This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

10.11. Human Sexuality

General remarks

“In love, acts are carried out without thinking, and its mystery is evident only to a tiny minority of human beings…In the numberless crowd of beings having a human countenance there are very few men; and in this select company there are very few who can understand the meaning of love.”  ~ C. Mauclair, La Magie de l’amour

In this section we wish to outline what, from an absolute point of view, is the significance of the duality of sex, which is to say the polarization of man into ‘male and female.’

One’s understanding of sex is based on one’s anthropology and determined by it. The modern evolutionist framework, for example, determines completely its view of sex. Since according to evolution life proceeds from simple to complex, and since man came from animal, then his sexuality is rooted in his animality ‘with a few modifications.’ This is why we will begin by rejecting various aspects of modern anthropology as it pertains to sex. First and foremost we will reject the evolutionist view and replace it with the opposite: man is the center of creation and in him we find sexuality in its total and undiluted form. Human sexuality is not animal sexuality with something extra added: animal sexuality is human sexuality with something removed. In other words, in man love and sex find full expression, whereas in animals the expression is only partial. Not only is it impossible to understand human sexuality by taking animal sexuality as one’s basis and point of departure: it is also impossible to properly understand animal sexuality without understanding human sexuality.

The sacred science of sex is not empirical, which is another reason modern, profane science cannot access its significance. This knowledge cannot be acquired through observation, but must be drawn from experience, and not common experience but in its most developed and profound forms.

We have already stated repeatedly the laws of dissolution that apply to our world, and that as history unfolds spirituality and in general the profound nature of things becomes veiled in human experience. This applies in every field, and sex is no exception. That love was considered a sacred art in many traditional civilizations should be taken as evidence that what we see before us today, trivialized and chaotic, is likely only a diluted form of what was known in ancient and pre-historical times.

As it has been said, “the fact that humanity makes love foolishly and unconsciously, as it does almost everything, does not prevent love’s mysterious nature from upholding the dignity that belongs to it.”[1]

The point here is that it is invalid to object that sex, as experienced today and perhaps by most people in history, is a proper measure of its limits. This is like saying that because very few people are aware of the process of photosynthesis, that they do not breathe the oxygen it produces. That people may not experience or be consciously aware of the significance of an act does not empty the act of that significance, but only demonstrates that the experience of the essence of a thing is rare and limited.

[1] S. Peladin, La Science de l’amour, Paris, 1911, p. 102.

Eros and sex

Here we will frequently employ the terms eros and sex. Eros refers to the desire or experience of attraction between the sexes, and can also be called ‘sexual love,’ although the term love as used in modern language has many meanings, many of them contradictory and which have nothing to do with sex. Thus, we will prefer the term eros when speaking of this kind of passionate love, which is, we stress, not a conscious determination but rather a desire, feeling or experience. The term sex, on the other hand, refers either to copulation itself or to the duality of human nature presenting itself as male and female. Eros and sex are therefore complementary terms, the latter describing a specific act and the conditions that make it possible, while the former describes the force which motivates it.

Limits of the concept of love

We should go further and say that what we have in mind throughout this discussion is more than the merely physical aspect of sexual union, but at the same time more restricted than common conceptions of ‘love,’ such as what is meant by ‘Christian’ or ‘brotherly’ love. Our ‘eros’ is not limited to the physical union but we can say that coitus is certainly its necessary expression, and any form of love that does not have coitus as its goal is not what we are discussing.

On looking to women to learn about sex

One might object that women have a thing or two to say about this subject and that we ought to have paid closer attention to women authors in our research. The primary difficulty with this claim is something that will be discussed later, but can be addressed here by quoting Havelock Ellis, who said that “the women who write books about these problems in all seriousness and sincerity are often the very last persons to whom one should turn as representatives of their sex; those who know most are those who write least.”

That is to say, the vocation of woman is such that writing academic literature is not a normal expression of her nature. Thus, women who philosophize and commit philosophy to writing can only be considered exceptions and, as exceptions, cannot be considered the best resources for insight. We could perhaps go further and say that women who exercise their talents in a sphere of work that is more properly ‘male’ do so at a cost, and their femininity is necessarily diluted thereby, so that their experience of sex will be less profound than of their peers.

This does not mean that there is nothing in the objection, which is true insofar as it tells us that women have something to teach us about sex, and the witness of traditional civilizations where an ‘art of love’ existed will tell us the same thing. We only insist that women who write scholarly or philosophical works on the subject are not those who know most about it. It is true enough that, ultimately, it falls to woman to ‘introduce’ man to sex, but this is a matter of encounter and not of literary exposition.

Psychoanalysis and sex

Although the practice of psychoanalysis has faded from the public view somewhat, the theories of Freud have become the unconscious assumptions on which the man in the street now operates. The overall framework of Freudian psychoanalysis is that man’s motivations are never always sub-personal (from below rather than from above), stemming from the ‘id’ and the primitive ‘archetypes’ that we have inherited. This the basis of everything and everything is reduced to it. The results are easy to foresee, which is a tendency to reduce all ‘drives’ to sex, and sex to the unconscious, and the unconscious to animal instinct, and so on. Clearly this is just another formulation based on evolution, but with its fixation on sex and its limited success in interpreting a number of psychopathologies was very seductive for the public, and so it remains with us even if the theories themselves are never studied. In short, we can say that this turns things upside down, like evolutionism in general, and that the forces responsible for eros and sex are to be found not ‘below’ but ‘above’, and that we must find our principles in metaphysics and our transcendence rather than in our biological, animal nature.

The significance of the modern obsession

When we survey the contemporary Western preoccupation with sexuality, we might be tempted to conclude that moderns, far from having a diluted sexuality, actually have an exaggerated sense for it. But we can explain this phenomenon with the simple axiom that all consumptives are sensual. That is to say, decadent peoples will always gravitate toward baser pleasures and while tending to become numb and stupefied on the mental level. In fact the latter situation, which is the loss of true intellectuality, is what clears the way for the all-encompassing obsession with physical satisfaction, for one of the primary motivations for abstaining from things like sex and food was to pursue intellectual growth which is stifled by these things. When man no longer seeks satisfaction in spiritual or intellectual work, he still has the same drive for meaning but seeks it on a lower plane, which of course fails to satisfy and which creates an accelerating need for more extreme forms of stimulation in search of satiety.

Exhibitionism and vicarious sexuality

Without any meaningful constraints on the public display of physical love and in female dress, society has opened the way to a kind of exhibitionism which is preferred by some women to actual sexual contact. This is displayed in the tendency to wear more and more revealing clothing, and although the motivation here is always consciously stated as a simple, innocent desire for ‘comfortable clothing’ or ‘style’ and, it is claimed, has nothing to do with inciting lust in the opposite sex, it is plain that sensuality is the driving impulse. The latest trend, as we write these pages, is for women to wear ‘yoga pants’ casually in all public places and situations. They are referred to as ‘pants’, but of course they are what in previous generations would have been called ‘tights’ and would have been seen as an undergarment. That they are ‘comfortable’ we do not doubt, but the fact that what is revealed by the clothing does not seem to enter into the equation in conspicuous. In fact, it seems that the exhibition of the body actually increases the appeal of the clothing choice, rather than giving pause. In other words, we are led to wonder whether these women ‘feel good’ in this clothing for physical reasons or for psychological reasons, that is to say the feeling of comfort is amplified psychologically and emotionally by having more of the body on display.

This fascinating ignorance of the ‘sensual urge’ has multiple causes. It is no exaggeration to say that it is a form of self-worship wherein the woman derives actual pleasure from exhibiting her body, and this enjoyment is in a sense independent of any desire on the part of men who may or may not see her. Women in this respect might not be consciously concerned about what others see, but that does not make it any less sensual and exhibitionist. It does, however, make it easy to deny any sexual motivation, since they can say truly that they are not interested in male attention: they are deriving pleasure from the act of exposure itself.

It should be obvious at this point that such a trend is one that most women, if not stopped by some sort of custom or conscientiousness, will rush to join, and on any given day we see children and young women who are barely teenagers dressed in this sexually alluring way, side-by-side with women much older and whose physical condition would, if the trend were acknowledged as a sexual expression, cause them to rush indoors to change clothes. But because the sexual element is denied, women who are, for example, extremely overweight, do not hesitate to stretch tights over themselves and walk around with every contour in public view. For such women this is a unique experience because women with attractive bodies are almost expected to flaunt themselves in tight clothing, but it has always been an unspoken taboo that this behavior was not acceptable for those possessing a less-than-ideal physical form. The new trend, again with the sexual element repressed, finally permits women of all conditions to partake in the general exhibitionism alongside much younger or more attractive peers.

We cannot pass over the element of erotic violence in this provocative display. Women who, in the words of L.T. Woodward, “make a great show of their bodies but apply a symbolic placard bearing the words ‘Do not touch.’” Such behavior is openly aggressive and, whatever the sociopolitical justification of such demonstrations, it smacks of sadism.

In the end, this is simply gasoline on the fire, and if men respond to it by gawking and drooling and in some cases flat out assaulting women as a result, we should not be surprised, for excess calls to excess and one indulgence brings another. That is not to excuse male misconduct, but merely to point out that such crimes are to be expected under the conditions we have created, and that women in general are not innocent victims when they indiscriminately provoke male lust.

Enslavement to woman in the Kali Yuga

An important part of the traditional teaching on the Dark Age is the inverted relationship between man and woman, wherein man becomes the manipulative and subordinate servant of woman and sex. Thus, in the Mahanirvana-tantra, it is said that in the Dark Age “men become the subjects of women and slaves of pleasure and oppressors of their friends, teachers, and anyone who deserves respect.” Related to this is the fact that in the Kali Yuga (Dark Age) the demon Kali rules, and she happens to be the goddess not only of destruction but of desire and sex.

Stages of regression

In antiquity, civilization was symbolically represented as the human body and types of civilization find their center in the different levels of the body: the head, the highest civilization, finds its center of gravity in the mind; the first regression moves from there to the chest, which corresponds to the heart or heroic age; a final regression moves from the chest to the stomach and loins, which represent nourishment and sex.

D.H. Lawrence

“God the Father, the inscrutable, the unknowable, we bear Him in our flesh, we find Him in woman. She is the door by which we come in and go forth. In her we return to the Father, just like those who, blind and unconscious, were present at the transfiguration.”

Nature and what is natural

When discussing sex, inevitably someone will refer to various animal species and point out behaviors that they exhibit, such as animal promiscuity, and claim that because these behaviors occur ‘in nature,’ they are therefore ‘natural,’ not only to animals but to man as well, since man too is part of nature as they understand it. This stems from an incomprehension, or rather an abuse, of the term ‘nature.’ There is not such thing as ‘nature’ in a general and unqualified sense wherein all things are homogenous and subject to all of the same laws. There are a multitude of things that follow their own specific laws, which is to say there a multitude of natures and each animal species has its own to which it conforms. In other words, each species represents a certain unique type, and its behavior is only ‘natural’ within the bounds of that type and may or may not be natural to any other type. It is ‘natural’ for a whale to live in the ocean, but if we insisted on grouping a horse nature with the whale nature and tossed it into the ocean, we would find out very quickly the error of our view. In other words, just because a behavior occurs ‘in nature’ does not mean that we can call it ‘natural,’ except as it pertains to the species for whom it is proper. Yes, many animals are promiscuous. What has this to do with man? The female Praying Mantis eats the head off of its mate: shall we then recommend this to women, calling it ‘natural’? Mankind has a nature, and this nature has some commonality with the natures found in other species, but similarity is not identity. In order for human behavior to be considered natural it must conform to human nature, and we cannot discern what this is merely by observing promiscuous animals and cannibalistic insects. In other words, we cannot understand human nature by observing non-human behaviors.

Reversing the instinctual view of sex

Above all, to be man is to know. Thus, when we are discussing the integral sexuality of man, we need to insist that its essence is not physical and that even if its culminating act is a physical encounter this does not imply that it was motivated by physical imperatives. It is our position that there is no physical sexual desire in man, and that desire in man is psychic first and foremost and when it expresses itself physically, whether as simple arousal or as actual coitus, that these represent the translation onto the physical plain of a psychic yearning.

The instinct for reproduction

One of the more confused theories put forward to explain sexuality is that it is an expression of an instinct for reproduction. Here it is not pleasure plain and simple that drives sexual behavior, a primal impulse toward the generation of offspring. This theory in particular is nonsense and could only be convincing in an entirely abstracted view of sexuality. Never in the moment of union are the man and woman driven by a desire for reproduction. This is not to say that couples do not desire offspring, nor is it to deny that there have been in the past and still are marriages arranged specifically for the purposes of creating offspring, but what has this to do with sexual desire? Political and social plans are one thing, as are the marriages they direct, but when man and woman come together in the moment, their excitement does not revolve around the prospect of a resulting child. Moreover, we could throw in the face of this theory all of the examples of sexual union where offspring was the last thing desired by the two, and where every pain was taken to avoid this possibility. The modern world and its preference for sterility, in fact, should be enough to set this theory aside. But beyond that, the term is a contradiction in itself, because it implies in the instinct a kind of calculatedness that instinct does not have. Ludwig Klages correctly observed that,

“It is a willful falsification to call the sexual instinct and instinct for reproduction. Reproduction is a possible outcome of sexual activity but is not in any way included in the actual experience of sexual excitement. The animal does not know of it; only man knows…”

And what’s more, this is empirical knowledge gained after the fact and it is ridiculous to try to classify it as an instinct. It seems that this could only be sold to minds whose view of ‘natural’ and ‘evolution’ has become so mystical as to be able to grant it powers of providence and planning.

Asexual reproduction

We should also remark that if the significance of sexuality is sought in evolutionary explanations, which always revolve around the ‘survival of the species’ and everything that is, is explained by saying that it must have been practical and rendered the specimen more ‘fit,’ then we can say that binary sexuality (wherein a species is polarized into male and female) is itself inexplicable. There are a number of organisms of the lower orders that reproduce asexually, without this polarization into male and female. This is undoubtedly simpler and more effective for the survival of the species, and there is no survival reason for things to have developed into a more complicated way of reproducing. The same criticism can in fact be directed at evolutionary theory in general, since most of what supposedly developed from the process cannot possibly be explained in terms of opportuneness or mere survival fitness. As we move from lower to higher, the supposed ‘developments’ are absolutely unnecessary and if the mechanics of evolution worked like we are told, there is no reason why any complex organism would develop at all.

Sexual desire in higher and lower beings

If we compare being of the higher and lower orders, and place them on a spectrum, we find interesting trends that cast more doubt on naturalistic explanations for human sexuality. The higher the being, the more polarized the sexuality, the slower the rate of reproduction, and the stronger the sexual desire. Obviously none of these trends reconcile well with evolutionary theory. It basically demonstrates that sexual desire and the multiplication of the species move in opposite directions, and that mankind, who experiences eros more and expresses it more often, reproduces the least.

The point of the foregoing has not been to show that there is no relation between sexual love and reproduction, but rather to show that the former is not subordinate to the latter, and while the latter is the fruit of the former, it is not its essence. Fruit is the fruit of a generating force: it is a product of something. In man the sexual process is activated by a non-biological element, and so between love and procreation there is a possible but not a necessary connection. It is a great error to refuse to grant legitimacy to love that does not base itself on the fruit: we are not dealing with moral questions here, but with the essence of sexual love itself, and it is what it is whether children are contemplated or not. Only after admitting this and thereby having come to a legitimate understanding of sexuality can we begin to talk about how to handle questions of fertility.

Pleasure as the basis of sex

One the primary mistakes of modern science when it studies sex is to confuse the content of the experience with the conditions which make the experience possible and accompany it. This is especially true if the ‘accompanying conditions’ coincide with the preferred values of its superficial outlook. Given the primacy of physical pleasure in a hedonistic and materialistic civilization, it is no surprise that pleasure is considered the central factor in sexual desire.

The complexity of sexual desire

To summarize what has been said so far, we can say that sexuality is a complex reality that escapes physiological explanation, since physiology only participates in it but does not determine it. Sexual excitement is rooted in the psychic order of things, and physical excitement is a result by means of a kind of transposition. Further, only a metaphysical view can fully explain the nature of both the psychological and the physiological aspects of sex, and as a whole we can say that sexual union is a mechanism for a process of a higher order and with a higher significance than any physical result.

The magnetic theory of love

If we look beyond biology and instinct and move toward the metaphysical perspective, we come to another theory that has been put forward which is not quite metaphysical but comes closer to the truth than anything mentioned so far. This is the ‘magnetic’ theory of love, which explains sexual love a state government by the polarity of the sexes in a manner analogous to the way that positive and negative poles participate in magnetism. This implies that there is more than a simple biological complementarity at work and reveals the supra-physical principle at work behind this process and of which sexual bifurcation is the physical evidence.

The Far Eastern doctrine of tsing and its ramifications

The Far East provides a very good example of a metaphysically informed theory of sexual love. It revolves around an immaterial fluid called tsing, aroused in a man and a woman when they meet. This fluidic activation occurs without physical contact and is a result of the simple presence of the opposite sex. We could also refer to tsing as a kind of energy, much like that involved in magnetism, which springs from the polarity of the yin and yang, these latter being understood as they principles of male and female sexuality (and of all differentiation, for that matter).

As a result of this theory, we can make sense of certain social norms that regulate contact between the sexes in ways that seem absurd by modern standards. For example, it is stated that no woman can visit a man except in the present of another man, particularly if the first man is married. This applies to all women, for sex has no age, and to break the rule even in the most innocent of ways is to have sinned. This is because a man and a woman alone in one another’s presence is enough to create the ‘charge’ in the tsing and this is prior to any physical contact and is the source of the arousal that drives physical contact. Physical contact itself, whether the brushing up against one another in obedience to an irresistible and unconscious urge, or the intentional holding of hands, or the more explicitly romantic forms of contact that follow. The third and final degree is reached in actual coitus.

The initial arousal of the tsing is treated as a sin because it is in fact the first step in the process that leads to actual union and so cannot be treated as neutral. It is the first degree of arousal that results in a psychological displacement or what could be called a state of intoxication and obviously leaves the participants somewhat at its mercy and compromises rational judgement thereafter. Hence the norms we find in those societies where the sense of the underlying nature of things has been retained.

Proportional attraction

We are also told that the attraction between individuals varies depending on the ‘magnetic’ strength of the tsing, which grows in proportion to the level of yin and yang present in each. The ‘magnetic’ or ‘fluidic’ nature of the substrate of sexual desire, although not acknowledged in modern science or social theory, is nonetheless retained in common speech when we speak of a man’s ‘fascination’ with a woman (fascinum was a technical term for enchantment in the magical sense) and when we speak of the ‘chemistry’ between two people that may be quite powerful. The exact reason for the discrepancy in attraction, which has nothing at all to do with ‘reproductive potential of the mate’ will be discussed below, but for now we need only acknowledge that the attraction is different depending on the maleness of the male and the femaleness of the female and the balance achieved by their union.

Jack London’s subtle atmosphere of woman

Jack London hinted at the ‘fluidic’ substance discussed above, speaking of a “subtle atmosphere spread abroad by the female sex, an atmosphere which we do not notice while we are immersed in it; but when it is missing, we feel a growing void in our existence and are tormented by a vague wish for something which is so indefinite that we cannot explain it.”

Human pheromones

While considering the theory of tsing as a kind of non-physical ‘fluid’ that acts a substrate for sexual magnetism between man and woman, the reader might be reminded of the notion of human pheromones. That this notion has received much discussion and yet never been proven should not be a surprise, since it is basically an attempt on the part of materialistic science to observe the immaterial. We can say that even if pheromones do exist on the biological level, that they would be an example of a material phenomena that evidences the non-material principles of things and cannot be explained in themselves and without reference to the those principles. This applies to the entirety of sexual phenomena, which is why it has been said that:

“The sexual spasm is one of those phenomena that elude physiology proper. The latter has to be content with stating the fact and showing only its nervous mechanism.”[1]

[1] P. Piobb, Venus, Paris, 1909.

The kiss

Kissing between lovers and the intermingling of breath so central to human sexual love is another element that defies biological explanation. A purely biological purpose, or a process formed completely on the basis of biological effectiveness, would be content with a purely localized interaction. The fact of kissing and further the agonizing desire to become not two but one body with the lover that is experienced during coitus are suggestive of what is really at work behind these acts, since the breath and the kiss are both suggestive of a ‘fluidic’ intermingling and if the Far Eastern teachings are accurate these expressions would be naturally sought as a means of enhancing the psychic-fluidic union.

Mauclair on the supra-rational nature of magnetic love

We will cite Mauclair who himself examined the magnetic theory of love and although his enunciation ignores the traditional data it is still useful for what it gets right:

“The magnetic reasons are the only true ones and remain secret from and sometimes ignored by those who are themselves in love; for they cannot give precise motives for their love and, if they are questioned, bring forth a set of allegations…which are nothing other than reasons close to the essential reason, which cannot be articulated. A man does not love a woman because she is beautiful, pleasing, intelligent, or charming, nor because she is likely to produce an exceptionally strong sensual feeling. All these explanations are only given to satisfy ordinary logic…He loves because he loves, quite apart from all logic, and it is precisely this enigma that reveals the magnetism of love.”[1]

[1] C. Mauclair, La Magie de l’amour, pp. 52-53.

Magnetism and magic

Although this should go without saying, the force we’ve been speaking of as ‘magnetic’ is not the magnetism observed and studied by the empirical sciences, and we only use the term because it is useful as an analogy drawn from common knowledge. The actual level in question is supraphysical and is what activates the rational and physical desire. Thus, it would perhaps be more accurate, since what we have in mind transcends the physical and empirical, to speak of this force as ‘magical,’ and this would have the benefit of demonstrating to the reader what magic, properly understood, really entails, which is nothing other than an operative knowledge of metaphysical reality. Unfortunately, the term magic has far too much confusion attached to it to make it more practical for our purposes than magnetism, even if it would be more accurate in a theoretical sense.

Magnetic love and the institution of marriage

At this point it is necessary to explain how these things fit into the institution of marriage and point out that what we have been describing does not necessarily manifest itself in all marriages, at least not in the long term. What we’ve been describing is the fundamental, supra-rational and supra-physical polarity that conditions the desire of man for woman and woman for man, drawing them together and having as its goal the union of coitus. Now this magnetic force, often quite powerful initially, does not persist in most relationships and the magnetic pull tends to die away even in spite of efforts to ‘rekindle the flame.’ In these cases what we are dealing with is a replacement of one thing, chaotic and spontaneous and unstable, with another that is obedient to social norms and social purposes, more constant and enduring, and capable of contributing to the stability of society and the production and rearing of offspring. That the sexual desire we’ve outlined above does not necessarily fit into marriage does not alter its importance or its reality. It merely demonstrates to us that the two should not be overly confused and that one should not expect to see sexual desire in the sense outlined above overlap perfectly with marital affection.

What we have in marriage is a social structure developed on the basis of the fundamental reality of sexual polarity, but which is capable of functioning in its absence. The two principles, then, should never be placed in opposition: that healthy and robust marriages exist without a spontaneous and powerful sexual impulse does not alter the fact that the fundamental polarity is the basis of the marriage.

We could perhaps say that the heat of the initial combustion, spontaneous as it may have been, burns out a space in the world in which the two participants, now joined in marriage, may keep warm and raise up the fruit of their union in peace and safety. We conclude by saying simply that we must not put one in front of the other: we must not say that passion must always be first, or else we sacrifice marriage, and this is unnatural; we must not say that marriage must always come first, or else we deny the reality of sexual polarity and make of love a purely social figment, and this is also unnatural. If the modern world has fixated on passion to the detriment of marriage, it is also unfortunately true that Western Christianity, with its Pauline preference for celibacy, has despised passion in favor of the social institution designed to maintain it. Really the two should be seen as degrees of union and not forces to be placed in opposition, but this has not been how things have developed, and what was joined is not separated.

Degrees of sexual development

Just as it is possible to be more or less human from a developmental sense and from the point of view of how fully an individual has developed his or her potential, so also it is possible for some men to be men to a greater degree than others. The same goes for women. This permits us to speak of degrees of development. Some of these degrees are acknowledged by science because they can be discerned empirically. For example, during the earliest phases of embryonic development we find a universal hermaphroditism. The force that determines the polarization of the genitalia into either male or female only becomes more precise as the being develops, whereby the characteristics of one sex are brought out and those of the other sex are eliminated or left to remain perpetually latent.

The fact of embryonic hermaphroditism is what leads materialists (and after them modern progressives in general) to view sex as a purely accidental thing that, for each being, could have just as easily been otherwise. This is because they do not acknowledge the polarizing force that we have been discussing and only look at the empirical effects of this force, and although they cannot explain these effects, they can at least see them, and what they see is for them the end of the story.

To explain this further we can outline what science terms primary and secondary sexual characteristics. Primary characteristics are the genital glands and reproductive organs. Secondary characteristics are the anatomical differences such as the jointing of the arms, growth of facial hair, pelvic structure, and so on. Finally, there is a third category that includes most of the psychological traits related to sex, whether behavioral or emotional. All of these, within the framework we have laid out above, are effects. They are not causes. The cause lies in our notion of sex as a determining (molding) force capable of guiding this development.

We could speak here of a ‘differentiated entelechy’ at the root of sexual development, which is to say a differentiation that exists prior to any physiological or psychological development and determines everything that occurs on those levels. This brings us back to the Far Eastern theory where man and woman are said to possess a fluid that is fundamentally yang or yin. However, the important addition here is that although this fundamental force or fluid is one or the other, the qualities conveyed by the force will present themselves in different degrees depending on the individual we are dealing with.

Theory of attraction based on Plato’s complementarism

We have said that there is a polarizing force that permits us to speak of a yin and a yang and that man and woman represent the sexual predominance of one of these two principles, although both principles must necessarily be at work on every being at any time. This means that every being will possess qualities of both maleness and femaleness, but more of one and less of another depending on the strength of the polarization. We have also said that in the embryonic states this polarization has hardly begun and so it is true to speak of the being in this state as physiologically hermaphroditic. This means that, if we take the male as an example, we can say that a given man becomes more and more man throughout his development, although the guiding force behind this development was always ‘pure man.’ Depending on the unique development of the individual, he will express to varying degrees the different male qualities, and will in this sense be more or less the expression of an Absolute Man, although no individual could actually manifest this archetype in its purity.

This allows us to adopt a different starting point, which is that of Absolute Man and Absolute Woman, and in this way we begin in the principle rather than in its manifestation, which is to say we start from the cause and not the effect.

By starting with these two archetypes, we can develop a way of understanding the nature of attraction between individuals, and more specifically how the strength of that attraction is determined. This theory is known to have been enunciated by Plato who said that the basis of sexual attraction was the need for a complement. He used the image of the symbolon, which is to say an object broken into two parts, not equally but in a unique and unrepeatable manner so that the two parts (not necessarily halves) will only fit properly into one another. Plato said that each being seeks “the corresponding half of himself which bears the same distinctive sign,” which is to say, he seeks that part of him which he lacks in order to be made whole. In other words, he seeks a mate that will complete him. The reader will notice in the language just employed that although the imagery is purely geometrical, it is identical to the romantic language employed by lovers all the time, and in this they instinctively affirm the metaphysical theory of magnetic complementarism.

Translated into the terms of sexuality, this means that a given man, in whom the qualities of masculinity are uniquely developed to varying degrees, more or less complete in comparison to the other members of his sex, will require a woman whose feminine qualities are developed in just such a way so as to complement his masculinity. When two members of the opposite sex come into contact, the strength of the attraction is stronger in proportion to their complementary sexual development.

To explain it in terms of the Absolute Man and the Absolute Woman, we can say that every man has something of the Absolute Woman in him, although he is nonetheless still a man. A particular man might, for the purposes of illustration, be nine-tenths man (yang) and one-tenth woman (ying). According to Plato, in order to satisfy his yearning for a complement, he requires a woman who will complete his lack, which means that he yearns for a woman who is nine-tenths woman and one-tenth man. The result of their union would be a perfect complementary whole: Absolute Man and Absolute Woman. He completes her; she completes him.

When two beings who ‘complete one another’ come into contact, the attraction is at its strongest. On the other hand, when beings come into contact who are not complementary, the strength of the attraction would naturally be much diminished. This explains why we often find somewhat effeminate men who are married to somewhat masculine women, and why men who tend to display the highest degree of masculinity tend to unite with women who display the highest degree of femininity.

I will end here by adding an important point, which is that the imagery used here would seem to suggest that a man desires a woman for the sake of the masculinity she possesses. Here the imagery falls short, and it would perhaps be better to say that man desires woman and woman desires man because the final complement they produce: Absolute Man-Woman is really a primordial whole wherein balance is finally achieved and perfection is found. So again, it is most correct to say that man desires in woman her femininity, and this because the union she is capable of providing offers a wholeness and a completion.

Sex as vocation and destiny

Only from the materialistic-evolutionary point of view can sex be imagined as something accidentally and arbitrarily assigned, and only from such a position can one proceed on toward the idea of choosing one’s own gender. From a metaphysically informed point of view, it is rather a matter of destiny and for human beings it is a basic condition of existence: no one is except as male and female. This means that masculinity is, for men, a kind of vocation in the traditional sense: a vocation is something that is given to us and corresponds to our nature, and is thus pursued not because we like it but because it is the only work that can fulfill us by allowing us to realize our potentialities, and to pursue any other vocation would be to thwart or pervert our own development.

Inferiority and superiority between the sexes

The question of whether man is superior to woman or vice versa lacks meaning in the context of our conversation here. In fact, the question only becomes meaningful, or at least appears to become meaningful, if we adopt the modern mentality wherein human nature is at root a homogenous, sexless thing to which sex is superadded accidentally. In such a view, it would be possible to ask which superadded accident is superior or more desirable or more noble, and to judge by some such criteria. But since we view sex as a fundamental differentiation, we must insist that man and woman are two different natures and this implies their own superiorities. It is therefore invalid to ask if woman is superior to man for the same reason that it makes no sense to ask if air is superior to water, or water to fire, or apples to oranges. A man can be superior only by the standard of the ideal man, and in comparison to other men; and the same is true of woman. They cannot be measured against one another without unconsciously adopting some standard that either applies to one sex only, or else applies to neither and so confuses the issue completely.

Inner sex and outer sex

Here we will cite Julius Evola, who makes an important observation regarding the root of sexual differentiation:

“…the truth is that, before and besides existing in the body, sex exists in the soul and, to a certain extent, in the spirit itself. We are man or woman inwardly before being so externally; the primordial male or female quality penetrates and saturates the whole of our being visibly and invisibly, in the terms used here earlier, just as color permeates a liquid.”[1]

This identifies with utmost clarity the primacy of one’s ‘inner sex,’ which acts as the principle of one’s physical sex. However, we also need to recall that these two levels correspond to two parts of our being: the essential, transcendent part and the changeable, superficial part. The latter is acquired and formed throughout life and is for this reason subject to the changing and sometimes violently fluctuating conditions undergone by all living beings. These fluctuations are what lend to the ‘personality’ its uniqueness, and this may or may not correspond to any quality in the soul itself. In other words, this ‘dual nature’ of man can lead to a divergence between the inner and the outer so that the outer can, in some circumstances, display characteristics out of keeping with the inner principle. And so, while vision is natural to man and the functional eye is an effect thereof, it is possible for a man to be born or become blind: but this does not mean that for him blindness is natural, or that sight is not part of human nature. Likewise, the primary quality of maleness might express itself to a greater or lesser degree in some individuals, and other exceptional cases it might even invert itself to result in the expression of female qualities. The results of this situation are sometimes homosexuality, which we will address separately.

[1] Metaphysics of Sex.

The values of modern civilization lead to the pursuit ‘equality’ between the sexes

The modern obsession with ‘equality’ is something that wreaks havoc on relations between the sexes, but it is not this alone with makes possible movements such as radical feminism. First, it was necessary for the modern world, with its unique values, to set the stage. For this particular world, what is valued is a very naturalistic and practical type of intelligence, on the one hand, and on the other a very basic set of physical attributes that can meet the demands of our industrial “push-button civilization.” When the important things in life are reduced to these, then the traditional insistence on a profound distinction between man and woman comes to be seen as unnecessary; and since, for modernity, only what is necessary is granted legitimacy, these distinctions come to be seen not simply as unnecessary but as evil impediments to “individual freedom.” We could say that the type of work which used to be fitting only for men has degenerated in such a way that now women can do it also, but that would not be precise: what we should say is that work in general has been perverted in such a way that it is fitting for neither man nor woman and reduces both to a kind of semi-intelligent overseer of industrial equipment, and that for this toil men and women are both equally unsuited but, for the sake of survival, forced to pursue with equal fervor. They have been made equal by destroying the concept of vocation. And as far as aptitudes go, women are generally just as able as men to degrade themselves in these rat races and anti-vocations.

The ambitions of the feminists

Feminists in general suffer from a mistaken sense of inferiority that leads to mistaken ambitions. Sensing an apparent inferiority to men, they set up for themselves a set of ideals which are pursued in the name of equality but to their own detriment. They abandon the call to become superior women and wind up becoming inferior men. Sometimes in this pursuit they do succeed in becoming better men than the actual males, but that does not make it any more noble or any more fulfilling for the women who do it. In other words, I am not even sure I want to be equal with “man” in the context of the present civilization, since this image is to me a brutal and barely human entity. Regardless, modern mistakes about man notwithstanding, we must again insist that the only standard by which to judge of an individual’s development is how fully one has realized his or her own inner nature, and this presupposes the sexual quality present in that nature: the pursuit of aptitudes proper to a different nature, even if somehow achieved, is not a victory but a defeat. A woman who is truly and perfectly woman is far superior to a man who is an inferior man, even if that man is the President of the United States; but a woman who pursues male qualities, even if she becomes a relatively superior man, will be the most inferior kind of woman imaginable because she is an abomination.

The soul of a woman in the body of a man

Although we should consider one’s sex a fact of an inner nature that saturates one’s entire being, we must always allow for the exceptions that are possible and which, therefore, will sooner or later present themselves. The exception we have in mind is the anima mulieris in corpore inclusa–the soul of a woman in the body of a man. Such a case may result from the chaotic nature of the modern environment, which goes hand in hand with the increasingly homogenous makeup of mankind, whether on the spiritual, mental (psychical), or physical level. The ambient chaos combined with the loss of spiritual vitality may produce asymmetry between inner and outer sex, and the extreme of this would be the situation just mentioned, where a man or woman is one sex on an inner level while manifesting physiologically the features of the opposite sex. The progressivists of our contemporary situation are therefore right in insisting on this possibility, but they err in trying to make of this exceptional and disordered situation a norm, and by this norm they seek to promote a kind of “gender fluidity” making all of this into a matter of choice and “identification.” They are opposed on the “conservative” side by people equally rigid and who display an equal incomprehension of the subject, but at least this latter group errs on the side of order and the true norm. The downside of course is that these conservatives, in their insistence on the norm and their denial of the exception, tend toward bigotry and outright cruelty.

We should look at these exceptions as analogous to others wherein an individual’s inner nature does not reconcile perfectly with their physical makeup, such as those cases where a person of a certain race (external) clearly exhibits the spiritual qualities of a different race. Again, these exceptions permit of exceptional behavior, and while we have said that ‘conversion’ is normally inappropriate, the type of person just mentioned would be justified in emigrating and converting to another religious framework more appropriate to their inner nature. Returning to the issue of sex, we can apply the same reasoning, permitting of abnormal behaviors in abnormal cases. But again we must insist that society is not obligated to rearrange its norms on the basis of these exceptions, for this would be absurd, and if traditional civilization seems to ostracize persons it is only out of necessity and on the basis of the principle that the norm must be insisted upon in order to guide social norms and that social order must tend toward the common good and must prefer this over the individual good of some exceptional cases.

A citation from the Hagakure

Regarding the decreasing polarity in sexual differentiation, we can consider the following anecdote from The Book of the Samurai, The Hagakure:

In the practice of medicine there is a differentiation of treatment according to the Yin and Yang of men and women. There is also a difference in pulse. In the last fifty years, however, men’s pulse has become the same as women’s. Noticing this, in the treatment of eye disease I applied women’s treatment to men and found it suitable. When I observed the application of men’s treatment to men, there was no result. Thus I knew that men’s spirit had weakened and that they had become the same as women, and the end of the world had come. Since I witnessed this with certainty, I kept it a secret. When looking at the men of today with this in mind, those who could be thought to have a woman’s pulse are many indeed, and those who seem like real men few.

The primacy of the spiritual

We must keep in mind here the primacy of the spiritual and insist that any physiological development must be considered a secondary to its principle, which is rooted in the immaterial. And because we must also admit that the spiritual always imperfectly manifests itself in the material, and is sometimes at odds with it, that the spiritual must be given the final say. He who is not a man in his soul is not a man, even if his physiology is primarily male. Exceptional as such a case may be, it is a possible one and must be respected as such.

Medical manipulations and sex changes

Just as we had to warn against the progressivist mistake that would make a norm out of an exception, we must also warn against the “interventionist” way of thinking that would try to “correct” sexual asymmetry by applying chemical treatments and surgical procedures meant to stimulate or at least imitate the characteristics proper to one’s inner sex. The goal is harmony, but the result will always be an exacerbated disharmony. The most obvious problem here is that one’s inner sex, in an undifferentiated age, is terribly difficult to discern, and same-sex attractions are in many cases truly a question of disordered or displaced desires, and in such cases it is not at all a question of asymmetry between inner and outer sex but of psychological development plain and simple. If such a person were to undergo a sex change, it would simply push the psychological disorder to an entirely new degree, rendering it psychosomatic and in essence pushing the disorder to its furthest possible limits of bodily expression.

But mistaken discernment is not even the primary problem with medical interventions of this type. The real issue at stake is whether such interventions are helpful even when asymmetry does exist. We must answer that even if asymmetry exists, this does not signal a need for intervention. This is because, for these individuals, the organic continuity between the inner and the outer levels is somewhat fragile and even mysterious in comparison to the norm, and is therefore more important to leave intact. In other words, asymmetry does not mean disconnect, for there can in actuality never be a disconnect between inner and outer. What it does mean is that the consequences of disturbing this continuity through violent intervention are impossible to foresee. We could, in fact, go further and say that any surgical manipulations that claim to achieve “sex change” involve the conjuring of “unnatural” processes and the installation of prostheses at odds with the organic structure of the body, and as such they are what in previous ages would have been termed “sorcery” of the most perverse type and in effect these techniques also involve a kind of necromancy. These kinds of procedures are essentially Promethean and this is true objectively, for the reasons outlined above, and without the need to enlist any claims about “sexual morality.”

Indifference and specificity of sexual desire

It is often said by Christians that whosoever we love, we love in Christ, so that ultimately the only person loved is Christ, and through Christ, God. This is neatly summarized in the Upanishads: “It is not for love of woman that woman is desired by man, but rather for love of the atman.”

To say this is to acknowledge that behind individuality is another, higher truth, and this truth is the source of all love and the only thing worthy of love in itself, because It is in fact the Absolute. That which we love in all beings is the Absolute.

We can transpose this same principle onto the plane of sex and say that all men love only one woman, and all women only one man. The truth conveyed by this way of looking at things is important because it helps to illustrate the fact that sexual desire is, in essence, a desire that transcends individuality, and is a desire to transcend one’s own individuality. It is not merely to add another individuality to our own, making a new individuality that is a composite, but to escape the individual condition altogether, which is the only way to become whole.

What we have just said explains sexual desire in its principle, which is to say at its root, where it begins. There, the desire for the complement is what matters and so individuation only matters insofar as the basic polarization, and any woman is a woman on this level. But this fundamental attraction is not the end of the story, because man is in fact individuated and so his desire must also be determined by his individuation. This means that on the plain of expression and action, sexual choice is not a matter of indifference and the right “mate” may only present herself once in a lifetime, and this grants a certain (very tentative) legitimacy to all of the romances emphasizing one’s “true love.” The factors here, however, are much deeper than the Hollywood version, and depend on spiritual vitality, the degree of complementariness already mentioned, alongside all of those contingencies like heredity and psychic development.

Spiritual depth and stability of the sexual force

As we have explained at length in other sections of this manual, the human being has different levels and the outermost of these, which is a kind of “mask” that covers the true “face” of the individual, is the only part that is changeable and that can be “formed” according to our whims. This persona is secondary but the sad fact of the modern world with its ‘cult of personality’ is that the vast majority identify themselves with the mask they have formed and never come into contact with the “face” it covers and which it was always meant to serve. They never “know themselves,” so to speak. When we speak of sex in this context–the context of the two selves–it is mostly a question of stability. If we want to really know what is proper to us and therefore what will make us happy and fulfill our deepest needs, the task is to know the self and then to build the mask accordingly so that it helps give expression to the face which remains invisible. At the deeper level, sexual differentiation is a given, and the mask would naturally be formed according to this “given.” In the modern world, where it is common to identify oneself with the superficial mask, which is perceived as a thing to be designed according to our whims, and if sex is seen as seated at this level and not at a deeper level, then sex also appears to be changeable, just like the personality: a question of design according to our tastes.

To put it another way, the more profound our self knowledge, the more stable our being, because the deeper we go the close we come to the unchangeable essence that supports our being. The more superficial, the more chaotic and changeable things become. Naturally, for the individual who has identified with the chaotic, external level and adopted the mindset of a “self-styled sexuality,” the attraction that results will be weak and highly unstable, changing from day to day and directed every which way and without regard to the inner qualities of the beloved but instead according to superficial factors that have no bearing on that fundamental need for a complement. In other words, the superficial factors are finally allowed to have the last say because the profound grounding of sexual love has been lost either by habitual denial or else as a result of the generally chaotic and weak spiritual sense that rules in the modern world.

If we see mass movements proclaiming sex as a choice, and a choice that might at any moment be directed toward male or female, or at both, or at neither, then we should not be surprised. In fact, we could say that for some of these people they are accurately describing their sexual natures, which have become as they describe. But again, this does not change the true metaphysics of sex but simply demonstrates to us the dissolving effects of the prevalent conditions in this age.

The mythological union of the sexes

In one of Plato’s dialogues, Hephaestus, god of fire, metalworking, and sculpture, addresses a pair of lovers as follows:[1]

“Is it not perhaps this for which you long, a perfect, mutual fusion so that you will never be sundered from each other by day or night? If this is what you wish, I am ready to melt you and weld you together with fire into one and the same individual so as to reduce you to one single being instead of the two which you were beforehand; in this way you may live united to each other for the whole of your lives and, when you are dead and down in Hades, you may be only one instead of two and may share together one single fate. Well, then, ask yourselves if this is what you want and whether you think you can be happy if you obtain it.”

After which Plato comments:

“We know very well that no one would refuse such a proposal or show himself desirous of something else, but each person without any hesitation would eem that he had finally heard expressed that which had certainly been his desire for a long time, namely to be united and fused with his beloved so as to form one single nature from two distinct beings. Now, the cause of this desire is to be sought in the fact that this was indeed our primitive nature when we constituted one unit which was still whole; it is really the burning longing for this unity which bears the name of love.”

Elsewhere Plato summarizes love again and in a way defines it as “the clinging of the two parts to each other, as if in a desire to pervade each other wholly,” the two parts that once were a whole. This is the myth of the hermaphrodite, the primordial “race” not yet sundered into polarized opposition (man and woman) but simply Man.

We should add that although Plato includes other elements in his dialogue, such as physical features of this primordial race, we should be careful, as with all myth, not to interpret it literally as if this were some historical race whose bones we should expect to sooner or later discover. What is in question here, and what is always in question when we are dealing with myth, is a spiritual state explained in a way that we are capable of grasping. It is the impenetrable mystery of our being laid before us in a symbolic manner:

“From such an ancient time has love goaded human beings, one toward the other; it is inborn and seeks to renew our ancient nature in an endeavor to unite in one single being two distinct beings and, therefore, to restore human nature to good health.”[2]

Who cannot see that the profundity of this doctrine is well beyond pleasure, procreation, and any of the other modern pseudo-explanations for sexual phenomena. The sexual impulse participates and pleasure and enjoys pleasure, and it results in procreation, but in its essence it “tends toward something different, which it cannot express but which it feels and reveals mysteriously.”[3]

[1] Symposium, 192d-e.

[2] Symposium, XIV-XV, 191c-d.

[3] Symposium, XIV-XV, 192c-d.

Results of the rejection of complementarism

When the idea of a primordial oneness in Man prior to his existence as “man and woman” is rejected and replaced with the modern view wherein sexual differentiation is accidental, the results are disastrous. The latter view tells man that he needs no one and if he takes a lover it matters not which sex they are since they are really only contributing to his emotional state or his utilitarian needs. His lover has no ontological value to him as his essential complement and as the only answer to the fundamental insufficiency of his being. Needless to say, this leaves him with no way of “completing himself,” no way of ever achieving wholeness except as an accidental discovery that he does not understand and is likely to squander due to his confusion about its nature. In other words, the traditional doctrine informed men and women about what they are, what their problem is, and where the solution can be found. The modern doctrine tells them what they are not–that they are not really men or women but are abstract neuters trapped in biological machines that just happen to have randomly assigned genitalia, but these organs can, thankfully, be swapped out by modern science, or removed, or whatever. And as neuters, they do not have a “problem.” They are not incomplete. They are atoms in a mass of other atoms, and they do not need a complement any more than a speck of dust needs another speck of dust. hey are already as whole as they can be and if they think they need someone else it is only to add a quantity of pleasure to their lives, or because they have self-esteem issues, or else they are under the influence of primitive sexism that drives them to crave fulfillment in the opposite sex. In other words, the entire notion of sex is not “real” or “necessary” but is a set of circumstances that can be utilized for pleasure or preference.