*CONTAINS EXPLICIT LANGUAGE*
Greta Thunberg said it so appropriately: She wants us to panic and act as if our house was on fire. She refers to climate crisis.
Climate crisis is but the symptom of our societal issues. It’s a massive one, no doubt, and we desperately need to act if we want a future for life on this planet.
What’s at the core is our societies’ paramount efforts to be out of touch with ourselves, to not feel but function. How can you feel empathy or panic for the larger picture of our environment if you cannot even feel empathy for yourself, let alone feel yourself?
Patriarchal societal structures have brought us there. With patriarchy I do not mean a game of men against women, even if it may be easy to perceive it that way. Essentially, patriarchy is about denying life forces for both women and men. I dare to say men suffer from patriarchy just as much as women do.
Patriarchal societies have lead us to live in the illusion of eternal growth, of profits at the cost of no one (“win – win”), of competition having a value by itself, of war, of fighting, of the brain being the superior organ to all others, of superiority and inferiority, of controlling by force, and of “hardening up” being a virtue.
Our ecological system is a closed shop. So far, we are not aware of water being accessible outside our planet. Naturally, the amount of water available to us now is the same as it was millions and millions of years ago. The water we pollute is not going to magically be substituted by water from outside our planet. Just as the air we breathe will not be substituted by fresh air from outside our Earth’s atmosphere; there is no such fresh air outside of our closed eco-system. The resources on our planet can be transformed, but they are eventually limited. There is no unlimited growth in nature, and we are part of nature on a living and naturally limited planet. Acting as if resources were unlimited and growth endless is insane. By acting so, we rob our children and the generations to come after them of their future. Believing that it could be any different in a business situation is naïve.
Our house is on fire especially when it comes to how we interact as human beings. We think we are the most intelligent species on this planet, and yet we act as if we didn’t have the least bit of intelligence in us.
From early childhood we are trained to suppress feelings. “Boys don’t cry”, “girls don’t get angry”, “don’t be a scaredy cat”, and if you’re too happy there must be something wrong with you. We learn to lose contact to our innate, physically and emotionally wired system of feelings, and thereby we lose contact to ourselves. This comes in handy if you want masses of willing consumers to fill your pockets, who will do anything to not feel and stay numb. Let us go and buy alcohol, fast cars, fancy watches, junk “food”, toys of all sorts, unethically sourced clothes etc. Who cares what the real cost is as long as I can buy it with money, because that’s the only resource I will have learned to be aware of. Money is what we will accept as an exchange for locking ourselves up in a closed office space, and for spending the majority of our awake life doing something which for most of us is meaningless other than making other people richer and providing us with the illusion of staying alive.
Indeed, we will do almost anything in order to not feel. Unless you can tell me how much anger, sadness, fear and sadness you experience right now, in this very moment, reading these lines, I don’t believe you that you are different.
Not allowing ourselves to feel may sound trivial to you but it is one of the biggest causes for our house being on fire. If we channel all the information from our surroundings into our minds, we can easily trick ourselves into believing that whatever happens outside of us does not affect us and is not relevant. Something happening to someone else? Ah well, not my problem. Deforestation when I still have a forest in my backyard? Not my problem. Lack of water and water pollution when I still have (seemingly) clean water at my disposal? Not my problem. People fleeing from their home country and wanting to come and live in “my” country? Ah yes, that’s my problem because it might get uncomfortable for me. The concept of “my” country: absurd. Especially in New Zealand, where it is so obvious that we are all immigrants. The concept of land ownership, yet another absurd concept invented by patriarchal society.
What I really want to address though, because it is just outrageously unacceptable, is the concept of wanting to control women (or any one group of people, really) and hold them small.
I am sick of hearing white men that grew up in a patriarchal society telling me that I have never been at any disadvantage for being a woman. I’ve had enough of such blunt ignorance.
Apart from the fact that this is not about me and not about men against women, the sad reality in this world is that there are subtle mechanisms in place which work their way even in the most open and progressive societies. These men who tell me all this bullshit about my never having experienced any disadvantage from being a woman in a patriarchal society are the same who would tell me I was “broken” when I had my monthly period. They were the same guys who would make jokes about women smelling like fish, and who use the “C-word” as the worst swear word in their vocabulary.
I wonder whether a single one of those men ever woke up to a stranger in their bed, rubbing their hard penis on their back out of excitement, whether a single one of these men ever went for a run in the daytime on a sunny day to find a man standing in the turn of a public path masturbating; or another man on another day while going for a run on anther public road in bright daylight stopping his car and masturbating? Did either of them ever have to think about where they walk at which time of the day in order not to get raped, just because of the physiology of their body?
Again, I remind myself that this is not about men against women, but the physical realities lead to some results in a world that does not deal with underlying societal issues other than by telling women to shut the fuck up and swallow it (yes, I consciously choose that term).
In fact, I know that the exact men that tell me such crap are deeply wounded by having grown up in this world, in which they are just as imprisoned by all these totally random concepts out there. I mean, really? Is it really a threat to mankind if a boy likes the colour pink? Where’s your intelligence when you need it, mankind?
How sad is it that boys cannot wear dresses or makeup, play with dolls and cry when they feel sad, without being stigmatised as gay or transgender, or being ridiculed?
You might say “it is nothing”, but I see it as a symptom of the root causes of our societal problems at large.
In this world today, there are still witches being burned, little girls’ genitals being mutilated without narcotics, little boys being circumcised in the name of religion, and a group of white old men in the United States is deciding on what women can legally do with their bodies in terms of abortion, while these same old men go around fucking their mistresses and then pressing them to an abortion. If these men had not been totally numbed starting in early childhood, such things would not be possible. They would feel empathy. They would feel sad when hearing the tragic stories around women conceiving in all life situations. They would allow themselves to be touched. They would have learned to take responsibility and grow up rather than staying little boys in old bodies.
This is where our house is on fire. Are you panicking yet? What are you going to do about it?
Photo by Matt Howard on Unsplash.