Die Eier

April 28, 2007 § 5 Comments

Inspired by the delightful Miss Susie Q, I decided that I would finally read Rilke.  Yes, Rilke.  So far, this is my favourite bit:

And perhaps the sexes are more akin than people think, and the great renewal of the world will perhaps consist in one phenomenon: that man and woman, freed from all mistaken feelings and aversions, will seek each other not as opposites but as brother and sister, as neighbors, and will unite as human beings, in order to bear in common, simply, earnestly, and patiently, the heavy sex that has been laid upon them.

Not at all bad for 1903, eh?

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§ 5 Responses to Die Eier

  • methesequel says:

    Sounds positively screwtopian. :)

  • Unifying equality — a utopiate we rarely inhale…

  • “… in order to bear in common, simply, earnestly, and patiently, the heavy sex that has been laid upon them.”

    Lovely. (Really.)

    Also: interestingly Catholic. The sentiment that burdens are best borne in common. Recognition of the heavy burdens of the fllesh, omitting the joys. (Perhaps the joys are so oppressively obvious as not to require mentioning.)

    I find Catholic thought about how to live thoughtfully together the most beautiful and intuitively familiar, at least the way it’s popularly presented. I even love Catholic thought about family planning, though I find it wildly impractical and idealistic and hypocritical and heterocentric, and though I recognise that the translation into practice of this particular Catholic thinking has (rightly) been the fuel of a great deal of anger.

    But yes, burdens are best borne in common. Something that our idealistic American thinking doesn’t pay much attention to, convinced as we are that all we need is to believe in ourselves and we will overcome all. Or at least, that the hope contained in all lives is what must be identified and focussed on, leaving the burdens of the present to fall away of themselves. The burden that cannot be dispensed with does not appear in American thought. (I find it almost imposssible to watch many movies made off this continent, because I need to see the *hope,* even if that just means people imagining what hope would look like if it existed.)

    Taking Rilke’s paragraph apart though, can men and women come together as equals in the absence of birth control? Or must we recognise the dependence and helplessness of women?

    In the presence of birth control, is sex such a heavy burden that the joys cannot also be shared?

  • Vila H. says:

    In the presence of birth control, is sex such a heavy burden that the joys cannot also be shared?

    One would hope not. ;) I do think that birth control is a necessary condition of an egalitarian heterosexual relationship, and that its acceptance within a society tells us a great deal about what its gender relations look like, to say nothing of its take on human sexuality. (For anyone interested in a quick historical primer, you can find one here.)

    I’ll admit, I’m tempted to misread Rilke’s letter slightly and to interpret the burden he speaks of as gender inequality in all of its forms. To put it another way, I often think that the greatest challenge that heterosexual partners face is to love through and despite the power relations that permeate them both. In this sense, sex is difficult (“serious,” as Rilke puts it), and yet we are compelled by it just the same.

    Yep, it’s definitely spring… :)

  • […] about Montreal « Die Eier Distractions, distractions April 30th, 2007 From screwtopian fantasy to the depths of the mundane: under a waxing moon, a distracted woman turns her attention to her […]

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