THE ESSENTIAL GOAL
It has long been acknowledged by a number of the world's greatest thinkers, including both Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, that men and women are not equal but, rather, that women are decidedly inferior to men - indeed, judged from a sensible standpoint, a second sex. It has also been acknowledged that the chief reasons for this inequality are that women are physically weaker and more timid than men, with a greater dependence upon nature in consequence of their greater physical proximity to it. They are less free in their behaviour and inclined to resist radical change from the standpoint of natural determinism. They are apt to be more emotional and therefore less stable, more sensual and therefore less spiritual, more intuitive and therefore less rational, more realistic and therefore less idealistic, more worldly and therefore less otherworldly, and so on.
In general, it is fair to say that much of this is largely true. For men and women are fundamentally different creatures, with separate functions in life, and cannot, by the very nature of their differences, both physical and psychological, be equal, i.e. exactly the same. Men are, on the whole, physically stronger than women, more intellectually-biased, more spiritually progressive, etc., and therefore not susceptible to being regarded as the exact equals of women, nor, on those counts, as their inferiors. On the contrary, they are essentially and morally superior to women and, if the greatest philosophers are believable, have long been so, though not perhaps with any distinct consciousness of the fact. But the modern world has tended to treat men and women as though they were equal and is increasingly doing so, offering women more job opportunities and social freedoms than ever before. Literally for the first time in the world's history, woman is being regarded as man's equal. Why is this?
The answer to such a question is not, I think, to be found in the assumption that, previously, men had been grossly mistaken in their assessment of women but, rather, that the world has recently become so male-biased that women are being treated as though they were men. Not in every context of course, but certainly in contexts which relate to professional, commercial, and industrial occupational affairs. Now the reason the world has recently become so male-biased is that urbanization and technology have developed to such an extent that we are neither as close to nor, on the whole, as much influenced by nature as were our pre-industrial and pre-urban ancestors. For nature, being subconsciously dominated, is essentially a feminine phenomenon, and the further away from it one evolves the less influence the feminine exerts on life and the more, by a corresponding degree, does the masculine come to predominate.
The big city, then, reflects an anti-natural environment, one might almost say to the point of constituting a lunarization of the world, and what is anti-natural or artificial is also, ipso facto, anti-feminine and anti-sensual. The consequences of this for women are a weakening of the traditional feminine roles of sexual and maternal commitment and the imposition, in their place, of a masculine role of professional responsibility. Woman is, to a certain extent, masculinized under the mounting influence of urban expansion and, consequently, she ceases to regard herself simply as a female, with traditional domestic responsibilities. Of course, these responsibilities are still there, but now they are obliged to make way for such responsibilities as modern life in the big city have thrust upon her and no longer, except in exceptional cases, completely dominate her life to the exclusion of other things. She won't, however, look upon this as a misfortune but, rather, as a consequence of liberation, the progress of women in the modern world.... To be confined, on the other hand, to traditional marital and maternal duties too exclusively would be a misfortune, comparatively speaking, and thus a mode of oppression which one is much better off without. Progress demands that women take a more active role in the world.
Yes, but it does so at the expense of the feminine ideal and at a high cost to women personally! For with the possible exception of the witch-hunts of the 16-17th centuries, there has never been an age when women were so greatly oppressed - certainly not within the annals of recorded time. By dint of its masculine bias the modern world directly makes war on the feminine element in life, and makes war so ruthlessly and successfully that the female does not lament the passing of her femininity, her sensuous appearance, but willingly joins in the war against it for the sake of progress or, more specifically, with a view to acquiring liberation from womanhood, which is to say, liberation from nature. So great is the influence of the modern world over her that she is obliged to regard the gradual eradication of the feminine element in life as a good thing, a positive blessing which will pave the way for greater social and professional opportunities in the future. Put bluntly, woman is obliged to turn against her own fundamental interests in the interests of men, and to do so, moreover, under the false though necessary assumption that she is thereby serving her own deepest interests, which are not now, however, feminine and domestic, as traditionally, but masculine and industrial, as required by the modern world. A sort of 'revaluation of values' is imposed upon her from without, which leads to a liberation from traditional values from within, and a reappraisal of the self in terms of essentially masculine criteria of progress. No longer is she content to remain 'just a woman', with all the maternal, sexual, and sensual obligations such a status implies, but is effectively determined to become a man, determined to commercialize and intellectualize herself to the extent she can. To be the passive, helpless victim of industrial and urban progress would be too humiliating. Better to ignore or, at any rate, undervalue the coercive element in modern life and act as though one were directly responsible for one's own transformation - in short, as though one had personally willed it. Such, at present, is the general attitude of women, consciously or unconsciously, towards the transformations imposed upon them by technological progress. Rebellion is simply out-of-the-question.
So, obviously, the more urban civilization masculinizes women, the more reasonable it becomes that they should be treated like men and granted equal opportunities, not be discriminated against as women. And equal opportunities should lead to equal rewards, both financial and social. If at present this isn't always the case, it must be because there is a discrepancy in the system or, alternatively, because women haven't yet emancipated themselves from traditional responsibilities to any great extent and thereby proved their worth in masculine terms. With the further development of liberation and, needless to say, urban civilization, it is to be hoped that a more consistent and widespread equality of opportunity will emerge, as evolutionary progress would seem to require. But, at present, the tendency of women to draw away from traditional responsibilities is still a comparatively new one, its origin largely confined to the twentieth century, which, in historical terms, is an extremely short period of time. Prior to then, the Industrial Revolution hadn't unduly affected them. For they were still, to a large extent, tied to the home, and to the kitchen in particular. Now, however, things are very different, and relatively few women retain the traditional female prerogative of domestic confinement - at least not on an exclusive basis. The great majority are encouraged by contemporary environmental and technological circumstances to take varying degrees of responsibility in the masculine world. They are powerless to resist. Willy-nilly, evolution continues, and it does so, at this juncture in time, at the expense of women.
Yet women aren't the only people to be affected by it. Men also experience the consequences of their technological progress and thereby change simultaneously with women. They don't remain static, and neither do they regress and become less masculine. On the contrary, they become even more masculine, even more spiritual and intellectual, and thus maintain a psychological distance, as it were, between women and themselves. If, on the other hand, men stood still while women continued to advance, a true equality between the sexes could be inferred. But this, of course, doesn't happen, and, consequently, men and women remain at different levels: the former more masculine than before and the latter less feminine. Practice dictates that the sexes be treated as equals, but theory demonstrates that there is now probably as much psychological difference between them as formerly - a difference, however, which is now largely a matter of masculine bias, founded upon the degree of one's masculinity, rather than a straight opposition between feminine and masculine elements, appearance and essence. Hence women are increasingly regarded, in effect, as 'lesser men', or 'men' who are less masculine than genuine men but, nevertheless, deserving of equal treatment on the basis of such masculinity as they do effectively possess. The external sartorial symbol of jeans, trousers, or slacks for the internal psychological revolution in women largely confirms this fact and facilitates progress among males in the identification of the masculine transformation of women. A jean-wearing female acquires the status of a 'lesser male', rather than simply a female in jeans. A female in jeans would have been a laughing-stock in any previous age. These days 'she' is a taken-for-granted reality. Almost all women, particularly those of the younger generation, wear some form of masculine, phallic-like clothing on a regular basis.
But there is a limit as to just how far the female can be masculinized. No matter how advanced the civilization, you cannot literally turn a woman into a man. A woman may wear jeans seven days a week, cut her hair short, eschew make-up, work in an office, read the classics in her spare time, follow football, drive around town in an expensive car, smoke and drink, etc., but, fundamentally, she will still remain a woman, with a vagina, an ample rump, protruding breasts, fleshy arms, and various other alluring female characteristics. No matter how much she endeavours to toe-the-masculine-line of objective spirituality, her fundamental appearance as woman will persist, and so too, in some measure, will the psychological bias which accompanies it as its logical corollary. She will never catch-up with man and actually become male. There will always be a psychological division between the sexes, a mental and physical distinction which precludes true equality. For men and women are ever different and therefore unequal creatures. Man is profound but woman superficial, which is equivalent to saying that man is essence but woman appearance. Not exclusively of course, neither in the one case nor the other, but fundamentally, one might even say essentially, as befitting the principal characteristics of each sex. For a woman who was more essence than appearance, more spirit than flesh, wouldn't really be female at all, at least not in any genuine sense. Neither, from the opposite standpoint, would a man really be male who was more appearance than essence. Even the most dandified of men is still a man, no matter how much he may, consciously or unconsciously, be in revolt against his sex through the placing of undue importance on appearances, just as the most studious of women remains fundamentally a woman for all her dedication to masculine essence. In such extreme instances there will, of necessity, be a degree of play-acting and insincerity involved. For it is ultimately as impossible for appearance to triumph over essence in man as for essence to triumph over appearance in woman. Rebellion against one's own sex is hardly sufficient to actually change it! Ultimately, it cannot be changed. For no matter how dandified he endeavours to become, an intelligent man will remain the master of his body in intellectual aloofness and spiritual endeavour. He will still, to a certain extent, be dictated to and conditioned by his essence. And no matter how studious she endeavours to become, an attractive woman will remain the slave of her body in self-conscious pride. She will still, to a certain extent, be dictated to and conditioned by her appearance. For as Wilde so succinctly put it in The Picture of Dorian Gray: 'Women represent the triumph of matter over mind, just as men represent the triumph of mind over morals'.
As far as she is concerned, woman represents 'the triumph of matter over mind', of appearance over essence. She can never become the converse of this, for the converse, when we exclude the element of facetiousness from the above citation, is man. Yet she can triumph temporarily and intermittently over herself, as when she dedicates time to reading or writing or thinking. She can also triumph temporarily and intermittently over man, as when she induces him to have sex with her, either directly through conscious enticement, or indirectly through simply being attractive and available. But her triumph is necessarily limited to the realm of physical sensuality. It can never be complete, since by itself matter is incapable of vanquishing mind. Mind is the stronger and continues to evolve. Matter remains static, has no real power to change itself. The body of a beautiful woman of today would not differ in any marked degree from that of a beautiful woman of 5,000 years ago. The mind of an intelligent modern man, on the other hand, would contain very different thoughts and views from the mind of an intelligent man living 5,000 years ago. It would have considerably expanded in the meantime, embracing not simply a greater knowledge of the self, both psychologically and physiologically, but also a greater knowledge of the external world, as of the Universe in general. Essence moves ahead, appearance stays put. The essence in woman is obliged to follow-on behind the essence of man. The appearance in man pays due respect to the appearance of woman. Thus humanity both perpetuates itself and progresses at the same time.
Man makes use of and respects the appearance of woman. Yet because he is fundamentally essence he forges ahead, and so rebels against woman. Woman is static, but he is evolutionary. Woman is conservative, but he is liberal, if not radical. Woman is constancy, but he is change. Appearance may be beautiful, but it is aligned with the flesh, the sensual - in a word, nature. For essence is spirit, and whatever pertains to the spirit is against the Devil and for God. Thus in his profound self, which is spiritual, man is orientated towards the Divine, whereas in her superficial self, which is sensuous, woman stems from the world and even, to a lesser extent, the Devil. Woman is for the world but man is against it. Woman is the here-and-now, but man will be the transcendental Beyond. Evolution is fundamentally a reflection of this struggle by man towards God. It is a consequence of the will of separate essences to become unified essence in the transcendental Beyond. The will, in short, of the spiritual principle to triumph, utterly and completely, over the sensual one. For appearance wishes to remain separate, is indeed admired on an individual basis in the form of the unique beauty of a particular woman, whereas essence aspires towards unity. Essence must therefore triumph over appearance or fail to attain to its transcendental goal. Needless to say, it is unlikely to countenance failure! Ultimately, the goal is the only thing that matters!
And so it will struggle ahead, as at present, for the sake of its ultimate fulfilment in maximum spirit. Consequently civilization will continue to grow more male-biased the nearer it gets to the climax of evolution in spiritual transformation. The Omega Absolute, conceived as this climax of evolution, would be an entirely essential affair, beyond nature and time. It would be constituted of pure spirit and remain forever perfect and complete, the absolute of absolutes. Beyond it there would be nothing else. Beneath or, rather, behind it the Devil would gradually lose its remaining grip on the Universe and fade away, leaving the void to God. In other words, the stars would gradually collapse and disintegrate, taking their offspring, the planets and moons, along with them. Only perfection would remain, composed of universal essence. Appearance could never arise again!
If that is the outcome of evolution, then we needn't be surprised if, at some future date, women are effectively phased-out of society in the interests of men's commitment to the transcendental Beyond. For as women can never literally become men but must always, of necessity, remain rooted in and governed by appearance, it logically follows that the future development of a still greater spiritual bias in society must lead, sooner or later, to the removal of women for being insufficiently essential, and thus a threat or hindrance to spiritual progress. How this removal of the feminine element in life will come about, we cannot as yet be certain. Though it seems plausible to suggest that it won't come about overnight, so to speak, in the form of a mass purge on women or anything so gross, but will develop gradually - as, indeed, it appears to be doing at present. For the masculinization of the female which her partial emancipation from traditional responsibilities implies is but a stage on the road to her complete emancipation from such responsibilities, which, by making woman unnecessary, would signal her effective elimination.
Thus one might speak of a gradual phasing-out of the feminine element in life which, at this lower stage of evolution, takes the forms we see about us in the everyday world but which, at a more advanced future stage of it, could well entail the actual and total elimination of the feminine element, not merely the masculinization of woman. And this would come about, we may speculate, through scientific progress, which is to say, through the gradual introduction and perfection of more artificial methods of conception, such as are already incipient in the forms of artificial insemination and test-tube reproduction, and the consequent development of techniques which would effectively permit science to discriminate against the female and thereby make a highly-regulated supply of male life possible. Thus one is confronted by the prospect of a society which decreases the female element while simultaneously increasing that of the male. A society tending towards greater unification and therefore away from divisive dualities. A world in which, ultimately, only the masculine element would exist and, moreover, at its most sublime, which is to say, unified beyond the flesh to a maximum of essence.
Is all this cruel on the female? To a certain extent yes, but to a certain extent no. 'Yes', because, as I remarked earlier, the gradual masculinization of the female is inevitably oppressive, in varying degrees, towards the fundamentally feminine element in life, which is the exploitation of a sensuous appearance. Of course, one could argue that man has been at war with woman from virtually the beginnings of civilized time, to the extent that his essence, as spirit, tends away from the sensuous appearance of woman and is thus effectively opposed to it. But not until comparatively recent times has he actually developed civilization to a point where woman is being forced onto the defensive or even obliged to change sides. Prior to the twentieth century, women were generally in their maternal/sexual element as women, with domestic duties to attend to, and men were correspondingly closer to nature and hence to the feminine element in life, which, springing from the world, is a sensual rather than a spiritual reality. Men could not, at that time, have aspired so ardently towards God. Neither would women have sought job opportunities in the city, even if they had been offered any. Exceptions to the rule notwithstanding, the great majority of them would have been perfectly resigned to their domestic fate as mothers and housewives. However, with the twentieth century all that changed, and to such an extent that relatively few women would want to be just housewives these days. Urban civilization has spread so rapidly and developed so extensively that women are caught-up in it, whether or not they like the fact, and accordingly obliged to fall in line. Consequently the unprecedented growth of male power must prove oppressive to what remains in woman of her natural birthright. Victory in war can only be oppressive to the losing side. There is undoubtedly a degree of cruelty and degradation involved.
Yet to some extent what is happening in the modern world isn't cruel on the female but should serve, on the contrary, to deliver her from the oppressive burden of her own femininity. For the corollary of female masculinization is her emancipation from domestic servitude and the consequent advantage of greater sexual freedom, not only in the rather crude terms of promiscuity but also, and more importantly, with regard to abortion and contraception, thus freeing her from maternal enslavement. In the long run, greater sexual freedom can only be beneficial to society, since it points the way towards a total freedom from sex which a more advanced civilization would inherit. And it would inherit such a freedom because the feminine element in life had been successfully phased-out of existence, in accordance with the will and growing power of essence. For the further essence develops the less toleration will it have for appearance, which pertains, in particular, to the female but is also to be found in the male. In accordance with man's growing commitment to spirit, the human body will gradually be superseded, step by step, by a mechanical or artificial one; a non-sensuous body designed not only to support and sustain the brain, or the inner self, but to make possible a much more exclusive commitment to the cultivation of spirit, as required by evolutionary progress. Essence would wish to be freed from the obligations imposed upon it by the flesh to eat, drink, walk, sleep, urinate, defecate, copulate, etc., and would also know that its chances of attaining to the goal of evolution in heavenly salvation would be all the greater the less dependent it was on the flesh and, consequently, the less it was tied to the natural body.
But woman, being predominantly appearance, would not be capable of the same degree of commitment to essence and therefore wouldn't desire the artificial transmutation of the body quite so ardently, if at all. For if you remove appearance from woman you destroy her chief pride, leaving only a brain with, on account of its relatively smaller size, a lesser capacity for essence. Woman cannot, by her very nature, become man, and so a war against appearance is also, ipso facto, a war against her. Rather than forcing her to experience the humiliation of what it would mean to be deprived of appearance, society would be obliged to entirely transcend the feminine element, and thus dispose of woman. In ridding itself of its own lesser appearance (the male body), essence would accordingly also rid itself of the greater appearance of woman (the female body) and the lesser essence of woman (the female mind) in one grand sweep, thereby making possible a more exclusive commitment to the cultivation of spirit. Paradoxically, this would avoid the cruelty inherent in treating women too exclusively as though they were men, and thus obliging them to dedicate more time to essence than they were either capable of doing or would, in fact, really want to do. For men and women are not and have never been equal creatures, nor can they ever be made such! The industrial transformation which is currently responsible for the partial masculinization of the female is also responsible for the further masculinization of the male and must continue his progress, over the coming decades, towards his ultimate union with God. At some future date the male will have become so spiritualized, so much the recipient of expanded essence, that he will no longer be able to tolerate either the fundamental femininity-in-appearance or the lesser masculinity-in-essence of the female, and so be obliged to transcend her. When this date with destiny will come, we cannot of course be certain. But it is to be hoped that, in the meantime, evolutionary progress will continue as before, and that men will accordingly continue to treat women as though they were male.