1. We can behave like the chimpanzee and live in a very violent society dominated by men
2. We can behave like the bonobo and live in a peaceful world dominated by women.
So what are the fors and againsts both types of societies?
I suppose the attraction of our present patriarchal world is that it is exciting and interesting. We can see this from the type of TV programmes, films and books that people read and watch. Many entertaining stories are about conflict and violence. This then suggests that human beings enjoy violence and conflict because this is what they find entertaining. The problem is that many people who do enjoy these things on TV do not necessary want to experience the same thing in real life.
People who enjoy violence have to some degree go into a state of denial to do this. When I was a boy I was very interested in Naval history. One of the most exciting sea battles I read about was the battle of Midway during the Second World War, and I fantasised about being a dive-bomber pilot and destroy an enemy aircraft carrier in a dive bomb attack. Yet I could only do this through ignorance and denial. If I were to think about it deeply then this would ruin the fun and excitement of the fantasy. Denial like this can come in many forms. -
1. Only think in terms of destroying an aircraft carrier as just a ship. I didn’t think about the thousands of men they would die is such an attack, or for that matter the parents who will lose their sons, of the wives who will become widows or the children who will lose their fathers. Nor did I think how some of these men might die. Aircraft carriers carry large amounts of aircraft fuel so many men will die by being burnt alive when this fuel explodes. Other men might have time to jump into the sea, but a fleet under attack cannot stop to pick up survivors, so these men will more than likely be left in the sea, to die a slow death of exposure, thirst and starvation, or to die a quicker death of being eaten by sharks. Some men might even survive and be picked up but will have to live with both the physical and mental scars of such an experience. While other men might become blind or disfigured through being burnt, or loose limbs and spend the rest of their lives as cripples. The trauma of experiencing all your friends and comrades dying terrible death can also leave a man emotionally crippled for the rest of his life.
2. If men do start to think about men dying then you can de-humanise them by saying they are the enemy and deserve to die because they are “evil”. This is what happens in ALL wars the justification of war is that the other side is bad or evil. So you then have to deny that that the enemy are simply human beings like yourself.
So denial is needed to make war possible. One of my heroes as a boy was the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852) or Arthur Wellesley as he was known before coming a duke. There as many reason why even now I see him as a great general. In an age when a general would expect to lose more men through disease and exposure than battle, he looked after his men and made sure they were properly fed and sheltered. Also in was common practice then for armies to “live of the land”. Which in practice means stealing food from the local population. In the Peninsular wars Wellesley made sure his men were fed by food brought from England, in this way he didn’t upset the local population. He also took pride in the fact he done his best to win battles with as few causalities as possible. He was also seen to become visibly upset over the deaths of his men. Yet in spite of the way he cared for his troops he also referred to them as the, “scum of the Earth”.
At first sight this seems to be a paradox. Of a general through his actions showed that he cared about his men, yet referred to them as scum. Yet a bigger paradox is a general who cared about his men at all! After all this is what war is all about, to order your men to die and to kill the enemy. To have a job of a military leader means you cannot afford to care for your troops because if did you do you wouldn’t order them into battle to die.
What made Wellesley a great general was the complexity and paradox of his feelings. The caring side of Wellesley made it possible for him to ensure as few of his men didn’t die of disease, exposure or in battle, while his contempt of his men allowed him to order them into battle to die. This meant he led armies, which had high morale, who inflicted greater causalities on the enemy than on themselves. Which is the way you win battles. Because a general who doesn’t care about his men at all, will also not care about the causality rate and can lose battles through running out of men. While a man who was a more caring of others than Arthur Wellesley wouldn’t of become a soldier in the first place, as they wouldn’t of want to order men to die.
In other words it is denial of any feelings for others that makes war possible. The same is true for poverty. Poverty in only a reality in our world while the majority of the people think that the very unequal societies we live in is perfectly acceptable. Or believe that there is no alternative to inequality. Because after all Communism was a total failure in creating an equal society.
Yet as we have seen through Neolithic excavations that war, violence and inequality is not inevitable for human society. It is only inevitable while we keep on allowing very competitive and aggressive men rule our world.
What needs to be questioned is the idea that the “macho” way of doing things is the only way. And for people to be aware there is an alternative to this and that is the feminine way.
When putting forward this proposal people have asked me, “so what would you do with a person like Hitler”. In dealing with a dictator who wants to conquer the whole of Europe and perhaps the world, there was no choice but to go to war with him. But the question should be, how extreme political party like the Nazi came to power in a country like Germany? This happened because the Allies try to punish Germany by making it pay for the cost of the First World War. Causing widespread poverty in Germany and fuelling discontent and hatred for the Allies. In the 1930s it was a toss up whether Germany became an extreme left wing Communist country or an extreme right wing country. In the end the extreme right won out. So in was “macho” method of punishment that created an extreme “macho” leader like Hitler.
The “macho” way is to deal with violence with violence and to be fair in the short term this seems to work. In the long term it keeps on fuelling resentment. As we see in case like Northern Ireland, Israel, and the Balkans. Also the “macho” way is to deal with crime is through punishment. You deal with criminals by putting them into prison to punish them, and no one asks the question, what causes a person to become a criminal? The reason this question is not asked is because the vast majority of criminals come from people who live in poverty. This then puts into question our very competitive societies of winners and losers. Where, “the winner takes it all” and the losers get nothing.
The very competitive nature of men is what creates our world of conflict, war, poverty and suffering. And this is what both men are women need to understand.
Women in there own quiet ways are making a difference. For instance as mentioned earlier, back in the early 19th century a wealthy Quaker women Elizabeth Fry visited a women’s prison in London. What she saw there horrified her, where prisoners lived in squalor and some even starved to death because they were unable to pay for food. She then used all her wealthy contacts and influence in the Quaker movement to get something done. She started to educate the prisoners and put in the minds of people that prisoners need to be reformed and not punished. This to me is a clear message of the feminine way of doing things.
The problem is that as far as the general public knows the “macho” way is the ONLY way to get things done. This is because the “macho” way is so simple and easy. “If you have a problem, you go in and kick ass”, which I have said, in the short term it seems to work. The feminine way of trying to come to grips with the roots of the problem is far more complex. Because we have to see all people as human beings like ourselves and not de-humanise people we fear, by condemning them as bad or evil. In other words you nurture and care for people and not compete against them and punish them for being losers.
The feminine way was once the way human being lived their lives back in the Neolithic age. Then just just a hand full of men created a plague of violence. These men found you could get your own way through violence and intimidation. In doing so they stole from and traumatised whole communities. In the process they brutalised other men whom in turn also became violent and uncaring of others. This became a plague that swept the whole planet as brutalised men conquered peaceful matriarchal communities and brutalised the people, and taught the men to be macho.
Yet we don’t have to continue the make the same mistakes that were made five thousand years ago. The foundation of patriarchy is a whole list of denials.
1. The denial of men having feelings for others.
2. The denial of women respecting and caring for themselves.
3. The denial that war is total insanity.
4. The denial of the widespread poverty and injustice of our world.
5. The denial of the archaeological findings of the Neolithic age.
6. The denial of field studies of the bonobo ape.
7. The denial of the Aquatic ape theory.
8. The denial of the Gaia Hypothesis.
9. The denial of the feminine.
10. The denial of any alternative to patriarchy.
11. The denial that you cannot overcome violence with more violence.
12. The denial that you cannot reform people through punishment.
13. The denial that competition taken to the extreme leads to violence, warfare, poverty and injustice.
14. The denial that aggression leads to fear, hatred, revenge and suffering.
15. The denial that our male leaders do a really terrible job of ruling our world.
16. The denial that if women could do far better jobs, if they don’t try to behave like men.
17. The denial that it is possible to live in a caring world of love and compassion.
All these denials and the propaganda that men are doing a wonderful job in ruling our planet, keeps patriarchy going. Not only that, patriarchal denials are a danger to our planet. Back in the 19th century scientists pointed out that if industry keeps on pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere it will warm up the Earth. This was totally ignored by businessmen and politicians. Then in the 1950s scientists had the technology to measure the gases in the atmosphere and could prove that industry was increasing the CO2 levels in the biosphere. Again they were ignored and when environmentalist took up this cause, industry employed other scientists to refute this claim. It was only in the 1980s when there was overwhelming evidence that the Earth was warming up that politicians acknowledged there was a problem. Yet this doesn’t make a lot of difference because even though they have had “Earth summits” to tackle global warming, very little has been done. Simply because, to do something about this problem would undermine the profit margins of large international corporations like oil companies, but then as capitalists will tell you, “it is the bottom line is all that counts”. So it seems that profits are even more important than the future of the human race.
The mass extinction’s in the last Ice Age was caused by rapid climate change. Heating up the atmosphere with Greenhouse gases will have exactly the same effect. Signs of this has been already seen with the Sahara desert marching south at a very rapid rate.
Charities like Band Aid have tried to help, but nothing has been done about the underlining cause. It is unfortunately that drought caused by global warming has first effected poor and powerless third world countries in the Sahara region where it can be ignored by the rest of the world. Years of famine in the most powerful nations in the world, namely North America or Europe would of made a big difference and you would soon see action being taken over global warming, if it happened there. Though in the near future it is more likely to be flood that will affect these countries.
The fact that the ice around Antarctica is melting at a rapid rate doesn’t seem to worry anyone. Even though when the ice on the Antarctic continent itself begins to melt, we will see rapid rises in sea levels, flooding coastal towns and cities.
It seems that in our patriarchal world we have become so adapt at denial, and care so little about the suffering of others like in the Sahara region. We are not going to do anything about it until there is some worldwide catastrophe that affects us all. Then it is going to be too late to do anything.