On reading my composition of a few days ago, called “The Imminent End of Us All”, one of my acquaintances pointed out that many of our world’s have-not societies discount fifty percent of their resources – namely women. She referred to studies which have shown, time and again, that an educated economically viable woman can raise her whole family out of poverty. Societies ignoring this valuable resource therefore cut themselves short. My acquaintance forgot to add – so I’ll correct her omission – that educating women also leads to declining birth rates – a necessary condition if humanity is to have any chance to survive.
The subject of gender also reminds me that the exponentially growing global imbalance between the intellectual and emotional sides of our collective psyche can also be described as the imbalance between our feminine and masculine sides. When we look at today’s world we can see that our intellectual masculine side – represented by the marvellous but pernicious gadgetry we have invented, but which has taken on a life of its own – has far outstripped our emotional feminine side – represented by our intuitions and feelings, but which is evolving hardly at all.
I don’t see how this intellectual technological juggernaut can be stopped other than by it blowing up in our faces. Right now we have enough nuclear bombs and other explosives to split the earth in half. With more and more groups of the ill-intentioned acquiring the means to set these devices off, it is only a matter of time before the inevitable happens, unless we are in the meantime done in by something else – like by global warming through the fossil fuels we burn.
Perhaps only when we are huddled together on mountaintops or on rapidly diminishing small islands as we watch the rising waters - as anxiously as a timid woman standing on a kitchen chair watching a mouse - will we see the light. But it will be too late.
The current crisis of terrorism – caused in large part by the west's need to control the supply of oil in the middle-east – provides a wonderful incentive to develop an alternative to gasoline. In the manner of John F Kennedy pledging in 1961 that we would land on the moon before the decade was out, so George W Bush could pledge that by, say, 2010 we will no longer need gasoline to power our automobiles. But Big Oil would never allow this.
Thus our world will continue to get warmer, and geo-politics will germinate more terrorists who could explode hideable nuclear devices in our big cities, or release deadly amounts of smallpox germs or other viruses.
If you mix in the consequences of our growing numbers, you will see that our prognosis isn’t good at all. But its ultimate cause is that we have become dangerously unbalanced. In short, our collective masculine side has subjugated our feminine.
I find it of interest that much of science fiction – whose creators have more prescience than most of us – is set in worlds devastated by apocalyptic wars, or it depicts cold joyless societies whose inhabitants live fearfully and docilely, being spied on all around, and otherwise controlled by their rulers by means of the wonderful gadgets at their disposal. These are worlds where the masculine principle has triumphed – and may be why the favourite reading matter of men is usually science fiction.
No-where have I read that the denizens of these devastated and unhappy societies gained any real insight as to why they became this way. Neither will we, since, for the most part, we go through life as sleepwalkers.