How We All Can Celebrate Conscious Masculinity – and Femininity

Written by on April 2, 2018 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living with 0 Comments

Beyond the biological drives that bring men and women together, there is a deeper psycho-spiritual connectivity between the sexes. Men and women need each other because they complement each other. You might like to think of this as a complimentary. The entwining of the yin (masculine) and yang (feminine) motif in Taoism is an apt metaphor. Each half of the circle contains an aspect of the other. In a sense, they complete each other.

Jung drew from Taoism when he referred to the anima and the animus. He knew well how the masculine and the feminine were more than mere social constructs, nor merely biological imperatives to ensure procreation and perpetuation of the species. They are deeply embedded in the collective human psyche, and perhaps the cosmos itself.

Male-female complementarity entails a healthy need, and is not to be confused with co-dependence, where neediness arises from fear, especially the fear of death and abandonment.


Most of you will be aware of the social conflict between men and women today. It has been a major theme in western society for well over a century. Women have fought hard to gain an equal footing in society, and for the most part they have succeeded. There has been some resistance to this. There has been, for example, the recent rise of the men’s movement, as depicted in Cassie Jay’s documentary The Red Pill. That film does a very good job of depicting the current social impasse between the sexes.

The truth is that feminist progressivism and the resistance seen in the likes of the men’s movement have had both healthy and pathological expressions. I am not going to discuss that in derail here. Instead, I am going to write something about the current state of men. It is not impossible to do that without at least some reference to feminism and to and women in general, but I will, as far as possible, focus on men.

In short, I am going to outline what I consider to be a conscious and mature approach to men’s issues. Much of what I will say is equally applicable to women and feminism.

Let me backtrack a little, just to help me prepare you for my somewhat shocking major claim in this post. For I am sure it will shock some of you, if not anger you.

An Extraordinary Woman

Years ago I worked with some very wonderful female spiritual teachers who were well aware that our dominant narrative on male-female power is simplistic. In particular, I have been deeply influenced by one of my greatest teachers, Jessica,  a very powerful and wise woman with a mind so sharp and intuitive it could cut through you like a razor. A gifted psychic, at times she could be terrifying, such was the accuracy of her perceptions. One thing Jessica said that really surprised me was that it was most often men, not women, who were being dominated and controlled within modern relationships, and also across certain aspects of society in general.


Healing personal issues with the opposite sex was a big part of what Jessica and the other female teachers around her did. As a result of what I saw there, I came to the conclusion that men have taken on so much guilt and shame that many are now simply unable to stand within their own power. To generalise, many have become child-men.

In the two decades since, I have seen little to change my mind.

#mentoo

Women currently control much of the public discourse on gender relations, and men who offer dissent from the dominant narrative may face severe repercussions, both personally and professionally. However, I now feel we are at a juncture where more open discussion of gender issues is now at least possible. This is something that men (and women) should be grateful for. A social fabric and public discourse which is founded upon the open shaming of masculinity is good for nobody – not for men, not for women, and not for LGTB people.

Some may point out that the severity of attacks on men in the wake of the #metoo movement suggests men are now more under siege than ever. But I see it a little differently. As with all these kinds of movements, #metoo has both a positive and a negative expression. The positive expression is well accepted in mainstream media, and that is a good thing. Abuses of women, especially in the entertainment industry, are now being highlighted.

Yet the pathological side of the moment is also being discussed by several key feminists, including feminist icon Germaine Greer. This represents a shift towards a permissible internal critique of the feminist movement. All discourses must permit dissent if they are to remain healthy. For years the feminist movement basically forbid dissent, and those who tried to question it often suffered dire professional consequences. Yet I think this has now stated to shift.

And with that shift, there has been a notable shift in compassion for men. Part of the rise to fame of Jordan Peterson, for example, has been his open compassion for the situation that men now find themselves in. In previous eras, such compassion was almost a taboo in our society.

Approximately 70 percent of Jordan Peterson’s audience is male, and the Canadian psychologist is deeply concerned about the well-being of men, and especially young men. He regularly tells stories of lost younger males who write to him or approach him after his public talks, to thank him for helping them get their lives together. The passion that he has for them is clearly seen in this video, where he openly weeps when relating such interactions.

I agree with Peterson that we have to begin to address men’s issues. The problem is reaching crisis point.

Activism and The Shadow

Jordan Peterson does not let men off easily, however, and I believe that his ideas about masculinity can help herald a new era of a more responsible, empowered and ultimately loving masculinity. I call this conscious masculinity. In this sense, there is a potential for the new wave of masculinity to be more genuinely empowered and enlightened than so-called third-wave feminism.

The latter, like virtually all social justice discourses, has become so focused on blame and projection at a perceived “evil other,” that it has all but abandoned introspection. There is a dark rage and highly destructive drive in modern feminism which should be being addressed by its leaders. Instead, the feminist movement has tended till this point to ostracise those female and male feminists and critics who display any dissent towards its often misandrist doctrines.

It could be said that it lost its way, abandoning its edict of equality, while becoming unconsciously driven by a mentality of power and control. It thus joined the long list of hegemonic ideologies in human history, more concerned for the perpetuation of its own narrative than for truth or the greater good of society.

This is admittedly a harsh judgment, one which will offend some. But this is my honest perception of what mainstream feminism descended into.

The new wave of masculinity must avoid such mistakes if it is to offer any genuine resolution to the current impasse between the sexes, and between the political divides. This is why someone like Jordan Peterson offers hope. He is willing to be combative, is willing to stand his ground, but is also willing to assume responsibility for the shadow (the darker, suppressed impulses within the mind that we would prefer not see the light of day).

Peterson appears to be aware of how a failure to address the shadow can prevent integration of the trauma and self-limiting beliefs within a person’s psyche, and in doing so become downright destructive. When entire movements, groups and even nations abandon introspection, they can quickly become delusional and destructive.

Conscious Masculinity

Shadow work is the missing link in today’s social justice movements, and I will include much of the men’s movement in my criticism. It is for this reason that these movements inevitably descend into destructive delusion, adopting a victim consciousness, including addiction to blame and projection.

Conscious masculinity will have to include a greater degree of courage and commitment to truth than that displayed within the social justice movements we have witnessed in recent years. It will require a willingness to permit criticism and dissent. It must inculcate a high degree of emotional and social intelligence within men, such that the movement is able to offer dissent and receive criticism in ways that are respectful and mindful of those with differing perspectives.

Conscious masculinity must not make the mistake of seeing women as the enemy. Instead, it should have at its heart the goal of cultivating deep love for women; and for relationships between men and women. It must avoid the culture of blaming and shaming that has delimited the greater good that feminism could have brought to the world. In making men the enemy, feminism effectively stultified the healing of the collective male-female wound. It developed a consciousness not of love, but of shaming and destruction.

Of course, all is not lost for feminism, nor for other social justice narratives. But there needs to be a greater degree of introspection and honesty if they are to move forward.

I truly hope that Jordan Peterson can begin to address the issue of healing relationships between the male and female collectives. To date, as far as I am aware, he has not said too much on how to develop genuine love for women, both in individual relationships, and in general. Hopefully in time he can begin to do so and cultivate this attitude in the mostly young men in his core audience.

Trust

As Jordan Peterson has stated, the new masculinity must not adopt the pejorative narrative that today’s education systems and media typically apply to men. A healthy expression of masculinity is not about domination and control, colonisation, suppression and rape. These impulses must be acknowledged and incorporated within the male psyche, such that the man develops the right relationship with them.

Yet we must also put positive intent into the expression of conscious masculinity. Men can exhibit the noble qualities that truly healthy masculinity is capable of: high levels of personal responsibility, love and compassion, courage, doing soul-affirming work, sharing the wisdom of the father.

I believe conscious masculinity will be more restive, more embodied, more present. It will also need to be deeply responsible. It will allow a healthy expression, not suppression, of sexuality. It will honour the fundamental impulses of men, but in a positive way.

We must begin by encouraging men to believe in themselves, to create positive visions of their futures where they can embody the hero archetype, finding deep purpose and meaningful work. For meaningful work is a big part of what makes life worth living for men.

If this is done the right way, I believe we can create a generation of men who will exhibit a confidence and “charisma” that will be far more attractive, in every sense of the word, than the enfeebled, guilt-driven, virtue-signalling male that is often found today, an end result of generations of the shaming of men.

In order to succeed, we need to begin to trust men again. And to trust them, we (especially women) have to allow a certain space for vulnerability. We will have to allow our psychological walls to come down, at least some of the time. All spiritually healthy relationships are founded on firm boundaries, but they must also allow those boundaries to soften, when friendship, love and intimacy beckon.

What this new masculinity will look like in any given man will depend upon the characteristics of the individual. Perhaps Jordan Peterson is one embodiment of such a creature. Like all of us, he is imperfect. He can be overly scornful and sometimes his own state appears to venture towards the destructive. But his exceptional courage, intelligence and wisdom mean that he has continued to grow as a man even into his fifties.

Both men and women can now be the beneficiaries of this. Peterson is arguably the right man at the right moment in history. His massive popularity is just reward for the courage and tenacity he has displayed in championing men in an age where it has become an effective taboo to say anything good about them.

Empowered, deeply embodied men and women are not a threat to each other. When Cassie Jay came to Australia in 2017 to promote her documentary The Red Pill (about men’s rights groups) she was savagely attacked by the media, feminists and even men. It was merciless. This destructive mentality is what we all have to rise above to move forward. We need to start listening to each other, being present with each other. Learning how to love again.

Now is the right time to begin. Let there be (genuine) healing and empowerment for men. And for women.

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