Perceiving complexity (part 3)
Part of the series Perceiving complexity
And now about the other side of the story. This deep fluid wisdom is also the meeting place of the masculine and feminine sides of the long-term human experience. What I wrote until now, while it passes as the general human mindset, is in fact the masculine point of view developed in the long human history. There is also a feminine human experience accumulated in the past generations of our ancestors along this long history. This side of the human mindset developed through an acute awareness of the raw reality (for the reasons I mentioned in the first part of this series). The relation with the raw reality is deeply embedded in the experience of the feminine version of the human deep fluid wisdom. Historically, both men and women had to find in their thinking a balance between the raw reality and the “meaningful world” of mental patterns and structures (the women do not have a socially useful alternative to this “meaningful world”, there are no other useful mental tools in the human repertoire for a coherent social life, probably such tools will develop in the future, but, at least up to this moment in human history, they don’t seem to exist).
The aforementioned deep fluid wisdom is the accumulated experience in dealing with this balance. The masculine use of this accumulated experience was historically geared towards enforcing the mental structures of direct power and control. While it had some awareness that there is a complex raw reality beyond the patternizing spider webs in their minds, it took it in consideration mostly for enforcing patternized meaning in the world, about “bringing order in chaos”. The feminine use of this wisdom was geared towards staying afloat and finding their way through these mental structures they had no prerogative to control. These versions of human accumulated experience did not evolve separately, they always influenced each other, but the specific conditions in which they were evolving developed different masculine and feminine streaks.
The way I described previously the allegory of the raw reality Earth and “meaningful world” on the Moon was historically the masculine way of finding a balance between the raw reality and the “meaningful world”. The feminine way was something along the lines of the musical examples from Shahzoda and Nawal El Zoghbi that I presented in the first part of the series. The women living in the raw reality with no prerogatives of controlling the “meaningful world” and, if they did not want to end up badly or if they wanted to create positive contexts for themselves without using direct power, they had to notice a variety of threads in which a situation could evolve and a variety of points of view that one who is not invested in a mental structure can notice.
This accumulated experience turned into a feminine mindset in which their interaction with the raw reality Earth develops a plurality of thought threads in their minds, with all of these threads watching from the raw reality Earth how they appear reflected on the “meaningful world” of the Moon. Their reflections have to some extent a life of their own there on the Moon, but they keep a vivid connection with those on Earth, they keep receiving feedback from Earth about how they are seen and about what is happening back there in the raw reality (I am paraphrasing the video Habeit Ya Leil of Nawal El Zoghbi). The classical masculine mindset does not have so much of this millenary experience in paying attention to what is happening in the raw reality, for men in history it was more about organizing and controlling it.
Who knows how far goes back in time this state of affairs. Other animals who have a social life centered around masculine authority appear to have too an Earth-Moon mindset. The masculine control of the situation creates a meaningful structured world, the females have to think from the point of view of the raw reality to find their way through the masculine mental structures. See this BBC video where a young female gorilla who lives in a harem under the leadership of a male tries to woo him to have sex with her. He is not interested, she has only a window of a few fertile days, she has to do something. She goes then to a nearby place to position herself strategically between two adolescent males, flirts with one of them, the other one vocalizes his jealousy, the dominant male hears, rushes to the scene and impregnates her. The male can be manipulated because he is the prisoner of his own mental structure, he derives self-assurance form the sense of solidity of this structure, he thinks that the spider web of structures in his mind is the reality and he does not see the raw reality beyond it. He sees the raw reality from the Moon perspective of his mental structures, while the female sees the mental structures on the Moon from the raw reality perspective of the Earth, which helps her to notice unexpected points of view.
The mental structure of the social life among gorillas has similar nuances to the human one, this masculine sense of self-assurance that you have the power to control the environment, this impression that the world of the mental structures supported by your power is the reality (and exactly because of this self-assurance the female can manipulate the male at times). It is still far from the human policy to over-imitate each other as means of transmitting the accumulated knowledge about the patternization of the world, but it looks like the kind of environment to develop a language with the classical human characteristics that give you the impression of a meaningful world disconnected from the raw reality. A language may not necessarily have the classical human features, it may be structured in a way that keeps you more aware of the raw reality, not giving you the impression that you live in a “real” world created through words.
Another noticeable aspect in that video is the gaze of the female when she first tries to woo him. The message there is not so much about “you can have an offspring with me, don’t miss the chance”. There may be cues there in this sense to entice the subconscious of the male, like dilated pupils to show that she is fertile. But her main bet seems to be on cultural matters (or maybe her initial signaling that does not appear in the video was about “you can have an offspring with me, don’t miss the chance” and when that did not have success she ramped up the wooing to cultural matters). With that gaze she is showing him a preview of a female-mediated immersion in the rich feminine experience accumulated in dealing with the raw reality. He will have a plentiful version of it when he will make sex with her and the two of them will become one.
She will be like a psychological cushion for him in relation to the raw reality, in those moments the male will sense the psychological richness in dealing with the raw reality and will also feel in control of it like never else because the female abandons herself to him (and the female will feel too from her point of view this unified plenitude as co-participant). The male would want this because it refreshes the cobwebs in his mind and it gives him more in-depth perceptions about how to be the control of the situation. This is what I meant by “cultural matters”, as this is not anymore so much just about having offsprings. Sure, that side of things is always there, but I want to draw attention that there is also a very important psychological side in gender relations with this power structure.
Another aspect in such a gaze is also that it may be used to produce and increase desire, in case it isn’t already there. The male may not be very aware of what great perceptions she can offer beyond his spider web and the preview of her personalized gaze can be tuned to make him realize (or remember) and desire that. And even another aspect is that it can have a nuance in destabilizing the organization in his mind with that plurality of psychological threads visible in her gaze (like the male at the beginning of Habeit Ya Leil of Nawal El Zoghbi). His will is weakening and he is following easier her cues.
These cultural matters that make a female attractive to a male in such animal species in which the females live under the male authority seem to be based on the female experience in pursuing their own goals in such a disfranchising environment. The males sense some refreshing perspectives in females and the important and essential part here is that they can immerse in these refreshing perspectives in a way in which they do not really face squarely the unknown outside of the “meaningful world” organized in their mind by being in control of the situation.
The refreshment in the mind of the male when he is in a relation with a female is like the initial strike at billiards, which throws the balls in unexpected directions. Then the male has the pleasure to re-rationalize afresh the context by shooting the balls after some patternizing rules that make the context meaningful again, according to the classical human masculine sense of a “meaningful world”.
However, the female original experience in relating to the raw reality in such a disempowering social life does not have the framework of a billiards table and the patternizing rules to strike and direct the balls (after the initial refreshing strike) into some new reorganized fashion. Imagine a rack in a tridimensional or even more multidimensional space, the initial strike throws the balls in all kind of directions in that multidimensional space. And then, if you strike one of the balls from its new current position, this ball behaves like a new rack and turns into a new set of a plurality of balls going in all kind of unexpected directions. This is what is happening when you are really facing the raw reality, this appears to be the discovery of the disempowered females from species where the rule is to live under the controlling male authority and the personal agency in their lives is too much curtailed.
The females don’t necessarily need to follow all the complexity of the increasing number of balls shot in all kind of unexpected directions. And they usually don’t follow. If the goal is to produce a favorable outcome for herself by taking in consideration the rules of the game of the male organization, then there is no need to follow all the complexity of the unexpected ramifications, but only those that show unexpected ways to perceive those rules of the game.
The man is playing with those rules because they assure the edifice of his power, like playing tennis (if he acts by himself) or volley-ball (if he is part of a team of males). Let’s see, the ball comes this way, I should throw it that way, and so on. I can do some trick to surprise the other party with an unexpected move or I can even manipulate the rules of the game, by going to “the other side of the Moon”. But still, as a person mentally invested in the power that set of rules gives, the manipulative thoughts revolve too much around those rules themselves, it may not see much beyond those rules.
In such a context, the female can let unfold in her mind a “no table framework” multidimensional billiard rack strike and see all kind of unexpected directions of throwing the ball, like the gorilla female from the BBC video. In such a case, the need to follow the raw reality ramifications is limited to finding unexpected ways to tackle the male rules of the game. Or to gauge the likely developments of a given situation, like in Shahzoda’s Ayrilamiz.
The females do follow in some cases all the unexpected ramifications independent of the male framework of the rules of the game. This tends to be a lengthy process, it takes time until some conclusions settle down from all those increasing ramifications, but the results can be valuable. Historically, this option did not become a full-fledged alternative to the classical masculine organization, it is just used from time to time by women for themselves. Instead, the female discovery of the raw reality potential was informally co-opted to some extent in the classical masculine organization. The females who can present themselves as mediating cushions filtering some tamed and non-threatening aspects of that crazy raw reality with a potential for mental refreshment, they find themselves much more attractive to males. The males find very refreshing these filtered raw reality aspects and the mediation through the female cushion enables them to treat this refreshment like a billiard game, they don’t need to face squarely the complexity of the raw reality. In such a framework, the classical edifice of a “meaningful world” supported by personal power is not threatened, it can allow a tamed outburst of the raw reality perspective, the male still feels in control of the situation.
Of course, the female still has the option to unleash less tamed aspects of the raw reality. Even in the gaze that shows the potential of a fulfilling billiard game for the male she can slip in raw reality ball strikes that destabilize his organization in ways he does not even realize how he is destabilized, in order to weaken his will and make him follow easier her cues. And, if even this does not work, she can unleash more direct raw reality-inspired ball strikes to play with his system of values like she is on a different level of understanding. That BBC video with the gorillas is a good example, as it shows these stages. The male was still indifferent to all those nuances in her gaze, whether showing potential fulfillment or trying to weaken his will, so the female used an even more powerful strategy: if I could not entice you with what is beyond the spider web in your mind, then I will make you fear the crumbling of your web if you don’t have sex with me. The idea that other males are on the verge of having sex with her is threatening the core belief of his Earth-Moon type of mindset based on control of who is fathering the children, the edifice in his mind will crumble if he is not doing something to restore the control.
All this angle of perceiving the gender relations begs the question: if the females can play with the male systems of values like they are on a much more profound level of understanding, then why don’t they have more practical power? This more profound level supposes also increased responsibilities in mental organization in dealing with the real complexity of the raw reality, if you want to organize your life according to it. It is relatively simple to see unexpected points of view about a simplistic system of values based on personal power (and thus riddled with fallacies and weak logical coherence). It is an entirely different story to really organize your life according to the raw reality point of view.
The human and the gorilla paradigm of social organization remained based on the male courage to strike into the unknown and to establish power structures while not giving a damn about all those raw reality psychological ramifications the females face (those beyond the non-threatening filtered cushion they provide to the males). The females did not find a psychological power base in this raw reality perspective and they remained in awe with the male courage to shape the environment while taking in consideration all those unexpected perspectives only if they are in a controlled billiard game framework. The women themselves base the organization in their mind on the patternizing “meaningful world” of classical masculine origin.
I don’t know how it is at the gorillas regarding this aspect, but at the humans the females actively encourage the males to be manly in the classical sense, in order to keep shaping the environment without taking in consideration all those raw reality psychological ramifications that the women may find too daunting. And the men may scare the women about the complexity of the raw reality, inculcating in their minds that they cannot do anything serious with that raw reality perspective, only a man can really strike into the unknown.
The common chimpanzees live in social groups with a plurality of adult males, having another characteristic present also among humans, namely the male collaboration. The males have to engage in politics to get a leadership position and in this case many take frequent trips to “the other side of the Moon” to think how to manipulate the structures to benefit them most in a social context. Frans de Waal’s research shows how they develop coalitions, how they engage in public image building by showing affection to random babies in the group, the same as the human politicians do.
The bonobo social life is more female-centered, the females have the power and there is no need for masculine “view from the Moon” mental structure to control who is fathering the children. Probably they have some sort of a Earth-Moon social life, with “the Moon” gathering the mental web of the social structure necessary for the functioning of a group with dozens of bonobo individuals, but I don’t know yet how it works and how it relates to the raw reality if it is not about controlling who is fathering the children.
Genetic studies show that the chimpanzees and bonobos are the primates closest to the humans, the split of the common ancestors is more recent than that of the gorillas. But who knows what happened in the past and how the social structures of all these Homininae species evolved in time. From the time of the genetic splits until now these different branches may have had all kinds of twists and turns in their social structure (i.e. I am not implying a direct connection with the previous examples of the other great apes, only the possibility that such social features have a long history, a history that remains to be discovered). The relatively recent drift between the common chimpanzees and bonobos shows how quickly the habits can change on the long scale of history.
Among humans there is some variety among the ethnic groups in gender relations. Most of them are about male control of who is fathering the children and female lack of social power. There are also some ethnic groups in which the men are not so interested in control or even with bonobo-like female-centered social life (and it would be interesting to study what is going on there).
My current impression is that the mental structure based on male control of the situation was the norm in the past and facilitated the appearance of the human type of languages and the socially complex mental structures. Later some ethnic groups drifted towards other gender balances (the one with male control is riddled with problems anyway). But these ethnic groups are few and none of them developed major human civilizations. They do not seem to have valuable alternatives to develop a large society. This does not disqualify them, as I said previously, it would be interesting to study what is going on there.
In the future the humanity will have to develop anyway mental structures in touch with the raw reality if they do not want to be stuck with the systemic problems of the Earth-Moon mindset. Such structures should be about an honest view of the raw reality. A female-controlled society with powerless men is mired too in systemic problems as a result of the disconnection from real life resulting from the need to create a controlling mental structure (you can see this in practical situations in which the woman controls the man psychologically).