Does feminism lead to matriarchy
Matriarchy Theory and Feminist Gender Studies: A Position Determination
The localization of my position begins with a linguistic difference in the Concept formation. I am not talking about "matriarchy" or matriarchal culture, but very consciously about «matrix-centered“Culturesfor the following reasons:
Colloquially, terms in combination with the Greek word “arché” mean a form of domination. For example, with “monarchy” as the rule of an individual, with “plutocracy as the rule of the rich”, “oligarchy” as the rule of the few or “aristocracy” as the rule of a privileged class of aristocracy.
Nevertheless, it is correct, as matriarchy researchers emphasize, that the Greek word arché originally had the meaning of "beginning, beginning, origin", which is still echoed today in the word formations "archeology" as ancient science or in the expression "archetypes" for the archetypes of the soul . But even in classical Greece, the expression “arché” took on the political coloring of rule: This is the case with the verb “archo” for “command” and “archon” for “to be the first, to be a leader.
I consider such a differentiation to be necessary because otherwise the widespread misunderstanding can spread that matriarchy is about "female rule". This is already a contradiction in terms as a word composition, because rule means the dominance of the "gentlemen".
Before I present the specific characteristics of matrix-centric structures from my point of view, I would like to talk about mine motivation speak that drove me to study such cultures of early and prehistory as well as the remnants of indigenous peoples with pre-patriarchal forms of society.
It was not primarily an emancipatory impulse as a woman, although I always actively followed the second women's movement. More burning for me was the question of the origin of violent oppression and the origin and glorification of wars: Is the patriarchal system of rule really a primordial fact in human history, as most historians, theologians and sociologists have led us to believe? And are (!) Humans actually domineering, violent and cruel by nature?
The theories of Konrad Lorenz and especially, Erich Fromms Work «The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness».
From an evolutionary biological point of view, a tendency towards violence is also unmistakable in humans. But while in our animal ancestors aggressive behavior necessarily serves to sustain life or creates a hierarchy in the group with regard to mating behavior, human aggressiveness goes far beyond that.
Destructiveness as an end in itself, cruelty and sadistic humiliation presuppose the reflective ability of human consciousness. The highly developed self-confidence proves to be a Janus-faced gift of evolution: On the one hand, it enables the highest intellectual achievements, on the other hand, it can lead to the perversion of empathy in targeted humiliation.
The basis for this ambivalence persists religious in the existential situation of being human as such. Only man knows about his mortality and thus falls out of the unquestioning unity with nature. He has to ask himself the question of the meaning of life and of his own role within the limited life. If he does not find an answer to this - as mythologies and religions try to give - he feels desperate and powerless. One way to escape this subjective misery is to see religious in destructive behavior: destructiveness as the transformation of impotence into apparent omnipotence (E. Fromm, Complete Edition, Vol.7, p.263). In this sense, the human instinct for destruction is not an expression of strength, but rather a compensatory attempt to break out of frustration and hopelessness: destructiveness as an expression of weakness.
After that, I inevitably asked why, historically speaking, the male part of humanity is so much more destructive than the female.
1. Findings from ethnology
A first approximation to clarify this fact ethnological research. They show that the patriarchal pattern of striving for power inwards and outwards, of war and submission is not a universal phenomenon. Rather, so-called acephalous societies still exist today that are not hierarchically structured and avoid armed conflicts. A recent work on the history of the war speaks of 70 peaceful ethnic groups who consciously refrain from using force and live in geographical areas of retreat (A. Eich 2015, p. 38ff). This justifies the assumption that they are older than the warlike peoples (from whom they were presumably displaced).
It is noteworthy that such ethnic groups form well-ordered communities even without the monopoly of violence by a leading power, and that both genders have an equal position, be it as village elders or in the exercise of religious-ritual practices.
In addition, the matrilineal descent calculation applies in 13 percent of such egalitarian communities, including the 3 million ethnic group of the Minangkabau on Sumatra. Matrilinearity means that the descent of the offspring is perceived exclusively in the maternal line (unilinearity), while the importance of the biological father is low, who is only related to his own maternal clan, but not to his children. If there are permanent pairings - in addition to the form of "visiting marriage" - matrilocalism is practiced, that is, the husband moves into the wife's clan. Daughters and sons inherit the family name of the mother, the daughters also inherit their property and their social and ritual functions within the clan. The mother brothers are responsible for bringing up the sons and pass on their experiences and possessions to the sister sons.
In fact, there are a whole series of transitions in the descent system, be it in the direction of the bilinear descent of mother and father, or in virilocal marriage residence, when cooperation between men is required for technical reasons. In doing so, the bride moves into the husband's matriclan, but this does not cancel out the matrilineal kinship calculation. On the other hand, patrilocality presupposes patrilineal succession. A specialty is the so-called Avunculate, in which the mother-brother takes in the sister's son if he lives in another clan. In any case, however, the line of development can be clearly determined from matricentric-egalitarian to patriarchal-hierarchical relationships.
The most impressive example of the old age of peaceful and egalitarian ethnic groups are those San in southern Africa, who as "Bushmen" had been despised and almost exterminated by the white colonizers. Today we know that they once populated large parts of Africa as hunters and left behind great rock art. This art was lost, but many of its ancient traditions have been preserved to this day. By a UN resolution they were granted their own land again, on which they live according to their own rules. Genetic research shows that the Khoi-san represent the oldest people of Homo sapiens, still alive today, and their existence until 44,000 years B.C.E. goes back. Noteworthy are the extremely clever rules for peaceful coexistence and the completely equal position of women. Remnants of matrilineal structures have also been preserved in the form of matrilocal marriage residences and in the custom that a sister-brother couple as village elders are responsible for observing complicated rituals and for peaceful conflict resolution (M. Biesele 1986).
2. Findings in religious studies
In addition to the results of ethnology lead religious studies findings on the trail of pre-patriarchal religions, even if these were ignored or suppressed by the mainstream of scholars for a long time.
After early missionary reports from South America about the importance of the goddess Pachamama aroused Bach furnace The rediscovery of matricentric religiosity and matrilineal descent caused a sensation, followed by the reports of the ethnologist L.H. Morgan about the "primeval society" based on the Indians of North America, the mythological studies of Tendril-Graves and Erich Neumann, as well as the standard work "The Mothers" by Robert Briffault, which Erich Fromm praised in detail.
After all, feminist matriarchy research and feminist theology drew from all these sources from the late 1960s onwards and from the latest results of archaeological research.
From all these studies the conclusion emerges that the patriarchal heaven of gods is a relatively late cultural-historical phenomenon, which was preceded by the worship of great goddesses worldwide. It was the Magna Mater, from whose womb all the forms of the cosmos and the earth sprang; she was the mother of all living things, and male gods were also her sons.
We know several hundred names of the great goddess from ancient Egypt and all over Africa, from Mesopotamia, Asia Minor and India to Southeast Asia and Japan, and also from Australia and South America. Ignoring these facts can only be explained as ideological resistance according to the motto: “Because what cannot be cannot be”.
What is undisputed, however, is the more or less violent replacement of old beliefs in the course of patriarchalization. Various strategies were followed. On the one hand, great goddesses were demonized as the epitome of evil and therefore destroyed; a fate shared by the Greek Medusa with the Babylonian Tiamat. Medusa was struck down by Perseus, the son of Zeus, Tiamat by the young high god Marduk.
A second, more ingenious method was the downgrading of formerly great goddesses to wives or daughters of the new male gods (such as Hera to wife and Athene to the daughter of Zeus) in Christian saints belongs to that strategy. As is well known, innumerable pagan spring and mountain sanctuaries have been transformed into places of Christian devotion to Mary or other Christian saints.
3.The archaeological finds
Since the discovery of the “Venus von Willendorf” in 1908, an approx. 30,000 year old female figure with a strong emphasis on breasts and belly, thousands of so-called female idols have been found. Just recently the oldest "Venus vom Hohle Fels" with an age of 35-40,000 years.
In all periods of the Younger Paleolithic Age (Upper Palaeolithic), especially from Gravéttien, plump female figures with indicated pregnancy are known in Central Europe and Russia, in the subsequent Magdalenian also strongly stylized figures and rock carvings. In the New Stone Age (Neolithic) between 10,000 and 3,000 B.C.E. there is a huge variety of female characters in all parts of Europe, Asia Minor and India. Those with an emphasis on childbearing ability through to the extremely reduced violin and board idols as well as vessel figures with breasts. In sacred places there was also an abundance of figurines that were used as supporters giving protection or as offerings by adorers. Can be interpreted.
In contrast, male idols up to and including the Neolithic village and town cultures are extremely rare. Rather, the goddesses of Catal Hüyük, on Cyprus and in Old Crete, where there is a seamless transition from strongly stylized idols to lifelike depictions of goddesses, cannot be overlooked. Marija Gimbutas documented the overabundance of female sacred sculptures and a few prominent male figures in the Danube cultures of Old Europe in the period from 6500 to 3500 BC (M. Gimbutas 1991).
In open contradiction to such eminent archaeologists as James Mellaart and Marija Gimbutas , partly combined with untenable personal defamation, there are again and again skeptical voices against all signs of the worship of the feminine for millennia. Instead of seeing the extremely artfully crafted prehistoric idols as bearers of divine numinous powers, there are such grotesque statements that they would only prove that there were women even then.
I myself consider the archaeological finds as visible signs of the enormous importance the female childbearing ability and the nourishment of the child born on the mother's breast had for all early human communities. All the more so as the human child born prematurely during his of Adolf Portmann so-called “extrauterine embryonic period” (A..Portmann 1944) requires long-term, intensive care. In contrast to the modern term “reproduction”, motherhood was originally associated with productivity.
In my opinion, the denial of matricentric early cultures only speaks for their indigestibility for a patriarchal social theory. However, the assertion that men are by nature the superior sex in every respect is incompatible with the fact that women are violently oppressed and the misogyny that continues to prevail around the world to this day. Genuinely strong men had no need to violently discriminate against women, nor to justify their own rule ideologically.
4. The invention of patriarchy.
The well-known American historian Gerda Lerner spoke very deliberately of “The Creation of Patriarchy” (1986) and not, as in the German translation, of its creation. With this she wants to express that the patriarchalization of the early high cultures was not an inevitable development, but was established with violence and with consciously constructed philosophical-theological ideologies. Learner's historical studies of the Mesopotamian city-states of the fourth millennium B.C.E. and the Babylonian-Assyrian empires up to the 2nd millennium B.C.E. also show that this complex process took around 2500 years to fully establish patriarchal rule not only on the family and state level, but also on the religious and ideological level.
The prerequisite or the first step towards this was the implementation of the patrilineal clan system, which made male dominance possible in the first place. This has become current since the achievements of agriculture and livestock at the beginning of the Neolithic. Only the systematic breeding of animals made the role of men in conception obvious. Until then, it was unclear because women did not get pregnant during their long breastfeeding periods despite having sexual intercourse due to the inhibition of ovulation. With the sedentary lifestyle and the new nutritional basis, this natural birth regulation was lost, so that the population density rose steadily in the following millennia.
Now the man identified himself as a cattle breeder with the bull and its fertility, which increased his self-confidence and was also reflected in the religious symbolism. In Catal Hüyük the bull appears in murals and in the form of bucrania (rows of bull horns) as a male-divine principle, and in the sanctuary of Patra / Romania there is a god with a bull's head on the side of the great goddess (M. Wullschleger, 2008 , Pp.18-41). But this bull god remains secondary as Paredros, i.e. as a companion or literally as an assessor of the goddess.
The old European Danube culture included the so-called ceramics Band ceramistwho felt compelled to look for new pastures for their animal breeding and new soils for their agriculture due to the population density. This is how the first major migrations started from 5500 B.C.E. from the Balkans via Austria to southern Germany, France and northern Europe. Because they settled on plains or cleared ground while the indigenous hunters lived in the forests, a peaceful coexistence was possible. The longhouses built by the band ceramists, each with several in one place, suggest matrilineal clan structures that made strict exogamy possible (G.Bott, 2014, p.143f .; 54f.).
Nevertheless, the influence of the women, who had to start over with their plantings, waned on the long hikes in favor of the cattle herders, who could also use their stone axes as weapons. In fact, they committed the first collective act of violence in European history with the Talheim massacre around 4900 B.C.E., in which band ceramists attacked and killed a group of 34 people (presumably other already settled band ceramists) from behind.
This was not yet an act of war, but possibly an act of desperation committed in dire straits to get at the supplies of the attacked.It should be noted that such acts of violence are exceptional and that there is not a single reference to acts of war during the entire early Palaeolithic period up to the middle of the Neolithic (G.Bott 2014, p.171; A.Eich, 2015, p.71) .
How the patrilineal descent came about during the second half of the Neolithic is in the dark. It is plausible, however, that the men's groups felt the need to see their paternity officially recognized and to bequeath their property to their sons. But since fatherhood always remained uncertain, they did everything in their power to bring female sexuality under their control and to form nuclear families - mothers-fathers and their children - with the firm mating marriage. This led to the dependence of women on their husbands and ultimately to their incapacitation.
Before the patriarchal war mentality set in, there were tribal feuds in pre-state conditions, which only required a limited number of people to be killed, but required male unions. How Armin Eich (2015, Chapter 6) explains in detail, the initiation rites of the boys are exemplary, through which they are made men and accepted into their circle. This shows with all clarity how little willingness to use violence the boys are of their own accord; rather, they are frightened and cruelly inflicted pain in order to beat their willingness to kill. In view of this fact, in my opinion, the order of sadism-masochism should be reversed and we speak of masoch-sadism. Also, the painful entry into the men's society is always connected with the strict demarcation from the mothers: This is how they were taught to prefer to be first in death as second in life. An impressive example of this are the headhunter myths from New Guinea, like them Brigitte Hauser-Schäublin (1977) has described.
Actual wars can only be spoken of when they are staged by systematically trained weapon carriers and their commanders for the purposes of conquest. The material prerequisite for this was mining with the extraction of copper, tin and later iron for the manufacture of increasingly threatening weapons.
For the first time, the conquests of the Sumerians at the beginning of the 4th millennium B.C.E. when they overran the villages and towns of the highly developed Ubeid culture in southern Mesopotamia. The spatial and linguistic origin of the Sumerians is still unclear today, but they are considered to be the inventors of the first writing, cuneiform writing on clay tablets.
It should not be forgotten that the Ubeid culture from 5000 B.C.E. anticipated much of what the Sumerians would later accomplish. So irrigation canals for their agriculture, places of worship and a kind of collective temple economy. Their highly qualified ceramics are also reminiscent of the approximately simultaneous Halaf culture in northern Mesopotamirn, during the excavation of which female sacral figures came in full form as light. So it would be natural to adopt matricentric rituals for the Ubeid culture, which were adopted by the Sumerians.
It was easy for the Sumerian conquerors to forcibly occupy the unfortified settlements of southern Mesopotamia after invading them with their chariots (pulled by onagers, tamed donkeys), their copper axes, and an army of archers. In the 4th and 3rd millennium B.C.E. the Sumerians founded the city-states Ur, Uruk, Kisch, Lagasch, Umma and Mari and transformed the originally collective temple ownership into a personal sphere of power in which priestly leadership coincided with profane rule.
The royal tombs of Ur show that the Sumerian kings allowed themselves to be worshiped as divine beings, the queens being high priestesses. The latter were considered to be representatives of the great goddess Inanna, and they played a major role in the cult of the holy wedding. This ritual, taking place in the ziggurat temple, assigned the king or prince (lugal) the role of Paredros, chosen by the goddess, and his union with her was symbolically accomplished through the act of the high priestess as her deputy. Even when the cult text had already been changed to the extent that the priestess now praised the ruling king as the desired and active agent, the ritual remained for many centuries to justify and seal the royal dignity. Even after the Sumerians were replaced by the Semites and their Babylonian empire was founded. Finally only made it Hammurabi in the 18th century B.C. Z. from the office of high priestess.
The Epic of Gilgamesh, named after the king of Uruk (from 2700 BC) was not created until 1500 years later, around 1,100 BC. by a Babylonian priest who wrongly backdated its origin. That was at the same time Enuma Elish, the Marduk creation epic, which describes how Marduk kills the great mother Tiamat and dismembered. (G .Bott, The Invention of the Gods, Vol. II, p.206) After all, he still needs the dead body of the goddess cut in two parts to create heaven and earth from it, while the Jewish creator god only uses his words to create the cosmos created (E. Fromm, 1933 pp.67,71f.).
The Gilgamesh epic, constructed in the sense of a political theology, gives us an impression of how the transition from matricentric religion to misogynist patriarchal religion took place. Now the Sumerian goddess becomes Inannawho gives life as the cosmic mother goddess and awakens individual death to new life in the underworld, the Babylonian Ishtarwho slandered Gilgamesh as a faithless, weary and bellicose woman. This is to justify the replacement of matricentric religiosity and the turn to the almighty, creative father deity (G.Bott 2009, p.484-486).
There are parallels for such historical distortions and mythological reinterpretations in ancient Egypt (G. Bott, 2009 pp.398-450) as well as in India, China and among the Aztecs in South America. That is why I referred to them in my book “Origins and Liberations” "Lie as twin brotherthe rule " (C. Meier-Seethaler, 2011, p.276ff).
During the third and second millennia B.C.E. the Sumerian elite left the stamp of brutal patriarchal rule on world history: the result was a devastating rivalry between individual city-states and the victorious gestures of triumph over the vanquished. For example, the “vulture stele from Lagasch 2450 B.C.E. where vultures pounce on the corpses of fallen enemies. Later on, the Assyrians far surpassed the martial atrocities of the Sumerians and Babylonians.
At the same time, a hitherto unprecedented slavery was established over the inferior population, who were charged with all "low" jobs for the provision of life, and the slaves suffered a double humiliation: They were not only the personal servants of the luxury elite, but had to Subjecting gentlemen as sex objects (G.Lerner, 1991, p.112-119.) This resulted in a class society and a little later the establishment of brothels, to which penniless peasant daughters were sold by their fathers or slav women by their masters (G. Lerner , 1991, p.172-174).
Individual women of the elite achieved high social positions and distinguished themselves through their own intellectual achievements. Priestesses, scribes and musicians are known of Mari, but they were all dependent on their fathers or husbands like the famous high priestess and poetess Enheduanna als daughter of King Sargon of Akkad.
5. The man, the opposite sex
My central thesis is that the man's self-exaltation is the compensation for his original secondary status.
Originally, the woman's ability to bring forth life and to nourish it with her own body was of vital importance for the group to survive. The women could feel connected to the mother earth, with all her growth and with the female animals, which had to arouse the admiration and at the same time the envy of the men. This can be seen quite openly in early societies that were unsure of the nature of procreation. Among other things in the rituals of Couvade, a kind of sympathetic pregnancy in which men symbolically lie down in childbirth, simulate childbearing pain and in this way adjust to the condition of the woman giving birth.
Bruno Bettelheim also describes lesser-known rites from Australia and the oceanic islands that occur in connection with male initiation rites. With the so-called Subincision the young men are taught to make an incision on the underside of the penis to induce profuse bleeding. When Australian tribes and those from New Guinea use words in their language that mean “vulva” or “male menstruation”, this represents an obvious parallel to female menstruation. The first female bleeding is a prerequisite for pregnancy and childbirth (Bruno Bettelheim: The symbolic wounds. Puberty rites and the envy of men (1975, p. 141f).
Next Bettelheim do ethnologists speak like Margaret Mead (1949), psychoanalysts like Georg Groddeck (1923, 2016), Erich Fromm (1933,1943), Karen Horney (1926) and philosophers like Elisabeth Badinter (1993) with great clarity about the man's envy and the consequent devaluation of the procreative abilities of women.
Elisabeth Badinter (1993, p. 51ff) sees the problems for the man's self-discovery as being due to his inherently precarious position in the womb. In fact, female and male embryos initially look the same and are closer to the female anatomy. Only when the male hormone testosterone, which is dependent on the Y chromosome, is released, the male child can develop his sexual organs. So be after Badinter, the process of becoming a man from the beginning is a demarcation from the feminine, which dramatically comes to a head when the boy is separated from his mother. The much more elaborate initiation rites of the boys compared to those of the girls are owed to the goal of rejecting everything feminine and showing masculine severity by enduring great pain.
Erich Fromm points out that the man saw himself handicapped in relation to the natural productivity of the woman because he lacks the potency that is most important for life. He compensated for this with technical inventions as a “rational procreativity”, and in this sense our entire technical progress is a substitute for the creativity of women and the source of self-exaltation in men (E. Fromm 1933, p. 49ff). I would like to note here that Fromm ignored the early inventions of women in the fields of ceramics, the art of braiding and the entire textile trade.
Karen Horney reports on her psychotherapeutic experiences with men in whom she was able to perceive the unconscious but intense envy of pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood as well as of the breasts and breastfeeding (K. Horney 1926, p.365).
Both, religious and Horney, speak of the repression or rationalization of this envy, when the expulsion from paradise in the Old Testament speaks of the curse against sinful Eve: "You should bear your children with pain". This means that pregnancy and childbirth only become a burden that the man does not have to bear (E. Fromm 1933, pp.54-56; K. Horney 1926, p.365).
Turned into mythological terms, gesture envy comes into play with the gods of classical antiquity as well as with some tribal cults. The best known is the head birth of Zeus, the father of the gods, when he pulls the goddess Athena out of his skull (long before that). Admittedly only after he had devoured the goddess of wisdom Metis, who was pregnant with Athena. There is also the myth that Zeus gave birth to Dionysus from his thigh after he tore the unborn child from the dead body of his pregnant lover Semele and sewed it into his thigh. Parallel to the thigh birth there is the "calf birth" with the Yanomami in Venezuela and the Bororo in central Brazil. Finally, the classic legends of the gods tell of numerous rape scenes with which gods force women to be fertile (C. Meier-Seethaler 2011 p.273f).
A completely different strategy consists in the systematic devaluation of female generativity as “impure”, which is the case with all patriarchal cultures to this day. Until a few decades ago, the Catholic Church forbade mothers to attend church services for weeks after the birth of a child, because it classified the process of childbirth as being unclean. This alleged body attachment of women excludes them from the world of the spirit and at the same time fixes them to their maternal functions.
Another way of avoiding or compensating for dependence on women consisted in devaluing sexuality as such, right up to the ascetic life as a monk or hermit. The traditionally living patriarchal husband, on the other hand, met his painful dependence on his wife in a different way: by splitting the female existence into the "whore" and the "maternal saint". It does not necessarily have to be different groups of people. The division can also run right through the woman of the house if the fulfillment of “marital duties” is expected from her as well as the creation of a “cozy home” for husband and children. I have the ideal of the bourgeois woman as Mother slave referred to as that paradoxical form of existence that on the one hand requires strict subordination and adjustment, and on the other hand requires maternal strength that understands everything, forgives everything and absorbs psychological crises in the man (C. Meier-Seethaler, 2011).
6. Competition as a way of life
The boy's laboriously gained self-confidence needs constant confirmation in measuring himself against other boys. It begins with scuffles in the schoolyard, the competition for good grades and continues with identification with famous male role models, be they actors, singers or outstanding representatives from science and politics.
Competition also arises from mutual boasting of knowledge, received recognition and, last but not least, of hyped successes with the opposite sex. Fromm considers the vanity of men to be more central than that of women (E. Fromm, 1951, p.389)and, in my opinion, this also applies to pride in wealth. The billionaire is driven less by greed than by greed in order to impress his colleagues with his dizzying income.
The most positive kind of stable self-discovery is undoubtedly achieved through all creative processes, be it in the invention of technical tools, in scientific research or in artistic design. Only until recently, intellectual creativity remained the domain of men, from which women were stubbornly excluded. Since there are no rational reasons for this, this is part of the ideological battle between the sexes in order to counter the creativity of women with a specifically masculine, highly valued creative power (E. Fromm, 1943, p.373).
Since the dawn of modern science, the researcher has been on behalf of Francis Bacon to the Supermanwho submits to the female nature as a slave. In interaction with the capitalist economic doctrine, his victories were then achieved faster and faster, accompanied by waste of resources and environmental pollution up to the impending climate catastrophe. Ultimately, the development of increasingly devastating weapons of destruction in the service of political and economic power leads to deadly competition(C. Meier-Seethaler, 2011)
It would be as blind as it would be unfair to underestimate the enormous improvements that technical and medical advances have brought to mankind. But today we are at a point where the optimum of progress seems to have already been exceeded. So we pay for our unlimited freedom of movement with traffic jams, traffic fatalities and air pollution, or our top medicine is confronted with the fact that very old people survive their brains with ultimate preservation of their body and lose the core of their personality as demented people.
Without succumbing to a general cultural pessimism, the insight is currently emerging that things can no longer go on as before on several levels. But what should we do? Erich Fromm has us with its distinction from "Biophilia" and "Necrophilia" leave a weighing pan on which we can weigh our cultural goals. Everything that serves life would be on the positive side, and everything that harms life as a whole on the negative.
The term "necrophilia" comes from psychopathology and means something like love for the dead, which Fromm understands different mentalities: the triumph of the warrior over the destruction of his enemies, the revenge of the gunman or the desperate act of the suicide. But these are only the tip of the iceberg. The love for dead objects, such as the tendency towards superfluous consumer and luxury goods or the love for dead money as such, is less recognized.
The fascination with robots also belongs here: robots, which replace the human counterpart in communication, or plastic sex dolls instead of living love partners. Artificial intelligence and digitization are currently primary research and economic goals. Decisive for the positive or negative evaluation of these projects would be the mentioned standard of biophilia, i.e. the promotion of life.
Automatic safety precautions that protect drivers and public transport from accidents certainly deserve approval, but the idea of totally autonomous means of transport makes them uncomfortable. The question should be: under what circumstances do people feel safe? And not: Which methods bring personnel savings and thus maximum profit? Then the hotel porter, as a soulless machine, will do less well than the robot gripper arm in dangerous terrain.
Only excess is life-threatening, and this also applies to the long-announced production of "spirit children", ie supercomputers for which the body has become dispensable. The mathematician Joseph Weizenbaum this project could only explain itself as a compensation for the lack of male childbearing ability (J. Weizenbaum 1990). After all, the affectionate term "Little Boy" for the first atomic bomb dropped was the cynical climax of a necrophilic birth metaphor.
In addition, our television crime thrillers and the killer games popular among young people look downright modest, but their necrophilic part is also unmistakable. The excess of destructiveness every evening is repugnant for many. For others, on the other hand, it offers an escape from boredom, which Fromm believes is the cause of lust for sensation. This could also arouse the tendency to own destructive impulses (E. Fromm, 1937, p.224).
7. The place of matriarchal cultural theories in feminist movements
The archaeological discoveries Mellaarts and Gimbutas‘In the 1960s were enthusiastically received by part of the women's movement. In the 70s and 80s, such prominent works as that of Mary Daly "Beyond God the Father" (1973), Göttner-Abendroths "The Goddess and Her Hero" (1980) as well Gerda Weilers Book on Matriarchy in the Old Testament (1984).
The idea of a genuinely feminine religiosity, combined with a feminine social order awakened a whole new self-confidence within the women's movement and led to the development of radical feminism. There were attempts to reawaken goddess cults, women's rituals and seasonal festivals, as well as a kind of canonization of nature, which at its core appeared to be identical with female creativity. In the USA, the artistically gifted Miriam Simos gave under her pseudonym "Starhawk“With the creation of women's dances and sacred women's songs, the impetus for spiritual communal experiences in Europe as well.
I myself have stood and still stand aloof from these movements: On the one hand, because as an A-theist I am convinced that all projections of human experiences must be taken back into the realm of the transcendent; on the other hand, because as a psychologist I see any kind of esotericism as an inundation with symbolic images, which is fundamentally different from taking note of and taking mythological ideas seriously for the course of cultural history.
I feel most connected to feminist theologians who completely dispense with a personal concept of God. So is it for the American theologian Carter Hayward God "the power in relationship" (C. Hayward 1986, p.30f.) and the verb "to god" is loving action in the world. If God is love, then the reverse conclusion also applies that lived love is God (ibid, p.116).
The Swiss theologian Doris Strahm puts it in a similar way when she says: “I don't believe in God. But I believe that 'God' happens whenever we sanctify life and our humanity, whenever we turn to one another with respect, let ourselves be touched by the misery and needs of others and full of anger the injustice that happens to them, call by name » (D. Strahm, 1998, p.9). This is the bridge between theology and humanism that Hayward wants to achieve with her statement: "A theological yes is above all an anthropological yes" (C. Hayward, 1985, p.151).
Also with a view to early historical matrix-centric clan structures, the realistic assessment should not be lost compared to an enthusiastic idealization. With all outstanding aspects such as the striving for balance and peaceful conflict resolution, there were also tragic sides in view of a threatening nature: The sacrifice practice directed to goddesses in the form of animal sacrifices and, in the greatest need, also as sacrifice of a person; or the dark side of a superstitious demonization of certain places or events.
The early connection of matriarchy research with clearly recognized ecological problems is to be assessed positively. «Ecofeminists» like Maria Mies, Vandana Shiva orVeronika Bennholdt-Thomsen provided (or still do!) essential political education without radicalizing gender issues.
Explicit resistance to matriarchal theories came from circles of historians and advocates of equality who suspected the "myth of matriarchy" that it served patriarchal justification. This in view of Indian legends, according to which women once had the chance to rule, but lost because of inability (I. Bamberger 1974; M. Janssen-Jureit 1976). I consider this to be a confusion between authentic memory of matricentric traditions and an afterthought justification ideology.
In any case, one thing can be said: the war between the sexes clearly came from the men’s side, and patriarchy is a historically understandable construction that has to be ended again (G. Lerner, 1986, p.283).
For all the harshness of my criticism of patriarchy, I myself see no fundamental difference between female and male reason. In fact, it would be more accurate to speak of "non-androcentric" philosophy, science and ethics instead of feminist philosophy, feminist science and feminist ethics in order to break with the false patriarchal tradition that confuses the androcentric view with general human reason. In this regard, I feel in agreement with thinkers like Evelyn Fox-Keller, Cornelia Klinger, Tove Soiland and the feminist philosophers of the Vienna Circle Herta Nagl-Dodecal.
As for ethics, it has Carol Gilligan rightly opposed to one-sided rationalist criteria, but with “The Other Voice” (1984) she did not want to speak of a specifically female ethics, but rather a generally humane ethic that includes emotional and situational contexts. If there is a subliminal tendency among some interpreters to regard women per se as the morally better sex, or men by nature more susceptible to evil, this is just as untenable as the patriarchal attribution of moral weakness to women. In philosophy this is called “naturalistic fallacy”: Morality does not refer to what is given in nature, but to the person's conscious decision for certain values; which, however, are not independent of socially sanctioned standards of value. This requires a constant re-examination of such standards and the search for consensus on the means and goals that make humane action possible in the given situation.
8. The discussion about equality and difference
This is about the essential question of what equality means for women in concrete terms. It can be said with certainty that equal opportunities in access to education, for all professions including management positions in politics, business and science, as well as equal pay for equal work, are part of the basic democratic rights of women. In other words, patriarchy and democracy are incompatible.
However, as long as patriarchal structural elements still appear in real terms, equality cannot simply mean alignment with the existing system. When we hear recommendations that women should appear just as demanding and impressive in a job interview as men (possibly with an expensive car and expensive wristwatch) or not share their knowledge advantage with colleagues, but use it for their own career ladder, then it is not surprising that it is especially the best educated women think twice about jumping into this elbow arena. Rather, equality would mean that women use their self-chosen, cooperation-oriented leadership style - and thus also encourage men of the same mind.
As an example of an uncritical conception of equality, I remember the statement of a young woman who said that she only felt equal when she could become a general. For myself, I sum up the opposite: equality would only exist if generals also looked after their babies part-time (which at the same time would make wars illusory).
The present one makes a lot of effort for me Gender debate, which marginalizes the classic questions of women's movements. When citing Judith Butler(1993) If the biological bisexuality as such is questioned and dismissed as a cultural construction, then the gender question is basically superfluous. There is also an intensification of the so-called intersectionality, which points to the multiple affliction of sexist, racist and class-specific oppression and rightly names blind spots in the feminism of white women. But if the claim is made that there is not a single common ground that all women have in common, then the "we" of the international women's movements will fall apart, and with it the solidarity among women. (See Cornelia Klinger and Tove Soiland 2012).
Both exaggerations can be countered by the fact that bisexuality has been a biological fact for over 500 million years, and also that only females have the ability to produce new life. This is particularly impressive in the case of mammals, to which we humans also belong.
However, as early as the 1980s the women's movement rejected the role of mother as the normatively valid identity of women and called for the right to voluntary childlessness. But the fear of being restricted to the patriarchal role model again should not underestimate the fundamental childbearing ability of women. The «native» that Hannah Arendt(1960) highlighted as the human ability to constantly start anew, cannot be detached from the womb unless one relies on technical utopias that are alien to life (E. Badinter 1993, p.224).
Even more confusing is today's ubiquitous focus on the phenomenon of transsexuality. Even the campaign originating in the U.S.A. LGBTTI sounds too general in Western Europe, because the three letters for homosexuality and bisexuality (lesbian, gay, bisexual) are hardly up-to-date in our latitudes due to their acceptance in the highest professional groups. The I as a protection requirement for intersex people is taken very seriously, especially in medical circles. For example, the previous practice of routinely subjecting newborns whose gender cannot be determined to an adjustment operation has been abandoned. Today one strives for individual and self-determined solutions in conversation with the adolescents.
In addition, there are currently queer groups who vehemently oppose the "pathologization" of these very rare cases with the argument that intersexuality is not an incomplete sexual development, but that all intermediate forms are to be recognized as original, equal genders, which leads to the absurd assumption that there are 30 or 40 genders.
After all, the two T stand for transsexual and transgender, which is sometimes not clearly differentiated. Mostly, transsexuality is understood as an operative transformation to the female or male sex body, which has existed for a long time in isolated cases, whereby the psychological roots for this desire that arose from existential need are unclear.
The term Transgender includes transvestism, i.e. changing clothes, hairstyle and manners and taking on activities that traditionally characterize the opposite sex. The reference to indigenous peoples is often referred to as a “third gender”, but this is a misinterpretation by ethnologists (because they do not take into account the religious and psychosocial background of such customs).
In Central Europe, the transgender problem was not topical since the 68s, after the gender clichés were rejected and the two genders became more similar in their external presence. This is why the current propaganda for transvestism has a rather anti-emancipatory effect. But it is not only a tendency taken over from the U.S.A., there are also tangible financial interests behind it, e.g. in the trading of transgender utensils.
Statements like these seem completely irrational to me: The desire to change one's first name to female or male is completely independent of one's own physical structure and can exist without any role constraints, even if the freely chosen profession corresponds to one's own personality. There is just such a thing as the feeling that one's own soul is not in the right body, and every person should have the free choice to register and be addressed as a woman or a man. It is obvious that this esoteric argument can cause nothing but confusion in practice, both for adults when looking for a partner and especially when children and adolescents are looking for identity.
In addition, under the rainbow flag, there is the demand for marriage for all and the supposedly associated right to children for all: be it through adoption, through surrogacy, through the purchase of egg cells or highly endowed sperm. There are certainly also major financial interests behind this, namely those of reproductive clinics or commercial recruitment agencies. It must be clearly countered that there is in principle no group of people a «right» to children, and that Surrogacy in the vast majority of cases represents the ultimate exploitation of women in need (Christa Wichterich 2018).
But there are also political concerns about the fact that there is currently a race for the recognition of minorities. The neoliberal economic doctrine can only do justice to this, because these activities distract from the real problems of our global world and do not call into question either the patriarchal or the financial capitalist system as a whole.
Hope for the future: The “New Economists” and the New Fathers
The two groups of people I am hoping for seem to have nothing to do with each other, and yet they can only develop their broad impact at the same time.
9. The "New Economists"
I mention the economists first because they completely reassess the socio-economic context and thus create the prerequisites for the reorganization of gender relations and family structures. You're finally getting that since Adam Smith(1723-1790) to understand the market ideology prevailing in the scientific mainstream as fundamentally outdated and to work on new concepts.
Already the recently deceased Swiss economist Hans ChristophBinswanger pointed out in his book "Die Glaubensgemeinschaft der Ökonomen" (1998) to the irrational background of the capitalist doctrine Adam Smith coined term of the «invisible hand of the market», of the Binswanger proves that him Smith borrowed from the philosophy of the Stoa. In part, he literally quotes the teaching Epictets (50-138 CE), according to which the divine hand ultimately guides people's selfishness and greed to the good life of all. It is the wisdom of God that has the art to create good even out of evil. A train of thought that Smith as a believer.
In the course of industrialization, this tacit agreement among leading economists was combined with the optimistic belief in progress, which pushed the negative effects such as the exploitation of dependent people and damage to nature out of consciousness. This "market fundamentalism" (G. Soros 1998, p.256) opposes the Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitzby holding the theory completely untenable that every company's pursuit of profit maximization serves the common good (J. Stiglitz 2004, p. 259). He sums this up with his statement: “The invisible hand of the market is invisible because it doesn't exist” (makoskop.en / 2017/12).
Thomas Pikettys The sensational book “The Capital of the 21st Century” (2014) calculates for the first time with a data collection covering 300 years and 20 countries that the expected blessings of the free market only reached a limited part of humanity. Despite efforts by left circles for social justice, social inequality has even increased in recent decades, because the large wealth in the hands of a few is growing much faster than the incomes in the form of performance wages of the lower and middle classes.
As a result of the financial crisis of 2007/08, which was by no means resolved, a number of researchers and professors at Swiss universities joined the "Association for the renewal of research and teaching in economics and finance" together. In the summer of 2018 they organized a public symposium in Friborg entitled “Studying economics and finance differently”.
The president of the 30-member association, Professor Marc Chesney from the University of Zurich, laments the fact that neither the banks and financial experts, nor most of the university teachers have drawn the consequences from the economic upheaval. His book entitled “From Great War to Permanent Crisis”, written on the centenary of the outbreak of World War I, is a wake-up call to science and society not to allow our democratic principles to be undermined by international corporations. Beats in it Chesney in 20 points measures how the disastrous financial empire can be put to a halt.
10. The New Fathers
As bearers of hope, the young fathers deserve the same attention as the new economists, although as private individuals they quietly change the basis of our social structure.
The call for equal rights for women at the political level remains ineffective as long as the conservative family model does not allow them to exercise their democratic rights in concrete terms. The compatibility of motherhood and work plus political activity is one of the most pressing domestic political problems of all; and that can only be solved if fathers take on an equal share of care and housework. So we should talk about the compatibility of parenthood and work, and it would be up to employers to offer solutions for this. The political will to do this, however, is still very weak: In Switzerland, unlike in other European countries, there is even no generous paternity leave as a first step. The announced digitization of working life might offer an opportunity to reorganize working hours, but only if the spatial conditions are available for professional work and childcare to coexist.
The idea that such a parenting model would primarily benefit women is not enough. Men could gain just as much from it as children of both sexes. In the conservative family model, the fathers are practically absent, especially during infancy, so that they cannot develop an emotional father-child relationship that is equal to the mother-child relationship. This hampers boys in particular in finding their identity if they experience the father primarily as demanding of performance and not as emotionally compassionate and helpful. Conversely, girls can find a role model for their own self-fulfillment in working mothers. Last but not least, the men would be strengthened in their self-esteem by the fact that their self-assessment could no longer only be measured by the grueling professional competition, but equally by their paternal bond and their lifelong effect.
In my psychotherapy practice, it became clear to me that the patriarchal image of men and women actually makes half people out of both sexes, and often enough also sick people. Not infrequently, doctors referred both spouses to me independently of one another: the man because of psychosomatic stress symptoms, the woman because of nervous tension as an expression of her being thrown back into the ghetto of the household and the fallowing of her talents. That made me wonder what sense it makes to turn men into heart attack candidates and keep their wives afloat because of their domestic confinement with psychotropic drugs and talk therapy. This irritating experience was the external impetus for my cultural-historical research into other gender relations and family models.
In doing so, I became aware of the deep connection between the man's (repressed) gesture envy and his overwhelming role as a victorious ruler of nature and the world. It is all the more urgent for me to create a different image of men that allows men to participate directly in developing life and to develop a biophilic attitude.
Basically, the peculiarity of the human birth process suggests the involvement of the fathers: the human child is a premature fetus that has to be carried for another ten months after nine months in the womb. This "extrauterine embryonic period" (A. Portmann) or, as I call it, the "postnatal gestation period", the father can share with the mother, and this would offset his inability to give birth, which is perceived as secondary. In addition, babies and toddlers can bring a lot of joy.
The old idea that men should be “tough” while women should be “soft” is an outdated polarization, and so I also consider the ideal of the new “soft man” to be misleading. Both sexes should combine the strength of their vital and mental power with the skills of empathy and emotional warmth. This would remove the root of the stereotype of the incompatibility between rationality and emotionality, and for society as a whole it would be enormously positive if "emotional reason" were given the same status as rationalistic-technical thinking in the political discussion (C. Meier-Seethaler 1997).
In addition, the elimination of old clichés opens up new perspectives for raising children. Fathers are no longer just demanding and punishing authorities, mothers are no longer just pampering consolers who always defend their own children. For girls and boys, the reliability of both parents would be central, be it in relation to their presence or in keeping promises. Both parents also require the children to be honest and to follow rules.
The fact that there are also differences of opinion for which a consensus has to be found makes children think about it early on and can strengthen their judgment. And when the focus is on mutual trust and a tender relationship, all fundamentalist pedagogical recommendations are put into perspective as if by themselves.
The Liberation to partnershipI speak of means more than ending the gender war. It includes the interaction with nature without foregoing possible damage limitation and sustainable improvements. Above all, however, it would be a rejection of the thirst for power and war, which can no longer be glossed over with male virtues such as bravery and contempt for death. Rule and war have been a scourge of humanity for the past 5000 years and have ultimately only brought misery. That is why permanent efforts to resolve conflicts peacefully are the only sensible and humane thing, and many more gifted women should be involved in this process.
Those who find this conclusion too optimistic should remember that the invention of patriarchy is relatively recent in human history. And because patriarchal ideology can be deciphered as a consequence of irrational psychological complexes, there is hope that it can be overcome in principle.
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