Let me summarize my remarks and then elaborate somewhat: homoeroticism (or homosexuality, if you prefer that term) is not a problem, not a danger, not an illness, not immaturity, not a taint, not a genetic demand, and the laws regarding sexual behaviors are a fraud. Further, the correlated asserted linked with any particular sexual activity (in the case tonight, homoeroticism)-the correlates imagined by those whose display is heterosexual or who exhibit no display-the correlates of homoeroticism-are fantasies and/or statistical lies. Likewise, the correlates imagined or asserted by those who count their display as homoerotic are also fantasies and/or statistical lies. The so-called "gay world" is, in almost all measures (interest, religiosity, liberalism, skills, etc.), indistinguishable for the "non-gay world"
Sex is both too complex and too simple an aspect of man to account for the dreams and nightmares of proponents and opponents of homoeroticism and/or any other aspect of sexual display. The placement into statute of regulations of sexual behaviors finds its watershed in a morality and not in knowledge about man as seen by twentieth century eyes), nor in the observations of man through history.
The attempt to psychiatricise man is as much a corruption of knowledge and an insult 9insult is a value claim) to man as is the current psychiatrization of the law. Both efforts turn away from the twentieth century to moralities of earlier times. The law is, of course, almost always a laggard.
As homoeroticism is no illness, it demands no cure. The current demand for cure (citing illness) is a confusion of analogy with identity. It is ignorance and moralism disguised as health claims. Further, this effort at failure in logic can be viewed as but another disguise of those in power (for example, see the recent book The Boys of Boise by John Gerassi) and a disguise of that aspect of Everyman which is constantly antagonistic to examination, difference, to relativism , and to freedom for others.
The antagonism to, in our case, the rights of sexual display can be further read as a feature of those in power as well as a feature of Everyman; namely, to air beliefs and demands as knowledge claims. Beliefs are true (for the pietist), but they are no knowledge, and no degree of conviction alters moral claims into knowledge: therefore loyalty, fealty (the death of reason, but the permit for persecution and prosecution). No wonder E. M. Forster could only give two cheers for democracy. Beliefs (another way of thinking of them) are privacy, set in certainty, nonverifiable, and immune to confirmation or disconfirmation. No wonder you can kill for God's good, for patriotism.
Sex has often been used to deny (1) egalitarianism; (2) rationality; (3) an open society; (4) the ever-occurring change; as well as (5) the constancy of man.
The churches have currently taken a back seat as Inquisitor. At the steering wheel today, aiming to drive over knowledge and freedom (while flying the banner which in turn drapes your casket-the banner stitched, "for safety, for happiness, for the public good")-at the steering wheel is the applied psychologist and his little snot-offspring, psychiatry. Instead of wielding the sceptre of the church, these present-day priests (the applied psychologists) are armed by the elected state, via the designation expert, instead of exposed for what they are: moralists, remnants of bygone times, modern mystic-religionists-parading not in frock (which at least has a hemline), but as scientists. Thus thy are frauds without limit.
The law (sometimes accused of humanistic leanings), by leashing itself to these present-day moralists (applied psychologists), is led out of the twentieth century. Man's behaviors, never free, are currently tied to outdated moralisms and just plain falsehoods. The very existence of a panel of this kind is a document to the stupidity of our time. It has taken centuries to end the random entry into homes (still not complete-see health inspections). How long will be required to end entry into the sexual lives of said "free citizens"? Two cheers for democracy.
The danger attributed to penis, clitoris, vulva, vagina, anus, and other zones of erogeneity are erected out of whole cloth. No society has ever been toppled by sexual parts. The hope for sex as power and danger can be read as an instance of antagonism to reason, evidence, freedom, and, of course, sensuality itself.
So much for the introduction. I will elaborate on some of the remarks and let others be fugitives.
My remarks have as their watershed the twentieth century, particularly the general philosophy of science of the twentieth century. Curiously, this is a lonely position. I will make this clear. Most of applied psychology (of which psychiatry is a sub-unit) is employing views common to the nineteenth, eighteenth, and other earlier centuries in its thinking about man (the character of development of human behaviors). There is a curious mixture in these retardates (applied psychologists), as their stand is both in the conservatism of an earlier time and in the liberalism of former times (though, of the liberalism, present-day psychiatry has elected to exhibit the paternalistic the antagonist in liberalism to liberty). That little sister of applied psychology, psychiatry, instead of coming into this age through the door opened by Sigmund Freud, has returned to views earlier held-views questioned by Freud and questioned centuries before Freud, and views rejected in an age of science.
The relativity which keys this century is the lock to the door through which I, too, have stepped-a door which is denied to today's citizens. Again, very few in the applied service field (which includes the churches) have as yet, or probably ever will, enter this age. Once in this century of relativity, the notions of Truth, the nature of man, Morality, Sin, God, maturity, propriety, responsibility-all of these notions are put where they belong, as expressions of desire, preference, conviction-but not, and importantly not, as knowledge claims-not as knowledge as we have conventionalized it in the twentieth century.
Desire, convictions-these can be viewed as moral demands on others, totally lacking in confirmability, either about putative benefits or dangers. An easy example, to the side of the issue in common, is the Conciliation Court of the Superior Court of California. Don't rise! The hue and cry set up by the courts and its minions about the danger of divorce is an expression of conviction, hope, and desire, totally lacking in evidence and failing all tests of logic. It holds out of the quicksand of conviction and the rosary of fear. The only danger is to private belief, not to public life. The man whose understanding centers in contemporary knowledge has to make short shrift of roughly 99 per cent said about homoeroticism. The comments about homoeroticism (1) among the laity; (2) among those variously involved in homoerotic behaviors; and (3) among most applied workers, are not statements of facts, but are value claims.
That other social service arm, the churches, are, by declaration, not in the knowledge business (one reason for their decrease of power in an age of science) and, thus, they are never making factual of knowledge claims. Therefore, their claims can always be immediately disregarded. Homoeroticism is not a problem, not a danger, not a perversion (in other than the complicated sense of Freud, and I will say more about that shortly). There are no natural behaviors, simply various possibilities (and not needs) for the human race. It is no more natural to conduct oneself heterosexually than it is to display homoeroticism. Granted that some may prefer heterosexuality for all over a certain age, but that is a moral demand and not a scientific one-a wish, a dream (or, as Freud would say, a psychosis)-not the voice of reason, or the stead of freedom.
Individuals have been stigmatized throughout the ages and impaled on the spears of evil, welfare of the state, happiness, and safety for society. The history of man vis-a-vis his fellows has been, and is one, of disregard for differences and one of subterfuge, in order to maintain a viewpoint and power over others (The Boys of Boise). Here again, the said evil nature of man has well served the churches in all of their exercises, ranging from trial by inquisition to the current trial by guilt. Compliance, nonquestioning, ignorance, have been the demand. Why? A suggestion is that these features have served those in power. Sex has regularly been used to inflate what we call guilt, to maintain ignorance, and to reduce the power base. An easy example from an earlier time is the Victorian positioning of sex. That power elite, when faced by the French revolution with its implication for egalitarianism, decided to rush back to the church-the church whose minions came from their own ranks and whose creed guided not their conduct. Frightened by the revolution, they (1) offered verbal homage; (2) offered ceremony; and (3) allowed the edict of strict control of conduct, one feature of conduct being sexual behaviors. The sexual similarity which we associate with the Victorian age has nothing to do with sex, and that sexual similarity was not practiced by the power elite. That elite knew that they were not talking about sex, knew further that sex as sex was not a danger to anything (family, nation, or what have you). But the power elite acted as if the sexual conduct of other (of others now) were a danger to family, nation, and persons. This act forged for the elite a powerful control technique within a fantastically clever disguise. Again, the Victorians established a control over the masses disguised as a benefit, the benefit being the conquest of the monster sex, the benefit to the elite being the retardation of freedom as egalitarianism.
Sex, one of the universal characteristics of man, becomes a hallmark of man, while subtly becoming for some (the elite) another feature of control and a technique for the continuation of unclarity. The unclarity is the casting of sex and the universal desire as evil-thus, universal guilt. Sexual behaviors and ideations and feelings are complex, as well as being a universal feature of man. They are but one feature of man, peculiarly isolated from all other aspects of man, yet with wide ramifications. Sex can become the hiding place of tyrants (the Victorians), or a focus, or a stigma; but whatever its center, it remains but one of the characteristics of man. Sexual behaviors are peculiarly unrelated to "talent," to "personality makeup," to job pursuits, to "excellence," to "discrimination," to "aesthetics," to almost anything else one can mention, yet it finds its way into all other characteristics. Investigations by psychologists, when not conducted as moral crusades, have failed to establish the correlates of diverse sexual conduct (avoiding for a moment all of the irrelevance of correlates to the understanding of behaviors and subjective states). Sexual conduct (as I have just said) is not an index to excellence, failure, discernment, or banality (see the demands for the sterilization of said "mental defective").
The fantasy of many of those stigmatized is that they are the chose people, e.g., Christians, or Jews, or those with certain sexual displays; they find themselves asserting that theirs is the good life-the gay life. Individuals stigmatized for their sexual displays arrogate to themselves the mantle of selectivity: the cloth is made out of holes. In turn, the implicit gayness of those who indict homoeroticism is likewise a fabrication. Again, the other side of this glorification of stigma and vilification-this counter position-may be called the Puritan Posture. The Puritans, who were driven out for their religious views (among other reasons), set out to persecute other dissenters, be they religious or what.
Let me give an example of the unrelatedness of excellence to any one sexual act or style. The dance is an example: the charge of excellence in the dance as related to homoeroticism. The dance is said to be staged by those within certain sexual conventions (homoeroticism), and skill in the dance is then sometimes traced to this sexual preference. Nonsense. Even if one can document a higher frequency of homoeroticism among those in the dance, one would still have to deal with the universal incompetence of those in dance (as well as many other considerations, e.g., sampling, access, etc.) and further deal with the attractive notion (attractive because it is my notion) that homoeroticism and excellence in the dance are antagonistic rather than complementary. Martha Graham allows excellence, I would argue, precisely because she goes beyond the focus of homoeroticism, of posture, of style, and seconds everything to dance.
In any case, if reasoning assigns to homoeroticism the correlate of excellence (in the dance, in our example), that reasoning is as fallacious as the reasoning which assigns the base of excellence in other arts to neuroticism. Talent is as yet not understood by psychologists, but we do know that neuroticism or sexual behaviors are not its simple base. The hope of the stigmatized is that his stigma is the key to all the Puritan Posture; the hope of the tyrant is that it will serve as the lock for man. In the former, stigma is the face, sex the disguise. In the latter example, sex is the face, tyranny the disguise.
No one, I am willing to argue, has ever been interested in sex. Freud was not interested in sex, the Victorians were not interested in sex, and those whose style is homoeroticism are likewise, I am willing to argue, uninterested in sex. For Freud, sex was an index to the presence of a number of inferred events: reason and the (again inferred) presence of and proportionality of influence in ideas and feelings, which he terms irrationality. Freud was the investigator who attempted to search out development; he was a pioneer who found an absence of scientific knowledge and attempted to provide that knowledge via his first step-analysis. He spent his lifetime at the analytic and not within the quantitative experimental level of science. He offered major suggestions, realized they were fugitives, and often fell in love with them. Fair enough. Freud did much more: he placed into perspective "unreason." This major effort and ally Freud spoke against as a moralist and which he found unnecessary as a scientist.
An index (sex, for Freud) is a convenience and a danger. For Freud the theorist, it serves as a convenience, as a departure point for his speculations about the presence and proportionality of reason and of unreason-the twins of man. Sex, thus was for him a key which he felt might open the way to his interest: the development of rationality as a distancing from childhood ignorance, the distance from what he termed "childhood megalomania" and affect and thought. (Some classes of the latter he termed "fantasy"; these features of childhood, he argued, are used to disguise, and thus become the human condition. For him the face should be knowledge (twentieth-century knowledge). The disguise is belief, called by him "wish." To trace the development of reason and wish is one thing; to want reason is another. Via his wants, Freud became the moralist, just as in his attempt to explicate development he was the scientist, even though not the experimentalist. To allow an index to become a hallmark is a fatal mistake to which many psychologists have succumbed. The history of typologies in psychology is an example of this error, be they typologist as complex as that of Carl Jung, or as simple-minded as that of William Sheldon. Another example of this error to strive after an index is the simplicity of those attempting to employ so-called projective techniques as a measure of man (the Rorschach is one example of these inventories). Twentieth century man can not be fitted into so naive a device, as no pure measure, unbound by context and assessor, is available to twentieth century man, who is ever ready to drop inventories of zero validity and ever aware of the relativity of all metrics.
This is the age of relativism, and there is no key to man which holds (in the pure true sense of daily life). Thus, the argument against bigotry-which, of course, is a key which holds; and it holds precisely because bigotry is able to avoid the twentieth century by asserting, claiming, why! even believing. Belief saves you from knowledge, documentation, relativity. When you believe, you do not need the twentieth century-and the twentieth century does not need you. Yet that seems to be the state of each and every infancy. Each time anew, Freud suggested, we are forced out of one unreason, into another unreason, and seldom into the shallows of reason. Reason, he hoped, would choke of unreason; leave unreason in a place other than at the center of man. Freud felt he failed in his hope, but he may have enlightened us by his view. Again, Freud wanted another condition (a condition other than childhood) for man. He wanted to reduce what he termed infantile neuroticism; his wants brought him, as I have stated, into danger-value demands.
Freud, the careful scientist, talked at length about the danger of moralisms and attempted to trace their development and role in daily life. He suggested that the attempt to dictate sexual display, and thus castigate differences (the stance of those opposed to homoeroticism), might be understood as the use of a morality-as a blinder to the asserted universal "polymorphous perversity" in each man. Thus the power of the Oedipus myth: Oedipus blinded himself when he found out his truth. The blinders of belief, he suggested, were a device that served to protect man from self knowledge: reason, Freud read, was the alterer-the preventer of self-inflicted blindness. Freud called for going beyond Oedipus. (As you remember, Oedipus forced blindness upon himself after achieving vision-knowledge that he killed his father and married his mother; yet his vision, without eyes, would still not allow him the vision we call "humanism." Thus, Freud calls for going beyond Oedipus, beyond knowledge which is stationed in inhumanity.)
Ignorance, Freud suggested, not innocence, is man's first state, and false causal claims (called fantasy, wish, belief) were viewed by him as the progenitor of morality-the inhumanity of Oedipus. There was no claim by Freud that he solved the question of development-he hoped only to illuminate it. His light has been put aside by the present-day indictors-the applied psychologists.
For Freud, the question of normality was "what?" Normality for Freud was an illusion-a false light-an illusion speaking of the possibility of attainment of an ideal (note the illusion within an illusion there). The ideal is the other feature of illusion, while, at the same time, an ideal is a conception. The dream for mankind held by Freud the moralist was a certain state of reason. The possibility for mankind for Freud the scientist was, likewise, that same certain state of reason. If the individual man did not develop that state, Freud allowed the designation of "pathological." Each man fails the ideal (as it is illusion) and, likewise, fails the theoretically possible, as it is bound to conditions. Thus, in Freud's view, man is always with the pathological. Take an example from another area to clarify this point. The example: the child's final adult height is theoretically a given likelihood, and it is also an ideal. If, through certain nutrition or illness, or through both, that height is not attained, one can assert, in Freud's sense of pathological, that that person's adult stature is pathological. The theoretical conditions (as implicit prerequisites for the speculated outcome in our example of height) have not occurred, but other conditions have occurred (certain types of nutrition and/or illness) and have determined a display; thus the normal height for that person as opposed to the theoretical height. If (now watch this) one now takes the normal height as a blemish or a stigma, one is shifting toward an evaluation via the ideal, and, thus, away from an evaluation via the theoretical. Pathological, for Freud, meant the deviation from an assumed possible course of development; he thought for a time that his analytic technique might be a condition that would further development.
One needs to mention another feature of this thought to gain a better measure of his notion of "pathological." No man, he speculated, could ever void himself totally of unreason; we all dream, and to that degree, we are always with pathology. Again, one needs to recall that, for Freud, the deviations (from the theoretically possible) in physical sexual behaviors are indexes, and thus suffer all the inadequacies of any index.
There are many more complications. Let me mention just one more. Any one sexual act may be said to have as its history, as its determiners, all previous types of sexual display. Thus, homoeroticism is said to entail, in its determiners, autoeroticism and polymorphous perversity. Heterosexuality is said to encounter in its determiners all of the previous stages, plus, for Freud, a certain kind of load of certain kinds of reason and unreason. (Listen for this in the poem with which I will conclude my remarks.) We must question Freud as to whether homoeroticism excludes his asserted presence of reason. Put this another way: "How good was his index?" We cannot answer, and neither did Freud. We can reply, though, that any index is, at best, a crude guidepost. The twentieth century can allow us to state this. There is no convenience to man. Our knowledge is always bounded, while morality is always clear.
A few other remarks, and then my most recent poem. The part of psychology which is in the twentieth century tells us that there are differences in accounts of any behavior of subjective state-differences beyond the idiographic, which is not of interest to science. The twentieth century tells us that no behavior which man exhibits is unnatural (the Third Ecumenical Council notwithstanding); that claims for normality are, in the main, moralisms disguised as science; and that the attempt to fold sexual behavior into medicine (to term some behaviors "illness" and others "health") is to disguise a moral view as a health view (a medical view) as well as to misuse an analogy.
Twentieth century psychology suggests that the claims of danger are an illusion. The sting to morality is reality. Freud attempted to trace out the misreading of the moral sting to his account labeled "moral anxiety." (Example: laws about pornography put at ease those who have read, looked at, previewed, and handled that which is termed pornographic. After this wedding, they divorce you-you who have not as yet been married-from said pornography. Freud suggested that, as I have been pointing out, all men are with the "pornographic." The "pornographic" is a moral claim, not a knowledge claim. Thus, we have no innocence, only ignorance about ourselves-Oedipus. There is also, he claimed, a reduction of what he called anxiety, achieved by accusing and prohibiting others.)
The laws about sexual behaviors can find comfort only in morality; they can find no support from scientific psychology. The current psychiatrization of the law (as seen in the change from M'Naughten to the Durham rule) is a return to a view of man held in previous centuries, as noted earlier in both the conservatism of previous times and in the "conservatism of the liberalism" of former times (the paternalism of, for example, a Pinel). The change in the law, lacking scientific support, is also a deception of another order: it asserts to help man (labeled "criminal") by locking him up (without trial for the offense), under the banner of helping him, protecting him, by hospitalization which can last a lifetime, or at least until adjudged sane and ready to face trial.
The ignorance of this century that is noticed in applied psychology's holding up the yardstick of "happiness," "perfectability," "you don't need to be what you are," is a counterfeit of today's knowledge about man and allows duress that is falsely claimed to be anchored in science and humanism. The willingness to allow the disguise of everyday problems of living as (in our case) problems of sexual preference is a chicanery offered as if it were a scientific finding. It is moralism.
Man today is not sick, alienated, unhappy, or in need of help, in any of the senses commonly held out. Get the psychologists out of the courts and the law out of your pants. No employment of sexual parts will havoc mankind; ignorance will.
Now to the poem. I never go to the long labor of preparing an address without the reward of reading some of my poetry. In the poem I am talking about much of what I have said in other ways in my remarks. I am talking of sexual relations, of the allowance that context brings, of its reason and unreason, and of the destruction of some unreason by reason and by experience, of a school of whales in the Pacific, of a large bird alighted in a topmost branch. Of course, the symbolism is used to restate the major themes of the poem-plus the thanks. The title, "Connected.."
In this adult
When we know
we must breathe
In a focus
Rests in highest
Trace and lead
in this adult
has been labored
As ground for
In our adult
1. Aron, H. (1969). The homosexual. Journal of Human Relations, 17, 58-70. Reprinted by permission from Central State University. An address to "The Forum," Sacramento State College, California, March 31, 1967.