Women and Men
A man and a woman find themselves stranded on a desert island. In order to survive, one must go fishing, the other collect wood and start a fire.
On the first day, the man goes fishing and the woman collects wood for the fire. After a fruitful cooperation and a good meal, the man lays down, kicks his heels up, grabs a newspaper and a beer and asks the woman to clean up the fire camp and give him a massage.
The woman is outraged and asks « why should I be the one to do that, didn’t we both contribute to today’s dinner ? »
The man smirks dismissively : « While I was swimming like a dolphin, avoiding sharks, catching fishes with my bare hands, you were taking a pleasant stroll in the jungle, picking up twigs. »
The woman reluctantly obliges, cleans up the camp fire and gives the man a relaxing massage.
On the second day, the woman says : « today, I will go fishing, and you will go pick up the wood for the fire ».
« Sure thing ! » says the man.
In the evening, after another successful dinner, the man once again lays down, opens his newspaper, and pops a beer can asking for a foot massage.
The woman says : « You must be fucking kidding me ! This time, I went fishing ! Why should I be the one to do the cleanup again ! »
The man replies : « Hey, while you were chilling in the water, grabbing a few fish as they swam by, I was fighting my way through the jungle, sweating my ass off hauling heavy logs, battling wild animals and insects ! »
The woman clenches her teeth, but does as she is told, determined this is the last time she falls for this trap.
The next day, the woman asks the man : « What do you want to do today ? » The man says : « I’m going to collect wood again. » « Okay » says the woman, « I’m going with you ».
At the end of the day, the woman and man built a huge fire, which spread to the rest of the jungle. In the morning, both were found dead, burned by their failure to work together in a mutually beneficial and complementary way.
The morality of this story should shed some light on the current battle for gender equality, and a part of the feminist movement’s political demands. In a sense, feminists and many women have fallen into the men’s trap. Far from defending the importance of the role that women play today in our societies, women chase after the jobs which enjoy a certain social recognition and appreciation (as defined by the standards and norms of our current societies, which have been set by men) both in terms of salary and status. No feminist asks for quotas in jobs such as brick layers or garbage collectors. It’s all about parity in the most prestigious and valued jobs.
The story above is meant to see beyond the complex social constructs and layers that we placed over what should be a very simple principle: men and women are meant to cooperate in mutually beneficial ways, and on an equal footing.
One might ask why men have initiated a power grab for controlling society and defining societal norms and values which disproportionately benefit them and their activities. The answer deserves an entire article, but the short version is simply this: it is a swing of the pendulum. Humanity is one global collective organism, and each human is one “cell” in that organism. We have “grown” inside this Planet’s “womb” (the razor thin veil of atmosphere and vegetation) in a very irregular fashion. For thousands and thousands of years, we have barely multiplied. At most, it is estimated that there were a handful million humans on Earth 10.000 years ago. Then something happened, and our growth went exponential. The story of humanity very much reflects the development of a fetus inside the womb: it starts from the combination of two “initial” cells, the ovum and the spermatozoa, Eve and Adam, or “Lucy” (our common ancestor) and whatever other male, and then multiplies and multiplies. A fetus develops in a steady and linear fashion. But if you look at humanity, we have developed in a completely unbalanced way. It is as if we remained at the level of a handful of stem cells for thousands of years, and then went on to grow chaotically all of the different “parts” of humanity in a very rushed and haphazard way in the last few thousand years.
The pendulum is the unbalance between feminine and masculine energies.
Feminine energy, at the core, is about perfection, harmony, stasis. The ovum: a perfect sphere, the most perfect geometrical figure, one perfect idea, the culmination of the evolution of single celled organisms.
Masculine energy, at the core, is about novelty, drive forward, seeking, relentless change. The spermatozoa: an ejaculation of millions and millions of ideas, all imperfect, wiggling in all directions, all wanting to be “realized”.
Every single human, be it a man or woman, has both energies in balance within them, within their very body, since that is why a fetus grows in such a nice linear fashion. You can observe a drive forward (masculine energy), new “ideas” such as organs and limbs appearing, but they are instantly integrated harmoniously into the whole to work in perfect harmony (feminine energy).
And so you could say that in the case of humanity, we were under a predominantly feminine influence in the initial thousand years of our existence here on Earth, staying at the level of “stem cells”, or hunter gatherers, not bothering to develop anything new because… why? We are already perfect! Nature provides for all our needs, we hunt, we gather, we move when we have to, we follow Nature’s signs and wisdom, there is no need for any radical change. Of course, the little masculine energy available did bring about some small, minor progress like better tools, but nothing extraordinary.
Then about 5000 years ago, we woke up to a harsh realization: “what? We are supposed to be born in a few thousand years and we didn’t even bother to grow a single limb?” And thus masculine energy took over: millions of innovations, ideas and chaotic progress, enslaving women to “produce” new cells at breakneck speed, enslaving Mother Earth to grow more food (agriculture: spreading this planet’s legs forcefully open with big huge tractors and showering it with seeds/spermatozoa, which it is forced to grow)… And of course, since there was an imbalance between feminine and masculine energy, it is as if a fetus grew organs all over the place, some of them being cancerous cells, the stomach digesting the intestines (call it world war I), the heart blackmailing the other organs to forcefully privatize their cells in exchange for energy/oxygen/blood (call it the International Monetary Fund)… You get the picture. Now, the time has come to restore the balance, and thanks to a return of feminine energy, in both men and women, find a way to bring all that we have created into harmony. For instance, neither leaving Nature produce freely the fruits and vegetables as in hunter gatherer societies nor forcefully growing huge monocultures by raping this Planet, something in between, like permaculture.
You might cringe after reading this story, thinking either: “so men can be excused for the many harms of patriarchy?” No. The point of this story is to show that while biology had billions of years of trial and error in order to perfect its processes and allow for this perfect balanced steady growth, humanity basically had to improvise.
In today’s world, it is time to achieve balance and stop the pendulum from swinging back and forth, pointlessly. What we need is not the kind of equality where more women simply blindly mimic what men think is important and should be valued, but where women are valued for what they think is important. For instance, paying nurses and teachers more, and paying traders and CEOs less. But that’s just a gross simplification of the deep reforms that are needed in completely revamping and rethinking the norms and values in our societies. The entire economic, financial, monetary and political systems are in crisis and will require very deep transformations in the coming decades.
True freedom, for both women and men, comes from the inside, not any outside proof or condition. So long as your sense of freedom is determined by external conditions, you are not free, you are a slave to that which you condition your freedom upon. The same goes for self-worth. So long as men will feel “manly” enough only on the condition that they dominate women and so long as women will feel “free” enough only on the condition that they are not dominated by men, both will be enslaved to each other, doomed at repeating an endless boring repetitive dramatic theater play between a perpetrator and a victim, in a codependent relationship. A break out from this situation can only come when both men and women embrace a change from within: where both women and men do not need to oppress anyone or feel free from anyone to feel worthy/manly enough or free enough, or fall for the erroneous belief that status or wealth define your self-worth.
A simple way to think of the end result of a fruitful relationship between women and men is to examine how our own body functions. Each cell contributes to the best of it’s ability to the whole, and especially, each cell receives the amount of energy (money) necessary to fulfill whatever function they have to fulfill, no more, no less. No cell’s actions are deemed less “worthy” or important than any other, as they function as a collective global organism and preventing one set of cells from doing what they do best can cascade into threatening the survival of the entire organism. This is the ultimate goal that we should reach in our societies. It is not about achieving any set outcome where 50% of women and 50% of men are doctors, or engineers, or house wives/husbands. It is simply allowing each human being, regardless of their gender or any other attribute, to freely explore and develop their interests and talents, in order to contribute to society to the best of their ability, and receiving in the process, the exact amount of energy necessary to do so without any impediments.
Some may oppose the above recommendation as being essentialist, which it absolutely is. Indeed, for those familiar with my other writings, I firmly believe that humans are but a part in a global collective organism, and the entire story of humanity has been to try to uncover the rules, values and norms which allow for a harmonious interaction between all humans. What are religions if not primitive attempts at “normalizing” human behaviour? What are human rights and democracy if not a modern attempt at achieving harmony and peace? What could be more just than a society where each human (regardless of gender, race or any other characteristic) is allowed to thrive, grow, expand their talents and share those to the benefit of society as a whole? In the end, given my beliefs and convictions, I am certain that this end result is inescapable, inevitable. The only question is whether we will take the easy road, or the hard one: whether we will need to experience an all out war between two extreme polarities (extreme feminism vs. extreme masculinism) or whether we choose to transcend these two extremes right here, right now.