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THE MYTH OF POWER: The Long Arm of Zeus
©Jonathan Hooton 28 July 2011

Recently I listened to a few talks from a series of interviews on men’s issues that were offered on the internet as “The Ultimate Men’s Summit: Activating 21st Century Masculinity” by the organizers and hosts Stephan Dinan and Lion Goodman.{1}

While in most cases I am in full agreement with the content of the talks, which I will incompletely summarize as a need for a development in men’s consciousness that moves towards collaboration, acknowledgement in community of one’s woundedness, and a move away from a dominating, power-over dynamic, I am concerned about the structure and the way in which these qualities are being promoted.

As a child of the British Empire – my father was employed in the British Colonial Service and I was educated in all-male British boarding schools – I have been well indoctrinated in the ways of patriarchy, empire and domination, and repeatedly subjected to the rationalization that colonization brought all the benefits of British education, the British parliamentary system, and democracy to the colonized people, and that we did it for their good. Indeed without us they would still be primitive savages. George Orwell’s doublespeak was inherent in the imperial messages of that time, as it still is in the orations of George W. Bush, Tony Blair, and Barack Obama. In my own development, instances of unconscious, dominating thinking and behaviour, at odds with my declared philosophy, have often surprised me.

Stephen Dinan’s talk with Terry Patten entitled “Growing Altruistic Balls” raised some of my concerns in this respect. Although I have focused on Terry’s talk, many of my comments apply to other talks and to my own thought processes. His was the first one I listened to and showed many examples of the issues I am looking at. I bring them up as I think it is essential that we look at the cultural constructs that direct our way of thinking and acting, often in contradiction to the very goals that we aspire to, and that often reveal themselves in doublespeak and contradictory language.

While this 21st century men’s movement is seeking a change in power structure away from men being associated with domination, and a move toward collaboration, Terry Patten has a very competitive edge, almost an ‘us versus them’, which I hear when he talks about women. Thus men need a men’s movement to gain liberation, and be powerful and strong like women:

“This is a time in which the women’s movement is strong and are feeling very excited about the new power they are bringing in. And it’s time for us guys to find our own liberation, our own voice and our own way of coming together.”

I wonder how Terry, and other men, would respond to Chief Robert Smallboy, a Cree Elder who led a return of his people in 1969 to their traditional values and way of living in Alberta, Canada. Lorraine Sinclair, a local activist, asked him in the early 1980s what she could do. His reply: “Teach the women to heal so that they can teach the men.” And what do men think of a woman bringing teachings and ceremonies to the Lakota nation in North America, as White Buffalo Calf woman did? (John G. Neihardt, Black Elk Speaks, 1972, p292) Can men or women really find liberation without each other?

Terry says later on in the talk: “What we haven’t got much of a model for is doing that whole array of things, in the end rising up in the way that the Founding Fathers in the American Revolution did. Rising up the way the guys who founded the philosophs [sic] and the enlightenment did. The way that conscious, historically it was men – we do this with our sisters too today – but there is a piece of it that we do with other men that draws on that incredible lineage that was always men alone who turned these great corners in history.” [My emphasis]

This looks like an instance of patriarchal selective blindness. The suggestion that men did it ‘alone’ is a remarkable statement, dismissing any influence women had. This reminds me of Donna Haraway commenting in Primate Visions on how a National Geographic documentary could describe Dian Fossey, famous for her study of gorillas, as working alone in Africa while at the same time showing a black African man playing a wind instrument for her and his wife.{2} Men seemed to be doing it alone because of patriarchal social structures where women were not acknowledged, did not have a voice, were not published, or used male pseudonyms. Democracy in Ancient Greece, that great change in consciousness, referred only to free men – women, children and slaves were excluded. I don’t know if there is any account of women having an influence in the creation of Greek democracy. Similarly, the founding of democracy in the U.S. only referred to free men – women, children, slaves and Native Americans were excluded – and was carried out by the ‘Founding Fathers’ and did not include any ‘Founding Mothers.’ Ironically, the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy on which some of the U.S. constitution was modeled, was a federal democracy that fully included women.

He says “we haven’t got much of a model for doing a whole array of things.” I think there are many models of egalitarian, non-dominator, societies – not least on his own doorstep – and collaborating with women to achieve this is essential.

Terry seems very muddled about competition. At one point he describes a hunter-gatherer myth which has been convincingly challenged:

“What I mean is that we have evolved over time, human beings have gone from a very ballsy survival level way of orienting and men have been . . . their identities have been honed in their abilities as warriors and hunters and providers and enter into the competitive survival of the fittest fray to really succeed and so strengthen our capacity, so associated with our balls.”

Besides the fact that ‘survival of the fittest’ is an imperial interpretation uttered by Herbert Spencer, a nineteenth century British philosopher and promoter of the British Empire, and not by Charles Darwin who said “survival of the fit”, hunters are not competitive – they collaborate to kill large prey, much like wolves do. The structure of human social groups being organized around the “man-the-hunter” model, was heavily promoted by the primatologist Sherborn Washington and his students in the 1950s, a projection of North American society at that time and a model that still influences many constructions of modern society. More recent studies summarized in Sarah Hrdy’s Mothers and Others (2009) support the saying “It takes a village to raise a child,” that is, of cooperative societies in prehistoric cultures, and in foraging and hunter-gatherer cultures still existing in various parts of the globe.{3} Maturana and Varela, referring to early hominids living in small groups, state “Through conservation of food sharing and male participation in the care of the young, this led to a biology of cooperation and linguistic coordination of actions.”{4} Child-birth, child-raising, gathering and hunting all require cooperation.

Terry continues with men needing to be competitive with the current [old] model: “We need to be smarter and less wedded to our own impulses and therefore able to out-compete the old model;” not recognizing that ‘out-competing’ is the old model and is wedded to our impulses. He then goes on to produce a stunning oxymoron: “Cooperation needs to out-compete competitiveness.”

Actually, I agreed with a lot of what he had to say, especially about owning one’s vulnerability and fears. I found it fascinating that he exemplifies this concern I have of continuing a patriarchal model quite unconsciously while promoting a different cooperative one.

There is a tendency to associate “balls” with assertiveness and courage, as in “he’s got balls,” even to the extent of ascribing “balls” to assertive women. I don’t know of any equivalent description of being a woman, such as “she’s got ovaries,” or “she needs to have more vagina,” or “she’s a clitoral gal.” Assertiveness, courage, bravery, strength, compassion, cooperation, empathy, caring, nurturance, sensitivity, intuition are human qualities shared by both men and women. These qualities are differentially assigned to men and women by different cultures. Rigidly patriarchal cultures tend to assign assertiveness, courage, strength, and particularly, domination to the masculine; and compassion, empathy, cooperation, caring, nurturance, sensitivity, intuition and submission to the feminine.

I did get irritated by the equivalence of dominating male behaviour with ‘unmediated testosterone’ and of male behaviour in general being ascribed to testosterone – as if one hormone describes the vast variance in male social behaviour. Is a man who has suffered an orchiectomy, the removal of his testicles, due to cancer or a landmine, say, no longer a man? No longer assertive? This may well be another example of how patriarchal/hierarchical thinking tends towards simplifying the complex to either/or thinking. And I think the name “Ultimate Men’s Summit” falls into the same trap. “Ultimate” suggests the end of the line – no further development, not evolutionary – rather like “the war to end all wars.”

To classify men, to put them in boxes labeled “Sensitive New Age Guy,” “Conscious Men,” and now “Twenty-first Century Masculinity,” is to create images that men who are not empowered, who do not have an embodied sense of who they are, will adapt to in order to fit in. Such fashions in male identity can easily be manipulated and recycled for commercial purposes, in the same way that women’s dress and body-image fashions are managed.

With amazing synchronicity, immediately after writing the above paragraph, I received an email introducing “The Ultimate Man,” an internet course for men.{5} The host Lion Goodman tells the reader, an “ally,” “You may not know this, but you’re a member of a new breed of human being: Homo Novus” [Lion’s emphasis]. Later, referring to descriptions of men as the rugged individualist, the macho guy, the corporate drone and the 1950s family provider, he writes that “being stuck inside a particular identity isn’t just self-limiting – it’s actually dangerous.” Aren’t “Ultimate Man” and “Homo Novus” self-limiting, and dangerous, identities?

Being given an identity like “Ultimate Man” and “Homo Novus” will attract those men who do not have a sense of their own identity, do not have an embodied sense of self. Rather than face the emptiness within, often a result of disconnection from, or rejection of, their parents, these men are being encouraged to pay for an assumed identity. Yes, “being stuck inside a particular identity” is dangerous . . . and expensive. I think courses like “The Ultimate Man” are selling a salvation mythology that is endemic in patriarchal culture.

The course promotes the qualities of integrity, purpose, authenticity, connection, passion, leadership, brotherhood, service; all qualities I am fully in accord with. My concern is how they are promoted and the doublespeak. For instance, authenticity comes out of being who you are, not from being told who you are, such as “Homo Novus.” Is “Ultimate Man” the latest hero in a long line of comic book heroes including Captain America, Superman, Batman, and X Men?

Of course, there is a commercial motive behind this promotion of the latest product, Ultimate Man. Identity and (lack of) consciousness are now commodities. Indeed, to quote Lion Goodman: “In business terms, we are practicing what’s called ‘Continuous Quality Improvement.’” Now I can pay to become a new, improved me. I am the buyer and the product. That suggests that someone is selling me to me. I consume myself. That feels almost incestuous, or maybe it’s ego masturbation, especially if I can be persuaded that I need to continue to improve and buy more of myself. And I can’t set the price. If I don’t improve, can I get my money back? In a few years’ time will I be offered a service pack at a discount price to update my identity to “2020 Man” with enhanced spiritual vision?

One of the essential strategies of consumer commercialism is to persuade potential customers that they need what is being sold by appealing to a feeling of lack or sense of inadequacy. For anyone who feels they are not good enough the prospect of practicing “Continuous Quality Improvement” could prove irresistible and addictive.

Telling men that they “belong to a new breed of human being, ‘Homo Novus’,” is a form of branding, encouraging loyalty to the producer of the brand, the Shift Network in this case. The origin of branding is to claim ownership, as in the branding of cattle. When a man identifies himself as being “Homo Novus” is he now the property of the producer of the brand? In a weird twist on the slavery dynamic, is he paying to be owned?

The rumours started flying about water into wine
Giving sight to the blind and that he’d even raised the dead.
The biggest miracle was that everyone believed it;
And that’s why Jesus wept.{6}

While being stuck inside an identity is self-limiting and dangerous, being placed inside an identity by someone else, especially without your permission, as in “you may not know this, but you are a member of a new breed of human being,” is also limiting and one of the first steps in depersonalizing a person. This is a form of dominance. Someone else is telling you who you are.

In the desire of many men and women to move toward a more egalitarian way of relating in intimate, social and political relationships, there is a great danger of not looking at the structures, or social constructs, that direct the way this movement toward a more equal society is made, and hindered. I get concerned when patriarchal myths are used as models for this change. I use the word myth as a cultural template that guides, usually unconsciously, the behaviour and beliefs of the members of that culture. In this respect, there are many healing and self-development systems based on the Greek god and goddess myths, the characteristics of the gods and goddesses reflecting corresponding personality qualities. This applies equally to systems based on the myths of Ancient Rome. However, these very archetypes are derived from an aggressively patriarchal Greek culture, itself informed by the spread of mid-Eastern patriarchy, in which the female was totally dominated, excluded from representation in the political sphere, and whose essential participation in the procreation of human life was denied. In Greek mythology this domination and exclusion is represented by the many rapes of ancient Greek women and goddesses; the execution of the female, earth-centered qualities, as when the ‘heroic’ Perseus decapitates the snake-headed Medusa using the tactic of looking at her mirror image in his polished shield and not looking directly at her; and the denial of the natural process of procreation as in the birth of Athena from the head of Zeus, to name a few examples. Is it possible to view the personality qualities of any ancient Greek god or goddess in isolation, such as the quality of creativity associated with Zeus, without also being influenced by the culture that underlies and informs the images, especially as Zeus was the dominant god and the most active rapist in the pantheon of the Greek gods? In other words, using images from patriarchal culture to heal the traumas engendered by patriarchal culture is another oxymoron.

Zeus, the god of thunder, is a perfect representation of current western imperialism that is facilitated by a brilliant creativity in its weapons. In the modern era his thunderstorms, with names like “blitzkrieg” and “shock and awe,” rain down “precision” and “smart” bombs and missiles on the just and the unjust in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Dresden, London, and so many more. His ardent apologist was the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who proclaimed war as “the father of all.” This is a creativity that is disconnected from life, from women, from children, creating a surreal language of euphemisms such as “collateral damage.” This is a creativity without compassion, without caring, disconnected from the heart, as revealed in the words of the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, of Iraqi casualties at the end of the First Gulf War: “That is really not a matter I am terribly interested in;”{7} and in the words of General William Westmoreland, commander of the U.S. military in the Vietnam War, “Life is plentiful, life is cheap in the Orient;”{8} and of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, “Saviour of the Punjab” and defender of the British Raj, after killing 379 and leaving over 1,500 wounded men, women and children in Amritsar on April 13, 1919, who defended his actions as teaching “a moral lesson to the Punjab.”{9}

To return to Perseus’ killing of the Medusa: snakes in ancient mythologies often refer to the female principle of procreation, giving birth, the cycle of life and death, the intelligence of the natural world; and the killing of snakes (and dragons) represents the overcoming and domination of these principles by men. In ancient Greece the ultimate love was between a man and a boy (another dominance relationship), not a man and a woman. Thus the danger of forming a relationship with a woman, a bonding that would honor her and threaten the domination of men over women. To look into a woman’s eyes, to see her and be seen, is to be invited into relationship with a consequent loss of dominance. One of the necessary conditions for dominating another person or peoples is not to see or hear them, and/or dehumanize them, to not reveal one’s inner self and to present a hardened exterior.

Perseus’ mirror is now a computer screen in a military base somewhere in the U.S.A. The monitor reveals the view of a camera on a remote drone flying over a country somewhere in the Middle East. His sword is a missile released by a command from the computer controlling the drone. Sometimes his sword misses and strikes an innocent bystander. No matter, you can’t make an omelet without breaking an egg. He no longer needs even to dress for war and his biggest danger is the drive to and from work. And Perseus, disguised as semi-detached suburban Mr. James, never reveals himself, not even to his wife and 1.9 children.

Referring to robot strikes, strategic bombing, and usable nuclear weapons, Chalmers Johnson quotes a 2002 article in the Boston Globe Online, “All of this represents a failure of the American imagination to grasp the real effect on real people of such assaults. We wage war without knowing war.”{10} The imagination that is promoted is the imagination of the disconnected mind; it lacks the imagination of the heart, the imagination of compassion and empathy that can relate to the experience and feelings of others.

Do male initiation rites based on epics such as the Odyssey, as suggested on the cover of Robert Bly’s Iron John: A Book About Men,{11} support respectful relationships between men and men, and men and women? When Odysseus returns from his heroic travels he kills the suitors of his wife, Penelope, then deals with the twelve women servants, i.e. slaves, who have shamed him by sleeping with (more accurately, being raped by) the slain suitors. He commands these twelve women to carry out the dead, clean up the mess, and then orders his young son, Telemachus, to murder the women. Rather than kill them quickly by the sword, Telemachus strangles them because they have dishonored him and his mother. The blurb on the front flap suggests that ancient stories and legends will “remind men and women of welcome images long forgotten, images of a vigorous masculinity both protective and emotionally centered.” While I am all in favor of a ‘vigorous masculinity,’ and a ‘vigorous femininity,’ I don’t see The Odyssey promoting an emotionally centered masculinity; rather, it promotes a revengeful reactive response to property damage, the property being the women, the damage being rape or sexual intercourse with another man. The damaged goods are destroyed. In the patriarchal scheme, protection is one of protecting a man’s property (his women) from other men.

And what of the Iron John story interpreted by Robert Bly, introduced as a ‘luminary’ in the first interview of the Ultimate Men’s Summit, a story taken on by many in what could be loosely called the “Men’s Movement” – what cultural paradigm does it perpetuate? How is the society constructed? In part, the story narrates the relationship between a young boy and the Wild Man who the boy learns that he can call on in times of need. The Wild Man bestows invincibility on him such that the boy and his iron band defeat the army that was close to defeating the king. “The enemy turned to flee, but the boy kept after them and pursued them to the last man.” That suggests to me that he killed them. Even single handedly.{12} As Terry Patten and other speakers reiterate, men need to embrace their own vulnerability; in Terry’s words “to see all the shame and wounding and all the complexity inside us – that old model of simply having . . . being identified with our strength is no longer enough.” The story of Iron John perpetuates the illusion of invulnerability when allied with the Wild Man. The story is also one of class, i.e. dominance ranking. When the young boy, who has been seen as the gardener’s boy, is revealed as the true hero and saviour of the kingdom, the king’s daughter agrees to be his wife by kissing him and saying: “I already knew he was no gardener’s boy from his golden hair.”{13} Besides suggesting that a gardener’s boy couldn’t have the necessary manly heroic qualities, it also suggests that women want invincible men.

The hero is an essential component of a salvation mythology that has accompanied the progression of patriarchy for at least the last 4,000 years. For people who are oppressed in a system of domination like patriarchy, the promise of a saviour gives hope for a better future. Usually the saviour is a single man like Jesus, whose egalitarian message was co-opted by the dominator system, or Adolph Hitler, who epitomized that system. More recently comic book heroes have filled the role including Superman, briefly and tragically embodied in Barack Obama by a disheartened population who projected their need for relief on a single mortal human; a projection that was skillfully managed by the PR industry until he was elected president. Over the last few hundred years we have been given salvation visions of utopias promised by a science and technology that produces its own collateral damage of radiation and chemical poisoning, species extinction, oceans and seas with anoxic ‘dead zones’ and devastated fish populations, and global warming, a damage we may not recover from.

Current narratives continue the theme of the hero and of war, and thus dominance, as the solution to problems of ‘good’ and ‘evil’: Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings, George Lucas’ Star Wars series, which Joseph Campbell approvingly related to the great hero myths, and now James Cameron’s Avatar. Men in modern spiritual systems are encouraged to use this warrior energy for peaceful means, yet the very descriptions are confusing if not contradictory as in Dan Millman’s Peaceful Warrior. A statement attributed to Dan Millman, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquering of it,” perpetuates a theme of domination, this time over an internal experience or emotion. This has much in common with a Christian hymn I grew up with: “Onward! Christian Soldiers marching as to war” spreading Jesus’ message of peace by conquering the unfaithful. The military-religious complex is still with us.

The last few decades have seen a long line of wars that have included “The War on Cancer,” “The War on Poverty,” “The War on AIDS,” “The War on Drugs,” not forgetting the many military wars including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and others, subsumed under the eternal “War on Terror,” renamed now though ever-present, that are prosecuted by terrorizing civilian populations. O, I did forget one . . . “The War of the Sexes.” While Heraclitus might claim war to be the father of all, James Madison, one of the authors of the U.S. Constitution, recognized war to be the parent of the most dreaded enemies of public liberty: “Of all enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”{14} Military discipline and military values that are promoted in wars, whether military of otherwise, are “incompatible with the openness of civilian life.”{15} According to Chalmers Johnston these military values include “loyalty, esprit de corps, tradition, male bonding, discipline, and action.”{16}

The danger of all these war myths and actual wars, past and current, is of repeating the domination theme of patriarchy, by men and women, for a particular ‘good’, rather than seeking balance within oneself and in relationships between women and men, men and men, women and women, within and between our societies, and within the ecosystem of the earth.

Images from myths are extremely powerful. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson suggests, in an interview with Paul Jay on{17}, of going to fight in the Vietnam War that “Everybody goes in, I think, or most people go in with this naive aspiration of being a knight errant, you know, . . . on a white charger or whatever.” This was before he learned that the Vietnam War and subsequent wars had nothing to do with “Truth, Justice and the American Way.” Daniel Ellsberg describing the myth of U.S. military culture in his autobiography Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, writes: “I came from a culture in which the concept of enemy was central, seemingly indispensable – the culture of Rand, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Defense and State departments, international and domestic politics, game theory and bargaining theory. . . . To try to operate in the world of men and nations without the concept of enemy would have seemed as difficult, as nearly inconceivable as doing arithmetic, like the Romans, without a zero.”{18} This was in contrast to a woman, Janaki, from India that Daniel Ellsberg overheard saying, “I come from a culture in which there is no concept of enemy.” Later he refers to his earlier “tacit, unquestioned belief that we had a right to ‘win,’ in ways defined by us (that is, by the president).”{19} This continuation of the myth of Manifest Destiny, of a chosen people, is not peculiar to U.S. military culture, it is the mainstay of imperialism, colonialism and the domination of one group over another throughout recorded history.

I fully agree with Robert Bly that many men in modern Western culture are separated from their fathers, disconnected from them, rejecting them or seeking to dominate them; and that the father-son relationship is more harmonious and strengthening in traditional societies where disrespect of a parent is unheard of. When a man loses connection with his father, when he doesn’t have a father or male ancestor to stand behind him, he loses strength. For a woman, rejection and loss of connection with her mother has a similar effect. Also very common in Western culture. In recent years, rejection of parents has been abetted by many psychological and psychiatric clinicians who have encouraged blaming and disowning parents and family. Rather than looking for father in a king-as-father-in-law or king-as-Wild-Man, as suggested by Robert Bly’s interpretation of Iron John, my experience is that a man’s strength comes through bonding to his own biological father, however flawed, even for a man who was adopted at birth and never knew his father. In this respect I find the approach of Bert Hellinger who originated the Family Constellations systemic work to be the most promising.

In the patriarchal institutional system, a man’s power is determined by his ranking: dominant over those below him, and submissive to those above him. Such a power is not an empowered one, it is an assigned power. Thus, Stephen and Ondrea Levine in Embracing the Beloved can ask who would want the authority of being the President “except one who has a profound sense of powerlessness?” Such a person requires “power in order to maintain their fragile self-image.”{20} By empowered I mean an ability to express oneself authentically without a dominating (power-over) or submissive (power-under) stance. The increase of women’s empowerment in many of today’s Western societies is a threat to men who depend on this assigned power of dominance and who do not have an embodied connection to their own empowerment. Much of the current epidemic of Western men traveling to impoverished Global South countries to hire prostitutes can be seen as a lack of empowerment in those men and their seeking opportunities to dominate, for a short or long period of time, a woman or child, so that they have control over them and what they do; that they submit to the man. Victor Malarek in his book The John’s: Sex For Sale And The Men Who Buy It reports statements of many men who reveal this dominating, disempowered theme.{21}

In my work with couples I often see that it is the man who cannot speak for himself in the relationship even though he may be ‘in charge’ of many employees at work. The loss of socially condoned dominance in intimate relationships for many men means facing an inner lack of empowerment. I don’t think this can be facilitated by healing modalities that have an institutional structure of ranking. This can be a great challenge, as just about all institutional forms in our Western culture are based on a pyramid with tiers of dominance/submission, whether actualized by men, women, or both. While the Catholic Church subscribes most blatantly to an all-male dominant model, many other Christian sects and religions act in a similar fashion. The military, the legal system, the civil service, education (primary, secondary, tertiary), medicine, science, social services, police, banking and financial institutions, corporations, most businesses, are non-democratic forms of this model. Though such institutions are no longer patriarchal in the sense that only men have power-over in them and women have been co-opted into them, the deep frame, to use George Lakoff’s terminology,{22} is still the energy of patriarchy, of domination.

One of the most important aspects of feminism has been, and is, to critique patriarchy and hierarchical structure in all aspects of our Western culture. Yet such a critique from within the culture must reflect on, struggle with, and face being “Pervaded by and reproducing the very logics of domination and appropriation it struggles against.”{23} One step in not reproducing these logics of domination and appropriation is to examine the stories and language we use that contribute to domination. Another is to listen to and learn from those cultures that exist outside the mainstream patriarchal system, most notably aboriginal peoples. The danger persists in interpreting their experience through a patriarchal, hierarchical perspective and in appropriating teachings and rituals out of context – a frequent complaint of those cultures. Like Marshall McLuhan’s famous observation of communications technology, that “the medium is the message,” the way men’s healing and change in consciousness is promoted, taught, facilitated, is the message. Using patriarchal myths, war metaphors, and dominating relationships to lead us to a peaceful and egalitarian society, a society that can live with the earth rather than against it, can result in yet another oxymoron of “conquering patriarchy,” or maybe “equality needs to out-dominate domination,” and the likelihood of continuously repeating the story of Aldous Huxley’s Animal Farm.


1: The talks are available at:
2: Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, 1989, Routledge, New York & London, p154
3: Sarah Hrdy, Mothers and Others, 2009, Belknap Press, Cambridge & London, chapter 3
4: Humberto R. Maturana and Francisco J. Varela, The Tree Of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Understanding, 1987, New Science Library, Boston & London, p222
6: Ralph McTell, “Jesus Wept” from the album Sand in Your Shoes, 1995
7: Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress, 2007, City Light Books, San Francisco, p80
8: Hearts and Minds, documentary, 1974
9: (this massacre was vividly portrayed in the movie Gandhi, 1982, starring Ben Kingsley)
10: Chalmers Johnson, Sorrows of Empire, 2004, Metropolitan Books, New York, p78
11: Iron John: A Book About Men, 1990, Addison-Wesley, Reading, Mass.
12: ibid, p256
13: ibid, p258
14: quoted by Chalmers Johnson in Sorrows of Empire, p45
15: ibid
16: ibid, p58
18: Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers, 2002, Viking, Penguin Books, p211
19: ibid, p247
20: Stephen and Ondrea Levine, Embracing the Beloved, 1995, Anchor Books, New York, p272
21: Victor Malarek in his book The John’s: Sex For Sale And The Men Who Buy It, 2009, Key Porter, Toronto
22: George Lakoff, Thinking Points: Communicating our American Values and Vision, 2006, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, p29.
23: Donna Haraway, Primate Visions, p287