a dismal planet, full of silent, miserable crones

Nietzsche (or rather, Sarah Kofman) has commanded me to write a declamation under the above challenging headline. This is the most horrible inversion of chivalry, actually. I am supposed to ride into the lists behind a page who has called for female opponents to fight me. On all previous occasions, men like me found ways to attack, ridicule, spy upon, undermine and kill the men of the other side, who variously guarded, loved, hated or served the women concerned. To attack the loved ones makes no sense. But as the Lubavitcher used to say, “We must discriminate.” The infantile unconscious assumes that each woman must be either bad or good, but unfortunately, it turns out that the particular frisson of love involves some element of darkness, something “naughty but nice.” The Lubavicher called it “klipah nogah.” This was rather subtly translated by Crowley as “Venus Aversa.” I defy anyone to explain it in any terms other than the following.

Despite all the misery of the prudes, we each of us find within ourselves something like a giant dirty squirty bag, intimately entangled with every organ we call our own and quite a few we might wish to identify with the very self itself (if there is one). As a result of the intimate commingling between the various parts of the nervous system, we are each left (I have no doubt) with an enormous erotic interest in retaining, compressing and expelling the contents of this bag in all sorts of malodorous (or, for all I know, sweet-smelling) mixtures. We still enjoy this horrid sport as adults, while solemnly pretending we wished we were elsewhere all the time. The woman has an advantage over the man in dealing with this absurdity, insofar as her natural rapport with her mother or whatever significant adult female during infancy, will have made her more at home with the isomorphism of the beloved parent body. The boy rapidly loses this as he falls into the antisepsis of the masculine court of death, the pseudo-clean regime of the warriors. This inculcates in him, by means of raw fear, a contempt not only of squirty bits, but of all soft bits whatever and forever. How is this to be “compensated”?

One idea is that as long as the horrors, desires, longings and fears of this human animal in its search for love, are equally balanced on both sides, it will at least remain on its feet, instead of falling over sideways and becoming immobilized. And so it will. But why? What makes it even worth trying? Apparently, in the end, only the Death Instinct can completely justify anything, even love. Your love has to stand in the face of death. Your unconscious is structured like a James Bond phallo-sado epic. “No two ways about that,” they say in english, but there are two ways. The woman is both life and death, so correspondingly, love should darken love, in ways that do not detract from its dignity. Crowley already understood this. Consider what “Venus Aversa” actually means. The image is deceptively simple. A woman is not a coin or a star in the sky, but a human female with a front and a back side as well. This is why Margaret Thatcher, the infamous “Iron Lady”, had to declare with such pointed humour, “The Lady’s not for Turning.” The phrase comes from Jacobean English satire. Ultimately, it refers to witches. To “turn” the witch is to ready her by tying, for dunking in the pond, what we now call “waterboarding”, as popular a village sport then as today – RB


  1. tiqla
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    “Venus Aversa”=לילית?
    BTW לילית does not appear in rabbinical literature at all. It is actually in the book of Ben Sira [apocrypha].
    The Zohar made extensive use of it and of course Luria even stating it is forbidden to say her name out loud.
    Consequently endless superstitions have evolved concerning ‘her’. Abulafia as always has his own take. He says in as much as there is a לילית there is also יומית which would obviously be the ‘daytime’ as opposed to the ‘nightime’ as alluded in her name.

  2. niqnaq
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    How nice to hear your voice. Happy holiday! The underlying joke is rather sexual, of course. It’s frivolous, I shouldn’t take it too seriously

  3. niqnaq
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    um… no, wait (embarassed)… what i mean is, don’t take it too seriously as pseudo “scholarship”, cos on that level it is just bantering & rubbish. (blush).

    But as a personal message embedded in a sort of frivolous code, it is a message to some phantom female out there with an unusual sense of homo(u)r, etc.

  4. tiqla
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Understood but the hermeneutic was too tempting for me.

  5. niqnaq
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you, very tactful.

    Sarah Kofman, again – not an actual living woman of any description, alas, but a dead one: a french-jewish philosopher (or philosopheuse, fem) who wrote on Nietzsche. So I am just starting to read her “Nietzsche & Metaphor”, which is a medium-sized effort of about 200 pages. I’m mentally comparing it to the slim volumes of the po-mo’s (they go typically to a mere 120 pp, with huge white gaps in the compositing of whole pages)

  6. tiqla
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:20 am | Permalink

    po mo’s. ?

  7. niqnaq
    Posted April 25, 2016 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    post-modernists… indeed, whether it’s interesting… I can’t think who I mean. I am pretty sure that I mean feminist post-structuralists, though… they did not write huge books… they used the allusive method… three dots and a hiatus…

    Sarah Kofman still wrote in real sentences, not in that modish way. She was one of the last gasp of modernist philosophy before the deluge of the late 70s or so. The last attempt to make sense of Freud, mainly, before the great attack by the degenerated Maoists or whatever they were, who declared that the reign of the intelligible had ended altogether. And it is astonishing that she killed herself. The fact that she did so overshadows her work, like Althusser’s murder of his wife overshadows his work (and they knew each other too)… personages of the Left…

    Sorry for adding to the comment. I don’t want to multiply them unnecessarily, and I am not trying to engage you in continual chatter.

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