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Philodoxy of the philistine and scientific thinking

In 2006 I published a book-sized essay titled On Love, Family, and the State (Moscow, KomKniga, 2006). I knew it was bound to annoy both professionals (specialists in “gender issues”, as they are called today) and regular philistines. The former (at one of their “gender institutions”) told me that the work is very interesting indeed, but controversial; many of the points made in it arouse objections. However, they never published their “objections” anywhere (not even on their websites), for in that case they would have had to build a system of counter-arguments and collect counter-statistics to refute my theory. They found none, so they should better keep mum.

With the philistines, it’s simpler: there’s no need to prove anything to them, since they have “an opinion” on every topic, problem or issue. Knowing this peculiarity of the philistines [1] I gifted my book to a number of my Russian acquaintances – and to several French ones – asking them to express their thoughts about it. I made the same request of an old acquaintance of mine – Gabrielle (Gabi) F [2], a German living in Berlin. I don’t know if my Russia or French acquaintances read the book or not – not one of them reacted to the book’s content in any way. Gabi was the only person who responded – and she did it in writing; either because she’s German or because the book incited her to an active protest. In any case I am grateful to her for her critical response that prodded me to the following idea: I decided to use her response as an example to show the difference in the understanding and perception of the world between men and women.

Many people are probable aware that in the West battles never cease over the topic of male and female intelligence (“which are more intelligent?”) – fights that resemble bazaar brawls (“you’re a male dummy” – “no, you’re a female dummy”). These battles have practically nothing to do with science. In the above-mentioned book I attempted, among other things, to analyze scientifically this topic as well. Very briefly put, my position is this: the female brain is indeed wired for an irrational perception of the world; it is in fact identical to common sense, which is characteristic not only of women, but also of all philistines of the male persuasion. The peculiarity of this type of thinking is its concreteness, its being bounded by individual experience, its incapacity for abstraction, for scientific reflection on the level of concepts and categories. Its basis is “opinion”.

I’m sure that many readers did not understand the word “philodoxy” in the article’s title. Unlike Russians, I hate foreign words in the Russian language; this case is special, though. I took this word from Kant’s work A Critique of Pure Reason; it means “love of opinions”, which reflects the thinking of “common sense”. The latter is the basis of thinking for all philistines, who have opinions about everything. Common sense is formed, to quote Hegel, on the basis of “eyeing” and “sensing” in perceiving the world around. I repeat: this type of thinking has nothing in common with science; it suffices for simple living, though.

Let us now revisit Gabi’s comments. She started by duly giving me some faint praise on account of my knowledge of the history of philosophical thought on love and family – from the ancient Greeks to our time – and for my conception of the “life delta” as a criterion of progress. She disagrees, however, with everything else. Here’s the most important thing. She writes: “Unfortunately, I can’t refute your position using scientific arguments. … However, despite this…” That is, she has no scientific arguments, but she does have an “opinion”.

In order to understand what the word “opinion” means, let me present several examples. All Russians must know Chekhov’s wonderful short story The Learned Neighbor’s Letter, in which the titular neighbor argues that the Sun revolves around the Earth, instead of the other way round; it suffices to look at the sky. All those scientists who argue otherwise are clearly mad. Such is the opinion of the learned neighbor who is unfamiliar, naturally, with the theory of Copernicus or the theory of Kant-Laplace. He has no need of these theories, for he can clearly see that the Sun revolves around the Earth. This type of people normally doesn’t bother with learning sciences which only cause hemorrhoids. Perfectly obvious facts provide them with a base for certain unequivocal conclusions. It is he, the Philistine, who makes up the great army of the opponents of Darwin’s theory.

In one of Russia’s provincial cities I gave a lecture to a gathering of journalists about the demographic situation in Russia, claiming that the country’s population is in catastrophic decline. One of the female journalists retorted indignantly: “You’re speaking nonsense, Mr. Lecturer. My friend Nina is pregnant with her third, and Tosya is carrying her second. How can you say that the population is shrinking!” That’s her opinion. The journalist, as a normal philistine, can be excused for her “opinion”. I was extremely surprised, however, when a man who considers himself a scholar (he wrote no less than five books) started objecting to the same statistical data I quoted, referring to a TV news item about increasing birth rates in some regions of Russia. This referral to television propaganda testifies against this scholar’s scholarly credentials; he has no relation to science. This is the same as if I, a person who knows nothing about music, claimed that Babushka Fenya and I enjoy the music of our neighbor Victor Sklyarov a thousand times more than that of Beethoven, which is too long and nausea-inducing.

The plots are different, but the essence is one: there can be as many opinions – and as many truths – as there are people who express them. Anyone can have his own local truth, but the Truth is one. One arrives at it based on scientific reflection, research and the logic of cognizance. Any man can express his opinion; a researcher, however, has a duty to comprehend the essences and phenomena that he studies as he digs through tons of knowledge-ore in his quest to arrive at the truth. It is a long, painstaking journey with an outcome that is not known beforehand.

This is why when Gabi says that she has no “scientific arguments” to repute my pronouncements – only opinions – I should have terminated the discussion immediately. Science does not argue against “opinions”. Actually, I don’t intend to argue with Gabi in this case. On the contrary, I am prepared to laud her since her “opinions” only serve to confirm my theory about the irrationality of women which is not a vice of theirs, but rather a credit to them. I wish only to show how this “credit” is confirmed repeatedly by her subsequent “opinions”.

I now continue along her German text. Gabi writes: “I ask you as an apologist for any kind of development: why is it that the historically developed monogamous family with the institution of marriage should come to an end? Why can’t the life together of a couple with children be durable, if it is capable of going on and worthy of recognition in the form of family? First, when one keeps in mind that the authority of the bourgeois state is being questioned and, accordingly, the bourgeois practice of morals has discredited the institution of marriage?”

First of all, there is no such thing as “any kind of development”, and naturally I didn’t write about such “development”. Development is only development when it leads to progress, which ultimately means preservation of mankind with constantly increasing average lifespan of the individual. If there is no such progress then there is no development, but rather a fallback, regress that sometimes results in the destruction of a state, a society or whole civilizations.

Secondly, her first two questions are unique in the sense that I made no such claims in my book. On the contrary, I wrote that the monogamous family is not the last word in the development of marriage – it has the objective possibility of developing in the direction of monophilogamy (the joining of love-Eros with monogamy). It is possible precisely because the bourgeois type of society exhausted its possibilities for supporting even the monogamous type of family. This misunderstanding is evidence of a typical quality of female thinking: she reads one thing and thinks about another. She is evidently concerned about the “paper-certified” marriage which she does not regard as a means for holding the family together. She is opposed to the fact that marriage is a judicial legalization of family as a social institution with specific rights and duties toward society and state. She prefers a family bound only “by love” without any certificates – that is, the common-law partnership option.

It is no accident that she goes on to present individual examples: “I know different non-married couples who have stayed together since the time of the German Democratic Republic and couples who got married only formally to obtain an apartment or other benefits.” This is evidence from the “Ninka got knocked up” department. I specifically presented in my book statistics showing that all these common-law unions are not firm and not oriented toward procreation, i.e. making babies. I derived this judgment not from examples of “some couples I know” but from world statistics and from research done by authors who are precisely sounding the alarm: the normal family is falling apart, surrogate families are on the rise, and as a result the birth rates are dropping in developed countries. These statistics are of no concern to my opponent, though; she has developed a firm opinion that no amount of science will manage to shake.

She accuses the GDR and the USSR of “manipulating” birth rates in the sense that at some times the governments paid “for child care” and at other times they did not. When these kind of phrases are dished out with an accusing bent, a scholar would normally be required to show whether such manipulation was justified at the time in question (for example, the ban on abortions under Stalin). What strategic result did this manipulation bring around: positive or negative? Also, the “manipulation” should not just be compared within the GDR or the USSR; an opinion should also be expressed about the state’s intervention in the childbirth process today in countries such as the Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD), or France, or China. Otherwise the rants against the former socialist states would be plainly incorrect, as they create the impression that only “Communist” regimes practice “manipulations”. Naturally, the consciousness of a philistine and that of a woman gives no thought to such “trifles”.

Another thesis in my book that rubbed Gabi the wrong way is my position against equality of man and woman in the family. She writes: “Regarding relationships between the sexes: I’m also asking you here why are you opposed to current developments. The emancipation of the woman is precisely the prerequisite for equal-rights partnership and both partners’ development… Pregnancy and motherhood lead to even stronger unity when fathers participate in affairs that used to be strictly “a woman thing”, while women were bound to only serve men and children, which prevented them from developing themselves.”

This is what one Russian boy writes on the topic: “My dad is the strongest and the bravest! He can swim across the widest river that is full of crocodiles and piranhas, climb the tallest mountain and wrestle a lion into submission with his bare hands. Ordinarily, though, he washes the dishes, the socks and takes out the garbage.” By the way, many “equal-rights” fathers in developed countries of Europe dream of this kind of activity – being a househusband.

I argued in my book that this type of “household equality of rights” is just as nonsensical as equality between men and women in the trades – due to their different biological and social functions. When functions are mixed up, the essences start changing, too. Dad turns into Mom, and vice versa, and we end up with a hybrid type of behavior when men start giving birth together with women.

Generally speaking, “household equality of rights” and demands that men participate in household chores can only come from poorly organized wives or from simply parasitic wives – the latter a typical phenomenon in the modern oligarchic-model family union; their elementary duties are performed today by slaving servants.

Gabi declined to notice that I never spoke in principle against fathers’ participation in the bringing up of children. I stressed that at different stages of the children’s development the proportion of fathers’ participation in the upbringing changes, same as their upbringing functions.

I also stressed that as a result of so-called equal rights in the family, the family as a phenomenon started abandoning the desire to have children. The problem is particularly acute in Germany, of all countries. The German press is full of articles on the topic; their tone resembles panic on board a sinking ship. Here are some excerpts from the press:

Germany is becoming a childless country. Beside the fact that it has the lowest birth rate in Europe, German society has fewer and fewer people willing to bring up children, including those in the male part of the population.

According to the data from the specialized website, in the year 2000 3% of German men of child-conceiving age were voluntarily sterilized, whereas in 1992 the number was only 0.5%. As for the number of births, between 1960 and 2004 it declined by half – to just 700,000. At this rate by 2050 Germany’s population will be down to 68.5 million people from today’s 82 million.

According to Eurostat data, the proportion of childless women in Germany is 30%, whereas among German men the proportion reaches 40%.

It turns out that ordinary Germans aren’t even concerned about this. Here are some more excerpts from the German press:

“The problem is that children are expensive, and they interfere with one’s career,” – says 21-years-old Sandra, a student at Bielefeld University. To get away from the model “Kirche, Kinder, Küche” (church, children, kitchen), those German women who wish to work have renounced motherhood. 26.8% of women between the ages of 30 and 44 have no children. Among women with higher education, the proportion reached 49%. 26.3% of men between the ages of 20 and 39 say that they wish no progeny. The childless 36% intend to stay that way. This indicator is at twice the level of ten years ago.

I can quote this kind of figures endlessly; I presented similar statistics in my book – and Gabi, being a normal woman, ignored them. This is only natural, as the statistics debunk her “opinion” about the values of all sorts of equal rights and cohabiting couples. The statistics also reflect the phenomenon of gayness and lesbianism, to which I am categorically opposed – and my opponent criticizes me for this. Here is how she does it:

«In your condemnation of homosexuality and lesbianism you strongly confuse decadence with biologically determined deviations from the norm. In the latter case the discourse is rather about people with specific qualities: all people want to be normal and suffer until they develop a certain self-ness – self-awareness and a way of life corresponding to it. Some manage to accomplish this, and they sublimate themselves in art. (I will allow myself to bring up the names of Tchaikovsky, Proust, Thomas Mann.)”

I don’t know for sure whether these men she mentions were gays or not; at any rate they did not advertise their gayness, therefore I still perceive them as a composer and two writers. Naturally I had in mind the phenomenon which Gabi calls “decadence” and which she, too, appears to condemn (“Another matter is unhindered propaganda in mass media and sexualizing in the consumption society: it provokes all-permissiveness/Alles-ist-erlaubt/ - up to and including perversions – and artificially encourages this phenomenon.”) However, it is precisely this “decadence” that has acquired a mass character, and Gabi’s common sense refuses to acknowledge that. She expressed doubts about the number of gays and lesbians in Germany that I quoted. The figure may indeed be exaggerated (I did not insist that it is accurate), especially since the system for numerical calculations in the “pink-blue” world is rather confusing. In any case, we’re talking about millions of people in every more-or-less large capitalist country. What’s important is this: the numbers of such sick individuals keep growing.

My main idea with the topic of these sick people is this: they are themselves – and the propaganda of their lifestyle – one of the factors contributing not just to the perversion of the society’s morals as a whole, but also to the shrinking of the population. This disease must be fought instead of supported as it is, for example in the gay parades in Berlin. The “democratic” opinion is on their side, though. It has come to the point that one of the sick individuals has become mayor of Berlin (hence the parades). The shrinking of Germany’s population testifies to the results of such “sublimation”.

From my rejection of this “abnormality”, my learned German correspondent makes the following conclusion: “I find your conclusions to be undignified and disgraceful in any case. They remind me of the practice of the Nazi states that destroyed homosexuals – same as they destroyed the disabled, the Jews, the gypsies. The Russians, too, would have become mass victims of violence, had they not vanquished the Germans. So where does one draw the line?”

This is what I actually wrote: “Homosexual pairs are just such anomalies. What is to be done about them? The issue appears to be very complicated if we consider the knot of ethical, political, democratic and other norms involved. … If this process is not stopped, mankind will simply die out as a species, same as 99% of the preceding organic world.” Does it follow from my expressions that I propose “the Nazi option” for solving this problem? I offer no solutions in my book, though I could have suggested the Soviet option or the current Chinese option. However, there is something more important in this attack against me, and I want to draw the readers’ attention to it.

As a person who had accepted Western values, Gabi is constantly trying to either tie in her “opinion” with some story that casts a shadow on socialist countries (the USSR and the GDR), or to equate my stance with “Nazism”. She doesn’t realize this herself, but this technique has been perfected by the manipulators of consciousness in the West and reliably hammered into philistines’ brains. It is no accident that right after her above-quoted condemnation she launches a diatribe against the Soviet society: “However, hasn’t there been in Soviet times inhumane arbitrariness and abuse of power that destroyed families and that can never be justified by the interests of the majority…” 

Sure there were, Liebe Gabi – many times. Only for all of that one should explain: how is it that despite the “inhumane arbitrariness” families kept growing bigger and stronger within the boundaries of the Soviet Union as a whole, and the number of divorces was smaller by several orders of magnitude than in today’s capitalist Russia where markets and democracy appear to flourish? But then again – statistics are of no interest to my incurious opponent; statistics are impersonal and boring, they cannot be translated into one’s acquaintances’ experiences, and as for the accusations against socialist countries – these are long-ago-mastered clichés, hammered into the philistines’ heads by means of “brainwashing”.

Even though Gabi is German, she is not likely to have studied the works of her fellow countryman – the genius Hegel who proved scientifically in his works that the interests of the majority are always superior to the interests of the minority, the interests of the state are always superior to the interests of the individual – in other words, philogenesis is superior to orgagenesis. Had she studied them, she would never have presented them as “having a right to exist”.  They really do have a right to exist, but only alongside other “opinions” – not alongside judgments that are formulated based on scientific thinking. However, I can’t really wrap my brains around a woman who studies Hegel; it is the same as the flying cow painted by Mark Chagall after some bender. I do think it is better for women to have “opinions”.

It is worse when men operate with similar “opinions”. On the other hand, that comes with being philistines. The problem is that the thinking of the political elite of the Western countries is likewise infected with “opinions”. That is no mere problem, actually; it is a tragedy. When the leaders of such countries as Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Spain and a number of others promote – rather than oppose – homosexuality, cohabitation, hedonism for both men and women and so on in that sphere – there is small wonder that the white race shrinks. It shrinks the fastest in places where the phenomena listed enjoy the biggest support – in particular, Germany.  Apparently one shouldn’t be surprised at the parasitizing of the West and its degradation, most notably in “art”. Of course, all these processes are reflections of the general crisis of the so-called post-capitalist societies. They have clearly exhausted their historical possibilities. One of the manifestations of this is the philistine leaders whose intellectual level is incapable of overcoming “universally accepted opinions”, incapable of thinking scientifically – and therefore of thinking stratagem-like, keeping in mind the perspective. The declining numbers of the white population by the middle of the 21st century will confirm with the utmost obviousness that based on “opinions” one can exist, but one cannot survive. One can only survive and follow the path of progress based on laws of science which are revealed not to philistines, but to scientists who use conceptual thinking.

As for Gabi – my big thanks to her yet again for supplying the pretext for reflections on the topic of what is good and what is bad.

[1] In the context of this article I put no negative meaning in the word «philistine», as it is not possible to have a negative attitude toward 99% of humanity.

[2] My wife and I met Gabi in Moscow in the early 1970s. She knows Russian, English and French, she is well-educated and well-read – and not just in fiction: to my surprise, she knows the works of French philosophers such as Jean Baudrillard. That is, she is well-informed about literature, art and philosophy – and possibly about many other areas of which I am not aware.

Alex Battler