THERE IS A MALE ASPECT in each of us programmed to compete, to strive, to win and survive. But there is also a female aspect which aspires towards "a caring and sharing community" – which intrinsically knows the value of cooperating, helping, nurturing, and reconciling divergent demands.
The masculine mind says: "Let's apply our knowledge to building a great machine that will take us to the stars."
The feminine mind responds: "Let's pool our resources so that we can feed our children well and raise them in a beautiful and safe environment."
"Vive la difference!" you cry. But "la difference" is best appreciated when one recognizes the essential unity of male and female, day and night, yang and yin, cube and sphere, science and spirituality, intellect and intuition.
The Father Principle (in its negative aspect) despises those that are 'oversensitive' and vulnerable, dismissing them as weaklings unfit to survive. Homophobia expresses its patriarchal machismo with words like "sissy" (and sodomy is viewed as "an offence against nature" punishable with a 20-year sentence in some spiritually retarded countries).
The Mother Principle (at least in its positive aspect) perceives "weakness" not as something to be condemned, but as a quality evoking sympathy and compassion.
A defenceless chick is not "contemptible" – it is cuddly and cute. Just as any mother would try to heal her sick child with extra doses of love and tenderness, a society with a healthy balance of paternal and maternal values will be extremely patient with the disabled and the disadvantaged. The "pay-off" comes in terms of our spiritual maturity, the integrity of our inner and outer beings. Being free to "walk your talk" and being worthy of the name “humankind” is ample reward for the wise.
Of course, there's a positive aspect to the Father Principle, which manifests as profound pride and joy in planting seeds and watching life grow and flourish.
It's called the Creative Urge. And there is a negative manifestation of the Mother Principle as the bloodthirsty and vengeful goddess Kali, or as a scorpion that kills her own progeny when enraged. This destructive female force often takes the form of natural disasters like flashfloods, earthquakes, tidal waves, volcanic eruptions, and severe drought.
THE MALE ASPECT thrives on challenges: whether it's climbing the highest mountain or erecting the tallest building or constructing the most dangerous dam or becoming the most prosperous nation. It operates in a rigid, hierarchical mindset, wherein the Boss or Chief or Lord or Father is revered as a sacred emblem of Divine Authority. The Armed Forces is a prime example of a complex organisation where the masculine spirit rules in all its glory and folly.
When the masculine mind turns religious, it does so through a Book of Laws. Its perception of God often takes the form of a stern, unsmiling Judge. Obedience and discipline are regarded as the highest virtues. "Righteous" behavior is rewarded with exalted status and special privilege. "Wrong" actions are forcefully punished. The stubbornly "wicked" are condemned and consigned to Eternal Damnation.
THE FEMININE MIND finds it easier to speak of spirituality in terms of a reverence for all living things, a profound appreciation of beauty, and an abiding sense of justice and equitability. The female approach to God/dess is often through the quality of mercy. Forgiveness and compassion are regarded as the essential attributes of divinity.
Socially useful behavior is inspired by love for others, not merely by fear of punishment. Rules are written in books as a guide to harmonious behavior – but the highest virtue lies in listening to the wisdom of one's heart.
How do we reconcile and unify the male and female polarities within ourselves?
First, we need to acknowledge that there has been far too much predominance of male attitudes in the structure of our laws and customs. No wonder true and lasting peace and harmony have been so elusive, despite tremendous breakthroughs in scientific knowhow that could so easily banish poverty, lack and ignorance to the Dark Ages of humanity's infancy.
Indeed, these problems are in danger of being maintained even as we enter a new millennium. They are artificially perpetuated by an economic and political system designed to favor the upper levels of society whilst keeping the lower in their place.
We also need to acknowledge that purely female approaches cannot be used to resolve the problems generated by male predominance. Otherwise there would arise a long-term tendency towards overcaution and conservatism, eventually resulting in cultural stagnation. The optimal balance has to be sought within each of us. No doubt the precise proportion of male to female will vary from person to person. But as a whole, the ideal balance will be found in a ratio akin to the Golden Mean, wherein there is always a slight bias in favour of the female. This is to ensure that love and compassion ultimately become the supreme qualities governing all social units, from the nuclear to the planetary family - and perhaps beyond.
|Harry & Sheila Amoeba grooving on their gender difference|
[Text & Cartoon by Antares © 1998. First posted 9 September 2008]
Uniting the Male & Female Within (Part Two)