Monday, February 22, 2016

Paglia and Civilizing the Beast

Over the years cultural philosophers have come up with various ways to civilize the beast. Both  Friedrich Nietzsche and Camille Paglia wanted to release the beast mainly through the sublimation of Dionysian/Apollonian art, although Nietzsche didn't much mind aristocratic beasts as leaders.

If we take Paglia's stark but true definitions of male/female differences, as mentioned by Bradley Birzer (The American Conservative, Dec 2015), we find that at the hormonal extremes males are angry, motivated by a principle of attack, androgen agitates, and the male moral danger is brutishness. At the female extremes we find acute sensitivity, more stable containment, estrogen tranquilizes, and the female moral danger is stasis. (We usually hear these differences described as male territoriality and female nurturing.)

If we expand Paglia's gender definitions out to a broader, sociobiological, evolutionary definition of human nature we see that even the smallest change in our DNA structure, for example, in our immune system, takes hundreds of thousands of years, and we remain today kin-centered, gender defined, age-graded, heterosexual marriage-making, hierarchical, ethnocentric, even xenophobic, with group-selection as the primary unit of selection.

Combining Paglia's gender definitions and sociobiological definitions of human nature we can see, somewhat contrary to Nietzsche and Paglia, that they add up to most of the conservative values and virtues. But we can also see that political and cultural philosophy needs to move toward ethnopluralism if we wish to be healthy and natural, that is, regions and states set aside for distinct ethnic cultures with distnct human natures, protected by some sort of federalism. This way territoriality, nurturing, and evolutionary variety can thrive, and we can continue to evolve toward Godhood, without losing the healthier elements of the beast.

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