"Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the absolute truth." Simone de Beauvoir, French philosopher and feminist (1908-1986)
Part of the below explanation is adapted from Karen J. Warren's book, "Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters" Rowman and Littlefield publishers 2000, and Val Plumwood's book, "Feminism and the Mastery of Nature" Routledge publishers 1993.
In the Intsangano educational website, Patriarchy refers to a systemic, institutional, and structural social, political, legal, and economic masculine domination of all feminine. It is done by the political and economic elites, whose purpose it is to gain maximum individual economic profit and power. This gender domination is created through dualism, and a reductionist perception of reality. It prioritizes the masculine yang force while subordinating the feminine yin force. This generates unbalanced energy, which enters into thoughts, language, behavior, and actions, and manifests in institutionalization of the masculine master's domination of the feminine slave. Patriarchal domination consequently starts as unbalanced human energy, and it eventually becomes an institutionalized web, with no way out for the subordinate slave.
"Hell is empty, all the devils are here." William Shakespeare, English poet, playwright, dramatist (1564-1616)
A Patriarchy is rigid and closed. Roles and rules are non-negotiable and determined by the patriarchal elite. The elite value rationality, even though paradoxically, the system can only survive on irrational ideologies. Due to the focus on control and competition, militarism, antagonism, conflict, and warfare are constant features of a Patriarchy. The minority patriarchal elite exercise power over available resources and the majority subordinate groups. This power is illegitimate, inappropriate, and unjust. In the worst case, it manifests as terror, violence, torture, rape, imprisonment, and murder of members of the subordinate groups, in order to keep them subdued. Due to their command of resources, the elite are able to control culture disproportionate to their numbers. They have created structures in society, which have ensured the continuation and expansion of oppression. This volatile situation means that life for members of the marginalized groups becomes unmanageable. They often cannot mobilize adequate resources to meet their basic needs; thus many succumb and die.
"Not the torturer will scare me, nor the body's final fall, nor the barrels of death's rifles, nor the shadows on the wall, nor the night when to the ground the last dim star of pain is held, but the blind indifference of a merciless unfeeling world." Halfdan Rasmussen, Danish poet (1915-2002) wrote this poem for Amnesty International. Translated from Danish to English by Roger Water in "Each Small Candle"
Research clearly shows that the slave role is forced upon those Patriarchy perceives as representing the feminine yin energy. These include women, children, poor people, traditional peoples, tribal peoples, people of color, homosexual people, non-human animals, and nature. The majority of those who act out the master role are rich men, most being white. Consequently, racism, sexism, classism, and environmental problems are the foundations of patriarchal society. If the pattern is not broken, it becomes an unhealthy vicious circle that will destroy society and nature worldwide.
Over time demand for gender, race, and class equality has mixed the roles. Therefore, some women have also joined in the master role, as have some traditional people, people of color, and some people who managed to exit their poverty. Nevertheless, there are conditions for those who take on the master role in a Patriarchy: they must agree to discard all feminine, yin characteristics and take on the masculine, yang traits. It means that they must willingly accept the rule that the feminine yin energy and its manifestations are subordinate and merely resources available for the master's exploitation. These "new" masters consequently join the "old" masters in their masculine domination of society and exploitation of nature for personal power and economic profit-making.
It was Western Patriarchy that created the modern culture. Yet, its framework has by now penetrated global societies, the minds of people, and determined international and national relations. Its destructive network leaves little space for escape. Throughout history, it has taken different forms including colonialism, slavery, and apartheid. In the current historical moment, Western Patriarchy is focusing on developing a global economy, via the neo-liberal policies. The model has directed gigantic profits to the patriarchal elite, while laying waste societies and nature worldwide. With this money, the patriarchal masters now want to buy up and exploit the remaining space on the globe, and in the process dominate all of its living inhabitants. Only those who are rich will be able to afford a space on planet Earth. Patriarchy will remove any obstacle and push aside any democratic or social control in order to reach its goal of unlimited, maximum economic profit. If not stopped, Patriarchy will end in death of nature and destruction of society. Yet, since the master is dependent on the slave, also he will die. However, due to lack of true reasoning, the master is unable to comprehend this. His only focus is on economic rationality.
Consequently, in the perception of the Intsangano educational website, Patriarchy is not based on biology; it relates to excessive masculine energy, which causes imbalanced minds, that ends in dominating actions and structures. Fortunately, since Patriarchy starts as energy, it can be changed. Hence, we can end Patriarchy by creating balance between the masculine yang force and the feminine yin force. When we add enough yin energy, we can limit the yang energy and create a dynamic tension between the two, leading to balance and harmony. With a holistic and balanced perception of reality, we can build a quality of life for our global societies and nature.
Conclusively, the Intsangano educational website is not anti-men or pro-women. Both parts are victims of a faulty conceptual model. Instead the Intsangano website is:
- criticizing the excessive focus on masculine yang energy, which is creating imbalance, resulting in global crises and an unhealthy social system, and it is
- promoting a dynamic tension between the feminine yin and the masculine yang forces, creating balance, harmony, and a healthy social system.
"Revolt is just as necessary to a nation as loyalty. There is no danger when a rebellion fails; what is dangerous is that a whole generation may go by without protesting." N. P. van Wyk Louw, South African poet (1906-1970)