Saturday, October 08, 2005
God – Symptom or Cause?
If I understood her correctly, Ursa last week suggested that gods are only a symptom of our problems -- the real, root cause is men.
In other words, the patriarchy came first, and the gods followed. Or, put another way, the gods didn’t produce the patriarchy, the patriarchy produced the gods.
I thought about this so hard I hadda take Tylenol. I’m gonna go with this: It’s complicated (don’t you just hate when people say that?). I think what was at work was what cyberneticists call a “circular feedback mechanism.” The environment changes the system, but then the system bites back and changes the environment, which in turn strikes back and works on the system again, and so forth and so on. For more on circular feedback mechanisms go here.
About 6000 years ago, the rising value of men and the falling value of women* lead to a jump in thoughts about male deity and a decline in thoughts about female deity; this made male behavior a little more valuable in people's minds and female behavior a little less; this in turn boosted male gods but not female gods; and the cycle just keeps going on and on.
You may have heard this slang term: “vicious cycle.”
To me, the important question is this: If we replaced our gods with Goddesses, would our patriarchy melt away into something sane? I think the answer is yes.
*The theory is that, due to centuries-long desertification of Northern Africa, the Mid East and Central Asia, young males were often the only members in any group to survive, and almost always the group members most able to fight for nearly non-existent food and water resources. This of course, is only a mild hint at the enormous and enormously varied pressures put on our ancestors in this kind of long-term ecological crisis.