Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What's Gender Got To Do With It?

I wish I could see the political will and/or the capacity to have new systems emerge in the lower right quadrant of Ken Wilber's AQAL model without some sort of upheaval or collapse. Unfortunately, the capacities needed and the political will to have new systems emerge simply aren't there. All we see is polarity in every system: Government, politics, energy, environment, economics...you name the system, it's already in collapse mode, which is also another reason to do gender shadow work so we don't just emerge from it with the same problems we face today.

In addition, I knew that my audience for my book "Awakening the New Masculine," and the Integral Warrior Process that inspired it, was a pretty small part of the population. It now appears that the segment of Integral and emergent to Integral men that would be interested in healing gender work as a path to stepping further into later-stage consciousness was even smaller than I had thought.

Neither of these portend good for our being able to solve the problems that we face today.

We are so far away from doing the shadow work---particularly the masculine and feminine shadow---required for us to effect the changes we so desperately need on the planet today, that I literally don't see how we can avoid the continuing collapse of all of the systems we've depended on in modern times, and we are so ill-prepared. Carolyn Baker, author of Sacred Demise and Navigating the Coming Chaos, puts it like this in a new soon-to-be released book:
"Societies in collapse typically become more reactionary, rigid, and ideological as they haltingly attempt to ward off total unraveling. In the United States where the wheels are coming off more blatantly with every passing day, it is not surprising that politics are in gridlock at the same time that the ruling elite in Congress are moving dramatically to the right. Simultaneously, the current administration moves the nation toward a total surveillance state, surpassing the former administration in scrutinizing its citizenry."
What does this have to do gender work, particularly around our masculine and feminine shadows? Baker goes on to say:
"What fascinates me is not so much humanity’s engulfment in darkness, but what kind of culture we will construct from the rubble of this one. For me, one thing is certain: If the authentic principles of the feminine and masculine archetypes do not inform our relationships with each other and with the earth community in the development of the next culture, we will have succeeded only in creating Civilization 2.0.  I cannot and will not attempt to predict when humanity might reclaim its wholeness, fully confront its masculine and feminine shadow, and live consciously the more noble attributes of both archetypes, nor can I speculate how much suffering may be required for this to occur. I am certain, however, that the memory of gender equity from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and retroactively to ancient times will not be entirely expunged. Archetypes may be ignored, but they are innate and instinctual and therefore cannot be eradicated."
In other words, the time to do our gender work around justice and wholeness is now, not after everything has collapsed. We will likely be too busy being immersed in survival mode to pay attention to such frivolities as shadow. But our shadows will not rest and they will not be ignored. They will show up in everything we do and we'd better recognize them when they do, or everything will be just that much harder.

Every major shift in conscious that has taken place on this planet was preceded by some sort of "dark night of the soul." Would the enlightenment have happened if not for the dark ages? How about the 1960's as a reaction the wars of the first half of the 20th Century? What narcissism makes us think the next shift will be special?

In the meantime, you only have to look around to see that humanity is continuing the slide into darkness....unless some version of angels rescue us...and then what will we have learned?