The Sphinxlike Unconscious


Abstract: The enigma of the sphinx, in itself an apt symbol of the unconscious, is impenetrable due to the ultimately unknowable nature of the unconscious. Many-sidedness is its foremost characteristic. Yet it is argued that the psychoanalytic theory of over-determination [1] is inadequate. Unconscious multiformity can give rise to creative expressions in a dream. But the dream does not constitute an over-determined content. It is better viewed as the formulation of a wholeness from a composite of motifs. An important corollary is that the obsolescent notion of ‘primary narcissism’ [2] could be reinterpreted as a form of archaic wholeness wherein religiosity and instinctuality exist in an undifferentiated condition. Certain historical expressions of sexual cultic religion could be understood as a return to blissful ‘primary narcissism’.

Keywords: unconscious unknowability, primary narcissism, Oedipus, sphinx, original wholeness, over-determination, primal scene, hieros gamos, cult of sexuality.

The oedipal presumptuousness

Lying crouched on a rock, the sphinx (‘strangler’) accosted all who were about to enter the city of Thebes by asking them a riddle, “What is it that has four feet in the morning, two at noon, and three at night?” If they could not solve the riddle, she killed them. When the hero Oedipus solved the riddle by answering, “Man, who crawls on four limbs as a baby, walks upright on two as an adult, and walks with the aid of a stick in old age,” the sphinx threw herself down the precipice. For ridding them of this terrible monster, the Thebans made Oedipus their king. Yet, Oedipus was destined for a tragic end.

What was Oedipus’s mistake? The answer is that he mistakenly believed that he had solved the enigma of the sphinx by solving its childish riddle. As a consequence he fell into the trap of the sphinx. In a similar vein, by solving the sphinx’s riddle of sexual neurosis, Freud succeeded in resolving Vienna’s epidemic hysteria, similar to how Oedipus saved Thebes from the sphinx. As if he were emulating king Oedipus, Freud believed that he had finally solved the mystery of the sphinx.

But the unconscious is ultimately unknowable. Any theorist who claims to know what makes the clockwork of the unconscious tick has fallen into the trap of the sphinx. Adler fell into the same trap, and so did Kohut. They all climbed the throne of Oedipus Rex. These theorists all point at different aspects of the multivalent unconscious, which keeps presenting different riddles to be solved by the new aspiring King Oedipus. Carl Jung says:

Freud’s dogmatic rigidity is explained by the fact that he succumbed to the numinous effect of the primordial image he had discovered. If we assume with him that the incest motif is the source of all modern man’s psychological problems as well as of alchemical symbolism, this gets us nowhere as regards the meaning of symbols. On the contrary, we have landed ourselves in a blind alley, for we shall only be able to to say that all symbolism, present and future, derives from the primal incest. That is what Freud actually thought, for he once said to me: “I only wonder what neurotics will do in the future when it is generally known what their symbols mean.” (Jung, 1983, pp. 301-2)

It depends on a general reluctance to accept the nature of the unconscious as ultimately unknowable. Anybody who claims to know what is contained in the insentient dimension is effectively contradicting himself. It is not unconscious anymore if we claim to know what it contains. In a sense, it is self-contradictory, and amounts to a depreciation of the unconscious notion. It must be allowed to remain unrealized, not predetermined by theory. The latter is a mere trick that only causes the sphinx to later resurge in a new and even more threatening form. The unconscious is relatively knowable, but not predeterminable.

We should throw out the watered-down variant and accept the unconscious as ultimately unknowable. The resistance against a multivalent view depends on Oedipal fear; an unwillingness to accept the sphinxlike nature of the unconscious. The notion must be upgraded from a container of contents to a living reality capable of transforming itself and taking on new shapes. Although the sphinx is not wholly unpredictable, she is beyond the range of forecasts, much like the weather system in the next month.

The gist of orthodox psychoanalysis — the dimension of drives and instincts — is merely one part of the uncharted territory, and merely one of the guises of the sphinx. The orthodox theorist staunchly defends his idea against the one-eyed theses of all the other theorists. But the sphinx laughs at them all because they have fallen into the Oedipal trap — the presumptuous misconception that the riddle of the sphinx is once and for all solved.

Over-determination is inadequate

A psychoanalyst would retort that over-determination answers to the concept of multivalency (that is, having many meanings). A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis (1995) says:

(1) Over-determination. A symptom, dream-image, or any other item of behaviour is said to be over-determined if it has more than one meaning or expresses drives and conflicts derived from more than one level or aspect of the personality; or, alternatively, and perhaps preferably, if it provides a ‘final common pathway’ to a number of convergent tendencies. Since psychoanalysis assumes the presence of a residuum of wishes dating from the past and that the various stages of development are superimposed on one another in layers, all behaviour is regarded as over-determined in the sense that it is possible to interpret it as the result of simultaneous activity at several levels.

Over-determination, in psychoanalytic theory, implies that a dream, for instance, has more than one meaning, or that it expresses conflicts derived from more than one level of personality (cmp. Freud’s notion of the “onion-layers”). Obviously, the dream image “bird” can have different meanings depending on person and time. Yet, the notion of over-determination of dream content does not refer to the relativity of dream imagery.

In fact, the notion of over-determination is erroneous. The different images in a dream do not manifest themselves in a disconnected fashion. Should a particular image point at a deeper level of personality, it implies that this particular content is relevant to the dream as a whole. The different complexes are interconnected in the dream, forming a whole. One cannot peel off layer after layer in a dream and make different dream interpretations that are unrelated to each other. One must relate all interpretations to what one has found earlier in the dream. Thus, the theory of over-determination does not hold water.

A dream does not logically contradict itself. It does not speak gibberish and nonsense, saying that “an object which is round is not round.” The nonsense theory of dreams is commonplace among uninformed rationalistic people. What’s worse, there are psychoanalysts who also support this theory. In fact, a dream is a creative product of the unconscious — an expression of a coherent wholeness. A chair is a functional wholeness. Should one of the legs project upwards, then it would be self-contradictory and useless. In that case it is not a chair and therefore it is neither to be regarded a wholeness nor an “over-determined” content. In other words, it is nonsense.

The dream function does not produce nonsense. This explains why the objects in the universe can have being. A functioning whole cannot contradict itself because it would mean that it is no longer a functioning whole. In that case it is not an entity, but a heap of rubbish. Were the unconscious to combine the opposites “sitting still” with “moving about”, then it produces a vehicle, such as a car, which is not self-contradictory. The combination of two different principles produces a “vehicle”, which is a wholeness of the two seemingly incompatible contents. It is a functioning whole, a meaningful entity that may exist in the universe, and not a grotesque over-determined mixture of unrelated wishes and conflicts.

Dreams are never absurd or nonsensical. They are the creative products of an inner light, something which many thinkers in history have associated with the god image. It is described as a bodiless inner eye, surrounded by light, or itself a light. Plato and many a Christian mystic call it the eye of the soul. According to Paracelsus, man learns about this inner light through his dreams: “As the light of nature cannot speak, it buildeth shapes in sleep from the power of the word” (Liber de caducis). This inner light, according to Paracelsus, “is that which giveth faith” (cf. von Franz, 1998, p. 8). An eye is looking at us from within — the sphinx really exists. The presumptuous ones, who think that they have seen through the mystery of the sphinx, are only fooling themselves. Out of the darkness of the unknown emerges a divine light, which has much greater scope than one-sided ego consciousness.

Primary narcissism = archaic wholeness?

According to Freud, religious notions, such as the inner divine light as a motif from within, are derivatives of “primary narcissism.” However, the classical theory of primary and secondary narcissism is today viewed as obsolete by most authors on the subject. Secondary narcissism is defined as love of self which results from introjecting and identifying with an object. In some cases, the fixation on the love object is really predicated on an underlying secondary narcissism, which aims at ego cathexis. Cathexis means the investment of mental or emotional energy in a person, object, or idea. It is a narcissistic form of love, a theoretical notion which still holds true. For instance, a woman dates a film star to take part in his lustre.

(2) Primary narcissism is that form of self-love which is present at birth; in contrast to secondary narcissism, which only occurs after object-love has developed. (A Critical Dictionary of Psychoanalysis, 1995)

However, Otto Kernberg (1975, ch. 10) says that the concept of primary narcissism (love of self which precedes loving others) is no longer justified. Libidinal object-investment and primary self-investment of libido go hand in hand. From a metapsychological perspective, they are wholly coincident. It is kind of obvious. When we take an interest in an object, we build up a passion inside. Therefore it’s improper to say that all psychological motivation is ultimately based on narcissism. It’s equally proper to say the opposite. The notion of primary narcissism is regarded as obsolescent, whereas adult narcissistic strategy is viewed as a form of lingering and deep-rooted immaturity, sometimes dependent on hereditary factors (cf. Winther, 2004, here).

Psychoanalysts today are dealing only with more or less severe forms of secondary narcissism, although the qualifier ‘secondary’ is dropped. Historically, many a theorist has raised objections against Freud’s theory of ego development. According to this theory, the ego ideal is instituted during the development of the ego. Allegedly, the ego distances itself from primary narcissism, forms an ego-ideal, and proceeds to cathect objects. However, as long as the ego has not yet formed, there can be no ego cathexis. Hence, there cannot be a primary (or original) narcissism. The self-contradiction is glaringly obvious. Arguably, the theory would work should we postulate a preformed ego. But Freud does not make this definition; rather, he says that the ego develops from the Id. The Id is the completely unconscious division of the psyche that is the source of psychic energy derived from instinctual needs and drives.

So what does Freud really mean by the term primary narcissism, as the original form of ego cathexis? It seems that he means something else, which is very different from the narcissistic condition. It’s clear that the toddler’s condition is a suitable hook on which we can hang a projection of our own adult narcissism. Theorists tend to view them as little Oedipal kings with constant cravings. In fact, this is a perfect image of the negative side of the ego, which sometimes develops into a gluttonous monster. I hold that this is a projection of the shadow of adult ego nature. Adults tend to think that the toddler partakes in primitive and greedy ego nature, which we carry inside us, but which the toddler has not yet learnt to master. The child is viewed as a mini-adult who hasn’t learnt to control its cravings and wishes, due to an undeveloped super-ego.

This is a projection of the dark side of adult psychology. In truth, the child exists in an unbroken and primordial state, whereas adult psychology has been broken apart into subject and object. Accordingly, there is in adult psychology an outer and inner world, ego and object, outward façade versus unspoken thoughts, sentience contra insentience. The child, on the other hand, still remains in a condition of wholeness, which is what obtained before the Fall from Grace. In a sense, the child is on a higher psychological plane than the adult. The toddler’s very being is wholeness, whereas the adult has experienced the trauma of crashing into worldly reality, causing the destruction of his wholeness.

Arguably, the mystic, the Zen Buddhist monk, or the Taoist ascetic, is engaged in recreating the child’s condition of wholeness, prior to the partition of subject and object. This is not the same as ego cathexis, since that would not serve to cancel out subject and object, but would do the reverse. The mystic attempts to accomplish an egoless state through the decathection of the ego. The psychic condition of the toddler represents an original form of wholeness, whereas the mystic regains wholeness in a secondary form. Neither of these are related to narcissism. The mystic describes the condition as unity with God. It is high time that psychoanalysis ceases to project the notion of reversal to narcissism. Theorists ought to realize that the spiritual psychological condition is part and parcel of human nature.

To Freud, the longing for primary narcissism remains the original and actual impetus of religion. He says that the only ‘purpose’ in life is to restore one’s lost pleasure. The primacy placed on ‘the pleasure principle’, i.e., the rule according to which we seek to recover our lost wholeness or pleasure, relates to the notion of the ‘oceanic feeling’:

The ideational contents appropriate to it would be precisely those of limitlessness and of a bond with the universe — the same ideas with which my friend elucidated the “oceanic” feeling. (Freud, 2002, p. 15)

Religious ideation notoriously revolves around ‘primary wholeness’, or ‘original wholeness’. The paradisal condition is become lost and must be restored. Freud, it seems, simply adopts these religious notions, but substitutes ‘narcissism’ for ‘wholeness’. That’s why he interchangeably uses the terms ‘primary narcissism’ and ‘original narcissism’. In my reading, Freud concurs with religionists and mystics. The most central underlying drive of mankind is the restoration of original wholeness. It’s just that he renames it and calls it ‘the pleasure principle’. It could be construed as the pleasure of remaining with God in the oceanic feeling of limitlessness, in unison with the universe. So it turns out that Freud attaches great importance to the very same psychological condition which remains central to the spiritual perception of mankind. The way in which he attempts to force the experience of original wholeness into the Procrustean bed of drive satisfaction, makes him commit the logical error of denoting it a narcissistic form of gratification, which is an experience of conscious pleasure, of an ego consciousness which does not yet exist.

Apparently, we only have to change the wording, from ‘original narcissism’ to ‘original wholeness’, and from ‘pleasure principle’ to ‘spiritual principle’. In consequence Freud could be understood as a closet religious mystic. In fact, there is an ambivalence in Freud. Complete obedience to the pleasure principle, which means the recovery of lost wholeness in the original condition of pleasure, results in a return to the womb. It means the return to the mother in her guise as Mother of Death. This is really the underlying rationale for the death drive (Thanatos). In Oedipus’s return to the mother, we could probably uncover the principle of death. The pleasure principle, and concomitant death drive, has been largely ignored by later psychoanalysts, in favour of the Oedipus and the primacy of sexuality. However, should they reinterpret primary narcissism as primary wholeness, many interesting results would be forthcoming. What strengthens this perception is Carl Jung’s biographical observation that Freud’s sexual theory had clear religious undertones:

There was no mistaking the fact that Freud was emotionally involved in his sexual theory to an extraordinary degree. When he spoke of it, his tone became urgent, almost anxious, and all signs of his normally critical and skeptical manner vanished. A strange, deeply moved expression came over his face, the cause of which I was at a loss to understand. I had a strong intuition that for him sexuality was a sort of numinosum […]
  Sexuality evidently meant more to Freud than to other people. For him it was something to be religiously observed […] One thing was clear: Freud, who had always made much of his irreligiosity, had now constructed a dogma; or rather, in the place of a jealous God whom he had lost, he had substituted another compelling image, that of sexuality. It was no less insistent, exacting, domineering, threatening, and morally ambivalent than the original one. Just as the psychically stronger agency is given “divine” or “daemonic” attributes, so the “sexual libido” took over the role of a deus absconditus, a hidden or concealed god […] The name alone had changed, and with it, of course, the point of view: the lost god had now to be sought below, not above. (Jung, 1989, pp. 150-51)

According to Freud, the central wish is to achieve sexual union with the mother; so it is plausible to think of this in terms of unconscious religious worship of the Mother, reminiscent of the pagan worship of the Mother goddess. The “god below” could be understood as the Earth Mother, and Freud’s notion of the “farce of culture” as representing the sublimation of Mother worship. I believe we can find in Freud’s writings that primary narcissism is really religio-sexual.

Primary narcissism in cultic religion

In 1781 it was found that the nuns of the Dominican convent of St Catherine in Prato, Italy, led by the prioress, Sister Spighi, were preaching Catharist doctrines. They declared that since man’s soul partakes of the supreme essence it is immortal and divine, and therefore sinless and free. The love of man for woman is the noblest example of divine law, and the sexual union the most perfect fulfillment of it. So also, any person, man or woman, who has physical enjoyment with a person of the same sex, or alone, also fulfils the divine law, by lifting up his or her spirit to God. Asked by the members of the shocked commission sent to enquire into the matter, where they had received their teaching, they replied, “From the deep and honest searchings of natural inclinations and of those around us” (cf. Walker, 1983, pp. 179-80).

This type of gnostic sect occurs repeatedly throughout the Christian era. The story about the libertine nuns and monks in Prato is told in the memoirs of Scipio de Ricci. Certain of these sects wanted to emulate the blessed state of Adam and Eve before the Fall, and were therefore known as Adamites. Historically, they were replete in France, but also existed in prudent America:

A number of these societies also practiced Adamism and free sex. Their exponents condemned modesty as a mark of hypocrisy and corruption, because no one in whom the sight of a nude person of the opposite sex excited feelings of lust, unease, shame, or modesty, could be called pure. This curious philosophy reached its zenith with the Perfectionists, founded at Oneida Creek, New York State, by John Humphrey Noyes (d. 1886). He introduced a system of ‘complex marriage’, under which wedded members had to surrender the ‘ownership’ of their wives and husbands, and each could cohabit with anyone they pleased. He stressed the benefits of coitus reservatus in preventing conception, promoting male continence, conserving male energy, gratifying the woman’s needs, and at the same time providing a wonderful spiritual experience. (cf. Walker, 1983, p. 185)

I suppose Stanley Kubrick, in Eyes Wide Shut (Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman), wants to give us an insight into this form of cultic sexual religiosity. One insight is how boring it is. It explains why such sects must adhere to cultic beliefs and rituals, otherwise the whole shindy would be experienced as quite insipid and trite (Warner Bros. digitally altered the orgy for the American release, blocking out graphic sexuality). Of course, to a person who lacks faith, the experience of the Christian service and Eucharist would be experienced as boring, too. The above excerpt is not particularly sensational. History is full of cults of sexuality. The Gnostic form of licentious sects were notorious for eating menstrual and seminal fluid as a sacramental meal.

[The] power that resided in the life-seed contained the imperishable soul-spark. Semen and menses had therefore to be consumed as a sacrament, for these substances held the pure light. The Bible directs, ‘Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well’ (Prov. 5: 15) […]
These texts were taken to refer to the male and female fluids, and Borborians accordingly enjoined their members to consume their own substance […]
  For semen too they dreamed up their contrived corroboration. This from the Bible (Ps. 1. 3): ‘He shall be like a tree [the male member] planted by the rivers of water [testicles] that bringeth forth his fruit [semen] in his season [ejaculation]; his leaf also shall not wither [because he does not allow it to go to waste or into the vagina].’ […]
  They used the seed of masturbation, sodomy, or natural intercourse, believing it to be poured out of the ‘horn of salvation’, in support of which they found several allusions in the Bible. Epiphanius describes the rite of spermepotation practiced by the Phibionites. At the moment of the man’s ejaculation the woman lets her partner go, withdraws her body, and receives the emitted semen in her palm. She stands up naked throwing back her head, and pretends to pray, offering as an oblation to God the shameful product of their immorality. Then saying, ‘This is the body of Christ’, she consumes it (Campbell, Creative Mythology, 1968, p. 160).
  St Augustine in his account of the Manichean (gnostic) system speaks of confessions made by certain women of Carthage about the scandals associated with their cult. On examination it was later confirmed that ‘ground meal was sprinkled underneath the copulating pair to absorb the semen so that it could be mixed and consumed’ (Allegro, The Dead Sea Scrolls…, 1979, p. 130). (Walker, 1983, pp. 130-31)

If we compare this phenomenon with the traditional psychoanalytic discourse, there are similarities in how they reason about religious symbols, e.g., tree = male member, fruit = semen, etc. The orthodox Freudian believes in the primacy of the pleasure principle. This notion, viewed as a longing, could be understood as the restoration of original wholeness, i.e., a merger with the godhead. According to the Adamites it represents the uncorrupted paradisal state in which man walked around naked, and was unashamed of his/her sexual nature. This is the “pleasure principle”, or original wholeness. Says Walker, quoting Irenaeus:

They take potions to augment their lusts. Following Adam, whose nakedness before the Fall they try to emulate, they divest themselves of their clothing during their rites. After their banquets of feasting and drinking, the lights are extinguished and men and women enjoy one another indiscriminately. Carnal appetites, they aver, belong to nature, and one must therefore repay to nature what is her due. Therefore, continues Irenaeus quoting their teachings, as they render to the spirit what belongs to the spirit, so they render to the flesh what belongs to the flesh, and serve intemperately their basest desires. They hold that sexual activity, being one of the features of society that has become institutionalized, must for that reason be fiercely attacked. (Walker, 1983, pp. 127-28)

Freud would probably have interpreted the scene as a regress to primal narcissism. It was for him the root of religious sentiment; a return to the full satisfaction of the pleasure principle. Many authors have commented on the modern era of Flower Power, and free love, as a narcissistic phenomenon of similar type. The scene of debauchery, as representing the paradisal condition, is the prime mover of religion, according to Freud. The scene of primal narcissism represents the religious restitution of paradise, which is the most basic form of religious cult. Arguably, this is what Freud really means by primal narcissism, namely the very point where instinctuality and religiosity intersect. On this view, the pleasure principle is not only characterized by instinctuality, but also by religiosity. It is hard to differ between the two at this cultic level.

Arguably, orthodox Freudianism is, in a furtive way, predicated on the same idea as libertine Gnosticism. Psychoanalysis as a science and a therapeutic technique is merely the daylight aspect. Behind the scientific veil hides the Gnostic dimension of psychoanalysis. This would explain the religious fervour in the history of psychoanalysis. It is not a far-fetched idea, because people could very well be motivated by unconscious religiosity. It would accord with psychoanalytic theory. In psychoanalysis, religiosity is regarded as a regression to an early phase of ego-feeling; to lose oneself in the primal principle of pleasure, on lines of the nudist Adamites. Thus, unconscious and archaic religiosity could be an important factor in human affairs.

If this is correct, we may conclude that there are only two options; either to subscribe to sophisticated conscious religious beliefs, or to remain inadvertently dependent on archaic religious beliefs. That is to say, conscious beliefs would serve to satisfy the religious function, and thus religious feeling need not undergo regression and take the form of an archaic sexual mother cult. Thus, we are compelled to develop our conscious beliefs all the while our old beliefs turn stale, as has occurred in Christendom. Otherwise, we would tend to fall back on ophitic (snake) cult. On this view, the average Freudian, along with the many irreligious people in the modern era, would fall back on unconscious religiosity just because they reject conscious devotion or spirituality.

The primal scene as the hieros gamos

Thus we have arrived at a better grasp of the underlying meaning of Freud’s primal narcissism, which is both religiously cultish and instinctual in derivation. It follows that an atheist suffers from repressed religiosity. In Civilization and its Discontents (2002), Freud says that religious emotions are regressions “to an early phase of ego-feeling”, by which he meant the “oceanic feeling”, i.e., a mystical, cosmic emotion. Evidently, pre-oedipality is involved. However, he also discusses religion in terms of obsessive neurosis. The “primal scene” (parental intercourse) could be interpreted in terms of the Adamite scene, referenced above. The hieros gamos, holy marriage as sexual union of divine, royal, or priestly figures, is a well-known religious rite occurring in history:

Hieros gamos: (Greek: “sacred marriage”), sexual relations of fertility deities in myths and rituals, characteristic of societies based on cereal agriculture, especially in the Middle East. At least once a year, divine persons (e.g., humans representing the deities) engage in sexual intercourse, which guarantees the fertility of the land, the prosperity of the community, and the continuation of the cosmos.

As ritually expressed, there are three main forms of the hieros gamos: between god and goddess (most usually symbolized by statues); between goddess and priest-king (who assumes the role of the god); and between god and priestess (who assumes the role of the goddess). In all three forms there is a relatively fixed form to the ritual: a procession that conveys the divine actors to the marriage celebration; an exchange of gifts; a purification of the pair; a wedding feast; a preparation of the wedding chamber and bed; and the secret, nocturnal act of intercourse. In some traditions this appears to have been an actual physical act between sacred functionaries who impersonate the deities; in other traditions it appears to have been a symbolic union. On the following day the marriage and its consequences for the community are celebrated. (Encyclopædia Britannica, 2012)

The Adamite cultic mystery, I argue, is a version of the hieros gamos, or divine marriage. It could be argued that it is the wellspring of religion, because it ritually enacts, or generates, the force of “primal narcissism”.


The unconscious is ultimately unknowable. Its creative products, such as dreams, are wholeness-formations that cannot be understood on lines of over-determination, as conglomerates of contradictory impulses. Primary narcissism ought to be reinterpreted in terms of archaic wholeness, more specifically the Adamite cultic scene. In itself, such a cult does not formulate separate “onion-layers” of contradictory spiritual and sexual impulses. Rather, it amalgamates instinct and religion in a way which is typical both for archaic man and the creative capacity of the unconscious function.

It is the predicament of the neurotic that he translates everything into terms of infantile sexuality — but if the doctor does so too, then what is the outcome? What does the focusing on sexuality really mean? I have pointed out that sexuality is interpretable in religious terms, too (vid. Goldberg, 1962). The ‘primal scene’ could be viewed as the ‘hieros gamos’ (divine marriage). Conceivably, certain expressions of cultic religion could be interpreted as a return to blissful ‘primary narcissism’.

In their sexual cult, the Gnostic Adamites attempted to emulate the Paradise before the Fall. Arguably, neurotic sexual obsession derives from a spiritual thirst, too. Modern man is weary of his fallen state, in which his soul is divided. Much like the Adamites, he longs to return to the wholeness of the paradisal condition. What if sexual fantasy, in the analytic setting, is better understood in spiritual terms, on lines of the Manicheans, et al.? It could be relevant in therapy to highlight this aspect, i.e., sexuality as the underlying driving force behind spiritual realization. According to this view, the fundamental drive is sexual-spiritual, and at the primordial level, sexuality and spirituality unite in the ‘hieros gamos’.


© Mats Winther, 2009.


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