Monday, July 05, 2010

Philalethes #8 - When the Cow Rides the Bull - Priest, Watch Your Skull

As for the sea horse example: I’m sorry, but you’re off the mark; I’ll chalk this up to a leftover from your feminist past. (1) The male sea horse does not “give birth”; he merely incubates the eggs produced by the female, just as do many male birds. Neither male nor female sea horse has a womb as do mammals; in the case of oviparous species the egg leaving the female body is the equivalent of mammalian females giving birth. Certainly the eggs may not survive without male sea horse’s care, but that’s true of bird eggs as well; what’s unusual is that an invertebrate’s eggs need such care, from either parent.

That the male sea horse does more child-rearing work than most males is certainly true; but it’s still the female who creates the new life. And at some point in sea horse evolution it was she who decided (on whatever level such decisions are made) that any male who wanted to mate with her would have to provide postnatal day-care as well. Females make The Rules. Presumably she, like the females of other species mentioned, could dispense with the male and redefine her species as female-only. If that were to her evolutionary advantage. Males are expensive (as a recent feminist book snidely remarked in its title); they must confer some advantage to be economically justified. As they do in most sexual species. But not all.

And (2) it is just such responses — citing a single, artfully mischaracterized example to “refute” a carefully made argument — that long ago led to the bit of male traditional wisdom that advises, “Never argue with a woman.” Because women don’t ordinarily engage in discourse to discover the truth — as men do, not always, but men can be held to it if confronted, while women will dodge (a.k.a. “change the subject”) — but merely to “win.” And “all’s fair in war and love.” “Love” here defined as any encounter between the sexes, and “all’s fair” because that’s how women fight.

But as I said, I’ll chalk it up to your past as a former “feminist.” You probably read this example of how the sea horse single-handedly disproves the entire idea of meaningful differences between the sexes in some feminist polemic. Well, it doesn’t. Like all feminist “natural herstory,” it’s entirely specious.

Quote: "I have done some studying of the bible, and I feel that the reason for the "wife is to submit to her husband" passage is just that. Women are not capable, as a whole, to be completely equal yet not try to take over. It is in our genes, as mothers, to control and dominated over others, as we do to our children. It is our jobs. We must be reminded, however, that this does not extend to others around us, i.e. our husbands.

Some good thinking here. But I would say that in Reality, there is actually no such thing as “equality.” All relationships are hierarchical, in one way or another. Many change, from time to time. “Equality” only has meaning in relation to the limited sphere of human law i.e. that, for instance, all people should be “equal” before the law in regard to their rights. And here “rights” means only what the Founders (Jefferson et al.) understood it to mean: self-ownership, the rights to life, liberty and property. Not any “right” to a job, health-care, or chocolate before breakfast (if it’s someone else’s chocolate). Otherwise, no body can have two heads, and neither can a family, nor any human relationship. Someone always leads, the other always follows. On the surface; below the surface, the reverse is often true. But that’s as it should be; however, turn the relationship over and everything’s upside-down.

An old English saying I read once: "When the cow rides the bull - priest, watch your skull." Meaning that when natural relationships are turned upside-down, the truth (represented by God’s deputy in this world, the priest) is in danger.

What is often forgotten about the Biblical idea is that the corollary to the wife submitting to her husband is that her husband must also submit to God. Only if a man is in proper relation to the Absolute (however you may characterize this — as a Buddhist I don’t call it God, but recognize that I must live according to the truth if I want my life to work) can he expect a woman to be in proper relation to him. And, as Christ pointed out, to “rule” truly is to serve. A husband’s job is to “husband” his family’s resources, meaning the energy created by his wife’s devotion. A real marriage is a relationship of mutual devotion — to each other and to the Truth, in which each member does the tasks he or she is most suited to do. And neither “lords it over” the other, in public or private.

Yes, it is true that woman is naturally suited to watch over and care for her children. And that her authority to do so is natural and right. But when her relationship to her husband is as to a child, things are not right. Because it means he never grew up. Of course, this arrangement can be very gratifying to her ego, but in the end a child-husband will fail to satisfy her real needs. But she won’t know why, only that she’s dissatisfied. This, I believe, is the real root of feminists’ tremendous anger. They’re not getting what they need from men: not only husbands but fathers. In great part it goes back to the Industrial Revolution, which famously separated men from their families. Absent fathers are not good for either boys or girls. Mothers can raise children up to the “age of reason” (6-7 years), and partially to puberty (11-2 years), but beyond that boys need fathering to become men, and girls need fathering to become women.
(But don’t forget that the purpose of the Industrial Revolution was to make refrigerators, and other labour-saving devices. As Camille Paglia points out, civilization has been created by men, but, as always, in the service of women.)

Quote: "I feel that passage is written to make sure we each work on what is most difficult. For women, it is letting go of control, for men it is putting their family first."

Indeed. My thanks for an insightful observation.

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"There has never been a case of men and women reigning together, but wherever on the earth men are found, there we see that men rule, and women are ruled, and that on this plan, both sexes live in harmony. But on the other hand, the Amazons, who are reported to have held rule of old, did not suffer men to stop in their country, but reared only their female children, killing the males to whom they gave birth." -- Spinoza
Further Reading:
Woman over Wisdom -- by Mathieu of Boulogne, 1295 A.D.
Bonecrker #51 – Don’t Argue with Women