Girl Sitting on Wall, Homer

“Men and women, however, live together not only to procreate children but also to have whatever is needed for life. Indeed, from the beginning, family duties are distinct; some are proper to the husband, others to the wife. Thus mutual needs are provided for, when each contributes his own services to the common good.” Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics

Being different can be challenging. Even threatening.

Many voices are saying that we’re the same. And it is tempting to think that we are; or in any case to wish that it were so.

But experience keeps saying otherwise.

It is interesting how many things we can try to impose on ourselves: on our psyches, and even on our bodies. But nature will not have it. We can feel trapped, forced, even tricked. This isn’t the way it should be; this isn’t what I would have chosen.

But, it is the way it is. And then, lo, we find, sometimes only much later, that the way it is is better than the way we wanted it to be.

Men and women are different. And we need each other to discover and to be what we are called to be, in a dance of complementarity. The more we listen to what our very selves are saying to us, the more we see the truth—a truth of shocking, even grotesque, proportions. A truth we only really see if we’re willing to receive—receive a schema we never would have chosen, or even imagined. Until we experience it. Only a little bit at a time; from the inside. And we want to laugh out loud, in gratitude.

For we finally see why we had to endure all that: to come to this place, this vision. Together.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.), student of Plato, tutor of Alexander the Great, has been considered by many to be the greatest ancient philosopher. The Nicomachean Ethics is his main moral treatise.

Image: Winslow Homer, Peach Blossoms

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:

Why We Must Start Planting, Again

“Of the art of acquisition [of food] then there is one kind which by nature is a part of the management of a household, in so far as the art of household management must either find ready to hand, or itself provide, such things necessary to life…” Aristotle, Politics...

read more

In Praise of Hand Work

“The hand is a tool of tools.” Aristotle, On the Soul Recently I was watching a blacksmith work. I was mesmerized. There is something so satisfying and so fitting—indeed, so human—about the ability to do that kind of work. What most struck me is how glad he must be to...

read more

Giving More Praise

“Some men are thought to be obsequious, namely, those who to give pleasure praise everything and never oppose.” “And while for its own sake he [the man virtuous in social interaction] chooses to contribute pleasure, and avoids the giving of pain, he will be guided...

read more

Pin It on Pinterest