Mary Daly, if you don’t know, was something called a “radical feminist theologian”. That means, to simplyfy the matter , that there were a lot of things she either did not any longer believe in, any longer accept or currently hated. (I like the typo above. It reminds me of some of the re-spelling of words that takes place among folks who are trying to do away with things; folks who think that dreaming up new words will replace the stuff they don’t want to think about anymore; folks like Mary Daly.) Broadly speaking the stuff she didn’t believe in, no longer accepted and currently hated broke itself down to, well, umm, life as it is currently lived. Following this is a brief excerpt from a rather long article/interview with her in something called “Enlightenment Next”. (The complete article is here: http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j16/daly.asp?page=1.) She gives some hints in the article of why she’s such a hater, and what she’d like to replace everything with.
I’ve read the article, and wish, in a way, I hadn’t done so. The reporter, whose introduction breathlessly characterizes Daly as “..(O)ne of the most revered visionaries of the contemporary women’s liberation movement..” eventually presents us with a woman whose own words finally describe a common scold, a harridan. Of course the now dead Daly would be smiling from wherever she may now be…if she is allowed to smile in such a place…at this description. I think that she would agree that I am right.
Surprisingly enough, as I read her answers early on in the interview I found one or two things with which I could agree; her desire, I suppose, for a more tender relationship between us and this planet, the interrelatedness of all life, the bond between matter and spirit. I say I could agree with these things if they, in her system at least, did not seem to be all that there is.
Well, not exactly all. The former Dr. Daly’s system, and I think she would take exception with the word system as being too patriarchal, includes doing away with men. How that comes about, and what happens after that is not discussed in the interview. But as I read on, I couldn’t help getting a cold chill down my spine.
Daly, you see, aside from being a hag as she called herself, is someone who preached a lot of violence. She called for a revolution, and not just one of ideas and conceptions…(could that be a pun?). One of her books I have learned is some kind of utopic exercise about a republic (?) of women, a place full of latter day Amazons, a continent all their own where men are forbidden, or only a few allowed. The idea may be fertile soil for a million tasteless jokes, but the chilling thing is that the lady was serious.
“Nonsense,” you say. “Mary Daly was a triple Ph.D., a genuine intellect, an envelope pusher for sure, but not a whacko.”
The parallels between her writings and those of another forward thinking rebel of the recent past have me wondering just how crazy she was. Of course, hindsight is everything in matters like this and fodder for a thousand scholarly careers. Why the journals are full of studies of the several forms of madness theorized to have afflicted Adolf Hitler; things any cab driver could have told anyone interested enough to ask. And all he wanted to do was get rid of Jews and priests, gypsies, homosexuals, non-aryans and the aged, insane and feeble; and build a place for his kind of people on a continent of their own. At least there would have been left a means of carrying on the species.
Oh, she also hated religion and priests. And God. God was unnecessary since, somehow, all women are in touch with all “Be-ing” (her term). That may be the reason why men are not needed, or wanted, or something in Daly’s new-niverse. (Hey, once you get the hang of this neo-logism thing it becomes easy.)
Well, she’s no longer around, but she left a lot of damage and wreckage behind her; like Hitler did. Some of the things, most of them, were the minds and souls of young children who listened to her and believed the things she was saying were true actually were true, even when she said that if they weren’t true , well, we had a right to make them up since mean men (patriarchs) had destroyed all traces of them from the face of the earth. I refer specifically to writings and statements of hers which suggest that if there wasn’t there should have been some kind of original matriarchical society; and that since we don’t know we may safely conclude that men destroyed it and the notion, therefore making it quite alright to re-install it today. A lot of the rest of her damage may be called “collateral”; the damage of lives ended before they began.
Hitler and Joey Goebbels were very good at this kind of stuff, too.
Down becomes up. Nothing becomes something, and truth is the latest idea that pops into one’s head. Well, why not, if the only thing that matters is “Be-ing”.
I am saddened by the death of Mary the girl from upstate New York, a girl from what some say was a normal working class Irish-Catholic family. She was pretty smart, perhaps too smart for herself. She ended up, I think, having a decades long temper tantrum. Granted she may have had an awful lot to be mad about, but one does wish she learned to moderate her passion. Wild anger does no one any good, we have enough male examples of that around. The other sadness associated with her life is that she was allowed to “act out” for so long in a place of honor and respect; the front of a classroom.
What I think of now are the words of Genesis: “In His own image He created them, male and female he created them.”
She would spit. Is trua mor!
WIE: In Quintessence, your idyllic continent is inhabited by women only, but the rest of the world is inhabited by women and men.
MD: I didn’t say how many men were there.
WIE: Which brings us to another question I wanted to ask you. Sally Miller Gearhart, in her article “The Future—If There Is One—Is Female” writes: “At least three further requirements supplement the strategies of environmentalists if we were to create and preserve a less violent world. 1) Every culture must begin to affirm the female future. 2) Species responsibility must be returned to women in every culture. 3) The proportion of men must be reduced to and maintained at approximately ten percent of the human race.” What do you think about this statement?
MD: I think it’s not a bad idea at all. If life is to survive on this planet, there must be a decontamination of the Earth. I think this will be accompanied by an evolutionary process that will result in a drastic reduction of the population of males. People are afraid to say that kind of stuff anymore.
WIE: Yes. I find myself now thinking that’s a bit shocking.
MD: Well, it’s shocking that it would be shocking.
WIE: So it doesn’t sound like your vision of a separate nation for women is something you see as an interim stage that would eventually lead to men and women living together in true equality.
MD: No. That’s a very old question. I answered that to audiences twenty-five, thirty years ago. I just don’t think that way. See, right now, I would be totally joyous to have a great community of women—whether men are somewhere out on the periphery or not. I don’t have this goal of: “Oh, then we can all get together again!” That doesn’t seem to be a very promising future. So why would I think about it? I think it’s pretty evident that men are not central to my thought.