Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Significant Moments: Homospatiality -- On Wrestling, Boxing, and Baseball

Albert Rothenberg, M.D. first described or discovered a process he termed "homospatial thinking," which consists of actively conceiving two or more discrete entities occupying the same space, a conception leading to the articulation of new identities. Homospatial thinking has a salient role in the creative process in the following wide variety of fields: literature, the visual arts, music, science, and mathematics. This cognitive factor, along with "Janusian thinking," clarifies the nature of creative thinking as a highly adaptive and primarily nonregressive form of functioning.

There is a section of my book Significant Moments whose manifest content depicts the biblical contest between the Patriarch Jacob and a divine being in which Jacob is the victor.  The contest was a kind of wrestling match.

Superimposed on the text are the metaphors of boxing in the form of references to Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) and baseball in the form of references to baseball legend Sandy Koufax (whose number was 32).
__________________________________________________

I am reminded of . . .
Peter Blos, Son and Father: Before and Beyond the Oedipus Complex.
. . . Jacob's all-night struggle with a nameless divine being . . .
Harold Bloom, The Book of J.
. . . who wrestled with Jacob . . .
Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb, Iyunei Shabbat.
. . . until dawn. And when the being saw that he couldn't . . .
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.
. . . beat his opponent . . .

Johannes Ehrmann, Float Like a Butterfly.
. . . he struck him on his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was wrenched out of joint.
And he said, "Let me go: dawn is coming."
And he said, "I will not let you go until you bless me."
And he said, "What is your name?"
And he said, "Jacob."
And he said, "Your . . .
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.
. . . name . . .
Johannes Ehrmann, Float Like a Butterfly.
. . . will no longer be Jacob, Heel-Grasper, but . . .
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.
. . . will become . . .
Sigmund Freud, Preface to the Hebrew Translation of Totem and Taboo.

. . . Israel, He Who Has Struggled with God, because you have struggled with God and you have won."
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.
Jacob now said:
Harold Bloom, The Book of J.

I am not the man I was. I will not be the man I must have been but for this intercourse.
Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

I will take my name from you
Richard Wagner, Die Walkure.

“ Israel ” . . .
Ken Frieden, Freud's Dream of Interpretation.

. . . you call me and victorious I am!
Richard Wagner, Die Walkure.

And Jacob said, "Please, tell me your name."
And he said, "You must not ask my name." And he left him there.
And Jacob named the place Penuel, The Face of God: "because I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared." And the sun rose on him as he passed . . .
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.

. . . on the road . . .

Victor Debs, Jr., “That Was Part of Baseball Then.”

. . . through Penuel, and he was limping.
Genesis. A New Translation of the Classic Biblical Stories by Stephen Mitchell.

In Jewish households, he was . . .
Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy.

. . . destined to become . . .
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.

. . . the New Patriarch: Abraham, Isaac, . . .
Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy.

. . . and Jacob:
William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure.

. . . Wrestling Jacob, . . .
Harold Bloom, Wrestling Sigmund: Three Paradigms for Poetic Originality.

. . . A rare distinction.

Robert Pinsky, Excerpt from The Night Game.

“His triumph surpassed mere success.”

Jane Leavy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy quoting Robert Pinsky.

What does it mean?
James Joyce, Ulysses.

The scriptures are unalterable and the comments often enough merely express the commentator’s bewilderment. In this case . . .
Franz Kafka, The Trial.

. . . the sage . . .
Franz Kafka, On Parables.

. . . Maimonides, . . .
James Joyce, Ulysses.

. . . a teacher of religion, . . .
Peter Gay, Freud: A Life for Our Time.

. . . considered it a prophetic vision, a form of “internal” revelation taking place in Jacob’s psyche. Others, . . .
Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb, Iyunei Shabbat.
. . . I am certain . . .
J. Moussaieff Masson, Final Analysis: The Making and Unmaking of a Psychoanalyst.

. . . would argue . . .
Upton Sinclair, The Jungle.

. . . that this was an event which took place in the real world, as evidenced by the real impact it had, the injured thigh and the consequent limp (32:32).
Rabbi Daniel Goldfarb, Iyunei Shabbat.

At any rate, . . .
Solomon Grayzel, A History of the Jews.

. . . real or imaginary, . . .
Isaac Deutscher, Israel’s Tenth Birthday.

Might we not recognize in the biblical story of Jacob a paradigmatic reflection on one component of the son-father relationship which needs to be settled before childhood can be brought to a natural termination?
Peter Blos, Son and Father: Before and Beyond the Oedipus Complex.

5 comments:

Gary Freedman said...

"There is also a similarity between Tim Lincecum and Sandy Koufax, as they both hold the ball very low after breaking their hands. Speaking of Koufax, I must admit I'm not a huge fan of his mechanics. He doesn't have much hip rotation, which means that as a power pitcher he has to generate the velocity largely with his arm. Similarly, Reds prospect Sam LeCure doesn't coil up his body, but unlike Koufax he can't offset it by generating top notch velocity with his arm."

Gary Freedman said...

Robert Pinsky used to be Poet Laureate of the United States.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Pinsky

Gary Freedman said...

Koufax is remembered as one of the outstanding Jewish athletes in American sports. His decision not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur garnered national attention as an example of conflict between social pressures and personal beliefs.

Gary Freedman said...

In Act 1 of Wagner's opera Die Walkure, Siegmund takes his name conferred by his sister Sieglinde.

In Act 2 of the opera the god Wotan intervenes in a fight between his son, Siegmund, and Siegmund's nemesis, Hunding, allowing Hunding to kill Siegmund.

Gary Freedman said...

My name, Gary, was suggested to my mother by my sister. My 6-year-old sister had a crush on a classmate named Gary. In effect, I took my name conferred by my sister (like Siegmund in Wagner's opera, Die Walkure).