The reality of love: Sexual Prejudice

Lou Andreas Salomé

In the previous part of the series we evaluated Nietzsche’s view of the animal instinct involved in love. He tends to portray the idea of love as nothing but basic instincts of each and every human being which includes greed, ego, possession and love. In this part we would interpret the sexual prejudices in the concept of erotic love as stated by Friedrich Nietzsche. His interpretations were greatly moulded by Nietzsche’s own experiences when he fell in love with “Lou Andreas Salomé”. It had a devastating effect on his life because it ended in a tragedy of Salomé leaving Nietzsche. Some scholars suggest that these experiences in life, made Nietzsche a realist and more importantly a shift from “feminism” to “misogyny” was seen in his works.

The ways in which instincts portrays itself is not independent but is dependant upon the dimension of sexes (I.e Masculine and Feminine). Aphorism 363 of “The gay science” describes ‘how prejudices of love is dependant upon the differentiation of sexes’. It asserts that men and women doesn’t have “equal rights” in love or different sexes tend to interpret the concept of love differently. They don’t have synonymous expectations from the opposite sex and tends to have different experiences shared through love. Nietzsche tries to draw a distinction between masculine and feminine love through the dimensions of fidelity and devotion.

He asserts that women’s interpretation of love lies in complete surrender, approaching it as a faith, “to be taken or accepted as possessions”. Masculine interpretation on the other hand, focuses upon “possessive thirst” to acquire more from the lover. Nietzsche even states that men who are completely devoted are “not men” and proposes that a man who loves like a woman becomes a “slave”, whereas a feminine love with the same amount of devotion becomes more “perfect”. Though fidelity can become an attribute of masculine love over time due to concepts like gratitude and specific taste of men but “fidelity” is not essentially a masculine quality.

So in a way, the biological differentiation between sexes correlate with oppositional gender roles in erotic love. Woman tends to give herself away as possession, man acquires more but what Nietzsche can not comprehend is how one cannot see around this natural opposition? Through social contracts or with the strongest of will which restricts a person from reminding himself how terrible, enigmatic, harsh and immoral this concept is? He states “Though love in its entirety is thought as great and full, is nature, and being nature, it is in all eternity something immoral.”

Nietzsche in a nutshell, criticises the conventional interpretation or idiosyncratic dimension of love in which it is given a privileged status by surplus evaluation of it through romanticism. He opines that the differentiation between masculine and feminine interpretation as a product of “instinctual forces” that causes the opposite sexes to love distinctively and hence can not expect an egalitarian reciprocity in the concept of erotic love.

Published by Arpan Roy

Just a Bibliophile!

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