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Neutered Libido

The obsession of Western media with sex is in direct proportion to the disappearance of gender as a profound cognitive division of labor. Just as consumer choice is the trivialized version of individual expression and real political choice, so is sex in consumer society the trivialized version of access to the perceptions of the other gender. But in patriarchal culture, this is a one-sided affair. Women have gained free access to masculine ways, while deeply feminine perceptions are discouraged in both men and women. The unisex mind is in essence the masculine mind. Grounded in the genderless, though masculine, soul and the genderless Creation by a masculine God, the Western mind found in the Renaissance cosmos a new plaything suitable to masculine interests: the universe no longer a garden but a machine to tinker with and harness to profit. Thus Illich points out that, just as neutral matter and energy moved through abstract space and time, so neutral capital flows through economic channels and neutral libido animates the genderless body. What is lost in this eager rush to so-called objectivity is the perspective of feminine intentionality or values. In a masculine world it is far more the feminine sensibility which embodies and conserves the sense of life’s mystery. The feminine bears the values considered humane and civic, in opposition to the rapacity of an economic warrior elite and its arms industry. The masculine world is frankly too much with us.

RELATED TAGS: [global economic machine, cognitive/gender division of labor, consumer sex, machine in the garden, neutral libido, feminine values, female intentionality]

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