Creativity as the True Identity of Women
by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
Introduction: International Forum in China Focusses On Women, Development, Future
As the recent White Paper on the status of women in China emphasizes, great progress has been made boosting gender equality in the last twenty years in the context of the general economic progress made in China. In several categories China has achieved the United Nations Millennium Goals ahead of time.
It is also clear that the gap between the significant progress made in urban centers as compared to the rural areas, which results in the differences in the living standard and educational level between the two areas, is also reflected in the gender issue, and needs further improvement.
But it can be said clearly that the absolute priority and focus the Chinese government has put on education in general, education of girls and women specifically, and on excellence in education in particular, means that China is one of the trend-setting countries of the world, and may be the most important one.
Very recently, Chinese First Lady, Peng Liyuan, gave a beautiful speech at the United Nations, in English, where she emphasized the importance of girls going to school, since they are the first teachers of their children and therefore impact the next generation; and also the importance of their university education, since education is followed by equality. She said that her Chinese dream is that all children and every young woman on this planet will have access to good education! I know Madam Soong Ching Ling would be extremely happy about this!
I am proud to say it is also my dream. I have said many times that I want to live to see in my lifetime, that every child on this planet has access to universal education, because once that is accomplished, it will be a game-changer, in the sense that the old oligarchical system will be overcome forever. Because oligarchical rule was based on the idea that there would be a small power elite, whose rule depended on the backwardness of the population. Therefore, if every child on the planet has access to universal education, a new epoch of human history will begin, where the creative potential of the human species will be unleashed in ways totally unimaginable today.
True Equality: Ennoble the Individual
While it is indispensable to support gender equality in education through legislation, true equality can only be accomplished when both genders define their actual identity by developing the fullest creative potential embedded in them. Such legislation should therefore be complemented through reflection on an emphasis made by the German poet Friedrich Schiller, after whom the Schiller Institute is named.
Schiller described the female gender as the more aesthetical of the two sexes. Why is this important? After the French Revolution had been taken over by the Jacobin terror, he wrote the Aesthetical Letters as an answer to that failed possibility to replicate the American Revolution in Europe. He said with regret that the objective conditions for change had existed, but that the subjective, the moral preconditions to accomplish that change had been lacking.
From now on, he concluded, every improvement in the political arena would only be possible through the enoblement of the individual, and in order to accomplish that, aesthetical education, especially through great Classical art, had to be emphasized. For the he underlined the development of what is called Empfindungsvermögen in German, (for which the English word “sensitivity” is an imperfect translation, and which is closest to gaushouxing in Chinese, which means the “quality of being sensitive”) to be the most important requirement of his time.
Because that Empfindungsvermögen, this emotional and intellectual capability to totally absorb and have empathy with the world, is the key to the subjective moral improvement which enables the individual to act as a world historical individual when the moment of challenge comes, as a representative of the future better era of human history.
Schiller says the female gender has naturally a greater affinity to beauty, and should be called “the beautiful gender,” not so much because of its outer beauty, which he calls “architectonic beauty”—which is a gift of nature but not the accomplishment of the person, as differentiated from the beauty of the soul—but because of the response of women to beauty. This is very important because, given the supposed contradiction between reason and the senses, and their corresponding emotions, according to Schiller, beauty is the realm where reason and the senses coincide; in the realm of the senses beauty corresponds to reason.
According to Schiller, among all inclinations which derive from the sensation of beauty and which are the property of fine souls, none appeals more to the moral requirement than the ennobling affection of love, and none produces dispositions which correspond more to the true dignity of the human person. So while the human aspiration to constantly perfect insights into the cognition of true universal principles, and to act on the basis of that cognition, is the same for men and women, it is the greater affinity of women to the Beautiful, and the associated feeling of love, which enables them to play a more important role in the area of the aesthetical education of society. That is, provided they are inner-directed and truth-seeking.
Schiller says, and I agree with him, that the male puts up with an insult to his taste, as long as the inner content of a matter satisfies his mind. Usually he even appreciates it all the more if the essence of the matter emerges more firmly, and the essential is separated from the outer appearance. But the female doesn’t forgive the neglected appearance; even if the content is rich, she demands that the form in which that content appears correspond to that richness, and that an outward appearance which does not fulfill the requirements of the aesthetical sensation, or even insults it, will be rejected, or at least devalued.
Those women in Western culture who try to counter the male chauvinist dominance of a patriarchical culture by being more manly than man, by trying to imitate all attitudes of the so-called alpha-types of men, are doing neither society nor themselves a favor. (Indeed, as some examples of this type of women in certain Western capitals demonstrate, they tend to be even scarier that their male equivalents.) Nor do those women who put all their emphasis on their outer beauty and appeal, contribute anything valid to the improvement of society.
If, however, the woman is guided by an inner-directed zeal for the development of her own creative powers, her desire to contribute something new to the body of knowledge presently available to mankind, then her greater affinity to beauty adds grace to every undertaking, and succeeds in putting her contemporaries in a positive frame of mind, making their souls more receptive to receiving the truth.
Follow Oustanding Role Models
Hawkins Studio, Tuskegee, Al.
While the present condition of most areas of the world is yet very far from that ideal,—whether because of the still-existing poverty of billions of people who are forced to focus all their efforts on just providing for their survival and that of their families, or whether it is because of the degradation and decadence of much of present-day Western culture,—it is nevertheless extremely important that outstanding role models such as Jeanne d’Arc, Juana Ines de la Cruz, Marie Curie, Clara Schumann, Soong Ching Ling, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Valentina Tereshkova, or Liu Yang, the famous cosmonaut and taikonaut, inspire present and future generations.
The image of man which was so beautifully developed by such great thinkers and poets as Confucius, Friedrich Schiller, and Wilhelm von Humboldt, shows that the human being is capable of limitless self-perfection, of the harmonious development of all talents embodied in his or her mind, and of the development of a beautiful soul. Schiller defines the beautiful soul as that person for whom freedom and necessity, duty and passion, are one. The only person who fulfills that precondition is a genius,—it’s not a utopian fantasy, but a condition which can be reached in reality.
Mankind Must Decide
Mankind is now at a crossroads; we could destroy our species, if we allow geopolitical interests to lead to a new, this time thermonuclear, war, or we can overcome geopolitics by establishing a new paradigm defined by the common aims of mankind, as it is now being expressed, for example, by the win-win strategy of President Xi Jinping. If we reach that second happier possibility, then the true character of makind as the only creative species known so far in the universe, will manifest itself.
We are indeed at a crossroads. The potential for the future is already in motion. The “win-win” model of a new type of relationship among nations, and the type of alternative economic system, as it is coming into being with the BRICS through new financial institutions such as the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, the New Development Bank, and other institutions, already represents a perspective of hope.
But it is also a period of extraordinary challenges. Just think of the wars, based on lies, which are now tearing apart the entire region of Soutwest Asia, and think of the terrible effect this has on women in most of Southwest Asia, where many of them are denied the human right of being treated as a human being.
The resulting refugee crisis is tearing apart Europe right now, as millions and millions of people are running away from these wars in the Middle and Near East. But at this moment it is important to remember that women in moments of extraordinary crisis have shown, again and again, extraordinary leadership qualities.
Think, for example, of the women in Germany in the period after the Second World War, who played an absolutely crucial role in rebuilding Germany out of a rubble field. Or think of the many women in Africa, who are fighting for the lives of their children under totally impossible conditions.
Soong Ching Ling said that the condition of women in society is a measure of the development of that nation. And by that yardstick, I can say, no country on the planet is fully developed.
Women in crises often act as heroines, and in light of that, and the special aesthetical talents of women, I want to emphasize that women will have to play the key role in bringing about a cultural renaissance at this time. In the fight for the liberation of women, Soong Ching Ling said: “Join efforts with women around the world, and form a women’s United Front.”
Because we are faced with the challenges of the world today, I would like to ask that we build such a United Front in her spirit—to establish a just New World Economic Order which will be the absolute precondition for true gender equality. Let’s work together to extend the “win-win” perspective for the entire planet!