used and unused, acknowledged or otherwise.
The erotic is a resource within each of us
that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane,
in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling.
In order to perpetuate itself,
must corrupt or distort
those various sources of power within
the culture of the oppressed
that can provide energy for change.
this has meant a suppression of the erotic
as a considered source of power
and information within our lives.
We have been taught to suspect this resource,
vilified, abused, and devalued
within western society.
On the one hand,
the superficially erotic
has been encouraged as a sign of female inferiority;
on the other hand,
women have been made to suffer
and to feel both contemptible
and suspect by virtue of its existence.
It is a short step
from there to the false belief
that only by the suppression of the erotic
within our lives and consciousness
can women be truly strong.
But that strength is illusory,
for it is fashioned
within the context of male models of power.
we have come to distrust that power
which rises from our deepest and non-rational knowledge.
We have been warned against it all our lives
by the male world,
which values this depth of feeling
enough to keep women around
in order to exercise it
in the service of men,
but which fears this same depth too
much to examine the possibilities of it
So women are maintained at a distant/inferior position
to be psychically milked,
much the same way ants maintain colonies of aphids
to provide a life-giving substance for their masters.
But the erotic offers a well of replenishing
and provocative force to the woman
who does not fear its revelation,
nor succumb to the belief that sensation is enough.
The erotic has often been misnamed by men
and used against women.
It has been made into the confused,
the trivial, the psychotic, and plasticized sensation.
For this reason,
we have turned away from
the exploration and consideration of the erotic
as a source of power and information,
confusing it with the pornographic.
But pornography is a direct denial
of the power of the erotic,
for it represents the suppression of true feeling.
Pornography emphasizes sensation without feeling.
The erotic is a measure
between our sense of self
and the chaos of our strongest feelings.
It is an internal sense of satisfaction
to which, once we have experienced it,
we know we can aspire.
For having experienced the fullness
of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power,
in honor and self-respect
we can require no less of ourselves....
Of course, women so empowered are dangerous.
So we are taught to separate the erotic
from most vital areas of our lives other than sex.
And the lack of concern for the erotic root
and satisfactions of our work is felt
in our disaffection from so much of what we do.
For instance, how often do we truly love our work
even at its most difficult?
The principal horror of any system
which defines the good in terms of profit
rather than in terms of human need,
or which defines human need
to the exclusion of
the psychic and emotional components of that need
- the principal horror of such a system
is that it robs our work of its erotic value,
its erotic power and life appeal and fulfillment.
Such a system reduces work to a travesty of necessities,
a duty by which we earn bread or oblivion
for ourselves and those we love.
But this is tantamount to blinding a painter
and then telling her to improve her work,
and to enjoy the act of painting.
It is not only next to impossible,
it is also profoundly cruel.
we need to examine the ways
in which our world can be truly different.
I am speaking here of the necessity
for reassessing the quality
of all the aspects of our lives and of our work,
and of how we move toward and through them.
The very word erotic
comes from the Greek word eros,
the personification of love
in all its aspects - born of Chaos,
and personifying creative power and harmony.
When I speak of the erotic, then,
I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women;
of that creative energy empowered,
the knowledge and use of
which we are now reclaiming
in our language,
Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase,
"It feels right to me,"
acknowledges the strength of the erotic
into a true knowledge,
for what that means is the first and most
powerful guiding light toward any understanding.
And understanding is a handmaiden
which can only wait upon, or clarify,
that knowledge, deeply born.
The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid
of all our deepest knowledge.