Submission
-- Competition -- Cooperation
-- Winning (#1) -- Compliance
-- Taking risks -- Being safe
2. Mental Modes
-- Reasoning -- Emoting
-- Sense making -- Feeling right
-- "Makes sense" -- "Feels right"
-- Identified with mind --Identified with heart
-- Is "thinking" -- Is "feeling"
-- Uses emotions -- Uses reasons
-- Understanding -- Standing-under
-- Figures out things -- Embraces mystery
-- Left Brain, Linear Thinking -- Right Brain, Circular Thinking
-- Logic; either/or -- Right; both/and
-- Wins by sense -- Wins by emotions
-- Feelings irrelevant -- Logic be damned
-- Graphic language -- Symbolic language
Ideally these natural but contrasting sets of traits are interwoven in practice in complementary (where one completes the other, such as, hard penises and soft vaginas) and compromising functioning (the give and take of encounters, much like the in and out of sexual intercourse)--that is, like a beautiful dance of inter-dependent opposites on a level dance floor.
When so, one trait or mode of functioning is no better than the other, because both are essential for fulfilled living--in the bed room as well as the rest of the house and world, that is, for successful replication and for happy living as individuals. In particular situations the natural traits of one gender (as distinguished in the chart above) are more effective ("stronger") than those of the other; but in different circumstances the "weaknesses" of the opposite gender are more functional than "strengths" of the other--and vice versa. For example, some masculine traits are more effective in science and warfare, and some feminine traits work better in relationships and communal living.
But the relevant issue, at least ideally, is a pragmatic, artful merging of the two in a continual seesaw of immediate compromises--as balance is sought for success and satisfaction in the ever-changing world of present situations. In these regularly challenging moves, as in waltzes and tangos on the dance floor, artistry lies in sensitive responses of two inter-dependent "dancers," each to the other, together--not to the elevation or lowering of either one.
On the level plane of reality, where, as on a dance floor, there are many differing forms and moves which exist and function inter-dependently, none are either totally independent or dependent. Each has its own differing innate powers which are more or less relevant and useful in any given moment; but the interplay of forces is always about an exchange of energies in a way which serves both, especially in their shared endeavors (like dancing and baby-making).
The significant issue in regard to power is that the goal is always an appropriate interplay and proper use of whichever form is best for achieving an immediate purpose. In literal dance, for example, male power for leading and female power for following seems to work best most of the time; in human relations, female power for cooperation is usually more effective than male power for competition. And so on.
Ideally, in all but the rarest of human circumstances, masculine and feminine powers are not pitted one against the other, as though one can successfully win by defeating the other. Certainly, powers of different types are always operative in male/female endeavors; but a functional goal for each party is an artful inter-mixing of the powers of both in service of shared agendas--at least, ideally speaking.
But, shades of Shakespeare, "Ah, there's the rub..."--that is, ideals obviously aren't always. More often than not, typical males and females of all eras, today included, have been more inclined to war with each other (proverbial "battle of the sexes"), to have one dominate and control the other, to establish one winner and one loser, than to artfully "dance" together, mixing and merging powers of each as appropriate to each immediate situation.
This latter case--where one gender is out to get the best of the other, where males try to dominate females who in turn try to control males, etc., etc., is, unfortunately, far more common than the ideal I tried to amplify above. And it is this very disparity, I conclude, and the many forms which gender competition takes, that becomes the source of mythology and the reason that certain myths continue to survive and be relevant to succeeding generations.
Now, back to the Attis/Cybele myth: If the noted ideals of cross-gender relating I pointed toward above had prevailed, this myth would never have been written and would not have remained relevant till today. In this ancient tale, the graphic elements of the story portray in outward form certain inward events typical in family triangles of all ages, namely, the power struggle between sons and mothers--or, with Attis and Cybele representing masculinity and femininity in family roles, between balls and cunt, as I crudely named them in the beginning.
Specifically, the crux of the tale is: Will son Attis proceed in normal development under the careful guidance of a caring mother Cybele--in accord with an ideal interplay of powers noted above? Or: Will each pervert their natural gender advantages into a power struggle in which only one can win temporarily, and when so, both lose in the long run?
This myth is essentially about sons who emasculate ourselves in the process of keeping the good graces of mothers we have previously elevated to goddess status; or, conversely, about mothers who refuse to nurture their son's masculinity, choosing instead to cling to illusions of innate goddess-hood rather than giving up mothering grown sons for larger challenges of becoming female persons.
The story begins with a family triangle in which the father has already been, in effect, ruled out of the power picture (see castration of Uranus and death of Laius as earlier symbols); only a young son and a powerful mother remain as operating characters in this ageless drama.
But immediately the power struggle begins--not as a cooperative compromise between differing types of power (as would be true if ideals prevailed), but as a win/lose situation. As the script is written, in order for the mother to continue as goddess (as is always true in the beginning days of motherhood), the son must not be allowed to grow up as a male and, in effect, "abandon her" by falling in love with some Nymph (on the normal path toward creating a new family triangle); No!, he must instead sacrifice his masculinity and maintain his adoration of her as though she were still the goddess she was in his infancy.
He must, as I translate the symbols in the myth, "give up his balls"--that is, sacrifice his masculinity, in order to preserve her illusion of inherent goddess-hood. Otherwise, she would necessarily face the challenges of growing up herself, past mothering and into the wider realms of personhood.
But, as I theorized in the beginning, mythology was primarily created, told, retold, and finally written by and for males. It is, that is, mostly about Attis, secondarily about Cybele. If females had written this tale (as they are much less inclined to do than are males), I am confident the script would be quite different--probably more about cunt than balls.
But that's another story--yet to be written...
As it turns out, many male traits evolved in service of replication, such as, natural aggression and urges toward infidelity, are problematic in society. At the same time, complementary female traits, equally functional in replication, such as, passive "niceness" and sexual fidelity, are socially beneficial.
Consequently, many social memes have evolved for controlling and suppressing natural masculinity and for supporting female complements. When anti-male memes are unconsciously absorbed in men and women, as though they are inherently virtuous, then men may come to feel ashamed of "being ourselves," while females are tempted to pride about their own selfhood.
Two major paths are open for dealing with predictable conflicts between what males are instinctively inclined to do and what we socially "should" do: Way #1) the temporarily easier way is personal suppression which in time phases into repression; or Way #2) conscious embracing of natural urges, followed by artful social deceptions and acceptable sublimations.
Relevant here is the constant temptation boys face to take the easier path of Way #1. Since males have no option but to cope with anti-male memes, a choice must be made. And since Way #2 is initially more challenging, small wonder that suppression and eventual repression is the more popular path to social acceptance at the time.
The temptation to opt for repression is made even stronger because of a second common female situation, namely, the likelihood of falling into self-righteousness about their own equally inherited but socially affirmed attributes. When so, such females, unjustifiably proud of traits which are by chance socially approved, may use their inherited social advantages to further put down on (judge as bad) the behavior of males who are in fact simply being their natural selves.
Consequently, males in need of female affirmation as well as social acceptance may be doubly tempted to opt for repression (Way #1) rather than conscious management of socially dangerous personal urges (Way #2).
Specific arenas where males may face these temptations to cope with memes (whose powers are often amplified by female support), by way of self-judgment and personal repression include:
-- Open aggression rather than passive "niceness."
-- Being competitive rather than cooperative.
-- Striving to win by being #1 (win/lose) rather than working for win/win results.
-- Being overtly dominant rather than passively compliant.
-- Being obviously sexual rather than covertly coy.
-- Engaging in active seduction rather than passive temptations.
-- Openly scoping rather than passively "looking good."
-- Trying to touch females rather than being touchable.
Ideally, these male and female different-but-complementary traits are embraced and activated in graceful dances together, as, I conclude, they have evolved over time in support of successful replication of both genders. But, as noted before, ideal is obviously not always.
Because of understandable anti-male memes, supported by pro-female attributes, and often further empowered by females taking advantage of social acceptance of their natural attributes, boys may be sorely tempted to opt early for self-repression.
As translated before: balls = masculinity = male values/traits/activities--that is, masculine concerns, masculine characteristics, and masculine modes of behavior.
When boys emasculate ourselves, symbolically giving our balls to our mothers, we: 1. Give up inherited male values in favor of female concerns; 2. Suppress natural male traits and try to assume female characteristics; 3. Try to cope in the world with female modes of behavior, while avoiding typical ways males naturally use in reaching goals.
First, I consider responsibility; whose fault is it that boys often end up ball-less? Who makes it happen? Who is responsible for this all-too-common consequence in a typical family triangle?
Recently it has been fashionable to blame mothers for negative ways children turn out to be. When any less-than-desirable trait appears in a child, many are quick to think, "It's the mother's fault." Mothers too often also blame themselves when a child "has problems" or "goes wrong."
Even so, I conclude that final responsibility for emasculation of sons lies with us sons ourselves. Surely, many mothers do indeed act as though they are all-powerful goddesses, capable of doing anything, including molding children as they desire. When so, they may in fact unconsciously invite emasculation by making it easy to act feminine and hard to embrace male traits. They may, for instance, reward boys for "being good" by female standards, and punish sons for typical male behavior.
Still, I conclude, even in least favorable circumstances--that is, with the worst of parents, mothers do not, in effect, castrate their sons. As told in the myth, we latter day Attis's "do it to ourselves"; we sacrifice our balls by our own accord. In final analysis, we have no one to truthfully blame but ourselves.
We emasculated sons are ultimately responsible for the sacrifices we make in quest of goddess approval. Even when we try to blame our mothers--or what or whomever, we are the primary ones who pay the highest prices for repressed masculinity and are consequently responsible in the long run.
For further clarification, I suspect that in most all instances our motives are good. Probably most mothers mean well, even when they unwittingly invite emasculation and reward the consequences. And we who make the sacrifice must commonly do so with the best of intentions. After all, early survival and continued well-being is largely dependent on the good graces of her who truly holds goddess-like powers in the beginning of every boy's life.
Obviously it makes good sense to try to please one who is our major access to most all that matters back then--that is, milk, comfort, protection, pleasure, and love needed for happy existence. If she prefers feminine type responses and frowns on typical boy behavior, why not acquiesce by giving up what must seem like a small sacrifice at the time?
Point: I doubt that Attis-type sacrifices, as commonly made, are done so with malicious or bad motives, either on the part of mothers or sons. Perhaps there are some truly "mean mothers" and "bad sons," but typically, I conclude, boy's balls are sacrificed with the best of intentions on the part of both.
I make this point in order to make another, namely, that a sacrifice is a sacrifice, no matter how well or evilly intended it might be. The often-dire consequences of emasculated sons, not only for ourselves but for those we later love after mother is gone, would be hard to over estimate.
(AND MEN TO THEIR WIVES)
First, balls is a colloquial symbol for masculinity (manhood). In the myth of Attis, the boy literally castrates himself and presents his severed testicles to the Goddess Cybele. I translate this graphic image into the colloquialism balls, which I take to represent the same inward psychic event projected into this ancient myth. Also, as before, I see the historical myth as representative of typical family triangle events still going on today--in this case, between son and mother, after the symbolic death of father as portrayed in the Oedipus myth.
Before amplifying Attis' role, I begin with a translation of Cybele, his Goddess Mother. Even though we do not think today of our mothers as goddesses, I conclude that in the primal memory of every boy there are remnants of a brief period in which it was as though mother was a goddess before we were able to call her anything. She was indeed goddess-like, in that she was creator, giver, and sustainer of life, the source of milk, comfort, care, and love. Her touch was like magic in its ability to relieve fear and bring delight; her kiss could seemingly make even the pain of a bobo go away.
Tenure as a goddess-like person is relatively short in reality, as a boy's capacity for, in effect, taking care of himself expands rapidly; but, I think, a primal memory of total care by one who functioned as a goddess must remain implanted somewhere in every boy's deeper memory, first to be kept like a halo over the actual mother long after she has, in effect, lost her goddess-hood, and also to be unconsciously resurrected in potential as an unseen aura around other females, especially those one admires ("pretty girls") and/or falls in love with.
But what is the analysis of balls? What does this graphic mythic image represent in daily life. Obviously it is not literal; even though the followers of the Goddess Cybele, her priests and acolytes in real life, apparently did actually castrate themselves, and Catholic priests to this day symbolically dedicate their maleness to one God who replaced all Goddesses, by pledging to remain celibate for life, probably no average son ever did so in the family triangle.
Still, I think, if the symbol is de-coded, we can see how alive and well this practice remains today, outside the priesthood of any religion. First evidence is the remaining aura of goddess-adoration which boys, even as grown men, commonly still have for their mothers. Rare is the mother who is not seen, as it were, through jaundiced eyes or rose colored glasses--that is, as far more magical and deserving of adoration than any other female.
Often, of course, lingering adoration of mother--as though she were a goddess, is cloaked by outward acts to the contrary, as in, leaving home to get away from her powerful influence, or even fierce outward rejection. But a closer examination, even or mother-rejecting sons, often reveals a remaining secret idolization, evidenced by lingering feelings of guilt about, for example, not visiting or writing "enough," or not living up to her expectations, etc.
Rare is the mother who ever becomes "just another person" to a grown son, indicative of full separation from her, even in the eyes of those rarer ones who overtly reject her. Her seemingly magical powers often remain evident in the dark guilt a grown son may still harbor even after she is dead, as reflected in the irrational idea that acting contrary to her desires might cause her to "turn over in her grave," the feeling of which is far more than an innocent figure of speech.
Summary: Goddess-like images of mother typically remain in the blinded eyes of grown boys, leaving her unrealistically viewed on deep levels as holding extra-ordinary powers for blessing and/or curse. Even when a rare son succeeds in stopping private idolization of his own mother, returning her, as it were, to the level plane of all humanity, her goddess-image is likely to be unconsciously resurrected and placed over some later representative of her gender, as when one, like Attis, falls in love with "a nymph" and begins blind adoration once again. Many grown men who otherwise come to view their own mothers more realistically may continue to fall in love repeatedly in a series of dark resurrections of goddess images projected onto later lovers.
But what about specifics? What are the continued sacrifices of boys to their mothers, or her later representatives, and colloquially known as balls? To better understand an analysis of balls beyond mythic representations, another look at overall gender differences may be clarifying:
Masculinity and femininity have different, often contrasting, natural values, far beyond obvious anatomical distinctions--that is, traits and modes of coping that have evolved in support of our differing genetic roles in successful replication by sexual means (versus by cloning). For example, in the act of initiating conception, males, ideally, "get hard" to penetrate, while females "get soft" to receive.
In like manner, our contrasting roles in courting which leads to intercourse, and in family care following birth of children, are typically contrasting but complementary, as in the sex act itself. In courting, for example, males are typically aggressive, females passive. He is overt in his moves; she is covert in her complementary responses. He goes looking for attractive females, while she strives to "look good enough" to attract him.
At first he actively competed with all other males in quest of her passive approval; then, in what has been called "sperm competition," he continues competing to see that only his sperm impregnates her. Much later he continues to compete with other males for family resources (as in hunting for game and making money), while she cooperates with other females (as in, gathering food and sharing information about rearing children).
But what do these natural, easily observable, different-but-complementary male and female traits and modes of functioning have to do with balls?
Ideally, "when men are men and women are women," each gender embraces, embodies, activates, and identifies with our differing values in a continual dance of complementary compromises. Neither one is better or worse than the other; both are needed in an effective family triangle.
Unfortunately, however, this functional and potentially delightful dance of complementary opposites seldom evolves with equal respect for the values of both. Even before boys leave the first family triangle in quest of beginning another of their own making, a familiar but tragic inward psychic event all too often occurs, which I see graphically portrayed in Attis's self-castration in quest of the Goddess Cybele's approval.
That is, with balls as symbols of masculinity--indeed natural male attributes and values, many boys begin, even in the nursery, the sacrifices symbolized in the myth.
In addition to typical family triangle influences, as activated in mothers who represent their own values with their sons, society in general also favors similar values for itself. It turns out that what is good for mothers is also good for society in general in most circumstances apart from war.
Just how, specifically, is self-emasculation done? How, in daily practice, do we unsuspecting boys put the symbolic knife to our balls? What do we do that leaves us ball-less and feminized, rather than happily masculine men?
As noted before, the overall path is through negating male values in favor of embracing female values--that is, trying to emulate feminine characteristics while avoiding typical male traits, behaving "like girls do" rather than being guided by male instincts.
In psychological language, the way to emasculation begins with conscious suppression and ends with unconscious repression. Probably we all choose to knowingly sharpen the knife, even with sound and sensible reasons at the time (e.g., mother's symbolic smile rather than her frown); but before the deed is done, we push awareness out the window of our minds, absorb feminine traits into an illusionary sense-of-self, and finally come to believe that "this is just the way I am."
After the culmination of masculine repression, conscious knowledge of personal choice is gone. Unless or until we face the challenges of unrepression, we simply live out our days as emasculated males--perhaps as "nice men," "good husbands," and/or "model citizens," but deeply scarred by forgotten slices of the knife begun so long ago when mother was still a goddess.
But how, in daily life, do we negate male values in favor of feminine ways? How do we repress our masculine selves?
Previously I outlined in a chart several typical male values as contrasted with differing female attributes and modes of behavior. The path toward emasculation begins when a boy starts to suppress any or all of these masculine modes in favor of adapting female ways.
Although the final outcome reflects in outward behavior, the process begins with private, internal judgments, not visible to anyone else, and often made so subtly as to go unnoticed by boys who make them.
In colloquial language, the sin of judging, which is at the root of repression, is "putting down" on some things and "putting up" on others--in this case, masculinity and femininity. A boy begins to sharpen the fatal knife when he starts to "put down" on masculine instincts and to elevate aspects of femininity--that is, to judge, in varying degrees, maleness as "bad" and feminine ways as "good" in the moral senses of these words. Past the simple recognition of differences and chosen acts of pragmatic behavior as feasible in immediate circumstances (e.g., pleasing mother), judgment begins when anything is condemned or praised as inherently bad or good apart from circumstances and situations.
After such inward acts of judgment a boy may feel ashamed of his male traits, even of desires to activate them, and proud of himself when he "puts in his thumb and pulls out a plumb"--in the words of the nursery rhyme, and concludes, "what a good boy am I"--that is, when he lives in feminine type ways which may in fact be more pleasing to his mother.
If, for instance, he goes ahead with some male type behavior, or even wants to without actually doing so, he may fear "being caught" because he has "been bad." Or conversely, if he succeeds in suppressing a masculine inclination, he may "feel good," even proud of his unwittingly feminized self.
For examples, I pick several of the contrasting male/female traits outlined in the chart above and point out some typical judgments resulting in self-emasculation.
One of the most primal male instincts, evolved, I suspect, for maximizing relatively slim odds of self-replication, goes under the colloquial name of scoping--that is, being constantly on the look out for "pretty girls"--with pretty (or beauty) being unconsciously defined as possibly conceive-able, that is, having the best chances of being impregnated and bearing a baby with ½ of a "scoper's" genes.
Even from early ages, boys instinctively, with no instructions whatsoever, and, I conclude, without even knowing why we do so, begin looking for "pretty girls." Perhaps it is Mother Nature's way of training us for later times when such looking will be critical for finding the best potential baby-makers.
The female corollary of this male trait is an instinctive drive to "be pretty"--that is, to "look good," in fact, to "look good enough" to make boys "take a good look." Even as unconsciously moved as are boys to look (scope), so, I observe, girls are naturally and equally diligent in striving to "look good." The strength of inward male urges to look for female beauty is probably directly proportional (if not greater!) To correspondingly ingrained female drives to "be pretty."
So far, so good. In consort, in the ageless Drama Of Replication, these two complementary drives have been amazingly successful in starting the process of courtship--that is, getting prospective parents together on the longer path toward possible conception and a child bearing half the genes of each.
Since the odds of successful scoping, which may begin with looking for "pretty" faces and figures, increase considerably with fuller examination of bodies which will bear and nurture babies, boys naturally want to see beyond make up and clothing--that is, we are deeply attracted to see female bodies beyond or behind presented appearances. We want, that is, to "look at naked girls and women" even more than we do at "pretty faces and figures."
These urges which may begin with "wanting to peep" at mother and sisters dressing (especially undressing), to look at daddy's Playboy magazines, or view pornography on the internet (or wherever), typically expand to even stronger desires to scope, even to undress actual females in real life. All this is a prelude to the next natural steps in the Drama Of Replication that we are instinctively moved to act out.
But the problem begins, not with these natural urges to scope out "pretty girls," both clothed and unclothed, but when a boy starts to judge his own part of the complementary operation as somehow being "bad" or "wrong,"--that is, something he shouldn't do or even want to, and hence a reasonable cause for guilt and shame if he is "caught looking (as though it were an inherent crime)."
Conversely, self-judging sons may look at female efforts to beautify themselves, to be as pretty and attractive as possible, as being "good," even virtuous, and certainly not something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about, as is so for his own complementary part of this instinctive drama.
Summary: One of the common ways boys begin the process of self-emasculation is by negative judgments of instinctive drives to scope for "pretty girls," and especially when we go the next step and want to see their bodies unclothed, to be "bad" or something to "be ashamed of."
Females face little danger in this regard, since most social powers, beginning with those embodied in mothers, are favorable about female beautifying at any age. Negative social judgments about females "trying to look good" are relatively rare in comparison with those about males "trying to take a good look." Even though our roles seem to be pragmatically complementary, for some unknown-to-me reason only the female side of this first step in getting together is typically judged positively and accepted in society without negative consequences.
For whatever the reasons, the relevant point here is that when a boy "falls for" these negative social judgments by taking them, as it were, into himself, and repressing his natural scoping instincts, he begins the process of self-emasculation. Typical end results of such repressions often begun in early childhood are boys and men who "feel guilty" about instinctive desires to consistently be on the look out for "pretty girls" and/or to "see naked women," either in real life or in "pornographic" pictures.
Obviously, indiscriminate "acting out" these natural male urges to "take a good look" in social circumstances which view uninvited scoping as negative, even punishable by law in many situations (e.g., "peeping toms"), is unwise; but the point here is not about pragmatic containment, control, and sensible expression (or concealment) of such male drives; rather it is about taking the path of judgment and self-repression as the mode of avoiding social rejection.
Male selfing is enhanced when natural urges are held in awareness and mediated sensibly in society; but self-emasculation begins when we opt for the more familiar path of trying to negate such natural inclinations by way of repression.
Two other complementary genetic traits evolved, I think, for success in taking the next step in the Drama Of Replication, past initial contact via males "taking good looks" and females "looking good enough to take," are drives for touching and being touchable.
Successful scoping (Step One)--that is, visually finding a good female prospect for baby-making, naturally evolves into a search for further confirmation. After all, "looks can be deceiving." "Gene eyes" may be useful for initial determinations at a distance; but "gene hands"--that is, genetic inclinations to touch female bodies in quest of adding tactile data to visual clues, is a next natural step.
At the same time, in complementary fashion, females are blindly moved to keep their bodies touchable, that is, soft, smooth, pliable, firm-but-not-hard, so as to appeal to male urges to touch them. Not, of course, that females want to be touched literally, any more than they want to be ogled by sensuous males; but with some deep recognition, I theorize, of male urges to touch their bodies, the interplay of inviting-but-withholding being touched can become an immensely powerful ploy in gaining and holding attention while a female makes decisions about selection of a mate.
As everyone knows, even young boys are "tempted (as though it were a sin)" to try to touch girls, especially those bodily parts most associated with successful mothering ("tits and asses," etc.). Consequently, in quietly wielding power, females may escalate their control by allowing touch of less relevant-to-baby-making parts, such as, "holding hands," while skillfully withholding their breasts, butts, and pussy from further "exploration."
And, as is so for young boys and girls they court, much more so for "dirty old men" who are "out of control" and just "can't keep their hands off" attractive females.
I select these last two judgmental terms (dirty and out of control) to point toward the issue relevant to male emasculation. The problem does not so much lie in our complementary gender urges to touch and to be touchable; these are but genetically functional dance-moves in possible progression further in the ageless Drama Of Replication. Male inclinations to examine female bodies to "see if looks were lying," and equally important female urges to select the best possible mate, make the games of "Trying to Touch (to 'go as far as a girl will allow')," and playfully "Trying Not to be Touched Too Much (not letting a male 'go too far' at the time)" can be delightfully functional for both genders.
But the potential problem arises when judgment enters the scene, either in putting down on natural male urges to "feel up" females in quest of relevant genetic information, or to elevate being touchable, a functional way to exercise immediate power, as innately virtuous. Whenever the level dance floor of Trying To Touch and Controlling Being Touched is tilted in either direction--that is, whenever touching urges are judged as bad and/or being touchable urges are judged as good, then serious spiritual dangers are invited.
Certainly society, as well as individual females, may pragmatically seek to prevent male urges from going irresponsibly rampant in unwanted "groping," just as individual males may wisely learn to control, even conceal our natural desires for touching, whenever socially feasible; but the stage is set for potential problems when sensible outer control is maintained by inward repression--that is, when a male seeks to negate an element of his natural self as a way of remaining socially acceptable, even with one female.
I conclude that self-condemnation of male touching instincts (not sane control and expression or concealment) is but one more way in which Attis's of today continue to sacrifice masculinity on the altar of external approval (personified as the Goddess in the myth).
Self-righteousness in females about their own urges to be touchable may be equally dangerous insofar as healthy living is concerned; but since my focus here is on emasculation, I leave exploring perhaps comparable female errors to another time.
Although consciousness of male smell-abilities for picking up clues to female estrus have "gone underground" somewhere between the time we left the jungle and moved into civilized living, I speculate that primal nasal knowledge yet remains below levels of common male awareness. Even if unconsciously, I think that males are deeply moved to "smell of females," especially for odors that may be indicate periods of fertility. Once popular "panty raids" by college males may have been cloaks for deep male desires to "smell pussy"--or clothing that has been there, in quest of knowledge about estrus.
And across often wide gender divides, I theorize that females still darkly "know" potential values of "smelling good," just as they do about "looking good" and "being touchable," as they play their complementary roles in the Drama Of Replication. Somehow females must still be deeply aware of powers they may wield by presenting appealing aromas to us, their male counterparts.
I theorize further that human females may have acquired further aroma arts since estrus also "went underground" insofar as being easily recognizable by sight and sniff-able males--that is, that females may have also learned to unconsciously fake estrus, or hide the fact that they are not presently conceive-able, as a way of extending their interest to, and therefore power for appealing to, sex-hungry males.
Billions of dollars spent on female perfumes each year testify to some such dark motivations still operative today, even if beyond borders of personal awareness, about reasons why. I speculate that perfumes may have two primary powers with males; first, to amplify aromas indicative of estrus when females are pregnable, and second, to conceal the fact when they aren't--that is, to somehow extend times when "smelling good" is useful in attracting male attention (in support of looks and softness), both during and after brief monthly times of being able to conceive.
Speculations about reasons aside, the subject of male sniffing and female efforts to smell good becomes relevant to my current subject whenever judgment enters the scene, either negatively for males or positively for females. For example, male guilt about dark drives to "sniff out" (or 'feel up') females--that is, shame about wanting to "smell pussy" (or touch breasts), may be evidence of judgment and self-repression.
Obviously, society, as well as individual females, frown on overt "smelling of women," just as on overt ogling and unwanted touching, for good and practical reasons. Therefore, male discretion in either arena is sane and sensible; but whenever conscious containment and wisdom in expression is replaced by self-repression, then a male has made one more move toward his own emasculation.
The culminating act in the oft-extended Drama Of Replication, which begins for the male with scoping, ends with orgasm--that is, "having sex," "doing it," or fucking. All the ideally subtle steps in courtship are, for the male, ultimately aimed at intercourse itself--or, as euphemistically called, at least by males, "making love." Specifically, the male genetic goal is expelling sperm in quest of an available ovum.
For females, however, the male "ending" is neither as easy to effect, nor at all like a true ending. Whereas "sperm spreading" is more like broadcasting seed that actively seek a "field" to be fertilized, "ovum reception" is a far more complicated process. First of all, pregnancy is dependent on a ripe ovum being at just the right place after exiting an ovary, at just the right time--neither of which can be easily determined by a female. Consequently, waiting, dilly dallying, taking time, never rushing, can be crucial for female timing in finding the most propitious moment for intercourse itself.
In practice such extended times of pre-orgasm relating may best be seen as being covertly sensual rather than overtly sexy, or being loving rather than just "making love."
And then, what may indeed be the "end of the matter" for a male (especially if he is irresponsible in the relationship), is certainly "only the beginning" of a long and challenging process of successful mothering. His five minutes of fun may be her 17 or more years of intensive labor and devotion.
Point: the culminating act setting the stage for possible impregnation is best seen from the male perspective as "having sex" or "making love"; but from the female's standpoint, brief intercourse itself is less relevant than extended, sensuous times of "being close and loving" while unconscious bodily preparations are being made for potential impregnation.
Of course names are incidental to skillful artistry in appropriate compromises between male inclinations to "hurry up and fuck" and equally judicious female efforts to "go slow and get it right." And, since, from a genetic standpoint the reproductive interests of both are best served with mutual satisfactions, an artful bedroom dance between participants is most desirable.
Again, biological facts are less relevant in this exploration of how boys give up our balls than are the surrounding psychological facts--in particular, the presence or absence of judgments and repressions of natural gender inclinations. When males repress inherited drives primarily focused on "having sex" rather than "being loving," then we have unwittingly participated in degrees of our own emasculation.
Certainly, careful attention to female values as well as our own is critical for a successful "dance" which includes both "making love" and "being loving"; but if emasculation is to be avoided, then equally careful attention to skillful behavior without any degree of self-negation in the process is also important. In reality, "being loving" is not better than "being sexy"--or vice versa. Both are functional complements in shared gender goals. Otherwise, in effect, the goddess gets our balls.
Lust, or sexual desire, is a genetic drive for self-replication--that is, initiating babies. In males, such drives aimed at replication are, in keeping with the male role in natural reproduction, focused on having intercourse (crudely known as fucking),--that is, depositing sperm where an ovum might be present. In females, the actual creators of babies, the same drive is focused on getting pregnant--that is, conceiving offspring, and rearing children.
In colloquial language these shared instincts for self-replication are, in keeping with the differing roles of each gender in the Drama Of Replication, commonly known by differing names. In males, the drive is often known as lusting--that is, "wanting to have sex," or, "to do it."
In females it is known as a mothering instinct, which is less focused on "having sex" than on "making/rearing babies."
Because female ova are relatively rare (only one/per month during brief fertile years) in comparison with billions of male sperm produced during the same time, plus before and after a female's relatively short period of fertile years, males are theoretically able to fertilize infinitely more ova than any woman can ever produce. Consequently, typical male lust is far more pervasive (and less discriminating) than generalized female mothering instincts. Both are powerful instinctive drives, but, understandably, male desires to "have sex" are more concentrated and pervasive than complementary female desires to "have children."
So far, so good insofar as species preservation is concerned. But once in society, especially those like our own based on monogamous marriage, problems immediately appear when our two contrasting urges are brought into group relationships, including marriage. The male problem begins with an almost universal suppression of our lusting drives, both before and certainly after marriage.
Easily, beginning in early boyhood, we may take these reasonable social pressures (memes) personally and try to conform via suppressing awareness of natural instincts as expressed in scoping, wanting to touch, smell, and to have sex with potentially conceivable females. Thereafter, when these natural urges sometimes escape the pressures of repression, we are apt to "feel ashamed of ourselves"--that is, feel guilty about being our masculine selves in this sexual arena. Even if we succeed in "being good" by social standards via self repression, two predictable side-effects may occur: first, repressing any natural drive may result in physical and/or mental problems; and secondly, when inward pressures threaten structured repression, irresponsible acting out in socially unacceptable ways occurs all too often.
A wiser path in the long run is for males to learn to consciously experience, recognize, and contain natural lust, rather than acting irresponsibly in society or in personal relationships. But more about this later...
LINES AND CIRCLES
Another arena of common male repression appears in typically different ways in which men and women tend to think--that is, in lines and circles. Natural male thinking, perhaps evolved for aiming at game, etc., is linear, like a train track, while female thinking, maybe evolved for successfully gathering food and cooperating with other females in rearing children, is more typically circular--that is, all inclusive.
Male-type thinking majors in "left brain" logic (this or that) while female thinking is more "right" or "whole brained"--that is, taking all possible options into account (both/and). Each type is functional in different situations; for example, male thinking works better for understanding the world and how things work, while female thinking is better for maintaining successful relationships. But the ball-related problem emerges when one type is judged better than the other, or when one is pitted against the other, as in, linear versus circular, when men "try to be reasonable with" (or to "make sense of") women who naturally "consider all possibilities" and try to "keep all options open."
When so, circular thinking always wins because of the nature of lines and circles. In this analogy, circles can obviously embrace an infinite number of lines ("reasons"), and consequently, as many men know, "You can never win an argument with a woman." This natural difference, however, is not the real problem.
The typical error occurs when males who have identified our selves with linear thinking are personally put down when circular thinking, as females typically do, defeats "being sensible"--that is, making decisions based on logic alone. Or, in other situations, men may be dominated by females who take advantage of their skills in circular thinking and use "thinking circles around" male logic to control our behavior.
A related danger appears when men are uncertain about our ideas and look, as we often do, to women for "understanding" and/or confirmation of what we think, even of decisions we make in everyday life. Risks are related to several factors: first, since females do not typically think in our "one track" ways, they may have difficulty following the fragile line of logic-based thinking. Also, thinking naturally in their own circular ways, females may threaten, even unintentionally, male confidence by quickly thinking and injecting different possibilities and/or conclusions. Then too, when females are moved, even unconsciously, to dominate males, they may wield power by withholding understanding and undermining or otherwise pointing out flaws in what they hear.
For these and other reasons, males submitting our ideas and decisions to females for approval and/or confirmation, may be easily diverted from further or more careful analysis of our own thinking--not to mention developing confidence in male mental abilities apart from female support.
More wisely, males recognize these natural differences in the way we think, and learn to truly be reasonable in coping with females who are not determined by logic alone. For instance, we might avoid verbal arguments that we are pre-destined to lose, and instead use other more functional means of representing our differing values, especially with females we care for.
Relevant here, however, are degrees of emasculation which occur whenever a male judges his natural mode of thinking negatively, and cuts himself off, as it were, from this significant part of his masculine self. Male-type thinking is an essential and critically important part of masculinity. When a father of son "cuts off" his natural way of thinking, often in quest of female favors, he unwittingly portrays again the Attis myth in modern form.
As noted before, male scoping and female beautifying are functional values in our
complementary ways of getting together for mating. But once we are paired off in a relationship, such as, marriage, female attention to looking good continues, while male looking ceases to be useful in an already established relationship. Obviously a male may continue to scope for other potentially pregnable females--even on the honeymoon; but once a "capture" is made, other primal male values tend to come to the fore.
In fact, once a relationship is established, females who have either forgotten or repressed their genetic reasons for being attractive, or, with aging, have become even more concerned with keeping their good looks for power reasons may become even more compulsive about "being pretty" than before mating.
Aside from scoping for reasons of replication, or appealing to females who seem to be impressed by male appearances, men are far more concerned with utility than with beauty itself. For ourselves, we naturally value function over looks. In fact, when something "works," we don't much care how it looks.
In sharp contrast, females commonly continue throughout their lives with habits of beautification begun in youth when it was genetically feasible. And what begins with body and dress, easily spills over into the appearance of house, spouse, children, and all surroundings.
For instance, with clothing, males are primarily concerned with function, comfort, and cost. Are there enough pockets? Is the material thick enough to protect my skin and/or keep me warm? Does it feel good? Is it affordable? And, do I really need another pair of shoes?
In sharp contrast, female concerns are more about coordinated colors, accompanying accessories, current styles, and how one piece of clothing fits in with an overall wardrobe. Need, at least as men view the subject, is relatively irrelevant. "Already having one" is hardly a consideration. So long as money is available, cost itself is a minor concern; and, can a woman ever have "enough" shoes?
Surely females like comfort also; but when appearance is weighed against "feels good," or "has enough pockets," looks almost always wins for women. Conversely, men "don't mind" looking well dressed for female approval, but for ourselves function always wins out over appearance--so much so that females may despairingly conclude that men "just don't care how they dress." And any trip around the mall when men accompany female shoppers can easily support their common conclusions.
As with body and clothing, so with house and surroundings. Just as male concern with utility in dress spills over into concern with function in housing, so female focus on beautification of body spills over into looks of living arrangements. Males are far less concerned with "house beautiful" than with "house comfortable." But once bare necessities are met, females quickly turn to private concerns with spatial beautification, which may well match, even exceed, their
attention to personal appearances.
As with clothing, male values in housing are: usefulness, physical comfort, and afford-ability. For females, the same values about personal beauty of body and dress are commonly extended beyond themselves to include surroundings. Overall, these values reflect in concern with coordinated colors and shapes in furniture and fixtures, as well as in rooms and yard. Although there are obviously spillovers between male and female values in housing, in general, men are concerned with practicality first and appearances last, while women value attractiveness first and utility last.
Also, for males, once a house is "fixed up" and furniture arranged functionally, we are satisfied for it to remain so as long as we feel comfortable in it. But, as all husbands know, no house arrangement is ever final for a typical wife. Re-arranging furniture and "up-dating" appearances is a continual process. "Fixing up faces" is commonly paralleled with equal (or even greater) diligence in "fixing up places."
But a reader who has waded through these observations about contrasting gender values related to utility and looks may now begin to wonder: what does all this have to do with male emasculation?
My answer: Almost everything, once cross-gender relationships are established and the family triangle is centered in one place--that is, when fathers and sons are brought into close proximity and daily living with mothers who personify female values noted above.
Although function and beauty--that is, these differing male and female values, are not inherently incompatible, the daily challenge of continually making sensible compromises often turns into a rub of one set of values against the other, which in turn, can easily become a power struggle where one or the other wins out, resulting in significant psychological dangers, both to the winner and loser. For instance, cleanliness may become a sub-category of looking good. When so, females insisting on "no crumb left behind," that is, cleanliness-at-all-costs, may unintentionally override male values for taste, comfort, and utility in eating habits.
Or, when female values dominate, the appearance of the house may become a crucial matter, more so than relationships within the family. Then, when cleanliness and appearance become supremely important, male values of comfort and utility may become so submerged in efforts to please that fathers and sons cease to feel at home in their own house.
A father may then take refuge in his work, or in hunting and sports that take him away from home, minimizing time when he is left uncomfortable by requirements of cleanliness and "keeping everything looking good." Sons too, once they reach teen age years, may find sports and outside activities, where they can feel comfortable with male values, to keep them away from home as much as possible. In early years, however, small sons may be so trapped under the influence of female values that natural male traits are extremely difficult to embrace.
The relevant point here is not conscious compromises which are often necessary in mixing male and female values under one roof; indeed, such compromises are both feasible and self-affirming when chosen for pragmatic reasons. The male problem arises, however, when fathers and sons opt for self-repression as a means of coping with female desires. When so, they may avoid open disagreements and/or conflicts with mother with what may seem like small sacrifices at the time, such as, quietly complying in order to "keep the lady happy." But, as noted before, systematic suppressions made over time easily phase into personal repressions.
When so, once more balls are unwittingly given away in quest of female smiles.
In every ejaculation a male emits up to 400 million sperm, only one of which just may be selected by an ovum as a candidate for genetic immortality; the rest die in short order. Winning this ageless race to be #1 out of millions of competitors must, I speculate, make individual sperm innately designed to risk whatever it takes to be the lucky winner.
Meanwhile a single ovum who (if we personify her) has been developing for at least 15, probably 20-25 years, must carefully be placed where she can make the best selection from the few successful sperm who near the finish line of their highly competitive race; otherwise, she dies within a day.
Perhaps reflective of these biological facts, males, as sperm-bearers, are innate risk takers and gamblers, more inclined to take chances than to play it safe. Conversely, ovum-bearers, with so much to do and so much to lose in such a short time are equally geared for safety--that is, to play it safe, take no unnecessary risks, to protect themselves at all costs.
Biology aside, I conclude that men, for whatever reason, are as naturally inclined to take risks as are females to value safety. Furthermore, since Mother Nature has somehow evolved pleasure or "good feelings" to go along with whatever has proven to work best in her goals of genetic immortality, when a man is taking chances, he is invigorated; he "feels alive." And conversely, when a woman feels safe, she too "feels good."
But when these innate values are threatened or curtailed, contrary results predictably follow. Men, removed very far from risk taking, as when everything is comfortable for a woman, soon get bored and deeply long for the excitement of taking chances again. But women, conversely, who are moved even a bit from the security of safety, begin immediately to "shut down"--the very opposite of "getting turned on." (All this on average, of course, with many notable exceptions to this as well as all other generalizations about "men" and "women.")
But what do risk taking and safety have to do with balls and emasculation?
Answer: Sometimes, almost everything.
Obviously--at least when we are reasonable, good living involves an artful mixing of both. Too much danger threatens life, just as too much safety inhibits liveliness. Perhaps these different gender traits have evolved as complements for males and females in successful mating.
In either case, when males and females live in daily proximity, as in a traditional family triangle, a functional balance of both values is crucial for the well being of each. Men need the excitement inherent in taking chances, just as women need the comfort of safety. And the triangle cannot but suffer when a balance is not found.
So far so good; but when, instead of artfully made conscious compromises in quest of a functional balance, either opts for repression of their own natural values in submission to the other, then the stage is set for trouble.
Relevant here is the male temptation to squelch delights inherent in risk taking, in favor of total acquiescence to female concerns for safety, or for females to blindly insist on "being careful" about everything, leaving no room for risk taking--or, even worse, for boys and men to judge these complementary values as negative and positive, that is, to blindly conclude that taking chances is bad and never taking a risk is good (in the ethical/moral senses of these words).
The risks for sons who are largely controlled by mothers are exceptionally great. Just when boys are ideally learning how to mix taking chances and being careful, as will be critical in adult living, idealizing safety may easily lead to impoverished male development.
In graphic terms of the Attis myth, this, I conclude, is just one more way in which modern-day boys and men may continue to sacrifice our balls at the altar of goddess favors.
In broadest perspective, balls represent inherited male values, which in many specific ways are opposite from those of typical females. In practice, self-emasculation may begin as downplaying masculine values in favor of elevation of female values, as personified in a goddess mother. Typically, a small boy tries to "be good" by mother's standards in realistic quest of her approval on which so much of his immediate well-being depends. Unbeknownst to boys at the time, this beginning adaptation to mother's values invites a subtle undercutting of our own instinctive modes of coping.
And what may begin with a simple, overall effort to "be good" in mother's eyes by restricting male-type impulses and acting in ways which bring mother's smile rather than her frown, all too commonly ends up with a negative judgment of personal values and a positive idealization of female values (as seen in mother). With practice, initial negative judgments tend to phase into personal repression of natural masculine inclinations, while a boy unconsciously learns to seek mother's smile by acting out values approved by her.
End result: Deep-seated shame about "bad" male values and unjustified pride about acting "good," or at least admiring and striving for female values within oneself.
As is the nature of repression, the flip side of compliance is rebellion, both modes being but opposite reactions to one source of power. Although rebellion may easily seem to be "standing up for oneself" rather than "giving in," analysis may reveal that both compliance and rebellion are finally determined by reactions to the same power, in this case, a goddess mother.
End result: "Bad boys,"--that is, sons who rebel against mother, and "good boys" who opt for coping via compliance, are equally determined by her, except in opposite ways.
Point: Rebellious sons who disobey their mothers, and later "run away from home," symbolically if not literally, often appear to be free from her domination and "being themselves" while secretly still caught up in a less common mode of reverse adoration of not only mother figures, but also of the values they represent.
Such rebellious sons typically end up as macho-type, chauvinistic males who try to dominate, even abuse, women they inwardly hate/resent, as begun in initial reactions to their first mother. They are, that is, more like mirror or shadow images of their "nice men" opposites who opted for compliance rather than rebellion.
Analysis of machoism, as many outwardly abused wives already know, may reveal inward "pussycats" who are still caught up in pretending an untruth, namely, their reverse idolization of femininity and deprecation of real masculinity--even as is so for contrasting "good boys" who become "nice men" and/or "wimpy husbands."
Bottom line: Through these and many other seemingly-innocent-at-the-time types of self-repression, often begun with the best of intentions, boys and men, symbolized as Attis in the myth, may unwittingly sacrifice their balls at the altar of society and/or specific females who bear an aura of the Goddess Cybele, even when they might wish otherwise.
(For further clarification on Attis translations, see Memes In The Nursery in Journal Entries included later.)
As in all religions, for true believers the events in Christian history as recorded in the Bible are taken at face value--that is, to be literal facts without need of interpretation. They "speak for themselves." Jesus' miracles, for example, are just that: miracles--suspensions of laws of nature, supernatural occurrences. His "Heavenly Father" is literally an omnipotent Being outside or above earthly happenings. Indeed, for such Christians, no symbolism is involved in the people, figures, and events giving substance to their religious history. Hence, no translations are called for.
Here, however, I look for possible translations of the Jesus stories, as though they too, like older myths, may also be symbolic--whether historically "real" or not. As noted in the introduction, my premise is that unrecognized psychic situations in the general public are projected into accepted myths of each age--that is, that inward human experiences not yet brought into consciousness are dimly recognized "out there" in graphic elements of the stories. Myths "mirror" deeper psychic truths unwittingly projected into them.
On this premise, as noted before, my attempt in this essay is to reverse the process of repression/projection--that is, look at the "facts" of the myths as symbols or graphic images representing unrecognized-at-the-time truths about those who take them for objective realities. I am, that is, attempting to translate possible projections into myths back into human elements repressed at the time and consequently projected into representative stories.
As I have done in the first three myths chosen for this exploration, so now I suggest possible translations for Jesus stories. What unrecognized inward human situations were/are projected onto him and events surrounding his life? What, that is, does Jesus "say" about those who "believe in him"? What is evolving in typical family triangles of those who live, following Attis, in the Christian era of human history?
Like Attis before him, Jesus was said to be born of a virgin mother--that is, conceived without sex. The family triangle remained, yet with significant differences. First, the father figure (Joseph) is brought back, yet as a relatively minor character. Although Jesus' mother, Mary, like Cybele, is still seen as the "Mother of God" by many today, she is personally reduced from goddess status to a special, chosen earthly mother. In the religion that later evolved centered around her son, Jesus, she is seen as a saintly person and is prayed to by many.
The major change in the traditional family triangle is the elevation of the son as the primary force. Although the Oedipus myth also centered on the son, still the father and mother were powerful forces in the drama. With Attis stories, father is gone completely, and, although son Attis is a central figure, mother Cybele is the most powerful force. In the religion that evolved from this myth, Cybele was the main figure, with Attis as a side kick and his followers as priests of Cybele.
But this changes dramatically here, as Jesus truly becomes both the central character and also the major earthly force in the stories. Another major shift occurs in regards to the father figure in the traditional triangle. In keeping with Jesus' "virgin birth," Mary's husband Joseph remains in the background, somewhat like a relatively unimportant stepfather, but not with powers like Laius in the Oedipus myth.
In perhaps the most dramatic change, limited kingly powers of Oedipus's earthly father Laius, are, in the Jesus myth, magnified exponentially and posited in an all-powerful Heavenly Father God. The son's powers are also expanded, but seen as given to him by his omnipotent, otherworldly Father God.
1. Recognition of selfing, a boy's individuality, especially of the importance of a son's own mind; thinking for oneself versus being self-blinded; beginning of unrepression; resurrection of mental powers but not sexual urges.
2. Father God is idolized rather than being emasculated or killed (plus side of typical ambivalence); father is no longer in competition with son for mother, but is still seen in exaggerated form, although positive rather than negative.
3. Son gets his mental balls back versus being castrated as in the Attis myth.
4. Son identifies with Heavenly Father (projected manhood: "I and my father are one") but does not re-embrace creativity and other masculine powers.
5. Self-sacrifice is glorified versus selfing embraced; selfing is still projected onto others: "He saved others; himself he could not save."
Most relevant issues in Christian mythology include these:
1. Monotheism versus polytheism
Perhaps most significant of all is the shift from belief in many gods, some of which were semi-human in form and believed to exist on earth, especially on Mt. Olympus, to belief in one god who created the world, operates within it, but exists "up there" in the sky or heaven, apart from everyday human life.
In this new perspective, a move from many to one god, powers formerly seen as diversified and scattered among a host of nearby, human-like figures, are now seen as collected into one distant and completely non-human figure. The human element is contained and limited to beliefs in his earthly son Jesus. Lesser powers formerly seen in human-like gods are now posited in angels, demons, and one devil as the evil counterpart to the one good god.
2. Male versus female
A second major shift involved gender beliefs. Although Greek myths posited major powers in male gods, such as, Zeus, Apollo, etc., many operative powers were still seen as feminine in nature, as in Athena and other consorts of male gods.
This gender shift began in the move from most ancient myths, in which all powers were seen as existent in a Magna Mater or Great Mother, to a gradual shift into partial male dominance, as, for example, Zeus who came to rule when goddesses were shifted to the background.
Still, however, in this second major mythological era, goddess powers were still commonly recognized, even if masculine dominance was gradually advancing. But with the Christian era, the shift from one or many female goddesses to one male god as the dominant power became relatively complete. The Virgin Mary was still honored as the actual mother of Jesus, or even as the mother of God by some; but although many still prayed to her, ultimate powers were now attributed to one male god. Even though some heavenly powers were still viewed as feminine in nature, all earthly authority was shifted into male hands.
Outside of Catholicism, the shift of powers that began with complete feminine domination in earliest mythology, was totally reversed in the rest of Christendom--that is, all major powers were seen as posited in one male god.
3. Father to son
Although ultimate power, for example, for creating and controlling the world and the destiny of its inhabitants, was seen as finally existing in the heavenly Father God, his son Jesus, his earthly representation, came to be the main mediator of the father's powers (along with Mary, in Catholicism) to mankind. For most Christians, belief in Jesus is essential for accessing God's favors, and prayers to God are typically "in Jesus name."
For most practical purposes, such as ordering daily life on earth, the example and teachings of his local representative, as revealed in the Bible for Christians, and in the Koran for Moslems, became the operational guide--especially as interpreted by theologians and local church authorities.
In summary, what began with all mythical powers in the hands of A female goddess gradually evolved to a combination of gods and goddesses, with dominant male power in Greek mythology. As Christianity became established, dual gender powers were shifted to increasingly dominant male control. Many gods were phased into one god, as almost all goddess powers were reduced to naught.
Then finally, the ultimate powers of the one god of the Old Testament were, with the writing of the New Testament, for most practical purposes personified in his one earthly son, Jesus.
The mythological progression was, in summary, from: 1) One Great Goddess with female representatives, to 2) A family of male and female, semi-earthly gods and goddesses, with powers gradually shifting in the male direction, to 3) Total male dominance as poly and pan-theism were replaced by monotheism, with one heavenly Father having ultimate powers mediated to mankind through one earthly son.
In terms of gender, the evolution of mythical powers may be viewed thusly:
1. All powerful Mother Goddess (Gaia) with dispersed female powers on earth (Matriarchal eras).
2. Introduction in Greek mythology of semi-earthly male gods along with remnants of former female dominance reduced proportionately in lessor powered goddesses.
3. With Christianity, all mythical powers are transferred to one male heavenly father and his earthly son Jesus.
(Although I illustrate with the older Christian religion, mythology of later Islam is essentially the same, with God as Allah, and Jesus as Mohammed.)
1. Father, mother, and God are now in background. Jesus stopped bowing to Mary. "Who is my mother...?" (Mark 3:35 KJV)
2. Son is now primary over both his earthly father and mother (after Attis ended at Cybele's side)
Jesus made a major step in identifying self with God ("We are one"), and partially reclaiming natural maleness; still, however, his maleness was in the feminized form of saving others versus self (as in, mothering--nurturing a child rather than oneself).
Finally he disappeared in the religious version of ascension to heaven.
Religion as such must have been born between Attis and Jesus, that is, as a practice apart from daily living (religious versus secular). Previously what we read back into ancient times as "religion" was not like a Sunday practice with special beliefs to be accepted or rejected, etc., but has rather the central, structuring framework of everyday life, the way they lived, not just "believed" and tried to follow. It was a mode of living in which repression/projection was acted out in everyday living.
What began as Goddess (Cybele, etc.)-on-earth shifted to God-in-sky, with males reclaiming some male power, but projecting most power to sky (and godly authorities) rather than embodying it within themselves.
First, Jesus projected typical male illusions of exaggerated, even unlimited power, born of repressed capacity for accepting natural human limitations, onto an omnipotent God. Most all repressions of natural capacities reflect in exaggerated ideas and images, e.g., natural male sexuality reflects in exaggerated sexiness ("always hot to trot").
Natural (unrepressed) males recognize, acknowledge, and accept extensive masculine forces, but also stand openly with obvious limitations of can-do-ness. But when inherited capacities for recognizing and comfortably accepting what a man can and cannot do are repressed, they become predictably exaggerated in fantasy; such, I conclude, were Jesus' projections onto an imaged omnipotent God. Even before these projections, however, Jesus apparently assumed super-human powers within himself, as evidenced in performing miracles, and trying, as it were, to "save the world."
And, as with physical might, so with mental powers also--that is, male capacities for focused, reasonable thinking (as critical in aiming at game for food, inventing tools, scientific investigation, and predicting the future). Ideally man embraces the wonders of sense making without denying and repressing the wider realms of right brain, holistic thinking and intuitive wisdom (as is more commonly embraced in females, who conversely tend to repress rationality). But more typically, males tend to idolize left brain sense-making and put down on right brain knowledge as revealed in intuition, ESP, and "female-type" thinking--that is, we exaggerate conscious reasoning, repress pre-conscious wisdom, and in general leave ourselves in large measure mentally repressed.
Although Jesus obviously went far in unrepressing natural male capacities for reasonable thinking--as evidenced in his teachings which confronted traditional religious beliefs of his day, as well as female type holistic thinking--as evidenced in his self-identification with God-wisdom, he stopped short of embracing natural limitations in each arena, leaving himself both unreasonable (impractical) about his sensible ideas, and with an exaggerated sense of his inherited knowledge. These denied personal errors (limitations) are evidenced in his projections onto an imaged omniscient (all-knowing) God.
The same is true with his knowledge of time. Focused, logical, male thinking also reflects in a greater sense of clock and calendar time (abstract concepts) than is common in females who are more attentive to "earth" or realistic life time. In its limited forms, clock time is obviously useful in regulating shared social events (e.g., getting to the train "on time," etc.) as well as conducting scientific experiments and understanding world history. But all too commonly temporal knowledge of abstract clock time is exaggerated from its utility as a human tool into illusions of perpetual personal existence--that is, living forever.
Closely related to this popular illusion is the logical idea of soul separable from body. Since bodies obviously die and shortly begin to disintegrate, if one is to believe in perpetual existence, then logically some other entity is necessary to make the dream seem sensible. Hence the idea of a soul or spirit as an everlasting entity capable of transcending bodily death was imagined. Man, in this still popular idea, dreamed of im-mortality--that is, being non-mortal (not bodied). With such a notion obvious facts about bodily death can be logically integrated with dreams of perpetual personal existence.
Although Jesus himself may not have believed in this illusion--as evidenced in his many references to "salvation now" rather than later, he certainly allowed his followers to do so as evidenced in his many references to his Heavenly Father who was pictured not only as immortal, but also as perpetually existing, transcending clock time as well as mortal existence.
The greatest arena of typical male repression today is less evident in Jesus himself than in male adherents to the Christian religion evolved since his death, namely, creativity itself. When our natural capacities for "making things"--that is, creating ever more efficient tools and inventions for escalated satisfactions in a dangerous universe, as well as continually more creative arrangements for social structures and interpersonal relationships, are partially repressed, then predictable exaggeration follows.
Again, since actual male creativity is obviously limited, both in realms of inventions and final answers--such as, perpetual motion machines, unified theories for everything, and universal ethics--not to mention creating life itself, our illusions of unlimited creativity are commonly projected onto "God the Creator" who is presumed to have made everything and yet remains in charge of both creating and ending human lives.
Idolizing Jesus, as his followers began to do soon after his death and Christians still do today, reflects, I think, his unusually high degree of male un-repression--that is, his becoming more natural than most men. He personified, I conclude, higher degrees of self-becoming than is common, even till now.
Specifically, he withdrew and re-embraced feminine aspects of natural masculinity (X chromosome influences) commonly projected onto mothers and other females, and consistently denied in macho males. He became, in effect, motherly with mankind. At one point he lamented about people's refusal to accept his ministry, "...how often I would have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37 KJV).
He brought commonly repressed male nurturing or mothering capacity to his daily life, as he both met and accepted others openly and ministered in helpful ways (as females do) rather than being competitive and dominating (as repressed males commonly try to be).
He obviously embraced extended degrees of male-type think-ability by refusing to be bound by traditional, accepted beliefs, and daring to stand openly with his dangerously unconventional ideas.
He bypassed typical male homophobia by teaming up with all sorts of other males, from hardened fishermen to soft hearted younger brothers.
John Doe is a macho/wimp
because he has given his balls
to an Earthly Mother
and his brains
to a Heavenly Father
Woman now owns his pro-creativity
and God his creativity
Currently, in this era of male religions after Jesus and before New Men, earthly male creativity is projected onto a sky god and earthly male pro-creativity is commonly projected onto earthly women.
John Doe, mythical average male of today, suffers from and remains severely limited by three major arenas of personal repression: emotional, sexual, and being ourselves (self-becoming).
First and most primary is a severe repression of primal emotional capacities, the source of one of Mother Nature's oldest reservoirs of survival wisdom evolved eons before later gifts of consciousness and "thinking." Beginning in early life outside the womb, boys today are socially shaped to suppress emotions in favor of, for example, trying to be "big boys who don't cry," etc.
I theorize (in the absence of available information) that inherited male and female emotional capacities are roughly equal, with perhaps a slight female edge as evolved for effective mothering; but from earliest life, current cultures grant females massive freedom to embrace and express emotions, while at the same time heaping shame on boys for similar emotional development.
Although boys are not forced to deny emotions, outside pressures are typically so great that few males seem able to resist ever-present invitations to do so. The end result, I conclude, is massive restriction of otherwise normal emotions in John Doe today.
Obviously emotional repression serves males well in many arenas of male-type endeavors; but at what costs in terms of male personhood and success in cross gender relationships where emotional intimacy is often critical?
My answer: Immense.
Specifically, typical male emotional repression costs us in several arenas, such as, power, knowledge, intimacy, and dependency.
First, power: emotions, or e-motions, are, by definition, prime movers--that is, they inherently generate force. Later-to-evolve reasoning capacities also generate power and have minimal degrees of moving-force; but powers generated by emotions are older and vastly greater than those associated with "thinking."
The one emotional arena where males have social freedom to feel is overt anger for powering aggression in certain circumstances, such as, war, sports (competition), and self-protection. Unfortunately for men, however, these circumstances are relatively rare in overall daily living in society.
To further complicate the male situation, energy that would otherwise be generated by anger and other emotions in ordinary circumstances must in effect be turned in on itself in service of overall emotional repression, including anger that is generally off-limits in most relationships.
Consequently, emotional powers regularly available to unrepressed females are consistently limited for males who try to deny most emotions except anger, and even these aggressive forces are counter-productive in most social situations.
The second negative consequence of emotional repression is loss of primal knowledge engened in "feelings" for calling attention to dangers and survival threats. Long before "thinking" evolved, emotions were, in effect, educated as guidelines for sensing dangers to personal well-being (as in, urges to fight or flee). Consequently, real dangers are often perceived emotionally long before they are registered in conscious thought. Less emotionally repressed females, for example, commonly sense danger well before emotionally repressed males.
Aside from basic bodily emotions, the word feelings has come to be used for naming other types of significant, pre-rational knowledge, such as, intuition. Much genetic wisdom is potentially mediated to awareness via "feelings"--that is, "gut reactions," "knowing in my bones," etc. More literally, such knowledge might better be called "right brain knowing" or "psychological feelings"; but in practice, names are incidental. Relevant here is that when males repress primal emotional capacities, we also tend to repress other "feelings" which might otherwise reveal significant pre-rational, genetic wisdom.
Thirdly, male emotional repression costs greatly in terms of missed human intimacy, both with other males as well as females. Intimacy with others permits needed feedback about ourselves which is in turn useful for fuller self-becoming, as well as for monitoring and hence improving the quality of relationships. And, since emotions are a significant part of who we are as human beings, when they are repressed we are obviously limited in sharing our fuller selves, as is crucial for true intimacy.
Perhaps most costly of all is the shear pleasure potentially inherent in being close, which is missed by males who must hold ourselves apart in order to keep our feelings hidden or repressed.
Finally, there is predictable dependency on females for permission and circumstances for experiencing even minimal degrees of emotional expression and intimacy. Since emotionally repressed males obviously have difficulty sharing feelings with other males, the only available avenue for even small amounts of emotional revelation is with females, many of whom are not only capable of emotional closeness, but also desire it for intimacy with males.
As noted before, males are not so much lacking in emotional capacities, as we are likely to repress those we actually have. Consequently, we naturally desire--as well as need, emotional expression in order to be our fuller selves. But when this avenue is sealed with other males, our only option if we are to be emotional at all, is through female relationships. Within themselves, this may be well and good; but the potential cost is dependency on those who "understand" and accept our emotions.
Although dependency relationships between emotionally repressed males and "understanding" females may in fact be initially satisfying to both, in time female needs and desires for a strong, independent male may be undercut by the emotional dependency of "her man."
All in all, even with obvious benefits in certain male-type arenas, emotional repression in males, especially since we moved from jungle to civilization, is now an exceptionally costly limitation, both in terms of becoming our fuller selves as individuals, as well as enjoying the fruits and delights of intimate relationships with others.
The second major arena of male repression is natural masculine sexuality. Contrary to popular opinions, both of typical males and repressed females, which often see men as "over sexed" and women as relatively frigid in comparison, I think this is a commonly accepted cover story concealing other significant facts.
Obviously, in support of these familiar viewpoints, males are typically more overtly sexual, both in terms of acting-out and as we often consciously think of ourselves, than are average females. Crudely put, most males are obviously more interested in "doing it" anytime, anywhere, with anyone--especially in the presence of unavailable females, than are far more reserved females.
But, I conclude, beneath these surface appearances, the real sexual situation is far more complex, and, bottom line: first, most males are not nearly as sexual as we like to think we are, and females in general are, I speculate, far more sexual than they commonly admit, even to themselves.
Or, in terms of this current exploration, contrary to popular opinions, I think that John Doe is almost as sexually repressed as he is emotionally repressed, and that what we mostly observe is more like compensation for deeper denials, than actual masculine sexuality. Our typical overtly sexual behavior and conscious "thinking about sex," are, I conclude, more concealing than revealing of existing facts. Most seemingly "sexy men" today are more like barking dogs chasing cars than masculine males concerned with genetic replication--as our genes incline us.
What then, if I am correct, are the hidden facts beneath apparently "sexy men" and seemingly "cold women"? What is the evidence for male sexual repression? Emotional denial is easy enough to see, but what are clues to male sexual repression?
Major visible evidence for any hidden repression is the flip side of this psychic device, namely, projection. Although inward repression cannot be seen, outward "mirrors" which reflect repressions are often clearly visible, even if in reversed images. In this case, male sexual repression is not of conscious thinking, which is often abundantly sexual in content, but rather of associated masculine powers which may be clearly seen projected "out there" onto females.
As noted before, all natural capacities, beginning with sensing itself, inherently generate internal powers in their activation. This is perhaps more true in the sexual arena than with any other human capacity. Sexual passion and power are almost synonymous.
But relevant here is that whereas males do indeed think and often act sexy, the primary powers of being sexual are nearly all in female hands in current society--even when any given female might wish otherwise. These massive projections are evident in two major arenas: "turn-on" power and permission power.
Although real masculine sexual powers are almost entirely within ourselves, self-generated when natural instincts for replication are activated, this biological fact is lost in the awareness of sexually repressed males who unwittingly project these forces onto females in general, or various of their body parts in particular (e.g., proverbial "tits and ass"). When so, as is so often the case, "getting turned on" by femininity is far more than a colloquial figure of speech; indeed it becomes a lived-out illusion, rarely seen as such.
Although the second major evidence of male sexual power projected, namely, permission-to-be sexual, is less easily recognized as such because of many real, pragmatic factors, still it allows glimpses of often hidden male denials.
First, the facts: in current society, permission-to-be-sexual, even in its earliest stages of sensuality and suggestion, is placed almost entirely in female hands--that is, in female choices, and even there in conscious thinking only. Any movement toward becoming overtly sexual, even in tone or word, let alone action, unless consciously approved not only by the female involved, but also by social mores and laws, is a dangerous male move.
In other words, most all acceptable options for emerging male sexuality are "out there" rather than "in here." Any decisions about expressing, even revealing, natural male sexuality are finally made outside himself. Bottom line: "They"--that is, females and social memes, decide for us, when a male's sexuality may become in any acceptable way overt.
As noted, there are many good and practical reasons for this oft-ignored social situation, such as, protecting females from male abuse plus having sex at best times for conception, which are better known by females and better signed by their evident desires ("when they want to"). Consequently, facts about female options in timing of sex may be entirely pragmatic, apart from any male sexual repression.
But, I speculate, more often than not the necessity of female permission for overt male sexuality is more related to power than to genetic pragmatics--that is, the consequence of repressed male sexual powers being blindly projected onto females, who are in turn looked to for permission for activation. When so, female permission is more than allowance or indication of shared desires; it is then a male-needed power source. His "performance," we might say, is limited to illusions of power in her evidenced permission. Without her obvious "letting him," a projecting male may otherwise be sexually impotent (except in his mind).
When male power to be sexual is projected in this manner, permission may more clearly be seen as blessing--that is, a sexually repressed and projecting male is not simply looking for evident allowance ("letting him do it") or literal permission; rather he is deeply seeking something akin to spiritual blessing, as may have been lost long ago when the goddess mother first seemed to reject her son's emerging sexuality.
As if costs of repressing emotions and sexuality were not enough (and I think they are!), a further negative consequence is perhaps greater and worse than both. I refer to limitations placed on selfing itself ("being oneself") when two major elements of human capacity are removed from the equation. When males undercut the development of these parts of ourselves--even for good reasons, such as, social acceptance, we unwittingly but inevitably limit the possibility of personal wholeness--that is, the fuller delights of selfingness, freedom, and self-responsibility.
Like six cylinder cars with two cylinders frozen, we who repress emotions and sexuality cannot but find self-becoming to be difficult, if not impossible. When so, we typically look to females, not only for "giving us heart"--that is, bringing illusions of emotional wholeness by becoming our "missing half," and sexual permission, if not blessing, but also, in the final analysis to "letting us become ourselves" and hence able to "take care of ourselves" as individual persons.
Blindly then, we often look to females to "take care of us." In simplest arenas, this means feeding and clothing us, as well as making houses livable, rearing our children, and civilizing our animal instincts for us. But on deeper and wider levels of selfing, looking for women, or at least one woman, to "make me happy" must be the ultimate in common male attempts to escape personal responsibility for being and becoming our fuller selves.
Small wonder then that so many men either do or want to kill sustaining women who forsake us for any reason. After all, it must seem that such dependent men are losing not only the key to life and happiness, but also a reason for living itself.
Although females are traditionally seen as the weaker sex, especially by males with needs to dominate in compensation for dependencies arising from repressed capacities within ourselves, an independent observer might easily note that by and large, females take far better care of themselves than do males who see ourselves as stronger. Even those females who are in many outward ways dependent on macho-type "independent" men often do far better jobs of taking careful care of their personal needs and desires than do the men who outwardly "lord it over" them.
My overall conclusion is that typical repression of emotional capacities and associated motivating power, along with repressing and projecting powers generated by our own sexuality, commonly result in "half-persons" who, being left relatively incapable of taking good care of ourselves alone, truly need and easily come to be dependent on females to take care of us, including to make us whole and happy.
The Creative Process is: 1. See (perceive); 2. Feel (emote); 3. Image (picture); 4. Think (form conceptions).
Images (Stage 3) are a natural step on the longer path from perceptions to conceptions (Stage 1-4). There is nothing wrong, bad, or unhealthy about graphic images for giving visual shape to powerful perceptions--that is, perceptions which generate power-producing emotions, such as, desire, fear, and anger.
Children's myths that graphically image natural emotional responses to threatening or delighting perceptions, e.g., a Big Bad Wolf and a Candy House, are completely normal.
But repression only begins when one freezes his mind at the Image Stage, refusing to follow the natural course of de-coding images into concepts--that is, of "thinking for oneself" or applying reasoning abilities afforded through inherited capacities for consciousness and "making sense" of one's own experience (personal perceptions), versus remaining pre-conscious at the Image Stage of the Creative Process.
Oedipus's (and all son's) error is not natural imaging of the threat of a powerful father or goddesshood of a life-giving mother, but repressing awareness of natural urges to zap dad and marry mom, and then decoding these images into reasonable thinking, e.g., actual fatherly affection (homosexual), and mother quickly losing goddess status beginning at weaning and toilet training.
Without repression, and with continued conscious thinking, Oedipus triangle threats will naturally dissolve, just like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, without threat to self--all this in the course of positive, natural, dis-illusionment (de-coding of images) as contrasted with common avoidance of "disillusionment" as though it is bad.
Typical male repression can be sub-divided for thought purposes into two major categories: 1) Genetic wisdom, and 2) Acquired knowledge. The first type involves instincts, pre-conscious urges, or "gene knowledge." The second is about personal learning or experience since birth, including "meme knowledge."
The first major category of capacities commonly repressed by males in quest of social acceptance includes elements of inherited "wisdom"--that is, "knowledge" ingrained in genes, such as, drives related to gender and others evolved for selfingness (staying alive as individuals).
Repression of inherited instincts is more literal--that is, truly pressed down or buried deeply below levels of awareness, than is experiential repression of one's own acquired knowledge. Genetic repression is often begun when specific instincts begin to become conscious, and may never be allowed in full awareness--for example, early sexual passions, aggression, or anger. In societies where sexual passions are suppressed and/or condemned, natural desires are common victims of personal denial. The same is true for aggressive emotions, such as, anger.
The second arena is more like conscious denial or forgetting than the first type of deep-seated repression. Whereas Type One data is truly below levels of consciousness, Type Two repression is more like "closing one's eyes to truths" which would otherwise be visible in awareness.
Subjects of this second type are drawn from personal experiences and learning in present circumstances, as distinguished from what we are, in effect, "born knowing." What is actually known is denied to oneself. With Type Two repression, one, in effect, "lies to himself" about experiences, observations, feelings, or desires which have previously been known to him--or might have, were it not for speedy suppression. Many such denials are clearly visible to others, but not to one who is, in effect, "fooling himself." Although he may be described by others as "being in denial," "playing dumb," or "pretending not to see," a repressing one is often "totally sincere" in his "not seeing."
Everyday examples of denied truths (Type Two repression) include: parents with "prejudiced eyes" about their own children, that is, do not see certain traits or activities easily visible to others; lovers who are blind to faults and flaws in a loved one; spouses who refuse to see weaknesses or limitations in each other; anyone who says, "I can't believe....such and such," when a truth is clearly open to them.
On a deeper level such denials regularly occur when available facts are in conflict with one's self image. For example, one who views himself as "strong" may be blind to signs of personal weakness easily visible to others. Another who sees himself as "smart" may carefully avoid recognizing arenas of ignorance that are obvious to others; or conversely, one who "thinks he is dumb" may equally avoid facing evidence to the contrary. Those whose self images require perfection for acceptance may staunchly refuse to face flaws, errors, mistakes, or any sign of imperfection in themselves. Their rationalizations created to support illusions of "being right" may be easily recognized as unreasonable by those who hear them.
"Good boys" who saddle ourselves with this familiar self-image may be blatantly blind to any desires to "be bad." Even when our "good deeds" have obviously bad results, we often justify our actions with declarations of good intentions. "I certainly didn't mean to hurt you."
"Repressed memories" is a name currently given to one form of this type repression. Typically these include painful and/or socially unacceptable events that are difficult to face at the time. Although one may obviously know at the time what happened, he "avoids facing" what occurred, "pushes it out of mind," "looks the other way," or in some manner limits awareness. In time the whole memory may be repressed or "forgotten." Examples include molestation events, "bad" sexual experiences, breaking social or religious rules, etc.
And if threatening events are often pushed out of conscious memory, socially unacceptable emotions and desires are even more apt to be repressed. Natural hostility toward parents, for example, may be denied, especially when parental rejection may follow. In families where "arguing," "getting mad," or "fighting" is unacceptable, children commonly learn to repress aggressive emotions in order to fit in.
Unwanted or threatening information that is otherwise readily available may be another form of repressed knowledge. For example, in quest of self-survival in a negative social context, many opt for rebellion as a mode of protecting themselves from being personally overwhelmed--that is, losing himself or herself in approved conformity, or "giving in" at risk of endangering self identity. Such rebellions may be outward in obvious opposition to "being told what to do," or inward and cloaked with outward compliance.
In a cartoon, Dennis The Minis is sitting in a corner of a school room, wearing a dunce cap, facing the wall, and muttering to himself: "I'm sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up inside." This is the type of rebellion referred to here. Often, however, such a person is quite unaware of his acts as "rebellious" and only thinks of "protecting himself." Relevant here is the fact that while blindly caught up in such acts of "self protection," one may ignore or suppress awareness of prevailing social factors, such as, rules of society, other memes aimed at controlling genetic drives, or even the fact that he is being rebellious.
Such rebellious persons often become insensitive to powerful forces at work in society, while they seek to protect themselves from "being hurt" by others. Unwittingly they repress knowledge which is easily available, but in conflict with their mode of survival. They in effect blind themselves to incoming data while remaining focused on "being themselves." Others may easily see, for example, how rebellious persons are hurting themselves by ignoring visible forces, the so-called "powers that be,"--but not those who only remain attuned to protecting themselves by this negative means.
This mode of coping with social forces (memes) becomes especially dangerous for one who also sees himself as "good," "right," or "trying to help others," such as, religious or political leaders out to "save the world (or at least some part of it)" by projecting personal values and beliefs onto others. Typically such self-righteous persons are blind to their savior-like stance, and only see themselves as humble, sacrificial, or "just trying to help others." But unwittingly, in the process of "serving," they repress readily available knowledge about society as well as about themselves.
In summary: For understanding purposes, typical male repressions may be seen in two major categories: 1) Instinctive drives present at birth, and 2) Elements in personal experience unique to each individual. The first are more easily recognized as actual repression--that is, "pushed down" bodily forces, while the second are more like denials of what is potentially visible in daily life. The first are repressed within (desires, feelings, urges, emotions), while the second are denied personal knowledge about perceptions and experiences in the outside world.
Denied outside knowledge is: "not seeing" what is actually visible, "not facing" events truly before one's eyes, refusing to ac-knowledge what is available for knowing, "looking the other way," or motivated "forgetting." "I just can't remember what happened."
The subjects of this second arena for repression include: threatening experiences which result in "repressed memories"; facts which contradict or undermine self-images (egos); and information not fitting in or supporting personal goals--that is, evidences for "being wrong," or that a plan might not work.
In the first type of repression of bodily drives, "pushed down" passions, for example, are like a tiger in the tank or a ticking time bomb--that is, like uncontrolled forces that may activate or "go off" at any time, especially when one least expects.
Although the same human instincts are present before and after repression, typical responses to them are very different. The first difference may be noted with the distinguishing words: reactions versus responses. To repressed drives, one in effect re-acts--that is, goes into action without thought or consideration about consequences; but with un-repressed urges, one re-sponds carefully. Because he is aware and "thinking about" an instinctive move, he is alert to possible results of any action and is in control of himself at the time.
For example, consider a sexual desire in a repressed and in an unrepressed male. Repressed males are "turned on by...(e.g., a woman's breasts)"; in contrast, an unrepressed male may "turn on with..." a woman, but is not passionately moved by an outside perception. Passion in the first instance, in a repressed male, "happens to you"; such a "turned on" male is, in effect, a victim of circumstances--that is, in spite of himself (even if he consciously intends otherwise) he is irresponsibly excited by whatever "turns him on."
With an unrepressed male the same passions are potentially present, yet carefully contained and either revealed or concealed in accord with circumstances and personal goals at the time. Since they are consciously recognized as arising within rather than caused from without, one may either express ("act on") desires, or else keep them "held in" when revelation is unfeasible.
Or with an emotion: When a repressed male experiences, for example, anger, he is "made mad by...(e.g., some action of another person)." His perception is: "You make me angry." But with an unrepressed person, when natural anger arises, he is "angry with" the other person, but not at him or her for "making him" so.
He is angry (an existential condition) in the presence of the other, but recognizes the feeling as his own, rather than a condition caused and/or controlled by someone else (or an external condition). If an unrepressed male chooses (he does "have a choice") to express his anger he may say, "I am upset with you (or with what has happened)" but not at you, as though you have literally caused my internal emotion.
The same situation exists with a positive response as well as with negative feelings. For example, a repressed male may literally "fall in love" with a woman. As one romantic song voices this familiar situation: "You made me love you; I didn't want to do it, I didn't want to do it...." The force or power initiating such "love" is assumed to be outside oneself, as, for example, in the "looks" or other qualities of a loved one.
But with an unrepressed male, love is a chosen form of relating, not an internal condition caused by outside factors, such as, another person. Certain qualities of another may indeed invite loving responses, while others do not; but in either case, with unrepressed males being loving is an internal mode of existence for which he is personally responsible.
In comparison, for repressed males who "fall in love," their so-called love is immensely qualified--that is, dependent on qualities and actions of the loved one. Certain qualities, for example, physical beauty or faithful devotion, are the essential basis of the love relationship. When or if they cease, such as, a lover "being unfaithful," then passionate love may immediately be replaced by unmitigated hate. She who was, in effect, the center of the universe, the source of sun rises and cause of total admiration, is at once transformed into a total witch, unworthy of any affection, perhaps even qualifying for destruction.
In sharp contrast, love of an unrepressed male, being recognized as an internal condition of a loving man, is far less subject to or dependent on qualities of a loved one. Such chosen (rather than "fallen into") love is near to being unqualified--that is, relatively independent of the attributes and actions of one so loved. Agape or fulfilled love, where the loved one is accepted for what she is, affirmed in her present state, and even freed to become whoever she inherently and potentially is, is only possible to the degree that a man is unrepressed as he naturally is.
Because we are all human, with inherent limitations as well as wonderful possibilities, unrepressed males also have limits; but, and this is the distinction noted here: repressed males are almost totally dependent on qualities of an adored one, while unrepressed men, choosing to love rather than "falling into it," have far greater leeway in accepting negative qualities in one who is loved.
New Man is my fifth mythological figure. The first four, Cronos, Oedipus, Attis, and Jesus, are figures from the past; New Man is a prediction about the future. He represents a possible next step in historical evolution of a son in the family triangle. Because the future is obviously not here yet, he is essentially a prophetic vision, an imaginary person I foresee following the progression noted in historical myths. This New Man is a culmination of natural human capacities, many of which have been historically repressed and consequently only seen as projected in mythology of each age. He in effect brings to daily life in society innate masculine traits that have previously been repressed both in society and in typical males.
I predict his arrival in two possible ways: First, as civilizations advance, social structures related to the family triangle are also evolving in ways which allow for greater and greater personal freedoms as children grow up in typical families. Sons today, for example, face less and less social pressure for remaining trapped in older male stereotypes. Children in each succeeding generation find greater freedom for "being themselves" in greater accord with how Mother Nature has evolved us capable of being as human creatures.
Many New Men will simply grow up normally in advanced social settings that invite activation of natural male capacities. Finding less and less need to repress themselves in quest of essential social acceptance, boys in future generations may simply "learn to be themselves" in the process of maturing within existing family and social structures. They will, in effect, become New Men without having to give conscious attention to masculine capacities becoming increasingly acceptable, even encouraged and nurtured, beginning in the family triangle.
At the same time, some boys who have grown up in post-Jesus eras largely structured by older Christian "family values," and who consequently opted for personal repression as their means of adapting to existing structures, will move toward New Men status via un-repressing themselves. Many signs of such emerging, non-stereotyped males are already appearing on the fringes of current society as older rigid legal and religious structures become increasingly relaxed.
Those males who, like Oedipus in older mythology, opted for self-blinding rather than face truths within the family triangle, will, through the difficult process of un-repression, gradually begin to "open their eyes" and risk becoming their larger selves. When so, a New Man will in effect be reborn from degrees of living death that inevitably result from self-repression, even when chosen for such valid reasons as survival in repressive cultures.
Obviously there are few clear-cut lines in evolutionary history. Evolution is, as the name implies, a gradual process with few dramatic events, such as those personified in the Jesus story. This means in practice that for perhaps centuries in the future all New Men will evolve from a combination of social advantages and personal diligence in unrepression. Also, it should go without saying (so why do I say it?), that most human changes are by degrees. Various of the capacities I note next as attributes of the New Man will appear in different males, and even with different degrees of activation in any one male.
In summary, the New Man described here is an ideal culmination of inherited male and human traits as personified in one imaginary person. He is, as noted before, my prediction about the progression of masculinity in human history so far, projected into a fictional man of the future.
A New Man is a natural human being of the male variety with consciousness embraced for living artfully in the civilized world. He is a highly civilized animal, a combination of embraced genetic wisdom and acquired personal knowledge. He is moved by genes and informed by memes, skillfully merging both for maximum satisfaction as an individual and a member of society.
He is aimed at being fully present in the world with creative efforts to maximize satisfactions, including relationships with nature and other persons, but not self-righteously out to "improve the world (as though the natural world is lacking)," or to "save (or help) others," as though one could, even if he wanted to.
Specifically, his traits may include these:
-- Unrepressed and embraced natural masculinity (being a good male animal)--including, creativity, lust, and aggression. Embracing creative capacities, for example, a natural man has no god onto which forces of creativity are projected. Embracing lust, he need not project "turn on" capacities onto women; and embracing aggression, he needs no laws for containing his strengths, nor others to "give him power" or to be responsible for him.
-- Unrepressed and embraced femininity ("female shadow"), with no need to seek a "missing half" in an actual female, or to put down on and seek to dominate females for self protection. Consequently, a New Man, has no goddesses.
-- Focused on personhood rather than gender only, as in, "trying to be a man" rather than to become a whole person with gender as a minor part. Consequently, a New Man has a realistic balance between selfing (perhaps 80%) and self-replication (20%) while young, and with decreasing drives and/or conscious concern for replication as aging advances.
-- Concerned with living well now rather than in the future, he is attentive to "heaven here" rather than "hereafter." A New Man embraces mortality in all its wonders, rather than fantasizing about immortality as an escape from challenges inherent in being fully human in social groups.
-- Has goals without "having to get there." A New Man can speed when feasible, without ever "getting in a hurry"; he can rest without guilt, or stop in the process of any quest without personal threat; he can diligently compete without "having to win." He can play games, literally.
-- Finely discriminates between all perceptions (is sensitive and careful), yet without judgment of any. A New Man has no ego to promote, protect, or defend, and consequently feels no guilt, shame, or self-righteous pride related to what he is or does. His pleasures come in the process of being creative himself, rather than in accolades of others.
-- Selfing without selfishness. A New Man accepts responsibility for himself and is self-affirming, rather than looking for society or other people to take care of him and grant him the right to be here and to become himself.
-- With others, a New Man is respectful and loving, without looking up to or down on anyone. He neither adores, condemns, or tries to save others (as though he were better than anyone else). He is selfing with others rather than self-sacrificing for others. He both loves who he is and is loving in the world with all others.
In largest perspective a New Man may more clearly be seen as a Male-type Person, implying the fact that in biological reality, gender is the lesser part of human being. We are, as Homo sapiens, more evolved as persons who, by accident of nature, happen to have external or internal genitals--that is, to be gendered as male or female. Of 46 chromosomes in each of our billions of cells, only 2, X and Y, have evolved for gender differentiations. The earlier and remaining 44 "commanders" are charged with keeping us alive as individual creatures--that is, staying alive and well as persons regardless of gender differences.
We are, that is, mostly "human beings," persons of the male or female type, but not primarily men or women. I conclude that the huge difference in numbers of non-gender chromosomes (44) in comparison with gender chromosomes (2) is indicative of innate genetic powers evolved for self-survival as distinguished from self-replication. As separate creatures of the human variety, we are mostly geared for "selfing" and to a far lesser degree moved to make more of ourselves.
Certainly it is true that the two gender related chromosomes have much influence over activation of forces in the remaining forty-four, and also that societies have long conspired in forcing us to identify ourselves with one or the other genders, beginning with blue for boys and pink for girls; but naturally speaking, the overwhelming balance of inherited powers are aimed at success as persons rather than as men or women.
In summary, most of who we are (existentially) as human beings is overwhelmingly about personhood rather than masculinity or femininity. Some of us, by quirks of nature, have "external plumbing" and may be properly seen as male-type persons, while others with "internal plumbing" and equipment for baby-making can rightly be called female persons; but in larger perspectives I estimate that actual genetic proportions are about 80/20 or even 90/10 for degrees of personhood and genderhood. If we could measure genetic forces, some 80-90% of internal moving powers are aimed at non-gender goals ("being ourselves" or "selfing"), with only 10-20% of genetic drives geared for replication.
With these generalizations in mind, the New Man I describe here is simply a male version of New Persons who I predict will evolve following the Jesus era of mythological history. Mostly his characteristics will be recognized in the arena of non-gender personhood or human being; but for purposes of this essay I focus here only on evolving elements of masculinity (perhaps 10-20% of who "men" are).
For perspective, imagine a scale of 0 to 100 degrees, representing all human capacities. I estimate that the first 80 to 90 degrees are pre-gender human capacities evolved for staying alive and enhancing personal existence in the world as we find it. I summarize these drives as directed at personhood or being a natural human. In broad summary, they may be characterized as inherited creativity--that is, capacities for adaptation to a wide variety of earthly and social circumstances in creative (novel) ways, including creating theories and inventions aimed at understanding the natural world and making ever-more-sophisticated "tools" for expanding human satisfactions and pleasures.
The latter 10 to 20 degrees of human capacity, initiated by X and/or Y-chromosomes and associated genes, are about gender--being persons of the male or female variety. These capacities as inherited by us humans with an XY rather than an XX combination, are the subject of this essay. For comparison purposes, these latter drives are for pro-creating ourselves, beyond creating the best possible circumstances for being ourselves as persons.
Or, in older terms, gender is about re-production (producing more of ourselves), while larger drives related to personhood are for production itself--that is, producing "things (both mental and physical)" aimed at maximizing human life itself, including personal satisfactions while still alive as individual persons.
As I summarize inherited powers, I am perhaps 85% moved to be creative in surviving and adapting to the world as I, a separate person, find it to be--that is, to produce or create "things" and circumstances as best I can for maximizing my existence as a separate self. Then, on top of or past more primal powers evolved for "selfing," I inherited an XY combination of chromosomes which further move me (15%?) to re-produce myself or engage in pro-creation as well as being creative as a person--that is, to be sexual in a masculine way by trying to, in effect, make more of myself, or, literally, to participate in immortalizing my genes as much as possible.
A New Man, I predict, will recognize, embrace, and activate these differing degrees of human capacities in his daily living. He will, that is, give major energies to "being himself" and proportionately less attention to "being a man" who largely ignores being a human being first.
On genetic levels, gender is never as clear-cut as social perspectives indicate. Beneath popular stereotypes and obvious anatomical differences, actual differences between males and females are far less than many like to think and often work hard to support such illusions.
Our obviously different roles in the ancient Drama of Reproduction, the opposing but complementary parts we play in the delightful process of getting together and coupling in quest of replication, all too easily lead to erroneous conclusions about many other aspects of masculinity and femininity. Just as gender--male/femaleness, is but a small part of overall personhood (10-20%?), so distinctions between each gender are far smaller than commonly considered to be.
Distinctive genital differences--that is, outside versus inside "plumbing," soon fade, indeed often merge, in the wider dimensions of life beyond sexual intercourse and baby-making. Clear lines drawn in the nursery, beginning with boys in blue and girls in pink and typically projected into almost all other aspects of social life, turn out to be far more in our minds than in biological facts.
To begin with, chromosomal and hormonal differences--that is, physical initiators of sexual characteristics, are far from distinctive in each gender. After conception, all embryos develop basic "equipment" for becoming either gender (Mullerian or Wolfian ducts). We all are, at first, essentially hermaphrodites--that is, capable of becoming male or female. In time, the presence of a Y chromosome initiates development in the male direction (external genitals), while in the absence of a Y, two XX chromosomes continue direction toward femininity (internal genitals). These processes are further influenced by the presence of two generated hormones--testosterone and estrogen, the first more associated with masculinity, the second, with femininity.
But here's the kicker: Even though genderless embryo are in effect kicked in the male direction by a Y chromosome, every male also has an X chromosome in each cell along with the male-initiating Y. Two X's will keep him female. But even though he lacks a double dose of feminine producing X's, still he has half as many as those persons who end up with internal genitals.
Technically speaking, from the standpoint of genes, males are essentially half-female--that is, a hidden, covert “female shadow” always accompanies our obvious, overt masculinity. And on the other side of the gender divide, even though embryo who remain female as directed by two X chromosomes get a larger dose of estrogen, they also produce reduced quantities of male-influencing testosterone, leaving females with degrees of masculinity also.
Bottom line: biologically speaking, all males have varying degrees of what we learn to call femininity along side our more obvious masculine traits; and all females, influenced by their lesser degrees of testosterone, also have what we might call "male shadows"--that is, traits more obviously evidenced in us with external genitals.
In daily living, these genetic facts are evidenced in many ways which often become threatening to those who have for any reason come to identify themselves, their sense of who-they-are, with one gender or the other--that is, those who erroneously believe themselves to literally be male or female, rather than some combination of both/and.
Such limited self-identifications in males predictably result when we repress various aspects of innate femininity and then find them reflected in attributes (desires, interests, or activities) we have learned to associate with our "opposite" gender. Typically these "mirrors" are then viewed negatively and we thereafter try to judge, avoid, deny, or even destroy them as ways of avoiding deeper feminine truths about ourselves.
For example, typical, negatively judged female-like traits partially inherited in all males and commonly avoided via assorted repressions include: being "soft," "sissy," a "cry baby" or "scaredy cat," "getting emotional," being gay or homosexual, or anything believed to be "like a girl" or "unmanly."
Other traits which may be judged positively in females but are often seen as negative when similarly revealed in males include: nurturing ("mothering"), caring, being "tender-hearted," sensitive, cooperative (non-competitive), and concerned with fashion and beauty (appearances rather than function only).
Point: Even though repressed males typically try to dis-identify ourselves from these and other human capacities more often associated with femininity, there are degrees of each within us all due to the X chromosome in all of our cells. Those with double X's obviously have greater degrees of the same capacities; but the point here is that all males have some measure of the same possible traits within us too.
We may, for practical social reasons, try, for example, to contain our emotions in many situations, to avoid "crying like a baby," to act competitively, to cloak sensitivity, or to hide homosexual feelings; but serious personal consequences are predictable whenever we succeed in cutting ourselves off from embracing and experiencing our "female shadow" in its diverse forms.
Aside from personal limitations inevitably resulting from repressing any aspect of a male's "feminine" capacities, even more immediately dangerous consequences occur when repressed males seek to find and capture our female shadow "out there" in the form of an actual female-type person.
Typically, repression does not negate deep awareness of "something missing," of "not being whole," of, in effect, being an unhappy "half person." Then, when we blindly project our own female shadow onto a girl or woman, all too often we irrationally try to capture it "out there," as by falling in love, getting, and/or marrying a "missing half"--that is, trying to become whole persons by using another person to complete ourselves, to, in effect, be those parts of us we repress within ourselves.
Specific elements of repressed femininity commonly include traits first recognized in one's mother, such as, nurturing capacities (tenderness, caring, tending or "motheringness"), emotionality, sensitivity, non-sexual love, and overall capacity for "taking care of oneself (feeding, clothing, health, safety, etc.)."
In typical "love" relationships where the underlying hidden male agenda is capturing repressed feminine capacities of oneself in the form of a female person, such dependent males look to their "lover," e.g., a wife, for "mothering"--that is, "taking care of us" as an actual mother may have done (or we wished she had), with the additional bonus of "providing sex" that was ruled out in family settings due to the incest taboo.
When a male represses his own natural femininity and projects it onto females, one of two consequences is predictable: 1) First, he may be blindly driven to find and capture missing (repressed) elements of himself in the form of females where he sees them projected. The natural human urge for personal wholeness, for "being ourselves," will be activated in predictably unsuccessful attempts to get what is missing "in here" from "out there."
With lesser degrees of repression of natural femaleness, males may be minimally attracted to females for these psychological reasons--that is, in quest of smaller parts of their missing selves. “Chasing skirts” for non-sexual reasons does not, in effect, rule their lives.
When these psychological needs are projected into sexual arenas, as often happens, repressed males may be blindly driven to seek sex from any and all females--that is, to unwittingly try to use a biological capacity for attempted satisfaction of a psychological need.
The physical release of orgasm may temporarily cloak a deeper psychological quest; but not for long. In reality no physical act can ever adequately satisfy a psychological need, such as, a longing for personal wholeness. Consequently, males who blindly seek to find our repressed femininity in literal females through the medium of sexual activity often become blindly compulsive about "having sex"--that is, with euphemistically "making love" when no actual love is involved. Natural instincts for replication sex are being perverted into unnatural drives for psychological sex, which can never work for long.
What often appears as pervasive "hunger for sex" in repressed males, might more clearly be seen as a perversion of natural urges for wholeness--in this case, for embracing feminine parts of one's male self projected into arenas of mechanical, impersonal sex, whose satisfaction is predictably short-lived.
But with greater degrees of repressed femininity, when denied parts seem to be as much as half of oneself, such males are often desperate to find their "missing half" "out there." Psychological attractions to females in blind quest for personal wholeness mount greatly.
This is the arena better known as "falling in love." Such males with greater degrees of repressed femininity are not satisfied with temporary relief of psychological sex, that is, "having a female" for sex only; they more desperately need to own a female for completing an illusion of having their "missing half" permanently. They don't simply want to "have sex"; they are driven to "have a person" who seems to "make them feel whole" and therefore happy.
Such possession may be sought through the medium of sex; the deeper psychological need, however, is not for sex itself, but for the female person one may or may not "have sex" with.
For maintaining an illusion of personal wholeness through having one's "missing half" in the form of an actual female person, possession must become and remain complete. The great threat of infidelity thereafter is less about sex with another person than about evidence that one's possession of the "fulfilling" person is not complete. Seen more clearly, "love" for such a partner is not for herself as a person, but for one's missing half seen reflected in her. Such a "lover" is like mythic Narcissus--that is, in love with reflected images of his repressed feminine shadow.
The flip side of being openly attracted to projected femininity and trying to capture it in the form of a female person, is to deny all attractions to females as well as to feminine-type traits, and to avoid, dislike, or reject all females--that is, instead of being a "lover boy" or "don Juan" who is blindly attracted to girls and may often "fall in love," to being a "woman hater" who is "turned off" by females and all signs of femininity.
Males who fear/hate females who mirror their own repressed femininity may either retreat into themselves, limiting their lives to male-type activities, such as, sports, hunting, fighting, making money, etc., or else resurrect and project their feminine attractions onto soft-males, as in, overt homosexuality.
Summary: repressed femininity in males may be evidenced in either overt attraction to or rejection of female persons and traits commonly associated with femininity--that is, by propensities for "falling in love" or unjustified negative reactions to females in general. In either case, whether cloaked by self-seeking love or overt rejection--that is, both blindly positive or unreasonably negative reactions may evidence repressed femininity within oneself.
A New Man embraces and activates feminine aspects of himself. Rather than repressing and projecting his "softer side," he adds feminine-like traits to his equally natural masculinity. He is, in effect, an aggressive, competitive, passionate person with options of also being passive, caring, sensual, and sensitive when appropriate.
Unlike repressed males in the post-Jesus era, he is not trapped in "having to be a man" or "having to win" in all circumstances, or personally threatened when feminine-like capacities, such as, soft emotions, arise within. Nor does he reject masculine capacities and activate or escape into his femininity, pretending to himself not to also be, for example, aggressive and competitive.
Comfortable with masculine as well as feminine aspects of himself, he is consequently free to reveal or conceal either in accord with present situations or his long range goals. For example, he can be strong and independent, or tender and empathetic, as functional in immediate situations.
Also, a New Man, with both types of gender traits (albeit with more masculinity than femininity) embraced, is freed to be loving with others rather than trying to use them for representing his repressed femininity. He does not, for example, "fall in love," looking for someone else to supply his "missing half" or to "make him happy." He is consequently able to love in the agape sense of the word--that is, to accept and affirm another where he or she is, thus freeing the person to become their fuller self in his presence, rather than trying to possess another for denied selfish purposes.
Three major attributes of inherited masculinity are: creativity, lust, and aggression. These are also the three primary sources of male power.
When repressed, usually in quest of social acceptance, beginning with mother, boys are left relatively impotent, with our natural powers projected primarily onto gods and/or females, who thereafter are presumed to have seemingly magical powers to save us, turn us on (and off), to give us heart, even to make us whole and happy.
Typical male repression and projection in the history of civilization and in present times may be symbolized in mythology in Oedipus's self-blinding (repression) and Attis's self-castration (projection).
Creativity is artfulness in confronting and coping with current circumstances in novel ways aimed at enhancing satisfaction of basic human instincts for survival and replication. Creativity involves cleverness in using available materials, both tangible and intangible as well as human, to give form, shape, and substance to personal desires, themselves rooted in genetic directives.
Creativity is most commonly recognized in so-called "artistic" endeavors, such as, painting and sculpting, or seen as "special talents" for certain socially recognized activities, like music, public speaking, or skills in sports. But natural creativity involves similar approaches to every aspect of daily living, beginning with such mundane activities as eating food, dressing, conversing, driving to work, doing any task, making love, even dying itself.
Creative living might be a clearer term for what I mean by male creativity, assuming that life activities are guided by genetically based individual desires.
Although creativity is a human capacity--that is, innate in both genders, the male variety has distinctive masculine characteristics related to greater physical strength and mental abilities for focused ("left brain" type) thinking. Consequently, creative living, as an art form for masculinity, is typically expressed 1) in realms of physical prowess requiring muscular activity and bodily endurance (e.g., sports, racing, mountain climbing, war, etc.); and 2) in mental activities, such as, science, philosophy, theology, prophecy, and literature, as well as mechanical inventions requiring logical or abstract type thinking.
Part of the genius of Mother Nature is that She has evolved capacities for generating power in association with each genetic ability--that is, energy, drive, and initiative for doing what we are instinctively directed to do. Long before consciousness evolved, perhaps as a lighted guide for dark impulses, raw power necessary for "doing what we need to do" to stay alive and reproduce ourselves was, in effect, bred into our genes. With no thought at all, we blindly generate power essential for what genes require for natural living. Feeling fear, for example, produces internal power for fighting or fleeing.
Although I distinguish here between instincts and power necessary for their activation, probably this is only an academic line in mind's eye, useful for conscious understanding but not existing in reality--that is, genetic needs and power to fulfill them may in reality be one and the same. For example, primal capacities for perceiving (sensing by sight, smell, touch, etc.) may in fact generate power in the process of their activation. The simple act of seeing may innately initiate internal force; and so with smell, touch, and hearing. On primal levels of human experience perception and power may be synonymous.
But since capacity for consciousness has evolved (eons later in human history), and with it the possibility of "not knowing" as well as "knowing," we may now distinguish the two in thinking, if not in reality--that is, we may now perceive without being aware of internal forces generated in the process of sensing (seeing, hearing, etc.).
Whatever the biological facts may be, relevant here is the observation that somehow, internal force is associated with activating human capacities. Whenever we exercise an inherited ability, we also experience degrees of power. Although this is more easily recognized with various "e-motions," such as, anger and fear, which are, by definition movers, I conclude the same to be true with other instincts, such as, creativity, lust, and aggression--my subject here.
Lusting is a second deep-seated, pervasive male attribute. After creativity aimed at preserving and enhancing personal life ("survival instincts") is minimally successful--that is, when a male is out of danger and not hungry or thirsty, his drives turn rapidly toward lusting after conceive-able females, or, in colloquial language, "looking for pretty girls."
Although lusting is often socially shamed and religiously condemned as sinful, male instincts know no such judgments and prohibitions. The less repressed, the more natural, a male is, the more consistently pervasive his "sexual desires" become. Once body threats are removed and stomach filled, a normal male's attention soon turns to "thinking about sex."
Since lusting is commonly judged negatively (even "bad" or "evil"), other names and terms have evolved to slightly cloak this primary male instinct. Synonyms include: sexual desire, passion, "wanting to do it," "to get in a girl's pants," "to pet" or "make out," plus assorted urges and "wants" related to the process of impregnating females in quest of genetic replication, such as: wanting to see, touch, and smell female bodies, especially parts more related to baby-making.
Biologically, lust is nature's way of translating genetic drives into personal awareness. "Desire," we might say, "is the mental bridge between pre-conscious instincts and consciousness." "Wants" let us know as individuals, what Mother Nature has found useful in continuing our species. Some of Her ingrained "messages" are about self-survival, such as, hunger and thirst for air, food, and water; others are about self-replication, such as, lust and mothering ("baby-making").
In our contrasting gender roles aimed at self-replication, males are most moved to "have sex" or to "spread sperm" for initiating pregnancies, while females, given their greater role in replication, are more moved for "baby-making" and child rearing ("mothering"). Together, male impregnation and female conception, etc., combine in a grandly successful scheme for making more of us both.
Lust is lust, but all lusting is not the same. On analysis, lusting can be distinguished in three major types; genetic and psychological (inherited and acquired, or natural and learned), plus mature caring. Genetic or natural lust is, as the name implies, associated with un-repressed instincts, while psychological lust is related to repression. The less repressed a male is, the more naturally he will lust; the more repressed a male is, lust allowed in awareness is more likely to be psychological. And finally, mature lust becomes an option to the extent of male un-repression.
Natural male lust is what I have identified elsewhere with "gene eyes (ears, hands, noses)"--that is, what male genes incline a boy or man to want and try to do. Psychological lust, associated with masculine repression, may also be focused in sexual arenas, but is more like habitual, even compulsive behavior, than natural passion. Mature lust is also in the sexual arena, but is expressed in literal love making not aimed at replication or psychological satisfactions.
In general, genetic lust is rooted in evolved male unconscious wisdom related to self-replication. "Gene eyes" are motivated by dark male knowledge about potential female conceive-ability--that is, baby-making potential. Obviously, this includes desires for sexual intercourse, but primary genetic focus is more on possible impregnation than on intercourse itself.
In contrast, psychological lust, as common with repressed males, is more about psychological factors than replication itself. Psychological motivations are diverse and complicated, but commonly include such issues as: domination/submission; approval; blessing (seeking female affirmation of maleness); proving oneself (ego); selfish pleasure; orgiastic tension relief; hostility expression, etc.
Bottom line: psychological lust is primarily about assorted forms of psychic satisfaction, usually rooted in personality quirks originating in childhood. Although it focuses on the sexual arena, as does genetic lust, replication is a minor concern in comparison to various psychological goals. Even when overt sexuality is its focus, as in, rape, compulsive fucking, molestation, pornography, etc., often the sexual events are merely mechanical, devoid of deep passion and sensual awareness of sexual partners. In these encounters, "making love" is a true misnomer. Only physical sex, without love, is the goal.
Aimed primarily at replication, genetic lust is highly discriminating in its attractions, rather than blindly habitual or indiscriminately focused, for example, on fucking only. Since impregnation is its genetic aim, natural lust, guided by "gene eyes," is attracted to females most likely to be (or appearing to be) "in heat,"--that is, pregnable and best prospects for good mothering.
Although "pretty" is difficult to define, I think that in some amazing way Mother Nature has trained male "gene eyes" to recognize best physical clues for most highly desirable baby-makers--generally known as "pretty girls." With, of course, many delightful variations on the common theme, "pretty" boils down to hard-to-define facts about face, figure, and non-verbal clues which, I conclude, predict and summarize ideal child bearers within each ethnic group. Common characteristics of "pretty" in most all racial and cultural groups include: youth, ample breasts and pelvis (hips and butt), physical health, and bodily symmetry.
In practice, genetic lusting includes: scoping for "pretty girls," desiring to explore their bodies (see, touch, and smell) for confirmation of visual attributes and to possibly stimulate passions which may result in male approval, and finally, of course, wishing for sex in which millions of male sperm may be sent in search of a ready ovum.
In this instinctive process (little conscious "thinking" required) natural boys and men are, once safe and fed, consistently in visual quest for "pretty girls"--that is, almost always "scoping." When more than one female is present or conjured up in fantasy, unrepressed males are diligently engaged in making beauty comparisons. "Who is prettiest?" "Who would be the best prospect for ideal mothering?" "Which one would I rather go to bed with?"
Normal scoping, well aware of possible deceptions in presented appearances, also involves "undressing females in one's mind" when options for touch and smell are not open--that is, imagining what various body parts would look, feel, and smell like if unadorned by clothes and if touch were possible--especially breasts, butt, and pussy (proverbial "tits and ass").
Finally, following visual selection of "prettiest girl," confirmed by mental undressing for further confirmation, healthy lusting advances to imaging what Miss Wonderful would be like in bed--that is, to fantasizing fucking a potentially best available baby-maker, and in so doing initiating the process of self-replication.
If all natural desires of unrepressed males, past creature urges related to survival and its enhancement, were compared, none, I think, would be stronger and more pervasive than lusting after "pretty girls" as described above. Obviously male desires for "winning"--that is, being Number One in all forms of competition (games, business, and approval of others, especially, females), and for aggressively out-doing other males in any group, are also powerful and consistent. But when drives for success and trophies are compared to innate urges for lusting after attractive females, the second type desires commonly win hands down.
I conclude further that typical forms of male competition and aggression have evolved for support of primary replication urges--that is, even when deeper motives are repressed from awareness, in all competition and aggression males are basically vying for female approval, our only path toward genetic immortality. If the deeper truth be known, the best of all male trophies is an approving look on the face of a "pretty girl"--indicative of possible reception of our personal sperm.
Obviously psychological lust may focus on specific elements in the process of natural lust as outlined above, such as, compulsive "peeping," obsessive "thinking about sex," fantasies about rape, sadistic/masochistic desires, marring a mother figure, etc. But its bottom line is some perverted form of psychic satisfaction, not simply natural replication.
A third, rarer type of natural lust might better be called mature caring or loving passion. Although rooted in the same instincts as those primally aimed at replication, loving passion is self-chosen activity of an unrepressed male for "making love" in the literal sense of the term--that is, passionately loving as a creative expression of genetic and personal maturity, when replication is either undesired or impossible. As noted before, this type of chosen passion is only possible to the degree a male is un-repressed and responsibly mature.
Essentially, loving passion is the same as Platonic love, except focused in the arena of natural sexuality. It might also be called loving agape or caring for another person "in the bed room."
All elements of agape or mature love which I amplify elsewhere as: accepting, affirming, and freeing another person, are, in this type of love activated in the same arenas as primal reproduction--except without aiming at pregnancy.
In practice, type three lust is activated, for example, in extended relationships when a female is past menopause or when children are not desired. Romance in this advanced form of natural lusting may appear much the same as the spontaneous acts of seduction unconsciously activated in repressed males; but in fact, mature romance is an artfully chosen form of expressing love in arenas of natural sexuality.
Natural aggression is a third major attribute of unrepressed masculinity. Males, we might say, are creative, lustful, and aggressive--with the third attribute primarily in support of the first and second. But because other psychological states are commonly focused in the same arena, certain distinctions are necessary for fuller understanding, namely, between aggression, hostility, and anger itself.
The distinctions, however, are not inherent in the words aggression, hostility, and anger. In common usage, each may be a synonym for the others. Aggressive people may be seen as hostile, and hostility may be called aggression. Both are sometimes seen as anger or "getting mad."
However, the distinctions are real, with decidedly different motivations, usually different modes of expression, and always with significant differences insofar as well-being of those involved is concerned.
In general, as I define the terms, aggression is a significant human capacity, more pronounced in males than females, and critically important for success in masculine goals. Hostility is almost always a negative force, psychologically motivated rather than inherited. Also, its consequences are typically negative in time even if apparently successful at first. And anger is a natural, pre-conscious emotional capacity, primarily evolved to generate power for survival in face of actual threats to existence in the world.
Assertion is a closely related word often used for what I define here as aggression, especially when viewed positively by females. True aggression, however, may either be active or passive--that is, expressed in visible, overt actions, or in covert stances with no outward sign of aggression (as in Gandhi, Martin Luther King, etc.). Consequently, aggression may appear as assertive or non-assertive, active or passive, depending on how it is expressed.
For those who already have negative judgments attached to all forms of aggression, perhaps positive assertiveness would be a better name; or dedication, determination, or self-respect.
In practice, inherited male aggression is, I theorize, primarily evolved for supporting success in self-replication, beginning with initiating encounters with females, pursuing sex, penetration in intercourse, and later for protecting "territory"--that is, protecting and providing for mate and offspring.
Aggression is a natural male attribute, evolved, I theorize, in service of instincts for survival and replication. Hostility, in sharp contrast, is an unnatural mode of behavior rooted in psychic events, namely, repression/projection. Outwardly, both may at times appear the same to observers, but inwardly their differences are critical insofar as personal well-being is concerned.
Aggression is mobilized power activated and expressed sensibly in service of genetic, not psychological, needs. Hostility is also a force, but, in contrast, may be grossly unreasonable and have no connection with natural genetic values.
In general, aggression is an attribute of self--that is, who-one-is as an embodied person (male or female), while hostility is almost always ego-based, growing out of psychological quirks, such as, illusions of superiority or inferiority, omnipotence or impotence, reputation, name, etc.
Aggressive activity, as noted, is sensible, while hostility is often exceedingly irrational. With aggression, one is "still thinking"--that is, realistically re-sponding to actual circumstances. But hostility may be at its greatest when no conscious thinking is involved. It is, therefore, more often a blind re-action rather than a calculated re-sponse.
The bodily emotion of anger, genetically wired to generate power when personal threat is perceived, may or may not be "felt (consciously perceived)" with either aggression or hostility. Typically, healthy aggression is further empowered by natural anger; but anger, like hostility, may also be activated by psychological threats, such as, disrespect ("Doesn't he know who I am!," or, "Who does he think he is?"). Hostile people are commonly moved by irrational, psychologically-based, anger, even when no genetic threats are involved (such as, bodily harm or danger to one's offspring).
Aggression, as I distinguish here, is often quietly forceful, with no anger felt at the time. Even when healthy aggression is accompanied by anger, emotion is never the predominat factor--that is, even when felt at the time, dark anger is carefully controlled by conscious sense.
In practice, aggression may best be seen as "representing oneself," "standing up for one's self," "not being taken advantage of," or forcefully striving to achieve personal goals (related to self rather than ego), functioning creatively in response to circumstances and other people.
These three major characteristics of natural masculinity--namely, creativity, lusting, and aggression, are recognized, accepted, embraced, and activated in a New Man. Reflecting genes for "selfing," that is, for staying alive and enhancing circumstances for individual life, as well as gender genes for self-replication, a New Man is naturally creative both in terms of producing or creating "things," as well as re-producing or re-creating himself (inherited genes).
The major overall difference between post-Jesus males and New Men is in degrees of repression and unrepression. Whereas John Doe today copes with demands of civilization by repressing socially unacceptable aspects of himself, a New Man embraces the gift of consciousness and meets the challenges of social life by making pragmatic decisions about life in the world without damage to his natural self. He consciously acknowledges genetic urges, including those that are socially dangerous, and mediates their expression or concealment sensibly in accord with immediate circumstances. He "feels whatever he feels," but chooses to act responsibly in everyday life.
Even when reason calls for concealment and social deception of an anti-social urge, a New Man remains conscious of natural desires while carefully containing their power within himself. Whereas John Doe makes a virtue of honesty with others at the expense of dishonesty with himself, a New Man recognizes the costs of fooling oneself and chooses instead to fool others when feasible, while remaining carefully honest with himself.
For example, when anger is socially unacceptable (almost always), John Doe may try to repress this natural emotion (to "fool himself") while appearing to be honest with others. "No, I'm not mad at you." "Of course I didn't mean to hurt you." In contrast, a New Man, recognizing the dangers of expressing anger in most social situations, but at the same time aware of the consequences of repression, opts for emotional awareness even as he sensibly tries to act responsibly in either revealing or concealing his anger.
Or with an illicit sexual desire, a post-Jesus male may try to repress natural lust and "not feel" what he "is not supposed to." But a New Man acknowledges and accepts genetic sexual desires while containing passion within himself, even as he pretends to others to be "innocent." He wisely opts for "fooling others" when feasible, but tries to never "fool himself" about any instinctive desire.
Even more relevant to personal well-being is the issue of power naturally generated with activation of genetic human capacities. When John Doe represses awareness of a natural inclination, he unwittingly represses powers inevitably associated with the urge. But, as amplified before, the second half of repression is projection. In reality, this psychic phenomenon is more like: repression/projection--that is, an inter-connected event. Powers generated by desires do not literally "go away" when one ceases to be aware of them; instead, they seem to re-appear "out there" rather than "in here." What is "pushed down" inside "pops up" outside, including forces generated by desire itself.
The good news is that repressed men may thereafter "feel safe and irresponsible" for forces unwittingly projected "out there." But the bad news is that self-repressing males unfortunately de-power themselves in the process, blindly giving self-generated forces to outside images, such as, women and gods. Like Attis in the myth, they emasculate themselves and "give their balls" to imagined goddesses of one sort or another.
Natural forces otherwise available for maximizing well-being in the world ("saving oneself") are blindly projected onto external images to whom men thereafter turn seeking salvation and/or sexual affirmation. Otherworldly gods and this-worldly goddesses ("pretty girls"), for example, are typically bowed before in quest of immortal and mortal favors. Most commonly, post-Jesus males today project repressed creative powers onto God (or Allah) and pro-creative forces onto women. Thereafter they look to God to save them eventually and women to "turn them on" in the meantime--that is, if they can sufficiently please them both through various forms of self-sacrifice.
A New Man carefully avoids both forms of self-sacrifice (de-powering himself)--that is, repressing internal forces and projecting personal powers onto otherworldly gods and/or this-worldly women. Instead, he embraces all inherited capacities and acknowledges his acquired knowledge, along with powers inherent in both; then a New, self-affirming Man lovingly relates to others in the world and society as he finds them to be.
John Doe is typically either religious or unreligious--that is, a believer in a particular brand of religion, or else a non-believer who it essentially not religious, for example, either a theist, such as, a Catholic, or an atheist who doesn't believe in God. In contrast, a New Man is religious about life and all elements of reality, but irreligious about religion.
With life seen as divided between religion and secularity, or churchly concerns and everyday life in the business world, John Doe is often divided between the two. Devotion to religious beliefs is commonly tempered by more pressing concerns with realities of secular life outside the church.
A New Man may participate in one or more branches of organized religion for pragmatic social and/or business reasons, but he is not religious about whatever religion, denomination, or sect he belongs to. His devotion is to larger dimensions of everyday life beyond all churchly activities and beliefs. For example, a New Man is a believer in all aspects of life, but he holds no sacred beliefs about anything. He thinks freely about all issues, without elevating any notion beyond regular scrutiny with ever-evolving information. No idea, for him, is inherently sacrosanct--that is, to be accepted without reasonable data.
A New Man sensibly discriminates between all aspects of perceivable reality, both tangible and intangible--that is, between all physical things and mental ideas; but he judges nothing. He looks out, as it were, to all as though on a level plane. He neither looks up to or down on any perception, emotion, idea, activity, thing, or person; instead, he carefully discriminates in all responses to either of them.
In this mode of non-judgmental openness-to-reality he is essentially beyond good and evil as popularly understood in religions and social mores. In colloquial language, some things do indeed "feel good" and others are "too bad"--but nothing is inherently good or bad within itself apart from circumstances and immediate situations.
For example, having sex may "feel good," but orgasms are not inherently good or evil; untimely deaths may be "too bad," but neither birth nor death is good or bad apart from circumstances surrounding the beginnings and endings of life.
Unlike earlier humans in the Cronos era of history, post-Jesus men typically view themselves as divisible between body and soul or spirit, and self-identified with the latter rather than the former. If religious, they commonly understand themselves as being a soul who has a body--that is, existing as an immaterial soul temporarily housed in a body to be exited at the time of bodily death. Some also believe their intangible soul (or spirit) can leave the body and return even before physical death. In some religions soul is believed to leave the earth and go to a better or worse place after bodily death; others believe the intangible soul will return to earth, re-incarnated in a different bodily form.
If not religious, secular John Doe's today often hold the same belief in self-existence separable from "their" physical body, with only a name change for the immaterial part (who they "really are"). Typically, for secular males, soul becomes mind (or personality, self, spirit or simply I)--in either case, they identify themselves with the latter intangible being, not with the material body.
Summary: Whereas religious men in the post-Jesus era believe themselves to be a soul housed in a body, non-religious men often identify with mind (or self, etc.) which is also seen as existing in a body, yet is somehow separable from its physical housing. Such secular men tend to look down on religious people for believing themselves to be immortal souls with perpetual existence, e.g., in heaven or hell after bodily death. But while not believing in separable, immortal souls to be saved or lost depending on differing religious formulas, "enlightened" secularists commonly identify with equally immaterial entities, differently named as mind, self, or I, but yet in a possessed body.
Both religious and secular men, with different names for their assumed-to-exist separable sources of identification (the first being a soul, the second, a mind or self), share the idea of having a body which is somehow not who they existentially are.
New Man moves beyond all such beliefs of human existence like "a ghost in a machine," as have come to be commonly accepted since Aristotle and Plato pioneered in analytical type thinking in pre-Jesus times. Instead of seeing himself as "ensouled" (or "emminded,") that is, existing as some sort of entity (soul or mind, etc.) temporarily housed in "his" physical body, New Man recognizes himself as "embodied."
He does not have a body from which he exists separable; he is embodied. His existence as an individual apart from other persons is inherent in a unique genetic structure (DNA, etc.) initiated at the time of conception (union of a male sperm and female ovum), and later, following birth from his mother's womb, called his body by those yet believing in Platonic-type divisions.
For a New Man, body and soul (or mind, self, I, etc.) are grammatical synonyms--that is, differing words representing one unity. He does think of himself as having--that is, existing as an entity capable of possessing either a body, soul, or mind. His "I" is a grammatical abstraction, a language convenience existing for use in human thinking and communication, but non-existent as a separable entity of any sort.
Certainly a New Man as clarified by post-Aristotelian divisions, recognizes distinctions between mental ideas and physical pains, for example. As noted before, carefully discriminating between various perceptions, a New Man clearly sees distinctions between certain physical and mental processes, such as, stomachaches and dreams. Consequently he may freely use distinguishing names like body and mind as large categories for many smaller perceptions. He may even say, as understandable in current language structures, "I have a stomach ache," or, "My head hurts," or, "My idea is....thus and so."
But--and this is the critical distinction between John Doe and a New Man: seeing discernable differences, such as, physical and mental, body and soul, feeling and thinking, or head and heart, does not lead a New Man to jump to the logical conclusion that these are actually separable entities. As an "embodied" individual, he recognizes all such nouns and related adjectives simply as grammatical terms useful for intellectual understanding, but not names for divisible things.
For example, a New Man might use the word soul for describing a spirited state of being human as distinguished from listless existence, by saying, "He's got soul." But such a description is clearly understood as just that--a language description for a way of being, not a name for a separable entity as might be understood by a religious John Doe concerned with saving his soul. A New Man might say, "He's got soul," but not, "He's got a soul," since the article a implies a separable entity. For him "having soul" means the same as "being spirited."
Understanding himself as being embodied or mortal rather than having an immortal soul capable of leaving his body, for instance, at the time of physical death, A New Man holds no beliefs about immortal existence in some other place, such as, heaven or hell. Such familiar pre-occupations of John Doe today, in which bodily existence in the here and now is deemed relatively unimportant in contrast with imagined soul existence later, are irrelevant to a New Man's understanding of being embodied rather than "ensouled."
A New Man sees and seeks God as the essence of reality, not as an Omnipotent Being outside of reality as perceivable by human senses. As the ultimate in reality, God is to be met and experienced as a New Man becomes increasingly in contact with reality--that is, as he becomes more and more himself through the process of unrepression.
A New Man is neither a theist nor an atheist in the sense of thinking there is or is not an Omnipotent Being existing outside of perceivable reality. Nor is he an agnostic who doesn't fit in either category because he can't make up his mind of otherwise avoids the question. He believes in the presence of all reality, but does not place his belief in any form or aspect of reality, including an external entity or force commonly known as God. He is faithing ("faith-full") with all things and people, but does not put his trust in anything or person.
Believing, for a New Man, is a committed way of being, not a type of thinking. For him, there is no inherent connection between present-tense self-commitment ("believing") and any particular thought, idea, or belief. Grammatically speaking, believing for a New Man is always a participle, never a noun. That is, lively believing (a participle) can never be reduced to or identified with a static belief, such as, religious dogma (the beliefs of any organized religion).
As noted before, a New Man is religious about living, indeed about "really living" or being fully alive as a human being with all inherited capacities embraced and activated in daily life; but he is irreligious about all forms of organized religion. He may, for example, take medicine or make love religiously (with committed dedication), but he never idolizes any belief or behavior as inherently sacred and worthy of self-sacrifice.
In summary, a New Man lives and loves with devotion ("religiously") in this present world--accepting, embracing, and responsibly activating all inherited ("embodied") capacities wherever he finds himself to be.
"What litany you use
I leave to you,
but let it be the testament of touch
A Mass to keep the cold out
At the breakfast table
or your dresser altar.
Let us now proclaim
the new religion real
After far too many trial runs."
This section includes several slightly edited entries from my journal about earlier observations and speculations which finally culminated in the present essay.
Nervily Freud acknowledged the Oedipus complex,
the threats a son faces in the wrath of a father,
but he stopped short of seeing (or letting on to)
greater dangers inherent in the presence of a mother
who may do more than merely castrate, indeed
who may also cut him off
thrusting him thereby back into primal arenas
where angst is born
when the cord is cut
In Greek mythology Oedipus unwittingly married his mother and thus had sex with her. When she discovered this fact, she killed herself; but Oedipus, made aware of having done the shameful deed and that When the truth broke upon her she had killed herself. Standing beside her he too turned his hand against himself, but not to end his life. He changed his light to darkness. He put out his eyes. The black world of blindness was a refuge; better to be there than to see with strange shamed eyes the old world that had been so bright. (14 p. 261)
In other words, when the truth about sex with his mother dawned on him, he blinded himself rather than see with strange shamed eyes the old world that had been so bright.
What is the meaning of this strange myth that, so far as we know, has no counterpart in real life? My intuitive translation is this:
One of the--and perhaps the, most universal and hence powerful of all mother/son denials is the existence of sexual desires between them. In an intimate, indeed, the most truly intimate of all human relationships, at least before the birth of consciousness, feeling sexual together must (logically) also be a part of mother/son shared existence. I cannot confirm this in actual memory, having no recollection and only one recalled dream about being sexual with my mother. Still, I posit that based on known and reasonable facts about mother/son intimacy, and various clues to my own repressions which have emerged in trying to confront the true nature of my sexuality, feeling/being sexual together must be a part of every mother/son's early relationship.
This possible fact is obscured by other obvious social powers (memes), such as, the incest taboo, plus collected data about the absence of sexual attractions between siblings, let alone between parents and children. To be sure there are occasionally eruptions of supposedly isolated cases of sexual molestation and even overt family sexuality (almost always between fathers and daughters rather than mothers and son); but all are strictly against the law and are soundly punished by legal means whenever facts can be established (and often when only hearsay is the evidence).
I theorize that the Oedipus myth is about a rare breakthrough into social awareness of a deeply and near universally repressed truth about all mother/son relationships--namely, the existence of sexual attractions (being sexual) even when no overt sexual activities (or even conscious thoughts) occur. The myth writer and later tellers, plus those who listened and kept the myth alive, must have been daring to both acknowledge this primal possibility in the relative safety of a story about a King (which most of them obviously weren't), and to point to the typical resolution of such a shameful event should it ever occur in reality--namely, self-blindness.
In the myth, blinding is obviously physical; Oedipus "put out his eyes." But the psychological implication of physical blinding is more akin to "not seeing" or what has come to be called repression since Freud. Perhaps, long before Freud and modern psychology, these ancient seers and oracles intuited the human capacity to deny consciousness of what seems to be "unthinkable" or too scary and dangerous to entertain awarely on the stages of mind.
In either case, my interpretation is that Oedipus is but one symbolic representation of what we sons must almost universally do in reaction to discovering being sexual with our mothers. We simply (yet with far reaching consequences) "blind ourselves" to the facts. We "refuse to see"; we suppress/repress awareness of being/becoming our masculine sexual selves in the presence of our mothers. We must "get away from home" before we dare become overtly sexual, and then only with unrelated others.
Often, as is sometimes revealed in psychological analysis, if not in private acknowledgment, fuller degrees of masculine sexuality are only activated with whores, sluts, "loose women," or females who are viewed without personal knowledge or respect--that is, only with those who cannot easily be identified with loved ones, especially our mothers.
Many males also begin to experience sexual dysfunction with their wives once associations between wife and mother chance to arise in consciousness. We may glibly note that boys tend to marry their mothers, but this is always implied to be about personality traits rather than sexual similarities. Counseling or analysis sometimes reveals that a "lagging libido" which calls for Viagra to chemically return a male to sexual potency may be more related to shame inherent in "sleeping with your mother" even when she is only symbolized in the "girl just like the girl who married dear old dad," than with actual diminished potency.
The incest taboo and apparent diminished (or lacking) sexual attractions between brothers and sisters is commonly explained with various versions of "genetic wisdom," as though evolution, in its long history, has come to know and protect us from dangers of "inbreeding." There may be some truth in these unproven theories, but I suspect the sounder explanation lies in more immediately observable facts about how families and societies have evolved in the relatively brief history of human civilization.
These facts include the incest taboo to be sure, but also include far more convincing evidence as may be pointed toward in the Oedipus myth (popularized by Freud) which focused on the relationship between father and son rather than mother and son. I coin the name Jocasta Complex to parallel and extend familiar attention to Freud's Oedipus Complex.
In the common interpretation of the myth which only focuses on the father part of a son's challenges, attention is given to amplifying potential sexual fears which a son may have with his father, leading to a "complex" about fears of castration. In the myth, Oedipus' father, Laius, is warned by an oracle that his son will eventually kill him, so he tries, unsuccessfully, to get rid of his son first. Freud interpreted this fatherly attempt to get rid of his son as a son's fear of being killed (castrated in psychological terms).
Castration in Freudian thinking is not about balls (gonads) but rather about the penis. The boy's fear, in this interpretation, is of having his penis cut off by his father, on account of feeling sexual with his mother. Freud's interpretation of the Oedipus Complex is itself quite complex, but I summarize it as a son's fear of "castration" or penis loss by his father, which is later internalized within each son via identification with the father rather than the mother, and even later becomes the basis of neurosis in adult life.
But what I am probing is a possible "complex" which is deeper than, or perhaps essentially different, from a fear of fatherly castration, or at least about an element of this fear which begins with sexual attractions with one's mother. I am positing that even if the fear later becomes focused on father--in particular, on possible castration by father, that it begins earlier with denial/repression of the attractions on which it is based. Perhaps we sons project our fears about becoming sexual with our mothers onto a "safer" image, namely, our fathers, who, feeling threatened themselves over a son "stealing my wife's affection" (as must universally be true in the love of a mother for a son who holds her best odds of self replication in future generations), may in fact, in their jealousy, be dominant and harsh with us back then.
Our fear of father's possible castration may cloak deeper fears about the extent of the pleasure we experience in awakening sexuality in the warmth of a motherly relationship. Although we may repress this fear, especially in its projected form onto father, until later in life, as in the myth, it may eventually resurface in adulthood closer to its source--as in the myth when grown Oedipus finds himself "married to his mother."
It is what happens next, near the end of the myth, which was essentially ignored (so far as I know) by Freud, which becomes my major focus here. The end, I posit, is even more significant and filled with symbolic meanings than the beginning and extended mid portions. Two major elements at the end are: Jocasta's suicide and Oedipus' self-blinding. Seen as metaphors or symbols rather than literal events, the first is obviously worse in the sense of far reaching, while the second is "awful" but not life threatening. That is, blindness is bad, but not as bad as death. Better to be blind and alive than completely dead.
What is the meaning of these metaphors? Beginning with Jocasta, representing mothers: I surmise that death symbolizes absolute and complete repression of knowledge about what has occurred. Blindness symbolizes "not seeing" or "repression" only. If mothers totally deny sexuality with their sons, as seems, so far as I know, to be the most common case, sons are not far behind in our own "blindness" to, if not "death" of, similar awareness.
In other words, I conclude that sons "try to deny" sexuality with our mothers, while mothers, being adult at the time, and hence more trained in arts of psychological repression, must completely repress their own sexual involvements. They "kill off" consciousness, while sons only "blind ourselves" to awareness.
What begins as sexuality in relation to mother, with its prohibitions in awareness, must also spread in time to sexuality with siblings also--that is, the same phenomenon of denied sexual attraction to the primary female is carried over to younger females in the family (sisters) as well. If I can't consciously feel sexual with mother--where it is logically most natural and likely of all, then it follows reasonably that I would also "blind myself" to similar potential feelings with my sisters.
I amplify the above reference to fatherly jealousy: can any father help but be jealous, no matter how proud he may be of a son, when he observes the "in" that all sons must naturally have with their mothers? Can any wife possibly "love" her husband as much as she does her son who she created and who holds the destiny to her genetic immortality (self-replication) in his hands?
And can any father who cannot but be aware of this probably universal phenomenon help but feel degrees of threat by such a "favored one" in his own household? And if so, would not natural feelings of anger, projected onto such actions as "killing" or "castrating," be likely picked up by a discerning son, leading to further fears of a "dangerous" father? I think so.
Perhaps genes are now wise to long range dangers of "inbreeding"; but I think that all sons, apart from any genetic knowledge, must be "wise to" the threats of fathers later, but even more so, to those of mothers sooner. And mothers, who may also bear such imagined genetic wisdom, must be far more aware of the dangers of their own sexual attractions in a social context which strongly condemns any sexuality in a family apart from the marital bed.
I conclude that the major roots of what blossoms as incest taboo or prohibition of overt sexuality within an immediate family (even among cousins), are less in our genes than in our evolved memes.
Male idolatry of God
is yet rampant and sometimes recognized
but even more rampant and less recognized
is male idolatry of woman
especially as personified
in her breasts
Images of God continue to move some of us men
long after Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy
have been decoded into concepts;
but well past all three
in the depths of male projections
lies our dark idolatry of woman's breasts
which continue to move us
long after the time of mother
who bore them for our true worship
even before the birth of God
But ere we can be forgiven
of this near universal male idolatry
and be redeemed for return to Eden here
these two prime movers
must also be decoded
of their earthly magic
I think that female breasts must be one of the most universal of male icons which retain their magical powers to move us, even after or if we succeed in repenting of other major idolatries, including our images of God.
And, as with any other idolatry, as the first of the Ten Commandments reminds us, any gods before God are a no-no. There can be no entrance nor return to the kingdom here so long as we participate in the magic of any image, whether of a god, a woman, or a breast. Secular salvation lies, I think, only through the door of fullest consciousness, which itself only comes via the path of decoding images of any sort--female breasts included.
The nature of the Creative Process which culminates--in natural theology, in well-being, good life in the here and now, moves normally through the stages of: perception, emoting, imaging, conceiving, and becoming. Images, Stage 3 of the process, involve translation of perceptions into some projected form. Experienced powers are brought nearer to awareness by metaphoring them into a shape, such as, a ghost, a god, or a breast. Such natural imaging is but a part of the normal human process.
But equally natural is the next Stage, which involves decoding images that bear the power of projected perceptions, into concepts which can then be contained "in our heads" rather than left "out there" with unrealistic power over us. Ideally we then move on to Stage 5, where these now internalized powers are absorbed into the substance of who we are.
My focus here, however, is short of Stage 5, and aims only at movement from Stage 3 images to Stage 4 conceptions. I am trying, that is, to make sense of what I see about these wonder-filled icons which yet move me--and as best I can tell, most men, mightily. What is the nature of this magic of chest protuberances, tits, boobs, jugs, mammary glands, which defies all logic and reason? How are females able to wield such significant powers over men with something as natural and impersonal as "cleavage"? How can the mere sight, even thought, let alone touch, of any bodily part evoke so powerful and near universal reaction on the part of healthy males?
Certainly there must be real genetic components of these powers that are related to evolved male wisdom about clues which healthy breasts may hold for discerning pregnable females, especially "good baby-makers." Also I theorize that evolution may have ingrained a bit of conditioned reaction (stimulus-response) to such signs of healthy child bearers, which can legitimately be called "turn on" ability--that is, that male reaction to healthy breasts is in some measure like breathing or salivating in the presence of needed air and food. We simply do so "without thinking," that is, below the level of conscious considerations, "because it works."
But this widespread phenomenon of what can only reasonably be called breast worship surely goes far beyond such reasonable motivations. Even after making full allowance for real values of clue-knowledge and/or stimulus-response type reactions, what I see in other males and experience within myself is no doubt closer to magic than anything natural or realistic. It is more clearly viewed in the realm of psychological rather than physiological phenomena--more "all in our heads" than "in reality."
So what do I see? What are available facts for use in the process of decoding these magical symbols? First I will guess about an overall comparison or weighing of real versus magical factors. How much of what we males typically experience in "being moved" or "turned on" by female breasts is realistic (based on biological factors such as the two noted above) and how much is based in unresolved psychological issues--that is, in image powers which are born of our own projections rather than being inherent in actual, present-tense, sight/touch/thought experience of mammary glands?
My best present guess is 10 cents on the dollar for actual powers of female breasts--that is, for truly automatic reactions; and 90 cents for "vivid male imaginations"--that is, psychological images "in our heads" rather than innate in any type of sense encounters with breasts, either real or imagined. In other words, only 10% of the power experienced in typical male reactions to "cleavage" is real and 90% is magical--that is, based on un-decoded images which may be formed early in life outside the womb.
Because we as yet have no way of knowing or registering the nature of infant thought patterns, I can only speculate; but here is some of the sense I currently make about the possible genesis of an infant male's beginning encounters with breast power and the images which might logically be projected, based on real experience in all our beginnings.
First, known facts: shortly after exodus from the womb, after the cord-source of life-essential nutrients is cut, the first issue is air replacement--that is, "catching our own breath" to replace oxygen previously supplied by mother. But once personal breathing is commenced, the need to replace other life-necessary nutrients must arise immediately; after air, all infants are genetically moved to "suck" or "seek milk"--and, as we are designed, that normally means "breasts."
Without oxygen we die quickly; without milk the innate urge to survive is soon thwarted also. But whereas we can get air on our own, we are totally dependent on mother, via her breasts, for this second most essential requirement for life. In other words, access to life itself, the most primal of all instincts, is, following air, available primarily through breasts.
Then, in the hierarchy of human needs: warmth, protection, and comfort, if not love, are not far behind the absolute essentials of oxygen and nutrients. And if milk itself comes from nipples, the other big 3 or 4 enhancements of life are also found at these enormous mountains which peak where we suck. Given this obvious fact that all the essentials for life and well-being are first found at breasts, we may all realistically, in effect, worship at this throne of the first omnipotent goddess we will later call mother.
If, as I suspect to be true, primal forms natural thinking begins, like blood circulation and digestion, in the womb, and surely must continue with birth--even if in primitive forms, then the formation of images (Stage 3 of the Creative Process) must also begin soon after womb-exodus.
And if all the necessities of life, except air, are best found at female breasts, then it follows logically that inward powers generated in breast-related perceptions would be projected on breasts themselves. If mother is our first goddess, as surely must be true, then her breasts as font of life and place of love would reasonably become the first image of all the powers we experience there, if not the first altar at which we sacrifice in quest of heaven here.
And given the relative size difference between tiny infants and gargantuan mothers, this source-of-life-itself must seem truly enormous to the dim gropings of a totally dependent boy. When we reach adulthood ourselves and are thus able to look-out-to, even down on, female breasts, with the benefits of equal if not greater size and hence perspective, they may indeed appear to be relatively small; but this cannot be true in the beginning when they are, in proportion to our blind mouths diligently in quest of survival, truly magnificent in size if not wonder.
If the size of our childhood ghost images were self-created to match the size of our infantile fears (and surely they are), then the actual size of breasts that may reasonably come to bear the weight of normal childhood projections of power experienced in their presence, would logically be perceived as tremendous. After all, images of ghosts must be entirely self-created, while images of breasts can be formed from mountainous peaks actually present.
I am trying to imagine now how huge a mother's breasts must actually loom in the sightless minds of tiny dependent boys in search of life's necessities. And my only reasonable answer is: big, really big--both in actual and symbolic proportions. Would that I could actually recall; but for now I can only imagine what I must have once truly imaged when the wonders of my life seemed to hang in a balance between my mother's breasts.
Small wonder to me now, that I might have reasonably in the beginning created an image of immense proportions to match the wondrous forces of existence, and that such an adored image would reasonably have been placed on the twin peaks where I was indeed experiencing creative powers of life itself.
But the relevant problem lies not so much in imagining a logical scenario for the original creation of such a powerful image; that seems relatively easy to my adult mind now. But the real challenge comes in facing my blind clinging to this once-realistic image--that is, in decoding it now.
Another bit of possibly relevant data for the decoding process involves the fact that when such images are probably first being formed, the breasts at hand are near the peak of their perfection, both in terms of form and function. Mothers, most commonly, are in peak years of female physical condition, including shapely breasts yet to be drooped by the passage of time (and service).
What an infant actually experiences in relation to breasts is not "just any old breast" but rather two which are still firmed and shaped by youth and filled wonderfully by hormonic bodily reactions to pregnancy. This means that when breast images are first likely to be formed during the time when life itself is dependent on them, those readily available for projection are in their most perfected condition, both externally and internally. What a boy sees and gets, as mirror for image formation, are breasts at their best.
The potential relevancy of this fact is in regard to gradations of power of breast images. Although men are commonly moved in some degree by any female breast, even on otherwise ugly women, we are surely more moved by "beautiful young breasts" and less moved by "droopy old breasts."
In other words, there are degrees of power experienced by males in regard to degrees of what we take to be more or less beautiful breasts. Any breast may be better than no breasts, but surely some breasts are better ("more attractive" and therefore more moving) than other breasts. Certainly women must also realize this, given the attention they give, e.g., in selection of under and outer garments which support, shape, and reveal/conceal these obvious sources of immense personal power in regard to manipulating male attention.
This latter fact of gradations of power in breast images (perky tits being more moving than sagging jugs) is also likely to have some realistic basis rather than being totally related to psychological projections. If genes inform males in what best to seek for maximizing odds of self-replication--and certainly they must, then full and healthy breasts (those deemed to be "most beautiful") would in fact be one of our better clues for best baby-makers.
Thus we might reasonably discount some male attraction to "good tits" as being but an automatic genetic reaction related to reproductive instincts; but, and here I speculate--only a small part of what seems to me to be vastly overpowered attractions. Again, I would guess, genetic motivations only account for maybe 10% of imaged powers. Even with breasts ideally shaped and filled for nursing infants, I estimate that 90% of typical male attraction is still more accurately seen as rooted in magical projections than in realistic utility.
Another related fact, which I reserve for a closer look later, is in regard to the biological connection between breasts and hips, or more pointedly, "cunt." Although breasts and pussy are obscene (off-scene) in our society, the latter is more obscene than the former. Partial exposure of "cleavage" is socially acceptable, but no exposure of pussy is socially tolerated. The relevancy of these social judgments lies in the fact that whereas breasts are a good clue to baby-making potential, "hips"--that is, pelvis and pussy, are better clues. After all, the baby may be fed at breasts, but is created in the womb. Better both, but insofar as reproduction is concerned, better to find a perfect pelvis than shapely breasts.
But here is where different degrees of obscenity may become relevant: even though male "gene eyes" may be more wisely attracted to lower than to upper extremities, to butt and cunt than to breasts, attention to the latter is more socially acceptable. When a male is moved by social approval along with genetic attractions, as we all are if smart at all, he might reasonably be expected to shift his more primal attentions to more socially acceptable points (pun intended) of focus.
In other words, since breasts are socially less obscene than cunt, even though a genetically wise male might be more attentive to pelvis than to tits, he would be more socially acceptable if he keeps his eyes (and hands) above the waist.
Point: genetic attention more primally aimed at better wombs might, for good social reasons, be diverted to more socially acceptable parts of the body, that is, toward tits rather than ass. Thus breast attention, and hence the power of breast images, may be amplified by cunt avoidance, itself strengthened by social prohibitions.
Whereas males who are more biologically honest would reasonably be "ass men" rather than "tit men," those more attuned to social acceptance might predictably reverse the order, focusing their projected powers on more rather than less acceptable parts of female anatomy, even if biology alone might indicate otherwise.
Breasts, I conclude, must also be our first major image, and, like a first kiss, date, or sexual experience, something we never quite forget. Even though later experiences may be "better" or more significant, something about any Number One seems to give it added importance.
Breasts must stand at the very beginning of individual experience in the Creative Process. Personal powers first known in perceiving light and temperature, in sucking and grasping at the world, are primarily at the breast. The nature of imaging is that powers generated in perceptual experience "in here" are first projected (imagined-to-exist) "out there"; and the first significant "mirror" for an infant's reflection is mother's breast.
All the necessities of life, of survival as an individual--for food, comfort (warmth, air, diaper changes, etc.), navigation (movement around the world) and protection, summarized in what will later be called love, are experientially centered first around breasts. The most perceivable (smellable, tasteable, touchable) "object" during these profound experiences, including power generated in the process of their unfolding, is, obviously, the breast.
Concomitantly, a child's first venture into the wonders of consciousness, perhaps the birth of this fragile apex of human capacity, is also centered around breasts. It is not unreasonable to imagine that the creative powers of consciousness itself might be projected onto breasts in the beginning.
Countless other images, tangible and intangible, real and imagined, will follow shortly--Mother's Smile/Frown, ghosts in the dark (to image fears), etc., but all other experiencing will remain rooted in the primal necessities of life which were first mirrored in mother's breasts. Even though the forms and shapes of later images will range far a field, they will all be based, I think, in this first and perhaps forever most significant of all images, namely, breasts.
So, in summary, breasts must mirror our internal powers for sustaining life itself--for getting food, making comfort ("taking care of ourselves"), deciding movements, including self-protection--in a word, for getting resources for staying alive.
Other powerful images, such as, Cunt or God, will later arise for more primal experiences of creation itself; but as consciousness is first beginning to take shape, essential endeavors for maintaining what has been created will reasonably be focused at first on breasts. Small wonder then that this powerful first mirror may be indelibly imprinted into a boy's primal mind, not only as a mirror for powers of self-survival, but also as a prototype of all other images to follow.
Overestimating the significance of female breasts in the vast and creative repertoire of human images is probably impossible. Repressing awareness of the power they come to personify in the beginning is far more likely.
Cunt, I think, represents, mirrors, and hence reasonably must become the very first primal image, even before the birth of consciousness that allows other images to take fuller shape. Cunt stands for the creative powers of selfing itself. In the primal beginning of everyone's Creative Process, the walls of womb, birth canal, and vulva (pussy lips) are the perceivable "objects" available for mirroring initial experiences of powers inherent in self-creation as it first phases apart from mother's creating.
Sex (with "pussy" as image) will come much later and often loom larger in consciousness; but in the beginning, projected powers of creation probably precede and, I speculate, forever remain more potent than those of pro-creation.
In summary: vague cunt probably images the powers of creation--production or self-making; pussy, much later, images powers of pro-creation--re-production or baby-making. But between these two powerful representatives of creation and procreation, and always sustaining each, lies the human capacity for self-survival ("selfing")--and I find no more universal symbol, no more common image for mirroring this often repressed and therefore projected awareness of power than female breasts.
My data supports Freud's theories on infantile sexuality and the Oedipus complex. He wrote: One says rightly that the Oedipus complex is the nuclear concept of the neuroses, that it represents the essential part in the content of the neuroses. It is the culminating point of infantile sexuality, which through its after-effects decisively influences the sexuality of the adult. (Freud, S. Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex, 1930)
Also, according to Freud the immediate determinant (in the boy) for the dissolution of the Oedipus complex is the castration complex which literally smashes to pieces the Oedipus complex. (Hinsie, L. Psychiatric Dictionary, 1970.)
Although Freud's theories on the Oedipus complex give slight attention to son/mother sexuality, as I understand them they seem to focus more on threats between sons and fathers, as does the myth itself, than on the Jocasta clues in the story. In either case, I focus more on mother/son sexual conflicts. I think that in an overall perspective Freud never clarified what he thought about this latter subject.
Perhaps, as in the myth, father influences in a boy's sexual development, that is, on Laius and his attempts to kill his son, Oedipus, followed by the boys' later killing his father, are the most obvious and thus receive more conscious attention. However, I think that deeper and most influential aspects of infantile sexuality center, at least for boys, on what happens between mother and son. Oedipus' relationship with his father, Laius, is, I conclude, but a covering for darker intrigues with his mother, Jocasta.
My guesses about what is pointed toward in the myth, and if not there, then as deducted from data available to me, includes these theories: First, although father/son sexual relationships are certainly significant, they are far less so, and always secondary, to those between mother and son. In other words, even though the myth focuses more on Laius than on Jocasta, this is only because father/son sexuality and competition is more overt and easier to observe.
But the deeper and darker sexual encounters are between mother and son. Whatever happens with mother is, I think, both more primal and more far-reaching. Father/son sexuality tends to become significant much later, nearer the onset of puberty, when testes are descending and sexuality is becoming more overt and obvious. But from the beginning, given the reality of infantile sexuality, what happens with mothers must be of greater significance.
Second observation: when truth about the mother/son relationship became clear, Jocasta killed herself and Oedipus blinded himself. Killing, obviously, is worse than blinding; what does this imply as seen from sexual perspectives? My interpretation is that it is even harder for mothers to face these primal sexual relationships than it is for grown sons--that is, that female repression of sexuality between mother and son is even more complete than is that of males.
Both mothers and sons deny the facts, but when faced with the possibility of consciousness, Jocasta chose death over consciousness, while Oedipus, short of death, only chose extended denial. Crudely put, mothers, commonly, would rather die than face the truth, while sons, younger and perhaps more fearful of death, choose continued suppression rather than total repression. Mothers will never admit it, while we sons keep on denying the truth.
So, what is the truth which Jocasta would rather die than face, and Oedipus would rather be blind than admit? Before I begin to speculate, I note that educated guessing is all I can do. Since infants, like animals, can't talk to tell, if indeed consciousness is developed enough to hold memories of these potentially powerful times, we can never know what is happening in the minds of very small children. I, specifically, cannot consciously remember these pre-three times which I imagine to be so significantly influential in my own sexual development. And certainly no information on this subject was ever available from my mother. As is true for me, so, I conclude, for many others. I got many clues in years as a therapist, but I never saw an analysis proceed far enough to include resurrection of actual memories of these earliest sexual times.
Consequently, theorizing based on indirect evidence is all that I can do. So, I theorize: first, I imagine that nothing is more natural or predictable than that a mother would feel sexual with a son, or a son with a mother. By "feel sexual" I mean exist with sensual capacities which I believe to be finally rooted in reproductive instincts, that is, "sexuality," operative. Females are notably able to separate, at least in awareness, sensuality from sexuality; males, far less so.
But apart from lines drawn in consciousness, either by males or females, I believe that sensual and sexual are but phases of the same biological process that aims finally at self-replication. To "feel sensual" is but the initial phase of what leads to "feeling sexual" if the process moves normally. While males may tend to focus more on the "sexual" end of the scale, and females more on the "sensual" end, both are dealing, existentially, with the same biological process--or so I think.
My point here is that even though female consciousness seems to be more tolerant of "sensuality" than of "sexuality" (and males, vice versa), for my purposes here I include the whole process in what I term as "being sexual." "Being sexual" may be analyzed into phases in which "feeling sensual" precedes overt sexuality; but in the overall picture, division is existentially impossible. Only in our conscious minds, I think, are we able to separate out two parts of one whole type of being present--in this case, being sexually present.
My theory is that, repressions aside, mothers and sons are grandly sexual with each other--all without naming it so (which pre-language sons would find impossible) or commonly without consciously thinking it so (which post-language mothers might find far too dangerous to do).
I pause to note powerful memes that surround every new mother in our times. Beginning with the age-old and near universal incest taboo, we all exist in the presence of many other more specific forces which mitigate against conscious acknowledgment of sexuality in general, but certainly of any attractions within a family, and there, between mother and son most of all. We are currently nearer, I observe in our society, to becoming consciously aware of father/daughter sexuality, albeit in a totally negative sense, than of even approaching the subject of mother/son attractions.
Perhaps the word attraction is itself misleading for what I am trying to see. Attraction, is a good colloquial description for being sexual, but misleading in that it implies powers existing outside oneself, as though a baby boy might sexually attract a grown woman, or vice versa. What I refer to, under the common term attraction, is more literally about natural activation of an inherent human capacity in the presence of another person. I am not thinking of "being turned on by," as much as about "becoming sexually present with" another person.
Nor am I referring to any overtly sexual activity that might be thought of by adults as related to intercourse. Being sexual as I use the term is not about "doing it" or engaging in any manipulative efforts to "turn another person on"--as commonly take place between courting or seductive adults. It is rather about the activation of one human capacity that can also be compared with being emotional or being thoughtful. In other words, I refer to an existential state, a way-of-being, not to a kind of doing anything.
My theory is that being sexual is as normal and universal between mothers and sons as is being emotional or being thoughtful (at least on an adult mother's part). What is not socially common is being conscious about these "feelings" which are biologically normal. Powerful memes, noted above, are operative in the face of what I believe to be equally, and perhaps more powerful genes which incline us in opposite directions.
For sake of comparison and clarity of understanding, I think that being sexual (as an existential state) must be even more natural between mothers and sons than between wives and husbands. Certainly overt sexuality aimed at replication ("fucking") is both more natural and socially acceptable between "consenting adults"; but this is not necessarily so for underlying biological conditions that might culminate in “having sex” that is truly "making love."
There are many social conditions as well as physical consequences and emotional dangers which make overt sexuality ("doing it") far more risky than being sexual "without doing anything about it," especially for females. For example, conscious sexuality in females easily leads to judgments like "slut" or "whore." If a woman can simply "feel sensual" or "emotionally warm" without confronting sexual roots of sensuality, then she avoids all risks of social judgment. Since it is not only socially acceptable but also firmly supported by other powerful memes, any mothers can safely "feel caring" or "warm" or "tender" with a son without ever having to face any possible sexuality. That is, she may in fact experience being sexual (if my theories are correct) with her son, without ever having to become conscious about her own sexuality. After all, she is "just caring for her baby."
This possibility is further enhanced by the fact that overt sex ("doing it") is obviously impossible with an infant son. Whereas risking being sexual with a husband can easily lead to an unwanted pregnancy, even if not to an unwanted sexual encounter, no such dangers are present with an infant son. A mother can, theoretically, "feel as sensual/sexual as she pleases" with one who presents no possibility of overt sexuality, because there are no "sex" or pregnancy risks involved. The same situation exists between females and gay males. Since a woman can feel sexually safe with gay males (no risks of either intercourse or pregnancy), as with eunuchs in older days, she may also be able to become more consciously sensual or even overtly flirtatious with homosexuals than with heterosexual males.
For these and other reasons, a mothers' invitations to become sexual with her son (not to "do sexy things") are, I conclude, as inherent in their primal relationship as are those to become emotional or caring, even loving. In other words, I think that it is as natural for a mother to be sexual with her son as it is for her to be feeling or be caring. And, since social prohibitions strongly condemn the former while supporting the latter, and other factors such as the two noted above are always operative, it may be even more inviting for a mother to feel sensual/sexual than to simply feel caring for him.
But if it is natural for a mother to be sexual with her son, as I believe it is, then it must be a hundred times more so for a son with his mother. First, she not only created him, brought him into existence and becomes his major access to the resources of life--that is, his goddess in the beginning, she is also the context of his greatest acceptance and experiential love. Others may love a son in their minds, but mother is certainly the most immediate context of actual lovingness.
In other words, mother not only represents but also is the closest a boy will ever come to "unqualified love"--even if for only a brief period of time. She, in psychological terms, invites his fullest potential; she not only nurses and tends to his physical needs, she also is the source of his greatest emotional/spiritual invitation to become who he is, to activate his innate capacities in the present world.
And one of his two major capacities is for becoming a replicatory creature, that is, for becoming a progenitor, not only of his own genes, but also of those of his mother and/or others. Just past his instincts for survival (if indeed they are greater) a boy brings instincts for reproduction into the world. Who-he-is boils down in its lowest common denominators to: a selfing and sexual creature. And if a mother invites a son's selfing capacities, as surely she does, she cannot but also invite and nurture his sexual capacities--even if only in their infantile forms at the time. Like it or not, be conscious of it or not, a mother cannot, I speculate, but unwittingly if not consciously, invite her son's sexuality into existence along with his other more socially acceptable capacities.
Just as penis erections in the womb are now known to occur, indicative of evolving sexuality along with other bodily capacities, so they must be even more inherently likely once an embryo is out in the air, into his mother's arms, and at his mother's breasts. And if they occur spontaneously in the womb, when there is no outside stimulation, surely they, as a sign of activated sexual capacities ("infantile sexuality," in Freud's terms), must be likely when all the forms of sensual stimuli are also brought into play. Surely nursing at a woman's full breasts must be a forerunner of passions that a male will later identify with overt sexuality on sight or touch of similar breasts. And "genital contact" which is inherent in "cleaning" an infant son, both of his penis and anus, cannot but evoke sensations of sexual pleasure which we now know are inherent in stimuli of nerve endings in these "erotic" areas of the body.
Also, natural connections (at least in my theories) between sex and love must mean that the former are also activated, even if only the latter is consciously intended on a mother's part. That is, even if a mother is "only intending care and affection"--love, as we understand it, and if, as I postulate, love/sex are but parts of one existential whole, then when a mother, in effect, "strokes" a sons' capacities for "emotional" becoming, she is also stroking (now literally) his capacity for sexual becoming. It would be too much to say she is "seducing" her son, because that term implies overt sexual activity; but it would not be inaccurate to imply that she is, unwittingly or not, inviting him through the exposure of her bodily parts as well as her daily touching/tending activities to also activate his infantile sexuality in her presence.
Just being logical--where, as noted, most of my evidence must now come from, I conclude that a boy's emerging sexuality, which surely begins in the womb, cannot but be further activated and blindly encouraged by a "loving" mother. Even a so-called "bad mother," one who is rejective of her children ("doesn't want or care for them" and is "emotionally distant") but who yet supplies milk and a modicum of tending must unwittingly "seduce" a son's infantile sexuality into fuller activation. And if a "cold mother" can do so, imagine what a truly warm and caring, emotional and loving, mother may blindly encourage in her son, especially if she "has a thing" about cleanliness which always involves stimulating nerve endings connected with sexual potential.
Although genes are operative for both son and mother, only memes are recognized and commonly ingrained in the mother. Both child and mother must be deeply moved by instincts, but only an adult has had time to come under the sway of memes. And memes, as we all know (even without the name memes), include powerful forces that mitigate against family sexuality (except between spouses) and conscious sexual feelings, especially for females. Thus the childhood scene, as I imagine it, involves a son who is totally moved by genetic forces, including those to be sensual/sexual, and a mother who may also be deeply moved by instincts but is largely under the control of contrary memes. She may, for example, still feel warm and excited while stroking her son's genitals (for cleaning purposes, of course), but all her social training will insist that these are "just maternal emotions" which have nothing at all to do with sex.
The son, on the other hand, with no prohibitions yet against "feeling good" however it happens, may well be sexually stimulated by these genital contacts at the hand of a sensuous woman--no matter what she may be thinking or intending. With no acquired memes to direct him otherwise, he may still seek pleasure, including sexual delights, in the easiest and most direct ways. We have no way of knowing how visual stimuli, which will later become so important in the adult male’s world, are operative with small boys. But little imagination, at least by a male, is required to suspect that seeing a mother's full breasts and partially unclothed body, even her nudity on occasion, may excite even a small boy's passions.
Then, when motor skills are acquired, "playing with oneself" in ways which are obviously intended to bring personal pleasure that cannot but be related to emerging sexuality, are highly predictable in all small children--until, that is, mother's contrary memes kick in. Is there a child alive who hasn't at some time either heard or otherwise gotten the message: "Be ashamed of yourself; you shouldn't be playing with your 'privates.'" Just the name privates is indicative of adult shame-about-genitals which must be universally passed on to small children who are yet inclined to find sexual pleasure in its most directly available ways.
There is a joke (male, of course) that asks: "Why does a dog lick his balls?" Answer: "Because he can." Decoding the obvious projection on animals unencumbered by our social memes, a human "joke" might be: "Why does a boy play with his genitals?" Answer: "Because he can." Even if we cannot, for anatomical reasons, "lick ourselves," we soon become able to "touch ourselves down there"--and, before parental rejection (mother's memes) with its associated guilt becomes overwhelming, I suspect that all small children, given the reality of "infantile sexuality," still do for reasons of sexual pleasure.
Another commonly ignored anatomical fact may be relevant to these speculations, that is, the short distance between genitals and anus, and interconnections of nerve endings associated with pleasure surrounding them both. We adults soon disassociate genitals from the "dirty place" which must be continually "wiped" for purposes of cleanliness; but, as all parents know, small children are far "less discriminating"--at least from our perspectives. Babies often seem perfectly contented to keep wearing "dirty diapers (even full of poo poo)" long after they become offensive to parents. Why? Is it because babies are "still insensitive"? Or could it be that they are yet in touch with pleasurable sensations however they arise? And could it be that warm, wet diapers stimulate genitals, and soft "objects" tickle the pleasure-sensitive anus? I suspect so.
Though it may offend an adult's conscious sense of decency, the pleasure associated with a "good shit" is probably much more than "relief" from evacuation. As with small children, distinguishing between pleasures associated with these intertwined nerve endings is, without acquired prejudices, likely to be impossible. Anatomically speaking, orgiastic pleasures are not totally unlike evacuation pleasures (either from urinating or defecating). All three, sans socially acquired judgments, "feel good."
The point: Although adults learn to separate, at least in mind's eye, the optional choices of genital pleasure from regular stimulations associated with bowel movements and anal cleaning, the body probably knows no such academic lines. Perhaps systematic suppression of awareness of anal pleasures along with judgments of the "dirtiness" of excrement (one babies obviously do not yet make), lead adults to lose conscious contact with the potentially sexual nature of all anal contact--thereby leaving us with the illusion of control of sexuality since we may choose to avoid genital stimulation. We can't stop anal stimulation, due to essential bowel movements and associated cleaning, but we can control awareness of inherent potential pleasure in these regular activities.
(While I am speculating, it may also be that some of the appeal of male homosexuality and heterosexual anal intercourse lies in the possible resurrection of long repressed anal pleasure capacities which, biologically speaking, are impossible to separate from socially acceptable genital sexuality.)
In summary, the nursery scene with its invisible genes and memes in regular conflict must be something like this: a son with forces moving him to be sexual as well as selfing (to activate primal instincts aimed at reproduction as well as survival), and no memes to counter these innate drives, finds himself in the presence of a mother who may indeed be genetically inclined to feel similar passions, but is also in possession of powerful memes seeking to negate these potential delights. While he is naively "trying to be sexual" she is artfully "trying not to be." His natural tendencies to be inherently sexual (as evidenced by erections in the womb) are further encouraged after birth (even if "unintentionally") both by physical and visual stimuli from his mother (touch of his body and genitals, plus sight of her breasts and body).
Although, as I postulate elsewhere, a large part (90%?) of the apparent "turn on" capacities of the female body to adult males is psychological rather than biological, this still leaves some 10% possibility for stimulus/response type reactions. Just as we all innately tend to salivate at the sight of food (like Pavlov's dogs) without any conscious thoughts, so, I think that male genes are, in some measure, blindly reactive to the sight of well formed female breasts and hips--small males included. There is evidence for these attractions even in small boys who "try to peek" or "want to bathe" with sisters and/or mother. I can remember these "temptations" from a very early age, and observe them in other young boys.
Another potentially relevant factor lies in the nature of repressed human capacities. It is well known, at least in psychological circles, that suppressed capacities tend to "pop out" unconsciously--that is, what we deny to ourselves has a way of "spontaneously" appearing, even when we do our best to "say it isn't so." And the harder we try to suppress any real human feelings, including sexual passions, the more likely they are to creep out uninvited. Those, for example, who are more sexually repressed, are more likely to "see sex under every rock"--that is, to always be suspicious of sexual motivations in others ("All he wants from me is sex").
If a mother is in fact dictated by ever-present memes supporting sexual suppression, and out of conscious contact with her own natural sexuality, then the likelihood of the push-down/pop-out psychological phenomenon is highly predictable. The more she denies being sexual with her son, the more likely she is to blindly "act out" her genetic inclinations, for instance, in sensuous stroking ("intended" only as cleaning or platonic loving), casual bodily exhibitions, and other behaviors which may be summarized as "unconscious seduction." If confronted with such a "preposterous notion" any such mother will predictably deny even the implications that she could possibly be at all sexual with her son. This is the nature of any human denial (repression).
Three consequential events must occur in every child's nursery, no matter how diverse the surrounding circumstances may be: one is genetic, the other two, memetic--that is, one is biological and the other two are social.
The first significant happening is purely biological, determined by genes and outside factors that influence them. In plainest terms, mother's "milk dries up." The well runs dry. The source of life-giving sustenance is gradually diminished to nothing. Living-by-sucking comes to be replaced by living-by-eating-and-drinking. Breasts that had indeed been the font of salvation, the objects of pragmatic idolatry, lose their magical powers. Once huge and engorged by abundant nutrients, they not only diminish in size, but also in inherent real powers. The temple, we might say metaphorically yet accurately, is destroyed.
This event is universal in the life of every child. For some it comes slowly, for others quickly; but for all it comes. The nature of the process of physical life inevitably involves a transition from nurture-from-breasts to food-from-plate and drink-from-glass. Eating and drinking to live replace sucking to live. Like it or not, "things change," for infants as well as adults.
2. BREASTS WITHDRAWN
To add insult to injury, two powerful psychological events inevitably accompany the first biological tragedy (or so it must seem at the time). Not only are magnificent breasts reduced from everything to nothing (functionally speaking), they are also withdrawn from touch and sight. As if losing their wonderful nutrient and nurturing powers were not enough, even the altars where once we freely and regularly worshiped are made to disappear from direct experience.
The quest for breast, which began immediately after birth as an innate drive, and must now be ingrained as a way to find life and love, is changed from good to bad. The way-to-stay-alive and find comfort is not only drastically changed, but suddenly even an effort to return to the early source of salvation is treated as a social sin. Once the nursing period is passed, any efforts by a son to touch, or even peep at mother's or other female's breasts becomes both a social and legal sin.
And if giving up smoking, drinking, overeating, or any other established habit is hard--and certainly it is, imagine how difficult it must be for an infant to not only lose his first goddess's breasts and their seemingly magical powers, but also find any attempted returns to the temple made both evil and illegal.
What's a boy to do!
At the same time these first two traumatic events are in progress, a third, with perhaps even greater consequences in time, is also taking place. In the beginning, mother's touch and loving attention to anus and genitals (albeit under cover of "cleaning") is not only the source of physical care and personal pleasure, but also an early affirmation of these critically important bodily parts--the first essential for survival itself, and the second, for replication.
Self-acceptance, as we all learn later in life, is important for individual well-being. And two critically important elements of selfing are urges to survive and reproduce. Most primally, instincts for survival are focused on intake of food and expulsion of waste--in terms of visible body parts, this means mouth and anus. And visible equipment for reproduction focuses on genitals. In earliest life, all three--mouth, anus, and genitals (as well as all other bodily parts), are carefully tended, often lovingly, by mother without prejudice or judgment.
Although self-affirmation is hardly considered in these formative times when most attention goes to physical necessities, the "twig" is, in reality, "being bent." Sense-of-self is also being shaped as size (and development)-of-body receives most conscious attention. Unwittingly, but, I now theorize, with grand consequences, mother's blessings on bodily parts associated with the two most powerful instinctive agendas are profoundly far-reaching.
We now know from psychological studies what every baby must already know, namely, that children need both milk and love, food and attention, nutrients and affirmation. Children given greater love and acceptance tend to become more loving and accepting themselves. Conversely, babies deprived of these significant spiritual nutrients tend to become fearful, angry, and self-destructive themselves. "Love," as I once heard, "begets love," both of self and others.
This obvious generality about self is also true about the elements of self which are so crucially important in good living later--namely, urges toward self-survival and self-replication. Now back to anus and genitals. In earliest life these "places" which are critical to instinctive drives are both tended and, in effect, affirmed by mothers. Anus, for example, is as okay as mouth; both are tended equally. And genitals also receive her loving care as she strives to "keep us clean."
But all this equality of affirmation, mother's blessings of bodily parts as well as body and self, deteriorates rapidly. The apparently okay places that are also the source of physical pleasures that must be perceived the same as sucking suddenly change from "clean" (not only "being cleaned") to "dirty." Mothers may in fact continue routine bathing of these bodily parts for some time to come, but even while cleanliness of body is carried on, "dirtiness" of bodily parts is beginning to rapidly creep in. Judgments of genitals and anus begin to appear where blessings once resided. Her touches that were once smooth, stimulating, and affirming, must, I surmise in retrospect, begin to turn rough, quick, and dis-affirming.
Certainly the necessary transition from being-taken-care-of to taking-care-of-ourselves, from total dependence to emerging independence, is underway. But in this essential process of growing up the event I am trying to tease into awareness must be inevitably taking place, namely, social judgments about "dirty" sex, along with anal pleasures which most likely precede it, are somehow being passed on. Is it osmosis? Is it in the air? Or is the habit of transmitting these anti-pleasure memes now so socially ingrained that no conscious thought need even be entertained for a mother to successfully complete her unwitting social agenda?
I can no more answer these questions than I can prove the event I am trying to describe; but the evidence that they must somehow occur is overwhelming. Obviously mother's touch of these "places" soon ceases as she transfers cleaning responsibilities from herself to her child. Less obviously, but with far greater consequences, her affirmation and blessings must inevitably go also.
Even if a child with increasing motor skills becomes able to effect the same pleasures which were once initiated by mother--that is, to "play with himself" like she once did, her judgments of such now "shameful" activities must be near universal. And even if mother's breast milk is now gone, her acceptance is almost as crucial in a boy's personal well-being as it was in the beginning, which is to say, childhood wisdom surely includes courting and keeping mother's favor for some time to come. If she judges anal and genital stroking to be "bad," then only a mentally challenged child can avoid learning from her in the course of keeping her still essential favors.
In summary, in this third consequential event, not only does a boy lose a mother's hand in bringing bodily pleasure to anus and genitals, he also loses her blessings of his own learning to replace her, along with acquiring her judgments to take her place when she is absent. Guilt about sex, as is commonly attributed to Adam and Eve in their exodus from Eden, must begin with shame about the related bodily parts, that is, while learning to feel guilty about anal delights or "playing with yourself."
Along with loss of milk and breasts, plus all the magic associated with them, comes loss of moral cleanliness about natural bodily pleasures ingrained in nerve endings in those "places down there." And since cleanliness soon becomes connected to godliness, these "unclean" parts come to be associated with "dirty" acts that, we are told, also separate us from God. Unwittingly then, becoming consciously sexual later is tantamount to losing the salvation we once knew in the nursery. We can then only be "pure" enough to be with God if we remain "good" enough to avoid "dirty" sex.
Or so it must seem to a yet innocent son.
WHAT'S A BOY TO DO?
The primal scene in summary is this: first, major powers are centered in mother who is, in effect, goddess of the nursery world. From a son's perspective Her awesome powers over life and death are focused in two bodily parts, and then dispersed throughout Her presence as Woman. Most primally and least subject to conscious awareness are Her womb powers--that is, Her creative capacities themselves, the forces which literally "make" a boy, bring him into existence, and then "cause" him to become (grow). But more in a boy's awareness are the awesome breasts that become, immediately after birth, the focused source of food, comfort, and love.
All these forces are "out there." Inwardly a boy also experiences two major genetic forces, the first more primal, like womb power in woman (symbolizing creativity itself), is aimed at self-survival. These are instincts which first make the newly born gasp for air and grasp for food. But being more ancient and therefore engened long before consciousness is even possible, this first set of forces simply operate like a powerful "dark (out of mind)" drive to "stay alive."
The second male force, being evolutionally younger, is nearer to consciousness: it is summarized as an urge to reproduce, to replicate oneself. Although survival forces are dispersed throughout the body, reproductive powers are centered "down there," recognized in pleasurable sensations focused in the vicinity of the organs and orifices--penis and testicles ("genitals") and anus. And, as noted before, even though the biological tasks of each are different, evolved pleasures associated are so closely intertwined that conscious separation is relatively impossible. Is summary, these second "in here" forces are focused "down there."
Thus, insofar as potential consciousness (and actual awareness of perceptions) is concerned, the chief protagonists in this universal primal scene are Her breasts and his genitals/anus, Her body "up there" and his "down there." For a boy, before the time when testes begin to descend, awareness is mainly on the pleasure (and thus power) he finds at Her breasts and in his "good feelings" below his waist. It is yet too early to label pleasure "down there" as "sexual," since it must first be mainly focused in anus rather than penis; but surely the signs are precursors of what will later be called his sexuality.
So far, so good; although powerful forces that will later come into conflict are present, in the beginning there is harmony. Her breasts are readily available, without attachment of shame or guilt, and Her touch and attention to his "down there" parts are regular and equally shameless. All that is natural, we might say, is yet "good."
But, beware, innocent lovers; contrary forces are lurking in the wings of every nursery, namely, powerful memes only temporarily at bay. That which is "good," fun, pleasurable, comforting, loving, and socially acceptable briefly, will soon be faced with other forces vying for dominance. When they begin to prevail, as inevitably they will, the wonder (along with milk)-filled breasts will be the first to go. Before a boy can know it, literally, these fonts of life will begin to shrink both in size and in availability.
All too soon they will be taken away physically and pronounced off limits even for curiosity or old times sake. What had been totally "good," indeed the source of all the best things in life, will soon become "bad" to seek and worse to touch. Even though, like cigarettes around an ex-smoker, they remain ever present, they will become bra-encased, blouse-concealed, and safely tucked away from access by female privacy--not only Hers, but all other similar versions in her gender comrades.
And soon after the exodus of all-sustaining breasts, including their miraculous transformation from good to evil, the hands which only recently stroked ("cleaned") the pleasure centers ("erogenous zones" they will later be called) "down there" will also be taken away. Worse still, the physical though silent affirmation of what will later be called "sexual pleasure" will not only be withdrawn, but will, under the force of memes, also be even more condemned than breast curiosity.
When mother stops stroking, in the process of transferring cleanliness procedures from self to son, he is expected to take up only the cleaning duties with none of the associated pleasures. Cleaning, of course, as we all learn from powerful memes, is good, but "playing with yourself" just for the fun of it, is bad--so bad, in fact, that only a generation or so ago boys were told that it will "make you go blind." The deed was deemed, by memes, to be so evil that only a few names were allowed, including "self-abuse."
Wonderful pleasures, evolved over eons to support necessities of survival and replication, had been ironically transformed from self-affirming, as they biologically were, to self-destructive which they obviously weren't--except in the powerful judgments of ever-present memes aimed at keeping genes "in their place" if not out of existence.
And what happens to supporting forces of the first goddess after Her affirming hands are replaced by Her negating frowns, if not spankings rather than strokings? All we young sons can ever know for sure is that they are suddenly gone. Perhaps this is but the first of many grand mysteries which will haunt us for years to come, including the male invention of gods to replace Her.
But meanwhile back in the nursery there is no time for speculating about profound mysteries; something must be done to cope with obviously changed circumstances. With nurturing breasts gone, stroking hands stopped, and personal efforts in either direction deemed bad, if not evil, somehow a growing boy must adapt. After all, other outward dependencies remain intact; only in fantasy can he safely "run away from home." Thus trapped, innovative coping is the only viable option.
So what's a boy to do?
Creative resolutions to this near universal nursery dilemma seem to fall into three major categories, often intertwined and indistinguishable because of subtle switches, but always destructive in an ultimate sense. That is, though each may provide a temporary solution to an otherwise impossible situation, in time either or all of them, though wise at the time, cannot but result in diminished well-being for grown boys yet dictated by childhood resolutions.
In broadest terms these three familiar choices, mostly distinguishable in mind's eye only, are to: be good, be bad, or go crazy. In the first path the proverbial advice, if you can't lick 'em, join 'em, is followed. With powerful meme messages clear (be good by ignoring the pleasures of breasts "up there" and erotic zones "down there") a boy with this first and probably most often taken option tries to "be a good boy." He listens and learns well from social memes that are first personified in his mother. Often he will be recognized as or called a "mother's boy." In her conscious eyes, he is seen as a "fine son."
The second way is the opposite of the first. To an unspoken directive, don't let 'em get you down, this boy tries to be bad rather than good. He rebels rather than obeys. Instead of going along with prevailing meme messages, he opts for independence, for "making up his own mind," for "doing what he wants to" rather than "what they want him to." If "they" say, "do this," he opts for "doing that." Instead of "causing no trouble" he "gets in trouble" by breaking the rules.
In time, the "good boy" will predictably grow up and become a "nice man," a "gentleman," a "good husband and father," or more literally, a wimp. The "bad boy" will likely become a competitive teenager, a fighter, a leader, a macho male, a philandering husband, or more literally, an asshole (at least from a female perspective).
The latter option, with more serious and far-reaching consequences, is often at the roots of the first two. In "going crazy" a boy splits himself spiritually ("emotionally" and/or "psychologically"). Caught between two sets of powerful gene and meme forces, inward directives toward selfing and replication, and outward dictations toward selflessness and chastity, this boy responds equally to both.
Unlike the good boy who sides with memes or the bad boy who resists memes and gives in to genes, this boy in effect straddles the fence. A part of him is "good" and a part is "bad." When the proportions become nearly equal the result is inward division. From a psychological perspective, it is sometimes called schizophrenia (divided-mind); from an older religious perspective it may be called "two-souled" or "double-minded."
In colloquial language, he "is crazy." In practice, he is usually "withdrawn." It is as though there were two persons in one skin; sometimes the good side dominates; but then again the bad side prevails. Parents don't know what to do with such a child. They can praise a good boy or punish a bad boy, but what to do with a split boy? Or worse still, what's a split boy to do with himself?
But in spite of immediate problems, grading in difficulty from one to three insofar as parents are concerned, each of these major ways offers a temporary resolution to challenges of the all too familiar nursery scene outlined above. Once breasts are gone and genitals/anus are bad ("dirty"), a boy must do something to continue living within an arena that keeps them so. Yet unable to leave home, he must cope with home-as-it-is, and almost universally this means within conflicting powers of genes and memes.
And either one, two, or three will work--at least for a time.
These neat divisions as outlined in the paragraphs above do not, of course, often appear in life so clearly divided. Usually we sons oscillate between varying degrees of first one and then another. Only in retrospect can we look back and observe a common way of coping. For me, this was number one, the "good boy" option.
Nor does clarifying the choices on paper mean that a boy consciously faces all three ways and picks one over the other. In practice it seems that we simply drift, at the time, into one more than the other. Perhaps genetic proclivities influence our choices; or the quirky set of circumstances in an individual family (dominance/submissiveness of mother and father, etc.); or who knows what else? Genesis of choice is less relevant to me now than recognition of paths taken. Only through acknowledging ways we have acquired do we grown boys open ourselves to other options that are perhaps wiser for later times.
These three male ways of coping with life are, of course, well known in general. What is perhaps significant here is my connecting them with the nursery scene, which generally remains safely concealed in the depths of mothers' and sons' darker minds. I believe that these familiar male modes of dealing with life in general all arise in the beginning as ways of coping with loss of breasts and discovery of evil associated with pleasures "down there." Because consciousness is yet so fragile in these early days, and childhood "memories" are so easily "forgotten" or reshaped to fit other more pressing notions, few, so far as I know, can ever "return to the scene of the crime," that is, personally recall the actual nursery scene itself, let alone making either of these choices for resolution.
Even so, I conclude, based on my limited memories, much other anecdotal data, abundantly evident later results, and reasonable deductions based on my imagined nursery scene, that these connections are too likely to be improbable. In other words, I think that the way an average male is today can be directly related to the way he resolved the challenges of his particular version of the near universal nursery scene.
It would be unfair and inaccurate to "blame it all" on "bad mothers" as has recently been a trend with emerging psychological data about childhood. But it would be even more unreasonable to ignore the significance of how a relatively impotent son learns to cope with the near omnipotent powers of the primal goddess who both created him and controls his early destiny, primarily, from his perspective, operational from and around her breasts.
Mothers don't, I think, cause us to be like we are; but it is in our acquired ways of coping with the way they are, plus powerful social memes which she unwittingly embodies, that we come to be as we are--that is, either good boys, bad boys, and/or split boys (even if "grown up" in many other ways).
The problem is further amplified by the fact that repression of awareness is certainly predictable and probably wise at the time--that is, we all have good reasons to "forget what happened" back then. First, most all human endeavors, including coping with mothers, are best affected when carried out unconsciously, on "automatic pilot" so to speak. "Thinking about it" consciously is likely to interfere with success (at least initially) in everything from hitting a ball to winning a battle. And nursery challenges must lie somewhere in-between.
Secondly, since a mother's mode of playing her role in this separation process seems to be near universally (as best I can tell) carried out unconsciously, that is, with conscious denials of what is actually taking place, it follows that a son would predictably follow her example. If the All Powerful One says, in effect, "It's not happening now; and nothing ever did," then the least powerful one might wisely take his clues from Her.
Even though he would reasonably take loss of the Magnificent Breast, plus its transformation from ever-present good to never-present bad (insofar as his contacts are concerned), harshly, including with grief, anger, and fear (were his emotions nameable at that time), She is either acting as though nothing is happening, or else appearing relieved, even glad about it all. Again, what's a boy to do in the face of such contradictory data from his major lover?
Answer, I infer: do likewise. Pretend that nothing important is happening; act like it doesn't matter at all. "Isn't it wonderful to be 'growing up'." This, logically, would be smart at the time; but the problem with initial denials, as we now know from psychological data, it that they easily turn into suppressions and then repressions. What we at first pretend for practical purposes with others, we tend, in time, to come to believe ourselves. Fooling them, for good and pragmatic reasons, all too easily phases into fooling ourselves as well. Carried to extremes, as they so often seem to be, such reasonable denials end up in option #3, self-splitting.
And if denials about breasts, which are themselves viewed as "good" (even if boys' efforts to make contact are "bad") are shrouded with conscious suppressions, how much worse it must be with bodily parts that are also treated as "dirty" within themselves. Breasts, though later concealed, remain "clean" insofar as memes are concerned; but butts--"ass holes" and genitals soon fall victim to all the negative judgments which memes are able to muster. And these are formidable.
Even if traditional names like "self-abuse" and messages about "going blind if you do" are avoided, still social associations between shit, sexuality, and "dirtiness," or between sex and sin in religion, are so rampant everywhere that no person in society can avoid confronting them. Even if never voiced aloud, these social judgments are so deeply ingrained in the fabric of our culture that no child can long evade knowing them, as though by osmosis.
The point: if it is dangerous, bad, and illegal to try to make contact with "good" breasts, that is, a boy's best memories of heaven on earth, how much worse it must be to experience the pleasure inherent in making contact with these "bad" and/or "dirty" places "down there." Even if a boy remembers pleasures he found in "being cleaned," almost certainly his mother will deny to him (as she has already done to herself) that she was involved in any sexual stimulation, let alone seductive activities. After all, she was, she must protest so loudly, "only doing her duty in trying her best to keep a dirty boy as clean as she could!"
So if she represses awareness of any pleasures of her own, any smart boy will surely do likewise, especially if he loves her. If it didn't "feel good to her," it must not have "felt good to him" either. Thus, I surmise, small boys, following their mother's examples, must universally begin to deny powers they experience in contact with female breasts, plus the pleasures of genital/anal touch which are first known at the hands of our mothers--all conscious denials notwithstanding.
Finally then, if my nursery scene theories are accurate, boys, if we are to ever truly "grow up" spiritually as we inevitably do physically, have two major hurdles to overcome: first "returning to the scene" of the pleasures--if not crimes or sins, where our primal male capacities were first beginning to bud if not blossom.
The sense-of-our-maleselves which we were beginning to know under the affirmation of a nurturing mother, but which was so quickly and crudely interrupted by loss of her breasts and hands along with the appearance of her judgments, must somehow be resurrected. "Returning to the scene..." is not so much about a crime or sin or even a set of circumstances, as it is about re-connecting with the emerging self which is so commonly abandoned in necessary coping with the nursery scene. We must, that is, get back in touch with the young male (genetic masculinity) that we so commonly abandon, with good reason, while navigating the dangerous tides of growing up with a mother in a family.
In this quest-of-return, we face the second major hurdle, namely, un-repressing the repressed, "remembering what we have wisely learned to forget." We cannot re-establish contact with long lost parts of ourselves without breaking through mental patterns of denying what we know--that is, of fooling ourselves in order to be socially accepted (beginning with mother). Specifically, these commonly involve facing, acknowledging, and examining which ever of the three options we made in the beginning--coping by being good, bad, and/or split.
It is in these confrontations of developmental patterns that we first begin to recognize the power of our images, for example, of female breasts, icons of past worship long denied. Such breakthroughs into consciousness may, ideally, lead to decoding these and other powerful images on the longer way to re-embracing and becoming the powers we abandoned so long ago when we first began to barter our balls at the altar of Mother's Smile.
In early Greek mythology Attis was a son of the goddess Cybele's earthly incarnation, the virgin Nana. He became the young lover of Cybele, but later deserted her and fell in love with a Nymph, whom he wished to marry. Cybele, quite predictably, became extremely jealous of her son's infidelity and drove him into a state of delirium. In an effort to appease the vengeful goddess, her son-lover, in a frenzied state, castrated himself and flung his dismembered testicles in the face of the mother-goddess.
In other words, to appease his mother, he emasculated himself; he literally gave her his balls. In the religion which evolved from this myth, worship of Cybele was guided by priests who likewise castrated themselves and became eunuchs in her service. When Cybele was brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C., Attis accompanied her and was also established in the temple on Vatican hill where they remained for 6 centuries. At first Attis was separated from and subordinated to the Goddess whom the Emperor Augustus regarded as the Supreme Mother of Rome. In time, however, veneration of Attis himself became more popular.
During ceremonies to celebrate the death and resurrection of Attis, who was in may ways a forerunner and prototype of the later Jesus, priest-initiates castrated themselves in imitation of their castrated god, and also presented their severed genitals to the Goddess. Their male remains were deposited in the sacred cave of the Great Mother.
(From: DECODING GAIA, Bruce Evans, Page 7, 1998)
In the Catholic Church that evolved later in Rome, priests no longer castrated themselves; but they did sacrifice natural activation of their masculinity by taking vows of chastity. In the Protestant church that evolved from the Catholic Church, priests themselves were replaced by preachers who venerated Jesus rather than Mother Mary. Myths about Jesus contain no direct references to sexuality except the belief that he was born of a virgin and was therefore "immaculately conceived"--that is, came to be without a sex act between a man and woman, which by that time had come to carry "dirty" connotations.
Protestants in general, in our adoration of Jesus (similar to the earlier priests of Attis), have not taken vows of chastity as did our Catholic predecessors; but we have taken our idealized Jesus to be essentially neuter-gender, without sexuality even in his conception. In overall practice, an unstated "doctrine" has been a silent repression of male sexuality, even without direct reference to either castration or priestly chastity. We "good Protestants" no longer castrate ourselves or even take vows of chastity; but we do, I observe, still blindly continue a tradition which began far back in Greek mythology, namely, the now unwitting sacrifice of real male masculinity.
I recount these observations about religious practices because I think that I am in large measure, albeit unconsciously so, a product of a long history of male emasculation. What may have begun literally, as in the myths of Attis and Cybele, is now, I conclude, still done symbolically. And in many ways unconscious symbolic acts are more devastating for good life than are real acts done consciously. That is, tangible castration done consciously would, I think, be less disastrous for well-being in the here and now than unconscious emasculation cloaked by illusions of virtue or sexy acting out.
But religious history aside, I want to return now to my speculations (attempts to become more conscious) about the consequences of the nursery scene which I focused on yesterday.
Balls at the altar is my chosen metaphor for what I surmise to be the way boys commonly resolve challenges in the nursery scene. The roots of each of the three enumerated paths--namely, by becoming a good boy, a bad boy, and/or a split boy, is the same. No matter which way we go, we all begin by in effect offering our balls at the altar of Mother's Smile. Not literally, of course; that would not only be impossible but also socially unacceptable. In fact, even balls themselves have now become "unmentionable."
I pick such an obviously distasteful metaphor because I can find no other to convey the gravity of the spiritual event I am trying to tease into consciousness. Phrases such as male emasculation or loss of manliness may point to the event I am trying to see; but they lack the emotional import of balls at the altar. Also they do not imply the depth/extent of what I think we boys actually do when we resolve mother/son challenges by any of the three familiar routes I described. We do, I believe, far more than emasculate manliness; we actually injure our selves. At stake in the sensible sacrifice is much more than sexiness; the loss extends deeper to roots of male being our real selves.
Balls, in colloquial understanding, stand for much more than testicles; they represent male power and courage. Castration may prevent sperm production and hence self-replication, but losing our balls strikes deeper than the capacity for physically reproducing ourselves; it goes to the heart of self itself--that is, to the power and courage essential for being a person, in our case, a male-type person. Would that the only thing we lose in the nursery were replicatory capacities; but alas, the loss, as I am beginning to see, goes much deeper--even to powers essential for being itself.
If re-production were the only thing at stake, that would be bad enough; but unfortunately, the sacrifice extends to production also. We don't merely lose powers of self-replication; in fact, we keep those. But we lose much of the power needed for healthy selfing. With our symbolic balls also go powers that they generate for creating as well as re-creating. And goodness knows, for a male to live well in today's world, we certainly need more of the former than of the latter.
Balls, then, as I intend the metaphor, represent masculine creative powers. If I only meant reproductory powers I could more accurately refer to testicles. Colloquial meanings, which never make the dictionary, come closer to my implications here. Balls are more about masculine courage, nerve, and guts than about sperm production. They represent not only our capacity to "stand up for ourselves" in the conflicts of life, but also for our "standing up" potential itself. If testicles stand for penile erections, balls represent males standing erectly in the world, in contrast with "lying down to be run over." They represent real men versus wimps, powerful males versus "hen-pecked husbands." Powerful males "with balls" often appear as "real gentlemen"; but their pragmatic gentleness is never a substitute or cover for lack of embraced "stand-up" ability.
Point: I am implying in my use of balls as a metaphor, that the loss which boys typically begin in the nursery, whether via acting good or bad, is of long range consequences, indeed of the capacity for spiritual "manhood" itself--which is vastly more than testicular capacities. Even though immediate values obtained in the beginning, namely, good graces of the goddess, would be hard to over-estimate at the time, long range losses in terms of masculine creativity are also inestimable.
Altar is more clearly a metaphor. There is, obviously, no such place in a typical home. But as a symbol for a place of sacrifices, as understood in religious contexts, altar is apt. My implications in this part of the metaphor include both place of sacrifice (where something of great value is offered up) and the element of choice in its making. "Sacrificial lambs" in ancient history were, of course, offered up against their will; but my intent here is to point to choices of a son in "offering up" his balls.
Mother's may present themselves in ways which invite a son's sacrifice, indeed, which make it a choice difficult not to make, but, and this is my point, mother's do not take a son's balls, as I now understand the nursery scene. Finally, all they can do is "make it easy to offer them"; but the final offering always requires, I conclude, a son's complicity. In other words, mothers don't "do it to us" as in the psychological description of "castrating females." Rather, in the final analysis, we "do it to ourselves."
Like Attis in the myth, the final "dismembering" of our courage-to-be-male, comes of our own volition. Mothers may invite, pressure, and even be pleased at the time (especially if we take the "good boy" way); but they never, or so I believe, take the metaphorical knife in their own hands. We sons do that ourselves.
In summary: balls at the altar is my metaphor for what I now believe commonly occurs in the familiar boys' resolutions of challenges inherent in a typical nursery scene. It is a "drastic sounding" title because I think consequences are indeed drastic in terms of well-being in later life--both for males who make the early sacrifice as well as for females among whom we live. Drawn from testicles, balls are intended to imply far more than baby-making capacities, which are, in fact, not sacrificed; they refer, in my understanding, to self-making capacities, in the fuller sense of continued movement in the overall Creative Process. After balls are left at the nursery altar, men remain time-locked at the image stage of the Creative Process, unable to move on through decoding (conceiving) and on to becoming powers that balls represent.
Finally, the purpose or goal of the sacrifice is Mother's Smile rather than Her Frown that appears in its absence. This too is, of course, a metaphor for "good graces of the goddess," that is, favors of mother in the direction of a son. It stands for, as I intend it, mother's special attentions to a boy, all that is implied in her "smiling on" who he is. In practice, Mother's Smile translates into loving attentions, her presence in the form of available and filled breasts in the beginning, and nurturing concern later on. Her Smile stands for her warmth, affection, indeed, her love--in all the many wonderful ways love manifests itself.
When a boy willingly makes this sacrifice of what is yet of little use to him, it must seem like a non-event, not a sacrifice at all, in the face of obvious and indeed essential acts represented by Mother's Smile. In comparison with benefits of her love-in-practice (not just in theory, as most all mothers profess), his infantile creative powers (symbolized here as balls) must always seem like a small price to pay--as indeed it is, at the time.
What are the results of the sacrifice? What actually happens when a boy offers his balls at the altar of Mother's Smile?
Answer: At first, only good things. In the beginning the "sacrifice" is not a sacrifice at all; in fact, it must always be a seemingly wise move at the time. Worship of a real Goddess is not only not a sin; it is the only smart thing to do. Idolatry only becomes a sin when one worships a false god (or goddess). And in the beginning, what will be properly called a "sacrifice" later is simply the best use of an infant's perceptual experience at the time. She may simply be called "mother" by others at the time, but in an infant's world, she is truly a Goddess--that is, one who is, in effect, Omniscient, Omniscient, and Immortal; she literally holds powers of life and death for the infant in her hands, plus all gradations of well-being between these two extremes.
Her wanting the child, or not, can't but influence the way she treats him. If she is unhappy with the baby, even the quantity and quality of her milk may be affected by her deeper feelings of rejection. Surely her times and lengths of time in nursing and tending to an infant's other comforts are sharply influenced by her feelings toward him. If she does not symbolically Smile on him his world is without doubt profoundly affected. Whatever a small boy might do to avoid the Frowns of his Goddess at the time would certainly be a smart move.
And if his emerging maleness, or any of its signs, seems to offend her, as I am theorizing it well may do, then learning to suppress or deny it quickly would only be a wise move. After all, what good are useless-at-the-time traits if survival and well-being are at stake? Why, for example, should a small boy reveal curiosities, seek to cling to or touch breasts or himself in ways that bring Mother’s Frown when all he has to do is pretend or act contrary to his natural male inclinations? If she Smiles on him, with all the concomitant rewards of her good graces, why not "be good" and curry her favors, rather than "bad" and lose them?
Point: it must not be a sacrifice at all at the time. What good are "balls" to a boy when breasts are yet the wonder of life? Easy come, easy go! Only in retrospect, with the gift of hindsight, can I begin to put the potential ramifications of what I think begins in the nursery into a realistic perspective. Only after the Goddess is reduced by time to "just a mother" does the proper adoration of a small boy begin to turn into damning idolatry. Only later does the "smart thing to do" turn into a "dumb thing to do." Only out of the nursery does the loss of balls begin to have its damaging effects. With the Goddess-turned-mother, balllessness may continue to pay off.
But in the larger world, and especially later in life, events that begin in the nursery do indeed turn into a costly "sacrifice."
Since consequences of the sacrifice that begins in the nursery do not become evident until later, I begin exploring by looking at signs of what I believe to be the later results. Also, I note for clarification, results of loss of balls are in reality always in degrees, not clear-cut as I try to describe them. There are, to keep my metaphor alive, always greater and lesser degrees of sacrifice. Unlike literal castration that in clear cut (little pun here!), symbolic loss of balls is by degrees. In some of us boys the loss is more complete, in others it is minimal; but in all of the grown men I have known or observed the loss occurs. Only the degrees are questionable. Even so, for descriptive purposes I describe results of greater sacrifices.
First I think that the three major male modes of coping with life in general start in the nursery and are, in the beginning, the way we first deal with the mother/son challenges. Thus the "good boy," "bad boy," and "split boy" patterns are, I now think, the direct result of how we confront challenges of the Goddess, including loss of breasts and mother's touch.
Later on, these early modes phase into "nice man," "macho male," and "disturbed man." A hen-pecked husband, for example, is, I believe, but the predictable result of a "good boy" grown up physically. A "good ole boy" type male (macho, insensitive, cocky, abusive, ass hole) follows a "bad boy" in the nursery. And "crazy men" ("sick," deviate, mentally disturbed, withdrawn and/or abusive, etc.) are the result of psychic splitting that begins in the nursery when an otherwise normal boy copes with these early challenges by dividing himself.
Specific results of these and other ways of coping with what always happens in every boys' early life include: bodily shame; embarrassment about genitals in general and erections in particular; "dirty" asshole and/or penis; fear or guilt about "playing with yourself"; fear of girls or unreasonable adoration of women; love/hate relationships; attachment to or rejection of mother; threatening attractions to females (or their bodily parts); fears about being "too little" or "over sexed"; pre-mature ejaculations; unreasonable deference to females or disparaging judgments of them; shy or cocky behavior with females; great need for female approval, "understanding," or "love"; insensitivity or over-sensitivity to female concerns and/or bitching; exaggerated sense of female "turn on" abilities; need for a woman to "make a man out of you" or otherwise take care of you; need for "honey do" projects to structure at home time; unembraced selfing capacities (such as, taking care of bodily needs like food, cleanliness, clothing, doctor's appointments, etc.); unreasonable reaction to female bitching, either in complying or taking offence; deep desire to "be taken care of" by a "loving" female; fear of being openly sexual until a female gives permission, as by her own sexual responses; playing role of Prince or Jerk with females; plus many more.
There are, of course, many genetic and objective "real" reasons for male problems, but by and large I believe that perhaps 90% of male difficulties and disturbances, especially in relationships with females, are rooted in an inadequate resolution of challenges first confronted in the nursery scene. If we succeed in facing repressed awareness and long-established-but-now-dysfunctional habits, embrace denied capacities, and acquire a few social skills, I think that the vast majority of male "problems" might rapidly disappear.
Now I want to explore in detail a few of the all-too-common male errors pointed toward in the above list of signs of male difficulties that start in the mother/son relationship.
Healthy masculinity is "peacocky" but not "cocky,"--that is, self-confident and willing to be seen, but neither "show-offy" like macho males or shy like Casper Milktoasts. The biological nature of male-female relationships, both in birds, animals, and humans, involves "out front" masculinity, as in peacocks, with hidden or reserved femininity, as in peahens. In appealing to females in order to be selected by them, males at all levels of the developmental chain have evolved with capacities for display or self-revelation which are then to be evaluated--hopefully favorably, by discerning females. The biological dance in most all species involves males "leading" with various displays and moves which highly selective females then evaluate and use in making a choice about joining in--or not.
FEELING & THINKING
It must be about as hard for a woman
to expand her identity from feelings to thinking
as it is for a man to expand his
from thinking to feeling
Women tend to orient themselves to reality more through nonsciousness (unconscious knowledge) than through consciousness, that is, through "feelings" rather than "sense." Men do the reverse. We cope with reality more through conscious thoughts ("reasons") than through dark knowledge.
Nonscious knowledge is mediated to awareness via desire and comfort, what one wants and what "feels right." Consequently, women remain largely moved by what makes them comfortable or uncomfortable, while men, who largely ignore personal comfort, are mainly moved by information gained through conscious knowledge.
I have been becoming aware of my ball sacrifices for a long time; I am just now beginning to see my sacrifices which must have begun far earlier, namely of my emerging consciousness of selfing concerns which must surely have preceded sexual desires. I think that the major difference in orientations noted above, namely, between differing modes of coping by each gender, must have played into my early suppressions of selfing interests, which then came later into focus in sexual arenas.
For example, I think that an infant's nonscious knowledge is first focused on mother's breasts in general and nipples in particular. These are indeed the first and foremost source of life itself, along with the necessity for air which can be acquired alone via breathing. If consciousness begins as early as I believe it does, then my first brush with awareness past instinctive urges to seek-nipple and suck must have been of mother's breasts. That is, when the powers of life did indeed lie there, I must have first begun to project my self-awareness of selfing (staying-alive) concerns onto nipples which seemed to supply my essential nutrients.
All this, I now think, long before any sexual awareness would have emerged into consciousness. Somehow, I speculate, my nonscious knowledge about survival instincts that began with blind urges to suck-at-nipples emerged into infantile consciousness with awareness of the power of breasts--which was literally true at that time. As I was beginning to become conscious following my exodus from the womb, the first "objects" of awareness, given instincts for nursing, must have been breasts. Logically, I conclude in retrospect, the powers of my selfingness (instinctive urges to survive) would reasonably have been recognized in "reflection" in mother's breasts and hence reasonably projected there (if indeed, any projection can ever be called "reasonable").
Although these associations of survival ("selfing") and breasts came to exist in consciousness long before later sexual awareness would logically begin (balls not yet descended), I now surmise that what first began as selfing urges later came to be mixed and confused with sexual urges--that is, that breasts (especially nipples) which were in fact related to selfing got confused in my later consciousness with sexuality which is only tangentially related to breasts and more primally related to cunt. In other words, I began to project selfing urges onto breasts long before I began to become aware of sexual urges--which I also projected there, since cunt knowledge is even darker than nipple knowledge.
What is emerging into my awareness now is that whereas I did indeed "sacrifice my balls"--that is, project powers of my own sexuality onto women and consequently "permission" to be overtly sexual into their hands, I must have begun my projections much earlier when my powers were primarily focused on survival (selfing). Blindly, along with sexual projections, I have been living with projected selfing projections even more so. I have looked, that is, to woman to "take care of me" in ways which are much deeper and more pervasive than sexual blessings alone.
For longer than I can remember
I have looked to all women to get
what no woman has to give
to wit: the gift of myself
which I began to lose when I first
suppressed my thinking
on the longer way
to sacrificing my balls
on the altar of Mother's Smile
I think the most devastating revelations surrounding my mother's death were less about her actual death than about my insights into the extent of her own selfingness--which were, obviously to me now, surely impervious to my attempts to "be reasonable" with her. I can look back now and realize that what I only began to see in her last years was in fact true for my whole life time, namely, that she must always have been driven by her nonscious knowledge about survival which would in fact have been undermined by her becoming more conscious, as would have been encouraged by her, for instance, reading my books in later life, or hearing me talk about my own "thinking" when I was first adding speech to consciousness. Probably, if I had been able to talk in my first few months I would have been talking about "unmentionable" things--such as, her breasts, which I must certainly have perceived as powers in my early existence.
Then later, with male sexuality beginning to emerge into consciousness, what I would have wanted to talk about would have been a thousand times more "unmentionable" in the society of Saline, as mediated through mother's consciousness.
But back to emerging distinctions: if I sacrificed my balls when sexual consciousness was coming into awareness, I must surely have sacrificed my "thinking" about my earlier selfing urges which would all have been judged as "selfish" and therefore bad. When my "wanting" was pre-sexual, I must have begun to project its powers onto mother, later to be continued with other females in my life. I have consequently been more dependent on females to "take care of me" in terms of my thinking (via their "understanding") than in terms of my sexuality--if indeed that is possible.
The permission and blessings that I have sought from females, beginning with my mother, of my sexuality, were preceded, I now see, with even deeper projections of my selfingness. I have looked to woman for okaying being sexual, surely; but even more so I have looked to femininity for okaying being--that is, being myself, which includes my masculine sexuality, but even more so begins with my human urges to "take care of myself."
Can I now repent? I'll see....
Once we become socialized (meme-directed), powers innate in natural passions are hidden away in the dungeons of nonsciousness and only recognized occasionally when reflected in assorted images (mental pictures, such as, old books for me, plus tits and ass for most males, and House Beautiful for females). Then it is as though the images "turn us on" to passions we have long forgotten within our own genetic capacities. Our images then seem to own our passions.
The wonder of such images is that we gain illusions of control over socially dangerous powers projected into them via our ability to distance ourselves from them or else conjure them up by real or imagined proximity to them. Dangers include all the risks inherent in opting for illusions over reality (real perceptions versus empowered images).
Traffic in images, including illusions of limited choice that they seem to give us, is, of course, often delightful when not overwhelming. Titillation of any variety, like underarm tickling, can be fun when not deemed excessive.
Passion, in reality, as a genetic capacity existing apart from all projections, is normally active "about life in general," with relatively small amounts of "turn on/off" powers "out there," especially in images. It rises and falls normally in the flow of activation and embracing of inherent biological processes. Sometimes passion peaks, as in orgasm; other times it dims, as in dreamless sleep. Most often it moves up and down, as on a sine curve, between its rarer highs and lows.
Projection is like any other human action in that it easily becomes a habit--and habits, for all their values, also tend to blind us to reality. Once formed, we act unthinkingly and insensitively, that is, by rote. In this case, where power is projected, the habit leads to two significant blind spots, one in regard to oneself, and the other related to objects of projections--where power is then consciously perceived. These illusions--or blind spots--are: 1) weakness "in here," and 2) exaggerated power "out there."
Obviously, at least insofar as reason is concerned, power projected externally cannot but be taken from one who does so. Males, when we project power that is actually gonad-generated, onto females in general or tits and ass in particular, unwittingly diminish awareness of personal powers while at the same time we create illusions of unrealistic power "out there." We "see ourselves" as weaker than we actually are, and "see females (or their parts)" as more powerful than they are.
"See" is a metaphor in these sentences; literally, as is the nature of projection, we "don't see" what we have done. We simply live-as-though loss of personal power has occurred, and as if breasts, for example, have power to "turn us on." After projection we blindly "act like" the results of projection are reality. We lose conscious touch with biological facts that precede it and in fact remain true (hidden to ourselves) afterward.
Without "seeing" consciously, we come to live-as-though our unseen projections are facts-of-life--that is, as though we are weaker than we in fact are, and as though female power is greater than it truly is. Literally, we blind ourselves to facts about male power while we create illusions of exaggerated female power.
Repeated projections, as noted, become habits. After awhile we simply carry them out by rote, as though they are truth. We down play (suppress awareness of) self-generated and hence internal powers, while setting up females (and/or their bodies) to be far more powerful than they in fact are.
Spin-offs from these primary male projections include: habits of personal deference balanced by adoration (even blind worship) of femininity. We then fall into patterns of service to females, putting them first, blindly trying to please them while suppressing our own desires. The role of Prince/Jerk becomes habitual. We blindly try to "rescue maidens in distress," or else flip the coin and turn into Jerks (Ass-holes) with females. In either case we function out-of-touch with our own powers and unrealistically moved by supposed female powers that are not actually present.
We defer, for example, when leadership would be more realistic; we seek-to-please when being present seeking pleasure would be feasible. We play Pleased Or Displeased when gentle assertion without games would be functional. We look to females for permission and guidance when reality calls for decision and direction. And so on...
All this "we talk" is, of course, my own continued projection; literally I refer to "I"--who I am, via writing, trying to sneak up on. It is, that is, confession slightly cloaked as observation.
Unrealistic male weakness, created via projection, is countered by equally inaccurate perceptions of female strengths. Illusions of male impotence are balanced by images of female omnipotence. To the degree that I don't acknowledge my own powers, to that same degree I imagine womanpowers past those she realistically possesses.
I pause to acknowledge the natural superiority of femininity (2 X chromosome advantages) over the XY combination of males. I think that in an overall sense females do indeed hold the power-balance. But within this gene context that favors femininity, I am here trying to see illusions of projection that exaggerate what is naturally true anyway. I am looking, that is, at projected images of power that exist on top of real genetic differences.
My grandest projections are, in largest perspective: blessing and permission, that is, affirmation of being and authorization for doing. These gifts of the goddess which my birth mother had to give and I truly needed were realistic in my early days. But soon my quest became a habit that I have blindly continued to project onto females far removed from my youth. I have unwisely kept as habit what began as the best of my childish wisdom. I have unthinkingly looked to my opposite gender for what, past brief tenure of the goddess, they no longer have to give, namely, my being and becoming--what I am and therefore am to do.
General elements in these two overall projections have included: affirmation of my desires, my thinking, and my actions--what I want, see, and choose to do. Most grandly (and foolishly) I have looked to females to okay my selfing and my sexuality. My passions emerging from self interests (natural inclinations to be and take care of myself) and reproductive urges (to replicate myself) have consistently been submitted for female approval before I could openly accept them myself.
Specific examples of these consistent projections include: looking to females for self care--to feed me, tend to my bodily needs, etc.; to activate my emotions and affirm my ideas--that is, to okay my feelings and to understand my thinking; to give me directions in what-to-do, for instance, around the house, on weekends, where-to-go-out, while traveling, etc.
DUMB THINGS TO KEEP ON DOING
1. Looking for female interest in or understanding of any typically male-type thinking, especially of matters related to gender, sex, or concepts.
2. Letting habits of trying to please females based on what they say or consciously think fake me off from either my own interests or what I have learned about nonsciousness.
3. Falling for stratagems of denial or disinterest that may cloak deeper desires shielded or shaped by memes.
4. Looking for map-like directions from those who are spatially oriented.
5. Mistaking signs of resistance or sounds of judgment for real disinterest or rejection before actually checking them out.
6. Listening to what females say rather than looking at what they do, letting sounds distract me from sights.
7. Using compulsive pleasing to evade challenges of creative wanting.
8. Letting rebellion against obvious attempts at dictation distract or displace awareness of my own desires at the time.
9. Letting my habitual search for understanding in the light of a woman's eyes distract me from clarity of seeing what is in my own mind--that is, evading challenges of standing-under by indulging in easier issues of under-standing.
I am thinking about the relationship between mental and physical stimulation as related to sexual passion. Presently, imagery (pictures in my mind) outweighs bodily touch by about 10 to 1, insofar as my conscious sexuality is concerned. I am perhaps 90-95% more "turned on" by concepts than by contact. With certain images in mind I can become far more aroused than by any type of touch in the absence of images.
Both, of course, are best when harmonized together--when my desire-packed concepts are synchronized with actual contact. Then, in acceptable (to me) circumstances, the tables are turned--that is, physical touch and stimulation of movements can replace images altogether. In those rare moments any images may in fact distract me from rising passions at the time. But there is a progression that commonly begins with images in my mind and only culminates with engulfing tactile stimulation. 90% images/10% touch eventually switches, ideally to 0% images and 100% touch.
What best begins with mostly mind, best ends with all body. My individual self is all important at first, including my psychological quirks as well as personally loaded images; but moving up the scale of passion, self gradually diminishes as I approach the total selflessness of orgasm, that occasional instant when all divisions, including self versus other, vanish in unity-with-the-universe, harmony with Being Itself, an instant of immortality occasioned by the essence of mortality, total transcendence in the midst of fullest immanence.
What is occurring, I think, in this move from all-important images to none-at-all, from stimulating power of notions, the ultimate in embodiment, is a move from Stage 3 of the Creative Process where all power is projected onto images (in this case, sexual ones, e.g., tits and ass) to Stage 5 where power is returned (via decoding at Stage 4) to where it always was in reality (cloaked by habitual projections).
In the rising heat of passion, Stage 4 seems to be bypassed without conscious effort--that is, image powers are apparently decoded without mental effort. But what actually occurs in these common types of sexual experience is more akin to image absorption than actual transcendence, as in true Stage 5 events. One loses false self in participation with personal images or illusions of nursing or returning to the womb rather than becoming real self, which is only possible when images are decoded (Stage 4) allowing transcendence-via-becoming.
What we commonly seek, to avoid the necessity of faith for becoming, is perfection in personal imagery (contact with idolized images) and then, for example, with such a perfect woman, we risk letting go under the power of her apparently granted permissions and blessing. Otherwise, we are predictably "turned off" whenever she fails to live up to our idealized images, e.g., to have bodily flaws or exhibit any sign of judgment or rejection. When a male exists at Stage 3 of the Creative Process, as I have for so much of my life in regard to selfing and sexuality, full presence has been largely dependent on a perfect woman--or at least my illusions of same.
The only other alternative I know is to return to the Creative Process and move on to Stages 4 and 5. Otherwise I remain largely determined by images I must have formed early in life and yet remain moved by whenever I avoid the decoding process.
When my images are truly decoded and their power re-embraced within myself the qualities of another, for example, my images of the way a woman is (how she looks, what she says, does, or thinks) becomes relatively incidental to the quality of my passions. My wisdom and artistry in an immediate relationship (events of encounter) claim more of my attention than any mental concepts. Managing what is to the best of my ability proves to be both more fun and fruitful than imaging what might be.
DANGEROUS MESSAGES TO LITTLE BOYS
I have puzzled at length about my resistance to writing these notions down; I have long thought them. I am beginning to see why: going past thinking, into writing, requires me to more consciously "return to the scene of the crime," to return in awareness to early times in my life when I was confronted with decisions which have so effected my entire life, when I opted out on seeing/being in favor of Mother’s Smile, when I began to not merely fool others, but to fool myself about myself, when, that is, I first began to sin on my own. So, of course, it is difficult to face; it is about confession which may lead to repentance, that is, about being saved now, returning to the kingdom of God/Goddess on earth--what I have preached about for decades.
I evade once more to note another difficult factor in facing these dangerous messages which led to my sacrifices, namely, that they all "make sense," are reasonable, are socially accepted and valued, are functional even for my physical well being, are so obviously practical, that seeing through to their dangers requires also letting go of my allegiance to logic, to sense-making as I have come to know it. In other words, what I am about to try to see "doesn’t make sense," at least on the surface.
Anyway, here goes: in order of how they come to me now, and perhaps in line with their deeper dangers, here are some of the messages of childhood, some articulated by mother and enforced with punishments, but most simply written into the ethos of society so powerfully that no stating was necessary; it would have been redundant to the osmosis of information already acquired. They were messages one would have known simply by growing up in Saline, or, I think, most anywhere else. Even so, I now see some of the subtle dangers for us boys who heard and heeded these social/religious/family directives. Balls, finally, is what they cost.
First, and perhaps most common, practical, sensible, and voiced, were messages that boiled down to: Be careful; don’t take chances; you may get hurt; don’t gamble; that is dangerous; you may fall down, etc., etc. The danger of these messages, as pragmatic as they seem, is that they fly in the face of one of the most essential traits of sperm-bearers, namely, risk-taking. Ova-bearers are well behooved to be careful; but we boys with opposite genetic agendas are equally well advised, to take chances, something I never heard in childhood.
The physical wisdom of this common motherly message is obvious; dangers of staying alive without bodily injury are pervasive--all the way from falling down when first walking, to later crossing a street, to playing with fire, to etc., etc. Even so, this pragmatic physical advice is in opposition to the best of male genetic inclinations, rooted, I suspect, in what is required for successful genetic replication. Being careful, as popularly understood (don’t take risks), is contrary, I think, to what every successful male must finally learn before he can become himself.
A second element of danger, past its aim at primary negation of an ingrained male trait, is that it tends to backfire, to interfere with natural, right brained, nonscious learning. To be conscious of "being careful," as hearing the message requires, takes bodily attention away from challenges of a task at hand where it is most needed, and diverts it to the left brain mental arena, to cortex areas where consciousness exists, rather than keeping it centered at deep brain spaces which give shape to coordination.
For example, if a boy is trying to walk on a curb, to balance himself on a small, straight line path, as male children are inclined to try, all bodily attention is needed for learning the physical skill. But if mother says, "Be careful, you may fall," as is in fact true, a boy who listens is then required to divide his attention between heeding the advice and the challenges of learning to keep balanced at the same time--a double challenge when either one is more than enough, and advice which tends to backfire or become a "self-fulfilling prophecy."
Split-minded thusly, the odds of falling are increased; then, to put icing on the cake, what mother can avoid saying further, "See, I told you to be careful. You need to listen to your mother." What she rarely sees is how, in interests of physical safety which are truly practical, she has set up a situation that undermines a boy's natural learning process (how to balance and coordinate muscles and movements). The boy who listens, as I did, is hindered both in learning bodily coordination at critical times of development as well as not learning how to safely "take risks" and thus prepare for a life needed male trait.
Concurrently, a "good boy" is tempted to learn more about dependency on mother’s advice than on his own internal bodily directives; conversely, a "bad boy," one who rebels and disobeys his mother, is set up to take excessive risks which also invite attention away from bodily learning and into rebelling against "being told what to do." In either case, the boy loses.
Be careful messages, in all their diverse forms, which may be well intended and truly relevant information, are, at least for boys, also extremely dangerous, tempting us to turn away from what I believe to be one of the most critical elements in masculinity itself. It is impossible, I think, to be a "good man" without embracing the innate male inclination/capacity for taking chances--that is, being, literally, a comfortable "risk taker." Since girl's agendas are radically different in regard to reproductive success, these messages may be functional in their feminine training (even if equally dangerous for learning bodily coordination); but not so for boys.
A boy who heeds these common motherly directives in more than an act to please her, that is, one who takes them into himself, into his mode of living, is beginning, I think, the sacrifice of his own balls. Balls are about risk-taking, not about "being-careful." Physical survival certainly calls for massive care-full-ness in many physical arenas; but literal "taking care" in specific movements is to be sharply distinguished from the familiar stance of "being careful" or "not taking risks." The first is essential for living, but the second comes, I conclude, at the cost of a boy’s balls.
This second familiar motherly directive certainly has many components. I focus here on those related to aggression--assertiveness, fighting, getting mad (being angry), overt selfing (actively insisting on getting what one wants), in contrast with the opposite: being peaceful, passive, patient, and non-aggressive. If maleness is anything, it is aggressive. Y chromosomes, though comparatively weak in comparison to X’s, instill a "fighting instinct," an urge to assert, extend, force oneself, take and keep territory, seek diligently to secure "one's own way." A male erection, essential in reproduction, a "hard on," an inclination, nay, the drive, to insert, to "poke it in," to penetrate, to forcibly enter, is both literal and symbolic of male nature.
To be "a man" is, as best I can tell, to be aggressive. It is this inherent trait of masculinity, Y induced I conclude, which is so at risk in the face of directives about "being nice." We good boys err in trying to incorporate its opposite; bad boys err in converse ways, namely, by exaggerating its power and ignoring legitimate elements in "niceness."
Passivity--waiting, being patient, non-aggression, "niceness," is indeed relevant in feminine agendas. Beginning at the ovum level: waiting for sperm is an ovum's only real possibility; just as aggressively trying to "get there" is a sperm’s only chance for survival, so it is with most other successful female and male stances. Femininity is best served in nearly all arenas by "being nice" ("sugar and spice and all things nice"); but masculinity loses in most all regards past mother's approval when it fades into "niceness," giving up tendencies toward aggression.
Along with risk-taking, aggression is perhaps the most natural, ingrained, and essential characteristic of successful masculinity. A boy who sacrifices his contact, his self-identification, with this aspect of maleness, is certainly beginning the process of castration. The danger of the be nice messages ("Don't fight," "Don't cause trouble," "Don't make waves," "Don't be selfish," "Don't hurt anything," etc.) is that a boy cut himself off from this primal male characteristic in quest of pleasing mother or fitting in with social groups which are indeed disrupted by any form of conflict.
This socially useful and family functional message in all its diverse forms can be extremely dangerous for a growing boy on the way to manhood. To fit in with most social circumstances he must learn to "act nice"; but if he also comes to "be nice" he cuts himself off from an essential aspect of who, I think, all males are.
This spin off from "be nice" is dangerous for males (though practical for females) because it reflects on the male urge to compete rather than cooperate, to win the sperm race rather than "being nice" to competing sperm, including those who bear them. Fighting, which is certainly disruptive for peaceful circumstances and is therefore a negative social as well as female value in other than war times, is but a necessary part of competing at its boundaries, when other tactics fail.
For sperm-bearers, being #1 is the only thing that counts, since all other sperm except the "winning" impregnating one die soon thereafter. For males the genetic situation is not a "win-win" game, as females like to seek; rather it is "winner take all." Only one can win within the male genetic game--and then later in competing for territories, for keeping our females, for remaining Number Uno.
Females, in sharp contrast, are geared for cooperativeness rather than competition, since the ovum that doesn’t cooperate dies just as do the millions of sperm who don't "win" the sperm race. And later, with ova-bearers, the same agenda of cooperating with other females remains a gender virtue as well as a social value in peace times. The point: females be themselves through cooperating; in most circumstances, males don't. Only through being willing to fight and able to win does maleness have a chance of success. Hence, for boys to learn to fight, to practice fighting, and to engage in "tussling" in order to win their place is essential in becoming one's-male-self. Even if the trait is dangerous and disruptive to females as well as society in general, still it remains a critical part of being a genetically good boy.
Whenever a boy succumbs to the female message, "don't fight," an element of his balls is at stake--not simply by "minding his mother," but when he separates his sense of himself from his fighting instincts.
Related to these two male traits, competition and fighting, is the emotion of anger. The biological condition essential for bodily preparation to compete to win is a feeling we have come to call "getting mad," or anger. The "urge to kill," to outdo competition, to destroy an enemy, is usually accompanied by anger. Without such feelings a male may be ill prepared to compete with the diligence often required for success.
Anger or "getting mad" is a normal, evolved emotion accompanying aggression. Successful aggression--winning an ovum, the territory, the "game" of life, is fueled, we might say, by anger. Without this power-filled and power-producing emotion aggression often lacks what is required for the challenges of success.
The point: when a boy falls for the popular female, social, and religious message: "Don't get mad," or, "be nice" and "don't feel that way," then he is at male risk of losing an essential part of his masculine self, his balls, that is.
Physiologically speaking, emotions of anger and fear are but opposite ends of the same emotional spectrum. On one hand one gets angry; on the other he becomes afraid. For male success in most male endeavors, fear, the opposite of anger, is the grandest enemy. Few boy agendas surpass the necessity of overcoming fear or learning to stand fear without running away, on the way to manhood.
With females, where this "don't get mad" message commonly originates, the opposite is the case--that is, femininity is seldom served well by overt anger; and females survive and succeed better when in conscious contact with the emotion of fear, which prepares one for "fleeing" rather than "fighting." A retiring, patient, fearful female is more likely to succeed in female agendas than is an aggressive, impatient, angry one; consequently, that females, for themselves, learn to be afraid rather than mad is reasonable.
But not so for males. A boy who falls for the female/social/religious message: DON'T GET MAD, is risking his balls. Of course, controlling anger, using it practically rather than rashly without thought, is another male agenda; but first we need, if we are ever to become real men with balls, to consciously accept and embrace this emotional capacity.
"Cockiness," a good metaphor, implying penis display in displaced forms, is a needed masculine trait. Male power exits primarily in display or show rather than in actual BTU's of energy, either potential or kinetic--that is, masculine dominance is achieved not so much by physical fighting, except in emergencies, as by "showing off." The peacocking phenomenon, "showing off what we have," is biologically functional for males, including us so-called "higher animals," (birds of a different feather) both for successful achieving with other males (getting and keeping resources and territory) and with females also.
Males, to avoid risks of losing a fight, which could include one's life, learn to appraise the strength of other males first by "how they look"--that is, by appearances, displays indicative of actual prowess. Lower male animals rarely kill each other, but rather maintain their spaces by various displays of power. Likewise have lower female animals learned to appraise male endowments (powers and resources for security-provision) by male displays. Consequently, males who succeed, either with other males or with females, learn the arts of peacocking, of "showing off" wisely (their strengths with males, their strengths and resources with females).
Certainly discretion is required for artful display rather than unwise revelations. Too much "cockiness" backfires; too little invites attack or rejection, both with other males and with females; but "just enough" is essential for male success, and is, I think, an evolved part of male capacity. We must eventually learn discretion; but first comes cockiness itself-- being able to stand and display oneself, to risk exposure of finer attributes, to be open and "out front."
Femininity, again in sharp contrast, is better served by coyness rather than cockiness, by "dropping the handkerchief" (eyelids, head, etc.,) rather than by "showing off" how well she can pick it up on her own. If an aggressive male wins best by displaying strength, a passive female wins best by displaying weakness; he by overstatement, she, by understatement. He pretends to be more powerful than he probably is; she to be more needy than she actually is.
So far, so good, evolutionally speaking; the system works. But when a boy, succumbing to female values, loses this capacity--that is, conscious contact with the pragmatic masculine trait of displaying himself for purposes of power, then another critical element of his balls is at risk. Again, the danger is not an act of being coy with display, as females do, but truly separating one's-male-self from inclinations to cockiness, cutting one's self off from being capable of "showing off."
"Feelings" of pride and shame are common names (not the spiritual states with the same names) for these two stances. Males, being themselves "feel proud" of their powers and endowments, while female "feelings" are more akin to "shame,"--that is, display of prowess is more like pride, while display of coyness is more like shame.
This message is so socially ingrained, so much a part of current socio/religious structures that it functions as a meme, comparable to a bodily gene. It goes without saying. Beginning with the unwritten and thus unnecessary-to-be-stated incest taboo, there is also an unvoiced message to all boys: "Don't be sexy," at least overtly. However, success of evolved social systems based on repressed sexuality need not prevent looking at personal dangers associated with these memes.
Relevant here is the fact that prevailing socio/religious messages about sex are more functional to femininity than to masculinity. The disparity between the number of male sperm (billions) in any single male and the number of available ova (420?) in a female is indicative of this difference in potential "sexiness" (overt sexuality) between men and women.
The issue, to be literal, is not sexuality itself, but rather its overt or covertness. Evolution has occurred in such a manner that overt male sexiness ("thinking about sex," "doing sexy things,") is, pragmatically speaking, far more essential, a part of "the way things are," than is obvious female sexuality.
In general terms, femininity is best served by coyness about sex as well as most else, by covert sexual behavior, by pretending to be chaste (a virgin), and subject to sexual possession by a single male; but not so for masculinity. Masculine success only comes through "hards"--erections which are obvious, rather than through "softs," receptive genitals; and so with male sexuality in general.
Early sexual messages, made more powerful because they are so ingrained in society as to go relatively unstated in families, are consequently less dangerous for females than for males (given the difference in success by coyness rather than assertiveness). Shame commonly associated with "playing with yourself" (beginning to become personally responsible for sexual satisfactions) is certainly dangerous for both genders insofar as personal salvation is concerned; but more so, I think, for males than for females. Male cockiness in general (outward displays for brokering power) is primally rooted before the metaphor is even possible--that is, in the cock or penis itself.
A man needs, I think, indeed must be able, to be proud rather than ashamed of his penis, including its erectile capacities, before he can become his masculine self. All social messages which invite him to the opposite place, to being ashamed of his male organ, his genitals, of "playing with himself," and certainly of having erections and being overtly sexual in practice, come at risk of losing an essential element of masculinity. The pragmatics of social shame, which can be useful for females as a stance if not a feeling, can be disastrous for maleness which requires bringing sexuality into consciousness before a man can be successful as a male as well as social member.
There is a joke about a mother who opens the bathroom door to find her son masturbating, but quickly retreats, closing the door and saying, "Oh, I thought your were finished." What makes the joke is the near universal unlikelihood of its ever happening. First, what mother has ever affirmed a boy's "playing with himself," let alone consciously respected and participated in supporting masturbating? What a delightfully amusing thought! Mine, and I think, nearly all other son's experiences with sex, certainly with females beginning with mother, are exactly the opposite. Sex, surely any overt sexuality, is cause for hiding, shame, and guilt, not affirmation, support, or pride.
Near universal (as best I can tell) male inferiority feelings about the size of our sexual organs is less about early comparisons with our fathers' penis than about the common suppression of male sexuality itself, beginning with infantile erections and early "playing with ourselves." We may learn quite well, I think, to fit in with repressed society, but often at cost of fitting in with our own genetics.
When a boy succumbs to the siren messages of memes, mothers, or religions to DON'T BE SEXY (don’t "play with yourself," don't be proud of your penis, don't be attracted to your mother or sisters, don't try to touch girls or try to be sexual with them--to don't be cocky, literally, then true manhood becomes an impossibility. The messages may be good for learning social conformity, for training in suppression and denial that make emasculated maleness easy to live out--but still the cost.
"Cleanliness is next to godliness." So goes a familiar social meme and female virtue. Cleanliness, rather than dirtiness, is certainly functional for social groups, for protection of all against wandering germs, and for the intricacies of female hygiene--pragmatic in both conception, pregnancy, and child rearing in general. But not necessarily so for masculinity, either in its necessary competitions, its fighting, its struggles for power, and certainly not for its sexual pursuits. "Dirtiness" in common parlance means more than absence from literal dirt; "getting down and dirty," for instance, means more than "not washing ourselves." The widespread identification of sex and dirty gives the near universally accepted dogma (religious as well as social and female) that clean and godly are nearly synonymous, extremely dangerous implications in regard to maleness.
Most female-type endeavors--from tending to menstrual periods, to dressing oneself, to keeping house, do indeed find cleanliness to be virtuous. But not so with many male-intensive activities. From learning to compete, to fight, to make war--with making love in between, maleness is, when push comes to shove, better served by both "getting dirty" in the "nitty gritty" activities of boys, and by "getting down and dirty" in the overt wonders of making love. When it comes to cleanliness, the old saying needs revision: "cleanliness is next to goddess-hood (female virtue)," but not necessarily identified with good masculinity.
The harder a male strives to "stay clean," the less likely he is to "be male." He may, thereby, achieve mother-approval and female compliments in general; but if "getting down and dirty" goes with coming to be "clean and upright," then a woman is more likely to get a wimp than a real man.
The point: DON'T GET DIRTY may be good social and female advise; but boys are equally well advised to be wary when confronted with the option of absorbing such directives past the surface of clothes and skin. To "wash your hands before eating" and "stay clean" for germ avoidance as well as female compliments is certainly practical for male learning in social groups. But to go the next step and identify cleanliness with male virtue (God) is to risk a critically important masculine attribute, namely, of often getting physically dirty in pursuit of male goals, including "down and dirty" in clean beds.
Or, "Don't sass your mother," or, "Do as I say." "Boys are to be seen and not heard." These messages boil down to: "Don't think for yourself." "Minding your mother" often means "Let your mother do your thinking."
Past muscles and physical strength, man's peculiar type of thinking, of focused mental activity, is often his greatest source of power with others. Males have evolved, perhaps through eons of practice at hunting game for food, the mental capacity for focused thought, for conscious aim-ability. This unique type of thinking requires emotional control and thought exclude-ability.
First, one must cut himself off in some measure from awareness of feelings, primarily of deep brain reactions to threat and danger. The major emotion for this type of self-protection is fear. Perhaps more than all else, males have evolved the capacity to overcome fear, to move in the face of danger without dictation by this primal emotional capacity.
The second requirement of focused thought or aim-ability is the capacity for excluding data that is apparently unrelated to a chosen goal at hand, such as, hunting for game. All sights, sounds, smells--sense data, which does not fit in or support a focused goal is ignored in this type of thinking. It is like train-track mental movement, singleness of vision, going in one direction only, undistracted or diverted by information that is "off track" or "not on the subject" at hand.
Perhaps the statistically smaller corpus callosum in men, the connecting link between right and left hemispheres of the brain, is one result (or the way itself) of male's long history of evolving focused-thought abilities. However it happens, males can generate power through this type of mental functioning which is also called "being reasonable," "logical," or "making sense of things."
In an overall sense it seems to require or at least utilize consciousness more than nonsciousness (unconscious or right brain knowledge). When men are using this particular type of thought ability we are being more conscious of discrete bits of information and less attuned to deeper motivations, such as, emotions and personal desires. Thinking thusly, we can, in effect, forget ourselves and "get lost" in a pursuit at hand.
The downside, obviously (at least to most women, I suspect), is that focused thinking (man's "one-track mind," to women), though power effective, is also very limited in scope. While it is extremely functional for certain types of human endeavors, such as, hunting, tool making, technology, and other goal-focused movements, it is severely limited in an overall sense. In most arenas of life "goals" are less relevant than other immediate issues, such as, relating to other humans, rearing children, and making love versus fucking only.
While caught up in this type of mental activity, one is also less in contact, even less aware, of the wealth of human emotions normally evoked by circumstances of life. Right brain type thinking, dark knowledge acquired through long history, mediated through "feelings," intuition, and the "sixth sense," is largely ignored when a man is devoted to left brain type focused thought.
And of course, as all women know, men face and usually fall for the fallacious notion that logic is better than feeling, that "right thinking" is the kind men do, and that women "hardly think at all." The fact is, I think, that woman's thought power far exceeds, in an overall sense, that of man's. Women can, literally, think circles around the limited mode of man's "logical thinking." The major reason "you can never win an argument with a woman" is not her sexual powers (option of withholding), but rather her expansive mental powers which include logic, but are not so limited; they also include rapid and fuller contact with ancient knowledge now ingrained and mediated through the right brain or so called "feelings."
But the relevant point here is not dangers or limitations of male type focused thinking, or even our long history of erroneously judging it to be "best" or the only kind of "real thinking." Rather it is the natural power that is inherent in its utilization, and the temptation to give it up in quest of Mother's Smile. The simple, common, and socially pragmatic advice of both fathers and mothers, namely, "Don't talk back to me," invites the deeper danger of stopping the kind of thinking which most often leads to "talking back" or stating contrary opinions aloud in the presence of functioning gods and goddesses.
Learning to "be quiet" and hold personal thoughts in private is, of course, immensely pragmatic in learning to become a separate person--a self in the presence of other selves. But the danger to boys is that we fall for the pragmatic advice and nip the risks of "talking back" in the bud of focused thinking--that is, that we sacrifice this type of male power which is a critical part of what I metaphor here as balls. Aimed-thinking, which weighs immediate data logically, excludes "feelings," and ignores apparently contradictory information is, past muscular strength, a primal element in man's power arsenal. In the presence of such directives as DON'T TALK BACK, a boy runs the risk of going the next step in suppressing not only speech, but more dangerously, his capacity for focused thought itself. When so, a major part of his balls go with his acquiescing "good" behavior.
These and many other familiar types of parental advice to boys are obviously practical and needed in essential parental endeavors, such as, maintaining functional family circumstances and supplying physical protection and directions aimed at growing healthy children. Their practicality in these regards is beyond question. At issue here, however, is the often unrecognized danger, particularly to boys, of falling for these messages past the behavior level only--that is, of "taking them to heart," of attempting not merely to act in these ways, but to be in accord with them. This requires a boy to cut off his sense of himself, his identification with critically important masculine capacities, in order to become such a "good boy."
Or, if he takes the opposite course, rebelling rather than giving in, the result is often the same. Caught up in disobeying rather than obeying, being "bad" rather than "good," his energies may be consumed in "acting out" (being dictated in reverse, but still directed by the advice), rather than in acquiescing; but in either case, conscious contact, self-identified awareness with these male capacities, is broken whether by denial or exaggeration. The hen-pecked husband and the macho male, for examples, are equally left ballless, cut off from effective utilization of our limited-to-begin-with masculine options. Our XY disadvantages can ill afford such loses if we are to survive spiritually and live well with women, let alone come to love ourselves and them.
While each of these messages is more fitted for female direction, guiding girls in paths that are indeed generally pragmatic in their extended success in female agendas, their dangers to boys call for serious attention. I have, I realize in retrospect, fallen in various degrees for all of them. The difficulty and resistance I have faced in writing these words has been rooted, I think, in the challenges of becoming conscious and responsible for my own sacrifices made at the altar of female approval.
"According to the creation myth in Hesiod's epic poem Theogony (circa 700 B.C.), Gaia emerged from primeval Chaos, then gave birth to Uranus ("sky"), whom she married. Their monstrous children included the Titans, the Cyclopes, and the 'hundred-handed ones.' When their son Cronus castrated his father, fertile Gaea was impregnated by the spattered blood and give birth to Furies and Giants. Later she produced the monster Typhon. In turn, the Giants and Typhon impiously attacked the immortal gods atop Mt. Olympus." (21 p. 99)
"At the beginning of all things Mother Earth (Gaea) emerged from Chaos and bore her son Uranus as she slept. " (13 p. 31). "Uranus fathered the Titans upon Mother Earth, after he had thrown his rebellious son, the Cyclopes, into Tartarus, a gloomy place in the Underworld...In revenge Mother Earth persuaded the Titans to attack their father; and they did so, led by Cronus, the youngest of the seven, whom she armed with a flint sickle. They surprised Uranus as he slept, and it was with the flint sickle that the merciless Cronus castrated him, grasping his genitals with the left hand and afterwards throwing them and the sickle too, into the sea....But drops of blood flowing from the wound fell upon Mother Earth, and she bore the Three Erinnyes, furies who avenge crimes of parricide and perjury...." (21 p. 37)
"Greek mythology, probably borrowing from earlier Hittite stories, told of Cronus castrating his father Uranus and usurping his position at the suggestion of his mother, the Goddess Gaia. Cronus then feared that his son might do the same to him, thus setting off a series of Greek mythological events in which the son, Zeus, did eventually overthrow his father."
(21 p. 148)
"In ancient Greek myths, Cronus envied the power of his father and the ruler of the universe, Uranus. Uranus drew the enmity of Cronus' mother, Gaia, when he hid the gigantic youngest children of Gaia, the hundred-armed Hecatonchires and one-eyed Cyclopes, in Tartarus, so that they would not see the light. Gaia created a great sickle and gathered together Cronus and his brothers to persuade them to kill Uranus. Only Cronus was willing to do the deed, so Gaia gave him the sickle and placed him in ambush. When Uranus met with Gaia, Cronus attacked Uranus with the sickle by cutting off his genitals, castrating him and casting the severed member into the sea. From the blood (or, by a few accounts, semen) that spilled out from Uranus and fell upon the earth, the Gigantes, Erinyes, and Meliae were produced. From the member that was cast into the sea, Aphrodite later emerged. For this, Uranus threatened vengeance and called his sons titenes ("straining ones") for overstepping their boundaries and daring to commit such an act, and this is the source of the name Titan." (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia on internet)
"According to Apollodorus and Hyginus, he was banished...and wandered as a blind beggar through the cities of Greece until he came to Colonus in Attica, where the Furies hounded him to death. Oedipus's remorseful self-blinding has been interpreted by psychologists to mean castration but...primitive myth is always downright and the castration of Uranus and Attis continued to be recorded unblushingly in Classical textbooks. Oedipus's blinding therefore, reads like a theatrical invention rather than the original myth.. Furies were personifications of conscience, but conscience in a very limited sense: aroused only the breach of a maternal taboo." (13 p. 376)
"Later Oedipus myths, such as, Oedipus at Colonus, try to present some redemption or happy ending, reflecting hope that males (still repressed or self-blinded) will finally be justified, even if only in death as in this later myth." (11 p. 208)
"Sophocles' contemplation of him, with reference to general problems of human suffering, is only half-complete without the sequel which he wrote at the end of his life (406 BC), the Oedipus at Colonus. In this cryptic drama the blinded Oedipus goes to an Athenian sanctuary with the consent of Theseus, and then to an awe-inspiring death, and to heaven."
"Because his sufferings were great, unmerited and untold,
Let some just god relieve him from distress!
I pray you, even Death, offspring of Earth and Hell,
To let the descent be clear
As Oedipus goes down among the ghosts
On those dim fields of underground that all men living fear.
Eternal sleep, let Oedipus sleep well"
"Roots of the myth of Cybele and Attis reach far back into ancient mythology, beginning with the Mater Magna, the Great Mother whose name became Inanna for the Sumerians, Mari-Anna by the Canaanites, Anna by the Sabines, Nanna in northern Europe, and finally Cybele, the Great Mother of the Gods for the Phrygians."
Stone says of the older history: "Though at first the Goddess appears to have reigned alone, at some yet unknown point in time She acquired a son or brother who was also Her lover or consort....The Goddess at first had precedence over the Young-god with whom she was associated as her son or husband or lover....This relationship of the Goddess to Her son, or in certain places to a handsome youth who symbolized the son, was known in Egypt by 3000 BC; it occurred in the earliest literature of Sumer, emerged in later Babylon, Anatolia and Canaan, survived in the classical Greek legend of Aphrodite and Adonis and was even known in pre-Christian Rome as the rituals of Cybele and Attis, possibly there influencing the symbolism and rituals of early Christianity." (24 p.19-20)
Stone also noted "Cybele was always closely identified with the Goddess Rhea, who was known as the mother of Zeus." (24 p. 146)
"In the religion which evolved from this myth, worship of Cybele was guided by priests who likewise castrated themselves and became eunuchs in her service. "What provoked the most attention and awe in this cult was the institution of eunuch priests, the self-castrating galloi." (2 p. 6)
"When Cybele was brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C., Attis accompanied her and was also established in the temple on Vatican hill where they remained for 6 centuries. At first Attis was separated from and subordinated to the Goddess whom the Emperor Augustus regarded as the Supreme Mother of Rome. In time, however, veneration of Attis himself became more popular.
"During ceremonies to celebrate the death and resurrection of Attis, who was in may ways a forerunner and prototype of the later Jesus, priest-initiates castrated themselves in imitation of their castrated god, and also presented their severed genitals to the Goddess. Their male remains were deposited in the sacred cave of the Great Mother." (25 p.78)
Sir James George Frazer, in his famous book on mythology, The Golden Bough, describes one of the later festivals celebrating Cybele and Attis:
"While the flutes played, the drums beat, and the eunuch priests slashed themselves with knives, the religious excitement gradually spread like a wave among the crowd of onlookers, and many a one did that which he little thought to do when he came as a holiday spectator to the festival. For man after man, his veins throbbing with the music, his eyes fascinated by the sight of the streaming blood, flung his garments from him, leaped forth with a shout, and seizing one of the swords which stood ready for the purpose, castrated himself on the spot. Then he ran through the city, holding the bloody pieces in his hand, till he threw them into one of the houses which he passed in his mad career. The household thus honored had to furnish him with a suit of female attire and female ornaments, which he wore for the rest of his life.." (10 p. 406)
Frazer goes on to note: "The worship of the Great Mother of the Gods and her lover or son was very popular under the Roman Empire. Inscriptions prove that the two received divine honors, separately or conjointly, not only in Italy, and especially at Rome, but also in the provinces, particularly in Africa, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and Bulgaria. Their worship survived the establishment of Christianity by Constantine (in 313 A.D.) (10 p. 413)
Graves notes that "an inscription of Jewish origin has been found in Rome: 'To Attis the Most High God who holds the Universe together.'" (13 p.335)
Buffie Johnson's descriptions of the Greek and Roman Mysteries includes The Criobolium. She writes "the cribolium, the sacrifice of a ram to honor the Great Mother and Attis, was analogous to the taurobolium, a bull sacrifice to the Great Mother alone. The purpose of both rites was purification and regeneration. The criobolium deeply influenced Christianity. For Christians, Christ is the lamb that dies for them. Since there is no sign of the existence of such a cult earlier, the criobolium appears to have functioned mainly to promote the rise of the god Attis. Widespread and celebrated, its doctrine of absolution and resurrection laid the ground for Christianity. The spread of the criobolium helped to end the Mother Goddess religion and banished the immemorial intimacy between humans and the goddess, making way for a lamb symbolic of the resurrected Christ." (17 p.204)
"Other Mother Goddesses were: Isis in Egypt, Ashtart in Phoenicia, and Demeter in Greece. In each case she was originally the patroness of productivity but in the course of time her life-giving power was transferred also to the souls of men...There was a mother goddess connected with all the Mystery Religions except Mithraism which was strictly a man's religion. Cybele was the only one to attain state recognition in Rome.
"Tradition reported that the Romans, when hard pressed by Hannibal shortly before the year 200 B.C., officially introduced the worship of Cybele by importing a sacred meteoric stone from Pessinus in Phrygia and installing it with great solemnity in a shrine on the Palitine. Later a temple was reared upon the site where its remains may still be seen. She was known of 'the mother of the gods' and in some respects was teh prototype of the Christian Mary as "the mother of God." (6 p 509)
"Great Mother of the Gods; brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C. Her temple stood on the Vatican, where St.Peter's basilica stands today, up to the 4th century A.D. when Christians took it over. She was one of the leading deities of Rome in the heyday of the mystery cults.
"Other names for Cybele assimilated her to every significant form of the Great Goddess. She was Rhea...Augusta, the Great One; Alma, the Nourishing One; Sanctissima, the Most Holy One. Roman emperors like Augustus, Claudius, and Antoninus Pius regarded her as the supreme deity of the empire. Ausustus established his home facing her temple, and looked upon his wife, the empress Livia Augusta, as an earthly incarnation of her. The emperor Julian wrote an impassioned address to her:
"Who is then the Mother of the Gods? She is the source of the intellectual and creative gods, who in their turn guide the visible gods; she is both the mother and the spouse of mighty Zeus; she came into being next to and together with the great creator. she is in control of every form of life, and the cause of all generation; she easily brings to perfection all things that are; she is the motherless maiden, enthroned at the side of Zeus and in very truth is the Mother of all the Gods." (25 p. 8)
"Cybele is the Latin name of the goddess called by the Greeks Rhea and Ops. She was the wife of Chronos and mother of Zeus" (27 p.76)
"Cybele (also called Rhea) The wife of Cronus and hence mother of the Olympian gods. Her priests were called Corybantes and her rites were celebrated with wild orgies. Sacred to here were the oak, the pine, and the lion. She was usually represented as being drawn in a chariot by lions, with a crown on her head and a small drum or cymbal in her hand." (5 p.63)
"Aphrodite Urania (queen of the mountain) or Erycina (of the heather) was the nymph-goddess of midsummer. She destroyed the sacred king, who mated with her on a mountaintop, as a queen-bee destroys the drone: by tearing out his sexual organs. Hence the heather-loving bees and the red robe in her mountain-top affair with Anchises; hence also the worship of Cybele, the Phrygian Aphrodite of Mount Ida, as a queen-bee, and the ecstatic self-castration of her priests in memory of her lover Attis." (5 p.71)
"The Zeus-Ganymedes myth gained immense popularity in Greece and Rome because it afforded religious justification for grown man's passionate love of a boy. Hitherto, sodomy had been tolerated only as an extreme form of goddess-worship: Cybele's male devotees tried to achieve ecstatic unity with her by emasculating themselves and dressing like women. Thus a sodomistic priesthood was a recognized institution in the Great Goddess's temples at Tyre, Joppa, Hierapolis and at Jerusalem (I Kings 15:12 and 2 Kings 23:7) until just before the Exile. But this new passion...emphasized the victory of patriarchy over matriarchy. It turned Greek philosophy into an intellecturl game that men could play without the assistance of women, now that they had found a new field of homosexual romance. Plato exploited this to the full and used the myth of Ganymedes to justify his own sentimental feelings towards his pupils (Phaedrus 79)....With the spread of Platonic philosophy the hitherto intellectually dominant Greek woman degenerated into an unpaid worker and breeder of children wherever Zeus and Apollo were ruling gods." (5 p. 177)
"Mithra, the ancient god of Persia and India, was a minor deity until about the fifth century B.C.E....migrated to Rome ...by end of first century B.C....most popular sects of the empire and a special favorite of the Roman legions, for whom Mithra was the ideal divine comrade and fighter...Mithraism helped to eradicate worship of the Goddess by superimposing its Mysteries on those of the Goddess...The central story of the religion described Mithra's capture and sacrifice of a sacred bull, from whose body came all good things on earth. The most familiar ritual of the Mithraic Mysteries honoring this event, the sacrifice of the bull...The Sun God, Mithra, acts out the theme of his religion by slaying his own bull-form. The new Bull God was regarded as the originator of the terrestrial life; he sacrifices himself so that life can be renewed...Reversing the tradition that excluded males from the Mysteries in ancient Greece, Mithraism excluded females from participation in its rites. Women were permitted, however, to dedicate themselves to the God by denying themselves sexual pleasure in his honor.
At that time, the goddess temples were thronged with female devotees wh worshiped the Goddess of Many Names...A temple in Rome...the noisy rites of the Mother Goddess Cybele and her lover Attis drew much attention. The oldest Mithraeum was contiguous to the Metroon, the temple of Cybele, in Ostia; there is every reason to believe that the worship of the Iranian god and the Phrygian goddess were performed together through the empire. The name of Cybele's temple stems from the Greek: metra and metro mean "uterus," and meter means "mother."
Cybele's name, in Latin, links her with the labrys and with caves: cybela means "cave" and sybelis stands for double-axe. The cave, magical chamber of childbirth and frequently the site of initiation and oracular divination, is identified from prehistory with the body of the Goddess herself.
"From the third century BCE, the orgies and mutilating rites in the ecstatic cults of Cybele, the Magna Mater, and Attis and Adonis were especially popular in Rome, as well as those of Isis and Osiris and the Mysteries of Mithra. Often, the temples of these gods and goddesses stood side by side. In the West, the Mysteries of Mithra and those of the Great Mother eventually merged, only to give way to Christianity, which was similar in many ways to Mithraism." (17 p. 306)
"Attis accompanied Cybele, brought to Rome from Phrygia in 204 B.C., established in a temple on Vatican hill, where they remained for six centuries. At first Attis was separated from, and subordinated to, the Goddess, whom the emperor Augustus regarded as the Supreme Mother of Rome.
"Attis was a son of the Goddess's earthly incarnation, the virgin Nana, who miraculously conceived him by eating an almond or a pomegranate, yonic symbols both. Thus he was a typical 'boy without a father,' the Virgin's son. He grew up to become a sacrificial victim and Savior, slain to bring salvation to mankind. His body was eaten by his worshipers in the form of bread. He was resurrected as 'The Most High God, who holds the universe together.' His epiphany was announced with the words, 'Hail, Bridegroom, Hail, new Light.' Like his priests he was castrated, then crucified on a pine tree, whence his holy blood poured down to redeem the earth.
"Attis's passion was celebrated on the 25th of March, exactly nine months before the solstitial festival of his birth, the 25th of December. The time of his death was also the time of his conception, or re-conception. To mark the event when Attis entered his mother to beget his reincarnation, his tree-phallus was carried into her sacred cavern. Thus the virgin mother Nana was actually the Goddess herself.
"The day of Attis's death was Black Friday, or the Day of Blood. His image was carried to the temple and bound to the tree, escorted by 'reed-bearers' with reed scepters representing regenerated phalli and new fertility. During the ceremonies, initiates castrated themselves in imitation of the castrated god, and presented their severed genitals to the Goddess along with those of the gelded bull sacrificed... All these male remnants were deposited in the sacred cave of the Great Mother.
"The god dies and was buried. He descended into the underworld. On the third day he rose again from the dead. His worshipers were told: "The god is saved; and for you also will come salvation from your trials." This day was Carnival or Hilaria, also known as the Day of Joy. People danced in the streets and went about in disguise, indulging in horseplay and casual love affairs. This was the Sunday; the god arose in glory as the solar deity of a new season. Christians ever afterward kept Easter Sunday with carnival precession derived from the mysteries of Attis. Like Christ, Attis arose when "the sun makes the day for the first time longer than the night.
"Pagans sometimes celebrated the Hilaria at the end of their Holy Week, bringing it to April 1 and the carnival of the April Fool, or Carnival King, or Prince of Love, all originally synonymous with Attis." (25 p. 77)
"Attis, a Phrygian god of vegetation, the young lover of Cybele. When he deserted the goddess for a NYMPH, Cybele brought madness to him out of jealousy, and he died after castrating himself.
"Cybele was identified with RHEA by the Greeks and with OPS by the Romans. The worship of Cybele spread to Greece and later to Rome and her empire. (15)
"Attis Son of the Lydian supreme god, Manes, and beloved by the Phrygian goddess Cybele. In one version of his legend he was, like Adonis, killed by a boar and in the spring, in an orgiastic ritual, his followers sought him in the mountains. On the third day he was found and the finding was celebrated with wild rejoicing. A more common version is that he fell in love and wished to marry, but Cybele, jealous, drove him mad and he castrated himself beneath a pine tree. The tree received his spirit and violets grew from his blood." (5 p. 37-8)
"...the 'son' is that psychological (or physical) aspect which remains dependent on women for security, acceptance and nurture. The problem for the male is to free himself from fixation at the Oedipal stage or, in later life, from regressing to it...examples of the man freeing himself from the mother are offered in mythology...In one version of the myth of Cybele and Attis, the jealous, vengeful goddess induces delirium in Attis, the son-lover. In a frenzied state, Attis castrates himself and flings his dismembered testicles in the face of the mother goddess. This myth paints a very graphic picture of the necessary sacrifice of the son to make the rebirth of the man possible. Once free of the possessive mother, a man is then able to enter into a mature relationship with a woman." James Hillman
"...and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women...for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest." (Luke 1:27-32 KJV)
"There was a Christian sect founded in the 2nd century A.D. by Montanus (Mountain Man), a priest of Cybele, who identified Attis with Christ. Montanus maintained that women were agents of the Goddess, and could preach and prophesy as well as men. This contradicted the orthodox Pauline sect, which followed St. Paul's rule that women must never speak publicly on holy subjects. During the 4th century, Montanist Christianity was declared a heresy, and many of its adherents were slain. Some Montanists in Asia Minor were locked in their churches and burned alive." (25 p. 202)
Freud: "I do not believe that one supreme great God 'exists' today but I believe that in primeval times that was one person who must needs appear gigantic and who, raised to the status of a deity, returned to the memory of many." (8 p. 166)
"Circumcision is the symbolical substitute of castration, a punishment which the primeval father dealt his sons long ago out of the fullness of his power; and whosoever accepted this symbol showed by so doing that he was ready to submit to the father's will, although it was at the cost of a painful sacrifice." (8 p. 156)
"In the abbreviated development of the human individual the most important events of that process are repeated. Here also it is the parents' authority--essentially that of the all-powerful father, who wields the power of punishment--that demands instinctual renunciation on the part of the child and determines what is allowed and what is forbidden." (8 p 153)
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