Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Harmony is not Equality

A major key to living correctly in the world is to get the balance between male and female right. This is not just the balance between men and women, though that is certainly part of it, but something that goes much deeper than that essential duality and of which it is the reflection. 

For the duality of masculine and feminine is not merely biological but fundamental to the whole of existence. It goes down to the root of manifest reality. Indeed there can be no manifest reality without it. In its basic religious form it can be represented as God (Father) and Nature (Mother) but it might also be described as subject and object, essence and substance, absolute and infinite or spirit and matter, all of which represent the two poles which must be if there it to be anything at all. These two poles derive from primal oneness (God as he is in himself purely as himself) but one must become two, itself and another, to be expressed in creation.

Now this metaphysical truth tells us that the relation between these two, on which depends all creation, is complementary but is not as mathematically equal as at first that might imply. Certainly not in the way believed today. Harmony is not equality, and though in human terms each sex needs the other and is incomplete without the other, there is still a subtle order to the relationship which is one reason we find it so hard to get right, this order either being rebelled against or exploited. The reality is additionally complicated by the fact that men and women, psychologically speaking and as incarnated individuals, are not exclusively masculine or feminine but each includes elements of the other though this is always expressed uniquely through one of the two sexes unless something has gone wrong which in a fallen world is always possible, though that does not make it right. 

Today we can see forces which are distortions of the masculine and feminine principles in operation everywhere. They can be conceived as the outworkings of the basic expanding and contracting forces in the universe, one tending to differentiation and the other back to an undifferentiated state. In a properly functioning society these would be held in balance and work together towards a higher state with the former driving the process and the latter stabilising it. Unfortunately however, because we are now living at a time when connection to the world of true spiritual Form is lost, they are manifesting in a perverted manner with each reacting against the other instead of with the other and neither seeing itself as part of something greater. Because these principles, as channelled through modern human beings, have lost touch with their origins, they are seen only in terms of themselves. That which is part of reality takes itself to be the whole.

Masculine and feminine, like active and receptive which are their counterparts on an abstract plane, are complementary forces and need to be for life to unfold harmoniously as it should. But to imagine them as equal reduces to a quantitative level something that actually exists on a qualitative one. It also ignores the fact, understood in the past but rejected today, that, like active and receptive, the masculine is the primary principle with the feminine coming about as its complementary opposite in the duality of creation. This is represented both in the idea of the Creator God being masculine to whom Creation is feminine and also in the story of Eve being made as a companion for Adam and taken from his side. Archaic stories you might say that have been used to justify oppression, and that is no doubt correct in part, but they also symbolise a deep and abiding truth.

Clearly this idea will not be acceptable to many people today for now we tend to see only the outer aspects of things not to mention that there is so much ego involved in our reaction to anything that it stops us seeing dispassionately. Even people who recognise the complementarity of the sexes rather than their complete equivalence will shy away from accepting that one does come ontologically before the other in the sense that the feminine is the complementary opposite to the masculine rather than the other way around. But I think an honest appraisal of how reality works will show this to be true. I also think that au fond every man and every woman, when not corrupted by egotism, resentment or desire for power, recognises this and knows it accords with deepest truth. Alas, we live in such a degenerate age that few can accept this. And many men who might accept it do so in the wrong way because of egotism; that is to say, they interpret it in the context of egotistical dominance rather than spiritual responsibility seen in the light of God. But the ontological priority of the cosmic masculine is not the same as a moral superiority. Old fashioned notions of courtesy and chivalry have something to teach us in this respect.

The ontological priority of the masculine I speak of here is a 
metaphysical thing that needs to be understood in universal terms. It must be balanced by the fact that woman was created as a companion and other half to man and therefore is, in that sense, fully equal to him. She is also created as his complement so in various situations it is woman who precedes man. This was traditionally understood. But harmony between the sexes will only come when both the reality of male ontological primacy and the reality of complementarity in creation are understood and observed. We have to get both right, and we will do when we respond to life intuitively and not with the ego or unsupported intellect.

Of course, this whole question must be perceived as operating on a general level. When it comes down to individuals other factors, often to do with spiritual maturity, come into play. Thus a woman can teach or lead a man though she will do so as a woman not as a surrogate man if she is to be faithful to archetypal reality and to the truth of her own soul. The modern approach to this problem may correct certain ancient wrongs but unfortunately it has created other, more serious, ones in doing so. It can only be rectified when the metaphysical basis for the division of the sexes is understood.

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