The Debate over "Love and Open Socializing Between Men and Women"

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Some lack knowledge of how to use an axe, and therefore want the handles of other people's axes to fall off. Some lack lovers, and therefore want to destroy the love of others. Some lack the strength to support a cultural movement, and therefore capitulate to the opposition. Who are they to call others "hypocrites" and "idiots"? They would do better to reflect on themselves, and think about what they themselves deserve.

A week ago, the Beacon of Learning supplement to Current Affairs carried a certain gentleman's column entitled "On the article 'Love and Open Socializing between Men and Women' published in Women's Critic."Due to illness, I could not reply until now.

Anyone acquainted with both that gentleman and me knows the purposes of his article. They are twofold: destruction and self-gratification. To be frank, he resorts to libeling and villifying others because he himself cannot find a lover. He is motivated by the most selfish reasons to destroy the happiness of others. In his article, he says, "A destroyer must also have some constructive ideas, and a builder must also have some destructive schemes." In dealing with other people, I myself have always been very honest, and have never resorted to schemes; therefore, I have expected the same of other people. Unfortunately, this gentleman has used a certain scheme to coerce and destroy. What he is really trying to say is that his destructiveness also embodies some constructive ideas, and that he must resort to destructive schemes to build up his ideas. I did not know this until today!

Love requires the consent of both parties, and there is no room for a third party. The interference of others is absolutely unnecessary. The application of coercion to love is the most despicable of all. Anyone who does it knows nothing about love, and he who knows nothing about love is not qualified to talk about whether love is conditional or unconditional. This gentleman alleges in his article that as long as two people know and care about each other, love does not depend on the amount of time they have spent together. However, this gentleman did the opposite of what he said. The way he treated me attests to that.

I have always been very kind and loyal to my friends, whether male or female. I never believed that any of my friends could be a hypocrite. That is how I have treated this gentleman. In a surprise move, however, he misunderstood me and tried to press me into a romantic affair with him. I honestly told him that I was unwilling. But he just made it worse by spreading the rumor that he and I were romantically involved. I had to confront him about that; then he told his friends that I wanted to tempt and use him for reasons of my own. On the other hand, he still kept writing me intimate letters, asking me to divorce my husband and marry him. He said, "I truly love you and hope you will love me in return. I am an honorable man. Please pity me and show mercy on me." Knowing that he has become obsessed with unrequited love, I could only behave coldly toward him. However, he continued to misunderstand me, then started to hate, curse, and slander me. These are the facts. He knows nothing about love and has no respect for love. How can one tolerate this? Additionally, he wrote in his article, "Love is a necessity of life and an indication of life force. Just as when one worships and prays to God or Buddha, one has to continue to do so even if one's prayers are not answered. If one wants to raise birds or grow plants, one will never stop doing so simply because the plants and birds do not reciprocate. To love is the same—one cannot stop loving simply because one's love is not requited." Here he contradicts himself. In the beginning of his essay, he claims that love should be conditional; then later on, he apparently advocates unconditional love. That proves that he knows nothing about love and takes love too lightly. Human beings are not gods, Buddhas, plants, or birds. A human being has a mind that thinks, and a sense of dignity. A human being cannot be manipulated. How can we compare a human being with senseless clay or wooden sculptures? Love involves two parties and cannot be coerced. Otherwise, it is disrespectful to the other person's dignity and thus disrespectful to one's own dignity!

"Flirting"[1] is a special term used to describe the brazen dalliances of hypocritical parasites, a behavior that is denounced by society as immoral. But this gentleman takes this kind of behavior as "love." He says, "We know that in society there are some young men and women who try to seduce the opposite sex by wearing fancy clothing and using specially rehearsed language. That is what people call 'flirting.' But wealth, fame, erudition, and personality could also seduce people. So I can conclude that 'flirting' is nothing but a bad name a few old moralists and intellectuals gave to the proletarian underdog's expression of love." In reality, the true, uneducated proletarians have to work from morning till night and hardly have time for the game of "flirting." Hiding under the flag of the proletariat, this gentleman openly advocates "flirting" and insults not only knowledge, reputation, and personality but also the uncorrupted proletariat. His writing, originally meant to be published in one of those trashy magazines, now serves to show the true colors of those who occasionally call themselves socialists, thus thoroughly disheartening those who had regarded him as a friend. I, for one, would never have imagined that he could fall so low. We have been forced to coin the term "Neo-hooliganism," which, I hope, can serve as a good warning. We young people should guard against words and actions that would place us into this category. We should all support the New Culture Movement. One needs to refresh one's thinking constantly. The old social tradition dies hard and constantly tries to pull us back with its evil claws. Therefore, it is unavoidable for us to make mistakes, and we are seldom aware of those mistakes we ourselves make. We should wholeheartedly welcome anyone with clearer vision who is willing to guide us; otherwise, we could easily destroy our bright future with our egotistical oversight.

Nowadays, there are some who appear to be activists, but who, in reality, often encumber and encroach upon the human rights of others. Instead of examining their own behavior, they slander and defame others. They should certainly lose their right to free speech. Freedom of speech should not impede others' right to freedom. Freedom should go hand in hand with responsibility, and anyone who pursues freedom should be aware of this. The last thing we need is to have people who refuse to correct their own mistakes and try to entice others into returning to the old path under a brand new name. There is no room in our society for those who fervently advocate indulgence in animalistic desire, resort to highhandedness, and hinder the freedom of others. I truly hope that those who do this will mend their ways and try to be good members of our new society; otherwise, they will either lose their right to speak to the public or surrender to the reactionary forces. Such a demonstration of weakness would be a profound misfortune indeed!

  1. The original Chinese term diaobangzi, (literally, "hanging your arm out") has a much more negative connotation than the English term "flirting."