Nature of the Psyche, Chapter 5: The Psyche, Love, Sexual Expression, and Creativity
Your ideas about sexuality and your beliefs about the nature of the psyche often paint a picture of very contradictory elements. The psyche and its relationship to sexuality affects your ideas of health and illness, creativity, and all of the ordinary areas of individual life. In this chapter, therefore, we will consider some of the implications that result.
In your terms, again, the psyche contains what you would consider male and female characteristics, while not being male or female itself.
In those terms and in that regard, the psyche is a bank from which sexual affiliations are drawn. Basically, however, there are no clear, set, human, psychological characteristics that belong to one sex or the other. Again, this would lead to a pattern too rigid for the development of the species, and give you too-specialized behavior patterns that would not allow you to cope as a species – particularly with the many varieties of social groupings possible.
Your psychological tests show you only the current picture of males and females, brought up from infancy with particular sexual beliefs. These beliefs program the child from infancy, of course, so that it behaves in certain fashions in adulthood. The male seems to perform better at mathematical tasks, and so-called logical mental activity, while the female performs better in a social context, in value development and personal relationships. The male shows up better in the sciences, while the female is considered Intuitional.
It should be obvious to many of my readers that this is learned behavior. You cannot teach a boy to be “the strong silent male type”, and then expect him to excel either verbally or in social relationships. You cannot expect a girl to show “strong, logical thought development” when she is taught that a woman is intuitional – that the intuitions are opposed to logic, and that she must be feminine, or nonlogical, at all costs. This is fairly obvious.
The child is not born a sponge, however, empty but ready to soak up knowledge. It is already soaked in knowledge. Some will come to the surface, so to speak, and be used consciously. Some will not. I am saying here that to some extent the child in the womb is aware of the mother’s beliefs and information, and that to some extent it is “programmed” to behave in a certain fashion, or to grow in a certain fashion as a result.
Basically the species is relatively so freewheeling, with so many potentials, that it is necessary that the mother’s beliefs provide a kind of framework in the beginning, allowing the child to focus its abilities in desired directions. It knows ahead of time then the biological, spiritual, and social environment into which it is born. It is somewhat prepared to grow in a certain direction – a direction that is applicable and suited to its conditions.
Beliefs about the infant’s sexual nature are of course a part of its advance programming. We are not speaking here of forced growth patterns, or of psychic or biological directions, impressed upon it so that any later divergence from them causes inevitable stress or pain. The fact remains that the child receives patterns of behavior, gently nudging it to grow in certain directions. In normal learning, of course, both parents urge the child to behave in certain fashions. Beside this, however, certain general learned patterns are biologically transmitted to the child through the genes. Certain kinds of knowledge are transmitted through the genes besides that generally known, having to do with cellular formations and so forth.
Survival of the human species, as it has developed, is a matter of belief far more than is understood – for certain beliefs are now built in. They become biologically pertinent and transmitted. I mean something else here besides, for example, a telepathic transmission: the translation of beliefs into physical codes that then become biological cues. [As a result], it then becomes easier for a boy to act in a given manner biologically than in another.
If women have felt that their biological survival depended upon the cultivation of certain attributes over others, for instance, then this information becomes chromosome data, as vital to the development of the new organism as any other physical data involving cellular structure.
The mother also provides the same kind of information to a male offspring. The father contributes his share in each case. Over the generations, then, certain characteristics appear to be quite naturally male or female, and these will vary to some extent according to the civilizations and world conditions. Each individual is highly unique, however, so these models for behavior will vary. They can indeed be changed in a generation, for the experience of each person alters the original information. This provides leeway that is important.
The child, also, uses such information as a guide only; as a premise upon which it bases early behavior. As the mind develops, the child immediately begins to question the early assumptions. This questioning of basic premises is one of the greatest divisions between you and the animal world.
The psyche then contains, again in your terms, female and male characteristics. These are put together, so to speak, in the human personality with great leeway and in many proportions.
As simply put as possible, love is the force out of which being comes, and we will consider this statement much more thoroughly later in this book. Love seeks expression and creativity. Sexual expression is one way that love seeks creativity. It is hardly the only way, however. Love finds expression through the arts, religion, play, and helpful actions toward others. It cannot be confined to sexual expression only, nor can rules be given as to how often normal adults should sexually express themselves.
Many men, labeled homosexuals by themselves and others, want to be fathers. Their beliefs and those of your society lead them to imagine that they must always be heterosexual or homosexual. Many feel a desire toward women that is also inhibited. Your male or female orientation limits you in ways that you do not understand. For example, in many cases the gentle “homosexual” father has a better innate idea of manliness than a heterosexual male who believes that men must be cruel, insensitive, and competitive. These are both stereotyped images, however.
Love can be expressed quite legitimately through the arts. This does not mean that such a person is repressing sexuality in any given case, and stealing its energy for creative production – though, of course, this may be the case. Many natural artists in any field normally express love through such creative endeavors, rather than through sexual actions.
This does not mean that such persons never have sexual encounters that are enjoyable, and even of an enduring nature. It means that the thrust of their love is, overall, expressed through the production of art, through which it seeks a statement that speaks in other than corporal terms.
A great artist in any field or in any time instinctively feels a private personhood that is greater than the particular sexual identity. As long as you equate identity with your sexuality, you will limit the potentials of the individual and of the species. Each person will generally find it easier to operate as male or female, lesbian or homosexual, but each person is primarily bisexual. Bisexuality implies parenthood as much as it implies lesbian or homosexual relationships. Again, here, sexual encounters are a natural part of love’s expression, but they are not the limit of love’s expression.
Many quite fine nonsexual relationships are denied, because of the connotations placed upon lesbianism or homosexuality. Many heterosexual relationships are also denied to persons labeled as not being heterosexual, by themselves or society. People so labeled often feel propelled out of sheer confusion to express their love only through sexual acts. They feel forced to imitate what they think the natural male or female is like, and on occasion end up with ludicrous caricatures. These caricatures infuriate those so imitated – because they carry such hints of truth, and point out so cleverly the exaggerations of maleness or femaleness that many heterosexuals have clamped upon in their own natures.
In some historical periods it was desirable in practical terms that a man have many wives, so that if he died in battle his seed might be planted in many wombs – particularly in times when diseases struck men and women down often in young adulthood.
When physical conditions are adverse, such social traditions have often emerged. In times of overpopulation, so-called homosexual and lesbian tendencies come to the surface – but also there is the tendency to express love in other than physical ways, and the emergence of large social issues and challenges into which men and women can throw their energies. There are “lost” portions of the Bible having to do with sexuality, and with Christ’s beliefs concerning it, that were considered blasphemous and did not come down to you through history.
Again, it is natural to express love through sexual acts – natural and good. It is not natural to express love only through sexual acts, however. Many of Freud’s sexual ideas did not reflect man’s natural condition. The complexes and neuroses outlined and defined are products of your traditions and beliefs. You will naturally find some evidence for them in observed behavior. Many of the traditions do come from the Greeks, from the great Greek play-writers, who quite beautifully and tragically presented the quality of the psyche as it showed itself in the light of the Grecian traditions.
The boy does not seek, naturally, to “dethrone” the father. He seeks to emulate him; he seeks to be himself as fully as it seems to him that his father was himself. He hopes to go beyond himself and his own capabilities for himself and for his father.
As a child he once thought that his father was immortal, in human terms – that he could do no wrong. The son tries to vindicate the father by doing no wrong himself, and perhaps by succeeding where it seems the father might have failed. It is much more natural for the male to try to vindicate the father than it is to destroy him, or envy him in negative terms.
The child is simply the male child. He is not jealous of the father with the mother, in the way that is often supposed. The male child does not possess an identity so focused upon its maleness. I am not saying that children do not have a sexual nature from birth. They simply do not focus upon their maleness or femaleness in the way that is supposed.
To the male child, the penis is something that belongs to him personally in the same way that an arm or leg does, or that his mouth or anus does. He does not consider it a weapon. He is not jealous of his father’s love for the mother, for he understands quite well that her love for him is just as strong. He does not wish to possess his mother sexually in the way that adults currently suppose. He does not understand those terms. He may at times be jealous of her attention, but this is not a sexual jealousy in conventionally understood terms. Your beliefs blind you to the sexual nature of children. They do enjoy their bodies. They are sexually aroused. The psychological connotations, however, are not those assigned to them by adults.
The beliefs involving the son’s inherent rivalry with the father, and his need to overthrow him, follow instead patterns of culture and tradition, economic and social, rather than biological or psychological. Those ideas serve as handy explanations for behavior that is not inherent or biologically pertinent.