Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Instead of there being two lines, one masculine and one feminine, there should be one single being

In the Guru-Pandit dialogue, Ken makes a big deal about men’s superior physical strength, but why does nobody talk about some of the biological strengths of women? Childbirth is not a small deal, and it’s known to trigger spiritual and kundalini awakenings. In fact I’ve often found it interesting that a lot of male violence seems to be against pregnant women — because childbirth is a realm of exclusively female power.
WIE and the Cohen community is generally kind of patronizing towards women, I’ve noticed. Not a good sign.
Ned Says: September 30th, 2007 at 4:37 pm
Oh yeah, and to not talk about women’s self-defense in an issue on women is a crime. Actually there is a very rich body of literature on the philosophy behind women’s self-defense. The Mother of Auroville was emphatic about the physical training of women (of men too, of course, but I mean she braved all the sexist resistances from people who claimed that women were weak and shouldn’t have to go through the same physical training as men). WIE could have featured female kung fu artists (as a matter of fact some martial arts schools were founded by women), but God forbid we ever depict authentically strong female role models. No, women need men to show them the way to enlightenment.
Ned Says: October 1st, 2007 at 7:09 am Hi Ray,
Lucky you to have missed reading the Guru/Pandit dialogue — it was just obnoxious! Actually I thought Ken’s ideas on feminism were not half-bad in “Sex, Ecology and Spirituality”, because he does say that whatever biological differences necessitated strict gender roles at some point in human evolution are being transcended as humanity grows spiritually...
Traditionalism (in most religions and especially in Islam) and traditionalist metaphysics are generally juxtaposed against the secular feminist/leftist approach as far as gender goes. Feminists/leftists (and I’m probably exaggerating this here — I hate making blanket statements like this about any group, but just for the sake of practicality let me go with this) see sex as an objective biological fact and gender as an arbitrary and often superficial social construction.
Traditionalist metaphysics seems to go in the opposite direction: gender is a universal property of the creation as a whole, and is found in every created thing. Gender exists in the terrestrial world because it’s a materialisation of gender as it exists in the universe as a whole. And men and women are basically manifestations of two wholly different and separate archetypes in the traditionalist view. It’s usually on this basis that traditionalists build up this (in my view, hypocritical) picture of a “benevolent patriarchy”. At worst, this means that as creation submits to God, so woman submits to man. At best, you get a social situation where men and women are “different but equal” but in practice this usually means relegating women to all the boring tasks.
So how to reconcile these two diametrically opposed views? If one is agnostic or atheist, of course, it’s easy — you just dismiss all of traditionalist metaphysics as nonsense. If you do think that the play of ideas and archetypes in Consciousness is what causes things to come into physical manifestation, then traditional metaphysics has to be contended with.
The way Sri Aurobindo and the Mother deal with this is to bring in the great insight of modernity, i.e. evolution, which is missing from all the premodern cosmologies. In the evolution a great deal of intermixing takes place so that although there was an original raison d’etre or archetype responsible for the existence of each of the sexes (or each of the races for that matter), there is no longer any “pure” biological sex or “pure” biological race anymore. Each human being is a unique soul with a unique purpose to execute. So they would say that this intermixing is just a part of returning to the original nondual Oneness and evolving toward unity-in-diversity.
Actually I guess this is just a problem with traditionalism in general, it just can’t grapple with the modern concept of the individual, hence you see traditionalists who have no problems being sexist or aristocratic or even racist at times.
Sorry, Ray — you’ve awoken the beast! Argh, I have very little patience for sexism.
Ned Says: October 1st, 2007 at 7:17 am Hi Alan,
I hope some day I can write something to counter this sort of sexism! Just hoping to reach a certain level of maturity before I attempt such a thing, though.
I can’t help but remember the words of the Mother here:

“Instead of there being two lines, one masculine and one feminine, there should be one single being, and that’s what I conceive as the solution of all problems — all problems, not only this one — and as the prototype of the supramental creation.”

No comments:

Post a Comment