Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Where Do Babies -- and Men and Women -- Come From?

Insufficient time for an all new post. But don't go away! I found one from SIX years ago and another from FOUR years ago, and if you're like me, you probably don't remember that far back anyway. Plus, they go to exactly the subject discussed in the latter half of yesterdays's comment section: whether heterosexuality and homosexuality are just relative societal constructs that mutually define each other, like up and down, or east and west.

The first post begins with a quote about a daring "artist" whose work, if I recall correctly, involves menstrual blood or her aborted baby or something:

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 the form and function of a woman’s body. --A Yale Woman

There is then a second quote from a psychoanalytic anthropologist, Weston LaBarre, who wrote an apparently obscure book back in the 1950s that I stumbled upon and found extremely useful in illuminating that yawning abyss between ape and man:

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.

And then on to the substance of the post, which I am now reading and will edit or pad as necessary. Gags that don't pass the test will be ruthlessly striken:

Let's discuss one of my favorite subjects, the ambiguity surrounding the form and function of a woman's body...

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.

Feminist delusions aside, 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 set aside 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 puts 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 both refers to and rightfully "belongs" to the baby, while parts south are claimed by the father. (And please, no idiotic complaints about the oppression of "owning" someone else; that has precisely nothing to do with this discussion, which is about love, not hate.)

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. (The postmodernists definitely take love for granted, as if it has no prior necessary conditions in development.)

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 (obvious, right?). The one is obviously meaningless in the absence of the other, for it is robbed of its sufficient reason; each is a signifier that doesn't refer to itself, but to its complementary opposite, on which it has a "lawful" claim ("lawful," as in being "in the nature of things").

This, I suggest, 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 design: that it is not good for man to be alone (or with a narcissistic image of himself, which amounts to the same thing via proxy).

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." (LaBarre was an atheist, but nevertheless, his focus on persons lifts him above and beyond his self-imposed naturalistic horizon.)

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 (and makes) 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 fully transcend Darwinian evolution in an ever-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 (or something similar) was 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 only 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 men or 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

That's enough for today. I don't want to abuse the reader's attention span...


Magister said...

Stonking good post. Damn. This is like hitting every single ball over the fence.

Magister said...

Here are two stories that make you shake your head:

I'm afraid this decade is not going to end well.

Gagdad Bob said...

I see that Ginger Baker is giving Keith Richards a run for his money in the Dorian Gray department.

Paul Griffin said...

Thus, the real injunction is against a self-sufficiency that forecloses the space where love and knowledge (not to mention religion) occur.

The problem with self-sufficiency (or at least what we perceive as such) is that it is nearly always a thin mask for addiction.

EbonyRaptor said...

Here are two stories that make you shake your head:

Maddening ... or just plain mad.

Skorpion said...

"Suffice it to say, there are no conservative performance artists."

I've often thought that religious ritual is the conservative equivalent of performance art, with the aim being the ennobling of humanity via the Divine experience, rather than the degradation produced by stunts like Schvarts'.

Gagdad Bob said...

I like that. Performance art is a horizontal -- or worse, lower vertical -- ritual, like human sacrifice or scarification.

Gagdad Bob said...

Two Russian contractors working in the house. Very nice guys, but when they speak to each other in Russian, it sounds like they're plotting against me.

Van Harvey said...

I've had the tentative idea of Religion being philosophical performance art.

Step into the play and play your part until the curtain comes down.

Magister said...

If you put the little amazon magnifier over just Ginger Baker's eye, it looks uncannily like a lizard's eye, minus the lizard's pupil.

Gagdad Bob said...

Van-- That was more or less Balthasar's point in his multi-volume Theo-Drama: a play put on by God, except it's like those dinner-plays in which the diners become part of the play....

Gagdad Bob said...

I've seen him interviewed on TV, and he comes across as nasty as he looks.

Gagdad Bob said...

Baker, that is.

Paul Griffin said...

I think we usually refer to Christian performance art as Liturgy. The beauty of it is that it is (or should be) formational, and we all get to participate.

Here's a guy I'm reading right now that has liturgy on the brain: James K A Smith.

Skully said...

"Two Russian contractors working in the house. Very nice guys, but when they speak to each other in Russian, it sounds like they're plotting against me."

Do you have any vodka in the house?

Gagdad Bob said...

Yes, right next to the guns duct tape. Both are missing.

Van Harvey said...

Gagdad said "Van-- That was more or less Balthasar's point in his multi-volume Theo-Drama"

Yep! When you were going through the posts on the Theo-Drama I had a thrill running up my leg 'Hey lookitdat! I'm not completely crazy! (or at least I'm not alone in it)'

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Feminist delusions aside, 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."

Aye. There's certainly nothing artistic about confusion and chaos let alone harmony.

Gagdad Bob said...

This demonstrates -- as if it needs to be --how the homosexual movement is rooted in pure hate. The rage is externalized because of their own inner recognition of the wrongness of their souls -- which is why the movement is so bullying and totalitarian.

Gagdad Bob said...

Interesting case of a man caught up in same sex attraction who was "healed" by Christianity even though invincibly ignorant activists assure us this is impossible. He also goes into some of the development bases of same-sex attraction. As you can see, he's just overflowing with hate.

John said...

Ask those Ruskies if they read The Vineyard of the Saker.

mushroom said...

It is a tragedy of our male-centered culture that women do not fully enough know how important they are as women.

Wouldn't it make sense and be better to be a really good woman than to be a crappy imitation of a man?

I may not be much of a man, but I'm better at it than 99% of women. Rosie O'Donnell might have me beat. Conversely, I would be very poor substitute for a woman.

julie said...

Skorpion - yes, when I saw "Conservative performance art" I immediately thought, "Christmas pageant!"

julie said...

Re. the Russian contractors, if they ask for an axe to go with that bottle of vodka, get ready to call the power company...

julie said...

Re. Magister's links, that first one should come with a jug of eye bleach.

Per Mushroom's comment, a man is an extremely poor substitute for a woman. And vice versa. So much wrongness there, it makes my brain hurt.

Magister said...

"heterosexuality and homosexuality are just relative societal constructs that mutually define each other"

I'd like to take off on this a bit because it gets us into the deep rift between "postmoderns" and realists like ourselves.

Despite their protests to the contrary, postmoderns do indeed rely on a metaphysic grounded in what Derrida, Deleuze, et al call "différance." Deleuze for example took aim at identity (A = A) itself. He saw the physical universe as grounding a critique of identity itself: A is only A in this universe because it is not B, C, ad infinitum. So the ground of reality for Deleuze is not Being or Trinitarian Communion, but rather the sheer process of differentiation. Sort of like the Tao, but it's not something you can ever align yourself with. The universe for Deleuze is a neutral process of differentiation with no current and no meaning. It is not absurd, because human meanings constantly come in and out of existence, but they are never stable in themselves and provide no grounds for faith or identity.

Instead, following Nietzsche and Foucault, human meaning (of sexuality, say) for the postmoderns is built out of colliding systems of power, which produce putative "knowledge" and social systems in which some people are superior and some inferior. The postmodern project is simply to show that any such system is arbitrary and unjust, and thereby promote its demolition. This is an unending process, because the universe simply does not give any future system any real validity, either. The postmodern is committed only to the process of demolition.

Trinitarian thinking doesn't help them, since they don't accept the possibility of revelation.

Mentally, they are trapped forever in the master/slave thing.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I didn't realize this yesterday, but Hannon wrote a reply to his critics here:

This post is much more clear than his original one, but he only addresses some of the criticism he received,

This one is a mixed bag for me. I agree with some of what he says, but disagree with most of it.
Particularly that friendship is better or higher than marriage (assuming the marriage is a good one).

I agree our sexual orientation or desires is not who we are completely but ot is part of who we are, especially if we act on those desires.
It's not our identity as such but everything we do is a part of our identity, unless it's a sin and we repent, but he doesn't get into that.

I'm out of time right now so I can't address the rest of his post until later.

Anonymous said...

The church offers new hope for the gays

Anonymous said...

That's transgressive comedy, breeders: the courage come out and say to other liberals what every liberal believes.

Cap'n Obvious said...

Transgressive, like how the Onion ridicules Mohammed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe one of you Jesus fascists can explain to me why gays don't enter a religion that welcomes them, like Islam?

Van Harvey said...

I'm afraid I'm not seeing much of the bright side in his original posting. He doesn't set out to identify what is best, and what is worst, and then argue for where homosexuality should or should not fit on that scale, or that that scale should not condemn it; instead, from his opening sentence, he seeks to bring what is high, down low, to reduce concepts and virtues to particulars and sensations, in order to blend in to a confused acceptability.

I'm not seeing much more than an earnest attempt to escape judgment (of any kind) by equivocation.

Saying heterosexual isn't natural, is saying what about homosexuality? He quotes pomofo's like Foucault and this bit by someone named Katz, to the effect that "As he goes on to argue, “Contrary to today’s bio-belief, the heterosexual/homosexual binary is not in nature, but is socially constructed, therefore deconstructable.”"

Just where the hell in nature does he find Virtue? Honesty? Monogamy? Such things are not good or normal because they are natural, but because they are highest and best. Such things do not come from doing what comes naturally or even necessarily from following what other people approve of or disapprove of, but from choosing and habituating yourself to what is best, because you can see it truly is.

"This self-searching becomes even more needlessly distressing for those who discern in themselves a “homosexual orientation,” as they adopt an identity distinguished essentially by a set of sexual desires that cannot morally be fulfilled."

What of the fellow who can't keep his pants zipped? The fellow who feels he is unfulfilled unless bedding every broad who will have him? Does he also not feel at odds with his identity? Isn't he also shamed before family and friend? What of it? What he seeks and desires, and fixates upon, brings him low, it makes him less than he otherwise could and should be. Why should it be any different for the homosexual (monogamous or otherwise)?

I'm certainly not saying that being homosexual makes you bad - I know too many (family and friend) who I know to be good people to presume such a thing - but their preferred activities do not serve to raise them up, and to deny that, or to excuse that, is to lessen upness, and bring low the possibility of it.

No doubt the fellow is sincere and well intentioned, but he is a dissembler all the same.

But that's only natural.

Gagdad Bob said...

Just when you think liberals can't get any stupider: architecture is racist.

The other day it occurred to me that we could save a lot of money on higher education if we just merged all the humanities into one ginormous Department of Resentment.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

But then Obama would hafta appoint a Resentment Czar.

Come to think of it, virtually all his czars and cabinent members are already resentful so that would just make it official.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, you said it far better than I could've.

In his reply Hannon essentially is promoting chasteness for those who are inclined to be homosexual (or everyone, I guess) if I understand his meaning, which I have no problem with per se, in that context.

Unfortunately, I think he gets sidetracked by the postmodernism and semantics and what you mentioned.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how much energy Christian wingnuts put into worrying about homosexuality. Can't seem to keep their minds from the subject. Can't imagine why.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Obamabots are easily amazed.

Captain Obvious said...

Probably has something to do with being forced to celebrate it at the point of a gun.

Cousin Dupree said...

It helps me forget about the transexuals.

Anonymous said...

Probably has something to do with being forced to celebrate it at the point of a gun.

Translation: my bigotry is no longer socially acceptable so I am going to whine about it and try to pass myself off as a victim.

Skully said...

And the feminazis.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

And the pervformance acktists.

Captain Obvious said...

No translation needed. When Christians ministers are being told that they must officiate gay weddings or face jail time and fines of up to $1000 per day, I think it's pretty fair to have a problem with that.

Or hadn't you heard that's exactly what is beginning to happen - no hyperbole required.

Maybe we should also force Muslim butchers to sell pork. Pigs aren't any worse than other farm animals; just because Muslims have some silly religious objections to eating them, that doesn't mean they have any legitimate reason not to carry bacon. Bacon is delicious, and everybody should celebrate it! Any meat market that refuses to handle pork products should face serious repercussions.

And vegan restaurants should also start carrying meat products to cater to Paleo sensibilities. Just because vegans think meat is murder, that doesn't give them the right not to sell it. According to science, vegans are brain and sperm deficient due to lack of adequate protein in their diets, anyway, so really it's a matter of public health. Come to think of it, all vegans should be forced to eat at least a little meat - it's for their own good, whether they believe it's wrong or not. We won't outlaw veganism, that would be wrong, but we'll make it a crime to live according to their beliefs. Thanks to Obamacare, their poor health is going to cost everyone, so their beliefs don't count.

Gagdad Bob said...

In California the government forces us to pay for crazy people to chop off their manhood. So I guess it's hard to know who the victim is.

Anonymous said...

It never ceases to amaze me how much energy I put into worrying what Bob thinks about homosexuality. Can't seem to keep my mind from the subject. Uh oh. I think I know why.