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Posts Tagged ‘civilization’

I’m pretty done with the whole healing gig. Don’t get me wrong – I believe in the value of it, and when I was in need of healing I was all about it. Therapy, recovery groups, self-help books, retreats, journaling, healing prayer – you name it I’ve been into it. But I’m worn out with the likelihood that I have an endless list of wounds and issues from which I could be healed. When does one ever get well?

In many ways motherlessness is just another wound on a list of ailments that only gets longer the longer I work at it. What’s a motherless child to do?

However, I think this one could be somehow different. It feels like more than an individual woman’s heartbreak.

So much could be said about self-parenting, recovering the art of nurturing the soul, etc., but today I’m thinking even bigger. More universal. What if this aching motherlessness is a symptom of our civilization in a modernistic world? What if something about the way our modern minds have viewed the world has left us with this ache for mothering in our souls? What if we motherless children carry a prophetic ache for a kind of motherlessness in our civilization?

You’ve heard of post-modernism, right? The end of modernity? The waiting for a new shift in consciousness? Well some people are seeing it happen. One of them is Richard Tarnas. Here are some greatly abbreviated (believe it or not) thoughts from the epilogue to his book, The Passion of the Western Mind.

Many generalizations could be made about the history of the Western mind, but today perhaps the most immediately obvious is that it has been from start to finish an overwhelmingly masculine phenomenon…The Western intellectual tradition has been produced and canonized almost entirely by men, and informed mainly by male perspectives. This masculine dominance in Western intellectual history has certainly not occurred because women are any less intelligent than men. But can it be attributed solely to social restriction? I think not. I believe something more profound is going on here: something archetypal…

…the evolution of the Western mind has been founded on the repression of the feminine– on the repression of undifferentiated unitary consciousness, of the participation mystique with nature: a progressive denial of the anima mundi, of the soul of the world, of the community of being, of the all-pervading, of mystery and ambiguity, of imagination, emotion, instinct, body, nature, woman–of all that which the masculine has projectively identified as “other.”

(In other words – MOTHER)

But this separation necessarily calls forth a longing for a reunion with that which has been lost…

(the phenomenon of motherlessness)

The crisis of modern man is an essentially masculine crisis, and I believe that its resolution is already now occurring in the tremendous emergence of the feminine in our culture…

For the deepest passion of the Western mind has been to reunite with the ground of its being.

(MOTHER again)

The driving impulse of the West’s masculine consciousness has been its dialectical quest not only to realize itself, to forge its own autonomy, but also, finally, to recover its connection with the whole, to come to terms with the great feminine principle in life: to differentiate itself from but then rediscover and reunite with the feminine, with the mystery of life, of nature, of soul.

Today we are experiencing something that looks very much like the death of modern man, indeed that looks very much like the death of Western man. Perhaps the end of “man” himself is at hand. But man is not a goal. Man is something that must be overcome–and fulfilled, in the embrace of the feminine.

I’d rather carry around a prophetic desire for the future of humanity than just another wound in my individual soul, wouldn’t you?

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