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Stein, R. (2003). Vertical Mystical Homoeros: An Altered Form of Desire in Fundamentalism. Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4(1):38-58.

(2003). Studies in Gender and Sexuality, 4(1):38-58

Vertical Mystical Homoeros: An Altered Form of Desire in Fundamentalism

Ruth Stein, Ph.D.

This paper inquires into the kind of desire specific to the fundamentalist mode. The author suggests that the simplistic, black-and-white, ostensibly “horizontal” divisions between good and evil, right and wrong, pure and impure that characterize the fundamentalist sensibility create at the same time two phenomena: (a) gross emotional intensity that endows experience with a stark quality (e.g., grandiosity and abjection), and (b) a “vertical” division that constructs basic inequalities. The “vertical” difference between the believer and his God intensifies longing and mystical desire. The longing of the holder of such desire is to merge with a tantalizing, perfect, and cruel God and to renounce his individuality and even life. The concept of a “regression-to-the father” is a tempting and potentially dangerous process of abnegation if not countered by the need to overcome the “father” one so submissively desires.

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