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Books - The Knowledge of the Womb
Written by Athanassios Kafkalides   
Saturday, 20 January 1996 00:00



R 1 has written:   The following deals with the interpretation of my political activities during the dictatorship in my country (a Latin American state) based on the knowledge I obtained from eight autopsychognosia sessions.

I feel that I should particularly emphasize the fact that some principles, which I had formerly considered basic and irrefutable, altered during the course of my autopsychognosia. I must also stress the fact that any tendency on the part of the reader to make generalizations from what follows is hazardous. My intention is not to evaluate politics or violence but to present and interpret my own particular involvement with them from an obsessional point of view. If the reader is not amongst those who - motivated by fear to which they give ideological dimensions - have conditioned themselves to hide what is false or difficult, then he or she might find that this text contributes in a small way towards the effort to recognize the relationship between political activity and mental health. I considered the rather detailed references to my parents and past necessary for a better understanding of the interpretation of my political activities.

Mother She had not known her father who left home at the time when she was born (for reasons that were not revealed to her) and did not ever reappear. Any wish for her father is forbidden. When, at the age of five, she asks for him "as a Christmas present", her mother slaps her. She grows up in an atmosphere of double matriarchy (that of mother and grandmother) in a house haunted by the absence of and desire for a man's presence. The principle which prevails is: the woman is the one who stays and preserves; the man is the one who goes away, who is forbidden: Sex is forbidden. At the age of thirteen, she is publicly humiliated by the teachers with the consent of her family because she was seen speaking to a boy.

Her father's absence deprives her of the ability to recognize a father substitute. She oscillates between good men (harmless homosexuals) and evil men (gorillas with very manly features and characteristics), the latter becoming the great passions of her life. The principle good-evil motivates her and I inherit this.

Artistic by nature and active in many fields, she abandons an artistic career in order to find security with an industrialist from whom, however, she quickly separates.

A few years later, she marries my father and they leave for France where my father's mother lives. At the beginning of World War II, my father becomes a volunteer in the French army and my mother a volunteer nurse. She feels almost erotic gratification in nursing the invalid (that is, impotent-permissible) soldiers. She then becomes her husband's nurse when he becomes bedridden because of a war wound. She becomes pregnant many times but has miscarriages. During the third year of the war, she becomes pregnant again. The foetus within her uterus is me. After my birth, we return home to Latin America and stay with her mother. Immediately afterwards, my father abandons her.

Father He is very dependent on his oppressive and overprotective mother whom he nevertheless punishes by squandering her vast fortune. He possesses an absolutely androcratic mentality. His point of reference is his male ancestors, "three generations of men of science", not his female ancestors.   During World War II, he is wounded in the head. My mother nurses him. His recovery coincides with my birth and our return home. As soon as we return, my father abandons my mother just as her father had abandoned her mother when she was a baby.

My father's frequent disappearances disturb my mother. She imparts this mental conflict to me: the father is the one who is absent, the deserter. His character lends support to this image I have of him: Mother is the one who speaks, who accuses; Father remains silent. I hear that my father is profligate, financially irresponsible: because of him, my mother and I live in fear and insecurity. Nevertheless, my father teaches me through his words or, more frequently, his silence the affirmation of the dangers of love, the love of poetry, the power to smile in adversity. However, it is the security my mother teaches that I more frequently choose. Within the matriarchal atmosphere where I grow up with the order, "Father does not exist", her own anguish about the lack of a father takes root in my soul. I feel as if I too have never had a father. Her fear of and desire for a man impregnates my being. Thus, throughout my life I pursue strong father substitutes (the most intelligent, richest, most powerful men) who, for me, are friends, teachers, rivals or opponents, or frequently all those things combined.

After the 7th Session, I realize that by identifying with my mother, it. had not been possible for me to have a father or to be a father (that is, a man) and thus I was caught up in a life dominated by false identity and illness. Realizing that I differ from my mother, I shout, "I'm very sorry, but I did have a father."

Some facts about my life During my childhood, I feel that my family sometimes rejects me totally while at other times it is fiercely possessive of me. I'm constantly plagued by illnesses, real and imaginary, which are 'cured' by my mother. When my mother is absent from the house, I go through hours of unbearable agony, afraid that I will die.

When I am five, my mother catches me touching my penis. She admonishes me very gently, saying that I must not touch my penis or else I'll turn into a monster. Then, at my mother's suggestion, a friend of the family appears before me half naked and wearing an anti-gas mask (where did they find it?) on his face. "Look, that's how you'll end up." The message of the man with the fly-like head is all to clear: castration or death. The memory of the monster neutralizes all conscious sexual desire for many years.

It is during the following years that I can pinpoint the time when my first fantasies begin, which gradually shape themselves around the double principle good-evil: the good submissive woman (whom I must nevertheless torment) and the evil man who threatens my existence and who I must compete against and defeat.

At the age of thirteen (I am a boarder in a Jesuit college) I experience my first ideological crisis. I question the existence and goodness of God, the motives of one's faith in God, I question family love and its value. This crisis does not progress very far because during this period I find relative security in a series of father substitutes. From then on I believe in a God-Father substitute who blesses my relationships with good (submissive) women and forbids relationships with evil women (women who are not submissive and who have many sexual relationships).

Between 16 and 20, I become attached to a political leader, D, who becomes a father substitute because he makes me feel particularly accepted (till then I had always felt that I was the black sheep of any group I belong to).    D is an insecure man, a phallocrat, but cultured, a mixture of the bold avant-guardist in intellectual matters and the religious conservative. I believe in and embrace D's principles. Before the military coup occurs in my country, D threatens that he will take to the mountains with his followers should there be a dictatorship. However, when the dictatorship actually takes place D, after a few days' imprisonment, becomes a law-abiding citizen.

During the same period (16 - 20 years old) I become conscious of the fact that sex is prohibited and this is combined with a peculiar feeling of social guilt. I feel, in other words, that evil men and evil women are free to have sex. However, evil people are rich.   My sexual desires make me feel that I possess some of the ingredients of a rich man. Therefore I must be punished, castrated (become impotent) and become poor.

At the age of fifteen the following thing happens to me. During a storm my thoughts turn to my father. I feel he is alone. I weep for him and through my tears I identify with my forbidden father (forbidden by my mother). This feeling of loneliness compels me to declare my love to my best friend's girlfriend with whom I had been secretly in love for two years.

Between 18 and 23 I swing from one parent to the other. They have separated and live in different countries. A period characterized by fickle emotions.

When I am 23, my father dies. My mother forbids me to see him "so that I won't get a fright". In the days immediately following his death she goes about dressed in red, as if celebrating over the red male blood that had been shed.

At this time I begin to have my first sexual experiences with evil women, women who have many sexual relationships. Simultaneously I have a 'platonic' relationship with another girl, the ideal girl, who must remain chaste, but whom I must also torment.

The fragile equilibrium between the good and evil relationships is broken when the ideal girl goes abroad with her family so that her father can get away from the collaborators of the junta that is preparing for a coup. I interpret the girl's departure as a punishment for my sexual relations with the evil women. The effect is immediate: I become temporarily impotent, something which, at the time, I consider to be 'accidental'.

How I function during the dictatorship in my country The democratic government is overthrown by a junta consisting of the military and landowners. I am 26 at the time.   I witness a scene of violence that causes me terror, anger and guilt.   (Till then I had been politically involved only at a superficial level.) I feel that the dictatorship has deprived me of the ideal girl.

The following principle crystallizes in my mind and becomes an obsession: "Fight the junta!" (good must fight evil). Good is our oppressed and tyrannized poor people, the 'descamisados' who are threatened with death by the junta. Evil is the collaborators-junta (19) who threaten the people with death because they refuse to bow to their will. Good will inevitably crush evil. I side with good.

After somewhat briefly participating in the struggle against the junta, I go abroad thinking that I would be able to fight it more effectively from there. The real motive for my flight, however, is my wish to see the ideal girl again. I go to the same country and city where her family has taken refuge. I do in fact see her but when I try to make love with her, I find I am impotent. How is it that the ideal girl is castrating me? Eventually, the ideal girl, frustrated, deserts me and returns to our junta-ruled country. This second rejection of hers throws me into a world of political fantasies. The evil men (the collaborators junta) prevent me from returning home and once again deprive me of the ideal girl. (I deny my own responsibility for her flight.) Thus, confined and isolated for months on a deserted farm, I spend my time 'killing' the evil men by throwing a dagger at a target hanging on the wall, expecting the ideal girl and the revolution to knock at my door.

A few months later I become obsessed with the idea of carrying out bomb attacks. I meet other self-exiled resistance men and work as a chemist in underground networks. This activity utterly thrills me. I feel that I really exist only when I'm preparing explosives. Plans are laid for my return home to participate in a guerilla group. My return, however, is constantly postponed for a 'more propitious' time and never comes about. Yet, although I act in accordance with my credo, my activity doesn't bring me any satisfaction nor does it free me from the constant anxiety simmering within me. I renew my pursuit of a father substitute, particularly in the field of politics. International political leaders and close comrades fill me with enthusiasm at first but later their image crumbles before my eyes. I live in a world where the pursuit of practical results makes serious introspection and direct expression impossible. The world of the Resistance which I give myself to tends to become the same as the world of the hateful junta which I'm fighting.   Deprivation, oppression and aggressiveness often prevail amongst the members of the conspiracy group and are manifested uncontrollably, degrading our relationships as human beings.

I isolate myself on the farm again and 'punish' myself by depriving myself of any serious scientific activity and by inflicting incredible torture on myself in order to compensate for the tortures being inflicted on the resistance members at home, tortures which I feel guilty for because I am not experiencing them first-hand. The use of an assumed name helps me not to be myself. During the same period I constantly have dreams in which I cannot cross the frontiers of my country because my passport doesn't have a photograph. Avoiding all my basic problems, love, creativity, I live the life of someone else. I am a person without an identity.

I hear that the ideal girl has married in my country. Within my acute pain I feel deep creative powers awakening, as if I have savoured a sublime moment of existence. Thus I experience a new period of temporary intellectual growth which is combined with a sexual relationship with another girl who resembles the archetypal image of my mother rather closely. Yet I don't find peace with her because she is evil (she is also having relationships with other men). We separate and I slip back into a world of political fantasies again. During this period my soul is filled with indifference and callousness but also guilt towards my home, my mother. I hear that my mother's mother has died but I do not get in touch with my mother for'security reasons'. I hear that my mother is approaching financial ruin and I feel deeply satisfied. Now I am truly poor. I will be free of my guilt.

During the same period I feel that the fanatical and unwavering convictions expressed by my comrades is alien to me. The world I live in and the world I desire prove to be conflicting and opposed to each other. Seeking a solution to the emotional confusion that overwhelms me, I become increasingly involved in the activities of the guerilla network. Finally, I myself 'manage' to become the victim of an explosion, something which fills me with deep satisfaction. Fortunately I am unharmed by the explosion but I become a target of the foreign police. I go into hiding and then, for the first time in my life, I discover masturbation. A little later I have an affair with and then marry a woman older than myself with whom I identify because she is socially deprived and therefore good. This woman becomes pregnant. I am overcome by ever-increasing fear.   I feel that I cannot be a father.   Basic elements of my mother's pregnancy with me are repeated. The woman tries without success to get rid of the foetus. Finally, a girl is born. Almost immediately after, I compulsively abandon my wife and daughter and return to my country, no longer involved in politics.


Within the uterus I am accepted by my mother (I am a substitute for the husband and father who are forbidden to her but whom she desires). During the 5th Session I assume the foetal position and experience the bliss of security and acceptance. However, in every Session I also relive the fear that I will die, which I had felt when I was in my mother's womb. (The fear of death is something that I feel in my everyday life as well as in my frequent nightmares.)

I am threatened with death from without. Every external stimulus removes me from the state of acceptance-security and generates terror and aggressiveness within me. The facts confirm that both mother and foetus are faced with multiple threats of death. My father's mother tyrannizes my pregnant mother and hopes I die in the womb. During the 2nd Session I am terrified at the sight of a woman dressed in black who threatens me with death. In her dress and appearance this black-clad woman reminds me of my father's mother, who really did hope that I would die.

During the 8th month of my mother's pregnancy, the German S.S. and their French collaborators burst into our house to search it. My mother faints. She is saved because the German officer in charge, moved by her pregnant condition, orders his men not to disturb her. I feel that this terrifying experience for my mother left deep traces within me. In everyday life, the sight of a collaborator dressed in a typical trenchcoat and trilby hat produces feelings of terror and aggressiveness within me. The sight of a collaborator reactivates my pregnant mother's terror which my nervous system has retained to this day.

Together with the threat from without, I feel I am also threatened from within. I feel that my mother's acceptance of my foetal existence is followed by rejection. My mother wants me dead to be free of her mother-in-law's hounding and to take revenge on my father, as my presence in her womb reminds her of him. A typical

example of the threat of death that comes from within is the dream I have the night that 'B' rejects me. (B is a woman with whom I had a relationship and to whom I was totally attached.) The subject of my dream is fear in various forms: fear of the void, fear of evil women, fear of evil men, fear of dogs, fear of collaborators. I overcome them all. Society, represented by television, congratulates me on my victory. My mother appears crying and suddenly her sweet face crumbles and in its place appears a terrifying mask whose mouth and eyes emit destructive energy. I wake up howling.

During the Sessions, when the psychedelic drug reactivates the rejection from within, I am overcome by an unbearable and paralyzing terror which forces me to stop the Sessions from evolving further.

During the first Session I feel the need to hold my breath till I am on the point of fainting. I realize that in this way I am reliving the danger of strangulation by the umbilical cord which was coiled around my neck at delivery. (This fact concerning the umbilical cord was verified by my mother after the first Session.)


Question 1:   Why do I become sexually impotent with the evil women when the ideal girl goes abroad with her family?

Question 2:   Why am I impotent with the ideal girl when I meet her abroad?

Question 3:   Why does the principle: "Fight the Junta!" (good must fight evil) become crystallized in my mind?

Question 4:   Why do I side with good?

Question 5:   Why do I become obsessed with the idea of explosions?

Question 6:   Why do I compulsively deny my daughter and wife?

Question 7:   Why do I abandon politics?

Answer to questions 1 and 2   I consider (emotionally) the departure of the ideal girl as punishment for my sexual relationships with the evil women. The ideal girl symbolizes my mother. My mother forbids me to have sexual relations. To regain the acceptance of the ideal girl, I must stop all sexual relations.   Solution:   I become impotent. It is at this point that my subjective confusion begins. The womb-mother rejects me when I have sexual desires and/or relations. The womb-mother accepts me only when I do not have sexual desires and/or relations (but how can I return to the womb that I yearn for without sexual desires and/or relations?). Under such conditions my return is out of the question. Thus, when I meet the ideal girl abroad, it is impossible for me to have sexual intercourse with her.

Answer to question 3    Evil is any power that threatens me with death. Evil demands that I submit to its will. Evil causes me terror. Evil is the collaborators German S.S.(20) who threaten my foetal existence with death; the collaborators-junta that threaten me with death because I do not want to submit to their will; the collaborators-junta that deprive me of the ideal girl (womb substitute) and so threaten me with death; the woman in black (my father's mother) who wants me to die; my mother's gorillas who take the womb-mother away from me and so threaten me with death; my mother, each time she rejects me (whether I am in her womb or whether I do not submit to her will).

Before the Sessions, I consider that the main characteristic of evil people is that they can make love whenever they like. All evils combine and form a common evil. Evil provokes in me terror and anger and activates my aggressiveness towards it. Good is whoever is threatened with death by evil (the people, myself). Each time I am threatened, I wish to return to the uterus, the place where I had felt bliss. This return is achieved through orgasm.

My mother rejects sex. She makes me submit to her will, not to have sex. If I disobey, she will reject me (a death threat). I submit and am castrated (I become impotent), I become good in her eyes. However, because I have sexual desires, I am evil and feel guilty. She will punish (reject) me. I can satisfy my sexual desires with evil women (paid prostitutes, as well as women who have many sexual relationships). However, this kind of sexual gratification is pure misery because it has nothing in common with the return to the ideal, accepting womb.

Answer to question 4   I have in me some elements of evil because of my sexual desires. By helping good defeat evil, I am purified, I annihilate the evil man within me, erase my social guilt and win the ideal girl who abandoned me because of the evil in me (my sexual desires).

Answer to question 5   During the 6th and 7th Sessions, I recollect that from early adolescence I had been tortured by explosion nightmares. These nightmares, which occurred every time my basketball team was defeated, were always the same. I would see the ball coming through the ring and the moment it touched the ground, it would explode. During these Sessions, the feeling accompanying the explosions in my dreams is associated with the danger of my existence being crushed and wiped out. Simultaneously, I experience terrible pain. The pain is unbearable and prevents me from letting the Sessions evolve further. I present the same resistance each time I start to revive the intia-uterine rejections of my existence. To sum up:

explosion = experiencing death = fundamental rejection within the uterus = unbearable pain. The danger of death by explosion is associated with the collaborators junta who deprive me of the accepting uterus. I would do to them what they had done to me. I would give them a taste of what it feels like to explode, a taste of the symbol of rejection and death.

Answer to question 6   I deny my daughter and wife just as my father denied my mother immediately after my birth, and just as my mother's father had abandoned his wife immediately after his daughter's birth. My daughter has to experience what her grandmother and I had experienced.

Answer to question 7   I abandon politics because, before I return home, I meet and marry a woman who is a good substitute for the previous ideal girl. My political activity, from the obsessional point of view, has run a course between one good womb and another.

19 Doctor's note: For Rl collaborators, junta and the German S.S.(p. 60) are closely associated because they all symbolize the rejecting womb which strikes ruthlessly and unawares.

20 See footnote, p. 58.


Our valuable member Athanassios Kafkalides has been with us since Sunday, 19 December 2010.

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