May 7, 2018

The Peace Makers

I have been thinking of how ingrained the attitude of strife has become in our society. Consider all the things we must "fight" every day - the traffic, the crowds, our desires, the elements, other people who might contend for our space. Even in death we are called to battle through our last hours, raging rather than allowing ourselves and our families the comfort of peaceful, trusting acquiescence to nature's bend in the road. Ours is a society that has internalised war.




I was thinking of this as I contemplated how strongly these days society calls women to participate in the fighting. To leave behind caregiving for the pursuit of paid occupation, striving for a dollar. It occured to me that men have been called to this even more relentlessly for a far longer time. Now that both genders are drawn in to the paradigm of battle, competition, strife, who is left to hold peace?

I'm not saying women shouldn't be allowed to work outside the home if they want to. I believe absolutely that every woman, and every man, should have the choice of how they want to spend their lives, as much as possible. Honestly, this is not about gender, except insofar as historically women have been the peacemakers, homemakers, caregivers. Now they have liberated themselves from that requirement, which is good - no  gender group should be forced into a circumscribed identity. However, I do wonder if our liberation has changed the dominant masculine paradigm of society in any truly fundamental way, or if women have become even more entangled with it, joining the fight rather than working to spread the homey peace we used to be responsible for within our limited sphere. Perhaps in a society ruled by the great golden king Dollar, real change is impossible.

Certainly it seems that the idea of holding peace is no longer valued other than in terms of paid occupation - ie, how much monetary value there is in being a carer. Many people of all genders work to better the lives of others, care for the environment, and bring political peace to the world - but what I'm especially thinking about is the everyday role of creating serenity and safety for one's family and neighbourhood; the dedication to the gentling and comforting of life. I fear as we turn more and more to consumerism, we are losing peace from our days, our language, our entertainment, our imagination, and our attitudes towards each other.

And that's all I have to say today. I'm just noting an issue, and grieving for it. I have no solutions. I'm not even sure there are any.



art by vladimir volegov

4 comments:

  1. "...and our attitudes towards each other."

    This is it really.

    "And that's all I have to say today. I'm just noting an issue, and grieving for it. I have no solutions. I'm not even sure there are any."

    Sure there are. Just do things differently. "They" say do this, just don't.

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    1. I was talking more on the broader scale. I personally can choose to be a caregiver, a peacemaker, but I can't change the trend of media, the language of society, the tone of gender politics, etc.

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  2. i often wonder how many people it takes to create a change. how many people, preferably both men and women, living in ways that prioritise peacefulness and nurturing over money or status, would it take to change the overall culture? because i agree that the focus is mostly on striving and competing and fighting a way through all the daily chaos around us, and that it has eroded every aspect of our lives.

    sigh. maybe women, when finally entering public sectors, unwittingly focussed so hard on proving that they are as good as men that they forgot to ask men to show how they could be as good as women... they still got to dictate what counted, because the paradigm wasn't changed. same game, just with some new players, who could only "win" by mimicking the original players. i wish i knew how to flip the paradigm...

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    1. it's such a good question - how many people does it take? One important bellwether perhaps, and a mass following of them? it would have to be a man to make any significant difference, and to me that's really telling.

      but in the warmer light of day (my post was written last thing at night) I can see that some changes are being attempted at a slow pace, eg childcare facilities in work places. but I also read twitter and see the enmity so many women still have for men, the generalisation both genders make about each other, and I believe we are still in the very very beginning phase of social transformation. hopefully the further we go along the wiser we will become.

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