Thursday, February 21, 2008

Words are analogous to the collapse of the wave arrest thought at a more primitive -- maternal, or "pre-oedipal" -- level

Obama Mama vs. Big Daddy 'Cain from One Cosmos by Gagdad Bob
It should come as no surprise that Democrat voters prefer a feminine man to a masculine woman, although both are infinitely preferable to a manly man. It is odd that one of our two major parties has no room for one of the three modes of humanness, manliness (as opposed to mannishness), but it's true. It looks like the coming campaign, underneath it all, will be a contest between male and female energy (as well as child vs. adult)...

Now, language itself has a male and female aspect. On the one hand, words say what they mean and mean what they say. On the other hand, part of the magic of language derives from never fully saying what it means, in order to leave a space for unconscious engagement. Because it draws from unconscious (and supraconscious) sources, words have an infinite plasticity which can be used or abused, depending upon the case.

Creativity is not usually a result of logic, but of the unconscious mind's spontaneous ability to form all kinds of unpredictable connections, just as in a dream. It is a merger of Male and Female in their most abstract essences. Especially in Jungian psychology, the unconscious has always been conceptualized as feminine, the conscious as masculine. Neither alone has unfettered access to truth, but psychological health and happiness depend upon a harmonious dialectic between them -- a marriage of opposites, as it were.

Likewise, we all know that in a highly charged emotional situation, it is possible to argue falsely by recourse to common-sense logic. Just as emotion can be used to distort logical truth, logic can be used to distort emotional (not to mention spiritual) truth. You see this all the time in male-female relations, in which, say, a woman will make an emotionally charged comment, to which the man responds with mere logic, and they're off to the races. The astute man will discern the deeper content of the emotional communication -- the emotional truth that the woman is trying to convey, usually about their relationship -- and not respond to it in a literal manner. It's like two very different forms of communication, and each must learn the other's language.

Freud famously asked, "what does woman want?" I suppose we could ask, "what do Obama's followers really want?"

With the Obama phenomena, we are obviously witnessing "the power of language," but not at all in its semantic or denotative -- let us say, male -- aspect. Obama does not use language to draw sharp distinctions or to foster thought (which amounts to the same thing), but in order to arrest thought at a more primitive -- I would say, maternal, or "pre-oedipal" -- level. If you actually stop to analyze the (explicit) meaning of his words, you interfere with their real (implicit) meaning, which is to prevent the emergence of explicit meaning. The point is to be shielded from unwanted meaning under a warm maternal blanket of undifferentiated change.

Now normally, change is associated with anxiety and apprehension, so how does Obama encircle that square and remove its sharp corners? By promising that this change will not be in the direction of growth, maturity, or independence, but in the opposite direction: a regression toward the maternal realm of entitlement vs. merit, rights vs. expectations, pleasure principle vs. reality principle, Mother vs. Father, Yes vs. No.

Words are analogous to the collapse of the wave function in quantum physics, in that they reduce the infinite potential of consciousness to particularized meaning. If you are something, you can no longer be anything and everything. So the mantra "Yes we can" is an exercise in pure infantile omnipotence.

In this regard, the campaign is a closed circle of unconscious-to-unconscious communication, a mother-infant dyad from which father is excluded. The campaign is not about anything but itself. Yes we can. But how? No, you can't ask that. The whole point is to remain in the realm of the oceanic can, not to come ashore to the dry land of do. So we could also say that the campaign will come down to a lot of cant about Can vs. Can-do.

Because behind all the can, someone still has to actually do. Government doesn't actually produce anything. Free healthcare is not free. Someone else just pays for it... 8:14 AM

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