One of the many religions my parents 'tried on for size,' over the years, was Society of Friends. Since there was no Quaker meetinghouse a convenient drive away, we practiced - at home - being quiet for three hours every Sunday. (Not easy for a pre-teen.)
By early in high school, my parents had moved on to other 'faiths.' But something caused me to return, profitably, to the three-hours-of-quiet every week.
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I was sort-of a group-person, back then.
I played on the golf team. And I eventually began to hang-out with a gang of artistic/political types (the school 'intellectuals').
The other girls on the golf team didn't much like me. I clearly didn't enjoy socializing with them. They thought that I thought ... I was better than them. On the golf course, I shot regularly under 80, for 18 holes. The others, on their best day, might just break 90. So yeah, I was better than them (by that measure). And I practiced with the boy's golf team, whenever I could get away with it. Coach didn't like it, but there was not much she could do about it, short of kicking me off the team. I regularly beat the score of one or two of the guys I foursomed with. But I picked up a lot of good pointers playing alongside the guys, from the best of them. Things I'd never have learned from foursoming with the gals. (Coach wanted me to practice with the girls - knowing they would learn some things from me. But yeah, I was selfish. My own education came first.) The gals on the team resented my ease with the boys. Whispered about which of the golf-guys I was playing doctor with. (The guys were pals, but were 'not my type.') I ignored the whispering. I remained aloof.
In one of my classes, an even nastier whispering-game had begun. I ignored it at first, too, but the whisper-campaign took on a life of its own. It pitted me against a sensitive intelligent girl (not as attractive as I) who I knew, but not well. It was deviously orchestrated by a couple of less-intelligent but street-smart gals who remained invisible. The whispering grew so large that I could no longer remain aloof. It was going school-wide. I realized that, if I did nothing, this was going to emotionally damage me. And bad!
I'm a quick study. I got into the whisper-game and began to deflect it away from myself. When the two perpetrators realized that their poison had not worked on me, the whisper-campaign fizzled out. The world returned to normal.
To normal, for me, that is. When I bumped into the other target of this vicious game in the school hallway, the sensitive-intelligent girl, I would say hi and try to be polite. She turned her face away and refused to look at me. (For the rest of high school, she never would look at me or exchange a word.) The whole whisper campaign had hurt her. Hurt her, badly! And I was the visible face of that whisper-campaign, in her eye. She could never forgive me for the role I played in it.
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That is when I returned to sitting quietly for three hours at a stretch, at least once a week, not always on Sunday. I began to introspect. Began to figure out all the things going on, inside myself. Tried to figure out all the things going on, inside others. Motivations. Not a pretty vista, I saw, during those three hours each week. But I began to understand a few things, about life.
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Not to sound like a goody-two-shoes, but 63 out of the 64 daylessons (above) are practices which I more or less follow. This comes from years of introspection - questioning my own feelings, trying to see-into coworkers' true feelings and motivations rather than just 'reacting' or 'assuming.' Though I long-ago gave up introspecting 3-hours each week, at a single stretch, I doubt a week passes when I don't spend that much time introspecting (a little at a time), regarding my day-to-day interactions with others - while driving the car, jogging, cooking dinner. Introspection is part of my daily life.
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'Nonviolence' is a strategic response to Patriarchal inequities in our world:
The physical violence perpetrated by socially powerful men on individuals less powerful than themselves. Might makes right.
And 'nonviolence' has become a pretty successful strategy, because it effectively challenges the 'honor' - the sense of righteousness - of the person in power. And behaviors do change.
Nonviolence rejects the old idea of the "the man's world."
But, from my high-school days, I found there is something to be said for "the man's world." When word spread that a fight between two guys was to take place, after school on the Southeast Corner, I usually avoided the macho spectacle. But two times, I didn't. Both fist-fights were more pathetic than nasty. But when the defeated tried to slink away and victor walk off in triumph, the other boys would grab the two contestants and bring them back together. Make them shake hands before they departed. That amazed me.
The point of the violence was physical. Very matter-of-fact. But when the fight ended, the violence ended. They were forced to shake hands so there would be no long-term psychological damage, no permanent trauma or undue-bravado as a consequence of the fight.
I wish, when girls fight, it would be this way. Girls, when they get nasty, want to do damage and make it stick. Sometimes against the girl who had been their best friend up until this very moment. Before I had begun to introspect, I hardly saw what goes on in the 'relationship-world' of women. It is deadly turf. And while most outgrow the psychological viciousness of this world, this world sometimes lingers into adulthood. Time to time, I see a waspiness erupt, under stress, even in the most 'mature' of my friends. That old stinger still shows itself.
I can see now why I tried to remain aloof. I never wanted to play these games. I preferred hanging out in the matter-of-fact world of the boys. Boys are not vicious, at heart, unless they have a screw loose. Girls may not be physically violent, at heart (unless they have a screw loose), but until we grow up ... we are hell-on-wheels behind our smiles and beneath the soft fabric of our blouses. And the damage we are capable of ... is far more long-lasting than scars from a beating or a knife.
I've been there, and I don't like it. To this day I see the face that turns away, the eyes which refuse to meet mine. I've said elsewhere that I do not believe in 'original sin.' But frankly ... I do believe in 'original sin' - and its name is Matriarchy.
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In 'nonviolence,' wil ... you have located an answer for the evils of Patriarchy.
But what, wil, is your answer for ... the dark, deeply-hidden evils of Matriarchy?