I just read a post about someone being ashamed of admiring a woman’s bum. I must try better not to do that again! Well we are human. I believe there is a book out called The Biology of Desire. I think it may be trying to debunk some theories on addiction being a disease from the little I know, since I have not read it yet only some parts in the bookshop but the gist of it was that addiction comes out of desire and because we are human animals we have desires, its part of being in a human body with primal urges.
Some of us are at peace with these responses and urges, others less so. But I just don’t think it does us many favours to deny that they exist and try to ‘rise above them’ or label them as somehow diseased or aberrant. If anything I think this is why the Catholic faith and so many other religions or sects that teach people to negate or cut off primal impulses of sexuality are so much in the news at present. By no means do I think the violation of children sexually is a good thing or even permissible but don’t we need to look a little bit deeper as to why it ran so rife throughout the world for so many years.
Best ever book I read at the time I was in complete retreat at the coast was by a Jungian writer Edward Edinger called Return to the Goddess. In the book he ran through stages in the evolution of human consciousness, devoting a lot of his exploration to the development of the ego as a centre of consciousness within humans. The most enlightening thing about the book which touched on major issues of repression of the feminine in our culture and has been dealt with by addictions expert Marion Woodman in many of her books most especially Conscious Femininity was how clearly it explained how our modern heroic ego developed by splitting of many of the raw, primal impulses which were natural for our ancestors in older cultures.
This idea of ego development wasn’t necessarily a totally bad thing but the difficult thing about it was that due to fear of death and other primal forces it functioned in such a way as to form within our culture a massively repressive Super Ego. Edinger explains how with this heroic ego development the forces of creation and destruction in life and nature were split apart and the forces of destruction were seen to be no longer of God or good, this also carried over to sexuality, vulnerability and femininity which was seen as inherently weak or evil in some way.
The former belief and idea of spirit as immanent in nature of earlier cultures began to change. In pantheistic religions God was to be seen inherent in nature. One of my favourite quotes is from Frank Lloyd Wright and it says “I believe in God, only I call it nature!” As a result of this split human consciousness began to separate itself off from nature in many ways, it began to fear nature and seek to control nature. The idea of being spiritual began to concern in some way being above certain base animal desires which functioned to make us less acceptable. Admittedly there are times that primal impulses get us into a lot of trouble but the biggest problem becomes our tendency to moralise about such things.
Anyway the ideas in this book came to me with I was considering the blog I read today. I was also thinking of it a lot when a lovely blogger friend sent me a link to an acceptance speech by pop star Madonna on the event of being awarded the title Woman of the Year last year by billboard. Madonna spoke of the nasty bullying she received all throughout her career. She spoke of the times she was called both ‘whore’ and ‘witch’, of how she was also accused of sexualising women when really she was just trying to break free of the repression of women sexually that has dominated our culture and speak honestly about the nature of desire, so often considered ‘dark’.
In the link Madonna speaks of how she was attacked by feminists and decided that therefore she was a bad feminist. I don’t believe she was or is. I believe she was just a very strong and powerful voice and energy trying to speak out for freedom of self expression which is no surprise when you consider that Madonna is a Sun Sign Leo. When I look at her giving this speech I see a lioness who has had to fight hard for her own authenticity and I watch her lioness stance as she takes the stage spreads her legs wide and gets a firm centre from which to speak forward deep from her heart. There are tears in her eyes as she gives what is a very emotional speech and by half way through my skin was literally tingling.
What might it mean for all of us if we could embrace our authentic desires so wholeheartedly and express them? What would it mean if we could allow ourselves to be very human animals full of lust, desire, longing, hope, need, power and love no longer ashamed of this or feeling we need to say sorry, explain or say ‘I will try to do better’? What if we could just let ourselves ‘be’ free to act and express clearly and cleanly as our hearts, souls and spirits need to?
Surely we should celebrate the beautiful human form and our primal impulses. Perhaps the cutting off of then and labelling them bad is what forces then into surreptitious channels which then pervert and twist them into some dark and damaging as has happened in the Catholic church over hundreds of years. Are those abusers who act these impulses out really wrong and bad or are the victims of years of ego development gone wrong. Certainly to hurt a vulnerable human child IS bad, hurtful and wrong. It comes out of a very split off dark place and for the victim the scars and wounds it leaves can be terrible and a death sentence for some. But I also feel that we need to take a deeper more empathic view, we need to see how we set people up as demons at times rather than seeing them as just in some way acutely human beings, subject to centuries of forces and developments which they had no power or control over until they could experience the consequences of playing them out unconsciously.
Disclaimer ; In no way am I trying to imply that acting out our pain and wounds is justifiable. But we are all human, all flawed, all wounded in some way. When we have compassion and understanding I feel it is easier to love, forgive and move on from that basis. If you are reading this and suffered sexual abuse through the Church this blog is in no way trying to condone or justify what you went through or minimise your pain.