by Friedrich Hansen (June 2023)
The Bride, Gustav Klimt, 1917-18
The last Protestants worthy of that name lived in the fin de siecle before the turn of the 20th century. For in the Protestant imagination, it was then that the Reformation came to its head, after almost half a millennium, with sexual confessions also known as “coming out” of gays and feminists. Once more the biblical image ban would be transgressed and the previous inward turn of faith during the Reformation was reversed by “coming out” with corporeal visualisations of sexual identity. It was this move which compromised the Protestant inwardmess. The love of spiritual Christ would be narrowed into loving ones body. In reading the Bible literally and misreading “love of the alien/other” as “same sex love,” the gender advocates would usher in the demise of Christian personhood and the rise of latent totalitarian group think.
The whole point of sexual identity politics seems to be about ennobling sexual attraction as a rival of meritorious work for increasing one’s social status. It is in this sense that the term “mes-alliance” signals the vanishing separation between private and public spheres or between family and work relations with sex as the great social liquefier. In this process, work-related merit would be rivalled by a strange mix of sexual expressionism and virtue signalling. Ever since the arrival of sexual identity politics, both became the poles of the haptic paradigm which began ruling our life through emotions. So much so that even marriage has been turned into a laughing stock by same-sex couples. As a result, informal mes-alliance and formal marriage have become almost indistinguishable in professional life and in consumer style, buttressing the postmodern trend of formlessness.
Ever since the French Revolution, mes-alliance has been the term for social mismatch but, following the postmodern U-turn towards the negative dialectics of enlightenment, it came to mean self-incarnated souls or arbitrary psychosomatics and ended up by embracing the biological mismatch of same sex relations. However these were nothing new but represented the signature achievement of hyper-visualised ancient Hellenism. We ought to remind ourselves that a flourishing of arts and music did not wash with family, nation and religion in the classic Greek period. It was Judaism that blessed the world with these achievements of the auditive paradigm.
This opposite is true in radically visualised Protestant cultures and less so in more ritualised Catholic countries. For instance in secular post-WW I Germany marriage was naturalised and de-institutionalised through racial terms replacing religious ones, thus effectively depoliticising and destabilising the Weimar society. Similar changes are on its way in the Anglosphere today. Even so the secular drive towards sexual equity or same sex relations emerged in the decadent era of the late 19th century. Following the political radicalism that transformed class into race and social categories into biological ones we can speak of sexist populism as a secular mass incarnation which was meant to eclipse the traditional class divide.
The more secularisation has engulfed Western society, the weaker male-female attraction—once uniquely enchanted by the biblical narratives—has become, as a result, relativised as it was by feminism and its sibling homosexuality. Both emerged as the cardinal drivers of Western decline. Yet at the same time both are facing their comeuppance in the transsexual nemesis. Just as the beef has been hollowed out of heterosexual attraction, so it has been rarified in “organic” food, also known as vegetarian paganism for antagonizing the religiously significant animal sacrifice. It is no trivial thing that the European mass slaughterer Hitler embraced the vegetarian community early on. Auschwitz after all is but a return to “natural,” i.e., unrefined and primitive human instincts. It is not surprising that regardless of its popularity with the Nazis, organic food survived as part and parcel of the postmodern trend of naturalist paganism.
Veganism was once part of certain anti-religious founding myths, some of which were meant to subordinate medieval male appetites to the female temperament which has dominated the Western mainstream ever since the Renaissance. Even so, fin de siecle postmodernism aimed at gradually turning “majestic man” (J. B. Soloveitchick) into a “fem-robot,” meaning a man with little sublimatory energy transcending his animalistic drives. His latest postmodern incarnation is the “incel,” a low-income male who lives the life of an “involuntary celibate”—just like a secularized monk. The increasing numbers of low-income spare men in the West is among the most disturbing aspects of the sexual revolution which was accelerating the decline of heterosexual marriage.
The decline of religious observance is sharpening the growing gap between the sexes that opened up during the Renaissance and hardened with sexual identity politics in the decadent era. Meanwhile, the postmodern same sex transmogrification continues apace with the strengthening of antireligious “organic” sensibilities, designed to replace the old proletarian and bourgeois social identities while the transcendent, medieval and strictly invisible God has given way to the immanent, visible and pantheist deities which emerged after the Reformation and were embraced early on by the philosopher Benedikt Spinoza.
This development confirms in retrospect the unique role of an invisible deity serving as it does as channel for communication through language that transcends tangible corporeality and thus provides an example for bridging the gender gap by harmonizing biological complementarity. Because this can only be done via the auditive paradigm, the return of tangibility during the decadent era privileged the haptic or sexual paradigm above all else. It is for this reason that sexual identity politics have wrought havoc to the civilisation as we knew it. It amounts to a total disenchantment of the public arena which seems beyond repair. To be blamed is the transgender trend among the progressive elites. Just as the fad of organic food is about to undermine and level the refinement of the traditional national cuisine so does woke censorship of literary expressions ruin poetry, theatre and spiritual culture at large. We are left with “wholesome” organic food and mixed naturalistic gender identities all following in the tracks of Spinocist diversification and profanation of divinity.
Levantine charismatic divinity was meant to elevate the human soul toward the intangible heavenly realm in order to ease the pressures of the tangible world which gave rise to the haptic paradigm. It is for this reason that the Oriental desert would become the preferred setting for divine revelation. By contrast, the occidental world since times immemorial has been replete with tangible objects necessary for survival. The concept of wholeness seems to have never occurred to the inhabitants of the Levante where the crippling daytime sun and unbearable heat prompts everyone to wear black clothing and seek out rare places in the shadow as if the body was the thing best to be disposed of.
Nothing could be more alien to this than the Christian visual incorporation of God in his son Jesus Christ except as an ironclad assurance of patrilineal descent—in contrast to matrilineal Judaism. Curiously, the visual paradigm is disadvantaged in the desert for being subject to delusions as in the proverbial Fata Morgana. This makes a strong case, albeit not the only one, for the Jewish attachment to the auditive paradigm. God’s voice takes the lead in Judaism (and Islam), but not in Christian denominations—for the original Pentateuch is firmly based on the image ban. That Christianity attached itself to the belief in God’s son making an appearance on earth and even got away with brazenly transgressing the biblical image ban is perhaps the rare miracle everyone could believe in. Besides, this inconsistency of occidental Christianity, which is not strictly a monotheism either due to the theological trinity, one begins to understand why it took almost 2000 years until the Catholic church could formally dispose of antisemitism.
Now where does this leave the Occidental concept of an incarnated deity? It is surely evidence of the overwhelming influence of Hellenistic Gnosticism in late antiquity. For the Gnostic introduction of Jesus Christ answered to almost universal calls for visible proofs of any godhead regardless of the fact that it rendered the very concept of transcendent monotheism pointless. Not for nothing is the Jewish God of the Torah issuing from the intangible auditive paradigm. By contrast, the very idea of tangible incarnation betrays the influence of the Greek visual paradigm which manifests itself in polytheism as a compromise with regard to human-divine proximity. Given the preference toward same-sex relations in ancient Athens, firmly under the wings of the visual paradigm, the Geek elites became susceptible to centrifugal escapist adventurism which paved the way for the spread of Hellenism over the Mediterranean world.
On the other hand, the human-divine attraction toward sameness in Judaism is an altogether different story for issuing from the auditive paradigm which is centripetal and thus escapes untoward alienation. For this very reason the Torah takes a firm stance on sterile same sex relations and sodomy by contrasting to the fundamental importance of the heterosexual family in the perseverance of the chosen people and the continuity of names through Jewish tribes. The genius of Judaism lies in its biblical laws and institutions that guarantee the preservation of God’s nature and enchanted humanity. Sexual identity and wokism by usurping the place of inner conscience are about to sacrificing memory for the expansion of fantasy or the biblical family for reckless individualism.
It cannot be otherwise since same sex adepts or any sexual identitarians are in forceful denial of the human differences and our need for “the other.” This is about the essential biblical stipulation of complementarity. It postulates that the individual person is imperfect and heterosexuals comply with this fundamental datum of human experience. The same cannot be said of people with same sex orientation who demonstrate by their sexual hype exactly the opposite of incompleteness. They will not suffer the idea of being different because they are dogmatic and uncompromising egalitarians, people who want to rule out in principle any inferiority on their side which why they only present themselves in terms of pride.
By contrast, religious people preach modesty and are more likely to tolerate some measure of inferiority for themselves. As a result of that they are much more flexible in partnering with people either inferior or superior in various aspects. Christians, Jews and Muslims are taught in and prone to humility and they seek intangible perfection in the transcendent realm rather than tangible perfection in the immanent present. This offers them paths to piety and spiritual unity with the divine. In contrast, same sex adherents are striving for this-worldly perfection by doubling down on their gender. It may be argued, however, that the Christian concept of divine incarnation in the netherworld offers a treasonous precedent in Jesus Christ who is supposed to be half man and half God.
The existential gap between the sexes has traditionally been bridged by religion, for instance, through active sanctifying deeds thanks to virtually eternal rituals informed by divine revelation. This is just another way of saying the inner self or Adam II rules the person. In same sex orientation, the Adam I—or, the outer, merely cognitive self—has usurped the lead role over the personality. This was possible only by sacrificing the original person to group loyalty, also known as the LGBTIQ pressure groups. Because of their mafia-style political outfits, nobody dares to criticise or challenge them in the public square. Nevertheless the ignorance of the biblical order will cost the West dearly, however. For history taught us that sexual inhibition opens up a pandora box of public censorship, sexual predation, transgression of the law and cultural depravation. The overtly sexist hype of gender diversification is averse to transcendence and fixed on corporeal attributes. This results in reckless visualizing of sexual appetites as can be witnessed with gay pride parades, notorious for their pagan brazenness and tribal exhibitionism that had been forbidden in almost all civilized cultures since time immemorial.
Now only the pagan ramifications of this are looming large with formal attire vanishing in the postmodern era and good manners following suit. As a matter of fact, in the build up of the Great War, good manners based on gender have been sacrificed to organic, visualized gender and “perspicuous consumption.” Today, ethical food is offered as a fig leaf for sexual inhibitions. In its course, monotheist humility is being replaced by self-righteous agency for animal rights and gay “pride.” Both are just expressions of the visualised logic of human perfection while shedding charity and religious community, humility and grace toward the alien other. For some specific reason the predilection for formlessness and sexual pride did precede the catastrophe of WW I, confirming the old saying “pride comes before the fall” as indeed telling. The common denominator of sex pride and national chauvinism is the suppression of original religious modesty and transcendental authenticity. If humility can be considered the foundation stone on which the Judaeo-Christian family and society was built, then its replacement by sexual pride must be its undoing.
For humility presupposes gender complementarity and heterosexual marriage as the twin institutional arrangements for hedging the natural human inclination for boasting and bragging. It is for this reason that the signature accomplishment of Western civilisation must be considered the suppression of nasty human pride, which has been the source of most personal and institutional conflicts. It could be checked only by the monotheist credo of humility. Yet once the venerable Western institution of humility was called into question by sexual identity politics in the fin de siecle, the West advanced on its course toward disaster for most of the 20th century. This gives us a taste of the true malignancy of sexual identity politics. Not only the millennial and precarious power of traditional marriage is liable of being destroyed by the levelling of sexual differences in the name of sameness.
Is it any wonder that after more than hundred years into the emergence of same sex politics a new type of perfection of the human person was announced? It denies God’s creation with claims to transition over the natural, biblically enhanced gap between the sexes. If we take transsexual claims seriously, then the whole concept of gender, family and transmittance of names and divine revelation falls apart. Until recently, all three monotheist religions were united in the conviction that humility under the auspices of monotheism is the indispensable source of peace in our civilisation and beyond. By contrast the resurfacing of sexual pride paved the way for 20th century totalitarians.
In the decadent era, it re-opened the door to hell and prompted many Jews (among them Theodor Herzl) to leave Europe for good. Cast in doubt or invalidated was the conviction that there are only two complementary sexes which combine through marriage in order to secure the continuity of family and society in history. The treasure trove of Western civilization consisted in religiously founded postponement of pleasure and the suppression of animal instincts such as sodomy. Pagan pride is an extremely successful anti-dot to monotheist humility and it succeeds to the degree that sexual exhibitionism is bound to ruin the psychological institution of religious sublimation or sanctification of natural drives. Sexual identity collapses the result of two millennia of Christian sublimation towards civilizing conduct, emotional restraint and public decency. Sublimation and postponement of pleasure is and always was the undisputed wellspring of scientific enquiry, the panache of Western progress.
It was only through the construction of gender choices as rival or replacement for the political distinction of class that the same sex movement gathered steam before and after the Great War confirming the old saying of war as the great leveller. This is even more true if we postulate that decadent sexual identity and the politics of “coming out” has been the overture to the Holocaust because, on the collective level, ethical Adam II (the inner self) had been the backbone of the Western genius and has been ruined by coming out of same sex addicts. As a result, the inner self has been replaced by merely cognitive (identitarian) and outer Adam I. What this means is that the religious person (inner moral self, Adam II) was no longer in the majority or at least no longer dominated the mainstream since the fin de siecle in Europe. Oscar Wilde jumped on the stage with his radical philosophy of visualization by which he was channeling gay “coming out.”
The very function of sameness as an outgrow of consumerist capitalism is to ease up sexual exchange and promiscuity is to empower the eye over the ear or the visual over the auditive paradigm. All of which are escapist responses to the civilisational wreckage of two World Wars to the tune that quantity surely diminishes quality. Since true sexual encounters in Victorian times were still conceived as “once in a lifetime” providing religious marriage with its sublime meaning and power, the multiple encounters in the same sex community were bound to ruin it all. In addition the faceless and dehumanising frequency of habitual promiscuity in same sex relations has been fostering group think and keeps killing genuine religious individualism. We have to remind ourselves that the origin of the individual person is not to be found in Athens but in Jerusalem.
Biologism and the organic wave are often regarded as neutralisers and pacifiers of the class struggle of political economics and Marxism. It is in this sense that righteous racism and leftist genderism delegitimized the old socialist and egalitarian threat to bourgeois society. This is by now mainstream Western thinking. In this manner, the organic outlook survived the Nazis and today looks more sustainable than Marxism ever was. This is mainly due to the power of organic informality and the allegedly indisputable biologist facts which seem to uphold the pretence of honesty attached to the inner drive of the Protestant Reformation. However, statistics show that, on average, heterosexuals are content with just one or possibly up to five partners in a lifetime while homosexuals consume hundred times as much partners. The repetitive pattern is simple to explain: human bowels are unclean and sterile apart from not being created as an erogenous zone.
During the countermovement against the social unrest set off by the French Revolution, the politics of emancipation eventually turned inward and unleashed the female core of the modern project that had started in the Renaissance. The biologist turn toward race was meant to cripple the socialist movements in Europe once and for all. Peaking in the decadent the rise of gender issues was lead by highly politicised feminist and gay emancipation which were revolutionary and counterrevolutionary at the same time because they split the subaltern masses. This paradox has not been resolved until today which is by now the factions defined by gender are fighting each other.
The sexual identitarian is of an entirely different stock as the religious individual. by sexual groupism and organized mass men. Feminism and husbandry seemingly have ever since remained mutually exclusive as the reflective moral self is in retreat. The best proof of this is the rise of awkward esotericism and idolatry born from secular rejections of religion, manifest in the replacement of the personal crucifix by amulets showing astrological animals. With this “organic turn” animal symbols as it were diversified and challenged the unifying crucifix as if we were witnessing the second “organic” coming of Christ. In San Francisco, the first gay pride parades in the 1880s literally exhibited effigies of the Christian saviour.
At the same time with monumental Egyptian pyramids the deified scarab has been popularized in Europe, also feeding into the decadent interest for graves, the afterlife and the “living dead”. This reflected the breakup of family life and the fragility of individual continuity after death. Reflected endlessly in Freudianism, the animal symbolism firmly attached identity to sex. In the course of sensational excavation in Egypt, a model of authentic or “living” identity has been provided by the Egyptian sun godhead and its earthly representative, the holy scarab which came to conquer the amulets in the 1890s as protector of the postmodern soul exposed in the naturalist nakedness of the German FKK movement.
This wave of nature and sun worship engulfing the human body might explain the absurd interest in the pharaonic worlds of son gods capturing the decadent European imagination. This occurred precisely at the climactic crisis of the visual paradigm that had dominated half a millennium. The fascination with visual images of the human body had emerged in the Renaissance and was about to be replaced, after 500 years, by the much narrower haptic paradigm that set off waves of sexual inhibition—albeit euphemized as emancipation. It its course, reflecting the rise of individualism and family decline, sex entered the market place in the decadent era with sexual identity politics enchanted by the cynic prose of Oscar Wilde. In the same way, Maurice Maeterlinck left Paris for the country side and everybody facing the naked human body took refuge in well-armoured insects. This complementarity of naked naturalism and heavy armour was perfectly represented in the scarab and it would continue with the “sleepwalking” of European Empires into the Great War-like lemmings. It coincided with the naturalistic turn of insect romanticism at the close of the 19th century which happens to live on in the postmodern genre of militant and archaic fantasy videos. In this genre, the aggregated manpower seems frozen and all fighting spirit seems to precipitate in absurd defensive panzer costumes says it all. Men are increasingly looking like bugs. Hitler seduced the German folks by putting them all in a käfer called Volkswagen.
The Prussian military and its infamous “Pickelhaube,” a symbol of the Great War, is likely to have been a spin off of the bug symbolism. It should not surprise anyone, if we reflect for a moment, to see sexual exhibitionism and the human panzer emerging simultaneously at the transition from modernity to postmodernity: “Les extremes se touchent.” What accounts for the postmodern soul of mass men is all about toxic visualisation modelled after the Egyptian opposition of megalomaniac pyramids and their miniaturised inhabitants: scarabs. Postmodernity is about the denouement of ancient Judaism’s accomplishment: the escape from personal enslavement managed through transcending the haptic-visual toward the auditive paradigm. Modern enslavement began with making people addicted to sex in the late 19th century and euphemised or ennobled by Freudianism. It internalised megalomania in the form of the phallic fantasies and grandstanding which then took the form of gay pride. It also manifested itself as the collapse of the aesthetic sensibilities in decadent and postmodern Europe whose art became abstract at the turn of the 19th century. The main characteristic of postmodernity became monumentalism of the sort of bugs and pyramids which was followed by minimizing of the human person through the symbolism of mass insects. The secret of this symbolism is visualisation and in particular the revival and utilisation of the pars-pro-toto principle in a way that paved the way to political totalitarianism which was increasingly undermining representative government. We can therefore speak with confidence of the decadent Egyptian bug as the “writing on the wall” for the dawn of totalitarian regimes in Europe.
Both trends are just manifestation of the push back against facile enlightenment idealism which set off a wave of desublimation through gender ideologies furnished with their own incubator: crude nationalism. Desublimation liberates emotions and is the default mode of the narrow haptic paradigm. It has manifested itself in the onset of the Freudian sexual revolution and continues with the emergence of identity politics. At the same time, the Christian crucifix, worn around the neck as an amulet would be replaced with sexually neutral scarabs as symbols for individual protection of mass men in the build-up of the Great War. By disimbedding and informalising the sex drive in Weimar Germany, the preconditions for the totalitarian mind set were born. They first made an appearance with three-dimensional haptic aesthetics. It would become the nemesis of the war-torn 20th century.
Body politics remind us to the denunciation of Weimar Germany as a mere “talking shop” rendering political discourse redundant. In my view, the epochal event occasioning the birth of sexual identity politics is this: the visual paradigm lost its supervision and protection by the auditive paradigm and attached itself to mere feelings: the haptic paradigm. The rest as they say is history, namely the unravelling of violence in the cataclysms of the 20th century. Early on, Virginia Woolf in her mature years got it right when she pleaded for a return to Victorian values. The same sentiment was expressed almost a century later by the late Gertrud Himmelfarb. Both women were deeply shocked by the outfall of the sexual revolution, the dark side of political feminism. We need to remind ourselves that it was sexual libertinism in the Weimar Republic which unravelled German democracy simply because the politics of sexual “coming out” or body politics emerged as inimical to political representation and on principle anti-sublimatory. The same is true for “sexual identity politics” which also undermines the biologically foundations of decency and civil society. Both thrive on the rejection of concepts of intellectual abstraction through body politics undermining the political discourse that we all depend on.
Dr. Friedrich Hansen is a physician and writer. He has researched Islamic Enlightenment in Jerusalem and has networked on behalf of the Maimonides Prize. Previous journalistic and academic historical work in Germany, Britain and Australia. He is currently working in Germany and Australia.
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