The Masculine World And Its Discontents

Image for post
Image for post
Painting by Andrea Kowach — The Reunion

“For there can be no doubt that if civilized humankind is to survive the dangers of this century of transition , when all the familiar landmarks are disappearing and the collective structures that used to protect us are crumbling. We must turn to the long despised value of the feminine, to the feeling heart and contemplative mind. Perhaps then our culture may see the rising of a new day.” — Helen Luke

*

“…in Dagara life, the first few years of a child’s life is spent with the grandparents, not the parents. What the grandparents and grandchildren share together … that the parents do not … is their close proximity to the cosmos. Grandparents will soon return to where the grandchildren came from, so therefore the grandchild is the bearer of news the grandparents need. The grandparents must get this information before the child forgets.”
~ Malidoma Some, Of Water and the Spirit: Ritual, Magic and Initiation in the Life of an African Shaman

*

“We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.” — J. R. Tolkien

Our culture is not very good at making whole human beings. It leaves out the feeling side. It equates sensitivity with weakness. Competition and winning constitute the myth we sell to our children. We think they have to develop a toughness to withstand life. Love and kindness is herded into a little corral where it’s reserved for our near and dear. The world is too cruel to trust with our heart.

Yes, we all long for Eden, where we don’t feel cut off from everything. It somehow doesn’t occur to us to look at where that feeling comes from. We don’t ask ourselves if all humans feel as marooned as we do or if it’s just a trait of our too-masculine society.

Americans love the stories of the lonesome cowboys, roaming crusaders of justice and solitary heroes. That mythic fascination says something about our sense of separation.

We lack the same kind of aura around sensitivity and relatedness. Those things are a bit embarrassing, a bit too feminine for us even though we secretly long for them. I think our culture has done violence to our basic need for connection to all living things. We are seeing the result in a degraded environment, not to mention suffering humans around the globe.

The great failing of the human race is a sense of isolation so deep humans are incapable of caring about the suffering of other beings. They are so steeled against caring they can’t even notice it. If they have it pointed out to them it’s still impossible for them to empathize because they have learned to maintain the hardening they were brought up in.

Masculinized culture has created tremendous scientific advances, but it sees the world of matter as dead. Nature is dead and ready to be monetized by human ingenuity. We proceed blindly to destroy the world, deaf to the cries of pain all around us. We are destructive spiritual babies.

This situation is considered “normal”.

I read recently that no paradigm changes until at least twenty five percent of the population sees the need. If that’s true, we are stuck with chaos in our politics, our educational systems, our work life and relationships with each other. We’re just not aware that our lack of sensitivity is causing us to suffer.

Feminine principles are gradually coming to the fore, though. We can see that by a quick review of our history. So there is hope, but you’d be forgiven for wishing that process to move a little faster.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store