Patriarchy, Masculinity & Psyche

I enjoyed the perspectives offered through this conversation. They outline an important difference between dominator and growth: partnership, cultures & hierarchies (Raine Eisler). A important and useful distinction. They also discuss a patriarchy, a common term used to describe our current culture. This short piece is a circling response to some threads within conversation.

What do we mean by the term patriarchy? As important as bringing to bear the realities of the culture we are embedded in is. I believe we are losing the operational and relational use of a true patriarch “ancient father” who would be sat with the matriarch in reciprocity, care and curiosity to both the human and more than human environment.

Then what are we using this term patriarchy for? 

In this context I would say this term is being used for the current dominator culture, born out of feudalism and colonialism, with it’s mysognistic, extractavist capitalist, consumer, conformist orientations and objectification of the living animate world amongst it’s intersectional complexity. We creatively adjust to this “normality” yet perhaps this is not normal for humans and is just common of this time? Writing this I acknowledge the “both and” there is beauty, creativity, novelty and freedom of expression within this culture. Yet our roots and ground need tending to. If we are to navigate the creative chaos of this ecological and social meta crisis/opportunity.

What do you notice in your embodied experience after reading the paragraph above? If those perspectives are new for you, they might bring something up for you. Be curious, breathe.

What a wildly different experience a partnership culture would be, and perhaps have been over our evolution. Ones which encourage the relational reciprocal reality of the human and more than human world, encouraging life enhancing behaviours and thriving. These have been largely stamped out across the world through colonialism and corporate interests, the oral traditions and living myths transmitting knowledge and motifs of relational sense making have been erased from “his-story” which is held in the medium of static literacy, over an arc of deep time. There has been a slow and steady sequence of destruction of partnership cultures in the name of colonial conquest, domination of nature and “progress”.

We are enmeshed in a life destroying culture. The sixth mass extinction we have instigated and are deepening is a testament to our cultures ability (or lack of) to view it self in relation to the living earth, within the wider earth community. What would an eco-centric culture look like? How would it invite us to relate in contrast to our spheres of ego and ethno-centric cultures? What happened to “her-story”? How do we responsibly orientate to “our-story” now?

“Times are urgent, let us slow down”Bayo Akomolafe

To be clear, I am not painting a utopian picture, that we can make a return to an idealised or eco romanticised past. Or am I saying I know how to support the organic systemic change and return of reciprocal relationship with the living earth, that these times are calling for. I am inviting the wilder edges of both individual and collective imagination and envisioning good enough awareness, right enough relationship, encouraged, enacted and embodied enough. Braided with a welcoming of uncertainty, perhaps welcoming something we can’t yet see?

Conflict is a part of life, yet the octave it is acted out or navigated relationally, can have a level of response-ability from curious and kind enough intra and inter relational awareness. How do we contain and encourage conflict to be generative and emergent for both for the individual and collectives? Can we invite the evolution of conflict to a relationally mature stance of holding the tensions between opposites seeing the potential values in both to allow for a third, not yet seen possibility to emerge. In contrast to othering, denigration and oppression, easily caused by misperception through fear, uncontained uncertainty and narrative control amongst the tangle of cultural manipulation through domination.

As I write these words I note the striking paradox of being able to use technology that has been born from this dominator cultures striving to master nature. I appreciate the ability to write, reflect and communicate with the boons of this culture. Our collective ability to communicate, discuss and implement ideas, for better or for worse is incredible. The information ecology has diversified at the cost of our living ecology. Yet this diversity and times overwhelming torrent of information does not necessarily lead to applied knowledge or embodied wisdom… and yet the creative chaos of systemic collapse invites human collaboration and imagination to respond from and with the nourishing potential that resides with in the information ecology. What would need to happen for enough of a relational shift in how these systems are used and the behaviours they incentivise?

For already existing ways to tend to the climate crises check out. Project Drawdown

What if we open our imagination and experience to being curious to the remembering of the transpersonal supports, for making sense and relating, these are often missing from our ultra rational world view and are hazed from current experience and memory. As well as being instincts that are now in shadow and have transmogrified into the narratives of advertising, worship of consumption and the myth of exponential process. I believe that right enough relationship with these relational dynamics could act as a support for sense making in these times of eco-system collapse, social economic crises.. a cultural dismemberment? What and how would contemporary practices of connecting to the other than human look like?

Dismemberment? Things fall apart, the natural and necessary processes of dissolution, descent and composting is an important part of cyclical growth, allowing the new to emerge and yet in contrast to our perceived notions of linear, rising and ascendant growth in this culture. How do we navigate descent or letting go in this culture? How do we embrace things falling apart to remember?

What do you notice in your body when you read this?

Can psychedelic masculinity stop war. Perhaps not? Might it, if psychedelic experience is used with safe enough intention, set, setting and integration, be one of the pieces in the puzzle to revealing enough of our interconnectedness to support raising awareness, perhaps causing enough of a micro biome shift in the cultures, companies, institutions & governments to change their actions. Less stop war? More raise enough awareness to work through the multiple layers and types of trauma (unmetabolised affect held in our bodies and collective spheres) and sublimate the perceived and unperceived needs, drives and projections fuelling conflict? Perhaps as concepts and creative adjustments dissolve at right enough pace in a safe container, experience a glimpsing an adjacent possibility or seeing through the dominator and destructive narratives we have creatively adjusted too? I would say it’s worth being open to the wild imagining. “These are unseen times, calling not yet seen resolutions” Bill Plotikin

To note the root of the word psychedelic “soul revealing”… what happens if we imagine Soul less as an object within an individual or collective, but as the unique relational psycho-ecological niche. That a person imbibes, “Psykhē – where they blow, breathe, animate, cycle” Their place in the web of interconnectedness, the notes and cords of each string of relationship played intra, inter and trans personally. Our sense of unique self, our soul less a fixed object more an ongoing relational process amongst a wider web of relationship and meaning?

To expand this concept maybe a psychedelic doesn’t have to be a recreational, medicinal or therapeutic substance as a non specific amplifier of the senses, to reveal this but could be any experience which invites curiosity and awareness to the quality of the relational reality. Intra, inter and trans personally…

Could a relationally aware masculinity find its place of care, receptivity and reciprocity with the human and more than human, the great web of life? 

Here are a few questions sourced from Bayo Akomolafe…

“What questions are illegible unintelligible and so beyond our cultural means of making sense of the world that they are invisible? “

“What don’t we know how to ask yet?”

“What if the way we see the crises is the crises?” 

These resonate with a similar trust in bewilderment and uncertainty that Albert Einstein pointed to “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that caused them“.

What other ways of knowing can we embrace, or remember? That perhaps indigenous societies and or nature based cultures with alive reciprocal relationships with the animate earth and species innately knew… Well how do we learn to be bewildered and befriended by our own and collective unconscious forces before we civilise our selves to death in mechanised desensitised utilitarian certainty of a dominator culture? Are Soul revealing – Psychedelic experiences a piece amongst many in a less outcome fixated, more process orientated living puzzle?

I am aware this piece has been wide and divergent of its circling of topics. I am confused too. I trust it has stimulated some curiosity for you. Whats happening with your breath?

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