Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:46 am

by Susan Griffin
© 1978 by Susan Griffin




Table of Contents

• Inside Cover
• Preface to the Second Edition
• Preface
• Acknowledgments
• BOOK ONE: MATTER -- How man regards and makes use of woman and nature
o MATTER -- Wherein man's ideas about nature and his attitudes toward women are revealed side by side and in historical order
o LAND (Her Changing Face) -- In which he shapes this earth to his use
o TIMBER (What Was There for Them) -- In which he makes the trees his own
o WIND -- In which he harnesses the elements
o COWS (The Way We Yield) -- In which he domesticates the animals
o MULES -- And the domesticated speak
o THE SHOW HORSE -- And the domesticated learn to please
o HER BODY -- And he makes her body over to his liking
• BOOK TWO: SEPARATION -- The separations in his vision and under his rule (wherein our voice rises)
o WHERE HE BEGINS -- Separation wherein he separates himself from woman and nature, and The Image wherein he makes woman and nature the object of his art, and Marriage wherein he makes woman and nature a part of himself
o HIS POWER (He Tames What Is Wild) -- The Hunt whereby he captures her wildness, and The Zoological Garden in which she paces in her cage, and The Garden wherein he civilizes wilderness
o HIS VIGILANCE (How He Must Keep Watch) -- Space Divided and Time Divided by which he guards time and space, and Silence which is recognized as her Silence
o HIS KNOWLEDGE (He Determines What Is Real) -- What He Sees (The Art of It) wherein the method of his vision is examined, and The Anatomy Lesson wherein she has difficulty with his method, and Acoustics where the quality of his hearing is exposed, and Reason in which he calls her unreasonable, and The Argument wherein we see the separations in his argument
o HIS CONTROL (How He Becomes Invulnerable) -- Childish Fear in which we remember his fear of the dark, and Speed wherein he speeds past what women and children fear, and Burial wherein he buries himself in her
o HIS CERTAINTY (How He Rules the Universe) -- Quantity in which he calculates existence, and Probability in which he determines the future. and Gravity in which the laws of the universe determine his fate
o HIS CATACLYSM (The Universe Shudders) -- Prophets in which they warn us of the corruption of this earth, and Plutonium in which we accept their judgment, and Pollution wherein he poisons the world
o HIS SECRETS (What Is Sleeping Within) -- Dream Life where his right hand and his left hand never meet, and Nightmares where we glimpse another future
o TERROR -- In which he warns her with his vision of the universe
• BOOK THREE: PASSAGE -- Her journey through the Labyrinth to the Cave where she has Her Vision
• BOOK FOUR: HER VISION -- Now she sees through her own eyes (wherein the world is no longer his)
 MYSTERY (How the Divided Come Together Again) -- What had terrified him
 THE OPENING -- We enter a new space. We enter a new time (The territory beyond his vigilance)
 OUR DREAMS (What Lies Under Our Stillness) -- Our Flying, our Deviling, our Dancing, our Animals Familiar (What was kept secret from him)
 OUR ANCIENT RAGES -- We allow Turbulence and Cataclysm cannot be denied, and we say there are always Consequences (The universe he tried to deny)
 THE LION IN THE DEN OF THE PROPHETS -- The power he could not tame
 POSSIBILITY -- Gravity, what we have had to do, and Numbers, what we will not do, and Naming, all that we cannot say, and The possible, what the universe reveals (Of what no one can be certain)
 TRANSFORMATION -- We Visit Our Fears, we are transformed, and Erosion, we transform (What he failed to control)
 CLARITY -- Vision to know the being of another; and One from Another (The Knowledge) what passes between us, and Acoustics how we listen for signs (What he would not acknowledge), and Our Labor by which we continue
 THE YEARS (Her Body Awakens) -- and The Anatomy Lesson her body reclaimed. and History what her hair tells us, and Memory what we know from her breasts, and Archives what is hidden in her vulva, and Letters what her clitoris says, and Records what is part of her womb
 OUR NATURE (What Is Still Wild in Us)
 THIS EARTH (What She Is to Me) Where we are
 FOREST (The Way We Stand) Why we are here
 THE WIND (How everything changes), and
 MATTER (How We Know)
• Notes
• Bibliography

Wisdom, Circuit Judge: David Wiley, the appellant, and Eugene Cunningham, a co-defendant, were arrested on March 17, 1971, in connection with an alleged sexual assault ... on twelve year old Maxine Lewis ... they were charged with carnal knowledge ... and taking indecent liberties with a minor child.... The jury found Wiley guilty.... The principal issue on appeal is whether there was sufficient corroborative evidence to take the case to the jury. We find there was not sufficient corroborative evidence.

-- United States v. Wiley. 492 F. 2d 547 (D.C. Cir. 1973)

It is said that what is heard is a delusion of the senses. That sound consists of waves. That the wave is a momentary shape produced by energy traveling through molecules of air, or wood, or steel. Whether this wave is heard by the human ear as sound, it is said, depends on the frequency of the vibration of the sound. It is said that there are vibrations too rapid for the human ear and vibrations too slow, that vibrations of sound increase in warmer or thicker media, that the structure of the inner ear increases or decreases the frequency of sound waves, that sound waves of one frequency mask the presence of those of another frequency so that the ear hears only one sound when there are two, that many sounds together are heard as undifferentiated noise, that there is no absolute relationship between what produces sound and what is heard, that what is heard is a delusion of the senses and cannot be said to be real.

(It is established in the law that the testimony of an alleged victim of rape must be corroborated. It is said that corroboration is required because the complainants in such cases too frequently have an urge to fantasize or a motive to fabricate. Therefore the credibility of the alleged defiled, it is said, must be approached with skepticism, especially when the complainant is a young girl.)

It is therefore said that sounds do not exist without ears and a mind to hear them, that all sound exists only in the mind. (And the evidence that shortly after the alleged event a witness said that he saw the alleged victim on the street, crying, in a disheveled condition, upset and without a coat though the day was cold, and that she told him she had been attacked and pointed to her alleged attackers a short distance away, is held not to be corroborative, nor is the evidence of another witness that she appeared to him crying and saying that she had been raped held as corroborative since this is evidence that some event took place but not necessarily evidence that sexual intercourse took place.) And since sound is a product of the mind, it is further argued, it is absurd to believe that sound can exist in an unthinking substance, in the violin, or the wood of the violin.

And since all evidence for the existence of matter is sensual evidence of a like deceptive kind, existing only in the mind, it is concluded that matter exists only in the mind. (It is therefore the judgment of this hearing that the defendant was innocent of rape and that no such crime took place.)


Since the existence of matter is unverifiable Each of us can say we have heard footsteps behind us and since sensual data are deceptive each of us tried not to show fear it is questioned if there is any reason since in acting the part of the victim to examine what is called reality we may become the victim or if there is any way each of us has hidden what we are that anything can be known each of us has denied desire since no existence can be verified since it has been said to us that it is our own lust to be known and therefore which is lived out in the body of the rapist how can the act of knowing be known and our terror which inspires attack and therefore neither mind nor body and our own guilt can be said to exist which attacks us through his hands and therefore all existence even to the point of our own death is denied.


Startracks. Spiral nebulae. Craters of the moon. She lets herself fall. She falls into the room of her wants. The room where the demands of women are endless. Where her voice has endlessly demanded her to go. This room which reveals her. Where she is clumsy again. Where she is awkward in her grown-up clothing. Where she aches. This room of the revelation of all she thought horrible, and of her endlessly demanding body. Of all she shrank from in herself. This room filled with herself. She fell into this room. This room of outcasts. Where we uncover our bodies. Where we meet our outcast selves. The room in which she does not mock herself. This room filled with darkness. Where we go into darkness. Where we embrace darkness. Where we lie close to darkness, breathe when darkness breathes and find darkness inside ourselves. The room of the darkness of women. Where we are not afraid. Where joy is just under the surface. Where we laugh. Where laughter fills us utterly when we see what we thought was horrible. Where our demands are endlessly received. Where revelation fills us with glee. The room which she said she needed. The room without which she was sure she would perish. The first room in which she experienced space. This place where she could finally breathe. The place where she breathed out the stories she had not believed. The room where we confess we never believed those stories were about us. The room where she cast those stories from her forever. Where we began to feel the atmosphere wants us. Where she began to believe the horizon. This room of her wants. Of her desiring. This room of her desiring to live. This place which allows her to exist. Where the women stare into each other's eyes. Where the daughter feels the life of the mother. Where our words are undressed. And we touch. This room of our touching where the mother teaches her daughter to face her secret feelings. The labyrinth of her knowledge. Where she has her own reasons. The coral skeleton. The crystals of frost. Of her knowing. This place of her wandering. The circles of the tree's growth. The beehive. The room of her first wandering and of her finding. This place where she finds her way.


The shape of the labyrinth. The shape of the cave. Space divided and not divided. Space mutable, we say, separation becoming union. Space changing. The new shape. Melting and transformation, the crystal and the seed, the endless possibility of form, as in the metal measuring rod, which changes its shape at the speed of light, we say.

The Hexenhaus destroyed (the witches reborn) the zoological garden opened (the reappearance of species) the prison razed (crime renamed) acoustics transformed (madness released) the buried (plants to flesh to earth) uncovered.

The rectangular shape of his book of knowledge, bending. The shape of our silence, the shape of the roofs of our mouths. Darkness.


Space where, in her circling motion, she found an opening.

We say we are brilliant with light from the stars that began millennia ago and now burn in our minds.

We heard of this woman who was out of control. We heard that she was led by her feelings. That her emotions were violent. That she was impetuous. That she violated tradition and overrode convention. That certainly her life should not be an example to us. We were told that she moved too hastily. Placed her life in the stream of ideas just born and we should have little regard for her, even despite the brilliance of her words. That she moved from passion. From unconscious feeling, allowing deep and troubled emotions to control her soul. But we say that to her passion, she brought lucidity and to her vision, she gave the substance of her life. For the way her words illuminated her life we say we have great regard. We say we have listened to her voice asking, "of what materials can that heart be composed which can melt when insulted and instead of revolting at injustice, kiss the rod?"

By her words we are brought to our own lives, and are overwhelmed by our feelings which we had held beneath the surface for so long. And from what is dark and deep within us, we say, tyranny revolts us; we will not kiss the rod.

-- "Woman and Nature -- The Roaring Inside Her," by Susan Grififn
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:47 am

Praise for Woman and Nature

"If someone were to ask me 'What do you hope for in a feminist book?' I would say: 'A book which demands of us activity, not passivity; which enlarges our sense of female presence in the world; a book which uses language and sensual imagery to impart a new vision of reality, from a woman-centered location; a book which expands our sense of the connections among us in the bonds of history; a book which drives us wild, that is, helps us break out from tameness and repetition into new trajectories of our own.' Woman and Nature is such a book." -- Adrienne Rich, New Woman's Times Feminist Review

"Woman and Nature is feminist philosophy written in poetic prose. Susan Griffin explores woman's traditional identification with the earth -- both as sustenance for humanity and victim of male ravage. The book is cultural anthropology, visionary prediction, literary indictment and personal claim." -- San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

"Griffin's work suggests that it is exactly the naturalization and justification by Western science of the domination of matter, the human body, sensations, feelings, emotions, and "subjective" experience -- and its failure to examine critically the theories and social practices producing this metaphysics or epistemology -- that directs the arrogant relation to 'others' visible in our contemporary ecological havoc and social injustice." -- Isis

"A powerful exposition of how women and the natural world have been seen as versions of each other, and violated in strangely similar ways." -- Utne Reader ''The Canon: 150 Great Works to Set Your Imagination on Fire"

"For those inured to a steady diet of mainstream psychology, Susan Griffin's book will probably seem unpalatable. The ingredients will seem unfamiliar and their processing will seem incomplete. But for radical feminists and for those craving the sharp spice of poetic prose, Woman and Nature is a gourmet item." -- Contemporary Sociology

"Occasionally a book so fine appears that I want to shout, 'Go buy it immediately!' Such is this brilliantly provocative feminist revisioning of just about everything: history, philosophy, science, women, men, nature ... Though not precisely history or philosophy, the book is clearly poetry. The most exciting book on feminine experience that I have yet encountered. Clearly it is not a book for everyone: those who demand officially sanctioned revelation should stay away -- this book is for mature thinkers only." -- Horizons

Also by Susan Griffin


The Sierra Club, founded in 1892 by John Muir, has devoted itself to the study and protection of the earth's scenic and ecological resources -- mountains, wetlands, woodlands, wild shores and rivers, deserts and plains. The publishing program of the Sierra Club offers books to the public as a nonprofit educational service in the hope that they may enlarge the public's understanding of the Club's basic concerns. The point of view expressed in each book, however, does not necessarily represent that of the Club. The Sierra Club has some sixty chapters coast to coast, in Canada, Hawaii, and Alaska. For information about how you may participate in its programs to preserve wilderness and the quality of life, please address inquiries to Sierra Club, 85 Second Street. San Francisco, CA 94105.

SIERRA CLUB. SIERRA CLUB BOOKS, and the Sierra Club design logos are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club.


SUSAN GRIFFIN is a well-known writer and social thinker. Her work, which includes Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, Pornography and Silence, and A Chorus of Stones, has been influential in several movements, shaping both ecological and feminist thought. A Chorus of Stones, nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award, was a jury nominee for a Pulitzer Prize, and won the Bay Area Book Critics Award. A collection of her poetry published in 1987, Unremembered Country, won the California Commonwealth Prize for poetry. She has been the recipient of a MacArthur grant for Peace and International Cooperation, an NEA Fellowship, and she was awarded an Emmy for her play Voices. She lectures widely throughout the United States and Europe, and lives and teaches writing and the creative process privately in Berkeley, California. The Eros of Everyday Life was published September 1995. What Her Body Thought: A Journey into the Shadows was published in 1999. Bending Home: Selected & New Poems, 1967-1998, published by Copper Canyon Press in 1998, is a finalist for the Western States Art Federation Award for 1999.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:48 am

These words are written for those of us
whose language is not heard, whose words
have been stolen or erased, those robbed
of language, who are called voiceless or
mute, even the earthworms, even the shellfish
and the sponges, for those of us who
speak our own language, and
this book is dedicated in love
to Adrienne Rich
for her friendship and for
her words


Two decades have passed since I wrote Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her: Measured against the scale of evolution, the time it took, for instance, for the first living cells to become trees or animals or human beings, twenty years seems like a very short period of time. Yet the book was written in the midst of a crisis that has deepened in the intervening years. When life as we know it hangs in the balance, even the smallest moments in time take on a greater weight.

The fate of the earth was on my mind twenty years ago. But I was more sanguine about it than I am now. The times were generally more hopeful then-not because the world was a better place but because the atmosphere was charged with vision. In 1974, as I began writing this book, many women and men in my generation were thinking about the manner in which we live and about how we might create a more just world. We were asking probing and insightful questions about race and sexuality, about violence and power, and in the process scrutinized the culture we had inherited for clues to how we might see differently and thus change.

In the mid-seventies, while teaching and writing, I became interested in an old, stereotypical notion about women. Woven everywhere into the tapestry of European art and literature and seemingly an inseparable part of most philosophical and scientific texts-even embedded in the structure of European languages-is the assumption that women are closer to nature than men are. The notion is not intended as a compliment. In the hierarchical geography of European tradition, not only are human beings elevated above the rest of nature, but men are closer to heaven than women. In short, the idea that women are close to nature is an argument for the dominion of men.

During the most heady days of feminism, there were some who turned this idea on its head and argued that indeed women are closer to nature, a proximity making us superior to men. By the same token, the taxonomy of virtues through which men dominate-the capacity for reason and cool-headedness-was also reversed. Rationality itself became suspect, and passionate sensuality was enshrined.

I do not agree with the idea that women are closer to nature than are men in either its traditional or inverted form. Everything that exists on Earth, including rational thought, is part of nature. Thus, that one element would be closer to nature than another seems implausible to me. What does, however, seem very possible to me is that one gender may be more aware of being part of nature than another. And yet this difference in awareness must also be treated with subtlety. Today, largely due to the feminist movement, many more women are abandoning traditional feminine roles altogether and in some cases have become as divided from an awareness of natural process than any man. But even women who have a more direct knowledge of the stuff of earthly existence because they play traditional domestic roles are not born with this proclivity. They are shaped to it by society. As Simone de Beauvoir wrote in the mid-twentieth century, "A woman is not born she is made." And the same can be said for the tendency of some men not only to think of themselves as apart from nature but to place themselves at a distance from actual life processes. This behavior has less to do with genetics than with another tendency. When civilizations come to embody certain ideas through the influence of art, science, and institution, we who are the citizens of those civilizations come to resemble those ideas. As Oscar Wilde has written, "Life imitates art."


If society has succeeded in making men and women after a set of ideas that in the end diminishes human nature, we are now perilously close to making the earth after a philosophy that not only limits but even erases nature. As logical as the arguments for controlling women and nature appear to be, they veil a profound illogic, a heated fear, indeed a terror, that serve as the engines for a civilization in retreat from natural processes that must and do include change and loss, vulnerability, the rise and then ebb of powers, mortality. The association between women and nature has not only served to oppress women, it has also acted as a device for denial, a means to evade the simple truth that human existence is immersed in nature, dependent on nature, inseparable from it. By imagining women as closer to nature, it becomes possible to imagine men as farther away from nature. And in this way, both men and women can indulge in the fantasy that the human condition can be free of mortality, as well as the exigencies and needs of natural limitation.

It is popular now to speak in glowing terms of free markets, as if the marketplace had no relationship to earthly necessity but were instead entirely conceptual and could thus grow as numbers grow, without boundaries and without end. This is the latest fantasy of dominion over the earth, as if through the power of will human beings can make natural resources multiply on demand. But loving freedom as we do, we are ignoring another kind of freedom-liberation from a limiting philosophy, from a habit of self-deception that prevents us from treasuring what we actually possess: life.

At the heart of what I discovered as I wrote Woman and Nature is a vision of freedom from an imprisoning state of mind. The book is written in poetic prose, a style that allowed me to move underneath the seemingly logical propositions of our culture, not only to discover the machinery of our fear but to find evidence for a wisdom that is at once old and new, forgotten and yet still alive.

If the next twenty years are crucial in the history of the planet, so is the future of this wisdom -- logical and sensual, realistic and imaginative -- that is in us all and is indispensable to our survival. Read this book playfully, read it to the edges of the pages and then over the margins into other books, other worlds, other possibilities.

July 1999
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:48 am


This is an unconventional book and so, it was felt, needed some preface. I began writing this book roughly three years ago, after I was asked to deliver a lecture on women and ecology. I was concerned that the ecological movement had often placed the burden for solving its problems, those that this civilization has with nature, on women. I said in that lecture that women were always being asked to clean up, and to this I added the observation that men consider women to be more material than themselves, or more a part of nature. The fact that man does not consider himself a part of nature, but indeed considers himself superior to matter, seemed to me to gain significance when placed against man's attitude that woman is both inferior to him and closer to nature. Hence this book called Woman and Nature grew.

In the process of writing I found that I could best discover my insights about the logic of civilized man by going underneath logic, that is by writing associatively, and thus enlisting my intuition, or uncivilized self. Thus my prose in this book is like poetry, and like poetry always begins with feeling. One of the loudest complaints which this book makes about patriarchal thought (or the thought of civilized man) is that it claims to be objective, and separated from emotion, and so it is appropriate that the style of this book does not make that separation.

Since patriarchal thought does, however, represent itself as emotionless (objective, detached and bodiless), the dicta of Western civilization' and science on the subjects of woman and nature in this book are written in a parody of a voice with such presumptions. This voice rarely uses a personal pronoun, never speaks as "I" or "we," and almost always implies that it has found absolute truth, or at least has the authority to do so. In writing this book, this paternal voice became quite real to me, and I was afraid of it. It sprang out at me in the form of recognized opinion and told me that the reactions I experienced in my female body to its declarations were ridiculous (unfounded, hysterical, biased). You will recognize that voice from its use of such phrases as "it is decided" or "the discovery was made." Much research went into the reconstruction of this voice: I tried to preserve its style and tone accurately.

The other voice in the book began as my voice but was quickly joined by the voices of other women, and voices from nature, with which I felt more and more strongly identified, particularly as I read the opinions of men about us. This is an embodied voice, and an impassioned one. These two voices (though you will find more than two in the text) are set in different type styles; thus a dialogue is implied throughout the book.

I begin the book by tracing a history of patriarchy's judgments about the nature of matter, or the nature of nature, and place these judgments side by side, chronologically, with men's opinions about the nature of women throughout history. From this philosophical beginning the book becomes more actual, treating of the effect of patriarchal logic on material beings. And so the first book, "Matter," continues the analogy drawn between woman and nature into explorations of the earth, trees, cows, show horses and women's bodies as we all exist in patriarchy.

The second book is entitled "Separation," and beginning with the separation of a womb from a woman's body, lists and protests against all those separations which are part of the civilized male's thinking and living- mind from emotion, body from soul-and reveals that separation which patriarchy requires us to make from ourselves. The third book, called "Passage," finally separates our consciousness from the consciousness of patriarchy, and thus the fourth book is called "Her Vision: Now She Sees Through Her Own Eyes."

In "Her Vision," all that we have seen in the first two books from the eye of patriarchy is now reseen. Thus the book is not so much utopian as a description of a different way of seeing. And so the section called "The Zoological Garden" is reflected in "Her Vision" as "The Lion in the Den of the Prophets." I had thought, in writing "Her Vision," that this book would be like a mirror, and hence tried to put the sections in the same order (except backward) as they appeared in the first two books. But this proved impossible. "Her Vision" would not be so constricted.

While I was writing Woman and Nature: The Roaring Inside Her, the spaces I created within it began to be real for me; passing over into work on "Her Vision," I would feel as if I had entered a free zone, and breathe a sigh of relief.

I hope the reader will enter these spaces as I entered them, moving through these ways of seeing with passion, and will hear the voices as I hear them, especially the great chorus of woman and nature, which will swell with time. And I hope the reader will know, too, though this is just a book and thus just a fiction, that the feelings which enter these words are very real, and that in this matter of woman and nature, we have cause to feel deeply.

November 1977



* I have purposely limited the scope of this book to Western civilization.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:48 am


The ways of thought are never simple to trace; all along, my thinking has been part of the thinking of other women. (And in this I use "think" as it is constructed in Chinese calligraphy: "brain" and "heart" together.) * What I learned of the necessities of daily life from the women of my family, the work necessary to keep house together and raise children -- all that women know of naming feeling while we live in a culture that misnames and mistakes what we experience -- goes into this book. In particular this book was generated in the midst of a time and space defined by the words and images of other women and this as part of a feminist movement which has made such a time and space possible. This book could not have been written otherwise. And so my greatest debt is to women who are part of this movement, now and a hundred or many hundred years ago.

I will name a few who helped me with this writing. My editor, Fran McCullogh, has been wise and supportive throughout this writing and I am deeply grateful for her brilliance and her grace; Adrienne Rich, through her work and her profoundly generous friendship and her insight, has been present in all this writing, and these two women in the sometimes very difficult years of writing the book truly sustained this effort. Let me also thank Kirsten Grimstad and Susan Rennie for their warm friendship and constant encouragement, and their continually inspiring turns of mind. This must be said also for Frances Jaffe and Mark Linenthal and Beverly Dahlen. June Jordan has been deeply understanding and supportive. Tillie Olsen, Kathleen Barry, Kathleen Fraser, Rena Rosenwasser, Pat Loomes, Karen Petersen, J. J. Wilson, Thalia Kitrilakis, Barbara Christian, Gloria Bowles, Carol Murray, Valerie Miner, Mary Mackey, Kate Millett, Alta, Ruth Rosen, Nancy Scott, Helene Wenzel, Joan Levinson, Harriet Whitehead, Sandy Boucher, Barbara McClandish, Nancy Snow, Judith Van Allen and Eve Merriam all read parts of the manuscript, and gave me both encouraging and helpful critical response. I want especially to thank Michelle Cliff for her understanding of this work and her close readings of it, and for her continual kind support. Carol Smith Rosenberg has also been deeply supportive and her scholarship and writing on the history of women has been illuminating; she directed me to important sources, as did Robin Morgan. Conversations with Claire Fischer and with Florence Rush were very helpful to me. Both Nancy Reeves and Mary Felstiner spoke with me about the history of science. Carolyn Iltis, a science historian with brilliant insights, shared some of her knowledge with me and gave me courage by the example of her work. This book could not exist had I not read Mary Daly's Beyond God the Father, which opened ways of thinking for me. And I thank her for her reading of my manuscript and for wonderful and amazing dialogues. Audre Lorde's essay "Poems Are Not Luxuries," published in Chrysalis magazine, had a deep influence, as did conversations with Susan Sherman. Monique Wittig aided me with a translation, and through her own work and thought. Let me thank Ellen Lewin for her help with medical research and Charlene Spretnak for providing me with clippings and references. Wendell and Tanya Berry discussed this question of woman and nature with me and generously helped me in my efforts to observe the effects of strip mines in Kentucky. The editors of the Mountain Eagle showed me some of the damage from the strip mines in the Cumberland Mountains. Joan Medlin helped me with preparing the footnotes and bibliography for this work. I wish also to thank Fanchon Lewis for her fine typing of the manuscript, and her patience. And I must thank the instructors for "Environmental Issues," a course in the Department of Agriculture at the University of California at Berkeley, for asking me, almost four years ago, to deliver a lecture on women and ecology, thus beginning my thinking in this direction. And I thank the National Endowment for the Arts for a grant which allowed me the time and space to do much of this writing.

Finally, there is much work and writing by women that is not mentioned directly in these pages but has shaped these words. I think especially of the paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe, the novels of Virginia Woolf, the poetry of Josephine Miles, so often hearing on these concerns; of Diane di Prima, Joanna Griffin, the writing of Annie Dillard. There is so much that is not visible from others in this book that still is here, and I thank those spirits.



* I owe this observation to Diane Wolff, Chinese Writing (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1975).
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:49 am


He says that woman speaks with nature. That she hears voices from under the earth. That wind blows in her ears and trees whisper to her. That the dead sing through her mouth and the cries of infants are clear to her. But for him this dialogue is over. He says he is not part of this world, that he was set on this world as a stranger. He sets himself apart from woman and nature.

And so it is Goldilocks who goes to the home of the three bears, Little Red Riding Hood who converses with the wolf, Dorothy who befriends a lion, Snow White who talks to the birds, Cinderella with mice as her allies, the Mermaid who is half fish, Thumbelina courted by a mole. (And when we hear in the Navaho chant of the mountain that a grown man sits and smokes with bears and follows directions given to him by squirrels, we are surprised. We had thought only little girls spoke with animals.)

We are the bird's eggs. Bird's eggs, flowers, butterflies, rabbits, cows, sheep; we are caterpillars; we are leaves of ivy and sprigs of wallflower. We are women. We rise from the wave. We are gazelle and doe, elephant and whale, lilies and roses and peach, we are air, we are flame, we are oyster and pearl, we are girls. We are woman and nature. And he says he cannot hear us speak.

But we hear.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:50 am

Part 1 of 4

BOOK ONE: MATTER -- How Man Regards and Makes Use of Woman and Nature

So this was how it looked, the determining, the crucial sky, and this was how man moved through it, remote above the dwindled earth, the concealed human life. Vulnerable life, that could scar.

-- TILLIE OLSEN, Tell Me a Riddle


It is decided that matter is transitory and illusory like the shadows on a wall cast by firelight; that we dwell in a cave, in the cave of our flesh, which is also matter, also illusory; it is decided that what is real is outside the cave, in a light brighter than we can imagine, that matter traps us in darkness. That the idea of matter existed before matter and is more perfect, ideal.


Sic transit, how quickly pass, gloria mundi, the glories of this world, it is said.


Matter is transitory and illusory, it is said. This world is an allegory for the next. The moon is an image of the Church, which reflects Divine Light. The wind is an image of the Spirit. The sapphire resembles the number eleven, which has transgressed ten, the number of the commandments. Therefore the number eleven stands for sin.


It is decided that matter is passive and inert, and that all motion originates from outside matter.

That the soul is the cause of all movement in matter and that the soul was created by God: that all other movement proceeds from violent contact with other moving matter, which was first moved by God. That the spheres in perpetual movement are moved by the winds of heaven, which are moved by God, that all movement proceeds from God.

That matter is only a potential for form or a potential for movement.

It is decided that the nature of woman is passive, that she is a vessel waiting to be filled.

It is decided that the existence of God can be proved by reason and that reason exists to apprehend God and Nature.

God is unchangeable, it is said. Logos is a quality of God created in man by God and it is eternal. The soul existed before the body and will live after it.


"And I do not know how long anything I touch by a bodily sense will exist," the words of a saint read, "as, for instance, this sky and this land, and whatever other bodies I perceive in them. But seven and three are ten and not only now but always ... therefore ... this incorruptible truth of numbers is common to me and anyone at all who reasons."

And it is stated elsewhere that Genesis cannot be understood without a mastery of mathematics.

"He who does not know mathematics cannot know any of the other sciences," it is said again, and it is decided that all truth can be found in mathematics, that the true explanation is mathematics and fact merely evidence.

That there are three degrees of abstraction, each leading to higher truths. The scientist peels away uniqueness, revealing category; the mathematician peels away sensual fact, revealing number; the metaphysician peels away even number and reveals the fruit of pure being.


It is put forward that science might be able to prolong life for longer periods than might be accomplished by nature. And it is predicted:

that machines for navigation can
be made without rowers so that the
largest ships on rivers or seas will
by a single man be propelled with
greater velocity than if they were
full of men
that cars can be made to move with
out the aid of animals at an un
believable rapidity
that flying machines can be con
that such things can be
made without limit

It is decided that vision takes place because of a ray of light emanating from the eye to the thing perceived.


It is decided that God is primordial light, shining in the darkness of first matter, giving it substantial being. It is decided that geometrical optics holds the key to all understanding.


It is said that the waters of the firmament separate the corporeal from the spiritual creation.

That the space above is infinite, indivisible, immutable, and is the immensity of God.

That the earth is a central sphere surrounded by concentric zones, perfect circles of air, ether and fire, containing the stars, the sun and the planets, all kept in motion by the winds of heaven. That heaven is beyond the zone of fire and that Hell is within the sphere of the earth. That Hell is beneath our feet.


It is stated that all bodies have a natural place, the heavy bodies tending toward the earth, the lighter toward the heavens.


And what is sublunary is decaying and corruptible. The earth "is so depraved and broken in all kinds of vice and abominations that it seemeth to be a place that hath received all the filthiness and purgings of all other worlds and ages," it is said.

And the air below the moon is thick and dirty, while the air above "shineth night and day of resplendour perpetual," it is said.


And it is decided that the angels live above the moon and aid God in the movement of celestial spheres. "The good angels," it is said, "hold cheap all the knowledge of material and temporal matters which inflates the demon with pride.


And the demon resides in the earth, it is decided, in Hell, under our feet.


It is observed that women are closer to the earth.

That women lead to man's corruption. Women are "the Devil's Gateway," it is said.


That regarding the understanding of spiritual things, women have a different nature than men, it is observed, and it is stated that women are "intellectually like children." That women are feebler of body and mind than men, it is said: "Frailty, thy name is woman."

And it is stated that "the word woman is used to mean the lust of the flesh."

That men are moved to carnal lust when they hear or see woman, whose face is a burning wind, whose voice is a hissing serpent.


It is decided that in birth the female provides the matter (the menstruum, the yolk) and that the male provides the form which is immaterial, and that out of this union is born the embryo.

And it is written in the scripture that out of Adam who was the first man was taken Eve, and because she was born of man he also named her: "She shall be called Woman."

And it is written in the bestiary that the cubs of the Lioness are born dead but on the third day the Lion breathes between their eyes and they wake to life.


It is decided that Vital Heat is the source of all vital activity, that this heat emanates from God to the male of the species, and that this vital heat informs the form of the species with maleness, whereas the female is too cold to effect this change.

It is decided also that all monstrosities of birth come from a defect in the matter provided by the female, which resists the male effort to determine form.

It is decided that Vital Heat is included in semen, that it is the natural principle in the spirit and is analogous to that element in the stars.

It is decided that the Vital Heat of the Sun causes spontaneous generation.


The discovery is made that the sun and not the earth is the center of the universe. And the one who discovers this writes:

"In the middle of all sits Sun enthroned. In this most beautiful temple could we place this luminary in any better position from which he can illuminate the whole at once? He is rightly called the Lamp, the Mind, the Ruler of the Universe; Hermes Trismegistus names him the visible God, Sophocles' Electra calls him the All-Seeing. So the Sun sits as upon a royal throne ruling his children the planets which circle round him.... Meanwhile the earth conceives by the Sun, and becomes pregnant with an annual rebirth."

And it is decided that the Sun is God the Father, the stars God the Son, and the ethereal medium the Holy Ghost.


Mutability on the earth, it is said, came to the Garden of Eden after the Fall. That before the Fall there was immortal bliss on earth, but that after the Fall "all things decay in time and to their end do draw."


That the face of the earth is a record of man's sin. That the height of mountains, the depth of valleys, the sites of great boulders, craters, seas, bodies of land, lakes and rivers, the shapes of rocks, cliffs, all were formed by the deluge, which was God's punishment for sin.


"The world is the Devil and the Devil is the world," it is said.

And of the fact that women are the Devil's Gateway it is observed that sin and afterward death came into the world because Eve consorted with the devil in the body of a serpent.

That the power of the devil lies in the privy parts of men.

That women act as the devil's agent and use flesh as bait.

That women under the power of the devil meet with him secretly, in the woods (in the wilderness), at night. That they kiss him on the anus. That they offer him pitch-black candles, which he lights with a fart. That they anoint themselves with his urine. That they dance back to back together and feast on food that would nauseate "the most ravenously hungry stomach." That a mass is held, with a naked woman's body as an altar, feces, urine and menstrual blood upon her ass. That the devil copulates with all the women in this orgy, in this ritual.

That these women are witches.

That "Lucifer before his Fall, as an archangel, was a clear body, composed of the purest and brightest air, but that after his Fall he was veiled with a grosser substance and took a new form of dark and thick air."

That "virgin's urine is quite unclouded, bright and thin, and almost lemon color," whereas "the urine of the woman who has lost her virginity is very muddy and never bright or clear...."


And that though it is written that there is no wickedness to compare to the wickedness of a woman, it is also written that good women have brought "beatitude to men, saved nations, lands and cities," and that "Blessed is the man who has a virtuous wife, for the number of his days shall be doubled."

And that a virtuous wife is one who obeys her husband, as the Church obeys Christ.

And it is said that there are certain woods which exist free from the "penalty of Adam," where there are "tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones and good in everything."


It is now discovered that the celestial substance, like the substance of the earth, is mutable.

And it is decided that though the celestial substance is mutable, yet immutable laws govern all mutability, and that the invariability of God's will can be deduced from the perfection of His laws which rule the natural world.

It is posited that the spaces between the planetary orbits each correspond to Euclid's five perfect solids: that from Saturn to Mercury each corresponds to a cube, a tetrahedron, a dodecahedron, an icosahedron and an octahedron.

For this reason it is said that there are only six planets and that there could be only six planets (no more and no less).


It is announced that the music of the spheres may be discovered through mathematical laws.

The cause of the universe, it is said, lies in mathematical harmony, which exists in the mind of the creator.


It is said that all shapes, celestial and terrestrial, are in reality geometrical shapes.

A compass is devised and a set of rules drawn for reducing the irregular to the regular and for simplifying a combination of regular shapes to a single figure.

It is argued that the heliocentric system, since it requires only thirty-four epicycles (as opposed to the eighty required by the geocentric system), is more simple and that therefore it must be true.


It is said, "Nature doth not that by many things which can be done by a few."

That "Nature is not redundant."

That "Nature is pleased with simplicity and affects not the pomp of superfluous causes."

''Vain pomp and glory of this world, I hate ye," it is said.


(And extravagance and excess are seen to be apparent in women: women have the defect of "inordinate affections and passions" it is written and women's sorrows are "either too extreme or not to be believed" it is said and "women being moved to anger" are "more envious than a serpent, more malicious than a tyrant, more deceitful than the devil," and of women's wrath it is said they "are made of blood," and of women's mind it is said that it "shifts oft like the inconstant wind," and it is said that "all witchcraft comes from carnal lust which is in women insatiable.")

And it is said that all sin originated in the flesh of the body of a woman and lives in her body. (And the old text reads that Christ was born of a Virgin in order that the disobedience caused by the serpent might be destroyed in the same manner in which it had originated. )

And we are reminded that we have brought death into the world.


Now it is disputed and then it is made clear that angels do not possess bodies but only assume them. That they do not occupy any point in space but are virtually present and operating at that point.

And from this some suppose that angels are thin.

And it is wondered how thin angels are (and how many angels could occupy, at one time, the space on the head of a pin).


And it is said that nature can be understood only by reduction, that only by reducing her to numbers does she become clear.

That without mathematics "one wanders in vain through a dark labyrinth."

It is decided that that which cannot be measured and reduced to number is not real.

It is questioned whether or not motion is real.

It is discovered that motion can be measured by measuring the space through which movement moves and the time in which the moving takes place.

It is decided that motion is real.


(But it is said again that all motion came originally from God and that God has given the universe a fixed quantity of movement.)

It is decided that all motion results from bodies acting directly on other bodies, that one body cannot affect another at a distance.

And it is stated that all matter is made up of smaller particles of matter, whose motions determine the appearance of the universe. That God alone sees things as they are, that He sees the particles directly. That if anyone were to know the position of all the particles at any given time he could predict the future.


It is said that the sensation of color is produced by the action of these particles on the retina of the eye. That the particles are real but that the sensation they produce is not.

That color is not real. Odor is not real. Dreams not real. Pleasure and pain not real. Nor nightmares. Nor chamber music.


And of the difference of women from men it is said that women are more sensual than they.

It is said that women exist for pleasure.

"How fair and pleasant art thou, O love, for thy delights," it is written.


The human mind, it is written, was made by God to understand "not whatever you please, but quantity."

"For what is there in the human mind besides figures and magnitudes?" it is asked.


And it is seen that the senses are deceptive. And the ancient texts reveal that of understanding there are two kinds: one authentic and the other bastard, and sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch are all bastard understandings.

And it is said that women are the fountain, the flood and the very root of deception, falsity and lies.

Woman, for instance, was formed from a defective rib of man's breast, it is said, which was bent contrary to him, and so therefore it is in woman's nature to deceive.

And it is advised that if one would follow a woman to her dressing room one might discover the truth. Beneath her paint, her wigs, her jewels, her robes, is a monstrous creature so odious and ugly that one finds there "Serpents rather than saints."


It is ascertained that sensations are confused thoughts and that imagination and memory because they derive from sensation should be distrusted.

The word "hysterical" is taken from the word hyster, meaning womb, because it is observed that the womb is the seat of the emotions (and women are more emotional than men).

That crying is womanish, it is observed, and that dramatic poetry, since it causes crying, ought to be avoided, that it "has a most formidable power of corrupting even men of high character."


And it is written that women have the defect of "inordinate affections and passions" and over-lively imaginations, and for this reason young girls should not be taught Italian and Spanish, since books written in both those languages have a "dangerous effect" on women.

And it is cautioned that husbands should not counsel with their wives nor allow them to see their accounting books.


"Who, moving others are themselves as stone
Unmoved, cold and to temptation slow:
They rightly do inherit heaven's graces
And husband nature's riches from expense"

it is written.

And it is also written that woman "is not fully the master of herself" and that "only one woman in thousands has been endowed with the God-given aptitude to live in chastity and virginity."

[url]And the old texts read that where there is death there too is sexual coupling and where there is no death there is no sexual coupling either.[/url]

And it is decided that God does not die.

It is decided that God is the maker but that he has no hands. It is decided that He created Harmony and Beauty but that He has no ears, no eyes. That He is not corporeal nor is He matter, but He is ultimate reality. That he exists absolutely and infinitely. That he is dependent on no other being. That He was not born. That He has no mother. He is the Father. He will not die.


And it is said that God is a mathematician. That the human mind understands some propositions in geometry and arithmetic but that in "these the Divine Wisdom knows infinitely more propositions because It knows them all."

That God has allowed us to see "by creating us after His own image so that we could share in his own thoughts."

Cogito, I think, ergo, therefore, sum, I am, it is said.


And it is written that "not the woman but the man is the image of God."

And that "the image of God is in man and it is one." That "Women were drawn from man, who has God's jurisdiction as if he were God's vicar, because he has the image of the one God."

That as God is the principle of the universe so is man, in likeness to God, the principle of the human race.


It is decided that the minds of women are defective. That the fibers of the brain are weak. That because women menstruate regularly the supply of blood to the brain is weakened.

All abstract knowledge, all knowledge which is dry, it is cautioned, must be abandoned to the laborious and solid mind of man. "For this reason," it is further reasoned, "women will never learn geometry."

There is a controversy over whether or not women should be taught arithmetic.

To a woman who owns a telescope it is suggested that she rid herself of it, that she "stop trying to find out what's happening on the moon."


It is decided that matter cannot know matter.

That matter "is but a brute thing and only capable of local motion." That matter has no intellect and no perception.

And it is stated that nature should be approached only through reason.

1382 Thomas Brawardine in Treatise on the Proportions of Velocities in Moving Bodies proposes a mathematical law of dynamics universally valid for all changes in velocity.

1431 Joan of Arc, aged 22, "placed high on the fire so the flames would reach her slowly," dies.

(She is asked why she wears male costume.)

1468 The Pope defines witchcraft as crimen exceptum, removing all legal limit to torture.

1482 Leonardo da Vinci moves to Milan, and begins his notebooks on hydraulics, mechanics, anatomy; he paints Madonna of the Rocks.

(Does she see the body of St. Michael, they ask her? Did he come to her naked?)

1523 One thousand witches burn in a single year in the diocese of Como.

1543 Vesalius publishes De Humani Corporis Fabrica.

1543 Copernicus publishes De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium.

(She is asked if she is in a state of grace. She is asked if St. Margaret speaks English.)

1571 Johannes Kepler born.

1572 Augustus the Pious issues Consultationes Saxionicae, stating that a good witch must be burned because she has made a pact with the devil.

(She confesses that she falsely pretended to have revelations from God and his angels, from St. Catherine and St. Margaret.)

1585 Witch burnings in two villages leave one female inhabitant each.

1589 Francis Bacon is made clerk of the Star Chamber.

(He says that nature herself must be examined.)

1581-1591 Nine hundred burned in Lorraine.

(That nature must be bound into service, he persuades.)

1600 Gilbert's De Magnete published.

1603 William Harvey assists at the examination of the witches.

1609 Galileo, on hearing a rumor of the invention of a glass magnifying distant objects, constructs a telescope.

(It is urged that nature must be hounded in her wanderings before one can lead her and drive her.)

1609 Kepler publishes Astronomia Nova.

1609 The whole population of Navarre is declared witches.

(He says that the earth should be put on the rack and tortured for her secrets.)

1615 William Harvey lectures on the circulation of the blood at the Royal College of Physicians.

1619 Kepler publishes his third law, De Harmonice Mundi.

1619 The first black slaves are introduced in America.

(She is asked if she signed the devil's book.
She is asked if the devil had a body.
She is asked whom she chose to be an incubus.)

1622 Francis Bacon publishes Natural and Experimental History for the Foundation of Philosophy.

1622-1623 Johann George II, Prince Bishop, builds a house for the trying of witches at Bamberg, where six hundred burn.

1628 One hundred fifty-eight burned at Wurzburg.

1637 Descartes publishes Discours de la Methode.

(She is asked what oath she made. What finger she was forced to raise. Where she made a union with her incubus. What food she ate at the sabbat. What music was played, what dances were danced. What devil's marks were on her body. Who were the children on whom she cast spells; what animals she bewitched. How she was able to fly through the air.)

1638 Galileo publishes Two New Sciences.

1640 Carbon dioxide obtained by Helmont.

1644 Descartes publishes Principia Philosophiae.

1670 Rouen witch trials.

1687 Newton publishes Principia.

(She confesses that every Monday the devil lay with her for fornication. She confesses that when he copulated with her she felt intense pain.)

(She confesses that after having intercourse with the devil she married her daughter to him.)

1666 Newton procures "a triangular glass prism to try the celebrated phenomena of colors."

1704 Newton publishes Opticks.

1717 Halley reveals that the world is adrift in a star swirl.

1738 Dean of Faculty of Law at Rostock demands that witches be extirpated by fire and sword.

1745 Witch trial at Lyon, five sentenced to death.

1749 Sister Maria Renata executed and burned.

1775 Anna Maria Schnagel executed for witchcraft.

(She confesses she passed through the keyhole of a door. That she became a cat and then a horse. She confesses she made a pact with the devil, that she asked for the devil's help.)

(We confess we were carried through the air in a moment.)

And it is stated that the rational soul, which is immaterial, bears the image of its divine maker, has will, is endowed with intellect and is more noble and more valuable of being than "the whole corporeal world."

That Adam is soul and Eve is flesh.


It is argued now that animals do not think. That animals move automatically like machines. That passion in animals is more violent because it is not accompanied by thought. That our own bodies are distinguished from machines only by "a mind which thinks without reference to any passion."


And it is further argued that if animals could think, they might have immortal souls.

But it becomes obvious that animals do not have immortal souls (and cannot think), since if one animal had an immortal soul, all might, and that "there are many of them too imperfect to make it possible to believe it of them, such as oysters, sponges, etc."

And it is said that the souls of women are small.


It is decided that matter is dead.

That the universe acts as a machine which can be described by describing the actions of particles of matter upon other particles according to immutable mechanical laws.

That the secret of the universe may be revealed only through understanding how it works. That behind the material "how" may lie the first cause, which is immaterial.

That the particular (like the parts of a machine) may be understood without reference to the whole.

That the "celestial machine is to be likened not to a divine organism but rather to clockwork."

And it is discovered:

That the weights of two bodies are proportional to their masses.

That every body perseveres in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, except as compelled to change that state by impressed forces.

That change of motion is proportional to the moving force impressed and takes place in the direction of the straight line in which such force is impressed.

That reaction is always equal and opposite to action.

Inertia is named.

And it is said that the maker of the universe was skilled in mechanics.

And it is discovered of light that the sines of the angles of refraction and incidence bear a true ratio and it is argued "was the eye contrived without skill in optics?"

And it is discovered that the heart circulates the blood through the body like a hydraulic pump.

And it is said that just as a king is the foundation of a kingdom, so the "heart of animals is the foundation of their life, the sovereign of everything within them, the sun of their microcosm, that upon which all growth depends, from which all power proceeds."

And it is decided that the moment of death occurs at the moment when the heart stops beating.

And it is determined that air has weight. That its volume is proportional inversely to its pressure.

That a heavy weight and a light weight falling reach the ground simultaneously.

That God is skilled in gravity.

And the parabola is discovered as a result of continuous horizontal movement and inexorable gravity.

And the ellipse is discovered to be the path of the planets.

Everything in the universe, it is perceived, moves according to the same laws: the earth, the moon, the wind, the rain, blood, atoms.


And it is asserted that God constructed his clock to run autonomously. And it is argued whether or not God fixes his clock.

And it is stated that God does not learn. That God knows everything. That God made the laws of the universe and that there is nothing He cannot do. That He created natural law but that He is above natural law and need not obey it.

Yet it is finally agreed that God does not speak to us. (God has no mouth.) That God does not respond to our prayers. (He has no ears.) That God knows everything but He does not choose to respond.


And it is decided that what makes God divine is his power.
That "a God without dominion ... is nothing but Fate and Nature,"
That we adore God for his power.
And Eve is said to have said to Adam:

My author and Disposer, what thou bidst
Unargu'd I obey; so God ordains
God is thy law, thou mine: to know no more
Is woman's happiest knowledge and her praise.

And it is written in the law that "Women should be subject to their men."

And we learn

And it is advised that women not be allowed to teach nor should they baptize. That "even the Virgin Mary" was not allowed to baptize.

that our speech is unholy

And it is stated that nature should be approached only through reason, that one should be taught by nature "not in the character of a pupil who agrees to everything the master likes, but as an appointed judge, who compels the witness to answer the question which he himself proposes."

(And it is written that women, on discovering that they have ovaries, are liable to become arrogant through this knowledge.)

And we seek dumbness

And it is decided that human knowledge and human power are one, That "in the womb of nature" are "many secrets of excellent use."

And it is written that "it is annoying and impossible to suffer proud women, because in general Nature has given men proud and high spirits, while it has made women humble in character and submissive...."

We practice muteness


And it is written that in the inferior world of brutes and vegetables man was created to act as the viceroy of the great God of heaven and earth, and that he should then name the brutes and the vegetables. For there is power in words, it is said, and it is put forward that by knowing the names of natural things, man can command them, that he who calls the creatures by their true names has power over them.

(Thus it is decided that earth shall be called land; trees, timber; animals to be called hunted, to be called domesticated; her body to be named hair, to be named skin, to be called breast, vulva, clitoris, to be named womb.)


And it is pointed out that man fell at one and the same time from both innocence and dominion, and it is promised that while faith will restore innocence, science can restore dominion.

By "knowing the force and action of fire, water, air, the stars, the heavens and all other bodies that surround us," it is declared, "men can be the masters and possessors of nature."

And so then it is predicted that life will be prolonged, youth restored, age retarded, and incurable disease cured, and pain mitigated, and one body transformed to another, new species created, new instruments of destruction, such as poisons, invented, the time of germination accelerated, composts for the earth fabricated, new foods fabricated, new threads made, paper, glass, artificial minerals and cements, and that there will be means to convey sounds great distances over lines, stronger and more violent engines of war, and that men will fly in the air, and go under water in great ships.


And now the nature of time and of space is wondered at, and it is said that there are two spaces, one vulgar, changeable, relative, the other absolute, changeless, eternal. And that absolute space is the mind of God, it is suggested. (And it is cautioned that the vulgar know only vulgar space.)


Such a thing, therefore, as absolute motion is said to exist in absolute space. And time flows universally, it is said, and always will.


But "Man has been but a few years dweller on the earth," it is reflected, and it is put forward that the life of the earth like the life of man is short.

The changes to be seen on the surface of the earth, it is stated, took place swiftly and violently. That this earth was formed not by one cataclysm, but by cataclysm following cataclysm, each the sign of God's will, each marking the end of one age and the beginning of another.

And the marks of these ages can be traced in the strata of rocks holding imprints from the bodies of perished animals and perished plants, it is shown, and it is declared that all the boulders, even enormous fragments from the Alps, were rolled by the sea in one great tidal wave which spread over the splintered valleys. And the chains of mountains, it is said, were made by violent upheavals of the earth, sand, stone. That because of this violence, no life persisted from one age to another. (And the only link between the species is in the mind of God.)

And the sun will soon burn itself out.

It is decided that man is the last of a series of species made according to a plan by which the whole animal kingdom was constructed.

(Yet it is said that the appearance of man was "a geological event of vast importance ... utterly unaccounted for by ... the laws of nature.")

"There is in this universe a stair," it is declared.

And woman is "the idlest part of God's Creation," it is said.

(And it is sung that only slaves love women, for the love of women is dangerous, and to drudge in "fair Aurelia's womb" is to find death.)

(And the theory is held that savage races have fallen through sin from civilization, that the further removed from the Garden of Eden, the more animalized is a race of people.)

All nature, it is said, has been designed to benefit man. That coal has been placed closer to the surface of the earth for his use. That animals run on four feet because it makes them better beasts of burden. That teeth were created for chewing, and that women "exist solely for the propagation of the race."

That nature has made it natural for a woman to seek only to be a good wife and mother, and "nature's darling" woman stays at home, it is pointed out. (Yet the woman who neglects her home is unnatural, it is observed, "a monster more horrible than Frankenstein." That since nature has closed the avenues of intellectual distinction to women, it is reasoned, education for the female is unnatural.)


"Nature is the art of God," it is declared.

(And it is decided to name all the species. That in naming, man is given a glimpse into the secret cabinet of God. And so all the species are named according to their sexual parts.)


And we are assured that we have no reason to fear being overlooked or neglected by this artful creator since he takes extreme care even in so small and insignificant a detail of creation as the hinges of an earwig.

But still, the motives of the creator are questioned regarding the creation of rudimentary organs, and it is debated whether or not any malevolence came to play in the making of parasites.


And now there is doubt. For it is postulated that in the rocks of the earth, it is discovered that there is no evidence for a beginning or an end to time here. And it is slowly realized that not cataclysms but wind shaped stone, that water drops indeed wear granite away, that water can carry soil and make mountains, that water passes from land to sea to land, that as the earth is worn away it is built again, and finally it is agreed that "nature lives in motion."


And now in the "traces of vanished limbs, soldered wing cases and buried teeth," secrets are revealed and facts discovered which "undermine the stability of the species."

And that God made each living thing is questioned.

For instance, it is observed that teeth appear in situations where they do not bite, wings where they do not fly. (That ducks use wings as paddles, penguins as fins, and the ostrich spreads its plumes like sails to the breeze.) And the passage by which nature joins the lizard to the snake is now observed.

That each species was not fashioned separately by God, it is concluded, and the species are not immutable.

(And of this, it is put forward that "it is derogatory that the Creator ... should have created each of the myriad of creeping parasites and slimy worms which have swarmed ... this globe.")


That animals originated not from the ark but in the environment in which they live now by modification from earlier forms, it is now clear, and it is said that species form species and nature makes nature.


Thus it is implied that there are species which once existed and exist no longer, which are extinct, and the bones of animals no longer living in the pampas are said to be akin to the bones of llamas now alive there.

(And in 1852 the last spectacled cormorant is seen.)

Still, it is testified that this evolution reveals an "immanent purpose to perfect the creation" and that animals are diverted from reaching perfection by the mutability of the world.

(And it is wondered if the orang-utan might have been diverted from perfection by the wilderness.)


Yet the possibility is entertained that nature evolves species without design, and there are those who reason that the forces of nature are blind, that they are blind will, without reflection or morality. That this will is a will to live and infects all natural forms, from the growth of plants to the drive for mating, and the hunger for food in animals and man.

Yes, nature is merciless and insatiable, it is said, red in tooth and claw, it is written.

(And it is also written that nature lives and breathes by crime. Hungers at her pores for bloodshed. Aches in her nerves for sin. Yearns for cruelty. That she kindles death out of life, and feeds with fresh blood the innumerable and insatiable mouths suckled at her milkless breast. That she takes pain to sharpen her pleasure. That she stabs, poisons, crushes and corrodes. That nature is weary of life. That her eyes are sick of seeing, her ears heavy with hearing. That she is burned up with creation. That she labors in the desire for death.)

And it is stated that woman's nature is more natural than man's, that she is genuine with the "cunning suppleness of a beast of prey," the tiger's claw under the glove, the naivete of her egoism, her uneducability and inner wildness.

And the scope and movement of her desires and virtues are said to be incomprehensible.

And we learn to be afraid

("Woman! The very name's a crime," it is written.)

of our nature


That opposed to the will is idea. That idea negates nature.

And it is made clear that the evolution of the brain and hence the ability to reason set man apart from the other animals, and gave him the control over his own evolution.

That only through reason can one refuse to be a slave to nature.


And it is stated that "the genitals are the real focus of the will and consequently, the opposite pole of the brain."

And that the organs compete with one another for a supply of blood.


It is recorded that woman's generative organs exercise a strange power over her heart, her mind and her soul.

That woman is what she is in character, charm, body, mind and soul because of her womb alone. (That after menopause a woman is "degraded to the level of a being who has no further duty to perform in this world.") That woman is a natal mechanism.

Thus it is advised that too much mental activity can cause an "ovarian neuralgia," during which neither the brain nor the womb receives enough blood.

That the thinking woman, by "deflecting blood to the brain from the generative organs ... lost touch with the sacred primitive rhythms that bound her to the deepest law of the cosmos."

(And the young man who would develop his intellect and his physique is cautioned to avoid as far as possible all loss of sexual fluid.)


For the good of the human race it is prescribed that girls complete their education by the age of sixteen or seventeen and then marry. Higher education, it is said, will render a defective development of the sexual organs.

(And it is suggested that higher education had already caused the reduced size of the pelvis in women.)

Woman's greatest achievement, it is declared, is to be the mother of a great man.


1735, Linnaeus names the plants and animals in Systema Naturae. 1762, Rousseau publishes Contrat Social and Emile. 1792, Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. 1798, Victor, the wild child of Aveyron, an uncivilized boy with the behavior of an animal, is captured by three sportsmen in the woods of Caune. 1812, Cuvier publishes Recherches sur les Ossements Fossiles de Quadrupedes. 1835, the Beagle reaches the Galapagos archipelago. 1845, Dr. Sims invents the speculum. 1848, Revolution in France. 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels distribute the Communist Manifesto. 1848, Woman's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls. 1853, Dr. L. P. Burnham performs the first successful hysterectomy in America. 1856, Bessemer turns out the first ton of cast iron steel from his converter.


Through evolution, "All corporeal and mental endowments will tend to progress toward perfection," it is written.

"The brain stands vertically poised on the summit of the backbone, Beyond there is no further progress."

And it is observed that woman is less evolved than man. Men and women differ as much, it is observed, as plants and animals do. And men and animals correspond just as women and plants correspond, for women develop more placidly, like plants, and have an "indeterminant unity of feeling."

That her evolution resulted in a higher and shriller voice, a smaller larynx, fewer red corpuscles and a less complex nervous system.

Our voices diminish

(That the later development of the abbreviated foot in women must have been a throwback, since the short foot is clearly "unworthy of a noble animal.")

We become less

And it is observed that the woman's brain mass is smaller.

We become less

That lacking in reason and morality, women are a kind of middle step between the child and the man, who is the true human being.

And they say that muteness is natural in us

(That in the womb the fetus goes through all the stages of human evolution.)

That mentally women are prostrate before the male sex.

That indeed the thoughts of women (and "the inferior races") are said to be filled with special and personal experience but not with general truths. And it is pointed out that neither women, nor those of the "lower races," are able to abstract ideas from concrete cases.

"Science offends the modesty of all real women," it is written. "It makes them feel as if one wanted to peep under their skin -- yet, worse, under their dress and finery."

And it is stated that abstract thought causes physical pain in women, that their incapacity for intellectual thought is a secondary sexual characteristic.

(That the female organism transmits instincts, habits and intuition, and those features of the species established by heredity, to her offspring.)

(That "the male of the species has centralized in himself most of the activities independent of the sexual motor.")

That men "undergo . .. a severe struggle in order to maintain themselves and their families" and that this struggle may increase their intelligence and hence "an inequality between the sexes," it is written.


1859, Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species. 1864, Navaho tribe forced from the Canyon de Chelly by the U.S. military and marched to a reservation. 1864, Contagious Disease Act in England requires all women suspected of prostitution to register as such. 1872, Married Women's Property Act, giving married women the right to own property, repealed. 1872, Alexandre de Lodyguine makes lamps with short, straight carbon filaments. 1872, Battey performs the first clitoridectomy in America. 1894, at the official academy of art in London, women are finally admitted to life drawing classes, but only when the model is partially draped. 1913, Emmeline Pankhurst's first hunger and thirst strike at Holloway Prison.

And it is said that without the male, "civilization would be impossible."

That mankind has evolved away from the bestial and closer to the angel

Arise and fly
The reeling fawn, the sensual feast

It is declared

move upward, working out the beast
And let the ape and tiger die.

That all animals are merely fetal stages of man, it is decided.

And striving to be man, the worm
Mounts through all the spires of form

it is sung.


It is declared then that man is an animal, and he is the most perfect animal.

That according to the laws of survival, a creature wills himself and his species to perfection.

(''What was her womanhood," it is written, "that it could stand against the energy of his manly will.")

That "the stronger and the better equipped ... eat the weaker and ... the larger species devour the smaller."

And it is stated that if women were not meant to be dominated by men, they would not have been created weaker.

(That woman is as far from man as man is from the forest monkeys, it is reflected.)

That the able survive

As for instance the wolf who is the swiftest and the slimmest.

That nature has selected this wolf and his offspring to live.

That stags have horns and cocks spurs

Because among males it is always the victor who is allowed to breed.

That the species are shaped by death.


It is said that the world (outside the home) is a "vast wilderness."

And that man goes naked and alone into this world, where he is surrounded by savages.

That he is subjected to "a rage of competitive battle."

That the whirl and contact with the world is the inheritance of his sex.


(And therefore it is suggested that sons be raised with bodily constitutions possessing extraordinary powers of endurance. That the young man must be constantly seeking manly thoughts to feed his mind. That in his education he must sacrifice some of the delights of culture in order to fit himself for competition.)


On the other hand, it is said that woman's place is in the home.

That in evolution woman missed the powerful intellectual stimulus competition creates among men.

(That as the male brain became increasingly larger than that of the female, so men began to dominate human society.)


Women are the weaker sex, it is said, and therefore those women have survived who best succeeded in pleasing men.

And that because of this weakness, nature has made woman a better liar, "For, as nature has endowed the lion with claw and fang, elephant and boar with tusks, the bull with horns and the jellyfish with obscuring liquid -- in the same way she has endowed women with deceit."

(That those women who betrayed anger at ill treatment from the male were less likely to survive than those who could conceal their anger.)

(That indeed nature has provided men with beards so that they might conceal their emotions, but that women, being naturally deceptive, have no beards.)

And it is postulated that those women skilled in intuition survived, since a woman able to detect instantly a rising passion in her savage husband would be more likely to escape danger from him.

(That girls should emphasize culture in their educations, it is suggested.)

And it is said that nature endows woman with a superabundant beauty so that she might attract a male, but that this beauty vanishes after she has bred one or two children, just as the ant loses her wings after fertilization.


And it is warned that men do not like and would not seek to mate with an independent factor.

That society can be thankful that neither the emancipated woman nor the prostitute propagates her own kind.

It is decided that the ovum is passive and the sperm is adventurous.

That in sperm is the concentrated power of man's perfect being,

Totus homo semen est, it is said.

That runts, feeble infants and girls are produced by debilitated sperm.

That the sperm functions to vitalize the ovum.

That the ovum transmits instinct, habits, intuition and laws of conduct.

And that the sperm is the means by which the newer variations of nature are implanted in the conservative ovum.

We are nature, we are told


(That the male mind, just as the male organism creates variation, has the power of discovering new experience, and new laws of nature, which become, in their turn, new laws of action.)

We are nature, we are told, without intelligence


"All organic beings are exposed to severe competition," it is written,

And it is observed that all creatures are pressed into a struggle for existence

That all the plants of a given country are at war with one another

That it is the tendency of all beings to multiply faster than their source of nourishment

(Indeed, it is written that the human race tends to outrun subsistence and is kept in bounds only by famine, pestilence or war.)

And this struggle is called a natural government, and this warfare is said to lead to perfection.

(And it is suggested that war serves "for the real health of humanity and the building of strong races.")

(And it is declared that the history of human society is the history of class struggle. That the collisions between the classes will end in the victory of the proletariat.)

(And the development of large corporations, it is pointed out, is also merely the survival of the fittest, merely the working out of a law of nature and a law of God.)

And it is postulated that each organism is a product of a struggle for existence among the molecules.

That the human body is a product of warfare among its parts.

Woman is "a milk-white lamb that bleats/For man's protection," it is sung.
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:51 am

Part 2 of 4

And it is written that "every woman is always more or less an invalid."

That during menses women suffer a languor and depression which disqualifies them for thought or action.

And it is said that pity is the offspring of weakness and that women and animals, being weaker, feel more pity.

And the poets are said to have learned pity from women.

And the scientist observes that women appear to be more tender and less selfish than men.

(But pity is said to be an emotion closer to the state of nature; that pity depends on the ability to identify with another creature; but that a rational state of mind gives birth to isolation through reflection; that the rational man on seeing suffering can say, "Die, if you will. I am safe.")

But it is also written that "the sick are the greatest danger for the sound," the "great danger of man ... sick women especially."

That a man whose house is infested with a woman is weaker for it.

For men must work and women must weep, it is sung.

That woman elicits pity

But that those who would sympathize with women will have the same fate as the zookeeper who sympathized with the lioness as she defended her cubs. He was eaten, it is written.

It is decided that man evolved from the great apes.

That under the surface of the earth one finds the first inhabitants of the land

Whose protruding jaws and low forehead betray a savage animal, and that this skull resembles that of the Negro, the Mongol, the Hottentot and the Australian.

That all the stages of the evolution of men and of human society still exist.

That the struggle for existence continues still among the different races.

And that "the white man is improving off the face of the earth even races nearly his equal."

Of the men who live in the gloom of the forest, it is whispered, one might as easily pass "for an Orang-Utang as a man."

(Hottentots are brutal, it is said, and their speech is a farrago of bestial sounds like the chatter of apes.)

(There are tribes in South America, it is told, whose language is so deficient they cannot converse in the dark.)

(Negroes, it is reported, like orang-utans and chimpanzees, are difficult to teach after puberty.)

(And among the lower races, it is observed, the pendulous abdomen, want of calves, flatness of the thighs, all features of the ape, are common.)

And woman, it is observed, like the Negro, is flat-footed, with a prominent inclination of the pelvis making her appear less erect, and her gait less steady.

That as regards his intellectual faculties, the Negro partakes of the nature of the child or the female or the senile white.

That woman's brain is smaller and the shape of her head closer to that of infants and those of the "lower races."

And it is put forward that "wherever one sees an approach to the animal type the female is nearer to it than the male." That in the female Hottentot one can see the monkey more clearly.

(From voyages about the globe, it is whispered, one hears stories of women mating with monkeys or bears and bearing progeny.)

Slavery is said to be a condition of every higher civilization.

A woman should be an enthusiastic slave to the man to whom she has given her heart, it is declared.

"I am a woman again -- a woman, at your feet," a woman is said to have said.


And both the emancipated woman and the Negro freedman are said to exhibit symptoms of insanity or nervousness.

Finally, it is declared that "the generous sentiments of slaveholders are sufficient guarantee of the rights of women the world over."

But as to women and men, it is noticed that the existence of two parents enlarges the possibility for variation.

And it is observed that the struggle for existence leads not only to extinction but also to a diversity of form, that it "enlarges nature's domain."


The gene is discovered.

It is said that the progeny does not inherit the habit of the parent.

(That the gene is isolated and impenetrable by either will or design.

That the mutations which create new species are spontaneous and cannot be calculated, it is admitted.)


Still, it is hoped that the theory of mutation may make it possible to discover the exact moment when men became immortal.


(Yet we read the words "animals our fellow brethren in pain, disease, suffering and famine" and we hear that they truly share our origins, that "we may all be melted together.")


1892 Artificial silk is produced from wood pulp.

1884 The steam turbine is developed.

1884 The first steel-frame skyscraper is built.


The redder blood of sailors in the tropics and the warmth of water in a storm are observed.

Heat and motion are said to be the same. It is said that energy can be neither created nor destroyed.

The engineer discovers work.

Heat, energy and work are measured.


1884 Cocaine is discovered.

1883 The high-speed gasoline engine is developed.


"Where are the limits," it is written, "before which human power will come to stop? Commonplace individuals can never imagine them beyond their own horizon but nevertheless every day that horizon is widened. Every day its limits are put back...."

1882 A central power station is built in New York City.

1876 Barbed wire is manufactured on a large scale.

1865 The first oil pipeline laid.

"The enjoyment, the commodities of life which had been reserved only for men of fortune are now enjoyed by artisans ... In a few more years they will be shared equally with all classes...."

1860 A gas engine is invented.

1846 The electric arc is patented.

1839 The electric telegraph is patented.

"And just where the direct force of material power has shown itself insufficient to accomplish its work and to persevere in progress; where his will seems to be broken against insurmountable obstacles ..."

1838 A steamship first crosses the Atlantic in fifteen days.

"just then a drop of water turned into steam acts to supplement this weakness, to create for him a power of which we cannot now, nor yet for a long time to come, measure the extent ..."

1829 Stephenson's "Rocket" locomotive railway carriage achieves the speed of thirty miles per hour.

"By means of that same steam, rivers, seas are navigated. It transports us with inconceivable speed to all the extremities of the world in floating palaces which shelter the poor man, the rich man ..."

1769 James Watt patents the steam engine.

"... in our own valleys and across our hills wind and spread long ribbons of iron, along which rush, rapid as thought, those formidable machines which seem to eat up space with a spontaneous impatience and which seem almost alive in their breathing and in their movement."

The energy of a man is said to be like the power of the iron horse. (And the train to the track is said to be like the man to his wife.)

It is discovered that animal heat results from the combustion of nutriment. (And it is calculated that if both the sexes were given one pound of bread to convert to vital energy, the male would produce more energy.)


Rules for mobilizing and multiplying personal energy are published.

Men "are naturally and practically indolent and ... need powerful stimulants and heavy pressure to awaken their powers and call forth exertions," it is said.

Cures are invented to quicken "torpid energies" and prevent the "current of mental life from becoming utterly stagnant."

(Women are not good candidates for these cures, it is said.)

It is put forward that men should concentrate their energies on a particular point.


Under proper control the body becomes obedient to the potent sway of the mind, it is said, but he who indulges in lascivious thoughts is in danger of letting his body become his master.

(And it is said of men who lose control that all their energy is concentrated in their sexual organs.)


Entropy is discovered.

And it is decided that entropy, the amount of energy no longer available for work, always increases. That energy always decreases.

(That therefore the earth cannot be more than two hundred million years old. That the sun will burn itself out.)

''The energies of our system will decay," it is written. "Man will go down into the pit, and his thoughts will perish."


It is said that promiscuous intercourse with women leads to seminal weakness.

That the "generative energy ... when we are loose, dissipates and makes us unclean," but that "when we are continent," we are invigorated.

And it is said that the young man who would best develop his energies should avoid all loss of sexual fluid.

Through those two great black eyes
the events of your soul
O pitiless demon! Pour me less
Flame ...

Sturdy manhood, it is said, loses its energy and bends under the too frequent expenditure of this "important secretion."

Alas and dissolute Megaera
I cannot become Proserpine
in the hell of your bed ...

The victim of masturbation, it is said, passes from one degree of imbecility to another ...

to break your courage and reduce you
to desperation . ..

... until all the powers of the system, mental, physical, moral, are blotted out forever.

I shall go ...

And it is said also that the practice of building castles in the air ...

to the land where trees and men full of sap
slowly swoon

... of allowing the thoughts to wander when alone ...

. . . beneath the passionate heat of the climate;
strong locks be the swell that carries me away!
O ebony sea, you hold a dazzling dream ...

... is dangerous and leads to dissipation.

I shall plunge my head, which loves intoxication
into this dark ocean ... O fertile idleness!
Infinite rocking of scented leisure!

It is observed that no nation has ever existed on the face of the earth which did not crumble under the use of its perverted energies when the gospel reached it.

Only lust creates semen, it is said, pure love never any.

("Prostitution," it is sung, "moves in the bosom of the filthy city like a worm stealing man's food.")

And the soldier on a campaign is warned to save his energy for the honor of his country, to stay away from the temptation of wine and beware the temptation of women


"Only science," it is now written, "exact science about human nature ... will deliver man from his present gloom, and will purge him from his contemporary shame in the sphere of interhuman relationships."

The behavior of dogs is said to be affected by "associations." (At the sight and smell of food, it is discovered, a dog will salivate. If a bell is rung when the food is presented, it is further ascertained, the dog will soon salivate when he hears the bell ring.)


Of charges of electricity, it is said that the space around them is conditioned. That space which has the condition of the possibility of force is called a field.

(When a change occurs in an electric field, there is said to be created a magnetic field, and when a change occurs in a magnetic field an electric field appears.)

Electromagnetism is discovered.

(And it is said that electromagnetic waves travel with the speed of light.)

And the electromagnetic field is said to have a structure and a history that can be determined.


All kinds of stimuli can be associated with food, it is determined: noises, colors, shapes, touches to various parts of the body, electric shock.

This association is called a "conditioned reflex."

(And it is put forward that human nature can be explained as a series of conditioned reflexes.)

And it is said of us that we have no understanding.


1851 Herbert Spencer publishes Social Statics.

1884 Smokeless powder is developed.

1905 Bernard Sachs, author of A Treatise on the Nervous Diseases of Children, recommends that masturbation in children be treated by cautery to the spine and to the genitals.


All matter, it is declared now, can be reduced to ninety-one elements.

For each of these elements there is an atom, it is said, and these ninety-one atoms are the building blocks of the universe: hard, impenetrable, unchanging, irreducible, revealed, under the scrutiny of science, to be ultimate reality.


(Movements of molecules are detected in the paths of pollen dancing in stilled water. Inanimate matter moves.)


It is said that there is nothing in this world one can be so certain of as oneself, that one knows oneself ultimately.


X-rays are discovered. (X, it is explained, is a symbol for the unknown.)

Radium is isolated. (It is observed that one gram of radium creates one hundred calories of heat in one hour: the sun radiates light; it will burn itself out much more slowly.)

Radioactivity is explained as the disintegration of the atom. The atom, it is agreed finally, is not immutable.


The unconscious is discovered.

(And the unconscious, it is explained, is that part of the self unknown to the conscious self, at any given moment.)


From the phosphorescent effects on the glass walls of a charged tube, a particle of energy is discovered. This particle is smaller than the atom, it is said, and it is in the atom, it is suggested, and this particle is called the electron.

(The atom is not inanimate.)


The energy of the self is hidden, it is revealed, in a "dark and inaccessible" region of the mind, filled with sexual longings. This region of the mind can be detected in dreams, in slips of the tongue, concealed memories, in associations, accidental falls, words misspelled, names forgotten, in the idle humming of melodies, scribblings, in loss. (That all these are symptoms. That the paralyzed limb is a symptom of this energy.) This energy of the mind is named the libido.


(It is revealed that women have a weaker libido.)


The geography of the atom is explored. Its parts are named the electron, the proton and the neutron. It is thought that the atom might resemble the solar system, smaller particles circling a larger center.


The self is made up of three parts, it is said, the superego, the ego and the id.

And that although women have less libido, it is said, their animal instincts are less subject to control; they have less superego also. That women also have less ego, that (like children and primitive peoples) they are less aware of the necessities of life.

That women have less of a sense of justice, that their thoughts are more colored by feelings than those of men.

(That women are less objective.)

That men are responsible for civilization, it is stated.

Activity is the share of the man, it is said. Small boys build vertical, outward shapes, it is reasoned, and as men they move into the outside world to shape reality.

Passivity is the share of the women, it is pointed out, and small girls build enclosures, direct their energies inward. That they feel abandoned by the outward movement of the man, that they resent civilization, that in the wake of its progress they cause discord.

That to be female is to cling to the home, to sameness, to tradition.


And as we lift our heads we are reminded again and again of tradition

It is noted that man is confined to this earth.

And that confinement, it is said, shapes our perceptions. (A group of scientists performs a set of experiments inside an elevator. It is an ideal elevator, without air resistance or friction.)

It is realized now that the electromagnetic field is real and thus the truth of mechanical law is called into question.

And the understanding that because we move with the velocity of the earth turning, time moves differently for us, is arrived at, and it is said

That a single event is different to different observers if they move at different speeds.

That near the speed of light, a moving clock changes its rhythm and a measuring rod its length.

(The elevator breaks loose from its cable. It falls in a gravitational field. But the scientists do not know of any gravity. Their world is confined to the space inside the elevator.)

Time and space have no meaning unless it is first determined where one is.

(Since all bodies in a gravitational field fall at the same rate of acceleration, all bodies in the elevator move uniformly, at rest or in motion. "Sooner or later," it is said, "the elevator will collide with the earth, destroying the observers and their experiments.")

And now it is revealed that time slows down at higher speeds. And one can imagine that the heartbeat of a man speeding near the velocity of light would slow down and he would grow old more slowly and he would die later.

(The scientists conclude that they are in a system in which the mechanical laws of inertial systems are true, and that their measurements are true absolutely.)

And one hears that what is simultaneous to some observers may not be to others. That the laws of natural processes cannot be known independently of any real reference point.

(But observers outside the elevator see the elevator is accelerating in a gravitational field. And it is impossible to say that either conclusion is absolutely true.)

"The two frightening ghosts," it is written, "absolute time and an inertial system, have disappeared."

The idea of time, it is said, originates in the ego. But in the id, there is no time (and the id itself is not changed by time).

(A young woman suffering from great thirst cannot swallow water. At each attempt to drink, her throat closes.)

In the dream, it is told, the child continues his existence in the man.

(Thinking of her attempts to drink water, she is made to remember her past.)

That one may take a trip backward in time, into the territory of the id.

(She remembers the picture of a dog drinking from her nurse's water glass. She is disgusted, and these words having been spoken, she is free to drink.)

That in the id all wishes and memories still exist, unchanged, "immortal." That the past lives in the mind.


Space and time are forms of intuition, it is now said, which cannot be separated.

Gravity, it is stated, is a curve in space-time. Space-time, it is conceived, curves around matter. And the universe is shaped by its content: stars, moon, earth, galaxies, shape the space around them.

And there is no such thing, it is agreed, as empty space, or time without change.

(The universe is curved back on itself, it is said. The Euclidean propositions are not true.)

We are shaped by what we see, it is said, there is no objectivity, what we see is shaped by what we are, by our past, and our past has shaped us.


Matter, it is now seen, is an event.

(Mass changes at greater speeds; energy has weight.)

It is articulated that matter is a form of energy. That there is no difference in kind between matter and energy, except that matter stores greater energy, and energy has a smaller mass.

(From the formula mass equals energy divided by the speed of light squared, it is said that one can calculate the mass of energy.)

(From the formula energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared, it is said that one can calculate the energy in matter.)

The distinction between matter and energy is temporary, it is stated, and no real surface can be found between matter and the field of energy around it.

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Postby admin » Thu Mar 17, 2016 5:51 am

Part 3 of 4

Between the id, the ego and the superego, it is said that no firm boundaries can be drawn. That the three parts of the self merge into one another.

It is said that boys and girls, before the emergence of the ego, are similar. But after this emergence, the girl is more passive, it is said,

that she seeks to merge her image with the man,

that she seeks identity in love.

And it is said that the thoughts of women are formless and wandering; that the female in her mind bends back upon herself, is self-absorbed and narcissistic.


"and it was like leap year now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a woman's body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is ..."


And it is said that it is impossible to picture the subatomic world, and that the electron cannot be described.

(It is said that women show a bias for the mysterious.)

Discontinuity is discovered and it is said that light moves in particles.

And yet it is said light also moves in waves.

And the electron, too, is discovered to be both a wave and a particle.

A duality pervades nature, it is decided.

(As to how much space an electron takes up, or where it is at any given time, it is said, those questions are "as meaningless as ... how much room a fear, an anxiety, or an uncertainty take up.")

And it is written that psychology is unable to solve "the riddle of femininity."

Haupter in Hieroglyphenmutzen,
Heads in hieroglyphic bonnets

(That the behavior of the ovum and the sperm are models for the behavior of man and woman in love, it is decided.)

Haupter in Turban und schwarzem Barett,
Heads in turbans and black berets

(That the nature of Woman is determined by her biology.)

Peruckenhaupter und tausend andere
Heads in wigs and a thousand other

(That the female must undergo a second birth and renounce her clitoris for her vagina, and renounce activity for passivity.)

(That passivity now has the upper hand, it is written.)

Arme schwitzende Menschenhaupter
Wretched, sweaty hands of humans.

It is confessed that what a woman wants is unknown.


It is said that from what is known of the nature of matter, there is no way to make a picture, no image is possible.

And it is written that the idiosyncrasies of a mental life cannot be pictured.

(That the nature of the universe is not accessible to the untrained mind, nor the nature of the psyche to the uninitiated.)

Under the gaze of science, it is said, all the basic units of matter shed their substance.

It is declared that it is absolutely and forever impossible to determine the position and velocity of an electron at the same time. (That the observer changes what is observed.)

Thus it is clear that science will never know the position of all the particles in the universe and that science cannot forecast the history of the universe for all time.


The behavior of the single atom remains mysterious. No reason can be found for why one atom rather than another begins to disintegrate. No laws can be formulated for the behavior of the atom.


It is asked whether or not it is a quality of nature to be vague and lawless, or whether it is a limitation of our vision which makes nature seem elusive.

(The memories of women suffering from hysteria are said to be false. Those who said they were raped by their fathers, it is decided, were seduced by their mothers.)

It is asked if the universe would exist if it were not perceived.

It is said that "all the choir of heaven and furniture of earth ... have not any substance without the mind."


Still, prediction is a goal of science, it is said.

And it is determined that since the single electron cannot be defined, electrons will be studied as groups.

That the probable behavior of a single electron can be derived from a picture of the behavior of the group, that the nature of the electron will be defined as part of a structure of electrons.


The behavior of populations is studied.

It is calculated in the year 1950 that of 12,170 women between the ages of twenty-five and thirty-four, 4,160 worked outside the home and 7,870 worked inside the home.

The domestic pattern is discovered. It is determined that organization around the function of the housewife is a principal pattern governing the female role.


Waves of probability are discovered. Probabilities of velocity are measured.

(If statistically one third of all electrons have a speed of 1000 to 1100 seconds, the probability of finding one electron at that speed is one third, it is said.)

(Yet it is admitted it is impossible to find one electron at any speed.)

Bits of matter, thus, are said to have "tendencies to exist" and atomic events are said to have "tendencies to occur."


The universe, it is now declared, is finite.

Space and time have limitations; space is shaped by mass, time by events. No mass can travel faster than the speed of light. The sun is burning itself out, the stars are dying embers, the heat of the cosmos turning cold, matter dissolving to radiation, energy dissipated into space.

There will be no light, no change. Time itself will end. Existence will diffuse like a vapor into the insatiable void.


It is said that small boys live in awe and fear of their fathers.

(The concept of providence is said to be an infantile re-creation of the father.)

That from the love the boy feels for his mother comes a desire to murder the father, but that in turn the boy lives in fear of the father, believing his father will castrate him.

(That in order to abate his anxieties, man took up an "attack upon nature ... forcing it to obey human will," it is written.)

And it is said that girls are born castrated.

That she does not have a penis is said to be a "momentous discovery" in the destiny of a girl. This wound to herself is said to develop like a scar. And it is said that she will pass from self-hatred to hatred of her mother and then hatred of all women.

(It is said that women invented plaiting and weaving to hide their genitals. That even nature caused the growth of pubic hair for this purpose.)

And it is decided that woman becomes debased in the eyes of small boys when they see she does not have a penis.

We open our mouths. We try to speak. We try to remember.

That the clitoris is a prototype for inferiority is held to be self-evident.

And it is said that small girls develop an envy of the penis and that women bear a natural hostility toward men, a jealousy.

1896 Dementia praecox is diagnosed.

1911 The cure for dementia praecox is said to he found in the restoration to consciousness of certain memories, and the illness is renamed schizophrenia.

In illnesses of the mind, it is said, symptoms are projected like foreign bodies into the normal state. The ego is split, and like the splitting of a crystal, it fragments along lines predetermined by its structure.

(A young woman at her father's deathbed dreams her arms are venomous snakes. She fears the snakes will kill her father. After his death, she forgets this dream. Later, she cannot move her arms.)

The atom is bombarded with the neutron and is split, releasing other neutrons, which in turn split more atoms, fire, light and sound. The chain reaction is invented.

1941 Plutonium is discovered.

1945 Hiroshima, Nagasaki, are destroyed by atomic explosion.

Antimatter is found.

A particle with a charge opposite to the electron is found. And it is said that when the positron meets the electron, both are annihilated in radiant energy.

And it is speculated that the supernova results from chance meetings of galaxies of matter and antimatter.

An instinct toward death is said to exist in the human psyche.

It is said that "besides the instinct preserving organic substance and binding it to even larger units," there is another instinct, "which would seek to dissolve these units," to bring them back to death.

That when harnessed, this instinct for destruction in men seeks power over nature.

That in woman her body predisposes that she turn this instinct for destruction inward.


"a new fantastic toilette, Russian half-boots of violet-blue velvet trimmed with ermine, a robe of the same material, held up by narrow strips and tassels of the same fur ...)

That the female cell, the ovum, in the act of fecundation, being wounded, is primordially masochistic.

(... a matching, close-fitting, short patelot, also richly trimmed and lined with ermine; a high cap of ermine in the style of Catherine the Second .. .")

That the infant girl wishes to be eaten, devoured by her father, that later she wishes to be beaten or whipped by him, that young girls dream of rape, that the grown woman wishes to be pierced.

That women have a lust for pain.

(... with a small plume of heron feathers, held in place by a diamond pin, her red hair loose down her back ...)

And it is also written that when a woman steps out of the sphere of passivity, when she becomes too active, she endangers the men around her.

("Thus she ascends on the driver's seat, and holds the reins herself," it is written. "How she lashes on the horses. The carriage flies along like mad.")


The meson is discovered, the lambda, the sigma, the eta, the muon, pion, cascade, kaon, are discovered.

Thirty kinds of elementary particles are discovered.

It is suggested that the elementary particles may not be fundamental. Man's notion of nature is again threatened. Her face is changing, it is said. And it is suggested that a structure invisible to measurement is beneath the particles.

But it is also argued that there are no elementary particles.

Every question about the essential nature of things, it is said, leads to another question.

Of the nature of earth, rock, river, cloud, light, wind, breath, flesh, of mules, of horses, of birds, of the body of woman, womb, breast, vulva, hair, it is acknowledged these are still unknown.

It is written that we are both spectator and part.

And time does not flow universally. The universe is amorphous, without fixed design, always subject to change. There is no absolute space. Time and space are one.


We are the rocks, we are soil, we are trees, rivers, we are wind, we carry the birds, the birds, we are cows, mules, we are horses, we are solid elements, cause and effect, determinism and objectivity, it is said, are lost. matter. We are flesh, we breathe, we are her body: we speak.



I saw everything as no man had ever seen before.... I felt like an explorer in medicine who first views a new and important territory.

-- MARION SIMS, M.D. (on the invention of the speculum)

Consider Him who chose to be born of a virgin. ... Freely he penetrates viscera known only to Himself and with greater joy enters paths where none has ever been. These limbs, He feels, are His own: unsoiled and unshared by any man ...

-- FORTUNATUS (bishop of Poitiers, 530-609), Opera Poetica

... a countrey that hath yet her mayden head, never sakt, turned, nor wrought.

-- SIR WALTER RALEIGH, "Discovery of Guiana"

Sea. Mountain. River. Plain. Forest. Gorge. Field. Meadow. Rock. Plateau. Desert. Mountain. Valley. Sea. He is the first. Truly he has come farther than any man before him. His eyes have beheld what has not been seen before. What newness he is blessed with, what freshness! None of the beauty of this land has been brought down, no part soiled. He is the first to tread here. Only the mark of his shoes effaces the soil. Pine. Otter. Canyon. Musk ox. She gives up her secrets. He is the first to know, and he gives names to what he sees. He records the existence of these things. He is thinking to preserve these moments for posterity. He draws a map of his way across this land. And he charts the shape of the place. Behind the mountain range. On the other side of the valley. Down the river-stream. Across the gorge. He finds the unknown irresistible. He believes what is hidden in this land calls to him. He feels undiscovered grasses tremble in wait for him, he imagines mysterious lakes glistening revelation, he knows there are meadows, ignorant of his being, which will open to him. He has a taste for knowledge. Missouri River. Council Bluffs. Sioux City. Despite all dangers, he penetrates farther. Cheyenne River. Knife River. White Earth River. He vanquishes darkness. He vanquishes despair. Bearpaw Mountains. Big Belt Mountains. Great Falls. He places his life in the balance. Clark Pass. Yet he is brave. Lewis Hellgate. Yet he is ardent. Snake River. And the wilderness embraces him. He is taken up by wildness. He becomes wild. Now the secrets of this place are his and each of his footsteps is a triumph. Windstorm. In facing down danger, he has become more than himself. Thunderstorm. He is conqueror. Lightning. He has pierced the veiling mountains, ridden the rivers, spanned the valley, measured the gorge: he has discovered. Now nothing of this place is unknown, and because of his knowledge, this land is forever changed. This was his dream.

The Struggle

She should never have looked at me
If she meant I should not love her!

-- LORD BYRON, "Christina"

... he will find enough to damp his ardor.

-- FRANCIS PARKMAN, The Oregon Trail

He writes that the scenery is tame, graceful and pleasing. That there is an abundance of streams, level plains too wide for the eye to measure, green undulations like the motionless swells of the ocean. Yet whoever looks on the land, he writes, will find enough to damp his ardor. His wagons will stick in the mud, he writes, his horse will break loose, harness give way, axletree break. His bed will be of mud of the richest consistency, and he will find little to eat since this country strangely produces little game. He may travel for a fortnight, he writes, without seeing the hoofprint of a deer, or the sign of a prairie hen. Yet he will find wolves and they will howl at night and skulk around him by day. His horse will step in badger holes. Legions of frogs will croak and bellow from every marsh and mud puddle, and mosquitoes will rob him of sleep. Snakes, too, will glide under his horse's feet or visit his tent at night. And when he is thirsty, after a long day's ride over the prairie under the scorching sun, when he finally comes to a pool of water and stops to drink, he will find tadpoles in the bottom of his cup. And every afternoon, with a provoking regularity, he can expect a thunderstorm which will drench him to the skin.

The Abyss

She claims him with her great blue eyes
She binds him with her hair;
Oh, break the spell with holy words,
Unbind him with a prayer!

-- JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER, "The Witch of Wenham"

This wild abyss,
The womb of nature and perhaps her grave.

-- JOHN MILTON, Paradise Lost

He wandered like a forgotten ghost that has passed into the land of the spirits.


Suddenly he finds he cannot see. He is surrounded by fog and the grass is taller than he is. With every step, his ignorance deepens. He is lost. He cannot see his way out. Huge gray trees spread giant boughs over him. Rank grass extends on all sides. No living being crosses his path. The land is like oblivion. His cabin is lost to him. He runs on, hour after hour. But with each movement he loses more the sense of where he is. Chill and heavy dews descend. Night falls. Now he is in the midst of darkness and he is filled with terror. His body is filled with fatigue. He is hungry. Now he hears animals about him, but he cannot kill them. In the midst of abundance, he will starve. He has lost all knowledge. He knows only his own smallness, his own need, and that he must appear small to the animals, the trees, grasses, skies. He is helpless. (He prays to almighty God.) He wanders like a ghost into the land of the forgotten. With each step this place pierces through him to reveal more clearly his desperation.


As soon as they saw the squaw wife of the interpreter, they pointed to her and informed those who continued yet ... The sight of this Indian woman, wife to one of our interpreters, confirmed those peoples of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter.

The Journals of Lewis and Clark, cited by Hebard, Sacajawea

There are no institutions, no politics, no government, where my sex and I have not been dominated, subdued and robbed of our potential and talents as we are excluded from patriarchal privilege. What then does it mean for a woman to be loyal in patriarchy?

-- KATHLEEN BARRY, "Did I Ever Have a Chance"

She knew her skill and she knew it well. She could speak more than one language. She spoke their language, and she spoke her own, which they could not speak. (The father, it was recorded, frequently disposed of his infant daughters in marriage to grown men, for the use of their sons.) She had learned all the customs of their people and of her own people, which they did not know. (The compensation, it was written, given in such cases consisted of horses or mules delivered to the father.) She could ride horses in any terrain, navigate rivers, she could do all that they could do, and she could do more. She bore a child. She foraged for food. She fed them what she had dug from underground, which they had never before tasted. (Sacajawea, they noted, had been disposed of before she was captured by the Minnetarees. Her husband, more than twice her age, had two other wives. Though he did claim her as his wife, because she had had a child by another man he did not want her.) She knew this land which they had never seen before, for which they had no maps. She told them she had lived in this land as a child, that she had been taken from this place, from her girlhood. Where they were afraid they could not go on, she was familiar. (As a child, she had been captured) She led them (by the Minnetarees) through this territory (from these Indians, it is said) she helped them (Charbonneau either purchased her) secure horses (or won her by gambling) she went on with them (and afterward) leading them out of the territory (he married her) to which she was born. She was well liked by them. They adopted her son and he learned their ways. (They sent a party to the sea) and if certain words blistered her lungs (and reported seeing a whale) if some words burnt through her tongue (and they wrote) if some words (the Indian woman had begged) had eaten like fire in her belly (to see the "large fish") still she showed no such pain (and was, therefore, permitted to join the party to the beach) and she had survived.


Indians told him stories of a fabulous island called Bimini where gold, delicious fruits, and all that man might desire could be found in abundance. Furthermore, the island had a fountain which had the virtue of restoring youth to any old man who drank from it or bathed in it.

-- LOUIS B. WRIGHT and ELAINE FOWLER, The Moving Frontier

When you look at them with their clothes on you imagine all sorts of things: you give them an individuality like, which they haven't, got of course. There's just a crack there between the legs.... It's an illusion! ... all that mystery about sex and you discover that it's nothing -- just a blank ... there's nothing there . .. nothing at all....

-- HENRY MILLER, Tropic of Cancer

Coming through finally to the end, having traversed the entire entrance to this territory, as if to an opening suddenly, he came to a sea, a wide ocean, another horizon, again a new possibility greeted him as silently as all the forests he had braved. He is disappointed. This land he has devoted himself to has turned out to be a delusion. She is a house of mirrors. Now the sea beckons, as did her plains, her mountains, her passes, valleys, deserts. And beyond this sea, now finally, in an awakened state, he knows will simply be another land, begging entrance, so that he might submerge himself in her darkness, to find what secrets? Only this silence again. To himself quietly he admits there is no fountain, no endless lining of gold, no secret marked for him. He will age like every other traveler before him, like men who are born and die, only having traveled the length of a woman's body. Any part of his body he has lost in this, he sees now, will not come back to him. He is cast over with weariness and yet the land, he sees, is not tired, she is constantly renewed, as if his passage meant nothing to her, and her indifference seems to him a relentless cruelty of nothingness in the face of his search. But he will have something. On this bluff, high above the sea, he leaves a flag. This land will bear his name. After him will come other men who will pronounce these syllables and acknowledge his ownership. And they will change the face of this land.


In law, rule of inheritance whereby land descends to oldest son.

-- Columbia Desk Encyclopedia

We shall tell you who gained and who lost In this way for there were those the fathers who held knew that their names and those who did not would live on those who were known and that the great estates and those testifying to their glory and fame who were unknown would live on those whose lives were vanished and that the power which spread from those holdings of land those whose labor would continue, generation after generation like the labor of the fields, of the soil, to be great in the minds of the living would pass like the passing of breath from the living.


On the arable land the cultivators will be increasingly mechanized, the management and operation of the machines being the responsibility of one group of workers. Field sizes will have been reshaped and enlarged to make cultivation easier.... Weeds will be almost entirely controlled by means of herbicides ... Crop varieties bred to meet the needs of mechanized farming.... The crops will be protected against pests and diseases, from seed time to harvest, by insecticides and fungicides.

-- SIR WILLIAM SLATER, "Farming as a Science-Based Industry," The World in 1984, vol. l (1964)

The very use man makes of woman destroys her most pernicious power: weighed down by maternities, she loses her erotic attraction.

-- SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR. The Second Sex.

Putting virgin soil under cultivation initiates a breakdown of what may be called the "body" of the soil.

-- WILLIAM A. ALBRECHT. "Physical, Chemical, Biological Changes in Soil Community," Mans Role in Changing the Face of the Earth

He breaks the wilderness. He clears the land of trees, brush, weed. The land is brought under his control; he has turned waste into a garden. Into her soil he places his plow. He labors. He plants. He sows. By the sweat of his brow, he makes her yield. She opens her broad lap to him. She smiles on him. She prepares him a feast. She gives up her treasures to him. She makes him grow rich. She yields. She conceives. Her lap is fertile. Out of her dark interior, life arises. What she does to his seed is a mystery to him. He counts her yielding as a miracle. He sees her workings as effortless. Whatever she brings forth he calls his own. He has made her conceive. His land is a mother. She smiles on the joys of her children. She feeds him generously. Again and again, in his hunger, he returns to her. Again and again she gives to him. She is his mother. Her powers are a mystery to him. Silently she works miracles for him. Yet, just as silently, she withholds from him. Without reason, she refuses to yield. She is fickle. She dries up. She is bitter. She scorns him. He is determined he will master her. He will make her produce at will. He will devise ways to plant what he wants in her, to make her yield more to him.

He deciphers the secrets of the soil. (He knows why she brings forth.) He recites the story of the carbon cycle. (He masters the properties of chlorophyll.) He recites the story of the nitrogen cycle. (He brings nitrogen out of the air.) He determines the composition of the soil. (Over and over he can plant the same plot of land with the same crop.) He says that the soil is a lifeless place of storage, he says that the soil is what is tilled by farmers. He says that the land need no longer lie fallow. That what went on in her quietude is no longer a secret, that the ways of the land can be managed. That the farmer can ask whatever he wishes of the land. (He replaces the fungi, bacteria, earthworms, insects, decay.) He names all that is necessary, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and these he says he can make. He increases the weight of kernels of barley with potash; he makes a more mealy potato with muriate of potash, he makes the color of cabbage bright green with nitrate, he makes onions which live longer with phosphates, he makes the cauliflower head early by withholding nitrogen. His powers continue to grow.

Phosphoric acid, nitrogen fertilizers, ammonium sulfate, white phosphate, potash, iron sulfate, nitrate of soda, superphosphate, calcium cynanamide, calcium oxide, calcium magnesium, zinc sulfate, phenobarbital, amphetamine, magnesium, estrogen, copper sulfate, meprobamate, thalidomide, benzethonium chloride, Valium, hexachlorophene, diethylstilbestrol.

What device she can use to continue she does. She says that the pain is unbearable. Give me something, she says. What he gives her she takes into herself without asking why. She says now that the edges of what she sees are blurred. The edges of what she sees, and what she wants, and what she is saying, are blurred. Give me something, she says. What he gives her she takes without asking. She says that the first pain is gone, or that she cannot remember it, or that she cannot remember why this began, or what she was like before, or if she will survive without what he gives her to take, but that she does not know, or cannot remember, why she continues.

He says she cannot continue without him. He says she must have what he gives her. He says also that he protects her from predators. That he gives her dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, dieldrin, chlorinated naphthalenes, chlordane, parathion, Malathion, selenium, pentachlorophenol, arsenic, sodium arsenite, amitrole. That he has rid her of pests, he says.

And he has devised ways to separate himself from her. He sends machines to do his labor. His working has become as effortless as hers. He accomplishes days of labor with a small motion of his hand. His efforts are more astonishing than hers. No longer praying, no longer imploring, he pronounces words from a distance and his orders are carried out. Even with his back turned to her she yields to him. And in his mind, he imagines that he can conceive without her. In his mind he develops the means to supplant her miracles with his own. In his mind, he no longer relies on her. What he possesses, he says, is his to use and to abandon.


The development of the middle west did exact its price of natural resources.... As husbandry gave way westward to wheat-growing, the land was looked on less as homestead and more as speculation, to be cropped heavily and continuously for grain, without benefit of rotation and manuring, and to be sold at an advantageous price, perhaps to reinvest in new and undepleted land.

-- CARL SAUER, "The Agency of Man on the Earth"

Mars speaks with red silence. Once we could not have answered. Only a few short years ago we knew that we sat on a world that would birth and death us, find and forget us. But now this host of once lost children grown up to be saved adults, gives answer. Mars, we hear. Mars, we move, Mars, we arrive.

-- RAY BRADBURY, "A Martian Chronicle -- With Chicken Soup"

It is said that in his old age (Automatically, at their command the shovel extends) he fears he is losing his powers (and extracts a sample) that the aging of his body (of soil) makes him frantic (which is placed) and thus frantically (in an incubation chamber) he searches (aboard the spacecraft) for a young woman. (The soil is kept) Some say (perfectly dry) being close to youth (and is incubated) makes him younger (for five days at 50 degrees) or at least he feels younger (under an arc lamp that simulates Martian sunlight). Others say (A quartz window) that proving he can still (filtered out ultraviolet light) attract a young woman (that might have caused) restores him (spurious signals). And still others point out (On radioed command from earth) that in capturing (the test chamber was filled) a young, even a virginal woman (with Martian atmosphere) he has proven his prowess (Then the experimenters) once again. (sent up a radio command) But in all cases (that added a whiff of radioactive carbon) he must (dioxide and carbon monoxide) be free of his wife (to act as tracers in the experiment) at least temporarily (On earth, green plants) for her age (take in carbon dioxide) reminds him of his age (and if there were life on Mars) and of his limitations (vapor in the chamber would contain) his encroaching weakness (traces of carbon) and death.


What They Found

... Many a business depends for its success on some girl who is smart enough to see to it that her boss gets his work done, who sometimes even does his work for him, who keeps everybody satisfied and happy, and who has enough foresight to control new situations as they occur.

How do you go about finding such a jewel? ...

-- RICHARD and RUBIN, How to Select and Direct the Office Staff

Suddenly the settlers of the Oregon country found a fortune on their doorsteps. The Green Desert took on a new luster, with treasure hanging from every branch.

-- ELLIS LUCIA, The Big Woods

Saw logs are a form of circulating capital ...

-- JOSEPH ZAREMBA, Economies of the American Lumber Industry

He is like a man in a dream who has discovered a treasure. He has come upon a forest untrod by human beings for hundreds of years. A dream. Transformation. In a trance, he makes figures. The numbers of the trees. Their size. Three to four million board feet for every forty acres, he whispers to himself. Centuries of growth. Centuries of rainfall. The very moisture of the air is golden. This is the Comstock of the timber world, he declares.

Fir, Cedar, Hemlock. Sequoia, ripe for the cutting. Gradually, what this greenery can be becomes clear to them. They are astonished. Breathless. Wherever they turn they see timber, timber, timber. They call this green gold.

Machinery, boilers, engines, pump augers, axes, chain saws, hauled in from the city. Sawmills, cookhouses, bunkhouses built. The woods are alive. (Glasses tinkle beyond the swinging doors, squeals of girls, the rousing shouts from the saloons, empty oaken kegs in the alleys, the thick forest of tall masts in the harbor, this last and greatest timber bonanza.)

By autumn, trees falling, moving upstream. (Wrenched from the Western wilderness) Two thousand board feet a day, three million, six hundred and seventy-three thousand, seven hundred and ninety-seven board feet a year. Sixty-four thousand shingles, forty-two thousand, one hundred and three feet of piling, two hundred and twenty-three masts and spars. (They see $70,999.) And each year increasing.

How the Forest Should Look

There is but one way in which the office manager can control scientifically; that is by standardization ... The office manager should, therefore, continually direct his efforts to having each operation ... always done in exact accordance with the manner he has prescribed.

-- LEFFINGWELL and ROBINSON, Textbook of Office Management

Proper regrowth and efficient forest management of our present and prospective forested areas will assure sufficient lumber for domestic requirements and a profitable export trade.

-- NELSON C. BROWN, Lumber

Foresters will have worked out more precisely the types of forest to establish on different soils to give the greatest sustained yield, and species of trees used will have been bred for this purpose.

-- E. M. NICHOLSON, "Orchestrating the Use of Land," The World in 1984, vol. 1 (1964)

The trees in the forest should be tall and free from knot-causing limbs for most of their height. They should not taper too much between the butt and the top last saw log. They should be straight. (Among applicants, a person with high intelligence should be sought. She should be an expert typist. A stenographer. She should be diplomatic, neat and well dressed.)

Trees growing in the forest should be
useful trees.
For each tree ask if
it is worth the space it grows in.
Aspen, Scrub Pine, Chokeberry, Black Gum, Scrub Oak,
Dogwood, Hemlock, Beech are weed trees
which should be
eliminated. A thousand
cubic feet of one species can be
worth more than the same
quantity of another. (Standard
procedures for clerical work
should be initiated. Find out
the purpose of each kind of
work, ask, "Is this
work necessary?") Find out
which species are of
highest value
to the consumer, and
plant these.

For harvesting trees, it is desirable that a stand be all of the same variety and age. Nothing should grow on the forest floor, not seedling trees, not grass not shrubbery. (In one case,

nineteen girls all
working on the same operation
were using ten
different methods.) Clearcutting
the virgin stand and replanting
the desired
species is

In the well-managed forest poor and surplus trees have been thinned to make room for good trees. In such a forest there is no room for overripe trees, past their best growing years, for diseased trees or damaged trees, branchy or badly shaped trees.

(Is she accurate? Neat in her work and personal habits?
Is she loyal? Can she be trusted? Is she courteous?
Does she have a pleasing telephone personality?)
The forest
is more easily
managed if
it is large and the
trees should be planted close together
so they will grow straight and
tall to reach the light. (There
should be one central stenographic
pool to render
service for the entire
office instead of
small groups of uncontrolled
stenographers throughout
the office.)

(Is she emotionally stable? Is she responsible? Versatile? Creative? Consistent? Confident? Does she have a good memory? Is she alert to the needs of others? Does she

try her best? Can she spell?
Does she learn from) The
forest should be close to
a sawmill. (When the
work is centralized each
stenographer will
produce more than
would otherwise be the) Trees
bred to grow more
rapidly, to be more
healthy, sounder,
taller, thicker, straighter and
of more
use to the
consumer should
gradually replace their
inferiors. (The study
of human aptitudes, the selection
of the human element best
fitted to perform any
task) in this
way the forest
will yield, and
yield again what is


The study of human aptitudes, the selection of the human element best fitted to perform any particular task, is therefore an essential principle of the science of management, which from its very nature is not and cannot be wholly confined to inanimate objects.

-- LEFFINGWELL and ROBINSON, Textbook of Office Management

Wood for use in the manufacture of shingles should have the following properties: (1) durability (2) freedom from splitting in nailing (3) dimensional stability (4) light....

-- PANSHIN, HARRAR, BAKER and PROCTOR, Forest Products

(Third-Class Clerk: Pure routine concentration, speed and accuracy. Works under supervision. May or may not be held responsible for results.

Second-Class Clerk: No supervision of others, exhaustive knowledge of details.

First-Class Clerk: More responsibility.

Senior Clerk: Occasionally independent thinking and action, technical varied work, exceptional clerical ability and extensive knowledge of business. Must be dependable, trustworthy and resourceful.)

For paper (Does she catch on
easily?) Spruce, Southern Yellow Pine,
Hemlock (Learns very rapidly, catches on
easily, learns without
difficulty). For toothpicks, White
Birch (needs repeated instructions,
dull). For baskets, Beech, Elm, hard
and soft Maple, Black and Yellow
Birch (How does she control
her emotions?) For railway ties,
White Oak, Douglas Fir, Tamarack, Southern
Pine, Gum, Beech, Maple (Too easily
moved to anger or
depression, Tends to be
overemotional) For mine
timbers, Douglas Fir (usually well-balanced,
unusual balance) Red Oak, Maple, Beech
(of responsiveness and control, unresponsive)
Birch, Ash Chestnut (apathetic) For veneers
(Tends to be unresponsive)
Beech, Birch, Maple, Cottonwood.

The Measure

Nationwide we estimate that we have 37.5 billion board feet of uncut timber under contract ...

-- A. W. GREELY, Associated Chief of the Forest Service in a letter to Joseph McGrathy, Vice-President of the National Association of Home Builders

She picks up a piece of fabric with each hand from two piles to her left and right. (11,000,000,000 fence posts) She brings the pieces together and superimposes the corners to correspond. (10,000,000,000 railroad ties) With her knee she raises the machine foot. (450,000,000 telephone poles) She positions the right-hand corner in the machine l/8 inch beyond the edge of the foot. She lowers the foot. She stitches along the fabric edge to the next corner, both her hands guiding the fabric to maintain an accurate stitch line (2,400,000 board feet cut in 160 years) her feet controlling the machine; she continues similarly with the rest of the garment.

We can recite the names to you of Loblolly Pine in the coastal plain of the Southeast, and in the Monongahela Woods of West Virginia we can tell you about the growing of Hemlock, Yellow Birch, Sugar Maple, Magnolia, Basswood, what color the leaves turn if they turn, and their odor and the bark smell too, and in the southern highlands of the Blue Ridge Mountains we remember Scarlet and Black Oaks, we remember Cherry, we remember Beech and Birch Beech, and Holly. (Calculate that in order to complete this task she must have a sense of touch, she must have a sense of vision, she must have a sense of movement.) And in the Green Mountains of Vermont we can say we have seen White Pine and Oak and Spruce and Maple and Beech, and Lodgepole Pine in Bitterroot, Montana, and Douglas Fir in the Olympic National Forest, these names bringing back the quietness of the forest to us (In order to do this work figure she must have judgment; figure she must have anticipation, figure she must have perception; figure she must have coordination. Figure she must have a sense of time.) bringing back the names of forests to us, and how many we knew there to be. (She must use her finger, wrist and hand dexterities.) Shoshone Forest, Snoqualmie Forest, Molalla Valley, Starwein Ridge, Bald Hills Ridge, Prairie Creek, Selway River, how many, French Pete Creek, the Appalachia, there were, the Allegheny, the Sierra, the Rockies, untouched, Adirondacks, Cumberland, in their pride, Ozark, Cascade, San Andreas, Big Belt Mountains, the Rockies.


She must use her mind. She must think to keep her fingers free of the machine. She must think to keep the seam sewn straight. She uses her vision. She must see if the pieces of cloth fit together. She must see the fabric slide through the machine. She uses her willpower. She must keep her mind on this work before her, she must stay here, she must not let her eyes wander, she must not let her mind wander, she must keep her thoughts on the work before her, she must keep working, she must not think of standing up and walking out the door, she must not think too often of the time, she must keep her eyes in focus, she must not think of where she would like to he, she must not dream, she must use her will, her power, here.

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Part 4 of 4

Production (Current of the Years)

It was no longer from the vision of material poverty that she turned with the greatest shrinking. She had a sense of deeper impoverishment, of an inner destitution compared to which outward conditions dwindled into insignificance. It was indeed miserable to be poor, to look forward to a shabby, anxious middle-age, leading by dreary degrees of economy and self-denial to gradual absorption in the dingy communal existence of the boarding house. But there was something more miserable still -- it was the clutch of solitude at her heart, the sense of being swept away like a stray uprooted growth, down the heedless current of the years.

-- EDITH WHARTON, The House of Mirth

In the summer of 1854, the bark was stripped from its trunk . .. for the purpose of exhibition in the East.... At different distances upward, especially at the top, numerous dates and names of visitors have been cut. It is contemplated to cut a circular staircase around this tree.

-- The Yosemite Valley

Seven men stand about the tree, which is now fallen and exposed. Two hold axes; one, his left foot forward, knees bent, leans back on the heel on his right foot, and rests his right hand on the handle of the ax, whose blade rests on a ledge of the tree. The man himself stands on that same ledge, a ledge that must have been created by the felling of that tree. One can see it juts out from the otherwise flat circle of a trunk, and that the final cuts and wedging must have been done on the other side, so that this side fell first, tearing with it as it fell a greater portion of the trunk, hence this ledge. On the same torn place stand three other men. To the far left at the edge, one of them has driven his ax into the tree, so that it stands handle up without his holding it. He supports himself with one hand on the trunk and another on a plank of wood which rests on the forest floor. As one studies the faces of these four men, one feels they are smiling and then one sees they are only partly smiling, except for one man on the ground in front of the tree, who rests his elbows on the ledge, just where a great, long saw for two men is placed, and buckles up the exposed trunk. He is the only man with a real grin. An almost boyish smile, his teeth showing. And in contrast to the other men, with something unnamed reserving them, he seems almost foolish, maybe even a little slow. At the right edge, standing on the ground also, but to the side, and partially obscured by a seedling tree, or a fallen branch, leaning in a proprietary way, with his left hand on the outer bark, his right on his hip and his head angled outward toward the camera, is the man who must have been the job boss. He has a wry, commanding look too, one eyebrow up scrutinizing, and he wears a different sort of hat than the other men. His is a bowler, covered with a dust that shows white in the sepia tint, and must have been sawdust. On the top of the log, arms folded, is the oldest man. He has a mustache which shows white or gray and he is of a slighter build than the other men. His jaw is set and unsmiling, but his eyes are obscured by his hat brim, and one could not say what he was thinking. Nor any of the men, for that matter, except the fact that they have felled it (in all except the man who stands aside and even some in him) one reads a certain vulnerability into their postures, a shyness even, a fear. On the log itself, in the exposed trunk, is carved the figure "17-1/2" and afterward the abbreviation for feet. From its size this tree can be identified as a redwood, and the surrounding trees too have the foliage, bark and size characteristic of that species. One redwood, a portion of whose bark and trunk can be seen in the left corner, grows at such an angle toward the felled tree, one wonders if branches of the two trees had at one time perhaps touched. In the lower-left-hand corner of the photograph, one reads the legend: "18 ft. diameter, Redwood tree cut, Noyo River, January 10, 1933, Union Lumber Co. Fort Bragg, Cal."


"Listen, I have stood being shut up as long as I can ... I cannot go on any longer.... But they would not let me go ... 'In a little while you will be better; in a little while you will be all right; in a little while you can go home.' I can't stand this concrete floor any longer. They told me last Spring I could go home. And every hour I was ready...."

-- LARA JEFFERSON, These Are My Sisters: A Journal from the Inside of Insanity

California 1984 -- To those of us who remember the hurricanes of the 1960's, with their grimly girlish names and their incredible viciousness, a certain excitement has gone out of life. It turned out that hurricanes could be prevented rather easily.

-- DR. ROGER REVELLE, "A Long View from the Beach," The World in 1984, vol. 1 (1964)

In all cases, these terrible storms began over oceans where water had absorbed more energy from the sun than is normal. (Sh-sh-sh! Don't say anything about it to the nurses -- but a patient is running away!) Evaporation was very high. Warm, humid air rose with speed from the surface of the sea. As it rose, steam became water, and the heat of this becoming caused the air to rise still higher, which caused more steam to change to water, which caused more rising. (See! There she goes. Sh! Let her get started -- don't say a word about it. Go back over there and act like you don't know anything!) Colder air rushed in where the warm had risen, but this air too became warm, and rose, and became water, and rose. (Maybe she can make it. Oh, I hope she does! Won't they be mad when they find out about it? Don't you dare say a word. Won't they be mad. Oh, won't they be mad!) Gradually a vortex was formed, and the speed of the air increased enormously, spinning about itself, until the disturbance spread tens of thousands of square miles, and a new hurricane had begun its career of murder and destruction.

It is suggested that the formation of hurricanes might be stopped if the excess heating and evaporation of the oceans could be stopped. (When she got to the trash burner, instead of turning back to the door where the nurse had waited, she dashed off around the corner of the building.) It was thought this might be accomplished by spreading a thin layer of reflecting material on the face of the ocean. (By the time she reached the road she had far outdistanced her pursuers, but a car was coming to a stop in her path and two men stepped out to meet her.) This would send the light back before it could illuminate and warm the water. (She saw their intention, and without slacking pace, swooped up two rocks from the roadside. But they caught her. She has not often been out of a straitjacket since.) It was then postulated that a substance might be found that would not be dissolved by water, that would weigh less than the water, that could be produced in large masses with little effort, and that then, in this way, dangerous areas of the sea could be masked from the light which might brew disaster in them.


She is a great cow. She stands in the midst of her own soft flesh, her thighs great wide arches, round columns, her hips wide enough for calving, sturdy, rounded, swaying, stupefied mass, a cradle, a waving field of nipples, her udder brushing the grass, a great cow, who thinks nothing, who waits to be milked, year after year, who delivers up calves, who stands ready for the bull, who is faithful, always there, yielding at the same hour, day after day, that warm substance, the milk white of her eye, staring, trusting, sluggish, bucolic, inert, bovine mind dozing and dreaming, who lays open her flesh, like a drone, for the use of the world.


The shoulders are molded within the steeply oval outline which confines the upper part of the body, so that their smooth, sharply tapering curve offers no resistance to the fluid progress of the rhythmic contour around the form. The arms continue the shoulder line almost without modification.... The hands suggest the pattern of a slender urn, from which fingers break into small elongated serpentines.

-- "On the Madonna of the Long Neck," S. FREEDBERG, Parmigianino: His Works in Painting

All animals should be taught to pose.

-- YAPP, Dairy Cattle

She must have a feminine appearance and an absence of tendency to lay on fat. She should be in good flesh but not beefy. Her chest broad and deep, shoulders within, vertebrae and hips prominent and firm, muzzle large, mouth broad, nostrils large and open, head erect, neck slender, her eye alert and placid, her hips wide apart and level, her back straight, her rump long and wide and level, her skin mellow, her hair ...

Her Breeding

Glad us maiden, mother mild
Through thine ear thou were with child
Gabriel he said it thee.

-- Anonymous, 13th-century lyric

Breeding will, during the next twenty years, become more and more scientific. Already we are seeing the results of the work of geneticists in the poultry industry, and the breeding of dairy cattle is rapidly following on similar lines. . . .

-- SIR WILLIAM SLATER, "Farm as a Science-Based Industry," The World in 1984. Vol. 1

She is bred for the fat in her milk. The sire is chosen through a measure of the fat in his daughter's milk. That calf whose daughter's milk may be unworthy is eliminated as a sire. (He is approached in a standing position. Two slits are made in the bottom of his scrotum; the testicles are drawn out; the cord for each testical is broken or severed. The end of the cord is touched with a hot iron. Or the cord is cut with an instrument which crushes the end of the cord as it is cut.)

One bull with superior genes may sire thousands of calves without servicing a single cow. The sperm of a sire may be introduced into the vaginal canal of a cow one thousand miles away. Even the ovum can be transported. One may extract a fertile egg and place it in the belly of a rabbit. This rabbit may be carried great distances or even flown across oceans. (Afterward, the egg is extracted from the belly of the rabbit and introduced into the womb of another cow, who will bear the calf.)


Beato cujus abera
Summa repleta munere
Terris alebant unicam
Terrae polique gloriam ...
(Thou whose blessed breasts, filled with a gift from on high, fed for all lands the unique glory of heaven and earth)

-- BEDE, "Adesto, Christie, Vocibus"

It is not difficult to appreciate that a cow's udder is highly important to a great industry and even to the welfare of the peoples of the world.

-- YAPP, Dairy Cattle

The udder should be held snugly to the body and be of good texture. It should not be too large in size lest it be subject to injury. Large meaty udders that hang low and swing back and forth as the animal walks are an inconvenience. They are more difficult to milk than the well-formed udder.


He gives her the kiss she had longed for ... and so great is the power of that kiss that at once she conceives and her bosom swells with milk....

-- BERNARD OF CLAIRVAUX, In Cantica Canticarum

There is more than one kind of milking machine. In one using suction, the teat cups are rigid and have no liners. The upper rim of the teat cups is fitted with a rubber gasket which forms an airtight contact with the base of the teat. (Several sets of teat cups of different sizes are needed to fit different sets of teats.) Then a vacuum is applied which draws the milk from the teat while a pulsation opens and closes the line.

Another machine works with the aid of atmospheric pressure and uses a teat cup with both a rigid outer wall and an inner wall of elastic rubber, with an airtight chamber between these two.

(If the cow experiences difficulty in letting down her milk she may be injected with oxytocin, the hormone science has discovered to be responsible for this process.)

Preparing the cow for milking will take .42 minutes. It will take .20 minutes to rise and attach the milking units, .20 minutes to place the teat cups on the cow, 1.27 minutes to machine strip the cow, .06 minutes to move the milking cart from cow to cow, and .18 minutes to replace the head on the pail. Both the movement of the cart and the manipulation of the pail can be eliminated if all stalls are equipped with units attached to one central machine with pipes running from each stall to the milk room.


(The cow may begin to show bad habits. She may suck her own teats or those of other cows. Secure a metal anti-sucking device and fasten it in the cow's nostrils, or put a halter on her, and on the halter strap a nose strap covered by another strap through which sharp nails point outward. She may kick: secure a set of hobbles and fasten these on her legs.)


Lawdy. Lawdy, them was tribbollashuns! Wunner dese here womans was my Antie en she say dat she skacely call to min he e'r whoppin' her, 'case she was er breeder woman en' brought in chillun ev'y twelve mont's jes lak a cow bringin' in a calf....

-- MARTHA JACKSON, b. 1850, in Alabama Narratives

Mary has wept! Mary has wept! ... Weeping is fecund. There never has been a sterile tear. As the rain that falls from on high irrigates the countryside and prepares it to receive, in all fertility, the crops and seed and fruit that will in time come to ripeness, so it will happen in the realizing of the spirit.

-- ARCHBISHOP OF SYRACUSE, Il Planto di Maria a Siracusa

Every twelve months the cow should be calved. (When the young girl is bleeding at her time of the month, she hides her condition, she is careful that no blood shows on her clothing.) Her peak period for the production of milk (When the woman has a child growing in her womb she may hide this or she may hide herself) occurs between the third and eighth week after calving. (She may speak of a child, but she does not speak of her womb or vulva.) After this period, the production of milk declines daily. (During her labor, she lies in a room alone.) A cow should be permitted (At certain times the pressure of her blood is measured) to remain dry (or the beat of the heart of her child is listened to or the width) for four to eight weeks (of her cervix is calibrated) after calving. (She is denied any relief of her pain. Or she is drugged until she seems to sleep. She is told that in a wakened state she may be dangerous to herself or to her child.) The productive life of a dairy cow is from 3.6 to 7.5 years. (The pain of our labor is imaginary, it is our nature to be hysterical, we are told, the pain of our labor is natural, it is in our nature to suffer, we hear. The pain of our labor is pleasure, this is how we become women, it is said.) And the average productive life of a cow lasts five years. (During the birth, her feet are put in metal stirrups.) After this, the cow is no longer worth her keep.

The Calf

I never saw my mother, to know her as such, more than four or five times in my life; and each of these times was very short in duration, and at night. She was hired by a Mr. Stewart who lived about 12 miles from my home. She made her journeys to see me in the night, traveling the whole distance on foot, after the performance of her day's work. She was a field hand, and a whipping is the penalty of not being in the field at sunrise.... I do not recollect of ever seeing my mother by the light of day.

-- FREDERICK DOUGLASS, An American Slave

When the calf is born (her hands are strapped to the table) she is allowed to remain with her mother for twenty-four or in some cases thirty-six hours. (She may not touch the infant during birth.) The calf drinks the colostrum, the first milk, which science has determined will aid her growth. But after this first milk (The doctor who delivers the child does not look on her; he covers her vulva with a sheet and feels under the sheet for the head of the infant) she is separated from her mother and placed in isolation from any grown cow. (Or he shines a bright light between her thighs but does not allow her to see his hands as they turn inside her.) On rare occasions a calf may be allowed to run with her mother in the fields. But normally separation is necessary so that the calf will learn to drink from a pail. Teaching this is a difficult task: all food must be withheld from the calf for twenty-four hours. Then place your fingers in her mouth and she will suckle, and then this hand with the calf's mouth around it must be placed in the bucket of milk (And when the child is born) and then the calf will suck in some milk. (it shall be given the name) She may raise (of the father) her head from the bucket and refuse to drink. Again, fingers must be placed in her mouth We lie alone again her head must be placed in the bucket. The pains come on. They come closer and closer together. Some of us cry for our mothers. Some of us scream angrily at God. We are strapped down. We are injected with substances. Some of us are frightened. Some of us die. We grow sick. We lose consciousness; pain carries us away.

The Cows Speak

At the sight of their mothers the calves skip so wildly that their pens can no longer hold them; they break loose, lowing all the while and gamboling.


We are the cows. With our large brown eyes and our soft fur there was once something called beauty we were part of. It is this we remember when we bellow. When we stand still and gaze at you. Our noses were wet, we know that, we know we once nuzzled you as you pulled with your hands on us, as the milk rushed warm against our bellies, rushed through us, sighing, sighing within us as it flowed, or as the tongues of our calves licked our teats and our skin shivered, and the calf's mouth closed over us, and we remembered the shaking body as it slid from our thighs, and as we licked it, amazing and new, over its skin, licked it clean, as now it licks us, nuzzles us, its brown eye staring into our eye, skin and fur, one against the other, the one and the same, one shiver, and one sigh, one warm rush of sweetness in the mouth, and the soft bodies, growing nightly, soft against ours, to run with us, we remember that once we stood together in the fields, we remember what we were then, what it was then to be part, to be part of our beauty.

We Are Mothers

... A woman who weeps always becomes, in the very act, a mother, and if Mary weeps beside the cross of Jesus- -- I can tell you that her weeping was fertile and made her a mother.

-- ARCHBISHOP OF SYRACUSE, Il Planto di Maria a Siracusa

When we awaken, there is a child given to us. We are mothers. We feel a pain where the vulva has been cut. We are mothers. We feel that the skin of the child is soft. The face to us in sleep is beautiful. The small body lying against our body is vulnerable. The cries move us. Secretly we remove the child's clothing, the blanket, the diaper. We fondle the body. We love this body, because we are part of the body. We are mothers.

We are heavy with bodies. If men bore children, we imagine, they would burst from their heads, not their asses, and be fully grown, and dressed, and godlike, with no need to eat, no substance pouring from their substance. But we are mothers. (She is a great cow. She stands in the midst of her own soft flesh, with hips wide enough for calving; who lays open her flesh, like a drone, for the use of the world.) And we labor. We labor like . ..


... So de white man throw down de load and tell de nigger man tuh pick it up. He hand it to his womanfolks. De nigger woman is de mule uh de world so fur as Ah can see....

-- ZORA NEALE HURSTON, Their Eyes Were Watching God

We are the mules. Offspring of the he-ass and the mare. We cannot procreate our own kind together; nature did not create us: we were bred for domestic labor. Though we work hard, our very name signifies obstinacy and stupidity. Yet that is the very nature of our work, obstinate and stupid. We have the strength of staying power. Though our labor is necessary and though we were bred for that purpose, no one envies us; no one yearns to do the work we do as finely as we do it. We are despicable. If we go on, cleaning the toilets, washing the floors, dusting the furniture, lugging the groceries, cutting the beans, folding the laundry, if we go on, bearing the children, washing their faces, their asses, their noses, carrying their feces away, feeding them from our own bodies, if we go on, our hair pulled up in bandannas, our hands smelling of garlic, our noses filled with dust, our backs bent close to the earth, our ears hearing only inarticulate cries, our eyes hard with obstinate labor, our mouths shut for all but necessity, our brains only calculators for simple quantities, three cups of flour, ten yards of flannel, fourteen pounds simmered in butter, vinegar and rags, water and rags, pins in the soap, vegetables on Tuesday, cotton in hot water, wool in cold, if we go on, changing the sheets, administering dosages, we are despicable, and if we stop in our tracks, speech not having been bred in us, we articulate nothing, our nature is mysterious, mulish, but that is what we are bred for, we are a useful beast, you who feed us and house us in exchange for our labor say, but difficult to handle, still, men count mules among their riches and among their godlike accomplishments, to have ordered nature, to have made an animal.


And we know we are not logical. The mule balks for no apparent reason. For no rhyme or reason. We remember weeping suddenly for no good reason. Spiteful and kicking, angry out of nowhere, like a hurricane, with almost no warning, and incomprehensible, brutish.

And despite all the solutions we apply and all the scrubbing of cloth and wood and porcelain, still there are always stains; and no matter how often we wash, washing the smell of excrement from our hands so we may prepare food, washing the smell of food from our hands, still the odor stays. And because she is bestial, not fit for thought, she is clumsy with the dullness of labor.

But the mule does have a certain grace. She is sure-footed. She can turn, with the plow harnessed to her, her weight pulling the blade through the soil, on the steep side of a mountain, not sliding or stumbling at the incline. She can follow men up through the steepest mountain pass; carrying food and water. (So that the mule-driver is as necessary to an army as is the gunner.) And is this grace bred into her?

Bred or not, it is the grace of labor. It at least is a strength and has that spare beauty of function, of things that are what they are, the definition, the line, the movement, essential.


And if we find this grace through our labor, with our fingers finding the loose thread in the garment, our ears late at night hearing the cries no one else hears, catching the milk in the pot as it begins to boil, the body bent over rocking, rocking, the pieces of cloth sewn together in patterns, the taste of thyme with rosemary and the different odor of oregano, or the grace, the grace of crisis, the fever, the steady application of cold cloths, the grace of economy, the soup of leftovers, the reuse of the bed covering in a skirt, or the seeing of the barely seeable, the unnamed, the slight difference in the expression of the eyes, the mood, the slow opening, the listening, the small possibility, barely audible, nodding, almost inarticulate, yet allowing articulation, words, healing, the eyes acknowledge, this grace of the unspoken, spoken in movement, the hand reaches, the blanket is wrapped around, the arms hold this mulish daily grace, without which we do not choose to continue, and if we find this, we have something of our own.

This is our secret grace, unnamed, invisible, surviving.


The Bit

Be ye not like to horses and mules which have no understanding: whose mouths must be held up with bit and bridle, lest they fall upon thee.

-- The Book of Common Prayer

The right thumb of the rider holds the center of the bridle in front of the horse's face and above her head so that the bit is in front of the horse's mouth. The right hand is placed under the horse's jaw. If the horse does not open her mouth when the bit touches her teeth, if she clenches her teeth, the rider presses his left forefinger on the toothless bars of the lower jaw, which will make the horse open her mouth and accept the bit. The thicker the bit, the milder its effect on the mouth of the horse. The bit should neither pull up the corners of the mouth nor touch the teeth. The noseband must be tight but not so tight that the horse cannot breathe. And she must be able to accept tidbits from the rider's hand. The throat latch, however, should be fastened loosely.


[The horse] is by Nature a very lazy animal whose idea of heaven is an enormous field of lush grass in which he can graze undisturbed until his belly is full, and after a pleasant doze can start filling himself up all over again.


A perfect hostess in a household with servants gives the impression that she has nothing whatever to do with household arrangements, which apparently run themselves. In a servantless household, she has the cleaning, marketing and as much cooking as possible done in advance, so that an absolute minimum of her time is spent on these chores while her guests are with her.

-- EMILY POST, Etiquette

It is the horse's extreme sensitivity to pain, especially in the mouth but also all over her body, which allows the rider to control her with the pressure of his own weight, the movements of his legs, and with the aid of the bit, the bridle and the rein, the riding whip, the long whip and the spur.

It is the timorous nature of the animal coupled with this sensitivity that allows her to be trained. The horse is not aggressive; her only defense is to flee. Therefore the horse reacts to pain by running away from the pain. If the rider stands at the horse's head and taps her flank with a long whip, the horse will move away from the discomfort.

In addition, the horse has a prodigious memory, is a social animal, has a desire to please and a need for security, and all these qualities are used in her training. Her faults are nervousness, laziness and an excitability that is at times unpredictable.


Differences emerge too in the instinctual disposition which gives a glimpse of the later nature of women. A little girl is as a rule less aggressively defiant and self-sufficient, she seems to have a greater need for being shown affection and on that account to be more dependent and pliant.

-- SIGMUND FREUD, "Femininity"

To train horses. it is essential that we have a very clear understanding of the way in which their small minds work and appreciate how limited they are in this department.


Oh how lovely is her ignorance!


The horse is not designed for carrying weight; she has a structure similar to a rectangular box with a leg at each corner, and the rider places his weight on the weakest part, the unsupported center. Her legs and feet are not designed for trotting on hard roads or galloping. And jumping is entirely unnatural to the horse. But through an arduous process of training, the body ill-designed for this task can become a carrier of weights and learn to adjust her own balance for that purpose.

Therefore the body of the horse must be reshaped. A horse in the correct form has a rounded top line accompanied by a lowered head and neck and hind legs engaged beneath the body; to achieve this form the teacher uses exercise, strapping, and encourages higher head carriage. Thus formed, the horse carries weight and can develop paces, balance and movements at the bidding of first the teacher and then the rider.

The horse has a natural curvature of the spine, perhaps as a result of the fetal position of the unborn foal. This curvature prevents the animal from moving on a straight line so that the hind feet follow exactly the track of the forefeet. Therefore the horse is trained in exercises to correct this natural crookedness by increasing the flexibility in the lumbar vertebrae. This straightening improves the mechanical efficiency of the horse.


She is brushed all over her body with a dandy brush in the direction that the fur grows. She is brushed with the body brush in round, scrubbing movements. She is polished with a linen cloth until she shines.

Her eyes, her lips, her nostrils, under her tail, are washed. Bits of sand, dust, manure, pebbles, mud, grass, weeds, are taken from her hoofs with a pick. Oil is rubbed into her foot.

She is clipped. (So that she does not have the naked look of a fresh cut, this is done before the show.) The scissors move against the fur, leaving only her mane, her tail and a saddle mark.

(The groom places a saddle on her back and clips around it so that when the saddle is removed, a saddle of fur remains on her back.)

And now that she is clipped her rider must protect her. The grease that was natural to her, that protected her from the cold and the wet, has been removed. She is vulnerable to the weather. He must provide for her a warm woolen blanket to put under her and a lined rug to put over her.

She may have her fetlocks clipped for showing in summer.

On certain occasions, good form requires that her mane and her tail be braided. Her hair is sewn or tied with ribbons.


Girls ought to be active and diligent; nor is that all; they should also be early subjected to restraint. This misfortune, if it really be one, is inseparable from their sex; nor do they ever throw it off but to suffer more cruel evils. They must be subject, all their lives, to the most constant and severe restraint, which is that of decorum: it is, therefore, necessary to accustom them early to such confinement, that it may not afterwards cost them too dear; and to the suppression of their caprices, that they may the more readily submit to the will of others.


She must not swing her arms as though they were dangling ropes, she must not switch her self this way and that; she must not shout and she must not, while wearing her bridal veil, smoke a cigarette.

-- EMILY POST, Etiquette

The teacher should insist that the horse stand still and on all four legs during the process of mounting and until asked to move on by the rider. Fidgeting on the spot or moving on without command must not be tolerated.

-- ALOIS PODHAJSKY, The Riding Teacher

The movements that the show horse executes have no use in themselves but exist as part of the show of dressage, manifesting how obedient she is, how well she keeps her balance, how complete is the mastery of her rider.

To "Go Large" she rides straight along the walls of the riding school, taking the corners precisely on an arc of a circle of three steps' diameter.

The "Circle" is performed in either half sector of the school by inscribing a circle of sixteen to eighteen meters.

A ''Volte'' is the smallest circle the horse may perform; it is six steps in diameter and may be done in the corners, along the walls or on the center line. The volte is performed only once.

The "Half Volte and Change" consists of a half circle and a straight line on which the horse is led at an angle of 45 degrees back to the wall, where her position is changed.

"Serpentines all along the wall" may be ridden as single or double loops. For the single loop, the horse, after passing the second corner of the short side, is taken on a single track approximately five meters from the wall, thus describing a flat arc, and halfway through the school she is taken back in the same manner. For the double loop the curve of the single is repeated, but the horse does not move from the wall more than three meters. Both arcs must be of the same size.

The "Half Pass" is performed on parallel tracks, usually on a diagonal of the school. The horse's head is bent slightly at the poll in the direction she is going. The rest of her spine is held straight. If her shoulders move laterally more than her haunches, she will move on circular tracks, and this is classic direct rotation. If her haunches move more than her shoulders and on circular tracks, she does a classic inverse rotation.

A common fault in the half pass occurs when the horse's quarters are pushed ahead of the shoulders. Another occurs when the horse falls onto the leading shoulder in loss of balance owing to her not being straight.

Difficulties in training a horse to perform are these: nervousness or laziness, qualities which it has been decided are part of the horse's nature. Calmness and patience are recommended for the former. For the latter, the long whip.

Physical problems may be a long back or weak hindquarters, making it either difficult or painful for the horse to carry a rider or train for long hours. These may be eliminated partially by gymnastic training. Another difficulty is the oversensitive mouth of most high-spirited horses: this necessitates a light use of the bit.

If the horse lets her tongue hang out, this is counted as a serious fault. This may be prevented by a manipulation of the bit.

Whenever the horse performs well, the rider offers her a lump of sugar.

The collaboration of horse and rider is essential to performance. When it is possible, a nervous horse should be led by a calm rider and a phlegmatic horse by a nervous rider.

As One

The ego's relation to the id might be compared with that of a rider to his horse.

-- SIGMUND FREUD. "The Dissection of the Psychical Personality"

The onlooker should have the impression that two creatures are fused together, one thinking, the other executing the thoughts.

-- ALOIS PODHAJSKY, The Riding Teacher

The rider loves his horse. He dreams of her at night. He sees her sometimes in a fury of wildness, her excitable frenzies pouring over his body in waves; his head tossing becomes her head, a silky black mane on the pillows, large nostrils flaring, the long neck flailing back and forth, throwing the sheets to the floor, hoofs kicking at the walls, and one eye, wild-staring, unknowing, hurtling now, seven hundred pounds, crashing through the wall, galloping blood-bright at the teeth where the bit has been torn away, a white frothy sweat, running through the dark night, all night: he is not the rider but the horse, riding, riding, riding. But in the morning she is calm. She is his mare. He speaks softly to her. She is supple. She responds quickly to his least movement. They have developed a silent language. If he presses with his left thigh, a subtle movement, imperceptible to the onlooker, she moves immediately to the right, her feet graceful, her head high, executing with exquisite grace his barely whispered will. It is as if she reads his mind and peacefully lets his thoughts enter and guide her body. They are beautiful together, seemingly effortless, artful, her back seems part of his ass, her legs are his legs, they ride as one.

The Stable

... the stable and the return to it after work is the greatest reward we can give our horse.


When does the horse first know that the rider has left her side? Even when his weight is no longer on her back, his hand may be connected to her mouth, by the rein, by the bit. And even when his hand is off the rein, his eyes may be upon her. When can she be certain he is gone? Does she listen to his footsteps as they recede? Then does she remember? Does she remember that she has a tongue, that she can push it between her teeth and over her lips? Does she feel a sense of dread as she lets it out? Does she feel a sense of shame, apart from the rider, when she rolls on her back? Is this a private ecstasy? Is she in fear of being discovered? Does she dread and not give this dread a name? Does she love the dark privacy of her stall? The smell of hay newly laid, the food that is brought every day at the same precise hours, always fresh, always familiar. Never changed. Does she love even the sound of the chain on her halter as it is run through the manger ring? And when she is led out, finally, to the riding school or the track, even at her moment of triumph, even after she has waited for this, as the flowers are put over her silky neck, does she dream of the stable? Does she dream of returning?


Love gets its name (amor) from the word for hook (amus) which means to capture or to be captured.

-- ANDREAS CAPELLANUS, The Art of Courtly Love

Though she loves her stable because of the comfort, because she can always count on it to be there, because it is her private world and it is where she rests and is fed, she waits there. It is in the stable that she waits for her rider. It is only when her rider appears that she leaves her stable, that she moves. She loves to please her rider. It is her rider who rubs her flanks, who carries bits of food in the white flesh of his palm, who speaks to her softly, kindly. It is her rider who has trained all her movements, her rider who tells her what she must do from one moment to the next. Her rider who possesses a secret knowledge of a series of memorable movements whose purpose she cannot decipher, a knowledge above her capacity to understand, her rider who knows how to produce food and pleasure, for she is so entirely stupid and helpless that she cannot even feed herself without his aid, let alone know what or where to go, to do. The horse has no wish for freedom. She waits the occasional visits of her master, who day after day seems more powerful, more wise, taking on a majesty the horse would never dream of for herself. When he is in her presence, her thoughts are riveted on him. She likes no one else to ride her. Is this not love the horse is feeling? But she is mute. The rider has named her and so he must also name her feelings. He decides that she loves him.


I wish they all had but one body, so that we could burn them all at once, in one fire!

-- HENRI BOGUET, Discours de Sorciers

Her body is a vessel of death. Her beauty is a lure. Her charm a trap. She is irresistible. Her voice is deceit. Her word a plot. Her gesture a snare. She plans her seduction. She cannot help herself. Her mind is a theater of seduction. She is incapable of other thought. Her body was made for seduction. For her all other thought is a mask, a guise for her single purpose. Her skill is ultimate. She will stop at nothing. Underneath grace, she is grasping; beneath her singing is a siren. Her mouth sucks. The air around her becomes a whirlpool. She is treacherous. Closeness with her is drowning, intimacy suffocation. She blinds. The innocent cannot see her real shape. Behind her suppliant flesh is a maw, a devouring hole, an abyss. Death. Destruction. Darkness without light. Nothingness. She will eat the flesh she appears to love. Her hunger is never satisfied. To yield to her one demand is to yield to endless demanding. In her is a depth so profound, she darkens all light. The voyager never finds his way out. She is an infinite ocean. Inside her body is hell. Burning. When she is angry all life stands still in terror. At the gate of her womb is a wound which bleeds freely. It is a wound that will never heal. She is mutilated. She is damaged. She will never forgive existence for this. Her every act is an act of mutilation, of distortion. She is a plague. A disease. The blood from her wound will sour milk. It will spoil fruit or the fermentation in wine; it will break the strings of a violin; it will poison food; cause disease, death in battle, impotence and shrinking. The color of her blood is the color of calamity, of fire, of evil. The smell is offensive, the smell is a warning. She loves blood. She asks for slaughter. She asks for sacrifice. Her sinister wish is for castration. For more wounding, for endless mutilation. Her vulva has teeth. Her stare can petrify. Her womb is a grave. She cannot help herself. She devours even herself. Her passion is endless, without reason, without boundary, existing only for itself, careless, arrogant, lavish, indulgent, mindless, inexorable, cruel, selfish, she will not stop of her own will; her body will not stop being; if she were set free, to do as she willed, her body would never stop, all being would be destroyed except her being, which at last her hunger would not spare, she would consume herself; in her body is the seed of nothingness.


We discover one day, with our hands on the pot of boiling water, seeing it in our mind's eye wash endlessly out over the familiar face speaking to us, we are angry. The pot moves. The pot appears to move across space. We are stunned. The pot holds danger. Burning. Pain. Our hands have become malevolent. Evil. Destroying. When we see this our hands go limp. They are paralyzed. The pot stops in midair. The boiling water, which we had dreamed of throwing over him, pours over us. At first we feel nothing, only the wetness. The red skin. The blisters. We are in pain. The pain is excruciating. We cannot escape it. We cannot escape. It hounds us. It tells us we should not exist. It is everywhere, our own voices screaming, we hear our own voices, there is nowhere we can hide, the pain is inescapable, telling us, over and over, of our murderous impulses, our appetite for death.

We begin to feel the heat of our own bodies. Our thighs close together. The lips of our vulvas swell. We feel the outlines of our breasts, their weight, the nipples inside of our blouses. There is wetness in the dark space inside us. We can smell ourselves. We begin to think of hands. Of skin. Of tongue. Of hair. We want to rock. We want to shut our eyes. We want to press the insides of our bodies together, our lips together, to suck, we feel the blood flowing in our vulvas, we become voracious, we stop thinking, our thoughts fly into shapes, into colors, our mouths open, we hear ourselves, we hear our sounds, our breathing, we shut our eyes, we hear our breathing, these sounds overwhelm us, we can think of nothing else, passion has taken us over, our bodies have possessed us. There is no place we can hide. They follow us everywhere with their beating, with their wetness; they are unmerciful; they lead every thought to themselves; they enter dreams; they take us into darkness, and in darkness they seize us totally. We yield. We forget our names. We lose ourselves forever.

One day we look down and see we have become gigantic. Our nipples are long and brown, our breasts have become huge, our bellies are swollen so large we cannot see our vulvas. Each day we grow larger. We fear this growing has no respect for the insides of our bodies. We begin to feel we might burst. We become afraid. We fear we are possessed with violence.

She finds blood streaked between her legs and in the toilet. She finds blood on her dress. Blood all over her clothing. She cries. What she washes away comes back. She wraps up paper towels and puts them between her legs. She tries to wash the blood from her dress. There are stains, long pink shapes. She dresses again. She ties her sweater around her waist so that you will not see the pink shapes. She washes her hands, takes the red from under her nails. She cleans the toilet, the floor. When she walks, she feels towels between her legs. She worries that the edge of them will show through her dress, that you will know she is wearing them. She walks home as quickly as she can. She will let no one walk with her. She finds her mother. She whispers to her mother what has happened. Her mother's face is flushed. She takes the girl to the back of the house. They lock themselves in the bathroom. She removes her clothing. The men are not allowed in the back of the house while they do their work. Her mother soaks the girl's clothing. She gives her napkins to put between her legs. The girl bathes. She washes all over. Finally, the women emerge. There is no sign of blood, only on the napkin, which is shielded, which is private, which is hidden, which will be wrapped in paper and in a bag be discarded. They do not say what they were doing, mother and daughter. Before your embarrassed faces, they keep their secret.


There was the leg-screw or Spanish boot, much used in Germany and Scotland, which squeezed the calf and broke the shin-bone in pieces ... and the "lift" which hoisted the arms fiercely behind the back; and there was the "ram" or "witch-chair," a seat of spikes, heated from below....

-- H. R. TREVOR-ROPER, The European Witch-Craze

Before I applied the pressure bandages to prevent swelling, I took a final look at my work. The woman before me was no longer forty-five but a lovely person with the taut firm beauty of youth.


... no one ever speaks of "a beautiful old woman" ...

-- SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR, The Coming of Age

Our faces begin to die. We are full of defect. Our brows, for instance, are lined. (For transverse wrinkles of the forehead, the skin above the frontal hair line is excised and the lines are eliminated by lifting the skin of the forehead in a resection.) Our flesh is aging. Our chins sag. (For ptosis of the chin, a resection of the tissue is performed which tightens the skin in a transverse direction, to elevate the point of the chin.) We call the furrows over the bridge of our noses "worry lines." We try not to worry; we try not to move the muscles of our faces. (For glabellar wrinkles, silicone is injected into the dermis and beneath it in small amounts.) We are wizened. Our lips are pursed. (For lip wrinkles, surgical abrasion is indicated.) Our cheeks and our temples sag. (An incision is made from the juncture of the ear lobes to the cheek.) Our jaws droop; our necks have folds. (An incision in the cheek to the supratragul notch.) We find wrinkles cover our faces. (A solution is made of 3cc of 88 percent USP phenol, 2cc distilled water, 5 to 8 drops of Croton oil and 12 to 18 drops of Septisol. A cotton-tipped applicator is dipped into the solution. Excess fluid is blotted away with a sterile sponge. The solution is painted onto the surface of the skin to be peeled. The skin is stroked lightly until there is a frosty appearance to the surface. The skin is blotted dry. A tape mask of waterproof tape is applied. The face is kept motionless for twenty-four or forty-eight hours. The face may burn or swell. A dry crust is allowed to form after the tape is removed. The crust is soaked away with a warm saline compress. Antibiotic lubricant is applied.) Our hands reach to our faces. We lay the insides of our fingers on our cheeks. Our palms cradle our chins. Skin against skin. We feel the blood rush in our temples. We blink. Our eyelashes brush against the lines in our hands. We breathe through the spaces between our fingers. This is strangeness. Our hands are familiar. We know these hands. But we do not know these faces. This skin. Its smoothness; its tightness. We shut our eyes. We try to turn away from ourselves. None of this fear of ourselves shows back to us in the face we see reflected before us.


... perhaps nothing was so effective as the tormentum insomniae, the torture of artificial sleeplessness ... even those ... stout enough to resist the estrapade would yield to ... this slower but more certain ... torture, and confess themselves to be witches.

-- H. R. TREVOR-ROPER, The European Witch-Craze

When I think of women, it is their hair which first comes to my mind. The very idea of womanhood is a storm of hair -- black hair, red hair, brown hair, golden hair -- and always with a greedy little mouth somewhere behind the mirage of beauty.


Fine light hairs covering our backbones. Soft hair over our forearms. Our upper lips. The body takes on the adult contour of hips and breasts. Hair tickling our legs. Lying against our cheeks. The accessory reproductive organs reach maturity. Hair rounding over vulvas. Hair curling from under our arms. Our noses. The uterus descends into the pelvis. Hair surprises us. Betrays us. Our secrets. A solution is applied to the skin, excising each strand. The solution is applied again. The solution is applied again. The solution is We are covered with black coarse hair. The follicle is decomposed at the root with an electric current. Hair grows wild all over our bodies.


... one might also be grilled on the caschielawis, and have one's finger nails pulled off with the turkas or pincers; or needles might be driven up to their heads in the quick.

-- H. R. TREVOR-ROPER, The European Witch-Craze

The female breast has been called "the badge of femininity." In order for the breast to be aesthetically pleasing, it should be a relatively firm, full breast which stands out from the chest wall and states with certainty. "I am feminine."

-- JOHN RANSOM LEWIS, JR., M.D., Atlas of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery

... I was feeling pretty well pleased with myself. I had just taken the after pictures of a bust operation you would have to see to believe.


The surgeons view the female breasts from above, from below. The surgeons say the breasts must look their best if the female is standing, sitting or lying supine. They remind themselves that it is in the supine position that the breast is most likely to be seen naked. They say that as well as having a pleasing contour, size and symmetry, no scars should be visible. They see that when the female lies supine her breasts fall laterally. Thus they conclude that incisions lateral to the breast are less likely to be seen than incisions medial to the breast. In order to reduce the size of the breast, they say, lateral incisions are not so obvious as scars. (The physician looks for a material with which to increase the size of the breast. He is determined. He is obsessed. He will not accept failure. When other doctors say it cannot be done, he becomes more determined. He finds a new material in the cockpit of an airplane. He tests it for hours. He makes it from raw material, but he cannot make it to the right dimension. He tries another material. The body rejects this material. The body eats this material. He finds other materials, those that are too hard; those that do not hold their shape. He works at night. In stolen hours, sacrificing sleep. He prays. At last he finds the material made to the right dimension. He tests it endlessly. It is impervious, he finds, to time, to temperature, to moisture, to body fluids, to bacteria. It is easily shaped by scissors. Easily sewn into place, easily molded. One morning he molds the plastic in the shape of a breast. In twenty minutes he makes a one-and-one-half-inch incision under the breast, slips in the plastic and sews the incision. His patient is transformed, he writes later, in thirty minutes.) To enlarge the breasts, the surgeons say, incisions may be made at the side of the breasts near the fold, around the areola, in the shadow of the underbreast, or on the chest under the breast. But the least visible incision, they say, will be in the shadow of the underbreast.


The only bodily organ which is really regarded as inferior is the atrophied penis, a girl's clitoris.

-- SIGMUND FREUD, "The Dissection of the Psychical Personality"

Enlargement of the clitoris, sometimes accompanied by a degree of induration ... at others by a relaxed flabby state of its tissues, and always attended by a high abnormal irritability, is for the most part brought on by self-abuse.... Its radical cure is fortunately in our hands ...

-- ISAAC BAKER BROWN, On Surgical Diseases of Women

We are not told of the existence of the clitoris. The existence of the clitoris is denied to us. We feel but we have no name for what is feeling in us. We say nothing of this feeling. The denial of this feeling is not called a lie. The denial of the clitoris is not called a lie. The denial of the clitoris is never spoken. No one speaks of the clitoris as existing or as not existing. The labia are folded back. The hood is located. At the beginning of the vulva is found. We are told that we do not have this feeling. We are told that this feeling in us is excessive. We are told that excessive feeling is a sign of illness. A mass. Deep pins are passed underneath the mass, and elastic ligatures are tied around the mass and under the pins. We deny having this feeling. We are terrified that we might have this feeling. We bury even the memories of this feeling. We give it no name. We keep it secret from ourselves. The mass is excised. Tissue posterior to it is sectioned. Deep sutures are tied as the pins are removed. We do not know we keep secrets. We forget how much we deny. We say we despise learning. We say we despise knowledge. We recognize that we are dumb. We are not good at inventing names. We could not tell you what it would be: to touch truth, to cut away lies.


No limits hindered the ingenuity of the witch judge; one of these creatures, Judge Schulties, at Erwitte, cut open a woman's feet and poured hot oil into the wounds.

-- ROSSELL HOPE ROBBINS, The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft and Demonology

Lucy spent a whole hour crouched on her knees and elbows fortied [sic] only by opium and hope against the searing, racking operative pain.

-- SEALE HARRIS, Women's Surgeon

He gathered up all of the vesico-vaginal fistulae he could, embodied in black female slaves (the first three named Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey), and housed them "in a little building in his yard." For four years he operated and failed, thirty times on Anarcha alone....

-- G. J. BARKER-BENFIELD, Horrors of the Half-Known Life

From childbirth our vulvas are torn open. We feel what is inside us exposed. That our bodies give off odors. That we are horrifying. The edges of the opening are scarified. They are closed together. We touch ourselves. We place our hands over our vulvas. We search. To put the clitoris out of reach, the lips of the vagina are sewn together. We cannot swear that we are virgins. A hymen is sewn into place. Our vulvas are too sensitive to touch. Nitric acid is applied to destroy the mucous membrane of the vestibule. The labia minor is removed. Our vulvas close against entry. We are frigid. Our husbands cannot enter us. We are sterile. Ether is administered. The body is rendered unconscious. The vagina is relaxed. Our vulvas will not open. We allow no entry. The hymen is excised. The vaginal sphincter muscle is sectioned. The pubic nerve is cut. The vagina is incised. Dilators are placed in the canal. We are hysterical. We cry without reason. We are slight. We are sickly. The physician applies leeches to the vulva. We are hysterical. It is said that we are too concerned with the clitoris. That the vulva must be trained to receive, to seek penetration, that in this seeking girls become women.


There were the gresillons, which crushed the tips of fingers and toes in a vise; the echelle or "ladder," a kind of rack which violently stretched the body: the tortillon, which squeezed its tender parts at the same time ...

-- H. R. TREVOR-ROPER, The European Witch-Craze

It is almost a pity that a woman has a womb.

-- 19th-century physician

We grow thin. We are peevish. We are irritable. We have fits of crying. We cannot sleep at night. We cannot defecate. We cannot digest our food. We vomit. Our heads ache. Our backs ache. We exhibit madness. We are melancholy. We touch ourselves. We cannot help touching ourselves. We grow morbid. We believe we will be struck dead. For problems of the womb, marriage is prescribed. Childbirth is prescribed. (The first incision is made straight, not curved, from one indentation to the next, regardless of previous scars on the abdomen, in the skin.) For problems of the womb, complete rest is prescribed. The absence of all stimulation. The cessation of all movement. Absolute passivity. (The next incision is made in the subcutaneous tissue down through the fasciae in the midline to one and one half-inches only.) Injections are made into the uterus of linseed tea, water, milk. (Fascia is cut open by going under the subcutaneous tissue. The scissors are placed in the space between two rectus muscles and opened in the line of incision. This gives a space into which the forefinger of each hand is now placed.) The uterus is cauterized with silver nitrate, or with the hydrate of potassium, or by means of a white-hot instrument. (The peritoneum is held by two straight forceps. It is incised and stretched sideways so that it is completely open to the size of the skin and fascial openings.) It is decided that the cervix should be amputated. We have not learned the name for clitoris. We do not know what to call our vulvas. We have never seen our own vulvas. We know nothing about our wombs. These are mysterious to us. Clearer to us are our hands. Clearer to us are our feet. We do not invoke these dark places within us. These do not belong to us. These belong to men, we learn, only the men touch them, only the men seize them, name them, only the men have seen them. These are not part of us. It is decided that the neck of the womb ought to be removed to allow for the egress of menses and the ingress of sperm. (The uterus is now lifted out of the pelvis. Tissue between the uterus and tube and the ovary is cut with scissors. The bladder is pushed down off the cervix and vagina. The bladder peritoneum is cut and separated off. The peritoneum on the posterior surface of the uterus is cut. The uterus is pulled further out of the incision. The uterine vessels are clamped. The tissue toward the lower end of the cervix is cut. The vagina is entered. The uterus is held out of the incision. The vagina is entered laterally. The cervix is grasped. The vagina is cut anteriorly and posteriorly. The uterus is pulled to the left. The remaining tissue is cut. The uterus and cervix are removed.)
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