Fantasia of the Unconscious
by D. H. Lawrence
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Teething is strictly the period when the voluntary center of the lower plane first comes into full activity, and takes for a time the precedence.

So, the mouth is the great sensual gate to the lower body. But let us not forget it is also a gate by which we breathe, the gate through which we speak and go impalpably forth to our object, the gate at which we can kiss the pinched, delicate, spiritual kiss. Therefore, although the main sensual gate of entrance to the lower body, it has its reference also to the upper body.

Taste, the sense of taste, is an intake of a pure communication between us and a body from the outside world. It contains the element of touch, and in this it refers to the cardiac plexus. But taste, qua taste, refers purely to the solar plexus.

And then smell. The nostrils are the great gate from the wide atmosphere of heaven to the lungs. The extreme sigh of yearning we catch through the mouth. But the delicate nose advances always into the air, our palpable communicator with the infinite air. Thus it has its first delicate root in the cardiac plexus, the root of its intake. And the root of the delicate-proud exhalation, rejection, is in the thoracic ganglion. But the nostrils have their other function of smell. Here the delicate nerve-ends run direct from the lower centers, from the solar plexus and the lumbar ganglion, or even deeper. There is the refined sensual intake when a scent is sweet. There is the sensual repudiation when a scent is unsavoury. And just as the fullness of the lips and the shape of the mouth depend on the development from the lower or the upper centers, the sensual or the spiritual, so does the shape of the nose depend on the direct control of the deepest centers of consciousness. A perfect nose is perhaps the result of a balance in the four modes. But what is a perfect nose!—We only know that a short snub nose goes with an over-sympathetic nature, not proud enough; while a long nose derives from the center of the upper will, the thoracic ganglion, our great center of curiosity, and benevolent or objective control. A thick, squat nose is the sensual-sympathetic nose, and the high, arched nose the sensual voluntary nose, having the curve of repudiation, as when we turn up our nose from a bad smell, but also the proud curve of haughtiness and subjective authority. The nose is one of the greatest indicators of character. That is to say, it almost inevitably indicates the mode of predominant dynamic consciousness in the individual, the predominant primary center from which he lives.—When savages rub noses instead of kissing, they are exchanging a more sensitive and a deeper sensual salute than our lip-touch.

The eyes are the third great gateway of the psyche. Here the soul goes in and out of the body, as a bird flying forth and coming home. But the root of conscious vision is almost entirely in the breast. When I go forth from my own eyes, in delight to dwell upon the world which is beyond me, outside me, then I go forth from wide open windows, through which shows the full and living lambent darkness of my present inward self. I go forth, and I leave the lovely open darkness of my sensient self revealed; when I go forth in the wonder of vision to dwell upon the beloved, or upon the wonder of the world, I go from the center of the glad breast, through the eyes, and who will may look into the full soft darkness of me, rich with my undiscovered presence. But if I am displeased, then hard and cold my self stands in my eyes, and refuses any communication, any sympathy, but merely stares outwards. It is the motion of cold objectivity from the thoracic ganglion. Or, from the same center of will, cold but intense my eyes may watch with curiosity, as a cat watches a fly. It may be into my curiosity will creep an element of warm gladness in the wonder which I am beholding outside myself. Or it may be that my curiosity will be purely and simply the cold, almost cruel curiosity of the upper will, directed from the ganglion of the shoulders: such as is the acute attention of an experimental scientist.

The eyes have, however, their sensual root as well. But this is hard to transfer into language, as all our vision, our modern Northern vision is in the upper mode of actual seeing.

There is a sensual way of beholding. There is the dark, desirous look of a savage who apprehends only that which has direct reference to himself, that which stirs a certain dark yearning within his lower self. Then his eye is fathomless blackness. But there is the dark eye which glances with a certain fire, and has no depth. There is a keen quick vision which watches, which beholds, but which never yields to the object outside: as a cat watching its prey. The dark glancing look which knows the strangeness, the danger of its object, the need to overcome the object. The eye which is not wide open to study, to learn, but which powerfully, proudly or cautiously glances, and knows the terror or the pure desirability of strangeness in the object it beholds. The savage is all in all in himself. That which he sees outside he hardly notices, or, he sees as something odd, something automatically desirable, something lustfully desirable, or something dangerous. What we call vision, that he has not.

We must compare the look in a horse's eye with the look in a cow's. The eye of the cow is soft, velvety, receptive. She stands and gazes with the strangest intent curiosity. She goes forth from herself in wonder. The root of her vision is in her yearning breast. The same one hears when she moos. The same massive weight of passion is in a bull's breast; the passion to go forth from himself. His strength is in his breast, his weapons are on his head. The wonder is always outside him.

But the horse's eye is bright and glancing. His curiosity is cautious, full of terror, or else aggressive and frightening for the object. The root of his vision is in his belly, in the solar plexus. And he fights with his teeth, and his heels, the sensual weapons.

Both these animals, however, are established in the sympathetic mode. The life mode in both is sensitively sympathetic, or preponderantly sympathetic. Those animals which like cats, wolves, tigers, hawks, chiefly live from the great voluntary centers, these animals are, in our sense of the word, almost visionless. Sight in them is sharpened or narrowed down to a point: the object of prey. It is exclusive. They see no more than this. And thus they see unthinkably far, unthinkably keenly.

Most animals, however, smell what they see: vision is not very highly developed. They know better by the more direct contact of scent.

And vision in us becomes faulty because we proceed too much in one mode. We see too much, we attend too much. The dark, glancing sightlessness of the intent savage, the narrowed vision of the cat, the single point of vision of the hawk—these we do not know any more. We live far too much from the sympathetic centers, without the balance from the voluntary mode. And we live far, far too much from the upper sympathetic center and voluntary center, in an endless objective curiosity. Sight is the least sensual of all the senses. And we strain ourselves to see, see, see—everything, everything through the eye, in one mode of objective curiosity. There is nothing inside us, we stare endlessly at the outside. So our eyes begin to fail; to retaliate on us. We go short-sighted, almost in self-protection.

Hearing the last, and perhaps the deepest of the senses. And here there is no choice. In every other faculty we have the power of rejection. We have a choice of vision. We can, if we choose, see in the terms of the wonderful beyond, the world of light into which we go forth in joy to lose ourselves in it. Or we can see, as the Egyptians saw, in the terms of their own dark souls: seeing the strangeness of the creature outside, the gulf between it and them, but finally, its existence in terms of themselves. They saw according to their own unchangeable idea, subjectively, they did not go forth from themselves to seek the wonder outside.

Those are the two chief ways of sympathetic vision. We call our way the objective, the Egyptian the subjective. But objective and subjective are words that depend absolutely on your starting point. Spiritual and sensual are much more descriptive terms.

But there are, of course, also the two ways of volitional vision. We can see with the endless modern critical sight, analytic, and at last deliberately ugly. Or we can see as the hawk sees the one concentrated spot where beats the life-heart of our prey.

In the four modes of sight we have some choice. We have some choice to refuse tastes or smells or touch. In hearing we have the minimum of choice. Sound acts direct upon the great affective centers. We may voluntarily quicken our hearing, or make it dull. But we have really no choice of what we hear. Our will is eliminated. Sound acts direct, almost automatically, upon the affective centers. And we have no power of going forth from the ear. We are always and only recipient.

Nevertheless, sound acts upon us in various ways, according to the four primary poles of consciousness. The singing of birds acts almost entirely upon the centers of the breast. Birds, which live by flight, impelled from the strong conscious-activity of the breast and shoulders, have become for us symbols of the spirit, the upper mode of consciousness. Their legs have become idle, almost insentient twigs. Only the tail flirts from the center of the sensual will.

But their singing acts direct upon the upper, or spiritual centers in us. So does almost all our music, which is all Christian in tendency. But modern music is analytical, critical, and it has discovered the power of ugliness. Like our martial music, it is of the upper plane, like our martial songs, our fifes and our brass-bands. These act direct upon the thoracic ganglion. Time was, however, when music acted upon the sensual centers direct. We hear it still in savage music, and in the roll of drums, and in the roaring of lions, and in the howling of cats. And in some voices still we hear the deeper resonance of the sensual mode of consciousness. But the tendency is for everything to be brought on to the upper plane, whilst the lower plane is just worked automatically from the upper.



We can now see what is the true goal of education for a child. It is the full and harmonious development of the four primary modes of consciousness, always with regard to the individual nature of the child.

The goal is not ideal. The aim is not mental consciousness. We want effectual human beings, not conscious ones. The final aim is not to know, but to be. There never was a more risky motto than that: Know thyself. You've got to know yourself as far as possible. But not just for the sake of knowing. You've got to know yourself so that you can at last be yourself. "Be yourself" is the last motto.

The whole field of dynamic and effectual consciousness is always pre-mental, non-mental. Not even the most knowing man that ever lived would know how he would be feeling next week; whether some new and utterly shattering impulse would have arisen in him and laid his nicely-conceived self in ruins. It is the impulse we have to live by, not the ideals or the idea. But we have to know ourselves pretty thoroughly before we can break the automatism of ideals and conventions. The savage in a state of nature is one of the most conventional of creatures. So is a child. Only through fine delicate knowledge can we recognize and release our impulses. Now our whole aim has been to force each individual to a maximum of mental control, and mental consciousness. Our poor little plans of children are put into horrible forcing-beds, called schools, and the young idea is there forced to shoot. It shoots, poor thing, like a potato in a warm cellar. One mass of pallid sickly ideas and ideals. And no root, no life. The ideas shoot, hard enough, in our sad offspring, but they shoot at the expense of life itself. Never was such a mistake. Mental consciousness is a purely individual affair. Some men are born to be highly and delicately conscious. But for the vast majority, much mental consciousness is simply a catastrophe, a blight. It just stops their living.

Our business, at the present, is to prevent at all cost the young idea from shooting. The ideal mind, the brain, has become the vampire of modern life, sucking up the blood and the life. There is hardly an original thought or original utterance possible to us. All is sickly repetition of stale, stale ideas.

Let all schools be closed at once. Keep only a few technical training establishments, nothing more. Let humanity lie fallow, for two generations at least. Let no child learn to read, unless it learns by itself, out of its own individual persistent desire.

That is my serious admonition, gentle reader. But I am not so flighty as to imagine you will pay any heed. But if I thought you would, I should feel my hope surge up. And if you don't pay any heed, calamity will at length shut your schools for you, sure enough.

The process of transfer from the primary consciousness to recognized mental consciousness is a mystery like every other transfer. Yet it follows its own laws. And here we begin to approach the confines of orthodox psychology, upon which we have no desire to trespass. But this we can say. The degree of transfer from primary to mental consciousness varies with every individual. But in most individuals the natural degree is very low.

The process of transfer from primary consciousness is called sublimation, the sublimating of the potential body of knowledge with the definite reality of the idea. And with this process we have identified all education. The very derivation of the Latin word education shows us. Of course it should mean the leading forth of each nature to its fullness. But with us, fools that we are, it is the leading forth of the primary consciousness, the potential or dynamic consciousness, into mental consciousness, which is finite and static. Now before we set out so gayly to lead our children en bloc out of the dynamic into the static way of consciousness, let us consider a moment what we are doing.

A child in the womb can have no idea of the mother. I think orthodox psychology will allow us so much. And yet the child in the womb must be dynamically conscious of the mother. Otherwise how could it maintain a definite and progressively developing relation to her?

This consciousness, however, is utterly non-ideal, non-mental, purely dynamic, a matter of dynamic polarized intercourse of vital vibrations, as an exchange of wireless messages which are never translated from the pulse-rhythm into speech, because they have no need to be. It is a dynamic polarized intercourse between the great primary nuclei in the foetus and the corresponding nuclei in the dynamic maternal psyche.

This form of consciousness is established at conception, and continues long after birth. Nay, it continues all life long. But the particular interchange of dynamic consciousness between mother and child suffers no interruption at birth. It continues almost the same. The child has no conception whatsoever of the mother. It cannot see her, for its eye has no focus. It can hear her, because hearing needs no transmission into concept, but it has no oral notion of sounds. It knows her. But only by a form of vital dynamic correspondence, a sort of magnetic interchange. The idea does not intervene at all.

Gradually, however, the dark shadow of our object begins to loom in the formless mind of the infant. The idea of the mother is, as it were, gradually photographed on the cerebral plasm. It begins with the faintest shadow—but the figure is gradually developed through years of experience. It is never quite completed.

How does the figure of the mother gradually develop as a conception in the child mind? It develops as the result of the positive and negative reaction from the primary centers of consciousness. From the first great center of sympathy the child is drawn to a lovely oneing with the mother. From the first great center of will comes the independent self-assertion which locates the mother as something outside, something objective. And as a result of this twofold notion, a twofold increase in the child. First, the dynamic establishment of the individual consciousness in the infant: and then the first shadow of a mental conception of the mother, in the infant brain. The development of the original mind in every child and every man always and only follows from the dual fulfillment in the dynamic consciousness.

But mark further. Each time, after the fourfold interchange between two dynamic polarized lives, there results a development in the individuality and a sublimation into consciousness, both simultaneously in each party: and this dual development causes at once a diminution in the dynamic polarity between the two parties. That is, as its individuality and its mental concept of the mother develop in the child, there is a corresponding waning of the dynamic relation between the child and the mother. And this is the natural progression of all love. As we have said before, the accomplishment of individuality never finally exhausts the dynamic flow between parents and child. In the same way, a child can never have a finite conception of either of its parents. It can have a very much more finite, finished conception of its aunts or its friends. The portrait of the parent can never be quite completed in the mind of the son or daughter. As long as time lasts it must be left unfinished.

Nevertheless, the inevitable photography of time upon the mental plasm does print at last a very substantial portrait of the parent, a very well-filled concept in the child mind. And the nearer a conception comes towards finality, the nearer does the dynamic relation, out of which this concept has arisen, draw to a close. To know, is to lose. When I have a finished mental concept of a beloved, or a friend, then the love and the friendship is dead. It falls to the level of an acquaintance. As soon as I have a finished mental conception, a full idea even of myself, then dynamically I am dead. To know is to die.

But knowledge and death are part of our natural development. Only, of course, most things can never be known by us in full. Which means we do never absolutely die, even to our parents. So that Jesus' question to His mother, "Woman, what have I to do with thee!"—while expressing a major truth, still has an exaggerated sound, which comes from its denial of the minor truth.

This progression from dynamic relationship towards a finished individuality and a finished mental concept is carried on from the four great primary centers through the correspondence medium of all the senses and sensibilities. First of all, the child knows the mother only through touch—perfect and immediate contact. And yet, from the moment of conception, the egg-cell repudiated complete adhesion and even communication, and asserted its individual integrity. The child in the womb, perfect a contact though it may have with the mother, is all the time also dynamically polarized against this contact. From the first moment, this relation in touch has a dual polarity, and, no doubt, a dual mode. It is a fourfold interchange of consciousness, the moment the egg-cell has made its two spontaneous divisions.

As soon as the child is born, there is a real severance. The contact of touch is interrupted, it now becomes occasional only. True, the dynamic flow between mother and child is not severed when simple physical contact is missing. Though mother and child may not touch, still the dynamic flow continues between them. The mother knows her child, feels her bowels and her breast drawn to it, even if it be a hundred miles away. But if the severance continue long, the dynamic flow begins to die, both in mother and child. It wanes fairly quickly—and perhaps can never be fully revived. The dynamic relation between parent and child may fairly easily fall into quiescence, a static condition.

For a full dynamic relationship it is necessary that there be actual contact. The nerves run from the four primary dynamos, and end with live ends all over the body. And it is necessary to bring the live ends of the nerves of the child into contact with the live ends of corresponding nerves in the mother, so that a pure circuit is established. Wherever a pure circuit is established, there occurs a pure development in the individual creation, and this is inevitably accompanied by sensation; and sensation is the first term of mental knowledge.

So, from the field of the breast and arms, the upper circuit, and from the field of the knees and feet and belly, the lower circuit.

And then, the moment a child is born, the face is alive. And the face communicates direct with both planes of primary consciousness. The moment a child is born, it begins to grope for the breast. And suddenly a new great circuit is established, the four poles all working at once, as the child sucks. There is the profound desirousness of the lower center of sympathy, and the superior avidity of the center of will, and at the same time, the cleaving yearning to the nipple, and the tiny curiosity of lips and gums. The nipple of the mother's breast is one of the great gates of the body, hence of the living psyche. In the nipple terminate vivid nerves which flash their very powerful vibrations through the mouth of the child and deep into its four great poles of being and knowing. Even the nipples of the man are gateways to the great dynamic flow: still gateways.

Touch, taste, and smell are now active in the baby. And these senses, so-called, are strictly sensations. They are the first term of the child's mental knowledge. And on these three cerebral reactions the foundation of the future mind is laid.

The moment there is a perfect polarized circuit between the first four poles of dynamic consciousness, at that moment does the mind, the terminal station, flash into cognition. The first cognition is merely sensation: sensation and the remembrance of sensation being the first element in all knowing and in all conception.

The circuit of touch, taste, and smell must be well established, before the eyes begin actually to see. All mental knowledge is built up of sensation and of memory. It is the continually recurring sensation of the touch of the mother which forms the basis of the first conception of the mother. After that, the gradually discriminated taste of the mother, and scent of the mother. Till gradually sight and hearing develop and largely usurp the first three senses, as medium of correspondence and of knowledge.

And while, of course, the sensational knowledge is being secreted in the brain, in some much more mysterious way the living individuality of the child is being developed in the four first nuclei, the four great nerve-centers of the primary field of consciousness and being.

As time goes on, the child learns to see the mother. At first he sees her face as a blur, and though he knows her, knows her by a direct glow of communication, as if her face were a warm glowing life-lamp which rejoiced him. But gradually, as the circuit of touch, taste, and smell become powerfully established; gradually, as the individual develops in the child, and so retreats towards isolation; gradually, as the child stands more immune from the mother, the circuit of correspondence extends, and the eyes now communicate across space, the ears begin to discriminate sounds. Last of all develops discriminate hearing.

Now gradually the picture of the mother is transferred to the child's mind, and the sound of the first baby-words is imprinted. And as the child learns to discriminate visually, objectively, between the mother and the nurse, he learns to choose, and becomes individually free. And still, the dynamic correspondence is not finished. It only changes its circuit.

While the brain is registering sensations, the four dynamic centers are coming into perfect relation. Or rather, as we see, the reverse is the case. As the dynamic centers come into perfect relation, the mind registers and remembers sensations, and begins consciously to know. But the great field of activity is still and always the dynamic field. When a child learns to walk, it learns almost entirely from the solar plexus and the lumbar ganglion, the cardiac plexus and the thoracic ganglion balancing the upper body.

There is a perfected circuit of polarity. The two lower centers are the positive, the two upper the negative poles. And so the child strikes out with his feet for the earth, presses, and strikes away again from the earth, the two upper centers meanwhile corresponding implicitly in the balance of the upper body. It is a chain of spontaneous activity in the four primary centers, establishing a circuit through the whole body. But the positive poles are the lower centers. And the brain has probably nothing at all to do with it. Even the desire to walk is not born in the brain, but in the primary nuclei.

The same with the use of the hands and arms. It means the establishment of a pure circuit between the four centers, the two upper poles now being the positive, the lower the negative poles, and the hands the live end of the wire. Again the brain is not concerned. Probably, even in the first deliberate grasping of an object, the brain is not concerned. Not until there is an element of recognition and sensation-memory.

All our primal activity originates and circulates purely in the four great nerve centers. All our active desire, our genuine impulse, our love, our hope, our yearning, everything originates mysteriously at these four great centers or well-heads of our existence: everything vital and dynamic. The mind can only register that which results from the emanation of the dynamic impulse and the collision or communion of this impulse with its object.

So now we see that we can never know ourselves. Knowledge is to consciousness what the signpost is to the traveler: just an indication of the way which has been traveled before. Knowledge is not even in direct proportion to being. There may be great knowledge of chemistry in a man who is a rather poor being: and those who know, even in wisdom like Solomon, are often at the end of the matter of living, not at the beginning. As a matter of fact, David did the living, the dynamic achievement. To Solomon was left the consummation and the finish, and the dying down.

Yet we must know, if only in order to learn not to know. The supreme lesson of human consciousness is to learn how not to know. That is, how not to interfere. That is, how to live dynamically, from the great Source, and not statically, like machines driven by ideas and principles from the head, or automatically, from one fixed desire. At last, knowledge must be put into its true place in the living activity of man. And we must know deeply, in order even to do that.

So a new conception of the meaning of education.

Education means leading out the individual nature in each man and woman to its true fullness. You can't do that by stimulating the mind. To pump education into the mind is fatal. That which sublimates from the dynamic consciousness into the mental consciousness has alone any value. This, in most individuals, is very little indeed. So that most individuals, under a wise government, would be most carefully protected from all vicious attempts to inject extraneous ideas into them. Every extraneous idea, which has no inherent root in the dynamic consciousness, is as dangerous as a nail driven into a young tree. For the mass of people, knowledge must be symbolical, mythical, dynamic. This means, you must have a higher, responsible, conscious class: and then in varying degrees the lower classes, varying in their degree of consciousness. Symbols must be true from top to bottom. But the interpretation of the symbols must rest, degree after degree, in the higher, responsible, conscious classes. To those who cannot divest themselves again of mental consciousness and definite ideas, mentality and ideas are death, nails through their hands and feet.



The first process of education is obviously not a mental process. When a mother talks to a baby, she is not encouraging its little mind to think. When she is coaxing her child to walk, she is not making a theoretic exposition of the science of equilibration. She crouches before the child, at a little distance, and spreads her hands. "Come, baby—come to mother. Come! Baby, walk! Yes, walk! Walk to mother! Come along. A little walk to its mother. Come! Come then! Why yes, a pretty baby! Oh, he can toddle! Yes—yes—No, don't be frightened, a dear. No—Come to mother—" and she catches his little pinafore by the tip—and the infant lurches forward. "There! There! A beautiful walk! A beautiful walker, yes! Walked all the way to mother, baby did. Yes, he did—"

Now who will tell me that this talk has any rhyme or reason? Not a spark of reason. Yet a real rhyme: or rhythm, much more important. The song and the urge of the mother's voice plays direct on the affective centers of the child, a wonderful stimulus and tuition. The words hardly matter. True, this constant repetition in the end forms a mental association. At the moment they have no mental significance at all for the baby. But they ring with a strange palpitating music in his fluttering soul, and lift him into motion.

And this is the way to educate children: the instinctive way of mothers. There should be no effort made to teach children to think, to have ideas. Only to lift them and urge them into dynamic activity. The voice of dynamic sound, not the words of understanding. Damn understanding. Gestures, and touch, and expression of the face, not theory. Never have ideas about children—and never have ideas for them.

If we are going to teach children we must teach them first to move. And not by rule or mental dictation. Horror! But by playing and teasing and anger, and amusement. A child must learn to move blithe and free and proud. It must learn the fullness of spontaneous motion. And this it can only learn by continuous reaction from all the centers, through all the emotions. A child must learn to contain itself. It must learn to sit still if need be. Part of the first phase of education is the learning to stay still and be physically self-contained. Then a child must learn to be alone, and to adventure alone, and to play alone. Any peevish clinging should be quite roughly rebuffed. From the very first day, throw a child back on its own resources—even a little cruelly sometimes. But don't neglect it, don't have a negative attitude to it. Play with it, tease it and roll it over as a dog her puppy, mock it when it is too timorous, laugh at it, scold it when it really bothers you—for a child must learn not to bother another person—and when it makes you genuinely angry, spank it soundly. But always remember that it is a single little soul by itself; and that the responsibility for the wise, warm relationship is yours, the adult's.

Then always watch its deportment. Above all things encourage a straight backbone and proud shoulders. Above all things despise a slovenly movement, an ugly bearing and unpleasing manner. And make a mock of petulance and of too much timidity.

We are imbeciles to start bothering about love and so forth in a child. Forget utterly that there is such a thing as emotional reciprocity. But never forget your own honor as an adult individual towards a small individual. It is a question of honor, not of love.

A tree grows straight when it has deep roots and is not too stifled. Love is a spontaneous thing, coming out of the spontaneous effectual soul. As a deliberate principle it is an unmitigated evil. Also morality which is based on ideas, or on an ideal, is an unmitigated evil. A child which is proud and free in its movements, in all its deportment, will be quite as moral as need be. Honor is an instinct, a superb instinct which should be kept keenly alive. Immorality, vice, crime, these come from a suppression or a collapse at one or other of the great primary centers. If one of these centers fails to maintain its true polarity, then there is a physical or psychic derangement, or both. And viciousness or crime are the result of a derangement in the primary system. Pure morality is only an instinctive adjustment which the soul makes in every circumstance, adjusting one thing to another livingly, delicately, sensitively. There can be no law. Therefore, at every cost and charge keep the first four centers alive and alert, active, and vivid in reaction. And then you need fear no perversion. What we have done, in our era, is, first, we have tried as far as possible to suppress or subordinate the two sensual centers. We have so unduly insisted on and exaggerated the upper spiritual or selfless mode—the living in the other person and through the other person—that we have caused already a dangerous over-balance in the natural psyche.

To correct this we go one worse, and try to rule ourselves more and more by the old ideas of sympathy and benevolence. We think that love and benevolence will cure anything. Whereas love and benevolence are our poison, poison to the giver, and still more poison to the receiver. Poison only because there is practically no spontaneous love left in the world. It is all will, the fatal love-will and insatiable morbid curiosity. The pure sympathetic mode of love long ago broke down. There is now only deadly, exaggerated volition.

This is also why general education should be suppressed as soon as possible. We have fallen into a state of fixed, deadly will. Everything we do and say to our children in school tends simply to fix in them the same deadly will, under the pretence of pure love. Our idealism is the clue to our fixed will. Love, beauty, benevolence, progress, these are the words we use. But the principle we evoke is a principle of barren, sanctified compulsion of all life. We want to put all life under compulsion. "How to outwit the nerves," for example.—And therefore, to save the children as far as possible, elementary education should be stopped at once.

No child should be sent to any sort of public institution before the age of ten years. If I could but advise, I would advise that this notice should be sent through the length and breadth of the land.

"Parents, the State can no longer be responsible for the mind and character of your children. From the first day of the coming year, all schools will be closed for an indefinite period. Fathers, see that your boys are trained to be men. Mothers, see that your daughters are trained to be women.

"All schools will shortly be converted either into public workshops or into gymnasia. No child will be admitted into the workshops under ten years of age. Active training in primitive modes of fighting and gymnastics will be compulsory for all boys over ten years of age.

"All girls over ten years of age must attend at one domestic workshop. All girls over ten years of age may, in addition, attend at one workshop of skilled labor, or of technical industry, or of art. Admission for three months' probation.

"All boys over ten years of age must attend at one workshop of domestic crafts, and at one workshop of skilled labor, or of technical industry, or of art. A boy may choose, with his parents' consent, his school of labor, or technical industry or art, but the directors reserve the right to transfer him to a more suitable department, if necessary, after a three months' probation.

"It is the intention of this State to form a body of active, energetic citizens. The danger of a helpless, presumptuous, news-paper-reading population is universally recognized.

"All elementary education is left in the hands of the parents, save such as is necessary to the different branches of industry.

"Schools of mental culture are free to all individuals over fourteen years of age.

"Universities are free to all who obtain the first culture degree."

The fact is, our process of universal education is to-day so uncouth, so psychologically barbaric, that it is the most terrible menace to the existence of our race. We seize hold of our children, and by parrot-compulsion we force into them a set of mental tricks. By unnatural and unhealthy compulsion we force them into a certain amount of cerebral activity. And then, after a few years, with a certain number of windmills in their heads, we turn them loose, like so many inferior Don Quixotes, to make a mess of life. All that they have learnt in their heads has no reference at all to their dynamic souls. The windmills spin and spin in a wind of words, Dulcinea del Toboso beckons round every corner, and our nation of inferior Quixotes jumps on and off tram-cars, trains, bicycles, motor-cars, buses, in one mad chase of the divine Dulcinea, who is all the time chewing chocolates and feeling very, very bored. It is no use telling the poor devils to stop. They read in the newspapers about more Dulcineas and more chivalry due to them and more horrid persons who injure the fair fame of these bored females. And round they skelter, after their own tails. That is, when they are not forced to grind out their lives for a wage. Though work is the only thing that prevents our masses from going quite mad.

To tell the truth, ideas are the most dangerous germs mankind has ever been injected with. They are introduced into the brain by injection, in schools and by means of newspapers, and then we are done for.

An idea which is merely introduced into the brain, and started spinning there like some outrageous insect, is the cause of all our misery to-day. Instead of living from the spontaneous centers, we live from the head. We chew, chew, chew at some theory, some idea. We grind, grind, grind in our mental consciousness, till we are beside ourselves. Our primary affective centers, our centers of spontaneous being, are so utterly ground round and automatized that they squeak in all stages of disharmony and incipient collapse. We are a people—and not we alone—of idiots, imbeciles and epileptics, and we don't even know we are raving.

And all is due, directly and solely, to that hateful germ we call the Ideal. The Ideal is always evil, no matter what ideal it be. No idea should ever be raised to a governing throne.

This does not mean that man should immediately cut off his head and try to develop a pair of eyes in his breasts. But it does mean this: that an idea is just the final concrete or registered result of living dynamic interchange and reactions: that no idea is ever perfectly expressed until its dynamic cause is finished; and that to continue to put into dynamic effect an already perfected idea means the nullification of all living activity, the substitution of mechanism, and all the resultant horrors of ennui, ecstasy, neurasthenia, and a collapsing psyche.

The whole tree of our idea of life and living is dead. Then let us leave off hanging ourselves and our children from its branches like medlars.

The idea, the actual idea, must rise ever fresh, ever displaced, like the leaves of a tree, from out of the quickness of the sap, and according to the forever incalculable effluence of the great dynamic centers of life. The tree of life is a gay kind of tree that is forever dropping its leaves and budding out afresh, quite different ones. If the last lot were thistle leaves, the next lot may be vine. You never can tell with the Tree of Life.

So we come back to that precious child who costs us such a lot of ink. By what right, I ask you, are we going to inject into him our own disease-germs of ideas and infallible motives? By the right of the diseased, who want to infect everybody.

There are few, few people in whom the living impulse and reaction develops and sublimates into mental consciousness. There are all kinds of trees in the forest. But few of them indeed bear the apples of knowledge. The modern world insists, however, that every individual shall bear the apples of knowledge. So we go through the forest of mankind, cut back every tree, and try to graft it into an apple-tree. A nice wood of monsters we make by so doing.

It is not the nature of most men to know and to understand and to reason very far. Therefore, why should they make a pretense of it? It is the nature of some few men to reason, then let them reason. Those whose nature it is to be rational will instinctively ask why and wherefore, and wrestle with themselves for an answer. But why every Tom, Dick and Harry should have the why and wherefore of the universe rammed into him, and should be allowed to draw the conclusion hence that he is the ideal person and responsible for the universe, I don't know. It is a lie anyway—for neither the whys nor the wherefores are his own, and he is but a parrot with his nut of a universe.

Why should we cram the mind of a child with facts that have nothing to do with his own experiences, and have no relation to his own dynamic activity? Let us realize that every extraneous idea effectually introduced into a man's mind is a direct obstruction of his dynamic activity. Every idea which is introduced from outside into a man's mind, and which does not correspond to his own dynamic nature, is a fatal stumbling-block for that man: is a cause of arrest for his true individual activity, and a derangement to his psychic being.

For instance, if I teach a man the idea that all men are equal. Now this idea has no foundation in experience, but is logically deduced from certain ethical or philosophic principles. But there is a disease of idealism in the world, and we all are born with it. Particularly teachers are born with it. So they seize on the idea of equality, and proceed to instil it. With what result? Your man is no longer a man, living his own life from his own spontaneous centers. He is a theoretic imbecile trying to frustrate and dislocate all life.

It is the death of all life to force a pure idea into practice. Life must be lived from the deep, self-responsible spontaneous centers of every individual, in a vital, non-ideal circuit of dynamic relation between individuals. The passions or desires which are thought-born are deadly. Any particular mode of passion or desire which receives an exclusive ideal sanction at once becomes poisonous.

If this is true for men, it is much more true for women. Teach a woman to act from an idea, and you destroy her womanhood for ever. Make a woman self-conscious, and her soul is barren as a sandbag. Why were we driven out of Paradise? Why did we fall into this gnawing disease of unappeasable dissatisfaction? Not because we sinned. Ah, no. All the animals in Paradise enjoyed the sensual passion of coition. Not because we sinned. But because we got our sex into our head.

When Eve ate that particular apple, she became aware of her own womanhood, mentally. And mentally she began to experiment with it. She has been experimenting ever since. So has man. To the rage and horror of both of them.

These sexual experiments are really anathema. But once a woman is sexually self-conscious, what is she to do? There it is, she is born with the disease of her own self-consciousness, as was her mother before her. She is bound to experiment and try one idea after another, in the long run always to her own misery. She is bound to have fixed one, and then another idea of herself, herself as woman. First she is the noble spouse of a not-quite-so-noble male: then a Mater Dolorosa: then a ministering Angel: then a competent social unit, a Member of Parliament or a Lady Doctor or a platform speaker: and all the while, as a side show, she is the Isolde of some Tristan, or the Guinevere of some Lancelot, or the Fata Morgana of all men—in her own idea. She can't stop having an idea of herself. She can't get herself out of her own head. And there she is, functioning away from her own head and her own consciousness of herself and her own automatic self-will, till the whole man and woman game has become just a hell, and men with any backbone would rather kill themselves than go on with it—or kill somebody else.

Yet we are going to inculcate more and more self-consciousness, teach every little Mary to be more and more a nice little Mary out of her own head, and every little Joseph to theorize himself up to the scratch.

And the point lies here. There will have to come an end. Every race which has become self-conscious and idea-bound in the past has perished. And then it has all started afresh, in a different way, with another race. And man has never learnt any better. We are really far, far more life-stupid than the dead Greeks or the lost Etruscans. Our day is pretty short, and closing fast. We can pass, and another race can follow later.

But there is another alternative. We still have in us the power to discriminate between our own idealism, our own self-conscious will, and that other reality, our own true spontaneous self. Certainly we are so overloaded and diseased with ideas that we can't get well in a minute. But we can set our faces stubbornly against the disease, once we recognize it. The disease of love, the disease of "spirit," the disease of niceness and benevolence and feeling good on our own behalf and good on somebody else's behalf. Pah, it is all a gangrene. We can retreat upon the proud, isolate self, and remain there alone, like lepers, till we are cured of this ghastly white disease of self-conscious idealism.

And we really can make a move on our children's behalf. We really can refrain from thrusting our children any more into those hot-beds of the self-conscious disease, schools. We really can prevent their eating much more of the tissues of leprosy, newspapers and books. For a time, there should be no compulsory teaching to read and write at all. The great mass of humanity should never learn to read and writenever.

And instead of this gnawing, gnawing disease of mental consciousness and awful, unhealthy craving for stimulus and for action, we must substitute genuine action. The war was really not a bad beginning. But we went out under the banners of idealism, and now the men are home again, the virus is more active than ever, rotting their very souls.

The mass of the people will never mentally understand. But they will soon instinctively fall into line.

Let us substitute action, all kinds of action, for the mass of people, in place of mental activity. Even twelve hours' work a day is better than a newspaper at four in the afternoon and a grievance for the rest of the evening. But particularly let us take care of the children. At all cost, try to prevent a girl's mind from dwelling on herself, Make her act, work, play: assume a rule over her girlhood. Let her learn the domestic arts in their perfection. Let us even artificially set her to spin and weave. Anything to keep her busy, to prevent her reading and becoming self-conscious. Let us awake as soon as possible to the repulsive machine quality of machine-made things. They smell of death. And let us insist that the home is sacred, the hearth, and the very things of the home. Then keep the girls apart from any familiarity or being "pals" with the boys. The nice clean intimacy which we now so admire between the sexes is sterilizing. It makes neuters. Later on, no deep, magical sex-life is possible.

The same with the boys. First and foremost establish a rule over them, a proud, harsh, manly rule. Make them know that at every moment they are in the shadow of a proud, strong, adult authority. Let them be soldiers, but as individuals not machine units. There are wars in the future, great wars, which not machines will finally decide, but the free, indomitable life spirit. No more wars under the banners of the ideal, and in the spirit of sacrifice. But wars in the strength of individual men. And then, pure individualistic training to fight, and preparation for a whole new way of life, a new society. Put money into its place, and science and industry. The leaders must stand for life, and they must not ask the simple followers to point out the direction. When the leaders assume responsibility they relieve the followers forever of the burden of finding a way. Relieved of this hateful incubus of responsibility for general affairs, the populace can again become free and happy and spontaneous, leaving matters to their superiors. No newspapers—the mass of the people never learning to read. The evolving once more of the great spontaneous gestures of life.

We can't go on as we are. Poor, nerve-worn creatures, fretting our lives away and hating to die because we have never lived. The secret is, to commit into the hands of the sacred few the responsibility which now lies like torture on the mass. Let the few, the leaders, be increasingly responsible for the whole. And let the mass be free: free, save for the choice of leaders.

Leaders—this is what mankind is craving for.

But men must be prepared to obey, body and soul, once they have chosen the leader. And let them choose the leader for life's sake only.

Begin then—there is a beginning.



The one thing we have to avoid, then, even while we carry on our own old process of education, is this development of the powers of so-called self-expression in a child. Let us beware of artificially stimulating his self-consciousness and his so-called imagination. All that we do is to pervert the child into a ghastly state of self-consciousness, making him affectedly try to show off as we wish him to show off. The moment the least little trace of self-consciousness enters in a child, good-by to everything except falsity.

Much better just pound away at the ABC and simple arithmetic and so on. The modern methods do make children sharp, give them a sort of slick finesse, but it is the beginning of the mischief. It ends in the great "unrest" of a nervous, hysterical proletariat. Begin to teach a child of five to "understand." To understand the sun and moon and daisy and the secrets of procreation, bless your soul. Understanding all the way.—And when the child is twenty he'll have a hysterical understanding of his own invented grievance, and there's an end of him. Understanding is the devil.

A child mustn't understand things. He must have them his own way. His vision isn't ours. When a boy of eight sees a horse, he doesn't see the correct biological object we intend him to see. He sees a big living presence of no particular shape with hair dangling from its neck and four legs. If he puts two eyes in the profile, he is quite right. Because he does not see with optical, photographic vision. The image on his retina is not the image of his consciousness. The image on his retina just does not go into him. His unconsciousness is filled with a strong, dark, vague prescience of a powerful presence, a two-eyed, four-legged, long-maned presence looming imminent.

And to force the boy to see a correct one-eyed horse-profile is just like pasting a placard in front of his vision. It simply kills his inward seeing. We don't want him to see a proper horse. The child is not a little camera. He is a small vital organism which has direct dynamic rapport with the objects of the outer universe. He perceives from his breast and his abdomen, with deep-sunken realism, the elemental nature of the creature. So that to this day a Noah's Ark tree is more real than a Corot tree or a Constable tree: and a flat Noah's Ark cow has a deeper vital reality than even a Cuyp cow.

The mode of vision is not one and final. The mode of vision is manifold. And the optical image is a mere vibrating blur to a child—and, indeed, to a passionate adult. In this vibrating blur the soul sees its own true correspondent. It sees, in a cow, horns and squareness, and a long tail. It sees, for a horse, a mane, and a long face, round nose, and four legs. And in each case a darkly vital presence. Now horns and squareness and a long thin ox-tail, these are the fearful and wonderful elements of the cow-form, which the dynamic soul perfectly perceives. The ideal-image is just outside nature, for a child—something false. In a picture, a child wants elemental recognition, and not correctness or expression, or least of all, what we call understanding. The child distorts inevitably and dynamically. But the dynamic abstraction is more than mental. If a huge eye sits in the middle of the cheek, in a child's drawing, this shows that the deep dynamic consciousness of the eye, its relative exaggeration, is the life-truth, even if it is a scientific falsehood.

On the other hand, what on earth is the good of saying to a child, "The world is a flattened sphere, like an orange." It is simply pernicious. You had much better say the world is a poached egg in a frying pan. That might have some dynamic meaning. The only thing about the flattened orange is that the child just sees this orange disporting itself in blue air, and never bothers to associate it with the earth he treads on. And yet it would be so much better for the mass of mankind if they never heard of the flattened sphere. They should never be told that the earth is round. It only makes everything unreal to them. They are balked in their impression of the flat good earth, they can't get over this sphere business, they live in a fog of abstraction, and nothing is anything. Save for purposes of abstraction, the earth is a great plain, with hills and valleys. Why force abstractions and kill the reality, when there's no need?

As for children, will we never realize that their abstractions are never based on observations, but on subjective exaggerations? If there is an eye in the face, the face is all eye. It is the child soul which cannot get over the mystery of the eye. If there is a tree in a landscape, the landscape is all tree. Always this partial focus. The attempt to make a child focus for a whole view—which is really a generalization and an adult abstraction—is simply wicked. Yet the first thing we do is to set a child making relief-maps in clay, for example: of his own district. Imbecility! He has not even the faintest impression of the total hill on which his home stands. A steepness going up to a door—and front garden railings—and perhaps windows. That's the lot.

The top and bottom of it is, that it is a crime to teach a child anything at all, school-wise. It is just evil to collect children together and teach them through the head. It causes absolute starvation in the dynamic centers, and sterile substitute of brain knowledge is all the gain. The children of the middle classes are so vitally impoverished, that the miracle is they continue to exist at all. The children of the lower classes do better, because they escape into the streets. But even the children of the proletariat are now infected.

And, of course, as my critics point out, under all the school-smarm and newspaper-cant, man is to-day as savage as a cannibal, and more dangerous. The living dynamic self is denaturalized instead of being educated.

We talk about education—leading forth the natural intelligence of a child. But ours is just the opposite of leading forth. It is a ramming in of brain facts through the head, and a consequent distortion, suffocation, and starvation of the primary centers of consciousness. A nice day of reckoning we've got in front of us.

Let us lead forth, by all means. But let us not have mental knowledge before us as the goal of the leading. Much less let us make of it a vicious circle in which we lead the unhappy child-mind, like a cow in a ring at a fair. We don't want to educate children so that they may understand. Understanding is a fallacy and a vice in most people. I don't even want my child to know, much less to understand. I don't want my child to know that five fives are twenty-five, any more than I want my child to wear my hat or my boots. I don't want my child to know. If he wants five fives let him count them on his fingers. As for his little mind, give it a rest, and let his dynamic self be alert. He will ask "why" often enough. But he more often asks why the sun shines, or why men have mustaches, or why grass is green, than anything sensible. Most of a child's questions are, and should be, unanswerable. They are not questions at all. They are exclamations of wonder, they are remarks half-sceptically addressed. When a child says, "Why is grass green?" he half implies. "Is it really green, or is it just taking me in?" And we solemnly begin to prate about chlorophyll. Oh, imbeciles, idiots, inexcusable owls!

The whole of a child's development goes on from the great dynamic centers, and is basically non-mental. To introduce mental activity is to arrest the dynamic activity, and stultify true dynamic development. By the age of twenty-one our young people are helpless, hopeless, selfless, floundering mental entities, with nothing in front of them, because they have been starved from the roots, systematically, for twenty-one years, and fed through the head. They have had all their mental excitements, sex and everything, all through the head, and when it comes to the actual thing, why, there's nothing in it. Blase. The affective centers have been exhausted from the head.

Before the age of fourteen, children should be taught only to move, to act, to do. And they should be taught as little as possible even of this. Adults simply cannot and do not know any more what the mode of childish intelligence is. Adults always interfere. They always force the adult mental mode. Therefore children must be preserved from adult instructions.

Make a child work—yes. Make it do little jobs. Keep a fine and delicate and fierce discipline, so that the little jobs are performed as perfectly as is consistent with the child's nature. Make the child alert, proud, and becoming in its movements. Make it know very definitely that it shall not and must not trespass on other people's privacy or patience. Teach it songs, tell it tales. But never instruct it school-wise. And mostly, leave it alone, send it away to be with other children and to get in and out of mischief, and in and out of danger. Forget your child altogether as much as possible.

All this is the active and strenuous business of parents, and must not be shelved off on to strangers. It is the business of parents mentally to forget but dynamically never to forsake their children.

It is no use expecting parents to know why schools are closed, and why they, the parents, must be quite responsible for their own children during the first ten years. If it is quite useless to expect parents to understand a theory of relativity, much less will they understand the development of the dynamic consciousness. But why should they understand? It is the business of very few to understand and for the mass, it is their business to believe and not to bother, but to be honorable and humanly to fulfill their human responsibilities. To give active obedience to their leaders, and to possess their own souls in natural pride.

Some must understand why a child is not to be mentally educated. Some must have a faint inkling of the processes of consciousness during the first fourteen years. Some must know what a child beholds, when it looks at a horse, and what it means when it says, "Why is grass green?" The answer to this question, by the way, is "Because it is."

The interplay of the four dynamic centers follows no one conceivable law. Mental activity continues according to a law of co-relation. But there is no logical or rational co-relation in the dynamic consciousness. It pulses on inconsequential, and it would be impossible to determine any sequence. Out of the very lack of sequence in dynamic consciousness does the individual himself develop. The dynamic abstraction of a child's precepts follows no mental law, and even no law which can ever be mentally propounded. And this is why it is utterly pernicious to set a child making a clay relief-map of its own district, or to ask a child to draw conclusions from given observations. Dynamically, a child draws no conclusions. All things still remain dynamically possible. A conclusion drawn is a nail in the coffin of a child's developing being. Let a child make a clay landscape, if it likes. But entirely according to its own fancy, and without conclusions drawn. Only, let the landscape be vividly made—always the discipline of the soul's full attention. "Oh, but where are the factory chimneys?"—or else—"Why have you left out the gas-works?" or "Do you call that sloppy thing a church?" The particular focus should be vivid, and the record in some way true. The soul must give earnest attention, that is all.

And so actively disciplined, the child develops for the first ten years. We need not be afraid of letting children see the passions and reactions of adult life. Only we must not strain the sympathies of a child, in any direction, particularly the direction of love and pity. Nor must we introduce the fallacy of right and wrong. Spontaneous distaste should take the place of right and wrong. And least of all must there be a cry: "You see, dear, you don't understand. When you are older—" A child's sagacity is better than an adult understanding, anyhow.

Of course it is ten times criminal to tell young children facts about sex, or to implicate them in adult relationships. A child has a strong evanescent sex consciousness. It instinctively writes impossible words on back walls. But this is not a fully conscious mental act. It is a kind of dream act—quite natural. The child's curious, shadowy, indecent sex-knowledge is quite in the course of nature. And does nobody any harm at all. Adults had far better not notice it. But if a child sees a cockerel tread a hen, or two dogs coupling, well and good. It should see these things. Only, without comment. Let nothing be exaggeratedly hidden. By instinct, let us preserve the decent privacies. But if a child occasionally sees its parent nude, taking a bath, all the better. Or even sitting in the W. C. Exaggerated secrecy is bad. But indecent exposure is also very bad. But worst of all is dragging in the mental consciousness of these shadowy dynamic realities.

In the same way, to talk to a child about an adult is vile. Let adults keep their adult feelings and communications for people of their own age. But if a child sees its parents violently quarrel, all the better. There must be storms. And a child's dynamic understanding is far deeper and more penetrating than our sophisticated interpretation. But never make a child a party to adult affairs. Never drag the child in. Refuse its sympathy on such occasions. Always treat it as if it had no business to hear, even if it is present and must hear. Truly, it has no business mentally to hear. And the dynamic soul will always weigh things up and dispose of them properly, if there be no interference of adult comment or adult desire for sympathy. It is despicable for any one parent to accept a child's sympathy against the other parent. And the one who received the sympathy is always more contemptible than the one who is hated.

Of course so many children are born to-day unnaturally mentally awake and alive to adult affairs, that there is nothing left but to tell them everything, crudely: or else, much better, to say: "Ah, get out, you know too much, you make me sick."

To return to the question of sex. A child is born sexed. A child is either male or female, in the whole of its psyche and physique is either male or female. Every single living cell is either male or female, and will remain either male or female as long as life lasts. And every single cell in every male child is male, and every cell in every female child is female. The talk about a third sex, or about the indeterminate sex, is just to pervert the issue.

Biologically, it is true, the rudimentary formation of both sexes is found in every individual. That doesn't mean that every individual is a bit of both, or either, ad lib. After a sufficient period of idealism, men become hopelessly self-conscious. That is, the great affective centers no longer act spontaneously, but always wait for control from the head. This always breeds a great fluster in the psyche, and the poor self-conscious individual cannot help posing and posturing. Our ideal has taught us to be gentle and wistful: rather girlish and yielding, and very yielding in our sympathies. In fact, many young men feel so very like what they imagine a girl must feel, that hence they draw the conclusion that they must have a large share of female sex inside them. False conclusion.

These girlish men have often, to-day, the finest maleness, once it is put to the test. How is it then that they feel, and look, so girlish? It is largely a question of the direction of the polarized flow. Our ideal has taught us to be so loving and so submissive and so yielding in our sympathy, that the mode has become automatic in many men. Now in what we will call the "natural" mode, man has his positivity in the volitional centers, and women in the sympathetic. In fulfilling the Christian love ideal, however, men have reversed this. Man has assumed the gentle, all-sympathetic role, and woman has become the energetic party, with the authority in her hands. The male is the sensitive, sympathetic nature, the woman the active, effective, authoritative. So that the male acts as the passive, or recipient pole of attraction, the female as the active, positive, exertive pole, in human relations. Which is a reversal of the old flow. The woman is now the initiator, man the responder. They seem to play each other's parts. But man is purely male, playing woman's part, and woman is purely female, however manly. The gulf between Heliogabalus, or the most womanly man on earth, and the most manly woman, is just the same as ever: just the same old gulf between the sexes. The man is male, the woman is female. Only they are playing one another's parts, as they must at certain periods. The dynamic polarity has swung around.

If we look a little closer, we can define this positive and negative business better. As a matter of fact, positive and negative, passive and active cuts both ways. If the man, as thinker and doer, is active, or positive, and the woman negative, then, on the other hand, as the initiator of emotion, of feeling, and of sympathetic understanding the woman is positive, the man negative. The man may be the initiator in action, but the woman is initiator in emotion. The man has the initiative as far as voluntary activity goes, and the woman the initiative as far as sympathetic activity goes. In love, it is the woman naturally who loves, the man who is loved. In love, woman is the positive, man the negative. It is woman who asks, in love, and man who answers. In life, the reverse is the case. In knowing and in doing, man is positive and woman negative: man initiates, and woman lives up to it.

Naturally this nicely arranged order of things may be reversed. Action and utterance, which are male, are polarized against feeling, emotion, which are female. And which is positive, which negative? Was man, the eternal protagonist, born of woman, from her womb of fathomless emotion? Or was woman, with her deep womb of emotion, born from the rib of active man, the first created? Man, the doer, the knower, the original in being, is he lord of life? Or is woman, the great Mother, who bore us from the womb of love, is she the supreme Goddess?

This is the question of all time. And as long as man and woman endure, so will the answer be given, first one way, then the other. Man, as the utterer, usually claims that Eve was created out of his spare rib: from the field of the creative, upper dynamic consciousness, that is. But woman, as soon as she gets a word in, points to the fact that man inevitably, poor darling, is the issue of his mother's womb. So the battle rages.

But some men always agree with the woman. Some men always yield to woman the creative positivity. And in certain periods, such as the present, the majority of men concur in regarding woman as the source of life, the first term in creation: woman, the mother, the prime being.

And then, the whole polarity shifts over. Man still remains the doer and thinker. But he is so only in the service of emotional and procreative woman. His highest moment is now the emotional moment when he gives himself up to the woman, when he forms the perfect answer for her great emotional and procreative asking. All his thinking, all his activity in the world only contributes to this great moment, when he is fulfilled in the emotional passion of the woman, the birth of rebirth, as Whitman calls it. In his consummation in the emotional passion of a woman, man is reborn, which is quite true.

And there is the point at which we all now stick. Life, thought, and activity, all are devoted truly to the great end of Woman, wife and mother.

Man has now entered on to his negative mode. Now, his consummation is in feeling, not in action. Now, his activity is all of the domestic order and all his thought goes to proving that nothing matters except that birth shall continue and woman shall rock in the nest of this globe like a bird who covers her eggs in some tall tree. Man is the fetcher, the carrier, the sacrifice, the crucified, and the reborn of woman.

This being so, the whole tendency of his nature changes. Instead of being assertive and rather insentient, he becomes wavering and sensitive. He begins to have as many feelings—nay, more than a woman. His heroism is all in altruistic endurance. He worships pity and tenderness and weakness, even in himself. In short, he takes on very largely the original role of woman. Woman meanwhile becomes the fearless, inwardly relentless, determined positive party. She grips the responsibility. The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world. Nay, she makes man discover that cradles should not be rocked, in order that her hands may be left free. She is now a queen of the earth, and inwardly a fearsome tyrant. She keeps pity and tenderness emblazoned on her banners. But God help the man whom she pities. Ultimately she tears him to bits.

Therefore we see the reversal of the old poles. Man becomes the emotional party, woman the positive and active. Man begins to show strong signs of the peculiarly strong passive sex desire, the desire to be taken, which is considered characteristic of woman. Man begins to have all the feelings of woman—or all the feelings which he attributed to woman. He becomes more feminine than woman ever was, and worships his own femininity, calling it the highest. In short, he begins to exhibit all signs of sexual complexity. He begins to imagine he really is half female. And certainly woman seems very male. So the hermaphrodite fallacy revives again.

But it is all a fallacy. Man, in the midst of all his effeminacy, is still male and nothing but male. And woman, though she harangue in Parliament or patrol the streets with a helmet on her head, is still completely female. They are only playing each other's roles, because the poles have swung into reversion. The compass is reversed. But that doesn't mean that the north pole has become the south pole, or that each is a bit of both.

Of course a woman should stick to her own natural emotional positivity. But then man must stick to his own positivity of being, of action, disinterested, non-domestic, male action, which is not devoted to the increase of the female. Once man vacates his camp of sincere, passionate positivity in disinterested being, his supreme responsibility to fulfill his own profoundest impulses, with reference to none but God or his own soul, not taking woman into count at all, in this primary responsibility to his own deepest soul; once man vacates this strong citadel of his own genuine, not spurious, divinity; then in comes woman, picks up the scepter and begins to conduct a rag-time band.

Man remains man, however he may put on wistfulness and tenderness like petticoats, and sensibilities like pearl ornaments. Your sensitive little big-eyed boy, so much more gentle and loving than his harder sister, is male for all that, believe me. Perhaps evilly male, so mothers may learn to their cost: and wives still more.

Of course there should be a great balance between the sexes. Man, in the daytime, must follow his own soul's greatest impulse, and give himself to life-work and risk himself to death. It is not woman who claims the highest in man. It is a man's own religious soul that drives him on beyond woman, to his supreme activity. For his highest, man is responsible to God alone. He may not pause to remember that he has a life to lose, or a wife and children to leave. He must carry forward the banner of life, though seven worlds perish, with all the wives and mothers and children in them. Hence Jesus, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?" Every man that lives has to say it again to his wife or mother, once he has any work or mission in hand, that comes from his soul.

But again, no man is a blooming marvel for twenty-four hours a day. Jesus or Napoleon or any other of them ought to have been man enough to be able to come home at tea-time and put his slippers on and sit under the spell of his wife. For there you are, the woman has her world, her positivity: the world of love, of emotion, of sympathy. And it behooves every man in his hour to take off his shoes and relax and give himself up to his woman and her world. Not to give up his purpose. But to give up himself for a time to her who is his mate.—And so it is one detests the clock-work Kant, and the petit-bourgeois Napoleon divorcing his Josephine for a Hapsburg—or even Jesus, with his "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"—He might have added "just now."—They were all failures.



The last chapter was a chapter of semi-digression. We now return to the straight course. Is the straightness none too evident? Ah well, it's a matter of relativity. A child is born with one sex only, and remains always single in his sex. There is no intermingling, only a great change of roles is possible. But man in the female role is still male.

Sex—that is to say, maleness and femaleness—is present from the moment of birth, and in every act or deed of every child. But sex in the real sense of dynamic sexual relationship, this does not exist in a child, and cannot exist until puberty and after. True, children have a sort of sex consciousness. Little boys and little girls may even commit indecencies together. And still it is nothing vital. It is a sort of shadow activity, a sort of dream-activity. It has no very profound effect.

But still, boys and girls should be kept apart as much as possible, that they may have some sort of respect and fear for the gulf that lies between them in nature, and for the great strangeness which each has to offer the other, finally. We are all wrong when we say there is no vital difference between the sexes. There is every difference. Every bit, every cell in a boy is male, every cell is female in a woman, and must remain so. Women can never feel or know as men do. And in the reverse men can never feel and know, dynamically, as women do. Man, acting in the passive or feminine polarity, is still man, and he doesn't have one single unmanly feeling. And women, when they speak and write, utter not one single word that men have not taught them. Men learn their feelings from women, women learn their mental consciousness from men. And so it will ever be. Meanwhile, women live forever by feeling, and men live forever from an inherent sense of purpose. Feeling is an end in itself. This is unspeakable truth to a woman, and never true for one minute to a man. When man, in the Epicurean spirit, embraces feeling, he makes himself a martyr to it—like Maupassant or Oscar Wilde. Woman will never understand the depth of the spirit of purpose in man, his deeper spirit. And man will never understand the sacredness of feeling to woman. Each will play at the other's game, but they will remain apart.

The whole mode, the whole everything is really different in man and woman. Therefore we should keep boys and girls apart, that they are pure and virgin in themselves. On mixing with one another, in becoming familiar, in being "pals," they lose their own male and female integrity. And they lose the treasure of the future, the vital sex polarity, the dynamic magic of life. For the magic and the dynamism rests on otherness.

For actual sex is a vital polarity. And a polarity which rouses into action, as we know, at puberty.

And how? As we know, a child lives from the great field of dynamic consciousness established between the four poles of the dynamic psyche, two great poles of sympathy, two great poles of will. The solar plexus and the lumbar ganglion, great nerve-centers below the diaphragm, act as the dynamic origin of all consciousness in man, and are immediately polarized by the other two nerve-centers, the cardiac plexus and the thoracic ganglion above the diaphragm. At these four poles the whole flow, both within the individual and from without him, of dynamic consciousness and dynamic creative relationship is centered. These four first poles constitute the first field of dynamic consciousness for the first twelve or fourteen years of the life of every child.

And then a change takes place. It takes place slowly, gradually and inevitably, utterly beyond our provision or control. The living soul is unfolding itself in another great metamorphosis.

What happens, in the biological psyche, is that deeper centers of consciousness and function come awake. Deep in the lower body the great sympathetic center, the hypogastric plexus has been acting all the time in a kind of dream-automatism, balanced by its corresponding voluntary center, the sacral ganglion. At the age of twelve these two centers begin slowly to rumble awake, with a deep reverberant force that changes the whole constitution of the life of the individual.

And as these two centers, the sympathetic center of the deeper abdomen, and the voluntary center of the loins, gradually sparkle into wakeful, conscious activity, their corresponding poles are roused in the upper body. In the region of the throat and neck, the so-called cervical plexuses and the cervical ganglia dawn into activity.

We have now another field of dawning dynamic consciousness, that will extend far beyond the first. And now various things happen to us. First of all actual sex establishes its strange and troublesome presence within us. This is the massive wakening of the lower body. And then, in the upper body, the breasts of a woman begin to develop, her throat changes its form. And in the man, the voice breaks, the beard begins to grow round the lips and on to the throat. There are the obvious physiological changes resulting from the gradual bursting into free activity of the hypogastric plexus and the sacral ganglion, in the lower body, and of the cervical plexuses and ganglia of the neck, in the upper body.

Why the growth of hair should start at the lower and upper sympathetic regions we cannot say. Perhaps for protection. Perhaps to preserve these powerful yet supersensitive nodes from the inclemency of changes in temperature, which might cause a derangement. Perhaps for the sake of protective warning, as hair warns when it is touched. Perhaps for a screen against various dynamic vibrations, and as a receiver of other suited dynamic vibrations. It may be that even the hair of the head acts as a sensitive vibration-medium for conveying currents of physical and vitalistic activity to and from the brain. And perhaps from the centers of intense vital surcharge hair springs as a sort of annunciation or declaration, like a crest of life-assertion. Perhaps all these things, and perhaps others.

But with the bursting awake of the four new poles of dynamic consciousness and being, change takes place in everything, the features now begin to take individual form, the limbs develop out of the soft round matrix of child-form, the body resolves itself into distinctions. A strange creative change in being has taken place. The child before puberty is quite another thing from the child after puberty. Strange indeed is this new birth, this rising from the sea of childhood into a new being. It is a resurrection which we fear.

And now, a new world, a new heaven and a new earth. Now new relationships are formed, the old ones retire from their prominence. Now mother and father inevitably give way before masters and mistresses, brothers and sisters yield to friends. This is the period of Schwaermerei, of young adoration and of real initial friendships. A child before puberty has playmates. After puberty he has friends and enemies.

A whole new field of passional relationship. And the old bonds relaxing, the old love retreating. The father and mother bonds now relax, though they never break. The family love wanes, though it never dies.

It is the hour of the stranger. Let the stranger now enter the soul.

And it is the first hour of true individuality, the first hour of genuine, responsible solitariness. A child knows the abyss of forlornness. But an adolescent alone knows the strange pain of growing into his own isolation of individuality.

All this change is an agony and a bliss. It is a cataclysm and a new world. It is our most serious hour, perhaps. And yet we cannot be responsible for it.

Now sex comes into active being. Until puberty, sex is submerged, nascent, incipient only. After puberty, it is a tremendous factor.

What is sex, really? We can never say, satisfactorily. But we know so much: we know that it is a dynamic polarity between human beings, and a circuit of force always flowing. The psychoanalyst is right so far. There can be no vivid relation between two adult individuals which does not consist in a dynamic polarized flow of vitalistic force or magnetism or electricity, call it what you will, between these two people. Yet is this dynamic flow inevitably sexual in nature?

This is the moot point for psychoanalysis. But let us look at sex, in its obvious manifestation. The sexual relation between man and woman consummates in the act of coition. Now what is the act of coition? We know its functional purpose of procreation. But, after all our experience and all our poetry and novels we know that the procreative purpose of sex is, to the individual man and woman, just a side-show. To the individual, the act of coition is a great psychic experience, a vital experience of tremendous importance. On this vital individual experience the life and very being of the individual largely depends.

But what is the experience? Untellable. Only, we know something. We know that in the act of coition the blood of the individual man, acutely surcharged with intense vital electricity—we know no word, so say "electricity," by analogy—rises to a culmination, in a tremendous magnetic urge towards the magnetic blood of the female. The whole of the living blood in the two individuals forms a field of intense, polarized magnetic attraction. So, the two poles must be brought into contact. In the act of coition, the two seas of blood in the two individuals, rocking and surging towards contact, as near as possible, clash into a oneness. A great flash of interchange occurs, like an electric spark when two currents meet or like lightning out of the densely surcharged clouds. There is a lightning flash which passes through the blood of both individuals, there is a thunder of sensation which rolls in diminishing crashes down the nerves of each—and then the tension passes.

The two individuals are separate again. But are they as they were before? Is the air the same after a thunder-storm as before? No. The air is as it were new, fresh, tingling with newness. So is the blood of man and woman after successful coition. After a false coition, like prostitution, there is not newness but a certain disintegration.

But after coition, the actual chemical constitution of the blood is so changed, that usually sleep intervenes, to allow the time for chemical, biological readjustment through the whole system.

So, the blood is changed and renewed, refreshed, almost recreated, like the atmosphere after thunder. Out of the newness of the living blood pass the new strange waves which beat upon the great dynamic centers of the nerves: primarily upon the hypogastric plexus and the sacral ganglion. From these centers rise new impulses, new vision, new being, rising like Aphrodite from the foam of the new tide of blood. And so individual life goes on.

Perhaps, then, we will allow ourselves to say what, in psychic individual reality, is the act of coition. It is the bringing together of the surcharged electric blood of the male with the polarized electric blood of the female, with the result of a tremendous flashing interchange, which alters the constitution of the blood, and the very quality of being, in both.

And this, surely, is sex. But is this the whole of sex? That is the question.

After coition, we say the blood is renewed. We say that from the new, finely sparkling blood new thrills pass into the great affective centers of the lower body, new thrills of feeling, of impulse, of energy.—And what about these new thrills?

Now, a new story. The new thrills are passed on to the great upper centers of the dynamic body. The individual polarity now changes, within the individual system. The upper centers, cardiac plexus and cervical plexuses, thoracic ganglion and cervical ganglia now assume positivity. These, the upper polarized centers, have now the positive role to play, the solar and the hypogastric plexuses, the lumbar and the sacral ganglia, these have the submissive, negative role for the time being.

And what then? What now, that the upper centers are finely active in positivity? Now it is a different story. Now there is new vision in the eyes, new hearing in the ears, new voice in the throat and speech on the lips. Now the new song rises, the brain tingles to new thought, the heart craves for new activity.

The heart craves for new activity. For new collective activity. That is, for a new polarized connection with other beings, other men.

Is this new craving for polarized communion with others, this craving for a new unison, is it sexual, like the original craving for the woman? Not at all. The whole polarity is different. Now, the positive poles are the poles of the breast and shoulders and throat, the poles of activity and full consciousness. Men, being themselves made new after the act of coition, wish to make the world new. A new, passionate polarity springs up between men who are bent on the same activity, the polarity between man and woman sinks to passivity. It is now daytime, and time to forget sex, time to be busy making a new world.

Is this new polarity, this new circuit of passion between comrades and co-workers, is this also sexual? It is a vivid circuit of polarized passion. Is it hence sex?

It is not. Because what are the poles of positive connection?—the upper, busy poles. What is the dynamic contact?—a unison in spirit, in understanding, and a pure commingling in one great work. A mingling of the individual passion into one great purpose. Now this is also a grand consummation for men, this mingling of many with one great impassioned purpose. But is this sex? Knowing what sex is, can we call this other also sex? We cannot.

This meeting of many in one great passionate purpose is not sex, and should never be confused with sex. It is a great motion in the opposite direction. And I am sure that the ultimate, greatest desire in men is this desire for great purposive activity. When man loses his deep sense of purposive, creative activity, he feels lost, and is lost. When he makes the sexual consummation the supreme consummation, even in his secret soul, he falls into the beginnings of despair. When he makes woman, or the woman and child the great center of life and of life-significance, he falls into the beginnings of despair.

Man must bravely stand by his own soul, his own responsibility as the creative vanguard of life. And he must also have the courage to go home to his woman and become a perfect answer to her deep sexual call. But he must never confuse his two issues. Primarily and supremely man is always the pioneer of life, adventuring onward into the unknown, alone with his own temerarious, dauntless soul. Woman for him exists only in the twilight, by the camp fire, when day has departed. Evening and the night are hers.

The psychoanalysts, driving us back to the sexual consummation always, do us infinite damage.

We have to break away, back to the great unison of manhood in some passionate purpose. Now this is not like sex. Sex is always individual. A man has his own sex: nobody else's. And sexually he goes as a single individual; he can mingle only singly. So that to make sex a general affair is just a perversion and a lie. You can't get people and talk to them about their sex, as if it were a common interest.

We have got to get back to the great purpose of manhood, a passionate unison in actively making a world. This is a real commingling of many. And in such a commingling we forfeit the individual. In the commingling of sex we are alone with one partner. It is an individual affair, there is no superior or inferior. But in the commingling of a passionate purpose, each individual sacredly abandons his individual. In the living faith of his soul, he surrenders his individuality to the great urge which is upon him. He may have to surrender his name, his fame, his fortune, his life, everything. But once a man, in the integrity of his own individual soul, believes, he surrenders his own individuality to his belief, and becomes one of a united body. He knows what he does. He makes the surrender honorably, in agreement with his own soul's deepest desire. But he surrenders, and remains responsible for the purity of his surrender.

But what if he believes that his sexual consummation is his supreme consummation? Then he serves the great purpose to which he pledges himself only as long as it pleases him. After which he turns it down, and goes back to sex. With sex as the one accepted prime motive, the world drifts into despair and anarchy.

Of all countries, America has most to fear from anarchy, even from one single moment's lapse into anarchy. The old nations are organically fixed into classes, but America not. You can shake Europe to atoms. And yet peasants fall back to peasantry, artisans to industrial labor, upper classes to their control—inevitably. But can you say the same of America?

America must not lapse for one single moment into anarchy. It would be the end of her. She must drift no nearer to anarchy. She is near enough.

Well, then, Americans must make a choice. It is a choice between belief in man's creative, spontaneous soul, and man's automatic power of production and reproduction. It is a choice between serving man, or woman. It is a choice between yielding the soul to a leader, leaders, or yielding only to the woman, wife, mistress, or mother.

The great collective passion of belief which brings men together, comrades and co-workers, passionately obeying their soul-chosen leader or leaders, this is not a sex passion. Not in any sense. Sex holds any two people together, but it tends to disintegrate society, unless it is subordinated to the great dominating male passion of collective purpose.

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