the metaphor of the conjugal bed > 18/05/05

Is the marriage of binary opposites such as heaven and hell, male and female the reconciliation of (wo)man? Is the goal of (wo)man to reconcile with the man and the woman in her/him and thereby to take over the conjugal bed of his/her father and mother which in its turn brings forth the birth of something completely new, that is to say, their child? In other words, is the integrational process of these binary opposites and the child in becoming our coming into our own?

Is this the point at which Freud aims in Moses and Monotheism? We know of Freud’s need to be the father of a new science and that the years he spent in self-analysis eventually ends in his writings on metapsychology. Is it possible to deduce the workings of the real in Freud here, articulated through the fantasm of the primal scene and the original patricide? Is the primal scene and the original patricide an articulation of his sexual angst of taking his place as an individual, who is no longer somebody’s son, but a man, thereby taking over the conjugal bed?

If the original patricide is not an articulation of incestuous desire (for the mother), but desire for individuation, then we can understand why the Name of the Father utters its No in the face of desire, why society, the symbolic order, tabooes desire: desire creates cracks of individuality in the otherwise homogenous social body. Homogeneity turns into heterogeneity and the social body is no longer subjected to the rule of the One.

If the original patricide is the step beyond Oedipe, beyond oedipal identification with the Father, and hence also beyond the genital phase of sociocultural gender, the discovery that “I” am (also) the Other follows in the footpath of the marriage of binary opposites. From here I can see that the primal scene takes place on the inside of my body, which is the conjugal bed. Desire (for individuation, for the Other) un-veils the oedipal fantasm.

© yvonne martinsson 2002


Freud, Sigmund. Moses and Monotheism. Translated by Katherine Jones. Vintage Books, 1939.

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