Russell Means on "Paradigm Shift"

Discussion in 'Ancient History and Mythology' started by Pathless, May 5, 2009.

  1. seattlegal

    seattlegal Why do cows say mu?

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    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!} :D
     
  2. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    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'
     
  3. Avi

    Avi Interfaith Forums

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    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 :D. Of course, we Jewish husbands correct this misunderstanding by telling them about Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Joseph and all the other patriarachs :D

    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. :D (note - this is being mentioned facetiously !)
     
  4. Pathless

    Pathless Fiercely Interdependent

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    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. :)
     
  5. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    You can but I can't.


    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.
     
  6. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    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!
     
  7. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    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.
     
  8. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    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!
     
  9. shawn

    shawn New Member

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    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.
     
  10. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    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.

    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?

    Then of what good is supporting his (imo partially revisionist) claims?

    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.
     
  11. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    I fully agree with the above.
     
  12. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    yea so do l! its maternalistic we need more of!! someone should tell russell and myself to get with it on the english language front:)

    lets all enjoy ourselves till the real mara digm shift occurs.
     
  13. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    No, I don't agree with that. I think we need more "healthy" matriarchal and patriarchal qualities. Your own views are terribly one-sided and flawed, idealizing the feminine and demonizing the masculine. A clearer picture needs to embrace both.
     
  14. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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  15. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    Not if it includes war and fighting it doesn't; perhaps you have different definitions of feminine and masculine, its not black and white and l was not idealizing nor demonizing.

    The problem when discussing exterminating people is that we can get twitchy about how it somehow can get translated/digressed into the facts about female 'inequality' through the ages as well. So basically we need less killing each other and more loving and protecting other families, not just our own. But of course it is anti male in that it is a fact that paternalism [thanks shawn!] rules, therefore imbalance reigns.

    Thats all l picked up from russell, l did not interrogate his speech to that extent, and thats why pow wows are needed to extend discussions for folk to be reading off the same page, and why cross cultural/national talks take up so much time and bureaucracy that nothing gets implemented soon enough, especially regarding ecological issues in a holistic way.

    The symbiotic relationship concerning menstruation is a fact therefore a natural law; just because things are 'impossible' doesnt mean one cannot strive for that possibility. l do not want complete reversal just more women at the table and the altar in an open acknowledgment of equality.

    Are you denying that it is males who cause and effect wars over his story?
    [btw l believe in reincarnation so am not talking as a female but as a human].
     
  16. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    What is that in response to?

    If you agree with Means then indeed you are for we have patriarchy identified specifically with an unhealthy form of patriarchy, accompanied by strong polemical rhetoric, alongside an idealized matriarchy. And let it not be said that the matriarchy referred to isn't really a matriarchy because Means goes on in rhetorical fashion to praise the virtues of the would-be women leaders of said community.

    See for me, that's not the issue at all. I don't see rejecting present patriarchies as anti-male. I see these idealized assertions about matriarchy and women against the backdrop of the demonization of patriarchy as problematic. Means' presentation is so thick with meaningless rhetoric that his message is obscured. If indeed his message is only that "we need less killing each other and more loving and protecting other families, not just our own" to quote your post above, then I don't disagree. I understand that's all you picked up but he says a great deal more than that and imo intentionally uses the word matriarchy to describe it, but in trying to twist the meaing of an established word his own meaning becomes twisted. If we take away everything else he's said, reducing it to the message you have provided, then he's not saying much of anything interesting, just joining up on the peace and love bandwagon I readily ride with.

    That women have menstrual cycles is a fact. The rest is rhetoric and facts twisted to support his idealization of matriarchy and demonization of patriarchy.

    Yes. To refer to a common expression, if the man is the head, the woman is the neck. The problem is, just as women haven't historically received recognition for much of the good they've given to society, they haven't received much recognition for the bad either. Feminism seeks to reclaim the good but it ignores that the bad is also there in waiting. Both men and women are in this together. We've both dug ourselves in deep. Only together can we get ourselves back out.

    SG gave a nod to some of this previously: http://www.interfaith.org/forum/russell-means-on-paradigm-shift-11404-2.html#post197503
     
  17. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    hi dauer when you said we need to embrace both l answered not if it includes warfare which l see as a predominantly male preoccupation, despite your assertions to the contrary.
    as yes the neck supporting the head, how nice! why not left/right brain hemi spheres instead!!
     
  18. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    Hence, idealization and demonization. Whether males and females are different types, following different lines of development, or human psychological development can't be classified in terms of male and female, you're still idealizing a female typology and demonizing a male typology. Yours is the same type of attitude that Gilligan protested against, albeit your bias is reactionary whereas the one she was protesting against was institutionalized. The problem in both cases is their extreme.

    We could use that analogy, mutatis mutandis. It doesn't really matter.

    edit:

    actually, I take that back about that analogy illustrating the same thing. It doesn't. The point of mine was that women have been observed to be working behind the scenes, influencing men for both good and evil, sometimes the actual ones calling the shots despite public appearances. Yours suggests a very different idea, merely emphasizing your position that men and different of developmental typologies, your clearly being of the opinion that htefemale type is superior.
     
  19. nativeastral

    nativeastral fluffy future

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    hi l dont know gilligan but will admit to being totally reactionary and so of course would fight tooth and nail to protect my family.
    but we are way off..and as you said words do matter, can be misinterpretated twisted and misunderstood.
    With Thatcher still in mind regarding the Falklands l an under no illusion as to the capacity of a female, but this is because of the system already in place, the hierarchy of powers, dominance etc etc. [and russells take on the European].
    so the paradigm shift still stands in my view, which is more equality in decision making concerning global survival. As the female gives birth she will be more inclined to think of children before herself and others.
     
  20. dauer

    dauer Active Member

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    No, I mean that you are reactionary in your demonization of patriarchy and idealization of matriarchy. But your other reaction illustrates my point. It is quite ethnocentric. Who do you fight to protect your family? A demonized other. It is the same mentality that you yourself claim to be against.

    Or maybe it also has something to do with the fact that women are human too.

    Women are just as likely to be egocentric and ethnocentric. To go back to Carol Gilligan, the difference for her is that the stages women go through are not framed around the theme of justice and equity. The key is that both men and women are going through the same stages. They're just contextualized differently for each.
     

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