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A Sourcebook for the Worldwide Discovery of a Creative Organic Universe
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VII. Our Earthuman Ascent: A Major Evolutionary Transition in Twndividuality

5. Half the UniVerse: A Woman's 2020 Wisdome

Eagly, Alice. The His and Hers of Prosocial Behavior. American Psychologist. November, 2009. An address by the Northwestern University social psychologist, given upon receipt of the American Psychological Association’s Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution at its August 2009 meeting in Toronto. For many years Professor Eagly has been at the forefront of scholarly endeavors to quantify feminine and masculine qualities. Indeed the very concept is often under attack from various quarters opposed to any such distinction in fear it would define women to their disadvantage. But it can now be clarified and confirmed there does in fact exist archetypal essences which if properly understood can enhance a salutary complementarity of male agency and female communion. A significant synthesis.

Prosocial behavior consists of behaviors regarded as beneficial to others, including helping, sharing, comforting, guiding, rescuing, and defending others. Although women and men are similar in engaging in extensive prosocial behavior, they are different in their emphasis on particular classes of these behaviors. The specialty of women is prosocial behaviors that are more communal and relational, and that of men is behaviors that are more agentic and collectively oriented as well as strength intensive. (644)

In summary, research on prosocial behavior yields patterns of gender specialization that are well known in daily life. Although it is incorrect to claim that there is a more helpful sex, a persistent pattern emerges of female emotionally supportive and sensitive behavior, especially in close relationships, and male agentic behavior, often directed to strangers and to the support of social collectives. (653)

Eagly, Alice, et al. Gender Gaps in Sociopolitical Attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 87/6, 2004. A research analysis finds political polarities to be equated with gender propensities. Women endorse more socially compassionate, moral, and tolerant policies which aligns with their nurturer rather than do warrior/provider men.

The themes of social provision, antiviolence, and personally conservative morality thus seem congruent with women’s responsibilities as main family nurturer and with the consequent construal of femininity in terms of fostering others’ well being. (798)

Edsall, Thomas. What Happens if the Gender Gap Becomes a Gender Chasm? New York Times. July 12, 2018. A commentator on politics, demographics and inequality writes a clear delineation of American governmental culture as ultimately defined, and compromised in terms of male and female identities. According to Jane Goodall, Christopher Boehm, Dan McAdams, Steven Pinker, and others, Donald Trump is a primate Alpha male with bombastic, abusive displays, which appeal to men but are abhorrent to emphatic women. Problematic issues such as gun control and climate change can only be understood and resolved if we become aware of this fundamental polarity. More than Republican conservative or Democrat liberal, the reason that elections in the USA, and everywhere, split 50-50 trying to get one winner is their basis in these gender archetypes.

Eisler, Anna, et al. Perception of Human Ecology: Cross-Cultural and Gender Comparisons. Journal of Environmental Psychology. 23/1, 2003. Our response to health problems of the natural world divides into masculine, individualist and feminine, integral categories. Men focus on the probability of an event (global warming) and how close they can cut it (risk taking), while women are more future oriented and the consequences of actually occurrences.

Compared with male subjects, female subjects across countries perceived the risk factors as more serious as regards ecological and environmental problems, the global instability caused by economic nationalism, and the growing gap between rich and poor nations. Male subjects showed higher environmental knowledge, whereas females showed higher motivation for ecological thinking and behavior. (89)

Epstein, Mikhail. Daniil Andreev and the Mysticism of Femininity. Rosenthal, Bernice Glatzer, ed. The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997. An Emory University professor of cultural literature reviews the life, writings, and Sophian wisdom of this visionary poet from the early 20th century (1906-1959). Wikipedia notes that Maxim Gorky was his godfather. In a volume akin to George Young’s The Russian Cosmists (search), the chapter makes a compelling case for the innately feminine, maternal quality for this Eastern, Asian milieu. As the quotes allude, a strident distinction and distance from a sterile Soviet materialism is achieved which can reveal a procreative dualness of fertile matter and infusing gestative spirit. For which, of course, Andreev was imprisoned for years, only serving to sharpen his insights. From our 21st century vista, may peoples altogether at last envision a globally gender complementarity, so to engender a humane, peaceable woman’s world.

The preoccupation with the feminine is conventionally explained partly be geographical and historical conditions. Russia’s vast open plains are often compared metaphorically to a womb that must be safeguarded from foreign invasion, for centuries Russia sustained itself as an agricultural society, which supported a corresponding mythological vision of the earth as a divine mother. The very names Rus’ and Rossila are of feminine gender and lead quite naturally to such folkloric and poetic expressions as matushka Rossila (Mother Russia). (332)

The Russian word “materiia” is broader and more philosophically loaded that for English “matter.” The Academy of Sciences’ dictionary of the Russian language defines “materiia” first as “the objective reality that exists beyond and independently of human consciousness,” and second as “the substance of which the physical bodies of nature are composed.” Only the second meaning is equivalent to the English “matter.” The Russian concept of “materiia,” therefore, has not only physical but metaphysical implications…. (333) One can suggest that philosophical materialism proceeds from this “archaic mysticism,” which claims nature’s maternal rights over her creatures and the reciprocal duty of the offspring to Mother Nature. Besides, the words “mother” and Matter” share a Latin origin, as Lucretius noticed in De Rerum natura. This primordial unity, which may even be traced back to Plato. (333)

Materialism and sophiology in Russian thought have the same mythological origin: both glorify the primary feminine elements, nature and wisdom. Sophia represents the virginal and materiia, the maternal aspects of femininity. Both are rooted in the deepest mythological archetypes of Russian thought as the two pillars of feminine mysticism. The Soviet intensification of materialism deepened the traditional symbolic rift between the two conceptions of femininity. Materialism, as propagated by Marxism-Leninism, is not merely the glorification of the forces of “materiia,” in alliance with atheism, it strives to tear materiia away from its divine origins, from Sophia, and to submit it to human mastery. (335)

Feminist, Alternatives. My Dream is to be Bold: Our Work to End Patriarchy. Cape Town, RSA: Pambazuka Press, 2011. As the quotes aver, in a book as vividly true and urgent as it can be, brave women cite entrenched, aberrant male rule as the root of all personal, familial, and social tragedies, bad for infants and children. Typical chapters are “Local Rural Development” by Ntombolundi Zitha, and “Women and the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee” by Virginia Setshedi. An African cry for redress and justice (search Sherr for Liberia’s rare advance), but the quote about patriarchy well describe the United States.

Women's struggles and organizing efforts within and outside the antiapartheid liberation movement have meant that women now occupy positions of power in South Africa, but capitalist patriarchy is still intact. From 19 differing vantage points within struggle, this book offers a critique of women's position in South Africa today and gives new meaning to women's knowledge, analysis, vision, and actions for change. Feminist Alternatives suggests that rights and freedoms for women are the litmus test of meaningful change and asserts that any notion of sustainable transformation must insist on radical ruptures with capitalist patriarchy. Any conceptualization of democracy that ignores the economic and social disenfranchisement of the social majority must be rejected. (Synopsis)

Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting every aspect of our lives. In South Africa today new forms of patriarchy masked as a conservative traditionalism and militarism are on the increase.

Feminist Alternatives is a group of feminist activists in South Africa working toward finding meaningful alternatives to leadership and power and creating real social transformation where women, and all people, can be free to realize their full potential and humanity.

Fitzgerald, Angela, ed. Women’s Lived Experiences of the Gender Gap: Gender Inequalities from Multiple Global Perspectives. International: Springer, 2021. A University of Southern Queensland (an appropriate name) science teacher trainer and social activist edits a vital edition in this critical life supportcondition year because half of the procreative ecomos remains in subserivence. Some chapters are Gender Parity in Political Representation, International Responses to Regretting Motherhood and A Comparative Study of Professional Women in Puebla and Barcelona. See also, for example, Controlling Women: What We must do to Save Reproductive Freedom by Kathryn Kolbert and Julie Kay (Hachette, 2021).

Gilligan, Carol. In a Different Voice. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993. A later edition of the 1982 breakthrough book that articulated the unique difference of women from men in terms of relational webworks or competitive hierarchies, affiliation or achievement, response or assertion. Gilligan notes that since these dichotomies were previously defined in a male voice, much misunderstanding has resulted.

Glezerman, Marek. Yes, There is a Female and Male Brain: Morphology versus Functionality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 113/E1971, 2016. A commentary by the Tel Aviv University physician on the significant, opinionated task of how to evaluate actual gender differences.

Goettner-Abendroth, Heide, ed. Societies of Peace: Matriarchies Past, Present and Future. Toronto: Inanna Publications, 2009. An extraordinary volume of the proceedings of the First 2003 and Second 2005 World Congresses on Matriarchal Studies. The table of contents, author bios, and descriptions are available on the publisher’s website, an independent Canadian source for feminist studies. The editor is a German philosopher and founder in the 1980s of this overdue palliative response. Several significant points need emphasis. Drawing on new research about indigenous and present matriarchal societies worldwide, this cultural milieu of humanity for millennia before a patriarchal takeover, was and is not presided over by women alone. Rather their sustainability is due to a complementarity of feminine and masculine archetypal contributions. For this reason their economies, governance, communities, and so on are seen to value sharing over greed, balance over belligerence, cooperative nurturance instead of competitive conflict. This is a critical insight. Instead of a western Me right vs. We left gridlock, a woman’s world, and cosmos, is (could be) graced by a mutuality of female maternal and male paternal qualities, akin to African ubuntu wisdom.

In regard, the first chapters “The Deep Structure of Matriarchal Society” by Goettner-Abendroth and “The Utopia of a Motherless World” by Claudia von Werlhof, along with Riane Eisler’s “The Battle Over Human Possibilities: Women, Men and Cultural Transformation” proceed to cast and indict an absolute patriarchy as the cause of past and current obsessions with war, militarism, weapons, horrific civilian carnage. As David Orrell and Iain McGilchrist lately add (search), its left brain science allows parts but not systems, dots sans connections, to extol a moribund mechanism, which might be called a Patriarchal Physics. Indeed the latest neuroscience finds a women’s brain to be not just a right hemisphere alternative, but to prefer an integral accord of both cognitive entity and empathy modes. For the sake of the children, which served to again liberate Liberia, it is long overdue to admit and correct this fatal historic aberration, to take back and choose Earth and Cosmos so that “you and your descendants may live."

In the first article, Heide Goettner-Abendroth outlines a new definition of matriarchy in which she characterizes the deep structure of this form of society, emphasizing its economic, social, political and spiritual contexts, and the way it permeates all aspects of society. This definition is based on her cross-cultural research on still-existing matriarchies worldwide. By demonstrating that matriarchies are economically-balanced societies, egalitarian in the relationship between the sexes and between generations, and consensus-based in their politics, she provides a scientific foundation for further research. Furthermore, she shows that matriarchal peoples have developed a very effective system of principles and social codes enabling humans to live in peace with each other and in harmony with nature. (5)

The Level of Culture, Worldview, and Spirituality Such a societal system would not function as a whole if there were not a deep, supporting and all permeating spiritual attitude. This is the case with all matriarchies. At the spiritual and cultural level, matriarchal societies do not have religions based on a God who is invisible, untouchable, and incomprehensible – but omnipotent. On the contrary, in matriarchy, divinity is immanent, for the whole world is regarded as divine – as feminine divine. This evident in the widely held concept of the universe as the Great Creatress who created everything, and of the earth as the Great Mother who brings forth every living being. Everything is endowed with divinity, each woman and man, each plant and animal, the smallest pebble and the biggest star. (Goettner-Abendroth, 24)

On the spiritual-cultural level, we are bound to bid farewell to all hierarchical religions with a transcendent view of the divine and a claim to the total truth. This has led to the vilification of creation, the environment, and humankind itself – particularly of its women. Instead, the aim is a re-enchantment and sanctification of the world as a whole. According to the matriarchal vision, everything in the world is divine. This leads to everything being honoured and celebrated in a free and creative way: nature in her manifold appearances and various beings, as well as the multiplicity of human individuals and communities. (26, Goettner-Abendroth)

Gonzalez, Michelle. Created in God’s Image. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2007. With a 2001 doctorate in systematic and philosophical theology from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA, the author is now Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Miami. She previously spent two years as Theologian-in-Residence at the San Lucas Toliman Mission in Guatemala. As a result of her erudition and experience, the book advances the program for a more feminist theology in contrast to centuries of a masculine emphasis and cast. This is achieved by a balanced survey and synthesis of the leading contributors over the past two decades in this revisionary regard.

Two conceptual areas can illustrate. A debate has gone on between schools known as essentialism and constructivism. Writers have worried over whether women can be known to have an essential identity within a greater creation, and to then cogently articulate a distinct feminine principle. But consistently through history this image became distorted by men to their advantage. The polar option is a pragmatic reality which is made up as we go along, without a sense of abiding guidance.

A second prime issue is that of gender complementarity. Rosemary Radford Ruether has long riled against such a characterization because women became defined as secondary to and the antithesis of male dominant traits. (Even the Taoist yin and yang, an exemplar of this view, has in actuality been much abused.) Prudence Allen is aware of the problem but seeks to preserve its core value whereof woman is not a ‘fraction’ of man, but an ‘integral,’ egalitarian complement.

In both cases, Michelle Gonzalez advises a middle path, firstly of a ‘strategic essentialism’ which contains both modes of figure and ground. She next goes on to provide a rare synthesis of the archetypal agental or relational roles beyond old misunderstandings toward a fully egalitarian resolve.

Goyal, Manu, et al. Persistent Metabolic Youth in the Aging Female Brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 116/3251, 2019. Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis neuroimage researchers report results about how women retain this neoteny feature of remaining in a younger state longer than male counterparts.

Sex differences influence brain morphology and physiology during both development and aging. Here we apply a machine learning algorithm to a multiparametric brain PET imaging dataset acquired in a cohort of 20- to 82-year-old, cognitively normal adults (n = 205) to define their metabolic brain age. We find that throughout the adult life span the female brain has a persistently lower metabolic brain age—relative to their chronological age—compared with the male brain. The persistence of relatively younger metabolic brain age in females throughout adulthood suggests that development might in part influence sex differences in brain aging. (Abstract)

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