Monday, November 7, 2011

Science as the Father or the Third

I was reminded this morning on my walk home that culturally science occupies the position of the father. I was smoking a cigarette and a mother passing by me on the sidewalk made a face and held her child away as if I was emitting smoke for some black magic spell that would cripple her child.

It's interesting that culturally so much resentment and righteousness has been channeled into things like being green and caring about basic health issues. Having lived in a smaller city in Russia I was struck by how much superstition exists there as well as the ability of men and old women to tell young girls that they aren't dressed appropriately.

This linkage of the socially acceptable from sex and superstition to environmentalism and health is a major achievement... for those with eyes to see it.

Science still hasn't been fully accepted in any culture if we take science to include psychoanalysis and not accept any appeals to religious authority. This means that we can psychoanalyze the place of science within a culture and see that it occupies an Oedipal relation. In our culture, for example, we have fundamentalists who would like to fully renounce science and break off into little groups in which they teach religion and creationism like their families taught it to them. There are also scientists like Dawkins and writers like Hitchens that fully attack religion and become mechanistic atheists who don't see either how religion has influenced the development of culture in important ways or it's value as the projections of the unconscious.

In this relation the fundamentalists are like Sade and the mechanists are like Kant. However rather than being sexually perverse the groups are being socially perverse.

Just as the narcissistic pervert exalts himself over the importance of a group identity in the symbolic order, the fundamentalists exalt religion over science. And, just as the compulsive looks contemptuously on the perverse and free-spirited with his moral righteousness so does the atheist-mechanist look upon the religious and the dialectician who wants to study religion for the sake of psychology and sociology.

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