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Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

THE BURYING OF FREUD & THE QUEST FOR
SENSUAL IDENTITY

In following the lead of Webster, Tallis reveals in his contra-Freud Lancet essay something more than the academically expectable indictment of Psychoanalysis. What better way to disagree from within a scientific format but to call the object of disagreement "unscientific!" That is par for the course. And I would let the issue drop if that were the sum of it. But Tallis (qua Webster) is getting at something else that perhaps goes beyond a critique of psychoanalytic praxis and falls into a peculiar kind of reductive logic that is liminally confessional.

This point was inferred by Tallis but remained elusive because of the abundance of his less than subtle critical distractions. His real polemic begins, however-- and where my own interest is brought to focus-- in the following. Tallis notes::

"Webster's critique offers a context within which Freud can be placed and a viewpoint from which he can be seen. Webster shows how, despite his biological rhetoric, Freud belongs firmly within a gnostic and Manichean framework, and is imbued with a Judeo-Christian asceticism that would puritanically dispose of the body."

Now, that is an astounding framework within which to locate Freud, more so because both Webster and Tallis seem to be misinformed with regard to the nature of Gnosticism and Manicheanism. Least of all would those religious movements be inclined to "puritanically dispose of the body." Quite to the contrary, much of the symbolism and ritual of Gnosticism was far too sensually and erotically inclined for the early church fathers. And least of all is it true that "Judeo-Christian asceticism" was puritanically imbued. A mere casual notice of Alchemical, Cabbalistic and Zoharic texts would be cause for a puritanical blush, especially for the reformed Jewish and Protestant middle class for whom Freud and his rude sexual notions would be anathema-- and not to mention the heretical excesses of Jewish and Christian mystics.

Accordingly, Tallis and Webster have oddly placed Freud in the right company but for the wrong reasons and the conclusions they draw. But this is perhaps just the point. Could it be said that Freud would have preferred to avert and avoid-- in the sense of abhorrence-- the sensual and erotic adoration by Solomon of his Fair Shulamite? Yet Messrs. Webster and Tallis seem to have a complaint about Freud, especially with regard to the question of sexual largesse and erotic expression. That is quite a complaint to make about the man who took sexuality out of the closet at the dawn of the 20th Century!

Accordingly, they err in such a complaint just as they err in their notions about allegedly body repelled Jewish and Christian mystics. Thus, it must at this point be asked: what is the understanding by Webster and Tallis of the nature of sexuality? Do they share a view that would be foreign to both Freud and perhaps erotically enjoyed " Judaeo-Christian ascetism?" Are they using criteria to judge Freud that is quite remote, if only entertained in their own self-evaluation?

In this respect, if the following paraphrasing of Webster by Tallis is carefully examined a piece of revelation is at hand.

"Freud does 'not so much sexualize the realm of the intellect as intellectualize the realm of the sexual'- by reducing it to abstract categories, and so separating clean mind from dirty body, lifting Man out of Nature by favoring abstraction over incarnation. Webster takes issue with this "doomed and tragic attempt. to reconstitute at the intellectual level a sensual identity which has been crucified at the level of the vital and spontaneous body" and offers the beginnings of an alternative..."

There is apparently a choice and an option here between sexualizing the realm of the intellect and intellectualizing the realm of the sexual. That would amount to a choice of chronic autoerotic indulgence (sexualized intellect) as against intellectualizing the realm of the sexual as a means of practiced avoidance of sexual contact with another person. The latter would be achieved by "separating clean mind from dirty body" and no doubt the former, by separating dirty mind from clean body. In such quaint terms hardly a mention of the dynamics of suppression and repression! In either case sexual-identity would be confined to gender singularity.

The demon here would be "reduction to abstract categories." Why? Because it fails to lift "Man out of Nature by favoring abstraction over incarnation?" Again, (the process of) "abstraction" is polarized to "incarnation," just as "clean mind" is polarized to "dirty body" (or vice versa), and all of which indicate that intellect and sexuality are poised as a *coincidentum oppositorum* and no doubt at war with each other.

But this is not to forget that other critical pair of opposites, male and female. The oppositions, apparently, fall into line according to gender; i.e., "Intellect," "abstraction," "mind," as male; and "sexuality," "body," "incarnation," as female-- and with "clean" or "dirty" as arbitrary predicates. But for all this nominalistic cosmologizing, curiously attributed to Freud, the authors find it as an impediment to what they propose as a supraordinate goal-- the recovery of "sensual identity." And this sensual identity is apparently distinct from any question of sexual or gender identity.

Because of the efforts of Freud, in league with "Judaeo-Christian ascetism," such sensual identity is lost of its proper predication "at the level of the vital and spontaneous body." In other words, at the fundamental and radix level of body there is apparently no-- not at least for Webster and Tallis-- association of sensual identity with gender identity. Sexuality neutered and generalized (intellectualized and abstracted!) as sensuality allows heterosexual necessity conveniently abolished.

Is this to say Eros for Eros' (autoerotic) sake, *homo qua homo?* Would this amount to a New Age "Unisex" manifesto and which would presumptuously presuppose what is the expression of the "spontaneous body?" But wait! No sooner presuppose the prefigured spontaneity of the body than do as much for all of evolution! Aye, then call in Darwin as *deus ex machina!*

But indeed, this would be a momentous proposal if l the "spontaneous body" along with mammalian evolution is found to be asexually predisposed, gender difference notwithstanding. Accordingly, such redirection of the spontaneous body would require an equally spontaneous (and momentous) phenotypic evolutionary act on the part of the human specie! The wishfully hoped for rescue of the sensual identity thus begs for a miracle that, no less, "offers the beginnings of an alternative, Darwinian, framework for understanding humanity. This latter is a marvelous challenge to people, including myself, for whom neo-Darwinian thought spectacularly fails to account for the distinctive features of humankind." But does this Darwinian alternative harbor a mootly inferred sexual alternative masked as "sensual identity?"

How stupendous that such distinctive features are not only prefigured as evolutionary possibilities but already designed and accounted for by Webster and Tallis except that somehow Dr. Freud, Jewish and Christian mystics along with Humpty dumpty and all the Queen's men stand in their way. No doubt Darwin would shake hands with Freud on this one!

In conclusion an advisory is in order; to the effect that the "marvelous challenge" for justifying a particular sensual lifestyle need not be contingent upon the deconstruction of Freud (or any other apparent obstacle).

Bernard X. Bovasso


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Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

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 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |

Burying Freud

[ Burying Freud Homepage | Freud's Seduction Theory Homepage ]

THE BURYING OF FREUD & THE QUEST FOR
SENSUAL IDENTITY

In following the lead of Webster, Tallis reveals in his contra-Freud Lancet essay something more than the academically expectable indictment of Psychoanalysis. What better way to disagree from within a scientific format but to call the object of disagreement "unscientific!" That is par for the course. And I would let the issue drop if that were the sum of it. But Tallis (qua Webster) is getting at something else that perhaps goes beyond a critique of psychoanalytic praxis and falls into a peculiar kind of reductive logic that is liminally confessional.

This point was inferred by Tallis but remained elusive because of the abundance of his less than subtle critical distractions. His real polemic begins, however-- and where my own interest is brought to focus-- in the following. Tallis notes::

"Webster's critique offers a context within which Freud can be placed and a viewpoint from which he can be seen. Webster shows how, despite his biological rhetoric, Freud belongs firmly within a gnostic and Manichean framework, and is imbued with a Judeo-Christian asceticism that would puritanically dispose of the body."

Now, that is an astounding framework within which to locate Freud, more so because both Webster and Tallis seem to be misinformed with regard to the nature of Gnosticism and Manicheanism. Least of all would those religious movements be inclined to "puritanically dispose of the body." Quite to the contrary, much of the symbolism and ritual of Gnosticism was far too sensually and erotically inclined for the early church fathers. And least of all is it true that "Judeo-Christian asceticism" was puritanically imbued. A mere casual notice of Alchemical, Cabbalistic and Zoharic texts would be cause for a puritanical blush, especially for the reformed Jewish and Protestant middle class for whom Freud and his rude sexual notions would be anathema-- and not to mention the heretical excesses of Jewish and Christian mystics.

Accordingly, Tallis and Webster have oddly placed Freud in the right company but for the wrong reasons and the conclusions they draw. But this is perhaps just the point. Could it be said that Freud would have preferred to avert and avoid-- in the sense of abhorrence-- the sensual and erotic adoration by Solomon of his Fair Shulamite? Yet Messrs. Webster and Tallis seem to have a complaint about Freud, especially with regard to the question of sexual largesse and erotic expression. That is quite a complaint to make about the man who took sexuality out of the closet at the dawn of the 20th Century!

Accordingly, they err in such a complaint just as they err in their notions about allegedly body repelled Jewish and Christian mystics. Thus, it must at this point be asked: what is the understanding by Webster and Tallis of the nature of sexuality? Do they share a view that would be foreign to both Freud and perhaps erotically enjoyed " Judaeo-Christian ascetism?" Are they using criteria to judge Freud that is quite remote, if only entertained in their own self-evaluation?

In this respect, if the following paraphrasing of Webster by Tallis is carefully examined a piece of revelation is at hand.

"Freud does 'not so much sexualize the realm of the intellect as intellectualize the realm of the sexual'- by reducing it to abstract categories, and so separating clean mind from dirty body, lifting Man out of Nature by favoring abstraction over incarnation. Webster takes issue with this "doomed and tragic attempt. to reconstitute at the intellectual level a sensual identity which has been crucified at the level of the vital and spontaneous body" and offers the beginnings of an alternative..."

There is apparently a choice and an option here between sexualizing the realm of the intellect and intellectualizing the realm of the sexual. That would amount to a choice of chronic autoerotic indulgence (sexualized intellect) as against intellectualizing the realm of the sexual as a means of practiced avoidance of sexual contact with another person. The latter would be achieved by "separating clean mind from dirty body" and no doubt the former, by separating dirty mind from clean body. In such quaint terms hardly a mention of the dynamics of suppression and repression! In either case sexual-identity would be confined to gender singularity.

The demon here would be "reduction to abstract categories." Why? Because it fails to lift "Man out of Nature by favoring abstraction over incarnation?" Again, (the process of) "abstraction" is polarized to "incarnation," just as "clean mind" is polarized to "dirty body" (or vice versa), and all of which indicate that intellect and sexuality are poised as a *coincidentum oppositorum* and no doubt at war with each other.

But this is not to forget that other critical pair of opposites, male and female. The oppositions, apparently, fall into line according to gender; i.e., "Intellect," "abstraction," "mind," as male; and "sexuality," "body," "incarnation," as female-- and with "clean" or "dirty" as arbitrary predicates. But for all this nominalistic cosmologizing, curiously attributed to Freud, the authors find it as an impediment to what they propose as a supraordinate goal-- the recovery of "sensual identity." And this sensual identity is apparently distinct from any question of sexual or gender identity.

Because of the efforts of Freud, in league with "Judaeo-Christian ascetism," such sensual identity is lost of its proper predication "at the level of the vital and spontaneous body." In other words, at the fundamental and radix level of body there is apparently no-- not at least for Webster and Tallis-- association of sensual identity with gender identity. Sexuality neutered and generalized (intellectualized and abstracted!) as sensuality allows heterosexual necessity conveniently abolished.

Is this to say Eros for Eros' (autoerotic) sake, *homo qua homo?* Would this amount to a New Age "Unisex" manifesto and which would presumptuously presuppose what is the expression of the "spontaneous body?" But wait! No sooner presuppose the prefigured spontaneity of the body than do as much for all of evolution! Aye, then call in Darwin as *deus ex machina!*

But indeed, this would be a momentous proposal if l the "spontaneous body" along with mammalian evolution is found to be asexually predisposed, gender difference notwithstanding. Accordingly, such redirection of the spontaneous body would require an equally spontaneous (and momentous) phenotypic evolutionary act on the part of the human specie! The wishfully hoped for rescue of the sensual identity thus begs for a miracle that, no less, "offers the beginnings of an alternative, Darwinian, framework for understanding humanity. This latter is a marvelous challenge to people, including myself, for whom neo-Darwinian thought spectacularly fails to account for the distinctive features of humankind." But does this Darwinian alternative harbor a mootly inferred sexual alternative masked as "sensual identity?"

How stupendous that such distinctive features are not only prefigured as evolutionary possibilities but already designed and accounted for by Webster and Tallis except that somehow Dr. Freud, Jewish and Christian mystics along with Humpty dumpty and all the Queen's men stand in their way. No doubt Darwin would shake hands with Freud on this one!

In conclusion an advisory is in order; to the effect that the "marvelous challenge" for justifying a particular sensual lifestyle need not be contingent upon the deconstruction of Freud (or any other apparent obstacle).

Bernard X. Bovasso


human-nature.com
Ian Pitchford and Robert M. Young - Last updated: 28 May, 2005 02:29 PM

US -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.com logo

UK -
 Search:
Keywords:  

Amazon.co.uk logo

 | Human Nature | The Human Nature Daily Review | Psychiatry Research Online |