THE BODY UNCOVERED
Intensification of Substructure Development
We have already seen how the point level is characterised by growing interaction as between "high level" spiritual understanding operating under refined rational control, and "low level" physical understanding operating under basic instinctive response.
This leads to a growing split as between "real" and " imaginary" experience, which one attempts to reconcile through increasing reliance on the pure activity of the will which is central to both. This in turn increases dynamic interaction as between both types of phenomena whether "real" or "imaginary" which become extremely subtle and transient seemingly disappearing in the moment of creation. Relative to conventional norms there is now a curious inversion. Reality appears as a dream, whereas the dream appears as reality. Operating so much out of the unconscious level of personality, one is continually affirming the unlimited potential for discovery, rather than actualising oneself in any given context.
However a fundamental imbalance becomes apparent. The superior "high level" rational tendency of personality is still - in relative terms - too strong leading to continual repression of the "lower" instinctive self. One realises that if personality harmony is to be achieved, that one must learn to accept the most intense exposure to the inner needs of the physical self. So the second major period of the point level is characterised by growing immersion in a highly intimate form of sexual awareness, the underlying message of which often sharply conflicts with accepted opinions.
One very useful way of viewing this development is as a return in psychological terms to the mother womb. As we have seen earlier, in our culture, operating as it does under the linear rational paradigm to transcend at an early stage our primitive sexual desires. Whereas this separation in many respects facilitates independence and autonomy, it also generally involves considerable psychological repression. For most people, this becomes part of a master programme, which largely influences - often with unhappy consequences - their subsequent life experience. However because this repression is buried so deep in the unconscious, it remains largely outside conscious control and inaccessible. Before one is truly able to reach this obscure level and rewrite the instructions in that master programme, one must already have become attuned to prolonged immersion in the unconscious. So, it is only now that one is ready to revisit - in psychological terms - the earliest stages of one's personal existence and become once again "reborn".
The main features of this period can now be outlined.
The divide as between "high level" cognitive superstructures and "low level" affective substructures becomes even more sharply differentiated. During the previous period there was still some degree of overlap at both levels as between the two modes. However, now we have a process whereby all emotional energy becomes removed from "high level" understanding, and all rational energy from "low level" understanding so that simultaneously one becomes exposed to both extremes. Maintaining equilibrium as between such extremes requires increasing refined use of what connects both i.e. the central capacity of will.
Thus the primary purpose of the point level is to gradually involve the pure activity of will in harmonising all development.
Because during the previous period, the cognitive still dominated the affective mode, there is now a greater concentration on "low level" development in an attempt to relieve all remaining super ego control. One of the interesting consequences of this is that spiritual illumination apparently fades so that one is no longer conscious of having a spiritual life. One now clearly realises that a continuation of transcendent spiritual experience would be actually harmful. This is because it is over reliant on maintaining rational control over natural desires and unconsciously is always associated with a superior attitude. In other words one tends to view such experience as "good" and more worthy than the instinctual promptings of the body self. Therefore if one is to truly redress this imbalance and fully accept the physical desires of the body, one must temporarily learn to do without the consolation and support of spiritual communication.
At this time there is understandably a far greater level of interaction as between the "high level" and "low level" parts of the personality. We can in turn identify two main stages. During the first phase, one focuses on affective development involving closely interacting "high level" and "low level" phases. Cognitive development remains largely dormant at this time.
During the second phase, cognitive activity returns with extreme differentiation of modes now operating. Thus at the "high level" a very refined form of abstract rational understanding takes place, which is complemented at the "low level" by the most intimate physically erotic projections.
In this chapter we will deal with the first stage.
We have already seen in affective terms how earlier superstructure development centres around the feminine archetype of the Virgin Mother. This helps to channel erotic desires in a spiritual direction where they become increasingly denuded of the physical senses. In the pursuit therefore of a supernatural love one continually attempts to transcend all ego centred natural affection. However this process inevitably involves some degree of super ego control and consequent repression of the body self.
Increasingly, as we have seen this leads to the compensating activity of the body self in the release of intimate sexual projections. This in turn leads to moderation of in one's spiritual quest. One begins to see the spirit not in opposition to the body but rather as ultimately being inseparable from it.
Thus affective superstructure development - while still under the influence of the rational higher self - now, because of the influence of the physical, acquires a growing immanent spiritual quality. Rather than the Virgin Mother archetype, that of the natural or Earth Mother now begins to predominate. We will examine this development once more in the form of several related phases.
Love involves a two-way dialogue. The desire to love and be loved in return are two poles which in total fulfilment coincide. Having for so long concentrated on the former pole in the attempt to love selflessly, there is now a reverse reaction, whereby one strongly experiences the need to be loved in return. Because in biological terms, such love is most closely associated with one's natural mother, understandably there now emerges an idealised archetype of the natural mother who perfectly meets one's emotional needs.
Indeed this phase serves a very important psychological function. Feelings towards one's natural mother can often be very ambivalent. On the one hand, there may be deep gratitude for so much care and support during the formative years. However one may also recognise emotional damage resulting from this time, the traces of which are buried in the unconscious and very difficult to access.
However, one has now journeyed back sufficiently in psychological terms to honestly confront one's wounded pain and through this unveiling seek a lasting healing. It is only in the light of the idealised mother archetype that one can truly see what has been lacking in terms of the relationship with one's actual mother.
This phase may result in a supportive friendship with a special woman embodying such ideal qualities but is however destined to prove problematic. Partly this is due to the fact that being now so immersed in one's unconscious journey, such a relationship is unlikely to blossom. In any case too much support can prove counterproductive delaying this difficult but necessary intimate confrontation.
This involves a more detached understanding of the previous phase. One may earlier have found oneself drawn to certain women without realising the source of the attraction. Now one can stand back sufficiently to see the common feature underlying such attraction as the continual desire to be wrapped around as it were by a warm supportive love (i.e. the ideal love associated with the natural mother). This desire is likely to be all the more strong If one experienced as a child a lack of physical affection from one's actual mother. Due to this lack (real or perceived) as one grows into adulthood one will continually crave such affection, but unfortunately act in a manner only too likely to bring the opposite result. Thus a vicious circle can be repeated by which one's efforts to relieve feelings of emotional deprivation only accentuate the problem.
One is now tired of false and thereby unsatisfactory remedies for emotional loneliness with a great need to get to the very root of the problem.
There is now a more globalised phase whereby one begins to all creation in terms of the model of the physical mother. Indeed this is an extremely basic archetypal pattern so that the phrase "Mother Earth" has been widely used to represent it down through the ages.
Whereas the "Virgin Mother" archetype involves the feminine in nature in a spiritually transcendent fashion, the "Earth Mother" archetype - due to a more physically instinctive and sensual response - involves the feminine in a more immanent manner. One now tends to see the world as a giant womb from which all life issues forth and has a holistic sense of a maternal type care governing the unfolding of evolution.
This is an impersonal version of the previous phase whereby one obtains a more detached understanding. One is able to clearly see the underlying pattern at work in terms of emerging understanding.
For convenience we could also outline four further similar phases involving higher degrees of interaction as between personal and impersonal phases with both ultimately coinciding in a pure experience without phenomena. In other words the "personal" mother archetype merges with the "impersonal" archetype in nature. It is the growing level of mirror structure activity in turn which greatly facilitates this development.
There is now very intensive erotic exposure here with very important consequences. Once again it complements development at the superstructural level.
As we have seen the corresponding superphase involves the emergence of an emotional model of the perfect mother. Not surprisingly we have in this subphase - again through the release of erotic fantasy - physical attraction to the mother.
Freud in particular has highlighted the importance of the Oedipus complex, recognising that at an early stage of development, every boy is sexually attracted to his natural mother creating resentment against his father. The resolution of this problem is very necessary if the boy is to forge a separate independent existence. However it usually involves considerable emotional repression with potentially very damaging consequences.
Putting it very bluntly - from an unconscious perspective - sexual desire is fundamentally incestuous. Given the extremely close biological ties as between child and mother, it is not surprising that for the infant boy his first - and in a certain sense - only love is his natural mother. The situation regarding girls is more complex. The initial attraction is also to the mother but is quickly counteracted by attraction to the father. Sexual development for girls is generally less one-sided which probably explains why subsequent sexual activity is less prone to extreme inclinations.
This incestuous attraction of the infant boy to his mother is dealt largely through strong unconscious signals from the mother that such inclinations are "bad" and "unworthy". Thus, still at an unconscious level, the child with considerable confusion, feels the rejection of his first love, and subsequent sexual behaviour is greatly coloured by this fact. The hurt and vulnerability caused by this rejection helps to explain why masculine identity usually tends to be exaggerated in terms of an unduly independent persona. It simply represents a natural compensation resulting from the failure of the original "love affair" with the mother. Thereafter - again at an unconscious level - in his sexual inclinations, the adult man will be so often seeking a substitute mother figure.
In terms of conscious activity, incestuous behaviour - particularly as between a boy and his mother - is considered strictly taboo in most cultures. Now there are very good social reasons for this taboo. However there still remains a considerable dilemma, that whereas from a social perspective incest is undesirable, from a complementary (unconscious) psychological perspective it is - as we have seen - natural and right. What this means in practice that for both sexes - though particularly men - considerable sexual difficulties spring in adult life from the inability to recognise the true nature of sexual desire.
Thus a man who finds the very idea of incest abhorrent, yet at an unconscious level might well be acting under a powerful desire to be physically united with his idealised mother figure. In other words a clear unresolved conflict as between conscious and unconscious desire is evident.
One is now ready to intimately face in a mature way the Oedipal problem. Strong feelings of sexual attraction to one's archetypal mother emerge from the unconscious. Again this is unlikely to be one's actual mother but rather one's "imaginary" mother in the image of a substitute fantasy figure. Initially, due to powerful superego denial considerable feelings of guilt are likely to be involved, which only lessen when one is able to appreciate the dynamics of what is happening.
This is a more impersonal phase. One is now sufficiently detached from immediate projections to see the underlying pattern at work. Thus it is now not so much any particular fantasy person as such which proves sexually alluring, but rather the general notion of physical union with the mother.
One now understands more clearly the important role of erotic fantasy. Actual conscious existence is necessarily limited through many rules and conventions. Unconscious existence is however the source of creativity and unlimited. Thus properly used, fantasy is extremely important in keeping alive the dream - especially against the background of actual hundrum existence - that potentially, life can be totally different.
Erotic fantasy - when appropriately used - can be particularly useful in widening the possible horizons for sexual fulfilment, so often frustrated by actual life circumstances.
One important function of such fantasy is to call into question the restrictions which society necessarily imposes on sexual behaviour. In other words what is strictly forbidden in terms of actual behaviour, may in appropriate circumstances be fitting material for erotic fantasies and can help to greatly relieve the damaging effects of repression brought about through superego control.
In this context the Oedipus complex is particularly important. Society rightly forbids incestuous relationships especially between mother and son. However for most men this leads to an unresolved conflict, whereby from an early age their natural desire for the mother becomes repressed in the unconscious and kept at bay through the deep conviction that such desire is morally wrong.
Cultural forces in turn powerfully reinforce this tendency. Religious institutions - though their influence is now receding - have powerfully helped to shape the way we relate to reality. In this context the Catholic Church is especially interesting. The Church is commonly referred to as "Mother Church". The Pope who is the head of the Church and in whom law-making ultimately resides is referred to as the "Holy Father". A "child" of the Church's so often faces a cultural extension of the Oedipus complex. This arises where there is the desire to seek greater spontaneity and freedom in terms of personal morality esp. sexual. It is now necessary to do this, but one finds that the highly important role of erotic fantasy in terms of psycho-sexual moral development is not adequately dealt with in Church teaching. In other words where feelings are important one wishes to operate according to the feminine principle and in basic terms marry the mother. Meanwhile the laws of the Church which are particularly inflexible precisely in this area of sexual morality seek to limit such latitude. Here the Church operating very much in accordance with the masculine rational principle acts as the rival father. Thus as the "child" one is faced with a difficult decision. One can choose to either kill the father and marry the mother (i.e. to reject the law and be bound by one's personal conscience) or accept the father and reject the mother (i.e. be bound by the external law of the Church and repress one's personal feelings).
We have now reached that stage where one is determined to marry the mother. What this means is that one is prepared - especially where moral issues concerning sexual morality is concerned - to take decisions based on personal conviction. This is not to suggest that one now condones permissive morality. Given one's commitment to ultimate union nothing could be further from the truth. Rather it is a reaffirmation of the existentialist position, so that where sensitive issues are involved, personal conscience ultimately takes primacy over any external law.
Erotic fantasy is not of course exclusively tied to this primal mother-child relationship. In fact one is likely to experience a wide variety of spontaneously emitted fantasies at this time. These generally involve situations and themes which from a practical perspective would be clearly forbidden. Such fantasies force one to deeply question all the basic assumptions on which sexual morality is based. Also through the willingness to confront such intimate fantasies, there is a gradual release of fear and repression. When one unconsciously treats certain fantasies as unacceptable and morally wrong, inevitably the strong element of superego control required to keep them from surfacing, involves a significant reduction in true freedom.
As one is not sufficiently mature at earlier stages of development to adequately cope with such intimate exposure, some level of unconscious repression of fantasy is necessary. This phase therefore involves an important form of healing growth.
A familiar pattern once more repeats itself whereby erotic fantasy moves from direct personal attraction to impersonal objects closely associated with the person.
In other words this phase represents a new form of fetishism.
However a far stronger physical element is now involved. Increasingly attention may switch to more intimate items of female clothing e.g. underwear. Before one can become fully mature sexually, one must be able to fully face the body in the explicit form. This will normally entail for a man full exposure - in psychological terms - to the female body. Indeed this exposure is vital as a prerequisite to full acceptance of one's own physical body. Involuntary sexual attraction always reflects in some measure a failure to achieve this acceptance. Thus when a man suddenly finds himself physically attracted to a woman, this indicates an unconscious lack in terms of his own body image which is then projected on to the woman.
Though these phases of affective development necessarily involve a high level of projection, the real purpose is to gradually internalise what is initially projected.
Thus a man in fantasy may find particular female images prove especially alluring. Due to an unduly rigid masculine persona at a conscious level - in terms of his complementary feminine persona at an unconscious level (i.e. anima) - he experiences something missing which is projected outwards through fantasies involving women. However as long as one sees the feminine as existing exclusively outside oneself, one will remain a continual victim of such projection. True development involves incorporating the feminine persona as one's own. Thus the perfect woman that the man unconsciously seeks is equally an inherent part of his own personality. When this "internal" woman is fully discovered there is no need for further projected fantasy as there is no longer the experience of a sexual deficit in the unconscious.
Thus every "real" man is also an "imaginary" woman. In other words for the masculine conscious persona, there is a complementary feminine unconscious persona (which unfortunately usually remains largely hidden and undiscovered).
Of course it is equally true that for every "real" woman there is also an "imaginary" man. For biological and social reasons greater moderation of the feminine conscious persona normally takes place making psychological integration - in general terms - less problematic for women.
Because of the highly elusive and unstable pattern of projected fantasies during this time, one is continually forced to internalise the experience. One momentarily seeks fulfilment through some alluring fantasy, then when it fades feel cheated and disillusioned. Due to the high level of mirror structure development one naturally keeps turning inwards in the growing realisation that the solution to such need lies within oneself.
As we have seen, the personal and impersonal are inextricably intertwined at both the superstructure and substructure levels of development. Thus as the sexual focus of attention becomes more naked and explicit, intimate items of female clothing can now assume an intense associated erotic appeal.
Thus whereas formerly fetishistic attraction was of a more refined sexual nature directed to more outward items of clothing, now attraction becomes more narrowly focused in an increasingly physical fashion.
This is a more impersonal phase, where the general nature of the emerging pattern of sexual attraction becomes more apparent. Whereas before for example one may perhaps have been aware of the erotic appeal of an intimate items of clothing, now it is the very notion of such clothing that is found appealing. One is coming close to full naked bodily acceptance. Therefore quite literally it requires this final unveiling of clothing both in physical and psychological terms (through fantasy) before this goal can be finally achieved.
We can once more identify four more phases where personal and impersonal characteristics are more closely intertwined. This in turn involves a far greater amount of mirror structure activity so that one is given very little time to rest as it were in erotic projections which become progressively more elusive. Sexual attraction becomes largely internalised.
One has been seeking to return to the womb in perfect physical union with the mother. Biologically when this happens just after conception the child and the mother are literally one. It is only with further development that gradual separation takes place. Likewise in reverse fashion when one journeys back in psychological terms in search of this original union the same applies. Initially one sees the mother as separate and therefore projected physical desire is both necessary and inevitable in seeking this union. However as this journey reaches completion - due to the high level of mirror structure activity - one eventually becomes inseparable from the mother. When this happens, one has fully appropriated the mother as part of one's own personality and projected physical desire now ceases. In psychological terms then one marries the mother and becomes free to give birth through the initiation of creative and caring projects in the future.
Once again we see that substructure development involves a psychological journey back to the womb. For men this is associated with another major dilemma. In the initial stages of pre-natal existence the sexual characteristics of men are in fact female. It is only after a period of development biologically that male sex characteristics emerge.
Therefore if a man is to be "reborn" he must complete this psychological journey back to the beginnings of life in the womb to reach conception itself, and learn to see himself physically as a woman. By now one is now deeply immersed in the psychological womb i.e. the unconscious where a further remarkable transformation is required before the return journey is completed. We will turn to this in the next chapter.
This stage is largely associated with affective development at both the "high" superstructure and "low" substructure levels of development. This helps to address the imbalance in the personality due to the dominance in the personality prior to this of rational modes of enquiry.
The archetype of the earth mother is especially important.
The superstructure level is very holistic where one seeks emotional union with the archetypal mother through strong fantasy projections. In related fashion one also seeks emotional union with the created world. Both the personal and impersonal reality are seen in the image of this archetypal mother image, with both ultimately merging.
The substructure level is by contrast very specific where one seeks physical union with the perfect mother. This again involves very strong and intimate fantasy projections in a dramatic reawakening of the Oedipus complex. One has to learn to confront without guilt many of those incestuous feelings largely repressed from childhood. By close association with the mother, intimate objects of clothing can also assume intense erotic appeal. There is an unfortunate tendency in our culture to clearly separate personal from impersonal reality. In fact no such distinction really exists. In every aspect, reality has dual complementary aspects which are both personal and impersonal. Of course obsessive desire is always unhealthy. However, properly understood fetishism is significant in that it helps to highlight the inherent personal aspect of objects which is so often overlooked by science.
As spiritual illumination so often feeds the "superior" rational function it tends to be held in abeyance. Intellectual development at the superstructure level is also largely dormant at this time. Such development at the substructure level as it more closely related to the affective mode is however still active. It is not as intense as in the previous stage. However one still has to deal with intellectual type projections exposing one's continuing difficulty in adjusting to conventional attitudes.