The rantings of a beautiful mind

On life, society, and computer technology.

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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I live in the Fortress of Solitude. I drive the Silver Beast. My obsession is justice. I used to be a Windows software developer. I retired in 2000 when my stock options helped me achieve financial security.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Eros and Freud

Freud was interested in reduction, in breaking everything down. He lived in an era in rebellion against 1,700 years of church domination, which had crippled science, freedom, and beauty. As a result, like most of the intelligentsia of his age, he automatically rejected spirit as a serious force. So Freud reduced everything in the world to sex.

The mystical project, however, is not about reduction; it seeks rather to raise up all the scattered sparks of light and return them to their source. To the Kabbalist all the processes in the world, including sex, are erotic at their core. For the Kabbalists sex points to the erotic.

This points to an even deeper distinction between Freud and the Kabbalist. For Freud, sex was a human release valve that allowed for the release of tension and therefore assured more effective functioning. For the Kabbalist effective spiritual living was not facilitated by releasing tension but by holding eros. A perfect world for Freud would be one in which everything was desexualized; then sex itself could perform its natural biological function of being a release valve without creating neuroses and complexes. For the Kabbalist the ideal world would be one in which the sexual modeling of the erotic was made conscious, with the resultant eroticizing of all reality.

Freud said after reading Dostoyevsky, "Here, psychoanalysis must lay down its arms," so overwhelmed was he by the sublime and erotic power of what he had read. And yet Freud, unable to resist, soon returns to Dostoyevsky, trying to locate the power of his presence somewhere in the recesses of his relation to his father.

Freud missed the point. The notion of a core spiritual erotic energy coursing through life was simply too much for his materialist mind to absorb. Life is not sublimated sex. It is eros itself. Freud's theories remain a great symbol of the Shechina's exile.

Similarly Kinsey, the great sex researcher who in documenting the sexual habits of Americans took much sexuality out of the closet, nevertheless radically split sex from eros. Admittedly, he did so with much less sophistication than Freud. For him, sex was a more simple and happy affair not much different from the mating of animals he had been taught to observe in his zoological training. Yet while for Kinsey sex remains a bland, zoological function, and for Freud a more dark and deterministic force, for both of them the sexual remains uninspired and unerotic. Both Kinsey's and Freud's views ignore the soul of sex. To split sex from Eros so dramatically is to exile the Shechina. Both of these thinkers are seminal expressions of our society's disenchantment.

- The Mystery of Love

Note: Shechina is the Hebrew Goddess of Eros.


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