“What can’t be cured must be endured.” – old saying
I was about to begin a typical tirade on a subject of current political interest. You can thank (or blame) Professor Reynolds for deflecting me from that course by reminding me about that little video just below.
Some truths, particularly truths about the nature of Mankind and its components, must be expressed through humor. They’re too painful otherwise. If we try to confront them in the stark, no-BS manner with which men approach most serious problems, they inspire an immediate recoil, a desire not to see. That ostrich-like “make it go away” response is really a confession of sorts: the admission that we have encountered a fact that displeases us greatly, but that we can do absolutely nothing about. That’s why – apart from the humor of it – I viewed that little video as important enough to feature here a second time.
For one with the engineering mentality – i.e., the mindset that views an encountered unpleasantness as something to be remedied as quickly and conveniently as possible – the acceptance of an immutable tragedy is about the most draining experience one can have. I’ve got that mentality in spades. All face cards, at that.
The old maxim at the top of the page has the feel of an eternal truth, and perhaps it is. But there’s a word in there that bugs the living daylights out of me, precisely because I see an unpleasant condition as something to be remedied. The word, of course, is can’t.
I view that word as a personal affront. I’ll divert the stars from their courses rather than concede that a problem is beyond my powers to solve. Whether the problem is expressed in formulas or homilies, my natural inclination is to solve the BLEEP!ing thing. The most painful moments in my life have been when I confronted a problem I could not solve...or a problem to which the only solutions involved consequences worse than the problem itself.
And I’m here to tell you: If you’re a man – i.e., a possessor of the fabled Y chromosome and its multitudinous glories – you’re likely to feel exactly the same way. It’s a better test for gender than anything but a crotch inspection.
A beautiful theory, killed by a nasty, ugly little fact. – Thomas Huxley
These days it’s considered gauche to talk about the differences between the sexes, despite their obviousness and their evident importance. But a Gentle Reader of Liberty’s Torch will be aware that that has never stopped me. Moreover, as the taboo against frank discussion of sex differences has persisted, those differences have become ever more significant drivers of the tensions between men and women. The urgency of bringing the subject back into our discourse is near to critical.
One of the most important of those differences is the response to pain or loss. A typical man will respond to an unpleasant event or condition by trying to remedy it. A typical woman will prefer to talk about it to a sympathetic listener or a circle thereof.
(Yes, there are exceptions. Need I remind my Gentle Readers – of either sex – that exceptions are exceptional? I didn’t think so.)
There are many possible explanations for why this is so. That this is so is a fact. It lurks behind the statistical distribution of aptitudes and occupations between the sexes. It’s the reason we don’t see nearly as many female engineers as male engineers. I mean engineer in its strict sense: one who solves technological problems. I consider terms such as “sales engineer” and “requirements engineer” to be nothing but amphigory.
In consequence of this difference, a woman who brings a personal problem to a man will likely be unsatisfied, perhaps even offended, by his response. “Fix the BLEEP!ing problem!” he will reply. He might even volunteer to do so himself. That won’t please her if what she wants is sympathy. Indeed, it might even induce her to perpetuate the problem deliberately until she can get some sympathy for it.
His frustration at having his inclination denied and his aptitude spurned will be as painful to him as her problem is to her. Possibly more so, as it amounts to a denial of his nature: a denigration of what he’s good at.
It’s one of the things driving an increasing number of men to go their own way.
Before the tide of propaganda condemning the traditional sex roles as “patriarchal oppression,” the phenomenon I’ve described above was far less important. Men had their duties and responsibilities; women had theirs. Men had their social circles; women had theirs. Men had their approaches to problems; women had theirs. Few women expected a man to treat a problem the way a woman does. Indeed, a sensible woman – and women were far more sensible back when – would bring a problem to her man only if she wanted it solved.
Such matters are torturous today for two reasons:
- Women are relentlessly propagandized from an early age to believe that they can do anything a man can do, and just as well, regardless of all the evidence to the contrary;
- Men are mercilessly browbeaten for being inclined to solve problems, and for being superior to women at the concentrated focus and logical thought processes problem-solving requires: i.e., for being men
Of course, to say that where a woman can hear is likely to reap the whirlwind. As women have a disproportionate degree of social and political power today, the consequences can be devastating.
Yet the psychological cleavage between the sexes persists. Why should we have expected anything else? Propaganda changes nothing. It doesn’t reduce women’s greater need for sympathy, or women’s superiority in providing it. The major difference today is that women have been deflected from their traditional roles in numbers so great that when she wants sympathy rather than a solution, the person nearest her will most likely be a man.
Quite a lot of marriages have been wrecked on that rock. It’s made harder to avoid by another contemporary tendency: her tendency to object to his having space, time, and friends of his own. Should he bridle at that and insist on his prerogatives, he could find himself on the receiving end of a ton of shit – a metric ton.
Our society having become what it is today, there’s nothing he can do about it. He cannot cure it, much as he’d like to. Yet enduring it is damned near impossible.
“What can’t be cured must be endured.” It’s a tautology, really. Nor does it address those cases where “enduring it” brings suffering one might find too great to support.
There are times it seems to me that no one is getting what he needs – “he” this time in the generic-singular sense that encompasses persons of both sexes. Men need to be appreciated and accepted for what we are; women need to be appreciated and accepted for what they are. The solution is in plain sight. It seems too obvious for words. Yet it’s been anathematized by forces determined to remake Mankind according to patterns utterly antithetical to the natures of the sexes.
As matters stand, the problem is insoluble. And it hurts like hell to have to admit it.
Time for Mass.