FICHA TÉCNICA DE FORA Este livro foi editado e paginado por Diogo Queirós, para a disciplina de Estudos de Design - FBA.UP, sob a docência do professor Mário Moura Porto, Junho de 2011
INDEX Nota Editorial
O ÓDIO E OS SEUS SENTIDOS por Nicole Jeammet
A NEGAÇÃO DA REALIDADE EM NOME DA REALIDADE por Arno Gruen
CHAOS: THE BROADSHEETS OF ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHISM por Hakim Bey
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION por Aldous Huxley
CHAUVINIST AND ELITIST OBSTACLES AROUND YOUTUBE AND PORNTUBE: A CASE STUDY OF HOME-MADE PORN DEFENDED AS ‘VIDEO ART’ por Ana Peraica
WHAT IS TRANSGENDER? por Richard Ekins & Dave King
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O que significa a maioria? Quem define o que é a maioria e por isso define quem é a minoria? O que significa ser a minoria? Estar dentro ou fora da maioria significa estar certo ou errado? Onde estamos? Onde queremos estar? Não há respostas fáceis, muito menos numa sociedade cada vez mais especializada e por isso mais exigente. É fácil perdemos a nossa identidade no meio de um caos de categorias. Por isso mesmo, os seguintes textos visam enquadrar-nos, mostrarem-nos um caminho, uma maneira de pensar. A minha ideia não era expor aqui juízos de valor sobre os textos, imposições morais sobre a escrita, decidir o que é “bom” ou “mau”. A ideia era sim, deixar isso a cabo do leitor, para que ele próprio pudesse também identificar-se, ou não, com os textos. Começamos com um texto que nos põe a nu algumas das possíveis relações que temos connosco mesmos, e como isso se justifica e nos afecta. O segundo é uma introdução a como nos enquadramos na sociedade e como paradigmas e dogmas são definidos, e a eles tentamos a todo custo seguir. Prosseguimos agora a todo o vapor com um texto energético sobre a forma como a arte e a política devem fazer parte da nossa experiência quotidiana, e de como há mais na vida, do que um crédito no banco. Reduzimos um pouco a velocidade, ao cuidado das drogas, e é-nos partilhada uma vivência especial neste quarto texto. Avançamos depois, ainda a meio gás para uma relação entre sexualidade e tecnologia e como a vivemos hoje em dia com a Internet. Para terminar, e ainda dentro do tema da sexualidade, procuram-se novas definições da identidade biológica.
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No que toca à composição gráfica, quis realizar um livro que fosse para mim, para o meu prazer. A escolha tipográfica, bem como o layout, são bastante clássicos, o que possibilita uma boa leitura. As notas seguem logo na respectiva página, para que não se tenha que andar às voltas com o livro. O início dos textos é sempre idêntico, para que o ritmo do livro não se perca. O resto, fica à descoberta e ao critério de cada um.
«Never compare your inside with somebody else's outside.» Hugh Macleod
Para ela, que agora morta se torna t達o leve.
O ÓDIO E OS SEUS SENTIDOS NICOLE JEAMMET
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«Se, em nós, a consciência e a moral não correspondem ao nosso amor, transformam-se nos veículos do nosso ódio; se sofrerem desilusões, enganar-nos-ão, por sua vez. Poderão também vir a desorientar-nos no sentido de uma procura complacente do vício, que, com efeito, é parcialmente uma defesa contra a ilusão. Mas tendo em conta que mais facilmente encontramos o mal nos outros do que em nós próprios, não existe cura para a ilusão. Todos esses perigos, todas essas diﬁculdades tendem a fazer-nos afastar dos problemas de bem-estar interior pelo medo de nos sentirmos desiludidos, pelo medo da impotência e da insegurança que nos ameaçam.» Joan Rivière, L’ amour et la haine
Geralmente o ódio e o amor são considerados como forças ou sentimentos opostos: o ódio destrói, ataca os laços; é o cúmplice da morte. O amor, pelo contrário, constrói, tece laços, compõe conjuntos mais amplos; está ao serviço da vida. Ora, ao pretendermos falar aqui da psique, e das leis que regem o seu funcionamento, fomos incessantemente confrontados com este problema dos destinos totalmente interligados do ódio e do amor. O amor, para ser autêntico, precisa de integrar o ódio: sem essa integração, o amor dá a morte da confusão. Mas, do mesmo modo, o ódio tem necessidade do amor, a ﬁm de escapar ao seu destino de semeador da morte pela de-
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simbricação, pelo desligamento. Reintegrado no amor, ele é uma força de vida. Assim, a questão deixa de se colocar em termos de exclusão de um pelo outro, mas antes em termos de fecundação recíproca, necessitando, todavia, de uma relação viva e estável para se produzir. Esta dialéctica percorre de maneira difusa todo este livro; mas pareceu-nos importante retomar brevemente os seus elementos, a ﬁm de melhor lhes compreendermos o alcance.
I - A NECESSIDADE DE SE JULGAR «BOM» PARA VIVER
Há que partir novamente desta constante, para compreender o combate que todos nós vamos travar: sem um sentimento de sermos amáveis, por menor que este seja, não poderíamos continuar a querer viver. É este dado fundamental que todos nós teremos de gerir, de negociar, a partir de experiências primitivas de tudo ou nada: à partida, o bom somos nós, e o mau tudo aquilo que não está em nós, e que temos rapidamente de pôr fora de nós, numa ilusão de comportamento fusional com um objecto que não é senão... nós. Todo um trabalho de descondensação e de recomposição dos elementos bons/maus, nós/outro, através de um incessante vaivém percepção/recordação, será necessário para se ter acesso à realidade... conservando o sentimento de ser bom... Ora a primeira armadilha reside no facto de a realidade só poder tomar forma resistindo ao prazer; é a frustração, logo, o desprazer, dando origem ao ódio, que virão assinalar o obstáculo que é o real, que é o outro. Mas então como é possível continuarmos a sentirmo-nos bons, quando somos invadidos pelo ódio?
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II - O ÓDIO E OS SEUS DESTINOS DE VIDA
Sozinha, a criança não pode fazer mais do que recusar as suas experiências de ódio, que a fazem perder tudo aquilo que lhe dá prazer e que, na necessidade de as expulsar para fora de si, a impedem de se uniﬁcar a si própria no seu corpo. Então o mau, isto é, o real, deverá, de uma ou de outra maneira, ﬁcar de fora... É a este nível que a mãe tem um papel fundamental a desempenhar: numa identiﬁcação emocional com o seu bebé, é ela que tomará para si o mau; por exemplo, ela conferirá sentido à cólera, ao choro: «o meu bebé está molhado», ou «ﬁquei tempo demais longe dele»; o que lhe permitirá trazer-lhe um apaziguamento: ela muda a criança, ou não continuará afastada dela durante tanto tempo. Assim, a mãe que sobrevive, na ternura actuante, aos ataques do seu bebé, fornece um primeiro terreno de conﬁança: logo, o amor não é totalmente destruído pelo ódio experimentado, o bom pode regressar depois do mau. Mas isso não basta: esta relação é um puro jogo de espelhos; nesta relação exclusiva, a criança só poderá moldar-se aos desejos matemos: ela não poderá achar mau aquilo que é bom para a sua mãe, porque perderia todo o bom que só esta lhe dá. Sem uma terceira personagem também amada pela mãe, e amada de maneira diferente, não será possível à criança distinguir-se dela, opondo-se a ﬁm de aﬁrmar o seu próprio desejo. Para a isso se arriscar, precisa de encontrar um outro lugar de segurança, no qual se possa apoiar. Para odiar e recusar, é preciso ter a certeza de não ser então submerso pelo mau, que faria desaparecer para sempre todo o bom. (Pode-se assim compreender como amea-
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ças de abandono impedem qualquer separação.) E todo jogo de deslocamentos possíveis sobre o pai graças à mãe, depois sobre a mãe graças ao pai, etc., que farão a criança passar pouco a pouco de uma relação em bom/ mau para uma relação na qual as pessoas serão reconhecidas como tais, numa ambivalência assumida, numa tensão mantida cm si entre o ódio e o amor, da qual a culpabilidade edipiana virá testemunhar. Não vamos retomar estes aspectos, que longamento desenvolvemos nos capítulos precedentes. Mas recordemos a essencial contribuição do ódio, quando se encontra integrado no amor, isto é, quando as boas experiências levam a melhor sobre as más: · ele permite colocar o objecto (logo, o real) fora de si, e deixar de se confundir com ele; antes do ódio, o objecto não é mais do que um feixe de projecções; ele é totalmente subjectivo e não tem qualquer existência própria. Com o ódio, toma-se cada vez mais objectivo e real. · ele faz experimentar a continuidade dos afectos prazer/desprazer como espaço criador de diferença, de individualização. A ausência, meio de encontrar uma distância com o outro, é aí descoberta: distingue-se então aquilo que pertence a cada um, dando consistência a limites. A partir da descontinuidade da presença do outro, surgirá a continuidade do desejo, tomando forma num objecto interior, lugar, em simultâneo, da distância do outro, e da sua presença. É esse objecto interior que se faz mediador das trocas com todo o objecto exterior, bem como consigo mesmo; os investimentos do objecto colocar-se-ão a partir de então numa vertente objectal, numa solidão habitada, garante
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de um narcisismo desta vez secundário: esse representante interior do objecto amado será o espelho no qual poderemos ver-nos «bons». O reconhecimento em nós de sentimentos negativos e hostis referentes a um objecto amado opera uma transformação qualitativa do ódio, como aliás de todos os ingredientes do narcisismo primário; de qualquer coisa insaciável como a inveja - dado que até mesmo a destruição aumenta o ódio -, de qualquer coisa sem ﬁm e fora do tempo passa-se agora a qualquer coisa libidinal, objectal, representável. A vergonha far-se-á culpabilidade para com alguém, a inveja transformar-se-á em ciúme ligado a uma determinada pessoa, o ódio, em agressividade. Transformado pela estabilidade do laço com um objecto amado, esse ódio perde o seu carácter destruidor, cujo melhor alimento existia na angústia da dependência do outro. Ele transforma-se em força de aﬁrmação de si, numa capacidade para se comprometer activamente nas relações em que é possível manejar a agressividade de maneira adequada e construtiva. A agressividade é necessária para qualquer relação viva: ela é o lugar de tensão si/outro, no qual se diz a nossa diferença de pontos de vista, de sensibilidade, de interesse, a qual permitirá uma procura de compromisso, após a confrontação. Ele é também em nós o motor da actividade em geral, e do dinamismo amoroso em particular. Certas impotências masculinas são particularmente demonstrativas do fracasso dessa ligação; se o ódio e o sadismo inconscientes são demasiado importantes na relação de um homem com uma mulher, isso poderá trazer uma impossibilidade, para o homem, de fazer amor; o acto de amor exige que uma certa dose de agressividade mantenha o desejo de penetração, mas que essa agressivida-
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de seja orientada por um desejo libidinal prevalescente, o qual, modiﬁcando a corrente agressiva, a toma não só aceitável, mas desejável. A agressividade faz-se então dinamismo do amor, em contraponto a um amor que se recusa, para simplesmente proteger o objecto, a pulsões sádicas demasiado violentas não elaboradas.
III - O ÓDIO E OS SEUS DESTINOS DE MORTE
Pelo contrário, sem objecto exterior ﬁável, sobre o qual teria sido possível apoiar-se nos momentos de angústia de perda de tudo aquilo que podia ser bom, as descargas do mau não poderão ser diferidas; as experiências fecundas de ligação da descontinuidade não serão então feitas; só a continuidade do laço com o outro pela reparação possível teria permitido reconhecer o ódio como seu, e fazer dele uma experiência de descontinuidade que liga. Esse ódio, sem ocasião para reparação facultada por alguém, não tem lugar onde se possa inscrever, dado que ele é expulso de si. Vindo de dentro, o mau é posto fora... onde prosseguirá o seu caminho. Não haverá outra possibilidade que não seja reforçar o domínio sobre o objecto real, seguindo o modelo da ﬁxação ao objecto incestuoso inconsciente - ﬁxação que parodia uma continuidade consigo mesmo - círculo vicioso da confusão que, atacando as identidades, leva à destruição. Assim, quando ocorre o conﬂito edipiano, como poderia este organizar a psique, encontrando-se interiorizado? As experiências de diferenças de afectos, trazendo consigo tensões, que deveriam servir de promessas para a descoberta de outros prazeres, viram-se aí morrer no ovo, sufocadas por descargas pulsionais directas: a diferença
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manteve-se associada a um sinal de perigo, acordando espontaneamente um ódio existencial, que nenhuma experiência positiva modiﬁcou. Esse ódio existencial, que nenhuma experiência positiva modiﬁcou. Esse ódio _ aquele que nós descrevíamos quando falávamos de realizações de desejo, desligadas do objecto - alimentará o curso e a orientação dos desejos inconscientes, dominando despoticamente sobre eles 1. É este problema do ódio desprovido de laços e errante, fazendo a sua obra subterrânea, que nós precisamos de analisar em dois planos distintos, ainda que complementares. O primeiro plano é aquele que a psicanálise tem em consideração: é o do indivíduo que se organizou, mais ou menos bem, em função destes dados de base, e que se deixa levar parcialmente por sentimentos que ele não conhece, tendo-lhes recusado o direito de serem reconhecidos nele. Esse ódio que lhe mete tanto medo, fazendo-o perder a sua segurança interior, voltá-lo ele contra si mesmo, em actos suicidas que colocam em perigo a sua própria vida? Em que outro plano conseguirá ele desviá-lo, a ﬁm de fazer desaparecer a sua angústia? Que mecanismos de defesa conseguirá ele pôr em funcionamento? Será que estes lhe deixarão um suﬁciente espaço de liberdade, garantindo-lhe prazer de viver, dentro de um suﬁciente «amor» de si próprio? A questão aqui colocada é a da sempre tão difícil organização de investimentos que, antes de serem, no melhor dos casos, apropriados em si sob a forma de paradoxos, são 1 - Estamos conscientes de nos termos instalado, com vista à clareza na exposição, em posições extremadas de resolução ideal do Édipo ou de obstáculo intransponível; na vida, as coisas são, evidentemente, muito menos rígidas. Digamos que nos colocaremos em vertentes de prevalência objectal, ou narcísica, com sinais mais ou com sinais menos, que não serão negligenciáveis.
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vividos como contraditórios e dilaceram o eu. Como satisfazer a pulsão e o ideal, a necessidade de prazer e a realidade, como conciliar, por exemplo, as suas necessidades de dependência e as suas necessidades, não menos importantes, de independência? Perante estes problemas, com os quais todos nós nos confrontámos, cada um deverá decidir sozinho qual a resposta que poderá dar; ser bem sucedido na própria vida tem sempre a ver com conﬂitos ultrapassados no interior de si, que ninguém pode resolver a ninguém, e que constroem uma história, a história de cada um de nós, e que é única. Mas esta verdade faz esquecer um segundo plano, o da mutualidade: no caso de terem sido encontradas soluções funcionais num plano narcísico, o que vai acontecer ao ódio necessariamente expulso de nós sobre aqueles que nos rodeiam - o ﬁlho, o cônjuge, o amigo? Será possível limitarmo-nos a pensar o êxito unicamente no plano do indivíduo, sem termos em conta o preço pago pelas pessoas que nos rodeiam? Tomar como único critério para uma vida bem sucedida o prazer de um funcionamento, aliado à eﬁcácia de defesas, que permitem um êxito social, por exemplo, não coloca a questão das repercussões de todas as defesas narcísicas, que podem ser tão maravilhosamente eﬁcazes para o indivíduo, e tão terrivelmente nocivas para os outros. Pensemos em todas as inúmeras estratégias relacionais já evocadas, nas quais o outro é explorado em proveito pessoal - retomemos simplesmente dois exemplos de disfarce da própria inveja: a desvalorização do objecto e a activação da inveja no outro. Veriﬁcando-se, para um dos membros da família, a impossibilidade de fazer face aos seus próprios sentimentos de inveja, ele irá desqualiﬁcar um dos outros, a ﬁm de suprimir a sombra que aquele lhe
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poderia fazer: negando paciﬁcamente a sua alteridade, por exemplo, obrigá-lo-á a mostrar-se violento, mesquinho, obrigando-o a um duplo jogo, que depois denunciará. Ou, num outro caso, o sucesso será construído sobre uma necessidade de fazer viver, a um outro uma inveja intolerável em si; esse outro ver-se-á investido de um papel de «invejoso», absolutamente necessário ao conforto narcísico daquele que é bem sucedido. O que aconteceu a essas pessoas que assim tiveram de enfrentar sozinhas sentimentos que não eram os seus, e cujo lugar relacional era imutavelmente determinado por outros? (ou pelo menos sentimentos que não eram exactamente os seus, porque o dramático da situação é que, existindo a inveja em toda a gente, lhes foi impossível resistirem a ﬁcarem submersos por eles) - a parte de verdade do ataque foi encontrar um sentimento de culpabilidade real; mas aí onde a perversidade se instala é justamente quando essa «verdade» é denunciada sem que se possam colocar dúvidas, dado que o outro não nos deixa margem de manobra, recusando-nos um outro espaço e um outro tempo, os da reparação entre ele e nós. Essas pessoas ter-se-ão sentido para sempre esmagadas? O ataque aos laços, a deliberada ignorância da nossa palavra, do nosso lugar, do nosso desejo, que trabalho insidioso levaram eles a cabo? As centrais nucleares ou as fábricas de tratamento químico não podem assim escamotear a questão do destino dos resíduos e da poluição da atmosfera, e isso a curto, médio e longo prazos. Não seria irresponsável - e, em todo o caso, irrealista - só querer saber dos incontestáveis benefícios que delas podemos retirar, tanto no plano económico como no político?
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Freud escrevia: «Nada na vida psíquica se pode perder, nada desaparece daquilo que se formou, tudo é conservado de uma qualquer maneira e pode reaparecer em certas circunstâncias.» 2 Esta lei presidirá a toda a elaboração da obra de Freud, e Winnicott, introduzindo no seu campo de pesquisa. A presença real do objecto, em interacção com o sujeito, permite que ela não ﬁque unicamente restringida ao campo psíquico, fechado sobre si mesmo. Ao estudar as «mães suﬁcientemente boas», Winnicott faz-nos reﬂectir sobre formas de relações a dois, que podem oferecer ou recusar possibilidades de pleno desenvolvimento aos parceiros do casal, cm jogos de forças que se dinamizam em cada um dos parceiros, na medida em que eles se dinamizam entre si. Entre a mãe e o seu ﬁlho vivem-se forças antagónicas, que só terão possibilidades de se tomarem fecundas se a mãe, na realidade, ﬁzer viver certas formas de experiências afectivas partilhadas: por exemplo, fazendo viver à criança uma dependência feliz, vivendo-a ela própria, a mãe oferece ao ﬁlho possibilidades de construir uma forma de independência interior. Fazendo-o viver uma continuidade de presença, numa sequência de ausências que ela vai ligando no seio de uma ternura ﬁável, ela permite construir essa presença no interior de si, dando assim acesso a uma real solidão, etc. Deste modo, só o amor e o ódio prosseguem o seu caminho devastador pelo mundo, um pela confusão, o ou2 - Malaise dans la civilisation.
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tro pela quebra de fusão, e só se tomam construtivos se se encontrarem ligados um ao outro, num, trabalho que se poderá efectuar unicamente dentro de uma relação viva e estável com alguém. Poderemos dizer a mesma coisa de todas as forças antagónicas: elas só se tomam estruturantes e fecundas no caso de, tendo-nos nós apoiado num certo momento da nossa vida numa outra pessoa, qualquer que ela seja, termos podido dialcctizá-las em nós mesmos em paradoxos, que só adquirem tal estatuto a partir da tensão mantida entre o outro construído em nós, e o outro que existe fora de nós. Tomemos do mais exemplos, o da presença/ausência, e o da ilusão/ desilusão. A presença que se pode dar a viver a alguém só é boa se se pôde acoplar a uma ausência de si mesmo no outro, que assinala a diferença, a alteridade, a intimidade solitária indispensável a cada um; se não, a presença, tanto para si como para o outro, não é mais do que invasão e absorção recíprocas dos territórios; do mesmo modo, a ausência, como é evidente, deve aliar-se a uma presença, caso contrário ela não será senão vazio ou perda. A ilusão só é boa se pôde ser corrigida e modulada por um «desiludimento» dos fantasmas de omnipotência; por outras palavras, se pôde ser tida em conta a existência do outro na sua completa identidade. Ela é então aquilo que abre incessantemente o futuro, numa promessa identiﬁcatória, e que chama à criação. Do mesmo modo, esse «desiludimento» só é estruturante se permaneceu ligado à ilusão de um campo de encontro e de partilha possíveis entre si e o outro; se tal não acontece, ele degenera em desespero mortífero e em cinismo. Não dialectizar os contrários em si é, por conseguinte,
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fazer-lhes perder o seu poder de vida e de criatividade, mas «como nada se perde daquilo que se formou» é então forçosamente, vivê-los e fazê-los viver a um e ao outro, sob modalidades pervertidas, que fazem agir comportamentos destruidores. Aquele que não pode viver a presença, sem intimidade interior preservada (forma de ausência relativamente ao outro) viverá ele próprio o outro como invasor de modo intolerável; ele será então obrigado a fazer alternar ausência e presença na realidade para, reencontrando, apesar de tudo, um lugar de ausência existencialmente necessário, se proteger contra uma presença, que assume uma forma devoradora e alienante. Neste caso de fracasso de uma tensão interior/exterior, é o abandono agido na realidade - logo, o ataque contra os laços, do mesmo modo que contra o outro - que virá restabelecer o equilíbrio pessoal colocado em defeito. A experiência de continuidade lado de dentro/lado de fora, dada por uma real simbolização que assegura uma continuidade de presença, será substituída por uma experiência de alternância presença/ausência, na realidade. Do mesmo modo, aquele que já não tem qualquer «ilusão» acerca do mundo, autoriza-se a não ter em conta mais nada para além de si próprio, uma vez que já não acredita em ninguém. No interior do seu «desiludimento» radical, ele diz então da presença de uma ilusão que permaneceu desmesurada acerca de um mundo do qual ele própria teria sido o centro; atacando a relação de conﬁança no outro, ele ataca qualquer possibilidade de vida partilhada. Mas negando o lugar do outro não poderá, em contrapartida, encontrar o seu próprio lugar. Assim, quer o queiramos quer não, se não conseguirmos transformar em paradoxos todas essas forças antagónicas,
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numa tensão que integra o outro em nós, para incessantemente o reconfrontar com o outro fora de nós, libertaremos, privilegiando uma das forças em detrimento da outra, energias mortíferas em nós e no mundo. Essas energias não têm nome, nem rosto, nem laços, e foram exteriorizadas como tais a ﬁm de o eu poder ser aliviado. É assim que Adão, no Paraíso Terrestre, dá nome a todos os animais que lhe serão submissos e habitam o jardim - são as forças conscientes que dominámos ao nomeá-las nós próprios - mas haverá a serpente anónima que surgirá dos campos não cultivados, cm direcção ao Jardim do Paraíso... Essas forças inconscientes não se instalam somente enquanto fantasmas em local fechado (o que, enﬁm, seria um mal menor); elas vêm, tal como a serpente, inﬁltrar-se nos jardins cultivados, onde agem e fazem agir. Já o dissemos: aquele que não toma consciência da sua realidade psíquica, age-a então forçosamente nos outros: ele utiliza o meio circundante para regular no exterior de si mesmo as suas próprias tensões - no exterior de si, querendo com isto dizer cm detrimento do lugar e da existência dos outros. Os fantasmas, como inconscientes passagens a acto, poderão ter efeitos inversos: ou farão agir e violar os espaços pertencentes a outros, ou impedirão de agir - dado que a realização fantasmática ocupará o lugar do acto com idêntico resultado de violação do espaço pertencente a outros. Não possuindo o nosso lugar no nosso universo relacional, impedimos o outro de encontrar o seu. Em ambos os casos, são desencadeados processos mortíferos para aqueles que nos rodeiam, solicitando e perpetuando a inveja e o ódio. É certo que no campo fantasmático puro já todos os da-
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dos estão lançados para cada um, através de transmissões relacionais imparáveis. Aquela que vai ser mãe não poderá dar mais do que aquilo que ela própria recebeu, e no campo dos amores e das amizades as eleições fazem-se, para ambos os parceiros, em subtis jogos de recuperação de objectos perdidos. O aspecto de condicionamento de qualquer encontro é, neste plano, evidente e, a partir daí, passará a ser demasiado fácil jogar ao jogo das buscas de complementaridade, através das compensações procuradas, e dos benefícios secundários obtidos em toda a relação. Mas isso é pretender ignorar a transformação incessante dos fantasmas e das recordações pelas experiências reais vividas que, afectando o sujeito e impelindo-o a agir, podem transformar o real e desencadear, a partir daí, um processo de modiﬁcação fantasmática. Mas tal processo só poderá surgir na interacção; só um objecto investido porque representante de um objecto perdido (e aqui temos o «condicionamento» imparável dos encontros) pode permitir reatar o ﬁo quebrado com esse objecto, de outro modo... ou não, e é aí que os encontros são determinantes na possibilidade que oferecem, para além da repetição e graças a ela 3, de modiﬁcar qualquer coisa em si e no outro. Para retomar, ou instaurar um diálogo interior com um objecto investido, é preciso, antes de tudo, ter podido dialogar com um objecto encontrado na realidade, e ter podido fazer com ele a experiência de um real partilhado, isto é, de um real onde cada um, à sua 3 - Em Moisés e o Monoteísmo, Freud escreve sobre o traumatismo positivo: «Os efeitos do traumatismo são de dois tipos, positivos e negativos. Os primeiros são esforços para fazer actuar novamente o traumatismo, logo para trazer de novo à memória a experiência esquecida ou, o que ainda é melhor, para a tomar real, para viver a sua repetição, ainda que não seja mais do que uma relação afectiva anterior, para a fazer reviver, numa relação análoga a uma outra pessoa. As reacções negativas tendem para o extremo oposto: a que nenhum elemento dos traumatismos esquecidos possa ser trazido de novo à memória nem repetido. Podemos reuni-los a ambos sob a designação de reacções de defesa.»
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maneira porque diferentemente situado, aceite ser afectado pelo outro: nessa partilha de afecto, ressurge então a esperança de uma possível mudança.
IV - O ROSTO DO OUTRO, UM ESPELHO
É difícil falar-se de espelho sem evocar imediatamente Narciso contemplando-se na água, e apaixonando-se pela sua própria imagem. A relação em espelho (ou especular), na qual o olhar do outro é captado para a valonzação própna é, efectivamente, uma forma típica da relação narcísica. Aí, o olhar é sempre sObreinvestido, o seu própno ao mesmo título que o do outro. O seu para possuir o outro pela sedução, o do outro para constatar o efeito Produzido e nele se estabelecer como conquistador. Este processo pode, aliás, estender-se de modo semelhante a tudo o que nos rodeia: objectos de valor, decoração, vestuário, requintes de ambiente, etc., tudo isso deverá ser belo, precioso, suave, para que, devolvendo uma imagem perfeita, tranquilize sobre o valor daquele que de tudo isso se fez rodear e enfeitar. O mundo, animado ou inanimado, pouco importa, transforma-se então num objecto de fruição estética que deverá, tal como o espelho da rainha ciumenta de Branca de Neve, dizer incessantemente àquele que nele se contempla que ele é o mais belo ou o mais poderoso. Este tema do olhar e do reforço, não deverá, todavia, ser tratado de maneira unívoca: assim, quando, em clínica, se fala de procura de reforço, pensa-se nos funcionamentos limites (dos quais as personalidades narcísíca, fazem parte): é-lhes indispensável um objecto exterior como paliativo para as suas deﬁciências narcísicas.
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Mas poder-se-ia levar a crer que tal busca de olhar ou de reforço é em si mesma patológica; acontece que o desvio, ainda e sempre, não consiste propriamente na busca - é simplesmente impossível funcionar sem o olhar de um outro, no qual nos possamos ver amados _ mas antes na sua modalidade: é porque esse olhar e esse reforço foram deﬁcientes, não permitindo a sua interiorização, que eles se tornam tndispensáveis ao mesmo tempo que alienantes, na actualidade do funcionamento. Winnicott, após Lacan, retomou este tema do espelho relativamente à criança; mas, possuindo o génio de o personiﬁcar e de lhe dar vida no rosto da mãe, ele tomará possíveis duas espécies de espelhos: · Um espelho «objectal»; se a mãe sabe olhar o seu ﬁlho, olhando-se este no rosto da sua mãe, verá reﬂectir-se o seu próprio rosto: ele acede assim a uma simbolização primária. · Um espelho «narcísico»: a mãe está algures e não tem prazer em estar com o seu ﬁlho: ele vê então unicamente o rosto da sua mãe. Esse espelho, que recusa vê-lo, é aquele que o obriga ao ódio do outro, por «amor» dele mesmo. Num mundo sem espessura interior, ninguém se reﬂecte em ninguém: se a mãe não reﬂecte o rosto do seu ﬁlho, é porque ela própria não se vê, no interior de si mesma, em nenhum outro rosto amado. Nesse universo de «cada um para si», a percepção rapidamente se transforma em arma defensiva: trata-se basicamente de fazer a prevenção do mau humor matemo, que ameaça com a sua imprevisibilidade e, por conseguinte, proteger-se contra a arbitrariedade do outro, e aprender a controlá-la. Trata-se de nos colocarmos na defensiva contra aquele que, não reconhe-
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cendo o nosso lugar, nos obriga, a ﬁm de simplesmente podermos existir, a nos apropriarmos dele pela força, num ódio que não será reconhecível como tal: essa experiência justiﬁca-o plenamente e confere-lhe valor de força vital. Assim, a partir de duas diferentes experiências de espelhos, a percepção será utilizada para ﬁns exactamente inversos: se ela participa do encontro eu/não-eu (o si), ela permite que o eu do ﬁlho, simplesmente repouse sendo a mãe e ele: ela serve de união entre o outro e o si, num prazer de coexistência apaziguadora que é amor de mutualidade. Se não ela serve a desconﬁança, o domínio... o ódio, porque o outro já não será mais do que aquele que nos impede de sermos nós próprios; a situação será sempre - ou nós, ou ele, num combate impiedoso; como poderia ser possível que as coisas se passassem de outra maneira, quando aquilo que está em jogo não é nada mais, nada menos do que existencial? E isto não se refere unicamente à percepção, poderemos dizer o mesmo a propósito da utilização dos fantasmas, bem como das faculdades intelectuais. A função fantasmática pode, de modo equivalente, desenvolver-se à partida seguindo duas vias diversas: se a criança se pode ver na mãe, quando esta está ausente, o fantasma ou a alucinação servirá a revivescência da reunião; o espaço de separação transformar-se-á no espaço onde é possível procurar e encontrar a presença dessa mãe: estabelecendo essa mesma presença uma forma de presença para si mesmo. O «ser» da mãe dá a experimentar uma continuidade de presença que pode estar algures sem estar perdida; podendo esse algures ser ulteriormente metaforizado pela cena primitiva não vista, pela pessoa do pai, etc. Pelo contrário, se a criança olhando o objecto, não se vê nele, fará a experiência de uma perda, de um vazio. Se a criança não
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está na mãe, muito simplesmente não existe... acordando em si uma tal angústia de aniquilamento que o fantasma será utilizado para recobrir esse abismo que se abriu debaixo dos seus pés. Nesse caso, como poderia o fantasma adquirir uma dimensão criadora? É então que a realidade do olhar do outro será sobreinvestida no exterior de si, numa busca tão compulsiva como vã de uma identidade evanescente. Nesta mesma linha, as faculdades intelectuais podem servir prioritariamente os mesmos objectivos defensivos, estabelecendo o corte com as emoções ligadas ao corpo (o que vem suprimir a presença dos vestígios do objecto em si, tal como já vimos) e desenvolver-se muito precocemente, agindo isoladamente, com um objectivo de controlo omnipotente, ou até mesmo de desvitalização de um meio circundante que foi dolorosamente experimentado como perigoso. Aliás, toma-se interessante notar que, com toda a verosimilhança, essas faculdades serão tanto mais desenvolvidas e sobreinvestidas quanto mais ligadas estiverem a uma operação de sobrevivência relativamente ao outro, a qualquer outro, que será desde então vivido, pela sua simples presença, como ameaça para a integridade narcísica do sujeito e para o seu lugar no mundo no mais profundo de si mesmo. Basta fazer executar testes projectivos a uma população de quadros brilhantes, colocados nos primeiros lugares dos mais exigentes concursos, para se ver, como esse êxito intelectual ao mais alto nível tem a ver, na maioria dos casos, com uma patologia particularmente severa do «si», da mutualidade, o que leva a uma inﬂação máxima do eu separado, do narcisismo. Foi Puchkine quem escreveu: «Quanto mais vazio é o homem, mais se encontra cheio de si mesmo»
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Ou antes, daquilo que ele vai acumulando em títulos, diplomas, fortuna, a ﬁm de, enchendo esse vazio, se valorizar a si próprio; mas nessa necessidade narcísica, ele já não deixa qualquer lugar para uma outra presença, que seria paradoxalmente presença a si próprio. Esta patologia do si não encontrará melhor comparação que a estabelecida com o efeito produzido por uma bomba de neutrões, caindo sobre uma casa: nada foi atingido na aparência; tudo nela se encontra Intacto até aos mínimos requintes (entendamos como requintes aquilo que se refere à cultura intelectual e social). Só aquilo que antes estava vivo abandonou essa casa: o sujeito, vazio das emoções ligadas à presença desejada de um outro a quem se possa abandonar, encontra-se vazio do seu próprio ser; ou, para utilizar uma linguagem um pouco fora de moda: muito simplesmente, ele perdeu a sua alma...
V - A IDEALIZAÇÃO: MÁSCARA DEVASTADORA DO ÓDIO
Já o dissemos e repetimos: para encontrarmos um lugar para nós próprios, para obtermos uma identidade viva, tivemos de aprender a manejar e a transformar o ódio, a ﬁm de nos separarmos de um outro que, confundido connosco à partida, permanece e permanecerá toda a vida a nossa maior armadilha afectiva. Vai sempre renascendo cm cada um de nós, sob formas novas e sedutoras de cada vez que se apresenta, a tentação fusional, a tentação de trazer o outro real até àquilo que dele conhecemos, àquilo que nele amamos, àquilo que vem confortar as nossas escolhas existenciais do momento, dando-nos a segurança de um acordo sem condições. Através da busca desse objecto perdido, já evocado, todos
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nós nos encontramos à procura de um mundo sem tensões, sem conﬂitos, logo, sem ódio - um mundo ideal - no qual o sentimentalismo e a emoção estética pura, por outras palavras, a emoção cultivada por ela mesma, são confundidos com o amor. Kundera soube 4 pintar o quadro feroz dessa prisão do imaginário que utiliza a idealização (essa necessidade de um «toda a gente é bonita, toda a gente é boazinha», relativamente à sua própria família, ou partido político, pátria ou raça, com exclusão, obviamente, de todos os outros) a ﬁm de negar, com bonomia e gentileza, o ódio, a vontade de destruir, numa palavra, o mal, presentes em cada um de nós. A esse mundo, ele designa-o como o «Kitsch»; é aquele «de um acordo categórico com o Ser, no qual a merda é negada e onde cada um se comporta como se ela não existisse (... ). O argumento para ele é a sensibilidade. Quando o coração falou, não é conveniente que a razão levante objecções. No Reino do kitsch exerce-se a ditadura do coração. O kitsch faz nascer uma após outra duas lágrimas de emoção; a primeira lágrima diz: como é lindo, as crianças a correrem sobre a relva! A segunda lágrima diz: como é lindo sentir-se comovido com toda a humanidade ao ver correr crianças sobre a relva! Só por si, esta segunda lágrima faz com que o kitsch seja o kitsch (...). A fraternidade entre todos os homens nunca poderá ter outra base que não seja o kitsch. O Gulag pode ser considerado como uma fossa séptica, na qual o kitsch totalitário lança as suas imundícies».
1 - A Insustentável Leveza do Ser.
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Eis uma magníﬁca ilustração desse pretenso amor que, adocicado, amolecido, porque cortado das suas raízes de ódio reconhecidas, constrói os Gulags... por um mundo melhor, um mundo de fraternidade! Esse Gulag da idealização emocional, é exactamente o mundo quando é construído sobre a denegação de uma mãe arcaica, aterrorizadora por não ter podido ser representada e afectivamente pensada como boa e má simultaneamente. Sob a capa dourada de uma idealização, que cumplicidades colectivas vão conservando, essa mãe, omnipotente na sua arbitrariedade persecutória, permaneceu imutável nos inconscientes onde se encontra escondida, e procura alimento para o seu ódio sem peias nem destino... E ela vai encontrar esse alimento na ideologia totalitária, essa forma de pensamento que, desligada da relação, indiferente ao rosto dos outros, sonha com um mundo de pureza e de perfeição: um mundo onde só haja Arianos louros... e Hitler possa exterminar tranquilamente um povo; um mundo no qual a salvação possa unicamente ser obtida a partir de um regresso ao campo, e Pol Pot desertiﬁque as cidades...
A NEGAÇÃO DA REALIDADE EM NOME DA REALIDADE ARNO GRUEN
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«Podiam estar a matar uma pessoa à pancada e continuavam com um ar perfeitamente normal isso é que não consigo entender». Um polaco, antigo prisioneiro de um campo de concentração 1
«É que penso que o que decide sobre o bem e o mal não é a comunicação das pessoas entre elas, mas apenas a maneira das pessoas se darem consigo próprias». Jakob Wassermann 2
1 - K.H. Janssen: «Über das Base und das Tugendhafre», in: Die Zeit, 16 de Novembro de 1984. 2 - J. Wassermann: Der Fall Maurizius. Langen-Müller: Munique 1985, p. 366.
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O tornar-se responsável pelo próprio Eu é um processo paradoxal. Quem raciocinar nos termos simples de uma sequencialidade cronológica nunca compreenderá os mecanismos activos. O desenvolvimento da personalidade não pode ser dissociado das inﬂuências exteriores. Todos nós temos um pai ou uma mãe que continuam a inﬂuenciar o nosso comportamento. Mas as contradições que se instalam no interior da mente humana desenvolvem a sua dinâmica própria. Assim, produzem-se actos que, parecendo determinados por certos acontecimentos exteriores, na realidade pouco ou nada têm a ver com eles. Não é só o meio que inﬂuencia o pequeno Eu, ávido de crescer. As reacções da criança a essas inﬂuências marcantes inﬂuenciam o meio por seu lado. Trata-se, portanto, de um jogo constante de condicionamento mútuo. Pai e mãe bem podem impor a sua vontade à criança, mas o sinal e a intensidade da inﬂuência educacional são também determinados pelas reacções da criança. O que torna este jogo de inﬂuências mútuas tão complicado é que, por um lado, os fundamentos da autonomia possível são criados nas primeiras interacções entre o Eu em gestação e o meio que o rodeia e, por outro, esta é decisiva para a medida em que a criança assume a responsabilidade por si própria. Disso dependem todas as suas relações sociais futuras. Fundamentalmente, a responsabilidade pode desenvolver-se em dois sentidos distintos: ou o Eu nascente se molda livre e abertamente em auto-responsabilidade, ou entrega-se obedientemente à inﬂuência marcante dos outros. Neste último caso, evita as obrigações decorrentes da responsabilidade autêntica. Ao mesmo tempo, a memória da fuga à responsabilidade é recalcada. E nem pode ser doutro modo, porque a sujeição a uma vontade alheia acciona um jogo de poder
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elementar: «Torno-me no que queres para tu tratares de mim. A minha sujeição é, a partir de agora, o meu poder sobre ti, com o qual te obrigo a dedicares-te a mim.» Assim, o acto de se fazer dependente converte-se na vingança pela sujeição. Este acto tem várias facetas. Primeiro, a criança adopta o critério dos pais. O que dá pelo nome de interiorização 3. É, portanto, um processo da colaboração pela subjugação. Segundo, isso signiﬁca que a criança começa a odiar em si tudo que possa fazê-la entrar em conﬂito com as expectativas dos pais. E, terceiro, este ódio de si próprio acarreta a predisposição a subjugar-se cada vez mais. Está criado um círculo vicioso: a sujeição e o desprezo por si próprio condicionam-se mutuamente. Existem sempre as duas coisas: ódio e desprezo, por si próprio. Mas precisamente o desprezo por si próprio não se deve sentir - seria insuportável. Por isso, todo o processo tem de ﬁcar no inconsciente; é recalcado e desmentido, e assim uma pessoa, sem se aperceber, ﬁca cada vez mais apanhada nos enredos do jogo do poder. A queixa eterna do que se entregou a outro é, consequentemente: «Não ﬁzeste suﬁciente por mim.» Expressa-se assim a quimera do contrapoder, inerente a todo pacto baseado em dominação e subjugação. Este jogo de poder, no entanto, funciona de uma forma pouco óbvia, começando em bebé, no ﬂuxo dos sentimentos pré-verbais. Jogo de poder que, por assim dizer, tem de ser mantido secreto para se ocultar a intenção do contrapoder. A alucinação de um contra-poder oculta àquele que se subjuga que está a subjugar-se voluntariamente. Isso leva a um duplo fracasso: a subjugação continua e a vingança acaba por ser autodestrutiva. Constantemente atiçado pelo ódio 3 - G. Bychowsky: «Struggle Against the Introjects», in: International Journal of Psycho-Analysis 39, 1958.
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de si próprio, o desejo de vingança passa a ser a origem e determinante inconfessa e incógnita do estado mental da pessoa. É essa a condição humana, quando a colaboração na própria subjugação caracteriza o desenvolvimento de uma pessoa. E quem já não sabe que se subjugou não será capaz de integrar o seu Eu amputado na vida posterior. O ódio de si próprio que daí advém alimentará todas as acções futuras - como tentativa de compensar o desequilíbrio mental. No fundo, uma vida a odiar-se é impossível. Só quem enfrentar o seu Eu, que foi capaz de subjugar-se de tão boa vontade, consegue _ ainda que seja um processo doloroso - reduzir o ódio que nutre contra si. Mas enfrentá-lo signiﬁcaria reconhecer a sujeição que faz uma pessoa odiar. Uma criança, no entanto. não pode perceber, e daí não pode admitir, que não suportou a dor de não ser realmente aceite como o que era, de não ser reconhecida. Sentir-se aceite pelo amor de outra pessoa é uma das condições fundamentais para a pessoa humana poder crescer. Friedrich Hebbel exprimiu-o num poema: So dir im Auge wundersam Sah ich mich selbst entstehen. (E assim, no teu olhar admirado Vi-me vir a existir.) A dor de não serem aceites é, muito provavelmente, a razão de algumas crianças serem vitimadas pela denominada morte infantil repentina 4. Na maior parte dos casos, 4 - A. Gruen: «Psychische Spaltung ais mitwirkender Vorgang beim plõtzlichen Kindstod», in: Sozialpadiatrie 7, 1985. Um livro sobre este tema (A cisão psíquica como um dos processos causadores da morte infantil repentina) está em fase de preparação. Será publicado em 1988 por Kõsel: München. (Este livro encontra-se publicado em edição paper-back, revista e ampliada, com o título: Der ftühe Abschied, por dtv: Munique 1993; notas do Tr. )
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a criança subjuga-se a ﬁm de participar no poder que a oprime. Crianças autistas é que parecem lidar com essa dor de outra forma, não parecendo estar dispostas a negá-la 5. É um grande paradoxo: não se pode viver com o ódio de si próprio sem se fazer nada contra ele. Mas, encarado de frente, confrontar-nos-ia com a dor sobre a auto traição cometida. Por isso é negado. A contradição entre a necessidade de salvar a face perante si próprio e a prontidão em pactuar com o poder pela subjugação é, por isso, a cisão mais fundamental, e talvez a primeira, da alma humana. Não é um mero recalcamento, é uma cisão radical, uma separação da consciência do Eu sacriﬁcado e do ódio de si próprio daí resultante. Isso transforma-se no princípio básico de toda uma vida. Tal cisão faz parte de, e é sustentada por, uma ideologia social que identiﬁca obediência com responsabilidade: ser obediente signiﬁca ser bom, e ser bom signiﬁca ser responsável. Ser livre, no entanto, signiﬁca desobediência, e quem é desobediente provoca desgosto e candidata-se a perder a protecção dos poderosos, ou a hipótese de participar do seu poder. Neste ponto convém perder umas palavras sobre a perspectiva sociológica da existência humana. A criminalidade, por exemplo, é considerada uma consequência da pobreza. Mas isso não explica porque a maioria não se torna delinquente. Daí, por outro lado, não se pode deduzir que a pobreza não tenha nada a ver com a delinquência. Torna-se inevitável diferenciar umas coisas. Se um famin5 - G. Benedetti: Todeslandschaften der Seele. Psychopathologie, Psychodynamik und Psychotherapie der Schizophrenie. Vandenhoeck 6 Ruprecht: Gõttingen 1983. - B. Bettelheim: Die Geburt des Selbst. The Empty Fortress. Fischer: Frankfurt 1986. A. Gruen/J. Prekop: «Das Festhalten und die Problernatik der Bindung im Autismus. Theoretische Bcrrachtungen», in: Praxis der Kinderpsychologie und Kinderpsychiatrie 7, 1986. - R. D. Laing: Das geteilte Selbst. Eine existentielle Studie über geistige Gesundheit und Vitzlmsimz. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag: Munique 1986. - Estes trabalhos demonstram que a «morte viva» dos autistas e esquizofrénicos é uma consequência de uma longa confrontação com a dor da rejeição.
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to roubar, não o faz por gulodice; e se, ao fazê-lo, matar alguém sem querer, não se trata de um assassínio premeditado. Por outro lado, os ricos e poderosos, na nossa sociedade, estão entre aqueles que despoletam guerras, destroem o sustento de outros, envenenam a natureza e as pessoas. Mas esses não povoam as prisões. As estatísticas criminais só dão conta de mais pobres que ricos, porque a ideologia dos ricos e poderosos está subjacente a tais estatísticas e porque não abrangem todas as formas da destrutividade. A civilização e as suas normas que reclamam obediência são factores decisivos no surgimento do ódio de si próprio. Este é causador de desconforto e infelicidade. Enquanto a verdade for evitada em proveito de ideologias pelas quais a cultura do poder assegura a sua sobrevivência, a infelicidade humana será uma constante na nossa vida, qualquer que seja a orientação política ou económica de uma sociedade. Um indício muito forte neste sentido é o comportamento vingativo e repreensivo de muitas pessoas - vivam elas num país capitalista ou comunista. É que a vingança e a repreensão - e não a liberdade - tornaram-se o móbil da sua vida, e assim aprofundam cada vez mais a sua dependência e entregam-se cada vez mais à ilusão de que o poder é o remédio santo para todos os problemas. Assim, e como é lógico, há muita gente a insistir na mentira de ser vertical e autodeterminada. Também por isso todos os jogos de poder são hipócritas quanto às suas intenções e baseiam-se na mentira perante si próprio. Uma mãe pode ignorar o seu ﬁlho que chama por ela - ou assim pensa ela; aﬁnal ainda agora lhe mudou as fraldas e não quer voltar a sujar as mãos tão depressa. Em vez de sentir o desespero do bebé, tem pena de si própria.
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Mudanças mentais não se conseguem pelo mero entendimento da própria história. Em qualquer psicoterapia ou psicanálise, o emaranhado da cronologia das vivências e inﬂuências infantis não é suﬁcientemente destrinçado para ocasionar mudanças reais. O doente só começa a mudar a partir do momento em que decide assumir ele próprio a responsabilidade de um dia ter resolvido subjugar-se ao poder. É que foi precisamente essa subjugação que permitiu a atroﬁa do seu potencial de autonomia e causou as suas deformações mentais. É, de resto, neste ponto que critico a perspectiva de Alice Miller, embora considere a sua obra importante signiﬁcativa 6. Ela argumenta como se o entendimento das inﬂuências determinantes já levasse à cura. Na verdade, isto só leva a que o paciente descanse voluptuosamente à sombra do entendimento terapêutico, sem ter de mudar realmente. E o médico, sentindo-se como boa mãe, não vai precisar de perceber que tornou o paciente dependente de si. Repete-se, portanto, o eterno jogo do poderoso e do dependente, entre a «boa» mãe e a criança grata, que assim não precisa de tornar-se adulta. Erroneamente, tal interiorização do médico - o oposto da procurada identidade própria - é interpretada como processo de amadurecimento. Outra forma de atroﬁa é subjugar-se apenas aparentemente para defender a autonomia. É esta uma possibilidade paradoxal de preservar pelo menos a capacidade de autonomia. Só há um caminho para a verdadeira libertação e, com isso, para a experiência arriscada da mudança: enfrentar a dor sobre a traição cometida contra si próprio. Como vi6 - A. Miller: Das Drama des begabten Kindes und die Suche nach dem uiahren Selbst.
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mos, não chega entender a própria história, mas não chega tão-pouco «entender» apenas a violência social que inﬂuencia o desenvolvimento do indivíduo. Apenas com isso não se pode explicar porque uma pessoa vai dar em assassino. É preciso debruçar-se sobre a sujeição; levou uma pessoa a odiar-se e, a seguir, tudo que seja vivo à sua volta por estar a lembrar-lhe o que fez. O mal, a destrutividade, a desumanidade - tudo isso tem as suas raízes na incapacidade de assumir a responsabilidade pela longínqua decisão de prescindir do direito - adquirido pelo acto de nascer - de ser o que se é. Evidentemente, o mal e a desumanidade não são possíveis sem estruturas e instituições sociais de apoio que encobrem a subjugação e a dependência, e identiﬁcam a obediência com uma actuação «responsável». Mas enquanto encararmos, por exemplo, Hitler como um fenómeno passível de ser abrangido pelos termos convencionais de «normal» ou «louco», não seremos capazes de compreender o que signiﬁcou, e continua, hoje, a signiﬁcar para todos nós, que um homem como ele possa ter ascendido ao poder. À luz do que dissemos até agora, já devia ser plausível por que razão considero necessária uma deﬁnição mais lata da doença mental. Só uma tal ampliação leva a uma compreensão abrangente do Homem e dos descaminhos mentais de que é capaz. O que a psiquiatria e a psicologia nos apresentam como doença mental, está conotado com a ideia de que se trata de uma perda gradual da noção da realidade. Maior ou menor ligação com a realidade - segundo este critério, classiﬁca-se todo o comportamento humano. E por «realidade» entende-se, aqui, apenas realidade exterior. É verdade que o relacionamento com a realidade - a sua falta ou o grau de devoção à realidade exterior - constitui
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uma grelha em que podemos arrumar as pessoas e que nos permite a sua classiﬁcação entre o comportamento psicótico, a neurose e a normalidade. Mas tal esquema encobre o facto de haver ainda outro género de doença, que é muito mais perigoso que o que se caracteriza pela perda da ligação com a realidade. Para ver esse outro género de doença, temos de mudar de perspectiva e cortar com as categorias convencionais. Aí veremos que, por detrás da orientação pela «realidade», considerada geralmente o critério da saúde, se esconde uma patologia mais profunda e menos evidente: a do comportamento «normal», a patologia da adaptação em consequência da renúncia ao Eu. Se investigarmos esta patologia com mais pormenor, havemos de reparar, em primeiro lugar, que se trata de uma doença cuja intenção não é produzir loucura, mas sim «dar-lhe a volta». O que quero dizer com «intenção» de uma doença é o que vemos, por exemplo, naqueles estranhos comportamentos com os quais uma pessoa tenta chamar a atenção para o seu sofrimento. Estes são na verdade gritos de socorro, muitas vezes tão velados que desconcertam ainda mais, tanto o que está a pedir auxílio como o destinatário de tal pedido 7. A patologia da normalidade, pelo contrário, a que engana a loucura, caracteriza-se pela fuga ao sofrimento. E assim faz de forma acentuada: não é só da fuga perante a dor psíquica que se trata, mas também do medo da desagregação de que este tipo de estrutura de personalidade se sente continuamente ameaçado. Não é fácil descrever este processo, porque a sua investigação é diﬁcultada por um bloqueamento da nossa per7 - C. Hoover: «Prolonged Schizophrenia and the Will», in: Journal of Humanistic Psychology 11, 1971.
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cepção. Assim, somos muitas vezes impermeáveis a certas percepções por não conseguirmos suportar a dor. Por exemplo, temos diﬁculdades em aperceber-nos da própria inquietação por termos aprendido a abraçar a realidade exterior para evitarmos essa inquietude interior. E é precisamente por isso que costumamos ser incapazes de ver o que acima descrevi. Por isso, também o meu projecto é difícil: todos nós somos marcados pelo ditame da nossa civilização que nos obriga a evitar a dor do caos interior. O medo não pode ser admitido; não pode ser encarado de frente. Assim, a aparência de «saúde» torna-se um embuste muito eﬁcaz para manter em segredo a doença duma vida interior caótica. No ﬁm, nem nós próprios saberemos que estamos doentes ou desesperados. A vida moderna está caracterizada por esta atitude de «iludir a doença» como não o terá sido qualquer outra época na história da humanidade. Não será em último lugar por isto que hoje se encontra ameaçada a sobrevivência pura e simples da humanidade. É um tipo de «sanidade» que Henry Miller descreveu da seguinte forma: Somos tão «sãos» que não nos reconheceríamos, se nos encontrássemos na rua, por estarmos confrontados com uma personalidade que nos mete medo 8. Fugimos, cada vez mais, do nosso deserto interior, do nosso vazio, porque não temos uma relação amorosa connosco nem com os outros, e com isso fugimos do nosso próprio passado. Enquanto a cisão ainda não se efectuou, reagimos ao que fazemos e ao que nos acontece com sensações de dor, desamparo, ou felicidade e curiosidade. Como fazem parte da nossa experiência de vida, essas reacções são continuamente integradas na nossa psique e aí continuam a fazer o 8 - H. Miller: Vom groben Auﬁtand (Rimbaud). Arche: Zurique 1964, p. 103.
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seu efeito. São elas que nos fornecem as energias criativas, uma vez que determinam a nossa receptividade em tudo que interfere connosco vindo de fora. Mas a criatividade diminui na medida em que menosprezamos tais sensações. Uma vez separados do nosso interior, reagimos apenas com ideias e conceitos obrigatórios e pré-fabricados. Daqui até à transformação em robot já não falta muito. Se a dor, a preocupação e a impotência são negadas por serem consideradas fraquezas, por exemplo como expressão pouco masculina dum sentimentalismo considerado feminino, como pouco apropriadas à força masculina (o que também é válido para mulheres que reclamam a força para si dentro dos padrões masculinos), o interior é neutralizado e desligado da engrenagem da vida diária. E, assim, o mundo interior afunda-se cada vez mais no inconsciente. Mas ele continua a ser o motor, mesmo que incógnito, do nosso modo de agir, pensar e sentir. Há, portanto, dois estados mentais diametralmente opostos: Onde o mundo interior é acessível, uma pessoa será capaz de reagir de uma forma criativa aos estímulos externos. Pode mesmo existir como mundo interior inconsciente, desde que seja recuperável. A vida interior é uma entidade muito ﬂexível que tem uma grande capacidade de reacção. No tipo contrário é diferente: Se o interior sensível estiver bloqueado, os contactos do indivíduo com o mundo exterior deixá-lo-ão inalterado. Ou melhor: nem existirá um verdadeiro contacto com o exterior. A medida do isolamento interior daí decorrente está directamente relacionada com o ódio de si próprio. Este é provocado pela participação activa na sujeição ao mando de uma «realidade» que exige a negação de sentimentos autónomos. Esta fonte contínua do ódio não só reforça o isolamento
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interior como também o caos resultante da falta de ligação entre o mundo interior e a vida exterior. Tudo isso faz crescer o medo do interior e da ameaça de ele acabar por vir ao de cima. A cisão reforça a cisão. E, assim, o medo da derrocada acelera a imersão na realidade exterior, pela qual aprendemos a assegurar um lugar para nós num mundo rendido ao poder e ao domínio. É de reter: o isolamento do interior do contacto conﬁrmativo com o mundo exterior leva à perda da organização e integração. E o interior passa a ser temido, uma vez que a destrutividade e o ódio de si próprio se tornam os seus elementos dominantes. Sem auto-organização, o interior permanece num estado de confusão, de caos. lsso pode ser demonstrado pela maneira de lidar com os sonhos: O mecanismo clásico do acto de sonhar prende-se com a reconstituição de coisas perdidas com importância emocional, sejam elas desejos ou necessidades não satisfeitas. Mas tanto uns como as outras estão distorcidos em pessoas nessas condições, ou são mesmo negados. Isto explicará também a experiência clínica, segundo a qual há doentes que não conseguem dar conta de sonhos por se encontrarem divididos de si próprios, embora de maneira diversa dos esquizofrénicos. A falta de integração produz medo, não só pelo seu potencial desagregador mas, mais ainda, porque o homem, desde o seu nascimento, está vocacionado para a integração. Como foi provado por Eric Aronson e Shelley Rosenbloom, recém-nascidos com apenas trinta dias já acusam dor e desconforto, se, a sua percepção da mãe, até aí integral e integrada, for interrompida ou quebrada 9. 9 - E. Aronson/ S. Rosenbloom: «Space Perception in Early Infancy. Perception Within a Common AuditoryVisual Space», in: Science 172, 1971.
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Uma vida interior que pode desenvolver-se com base em estímulos variados e num intercâmbio integrativo com o mundo exterior é o pressuposto de uma existência humana integrada. E esta é, por seu lado, o pressuposto para nos tornarmos uma pessoa «humana». E é essa a razão pela qual o Mal pressupõe um desenvolvimento muito mais complexo, baseado na negação e destruição do Eu. Os processos de cisão descritos diferem muito daqueles que vemos no esquizofrénico. Esse tenta manter-se no seu mundo interior, já que não consegue suportar a hipocrisia do mundo «real», exterior. Divorcia-se do mundo exterior para manter-se em contacto com os seus sentimentos e com as possibilidades de autonomia que o seu mundo interior lhe oferece. O recalcamento do desespero e do desequilíbrio interior, ou seja, o afastamento do seu interior, caracteriza aquelas pessoas, das quais supomos estarem plenamente inseridas na realidade. Essa impressão é causada pelo facto da nossa ideia de «realidade» estar feita à medida desse tipo de personalidade, o que leva a que tal ideia seja aparentemente conﬁrmada as vezes que for preciso. Por isso, o poder de decidir sobre os nossos destinos costuma ser entregue justamente a esse tipo de gente, muito embora não esteja à altura de tal responsabilidade. Mas assim acontece também por essas pessoas encarnarem as nossas próprias fantasias de realismo e força. O tema deste livro é, por isso, a índole traiçoeira de uma «saúde» que oculta a falta de um verdadeiro Eu e que, ao mesmo tempo, serve de meio para fugir ao caos interior provocado por esse defeito. A separação do interior impossibilita o desenvolvimento de um Eu autêntico. A loucura que se mascara de normalidade difere fundamentalmente do que costumamos entender por loucura.
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Por isso temos de reformular as nossas ideias sobre a loucura. A esquizofrenia - a loucura «visível»- deve ser encarada numa perspectiva completamente diferente: A esquizofrenia é a luta com uma loucura muito mais grave, a qual se apresenta sob a capa da normalidade. Com isto, também se torna clara a diﬁculdade do meu ponto de vista: Todos nos deixamos enganar pela aparência exterior da normalidade porque nós próprios, sob a pressão da nossa educação, perdemos o contacto com o que se oculta por detrás dessa fachada. A contradição da psico patologia actual consiste em declarar doentes sobretudo pessoas que, no fundo, não procuram outra coisa senão manter-se em ligação com os seus próprios sentimentos, e não aquelas que procuram desfazer-se dessa ligação. Tantas vezes a doença dos primeiros não é senão a reacção à pressão, exercida para lhes impossibilitar a apreensão das contradições e cisões no mundo da nossa experiência. A doença mais profunda, a qual não vemos por a nossa atenção estar inteiramente absorvida pelo comportamento «louco» dos esquizofrénicos, consiste em essas pessoas, perante as contradições e mentiras sociais, não terem força que chegue para preservarem a coesão interior. É, também, por isso, que são incapazes de se revoltarem ou resistir abertamente. Uma integração real das nossas experiências teria de levar em conta também as suas contradições. Padrões de comportamento hipócritas, por exemplo, teriam de ser reconhecidos como tais. O tipo de carinho, por exemplo, que tem por única ﬁnalidade a de tornar os outros dependentes e subjugá-los à sua tutela já não poderia ser considerado «carinhoso». Mas a maior parte de nós é assim mesmo que o vê! É precisamente essa a razão pela qual um esquizofré-
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nico não consegue identiﬁcar-se com um mundo que sente como hipócrita e moralmente duvidoso. Os seus sentimentos e a sua psique estão divididos, porque ser diferente signiﬁcava para ele subjugar-se ao que considera desumano: ódio, opressão e controlo que se fazem passar por amor. A cisão dos esquizofrénicos é a tentativa de manter a unidade do sentir, ou seja o contacto com o mundo interior. A sua «loucura» é o protesto contra uma «unidade» ﬁngida e impingida que não existe na realidade. Se, por exemplo, a compaixão for usada para se ter pena de alguém, para se sentir superior ou para simplesmente humilhá-lo, o esquizofrénico é incapaz de mostrar empatia. Rir-se-á, onde nós, os adaptados, esperaríamos uma reacção carinhosa ou preocupada. Consoantemente, é-lhe diagnosticado que não tem nenhuma relação com a realidade e é uma personalidade dividida. É verdade que o esquizofrénico se retira para a sua esfera interior. Mas faz isso por só ali poder estar na presença de sentimentos reais, os quais o realismo nega. Infelizmente, a sua tentativa de manter a integração separando-se do mundo exterior, leva a uma redução da vida e à morte mental. Uma pessoa assim tenta afastar-se, num processo de não identiﬁcação, dum mundo que conheceu como vão e falso. Assim, o esquizofrénico acaba por não viver na nossa realidade. Mas para aí chegar deve ter sentido essa realidade, com todas as suas contradições, de uma forma mais dolorosa que nós. Pessoas assim não padecem desde o início de uma percepção errada da realidade - originalmente, até devem ter sabido tudo sobre ela -, antes, e justamente por se encontrarem tão perto da realidade, não podem colaborar na fraude de uma integridade humana apenas ﬁngida.
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Só ﬁcaram doentes porque se esforçaram por manter-se em contacto com o seu interior. Os que se atiram à realidade são os outros, os «saudáveis», e fazem-no para não terem de aperceber-se de nada do que se encontra no seu interior. Num sentido mais profundo, o esquizofrénico é impelido pela necessidade de salvar a integração, ao passo que a necessidade do «normal» é a cisão. Para aqueles que se apropriam da aparência de um comportamento «normal», porque não conseguem suportar a tensão das contradições entre a realidade que nos é imposta e o mundo interior, para gente assim, muito rapidamente deixa de haver sentimentos verdadeiros. Em vez disso, operam com conceitos de sentimentos, sem terem com eles ainda alguma experiência. Apresentam sentimentos ﬁngidos como sendo seus e renunciam aos seus sentimentos verdadeiros. Quanto mais «saudável» a imagem da identidade que assumiram, tanto maior será o sucesso dessa manipulação. E é de manipulação que se trata, já que a sua intenção não é exprimirem-se, mas a de convencer o parceiro de que agem, pensam e sentem de uma forma adequada. São estas as pessoas que quero apresentar como as realmente loucas entre nós. Põem-nos todos em perigo, porque são incapazes de encarar de frente o caos, a raiva e o vazio que os preenchem. Ao passo que o esquizofrénico mantém de pé, num mundo sentido por ele como contraditório e inquietantemente mau, a convicção básica de que o amor verdadeiro tem validade, naqueles que iludem a loucura, a luta pelo poder é a única maneira de se defenderem do caos interior que os assola e da destruição interior. Para não terem de reconhecer o vazio como o seu próprio vazio interior, espalham a destruição e o vazio à sua volta. O paradoxo do esquizofrénico é que tenta proteger o seu interior escon-
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dendo-o. Operação essa votada ao fracasso, porque o Eu só pode viver no intercâmbio vivo, e por isso o esquizofrénico paga essa tentativa muitas vezes com a perda total de bom senso, lógica e comunicação. Ele faz a si próprio o que o mundo lhe fez. Já não quer ser amável para impedir as outras pessoas de se sentirem culpadas pelo seu estado. Aqueles, no entanto, que querem fugir à consciência do seu estado interior, impõem a sua «ordem» aos outros, e com isso a sua maneira de se relacionarem consigo próprios. Ao passo que os esquizofrénicos se reduzem a si próprios para não serem descobertos, os outros têm um método inverso: não se reduzem a si, mas à realidade, negando as suas contradições e os medos daí decorrentes. O seu modo de vida consiste em defenderem essa redução, negarem os seus receios interiores. Agarram-se a essa realidade reduzida e insistem em que essa represente a vivência total. O seu Eu segue, então, voluntariosamente as ideias que determinam a priori o que é a nossa existência, não se fundamentando no jogo de condicionamentos mútuos entre o Eu verdadeiro e o mundo que nos rodeia e de que fazemos parte. A sua consciência, por isso, não reﬂecte a integração do indivíduo com a realidade exterior, mas a necessidade de conquistar essa realidade. Assim acontece que uma consciência que funcione apenas em conceitos, a qual, desconheça o jogo livre dos sentimentos em momentos de alegria e dor, se torne escrava e destrutiva. Na medida em que nos entregamos aos conceitos, havemos de considerar sentimentos que o são, na realidade, apenas ideias do que pensamos que deveríamos sentir. E, da mesma maneira, pensamos que pensamos, quando os nossos pensamentos são, na verdade, sentimentos vingativos e destrutivos revestidos de uma lógica
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aparente. As teorias «cientíﬁcas» sobre a «vida indigna de ser vivida» dos deﬁcientes, na altura do terceiro Reich, são disso um exemplo extremo. Este dilema está intimamente relacionado com a possibilidade de separarmos os pensamentos dos sentimentos, proveniente do desenvolvimento que todos temos em comum. Temos por uma função do nosso pensamento o que, aﬁnal, é uma função dos nossos sentimentos, e vice-versa. Se nos tivermos inclinado para a divisão do intelecto e do sentimento, ou seja, para o afastamento das raízes do que sentimos, o problema é já não sermos capazes de apreender esse processo. Devido ao nosso desenvolvimento, estaremos empenhados em não nos vermos como somos, mas como pensamos dever ser vistos. Imagem e essência não coincidirão. E se não coincidirem, esta contradição da realidade interior será uma fonte constante de medo. O medo, por seu lado, reforçará a divisão. Um exemplo: A imagem de força colide com a compaixão que sentimos perante o sofrimento de outra pessoa, porque a compaixão é considerada igual a fraqueza. Tal contradição ameaça-nos com o colapso e o medo obriga-nos ainda mais a «prescindirmos» dos nossos sentimentos. Este processo também pode ser descrito de outra forma: A ideia de que o domínio representa força e a impotência fraqueza, está difundida de forma variável - mas está profundamente enraizada em todos nós. Consideramos tal ideia um dado adquirido da nossa maneira de ser. Mas o que sentimos acerca do domínio e da impotência não corresponde aos sentimentos inteiramente naturais da nossa primeira infância, quando nos davam de comer e a nossa mãe nos segurava nos seus braços protectores. Se sentimos, mais tarde, a impotência e o domínio como fraqueza e força, tais sensações são apenas funções de processos de
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pensamento, e não da nossa verdadeira natureza e experiência. Esses processos de pensamento apresentam-se no contexto de uma realidade já de si reduzida, a qual, por seu lado, é fruto da incapacidade de suportar sentimentos. Estamos, portanto, mais uma vez perante um processo caracterizado pela cisão. A incapacidade de suportar sentimentos divide, sobretudo, o pensar do sentir. Embora tal se considere característico de um comportamento esquizofrénico, é essa a realidade em que vivemos nós, os «normais», e não os esquizofrénicos. No caso deles, a cisão é sinal da sua recusa de perﬁlharem sentimentos ﬁngidos ou hipócritas. O que se passa não é o esquizofrénico não suportar os reais sentimentos de dor, apreensão, desespero ou alegria. Recusa-se apenas a viver com a distorção desses sentimentos. Pelo contrário, nos casos em que pessoas «normais» não suportam, digamos, a sensação de impotência, precisam de aliviar-se através de uma «realidade» que despreza tais vivências e oculta o facto de que a vivência da impotência contém uma energia que conduz a uma força real. Esse tipo de realidade dá necessariamente - em sinal da força - um valor especial à conquista do que se encontra fora das fronteiras do nosso Eu. Assim, opera-se uma falaciosa tomada de posse da própria alma. Eugene O’Neill falou uma vez do fracasso dos Estados Unidos por estarem sempre concentrados em apossar-se de algo fora deles para conseguirem deitar mão à própria alma. Mas por isso mesmo perderiam as duas coisas: a alma e as conquistas 10. Martti Siirala descreveu o mesmo processo a nível individual, quando falou da «posse alucinada da realidade» como experiência cen10 - B. e A. Gelb: O’Neill. Delta: Nova Iorque 1964, p. 870
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tral da pessoa conformista 11. Conquista e poder servem para conﬁrmarmos a nós próprios que estamos dentro dos nossos sentimentos. Mas o poder e tudo o que dele deriva não só parecem dar a sensação de se estar vivo. Também transmitem uma concepção errada da natureza humana, o que, por sua vez, a altera. Vejamos: Se uma pessoa estiver separada do seu interior pelo seu «pensamento» e pela submissão ao ditado do mesmo (a lógica intrínseca do pensamento não admite correcção, enquanto os sentimentos e as vivências reais continuarem renegados), não só verá a sua autonomia constantemente ferida, desenvolverá também raiva e violência. A única coisa autêntica num tal estado de sentimento não verdadeiro é a raiva. Mas essa será negada e incógnita, porque o que tornaria a verdade possível- os verdadeiros sentimentos - constitui uma ameaça para a ideologia dos sentimentos inventados. A cisão da consciência é, com toda a evidência, um organizador central de muitas estruturas psíquicas. O separar-se das experiências primordiais não só torna impossível a vivência da integridade interior. Fornece também o modelo para o tratamento a dar aos sentimentos de desamparo e fraqueza. Quando já não percebemos o signiﬁcado da nossa dor, também não sabemos lidar com desamparo, com fraqueza, com impotência. O desamparo transforma-se numa ameaça avassaladora, contra a qual temos de prevenir-nos pela posse de poder. Se isso não resultar, a experiência de desamparo é muito rapidamente transferida para um acontecimento alucinado que é declarado culpado. Quando pessoas que costumam parecer normais reagem a uma afronta à sua autoconsideração, surpreendemente, duma maneira psicótica e com uma destrutivi11 - M. Siirala: From Transjer to Tra nsjeren ce. Therapeia Foundation: Helsínquia 1983. (cf. Notas 65 e 210), p. 115.
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dade desenfreada - há disso exemplos sem conta na guerra ou em casos de falhanço proﬁssional - estamos perante um processo deste género. O ser humano não pode viver sem conﬁança. Conﬁança que ganha pela afectividade recebida. Recém-nascidos e bebés que não recebem afecto podem tornar-se apáticos, doentes, ou até morrer 12. Mesmo que a vivência de sentir-se amado - seja de que forma for - se tenha veriﬁcado só uma vez, faz parte da natureza da nossa imaginação conseguirmos preencher o vazio que se segue - com a ﬁnalidade de conservar a sensação vital de uma ligação com a mãe. Se, pelo contrário, tais fantasias forem construídas sob exclusão das experiências dolorosas, o Eu alicerça-se em poder e numa base mental reduzida. O psiquiatra norte-americano Harry Stuck Sullivan 13 chamou uma vez à atenção de que uma única experiência positiva é suﬁciente para criar numa pessoa a convicção de que só terá de descobrir «o certo» a fazer para a experiência desejada se repetir. A imaginação tem aqui, evidentemente, um papel decisivo: é ela que, agora, fornece aquele consolo vital que já não se pode obter da realidade. É esta uma das maneiras de uma pessoa «atravessar o deserto». Ter de viver com a perda do amor é um dos desesperos mais profundos do ser humano. Crianças não podem viver na consciência das suas necessidades e percepções serem recusadas ou negadas, a não ser que a sua estrutura mental se altere ao ponto que as necessidades reais possam ser desmentidas. Para desdizer as suas necessidades interiores, uma 12 - E. Shaheen e outros: «Failure to Thrive. A Retrospecrive Protilc», in: Clinical Pediatry 7,1968. M. Ribble: The Rights oﬂnfants. Columbia University Press: Nova Iorque 1943. A. Gruen: «Psychischc Spalrung ais mitwirkender Vorgang beim plõtzlichen Kindstod», in: Sozialpiidiatrie 7, 1985 (v. Nota 8 ). 13 - H.S. Sullivan: The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry. Norton: Nova Iorque 1953, p.72.
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criança tem de separar-se delas inteira ou parcialmente. Isso implica uma distorção fundamental. Para não ter de dar-se conta de que pai e mãe a fazem sofrer e a levam ao desespero, a criança procura a razão nela própria. A tragédia que leva à submissão da criança não consiste apenas na separação do seu mundo interior. Além disso, e para manter a ligação com os pais que a sustentam, tem de sentir a falta de amor como algo que provém de um defeito nela própria. Vai lutar para «mudar a opinião» dos pais, tentando sempre encontrar o erro nela própria. Assim a criança resigna-se à suposta culpa pela falta de amor que sente e começa a viver com sonhos e fantasias que apelam à sede de poder para conseguir ultrapassar esse tal «erro». Se uma criança for capaz de adaptar-se às balizas impostas pela vontade dos pais - as quais dependem da maneira dos pais verem o ﬁlho -, essa adaptação será uma estratégia de sobrevivência. Ela afastará o que se passa no seu interior, desrespeitará as suas necessidades, expectativas e percepções e organizad a sua vida com base no que é exterior a ela. Com isto, muda também a imagem da realidade, adaptando-se à coerência aparente de um mundo de sentimentos falsos. Consequentemente, o Eu da criança desenvolve-se sem a percepção da dor ou da morte mas, ao mesmo tempo, consagra-se à dor e à morte sem o saber. O ponto central no desenvolvimento mental da pessoa humana consiste em saber qual das duas possibilidades fundamentais de desenvolvimento é escolhida: a para fora ou a para dentro. O desenvolvimento encaminha-se para o interior, quando é acompanhado de um amor que dá a possibilidade à criança de viver o desamparo como qualquer coisa com que não a deixarão a sós. Se tal vivência for enquadrada desta forma, não será sentida como abandono ou condenação total, mas antes como ponto de par-
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tida da experiência de que uma pessoa não ﬁca destruída e, pelo contrário, encontra através da dor e do sofrimento uma energia nova. Esta experiência leva à formação de um Eu que não encara o desamparo como uma ameaça mortal, mas sim como possibilidade de uma nova integração e, com isto, como possibilidade de sempre começar de novo. A outra direcção, que leva para [ora, separa-se da vivência do desamparo, renega o mundo interior e sujeita-se a uma vida que se pauta por uma ordem vinda de fora: com as necessidades e percepções de uma vida inventada, na qual o mando é sempre concedido aos outros - primeiro aos pais, depois à escola, à sociedade, ao Estado. Porém, o susto desmentido do desamparo - sentido como perigo mortal - continua a dar os seus frutos e transforma-se numa motivação de vida da qual o próprio indivíduo não tem consciência. O interior e o exterior são dimensões da vida de todos nós, podendo, no entanto, transformar-se em opostos irreconciliáveis. O surgimento ou não dessa dicotomia é o que decide sobre se levamos uma vida plenamente responsável ou não, se nos enfrentamos a nós e à vida pela aﬁrmativa ou nos dedicamos à destruição e ao ódio da vida para imputarmos a respectiva responsabilidade, invariavelmente aos outros. A psicanálise clássica enfatiza a omnipresença de uma tendência inata e egoísta para o prazer. Com tal atitude tem andado não só a encobrir a cisão, mas até a fomentá-la. É que tal ênfase nos faz recear a vitalidade da criança, visto que a psicanálise a tem identiﬁcado com uma suposta inclinação para a omnipotência e um pendor egoísta para o prazer ilimitado. Com isso, a psicanálise colocou-se, provavelmente sem o saber, do lado de pretendidas autoridades e contra a criança. Sem deixar de ser paradoxal, isto não reµecte mais nada senão que todos nós
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estamos amarrados ao nosso próprio passado, incluindo Freud que, em todo o seu pensamento e trabalho colocou a criança no centro das suas atenções. Aarne Siirala descreveu isto muito bem: «o movimento terapêutico liderado por Freud restabeleceu uma ligação para o ponto de partida da vida e do crescimento humano; o Homem está alienado desta base pelo seu esforço de manipular tudo e de subordinar a realidade ao seu controlo no âmbito da sociedade industrial» 14. Se a procura libidinosa do prazer, pela parte da criança for encarada como se fosse a questão central do seu desenvolvimento, a sua socialização será encarada como uma barreira contra os seus impulsos «instintivos» e não como um processo de crescimento natural que prossegue por si próprio. Se considerarmos os impulsos como estando em contradição diametral com o desenvolvimento social, a natureza humana terá de parecer forçosamente negativa e destrutiva. Tal conceito de socialização reﬂecte apenas a perspectiva convencionada das relações humanas: relações humanas como uma questão de relações de forças. Por isso aﬁrma-se que a criança procura poder e omnipotência, o que o adulto teria de impedir em nome do «princípio de realidade». A criança teria de ser levada a «dominar» os seus impulsos para obter a relação certa com a realidade, para a ajudar a adaptar-se. Isto signiﬁca que passa a sentir-se incomodada pelas suas necessidades. Aprende que é amada quando se subordina com sucesso à vontade dos pais. E dominar qualquer coisa signiﬁca então para a criança reduzir ou «sublimar» as suas necessidades em vez de desenvolvê-las em intercâmbio com o mundo que a rodeia, e desconﬁar dos seus sentimentos. 14 - A. Siirala: Divine Humaneness. Fortress Press: Philadelphia 1970, p. 123.
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A psicanálise localizou o conﬂito psicológico fundamental entre o instinto e as exigências da cultura. O «princípio do prazer» tinha de ser mantido em xeque pelo «princípio da realidade». E assim o comportamento social tornou-se uma função de valores de origem cultural, os quais estariam, infelizmente, em contradição fundamental com a eterna natureza humana. Com muita coragem, Freud reconstituiu a ligação do indivíduo com a sua própria história mas, mesmo assim, só a restabeleceu em parte. Filho da sua época, assustou-se com o potencial de autonomia humana que teria sido possível tornar visível pela análise da infância. Por isso, interpretou mal parte dos seus diagnósticos clínicos 15. Hoje podemos entender isso melhor, se partirmos do princípio que esforços de autonomia tendem a encobrir-se, a esconder-se por detrás de sintomas de diferença patológicos. Evidentemente, os doentes de Freud apresentavam as formas de ﬁxação auto-erótica por ele descritas, visíveis pelo e no seu isolamento social, quando pareciam ocupar-se apenas consigo próprios, quando, por exemplo, se masturbavam constantemente. Freud, no entanto, tomou tais desenvolvimentos pelas formas reais da estrutura emotiva não só dos seus doentes mas, para além disso, pelas da vida humana em geral. Não reparou no seguinte: Se um bebé for impedido de desenvolver a sua personalidade por reacções independentes aos cuidados dos pais, desenvolve-se em dependência e a satisfação de ﬁxações orais, anais e genitais ﬁca como única possibilidade de expressão. As ﬁxações da criança nos «impulsos parciais», que 15 - S. Freud: «Drei Abhandlungen zur Scxualtheoric», in: S. Freud: Gesammelte Werke. VoI. 5. Fischer: Frankfurt 1968. - S. Freud: «[enseirs des Lustprinzips», in: S. Freud: Gesammelte Werke. VoI. 13. Fischer: Frankfurt 1969. - S. Freud: Neue Folge der Vorlesungen zur Einführung in die Psychoanaiyse. Gesammeite Werke. VoI. 15. Fischer: Frankfurt 1969.
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são um artefacto da sociedade, assim como as suas supostas lutas de poder para imposição dessas exigências «impulsivas», não são a expressão de uma estrutura emocional inata, mas da capacidade da criança de confrontar os pais justamente com o que mais os assusta. A chave desse tipo de desenvolvimento encontra-se nas expectativas e nos medos dos pais, não nos supostos instintos da criança. A teoria dos impulsos que Freud desenvolveu com base na observação dos seus doentes considera que os «instintos» são em todos os casos socialmente negativos. Esses sintomas poderiam, no entanto, ser interpretados de uma forma muito mais convincente, como a expressão da tendência humana para a autonomia, a qual, por assim dizer, foi para a clandestinidade. Só quando uma pessoa se tornou um adulto tão mau ou uma criança tão má, como os pais, a escola e a sociedade o esperam dela em segredo _ desenvolvendo, portanto, precisamente o que querem impedi-la à força de fazer -, poderá sentir-se fora do alcance das autoridades. Foi precisamente neste sentido que uma vez um doente me fez saber: «Você não pode atingir-me a mim, se eu me comportar como você quer» 16. Antecipando o que pensava e queria o outro _ neste caso o psicanalista - ele próprio continuava «livre». Não tinha de exprimir-se nos seus actos, porque fazia apenas aquilo que os outros esperavam dele. Não podia ser alcançado, porque não desvendava a sua vontade própria. Isso dava-lhe a ilusão da liberdade. Essa, só tinha uma fonte de satisfação: o íntimo desprezo por aqueles que tomavam o seu bom comportamento por verdadeiro. E esse desprezo, por seu lado, era directamente 16 - A. Gruen: «Auronorny and Compliance. The Fundamental Antithesis», in: Journal of Humanistic Pschology 16, 1976.
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alimentado pelo seu ódio próprio, que resultava da submissão diária das suas potencialidades próprias à vontade dos outros. A autonomia verdadeira, as reais necessidades de intimidade e a necessidade de ver o mundo com olhos próprios, são abandonados em proveito da dependência, a qual tem dois aspectos. Primeiro: «Eu sou tão desprotegido e dependente como queres que o seja. Por isso, tens de conduzir e corrigir-me em cada passo, porque eu não tenho vontade própria.» Com esta sujeição, que geralmente não chega a ser verbalizada e muitas vezes é perfeitamente inconsciente, efectua-se, ao mesmo tempo, uma vingança. Insiste-se na assistência e na dependência e em que nada se altere. E acresce ainda uma coisa decisiva: É este o método de nunca ter de responder perante si próprio, já que uma pessoa se limita a cumprir ordens. A obediência transforma-se então no sentido profundo da vida. Recordem-se os criminosos de guerra que usam essa desculpa com frequência. Eles deviam abrir-nos ﬁnalmente os olhos para o signiﬁcado real de todo o tipo de obediência. Sob a capa das ordens superiores aconteceram crueldades e morticínios de todos os tamanhos e feitios, sem que uma pessoa tivesse de assumir a respectiva responsabilidade. Em certa medida, essa desculpa até tem cabimento: A própria mente não tinha nada a ver com o assunto, já que fora mantida fora do alcance da pessoa a que se obedecia. Aﬁnal, essa é que tinha a responsabilidade. Nessas condições, pessoas deste tipo também não têm muita diﬁculdade em mudar de dono. Não ter responsabilidade pessoal faz parte da mentira fundamental. Encobre o que foi a decisão original - a decisão da vida: conformar-se com a submissão e desistir da sua vida interior para obter uma fatia do poder. É preci-
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samente neste ponto que se decide, se uma pessoa desenvolve um sentido de responsabilidade perante si própria e em relação aos outros. Este ponto permanece no escuro, se nomearmos apenas as diversas formas da repressão social, vermos o ser humano apenas num esquema de estímulo e reacção e não considerarmos a possibilidade da autonomia. O segundo aspecto da dependência: Se uma criança corresponder aos piores receios dos pais, subtrai-se às suas exigências, mas sujeita-se às suas ideias negativas, em grande parte não verbalizadas. No seu desejo de vingança, pode sentir-se, ao mesmo tempo, com razão, quando é considerada desobediente. Aﬁnal respeitou à letra o que os pais queriam «realmente» - e agora eles repudiam esse comportamento! Este tipo de dependência negativa provoca as formas de ﬁxação «instintiva» mencionadas por Freud. Cria-se uma sensação ilusória de «independência», uma sensação de autodeterminação. Masturbação, bulimia, recusa de alimentos e outros comportamentos extremamente egocêntricos são padrões de comportamento que sugestionam uma pessoa de que é dona e senhora da própria estimulação. Tais comportamentos compulsivos tomam então o lugar de uma vida verdadeira. Alimentam a ilusão da independência e iludem sobre a dependência que, na verdade, se prolonga e contra a qual nutrem uma rebelião desesperada, mas improcedente. O problema principal da psicanálise consiste em que ela própria, com a sua teoria da inconciliabilidade do impulso com o desenvolvimento cultural, se tornou vítima das distorções de uma cultura que, em nome do amor, obriga ao abandono da autonomia. Quando faz passar as consequências desta distorção - oralidade e dependência - por
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impulsos vitais fundamentais, a psicanálise não só encobre os processos sociais que levam à cisão mental, como até os fomenta. Assim, muitos psicanalistas no seu consultório lidam com as sombras da vida, mas não com a vida em si. Em vez de ajudar os seus doentes a encontrar uma verdade própria, a qual esses descobriram mas não tiveram a força de aguentar, atribuem-lhes doenças ﬁctícias. Se, no entanto, o nosso olhar não for obscurecido por semelhantes preconceitos sobre o desenvolvimento infantil, podemos ver que as crianças têm muito evidentemente uma capacidade inata de uma aproximação ao mundo integrativa, ou seja, não dividida. Sentimentos de omnipotência, à partida, não se encontram em bebés ou crianças pequenas - a não ser que a raiva e o desespero sobre reacções inadequadas às suas necessidades legítimas sejam interpretados como tais: só aí surgem mesmo lutas de poder, já que o adulto as espera. A criança não é impelida por necessidades auto-eróticas, mas procura as sensações estimulantes para as quais foi preparada durante a sua existência uterina, em intercâmbio com a sua mãe. As suas necessidades e expectativas desenvolvem-se com base nesta comunicação primordial 17. Esses padrões de comportamento da primeira infância caracterizam-se sobretudo pela baixa intensidade da estimulação. Por isso, o bebé esforça-se desde o princípio por encontrar novas fontes de estímulos e não se satisfaz com a perpetuação de situações antigas de estímulo - tal como a psicanálise o quer. Gostaria ainda de acrescentar que os procedimentos que conservam a vida em termos biológicos estão baseadas em baixos valores de estimulação. Estí17 - M. Bertini e outros: «Inrrauterin Mechanism of Synchronization. ln Search of the First Dialogue», in: Totus Homo 8, 1978.
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mulos demasiado fortes têm por consequência que a aproximação à sua fonte seja evitada ou interrompida. A maior parte da teoria psicanalítica baseia-se no evitar dos estímulos (para acabar com sensações de mal-estar e evitar situações perigosas). É, também, por isto que falha como teoria universal da psique humana 18. Onde deparamos com padrões de comportamento de auto-estimulação compulsiva - sendo a recusa do mundo dos autistas uma variante extrema 19 - não se trata de um desenvolvimento bloqueado numa sua fase natural, mas sim de desenvolvimentos errados. A retirada para a auto-estimulação e formas de comportamento omnipotente são sinais de um falhanço no processo de desenvolvimento para a autonomia. Não são a expressão de uma tendência inata e universal, da qual o ser humano tivesse de ser protegido pelos constrangimentos da socialização. A suposição da existência de impulsos universais e associais por natureza própria ofusca o facto desses impulsos não serem os actores decisivos do desenvolvimento, sendo antes, eles próprios, já a expressão de problemas de desenvolvimento. O conceito do impulso como modelo explicativo impediu que se percebesse que a luta pela autonomia é o problema crucial do desenvolvimento infantil. A autonomia como força integradora de personalidades comandadas por elas próprias não tem nada a ver com ideias da importância e excepcionalidade própria. Tais ideias derivam de uma ideologia do Eu que, conscientemente ou não, segue o princípio segundo o qual o controlo e domínio sobre outros são a fonte do valor próprio de uma pessoa. Até o rebelde, ao qual o seu desejo de amor insa18 - T.C. Schneirla: «An Evolutionary and Developmenral Theory of Biphasic Process Underlying Approach and Withdrawal», in: M.R. Jones (Ed. ): Nebraska Symposion o n Motivation. Universiry of Nebraska Press, 1959. 19 -J. Prekop: «Frühkiridlichcr Aurisrnus», in: Offenes Gesundheitsioesen 44, 1982.
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tisfeito impele para formas militantes de oposição, continua condicionado por esta falsa ideologia do Eu. É que ele interpreta mal a autonomia como «liberdade» de dar provas de força e de supremacia. É secundário se a forma dessas provas entra em contradição com as normas sociais ou se está em consonância com as mesmas. O que é decisivo é o sentir-se impelido para a auto-aﬁrmação constante e desenfreada. E é esse um estado de quase-guerra que tem pouco a ver com a capacidade de assumir uma atitude aﬁrmativa perante a vida. A autonomia, tal como eu a entendo, é um estado integral, no qual se aﬁrma a capacidade de viver em harmonia com as próprias necessidades e sentimentos. E não falo aqui de sentimentos e necessidades como os que são criados artiﬁcialmente pela sociedade de consumo, mas daqueles que são originados pela felicidade sobre o amor da mãe à vitalidade do seu ﬁlho, ou pela infelicidade, quando esse amor falta. Só as reacções autênticas da criança à sua situação real são a fonte do seu desenvolvimento autónomo. Só quando não é obrigada a dissimular nem percepções, nem sentimentos, se mantém ligada às suas experiências internas e externas que estimulam o seu crescimento, e consegue relacioná-las umas com as outras. Só assim se mantém em contacto com as raízes da sua sensação de estar vivo. E, se assim for, também será capaz de assumir a responsabilidade pelo sentido em que se vai desenvolver a sua vitalidade. Se essa ligação, no entanto, for perturbada, a criança começará a reger-se exclusivamente pela realidade imposta de fora. (É a realidade do poder, que foi decisiva para a sua própria separação da sua vitalidade inferior!) E irá alimentar dentro de si um ódio de si própria que a vai impelir cada vez mais para essa opção de vida.
CHAOS: THE BROADSHEETS OF ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHISM HAKIM BEY
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CHAOS NEVER DIED. Primordial uncarved block, sole worshipful monster, inert & spontaneous, more ultraviolet than any mythology (like the shadows before Babylon), the original undifferentiated oneness-of-being still radiates serene as the black pennants of Assassins, random & perpetually intoxicated. Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy, it’s neither a god nor a maggot, its idiotic desires encompass & define every possible choreography, all meaningless aethers & phlogistons: its masks are crystallizations of its own facelessness, like clouds. Everything in nature is perfectly real including consciousness, there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only have the chains of the Law been broken, they never existed; demons never guarded the stars, the Empire never got started, Eros never grew a beard. No, listen, what happened was this: they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body & shame for your prophethood of chaos, invented words of disgust for your molecular love, mesmerized you with inattention, bored you with civilization & all its usurious emotions. There is no becoming, no revolution, no struggle, no path; already you’re the monarch of your own skin--your inviolable freedom waits to be completed only by the love of other monarchs: a politics of dream, urgent as the blueness of sky. To shed all the illusory rights & hesitations of history demands the economy of some legendary Stone Age-shamans not priests, bards not lords, hunters not police,
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gatherers of paleolithic laziness, gentle as blood, going naked for a sign or painted as birds, poised on the wave of explicit presence, the clockless nowever. Agents of chaos cast burning glances at anything or anyone capable of bearing witness to their condition, their fever of lux et voluptas. I am awake only in what I love & desire to the point of terror--everything else is just shrouded furniture, quotidian anaesthesia, shit-forbrains, sub-reptilian ennui of totalitarian regimes, banal censorship & useless pain. Avatars of chaos act as spies, saboteurs, criminals of amour fou, neither selfless nor selfish, accessible as children, mannered as barbarians, chafed with obsessions, unemployed, sensually deranged, wolfangels, mirrors for contemplation, eyes like flowers, pirates of all signs & meanings. Here we are crawling the cracks between walls of church state school & factory, all the paranoid monoliths. Cut off from the tribe by feral nostalgia we tunnel after lost words, imaginary bombs. The last possible deed is that which defines perception itself, an invisible golden cord that connects us: illegal dancing in the courthouse corridors. If I were to kiss you here they’d call it an act of terrorism--so let’s take our pistols to bed & wake up the city at midnight like drunken bandits celebrating with a fusillade, the message of the taste of chaos.
WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-
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art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they’re the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some more intense mode of existence. Bolt up brass commemorative plaques in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc. Go naked for a sign. Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty. Grafitti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public momuments--PT-art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, xerox-art under windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud), pirate radio transmissions, wet cement... The audience reaction or aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of terror-powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive breakthrough, dada-esque angst--no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person or many, no matter whether it is “signed” or anonymous, if it does not change someone’s life (aside from the artist) it fails.
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PT is an act in a Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls. In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known & expected now. An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately beautiful life--may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE. Don’t do PT for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories, avoid politics, don’t stick around to argue, don’t be sentimental; be ruthless, take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will remember all their lives--but don’t be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has possessed you. Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best PT is against the law, but don’t get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.
AMOUR FOU IS NOT a Social Democracy, it is not a Parliament of Two. The minutes of its secret meetings deal with meanings too enormous but too precise for prose. Not this, not that--its Book of Emblems trembles in your hand. Naturally it shits on schoolmasters & police, but it sneers at liberationists & ideologues as well--it is not a clean
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well-lit room. A topological charlatan laid out its corridors & abandoned parks, its ambush-decor of luminous black & membranous maniacal red. Each of us owns half the map--like two renaissance potentates we define a new culture with our anathematized mingling of bodies, merging of liquids--the Imaginal seams of our City-state blur in our sweat. Ontological anarchism never came back from its last fishing trip. So long as no one squeals to the FBI, CHAOS cares nothing for the future of civilization. Amour fou breeds only by accident--its primary goal is ingestion of the Galaxy. A conspiracy of transmutation. Its only concern for the Family lies in the possibility of incest (“Grow your own!” “Every human a Pharoah!”)--O most sincere of readers, my semblance, my brother/sister!--& in the masturbation of a child it finds concealed (like a japanese-paper-flower-pill) the image of the crumbling of the State. Words belong to those who use them only till someone else steals them back. The Surrealists disgraced themselves by selling amour fou to the ghost-machine of Abstraction--they sought in their unconsciousness only power over others, & in this they followed de Sade (who wanted “freedom” only for grown-up whitemen to eviscerate women & children). Amour fou is saturated with its own aesthetic, it fills itself to the borders of itself with the trajectories of its own gestures, it runs on angels’ clocks, it is not a fit fate for commissars & shopkeepers. Its ego evaporates in the mutability of desire, its communal spirit withers in the selfishness of obsession. Amour fou involves non-ordinary sexuality the way sorcery demands non-ordinary consciousness. The anglo-
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saxon post- Protestant world channels all its suppressed sensuality into advertising & splits itself into clashing mobs: hysterical prudes vs promiscuous clones & formerex-singles. AF doesn’t want to join anyone’s army, it takes no part in the Gender Wars, it is bored by equal opportunity employment (in fact it refuses to work for a living), it doesn’t complain, doesn’t explain, never votes & never pays taxes. AF would like to see every bastard (“lovechild”) come to term & birthed--AF thrives on anti-entropic devices--AF loves to be molested by children--AF is better than prayer, better than sinsemilla--AF takes its own palmtrees & moon wherever it goes. AF admires tropicalismo, sabotage, break- dancing, Layla & Majnun, the smells of gunpowder & sperm. AF is always illegal, whether it’s disguised as a marriage or a boyscout troop--always drunk, whether on the wine of its own secretions or the smoke of its own polymorphous virtues. It is not the derangement of the senses but rather their apotheosis--not the result of freedom but rather its precondition. Lux et voluptas.
THE FULL MOON’S UNFATHOMABLE light-path-mid-May midnight in some State that starts with “I,” so two-dimensional it can scarcely be said to possess any geography at all--the beams so urgent & tangible you must draw the shades in order to think in words. No question of writing to Wild Children. They think in images--prose is for them a code not yet fully digested & ossified, just as for us never fully trusted.
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You may write about them, so that others who have lost the silver chain may follow. Or write for them, making of STORY & EMBLEM a process of seduction into your own paleolithic memories, a barbaric enticement to liberty (chaos as CHAOS understands it). For this otherworld species or “third sex,” les enfants sauvages, fancy & Imagination are still undifferentiated. Unbridled PLAY: at one & the same time the source of our Art & of all the race’s rarest eros. To embrace disorder both as wellspring of style & voluptuous storehouse, a fundamental of our alien & occult civilization, our conspiratorial esthetic, our lunatic espionage--this is the action (let’s face it) either of an artist of some sort, or of a ten- or thirteen-year-old. Children whose clarified senses betray them into a brilliant sorcery of beautiful pleasure reflect something feral & smutty in the nature of reality itself: natural ontological anarchists, angels of chaos--their gestures & body odors broadcast around them a jungle of presence, a forest of prescience complete with snakes, ninja weapons, turtles, futuristic shamanism, incredible mess, piss, ghosts, sunlight, jerking off, birds’ nests & eggs--gleeful aggression against the groan-ups of those Lower Planes so powerless to englobe either destructive epiphanies or creation in the form of antics fragile but sharp enough to slice moonlight. And yet the denizens of these inferior jerkwater dimensions truly believe they control the destinies of Wild Children--& down here, such vicious beliefs actually sculpt most of the substance of happenstance. The only ones who actually wish to share the mischievous destiny of those savage runaways or minor guerillas rather than dictate it, the only ones who can understand that cherishing & unleashing are the same act--these are
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mostly artists, anarchists, perverts, heretics, a band apart (as much from each other as from the world) or able to meet only as wild children might, locking gazes across a dinnertable while adults gibber from behind their masks. Too young for Harley choppers--flunk-outs, breakdancers, scarcely pubescent poets of flat lost railroad towns--a million sparks falling from the skyrockets of Rimbaud & Mowgli--slender terrorists whose gaudy bombs are compacted of polymorphous love & the precious shards of popular culture--punk gunslingers dreaming of piercing their ears, animist bicyclists gliding in the pewter dusk through Welfare streets of accidental flowers--out-of-season gypsy skinny-dippers, smiling sideways-glancing thieves of power- totems, small change & panther-bladed knives--we sense them everywhere--we publish this offer to trade the corruption of our own lux et gaudium for their perfect gentle filth. So get this: our realization, our liberation depends on theirs--not because we ape the Family, those “misers of love” who hold hostages for a banal future, nor the State which schools us all to sink beneath the event-horizon of a tedious “usefulness”--no--but because we & they, the wild ones, are images of each other, linked & bordered by that silver chain which defines the pale of sensuality, transgression & vision. We share the same enemies & our means of triumphant escape are also the same: a delirious & obsessive play, powered by the spectral brilliance of the wolves & their children.
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CONSTELLATIONS BY WHICH TO steer the barque of the soul. “If the moslem understood Islam he would become an idol- worshipper.”--Mahmud Shabestari Eleggua, ugly opener of doors with a hook in his head & cowrie shells for eyes, black santeria cigar & glass of rum-same as Ganesh, elephant-head fat boy of Beginnings who rides a mouse. The organ which senses the numinous atrophies with the senses. Those who cannot feel baraka cannot know the caress of the world. Hermes Poimandres taught the animation of eidolons, the magic in-dwelling of icons by spirits--but those who cannot perform this rite on themselves & on the whole palpable fabric of material being will inherit only blues, rubbish, decay. The pagan body becomes a Court of Angels who all perceive this place--this very grove--as paradise (“If there is a paradise, surely it is here!”--inscription on a Mughal garden gate).. But ontological anarchism is too paleolithic for eschatology- -things are real, sorcery works, bush-spirits one with the Imagination, death an unpleasant vagueness-the plot of Ovid’s Metamorphoses--an epic of mutability. The personal mythscape. Paganism has not yet invented laws--only virtues. No priestcraft, no theology or metaphysics or morality--but a universal shamanism in which no one attains real humanity without a vision. Food money sex sleep sun sand & sinsemilla--love truth peace freedom & justice. Beauty. Dionysus the drunk boy on a panther--rank adolescent sweat--Pan goatman slogs
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through the solid earth up to his waist as if it were the sea, his skin crusted with moss & lichen--Eros multiplies himself into a dozen pastoral naked Iowa farm boys with muddy feet & pond-scum on their thighs. Raven, the potlatch trickster, sometimes a boy, old woman, bird who stole the Moon, pine needles floating on a pond, Heckle/Jeckle totempole-head, chorus-line of crows with silver eyes dancing on the woodpile--same as Semar the hunchback albino hermaphrodite shadow-puppet patron of the Javanese revolution. Yemaya, bluestar sea-goddess & patroness of queers--same as Tara, bluegrey aspect of Kali, necklace of skulls, dancing on Shiva’s stiff lingam, licking monsoon clouds with her yard-long tongue--same as Loro Kidul, jasper-green Javanese sea-goddess who bestows the power of invulnerability on sultans by tantrik intercourse in magic towers & caves. >From one point of view ontological anarchism is extremely bare, stripped of all qualities & possessions, poor as CHAOS itself--but from another point of view it pullulates with baroqueness like the Fucking-Temples of Kathmandu or an alchemical emblem book--it sprawls on its divan eating loukoum & entertaining heretical notions, one hand inside its baggy trousers. The hulls of its pirate ships are lacquered black, the lateen sails are red, black banners with the device of a winged hourglass. A South China Sea of the mind, off a jungle-flat coast of palms, rotten gold temples to unknown bestiary gods, island after island, the breeze like wet yellow silk on naked skin, navigating by pantheistic stars, hierophany on hierophany, light upon light against the luminous & chaotic dark.
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ART SABOTAGE STRIVES TO be perfectly exemplary but at the same time retain an element of opacity--not propaganda but aesthetic shock--apallingly direct yet also subtly angled-- action-as-metaphor. Art Sabotage is the dark side of Poetic Terrorism--creation- through-destruction--but it cannot serve any Party, nor any nihilism, nor even art itself. Just as the banishment of illusion enhances awareness, so the demolition of aesthetic blight sweetens the air of the world of discourse, of the Other. Art Sabotage serves only consciousness, attentiveness, awakeness. A-S goes beyond paranoia, beyond deconstruction--the ultimate criticism--physical attack on offensive art-- aesthetic jihad. The slightest taint of petty ego-icity or even of personal taste spoils its purity & vitiates its force. A-S can never seek power--only release it. Individual artworks (even the worst) are largely irrelevant- -A-S seeks to damage institutions which use art to diminish consciousness & profit by delusion. This or that poet or painter cannot be condemned for lack of vision-but malign Ideas can be assaulted through the artifacts they generate. MUZAK is designed to hypnotize & control--its machinery can be smashed. Public book burnings--why should rednecks & Customs officials monopolize this weapon? Novels about children possessed by demons; the New York Times bestseller list; feminist tracts against pornography; schoolbooks (especially Social Studies, Civics, Health); piles of New York Post , Village Voice & other supermarket papers; choice gleanings of Xtian publishers; a few Harlequin Romanc-
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es--a festive atmosphere, wine-bottles & joints passed around on a clear autumn afternoon. To throw money away at the Stock Exchange was pretty decent Poetic Terrorism--but to destroy the money would have been good Art Sabotage. To seize TV transmission & broadcast a few pirated minutes of incendiary Chaote art would constitute a feat of PT--but simply to blow up the transmission tower would be perfectly adequate Art Sabotage. If certain galleries & museums deserve an occasional brick through their windows--not destruction, but a jolt to complacency--then what about BANKS? Galleries turn beauty into a commodity but banks transmute Imagination into feces and debt. Wouldn’t the world gain a degree of beauty with each bank that could be made to tremble...or fall? But how? Art Sabotage should probably stay away from politics (it’s so boring)--but not from banks. Don’t picket--vandalize. Don’t protest--deface. When ugliness, poor design & stupid waste are forced upon you, turn Luddite, throw your shoe in the works, retaliate. Smash the symbols of the Empire in the name of nothing but the heart’s longing for grace.
ACROSS THE LUSTER OF the desert & into the polychrome hills, hairless & ochre violet dun & umber, at the top of a dessicate blue valley travelers find an artificial oasis, a fortified castle in saracenic style enclosing a hidden garden. As guests of the Old Man of the Mountain Hassan-i Sabbah they climb rock-cut steps to the castle. Here the Day of Resurrection has already come & gone--those within
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live outside profane Time, which they hold at bay with daggers & poisons. Behind crenellations & slit-windowed towers scholars & fedayeen wake in narrow monolithic cells. Star-maps, astrolabes, alembics & retorts, piles of open books in a shaft of morning sunlight--an unsheathed scimitar. Each of those who enter the realm of the Imam-of-one’sown- being becomes a sultan of inverted revelation, a monarch of abrogation & apostasy. In a central chamber scalloped with light and hung with tapestried arabesques they lean on bolsters & smoke long chibouks of haschisch scented with opium & amber. For them the hierarchy of being has compacted to a dimensionless punctum of the real--for them the chains of Law have been broken--they end their fasting with wine. For them the outside of everything is its inside, its true face shines through direct. But the garden gates are camouflaged with terrorism, mirrors, rumors of assassination, trompe l’oeil, legends. Pomegranate, mulberry, persimmon, the erotic melancholy of cypresses, membrane-pink shirazi roses, braziers of meccan aloes & benzoin, stiff shafts of ottoman tulips, carpets spread like make-believe gardens on actual lawns--a pavilion set with a mosaic of calligrammes-a willow, a stream with watercress--a fountain crystalled underneath with geometry-- the metaphysical scandal of bathing odalisques, of wet brown cupbearers hide-&seeking in the foliage--”water, greenery, beautiful faces.” By night Hassan-i Sabbah like a civilized wolf in a turban stretches out on a parapet above the garden & glares at the sky, conning the asterisms of heresy in the mindless cool desert air. True, in this myth some aspirant disciples may be ordered to fling themselves off the ramparts into
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the black--but also true that some of them will learn to fly like sorcerers. The emblem of Alamut holds in the mind, a mandals or magic circle lost to history but embedded or imprinted in consciousness. The Old Man flits like a ghost into tents of kings & bedrooms of theologians, past all locks & guards with forgotten moslem/ninja techniques, leaves behind bad dreams, stilettos on pillows, puissant bribes. The attar of his propaganda seeps into the criminal dreams of ontological anarchism, the heraldry of our obsessions displays the luminous black outlaw banners of the Assassins...all of them pretenders to the throne of an Imaginal Egypt, an occult space/light continuum consumed by still-unimagined liberties.
INVENTED BY THE CHINESE but never developed for war--a fine example of Poetic Terrorism--a weapon used to trigger aesthetic shock rather than kill--the Chinese hated war & used to go into mourning when armies were raised--gunpowder more useful to frighten malign demons, delight children, fill the air with brave & riskysmelling haze. Class C Thunder Bombs from Kwantung, bottlerockets, butterflies, M-80’s, sunflowers, “A Forest In Springtime”-- revolution weather--light your cigarette from the sizzling fuse of a Haymarket-black bomb--imagine the air full of lamiae & succubi, oppressive spirits, policeghosts. Call some kid with a smouldering punk or kitchen match-- shaman-apostle of summer gunpowder plots-shatter the heavy night with pinched stars & pumped
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stars, arsenic & antimony, sodium & calomel, a blitz of magnesium & shrill picrate of potash. Spur-fire (lampblack & saltpetre) portfire & iron filings-- attack your local bank or ugly church with roman candles & purple-gold skyrockets, impromptu & anonymous (perhaps launch from back of pick-up truck..) Build frame-lattice lancework set-pieces on the roofs of insurance buildings or schools--a kundalini-snake or Chaos- dragon coiled barium-green against a background of sodium- oxalate yellow--Don’t Tread On Me-or copulating monsters shooting wads of jizm-fire at a Baptists old folks home. Cloud-sculpture, smoke sculpture & flags = Air Art. Earthworks. Fountains = Water Art. And Fireworks. Don’t perform with Rockefeller grants & police permits for audiences of culture-lovers. Evanescent incendiary mind-bombs, scary mandalas flaring up on smug suburban nights, alien green thunderheads of emotional plague blasted by orgone-blue vajra-rays of lasered feux d’artifice. Comets that explode with the odor of hashish & radioactive charcoal--swampghouls & will-o’-the-wisps haunting public parks--fake St. Elmo’s fire flickering over the architecture of the bourgeoisie--strings of ladyfingers falling on the Legislature floor--salamander-elementals attack well-known moral reformers. Blazing shellac, sugar of milk, strontium, pitch, gum water, gerbs of chinese fire--for a few moments the air is ozone- sharp--drifting opal cloud of pungent dragon/ phoenix smoke. For an instant the Empire falls, its princes & governors flee to their stygian muck, plumes of sulphur from elf- flamethrowers burning their pinched asses as they retreat. The Assassin-child, psyche of fire, holds sway for one brief dogstar-hot night.
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Chaos Myths Unseen Chaos (po-te-kitea) Unpossessed, Unpassing Chaos of utter darkness Untouched & untouchable --Maori Chant Chaos perches on a sky-mountain: a huge bird like a yellow bag or red fireball, with six feet & four wings--has no face but dances & sings. Or Chaos is a black longhaired dog, blind & deaf, lacking the five viscera. Chaos the Abyss comes first, then Earth/Gaia, then Desire/Eros. From these three proceed two pairs--Erebus & old Night, Aether & Daylight. Neither Being nor Non-being neither air nor earth nor space: what was enclosed? where? under whose protection? What was water, deep, unfathomable? Neither death nor immortality, day nor night-but ONE breathed by itself with no wind. Nothing else. Darkness swathed in darkness, unmanifest water. The ONE, hidden by void, felt the generation of heat, came into being as Desire, first seed of Mind... Was there an up or down? There were casters of seed, there were powers: energy underneath, impulse above. But who knows for sure? --Rg Veda Tiamat the Chaos-Ocean slowly drops from her womb Silt & Slime, the Horizons, Sky and watery Wisdom. These offspring grow noisy & bumptious--she considers their destruction.
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But Marduk the wargod of Babylon rises in rebellion against the Old Hag & her Chaos-monsters, chthonic totems--Worm, Female Ogre, Great Lion, Mad Dog, Scorpion Man, Howling Storm--dragons wearing their glory like gods--& Tiamat herself a great sea-serpent. Marduk accuses her of causing sons to rebel against fathers- -she loves Mist & Cloud, principles of disorder. Marduk will be the first to rule, to invent government. In battle he slays Tiamat & from her body orders the material universe. He inaugurates the Babylonian Empire--then from gibbets & bloody entrails of Tiamat’s incestuous son he creates the human race to serve forever the comfort of gods--& their high priests & anointed kings. Father Zeus & the Olympians wage war against Mother Gaia & the Titans, those partisans of Chaos, the old ways of hunting & gathering, of aimless wandering, androgyny & the license of beasts. Amon-Ra (Being) sits alone in the primordial ChaosOcean of NUN creating all the other gods by jerking off-but Chaos also manifests as the dragon Apophis whom Ra must destroy (along with his state of glory, his shadow & his magic) in order that the Pharoah may safely rule-a victory ritually re-created daily in Imperial temples to confound the enemies of the State, of cosmic Order. Chaos is Hun Tun, Emperor of the Center. One day the South Sea, Emperor Shu, & the North Sea, Emperor Hu (shu hu = lightning) paid a visit to Hun Tun, who always treated them well. Wishing to repay his kindness they said, “All beings have seven orifices for seeing, hearing, eating, shitting, etc.--but poor old Hun Tun has none! Let’s drill some into him!” So they did--one orifice a day-till on the seventh day, Chaos died. But...Chaos is also an enormous chicken’s egg. Inside it
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P’an-Ku is born & grows for 18,000 years--at last the egg opens up, splits into sky & earth, yang & yin. Now P’anKu grows into a column that holds up the universe--or else he becomes the universe (breath-->wind, eyes-->sun & moon, blood & humors-->rivers & seas, hair & lashes-->stars & planets, sperm-->pearls, marrow-->jade, his fleas-->human beings, etc.) Or else he becomes the man/monster Yellow Emperor. Or else he becomes Lao Tzu, prophet of Tao. In fact, poor old Hun Tun is the Tao itself. “Nature’s music has no existence outside things. The various apertures, pipes, flutes, all living beings together make up nature. The “I” cannot produce things & things cannot produce the “I,” which is self-existent. Things are what they are spontaneously, not caused by something else. Everything is natural & does not know why it is so. The 10,000 things have 10,000 different states, all in motion as if there were a True Lord to move them--but if we search for evidence of this Lord we fail to find any.” (Kuo Hsiang) Every realized consciousness is an “emperor” whose sole form of rule is to do nothing to disturb the spontaneity of nature, the Tao. The “sage” is not Chaos itself, but rather a loyal child of Chaos--one of P’an-Ku’s fleas, a fragment of flesh of Tiamat’s monstrous son. “Heaven and Earth,” says Chuang Tzu, “were born at the same time I was, & the 10,000 things are one with me.” Ontological Anarchism tends to disagree only with the Taoists’ total quietism. In our world Chaos has been overthrown by younger gods, moralists, phallocrats, bankerpriests, fit lords for serfs. If rebellion proves impossible
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then at least a kind of clandestine spiritual jihad might be launched. Let it follow the war-banners of the anarchist black dragon, Tiamat, Hun Tun. Chaos never died.
IN PERSIA I SAW that poetry is meant to be set to music & chanted or sung--for one reason alone--because it works. A right combination of image & tune plunges the audience into a hal (something between emotional/aesthetic mood & trance of hyperawareness), outbursts of weeping, fits of dancing--measurable physical response to art. For us the link between poetry & body died with the bardic era--we read under the influence of a cartesian anaesthetic gas. In N. India even non-musical recitation provokes noise & motion, each good couplet applauded, “Wa! Wa!” with elegant hand-jive, tossing of rupees--whereas we listen to poetry like some SciFi brain in a jar--at best a wry chuckle or grimace, vestige of simian rictus--the rest of the body off on some other planet. In the East poets are sometimes thrown in prison--a sort of compliment, since it suggests the author has done something at least as real as theft or rape or revolution. Here poets are allowed to publish anything at all--a sort of punishment in effect, prison without walls, without echoes, without palpable existence--shadow-realm of print, or of abstract thought--world without risk or eros. So poetry is dead again--& even if the mumia from its corpse retains some healing properties, auto-resurrection
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isn’t one of them. If rulers refuse to consider poems as crimes, then someone must commit crimes that serve the function of poetry, or texts that possess the resonance of terrorism. At any cost re-connect poetry to the body. Not crimes against bodies, but against Ideas (& Ideas-in-things) which are deadly & suffocating. Not stupid libertinage but exemplary crimes, aesthetic crimes, crimes for love. In England some pornographic books are still banned. Pornography has a measurable physical effect on its readers. Like propaganda it sometimes changes lives because it uncovers true desires. Our culture produces most of its porn out of body-hatred-- but erotic art in itself makes a better vehicle for enhancement of being/consciousness/bliss--as in certain oriental works. A sort of Western tantrik porn might help galvanize the corpse, make it shine with some of the glamor of crime. America has freedom of speech because all words are considered equally vapid. Only images count--the censors love snaps of death & mutilation but recoil in horror at the sight of a child masturbating--apparently they experience this as an invasion of their existential validity, their identification with the Empire & its subtlest gestures. No doubt even the most poetic porn would never revive the faceless corpse to dance & sing (like the Chinese Chaos- bird)--but...imagine a script for a three-minute film set on a mythical isle of runaway children who inhabit ruins of old castles or build totem-huts & junk-assemblage nests--mixture of animation, special-effects, compugraphix & color tape-- edited tight as a fastfood commercial... ...but weird & naked, feathers & bones, tents sewn
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with crystal, black dogs, pigeon-blood--flashes of amber limbs tangled in sheets--faces in starry masks kissing soft creases of skin--androgynous pirates, castaway faces of columbines sleeping on thigh-white flowers--nasty hilarious piss jokes, pet lizards lapping spilt milk--nude break- dancing--victorian bathtub with rubber ducks & pink boners-- Alice on ganja... ...atonal punk reggae scored for gamelan, synthesizer, saxophones & drums--electric boogie lyrics sung by aetherial children’s choir--ontological anarchist lyrics, cross between Hafez & Pancho Villa, Li Po & Bakunin, Kabir & Tzara- -call it “CHAOS--the Rock Video!” No...probably just a dream. Too expensive to produce, & besides, who would see it? Not the kids it was meant to seduce. Pirate TV is a futile fantasy, rock merely another commodity--forget the slick gesamtkunstwerk, then. Leaflet a playground with inflammatory smutty feuilletons-- pornopropaganda, crackpot samizdat to unchain Desire from its bondage.
JUSTICE CANNOT BE OBTAINED under any Law--action in accord with spontaneous nature, action which is just, cannot be defined by dogma. The crimes advocated in these broadsheets cannot be committed against self or other but only against the mordant crystallization of Ideas into structures of poisonous Thrones & Dominations. That is, not crimes against nature or humanity but crimes by legal fiat. Sooner or later the uncovering & unveiling of self/nature transmogrifies a person into a brigand--like stepping into another world then returning to
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this one to discover you’ve been declared a traitor, heretic, exile. The Law waits for you to stumble on a mode of being, a soul different from the FDA-approved purplestamped standard dead meat--& as soon as you begin to act in harmony with nature the Law garottes & strangles you--so don’t play the blessed liberal middleclass martyr-accept the fact that you’re a criminal & be prepared to act like one. Paradox: to embrace Chaos is not to slide toward entropy but to emerge into an energy like stars, a pattern of instantaneous grace--a spontaneous organic order completely different from the carrion pyramids of sultans, muftis, cadis & grinning executioners. After Chaos comes Eros--the principle of order implicit in the nothingness of the unqualified One. Love is structure, system, the only code untainted by slavery & drugged sleep. We must become crooks & con-men to protect its spiritual beauty in a bezel of clandestinity, a hidden garden of espionage. Don’t just survive while waiting for someone’s revolution to clear your head, don’t sign up for the armies of anorexia or bulimia--act as if you were already free, calculate the odds, step out, remember the Code Duello--Smoke Pot/ Eat Chicken/Drink Tea. Every man his own vine & figtree (Circle Seven Koran, Noble Drew Ali)--carry your Moorish passport with pride, don’t get caught in the crossfire, keep your back covered--but take the risk, dance before you calcify. The natural social model for ontological anarchism is the child-gang or the bank-robbers-band. Money is a lie-this adventure must be feasible without it--booty & pillage should be spent before it turns back into dust. Today is Resurrection Day--money wasted on beauty will be
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alchemically transmuted into elixir. As my uncle Melvin used to say, stolen watermelon tastes sweeter. The world is already re-made according to the heart’s desire- -but civilization owns all the leases & most of the guns. Our feral angels demand we trespass, for they manifest themselves only on forbidden grounds. High Way Man. The yoga of stealth, the lightning raid, the enjoyment of treasure.
THE UNIVERSE WANTS TO PLAY. Those who refuse out of dry spiritual greed & choose pure contemplation forfeit their humanity--those who refuse out of dull anguish, those who hesitate, lose their chance at divinity--those who mold themselves blind masks of Ideas & thrash around seeking some proof of their own solidity end by seeing out of dead men’s eyes. Sorcery: the systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results. The incremental openings of perception gradually banish the false selves, our cacophonous ghosts--the “black magic” of envy & vendetta backfires because Desire cannot be forced. Where our knowledge of beauty harmonizes with the ludus naturae, sorcery begins. No, not spoon-bending or horoscopy, not the Golden Dawn or make-believe shamanism, astral projection or the Satanic Mass--if it’s mumbo jumbo you want go for the real stuff, banking, politics, social science--not that weak blavatskian crap. Sorcery works at creating around itself a psychic/physi-
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cal space or openings into a space of untrammeled expression-- the metamorphosis of quotidian place into angelic sphere. This involves the manipulation of symbols (which are also things) & of people (who are also symbolic)--the archetypes supply a vocabulary for this process & therefore are treated as if they were both real & unreal, like words. Imaginal Yoga. The sorcerer is a Simple Realist: the world is real--but then so must consciousness be real since its effects are so tangible. The dullard finds even wine tasteless but the sorcerer can be intoxicated by the mere sight of water. Quality of perception defines the world of intoxication--but to sustain it & expand it to include others demands activity of a certain kind--sorcery. Sorcery breaks no law of nature because there is no Natural Law, only the spontaneity of natura naturans, the tao. Sorcery violates laws which seek to chain this flow-- priests, kings, hierophants, mystics, scientists & shopkeepers all brand the sorcerer enemy for threatening the power of their charade, the tensile strength of their illusory web. A poem can act as a spell & vice versa--but sorcery refuses to be a metaphor for mere literature--it insists that symbols must cause events as well as private epiphanies. It is not a critique but a re-making. It rejects all eschatology & metaphysics of removal, all bleary nostalgia & strident futurismo, in favor of a paroxysm or seizure of presence. Incense & crystal, dagger & sword, wand, robes, rum, cigars, candles, herbs like dried dreams--the virgin boy staring into a bowl of ink--wine & ganja, meat, yantras & gestures-- rituals of pleasure, the garden of houris & sakis--the sorcerer climbs these snakes & ladders to a moment which is fully saturated with its own color, where mountains are mountains & trees are trees, where the
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body becomes all time, the beloved all space. The tactics of ontological anarchism are rooted in this secret Art--the goals of ontological anarchism appear in its flowering. Chaos hexes its enemies & rewards its devotees...this strange yellowing pamphlet, pseudonymous & dust-stained, reveals all...send away for one split second of eternity.
WHAT THIS TELLS YOU is not prose. It may be pinned to the board but it’s still alive & wriggling. It does not want to seduce you unless you’re extremely young & goodlooking (enclose recent photo). Hakim Bey lives in a seedy Chinese hotel where the proprietor nods out over newspaper & scratchy broadcasts of Peking Opera. The ceiling fan turns like a sluggish dervish- -sweat falls on the page--the poet’s kaftan is rusty, his ovals spill ash on the rug--his monologues seem disjointed & slightly sinister--outside shuttered windows the barrio fades into palmtrees, the naive blue ocean, the philosophy of tropicalismo. Along a highway somewhere east of Baltimore you pass an Airstream trailer with a big sign on the lawn SPIRITUAL READINGS & the image of a crude black hand on a red background. Inside you notice a display of dreambooks, numbers-books, pamphlets on HooDoo and Santeria, dusty old nudist magazines, a pile of Boy’s Life, treatises on fighting-cocks...& this book, Chaos. Like words spoken in a dream, portentous, evanescent, changing into perfumes, birds, colors, forgotten music. This book distances itself by a certain impassibility of
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surface, almost a glassiness. It doesn’t wag its tail & it doesn’t snarl but it bites & humps the furniture. It doesn’t have an ISBN number & it doesn’t want you for a disciple but it might kidnap your children. This book is nervous like coffee or malaria--it sets up a network of cut-outs & safe drops between itself & its readers--but it’s so baldfaced & literal-minded it practically encodes itself--it smokes itself into a stupor. A mask, an automythology, a map without placenames-stiff as an egyptian wallpainting nevertheless it reaches to caress someone’s face--& suddenly finds itself out in the street, in a body, embodied in light, walking, awake, almost satisfied. --NYC, May 1-July 4, 1984
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION ALDUS HUXLEY
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It was in 1886 that the German pharmacologist, Louis Lewin, published the first systematic study of the cactus, to which his own name was subsequently given. Anhalonium lewinii was new to science. To primitive religion and the Indians of Mexico and the American Southwest it was a friend of immemorially long standing. Indeed, it was much more than a friend. In the words of one of the early Spanish visitors to the New World, “they eat a root which they call peyote, and which they venerate as though it were a deity.” Why they should have venerated it as a deity became apparent when such eminent psychologists as Jaensch, Havelock Ellis and Weir Mitchell began their experiments with mescalin, the active principle of peyote. True, they stopped short at a point well this side of idolatry; but all concurred in assigning to mescalin a position among drugs of unique distinction. Administered in suitable doses, it changes the quality of consciousness more profoundly and yet is less toxic than any other substance in the pharmacologist’s repertory. Mescalin research has been going on sporadically ever since the days of Lewin and Havelock Ellis. Chemists have not merely isolated the alkaloid; they have learned how to synthesize it, so that the supply no longer depends on the sparse and intermittent crop of a desert cactus. Alienists have dosed themselves with mescalin in the hope thereby of coming to a better, a first-hand, understanding of their patients’ mental processes. Working unfortunately upon too few subjects within too narrow a range of circumstances, psychologists have observed and catalogued some of the drug’s more striking effects. Neurologists and physiologists have found out something about the mechanism of its action upon the central nervous system. And at
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least one Professional philosopher has taken mescalin for the light it may throw on such ancient, unsolved riddles as the place of mind in nature and the relationship between brain and consciousness 1. There matters rested until, two or three years ago, a new and perhaps highly significant fact was observed 2. Actually the fact had been staring everyone in the face for several decades; but nobody, as it happened, had noticed it until a Young English psychiatrist, at present working in Canada, was struck by the close similarity, in chemical composition, between mescalin and adrenalin. Further research revealed that lysergic acid, an extremely potent hallucinogen derived from ergot, has a structural biochemical relationship to the others. Then came the discovery that adrenochrome, which is a product of the decomposition of adrenalin, can produce many of the symptoms observed in mescalin intoxication. But adrenochrome probably occurs spontaneously in the human body. In other words, each one of us may be capable of manufacturing a chemical, minute doses of which are known to cause Profound changes in consciousness. Certain of these changes are similar to those which occur in that most characteristic plague of the twentieth century, schizophrenia. Is the mental disorder due to a chemical disorder? And is the chemical disorder due, in its turn, to psychological distresses affecting the adrenals? It would be rash and premature to affirm it. The most we can say is that some kind of a prima facie case has been made out. 1 - See the following papers: “Schizophrenia. A New Approach.” By Humphry Osmond and John Smythies. Journal of Mental Science. Vol. XCVIII. April, 1952. “On Being Mad.” By Humphry Osmond. Saskarchewan Psychiatric Services Journal. Vol. I. No. 2. September. 1952. “The Mescalin Phenomena.” By John Smythies. The British Journal of the Philosophy of Science. Vol. III. February, 1953. “Schizophrenia: A New Approach.” By Abeam Hoffer, Humphry Osmond and John Smythies. journal of Mental Science. Vol. C. No. 418. January, 1954. Numerous other papers on the biochemistry, pharmacology, psychology and neurophysiology of schizophrenia sad the mescalin phenomena are in preparation.
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Meanwhile the clue is being systematically followed, the sleuths - biochemists , psychiatrists, psychologists - are on the trail. By a series of, for me, extremely fortunate circumstances I found myself, in the spring of 1953, squarely athwart that trail. One of the sleuths had come on business to California. In spite of seventy years of mescalin research, the psychological material at his disposal was still absurdly inadequate, and he was anxious to add to it. I was on the spot and willing, indeed eager, to be a guinea pig. Thus it came about that, one bright May morning, I swallowed four-tenths of a gram of mescalin dissolved in half a glass of water and sat down to wait for the results. We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances we are by ourselves. The martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone. Embraced, the lovers desperately try to fuse their insulated ecstasies into a single self-transcendence; in vain. By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. Sensations, feelings, insights, fancies - all these are private and, except through symbols and at second hand, incommunicable. We can pool information about experiences, but never the experiences themselves. From family to nation, every human group 2 - In his monograph, Menomini Peyolism, published (December 1952) in the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, Professor J. S. Slotkin has written that “the habitual use of Peyote does not seem to produce any increased tolerance or dependence. I know many people who have been Peyotists for forty to fifty years. The amount of Peyote they use depends upon the solemnity of the occasion; in general they do not take any more Peyote now than they did years ago. Also, there is sometimes an interval of a month or more between rites, and they go without Peyote during this period without feeling any craving for it. Personally, even after a series of rites occurring on four successive weekends. I neither increased the amount of Peyote consumed nor felt any continued need for it.” It is evidently with good reason that “Peyote has never been legally declared a narcotic, or its use prohibited by the federal government.” However, “during the long history of Indian-white contact, white officials have usually tried to suppress the use of Peyote, because it has been conceived to violate their own mores. But these at- tempts have always failed.” In a footnote Dr. Slotkin adds that “it is amazing to hear the fantastic stories about the effects of Peyote and the nature of the ritual, which are told by the white and Catholic Indian officials in the Menomini Reservation. None of them have had the slightest first-hand experience with the plant or with the religion, yet some fancy themselves to be authorities and write official reports on the subject.”
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is a society of island universes. Most island universes are sufficiently like one another to Permit of inferential understanding or even of mutual empathy or â€œfeeling into.â€? Thus, remembering our own bereavements and humiliations, we can condole with others in analogous circumstances, can put ourselves (always, of course, in a slightly Pickwickian sense) in their places. But in certain cases communication between universes is incomplete or even nonexistent. The mind is its own place, and the Places inhabited by the insane and the exceptionally gifted are so different from the places where ordinary men and women live, that there is little or no common ground of memory to serve as a basis for understanding or fellow feeling. Words are uttered, but fail to enlighten. The things and events to which the symbols refer belong to mutually exclusive realms of experience. To see ourselves as others see us is a most salutary gift. Hardly less important is the capacity to see others as they see themselves. But what if these others belong to a different species and inhabit a radically alien universe? For example, how can the sane get to know what it actually feels like to be mad? Or, short of being born again as a visionary, a medium, or a musical genius, how can we ever visit the worlds which, to Blake, to Swedenborg, to Johann Sebastian Bach, were home? And how can a man at the extreme limits of ectomorphy and cerebrotonia ever put himself in the place of one at the limits of endomorphy and viscerotonia, or, except within certain circumscribed areas, share the feelings of one who stands at the limits of mesomorphy and somatotonia? To the unmitigated behaviorist such questions, I suppose, are meaningless. But for those who theoretically believe what in practice they know to be true - namely, that there is an inside to expe-
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rience as well as an outside - the problems posed are real problems, all the more grave for being, some completely insoluble, some soluble only in exceptional circumstances and by methods not available to everyone. Thus, it seems virtually certain that I shall never know what it feels like to be Sir John Falstaff or Joe Louis. On the other hand, it had always seemed to me possible that, through hypnosis, for example, or autohypnosis, by means of systematic meditation, or else by taking the appropriate drug, I might so change my ordinary mode of consciousness as to be able to know, from the inside, what the visionary, the medium, even the mystic were talking about. From what I had read of the mescalin experience I was convinced in advance that the drug would admit me, at least for a few hours, into the kind of inner world described by Blake and AE. But what I had expected did not happen. I had expected to lie with my eyes shut, looking at visions of many- colored geometries, of animated architectures, rich with gems and fabulously lovely, of landscapes with heroic figures, of symbolic dramas trembling perpetually on the verge of the ultimate revelation. But I had not reckoned, it was evident, with the idiosyncrasies of my mental make-up, the facts of my temperament, training and habits. I am and, for as long as I can remember, I have always been a poor visualizer. Words, even the pregnant words of poets, do not evoke pictures in my mind. No hypnagogic visions greet me on the verge of sleep. When I recall something, the memory does not present itself to me as a vividly seen event or object. By an effort of the will, I can evoke a not very vivid image of what happened yesterday afternoon, of how the Lungarno used to look before the bridges were destroyed, of the Bayswater Road when
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the only buses were green and tiny and drawn by aged horses at three and a half miles an hour. But such images have little substance and absolutely no autonomous life of their own. They stand to real, perceived objects in the same relation as Homer’s ghosts stood to the men of flesh and blood, who came to visit them in the shades. Only when I have a high temperature do my mental images come to independent life. To those in whom the faculty of visualization is strong my inner world must seem curiously drab, limited and uninteresting. The change which actually took place in that world was in no sense revolutionary. Half an hour after swallowing the drug I became aware of a slow dance of golden lights. A little later there were sumptuous red surfaces swelling and expanding from bright nodes of energy that vibrated with a continuously changing, patterned life. At another time the closing of my eyes revealed a complex of gray structures, within which pale bluish spheres kept emerging into intense solidity and, having emerged, would slide noiselessly upwards, out of sight. But at no time were there faces or forms of men or animals. I saw no landscapes, no enormous spaces, no magical growth and metamorphosis of buildings, nothing remotely like a drama or a parable. The other world to which mescalin admitted me was not the world of visions; it existed out there, in what I could see with my eyes open. The great change was in the realm of objective fact. What had happened to my subjective universe was relatively unimportant. I took my pill at eleven. An hour and a half later, I was sitting in my study, looking intently at a small glass vase. The vase contained only three flowers-a full-blown Belie of Portugal rose, shell pink with a hint at every petal’s base of a hotter, flamier hue; a large magenta and cream-
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colored carnation; and, pale purple at the end of its broken stalk, the bold heraldic blossom of an iris. Fortuitous and provisional, the little nosegay broke all the rules of traditional good taste. At breakfast that morning I had been struck by the lively dissonance of its colors. But that was no longer the point. I was not looking now at an unusual flower arrangement. I was seeing what Adam had seen on the morning of his creation-the miracle, moment by moment, of naked existence. “Is it agreeable?” somebody asked. (During this Part of the experiment, all conversations were recorded on a dictating machine, and it has been possible for me to refresh my memory of what was said.) “Neither agreeable nor disagreeable,” I answered. “it just is.” Istigkeit - wasn’t that the word Meister Eckhart liked to use? “Is-ness.” The Being of Platonic philosophy - except that Plate seems to have made the enormous, the grotesque mistake of separating Being from becoming and identifying it with the mathematical abstraction of the Idea. He could never, poor fellow, have seen a bunch of flowers shining with their own inner light and all but quivering under the pressure of the significance with which they were charged; could never have perceived that what rose and iris and carnation so intensely signified was nothing more, and nothing less, than what they were - a transience that was yet eternal life, a perpetual perishing that was at the same time pure Being, a bundle of minute, unique particulars in which, by some unspeakable and yet self-evident paradox, was to be seen the divine source of all existence. I continued to look at the flowers, and in their living light I seemed to detect the qualitative equivalent of breathing -but of a breathing without returns to a start-
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ing point, with no recurrent ebbs but only a repeated flow from beauty to heightened beauty, from deeper to ever deeper meaning. Words like “grace” and “transfiguration” came to my mind, and this, of course, was what, among other things, they stood for. My eyes traveled from the rose to the carnation, and from that feathery incandescence to the smooth scrolls of sentient amethyst which were the iris. The Beatific Vision, Sat Chit Ananda, Being- Awareness-Bliss-for the first time I understood, not on the verbal level, not by inchoate hints or at a distance, but precisely and completely what those prodigious syllables referred to. And then I remembered a passage I had read in one of Suzuki’s essays. “What is the Dharma-Body of the Buddha?” (‘”the Dharma-Body of the Buddha” is another way of saying Mind, Suchness, the Void, the Godhead.) The question is asked in a Zen monastery by an earnest and bewildered novice. And with the prompt irrelevance of one of the Marx Brothers, the Master answers, “The hedge at the bottom of the garden.” “And the man who realizes this truth,” the novice dubiously inquires, ‘”what, may I ask, is he?” Groucho gives him a whack over the shoulders with his staff and answers, “A goldenhaired lion.” It had been, when I read it, only a vaguely pregnant piece of nonsense. Now it was all as clear as day, as evident as Euclid. Of course the Dharma-Body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden. At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I - or rather the blessed Not-I, released for a moment from my throttling embrace - cared to look at. The books, for example, with which my study walls were lined. Like the flowers, they glowed, when I looked at them, with brighter colors, a profounder significance. Red books, like
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rubies; emerald books; books bound in white jade; books of agate; of aquamarine, of yellow topaz; lapis lazuli books whose color was so intense, so intrinsically meaningful, that they seemed to be on the point of leaving the shelves to thrust themselves more insistently on my attention. “What about spatial relationships?” the investigator inquired, as I was looking at the books. It was difficult to answer. True, the perspective looked rather odd, and the walls of the room no longer seemed to meet in right angles. But these were not the really important facts. The really important facts were that spatial relationships had ceased to matter very much and that my mind was perceiving the world in terms of other than spatial categories. At ordinary times the eye concerns itself with such problems as Where? - How far? How situated in relation to what? In the mescalin experience the implied questions to which the eye responds are of another order. Place and distance cease to be of much interest. The mind does its Perceiving in terms of intensity of existence, profundity of significance, relationships within a pattern. I saw the books, but was not at all concerned with their positions in space. What I noticed, what impressed itself upon my mind was the fact that all of them glowed with living light and that in some the glory was more manifest than in others. In this context position and the three dimensions were beside the point. Not, of course, that the category of space had been abolished. When I got up and walked about, I could do so quite normally, without misjudging the whereabouts of objects. Space was still there; but it had lost its predominance. The mind was primarily concerned, not with measures and locations, but with being and meaning. And along with indifference to space there went an even
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more complete indifference to time. “There seems to be plenty of it,” was all I would answer, when the investigator asked me to say what I felt about time. Plenty of it, but exactly how much was entirely irrelevant. I could, of course, have looked at my watch; but my watch, I knew, was in another universe. My actual experience had been, was still, of an indefinite duration or alternatively of a perpetual present made up of one continually changing apocalypse. From the books the investigator directed my attention to the furniture. A small typing table stood in the center of the room; beyond it, from my point of view, was a wicker chair and beyond that a desk. The three pieces formed an intricate pattern of horizontals, uprights and diagonals - a pattern all the more interesting for not being interpreted in terms of spatial relationships. Table, chair and desk came together in a composition that was like something by Braque or Juan Gris, a still life recognizably related to the objective world, but rendered without depth, without any attempt at photographic realism. I was looking at my furniture, not as the utilitarian who has to sit on chairs, to write at desks and tables, and not as the cameraman or scientific recorder, but as the pure aesthete whose concern is only with forms and their relationships within the field of vision or the picture space. But as I looked, this purely aesthetic, Cubist’s-eye view gave place to what I can only describe as the sacramental vision of reality. I was back where I had been when I was looking at the flowers-back in a world where everything shone with the Inner Light, and was infinite in its significance. The legs, for example, of that chair - how miraculous their tubularity, how supernatural their polished smoothness! I spent several minutes - or was it several centuries? - not merely gazing at those bamboo legs, but actually being them - or
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rather being myself in them; or, to be still more accurate (for “I” was not involved in the case, nor in a certain sense were “they”) being my Not-self in the Not-self which was the chair. Reflecting on my experience, I find myself agreeing with the eminent Cambridge philosopher, Dr. C. D. Broad, “that we should do well to consider much more seriously than we have hitherto been inclined to do the type of theory which Bergson put forward in connection with memory and sense perception. The suggestion is that the function of the brain and nervous system and sense organs is in the main eliminative and not productive. Each person is at each moment capable of remembering all that has ever happened to him and of perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe. The function of the brain and nervous system is to protect us from being overwhelmed and confused by this mass of largely useless and irrelevant knowledge, by shutting out most of what we should otherwise perceive or remember at any moment, and leaving only that very small and special selection which is likely to be practically useful.” According to such a theory, each one of us is potentially Mind at Large. But in so far as we are animals, our business is at all costs to survive. To make biological survival possible, Mind at Large has to be funneled through the reducing valve of the brain and nervous system. What comes out at the other end is a measly trickle of the kind of consciousness which will help us to stay alive on the surface of this Particular planet. To formulate and express the contents of this reduced awareness, man has invented and endlessly elaborated those symbol-systems and implicit philosophies which we call languages. Every individual is at once the beneficiary and the victim of the linguistic tra-
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dition into which he has been born - the beneficiary inasmuch as language gives access to the accumulated records of other people’s experience, the victim in so far as it confirms him in the belief that reduced awareness is the only awareness and as it bedevils his sense of reality, so that he is all too apt to take his concepts for data, his words for actual things. That which, in the language of religion, is called “this world” is the universe of reduced awareness, expressed, and, as it were, petrified by language. The various “other worlds,” with which human beings erratically make contact are so many elements in the totality of the awareness belonging to Mind at Large. Most people, most of the time, know only what comes through the reducing valve and is consecrated as genuinely real by the local language. Certain persons, however, seem to be born with a kind of by-pass that circumvents the reducing valve. In others temporary by- passes may be acquired either spontaneously, or as the result of deliberate “spiritual exercises,” or through hypnosis, or by means of drugs. Through these permanent or temporary by-passes there flows, not indeed the perception “of everything that is happening everywhere in the universe” (for the by-pass does not abolish the reducing valve, which still excludes the total content of Mind at Large), but something more than, and above ah something different from, the carefully selected utilitarian material which our narrowed, individual minds regard as a complete, or at least sufficient, picture of reality. The brain is provided with a number of enzyme systems which serve to co-ordinate its workings. Some of these enzymes regulate the supply of glucose to the brain cells. Mescalin inhibits the production of these enzymes and thus lowers the amount of glucose available to an organ
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that is in constant need of sugar. When mescalin reduces the brain’s normal ration of sugar what happens? Too few cases have been observed, and therefore a comprehensive answer cannot yet be given. But what happens to the majority of the few who have taken mescalin under supervision can be summarized as follows. The ability to remember and to “think straight” is little if at all reduced. (Listening to the recordings of my conversation under the influence of the drug, I cannot discover that I was then any stupider than I am at ordinary times.) Visual impressions are greatly intensified and the eye recovers some of the perceptual innocence of childhood, when the sensum was not immediately and automatically subordinated to the concept. Interest in space is diminished and interest in time falls almost to zero. Though the intellect remains unimpaired and though perception is enormously improved, the will suffers a profound change for the worse. The mescalin taker sees no reason for doing anything in particular and finds most of the causes for which, at ordinary times, he was prepared to act and suffer, profoundly uninteresting. He can’t be bothered with them, for the good reason that he has better things to think about. These better things may be experienced (as I experienced them) “out there,” or “in here,” or in both worlds, the inner and the outer, simultaneously or successively. That they are better seems to be self- evident to all mescalin takers who come to the drug with a sound liver and an untroubled mind. These effects of mescalin are the sort of effects you could expect to follow the administration of a drug having the power to impair the efficiency of the cerebral reducing valve. When the brain runs out of sugar, the undernour-
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ished ego grows weak, can’t be bothered to undertake the necessary chores, and loses all interest in those spatial and temporal relationships which mean so much to an organism bent on getting on in the world. As Mind at Large seeps past the no longer watertight valve, all kinds of biologically useless things start to happen. In some cases there may be extra-sensory perceptions. Other persons discover a world of visionary beauty. To others again is revealed the glory, the infinite value and meaningfulness of naked existence, of the given, unconceptualized event. In the final stage of egolessness there is an “obscure knowledge” that All is in all - that All is actually each. This is as near, I take it, as a finite mind can ever come to “perceiving everything that is happening everywhere in the universe.” In this context, how significant is the enormous heightening, under mescalin, of the perception of color! For certain animals it is biologically very important to be able to distinguish certain hues. But beyond the limits of their utilitarian spectrum, most creatures are completely color blind. Bees, for example, spend most of their time “deflowering the fresh virgins of the spring”; but, as Von Frisch has shown, they can recognize only a very few colors. Man’s highly developed color sense is a biological luxury - inestimably precious to him as an intellectual and spiritual being, but unnecessary to his survival as an animal.To judge by the adjectives which Homer puts into their mouths, the heroes of the Trojan War hardly excelled the bees in their capacity to distinguish colors. In this respect, at least, mankind’s advance has been prodigious. Mescalin raises all colors to a higher power and makes the percipient aware of innumerable fine shades of differ-
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ence, to which, at ordinary times, he is completely blind. It would seem that, for Mind at Large, the so-called secondary characters of things are primary. Unlike Locke, it evidently feels that colors are more important, better worth attending to, than masses, positions and dimensions. Like mescalin takers, many mystics perceive supernaturally brilliant colors, not only with the inward eye, but even in the objective world around them. Similar reports are made by psychics and sensitives. There are certain mediums to whom the mescalin taker’s brief revelation is a matter, during long periods, of daily and hourly experience. From this long but indispensable excursion into the realm of theory, we may now return to the miraculous facts - four bamboo chair legs in the middle of a room. Like Wordsworth’s daffodils, they brought all manner of wealth - the gift, beyond price, of a new direct insight into the very Nature of Things, together with a more modest treasure of understanding in the field, especially, of the arts. A rose is a rose is a rose. But these chair legs were chair legs were St. Michael and all angels. Four or five hours after the event, when the effects of a cerebral sugar shortage were wearing off, I was taken for a little tour of the city, which included a visit, towards sundown, to what is modestly claimed to be the World’s Biggest Drug Store. At the back of the W.B.D.S., among the toys, the greeting cards and the comics, stood a row, surprisingly enough, of art books. I picked up the first volume that came to hand. It was on Van Gogh, and the picture at which the book opened was “The Chair” - that astounding portrait of a Ding an Sich, which the mad painter saw, with a kind of adoring terror, and tried to render on his canvas. But it was a task to which the power even of genius proved whol-
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ly inadequate. The chair Van Gogh had seen was obviously the same in essence as the chair I had seen. But, though incomparably more real than the chairs of ordinary perception, the chair in his picture remained no more than an unusually expressive symbol of the fact. The fact had been manifested Suchness; this was only an emblem. Such emblems are sources of true knowledge about the Nature of Things, and this true knowledge may serve to prepare the mind which accepts it for immediate insights on its own account. But that is all. However expressive, symbols can never be the things they stand for. It would be interesting, in this context, to make a study of the works of art available to the great knowers of Suchness. What sort of pictures did Eckhart look at? What sculptures and paintings played a part in the religious experience of St. John of the Cross, of Hakuin, of Huineng, of William Law? The questions are beyond my power to answer; but I strongly suspect that most of the great knowers of Suchness paid very little attention to art - some refusing to have anything to do with it at all, others being content with what a critical eye would regard as second-rate, or even, tenth-rate, works. (To a person whose transfigured and transfiguring mind can see the All in every this, the first-rateness or tenth- rateness of even a religious painting will be a matter of the most sovereign indifference.) Art, I suppose, is only for beginners, or else for those resolute dead-enders, who have made up their minds to be content with the ersatz of Suchness, with symbols rather than with what they signify, with the elegantly composed recipe in lieu of actual dinner. I returned the Van Gogh to its rack and picked up the volume standing next to it. It was a book on Botticelli. I turned the pages. “The Birth of Venus”-never one of my favorites.
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“Mars and Venus,” that loveliness so passionately denounced by poor Ruskin at the height of his long-drawn sexual tragedy. The marvelously rich and intricate “Calumny of Apelles.” And then a somewhat less familiar and not very good picture, “Judith.” My attention was arrested and I gazed in fascination, not at the pale neurotic heroine or her attendant, not at the victim’s hairy head or the vernal landscape in the background, but at the purplish silk of Judith’s pleated bodice and long wind-blown skirts. This was something I had seen before-seen that very morning, between the flowers and the furniture, when I looked down by chance, and went on passionately staring by choice, at my own crossed legs. Those folds in the trousers - what a labyrinth of endlessly significant complexity! And the texture of the gray flannel - how rich, how deeply, mysteriously sumptuous! And here they were again, in Botticelli’s picture. Civilized human beings wear clothes, therefore there can be no portraiture, no mythological or historical storytelling without representations of folded textiles. But though it may account for the origins, mere tailoring can never explain the luxuriant development of drapery as a major theme of all the plastic arts. Artists, it is obvious, have always loved drapery for its own sake - or, rather, for their own. When you paint or carve drapery, you are painting or carving forms which, for all practical purposes, are non- representational-the kind of unconditioned forms on which artists even in the most naturalistic tradition like to let themselves go. In the average Madonna or Apostle the strictly human, fully representational element accounts for about ten per cent of the whole. All the rest consists of many colored variations on the inexhaustible theme of crumpled wool or linen. And these non-repre-
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sentational nine-tenths of a Madonna or an Apostle may be just as important qualitatively as they are in quantity. Very often they set the tone of the whole work of art, they state the key in which the theme is being rendered, they express the mood, the temperament, the attitude to life of the artist. Stoical serenity reveals itself in the smooth surfaces, the broad untortured folds of Piero’s draperies. Torn between fact and wish, between cynicism and idealism, Bernini tempers the all but caricatural verisimilitude of his faces with enormous sartorial abstractions, which are the embodiment, in stone or bronze, of the everlasting commonplaces of rhetoric - the heroism, the holiness, the sublimity to which mankind perpetually aspires, for the most part in vain. And here are El Greco’s disquietingly visceral skirts and mantles; here are the sharp, twisting, flame-like folds in which Cosimo Tura clothes his figures: in the first, traditional spirituality breaks down into a nameless physiological yearning; in the second, there writhes an agonized sense of the world’s essential strangeness and hostility. Or consider Watteau; his men and women play lutes, get ready for balls and harlequinades, embark, on velvet lawns and under noble trees, for the Cythera of every lover’s dream; their enormous melancholy and the flayed, excruciating sensibility of their creator find expression, not in the actions recorded, not in the gestures and the faces portrayed, but in the relief and texture of their taffeta skirts, their satin capes and doublets. Not an inch of smooth surface here, not a moment of peace or confidence, only a silken wilderness of countless tiny pleats and wrinkles, with an incessant modulation inner uncertainty rendered with the perfect assurance of a master hand - of tone into tone, of one indeterminate color into another. In life, man proposes, God disposes. In
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the plastic arts the proposing is done by the subject matter; that which disposes is ultimately the artist’s temperament, proximately (at least in portraiture, history and genre) the carved or painted drapery. Between them, these two may decree that a fete galante shall move to tears, that a crucifixion shall be serene to the point of cheerfulness, that a stigmatization shall be almost intolerably sexy, that the likeness of a prodigy of female brainlessness (I am thinking now of Ingres’ incomparable Mme. Moitessier) shall express the austerest, the most uncompromising intellectuality. But this is not the whole story. Draperies, as I had now discovered, are much more than devices for the introduction of non-representational forms into naturalistic paintings and sculptures. What the rest of us see only under the influence of mescalin, the artist is congenitally equipped to see all the time. His perception is not limited to what is biologically or socially useful. A little of the knowledge belonging to Mind at Large oozes past the reducing valve of brain and ego, into his consciousness. It is a knowledge of the intrinsic significance of every existent. For the artist as for the mescalin taker draperies are living hieroglyphs that stand in some peculiarly expressive way for the unfathomable mystery of pure being. More even than the chair, though less perhaps than those wholly supernatural flowers, the folds of my gray flannel trousers were charged with “is-ness.” To what they owed this privileged status, I cannot say. Is it, perhaps, because the forms of folded drapery are so strange and dramatic that they catch the eye and in this way force the miraculous fact of sheer existence upon the attention? Who knows? What is important is less the reason for the experience than the experience itself. Poring over Judith’s skirts,
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there in the World’s Biggest Drug Store, I knew that Botticelli - and not Botticelli alone, but many others too-had looked at draperies with the same transfigured and transfiguring eyes as had been mine that morning. They had seen the Istigkeit, the Allness and Infinity of folded cloth and had done their best to render it in paint or stone. Necessarily, of course, without success. For the glory and the wonder of pure existence belong to another order, beyond the Power of even the highest art to express. But in Judith’s skirt I could clearly see what, if I had been a painter of genius, I might have made of my old gray flannels. Not much, heaven knows, in comparison with the reality, but enough to delight generation after generation of beholders, enough to make them understand at least a little of the true significance of what, in our pathetic imbecility, we call “mere things” and disregard in favor of television. “This is how one ought to see,” I kept saying as I looked down at my trousers, or glanced at the jeweled books in the shelves, at the legs of my infinitely more than VanGoghian chair. “This is how one ought to see, how things really are.” And yet there were reservations. For if one always saw like this, one would never want to do anything else. Just looking, just being the divine Not-self of flower, of book, of chair, of flannel. That would be enough. But in that case what about other people? What about human relations? In the recording of that morning’s conversations I find the question constantly repeated, “What about human relations?” How could one reconcile this timeless bliss of seeing as one ought to see with the temporal duties of doing what one ought to do and feeling as one ought to feel? “One ought to be able,” I said, “to see these trousers as infinitely important and human beings as still more infinitely important.” One ought-but in practice it seemed
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to be impossible. This participation in the manifest glory of things left no room, so to speak, for the ordinary, the necessary concerns of human existence, above all for concerns involving persons. For Persons are selves and, in one respect at least, I was now a Not- self, simultaneously perceiving and being the Not-self of the things around me. To this new-born Notself, the behavior, the appearance, the very thought of the self it had momentarily ceased to be, and of other selves, its one-time fellows, seemed not indeed distasteful (for distastefulness was not one of the categories in terms of which I was thinking), but enormously irrelevant. Compelled by the investigator to analyze and report on what I was doing (and how I longed to be left alone with Eternity in a flower, Infinity in four chair legs and the Absolute in the folds of a pair of flannel trousers!), I realized that I was deliberately avoiding the eyes of those who were with me in the room, deliberately refraining from being too much aware of them. One was my wife, the other a man I respected and greatly liked; but both belonged to the world from which, for the moment, mescalin had delivered me “e world of selves, of time, of moral judgments and utilitarian considerations, the world (and it was this aspect of human life which I wished, above all else, to forget) of self-assertion, of cocksureness, of overvalued words and idolatrously worshiped notions. At this stage of the proceedings I was handed a large colored reproduction of the well-known self- portrait by C6zanne-the head and shoulders of a man in a large straw hat, red-cheeked, red-lipped, with rich black whiskers and a dark unfriendly eye. It is a magnificent painting; but it was not as a painting that I now saw it. For the head promptly took on a third dimension and came to life
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as a small goblin-like man looking out through a window in the page before me. I started to laugh. And when they asked me why, “What pretensions!” I kept repeating. “Who on earth does he think he is?” The question was not addressed to Cezanne in particular, but to the human species at large. Who did they all think they were? “It’s like Arnold Bennett in the Dolomites,” I said, suddenly remembering a scene, happily immortalized in a snapshot, of A.B., some four or five years before his death, toddling along a wintry road at Cortina d’Ampezzo. Around him lay the virgin snow; in the background was a more than gothic aspiration of red crags. And there was dear, kind, unhappy A.B., consciously overacting the role of his favorite character in fiction, himself, the Card in person. There he went, toddling slowly in the bright Alpine sunshine, his thumbs in the armholes of a yellow waistcoat which bulged, a little lower down, with the graceful curve of a Regency bow window at Brighton - his head thrown back as though to aim some stammered utterance, howitzer-like, at the blue dome of heaven. What he actually said, I have forgotten; but what his whole manner, air and posture fairly shouted was, “I’m as good as those damned mountains.” And in some ways, of course, he was infinitely better; but not, as he knew very well, in the way his favorite character in fiction liked to imagine. Successfully (whatever that may mean) or unsuccessfully, we all overact the part of our favorite character in fiction. And the fact, the almost infinitely unlikely fact, of actually being Cezanne makes no difference. For the consummate painter, with his little pipeline to Mind at Large by-passing the brain valve and ego-filter, was also and just as genuinely this whiskered goblin with the unfriendly eye. For relief I turned back to the folds in my
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trousers. “This is how one ought to see,” I repeated yet again. And I might have added,’ ‘These are the sort of things one ought to look at.” Things without pretensions, satisfied to be merely themselves, sufficient in their Suchness, not acting a part, not trying, insanely, to go it alone, in isolation from the Dharma-Body, in Luciferian defiance of the grace of god. “The nearest approach to this,” I said, “would be a Vermeer.” Yes, a Vermeer. For that mysterious artist was truly gifted-with the vision that perceives the Dharma-Body as the hedge at the bottom of the garden, with the talent to render as much of that vision as the limitations of human capacity permit, and with the prudence to confine himself in his paintings to the more manageable aspects of reality; for though Vermeer represented human beings, he was always a painter of still life. Cezanne, who told his female sitters to do their best to look like apples, tried to paint portraits in the same spirit. But his pippinlike women are more nearly related to Plato’s Ideas than to the Dharma-Body in the hedge. They are Eternity and Infinity seen, not in sand or flower, but in the abstractions of some very superior brand of geometry. Vermeer never asked his girls to look like apples. On the contrary, he insisted on their being girls to the very limit - but always with the proviso that they refrain from behaving girlishly. They might sit or quietly stand but never giggle, never display self-consciousness, never say their prayers or pine for absent sweethearts, never gossip, never gaze enviously at other women’s babies, never dirt, never love or hate or work. In the act of doing any of these things they would doubtless become more intensely themselves, but would cease, for that very reason, to manifest their divine essential Not-self. In Blake’s phrase, the doors of Ver-
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meer’s perception were only partially cleansed. A single panel had become almost perfectly transparent; the rest of the door was still muddy. The essential Not-self could be perceived very clearly in things and in living creatures on the hither side of good and evil. In human beings it was visible only when they were in repose, their minds untroubled, their bodies motionless. In these circumstances Vermeer could see Suchness in all its heavenly beauty could see and, in some small measure, render it-in a subtle and sumptuous still life. Vermeer is undoubtedly the greatest painter of human still lives. But there have been others, for example, Vermeer’s French contemporaries, the Le Nain brothers. They set out, I suppose, to be genre painters; but what they actually produced was a series of human still lives, in which their cleansed perception of the infinite significance of all things is rendered not, as with Vermeer, by subtle enrichment of color and texture, but by a heightened clarity, an obsessive distinctness of form, within an austere, almost monochromatic tonality. In our own day we have had Vuillard, the painter, at his best, of unforgettably splendid pictures of the DharmaBody manifested in a bourgeois bedroom, of the Absolute blazing away in the midst of some stockbroker’s family in a suburban garden, taking tea. Ce qui fait que I’ancien bandagiste renie Le compioir dont le faste alléchait les passants, C’est son jardin d’Auteuil, ou, veufs de tout encens, Les Zinnias ont I’air d’être en tôle vernie.
For Laurent Tailhade the spectacle was merely obscene. But if the retired rubber goods merchant had sat still
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enough, Vuillard would have seen in him only the Dharma-Body, would have painted, in the zinnias, the goldfish pool, the villa’s Moorish tower and Chinese lanterns, a corner of Eden before the Fall. But meanwhile my question remained unanswered. How was this cleansed perception to be reconciled with a proper concern with human relations, with the necessary chores and duties, to say nothing of charity and practical compassion? The age-old debate between the actives and the contemplatives was being renewed - renewed, so far as I was concerned, with an unprecedented poignancy. For until this morning I had known contemplation only in its humbler, its more ordinary forms - as discursive thinking; as a rapt absorption in poetry or painting or music; as a patient waiting upon those inspirations, without which even the prosiest writer cannot hope to accomplish anything; as occasional glimpses, in Nature, of Wordsworth’s “something far more deeply interfused”; as systematic silence leading, sometimes, to hints of an “obscure knowledge.” But now I knew contemplation at its height. At its height, but not yet in its fullness. For in its fullness the way of Mary includes the way of Martha and raises it, so to speak, to its own higher power. Mescalin opens up the way of Mary, but shuts the door on that of Martha. It gives access to contemplation - but to a contemplation that is incompatible with action and even with the will to action, the very thought of action. In the intervals between his revelations the mescalin taker is apt to feel that, though in one way everything is supremely as it should be, in another there is something wrong. His problem is essentially the same as that which confronts the quietist, the arhat and, on another level, the landscape painter and the painter of human still lives. Mescalin can never solve that
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problem; it can only pose it, apocalyptically, for those to whom it had never before presented itself. The full and final solution can be found only by those who are prepared to implement the right kind of Welranschauung by means of the right kind of behavior and the right kind of constant and unstrained alertness. Over against the quietist stands the active-contemplative, the saint, the man who, in Eckhart’s phrase, is ready to come down from the seventh heaven in order to bring a cup of water to his sick brother. Over against the arhat, retreating from ap- pearances into an entirely transcendental Nirvana, stands the Bodhisattva, for whom Suchness and the world of contingencies are one, and for whose boundless compassion every one of those contingencies is an occasion not only for transfiguring insight, but also for the most practical charity. And in the universe of art, over against Vermeer and the other Painters of human still lives, over against the masters of Chinese and Japanese landscape painting, over against Constable and Turner, against Sisley and Seurat and Cezanne, stands the all-inclusive art of Rembrandt. These are enormous names, inaccessible eminences. For myself, on this memorable May morning, I could only be grateful for an experience which had shown me, more clearly than I had ever seen it before, the true nature of the challenge and the completely liberating response. Let me add, before we leave this subject, that there is no form of contemplation, even the most quietistic, which is without its ethical values. Half at least of all morality is negative and consists in keeping out of mischief. The Lord’s Prayer is less than fifty words long, and six of those words are devoted to asking God not to lead us into temptation. The one-sided contemplative leaves undone many things that he ought to do; but to make up for it, he re-
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frains from doing a host of things he ought not to do. The sum of evil, Pascal remarked, would be much diminished if men could only learn to sit quietly in their rooms. The contemplative whose perception has been cleansed does not have to stay in his room. He can go about his business, so completely satisfied to see and be a part of the divine Order of Things that he will never even be tempted to indulge in what Traherne called “the dirty Devices of the world.” When we feel ourselves to be sole heirs of the universe, when “the sea flows in our veins ... and the stars are our jewels,” when all things are perceived as infinite and holy, what motive can we have for covetousness or selfassertion, for the pursuit of power or the drearier forms of pleasure? Contemplatives are not likely to become gamblers, or procurers, or drunkards; they do not as a rule preach intolerance, or make war; do not find it necessary to rob, swindle or grind the faces of the poor. And to these enormous negative virtues we may add another which, though hard to define, is both positive and important. The arhat and the quietist may not practice contemplation in its fullness; but if they practice it at all, they may bring back enlightening reports of another, a transcendent country of the mind; and if they practice it in the height, they will become conduits through which some beneficent influence can how out of that other country into a world of darkened selves, chronically dying for lack of it. Meanwhile I had turned, at the investigator’s request, from the portrait of Cezanne to what was going on, inside my head, when I shut my eyes. This time, the inscape was curiously unrewarding. The field of vision was filled with brightly colored, constantly changing structures that seemed to be made of plastic or enameled tin. “Cheap,” I commented. “Trivial. Like things in a five-
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and-ten.” And all this shoddiness existed in a closed, cramped universe. “It’s as though one were below decks in a ship,” I said. “A five-and-ten-cent ship.” And as I looked, it became very clear that this five-and-ten-cent ship was in some way connected with human pretensions, with the portrait of Cezanne, with A.B. among the Dolomites overacting his favorite character in fiction. This suffocating interior of a dime-store ship was my own personal self; these gimcrack mobiles of tin and plastic were my personal contributions to the universe. I felt the lesson to be salutary, but was sorry, none the less, that it had had to be administered at this moment and in this form. As a rule the mescalin taker discovers an inner world as manifestly a datum, as self-evidently “infinite and holy,” as that transfgured outer world which I had seen with my eyes open. From the first, my own case had been different. Mescalin had endowed me temporarily with the power to see things with my eyes shut; but it could not, or at least on this occasion did not, reveal an inscape remotely comparable to my flowers or chair or flannels “out there.” What it had allowed me to perceive inside was not the Dharma-Body, in images, but my own mind; not Suchness, but a set of symbols - in other words, a homemade substitute for Suchness. Most visualizers are transformed by mescalin into visionaries. Some of them - and they are Perhaps more numerous than is generally supposed - require no transformation; they are visionaries all the time. The mental species to which Blake belonged is fairly widely distributed even in the urban-industrial societies of the present day. The poet-artist’s uniqueness does not consist in the fact that (to quote from his Descriptive Catalogue) he actually saw “those wonderful originals called in the Sacred
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Scriptures the Cherubim.” It does not consist in the fact that “these wonderful originals seen in my visions, were some of them one hundred feet in height ... all containing mythological and recondite meaning.” It consists solely in his ability to render, in words or (somewhat less successfully) in line and color, some hint at least of a not excessively uncommon experience. The untalented visionary may perceive an inner reality no less tremendous, beautiful and significant than the world beheld by Blake; but he lacks altogether the ability to express, in literary or plastic symbols, what he has seen. From the records of religion and the surviving menuments of poetry and the plastic arts it is very plain that, at most times and in most places, men have attached more importance to the inscape than to objective existents, have felt that what they saw with their eyes shut possessed a spiritually higher significance than what they saw with their eyes open. The reason? Familiarity breeds contempt, and how to survive is a problem ranging in urgency from the chronically tedious to the excruciating. The outer world is what we wake up to every morning of our lives, is the place where, willy-nilly, we must try to make our living. In the inner world there is neither work nor monotony. We visit it only in dreams and musings, and its strangeness is such that we never find the same world on two successive occasions. What wonder, then, if human beings in their search for the divine have generally preferred to look within! Generally, but not always. In their art no less than in their religion, the Taoists and the Zen Buddhists looked beyond visions to the Void, and through the Void at “the ten thousand things” of objective reality. Because of their doctrine of the Word made flesh, Christians should have been able, from the first, to adopt
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a similar attitude towards the universe around them. But because of the doctrine of the Fall, they found it very hard to do so. As recently as three hundred years ago an expression of thoroughgoing world denial and even world condemnation was both orthodox and comprehensible. “We should feel wonder at nothing at all in Nature except only the Incarnation of Christ.” In the seventeenth century, Lallemant’s phrase seemed to make sense. Today it has the ring of madness. In China the rise of landscape painting to the rank of a major art form took place about a thousand, in Japan about six hundred and in Europe about three hundred, years ago. The equation of Dharma- Body with hedge was made by those Zen Masters, who wedded Taoist naturalism with Buddhist transcendentalism. It was, therefore, only in the Far East that landscape painters consciously regarded their art as religious. In the West religious painting was a matter of portraying sacred personages, of illustrating hallowed texts. Landscape painters regarded themselves as secularists. Today we recognize in Seurat one of the supreme masters of what may be called mystical landscape painting. And yet this man who was able, more effectively than any other, to render the One in the many, became quite indignant when somebody praised him for the “poetry” of his work. ‘1 merely apply the System,” he protested. In other words he was merely a pointilliste and, in his own eyes, nothing else. A similar anecdote is told of John Constable. One day towards the end of his life, Blake met Constable at Hampstead and was shown one of the younger artist’s sketches. In spite of his contempt for naturalistic art, the old visionary knew a good thing when be saw it-except of course, when it was by Rubens. ‘This is not drawing,” he cried, “this is inspiration!” “I had meant
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it to be drawing,” was Constable’s characteristic answer. Both men were right. It was drawing, precise and veracious, and at the same time it was inspiration - inspiration of an order at least as high as Blake’s. The sketch was a rendering, necessarily imperfect but still profoundly impressive, of what a cleansed perception had revealed to the open eyes of a great painter. From a contemplation, in the tradition of Wordsworth and Whitman, of the DharmaBody as hedge, and from visions, such as Blake’s, of the “wonderful originals” within the mind, contemporary poets have retreated into an investigation of the personal, as opposed to the more than personal, subconscious and to a rendering, in highly abstract terms, not of the given, objective fact, but of mere scientific and theological notions. And something similar has happened in the held of painting, where we have witnessed a general retreat from landscape, the predominant art form of the nineteenth century. This retreat from landscape has not been into that other, inner divine Datum, with which most of the traditional schools of the past were concerned, that Archetypal World, where men have always found the raw materials of myth and religion. No, it has been a retreat from the outward Datum into the personal subconscious, into a mental world more squalid and more tightly closed than even the world of conscious personality. These contraptions of tin and highly colored plastic - where had I seen them before? In every picture gallery that exhibits the latest in nonrepresentational art. And now someone produced a phonograph and put a record on the turntable. I listened with pleasure, but experienced nothing comparable to my seen apocalypses of flowers or flannel. Would a naturally gifted musician hear the revelations which, for me, had been exclusively visual It would be interesting to
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make the experiment. Meanwhile, though not transfigured, though retaining its normal quality and intensity, the music contributed not a little to my understanding of what had happened to me and of the wider problems which those happenings had raised. Instrumental music, oddly enough, left me rather cold. Mozart’s C-Minor Piano Concerto was interrupted after the first movement, and a recording of some madrigals by Gesualdo took its place. “These voices,” I said appreciatively, “these voices they’re a kind of bridge back to the human world.” And a bridge they remained even while singing the most startlingly chromatic of the mad prince’s compositions. Through the uneven phrases of the madrigals, the music pursued its course, never sticking to the same key for two bars together. In Gesualdo, that fantastic character out of a Webster melodrama, psychological disintegration had exaggerated, had pushed to the extreme limit, a tendency inherent in modal as opposed to fully tonal music. The resulting works sounded as though they might have been written by the later Schoenberg. “And yet,” I felt myself constrained to say, as I listened to these strange products of a Counter- Reformation psychosis working upon a late medieval art form, “and yet it does not matter that he’s all in bits. The whole is disorganized. But each individual fragment is in order, is a representative of a Higher Order. The Highest Order prevails even in the disintegration. The totality is present even in the broken pieces. More clearly present, perhaps, than in a completely coherent work. At least you aren’t lulled into a sense of false security by some merely human, merely fabricated order. You have to rely on your immediate perception of the ultimate order. So in a certain sense dis-
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integration may have its advantages. But of course it’s dangerous, horribly dangerous. Suppose you couldn’t get back, out of the chaos ...” From Gesualdo’s madrigals we jumped, across a gulf of three centuries, to Alban Berg and the Lyric Suire. “This” I announced in advance, “is going to be hell.” But, as it turned out, I was wrong. Actually the music sounded rather funny. Dredged up from the personal subconscious, agony succeeded twelve-tone agony; but what struck me was only the essential incongruity between a psychological disintegration even completer than Gesualdo’s and the prodigious resources, in talent and technique, employed in its expression. “Isn’t he sorry for himself!” I commented with a derisive lack of sympathy. And then, “Katzenmusik - learned Katzenmusik.” And finally, after a few more minutes of the anguish, “Who cares what his feelings are? Why can’t he pay attention to something else?” As a criticism of what is undoubtedly a very remarkable work, it was unfair and inadequate - but not, I think, irrelevant. I cite it for what it is worth and because that is how, in a state of pure contemplation, I reacted to the Lyric Suite. When it was over, the investigator suggested a walk in the garden. I was willing; and though my body seemed to have dissociated itself almost completely from my mind - or, to be more accurate, though my awareness of the transfigured outer world was no longer accompanied by an awareness of my physical organism -I found myself able to get up, open the French window and walk out with only a minimum of hesitation. It was odd, of course, to feel that “I” was not the same as these arms and legs “out there,” as this wholly objective trunk and neck and even head. It was odd; but one soon got used to it. And any-
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how the body seemed perfectly well able to look after itself. In reality, of course, it always does look after itself. All that the conscious ego can do is to formulate wishes, which are then carried out by forces which it controls very little and understands not at all. When it does anything more -when it tries too hard, for example, when it worries, when it becomes apprehensive about the future -it lowers the effectiveness of those forces and may even cause the devitalized body to fall ill. In my present state, awareness was not referred to as ego; it was, so to speak, on its own. This meant that the physiological intelligence controlling the body was also on its own. For the moment that interfering neurotic who, in waking hours, tries to run the show, was blessedly out of the way. From the French window I walked out under a kind of pergola covered in part by a climbing rose tree, in part by laths, one inch wide with half an inch of space be tween them. The sun was shining and the shadows of the laths made a zebra-like pattern on the ground and across the seat and back of a garden chair, which was standing at this end of the pergola. That chair -shall I ever forget it? Where the shadows fell on the canvas upholstery, stripes of a deep but glowing indigo alternated with stripes of an incandescence so intensely bright that it was hard to believe that they could be made of anything but blue fire. For what seemed an immensely long time I gazed without knowing, even without wishing to know, what it was that confronted me. At any other time I would have seen a chair barred with alternate light and shade. Today the percept had swallowed up the concept. I was so completely absorbed in looking, so thunderstruck by what I actually saw, that I could not be aware of anything else. Garden furniture, laths, sunlight, shadow - these were no more
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than names and notions, mere verbalizations, for utilitarian or scientific purposes, after the event. The event was this succession of azure furnace doors separated by gulfs of unfathomable gentian. It was inexpressibly wonderful, wonderful to the point, almost, of being terrifying. And suddenly I had an inkling of what it must feel like to be mad. Schizophrenia has its heavens as well as its hells and purgatories. I remember what an old friend, dead these many years, told me about his mad wife. One day in the early stages of the disease, when she still had her lucid intervals he had gone to talk to her about their children. She listened for a time, then cut him short. How could he bear to waste his time on a couple of absent children, when all that really mattered, here and now, was the unspeakable beauty of the patterns he made, in this brown tweed jacket, every time he moved his arms? Alas, this Paradise of cleansed perception, of pure one-sided contemplation, was not to endure. The blissful intermissions became rarer, became briefer, until finally there were no more of them; there was only horror. Most takers of mescalin experience only the heavenly part of schizophrenia. The drug brings hell and purgatory only to those who have had a recent case of jaundice, or who suffer from periodical depressions or a chronic anxiety. If, like the other drugs of remotely comparable power, mescalin were notoriously toxic, the taking of it would be enough, of itself, to cause anxiety. But the reasonably healthy person knows in advance that, so far as he is concerned, mescalin is completely innocuous, that its effects will pass off after eight or ten hours, leaving no hangover and consequently no craving for a renewal of the dose. Fortified by this knowledge, he embarks upon the experiment without fear - in other words, without any dispo-
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sition to convert an unprecedentedly strange and other than human experience into something appalling, something actually diabolical. Confronted by a chair which looked like the Last Judgment - or, to be more accurate, by a Last Judgment which, after a long time and with considerable difficulty, I recognized as a chair - I found myself all at once on the brink of panic. This, I suddenly felt, was going too far. Too far, even though the going was into intenser beauty, deeper significance. The fear, as I analyze it in retrospect, was of being overwhelmed, of disintegrating under a pressure of reality greater than a mind, accustomed to living most of the time in a cosy world of symbols, could possibly bear. The literature of religious experience abounds in references to the pains and terrors overwhelming those who have come, too suddenly, face to face with some manifestation of the Mysterium tremendum. In theological language, this fear is due to the in- compatibility between man’s egotism and the divine purity, between man’s selfaggravated separateness and the infinity of God. Following Boehme and William Law, we may say that, by unregenerate souls, the divine Light at its full blaze can be apprehended only as a burning, purgatorial fire. An almost identical doctrine is to be found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, where the departed soul is described as shrinking in agony from the Pure Light of the Void, and even from the lesser, tempered Lights, in order to rush headlong into the comforting darkness of selfhood as a reborn human being, or even as a beast, an unhappy ghost, a denizen of hell. Anything rather than the burning brightness of unmitigated Reality - anything! The schizophrenic is a soul not merely unregenerate, but desperately sick into the bargain. His sickness consists in
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the inability to take refuge from inner and outer reality (as the sane person habitually does) in the homemade universe of common sense - the strictly human world of useful notions, shared symbols and socially acceptable conventions. The schizophrenic is like a man permanently under the influence of mescalin, and therefore unable to shut off the experience of a reality which he is not holy enough to live with, which he cannot explain away because it is the most stubborn of primary facts, and which, because it never permits him to look at the world with merely human eyes, scares him into interpreting its unremitting strangeness, its burning intensity of significance, as the manifestations of human or even cosmic malevolence, calling for the most desperate countermeasures, from murderous violence at one end of the scale to catatonia, or psychological suicide, at the other. And once embarked upon the downward, the infernal road, one would never be able to stop. That, now, was only too obvious. “If you started in the wrong way,” I said in answer to the investigator’s questions, “everything that happened would be a proof of the conspiracy against you. It would all be self-validating, You couldn’t draw a breath without knowing it was part of the plot.” “So you think you know where madness lies?” My answer was a convinced and heartfelt, “Yes.” “And you couldn’t control it?” “No I couldn’t control it. If one began with fear and hate as the major premise, one would have to go on to the conclusion.” “Would you be able,” my wife asked, “to fix your attention on what The Tibetan Book of The Dead calls the Clear Light?” I was doubtful. “Would it keep the evil away, if you could hold it? Or would you not be able to hold it?” I considered the question for some time. “Perhaps,” I an-
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swered at last, “perhaps I could - but only if there were somebody there to tell me about the Clear Light. One couldn’t do it by oneself. That’s the point, I suppose, of the Tibetan ritual - someone sitting there all the time and telling you what’s what.” After listening to the record of this part of the experiment, I took down my copy of Evans-Wentz’s edition of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and opened at random. “O nobly born, let not thy mind be distracted.” That was the problem - to remain undistracted. Undistracted by the memory of past sins, by imagined pleasure, by the bitter aftertaste of old wrongs and humiliations, by all the fears and hates and cravings that ordinarily eclipse the Light. What those Buddhist monks did for the dying and the dead, might not the modern psychiatrist do for the insane? Let there be a voice to assure them, by day and even while they are asleep, that in spite of all the terror, all the bewilderment and confusion, the ultimate Reality remains unshakably itself and is of the same substance as the inner light of even the most cruelly tormented mind. By means of such devices as recorders, clock-controlled switches, public address systems and pillow speakers it should be very easy to keep the inmates of even an understaffed institution constantly reminded of this primordial fact. Perhaps a few of the lost souls might in this way be helped to win some measure of control over the universe - at once beautiful and appalling, but always other than human, always totally incomprehensible - in which they find themselves condemned to live. None too soon, I was steered away from the disquieting splendors of my garden chair. Drooping in green parabolas from the hedge, the ivy fronds shone with a kind of glassy, jade-like radiance. A moment later a clump of Red
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Hot Pokers, in full bloom, had exploded into my field of vision. So passionately alive that they seemed to be standing on the very brink of utterance, the flowers strained upwards into the blue. Like the chair under the laths, they protected too much. I looked down at the leaves and discovered a cavernous intricacy of the most delicate green lights and shadows, pulsing with undecipherable mystery. Roses : The flowers are easy to paint, The leaves difficult. Shiki’s haiku (which I quote in R. H. Blyth’s translation) expresses, by indirection, exactly what I then felt - the excessive, the too obvious glory of the flowers, as contrasted with the subtler miracle of their foliage. We walked out into the street. A large pale blue automobile was standing at the curb. At the sight of it, I was suddenly overcome by enormous merriment. What complacency, what an absurd self- satisfaction beamed from those bulging surfaces of glossiest enamel! Man had created the thing in his own image - or rather in the image of his favorite character in fiction. I laughed till the tears ran down my cheeks. We re-entered the house. A meal had been prepared. Somebody, who was not yet identical with myself, fell to with ravenous appetite. From a considerable distance and without much interest, I looked on. When the meal had been eaten, we got into the car and went for a drive. The effects of the mescalin were already on the decline: but the flowers in the gardens still trembled on the brink of being supernatural, the pepper trees and carobs along the side streets still manifestly belonged to some sacred grove. Eden alternated with Dodona. Yggdrasil with the mystic Rose. And then, abruptly, we were at an intersection, waiting to cross Sunset Boulevard. Before us the cars were rolling by in a steady stream - thou-
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sands of them, all bright and shiny like an advertiser’s dream and each more ludicrous than the last. Once again I was convulsed with laughter. The Red Sea of traffic parted at last, and we crossed into another oasis of trees and lawns and roses. In a few minutes we had climbed to a vantage point in the hills, and there was the city spread out beneath us. Rather disappointingly, it looked very like the city I had seen on other occasions. So far as I was concerned, transfiguration was proportional to distance. The nearer, the more divinely other. This vast, dim panorama was hardly different from itself. We drove on, and so long as we remained in the hills, with view succeeding distant view, significance was at its everyday level, well below transfiguration point. The magic began to work again only when we turned down into a new suburb and were gliding between two rows of houses. Here, in spite of the peculiar hideousness of the architecture, there were renewals of transcendental otherness, hints of the morning’s heaven. Brick chimneys and green composition roofs glowed in the sunshine, like fragments of the New Jerusalem. And all at once I saw what Guardi had seen and (with what incomparable skill) had so often rendered in his paintings- a stucco wall with a shadow slanting across it, blank but unforgettably beautiful, empty but charged with all the meaning and the mystery of existence. The revelation dawned and was gone again within a fraction of a second. The car had moved on; time was uncovering another manifestation of the eternal Suchness. “Within sameness there is difference. But that difference should be different from sameness is in no wise the intention of all the Buddhas. Their intention is both totality and differentiation.” This bank of red and white geraniums, for example-it was entirely
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different from that stucco wall a hundred yards up the road. But the “is-ness” of both was the same, the eternal quality of their transience was the same. An hour later, with ten more miles and the visit to the World’s Biggest Drug Store safely behind us, we were back at home, and I had returned to that reassuring but profoundly unsatisfactory state known as “being in one’s right mind.” That humanity at large will ever be able to dispense with Artificial Paradises seems very unlikely. Most men and women lead lives at the worst so painful, at the best so monotonous, poor and limited that the urge to escape, the longing to transcend themselves if only for a few moments, is and has always been one of the principal appetites of the soul. Art and religion, carnivals and saturnalia, dancing and listening to oratory -all these have served, in H. G. Wells’s phrase, as Doors in the Wall. And for private, far everyday use there have always been chemical intoxicants. All the vegetable sedatives and narcotics, all the euphorics that grow on trees, the hallucinogens that ripen in berries or can be squeezed from roots -all, without exception, have been known and systematically used by human beings from time immemorial. And to these natural modifiers of consciousness modern science has added its quota of synthetics - chloral, for example, and benzedrine, the bromides and the barbiturates. Most of these modifiers of consciousness cannot now be taken except under doctor’s orders, or else illegally and at considerable risk. For unrestricted use the West has permitted only alcohol and tobacco. All the other chemical Doors in the Wall are labeled Dope, and their unauthorized takers are Fiends. We now spend a good deal more on drink and smoke than we spend on education. This, of course, is not surprising. The urge to escape from self-
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hood and the environment is in almost everyone almost all the time. The urge to do something for the young is strong only in parents, and in them only for the few years during which their children go to school. Equally unsurprising is the current attitude towards drink and smoke. In spite of the growing army of hopeless alcoholics, in spite of the hundreds of thousands of persons annually maimed or killed by drunken drivers, popular comedians still crack jokes about alcohol and its addicts. And in spite of the evidence linking cigarettes with lung cancer, practically everybody regards tobacco smoking as being hardly less normal and natural than eating. From the point of view of the rationalist utilitarian this may seem odd. For the historian, it is exactly what you would expect. A firm conviction of the material reality of Hell never prevented medieval Christians from doing what their ambition, lust or covetousness suggested. Lung cancer, traffic accidents and the millions of miserable and misery-creating alcoholics are facts even more certain than was, in Dante’s day, the fact of the Inferno. But all such facts are remote and unsubstantial compared with the near, felt fact of a craving, here and now, for release or sedation, for a drink or a smoke. Ours is the age, among other things, of the automobile and of rocketing population. Alcohol is incompatible with safety on the roads, and its production, like that of tobacco, condemns to virtual sterility many millions of acres of the most fertile soil. The problems raised by alcohol and tobacco cannot, it goes without saying, be solved by prohibition. The universal and ever-present urge to self- transcendence is not to be abolished by slamming the currently popular Doors in the Wall. The Indians who consume peyote buttons do not seem to be physically or morally degraded by the habit. However, the available evi-
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dence is still scarce and sketchy.* Although obviously superior to cocaine, opium, alcohol and tobacco, mescalin is not yet the ideal drug. Along with the happily transfigured majority of mescalin takers there is a minority that finds in the drug only hell or purgatory. Moreover, for a drug that is to be used, like alcohol, for general consumption, its effects last for an inconveniently long time. But chemistry and physiology are capable nowadays of practically anything. If the psychologists and sociologists will define the ideal, the neurologists and pharmacologists can be relied upon to discover the means whereby that ideal can be realized or at least (for perhaps this kind of ideal can never, in the very nature of things, be fully realized) more nearly approached than in the wine-bibbing past, the whisky- drinking, marijuana-smoking and barbiturate-swallowing present. The urge to transcend selfconscious selfhood is, as I have said, a principal appetite of the soul. When, for whatever reason, men and women fail to transcend themselves by means of worship, good works and spiritual exercises, they are apt to resort to religion’s chemical surrogates-alcohol and “goof pills” in the modern West, alcohol and opium in the East, hashish in the Mohammedan world, alcohol and marijuana in Central America, alcohol and coca in the Andes, alcohol and the barbiturates in the more up-to-date regions of South America. In Poisons Sacres, Ivresses Divines Philippe de Felice has written at length and with a wealth of documentation on the immemorial connection between religion and the taking of drugs. Here, in summary or in direct quotation, are his conclusions. The employment for religious purposes of toxic substances is “extraordinarily widespread.... The practices studied in this volume can be observed in every region of the earth, among primitives
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no less than among those who have reached a high pitch of civilization. We are therefore dealing not with exceptional facts, which might justifiably be overlooked, but with a general and, in the widest sense of the word, a human phenomenon, the kind of phenomenon which cannot be disregarded by anyone who is trying to discover what religion is, and what are the deep needs which it must satisfy.” Ideally, everyone should be able to find self-transcendence in some form of pure or applied religion. In practice it seems very unlikely that this hoped for consummation will ever be realized. There are, and doubtless there always will be, good churchmen and good churchwomen for whom, unfortunately, piety is not enough. The late G. K. Chesterton, who wrote at least as lyrically of drink as of devotion, may serve as their eloquent spokesman. The modern churches, with some exceptions among the Protestant denominations, tolerate alcohol; but even the most tolerant have made no attempt to convert the drug to Christianity, or to sacramentalize its use. The pious drinker is forced to take his religion in one compartment, his religion- surrogate in another. And perhaps this is inevitable. Drinking cannot be sacramentalized except in religions which set no store on decorum. The worship of Dionysos or the Celtic god of beer was a loud and disorderly affair. The rites of Christianity are incompatible with even religious drunkenness. This does no harm to the distillers, but is very bad for Christianity. Countless persons desire self- transcendence and would be glad to find it in church. But, alas, “the hungry sheep look up and are not fed.” They take part in rites, they listen to sermons, they repeat prayers; but their thirst remains unassuaged. Disappointed, they turn to the bottle. For a time at least and in a kind of way, it works. Church may still be
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attended; but it is no more than the Musical Bank of Butler’s Erewhon. God may still be acknowledged; but He is God only on the verbal level, only in a strictly Pickwickian sense. The effective object of worship is the bottle and the sole religious experience is that state of uninhibited and belligerent euphoria which follows the ingestion of the third cocktail. We see, then, that Christianity and alcohol do not and cannot mix. Christianity and mescalin seem to be much more compatible. This has been demonstrated by many tribes of Indians, from Texas to as far north as Wisconsin. Among these tribes are to be found groups affiliated with the Native American Church, a sect whose principal rite is a kind of Early Christian agape, or love feast, where slices of peyote take the place of the sacramental bread and wine. These Native Americans regard the cactus as God’s special gift to the Indians, and equate its effects with the workings of the divine Spirit. Professor J. S. Slotkin, one of the very few white men ever to have participated in the rites of a Peyotist congregation, says of his fellow worshipers that they are “certainly not stupefied or drunk.... They never get out of rhythm or fumble their words, as a drunken or stupefied man would do.... They are all quiet, courteous and considerate of one another. I have never been in any white man’s house of worship where there is either so much religious feeling or decorum.” And what, we may ask, are these devout and well-behaved Peyotists experiencing? Not the mild sense of virtue which sustains the average Sunday churchgoer through ninety minutes of boredom. Not even those high feelings, inspired by thoughts of the Creator and the Redeemer, the Judge and the Comforter, which animate the pious. For these Native Americans, religious experience
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is something more direct and illuminating, more spontaneous, less the homemade product of the superficial, self-conscious mind. Sometimes (according to the reports collected by Dr. Slotkin) they see visions, which may be of Christ Himself. Sometimes they hear the voice of the Great Spirit. Sometimes they become aware of the presence of God and of those personal shortcomings which must be corrected if they are to do His will. The practical consequences of these chemical openings of doors into the Other World seem to be wholly good. Dr. Slotkin reports that habitual Peyotists are on the whole more industrious, more temperate (many of them abstain altogether from alcohol), more Peaceable than non-Peyotists. A tree with such satisfactory fruits cannot be condemned out of hand as evil. In sacramentalizing the use of peyote, the Indians of the Native American Church have done something which is at once psychologically sound and historically respectable. In the early centuries of Christianity many pagan rites and festivals were baptized, so to say, and made to serve the purposes of the Church. These jollifications were not particularly edifying; but they assuaged a certain psychological hunger and, instead of trying to suppress them, the earlier missionaries had the sense to accept them for what they were, soul-satisfying expressions of fundamental urges, and to incorporate them into the fabric of the new religion. What the Native Americans have done is essentially similar. They have taken a pagan custom (a custom, incidentally, far more elevating and enlightening than most of the rather brutish carousals and mummeries adopted from European paganism) and given it a Christian significance. Though but recently introduced into the northern Unit-
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ed States, peyote-eating and the religion based upon it have become important symbols of the red man’s right to spiritual independence. Some Indians have reacted to white supremacy by becoming Americanized, others by retreating into traditional Indianism. But some have tried to make the best of both worlds, indeed of all the worlds -the best of Indianism, the best of Christianity, and the best of those Other Worlds of transcendental experience, where the soul knows itself as unconditioned and of like nature with the divine. Hence the Native American Church. In it two great appetites of the soul - the urge to independence and self- determination and the urge to self-transcendence - were fused with, and interpreted in the light of, a third - the urge to worship, to justify the ways of God to man, to explain the universe by means of a coherent theology. Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored mind Clothes him in front, but leaves him bare behind. But actually it is we, the rich and highly educated whites, who have left ourselves bare behind. We cover our anterior nakedness with some philosophy-Christian, Marxian, Freudo-Physicalist-but abaft we remain uncovered, at the mercy of all the winds of circumstance. The poor Indian, on the other hand, has had the wit to protect his rear by supplementing the fig leaf of a theology with the breechcloth of transcendental experience. I am not so foolish as to equate what happens under the influence of mescalin or of any other drug, prepared or in the future preparable, with the realization of the end and ultimate purpose of human life: Enlightenment, the Beatific Vision. All I am suggesting is that the mescalin experience is what Catholic theologians call “a gratuitous grace,” not necessary to salvation but potentially helpful and to be accepted thankfully, if made available. To be
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shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large - this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual. For the intellectual is by definition the man for whom, in Goethe’s phrase, “the word is essentially fruitful.” He is the man who feels that “what we perceive by the eye is foreign to us as such and need not impress us deeply.” And yet, though himself an intellectual and one of the supreme masters of language, Goethe did not always agree with his own evaluation of the word. “We talk,” he wrote in middle life, “far too much. We should talk less and draw more. I personally should like to renounce speech altogether and, like organic Nature, communicate everything I have to say in sketches. That fig tree, this little snake, the cocoon on my window sill quietly awaiting its future - all these are momentous signatures. A person able to decipher their meaning properly would soon be able to dispense with the written or the spoken word altogether. The more I think of it, there is something futile, mediocre, even (I am tempted to say) foppish about speech. By contrast, how the gravity of Nature and her silence startle you, when you stand face to face with her, undistracted, before a barren ridge or in the desolation of the ancient hills.” We can never dispense with language and the other symbol systems; for it is by means of them, and only by their means, that we have raised ourselves above the brutes, to the level of human beings. But we can easily become the victims as well as the beneficiaries of these systems. We must learn how to handle words effectively; but at the same time we must
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preserve and, if necessary, intensify our ability to look at the world directly and not through that half opaque medium of concepts, which distorts every given fact into the all too familiar likeness of some generic label or explanatory abstraction. Literary or scientific, liberal or specialist, all our education is predominantly verbal and therefore fails to accomplish what it is supposed to do. Instead of transforming children into fully developed adults, it turns out students of the natural sciences who are completely unaware of Nature as the primary fact of experience, it inflicts upon the world students of the humanities who know nothing of humanity, their own or anyone else’s. Gestalt psychologists, such as Samuel Renshaw, have devised methods for widening the range and increasing the acuity of human perceptions. But do our educators apply them? The answer is, No. Teachers in every field of psyche-physical skill, from seeing to tennis, from tightrope walking to prayer, have discovered, by trial and error, the conditions of optimum functioning within their special fields. But have any of the great Foundations financed a project for co-ordinating these empirical findings into a general theory and practice of heightened creativeness? Again, so far as I am aware, the answer is, No. All sorts of cultists and queer fish teach all kinds of techniques for achieving health, contentment, peace of mind; and for many of their hearers many of these techniques are demonstrably effective. But do we see respectable psychologists, philosophers and clergymen boldly descending into those odd and sometimes malodorous wells, at the bottom of which poor Truth is so often condemned to sit? Yet once more the answer is, No. And now look at the history of mescalin research. Sev-
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enty years ago men of first-rate ability described the transcendental experiences which come to those who, in good health, under proper conditions and in the right spirit, take the drug. How many philosophers, how many theologians, how many professional educators have had the curiosity to open this Door in the Wall? The answer, for all practical purposes, is, None. In a world where education is predominantly verbal, highly educated people find it all but impossible to pay serious attention to anything but words and notions. There is always money for, there are always doctorates in, the learned foolery of research into what, for scholars, is the all-important problem: Who influenced whom to say what when? Even in this age of technology the verbal humanities are honored. The non-verbal humanities, the arts of being directly aware of the given facts of our existence, ale almost completely ignored. A catalogue, a bibliography, a definitive edition of a third-rate versier’s ipsissima verba, a stupendous index to end all indexes - any genuinely Alexandrian project is sure of approval and financial support: But when it comes to finding out how you and I, our children and grandchildren, may become more perceptive, more intensely aware of inward and outward reality, more open to the Spirit, less apt, by psychological malpractices, to make ourselves physically ill, and more capable of controlling our own autonomic nervous system - when it comes to any form of non-verbal education more fundamental (and more likely to be of some practical use) than Swedish drill, no really respectable person in any really respectable university or church will do anything about it. Verbalists are suspicious of the non-verbal; rationalists fear the given, non-rational fact; intellectuals feel that “what we perceive by the eye (or in any other way)
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is foreign to us as such and need not impress us deeply.” Besides, this matter of education in the non-verbal humanities will not fit into any of the established pigeonholes. It is not religion, not neurology, not gymnastics, not morality or civics, not even experimental psychology. This being so the subject is, for academic and ecclesiastical purposes, non-existent and may safely be ignored altogether or left, with a Patronizing smile, to those whom the Pharisees of verbal orthodoxy call cranks, quacks, charlatans and unqualified amateurs. “I have always found,” Blake wrote rather bitterly, “that Angels have the vanity to speak of themselves as the only wise. This they do with a confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning.” Systematic reasoning is something we could not, as a species or as individuals, possibly do without. But neither, if we are to remain sane, can we possibly do without direct perception, the more unsystematic the better, of the inner and outer worlds into which we have been born. This given reality is an infinite which passes all understanding and yet admits of being directly and in some sort totally apprehended. It is a transcendence belonging to another order than the human, and yet it may be present to us as a felt immanence, an experienced participation. To be enlightened is to be aware, always, of total reality in its immanent otherness - to be aware of it and yet to remain in a condition to survive as an animal, to think and feel as a human being, to resort whenever expedient to systematic reasoning. Our goal is to discover that we have always been where we ought to be. Unhappily we make the task exceedingly difficult for ourselves. Meanwhile, however, there are gratuitous graces in the form of partial and fleeting realizations. Under a more realistic, a less exclusively verbal system of education than ours, every An-
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gel (in Blake’s sense of that word) would be permitted as a sabbatical treat, would be urged and even, if necessary, compelled to take an occasional trip through some chemical Door in the Wall into the world of transcendental experience. If it terrified him, it would be unfortunate but probably salutary. If it brought him a brief but timeless illumination, so much the better. In either case the Angel might lose a little of the confident insolence sprouting from systematic reasoning and the consciousness of having read all the books. Near the end of his life Aquinas experienced Infused Contemplation. Thereafter he refused to go back to work on his unfinished book. Compared with this, everything he had read and argued about and written - Aristotle and the Sentences, the Questions, the Propositions, the majestic Summas-was no better than chaff or straw, For most intellectuals such a sit-down strike would be inadvisable, even morally wrong. But the Angelic Doctor had done more systematic reasoning than any twelve ordinary Angels, and was already ripe for death. He had earned the right, in those last months of his mortality, to turn away from merely symbolic straw and chaff to the bread of actual and substantial Fact. For Angels of a lower order and with better prospects of longevity, there must be a return to the straw. But the man who comes back through the Door in the Wall will never be quite the same as the man who went out. He will be wiser but less cocksure, happier but less self-satisfied, humbler in acknowledging his ignorance yet better equipped to understand the relationship of words to things, of systematic reasoning to the unfathomable Mystery which it tries, forever vainly, to comprehend.
CHAUVINIST AND ELITIST OBSTACLES AROUND YOUTUBE AND PORNTUBE ANA PERAICA
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A CASE STUDY OF HOME-MADE PORN DEFENDED AS ‘VIDEO ART’
Recently a Croatian pop singer Severina Vuckovic has won a charge against Internet portal Index.hr for releasing her stolen home porn video. The lengthy court case, concerned two main arguments, the first one of which was lost. The second claim of releasing copyrighted photo material was easily won in light of recent laws on copyright, but also with new agencies defending rights of image libraries 1. But, what I find interesting is the initial argument posed by Severina’s lawyers – that the video it was an art piece stolen and streamed. This strange formulation of (online) video art being actually porn was unfortunately badly defended in regard to the law of authorial rights and had no support at all amidst artist communities.But, it would still be a challenging idea to try to re-define art in terms of home-made works, uploaded somewhere on the Internet. What can be considered as art in those cases? And where is the author? Who is the public? To further explore these questions I would try to give some idea of the porn that had an author, also an amazingly widespread public, but still could not be defended as art. It was a culture shock for the whole nation, not only as a home-made video porn was stolen and released 2. It was a video by very popular singer whose songs were supportive of neo-Catholicism, local ethnology and a bit of international turbo folk. In a way they were contradic1 - The portal Index.hr was charged a fine of 100,000 kuna and court expenses, with an obligation of publishing an apology to the singer in all daily presses. 2 -Paris Hilton, Pamela Anderson, et al.190 reader
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tory to all her previous work. The public was uninformed of the medium, but gradually it was evident that a video has educated the nation technically; at the first; the number of downloads was nearly the same as the number of citizens (rarely someone knew how to save and store the video offline); TV has reported gypsies made a great enterprise selling blank DVDs labelled with singer’s name (rarely, someone could understand the medium does not contain the video); the singer has asked ‘all copies to be returned to her’ (retaining a very materialistic and inappropriate notion of this digital medium). The event has shown – Croats were passing a phase of learning the new media but also a kind of sexual revolution. Finally they were interested in seeing more than sports... It was a total hit, which turned out to be not only because of its suspicious origin (a theft), but also because it has immediately gotten itself a mass public unknown to the art world and quite a nationalistic discourse in its eventual interpretation, as if the whole nation was looking through the peep hole.
The first problem I would like to address concerning the online video in this essay is an institutional definition of art connected to the problem the Internet has posed in the last decade as most of technological tools–after being used as rather experimentally by scientists and artists – come completely absorbed by real-space institutions via processes of nationalisation and massification of the market. Mass availability of equipment previously belonging
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only to the technological elite (owners of equipment) deconstructed the exclusive space of many professions: the photographer, the cameraman first of all. But has it also deconstructed its art? Flusser would argue that mere owning of or access to the equipment does not make a person a photographer (and let’s broaden the issue; nor a video cameraman, etc.), as knowing how to point and click is not knowing the medium. At the same time, it has made a totally different society producing amazing amounts of images no one looks at, professional or not. And these images actually reveal more about society itself than professional photography or video has ever done. It still enjoys looking through the peep holes of well-known people, rather than those unknown. So, we need to ask, furthermore, which kind of a society is revealed in such images? What are its needs? What an amazing amount of pornography, paedophilia and human trafficking online have taught us, is that we need to face symptoms of a society that was previously not able to express itself, not the society that suddenly emerged. These problems (legal or otherwise) have been there, probably for centuries, only in private spheres. Unfortunately, it reveals a lot even on the previous engagement to prevent such behaviour or practices. As feminism seems to be all the weaker as the facts concerning abuse and women trafficking are becoming visible in higher percentages than ever expected, as UNICEF seems incapable of changing the fact of abuse of children online, it seems – the whole recent history of art attempting to resocialise and effect change has done nothing, as well. Popular culture simply shows different points from where what we used to call art still, after decades of its need for a social change, after all of its activism, still stays
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connected to own 19 century autistic definition of l’art pour l’art. Though, why would that be something less than expected if the whole history of photography, produced by an elite, if a movie history, also produced by an elite, has not managed to make an impact on a popular visual culture. Yet how do we know this? It has become visible...
SEX AND NATIONALISM
Immediately after the release, a subsequent development has made Croatian nationalists happy: reports that Severina’s video is one of the best international porn movies which has as a result made her national heroine 3. Though, immediately after a discourse has arisen to decide if a Serbian video with TV star Silvana Mancic was better, advancing the scandalous idea that it is Serbs having better sex – which is a political claim par excellence, if not in fact the ultimate one. Severina used the nationalism rising around her and released the song Hrvatica (Croatian woman, my translation), with an accompanying video in which she is wrapped in the state flag, branding herself with sexuality rather than the music. She has been criticised by opponents of nationalism as a symbol of Croatian corruption, and therefore instrumentalised again; instead of branding sex in national terms, 3 - Titles in national newspapers emphasize her nationality, quoting ’Performance hrvatske pop zvijezde s njenim oženjenim ljubavnikom biznismenom pokazuje entuzijazam kakav nedostaje vecini njenih americkih kopija,’ / The performance of a Croatian pop star, with her married lover, the businessman, shows an enthousiasm missing to most of American copies.’ (my translation and emphasis) which clearly shows reasons why actually she has become famous as ‘Croatian icon’, while local newspapers list the city of birth. Furthermore, a joke reads ‘Hercegovinians [Croats in Bosnia, publicly seen as the most nationalistic] were asked if they would have sex with Severina. They replied – never again’.
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where writers were describing the video with discursive dryness and consequential impotence that is the inevitable outcome in circumstances when someone attempts to interpret and theorise sex (which leads me to conclude it seems plausible that ‘only nationalists do sex’) 4. But, at the same time when Serbs, nationalists, and for that matter also intellectuals incensed by this surge of nationalism via sex were waiving and interpreting the video, some (intellectual) discourses have remained silent. Besides later being represented as the ‘sexual revolution in Croatia’ and finishing up with graffiti on a primary school in Zagreb, where pupils wrote ‘Thank you Seve!’ it has underlined a certain political and artistic elitism: · First of all, feminists were not objecting to the case of a scandal centred around female sexuality, for the obvious reason that the pop singer was not in other way (socially, economically, or even aesthetically...) disadvantaged, which resulted in quite a strange situation in which feminists could be seen as only defending the asocial, poor, ugly. · The second, the unique situation in the court, where Severina has attempted to define her charges against the portal ‘stealing the video art’ has not provoked the attention of the art world of a post-socialist country currently having problems with copyright in general, not even mentioning art videos. So, two interesting discussions which could have arisen 4 - Borislav Mikulic: Media pulp, Severina u porocnom krugu medija (Zarez, dvotjednik za društvena i kulturna zbivanja, no 174, February 2006) describes her consequently as ‘Jednako kao i Ceca, i Seve je agent i proizvod nacionalistickog crnila, rata i kriminala, a njezina prihvatljivost je indika- tor prerade tog napretka’ – ‘similarly to Ceca, Seve is an agent of nationalistic darkness, war and crime, and her acceptability is an indicator only of the recycling of the progress.’ (my translation). She defines her work as ‘real-sex performans, a ne art-porno’ – ‘real sex performance, not an art form’ (my translation).
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into debate on a huge scale; a taboo of women’s sexuality and a video art, were not even started. They were prevented by popular- ity of the singer, engagement of the nation and branding. As though to defend the video’s own thesis that it is art, a number of sexologists were attempting to interpret the video as radical. Finally, they concluded there is nothing new to be seen, as was expected... how could it be after thousands of years of civilization doing things the same way (or maybe there is really some possibility not explored in two thousands years of persistent practice by almost all in- dividuals ever born)? But the symptoms of sexuality were researched, of course in the arts, starting with Bataille and in culture even more 5.
The video in question was, at the time first charge was raised, not defended by video artists or producers, using the opportunity to speak on the authorial rights in arts, rather it was seen as a joke... obviously, besides, it had a mass public and served nationalist discourse. But it has shown still another status – the content of the video was pre-cultural in a way that it cannot be subsumed into art. For the last part of the conclusion it would be interesting to compare Severina’s video to a video of artists having sex, though the latter are copyright protected and unavailable – as if there is something really radical in having sex... Well, at least that field of human practice is older then humanity and therefore – free of politics, which, again does not infer that politics, the market and culture 5 - Georges Bataille, Tears of Eros (City Light Publishers, 1989).
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are free of sex. On the contrary... To see how this high/low and informed/primitive dynamic works, I would like to analyze this assumption with two different cases: one regarding the porn video of Croatian pop singer Severina and the other which includes her as well, again – recycling between popular and elite culture, with their formal replacement. To try to interpret this phenomenon, while not making a historical overview, I would try to contrast the role of the video in popular and elite culture. The enormous resemblance of a Let 3 video featuring Severina to the recent one of a famous artist Marina Abramovi – both recalling Mapplethorpe’s Man in Polyester Suit (1980) – is leaving me astonished in terms what actually recycles what: is it high culture recycling a low one or the other way around? Due to the inner discursive system of artworks the relationship of Mapplethorpe and Abram- ovi seems to be intelligible (as art is what has an inner narrative structure of art history), although this relation seems quite disconnected to the popular video of the Let 3 group. But it does not diminish the problem of the origin: namely, the problem that arises when we ask ourselves what actually is the original and what is the copy in the visual culture. It is not only a question of whether it was Let 3 or Marina Abramovic being first, but actually: was it Map- plethorpe or any other man pissing on the street? And how did it come to be that the motif of an open slit on trousers exposing an organ for urination becomes a picture of sexuality and moreover the picture that is visually quoted in artistic practice as signifying sexuality? So how could – from the point of the obvious banality of represented primary needs and impulses – Severina’s video ever be ‘innovative’? But, to explore the difference further, we need to distinguish between the image of the open slit
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in the popular video of Let 3 (where it serves the spectacle and scandal) from the quote of Abramovic (where it refers to the institutionalisation of the very same image in elite visual culture): its displacement (as with Duchamp’s displacement) which makes it simply; art. One thing functions for sure, the image of sexuality, but even more the image of primary needs (to pee) are, after a whole century still – a taboo. They are taboo not because ‘cyborgs do not go to the toilet’ as Sue Golding once formulated a new society, but because they are animalistic and in that way pre-cultural or even counter-cultural. So sex is also... pre-cultural, pre-politi- cal and it is for that reason scary to all progressive thinkers (including leftists, as the interpre- tation of Severina video has shown). Though – it is not a taboo for nationalists, for sure. A step further, uncovering titles of works by Let 3 – Kurcemucelo (Croatian: Hitting forehead with the dick) with the album entitled Bombardiranje Srbije Icacka (Croatian: Bombing of Serbia and Caak), but also Marina Abramovic’s Balkan Epics shows that both contexts are deeply ethnological and nationalistic, therefore – oriented to the right. So, from there it is not a problem if the video porn of Severina, with no title, was advocated and interpreted in terms of a nationalistic discourse. Finally, it is only the nation that profits from sex, the aim is the procreation of the nation, of course, within its own political boundaries.
While the sexual practice seems very unique, the visual culture is obviously splitting into two fields – but it is
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important to note the way in which this split occurs. In elite cultures sex, if it ever appears, seems to have different purpose or idea than it does in popular culture, where sex only generates sex. That would mean that if there were be any outside goal to the Severina video it would be art, but even kids writing graffiti on the school knew sex only leads to sex. While one can hardly find Abramovi ’s video online searching p2p portals or Emule++, Sev- erina’s video is very popular and highly rated on Porntube (a version of youtube). Also, Let 3’s musical video is available on Youtube. What obviously differentiates these three ‘cultures’ is the availability of video and its ends; the matter is essentially that art behaves as if copies are legitimate while it quests for originality. Art keeps a track of own copies, while popular culture does not – in the latter case, all copies are there to raise the price of the product or to broaden the commercial potential. But is this something different than we expected? It is only the real world appearing online.
WHAT IS TRANSGENDER? RICHARD EKINS & DAVE KING
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The newspaper headline, ‘What is a man? Parliament may have to decide’, appeared in the UK Manchester Guardian on 19 March 1954, amidst the massive press coverage of the story of Roberta (formerly Robert) Cowell. In 2004, the UK Parliament finally decided and passed the Gender Recognition Act which according to Lord Filkin, Minister at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, ‘allows transsexual people who have taken decisive steps to live fully and permanently in the acquired gender to gain legal recognition in that gender’ (Filkin, 1993). Even as the story of Roberta Cowell was breaking in England, Dr Harry Benjamin, with the help of American ‘sex change’ ex-GI Christine Jorgensen, was fashioning a story of the ‘transsexual’ that was to become the dominant medical story for the half century that followed. Jorgensen had travelled to Denmark to have her male genitalia removed by a medical team who, in 1951, told a story of relieving the distress of a troubled homosexual (Hamburger and Sprechler, 1951; Hertoft and Sørensen, 1979). In 1953, following the fusion of Jorgensen’s personal story with Benjamin’s developing medical story, the seeds were sown for the modern tale of the transsexual conceptualized as a problem of gender identity quite separate from that of sexual orientation. At around the same time in Los Angeles, a man named Arnold Lowman was giving a lot of thought to why he liked to dress in women’s clothes and was adopting the name of Virginia Prince. Prince’s story of the male heterosexual transvestite, as adopted in the Euro-American world, spawned a host of supportive and commercial ven-
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tures so that today male cross-dressers can find welcoming venues across the globe, on any night of the week (Lee, 2005). These fragments are illustrative of the two stories that became dominant in the realm of human experience that is today considered under the heading of ‘transgender’. More recently, however, a new story has emerged. It is a story that has emerged within a transgender community built upon the foundations provided by the stories of Harry Benjamin and Virginia Prince. It is a story of diversity, of ‘blending genders’, of ‘gender outlaws’: a ‘beyond the binary’ view of transgender. As US transgender activist Dallas Denny put it in 1996 (Denny, 1996: 4): ‘the ways of thinking given us by Harry Benjamin and Virginia Prince no longer provide a good “fit” for all of us . . . It’s no secret that we are in the midst of turmoil and change. A “beyond the binary” view of transgender is emerging.’ Implicit within all these stories are tales of the interrelations between personal transgender narratives and medical, legal, media, and transgender community stories; variously dominant, contested, and socially distributed in time and place. We prefer the gerund ‘transgendering’ to the noun and adjective ‘transgender’ because of its focus not on types of people, but on behaviour and social process. Transgendering, for us, refers to the idea of moving across (transferring) from one pre-existing gender category to another (either temporarily or permanently); to the idea of living in between genders; and to the idea of living ‘beyond gender’ altogether. It also refers to the social process within which competing transgendering stories and attendant identities and ideologies emerge, develop, and wax and wane in influence, in time and place. Tales of transgendering take many forms. This book sets
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forth a sociological framework within which it is possible to map the emergence of the maximum diversity of such tales and to consider the diverse interrelations between their origins, developments and consequences. In particular, it examines the emergence of diverse conceptualizations of transgender phenomena in terms of their relationship with the binary gender divide in contemporary EuroAmerican societies, with reference to problems of conceptualization, theorization, identity and social worlds.
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q The terminology of transgender is less than 40 years old. ‘Transgenderal’ seems to have been first used in print by Virginia Prince in a paper published in her magazine Transvestia, in December 1969 (Prince, 1969a). Although the term ‘transgenderal’ is arguably the original lexical compound of the ‘trans+ gend-’ type, Prince did not stick with the term. Nor did it catch on. Rather, by 1978, Prince is using the term ‘transgenderist’, in place of it. In a paper entitled ‘The “Transcendents” or “Trans” People’ presented to the Western Regional Meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, she describes ‘three classes of such trans-people, generally called “transvestites, transgenderists and transsexuals.”’ She adds, The second class is a group of which I am a member and about which most of you haven’t heard ... These are people who have adopted the exterior manifestations of the opposite sex but without any surgical interventions. Thus they are what may be rightly termed ‘male women’ (Prince 1978a: 86). However, very shortly afterwards, a quite different sense of ‘transgenderist’ began to emerge. Prince’s term presupposed a particular standpoint on the interrelations between sex (the body), sexuality (the erotic), and gender (social accompaniments of the division between the sexes). The alternative use of the term ‘transgenderist’ that emerged around the same time did not presuppose any such conceptual or theoretical sophistication. Rather, it acknowledged the existence of ‘transvestites’ and ‘trans-
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sexuals’ and used the term ‘transgenderist’ as an umbrella term to include both. The English agony aunt Clare Raynor interviewed on the radio one MTF ‘transsexual’, one FTM ‘transsexual’ and one male transvestite (a parttime cross-dresser) including them all under the term ‘transgenderist’. As the UK Radio Times (6 June, 1979: 5) put it: ‘It is estimated that about one person in 2,000 is a transgenderist; someone who feels an overwhelming need either to dress in the clothes of the opposite gender, or... to “change sex” completely.’ It is important to distinguish ‘trans’ as transformation; ‘trans’ as crossing; and ‘trans’ as going beyond or through (Kessler and McKenna, 2000). In the initial formulations of the concept of the ‘transgenderist’, it was the first two meanings that were privileged. This remained generally the case until as late as the early 1990s, whatever lexical compound was used. Stuart, for instance, used the term ‘transgender’ in 1983 (Stuart, 1983: 25). She argued that ‘gender conditions are quite different from sexual conditions or sexual preferences’, before going on to state that ‘The word transsexual is somewhat misleading, because the word sexual is incorporated into the term. Perhaps, the word “transgender” would have been a more suitable term.’ The use of ‘transgender’ as another term for ‘transsexual’ came to be favoured by some once the term transgender became more widespread, as in ‘I am transgender. And although I am still a man, as you can tell, I am in the process of becoming a woman. I am on the NHS waiting list to have the whole sex-change procedure’ (Daily Record, 3 April, 2004: 5). In the 1990s, however, the widespread use of ‘transgender’ in an overtly transgressive sense began to emerge. The ‘trans’, in this usage, refers to ‘going beyond’ or
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‘through’. In an early usage of ‘transgenderist’ in this sense of ‘going beyond’, the transgender activist Holly Boswell writes (1991: 31): ‘But the transgenderist, whether crossing over part-time or full-time – even while masking their genital incongruity – gives honest expression to a reality that defies cultural norms.’ As the 1990s progressed, this overtly transgressive sense of transgender came to be the preferred sense within much of the activist transgender community, particularly in the USA. Towards the end of 1985 when Richard had decided to establish a ‘TransGender Archive’ at the University of Ulster – the first university-based archive of its type – the term transgender was not widely used. Somewhat arcanely, perhaps, he decided to use ‘Trans-Gender’ (with a hyphen and a capital ‘G’). The use of the hyphen was in homage to ‘psycho-analysis’. ‘Psycho-analysis’ as opposed to ‘psychoanalysis’ represented, until very recently, commitments to purity, integrity and authenticity in some quarters. Indeed, the British Psycho-Analytical Society still retains the hyphen. Richard rejected ‘Transgenderal Archive’ as too cumbersome. He used the term in the umbrella sense to include the widest possible range of ‘transgender’ phenomena. Unlike the orthodoxy of the time, it was apparent to him that transgender was not a rather minority and unimportant matter (Ekins, 1987). It was important to include transgender phenomena that had avoided the medical gaze. He took the view that ‘transvestite’ and ‘transsexual’ are medicalized categories of knowledge. They were relatively late additions to what Foucault refers to as the ‘medicalization of the sexually peculiar’ that began in the mid to late nineteenth century. The 1980s saw the phenomena dubbed by the media as ‘gender bending’ or ‘gender blending’. The pop
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singer Boy George had featured as the front cover model of Cosmopolitan in full feminine make-up, jewellery, and hair styling in December 1984. His friend Marylyn had gained widespread publicity ‘dressed as a girl’. Glam Rock and androgyny had long been a feature of pop music and youth style. Although such phenomena had not been ‘medicalized’, it seemed evident to Ekins that they were clearly transgender phenomena. However, the term ‘Trans-Gender’ in Trans-Gender Archive was chosen not only to embrace the widest possible transgender phenomena. As a sociologist, Richard had been deeply impressed by Kessler and McKenna’s Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach (1978). Long before contemporary queer theory made the view fashionable, Kessler and McKenna had argued that aspects of sex, sexuality and gender ALL have socially constructed components. They argued that it is gender attribution in ‘everyday life’ that provided the bedrock upon which subsequent distinctions about sex, sexuality and gender are made. Re-visiting their earlier book Kessler and McKenna (2000) write: By the mid-1970s most people, in and out of academia, were beginning to accept that roles, appearances, and characteristics (what they called ‘gender’) were socially defined and culturally varied. However, biological features (what they called ‘sex’) were considered to be given in nature. We argued that the biological is as much a construction as the social is. Although hormones, chromosomes, gonads, and genitals, are real parts of the body, seeing them as dichotomous and essential to being female or male is a social construction. That is why we believed (and continue to believe) that in discussions of this
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topic it is critical to only use ‘gender’ and never use sex (in the conventional meanings). If anything is primary, it is not some biological sign, but what we call ‘gender attribution’ – the decision one makes in every concrete case that someone is either a male or a female. Virtually all of the time, gender attribution is made with no direct knowledge of the genitals or any other biological ‘sex marker’. Kessler and McKenna (1978) in developing their arguments drew heavily upon the category of the transsexual but were writing at a time before conceptualizations of ‘transgender’ became more sophisticated. Only in retrospect did it become possible to return to this text and see it as germinal in the formation of sociological foundations for a coherent discipline of transgender studies, and germinal to a fourth conceptualization of transgender – a sociological approach to transgender – a conceptualization to which we subscribe. We will return to this point later in the chapter. Aside from this fourth conceptualization, it is clear from the above discussion that there are, therefore, three rather different usages of the term ‘transgender’. Arguably, Virginia Prince was the first to use the term transgenderist to refer to those people like herself who, though male, elected to live full-time as women while retaining their male genitalia. In parallel with this development, ‘transgenderist’ came to be used as an umbrella term to include both ‘transvestites’ and ‘transsexuals’ (Radio Times, 2 June 1979, p. 5) and, later, a much wider spectrum of transgender people that are seen as making up the ‘transgender community’. Third, transgender came to be used in the overtly transgressive sense of ‘going beyond’ the binary divide (Boswell, 1991), and, in some uses,
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of ‘going beyond’ gender altogether. Many transgender activists in the transgender community adopted this usage as they developed their advocacy programmes during the 1990s and into the twenty-first century. Although Virginia Prince probably coined the term transgender, her use of the term did not catch on beyond those individuals who specifically identified with her position, and we will return to her ideas on the ‘transgenderist’ in Chapter 2. In the following two sections, we map what came to be the dominant uses of transgender, namely, transgender as an umbrella term (approach 2) and transgender as transgression (approach 3).
TRANSGENDER AS AN UMBRELLA TERM
It was during the 1980s that Prince’s use of the term became sidelined as the umbrella usage came to the fore. When Ekins established Archive News: The Bulletin of the Trans-Gender Archive in 1989, he subtitled it ‘A News and Information Bulletin for the International TransGender Community’. Ironically, it was largely because of the work of Virginia Prince that the possibility of a transgender community arose when it did. Despite the innovations of Virginia Prince concerning her own chosen lifestyle as a transgenderist, it was actually Prince’s work on behalf of transvestites (part-time cross-dressers) that had the much greater initial impact. It was she who popularized the abbreviations TS (transsexual) and TV (transvestite) and it was these categorizations that comprised the initial usage of transgenderist in its umbrella sense, as we have seen. It was this umbrella sense of ‘transgender’ (and sometimes ‘transgen-
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dered’) as an adjective, as in ‘the transgender (transgendered) community’ that became widespread in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As we shall see in Chapter 3, it is Prince who is to be credited for establishing what became a world wide network of ‘secret’ groups for TVs to facilitate their occasional cross-dressing in an atmosphere of security and protected identity. Prince sought to exclude transsexuals, homosexuals and fetishists and attempted to ensure that her groups included only heterosexual and predominantly married transvestites (occasional crossdressers). In point of fact, transsexuals (and others theoretically excluded) did join branches of Prince’s organization and those based upon them. But with the model set of the ‘secret’ society with a newsletter, a contact system and occasional meetings, the template had been laid for similar styled organizations specifically for other groupings and it was ‘transsexuals’ who first began to form their own groups separate from the Prince-based organizations. These began springing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They tended not to have the same emphasis on social events. There was much more emphasis upon the exchange of medical knowledge and details of referral networks. By the mid-1980s, there had emerged a network of separate groups for TVs and TSs, as were the favoured abbreviations at that time. These developments marked the beginnings of what came to be known as a transgender community, spanning, principally, the USA, the UK, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Many of these groups were small and short-lived. Others, however, prospered. They began to organize meetings outside the privacy of a member’s home – a monthly meeting at a local wine bar, for instance. The organiza-
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tion of ‘high days and holidays’ soon became a feature of many of the groups. The groups would organize an annual weekend event held at a hotel in a seaside resort. These might feature a special event, such as mock ‘weddings’ – providing the opportunity to dress as a bride. Fantasia Fair, a particularly ambitious venture, pioneered a weeklong event in the mid-1970s in Provincetown, Cape Cod, USA, where participants could crossdress for 24 hours a day for a full week. In 2004, Fantasia Fair claimed to be the longest-running continuous annual event in the transgender world: Started in 1975, ‘FanFair’ has grown every year in its scope, character, and assistance to the gender explorer. FanFair continues to be the leading annual programme promoting an individual’s ability to thrive in a real-life situation, and receive positive reinforcement and encouragement. This allows the cross dresser, MTF transsexual, FTM transsexual and all the gender diverse to experience life in an open and caring environment – something unique in a world that typically has difficulty understanding and accepting gender diversity. (http://fantasiafair.org/ home/index.html). Often the rooms or facilities used by gay and lesbian groups would be made available for TVs and TSs to hold separate regular meetings of their own. Drag balls had long provided a venue for TVs and TSs seeking to ‘come out’ in a congenial setting (Kirk and Heath, 1984). Usage of the umbrella sense of the term ‘transgender’ gained prominence within the ‘transgender community’ quite quickly. To take just one example, if we look through the US transgender subcultural newsletter Renaissance
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News, we can trace the inception and consolidation of the use of ‘transgendered’ and ‘transgender’. The August 1987 issue (Vol. 1, No. 1) refers to Renaissance as providing information about ‘transgendered behavior’ (p. 3). The December 1987 (Vol. 1, No 5) issue includes a reprint of an interview with Richard Ekins about the ‘Transgender Archive’ (pp. 4–5) throughout which the term is used extensively in the ‘transgender community’ sense. In the same issue, two articles are titled ‘Conference on Transgender Issues’ (p. 2), and ‘Transgender Economics 101’ (p. 3). ‘A Brief History of Renaissance’, in May 1990 (Vol. 4, No. 5) makes reference to the December 1988 ‘comprehensive anti-discrimination policy designed to keep Renaissance open to all transgendered people’ (p. 4). In this vein, individuals began to describe themselves as ‘transgendered’. Some people who had previously identified as ‘transsexuals’ preferred the term ‘transgendered’. Many ‘transvestites’ did likewise – although the term ‘cross-dresser’ for transvestite became especially favoured throughout the 1990s. Other ‘transsexuals’ took offence at being included within an umbrella classification and still do. In the main, however, the umbrella term developed in two rather different directions. In the first place, it was used as convenient shorthand for a targeted population, membership, or audience as in the North American publication: A Who’s Who in the Transgendered Community and International Resource Guide (Roberts, 1993). In the second place, use of the umbrella term could provide a focal point and rallying banner in the quest for antidiscrimination legislation and movements towards equal rights, more generally. Developments in this second direction were more controversial. Some selfidentified
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transsexuals, for instance, felt that their rights and interests were best pursued outside the umbrella usage. Significantly, the landmark 1993 publication A Who’s Who in the Transgendered Community and International Resource Guide (Roberts, 1993) had in 1994 become A Who’s Who & Resource Guide to the International Transgender Community (Roberts, 1994) (our emphasis). The 1994 publication included a 20-page listing of ‘Support Groups In The Transgendered Community’, four pages of ‘Care Providers to the Transgendered Community’, and 19 pages of ‘Businesses in the Transgendered Community’. The publication was primarily concerned with the transgender community in the USA but entries did include those from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Switzerland and the UK. Preceding these developments, there had occasionally been short-lived groups for transgendered people, including groups with more radical agendas. In retrospect, these radical groupings which included TAO (Transsexual Action Organisation), for instance, might be seen as prototypes for the explosion of such groupings in the 1990s. At least for part of their development, the philosophy and ideology of these groups were infused with various mixtures of Marxist and feminist politics. More closeted were the groupings of the sexually active whose activities continued, in the main, outside of the mainstream groups. Small networks, for instance, of fetishistic transvestites would meet and exchange enthusiasms and sexual favours. The more sexually adventurous might meet partners, other TVs/TSs or those who fancied them through the contact columns of such contact magazines as the UKbased Relate and Accord that were widely
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available in the 1980s (Ekins, 1997). By around 1995, the new terminology of ‘transgender’, which had been pioneered by transgender activists and others, was beginning to be adopted by the medical profession. This was noticeable, for instance, at the 1995 meeting of the Harry Benjamin Gender Dysphoria Association (HBIGDA) in Kloster Irsee, Germany. Around this time, trans people themselves were increasingly making their presence felt at meetings organized by professionals principally for each other. At the 1997 meeting of HBIGDA in Vancouver, Canada, trans activists demonstrated against the exclusion of trans people from the Association. They were seen to be excluded both on the grounds of lack of academic and professional qualifications and because of their inability to pay the considerable conference fees and additional expenses of such events. It was a significant marker of the interrelations between professional (scientific) and ‘client’ (member) conceptualizations of transgender ‘knowledge’ when Friedemann Pfäfflin who was President of HBIGDA in 1997 teamed up with Eli Coleman to found The International Journal of Transgenderism (IJT). They adopted the term ‘transgenderism’ in the title of their fledgling journal to reflect its standpoint ‘as more neutral on etiology’, to encompass ‘the vast complexity of gender manifestations and identities’, and ‘to stimulate new ways of thinking and understanding various aspects of transgenderism’ (Pfäfflin and Coleman, 1997). Since its inception, The International Journal of Transgenderism has remained the only scholarly refereed journal exclusively concerned with ‘transgenderism’. There had been one previous attempt (in the UK) to establish such a journal, which had adopted the more medicalized title: The Journal of Gender Dysphoria. The jour-
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nal had foundered after two issues, one dated 1991 and the other dated 1991/1992. The IJT, on the other hand, which was established as an open access electronic internet journal by the German publishers Symposion Press, achieved a hit rate of some 30,000 per month, before eventually being taken over by Haworth Press, New York, in 2004. Fittingly, the opening paper in the first Symposion publication in 1997 was entitled ‘Blending Genders: Contributions Towards the Emerging Field of Transgender Studies’ (Ekins and King, 1997). Also, by the mid-1990s, it was increasingly evident that a new theorization of transgender was becoming dominant within the activist transgender community. The transgender umbrella was now being deliberately construed with an openness to maximum transgender diversity and this increasingly came to be linked to an overtly transgressive conceptualization of transgender.
TRANSGENDER AS TRANSGRESSION
Virginia Prince’s approach to the term ‘transgender’ entails special pleading for a specific and limited ‘transgenderist’ position and one that takes a fixed stand on the interrelations between sex, sexuality and gender: gender is separate from sex and sexuality is underplayed. The transgender as umbrella term, on the other hand, adopts an encompassing approach in the interests of unity and community amongst a wide range of transgender people. Minorities should work together and not add to discrimination and ill will by what Freud referred to as the ‘narcissism of minor differences’ (Freud, 1918: 199; 1930: 114– 15). Both of these approaches, in their different ways, have
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fostered the development of the term ‘transgender’ and contributed to the term’s theoretical and practical impact. However, with the third approach (transgender as transgression), ‘transgender’ is approached with a new political sophistication and a radical agenda. Under the new formulation, approach 1, whatever its radical potential, is seen to be too firmly rooted in an acceptance of the binary gender divide, and, in particular, often a very stereotypical and dated view of that divide. Approach 2 is thought to be too firmly rooted in an identity politics that in late-modern/postmodern political activism has fallen into disrepute. A major impetus to approach 3 was Sandy Stone’s (1991) article ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ in which she conceptualized transsexuals as ‘outside the boundaries of gender’. Even as the new ‘International Transgender Community’ had arrived, there were misgivings about it. It was noticeable that for all its talk of transgender, it looked remarkably like the old TV and TS. It was also predominantly MTF. During the 1990s, the voice of the FTM transgendered person was increasingly in evidence. Many of the prominent early FTM activists of the 1980s had been conservative (with a small ‘c’) in their politics (Rees, 1996). However, most of the activist FTMs of the 1990s were politically radical. They were often steeped in feminist theory which they brought to bear on their transgender activism. Whereas with previous conceptualizations of transgender the political had tended to take the form of working for equal rights, now transgender rights were linked to a critique of the binary gender divide, itself. Holly Boswell’s work was notable here. Although, recognizing that in the interests of personal safety, trans people had to make
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efforts to ‘pass’, she questioned why this had to be so (Boswell, 1991). Moreover, with their openness to feminist and socialist theory, trans men began to link transgender to revolutionary socialism (Feinberg, 1992; 1996); to radical lesbianism (Nataf, 1996); and to the beginnings of a hitherto neglected transgender approach to class, race and masculinity (Volcano and Halberstam, 1999). Of most significance, theoretically, in this third approach, however, was its links with developments in literary and cultural theory – postmodern and queer theory, in particular. Especially significant was Judith Butler’s work on gender as performativity (Butler, 1990a). This alliance between literary theory, postmodernism and transgender politics exploded in the mid-to-late 1990s. In 1992, Marjorie Garber had set the trend by arguing that bipolar categories of gender create a ‘category crisis’. She advocated a third category, a way of describing a space of possibilities (Garber, 1992). As Bullough et al. (1997a: 18) put it: They [bipolar categories] lead to a failure of definitional distinction and result in a border that becomes permeable and permits crossing. Border crossing itself threatens established class, race, and gender norms, and cross-dressing, she holds, is a disruptive element in our society that involves not just a category crisis of male and female, but also the crisis of the category itself. In the space of a few short years, pioneering books by Leslie Feinberg (1992; 1996; 1998), Kate Bornstein (1994; 1998) and Riki Anne Wilchins (1997) established what was effectively a new paradigm for the conceptualization and study of transgender phenomena. While these writ-
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ings were rooted in very different theoretical foundations – Feinberg in Marxism, Bornstein and Wilchins in postmodernism – they all presented a view of the transgendered person as a ‘gender outlaw’, above and beyond the bipolar system of gender which they were concerned to transcend. Leslie Feinberg’s pamphlet Transgender Liberation: A Movement Whose Time Has Come, first published in 1992, had a major impact in establishing the term ‘transgender’ as the term of choice for ‘gender outlaws’. However, by 1996, Feinberg (1996: xi) was noting: ‘As I write this book, the word trans is being used increasingly by the gender community as a term uniting the entire coalition.’ Many within the transgender community had found the term ‘transgender’ a troubling one, but the term becomes particularly problematic for many of those who see themselves as transcending gender. If the argument is for a position ‘outside’ or ‘beyond’ gender, why use the term ‘transgender’ at all? For many working within this tradition the term ‘trans’ or ‘transperson’ becomes the preferred term. Interestingly, it was, again, Virginia Prince who probably first featured the use of the term as part of a developed argument about transgender. She had referred to ‘The “Transcendents” or “Trans” People’ in her talk of June 1978, published in Transvestia (Prince, 1978a). However, for Prince, herself, as we have seen, the privileging of gender was crucial. It was, therefore, important for her to stay with the term transgender. Those transgender activists with different agendas and different theoretical positions, however, had other concerns. In 1993/4, when UK transgender activist Stephen Whittle, along with Jason Cromwell, an activist from Seattle, and Susan Stryker, a San-Franciscan-based activist, set up a ‘transgender’ email list for academics studying
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transgender – many of whom were transgendered themselves – he used the term ‘trans-academics’. In the 1994 San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s ‘Report on Discrimination Against Transgendered People’, ‘a cornerstone document of the contemporary political movement for trans civil rights in the US’ – activist Jamison Green used the term ‘transperson’ in his introductory essay (Zander, 2003: 63). By early 1997, the leading UK transgender pressure group Press for Change was using the terms trans man and trans woman. Whittle (personal communication, 2004) describes the entry of the term ‘trans’ (and the dropping of the term ‘gender’) into trans politics thus: What actually happened was that at some point in a parliamentary forum meeting, around that time, we were using the term transgender and transsexual. Lynne Jones, MP, asked for a generic term – as writing the minutes was difficult and confusing. Transgender was used as an umbrella term, but also meant something different. Kate and I joked across the table that we could always use ‘trannies’ and we laughed a little about radios, and then Kate More suggested trans. And I think it was Christine Burns who suggested trans people, as we wouldn’t call deaf people ‘deafs’ and so that was how it came to be used in the UK. Once again, we can see how usages of the terms straddle the traditions. This account points, perhaps, to another variant of the umbrella usage. Yet, in other forums Kate More and Stephen Whittle were (and are) very much aligned with postmodernist positions on transgender. Our impression is that the omission of the ‘gender’ in
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transgender – the wholehearted embracing of the terminology of ‘trans’ and transpeople – became a feature of the discourse of approach 3 as it combined a maximally inclusive approach to transgender phenomena with radical politics of various sorts. This was especially evident at the Oxford Congress at the Third International Congress on Sex and Gender held at Oxford University in 1998, organized by Whittle. A number of the conference papers were included in a co-edited book by Felicity Haynes and Tarquam McKenna (2001) which they called Unseen Genders: Beyond the Binaries, In her introduction to the book Haynes writes: There were people whose performativities were neither male nor female, or were, if you like, both male and female – gay people, lesbians, bisexuals, and transvestites. The categories of transsexual, intersex, or homosexual that labeled them were not exclusive, but fluid and complex ... Nearly all of these people saw themselves as queer, disenfranchised, or pathologized in some way by the prevailing male/female binary. They literally incorporated Judith Butler’s (1993) point that what we think of as ‘sex’ is in fact embodied gender; the corporeal incarnation of a discursively constituted (performative) gender. (2001: 2) To many of these people, therefore, there was no particular merit in retaining the ‘gender’ in transgender. They had ‘gone beyond’ even the use of the term. One informant at the conference, for instance, Del LaGrace Volcano, who we shall meet again in Chapter 5, identified then as primarily ‘pansexual’. At that time, he considered himself a biological female with masculinized sexual character-
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istics both before and after taking testosterone. He identified with the male pronoun, but not with the category male or man. He described himself as a ‘trans person into all forms of sexuality except “straight” sex’. Another informant, Christie Elan-Cane identified as ‘ungendered’. Christie, who we shall meet again in Chapter 4, used the pronoun ‘per’ (derived from person). Per was a biological female who had undergone surgery to remove per breasts and per womb.
BEGINNINGS REVISITED: KESSLER AND MCKENNA, FOUCAULT AND OUR SOCIOLOGICAL APPROACH TO TRANSGENDER STUDIES
The three approaches to the term ‘transgender’ that we have considered have been pioneered and developed, in the main, by transgendered people, themselves. Virginia Prince’s was a competing ‘member’ story developed largely in opposition to the two major medical stories available to her: the medicalized ‘transsexual’ story (Harry Benjamin) and the medicalized ‘transvestite’ story (Magnus Hirschfeld). The second approach pioneered the flourishing of support groups, greater acceptance for transgendered people, and, to a degree, more equal rights. The third approach was part of a movement to redefine the binary gender divide itself and to radicalize transgender activism. Time will tell how successful it will be. All three approaches, however, have rather different aims and objectives. Indeed, each of the three approaches has tended to develop in opposition to each other, and often with the view that their view is the ‘correct’ view. We, however, as academics and as non-trans identified
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people have a different approach, yet again. In retrospect, we can trace the origins of what would emerge as a social constructionist approach to the term transgender and to transgender studies to the paradigm shift that was taking place in the social sciences in the late 1960s. The starting point of this approach may be traced to Harold Garfinkel’s paper ‘Passing and the Managed Achievement of Sex Status in an Intersex Person, Part 1’ in 1967. Garfinkel (1967) was principally concerned with what he called ‘sex status’. He did not use the term ‘gender’ or ‘transgender’. Yet, in our terms, he was concerned to study how we ‘do gender’; how gender is accomplished (see also Kessler and McKenna, 1978; West and Zimmerman, 1987). To this end, Garfinkel studied Agnes who was seeking sex-reassignment. In particular, he studied her interactions with her medical team, which included the celebrated Robert Stoller. Later, Agnes admitted to Stoller that she had been taking estrogens since she was 12 (Garfinkel, 1967: 287), but her very feminine appearance – taken with her denial of ingesting hormones – led to her medical team being fooled that she was intersex. She was diagnosed as suffering from ‘a unique type of a most rare disorder: testicular feminization syndrome’ (ibid.: 285). Garfinkel noted that what for most people is not problematic – passing as a man or woman on all occasions – was for Agnes. He studied Agnes’s ‘doing gender’ – how she accomplished her femininity in various contexts. Later, in 1978, Kessler and McKenna built upon Garfinkel’s work, and spelled out very clearly how sex (the body), gender and sexuality all have socially constructed components, and privileged gender over sex and sexuality. This is because we are assigned as one sex or the other at birth, usually on the basis of a cursory look at our genitals. Gen-
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der attribution is the cornerstone of the arrangement between the sexes, they argue. The binary divide is, itself, a social construction. We find this view persuasive. Once accepted, all particular viewpoints on the categorizations of sex, sexuality and gender (and their interrelations) become alternative – often competing – social constructions. In particular, all are seen as emergents within an ongoing shifting and changing process of social construction. There is no underlying ‘truth’ about sex, sexuality or gender, that ‘scientists’ and other sex, sexuality and gender ‘experts’ are seeking to unveil. Bornstein (1994) drew upon the work of Garfinkel (1967) and Kessler and McKenna (1978) to support her conceptualizations of transgender theory and practice. However, as a performance artist and gender activist, she has been concerned to use such writings as prefatory to expounding her own particular formulation of gender as performance. Wilchins (1997; 2002a; 2002b) draws on the postmodern writings of Michel Foucault and Judith Butler to argue for a position opposed to gender oppression in all its manifestations. The writings of both Bornstein and Wilchins do not purport to be social science. Indeed, transactivist Wilchins (1997) is particularly hostile to a social science model of transgender studies which she argues ‘tribifies’. The term is David Valentine’s and refers to the ‘propensity of social scientists to naturalize their own gender and genitals while treating mine as if they were the product of some quaint practice by an “exotic” or foreign tribe’ (Wilchins, 1997: 26). Garfinkel and Kessler and McKenna, on the other hand, are social scientists. In particular, they are social scientists for whom the categorizations of sex, sexuality and gender
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become a ‘topic’ of study as opposed to a ‘resource’ upon which to pursue positivistic knowledge-building claims (Zimmerman and Pollner, 1971: 81). There is still a tendency for sexologists and social scientists committed to positivist philosophies of science to dismiss interpretive qualitative social science as non-scientific. From this standpoint, interpretive sociologies and social psychologies of the type pursued by Garfinkel and Kessler and McKenna might be seen as contributions to theory, to cultural studies or to preliminary enquiry in a research area, but not, in themselves, worthy of the name ‘science’. It is important to stress, therefore, that the interpretive tradition in sociology argues that it is a scientific advance on positivist approaches. As Zimmerman and Pollner put it with reference to the then contemporary sociology: Sociological enquiry is addressed to phenomena recognized and described in common-sense ways (by reliance on the unanalysed properties of natural language), while at the same time such common-sense recognitions and descriptions are pressed into service as fundamentally unquestioned resources for analyzing the phenomena that are made available for study. Thus contemporary sociology is characterized by a confounding of topic and resource ... Below we suggest how an analysis may proceed, respecting the distinction between the social world as topic of, and resource for, inquiry. (1971: 81) A striking anecdote makes the point quite forcibly. Towards the end of the 1960s, a number of members of the University of London, Goldsmiths College Sociology De-
What is Transgender? · 193
partment had been impressed by the work of Harold Garfinkel and Aaron Cicourel and had (reputedly) travelled to California to study ethnomethodology. The story circulated that the Goldsmiths’ sociologists had gone to California as positivist sociologists – committed to a view of the philosophy of science which entailed the slow incremental building up of knowledge about the social world – and returned home having to jettison all their previous work. They now saw ‘positivist’ science as pseudo-science insofar as its foundations were rooted in the unproblematized ‘taken-forgranted’ meaning frames of everyday life. They returned to the UK to put forward their ‘new’ sociology in the widely read and influential text of the 1970s – New Directions in Sociological Theory (Filmer et al., 1971).3 As Filmer (ibid.: 216) summarizes: ‘The task of professional sociologists in terms of ethnomethodology thus becomes a matter of not taking for granted what is typically taken-for-granted at the level of everyday actions.’ Many of the contributors to this New Directions volume then went on to develop their careers, presenting empirical research programmes which put into effect their commitment to the ‘new’ view of social science. Garfinkel (1967) acknowledged debts to a number of previous thinkers. From our point of view, however, his primary debt was to the social phenomenologist Alfred Schutz. Schutz argued that the ‘provinces of meaning’ of science emerged within the ‘province of meaning’ of everyday life, a world ‘taken for granted’ and returned to it (Schutz, 1953). Anthony Giddens draws on Schutz in his conceptualization of the ‘double hermeneutic’ (Giddens, 1976). The ‘double hermeneutic’ arises in social science because social science is concerned with pre-interpreted worlds, in which meaning frames are integral to their
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subject matter, i.e., the inter-subjectivity of practical social life. Thus the theories and provinces of meaning of social science (one hermeneutic) have to be linked with the pre-constituted world of its subject matter (another hermeneutic). We would add the point that when social scientists study ‘science’, the double hermeneutic becomes a triple hermeneutic. Their work emerges within the interrelations between the meaning frames of social science, the meaning frames of science and the meaning frames of everyday life. If we combine these various insights of Garfinkel, Schutz and Giddens, we reach a position where it becomes evident that much of the ‘science’ of sex, sexuality and gender is rooted in what ethnomethodologists call the ‘natural attitude’: most fundamentally and pervasively, the binary gender divide viewed unproblematically. Thus, when scientists became confronted with ‘exceptions’ that don’t ‘fit’ the binary, they typically seek to ‘explain’ the exceptional rather than problematize the ‘natural attitude’. Taking the insights of ethnomethodology seriously, it is no longer possible to argue that sex is nature and gender is socio-cultural. Both become seen as socio-cultural. The binary itself is a social construction. And if this is the case, the political and ethical nature of science in matters of sex, sexuality and gender becomes more apparent. ‘Science’ has consequences and the way is open for transgendered people categorized by ‘science’, to argue for alternative conceptualizations in the name of science, as well as in the name of ethics and politics. It is at this point that the possibility of a fourth distinct usage of transgender appears that gives rise to our view of ‘transgender studies’ as an academic discipline. It becomes the task of a scientific ‘transgender studies’ to map
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the various constructions of transgender phenomena in terms of their origins, developments, interrelations and consequences. It also becomes necessary to be particularly sensitive to two of the major alternative uses of the term ‘gender’ in transgender. In the first place there is the usage (we might say, gender with a small ‘g’) that refers to ‘the culturally established correlates of sex’ (Goffman, 1979: 1). Here, we are referring to such social and cultural accompaniments as dress, posture, gesture and speech style. In the second place, there is the usage (we might say, Gender with a capital ‘G’) that privileges Gender over sex (the body) and sexuality (genital feelings and responses and bodily pleasures and desires more generally), in the light of the social construction of sex, sexuality, and gender. However, we do not adopt Kessler and McKenna’s proposal always to use the term ‘gender’ in place of ‘sex’ because we think that to do so is likely to lead to an insensitivity to researching the complex interrelations between sex, sexuality and gender. In the past, we have experimented with a written style that uses both ‘Gender’ and ‘gender’ (and transGender and transgender) depending on the meaning of the term being used. However, we have found this approach cumbersome and irritating to the reader. We prefer to sensitize the reader to the issue and suggest that the meaning will usually be evident from the context. In any event, we should be wary of overvaluing this twofold distinction because to do so is to run the risk both of essentializing meanings and to ride roughshod over other major uses of the term gender. Thus, to give just one important example, the use of the term ‘gender identity’ has become widespread, since its construction in the early 1960s. In Stoller’s (1964) original use of
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the term ‘gender identity’, ‘gender’ is being used neither in the capital ‘G’, nor the small ‘g’ sense that we have outlined. Rather, it refers to an identity that is seen to emerge from a particular set of interrelations between sex, sexuality and gender (with a small ‘g’).4 The psychoanalytical literature, in particular, with its focus on unconscious mental processes, has never argued for the simplistic separation of sex, sexuality and gender (Breen, 1993) that was a feature of so much of the early work in women’s studies and the sociology of gender (Oakley, 1972). We would situate our previous work within this scientific approach to transgender. Indeed, the Trans-Gender Archive, formally established in January 1986, was named and organized to reflect this view of the domain of transgender studies. A decade later, in 1996, we laid first claim for the emerging field of ‘transgender studies’ with Blending Genders. We had in mind that the book laid down parameters for what transgender studies might look like once the emphasis was made on problematizing previous conceptualizations and categories of ‘transgender’ knowledge, from the standpoint of the social construction of knowledge. Later, in Male Femaling, for instance, Richard Ekins (1997) argued that the ‘reality’ of transgendering is constituted within the interrelations between the various ‘scientific’, ‘member’ and ‘lay’ ‘knowledges’. In this book, however, we reframe our earlier work in terms of the ‘narrative turn’ in contemporary social science and cultural studies. In particular, drawing upon Plummer’s work on sexual stories (1995), we consider the various conceptualizations and theorizations of transgender phenomena in terms of the various stories, or tales, that are told of transgendering.
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Plummer situates his work as being a contemporary symbolic interactionist story. We do likewise. In particular, we situate our view of transgender studies within empirical social ‘science’, as opposed to a humanist cultural studies, cultural theory and/or political activism. We situate our theory, methodology and research techniques within the social interactionist (constructionist) view of science put forward by George Herbert Mead (1932; 1934; 1938) and Herbert Blumer (1969), a tradition which has been restated in more contemporary terms by Anselm Strauss (1993) and Robert Prus (1997).
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O ÓDIO E OS SEUS SENTIDOS in O Ódio Necessário por Nicole Jeammet Tradução Maria Teresa Antunes Cardoso 1.ª edição, Lisboa, 1991 Presses Universitaires de France, 1989 Editorial Estampa, Lda., Lisboa, 1990
A NEGAÇÃO DA REALIDADE EM NOME DA REALIDADE in A Loucura da Normalidade - O Realismo como Doença: Uma Teoria Fundamental da Destrutividade Humana por Arno Gruen Tradução Lumir Nhodil Cardoso Edição 385, Lisboa, 1995 Assírio & Alvim
CHAOS: THE BROADSHEETS OF ONTOLOGICAL ANARCHISM in Temporary Autonomous Zones por Hakim Bey Agosto, 1991 Autonomedia
Referências · 203
THE DOORS OF PERCEPTION in The Doors of Perception and Heaven and Hell por Aldous Huxley Julho, 2009 Harper Perennial Modern Classics
CHAUVINIST AND ELITIST OBSTACLES AROUND YOUTUBE AND PORNTUBE: A CASE STUDY OF HOME-MADE PORN DEFENDED AS ‘VIDEO ART’ in Video Vortex Reader: Responsesto YouTube por Ana Peraica Edição Geert Lovink & Sabine Niederer Amesterdão, 2008 Institute of Network Cultures
WHAT IS TRANSGENDER? in The Transgender Phenomenon por Richard Ekins & Dave King London, 2006 Sage Publications
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