The Problem with Men (And Some Radical Remedies)
Have you seen the Gillette commercial that was debuted recently?
It reflects an important shift in our culture.
- Gillette's latest commercial questioning "toxic masculinity" in the Me Too era is facing backlash from some viewers. With almost 20 million views on YouTube, the ad garnered 535,000 likes and 990,000 dislikes. But according to one expert on the intersection of masculinity and violence against women, the ad is being misconstrued … The commercial, titled "The Best Men Can Be," depicts bullying, sexual harassment and workplace gender dynamics, with a call for men to hold other men accountable. It prompts viewers to consider: "It's only challenging ourselves to do more that we can get closer to our best." – Jean Song, New Gillette commercial "not an indictment on manhood," expert says, CBS, 1/18/19
- The APA’s sensible concern over the danger posed by traditional gender roles will save lives. “Traditional notions of masculinity, marked by stoicism, competitiveness and aggression, are clearly toxic to both men and women. As the APA write in an article accompanying the study: “Men commit 90% of homicides in the United States and represent 77% of homicide victims. They’re the demographic group most at risk of being victimized by violent crime. They are 3.5 times more likely than women to die by suicide.” They also point to research that found men who bought into traditional notions of masculinity were less likely to seek mental health support than those who had more open gender attitudes. The guidelines advise psychologists to understand “how power, privilege and sexism work both by conferring benefits to men and by trapping them in narrow roles”. – Arwa Mahdawi, Guardian, 1/12/19
I place “masculinity" inside of quotes because it is my contention that we don’t even really know what a man is. I have written and spoken at length on the Ascendancy of the Feminine in Psyche; indeed, it is one of the four or five overarching themes in both “Wyrds of Power” and “I, the Dragon.”
But in the context of this talk, I want to spend a few moments exploring the underside of the Feminine Ascendancy, i.e., this problem with men.
From my perspective, an understanding of Ardhanari is essential to this exploration.
- In the psyche of each person, there are two halves. Both must be understood, and healed. In each person, these two halves dance with each other in different ways, and each of these dances is a unique expression within the oneness of it all. This is why I invoke the name and image of Ardhanaranari ("the half man-half woman") as part of this exposition. Half Siva, half Sakti, half male, half female. Not split down the middle. Integrated down the middle. One body, one being. He/she is known by other names, of course, e.g., Ardhanarishvara ("the Lord who is half woman") or Naranari ("man-woman") or Ammiappan ("Mother-Father). Variations on it are found in statues and paintings all over India, but it is something of a sideshow, and it is not very well known in the West. Of course, Ardhanaranari could no doubt be of great solace to LGBT humans both East and West, because it is an image of divinity that includes so much more than just straight male or straight female. But, as important and beautiful as that function is, there is an even greater purpose to it, because in every psyche there is both Yin and Yang, and within the Yin there is the core of Yang, and within the Yang there is the core of Yin. And so much of what is wrong with where we are, and what we have become, socially and culturally, on this planet is a result of this split down the middle of psyche, it is more than just a divide between masculine and feminine, it is also a divide between light and dark, nature and spirit, life and death. This great split has driven us mad. So I place Ardhanaranari here in this context, and suggest the image and what it represents shouldn’t be so obscured. Arguably, it should be one of the central images of divinity. Indeed, it is a worthy candidate for one of the principle avatar icons of the 21stCentury. Yes, we need to exalt Ardhanaranari along with the Great Triune Goddess as bringers of a new age in consciousness for us all. There are many false memes about gender in relation to the spiritual path, e.g., that the divine nature is masculine, and that the feminine is somehow inferior, and also that LGBT orientations are somehow unnatural. We must dispel these hurtful lies. The mysteries of gender, and all its permutations, are an aspect of our primal reality, and as such they are sacred. – Richard Power, Wyrds of Power: New Language for A New Reality (2017), pp. 149-150
Now imagine these two hemispheres within the brain-heart-belly superstructure: one hemisphere is pink, the other hemisphere is blue, but just as the outline of the superstructure is made with alternating blue and pink dashes instead of solid lines, likewise the edge at which the hemispheres meet, along the center from top to bottom, it isn’t a solid line, the two hemispheres sort of bleed over into each other, the line is blurred … these are Female and Male hemispheres of the human psyche … and just as there is a swirl of Yin (black) inside the Yang (white) and a swirl of Yang (white) inside the Yin (black), there is a pink (female) spiral inside of the blue (blue) hemisphere, these are more like spirals than swirls, they are shaped differently than the little drops of Yin and Yang each inside the hemisphere of the other, and also unlike the Yin-Yang symbol, these pink and blue spirals, each inside of the hemisphere of the other, they are not fixed at the center of the opposite hemisphere as they are in the Yin-Yang symbol, in this vision, they are dynamic, they move, like satellite images of hurricanes moving over the surface of the sea, nor are they in tandem, they are not aligned with each other, they move independently and ceaselessly, the pink storm could be up way high in the blue hemisphere, while the pink storm could be at the center, next moment the pink one at the center could have moved to the outer edge of the blue hemisphere, while the blue storm moves all the way to the bottom of the pink hemisphere … this is a depiction, a vision of the primal human psyche, healthy and whole … all issues of gender, sexuality, gender identity, gender politics, all of that is way down stream from this vision of the primal human psyche, this is the truth of our psyche, whatever your gender identity, whatever your physical body parts, whatever, whatever, all of that involves other factors, other dimensions: karmas, chains of dependent arising, biology, psychology, it’s all downstream from this primal reality …
Now imagine an individual human psyche in a male physical body after 3,000 to 5,000 years of Patriarchy: the psyche’s female hemisphere shrunken to 0-15 % of its primal mass, the rest of that space that hemisphere would fill up is a dead zone, blank, no blue, no color, and there is no blue (masculine) cyclone moving in that hemisphere, there is not enough mass of pink to sustain it, and blue (male) hemisphere itself is shrunken, it has receded at the edges, it has lost maybe 15-20% of its own mass, there are also dead zones within the hemisphere itself, and of course, there no pink (female) spiral in the blue hemisphere …
So this is a graphic representation of the problem with men. It provides context for my statement that at this point in the human saga, we don’t realty even know what a man is, or was meant to be, because for 3,000 to 5,000 years we have been denied half of our own psyches. Of course, women, human psyches inhabiting female physical body, have been physically, psychologically, spiritually, economically oppressed for those same 3,000 to 5,000 years, across most of the planet, almost all of the planet, in both civilizations and in many indigenous cultures as well. (In the East, the iconography may be balanced, and therefore healthy in that way, but it doesn’t translate to the social order, in the social order the patriarchy, in its violence and perversion, rules.)
Now, because in this exercise we are focused on that problem, I’m not going to go on here to draw the human psyche in a female physical body, that’s a topic for another time, and also I feel it would be better, truer, to work with a woman on that depiction …
I propose some radical remedies for this problem with men.
Smash the Patriarchy: The first of these remedies is one that is a meme moving among us all now and I embrace it and I hold it up to you as of profound importance and immediate necessity: SMASH THE PATRIARCHY in all realms of human life, in government, in media, business, in science, in the arts, in academia, in medicine, all of it … across the board … every Charlie Rose that falls is replaced with a Christiane Amanpour … just recently the female head of the CIA just appointed women to lead each of the four directorates. The CIA if you don’t know this, is organized into four groupings, directorates: Clandestine Services, Science and Technology, Intelligence and Support. For the first time in the Agency’’s history each of these entities is being directed by a woman. Now I am not talking about ideology here, I am talking about anthropology. There is a fundamental difference anthropologically, things will be handled differently. There are profound potentially long-lasting changes that in systems, policies, cultures, etc. that can flow from this if it is allowed to continue long enough …
Ditch the “Divine Masculine”: Perhaps it’s a sensitive subject for some of you, but I am going to suggest to you that if we don’t really know what a man is than I don’t really know how we can project wildly about what the “Divine Masculine” is, at best it would be a projection based on the warped, ill, broken psyche we depicted in our vision of the human psyche in a male human after 3,000 to 5,000 of Patriarchy. So that’s can be right. Most of the time when I heard the term “Divine Masculine” used it’s being used in a self-serving way or in a romantically delusional way, as a projection of the qualities of some ideal lover … So let’s just ditch it, throw it over board, and revisit the notion later, much later … for how long? I don’t know. A hundred years? A thousand years?
No More Male Spiritual Teachers: OK, I know this is going to press some buttons, but seriously. Maybe for 100 years, maybe for 1,000 years. OK, I know it’s radical, but what if we start here – No More Male “Tantra Teachers” and especially “No More Male Neo-Tantra Teachers.” For a century, for a millennium. That might really help everybody.
What A ‘Real Men’s Workshop’ Would Look Like: Instead of let’s say twenty men going off into the forest together to sort out stuff, when as we have seen they do not possess that half of the psyche they would need to sort it out, instead of that futile model, I suggest you take each one of those twenty men and send them off into the forest with twenty women, each man alone with twenty women, isolated, in the forest for two weeks, or a month … sorting through all that arises from the problem with men, that would be a “Men’s Workshop” that might actually help a man begin to resuscitate some of those dead zones patches in the pink hemisphere of his psyche …
Dragon Bone Broth: The Problem with Men (Video) via Spoken Words of Power