So, I’ve been reading tons in preparation for writing my post on the roots of misogyny. One thing I’ve done is re-read for the 20th time, I’m sure, Ernest Becker’s Escape from Evil. I have also re-read his Denial of Death again. This time, I read them with a different eye. I was looking specifically for a direct mention of women, or rather of how a woman might experience the creation of immortality-projects and such things. Actually, I found precious little, and it was disappointing.
In terms of bartering with the gods and creating institutions that are there to deny death and promise immortality, women are nowhere to be seen. Men are the priests, men are the leaders, men are everywhere. Women are nowhere. Granted, it’s complicated and to a large extent men took the bulk of the power in society and have since the beginning as best we can guess, although there is some interesting speculation otherwise.
To me, the interesting question is this: in a species that reproduces sexually, both male and female are required to make babies. There is no inherent reason why males should have all the social power and women have so little. So, why and how did men ever get and hold so much social power? That is the question I will address in my next post. There’s no way I can answer it definitively, but I can make an educated stab at it using all the power of research that I can muster. By the way, I’m not suggesting that women are powerless. In fact, in some ways, women are more powerful than men. It is in the realm of the spiritual and in terms of the creation and sustenance of immortality projects that my interests lie. Many women have written about the inferior status of women. I will address some of their thoughts in upcoming posts.
Another disappointment for me in re-reading Becker, something I hadn’t really paid enough attention to before is his insistence that our immortality projects are now secular. According to him, we’ve moved beyond the magic and promises of religion but our new ‘gods’, money and the nation-state cannot promise us immortality. That is a basic lie although they don’t hesitate in pushing that idea. Nation-states have sold themselves as important sources of meaning in our lives, meaning that seems to be worth dying for given the evidence from the carnage of the wars of the 20th Century. Max Weber, the German sociologist, argued that we live in a demystified world. I think that magical thinking is still very powerful in the world today. We are terrified of death and are willing to attach ourselves to whatever scheme we find plausible enough to lead the way into immortality. In many instances, those schemes are passed down through the generations, but new schemes pop up all the time outside of family and often in opposition to traditional familial values.
4 thoughts on “On my way to my Misogyny post: A Note”
People fear death as societies, yes. But I am chronically ill and an atheist. Death seems like… peace, painless, rest. The vast unknown nothingness. Sounds great. One day. Not this day. I have no idea why people fear death. Not when life is such suffering and struggle. Seems to me like a 100 years of life, if we get that, is plenty fine. I love the idea of magical thinking being something that is there in the world, and of course, it is. As a writer, I indulge in a Lot of it. As humans we certainly do, whether we want to or not. When there is something unexplainable we fill the gaps with any number of odd things and beliefs. It is like we can’t help but do it. Like we cannot accept the Void and have to fill it and not necessarily with something that makes sense. And really when it comes down to it emotional reasoning leads to a lot of untenable beliefs that just feel right even when they are in no way rational. We can’t escape it. We are not very rational for so called rational animals. I once had a complex auditory hallucination with a migraine. And it occurred to me… was that In my Mind… or Outside of my mind? Rationally I knew it was the migraine. I’d been having it for months. Irrationally I speculated… ghost. Yep… could be a ghost. Because it is creepy. Very creepy. And I had one incident I can’t even logically explain. So my brain is at a loss. Massive visual and auditory hallucination? Or ghost? Ghosts… pretty magical to me.
I’m chronically in pain too and have been for decades. I’m also depressed…which for anyone chronically ill has got to be a natural state of being. Maybe God is punishing us for being atheists! (LOL) My next few blog posts will be about the roots of misogyny. From what I’ve read over the last few decades, the ‘fall of man’ started the moment animal became human. The ‘soul’ was created to ensure immortality for men and other immortality projects followed. Women have paid for being human right from the beginning.
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First of all, Roger, I see no valid reason to link illness and pain and suffering with punishment from God. (I know you were just joking). However, I am being serious. I do see it as another thing that makes us human and gives us the option of being compassionate toward our fellow man (not people, as Justin Trudeau suggested, LOL). We can either become bitter about our pain and illnesses or choose to use out experience of pain to give valid understanding to others in similar situations. A person who has “walked a mile in another’s shoes” is always more authentic than the person who offers meaningless platitudes in their effort to comfort others.
It’s not so much punishment from God as the idea that what kind of entity, god or not, would set up a situation where suffering is a main part of life and death is the ultimate affront? Why tease Eve? Why set up that whole scenario? Was God bored? I’ve read Genesis over and over again and I just can’t see it. Why create a species like us, tempt it with ‘sin’ demand obedience and adoration, then allow Adam and Eve to do their thing condemning the rest of us to eternal damnation and death in the fires of hell if we don’t follow the straight and narrow? Seems a little more than just odd to me. If God is all-knowing and is one with the past, present and future, then He (yes, he is a male, isn’t he) knew that Eve was going to tempt Adam even before he set the whole scenario up. Seems perverted to me.
But, I’m not a believer, of course. I just don’t see it. I guess according to Christianity I’ll languish in hell for eternity. So be it. Sorry if this seems aggressive. I’m feeling a little aggressive right now. Hope you can forgive me for that. You pretty much have to if you’re a Christian.
Women have been blamed for most of the sins of man. It’s pretty hard to deny the Inquisition, the witch hunts, etc., that were aimed primarily at women.
I would appreciate it if you could enlighten me on what you do with all the contradictions around original sin and the subsequent Fall of Man, and the ongoing inferior status of women?
One thing I can say is that Jesus never uttered a misogynistic word. His followers, however, like Paul, have not hesitated in excoriating women for seducing men into committing sins of the flesh thus denying them immortality. It’s all just very weird to me.
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