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Oct-30-2011 23:23printcomments

CIRCUMCISION AND EXTERMINATION: The Shoah, 09.11, Palestine, Oslo: 'holy' wars around circumcision

On the collective – and unconscious – level, circumcision is felt as a threat of extermination...

Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud

(PARIS) - Psychoanalysis alone can link these slaughters and explain the one committed by Anders Breivik.

Freud showed himself to be shy in his condemnations of the individual outcome of circumcision; he did not publicly qualify it a threat of castration in his lifetime

    "When our children come to hear of ritual circumcision, they equate it with castration."1 (1912) 

He speaks of already circumcised Jewish children who certainly do not deem themselves castrated but feel that about the circumcision of their little brother.

In his 1916 remark, he seems to think that circumcision would be a progress in the history of civilization:

    "It seems indubitable to me that circumcision… is an equivalent of castration and comes to take over it."2 

In the same thoughts, he makes the obvious link between circumcision and punishment of autosexuality, but places it either in dreams or with the primitives:

    "But that masturbation, or rather the punishment for it – castration – should be represented by the falling out or pulling out of teeth is especially remarkable, since there is a counterpart to it in anthropology which can be known to only a very small number of dreamers. There seems to me no doubt that the circumcision practised by so many peoples is an equivalent and substitute for castration. And we now learn that certain primitive tribes in Australia carry out circumcision as a puberty rite (at the festival to celebrate a boy’s attaining sexual maturity), while other tribes, their near neighbours, have replaced this act by the knocking out of a tooth." 

In 1933, Freud condemns the pseudo-medical circumcision of young children with the Anglo-Saxons without setting up against the Judaic circumcision:

    "... fear of castration is one of the commonest and strangest motives for repression and thus for the formation of neuroses. The analysis of cases in which circumcision though not, it is true, castration, has been carried out on boys as a cure or punishment of masturbation (a far from rare occurrence in Anglo-American society) has given our conviction a last degree of certainty."3

He obviously does not admit the delirious theories of Anglo-Saxon medicine of the 19th century.

Only in a posthumous work does he condemn circumcision as a threat of castration likely to generate a serious trauma4. This awareness seems to have been provoked by the rise of Nazism. However, his condemnation is extremely discreet, since formulated through the guise of a footnote within a development about the serious harm of threats of castration, and repeating his 1936 unconsciously apologetic theory of circumcision as submission to the father (Moses and monotheism), whereas, in reality, it is submission to grand-parents and society.

On the other hand, on several opportunities, Freud condemned circumcision because of its repercussions upon the psychology of masses: 

    "... little boys hear that the Jews have something cut off in their penis – a piece of their penis, they think – and this gives them a right to despise the Jews." 5 (1909) 

    "… among the customs by which the Jews made themselves separate, that of circumcision has made a disagreeable, uncanny (unheimlich) impression, which is to be explained, no doubt, by its recalling the dreaded castration..."from 6 (1910) 

    "The hypothesis that a root of those hatreds of the Jews (Judenhasses) which occur in such primary ways and lead to such irrational behaviour among the nations of the West, must be sought here too, seems inescapable to me. Circumcision is unconsciously equated with castration."7 (1936) 
     

The non thought by Freud

The Oslo slaughter is one of the most striking examples of Islamo-phobia (and, behind, Judeo-phobia) in recent history. This event can be associated with the high correlation between genocide and circumcision: of the twelve genocides of modern times: Congolese, Hereros, Armenians, Jews, Tziganes, Biafrans, Bengalis, Hutus, Tutsis, Kurds, Bosnians, inhabitants of Darfur, eleven implied circumcised on one side at least and three on both sides. In six of them, circumcised were the perpetrators. Prescott asserts that circumcision is the most serious of crimes against humanity because it is perpetrated on the child8. The logic of the unconscious is relentless; the crime against humanity committed on the child generates other ones.

On the collective – and unconscious – level, circumcision is not only felt as a threat of castration (and thus death) but also as a threat of extermination. This explains the madness of Anders Breivik and of the far-right in general. Breivik acted exactly like a Taliban of the West. DeMause asserts that "child abuse has been the cause of war and social violence" and that "… the eradication of child abuse and neglect is the most important social task we face today." He conceives wars as "sacrificial rituals"9. Is the ritual of circumcision anything else than one of the worst acts of the war of adults against the child in order to dominate them? A sacrificial ritual or punishment (autopunishment) unconsciously rejected upon the person of the other, violence is narrowly connected with repression of autosexuality. Religious and puritan far-rights can only lead peoples to exterminate each other.

In history, numerous cultures operated unbelievable violences against the child, notably in Russia (baptism in icy water, wet and cold swaddling10), China (foot-binding), Bali (teeth-filing), etc. We have just shown that circumcision is the one which has the most harmful planetary consequences. Freud began the demonstration of it. The fact that he was unable to go up to the end of it (he undoubtedly would have done it if he had lived ten years more) shows to which point, even with the greatest minds, the traumatism of circumcision generates paralysis of the thought (cf. Alice Miller). Amongst terrorist techniques of submission and possession of the child, circumcision is the worst because, being the castration of a part of the sex, it threatens the rest of it.

In order to conclude, let us remind Freud's "forecast": 

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