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Blackpill [Serious]Arthur Schopenhauer On Women (dnrcels DNE)

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On Women.​

by
Arthur Schopenhauer



These few words of Jouy, Sans les femmes le commencement denotre vie seroit privé de secours, le milieu de plaisirs et la finde consolation, more exactly express, in my opinion, the truepraise of woman than Schiller’s poem, Würde derFrauen, which is the fruit of much careful thought andimpressive because of its antithesis and use of contrast. The samething is more pathetically expressed by Byron inSardanapalus, Act i, Sc. 2:—
“The very first
Of human life must spring from woman’s breast,
Your first small words are taught you from her lips,
Your first tears quench’d by her, and your last sighs
Too often breathed out in a woman’s hearing,
When men have shrunk from the ignoble care
Of watching the last hour of him who led them.”
Both passages show the right point of view for the appreciationof women.
One need only look at a woman’s shape to discover that sheis not intended for either too much mental or too much physicalwork. She pays the debt of life not by what she does but by whatshe suffers—by the pains of child-bearing, care for thechild, and by subjection to man, to whom she should be a patientand cheerful companion. The greatest sorrows and joys or greatexhibition of strength are not assigned to her; her life shouldflow more quietly, more gently, and less obtrusively thanman’s, without her being essentially happier orunhappier.



Women are directly adapted to act as the nurses and educators ofour early childhood, for the simple reason that they themselves arechildish, foolish, and short-sighted—in a word, are bigchildren all their lives, something intermediate between the childand the man, who is a man in the strict sense of the word. Considerhow a young girl will toy day after day with a child, dance with itand sing to it; and then consider what a man, with the very bestintentions in the world, could do in her place.



With girls, Nature has had in view what is called in a dramaticsense a “striking effect,” for she endows them for afew years with a richness of beauty and a, fulness of charm at theexpense of the rest of their lives; so that they may during theseyears ensnare the fantasy of a man to such a degree as to make himrush into taking the honourable care of them, in some kind of form,for a lifetime—a step which would not seem sufficientlyjustified if he only considered the matter. Accordingly, Nature hasfurnished woman, as she has the rest of her creatures, with theweapons and implements necessary for the protection of herexistence and for just the length of time that they will be ofservice to her; so that Nature has proceeded here with her usualeconomy. Just as the female ant after coition loses her wings,which then become superfluous, nay, dangerous for breedingpurposes, so for the most part does a woman lose her beauty aftergiving birth to one or two children; and probably for the samereasons.
Then again we find that young girls in their hearts regard theirdomestic or other affairs as secondary things, if not as a merejest. Love, conquests, and all that these include, such asdressing, dancing, and so on, they give their seriousattention.



The nobler and more perfect a thing is, the later and slower isit in reaching maturity. Man reaches the maturity of his reasoningand mental faculties scarcely before he is eight-and-twenty; womanwhen she is eighteen; but hers is reason of very narrowlimitations. This is why women remain children all their lives, forthey always see only what is near at hand, cling to the present,take the appearance of a thing for reality, and prefer triflingmatters to the most important. It is by virtue of man’sreasoning powers that he does not live in the present only, likethe brute, but observes and ponders over the past and future; andfrom this spring discretion, care, and that anxiety which we sofrequently notice in people. The advantages, as well as thedisadvantages, that this entails, make woman, in consequence of herweaker reasoning powers, less of a partaker in them. Moreover, sheis intellectually short-sighted, for although her intuitiveunderstanding quickly perceives what is near to her, on the otherhand her circle of vision is limited and does not embrace anythingthat is remote; hence everything that is absent or past, or in thefuture, affects women in a less degree than men. This is why theyhave greater inclination for extravagance, which sometimes borderson madness. Women in their hearts think that men are intended toearn money so that they may spend it, if possible during theirhusband’s lifetime, but at any rate after his death.
As soon as he has given them his earnings on which to keep housethey are strengthened in this belief. Although all this entailsmany disadvantages, yet it has this advantage—that a womanlives more in the present than a man, and that she enjoys it morekeenly if it is at all bearable. This is the origin of thatcheerfulness which is peculiar to woman and makes her fit to divertman, and in case of need, to console him when he is weighed down bycares. To consult women in matters of difficulty, as the Germansused to do in old times, is by no means a matter to be overlooked;for their way of grasping a thing is quite different from ours,chiefly because they like the shortest way to the point, andusually keep their attention fixed upon what lies nearest; whilewe, as a rule, see beyond it, for the simple reason that it liesunder our nose; it then becomes necessary for us to be brought backto the thing in order to obtain a near and simple view. This is whywomen are more sober in their judgment than we, and why they seenothing more in things than is really there; while we, if ourpassions are roused, slightly exaggerate or add to ourimagination.
It is because women’s reasoning powers are weaker thatthey show more sympathy for the unfortunate than men, andconsequently take a kindlier interest in them. On the other hand,women are inferior to men in matters of justice, honesty, andconscientiousness. Again, because their reasoning faculty is weak,things clearly visible and real, and belonging to the present,exercise a power over them which is rarely counteracted by abstractthoughts, fixed maxims, or firm resolutions, in general, by regardfor the past and future or by consideration for what is absent andremote. Accordingly they have the first and principal qualities ofvirtue, but they lack the secondary qualities which are often anecessary instrument in developing it. Women may be compared inthis respect to an organism that has a liver but nogall-bladder.9 So that it will befound that the fundamental fault in the character of women is thatthey have no “sense of justice.” This arisesfrom their deficiency in the power of reasoning already referredto, and reflection, but is also partly due to the fact that Naturehas not destined them, as the weaker sex, to be dependent onstrength but on cunning; this is why they are instinctively crafty,and have an ineradicable tendency to lie. For as lions arefurnished with claws and teeth, elephants with tusks, boars withfangs, bulls with horns, and the cuttlefish with its dark, inkyfluid, so Nature has provided woman for her protection and defencewith the faculty of dissimulation, and all the power which Naturehas given to man in the form of bodily strength and reason has beenconferred on woman in this form. Hence, dissimulation is innate inwoman and almost as characteristic of the very stupid as of theclever. Accordingly, it is as natural for women to dissemble atevery opportunity as it is for those animals to turn to theirweapons when they are attacked; and they feel in doing so that in acertain measure they are only making use of their rights. Thereforea woman who is perfectly truthful and does not dissemble is perhapsan impossibility. This is why they see through dissimulation inothers so easily; therefore it is not advisable to attempt it withthem. From the fundamental defect that has been stated, and allthat it involves, spring falseness, faithlessness, treachery,ungratefulness, and so on. In a court of justice women are moreoften found guilty of perjury than men. It is indeed to begenerally questioned whether they should be allowed to take an oathat all. From time to time there are repeated cases everywhere ofladies, who want for nothing, secretly pocketing and taking awaythings from shop counters.



Nature has made it the calling of the young, strong, andhandsome men to look after the propagation of the human race; sothat the species may not degenerate. This is the firm will ofNature, and it finds its expression in the passions of women. Thislaw surpasses all others in both age and power. Woe then to the manwho sets up rights and interests in such a way as to make themstand in the way of it; for whatever he may do or say, they will,at the first significant onset, be unmercifully annihilated. Forthe secret, unformulated, nay, unconscious but innate moral ofwoman is: We are justified in deceiving those who, because theycare a little for us,—that is to say for theindividual,—imagine they have obtained rights overthe species. The constitution, and consequently the welfare of thespecies, have been put into our hands and entrusted to our carethrough the medium of the next generation which proceeds from us;let us fulfil our duties conscientiously.
But women are by no means conscious of this leading principlein abstracto, they are only conscious of it inconcreto, and have no other way of expressing it than in themanner in which they act when the opportunity arrives. So thattheir conscience does not trouble them so much as we imagine, forin the darkest depths of their hearts they are conscious that inviolating their duty towards the individual they have all thebetter fulfilled it towards the species, whose claim upon them isinfinitely greater. (A fuller explanation of this matter may befound in vol. ii., ch. 44, in my chief work, Die Welt als Willeund Vorstellung.)
Because women in truth exist entirely for the propagation of therace, and their destiny ends here, they live more for the speciesthan for the individual, and in their hearts take the affairs ofthe species more seriously than those of the individual. This givesto their whole being and character a certain frivolousness, andaltogether a certain tendency which is fundamentally different fromthat of man; and this it is which develops that discord in marriedlife which is so prevalent and almost the normal state.
It is natural for a feeling of mere indifference to existbetween men, but between women it is actual enmity. This is dueperhaps to the fact that odium figulinum in the case ofmen, is limited to their everyday affairs, but with women embracesthe whole sex; since they have only one kind of business. Even whenthey meet in the street, they look at each other like Guelphs andGhibellines. And it is quite evident when two women first make eachother’s acquaintance that they exhibit more constraint anddissimulation than two men placed in similar circumstances. This iswhy an exchange of compliments between two women is much moreridiculous than between two men. Further, while a man will, as arule, address others, even those inferior to himself, with acertain feeling of consideration and humanity, it is unbearable tosee how proudly and disdainfully a lady of rank will, for the mostpart, behave towards one who is in a lower rank (not employed inher service) when she speaks to her. This may be becausedifferences of rank are much more precarious with women than withus, and consequently more quickly change their line of conduct andelevate them, or because while a hundred things must be weighed inour case, there is only one to be weighed in theirs, namely, withwhich man they have found favour; and again, because of theone-sided nature of their vocation they stand in closerrelationship to each other than men do; and so it is they try torender prominent the differences of rank.



It is only the man whose intellect is clouded by his sexualinstinct that could give that stunted, narrow-shouldered,broad-hipped, and short-legged race the name of the fairsex; for the entire beauty of the sex is based on thisinstinct. One would be more justified in calling them theunaesthetic sex than the beautiful. Neither for music, norfor poetry, nor for fine art have they any real or true sense andsusceptibility, and it is mere mockery on their part, in theirdesire to please, if they affect any such thing.
This makes them incapable of taking a purely objective interestin anything, and the reason for it is, I fancy, as follows. A manstrives to get direct mastery over things either byunderstanding them or by compulsion. But a woman is always andeverywhere driven to indirect mastery, namely through aman; all her direct mastery being limited to him alone.Therefore it lies in woman’s nature to look upon everythingonly as a means for winning man, and her interest in anything elseis always a simulated one, a mere roundabout way to gain her ends,consisting of coquetry and pretence. Hence Rousseau said, Lesfemmes, en général, n’aiment aucun art, ne se connoissent àaucun et n’ont aucun génie (Lettre à d’Alembert,note xx.). Every one who can see through a sham must have foundthis to be the case. One need only watch the way they behave at aconcert, the opera, or the play; the childish simplicity, forinstance, with which they keep on chattering during the finestpassages in the greatest masterpieces. If it is true that theGreeks forbade women to go to the play, they acted in a right way;for they would at any rate be able to hear something. In our day itwould be more appropriate to substitute taceat mulier intheatro for taceat mulier in ecclesia; and this mightperhaps be put up in big letters on the curtain.
Nothing different can be expected of women if it is borne inmind that the most eminent of the whole sex have never accomplishedanything in the fine arts that is really great, genuine, andoriginal, or given to the world any kind of work of permanentvalue. This is most striking in regard to painting, the techniqueof which is as much within their reach as within ours; this is whythey pursue it so industriously. Still, they have not a singlegreat painting to show, for the simple reason that they lack thatobjectivity of mind which is precisely what is so directlynecessary in painting. They always stick to what is subjective. Forthis reason, ordinary women have no susceptibility for painting atall: for natura non facet saltum. And Huarte, in his bookwhich has been famous for three hundred years, Examen deingenios para las scienzias, contends that women do notpossess the higher capacities. Individual and partial exceptions donot alter the matter; women are and remain, taken altogether, themost thorough and incurable philistines; and because of theextremely absurd arrangement which allows them to share theposition and title of their husbands they are a constant stimulusto his ignoble ambitions. And further, it is because theyare philistines that modern society, to which they give the toneand where they have sway, has become corrupted. As regards theirposition, one should be guided by Napoleon’s maxim, Lesfemmes n’ont pas de rang; and regarding them in otherthings, Chamfort says very truly: Elles sont faites pourcommercer avec nos faiblesses avec notre folie, mais non avec notreraison. Il existe entre elles et les hommes des sympathiesd’épiderme et très-peu de sympathies d’espritd’âme et de caractère. They are the sexussequior, the second sex in every respect, therefore theirweaknesses should be spared, but to treat women with extremereverence is ridiculous, and lowers us in their own eyes. Whennature divided the human race into two parts, she did not cut itexactly through the middle! The difference between the positive andnegative poles, according to polarity, is not merely qualitativebut also quantitative. And it was in this light that the ancientsand people of the East regarded woman; they recognised her trueposition better than we, with our old French ideas of gallantry andabsurd veneration, that highest product of Christian–Teutonicstupidity. These ideas have only served to make them arrogant andimperious, to such an extent as to remind one at times of the holyapes in Benares, who, in the consciousness of their holiness andinviolability, think they can do anything and everything theyplease.
In the West, the woman, that is to say the “lady,”finds herself in a fausse position; for woman, rightlynamed by the ancients sexus sequior, is by no means fit tobe the object of our honour and veneration, or to hold her headhigher than man and to have the same rights as he. The consequencesof this fausse position are sufficiently clear.Accordingly, it would be a very desirable thing if this Number Twoof the human race in Europe were assigned her natural position, andthe lady-grievance got rid of, which is not only ridiculed by thewhole of Asia, but would have been equally ridiculed by Greece andRome. The result of this would be that the condition of our social,civil, and political affairs would be incalculably improved. TheSalic law would be unnecessary; it would be a superfluous truism.The European lady, strictly speaking, is a creature who should notexist at all; but there ought to be housekeepers, and young girlswho hope to become such; and they should be brought up not to bearrogant, but to be domesticated and submissive. It is exactlybecause there are ladies in Europe that women of a lowerstanding, that is to say, the greater majority of the sex, are muchmore unhappy than they are in the East. Even Lord Byron says(Letters and Papers, by Thomas Moore, vol. ii. p. 399),Thought of the state of women under the ancientGreeks—convenient enough. Present state, a remnant of thebarbarism of the chivalric and feudal ages—artificial andunnatural. They ought to mind home—and be well fed andclothed—but not mixed in society. Well educated, too, inreligion—but to read neither poetry norpolitics—nothing but books of piety and cookery.Music—drawing—dancing—also a little gardening andploughing now and then. I have seen them mending the roads inEpirus with good success. Why not, as well as hay-making andmilking?



In our part of the world, where monogamy is in force, to marrymeans to halve one’s rights and to double one’s duties.When the laws granted woman the same rights as man, they shouldalso have given her a masculine power of reason. On the contrary,just as the privileges and honours which the laws decree to womensurpass what Nature has meted out to them, so is there aproportional decrease in the number of women who really share theseprivileges; therefore the remainder are deprived of their naturalrights in so far as the others have been given more than Natureaccords.
For the unnatural position of privilege which the institution ofmonogamy, and the laws of marriage which accompany it, assign tothe woman, whereby she is regarded throughout as a full equivalentof the man, which she is not by any means, cause intelligent andprudent men to reflect a great deal before they make so great asacrifice and consent to so unfair an arrangement. Therefore,whilst among polygamous nations every woman finds maintenance,where monogamy exists the number of married women is limited, and acountless number of women who are without support remain over;those in the upper classes vegetate as useless old maids, those inthe lower are reduced to very hard work of a distasteful nature, orbecome prostitutes, and lead a life which is as joyless as it isvoid of honour. But under such circumstances they become anecessity to the masculine sex; so that their position is openlyrecognised as a special means for protecting from seduction thoseother women favoured by fate either to have found husbands, or whohope to find them. In London alone there are 80,000 prostitutes.Then what are these women who have come too quickly to this mostterrible end but human sacrifices on the altar of monogamy? Thewomen here referred to and who are placed in this wretched positionare the inevitable counterbalance to the European lady, with herpretensions and arrogance. Hence polygamy is a real benefit to thefemale sex, taking it as a whole. And, on the other hand,there is no reason why a man whose wife suffers from chronicillness, or remains barren, or has gradually become too old forhim, should not take a second. Many people become converts toMormonism for the precise reasons that they condemn the unnaturalinstitution of monogamy. The conferring of unnatural rights uponwomen has imposed unnatural duties upon them, the violation ofwhich, however, makes them unhappy. For example, many a man thinksmarriage unadvisable as far as his social standing and monetaryposition are concerned, unless he contracts a brilliant match. Hewill then wish to win a woman of his own choice under differentconditions, namely, under those which will render safe her futureand that of her children. Be the conditions ever so just,reasonable, and adequate, and she consents by giving up those undueprivileges which marriage, as the basis of civil society, alone canbestow, she must to a certain extent lose her honour and lead alife of loneliness; since human nature makes us dependent on theopinion of others in a way that is completely out of proportion toits value. While, if the woman does not consent, she runs the riskof being compelled to marry a man she dislikes, or of shrivellingup into an old maid; for the time allotted to her to find a home isvery short. In view of this side of the institution of monogamy,Thomasius’s profoundly learned treatise, deConcubinatu, is well worth reading, for it shows that, amongall nations, and in all ages, down to the Lutheran Reformation,concubinage was allowed, nay, that it was an institution, in acertain measure even recognised by law and associated with nodishonour. And it held this position until the LutheranReformation, when it was recognised as another means for justifyingthe marriage of the clergy; whereupon the Catholic party did notdare to remain behindhand in the matter.
It is useless to argue about polygamy, it must be taken as afact existing everywhere, the mere regulation of which isthe problem to be solved. Where are there, then, any realmonogamists? We all live, at any rate for a time, and the majorityof us always, in polygamy. Consequently, as each man needs manywomen, nothing is more just than to let him, nay, make it incumbentupon him to provide for many women. By this means woman will bebrought back to her proper and natural place as a subordinatebeing, and the lady, that monster of European civilisationand Christian–Teutonic stupidity, with her ridiculous claimto respect and veneration, will no longer exist; there will stillbe women, but no unhappy women, of whom Europe isat present full. The Mormons’ standpoint is right.



In India no woman is ever independent, but each one stands underthe control of her father or her husband, or brother or son, inaccordance with the law of Manu.
It is certainly a revolting idea that widows should sacrificethemselves on their husband’s dead body; but it is alsorevolting that the money which the husband has earned by workingdiligently for all his life, in the hope that he was working forhis children, should be wasted on her paramours. Medium tenuerebeati. The first love of a mother, as that of animals and men,is purely instinctive, and consequently ceases when thechild is no longer physically helpless. After that, the first loveshould be reinstated by a love based on habit and reason; but thisoften does not appear, especially where the mother has not lovedthe father. The love of a father for his children is of a differentnature and more sincere; it is founded on a recognition of his owninner self in the child, and is therefore metaphysical in itsorigin.
In almost every nation, both of the new and old world, and evenamong the Hottentots, property is inherited by the male descendantsalone; it is only in Europe that one has departed from this. Thatthe property which men have with difficulty acquired bylong-continued struggling and hard work should afterwards come intothe hands of women, who, in their want of reason, either squanderit within a short time or otherwise waste it, is an injustice asgreat as it is common, and it should be prevented by limiting theright of women to inherit. It seems to me that it would be a betterarrangement if women, be they widows or daughters, only inheritedthe money for life secured by mortgage, but not the property itselfor the capital, unless there lacked male descendants. It is men whomake the money, and not women; therefore women are neitherjustified in having unconditional possession of it nor capable ofadministrating it. Women should never have the free disposition ofwealth, strictly so-called, which they may inherit, such ascapital, houses, and estates. They need a guardian always;therefore they should not have the guardianship of their childrenunder any circumstances whatever. The vanity of women, even if itshould not be greater than that of men, has this evil in it, thatit is directed on material things—that is to say, on theirpersonal beauty and then on tinsel, pomp, and show. This is whythey are in their right element in society. This it is which makesthem inclined to be extravagant, especially since theypossess little reasoning power. Accordingly, an ancient writersays, [Greek: Gunae to synolon esti dapanaeron physei].10 Men’s vanity, on the other hand,is often directed on non-material advantages, such as intellect,learning, courage, and the like. Aristotle explains in thePolitics11 the greatdisadvantages which the Spartans brought upon themselves bygranting too much to their women, by allowing them the right ofinheritance and dowry, and a great amount of freedom; and how thiscontributed greatly to the fall of Sparta. May it not be that theinfluence of women in France, which has been increasing since LouisXIII.‘s time, was to blame for that gradual corruption of thecourt and government which led to the first Revolution, of whichall subsequent disturbances have been the result? In any case, thefalse position of the female sex, so conspicuously exposed by theexistence of the “lady,” is a fundamental defect in oursocial condition, and this defect, proceeding from the very heartof it, must extend its harmful influence in every direction. Thatwoman is by nature intended to obey is shown by the fact that everywoman who is placed in the unnatural position of absoluteindependence at once attaches herself to some kind of man, by whomshe is controlled and governed; this is because she requires amaster. If she, is young, the man is a lover; if she is old, apriest.
9 Let me refer to what I havesaid in my treatise on The Foundation of Morals, §71.
10 Brunck’sGnomici poetae graeci v. 115.
11 Bk. I., ch. 9.
 
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