Written in the Sand
Dune, Book One, Chapter One part 5
A Society of Problems
This is part two of our look at men and women, the differences and the stereotypes. This episode will add to the foundation we’ve already established and we will get to the point of why this topic needs to be here.
Just to recap, in part one I presented some general stereotypes of both men and women and then took a look at the merits and shortcomings of those stereotypes. To re-emphasize, I want to make clear that such stereotypes are not going to be true for everyone, but they are going to be true for someone.
The dangers of stereotypes is that they create an expectation, sometimes it is one of standards that one must live up to and at other times the expectation that one is no better than the stereotype. These expectations come from outside and also from within. Men setting expectations for other men, women setting expectations for men, men setting them for women, and women setting standards for other women. And last, but not least, we expect them from ourselves.
In any case, the apparent burden of an entire group is placed on the shoulders of individuals and the truth is that it’s an impossible burden to carry. And yet, people do try to take on these stereotypes not just by self imposition but by promoting the expectation.
Some of the places that this presents itself is in the topics we covered last episode, and also in this one as well. It will be one of our continuing themes throughout the podcast. What we will begin with today is how it presents itself in the rites of passage we have practiced throughout history, sometimes with innocuous consequences and other times with with brutal, even deadly, results.
On the topic of rites of passage, one thing I’ve heard over and over again is that women have their menses to mark a transition into adulthood, while men do not. Which is why men never mature and need to have rites of manhood and it is the lack of these in the modern west which has led to our social problems.
But these rituals did exist for both sexes and some still do. Some will be different and the difference shows a difference in focus. The tests seem to be the same — endurance and survival, the facing of fear,etc, but the methods and rituals codify certain social expectations. Some examples of Initiation rites have been used in the past and have now been largely abandoned. Others are still practiced. We will start this time with the men.
continued in podcast…
The relevant book for the episode will always be in resources. If you haven’t picked it up yet, you should.
Joseph Campbell was an amazing man who sought to talk about the stories humanity has created. He delved into the social environments of myths and the commonality of our cherished legends. This interview series with Bill Moyer is a good starting place as it’s very accessible. Highly recommended.
The Muqaddimah by Ibn Khaldûn
This is the version I have. It has a lot of good insights, although there are some downsides. It’s a little wordy (like I’m one to talk) and it suffers from the author assuming that his audience would know common stories from Islam. Nothing some patience and some extra research won’t fix.