Art by Norman E. Masters
TO LOVE OR NOT TO LOVE? -- is no longer a question for poets and philosophers. Because the whole future of humankind depends very much on we answering in the affirmative -- not just in terms of words but in the way we think, act, and live. We simply have to love each other or die. The God-like powers which humankind now possesses demand an equal development of a God-like love in our hearts. But, yet, at the same time, such a God-like Love must be tempered with a God-like Wisdom. Because a God-like Love can only be both given and accepted by life-positive persons. For a God-like Love is the very quintessence of Life itself; and as patriarchal history has shown wherever it has been manifested it has aroused a most intense form of the Emotional Plague among life-negative patriarchal people. The Murder of Christ is just one example of this terrible phenomenon which is still the Scourge of the world of today. So let us love with a God-like Love. But let us also be aware that only life-positive humans can accept and reciprocate such Love.
WHY REAL WOMEN'S LIB HAS HARDLY BEGUN YET -- Women are the oppressed sex in Patriarchal Society. Few will deny this fact; and numerous women have joined the many currents of the women's movement from the mild "more women in public life advocates" to the radical feminist approach. But what is it that women need to be liberated from and who is the oppressor? All too often men as a sex are blamed and a lot of anger and bitterness is directed at "MAN" by women who've become aware of their prison-like existence. Patriarchy is seen as the enemy; but this is wrongly understood to mean a conspiracy by all men to suppress all women and keep power in their own hands.
So many women's energies are directed at toppling man's position of monopoly, at unseating him from his throne. This is what the fight for equal rights is mainly about. But in reality, however, Patriarchy is a form of society in which injustices and oppressions against women are accepted as "normal" and are transmitted from generation to generation by women as well as men. For they, in Patriarchy, are brought up to play very constricted narrowly defined social roles, with neither sex being free to develop in their own natural way. But, while both sexes are victims, it is women who come off by far the worst. Since in Patriarchal Society violence against women is institutionalized -- written in the laws, is at the bottom of religious beliefs, is enshrined in marriage, morality, etc.
That is why it is futile and impossible to seek liberation within the existing boundaries. The whole prevailing social order itself must be challenged at its roots and transcended totally.
When I was active in the Dutch feminist movement many of us held the belief that once other women would become conscious of their oppression they'd rise up in anger and throw off their chains. "Awareness leads to Action!" was the magic formula. But alas it only applied to a minority of women who were already in the process of self-change. The great majority simply didn't move, and didn't feel moved by our explanations. They labelled us as frustrated men-haters and the like. I myself found it very difficult to understand why so many of them defended their inferior place with such pride, why they willingly and happily gave up their names and identities upon getting married... "Brainwashing" was not enough of an explanation, but the insights of Wilhelm Reich on character-structures were: From the moment of birth a female child is crippled bio-energetically; the strong free-flowing life-force within her body is partly suppressed, partly twisted and diverted so that eventually her capacity to act from the inner core of her being becomes impossible. So instead of developing a real inner identity and a capacity for independent thinking and acting and feeling she needs to "hang-on" to the false image that Patriarchy has created of the female, which is a most horrific distortion of real womanhood. A mindless, obedient, submissive creature is the "successful" outcome. This is why women who have completely absorbed the patriarchal message are among its staunchest defenders. And they actually feel threatened by women who confront them directly and try and shatter this false image.
So Patriarchy is not an evil plot devised by men but a complete social order in which men and women act out their respective social roles. Too much women's activity is concerned with "getting a place in the sun" of Patriarchal Society without in any way challenging its basic institutions. The fight for the right to work for women is an excellent example of this -- with only paid employment in a world tailored according to patriarchal standards being defined as "real work". For the modern world is seen to be made up of actually two worlds -- the world of the woman at home doing unpaid housework, rearing children in her nuclear family isolation -- and the world of the man who gets paid for working with fellow adults. Many women naturally feel trapped at home as Bettie Friedan so clearly revealed in The Feminine Mystique and try to break out by finding a job, which as well as making her more financially independent gives her status and an identity in this other world. This leads to demands by women campaigners for childcare facilities at workplaces; while the "easy way" of bottle-feeding is enthusiastically promoted for its "convenience" in that a bottle can be given to a baby by anyone and so infant feeding can be readily fitted in to any schedule.
But these are not solutions! They are anti-life practices which sacrifice the children's right to happiness and deprive them of the close physical contact with their mothers during their first vital years of life -- upon which their future sense of inner security and self confidence is built. The real Solution to the patriarchal problem lies only in life-positive developments on the part of men and women working together to transcend the whole existing situation, including the anti-life nuclear family which is so harmful to everyone concerned -- men, women, and children.
So the women's liberation struggle needs to set out on a much more fundamental level, to rise above and beyond the conventional patriarchal character-structure, and to create the beginnings of a new social order. It is not a struggle of women against men, but of life-positive men and women against the basically life-negative patriarchal social order. And these beginnings start with new social units, with life-affirmative child-rearing, and with honest truly loving relationships between free men and free women. Only this will bring real liberation to Womankind!