"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Jack London, D.H. Lawrence, And The Predictable Male Course Of Human History

 There is something compelling about the story of Buck, the hero of Jack London’s story The Call of the Wild. He is the epitome of animal determinism.  After years of being yoked to his human masters, tied and tethered in a society alien to his own, he finally escapes, and his male aggressiveness and dominance for so long stymied and subverted, emerge.  He hears the call of the wild – an irresistible appeal to the basic, primitive, primordial nature of every animal being.  There is a completeness and perfection in the male character of Buck – he has no feminine side – and his will is male, one unmistakably virile, potent, and forceful. 

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London, writing in a pre-feminist, post-Victorian era, accepted male dominance as a given – a hardwired, deeply-rooted, ineluctable force of human nature and society, so the literary allusion was not surprising.  After all, he wrote not many years after Ibsen and Strindberg had written their proto-feminist plays in which men are subjugated to female power.  Hedda Gabler rules her weak, impotent husband and controls the destiny of her lover.  She admits, a woman created in Fredrick Nietzsche’s image, that the only validation of life in a meaningless world is the expression of pure will.  

Laura, wife of the Captain in Strindberg’s The Father resents his Victorian era-enabled control over their daughter, renders him mad and incoherent with doubts about their daughter’s legitimacy, and has him committed to an insane asylum.  

Both Rebekka West and Hilde Wangel in Ibsen’s Rosmersholm and The Master Builder manipulate, use, and dominate men under the emotional and psychological control. London wrote at the same time as Theodore Dreiser who created in Sister Carrie a woman who, as determined and purposeful as her Scandinavian fictional counterparts, tires of her weak, disassembled, and purposeless lover and follows her own path to professional and emotional satisfaction.  Emma Bovary, Flaubert’s amoral and destructive character created fifty years earlier, was no different.  She was determined never to be subjected again to male arrogance and received dominance.

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These authors and dramatists sensed, like Shakespeare, the immanent sexual power of women; and suggested that if they could dominate men in the restrictive Elizabethan era, they could easily become the masters of any man, let alone their dominatrices.

Most men have been amused at these fictional imaginings, and have looked only at history.  Men have been the dominant sex since the first human settlements; and while women are no longer dependent on male hunting and armed defense of house, home, and community, they still owe much to male strength, aggressiveness, and will.  While many men may publicly disavow any such male dominance as a primitive evolutionary throwback, privately they feel that they have capitulated their maleness, and accommodated women far too much.  It is one thing to support women’s equality of opportunity and enterprise, another thing to feel threatened by their insistent claims of emotional and intellectual superiority.

Men are retrograde, illiberal, and irremediable, feminists say. Men are obsessed with guns, violence, and competition; and are primitive apes.  Only women have evolved to a higher state of being; and are the only bulwark against male social anarchy.  Their caring, compassionate, collaborative, and participatory ethos has saved us all.

As paraphrased by Dana Antiochus, the political commentator Bill Maher believes that

The inversion of nature that we have experienced as a culture, and the subversive aspect of flipping traditional roles, with its subsequent destruction of society, serves as a signal that we live in a dying system.  It has led to a pussified, sissy, pathetic, lovey-dovey/touchy-feely country of wimps, who put emotion over logic, feeling over reason, in our nurture-heavy/nature-deprived, culture

But is Maher right? Have feminists turned the country into a nation of sissified wimps who value feeling over reason? On the one hand, feminism has changed men’s discourse, at least in public where they nod approvingly at news reports about glass ceilings, rape, abuse, and discrimination.  On the other, men in private share none of these sentiments. They know that biology and human nature have not changed since the Paleolithic.  Men raid, kill, and pillage.  Women cry a lot, like to share their feelings, and want strong men as partners.

One look at Wall Street shows that at least this corner of America has not been feminized.  There is little feel-good, self-esteem ethos in the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs.  It is still male, dog-eat-dog, winner-take-all capitalism at its most brutal. The women who have managed to rise to top executive ranks are just as cut-throat and savage as their male counterparts.

Image result for images poster wolf of wall street

Progressive educators and biological revisionists attempting to stifle male aggressiveness and transform male into female are wrongheaded and falsely idealistic. Human nature is a given; and history offers ample evidence to the persistent combative if not bellicose character of men. It is no surprise that men still rule the military and Wall Street.


Aggressiveness, however, has only recently become a negative characteristic as liberal critics have focused on the excesses of hawkish behavior. Not so long ago it was a trait to be admired and cultivated, an essential part of personal, social, and national strength. It was the attribute that was responsible for a militant defense of family and community; the securing of new and valuable territory and resources; and the expansion of civilization.

Since it is hardwired, male aggressiveness cannot be tamed by interventionist educational programs, scientific revisionism, or progressive blandishments.  All that can be expected is a stand-off between competing armies.  Just as animals fight when they can win, but retreat when they sense they cannot, men exhibit the same instincts for victory and survival.   The product of such behavior is no less than Darwinian survival of the fittest.  In other words, there is neither an upside nor a downside to male aggressiveness.  It simply the genetic code of XY animals.

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Feminist mothers everywhere are appalled that their little boys only want to play with trucks; and furthermore to crash and bang them head on.  If deprived of plastic guns and knives to play with, they will invent cowboy and Indian games with carrot sticks and tree branches.  They watch with amazement how their sons like to roughhouse and wrestle with their fathers while their daughters, no matter how much encouragement they are given to join in the fray, prefer to play house, coddle their dolls, and cook imaginary meals.  

While few men doubt the brutally aggressive, dominant, and destructive nature of some women and would welcome them as leaders of their kill-sweep missions to torch and burn the enemy, they are just as happy to see most women take a back seat to aggressive violence.  

Image result for images little boys with toy monster trucks

It is quite natural that women, only 100 years removed from suffrage, and for millennia before that subject to the rules, regulations, and authority of men and dependent on them for protection and livelihood, would rebel.  We are still in the age of feminist rebellion – a movement which in its most radical form denies any sexual, gender difference between men and women, but which has softened its position to suggest that there indeed might be hardwired, genetic sexual differences. 

Be that as it might be, these reformed feminists argue, full equality of opportunity should be afforded to any woman.  If women can pass the brutally physical demands of Special Forces training to become Green Berets and Seals, so be it.  Latter day feminists have seen that women cannot perform such arduous tasks, nor do they collectively have that testosterone-driven kill mentality.  Perhaps they were not meant to be only mothers, caretakers, and housekeepers, but they surely are more suited to kinder, kuche, kirchen than to MS-13, Chicago posses, and Baltimore street gangs.

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America is going through a transitional phase gender questioning and reconfiguration.  Radical progressives insist that not only are there not two sexes or genders, but many – that gender assignment is a fluid proposition on a fungible, constantly shifting spectrum.  Transgender women (i.e men who prefer to be considered women) can now compete in women’s sports, and because of their genetic DNA are male – more muscled, stronger, and more aggressive – they run the field.  A gender reset will eventually occur and biology and common sense will once again prevail.

Perhaps the most telling aspect of this transitional phase is that most young women today have grown up with strong if not authoritarian fathers.  The days of the stern, absent father may be passed, but those of Freudian father-love are not.  Little girls still want to be loved and made love to by their fathers; and until that little dynamic disappears, men will always have the advantage.

D.H, Lawrence was perhaps the most astute observer of human sexual dynamics.  He wanted nothing to do with traditional conceptions of dominance and submission – men on top.  On the contrary, he believed that desire to dominate or be submissive was common to both sexes and that lovers would have to sort out these preferences.  If such a sexual complementarity could be achieved, then not only would sexual, emotional, and psychic satisfaction be realized, but that a certain spiritual epiphany might be possible.

Image result for images dh lawrence

In this way, Lawrence was very Tantric and Buddhist, both of which placed sexual complementarity at the center of their philosophies.  Neither radical Hindus nor mystical Buddhists ever doubted the difference between male and female; and both saw sexual dynamics as the key to personal and spiritual evolution.

So it is only post-modern, post-feminist women who ignore history, philosophy, biology, and human evolution.   They are so radical in fact that they promote the idea that sex is insignificant as a human motivator or central identifying characteristic. Pick a spot on the gender spectrum and you will be fine.

If Lawrence is right then traditional gender roles are not in themselves noxious or anti-social.  It is personal orientation – that psycho-social, emotional configuration within the context of traditional dominance and submission – that matters and only that. There is room for the Jack London alpha male, and the uxorious Sam Dodsworth who dutifully but lovingly and desperately follows his wife and her lovers around Europe.  In the windy, often preachy but profound Women in Love, Lawrence explicates his views and cheers the War between the Sexes.  Men and women have to duke it out to find sexual resolution.  Meanwhile there is nothing wrong with little boys playing with trucks and girls playing with dolls,  In a truly open, explorative society, they will figure out who’s on top in due time.

Image result for images tantrism symbols

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