There is a joke among aboriginals that suggests the only reason man went to the moon is because they heard we had land up there.
We can know that symbolically the moon is an archetype of the feminine, a light in the darkness. There is a ritual referred to as bringing down the moon that is engaged by men who seek vision. Once the moon rests on soil, the little people enter the sweat lodge like children to whisper insight and unify our distractions to give us direction, purpose and understanding.
Power is a big word that is seen by many in strange ways. I try not to over complicate or politicize it too much. I find that it distorts its meaning and applicability in my life. I’m not a nation, a movement or a concept. I’m an individual; just a guy.
Power is often viewed as an aesthetic occurrence after the fact as being good or bad. It forms in a variety of sizes and distortions that become hard to distinguish in different scales and forms. The dictionary definition of power offered the following descriptions: 1) ability to do, act, or produce. 2) a person or thing having great influence, force, or authority. 3) the ability to control others; authority; sway; influence.
By similarity people collect, share belief and form structural attachment. A predictable by-product of collaborating is the power to influence. Some individuals become devotees of the group message and initiate a binding doctrine of principle, for the purpose of gathering and focusing influence. Once a common doctrine is formed membership can occur by indoctrination and coercion. The devout believe and function as indoctrinators. Followers are offered a simpler set of beliefs called doctrine and become empowered by their ability to influence. It is by membership that the devout develop or harvest power. So I have come to believe that power in a larger form expresses influence.
This to me is the essence of special interest groups that include feminism. They evolve to a stage where they fabricate their own reality, history and dogma. By paying attention to comment threads on a variety of sites, you can determine the difference between devotees and members. Members are the soft underbelly of the group’s power to influence. Without members influence dies. Members usually only possess the abbreviated version of the group dogma and will resort to common tactics of deflection and role play for legitimacy. You may recognize that their efforts are to convince themselves more than to convince you.
Typically these are the sorts of people that will enjoy the benefits of influence the group has acquired, but possess no substantive thought or outlook beyond their own privilege. They are corrupt. They are the “membership women.”
It may be best not to argue facts but to simply argue their grip on reality, by uncovering the contradictions of their thinking. Devotees are a little trickier, since their dogma and bullshit seems never ending. Engaging these types is giving them a soapbox on which to stand. You’re helping them to recruit members. Don’t, you’re empowering them. Even going back after a couple of days to refute their position will neutralize their presentation and is better than giving them a soapbox.
My interest primarily is in the notion of patriarchal power and how it could be oppressive; particularly in consideration of how it would oppress men to the same degree as it is declared to oppress women. I consider it from different positions to try to understand its nature. The declaration of the oppression of women by a patriarchy is for most, difficult to understand. It is an aesthetic idea that is not consistent from one environment to another. So I looked at how the claim of oppression is answered to get a sense of a context.
We have all seen the implementation of programs and policies designed to remove what is described as barriers to women. Affirmative action, title IX, primary aggressor policies, zero tolerance policies, even rape shield laws are designed to remove barriers for women. It occurred to me that there is also something removed by these policies that affect men specifically: competition. These policies seem to be designed to remove competition. Removing competition is somehow perceived to be the key to removing barriers and limiting oppression. I can only conclude that competition is quite possibly the core feature or engine of a patriarchal power.
These days power and empowerment are huge issues institutionally, legally and personally. Let’s not forget the evil patriarchy. I’m curious how it develops and how we legitimize our understanding of it. I see the expression of power in a spectrum defined by repetition and effectiveness. The first expression of power I think occurs in infancy. Infant’s lack the ability to do, but they can act and influence with a cry for food or to settle discomfort. Even an infant has power to influence feeding and attention.
In a way that is uncomfortable to think about, an infant must compete to survive discomfort. Silence will not define hunger or a diaper that needs changing or attention required to enhance development. An infant can be made to compete by simply withholding attention. Prolonging an interval of discomfort may cause an infant to cry out louder and more aggressively causing an insecure attachment. Whereas providing constant and consistent attention creates more opportunities to interact, influence and negotiate a secure attachment.
Two terms used in “attachment theory” is “securely attached infants” and “anxiously attached infants”. This may be where and when we begin defining common gender traits in our children.
Attachment theory is a worthwhile read since it is an area of early psychology with the largest body of empirical study and reference. It also offers an interesting insight into personal and partner behaviors, since early attachment influences later adult relationships. There are four main categories and additional subcategories with descriptions of behaviors that may better represent the partner you thought you knew.
What struck me regarding this information was the ability to instill gender behaviors with simple and subtle nurturing by the primary care giver. This to me seems to be a profound insight to the nature and nurture argument representing the very core of nurturing attachment. Women themselves may be the first to instill in a child what they refer to as patriarchal power. The subtle response of nurturing in the first year of life, can establish competitiveness in an individual along with very dark expressions of socialization that contribute to violence in general.
Consider the effect of withholding nurturing care from a child consider the effect of reducing it to a minimum. Or consider a reduction to a perfunctory expression of love, not unlike one who is stalking their own benefits and comfort. Would it be any wonder that a child experiencing this may act out to please or simply gain the attention of a parent or nurturing caregiver? Or that a man would engage this pathos in a never ending spiral of adult animation. Could we say that this also may be the source of chivalry in men, the need for acceptance and love that was likely withheld in the formative year of infancy? A psychological burden carried for the duration of life that constitutes a desire to belong and to be loved.
This no doubt is where and when male shame is installed, a control mechanism that does not define original sin but provides the sense of its existence and foreboding. Marshall Mathers figured this out and decried the abuse in his popular rap song “Cleaning Out My Closet,” which for those listening closely will hear the words “I’m sorry Mama, I never meant to hurt you”. Those are the words that hold his sin, his shame and his repentance for the abuse he received or the absence of loving acceptance. Can we guess that these are the words of a man who experienced an anxious attachment as an infant?
Having been required to cry louder and longer during infancy to compete for attention, then being directed not to cry may introduce an early emotional contradiction. Male children are more often disciplined by segregation that we call a “time out.”
Paradoxical stimulation may be the defining difference between healthy competition and pathologically aggressive competition. The fact is, boys do cry as do girls, a crying boy represents an unacceptable display of vulnerability, hardly worthy of competition. It may be less about the plastic guns and more about the plastic touch.
It’s a process that every male individual is indoctrinated into from the moment we determine their genitalia, it seems to be primal, instinctive and intuitive – but instinctive to whom? It may be self-serving, even hypergamous for a mother to drive her male child to competitiveness. Would she reduce or withhold nurturing to instill a competitive desire for acceptance. Can a mother instill a desire that would subdue a boy to her and later drive him towards coupling with a mate? Would his desire pit him as one man against all others, a desire to be accepted and loved?
Childhood is where we learn the practical application of competition, to do it, how to do it, when to do it and why to do it. When we compete or choose to compete, we compete alone. The basis of competition the “how too” is usually offered in two flavors good and evil, supporting a dichotomy of measurable effectiveness, and the introduction of the invisible moral umpire, God. This is accompanied by fair and unfair, right and wrong and measurable context. You will be judged.
Negotiating, which is not done alone however, creates a visible moral umpire. Inherent in the exchange, judgments applied to a negotiation become shared, each party becomes equally innocent or equally guilty, but they remain equal by participation. There is no God required, innocence occurs by participation. Women for the most part are Godless and suffer no independent judgments. Hence the social equation, (Competing)Man)=Bad (Negotiating)Woman)=Good.
Patriarchy comes from where?