Da Ortosociale.


By Angela Giuffrida

As we know, capitalism has reduced Nature, in all its manifestations and aspects, to a commodity, turning it into a territory to be conquered, exploited and sacked. However, we also know that the Patriarchy, already since its inception, with its authoritarian character, had caused nature to lose the good standing it enjoyed under matriarchal societies, where it was respected, honored and even deemed sacred. Deprived of its peculiar characteristics, especially its creative autonomy, Nature lost its own physiognomy and real form, turning into a sort of “still life”incapable of exhaling evena single breath of life. Modern Science has confirmed and reinforced this vision of man’s supremacy over nature, by considering the world a mechanism that can be studied and understood exclusively with the tools of mathematics. Suited to manage, thanks to technological research, a universe of machines, devices and various mechanisms, mathematics unduly overstepped its boundariesand has risen to the status of sole model of knowledge, extending its principles and methods to all the branches of the knowable. The cult of mathematics has taken over everything, informing even Biology, Neurosciences, and Social Sciences, which then, in turn, treat living nature as dead matter. In a Cartesian sort of way, researchers have split their own selves into two- one side consisting of self-based Reason housed in an alien body, which is reduced to one among the million things to be known. This kind of treatment makes nature unnatural. Since it gives an illusory image of nature that doesn’t match reality, it turns it into a ghost, a pure figment of the imagination. In this peculiar murder of Nature, Claudia vonWerlhof discerns a well-definedproject, stubbornly carried out by the Patriarchy using science and technology. This projects, which was already present in patriarchal alchemic thought provides for the creation of an artificial world, which is supposed to improve the natural world and ultimately replace it. It is a kind of anti-world tending to perfection and the absolute, which can come about by eliminating nature and reducing life to nothing. This absurdidea is based on failing to accept the generative abilities of mothers, which grantthem an obvious and universal primacy,always present in nature. Only a pure, male-connoted spirit can replace the power of mothers and ensure that “fathers” appropriatethat power to free themselves from dependence on mothers and nature- obviously a sort of dependence they deem intolerable. Men’s high creationof a better world takes the form of a destructive and violent process because it acts independently of actual reality. It seeks to impose its lawson the real world by means of undue manipulations. Claudia defines “The Patriarchy as a belligerent project… creating destruction and expending its efforts to replace what human mothers and Mother Naturehave created”. Thus,rather than a project aimed “at the betterment of the world” it is aimed destruction of the world!” [Note 1. Claudia von Werlhof – Nell’età del boomerang – Edizione Unicopli – p. 57]

These claims of superiority derive from seeing that “ science is literally applied to the elimination or replacement of life, death, reproduction of life, human beings, women and mothers, but also of the soil, of plants and animals, as well as all given natural substances … “ The nature of the project is clearly revealed by the attempt to “show male creative force or male productivity – not in cooperation with women and external nature, but rather against them - precisely within the context of new technologies, i.e., ‘nuclear alchemy’, biochemistry, nanotechnologies, reproduction technologies and genetic engineering. The machine, as the first attempt to replace human beings (machines for killing, work, sex, procreation) and to replace nature, is, in the meantime,supplemented by a sort of “machinization” (Maschinisierung) of nature itself. Expanded to the point of becoming an open system, the Machine no longer merely ‘replaces’ nature/living being directly with a device, but rather forces nature to execute from within the commands imparted by genetically modified information, or induced on a nuclear, chemical or mechanical basis. [Note 2. Ibid., p. 96.] But “it seems obvious that ultimately itwill be impossible to produce an immortal, enhanced, superior, nobler and more perfect human being and a ‘life’ that is as perfect, by means of violence, by destroying all natural cycles and connections, both internal and external. Plans to manufacture a trans or post human life in fact show that, because they cannot be made artificially,human beings will have to be ‘overcome’ or completely abolished altogether.[Note 3. Ibid.] Well said!one feels like exclaiming. Qualify the ideas supporting this whole construction as a sort of delirium [Note 4. Ibid p. 26] and doubting that they stems solely from “the envy for the ability to give birth” [Note 5. Ibid.] in my opinion Claudia highlights what is truly at issue here. Envy for the creative power of the mother’s body is infantile both because it arises during childhood, when the child realizes that only mothers give birth, and because it should be overcome in adulthood and replaced by the mature acceptance of the place that male occupy in the natural order. The fact that the whole history of the Patriarchy spurts envy from every pore shows that something in the male evolutionary processhas gone awry, especially considering how dangerous the Patriarchy has increasinglybecome. The desire to replace the mother and Mother Nature is understandable if it is limited to childhood fantasies or remains confined to the dream world, in the realm of sheer fantasy. The problem arises when adults expect to inscribe the dream into reality, turning it up side down, something that reveals big gaps in knowledge. These big gaps are at the source of death bearing project of transforming the world in the way described above. Let’s talk about some of these big gaps in knowledge: Lack of acknowledging that reality has an autonomous status vis-a-vis personal wishes, fantasies and ambitions is what allows men to manipulate people and things while committing all sorts of misdeeds, forcing reality to adhere to any idea that may strike their minds, deaf to the demands of reality, even when they are personally touched by them. The male inability to discriminate between people and things, something living from something that is not, whichis responsible for the offensive reification of the other, endemic in androcentric systems, and the foolish attempt to transform a world of living beings into a world of the dead. A living being who deliberately wants to do away with mothers and nature, to which it owes life, and deceiveshimself that he may be able to continue to live as a machine or a ghost, i.e. as a dead being, either is “an anomaly or a joke of nature [Note 6. Luigi De Marchi – Scimmietta ti amo – Longanesi – p. 211] or is missing adequate knowledge. In fact, if he doesn’t realize that waging war against nature and life means also warring against oneself, given that he himself is both part of life and nature, obviously does not know he isalive and what a living being is. The male’s inability to grasp complexityand to perceive the tangle of connections characterizing them, as is determined by the exasperated individualism and conflict that characterizes androcentric social organizations. This enables the male to stumble in all his awkwardness in the delicate balance that regulate organisms in their inner workings as well as externally, and nature in general. The analytic approach to reality induces an inclination to deconstruct and directs the male gaze towards destructiveness.

At this point it is essential and urgent: a) to recognize that the above flaws lead to irrational, contradictory, highly harmful choices, for the entire planet and its inhabitants b) suchfailures must be attributed to predominant male thought. c) Investigate what causes such thinking, a cause that has inexplicably remained unexplained so far.

In my book The Thinking Body [Note 7. A. Giuffrida –The Thinking Body – Prospettiva Edizioni], I have traced the source of the widespread irrationality thatcharacterizes the way males govern the world. I attributed the ability to lend shape to thoughtto the experience of reproduction, showing how such experience has molded,at the same time, both the reproductive systems of females and males and their respective minds. In an earlier article [Note 8. “Il concetto di maternità“,published in Bumerang n. 1.], I explained my theory and here I summarize it briefly, in order to better outline the true source of the problems that afflict us. Protagonist and repositoryof the history of life on earth, woman has developed aforma mentis suitable to containing reality in its complexity and give precedence to creative and constructive links, which is an external reflection of her body’s internal activity, which creates, stimulates and supports life. As far as man is concerned, on the other hand, his limited function in reproduction, circumscribed only to conception, has inevitably translated into a partial vision of the world and of himself, which has determined a very specific way of observing reality, taking in one datum at a time. Seeing one has just about infinite consequences that form a chain reaction and cascade on reality distorting it. In the meantime, when attention is focused on a single datum, causing the whole it is connected to to disappear, it transforms it, whatever its nature may be, into an absolute entity that is in conflict with its opposite – another absolute entity- a conflict that is necessarily geared to its exclusion/elimination. Made up of isolated, unconnected atoms, reduced to opposite poles that are perennially in conflict, the male world is abstract because it doesn’t match reality, especially the reality of living things, which is connected and complex. The above cognitive modelapplied by males to the outside world derives from the perception he has of himself as an individual devoid of ties, struggling against everything and everyone and torn inside himself. The Cartesian separation between res cogitans, a non-material, subjective and autonomous reason and res extensa, a visible and quantifiable body, assimilated to dead matter, is paradigmatic of all the pairs of opposites that crowd the male mind. This polarization, which confines the other (whether male or female) to the small role of enemy, contains the creation of hierarchies, for example, between reason and the body, with the former enjoying all that is valuable in human beings because it generates high and noble ideals, the latter, instead, is considered a vile corruptor of reason’s purity, the cause of its needs and instincts. This gives rise theoffensive process of turning human beings and living beings in general into “things”,which thenjustifies the horrors committed against them, gives rise to contempt for nature and women, as well the absurd, self harming project - well described by Claudia- to sever the ties that keep organisms bound to the biological processes of life. The male’s envious will,bent on destroying women and nature, is a wick that could not be lit if human males realized the integrity-wholeness of the living organism, and therefore, its incommensurable difference from inanimate objects. This maleidiosyncrasy vis-à-vis life arises from the fact that the male perceives his body as an inanimate object. Descartes laid this out in the clearest way when he describes the process leading to his famous “cogito ergo sum”. He wrote, “Before, I considered myself as having a face, hands, arms and that whole machine made of bones and flesh, exactly asit appears in acorpse- a machine I designated with the name of body.” [Note 9. Descartes, Metaphysical Meditations]. This mechanistic conception of life which leads straight to celebrating an artificial world, rests then on the absence of self-knowledge, but is not solely due to the often mentioned “monistic” vision of reality, which owing to its inability to embrace complexity does not enable the perceiver to embrace complexity nor to grasp the organism, the most complex being in the world. To procreate outside of oneself determines an accentuated extroversion of psychic energy, which prevents males from “feeling” their bodies from inside and prevents them from having access to it. Man lives all stretched towards the outside, outside of his ownorganism, which is, in addition, subject to more subdivisions. Science, in fact, considers it a set of separate things - the organs- and places the mind in the brain, which is in turn perceived as something other. Transformed into a mix of things, distorted and denatured, the organism loses its wholeness and its features of being both a discerning subject and agent. “In spite of the fact that he himself is alive, living beings remain inaccessible to the human male who neverthelessexpects to manage a world that is unknown to him, using tools that are turning out to be unsuitable even to understand inorganic nature from which they are mediated. In addition, the disappearance of the body in favor of a separate rationality, the winged angel head that Schopenhauer spoke about, [Note 10. Schopenhauer, The World As Will And Representation] dragsdown reality as a whole,with it producing doubts about its actual existence. Just like a living organism, when reduced to its constituent parts,any object too disappears, as it loses its unity. Perceived one at a time, parts give rise to single representations which, when joined together later, generate a fictitious object. Its fictitious nature depends on the fact that it does not correspond to theoriginal because it is the result of aggregateconnections artificially imposed by the knower. The tendency to concentrate on a single motive,usually the pursuit of a power that allows the male to gain his longed for supremacy, strengthens the disappearance of the wholeness and autonomy of reality. The male’s practice of considering them simple means to achieve his needs causes both things and people allover the worldto lose their integrity and possibility of an independent existence. But the male himself disappears with them, since he drastically reduces the innumerable aspects that he, as a living being, bears in himselfto a single one. This is the reason why he continues,undismayed,to make utterly irrational choices and self-harming ones at that, which drag him directly or indirectly, into the ruins he himself is responsible for generating” [Note 11. A. Giuffrida – La razionalità femminile unico antidoto alla guerra – Bonaccorso Editore]. Nietzsche had already understood the disastrous consequences entailed for man in his “approaching the angel” in order to draw away from his “brute” corporeal nature, replaced by an abstract entity called soul or conscience, “the most miserable and deceitful of hisorgans”. [Note 12. Nietzsche – The Genealogy of Morals] Nietzsche blamed morality for this undue replacement, but that’s not correct, in my opinion. The human male identifies his true being with an abstract entity because his mind receives reality only under the form of an idea. I underscore that he perceives his own corporeal self, women generally as well as living nature as inferior, bad and sinful because they undermine the perfection of whatever – reason, soul or spirit- he considersto be his true essence. Male thought distorts and turns reality upside down, depriving it of its material roots because it is inspired by Idealism and this is a huge problem in so far as “ reality, in order to be truly understood, must retain its texture, specificity and autonomy, given that it cannot be reduced merely to thought and human desire. On the other hand, whatever our interpretation of it, authentic progress in understanding is made possible only by the ability to set our interpretive models up against reality and to change them any time they prove to be inadequate. However, we do know that men follow the opposite path- reality must adapt to the models produced by their minds” [Note 13. La razionalità femminile pp. 379, 380] and this bestows a strongly fictitious character to their world. Evidence of this is the formal nature of democratic principles. The homogenizing fiction of the principle of equality, for example, fails to guarantee substantive equalitynot only to women, who remain by their own constitution different, but also to anyone else, for that matter, who is a bearer of any difference compared to the proposed model- white, adult male, with property. Now “ if the logic at the foundation of this principle is that of “as though” - women would be included as though they were men, black people as though they were white, the poor as though they were rich – it makes men similar to little children at play, pretendingto havedifferent identities in a game. The problem is that men are not children and they do not restrict themselves to representing the contradictions and incoherence of their mind at the level of mere fiction, but demand to manage the life of the species as thoughthey were playing a game.” [Note 14. La razionalità femminile pp. 379, 380] If, then, the game expands to the point of forcing living and inanimate nature to physically turn into what it is not and it can never be, we must agree that the destruction of life is “the logic thought out to the end” of thepredominant, single form of thinking, which is leading the species into utter nothingness because it can access life only by negating it. Violence is a structural characteristic of the male cognitive system, thus, war is not only the ones that are “waged” but must be seen as the male’s typical mode of relating to the world. The question that must be asked, at this point, is whether the war that men conduct against women and nature is a conscious one or not. In my opinion consciousness can be attributed to the ends they are pursuing – appropriate women’s creative function byblotting them out or better yet erasing them completely- and the strategies toachieve those ends. Actually, only the project itself is a conscious one, but conceiving of such plan can be made possible only by a deep ignorance concerning the living world. To ignorance one must add the impossibility to see what the implications of that the insane plan are and what the choice it entails imply, even for their own selves. Such ignorance is due to the limited nature of their gaze, which, as we know, is able to focus only on one datum at a time.

A peculiar form of knowledge, which is shared by all men without exception, determines all the flaws that can be found in the communities led by men. Such failures cannot be attributed to patriarchy, capitalism, neo-liberalism, science or technology,and even less to monotheistic religions, all of which do not possess the character of autonomous thinking subjects. The true, responsible party is the mind that gives rise to them, but given that the mind does not exist outside a biological body, one must considerthe male organism as a whole, its experience and the way it translates experience into thought. This implies that men – even those who are incapable of consciously inflicting harm- shareas a block the responsibility for bad governance of the world, in so far as they all are bearers ofthe same mental categories and mechanisms unsuitable to understanding reality such as it is and, therefore, to govern it correctly. The forced permanence inside the male cognitive apparatus, which for millennia has been imposed as the only possible one, causes women to tend to replace flesh and blood subjects with the products of their minds and to keep theory and practice separate. Because of this, they have trouble attributing the choices to the mind that thinksthem, even when it’s their own mind doing it. They have also trouble recognizing the immense difference that exist between male and female behaviors which is evident in the civility with which the great majority of women conduct their daily life in the world and as shown foremost, in the management of matriarchal societies – which cannot but be the product of a mental difference that is as immense. A woman’s weltanschauung “cannot be considered the opposite or complementary to that of man – viceversa it is the bearer of another kind of knowledge, a completely different mode of being in the world, interpreting and managing it.” [Note 15. A. Giuffrida – La razionalità femminile unico antidoto alla guerra – Bonaccorso Editore – p. 18] After thousand of years of patriarchal destructiveness, it is the task of women to recover our vision of the world and reconstitutean organization of categories that matches reality. The planetary failure of “Idealistic Mechanistic Thought” generated by the male mind, which appears today in all its seriousness, makes its definitive replacement with a kind of reason that is open and operates full field urgent and no longer deferrable. That means that we must get down to work. The ways the predominant thought functions have been discovered and described [Note 16. Chapter 3 of The Thinking Body contains a detailed description of the mechanisms of the male mind, but all my other writing as well delve into that subject] and its mechanisms can be found everywhere because they organize the world. Now, it is a matter of learning to recognize them both outside and insideus and to distance ourselves from them. I don’t deceive myself into thinking that it will be simple. I know that we need to defeatmale resistance first, the resistance offered by conceptual frames in existence for thousands of years, which we as women have ourselves internalized. But I don’t see any other way if we want to do something more than issuedenunciations, which are justified but also in vain, in so far as they do not scratch theoverconfidence and boasted superiority of males. Only by acquiring and using critical tools capable of making true reality break through the fake world set up by men, can we set ourselves on the right path and give ourselves the strength to at least make a breachin the rigid, monolithic system of male knowledge and power. I don’t know if we will succeed but I know for certain that the future of the species depends on the possibility of placing the reins of the world into our knowledgeable and wise hands. 15.A. Giuffrida – La razionalità femminile unico antidoto alla guerra – Bonaccorso Editore – p. 18 Chapter 3 of The Thinking Body contains a detailed description of the mechanisms of the male mind, but all my other writing as well delve into that subject.

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