An etymological exploration
I had a rather strange reaction to my previous entry on this site from a self declared 'Christian homophobe' to which I ordinarily would not react other than to duck the muck.
But since I am a stickler for language, I will make some comments.
The word homo is a Latin word meaning man. The word sexual comes from the Latin sexualis, which is derived from the verb secare, to cut, or to cleave. From sectus, its past participle, we derive such words as section and sector, as well as sex.
When a man, or homo in its Latin sense, has sex with a woman, he cleaves her i.e. cuts her in two. Needless to say, this is only meant as a figure of speech, but it says volumes about the aggressive impulse in sexuality. We use the same terminology for men who cleave other men, and even for women who do so with other women.
The tribal name of my Saxon ancestors also is connected to this root: the Saxons were the people who used long knives or saxes in battle and used therefor used the name Saxenots: zaaggenoten, or zaakgenoten (from the Dutch word 'zaag', which means a saw and genoot:echtgenoot is a Dutch word for spouse, someone you really (echt) share your life with, i.e. your partner in life. Zaak is the Dutch word for thing (German sache) and has the same origin as zaag and saw. In Dutch the word bondgenoot means ally or confederate. partner, ally or companion.
A thing (zaak, sache) is always an integral part of the whole flow of energy making up the spectrum of manifest reality but which has been separated or cut out, i.e. sundered (in our conceptualizing awareness) from the whole flow of energy.
A similar etymology can be found in the word Huguenot, which was derived from the German Eidgenossen (Dutch: eedgenoten, oath-partners) and was miss-pronounced as Eiguenots by the French speaking Swiss of Geneva.
Hence the Huguenots (Dutch: Hugenoten) came to be the name for the reformed Christians that followed the doctrines and dictates of Jean Calvin, who holed himself up in that town and set up a theocracy.
The French Calvinists or Huguenots spread far and wide all over the world after The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, October 22, 1685 had caused them to be dispersed from France. For more on the history of this edict, see: Edict of Nantes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia .
The CH country of origin plate you see on Swiss cars refers to the Latin expression 'Confoederatio Helvetica' meaning the Swiss Confederation which in German still is 'die Eidgenossische Bundesgesellschaft'. The Helvetii were the dominant tribe in the area now known as Switzerland at the time of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico.
The original Night of the Long Knives is described in the following website:
The Night of the Long Knives is the name Geoffrey of Monmouth gave to the (possibly apocryphal) treacherous killing of native British chieftains by Jute, Angle, and Saxon mercenaries at a place (a hall, a monastery, or perhaps Stonehenge) on Salisbury Plain in ca. 460. The event came to be known as Brad y Cyllyll Hirion ('The Treachery of the Long Knives') in Welsh.
The traditional figure Vortigern, who had supposedly become the high king of the Britons in the wake of the abandonment of Britain by the Roman Empire, had invited Angles and Saxons from Germania to settle in Kent as a means of warding off incursions by Picts and Scots. The settlers, however, grew in number, and when a dispute arose over payment, began themselves to raid British villages and establish independent kingdoms.
The Night of the Long Knives, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, took place at a banquet in modern-day Wiltshire ostensibly arranged to seal a peace treaty, which may have been the cession of Essex and Sussex in exchange for intermarriage between Rowena, the daughter of Saxon chieftain Hengest, and Vortigern. The story claims that the "Saxons"—which probably includes Angles and Jutes—arrived at the banquet armed with their long knives (saxes) hidden on their persons. During the feast, on a given word of command, they pulled their knives and killed the unarmed Britons sitting next to them. Variously described as the only escapee are Vortigern himself, and Saint Abban the Hermit.
Be that as it may, the name stuck and has come to mean a massacre: in Nazi Germany the Night of the Long Knives came to refer to the massacre of the Brownshirted S.A. (Sturmabteilung, or Attack Division) by the S.S.
The motivation was not just that the S.A. was seen as a semi-autonomous militia that constituted a threat to Hitler's authority, but also that many of its members were homosexual.
A recent documentary on Hitler intimated that Hitler was a homophobe: he was sexually very repressed (as most homophobes are) and had issues with his own masculinity (as most homophobes do). He coped with these issues by avoiding sex as much as possible, and by demonizing homosexuals and putting them in concentration camps to exterminate them, just as he did with Jews, Gypsies, the disabled and other despised minorities. Plus ça change....
But back to the word homosexual: this expression is one of the many in our western languages which is made up of mixed parentage: in this case the word homo derives from the Greek word homos which does not mean man, but same (as in homegenous: of the same kind) while sexual is of course not Greek at all, but Latin and has to do with cleaving or cutting, i.e. with the sexual act as it is understood today. Thus the homosexual act means cleaving or cutting, or in the vernacular, fucking someone of the same gender, having nooky with, or nooking (Dutch neuken) someone of your own gender. A nook is of course a corner, a nitch, referring to the crotch.
The Dutch vernacular word for vagina is not cunt, but kut. Kont, on the other hand refers to someone's asshole or butt and is used in the same pejoritive manner as cunt or asshole for someone you don't like. Een kont is not a cunt, but they are both serviceable for cutting someone (as in secare, sectus , sectio and sex).
As a further aside: in Dutch we consider something bad to be 'kut': 'dat is kut'--means 'that's bad', or even 'terrible'--whereas we consider something good to be 'mieters'--dat is mieters means that is good, or even wonderful, fantastic, great. The word mieters derives from sodemieter, sodomizer, and is a rare example of the use of the whole for a part--totum pro parte, (as opposed to pars pro toto) for 'op je mieter krijgen'' means 'to get [beaten] on your ass) Thus in the expression óp je mieter krijgen, to get on your mizer, a sodomieters or sodomizers are reduced to one of their parts, i.e.their ass. It is an odd but uncharacteristically nice reversal of social prejudice that mieters (referring to asshole) in this context means wonderful while kut (referring to cunt) means terrible.
See also: YouTube - jeroen van merwijk - Het leven is kut [life is 'cunt'--in the sense of life is 'shit'] and Mieters (herkomst) - Mieters! ('heerlijk, geweldig' [fantastic, wonderful] is een verkorting van sodomieter/sodemieter [an abbreviation of sodomite >sodomizer] Who would have thunk?
If the above is insufficient information for the real scholars among you, check out the following link: Cunt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia from which I will only quote the following wise advise:
Ȝeue þi cunte to cunnig and craue affetir wedding.
(Give your cunt wisely and make (your) demands after the wedding.)
Now that we have made these various meanings and connections clear, lets get into the muckier stuff of homophobia.
Since phobia is derived from the Greek word phobos, meaning fear, a homophobe, at first glance, would appear to be someone afraid of people, i.e. of human beings or 'homines' (the plural of the Latin word 'homo') but it is generally used to describe people who are afraid of people who like to have intercourse with members of the same (homos) sex or gender.
Thus literally homophobia means 'the fear of sameness'. In our culture this has come to mean the fear of homosexuals.
Franklin Roosevelt once said that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
This seems to be lost on homophobes--especially on homophobes who also are theophobes, i.e. people that 'fear God'--or in Dutch: mensen die leven in de vreze Gods--people who live in the fear of God. That typically includes many right wing Christians who prefer the Old Testament to the New Testament, for the O.T. Yahweh was a God who inspired fear much more than love. The N.T. on the other hand clearly is based on the love of God, theophilia, rather than the fear of God, theophobia.
The message of Christ was not one of fear at all, but of love.
The same self-declared theophobic homophobe (or homophobic theophobe) also called me a 'christophobe'. Now I think Jesus Christ was probably a fine young man, but he has been dead for some time and he certainly does not inspire fear in me. Christians may inspire fear, based on theit rather dismal human rights record, especially when they ignore the teachings of Christ and begin to hate their neighbors, calling them names and calling for political action that discriminates on the basis of your gender or the gender of someone you love.
If you want to call me a Crhistianophobe, OK, I have reason to be one after what the Bush people did under the guise of Christianity. But don't call me a Christophobe. And I don't blame all Christians, let alone Jesus Christ himself, for the right wing agenda, anymore than I blame all Muslims for the agenda of their right wing.
The question arises: can homophobia and theophobia be cured?
I would say that no one is born a homophobe or a theophobe and that those unfortunate conditions certainly could be cured, with some effort. Just read more in the New Testament and don't dwell to much on the old one. Dwell on love of God and mankind, rather than on your irrational fears.
The problem is that theophobic Christians have done what they do best with language: subvert it to their own purposes. Overlooking the fact that the fear of God is prevalent in their religion, they have changed the word theophobe to mean the fear of religion. It is not. Theophobia is the fear of God in religion, not the fear of religion. I am a religious person, but I do not fear God, I love God and my love is not based on fear--it is based on the firm belief that we are all manifestations of the same Divine reality--call that God or whatever you like-- the name we use is just a human term for what is essentially an unfathomable mystery.
Atheists do not fear God, for there is no need to fear what you believe does not exist--and they believe that God does not exist. The reason I am not an atheist is because it seems absurd to base one's world view on a negation.
Of course the anti-evolutionists do exactly that as well--except they call their negation of this well established scientific theory the theory of intelligent design, a euphemism for creationism, which from a scientific point of view does not explain squat.
When I say I am a religious person, I simply mean that I need to consciously reconnect to the divine (unmanifest) reality and that there is more than the manifest world of phenomena which extend in space and evolve over time.
If you like to put a mask (or persona) on that unmanifest or divine reality, and call that mask, that persona, that person or personality God, than that's fine with me. But the mask itself is not the divine unmanifest reality, not the maker or creator of manifest reality. And in truth, there are as many masks of divine reality as we human beings choose to believe, conceive or perceive.
The divine reality simply manifests itself to itself through us and all other phenomena in the fabric of space time. If one mask is not enough and you want to put three masks on that divine reality and call it the Trinity, or the Trimurti, or whatever, that is fine with me too, just as long as you know that it is a human coping mechanism that needs to put a mask on the unknown, to make it seem less terrifying, less to be feared, for the fear of the unknown is the worst and greatest fear of all. The Greeks had an altar dedicated to the unknown God--which is really the only God there is, when you think about it.
Those who embrace the unknown, are not afraid of it, and love it, because they accept that it is our source and the very ground of our being, those need not be theophobes or homophobes, or have a fear of anything under the sun.
That's when you believe that alles sal reg kom, as Paul Krueger used to say in his Afrikaans version of Dutch, all will be right--alles zal terecht komen, in regular Dutch.
One more note: the word homophilia has been subverted by some Christian right wingers who seem to confuse it with paedofilia, a largely heterosexual problem, in that most child molesters are straight--most such abuse is incestuous and takes place within straight families.
Paedofilia should furthermore not be confused with pedifilia or foot worship--a rather common phenomenon, as attested to especially by the design and variety of women's footwear. The term is derived from the Latin pes, pedis, meaning foot and the Greek philia, love or friendship. The word paedophilia comes from the Greek pais, paidos, meaning boy or child.
The Latin word filos (huios in Greek) means son, and again should not be confused with the Greek philia, which is amor (love) or amicitia (friendship). The terms filioque and dia tou huios have a theological meaning which caused the Great Schism in Christianity between East and West. Big deal. They were both wrong, for as far as I am concerned, the Holy Spirit does not proceed from the father and the son (filioque) or from the Father through the son (dia tou huios) but the son (and all of mankind) was manifested by the Father (as in the self-father, Io pater, i.e. the conscious source of self identity) through the Holy Spirit, or the Whole Flow of Energy manifesting that Supreme Self Identity we sometimes call God the Father, in our efforts to anthropomorphize the unfathomable mystery.
Anthropomorphizing, putting a human form, mask or persona on the formless mystery is our way of coping with that mystery of our very being and awareness, which we can either fear or love, depending on how we feel about...ourself.
Love conquers fear anytime. That Jewish teacher was right: we don't have to worry about the Old Testament so much anymore as long as we love God wholeheartedly and love our fellow men like we love ourselves. No phobia can touch us then.
But again, be aware that Christian right wingers are masters of deception in language.
Take one look at the nonsense spouted by the Bush administration and you will realize that they are second to none in linguistic subversion. Well, the Nazis and the Communists were pretty good at propaganda as well. But that was then, Bush and the Christian right wing is our problem now.
But not to worry, come next term, alles sal inderdaad (indeed) reg kom.
On that note, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving.
By the way, I am also still working on a somewhat more ambitious website at: