With the previous article, I stopped at the discussion of the idea of the mother- son mutual sexual desire which results, on the one hand, from the mother’s penis envy and, on the other, from the child’s castration complex as it is known and explained in psychoanalytic theory.
Each time we look closer at myths we find that this complex is a constitutive element in the mother-son relationship. It reflects a desire and a mutual compensation mechanism. I argue that god, demons and morality stem from this complex relationship between the mother and her son.
Perhaps psychoanalysis concentrated more on the relationship of the father to his son and this is a recurrent theme in many myths. The external world and the social environment are most often perceived from a masculine perspective. And this is something natural because our perception is born out of the dominant individual ego and no matter how hard we try to distance ourselves from it, we always fall in its trap with various degrees. This is why I think that we need to look once again in more depth at myths from a feminine perspective and interpret them in a different fashion. Of course we need to depart from previous premises without endorsing them uncritically and unconditionally. We need to try and rebuild premises and theories. I personally find that the relationship based on competition and reconciliation between father and son is in reality preceded by a close affectionate relationship based on a repressed mutual sexual desire between mother and son.
According to an Andaman myth, the cause of the original sin or crime are two women who crushed plants under the influence of sun heat. Géza Roheim believes that strong sun light in this myth reflects the idea of strong sexual desire expressed by women towards men, or more accurately, towards the phallus. The first transgressive act and the ensuing institution of taboo and prohibition have something to do with the mother. She has effectively practiced sex with her son and she carried on a rebellious act of transgression when the group turned the son into a taboo. The son’s act of rebellion follows from this when the son became a father and gave prominence to sexual desires in order to serve his interests and satisfy his own sexual appetites. This is best revealed in the prohibition of sexual intercourse between mother and son. The primary desire and intense sexual thirst expressed by the mother towards her son precedes the mother-son mutual desire for each other.
So the father- son relation and what ensued from it is in reality the result of an older and stronger relation a much more complex one, the mother- son relation. This relation is best illustrated in another myth found in the same tribe when the first mother annihilated the entire human race to avenge the death of her son the Monitor lizard. The lizard, here, is a phallic symbol because it has this capacity to grow once again its missing organs. This is how the male succeeds in defeating his fear of castration by re-enacting and at the same time denying this very complex.
Many anthropologists agreed that the totem and taboo of plants symbolizes the prohibited sexual relation. Each type of plant refers to a sexual act. Morality, prohibitions and religious doctrines are grounded in sexual relation and reproductive organs. In other words we can say that the god who is today worshipped by many people across their religious differences is the outcome of a complex sexual relation which is very confusing, that has been subjected to the contradictions of the individual’s psychic condition and then extended to the group. God is then the outcome of an old taboo, the forbidden mother son relation There is enough ground in the totemic myths to identify the original mother who has made many plants forbidden for the members of the tribe and reserved the exclusive right of their consumption to herself. As we said earlier, each plant symbolizes a sexual act.
But we need to ask ourselves how this feminine sexual freedom has been displaced from the female or the original mother to the male. In other words, we need to ponder over the reversal of the leadership role of the two sexes as identified in these aboriginal myths.
I personally believe that this displacement happened via the son who capitalized on the mother’s weak instincts towards him to thwart her tyranny. He thus created moral laws and other restraints to curb the (maternal) feminine libido. He was compelled to take upon himself the role of the super-ego or the moral law. It is for this reason that one can detect traces of the sons’ sexual desire towards their mothers and their fear of castration if this desire is expressed openly. That is to say, the son who one day will play the role of the father preferred the repression of his sexual desire towards the mother (who represents woman in general) for the benefit of the father, that is to say for his own interest in the future. We can say this differently, that man preferred future interests to immediate ones and since the mother is a future condition of the woman (daughter) she, too, preferred the far removed interest to the one that is closer to her and she started helping her son to exercise his control and to remove power from her hands to his.
We have to know that this operation whereby authority is delegated to the son qua the foundation of the masculine embodiment of the law and morality did not happen without turmoil but followed many psychological struggles experienced by both mother and son. In order to assuage this masculine condition built on future interests for both mother (projected in a digressive way in the image of the daughter who might become a mother) and son (projected in a progressive way in the image of the son who might become a father); it was necessary to maintain a relation built on future interest through repressive religious concepts which curb any rebellious attempt to contest the laws of taboo and prohibition. It is for this reason that we find god himself suffering from many contradictions which reflect the primitive condition of the primary sexual relation between mother and son. Similarly, we find women, especially the ones subjected to these laws and to religious practices, entertaining a cherished dream to give birth to a male child in order to recover her lost privileges and return to her position of authority.
It is then no wonder that many aboriginal tribes and some religions prohibited polygamy. Monogamous societies reflect the privileged position of the son’s relation to his mother and his desire to return to a condition of infancy by sticking to one woman, that is to say, aspiring to a second childhood. This behavior is observed in some types of monogamous monkeys.
Let’s go back to tribal societies which subscribe to monogamy. Here we find their practices founded on the mother-son- father triangle and the sanctification of marriage when a child is born. This is something prominent in Christianity when the mother is exchanged for the Holy Spirit. This of course reflects a digression in the woman’s authority, especially the mother in these societies at that time (and of course the condition of women in these societies has not improved because of these inherited historical, cultural and religious values)
So God represents an act of sublimation of a masculinity built on the complex of guilt born out of a forbidden sexual relation between mother and son, while the invention of demons and monsters reflects the original condition of the child’s pure sexual drives according to the analysis of experts in psychological anthropology. This in turn has been proved by many psychoanalysts through various clinical analyses carried out on different children, best summed up in the child’s desire to penetrate the mother’s body which also results in psychological anxiety. This condition which affects the child pushes him to seek refuge in imagination and fantasies which invent stories of goblins, demons and monsters.