The man without qualities

By Robert Musil

Is a novel whose main character is Ulrich- he without qualities- and the parallel campaign whose meeting place is his cousin’s house. First, the parallel campaign achieves nothing. In fact, at the end, one really can’t be certain what the parallel campaign or the whole novel is all about.

But there are many interesting things, some which question some of the myths we hold regarding sex. For example, Diotima says

Quite often a man can’t make love even when he wants to.

In another place, still continuing with the same line of argument, she says

In contrast with a woman’s constant readiness for sex, a man- well, in a word, a man’s manliest part is easily discouraged.

And ends the discussion by saying, which will leave many a man shaking their heads or reflecting, that

He only feels sexually secure if he doesn’t have to be afraid of a woman being in some way or other spiritually superior, and that’s why men hardly ever have the courage to try a relationship with a woman who’s their equal as a human being.

Thoughts which I find all quite interesting.

on men and brains

Someone tell me how H. L Mencken got away with such all gloves off war on men? Writing about intuition, he finishes that chapter by writing

Men, too, sometimes have brains. But that is a rare,rare man, I venture, who is as steadily intelligent, as constantly sound in judgement, as little put off by appearances as the average women of forty-eight.

H. L Mencken in his book In defense of women

Will the sexes ever be reconciled

Fellow sufferers, a few days ago we looked at Arthur Schopenhauer’s views of the fair sex and most if not all of those who read the post found them to be wanting. Whether it was the dominant view then or are his personal views, it appears the general agreement is that he was wrong.

In a chit-chat with one of my friends, I was told, in majority of women’s opinion, men behave like 5 year olds or rather it appears to them that we reach maturity at age 5 and don’t get any better.

On the other hand, while having a similar discussion with the menfolk, some of them think women are mad or mature babies and should be handled with care.

Lastly, there is that group of men and women who hold the view that we are all equal.

Given the above, I have a few questions

  1. What is the extent of equality being sought or advocated?
  2. Are the sexes really equal in any sense?
  3. At what point does an observation or opinion made regarding the sexes become misogyny or sexist?