4. The Physio-Totemic




(3) The Selves of Anthropology

(4) Life During War Time (1979)

(5) Art/Reality/Physio-Totemic Representation

(6) The Physio-Totemic and its Zoomorphic—Rational Continuum

(7) Semiotic Constitution of Individual Belonging







-Is need

-Response to need is entity definition

-Attainment of comfort (‘satisfaction’) is power


[Definition and power to define (as self-imposition) is a form of physiological comfort]




Power = comfort physiology


[Elevated to anthropological mechanics of the physiologically moral self (socially dependent, so incipiently semiotic and therefore necessarily outside the self—and rational—in the sense of self VERSUS the others—IS THUS A MECHANICS OF OPPROBRIUM]


Rationality is thus in the others and regarding this-that-I-am-in-my-bodily being (that is not them!) Thus the culturally-posited rational self is a socially-controlled self through opprobrium and its physiology of moral threat; but so is the self also necessarily a semiotic self, extrinsically defined in the rational posits of the social itself, which similarly become so important to the individual’s motivation also through opprobrium and towards an individual belonging thus in the semiotic-conceptual notions of the others, and that to at least a minimum extent she must make her own, as well. Thus is the social clearly a semiotic social foremost and above all in the mind of the individual; and this physiologically-cognitive, mental space becomes a physiologically-cognitive process of the mind (the physiologically-totemic) that is effectively the realm of union of the original opprobrium-rational self and the semiotic-rational and culturally-posited. And so the more semiotic substance of the social and culturally-posited rational (because it is itself a structure of opprobrium-enforced ideas and rational tenets that are physiologically binding for the individual), points clearly and even in this initial outline, to the problem of physiological drift in the semiotic and culturally-posited away from original, physiologically immediate and bodily experience of the self—that is also a bodily rational and bodily moral experiencing of—originally and always—the human group itself from the standpoint of singular, bodily individuality in-this-that-I-am-that-is-not-them; and so it is not only because of technology historically that could explain the circumstances and causes of Spengler’s Conundrum, but rather in the semiotic itself as of sedentary experience and especially agriculture, that is a structural physiological drift of cultural, anthropological space itself owing to the very much natural process in human history of physio-rational semiotic expansion towards the very possibility of socially complex—but stable—human groups and societies (as of the problem of the force of physiological immobilization agrarian-based, sedentary anthropology represents and to which human history has effectively been a response, ever since and universally.)


Because Spengler’s Conundrum is also to a great extent Freud’s Dilemma in Civilization and its Discontents (1930)





Physiologically moral self (“in the others”)

That is incipiently semiotic (“in the others”)

And so is rationally aware of self (“in and because of the others”)





(3) The Selves of Anthropology


[Opprobrium Self]







[Anthropological Self]






[Physio-Totemic Self]                                                  [Semiotic Self]





REPRESENTATION (In the force over the individual of the physiological)

Follows rules and logic intrinsically coherent to itself; thus cannot be approached according to other logics, except in regards to a contrast with that which it is not (but that nevertheless is a further insight towards defining what it is). In regards to a physiology of representation, it is of course still physiology; but that requires thus a certain suspension of belief in terms of broader semiotic vantage points physiological response cannot entirely heed. The nature of this suspension of belief—also coincidental with what is an actual process of the structurally anthropological itself—is not always moral decision of discerning will towards a tacit covenant with the artistic; but rather because of in fact the force of the physiological one does not really accept at all (such is its power to envelope human, physiologically sensorial, physiologically conceptual perception and thus the individual’s own physiological experience); and so it is only the culturally-posited rational that perhaps situates ultimate significance of the artistic, and of the general sensorial-perceived in its entirety. But suspension of belief of a culturally-posited rationality would not seem quite accurate: acceptance of the physiological is not really possible (just as its rejection neither is); the physiological simply is, and so the individual’s reaction and physio-totemic positing of self in regards to it, becomes, of course, a physiology and physiological paradigm in itself. On the other hand, the semiotic and what the physiological might actually mean, is another and separate matter altogether.


Anthropology itself is thus also a suspension of belief (of the rational) in favor of the physiological. And suspension could also be understood as a curtailing, limiting and so definition of the rational itself, as once again working pretext to and for the physiological, and the functional, systemic stability of social experience it finally becomes. The contradiction arises, however, of the semiotic force of culture against primary physiology and physiological disturbance generally, that is really a positing of a secondary and culturally-posited physiology, through, of course, the semiotic (as in fact the culturally-posited rational itself) FURTHER INFERENCES physiology is invariably always defined by the ideas usually imposed on people, in regards to the anthropologically structural or separate and sub-physical realms of particular group experience and even just circumstances; and it is thus the conceptual in sundry forms of essentially imposition (through different forms of social agency, overt and covert) that determines real physiological paradigms. And so impose the conceptual and the body follows, in one form or another, as whole-hearted compliance on the part of individuals or out and out defiance and rejection—according to the enveloping reality of physio-totemic mental process of the mind (as a result of physio-conceptual perception and the individual’s subsequent moral, opprobrium-based, physio-totemic positioning and definition of self in the mind and prior to the acts of individual will, but that is in itself most intensely physiological, physiologically-rational experience and before even a word is spoken, a stone thrown or a US dollar spent.




(4) Life During War Time (1979)

Practical Understanding of the Physio-Totemic Practically Understood (but not completely):

An externally controlled (manipulated) physio-totemic space of the mind and physiologically cognitive process—and not just through physio-sensorial perception, but rather directly through in fact the imagery of the individual’s mind; thus not only reading the mind, but putting images into it is—or would be—the real power to manipulate (directly and with sibylline command over) a person’s actual social and publically understood behavior; that is so secretive because it crucially maintains a sense of self in the individual that is the very physio-totemic and mental stimulation of the individual’s cognitive physiology towards decisive, moral self-affirmation and definition, as natural forerunner to the individual’s acts and personal behavior.


Mental images are actually nothing in themselves, except that in the individual’s cognitive contemplation of them-in the mind’s eye-they ultimately have a direct connection to the corporally physiological (and I assume the individual’s nervous systems); clearly once again it is a biology of opprobrium at work in the individual’s very perception of mental images, that is ultimately fear-based in regards to this zoomorphic and primeval physio-genetic memory of the individual’s dismemberment of her own body by a very angry human group she somehow very much displeased (probably 10 of thousands of Earth-years before agriculture itself); and that is to this day still the base of the universal human and anthropological self as of the individual’s bodily vulnerability to the numerical superiority of the group.


And thus the nature of the self is implicitly a rational, moral self in regards to the practicality of belonging to the group (although the real force of opprobrium is sub-conscious and irrational in origin-because it is biological, that is, of genetic origin). The physio-cognitive process of the mind and its images is thus no different in regards to the individual’s contemplation than if one were visually before any pictorial scene of any painting, film—or even, of course, just optical perception itself in regards to other physically immediate human beings (as images, but not in regards to physiologically immediate, linguistic interaction!):


In all cases opprobrium is the internal force of the permanent need of the individual to define one’s self with regards to perception itself; because that primeval opprobrium self, subjacent always to the whole of the culturally rational, deep at the core of the possibility of you, does not want to be the pre-agrarian group’s dinner that night, or lunch tomorrow; or some human toy as object and collective whipping post for the angst and fury of a group of also terrified human beings; so you do not want to be, either!


And personal definition starts thus in the mind itself as of especially visual perception, that is the individual’s necessarily moral positioning in regards to what the mind is processing.


So what then is the difference between reality and representation; the real as visually perceived by the individual and art (or simply entertainment as representation)?


Because human perception and the force of opprobrium do not distinguish between one and the other; and the phsyio-totemic likewise makes no initial difference between either. And it is only the culturally-posited rational and semiotic the allows you to know the difference.


Clearly then, the possibilities of hiding extra-anthropological technology in the human physiological and physiologically rational itself, are more than ample! [14jun16]




ART (Representation)

REALITY (Sensory/Conceptual Perception of it)



That is to say, there is no initially technical difference between representation and reality, from the standpoint of human perception; and mental process is a form of representation even in regards to the perception of reality, anyway. And both art and perceived reality are physiologically real and binding for the individual.


Representation [Versus] Reality—Depends on the culturally-posited rational and semiotic. Because everything is representation, initially as of perception and in the mind’s eye.


Key is physiological connection of mental imagery, in all cases; connection of mental imagery to individual’s physiology and the physiologically rational and cognitive. And of course opprobrium is also inevitably a factor, that turns physio-cognitve process—in all cases—into a physiologically totemic context in which the individual positions herself in a personal, but also opprobrium-based, moral sense (in all cases, as part of human conscience and central to the notion of self); as a singularly universal totemic space of the opprobrium self, in regards to and before the physiologically bound experiencing of mental imagery.


Although the self is also rational will to overcome, in regards also to the phsyio-cognitively totemic. And thus a big part of culture stability is in fact refuge from the physio-totemic and rational in the physiological itself; that is underlying and imperious cause for the need anthropologically for physiological invigoration so that the physiological regime of the culturally semiotic is in fact tolerable, and crucially in regards to the possibility itself of anthropological stability.


Importance of physical, physiologically immediate experience: As real, bodily domain of individuality, and to some extent outside the culturally-posited rational and anthropological; because the anthropologically structural is fiercely about the body in the culturally semiotic; and the semiotic is foundationally about collective, physiological control and order that thus becomes above all a structural defining of the collectively physiological.


Thus the culturally-posited rational is effectively purpose-based, as in fact a mechanism that could be understood as really a strategy towards collectively physiological stability, that posits finally a mode of individuality in only this physiological sense in regards to ideas that necessarily are to weigh on the individual’s conduct and possibility of restraint to avoid and diffuse the exercising of especially physical violence against others; but never are we to understand extended human group structure of civilization itself as some kind of concentration camp experience—the system would not obviously be viable if that were the case-and individuality in only its systemically functional, structurally technical essence must then be adorned and dressed to a full vital elegance of a culturally-posited moral freedom, when what is really at stake is simply the problem of social and group, structural and systemic buoyancy of the physiological.


And it is, of course, the semiotic over the physiological that is cultural craftsman of what is a proposed, secondary paradigm, finally, of human physiology held to and by the individual’s own biological force of opprobrium; because as an individual if the group’s ideas, traditions (semiotics) are not at least to some extent physiologically relevant and binding for you, you will have to find another group to belong to.


Secondary because a physiology of Cain is only acceptable as narrative hero (or anti-hero)—that is to say, in the semiotic itself; but not in and among the human fold as the problem violence becomes in regards to cultural embrace itself and its invigorated complacency of the physiological (which is the whole point of human groups and their anthropologies, anyway!)


And so the structural fall guy then becomes the deeper aspects of physical and physiological experience itself, and that in only certain fixed modes of social comprehensibility (meaning, opprobrium-based) are tolerated.


Because these deeper aspects of physical and physiological experience are in fact a structural problem, undeniably; but so is a radicalization of the force of the culturally structural itself, that simply follows the power of opprobrium over and through individuals into the creation of contexts in which the fraudulent aspect of individuality in itself (as a natural and necessary component of civilization) is brutally distorted—even preyed upon and utilized—rapidly affecting human personality itself, to the point of imposing ultimately a structural form of individuality that can no longer oppose in its own force of entity and merit, the cultural and anthropologically structural.


Because in wholesomely buoyant anthropologies (loosely following Spengler), it is the force of individuality itself that is the true cryptic keel of anthropological stability, in the challenge to the structurally systemic only individuality can provide;


And a challenged culture is a living culture, that must once again and permanently affirm itself through its very self-exercise; and that inevitably requires not only force of logical coercion (necessarily to some extent), but logically also compromise, adaptation and gradual evolution, finally.


And so historically the structural fall guy becomes the phantom side of the culturally structural, as a sub-cultural frustration and turmoil for individuals who are structurally taken further and further away from their deeper physiological and physical selves, under the boot and whip of opprobrium and the culturally-posited rational and semiotic, human biology of opprobrium itself blindly propels,


In only a physiology, ultimately, that knows not what it is, finally and almost at all, most crucially because it takes place more in the semiotic than in actual physical reality.


But, of course, you are not likely to understand this if only civilization is what you know; because you are not physiologically akin to the reasons why civilization is the way it is. And only intellectually do you perhaps understand surely its value, but never have you experienced the physiological justification of the why of civilization.





Physiologically Binding: subject to the force of opprobrium [13jun16]




(6) The Physio-Totemic and its Zoomorphic—Rational Continuum

Becomes thus the point of union between the Opprobrium-self and the Semiotic Self; is thus a transversal and pillar of the Anthropological Self of Human Groups, from the zoomorphic social (opprobrium and the bodily rationality it produces in regards to and against the others), to the highest of the most refined semiotic-rational reasoning man is capable of.


And so at all levels of the Anthropological Group Self the physio-totemic remains of a permanent hybrid nature as effectively a continuum between zoomorphic, fear-based vulnerability to the others versus progressively higher forms of the semiotic and culturally rational:


Because underlying foundation of morality is probably originally our ability to begin to empathizes with the victimization we see in the social as of our own personal and very much culturally cryptic victimization in opprobrium that is perennially thus the origin of a human, working sense of justice and equanimity,


As of the group and in how the individual thus acquires a bodily and moral sense of self as the foundation of further social identity.


The core of individuality is thus inescapably moral in this sense as of a bodily individuality effectively at the mercy of the superior force of number of the group itself (but really in regards to the ideas, collective impulses and spirit that move them) and which culture, although it seeks to suppress the logical violence of individuality, also never really lets the individual forget.


Because culture is a functionally dynamic contradiction that cryptically depends in its systemic stability on exactly that which it seeks to suppress, curtail and channel in the individual-and exactly what culture’s decorum nature seeks to deny thus becomes its very impetus of real long term stability and survival.


And in this eminent contradiction is the flexibility of anthropological balance attained!


But in following Spengler it is of course to be noted that culture is not indestructible, and so can go too far in its force of rational decorum imposition-and that, as already has been discussed, is more physiologically-driven in itself than rationally conducted, where the semiotic ends up becoming only a pretext for the physiological itself; in regards however to a culturally-proposed, secondary physiology and the problem this becomes when the physiology of only the culturally-posited gets too far ahead of the deeper nature of physiological man as of the end of human evolution itself and the inexorable fixing of our permanent physio-social nature as of the historical appearance of agriculture proper.


(Any questions–Langley)




(7) SEMIOTIC CONSITUTION OF INDIVIDUAL BELONGING And so after agriculture, human groups become above all and first and foremost a semiotic constitution of individual belonging, that is at the same time necessarily and to some extent adversarial (given that each individual is also a different, singular body and its physiology); fictional is thus its primary quality in certainly a physical sense. Of human physio-rational invention could also be another way to describe the conceptual essence of cultural belonging, reinforced over the generations and through time, in regards to originally a specific, geographically defined, collective experiencing of the physiological. But the only way the semiotic becomes physiologically relevant to individuals is through a mechanism of opprobrium and the individual need to be one with and of the others. And that up to only a certain point, once again, because the culturally-posited rational and semiotic cannot always and completely tell you who you are—but you do know who you are not, and it is the physio-rational positioning of the self in the physiologically totemic and cognitive as physiological process of the mind where the anthropological self (as of agriculture or more sedentary-based existence) is to be found, and that the systemic viability of culture actually requires to in fact be systemically viable—that is, in the challenge of individual experience to it and culture’s opportunity to reinforce itself, and thereby come vigorously alive, once again.


Thus is physiologically immediate experience perhaps even more necessary, as of the circumstances of semiotic anthropological constitution; as in fact a form of respite and relief from the physio-totemic self. And undoubtedly is conversation itself the perennial cradle of the cultural, as physio-rational experiencing of the self physiologically outside of the physio-totemic, in face to face—or group—conversation; where the semiotic is still the semiotic, but that becomes secondary as in fact a physio-rational instrument of direct, inter-personal physiological exchange—that is thus a physical sense of self, held nevertheless, to the realities of another that becomes a form of suspension of the physio-totemic, when that conversation is freely spontaneous and like a whole nother world in regards to a sense of self one would almost seem to leave behind, briefly and in the heat of language as personal human exchange and expanse.


Because the physio-totemic is not really who you are, but is rather an anthropologically structural dictate of the semiotic, historically as of agriculture.




As a physiologically rational and cognitive, mental realm of extremes; as effectively omnipotence and crushing self-abasement, given that there is actually no one up there with you to in some way rationally ground you to proper (or better) perspective. And in a world of physiologically relevant (so opprobrium-based) images and concepts, the physio-totemic self is like culture itself of a semiotic constitution of the mind, similarly held to idealizations; and in regards to those idealizations so does a physiology of the mind position itself as very much a physiologically mental consecration to those idealizations; but, of course, only in regards to a personal, internal physiological rationality that is effectively prevented from projecting itself, as long as it remains only a physiology of the mind and cognitive. The culturally external and real at least has the advantage for the self of physiologically real projection, whereas the exclusively physio-totemic does not. So in just physiologically configured human groups, that thus do not require of the semiotic the way sedentary, agricultural man does, the development of a physio-totemic element of human personality and self is not possible; the physio-totemic as the internal voice and perhaps conscience, would seem to be only necessitated by the semiotic itself, as the primary first step towards physiological projection (that only semioitc-based anthropology requires). Primitive man did not project his physiology-he was his physiology, though not entirely extent, of course, of the possibility of meaning.





Phyisio-totemic Inference:

And the self with regards to the semiotic thus positions herself internally as physiologically cognitive process of the mind—that is a moral positioning of self-definition through fear, moral threat (opprobrium) and physiological response to sensorial—and cognitive—perception, of in fact ideas and the semiotic itself; as a broadly understood realm of physiological moral dilemma of self internal to the individual, but that is the natural outlet and space for the corporal and logical self of opprobrium-based bodily vulnerability to the group, once again and as the birth point of at least the socially rational (outside of the psycho-affective sphere of family), although its force is permanently of the human biological and therefore of also permanent irrational origin and nature (despite one’s intellectual understanding of it.) But you and your body in regards to and versus the others is certainly a predicament and circumstance of very much rational self-awareness, indeed. Enter: calculation- discretion-manners-forms of deception, and tactics of social diplomacy; for how else can advantage be gained by the individual, before and potentially faced with the very numerical superiority of the group itself?


Real social (physical and physiological) interaction, is of course a different matter with the regards to the physio-totemic self; to the point that interpersonal, social exchange becomes in some ways relief from it and the rigors of the physiologically cognitive process of the mind that is permanently subject itself to the opprobrium force of moral threat; that because in the mind the world in its individually-conceived entirety is something of a personal matter until it can in fact be contrasted through the perception and physiological acceptance of others (even if disapprovingly), reality itself cannot really be said to begin except through others—and because your real, more wholesome self is actually in them, anyway. This at least anthropologically is the reason why you need and so have a self, to begin with (the self of non-sedentary groups is different, and not the self we understand as our own, after agriculture.)




14) De Los viudos (físio-totémicos) de Margaret Sullavan de Mario Benedetti

UNO DE LOS pocos nombres reales que aparecen en mis primeros cuentos [«Idilio», «Sábado de gloria»] es el de Margaret Sullavan. Y aparece por una razón sencilla. Es inevitable que en la adolescencia uno se enamore de una actriz, y ese enamoramiento suele ser definitorio y también formativo. Una actriz de cine no es exactamente una mujer; más bien es una imagen. Y a esa edad uno tiende, como primera tentativa, a enamorarse de imágenes de mujer antes que de mujeres de carne y hueso. Luego, cuando se va penetrando realmente en la vida, no hay mujer de celuloide —al fin de cuentas, sólo captable por la vista y el oído— capaz de competir con las mujeres reales, igualmente captables por ambos sentidos, pero que además pueden ser disfrutadas por el gusto, el olfato y el tacto.

Pero la actriz que por primera vez nos corta el aliento e invade nuestros insomnios, significa también nuestro primer ensayo de emoción, nuestro primer borrador de amor. Un borrador que años después pasaremos en limpio con alguna muchacha —o mujer— que seguramente poco o nada se asemejará a aquella imagen de inauguración, pero que en cambio tendrá la ventaja de sus manos tangibles con mensajes de vida, de sus labios besables sin más trámite, de sus ojos que no sólo sirvan para ser mirados sino también para mirarnos.

Sin embargo, el amor de celuloide es importante. Significa algo así como un preestreno. Frente a aquel rostro, a aquella sonrisa, a aquella mirada, a aquel ademán, tan reveladores, uno prueba sus fuerzas, hace la primera gimnasia de corazón, y algunas veces hasta escucha campanas. Y como,

después de todo, no se corre mayor riesgo [la imagen por lo general está remota, en un Hollywood o una Cinecitá inalcanzables], uno se deja soñar, desinhibido, resignado y veraz, aunque el fondo de tanta franqueza sea un amor de ficción.

Margaret Sullavan había sido eso para mí. Es claro que, cuando escribí los cuentos, ya no era por cierto un adolescente. Aunque todavía daban en los cines montevideanos alguna que otra película de su última época, y aunque por supuesto no me perdía ninguna, yo ya había pasado más de una vez en limpio aquel borrador de amor, y en consecuencia podía verlo con distancia y objetividad, pero también con una cálida nostalgia, con una alegre gratitud, como siempre se mira, a través del tiempo esmerilado, a la mujer que de alguna manera nos ha iniciado en el viaje amoroso.

…Nos dimos la mano y todo. Como dos deudos. Casi como hubiera podido sentirse James Stewart, pareja de Margaret en tantas películas.

Cuando salí en dirección al restorán italiano, yo también me froté los ojos, pero en mi estilo: no con la palma sino con los nudillos. En realidad, no conocía cuál podía ser el grado o la motivación del amargo estupor del boletero, irascible y cegato. Pero en mi caso sí que lo sabía: por primera vez en mi vida había perdido a un ser querido.



Parte inicial y final del cuento de Mario Benedetti Los viudos de Margaret Sullavan (1977)

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