Updated: Dec 2, 2020
I am seeing that the conversation about gender polarity is an important one for men and women in our time. As a man, who has lived the majority of his life in the last half of the 20th century, at a time when gender roles were turned upside down in the culture, I am now interested in the realization of masculine consciousness emerging from the era of feminism. This is as much a re-discovery of the lost naturalness of being a man suffered since the 1970's, as it is a response to pervading sense among feminist women that masculinity is toxic. To be clear, neither gender has the market cornered on toxic attitudes and behavior. Both men and woman have both mature and immature expressions of attitudinal behavior. I think that we is really needed is a candid discussion about this that opens the dialogue so that we understand better our nature and can establish a culture that is empowering to everyone which is grounded in our cultural traditions.
Men and women need to reevaluate the identities of being a men and women, so as to free ourselves from all considerations of what modern society has told us to they should be. It is as perfectly acceptable or a a woman to be a professional, just as it is for her to be a mother. We should not stigmatize peoples life choices. And at the same time we can acknowledge that nature has prepared us to be sourced in the biology that we are given by nature as men and women. There is something very ancient in this. The reality is that our culture of men providing and woman nurturing is something that existed universally in the world long before the modern era arrived. It is still there, and waiting for us to rediscover it.
I write as a man, that for men, our testosterone does not need to be tamed. There is nothing wrong with us as nature made us in our instincts and impulses. Men need to re-discover the real maturity and goodness in our patriarchy. That is to say, our source in the fatherhood of mankind. There is a goodness in which the chivalry with which we can regard women and children that is a natural expression of our being. It is the same for woman. There is no necessity for woman to conqueror the world, or defend it, nor to develop the masculine qualities in order have value in our society. Some might chose to do that, and that is fine, but is not a requirement for women to live as if men did not exist. Because, in modern times, these are options not requirements. However, it is useful to consider that there is a value to tradition as well. Not everything about our lives inherited from the past is archaic and irrelevant. The so called dark ages of the past, were not completely dark in the absence of light. For all of our history, men and woman cooperated and coordinate together in devotion to express their natural polarities. It is still the case today, in many parts of the world, that our real nature is closer to the lives of humans in the neolithic world, where civilization was based on tribes and families and the necessities for living in the world. Even in modernism, these impulses survive, and need to flourish for our species to survive.
New ideas that I have encountered recently masculine thinkers suggest that the consciousness of maleness is penetrative and devotional, and that of femaleness is receptive, and accommodating. What is needed to restore the balance between these two natural polarities. This is consistent with the ancient neolithic sense that the action of males was providing and solving problems, which required strength, devotion, and judgement, while that of woman was nurturing and empathy which required compassion, wisdom and order. Like the two pillars that form the sides of the Kabbalistic Tree of life, or the two pillars found at the entrance gates of all ancient temples, the nature of masculine and feminine are universal in nature.
Regardless of our postmodern androgynous notions, there is something at the heart of the male and female polarities that is sourced our ancient past that must be conserved in the modern age. These polarities need not be in an argument with each other. It is simply how nature is. Male is male, and female is female. This pervades all of life, and it is obvious. Their core function and essence are expressed respectively and metaphorically as penetration and reception. These are mirrored on every level of our being men and women. The generative masculine and the radiant feminine take many forms; wisdom and understanding, justice and mercy, which together reconcile being and beauty. This is the Kaballistic Tradition. It is also Hermetic tradition. In Esoteric Christianity,it is the higher and the lower, the inner and outer, and the depth and surface. Like so much that has long been obscured from what was once understood, we are sourced in both culture and biology, which conserves elements from the past that emerged in our evolution. In all the hidden or occult traditions, what is to be found is freedom to be in our true nature, to own ourselves, sourced in our being by these polarities of man and woman that are found in traditions from all over the world.
As a man writing this, I am focused on the masculine for now. A healthy masculine requires requires initiation. It also requires the separation of the male adolescent from the feminine culture of the mother, for the sake of the development of boys into men. Just as there is clearly a world of women, which starts at puberty and concerns female reproduction, there is also here is a world of men at the same age that bridges childhood and manhood. It is a world into which boys and girls must be initiated by their communities. The traditions have always provided this. The paths for men and woman diverge with puberty, and move toward their polar paths, guided by cultural institutions. Even in adult and mature adult life, these initiations are important, because for people, their human development is often stalled in a chronologically earlier stage of life, even still experienced as they age through later stages of life. Initiation can happen at any age.
We have lost this phase of initiation in the modern world. Consequently, the path forward and ahead is more unclear than the might think it was in the past. Economic and social changes of modern life have led us toward androgyny and gender ambiguity in our psyches. This is not a criticism of androgyny or homosexuality for those who have taken these paths, as that is an individual's right to be who they are, and the ways of androgyny and homosexuality are also ancient in origin. There little in the behavior of people that is really new. However, never before have ideas about what is male and female in behavior and consciousness been so confused in human societies. This has led modernity and tradition to a fork in the road in which the masculine and feminine have moved so far from their common expression as they are found in nature.
In our modern cultures, woman have become masculine, and men have been feminized. I am not here addressing the ideology of feminism. I see that as a conversation that woman must take up and consider. For men, we have our own conversation as well, equally about masculism, and it must be had. In the later 20th and early 21st century, it is as though the masculine was to be suppressed, ridiculed or kept under control at all cost. This is because of the perceived failure of the masculine to be peaceful, respectful and even human in its attitude toward women. This was an immature masculinity, rendered so in the pervading narcissism of the 20th century. In actuality the mature masculine is devoted, paternal, and divine as the expression of the active principle that nature has created in balance with the feminine. It is important for men and woman to re-imagine the past and restore traditional gender ideals, roles, and norms. An understanding of the polarity is essential for everyone to understand and without bias to sexual orientation or the individuals personal freedom. An ethic of tolerance on the part of men and women toward each other would go a long way toward achieving this balance.
However, this cannot be enforced. It is a voluntary understanding, and part of an evolutionary process. There is also collateral damage from modernism and the great social transformations that have taken place in the wake of the later 20th century, including feminism, consumerism and the technology of the information age. The cultural biology of humankind that has endured since Neolithic times cannot be abandoned in a generation or two without consequence for those experiencing transformation. A new reconciliation of polarities, will perhaps offer both male and female polarities greater degrees of freedom to be, but still be bounded within the requirements of Great Nature. To violate this basic distinction of polarity in nature will of course create imbalances. For human beings, that is to create suffering in our consciousness and trauma in our identity.
Today in our post modern world, many people are suffering these imbalances. Many people seek personal growth and transformation. For some this is possible, and for others there is little hope because the transformation is uncertain. The mind control exerted by social conditioning is a formidable adversary. For many the indoctrination into the consensus reality of life is so strong that they cannot change, and will hold their conditioning no matter what until they die. This is why we cannot force people to change and periods of great transformation are often achieved gradually when generations pass away. Hopefully natural selection will see fit, as it always has, that whatever lacks survival value will eventually go peacefully into the night.
But for those willing to own the psychic nature of their gender polarity in identity and consciousness; and also to own the greater freedom that the opening has provided. We might realize and evolve our human species to a higher consciousness. One that has more balance between the inner and the outer, the masculine and the feminine, the penetrative consciousness and the receptive consciousness. So that the result that occurs is not the dominance of one gender by the other. If this sounds very esoteric and occult, it is because it it. It is an evolution of the Hermetic and Kabbalistic traditions in the light of the modern ideas about evolution.It is now more possible than it has ever been for men and women to openly explore esoteric ideas.
Lastly, all initiation, since the beginning of human history, has been to know the mystery of death. To be a man is to accept the reality of death, and to adopt the striving for meaning in quests of life. This is also true for the woman, who in addition to realizing the mystery of death, are also the unique bearers of the mystery of birth. It is this realization that sits at the heart of all the religions of mankind since the Neolithic age. For a man, there is meaning created from generating, gathering or providing. An initiated man live in service. He serves his community, his woman, and his children by doing so. For a woman, that same meaning comes from the giving of birth, the nurturing life, and embodiment of loving-kindness. We are divinity embodied. Gods and goddesses of life experiencing the world together through our flesh.
It has been the pervading climate of selfishness and narcissism that has been the hallmark of the modern world. The indictment of this culture would be long and extensive and undertaking. However, it is the result, in my opinion, of the absence of the traditions of initiation being conserved from our ancient past. If the point of knowledge is not its transmission and conservation for the service of the community, it can become the abusive technologies for the service of hierarchies of control that dominate mankind instead of liberate us. As men and woman in the modern era, we have now passed through a culture of selfishness and greed. Modernity has been an attempt to free mankind from the feudalism of the past, only to find new ways to recreate it. The promised golden age, the coming of he messiah, and the kingdom of heaven are all idealized visions of a future that can only be realize when men and woman grow and develop into a balanced and functional masculine and feminine. But this will require the re-initiation of both into a maturity and resolution of the oedipal drama that has throughout our history been the great stumbling block of the traditions to fulfill. Maybe now, it is possible.
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