Greetings to our visiting friends. We use this space to comment on important subjects of the day, on the continuing evolution of the EmanPDX story, on some good people we meet along life's journey, and on stuff that's curious, fun. or of deep concern.
Misogynistic. Self-righteous. Shrill. That’s how I characterize people, who claim the role of moral police.
Slut shaming is the principle way a shrinking but highly vocal minority in modern society repress self-expression in girls and women. If a female doesn't conform to a modest line in behavior and appearance in public, she could be labeled a slut, which translates to brazenly oversexed and immoral.
Conformity is a cultural construct that has been used for centuries to repress women. It began twelve thousand or so years ago, when humans traded the stone-age, hunter-gatherer nomadic way for living in permanent communities dependent on agriculture for survival. The move to settlements also gave rapid rise to a male aggression/dominance paradigm that has shaped our culture, our religions, our politic, and the way men relate to women ever since.
Subjugated and treated as little more than vessels for child bearing, women who dared to step out of the very dark shadow looming over them were severely censored, or even worse, brutally made example by being burned alive at the stake.
In modern, developed societies women have shaken off most of the limits that prevented them from achieving their full potential in earlier times. These days, women's voices are loud and clear. They have demanded equal treatment and, for the most part, they are getting it. Some battles, like equal pay for equal work and reproductive choice, are still being waged, so the fight continues.
One area where younger people, and young females in particular, remain in conflict with older people is in how they express themselves by appearance and personal behavior. Female sexuality is a powerful force that has been almost entirely repressed since the invention of the wheel. Not anymore. We live now in an era awash in sexual expression. Something like forty percent of the traffic on the internet is sexual in nature, much of it extremely so.
Young girls born into the age of the internet and cellphones are now getting peer pressure to engage in 'sexting', where the private exchange of sexually provocative images is the norm. This is a broad form of sexual expression that is far beyond anything seen in previous eras.
Religious conservatives and traditionalists are apoplectic about the rise of female power and sexual expression. They lament the passing of the culturally enforced female modesty that was once the norm, and they are quick to apply the 'slut' label to any girl who chooses to express herself overtly, by what she wears and how she behaves.
Here's a bit of information we'd like to share with anyone who dares condemn another person, because they function outside of a cultural straightjacket. We humans are hardwired to be interested in sex. It is how we are made. The brain sends us strong bio-chemical signals in response to sexual stimuli. That's what nature intended.
That's not to say that freedom includes license to behave any way one likes. Some judgment is required. But it's not young people who are open in their sexual expression that need to change so much as it is older people, who are quick to condemn with ugly labels.
Bottom line. Being sexual is normal for men and for women. Every person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, has a right to own their sexuality, and express it as they wish, without fear of attracting a 'scarlet' label.
Through the ages, sex workers have been the subject of ridicule and scorn. Many of them choose to express themselves through that career choice. Should they be condemned for doing so? Or should they be accepted for who they are, within a framework of public policy that regulates their work to protect them from exploitation and violence, with law enforcement focused on stopping the exploitation of adults, and particularly children, who are forced into sexual servitude? The answer to this also seems clear. Europe, Australia, and New Zealand to a large extent, are already taking this tolerant approach.
Where sex is concerned, the law and policing, moral and otherwise, should be reserved for criminals, who exploit women, and even more so for those who sexually abuse and exploit children.
I respect women who are comfortable expressing their sexual power. It is entirely normal to think that way. Men should not take that to mean they can behave like alley cats when they see an attractive woman walking down the street. There are ways to appreciate a woman without ceding complete control to one's limbic brain. Consent under all circumstances is the operative word.
Back in the eighties, when I was young, I read a book that changed my perspective on a lot of things. That book was The Chalice and the Blade. The author is a wonderful human being named, Riane Eisler.
Eisler provides compelling evidence that in the pre-historic neolithic era, humans lived in small groups or clans that functioned on a cooperative partnership model in which men and women lived as equals, and shared responsibility and decision making. In fact, the evidence suggests that neolithic human life was closely tied to the cycles of nature. Women had a particularly sacred place in those primitive societies because their menses reflected the rhythms of nature, and because they were capable of giving birth to new life.
That pre-historic partnership paradigm was lost about 10,000 years ago when humans evolved from hunter-gather groups that moved about constantly to fixed communities that depended on agriculture for food. To provide a common defense against maurauders that survived by raiding and pillaging what humans living in permanent settlements had, settled peoples moved away from a partnership based culture to one dominated by males. From that time on, males of the species have pertty much run the show. Religion, governance, economics: the shape of human culture is built on a male domance model in which women are subjugated and billigerence and confrontation overwhelm caring and cooperation. All of human history, since the beginning of agriculture, has been shaped by male dominance.
Eisler's bottom line: Men and women must learn to live together in partnership as co-equals closely aligned to the natural world. It was that way once. It can be that way again. Advanced societies do seem to be headed in that direction. Women should be equal to men in all ways. It's only right, and it may be the only pathway to a future that is truly sustainable.
Riane Eisler founded the non-profit, The Center for Partnership Studies.
Here is a link to her webpage....
Here is a link to her book, The Chalice and the Blade...
Amazing video. Who could imagine it. Polar bears, huge and powerful apex predators of the Arctic, playing gently with a group of chained up sled dogs. It doesn't compute, but there it is.
In this TED video presentation, oceanographer Paul Snelgrove talks about a massive international effort to survey and cololect population data on lhe lifeforms the world's oceans. What they found was alarming. Pelagic fish populations have declined dramatically due to human exploitation. Industrial fishing is virtually strip mining the oceans. In the middle of the Pacific, human detritus has accumulated in a massive whirlpool of waste several hundred miles wide. Yet, despite the dearth of human stewardship, the evidence suggests the ocean realm is highly resilient. It can recover if given a chance.
Here is the link to Paul Snelgrove's TED presentation...
In 2007, The Hydrogen Age, a book, for which I was the as the principle author, reported on the emerging trends away from fossil fuels in favor clean renewable forms of energy. In the US, where the oil, coal, and gas lobbies dominate energy politics, this trend has been somewhat stunted. The same cannot be said about Europe.
In his recently published book, The Third Industrial Revolution, Jeremy Rifklin, President of The Foundation for Economic Trends, reports that the European Union and its members nations are aggressively pursuing a transition to clean, renewable energy. They have committed billions of euros to the process and cleared the way with financial incentives and a whole range of public policy initiatives. Wind, solar, geothermal, ocean wave, and other clean technologies are coming on line at an ever accelerating pace. Rifkin says this transition is in essence the opening stage of what he characterizes as The third industrial revolution.
It's not just happening in Europe. Latin America, Asia, and even Africa are following the European example.
One of the big impediments with wind and solar is the intermittant nature of the resource. It's not always windy even in the windiest places, and the sun doesn't shine 24 hours a day. There are a number of ways to store surplus wind and solar energy for use when needed. One of the best ways, and pretty much the only way renewable energy can be stored and transported long distances for use on demand is by taking the electricity produced from wind, solar, and other renewables, and convert it to hydrogen. That is done by splitting water molecules into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen is the most abundant substance in the universe. When hydrogen is converted back into useable energy in a device called a fuel cell, it is totally pollutrion free. The only exhaust is water. Hydrogen is highly flammable and can be hazardous, but no more so than gasoline or natural gas. A big part of the European strategy for the transition to renewables is the adoption of hydrogen as a fuel for automotive transportation. By 2015, many of the world's auto manufacturers will commercialize fuel cell vehicles powered by hydrogen, and hydrogen refueling stations will be found all over the continent.
As the European union goes, so goes the rest of the world. I only wish this kind of aggresive strategy was at work here in the United States. A renewable energy future using hydrogen as a primary energy carrier is the best way to wean ourselves off of dirty and increasingly costly fossil fuel energy. It is also the best way to walk human society back from the climate change precipice. Renewables, enabled by hydrogen translate to a pollution free energy future that is sustainable over the long term.
Here is a link to Jeremy Rifkin's website and latest book...