I want to address the debate between the people who are celebrating the immense liberation of soul made possible thanks to #metoo, and those who fear that the hashtag is being used to selectively and unfairly to silence the competitor.
I am both of those people!
I am feeling the tremendous joy that can only come with the freedom of stating your truth out loud and being finally taken seriously. God, it’s been a long time. At the same, I realize very acutely that in our society, in our culture, the pure phase of any good cause it painfully short. Shorter than an eye blink. Anything that starts out as sacred, is almost immediately commodified, hijacked, sliced into soulless taglines, and used for somebody’s enrichment.
Because, rat race.
As you know, I recently contributed to #metoo when I spoke up against the man who I hold in great contempt, the former Executive Director of Content Creators Coalition. My grievances were mostly on the side of corruption and abuse of power but it was #metoo that allowed me to be believed.
The extra careful politeness and respectfulness with which some of my male friends started taking to me afterward did not escape me (LOL)!
And so, I am puffing my cheeks and making jokes about it in my head. You seriously can relax. As long as you are not a spiteful, vicious creature who wants to hurt me, silence me, and use me, you have nothing to worry about.
Here is my social theory, though:
First, we all have a problem. We live in a bullshit society that is designed like a man-eating machine.
Lots of factors have contributed to making it so, and lots of things will need to be done to unwind and heal it. I said it before and I will say it again: We are not going to fix it with systems. It is literally impossible. We will have to grow our own souls, wherever we are, and whatever we do. Only when we connect to our souls in a way that is unique to each of us, we will start walking in the direction of real, lasting solutions.
No artificial intelligence can help us. We need the genuine intelligence of the heart, without any hashtags and promotional videos. And hopefully, we’ll get there sooner or later.
But in the meanwhile, we live a bullshit society that is designed like a man-eating machine, and we are all engaged in an impressive balancing act of mimicry and self-defense.
Our society is sensationalist, it is overly commercial, it promotes money and undervalues relationships; it distracts you and lures you into the trap of living in the ‘now’ that you don’t own; and once you walk into the trap, your scream is immediately muted, and you become invisible to your peers who are too busy chasing the traps of their own. You find yourself screaming, and you find your peers filming your scream to post it on their Instagram.
Welcome to the other side, buddy.
Somehow, most of us discover this
bug feature only after making it over to the other side, at least temporarily. No matter how benevolent we are and how much we think we care about the other, it is impossible to know what being ignored and played down feels like until you’ve felt it.
Unfortunately, the hijackers of common sense in our culture want us to believe that each kind of disrespect is brought to us by a distinct villain defined in demographic terms (white racists oppress people of color; male sexists oppress women; rich arseholes oppress the poor, and so on). But in reality, it boils down to disrespecting the spirit, in its various expressions.
Let me name another problem we all share. Commodification and belittlement of personal mystery.
See, if your nature bleeds inside a man-eating machine, and the machine doesn’t care, you feel like your very essence is disrespected. Not just you as a person or a citizen – but the very thing you were born to be!
Our society at this time is skewed toward a certain psychological type, The Confident Businessman Who Believes That He Has the Right to Disrupt.
Silicon Valley giants didn’t invent disruption though: In these quarters of the world, it was mostly Columbus and those who followed him into this hemisphere. They treated its land and its people as if both the people and the land were a defeated virgin spread on the bed for their self-assertion. All theirs, by divine law…
In my experience, a woman’s role in today’s society can be more or less summed up with these words:
‘Act Like a Man, Talk Like a Man, Fight Like a Man, or Hush It. And Even If You’ve Managed to Win by Acting Like a Man, You Are Still Not a Man… Sorry.’
Yes, the smarter men do respect women and recognize woman’s powers – but the language of the public conversation is male. And whenever the public conversation tries to use female language (yes, a big ass generalization disclaimer), serious people start rolling their eyes and bitching, much like an old, self-absorbed, irritated husband.
[I hear some of my friends jump off their chairs and scream ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN THE LANGUAGE IS MALE! I CAN’T EVEN COMPLIMENT A WOMAN NOWADAYS… SHIT!’… please keep reading and try to relate… I am about to explain what I mean.]
I love men – and I can see how being exposed to the language that is foreign to you can be maddening – and I also believe that shoving contexts down people’s unwilling throats is useless – but you, the proverbial annoyed man who wants to talk about systems and weapons and destroying the enemy and your favorite linear logic thingie that is the murder of me – you, for some reason, are not bothered at all if I drown my soul in your context and your language! You think I should adapt to your way of thinking because your way of thinking is… normal? Do you know that I have to pretend to be like you in order to be taken seriously?
Do you know that in the real world, the world outside of Facebook, it’s almost impossible to earn respect and prestige by using my God-given internal organization that compels me to make peace, to lead with love, and to respect the human spirit as a woman? I don’t have an inferiority complex – I am confident about my intellect and I don’t have a problem mimicking the ‘male’ ways – but it’s super painful to me because it’s not who I am! I am not a man and I don’t want to be a man!
Do you know that I always have to either smile and look pretty, or make a long face and sound like I fucking love your linear intellectual jerk-off sessions even though I can’t stand them because I know in my heart they are near-useless, with only a few exceptions? But that’s how I get to impress you, and I humor you… How is that fair?
Yes, dear, I am happy to understand you and I don’t want your head to explode – but please understand me, too, and let me be respected for who I am – even if you might not understand exactly how I do what I do. It’s okay!
Sadly, if I were to oversimplify things a little, the general perception of women by modern Western society seems to be a softer version of how early European missionaries viewed indigenous people (including back home). In the eyes of the missionaries, indigenous people, the heathen, were suspicious and dangerous (because only a man who has made a sour face and divorced himself from nature can be called civilized and thus, trusted). And sure, the little bastards could be baptized – and that would make them a little better – but they would still remain dirty little children of nature…
Modern contempt for emotion and female thinking (matched only by the resulting popularity of cat videos) comes from that place of fear where nature is the devil, and women, consequently, are the witches. It is rooted in the fear of one’s unexplained emotions and in being too fucking lazy to hone one’s sensory interface.
Yes, yes, European civilization has evolved since. We no longer burn women at the stake (although, we still do make the dissidents suffer). We no longer steal non-Christian children and send them to boarding schools (although those who have lived through that nightmare are still living). But it seems to me that all these biases and resulting violence and disrespect are rooted in the same convenient existential fantasy claiming that nature, our mother, is the enemy of civilization that shall be kept in check or mindlessly exploited.
No, no, I am not promoting any slogans. I don’t know enough about American feminism, and frankly, I am a little suspicious of the shouting. However, I am interested in the living, breathing respect for everybody’s true nature – which is something we cannot accomplish intellectually. My aspiration is to remind people of the spirit. I think that when people connect with the spirit, really connect with the spirit, the ugly byproducts of our civilization – the ones that come from a place of arrogance and fear – will take care of themselves.
I think that genuine respect will come from healing, and until then, we are reduced to algorithms. Sadly, algorithmic solutions tend to hurt innocent people, and they are easy to hijack.
We are fools for pretending that we can suppress our emotions or mask vulnerability with yelling. It will fall apart. Only love and humility will ultimately bring the answers.
Healing is tough. Healing requires work. It requires an interruption of our chest-beating cycle. Only together, we can solve our problems.