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of a picture or of a sculpture, this means that what is represented by it is not alive for them. They see it intellectually or aesthetically, but are not touched by it. So we can say that Lucius here sees what is going to happen and what a tremendous problem he is breaking into, but it is not yet alive for him. He just thinks it is a very elegant representation. That is typical for the man who has a mother complex, which above all things cuts a man off from immediate touch with reality. One could also describe the circumstances with an ugly analogy: such men walk about in a transparent plastic sack and only look out of it. There is no immediate friction with reality, no real touch with life, and that is the secret witchcraft power with which the mother complex affects a man. He is always somewhere cut off. Aestheticism and intellectualism are two well-known ways of having this plastic insulating layer between oneself and reality, preventing immediate experience and, through that, immediate suffering and becoming conscious. If, as an analyst, you have to cut this bag open and take him out of that artificial uterus, he generally wails in despair, because then begins his meeting with hot and cold reality, and all sorts of other sufferings from which he has hitherto been nicely protected. Lucius is still only looking at things without getting the immediate impact of what is happening. He also does not, for instance, ask himself why he stumbles in his mother’s sister’s house on such a representation of a man whose interest in the great mother goddess gets him torn to pieces. He thinks of it as a beautiful piece of art which he describes in a literary manner. Aunt Byrrhena is obviously a counterpole to Pamphile and Milo, a real lady. She warns him immediately that he should not live in Milo’s rather dubious house, but should stay with her. But she, too, is a mother figure. She, too, wishes to grab and imprison him in her house; so it is one aspect of the mother complex against the other. Byrrhena is respectable, educated, correct, so she is seemingly a positive mother, but with the negative implication that she would prevent Lucius from getting into mischief, and through that also into life. If Lucius had left Pamphile and had stayed with Byrrhena, the whole novel would not have happened! Hence the advice of Byrrhena is not right, though she looks like the wise woman who warns him not to fall into the trap. Thank God, she did not win out. It is also typical that she had only a stone bas-relief in her house, which means that though she has the right wisdom, it is not alive. So Lucius is really between the devil and the deep blue sea: bourgeois wisdom recommends him not to step into all sorts of dubious dirty affairs, but then he would never come out of the plastic sack, would be

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

Marie Louise Von Franz - The Golden Ass of Alpulius  

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