Tolstoy was a Christian, a dabbling Freemason, a bit of a socialist and an apologetic royalist. There have been many other humans of great intellect with deities like Pan, Aphrodite, Venus and a hundred others who were much more explicit in declaring the enormous importance of sex and the sexual recognition of women. When the founding fathers discussed the work of building the United States several key leaders including Jefferson wrote that the work of Population was one deserving time attention and resources. The American revolution was largely fought to allow the people of the United State a few centuries to breed and and build families and hope that over that time a better set of technologies would emerge to deal with high population density. Sex, family, courtship, childbirth, marraige and the like are of enormous importance to any sane public policy. All of these things especialy involve women as women.
I wrote a Facebook Note a while back on manhood.There are many reasons why such an undertaking was wiser, safer, more comfortable and easier than my current attempt to write a note about womanhood. Yet in this year of trying to get a basic smattering of my thoughts out into the world through Facebook Notes I would not have done very much of this at all unless I also included one of these rambling and personal essays in which the topic was womanhood. Womanhood is actually a topic which matters as much as any other possible topic in my opinion. However, the reasons for not writing an essay which is both wise and honest are numerous and powerful reasons. I can think of no more worthy challenge for my limited talents. I can think of few topics less likely to be personaly rewarding for me. However, this year’s (June 2008 through June 2009) Facebook Notes are a unique set of documents. I am trying to set out my thoughts more or less comprehensively in one venue. That will leave me free for whatever comes next in a certain way that I have not been before.
I will ramble among various perspectives and points of view in discussing this topic as I have with all the other notes in this series — or nearly all. However, I think I will start by discussing a few different aspects of sexuality and womanhood which may differentiate and distinguish the parameters of this discussion from almost any and perhaps from anyone else whom any reader may have read discussing this set of topics. I am more than a little confident that this is not the same essay one has read elsewhere. There is an originality in an early submarine even though boilers, sheet metal, rivets and propelors are old technology. When discussing the realm of the human condition an essay can be very original ev en when many component observations are commonly known. However, in the social sciences and humanities such originality is overlooked as it is in science very often. Engineering and math are the areas where patterns and combinations are likely to be recognized as original work if they are original work.
First, human females are truly shockingly extraordinary. They are not only very different from men they are different from other female earthlings. Women distinguish our species so enormously that it is simply inevitable magic. The combination of human extreme bipedalism (walking on two feet) and the shape of chidlbearing hips combine with prominent breasts to create a figure which is very extreme sexual dsiplay compared to men’s beards and very little else is so specifically developed as sexual flesh. This is somewhat different from our nearest biological relatives the apes. It is very distinct from the myriad examples of ducks, deer, chickens, lions, turkeys and other well known species where the male expresses the physical “come hither” material in the sexual dialog. In most species there is either no sexual dimorphism meaning there is asexual morphism — meaning males and females look mostly alike OR the male wears the plumage.
Having shown a major difference we are only geeting started. A heathy adult female can have coitus on any day at any period of that day. Most females are penetrable (in species like large animals which penterate) only infrquently and are fertile only on these realtively rare occasions. Healthy adult human females are fertile and infertile every month when they are not pregnant or lactating to supply a dependent nursing heavily. The variations between fertile and infertile periods within the month are not common to the whole species nor linked closely to the weather but vary from woman to woman. Further, there is very little physical difference between fertile and infertile women so that estrus is largely hidden. This is also a very limiting set of sexual characteristics which human famles share with few if any other females on Earth if taken as a whole.
To add another level of complexity to the totality of the factors in the paragraph above the human female fertility cycle matches the length of one of the most obvious cycles on earth that of the moon but is not tied to its periodicity. It generaly runs according to the woman’s own biology but does tie in and sychronize to some degree with women she lives with and is somewhat (but very subtly and eraticaly) related to sexual stimulus from men especialy in very young women.
Additional to all the other differences there is the difference between the baby dlivered by a woman and an adult human. That difference is called the “degree of neotony”. Almost no creature has a greater degree of neotony and when one combines this degree of neotony with the degree of involvement and care a young human will generaly accept and seek from its mother this creates a greaer demand and matched capacity for mothering per individual human than almost any other earthly species.
These are actually only a few of the reasons why women are objectively one of the most fascinating and compelling subjects to which one could apply the human mind. I actually believe that one of the greatest windows for insight into the state of well-being, progress and potential of any society is to look at women as women within that society.
There are a great number of things to learn if one wants to understand womanhood and perhaps in the modern age we are losing the last ties to many of them. Among the most influential men of my own lifetime a few of them have been distinguished in large part by something having to do with sex and womanhood. These include Karol Wotija/ Pope John Paul II, Ronald Reagan, Hugh Heffner, Bill Clinton, Prince Charles Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha- Battenburg-Lyons-Windsor (or whatever one chooses to call the current Prince of Wales) and John F. Kennedy. However, unlike many religious people what strikes me about the modern era is how sexles and lifeless it is not how we are all a bunch of sex maniacs. These men while very different from one another are perhaps more normal in that sex is a pulsing shaping force in their public biography. Most modern biographies are perhaps best described as freakishly wierd. Sex is not a side note to the decisions people make in public office. Sex is very much a part of a sane governance.
The point of all this is not that women should have no meaning or existence outside of their role as sexual coun terparts to men and mothers to children. However, the point is to show thattheir is almost limitless capacity for development and discussion in that aspect both of women and of the idea of women. To know woman one must first renounce that kind of asexual androgyny which has had a great deal of credence and influence in the world of my lifetime. Men and women are profooundly different and that difference is vital, useful and profoundly energizing in a decent and healthy society.
There are many layers of sexual exchange and perception between men and women. The Bible is one of the sources for wisom and the perception of ages regarding the relations of men and women. In the iconic story of Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis in the Bible Adam is the first man and his words upon seeing the first woman are memorable. As Genesis 2: 22b-25 states:
” When he brought her to the man the man said.
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
This one shall be called “woman” for out of “her man” this one has bee taken.”
That is why a man leaves his mother an father and clings to his wife, and the two of them become one body.
The man and his wife were naked but they felt no shame.”
The extreme intimacy of the passage is in comparison to the anmials with whom Adam cannot marry or form an intimate partnership. But it remains a very intimate passage. There is almost nothing that has been mor under sustained attack for millenia than this excited, intimate and personal recognition by man of his mate in women. Real moral science ia very demading and elegant pursuit and thus is more often abandoned than pursued. However, real moral science must always take a careful measure of relations between the sexes.
I think it deserves to be said in this context that I believe in a moral struggle as a desirable thing. I find that those who are not struggling have usually settled for something bad. One of the powerful shaping forces of humanity as it is remains the strong belief that anything related to the relational structure of humanity must either be very ancient, fixed and setled or else a really blank slate upon which any given generation can write or draw whatever it wants. For me I think that the entire mystery and meaning of humanity is something quite different. Humans have numerous intrinsic qualities that cannot really be changed much in any generation. Yet one may face the future with confidence when aware of these strictures of the past and present. A generation and an individual can compose any vast number of varied tunes using these notes given by nature. By preserving and fully working the great musical tradition one can even enhance the range and delicacy of notes available to future generations of musicians. Sexuality and the role of women is one of the great musical worlds in which the human race can operate. It is an area where we all practice some form of art whether or not we even acknowledge it.
What evolution, the idea of original sin, reincarnation, eugenics and quite a few other theories about the proper living out of humanity have in common is the idea that we pass on something different to the future based on our actions. Humans may not agree on what the mechanism for passing things on is, nor what ought to be passed on, nor how that which is passed on relates to present behavior. But in many different ways and at many different levels of intensity we remind ourselves and are reminded by those we put in charge of our most serious thinking that we are changing the present of future generations by how we live out our own present here and now.
This is a rather serious business and humans are able to make rather substantial changes in the population in relatively short periods of time. One of the most notable struggles of human race is our struggle to define and make ourselves as a species. That our greatest project is ourselves is a perspective which gives great importance to waman’s involvement in the human adventure. One of the characterisitics of the modern era is that we expect the totality of sexual relations to be easily defined. Consider that terms like: harem, concubine, paramour, mistress, courtesan, sister-wife, rival, Abbess, novice, midwife, maid, lady-in-waiting, placement, princess, Queen, Official Mistress and countless others once denoted roles which were available to women in many cases simultaneously and which in huge numbers of places have all disappeared down to the last one. I write here not so much to change the world but more as any defeated soldier may write when he decides that before his life ends he wants to make really clear how badly he views this new order and the triumph of what he fought against. So for me I see layer upon layer of both personal defeat and the coming to an end of much of what makes the human species human. It goes back to my recurring theme thayt life has mostly been a nightmare.
One thing about sex and womanhood being very near the core of the human moral struggle is that the issues related to womanhood and sexuality are subject to the same regional and epochal variations as are other part of the human moral drama. From my point of view I may say that all humans are severely confused and diseased in their understanding of these things. However, I would not say that they or we all suffer from the same delusion or disease. We may all be in error but we are in distinct errors across the species. A loose translation of the Bible called the Catholic Living Bible translates a passage as follows:
Luke 11: 45-47a
“Sir,” said an expert in religious law who was standing there, ” you insult my profession, too, in what you just said.”
“Yes,” said Jesus, “the same horrors await you! For you crush men beneath impossible religious demands that you yourselves would never think of trying to keep. Woe to you!””
Sex is an area where evil intentions , evil plans and hate often come dressed up as morality. One of the greatest problems humanity faces is the problem of overcoming the advantages acrued by evil in human affairs once evil is recognized as a real thing. I think that for me sex is an aspect of the human condition which accentuates hoew badly flawed our species is and yet, at the same time, is the point of glory at which we can most resemble the species we were once meant to be.
Sex remains the great risk and gamble on which we still place the most on the table. Where we can never entirely wipe out our divine destiny whether we believe in it or not.I think of Lawrence Summers my distinguished nonrelative ( as far as i know) who has had his name on the money of the United States of America and beeen president of Harvard and I think of the uproar and probable beginings of the move to boot him from the presidency of that famed institution. He merely suggested that the difference in representatation in hard sciences and maths and engineering between men and women migh have something to do with natural predilections varying by sex. He did not say women could not be good engineers, scientists or mathematicians. This is a story where I think the female faculty at Harverd is 100% justified in being very vigilant to the point of near para noia in guarding access to these fields for women candidates. I think Lawrence Summers — aside from having phenomenaly good taste in last names — was fully justified in speculating that there may be proclivities varying by sex which were relevant here. I think in that regard both sides in the dispute acted as relatively wise and intelligent people. Nonethless, I would favor the Swedish Parliament funding a Special “Silly Goose Award” comparable to the Nobel prizes they already give out and making all parties to this public dispute designated recipients. “Sex” it has often been said “makes fools of us all”.
Just the other night I watched the Miss USA Pageant and there is speculaation that one of the finalists was effectively disqualified by the very verbaly abusive ( on the web later) Perez Hilton for saying that she personally believed marriage was mneant to be between a man and a woman. Mr. Hilton is misogynistic scum. That is a quality which abounds in male humans. His audacious moral hideousness in going into an inner sanctum of hetero-sexual celebration of attraction and oing all that he has done is vile. But so is covering over millions of cases of rape with non-notification laws on abortions for teenage girls. So is the female genital mutilation of millions of women throughout the world to destroy their sexuality. So is the killing of countless girls and women without prosecution by their families and lovers every year in the worst situations and without hope of justice all around the world. I am not sure the ladies of Harvard can afford quite the ivory tower they live in. However, in that way they resemble their male counterparts.
I do not believe that the story at the begining of the book of Genesis was written by Moses after visiting the origins of the human species in a time machine. I do not believe the writer had a Ph. D. in biology. I do not believe it is a book coded from another book which was largely a straight first hand bio-history of its time — that is what I believe about the Gospels. I am even willing to say that he early stories are myths which is a word that atheistic relativistic scholars love to use for them. However, I do think that they are true stories written to pass on ancient coded trruths and insights which come from miraculousy ancient parts of the human story. Why is so much in the Bible coded?
That is a question for a long an important note on another occasion. In this note we will examine a bit more of Adam and Eve. There are three phases of the sexual relationship betwwen the two. in very general terms I mean for one could argue for a dozen phases.
The first is the phase in Genesis 2: 22-25b which I have already quoted this is the relationship between Man and Woman which God intended as unique to the human species. This really reflected the Image of an ultimate divine nature. The qualities of that relationship are intimacy, passion, empathy, excitement sex, good bodily self-image and fertitlity. It sounds tiring to those of us with enough mileage but otherwise one who can think can see the logic and goodness of it.
To preserve this humanity needed God’s friendship and to avoid eating the fruit of the knowleddge of Good and Evil. The writer here is using code for cannibalism. Yes, that again. The passage says that iti is a tree in the middle of the garden of course humans are in the middle of their own world always. That on the day one eats it humans will die and again if humans are eaten then the human eaten will die. It brings knowledge of Good and Evil and we actually have a lot of data across many centuries and cultures to show that eating human flesh is a passage which brings cunning, insioght and moral guilt into human minds in a unique way whether the society endorses or forbids cannibalism.
The last set of relations is the abusive marrasige and the loss of God’s friendship which define behavior which is in the survivable margin for humans as we currently are. These last two phases of the story are descibed in Genesis Chapter three. We all are still living in the last phase at best from the story’s own point of view.
It goes far beyond my capacity in time and space in tis note to show instances of cultures where men have driven their lands into desert and ruin to make sure that women were sastarving and dispossessed and fit into one of three (to them) acceptable catgories hyper-breeding terrified slaves, spies or religiously deluded cattle reared as food. rthis of course has always included the need to kill and maim some large number of men who cannot overcome (or heroicaly resist overcoming) their lover for mothers, sisters, and female lovers. Some of the time homosexuals have led this misogynistic elte.
Life is often hell and human society often a sewer which exceeds my capcity to espress and usually it involves building things on one of two principles men hating women or women hating children. Often this is dressed up as religion or ideology but it is really about that. This engine allows the most foul and wothless kinds of people to amss almost all available power and resources. It has happened occasionaly since time imemorial.
The sexualy intense path of paradise requires lots of restriction and guidance in the real world. It always has unless you believe we may have had an unfallen Eden somewhere in the pre-historic past. But it is the path which produces real joy and love, wealth, pressure for progress and other necessities. I presume that almost everyone alive today is someone iI would consider fundamantally insane. But I do not take such a dim view of insanity as some do. Homosexuality is a condition of some sons of women which is in my view tolerable when thaose who are homosexual know it is alimiting thing and have the humility to see it as a speciai status with some rewards and some disease like qualities requiring a routine of self -care, or when they publicly acnkowledge it as a kind of loss in bio-sweepstakes in which they make the best out of a less than first place postion. But when they think as Mr. Hilton does they are evil men encouraging other evil men in a way which opens on to an ininite pool of evil.
Women are tied to certain kinds of inferiority too. the way a man is supposed to feel superior is in the act of achieving coital satisfaction. Unthinkably in allowing the killer and crusher in him to feel fed by her sufferings in pregnancy and child birth and then letting the good and protective part of him make it up to her in other ways. Women are supposed to have a capacity for maistakes as a class which is no the same in men. If women stopped getting pregnant and being a little optimistic about it when everything was bleak and horrible there would never be a brighter tomorrow. What is wrong is that there have for hundreds of centuries been people racing to the bottom giving women less and less of their share for breeding expenses as it were. There is a lot more I could say on this subject. Men have also been maimed and crippled by women in many ways and that is also part of the drama.
I believe that we all face a need for learning more and better views of marriage, culture , midwifery and other subjects. However, only when humanity is able to see that women were maent to inflame men and so were made by God and yet we cannot handle it can we begin to handle it. I truly think that both medical contraception and the church sponsored studies of natural family planning in recent centuries can bring us much closer to what we are menat to be. And yet I would be lying if I said that I believe the Catholic Hieracrhcy or Gynecolgists have handled the test very well. I think there is a massive sexual crisis on Earth and that is a separate note because it relates mostly to the last 1,500 years where as what I have discussed is about all humans at all times. In the West our current disoprder is usually to be blindly iresponsible and lie about why. In the East it is to use responsibiliuty as an excues for racing to the worst positions because they are sustainable. I think that anyone who believes in a God, Gods, Fates, Karma or Providence should be very afraid to account for our species’ sexual legacy. The rest of you, well you sort of amuse me –maybe that is your cosmic purpose.