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Old 05-07-2009, 01:08 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by pathless
what we should be seeking is not dominance, as I have made clear, but cooperation and respectful co-existence, even harmony.
I agree, which is why we should not use such dualistic language. I have been in communities that embrace "feminine energy" and it is not always a good thing for men. He's clearly drawing the contrast:

"Patriarchy is a fear-based system. Totally based on fear. Why? Because only the patriarch is at the top."

""In a matriarchal society the women don't take over. What you have is a celebration of all the sexes and their differences.""

But that's not true. You admit that there can be an extreme of matriarchy. To paraphrase Wiber, just as there can be "sick boy" within a male typology, we can have "sick girl." The language he's couching his ideas in only encourages a move in that direction. Words have meaning for a reason and when we use them to describe our ideas, we invest additional meanings and associations into those ideas. It is careless and dangerous.


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Originally Posted by pathless
but I don't think that trying to use other, gendered language to describe imbalances within the whole is too hot a topic to be handled.
I do, precisely because of all of the additional meaning that comes with the language. Whether or not it's intended it leads to the potential for misunderstanding and misapplication. The use of the terms is in the current manner is itself a misapplication, a misappropriation of language.

I have to agree with Shawn's statement in post 15. Words do matter.
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Old 05-07-2009, 03:58 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by Pathless View Post
This is perhaps relevant, from another speech by Russell Means:
"There is another way. There is the traditional Lakota way and the ways of the other American Indian peoples. It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. A lopsided emphasis on humans by humans - the European's arrogance of acting as though they were beyond the nature of all related things - can only result in a total disharmony and a readjustment which cuts arrogant humans down to size, gives them a taste of that reality beyond their grasp or control and restores the harmony. There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it's beyond human control. The nature peoples of this planet know this and so they do not theorize about it. Theory is an abstract; our knowledge is real."

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I detest writing.
Very unique ideas and messages in this speech. Means brings up the issue of European "de-spiritualizing" which is an interesting perspective. This relates to an issue that I have been wondering about as well. I have been wondering about whether Europe has really changed very much since WWII ? This speech implies that European thought has not changed much in 400 years !! This speech was given in 1980 but Means was already concerned about the importance of uranium mining on the future of the Lakota people. In these days of heightened energy concern, I would imagine that this is even more of a danger for the Lakotans.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:14 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by dauer View Post
I agree, which is why we should not use such dualistic language. I have been in communities that embrace "feminine energy" and it is not always a good thing for men. He's clearly drawing the contrast:

"Patriarchy is a fear-based system. Totally based on fear. Why? Because only the patriarch is at the top."

""In a matriarchal society the women don't take over. What you have is a celebration of all the sexes and their differences.""

But that's not true. You admit that there can be an extreme of matriarchy. To paraphrase Wiber, just as there can be "sick boy" within a male typology, we can have "sick girl." The language he's couching his ideas in only encourages a move in that direction. Words have meaning for a reason and when we use them to describe our ideas, we invest additional meanings and associations into those ideas. It is careless and dangerous.




I do, precisely because of all of the additional meaning that comes with the language. Whether or not it's intended it leads to the potential for misunderstanding and misapplication. The use of the terms is in the current manner is itself a misapplication, a misappropriation of language.

I have to agree with Shawn's statement in post 15. Words do matter.
You missed one of the quotes I took from the video, an important one IMO:
"It's a fear-based society because that man up there all by himself, he has no balance. Where's the female? A-ha! That's what he fears the most!"
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:16 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

Why Learn this History
Stuff Anyway?


Learning History...

A good article on some relevant north Amerikan history.
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:19 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

No, I saw that. I left it out to highlight what's problematic. The emphasis you place does not resolve the language-baggage issue. We still are faced with the problem of describing a matriarchal society as the best alternative to a patriarchal one, attributing to a matriarchal society that "the women don't take over" and " What you have is a celebration of all the sexes and their differences". Those attributions are categorically false. To claim that such a society is "matriarchal" is the butchering of the English language and the attachment of unnecessary baggage to an idea that might otherwise be more meaningful.

edited to add:

1 : a family, group, or state governed by a matriarch 2 : a system of social organization in which descent and inheritance are traced through the female line

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/matriarchy
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:23 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by Pathless View Post
You missed one of the quotes I took from the video, an important one IMO:
"It's a fear-based society because that man up there all by himself, he has no balance. Where's the female? A-ha! That's what he fears the most!"
From Rudyard Kipling:
The Female Of The Species


When the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail,
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag, the wayside cobra, hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can,
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws -
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale -
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husband, each confirms the others tale -
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations, worm and savage otherwise,
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise;
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger; Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue - to the scandal of the Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same,
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity - must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions - not in these her honor dwells -
She, the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else!

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate;
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions - in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him, who denies!
He will meet no cool discussion, but the instant, white-hot wild
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges - even so the she-bear fights;
Speech that drips, corrodes and poisons - even so the cobra bites;
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw,
And the victim writhes with anguish - like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of abstract justice - which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern; shall enthrall but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him and Her instincts never fail,
That the female of Her species is more deadly than the male!

Lets see, the other side of the coin: perceived social deviation dealt with via gossip, {and all that stuff?} No thanks!

{I'm goin' fishin' with the guys!}
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Old 05-07-2009, 09:46 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

yes words do matter and some in fact most do not know exact definitions but matrilineal was used by someone, see how different words evoke different feelings to matriarchy?

So we can pardon russell on that score despite his excellent communication skills. He did speak with emotion, was idealistic [aka 'romanticism' and not the 'soppy' kind but the 'wild untamed nature' kind]. but he did counter that with emphasis on population growth; it was a balanced nature then in this respect [hunter gatherers /space].

that can never be but what he is proposing is more of a move towards a nurturance, of earth, which is the mother [or the matriarchal mother nature]. so he isn't reading from the same dictionary. of course words have cultural 'baggage'. stands to reaon.

something relevant is this little book l was given translated from a folklorist joseph jacobs d.1916 written by spanish jesuit in the 17th century [b.dylan or wot !] maxims for life; note the attribution of the word.

'Words and deeds make the perfect person. one should speak well and act honourably; the one is an excellence of the head, the other of the heart, and both arise from nobilit of soul. Words are the shadows of deeds-the former are feminine, the latter masculine. It is more important to be renowed than to convey renown. Speech is easy, action hard. actions are stuff of life, words its frippery. eminent deeds endure, striking words pass away. Actions are the fruit of thought; if this is wise they are effective'

we could argue on the gender attributions of above or get beyond that to the message which was Hello!

both actions and words were dishonourable from russells point of view on the patriarchy he saw and he defined.

'wounded healer'
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:43 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by nativeastral View Post

both actions and words were dishonourable from russells point of view on the patriarchy he saw and he defined.

'wounded healer'
NA, good points. My own view is that although in the ideal world we can say that neither patriarchal or matriarchal is desired, there should be a balance, this in fact will take a long time to achieve.

We have lived in a patriarchial world for the last 10,000 years. It will not be easy to switch to an egalatarian system over night.

Therefore if we switch to a matriarchy for a short time, it will make the transition to egalitarianism easier.

Another observation that I have relates to Judaism, which is the religion that I am most familiar with. Many of my friends (ut oh, here comes a generalization), who are Christian and Muslim, have told me that from their perspective, Judaism is a matriarchial tradition, because our women are so strong. They note how "hen-pecked" Jewish husbands are . Of course, we Jewish husbands correct this misunderstanding by telling them about Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph and all the other patriarachs

A related urban myth diseminated by Jewish men is that Jewish husbands are in charge of the household because we study Torah and Talmud and decide on which politicians the family will vote for, etc. Our Jewish wives are delegated to deciding how to spend the money, what our children will be doing, where we live, etc., etc. (note - this is being mentioned facetiously !)
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Old 05-08-2009, 09:19 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by dauer View Post
No, I saw that. I left it out to highlight what's problematic. The emphasis you place does not resolve the language-baggage issue. We still are faced with the problem of describing a matriarchal society as the best alternative to a patriarchal one, attributing to a matriarchal society that "the women don't take over" and " What you have is a celebration of all the sexes and their differences". Those attributions are categorically false. To claim that such a society is "matriarchal" is the butchering of the English language and the attachment of unnecessary baggage to an idea that might otherwise be more meaningful.

edited to add:

1 : a family, group, or state governed by a matriarch 2 : a system of social organization in which descent and inheritance are traced through the female line

matriarchy - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
Quote:
Originally Posted by nativeastral
yes words do matter and some in fact most do not know exact definitions but matrilineal was used by someone, see how different words evoke different feelings to matriarchy?

So we can pardon russell on that score despite his excellent communication skills. He did speak with emotion, was idealistic [aka 'romanticism' and not the 'soppy' kind but the 'wild untamed nature' kind]. but he did counter that with emphasis on population growth; it was a balanced nature then in this respect [hunter gatherers /space].

that can never be but what he is proposing is more of a move towards a nurturance, of earth, which is the mother [or the matriarchal mother nature]. so he isn't reading from the same dictionary. of course words have cultural 'baggage'. stands to reaon.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pathless
Some theorists use the word "matrilineal" instead of "matriarchal" to differentiate a mother-based (clan) system from a father-based (fear) system, in a hope to avoid a certain predictable reaction from those who see no reason to change the status-quo. Whatever the term used, my support is with those who would celebrate the diversity of life and live respectfully and harmoniously within the circle of all our relations, rather than those who attempt to create and justify a hierarchy of dominance. In order to live a life that I feel is worth living, I have chosen to refuse to believe that such a horrible concept is "hard-wired" into our beings.
Dauer, if you were to talk about imbalances within a "holism", what kind of language would you be comfortable using?

I'm going to be unable to respond to this thread (and others) for a while, as I'm about to embark on a move from one side of the U.S. to the other. I wish I could address Dauer's thoughts on this with more time and energy, but right now I'm pretty drained. Nativeastral said pretty much what I would've said anyway.

I'll pop back in later.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:34 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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So we can pardon russell on that score despite his excellent communication skills.
You can but I can't.


Quote:
Dauer, if you were to talk about imbalances within a "holism", what kind of language would you be comfortable using?
Russell could have made is point without such poor use of the English language and hence the attachment of unintended ideas by discussing hierarchy, systems of governance, the balance of power, equality and egalitarianism, structures within society etc. There is no need for the misapplication of gendered language in order to do so. We can talk about "a celebration of all the sexes and their differences" without falsely labeling it a "matriarchy."

Have a safe journey.
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Old 05-08-2009, 01:56 PM   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by Avi1223 View Post
NA, good points. My own view is that although in the ideal world we can say that neither patriarchal or matriarchal is desired, there should be a balance, this in fact will take a long time to achieve.

We have lived in a patriarchial world for the last 10,000 years. It will not be easy to switch to an egalatarian system over night.

Therefore if we switch to a matriarchy for a short time, it will make the transition to egalitarianism easier.

Another observation that I have relates to Judaism, which is the religion that I am most familiar with. Many of my friends (ut oh, here comes a generalization), who are Christian and Muslim, have told me that from their perspective, Judaism is a matriarchial tradition, because our women are so strong. They note how "hen-pecked" Jewish husbands are . Of course, we Jewish husbands correct this misunderstanding by telling them about Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph and all the other patriarachs

A related urban myth diseminated by Jewish men is that Jewish husbands are in charge of the household because we study Torah and Talmud and decide on which politicians the family will vote for, etc. Our Jewish wives are delegated to deciding how to spend the money, what our children will be doing, where we live, etc., etc. (note - this is being mentioned facetiously !)
hi avi
nothing can 'switch' so easily; it took a long time for patriarchy to become established [due to population growth/incursions/warfare for land etc]. Nations are settled now [apart from you know where!] and if the majority of the worlds population are interested in the health of planet earth and its inhabitants, then the emphasis should be less on competition and more on cooperation.
Kudos should be due to people like russell who didn't rail angrily or castigate totally what has been done..all that has been done..the position is well we know things are wrong so what are we going to do about it, what can we do about it?
Women should be encouraged and promoted to positions of authority on equal footing. Now you have in judaism women reading the torah and putting their own slant on it, all for the good of holism, though initially like 'feminist' christianity, it will focus on words used, semantics, definitions and whether one can engage with these culturally baggaged words or go beyond them [or even redefine them!].

hi dauer
some female christians can't pardon or accept the patriarchal language of the scriptures either, others will say surely you can get over that?
For me its about overcoming the over riding mind set of divide and conquer expoite and extrapolate.
You know when promises are made then excuses are made using 'words' as weapons of justification and defence for less sophisticated english users? thats what happened to the indians so give russell a break!
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:14 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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You know when promises are made then excuses are made using 'words' as weapons of justification and defence for less sophisticated english users? thats what happened to the indians so give russell a break!
I don't quite understand what you're trying to communicate.

One of the major problems presented by Russell's language is its potential effect on less sophisticated English users, and even more sophisticated ones for that matter, that is, the subconscious association of his ideas with other ideas already associated with matriarchy. There is a danger in the poor use of language by public figures. His ideas could, further, be subverted as the words of public figures often are to show that he supports matriarchy. That is, after all, what a literal read of his words tell us.

This is a criticism of his language, not his ideas. But due to his language I cannot support him. There is a whole world of people who advocate for social change without creating such counterproductive, potentially destructive associations. I have no interest in a matriarchy.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:36 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

hi dauer,
l know that words do matter and much time is spent on defining and redefining words in debates conferences etc that quite a lot of the time nothing actually gets done ie the status quo is maintained.
l do not want a matriarchy, russell probably doesn't want one; he was just explaining how life was more balanced then and is equating women with nature/nuture/mother earth. we all know that it was the men smoking at the pow wow and the women were cooking in the kitchen with a bairn round her back.
He was recounting the positives in a clan system where children knew where they came from and so did everyone else; of course that is impossible in our complex societies.
lts a shame that due to language ideas cannot be supported or worked through to cooperate and resolve, and symptomatic of religious and political dialogues and dare l say it in interpersonal relationships also!
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:57 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

What we have is a paternalistic society, worldwide.
With big brother, and big uncle as well.
But it is a single parent family being a patriarchy with a mistress/maidservant.
So for the sake of balance, our dysfunctional family structure needs some reconciliation.
Both patriarchy and matriarchy need to be wed in equality.
Something which has not been done before in recorded history in any significant way.
Both have good qualities which can be emphasized.
But on their own they can become tyrannical and capricious.
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Old 05-08-2009, 04:06 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Re: Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

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Originally Posted by NA
l know that words do matter and much time is spent on defining and redefining words in debates conferences etc that quite a lot of the time nothing actually gets done ie the status quo is maintained.
Which is another good reason why, instead of using a word like matriarchy to challenge the status quo, slipping into the trap of mere rhetoric, Russell should use clear language that doesn't have such extra baggage.

l do not want a matriarchy, russell probably doesn't want one[/quote]
And yet a matriarchy is precisely what he advocates for.

Quote:
he was just explaining how life was more balanced then and is equating women with nature/nuture/mother earth.
I don't get the sense that's all he's doing. eg he says: "Women live longer than men can endure more pain and therefore have more endurance than men. It is a natural law to build your clan system based upon the lineage of women. Added to those obvious strengths, the female human being is the only creature in all of life that is purified naturally after every 28 days. Every woman knows that when they live in close proximity with one another, their purification cycles synchronize. When they live in a small village, therefore, they are not only in synch with one another; their purification cycle gets in rhythm with the universe, which is manifested through the full moon."

Why bother to describe women in such a positive manner in support of a matriarchy (ie against the evils of patriarchy) if not to advocate a return to matriarchy?

Quote:
He was recounting the positives in a clan system where children knew where they came from and so did everyone else; of course that is impossible in our complex societies.
Then of what good is supporting his (imo partially revisionist) claims?

Quote:
lts a shame that due to language ideas cannot be supported or worked through to cooperate and resolve
It's not the ideas I don't support, it's the mouthpiece for those ideas and his (hopefully) ignorant butchering of the English language along with all of the dangers that entails.
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