03: Sexuality cont’d

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Robert Lawlor’s Earth Honoring: The New Male Sexuality was first published in 1989. Lawlor shares some commonality with Ken Wilber—who we met in the previous chapter—inasmuch as he is looked upon as scholastic among new age circles, and new age among scholastic circles. I don’t necessarily mean this in a derogatory way, as the intersection between these two domains is very valuable. Indeed, in some ways I inhabit this intersection myself: When I’m feeling particularly pompous I like to talk about, “bringing academic rigor to visionary thinking, and visionary thinking to academic rigor.”

Right from the first page of Lawlor’s book, we are connected with the historical framework outlined in the previous chapter, as he refers to how “ancient patterns of male/female interrelationships … can be enormously useful today.” It is the use of “male/female” that is relevant here, as “polarity” is the one word that can be used to describe sexuality in Lawlor’s book (and, as well shall see, also Deida’s).  For Lawlor, polarity is not simply a metaphor used to describe men and women, but the true nature of reality: he states, “we live in a universe that is completely dependent on polarity. The very energy that constitutes the universe is a high frequency vibration of pure polarization.”

What this means is that the masculine is defined in certain ways, typically in binary opposition to the feminine, much like Wilber’s masculine and feminine “types.” Following the brain researcher Robert Ornstein, Lawlor offers the following chart to outline these polar characteristics, which start in the structure of the brain but which, he argues, also carry through into the body and sexuality.

Masculine          Feminine

Left Hemisphere            Right Hemisphere

Day                             Night

Time/History              Eternity/Timelessness

Intellectual                  Sensuous

Explicit                        Tacit

Analytic                       Gestalt

Linear                         Nonlinear

Sequential                  Simultaneous

Focal                          Diffuse

Logical                       Intuitive

Causal                        Synchronicity

Argument                   Experience

Perfection                  Integration

Employing Jung’s formula of anima and animus, Lawlor claims that all men and women have masculine and feminine elements, allowing for some slippage in these categories, but that generally men follow the archetypal masculine patterns, and women the feminine. However, due to distortion over time—most lately manifest in rampant consumerism—Lawlor claims our understanding of masculine sexuality has become skewed. For example, the type of masculine sexuality promoted through archetypes such as the Armored Knight (nobility and protecting) and the Divine King (expansive creativity and sacrifice) become “demented,” and women become seen as object-like prizes.



Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 1, 2010 at 12:26 pm

6 Responses

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  1. A classic example of defying this sort of thinking is revealed in “Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things” by George Lakoff where he shows how Australian aborigines associate the women with fire because women tend fires so therefore fire is feminine, the sun is a fire in the sky so the sun is feminine, day is therefore feminine. While men hunt at night so the night is masculine, etc.

    In otherwords a good anthropolgical comparison of masculine and feminine metaphors would probably reveal so many contadictions to reveal that this sort of metaphoric think only serves to perpetuate very very Eurocentric gender ideas that have nothing what-so-ever to do with “Universal” ideas.


    November 19, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    • Lakoff is interesting: I’ve used him a bit in the past in regard to his “orientational metaphors” which show how directionality (up/down) is gendered, and how this influences our understanding of masculine and feminine spiritualities (i.e. masculine is up and out, feminine down and in).


      November 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm

  2. “we live in a universe that is completely dependent on polarity. The very energy that constitutes the universe is a high frequency vibration of pure polarization.”

    These kinds of statements are hilarious to me. Even atoms don’t conform to this kind of polarization, for atoms are made up of 3 particles–protons, electrons, and neutrons (which carry no charge and thus no “polarization”). And this doesn’t begin to cover anti-protons, anti-neutrons, etc., nor other kinds of particles not found in atoms like neutrinos, and on and on.


    August 2, 2010 at 6:12 am

    • A pseudo-science chapter could actually work very well in this book!


      August 2, 2010 at 6:21 am

      • If you do write a pseudoscience chapter, you should mention that neutrons are not simply castrated new age protons! 🙂


        August 2, 2010 at 6:52 am

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