Stop Your Ears


Freud’s fundamental error is that he listens to women. He listens. He encourages complaint. Freud teaches men to listen to women when what women actually require in order to not become bitches and shrews is men refractory to female protest. Hard men. Dominant men.

Not for nothing did Odysseus stop the ears of his sailors against the keening of the sirens. Women will drive men who listen mad. Freud listened. The result was psychoanalysis. Women have not stopped talking since, and men have lost the ability to shut them up.

In Shakespeare’s time it was understood that indulging a chronically dissatisfied woman would only makes things worse. Petruchio’s cure for the shrew was to acquaint her with real deprivation. Unlike Freud, Petruchio did not ruminate over “what a woman wants.” A woman reveals what she wants not by what she says but by the kind of man she surrenders to. She wants a man who will put her in her place. But for a man to be capable of putting a woman in her place, he must know her place without asking. And he must show he knows by adroit conquest.

A man who starts down the path of asking what a woman wants, as Freud does, never gets to the end of it. For such a man has forfeited the knowledge that should constitute an essential part of his masculinity. The man who asks will never know. He is impotent.

A woman becomes a woman through subjugation. To ask her what she wants is to undo her as a woman. The question hystericizes her. Freud’s technique makes hysterics. It does not cure them.

This undoing of woman does not produce a man. It produces a malformed creature who is neither woman nor man, neither fish nor fowl: a harpy. The harpy is a creature who loathes herself and takes vengeance on the men who failed to make her a woman.

Expressed as feminism, this inchoate rage against ineffectual men is legitimate punishment for the white male abdication of virility. The old covenant between the sexes has been broken. Men preoccupied with the vast modern enterprise of subduing and exploiting nature have forgotten how to conquer women. They only have themselves to blame if in their modern cities they are now beset by the disordered, misgendered creatures they have loosed upon the world.

Freud was an early exemplar of the inadequate man engendered by modernity. What he invented was not a cure but a symptom, a symptom of a spent, ineffectual patriarchy no longer capable of form-giving and resigned instead to suffer the incessant chatter of disappointed women.

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