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Some thoughts about the tower and its destruction

by Jockel Liess

In a Freudian sense the tower is a phallic object. It is a status symbol that stands for power, domination, defence, control and transmission. All of these are in a traditional sense very masculine characteristics.

In the same line of thinking the bombing of the tower can be seen as an assault on the masculinity of an individual or state. A symbolic act determined to hurt pride as well as inflict damage. This is to be seen in the light of the still very dominant patriarchal society that we live in and have been living in for several millennia. (Did the tower have the same importance in matriarchal societies?)

The bombing or explosion in the same theoretical view can also be compared to very male activities. If one looks at war and sexuality, the simplest parallel is the rape and abuse of women as a traditionally longstanding and heavily used tool of conquest, alongside other methods and strategies.

If one takes a more mystical approach toward the subject, the tarot card of the tower is an interesting reference (A tower on a rocky outcrop, a powerful bolt of lightning, one or two figures falling from the tower). It is seen as a relatively negative card, following the card of the devil. However it is always a matter of interpretation of mystical imagery, and what is interesting here as well is that tarot most likely originates from a female tradition of wisdom and thought.

It also has very real term parallels to more recent history, and certain images could be used in a modern deck to represent the card of the tower without a problem.

However both state or private acts of terrorism (on our towers), can be seen to follow ideological goals, that in the eyes of the perpetrator can be easily compared to this short interpretation of the meaning to the card:

“Disruption. Conflict. Change.  Sudden violent loss.  Overthrow of an existing way of life.  Major changes.  Disruption of well worn routines.  Ruin and disturbance.  Dramatic upheaval.  change of residence or job sometimes both at once.  Widespread repercussions of actions.  In the end, enlightenment and freedom.”

It is said that this card in its imagery might refer to the destruction of the tower of Babel, where a tower was build for the glory of man, and then destroyed by divinity. If one looks at this more realistically, it would be more likely the glory of the ruling elite, and the suggestion that the people should celebrate the glory of the elite. Especially in the current economic climate, and the looming crisis of the capitalist system the downfall fuelled by elitist greed is a relevant comparison and the tower as a symbol of cooperate money, and capitalism a relevant association.


1 Comment»

  itk wrote @

but then as you know there is only one thing that cannot be a phallic symbol…the phallus itself.

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