I am a White Cis Male & Yes, I am Defending the Patriarchy.

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Not an ALL-CAPS yelling-at-folks fan but this has a point.

A post shared by Waylon Lewis (@waylonlewis) on

There’s a lot of talk about the patriarchy these days.

I sometimes wonder what people mean when they say patriarchy, and usually assume they mean the system that is heavily driven by men and typically dominated by masculine traits. Clearly this holds some truth, being that men generally occupy positions of power and masculine traits tend to be more rewarded in society.

Because of this, women have been historically oppressed and their strengths have often been overlooked.

That’s the patriarchy at a glance—but I think there’s more to this story.

There’s this idea known as logos, which is the fundamental principle of Western culture and Judeo-Christian thought. In Greek, the term logos means “speech or thought,” and was used by Aristotle to convey the divine power of spoken word, which is the force that makes human order out of the chaos of nature.

Logos is the archetypally paternal force that formed the Western world. This is why God is referred to as the Holy Father in the Bible. The mythology of our culture is fundamentally a masculine enterprise, and this is the reason why women have been so used and abused.

Think about it this way: culture is the great father. Nature is the great mother. Throughout our history, culture has asserted itself over nature in order to establish a functioning society, which is perhaps why masculinity has generally been more praised than its counterpart. The mythological role of women has been largely passed over during the cultivation of modern society.

But Western culture is missing a major part of the human story, and many of the social movements that we are seeing today—environmentalism, feminism, LGBTQIA rights, and socialism—are an attempt to bring back this missing element of our world. The problem here is that these movements tend to only acknowledge the tyrannical qualities of the great father and the holy qualities of the great mother, which is just as incomplete of a story as the patriarchy.

Let’s think of it in the context of a household. Mom can be a healer and a nurturer, tending to our wounds after a fall or holding us up as we cry our eyes out, but she can also be a cruel monster when we get on her last nerve. Dad is the same way. He can be cheering us on in the stands at our first little league game or showing us how to throw a strong left hook when we are being bullied at school, but he can also lose his temper and scare the living hell out of us when we push his buttons.

Both Mom and Dad have their positive and negative qualities, and it’s the same with culture and nature. Mom tends to our fundamental needs and Dad encourages us to manifest our potential.

And we need both.

I’m in a strange place with all of this. Most of my friends are completely anti-patriarchy in every way—ridiculing capitalism, Judeo-Christian values, and toxic masculinity every chance they get. Even though I criticize the traditional structures of our culture as much as any other angsty millennial, I’m starting to feel like it’s not super helpful.

So many young people think our society is broken, so the question is: what are we going to do about it?

First, I believe my generation needs to be more engaged in problem solving, instead of complaining about things they don’t actually understand.

I hate black and white thinking. If you think nature is only good, move out of the city and get used to wiping your ass with leaves, also known as nature’s toilet paper. If you think capitalism is only bad, try living in Venezuela or North Korea, or maybe read about what happened in the Soviet Union from 1919 to 1959. Jesus!

We need both the great father and the great mother for the human race to thrive. We need the structures of culture to survive, and we need to be connected to nature to stay in harmony. Don’t be too cynical of the father or too adoring of the mother—they both can be cruel as hell.

I don’t think we need to get rid of the patriarchy, being that it is the only framework for a complex society that has (mostly) worked thus far. I think what we need to do is identify the ways in which our society has been oppressive and try to improve those things without destroying the system itself.

So, how do we improve our “beloved” patriarchy? How do we move toward a more free and equal society within the framework of our modern society?

1. Start with gratitude. Be grateful that we’re able to speak openly about the problems of our culture, and that the vast majority of us live relatively comfortably in relation to past civilizations. Contrary to what it may seem like, we aren’t living in complete and total chaos. Gratitude is always a good place to start.
2. Acknowledge the positive things the patriarchy has produced. We have the scientific method, the legal recognition of the individual, and entrepreneurship and technological innovation. If we don’t identify the good parts of society, our ill-fated and misguided attempts to change it will probably make things worse.
3. Recognize where we’ve been lacking. Think about the structural racism and subjugation of African Americans, the objectification and oppression of women, the absence of viable safety nets for underprivileged people, and the extreme inequality brought about through unfettered capitalism.
4. Study, study, study. We have to be specific about the positive and negative elements of our culture, and have constructive, educated, and nuanced approaches to contending with the problems we see in the world. Read great books and educate yourself!
5. Be the change. We must learn to embody both the great father and the great mother within the domain of our own experience. Find ways to identify with both elements of human experience—the masculine and the feminine, culture and nature—without giving too much importance to one or diminishing the other. We need the fierceness and the call to responsibility of the Holy Father, and we need the reflective and healing power of the Holy Mother. When we utilize each one, where and when we need them most, they will naturally expand outward to help organize the culture and create positive change in the world at large.

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Relephant watch: 5 Mindful Things to Do Each Morning.

 

Author: Samuel Kronen
Image: Waylon Lewis/Instagram
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton

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Samuel Kronen

Samuel Kronen is a human being. I want to wake you up – kicking in the door to our collective consciousness. My belief is to lead by example. Connect with me through Facebook and Youtube. Thanks much ~ Samuel

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Keith Dee Mar 14, 2018 10:55pm

Thanks Samuel, this is quite good. We sometimes get so caught up in arguing about the differences between concepts and ideas, that we can overlook the underlying intent that really drives it. Any oppression that’s existed has been the result of deeper drives that are modelled by the archetypes. Conflict caused now because of past occurrences, is only going to keep the issues in place. We can change the cultural practices and point the finger, but any culture is just the sum of the quality of the individuals that make up that culture.

Samuel Kronen Mar 14, 2018 7:37pm

I didn't say that men defined culture. I said culture has been driven by archetpyally masculine traits, otherwise it would not be a "patriarchy".

Samuel Kronen Mar 14, 2018 7:33pm

You have yet to define Patriarchy.

Remi Marcelle Mar 14, 2018 7:13pm

Also - as long as you're not talking about male and female gender then fine. But if you're talking about the masculine and feminine energy then that is what I understand. But partriarchy refers to men and their power. Not women. That is not something I agree with.

Remi Marcelle Mar 14, 2018 7:08pm

Do you not forget that we only have superpowers through capitalism because they enslaved people different to them? and we took their natural resources.

Remi Marcelle Mar 14, 2018 7:08pm

Read Her Blood is Gold. Why do you say males defined culture? Without women this world would not be what it is today. And also remember, women were suppressed for the longest time, this has effected how much of their work has been shown. Also remember women would pretend to be men when they did certain things. Also remember that at one point before christianity made everything 'patriarchal', there was a pagan system that had the women at the top. That's what that book I recommended to you speaks about. Capitalism has done more worse than good. Including the US and Europe rinsing out the natural resources of every other third world country of today. There is a revolution needed.

Samuel Kronen Mar 14, 2018 4:18pm

Absolutey. Thanks for reading, glad it resonated.

Samuel Kronen Mar 14, 2018 4:17pm

Couldn't agree more. Thanks so much :-)

Gwen Stackler Mar 14, 2018 3:03pm

I'm so glad you went in the direction that you did. I would only add that most of the generations feel that something is broken, we should all be following your list and even agnostics or those that follow other religions that don't have a "Holy Father" and such can be the change. Finally, we need to acknowledge and accept that #5 takes work, so no cop outs by only signing a check to a favorite charity, quit your whining, and often being the change comes without gold stars, high fives, or awards. The reward is in your own heart and mind and knowing that you are being part of the change, sometimes only one other person at a time. Cheers!

Lori Garner Mar 14, 2018 2:10pm

You've just said so many things I think about daily... I tell people I'm Pagan, they say "oh, new age crap." I respond with "no, it's what existed before Christianity." I believe in the male and female aspect in everything, also the light and darkness. I also see that capitalism is what made this country grow to be a superpower in such a short lifespan compared to other cultures. I believe in working for what you want and standing up for what you believe, but not at the cost if others. Thank you for showing me that there are rational thinkers in a generation quite removed from mine because I don't get a sense of that on a daily basis.