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I don't know what it was yesterday or the day before. Last week maybe somebody said something to me. You know it's not the wop people can understand but what they know about already that they want. You know I I think I was as bewildered as you might be and I tried to call him back and ask him what he meant but he had left. I have been able to reach him by telephone. And so I thought well that's about all I thought was well. And I remembered that. I was once told of that one should talk about things that. People don't know about. In a way which they can understand. And after listening to him and reminding myself about some of my past speeches I remembered
that I very often succeeded in talking about things everybody knew about in a way which nobody could really understand. So I have the job tonight to try to talk in some understandable terms about some very misunderstood topics. And before I saw all the topics that the other speakers spoke about I began to think about some of the ways in which psychology talks are made some some of their titles. And I've seen talks of you know like conceptualization as an ego defense. And I just noted another one the effects of acoustic and semantic similarity on the short term paired associate learning. And then we go to the other extreme and we have lectures which Well they're like the ones called the sex life of
Swedish families and what this means to you. So I tried to get away from either the overly scientific topics. And to avoid the condescending popular titles and I came up with you all living a life. Let's try to go back for a moment to my friend who said. My very misunderstood friend who said it's not what people can understand but what they know about already that they want. And tried to figure out together. What he meant by this somewhat cryptic remark. It occurred to me. That when we and I mean you and I and anybody we know. To try to teach somebody something. Try to write something try to impart. A thought that somebody.
Try to communicate to a friend. Most of us would. Agree that we all tried to do it in a way in which people can understand. We made the skies it symbolically we may embellish it with flowery phrases. But the intent certainly in our minds is for people to understand yet very very often there is very very little understanding and it's not that what we wrote was written in such a way that it could not be understood. I'm not talking about fancy communications like a Nabokov anagram but rather a direct and simple clear communication of how we as a person feel. And yet somehow the other person does not understand. Is it possible that this is rather the human trait. Of the other
person. Who wants to know what he can understand and what finds himself compulsively wanting to know about what he already knows so he can know. Let him know how you feel. That's how you feel. But this is something which is very difficult for him. I'm going to speak to you tonight. About. Sexual Revolution and I'm very happy to see that so many of you are interested in revolution. First. I'm going to ask the question is there or has there been a sex revolution in the United States and in Western Europe. And I'm going to answer the question
yes even though lots of authorities in the field particularly the people who worked with Kinsey in the last many years do not seem to think that that has been because they point out. That during the last decade of this so-called revolution there really hasn't been that much change in the overt sexual activity of the individual especially the man individuals. And though there's been a lot of talk and a lot of writing including some of my own that might not have. Easily appeared on the newsstands especially in paperbacks they contend these sociological and psychological authorities and that has not really been that much of a revolution. And I. Contend the opposite. And I'm going to tell you why not.
Going to mainly to say that in many different fields which is why I will enumerate a little later in the sexual area. There has not only been a change in behavior which sometimes isn't so startling but there has been a very amazing change in attitudes and a change in attitudes means Ustad there will be a still greater change in behavior. So I think the revolution has been in progress for the last decade and will continue and the revolution. First I'm going to mention a few words about masturbation in which there has not been that much of a revolution because as a wag said a hundred or more years ago as of males that 99 percent of the male population masturbates and the other one is a liar. And that still generally holds true.
So obviously you can't go very high above 99 percent and even the Kinsey studies show that 60 to 70 percent of females masturbate at some time in their life and there's no reason to believe that it's exceptionally high out today. Maybe it's been raised in the last 10 years 5 percent but probably not much more than that if that. However. The attitudes toward masturbation are quite different in that a quarter of a century ago when I first did psychotherapy and Marriage and Family Counseling in New York City lots of people would admit that they masturbated but they do so we easily with hesitation shyness humiliation shame and now that is rarely so you get a very direct answer if you ask the question all very frequently you get volunteered response that the individual tells you about his or her masturbation and
there's very little. Hang up about it. So that has been a startling thing. What's more if you people get as much sex literature as I do being something of a authority in the field I think I'm on ala every mailing list known. You will find that today not only does masturbation go on but lots of devices are sold which aid the process. In the old days we unimaginatively did it by hand. But today we have a technological revolution and you can look at these catalogs and find all kinds of vibrating devices and other things which are obviously used for self stimulation. So even there there has been a change not necessarily in the incidence of the people the number masturbator the number of times they do but there has been a significant change in the way they do it and the attitude towards it. In regard to patching again lawn
cointel sex relations at a sex relations without intercourse that has not been an enormous change because once more the Kinsey studies which started in 1930 age which was quite. A number of years ago up to 30 years ago showed that well over 90 percent of young people in the United States at one time or another engaged in had. So you're not going to get terribly much more than that today you know. But the attitudes and the guilt different the guilt is appreciably less. Oh I think every My parents are variations on a theme By William Carlos Williams. I love Williams's work. I was always struck by a kind of note of. Madness and some of his poems that the same thing that is if you really desired something that was all right to do it no matter what. And
this is a parody of a poem which goes roughly. This is just to say I've eaten the plums that were in the icebox and which were probably saving for breakfast. Forgive me they were so cold and so delicious. It sounds perfectly reasonable but I saw something else in it. This is variations on a theme By William Carlos Williams one. I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in the next summer. I am sorry but it was morning. And I had nothing to do. And its wooden beams were so inviting. Too. We laughed at the hollyhocks together and then I sprayed them with a lie. Forgive me I simply do not know what I am doing. Three I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years. The man who asked for it was shabby and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.
For. Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg. Forgive me I was clumsy. And I wanted you here in the wards where I am the doctor. This poem is called You were where. You were wearing your Edgar Allan Poe printed cotton blouse. In each divided up square of the blasts was a picture of Edgar Allan Poe's. Your hair was blond and you were cute. US me to most boys think that most girls are bad. I smelled the mold of your seaside resort hotel bedroom on your hair held in place by a John Greenleaf Whittier clip. No I said it's girls who think
that boys are bad. Then we read snow bound together and ran around in an attic. So the little of the blue in them was scraped off my George Washington the father of his country shoes. Mother was walking in the living room her Straus waltzes combing her hair. We waited for a time and then joined her only to be served tea and cups painted with pictures of Herman Melville. As well as with illustrations from his book Moby Dick and from his novella the neato Serina father came in wearing his Dick Tracy necktie. How about a drink everyone. I said let's go outside a while. Then we went on to the porch and sat on the Abraham Lincoln swing. You sat on the eyes mouth and beard part. And I sat on the knees in the yard across the street. We saw a snowman holding a garbage can lid smashed into a likeness of the mad English King George the
Third. I guess that poems in honor of the holiday. I read a poem that's half in French and half in English. I wrote it. So I don't know why I wrote it but after I wrote it I thought I wrote it because I was interested in the different way French and English sound. Which I rather exaggerated in this poem. I'll read it first and then I'll translate and read it again. My posts. Are. All my post of the blade to show of the. Ill a few socially. As in a must. And I thought I'd begin this contrast to the east and west. West said a story with a myth. A single myth. That. Is inflected in three different ways in three different
traditions in the Indian in the biblical. And in the Greek. All of these high cultures when I speak of high culture I mean culture is. Based on a literate tradition with writing and with monumental architecture. All of them have. Derived. From. Beginnings in the Near East in the lavant. Which began about. Ten thousand B.C. with the rise of agriculture and animal husbandry and settled life based on the food production. Instead of food far reaching. Than about the fourth millennium. There arose a little constellation of cities in Mesopotamia the cities of ancient Sumer and there are some known centers that the high civilization forms of India China. Egypt and that and then
Crete and Greece arrived. And so it is not surprising that the same myths should appear in all of these domains. However they have been significantly modified. To carry the religious and metaphysical ideas of the different traditions which greatly differ. Now this myth which I have. Presented here before some perhaps eight or ten years ago. Tells of the beginning of the universe. In the Indian myth which comes from DE which is preserved in the beheaded on York or upon a shot that is a work of about the ninth or eight centuries b c the story goes as follows. In the beginning and that's to say in this tradition there really never was a beginning there never was a time when time was not and there never was a time when time will cease to be.
However the world rides on. A sort of creative void out of which it comes into being and goes out of being again. This story tells about its coming into being. At that time which as I say was no time. The being that was going to become the universe. Was simply unconscious of it self. It became conscious of itself when it said the word I. Because it said the word in Sanskrit because in this tradition that was the original language evolved. Beings it said Hahn. And now comes the point. No sooner had it said I. Then it was conscious of itself as an entity and was filled with fear. It was afraid. That it would be killed. And then it reasoned and it said of what should I
be afraid since there is nothing in the universe but myself. But it's. A good beginning for rational thought. And it cleared its spirit. However no sooner did it lose the sense of fear than it said. I wish there were another. So it was filled with desire. It is a basic Oriental concept that as soon as the concept is formulated it is be set by two emotions one the fear. Of destruction and the other desire for satisfaction. Now this being that it is now filled with desire that there should be another. Swelled. And split in half. And became two male and female. And the male. Embraced the female. And be God. Mankind. And then she said
how can he embrace me when I am of his substance. And she turned herself into a colleague and he himself into a bull and got cap on. She into a mare he into a stallion and they got the horses and so on down to the ants.
Cooper Union forum
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Chicago: “Cooper Union forum; Sample,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed October 4, 2023,
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APA: Cooper Union forum; Sample. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from