It occurred to me today that my philosophy when it comes to men and women is essentially romantic. I don’t mean that in the romance-novel, chick-flick sense of the word, but in the John Keats, William Blake sense.
Against my better judgment I tried to talk some classical worldview philosophy into a feminist over the weekend. When you look at it from a certain perspective, feminism is a doctrine of profound alienation. It is a war on the very nature of existence.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I support equal protection under the law for women, that I support women’s voting rights, that rape (actually committed, and not trumped up) is a crime against the dignity and safety of the individual — and every being, male or female, deserves a chance at dignity — and it is a degradation to the culture at large. It is the duty of the powerful to protect the vulnerable, as random, self-serving violence in whatever form is an insult to the humanity of both weak and strong. Once upon a time these ideas were not considered “feminist,” but merely right and noble. Nobility is not in fashion anymore.
The great crime of the brand of feminism prevalent today is that it either (A) pretends that no differences exist between the genders — or that, laughably, gender is a “social construct” — or that it (B) superficially acknowledges differences only to immediately assert that we should not speak of such differences, let alone let them guide our actions.
But what fool would see the lion lay down with the lamb? How depressing, how profoundly alienated from existence. They long for the world to be other than as it is. How sad to see women at war with their own nature. They call their “nature” a product of the patriarchy. They think it is dreamt up, created in a false image. Men, too, stand in trembling horror at their own essential masculinity. So crusades are organized, villains strung up from the town clock. If they could, these holy warriors would launch hydrogen bombs of rage into the very heart of the galaxy. How unfair a galaxy it is! How dare it allow for the destruction and rebirth of stars in a horrible clash of fire and gravity.
The world is one great whole, and it is neither good nor evil that women are born to a certain reality and men to another. It is simply the nature of things. Ironically, the SWPL feminists that cannot bring themselves to relax into the truth of gender difference often profess a dilettantish appreciation for “Eastern Wisdom.” Ironic because Chuang-tzu, or any old no-name Taoist master, would find their perpetual war on human nature to be quizzical at best.
To my dear feminist I said: the world is not a mechanism to be fixed, it is a plant that grows of its own accord. To which she replied that if it is a plant, it is a domesticated houseplant to be manipulated and watered and bred, which was missing the point entirely. She cited technological change to support this view. To which I replied with a weary sigh, “Yes, yes. Of course. I love a good polio cure as much as the next man.” But it’s the joy that’s the thing… Why manipulate the world if it doesn’t bring you joy to do so? From where I sit I see no joy at all in feminism, only anger, righteousness, and recrimination.
Of course, even the alienation of the profoundly alienated is part of the whole, and I am a hypocrite exactly to the degree that I let it bother me. Oh well. In my defense, I’m not that bothered, really. Just wistful at times.
On the other hand, another teaching of the old wise Taoist fools is that opposites do not truly oppose, but only make each other possible. No black without white, no up without down. So then the existence of such vast hordes of sad women pent up with petty aggression at their own souls just makes it all the sweeter to find a real woman, someone happy with who she is, in tune with her deep, true feminine power; a woman who can be an amusing trifle in the afternoon, a powerful sea of rage and love under the moon, and a butterfly of impossible beauty in the morning. Her native intelligence not tightened up in a self-regarding death-grip of righteousness, but flowing out into the world as love and creation. That’s a woman that can inspire a weary man to rouse himself from sleep every day.