Buddhists everywhere will tell you, “Life is suffering.” If you can’t deal with suffering, you can’t deal with life. Some people believe they can’t deal with suffering, so they avoid things like: being alone with their thoughts; challenging activities; artistic expression; exercise; thinking about death; airing grievances; admitting weakness or mistakes; reconciling with someone after a disagreement…. There are myriad ways to squirm around suffering, but all of them are destructive. I guarantee that doing any of the things I just mentioned will, yes, cause suffering, but will make you happier in the long run. Refraining from them will result in growing tension, and harsher suffering in the long run.
I was just introduced to the idea of Fast Thinking vs. Slow Thinking. I have done remarkably little research on it but I’m going to talk about it anyway. How many times have you said to yourself, “Okay, no more sugar,” or something, but then when you were in front of that Chocolatine, you were like, “Well, it’s a pretty high-quality pastry, and there’s a whole plate of them, and it would be rude for me to refuse…” all in the space of a half-second, during which time the thing found its way to your mouth? Yeah, me too. That’s “Fast Thinking.” If you had been asked the day before, “Oh, I’m going to have Chocolatines after the brunch tomorrow, will you want one?” you would have said, “Oh, no thanks, I’m off sugar.” That’s your “Slow Thinking” at work.
Fast thinking is necessary for a lot of things. “Think fast!” people will tell you as they toss you a glass bottle while you weren’t even looking. Train your fast thinking, and you’ll catch that bottle. But, heeding too often your fast thinking could get you into a lot of trouble.
Here’s a common Slow thought for me: “Okay, today, when I see [insert person] I am going to bring up [insert topic] so that it can stop being an issue in my over-analysing brain.” Then when I see the person, the thing is always on my mind, but I never want to bring it up. My brain’s pain-aversion software kicks in, and I just go “Naah we’ll deal with it next time.” And the delay continues….
In the last few weeks I’ve been reading a lot about feminine mythological images. Specifically, I’ve found myself researching the influence of male-dominant religious images on female-dominant ones. The long and short of it is that for a couple hundred thousand years, we had predominantly Goddess-worship societies. Mostly, these people were agriculturalists, but even the hunting societies recognised the immense magic power of the life-bringing woman. She was like the Earth, taking seed and transforming it into Life. She also had the power of Death, for any Life carries with it its own mortality. Then, Rebirth is the idea that we came from the Earth and will find new life when our particles are repurposed. This is the crux of the Mother Goddess idea.
Then, a group of herding conquerors (the Semites, mostly), came in and, well, conquered. These people were male-dominant societies. They did not appreciate the Earth in the way the Agricultural societies did (I mean, they lived in a desert; could you blame them?). The idea of conquer was so appealing to these emasculated men that it became our whole culture. It became a great many cultures, in fact: every culture taken over by these dick tribes became a different nation of megalomaniacs. We have lived in a rape culture since Yahweh was born. But we don’t just rape women: we rape culture.
So what I’ve come to ask myself is this: why is it we feel the need to conquer? What drives this impulse? Why must I slam my dick in the face of mine enemies?
The answer is sadly simple. Insecurity, and Fast Thinking.
Men in our present-day Western world are taught not to cry. We’re told to be the breadwinners. We’re told always to be brave. We’re told to follow our dreams. We’re told not to let anything stop us. We’re told our families are counting on us. We’re given all these roles and no one ever asks us how we’re feeling. Because it’s socially unacceptable to show your emotion in public. We’re not allowed to show the world how fucking terrified we are that all our efforts are meaningless; that we don’t want all the inherited responsibility; that we have no control over our own lives, let alone that of others.
Meanwhile, women are so fucking magical. For God’s sake, they make humans. In their tummies*! Not only that, but after the birth (requiring a tolerance for pain I can hardly even imagine), she produces her own food for the kid. The baby is entirely made up of the mother’s blood and milk (early cultures observed) until it starts to eat puréed peas. Then we see how much the baby cares about Mommy, that Daddy is secondary until the kid is smart enough to know what he’s there for.
I can only imagine a buildup of tension and resentment in one or a few societies caused the inception of Male Dominance. It has as its lynchpin the denial of the insecurity of a meaningless existence. The perpetual grabbing of some illusory idea of “power” is a short-sighted and self-destructive band-aid for our own impotence. Self-destructive is a big point here: it’s self-destructive not only individually, but globally: the society that suffers from this is, now, on a crash course with the cliff of overpopulation.
Unfortunately for us, this meme is virulent, highly contagious, and engenders the use of deadly force against non-believers. So it spread like a plague, sword-borne, horse-borne, blood-borne. I don’t need to recite any of the atrocities done to women – and the Earth, and the Goddess, which are one and the same – over the ages. There is enough feminist literature out there. This is, um, fuck I don’t know, a masculist essay. It’s an impotent attempt to discover to my fellow man the truth about male power.
We don’t have any. The illusion of power that we have clung onto like a hungry baby to a lactating tit has soured our relationships to the Earth, our Mothers, and crucially, ourselves.
You want to be manly? Weep. You want to be courageous? Admit you’re scared, feel alone, powerless. You want sex? Appeal to a woman. You want love? Ask a woman: they are unbelievable fountains of love for those of us who are humble and gentle. It doesn’t have to be an all-consuming love, capital-letter-Romantic Love. Mutual respect and real communication is enough. Tell her what is ailing you, what is eating at your soul, and watch it get better. It will hurt, like setting a bone.
It’s the fear of being powerless that has driven us to drown the female form, voice, symbol. I don’t know about you, but I feel powerless. I feel alone, and tense, and scared, and doubtful, and full of ennui.
But that’s okay.
That’s what life is all about.
Just dig it, and tomorrow will be brighter. Promise.
I love you. Stay real.
*Of course, not all women can bear children. These women are no less magical! One may personify any or all facets of the Triple Goddess – a Maiden, a Mother or a Crone – without a uterus. This is third wave feminism, baby.