By Willis AIREY, With B&W illus.
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Extra resources for A learner in China: a life of Rewi Alley
Genderlessness, however, seems always to be conflated with maleness. Thus spirit becomes written as male, and body, what is divided into gender, becomes written as female. This is an example of the mechanism within which gender itself comes to be female. The transcendent androgyne is male. We notice here, however, another crucial element in the Platonic thinking of this Jewish arch-Platonist, Philo. If indeed, in the “second” creation story, the division is between mind (male) and body (female), in the first creation story, it is only an Idea of Man that is created at all.
Following a simple meal and a discourse, all of the members began to sing hymns together. Initially, however, the men and the women remained separate from each other in two choruses. 98 Although, obviously, the singing and dancing are performed by the body, the state of ecstasy (as its etymology implies) involves a symbolical and psychological condition of being disembodied and thus similar to the primal androgyne. This sect, very closely related to the Mysteries of which Lacan speaks, thus provides a synecdoche, a miniature and minor example of the discourse that was a historical source or point of origin for the Phallus.
Since the Phallus has so successfully been separated from the penis in western thought for hundreds if not thousands of years, one can easily forget that this separation is itself a mystification. One thus comes to imagine that one can speak of the Phallus without instantiating male privilege. 71 The Phallus is not the penis, but it is a disembodied idealization of the penis, a Platonic Idea of the penis, just as Adam, for Philo, is not a man but a Platonic Idea of man. ) of the penis, and not the possession of a physical penis, that is the bedrock of misogyny.
A learner in China: a life of Rewi Alley by Willis AIREY, With B&W illus.