Here we come to another problematic issue, that is female intelligence and genius. The great but toxic Otto Weininger is especially fascinating on this issue. He holds that women are simply incapable of genius. A Jewish convert to Christianity and suicide at age 23, he had a similar low opinion of Jews.
He rented the home in Vienna where Beethoven had died for the night, told the landlady he was not to be disturbed, and wrote two letters, one to his brother and one to his father. He told them both that he was going to kill himself. Then he put a bullet in his heart. This suicide set off several copycat suicides.
This stone closes the resting place of a young man
whose mind never really found peace on earth.
And after imparting revelations of his mind and soul
he could not bear any longer to be among the living.
He searched for the death realm of one of the greatest minds
that dwelled in the house in Schwarzspanierhause
and put an end to his bodily existence.
His book was praised by Wittgenstein, who nevertheless distanced himself from its views. His contributions to philosophy were around the nature of genius. He held that Jews were essentially feminine, as such had were amoral, without a sense of good or evil, and thus as a consequence were soulless. He also held that women were amoral soulless types. Modern decay was traced to the amoral irreligious Jewish/feminine nature of modern times. Weininger correlated femininity with what he called Jewishness.
The Nazis had mixed feelings about Weininger, but Hitler himself said, “Dietrich Eckart once told me that in all his life he had known just one good Jew: Otto Weininger, and he killed himself…”
Though the Nazis denounced his books, they used parts of his work in their propaganda.
His great work was Sex and Character, which made him famous when he was only 23 years old (Incredible!). Yet the number of our brains cells peaks at age 23, so it should not be surprising that great works of genius would be done by the young and indeed in art, poetry, fiction, music, and mathematics, the genius often peaks young.
An example of Weininger’s views of women can be seen here:
Greatness is absent from the nature of the woman and the Jew, the greatness of morality, or the greatness of evil. In the Aryan man, the good and bad principles of Kant’s religious philosophy are ever present, ever in strife. In the Jew and the woman, good and evil are not distinct from one another … It would not be difficult to make a case for the view that the Jew is more saturated with femininity than the Aryan, to such an extent that the most manly Jew is more feminine than the least manly Aryan.
Weininger argues that all humans are composed of both the male and female substance. The female is is passive, unproductive, unconscious and amoral. The male is active, productive, conscious and moral or logical. Female life is consumed with the sexual prerogative – both the act itself, which he coded as simply “prostitution” in marriage or otherwise, and procreation, as birthing and raising children. This is the nature and duty of woman.
The duty of man, a la Nietzsche (sort of) is to forego sexuality and its life-consuming and distracting passions and to strive to become a genius by searching for the love of the absolute, which he will find in himself. For “male” and “female” also code the male and female aspects of the personality.
Weininger certainly gave off some interesting vibes:
Nobody who had once seen his face could ever forget it. The big dome of his forehead marked it. The face was peculiar looking because of the large eyes; the look in them seemed to surround everything. In spite of his youth, his face was not handsome, it was rather ugly. Never did I see him laugh or smile. His face was always dignified and serious.
Only when he was outdoors in spring did it seem to relax, and then become cheerful and bright. At many concerts he would shine with happiness. In the most wonderful moments we spent together, particularly when he talked about an idea in which he was interested, his eyes were filled with happiness.
Otherwise his face was impenetrable. One could never – except to the last few months – find in his face any hint of what was happening deep within his soul. The taut muscles would often move, and sharp wrinkles would appear on his face, as if they were caused by intolerable pain. I asked for the reason, he controlled himself at once, gave a vague or evasive answer, or talked about other matters, making further questioning impossible.
His manners would occasionally elicit surprise, and often a smile, since he cared little for traditions and prejudices.
The influence of his personality seemed strongest at night. His body seemed to grow; there was something ghostlike in his movements and there would be something demoniac in his manner. An when, as happened at times, his conversation became passionate, when he made a movement in the air with his stick or his umbrella as if he were fighting an invisible ghost, one was always reminded of a person from the imaginary circles of E. Th. A. Hofmann.