CARMEL: You give one the impression, Graham, that you don't much care for women, that women somehow annoy you.
GRAHAM: Well, to be perfectly honest with you, I have long recognized in women a vicious streak and predisposition to sensual indulgence that, as a spiritual man, I tend to despise. I don't greatly admire beauty these days, and find the attention or, rather, importance which women ascribe to appearances somewhat contemptible. For instance, they are more disposed than men to taking umbrage at some defect in one's clothes or footwear when one passes them on the street. I agree with Schopenhauer that they value appearances too highly, partly, I suspect, because their understanding of spiritual values is so little developed in comparison with the more sophisticated men. You, I concede, are an exception to the general rule. For not many women are as liberated, liberated, above all, from themselves!
CARMEL: What it really comes down to, with you, is that the only women you really like or admire are the liberated ones, the feminists, whom you have at various times called traitors to their sex.
GRAHAM: Yes, I agree! I prefer women who, in their capacity as quasi-Supermen, are working against women ... to those who are all for upholding traditional values and behaving - dare I say it? - all too poignantly like women! My impression is that the sooner the sexual dichotomy in life is overcome, the better life on this planet will be. For such a dichotomy is by no means an ideal thing, contrary to bourgeois prejudices and superficial appearances to the contrary! No more ideal, in fact, than the so-called balance between freedom and social justice that certain ideologues are fond of citing to justify the opposition between Tory capitalism and Liberal socialism. Such deluded souls imagine that this opposition signifies the best of all political worlds.
GRAHAM: Admittedly. But not for ever, contrary to what they would have us believe! And the same of course applies to the opposition or, rather, dichotomy between the sexes, which, frankly, is a wretched thing and source of centuries-old misery, not the least aspect of which may involve unrequited love! No, I do not admire women. I look forward to the day when they will be overcome and only quasi-Supermen exist, in harmonious conjunction with Supermen-proper in a context of post-atomic sexuality. Such a day isn't all that far off; for even in the bourgeois/proletarian West there exists a growing tendency towards post-atomic criteria in sexual, not to mention, social matters. You would object to being discriminated against as a woman, and, willy-nilly, for the very sound reason that, to all intents and purposes, you are now a quasi-Superman.
CARMEL: Yet not, on that account, the complete equal of a genuine Superman, I presume?
GRAHAM: Objectively considered, no! Though it would of course depend on the Superman in question and the context to which one was referring. It is possible for me to consider a highly intelligent woman like yourself superior to any number of comparatively stupid men. That is a relative distinction, I'll admit, but not one I find obnoxious.
GRAHAM: No. But, then, absolute distinctions between men and women, no matter how anachronistic these days, cannot permit of any equality, which is one of the reasons why I prefer to ignore them. It suffices me that you are a lesser equal rather than a different and, hence, quite unequal creature. For long centuries women were regarded as inferior to men, not as social equals. Yet the marital tradition presupposes the enslavement of a bound-electron equivalent, viz. a husband, to a proton equivalent, viz. a wife, who sustains an atomic integrity in which she figures as the husband's so-called 'better half'.
CARMEL: In theory, yes. Though in practice it is usually the husband who dictates matters - at any rate, since the days when marriage became patriarchal in character. You, however, prefer to regard me as a 'lesser whole', since there is no marital bond between us.
GRAHAM: Indeed! And that is the way of things on the post-atomic level. Our relationship is in effect quasi-homosexual, since a liberated woman and a married woman are, to all intents and purposes, two quite different creatures - the difference being between a quasi-electron equivalent and a proton equivalent. Well, as you know, I don't mind the former, but I despise the latter! I shall never allow myself to get maritally involved with a woman and thereby run the risk of becoming her bread-winning slave in an atomic relationship. I intend to remain free, and to share my freedom with a lesser equal - namely you.
GRAHAM: And so it will become again, if ever you get any ideas of marriage into your devious head!
CARMEL: As a liberated female, I could hardly do that! Marriage and children are equally objectionable to me.
GRAHAM: Well, they can't be so for everyone, least of all where children are concerned, else the human race would quickly die out. Children aren't necessarily incompatible with free sexual relationships, though they may tie the woman down a bit. Sooner or later some artificial and communal way of producing and raising children will have to be introduced, in order to rid liberated females of the responsibility. There is no eternal justification for producing and raising children on a family basis. Neither, for that matter, is there any eternal justification for people remaining together throughout their lives. If we are truly liberated, we should be able to change partners fairly frequently, since there will be no strong emotional ties binding us together, like prisoners of each other's souls. Some men are so liberated that they don't even bother to form temporary relationships with women in the flesh, but rely on artificial or pornographic stimuli alone. As you know, I was once similarly disposed and thus, in a sense, freer than now.
GRAHAM: Perversion is a relative term, a value-judgement reflecting an individual's point of view as he stands in relation to nature. What less-evolved people regard as perverse, someone like me sees as a more civilized type of sexual behaviour, a mode of sexual sublimation in which sex is elevated from the body to the mind, from the concrete realm of the flesh to the abstract realm of voyeuristic contemplation, as in various kinds of pornography. James Joyce once said that madness, or what is sometimes taken for such by less-evolved people, can in fact turn out to be a higher form of sanity. Certainly there are contexts in which this is true, as when a man is given to sexual sublimation because, in response to a combination of factors, environmental as well as personal, he becomes too spiritual to be content with merely natural or palpable modes of sex. Perhaps, in certain cases, schizophrenia is a higher form of sanity, as when the intelligence draws away from the senses in anticipation of and response to an evolutionary drive tending towards the complete severance of intellect from sensuality at some future point in time, namely the Superbeing Millennium, when the new-brain collectivizations of the truly classless, stateless, free society of Superbeings ... will be hypermeditating towards transcendence and, hence, the attainment of pure spirit to the heavenly Beyond in the most absolute context conceivable? The split between sensuality, i.e. emotions, and intelligence, i.e. awareness, which we witnessed in the twentieth century ... seems to me but a crude foreshadowing, a rudimentary intimation, of that ultimate split between the old brain and the new brain which evolutionary progress will require on the threshold of the Superbeing Millennium - the second stage of post-human development.
GRAHAM: Precisely! But radical and long-sighted as that perspective may be, it should at least suffice, in the short term, to underline or expose the crass short-sightedness and conservatism of people who now imagine that pornographic indulgence is a kind of sexual aberration not to be countenanced by right-living individuals! To my mind, however, the use of pornography reflects this emerging cleavage between intellect and sensuality by transferring sexual stimuli from the senses to the intellect, and thereby endorsing the sovereignty, from an evolutionary viewpoint, of the spirit over the flesh. It is clearly a manifestation of evolutionary progress in terms of sex.
CARMEL: Which is why, I take it, that you cling to pornographic erotica in spite of occasional - dare I say it? - relapses into concrete sexuality, compliments of myself.
GRAHAM: To be sure. Though you will have to admit that such 'relapses', as you tactfully put it, aren't always conventional but reflect a more liberated approach to sex which, as I see the problem, in some measure redeems them. Of course, a person who based his morality solely on naturalistic criteria, as all too many persons still do, would accuse me of perversion. But, really, how can human beings evolve towards spiritual transcendence without having perverted or, more correctly, subverted their natural instincts along the way? Is not the overcoming of nature an integral part of our evolution towards the supernatural - the negative and indirect side, as it were, of our evolutionary strivings? You smile, but you know I am right, and that is why, in spite of occasional misgivings, you are fundamentally a liberated female, a quasi-Superman rather than a slave to nature, like a woman.
GRAHAM: Such compliments as you pay me are but the reverse side of the compliments I pay you when circumstances compel me to verify your claim to the status of a liberated female, as they do from time to time.