by Anthony M. Ludovici



THE reader will remember that in Chapter II. I said I was leaving the explanation, or interpretation, of Sub-division IV of the Prometheus myth to another chapter of this book. I now propose to deal with this before proceeding to record my conclusions.

Subdivision IV consisted of Pandora's part in the severe punishment which Zeus is said to have administered to mankind, or mortals, for their complicity in the theft of fire perpetrated by their champion Prometheus; and it contains the story of Pandora's connection with Epimetheus, and her lifting of the lid from the vessel in which the foresight of Prometheus had concealed all the evils that might torment mortals on earth. With the removal of the lid from the vessel, diseases and suffering of every kind issued forth to harass humanity.

In the Garden of Eden parallel to this myth, which, as I have pointed out, is one of the alternative Semitic accounts of the origin of evil, it is Eve who, after having been tempted by the devil, in the form of a serpent, brings God's wrath upon mankind by herself eating, and giving "also unto her husband with her" to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

In both myths a woman is thus intimately associated with the events which lead to the close of a Golden Age, and. to the advent of the era of trouble, disease and suffering that followed. In both myths it is a woman specially sent by the Deity; and in one case – in the Semitic myth – as there is no account of any other woman, Eve, He'va, or more properly Khamwalih, is not only a particular woman, she is Woman in general.

What are we to conclude from this prehistoric, – nay, primeval association of woman with evil, or with the cause of evil?

To begin with, we must banish from our minds all idea of the modern and wholly gratuitous connection between woman and evil as the result of the shame or guilt supposed to attach to sex; because this shame or guilt in regard to sex is entirely the creation of later, or at least recent stupidity. Sexual intercourse is only associated with shame and guilt when life has become so hopelessly muddled owing to the prevalence and power of the Promethean type, that the relation of the sexes really has, in a sufficient number of cases to establish a tradition, developed a loathsome and unsavoury side.

It would be quite wrong, however, to ascribe to primeval man stupidities of which only recent man has been guilty.

We may feel perfectly satisfied, therefore, that this association of woman with evil, originally had nothing whatever to do with the act of procreation, or with any notion or function connected with the genitalia.

Has it perhaps this meaning: that the best men are sometimes diverted from their highest and most important pursuits by the lure of beautiful women, – that the love of the sexes has therefore a hindering or retarding influence upon the achievements of the highest men, and that women, particularly the more highly captivating among them, like Pandora, are connected with evil in this manner?

This also will hardly do, because the best men never are and never have been diverted from their highest pursuits by any woman, however attractive. The Mark Antonys of this world are by no means the highest men. The best men are the long-headed men, resembling the Cro-Magnons, and these, as I have already pointed out, are Dionysians. They master women; women do not master or even influence them. Consequently it is impossible to associate women with evil owing to the deleterious power they exercise over the careers of the best men. They have no power, either good or evil, over the best men in any case.

Here, however, it is possible that we have a clue which may lead us in the proper direction.

Women, as I say, have no power over the best men. The best men may use them, may protect and cherish them, may and do even understand them very much better than their brothers; but they never yield to them either body or soul. They do not believe in giving women chivalry so much as giving them children.

But women are covetous of petty power even over men. Being directed chiefly in their actions, by vanity, the lust of petty power to no purpose save self-gratification is one, of their principal passions; it overshadows all the others; it controls their lives. Their very mother-hood, with all its alleged "noble" virtues, is simply the gratification of their petty love of power; but in this sphere, since it subserves the self-preservative interest of the race, it is, when held in proper check, a quite useful race characteristic.(1)

Hence, women are not consciously very much attracted to the best men, and never have been. They see in the best men no chance of exercising petty power, and since they have no senses capable of apprehending the greatness of the best men, the latter have literally no lure for them. Napoleon was never heartily loved by any woman. Josephine never loved him, and Marie Thèrése left him in the hour of his greatest sorrow for a little cock-sparrow-hearted Austrian officer. The only women who ever love great men are perhaps their mothers; but this again requires explanation.

In other words, as I have always maintained in the teeth of the most inflexible opposition, even on the part of my male friends, the characteristic which is chiefly female, which in fact is as essentially female as the soprano, mezzo, and contralto voices, and which, though frequently encountered in modern men, is not typical of the male sex, is lack of taste. Woman has bad taste, or no taste whatever.

The mother's instinct, which is the lust of petty power, thus frequently turns with greater affection and attachment to the crippled than to the well-constituted child, to the invalid than to the healthy offspring, to the creature that is, in some way physiologically botched, than to the perfect specimen. Why? – Obviously because the imperfect child will always be more helpless, and helplessness makes the strongest appeal to the lust for petty power.

That is why the Romans wisely left it to the father to decide which of his children should survive and which should be suppressed; because they knew that women having no taste and being guided only by what most gratified their lust of petty power, could not be trusted to make such a decision wisely.

Who has not heard mothers exclaim, time and again, that it was while their offspring were babies that they liked them best? This predilection for helpless, speechless, dribbling and babbling infants, sounds inexplicable and unaccountable from any standpoint which has taste for its basis. For older children are obviously more beautiful, more elegantly proportioned, more intelligible, more interesting. We must remember, however, that these qualities constitute appeals to taste, with which woman constitutionally has no concern whatsoever. Her one repeated unconscious question is always: What best gratifies my vanity and my lust of petty power? And the reply to that question in respect to the family is, obviously, the helpless infant. The helpless infant therefore is her choice.(2)

Now this fundamental lack of taste in women, which can be observed every day, in every detail of her life, – she has not even succeeded in being the creator of her own fashions in clothes, this is all done by men, – is not dangerous provided women remain under proper control. It only becomes a social menace when she either ceases from being controlled, or is actually in a position to make her influence felt outside the home.(3)

Seeing that she becomes associated with a decent man only by accident; for as a rule when a woman is married to a decent man you may be certain that it is he who married her, and not vice versâ; the chances of her being properly controlled, even in her own home, in an age like the present, which is full to overflowing with Promethean men, are unfortunately very remote indeed.

And that is why, when the world is ruled chiefly by Promethean men, as it is at present – men who neither understand woman nor are able to master her(4) – the badness of women's taste, or their lack of taste, becomes a genuine and universal peril.

The chief and worst consequences, however, of woman's lack of taste is that she will always tend to consort with the most undesirable kind of man, and thus rapidly reduces the value of human stock.

She tends to consort with the most undesirable kind of man for two reasons:–
     (a) As already stated, her lack of taste.
     (b) Her lust of petty power, which tends to make her prefer (quite erroneously, even from the standpoint of her own happiness) the Promethean type of man before the Dionysian, because she can master the former and because he is the best worshipper.

When once she becomes entirely dependent upon the Dionysian man, or becomes adapted to the form of society he develops, she realises that he makes her happier, healthier and more contented than the Promethean; but to her conscious discrimination the promise of happiness with the Promethean man, who, as we have seen, cannot master, and does not even understand her, seems to be more immediate and more certain.(5)

Woman, however, has not got a brain very much superior to the boy-scout. The boy-scout man, the Promethean, therefore likes the things that she likes: speed, classification, pretty and useless baubles, petty complications of life that attract notice – all those things which minister to vanity, such as badges of honour, uniforms, parade in general, exciting music, pleasure for pleasure's sake, etc., etc. Like the Promethean man, woman too has long believed in "Progress." She really believes, as does the boy-scout mind, that because we have motor-cars and margarine – not to speak of under-ground tubes and tuberculosis – we must be greater and better than the Cro-Magnons. And this belief confirms her faith in the Promethean type.

In Eve and Pandora, therefore, we have the first fatal instances of woman's tastelessness. Eve becomes an easy prey to the Devil; Pandora goes over to the Titans. I have already identified Satan, or the Devil, with the Archetype of Promethean men; while we also know that Epimetheus and Prometheus with both of whom Pandora became associated, belonged to the most unhappy results of the cross between the Cro-Magnons and the remote ancestors of the ancient Greeks. But Adam, too, was of the Promethean type. He allowed himself to be influenced by a woman. And see how deeply the Cro-Magnon, the Dionysian, – that is to say, the man whom I believe to have been the original of the god of the Jews and Christians,(6) – despised him for it!

"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,"(7) – that constitutes the burden of the Christian god's rebuke to Adam: he hearkened unto the voice of his wife.

And all the Promethean men, ever since the days when the gods walked the earth, have always hearkened unto the voice of their wives.

"Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife," says the indignant and wise old Cro-Magnon, "and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life."

This most excellent remonstrance is probably the earliest known record of the profound disdain which the Dionysian type has always felt for the Promethean.

In both cases, then, in the case of Eve as well as in that of Pandora, we find the first woman, or prehistoric woman, or woman in general, exhibiting atrociously bad taste, and associating with the Promethean type. And these two myths are probably among the most ancient and most important in the world.

This is significant enough, particularly as the consequences of the association proved so fatal to mankind. Is it possible, then, that this is the lesson the myths conceal? Is it possible that it is in woman's total lack of taste that her connection with evil really resides, and that this lack of taste is demonstrated in each myth by her readiness to associate with the most undesirable kind of man and to influence him?

Personally, I have no hesitation in expressing conviction that both these questions may be confidently answered in the affirmative. Women's total lack of taste is the greatest danger to mankind. It is the greatest evil of all; because it is a continuous pull downwards which wears out by steady attrition, by slow and persistent corruption, without either rest or respite.

It cannot be repeated too often, however, that it is dangerous only when Promethean men are in the majority, – that is to say, in the, heart of a Promethean civilisation. When and where Dionysian men prevail, it is not felt, because women have no power to express their taste deleteriously under the rule of Dionysian men.

At the present day, therefore, when Promethean men constitute the vast majority of our populations all over the world, woman's lack of taste is a genuine menace not only to our general health, but even to our chances of survival. There is at present no counter-check to meet and overcome it, no neutraliser or antidote. Added to the bewildering muddle already created by Promethean men, it constitutes one more among the many forces which are steadily making for degeneration, chaos and decay. Nor is the gravity of the situation alleviated by the fact that women are now not only in an immense majority, but also that their conceit, which has been so much fortified by their encountering only boy-scout or Promethean men – with whom they can truthfully claim to be equal – renders them too impudent to be accessible to teaching or to be patient under control.

It was too readily overlooked, when women claimed to be the equals of men, that the horror of the situation did not lie in the nature of the claim, but in its undeniable validity. At the present day, men have reached such a low stage in their gradual decline, the line of demarcation between male and female occupations is so faint, so indistinguishable in parts, and consequently the line of demarcation between male and female capacity is so much blurred, that there is unfortunately no reply to this claim on woman's part. They are the equals of modern men. Instead, however, of this being a subject of rejoicing, it ought, even in these degenerate days, to be a cause of lamentation also among the women themselves. Because, as in the days preceding the advent of Dionysus, they are the greatest sufferers from all this degeneration of men.

Thus again, even in this sphere, the conflict is seen to be between Dionysus and Prometheus, – the artist(8) who can master his female and the engineer whose female masters him; and unless the Dionysians realise the gravity of the situation very speedily, and brace themselves for a stupendous effort, there will be an end not only to all higher hopes, but also to all higher possibilities.

In any case a revival of the attitude towards women which is outlined in this chapter is not likely to occur in America or England, for in no country of the world have Prometheans multiplied more abundantly, and entrenched themselves more securely, than they have in England and her old Transatlantic colony; in no country in the world are Dionysian men less plentiful than they are in these two English-speaking countries; in no country of the world have women been more grossly, more ludicrously misunderstood than they have in these two homes of the Puritan and Nonconformist; and, consequently, in no country in the world have women more power than they have in the United States and England.

The saddest and most depressing aspect of the whole question, however, is this, that women, having no taste, no antennæ, no organ of tasteful apprehension are so blind to their own best interests, and so besotted by their increasing command of those things which stimulate their vanity, that they prefer to listen, to follow, and to applaud a henpecked Promethean like John Stuart Mill, than pocket their vanity and remember their place when they are told that it is their inveterate bad taste, their complete and utter lack of any organ of taste, which is the hidden meaning of the myths of Pandora and Eve.

But women are not to blame. They can do little in helping to bring about the reforms which must come if degeneration and chaos are to be arrested. They are, as we have seen, by nature dependent for their good and evil upon the type of man with whom they have to deal. The only hope, as ever, is a multiplication of Dionysian men and methods, and the control and subordination of the Promethean type.

To suppose, for instance, that the matter could be settled by teaching women to mate only with the Dionysian man, is utterly mistaken. No reform can come of teaching women anything.


(1) The fundamental mistake of certain modern philosophers is to suppose that the altruistic sentiments of mankind arose out of the maternal instincts. A more gross misunderstanding of the maternal instinct could, of course, not be conceived.

(2) Woman's preference for lap-dogs is explained in the same way. Larger dogs are independent; they run hither and thither, and try, at least, to master their own destiny. Lap-dogs, on the other hand can be fondled; they can be held, clasped, pressed, squeezed, entirely, and thoroughly mastered (physically only, for no woman has ever been known to make a dog obey), and they can be easily lifted from the floor.

(3) It is also a menace inside the home, of course; but there it is at least limited in extent.

(4) The extent to which women's views of life – or the tasteless views of life – prevail today, owing to female influence over Promethean men, is shown by the increase of disease and ugliness, the growing care of the physiologically botched, etc.

(5) The reader may think, in view of all I have said, that it is hard to account for the attitude of the women over the cult of Dionysus. In this case, however, the benefits derived from acclaiming and following a Dionysian man were immediately obvious and tangible. They may even have constituted a promise from Dionysus himself. In any case, the objection is not serious, since the women did not actually select Dionysus from among other men. He came among them as a teacher, a saviour, whose doctrine proved their salvation.

(6) I do not mean that Zeus and the god of the Jews and Christians were one and the same person. I mean only that they probably belonged to the same race.

(7) Gen. iii. 17.

(8) The word artist here should be accepted with caution. It means a very definite thing, carefully defined in the pages of my Defence of Aristocracy. It does not mean every tinpot dauber or musician who claims the title; for many of these are simply neurotic Prometheans who haven't the energy to enter Armstrong, Whitworth or Vickers' workshops.