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Aug 7, 2023

Transgenderism and the Violation of Our Angelic Nature

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Hasan Spiker

Hasan Spiker

Hasan Spiker is a philosopher and comparative scholar of Islamic, Greek, and modern thought.

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Transgenderism and the Violation of Our Angelic Nature

Two Lovers Beneath An Umbrella In The Snow

Two Lovers Beneath an Umbrella in the Snow, Suzuki Harunobu, ca. 1767

And of His signs is that He created for you, of yourselves, spouses, that you might repose in them, and He has set between you love and mercy. Surely in that are signs for a people who consider. —Qur’an 30:21
And the male is not as the female. —Qur’an 3:36

“Man is the meeting place of the angelic and the animal realms.” This is the human essence, as some of the greatest philosophers of the Islamic tradition have taught us, from al-Rāghib al-Iśfahānī and al-Ghazālī to Shāh Walī Allāh. Now, from the Revealed Law as supported by traditional philosophical ethics, we know that we do not win unto the intrinsic dignity of the actualized human essence through the sheer fact of our possession of this unique composite nature but rather by correctly ordering the various aspects of our nature through the appropriate exercise of our self-determining, individual free will. And yet we are not static, disassociated, disembodied beings, peering out at the world from ivory cloisters. To be a human is to be one or the other of two complementary, mutually completing agents of a generative love that is inescapably and intrinsically binary.1

In the experience of this most primeval fact of human embodiment—namely, that every human being instantiates one and only one among only two genders (an experience that each of us has simply by virtue of being human)—we find that we represent instantiations of intrinsically dual metaphysical principles of generation, embedded in the very structure of being. Indeed, each human being is thrown into one of these two roles—we do not choose to be a man or a woman—and a further aspect of achieving human dignity thus lies in fulfilling, with beautiful and beautifying excellence (iĥsān), the role that we have been allotted precisely in having been thus created male or female.

The metaphysical foundation of this aspect of our human dignity may well have been overlooked by many (but by no means all) of the thinkers in the rich and broad Islamic tradition. This is perhaps because our forebears were, on the whole, less likely to be found torturously theorizing about self-evident and natural, integral human realities than they were to be found actively embodying and fulfilling them. Today, on the other hand, coming to clarity about the metaphysical rootedness and ontological status of gender has become an urgent exigency. For the attack on gender is an attack on our very human nature and dignity, masquerading as a celebration of the dignity and radical freedom of the “self-determining individual,” who claims to have risen above restrictive human nature. Indeed, in the first decades of the twenty-first century, the twisting and fluidity of gender and the denial of its distinct integrity constitute quasi-sacramental experiments in social engineering executed by a dying postmodernity, which seeks to vindicate itself by actually manifesting its visions of the violability of noncontradiction in the external world. As such, the notion that gender is a social construct is a creedal utterance ubiquitous today, piously voiced by the recipients of the most cutting-edge of modern educations but rarely thought out with philosophical rigor or justified by anything beyond grounds of relativistic compassion or the invocation of dogmatically arbitrarist freedom. Is it a holy mystery that we must believe against all of the evidence of human experience and, in this case, anatomy?

The liberating truth offered by the tools of the Islamic tradition is that gender arises from both our animal nature and our angelic nature—indeed, the animal nature as informed by the angelic nature. The generative love that arises from the union of the two gender-principles is not merely the production of children, self-evidently sublime and momentous as that is, but the cultivation of the world through the actualization of complementary attributes that can only obtain via the intelligible rather than merely physical union of the gender-principles: the receptive, affective, nurturing, compassionate, beautiful feminine—a matrix of predominant, but not exclusive, attributes that supervenes on the biologically female—and the providing, active, protecting, majestic masculine—a matrix of predominant, but not exclusive, attributes that supervenes on the biologically male.2 That is, the exigencies of human nature entail that human gender comprise dimensions of depth simply not shared by mere animal gender, and which are consequences of the unique potential possessed by human beings to become the realized vicegerents and stewards of the world. The complementarity of attributes that can only obtain by means of the union of mutually completing genders presupposes humankind’s unique nature as the meeting place of the angelic and the animal—that is, it arises from our unique status as stewards of the earth, in which the balance and harmony we seek to effect must first be realized through the achievement of equilibrium between opposite attributes. This principle, derived from the advanced metaphysical tradition of Islam, comes to the fore in one of the many later commentaries on fourteenth-century Muslim theologian ¢Ađud al-Dīn al-Ījī’s Ethics:

The wisdom underlying man having been brought into existence, man who is the encapsulation of all the worlds, is [that he might fulfill] the Divine vicegerency, as is clearly expressed by the tenor of the noble verse I am appointing on earth a vicegerent (Qur’an 2:30) and is moreover the import of We offered the trust unto the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they shrank from bearing it and they were afraid of it, but man carried it (Qur’an 33:72). [Man’s] entitlement to the vicegerency is due to the perfect receptivity of his nature to opposite attributes, such that he is able to be a locus of manifestation (mażhar) of the opposite Divine Names, and accomplish the habitation, cultivation, and construction of both the outward and spiritual worlds.3

While it is quite true that this principle was not formulated with gender specifically in mind, it nonetheless illustrates an illuminating, elegant, and indeed indubitable truth when incorporated as a premise into our own reasoning about the metaphysical function of gender and its role in the economy of the divine plan for man’s vicegerency.4 Yet the reconstitution—at the hands of Charles Darwin, Karl Marx, and Sigmund Freud—of society and the human being in accordance with the dictates of tacit or explicit renderings of materialism set in motion a radical rethink of traditional concepts about gender, sexuality, and family. This reenvisaging was premised on the assumption of a godless universe. After all, given that the traditional views had been fundamentally theological in motivation, the “liberation” of godlessness should also imply liberation from these traditional concepts, however deeply they might seem to be grounded in a similarly disdained “nature of things.” This reached its culmination, perhaps, in Jean-Paul Sartre’s justification for the casting aside of human nature altogether—namely, that existence precedes essence;5 it was his spiritual master Marx who had previously explained that religion “is the fantastic realization of the human essence” exactly because “the human essence has no true reality.”6 For “man is no abstract being, squatting outside the world. Man is the world of man, the state, society.”7 For Marx, there is no essential human nature. Instead, there are only “historically specific forms of human nature, that is, human nature specific to feudalism, to capitalism, to socialism, and so on”; indeed, “the real nature of man is the totality of social relations.”8 A consequence of Marx’s views on human nature was that he likewise “tended to view gender as a dynamic concept capable of further development.”9 This is because “since both nature and society are not static entities… there can be no transhistorical notion of what is ‘natural.’ Instead, a concept of ‘natural’ can only be relevant for specific historical circumstances.”10

If there is no human nature, then subordinate modalities of that nature, such as gender, should be even more dispensable. Once Immanuel Kant had implied that the domain of human autonomy must extend beyond belief and action to reason itself and even nature, it was not merely the rejection of the sacrosanct objects of religious belief and traditional social institutions that was to be encouraged, but even that of elements of our world previously thought to be inviolable realities. Objective metaphysical truth and moral accountability were some examples. Another quite distinct example is gender; the recent attempt to render this essential mode of human existence relative, perspectival, fluid, an instrument of oppression, or even entirely imaginary has now come to a head.

The Doyens of Gender Fluidism

If the publication, in 1990, of Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble marks the watershed moment for the gender-fluidity movement that dumbfounded readers in the first decades of the twenty-first century, Sartre’s consort Simone de Beauvoir’s pivotal 1949 work, The Second Sex, was its seed. In the imposition of coercive liberalism on the manipulated individual in the creation of a tyrannical majority, the repudiation of human nature and the complementarity of the sexes is a key article of faith.

De Beauvoir’s famous opening lines are a telling summation of her project:

Is femininity secreted by the ovaries? Is it enshrined in a Platonic heaven? Is a frilly petticoat enough to bring it down to earth? Although some women zealously strive to embody it, the model has never been patented. It is typically described in vague and shimmering terms borrowed from a clairvoyant’s vocabulary. In Saint Thomas’s time it was an essence defined with as much certainty as the sedative quality of a poppy. But conceptualism has lost ground: biological and social sciences no longer believe there are immutably determined entities that define given characteristics like those of the woman, the Jew, or the black; science considers characteristics as secondary reactions to a situation. If there is no such thing today as femininity, it is because there never was. Does the word “woman,” then, have no content? It is what advocates of Enlightenment philosophy, rationalism, or nominalism vigorously assert: women are, among human beings, merely those who are arbitrarily designated by the word “woman.”11
Man Holding The Hem Of His Beloved Islamic Art 16Th Century

Man holding the hem of his beloved; Unknown artist, Central Asia, 16th century

Of course, de Beauvoir is at pains to point out that woman does exist; she exists as a social construct: as she tells us, “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” With this thought, we encounter the ne plus ultra of so-called self-determining individual freedom in its advanced contemporary rendering: although one is surely an individual of a nature in the sense of essence, one is not to be constrained even by one’s nature.

It must not be thought that, in this process of self-creation, one escapes the web of social construction and somehow penetrates into reality; instead, once the last, most persistent, unyielding essences are finally banished, such as gender-nature and human-nature, all becomes social construct. Butler, the doyen of contemporary gender fluidism, goes much further than de Beauvoir. Employing de Beauvoir’s distinction between sex and gender, Butler holds that it is not merely gender that is a social construct but sex itself (being an anatomical male or female).

But let us put that impudent, brash, nuisance fact of anatomy to one side for a moment. Regardless of whether both sex and gender are denied—indeed, the distinction is entirely groundless, and the most that can be said is that the two are different aspects of an inexpungible unity—voluntaristic accounts of sex and gender have been the subjects of a propagandistic push in our time, at a scale that is inexplicable unless one understands the urgent ideological exigencies now at stake for a postmodernity in its death throes. This amounts to the notion that being a man or a woman is a choice rather than a biological or metaphysical reality. And yet the notion arises (as a definite authority on the matter, Butler tells us) from de Beauvoir’s very distinction between sex and gender.

If the distinction is consistently applied, it becomes unclear whether being a given sex has any necessary consequence for becoming a given gender… If being a woman is one cultural interpretation of being female, and if that interpretation is in no way necessitated by being female, then it appears that the female body is the arbitrary locus of the gender “woman,” and there is no reason to preclude the possibility of that body becoming the locus of other constructions of gender.12

According to feminist metaphysician Natalie Stoljar, “nominalism is the more popular position among feminists, and realism is usually dismissed.”13 Following the lead of de Beauvoir, then, radical feminism has created the very monster that now wishes to devour it. Gender realism—the notion that each gender is an intrinsically distinct, precisely definable, and therefore real and indissolubly ontologically rooted essence and that each individual may instantiate only one gender—drowns with many other seemingly self-evident truths in the common contemporary quagmire reserved for outmoded “common-sense views,”14 and widespread popular acceptance of transgender ideology has been preceded by extreme marginalization and prejudice faced by gender essentialism in the academy.

This is not only because of a more general prejudice against essences, although this is indubitably one of the defining insistences of broad postmodernity and anticipated in broad modernity as one of its definitive features in thinkers as different as Locke and Kant. It is more than skepticism about essences; that is merely a starting point. Why is opposition to gender fluidism singled out for such focused, violent, and vituperative attack rather than other possible obstacles to radical free self-determination in defiance of authority, such as opposition to, say, incest or euthanasia? Why is the doctrine of the plasticity, fluidity, and instability of gender imposed with so fervent and anxious a frenzy worthy of the Inquisition? It is because the act of sacred transmogrification constitutes the supreme rite and indeed sacrifice of the religion of Dying Postmodernity, a religion that represents the dramatic finale and death throes, the veritable Götterdämmerung, of the Western intellectual tradition itself. Reverence for the communicant—that is, the postoperative transitioner—and celebration of his/her/their sacrifice (they died to their “dead names” for the sake of our freedom) become a quasi-theurgical sacrament, a sign by which one’s self-creation might alone be worshipped, such that one’s true status as unrestrictedly ontologically free becomes finally revealed before our very eyes as sole and unquestionable absolute reality.

Sexes, Genders, and Earlobes

No amount of pseudo-religious fervor can change the straightforward, conclusive, and factual nature of the arguments against the validity of casually eviscerating as social constructs the institutions and natures that make up our world.15 However, a certain amount of deprogramming from postmodern first assumptions may be necessary to fully recognize their indubitable cogency and definitive nature. A good place to start such intellectual rehabilitation would be the following statement from a rare contemporary defender of gender essentialism, the philosopher Charlotte Witt:

The fact that an individual, institution, or kind has a social origin or social definition does not in and of itself rule out essentialism about that individual, institution, or kind.16

In other words, the fact that a nature or essence possesses an immaterial dimension simply does not in any sense entail its subjectivity, its constructed nature, its unreality, or, in other words, its nonobjectivity.17

Yet Witt makes clear that gender essentialism looks simplistic to many contemporary thinkers primarily because of the plight of Western women who are “subject to inconsistent social roles.”18 She offers the example of the female doctor, who

might refuse to work on call at night, thereby prioritizing her maternal role and achieving normative integrity. Her maternal role “trumps” her physician’s role but that does not rule out the possibility of inner psychological conflict. So if part of the plight of Western women is to be subject to conflicting social norms… there must be a being that is subject to both sets of norms.19

That is, the matrix of predominant attributes (the inseverable unity of sex and gender) responsible for occasioning such conflict within the individual knowing subject must possess a distinct ontological substratum—indeed, must exist—in order to be able to do so! Indeed, even were it the case that there is a real distinction between sex and gender (although, again, we hold that no more than a perspectival distinction obtains between them), Witt’s example clearly rules out the notion that womanhood (gender, the supposed social manifestation of sex) is reducible to its purely social construction. Let us stretch the example to make it even more clear: A pregnant surgeon goes into labor while performing a life-or-death heart operation. (The example is absurd, of course, but this is precisely the point.) She faces a dilemma simply not faced by her male colleagues. It pertains to her gender (because it is the social question of which life-and-death situation she must attend to, the operation or giving birth, among her colleagues in the hospital), which arises not from her social context but rather from the fact that she is a female with a reproductive system—in short, from the fact that she is a woman. Genderedness (being a woman) as the social instantiation of sex (being a female) presents this dilemma (in which, of course, she actually has no choice but to leave her work to give birth). Indeed, this shows that there is no genuine distinction between sex and gender except insofar as the former refers to anatomy and the latter to its necessary personal and social concomitants, entailments, and implications. Of course, it beggars belief that the present climate should require such an example being brought to evidence what is in reality a basic, self-evident truth; but we must nonetheless face the fact that this is indeed the point of philosophical disintegration to which we have now arrived.

The range of opinion in contemporary, pseudo-metaphysical thought about gender extends from those who believe it is a social construct with no rootedness in biology (which, on this extreme view, is also a social construct) to abolitionists such as Sally Haslanger, a feminist metaphysician at MIT, who believe that the term oppressed is the very differentia entering into the definition of woman and thus wish to abolish women altogether to live in a genderless society; to Charlotte Witt and her cohort, who support a form of gender essentialism by rightly pointing out that gender is the most important “principle of normative unity of a social individual”;20 and philosopher Mari Mikkola, who defends gender realism and maintains that the abolition of women is not, after all, a very good idea.

Mikkola characterizes the opposing, nominalist view: “Taking gender as socially constructed… implies that women exist mind-dependently, or due to productive social activities; thus, it should be possible to do away with them just by altering the social conditions on which gender depends.”21 Using two putative examples of a social construct, that of being a woman (a social construct, according to her opponents) and that of being a senator (which we can acknowledge is at least partially a social construct),22 Mikkola contrasts two sentences—(1) After seeing John’s body, I realized that John is a woman, and (2) After seeing John’s body, I realized that John is a senator23—thus demonstrating what was until the early twenty-first century considered the blindingly obvious fact that womanhood possesses a distinct ontological substratum that social constructs like senator simply do not.

As we have seen, Judith Butler is unpersuaded by such self-evidence. Having confirmed the distinction between sex and gender, she is not even prepared to acknowledge that we are born a particular sex. She tells us she is following Foucault and the self-proclaimed lesbian materialist Monique Wittig when she says,

The demarcation of anatomical difference does not precede the cultural interpretation of that difference, but is itself an interpretive act laden with normative assumptions? That infants are divided into sexes at birth, Wittig points out, serves the social ends of reproduction, but they might just as well be differentiated on the basis of earlobe formation or, better still, not be differentiated on the basis of anatomy at all.24

On this view, mere reproduction—on which the survival of the human race, the actualization of what is most fundamental to the complementarity of human interpersonality, and the existences of Foucault, Wittig, and Butler all depend—is no more an objective criterion for the differentiation of newborns than the formation of their earlobes.

Yet, although she cannot quite come to grips with sex and gender, Butler does acknowledge that we all possess something called a body, which we genuinely are from the start. How this mysterious body could have escaped the web of social constructedness we do not know, but she is emphatic that “one is one’s body from the start, and only thereafter becomes one’s gender.”25 Surely branding it a body rather than, say, the indeterminate locus of the construction of pure radical self-determination is also a prejudicial interpretive act that is laden with normative assumptions. Butler is a disappointingly un-thoroughgoing and inconsistent constructionist!

To return to anatomy: On Butler’s view, the “illusion of nature” leads us to believe that our cognition of anatomical differences—in this case pertaining to the so-called genitals—entails awareness of an objective, distinct reality with inherent, necessary social implications; but in fact “what we believe to be a physical and direct perception is only a sophisticated and mythic construction, an ‘imaginary formation,’ which reinterprets physical features (in themselves as neutral as any others but marked by the social system) through the network of relationships in which they are perceived… There is no nature in society.”26

From a more traditional philosophical perspective, the very fact that historical unions of these “imaginary formations,” these “mythic constructions,” have occasioned the existence of each individual in the human race poses rather a problem to their being thus characterized. This is because of the principle that an existent thing cannot be caused by that which is nonexistent. One can only assume that the likes of Wittig and Butler believe that human beings are real; alas for their theories, this means that these ubiquitous “imaginary formations” must not be imaginary after all.

An Islamic Philosophical Critique of Transgenderism with Shaykh Hasan Spiker

The Family According to Marx

Attempts to concretize fluidity theory in the extramental world, and to realize the visions of countless demagogues of feminism, homosexuality, and transgenderism in newfangled forms of individual self-determination have caused, and continue to cause, much anguish and suffering to victims of these experiments. For they have been denied access to the necessary context of social flourishing—namely, the family and the communities of families existing in relation to other families. Indeed, the idea that there is some better, more fulfilling reality for the individual to achieve by freeing him- or herself from the oppression of nature precisely traces its ideological motivation to a sustained attack on the traditional family, which was among the most vital lynchpins for the original theoreticians of constructionism and, thus, of gender fluidism. This arose most fundamentally from the key progenitor of gender anti-realism, which can be identified in the disavowal of the notion that gender roles possess any rooting in gender-nature. Of course, if, as Marx taught, human nature is just the “totality of social relations,” it in no way determines those social relations, because that nature does not exist prior to those relations. On the contrary, social relations are ripe for rearrangement, reconfiguration, redefinition, reinvention, indeed, permanent revolution. And once this takes place, human nature itself will ever change.

For Frederick Engels, whose 1884 The Origin of the Family was published a year after Marx’s death, the first class struggle was that between man and wife in the married state, and the first class oppression that of the female sex by the male.27 Men stood to women in this relation as the bourgeoisie to the proletariat.28 The modern family is founded on “the open or concealed domestic slavery” of the wife, who is forced into marriage because of the economic dependence of unmarried women on men, which is why “the first condition for the liberation of the wife is to bring the whole female sex back into public industry, and that… in turn demands the abolition of the monogamous family as the economic unit of society.”29 Since in the proposed communist society all children will be raised by the whole of society, including children born outside of wedlock, moral and economic anxiety about the consequences of fornication will no longer prevent “a girl from giving herself completely to the man she loves.” Engels eagerly suggests that this would in turn “bring about the gradual growth of unconstrained sexual intercourse.”30 After the overthrow of capitalism, Engels anticipates a society composed of

a generation of men who never in their lives have known what it is to buy a woman’s surrender with money or any other social instrument of power; a generation of women who have never known what it is to give themselves to a man from any other considerations than real love, or to refuse to give themselves to their lover for fear of the economic consequences. When these people are in the world, they will care precious little what anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of each individual—and that will be the end of it.31
Bride And Groom

Bride and Groom, Amedeo Modigliani, 1915

While it is true that most people today care precious little what the Victorians would have thought about their sexual morality, there has not been, sadly for Engels, such a straightforward end to it. This is because the organized, state-sanctioned, mass throwing-off of sexual restraint that now hurtles to ever greater levels of progress and sophistication came about without the means of production needing to change hands at all. Women have entered the workforce en masse, but under the conditions of the manipulation of overwhelming social, corporate, and media pressure to be the perfect, liberated, self-explorative, always-sexually-available female individuals. It seems ironic and tragic that under the conditions of the advanced arbitrarist hedonism of today, women have never been less likely to stipulate “true love” in order to “give themselves” to men they scarcely know, and they certainly receive nothing in return.

As women entered the workforce, he [Marx] writes, they potentially gained power in their private lives since they now contributed monetarily to the family’s welfare… This has a significant effect on the family… long hours and night-work tended to undermine traditional family-structures, as women were to a certain extent “masculinised” by their work and were often unable to care for their children to the same extent as they had been able to do in the past. On the other hand… Marx notes that this seeming “deterioration of character” led… towards a “higher form of the family” in which women would be the true equals of men.32

Although much of what Marx says is often remarkably prescient,33 this “higher form of the family” has definitively failed to historically materialize. Indeed, the compulsory career and forced subsumption of women into male breadwinning roles have proved primary catalysts in much feminist exploration of gender nominalism, which in turn gave ironic rise to that which now so often proves to be feminism’s archnemesis: gender fluidism. While the feminist nominalist wishes to keep a firm grip on the helpfully malleable definition of gender vouchsafed her by her philosophical position, in order to be able to wield it for her own purposes of problematizing the naturalness of traditional femininity and motherhood, she now finds herself thoroughly resentful and alarmed suddenly to be faced with the extension of her own logic to the doctrine that the radically self-determining individual, in this case “those assigned ‘male’ at birth,” might creatively appropriate that “construction” for their own purposes, and thereby “become” women. Worse than that, she is unlikely ever to have imagined that this would become the flagship, official, obligatory doctrine of Dying Postmodernity, the most important item in its creed exactly because the radical self-determining arbitrarism of gender fluidism most precisely epitomizes its philosophical vision, values, and ideals.

It is striking that defenders of the new status quo often display a quite venomous belligerence toward anyone who disagrees with them, coupled with the pronounced inability to engage in reasoned debate. This forces many of those who hold a conflicting opinion to withdraw, too afraid to voice their point of view. This fear is reinforced by attempts to ostracize those who so much as express unease at the inattentive, untroubled lack of concern with which, in the space of a few years, previously self-evident truths about human nature and the family have been cast out with utter abandon. The flattening of society and the dogmatic abolition not of false hierarchies but of hierarchy per se require us to believe, simply because they both rest on autonomous human will, that the gender complementarity and intercourse that can create human life hold no objective superiority over the ideological parodization of gender and intercourse that consign life to death. Such is the tyranny wielded by the media and state-defined majority. It is as Tocqueville warned.

Podcast: The Knowledge That Transcends the Empirical World with Hasan Spiker

Things as They Were

Let us return to the healing and liberating truth offered by the tools of our tradition, for gender is merely the instantiation, in the corporeal world, of the very principle of complementarity and generative union. According to certain highly influential accounts of the metaphysics of creation, God in His absolute wisdom and freedom ordained that the sublunary world should presuppose in its emergence the generative union of the supreme created active principle, the Supreme Pen (or First Intellect), and the supreme created affective principle, the Preserved Tablet (or Universal Soul)—the original “gender” principles, which manifest throughout the metaphysical hierarchy of being. The love epitomized by these productive unions (the metaphysical nikāĥāt) constitutes the very exemplar for the physical and intelligible generation that results from the marriage of the corresponding principles of mutually completing complementarity in our world—namely, the union in marriage of man and woman.

The cultivation of complementary properties, without which equilibrium and harmony cannot obtain in this world, presupposes the harmonious relationship between the sexes embodying their traditional gender roles. A man must maintain and protect his family—that is, prove to be the providing, active, protecting, majestic qawwām (he who safeguards, maintains, and gives support). The principle of affection (infi¢āl) (exemplified by the Preserved Tablet, or Universal Soul) requires that this distinctively male role be fulfilled by a complementary mode of human existence. The male active principle can only set in motion but not himself fulfill the giving and nurturing of life; he must seek companionship with the complementary, female mode of human existence: paradigmatically (although not solely) receptive, affective, nurturing, compassionate, beautiful. Asking a woman to fulfill her role in the manner of a man who fulfill his, or the reverse, simply impairs the potential complementarity that is intrinsic to all human life—and that every human being needs. Harmony is diminished. The balance is broken.

Now, the wisdom underlying the emergence of the genders was only

the pursuit of intimate love in a parallel being of the same kind… such that in the world of bodies, through this natural fusion, the Perfect Human Being might exist in the form that God intended, resembling the Supreme Pen and the Preserved Tablet.34

Gender, then, is merely the instantiation in the bodily world of the metaphysical principles of complementarity and generative union that permeate all of God’s creation. Such unions are responsible for the unfolding of the degrees of being, the cultivation of the world, and the stewardship of the cosmos in which our uniquely human perfection, worth, and dignity really lie. The very being and integrity of the world are contingent on the actualized complementarity of the genders, which are far from fluid or dispensable.


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