- Religion and Philosophy
Under the mask of the Fittest - Beyond Gender Ambiguity
When it comes to androgyny of the mind, there is a lot more to think about beyond gender ambiguity.
In fact, though most of us are quite O.K. with our gender, all of us are a lot more androgynous than we think.
After the completion of Androgyny of the Heart and Brain Matters, the lead article, and the flow-on article Survival of the Fittest - Reiterated, I might as well attempt stringing the next twists and turns of the metaphoric Celtic knot I have been thinking about so much lately,
Most of our modern-day world issues and crises arise from circumstances that did not exist in any past era of our ancient civilisation.
However, since the 19th century to this day, generation after generation, when at school and in universities, have been under-informed.
Our education has tied us up with the constricting strings of models of management a.k.a. ways of thinking and working that adhere to mindsets and values that should have become obsolete several decades ago. It is through this dated thinking, seriously 'old school,' that our governments and we aspire to fix challenging present-time situations in a world in permanent gestation.
It is through this dated thinking, seriously 'old school,' that our governments and we aspire to fix challenging present-time situations in a world in permanent gestation.
Regardless of the ever-encroaching ramifications of lifestyle and mental health conditions, failing economies, messy, costly and unnecessary wars, fear of change and the unknown, a large range of addictive behaviours in personal lives and at-risk behaviour in the streets, we do our best to keep moving forward on the usual continuum.
Quite often, we do so at the cost of our sanity if the rising number of persons living with a form of dementia - and dying from Alzheimer’s - is anything to go by.
The number of illnesses linked to anxiety disorders, the ever-growing use of medicinal chemicals and resulting addictions, the extensive range of recreational ‘party drugs,' the constant encroachment of ‘new’ and harder narcotics, the rate of suicide among the elderly, among men, women, and youth are all signs that our cultural way of doing life has become overly challenging.
To this day, we defer to the status quo.
We rely on the principle of letting sleeping dogs lie.
Just as in centuries past, most of the population worldwide has been brought up thinking that to make it in life, to be respected, we had to come tops on four essential fronts under the umbrella of 'Fit to Survive.'
To achieve that goal, young and old, men and women, we have been subtly indoctrinated to the point where we live out the totality of our days and nights through our alter ego, a personalised version of the masked bandit!
Several decades ago, adults, and children alike, regardless of their gender and age, were culturally encouraged to express their 'strong-ness' somewhat differently, but always from under their mask.
Deep down, they were already all androgynously equal when it came to their perception of their inner lacking.
Our Mask - Our Driver
Today, we are no different, but it is safe to say that our personal reactions to our unsatisfied desires and insecurities are allowed to be expressed, mostly petulantly - at best - aggressively - at worse - but in the same manner regardless of age and gender.
Our 'fit' mask is our driver.
It is our face to the world - our personalised Guy Fawkes mask, the inspiration behind the popular mask, V for Vendetta.
Our mask is intended to impress four attributes upon anyone casting their eyes on us: intelligent, robust, unfazed and sexually relevant - regardless of gender and age.
These so-called must-have qualities became tattooed on our young psyches.
And, even when well past the age of thirty, not yet healed in spite of the passing of years, this tattoo becomes itchy and scratchy any time our intellectual, emotional and physical selves feel under attack.
The 'empowered' adults that we react to our perceived failings with the same shame, fear, vengeful resentment, or anger, depending, as emotional teenagers challenged by brain matter that is still developing - a brain that is wired to seek out rewards, act out, and exhibit immaturity.
Beyond that, in the political/public arenas, on the sports fields, the so-called ‘killer instinct,' which reflects the determination to get one’s way and come out on top, is as enduringly ageless as it is androgynous.
Kneejerk reactions occur any time our emotional selves anticipate - or feel - the pressure to prove their worth in regards to the dollars-and-cents stashed in our virtual bank vault.
And that is because ‘Fittest to survive' currently also means ‘financially impressive within the system of social stratification relative to our projected situation.'
Oddly and sadly for us all, our 'Fit to Survive' status revolves as much around the type and amount of material goods we are able to acquire as the quality of our mask - not our heartfelt level of health and happiness - not on our emotional coherence and resilience.
Decades ago, our ancestors, collectively and separately, by default, accepted to make their mask the sum of their subjective and relative status.
That mindset was passed it on to us across the generations.
Worse! From false strength to perceived weakness, we have been taught to infer that the less robust, the less cunning, the less materialistic and, according to the subjective standards of our pack, the less physically appealing in our community, in our country - and beyond - are losers, regardless of their circumstances.
We, too, have accepted to make it the metaphorical gearbox of their lives.
Permission to Hurt
This point of view has justified the treatment of cultures labelled 'primitive' and 'under-developed.'
It gave a free pass to many countries’ armed forces to invade and colonise i.e. subjugate the populations.
It also justified the century-old, ongoing political exploitation and manipulation of countries considered ‘less than.’
It granted permission to the hordes of missionaries to behave as they did over several centuries and across the globe.
It excused the colossal failure of the Vatican to address priestly sexual abuses over centuries and the ill-treatment of girls in church-run orphanages.
It is why so many children worldwide are being still abused and raped and why persons who happen to be less than able or judged 'weird' or 'different' are also abused in one way or another, usually out of the public eye - regardless of their age and gender.
This view of others has also led to numerous opportunities to indulge in ethnic cleansing which, for the most part, has been duly recorded, but not often enshrined in history books -perhaps because such acts are still current.
The same sentiment explains the normalised culture of cyber trolls and online/offline bullying and vilification.
It is the reason why women who are, on average, more transparent when emotional than men and not as physically strong, are referred to as the weaker sex - and why rape is still such a massive issue in our progressive and evolved culture.
It is also why the elderly population is preyed upon in a number of ways in all but ever rarer communities and countries.
That same inclination explains why, though many are ready to be deployed, truly effective measures to protect the earth, fauna and flora are still floundering like wingless grasshoppers.
Fit to Survive Means ...
'Survival of the strongest,' the reiteration of Herbert Spencer's phrase, 'survival of the fittest, on the back of Darwin's theory, has shifted generations, including ours, away from the true meaning of 'fit.'
'Being fit to survive' in modern-day parlance should simply suggest a heightened degree of physical and mental health, enhanced by a heart-brain emotional coherence anchored in a mind, body, and spirit approach to all aspects of our lives - here and now.
Just about the opposite of what decades of modern governing and culture shaping has achieved.
Where Is Our Reward?
That shift responsible for so much global misery is the thread our ancestors and our current leaders have chosen to lead us through each new cycle into greater and safer lives in all democratic ‘lands of the free.’
For now, very compliantly, we have done our best to behave as requested in the playground, on the sports fields, in the workplace, in the home, and in the streets.
Is it paying off?
Words Are Not Just Words
We hear and read about persons who have been abused, assaulted, embarrassed, harassed, humiliated, ridiculed, shamed, targeted and victimised.
Boy, girl, man, woman, we are all equally vulnerable - we all feel pain when our mask slips off our face in a tussle or - when it is ripped off.
We hear other words like anxiety, depression, powerlessness, repression and suppression.
Then there are adjectives such as abandoned, overlooked, starving, suffering and suicidal.
All these words are common to every modern language.
The mindset and situations these words engineer are acted out in the workplace, the home, the streets, the sports fields and the playground.
The pandemic use of certain 'words' indicates that, in many nooks and crannies of what has become our global culture worldwide, the heart/brain connection intended to create compassion in the one - and a sense of belonging in the other - has been offline for a very long time.
Is Intolerance Gendered?
Collectively and separately, our zombie-like thinking has led to a common way of reacting under pressure.
Regardless of our age and sex, the shape and colour of our bodies, the curl of our hair, our muscle density and our IQ, we, humans, feel the deep shards of fear shame and pain in the same way.
Above all, in spite of the cultural aspirations to be unique and stand-out of the masses, our cohort, our clan, our gang or clique, we do not want to come across as being ‘different, not really.
That is, not unless we operate from within the protective cocoon of genuine friendship.
But then again, when the occasional freedom of being as we see ourselves is granted to us, we do not systematically extend it to others who, themselves, are different in other ways.
Culturally, we have entertained an irrational lack of tolerance of those we judge differently from us.
Intolerance, too, can be classified as androgynous thinking.
The easy ability we all have to cause unease, anxiety, shame and fear to anyone and, at other times, to feel the karmic effect of these emotions in ourselves is another androgynous equaliser.
Clearly, another saying that states that if it ain't broke, don't fix it is no longer applicable to our collective societal circumstances.
Our default operating system has become counterproductive in most homes, at home in the community in which we live and abroad.
That old antiquated, collective and personal mindset, however enduring it has been, is unsustainable because it became ‘broke’ quite some decades ago and, by now, it is impossible to glue the bits back together again.
A Moment of Clarity
The rethinking our personal thinking - the changing of our mind, literally -now - has become essential. This slow, incremental shift will enable us to develop an amended blueprint of the old models and standards.
It will move us away from the emotions of insecurity, anger and resentment and their spin-off side-effects.
Instead, our heartfelt emotions will trigger thoughts of mutual aid, of social bonding, and an appreciation of connectivity with each other.
That is, with all those who, karmically, are intended to be ‘our loved ones'; all those who come into our awareness from near or far, with animals near and far and with the flora - with all that is integral to our daily life on Earth, in this lifetime.
These enhanced emotions and thoughts will create a different environment, one in which at least a couple more billion of us, soon to be a part of an 8 billion-strong world population, will be much better aligned with the natural ways of our body, mind, and soul - the ways of the planet.
How to 'change the world,' as long as we are unable to change ourselves?
A genuine social transformation is only possible through personal transformation.
Change can only begin within ourselves - not through anyone else.
It is expressed through our way of life, our behaviours, our aspirations and our priorities.
A mind shift in our heart-mind connection fires new emotions which fire new thoughts which, in turn, create a whole new set of circumstances - karmic ripples that, in all likelihood, will be more beneficial to us in the fullness of time than otherwise.
Good Bits From the Past
Not all from the past is bad, of course not. In fact, nothing from the past, any past communal or personal is ever bed.
It simply provides the 'stage,' the context through which we are all intended to grow, evolve and think differently.
Quite in the distant past of 1930, Winston Churchill wrote a biography, My Early Life in which he wrote a stirring call for action.
Though the cause, then, was different, the heart impetus that he saw as necessary in 1930 is the same as the heart impetus that is needed today.
"Hear this, young men and women everywhere, and proclaim it far and wide," he wrote. "The earth is yours and the fullness thereof. Be kind, but be fierce. Don’t be content with things as they are. You are needed now more than ever before. Take up the mantle of change. For this is your time."
So, Where to From Here?
From the bottom up, more genuine openness?
More honest caring?
More transparency across every rung of our society - the most evolved, the most progressive and the most inclusive there ever was?
© 2017 Carole Claude Saint-Clair