A Thought Adventure

Monday, December 28, 2015

31. From Matriarchy to Patriarchy. II

To some scholars the radical change of leadership from female to male expresses a change in consciousness.  As people realize that human beings are independent agents who can affect history, they begin to draw away from the natural world and let male gods who represent new realities and emphases take over.
Other scholars see the transition to patriarchy as a result of the shift from village culture to city culture, i.e., in terms of gradual physical changes more than a conflict between differing views. According to Jared Diamond (scientist and author of popular science works), once farming is invented the long-term trend in human society is toward larger, more complex units. As food surpluses lead to increased populations, we go from bands and tribes to chiefdoms and states and a permanent centralized authority.
Hunting--once men's major contribution to the economy--diminished when farming took over, But as the village diversifies and needs more organization (e.g., large-scale labor to build reservoirs, drains and sewers), men’s work becomes more important. And with greater job specialization, better skills and tools, which bring with it material, intellectual and artistic refinement, it becomes necessary to delegate more responsibilities to men.

Ancient Egyptian Irrigation System
Mumford thinks “the ancient city couldn’t have taken the form it finally did without the village’s “whole range of technical inventions (from stone and pottery utensils, cisterns, barns and granaries to houses, canals and irrigation ditches).” Yet to him the village is still only an ‘unfertilized ovum’ in need of “a whole set of complementary chromosomes from a male parent to bring about the further process of cultural development.” If this is a metaphor for the input needed at this stage from the ‘masculine’ principle in the human psyche, or the conscious ego, I totally agree. But it doesn’t explain why men monopolize the use of it. Unless we accept my theory that this was how they take over the power that used to belong to the matriarchs.

The way I interpret this development is that with the breakthrough of consciousness time has come for humanity to build a society based on equality between the sexes. Now that a man is no longer only a son  but also woman's husband and father (and a woman not only a mother but also a man's wife and daughter), the masculine and feminine principles in the psyche must be balancedSomething happens, however, that seriously delays this onward movement and not just makes the changeover needlessly violent but also dooms the world to live, for thousands of years yet to come, in an egregiously unequal social system.

What happens, I think, is that towards the end of the matriarchal era women’s reluctance to share power with men grows into a form of megalomania or a state of mind that Mumford calls ‘spiritual inflation’ and spots at the core of every civilization. I see it as symptomatic of an ever widening gulf between the matriarchs’ worldview and the new one emerging. And the more the women leaders resist men’s efforts to secure their rightful place in society, the faster men’s long repressed anger rises to the surface--until it reaches such a high pitch that the men resort to force, overthrow the matriarchy and establish patriarchal rule.

Darwin and Freud.
Charles Darwin had a hypothesis that early man, like the big apes, lived in small groups (primal hordes), each led by a powerful and jealous older male who forced the young males to find females outside of the group. On it Freud built his theory that culture began with patricide: the young men joined together, killed and ate the primal father. But as they took his place and identified with him, they felt guilt for their deed and soon restored the father figure by honoring him first as a totem animal, later as a god.

It’s a theory I think we need to turn clear around: patriarchal culture, or civilization (not culture per se), begins with matricide, i.e., with men killing the Great Mother cult and taking over the reign of the matriarchs. The person they identify with is the goddess’s consort sacrificed on her altar, whom they make into a father god and substitute for the ancient mother goddess. That there ever was such a thing as female supremacy seems not to enter Freud’s mind. Because, although he recognizes that great maternal deities “perhaps everywhere preceded the paternal deities,” he admits he can‘t explain them. 

I trace the ultimate reason for the downfall of the matriarchy to its misperception of the role of consciousness. Once the matriarchs discover they possess a conscious mind, they become so enthralled with intellectual power that they stop listening to their instincts and fail to establish a balance between the two. A balance I contend we still have not reached today.

Or as A.E. Watts puts it in his book Man and Woman: "When human beings acquired the powers of conscious attention and rational thought, they became so fascinated with these methods that they forgot all else, like chickens hypnotized with their beaks to a chalk line. Our total sensitivity became identified with these partial functions so that we lost the ability to feel nature from the inside, and more, to feel the seamless unity of ourselves and the world.” 

Now over to patriarchy and a look at its two major institutions, organized warfare and monogamy. See next post.

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Monday, December 21, 2015

30. From Matriarchy to Patriarchy. I

Aryan invader, Sumer

What brings about the transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society--one of the most decisive revolutions ever experienced by humankind according to Engels? Let's first see what we can gather from historical facts, myths and legends and then discuss how to interpret it.

Around 1500 BCE the Vedic Aryans enter India, destroy the higher civilization of the Indus and initiate a new age of male gods. From both the Bible and the Greek myths we learn that with the dawn of the Iron Age (c 1250 BCE in the Near East) patriarchal warrior tribesmen radically change and even suppress the old goddess mythologies. They come either from the Syro-Arabian deserts (the Semites) or from the plains of Europe and southern Russia (the Aryans). Now the Goddess is either slain or subjugated by being raped. Already in Sumer, the first of the higher civilizations (c 3500-2350 BCE), the god Enlil rapes the goddess Ninlil.

At about 1000 BCE, the Hebrews invert the entire symbolic system of the primitive, ancient and Oriental mythologies. The goddess Earth becomes the dust from which Adam is made (Hebrew, adamah, earth) and the legend of the rib is a patriarchal inversion of the myth of the hero born of the goddess Earth. Writes Camille Paglia, author of Sexual Personae, “The book of Genesis is a male declaration of independence from the ancient mother-cults. . . It remade the world by male dynasty, canceling the power of mothers." she

Portraying the story of Jesus as a unique historic event is another biblical distortion, since the tale of a killed and resurrected god has shaped virtually every civilization in the world. In the Dionysian rites, e.g.,  the Greek god Dionysus was torn to pieces as a child by the Titans and dies but rises again. And, as Greek authors Pindar and Euripides report, these rites are pretty much the same as those the Phrygians (a people in Asia Minor) performed in honor of the Great Mother

Gods take over the goddesses' power...
The Muslim god Allah is a late Islamic masculinization of the Arabian Goddess Al-Lat or Al-Ilat, formerly worshiped at the Kaaba in Mecca. In the Greek legacy, the goddesses who once reigned supreme become subordinated to the Olympian gods. Hera, e.g., who was worshipped alone in the temple of Heraion in Olympia, is forcibly married (to Zeus) and made the protector of marriage.

The earth-goddess Pandora, whom the Greeks sacrificed to, now becomes temptress instead of inspirer. And in the patriarchal version of the old Egyptian myth of Isis and Osiris, Isis gives up her dreadful aspect of matriarchal dominance and becomes Hathor, the dutiful wife. She then delegates her power to her son Horus and through him to the Pharaos of Egypt.

The Greek hero myths personalize the conflict between the patriarchal and matriarchal worlds as clashes between two irreconcilable kinship systems. Clytemnestra’s murder of her husband Agamemnon (for having sacrificed their daughter Iphigenia) is no crime under the matriarchal principle, only a just retribution in the name of blood-revenge. Under the patriarchal principle adopted by the Olympian gods it’s OK for Orestes to kill his mother Clytemnestra. This is what Achilles declares in acquitting him:

                        “The mother is not parent of her so-called child
                         but only nurse of the new-sown seed.
                         The man who puts it there is parent;
                         she merely cultivates the shoot” (Aeschylus).

Although the goddess religion survives long into patriarchal times, a telling example of what looks like a growing revolt against it can be found in the Babylonian epic of Gilgamesh (from about 2500 BCE), which sometimes is called the world‘s earliest literary document. Here the young Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, boldly declares that he doesn’t want to marry the Goddess Ishtar, since she'd killed off all her earlier consorts.

...but not without struggle.
Countless legends from all over the world tell about the hard work it takes for men to wrest leadership from women. Common to most are stories of some shining hero who conquers a monster representing an earlier order of godhood. As for instance the victories of Indra, king of the Vedic pantheon, over the cosmic serpent Vritra; of Yahweh over Leviathan, the serpent of the cosmic sea; and of Zeus over Typhon, half-man, half-snake and son of Gaia, the goddess Earth--the victory that assures the reign of the Olympic gods over the Titans.

In each of these--by Campbell termed ‘mythological defamations’--the role of demon, or anti-god, is pasted on a figure from an earlier mythology; and from now on all that’s good and noble is attributed to the new master gods. The female principle is devalued and (as Jung indicates) when a power of nature is shut out, it always turns negative, even demonic--a dangerous threat to the castle of reason.

Suddenly--though I suggest at the end of a long gathering storm--woman becomes an object of the most ferocious anger and hatred. At the same time she descends into a kind of non-person, subordinate to man on all social levels in practically all culturesFor some suggestions about the motives for this spectacular change, see next post.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

29. The Mythological Event Par Excellence. II

Sacrificial killing

What I think the mythological event par excellence tells us is that the first sacrificial killing for the good of mankind made us aware, in one single instant, that death comes by way of murder but also leads to generation, and that the plants man lives on derive from the murder of a god. In every version of the myth sex and death are linked to each other and accepted as an inevitable sequence in the eternal cycle of death and resurrection
Only in Christianity is man made guilty for the god's death, and only in the Bible is the ‘fall’ of Adam and Eve seen as a human mistake that only God can rectify. Eastern religions see creation itself as a ‘fall’ in the sense of an act of will-to-be-more that’s absolutely necessary for life to come about.

The myth differs from the rites.
What about the differences between the ritual and the myth? For instance, if male sacrifice appears at the time of the breakthrough of consciousness, as I would have it, why does the myth place the event at ‘the beginning of time?’ I guess it’s because in the human mind time doesn't start until humanity first becomes aware of it, i.e., when entering the conscious stage.
Why does the myth say people lived forever and had no sexual organs before this momentous event? To me, it’s a correct description of an era when-sex was not yet connected with birth, and people didn’t know how they came into being nor that they were going to die. And in retrospect this benighted era stands out as an archaic paradise, a ‘dream time.’
Why did the food plants come up from the buried parts of the murder victim? Because people believed that crops magically depended on the sacrifice of the god that represented vegetation. And how come sex organs grew out only after they had eaten of the fruits of these plants? I think it’s their way of saying that they owe the gift of procreation to a god. This belief accounts for the sacral character given to sexuality in ancient times while also confirming that the price of regeneration is death. Sex may stand in the service of life but so does death, for both lead to birth.
Why did the murder happen? As far as I know, in no version of the myth is there a rationale for it. It’s presented as a fact, as inexplicable as it’s irreversible, probably because people find it too painful to face the part human beings play in this horrible event, and simply have to repress it.
Why, in the myth unlike in the ritual, does the murder take place before there’s any sexual act at all, and why have both the goddess and the sacred marriage dropped out of the picture? Again, because people needed to suppress unbearable facts, men not least who at the beginning of the patriarchal era wanted to forget the once absolute power of women--and even deny that it had ever existed. 

Who committed the murder? The myth doesn’t explain that either and probably for the same reason. In some Native American versions, however, the victim-to-be asks a family member or lover to commit the murder, i.e., he (or sometimes she) willingly sacrifices himself. 

But how on earth could people connect such natural human processes as sex and death with murder? To many preliterate peoples there are no natural causes, says Lévy-Brühl, because they attribute everything to interference from some mystic force, like witchcraft or spirits. And since they know why something occurs they aren’t interested in how.
Sum up
I propose that the mythological event par excellence describes the first male sacrifice, and that the shock it inflicted was so strong that people everywhere chose to bury the circumstances around it in their unconscious. The myth serves the same function in our collective experience as the dream symbol in an individual’s life: to both remind people of a crucial occurrence in their past and offer them a chance to come to terms with it. Not only has the mythological event something true to say, it is indeed an important psychological truth.

An example of the remarkable tenacity of this universal myth is the way Christianity re-enacts the pagan murder drama complete with cannibalism. In the Eucharist service we find a latter-day version of the ritual killing and devouring of a god. For the congregation  to partake of bread and wine, symbols of the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, is to commemorate that the god died for them

But this ritual also keeps alive the guilt that clings to the believers for the god's death,  and in so doing demonstrates that the tendency to repeat the childhood trauma that was never made conscious (what Freud called the repetition-compulsion and saw as one of the “fundamentals of human behavior”) may apply also to society as a whole.

Now over to what finally brings the matriarchal era to an end. See next post.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

28. The Mythological Event Par Excellence. I

I now turn to what Campbell calls the “mythological event par excellence.” It’s a theme revolving around a sacrificial killing for the good of humanity that shows up in myths all over the world and in the most diverse cultures.
In the dreamlike age at the beginning of time, when neither death nor the two sexes existed, a murder is committed. The body is cut up and from the ground where the parts are buried food plants come up. On all who eat of the fruits of these plants sexual organs grow out. This event puts an end to the earlier paradise-like era, because now life and death, which so far have been one, become two and so do the sexes,  which have also been one.
The story is narrated in a slightly different way in different cultures. What varies among other things is the kind of food plant that arises; in an American Indian myth it’s the maize plant, in a Polynesian the cocoa nut palm and in a Hawaiian the breadfruit tree, etc. But they all amount to the same thing: food plants are sacred and eating them is a way of communing with, and partaking of, divine life.
We recognize parts of this myth from the Bible where, after eating from the Tree of Knowledge, Adam and Eve realize both that they are mortal and of different sexes. In Plato’s Symposion male and female exist as one being, which--until Zeus splits it into two--has four arms and four legs, one head but two faces. Similar myths can be found in China, India and elsewhere. Throughout the world terrible rites of cannibal communion enact the original event connected to this mythological theme. They all include a sexual act, a murder scene and a festival meal and they all represent creatures coming into being, living on the death of others and then dying and becoming food for others.

Cannibal Society Kwakiutl Vancouver Island

But what is a myth? 
Campbell thinks mythologies are built on shocks that occurred in the past of peoples. Just as, according to Freud, the dream symbol refers to some shock in the dreamer’s infancy, so do mythologies refer to traumatic experiences in the early life of humankind. Anthropologist E. B. Tylor talks of myths of observation; they contain statements that could only have come into the minds of the original narrators through actual experience--although the conclusions drawn may not be true according to historical or scientific canons of truth.

One example is the Chinese legend of the ancient sage who taught his people to make fire by the friction of wood. Many cultures ascribe fire-making to mythic heroes, so that story (though not real history) is no doubt a recollection of a time when this was the ordinary way of producing fire. As Jane Ellen Harrison puts it, “Mythology invents a reason for a fact, it does not base a fact on a fancy.” According to Jung, “Every myth (is) an important psychological truth.”
I believe the mythological event par excellence is a myth of observation, for unless there once was a real, concrete murder followed by a burial, how could it have come up in the minds of people all over the world? And because it’s essentially identical with the key event in the fertility rites practiced in the earliest agricultural communities, I propose that it actually refers to the first male sacrifice at the first spring festival in the first farming village. Which also makes it a traumatic experience in humankind’s early history, akin to a startling dream symbol in an individual’s life. 
Anthropologists distinguish between ‘parallel developments’ (phenomena appear in many different places thanks to spontaneous operations in the psyche) and ‘diffusions’ (phenomena spread from region to region through migrations and commerce). This would make ritual regicide a parallel development and a ‘first’ in the sense that it begins in farming communities everywhere, independent of each other (if not at exactly the same time). 
So what’s the mythological event trying to tell us? See next post.

myth (according to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary) = a usually traditional story of ostensibly historical events that serves to unfold part of the world view of a people or explain a practice, belief, or natural phenomenon.

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

27. The Legacy of the Malevolent Matriarchy

According to psychologist Charles T. Tart in his book States of Consciousness, every culture identifies with the ‘ordinary’ state of consciousness,  which seems like a ‘natural’ way of looking at things because introduced  to people in childhood. Usually chosen by a narrow élite to serve as a tool for handling a certain reality, the ordinary state of consciousness only develops a few human potentials. Tart compares it to a paradigm or super-theory in science (like Newtonian physics whose laws of motion ruled science--and our understanding of the universe--before the theories of relativity and quantum physics).

Therefore, what we see as real and true may have nothing whatsoever to do with our actual experience. Or as writer John Berger puts it in his Ways of Seeing, “The way we see things is affected by what we know or what we believe.“ And just as one’s self-image may be determined by a parental attitude or a significant occurrence in childhood, so I think a society’s entire outlook on the world may go back to some pivotal prime event or action by its first ancestors, or even by a single influential person, like the founder of a religion or an important institution.

Identifying leading with oppressing.
I propose that the matriarchs who make up the original Council of Elders in the earliest agricultural village are the ones who establish the world's first consciously conceived social order. In so doing they lay the groundwork for humankind's first 'ordinary' state of consciousness and set the rules for what people regard as reasonable thinking and normal behavior. 

Since its most emphasized human potential is obedience to authority, I see in the Malevolent Matriarchy history’s first dictatorship, in its goddess cult a conscious intention to deny men equal status with women, and in the custom of ritual regicide an effective means to limit men’s paternal role to the physical act of procreation.

Moreover, because I assume that witnessing the first male sacrifice is such a profoundly traumatic experience for newly conscious man, I suggest that it sows in him the first seeds of an enduring male fear of woman--both as authority figure and as sexual being. A fear I consider extreme enough to jolt men out of their healthy sexual instincts and ignite the hatred of the female sex that is still ablaze in the worldwide practice of misogyny.

Stunting consciousness.
Beyond oppressing men, however, the matriarchs also leave a heavy imprint on the population as a whole. I think they realize that the ego’s capacity for independent thinking is a lethal challenge to them, as to all power-holders, because of the germ it contains of rebellion against the elders (and all authority and tradition). Their overarching aim then becomes to halt the emergence of the individual ego and keep the use of the conscious mind a privilege for the few. The ruling élite therefore makes a determined effort to cut short in the many the necessary process of individuation (the process by which individuals in society become differentiated from each other).

An infallible helpmate in trying to curb the growth of a healthy ego is organized religion thanks to the effective means it disposes to mold people's minds. I consider the Malevolent Matriarchs' most important legacy to be the widespread belief that human beings are inherently flawed, and have
to be saved by outside forces. A belief that' stems from the idea they implanted in us that a certain kind of suffering--involving sacrifice and violent death--is an inescapable part of the human condition, 

We also recall that the Mesopotamian city-states had deeply pessimistic outlook on humanity. So did the classical Greek writers who portrayed human beings as born to suffer and inflict suffering--a notion so widespread and deeply entrenched that it can be found in arts and literature the world over.

What the malevolent matriarchs do, then, is not only undermine the male self-image but lock the entire population in a completely arbitrary, deep--and deeply offensive--underestimation of who they are as human beings. When you know that to be human is not simply to do things wrongly but to BE wrong, how can you even dream of trusting your own intellect and judgment? And because, by and large, we still accept this misanthropic definition of ourselves, we’ve come to take destructive and self-destructive behavior for granted. On it patriarchy builds the perverted belief that murder in the form of war--or the large-scale killing of youths--is legitimate, a belief we’re still not ready to abandon.

If the reader thinks I've speculated enough by now and looks for more concrete underpinnings to my chief theory, let me now present a remarkable universal phenomenon that may indeed be the most convincing piece in the puzzle. It also explains why I have insisted on tracing the origin of sexism all the way back to prehistoric times. See next post.

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Monday, December 7, 2015

26. Newly Conscious Man

Awakening to a conscious apprehension of the world is no doubt a mixed experience. At the same time as their species has mutated into a smarter, more complex form of life than that of all the others, our forebears must learn to use faculties that up to now have lain dormant (like judgment, discipline and responsibility for the choices they make). Here they are, still part of earth and yet on a strangely elevated plane, forced to listen to a different drummer--one that no longer calls them to passive obedience but to sovereign action. And only now does it strike them, perhaps with the force of a sledge-hammer, how utterly dependent they are on guidance from outside.

The conscious mind also makes a rift in their sense of wholeness. Becoming aware of their individuality, and of two distinctly different sexual identities, forces them to leave behind their vertical and childlike bonds with mother.They must now establish altogether different, horizontal and more adult bonds with their peers.

In Genesis, this is metaphorically described as the Fall. Once their “eyes are opened” after having eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve are expelled from Eden. Quite comically, the authors of the Old Testament, who can’t see Nature’s own plan in this event, make God into a petulant old patriarch, angry and vindictive for being deprived of his dictatorial powers. (Something that becomes even funnier when we realize that God is only a male counterpart to the ancient Great Goddess, in whose name the matriarchs are speaking.)

Need for guidance.
The time of miracles has given way, once and for all, to the time of human trial and error, and people are bound to feel both doubt and conflict. With their first glimpse of the inherent duality of things comes the suspicion that something else may be hidden behind appearances. Lost is all absolute certainty, vanished forever the conviction of doing things right. I therefore think that fear may be as normal in the psychology of newly conscious man as in that of the child: both feel small, feeble and helplessly dependent.

Assuming that the process of becoming conscious is first accomplished in the leaders, I think the population at large only learns about it by watching them and their novel and fascinating ways from afar. Even if the ordinary man is in awe of those favored few who get the first chance in history to exhibit a definite will, set their own goals and implement them, he most likely prefers to stick to the old, unifying Mother figure whose omnipotence he questions as little as an infant does its mother‘s.

But I also think that when finding themselves alone and without guidance in an unknown world, our ancestors feel an urge to overcome separateness--to somehow make themselves stronger by transcending their individual existence and achieve union with others. The birth of consciousness, I therefore suggest, is also the birth of our need for love, and the striving to fulfill this much overlooked--and as it seems forever unmet--need what history is all about.

Furthermore, I imagine that their subjects’ absolute trust in them inflates the leaders’ egos and tempts them to abuse it. Instead of encouraging the process of individuation I think the matriarchs decide to nip it in the bud. And--alongside their own fear--this attitude makes our ancestors succumb to what Neumann speaks of as uroboric incest, or the tendency of the budding ego towards voluptuous self-dissolution in the unconscious. Rather than seize the opportunity to exercise a will of their own, they choose to return to the womb and be dissolved in the union with Mother. (The uroborus, we recall, is a circular snake biting its own tail, an image used in mythology to symbolize wholeness, the first stage in the growth of consciousness.)

The desire of the leaders to deny their subjects the use of a conscious mind thus meets the need of the subjects to shrink from the responsibility entailed in it.

A still unanswered question
Can the lure of 'uroboric incest' be the ultimate reason why we still hold on to the childish belief that a supreme parental personality keeps the universe under control--rather than impersonal physical forces? And that it's this parent who fulfills our wishes, not we ourselves? Can it also be why many in the 20th century West rushed into totalitarianism (state communism, fascism, nazism) at the advent of democracy and the slackening grip of religion? Were freedom and autonomy still so burdensome that they had to flee into new dependencies and submissions? And is there even a similar need for outside assurances behind the current rush to immerse ourselves in new technologies and an unfettered consumerism? You tell me.

For a sum-up of the Malevolent Matriarchy (which I guess lasted anywhere from 3000 to 5000 years) and the marks it left not only on the male psyche but on all humanity, see next post.

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

25. How could the Early Farmers Accept Male Sacrifice?

So as not to spoil the spell, the spirit of a religious festival requires that the normal attitude toward the cares of the world be temporarily set aside. Says Campbell in his Primitive Mythology, the very purpose of participating in a ritual is to attain a mental attitude in which one is overtaken by the state known in India as ‘the other mind‘ (Sanskrit, anya-manas, possession by a spirit). I.e., a state of being ‘beside oneself,’ spellbound, or “overpowered by the force of a logic of ‘indissociation’--wherein A is B, and C also is B.” To our prehistoric ancestors such a state is probably familiar, but it also remains alive in some contemporary cultures.

Religious ecstacy in motion. Whirling dervishes
In Eastern thinking human beings aren’t seen as separate from the gods so there’s no conflict between the two; gods are simply the mystery of the depth of one’s own being. The Japanese custom of ritual suicide, e.g., (which Campbell calls the ‘soul’ of both the Orient and the archaic world) demonstrates an eagerness to die that can only be explained as the individual’s solemn identification with his socially assigned role. And eye-witnesses of human sacrifice unanimously report the calm acceptance, even enthusiasm and pride, with which the victim walks to his death--as if it were a special dispensation of grace (compare modern equivalents like kamikaze pilots and suicide bombers).

Religious emotion.
How can we possibly touch the quick of a religious emotion as strong as this? Maybe it can be likened to the unparalleled intensity of our emotions as small children. Our boundless trust in parents and elders (whom we saw as unconscionably far above us), our total helplessness over their commands and our utter terror lest they abandon us. Feelings many of us had rather forget!

Yet if we choose to remember, we may get a peek at how our agrarian ancestors feel having not only to witness a deliberate murder (a son’s ordered by his own mother no less, or a brother‘s by his sister) but also to celebrate it by participating in the sumptuous festivities that precede the marriage ceremony. I think it is a tremendous blow to the newly awakened sensibilities of both men and women; and that it frightens them out of their wits, enough to want to make off and hide in a hole in the ground--even if (or perhaps because) they believe the sacrifice is necessary and that the victim resurrects as a god.

To handle a shock of this dimension, one way may well be to regress into magical thinking. Cannibalism often accompanies the killing; and the wish to appropriate the dead person’s qualities is known to be the most universal motive for cannibalism. To believe the sacrificed person has some special powers would therefore be a perfectly logical choice for our ancestors, because to take part in the ritual meal would give them a chance to absorb those powers into themselves.

Another way is to take on guilt for being part of the ritual killing (if only in the sense of not having prevented it). Struggling to keep the cause of their trauma from becoming conscious, they choose to see the young consort's grisly destiny as somehow their fault. And to escape from that heavy responsibility they make another fateful choice: to sink back in the previous pre-conscious thinking patterns of the ‘law of participation‘ (where everything is part of everything else to the point of identification). 

Trauma and self-destruction.
To me this readiness to accept blame (though they were blameless) is the first masochistic symptom in history. And the need  ever since to reenact the murder is clearly a compulsive phenomenon, an effect of the serious trauma inflicted on humanity by the horrendous institution of ritual regicide and a collective version of the disorder Freud' called 'repetition-compulsion.

What I think happens as time removes us further and further from the initial event--and as religion becomes more entrenched in our minds--is that we begin to accept responsibility not just for the murder but for everything that goes wrong. Everybody ends up thinking that to be human means being born bad and predestined to suffer eternal punishment for unpreventable sins.

To better understand this development, let's try to transport ourselves into the mindset of human beings at the earliest stages of consciousness and see what it may tell us about the origin of the male inferiority complex. See next post. 

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