|Our world is run by men who behave like little boys
Our most pressing need is to balance our cleverness with wisdom
THE noble art of losing face may sometime save the human race…
My dear friend Katherine Whiteside Taylor, a San Francisco Jungian analyst who died many years ago, wrote this poem praising an approach traditionally considered “female”.
She also wrote several books on parent co-operative nursery schools. She stayed with me in London prior to the first annual general meeting of a similar movement here. A centre in Canada is named after her.
We need many more such organisations, people working together rather than being trained to live in boxes or to be part of organisations making money for the faceless gamblers who now seem to control everything. It is so difficult to think beyond the boxes into which we have been squeezed since early childhood.
We have a world run by men behaving like dirty little boys singing: “I’m the king of the castle, get down you dirty rascal”, a traditionally “male” attitude exemplified by the belligerency currently being expressed about the situation in Iran.
How appropriate Katherine’s words now seem. We need to integrate the best thinking of all kinds – female, male, child, adult. We need to listen to each other.
We can only break the mould when we learn to think in the abstract and express our feelings. All the people I know and care about have broken free of their moulds and can express their feelings and understanding across boundaries of age, sex, religion and nationality.
Although I worry about power corrupting, I have known so many who refused to succumb to corruption and worked or are still working towards these ends. In today’s world their voices are largely silenced.
Points of light shine out wherever the good exchange their message. (Auden)
Even before they can read, people can understand music, poetry and art. Right up to the Middle Ages this is how the illiterate were taught.
Gordon Dunstan, a minor canon at Windsor, went to King’s College as a professor. Seeing him marching through St George’s, Windsor, leading the choir in the most moving music could not fail to inspire even the most irreligious, like me.
A member of the Marriage Guidance Council executive, when he invited me to help in his retreats, I asked: “Why do you need a renegade Jew on your clergy courses?” He said: “The clergy have been trained to preach and teach. We now want them to learn to listen.”
In her wide-ranging 1977 book Androgyny, June Singer wrote: “…the old theories, founded on the dominance of one sex and the compliance of the other, have brought about an imbalance in society that needs to be remedied.”
Ancient legends of the Kabbalah talk about the tree of life, one side is male, the other female.
For decades we’ve known that science shows the left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and more rational elements of personality, while the right hemisphere controls the left side of the body and intuitive attributes usually considered feminine.
We are beginning to accept that men can be just as good at parenting as women, and women can succeed in all traditionally male professions. This fast-growing movement needs encouragement.
William Sheldon’s book, Varieties of Temperament, describes how we can plot human beings on a sliding scale according to their feminine and masculine qualities.
The much-vaunted emergence of metrosexuality ought to signify that people are now striving actively to integrate their masculine and feminine aspects. Instead, it seems to be a sexual interest fashion statement.
We still largely train our boys to become masculine men and our girls feminine women. This very month a report by the National Union of Teachers accused high street stores of selling children clothes intended to oversexualise young children and reinforce conventional attitudes of masculinity and femininity.
This commercialisation and commoditisation robs them of their childhood and contributes to the rise in child sexual abuse. Then we wonder that there is so much identity confusion and that we are unable to communicate, the biggest single cause of marriage breakdown.
Even dirty little boys need mothers and mothers need to be able to break the chains of housework.
Pride in their concept of maleness doesn’t allow men to lose face. Because many boys haven’t developed the feminine side of their personalities, putting caring first, they feel they need knives and guns. Conversely, some women are more aggressive and competitive than most men.
Our most pressing need, its urgency cannot be overstated, is for all humanity to balance our cleverness with wisdom, our insatiable curiosity, greed and selfish, destructive ambition with our sense of wonder and capacity to nurture, cherish and conserve.
If it is to influence the larger world, this balance must be achieved within each individual. Man has conquered much external nature, but still knows little of his own internal nature. There is a race against time if our world is not to perish.
Each of us needs to find our true self and cultivate the ability to communicate with those who are different.
It is up to each individual to determine where they fit on that sliding scale from femininity to masculinity.
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