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The sex of angels

Nobody has ever been able to determine the sex of angels. However, the most widespread idea, according to which angels, as pure spirits, do not have a sex, could end up being confirmed by some theorist of the genre.    


Fernando Garavito


Consequently, I would like to present here a basic hypothesis: angels, the hypothesis goes, do not have sexes but do have genders.

The research questions this gives rise to are so obvious as to be almost offensive: What is the gender of angels? would be the first one, while the second would barely take us to an outline of what could be a more solid theory on the longevity of empires: Did the angels of Byzantium have sexes as a pre-requisite to having genders? Or was it the other way round, did the angels of Byzantium have genders as a pre-requisite to having sexes?

Given the limited time I have available (fifteen minutes, whereas the theologists of Byzantium spent almost four centuries on the same discussion), I will just make some general statements.

Identity, we now know, indicates that the two sides of a contradiction are not really so far apart because they belong to the same sphere. I will give an example: government and opposition.

If we analyse them on the basis of identity, they will be the same thing, because they inhabit the same universe, debate the same ideas, operate with the same interest groups, speak the same jargon, and in them it is the same thing to say white or to say black. But this is not true if we escape from identity and move on to difference.

On page 249 of his “Selected Writings”, Edgar Garavito summarises the matter clearly: it is Nietzsche who “dismissed the principle of identity as a foundation of philosophy. It is no longer a question of identity but of difference that does not turn at the expense of identity but in relation to the eternal return.

For Nietzsche two things that contradict each other are very close to each other because they depend on a single identity. Difference, in contrast, referring to the eternal return, is the principle that makes thought and the culture of the ancestral axes of analogy come out, along with negative relationships of the opposition and contradiction.”

Using this criteria, let’s take the concepts of sex and gender out of the field of identity and put them in the field of difference.

Sex implies playful exercise, a carnal event uniting two or more beings, while gender is something consubstantial that is carried within as angels carry their heavy angelic wings. With a woman with whom I am interested in spending a while or a life, I have a sex. With another one with whom I only want to have a conversation about my preference for chocolate biscuits, I only have a gender.

In identity, sex and gender would become entwined in the dogmatism of feminist women (in brackets, I suppose we are talking about “feminist women” and not “feminists in general” because, although they come in all stripes, this is one of the areas where gender takes precedence over sex), and we would end up racking our brains trying to demonstrate why they are opposites until we fell once more into the religious councils of the eleventh century and their byzantine discussions, failing to reach any conclusion or discover that they are identical.

Meanwhile, the difference allows us to imagine a response based on thought but also affirmed in liberty and poetry. Let’s get back to angels. Even if the topic kneels before judeo-christian beliefs about sex, let’s accept that – poor things! – they are pure spirits and, as such, are sexless. But do they have genders?

Angels have male names such as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael and Lucifer and probably William and James as well and, in search of equality, when someone has a revolutionary idea and asks for little black angels to be drawn, they will undoubtedly belong to the female gender. For one simple reason: because they are beautiful (or, you tell me, are angels not beautiful?) and only the woman, the female, is in that category in the terrible human genus.

(N.B.: The shrieks that can be heard in the background to these words are from feminists.)

*Fernando Garavito: A Colombian journalist and writer exiled in the United States following multiple threats against his life. He passed away in October 2010 in strange circumstances. Garavito handed this unpublished text over to The Prisma before his death.

(Translated by Philip Walker – Email:– Photos: Pixabay

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