From the Apparent to the Essential


MICHAEL: I know that, in this day and age, one sometimes encounters men with long hair and women with short hair, but in general it is the other way around, and this has often puzzled me.  I mean, why should a woman's hair be longer than a man's?

LIAM: The obvious answer to your question is that women allow their hair to grow longer.  But if you probe beneath the surface to the, as it were, moral or metaphysical implications of such a tendency, you will find, I think, that women wear their hair longer than men because they are more natural, as a rule - not, as might at first be supposed, because it necessarily makes them look prettier.  Being closer to nature than men, it is natural for women that what grows naturally should be encouraged to grow rather than be cut short.  Their acquiescence in the natural order of things is greater, on the whole, than a man's.

MICHAEL: An interesting theory, I must admit!  Perhaps that explains why women generally grow their fingernails longer than men as well?

LIAM: Yes, I believe so, since fingernails are no less natural than hair.  Having short hair and fingernails is the mark of a being who desires to keep nature down, so to speak, and prevent it from dominating him.  The mark of a more civilized being - in short, of a man.  Now for this reason a man, when he is truly civilized, tends to trim his beard or, better still, shave his face clean every day.  A clean-shaven face is a more civilized-looking face than one with a beard or a moustache on it, even when the latter are regularly trimmed.  What grows naturally, in this context, has been removed or, at any rate, curtailed in the interests of an artificial and, hence, civilized appearance.

MICHAEL: You embarrass me slightly, since I habitually sport a beard, albeit one that is regularly trimmed.  Nevertheless I am sure you have a point, seeing as the majority of men tend, these days, to prefer a clean-shaven face to a bearded one, just as they also prefer short hair to long hair - at least on their own sex.

LIAM: Yes, the heyday of the hippy cult of long hair, beards, moustaches, bell-bottoms, and sandals has well and truly passed now, which is why long hair on men is seen much less frequently than was the case in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  A majority of that generation have abandoned long hair for a more civilized appearance; they have returned to the ongoing masculine trend of evolution instead of being in rebellion against it, as youths almost invariably are.

MICHAEL: Are you implying that the hippy cult was reactionary?

LIAM: Yes, up to a point; though I am aware that there were progressive aspects to it, like rock music, psychedelic drugs, festivals, the desire for peace, and so on.  But long hair on young men wasn't one of them, since connoting with a naturalistic and, hence, feminine predilection which could only be at loggerheads with the male-biased character of the age.  Rather than showing a contempt for nature by cutting their hair short, these young men preferred, in this respect, to identify with it, and so adopt a lifestyle that was partly reactionary and, in effect, neo-pagan.  It was almost as though they had decided to opt-out of the evolutionary pressures on their own sex in response to the fact that women were rebelling against their traditional role in society by wearing jeans, using contraceptives, travelling about the world more freely, taking jobs, studying for degrees, and generally expressing themselves in ways which their grandmother's generation wouldn't have understood, let alone attempted.  The roles of the sexes seemed, at that point in time, to have been reversed or, at any rate, cross-fertilized.  A man could wear a pair of lightweight sandals as shamelessly as a woman could wear a pair of monkey boots.  The only thing one didn't see men doing, as a rule, was wearing skirts, which just goes to show that, despite their long hair, there were definite limits to the degree of reactionary neo-paganism they permitted themselves.

MICHAEL: Just as well, I think!  However, now that most of the males of our generation have returned to the masculine fold as short-haired, shoe- or boot-wearing individuals, would it not seem that the females have carried on as before, preferring jeans to skirts a lot of the time?

LIAM: Yes, in quite a number of cases, and for the very sound reason that the overall trend of evolution is towards a supermasculine society in which women become progressively more 'masculinized', and thus effectively acquire the status of 'lesser men'.  Of course, not all young women frequently wear jeans, but most of them do at least wear pants of one description or another, which is a step in the right direction.  Yet a majority of them are still pretty feminine, as can be borne-out by the fact that, in addition to wearing skirts or dresses, they also wear their hair fairly long and allow their fingernails to grow longer than would be acceptable on a man.  They may shave their armpits, but only a comparatively small minority of them are given to short hair, and these aren't necessarily the most sophisticated types either!  As a rule, women prefer their hair to hang down, in confirmation of their basic adherence to nature and naturalistic criteria in general.  And, by a similar token, they prefer to grow their fingernails.

MICHAEL: As also to paint them, which must surely indicate that they desire to bring a degree of civilization to bear on their natural appearance and thereby improve it.

LIAM: Undoubtedly.  Although one should beware of assuming that a woman who regularly uses make-up of one kind or another is necessarily more civilized than those who don't.  Generally speaking, this won't, I think, be the case.  For there are also instances, perhaps subconscious, in which make-up is used not so much to enhance the natural ... as to draw attention to it, to become a kind of body art reminiscent of the art practised by primitives, both male and female, in the interests of a crude degree of civilization.  After all, before man put art on walls or canvases, and thereby made it partly transcendental, he applied it to himself, and to some extent this is what many women still do, since insufficiently psychically-evolved to prefer the former to the latter.  Even the appreciation of a great painter's work is if not beyond them then certainly less interesting to them than the application of make-up to their face.  And so, at heart, they remain primitives, preferring the mundane to the transcendent.  Admittedly, there are women who prefer to study or create works of fine art than to paint themselves, and therefore don't wear make-up, at least not conspicuously.  But they are by no means a majority, as I think you would have to agree.

MICHAEL: Indeed!  Although if what you say about not wearing make-up is true, then it follows that, as a rule, only the most sophisticated women will tend to avoid it, since they prefer to adopt a masculine attitude towards life in pursuance of certain intellectual or spiritual goals.

LIAM: Oh, absolutely!  The paradox of the situation is that while make-up constitutes the application of civilization to nature, it only does such on a crude and relatively primitive level.  For even the most tastefully made-up woman is still drawing attention to appearance instead of transcending it by concentrating on essence, i.e. on her spiritual or intellectual interests.  Instead of behaving like a 'lesser man', for whom intellectual matters are of greater importance, her allegiance to nail varnish or lipstick emphasizes her status as a woman, or a creature for whom appearance, and hence beauty, is paramount.  But the truly liberated, progressive woman eschews such make-up, since she is above the practice of body art and thus insists that she be respected for her cultural and intellectual abilities - to be regarded, in effect, as a 'lesser man'.

MICHAEL: A fascinating theory!  And doubtless one that explains why it is normally the less-educated and least intellectual women who sport the brightest nails.  Could the shift from appearance towards essence, in recent decades, be the chief reason why beauty in art has become so suspect?

LIAM: Oh undoubtedly!  For beauty is ever aligned with appearance rather than with essence which, by contrast, is a matter of truth.  Beauty is on the diabolic rather than the divine side of the evolutionary divide, as, I think, Baudelaire maintained, and could only be suspect in an age tending towards truth.  By being non-representational, or abstract, modern art signifies, at its best, an emphasis on the essential rather than the apparent side of life, and is accordingly omega-orientated: the enigmatic or nondescript appearance it entails symbolizing the higher, internal world of truth instead of the lower, external world of illusion or beauty.  At its worst, however, modern art isn't so much pro-transcendental as anti-natural, content merely to distort the external world of nature and thus deprive it of beauty, thereby assisting us to turn away from it.  Much Expressionism is of this order, and although we may not derive a great deal of aesthetic pleasure from such art, we can't dismiss it as bogus or poor.  On the contrary, it is highly significant, since aesthetic pleasure is precisely what we need to avoid if we are to acquire a greater respect for truth.  And what applies to art applies no less to music, literature, and sculpture.

MICHAEL: I am sure you're right, though one's feelings, alas, can't always keep-up with the pace of one's thoughts!  Nevertheless if beauty is a thing of the Devil, then it stands to reason that ugliness should be embraced as a means to enlightenment, ugliness being beauty distorted rather than the opposite of it, which is truth.  The preponderance of ugliness in much modern art would seem to constitute a sort of Nietzschean 'transvaluation of values' so necessary and crucial to the age.

LIAM: Indeed, and not just in modern art but in various other aspects of modern life too, including the punk cult, which was more enlightened than it may at first have appeared.  By displaying their contempt for beauty, punks at least demonstrated that they were on the road to salvation, if rather indirectly so.... Incidentally, whilst on the subject of transvaluations, you may be interested to learn that one of the most important transvaluations we need to make concerns the respective status of light and darkness, the former having traditionally been equated with spiritual enlightenment and, hence, good, while the latter was equated with spiritual ignorance and, hence, evil.

MICHAEL: Are you trying to tell me that light ought to be equated with evil instead of good?

LIAM: Yes, at any rate, when external; and for the simple reason that light stems from the sun, which is equivalent to the diabolic creative force behind life and not to its future divine consummation in transcendent spirit.  External light is a matter of appearance, not essence, and is therefore an inadequate symbol for God, which, ultimately, could only be pure essence.  The use of the word 'light' to define God, as in the oriental term Clear Light of the Void, betrays a diabolic orientation or, more specifically, the contradictory application of apparent terminology to an essential context.  Strictly speaking, transcendent spirit could never be seen, since essence is at the furthest possible evolutionary remove from appearance.  Therefore if, at the inception of evolution, the stars are perceptible as bright, one can only conclude that, at the climax to evolution, transcendent spirit would be if not dark then, at any rate, beyond sensuous perception - would, in fact, resemble a Black Hole, or dense void of spirit, from a sensuous point-of-view.  Which is why I have recently come to equate Black Holes with Spiritual Globes, as I call manifestations of pure spirit en route, as it were, to the Omega Absolute at the spiritual culmination of evolution.

MICHAEL: You could well be right, although the current scientific theory tends to equate Black Holes with collapsed stars, as you probably know.  But if a denser void, composed of compressed spirit, were to appear to a telescoped eye as a sort of black hole in space, then certainly the term Clear Light of the Void would be inadequate for defining or suggesting God?

LIAM: Yes, and consequently we ought perhaps to transvaluate these traditional values, so that spiritual enlightenment comes to be symbolized by respect for the darkness rather than for the light, the respect of a person given to the inner light of his spirit.  I, for one, have no difficulty, these days, in regarding the night as a better time than the day, since we are then at a further remove from the diabolic sustaining force of the sun.  And this being the case, we are enabled to cultivate spirit to a greater extent then than during the day, when the sun's sensuous influence is never very far away.  Only with sleep do we slide into sensuality again, to experience, in dreaming, a sort of night sun.  Curiously, however, what the night is to the day, winter is to summer, which is to say, a time of year when one's part of the earth is at a greater remove from the sun and, consequently, the conditions for cultivating spirit are much more propitious.  One could describe summer as a pagan season and winter, by contrast, as a transcendental one, a season when nature is stripped of its beauty to an extent which makes the cultivation of essence, among human beings, more desirable than the contemplation of appearance.  Winter is decidedly a masculine season, whereas summer is fundamentally feminine.  Women are more in their element in summer, for they can exploit the heat to show off their bodies and thus entrap men in appearance.  They also incline, as a rule, to bright colours - yellows, reds, pinks, whites, bright blues, etc. - rather than to dark ones, which tends to confirm what I have just said about spiritual enlightenment having to do with darkness instead of light, since bright sun-like colours are precisely what appeal to the majority of women.

MICHAEL: Perhaps that also explains why priests and nuns dress in black, since black could be said to approximate to the condition of transcendent spirit or, at any rate, to the renunciation of the flesh, whereas white is too close to sunlight?

LIAM: Yes, I think so and consequently I believe you will find that all those who are in any way intellectually or spiritually advanced tend to prefer dark clothes to bright ones - the latter, by contrast, appealing more to the spiritually superficial.  I, for one, have always worn dark clothes, and I know of no intellectual of any standing who makes a habit of wearing bright ones, like an attractive young woman bent on making herself as phenomenally conspicuous as possible.  Those, as a rule, who draw attention to appearances are the superficial, the extrovert - in a word, the heathen.  Most people probably wouldn't want to accept this truth, but that is only because, in our ostensibly-enlightened but in reality morally ignorant age, they are more pagan than transcendental.

MICHAEL: One can only suppose that fact to be particularly true of the fair sex, who must constitute a majority of the 'most' in question.

LIAM: Indeed, and for reasons already touched upon, including the retention of long hair, long fingernails, and make-up.  But this is a consequence of the fact that human life is caught between nature and an aspiration towards the supernatural, and has not yet evolved to a wholly omega-oriented civilization.  Such a civilization - post-dualistic and, hence, transcendental - will only materialize in the future, following the collapse of the partly diabolic, alpha-stemming ones.  Then the drive towards sexual equality will be much stronger than at present, since women won't be encouraged to emphasize appearance at the expense of essence, but will become more spiritual, in accordance with the requirements of a post-dualistic society.

MICHAEL: You mean, they will be expected to wear their hair short and to regularly clip their fingernails into the bargain?

LIAM: Quite probably.  Although you mention but two aspects of what will doubtless be a large number of expectations, including, one can only suppose, the avoidance of make-up.  Still, if women are to become more spiritualized, in the interests of sexual equality, then they can hardly expect to carry on as before, with specifically feminine allegiances to the natural order of things.  The emphasis on appearance must be reduced with each step of evolutionary progress.  For only by reducing appearance can essence be encouraged to expand.  The world has not evolved at the expense of women, as certain deluded feminists like to believe, but in spite of them, which is to say, in opposition to them.  Where women were formerly in their feminine/domestic element, as wives, mothers, courtesans, etc., they are now being forced out of it by the pressures of a male-oriented technological and urban society.  It took men a long time to evolve to this stage of evolution, for nature had the better of them right up to the last century.  And women, needless to say, were an integral part of nature - not, as feminist theologians prefer to believe, the victims of men!  That the bitter truth of the matter should have been coated with the sugar of feminist theology ... is something I can quite understand.  But there is a great deal of difference between theology and philosophy, as all students of Schopenhauer will know, and the philosopher's task, now as before, is to expound truth for the benefit of those capable of appreciating it, which is to say, for the benefit of those who aspire to rise towards the inner light.  That, at any rate, is what I believe I have done, and whether or not you approve of the fact ... is a matter of complete indifference to me.  I have simply done my duty.