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Typos — p. 347: Copernician [= Copernican]

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Chapter XI
Women in Art, Philosophy and Science. The Outlook. Conclusion

From what has been laid down in the previous chapter, it will have been seen that, in the economy of Nature, the female of the species has been endowed with very special qualities which, while they are indispensable to the survival of life, also give her a very definite character, different from that of the male and susceptible of alteration only at the peril of the species.
        Woman, at her best, has been revealed as a creature, who, without exaggeration or fulsomeness, may be called the Custodian and Promoter of Life. If this is the role in which she is at her best, it therefore follows that, in any other role she undertakes, she will display her second best, or her subordinate, side. A creature cannot wantonly do violence to her nature and proceed along lines foreign to the strongest forces that have been evolved in her, and yet hope to achieve the same virtuosity as when she had nature and the tradition of her line both on her side. To repeat the simile already used in this work, as well might you expect a fly to walk with the same facility on its antennæ as on its legs.
        A priori, without examining the evidence for or against our contention, we should expect to find that in Art, Philosophy and Science, which are pursuits exacting qualities frequently antagonistic to the natural prerequisites of woman's role as a Custodian and Promoter of Life, woman can at best only make an inferior display, even if she make any display at all.
        This, as the reader will agree, is surely not a matter of

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opinion, it is one of facts, and the facts can be verified. What would the logic of the most carefully argued thesis signify, if all about us we possessed the evidences of women's unquestioned mastery in Arts, in Philosophy, and in Science?
        This is true enough, and in this respect, the verdict of facts is final. In science and philosophy, says Havelock Ellis, "it is not simply that women are more ready than men to accept what is already accepted and what is most in accordance with appearance — and that it is inconceivable, for instance, that a woman should have devised the Copernician system — but they are less able than men to stand alone." 1 Whether we turn to metaphysics, epistemology, and the other departments of abstract thought, astronomy, physics, or mechanics; whether we turn to medicine, chemistry, philology, geology, physiology or any other of the more modern sciences, or whether we turn to architecture, sculpture, poetry, or painting, the names that really count, the figures that are milestones in the history of these human pursuits — and this is the ultimate criterion — are all names of male performers. There should be no need to elaborate this point. Anyone acquainted even slightly with the history of any art or science, is in a position to accept it without demur. Think what we embrace in the subjects mentioned, when we pronounce the names of Aristotle, Bacon, Hobbes, Kant, Nietzsche, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Harvey, Pasteur, Lyell, Grimm, Pheidias, Michelangelo, Titian!
        It is not legitimate, as we have seen, to argue that men have distinguished themselves more than women in all these fields because women have been suppressed and wilfully stunted. In this respect the Feminists have wished to prove too much, and in doing so have over-reached the truth. Specialization of function must be accompanied by specialization of instinct, impulse, and outlook. The highly specialized functions of woman

        1 Op. cit., pp. 210, 211.

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in the long line of evolution, therefore, must be taken into account, in any inquiry into the striking disparity existing between her performances and man's, in such important departments of life as Art, Philosophy and Science. And if, by taking the said specialization into account, we are able to explain this disparity, what need is there of a hypothesis so very much at variance with historical fact, according to which it is claimed that the difference between the intellectual capacities of man and woman are the outcome of a warping or of a stultification of the female mind, somewhere and somewhen, in the development of the race?
        In connexion with this differentiation of the sexes from the standpoint of their respective capacity in matters of artistic production, it should, however, always be borne in mind that the positive man is distinguished from the positive woman (vide Chapter IV) by the possession of a developed social instinct which, in itself, is a sufficient basis for all his powers of order and arrangement. The relative importance of the social instinct in man — that instinct to which everything in the nature of civilization and ordered human society is to be traced — its power in him to act freely and independently of the reproductive and self preservative instincts, and sometimes even to act against them (as in its control of male lust and its recognition of the responsibilities of that lust) is certainly an important factor in man's superiority over woman in the matter of art production. For Art is not only a social function in the sense that it is an expression of one man's feelings to another, it also partakes, in the forms it adopts, of those elements of order and arrangement which reach their highest manifestation in the ordering and arranging of society. 1 Men, as social animals, are therefore possessed of the necessary sex tradition to produce great artists; whereas women, as pointed out

        1 For a detailed discussion of the relationship of the painter, sculptor, poet, architect and musician to the great social builder and artist, see my Introduction to Van Gogh's Letters (Constable & Co., London).

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in Chapter IV, not only have no sex tradition in the forming of society, i.e. in the creative aspect of the social instinct, to which order, form and arrangement belong, but they are also too much overpowered by one instinct (the reproductive) to allow their rudimentary social instinct free play. As I have already shown, woman only inclines to art, therefore, when (a) her reproductive instinct is prepared to stand aside, because it is not as strong as it might be, owing to some flaw in her ancestry or in the tone or correlation of her bodily parts; or (b) she wishes to wield an extra weapon in attracting the other sex.
        In the first case, she turns to art at the bidding of a genuine impulse to it, arising from a real whisper coming direct from her rudimentary social instinct, in which case her reproductive instinct may be considered as imperfect, suspect, lacking in vigour. In the second case, she turns to art at the bidding of her reproductive instinct, which urges her unconsciously to adopt one of the arts temporarily as an extra feather with which to distinguish her from the ordinary crowd of females about her.
        It is, however, probable that to woman's lack of a strong sex tradition in the free exercise of a social instinct, the unimportance of her performances in the arts is largely due; and seeing that a more perfect equipment in this direction must mean the disturbance of her instincts' balance, and the suppression of her reproductive in favour of her social impulses, it is not likely that, if the human species is to survive, we shall ever witness such a readjustment of woman's instincts as to render great female artists a possibility.
        The reader may wish to point out that the acceptance of the theory of organic evolution hardly allows us to deny that some transformation of woman along lines that would make her able to become a great artist, philosopher or scientist is surely possible. According to this theory there can be no limit to the possible meta-

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morphoses which a deliberate and consistent change in environment and in habit might produce in a number of generations; and, given the will thereto, the end is probably not beyond human achievement. There is some plausibility in this objection; but, as in the matter of the virtues and vices of women, it may well be asked: (l) Whether it is a desirable end, (2) whether the price paid for its achievement — the volatilizing of women's subservience to a concern about the concrete demands of life — can be afforded by a race already somewhat exhausted from the standpoint of vital instincts, and (3) whether the experiment could possibly be made on a sufficiently large scale, for a sufficient number of generations, to bring about a modification of the sex as a whole.
        To transform the whole of the female sex in civilized countries in the hope of bringing forth a female Michelangelo or a female Kant, would seem a hazardous and very laborious experiment, with but a doubtful reward as its object; and seeing that the experiment might and very probably would involve a dangerous depreciation of woman's vital instincts, the endeavour to philosophize with women might quite conceivably end in racial and social suicide.
        There is, however, a grave difficulty in the way of any such experiment, a difficulty that would probably foredoom it to failure from the start; and that is the probability that the appearance of such minds as Michelangelo's or Kant's in the male sex is due to a male characteristic which can by no human means, selectional, educational or otherwise, be transferred to woman. I refer to masculine variability. It is probable that the appearance of all great men is to be ascribed to the law of the greater variability of males than females, and that it never will be possible to achieve in woman that large gamut of endowments which separate, say, a Newton from an average suburban-dwelling newspaper-and-cabbage-fed clerk. The fact that while this greater male variability produces geniuses superior in

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every way to the highest woman, it also produces male fools whose standard of stupidity is far and away higher than any that woman has ever reached, is not denied; but we are bound to reckon with it notwithstanding. And if as biologists assure us, the extreme variability of man is the ultimate cause of the genius, then it seems unlikely that in the experiment above outlined, anything more could be achieved than the deterioration of woman as woman.
        Apart from woman's natural lack of originality, and her absence of initiative, or of that spirit of bold and confident conviction — all of which derive from her necessary role in the relation of the sexes — her indifference to truth is what chiefly incapacitates her for scientific pursuits, as it does for all undertakings where truthfulness is of pre-eminent importance; while her constant subjection to her emotions makes her an untrustworthy judge of all those facts or questions, to which she may be inclined to bear an emotional relation.
        Anyone who has an extensive knowledge of women — even of the most cultivated among them — is aware of how constantly they are guided in their conclusions concerning what is true by hedonistic considerations. Indeed, it is the most difficult thing to persuade a woman even of the most obvious truth, if that truth strikes her as being too unpleasant to be comfortably assimilated to her previous stock of knowledge. In addition to her vital indifference to truth, therefore, woman's emotions add a further disability to her nature in this department. Her convictions are so intimately and unconsciously interwoven with her deepest interests and long-cherished beliefs, that if, to accept a certain truth, these convictions have to be outraged, she prefers to reject that truth as unacceptable. In this sense, woman's thinking is largely feeling, and her thoughts are largely sensations. 1 The

        1 See Lecky (Op. cit., vol. II, p. 360). Speaking of women he says: "They are little capable of impartiality or of doubt; their thinking is chiefly a mode of feeling." See also Buckle (The Influence of Women on the

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more emphatic and stubborn a woman is in any belief, the more strongly you may suspect that she has not facts, but emotional reasons for holding it. 1 That is why women are so notoriously bad at giving reasons for their opinions, and why they are so untrustworthy as judges of matters of fact, where impartiality is a pre requisite. A woman Feminist, for instance, will emphatically claim (I have actually heard a body of them claim this) that the music of Dame Ethel Smyth is equal to any that has been composed by the best male musicians, and she will reiterate this claim and press it the more aggressively and stubbornly the more you try to appeal to her reason with the view of showing her the absurdity of her position. Now the cause of this is not the female Feminist's intellectual conviction that Dame Ethel Smyth's music is actually equal to the best male music, but her strong emotional desire that it should be so; and this strong emotional desire makes her utterly unfit to express an impartial opinion upon it. The truth, which is that Dame Ethel Smyth's music is by no means equal to the most superior male music, is too unpleasant to be accepted; therefore, without any further ado, it is rejected as untrue.
        It is enormously difficult for a woman to divorce her wishes, her likes and dislikes, from her beliefs and from her conclusions; and this, in addition to her natural indifference to the truth, and her lack of originality, is

Progress of Knowledge), the whole argument of which is to the effect that woman's thinking is emotional. Weininger also says (Op. cit., p. 100): "With the woman, thinking and feeling are identical," but this testimony is not nearly as valuable as that of the two former writers, who can in no way be suspected of misogyny.
        1 On this whole question cp. Sir Almroth E. Wright (Op. cit., p 35): "Woman's mind attends in appraising a statement primarily to the mental images which it evokes, and only secondarily — and sometimes not at all — to what is predicated in the statement . . . accepts the congenial as true, and rejects the uncongenial as false; takes the imaginary which is desired for reality, and treats the undesired reality which is out of sight as non-existent."

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enough to explain the fundamental unsuitability of her sex for any scientific pursuit. 1
        These characteristics of woman's mind ought, of course, to exclude her from any function in which impartiality and unemotional judgments are pre-requisite. We ought not to dream, therefore, of placing women on juries, or of making them judges of anything except the most trivial and impersonal questions; and consequently it is perhaps the best proof of our stupidity, or rather of our subjection to female influence, as a nation, that women are not only allowed to sit in our principal governing bodies, but also on our juries. That gross miscarriages of justice are bound to follow, is a prophecy that anyone can mate now, and with absolute confidence that he will prove right. In fact, although at the time of writing, it is hardly more than a twelvemonth since women have been sitting on juries, a gross miscarriage of justice has already occurred. 2
        When, therefore, we hear that on February 24, 1922, Mr. Justice Coleridge, in welcoming four women on the Grand Jury at the Surrey Assizes, said he was satisfied that the administration of justice would be strengthened by women on Grand Juries, we can only shrug our shoulders at the vagaries of the senile — or anile? — judicial mind. (He was apparently seventy-one when he expressed this view.) We should have liked to ask him, on what evidence he, as a judge, based this utterly unwarrantable opinion.

        1 With the softening of men in an effeminate civilization, women are of course, not alone in holding this attitude to truth. Many men, even among the most cultivated, are unable to-day to separate pleasantness from truth; for to do so implies a control of emotion by reason which is not the forte of modern mankind. Not only men writers during the war but also politicians, proved beyond doubt their own and their male audiences' inability to regard truth rationally; and at the present time you are quite as likely to be flatly contradicted by a man as by a woman if you enunciate an unpleasant truth before an ordinary crowd.
        2 Vide Press reports of the William Harkness case, particularly the comments published, after Harkness's execution, in The News of the World for February 26, 1922.

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Had he any evidence? If he had none, why did he, as an expert trained in the sifting of half-truths and untruths from Truth, ever allow himself to make such a wild statement? If he had evidence, where did he get it from? We can condone his senile slobbering over four strange ladies in his court and under his immediate patronage, but he might at least have confined the expression of his sentiments to less harmful amenities than the remark he actually made.
        Verily the emotionalism of our bench of High Court judges is one of the many dangers menacing our civilization; for it furnishes a proof that Feminism and effeminacy are invading the very quarters where they do most harm — that is to say, those quarters on which the nation depends for impartiality and coolness of judgment.
        It is perfectly possible so to change a woman as to convert her into a creature who might be as impartial as a slot machine or a ready-reckoner; but, before this could be achieved, so many of her vital characteristics would have to be destroyed, that the process of education would amount to a training in degeneration, dangerous both to the species and to human life in general. 1
        To employ her, however, in functions demanding characteristics the very opposite of those which are the most vital in her; to place her in a position in which she has to display a love of truth, a lack of emotion, and a capacity for thinking as apart from feelings of desire, like or dislike, is to anticipate this training in degeneration before it has effected its results, and thus to make justice, and every other public function in which she takes part, a pure and unadulterated farce.
        In opposition to the sentimental septuagenarian of the Surrey Assizes, therefore, we prophesy with even more

        1 Arabella Kenealy was tending towards this conclusion when she wrote (Op. cit., p. 155): "The woman of average brain, however, attains the intellectual standards of the man of average brain at cost of her health, of her emotions, or of her morale." I would suggest "and" instead of "or" in the latter part of the sentence.

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conviction than he could possibly feel, that the administration of justice will only be weakened by women on Grand and all other juries.
        In reply to those Feminists who are inclined angrily to dismiss all the above as the outcome of prejudice, or whatever else they may imagine has animated me in writing it, it would be interesting to ask them how they propose to account for woman's inconspicuous part in Art, Philosophy and Science, unless they are prepared to accept as real some of the disabilities which I have shown to be derived from the most vital elements in female nature.
        They cannot now argue that it is due to the systematic repression of women's capacities by men, because this canard is no longer believed by anybody. They can hardly argue that it is due to the frequently adverse conditions of women's life; because we know that some of the greatest geniuses of history were not only born in conditions unfavourable to high achievements, but also produced some of their finest work while still struggling with adversity. If they are not prepared to ascribe the fact to a natural difference between the sexes, which, in view of its being part of the economy of life, it would be dangerous to disturb, what is their position?
        The fact that women possess certain powers of mind peculiar to themselves alone, which enable them frequently to hit at a truth beneath its many disguises, and to appear to guess when they really only see or feel the correct answer to the question, has been asserted and claimed too often to be passed over here without some comment. And we are the less inclined to leave it unnoticed, seeing that both tradition and the wisdom of antiquity take it for granted.
        This power is usually called intuition. It is an immediate road to knowledge, instead of a mediate one. Without reasoning or analysis, the intuitive person perceives the truth.
        In the sense of its being an immediate road to knowledge,

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however, I should doubt very much whether it could be proved that woman possesses intuition. The number of her guesses being infinite, it is only natural that occasionally they should be right. 1 But, in any case, even if we did grant that woman possessed intuition in this sense, we could not claim that she is alone in this possession. All great male poets have possessed it: Heraclitus, Theognis, Shakespeare, Gœthe! When Gœthe perceived the true morphology of the human cranium, after looking at a skull, he saw intuitively a fact which the science of a subsequent Age was only able to prove at the cost of much labour and research. Likewise, when the poet responsible for the opening chapter of Genesis wrote down the order in which the organic world appeared on earth, he perceived intuitively a fact which thousands of years afterwards the analysis and reasoning of science confirmed. We have not on record any such profound scientific fact that was originally discovered intuitively by woman. If, however, women really possessed intuition, in the sense of a power that enabled them immediately to perceive a hidden or hitherto undiscovered truth, the records of the sciences would surely be full of such cases; and we should expect to find the history of every science to consist of an early intuitional period in which all the fundamental great truths were discovered by women, and a later substantiating period, in which these female discoveries were proved and confirmed by the analytical and rational faculties of the male.
        This, however, is not what the history of any science reveals. It frequently records cases of correct guesses on the part of male poets and thinkers, which subsequent generations of male scientists have confirmed; but, to my knowledge, not one such case of a woman.
        Nevertheless, we are bound to treat with some respect a tradition of such hoary antiquity as is this one concern-

        1 Anyone who attempts to keep a record of his wife's, mother's or sister's so-called "intuitive" statements, will soon realize how few of them reveal an accurate power of immediately perceiving truth.

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ing woman's peculiar mental powers, and although we may doubt whether they may be truly characterized by the one word intuition, it is at least incumbent upon us to find a better word, or to explain how the tradition arose, and on what feature of the female psyche it is based.
        The most striking instance of the recognition by the ancients of special spiritual powers in woman, is the employment of virgins as the voices of oracles. The Oracle of Delphi, for example, which was the most celebrated of all the oracles of Apollo, employed a virgin in this way, and she was known as the Pythia of the Temple. Whenever the oracle was consulted she was led by the prophetes to her seat on the tripod, and then, under the influence of the vapour arising from the chasm under her feet, she would fall into a state of delirious intoxication, and utter the sounds which contained the revelations of Apollo. Until about the end of the third century B.C. this virgin was usually a young girl taken from some family of poor country people. About this time, however, a certain Thessalonian named Echecrates is supposed to have seduced her, and thereafter she was replaced by a woman of fifty or over. Three such virgins were constantly employed at Delphi in the heyday of Hellenic civilization, and the pronouncements of the oracle, although they frequently contained prophecies of a very definite kind, were so consistently wise and true, that it is impossible to deny at least some mysterious power behind their inspiration.
        Modern rationalists, like the Greek rationalists of old, have scoffed at the supposed mysterious power that resided in these virgin mediums, but it is easier to scoff than to explain, and the task of dismissing them as a fraud is simpler than that of explaining how a wise people like the ancient Greeks could have maintained their faith in them for generations, if there had not been a. genuine element of divination in their many pronouncements.
        Other oracles were served by women, in addition to that at Delphi, and among these we may mention the Oracle

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of Apollo at Tegyra, the Oracle of Apollo at Argos, the Oracle at Deiradiotes, and the Oracle at Patara in Lycia.
        Whatever the powers were that the mediums used, I, at all events, feel disinclined to doubt their truly mysterious quality, nor do I believe that this mysterious quality was in the nature of a fraud engineered and practised by the priesthood. If the mediums and their peculiar functions were the only instance we had of occult powers being used for prophecy and divination, through the instrumentality of virgins, I should feel more inclined to side with the sceptics. But, seeing that we have in the mediæval belief in the magic of witchcraft further evidence of a popular traditional notion that occult powers of a sort can reside in woman; seeing, moreover, that we have such staggering cases of mysterious virginal inspiration and second sight as that which is typified in the history of Joan of Arc, we can but maintain a humble attitude of mind, and until such time as greater knowledge is given us, readily admit that here there is something outside our philosophy which, while it cannot be denied, is yet akin to what, for lack of a better term, we may call the Unknown.
        When we are told by psychologists, therefore, that in the matter of psycho-therapeutics women reveal greater suggestibility than men; when Baudouin tells us 1 that in applying his system of cure by auto-suggestion, Coué has met with speedier results among women than men, the most we can do, at the present state of our knowledge, is perhaps to suppose that there exists in woman an easier and readier contact with the unconscious mind, that women are therefore able to communicate with greater success than men with that mysterious reservoir of strength and life, now designated vaguely as the Unconscious, and it is in this power that we must seek an explanation of the miraculous phenomena with which, for millenniums, Women have been traditionally associated.
        In any case, it must now be obvious that it would be a

        1 See several passages in his Suggestion and Auto-Suggestion.

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mistake to call this power intuition, i.e. an immediate perception of objective scientific truth; because tradition and history alike give us no record of objective scientific facts that have been discovered by women in this way. It would be more accurate, for the present, to regard it as a sort of clairvoyance, a power of presaging an event, by feeling correctly the significance of antecedent circumstances or perturbations preceding the event. Presumably every event in history is but the inevitable bursting of a mine, the various trains of gunpowder to which may be accurately located and recognized some time before the explosion takes place. Given a degree of sensitiveness that feels one or more of the existing trains, before their presence is even suspected by the remainder of mankind, and correctly traces their course to an ultimate goal, and the presentiment that a perturbation will sooner or later occur at that goal, must follow with more or less intensity.
        How this presentiment or feeling becomes conscious, how the virgin Pythia of Delphi felt, for instance, that the Persians would one day plunder and burn the Temple of Didyma, and accurately prophesied the event some time before it happened, it is impossible to say; as well might we try to explain the accurate weather prognostications of snails, of swallows, or of the monkeys on the rocks of Gibraltar. This, however, is certain, that a kind of second sight is frequently given to women, particularly to young virgins (probably owing to their condition of acute apprehensive- and sensitive-ness); but whether it will ever be explained as a sort of feeling intelligence of the periphery of their bodies, or of their sight, or of their ears, or definitely located in a peculiar function of their psyche, it is at present impossible to say. 1

        1 The fact that certain organisms in the animal kingdom use senses which, as far as we can tell, have neither sight, taste, smell, hearing, nor touch, for their basis, is shown by W. S. Coleman in his British Butterflies. The manner in which the males of the Kentish Glory Moth, for instance, are attracted to the female, when she is sometimes more than a mile away from them, is utterly unknown, and Coleman is compelled to refer it to a sort of clairvoyance. (See pp. 28–29.)

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        In conclusion, however, I must, for the sake of the reader unacquainted with the history of this aspect of the human mind, call attention to the fact that men, too, have been known to possess these very powers. It is in no spirit of hostility to women that I here add this reminder of a well-known fact, but simply with a view to saving myself from misinterpretation.
        The feminist reader, who will imagine that the bulk of this book, instead of having been dictated by a feeling of deep friendliness to women, is really the work of prejudice, will halt here, and feel perhaps a certain disappointment. Here was I, at last, generously according a unique psychical power to woman, and lo! I now proceed to add that even this peculiar gift is not peculiar, and that she shares it with man.
        Alas, yes! The truth must be admitted. The most we can say is, that women perhaps possess it more frequently, more normally than men; but that men have possessed it, and will continue to possess it, cannot, I fear, be denied.
        The ancients, whose wisdom in these matters is our first hint of the existence of such occult powers in humanity were perfectly well aware of this fact. The oracles at the Hill of Ptoon, at Claros, at Olympia, and in the Oasis of Lybia (Zeus Ammon), and many others, were all conducted by men, while that of Zeus at Dodona, was conducted by men at first, and only in later times by women.
        The records of the Jewish race and of the Middle Ages are full of instances of men whose "clairvoyance" was well known, while in the East, the employment of men in functions where powers of divination and clairvoyance are essential, is almost universal.
        Whether these facts justify the ultimate conclusion that, while man includes woman, woman does not include man — that while all that is woman is man, all that is man is not woman, it is perhaps a little difficult to say. At all events, it is my belief that the truth resides very

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near, if not actually in, this statement of the relation of the sexes; and although I claim no originality for it as it stands, I think it helpful in explaining briefly much that will probably be eternally true about this relation.

*        *        *        *        *

        The Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon races have little of the seer in their constitution. They are better at meeting and enduring disaster than at foreseeing and forestalling it. They are suspicious of prophets and prophecy, because they have none of the gifts that would enable them to indulge in vaticinations themselves. Not being possessed of any capacity for divining the ultimate bourne of current tendencies, they doubt very much whether it is possible for any man to foretell that bourne, or to describe it in anticipation. They are completely wedded to the doctrine of experience. "What you have not experienced you cannot possibly know," — this is the ultimate epistemological doctrine of these two races. The consequence of this is that they are constantly in the precarious position of him who, knowing nothing of poisons, and being quite unable to predict their possible effect, has to wait for the consequence of having partaken of strange drugs before he can know whether they are good for him or not.
        Such an attitude would be excusable at the dawn of history, at the beginning of human life, or in the Garden of Eden. It seems quite inexcusable in the present Age. And yet, although the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic races have the whole of the accumulated history of civilized mankind, and the whole of the tradition of humanity, at their command, they still persist in demanding individual experience of everything, before they will pronounce upon it.
        The fact that in such circumstances one may quite easily die of experience, or at least fall into a hopeless decline as the result of it, never seems to occur to them. They go blundering on, refusing to learn from the lessons

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of previous civilizations, and determined to allow every possible experience of mankind to work its worst consequences upon them, as if these consequences had never been heard of in the world before.
        It is so with Democracy, and it will be so with Ochlocracy. These things have been tried before. They are known, and have proved fatal to the civilization that tried them. But what is that to the Teuton and Anglo-Saxon? He has no personal experience of their evils, and is therefore determined to stake the fate of his civilization on trying them.
        Even without actual experience of their evils, either in the present or the past, it would be simple for anyone, equipped with only a little insight and wisdom, to foresee exactly whither democracy will lead, whither it must lead, whither it cannot help leading; for you cannot conduct any institution with a committee consisting of everybody, without condemning that institution to immediate or ultimate disaster. Democracy has only to be thought about for a few hours, in order to be dismissed as the most stupid of all forms of government. Even if other civilizations had failed to try it, even if democracy were a hitherto unexplored field, a moment's reflection would be sufficient to enable one to condemn it as utterly hopeless.
        Such, however, is the constitution of the Teutonic and Anglo Saxon mind, that the people of these races will require to see their civilization in ruins about them, as the result of their experiment with democracy, before they will be prepared to alter their opinion on the subject of democratic institutions, and agree to label them "Poison" for all time.
        What is true of democracy in Teutonic and Anglo-Saxon countries, is also true of Feminism. It is possible to say now quite positively that Feminism is stupid and wrong. It is possible to prophesy with complete certainty that Feminism will only aggravate the disasters already overtaking civilization. To anyone who feels

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that the arguments advanced in this book cannot be cavalierly dismissed as negligible, it must be plain that modern humanity's experiment with Feminism, by striking nearer to the roots of Life, is perhaps even more dangerous to civilization and to the race, than Democracy itself. But let no one who feels disposed to take this view imagine for one moment that the Anglo-Saxon or Teuton will therefore stop the experiment of Feminism here and now. To the Anglo-Saxon and the Teuton, Feminism is an unexplored experience. However mad, however dangerous, and however mortal it may be, it will therefore be allowed to proceed until its danger and its deadliness are apparent to all. The fact that, by that time, it may be too late to reverse the engine, too late to repair the havoc wrought, does not disturb the Teuton or Anglo-Saxon mind for one minute. To lock the stable door after the horse has gone, to label "Poison" an emptied phial, are practices so common, so habitual in England, and in all countries like England, that it would be romantic to hope that any halt will be called in the modern stampede in favour of Democracy and Feminism until long after their worst consequences have become plain to the meanest intelligence. This fact, however, would not be sufficient to exonerate anyone like myself from all blame, if he omitted to raise his voice above the roar of the stampede, to try at last to call attention to its dangers. For, even if I may fail to gain the ear of my own countrymen and all those who resemble them, I may at least have the satisfaction of warning off those who have not yet become involved in the colossal errors of Western and particularly Anglo-Saxon civilization.
        The outlook, then, is decidedly depressing. It seems almost certain that the experiment of Feminism, far from being arrested, will be pursued further and further. Not until its worst consequences begin to be understood by the dullest inhabitants in Great Britain, is it in the least likely to be regarded as a possible mistake; and,

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seeing that England and America — not to speak of France and the northern countries of Europe — have it in their power to set an example to the rest of the world, it is probable that the harm it will do will be world wide and deep seated before anything in the nature of a revulsion of feeling begins to make itself felt.
        The prospects of an immediate revulsion of feeling in this country are not very hopeful. There are indeed signs of such a movement; but, in my opinion, it is too feeble, too sporadic, and too unreasoning to be effective. 1 It is very much more likely that Feminism will enjoy a fresh access of power and popularity in the near future, than that it will meet with any serious reverse; for almost everybody to-day is an unconscious feminist. Every journalist, novelist, poet and public man, with but few exceptions, takes the first principles of Feminism for granted. No one seriously doubts, for instance, that woman has exercised a beneficent influence over civilization; the absurd idealism which represents woman as the unselfish, self-sacrificing, partner in human life, is almost universally accepted. Everybody is inclined to regard man as the unmoral (non social or anti-social) and woman as the moral (social) sex, and to hold the sexes as otherwise perfectly equal. And as long as these false ideas prevail, it cannot be a matter of surprise that modern man should have come to the conclusion that the more women's influence is made to prevail, the better the world will be. It is true that there are still a number of intelligent and healthy people who are prepared to enlighten the world on the danger of this tendency; but their voice can hardly be heard above the clamour of the other side. In fact, the victory of the Feminist standpoint is so complete, that success in any field to-day presupposes a certain deep and sometimes quite unconscious sympathy with Feminist ideals. All those who fail to confirm this

        1 It is largely animated by commercial and industrial rivalry, and this sort of opposition to Feminism is too contemptible to inspire much enthusiasm.

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tendency, all those who attempt to tear away the tinsel of dangerous sentiment and sentimentality that now adorns the female of the species, and to raise a masculine voice of protest against the absurd idealization that disfigures and distorts and will ultimately ruin her, finds the whole front of modern criticism, modern prejudice, and even modern philosophy against him.
        The chances are, then, that before another century dawns, we shall see women as judges, women in holy orders, and even women as Cabinet Ministers. But by the time this comes about, if it should come about, it is to be hoped that the influence of Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic countries will have sufficiently declined in the world, for their example to be no more than a sign board, a warning and a danger-signal, to inform other nations of the fatal peril of following in their wake.
        The reforms suggested in this work, for the purpose of curtailing the power of women and of instituting saner and healthier views of marriage, are hardly likely to be adopted while the influence of Feminists remains in the ascendant; for the possibility of greater happiness and greater health resulting from such reforms could hardly be admitted by a public which, through being largely under the direction of Feminist sentiments on the subject, must take a romantic rather than a realistic view of the relation of the sexes. Indeed, the probability is that the views regarding marriage, and the laws regulating it, will grow steadily more and more insane as the century advances and the more deeply we sink into Feminism; for the increasing influence of women in every sphere, including particularly politics, can only tend to falsify and destroy every natural relation and every sound institution of social life. With perfect confidence, therefore, we can prophesy an increasing degeneracy of life in England, that will reach its lowest point with the zenith of feminine influence; but whether at the end of this tragic cycle there will remain sufficient health and sanity in the population to help towards a recovery of its former

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greatness, and towards a reaction that will prove salutary, is a question that we should require a Pythia of Delphi to answer for us.
        The same remarks apply to the reforms suggested in the chapter on the Old Maid. Not until England has suffered very much more cruelly than she has suffered hitherto, can we hope to see reforms introduced which, for their initiation, would require not only the defeat of Feminism, but also a state of mind entirely purged of feminine, romantic, and anti-male influences. But this moment is still a very long way off. The fibre of the nation will require to be very substantially stiffened before these happenings will be descried even on the most distant horizon, and it is feared that this stiffening process will be achieved only by the fierce lesson of a cruel disaster. Nothing else will convince people that the road has been a wrong one.

*        *        *        *        *

        I have now come to the end of my undertaking. I have called my work A Vindication, because I sincerely meant it as a book friendly in spirit to the female sex, and one in which the worst that can be said about them is shown to be but the outcome of their best, or at least but the result of a misuse or abuse of their best. I have attempted to show that their virtues, like their vices, are all derived from the unalterable vital instincts which their evolutionary role, as the mothers of the race, have gradually implanted in them and fixed in them for ever. Not the smallest suspicion of hostility or bitterness towards women has animated me in writing one line of the preceding pages. It is my conviction that those who misunderstand women, who wish to make them more negative, and who flatter them into the belief that their present and traditional inferiority to man is not natural but "artificial," are the true enemies of womankind. It is they who are now contriving woman's unhappiness, and who, in conspiring to rob her of the greatest joys of

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which her body and spirit are heirs, distract her attention from their nefarious scheme by holding before her prizes which, in the ripeness of time, she herself recognizes as mere baubles.
        The possibilities of human nature are so incalculable, and the freaks of adaptation so manifold, that it is by no means impossible to destroy the woman in woman and to convert her into a creature in which masculine instincts and aspirations come into constant conflict with a non-masculine physique and a non-masculine racial history. As an ideal achievement this is not impossible. The only question humanity has to decide is whether such a metamorphosis is desirable; whether in the interests both of woman herself and the species in general, such a transformation will be for the good. It is true, as we have seen, that it will never be possible to rear female geniuses equal to male geniuses, because these extremes in men seem to be due to a purely masculine tendency to greater variability; but a more modest programme of masculinization is certainly not impossible. Make woman honest, upright, straightforward, however; make her impartial; make her scrupulous; make her the reverse of vulgar; destroy her love of petty power, her vanity and her sensuality; and what, in sooth, will you have achieved? You will have undermined the very instincts that Nature has implanted in her to secure the survival of the species at all costs, and in the face of everything. If that is desirable, if that is an ideal worthy of our aspirations, then certainly let us do all in our power to realize it. If, however, it is possible to entertain the smallest shadow of doubt concerning the wisdom of this course; if by the exercise of a little humility we can question whether our nineteenth century or our twentieth-century ideals can possibly be more profound and more far-sighted than the eternal sagacity of Nature; if there are still reasons for feeling that it is not woman as I have described her in these pages, but man himself — man as we know him in this post-war Europe of 1922 — who is really in direst

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need of transformation; then, it seems to me, that it is above all important to pause and carefully to take our bearings before we make this daring plunge; for we cannot now with any pretence of honesty or good faith claim that it is a plunge into the unknown.

The End



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