Both Halves of the Whole Are Necessary

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November 23, 2019-

The practice of chivalry has long taken a bad rap.  For this, I blame the degeneration of the once noble art into infantilization, then misogyny.  What was a system for honouring all that women did for the good of the world, became a means to dominance.

As the old saw goes, “When the worm turns, we all turn.”  It’s been masculinity’s time to take some hits, in the name of a level playing field.  The point of overkill appears to have been reached, about ten years ago.

Both genders can claim a plethora of contributions to the well-being and advancement of society, and of civilization.   There are men and women of distinction, in just about every field of endeavour that comes to mind.  Due to a long-standing system of such things as the disparity in salary between men and women, for the same work and the false equivalence, “whataboutism”, that gets raised, every time lingering issues of misogyny are raised, the temptation to take even more away from men is understandable.

Gender, itself, owing to both the frequent imbalance of gender-determining hormones, in all too many people, has been under a degree of attack.  This is not the fault of anyone who has a greater degree of testosterone compared to estrogen, or vice versa.  There are likely a good many causes of the imbalance, from genetic modification of food and drink to pollutants in the air and water.

However, I digress.  The fact that I was born male, am very happy to remain male and am physically attracted only to women does not need to be renegotiated.  I can be, and am, friends with a fair number of gay men and transgender people.   That, and the fact that I once cried easily, has never had anything to do with my gender identity.

Jordan Peterson’s eleventh rule for life is, essentially, “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.”    The legitimate achievements of men, those on which a man did NOT piggy-back on the work of a woman, need not be minimized. (There are certainly plenty of the piggy-backed cases.)

Indeed, there is often a tendency for people to not know where to stop, when correcting a past wrong.  The misunderstood term, microaggression,, has been offered as a reason for excess revisionism in history and for an overage of caution in determining a proper course of action.  Microaggression is essentially between  individuals, and is best sorted out, at that level.

Dr. Peterson carries this to the achievements of Western European/North American society.  Certainly, there is much about the “Western civilization” to admire, which is a large part of why it has been so universally emulated.  There is also much that needs correction, and some of the answers to our issues may be found in examining other societies.

In essence, then, no community can long exist, successfully, without equal contributions by BOTH women and men.  In addition, no society can thrive on one set of social practices alone.

Guarding the Precious

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December 23, 2018, Phoenix-

The second day of the Grand Canyon Baha’i Conference continued the examination of issues around wealth and building a sustainable new society.  There was, however, a necessary sidebar:  The curbing of violence against women.

Ms. Layli Miller Muro is Director of Tahirih Justice Center, a nationwide network of programs designed to safeguard women facing all manner of attacks on their person, especially with respect to arranged marriages, particularly of underage girls.  Her two presentations today placed a searing light on the many aspects of this issue.

I have long been concerned with the maltreatment of women and children, especially of girls.  In my initial work, there was a tendency towards paternalism-though just shy of infantilizing my charges.  I have made it a lifelong goal to foster strength and independence- the lioness being more of a model than the fluffy rabbit.  What that entails, in real terms, has been a learning process, for yours truly, despite having been raised by an indomitable woman and growing up surrounded by powerful females.

Nonetheless, my learning has continued apace, and the shedding of counterproductive, if well-intentioned, attitudes and thoughts is ongoing.

Mrs. Muro’s major points, in her first presentation, bear intense consideration:

  • “Unity is not possible, without justice.
  • The beginnings of justice are messy.  Purification requires blistering heat.
  • Justice is the foundation of a spiritually-based global civilization.
  • As an individual, it is better to be killed, than to kill.
  • As a society, we must ALL serve as advocates.
  • As an individual, immediate forgiveness is essential.
  • As a society, swift and complete justice is equally essential.
  • It is NOT the victim’s job to arrange justice.
  • In the next life ( a spiritual life), justice is even harsher.  It’s therefore better for a perpetrator to face justice in this world.”

In the afternoon presentation, Mrs. Muro noted that social action is a tool for achieving justice.  We, even as individuals, may not be able to control pain and suffering, but we can control its duration and limit its severity.  She noted that justice which does not end in unity is not true justice.

Furthermore, she noted that, if those who face incarceration realize the severity of justice in the spiritual world, they would certainly seek out appropriate punishment in this life.

These thoughts and statements, to me, are worthy of deep thought on the part of the hearer or reader.  With me hardly being a paragon of virtue, historically speaking, I am taking Mrs. Muro’s points very seriously and will be devoted all the more to both self-purification and to aiding women and girls in both their self-protection and in advocating for those with a history of victimhood.