Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Provocative Excerpt from De Maupassant on Women, Procreation

I found provocative this excerpt from Guy de Maupassant's short story, Useless Beauty. So I thought I'd share it with you. Of course, comments welcome.

"Poor women!"
"Why do you pity them?"
"Why? Ah! my dear fellow, just consider! Eleven years in a condition of motherhood for such a woman! What a hell! All her youth, all her beauty, every hope of success, every poetical ideal of a brilliant life sacrificed to that abominable law of reproduction which turns the normal woman into a mere machine for bringing children into the world."
"What would you have? It is only Nature!"
"Yes, but I say that Nature is our enemy, that we must always fight against Nature, for she is continually bringing us back to an animal state. You may be sure that God has not put anything on this earth that is clean, pretty, elegant or accessory to our ideal; the human brain has done it. It is man who has introduced a little grace, beauty, unknown charm and mystery into creation by singing about it, interpreting it, by admiring it as a poet, idealizing it as an artist and by explaining it through science, doubtless making mistakes, but finding ingenious reasons, hidden grace and beauty, unknown charm and mystery in the various phenomena of Nature. God created only coarse beings, full of the germs of disease, who, after a few years of bestial enjoyment, grow old and infirm, with all the ugliness and all the want of power of human decrepitude. He seems to have made them only in order that they may reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and then die like ephemeral insects. I said reproduce their species in an ignoble manner and I adhere to that expression. What is there as a matter of fact more ignoble and more repugnant than that act of reproduction of living beings, against which all delicate minds always have revolted and always will revolt? Since all the organs which have been invented by this economical and malicious Creator serve two purposes, why did He not choose another method of performing that sacred mission, which is the noblest and the most exalted of all human functions? The mouth, which nourishes the body by means of material food, also diffuses abroad speech and thought. Our flesh renews itself of its own accord, while we are thinking about it. The olfactory organs, through which the vital air reaches the lungs, communicate all the perfumes of the world to the brain: the smell of flowers, of woods, of trees, of the sea. The ear, which enables us to communicate with our fellow men, has also allowed us to invent music, to create dreams, happiness, infinite and even physical pleasure by means of sound! But one might say that the cynical and cunning Creator wished to prohibit man from ever ennobling and idealizing his intercourse with women. Nevertheless man has found love, which is not a bad reply to that sly Deity, and he has adorned it with so much poetry that woman often forgets the sensual part of it. Those among us who are unable to deceive themselves have invented vice and refined debauchery, which is another way of laughing at God and paying homage, immodest homage, to beauty.
"But the normal man begets children just like an animal coupled with another by law."

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you tell me where the 9/28 show is in the archive? I can't find it. Thank you.

Marty Nemko said...

http://kalw.org/post/free-career-advice-worth-its-price

Anonymous said...

Thank you and congratulations on 25 years.

I'm a procrastinator. How do I go about changing my "life's linchpin" to be more about being productive?

Marty Nemko said...

My best thought is that you need to ask yourself about how you want to live your life. If it's to be more productive than you are, write all the reasons why. Say them aloud to yourself a lot. Picture the benefits of doing that. Make being more productive your obsession for a little while. Perhaps keep reading them aloud so it gets locked in your brain. Take a zero-tolerance policy toward it. Make procrastination not an option. It will become a habit. I'm not sure, but that's what comes to mind.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I will try those ideas.