The Patriarchal Love Bias
Love or Morality: Chapter Five
“The Tao of Love”
“Toward a Functional Understanding of Love”
“On the True Nature of Human Sexuality”
“The Demonization of Adult-Child Erotic Love
“The Commercial Exploitation of Abuse”
“The Patriarchal Love Bias”
“The Truncated Account of Adult-Child Erotic Attraction”
“Does Pedophile Love Equate Abuse?”
“Is Pedophilia a Sexual Perversion?
“The Legal Split in Child Protection”
“The Violence of Morality”
“The Roots of Violence”
“The 12 Angular Points of Social Justice and Peace”
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The Goddess Within
Emotional Child Abuse
In the present chapter, I am going to discuss the patriarchal love bias that can be characterized by the overemphasis of yang to the detriment of yin. Historically, and mythologically speaking, it came about by what Joseph Campbell termed ‘Murder of the Goddess’ and what Riane Eisler called ‘the truncation of civilization.’
— See Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (1988), pp. 215–216, and Riane Eisler, The Chalice and the Blade (1995).
I found this bias not only in those patriarchies that our own culture is based upon, that is, Sumerian, Babylonian, Persian and old Egyptian cultures, which came upon us through the heritage of the Greeks and Romans who, in turn, had adopted most of their rules, laws and lifestyle from those North-African roots, but I have found it also in the ancient Chinese and Japanese cultures. I have found it even in the I Ching, and that was a surprise for me, as the I Ching was and is famed to be the book of ‘changes,’ that doesn’t judge and evaluate movements, but just describes their changes on a probability scale, through monitoring the eternal cyclic change of yin and yang. For it can be easily seen in the I Ching that it favors yang over yin, that it considers a predominance of yang, while saying it’s well a misbalance, luckier and lesser damaging than a predominance of yin. I doubt that this bias was brought into the I Ching by the old sages who first drafted it, more than five thousand years ago, at a time when Taoism in China was still considering the female principle as primordial, which it is, after all, also biologically corroborated.
Joseph Campbell argues that, while the Goddess was killed, and while ‘[the mythic and social system] of the gods overlies and occludes that of the goddess,’ he asserts that nonetheless, the old principle, matriarchy, and the goddess, were ‘effective as a counterplayer’ in the unconscious of civilization as a whole. That would mean that even the toughest modern persecutor hero is unconsciously driven not only by the solar principle (justice, revenge, eye-for-eye) but also by the lunar principle (compassion, forgiveness, equity), and thus there is a chance that the present hero paradigm will one day swap into its opposite, for our psychic energies are always changing and transmuting themselves, and what was solar or yang becomes lunar or yin, and vice versa.
On the level of the collective unconscious, this implies that a future more balanced and peaceful culture is in its roots already present, as its ingredients are already contained in our collective psyche.
This is so much the more a probability as we have already lived through thesis and antithesis, and thus are ready for synthesis. We are presently still living in the antithesis kind of movement, but it’s just a question of time when synthesis will eventually appear.
I also tackle in this chapter a problem that I consider as a key issue in postmodern society: the widespread emotional abuse of children.
I do not theorize here, and actually when I wrote the first draft of this paragraph, back in 1985, there was nothing published yet on emotional abuse. It was through a 16-year old American girl, daughter of a university professor, that I was informed about this problem and was almost taken into a vow to dedicate a publication to the issue.
I have come up with many publications, but not right away. I myself needed many years to face the emotional abuse I myself was subjected to in my childhood and had to go through an extended psychotherapy and spiritual retreat to steer clear in my own life. Only then was I mature enough to begin researching and eventually publishing about the topic.
Last not least, I show in this chapter that our huge present discussion of psychosomatic medicine, which attempts to resolve our culture’s stringent mind-body dilemma is actually based upon wrong premises. It is not consumer culture that created the split between To Have, and To Be, that Erich Fromm lucidly described in his books; it was consumer culture that exploited this split that already existed before.
The split itself is the result of the moralistic division between erós and agapé that goes back to ancient Greece.
This first split paradigm regarding human love was brought about through idealism, the teachings of both Plato and Aristotle that were positing an artificial concept of non-sensual love, called agapé or platonic love as residing over nature, while they saw erós still imbedded in nature. But as they regarded nature as inferior to culture, they created a concept that could be called a ‘cultural concept of love,’ and this concept was called agapé.
Later, Christianity, took this concept over from Aristotle and it became the Christian love ideal to this day. But what did this ideal do? It killed love. It dissected real and earth-bound love into a devilish part, called ‘sensuous love’ or ‘instinctual love’ and a heavenly part, called ‘platonic love’ or ‘selfless love,’ thereby killing love in its wholeness, leaving us a fragmented concept of love that is good for about nothing but driving people into madhouses, triggering wars and civil wars, and fostering lynch justice.
The Goddess Within
It is elucidating to observe the complex interaction of the individual with the group in Judeo-Christian culture. It cannot be mere chance that the present Western societies are the most repressive regarding emotions and erotic intelligence.
Joseph Campbell explains that the Goddess was killed in the violent hunter societies that preceded Judeo-Christian culture. This murder of the Goddess is explicated in the Bible; it is not a myth but a historical and psychological fact.
The murder of the Goddess was an early castration of the female part of our libido and the value that is associated with the yin force or energy in us. It seems that this castration has taken place also in other cultures such as the Confucian culture.
The I Ching oracle book, despite its subtle truth that the yin–yang alternation of energies is beneficial and that the two energies are mutually supportive and complementary, is not as subtle, but rather outspoken and openly judgmental as to the beneficial or harmful effects of yin. It honestly estranges me that in the I Ching the yin energy is generally the bad force while yang is considered the good one.
I study the oracle book for now twenty years, but I have not found an explanation for the obvious predilection of the wisdom book for yang to the detriment of yin.
I could well imagine that the hexagrams where this is expressed were falsified by Confucian scholars, as we know that the Book of Changes is much older than Confucianism, and originally did not contain that Puritan touch and the sexist bias it got from Confucian sources.
Confucianism and Aristotelianism have in common to have erected male hubris into a historical and philosophical paradigm that survived until these days and that is at the basis of the actual misbalance of our psychological and social setup and the oppression of the female and female wisdom. It is also at the root of our present moralistic setup of social values.
It is a rigid, intellectual, and mechanistic paradigm of fixed values that tries to control life instead of yielding to the steady flow of positive and negative, creative and destructive forces that compose and perpetuate life. It is a paradigm that tries to comprehend life through thought, not through intuition. The opposite paradigm has respected and valued the Goddess Within has been forwarded by Heraclitus in the West and by Lao-tzu in the East. This paradigm is based upon the integration of opposing values or forces and not upon their antagonism. It does not divide creation into good versus bad, but starts from a general acceptance of all-that-is. It is the paradigm that naturally accepts the female as equal to the male since it values the yin and yang energies as complementary forces that reinforce and rejuvenate each other.
It is obvious that both the Aristotelian and Confucian life philosophies breed antagonism and violence, whereas the intelligent philosophies of Heraclites in the West, and Lao-tzu in the East purport a flexible form of peace that rolls and flows with life instead of obstructing vital energies through rigid either-or, good-or-bad judgments that hinder any comprehension of the intrinsic quality of life’s dynamic manifestation.
Love manifests through energy; energy is consciousness, and every attempt to imprison it in intellectual, mental and moralistic frameworks of rigid antagonistic values will only destroy it.
Much of the current biased and incomprehensive abuse discussion comes from this mindset of male hubris that is in last resort a cultural hubris, a racial hubris and a paradigmatic hubris. This is why, through truly understanding human love, we can come to understand why this present society is sick in its very roots, alienated from its true life force which is the moving, loving and creating energy of the universe, the cosmic breath, ether, ch’i or prana.
Emotional Child Abuse
The more important problem in the context of abuse is not sexual abuse, but emotional child abuse, since it is devastating yet hardly ever discussed or researched.
And in the public abuse discussion, it is completely left out. Significantly so, in my rather large bibliography, there is only one single publication to be found on the topic. This is so because I really found only one single book on the matter, which is after all scandalous in view of the importance of the problem.
I was myself only vaguely aware of it when, during my law and music studies in the United States, I was made aware of it by a sixteen-year old girl, the daughter of a university professor. Despite her young age, she looked like a grown woman. However she was treated, by the whole family, like a baby.
Her Chinese mother was a rigid, neurotic and moralistic dread of the worst sort that stiffened every conversation through her hostile regard and lifeless cynical remarks.
One day mother decided that daughter had to take piano lessons with me. No question was asked if she liked to. Her younger brother was playing violin while being outspoken against it. I tried.
The girl came and we spent a few lessons talking about her family. She did not do any exercises and refused to cut her fingernails. She could not play one single measure. I gave up because I found the whole deal dishonest and the girl’s strong negativity affected me.
Once she cried and I desperately consoled her, learning that she had wanted to go to a rock concert in town and her father had refused his permission with the argument that the obscene texts of the songs could hurt her. I stopped the lessons.
The evening before my departure to Europe, I was invited to their house for dinner. After the dinner, I went to say farewell to the girl, and she immediately came to the door, took me by the hand, and pulled me into a dressing area in the back of her room. Then she began talking vividly and with an intensity I had never before seen in her:
— I must talk to you! I wanted to tell you so much, since a long time, but I never dared to …
— What is it?
— It’s about my father. I know you are writing a study on child abuse and incest, right?
— Well, I want to tell you that your research is really important, but I wish to direct your attention to another form of child abuse that is perhaps not yet known. It’s emotional child abuse. Do you get what I am talking about?
— I’m not sure …
— You have seen how I am treated by him. I am his baby, his sweetheart, his eternal pacifier, but I am not a person in my own right for my parents. I feel that I have no rights at all, and first of all, no right to love anybody other than them, I mean him. Do you see that?
— Yes, the rock concert …
— For example. That’s only one of many little details.
— What can I do for you?
— You have done already much for me. I am thinking not only of myself when I request something from you …
— To write a study about emotional child abuse. Sexual abuse is one thing and I think there is already much research about it. But emotional abuse is much more subtle and I think it is perhaps still more damaging because everybody finds it okay and I have nobody on my side, absolutely nobody.
— I see.
We were going to sit on her bed for a moment, and she cried.
— I will miss you so much, I can’t tell you.
— I’ll miss you too, and I promise you I’ll do that research and write a study about it.
— If you do that, it’s the best you can ever do for me, and so many others in my situation!
Traditionally, in our society, children, and especially female children, were the possessions of the father, and not persons in their own right. From this point of departure, it was rather the rule than the exception that female children were emotionally manipulated into pleasing puppets, and the part they took to live their own life was reduced to a ridiculous façade of puppet-play, a set of ‘childish behavior’ that no adult was ever taking serious.
The girl child was thus ultimately driven into being a nonsensical creature, a being without any truly significant movements, thoughts or ideas. Thus devoid of anything original, the girl could be used as a poison container (Lloyd DeMause).
It then becomes logical that these children-toys-for-their-parents deprived of anything truly of their own were to be emotionally crippled since their own appetites would clearly interfere with the parent’s exclusive right to appropriate them, to incorporate them pseudo-cannibalistically, to strip them for inspection, to violate them for punishment and to kill them as the ultimate ratio once they were declared to be ‘useless eaters’ (Lloyd DeMause).
The right of the male parent to kill his offspring still exists in many Asian and Islamic cultures and it was established at the outset of Judeo-Christian culture as the scriptures tell us through many stories about fathers who killed their sons or daughters.
Emotional abuse is a residue of the pseudo-cannibalistic child incorporation that psychoanalysis has identified as a form of oral fixation, a hang-up in parents’ own lives.
What these parents actually are searching for is an illusionary amount of emotional security that manifests neurotically by the desire to ‘keep their child save from the harshness of life,’ from imagined dangers, perverse strangers and all that hairy folk that children actually need to have around if they are to grow into a healthy awareness of reality.
Emotional abuse is real abuse in that the child is overpowered by the energy of the parent in a way that their own energy is smashed or invalidated. This is in emotional child abuse even more evident, in my view, than in sexual abuse because in emotional abuse children have to remain totally and deadly passive, subjected to a prison-like existence in the hands of neurotic and often compulsive parents that lead lifeless existences. Along with being shut off from the reality of life, these children are emotionally exploited by their parents in that they have no emotional life of their own, but represent live mirrors for their parents’ emotions.
Every time they express an emotion of their own, they risk to be treated as traitors of the bond that the parents threaten to cut if the child does not stand to their duty as an obedient projection recipient. That is why, in conflictual situations, those parents can and do actually become threatening and violent.
In family conversations, these children typically have to remain silent. If they voice an opinion, they are bluntly ignored or vehemently contradicted, or else accused with fostering aberrant opinions. In extreme cases, they are told to shut up, to ‘wash their mouth’ or to leave the room.
This happens even when they have reached adolescence and with many it continues far into adulthood, reason why later bonds with parents are often violently cut off.
It happens in such families that elder parents are put in institutions where they don’t stop complaining about the ‘lacking care’ of their children, while nurses or psychologists who have seen the interaction they maintain with their children tend to sympathize with the children rather than the parents.
Traditionally patriarchal societies tend to justify emotional abuse with the argument the child had to render gratitude to their parents and be docile and obedient. This meant, in good English, that the child has to be a good and patient listener to their parents’ sorrows and concerns, while putting their own concerns behind to a point to forget about them. This means also they have to put the parents’ emotional needs first, forgetting as much as possible their own emotional needs.
The most flagrant extinction of children’s own personality, individuality and originality is typically declared of secondary importance in front of the omnipotent and all-pervasive parental love and care that children have to respect and choke like an unwanted, bitter medicine for their own good. Those who need to be cured, however, are not the children, but definitely the parents.
Most of us have forgotten that our bodies were the first and certainly the most natural source of pleasure. Alienated from our bodies, we compensate for the lost paradise of Being through Having, possessing, and consuming, to paraphrase Erich Fromm. Our mind-body dilemma starts in early childhood.
The progress of civilization has a high price. We pay for it with our bodies that we gradually destroy. For a body that is not connected to a soul is a dead body.
The process of alienation that leads to the gradual decay of the body is an integral part of the conditioning for consumer society. It begins as early as in childhood.
Without the early conditioning toward toys as a body pleasure ersatz, people would not accept the later ersatz satisfactions they receive for the sacrifice of their primary body pleasure.
Sigmund Freud thought that we develop creativity through the sublimation of our primary sexual desire.
Culture, he believed, is the product of a transformation of original libido into a creative energy that serves cultural purposes.
But is this thesis true? I think that it is true and not true at the same time. It is true insofar as the prohibition and transformation of instincts leads in fact to an ersatz for the culture that would have been created through living our original instincts. And it is not true in the sense that sublimation leads to only an ersatz culture and not a true and original culture.
That is why I came to believe that our culture is not a culture, but a non-culture, because it is an ersatz culture.
Ancient cultures, for example the Minoan Civilization did not grow upon the sublimation of sexual pleasure but upon its fulfillment. It seems that high human civilization can grow on the basis not of sublimation but of real satisfaction of sexual desires of all kinds. Minoan culture truly has been superior to our modern culture, more developed, more knowledgeable and, last not least, more peaceful and harmonious. The rape and destruction of Minoan and other high cultures of Antiquity through invading patriarchal tribes was one of the turning points in human history, turning points namely for culture to turn into pig culture.
It was from this time and parallel events in other cultures that humanity took the turn into pseudo-culture; it was from this time that the artificial and hypocrite, the stupid and doctrinaire, the false and arrogant, together with violence, war and destruction began to dominate the natural and naturally intelligent original cultures that preceded them.
Riane Eisler, in her book The Chalice and the Blade (1995), spoke about the ‘truncation of civilization.’
All leading religions absolved and baptized this turn of truly civilized humanity into the false, hypocrite, perverse, manipulative and undemocratic Barbarian Primal Horde that represents present-day mainstream culture. Religions have deliberately played the role of a catalyzer in the conditioning of man for war and destruction, although they globally pay lip service to the contrary.
For years, I have studied the culture and lifestyle of tribal peoples. I was amazed about their wistful ways to realize human potential, and at their unique way of helping children learn about themselves, and acquire self-knowledge from their most tender years.
It is significant that tribal cultures that put the human body and body sensitivity in the foreground of cultural, artistic and social life do not preach love. They love.
And they do not need to heal love because they practice love. Their religion is not the integrity of pseudo-moralistic values, but the integrity of love. Religion, in tribal cultures, is not a power factor and does not exert power over individuals.
They practice the true religio, giving guidance to people in search of truth about coming and going, transcendence of suffering, care for the sick and needy, for those who acted against the law, and the dying.
I admire the North American Natives for the preservation of the original and pure religion that was once universal for all human beings and that originated in Hawaii, as Huna religion, practiced by the Kahunas, the natives of that island.
As a summary, I would like to expand our focus to realize that abuse is not just an individual matter, but a cultural and societal problem, and even something like a cultural disease.
And when this is the case, the healing of the individual affliction is not as easy as it may look at first sight, because ontogenetic and phylogenetic processes are interwoven and entangled in a rather complex way, as modern systems research has shown.
But the main problem in the etiology of abuse, and the nasty fact that it perpetuates over generations is the infamous ideology of victimization.
This very slogan is a cultural and collective belief, and it’s so powerful as a belief in that it reinforces and perpetuates the belief of individuals in myths like spiritual predestination, genetic predisposition, or the above-mentioned belief of ‘once a victim, always a victim.’
When cultural beliefs reinforce personal beliefs, most people will resist change and remain stuck in their rigid assumptions about life.