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    When Nikola Tesla was asked if he believed in marriage "for persons of artistic temperament", he replied, "For an artist, yes; for a musician, yes; for a writer, yes; but for an inventor, no. The first three must gain inspiration from a woman's influence and be led by their love to finer achievement, but an inventor has so intense a nature with so much in it of wild, passionate quality that in giving himself to a woman he might love, he would give everything, and so take everything from his chosen field. I do not think you can name many great inventions that have been made by married men." (page 107 in Tesla: Man out of Time by Margaret Cheney,

    Kenneth Swezey, a science writer who was a friend of Tesla, wrote, "Tesla is an absolute celibate, as were Newton, Michelangelo and a host of other eligibles to a peculiar universality of thought. He believes, as Sir Francis Bacon did, that the most enduring works of achievement have come from childless men who have devoted their lives to posterity and endowed it with the offspring of their minds." (

    Isaac Newton said that his greatest accomplishment was lifelong celibacy. When Newton achieved the rank of fellow at Cambridge at the age of 24, he took a vow of chastity and was not permitted to marry. Newton also wrote, "The way to chastity is not to struggle directly with incontinent thoughts but to avert the thoughts by some imployment, or by reading, or meditating on other things, or by convers." (

    Richard Stallman wrote the following in an article titled Why it is important not to have children ( "My decision was a contribution in itself, and it enabled me to make a further contribution: to launch GNU and the free software movement. Having no dependents, I could dedicate myself to what seemed right rather than to whatever someone with money told me to do. If you are reading this page, it is because that decision enabled me to make contributions to humanity that people appreciate." (Let's forgive him for using the article to promote lies about global warming, the need for global depopulation, and leftist anti-family ideology. I'm not sure if Stallman is a virgin, but if he is not, it would reduce the spiritual value of the software he has written.)

    Nietzsche wrote the following in On the Genealogy of Morals (

    Undeniably, as long as there are philosophers on earth and whenever there have been philosophers (from India to England, to take the opposite poles of a talent for philosophy), there exists a genuine philosophers' irritation and rancour against sensuality – Schopenhauer is just the most eloquent and, if you have an ear for it, he is also the most fascinating and delightful eruption amongst them –; similarly there exists a genuine partiality and warmth among philosophers with regard to the whole ascetic ideal, there should be no illusions on this score. Both these features belong, as I said, to the type; if both are lacking in a philosopher, he is always just a 'so-called' philosopher – you can be sure of that. What does that mean? For we must first interpret this state of affairs: in himself, he remains stupid for all eternity, like any 'thing in itself'. Every animal, including the bête philosophe, instinctively strives for an optimum of favourable conditions in which to fully release his power and achieve his maximum of power-sensation; every animal abhors equally instinctively, with an acute sense of smell that is 'higher than all reason', any kind of disturbance and hindrance that blocks or could block his path to the optimum (– it is not his path to 'happiness' I am talking about, but the path to power, action, the mightiest deeds, and in most cases, actually, his path to misery).

    Thus the philosopher abhors marriage, together with all that might persuade him to it, – marriage as hindrance and catastrophe on his path to the optimum. Which great philosopher, so far, has been married? Heraclitus, Plato, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer – were not; indeed it is impossible to even think about them as married. A married philosopher belongs to comedy, that is my proposition: and that exception, Socrates, the mischievous Socrates, appears to have married ironice, simply in order to demonstrate this proposition. Every philosopher would say what Buddha said when he was told of the birth of a son:[75] 'Râhula is born to me, a fetter is forged for me' (Râhula means here 'a little demon'); every 'free spirit' ought to have a thoughtful moment, assuming he has previously had a thoughtless one, like the moment experienced by that same Buddha – he thought to himself, 'living in a house, that unclean place, is cramped; freedom is in leaving the house': so saying, he left the house. The ascetic ideal points the way to so many bridges to independence that no philosopher can refrain from inwardly rejoicing and clapping hands on hearing the story of all those who, one fine day, decided to say 'no' to any curtailment of their liberty, and go off into the desert: even granted they were just strong asses and the complete opposite of a strong spirit. Consequently, what does the ascetic ideal mean for a philosopher? My answer is – you will have guessed ages ago: on seeing an ascetic ideal, the philosopher smiles because he sees an optimum condition of the highest and boldest intellectuality [Geistigkeit], – he does not deny 'existence' by doing so, but rather affirms his existence and only his existence, and possibly does this to the point where he is not far from making the outrageous wish: pereat mundus, fiat philosophia, fiat philosophus, fiam! . . .[76]


    As you see, they are hardly unbribed witnesses and judges of the value of ascetic ideals, these philosophers! They are thinking of themselves, – they don't care about 'the saint'! At the same time, they are thinking of what, to them, is absolutely indispensable: freedom from compulsion, disturbance, noise, business, duties, worries; clear heads; the dance, bounce and flight of ideas; good, thin, clear, free, dry air, like the air in the mountains, in which all animal existence becomes more spiritual and takes wings; peace in every basement; every dog nicely on the lead; no hostile barking and shaggy rancune; no gnawing worms of wounded ambition; bowels regular and under control, busy as a milling mechanism but remote; the heart alien, transcendent, expectant, posthumous, – all in all, they think of the ascetic ideal as the serene asceticism of a deified creature that has flown the nest and is more liable to roam above life than rest. We know what the three great catchwords of the ascetic idea lare: poverty, humility, chastity: let us now look at the life of all great, productive, inventive spirits close up, for once, – all three will be found in them, to a certain degree, every time. Of course, it goes without saying that they will definitely not be 'virtues' – this type of person cannot be bothered with virtues! – but as the most proper and natural prerequisites for their best existence and finest productivity.


    A spirit, however, which is sure of itself, speaks softly; it prefers to be hidden, keeps you waiting. You can recognize a philosopher by his avoidance of three shiny loud things, fame, princes, women: which does not mean that they avoid him. He shuns light that is too bright, so he shuns his time and its 'day'. He inhabits it like a shadow: the more the sun sinks, the bigger he becomes.


    Finally, with regard to the chastity of philosophers, this type of spirit obviously has a different progeny than children, and perhaps maintains the survival of its name, its bit of immortality, in some other way (in ancient India it was said with even more presumption, 'why should the man whose soul is the world need to procreate?'). This has nothing of chastity from ascetic scruple or hatred of the senses, any more than it is chastity when an athlete or jockey abstains from women: instead, it is their dominating instinct, at least during periods when they are pregnant with something great. Every artist knows how harmful sexual intercourse is at times of great spiritual tension and preparation; for those with greatest power and the surest instincts, it is not even a case of experience, bad experience, – but precisely that maternal instinct ruthlessly takes charge of all other stockpiles and reserves of energy, of animal vigour, to the advantage of the work in progress: the greater energy uses up the lesser.

    Paul Erdős had a physiological condition which made boners painful to him, which helped him stay on the path of genius and die a virgin. Quoting The Man Who Loved Only Numbers: The Story of Paul Erdos and the Search for Mathematical Truth by Paul Hoffman:

    "When he was in his seventies, he told me that he never had sex," said Vazsonyi. "He said he had problems on this score. I remember how he put it: 'The privilege of pleasure in dealing with women has not been given to me.'" Erdos explained to some of his friends that he had a physical abnormality that stood in the way of sexual pleasure. "He told me that when blood started flowing into his penis, it caused him great pain," said John Selfridge. "I don't think that he went to a sex doctor to get it fixed up. I think he went to some doctor years ago who explained his condition to him but didn't tell him that it was correctable. Obviously there are a lot of things that doctors can do nowadays that maybe they couldn't do twenty or thirty or forty years ago. But it wasn't really an issue for him. Mathematics was his first love. He never came on to women—and he never wanted to." On some occasions when Erdos talked about his sexuality, he played down his physical problem. "It's a very complicated situation," Erdos told a journalist when he was seventy. "Basically I have a psychological abnormality. I cannot stand sexual pleasure. It's peculiar. You know, I have a basic character that I always wanted to be different from other people. It's very, very much ingrained. From a very early age I automatically resisted pressure to be like others." He abhorred discussions of sex as much as he disliked the act itself. "In the 1940s," said Vazsonyi, "Gerhard Hochschild and I spent a lot of time chasing women and even more time talking about chasing women. We discovered that Erdos couldn't really stand that kind of talk. So we went out of our way to talk about women a lot. That really annoyed Erdos. 'Don't be trivial,' he'd say." [...] Some mischief-makers who knew of his disgust at naked women offered to make a $100 donation if he'd go with them to a burlesque show. To their astonishment, he immediately took them up on the offer. Afterwards, when they forked over the $100, he revealed the secret of his victory: "See! I tricked you, you trivial beings! I took off my glasses and did not see a thing!"

    Francis Bacon wrote the following in his Essays (

    He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief. Certainly the best works, and of greatest merit for the public, have proceeded from the unmarried or childless men; which both in affection and means have married and endowed the public. [...] A single life doth well with churchmen; for charity will hardly water the ground where it must first fill a pool.

    (You can substitute "gf" for "wife" and "gfless" for "unmarried" in the quotations above to make them more widely applicable to the present day, e.g. "A married philosopher belongs to comedy" → "A philosopher with a gf belongs to comedy.")

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