Bachelard devotes two-thirds of his Psychoanalysis of Fire to tracing the psychological and poetic links between elemental fire and sexuality. He notes that most of those who write of the origin of fire by friction have never directly observed such a phenomenon, and that the constellation is set up through more intimate attractions than objective observation: “ Love is the earliest scientific hypothesis for the objective reproduction of fire.”



Then Bachelard attempts a ‘ rhythmanalysis” of friction; the moment one starts rubbing, one experience an objective, gentle warmth “ at the same time as having the impression of pleasant exercise”. The schema of friction is found by him in Bernardinn de Saint-Pierre, the Abbe Nollet, Von Schubert and especially in Novalis, and Bachelard ultimately uses the term “ Novalis complex” for the drive “ toward fire, which is provoked by rubbing and the need for shared warmth.”

然後巴舍拉企圖說明磨擦的「韻律分析」。我們開始磨擦的那一瞬間,我們經驗到客觀的柔適的溫暖,同時又似在從事愉悅的運動。他在Bernardinn deSaint-Pierre, the Abbe Nollet, Von Schubert 特別是拿波利斯的作品裡,發現這個摩擦的模式。最後,巴舍拉使用「拿波利斯情結」來說明,磨擦激起追求火的欲念,及互相需要溫暖的需求。


Technological , psychoanalyrical and poetic inquiry thus reveals a vast mythic complex deriving from the rhythmical sexual gesture, which overdetermine the gynecological rhythm of menstruation, and the seasonal or lunar rhythm of fertility. Such a profound, universal obsession with rhythm is rapidly sublimated; the rhythms derive from and reinforce one another, and, starting from the basic sexual rhythm, finish in their musical sublimation.



As Bachelard says, perhaps it was in this “ labor of love”, making fire,” that man learned to sing”. Ethnological research confirms this intuition; among tribal peoples the rhythmical techniques of fire, polishing, felling, and the rhythm of the boatman or blacksmith are accompanied by dances and songs. In numerous Semitic languages and in Sanskrit, Scandinavian, and Turco-Tatar, the “ master of fire” is the “ master of songs”. Odin and his priests are “ song-smiths”. A probable survival of such a link in the West is to be found among the gypsies who are both smiths and musicians.




Anthropological Structures of the Imaginary

By Gilbert Durand

Translated by Springhero 雄伯




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