We stand on the shoulders of flawed giants
This page is WIP (Work in progress).
I want to expose to sanitizing light famous men and women: JFK who asked those less privileged than himself to ask what they could do for their country not what their country could do for them. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr who philandered and apparently secretly plagiarized on his doctoral dissertation: see here. And others of their ilk.
Now let us "out" famous men and women, to help ordinary persons become more individuatedly alive before they die! Neither sublunary "stars" nor non-HVAC "fans"! The names of the famous will live for a long time in hagiographies, but the ordinary people will be even more dead than the rest, for that they lived at all will not be remembered. As Diogenes of Sinope already observed in classical Greece, none of this matters, because the bones of the father of Alexander the Great could not be distinguished from the bones of a slave. Go Epictetus!
Carl Jung said that a reason for Freud's dogmatism was that he had no philosophical training. I think that's sort of like Al Gore disdaining Bill Clinton. Freud had no "class". So much for Freud's "personality": sounds like he was a medical techie.
This may or may not have affected Freud's deeper problems, which had to do with something far worse: He was apparently a good "Victorian" bourgeois, i.e., a prudish hypocrite, even though he thought he was a psychological liberator. And, indeed, he was: it's just the the problem was not peeling an orange, but peeling an onion: there was more than one layer to the problem, and he apparently thought there was only one layer to remove. The child abuse of societally normative childrearing is stealthy: Pay your dues, kid! And respect your elders [even if they haven't earned it]!
On the BBC I read that Queen Victoria herself was highly sexed at least in her youth, but that does not seem to have affected much beyond her own personal life. Late 19th Century middle-class Europe was apparently one of the most priggish cultures that ever was able to reproduce itself on the face of the earth, since babies do not generally arrive by stork delivery. Some regular medical doctors apparently helped women more, whether or not they knew why, by giving them therapeutic massages. Sigmund Freud did not, to the best of our knowledge, do this.
It seems "Victorian" Europe had competition for the fool's gold medal in the society-screws-up-kids event, but it was apparently running neck-and-neck with my own anti-sexual childrearing in the Dark Ages of 1950's middle class suburban split-level United States of America. The point is that Freud apparently never self-reflectively analyzed his childrearing, and consequently he believed that Victorian Viennese people's psycho-social makeup was human nature, not repression of human nature. Further more, just as Adolf Hitler might never have become a politician had he been admitted to art school, Sigmund Freud might never have got into the mind medicine had he been given a Full Professorship for studying worms. He figured out one layer of the problem, but apparently stopped short of analyzing, i.e.: damning, his own parents' and
teachers instructors behavior in childrearing him.
He was able to punch a hole through the psycho-sexual blockage of Bertha Pappenheim's soul, but not to fully remove the tumor in her spirit: I did not read he ever said to her something like: "Yeah. Your parents really fucked you up, girl." I studied this stuff maybe 30 years ago, so I forget many of the details, probably due to my own further psychological abuse and privations in the intervening years, such a jobs where I had managers who were fools (OK: a fop and an SS Officer wannabe) but I had to obey them to get a biweekly electronic funds transfer., as if they were my betters.
Anent: Penis envy
Sigmund Freud seemed, so I seem to recall, to think that females envied males for the latter having penises. This strikes me as an unanalyzed patriarchal prejudice. According to Adam Curtis (ref.: "The Century of the Self"), his nephew, Edward Bernays, the Great Advertiser, picked up on this to apply the notion that, for women, a cigarette is not just crushed tobacco leaf rolled in paper, to get them to buy cigarettes in the early 1900's, thus sending the ladies on the path to lung cancer by way of symbolic fellatio (the cigarette as an oral sex toy, of which NYCHealth surely would not approve).
Some psychoanalysts have talked about men having breast envy (what enabled all those little male infants to survive in this world?). And why not males having cunt envy, too? As far as I can tell, women seem to have much richer and nuanced capabilities for sexual pleasures than hominid bulls → and this, perhaps with good Darwinean reason: women have to do most of the labor (←double meaning word, there) and run most of the risks of reproducing species life, so shouldn't they get paid for it? Men, as Walter Ong, SJ, has observed, while necessary in the aggregate, are severally expendable and are not heavily invested in childbearing.
Furthermore, if women do envy men their genitals, and I see no reason to doubt this, since every person should want all good things in this world, why would they want circumcised penises, which seem to me rather analogous to the lightest forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) which just cut off a little skin but still leave the girl able to have sexual pleasure. Wouldn't women want uncircumcised penises, like they may want their own genitals fully intact?
So it seems Sigmund Freud was doubly patriarchally benighted: (1) the universal male kind of patriarchism, and (2) the more restrictedly Jewish version of it. Does an Omnipotent Deity who collects foreskins really come off as anything worth worshipping, not to mention that He did such things as unethical medical Experiments (Job), etc.? Doing good deeds does not absolve you from your war crimes, does it, Lord? ~ I seem to have read that there are a few cultural groups which practice the Jewish religion and also do FGM; I am not sure about that. But, by and large, it seems Judiaism has not surgically messed with women's genitals, which may have been a difficult custom to avoid adopting in the ancient Mid-East. I do not know the history here. But this may be one very good thing about Judaism. Get Uncle Siggy back on the couch to finish his analysis!
Before Uncle Siggy was born, Richard Wagner spoke of a different "unconscious" of erotic desire, not the suppression of it. I think Submund(sic) Freud can constructively appropriated, as a shoulder for ourselves and others to stand on to go higher than himself, but maybe he was also the 19th century equivalent of George Steiner's epithet for Martin Heidegger: "small man".
Apparently, even before Sigmund Freud's birth, the idea had been at least a little bit in the air that the motor of all civilized life did not need to be aim-inhibition of instinctual energy. I do not recall Freud ever saying: "Let healthy libido reign free! Do what you will!" (Note: his audience were well bred aristocrats and bourgeois, not rabble-rousing working class anarchists.)
It seems to me that he and his toadie followers probably up to this day, 2021 (and I am not implying here that he himself would embrace all or any of them as his rightful heirs!), sought only to install a safety valve on the boiler, not to let all the steam freely escape. To repeat myself: Where did Freud analyze his childrearing, including his presumptive infantile ritual genital mutilation by maybe even a blood sucker (aka: circumcision)? Where did he curse the teachers who probably frustrated his desire to become a full professor of invertebrate biology (worm science)? Did he pay his dues? He never damned that form of child abuse, or did he? Was his father an Arnaud du Tilh or a Martin Guerre? Were his parents solutions or were they just problems? I do not see him singing paeans of a moiher's breast as the font of milk to give birth to her infant's free soul, not just to provide bionutritional fuel to keep his to be denatured body from shutting down before its social surround could harvest its occupational yield "This is Trafalgar square...." (Edward R. Murrow)
I now suspect there were other things going on in 19th Century Western Europe and Great Britain besides the Abbildung of Bertha Pappeheims. Had the unconscious which Freud thought he was discovering secretly colonized him? Let us stand on his shoulders, not molder in his crotch (nor in his by cigar juices made cancerous oral cavity: suicide by tobacco juice). Let the usual questions about those who fail to see invisible elephants in the room apply: What did he do or not do that he was not letting on about, and maybe even conveniently looking the other way whilst he was doing or not doing it (plausible deniability)? What was his angle? What did he not think he was doing? We can learn from every sleepwalker's idiosyncratic ideations, to aid us in our own endeavoring to wake up and keep from falling back into sleepwalking, ourselves.
I think Sigmund Freud was an apologist for the bourgeoisie. Maybe he was a sheep in wolf's clothing? In any case I (BMcC) personally encountered at least one prig (Martin Kossover, LCSW) who claimed to be a psychoanalyst, in the 1990's.
Selecting a psychoanalyst
No way under heaven would I select Sigmund Freud as a psychoanalyst (except for doing historical research on the man, incognito). He strikes me as an anti-sexual prude, if he wasn't just a bourgeois hypocrite (what's the difference between these two?). I never read him encouraging his female patients to maximize their orgasms while they still had the bodies for it, or encouraging kids to pleasure themselves. A cigar is just a source of oral cancer.
Even outside the realm of eros and apart from his surely smelly cigars, Sigmund Freud smells bad to me. I wouldn't trust him any farther than the music teacher who wacked my knuckles with her pencil to get me to -- to what? As for that bitch, I arch my hands high above the computer keyboard when I type, like now. She also had something I did not understand at the time: a modernist house in 1950's America, not a spilt-level [fill in the blank, my reader]. As to a previous Anchors Away my Boys and Thompson's Method music "teacher", one of the few things I remember about her is that, one day, walking to my piano lesson, I had somehow heard on the news that a formation of B-36 bombers was going to fly over Richmond Virginia that day, and in the middle of street I was looking up at the sky for them and fortunately I did not trip over my own feet and fall and hurt myself. For me, people's houses were -- although I did not have the words at the time:-- Potemkin village constructions.
I have no desire to be normal or to forgive my parents and, even worse, my prep school teachers, for the Vichy Occupation which was my childrearing. I want to dig up my past to find out what they did to me to make me into what they made out of me: a casualty. I am angry. I want to get even only if I cannot get up and out. I flush the toilet.
"My" parents get a partial pass for being unschooled. The teaches all or almost all graduated from college. Sigmund Freud, in my fantasy life (free association is good, right? and everything is grist for the mill, right?) might as welll have been Mahatma Gandhi self-satisfyedly chewing on his gums for self-soothing instead of being a good chap and putting his dentures to present himself in public. I do not like Sigmund Freud, although am open to discover that he was Amanda Lear in drag (a businessman's suit).
So who would I pick for an analyst? Sandor Ferenczi, Alice Miller, Donald W. Winnicott or Harold Searles. Maybe Heinz Kohut. Prince M. Masud R. Khan, this last person, irrespective of whether he was a big fraud, because even if is was a mirage, he would be the only falsity I ever found appealing, unlike some of my computer programing managers and at least one New York State licensed psychologist I had the misfortune to encounter in their lumpen-reality ("tar sticks 2 u").
Socrates must have been a piece of work. He seems to have attracted a circle of rich playboys who didn't need to put in 9 to 5 at the office around him. Does anyone know what they did together that Plato did not deem appropriate to record for posterity? And he seemed to like being the center of attention, what, today, we would call a narcissist. He looks physically rather repulsive to me, but that's just personal taste based on pictures. Much worse than Galileo, he seemed to have a thing for baiting bears, i.e., for offending his fellow citizens and then sticking it to them. (Galileo only offended the Pope and maybe a few Church astronomers; he would probably have been happy to have been labelled a heretic but be left alone to look at Jupiter through his telescope. He apparently had a publisher.)
My hunch is that Socrates, at about age 70 years, may have had prostate trouble and/or other maladies of aging not gracefully, and suspected he was not going to match Sophocles in longevity. Apparently he did not like his wife (did he like women at all?), And maybe he was either bored of or no longer much hormonally interested in young males. But who wants to die to history? So he concocted (with his propaganda minister, Plato) a trial where he would get himself sentenced to death and then not do the sensible thing and take a hike and go live with his friends in high places in another place. Instead, he staged a one act play where he got good PR that would last for over 2,500 years as a college classroom idol. That's probably better than Michael Jackson will do? I don't think he was a Protagoras, who sounds like a real teacher, and who said something humanistic and sensible, namely, that: "man is the measure of all things". Example: I (BMcC) am here measuring Socrates.
I think all the first-order discourse in Plato's dialogues is probably mostly just filler. I think the real message of Socrates, and it is a good message although I think much better said and illustrated by others, is that human life, fully lived, is conversation with good friends and the blessings ancillary thereto. In other words, read Rabelais or Boccaccio instead of Plato. Maybe Aristotle is the more serious discursive thinker, as opposed to the philosophy department matinee idol (a fashionisto?)?
The Reverend Martin Luther King Junior
Personally, I have for many years now, had my fill of MLK hagiography and idolatry. The man should not have been murdered by a creep with a rifle. Socrates should have done the right thing and left Athens after his trial and died in honorable obscurity. As for Socrates, I would have opened an investigation to see if he was a homosexual doing naughty things with underage boys, but I would have cared about that only to make sure it got into his obituary if there would be one. My understanding is that MLK was only a philanderer. No big deal, but no transcendent reason for canonizing the dude, either.
I would rather spend my time and energy on J. Robert Oppenheimer or Gordon Welchman, two great scientists who were screwed by their lessers who had power to hurt them. If Martin Luther King plagiarized on his doctoral dissertation, my guess is that with or without cheating, his contributions to universal civilization or even just beating the Soviets would not be much. He saw the promised land from his mountain? Well, so too did Moses. MLK could have taught his followers to be individuated persons and have commanded them:
"Go RYO! Go make your own religion! Find your own mountain to climb and see your own Promised Land! Each of you is a unique person, not a sheep! Do not follow anybody! Especially, do not follow me! Each of you, get on with your life!"
As for marches for Good Causes, I think it would be much more effective to select one person (maybe a Hollywood movie star who's practiced in being theatrical) and have that one person make the march the route with 100 feet social distance and let all the media camera crews deploy their super-telephoto lenses to document the solemn event of that one person symbolizing the hopes of all humanity, not a lot ot non-HVAC "fans" xissolving their identities in a Where's Waldo colloidal suspension that oozes along a road. General William Tecumseh Sherman's soldiers marched for a good cause along the roads of Georgia and South Carolina.
There was one Jesus Christ, not a Mass March of Messiahs. Nor a Mass March of Nobel Laureates, an honor Mr. King could have refused because he would have explained those who had died for civil rights deserved it, not his prosperous self; he could put that on his resume. Joseph Stalin rejected a Hero of The Soviet Union medal, because, he said, he had not seen service at The Front. And Jesus Christ, unlike MLK, was not powsy-wowsy with politicians of his day.
A real hero
If you, my reader, want somebody to look up to, check out the Wikipedia article on Saburō Sakai, and even that may not tell the full story, like after he shot down an enemy and the pilot had parachuted into the ocean and was probably going to drown, he circled his plane around and threw the man his life jacket and some rations. If I were to meet Mr. Sakai, the first thing I would do is lower my head and ask if I could look in his face or if I was not worthy to do so. I'd hope he would say it was OK.
Frank Lloyd Wright
If there ever was a genius for small people to hate, it would have to be Frank Lloyd Wright. He said that in his youth he had to choose between false modesty and honest arrogance and he chose the latter and never regretted his choice. And he was good enough at his craft of architecture to make it stick. Épater la bourgeoisie! I have read that, in his Johnson's Wax building, the chairs for the secretaries were so structurally unsound that the clerks were often falling off their chairs, and the roof leaked, and FLW told them to just adjust to it.
The entrance door to Taliesen was so low that people had to stoop to enter. Why? Because Frank Lloyd Wright's home was a sacred place and you needed to show some respect even if you were incapable of any. I certainly had a couple computer programming managers who needed to passum sub iugum!
I may also have read that Frank Lloyd Wright did not treat his family members well. Would I have wanted to be an apprentice in his architecture atelier? Hell, no! But then I want, like FLW, to be my own Leader, not to be anybody's follower. Would I like to own a Frank Lloyd Wright house even if it was "uncomfortable"? Damned [W]right! Espacially if it was "uncomfortable", because that might make hypocrites more eager to leave if they somehow happened to get inside the place. Although I'd rather have Mario Botta's Bianchi House at Riva San Vitale (Switzerland), or a really great Japanese house. And traditional Japanese houses are noted for being cold in winter with, as Heinrich Engel wrote: the heating setup providing more the idea of warmth than actual warmth. Wear a coat to dinner, not have dinner in a MacMansion.
Anyway, Frank Lloyd Wright is my (BMcC) kind of flawed giant. Give 'em hell, Frank! Let 'em survive the Great Kanto Earthquake anywhere but in your Imperial Hotel!
Lyndon Baines Johnson
I don't know much about Lyndon Johnson (POTUS №36). But what I've heard, I like: He conducted meetings while sitting on his throne: i.e.: the Oval Office toilet. What could be better than that? There are so many toadies around who act as if their alimentary canals were inverted and/or as if they don't do it at all.
I once sat in a meeting in IBM with a 3rd+ line manager (Jim Cannavino) who was sitting cross-legged in his desk chair blowing repulsive bubblegum bubbles. The toadies pretty much agreed to anything he wanted just to get away from this disgusting sight which made them squirm. I found it disgusting, too. But I loved seeing the toadies squirm, so the game was worth the candle for me, and, anyway, the bubblegum was not sticking to my face, so what the heck?
George Steiner described Martin Heidegger (right) as a "small man". In her youth, Hannah Arendt looks like she was a rather attractive woman. How on earth could she go to bed with that "small man" whose picture looks a bit like a failed Adolf Hitler or like Marcel Duchamp painted little Salvadore Dali mustache on his mug? Did Ms. Arendt get off on lederhosen fetishism? Can you imagine Aristotle cross-dressing in lederhosen? Or Heidegger's teacher Edmund Husserl lusting to do his writing in a faux peasant's hut ("Mail call! Here's your royalties check, Professor! Would you like a hoe to go out in the fields and do some useful labor instead of speculating about Parmenides, Sir?").
And, so I have read, the cupcake topper was that this clown thought Adolf Hitler did not understand National Socialism and he [Martin Heidegger] was going to remedy Adolf's ignorance on that subject. Gotta give this dude credit for being lost on a Holzweg. (And, speaking of the sexually unappetizing, was Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. an avatar of Arnold Schwarzenegger or Apollo or even Woody Allen? I guess I don't understand women, which makes sense, since Pennsylvania State University student health clinic M.D. hack [firstnemeforgotten] Franco sagely and most empathically explained to me (BMcC) that my place in life would something other than "being good with women" → I have never forgot what that dude said there, as if he was trying to prove that a person can rise so high that they cannot reach a hand down to help another person up, or maybe he was just malignly hallucinating out loud?).
Heraclitus said that waking men share a world in common but the dreamer turns to a world unique to himself. "Idiot", etymologically means: a private person, one who is not a citizen of the polis. Galileo was an idiot.
Here's a man who was doing skeptical science in an age of True Belief, and even had the Pope for a friend, as far as any underling can be a friend of the Big Boss, and he blew it: Galileo published a book in the vernacular ("The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems") that not only made a fool of the Pope but called his fool: "Simplicio". Homer Simpson was not yet around in Galileo's day, for Galileo to call his fool: "Homer Simpson". The Pope got the point and sent in his OGPU [s]hit squad to put Galileo in his place.
Had Galileo framed his heliocentric speculations as "hypotheses" not as fact, and had he written only in secret code uninterpretable by the masses who thought eating Christ's body was "hocus pocus", Galileo would not likely have been shown the instruments of torture and made to grovel. Even worse, I have read that Galileo couldn't really prove his heliocentric ideas, so they really were a bit hypothetical. Best of all, unlike Giordano Bruno, Galileo did not have the stomach to go through with being buried alive. Wimp! If you're a coward, you don't go into the Coliseum with lions, especially if you never pulled the thorn out of any lion's paw.
As said, Galileo was an idiot, who may in the end have set modern exact sciences of nature back more than he advanced them, by example. Deeds speak louder than words: techies should not think about Karl Marx. Galileo's fellow scientists could read Latin, and they knew what "hypotheses" were. I seem to recall I survived my college science distribution course requirement by taking Astronomy for Idiots, and writing a paper about an error I found in one of Galileo's calculations in his book about the idiot (Simplicio). The error must have been a "no brainer" for me to find it. My only scientific qualification was being a bulldog about details. "Professor Galileo Galilei: Duh!"
Furthermore, Galileo outsourced the upkeep of his illegitimate daughters to a nunnery. Couldn't he have married, controlled his hormones, or coughed up some money? Nice daddy! the ore I learn about Mr .Galilei, the more convinced I am that he was a mean-spirited doltish fashionista prig who just wanted to be a big peacock flaunting his ornamental and sometimes by accident useful feathers and everybody kowtowing to what a smiling face he must have been; another Mr. Socrates for the treasonous clerks. He didn't like it when the Holy Office of the Iquisition gave him what he begged them for. Boo, hoo, Mr
I think Jesus Christ might have been better than some of his followers. Some scholars even think he was married to Mary Magdalene, so maybe he did not "Just say no"? If I was on a mission from The Omnipotent to save the world, would I really get upset about hanging on a cross for a day while waiting for the special diplomat train to depart for my return trip to Heaven and presumable eternal bliss? And Pontius Pilate was no Vlad the Impaler!
Before modern anesthetics, people had surgeries. And, when Jesus's earthly caretakers asked him why, at age 12 years he had not come home on time and he explained that he had to be about his Father's [not Joe's] business, the Bible says:
"But they did not understand what he was saying to them." (Luke 2:50)
Jesus was not the only kid in all human history to have blockhead childhood caretakers. At least his, unlike mine, seemed to be benign, and have some vague sense that olders are not ipso facto betters. Been there; done that. And, let us remember, Jesus lived in the first century CE, not after Maria Montessori and Alice Miller.
Jesus Christ may have been a pretty cool dude. Some educated persons, such as Walter Ong SJ, have been Christians, so maybe they knew/know something people who got/get their Gospel by gawking at stained glass windows or listening to Jim and Tammy Baker do not. Hermeneutics, in my experience, can be fun. In any case, since He was competent to listen to and ask questions with the teachers in the temple, maybe if I met him the street, I could have a conversation with Him about serious issues, unlike some computer programming managers in multinational corporations today.
Thomas Jefferson owned slaves and even slept with one and had children by her. He was also a main author of The United States Declaration of Independence, a gifted inventor, and a religious innovator who cut up a standard issue Bible and made his own religion devoid of supernatural hocus-pocus.
Should Thomas Jefferson be dissed by people who do not radically denounce human persons being treated as objects (employees, "human resources", etc.), for not transcending in one particular way his historical time, when they perhaps do not transcend their own historical time in any way? Answer: Because their spirits are so small that they need to drag down anybody who does not kowtow to them, espacially if the latter's spirit is bigger than theirs or maybe it's just a way for them to make a buck by looting.
Keep safe in pandemic, all!