Freud is a motherfucker

My son is starting to, um, “notice” things. And yes, even though I mock it, the hesitation is there for me–the currents of Catholicism and other modes of sexual repression run strong and the habit of believing that children should not think of such things, that they are asexual and need to be denied certain realities, dies hard. But basically we do a good job with letting him explore how he wants to: talking about differences and features he notices, looking at images that interest him (like this one), etc. Denial and shame are avoided at all costs, even if denial and shame would be easier and a simple handing down of what we already know.

But where Herr Doktor Freud steps in is that I now know on a different level, a nontheoretical level, what a son of a bitch he was. (Actually, I do like Freud. E.g., I think his social-contract story in Totem and Taboo is much better than, e.g., Rousseau’s. But this post would be much less clever if he wasn’t the subject of an epithet.) Freud took an impulse, a feeling, a curiosity that enlisted both body and mind, one that, in watching my son, seems to seek only a connection of flows, and turned into a narrative with not only a very particular ending but also a singular object. I’m speaking of Oedipus of course. Worse, good bourgeoisie that he was, he seemed only to be able to conceive of sexual impulse as having as its aim possession of the object: The desiring subject could only receive gratification if it made the object into its property.

But don’t trust me. I’m just angry and jealous that my son wants to kill me and take my property.

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