GARY: Someone told me, the other day, that you don't believe in sexual equality, being of the opinion that it is a sort of modern myth.
OLIVER: She was right to tell you that! I don't believe in it.
OLIVER: Very well! Men and women are fundamentally different creatures, and so they must remain until such time as technology may decide otherwise. Women signify appearance over essence and men, by contrast, essence over appearance.
GARY: Which means, I take it, that women are more beautiful than men, and men more intellectual than women. The former are more sensual, the latter more spiritual.
OLIVER: Yes, generally speaking, that is indeed the case! One might argue that whereas women stem, in their greater sensuality, from the diabolic roots of life in the Cosmos, men aspire, in their greater spirituality, towards the divine blossom of life in the Beyond. Women remain rooted in appearances, in accordance with the dictates of their natural beauty.
OLIVER: No, but we must ignore the exceptions in the interests of an overall rule. Philosophy deals with the general, not the particular.
OLIVER: Traditionally men and women are contrary phenomena, and therefore unequal. We habitually speak of 'his better half', but, in reality, the reverse is usually the case, insofar as women are less spiritual than men. Custom, however, dictates otherwise, male vanity requiring the illusion of female superiority for convenience's sake. To admit the truth would be demeaning for a man and humiliating for a woman.
OLIVER: Quite so! However, now that we have acknowledged the traditional dualism between men and women, we are obliged to come more up-to-date and thus face-up to the contemporary situation, in which the sexes are increasingly being regarded as equal. Why is this?
OLIVER: Because, my dear chap, we no longer live in a balanced environmental context between nature and civilization but are becoming increasingly lopsided on the side of civilization - in other words, because we live in a world which is no longer dualistic but post-dualistic, growing estranged from the sensuous influence of nature.
OLIVER: On the contrary, this is something to be grateful for, especially if one is a man, since it confirms the fact that we are gradually evolving towards the supernatural with the help of our expanding urban environments. Yes, we are progressing towards God, and because of this we live in a society which is becoming ever more spiritual, ever more biased towards essence. Small wonder, therefore, if men and women are increasingly being regarded as equal! For women are also experiencing the consequences of civilized evolution and becoming less sensual and correspondingly more spiritual, as they grow isolated from nature in our great cities. They are gradually being regarded as 'lesser men' rather than simply as women, in deference to the post-dualistic status of the age. We treat them as equals because they are no longer, in the main, what they used to be, no longer diametrically opposed to us in the context of a less-evolved, and therefore more natural, civilization. They want to wear the pants, to work outside the home, to become professionals, to buy themselves what they like, to travel abroad at will, to prevent traditional marital obligations from dominating them, to subvert nature through contraception, to participate in sports, to drive their own cars, to cut their hair short - oh, to do so many things which suggest a spiritual rather than a sensual turn-of-mind. And this is a good thing, this is something we men can be proud of, since we are largely responsible for the development of civilization to a point where women are virtually obliged to behave like men. And so we treat them as equals. Not many men would automatically offer their seat to a woman in a crowded bus or train these days, and this, believe it or not, is a reflection of the fact that we are inclined to regard women as equals, as 'lesser men', rather than to emphasize a distinction between the sexes, as formerly.
OLIVER: Ah, you've anticipated my argument! I admitted to you earlier that I don't believe in sexual equality, and I stand by what I said. We treat women as equals because of the post-dualistic status of the age, which makes it both logical and expedient to do so. There is no reason why we shouldn't, since they increasingly behave like men. However, as to a literal equality between the sexes, it no more exists now than when dualistic distinctions were paramount. For that same evolutionary coercion, stemming from the growth of cities, which has spiritualized women to the contemporary level ... has further spiritualized men, thus making them even more aware, even more intellectual, than they would otherwise be. Instead of a male stasis, as it were, while women have progressed or, rather, been coerced away from their sensual traditions, men have also experienced the influence of their changing environments, thus progressing ahead of women into higher levels of authority. One might say that whereas women are now so many clerks, men are so many managers or executives. Thus instead of drawing closer together, the sexes have progressed at equal distance apart along a post-dualistic region of the evolutionary spectrum. Women are therefore 'lesser men' and, on that account, not to be treated as women ... but as equals!
OLIVER: So it might appear on the surface. And so for a relatively small minority of exceptional women, like Emily Pankhurst, it doubtless was and continues to be! But, overall, this isn't really the case. The feminist movement subscribes to a myth, a theology, in the sense that Schopenhauer would have used the term, which is designed to coat the bitter pill of male coercion with the sugar of self-willed progress. Yet, really, a philosopher's task isn't to defend or expound the popular myths of the age, but to reveal the truth for the benefit of that relatively small percentage of higher minds who are capable of appreciating and coming to terms with it. One is like Roland Barthes, exposing the popular myths in the interests of the truth. Yet this isn't to say that one wishes to force one's findings upon the masses. As Schopenhauer well knew, they are as entitled to their various myths as we philosophers to exposing them for the benefit of the Few, in order to keep the light of truth alive. A myth may be expedient to the Many for a given period of time, but it mustn't be allowed to usurp the domain of truth. The world could so easily become a madhouse, bumbling-on in the dark, if no place, no matter how small, was reserved for the truth. We philosophers endeavour to lead the Few towards truth, since we cannot lead everyone towards it.
OLIVER: And too humiliating, since the masses, and women in particular, need their High Priests to soothe them with the mitigating illusions and half-truths of contemporary myth. To some extent a High Priest should be accessible to truth and not be entirely at the mercy of his theology. For a theologian who is completely the victim of his illusions and delusions is not only a potential danger to the truth, but a potential danger to the Few as well, and can easily become akin to a raging lunatic. He must be restrained before too much mischief is done at the expense of the higher men - a subject about which Nietzsche had more than a few words to say, since priests have more than once put philosophers to the stake for refuting their myths. Fortunately for philosophers, however, the Christian myth is no longer anywhere near as influential as formerly, even where priests are concerned, and so they don't have to worry so much about clerical censorship these days. Instead they have other myths to contend with, including the Marxist and feminist ones, which pertain to contemporary 'theology'. For theology, remember, appeals to the Many, philosophy to the Few. Theology is alpha, philosophy omega. Marx may have been a philosopher, but Marxism is a theological simplification of Marx.
GARY: And yet, as evolution progresses and one theology supplants another, surely there is more overall approximation to truth?
OLIVER: There is indeed! But then philosophy continues to evolve too, so that, at its furthermost contemporary level, it is no less inaccessible to the Many than formerly. A contemporary theology can approach the level of a previous philosophy, but it can't get to the level of contemporary philosophy. Just as men and women evolve apace, so do theology and philosophy, continuing to remain unequal. Now just as, in Hindu myth, a man who has lived egocentrically cannot unite, following death, with the Clear Light of the Void, so a man of egocentric disposition, balanced between the subconscious and the superconscious, cannot relate to what the foremost philosopher is contending about his particular grasp of truth. There is an equivalence here between a light which is too clear and a truth which is too strong. Hence theology is required, in order to convey a diluted version of the truth to the masses. But such a version cannot arise from nowhere. It must come from a stronger, purer concept of truth, and thus from a philosopher originally. You can see how dangerous to evolutionary progress it can be when theologians, wallowing in self-delusion, put philosophers to death or otherwise impede them. By disposing of philosophers they run the risk of cutting themselves off from the truth and floundering, without a guiding light, in the relative darkness of their particular theology. Evolution can be set back decades, if not centuries. And this applies as much to Marxist theologians as to any previous ones, who can all-too-easily make the same mistakes, with similar fatal consequences!
GARY: Presumably those philosophers who live in Marxist states should have access, through special depositories, to the Few, who will accordingly be kept in touch with stronger doses of the truth than their work-a-day theology would allow?
OLIVER: Yes, and not only those philosophers who live in Marxist states but, more particularly, those who live outside them, whose truth may be no less relevant, in the long term, as the basis for the subsequent development of theology to a higher and more truthful level. No state, no matter what its official theology, can afford to live without philosophers. For they act as a guiding light to the Few, who, whether as statesmen or professors, scientists or economists, artists or priests, must subsequently set about modifying the particular theology with whose preservation they have been publicly entrusted. Thus there should be a continual interaction between philosophers and leaders, so that the theology is constantly upgraded and not allowed to become fixed in a permanent mould ... at the risk of becoming stale and anachronistic. There must be continual evolution.
OLIVER: Only to the extent that the philosopher serves to enlighten the leadership. For when a philosopher takes it into his head to govern outright, as did Plato for a time, the result is more likely to be chaotic than beneficial! Plato made the mistake of taking his own advice too literally. But actual governance must always be left to politicians, the Few, and not be usurped by those whose provenance it is to remain at an intellectual remove from the real world. Admittedly, there have been one or two notable exceptions that, like Marcus Aurelius, were able to combine theory with practice. But, as a rule, this isn't the case. The philosopher's proper sphere of influence lies in the theoretical domain, not the practical one! He should leave the actual governance of the state to others, since his duty is to understand the world rather than to change it, even if his understanding of it may lead to considerable governmental change.
GARY: What happens when the philosopher is so brilliant, his grasp of truth so firm, that not even the Few can appreciate or stomach it? I am especially thinking of Nietzsche.
OLIVER: Such cases don't occur all that often, but, when they do, a wise leadership will draw what truth it can from the philosopher concerned, and leave the greater part of his teachings to posterity. That is preferable to dismissing him outright, seeing that one day his truth, which should be roughly compatible with the truth, will be fully intelligible and recognized at its true value.
GARY: And this, I take it, also applies, in some degree, to your own philosophy, which is occasionally too truthful for even the strongest stomachs, or perhaps I should say minds, to digest? What you say, for example, about men and women being unequal certainly isn't reflected by contemporary feminist theology, is it?
OLIVER: No, but then there is little reason why it should be, at this point in time. For my philosophy appeals more to a few of the Few than to the Few as a whole, if you follow me, and therefore isn't all that likely, at present, to have much influence on the modification of contemporary theology. That must come about in the future, as my work becomes more accessible to the leadership. Currently it is known only within the rather restricted circle of my friends and acquaintances, who don't hold responsible public positions. But I can bide my time.
GARY: Presumably without taking much interest in the High Priests or, rather, Priestesses of feminist theology, who would appear to be the biggest dupes of the age?
OLIVER: Quite! I leave them to their rhetorical patter and attend to my affairs, in pursuance of higher degrees of truth.
OLIVER: Oh, that society is tending in an increasingly spiritual direction and, if all goes well, will continue to tend in such a direction in the more distant future, inevitably reaching a point where women effectively cease to exist, as appearance gives way to essence to such an extent ... that nothing demonstrably sensual remains. The subsequent climax of evolution, in which human spirit will become transcendent and therefore divine, can only be a supermasculine affair, devoid of even the faintest shred of sensuality. For irrespective of what the Pope may have had to say about the probability of men and women retaining their sex in Heaven, I, being a post-dualistic philosopher and not a humanistic theologian, contend otherwise. Just as I contend that Heaven will come at the climax of evolution rather than following individual death. And, coming then, it will not only be completely beyond women but ... completely beyond men as well, since humanity will have become God, not be existing in any recognizably human form within the presence of God as anthropomorphically conceived of by Christians.
OLIVER: Yes, I believe that, from a post-dualistic standpoint, he most certainly was! But, from a Christian anthropomorphic standpoint, he was absolutely right, absolutely consistent with the humanistic beliefs of dualistic civilization. He would have been wrong had he spoken like a transcendentalist, and especially like a transcendental philosopher. For then one would be perfectly justified in wondering what business he had being pope. But, of course, he is consistent with Christian theology, and therefore not an impostor. The fact that, as a post-dualistic philosopher, one may not agree with his beliefs oneself ... is another matter, and hardly one that we need enlarge upon here! Suffice it to say that my concept of the Beyond is radically different from his. It is closer to Nietzsche's.
OLIVER: Yes, transcendent spirit, to use a term I recently coined as an alternative to holy spirit, which will arise from the new brain following the period of intense cultivation of spirit which I call the post-Human Millennium. We men may be a long way from being actual candidates for Heaven at present, but we are at least nearer to it, now, than any previous generation have ever been, bearing in mind the increasingly post-dualistic development of the age. As Blake once wrote:-
'Till I turn from Female Love,
And root up the Infernal Grove,
I shall never worthy be
To step into Eternity.'
Now what his concept of Eternity actually amounted to, I don't pretend to know. But he was at least right to contend that sex is incompatible with Heaven.
GARY: So, evidently, the spiritualization of the female is a step in that post-sexual direction?
OLIVER: Yes. And so is our gradual progress away from literal sex through the sublimation provided and encouraged by various forms of erotica, which transfer sex from the body to the head and thereby spiritualize it. Even the recent growth-industry in plastic inflatables, otherwise known as 'sex dolls', is indicative of a trend in the general direction of overcoming the natural by the artificial and so transcending traditional norms. Eventually there won't be any sex at all, not even of the sublimated variety. For technology will have phased-out the natural body in the interests of spiritual progress. Neither will there be any women, even if women's brains or, rather, brains that may once have belonged to women are retained. For it isn't so much the brain which distinguishes a man from a woman ... as the psychology imposed upon it in response to the possession of a given body. Free a female's brain from her body and it will eventually become spiritualized, conscious not of appearance over essence but of essence over appearance.
GARY: And assuming appearance was reduced to the physiological existence of the brain itself, in conjunction with an artificial support/sustain system, there would presumably be a considerable imbalance in favour of essence?
OLIVER: Indeed there would! And in accordance with the supermasculine dictates of a society evolving towards ultimate essence, which is nothing less than God. At present, however, we must resign ourselves to unisexual trends and the liberation of women from traditional roles. We may be some way from a supermasculine society, but what we have now is certainly preferable to dualism and its social concomitance of sexist discrimination. If a majority of women are still fundamentally appearance over essence, it is because, despite dressing and acting increasingly like men, they retain their natural bodies, and those bodies are sufficiently attractive to draw male attention and oblige men to force consciousness of appearance back upon them at the expense of essence. A man, on the other hand, doesn't attract so much physical attention, since he wasn't meant to be beautiful, but intellectual. He can afford to cultivate essence to a greater extent.
OLIVER: Yes. Though, as I have already said, it is important these days to treat women as if they were equal to men, and this may sometimes involve one in not taking as much notice of their beauty as may formerly have been the case ... in the heyday of sexist dualism, so to speak. For what one is really doing, in treating a woman as an equal, is looking upon her as though she were a man, albeit a lesser one. That is really what, in response to the post-dualistic nature of the age, this drive towards sexual equality really amounts to, these days. However, not until the last vestiges of the natural body have been artificially supplanted ... will women really become men or, rather, supermasculine. Then a true equality will exist, because transcending sex. Yes, an equality of brains is really what we are tending towards, superior to that of bodies. And beyond that, my friend, lies the goal of our evolution in spiritual unification with God. Transcendence!