Let’s Talk About Sex … and the Levees

…so as to drive up my hit count while I am on strike. We are going to talk about sex but it is also Juneteenth, in celebration of which I am Twittering about one of my ancestral homes. As one of the anthropologists studying it says, “It wasn’t a romantic, nice place to live. . . . It was a business.” All o’ y’all keep that in mind before booking a “romantic weekend” in one of the old Great Houses, y’heah?

Before proceeding I note that I had posted this important video from Levees.org with damning information on the USA Corps of Engineers, and the entire post disappeared through no action of mine. Comments on this post were magically reassigned to other posts, where they are amusing non sequiturs. So everyone follow that link and watch that video!

The page just linked has supplemental information, so click it even if you have already seen the video! Comment on the video, so as to drive up its YouTube rating! And click through to my blog supporters, so that one of them will realize they should pay my striking self the $600 they have owed me for almost two months now!

And now, speaking of romantic weekends and my upcoming voyage in search of a Mississippi plantation, let’s talk about sex.

Upon discovering that I have had my extra room rented out to a transgendered person for part of this semester, a straight male colleague just spoke to me passionately in favor of gay marriage and state funded transgender surgery. He felt a sudden need to teach and model compassion. Then he said, as he has said before: “I want a new car. I know it is frivolous, but I have never broken in a new car. I have broken in women before, but never a car, and I want to know what it is like.”

I on the other hand imagine a world in which I would not have to be polite to other professors discussing “breaking in women” or comparing us to cars.

I noted another conversation this week, between two other men, a Democrat and a Republican.

Democrat: This rape by a family values exponent is really hypocritical.

Republican: Well, Clinton slept with Lewinsky.

Democrat: Well, he wasn’t hawking family values, and that is my point here.

[Me, thinking]: And you are comparing an extramarital affair and a rape …which omission reveals quite a lot about what you actually think of women…

I have always been told that women would not even need to struggle for further rights if we could just learn to be very, very good. Yet [p]ower concedes nothing without demand. It never did and it never will. It is hard to know how to proceed some days.

Axé.

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24 Comments

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24 responses to “Let’s Talk About Sex … and the Levees

  1. power has this notion of an ideal system that functions like a well oiled machine. When it doesn’t seem to function that way — when something seems to go wrong in terms of its functioning to the point that innocent people are getting injured — power says, “what did you do wrong, in terms of your thinking, your acting, your behaviour, in order to cause this calamity of things going wrong! Shame upon you!”

    Check out my poetry on my blog.

  2. Hi! I read your poems via FB! Good!

    Power, yes, it does that, I’m intimately familiar with that move and I am against it!

  3. I think that power can only do that because of the way that superego conventionally functions in order to make us question ourselves rather than the powerful authorities that would tell us what to do.

    Perhaps this, then, is another way of articulating the “magical properties” that adhere to shamanism — in that “shapeshifting” is a way of avoiding this conventional move of power, which it must almost feel to be fail-safe in most cases.

    But the fluidity — the ability to change oneself into something else that is unpredictable from the point of view of the authorities — is really the magical-seeming ability to be able to slip the authority’s noose.

  4. Z

    Yes, this is KEY and I am going to print out that comment and put it on the back of my office door to protect me. Memorize it, study it, internalize it, put it in action. It’s precisely right.

  5. Men sure can be annoying.

  6. Well, Frederick Douglass also believed in manliness! I mean seriously, he is massively paternalistic and kind of patriotic, from what I gather.

  7. Also on Reeducation: random thought: it was very concerned that you learn to focus on what others thought of you. What would so and so think and say, how would this model of thought categorize that behavior, etc., etc., etc. I would have said this was very unhealthy. And I notice it takes a great amount of energy and time out of the day, and puts one in a self critical or defensive or wounded or some other negative / abject position all the time.

  8. Thinking about what other people think of you and what their paradigms are is what you tend to do if you are suffering from post-traumatic stress and you are anticipating another pile-on of abuse, and trying to avoid it. I have spent an enormous amount of time thinking in this manner. Ultimately, though, the conclusions I have come to (as have you) is that if you are dealing with immature minds (and those are the most likely to become abusive) then there really isn’t a lot of STRUCTURE to their “paradigm”. Rather the abuser’s worldview is a polarisation of good and evil, with them occupying the position of “good” most of the time (although their need for an evil pole is because they doubt their right to the polar position of the good, which they have claimed for themselves, and fear that they might actually be evil, but would rather you be it.) So the abuser’s paradigm is not an intellectual paradigm at all, and that is how you can know it.

    O my brethren! With whom lieth the greatest danger to the whole human future? Is it not with the good and just?–

    –As those who say and feel in their hearts: “We already know what is good and just, we possess it also; woe to those who still seek thereafter!

    And whatever harm the wicked may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm!

    And whatever harm the world-maligners may do, the harm of the good is the harmfulest harm!

    O my brethren, into the hearts of the good and just looked some one once on a time, who said: “They are the Pharisees.” But people did not understand him.

    The good and just themselves were not free to understand him; their spirit was imprisoned in their good conscience. The stupidity of the good is unfathomably wise.

    It is the truth, however, that the good MUST be Pharisees–they have no choice!

    The good MUST crucify him who deviseth his own virtue! That IS the truth!

    The second one, however, who discovered their country–the country, heart and soil of the good and just,–it was he who asked: “Whom do they hate most?”

    The CREATOR, hate they most, him who breaketh the tables and old values, the breaker,–him they call the law-breaker.

    For the good–they CANNOT create; they are always the beginning of the end:–

    –They crucify him who writeth new values on new tables, they sacrifice UNTO THEMSELVES the future–they crucify the whole human future!

    The good–they have always been the beginning of the end.–

  9. Z

    Good use of Nietzche for today!!!

    Not an intellectual paradigm, OK I get it — that explains a lot.

    My challenge for today has to do with family. In Reeducation, one would take it all to heart, in part so as to show that one could “feel,” and in part to show that one did not simply dismiss the feelings of others. Note how much of this is about proving something to Reeducation, making sure to check certain boxes, and then of course also to test out its theories, try to see the world from its points of view.

    So to TRANSGRESS Reeducation the thing to do is not to take it to heart. So I did not let the odd news deter me from going SWIMMING, yay me.

    *

    Also note: an IRL friend who hadn’t heard about all this before (but who reads the blog) says I really was brainwashed — the term Reeducation is no joke.

    *

    And it is fascinating that in Reeducation the feelings one was supposed to feel more deeply had to be the negative ones.

  10. viewing the situation psychologically, rather than as if it espoused an actual paradigm to think about, ticking off boxes does give some people a sense of self importance and feeling that what they are doing is objectively valid. Think about someone who has no internal compass or way of gauging right from wrong on the basis of their own judgement. Suddenly the feel for certain that in an absolute sense what they are doing is valid and purposeful. But really, so what? All they are doing is busy work. It is self delusion, but it feels like exactly the opposite. Snake oil.

  11. From a shamanistic perspective, those who genuinely seem to crave a false cure, like that prescribed by reeducation, are suffering from an extreme form of soul loss. That is, they have lost their internal capacity to judge in favour of their own health and well being. Soul loss like this (to this degree) is caused by feelings of overwhelming fear that cause an extreme form of dissociation. In essence, one wants to be absent from the present, because it is too distressing to be present to the present. So one deadens oneself in order to no longer feel as much. Such deadening, however, produces the result that one is no longer able to make judgements that serve one’s best interests. It’s like somebody with leprosy who can no longer feel their extremities where the nerve endings have died. The lack of feeling sensation causes them to inadvertently injure themselves without realising it.

    How does one recover from such extreme soul loss?

    Certainly one has to feel that it is safe to feel again. However, for so many people, I suspect, their neurological wiring gets fixated in such a way that it diverts them away from authentic feeling (and hence prevents them from making judgements that correspond with intrinsic — neurologically based — notions of fairness, on their own behalves and on behalf of others). They are internally chaotic – and so reeducation gives them something to occupy their chaotic minds. Like giving a hamster a treadmill to play on.

    There are milder forms of “soul loss” that come from making difficult transitions in life, which one has not been adequately prepared to cope with. This also results in a relative lack of judgment– that is, a tendency to make errors in terms of trusting the wrong sorts of people.

    All forms of soul loss will incline us to make wrong turns in life, and to injure ourselves inadvertently.

    So the thing to do in order to avoid this outcome is to assure that one is capable of living in the present (any sign that one isn’t is a sign of soul loss).

    That way, the destructive people and their destructive ways will not infringe upon our freedoms, but will take care of themselves.

  12. And it is interesting because the capacity to live in the present was what Reeducation took first — it was a sign of “denial” and it enabled denial, it was a sort of drug even, and so it had to go.

    That was why I wanted to quit academia and move — it seemed to me (and I am sure this is true) that if I left the scene of the crime another me would find it could live in the present. I could then close the chapter (and no, it wouldn’t be “denial” or necessarily unresolved, and I’m not one of those that believes everything has to be healed or reconciled or forgiven – it can just be left out there neutrally) and go on to the next thing.

    What I did was try just living in the present for years at the scene of the crime and kept getting flashbacks and things. Acts of will didn’t solve matters — they’re only starting to now that I’ve actually unraveled Reeducation, realized what all that background noise was.

    I could muse more and stuff on soul loss and inner chaos. I can’t figure out what the inner chaos would be like. It sounds awful.

  13. I think the inner chaos must be like a blind man groping around trying to find his way in the world. It must be this way for someone who has lost their inner compass.

    And incase you think that this shamanism stuff is all very airy-fairy, I will now show you that essentially Nietzsche employs the very same shamanistic reasoning about soul loss leading to injury or failure, but instead refers to it as “instinct”:

    The newspaper reader says: this party destroys itself by making such a mistake. My higher politics says: a party that makes such a mistake has already reached its end; it has lost its sureness of instinct. Every mistake (in every sense of the word) is the result of a degeneration of instinct, a disintegration of the will: one could almost equate what is bad with whatever is a mistake. All that is good is instinctive — and hence easy, necessary, uninhibited. Effort is a failing: the god is typically different from the hero. (In my language: light feet are the first attribute of divinity.)

  14. To spell it out for you: You wouldn’t have trusted the reeducators to “help” you had you not been suffering from a small amount of soul loss. Your instincts would have warned you totally against this. But instead, you went to them for help BECAUSE you knew that there was something wrong; ie, you knew that you were suffering from some small soul loss (PTSD, call it what you will). This indicates that you were mostly healthy — ie. sensitive enough to know that something wasn’t quite right. But it was your unhealthy part — your soul loss — that made you trust the reeducators.

    Similarly, in my experience — it was my “soul loss” — ie. the sense that I had lost part of my African identity and needed to gain acceptance from Australians, in order to have it restored — that caused me to trust the wrong people with my confidences.

    Wrong moral judgments, as Antonio Damasio points out (or as Nietzsche points out, wrong “instincts”) are already a sign of injury.

  15. Soul loss, yes, I had it and got more. I am not sure what level of it I have now — whether more or less than at the time I started Reeducation. Possibly less, but it feels like more. I would tend to say the location of it has just moved, or it’s the same as it always was, just spread out differently.

    Good stuff from Nietzche.

    Blind man, I do suppose. I can see a couple of examples now.

    Person A. Follows rules. Not religious rules but etiquette rules and recipes; also likes routine and formulae. Insists things be as they are supposed to be, people stay in role, etc.

    Person B. Also follows rules, has memorized laws and protocol rather well. However on interpretation of the more abstract or complex rules, merely repeats the most recent interpretation ze has heard or the one ze believes to be most authoritative / in vogue / etc.

    So one can only play act with these people, in predetermined roles, because they are lost and are following a rule book.

    Then others look more flexible but really are just bouncing faster and managing a couple of rule books at once. But all are very much prone to following because they are like blind people holding onto a rope.

  16. You have it exactly right above.

    With regard to healing soul loss, you need to generate emotional heat — that is the only way to do it. Contant analysis does help to give insight as to what went wrong, but it does not help to heal, and can actually hinder, as in when you start to look for “paradigms” where there are in fact none.

    That is why I suggested you will eventually split the atom with regard to my book. The point of the review is not to be accurate or fair, but to generate emotional heat in a transgressive manner.

  17. …and like the Tatar shaman said to me, in not so many words…

    These blind people — they can only get a psychological link to you if YOU give them the bridge. Otherwise, they do not know that you exist. It’s best to keep it that way.

  18. Blind people, yes, but it takes time to get to know people and realize they are actually blind.

    It is true about over analysis but me, I’m just fighting bad habits at this point. I have a lot more of them than I even realize as a result of all this and have to name them so as to separate myself.

    I’m afraid your book review may be a little blander than you may want — emotional heat, transgression, etc., energy like that I am putting in work work, and don’t want to divert.

    I’m looking at the Lindquist article.

  19. The book review can wait — until you have something actually to say about it.

    I’m not interested in any half-assed thing.

    Really, that would send me to sleep!

  20. It’s still just going to be an Amazon review, unless I do something additional with it, which I could! I’m also going to enlist at least one more person to read the book and comment on Amazon.

    The shamanism article is interesting, gave me some ideas. I’m familiar generally because of all the traditional societies I’ve lived in, studied, and so on, but actually I’ve also been through one of these modern rituals, I hadn’t taken it entirely seriously. It was a little flaky and I also didn’t direct energy where I would direct it now. Still it was interesting and I actually think it did some good!

    Anyway there are points of interest in the piece, made realize the soul parts I am looking for are in Los Angeles (so to speak), not New Orleans, when not further back, and I don’t look there, I keep looking in N.O. and it’s why I keep shaking Reeducation to see if they’ll come out of it. Also forgiveness as accepting a gift or the return of something (as opposed to giving yet another piece of yourself to someone who has already taken more than their share …!). More, too, but it’s late.

  21. Ok– I’m not too sure what shamanism article you are reading, so I’ll have to figure it out somehow.

    As for the book review, the way I am thinking about it is that this is a shamanistic book with a shamanistic interest. So a formal review will be just fine, but to be honest it is not the thing that I am most interested in. I would like a response such as the one I have detailed to you.

    I think it is important to be clear cut in one’s mind as to what one intends from a book — to be commercial or to do something else.

    My interest is to produce a reaction in terms of the latter.

  22. Oh, with the lindquist article — I found it — I am already reading this: “Soul retrieval assumes that a human being has a soul, a non-ordinary essence
    within the ordinary body, whose wholeness determines the state of the individ-
    ual’s physical and psychic health (in this sense, the soul acts on the body). ”

    It seems to me quite nonsensical.

    Soul loss is just the propensity for dissociation that can be subtle or not so subtle (we all do it — and the harsher our environments have been, the more likely it is that we practice this unawares), for example by taking a back seat or not asserting ourselves in an appropriate fashion, where and when we should.

    Actually, apart from this, there is no “soul”.

  23. Z

    Yes. The piece is very Catholic ultimately and I don’t like New Age stuff, can’t believe it’s taken seriously, and so on and so forth. Still there are *some* interesting ideas in it.

    Amazon.com, my intention was to make a few basic comments about how the text works. I can do it with my ideas and in my words / terms. I really think that’s the most useful thing all around.

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