James Hillman: The Psyche Tends to Ignore Gender

The following except is from the book InterViews, by James Hillman. – PW

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Feminism and femininity is a desperate topic. I steer clear of it. Once you see the whole world in terms of gender you close your mind in a set of blinders, caught in a pair of opposites, and you lose the particular person, like you, in front of me, who happens to be of the female gender. People, you, are far more than female or male. I lose you, the person there, if I reduce you to a supposed feminine essence. Maybe if we used the full vocabulary of psychological traits that were laid out in 1935 by two Harvard psychologists — there were some nineteen thousand traits, that described a personality. Only some of those words are gender words, having to do with external gender characteristics, psychosexual characteristics, sociogender characteristics…

There may be only a few hundred such gendered words out of thousands. Besides that, there are thousands of things about you that have nothing to do with gender. If I put you into your gender, I have made a racist move. It’s like putting you into being Italian or putting you into being a certain age or a certain class. I have lost you in a sociological category. So I don’t want to answer any questions about the feminine, feminism, and so on. I will talk about certain structures of consciousness that have been called feminine and what happens when they are called feminine; we can talk about hysteria or about Dionysus, because Dionysus was considered a Lord or God of women, and the way that works. But I don’t want to speak of “the feminine” in a literal sense. These structures of consciousness that we call feminine are in men and are in women and are in neither. They are structures of consciousness. Archetypal patterns, that appear again and again. This touches only tangentially the social problems of women – not being paid equal wages, for instance. That’s a basic social economic problem. It should and must be dealt with. Or certain laws about property. Or inheritance laws and women…

But let’s not get confused between dealing with those things and defining some kind of consciousness as female or feminine. As my wife says in her paper [The Dogma of Gender], either feminists say there are no gender differences and I can climb a telephone pole and shoot a gun and drive a truck just the same as any man (they’re assuming already that driving a truck or climbing a telephone pole is male; it’s already set up that way), or feminists take the other position and say, the feminine is different. It belongs to the moon, it has to do with instinct and nature and womb and menstruation and breasts and a mode of being that a man doesn’t understand. They identify with a particular archetypal pattern, a lunar constellation, say, and define that as “the feminine.” In both of those situations the individuality of the woman is trapped in being either no feminine or all-feminine; and both the ideas of what’s feminine are stereotypes.

Psyche, you see, tends to ignore that gender question, curiously enough. Just like the psyche tends to ignore a lot of the questions that the ego thinks are important and identifies with. The psyche doesn’t really know in its dream whether you’re rich or poor. It doesn’t know whether you went to grade school or to college. It doesn’t know whether you’re a man or a woman. It doesn’t know – when I say it doesn’t know this, I mean the material it presents in a dream ignores it.

I’m handed a written dream. I can’t tell if that dream is dreamed by a man or a woman necessarily. I can’t tell if that dream is dreamed by someone twenty or sixty or eighty. I don’t know if the dreamer is a city person or a country person, because a city person can have extraordinary dreams about landscapes and rivers. And a country person can be in the middle of a city, because the city is an eternal image and the country is an eternal image, not a sociological or a geographical place only. One can be anywhere in one’s dreams. I can be in a Greek landscape or I can be in a Scandinavian forest and I may never have been either in Greece or Scandinavia. So the psyche tends to ignore the categories that social psychology organizes things into. It’s like married or unmarried, mother or not mother, and so on. In dreams men breast feed, and women have penises. Why not?

You can always take a dream and reduce it to sociological categories; but the dream as phenomenon seems not to care about that. Just like it doesn’t seem to care about life and death that much. You can have death dreams when you are young and right in the middle of life – a whole series of dreams which seem to be quite clear that you are dying of cancer or that you will die on a certain date. I had such dreams. I was supposed to die on a certain date, and it was as real as could be. On the other hand, I’ve worked with people who have died in analysis, and the dreams never made it clear when they would die or even if they would die. Maybe I was too dense to see…. Anyway, the idea that dreams have a sexual origin, of course, would then say dreams have a gender origin, and that men’s dreams must be different from women’s dreams because their sexual organs are different. And their chromosomes are different and so on. A dream — I’m sitting in my home on the edge of my bed, and Marybelle in a light blue dress comes in with a bunch of tulips, and I put my arm around her. End of dream. Whose dream is that? A man’s dream or a woman’s dream? If it’s a woman’s dream, Mary Bell is still the child from childhood bringing into my reception a chance to meet this child again. And the same thing is true for a man’s dream. You can’t immediately say the man has an infantile sexuality. But who hasn’t – thank God! But what would deprive a woman of having an infantile sexuality, too, with Marybelle? No reason – unless you start off with prejudices. So the sexual origin is not only theoretically questionable, but it leads to gender thinking. It gives you two problems at once! And it prevents you from just being with that girl who’s just walked in the room in the dream. Because you’re starting off by categorising it somewhere. The psyche ignores all that.

The Aeneid and the horrors of a blue pill existence

By Jai Singh

Virgil’s epic poem the Aeneid tells the story of Aeneas and his people, the Trojans, as they flee from their destroyed home of Troy (the Trojan War is recounted in Homer’s Iliad) and venture to Italy to build a new home; the descendants of Aeneas himself (Romulus and Remus) are destined to become the founders of Rome. The first half of the poem recounts the Trojans’ journey to Italy, while the second half recounts the war that breaks out between the Trojans and the Italians, a war kicked off thanks to petty divine intervention by Juno, wife of Jupiter and queen of the gods.

The character arc of Aeneas – the protagonist of the poem who is, “famous for his piety,” (page 3) – provides an arguably excellent example of what occurs as a result of living a blue pill life as a man. We should begin by noting the importance of Aeneas’, “piety,” as it is his defining characteristic and one of the four virtues inscribed on the shield of Augustus (the first Roman emperor and the one during whose reign Virgil wrote the poem); the Latin term for this is pietas, which refers not only to religious devotion, but also to loyalty to one’s family and one’s compatriots and thus selflessness.

The enforced adherence to pietas occurs in a manner that is reminiscent of the blue pill existence by demanding numerous sacrifices from Aeneas in the service of a seemingly noble yet distant and nebulous ideal. In Book II of the Aeneid, Aeneas tells the story of the fall of Troy, which resulted in the death of his wife, Creusa. While Aeneas is running through the burning city, trying to find her – he lost track of her while initially escaping – he encounters her ghost, who tells him that her death would not have happened, “without the approval of the gods,” (as a ghost, she has been to the underworld and can thus see the future) also instructing him to wipe, “away the tears you are shedding for Creusa whom you loved,” (page 47) because they will change nothing. Aeneas notes that he was left, “there in tears and longing to reply,” to her and yet was unable to do so.

The loss of Creusa is arguably the first major sacrifice demanded by the gods – specifically, as Creusa notes, it is the, “Great Mother of the Gods,” (page 47) referring to Juno – from Aeneas, and yet it is a sacrifice made without consent (it occurs because destiny has it that Aeneas will marry another woman named Lavinia, with whom he will give birth to the ancestors of Romulus and Remus). Aeneas is simply forced to accept this tragedy, and its justification is that it serves a higher purpose; even though Aeneas is committed to serving said higher purpose, the death of his wife still takes an understandable toll on him.

The second major sacrifice demanded of him is the severing of his relationship with Dido, the queen of Carthage, in Book IV. Aeneas and Dido fall in love after the Trojans land in Carthage – and have sex for the first time thanks to cynical divine intervention from Juno – but Jupiter (king of the gods) sends his messenger Mercury down to order Aeneas to leave Dido and resume his journey to Italy.

Jupiter questions – in an arguably paternalistic fashion, as if he knows what is better for Aeneas than Aeneas himself – whether, “the glory of such a destiny [becoming a venerated figure in Roman legend] does not fire his heart.” (page 76) When Dido eventually catches Aeneas trying to leave Carthage secretly, Aeneas makes this juxtaposition between what he desires and what the gods demand of him explicit when he states that, “It is not by my own will that I search for Italy.” (page 79) West, the translator, points out in the introduction that the, “weakness and misery,” that Aeneas shows upon being confronted by Dido are signs of, “Virgil’s human understanding,” (page xix) and a contribution to the contrast between the humanity of those on the ground and the wilful apathy of those above.

It is arguably the case that blue pill men live a life characterised by an internal conflict between what they consider to be their duty to the blue pill world around them and the women in their lives on one side, and their own personal desires on the other. Such a life involves the subjugation of the latter to the former in the name of being a ‘good man‘ or a ‘male ally‘, ideals of masculinity which we red pill men know are meaningless. The one distinction I would draw between the average blue pill man and Aeneas, however, is that this process involves more consent from the blue pill man than it does from Aeneas; such men must fully submit to the loss of their individuality and make the necessary sacrifices to do so, while Aeneas genuinely has far less control over this process.

We must also analyse the conclusion of the Aeneid to get a picture of the final destination to which blue pill thinking inevitably leads men. In the final lines of Book XII, Aeneas slays Turnus, prince of the Rutulians (one of the Italian tribes that are at war with the Trojans), the justification for which has been debated by many scholars. The killing of Turnus is certainly at odds with pietas (it has nothing to do with devotion to either the gods or anybody), and it goes directly against another one of the aforementioned four virtues – clementia, which means ‘mercy’ (it’s where we get the word ‘clemency’ from). By the time that Aeneas kills him, Turnus is lying on the ground and begging for mercy, after Aeneas’ spear strikes him in, “the middle of the thigh,” (page 290) and cripples him; Turnus also has his strength sapped from his body thanks to divine intervention from Jupiter, ensuring that he had no chance of winning the duel.

Aeneas slays Turnus

Virgil applies the adjective furiis to Aeneas’ emotional state as he is about to kill Turnus, an adjective that is related to the Latin term furor, which can mean ‘frenzy’ or ‘rage’ or ‘madness’. Furor is significant in that it is depicted as being the opposite of pietas, Aeneas’ defining characteristic; furor connotes letting one’s emotions control one’s actions (instead of one’s devotion to the gods or to others) and being excessively (or, as the Romans would argue, immorally) selfish, being at odds with the selflessness associated with pietas. Aeneas adopting the characteristic of furor is like Jesus succumbing to the temptations of Satan, or Michael Kimmel starting to respect men; it’s completely against his nature. So why does he do it?

My argument as to why Aeneas disregards the ethical code outlined on the shield of Augustus is because he sees no value in adhering to it by the end of the poem. Fulfilling his destiny is a task that has involved many sacrifices for him – namely the deaths of Creusa, Dido, his father Anchises (Book III), and the loyal son Pallas of his ally King Evander (Book X), all losses over which Aeneas grieves humanely – and yet Aeneas has not been justly compensated for these sacrifices, as his understandable human troubles have been ignored and only viewed as obstacles by Jupiter to the accomplishment of this goal. The promise of glory does not fully satisfy Aeneas – this is the type of promise, by the way, that contributes to the male disposability that characterises wars – and it is entirely understandable as to why.

The killing of Turnus lacks a clear moral justification because Aeneas does not believe that one is necessary when those who have been forcing him to abide by that code evidently do not care at all for his wellbeing. This killing is like the existential implosion of a man who has just realised the shallowness of his own value structure, carried out with a nihilistic and Cain-esque fury reminiscent of men who murder their wives over unjust divorces. It is no wonder that such is the case, given that the structure of the idea of fate/destiny – where there is a predetermined end at which one will arrive, by whatever means necessary – resembles that of a lie (because when you lie, you choose an end ahead of time at which you want to arrive, and manipulate everyone and everything around you as much as is necessary to get there).

By the end of the poem, Aeneas has little to nothing of value to call his own, and so he curses Jupiter and destiny – or, in other words, the world around him – for stealing from him what he once loved, and the loss of faith in the proposition that existence is worthwhile is almost always accompanied by undeserved and futile (in the sense that existence can never be destroyed by acts of revenge committed against it) death.

The core lesson that we red pill men can learn from the Aeneid, brilliantly written as it was by Virgil, is that the subjugation of our will to external moral obligations that society expects us to adopt unquestioningly only contributes to the, “modern genocide on the male soul,” that Paul Elam describes in his video ‘Servant, Slave and Scapegoat‘ as being mercilessly conducted by the blue pill world. No matter what the dictates of those whom men perceive to be their gods may be, you must understand that your will is your own and that it can only be broken with your consent.

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Note: All page references to the Aeneid are to the Penguin Classics edition, translated by David West.

Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology

Wright, Peter. Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology
New Male Studies: An International Journal ~ ISSN 1839-7816 ~ Vol 9, Issue 1, 2020, Pp. 24–49© 2020 Australian Institute Of Male Health And Studies

Attitudes Towards the Puer: From Jody Miller to Tomi Lahren

By Vernon Meigs

I want to talk for a brief moment about a song that’s a childhood favorite of mine entitled “He Walks Like a Man” as performed by country music singer Jody Miller. The lyrics, written by Diane Hilderbrand, are what I want to look into in particular. Take a moment and read the lyrics, or better yet, listen to the song if you have access to it, but again pay attention to the lyrics.

These lyrics, which I have heard are written by Hilderbrand for Jody Miller for her husband Monty Brooks (although I have no solid sources on that), are sung from Jody’s perspective about the qualities of her man in the verses, with some descriptions surprisingly flattering and beyond the utilitarian clichés, such as “He schemes like a man and whenever he can, he dreams like a man”. Each of these verses is closed with what can be described as a light chorus: “But it’s the little boy; It’s the little boy in him I love”. A bridge within the song speaks of how there is a little boy in every man, and how the little boy shines through every now and then.

An eloquent and simple song which is to this day a favorite of mine. In recent years however I’ve come to appreciate the fact that lyrically it has a different take on depicting through words a woman’s love for her man. We have had our share of songs from plenty of genres describing a woman’s love for a man one way or another, thematically from how supportive and caring their men are, how lovable they are despite their “flaws”, or even more direct songs about “making love”.

However, I think this 1964 hit has a unique take on it that I can’t quite find offhand on other female-driven songs. Off the top of my head, it is the only song I can think of that is about loving a man for being himself. I’m not talking about the “be yourself” advice given to men that are struggling with social situations which is not nuanced or enough or truly meaningful in itself. What I mean about loving a man for being himself is valuing a man as an individual in himself.

My Introduction to the Puer Concept

One thing I’ve come to realize in recent years is what is intrinsic to an individual, that is, the importance of the inner boy in the man, and likewise the inner girl in the woman. What I mean by inner boy and girl, specifically, is the Jungian concepts of puer and puella. To stay on subject with this article I will place focus on the puer, the inner boy. It should be worth noting that “puer” is, in fact, Latin for “boy”. I want to make an immediate distinction of context here to avoid confusion: the puer concept, at least in the positive context I hope to exposit on, is distinct from what is referred to as the child archetype in human adult relations in which one assumes the role of child, and the other as the adult with hyperagency, resulting in a situation where the adult child parasites off of the one assuming the adult role through vulnerability and victimhood. The puer archetype, usually symbolised as a boy, represents spontaneity; and the child archetype, symbolised as an infant, represents helplessness.

Psychologists directly speaking about the puer also can be rather uncharitable in their exposition of it, especially when they cynically associate it with Peter Pan Syndrome…and dismiss it simply as a “failure to launch”. However, I think there needs to be a focus on puer as a highlight of the inner, unabashed boy that embodies everything that is honest, energetic, pure, innocent and enthusiastic. The childlikeness of earnest joy and uncorrupted excitement, and not the childishness of the petulant brat. The awe-inspiring innocence of wonder, wishes, and curiosity, not the stupid innocence of naiveté and ignorance.

I want to credit Peter Wright of Gynocentrism.com for convincing me of this distinction. Whereas I previously broadly used the “inner child” concept to speak largely of the positive aspects of the child to serve as youthful energy for the kind of grown men that spend time tinkering their automobiles and organizing their various collections, I largely glossed over the destructive aspect of the “inner child” in its manipulative, petulant context. Peter had helped me make more of a contextual distinction between the two and introduced me to the puer and puella concepts.

“He Walks Like a Man”, in my mind, speaks to the puer of Jody Miller’s man. The little boy in him is not an infant that pines for his mother’s care. The little boy in him is not a petulant whiner that goes into a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. If he was in any way these things, the song’s lyrics of how admirable the man is *as* a man will not ring true. Note that in the bridge she mentions that the little boy comes shining through when his man is “happy or blue”. The little boy is the honest, unsacrificed self of a man, encased in the tough exterior that he’s adopted to function as an adult. When the little boy shines through, it should be a joyful encounter of meeting the honest self of a man with his dreams still intact, his wonder unscathed by cynicism, and a lust for life and all the world has to offer. And dare I even say, far from this being the woman’s maternal type of love for this little boy, perhaps it is the inner girl in the woman, the puella, that responds to and loves the little boy in him, the puer.

Cancelling the Inner Boy

I would have spoken about the following subject way earlier but I had been busy scripting up and recording my ICMI20 talk which needed particular attention, and I needed a break afterwards. So although some time has settled since, let’s talk briefly about that silly Tomi Lahren rant about how men are trash.

In her rant she specifically states in a snide voice that feigns wit: “This is a PSA for all the men out there, and all the boys who think they’re men, but they’re actually boys. This is gonna be the summer of canceling boys.” She proceeds to admonish men at large for not living up to what are no doubt asinine expectations for men that she and “her friends” imply to uphold. Everything about her rant exposes the shifting of blame upon all men where in fact there had been no self-reflection in which she can find blame in herself for anything that goes wrong in her relationships with men. It is greatly ironic that we find this brattish quasi-valley-girl woman-child with big sunglasses on her head talking about how men are not real men but are instead boys.

Everything about Lahren, coming across as petulant as any princess, reveals something most may overlook: this is perhaps not so much about her having an ideal man. Ideal men no doubt have come and gone from her life with her being the dismissing agent. It is my understanding she broke off an engagement that came with an obscenely priced diamond ring. No, her real issue is that she hates the inner boy within the man. It is hinted early on that she claims to berate men who are actually boys, and want to cancel said boys. I know what some might think: “Well, wasn’t Tomi just talking about the petulant sort of men who are irresponsible and giving her and her friends a hard time?” Judging by the fact that men who are “responsible” and relatively “real mannish” to a fault have surrounded and have been rejected by Lahren suggests that no, that is not the sort of boy she is in fact talking about. She can only be talking about the alternative, that is, men with youthful energy and won’t break themselves sacrificially to gynocentric society. Why else would she go on a rant? This whole affair comes across as sour grapes from freaking out over “where have the good men gone!” as if she’d just been dumped.

Tomi Lahren paradoxically assumes both the role of a woman who wants a perfect, ideal man that does everything for her, and also the role of an over-controlling mother treating her man like the very “boy” she wants to cancel. She wants a hulk or drone of a man that can make her life as effortless as possible with his puer, that is, his youthful exuberance and positive childlike qualities completely gutted with sheer contempt. At the same time, she treats men like children with a sadistic maternalism that says “if Mommy ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy”. In her rant, Tomi Lahren assumes roles of both self-victimizing woman-child and authoritarian mother. In both capacities, she mongers war upon the puer.

Lahren doesn’t stand out for this uniquely; really, she is just the latest in the line of women embracing “whataboutmeism”, that gynocentric demand of male altruism, to the point that they can’t bear the existence of the independent puer that wants to pursue his own goals instead of giving his valuable time to the beck and call of entitled women like her. But it should be a wake up call for people who latch onto people like Lahren just for saying they aren’t a feminist. The time is long past to recognize that it is not enough. As long as men are valued for only their utility, disposable or otherwise, and not for their own sake as individuals and what they are deep inside manifested in their puer, this gynocentric disdain on the little boy within men will persist.

Discovering Puer and Puella, and the Case for Embracing Them

Here I spoke about two vast contrasts: One – a song in which Jody Miller expresses a true love and appreciation for the puer, the inner boy inside his man, for it is the essence of this man; Two – a rant in which Tomi Lahren admonishes men at large as “boys” as well as expressing hostility to the very idea of a man being in touch with his inner boy, implicitly waging war against the puer.

The enthusiastic context of inner child is something that I’d appreciated for some time, and is not truly new to me. The puer, as distinct from the child archetype, is however certainly new to me. I think that this can serve as a new proper context for me to discern the things in everyday life, be it in interactions with others to things observable in media, to discern what is in embrace of the puer as well as the puella, and what intends to destroy them.

There is certainly more to discover and write about on my part when it comes to these inner children of wonder within us. All this thus far is but an introduction. But if the puer is the childlike source of unfiltered energy of innocence and dreams, maybe embracing that aspect of oneself is the key to bring them back onto their own two feet if ever they are in a situation that they have to.

Any time you see a man excited about immersing themselves in their chosen activity, be it a car, his art and craft, his study, his stage performance, and even with relationships such as among his brothers or his intimate partner, you’re seeing his puer aspect. You’re seeing the little boy shining through. When a man is broken and his life reduced to drudgery, his puer is either dead or dying. Perhaps a case can be made for embracing our puer, resuscitate it if necessary, and discover that within ourselves and in others we encounter in our lives and value.

[Lyrics referenced in this essay:]

Hildebrand, Diane. “He Walks Like a Man” Queen of the House, by Jody Miller. Capitol Music. 1964

Study: ‘Narcissism and perceived power in romantic relationships’

Vrabel, J. K., Zeigler-Hill, V., Lehtman, M., & Hernandez, K. (2020). Narcissism and perceived power in romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships37(1), 124-142.

Excerpt:

A brief history of nagging

I recently mentioned to a friend that feminist verbiage amounts to little more than organized female nagging — the endless attempt to shame & guilt men into serving women. Is it any wonder that feminist street placards emphasise “having a voice,” “women speaking up,” “not being silenced,” and “speaking out”?  These phrases are nothing more than euphemisms for the ear piercing, fingernails-on-blackboard nagging that women have never gone without. Sadly, the days of being able to deal with nagging by use the following device are long gone:

Scold’s bridle – historical device providing the nagging woman with some therapeutic time out

So universal is the archetype of the nagging woman that I visited Amazon in the certainty that someone would have written a book titled “The History Of Female Nagging,” but to my surprise found there was none.

I guess its like other universals such as ‘everyone has a buttocks,’ – so blatantly obvious that no book is necessary. That said, I still wanted to dig deeper into the topic and so decided to check an online etymology dictionary, which reads as follows:

nag (v.)

1828, intransitive, “find fault constantly;” by 1840, intransitive, “annoy by continued scolding, pester with petty complaints,” originally a dialectal word meaning “to gnaw” (1825, Halliwell), probably ultimately from a Scandinavian source (compare Old Norse gnaga “to complain,” literally “to bite, gnaw,” dialectal Swedish and Norwegian nagga “to gnaw”), from Proto-Germanic *gnagan, related to Old English gnagan “to gnaw” (see gnaw). As a noun, 1894, “act of nagging;” by 1925, “person who nags.” Related: Naggednaggernagging.1

What struck me here was the association of nagging with acts of biting and gnawing, which is exactly what feels like is happening to your soul when being nagged, as any man or child will confirm. In this respect it reminds of the mythical eagle gnawing at the liver of Prometheus, only to have it happen again the very next day in an endless round of torture.

Considering the longevity and ubiquity of female nagging, and considering also that gynocentrism and feminism are collective nagathons, I think the future looks bleak in terms of a breakthrough for men. Our modern world has successfully institutionalized nagging at the highest levels – from the United Nations to national governments, and all the way down to schools.

This leads to the disturbing definition of feminism as “Institutionalized female nagging.”

Let the naggers chew on that definition for a while.

Perhaps we can put a positive spin on it and say that the drip, drip, drip of female nagging, from bassinet to coffin, has a toughening effect on men, bringing out the best of stoic resistance and emotional control that men are famed for. At least when its not driving men to die early, or to suicide at four times the rate of women.

Having got the gist of what I already knew about nagging, I searched the internet a bit further and noticed the following blog article, which is relegated to Creative Commons. It digs a bit deeper into the topic, so I repost the following excerpts for your interest:

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A brief history of nagging

The nagging wife is the universal villain of married life. From the earliest pages of human history there is perhaps no literature and folk tradition where the character of the nagging wife is not found widely. Along with archetypes of the sacrificing mother, forsaken lover, tragic hero and evil lord, the nagging wife will be found in all societies and cultures at all times in history. Even in today’s world, irrespective of the differences of race, wealth, religion, culture, language and social reform, the character of the nagging wife is universal. She keeps popping up in jokes, films, songs, novels and other cultural cultural creations.

Socrates, the famous Greek philosopher, is supposed to have had a nagging wife who drove him to spend his time in the city squares and gymnasia, much to the benefit of philosophy. The figure of the nagging wife finds mention in the Bible, (indirectly) in the Quran, and is a crucial moment in the story of the Ramayana. She is to be found in renassaince Italy, in medieval England, on the expanding border of America’s “wild west”, in the bedrooms of colonial India and in the sit-coms of post-modern Europe.

What is interesting about this figure of the nagging wife is that it is one of those few characters who transcend history. Like the sacrificing mother, the unrequited lover or the tragic hero, the nagging wife can be found in ancient, slave owning agricultural societies, in prosperous trading medieval ones and in post-industrial wastelands of contemporary West. What is it about the nagging wife which makes this character so universal and transcendental?

***

It is not only the wife who deploys this weapon of the weak. Children use it to excellent effect. In that context (parent – child) it is not generally called nagging but rather ‘pestering’. It too emerges from a similar context of powerlessness of children within the family, where the only way for them to get their point across is to ‘pester’ their parents till they accept defeat. Today, the power of children to pester their parents into taking decisions is an important weapon in the arsenal of advertisers who use “pester-power” to sell everything from groceries to cars.

In the contemporary world, many families have moved out of the context under which nagging by wives exists. Women own property, often they are in positions of power and are effective decision makers. Nagging does not automatically end in these contexts, just like it does not automatically exist in all patriarchal families. Today nagging is not necessarily confined to the patriarchal family and has been, in a sense, freed from the context of the patriarchal family under which it originated and survived. It has become a cultural archetype which women (and men) absorb into their personalities in the process of socialisation. Where it exists outside the immediate context of the patriarchal family, it exists only as a weapon of offence and not as a survival skill of the weak wife and it “forges its own chains” for those who deploy it in inter-personal relations. The question arises, are we courageous enough to surrender this weapon? 2

References:

[1] Nag, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
[2] Aniket Alam, A brief history of nagging, Creative Commons(2008)

See Also: The Henpecked Club

What Is Gynocentrism? | An Interview with Peter Wright

 

Transcript:

[Greta Aurora] During my interactions with men’s rights advocates, I have noticed they often refer to the “truth” with regards to feminism and gender relations. I get uncomfortable whenever I hear someone claim they’re in possession of some kind of absolute truth. I don’t like dogmas. How do you feel about this? Do you think human beings are able to ever uncover the complete truth about anything?

[PW] I can understand your discomfort. I would split truth into two categories, the first is absolute truth such as gravity or light on which everyone can agree, and secondly being what we might call contested truths which often come with conflicting sets of evidence, especially as we see in complex subjects like race or gender politics. When faced with conflicting hypotheses and evidence, “truth” is best applied to an individual who takes one partial position among the many available – it is his or her truth alone. But that partial position becomes dogmatic when pitched as the one and only truth, good for all people. The tendency toward dogma underlines the importance of holding a polycentric approach – ie. the understanding that there are numerous truths involved in any complex field of relationships.

[GA] You trace the origins of chivalry back to the Middle Ages, and the evidence you present is all very clear and convincing. Gynocentrism seems to me as a lot more complicated concept though. Would you not agree that it’s an integral part of not only human, but even mammalian nature? For example, in the vast majority of mammalian species, the males fight each other for dominance and mating opportunities. To what extent do you think humans are capable of consciously overwriting  their instincts?

[PW] In mammals, and specifically in human relationships, there exists an interplay of gynocentric and androcentric acts. But the overall relationship between males and females is not necessarily gynocentric as some would insist. The wombs of females are a precious resource for perpetuation of a species, and that reality elicits some measure of protective gynocentrism from males. Conversely, the offspring produced by women’s wombs would be in extremely high danger of perishing without the protective civilization and infrastructure created mostly by men, thus we can conclude that some measure of androcentrism is also necessary. So what we have is not “gynocentric relationships” as necessitated by evolution, but rather a reciprocal relationship between males and females designed to bring the next generation of children to maturity. With that in mind it makes little sense to characterise human relationships as simply gynocentric (meaning woman-centered), and it makes much better sense to characterise them as relationships of reciprocity.

As for male creatures fighting each other to gain access to females, this is the behaviour of dimorphic tournament species, which is contrasted with more monomorphic, pairbonding species. According to biologists like Robert Sapolsky, humans show traits of both dimorphic tournament species and monomorphic pairbonding ones, indicating that we have a more flexible potential to move between these behaviours than other mammals. (Perhaps your readers can watch this short clip by Sapolsky)

A more recent paper by Steve Stuart Williams explores wither humans are highly dimorphic, polygynous animals like peacocks, or are a relatively monomorphic, pairbonding animals like robins, and he concludes that we are closer to the latter than the former. The paper, for anyone interested, is titled Are Humans peacocks or Robins?

With such wide variability in human potential, our cultural customs can be set up to encourage male behaviours into just one side of that potential – say for example the competitive tournament style. If for example we are steeped in the cultural mythology of gynocentrism, a convention that has arisen over recent centuries, we might assume human males are a singularly a tournament species fighting for female access, despite the more complex evidence against this viewpoint. As is often the case, this demonstrates that a cultural myth creates biases in our perspective and limits our potential.

The last part of your question; are humans are capable of consciously overriding reflex instincts, I would say definitely yes – we’ve evolved with large neocortexes for precisely that purpose – rational reflection acts as a survival mechanism in potentially dangerous situations that our instinctual reflexes might lead us into when not checked.

[GA] I’m curious how you interpret one story from Greek mythology in particular: the Trojan War. Is the story of men sacrificing themselves merely to retrieve a beautiful woman a reflection of the human psyche, or merely a form of scripture meant to condition people to see the world a certain way – or anything in between?

[PW] The short answer is yes, myths are correct in stating that beauty is an immensely powerful motivator, so I agree with that truth in the Helen mythology. As an aside Aphrodite, who represents beauty, sensuality, sexuality and love, and to whom Helen prayed for release from her powers, is said more powerful than even the so-called Patriarchal Gods …… able to weaken even the limbs of the mighty Zeus himself.

Mythologies like those contained in the Illiad or Bhagavad Gita contain profound truths about human tendencies, but they can equally be misleading regarding human behaviour. As I stated the elsewhere, fictional material from classical era such as in Helen of Troy (a Greek myth), or Lysistrata (a Greek play) when used as “proof” of gynocentric behaviour or gynocentric culture is too meagre in terms of evidence…… as the old saying goes, “One swallow does not make a summer.”  Further, in terms of biological facts about human behaviour, myths can be about as trustworthy as would be the movie Planet of the Apes to future researchers studying the history of primates, or My Little Pony for future researchers studying the real evolution of horses.

[GA] My ultimate question is: to what extent is gynocentrism biologically programmed vs socially constructed?

[PW] I partially answered that above in response to your earlier question, ie. that isolated gynocentric tendencies/acts are part of our biological heritage, as are isolated androcentric acts part of that same heritage. What I don’t buy is the belief that humans are somehow a “gynocentric species” or that overall relationships between men and women are biologically designed to be gyno-centric. This totalising proposition for gynocentrism, that gynocentrism should somehow dictate and swallow all aspects of male-female interaction is both extreme and, unfortunately, popular. This viewpoint is based on mythology arising out of European culture in which gynocentric customs have become amplified through the deployment of what are called supernormal sign stimuli – a term used in ethology circles to show how the behaviour of mammals can be made to overrun their evolutionary purpose via the deployment of sophisticated sign-stimuli and propaganda. I co-wrote an article on this complex topic with Paul Elam entitled ‘Chasing The Dragon’ which is available in print and on YouTube which explains the sign stimuli of chivalry, and romantic love, exaggerates gynocentrism in human populations in a way that overruns gynocentrism’s evolutionary purpose.

[GA] You previously mentioned you don’t agree with looking at masculinity and femininity as the order-chaos duality. Is there another archetypal/symbolic representation of male and female nature, which you feel is more accurate?

[PW] Some archetypal portrayals are distinctly male and female, such as male muscle strength and the various tests of it (think the Labours of Hercules), or pregnancy and childbirth for females (think Demeter, Gaia etc.). Aside from these universal physiology-celebrating archetypes, many portrayals of male or female roles in traditional stories can be best described as stereotypes rather than archetypes in the sense that they are not universally portrayed across different mythological traditions. For example you have a Mother Sky and a father Earth in classical Egyptian mythology, and males are often portrayed as nurturers. Also, many archetypes are portrayed interchangeably among the sexes – think of the Greek Aphrodite or Adonis both as archetype of beauty, or Apollo and Cassandra as representatives of intellect, or warlikeness to Ares or Athene.

To my knowledge the primordial Chaos described in Hesoid’s Theogeny had no gender, and when gender was assigned to Chaos by later writers it was always portrayed as male. There is no reason why we can’t assign genders to chaos and order by which to illustrate some point, but we need to be clear that this rendition is not uniformly backed by archetypal portrayals given in myths – and myths are the primary datum of archetypal images. So broadly speaking the only danger would be if we insist on the female = chaos and male = order as incontrovertible dogma (which, to be clear, I know you are not doing as you rightly oppose such dogma).

There’s a rich history of psychological writings which look at chaos as a state not only of the universe, or societies, but as a potential in all human beings regardless of gender.

[GA] You correctly point out that men and women are more alike than different in temperament, on average – the main disparities are seen at the extremes of the curves, when lined up next to each other. However, there are some significant biological differences, which make me doubt complete equality is possible to achieve. Obvious reproductive and hormonal differences aside, I’d like to ask you to consider physical strength. The average man has approximately double the upper body strength of the average woman. Do you think differences like this can be discounted in a liberal society? Do you not see it as a potential problem with regards to equality under the law and in work environments (e.g. sentencing perpetrators of rape and other types of physical assault; military service; dangerous jobs with a physical component)?

[PW] I agree with everything you mention here. Completely. Those differences between men and women are very real and are not going away. While equality may be possible in the numerous areas in which men and women are alike either psychologically or physically (in the area of overlap underlined by Jordan Peterson who stated that “men and women are more the same than they are different”), a complete equality is a ridiculous thing to want or to attempt to mandate socially. That’s why we hear the popular slogan among men’s advocates that “we support equality of opportunity, but not equality of outcome.”

[GA] Speaking of equality in society more broadly, I wish it was possible to achieve. In theory, I do believe we can be different and equal at the same time. However, it’s just not obvious to me what this would look like in practice. Do you think men and women must become more like each other in order to be fully equal? Or can we have equal opportunities and fair legislation, while also celebrating our differences?

[PW] This is something that each modern individual or couple must decide for themselves. Modern society has graced us with the option of following traditional gender roles, or creative modern roles, or perhaps something in between. In his book Myth Of male Power, Warren Farrell advocates a partial move away from traditional gendered roles that ensured cooperation and survival. He referred to those roles as “Stage 1. survival roles” and proposed a move toward roles which are more shared – such as sharing the child rearing and money earning. This proposition of course infuriates advocates of traditional roles. I wouldn’t personally go so far as advocating the transition to Farrell’s Stage-2 roles, but I think its worth noting that we all do have such options available now.

[GA] In ‘The Dying Femme Fatale’, I mourn the death of femininity in the western world. At the time, I was looking at these issues purely from the female perspective. Do you think there’s a place for traditional masculinity and femininity in today’s culture?

[PW] Yes absolutely, there’s a place for traditional femininity and masculinity – especially for those who are attracted to these ways of being. I look at women in traditional cultures who can be powerfully alluring and simultaneously demure by way of complimenting men’;s strength, agency and sexuality – and to my eyes it is art, a beautiful dance that has stood the test of time. Conversely, I also see the art and beauty of men and women who embrace more of their human potential, and if they can make that work in a relationship I say power to them. Again it all comes back to individual choices rather than who is right or wrong….. at least that’s how I tend to view it.

P Wright, Gynocentrism as a Narcissistic Pathology. New Male Studies: An International Journal, ISSN 1839-7816 ~ Vol 9, Issue 1, 2020, Pp. 24–49, 2020 Australian Institute Of Male Health And Studies.

Wright, P. ‘Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology,’ in New Male Studies An International Journal, ISSN 1839-7816 ~ Vol 9, Issue 1, 2020, Pp. 24–49, 2020 Australian Institute Of Male Health And Studies

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Self-actualization and the Red Pill

We often talk about men’s duties and responsibilities, or their failures to man-up and adequately serve women and society. But we rarely talk about men’s needs, nor encourage them to carve out some self-actualized living.

Abraham Maslow’s model of human needs is depicted as a series of hierarchical levels on a pyramid. At the base are what he calls the deficiency needs (D-needs) which must be fulfilled before moving up to enjoy the higher needs. Any absence in deficiency needs, such as social belonging or having enough to eat, creates a sense of deprivation that motivates people to seek satisfaction of those needs.

D-needs are comprised of the lower four of the following levels of need: Physiological, safety, belonging, and self-esteem.

The guiding principle in this model is that each base-need must be satisfied before moving onto the next level of need motivation, culminating finally in the pursuit of personal ‘self-actualization,’ a flowering of human potential inviting more free-time and the luxury of not being preoccupied with constantly servicing base needs for ourselves and others.

Sadly, catering to the deficiency needs of everyone around them is precisely what most men find themselves doing. Men collectively spend most of their waking hours servicing the base needs of others, particularly female others who are freed to pursue the more luxurious need goals related to self-actualization.

Think of the so called ‘housewife’ or ‘home maker,’ or of women who make the sensible choice of working part time so their work-life balance is not deleterious to their aspirations for self-actualisation.

Meanwhile, we often fail to ask who is labouring away at servicing the base needs of society; who is growing the most meat and vegetables to cater to human need; who is transporting the food; who is working longer hours to earn the bigger weekly wage to pay for all the foodstuffs that mostly others will eat? Who is building the houses and infrastructure for people to luxuriate within; Which sex is putting themselves on the line to ensure the safety of others? And which sex is pandering to women’s relationship ideals – including the funding of regular holiday packages, latte and shopping money, and big helpings of benevolent sexism to ensure the ‘esteem needs’ of women are fully met?

You guessed it – they are the base needs servicing army.

Alternatively, and on a more personal level, which sex suffers most homelessness, street violence, workplace injuries, health deprivation, safety deprivation, love/belonging deprivation, depression, suicide or early death? Clearly men are not very good at servicing their own base needs – perhaps because they are so preoccupied serving those of others.

Analysed honestly, a picture emerges of men preoccupied their whole lives with catering to base needs of women and children, and in many cases neglecting those very same needs in themselves. And too often women appear reluctant to fill the breach – perhaps because they are preoccupied with enjoying their own creative pursuits of self-actualization.

Maslow conceptualized his model as a universal path regardless of one’s gender, a human path not requiring sharp distinctions between the big-picture needs of men or women respectively. This however appears far from the reality when we consider that his pyramid today has been carved into distinctly gendered turf, with men relegated to servicing the bottom need-rungs for women (especially physiological and safety needs), or indirectly servicing them via paying taxes to a government who services those same needs, thus allowing women to devote energy to the creative pursuits of romantic love, belonging, self-esteem, and of course the cherry on the top – self-actualization.

Not only do men take care of most physical needs and safety issues, they feel compelled to provide support for whatever higher-need whims their female partners inevitably dream up — “I just do whatever she wants so she can be happy”.

Betty Friedan, champion of the women’s liberation movement and instigator of second-wave feminism called for self-actualization for all women, writing “Only by such a personal commitment to the future can American women break out of the housewife trap and truly find fulfillment… by fulfilling their own unique possibilities as separate human beings.”1

Friedan cited Maslow’s higher-order description of ‘self-actualization’ as essential for women to achieve this aim – and achieve it they have, in spades.

To-date we are still waiting for the cry to go out for male self-actualization.

To a large extent men, being perpetually stuck catering to bottom order needs is a hangover of human survival roles in which men and women divided labours between themselves in order to ensure survival of the family unit and, with it, the species. Having realized that survival, and living now in societies with far less disease, danger, and with greater material abundance, women have collectively seen fit to “liberate” themselves from traditional roles while men, generally speaking, have not. This is what we call the blue-pill conundrum — one sex is living the liberated dream, while the other remains stuck in a traditional service role.

The idea of men reaching for higher order needs is among the hottest of men’s rights questions arising today: i.e. should we remain welded to our traditional roles of protector and provider and hope that “liberated” women will disavow their multi-option lives and come join us in the trenches? Or do we join them and insist that neither sex should be responsible for the base needs of the other while simultaneously neglecting their own safety and higher fulfillment?

I think the question is self-answering.

Men and boys might now pause to consider they have the option to focus on their own base needs as much as anyone else’s. We also have the option to pursue Maslow’s higher-order needs of self-actualization, described as, “the desire for self-fulfilment, namely the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. This tendency might be phrased as the desire to become more and more what one is, to become everything that one is capable of becoming.”2

Self-actualization is further defined by Dictionary.com as “the achievement of one’s full potential through creativity, independence, spontaneity, and a grasp of the real world.” It entails nothing less than the realization of one’s creative, aesthetic, intellectual, and social potential, but it can only come about by the commitment of the self-determined, red pill man to live a life of freedom. He is the one who opts for being over and above selfless sacrifice and catering to survival needs alone. He is the one builds, dreams, cooks, rides a Harley, has hobbies, visits friends, goes on an adventure.

If we accept that there are no victims in life, only volunteers, that means there is literally nothing standing in the way of a more a fulfilling, self-actualized existence. The choice as always is ours.

Peak Experiences
Another concept presented by Maslow’s is peak experiences –those moments of intense happiness that stand apart from usual mundane experience, something he suggested was more likely to occur with regularity for the self-actualized person.

According to Maslow, feelings accompanying peak experiences included “wonder, awe, reverence, humility, surrender, and even worship before the greatness of the experience.” And he added that reality is perceived with a sense of “truth, goodness, beauty, wholeness, aliveness, uniqueness, perfection, completion, justice, simplicity, richness, effortlessness, playfulness, self-sufficiency” 3

Those humans lucky enough to enjoy the self-actualized life, punctuated as it is with peak experiences, would seem to live a privileged existence.

The following Wikipedia list offers some typical characteristics of peak experiences — experiences which in many ways are comparable to the freedoms described under red pill living:

  • loss of judgment to time and space
  • the feeling of being one whole and harmonious self, free of dissociation or inner conflict
  • the feeling of using all capacities and capabilities at their highest potential, or being “fully functioning”
  • functioning effortlessly and easily without strain or struggle
  • feeling completely responsible for perceptions and behavior. Use of self-determination to becoming stronger, more single-minded, and fully volitional
  • being without inhibition, fear, doubt, and self-criticism
  • spontaneity, expressiveness, and naturally flowing behavior that is not constrained by conformity
  • a free mind that is flexible and open to creative thoughts and ideas
  • complete mindfulness of the present moment without influence of past or expected future experiences
  • a physical feeling of warmth, along with a sensation of pleasant vibrations emanating from the heart area outward into the limbs.

Every detail of that list has been described by men who have swallowed the red pill and decided to live life on their own terms.

When men are no longer preoccupied in servicing the needs of Betty Friedan’s liberated women, no longer preoccupied by honey-do lists, the long work hours and the burden of social guilt that accompanies the role of servicing (and ultimately failing) women’s expectations, they can then begin to pursue their own needs as self-actualized men.

Those men who have swallowed the red pill report a new experience of freedom, one that comes with transcendence of temporal time and space as men become less chained to the clock and its plantation-like schedules. There’s far less ‘dissociation or inner conflict’ as blue-pill cognitive dissonance becomes a thing of the past, and self-actualization becomes second nature.

Feminists since Betty Freidan have succeeded in managing all levels of Maslow’s ladder, from physiological needs upwards, for their own self-benefit. They’ve treated human needs as a gendered turf war, with Maslow’s pyramid divided up like real estate on a Monopoly board where all the good properties are owned by women, while men pay rent on their Mayfair and Park Lane stopovers, or go straight to jail. The time to level the playing field is long overdue. 

Sources:

[1] Friedan, Betty, The Feminine Mystique (1963)
[2] Maslow., A. A Theory of Human Motivation, Psychological Review 50, pp. 370-396. (1943)
[3] Maslow, A.H. (1964). Religions, values, and peak experiences. London: Penguin Books Limited