The Liminalist # 262: Houses in Motion (Discussing Morris Berman’s Wandering God with Tim K., # 3)

Part three of exegesis of Morris Berman’s Wandering God with Tim K.

Part One: Security Blankets & Transitional Objects (0 – 35 mins)

Bent souls, primal loss of unity, the strangeness of being alive, Camus & Sartre, Crime & Punishment, the meaningless pressure of objects, defining nausea, separation & autonomy, horizontal vs vertical, the effect of breast-feeding, denied the natural transitional object, the trauma of circumcision, a warm healthy family, romancing alcoholism, security blankets & transitional objects, the primacy of the mother in child-rearing, John Bowlby’s monotropy, multiple parents & extended family, father as bridge to world, dissolving the psychic bond to the mother.

Part Two: Buried Treasure (35 mins – 1 hr 15 mins)

Jasun’s father, remembering infancy, Tim’s buried treasure, somatic attention, visual vs. tactile, the cognitive homunculus, emotional caregiving, a difficulty with physical contact, unwanted children, a lost soul, Japanese society & Western society, the soul of a three-year-old, maternal impositions, Japanese child-rearing, free range children, trying to get away, hierarchical society & rearing towards independence, hardship for character building, brutality & independence, the abomination of Shane, the solar hero, the Man with No Name, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, the journey of integration, A Fistful of Dollars, the no-identity self.

Part Three: Spacing Children (1 hr 15 mins – 1 hr 51 mins)

The paragon of the hero, the virtue of the anti-hero, when it comes to the crunch, too many attachment figures, narcissism begins at home, child reared by village, dealing with a predator in the midst, from child raising to child raping, the essentiality of infanticide, the creation of high-strung adults, object relations, endless domination, spacing children, a people in movement, frenetic sedentary life, organization in motion, disaster films, orphanages and predation, the urge to transcendence, wandering Jews, the nation of the Jews, no sense of an afterlife, modernity & the holocaust.

Part Four: The Balancing of the Poles (1 hr 51 mins – end)

Heroes possessed by mother’s psyche, a deprivation of pleasure, a bitter culture of narcissism, violent quests for identity, trying to get back to oneness with mother, a sex-obsessed father, bondage, a world before Freud, power dynamics in bed & unhealthy maternal attachment, transgression, male & female child response to mother-complex, the second womb of alcohol, occultism & renunciation of the body, escaping feelings, the angst of being Jake, dis-empowerment of women, women’s disproportionate influence, males vs. female power, diffusion of sex-distinctions in hunter-gatherer society, gender-identification, the cooperative aspect, dyad before polarity, real men don’t bond, the Goddess hooplah.

Video excerpt:

Dark Ages America (Morris Berman’s site).

Wandering God.

Podcast art by Martin Jolly

Songs: “Pirates” by Entertainment for the Braindead; “Oh I Went Down,” “Tip & Canoe,” “Roses Yellow” “End of the Ride” by Mr. and Mrs. Smith; “Changes” by Short Hand.

4 thoughts on “The Liminalist # 262: Houses in Motion (Discussing Morris Berman’s Wandering God with Tim K., # 3)”

  1. Interesting discussion. But when talking about nomadic, pre-agricultural humans two books always spring to mind:

    Born to Run; A Hidden Tribe, Super Athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen by Christopher McDougall


    Sex at Dawn; The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality by Christopher Ryan and Cecilia Jethá

    Both touch on the state of pre-agricultural man (i.e., settled in one place) but from the different perspectives of sex and sport. Together, they paint an interesting picture of our recent origins.

    For example, part of the reason that tribes pass around children is because it is not entirely clear who the father is. And in a small nomadic group of about 50 people where possessions are shared and sexual favors often passed “promiscuously” amongst various members, does it even matter?

    In modern culture there is no such thing as being “a little bit pregnant” but amongst some tribes, once a young women began to have sexual intercoure with the men of the tribe then she was considered partially pregnant until an inevitable baby arrived. The idea being that each man’s semen (or man’s milk) feed the unseen fetus until after birth when the baby was feed by women’s milk.

    It was also considered possible that the various attributes of the various men might mix within the womb. One man be exceptionally kind or smart or strong or artistic, etc. The semen mixes in th womb and eventually the mother delivers a baby to the tribe. Sounds a little crazy to modern life but anthropology has documented such cultures.

    As for sport, in many ways nomadism is fundamental to the human species as running was one of our strongest weapons on the prairies and savannahs of yesteryear. But not speed running, rather distance running. Short distance, yes animals from cheetahs to rabbits can out run humans.

    But over long distance, humans are dominant. Did you know that in a race of 50 miles, man can beat a horse? Moreover, humans unlike other mammals can sweat as a means of temperature regulation. Other animals might be able to sprint away from humans…but they have to stop when their internal temperatures get too hot. Eventually over the span of 3–4 hours a small tribe of men hunters will chase down a pack of animals until the weakest members give up and collapse, an easy kill. Young men, of course, lead the hunt. Women, children and older tribe members followed along behind.

    Lastly, on another note, unrelated to the above two books, but on the question of infanticide, I always found it rather interesting that in ancient Rome the law provided that parents had the right to kill their children up through their second birthday. The idea being that by age 2, serious defects would make themselves known and people simply couldn’t risk raising a cripple in those harsh times.

    All in all, good discussion today. Bravo!

  2. On cathexis, from Wikipedia:

    Freud defined cathexis as an allocation of libido, pointing out for example how dream thoughts were charged with different amounts of affect. A cathexis or allocation of emotional charge might be positive or negative, leading some of his followers to speak as well of a cathexis of mortido. Freud called a group of cathected ideas a complex.

    Freud frequently described the functioning of psychosexual energies in quasi-physical terms, representing frustration of libidinal desires, for example, as a blockage of (cathected) energies which would eventually build up and require release in alternative ways. This release could occur, for example, by way of regression and the “re-cathecting” of former positions or fixations, or the autoerotic enjoyment (in phantasy) of former sexual objects: “object-cathexes”.

  3. Excellent analysis and conversation. Drew me in. I’ll now binge watch a few Clint Eastwood movies while digesting your take on a few, all of which I’ve seen many times.
    About doing good despite our traumatic past, could be akin to spitting in the face of our abusers. “See, you couldn’t kill my soul.”


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