Take a look at the political debates raging today, and compare them to those of just ten years ago. In America, women can now be infantry, and homosexual marriage is gaining legal sanction, state by state. A man who was a Democrat by the standards of 2000 or even 2008, might well be a Republican now. Put two and two together, and it becomes clear that our political discourse is utterly hostile to anyone but morons and children – who else would reverse their views so quickly? It’s impossible to be principled when your beliefs are just a rehash of the latest propaganda blasts from Hollywood or talk radio. To be educated, one must read broadly, across time and place, and that means reading principally the works of dead men.
Recently, I came upon the writings of a man who lived more than fifty years ago, and yet his writings on the sexes are more apt than ever.
Julius Evola was a philosopher in the early to mid-20th century. Born a noble, he was an intermittent admirer and ally of fascism in Italy, and even of Nazism in Germany. Evola sought to trace the threads of the great civilizations, and identify what they had in common. He draws on sources as disparate as Aztec mythology and ancient Indian rites, and writes on many topics. And his work is not without controversy. Thankfully, there is no rule that one must agree with all of a man’s work before accepting any of it. Evola is not very well known, but with the internet and translations of his works spreading, discussion of his ideas is rapidly increasing.
Here, I’d like to highlight some of Evola’s thought on the sexes. Instead of reviewing or criticizing his work, I have posted some interesting excerpts and comments, and I encourage others to explore his works on their own. Quotations are taken from Revolt Against The Modern World, unless otherwise noted.
The Essence of Femininity: Selfless Dedication To Another
This occurs when the feminine principle, whose force is centrifugal, does not turn to fleeting objects but rather to a “virile” stability in which she finds a limit to her “restlessness.” Stability is then transmitted to the feminine principle to the point of intimately transfiguring all of its possibilities… What is needed therefore is a radical “conversion” of the feminine principle to the opposite principle; moreover, it is absolutely necessary for the masculine principle to remain wholly itself.
…there are also two types available to the feminine nature. A woman realizes herself as such and even rises to the same level reached by a man as warrior and ascetic only as lover and mother… [the feminine is] totally giving of herself and being entirely for another being, whether he is the loved one or the son, finding in this dedication the meaning of her own life, her own joy, and her own justification.
In Evola’s philosophy, to be feminine is to dedicate yourself selflessly to an external cause; masculinity is pure virility – as in the action of the warrior or the pure detachment of the ascetic. “To realize oneself,” he writes, is “to reduce in a woman all that is masculine and in a man everything that is feminine.” Within every person is a mix of the masculine and the feminine, but excellence lies in being a paragon of one’s sex. While a man’s success comes from achieving self-sufficiency and independent action, a woman achieves order by cleaving to a masculine force. Even in the absence of a man, she will seek to submit herself to some greater force.
As the blogger Roissy once wrote, without a strong man in her life, the Western woman simply seeks alternative masters to which she submits, typically idols with the seal of society’s approval like careerism and progressiveness. For instance, you will find that support for multiculturalism among Westerners is very high among single white women; as these women marry and have children, and yoke themselves to a man, their support for liberalism fades.
Evola goes on to mention women who have achieved this feminine ideal. There is the Aztec mother who dies in childbirth, a death as valiant as the warrior’s on the battlefield, in his estimation. Another is the Hindu woman, who ends her life on the flames of the funerary pyre of her husband, to join him in eternal afterlife.
Likewise, there is a profound meaning in the legend about the Kalki-avatara, which talks about a woman who could not be possessed by anybody because the men who desired her and fell in love with her turned into women as the result of their passion.
As far as the woman is concerned, there is true greatness in her when she is capable of giving without asking for anything in return; when she is like a flame feeding itself; when she loves even more as the object of her love does not commit himself, does not open himself up and even creates some distance; and finally, when the man is not perceived by her as a mere husband or lover, but as her lord. [emphasis added]
This Hindu legend is prescient – it accords with my observations — that the more a man gives to his woman, the less she will love him. The more he veers from his own pursuits to accommodate hers, the surer feminine betrayal is to follow. Nearly every time I hear of some man moving to another city to join his lover, she dumps him within the year. I recall reading the blog of woman complaining, how she had disliked her man’s playing in a band. She had finally got him to stop playing with them, and shortly after she laments that she now sees him as less of a man. This is fairly typical – when a man gives in to his woman’s demands and sacrifices for her, her respect and desire for him diminishes and deteriorates.
The Modern Woman, Long Before the iPhone and OKCupid
Evola tells of how men have abdicated their power, how they made women their equals and pushed them into formerly male spheres.
…the results have been the degeneration of the feminine type even in her somatic characteristics, the atrophy of her natural possibilities, the suppression of her unique inner life. Hence the types of the woman-garconne [flapper or tomboy] and the shallow and vain woman, incapable of any elan beyond herself, utterly inadequate as far as sensuality and sinfulness are concerned because to the modern woman the possibilities of physical love are often not as interesting as the narcissistic cult of her body, or as being seen with as many or as few clothes as possible, or as engaging in physical training, dancing, practicing sports, pursuing wealth, and so on…
Because of the woman’s increased egocentrism, men will no longer be of interest to her; she will only care about what they will be able to offer to satisfy her pleasure or her vanity. In the end, she will even incur forms of corruption that usually accompany superficiality, namely, a practical and superficial lifestyle of a masculine type that has perverted her nature…
The same holds true for the results of the Western “emancipation” of women, which is on its way to infecting the rest of the world faster than a plague…Modern woman in wanting to be for herself has destroyed herself. The “personality” she so much yearned for is killing all semblance of female personality in her. [p.164-165]
The men critical of modern women are quick to blame recent inventions, like the smartphone, or online dating, or even ‘the pill’ and antibiotics, as the cause for the disappearance of femininity. And their criticism of modern Western women mirrors Evola’s, yet Revolt was published in 1934, easily predating any of those technologies by decades. While things like texting may have an impact, the fact that Evola could anticipate these criticisms some eighty years ago suggests that these recent technologies are mere sidenotes to the change that modernity has wrought.
Evola makes a similar criticism of American women, back in 1945:
The much-vaunted sex appeal of American women is drawn from films, reviews and pin-ups, and is in large print fictitious. A recent medical survey in the United States showed that 75 per cent of young American women are without strong sexual feeling and instead of satisfying their libido they seek pleasure narcissistically in exhibitionism, vanity and the cult of fitness and health in a sterile sense. American girls have no hang-ups about sex; they are easy going for the man who sees the whole sexual process as something in isolation thereby making it uninteresting and matter-of-fact, which, at such a level, it is meant to be. Thus, after she has been taken to the cinema or a dance, it is something like American good manners for the girl to let herself be kissed — this doesn’t mean anything. American women are characteristically frigid and materialistic. The man who has his way with an American girl is under a material obligation to her. The woman has granted a material favor. In cases of divorce American law overwhelmingly favors the woman. American women will divorce readily enough when they see a better bargain. It is frequently the case in America that a woman will be married to one man but already engaged to a future husband, the man she plans to marry after a profitable divorce. [emphasis added, from Civilta Americana]
Here we have a man, some seventy years ago, saying how American women are uniquely constituted to be pumped and dumped by players – “they are easy going for the man who sees the whole sexual process as something in isolation.” Long before the advent of the pill and safe sex, before no-fault divorce and the surge in the divorce rate, before middle class women went to college en masse, before the supposed ‘golden age’ of the 1950’s, you have a man penning ideas that are now conventional in the manosphere.
A Misogynist, He Is Not
As you begin to peel back the curtains on what modern Western women are like, it’s easy to become a misogynist – to simply write women off as inferior, even contemptible. There are two problems with this; for one, you are seeing woman at her worst, in a tiny slice of her time on Earth. It would be like taking an athlete and branding him a failure because he lost a game once. For another, you’d be practicing the same nonsense feminists do – judging men and women by the same standard. If one believes that men and women occupy different roles, comparing them on the same measure makes about as much sense as… judging a quarterback by how fast he can run a marathon. It’s not a point unique to Evola, but he states it well:
We cannot ask ourselves whether “woman” is superior or inferior to “man” any more than we can ask ourselves whether water is superior or inferior to fire…
There can be no doubt that a woman who is perfectly woman is superior to a man who is imperfectly man, just as a farmer who is faithful to his land and performs his work perfectly is superior to a king who cannot do his own work.[Eros, p.33-34]
Western-Style Romance Makes Men Of Women
True to form, Evola does not spare European romantic traditions, which he accuses of making women into men.
The love Europe has celebrated is the love that does not tolerate the other person’s lack of commitment. Now when a woman, before consecrating herself to a man, pretends that he belongs to her body and soul, not only has she already “humanized” and impoverished her offering, but worse yet, she has begun to betray the pure essence of femininity in order to borrow characteristics typical of the male nature – and possibly the lowest of these: the yearning to possess and lay claims over another person, and the pride of the ego… [p.165]
The blogger Roissy is very much in agreement with Evola here, when he advises men to give less than they get, though perhaps not for the same reasons. According to Evola, true femininity means devotion with, or without reciprocation. The female egocentrism that Evola profiles comes to form a repulsive fusion with Western-style romance; men are told to make pathetic, emasculating displays of affection. American women have the gall to say that such men are ‘proving their manhood.’ Considering that this is what Valentine’s Day has become, it is easily the most wicked holiday on the calendar.
In case there is any doubt as to what Evola is referring to, consider these Rihanna lyrics:
So boy forget about the world cuz it’s gon’ be me and you tonight
I wanna make your bed for ya, then imma make you swallow your pride
Want you to make me feel like I’m the only girl in the world
Like I’m the only one that you’ll ever love
Like I’m the only one who knows your heart
Only girl in the world…
Like I’m the only one that’s in command
Cuz I’m the only one who understands how to make you feel like a man [Rihanna – Only Girl]
As Evola says, this possessiveness is a quintessentially masculine pose, and yet in modern America, only women have the license to do it. A man who takes a woman his as his own, who publicly and proudly, tells her she must show her love for him through regular cooking, cleaning and sex, is ‘domineering’ and ‘controlling.’
By Evola’s philosophy, for a woman to elect a priority above that of her lover or son is to suppress her femininity; devotion to her career over all is betrayal, an infidelity of which all polite people now approve. The masculine man who would be master often faces a dilemma – the woman refuses to dedicate herself to him. Alternatively, to accommodate her is to suppress his masculinity and endanger the relationship. Beset by this problem, there is no solution – only ignoble compromises.
Modern women will hardly make their men a priority at all, as evidenced by their steadfast refusal to try and please their man, except with deviant sexual acts. Many a man will do as I do, and simply resort to promiscuity. Since few women in the West will agree to submit or aim to please in any meaningful way that would make a lengthy relationship attractive, he compensates for the absence of quality with an increase in volume. He sleeps around, constantly seeking new charges to mask the emptiness evident in each. Evola contends, that with such incomplete men and women, with such adulterated gender roles, sex has been reduced to nothing but its mechanical, physical elements.
The Appeal of Traditionalism
Nowadays, we like to think we are urbane and cosmopolitan; we’ve seen all the world has to offer, and chosen only the best of it. In reality, we are some of the most provincial, narrow-minded humans to have ever lived. Societies across thousands of miles and years have lived by similar timeless principles, yet we think we’re better and ignore all that. Which is plausible, except that the more change and ‘progress’ we experience, the more dysfunctional society gets.
When I listen to most people argue, I get this nagging feeling that the terms of the debate are all bullshit; before the debate has even started, both sides have agreed not to even consider whether certain beliefs are true. If you wonder whether these beliefs are valid, say about whether women working hurts their families, it doesn’t matter how much truth you can marshal to prove your point. So if you ever dare to question beliefs that are common but false, you may be told that you’re ‘arguing for the sake of arguing,’ or that your views ‘belong in the 1950’s’, the 1800’s, or even the Medieval Age. Invariably, these people think they’re being cute, but all I can think is how foolish they are. Why are the people of a hundred or a thousand years ago automatically wrong, while people today are automatically right?
Turns out, they aren’t. As men ignore convention and rediscover the truth, by dint of personal experience and sage advice, they will find themselves increasingly drawn to traditionalism.