The lesson is also that, like Pollyanna, individuals will never see their own actions from the outside, in the context of the great continuum of history. Although it is true that “Any trend can be stopped by a change of ideas, and all of us can spread new ideas” (159) it is also true that individuals should not be wrestling for control of outcomes. Like Pollyanna, make choices motivated by gratitude and by kind and loving desires while being present in the moment and letting go of control of the distant, big picture.
How do we weave the necessary connections that will allow us all to work together? How do we build the bridges? How do we avoid falling into the same trap countless idealists have fallen into before us? Because revolt is coming, I can feel it in my soul and smell it in the air. For generations the eternal solution has been to throw more masculine energy at the problem of social inequality and in so doing we consistently end up right back where we began.
For our first guest post I have chosen a piece by my husband, Dana Andrew Benjamin. He wrote it just about a year ago, during a Portland cold snap that has been far outdistanced by the snowpocalypse of 2017. This year's freeze, however, is what has prompted me to select this piece.
As my husband so eloquently expresses, it is simply kindness that we need. Extending kindness to the damaged and struggling members of our community creates a space within which those people can be heard.
And it is not just the ranking of the sexes themselves, but of the archetypal qualities and characteristics stereotypically associated with the male and the female. Going forward when I refer to the Feminine or the Masculine, I am alluding to this interwoven idea of the male/female dichotomy. In our culture, for far too long, the Masculine is held up as the one and only Divine ruler of heaven and earth and as the master of our souls for all eternity.
Generations of patriarchy have retold and edited mythical tales about this Princess to the point where her wit, intelligence, kindness and creative problem solving skills have been recast as piety, subservience, fragility and weakness. Women and girls everywhere, however, are drawn to the idealized archetype of the Princess.
For the first two-thirds of the twentieth century a powerful tide bore Americans into ever deeper engagement in the life of their communities, but a few decades ago — silently, without warning — that tide reversed and we were overtaken by a treacherous rip current. Without at first noticing, we have been pulled apart from one another and from our communities over the last third of the century.
— Robert Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, 27