14 August 2020, 1 min read
I happened onto this excerpt this morning, upon which I reflect here, thanks to a friend who sent me a link to Nietzsche somewhere around Woman’s Day – as a note of inspiration. It set me trawling through my untidy Desktop archives of folders within folders, web-page links and bits of forgotten writing and the tiny, tiny drawing below.
MULLING OVER TRUTH AS …ER…WOMAN
“Supposing truth is a woman—what then? Are there not grounds for the suspicion that all philosophers, insofar as they were dogmatists, have been very inexpert about women? That the gruesome seriousness, the clumsy obtrusiveness with which they have usually approached truth so far have been awkward and very improper methods for winning a woman’s heart? What is certain is that she has not allowed herself to be won—and today every kind of dogmatism is left standing dispirited and discouraged. If it is left standing at all!” Frederick Nietzsche, 1885
Nietzsche in 1885 was probably right about his implication that “all philosophers” were male. His perspective was as a man in Europe…and because Europe was equal to the “whole (civilized) world” and that “winning a woman’s heart” where “she (had) not allowed herself to be won’” is testimony to his intuitive knowledge that ‘she’ is not (an) Object “to be won”. In addition, and dare I say, to his credit, his realization that dogma from which our Westernized contemporary truths emanate is “left standing dispirited”. Certainly, a world that omits knowledge of multiple truths and multiple ways of looking and seeing in its decision-making deserves to be a world “dispirited”: a world lacking and without wisdom. It deserves its awful leaders, single-minded in their quest for power that has nothing or little to do with humanity – or rather the humanity we have come to know and accept. And, to omit the feminine discourse and ways of being, in any world and word-making, world-breaking decision… deserves its decline. It’s these one-sided slippery versions of truth that we have collectively decided upon. Surely, we are to be blamed and yet are also blameless in our conditioned single-minded pursuits.
Now whether one agrees with Nietzsche or not, this ‘truth’ is profound indeed as it presents itself in a clear manner revealing itself long before the echo of the first suffragette whinge. Whinge, I say because anything that asks permission to be, when it is already, is not an assertion, but rather a complaint. Is it rather, then, the truth that we have lived? For ourselves and others…as such that we gave birth to our lives as they are and are not aware of this consideration – or should we have been aware, did not assert?
The list of ‘feminisms’ and their definitions grow, but does it change our point of reference? For certainly, it has not changed the demographic of rape victim-ness. Surely, we are aware of the disjuncture between the written word and our lives; the acting out of our lives written up in social and other media platforms; the acting out of our words? Surely, as its not 1885 anymore and hasn’t been for a long time, we know this?
The reality is that whether we know this or not, we are bound to two or more worlds where we write and speak differently to our actions. We speak into a void of NOT-listening. Into a void of Otherness and into a void of Power that is invested in the way things are. As I write this, my mind tumbles and turns on its head knowing and questioning my own articulation of SELF.
Let’s not ask for permission to be. Then again, I speak to myself this morning. Let me not ask for permission to be, I say for emphasis and to remind myself to live my words rather than write them.