first off, gross. aside being ridiculously heteronormative (unless it’s a woman saying it, which would likely be utterly ironic), erroneous (the speaker of this phrase can in fact live without women, future people cannot), and hilariously archaic (friggin’ erasmus of rotterdam is the genius attributed with coining this gem), its use as the world’s most annoying ‘paradox’ demands mention on the detestable phrase scene, as well as collective scorn from those who concern themselves with any sense of gender consciousness.
paradoxes are supposed to be informative. they speak to our contradictory notions of reality, truth and the good. they’re what people use to think in critical ways, helping us improve our own ethical and political ideologies in a–dare i say–“dialectical” fashion. the nihilist paradox (the statement “nothing is true” thus cannot be true) or “all Cretans are liars” are notable because they’re interesting twists in logic, forcing us to think and engage with oppositionality in varying ways.
but, erasmus, why can’t you live with women? is it because you are a bastard (really), your name reminds all of us of erasers, or because you were a g-d monk who actually never encountered women socially or sexually due to some weird religious ideal of mental and corporeal purity? other than the front made by your preposterous writing, you can live without women. you did. for at least 40 years. in a monastery. as an ordained priest. erasmus is like a guy who speaks about paris with a sigh, conflicted about its inseparable majesty and arrogance, the culture he cannot live without but the snobbery of isolated left bank-ites who produce it. but he’s never been. he heard about paris because of the effiel tower, social studies, and the da vinci code. but for us it’s even worse: not only is he speaking beyond his means, but we’re all so indebted to patriarchy that it doesn’t matter if erasmus, or any of us, have to really know women to hate them; we just do. because it makes sense… and provides a good horrible adage.