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Lady Aquila

Jul 18, 05 - 3:27 PM
Sexual Assumptons

Some notes on the "conceptualisation" of homosexuality toward the end of the 19th century:

I suspect a few things went into the making of this. One was the Victorian "romantic" emphasis on marriage as the main and central affection in a person's life. The other, and increasingly predominant, one in the 20th century was the progressive sexualisation of thought following (and perhaps necessitating) Freud.

Strong, intimate friendships between people of the same sex were regarded as normal before the mid-19th century. They were not seen as sexual, but the word "love" was freely used in such contexts, not having been narrowed down, as it has been today, by Victorian romanticism (and its successor sentiments encountered in the lyrics of most pre-Eclipse popular songs - and possibly post-Eclipse ones too: I wouldn't know) and Freudesque sexualism.

Modern biographers routinely brand (or laud) any and all evidences of strong same-sex affection in earlier people as "homosexual", incidentally finding therein huge evidence for the liberal contention that homosexuality has always been rife among a relatively large percentage of the population. It does not take vast historical understanding to see that this interpretation is laughably anachronistic and consists of reading current attitudes (not to say obsessions) into the hearts of people with a very different outlook on life.

Part of the problem here is that of reductionism. Miss Trent speaks of the three great reductionisms of the later 19th century: those associated with the names of Darwin (reduction of form to material accident), Marx (reduction of human culture to economics and power-relations) and Freud (reduction of the higher human emotions and sensibilities to sex - "sublimated" or otherwise). How far these reductionisms actually represent the thought of the persons named is relatively unimportant. They are really shorthand ways of referring to three reductionist tendencies. That of Marx has long since ceased to be the exclusive property of the "left" and forms the basis of most contemporary politico-historical understanding.

Each of the three is much more far-reaching than it at first appears (between them amounting to an almost complete re-writing of human perception). In the case of "Freudism" one of the many corollaries is that the multitude of various and subtle, frissons associated with the intricacies of human relations have been fraudulently reduced to one single "underlying" cause - the urge to procreation. As a result, by the end of adolescence, if not long before, most people have either suppressed them or explicitly sexualised them.

With them depart a whole range of subtle and often elevating human emotions - all thrown carelessly into the "sex" bucket and either embraced or discarded as such: but in either case completely denatured

One of the dangers that confronts us now is that anti-homosexualists are doing the work of this "Freudesque" redefinition of the human heart every bit as thoroughly as homosexualists.
Princess Mushroom

Jul 18th, 2005 - 7:46 PM
Re: Sexual Assumptons

Of course it is easy to see how the other two reductionisms came out of the first one (the Darwinian).

If people are just "evolved animals" then their political institutions can only be extensions of animal self-interest rather than reflexions of the Divine Order.

If people are just "evolved animals" then their highest emotions and sensibilities can only be fancied-up versions of animal lusts.

Jul 19th, 2005 - 1:20 PM
Re: Sexual Assumptons

How true this all is! The much-touted (since the 1960s) notion that one person in ten is "homosexual" can certainly be sustained from the study of history - at least in the case of women - IF one relies on the asumption that every act, staement and letter which today would indicate a "homosexual" bent meant the same thing to our ancestresses. But, of course, it didn't.

Modern Freudesque (what a useful term!) writers, however, do not even need to make the above assumption. They can rest on the dogma that our "primitive" mothers did not understand what they were really feeling and it is only we, armed with Herr Doktor Freud's doctrines who can interpret their emotions for them.

I doubt if anyone here will fall for that one!

The truth is that the depths and subtleties of the human heart and its potential for beautiful affections are infinitely greater and more mysterious than the two-dimensional, animal-based asumptions of the Freud-Darwin Axis can possibly alow for or understand.

Were our ancestresses primitive? If by "primitive" we mean what the word actually means - closer to our Divine origins and therefore superior - they certainly were. If, on the othe hand, we mean it in the "evolutionist" sense of crude, unsophisticated, coarse and stupid, it is clear that the post-Freudians are the primitives.