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Every time I lecture, especially when talking to Human Resources (HR) people, I realise that the audience is most often made of women. And this is so whether I am speaking in Belgrade, Sofia, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Skopje, Rabat, Fès, Savonlinna, Brussels, or Stockholm. As I talk, I can see in the women’s eyes a growing understanding even as the gaze of many men in the audience becomes more empty and puzzled.
Why? It is very simple to explain. The actual values of his new society no longer are “command, control, and conquest”—that is, the patriarchal values. I discussed this in detail in the chapter on the knowledge economy. The implicit values of the knowledge society are post-patriarchal. They are more feminine, more “yin.” This characteristic of the knowledge society is quite clear, but nobody says so out loud. And the heads of most businesses rush into this new economy with an industrial and patriarchal mentality.
They must beware! The machine is no longer the central production tool and, therefore, man’s creativity must be nourished and people must be cared for so that they can become and remain creative. Humans must work in teams.
This kind of attitude is foreign to many men but not to women, because they face such problems in their everyday lives—for example, when raising their children. They team up in networks, often intuitively and naturally. They are not holders of command-and-control values. Networking is not a major issue for them; neither is leaving the power pyramid. Yes, it seems that 90% of women understand the need to depart from patriarchy—but a few (10%) are still deeply patriarchal.
For most men, it is more difficult to accept that we no longer are in the industrial society. First they are unhappy because nobody explains to them what is going on. Next, nobody tells them that the patriarchal values are obsolete in the knowledge society. (Nobody clearly sees it.) And, foremost, nobody dares to say it because no one has the mandate to do so. Thus, everybody remains silent.
And why is this shift away from patriarchy happening just now? This system has been going on so long—so why is it happening today, if it is happening at all?
For most men, these questions are puzzling.
In brief, for men, there is an uneasiness (malaise) which is kept silent, but which is felt in Congresses and Conferences. I feel it in myself and in the public everywhere.
Indeed, for men, to work in networks and share knowledge so that they can enhance it in each other… is really a new and radical behaviour. This hurts the primitive hunter in each of us. It takes us back 5000 years to when we were fruit pickers and shepherds, when Mother-Goddess reigned, and when the dominant concept was that of collective property.
These ideas and behaviours grate against our basic male intuition.
And, even if we agree intellectually, after an intelligent presentation on the knowledge society, we still need to work hard to adapt ourselves and invent new behaviours. Indeed, for men, there is necessarily a deconstruction phase, for we intuitively work in patriarchal and pyramidal systems. We have been nurtured for centuries in the patriarchal pyramids, and they and the idea of “command, control, and conquest” have become second nature to us—imprinted deep in our bodies and our unconscious behaviours.
Thus, one should not underestimate the difficulty that our leaders face. And one should not underestimate the difficulty in reinventing behaviours in a professional or businessman.
The values of the knowledge society skew more toward feminine values than toward masculine values. This skewing is simply a consequence of the society itself; these new values are adapted to the new production tool—the human.
Is the knowledge society “against” men? No, clearly not. But it invites every man to reconsider himself and his behaviours in a post-patriarchal society. It is both a challenge and a way of liberation, a change of consciousness level.
Thus, I will repeat what I said before—the principal danger in the mutation we are in lies in attempting to manage the new economy and the new society with the old modern, industrial, and patriarchal values. The danger is to “pour the new wine in the old goatskin bottles”90 as the Gospel says. It is the constant theme of this book. The danger is not the change, but the way we handle it.
Moreover, the policy of “business as usual”, which now dominates, is dangerous, even suicidal.
Ces messieurs ont appelé dame Bess, dit-il; mais dame Bess n’est pas au cottage