Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Politics of Aristotle: The Spartan Women

Again, the license of the Lacedaemonian women defeats the intention of the Spartan constitution, and is adverse to the happiness of the state. For, a husband and wife being each a part of every family, the state may be considered as about equally divided into men and women; and, therefore, in those states in which the condition of the women is bad, half the city may be regarded as having no laws. And this is what has actually happened at Sparta; the legislator wanted to make the whole state hardy and temperate, and he has carried out his intention in the case of the men, but he has neglected the women, who live in every sort of intemperance and luxury. The consequence is that in such a state wealth is too highly valued, especially if the citizen fall under the dominion of their wives, after the manner of most warlike races, except the Celts and a few others who openly approve of male loves. The old mythologer would seem to have been right in uniting Ares and Aphrodite, for all warlike races are prone to the love either of men or of women. This was exemplified among the Spartans in the days of their greatness; many things were managed by their women. But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same. Even in regard to courage, which is of no use in daily life, and is needed only in war, the influence of the Lacedaemonian women has been most mischievous. The evil showed itself in the Theban invasion, when, unlike the women of other cities, they were utterly useless and caused more confusion than the enemy. This license of the Lacedaemonian women existed from the earliest times, and was only what might be expected. For, during the wars of the Lacedaemonians, first against the Argives, and afterwards against the Arcadians and Messenians, the men were long away from home, and, on the return of peace, they gave themselves into the legislator's hand, already prepared by the discipline of a soldier's life (in which there are many elements of virtue), to receive his enactments. But, when Lycurgus, as tradition says, wanted to bring the women under his laws, they resisted, and he gave up the attempt. These then are the causes of what then happened, and this defect in the constitution is clearly to be attributed to them. We are not, however, considering what is or is not to be excused, but what is right or wrong, and the disorder of the women, as I have already said, not only gives an air of indecorum to the constitution considered in itself, but tends in a measure to foster avarice.

The mention of avarice naturally suggests a criticism on the inequality of property. While some of the Spartan citizen have quite small properties, others have very large ones; hence the land has passed into the hands of a few. And this is due also to faulty laws; for, although the legislator rightly holds up to shame the sale or purchase of an inheritance, he allows anybody who likes to give or bequeath it. Yet both practices lead to the same result. And nearly two-fifths of the whole country are held by women; this is owing to the number of heiresses and to the large dowries which are customary. It would surely have been better to have given no dowries at all, or, if any, but small or moderate ones. As the law now stands, a man may bestow his heiress on any one whom he pleases, and, if he die intestate, the privilege of giving her away descends to his heir. Hence, although the country is able to maintain 1500 cavalry and 30,000 hoplites, the whole number of Spartan citizens fell below 1000. The result proves the faulty nature of their laws respecting property; for the city sank under a single defeat; the want of men was their ruin.



The Man-Woman – by Hic Mueller, 1620


On this same issue, here is an abstract from the essay ”Rulers Ruled by Women” – An Economic Analysis of the Rise and Fall of Women’s Rights in Ancient Sparta

ABSTRACT: Throughout most of history, women as a class have possessed relatively few formal rights. The women of ancient Sparta were a striking exception. Although they could not vote, Spartan women reportedly owned 40 percent of Sparta’s agricultural land and enjoyed other rights that were equally extraordinary. We offer a simple economic explanation for the Spartan anomaly. The defining moment for Sparta was its conquest of a neighboring land and people, which fundamentally changed the marginal products of Spartan men’s and Spartan women’s labor. To exploit the potential gains from a reallocation of labor – specifically, to provide the appropriate incentives and the proper human capital formation – men granted women property (and other) rights. Consistent with our explanation for the rise of women’s rights, when Sparta lost the conquered land several centuries later, the rights for women disappeared. Two conclusions emerge that may help explain why women’s rights have been so rare for most of history. First, in contrast to the rest of the world, the optimal (from the men’s perspective) division of labor among Spartans involved women in work that was not easily monitored by men. Second, the rights held by Spartan women may have been part of an unstable equilibrium, which contained the seeds of its own destruction.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

EOTM: This Is Zen

Like listening for the sound of one hand clapping, looking at this picture for a while will tell you all the essence of zen. It cannot be described, tho much good writing about it exists. Each of us leaves footprints in the sand as we travel through this adventure called life. If we pause for a moment and look back at those footprints, we are struck with their smallness and temporary nature when set against the backdrop of the immense elemental forces of the seashore. The yin & yang of the waves within the larger yin/yang of the tides will wash them away within hours, if the wind does not blow them away within minutes.

I call myself a zen priest, yet that is purely self-appointed. When I was young and full of myself, I wanted to be a zen master and teacher. One day it occurred to me that the road to mastery was to live it every moment. There are far more rewards from living it than from the public recognition of my "mastery". It is a remarkably fulfilling and serene way to view life. I promote it as an answer to the increasingly chaotic world in which we live.

In the best (perhaps only true) zen movie ever made, ”Cirlce of Iron,” the protagonist, Cord (that which binds), finds that all answers are found in the mirror. Today, in western culture particularly, all answers seem to lie outside ourselves. We are a culture of reacters, blamers, and victims. There are always buts, whys, and becauses which explain our destructive behavior. None of them make it non-destructive. The destruction and violence will continue until each person begins to stay one's own hand and take complete responsibility for one's own acts.

There are other cosmologies which include this, one in particular called Wicca, and I hope to be able to provide the means to explore them as well on these pages.
Philosophy and Theology: The Old Gods
Science and Technology: The New Gods
The Goddess and The God of the Wicca
The God
The Goddess

Monday, January 05, 2009

Buddha: Selected Writings of Nichiren

- Women are messengers from hell. They cut off the seeds of Buddhahood. They have the faces of bodhisattvas, but their hearts are like demons. Women can no more attain Buddhahood than can a dried up seed sprout.

- The course of a river and a woman's mind both wander. Water is malleable, it turns here and there when rocks and mountains block its path. Women are like this. They are inconstant as water. Although they know what is right, when they run into the strong will of a man, they are checked and turn in bad directions. The right fades like a line drawn on the water. Women's nature is unsteady: though they see what they should be, they soon become what they should not be. Buddhahood is founded on integrity. Therefore, women, who are easily swayed, cannot become Buddhas. Women have the "five obstacles" (inability to become anything great) and the "three followings" (follows first the father, then the husband, then the son). Thus in one sutra it is written: "Even should the eyes of all the buddhas of the three worlds fall to the earth, women cannot become Buddha." Another text says: "Even if you can capture the clear wind, you can never capture the mind of a woman."

- The passions of all the men of the three thousand worlds and the hindrances to the salvation of one woman are comparably immeasurable.

- Among the three pleasures of Yung Ch'i-ch'i (in "Tales of Chuang Tzu") was the pleasure of not being born as a woman. He also named the pleasure of not being reborn in heaven as a woman.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

EOTM: Welcome to Eye of the Mind

If the doors of perception were cleansed every thing would appear to man as it really is, infinite." -- William Blake

Visual Reality
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Philosophy and Theology
The Deep Water: Gender War, Sexuality, and Love
The Environment
Science and Technology
Creating the Future

Only in the mind's eye can things truly be seen. The blind man often sees more than his "sighted" cousin because he is less misled by the surfaces of things and is more interested in their substance. Perception includes mind, body, emotion and, most of all, spirit. One must be aware in all 4 dimensions to be fully alive.

Any and all possible futures will be seen first in the eye of the mind. We create the world as we see it.


These pages are dedicated to those seeking to become accomplished artists in the Art of Living. Most artists become comfortable with a few selected media and materials. The selection of topics represent my favorites. Many more are worthy of consideration, but that's why there are other web pages.


There are two great mystical forces which rule the lives of human beings. One is the life force itself. The other is that elusive force we call consciousness. Life, we share with countless other entities on this planet. But we maintain the belief that consciousness sets us apart and above all other forms of life: that it belongs to the god-like alone. In our desire to be as gods, we have elevated the force of consciousness and begun to worship it while we have shown ever increasing contempt for all life save our own and, often enough, for our own as well.


I heartily agree with the geocities' stated philosophy of creating new communities on the new frontier and thank them for providing such a forum. The new milennium is upon us and humanity has pillaged the planet to support its ever growing need to consume. We humans, so anxious to see ourselves in the images of the gods & goddesses we worship, have achieved only one of the godlike powers, the power to destroy. We need to turn as much energy toward the power to create and generate as we have toward consuming the resources of the earth if we are to survive.

Today the cerebral cortex of the brain rules. People want to believe that all behavior is thought out in advance and that it follows the sterile logic of only half the brain, the left brain. Their analysis of the motivations underlying the behavior are speculative nonsense which leaves out 90% of the information available and adheres to a peculiar line of thinking specific to that individual. The results are presented as "logical" but there is no logic whatsoever behind it. It is merely the result of their own built in biases, which they are so close to that they cannot see.

The MIND is NOT the BRAIN. The mind is just as aware of the information it is receiving from the little toe as it gets from the 5:00 news. The mind has a sense of connection to a power greater than itself. And the mind receives information from something called the soul. There is something deep within us that is the essence of the will/desire/drive/whatever to be ALIVE. Something that BELIEVES and WANTS and KNOWS right from wrong.

We need to make people as mindful in their behavior as we currently would like to believe they are. My goal for these pages is to celebrate and provide a forum for the full development of all dimensions of the mind. I invite contributions and suggestions. I consider art to be an integral part of mental and spiritual development and I hope visitors will see a certain esthetic unity, if not homogeniety. Please comment on this aspect of the site as well. At present, I have only established the general structure of the site. Things that look like links hopefully will become so. Suggestions for sites in each of the categories are welcome.

While the content of this site is definitely "adult", it is not so in the sense that one usually sees on the net. My intent is to deal in subjects that only a mature mind can really grasp, thus the only ones interested in pursuing those subjects. While these subjects contain details of the type usually not easily discussed by parents with their children, I don't believe that anyone will find my treatment of the subjects to be offensive except that I don't cut people much slack for silliness.


Parents who are willing to let the child indulge her/his own natural tendency to learn and question can freely move around this site if they use the eye as a navigation aid. The eye will lead to controversial topics, but the controversial discussions lie behind links which you have to look for. If the content intrigues you, you will be interested in reading further. Children will not. The eye will lead them on a tour and the big eye will always lead them home. Anyone willing to wade through the verbage to get the content, deserves it in my book. Most parents can rest secure in the fact that I am going to make it so much work that their children will never do it. Roam around yourself a bit first then, if you are comfortable with the content and the way in which it it addressed, feel free to bring your son or daughter back to start a dialogue on things you'd like to talk to them about. Sortof.
Visual Reality
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Philosophy and Theology
The Deep Water: Gender War, Sexuality, and Love
The Environment
Science and Technology
Creating the Future

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Buddha: From "The Sutra of the Past Vows of Earth Store Bodhisattva" (Commentary by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua - in America)


Buddha: "If there are women who detest the body of a woman, and who full-heartedly make offerings to Earth Store Bodhisattva's image, whether the image be a painting or made of earth, stone, lacquerware, brass, iron, or some other material, and if they do so day after day without fail, using flowers, incense, food, drink, clothing, colored silks, banners, money, jewels, and other items as offerings, when the female retribution body of those good women is exhausted, for hundreds of thousands of aeons they will never again be born in the worlds where there are women, much less be one, unless it be through the strength of their compassionate vows to liberate living beings. From the power of the meritorious virtues resulting from these offerings to Earth Store Bodhisattva, they will not receive the bodies of women throughout hundreds of thousands of tens of thousands of aeons.


Do not think that being a woman is a good thing, for being a woman involves a great deal of trouble. There are women who do not like it and always wonder why they have to be women; they want to learn what they can do about it. Through worship of Earth Store Bodhisattva these questions can be resolved.

What is the trouble involved in being a woman? Because there are people who might like to investigate this further, I will go into a bit more detail. You should not think of this as an attempt to cause women to dislike their state and leave home. If that occurred then there might be even more problems for me to deal with.

There are Five Obstructions and Ten Evils encountered by women. First we will discuss the Five Obstructions. The first is that women are not able to become the Great Brahma Lord because that position is accomplished through purity, and the body of a woman has a great many impurities. Second, women cannot become Sakra. An astute student may object that earlier we discussed the thirty-three women who became lords of the heavens. This objection is a valid one, but it should be realized that upon reaching the heavens their bodies became male, because only males can be lords of the heavens. Although Sakra has some desire remaining, that desire is quite light; women, on the other hand, are extremely libidinous and consequently cannot become Sakra.

Third, women cannot become demon kings. This is not too bad. They cannot attain this position because demons are extremely hard, solid, and firm, while women are extremely soft and weak. As soon as anything unusual comes up they are at a loss and have to seek help. Fourth, beings cannot be wise wheel-turning kings - the gold, silver, copper, and iron wheel-turning kings - as long as they have female bodies. Wise kings have hearts of great compassion and kindness; they teach people to maintain the Five Precepts and the Ten Good Deeds. Whenever women see something good occur to others, they become jealous, and this keeps them from having great compassion. Because of this basic problem, they cannot become Buddhas. Buddhas have ten thousand virtues; women have many evils. They are jealous and obstructive, and their hearts are about the size of a sesame seed.

If, however, women are able to rid themselves of jealousy, desire, weakness, defilement, and of all evils, they may become men, and so theirs is not a hopeless plight. There is, for example, the case of the dragon king's daughter. When Sariputra said that she could not become a Buddha, she took a precious gem, her most valuable and cherished possession, and offered it to the Buddha, who accepted it. She then asked Sariputra if the Buddha's acceptance of her offering was fast, and he replied that, indeed, it had been quick. "I shall become a Buddha that quickly," she said and then she became a Buddha. This is proof that women's lot is not hopeless. All they must do is resolve to cultivate courageously and they too can become Buddhas.

There are also Ten Evils that pertain to women. First, at their birth their parents are displeased. Although it is not always the case that parents are displeased at the birth of a daughter, in most societies this is the case, and a daughter starts out life by making a bad impression on her parents.

The second evil is that raising daughters is not a very interesting task. The third is that women are always afraid of people. Boys are not usually afraid, but girls almost always are. The fourth evil connected with women is that their parents undergo a great deal of worry about their daughters' marriage. In America this is not a major matter, but in most other countries parents have to give a great deal of consideration to finding good husbands for their daughters.

Once girls grow up, the fifth of the Ten Evils occurs, when they have to leave their parents alone. The sixth comes after they have been married and are in constant fear of their husbands. When a husband likes something, they are pleased, and when he is angry, they cower in terror. The seventh evil of women is the difficulty and fear of giving birth.

The eighth difficulty is that no matter what they do or say, the report gets back to their parents that they are not good. Although the good remains, it is a goodness that does not influence their parents. The ninth is that they are always controlled by their husbands and are subject to many restrictions, which, if broken, can lead to divorce.

The above nine evils apply to women in their youth. They are old when the tenth arrives and their own children and grandchildren slight them. As the proverb says, "To be old and not yet dead is to be a thief." These are only a few of the many problems involved with being a woman. To explain all of them in detail would be an unending task.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Philalethes #1 - Feminist Allies?

Quote: "I am sure in their own way groups like IWF mean well but the truth is, they're still feminists."

Close, but not exactly. They themselves will dispute the “feminist” label, which — since, like any word used by women, it can mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean at the moment — only confuses things. The truth is, they’re still women, and as such are different from men: they think differently, have different concerns and priorities, different strengths and weaknesses.

Our culture has already been thoroughly feminized, and we have all been conditioned to base our thinking on the primary, unexamined feminist dogma that the sexes are really no different, outside of “socially-imposed” role models. Even in this forum I find most participants unconsciously taking this idea for granted. So long as you do not question this assumption, the most you will ever accomplish is begging women — your masters — to treat you nicer.

"If you allow them [women] to pull away restraints and put themselves on an equality with their husbands, do you imagine that you will be able to tolerate them? From the moment that they become your fellows, they will become your masters." –Marcus Porcius Cato (the Elder, a.k.a. the Censor), 234-149 BCE

Which is exactly what this IWF “discussion” is about. The quoted message from a concerned man is very well reasoned and moderately stated, yet is dismissed out of hand, with hardly veiled contempt, by the female “moderator.” Why? Because she can. Because he asked, and in so doing ceded the authority to her from the beginning — and she couldn’t resist the temptation to use the power he handed her, all the more because she couldn’t respond to his points on the reasoned level he presented them. This is known as “changing the subject,” and has been a primary female tactic from time immemorial. Women instinctively regard such a man with contempt, even if he is their own creation — in fact, precisely because he is their own creation: how can the Creator regard her creature as her “equal”? Boys — “Is it okay for me to be me, mommy?” — are not “equal” to women. Just as women are not “equal” to men.

Get this: There can be no question of “equality” between the sexes. There can be parity, a balance of power based on recognized, differentiated gender roles — most of which are natural and innate — and territories of authority, so that each sex has something to exchange with the other, and thus both have reason to cooperate.

Only when boys separate from Mother and grow into men do men have such a territory from which to address women, and do women respect them as men. And of course women instinctively try to prevent their boys growing up and away, out of their sphere of power. Who likes to lose a possession, a toy? And neither is this bad for men, for manhood “won” without effort is not manhood. Which is why women cannot make boys into men, because they are instinctively uncomfortable with competition and conflict — which might result in someone’s feelings being hurt. We cannot look to women — even “intelligent” women like IWF or “iFeminists” — to show us the way out. For all their talk, they simply don’t know. The sexes are different. If they were not, there’d only be one of us here. 

One of the few thinking men to be found these days in public is Fred Reed, whose latest commentary points out, in his usual inimitable style, the real, significant difference between the sexes:

"Women and men want very different things and therefore very different worlds. Men want sex, freedom, and adventure; women want security, pleasantness, and someone to care about (or for) them. Both like power. Men use it to conquer their neighbours whether in business or war, women to impose security and pleasantness. ... Just about everything that once defined masculinity is now denounced as 'macho,' a hostile word embodying the female incomprehension of men. ... Men are happy for men to be men and women to women; women want us all to be women."

Read Fred twice, or more. Despite his informal, uneven style — which I’m not sure is unconscious as it may seem, his style in itself is an expression of maleness, not “nice” but charmingly rough, beer in hand, direct and to the point, often ungentle but never inconsiderate — he repeatedly gets right to the heart of the matter. “…female incomprehension of men.” Exactly. And no amount of explaining or “inter-gender dialog” will ever entirely correct this. Women talk; men do. Ultimately, women will never understand men. If they could, they wouldn’t need us.

"Men are happy for men to be men and women to be women; women want us all to be women." Never forget this. Keep it in mind, and you’re well on your way to understanding women. Women want us all to be women — or children — because that’s what they understand. But, like children, ultimately they don’t know what’s best for them.

Quote: "I wouldn't be so quick to cast the entire IWF as anti-male based on the stupid comments of one moderator. Those comments do reveal the hostility toward men which is so prevalent in Western society, even in women who reject mainstream feminism. ... I didn't hear the talk given by Hoff Sommers, but whatever she said, we need to remember her work as a whole before lumping her in with the man-haters. ... In general, they are our allies, despite the fact that their focus is on women."

They’re not my “allies.” They’re just women, blabbing on as women do, sometimes making sense but as often just talking to hear themselves talk — because that’s what women do. It’s not a matter of being “anti-male” or pro-male; it’s that level of “thinking” that is the problem. I’m not in a war with women, or feminists. They may be at war with me, but I refuse to cooperate — because if it is a war, then women have already won it. They cannot lose; on that level they own all the power. But a man — which is what I strive, hope to be — is not on that level; he has graduated from it.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not in the cheering section for such women as “iFeminists” or Christina Hoff Sommers. Sure, she makes more sense than most women these days, but she still thinks as a woman — as this quote makes clear, confirming my previous take on her. “Who stole feminism?” Nobody stole feminism; it never was anything else. Its true nature has become apparent as it has been allowed space to show itself. Restraint is the key; with it, we have human beings and civilization, without it we are overdeveloped apes living in chaos.

"The idea that women were repressed until the sexual revolution in the 1960's is absurd ... they were certainly restrained, a crucially different matter." –Melanie Phillips, The Sex-Change Society: Feminised Britain and the Neutered Male. Yes, women do occasionally make sense, and I’m glad to see it when they do; but I never take it for granted — or assume the next thing they say will make sense also. Women change; it’s their nature. It’s why men are designed, in ‘Enry ‘Iggins immortal phrase, to "take a position and staunchly never budge." So that women, finally exhausted themselves by their constant changes, can have something to rely on in this world.

Of course IWF’s focus is on women; what else would it be? Women’s focus (“Women’s Focus” is the name of a local “public”-radio feminist program) is always on women — and, if they’re among the increasingly few women who grow up, on children. It’s the natural order: women take care of themselves and their children, men take care of women and children. Women do not understand men, any more than children understand adults; this is why, when women have overt power as they now do, they naturally, instinctively do everything in their power to keep boys from growing into men, i.e. growing out of their field of power. Thus the drugging of boys in female dominated schools. The very existence of men — adult, independent males, no longer mother-dominated — is an intolerable challenge to female political power. No such matriarchy can survive if there are any men in the vicinity.

Actually, the “Independent Women’s Forum,” like “iFeminists,” is just another oxymoron. There’s really no such thing as an “independent woman.” It is only the civilization that men — with our annoying insistence that 2+2=4, even if you don’t feel like it — have created that allows these women the leisure time for their endless coffee klatches. No need to be annoyed with them about it; it’s what women do. But don’t take it seriously, either; when women talk, they don’t mean the same thing(s) by it as men do. The sexes are different.

Philalethes Index Next


Interview with a Womenfirster: Phyllis Schlafly

Jack Kammer: What if I was the kind of man, like a lot of men who have confided to me, who is sick to death of the corporate world and in a heartbeat would stay home to take care of their kids because they love them so much and they know the business world is a crock?

Phyllis Schlafly:… That’s their problem. As I look around the world about me, I just don’t find there are many [women] who want the so-called non-traditional relationships.

-- a radio interview, WCVT-FM (now WTMD), Towson University, Maryland, January 5, 1989


Further Reading:

Philalethes #14 – Philalethes #14 – Hyphenate Them Any Way You Want, A Feminist is a Feminist is a Feminist

A Policy of Castrati – Soprano Nation – by Fred Reed

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Buddha: Ultimate Extinction of the Dharma Sutra

"When the Dharma is about to disappear, women will become vigorous and will at all times do deeds of virtue. Men will grow lax and will no longer speak the Dharma."

"When my Dharma disappears it will be just like an oil lamp which flares brightly for an instant just before it goes out. After this time it is difficult to speak with certainty of what will follow."

"Good persons will be hard to find; at most there will be one or two. Men will die younger, and women will live longer."