A woman told me the world would be fine if all men just disappeared, she didn't see them as anything other than tyrants. I disagreed.
In recent history human beings, not just men, have behaved as though they own the planet, they have ruthlessly exploited everything. Over thousands of years we have developed a mindset which accepts such behaviour as normal. We are all contributing to the earth's destruction, however superior or holy we may individually feel. We teach our children to compete, to be consumers, to assert themselves, to be selfish and self-centred. We then, as adults, exploit, take advantage and act out of fear not love. Whilst we have developed this way of being we have been dominated by patriarchy. Are the two synonymous or symbiotic? Are all tyrants male? Does patriarchy inevitably lead to tyranny?
Aristotle defined a tyrant as 'one who rules without law, looks to his own advantage rather than that of his subjects, and uses extreme and cruel tactics - against his own people as well as others.' If we examine the edge of the precipice over which we are now looking as a species this definition perfectly reflects the way we are all behaving. We have all, in a diversity of ways, subscribed to and accepted the delusion that behaving this way is fine. Men and women have colluded and mutually assisted. For me, patriarchy doesn't inevitably lead to tyranny. Men are not the sole cause of our problems, our stunted tyrannical mindset is the trouble.
By stating this I'm not ignoring the faults of our patriarchal past and present. I am not saying we should forget or sweep under the carpet the last thousands of years of oppression and violence in our society. Indeed I'd be very happy to bring about the end of patriarchy. I know men are perpetrators, and more often than not women are the victims. However, it is too glib and simplistic an argument to say men are solely responsible. Our mindsets have created the crisis strewn present landscape.
For me, the opposite of tyranny is democracy. As Einstein said 'we can't solve things by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them'. So, let's end tyranny and devote ourselves to true democracy. Not the false, tyrannical, democracy presently being propagated by the USA and its' allies.
We need to realise we are still in tyrant mode, we are just deluding ourselves about our democratic superiority. Democracy is defined as a government in which all eligible citizens participate equally in the proposal, development and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of self-determination. We are presently a long way off such a culture. We may call ourselves democrats, but we are still controlled and manipulated. It will take a major change in our mindsets to move from tyranny to true democracy. Men are just as capable of creating a democratic culture as women, indeed it is essential that both participate fully.
The first green shoots of the necessary democratic alternatives are appearing, and some of them relate to men. Right now more and more boys and men are uncertain about what makes a man. That is a good thing. Men are no longer mindlessly following in the footsteps of their recent ancestors. They are challenging what it is to be a man, and what qualities a man brings to the world. The democratising of masculinity enables a man to show and be proud of a wide range of emotions, to be a complete human being.
The new democratic masculinity encompasses three hundred and sixty degrees of being. Men who can express views, emotions and feelings from their adventurous, pioneering spirit, through the deeply responsible and mature, to the nurturing and loving core. Masculinity which emotes, is vulnerable, is uncertain, asks for help, seeks teachers, as well as being thrusting, penetrative and incisive. Motivated and acting from a deep sense of belonging, collaboration, mutual support and love.
These are the men we need, not the old tyrants, not the old passive aggressive stunted men of our recent past. If this comes about, then women will no longer question what is the use of a man, they will know and be able to see the value of masculinity. If this comes about then men and women will be happy to collaborate, share and mutually support. We all need men and women who fulfil their full potential, this is such a great opportunity for change.
Men are not solely the problem, they can and must be part of the solution.