Wednesday, May 03, 2006

transgression

The Divine Androgyne by Paul RuckerEvents have been conspiring recently to make me think about the nature of transgression. I've always felt that one should challenge one's assumptions, and not conform to anything. Obviously if how I naturally am happens to coincide with something 'normal' I can't help that (there's no point being different for the sake of it - that would be just as daft as conforming - the idea is to ignore the norm completely).

Of course there is power in the act of transgression - transgressing against norms, bending the rules, fudging the boundaries - but you can get stuck in mere rebellion, and avoid progression to the next phase, which is to transcend the boundaries altogether. But that alone is not enough; you can get stuck in la-la land if you spend your whole life transcending - after that you need to move on to transforming yourself and the world around you. And then you have come full-circle and can start the whole process again. It's basically another way of looking at the Hero Journey described by Joseph Campbell. You cross the boundary into the other world (trangress); you journey through the other world (transcend); and then you return to this world, bringing back the treasure you stole from the gods (transform).

The Divine Androgyne is a powerful embodiment of this process; it is the goal of the alchemical great work, the expression of balance, and the outcome of the hieros gamos. According to Jung (in his Seven Sermons to the Dead) it is dangerous to think about Abraxas - but without danger, how would transformation happen?

Many of the most balanced people I know are psychologically androgynous - they are not stereotypically masculine or feminine, they do not conform to any norm; they are simply themselves. I don't even know any more which qualities are supposed to be masculine or feminine, I get confused.

Transgress! Transcend! Transform!

3 comments:

Joe said...

psychologically androgynous - what a great phrase. Now I have this mental image of mid-70s era David Bowies in our heads :-)

Interestingly back in the prehistory of the net when it was all text based I used to take part in a gender representations forum. Like most folk back then I used an online identity. One week members were trying to see if they could guess each other's gender based on their screen name, style and content of their text etc. It came down almost 50-50 for those who thought I was male and those who were sure I was female.

Naturally I found this all very amusing; oh how I laughed as I adjusted the garter belt and stockings under my manly combat trousers :-)

Yvonne said...

Yes, I have several times decided someone was a bloke online, only to find out that they were in fact a woman!

It's strange how gender is so fundamental to our social perceptions...

It would be quite difficult for me to look like mid-70s Bowie, though...

Anonymous said...

Dear Yvonne

I only recently discovered the word androgyne and fit in quite well.

So I was very intersted in your comment that most of the balanced people you know are psycholoically androgynous.

I have written about this at http://cw-wiki.wikispaces.com/Cody+androgyne

I would be delighted if you would leave me a comment there if you are a wikispacs user or e-mail one to me at cody_willows@hotmail.co.uk

Best wishes
Cody