télécharger 0.97 Mb.
In the first part of this book, I have described the deaths of many things that we as world citizens take for granted in our daily life. Let us stop for a moment and put them in perspective.
Is there a link between them? Most certainly so. It is the danger of collective death, which is the only force capable of changing behaviours that have been entrenched for thousand of years in the subconscious of all of us—male and female.
Patriarchy, unmasked and examined, reveals itself to be merely a period in the history of humankind—not something inherent in human nature. When one realises this, one may start to relativise patriarchy itself and to surpass it. But, it is not easy to do so, because our bodies possess a profound “cellular memory” of its existence, which is difficult to purge.
The deaths of modernity and of the industrial society are related to that of patriarchy and are, in fact, consequences of it. One encounters in them the same pyramids of power, the same structures from low to high, the same absence of women at the high levels of decision. It can reasonably be said that modernity is like the ultimate avatar of patriarchy. It is obviously the predominance of the male analytical mind that was reinforced by modernity.
Modernity promotes itself as having granted equality to women. Perhaps, but we really are far from such equality. In private life, women enjoy greater autonomy—at least they are no longer considered by the civil code as being the “property of their husband”—but in political structures and in business, women are often kept in jobs that rarely are the ones of real leadership. The implicit and unconscious matrix of industrial modernity values does not favour the feminine values.
Like modernity, the industrial society is also an avatar of patriarchy. It has been built on warlike values, and if one looks at market strategies in business schools, they often employ the warlike phraseology of patriarchal values.
The modern State itself is also patriarchal. It has certainly made concessions to women, and it should be credited for doing so, but the structure of its defence policy is warlike and violent, therefore patriarchal.
Thus, a red thread of patriarchal violence weaves through all these deaths. And this thread of patriarchal violence is on the way to being cut.
This is the best of news for the planet, because the changes are deep and not merely cosmetic. The changes are taking place on the level of human consciousness.
As we leave the modern and industrial society (and, at the same time, the patriarchal society) to enter into the knowledge society, we also enter an era of strong cultural and political turbulence—because the modern-industrial and patriarchal paradigms and structures of the world will fight for their survival. And due to the fact that we are undergoing mutations at two levels—the transition might be doubly violent and strong.
One can represent the cultural mutations that have taken place throughout history by a diagram such as that shown in Figure 1.
© Copyright Marc LUYCKX Ghisi 2008
Figure 1: Graph of cultural mutations
Figure 1 shows the evolution of the world toward the knowledge society and shows where we are at this point in history. Obviously, this is an extremely simplified view designed to illustrate that we are entering an important zone of turbulence.
At around 3500 B.C.E., we see three curves intersecting. The first curve represents the diminishment and end of the matrifocal society. The second represents the beginning of the strong pre-modern agrarian influence, and the third is the beginning of patriarchy. The upper part of the agrarian era seems indeed to correspond to the beginning of patriarchy, and nobody knows why the matrifocal vision was superseded by the patriarchal vision. According to Riane Eisler, hordes came from the north with a completely different mentality, more violent and more prone to conquer—and, therefore, closer to the patriarchal values. They easily conquered the southern people, who had matrifocal values and had no armies. These invaders were probably also farmers, whereas the invaded people were fruit pickers and cattle raisers. Following this violent conquest, the vision of the world was profoundly transformed in all Europe.
It is interesting to note that similar transitions occurred in China and in India at about the same time. Was it the sudden passage from shepherding to farming in the entire world? Very little is known about these conquests because, at that time, writing was not yet invented. This is the reason why I did not draw an explosion around the first transition toward the agrarian period—very little is known about it. On the other hand, the study of myths is possible and was done masterfully by Francoise Gange. She describes the progressive transformation of the founding myths in every civilization.
The agrarian period is characterised by the dominance of agriculture; whereas, in the preceding period, the main activity was fruit picking and shepherding livestock. Obviously, the transition to agriculture represents for the populations a massive shift toward a sedentary lifestyle. Some observers have also noted that the farmer who plants is obliged to delineate his planted soil from that of others. He marks out the land with boundary posts so that he is able, a few months later, to harvest without disputes. This is probably how the right of ownership was born. A shepherd in the preceding period, on the other hand, would herd his cattle through large swaths of land that belonged to everyone… and to no one. Thus, he had no notion of ownership.
By analogy, one might wonder whether this ownership instinct did not also extend symbolically to the male who sows his seed within his female partner and, thus, takes ownership of her by divine right. Could this be one of the origins of patriarchy?
The efflorescence of this pre-modern period lasted for 4000 years. It ended in Europe at the close of the Middle Ages, around 1500 A.D., but billions of people today still make their livings via agriculture and maintain an agrarian vision of reality.
During the whole of the Middle Ages, from 700–1500 B.C.E., the Christian Church was in power. It mastered and managed the agricultural technology through the abbeys, which transmitted their knowledge to the farmers. It also held political and military mastery throughout Europe and was the dominant power, together with the emperors and kings with whom there were constant conflicts.
The transition to the modern industrial period was progressive and slow. It is symbolised in the architecture of most European cities. Next to the cathedral and the cathedral square sits the marketplace, which often serves as the “great place“ or main square. This square resembles the cathedral square. The town hall, too, often has the shape of a cathedral. My own home city of Brussels is an excellent example—the city hall, located downward from the cathedral, looks like a church. And the guild houses where the most famous trades were centred surround the Town Hall in the “Grande Place.” You can see today the houses of the bakers, the fishermen, the bankers, the butchers, and the cheese makers. Those houses in square, as if surrounding a church, symbolise the rising might of the craftsmen and the pre-industrial forces—forces that ended up dominating the economic and political European scene even as their influence was becoming visible in the cities’ architectures.
Although this transition was slow, it was also very violent—because human history shows that those in power never surrender their power without violence. Instead, they usually do whatever they can to consolidate their position, even (and perhaps especially) if they sense that their demise is apparent. This is probably why the end of the Middle Ages was such a violent time, with the religious wars, the Inquisition, the crusades, and all sorts of conflicts.
The transition from the agrarian period to the industrial period was thus a violent one. That is why I have surrounded it with the drawing of an explosion.
My hypothesis, and that of numerous observers of the world, is that today we are precisely at the threshold of a similar transition—the transition from the ending of the modern industrial society to the transmodern knowledge society. The U.S. and Europe are the dominating powers in the world for the moment, but for how long remains to be seen. The incidents of September 11, 2001 in New York City might be the triggering element—the indication that we are entering a rather turbulent period. And, unfortunately, these troubles will probably be generated, directly or indirectly, by the dominating powers themselves—that is, the Western powers.
But things are more complicated in this transition compared to the previous transition, because not only are we leaving the modern industrial period, but we are also stepping out of the patriarchal era. Thus, the weight of the mutation is much heavier and more potentially explosive. And those who hold authority at this time are, in principle, almost exclusively male and manifest themselves in institutions such as religions, trade unions, political parties, factories, and other organizations that have institutionalised suppression of women. It is true, for example, that the Napoleonic code, which was still in use until recently in Belgium, considered women to be the property of men.
Ces messieurs ont appelé dame Bess, dit-il; mais dame Bess n’est pas au cottage