Climbing the Totem Pole

Montreal, November 7, 1998

Fawn took another long swig from her litre bottle of coke as they drove out to Kanesetake. She had been desperate to get the needed ten bucks for a crack hit and had struck paydirt when a guy gave her the once over down on lower St. Laurent. He said he would double her proposition to twenty if she would swallow it, and she had unthinkingly agreed. She would have reneged when the time came, but had had no room to manoevre in the cramped back seat of his compact car and when his profuse ejaculate came, he had held her head so tightly that there was no escape and she had to gulp it down or choke.

She thought of the 'Darwinian Awards' someone had just shown her, where two guys decided to play a game of russian roulette but didn't know the difference between a revolver and a semiautomatic. At least the game was over quickly for one of them, she had mused. Even though she worried about an ultimate death from AIDS after each of her carelessly handled tricks, part of her died an immediate death each time, and the thought of removing her own genetic material from the human 'gene pool' was growing stonger by the day.

Yvan, her long time friend and frequent 'chauffeur', pulled his old clunker up onto the grass by a graying shack of a building and they went inside to join the group. This would be the sixth and penultimate session of their 'stories and issues' self-instruction session. Fawn hesitated on getting out of the car, noticing a telltale white dribble stain down the front of her beige jumper, ... but resumed her stride after reflecting on the difficulty of 'fixing' it and in the optimism that it would in any event be taken for toothpaste or whatever, and would not draw those knowing smiles which could so brutally strip away her self-worth and leave her feeling naked.

Christie started off the discussion. "I think Emile is being insensitive and manipulative. He knows full well how uncomfortable it is to get into sensitive personal issues, and he could have easily avoided this by picking a topic to write on which had nothing to do with the current actions of his writer's group'.

Kia, whose full indian name 'Kia-lalaweik' which her friends had shortened for convenience, came in quickly on the heels of Christie's statement; "I don't think Emile is being either of those things. If we think back to the material in session one, Emile mentioned two things which seem relevant here. One was the myth of Psyche and Eros, about the four stages of metamorphosis of the self, and how Psyche must make a journey to the underworld, to obtain from Persephone, the queen of the underworld, a jar of her beauty ointment, and how she must not let herself be stopped by others in pain, who want her to stop. The second point was written into Emile's essay 'Complexity and the 'Learning Organization''. He gave Maya a reprint of this early on in the story, to help explain where he was coming from. It says in this paper that "the initial task in a newly-formed team is 'converting chickens to pigs'" in the context of a bacon and egg breakfast. The personalness of the team-members engagement must escalate from armslength transactions to skin-in-the-game co-resonance if the team is to reach 'high performance' or 'creative' mode, as a team."

Christie quickly retorted: "That proves that Emile is being manipulative, because who said it was up to him to make this conversion from chicken to pigs happen? Who does he think he is, God?"

Yvan's calming voice broke in: "After reading all of the materials for these six sessions, it seems to me that it is not Emile who is making anything happen, .... all of them, Maya, Jackie, Murray, Amy and the others, are mature individuals who are not going to allow themselves to be manipulated by someone else. From my own exposure to the thoughts of the elders, one must try to observe the teachings of honesty, kindness, sharing and strength. The way I interpret honesty and strength fits with what Emile has said about the myth of Psyche and Eros, ... one must follow one's ontogenetic purpose as honestly and strongly as one can, and even if others are in pain, pain which inevitably comes from one's own experiential history, and asks you to stop, you must continue on. This is not a case of controlling anyone else, it is simply being more truthful to one's authentic purpose than the white man's culture normally allows."

Kia picked up on Yvan's points: "I agree with Yvan. Emile mentions Janis Joplin several times in the session materials, and he is clearly touched by her singing and her philosophy. He quotes from her "love-oozing" rendering of 'Ball and Chain' from a 1970 summer concert in Calgary, a few months before her death. ... "I don't understand why half the world is still crying while the other half is still crying too, man, .... and it can't get it together.'. And he compares Janis' words on letting one's love flow "now", and not putting it off till tomorrow, ... "tomorrow never happens, .... its all the same fucking day man", with non-euclidian space-time perception. My conclusion is that Emile is trying to quit operating on the basis of the white man's culture of political correctness and dishonesty, and he is in his own way trying to embrace the honesty and openness of Janis Joplin, or of the mythopoetic peoples' traditions. He is very aware of how the black and white judgements and political correctness of the west work together to infuse dysfunction into groups, and quoted the psychologist R. D. Laing on this in session two; "They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play the game, of not seeing I see the game."

Fawn speaks up for the first time: "This is so clear what Laing is saying, ... we all tend to hide what we are really thinking and feeling, and everyone plays the game because they fear the judgement that is hiding beneath the politically correct facade of the group. It is these judgements that can tear one's soul to pieces."

Christie voice becomes consoling as she responds; "Yes, I must admit that when we are in groups, we are always trying to stay with 'safe' politically correct material and that means staying away from the 'now' that Joplin speaks of, because to be 'in the moment' is to open up and put one's 'self' at risk. This is very scary and uncomfortable, but that is also how Emile described the feelings of all of the members of the high performance teams he studied. So maybe there is another way of interpreting what really went on twenty years ago in the yellow door, in this 1998 writer's workshop."

Fawn: "You know, I have never thought of this before, but it occurs to me that Jean Houston's 'Search for the Beloved' which we got in our workshop materials, has the same kind of "geometry", to borrow one of Emile's terms, as the totem pole. To have union with the raven or the eagle, does not only mean physical metamorphosis, but moving one's life up into a new 'sphere', like the sphere of air which encloses the sphere of the earth. A new sphere growing out of the conflict in the old sphere which kind of accretes around the old sphere and subsumes it. Houston says that great stories are 'soul-making', because in them you 'die to one story to be reborn to a larger one'. This means that you are not just reading or watching the story like a voyeur, but you are a part of the story, ... a participant in it, and when there is joy or trouble in the story, it is as if you, the reader, is immersed in that joy or trouble as well."

Yvan: "Yes, this seems to be consistent with Emile's interpretation of Kepler's views, ... that there are two ways to perceive the world, ... as being immersed in the sphere of space-time, or looking at it in a detached way, as if one were watching a film on a flat screen in a movie-theater. It seems that the white man's culture, through it's political correctness, is always trying to put perception into voyeur mode, making it safer and more comfortable but far less honest. So when the writer's workshop members pick story themes which do not contain themselves, or at least purport them not to contain themselves, that automatically puts them into 'voyeur' or 'rational' mode and takes them out of 'shared space' and intuitive mode."

Kia: "I agree. And what I think Emile was intending with his 'converting chickens to pigs' metaphor, was that the team needs to have 'skin in the game' in order to be able to 'see' themselves in their own story. If they do not see themselves in their stories, they cannot stand on their own shoulders, like the totem pole spirits, and understand what is really going on. Without 'skin in the game', they will miss the 'evolutionary' patterns and thus will be unable to ride the evolutionary flow into the new sphere which opens up for them new views which are large enough to contain their old judgements. This is what Emile intends by quoting Benoit, the baker; " ... it is time for us to become larger than our judgements."

Fawn, smiling: "Kia, you cheat, ... it sounds like you have read the material for the last session and we're not supposed to read it until we get to it! I don't see how this writer's workshop group could rise above their current state of conflict, .... that's not believable. Kia, does it really happen, .... does the group rise to a new sphere of understanding?"

Kia: "Fawn, all real stories are like our never-ending creation myth, ... the story of turtle island, with its gentle and hard brothers and the stealing of the waters of life. Real stories contain us as well as our ancestors. We are in the story of the writer's workshop along with Maya and Emile and the others, and they are in ours. We are each of us the hard brother and the gentle brother as well. Staying immersed in the unity of space-time which includes us all, ... that is, staying in both the intuitive and rational worlds at once without splitting them apart and choosing one, is what enables us to 'die in one story and be born into a larger one'. It is the union of Psyche and Eros and it is the choice of each of us whether we want to take that chance, to risk being in the 'one' of spacetime which connects all stories. It is a risk because, unlike the white man's films, we do not know where the story will go. But we do know that it will go on forever because whenever new patterns emerge in the flow, and however they may metamorphose, they are in the flow forever more and can never be removed. Ontogenetic time is irreversible."

Everyone went very still in the wake of Kia's words, and a spooky feeling came over the group as if spirits had filtered in around them like an evening seafog, and the thunderbird had flown overhead. The spookiness soon gave way to a rising tide of love and warmth which flooded into the 'now' of the moment, and they welcomed this immersion which seemed to permeate to the core of their beings.

Fawn, normally shy in these workgroup gatherings, pulled her sweater up and over her head with apparent indifference to the fact that she was wearing no bra, her firm young breasts jiggling and then settling from the abrupt act, and then, in their exposed nakedness, seeming to stare back out at the group in honesty and strength. "I'm going to clean up my sweater" she said, as she got up and headed for the washroom.

"Yes, we know, they smiled."

* * *


Epilogue to "Climbing the Totem Pole"

November 8, 1998

"Climbing the Totem Pole", as a story, was in about as much trouble as its protagonist, Fawn by the end of the first paragraph, ... but was it the right kind of trouble?

I guess it was always clear to me that one has a choice in the story-writing business, or 'art' if you prefer, to write something which is comfortable, clear and satisfying, ... i.e. to write to 'the market' and to 'political correctness', or, ... to write something which wounds, but in so doing, opens the door to learning (the writer's, if no-one elses).

One has to look at one's motivations, ... or should I say, one has to try to look 'through' one's motivations. Is it the motivation to immortalize oneself by one's words? .... to become rich and famous? .... to do something really 'heroic'?

Working in the domain of team performance and dysfunction, and approaching it from the deep fundamentals of modern physics and modes of perception and inquiry, has exposed me to some very eye-opening insights which I feel compelled to at least try to share. My motivation, as far as I can determine it, seems to come out of a sense of 'dramatic irony', in knowing how our oversimplified euclidian interventions into the 'evolutionary flow' of collaborative life can involuntarily infect and fester, .... an awareness that the rampant dysfunction in the modern world is very tightly tied to our outdated modes of perceiving space and time, .... and in how we tell our 'stories'.

The 'old game' is clearly up and it is particularly the young who 'smell' it. And since they don't yet have satisfactory alternatives, that's why their suicide and depression, schizophrenia, alcohol and drug abuse incidence is rising exponentially. As Ernest Becker says; "The crisis of modern society is precisely that the youth no longer feel heroic in the plan for action that their culture has set up. They don't believe it is empirically true to the problems of their lives and times. We are living a crisis of heroism that reaches into every aspect of our social life: the dropouts of university heroism; the rise of the anti-heroes, those who would be heroic each in his own way or like Charles Manson with his special 'family', those whose tormented heroics lash out at the system that itself has ceased to represent agreed heroism. The great perplexity of our time, the churning of our age, is that the youth have sensed --- for better or for worse --- a great social-historical truth: that just as there are useless self-sacrifices in unjust wars, so too is there an ignoble heroics of whole societies; it can be the viciously destructive heroics of Hitler's Germany or the plain debasing and silly heroics of the acquisition and display of consumer goods, the piling up of money and privileges that now characterizes whole ways of life, capitalist and Soviet."

For me, there is a microcosmic emergence of the worst of Becker's scenario in the first paragraph in 'Climbing the Totem Pole', when Fawn debases herself for, ..... but wait a minute, ..... is the 'story' about the debasement and transformation of Fawn? Does my storytelling instinct want me to concentrate on the positive space 'choices and decisions' of Fawn and exclude the surrounding canvas, ... or to stray into the far richer 'negative space' of 'heroism gone wrong?' .... into the euclidian world of 'all or nothing' where our linear sense of heroism seems to derive from. Is the story more about the dysfunctional 'winner' than the 'loser'?, ... is it about Rieff's 'infantile unconscious' --- " the 'all-or-nothing' of the person who cannot 'partialize' his world [cannot live with ambiguity and inclusion]. One who bursts out in boundless megalomania, transcending all limits, or bogs down into wormhood like a truly worthless sinner?" (i.e. one who cannot stay in both the world of the gentle brother and the hard brother simultaneously)

The particular shadow attractor which gives Fawn her 'trick', the 'Persean Complex', which seeks to objectify another person as an extension of oneself, or one of it's three shadow attractor brothers (or sisters) lurks in all of us; i.e. "To varying degrees, most males adopt all four defense mechanisms since they experience all four modes of dependencies." [see footnote 1.] . So psychologists would say that Fawn's customer 'feels' justified in his violent forcing and objectifying action because he has tuned into his culturally ingrained 'hero' status.

Now I'm not very partial to all the complex stuff that psychologists conjure up, rooted in Greek mythology, much of which is innately euclidian and screwed up and then psychologically 'analyzed' in euclidian terms, and I don't have any problem with consenting adults acting out their fantasies and fetishes, .... my point is simply that the forces of political correctness and the suppression of sexual issues presents an enormous barrier for 'getting real' in our stories and still having an audience (the answer, to me, is not to chain the audiences in their chairs and flog them with your storylines, but to extend the story-telling paradigm in some way).

It's clear to me that Fawn's customer doesn't have to take the degradation hit, and neither does the corporate CEO who pisses away a few hundred 'heads' in a downsizing operation. In fact, our culture will pay him around 200 times as much as his average employee gets, as compensation for his heroism.

But there I go again, getting off into 'negative space' issues, when I'm supposed to keep my focus on a clearly structured 'positive space' storyline.

Ok let's get back to positive space characterization. What did Jose Ortega y Gasset say about the human character? .... "Take stock of those around you and you will ... hear them talk in precise terms about themselves and their surroundings, which would seem to point to them having ideas on the matter. But start to analyze those ideas and you will find that they hardly reflect in any way the reality to which they appear to refer, and if you go deeper you will discover that there is not even an attempt to adjust the ideas to this reality. Quite the contrary; through these notions the individual is trying to cut off any personal vision of reality, of his own very life. For life is at the start a chaos in which one is lost. The individual suspects this, but he is frightened at finding himself face to face with this terrible reality, and tries to cover it with a curtain of fantasy, where everything is clear. It does not worry him that his 'ideas' are not true, he uses them as trenches for the defense of his existence, as scarecrows to frighten away reality."

This is my personal 'crisis' with 'story-telling', .... I am rapidly coming to believe that the typical modern story or screenplay is a deceptively clear 'curtain of fantasy', ... a 'scarecrow to frighten away reality.' And at the heart of this fantasy is this Greek euclidian notion of the winner-take-all hero, ... the shadow-invested version of 'The American Dream'. The guys who wrote 'Goodwill Hunting' get sucked in, by success, into the roles that their protagonist would not stand for. .... 'winning is everything', as they say, ... and a convincing story of an underdog-hero can pole-vault you to the top.

But my goal was not to get bogged down in 'tragic mirror' issues of psycho-pathology, as I have done so far in this epilogue, it was to find some story-telling techniques to 'grow some flowers', to bring out the harmonies so that the sun might shine and the breeze might freshly blow; ... sure, maybe that would involve putting some wounding materials in there that initially shock or disgust or whatever, .... and demand greater degrees of honesty and strength than are normally demanded of the reader, but if the technique would allow one to 'die to one's old story and be reborn to a larger one', it seems worth some effort .

So let's start looking at the 'harmonic' issues and 'take it again, ... from the top.';

"Climbing the Totem Pole", as a story, was in about as much trouble as Fawn by the end of the first paragraph, and there was no way it was going to be redeemed by any linear structural tactics. As far as harmonic redemption, it has become clear to me, that this is very much tied to the reader's need. In fact, it has been clear for quite some time as a general philosophical principle. Wittgenstein said it way back in the forties, in his 'Philosophical Investigations'; i.e. that structure is not the result of our investigations, but the requirement, and that to get rid of structure, i.e. so as to see the 'real picture' which the structure is obscuring, one has to flip the reference axis around and view things from the point of view of 'real need'.

What he intended was also exemplified in his writing, in that in his early writing, he had tried to logically analyze and structure things (Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus) and had subsequently come to see that this was an artificial approach and in order to see the harmonic patterns (he described his later writing as 'bad musical composition' (which rings some cracked bells with me also)), you had to look at things from the point of view of your real need, and not from the point of view of making clear sense out of it, since real experience is not about 'clean logical structure'.'

So what will it be, 'structure' or 'harmony', .... or perhaps, 'harmony and structure'. Just as there are two fundamental ways of perceiving space-time, ... as being immersed in it and participating in it, ... or as seeing it as a spectator watches a play, these same two choices are available for stories. To feel like you are 'immersed' in the story, you must have a real 'stake' in it, just like the pig does in the bacon and egg breakfast. Otherwise, you just won't see the harmonic patterns, .... you'll be too busy trying to make sense out of the story or sitting back and having the story 'voice' spoon feed the meaning to you. To be immersed in it, you must know your purpose, know what you want and as the story proceeds, you will be looking for ways to connect things so as to satisfy your purpose, YOUR real need; .... 'as above, so below'.

This is the kind of story that Jean Houston talks about in 'Search for the Beloved', the kind "which engages us at our most fragile and wounded edges.", and where the answers cannot possibly come from the storyline context, but must come from deep within ourselves, from our own unique experience.

The opening scene in 'Climbing the Totem Pole' was admittedly ugly and uncomfortable, .... the downward spiralling geometry of it made me think about a friend who was a successful senior professional in a large corporation, then about three years ago after being laid off in a downsizing, he stepped onto one of those nasty slippery slopes where the image takes a hit and the choices get rapidly worse, further reducing the image and making the choices still worse. But the 'death spiral' feature of an exclusionary, judgemental culture, wasn't the only uncomfortable aspect in the opening scene, ... there were several more shadowy forms lurking just under the surface which involved those dark weaves of sex and power which thread into various aspects of modern life and can tickle our gonads and make us start questioning ourselves (not out loud, of course, .... at least not to the point you say 'hey group, did you ever get the real kinky orgasmic feeling that you wanted to XXX and be XXX 'ed?).

Moving along, ... just as Fawn was not going to find her way out of that deep a hole with linear structure, neither was my story, and that brings me to the real crux of this epilogue; ... our cultural story-telling format appears to be often, or most often, for voyeur entertainment and where meangingful issues are dealt with, they tend to be dealt with at the mechanical healing level. I'm not complaining about what I'm learning about story-telling because I've learned alot, but I was assuming that the standard medium would have some paradigmatic transformative potential, which seems to me, now, to be conspicuous by its absence.

So, I shall continue to move on in my harmonic story-telling quest, playing with my notions of 'mythic impressionism', and waiting for new insights to emerge. Meanwhile, just in case there's any other would-be non-euclidian storytellers out there, I'll close this epilogue out by summarizing a couple of my story-telling 'findings';

1. "Conte-ogeny recapitulates Culto-geny" (Story-Telling Ontogeny recapitulates Cultural Ontogeny)

The different approaches between aboriginal myth and storytelling a la McKee ("Story") etc. mirrors the different geometries of the respective cultures. On the one hand, the aboriginal culture puts intangible patterns in primacy in its life-navigating schema; i.e. it uses 'guiding beacons' such as honesty, kindness, sharing and strength and would have the individual key them to the unique circumstances in which the individual finds himself, in a co-resonant approach which over time, from which his 'image' as a person will 'emerge'. On the other hand, the western culture uses the channel-markers of generalized 'good' or 'bad' tangible behaviors to guide him along linear 'choice and decision' pathways or 'causal progressions' which he will use to 'construct' and 'manage' his own 'image' as a person. While the former approach tends to lead to a 'discovery of self', the latter tends to lead to 'self-management of one's image'.

The aboriginal approach then, is 'pattern-recognition' based and has the properties of inclusion (you include everything you know about both positive and negative space and intuit your appropriate action) and uniqueness (you come up with a unique response to a unique set of conditions). Meanwhile the western approach is 'logic-based' and has the properties of exclusion (you make one decision at a time based on your issue-focused perceptions (positive space) and exclude everything else (negative space)) and generalization oriented (you base your choices and decisions on cultural generalizations of what's 'good' or 'bad').

2. Natural systems and Aboriginal Myth vs. Western Story-Telling

Nature, as we know it from physics, is about 'emergent and 'subductive' 'space-time geometries', whether this be at the level of molecules, the solar system, plate tectonics or the growing of a sunflower. Things come up-and-out and things go back-down-and-in, .... but in a far from linear fashion. The new subsumes the old, just like an expanding bubble subsumes its prior bubble-space-time, the latter effectively subducting down into the interior to participate in the continuing irreversible recycling. The cycling is not 'circular' but spherical (i.e. it is volumetric rather than planar), as is obvious in the case of plate tectonics or the growth of a fertilized ovum, and we do not perceive it in terms of 'things'-and-'cause' or 'subject' and 'object', since the whole system (subject, object and containing space) is continuously metamorphosing 'whole' wherein 'things' have no persisting 'identity'. Instead, we experience it geometrically; i.e. we perceive it's intangible patterns in a holistic way through our sensory perceptions; i.e. by bringing our real and imaginary (thought experiment) experiences 'into connection' in our mind. We (can) call this an 'intuitive' view.

We call the knowledge we get from the intuitive view, 'implicit knowledge'; ... this is geometrical rather than contextual knowledge and is about dynamical patterns and we cannot voluntarily recall it but we can 'know it when we see or experience it', just as we know how to ride a bicycle or work with a friend when we engage with them. We can't articulate it either because it is high-dimensional 'co-resonant' or 'harmonic' knowledge, and is only meaningful in the context of 'mutual' dynamics; i.e., as the mutual dynamics between you and your bicycle or the mutual dynamics between you and your friend where mutual dynamics give rise to 'emergent behaviors' which have the needed space-time coherency.

Meanwhile, we can also conceptualize the world in a euclidian manner where we 'fix' the identity of 'things', labelling them as named 'objects' and modelling the world as if it is being changed by a progression of causal transactions amongst things. This may not be a bad approximation over small space-time regions, but wouldn't work at all over geologic time, since m+ost of the labelled 'things' would no longer retain their identity (they, and you, would be recycled). The problem of fixing the identity of 'things' is fundamental and is tied up in Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, and in Kepler's equivalent principle in the celestial domain; i.e. since the over system is continually metamorphosing, it can never be anything but approximative to think in the euclidian terms of 'things' and 'void'. We call this euclidian approximative view a 'rational' view and it provides the standard perceptual framework for western story-telling.

Some of the geometrical properties of aboriginal myth can be gleaned from this excerpt form "Family of Earth and Sky" by Elder and Wong.; "In North America, three fundamental types of creation myth are acknowledged widely: The Emergence myth, the Earth-Diver myth, and the Made-from-Earth myth. Each of these myth-types has a rich diversity of traditions, ... The Navajo Emergence myth tells how early forms of the people emerged from the First World through the Second, Third and Fourth Worlds and finally into the Fifth World, where First Man and First Woman were created from two ears of corn. Whereas emergence is a movement up and out, the movement of Earth-Diver myths is down and in (and then up and out)."

As can be seen from the above descriptions, both natural systems behaviors and North American Native myth have a non-euclidian geometry of emergence and subduction, while standard fare western story-telling has a positive-space only 'rational' structure based on the euclidian notion of 'things' and 'void'. The rational mode of story-telling puts the audience in the role of a spectator or 'voyeur', focusing on the choices and decisions of the protagonist and the other characters; i.e. it would have you focus on the positive space structural features. The intuitive mode, rather than giving you a structural picture, will expose you to several subregions of space-time which are 'harmonically related'; i.e. they are part of a convergent or divergent or emergent or subducting flow-pattern. If you look for structure, you may not find too much but if you bring the whole story into connection in your mind, you will find yourself being sucked in and sitting immersed within the story and you will feel the impact and relational attachments of a participant. The story will have 'used you' to the point that it brings you in and wounds or transforms you.

In 'The Magic Mirror', the aim was to 'wound' at the end of the story, at the moment of discovery when the reader recognized that the dead woman was Laura the brilliant scientist rising to cultural stardom. The reader was then left to themselves to resolve the 'whys' of the feeling of pain (e.g. because Laura had put so much off into the future, as the culture demands, as opposed to being in the now).

In 'Climbing the Totem Pole', the aim was to be immersed in the story along with Fawn when she reached the transformational point of 'dying to her old story and being reborn in a larger one'. The story-within-a-story geometry (referring back to Emile and Maya etc.) was to set up the negative space patterns which could allow one to parachute down in there with Fawn. Since I wrote it, I was indeed able to be there with Fawn, but for the non-authoring reader, I suspect the self-referential patterning which was intended to provide transportation would have come across as crude and tricky.

'That's all folks.' .... and for some loony tunes and merry melodies, be sure to read the psycho-pathological footnote and the referenced web paper.

"We saw the enemy, ... and it was us."

* * *

Return to '98 Update Page and Index of Essays

[1] "A quadrant of Analysis of Male Sexual Pathology"

An examination of male fantasies, pornography, perversions, and sexually related social practices, show that they fall easily into the quadrant of male complexes [Persean, Dionysian, Appolonian and Heraclean], as the following chart [omitted] will show:

To varying degrees, most males adopt all four defense mechanisms since they experience all four modes of dependencies. As some males mature, certain complexes come to predominate according to the nature of individual experience. A male child who is overly caressed and mildly disciplined by a strong-willed mother could develop as a Dionysian, while a child raised in an all-male atmosphere, such as that of a private school where sports and military activities are stressed, may develop a pronounced Heraclean complex. However, most males oscillate between two or more poles of the quadrant. We can place well-known figures or types of male persons on the quadrant as paradigm examples.

Males can also oscillate across the diagonals. A celibate Virgin Mary worshipper could oscillate between the Apollonian and the Dionysian, while a Nazi death camp commandant who goes home at night to his wife and children would oscillate between the Persean and the Heraclean. The knight who managed an estate with wife and family while worshipping his courtly lover, and at the same time periodically raping peasant women, would oscillate between the Persean, Dionysian, and Heraclean.

There is an exhilaration in exercising power over another person. The drive for power is one of the most fundamental in human experience. When power is exercised by males over females it clearly takes on a sexual dimension. This interrelationship is reflected in the widespread use of phallic imagery within the symbolism of power. The most common form of male profanity, in the English language at least, is "fuck you" or "screw you." Women are called "cunts" and to have sexual intercourse with a woman is often referred to as "poking" a woman. Underneath all this terminology and imagery is a deep pathology wherein male sexuality and male power are closely interrelated