I see there is a three-day conference in Toronto starting June 16 about turning over the stewardship of the planet to the women. I have long thought this would be a great idea. We guys have sure made a mess of it. Perpetual conflict in the Middle East, the Gulf of Mexico engulfed in an oil spill that may spread up the eastern seaboard, the modern material culture run by greedy psychopaths and become completely immoral and ruthlessly and remorselessly destroying our life support systems and ecological and meteorological fabric and biocultural diversity. Let’s give the women a chance and see how they do. This is one of the important ideas in the crucible in which our new way of doing business with the world is struggling to be born.
If there is a poster person for good stewardship of the planet, it’s Wangari Maathai, founder of Kenya’s Greenbelt movement. And the Chipko movement in India, where women from villages encircle trees hand-in-hand to keep them from being felled by loggers. In my experience running the Dispatches, all but two of my several dozen interns from McGill have been women. They are the ones who really care. According to male-female brain theory, the female brain is more empathetic, while the male brain is better at making calculations and number-crunching, which is why there are far more guy mechanical engineers and race-car drivers. Autism, according to a new study, is nothing more than a case of extreme male brain.
It’s not surprising that women are more caring and empathetic, because they are the mothers who raise and give love to their children. The early religions worshiped female nature goddesses. Then as we domesticated plants and animals and became more sedentary and our society more complex and stratified and warlike, women were demoted from the equal status as providers (who collected plant food rather than hunted) they enjoyed as hunter gatherers to the subservient position they have had until rise of feminism and women’s ability to make it on their own in the l970s. The nature and fertility goddesses were replaced by authoritarian monotheism, an all-powerful, all-knowing single guy up there who demanded total obedience and came down ruthlessly on those who defied him. From then on, the real trouble, leading to our current debacle, began. While we’re at it, trying to stave off the Apocalypse and considering how to empower the women, why don’t we give God and Man a break from institutionalized religion ? an aging boomer rocker songwriter, I’m afraid I don’t remember his name, proposed in an interview I read the other day.
How are the women going to get back the power ? How will they neutralize the male aggression and violence that are destroying mankind and the planet ? That will be interesting to watch. Will matrarchies arise through natural selection, and what kind of selection : group, kin ? If it is in the interest of humanity for our societies and institutions to be run by women, by what revolutionary mechanism will the order of things be abolished and they installed ? Unfortunately most of the women who have made it to the top so far don’t seem to be very different from the men. My personal belief is that there aren’t just two sexes. It’s more like a binary system, with unlimited possible permutations and combinations of male and female within whatever body you’re born with. Anyway, I wish the ladies, and all of us, well. We need more of their energy. Let’s all work together to bring out their inner nature goddess. That is one deity I personally will consider becoming a devotee of. As long as their power, which is already considerable, paramount if Freud is to be believe, doesn’t go to their heads.
That will be interesting