This essay is about the potential for maturity of human consciousness or at least one way of thinking about it. In my view it is an hierarchical development; one cannot progress to the next stage of development until maturation of the underlying stage at which point former stages are retained, integrated and continue in coexistence.
If Mama Ain't Happy...
|Sistine Madonna, Raphael|
In a greater, universal sense we can think of the Matriarchy as Mother Nature. She is always with us and positively determines most of our existence. Limitations and constraints are imposed on us by nature "out there": gravity, weather, pathology, sources of nourishment e.g. Likewise from within there is unquestionably an underlying biological imperative that largely determines how we will grow and age physically and over which, often to our chagrin, we can consciously exercise at best a limited influence. None of this is what an independent minded person wants to hear, yet it gets worse; our mind is not capable of as much independence or rationality as we might like to think. Our fears, desires, attractions and revulsions certainly motivate us, sometimes drag us by the nose, and will even possess us. Much of the justification and reasoning for our actions comes after the fact, it's the caboose at the end of a train that we're not conducting. Nevertheless, it seems obvious that we're not 100% determined by the Matriarchy; we may not be a complete blank slate but it may very well be that we're the blankest slate out there.
Father Knows Best
|Jupiter and Thetis, Jean Auguste Dominique|
Human beings distinguish themselves from other social animals by the extreme preoccupation we have and the steps we'll take to mitigate the harshness of Mother Nature. Our clothing, medicinal and agricultural traditions all arose as a means to order or pattern the world physically so as to temper the aforementioned often devastating effects of weather, disease and famine. Music, art, drama, myth, religion, poetry, religion, law and philosophy are among the articulated efforts taken by civilisation to order the world at a psychological level whereas craft, architecture and science are examples of disciplines undertaken to order the world physically and to make sense of it psychologically simultaneously. It is incorrect to think of the Patriarchy as 'rule by men'. Whether you are male or female, if you participate in the transmission of culture, if you pass on anything that could be considered uniquely human, you are an active participant in the Patriarchy much the same as the mere fact of being alive and led in part by your unconscious desires indicate you are under the sway of the Matriarchy. The Matriarchy and Patriarchy can thus be seen as archetypal states of development that both men and women typically fully participate in; furthermore, they are a precondition for further maturation towards greater autonomy.
I Can Do It Myself!
The last couple of centuries have witnessed the rise of mass production and industrialisation of the necessities of life: food, clothes, shelter and medicine. Although this arose first in England and other liberal democracies, the same processes were implemented through a variety of political systems including dictatorships and various iterations of socialism and communism. Today almost anywhere on the globe individuals have been made wholly passive and dependent on either the state or corporate entities. Despite persisting disagreement of political viewpoint there has been almost complete standarisation of the global marketplace and its goods. The idea of the individual, small community or even sovereign nation being able to provide the physical necessities of existence for themselves at this point in time seems unrealistic, if not outright absurd or even suspect.
I'm of the opinion that cutting off the possibility of Autarky, physical self-sufficiency and independence, from the individual or small community is a catastrophic mistake. The infrastructure of civilisation has been reduced to massive integrated systems of politics, economy, education and production that are too big to succeed. They lack the adaptability that only exists at the level of the individual. Humans generate solutions by acting in the world physically, reinforcing those actions with rational justifications in retrospect. As such, when independent autonomy of action becomes severely constrained or bureaucratically forbidden there remains no physical path to step outside; we're at critical risk of suffocating the adaptive mechanism of free will that generates culture to begin with.
|The mask of Greek drama was the false face,|
the persona worn by the actors
for, 'per' the sound, 'sona'.
Back to Life, Back to Reality
Although progress towards individuality is necessary for significant maturation, it need not end there. After all, we're not separate from nature, it's not something 'out there', rather it is 'in here', we are nature as it were. Neither is culture something that we want to permanently withdraw from. We are social creatures and despite the fact that many cultural institutions are corrupt, oppress us and attempt to conscript us as avatars of various ideologies, they often provide a measure of safety, support and space for development of the individual.
|The Wheel of Dharma|
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Contributed by Patrick Webb