John Dunn

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In a straightjacket

Saturday, 7 Jul 2018

Lulu on Dr John Dunn. Lost selfhood and will, heteronomy. What emerged from this Kafkaesque metamorphosis?

Daniel Paul Schreber lived with the fear that he was turning into an effeminate Jew, a true Weiningerian composite, the heteronomous expectation that someone else, some master, will tell me who I am and what I ought to value and desire. To be adrift amid flows of impressions, empirical causes and influences, but without any self regulation or individually creative contribution; to be Kundry, without authentic personality, subject to Klingsor’s summoning.

Come up! Come up! To me!
Your master calls you, nameless one,
primaeval witch, rose of hell!

To be Lulu, with vanity fed by the gaze of others; woman - living only in and through the thoughts and regard of those outside her.

This is the Weiningerian horror, that woman possesses no ‘I’, no ‘Kantian’ transcendental ego, no essence. Like some bundle of of sense-impressions she is defined by others, in particular she is defined by man’s attitude to her body as as a sex object, a commodity.

The point is - the metamorphosis is universal. This was Marx’s point, this was Weininger’s point, this was Wagner’s point, this was Marsden’s understanding of Weininger, this was Schreber’s nightmare.

Manhood, the individual will, the creative self, were lost to the strength of woman in the unmanning of man.

Strinberg’s The Father was prescient. Man’s cosmic perspective was pronounced as madness. Woman and proto-Freudian psychology in alliance became the formidable force of our times - the Weiningerian composite that has us in a straightjacket.

© John Dunn.

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