Many years ago, Gurdjieff used to ask his students, “How many people are there in the world?” Almost all of them would juggle the best known statistics of the day and try to come up with the closest approximation of people living on The Earth. Of course, no matter how close they were, they were all wrong. After their futile calculations, Gurdjieff would calmly answer; “Nine, the rest are just reflections.” Of course what he was referring to was the nine personality types of The Enneagram.
Two Matching Particles Collide In Space
The other night, I sat across from my reflection, a recent version of myself in the guise of a physicist from Texas. We exchanged small talk, we exchanged pictures of kids. His son is a purple belt, mine is a yellow belt. Both are very athletic. He flashed a picture of his daughter. We talked about being dads, interspersed with about thirty minutes of hardcore football talk, some beer, some wine and then things got pretty interesting. As we began to shift our talk to women, he confided to me that he had not had sex with his wife for one year, four months and three weeks. It was that specific. Then a troubled look came over his face and he wondered if he and his wife would ever achieve a level of intimacy again. He was invested in it, because he wanted to keep his family together, stay with his kids. etc.
The reflection got clearer.
He confided to me that his parents split when he was four. I separated from wife just after my son turned five and there he was, on the precipice of pondering the very same realities in his own life. I asked him if he wanted to, “have sex again with his wife and save his marriage?” He said, “yes.” I then told him that when he returns to Texas, to take his wife aside and tell her from the bottom of his heart that, “her and the family are the most important thing in his life and that from that moment forward, he would place them front and center.” I could tell that he got it, understood and didn’t really like it. We then plunged into a deep discussion around male/female dynamics and what’s important to men and women and how we don’t understand this from either perspective.
A Fallible God
By the end of the night as we said goodbye, I could tell that he was re-thinking his stance and wondering how committing in such a way would change her and their life for the better. Wasn’t he already doing enough? He is the bread winner, a corporate physicist flying around the country, inspecting high volume petroleum equipment from a mathematical perspective, gauging output, stress, etc. “Wasn’t this enough he wondered aloud, even if I was Jesus, she’d find fault with me.” I could see the clouds of doubt move across his mind. I told him, “You have not given her your heart and she knows this and doesn’t trust you.” Again, I could see truth inch closer and closer in his awareness. I continued, “You have one foot out the door already and she knows this as well.” I could see him solemnly agree. I knew this, not because I am psychic, but because I was that guy a year ago.
Saturn In Libra Addresses Longing And Grief In Equal Measure
While the statistics I quoted in the last piece point to an overall trend of unhappiness for women, mens grief and isolation might even be more pronounced. My reflection is a physicist, he spoke glowingly of Richard Feynman as a cultural and personal light. He wondered aloud about why it’s important for him to understand the nature of material existence while for his wife, it seemed a rare luxury in the day in and day out exercise of life. He is a quester, a pathfinder, a pioneer, a seeker. These are qualities that are not necessarily socially acceptable in the framework of a marriage and nuclear family, where the goal is not “questing,” but “nesting.” Herein lies the rub between men and women in our modern era. Our bio-sensors are fundamentally different. We seek different types of meaning and the modern world and all of it’s supposed sophistication cannot take away from the fact that we have ancient roots in our DNA, strands that return us to the formation of civilization, tribal life and survival. The codec of the species is hard wired into the sexes; survive and ultimately find higher and higher levels of meaning for our existence, our raison detre’
This is not confined to “men are the seekers and women are the nurturers” model as there are many exceptions to any rule. I want to preface this by saying this is not a one size fits all blueprint for being, I’m just trying to untangle some knots of relating according to a particular aspect and my take on it.
The physicist was at a crossroads, trying to go deeper, find his purpose, re-claim his meaning in the midst of a domestic laboratory. He wants out, she wants in. But his out is a misdirected out. He is confusing his quest to find meaning in string theories and quantum fields with his unconscious desire to leave the marriage. She knows this and as a result loses more trust, creates less intimacy and further polarization.
Is this a solvable equation?
Can we find the golden mean of intimacy and relating?
Can we reconcile the desire to move out and in simultaneously?
Are men simply trapped in a loop of prolonged adolescence, naively searching for meaning through a myriad of distractions?
Is a woman’s need to nurture, grow and love been obscenely simplified by the outward quest for material gain, comfort and luxury?
During Saturn in Libra we will have ample opportunity to explore these themes.
Finding Meaning And Purpose In A Jobless Society
Men will have to undergo a radical shift in purpose and meaning, especially in the light of a failing economy. With less jobs and less opportunities for many men to self-actualize in the work place, the threat to their self-esteem and well being is ominous. Already displaced in a society that moves further and further away from organic values and closer and closer to some sort of trans-humanist synthesis, the ancient call to provide, protect and explore within the cells of men will be further and further distant memories. As this occurs getting close to the heart of the matter will be more and more difficult. Already teetering on the edge of existential doubt, large numbers of unemployed men, could be incredibly demoralized by the lack of opportunity in the work world with little opportunity to redeem their dignity and pride through providing. Rebalancing the sexes during a time of imminent economic decline could prove to be one of our greatest challenges ever and yet, if we enter into it consciously, without guilt, without shame, with a sense of commitment, we can actually use the crisis to our advantage.
Naming The Invisible Threat And It’s Consquences
One of the things that we did as a species as we roamed across the great plains of the planet, hunting mastodons, protecting ourselves against the sabre-tooth tiger, etc, was that we formed and cultivated a highly responsive, fight or flight mechanism. The individual as well as the tribe’s survival depended on it. In this instance, the sex roles were clearly defined. Men hunted and protected the tribe. Women attended to more domestic affairs, like picking out wall paper for the cave. This continued for a while, even up through the feudal Europe. A village had to look after itself. Be it’s own sentries, etc. By the time the wild west came to pass, law and order as a carer path began to open up. It signaled a movement away from self-policing in terms of family, home, hearth and tribe and professionals were conscripted to safeguard our well being, property, etc. Armies were raised by tax dollars. The industrial revolution brought with the beginnings of a police state. When I say, “police state” I do not necessarily mean it in it’s most Orwellian definition, but rather the rise of police forces to enforce “law and order.” The burden of security was theoretically no longer placed at the foot of the individual, in most cases, the male. Men, were now “freed up” to pursue commerce, empire building and benefit from the fruits of capitalism. In addition to the rise of the police state, we also experience a rise in larger levels of government, special interests and ultimately the psychopathic rise of corporate culture. During this paradigm shift, the threat to our safety and security became more and more abstract. It wasn’t giant bears that we had to defend ourselves against, but the invisible hand of corruption, greed, cunning, and machination–hands that pulled levers on social programs–hands that unleashed memes into the culture that would redirect our thinking–hands that would inevitably walk off with trillions of dollars from pension funds and 401Ks. The predatory threat was no longer a lumbering beast, but a stealthy planner, a shrewd shape shifter and a social engineer.
The Narcolepsy Of Materialism
While we were all out trying to get one up on “The Jones’ ” wallowing in some form of temporary luxury, the forces that accrue power and wealth were not standing still, they were not complacent with their position, no matter how much they had accrued. In earlier times, people safe guarded their and the tribes well being, these types of mostly “physical” threats were exposed, but as we got fat on consumerism, we let them roam freely in the psychic and social landscapes of our lives, as we mainlined consumption to assiduously to cover the wounds of a traumatized culture.
Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
Now we’re talking about security here and it becomes a slippery slope. Women, by and large and this is my personal experience, don’t like to hear about “conspiracy” or how fucked things are. It is antithetical to their nature. It’s an assault on the sanctity of life and it has no place in the paradigm of continuity. So as a result, men have been discouraged to go down these paths. It’s much easier to bury and sublimate the findings, fears and instincts and take out the trash, worry about your 401K and plan the next years trip to Disney so that he can still have some semblance of love and intimacy. In essence, he does not want to go too far down that path because it might alienate the woman in his life, who ultimately wants her and her family to feel safe. From a most intimate place within the family unit, men have been subtly discouraged to rock the boat.
Saturn In Libra Equals True Liberation
If we are going to get through Saturn in Libra, the scales of justice will have to prevail. We’re going to have to look at how things are, not how they used to be, or would like them to be. Men are going to have stand up for what’s right and women will need to have a willing spirit. The continuity of the old world; marriage, kids, home. vacation, college, retirement is over. Done with. Getting over it sooner than later would be the best course of action. Once that is done, we can then go about the task of creating new solutions (as I type, Patti Smith has just hit my iTunes, “People Have The Power”). In ending this installment, part of the balancing that needs to occur between the sexes is for men to become men again, to protect, to serve, to commit, to love and to quest in the name of the sanctity of life itself. If we can do this successfully, I know very few women who would not respond in kind with their own sacred devotion and begin to yield the mysteries of love and creation which resides eternally within them. How cool would that be?