Tuesday, September 10, 2013
The humanity of Man
"Take away his clothes and belongings. Put him in a bed. Remove his glasses and/or hearing aids or whatever else he needs to function as a human being. Then you have a man well and truly minimised."
I have been on a rather extended summer break. Which was wonderful. I hope yours was just as nice.
Now that the summer is drawing to a close (sob), I return to my beloved sanctuary.
I have been thinking about writing this post for a very long time. I just never had the time to sit down and formulate it properly, until now.
And the prompt for it came from an unusual place:
Someone made me laugh.
And I realised, in the midst of my laughter that that person had somehow managed to break past a barrier that most people don't even realise is there :-)
So I say 'bravo' to that person.
He may not even be aware that he had achieved a major 'victory'. But all the more fascinating to me, the silent observer...
So, before I confuse you any further, 4 questions:
Who am I talking about in the quote above?
Who is the utterer of the quote above that I am quoting?
Who made me laugh and why?
And (most important!) why does all this have any relevance to this post or this blog?
Patience, patience :-)
The quote above refers to...hospital patients!
Have you ever been an in-patient yourself? Do you visit friends and relatives in hospital?
Have you ever thought about why an in-patient needs to be in a simple, unattractive, mostly immodest hospital gown?
Is it because doctors and nurses need access to their bodies and these shapeless gowns are the only way possible for this to be facilitated?
False, for the most part.
Is it because it improves the care of the patient in any way?
I don't know...
But someone made a point earlier (in another post) about some monkeys in a lift...and that certainly comes to mind here :-)
To put the above quote in context, I attend a lecture a long time ago when I was a student (um, yes, in my geeky days, lol). This lecture has stuck in my mind ever since. It was entitled 'The dignity of man' or some such, and was actually part of a wider set of lectures about Catholic teaching. The speaker was a brilliant woman whose explanantions as to why contraceptives exponentially reduce the dignity of women will stay with me forever...but let's not get sidetracked...
Her point was that it is oh so easy to strip someone of their dignity or humanity. In the case of a sick person, the vulnerability is already present. All you have to do to reduce his humanity further is to remove him from the familiar and plunge him further into the unknown. Take away his everyday clothes. Lock his wallet and keys away in 'a safe place' and take away his dentures...
And hospitals do this routinely, with no evidence that it improves the quality of care. In many ways, it reduces it, no?
The man who made me laugh was a hospital patient I saw walking around in his jeans and cotton shirt. He simply refused to change into hospital gear and the nurses were fed up trying to persuade him. So he was prancing about the ward not looking like a hospital in-patient whilst everyone else looked like they were.
I laughed when I saw him because he had somehow managed to retain his humanity in an environment where it is exceedingly easy to lose it.
Why is this relevant to this post?
I had a conversation with a fellow woman a while back which disturbed me. I hesitated to reproduce our conversation here as a 'field report' of some sort but I still may in the future, in which case I shall cross-reference this post.
The conclusion I came away with from that conversation is that the humanity of Man as opposed to Woman is in a level of jeopardy I hadn't quite grasped.
The woman I was speaking to is a Brit of Indian origin. She is one of the sweetest people I know. We were discussing an issue of a personal nature to her.
Which involved a man :-)
She had started out the discussion with a complaint against him. At the end of the discussion she made the insightful declaration that she had not in fact seen him as a human being, with his own needs, desires and choices. I was startled by how quickly she had made this turn-around, given that I had not really prompted it, but simply stood by as she came to this conclusion herself after her rant in which I was just a sound-board. But her admission pleased me, for her sake.
But thinking widely around the subject, I see something which I know is already obvious to you Sanctuaryites :-)
We as women are systematically trained to elevate the needs of ourselves over those of others.
Yes, I think feminism is a large part of this mechanism. But it is only a social engineer, and like all social engineers, it (in this regard at least) can be easily overcome.
Women are naturally nurturers. Someone has to be, and it might as well be the one who carries forth the progeny :-)
This means that women are naturally happiest when in service to others.
Which means that the 'self' of women is more easily and is naturally downplayed, in the interests of serving others.
This is in major contrast to the 'service' of men which requires that he elevate himself over those he serves, because his service is of the nature of protection and provision, which requires a sense of magnitude over those being served. I wonder if this makes sense?
To give an example, I imagine when Prince William said recently that Kate and George were his priority now, he did not mean he puts them 'over himself' because he needs to be able to protect them. He couldn't possibly protect people who he sees as 'bigger than him', which is just as well, given he is refrring to a woman and a baby :-)
A woman's servitude is much more 'indirect'. I see why this needs to be so. And I also see why today's 'empowerment brigade' is incompatible with female happiness.
The biggest problem in today's world is the elevation of the female 'self'. Which negates and woefully contradicts the notion of 'service' in a way that is truly deleterious to society.
It is easier for a woman to 'see' the humanity of people when this self-elevation is absent.
This is true.
I run the risk here of offending Ceer in the same way I did in the 'Mercy and Pity' post when I appeared to indicate that women are more 'merciful' than men. Someone came to my rescue and pointed out that a man is actually more capable of mercy the more magnanimous he is. Which sounds counterintuitive to a woman, but there we are...
A woman who is truly self-absorbed is shooting herself in the foot, whether or not she has a family to be 'serving'. The happiest women I know are in service to someone, or some people (anyone!) whether or not they are linked to her in a socially arranged way or not.
The unhappiest women are those who have checked out of this 'obligation' in the pursuit of 'freedom'.
The problem is, these women are the ones least likely to 'see' anyone's humanity but their own.
I watched an interview given by an ex-model with a chaotic and complicated life-story - complete with a history of self-harm, hard drugs, etc.
It was so clear to me that the solution to her problems would be for her to be a little less self-absorbed. For the entire interview, she talked about herself. Even when the interviewer tried to draw her away from the topic of herself, she somehow managed to drag the topic back to her.
It was fascinating.
Men are naturally self-serving, (um, no offence Ceer! but this is intrinsically true, for reasons I now 'get') and I think the french have a better word for this - egoïste, because the link to the masculine ego is expressed in this word.
I think the female mind is not the best to analyse why a man needs his self-importance to be at his highest in his dealings with others, so I won't sweat it :-)
But I understand that it is somehow necessary, in men.
Good men use their 'selfishness' to achieve great things for themselves and those they love. Bad men do the opposite. But in both cases, the self-elevation is an important factor.
This post suddenly makes me realise that whilst there is something such as 'the servant king' there is actually no female equivalent! At least not in the same way...
It also explains why it is entirely possible for huge numbers of men to GTOW, but it is much harder for a woman to GHOW. Intrinsic nature simply does not allow it, unless there is a fundamental reason why this needs to be so. Exceptions do exist of course - but here, I am referring to the general population.
For women, things are different. Self-elevation is destructive beyond the teens and at latest, early 20s. When it was socially (almost) compulsory for women to be self-effacing, it was easier for women to be truly woman-like. When this mechanism broke down, it became harder for women to 'see' men's humanity... and men responded with the expected masculine response - with displays of domination hardened with anger.
Life in the modern world is not mutually exclusive with a return to the virtues that made it easier for women to be women. In fact, women could evolve into something absolutely beautiful, with the right values, despite modern influences.
Thanks to my friend for helping me to understand this issue. And kudos to her for pointing out her error of judgment when she realised it, long before I even saw the problem. And especially important for me to witness is the ease with which she dropped the false teaching she had (unknowingly) absorbed, when she needed to.
See? All is not lost.
We find comfort in unusal places.
This is why I retain hope...