The Icarian complex

The Icarian complex involves a determination to reach the heights through moral transcendence. It is not a complex if it is balanced with an ability to stay “down to earth”, or to return there.  If not, however, it is very much a part of patriarchal religious measures.    Let me try to explain how.

One edifice of patriarchal ideology is the always indirectly stated notion on the part of a patriarchal male that “women are responsible for my thought processes.”  As a structure of thought, patriarchal thinking always that it remains itself forever impure because of this tacit premise: the patriarch asserts: “My masculinity would be more pure, more virile, if women were not interfering in my thought processes. Only then would the world really see what I have to offer to it — my magnificence!”

Patriarchal cultures therefore seek to purge, to cleanse, patriarchal society of this putative, insidious “woman influence”.

Various methods are tried, some with greater success at eliminating women than other methods have been. Shaming women, forcing them to cover up, treating them as if they were intellectual infants, killing them because one feels “shame” as a result of their attracting dishonour, forcing them into the house and into silence — all such methods are supposed to release the transcendental male spirit, so that we can see it once and for all.

Despite his often ferocious methods of trying to disentangle himself from his necessary social and historical contingency, which the patriarchal male associates with “femininity”, he is unable to purify himself using his chosen methods. He wants to fly up above the contamination of the fleshly body, but he is heading for a shock. This is because his impurity does not come from women, but from the his own mind, which projects non-transcendent aspects of experience outward and downward and appears to see them as if they came from there.  The insidious influences of life that lead to his sense of “impurity”come from himself alone.