Is ‘seduction for life’ a one time purchase or a membership?
The seduced subject child in us and the babbled pain
The aggressive hologram
How are we confronting capitalism, the aggressive phantom?
Institutionalised and facilitated enactments of release or resistance
Finding, and grooving with, our inner perverts
The responsibility of the dreamers
Bringing collective responsibility back to the center
Is ‘seduction for life’ a one time purchase or a membership?

In the problem of Seduction, central to Freudian psychoanalysis, the primary seducer is the Mother figure, with the immense responsibility of seducing infants to no less than life itself. This seduction is vital, and as such, worthy of praise and closer examination. How we can examine such a specific seductive dynamic, when seduction is in its essence elusive and permanently escaping us, is not a clear path, but mental paths don’t need to be clear, logical or straightforward to exist.
With this premise we’re adventuring into foggy lands.
It might be the case that some traces of this seductive dynamic are still at play passed infancy, and if that was so we could say that members of society that don’t actively contemplate suicidal ideas are still (continuously?) seduced into life. Is this seduction necessarily directed towards just children, or does it point to the child in us as well? Could it be the case that the part of us that is receiving this seduction also grew with us?
If the father figure is analogous to the state due to authority and rule setting functions, I want to propose we use for this essay the mother figure as analogous to collectivity due to nurturing and (inter)dependency dynamics, and recognise that as the seductive intergenerational figure in this essay.

There’s something continuously at play that seduces us into living, and this something might be, but not be found, in the surplus of our interactions with society.

If according to anthropologist Margaret Mead ‘the first indication of human civilization is care over time for one who is broken and in need’, then we can understand how this care is deeply connected to our very humanity, and to all other expressions of it that first showed up.
Our animal ancestors and any time of Homo- we’ve been has lived in groups, that before societies were considered communities, in which we could find denser networks built up from stronger interpersonal connections and a sense of belonging.
Yes, living in groups, societies and communities, is meant to provide us with a sense of protection and defense, resource sharing, learning and knowledge transfer, division of labor, reproductive opportunities, reduced stress and social bonds, and improved feeding systems. Human societies have evolved as a result of numerous factors and advantages associated with group living, adding to the previously mentioned cultural transmission, economic and trade opportunities and emotional support. 
However, all these factors that can be measured and numerised, leave out the most visceral and intuitive reasons; because it feels good and because it is fun. These are motivations to live in groups, communities and societies that, due to their subjective nature and the consequent lack of science around them, have been continuously left out, disregarded, uncultivated in their essence. The repercussions of this ignorance are a relevant part of the core of what’s wrong with the world today, in which the pursuers of numbers growth ignore all subjectivities and embodied certainties.

When focusing on the body and on the physical, we find rituals, games on interpretative performances sharing a relevant amount of characteristics, so much so that at the dawn of human times the lines between them become blurred, particularly due to their role in human social bonding. Through them, a spatiotemporal container was created in which regular life rules are overridden by the rules of the dynamic at play. A world of exception is embedded in our world of ‘natural’ laws and ‘practical’ rules. How these two worlds converge remains an open area of study.
Outside of these containers of exception we perform continuous micro repetitions directed by our psychic world of rules. These actions added up form our cultures and the social world that in turn guides our thought processes that prompt these micro and macro repetitions. Some of these ideas inform what and how we build, which furthers the echo of these mental patterns and create our physical space. We now live in a ‘reality’ that encompasses all of these phenomena, the echoes of thousands of years of influence of our physical world and the set of ideas we continuously receive, embody, and ideally eventually reinterpret.

Here we have to mention again the father figure as the image of this psychosocial level imposed onto us from birth, just to contrast it with the motherly figure of dynamic interconnectedness. This seduction might be found in that which overflows, which appears through the cracks between our material/physical nature and the father figure of the state and all that it encompasses. The exceptions to rules, the rituals, the capability of joking, the eventual intentional suspension of reason.

The seduced subject child in us and the babbled pain

Looking now away from the mother figure and onto the seduced subject, if I am posing that the seductive (mother) figure continues to work past infancy, the receptors of the seduction would have either expanded in time, evolved or renewed themselves. I want to explore the way we receive and succumb to the seduction collectively in an intergenerational society.

Neonates don’t separate feeling something from expressing it, particularly discomfort. Children need to go through stages of psychosexual development and the emergence of mechanisms of repression and sublimation to separate the feeling of emotions from their immediate unfiltered expression.

In the 21st century, we find ourselves embedded in a society that both entices and inflicts harm. In this context, it becomes apparent that trauma and repression and supression have become pervasive elements in various facets of contemporary communal existence. This ubiquitous influence of psychological distress is consistently illustrated in numerous articles and studies addressing the ongoing global mental health crisis. The resulting psychosomatic symptoms are equally conspicuous. It is essential to recognize that our dietary and physical activity routines and the vital quality of our environments are intrinsically linked, serving as both catalysts and outcomes of this overarching phenomenon, and that this un-well being is as equally and unfairly distributed as wealth and capital at a planetary level.

We, in the W.E.I.R.D societies are living and are undeniable ourselves a part of a society of hysterics. If ‘there’s always something deceptive about the hysterical situation itself’, even if pinpointing the hysterical is unavoidably risky business, I will proceed in this essay with this statement as a premise to more effectively explore the effectiveness of the activities that might be working as cures or pharmacons.

If, as according to Freud, signs of hysteria can be identified as non-organic symptoms, the current wave of people reporting psycho-physical health conditions or illnesses, that can’t be directly attributed to initial biological causes, can also fall in this category. In contrast with Freud’s first patients, we now are aware of the existent connections and causalities, are better able to pinpoint, even if not with exact precision due to the fact of it not really having one only centre, where the sources of the mental health pandemic are, or at least able to identify how they’re affecting our collective malfunction.

The aggressive hologram

The source of both, our hysterical symptoms and Freud’s first patients can be attributed to an abusive external cause. In our contemporary case, our social context is a permanently oppressive and abusive one, and just as the young girls who didn’t have agency or power to defend themselves from their abuser, our abuser is a phantasmatic figure, which also greatly difficults, if not impossibilizes, fighting back.

In the context of our cure, the traditional psychoanalytic emphasis on insight and self-awareness as initial steps faces unique challenges. In nation states where there has been a long period of ‘political peace’, younger generations that have only experienced this longer standing new-normal, don't have a singular defining event to recall, as the aggression inflicted upon us is not an isolated incident; rather, it is systemic, it is subtle in form but not on impact. The violence extends beyond individual bodies and into the realm of collective existence, perpetuated through the daily, seemingly mundane micro-repetitions enacted by everyone. This systemic violence isn't a mere memory; it is a relentless persistence, impossible to forget, for it remains an ever-present force. 
In less fortunate nation states where younger and older generations have clear and specific memories of events of violence or abuse, the hologram is easier to target, because it does have an ‘archetypal face’ and can be found on one side of specific interactions.
In our now “globalised” world, these realities are mixed and people who are the target of direct violence also have to endure systemic oppression, and societies that are being oppressed by this phantom found in the constraints of possibilities or our obligations around our survival are also part of a global conversation, in which the explicit violence executed in different areas of the world can’t be ignored, and as much as it calls for our attention and participation, it also accentuates our feelings of powerlessness and despair.

Systemic oppression, stealing from us possibilities, forces us to trap inside of us bursts of energy that, due to the mostly sedentary lifestyle of the westernised 21st century, don’t get out through any of the possible channels. Repression can hence be seen as a (mal)adaptive coping behaviour, and in this case as a consequence to permanent impositions that can be found in every part of our everyday working life. This clogged energy, can resemble to notions of the chinese idea of ‘Qi’. The Medical Classic of the Yellow Emperor mentions that “When the YIN is consumed there is internal heat, an excess of YANG produces external heat. Fire will always be an excess of QI.”
The persistence of unresolved conflicts and emotional distress that can’t be tied to specific exceptional situations, has pushed society towards creating and pursuing numbing strategies to cope with these feelings, this trapped Qi, and their ramifications in our lives. The use of such dynamics are now both consequential, and part of the cause of finding ourselves in such a state.

In privileged locus of societies in which a temporal mental evasion from the oppression is possible, further numbing these feelings through specific activities, dynamics or substances might support the idea that ‘things aren't that bad’. Could that be our first lie? Is that just a reflection of our fantasies and wishes?

How are we confronting capitalism, the aggressive phantom?

One of the key traits of our era is hyper individualisation. In western societies where family or tribal bonds are not as relevant, we are sold the idea that we are alone with our choices and their consequences, with our responsibilities, our challenges and the way we ‘must earn our privileges’, and in most cases, we believe it, we enact it, and we make it truth.
This idea is sold to us in many ways, from the construction of the idea of competition as the way to interact in society to the happy economy and its conviction of individual happiness as being only the individual’s responsibility, as if it could be independently constructed and maintained regardless of the environment or our relationship with it.

In other not W.E.I.R.D societies, where the aggressive phantom is not dispersed into all areas of life but has a face and a more specific and perhaps material and tangible way of inflicting pain, it allows for, in turn, more specific and material ways of pinpointing it, understanding it and the ways in which it has harmed us, and potentially reacting to it.
These societies or cultures are under-represented in the western imaginary, deemed as inferior and as less deserving of attention. In the context of this essay, these cultures are understood as having a clearer view of the oppressive forces acting upon them, and do not have the privilege of living in an a-priori lie or conception of ‘things being okay’, hence, even if in their particularities they conform worlds of exception, they might end up leading the very obviously necessary overturn of oppressive figures of power on a global scale.

In the most obvious examples, societies that are being explicitly oppressed or exploited exhibit in turn a tighter knit social fabric with a shared sense of purpose (fighting against the oppression collectively and the shared care for individuals) and activities of resistance or ritual that require a shared embodied participation in a cathartic activity.

These sort of shared activities and orientations towards life serve as a channel to press out the energy that in privileged societies we’re forced to hold on to.
The non-institutionalised or informal release of this energy might take the shape of grassroots activism, but also dance, other sorts of rituals, games, or simply living life in a more disinhibited way, yelling and embodying aggression more often, without necessarily doing so for a genuinely bad intended purpose.

Again, societies that are under an explicit active threat against which they can fight are free from the phantasmatic oppression of capitalist demands, they are not, but the fact that one of their threats has a real face serves as a catalyst for community building and a shared sense of their collective objective, and hence the motherly figure of society might be perceived more intensely. In these sort of circumstances in which life could not make the cut to be ‘worth living’ by western numerical measures, the fact that people aren’t giving into despair, or giving up on life, evidences the presence of a motherly figure seducing these communities into life through what overflows between the tiles of the interconnectedness, the care and the compassion present.

Institutionalised and facilitated enactments of release or resistance.

Since the argument of this paper is around the hysteric and perverted elements of societies that are continuously repressed by a figure they can’t directly ‘fight’ against, from now on this paper will only address W.E.I.R.D societies.

If W.E.I.R.D societies are then “civilised” societies, they are an example of the paradox of civilisation requiring also sublimation and control. It is the paternal figure of these societies that through social contracts pushes individuals into perversion and neurosis. In the lack of real scenarios in which to project the stored (repressed) energy, these societies need to find ways to channel it in a way that’s socially acceptable. As with everything else, capitalism and consumer dynamics provides options that create the illusion of catharsis.

Music concerts, theatre, movies and other types of media provide us a controlled arena to have a mental experience of instinctual drives and aggressive impulses. Sadly, attending these sorts of events has become less and less participatory with time. Norms of polite and educated behaviour force us to be more silent, sit more still, and even enact logical understanding.

This type of sublimation through the arts was doing a better job when, due to the lack of technology, the public had to invest more energy into them. If we think of old theatre pieces, where the public was free to laugh or boo or even throw tomatoes, or even the first movies made, where the special effects were still so basic that the public still had to actively participate through the willing suspension of their disbelief, they were, even if still just mentally, more engaged and active with the piece. Nowadays, everything is given to us. We have incredible movies and documentaries about revolution, that we comfortably watch, or T-shirts that stand for something, that we comfortably buy, and get a placebo sensation of having participated ourselves in something bigger from a padded seating.

Rituals, theatre and play have had a very relevant role in the development and self image of societies throughout history. They respond to very profound needs of interaction and collectivity, creation, amusement and fantasy, but they can only work if we’re involved in a way that requires any sort of input from us, even if it is only in the preparation and the anticipation. The importance of these things has been overlooked, or, from a more conspiranoic perspective, it has been recognised and thus our access to them has been intentionally reduced. Whichever the case we are finding ourselves in cities with very little infrastructure for accessible spaces of release.

What can we do when we feel so many trapped feelings we ourselves feel entrapped? Some people seek release, or a temporal disconnection, through travelling. Visiting new places has been losing its charm in the past years at an incredible speed due to global chains and global media, and while this is a different conversation to have, people still travel, now maybe not so much to feel confronted with cultures and realities that are completely different, but for the feeling of being a new or different self. When we travel now, we might be seeking a time of exception and escape from what our daily life usually requires from us, both on dynamics and behaviours.

There are not many places in modern western cities where one can have a feeling of community earned through participation in cathartic activities that require effort from everyone involved, even if not constantly. We can find places, usually understood as cultural entities, where one can pay to participate in a shared embodied experience, but when one is consuming a service and is hence in the position of a customer and not an active participant with certain responsibilities, this dynamic turns jaded and is now working in the service of a capitalist consumer society, and not in the service of the members of the community.

So where and how can we really let loose all of our perverted thoughts, odd emotions and come as our most eccentric selves? Parties and festivals work as a portal for many young people on western societies to spaces of exception where behaviours that aren't accepted in other areas of modern life are welcomed or even encouraged. Still, the fact that most of these places still operate as business for profit, and that have a ‘face’ to maintain towards the broader public turns them into a still defective tool for group catharsis.

This access to participatory creative activities isn’t only a matter of release, it is a matter of rights. Cultural rights function as a lever for the attainment of the rest of the rights, in the sense that the capacities that accompany cultural rights, the capacity of identification, of community, of communication, of creation, allow us to have a place, to announce and denounce, to link ourselves to others, to represent ourselves, to have agency to intervene in the world, which is a necessary condition for the attainment of the rest of the rights. 
And through the exercise of cultural rights we favour the self-organisation of the social fabric, the activation and densification of civil society, which is fundamental for a democratic deepening, because the more alive and more organized the social fabric is, the more subjects and more collectives can intervene in the public sphere and be organized to participate in debates and conversations that go beyond the cultural sphere. Ultimately ensuring cultural rights can contribute to democratic pro-organization.
It is important to understand the way this is also influenced by the way the rest of human rights are upheld, that is, it is not possible to guarantee cultural rights without many of our other rights being guaranteed, such as the right to housing, the right to income, or the right to time.Without time freed from work, without the socialisation of care, without decent conditions of existence, there will be no effective exercise of cultural rights or they will be reduced to those who have these conditions guaranteed. In the same way that there is no project of social improvement without culture as a vector, it is not possible to have a project of cultural democracy without a project of democracy and social justice in all areas.

Finding, and grooving with, our inner perverts.

In some settings and cities called either ‘progressive’ or ‘primitive’ by more repressed people, the party/celebration scenes are part of the everyday life of inhabitants (and not tourists) and it's becoming -if it wasn’t already- religious-like in practice. People meet almost weekly to move together, to potentially touch each other, maybe chant, dance or perform a sort of ritual. Even in the shape of modern clubs, the dynamic of facing the DJ resembles the attention directed at a religious leader. It is also worth mentioning the numbing and/or release that drug use can provide and that is also commonly found in these contexts.

In modern western more private events, the connection and engagement with our inner perverts is even found to be encouraged. These events, that in essence embrace a mutual rejection with normalised culture with politically correct moral standards, are an oasis of exception where engaging with our aggressive or consensually submissive, sexually perverted self is celebrated. We could also make a relationship between religious or spiritual and sexual ecstasy as two distinct experiences that still share some similarities, especially in the context of altered states of consciousness and intense emotional or sensory experiences.

Not coincidentally, the promotion and conversation around these events is surrounded by comments on the current state of the world, either rejecting the values that it seems to promote all together or fully engaging with them in an excessive and opulent manner. Still, when attending events that reject the internationally politically correct in W.E.I.R.D. societies, when done as a customer and consumer one isn’t directly and personally engaged with this community and the promotion of its values on a daily basis, but at least they do provide safe spaces to perform this aggression that it is so very much an integral part of our human nature, and that we don’t seem to accept anywhere else (except if we ask right wing people in power with remnants of colonial mentality, but that can be left for a different conversation).

The responsibility of the dreamers

In the current hyper lonely societies, we’ve also been fooled into thinking that the unease that we feel is our responsibility and ours alone, so we are meant to try to deal with it alone as well. And while we know this shouldn’t be the case when rationalised separately, when your average subject of the W.E.I.R.D. society is just frantically running from task to task to evasion and back to task, the time required to build ideas and reasons around this simply isn’t there. 
Everything around us in western societies seem to be screaming at us, much like the scene of the movie ‘They Live’ from 1988, but not only to just consume and obey, but to do so fast and alone. For the first time in human history we have such a high percentage of individual housing, and the percentage of our time required to pay it it’s been on the rise for decades.

In this context of subtle but constant triggers forcing us to do things faster for our mere survival, we’ve turned into drugs to numb or to cope with this pressure. Not only powdered or liquid chemicals, coffee, porn, infinite scrolling. We’re desperate to silence both the muted screams of our infrastructure and the excess of Qi that stays stored in us. Maladaptively, the more we need to get out of our minds and more into our bodies, the more we seem to do the opposite.

And while the problem is systemic and free will is an illusion, we still seem to place the blame on the individual, and call upon their sense of morality and responsibility to answer for their actions. So when, like a fart, some of this repressed Qi scapes our bodies and shows up in a strange, or even simply child-like manner, we doom the person as unfit for ‘propper society functioning’. Likewise, when our years of existence under an oppressive regime add up and our nervous systems act in resemblance to Freud’s hysterics, we’ve been usually perceived as weak.
Luckily, the conversations around this are changing.

Bringing collective responsibility back to the center.

In this narrative, the fatherly figure provides orderly ways to cope with all these repressions and pains, but as a father figure, it does so through figures of authority, discipline and a linear thinking that goes from correct and acceptable to the opposite.

Activities that were historically under the realm of the mother figure, and that could provide embodied fun, are now almost exclusively productive. Where before a great number of people were required to share space and time in order to create music, now this can be ‘enjoyed’ remotely, passively and alone. Where before it took collaboration, rehearsals and a whole team to enact a story that was always destined for a live audience, now stories are mostly consumed in solitary silence, and most likely in the dark. Where before collective physical effort was required to deal with natural adversities, now all of this is outsourced.

The ‘making off’ of all of the mentioned activities required collective effort, but it was in that surplus that we found the motherly figure that weaved our social networks. We’ve somehow been fooled into thinking that consuming is all we want, that it is what will make us happy, and the order imposed by the father figure aims to provide this that we believe will please us best. 

It is my belief and proposal in this paper, that, much like Leonardo Da Vinci, we too could benefit from a larger presence of our mother figure, and not only in our most formative years, but always.

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