Updated: Sep 4, 2018
Exploration of Literature from Arab Spain: Muslim Prose as the Basis of Troubadour's Courtly Love Poetry, Chivalry as well as Gynocentric and Feminist Misandry in Relationships!
The cultural origin, it's misandrist background and gynocentric symbolism in Ibn Hazm’s Philosophy of Gynocentric Love and the Misandrist Concept of Saudade!
An excerpt from "On the Origin of European Gynocentrism and its Symbolism"
Many of Ibn Hazm’s poems of love portray paramours who experience a specific form of suffering and who are entangled in its profound mesh of psychological impact. This literary tradition in itself is not new or unique to Ibn Hazm but has already existed in the older Sufi school of Rumi and was adopted by troubadours too. The uniquely new version of anguish, which manifests itself in various forms, has been well studied and identified in both Spanish and Portuguese literature of the late Middle Ages and is known by the Portuguese term saudade. Written evidence of this expression of suffering and its impact on one or both parties involved in amorous affairs in "The Ring of the Dove" advocates that this literary concept originated from Ibn Hazm and his philosophical impact on the literature of medieval Spain. "The Ring of the Dove" not only presents the concept of saudade as a consequence of suffering for the sake of love, the absence of the beloved, the act of guarding the secret of an amorous relationship as well as the inability to express love for the beloved but and not only symbolizes what is wrong with the gynocentric courtly love as expressed through romance but represents its misandrist nature towards men.
Thus it is not only the earliest source of the more modern version of "love hurts" but this delusion was at the basis of the troubadour poetry and taken to extremity in the works of Ulrich the Knight in terms that the woman's romantic and altruistic love will appease suffering through male subjugation and the resulting grief and sorrow. The bottom line is that those concepts of courtly love and gynocentric romance are based and rooted in a deep aversion and hate of men and male sexuality thus they are meant at exploiting men for the benefits of women and not offering them true love in return. The love of a woman to a man in this context is nothing but an economic and financial bargain where the woman buys the benefits, the perks of the relationship, and trades the male love paying for it with sex but not such that is rooted in love. This does not mean that each and every single woman isn't capable of true love for a man or will act in this way but it is the overall frame of the Gynocentric culture and society which offers it for women and conditioning them to behave in this way.
C. JoyBell C., a leading female Thinker and Writer today, has illustrated this concept in this famous quote of her which shows the devastating impact of this gynocentric culture on men and the emotional toll it takes on them: "I have met so many heartbroken men. It's a catastrophe. Women are easily overcome by the process that happens when a boy falls in love and becomes a man. Men's hearts are so often broken. Still, you have to leave your broken heart in a place where- when the woman who knows how to see what a gift is, sees it- your broken heart can be picked up again. I think that it takes a very strong woman (inner strength) to be able to handle a man falling in love with her, without morphing into a monster (the process is a very potent process, it can poison a woman, really). A woman thinks she wants a man to fall in love with her for all the perks that come with it; but when a real love really does happen, when a real man shows his manhood; it's often too powerful a thing to endure without being poisoned. Hence, all the heartbroken men. But, I do believe that there are strong women in the world today. A few. But there are. You could say, that the mark of a real woman, is a woman who can handle a man- a man falling in love with her. A woman who can recognize that, and keep it with her.”
Back to our concepts of suffering as depicted in Ibn Hasm's and troubadour poetry, so if we'll formulate it differently it could be claimed that all of them are exhibiting basically the delusion and cognitive bias that claims that suffering is resolved by inflicting more pain and suffering allegedly in this case by being slave to female romantic whims and pretenses. To solve a problem, we must apply the antidotes. Thus in the same way as fire is extinguished by water and not by adding more fuel to the fire, suffering cannot end by adding more suffering but wisdom, love and (self) compassion as well as many others. It is not love that hurts, it's even not people but it is ignorance, greed and ill will which can be also resolved by the same antidotes of wisdom, generosity and compassion (for oneself and others) as well as loving kindness. I will explore all of these types of suffering as is presented in the Ring of the Dove and Ibn Hazm and especially this deep seated delusion that also stands at the ignorance of the troubadour's gynocentric courtly love and will show that it hurts in this context especially men.
Exploration of Literature from Arab Spain: Suffering for the Sake of Love
Josiah Blackmore traces the origins of saudade as a literary device to the suffering expressed by the Galician-Portuguese cantiga d’amigo, which is known as coita d’amor. He suggests that their poetry reveals “the first expression of saudade”. Ibn Hazm, however, details numerous amorous incidences of lovers suffering in a similar fashion in his elaboration on love and molded this idiosyncratic notion of suffering a few centuries before the cantigas and the advance of the troubadour's courtly love literature. Before the Galician-Portuguese poets were assuned to have codified the concept of saudade in their lyric poetry, Ibn Hazm has already articulated a form of inner suffering, which obstructed the afflicted lover in a way that he or she was left with a lasting, irreversible psychological condition. Ibn Hazm insinuates that such suffering stems from a variety of causes although he falsely and ignorantly identifies the wrong ones. In my critique of Ibn Hazm as well as the concept of Saudade, I will elaborate later on in this discourse on the true reason and will expand on it. Anyway, the first source of intense suffering according to Ibn Hazm is brought about by the absence of a loved one. In the following case and typically to the way the ordinaru people pervert the concept of suffering and love, mixing up cause and effect or worse than this declaring that suffering is happiness and happiness is suffering, the lover here takes great joy in suffering for the sake of his love.
However, the love for his absent beloved is replaced by his suffering for her, as Ibn Hazm expresses in this passage: "I once knew a youth who was bogged down in love and stuck fast in its toils passion had grievously affected him, sickness had worn him out. Yet his soul found no comfort in praying to Almighty God to remove his afflictions; his tongue was not loosed in any petition for deliverance. His only prayer was to be united with and to be possessed of the one he loved, despite the enormity of his sufferings and the long protraction of his cares. (What is one to think of the sick man who desires not to be rid of his sickness?). One day [. . .] I said to him (among other things), “May Allah grant you relief!” I at once observed in his face the marks of strong displeasure with what I had said". The aggrieved lover rejects and ignores relief from his misery, as his state of agony remains as his only connection to his absent beloved. This extreme suffering has affected him so profoundly that he no longer desires relief from his pain. Only reunifying with the beloved will cure his ailment, which may or may not exist as a potential resolution.
This type of suffering for the sake of love diverges slightly from the diversity of suffering that is typically associated with courtly love, which is a form of suffering that ennobles the lover and may persuade the beloved to return his love as payment for his suffering. The following tale of a grief-stricken lover from The Ring of the Dove expresses this category of suffering and love, which recalls the precepts of courtly love: "A wonderful example of how the lover will submit to the beloved is provided by a man I knew who lay awake for many nights, endured extreme suffering, and had his heart torn asunder by the deepest emotions, until he finally overcame his, beloved's resistance, who thereafter refused him nothing and could no more resist his advances". (Ibn Hazm 92). The key difference between this example and the others I will discusses in this chapter is the element of romantic success. The lover suffers adversity and ultimately accomplishes his goal of conquering the love of his beloved in return. His torture does not leave a lasting impact on his psychological state as a remedy is present, namely, a union with his beloved (which is yet another delusion as we will see immediately).
This everything of course although sounding romantic is rooted in a deep and profound delusion of the concept of suffering and its reality especially regarding love and relationships. Thus the whole concept of chivalric and courtly love is rooted in delusion and ignorance. Here we should first acknowledge that at the most profound, deepest and basic level, everything that has the nature of arising has the nature of ceasing, so is it well to place our greatest faith only in romantic love as a means to achieve happiness and mental well-being. This is highly doubtful! It gives us the false notion that being beyond all concepts and limits, such love does not "arise" instead of cultivating the insight that true love including its romantic expression is rooted in a mind whose love, whether romantic or not, is uncalculated, beneficent, free — and empty of the furious I want or I fear ego. If we don't live for "love" we won't die for it either.
Without understanding of the nature of the world, reality and phenomena, most of us hardly will be able to distinguish between love and infatuation or love and attachment. We normally mix the infatuation with true love in the same way as we cannot separate between love and attachment. We do not only misunderstand them but also don’t know how to develop and move from one to another. To a world that knows nothing loftier than the shakings of craving and attachment, this may seem a loss, but to one who truly experiences the refreshment of wisdom there comes no narrowness but rather letting go of the bonds of fear and self-centeredness. It is the door to true love that embraces its romantic counterpart too. One can romantically love without fear and compulsion, out of a true free will not its conditioned equivalent. How gratifying when affection is given, or received, without a bill for services rendered!
Still more, even under the promising circumstances there is no guarantee that love will be returned in equal measure, or that it will last long, or that it will provide unalloyed joy or even unchanging intensity. When we depend on it entirely for our happiness we must always and constantly dwell in the shadow of pain and suffering, we create our own misery and that of others, however bright our amorous interludes. What if we should lose our heart's support tomorrow? We're okay as long as we have each other, we assure ourselves dreamily. But we will not have each other long. Quarrels, time, distance, changes, or finally death dissolve all unions of friends, lovers, and relatives, plunging the unwary into despair and meaninglessness; and if we have no wisdom we too may go creeping about the lonely streets with our eyes staring hungrily into other eyes and seeing the same hunger there.
Additionally, striving for that which is outside of our true nature should be seen as wasteful. Arbitrarily seeking self-actualization and contentment in another is an attachment based on a craving which will always ultimately end in suffering. This is the basic delusion, ignorance and the cognitive bias I have discussed above in the context of troubadour poetry that stands at the basis and of Chivalric, gynocentric and courtly love. Being disposable as well as suffering under the compassion or empathy gap, which I will be discussing immediately, it mainly hurts men whom the same gynocentric culture does not allow to talk about it. Women suffer too under this system but first at the result of their own doings as well as not at the same degree and extent. Perhaps in this searching one can take one step closer to finding one’s true nature, one’s true calling, one’s true purpose. This is not only absent from the gynocentric concept of love but this true nature whatever it is does not exist for the man. Whereas this true nature is acknowledged for the woman which is not the fleeting memory of the illusory self but it is love, this same insight of the human nature as we have said is not only overlooked in the case of men but denied to them. So, whereas our human true nature is wisdom, compassion and love that must be cultivated over time, the gynocentric misandry is expressed here in the form that on the one hand women have all of this without the need to work on themselves whereas men do not have it at all but are at the mercy and grace of women to obtain it through inflicting oneself pain and subjugation. This is a well-known theistic concept that was taken in Christianity to extremity whereas it naturally developed to extremity in Christian Europe.
We should also never forget: time is so short! The memories are fading away. Truth is a waterfall of moments. Enjoy the breath, flowing in and out ceaselessly like the waves on the shore in timeless perfection. This is the only true reality. Even if you die for your lover, is that not sacrificing something that is not yours to give? In loving you, I love myself, but in loving myself, selfishly I neglect you. On the other hand, in loving myself I love you but loving myself through inflicting pain is not love but masochism thus by hurting myself I hurt you. This is also the basic ignorance misunderstanding the none dual nature of reality which stands at the basis of the Chivalric concept of courtly love. In gynocentric culture and courtly love, women expect men, both personally as well as collectively as a gender, to suffer and harm themselves as slaves for every female whim as well as collectively for all women yet by hurting men they hurt themselves. So, when the love of your life leaves you or if to use the troubadour and courtly love concept is not attainable, how can you not be left empty? And still more, can love leave a wound and why should emptiness leave you bereft?
Likewise, how can real love devastate you when real love is the absence of shallow whims, superficial caprices, delusion, hate (including self-hate), the absence of fiction and misinterpretation, and all real love is the mindful presence and the present? With love, there is emptiness, but we're not feeling empty. Is it actually possible to remove love; can it ever be extinguished or forgotten? If love is the mindful presence, the void of pregnant consciousness, the empty and all-embracing expansiveness, is it possible to withdraw from it, remove from it, and delete it from your consciousness? Is it possible to forget it? This is not a contradiction; it's even not a paradox. Love is simply an experience of being whole: Wisdom says we are nothing; love says we are everything. Between those to our life flows! When we link it to another, we become dependent on that other for the fulfillment or satisfaction of our love fantasy. Chivalric and all types of gynocentric love are not true love. It is ignorance and delusion. True love does not require a vehicle for its fulfillment or expression. Real love is neither demanding nor wanting. Another way to look love is within the context of the reality of life's suffering. The great Hindu sage and poet once wrote:
'I said to the wanting-creature inside me: What is this river you want to cross? There are no travelers on the river-road, and no road. Do you see anyone moving about on that bank, or resting?
There is no river at all, and no boat, and no boatman. There is no tow rope either, and no one to pull it. There is no ground, no sky, no time, no bank, no ford!
And there is no body, and no mind! Do you believe there is some place that will make the soul less thirsty? In that great absence you will find nothing.
Be strong then, and enter into your own body; there you have a solid place for your feet. Think about it carefully! Don't go off somewhere else!
Kabir says this: just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things, and stand firm in that which you are.
That is the essence of true love, not the delusion sold by gynocentrism from the birth of human kind!
Anyway, suffering as a universal human experience can be divided into:
1. (The Suffering of) Suffering
2. (Suffering through) Change
3. (Suffering through) Conditioned States
Let's explore deeper the meaning of Suffering:
1. (The Suffering of) Suffering
As mention in the subtitle this form of suffering is actually the suffering of suffering. It is the one we’re all familiar with: the pain of birth, old age, sickness and death for instance. In romantic terms to expand on it we can say that the discursive from of consciousness as the emanated form of emptiness – the pregnant void of all possibilities - or the potentiation of thoughts and ideas which stems from the same emptiness, fills the universal ether. The delusion that doesn't see the inherent interconnectedness through the discursiveness but falsely concentrated on the dual mind instead on the none duality of emptiness, this immediately creates an existential loneliness, which can never be entirely filled until it is no longer separate through the delusion from the formlessness of the pregnant void or emptiness. This separation is the origin of our feeling of loneliness and even alienation. This is the suffering part of suffering – the separation from our true nature of love, wisdom, compassion and interconnectedness as the emptiness which can be described as the pregnant void. In fact, it is the immediate delusion of a separated self.
2. (Suffering through) Change
This is the suffering of change. When you do get what you want, you can’t hold onto it. Even if things are going great now, it’s just a matter of time. The richest, most successful person in the world will eventually lose it all. Again, in romantic terms, this world of created forms, and as yet uncreated potential is always changing. As we enter it, we change, and eventually pass through it, to the beyond. One thing is certain – the fluid of life is a changing stream.
3. (Suffering through) Conditioned States
This what we call all-pervasive suffering. This is the type of suffering we are most likely not to identify, yet the most enlightening when we do. It’s the general background of anxiety and insecurity that colors even our happiest moments. Deep down, we fear that life doesn’t offer us solid ground and that our very existence is questionable. These doubts are well-founded and in fact they are the kernel, the seed, that offers us through exploration, learning and spiritual growth, a glimpse of wisdom and that later will become the hidden door to our liberation from suffering. Moreover, we are affected by everything around us. Energy created can never be destroyed; it is merely transferred or transformed to evolve into a new form. Thus everything that is affects everything else that is. The spider weaves its web, creating a living matrix of awareness. We experience romantic love within the context of these three aspects of creation. We suffer most when we are in fear and endless desire that we are again afraid to lose. Sometimes the pain can seem insurmountable, we can seem alone in the vast expansive universe.
To sum it up: there are actually three types of suffering. Everything we usually identify as physical and mental suffering—including being separated from those we want to be with, and stuck with those we don’t want to be with! This everything is included in the first type of suffering namely the suffering of suffering. The second type is the suffering due to impermanence: the realization that, although I might be enjoying an ice-cream cone right now, it will soon be finished. The best example is our awareness of death, which haunts our gratitude of life. Knowing that death is inevitable paints a shadow that usually impedes our ability to live fully in the here and now. The third type of suffering is more difficult to understand. It is suffering due to “conditioned states” which is a reference to selflessness. My deepest frustration is caused by my sense of being a self that is separate from the world I am in. This is the deepest and most primal delusion that we later are going to discuss in the context of original fear and desire and how it impacts gender as well as personal romantic relationships.
This sense of separation is illusory—in fact, it is our most dangerous delusion. A modern way to express this truth is that the ego-self has no reality of its own because it is a psychosocial-linguistic construct. This allows for the possibility of a deconstruction and a reconstruction, which is what the spiritual path is about. We are prompted to undertake such a spiritual quest because our lack of reality is normally experienced as an uncomfortable hole or emptiness at our very core. Being a construct, the sense of self is ungrounded and therefore inherently insecure. We feel this problem as a sense of inadequacy, of lack, which is a source of continual frustration because it is never resolved. This the spiritual path that will end our suffering whether we are in a relationship or not and not a masochistic subjugation to female whims and caprices that that will inflict more pain and that the gynocentric culture offers us through courtly love.
In other words, at its core, suffering is an illusion. Moreover, our fear of suffering is often far worse than the suffering itself. To be identified with something outside of yourself, is to invite suffering. Suffering is derived from perceiving a loss. Authentic love is whole, complete and in essence, beyond suffering. The absence of love is suffering. The illusion of loss leads to suffering. When something dies, you don’t lose it, because you never owned it. We suffer most when we are attached to the illusion. True love does not leave a wound when it is lost, because true love can never be lost. Once created, “it” exists forever within the unity of the emptiness of the pregnant void. As the butterfly effect it only alternates on an un-endless continuum of temporarily returning to the emptiness of that void and then being momentarily reappearing again as a form. The sacred emptiness of conversation of love is something beyond a mere notion or discussion; it is alive, filled with the promising possibility of a butterfly about to open its wings for the first time.
Love: ceaselessly searching for the ultimate feeling of completion. That which is searched for exists already within. O lovers, what are you looking for? You already have it. Today, don't wish it was another day. Wish it was today. Then you will realize yourself already blessed. This is true of love: don't wish for something that already is within. For in the final analysis, one cannot fall in love with that which is outside of the self – one's true nature is already love. So falling in love is really just coming back home. Enjoy the paradoxes. And most importantly, keep falling in love!
Exploration of Literature from Arab Spain: Suffering Due to the Absence of the Beloved!
I have described this exact delusion in the paragraph above but let's see it once again in more detail. One manifestation of Saudade occurs when the beloved has taken flight. Gregory B. Kaplan discusses its presence in a selection of Galician-Portuguese poetry from the late Middle Ages and reveals that the literary representation of Saudade shows lovers who have a preference for suffering due the absence of the beloved. These lovers “dedicate their efforts to lament their state; in a certain sense, the Saudade replaces the amorous conquest as the principal theme of the poem”. Kaplan compares these cancionero poems to the literary treaty of courtly love and discusses their many shared features. He indicates their “surrendering to melancholy [as] the distinctive Galician-Portuguese element of courtly love". An emphasis on a type of suffering that generates an extreme psychological impact on the lover to the point at which he no longer seeks remediation is a distinctive feature in these poems.
Furthermore, the tormented lover prefers his suffering to any sort of solution or even when reunion with the absent beloved or another form of remedy is readily available. Throughout hisexposition, Ibn Hazm narrates how separation of paramours creates great suffering in the hearts of the affected lovers. The following excerpt summarizes his awareness on this one particular form of anguish: separation can be caused by a journey and a far removal of dwellings, when there is little certainty of a return, and the lovers cannot be sure of ever meeting again. That is a grave calamity, a dreadful anxiety, a most frightful eventuality, a stubborn sickness: greatest indeed is the ensuing fretfulness, when it is the beloved who goes away (Ibn Hazm 166). Many examples depict paramours who strive to reunite with their estranged beloveds, most of whom, in their attempt to remedy their state of despair, do not exhibit the presence of Saudade. A few amorous accounts, nevertheless, plainly reflect this concept. For example, the lovers in the following passage seem to prefer the act of suffering and reject attempts to lessen their state of agony.
In the following verses, Ibn Hazm expresses the sentiment of guarding the emotional suffering while exemplifying the desire to shun all attempts to ease said suffering for the sake of an absent loved one: "O rare delight, these pains that break; My heart, dear hope, for thy sweet sake! Through all the days, in all my woe, I will not ever let thee go; If any man should dare to say; “Thou shalt forget his love one day”. The only answer I will give Is an eternal negative. The previous verses illustrate the concept of saudade in the lover’s perpetual refusal to accept every possible remedy for his current state of sorrow. Forgetting his absent beloved, if possible, would bring about relief, but this particular lover prefers to remain in a state of grief in place of moving on to the next amorous escapade. The stress of losing his beloved has affected him psychologically to a breaking point. The subject of this suffering appears as the victim of a failed relationship, an absent or departed beloved, or an assortment of other causes and no longer seeks or accepts a cure for such an illness. He no longer desires to assuage the continuous and painful misery brought about by his unrequited love. Suffering develops into the preferred reality of the afflicted lover.
The practice of prolonged suffering physiologically alters the afflicted lover to an extent that he no longer seeks remediation of his suffering. In the following verses, Ibn Hazm depicts a lover who prefers to see his lover only in his subconscious thoughts and his dreams: "I am too jealous, love, to let; My eyes alight upon thee yet; And fear to hold thee overmuch Lest thou be melted by my touch. So by such caution moved, my sweet, I suffer not that we should meet; Intending rather that we keep; Our rendezvous, when I'm asleep. For if I slumber, then my soul; Shall have thee only, have thee whole; No body gross shall come between; Our spirits, subtle and unseen. This spiritual unity; More sweet a thousand fold shall be; More fine, more tender, and more fresh than the hot intercourse of flesh. (188-89). Uniting with the beloved, forgetting her, or seeking another romantic interest logically provide temporary or permanent relief for such a malady. The unconventional behavior in the previous verses contrasts other exhibitions of suffering for the sake of an absent beloved by depicting the afflicted lover as one who chooses dilution or a false reality of union to that of an actual union with his beloved.
The following textual examples of prose and poetry from "The Ring of the Dove" illustrate Ibn Hazm’s philosophies regarding the impact of an unrequited love, an unattainable love, or the absence of the beloved for a variety of reasons: Every lover who is sincere in his affection, if he be barred from union with his beloved either through separation, or as the result of a breaking off, or because or some reason or another he has to conceal his attachment, must necessarily fall in consequence into sickness, wasting away, and emaciation; not infrequently he, is obliged to take to his bed. This is a thing exceedingly prevalent; it is happening all the time. The accidents that befall on account of love are quite different from those maladies, which result from the sudden attack of an illness, and are readily diagnosed by the shrewd physician and the observant physiognomist (197). Additionally, Ibn Hazm counters the possibility of an association of love sickness with other illnesses, as he establishes the unique qualities of this condition. The following poem expresses in great detail the state that results from the profound psychological impact of an absent beloved.
These eight verses express how other men are incapable of understanding the pain of agony of the afflicted lover, a condition only understood by the one experiencing such anguish and by God:
"The doctor says to me
(But he does nothing know),
“Take drugs, dear So-and-so
Thou ailest grievously!”
Yea, no man knows this thing
I suffer from, but I
Do know, and God Most High,
One Lord, Almighty King. (Ibn Hazm 197)
The next few stanzas express the afflicted lover’s incapability to conceal his suffering. His current state is easily recognizable due to its severity and the physical distress placed upon on the lover, as the following verses express:
Can I conceal my woe?
That is made all too plain
By my deep groans of pain,
My throbbing head bent low?
My face grief's signs are seen
Most clearly there, in faith;
My body-that poor wraith,
So wasted and so lean.
And naught can ever be
More sure, more free of doubt,
Than when signs point it out
Incontrovertibly. (Ibn Hazm 197)
As the previous verses illustrate, an absent beloved not only brings about emotional effects but also physical issues. Further on in the poem, a physician diagnoses his ailment as melancholy, as the following verses describe:
"He said, “Ha, I discern
Thy nerves are overwrought;
All jumpy, deep in thought
Thou art, and taciturn.
I therefore speculate
Be careful! It is a
Most grave and serious state.” (Ibn Hazm 198)
The previous verses explicitly describe how the state of suffering for the sake of love burdens the afflicted lover. Later, the speaker states how the search for a cure for this illness affects the mental state of the one suffering in such a condition:
“My sickness”, I did say,
“Itself provides my cure;
Aye, such a case, for sure,
Leads mightiest brains astray.
“My proof may be discerned
At once, and visibly:
The branches of a tree
Make roots, when overturned. (Ibn Hazm 198-99)
Ibn Hazm’s words indicate that the suffering for the sake of love is a distinctive malady, whereas there is no other remedy but union with the beloved. Nonetheless, the extreme emotional impact on the lover when his beloved is away for any reason is conspicuous and closely parallels the concept of saudade. Finally, Ibn Hazm provides an extreme example of how the separation of a beloved impacts the lover in the most severe of ways: death. The following example tells the story of a man who is unable to endure the suffering brought about by an absent beloved: "I know a man who came to bid farewell to his beloved upon the day of parting, and found that she was already gone. He paused in her tracks a full hour, passing to and fro over the spot where she had been; then he departed crestfallen, pale, dejected. Within a few days he fell sick and died, God rest his soul! (Ibn Hazm 173)". Clearly, the act of departing, separation, or an absence in any length has a lasting and profound psychological impact on those experiencing a situation of separation. Portuguese poets exemplify this behavior, yet Ibn Hazm provides strikingly similar cases of emotionally distraught lovers yearning for their absent beloveds several centuries prior to the Galician-Portuguese poets.
Original Fear, Original Desire and the Origin of Relationships: A Critique of Ibn Hazm and the Concept of Saudade as an Expression of Misandry!
This is a small passage from Thick Nhat Han's, the great Zen master's book on fear. As it is crucial for the understanding on the origins of misandry in courtly love and especially in the context of loneliness as a result the discursive mind and ego as a self-existing phenomenon, I want to quote it. "Many of us don’t remember this, but at the beginning of our Human Journey, we lived and originated from our mother's womb. We were tiny, living human beings. There were two hearts inside our mother's body: her own heart and our own one. During this time our mother did everything for us. She breathed, ate and drank for us. We were linked to her through the umbilical cord. Oxygen and food came to us through the umbilical cord and we were safe and content inside her protecting womb. It was never to hot or too cold. We rested on a soft cushion made of water. We spent nine months inside the palace. Then the day of our birth arrived. Everything felt different around us and we were thrust into a new environment. We felt cold and hunger for the first time. Sounds were too loud; lights were too bright. For the first time we felt afraid. This is original fear! Additionally, inside the womb we didn’t need to use our lungs but at the moment of our birth someone cut the umbilical cord and we were physically no longer with the mother. Birth was an extremely traumatic and painful time for both the mother and child – we too encountered for the first time the universal experience of human suffering. There was liquid in our lungs. To breath we had to first push out that liquid. We were born and with that birth our fear, specifically that of abandonment, was born and with it the drive to survive. This is original desire"
He continues: "every one of us is afraid sometimes. At the most profound, primal level, we fear being alone. We fear loneliness, being abandoned, growing old, dying and being sick; Thus we also fear being helpless. Sometimes, we main being anxious without knowing why we are afraid. If we practice looking deeply we see that this fear is from the time that we were new born and infants. We see that this fear is the result of the original fear, from the times we were helpless and unable to do anything for our survival. Even though we have grown and became adults that original fear and desire are still alive; And they will be as long as we refuse to acknowledge the truth and spiritually practice to overcome it. Our desire to have a partner is rooted I here". This is the origin of relationships. Thus incorporating a paradox of neither having anything to do with romance, being a false or better said an artificial means although a still a mean for fleeting and deceiving feelings of safety and specially not being able to provide a sense of ending suffering what is true love and how it can be sustained. This we will discuss immediately but first of all let's define why is the romantic gynocentric lobe so intrinsically misandrist in its nature.
First of all, it must be acknowledged the truth that both sexes are suffering at the basic levels of original fear and desire yet based on biology and in terms of evolutionary survival of the species men are the disposable sex whereas the original fears and desires illogically exemplifies and irrationally intensifies those fears and desires. In its most self-deprecating absurdity it is expressed not only as the fear of abandonment but that of disposability which embodied in the male willingness to put women on the pedestal serving them as the salve by denying oneself and one's own basic needs. It is also the origin of the well-known male neurotic barter deal way were they are willing to suffer as such slave by enduring every female whim and caprice. It is most evident in Ibn Hazm's Ring of Dove as well as the troubadour poetry that was formed and modeled after the concepts of Ibn Hazm and Muslim Arab Spain. This goes hand in hand that based on the same biology and evolution although experiencing at the root the same levels of original fear and desire as well as fear of abandonment women do not experience the same level of disposability as it is less devastating hence in those same biological terms men are modeled by evolution not only to please, to appease, to take care of women, to make the happy for their emotional safety but also to physically protect them. So why is it so?
We know that the great achievements of humanity can be traced to the desire of men to impress women so they get the girl as a mate. Although biologically the concept is true in valid in the gynocentric culture it does not only make men through unacknowledged fear dependent on women but it culturally makes them subjugated personally in relationships as well as collectively as a gender. This is the origin of the myth of male power and dominance. As Cinweizu write in his book "Anatomy of Female Power", "conventional modern opinion, as well as the social science consensus, would appear to support the feminist picture. It is conventionally assumed that female power, if it existed, would be wielded by women, through some public system of authority. It is also held, by conventional expert opinion, that matriarchs (who would be the natural wielders of female power) are illusory; and that matriarchy (a system of females wielding authority) does not exist.
He continues: "For instance, The Concise Oxford Dictionary (6th Edition, 1976) defines a matriarch as a "woman corresponding in status to a patriarch (usually jocular)". The venerable compilers of that dictionary add that the word is derived "from Latin mater mother on false analogy of patriarch". Treating the notion as a joke derived on a "false analogy" suggests that matriarchs are illusory, phantom figures. However, powerful matrons, often elderly, who dominate family groups and clans, who are patriarchs in all but their gender, are neither unknown nor rare. Similarly, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, (15th Edition, 1986) matriarchy is a "social system in which familial and political authority is wielded by women". And that repository of conventional knowledge adds that "the consensus among modern anthropologists and sociologists is that a strictly matriarchal society never existed." When a definition will not allow us to acknowledge what is before us, it is flawed. For example, if we defined the sun as a square star, it would then be, strictly speaking, true that there isn't and never has been a sun. But since such a claim flies in the face of our experience, we would have to reject that definition for not capturing the reality, and for misleading us into the absurdity of denying the existence of the sun we can see and point at.
He then writes: " On similar grounds, we would have to reject the conventional definitions of matriarch and matriarchy for flying in the face of the examples cited above. In any case, even if no "strictly matriarchal society" ever existed, that would not imply that female power did not exist. Authority is only one of the many types of power; and the wielding of authority is not necessary for the exercise of many types of power. Power without authority is neither unknown nor rare, as is recognized when it is said that someone is "the power behind the throne". Such obscurantist views from the organs of conventional knowledge suggest that female power has yet to receive the investigation it deserves. Feminist propaganda and conventional knowledge notwithstanding, it seems prima facie odd to claim that women are powerless in society and, in particular, over men what one wants, then women are far from powerless. Women do get, and always did get, what they want - be it riches, or thrones, or the head of John the Baptist, or routine exemption from hardships and risks which their men folk are obliged to endure.
That women operate by methods which often differ from those available to men does not in any way mean that women are bereft of power. If women are not powerless, are they, perhaps, less powerful than men? Some feminists find it in their interest to have the world believe this. And for proof they point to the public structures of political, economic and cultural power, and show that these are almost exclusively occupied by men. But does that prove what they aim to prove? Not at all! All it shows is that in the public structures, which form the domain of male power, women are not well represented. If this under-representation is to prove that women are less powerful than men, it would need to be also true that those public structures exhaust the modes and centers of power in society. Alas, for feminist claims, they do not; for, there, indeed are other modes and centers of power which women monopolize. In those centers, women control scarce resources, commodities and opportunities; and they distribute them. They exercise power through education, propaganda, directives, suggestions, rewards and punishments. They wield instruments of persuasion and coercion.
Matriarchs (who wield all power) and matriarchy (an organized structure or institution for the exercise of all power) may not exist but gynocentrism which shows such dynamics is indeed found and ground in reality. As Chinweizu writes: "the power they wield is neither illusory nor a joke. Furthermore, in human society, it is not male power but female power which is supreme. Or rather, to change the imagery, however great male power may be, it is to female power what that one-seventh of an iceberg which is visible above water is to the six-sevenths which lies below the water line. As we shall see, the male modes of power are actually tributary to the female modes, in as much as the fruits of male power are poured at: the feet of women through the workings of female power. That men seek wealth, power, status and fame for the love of women is widely attested to by knowledgeable commentators. According to Esther Vilar:
"Man's work is only done with woman in view'
And from his studies of the human psyche, Sigmund Freud reports:
"... in the greater number of ambitious day-dreams, too, we can discover a woman in some corner, for whom the dreamer performs all his heroic deeds and at whose feet all his triumphs are to be laid"
From his own experience, Aristotle Onassis, an ambitious and very successful businessman of this 20th century, confirms this when he declared:
"If women didn't exist all the money in the world would have no meaning".
Moreover, male preoccupation with the material, economic and financial security, power, fame and status in order to win the love of women is quite natural, being rooted in the animal origins of humanity. As Robert Ardrey reports:
"It would be unreasonable, in the light of our new knowledge of animal behavior to conclude that feminine attraction for wealth and rank, and masculine preoccupation with fortune and power and fame are human aberrations"
So, if the natural goal of male power is to pay tribute to women, then male power is naturally tributary to female power. If, however powerful a man may be, his power is used to serve the women in his life, that would make dubious the notion that men are masters over women. Because every man has as boss his wife, or his mother, or some other woman in his life, men may rule the world, but women rule the men who rule the world. Thus, contrary to appearances, woman is boss, the overall boss, of the world. To understand why woman rules man, we need to examine female power and how it operates on men which I'm doing in other chapter in my book and research
Back to original fear and desire as the origin of relationships, to understand it even on a deeper level we must consider yet another very important term or concept in the gender studies for men. This is the concept of the compassion gap which is one of the most fundamental principles in here. Ignoring the male suffering and worse the contempt for it, finds nothing but its roots in this compassion or empathy gap. The source of the compassion gap (as well as the need for compassion) is biological and crucial in evolutionary terms for survival. It's not because women are bad or do not like their men or boys but they must be aware of the phenomenon. In addition, it is important to remember that at least in the past four, five or six decades we have spoken and still are openly talking about the problems of women and the dark side of men, but today there is a need to balance the gender discourse and start talking about the difficulties of men and the dark side of women. The silencing of the discourse and the relating masculine position in gender politics and the public discourse, as well as the inability or refusal to bring the male suffering to public discussion also stems from the compassion gap where there is an urgent need to change it. Understanding the principles of the compassion gap is so crucial in the struggle for the rights of men that it can be said that without its implementation, nothing will be achieved in the struggle for the rights of men. In fact, its understanding is a critical element in changing public discourse and social consciousness. Anyway, here how it works.
First, we must remember that compassion is a survival tool in humans. Babies survive because of their parents' compassion. Without it they will not survive. Parents can at any time be selfish to abandon them, but they do not do so out of compassion for their offspring. It is tightly related to the original fear and desire that I have explained above. Anyway, after the babies come women in terms of evolutionary importance. It is because they give life and are critical to the survival of the human species. Therefore, we are all more compassionate towards women - women as well as men. A woman would cry and a man would melt. A man would cry and everyone would go down on him. The man in the food chain of compassion is the last one because he is the least important for evolutionary survival. This is the original compassion gap where the more extreme form of male disposability deviates from the original human fear of loneliness and abandonment. I will now explain why.
There is another crucial concept here at play. This concept is called neoteny and the meaning is simple. As the organism appears to be more vulnerable and young, it creates compassion and a need to protect it. Among other things, the role of the man on the level of courtly love and chivalry comes from here. It is here that once again all of the above concepts deviate into misandry as they also exploit the disposability of men. They make and to turn him into a slave and a disposable utility of women. As standing opposed to biological – evolutionary disposability, this is the origin of the social, societal and cultural expression of the disposable man as a mere slave of a woman (who was put on a pedestal). That is also the throwaway man, where by evolutionarily terms the man can be replaced and thrown away at any time and whenever he has finished his job to protect, to provide and to procreate for women so he is also the last in the food chain of compassion. Why? Consider the hypothetical situation of two tribes going to war. Most (fertile) women survived but only few men. One man can still get a lot of women pregnant, if they wish so, and the tribe will survive. Conversely, when only few women survive and many men, there will not be enough women meaning womb for all men. The tribe will not survive. Evolutionally the uterus is more valuable than sperm. It is purely mathematical calculation of evolutionary survival. Today such thinking seems crude in our eyes, but evolution as well as physical and biological systems do not work in the following way, but are designed to maximize our ability to survive.
If so and in order to understand the principles explained above we must concentrate on a number of other principles, the first of which is neoteny. Neoteny is a biological phenomenon in which an organism's detail appears young but shows signs of sexual maturity. Women are neotenic with regard to men and are more similar to children in proportion to their body size, the soft and delicate skin tone, the fragile and round body structure, the tone of voice and many other features. One of the reasons for the evolution of neoteny in humans on the psychological level, based on the greater physical power of a man is to develop the need to protect and care for the woman at the level of the instincts. This is also reflected in the traditional roles that have been practiced throughout the history of the sexes and have been in complete harmony with our nature as human beings. This is also the secret of the sexual attraction of men to women who preserve, nurture, and emphasize this feminine aspect of neoteny and not the woman who in appearance and characteristics resembles a man. Incidentally, not in the sexual aspect of this phenomenon, it is possible to identify the activity and existence of the phenomenon of neoteny not only in relations between men and women but also between men and women and their offspring. The importance of neoteny at the level of infants is to make his parents develop empathy for the baby and to take care of all his needs, to protect him physically and in a broader sense to care for his mental health, happiness and well-being. By the way, neoteny can be found even in animals too. The bottom line is that that which motivates men in regard to women is no different from what drives parents with children: to take care of all the woman's needs, protect her physically and make her happy. It is not the feminist incitement and ignorance about the need to control, oppress, and exploit women and this stands at the basis of Chinwezu's exploration and insight.
So at the end of our long discourse naturally arise the question, what constitutes true Love? In fact, there are four elements. The first element is loving kindness, both for oneself and the partner, which means the capacity to co-mutually offer each other happiness. In romantic love, if you are not able to help the other person to be happy, that is not true love. You should train yourself to be able to offer happiness to yourself and to the other person. Without that, both will suffer. Thus the concept both of Saudade, Ibn Hazm's love philosophy as well as the troubadour's courtly love is mere delusion which inescapably leads to male suffering and misandry. The second element of true love is compassion. Again, both self-compassion as well as to others. Compassion is the kind of energy that can help remove suffering and helps transform suffering in yourself and the other person. If you cannot transform and take care of the suffering in you and in the other person, that is not true love as you vice versa only create more suffering for yourself and your beloved one. That is why compassion in a true romantic relationship should be cultivated by both people. Romantic or not romantic, that is not what is important. What is important is if it is true love or not true love.
Again, also in this aspect courtly love based on the concepts of Saudade and those resulting from the Muslim Arab heritage of pain are mere delusions. The third element of true love is joy – again both partners. If you make the other person cry all the time and you cry all the time, that is not true love, regardless if it is romantic or not romantic. Again, courtly love and all of its sources are mere ignorance and delusion. The fourth element of true love is inclusiveness. This means that you do not exclude. His suffering is your suffering, her happiness is your happiness and vice versa. There is no individual suffering anymore. In true love, there is the element of nondiscrimination, no separation. In that spirit, you cannot say, “That’s your problem!” No, your problem is my problem. My suffering is your suffering. This is the fourth element of true love which is completely lacking in Saudade, the Muslim Arab heritage of Spain as well as courtly love and gynocentric Chivalry. If romantic love has these four elements, it can bring a lot of happiness. Thus our discourse is not aimed at disparaging, denying the idea of true love or saying anything negative about it. The critique is aimed at the gynocentric courtly love and its sources. Romantic love, if you are successful, will cultivate a lot of loving kindness and compassion. Happiness becomes limitless – both for men as well as women.
Sources and References:
-) Ibn Hazm: An Islamic Source of Courtly Love - Daniel Nathan Hickman
University of Tennessee, Hickman, Daniel Nathan, "Ibn Hazm: An Islamic Source of Courtly Love. " PhD diss., University of Tennessee, 2014.
This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Graduate School at Trace
-) Anatomy of Female Power – Chinweizu
-) Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm - Thich Nhat Hanh
-) The Three Poisons Institutionalized – David Loy
-) Does Buddhism Support Romantic Love - Thich Nhat Hanh
-) Nothing Higher to Live - Bhikkhu Nyanasobhan