Friday, April 18, 2008

Father Knows Breast, or The Story of Adam & Evolution

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body. --A Yale Woman

Luckily, there are always enough women who respect themselves as women to serve as models for those who do not.... Clearly, a society's attitudes toward women and toward maternity will deeply influence its psychological health and all its other institutional attitudes. --Weston LaBarre, The Human Animal

Let's discuss one of my favorite subjects, the ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman's body. Being that you can't be with me here in the liberatoreum, I must attempt to convey my views with mere words, instead of performing a little interpretive dance involving cow entrails and a bucket of blood. As you know, that would eliminate any ambiguity.

The first thought that occurs to me is that leftism is neither scientific nor religious, so that it naturally results in ambiguity -- which is just a fancy word for confusion -- about the form and function of the human body, indeed, about the very purpose of human existence. It is how and why one is reduced to being a "performance artist" to begin with. Suffice it to say, there are no conservative performance artists. For there is no confusion at all on the scientific level, nor is there confusion on the religious; the tricky part is harmonizing these two, which is the very purpose of the latter, esoterically understood, i.e., the conjunctio oppositorum of male and female.

Let's start with some psychoanalytic observations that are sure to bring some very surprised and disappointed google searchers to this site. As I discussed in the Coonifesto, the human being is intrinsically trimorphic, consisting of the three-in-one entity of father-mother-baby. Let's forget for the moment the question of whether these represent archetypal religious categories, and speak purely in terms of evolutionary psychology. The fact is, none of these three -- father, mother, baby -- could have evolved in the absence of the other two. As LaBarre put it, the "functional togetherness of individuals is the essence of human nature; it is openly visible in the very physiques of women, children, and men."

For example, the helpless baby -- whose neoteny and neurological plasticity are the very gateway to humanness -- is only made possible by the full attention of the mother, who is in turn only made possible by the protection of the father. In this regard, both the baby and the father have diverse "claims" on the mother's body. From a psychoanalytic standpoint, you could say that the breast belongs to the baby, while the vagina belongs to the father.

LaBarre explains: "No wild animal has a permanent breast. The female in Homo sapiens possesses such a specialization alone of all the mammals -- with the exception of the domesticated milch animals which are man's own creation long after the fact of his humanity. This anatomical feature in humans, however, is more than a mere 'domesticated' trait and certainly more than a merely cosmetic creation of sexual selection. It is, rather, one of the causes of human domestication itself, in a complex chain of mutually related factors." But the baby is again key, as the greater closeness and intimacy of the mother-infant bond has later profound effects on our desire and ability to bond with the opposite sex and recreate that kind of physical-emotional intimacy.

Let's pause here for a moment, and think about all the weird google searches that are going to end up here. But in a logoistic cosmos, the world is made of language, and the human body is no exception. And what is the message of the human body (restricting ourselves for the moment to science)? It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. I can't remember the psychoanalytic theorist who discusses this, nor does it really matter, but it is a kind of narcissism to presume that one's genitals belong to oneself, so to speak. Rather, penis "belongs" to vagina, and vice versa. The one is obviously unthinkable in the absence of the other; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim.

I believe that this is the "spirit" of the truth which the Biblical injunction condemning onanism (and homosexuality, for that matter) is really about, for it violates God's belief that it is not good for man to be alone (or with a narcissistic image of himself). As LaBarre explains, one of the "wrong messages" one may internalize from a dysfunctional childhood is that "there is no love to be had in another's body, and his only pleasure resources are in his own body and his own mind; he is not taught by love of the Other, the not-self that lies outside his own organic skin." Thus, the real injunction is against a self-sufficiency that forecloses the space where love and knowledge (not to mention religion) occur. The same thing would apply to alcoholism, or food addiction, or any other activity that encloses us in vice instead of versa.

LaBarre writes that "the permanent human breast and heightened sexuality evidence a persistent and organically rooted inter-individual interest in other persons." In other words, our intrinsic intersubjectivity -- which is what marks us as human -- rests upon a foundation of interobjectivity, of bodily need for the complementary other. In this regard, the importance of father cannot be overemphasized, and more generally, the trimorphic situation that made the emergence of the human being possible. For humanness could never have developed in a diadic, much less monadic, situation. Obviously this is a fruitful area for theological speculation as well, but we will defer that discussion for now.

What LaBarre means is that the female was able to specialize in motherhood only by "luring" the male with year round sexual availability (i.e., the loss of estrus). So you could say that the human female was the "domesticate" of the male; or, you could say that the human female was clever enough to trick the human male into imagining that she was his domesticate. Or, you could say that the helpless baby was cleverest of all, ensuring his own survival by coaxing intersubjectivity and monogamy out of proto-human apes.

But the story obviously didn't end there. As LaBarre explains, once the trimorphic situation was in place, human beings were subjectively "plugged in" to one another in an entirely novel way that allowed us to transcend Darwinian evolution in an upward spiral. "The real evolutionary unit now is not man's mere body; it is 'all - mankind's - brains - together - with - all - the - extrabodily - materials - that - come - under - the - manipulation - of - their - hands."

Here I should point out that the emergence of the human hand was obviously another necessary condition for the emergence of humanness, as its infinite uses emancipated man into the world of abstraction (for example, many evolutionary psychologists believe that human language first began as sign language, which would explain why the language center is in the left brain, as it controls the right hand).

LaBarre notes that "It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women." In this regard, we can see how the sort of contemporary feminism embraced by an Aliza Shvarts is simply a pathological image of the "patriarchy" it presumes to overturn. In reality, it does not advance the cause of women, but undermines the very possibility being one, Shvarts herself being a fine example. She represents a cutting edge that cuts downward:

"... [W]e reward those that discover, as Shvarts has, new and ever more deeply depraved, depths. And don't think this little episode of glorifying multiple spontaneous abortions is the end. I often think 'Surely, we've reached the bottom.' And just as often I am reminded, as I am by the depraved Ms. Shvarts, that there really is no bottom.... I'm predicting, and I won't be wrong, that her 'show' will be attended by throngs and a major gallery in New York will sign her. Few of the people involved will have children. Childless and soulless are the hallmarks of that tribe. Such is the nature of the parasites we've allowed to infest us" (Vanderleun, emphasis mine).

In attacking the very foundation of society, radical feminism drags down men and babies with it, and then wonders why everything is so "ambiguous." Once you determine that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle, you are only one step away from the human jungle from which we emerged. Babies don't need mothers, boys don't need to be husbands or fathers, and -- pardon my Greek -- penises might just as well refer to anuses as vaginas.

I had wanted to get into the religious angle of all this, but that will have to await the next post.

The human female is in every significant respect exuberantly more mammalian than any other mammal. Among mammalian infants, the human infant is as extravagantly infantile as they come. And among male animals, the human male is too without a doubt the best mammal in the business. In these [evolutionary] circumstances, with father come home to stay, it is clearly the inescapable predicament of Homo sapiens to become human. --Weston LaBarre

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The end result (or one result anyway) of these kind of "performance art" hoaxes is to further degrade public trust. "I won't get fooled again" as it were.

But some deviant will find some hidden zone of whatever shred of humanity and trust remains and exploit it for their own narcissistic gain. This was something, even in my unabashed lefty days, I could never stomach.

I'm sure the "artist" is quite satisfied with herself...the only "art" manifested here is the art of media manipulation. Hooray for us!

4/18/2008 10:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

That it took a "performance artist" to break up the Beatles is a parable for all time....

4/18/2008 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Let's pause here for a moment, and think about all the weird google searches that are going to end up here. But in a logoistic cosmos, the world is made of language, and the human body is no exception. And what is the message of the human body (restricting ourselves for the moment to science)? It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. I can't remember the psychoanalytic theorist who discusses this, nor does it really matter, but it is a kind of narcissism to presume that one's genitals belong to oneself, so to speak. Rather, penis "belongs" to vagina, and vice versa. The one is obviously unthinkable in the absence of the other; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim.

Oh ****, Bob brought out the big guns today.

Apropos to this topic, the 'GLBT...' group at our campus invited all of the religious groups to have a talk about 'gay people in your faith'. Naturally, all of the Christian groups failed to attend except for the Orthodox, and for everyone else we had someone from the neo-pagans and two ultra-liberal Jews.

It was interesting to be in the 'presence of taxpayers and sinners' kind of thing; or was it pharisees? Anyway - we couldn't speak plain truth, because we would lose our hearing. So we had to NOT lie while NOT offending the most PC people we'd ever met. Needless to say, 'Opinions' were wrong, things couldn't be called 'gross', (unless there were 144 of them, I guess) nor was it okay to talk about anything that wasn't supportive of Gay people.

I didn't say hardly a word (as my tongue is oft too sharp) and left it to our staff worker (a good friend of mine.) He has an amazing talent for soft diplomacy.

Nonetheless, this excellent post would be like water on witches for them. Whew.

4/18/2008 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

Er, no offense to my Christian bros & sisses, it's just that the Newman club is not active in that way. IV doesn't represent a church and the other ministries (Baptist student, Episcopal, etc) have limited time so they don't go to random events like this.

4/18/2008 11:11:00 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

Man, you are fast!

I think you quoted that before I wrote it.

4/18/2008 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Petey said...

Intersubjectivity, baby. You think, therefore I am.

4/18/2008 11:48:00 AM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Someone in the previous post left a comment to the effect that I am arguing for some sort of biological determinism. To the contrary, I am arguing that the divine archetypes manifest in sociobiology (something that will become clearer in a subsequent post). This post has nothing whatsoever to do with arguing that men or women are not free to make this or that choice. However, most people eventually discover that there are archetypal (or "genetic," if you like) realities that are bigger than they are, and that ignoring them brings pain.

4/18/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Anonymous dilys said...

Not determinism or essentialism. Using things, created things, for their rightful purposes (or not deviating darkly from that standard) is probably the sine qua non of beauty and sanity. For an intellectual, emotional, and moral challenge, think deeply and humbly about "rightful purposes." No bourgeois boredom in that-there endless task.

Poor thing, when she wakes up, if ever, in what decent company can she lift up her head? Of such is endless repentance. Which the Orthodox know we are all called toward, but few are so self-embarrassed by this horrible a public combination of fatuity and evil.

Certainly a poster child for what is wrong with the times. But the evidence of a human tragedy is inescapable.

4/18/2008 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Everyone should check out Roger Kimball's take as well, YALE, ABORTION, AND THE LIMITS OF ART.

4/18/2008 01:02:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

And Taranto

4/18/2008 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, heck...now I'm kinda confused. If it turns out she was making an *anti* abortion "statement" would that change anything/everything?

I have to admit to a very visceral repugnance when I first read the description of what she did...

4/18/2008 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger River Cocytus said...

It would still be messed up even if it were merely a political statement against abortion and not masquerading as art.

4/18/2008 01:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, the whole thing just rings loudly of dysfunction...I agree.

4/18/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. ...
it is a kind of narcissism to presume that one's genitals belong to oneself...


Bob,

Can you expound on this? I feel the truth in it but I can't quite wrap my head around it.

This one is obviously unthinkable in the absence of the other; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite.

This statement has profound implications. I never really understood how sex could be in any way spiritual besides in the usual carnal pagan ways.

As LaBarre explains, one of the "wrong messages" one may internalize from a dysfunctional childhood is that "there is no love to be had in another's body, and his only pleasure resources are in his own body and his own mind; he is not taught by love of the Other, the not-self that lies outside his own organic skin." Thus, the real injunction is against a self-sufficiency that forecloses the space where love and knowledge (not to mention religion) occur.

Well this would explain my lack of a love life. Anyway to get pass this?

4/18/2008 02:03:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

James:

If I recall correctly, this book does a pretty good job of explaining it in lay terms: Mapping the Terrain of the Heart: Passion, Tenderness, and the Capacity to Love. (It's been about 15 years since I read it, so I can't absolutely vouch for it.)

4/18/2008 02:17:00 PM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Excellent post, Bob.

This may seem off topic…well…not to me. Hopefully not too inappropriate a diversion considering current events. But it’s Friday and I need something a little less heavy.

Have you Coons seen that somewhat new video game called guitar hero? Believe it or not I was reminded of it twice now by this and yesterday’s post. Something about it bothered me the first time I saw it. As if what passes for music today is not bad enough you can now get points for pretending to make some. It’s at least masturbation, I think. There is no other “person” you are making it for. Not for their enjoyment anyway – instead you’re beating them over the head with your fakery. For what good reason I can’t tell. On a certain level it may be no different than most other video games I suppose. At least with karaoke you are trying to entertain someone else…I think. “Battle of the bands” is nothing new and at least actual musicians competing against each other. But now music is dragged into a fight like some sort of kick ball or rather a little girl’s stolen doll kept out of her reach by bullies. It just isn’t right. It can’t be inspiring young minds to go out and learn an instrument or to know what music is good for. It seems only to be providing a way to indulge only the bad aspects of what passes with music today and that shouldn’t be there to begin with. What bothers me most may be how popular it is.

Other Coons agree or change my mind?
Maybe I'll order a beer with my hell and a hand basket...

4/18/2008 03:26:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

Thanks Bob.

4/18/2008 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

South Park's take on Guitar Hero. (With the usual caveats about South Park; something in any episode is guaranteed to deeply offend most people, but the first couple of minutes are relevant to the Guitar hero mindset you mention, Rick).

4/18/2008 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

A fine post, Bob!

You wrote,
"The one is obviously unthinkable in the absence of the other; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim.

"I believe that this is the "spirit" of the truth which the Biblical injunction condemning onanism (and homosexuality, for that matter) is really about, for it violates God's belief that it is not good for man to be alone (or with a narcissistic image of himself)."

That's the most truthful and coherent explanation of the subjects I've ever run across.

I found that by mid-morning, the whole subject of the "art" project had the effect of draining my brain, just by exposure to it, and the resulting discussion in the media. Very similar to how I'd feel wandering around a mall for several hours -- ergh! So her art produced an on-going response, even long-distance -- a lousy one, in my case -- but then, her art was lousy.

On the other hand, your discussion really elevated the entire subject, and I've mulled and pondered it all day. Thanks for the upliftenment!

4/18/2008 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

"It is that the body is not made for oneself, but for the other. "

That sets the deep cathedral bell to thrumming.

It casts some sense upon... though on a lighter level of application... it seems something similar to that realization that you've progressed from the immature pleasure dater to the person who is in love - where you know that something's changed, that you no longer are there for you, in that astonishing moment when you realize that you've forgotten to seek after your pleasure, and instead are seeking to make her happy, and through her smile you are startled to find your own happiness... your happiness has become a pleasant byproduct of your new goal of making her happy.

And then the next level of staring into your babies eyes, and realize that you both are there for that child... and though the thrilling moment-to-moment happiness perhaps loses some of its glitter, but gains depth and solidity as both of your purposes are found twining through that child... and again coming back more profoundly, and unlooked for, into you both... all.

4/18/2008 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky,
I've mostly got to agree with you on the Guitar Hero... especially on playing it - once, and probably not again - that the points are not scored on the musical beat, but the syncing of the visual cues and 'trigger'... you can't play the game 'song' as the song should be played - it's less musical than a metronome. The kids thought for sure they finally had a way of getting me to play video games, and were startled to find that I disliked it more than their regular games (afraid I'll probably break down when that Wii comes out with the actual Lightsaber fighting 'Star Wars' game though – I’ll have to buy a Wii then 'that way leads to the darrrk side!!!").

But again, my initial distrust and dislike of the game(s) in mind... my oldest started playing guitar again, and learning the drums too... only after he and his friends began playing that wretched game... and he's kept at it, even taking direction from his younger brother who is a Natural musician. There's more going on in the kids heads... the game gets more going on in the kids heads... than we are realizing yet... and believe me, its taken nearly a decade to drag that admission out of me. I won't go so far as to say that there isn't bad, or potentially bad, probably depending on many other intersecting factors such as how, why, and relative importance it is allowed to take in their lives... but I can't flat out condemn them anymore.

But I’ll keep on trying.

4/18/2008 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Its funny, you know, coming here a couple times a day...OK, a dozen times...and having nothing to contribute - particularly when Bob is expounding upon a subject so near and dear to my heart - fathers, that is. Anyway, most excellent post today, Bob! Cheerio!

(I may have just finished watching some period piece where everyone talks funny.)

gtfpjz - very disagreeable, wv, I must say.

4/18/2008 10:25:00 PM  
Blogger NoMo said...

Oh, right - Guitar Hero...huzzah!

4/18/2008 10:27:00 PM  
Anonymous tsebring said...

Van...your take on the body being made for the other and not ourselves is nothing short of poetic - like reading Song of Solomon. Its a shame no Feminazi or Femischizo will ever be able to experience that. Van, Bob, thanks for the reminder. May that sick chick get the help she needs, and soon.

4/18/2008 10:48:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Bob.
After several readings...including some of the excellent comments...well, this has been extremely helpful.
More so each time I coontemplate n' meditate in it.

I'm still sorting through this deluge of O as I fill in a crucial part of a puzzle...a mystery really, that's been unclear for years.

The way you wrote this post has brought a lot of old evidence...truth to my attention in a way I can realize it.
In a gnew light.

I'm hoping that part two, the religious part, will continue that process, so that I may actualize it...if I'm ready.

In any sense it will be knockin' some more scales off my eyes.
It ain't exactly pleasant, but it's healing.

Thanks!

4/19/2008 06:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Thanks, Julie. Haven’t watched the south park link yet. Have to say though, I’m not sure I’ll be happy if those people are agreeing with me :-)

Van,
I’m glad you used the word “condemn” because I don’t feel that strongly against that video game, which is an important point in this, I think. You see, there was something I didn’t like about that game the instant I saw it. In other words, before I knew why. I’m still trying to figure out why…as you can see. It seems like cheating on something of all things that should never be treated that way. I made a comparison once to “stealing a Christmas tree for your own house.” Now I don’t think I feel that strongly about it but you get the idea.

My son’s friend has guitar hero and brings it over occasionally. My son (14) is a very good musician already (trumpet/piano) loves all types of music, so no harm to do, I suppose. But I look at this toy guitar with 4 buttons and I think what an incredibly valueless skill to get great at.

Maybe this is obvious but the whole video game thing has been a long running issue in this house too. My son has a couple of different game consoles – lately his favorite is that Halo 3 game. I have to admit it can draw you in just by the stunning visuals and I do like the teamwork/soldier aspect the most. One thing is (and I could be wrong) is the other team/enemy is just another bunch of soldiers? No good versus evil or good vs monsters, etc. In other words, why are we fighting? Is one team playing the bad guys? If so I suppose that’s no different than playing cowboys and Indians. Someone has to play the bad guy. I don’t know. It doesn’t hold my interest long enough to find out. As a teen I always felt like I just completely wasted my time after playing any video game. So I never got hooked. And of course back then you had to stick another quarter into the machine when you blew it. It “hurt”.

Things you’ve said recently in defense of these types of video games are changing my mind. My son has made similar points. Situational awareness, sort through lots of visual information and making important decisions fast, hand-eye coordination, etc. I can’t tell him what you’ve said though because, well, why would I give points away to the other side :-) Besides, I’m not sure I should change my mind on this. It bothers me…like it’s one more thing I’m giving in to. For the time being I’m just letting him know I don’t like them. He knows it. He told me once out of the blue that he wasn’t going to play them when he got older. So he knows…and I’m encouraged that he is consciously considering that it may not be good.

BTW, sorry for the long comments lately...

4/19/2008 06:40:00 AM  
Blogger Ricky Raccoon said...

Hey, Ben!

I agree. Always looking forward to the next post…but especially this next one.

File this under synch: Just last night watched an episode of Northern Exposure (we’ve been renting from NetFlix). This episode, if you know the show, was about the marriage of the Adam and Eve characters…all about the differences between men and women discussed in similar ways to Bob’s lately. Last night was considering if Bob may have been a writer for this show :-)

4/19/2008 06:58:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Rick!
I have seen a few episodes of NE, but I never got into it.
Perhaps it's one of those shows you have to watch from the beginning...at least that's the impression I got.
Like walking into a movie that's half over or something.

Based on your recommendation I'll try again from the beginning. :^)

Re: video games. Your son obviously isn't obsessed with them, which is a good thing.

My daughters, when they were home, would play, but they were far more interested in band, or spending time with friends or art.

I believe it's wise to watch what kind of games are brought into your house.
You know what your son is mature enough for, so I won't flog a dead Donkey Kong.

Only to say that some games can be beneficial, just as some are as bad as porn.
I'll explain more in my next story, because like movies and books, video games aren't all the same.

Anyways, since I've been readin' OC, raccoon blogs, bloggin' etc., I haven't had time to play.
IfI did, I would probably try SOCOM, Navy SEAL's.
Definitely know who the good guys are in that one. :^)

4/19/2008 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Tsebring said "... is nothing short of poetic ..."

Now that made my day. Thanks Tsebring.

4/19/2008 08:58:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Ricky said "Besides, I’m not sure I should change my mind on this. It bothers me…like it’s one more thing I’m giving in to. For the time being I’m just letting him know I don’t like them."

Ricky, I'm right there with you on that one. I don't like the game, and like you, I didn't like it on sight. I'm not ready to 'approve' of them... I'm just not sure if I've been condemning them for the right reasons. Halo very much reminds me of kids playing 'cowboys and indians' - and listening to my kids and their cousins 1,500 miles away laughing & arghing!, and sometimes their parents & us commenting in the background like we're all in the same room - fascinating.

My oldest has a fantasy game that brings in the good vs evil... you try to build a kingdom, the bad guys try to destroy you, etc... which he tries to play up to me when I'm frowning that its time to turn it off... but there is something else that's being worked on by these games... I'll venture out into the deep water here, unsupported... but something like low-level conceptual aerobics... something the schools no longer touch, even try to destroy, the memorizing, recalling, calculating, planning.... It reminds me of what they used to say about craving something, stop smoking and start eating - well while the culture my try to stop feeding one area of the mind, the mind seeks it from somewhere else. I assume I don't need to say that they aren't allowed to live on the consoles, they read, they play football, instruments, have us, etc, but in a balanced diet - there does seem to be something goo...worthwhile... in them.

And yes to what Ben said, some of its no different than porn, and won't come through my door.

4/19/2008 08:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Jake Was Here said...

RE: Guitar Hero / Rock Band / etc.
http://xkcd.com/359/

4/22/2008 11:12:00 PM  

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