On new heroines and new heroes…. Dreaming up a new story…
A week ago I held a Salon here in Berlin with the title: Men – Women – and the eternal repetition of injustice.
A friend of mine, Florian Goldsmith, who does regular philosophical radio shows on German radio, gave a short input on his views before we dived into a very lively discussion. I had asked him to do this, because previously we had had a few interesting conversations on where the whole discourse on ‘men/women’ is at. Our conversations got sparked about a year ago, when he told me over dinner how he had released a 3min radio show on this thoughts about men and violence. He was disturbed about what had happened on New Years eve in Cologne the night of 31 December 2015. In his short radio talk he questioned men’s violence, what the origins are, why men seem to be more prone to violence, etc. He did it carefully, diplomatically, including himself, also not excluding the possibility of female violence. But s***storm hit the fan after the show was aired. He received a lot of aggressive (the irony of it all) responses, some men attacked him of being a man-hater, and he is until today, a year and half later, getting terrible hate mail! The publisher of a philosophical (!!!) magazine even recommended that he should be sacked from his radio post.
The Salon, by the way, was a beautiful gathering of 20 men and women who dived deeply into the questions of injustice, inner and outer development, unity and integrity. We probably will repeat the evening, just because we all felt there is traction, there is deep respect for something we cannot quite see arising on the horizon, between men and women.
And…. I do think that we live in times where we just have to face that we don’t understand everything and that some reactions and responses just totally shock us. There is an emotional underbelly that is throwing up some pretty unpleasant stuff, but the fact that it is seen is maybe what should make us feel optimistic, rather than despaired. I get solace from Hannah Arendt who said that understanding to her means Coming Home. In German: Verstehen ist für mich Heimat. Even if we may not understand, we need to somehow practice a posture of ‘trying to understand’….
While I am still showing the film in various places (2 weeks ago in Amsterdam, with a interesting panel of great engaged women) I realise, the more I meet people, that we need to be careful that the subject of self-authorization doesn’t become too one-sided. I am not saying that the development of women’s independence, strength, safety and impact still needs to be strongly supported for probably another few centuries – since the layers of cultural conditioning lay so deep – but I also do think that we have to turn our attention to the inner development of men (or better: they have to turn their own attention towards their development). I don’t want to be condescending, as I don’t like thinking in theoretical terms. And I don’t have solutions to offer, I am not a man. But we don’t have to look very far to see how the backlash towards women comes from a deep, archetypal insecurity that men feel about women right now, especially about women who are strong – and that happens not only in traditionally patriarchal societies, but also amongst us, between our friends -right here in our houses, at our work places…. Women will never be able to fully live in freedom and creative agency if men have not faced their own insecurity about life, their own imbedded privilege, their unconscious superiority towards women. And – they will never feel and experience true self-authorisation themselves as long as they need to see themselves as superior to women. The game between women and men is also VERY complex…. But…..
I have one fantasy that maybe you can all help me to develop. It is incredibly idealistic. And also naiv. But sometimes it is just good to let oneself dream another reality than the one that we are in. What if men create a new hero-story? What if the new hero story is not about the big muscles, the fast car, the lonely cowboy and the so-called important leaders who suppress women’s freedom by violence and weird double-moral laws – but it is about the men who engage in developing a better world for us, the men who make sure, we have a safe place to live in. What if the new sexiness is care and working on a holistic, creative future together. What if young (and old 😊) girls would meet and get attracted to men who worry about a better future, who work their butts off for education, peace and ecological future. By the way – this fantasy is not too far from reality, don’t we all know many such great men!
What if all the Erdogans, Putins, Orbans and Trumps of this world (and for that matter all the La Pens and all the other pretty nasty women) would become heros and heroines of ecological development, of a peaceful world, having seen through their primitive, teenage-like need to lustfully point atomic weaponry against each other, what if all the gun-carrying American men (and women) would find their own heroic story in planting trees, caring for the elderly in their towns, creating community based living, being interested in RAISING LIFE rather than destroying it or defending against? What if all the technology dudes out there would rather develop games that speak of co-operation and joy and laughter and creativity, future lives that speak of cooperation with nature rather than of destruction and killing of humanity and nature? What if all the porn filmmakers would start being interested in what love would really mean between men and women and perhaps create businesses in educating children about THAT? What if the refugees in Europe get all a chance to learn skills with which they can go back home and re-construct their homeland again after war is no more an option for us humans? Not only re-construct their countries but re-construct them with all the knowledge that we so far have learnt on how to construct ecologically sound cities? And they become pioneers in doing this? Pioneers of changing around deep-imbedded hate towards a life-positive, life-supporting identity? There would be meaning in their lives, a future?
And what if the women will come out of their perhaps more passive (big generalization!) roles, truly knowing the power they have within them – not having to measure their knowledge or worldview with the ones of their fellow men but walk out there, alone – as heroines, supporting each other, letting go of the archetypal jealousy and comparison that divides so many women… what if real sisterhood is possible now. What if they support and engage in the development of their fellow brothers with love and understanding, with curiosity and joy? And what if there is real brotherhood amongst men, because the vision is to develop social systems that make the planet livable? It would need cooperation across boundaries, across countries across worldviews.…
I may sound crazy and terribly naiv, so unpolitical too – but to be honest, if that is the case – I am happy to be crazy, to be called a dreamer. Because at this point I think we have to allow ourselves to dream.
It takes a big inner decision to move, it is a big hearted dream, even an alchemistic dream – to turn the poisonous energies we have created, into creative, life-positive forces that will transform our planet into a place that in our secret dreams we always wished could be possible. The great thing is – can’t you feel it? The possibility is closer than we believe it to be! Let’s just keep dreaming and acting….
Some practical news: The English/Spanish/German DVD is now available for Sale. Since I am doing the distribution outside of Germany, please write to me here with your order and I will be in communication with you.