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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Wednesday, June 21

sex, drugs and spirituality

I guess I haven't written about her here yet, but I've been interested for some time now in Mabel Dodge Luhan. Mabel was quite the piece of work. In the '20s, she lured all sorts of literati to her ranch in Taos, New Mexico, notably D.H. Lawrence, but more interesting for my purposes: Carl Jung. Instrumental in that particular luring was one Jaime de Angulo, a rogue anthropologist proto-hippie cowboy who at one point was married to a woman who later became better known as Cary Baynes -- whose name you will find on the cover (as translator) of the far-famed Bollingen edition of The I Ching or Book of Changes. For more about Jaime, meanwhile, see: Rolling in Ditches With Shamans. You can imagine my interest, for oh yes, it was a tangled web they wove -- and that's only the merest hint of the twisted skein.

All that aside, however, I was amazed this morning to come across a book by Christopher Lasch -- author of The Culture of Narcissism, the theme behind which Mystic Bourgeoisie originally got started. My amazement was not that I'd discovered a Lasch book I'd never heard of -- though that's true too -- but that, in this book, he writes about Mabel Dodge Luhan. (Did I mention that Dennis Hopper bought her house in Taos while he was making Easy Rider? This was just before he was found starving, hysterical, naked, wandering through a Peruvian rainforest at dawn, looking for God knows what.)

Even the digressions are spouting digressions. But that's the way it is when the threads all start coming together. Think of it as invisible reweaving. (Which at this point in the process is still all too visible. Lucky you.)

So as I was saying... aside from all that, here's what I just read that I thought worth sharing:

The modern world in its ignorance of the past believed that it had discovered sex, had rescued it from the grip of "Puritanism"; but what had really happened was that sex for the first time had come to be seen as an avenue of communication rather than simply as a means of mutual pleasure. By insisting that sex was in fact the highest form of love, the highest form of human discourse, the modern prophets of sex did not so much undermine the prudery against which they appeared to be in rebellion (itself a comparatively recent development) as invert it. In effect, they took the position that sex, far from being "dirty," was more "spiritual" than the spirit itself, having its ultimate sanction in the communion of souls which sex alone, it was now thought, could provide.

The New Radicalism in America 1889-1963:
The Intellectual As a Social Type
, p. 103
Christopher Lasch



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