Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena
46 A Mind Bridge
In a remarkable novel, Mindbridge (first published in 1973), Joe Haldeman proposes a thing (a creature or contraption), discovered during a routine expedition to a soon to be colonized planet, that enables humans to enter into telepathic contact. The descriptions concerning the ensuing sensations particularly during sexual intercourse are very illuminating. Imagine to be perceptive–able to sense in an absolutely authentic way–to feminine and masculine excitation in parallel: not just by projection and empathy but by actually feeling, and being aware, of the act of physical love as a man and a woman in parallel, simultaneously, with all the intensity usually reserved for one’s own sex vis-à-vis the other. No attempted “intuition”–the German Einfühlung expresses it better–could come close; in Haldeman’s case it’s a matter of complete identity, no necessity of intuiting something.
I suggest that film, at its most intimate, under the most favorable circumstances, can provide a tinge of approximation. The enigma of an erotic component in the desire to be/become another here acquires at least a shadow of comprehensibility. No one wants to exist in total isolation; and while normal emotive contact with other real persons is satisfying and, to a degree, sufficient, it certainly seems that there always is some sort of transcendental yearning. Such vague needs are as a rule taken care of by religious rituals. Some of them have been covered by (mainly novelistic) literature and, in more emotional form, by sculpture and painting...