01 Aug 2010
Personal Relationships Are Impregnated with Childhood Experiences and for This Reason are Childhood-centered and Infantilized
Sentimental need and sexual desire are fused in creating our fixation on personal relations. Sentimental need is the legacy of mother-child dyad. We lost the natural physical intimacy with the mother we enjoyed having when we were babies and small children, and we are unconsciously dreaming to regain what is lost – to return to this in our intimate (bodily and emotionally) relationships with another human being. Sexual desire is biologically rooted, but versatile. It is tireless, boisterous, creative and incorrigible. It is like a wasp in a jar. Sentimental need is the need to love and be loved, to rely on the other’s presence and emotional response. Sexual desire is the desire to be at the distance of touch to another body, to overcome bodily separateness.
Eros is a combination of both – sentimental need and sexual desire when they express themselves in unison without being mixed. But sexualized sentimental need or sentimentalized sexual desire is a fatal fusion in its ability to prevent people, especially the young ones, from any interest toward the larger life, the “boredom” of education and from psychological and intellectual development in general. It fixates us on the (human) body, on inter-bodily realities, on sensations, on the dizzy restlessness of blood, on how to become the king of the corner of the room. Of course, young people with their poppy search for crumbs of intimacy, must go to the public realm but mainly to try to make a good living (get a technical education and then invest it into the prosperity of their private relationships). There is less and less time for humanistic education (which is prone) to mix private and public feelings and the impulse to control what we need with the desire to belong to what we need.
In the technical world view what we need is not what we are and so we just manipulate reality because we don’t want to be manipulated by it. But in humanistic world view we have to collaborate with what we need – we don’t just need something but we love what we need, and we need to be loved by what we need. Today, under the pressure of circumstances created by the convulsive politico-economic “development” young people more and more have to sacrifice humanistic education that is poorly rewarded in comparison with technical and financial areas. The results are very sad for both realms, private and public – the public realm is reduced to predatory and conformist money-making, while the private life has become more infantilized and psychologically regressive where people are stuck in infantile modality of togetherness. The both areas are closed to civilized development, to sublimation and sophistication, be it psychological/ethical development (private relations) or social/ethical (relations in the public realm). The understanding of how the public realm “works” is not reached, and so is the understanding of how to make personal relationships more developed, successful, sublimated.
Constantin Brancusi in his cycle of sculptures “The Kiss” addresses exactly this point about the tragic isolation of private relationships area from problems of social life. Look at this total absorption of the beloveds into one another, this total isolation from everything outside them. They have buried their eyes into each other, they have lost their ears. They have become one block of stone. Well, – some people will say. Isn’t this the nature of love to concentrate on one another and let whole world disappear? But if it could be so then humankind couldn’t successfully reproduce because it wouldn’t be able to provide the adequate environment for its own survival. Poetry and reality need to have an existential rationality as mediation. Private relationships are as romantic as they are realistic like public togetherness ought to be not only realistic but also oriented by our ideals and dreams. That’s why we not only love but also reproduce and live with one another. Brancusi pointed not only at the danger of the lovers’ forgetfulness about the world but also at the danger of world forgetting about love.
Brancusi points out that for too many people sentimental/sexual relationships in today’s cataclysmic politico-economic system make them ignore the larger horizon of human world. People work (in the public realm) to provide for their private relations. The democratic idea of participation in decision-making about what kind of life people can have is in contradiction with our fixation on private relations and therefore our conformism in the public domain. Being engulfed in private relationships contradicts the very need of democracy for people’s educated participation. What can democracy expect from these two petrified creatures that are fused, welded into one organism, whose sensitivity and perceptibility is completely inside them, whose unity and love became the reason for their escapism from the social world?
Personal relationships will always be a substantial part of human destiny. But exclusive dedication to private life leads to exploitative position toward public realm (“I am going to the world to make money and to consume”), to a conservative posture vis-à-vis political reality. And then private relations become in turn suffocated without the world.