July 26, 2009
Sara Rogers writes:
In your article Why We Must Discriminate, you said:
“Women provide an unseen defense against moral enervation. They cannot provide this defense when they are preoccupied with money and highly consuming work. I think that’s the big difference between some of my critics and me. This invisible task, which can never be fully put into words, is something I think they do not acknowledge or respect.”
I think this is one of your most important observations. An understanding of the essential life and death issues – abortion, homosexuality, marriage, feminism, loss of masculinity, euthanasia, sex, marriage etc. all depend upon and will never be resolved, in a culture that denies the importance of the ‘invisible’.
In my experience it is the recognition of the invisible world and invisible forces that separates non-Liberal Traditionalist and Left/Liberal worldview. The many discussions I have had with Liberal friends and acquaintances, usually reach a dead end when I try to explain what I mean by this.
It is as if they simply do not perceive anything outside of observable world. They may acknowledge psychological or even aesthetic values as ‘invisible’, but they do not see how these things have their origins in a transcendent truth. Nor do they acknowledge certain invisible energetic truths – such as that men and women encapsulate different polarities, which interact creatively and in a way that simply doesn’t happen between people of the same sex. I believe one of the reasons that the Liberal agenda has been so successful is because fewer and fewer people intuit these things, certainly fewer and fewer have the chance to develop them via a healthy family life.
In regard to Karen’s observations, I think part of the lack of agreement between you two is to do with the fact that she has the UK model in mind. In the UK, it is true that there are many upper middle class working women, who still operate within the ghost of the British class structure. I would guess that this structure is similar to the Asian model in so far as both societies have stronger class traditions than the American model – (although the positive aspects of the British class system have almost vanished there is still a residual ‘form’ in place amongst the upper middle classes). In the more class-bound societies upper class women have always had the option of being ‘more than’ a ‘housewife’. In contemporary terms while may of these uber-women are able to have high flying careers, they have never quite forgotten about or abandoned the privileges that come from being properly married, or their duty to provide their children with a ‘proper’ upbringing. The American situation is quite different. Americans are much more deracinated and usually have not retained even a residual memory of ‘what makes a good, haute bourgeois life. Of course you are right – these women are in a completely different economic, social and psychological situation than the great majority and their lives should not serve as role models for everyone else.
Also, there will always be individuals who are not suited to marriage and family life. Women in this position should be free to pursue whatever they want to do. But, the truth is (in my view at least) that most women would indeed be happier to be ‘just’ homemakers and being ‘just’ a homemaker should return to being the central honoured option for the sake of the overall good of society. The point is that you can’t have it all there is a choice to be made, and whatever the choice, there will be both rewards and sacrifices.
Thank you for your excellent points. There is such a chasm between those of us who acknowledge this invisible role mentioned at the opening of your remarks and those who do not. You say that it seems fewer and fewer people “intuit” these things. That’s an interesting observation. Women’s intuition is a fragile thing, susceptible to being killed off altogether. Women’s minds are de-feminized by modern higher education and career preparation. I think the years of late adolescence and early adulthood are decisive. I’ve often referred to the “schizophrenia” of modern women and I think that’s what it is: a war between the rational and intuitive faculties. “Taken from a natural sphere in which they are superior, [women] are set to wandering between two worlds,” Richard Weaver said.
Women are not all intuition and I’m not saying they shouldn’t receive higher education. But, they can’t be as rushed or as driven without risking their inner world and its ability to radiate common sense and higher intuition, to respond to subtle realities. The minds of women need to retain this pliancy, a softness or elasticity that isn’t in the minds of men. This elasticity makes it possible to care for children as they develop and to care for men, but also to react to moral events, to observe what the rushing world misses, to pursue the ideal without fully understanding what it is. Both men and women have what Socrates referred to as an inner daemon, a voice that counsels and checks, that follows the unwritten Tao, but men often lack the luxury of indulging it because the world calls on their rationalism. The minds of men and women truly are complementary.
As I’ve mentioned before, there is a beautiful scene in Anna Karenina. Levin and Kitty have just gotten married and he notices that she is not doing much of anything. It bothers him because he is filled with activity and plans. Then he has a moment of insight. He realizes she is busy. She is preparing herself mentally, summoning inner faculties. It’s a form of invisible gestation. As Walt Whitman said, maternity is “an emblematical attribute,” the outward manifestation of something highly abstract.