Thursday 28 October 2021

Man and woman is primary - masculine and feminine are secondary abstractions

We live in an age of compulsive abstraction. Because of our 'materialism', our denial of the spirit - we cannot recognize primary reality which is specific Beings. 

Thus we ignore actual men and women and classify them instead under masculine and feminine attributes. 

At a metaphysical level of understanding (i.e. the primary assumptions concerning reality) - if we choose to define men in terms of the masculine, and women in terms of feminine; then we are implicitly asserting that the abstracts are a more fundamental reality than the actual Beings of men and women. I believe the opposite. 

The major (deliberately induced) cultural trend of recent generations is to privilege 'the feminine' - and to get women to identify with that abstraction; which, like all abstractions, is intrinsically imprecise, manipulate-able and unreal. 

Thus the feminine has been accorded many and contradictory attributes against which actual women are measured. This can be seen with clarity with the trans agenda - when imposed abstractions are so dominant as to erase all Being (as well as all biology). And society is being re-made (and destroyed) on that 'feminist' basis (along with other leftist 'isms'). 

And the backlash (including among traditionalist Christians, and I have mistakenly done this myself in the past) is to restore 'masculinity' as primary; and to measure actual men against this abstract set of properties. For instance actual men are supposed to 'shape-up' and match certain abstract attributes termed masculine. 

But/ and we need to be aware that biology and psychology are also abstractions! So we are not merely trying to replace ideological abstractions with scientific ones. To get to the root of matters, we need to get down to the level of primary metaphysical assumptions - which underlie all types of abstraction. 

So, I assume and believe that Beings are metaphysically primary; and that sex is real - the distinction between man and woman is real and primary. 

What I mean by this is that the soul of a Man is either a man's or a woman's soul. This is a fact that carries-through whatever happens in mortal life - which carries through attributes, biology, psychology and social roles. 

Further, that this fact is rooted in God; and that God is man and woman. Nit in terms of any abstractions of masculine and feminine tendencies or attributes; but that actual God is an actual man and woman: the dyad of Heavenly Father and Mother. 

And here I identify a serious deficit in my own thinking; which is that I do not take account of Heavenly Mother - and the implications for my own life and the world. 

There are numerous discussions of the 'feminine aspect' of Christianity - for example how it was traditionally lacking, of how it has been provided by the Blessed Virgin Mary. This in crucial ways - such that the actual lived Catholic (both Roman and Orthodox) Christian religion of people in significant times and places - its daily practice and motivating vitality - has sometimes (quite often) been driven primarily by Mary; despite what seem like the lack of theological and scriptural grounds for this.

The phenomenon of Mary has often been analyzed in terms of psychology, or even of societal balance - but my contention is that it is an abstract derivation of the primary fact of Heavenly Mother - co-creator of reality.

To give proper status to Heavenly Mother must therefore be rooted in going back to ultimate questions of metaphysics; of the beginning of things, of creation, of  the nature of mortal men and women. Only then can we begin to address secondary matters such as rituals and sacraments, who is prayed-to and how, the aims of meditation and mysticism - and the roles of men and women in the world today. 

I am suggesting that I (and 'we') set-aside our broodings over the abstractions of masculinity and femininity; and perhaps start by the recognition that we are all men or women at the level of our souls - we always were since we were Men and always will be through eternity; whether that eternity be in Heaven, or in some other state or place. 

'Human beings' are thus of two kinds of Being: men and women; and that applies to (originates in) God; and also in angels. Procreation is therefore as an aspect of divine creation - and indeed the prime purpose of divine creation - since creation is for the making of men and women who are (it is divinely intended) rise to become gods. And it was to make this possible that Jesus Christ was. 

It is at this deepest of levels that we (or at least I) need to address this burning and unavoidable societal discourse of 'masculinity' and 'femininity' - and the psychological/ biological definitions of men ad women in this mortal life.   


No Longer Reading said...

"What I mean by this is that the soul of a Man is either a man's or a woman's soul. This is a fact that carries-through whatever happens in mortal life - which carries through attributes, biology, psychology and social roles. "

I think Virgil believed the same thing. Among the souls Aeneas sees in the Underworld is:

"Caeneus, once a youth, now a woman, and again turned back by Fate into her form of old."

Bruce Charlton said...

@NLR - Well, Virgil certainly did not have the metaphysical assumptions which I do. Presumably this is a specific coincidence of conclusions, rather than the same baseline reality.

whitney said...

Just for fun here is another one. Tiresias, the blind seer of Apollo at Thebes, was changed from male to female after he struck a pair of coupling snakes and then 7 years later found another pair of coupling snakes struck them and changed back to male. The entwined snakes are the caduceus the symbol of medicine. That's actually some pretty good divination.

ben said...

What if "Mary" is Mary Magdalene/Mary of Bethany? To Christ, she would be the equivalent of who Heavenly Mother is to Heavenly Father. She might be virginal too (if she didn't have children with Jesus), whereas the mother of Jesus could have conceived Him in the usual way with Joseph.

In fact now that I think of it, surely the wife of Christ would have some major role.

Bruce Charlton said...

@ben - You can see what I wrote about Mary M in this:

Doktor Jeep said...

Judging by the way women act oftentimes, I'm thinking all souls are males but those born into women are really emasculated and angry in some sense. Look at what women do when given too much power over the lives of men.

Epimetheus said...

I wonder if Men and Women are spiritually distinguished by the way they prefer to receive love. Man prefers to be enveloped in love, while Woman prefers to be penetrated by it.

Lucinda said...

With God being in time, is it possible that Heavenly Mother was actually Mary the mother of Jesus? Since it was a time when everything changed?

Maybe this would not fit with your assumption of Mother being a co-creator. My belief is that women are not originators or creators so much as selectors, sustainers, beautifiers, connectors. So while I believe heavenly Mother is co-eternal with the Father, I see her selecting what he originated, to include many aspects that might be described as her self, from there sustaining, beautifying, connecting.

I find the idea appealing, though no doubt many would find it offensive. But I suppose that to be a matter of the current zeitgeist.

Pletho's Ghost said...

I find your idea of the Heavenly Dyad to be interesting, but I'm not, as yet, convinced it's true. To put it another way, I'm in a state of agnosis but I'm interested and open to it.

My understanding of Holy Mary is that She was the woman who gave birth to the human vehicle (Forgive me for putting it so crudely!) which bore the the divine Christ Spirit. How She became synonymous with the Queen of Heaven is another story, one I don't have space here to explicate but I would like to share some of my thoughts about Her and Christ Jesus and the slight but significant difference between the divine blessings one recieves from Them when one invokes Their aid and mercy.

Each day, before I step out my door, I say, among many other prayers, 7 Hail Marys.

Fundamentally, Her presence enkindles compassion for the many sufferings, great and small, all of the incarnate creatures experience in this fallen world. The image of Holy Mary with Her Heart pierced by the Seven Swords of Sorrow is an good one. Suffering is inescapable here but She helps one to understand what suffering is and how it can be turned into something helpful for oneself and others. She helps to turn pain and sorrow into wisdom and love. This transmutation is a Holy Mercy and will lead one to tears. It is a strange feeling, that of sorrow and compassion so intimately connected with each other.
Fundamentally, She offers aid for the burden of earthly incarnation and is primarily concerned with helping one come to grips with life in the material realm. This life is mostly sorrow and it is here that She offers Her most profound blessings.

To paraphrase Tennyson

"O'er (our) meek eyes (comes) a happy mist

Like that which kept the heart of Eden green

Before the useful trouble of the rain"

Your eyes will overflow with tears when She is nigh.

Christ Jesus seems to offer Joy, at least in my case. When one is deep in prayer to Christ and His presence is near a Holy Clarity begins to dawn, a sort of light enlightening the darkness of ignorance and sin. This Light disperses the darkness, annihilating it. One realizes (Or more correctly, *one remembers*) one's primal source or origin, one's "ground of Being", which is the Holy Word of God.

All Goodness, Mercy, Strength, Love and Grace flow endlessly from This Source, which one understands *is in the depths of one's Being*. The creation comes face to face with the Creator, naked, humble, stripped of all pretension and vanity and completely reverent. One realizes what the Holy Fear Of God means. One is helpless before this Power and yet at the same time one sees that one one is loved beyond any mortal understanding of love. The heart is radiant with Holy Love.

So Christ seems to offer divine Joy.

The blessings received from Holy Mary spring from the same source but... seem to be "lower" in the Heavenly Hierarchy (No disrespect meant) 🤔

It's hard to articulate.

Essentially, it's necessary and intrinsic that we experience sorrow in this life and Holy Mary helps us to understand that sorrow and to put it in its proper loving divine context.