"A sexually liberated person cannot be exploited." ~Shantam Nityama
On Christmas Day a young, confused Muslim tried to destroy himself in mid-air over Detroit. Being from a privileged Nigerian family, the only material hardship he had ever suffered was what he had imposed upon himself. Beyond the loneliness and uncertainty inherent in all adolescent experience, Farouk1986 -- as he was known in religious chatrooms-- was convinced that the eyes of Allah looked with reproach upon his sexuality.
As i get lonely, the natural sexual drive awakens and i struggle to control it, sometimes leading to minor sinful activities like not lowering the gaze. And this problem makes me want to get married to avoid getting aroused. ( Farouk 1986 post)
Mainstream media, recognizing that Umar Farouk Abudulmutallab was hardly more than a teenager, has accorded him more humanity than others categorized 'terrorist.' Part of that treatment has a been a tentative recognition that sexual shame helped to make young Umar Farouk susceptible to ideological manipulation. Carrying explosive materials upon his genitals could not have been less symbolic, giving his suffering a candor that borders on revelation.
While the human instinctive drives (anger, lust, fear) are said to bankroll immorality, another drive --rarely acknowledged-- falls outside of that territory. Named by Freud the liebestriebe, the life-drive or will-to-love, it was the basis of his psychoanalytic theory until after the First World War. WWI brought a seachange into therapeutic practice as the psychosis of war came into the clinical setting. With the advent of industrialized war, Freud began to emphasize todestriebe --the death drive-- making it the center of his later theory. Toward the end of his life the good doctor reluctantly admitted that love and death drives appeared to be fused, libido and aggression simply alternating expressions of the same current.
Tantra recognizes this ferocity built into the life-drive -- aggression and craving forming a dynamo that produces both the sublime experience of eros and our intuition of death. Sexuality --for all of its beauties-- is nonetheless a short-circuit of this dynamic, and its exclusions are remaindered into religious ideology. If young Umar had been given even the rudiments of Tantric training, his anguish would have been integrated into exploring the Beloved/Beloathed Other. Instead, it was squeezed into the image of a faithless and demonic West, with violent Jihad as the only pathway beyond that obsession.
(See also my response to Thomas L. Friedman's article "Father Knows Best" here. )
For more information on the Tantric body, drop by Tantra for Bobos! Or write to the Prima Boborina.