Man projects onto woman an ideal she can never attain, and so, in loving woman, man really loves himself. In fact, man loves the better part of himself, the ideal, spiritual side, rather than the tainted sexual side of his senses.

By so doing, man betrays not only himself, because he fails to realize his ..potential in himself, but he also betrays woman, because he disregards her empirical actuality, subjecting her to an Imaginary idealism.


To understand a man is really to be that man. It would seem to follow that a man can best understand himself - a conclusion plainly absurd. No one can understand himself, for to do that he would have to get outside himself; the subject of the knowing and willing activity would have to become its own object. To grasp the universe it would be necessary to get a standpoint outside the universe, and the possibility of such a standpoint is incompatible with the idea of a universe.

He who could understand himself could understand the world.
—  Otto Weininger, Sex and Character (1903) 
What we get here is the lowest male mythology. This idea that woman does not exist on her own. That a woman is merely a man’s dream realized or even, as radical anti-feminists claim, the man’s guilt realized.
—  Slavoj Žižek (The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema)

Our age is not only the most Jewish, but also the most effeminate of all ages; an age of the most credulous anarchism, an age without any appreciation of the state and law; an age of the shallowest of all imaginable interpretations of history (historical materialism), an age of capitalism and Marxism, an age for which history, life, science, everything, has become nothing but economics and technology; an age that has declared genius to be a form of madness, but which no longer has one great artist or one great philosopher; an age that is most devoid of originality, but which chase most frantically after originality; an age that has replaced the idea of virginity with the cult of the demivierge. This age also has the distinction of being the first to have not only affirmed and worshipped sexual intercourse, but to have practically made it a duty, not as a way of achieving oblivion, as the Romans and Greeks did in their bacchanals, but in order to find itself and to give its own dreariness a meaning.

Weininger on Culture and Genius


Culture of the late Habsburg empire versus English culture. The former is a culture of the genius. What Weininger does is to bring out the implication of the concept of genius. Genius based culture is brilliant but pays insufficient attention to foundations. Weininger himself says that England is less successful at producing geniuses than other European countries. To what might we attribute this? The political system. The genius is like the despot, he does not have to pay too much attention to the legitimacy of his ideas.

“Manguso seldom divulges any particularly sensitive information, and yet her material is, in a sense, vastly more intimate than what we usually think of as private. She picks at the places where language butts up against the inexpressible. Her currency is the “henid,” the philosopher Otto Weininger’s term for the half-formed thought”

Dear Diary, I Hate You
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