VI. Earth Life Emergence: Development of Body, Brain, Selves and Societies
5. Gender Complements: A Woman's Wisdome
As we continue to consider individual persons, the most significant feature of anyone’s life is surely their gender. As we well know, feminine and masculine identity roles have historically been replete to this day with self-serving cultural agendas, distortions, definitions, and resultant abusive injustice, that is to say defined by men. We are aware, for example, of the September 2017 Scientific American Gender issue and do not wish to add one more opinion. Rather, into these later 2010s, via an emergent, bicameral humankinder, it might be finally possible to cite a natural, cosmic phenomenal basis for egalitarian complementarities, which by this advance may at last be properly understood. As this sourcebook tries to document, the worldwise discovery of a greater organic genesis which exists on its own (truly a woman’s ecosmos) can reveal innate, constant bigender principles, as they array across, distinguish and inform a familial procreation.
Adenzato, Mauro, et al. Gender Differences in Cognitive Theory of Mind Revealed by Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation on Medial Prefrontal Cortex. Nature Scientific Reports. 7/41219, 2017. Eight neuroscientists mainly from the University of Turin describe a sophisticated imaging study of the relative abilities of men and women to perceive and respect other people’s mental states. Once again they quantify that men focus on discrete, agental objects, while women are more sensitive to and considerate of personal emotions and contextual situations.
Gender differences in social cognitive processes are a long discussed issue, in particular those concerning ToM. The main theoretical framework in this respect is the empathizing/systematizing theory of psychological sex differences proposed by (Simon) Baron-Cohen, according to which females are, on average, more disposed to an empathizing style to identify others’ mental states in order to predict their behavior and respond with an appropriate emotion. On the other hand, males are, on average, more disposed to a systematizing style to predict and to respond to the behavior of non-agentive deterministic systems by inferring the rules that govern such systems. This theory has been supported by behavioral studies showing that female subjects, compared to their male counterparts, score higher on tests related to the affective dimension of social cognition, such as emotion recognition, social sensitivity, empathy, and emotional intelligence. (1)
Ahmed, Durre. Women, Psychology and Religion. Ahmed, Durre, ed. Gendering the Spirit. London: Zed Books, 2002. Drawing on Jungian psychology as opposed to an ego-based Freudian view, a complementarity of feminine and masculine qualities can elucidate the hero myth, along with east and west religions and especially southern and northern cultures. At present the male patriarchal north is quite oppressing and exploiting the feminine southern hemisphere.
Life is male and female. The graphic representation of the Chinese Yin and Yang in a circle is a symbol of this totality. In Jungian terms masculine and feminine are psychological-symbolic concepts in which, for example, ‘masculinity’ may represent a certain type of reason, one that is penetrative and analytic. Similarly, ‘feminine’ represents a different sort of intellectual attitude, one that is receptive, poetic, more inner-oriented rather than an external, action-focused view. (83)
Allen, Prudence, RSM. The Concept of Woman. Vol. II: The Early Humanist Reformation (1250-1500). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing, 2002. This definitive work which follows Volume I covering 750 B.C. to 1250 chronicles a progression from a dominate masculine phase to a fractional polarity and on to a preferred “integral gender complementarity” in the Renaissance. These two editions are also an extraordinary source for the views of woman philosophers on the subject.
Barnes, Craig. In Search of the Lost Feminine. Golden, CO: Fulcrum Publishing, 2006. Many works document the matriarchal nature of early civilizations, circa 1500 BCE, which were founded upon the fecund round of seasons and cycles of life, passage and rebirth. A classic example is Minoan culture on the island of Crete. What makes this book special is that its author came to the subject through his experience as a trial lawyer in defense of a woman’s right to equal wages. But the judge would not consider as evidence their long history of disenfranchisement under a patriarchal dominance which overtook the original maternal matrix. Through much travel to archeological sites, Barnes, who has also mediated ethnic cleansing and water issues in Central Asia, makes a vital case for this innately feminine milieu, and goes on to chide its replacement by a ‘warrior civilization,’ rapacious to this day.
Baron-Cohen, Simon. The Emphasizing System. Ellis, Bruce and David Bjorklund, eds. Origins of the Social Mind: Evolutionary Psychology and Child Development. New York: Guilford Press, 2005. An update of the British psychologist’s unique equation of autism with an “extreme male brain.” (Other recent studies find the autistic brain to have an atrophied corpus callosum which connects the right holistic and left particulate hemispheres.) By a leap of analogy, as Freeman Dyson and Thomas Berry have suggested, might even our national and world society be autistic because of its mental incapacity to connect dots, relate to each other’s culture, and an obsession with militaristic, destructive violence.
Baron-Cohen, Simon. The Essential Difference: Men, Women and the Extreme Male Brain. New York: Basic Books, 2003. Based on his collaborative studies of autistic behavior, a neuropsychologist proposes that men are to be equated with “systemizing” tendencies, which require close analysis and control of mechanisms, and women as more “empathizing” by their preference for social relations and concern. A novel step is then to perceive the condition of autism with its obsession for enumeration, predictability and an inability to relate to others as due to an excess prevalence of those male traits. But the author seems to misappropriate these propensities to the brain hemispheres with men seen as more right brained, and women baised to the linguistic left, which goes against the majority of findings in this area. But this is surely innovative work and the basis of a cover story in Newsweek for September 8, 2003.
Bauer, Karen. Gender Hierarchy in the Qur’an: Medieval Interpretations, Modern Responses. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015. The doctoral thesis of a Research Associate in Qur’anic Studies at the Institute of Ismaili Studies in London based on travel across the Middle East, many interviews, and extensive scholarship. If one might broach a retrospective surmise, a relative scale of husband over wife, men over women, with gender roles defined by men, is long entrenched. This skewed bias is due to male interpretative readings of scriptural passages, still much in effect. In recent years, a necessary mitigation and resolve moves along, with resistance, toward an egalitarian “complementarity” (228). But as Robin Wang notes in Yinyang (2012, search) a similar situation has persisted in Chinese culture.
Baumeister, Roy. Is There Anything Good About Men?. www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen. We are aware this realm of gender propensities is quite opinionated and contentious. Our approach is not to try to define or stereotype, but by way of a copious literature contend that such archetypes do exist, which arise from and epitomize a cosmic genesis, and if they can at last be respectfully and properly understood, might bring about an equitable society we do not now have. A binary, egalitarian complementarity graces tradition, which often becomes distorted to a male advantage, as for example Robin Wang herein explains. This invited address to the 2007 American Psychological Association by the Florida State University psychologist offers a thoughtful survey, which is also the subject of an article and blog by John Tierney in the New York Times for August 20, 2007.
Beutel, Ann and Margaret Mooney Marini.
Gender and Values.
American Sociological Review.
A report on a project which quantifies that women are more compassionate, care for others’ well-being, avoid competition and are more concerned with meaning in life than men.
Billson,, Janet Mancini and Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, eds. Female Well-Being: Toward a Global Theory of Social Change. London: Zed Books, 2005. Reviewed more in A Viable Gaia, to wit our most fatal flaw may well be the corporeal and mental disenfranchisement of half of humankind.
Borysenko, Joan. A Woman’s Journey to God. New York: Riverhead Books, 1999. The holistic psychologist provides a perceptive discernment of how men are more involved with an external traverse between stages of development, while women need remember they already contain inner light and wisdom.
Step by step, according to psychological theorists as diverse as Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, and Daniel Levinson, men ascent the ladder of psychological development. The goal is an autonomous, separate self-reliant identity. Several male Jungians, among them James Hillman and Thomas Moore, likewise conceive of spirituality as an autonomous journey traveled in a vertical dimension…..From my feminine perspective, the spiritual journey is less a matter of climbing up that of looking in and discovering the Inner Light that has been there all along. And once we have discovered the Light, its dissemination is more natural than heroic, more circular and relational than an autonomous, ladderlike process. (71)
Boulter, Carmen and Charles Emmons. Angels and Archetypes. Rapid City, SD: Swan Raven Press, 1997. Subtitled “An Evolutionary Map of Feminine Consciousness,” the book is an account of the perennial intuition of an organic cosmos by way of the dynamic feminine and masculine principles. In a generative historical cycle, the repressed feminine must be able to now appear again in reciprocal balance if our biospheric Gaia is to survive and flourish.