Friday, May 31, 2013

Umpired Umbathy, Pathic and Pathological, Part XI

“ To have a soul separate from the body is to have a body separate from other bodies. The soul is individual, and the individual is separate. The trauma is separation, the nucleus of the separate, individual soul. There is no trauma without a split in the self: part of the self regresses to the time before the trauma; stays behind, with the mother, in the womb; a self-encapsulation in a dream-womb. Out of separation not accepted comes a delusion of separation, the dream or fantasy of being himself both mother and child. He makes himself independent of the mother by making himself his own mother. The self is formed like a nation, by a declaration of independence, a split from mother or the mother country, and a split in oneself into both mother and child, so as to be self-sufficing. An independent sovereignty, a private corporation, a person, is made by self-splitting ( schizophrenia ) and involution ( introversion ).

In a dream, in fantasy, in unconscious fantasy he makes himself both child and mother; or rather, child in the mother; little one ( manikin ) in the mother; penis in the womb. Genital organization is the dream of uterine regression, of return to the maternal womb; a fantasy, a make-believe game, a play, a drama, acted out by the genital. “ Every human being can and does enact with his own body the double role of the child and the mother.” Ferenczi, Thalassa, 23.

If we now survey the evolution of sexxuality from the thumb-sucking of the infant through the self-love of penital onanism to the heterosexual act of coitus, and keep in mind the complicated identifications of the ego with the penis and with the sexual secretion, we arrive at the conclusion that the purpose of this whole evolution, therefore the purpose likewise of the sex act, can be none other than an attempt on the part of the ego—an attempt at the beginning clumsy and fumbling, then more consciously purposive, and finally in part successful—to return to the mother’s womb, where there is no such painful disharmony between ego and environment as characterizes existence in the external world. The sex act achieves this transitory regression in a threefold manner: the whole organism attains this goal by purely hallucinatory means, somewhat as in sleep; the penis, with which the organism as a whole has identified itself, attains it partially or symbolically; while only the sexual secretion possesses the prerogative, as representative of the ego and its narcissistic double, the genital, of attaining in reality to the womb of the mother.  Ferenczi, Thalassa, 18.

The body, like the body politic, is a theater; everything is symbolic, everything including the sexual act. The principal part is a public person taking the part of the community as a whole: persona publica totius communitatis gerens vicem. The function of the representative organ is to impersonate, incarnate, incorporate in his own body the body politic.  Incorporation is the establishment of a theater ( public); the body of spectators depend on the performance for their existence as one body. Gierke, Political Theories of the Middle Age, 163. Cf. Roheim, Animism, 322.

Both politics and sex are theater; sex, said Talleyrand, is le theatre des pauvres. The penis is an actor; it does not actually attain regression in the maternal womb, it enacts the regression “partially or symbolically.” The rest of the body “ takes part in the regression hallucinatorily,” as spectators, passively identifying with the action of their representative, their prince or principal part, the leading man. The penis is the head of the body, the band of brothers: the rest of the body is to the penis as chorus to tragic hero, hypocritically and from a safe distance enjoying the thrill of being spectators at their own execution. The act of coitus is reminiscent of these melodramas in which, while there are of course dark clouds threatening all kinds of destruction, just as in real tragedy, ther is always the feeling that ‘everything will turn out all right.’” Talleyrand cited in Reik, Masochism in Modern Man, 296. Ferenczi, Thalassa, 42; cf. 40-41, 43.

-- Norman O. Brown, Love’s Body, copyright 1966, Random House, New York. 130-132.


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