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Dichotomies and Equality

I grew up in urban, middle class India, with the privileges of a secure, stable family and good education opportunities. In my adult years, I have had the enriching experience of living and working in multiple countries around the world, including my own. With continuously expanding paradigms, I have come to enjoy the sense of seamlessness I sometimes feel, despite national boundaries, as I travel through. I have also come to appreciate that every culture my family and I are hono, red to experience, has some dichotomies.
I think of the dichotomies of my homeland. As a woman in the middle class workforce of urban India, gender was a non-issue – the only thing that mattered was excellence. I remember the sense of surprise I felt during the early years of my travel to the Northern nations, at just how much middle class urban women felt discriminated against in the workforce. On the other hand, I am acutely aware that the non-discrimination I experienced in middle class urban India did not and does not always extend to the uneducated, marginalized woman in India, who is sometimes deprived of basic rights, constitution notwithstanding.
Yet, women in India had voting rights before the women of Switzerland did. The East has produced some of the world’s best women heads of state and government, while the United States is yet to nominate a woman candidate for the Presidency. That having been said, I still believe in excellence over gender. But what I therefore believe in, is empowering and equipping women to achieve that excellence, and equalizing the yardstick by which both men and women are measured.
In my book, equalization does not mean neutralizing gender and pretending it does not exist. Rather, it is celebrating the unqiueness of each, honouring the differences and learning to work together to the greater good. It means breaking down practices and barriers built up by superstition, tradition and convenience.

Comments

Dave Alexander's picture

Precisely.

I was recently doing some research for some of my own writing when I came across the Dialectic Triad of Thesis attributed to philosopher Georg Wilehlm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), but apparently used only once by him with reference to a predecessor of “philosophical idealism” Immanuel Kant (1724-1804). It describes rather nicely my experience of the dichotomy as teacher and the feedback cycle of social evolution. It is summarized thusly,

“We first have a thought, an idea, a ‘thesis.’ Because the thought is incomplete, a conflicting idea forms, an ‘antithesis.’ A third point of view, a ‘synthesis,’ eventually overcomes the conflict through a higher level of understanding. The synthesis becomes the new thesis and the cycle continues.”

What I have noticed is that when faced with thesis and antithesis, most people choose the more comfortable one, the more familiar one, and behave from there. When we do this, we deny the duality, the dichotomy, and short-circuit our own growth and colletive evolution. Only when we insist on reconcilation of duality, to we acheive individually and collectively the "higher level of understanding." For me, your proposal to celebrate gender differences will move us into new territory where both reconciliation and co-creation result in a single cooperative and sustainabel future. This will be higher thinking.

It is also the reason that PulseWire is so important to me. That co-created future is humanity's only chance for a sustainable world that includes humans and speciated diversity on the grand scale. I pray that our work here will reveal superstition, tradition, and convenience in a way that will ultimately allow both men and women to select from among the stories, that which will work in the future. As I see it, there is simply too much "old habit" dominating human behavior. It may have worked for the first two millenium, but it is killing us now.

Where can we get your book?

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

Jennifer Ruwart's picture

Welcome to PulseWire!

Tilly,

It is so wonderful to see on PulseWire! What a thought provoking post. I love your last paragraph:

"equalization does not mean neutralizing gender and pretending it does not exist. Rather, it is celebrating the unqiueness of each, honouring the differences and learning to work together to the greater good. It means breaking down practices and barriers built up by superstition, tradition and convenience."

Let's make this so.

With gratitude for your voice,
Jennifer

Tilly Samuel Sojwal's picture

Response

Dave,

Thank you for your very thoughtful and thought provoking response. Yes, in order to move to a higher plane of global cultural transformation relating to gender, I hope that we at Pulsewire can team up in mobilizing toward “co-evolution”…adapting the message and proposed solutions to shifting paradigms and cultures on the move. The challenge is keeping the baby while throwing out the bath water…keeping the big picture and the vision sharp, yet speaking specifically to each situation…embracing the goodness of old values even as we move doggedly on toward the change and transformation we want to see…toward a world where Gender ceases to be an issue!

I’m afraid “In my book” was just a figure of speech. – I have not really written a book on the subject! But thanks for asking. I am honored.

Tilly

Dave Alexander's picture

Maybe We Should Write One

Hello Tilly,

It is amazing to me, endlessly amazing, that so many well meaning people have created such a burdened world for themselves. Like the Buddhist tradition, I see this as attachment to systems and ideas that probably had meaning at one time, certainly were the best the people knew how to do, but have now outgrown their usefulness. Yet still we remain attached. It seems that we humans cannot change ourselves as fast as we can change our world.

Unless we do something new, the forces of nature will restore this balance. We humans are uniquely poised and ready to restore the balance by choice, without more suffering. I believe as you do, that the beginning of this restoration comes with women (and children) regaining their voices and their power in a way that erodes the parts of the existing structures that no longer serve to create a sustainable world. Personally I see gender reconciliation, what you called "equalization," as essential to creating the balance. "Women in power" to the exclusion of "men in power" will bring something new, but no greater balance.

Perhaps I mistook "in my book" because there should be one! You are so articulate and write so beautifully. And, of course, I was excited to know that someone else can see the miracle and challenges of "dichotomy and equality." What do you think? Do you have book in your heart?

In Friendship, Dave...

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

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