Yeats and Sex Robots


A famous poem by Yeats — “Fragments” — consists of two stanzas.  The first one goes:

LOCKE sank into a swoon;
The Garden died;
God took the spinning-jenny
Out of his side.

I misread this poem for many years because for some reason I got stuck in the mis-reading that Locke sank into the swoon because the spinning-jenny was taken out of his side.  I misinterpreted the poem as saying that Locke the materialistic philosopher somehow turned himself into a mechanism.

This morning it clicked into place.  Locke is like Adam, but his garden dies.  When Adam fell into a swoon God took Eve out of his side to help him.  But Locke, the materialist philosopher and symbol of modern man sinks into a swoon and God takes a machine out of his side.  Yeats is saying that modern man is unable to stand being helped by a woman — presumably because she is equally valuable to him, capable of blaming him requiring things from him, a mystery as deep as he is — and prefers to be helped by a robot — a slave he can understand.  Needless to say this is nothing new, as pre-modern man often tried to turn woman into a slave — Robot in Czech.

Yeats is a good poet so he picks a machine with a female name; a spinning jenny.  You can google it — it was important for the industrial revolution.


How did I figure it out?  It clicked into place for me this morning.   But how do I know it’s correct?  Does the subjective feeling of clicking into place prove anything?  Is it just “fancy”?  Not really because it had been bugging me unconsciously for years — what does that mean exactly that he took a spininng jenny out of his side?  What was a spinning jenny anyway — I had been too lazy to look it up.  And for some reason I never made the obvious connection that what is taken out of Adam’s side is not the mechanism that makes him work, it is woman.

Now it’s so obvious — Yeats is re-telling the creation of woman but telling it as the story of the creation of the first robot.

Locke of course would say I could have gotten this truth in two ways — through a sense impression or through an innate idea.  My ideas are true if the outside world is making me think them by plinking my sense organs, or because it is part of the factory presets of my operating system.

Yeats gives us a different epistemology of poetic creation and poetic interpretation.

Where got I that truth?
Out of a medium’s mouth.
Out of nothing it came,
Out of the forest loam,
Out of dark night where lay
The crowns of Nineveh.

What is this medium’s mouth, nothing, forest loam, dark night where Yeats got his poem and I got my interpretation — which serves to crown us as god-kings of Nineveh?

What is it? It’s unknown but by moving forward into it we can cultivate the known.  As the medium also says somewhere “there is a budding morn in midnight.”

Not a sense impression and not an innate idea, Locke.  Nothing, loam, night and the medium’s mouth.

Needless to say the mediums for men were all women.  I would guess if a woman wrote the poem the medium might be a man.


The Sexiest Animal

Is a human being.
For me.
No question.
I completely feel that when it comes to sexual attractiveness a human woman is the best.
By far. It is definitely no contest. There is no non-human animal that even comes close in raw sex appeal to even a middling human woman.
If you exclude human women from the picture, if I had to pick an animal that seemed to me sexiest, which is to say the kind of animal I would most want to have sex with, again, assuming that no human female were available (and I cannot stress this point too much cause it is really important) the question of what animal is sexiest admits of an answer, and the answer is vicuna.



I’m Working on a Unified Theory of Sexual Perversions

Sadism = trying to make yourself matter to people by force

Masochism = trying to make other people matter to you by force

Voyeurism = trying to experience life without being vulnerable

Exhibitionism = imposing your vulnerability upon life…

Once I have them all down I’m gonna extrapolate to a general theory of sexuality taken in the broadest sense as meaningful interaction with the other/the world.  Then I’ll reward myself somehow — maybe a sundae.


Dungeons and Dragons: A Peroration Upon Catoblepas



The monster manual has pictures of monsters but every picture of a monster is disappointing. Really? Goofy mind flayer with his squid face and dangling skull accessory? Lizard man with his phallic sword? Wight with glowing eyes and his dumb cape? And yet I can remember them all, call them up to mind’s eye – proof that goofy as they were I looked at them over and over again. I prefer the first monster manual because the pictures are drawn poorly, or crudely – a teenager’s fantasies of a beholder beast ready to slay his boring algebra teacher in the corner of his notebook. Cousins of pornographic images, they cannot capture the dread, any more than the primitive circle-with-a-dot breasts and pubic triangles can capture the desire. The monster manual you will remember was no stranger to pornography: remember the sylph?


And yet even from the point of view of the fantasy land in which the monster manual is a sober record of fact– the best was the sylph) how could you draw such monsters as say the catoblepas? You see the problem. To meet his gaze is to die. Isn’t that the sine qua non of the monster – that to encounter him is to risk death? I read somewhere that the detectives trying to solve the Jack the Ripper case thought that the eyes of Jack’s victims captured the last image they saw. But it’s not true. How can we capture an image of catoblepas?


An analogy will help. Maybe we can’t draw the desired object for the same reason. At the moment of sexual climax the self is erased and who is left to draw? The monster is the other as it presents itself to us as ultimate threat. The monster is the face of death. Who can see the face of death and return to draw it?


The hero. Until we’ve seen the face of death and returned to draw it, we are zero level characters. Not men. Not women, who see the face of death when they give birth, or allow themselves to be penetrated by the source of life and potential death – lovers who are also monsters. Maybe why women have a more intimate relationship with monsters – more easily find the romance of the vampire and the werewolf as we see in Twilight.


Freud said every man had three women in his life:his mother, his lover and his death. But the intimate relationship with death comes to all of us. Why is the monster goofy, as in Count Chocula and the kobold? Death is our playmate as well.


We pal around with the monster but he is a non-player character. He is our unimaginable death that we can never cease imagining.


The fetish, said some psychoanalyst or other, results when the child looking up at the mother’s vagina is struck with existential dread: this is the hole I came from, I could just as well never have emerged, and he looks away, and becomes fixated in fantasy on the very next thing he says: a garter belt, a stocking, a foot. When we confront our death and look away the very next thing we see is the monster – the shadow, the beast, the look of hatred. It is the glowing edge around the black hole.