A Species In Denial
Page 317 of
Print Edition Bringing Peace To
The War Between The Sexes
The Denial-Free History
Of The Human Race
Bringing peace to the war between the sexes
The ability to understand the human condition, that is, understand why humans have been competitive, aggressive and selfish when the ideals are to be cooperative, loving and selfless, makes it possible to reconcile all the manifestations of the poles of ‘good and evil’ in human life. The instinct and the intellect, our soul and mind or conscience and conscious can be reconciled, as can mysticism and rationalism, religion and science, faith and reason and holism and mechanism. In politics, the left wing and right wing, or socialism and capitalism, idealism and realism can be reconciled. Ameliorating understanding can be brought to the rift that has existed between the more innocent individuals and races and those more corrupted, between women and men, the young and old. These differences are all manifestations of the underlying conflict between our instinct and our intellect yet it is the lack of understanding that Page 318 of
Print Edition has existed between men and women that has caused some of the deepest wounds in human life. Enormous energy has been spent in the struggles that have taken place in relationships between men and women. The bitterness, heartache, suffering and the hurt to children has been immense. There are so many questions about the relationship between men and women that need answering and with understanding of the human condition it is now at last possible to answer all of these questions.
(Note: the underlinings contained in this and the next essay are to assist the reader to identify different topics as they are addressed.)
Understanding the rift, indeed war, that has existed between men and women requires an appreciation of the different roles men and women have played in humanity’s 2-million-year heroic journey to find understanding of the human condition.
Until the human condition could be resolved it was not safe to acknowledge the different roles men and women played in the journey to enlightenment. As can now be explained, the role men took up under the duress of the human condition left them embattled and egocentric, competitive and aggressive, while the role women took on left them relatively naive and soulful. Without the reconciling understanding of these different realities, and their complications, it was all too easy for women to condemn men for being egocentric, competitive and aggressive, and all too easy for men to then feel hurt, angry and retaliatory for being unjustly criticised. Over time it was found that the best way to control prejudice was to prevent people from acknowledging that there was any substantial difference of any sort between the sexes. The dogma of the ‘politically correct’ culture emerged. Now that the human condition is explained, it is both safe and necessary to acknowledge the different roles men and women have played in humanity’s journey, the different effects those roles have had on each sex, and how they have affected relationships between men and women.
The different roles and their effects are explained in Beyond in ‘Stage 2’ of the chapter ‘Illustrated Summary of the Development and Resolution of Upset’. What follows is a description, and in places an elaboration, of that explanation.
In the essay Deciphering Plato’s Cave Allegory, in the section ‘How we acquired our soul’, the importance of nurturing in the emergence of humans from our ape ancestry was described. It was explained that nurturing was the prime mover or main influence in the development Page 319 of
Print Edition of humanity, it gave us our cooperative instincts and allowed us to become conscious. This means that from 10 million years ago when apes emerged and the love-indoctrination process began, to 2 million years ago when consciousness finally emerged, the activity of greatest priority in human society was nurturing. Since women gave birth to and suckled the offspring, nurturing was predominantly a female responsibility, and so for those 8 million years our society was a female-role dominated or matriarchal society.
The prophet Jean-Jacques Rousseau acknowledged women’s nurturing role when he wrote: ‘The first education is the most important, and this first education belongs incontestably to women; if the Author of nature had wanted it to belong to men, He would have given them milk with which to nurse the children’ (On Education, 1762, p.37 of 501). The renowned South African author, Olive Schreiner, made a similar acknowledgment in her 1883 book, The Story of an African Farm: ‘They say women have one great and noble work left them…We bear the world and we make it. The souls of little children are marvellously delicate and tender things, and keep for ever the shadow that first falls on them, and that is the mother’s or at best a woman’s…The first six years of our life make us; all that is added later is veneer…The mightiest and noblest work is given to us’ (p.193 of 300).
In Deciphering Plato’s Cave Allegory, in the section ‘How our soul became corrupted’, the battle between our instincts and our intellect was explained. It was described how, when humans became conscious some 2 million years ago and our intellect began to experiment in understanding, our instincts, being, as they were, unaware or ignorant of the intellect’s need to conduct such experiments, in effect criticised and tried to prevent the conscious mind’s necessary search for knowledge. Unable to defend its behaviour by explaining why it was necessary to carry out its experiments, the intellect had to find other ways of holding at bay the unjust criticism from the instincts. The alternative was to abandon the search for knowledge, which it obviously could not do. The only option available was to attack the unjust criticism, live in denial of it and try to prove the criticism wrong. Humans’ upset angry, alienated and egocentric state emerged. (Note that the dictionary defines ‘ego’ as ‘conscious thinking self’, so ego is another word for the intellect. The word ‘egocentric’ then applies to where the intellect becomes centred or focused on trying to prove the instincts’ criticism wrong and asserting its self-worth.)
Ignorance on the part of our instinctive self or soul of our Page 320 of
Print Edition intellect’s need to search for knowledge was a threat against our species; if it prevailed humanity would never find understanding and humans would never fulfil their responsibility to master intelligence. This all-important battle to overthrow ignorance became our species’ priority. When men in their role as group protectors went out to meet the threat of ignorance, our species’ social structure changed from a matriarchal (female-role dominated), soulcentric, nurturing society, to a patriarchal (male-role dominated), egocentric, embattled society. Wives and children in virtually all cultures have not adopted their husband or father’s surname because of some cultural accident, but because they were living in a patriarchal or male-role dominated world. This patriarchy is acknowledged in Genesis in the Bible, ‘To the woman he [God] said…Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you’ (3:16).
Humanity’s recent 2-million-year adolescent search for its identity, search for understanding of itself, and the reason for its divisive nature, has been a patriarchal journey, just as humanity’s infancy and childhood were part of the matriarchal stage.
Tragically, in their task of championing the intellect over ignorance, men unavoidably became angry, alienated and egocentric. Further, this conflict between the intellect and the instincts became greatly compounded by the fact that the angry and aggressive behaviour was completely at odds with humans’ particular instinctive orientation, which was to behave lovingly and cooperatively. From an initial state of upset, men had then to contend with a sense of guilt, which greatly compounded their insecurity and frustrations, and made them even more angry, alienated and egocentric.
Unable to explain their rapidly increasing loss of innocence, men began to resent and attack innocence because of its implied criticism of their lack of innocence. The first victim was nature. As already mentioned, men began to ‘hunt’ (kill) animals because their innocence criticised them, albeit unwittingly.
The rapidly compounding upset in men attracted criticism from women who became their next victims. As has been explained, it was men’s role as group protectors to defend humanity against the threat of ignorance. Also, while men were championing the ego and suffering self-corruption, it was important that women stayed relatively free of the battle in order to retain as much innocence as they could to nurture an upset-free subsequent generation. Since women did not participate in the fight against ignorance, they were largely unaware Page 321 of
Print Edition of the cause of the upset in men. The problem was then that the relative innocence of women, and their lack of appreciation of the upset that resulted from fighting ignorance, represented unjust criticism of men’s embattled, corrupted state. Unable to explain their upset, men could not even admit their embattled state for a failed attempt to explain their upset would only be misinterpreted by women as an admission of badness. Unjustly condemned by the relative innocence and naivety of women, men retaliated and attacked women. Since women reproduced the species, men couldn’t destroy them as they did animals. Instead they violated women’s innocence or ‘honour’ by rape; they invented ‘sex’, as in ‘fucking’ or destroying, as distinct from the act of procreation. What was being fucked, destroyed, ruined or sullied was women’s innocence. In this way women’s innocence was repressed and they came to share men’s upset.
To reiterate, it was men who became egocentric, who had the task of championing the ego, the conscious self’s need to find justification for itself despite the instinctive self’s criticism of it. Men’s burden was that they had to suffer self-corruption, ‘march into hell for a heavenly cause’, as the words from The Man of La Mancha state. They had to suffer becoming angry, alienated and egocentric and women’s innocence simply added to this criticism of men’s corrupted state. To subdue the criticism, men violated women’s innocence through sex. While sex was originally for procreation (and, in the case of some species, such as the bonobo chimpanzees, a means of pacification), with the advent of the dilemma of the human condition and men’s need to somehow retaliate against the condemnation that innocence represented, sex became ‘perverted’. It became used as a means of attacking the innocence of other humans, in particular the innocence of women. On this level, sex became rape. The feminist Andrea Dworkin recognised this underlying truth in her 1987 book Intercourse, when she said, ‘All sex is abuse’.
In time the image of innocence in women, their physical beauty that ‘attracted’ sex, also became a means of inspiring the journey to self-understanding. This aspect means that while at base sex was rape, on a nobler level, it became an inspirational act of love. When all the world disowned men for their unavoidable divisiveness women in effect stayed with them, bringing them the only warmth, comfort and support they would know. While at base sex is rape, it also became an act of love, an act of faith in, and affection for men; a sublime partnership between men and women. As it says in Genesis in Page 322 of
Print Edition the Bible, ‘The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him”…Then the Lord God made a woman…and he brought her to the man’ (2:18,22).
This attack on women’s innocence by men, and the consequences of it, deserves elaboration. Given that the entire universe was an innocent friend of our soul but not of our apparently corrupt intellect, it can be appreciated that men needed extremely powerful egos to defy ignorance and champion the intellect. Women, not responsible for the fight against ignorance and so not participating in the battle itself, did not and could not be expected to understand the validity of the effects of the battle. Being as conscious as men, women were naturally as aware as men of the task of having to resist the ignorance of the ideals-demanding instinctive self or soul. What women were not so aware of was what happened when the battle against ignorance was fought. Since they were not as involved as men in the battle they lacked an appreciation of the degree of anger, alienation and egocentricity that emanated from fighting it.
Women had little empathy with and respect for the effects of the battle. They tended to be soul-sympathetic, not ego-sympathetic. For example, to sustain themselves, the embattled egos of men needed to build towering buildings symbolising their will and determination to defy and defeat the unjustly condemning world that surrounded them. The feminist author Camille Paglia spoke the truth when she famously stated that, ‘If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts’ (Sexual Personae, 1990). This ‘grass huts’ comment can be understood both literally and metaphorically, because the fundamental situation was that if the soul (which women represented) had its way the intellect would never have been allowed to search for knowledge. The soul’s ignorance had to be defied if knowledge and ultimately self-understanding was to be found. To give in to soul was to go nowhere, to remain in ‘grass huts’. Incidentally, Camille Paglia also defied the politically correct code when she said, ‘Wake up, men and women are different’ (The Australian, 4—5 July 1992).
The truth is, as the champions of the conscious thinking self or intellect or ego, men are the heroes of the human journey to enlightenment, not the villains they have for so long been portrayed as. Women’s ignorance of the all-important role that men have been playing in the world is clear in this comment from Germaine Greer, an icon of modern feminism: ‘As far as I’m concerned, men are the product of a damaged gene. They pretend to be normal but what they’re Page 323 of
Print Edition doing sitting there with benign smiles on their faces is they’re manufacturing sperm’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 14 Nov. 1991). Greer believes that the wilful, competitive, egocentric nature of men is nothing more than a selfish drive to reproduce their genes. The truth is, rather than being driven by selfishness, men have been involved in serving humanity in a most remarkable way. Their role in the world has been entirely honourable, brave and selfless.
Women’s ignorance and thus lack of sympathy for men’s role in the world is also apparent in this famous comment by leading feminist Gloria Steinem: ‘A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’
The gulf between men and women—acknowledged in the title of John Gray’s best-selling 1992 book, ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’—is palpably clear in this conversation I once overheard: ‘She: You men are wholly monstrous, foreign bodies, in fact cancers on this planet. He: Yes, well, have you heard that women are so meaningless as to not even exist.’ This comment provides a true measure of the extent of ‘the war between the sexes’.
The fact is women have not understood the egocentric world of men. The following quote from actress Shirley MacLaine illustrates this lack of appreciation of men’s egocentric nature: ‘MacLaine can’t find a man to love. The 48-year-old actress…[said she] longs for a “close and warm relationship” but hasn’t met a suitable partner. “Most men I meet seem to be too involved in trying to be successful or making a lot of money,” she said. “I feel sorry for all of them. Men have been so brainwashed into thinking they have to be so outrageously successful—to be winners—that life is very difficult for them. And it’s terribly destructive, as far as I am concerned, when you are trying to get a serious relationship going”’ (Daily Mirror, a Sydney newspaper, 14 Dec. 1982).
The fact is women have not understood men at all, as this quote admits: ‘Men are a knot, I’ll never untie, around a box I long to peer into’ (from Kate Llewellyn’s poem Men, Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Apr. 1996).
Women have not appreciated the battle—they have not been able to empathise with what has been going on. They have not been, as it were, ‘mainframed’; intuitively aware of the battle like men—in the same way men have never been as ‘mainframed’ to the role of nurturing as women intuitively are. While both men and women have had to live in denial of the battle of the human condition, men retained an awareness of the battle because they were having to fight it.
Sir Laurens van der Post described this limitation of women in his 1976 book, Jung and the Story of Our Time, when he related a dream Page 324 of
Print Edition Carl Jung had about a blind woman named Salome. Sir Laurens wrote that ‘Salome was young, beautiful and blind’, and then explained the symbolism of Salome’s blindness, saying ‘Salome was blind because the anima [the soulful, more feminine side of humans] is incapable of seeing’ (p.169 of 275).
This ‘blindness’ in women meant that the only alternative to the oppression of women was that men explain their predicament, but, as emphasised, that was not possible. Men could not admit their inconsistency with integrative meaning until they could defend it. This quote describes men’s plight: ‘One of the reasons that men have been so quiet for the past two decades, as the feminist movement has blossomed, is that we do not have the vocabulary or the concept to defend ourselves as men. We do not know how to define the virtues of being male, but virtues there are’ (Asa Baber, Playboy mag. July 1983).
It should be explained that feminists did not liberate themselves simply because men stayed quiet as this quote suggests. The more men fought to defeat ignorance and protect the group (humanity), the more embattled, upset and corrupted they became and thus the more they appeared to worsen the situation. The harder men tried to do their job of protecting humanity the more they appeared to endanger humanity! As a result, they became almost completely ineffective or inoperable, paralysed by this paradox; cowarded by the extent of their self-corruption and its effects. At this point women have had to usurp some of the day-to-day running of affairs as well as attempt to nurture a new generation of soundness. Women, not oppressed by the overwhelming responsibility and extreme frustration that men felt, could remain effective. Further, when men crumpled women had to take over or the family, group or community involved would perish. A return to matriarchy, such as we have recently seen in society, is a sign that men in general have become completely exhausted. However, total matriarchy has not emerged because men could not afford to stand aside completely whilst the fundamental battle existed. They needed to stay in control and remain vigilant against the threat of ignorance. While some elements in the recent feminist movement seized the opportunity to take revenge against men’s oppression, the movement in general was borne out of necessity. The tragedy was that like all pseudo-idealistic, politically correct movements, feminism was based on a lie; that there is no real difference in the roles of men and women.
The question arises, if women are so duped by soul how is it that Page 325 of
Print Edition there exists such right wing, ego-sympathetic women as political leaders Margaret Thatcher, Madeleine Albright and Golda Meir, and authors like Ayn Rand? To address this question the important sentence to be considered in the above paragraph is, ‘Women, not oppressed by the overwhelming responsibility and extreme frustration that men felt, could remain effective.’ Men have been overly corrupted for at least half a million years and as such have lived with extreme frustration, even self-loathing, of the immense destruction they have caused the planet. After such a long time, it can be expected that women now have a strong instinct for an opportunity to participate up-front in the battle and even—in situations where men became totally destructive, disdainful of themselves, paralysed by their predicament and inoperable—take control from men. We can now expect women to anticipate this opportunity for greater power within personal relationships, and in larger economic and political situations, and to some degree be adapted to and thus appreciative of what is required to effectively take up the male role of championing the ego. After all, if men had not been available to take on the battle to champion ego over ignorance, women would have had to take it on fully and become as aware as men now are of what happens when you fight that battle. Camille Paglia once wrote that ‘It is woman’s destiny to rule men’ (Vamps & Tramps, 1974, p.79). This comment is an expression of the awareness that now exists in women that eventually men crumple and women can then take over. The truth is many sensitive new age guys (SNAGs) are crumpled men. Also, women’s nagging of their menfolk is a case of women chiselling away at, attempting to break, men’s ability to keep fighting and defying the ignorance of the world of the soul.
Without the understanding necessary to explain themselves men had no choice other than to repress the relative naivety of women, which in turn tied women’s corruption inextricably to men’s. It was an extremely difficult situation for women. They had to try to ‘sexually comfort’ men but also preserve as much true innocence in themselves as possible for the nurturing of the next generation. Their situation, like men’s, worsened at an ever-increasing rate. The more women ‘comforted’ men, the less innocence they retained and the greater comforting the following generation needed. Had humanity’s battle continued in this exponential pattern for a few thousand years more, all women would have eventually become like Marilyn Monroe; complete sacrifices to men. At this point men would have destroyed Page 326 of
Print Edition themselves and the human species, for there would be no soundness left in women to love/ nurture future generations. Olive Schreiner emphasised this point in her 1883 book The Story of an African Farm. When talking of men persuading women to have sex, Olive Schreiner’s female character stated that men may say, ‘“Go on; but when you [men] have made women what you wish, and her children inherit her culture, you will defeat yourself. Man will gradually become extinct…” Fools!’ (p.194 of 300).
In her 1899 essay, The Woman Question, Olive Schreiner talked about women, ‘sinking slowly into a condition of more or less complete and passive sex-parasitism!…[where] social conditions tend to rob her of all forms of active conscious social labour, and to reduce her, like the field-bug, to the passive exercise of her sex functions alone [p.85 of 261].’ She also spoke about the ‘degradation’ of the women of Rome before its fall, ‘seeking madly by pursuit of pleasure and sensuality to fill the void left by the lack of honourable activity; accepting lust in the place of love, ease in the place of exertion’, and said that such ‘parasite females’ would ‘have given birth to a manhood as effete as itself’, and said that it was no surprise that such women and their offspring ‘should in the end have been swept away before the march of those Teutonic folk, whose women were virile, and could give birth to men—among whom the woman received on the morning of her marriage from the man who was to be her companion through life, no miserable trinkets to hang upon her limbs, but a shield, a spear, a sword, and a yoke of oxen, while she bestowed on him in return a suit of armour, in token that they two were henceforth to be one, in toil and in the facing of danger; that she too should dare with him in war and suffer with him in peace—and of whom another writer tells us, that these women not only bore the race and fed it at their breasts without the help of others’ hands, but that they undertook the whole management of house and lands, leaving the males free for war and chase [p.92]’. Schreiner continued, saying these ‘Cimbrian women who accompanied their husbands in the invasion of Italy [around 100 BC] were certain who marched barefooted in the midst of the [battle] lines, distinguished by their white hair and milk-white robes, and who were regarded as prophinspired—of whom [the historian] Florus, describing an early Roman victory, says “the conflict was not less fierce and obstinate with the wives of the vanquished: in their carts and wagons they formed a line of battle, and from their elevated situation, as from so many turrets, annoyed the Romans with their poles and lances.” Their death was as glorious as their martial spirit. Finding that all was lost, they strangled their children, and either destroyed themselves in one scene Page 327 of
Print Edition of mutual slaughter or with the sashes that bound up their hair suspended themselves by the neck to the boughs of trees or the tops of their wagons [p.93]’. Schreiner went on to quote the Roman historian Tacitus: ‘“[the Cimbrian women] are even hardy enough to mix with the combatants administering refreshment and exhorting them to deeds of valour”; and adds moreover that “to be contented with one wife was peculiar to the Germans; while the woman was contented with one husband as with one life, one mind, one body” [p.93]’ (An Olive Schreiner Reader: Writings on Women and South Africa, 1987, ed. Carol Barash).
This reference to the Cimbrian men and women’s ability to live in monogamous relationships raises an important issue. It needs to be explained that the more upset, corrupted, insecure and alienated humans became the more they needed sexual distraction and reinforcement through sexual conquest (in the case of men) and sex-object attention (in the case of women), and thus the more difficult it became for them to be content in humans’ original monogamous lifestyle. The saying, ‘the first cut is the deepest’, is an acknowledgment of the deep and total commitment humans make to their first love. It reveals that the original, innocent, pre-human-condition-afflicted relationship between a man and a woman was a monogamous relationship.
The Cimbrians’ exceptional vitality, valour and ability to be content in a monogamous relationship was a reflection of the relative innocence of their race. The Cimbrians who invaded Italy migrated all the way from Denmark (or Jutland as it was known in those times), which was an exceptionally sheltered corner of the inhabited world. Innocence does not survive long in New York’s Times Square. As mentioned earlier, and as will be explained more fully in the next essay, prophets were all shepherds in their youth. The lifestyle of a shepherd is probably the most removed from encounters with the human-condition-afflicted world. It was the sheltered shepherd’s life that preserved the innocence necessary for someone to be able to avoid resignation and be a prophet.
The different levels of innocence within races of humans will be elaborated upon further in the concluding section of this essay, ‘The denial-free history of the human race’.
It should be pointed out that women taking up the opportunity of leadership when men crumpled is fundamentally different to the situation where the Cimbrian women actively supported their men in war. The former situation occurred when men became exhausted, Page 328 of
Print Edition while the latter was a product of the loving, psychologically strong and less sex-object-obsessed state of a more innocent people.
It should also be clarified that it was not ‘social conditions [that] tend to rob her [women] of all forms of active conscious social labour, and to reduce her, like the field-bug, to the passive exercise of her sex functions alone’, as Schreiner suggested. Rather it was the level of self-corruption and alienation that had developed in Roman society and the degree of innocence that had been lost, that caused the status of women to be reduced to mere sex-objects.
Blaming social conditions or cultural conditioning, as Schreiner did, has been the main excuse used by the world of denial for any differences between men and women. In particular it has been used to explain why women have not contributed as much to the world of literature, music and art as men have. Not being ‘mainframed’ to the battle going on in the world has made it very difficult for women to create profound works of literature, music and art. Even the bravest of women writers could not empathise with what has been happening in the world. For example, Olive Schreiner, in her immensely courageous book, The Story of an African Farm, had her leading character describe men as ‘fools’ (p.194 of 300), and even say that men’s oppression of women is not part of God’s plan, that ‘He [God] knows nothing of’ it (p.189).
Sex killed innocence; although, paradoxically, it was also one of the greatest distractions and releases of frustration, and on a higher level, an expression of sympathy, compassion and support—an act of faith in, and love for men. In The Seed and the Sower, Sir Laurens van der Post offers this sensitive attempt by a man to explain to a woman the greater significance of sex. It is a conversation that takes place on the eve of a World War II battle: ‘Touched by her concern for her honour, in his imagination he would have liked to tell her that he could kneel down before her as a sign of how he respected her and beg her forgiveness for what men had taken so blindly and wilfully from women all the thousand and one years now vanishing so swiftly behind them. But all he hastened to say was: “I would have to be a poet and not a soldier to tell you all that I think and feel about you. I can only say that you are all I imagined a good woman to be. You make me feel inadequate and very humble. Please know that I understand you have turned to me not for yourself, not for me, but on behalf of life. When all reason and the world together seem to proclaim the end of life as we have known it, I know you are asking me to renew with you our pact of faith with life in the only way possible to us”’ Page 329 of
Print Edition (1963, p.238 of 246).
The prophet Friedrich Nietzsche gave an honest description of the roles that developed for men and women in humanity’s heroic journey to overthrow ignorance when he famously wrote: ‘Man should be trained for war and woman for the recreation of the warrior: all else is folly’ (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One, 1892; tr R.J. Hollingdale, 1961, p.91 of 342). The femme fatale of the 1960s, Brigitte Bardot, once similarly said, ‘A women must be a refuge for the warrior. Her job is to make life agreeable’ (The Australian, 11 Oct. 1999). Shortly after making the above statement Bardot encapsulated the paradox of life for women when she declared that all men are ‘beasts’ (ibid).
It is now possible to explain more fully how the image of innocence came to be cultivated in women.
The significance of nurturing in the human journey was described in the essay Deciphering Plato’s Cave Allegory, in the section ‘How we acquired our soul’. It was explained that through the ability to leave their infants in infancy for a prolonged period of time in which they could be indoctrinated with love or unconditional selflessness, primates were able to overcome genetic refinement’s limitation to develop unconditional selflessness. Our primate ancestors were able to complement this nurturing, love-indoctrination process by consciously seeking out mates who were more love-indoctrinated and thus more cooperatively and selflessly behaved. Essentially these were members of the group who had had a long infancy and were closer to their memory of infancy (that is, younger). The older individuals became the more their infancy training in love wore off. Our ape ancestors began to recognise that the younger an individual, the more integrative he or she was likely to be. They began to idolise, foster and select youthfulness because of its association with cooperativeness or integrativeness. The effect, over many thousands of generations, was to retard physical development so that our human ancestors and their descendants became infant-like adults. This explains how we came to regard neotenous (infant-like) features—large eyes, dome forehead and snub nose—as beautiful. Our attraction to ‘cute’, neotenous features is so strong that animals that exhibit them, such as seal pups, giant pandas and tree frogs, become favourites amongst humans. The effect of neoteny upon our physical evolution was that we lost most of our body hair and became infant-like in our appearance; we selected for what we now recognise as innocence. The full explanation of how neotenous features came to be considered beautiful Page 330 of
Print Edition is presented in Beyond in the chapter ‘How We Acquired Our Conscience’. The chapter contains photographs that illustrate how extraordinarily neotenous-looking humans are today compared with our ape ancestors.
As mentioned earlier, with the emergence of the human condition humans became resentful of innocence and instead of cultivating it, sought to oppress or destroy it. The result was that the attraction to innocence as a sought after quality with which to mate became perverted. Neotenous, cute, childlike features of a domed forehead, snub nose and large eyes became attractive for what we now refer to as ‘sex’. What this means is that throughout the battle to find understanding women were forced to suffer the destruction of their soul, their innocence, while at the same time their trappings of innocence were sought after. While women’s soul was being destroyed their image of innocence was being cultivated.
When ignorant innocence became a threat, men sought neotenous features, the signs of innocence, for sexual destruction. We evasively describe such looks as ‘attractive’ to avoid saying that what was being attracted was destruction, through sex, of women’s innocence. It can be seen that since all other forms of innocence were being destroyed, this image of innocence—‘the beauty of woman’—was the only form of innocence to be actively cultivated during humanity’s adolescence. The beauty of women became men’s only equivalent for, and measure of, the beauty of their lost pure world.
The following quotes reveal just how inspiring women’s image of innocence became for men: ‘we lose our soul, of which woman is the immemorial image’ (Laurens van der Post, The Heart of the Hunter, 1961, p.134 of 233); ‘I believe hers to have been the kind of beauty in which the future of a whole continent sings, exhorting its children to renounce what is out of accord with the grand design of life’ (ibid. p.86); ‘Woman stands before him [man] as the lure and symbol of the world’ (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Let Me Explain, 1966; trs René Hague & others, 1970, p.67 of 189); ‘Women are all we [men] know of paradise on earth’ (Albert Camus); ‘You give me a reason to live’ (Joe Cocker’s 1986 song You Can Leave Your Hat On); ‘I, I who have nothing / I, I who have no one / Adore you and want you so’ (Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s 1963 song I Who Have Nothing); ‘Sex is life’ (graffiti on a granite boulder at Meekatharra in Western Australia). In the 1996 film, Beautiful Girls, when criticised for plastering pictures of supermodels all over the walls of his room, one of the male characters responds: ‘Look the supermodels are beautiful girls. A beautiful girl can make you dizzy, like you’ve been drinking bourbon and coke all Page 331 of
Print Edition morning, she can make you feel high for the single greatest commodity known to man—promise. Promise of a better day, promise of a greater hope, promise of a new tomorrow. This particular awe can be found in the gait of a beautiful girl, in her smile and in her soul; in the way she makes every rotten thing about life seem like it’s going to be okay. The supermodels, that’s all they are, bottled promise, scenes from a brand new day, hope dancing in stiletto heels.’
Nietzsche recognised the role women played in inspiring the world with their illusion of innocence when he wrote: ‘her great art is the lie, her supreme concern is appearance and beauty. Let us confess it, we men: it is precisely this art and this instinct in woman which we love and honour’ (Beyond Good and Evil, 1886; tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1972, p.145 of 237).
It is little wonder men fell in love with women. The ‘mystery of women’ was that it was only the physical image or object of innocence that men were falling in love with. The illusion was that women were psychologically as well as physically innocent. For their part, women were able to fall in love with the dream of their own ‘perfection’ that men projected—of their being truly innocent. Men and women fell in love; we abandoned the reality in favour of the dream. It was the one time in our life when we could romance—when we could be transported to how it once was and how it could be again—to heaven. The lyrics of the song Somewhere, written by Stephen Sondheim for the 1956 blockbuster musical and film West Side Story, perfectly describe the dream of the heavenly state of true togetherness that humans allow themselves to be transported to when they fall in love: ‘Somewhere / We’ll find a new way of living / We’ll find a way of forgiving / Somewhere // There’s a place for us / A time and place for us / Hold my hand and we’re halfway there / Hold my hand and I’ll take you there / Somehow / Some day / Somewhere!’ (Humans’ capacity to fall in love and further examples of how falling in love involves dreaming of the heavenly, truly-together state were given in the Resignation essay in the section, ‘The loneliness of humans’ alienated state’.)
Different cultures have different perceptions of female beauty. Essentially, men are ‘attracted’ by innocent looks, which are youthful neotenous features. The popular saying, ‘blondes have more fun’, illustrates the tendency in Caucasian cultures to regard blondes as more attractive because many young Caucasians have blonde hair, a sign of youth/ innocence. In his 1940 detective novel, Farewell, My Lovely, Raymond Chandler acknowledged the appeal of blondes when he wrote, ‘It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a Page 332 of
Print Edition stained glass window’ (ch.13). Long, healthy hair is also associated with youth, which is why men find long hair on women attractive. In general, any feature unique to women will be attractive and signal a sex object to men, hence the desirability of breasts, shapely hips and narrow waist. The different cultural definitions of beauty can be explained in terms of what signifies innocence. In times when few could eat or live well, fat women were considered beautiful because their appearance indicated that they had been well cared for, better nurtured and were thus more innocent. Today, the attraction of a long, ultra-thin female shape can be explained by the increase in alienation amongst humans. Innocence now is very brief and in fact what is attractive now is that pubescent age when young girls first start to develop physically and have the slender, long-legged frame of young animals, such as foals. For women to be perceived as attractive they have to endeavour to look like a pubescent teenager. This ultra-thin body shape is unnatural for adult, child-bearing women and to achieve it necessitates a starvation diet, such is the level of perversion that has developed in the world.
The destruction of women’s souls and the cultivation of their image of beauty has been occurring for 2 million years. Lust and the hope of falling in love have assumed such importance that many people, including psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, were deceived into believing sex ruled our lives. Men and women became highly adapted to their roles. While men’s magazines are full of competitive battleground sport and business, women’s magazines are dedicated to enhancing beauty, to becoming more ‘attractive’.
One of the best examples of being misled into the belief that sex rules our lives is found in the story of the Garden of Eden, where Eve is blamed for tempting Adam to take the apple from the tree of knowledge. The truth is that women were the victims not the cause of upset in men, but lust became such a strong force, people have been misled into believing it seduced humans into behaving in an upset way.
The object of innocence became so ‘attractive’ that it eventually had to be concealed. While clothes became necessary to keep neotenised, hairless humans warm, they also became necessary to dampen lust. Even the relatively innocent Bushmen people of southern Africa who go about almost naked most of the time wear aprons to conceal their genitals. Once humans became extremely upset even the glimpse of a woman’s face or ankle became dangerously exciting Page 333 of
Print Edition to men, which is why in some societies women are completely draped and persecuted if they reveal any part of their body. In Genesis this need for concealment to dampen lust is thus described: ‘Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realised that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves’ (3:7).
The convention of marriage was invented as one means of containing the spread of soul-corruption through sex. By confining sex to one life-long relationship, the souls of the couple could gradually make contact and coexist in spite of the sexual destruction involved in their relationship. As it says in the Bible: ‘a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one’ (Mark 10:7,8).
Brief and multiple relationships spread soul repression. Celibacy has been one way of avoiding the hurt sex caused our soul; as it says in the Bible: ‘others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt. 19:12).
Women across every generation have had a very brief life in innocence before being soul-destroyed through sex. They then had to try to nurture a new generation, all the time trying to conceal the destruction that was all around and within them. Mothers tried to hide their alienation from their children, but the fact is if a mother knew about reality/ upset, her children would invariably know about it also and psychologically adapt to it. Alienation is invisible to those alienated, but to the innocent—and children are born innocent—it is clearly visible. For example, Christ’s mother Mary must have been innocent because we know Christ was. Since women become upset through sex, Mary must have had little exposure to sex. The symbol for women’s innocence/ purity is virginity hence the description of Christ’s mother as the Virgin Mary. (The Virgin Mary description will be explained more fully in the next essay.)
Women have had to inspire love when they were no longer innocent, ‘keep the ship afloat’ when men crumpled, all the while attempting to nurture a new generation while oppressed by men who could not explain why they were dominating, or why they were so upset and angry! This was an altogether impossible task, yet women have done it for 2 million years. It was because of women’s phenomenally courageous support that men, when civilised, were chivalrous and deferential towards them. Men had an impossible fight on their hands, but at least they had the advantage of appreciating the battle.
To be a victim of a victim, as women have been, is an untenable Page 334 of
Print Edition situation, because while a primary victim knows what the primary source offence is, a victim of a victim does not. This is why, when men became overly upset they became mean, even brutal, but when women became overly upset they became nasty, even venomous. Not knowing what it is they are flailing at, women’s fury is unsourced, untargeted and unbounded. The proverb, ‘hell knows no fury like a woman scorned’ recognises this potential extremity in the nature of women. Nietzsche said, ‘Let man fear woman when she hates: for man is at the bottom of his soul only wicked, but woman is base’ (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One, 1892; tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1961, p.92 of 342). Women have historically had to carry so much unsourced frustration and hurt that their situation is very fragile. The hormonal upheaval accompanying menstruation is enough to destabilise this delicate balance, hence pre-menstrual tension (PMT).
In the following quote, Nietzsche acknowledged women’s greater ability to nurture; that women have had to work through men; that women haven’t been aware of or mainframed to the deeper battle that has been going on in the world; and the insecurity of women’s situation: ‘Woman understands children better than a man…The man’s happiness is: I will. The woman’s happiness is: He will. “Behold, now the world has become perfect!”—thus thinks every woman when she obeys with all her love. And woman has to obey and find a depth for her surface. Woman’s nature is surface, a changeable, stormy film upon shallow waters. But a man’s nature is deep, its torrent roars in subterranean caves: woman senses its power but does not comprehend it’ (ibid. p.92).
With men defying and repressing their own souls, women became representative of soul in their partnership with men. Further, because of men’s unexplained oppression of women and the world of the soul, and their own inability to understand this oppression; women put increasing trust and reliance in their soul and instincts, rather than in their ability to understand. As a consequence, they are more intuitive or dependent on their soul’s guidance than men. A common saying is ‘women feel while men think’.
Sir Laurens van der Post has given this description of the different roles of men and women. ‘The sword was, he would suggest, one of the earliest images accessible to us of the light in man; his inborn weapon for conquering ignorance and darkness without. This, for him, was the meaning of the angel mounted with a flaming sword over the entrance to the Garden of an enchanted childhood to which there could be no return. He hoped he had said enough to give us some idea of what the image of the Page 335 of
Print Edition sword meant to him? But it was infinitely more than he could possibly say about the doll. The doll needed a woman not a man to speak for it, not because the image of the sword was superior to the image of the doll. It was, he believed, as old and went as deep into life. But it was singularly in women’s keeping, entrusted to their own especial care, and unfortunately between a woman’s and man’s awareness there seemed to have been always a tremendous gulf. Hitherto woman’s awareness of her especial values had not been encouraged by the world. Life had been lived predominantly on the male values. To revert to his basic image it had been dominated by the awareness of the sword. The other, the doll, had had to submit and to protect its own special values by blind instinct and intuition’ (The Seed and the Sower, 1963, p.193 of 246).
Note again that while men and women are different, sexist notions of men being ‘evil’ or of women being irrelevant have no credibility. While the main device for avoiding prejudice was to deny that there was any difference between men and women, another device was to maintain that any difference between men and women was simply a product of cultural conditioning—of girls being given dolls and boys swords as infants for example. In fact, as Sir Laurens van der Post acknowledges, our differences are the product of a very real distinction between the sexes.
While at a more noble level sex has become an expression of love, at its fundamental level it is an attack on the innocence of people; it is rape. The more upset and corrupted the human, the more sexually destructive and thus sexually perverted they are inclined to be, and the more innocent (or innocent-looking) the human, the more attracting of that destruction they have been. Understanding this makes it possible to explain homosexuality in men. As the victims of sex, women have historically been more exposed to and thus become, through natural selection over hundreds of thousands of years, more adapted to sex than men. In most cases, if a male was not interested in sex then sex did not occur, whereas women have been exposed to sexual advances regardless of their interest or lack thereof. Teiresias, the prophet mentioned in Homer’s Greek legend, The Odyssey, recognised that women were more sexually aware than men. When asked, ‘whether the male or the female has most pleasure in intercourse’, he replied that ‘Of ten parts a man enjoys one only; but a woman’s sense enjoys all ten in full’ (The Melampodia by 8th century BC Greek poet Hesiod; from Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, 1914, tr. H.G. Evelyn-White, p.269 of 657). While women have had to hide their sexual awareness in order to present an attractive Page 336 of
Print Edition image of innocence, the fact is they are more sexually aware than men. In the Happy Days television series (set in the 1950s and first broadcast in 1974) girls are much more attracted to the sexually aware Fonzie character than to the naive, relatively innocent Richie Cunningham character. While only fictional characters, the viewing audience would not have responded with such empathy over the years if the characters did not resonate with truth. In Joan Mellen’s 1977 book, Big Bad Wolves: Masculinity in the American Film, the caption accompanying a picture of the 1920s sex symbol actor Rudolph Valentino reads: ‘Rudolph Valentino in the film “Son of the Sheik”. Rape is the central visual metaphor.’ As explained, ‘the mystery of women’ is that after 2 million years of having been sexually used by men, women now only represent the physical image or object of innocence. It is this image of innocence that men have been falling in love with; the illusion that women were psychologically as well as physically innocent. A well-known African fable tells of a woman who agrees to marry a man on the condition he never looks inside a precious basket that she keeps. She warns him that if he does she will vanish. He agrees, but some time after they are married and his wife has gone to the river for water he cannot resist and peers in the basket. On his wife’s return she finds him laughing and the basket open. When she accuses him of looking in the basket he says, ‘you silly woman, there was nothing in the basket’, at which point she vanishes into thin air. The basket is symbolic of the mystery of women—they are only the image of innocence; it is an ‘empty basket’ that men are looking at, and once men see through the illusion, women’s attractiveness diminishes. It follows that the more corrupted a man is, the less naive he is and thus the more he is aware that women are not innocent. Therefore, if a man is extremely hurt and corrupted in his infancy and childhood, when he becomes sexually mature he will not be naive enough to believe that women are still innocent and he will thus not find women sexually attractive. The last bastion of ‘attractive’ innocence for such men is younger men, because they are not as exposed to sexual destruction as women have historically been. To explain the feminine mannerisms particular to male homosexuality, if you have had your soul, which is your core strength, destroyed in childhood, then taking on the extremely difficult male role of having to fight against the ignorance of the soulful, idealistic world becomes so untenable that the female position of not having to fight is preferential. You would rather adopt the female role of being an Page 337 of
Print Edition object of adoration and service than the male role of having to take on the loathsome job of championing ego over soul. The professional tennis player of the late 1970s and transsexual Renée Richards—who went so far as to have a sex change operation to become a woman—alluded to the difficulty of life as a male, and by inference the appeal of being a woman, when she said, ‘women don’t realise the horror of the world that men live in—the strife torn world that men live in’. Having to live with the condemnation that you are an evil monster, when you know you are not, but cannot explain why you are not, has been a living hell for men. To be a man and have to oppress the all-magic soul without being able to explain why has been the most wretched of tasks. The following quote serves to illustrate how pressured men’s lives have become: ‘If women are so oppressed, how come they live much longer than men?’ (Don Peterson reviewing The Myth of Male Power by Dr Warren Farrell, Courier Mail, June 1994, p.9). Homosexuality amongst women results from women’s understandable disenchantment with men. Homosexuality is simply another level of perversion to heterosexuality. They are both corrupted states of sexuality that developed under the horror of the duress of the human condition.
With regard to whether homosexuals are ‘born’ or ‘made’, even without the ability to explain the human condition and thus defend the corrupted state of humans (ie explain that humans’ various states of corruption are not ‘bad’ or evil but are in fact immensely heroic states), a decade-long research project completed at the Institute for Sex Research in Bloomington, Indiana, found that, ‘a quarter of the gays interviewed believe [are prepared to acknowledge?] homosexuality is an emotional disorder’ (Time mag. 17 July 1978). In his 1992 book, Health & Survival in the 21st Century, Ross Horne referred to studies that show, ‘That the highest incidence of homosexuality coincides with the general level of stressful influences in a community and that the lowest incidence coincides with the degree of happiness and health in remote and unstressed populations indicates that, like many conditions of physical disease, it is just as unnatural as the mental breakdowns, depression and neuroses so common in civilization. Studies of primitive natives reveal that while in some populations homosexuality is non-existent or rare, in other populations it is fairly common; but the same pattern still holds—among the placid, happy, untroubled people homosexuality did not occur, while among fighting tribes and headhunters it did’ (p.206). After 25 years of clinical experience helping homosexual men and women, Dr Robert Kronemeyer of New York concluded that, ‘Homosexuality is a symptom of neurosis Page 338 of
Print Edition and of a grievous personality disorder. It is an outgrowth of deeply rooted emotional deprivations and disturbances that had their origins in infancy’ (Overcoming Homosexuality, 1980).
While women are instinctively more sexually aware then men this does not exclude the fact that a woman can be more innocent and less sexually aware than a man. Girls who are nurtured and sheltered in their upbringing can be very innocent. However, because there has been no honesty about the existence of the different levels of upset and alienation amongst humans, they can be deceived by men who are much less innocent and therefore much more sexually advanced down ‘the rungs of the perversion ladder’ (1 is holding hands, 2 is kissing, 3 is touching her breast, etc, etc, etc). Men who are more upset can be very attentive to women because sex for them is a distraction and a way of gaining reinforcement, and innocent women can be deceived—seduced—by this attention into a relationship. In her 1981 book, African Saga, the African photographer, and remarkably beautiful woman, Mirella Ricciardi gives an extraordinarily honest account of a relationship between a more innocent woman and a less innocent man. She wrote: ‘We went to live in Rome, where I quickly began to taste the bitter-sweet agony of life with Lorenzo. I was young, unaware of the world, and ignorant of people and their behaviour. I married Lorenzo as easily as I had switched lovers. It was probably the most foolish, irresponsible, exciting thing I have ever done. Years later, I came to the conclusion that most of the men I had met fell into three categories—those prompted by their heads [presumably, upset men], those by their heart [presumably, less upset, more soulful, relatively innocent men] and those by their sex [presumably, extremely upset men]. Some—not many—were a combination of all three. Lorenzo belonged to the last category—these I have found are the most attractive. They are sexy, amusing, fun-loving, careless, irresponsible and lazy—they dress well and have a lot of style. Most people like them. They are excellent lovers and lousy husbands. Women usually find them irresistible or are terrified by them. Men either envy or despise them. No one can remain indifferent to them…“Lorenzo’s mother died when he was seven,” Cesarino [Lorenzo’s father] told me one day. “You will have to be more of a mother than a wife to him; do you realise this?” Then he laughed. “The only pleasure he ever gave me was nine months before he was born.” But when his father died sixteen years later, Lorenzo’s grief was immeasurable and I began then to understand the meaning of these words’ (p.136 of 300). Because women have lived through men, and because their means of healing the world is Page 339 of
Print Edition nurturing, relatively innocent women in relationships with more upset men often tried to change the upset man, make him sounder and stronger through nurturing love, inspiration and motivation. Since it is only understanding of hurt that can heal hurt, these efforts only serve to further confront and criticise the man. Mirella’s dedication in her book ‘to Lorenzo, my magnificent obsession’ is an acknowledgment of her frustrated efforts to change Lorenzo. She wrote: ‘When I married Lorenzo I had created an image of a giant in whose shadow I would live. I clung stoically to my belief in our union and waited patiently for ten years for him to cast his shadow, but he never did’ (ibid. p.138). In the 1955 film, Guys and Dolls, the upset gangster, played by Marlon Brando, and the Salvation Army innocent, played by Jean Simmons, marry, she determined to reform him, but without success. He eventually rebels against her efforts to, as he said, ‘try and change me’. In a world of lies, the basis for relationships has often been unhealthy. Women have been seduced by men in so many ways and their innocence has been the casualty—another reason why women have historically become more sexually aware than men. Growing up in the countryside in Australia in the 1960s I saw many sheltered, relatively innocent country girls go off to Europe for a few years in their early ’20s—it was considered the thing to do in those days, as it is now—only to return with ‘knowing eyes’, a different more sophisticated way of looking at the world. I could never understand the point of sheltering and nurturing young women if they were simply going to go off to Europe and, as I saw it, ‘cash their innocence in’.
Since sex is an attack on innocence as well as an act of love the recent generations of humans who have been treating sex cheaply, have been contributing significantly to the death of soul in the world, and thus contributing significantly to the level of alienation in the world. Queen Victoria was right to encourage people to treat sex with care and restraint.
During the 2 million years that women have endured the wretched situation of being unable to understand men’s oppression of them, many must have found it an impossible position to accept and as a result there must have been a great deal of natural selection and thus genetic adaption to the role that women have had to play in the human journey to enlightenment. Olive Schreiner described women’s resignation to their role in the following passage from her book The Story of an African Farm. It is a dialogue between her young female character and that character’s male friend, Waldo: ‘“I know it is foolish. Page 340 of
Print Edition Wisdom never kicks at the iron walls it can’t bring down,” she said. “But we are cursed, Waldo, born cursed from the time our mothers bring us into the world till the shrouds are put on us. Do not look at me as though I were talking nonsense. Everything has two sides—the outside that is ridiculous, and the inside which is solemn.” “I am not laughing,” said the boy sedately enough; “but what curses you?” He thought she would not reply to him, she waited so long. “It is not what is done to us, but what is made of us,” she said at last, “that wrongs us. No man can be really injured but by what modifies himself. We all enter the world as little plastic beings, with so much natural force, perhaps, but for the rest—blank; and the world tells us what we are to be, and shapes us by the ends it sets before us. To you it says—Work! and to us it says—Seem! To you it says—As you approximate to man’s highest ideal of God, as your arm is strong and your knowledge great, and the power to labour is with you, so you shall gain all that the human heart desires. To us it says—Strength shall not help you, nor knowledge, nor labour. You shall gain what men gain, but by other means. And so the world makes men and women. Look at this little chin of mine, Waldo, with the dimple in it. It is but a small part of my person; but though I had a knowledge of all things under the sun, and the wisdom to use it, and the deep loving heart of an angel, it would not stead me through life like this little chin. I can win money with it, I can win love; I can win power with it, I can win fame. What would knowledge help me? The less a woman has in her head the lighter she is for climbing. I once heard an old man say, that he never saw an intellect help a woman so much as a pretty ankle; and it was the truth. They begin to shape us to the cursed end,” she said, with her lips drawn in to look as though they smiled, “when we are tiny things in shoes and socks. We sit with our little feet drawn up under us in the window, and look out at the boys in their happy play. We want to go. Then a loving hand is laid upon us: ‘Little one, you cannot go,’ they say; ‘your face will burn, and your nice white dress be spoiled.’ We feel it must be for our good, it is so lovingly said; but we cannot understand; and we kneel still with one little cheek wistfully pressed against the pane. Afterwards we go and thread blue beads, and make a string for our neck; and we go and stand before the glass. We see the complexion we were not to spoil, and the white frock, and we look into our own great eyes. Then the curse begins to act on us. It finishes its work when we are grown women, who no more look out wistfully at a more healthy life; we are contented. We fit our sphere as a chinese woman’s foot fits her shoe, exactly, as though God had made both—and yet He knows nothing of either. In some of us the shaping to our end has been quite completed. The parts we are not to use have been quite atrophied, Page 341 of
Print Edition and have even dropped off; but in others, and we are not less to be pitied, they have been weakened and left. We wear bandages, but our limbs have not grown to them; we know that we are compressed, and chafe against them. But what does it help? A little bitterness, a little longing when we are young, a little futile searching for work, a little passionate striving for room for the exercise of our powers,—and then we go with the drove. A woman must march with her regiment. In the end she must be trodden down or go with it; and if she is wise she goes”’ (pp.188—189 of 300).
While the feminist movement has improved a woman’s lot superficially, there has been no fundamental change to the situation that Schreiner so honestly described, as these quotes confirm. ‘Nirvana hasn’t happened. Although men are speaking about understanding [the need for women’s liberation from men’s oppression] on the surface, they’re not doing anything about it’ (Carmel Dwyer, Sydney Morning Herald, 22 Sept. 1993). ‘What happened was that the so-called Battle of the Sexes became a contest in which only one side turned up. Men listened, in many cases sympathetically but, by the millions, were turned off’ (Don Peterson reviewing The Myth of Male Power by Dr Warren Farrell, Courier Mail, June 1994, p.9). Until men could explain to women why they have had to be so egocentric, competitive and aggressive there could be no fundamental change to the situation where men found they had no choice other than to oppress women.
The roles that men and women have played in humanity’s journey to find understanding of the human condition have been equally tragic. The extent of the tragedy becomes abundantly clear when observing the lives of older men and women.
In the next section, ‘The denial-free history of the human race’, it will be described how men who had resigned and adopted a dishonest attitude of denial inevitably progressed to ever greater levels of self-corruption, alienation and despair as they grew older. From bold, adventurous 20-year-olds they progressed to angry, embattled 30-year-olds, to overly embattled 40-year-olds, to burnt-out and vengeful 50-year-olds. Beyond 50, men became so overwhelmed by the horror of their circumstances that they lost even this desire to be vengeful. When young men resigned at 15 they took up a dishonest way of living and over the years that fundamental dishonesty could only lead to greater and greater self-corruption and disappointment. It will be explained in the next section that while a 20-year-old man might have succeeded in psychologically blocking out the emptiness that would inevitably come with living a life of lies and delusion, by Page 342 of
Print Edition 60 the sadness of such a life was undeniable. T.S. Eliot’s 1925 poem The Hollow Men, describes the bleak state of nothingness that resigned men arrived at in their old age: ‘We are the hollow men / We are the stuffed men / Leaning together / Headpiece filled with straw. Alas! / Our dried voices, when / We whisper together / Are quiet and meaningless / As wind in dry grass / Or rats’ feet over broken glass / In our dry cellar // Shape without form, shade without colour / Paralysed force, gesture without motion //…This is the dead land / This is cactus land / Here the stone images / Are raised, here they receive / The supplication of a dead man’s hand / Under the twinkle of a fading star // Is it like this / In death’s other kingdom / Waking alone / At the hour when we are / Trembling with tenderness / Lips that would kiss / Form prayers to broken stone // The eyes are not here / There are no eyes here / In this valley of dying stars / In this hollow valley / This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms // In this last of meeting places / We grope together / And avoid speech / Gathered on this beach of the tumid river //…Between the desire / And the spasm / Between the potency / And the existence / Between the essence / And the descent / Falls the Shadow /…This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper’ (T.S. Eliot Selected Poems, 1954, pp.77—80 of 127).
For women, ageing meant the loss of the image of innocence they depended on for reinforcement; the loss of their sex-object ‘attractiveness’, and with it, the loss of their meaning in the world. When women are young their beauty is so empowering it is as if they own the world, but when they become older and their beauty fades they discover that they become invisible; when they walk in the streets they are no longer noticed. While men become ‘hollow’, women become ‘invisible’, and older couples walk together in the park united by their comparable afflictions. This quote from the French beauty therapist Diane Delaheve describes how devastating it can be for women to lose their sex appeal: ‘Her eyes, the mirror of her soul, speak nothing but despair. Her face may have kept its beauty, but it has become a picture of affliction. For some women, the prospect of age is sheer tragedy, worse than death, which might be seen as an escape’ (Sydney Morning Herald, 4 Sept. 1988).
In his 1947 novel Zorba The Greek Nikos Kazantzakis gave this stark account of how difficult women have found losing their sex appeal: ‘“But what do you mean, Zorba?” I replied. “Do you seriously think all women have nothing else but that [sexual attention] in mind?” “Yes, boss, they’ve nothing else in mind. Listen to me, now—I’ve seen all sorts, and I’ve done all kinds of things—A woman has nothing else in view. She’s a Page 343 of
Print Edition sickly creature, I tell you, and fretful. If you don’t tell her you love and want her, she starts crying. Maybe she doesn’t want you at all, maybe you disgust her, maybe she says no. That’s another story. But all men who see her must desire her. That’s what she wants, the poor creature, so you might try and please her! I had a grandmother, she must have been eighty. What a tale that old soul’s life would make! Never mind, that’s another story, too—Well, she must have been eighty in the shade, and opposite our house lived a young girl as fresh as a flower—Krystallo she was called. Every Saturday evening, raw young bloods of the village would meet for a drink, and the wine made us lively. We stuck a sprig of basil behind our ears, one of my cousins took his guitar, and we went serenading. What love! What passion! We bellowed like bulls! We all wanted her, and every Saturday we went in a herd for her to make her choice…So every Saturday the old girl pulled her mattress up to the window, took out her little mirror and combed away at the little bits of thatch she had left, and carefully made a parting. She’d look round slyly, for fear someone saw her. If anyone came near, she’d snuggle back and look as if butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth, pretending she was dozing. But how could she sleep? She was waiting for the serenade. At eighty! You see what a mystery woman is, boss! Just now it makes me want to cry. But at that time I was just harum-scarum, I didn’t understand and it made me laugh. One day I got annoyed with her. She was hauling me over the coals because I was running after the girls, so I told her straight out where to get off: ‘Why do you rub walnut leaves over your lips every Saturday, and part your hair? I s’pose you think we come to serenade you? It’s Krystallo we’re after. You’re just a stinking old corpse!’ Would you believe it, boss! That day was the first time I knew what a woman was. Two tears sprang into my grandma’s eyes. She curled up like a dog, and her chin trembled. ‘Krystallo!’ I shouted, going nearer so as she’d hear better, ‘Krystallo!’ Young people are cruel beasts, they’re inhuman, they don’t understand. My grandma raised her skinny arms to heaven. ‘Curse you from the bottom of my heart!’ she cried. That very day she started to go into a decline. She wasted away and two months later, her days were numbered”’ (pp.52—53 of 315).
There has been an added dimension to the situation faced by older women. Women, not responsible for the main battle of having to champion the ego over ignorance, found that their role of living in support of the battle was limited. A common observation of a woman’s life has been that she progresses from ‘bimbo, breeder, babysitter to burden’. Men, able to be involved in the battle of championing the ego, do not face the prospect of one day feeling they are a Page 344 of
Print Edition ‘burden’ to the extent that women do. In his 1993 book The Fisher King & The Handless Maiden, the American Jungian analyst and prophet, Robert A. Johnson, relates the myth of the Handless Maiden. In it, a miller makes a deal with the devil in order to complete more work with less effort. The devil demands the miller’s daughter as payment. ‘The miller is desolate but unwilling to give up his much expanded mill, so he gives his daughter to the devil. The devil chops off her hands and carries them away’ (p.59 of 103). Waited on by her newly prosperous family, the handless maiden is content for a time, until her growing sense of desperation sends her out to the forest alone. Johnson explains that the cry of women, like that of the handless maiden, is ‘What can I do? I feel so useless or second-rate and inferior in this world that puts its women on the rubbish heap when they are through with courtship and childbearing!’ (p.56).
In the Introduction I mentioned how the artist Francis Bacon depicted the human condition as honestly as anyone has ever managed to write about it. I also said that the two pictures by Blake on the cover of this book are dramatic depictions of the story of humans’ struggle with the human condition. Ralph Steadman is another artist whose drawings have always managed to wrench to the surface the truth of the full horror of the predicament of humans. His works include one particularly revealing drawing that depicts humans as reptiles. It features in Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 classic novel about the human condition, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and is reproduced below. Humans live in such deluded denial of the extent of their alienation it is only in pictures such as this, or in exceptionally honest passages of literature, such as those just included from the writings of T.S. Eliot and Nikos Kazantzakis, that the true extent of the corruption of humans’ soul is revealed. For example, the eyes of the main dragon in this drawing show the hollowness that T.S. Eliot wrote about: ‘This is the dead land / This is cactus land’. Also apparent is the terribly sad, ‘sickly creature’, ‘old corpse’ state of women that Kazantzakis described so honestly. Thank heaven this tragic state of the human condition that humans have so courageously had to endure as best they could can finally end and our true self be restored!
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While men and women have had no option other than to live out their different roles, the truth is neither men nor women have liked what they have had to do. Having destroyed innocence men would end up wanting to rediscover it. The truth was that men were having to repress and, as the saying asserts, ‘hurt the ones they loved’. As Sir Laurens van der Post has written: ‘I thought finally that of all the nostalgias that haunt the human heart the greatest of them all, for me, is an everlasting longing to bring what is youngest home to what is oldest, in us all’ (The Lost World of the Kalahari, 1958, p.151 of 253).
While men have yearned for freedom from their oppressor, ignorance, women have similarly yearned for freedom from their oppressors, men, as this quote from Olive Schreiner makes clear: ‘if I might but be one of those born in the future; then, perhaps, to be born a woman will not be to be born branded…It is for love’s sake yet more than for any other that we [women] look for that new time…Then when that time comes…when love is no more bought or sold, when it is not a means of making bread, when each woman’s life is filled with earnest, independent labour, then love will come to her, a strange sudden sweetness breaking in Page 346 of
Print Edition upon her earnest work; not sought for, but found’ (The Story of an African Farm, 1883, pp.188,195 of 300).
The desire for an end to the so-called ‘war between the sexes’ could not have been greater, but the fundamental requirement to bring peace to any human situation is the removal of the criticisms that cause the upset. The containment of upset through criticism, restraining attitudes, cultural convention, rules, laws or the threat of punishment, offers no real solution. What is causing the corrupt behaviour has to be explained and understood. Upset has to be loved not despised to be healed and permanently changed and the ultimate form of love is understanding. It follows that in order to resolve the war between the sexes and enable men and women to finally live in peaceful harmony, the source criticism involved in the battle that men were bad, even evil, for being so divisively behaved had to be removed. While in dogmatically imposing an ideal situation where men and women treat each other indifferently, as the politically correct culture attempts to do, upset could be contained and disguised, but it could not be removed. Only understanding the world of men, and why they have been so divisively behaved, could subside the anger, alienation and egocentricity that caused them to victimise virtually everything they encountered. The boot that was screwing men into the dirt had to be lifted for the horrible war between men and women to end. And an all-out war it has been, lived to the full extent of what was possible under the limitation that men and women were forced to coexist if they were to reproduce and nurture a new generation.
In finding the liberating understanding of why men have been divisively behaved it is revealed that men are the heroes of the whole human journey. They were carrying out the crucial work of defeating ignorance and this task was made almost unbearably difficult because they were having to apply themselves in a world that had no appreciation and thus sympathy for what they were doing. From being thought of as the villains on Earth one day, they become the absolute heroes the next. This turn of events is long overdue. Everywhere men have become wretchedly oppressed by the politically correct dogma that denies them any real meaning in the world. So intimidated have men become by pseudo-idealism that many have come to believe they are useless. In his 2001 book, Men: From Stone Age to Clone Age, Bob Beale said that while it pained him, he was prepared to accept that except for ‘the baby business’, ‘males are largely Page 347 of
Print Edition useless’. The proliferation of men’s movements that aim to counter men’s horrific situation of being totally misunderstood is but one sign of the problems men faced. Boys growing up in the current, men-are-worthless world are having their self-esteem destroyed before they even have a chance to enter manhood. A very real concern for the future was that there would be a dearth of men psychologically strong enough to fight ignorance. If the human condition had not been solved the human race would be facing very dark times. That is how dangerous the politically correct, postmodernist culture has been. Even universities, our supposed ‘centres of learning’, have been taken over by this utterly dishonest culture. Therefore we can expect no meaningful ‘learning’, no answers, no solutions from them. Universities have become spent, effectively dead places.
The reason school boys are not performing as well in their studies as girls is not only because they have had their immense relevance in the world denied, but also because they are not as duped by the historical denial of the issue of the human condition as women. Women tend to believe the world we are living in is the real world, whereas men, being ‘mainframed’, are intuitively aware that it is a fraudulent existence, and as a result never take it too seriously. In the television series, The Simpsons, the young boy, Bart, has little respect for school whereas his sister Lisa applies herself completely and excels. Nietzsche was alluding to the trusting naivety of women when he said, ‘“Behold, now the world has become perfect!”—thus thinks every woman when she obeys with all her love’.
Of course the battle that has been raging on Earth between men and women was merely a manifestation of the fundamental battle between the instinct and the intellect; the battle of the human condition. Men have represented the apparently ‘bad’ ego or intellect while women have represented the apparently ‘good’ instinct or soul. At the end of the journey to enlightenment of the human condition it is revealed that the instinct or soul was the ‘baddie’ and not the ‘goodie’ after all, because it unjustly condemned the intellect and started the war. (Of course, with understanding of the human condition the concepts of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ no longer apply to the human situation. The soul was not actually ‘bad’, nor the intellect actually ‘good’, rather they were different ways of processing information that were forced to coexist in the one organism.)
One of the most powerful myths or stories I know of is Agatha Christie’s famous play The Mousetrap. The power of this story lies in Page 348 of
Print Edition the fact that it portrays the astonishing change in perception that brings peace to Earth. This play, first performed in 1952, is just another ‘whodunnit’ murder story, yet it has become the longest running play in history and is still going strong. All enduring myths and stories contain truths that resonate. At the conclusion of The Mousetrap, the police inspector involved in the murder investigation, regarded as the pillar of goodness and justice throughout the play, is revealed to be the culprit. This is the essential plot to the story of humanity where the apparent ideals of the soul’s selfless, cooperative, loving world are revealed, at the very last moments, to have been the unjustly condemning villains. The truth was not as it appeared. We discover at the very end of our journey that conscious humans, immensely corrupt as we are, are good and not bad after all.
Nietzsche understood the warrior man, ruthlessly attacking the weaknesses of those who no longer wanted to fight ignorance, those preferring to impose truth-denying, thought-stifling, knowledge-avoiding, pseudo-idealistic, politically correct dogma on the world, declaring: ‘There have always been many sickly people among those who invent fables and long for God: they have a raging hate for the enlightened man and for that youngest of virtues which is called honesty…Purer and more honest of speech is the healthy body, perfect and square-built: and it speaks of the meaning of the earth [to face truth and one day find understanding of the human condition] [p.61 of 342] …You are not yet free, you still search for freedom. Your search has fatigued you…But, by my love and hope I entreat you: do not reject the hero in your soul! Keep holy your highest hope! [pp.70—71] …War and courage have done more great things than charity. Not your pity but your bravery has saved the unfortunate up to now…What warrior wants to be spared? I do not spare you, I love you from the very heart, my brothers in war! [pp.74—75]’ (Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One, 1892; tr. R.J. Hollingdale, 1961).
Nietzsche’s much debated and misunderstood concept, ‘the will to power’ (the title of his last work before his psychological breakdown in 1889), can now be interpreted as man’s will to achieve power over humans’ idealistic instinctive self or soul’s ignorance of the true goodness of corrupted humans. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One Nietzsche recognised that, unlike other animals, humans have had to fight a psychological demon, the human condition: ‘Man, however, is the most courageous animal: with his courage he has overcome every animal. With a triumphant shout he has even overcome every pain; human pain, however, is the deepest pain’ (p.177 of 342). Page 349 of
Print Edition In Jungian terms, ‘wholeness’ for humans depended on them being able to ‘own their own shadow’. Humans have had to develop understanding, and through that understanding embrace the dark, corrupted, damaged, upset, divisive side of their nature. Humans had to have the courage to triumph over their deepest pain, the pain of not being able to know whether they were fundamentally evil beings or not. Humans have had to learn to love themselves.
Incidentally Nietzsche’s subtitle, ‘A Book for Everyone and No One’, was an open acknowledgment that to speak the truth to people who are resigned and living in denial of the human condition was to court total rejection, the ‘deaf effect’. ‘No One’ would hear, understand and accept his words. What Nietzsche knew however was that only the truth can liberate humans and that in time people would hear and understand his words, and that eventually his book would be for ‘Everyone’. Prophets are not appreciated in their own time, but they do lead the way to freedom. In fact, their honesty is the purest form of love the human race has ever known.
For 2 million years women have stood by their men, just as for 8 million years prior to that, men supported their women. With understanding of the human condition now found, men and women can at last stand side by side—the ‘war of the sexes’ can finally be resolved. The human journey has a happy ending, as we always believed it would: ‘The happy ending is our national belief’ (Mary McCarthy, On the Contrary, 1961).