2015

Trouble in Paradise

“I am so depressed, Aunty Hala,” Lena said, “What is going on with the politics of this world? I can’t even read or listen to news anymore! Even some of your posts are so depressing!”

And this is why today’s post is especially for you Lena, and for all people who feel the same way as you do, hoping that it will shed a different perspective, another dimension on our global state of affairs.

Yes, it is quite depressing when we are in such a dismal Free Fall. However, the history of our planet is not just what happens in our lifetime, or in a few decades, or in several centuries. History should sometimes be viewed with a much, much wider lens.

With this is mind, there is a marvelous book that I read in 1998 (and which I reread last week) titled: Power & Sex by Scilla Elworthy. Please read it! The author wrote this book because she was trying to explain Power and how it can be abusive, but, also, how we can use it “to stand up to bullies without becoming thugs ourselves”. Her thesis covers our interpersonal relationships as well as our societal and political connections. She walks us through how Power was historically exercised, why and by whom. Her studies (and others have written about this also) of archeological findings from the Paleolithic* and Neolithic** Ages  is that for thousands of epochs Women were Equal Partners within the cultures that covered most of our globe, and, in fact, during those vast eras of time, they were considered The Goddesses who had more Wisdom and Knowledge than their male counterparts; some were Priestesses who ruled the Temples and who, amongst other things, initiated young men into the arts of sensuality. Females were the ones representing continuity; they created life; they passed on their names, their wealth and their possessions to their children. One theory of why Women lost that enormous power – a process that took many eons to completely unfold – is that men, up until then, had always believed that females were the procreators. The fact that they could get pregnant and deliver babies was a mystique and a supremacy that had elevated them to Goddess status. However, once men realized that it was they and their semen that provided women with that ability, the mysterious and powerful aura was no more to be, and the Matriarchal societies where peace and harmony had prevailed throughout those thousands upon thousands of years, were replaced with Patriarchal and warrior societies whose horrific effects have ravished our globe throughout the years since then.

In our lifetime men are still those same powerful warriors of the past. Many centuries and thousands of years of warring have not tired their combatant mentality, or prodded them to seek newer and more peaceful ways through which to negotiate the planet’s social contracts. We see this warrior attitude in the power struggles expressed within our marriages and that have led to a fifty percent divorce rate, because males, ever since they stumbled on the fact that it is they who enable a woman to be the creatrix of life and not some female mystique, felt it incumbent upon themselves to protect their women, to Own them as the carriers of their progeny by “fighting” any and all threats to that territorial imperative. Beginning with this protective premise, they expanded the fight in order to accumulate more impressive resources and property; to increase their influence and power, and to kill anyone who deters that effort. Over time – centuries of it – that stance evolved so that we arrived during the Age of Expansion and Colonialism especially, to where we are today: nations and blocs of nations (allies) fighting, killing, occupying, in order to be the most powerful, the richest, and the most dominant!

Males have been exercising that power within their bedrooms, homes, communities, societies and nations ever since then. Thus, they came to believe that it is their Right, their Role, their Responsibility. And, since we, females, realized – all those eons ago – that it was men who gave us the seeds through which to become the creators of life, we succumbed to their power, relinquished our own authority and assumed the role of subordinates allowing them to think, to protect and to fight on our and on our children’s behalf.

And here we women are today: more educated, sophisticated and knowledgeable telling our men: No, no this isn’t working anymore. I demand to be an equal partner in the bedroom and in the board room. As soon as we expressed this desire we created a huge dichotomy amongst the male species between the traditional male Dominant roles that they have been exercising for centuries versus the role of Equal Partner that we are now asking them to perform. No wonder that their very foundations were shaken to the core and that Dr. Phil has become so popular!

Reversing and readjusting their thousands of centuries-old dynamics is not going to happen overnight, not in one hundred years and not for some centuries yet! We are asking them to rewrite a DNA that they have cultured and held onto for centuries. A humongous undertaking! Feeling threatened, men are lashing out and their reaction to our demands for equal rights is causing the incredible tsunamis in our bedrooms, boardrooms and on the battlefields of the world. See the connections?

So, we had all those centuries upon centuries where we, women, were dominant. Then we had – and still have – centuries upon centuries where the men were – are – dominant. I believe that we are just beginning our efforts to change that equation and to create a more Equal, Peaceful and Harmonious Planet based on the strengths and assets of each gender, rather than on the dominance of one or the other. Not that this will happen in my lifetime, not in yours either, my dear Lena. This is a very, very long and cataclysmic process that is in the makings. Meanwhile we will continue to see our men not willing to give up their powers easily, and not willing to alter their view on how power, dominance and bullying are the only recipe for conducting both our private and our world affairs. Divorce will increase; marital discord will amplify; wars will become more lethal; bullying by political leaders will intensify.

Depressing? Yes. Is there a solution? Yes, for we cannot wait for the world to Become. We cannot put our lives on Hold until this occurs. To the contrary, we must persist in Living and Enjoying Life – and there is much to Live for and to Enjoy – while continuing to become more vocal in our demands for Equality, Justice, Compassion and all the fundamental values that aim for a more Harmonious and Peaceful world. We must persist in demanding Change in our Bedroom, Boardroom and World by looking through the narrow lens of our immediate environment, as well as keeping in mind the wider view of the lens of history that if it teaches us one thing only, it is that Change does not occur simply because we wish or want it to, nor does Change adapt itself to our schedule, but, rather, that it takes millennia to happen and we are only a very necessary and minute effort in that evolution, one that we should never give up our efforts on!

Trouble in Paradise? Our world hasn’t changed, as the song from Casablanca goes: It’s Still the Same Old Story, a Fight for Love and Glory. Yes, and sometimes, like you and many others, it depresses me too, because I am not always in a frame of mind where I can take the long view of history and keep that perspective in my viewpoint. Also, remember that we, enlightened women, are but a minority amongst our gender and that not until we elevate all our sisters globally will we be able to speak from a position of power that can engender the changes that will bring on Peace, Justice and Harmony to our planet.

In the meantime, can we continue Living, Loving, being Joyful, Optimistic, Caring, Contributing and being the Instruments of Change while there is all this Trouble in Paradise? Of course we can Lena, and so we should!

 

 

*Old Stone Age, when humans were hunters/gatherers and that stretches from the beginning of time to around 10200 BC

**Stone Age beginning around 10200 BC and up to 4500 BC or 2000 BC

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4 thoughts on “Trouble in Paradise”

  1. This here, my dear Hala… is a TEDEX Talk! What a jewel you carved out of that carbon.

    My goodness how strong your karma reached me. Just yesterday the comatose
    poet in me who hasn’t written a stanza for years, suddenly burst with a short poem
    that encompasses this very topic. I decided then to make it a chain poem, to be completed
    part buy part by other women and grow infinitely…because I couldn’t possibly finish it myself
    alone. Would you do me the honor of writing the first next part.

    If it wash’t 5 in the morning, I would have called you to. You’ll hear
    from me soon.

    Most respectfully,

  2. Taking the long view is always the best course. You said it. Nothing will change overnight. It takes a long time for the human race to evolve, and to, as you and the Existentialists have said, BECOME.
    Keep on writing and inspiring those of us who don’t!

  3. Thank You Auntie Hala! Appreciate your words and insights always! It was a great read as usual. I honestly never thought about womens’ power in that sense before- especially historically. Makes complete sense. Definitely motivates me to keep positive in this dark world and to do my part to help change/move the
    Future in the best possible direction for everyone.

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