onsdag den 5. maj 2010

Psychoanalytic material, while incomplete and impossible to interpret with any certainty, at least allows a surmise - a fantastic-sounding one - about the origin of this great human achievement. It is as though primitive man was in the habit, when confronted with fire, of using it to satisfy an infantile desire by urinating on it and so putting it out. Extant legends leave us in no doubt about the original phallic interpretation of the tongues of flame stretching upwards. Extinguishing a fire by urinating on it - an activity still resorted to by the latter-day giants Gulliver in Lilliput and Rabelais' Gargantua - was therefore like a sexual act performed with a man, an enjoyment of male potency in homosexual rivalry. Whoever first renounced this pleasure and spared the fire was able to take it away with him and make it serve his purposes. By damping down the fire of his own sexual excitement he had subdued the natural force of fire. This great cultural conquest would thus be the reward for forgoing the satisfaction of a drive. Moreover, is is as though the man had charged the woman with guarding the fire, now held prisoner on the domestic hearth, because her anatomy made it impossible for her to yield to such a temptation.

Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, 1930,
oversat af David McLintock