serene mistwood wrote:
If the comparison is accurate would that make industrialisation the lessening of men?
I think at some primeval hunter level yes. Norman using the Priest Kings to withhold science and technological advances is certainly in agreement with Nietzches belief that that science and knowledge causes the loss of, "man's belief in his dignity, his uniqueness, and his irreplaceability in the scheme of the universe".
That is a very interesting question: what is the root that made our world stray away from the male-dominated civilization that has existed, in the West at least, for millennia, until fairly recently?
Technology? Industrial revolution? It could very well be so, but exactly what is the logical relationship between the technological progress and the downfall of male domination? I could simply suggest a few quick hypothesis:1. Armament technology:
until the late 19th century, the use of "weapons of mass destruction" was unknown and it seems that once bomber planes, tanks, submarines, etc. started to appear, conflicts, and especially the World Wars involved ever-increasing manpower. As a result, while men went to the battlefront, and incidentally got killed, women stayed at home and took over the business that was held by men until then. This is pretty much what happened, at least in Europe, during WW1.2. Birth-control technology:
before the 20th century, birth control techniques were rather haphazard. Women were kept at home and in a relative state of submission / seclusion, not only because they had very large families (having more than five children was not uncommon), but also because they were supposed to have sexual intercourse with their husbands only (the contrary was not always true though), in order to make sure the children were not of bastard origin. Since the democratization of the contraceptive pill and other such techniques, women have had more leeway in choosing / changing their sexual partners and in getting their own means of subsistence.
The consequence of these two factors, at least, are that women, around a century ago, shook their yoke while the men were fighting, and, having fewer children to attend to, started to earn their own lives, thus becoming independent.3.
This, in turn, led to a third breakthrough, not so much linked to technology, this time. The moral "revolution" of the late 1960's
. This was all about, not so much "forgetting" the old traditions, but rather opposing them as an oppressing paradigm. The patriarchal structure of the Western culture tumbled, and it had consequences within most social contexts (family, business, etc.). This came along with the sexual revolution / liberation and the feminist movement.
Oddly enough, Norman's novel appeared in the midst of this, with a blend of protest against the armament escalation of the Cold War (the Priest King's limitation on technology) and a return to the previous model of man-dominated society (the whole anti-feminist Gorean theme of women's submission). Added to this, the theme of women's sexual slavery, available to all men's use and the use of slave wine
(as a fictional substitute for the pill), was, oddly enough, along the lines of the sexual liberation advocated by the May 68's revolution. In the end, it is as if Norman, out of the three factors that shaped our world, only picked one and left the others aside, creating a fiction from these premises.
Now, is Norman extolling the virtue of a world that has collapsed? I would think so. Is this fading world a "natural order" towards which we should turn again? However fond I might be of the Gorean theme, I am always suspicious, when the "natural order" argument is promoted (as Norman does here and there) as the founding ground of an ideology. This sounds to me like a conceptual tour de force
or just begging the question…