Sept. 11, 2021
Fastwrite this morning. Still dark outside.
A devastating day, a devastating sight/site. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing. And yet, other countries experience this all the time: senseless violence on their own soil. We’ve had Pearl Harbor and 9/11—and the rest was mostly internal destruction (the Civil War) or against native peoples (a holocaust), or the slaughter of Black people, minorities, and—always—women.
Is it all the fault of men?
I rather think so. Sorry, guys, It seems to be your nature, not ours. (If that makes you uncomfortable, think of it as an archetype: the “unconscious masculine.” There’s an “unconscious feminine,” also. We all have both.)
Because really: Why would women destroy anything? Then we’d have to clean up the mess, and we have too many other things to do to take care of our families, our communities, Mother Earth.
The warped male territorial battle is now played out with sophisticated rocks and sticks and sharp objects. Having lost the lesson of curbing their mating habits when resources are scarce, their progeny are imposed upon women and consuming the Earth. For those who resist, there is violence and an ever-growing presence of oppression (let’s talk Texas). Our sin, as women, being our ongoing acceptance of this state, too many of us lucky enough to be sheltered by it not motivated enough to change it.
I always said we should have dropped diapers, not bombs, on Afghanistan’s hills. Heal the hunger, heal the pain; the warlords have no psychological basis for battle. No excuse for painting America the enemy. I never, never, never supported our response to 9/11. Ever. And I was right.
Kindness, and curiosity, and a decreased dependence on fossil fuel could have been our legacy instead. Environmental conservation, increased compassion, greater cultural understanding.
But no. Hundreds of thousands of people dead and maimed, and it was literally all for nothing. A 20-year garden that could have been planted with the common good was turned into vast destruction that further undermined everyone’s freedom, everywhere, including yours, and including mine.
The current divisiveness of our country, our false patriotism, showed up for me not long ago in the form of an older white woman who glared at me for a full five minutes in an opera house in Cincinnati when I refused to sing the national anthem on that random Sunday—an imposed nationalism for no particular reason that I refused to cater to. At a football game? Sure? I used to sing with the loudest of them, hand over heart, tears in my eyes—but in an opera house? No, thanks. Remember, freedom of speech includes silence, also.
Of course, now that I know that Francis Scott Key did not believe that Black people could actually feel pain, I’ve lost respect for the song itself. Take a knee? I’ll take a time out. We need to find a new song.
Who knew that democracy could be so easily attacked—in the form of a plane flying into a building or in the eyes of an aggressive white woman inside an opera house? The fact is, we are ALL under attack right now, our freedom and our integrity—yours, and mine.
But there IS another way to respond than with war. Until now, we’ve been taught that there is only one response to conflict: fight, flight, or freeze. This response was documented by a male behavioralist in the 1930s after he studied ONLY men (women were considered too emotional due to our hormones, apparently.)
Turns out there’s another response, documented by a TEAM of men AND women in the 1990s, and it’s called the “Tend and Befriend” response. These scientists, who included men AND women in their studies, found that those darn hormones were actually a major asset in conflict. Here’s why.
Since women often have children to care for, they cannot run. So instead, they gather the children to their bosom while reaching out for support to community members. This releases the powerful hormone oxytocin (and others), flooding them with feelings of care and compassion. This helps resolve the conflict and solve the problem at hand. In other words, they are saved by love.
If only, in this new century, we could begin to use that model instead, to understand that essential truth found in every religion: that Love is ALWAYS the answer. Always.
In the garden.