I hope your week has gone well. I've been dancing to and fro between various projects. I got a lot of writing done this week and made some headway with some art projects as well. There has been some lingering mopping up due to weather events causing delays. For now that seems to be sorted.
Sometime during the middle of the week I began pondering some basic questions about life. I believe I was in the middle of my swim where ideas often pop in as I make my way down the lanes. I've been up and down a lot emotionally lately as I work through a home study course on manifestation. I find it both challenging and soothing alternately. Questions like what would success look like? As various news reports filtered in on world events I wondered where the pattern in me was that was feeding the larger pattern. I started thinking about how the world has changed in the past century and particularly the role of men and women. What is a good man these days? It used to be judged on physicality, or on earning potential alone. Now those metrics often cause more harm than good. They turn relationships into power plays and work situations into practiced dominance. So right now we have a lot of definition on how to be a man badly, but we are much more fuzzy on what constitutes a good man.
I would like to point out that I realize women's roles have changed dramatically as well, but as I am a man I thought I would stick to what I know and let some female counterpart take up the other half of this quandary. (Hear that ladies this is a free idea for a blog topic oh fraptuous day)! While I understand a large portion of this is due to the feminist movement which has pushed society to adapt and reevaluate how it sees gender roles, some of the changes in the culture of men have to do with changing technology and economic structures. So the world is shifting but the question remains now what?
So generally men have been judged by how powerful they are perceived to be. Traditionally this has been determined by how much he can bend others to his will either by persuasion or by force. So we defined power as power over others. This creates numerous problems, because it creates a built in need for conflict to express and claim power. It makes us all compete and creates bitterness. Some competition is good, but not when it eclipses cooperation. One of the reasons we have survived as a species so long is our ability to collaborate and accomplish great feats which individually would be impossible. In the past competition was mostly between groups and the people within a group would work together to overcome another group. Now we compete with our peers, our neighbors, our colleagues, and sometimes even our family. We have Facebook flame wars, cyber bullying, and suicide bombers. If you think those are unrelated look deeper. We have defined power in such a narrow fashion that it requires conflict to be perceived as powerful. So if there isn't a source of conflict we will create one. Trust me I'm as guilty of this as anyone. Sometimes conflict is necessary, but lately people seem to relish it as their chance to prove something. What they are generally trying to prove is that they matter.
When something needs to change it always begins with asking a question. In this case my feelings were pointing me towards more conflict. I didn't want any more, but I also wanted to feel effective in my own life. So my question at first was, "What does it mean to be a good man?" That evolved into, "What does it take be a good person?" Then I wondered what other ways there were to feel powerful and effective. Is there a way to experience power that is not dependent on conflict with another? If so what is it, and how do I cultivate it? I pose these questions not to anyone in particular but as an open ended question to the universe to see what shows up.
How about you? How do you gauge your effectiveness? Does it depend on conflict? Are you stuck in a mental framework where you are trying to satisfy an outdated notion of success or power? How much does your gender play into this? Do you feel trapped by society's notions of what a good man or good woman is? Do you care? Let me know what you think in the comments, and if you have any other open ended questions to pose for synchronicity's whim put them down there as well.
Peace and Blessings,