Imagining a better life

The following question was posted on an email list that I subscribe to arousing my interest and therefore this posting.

What would women be like if we had not become Greer’s “subjugated caste” for thousands of years?

How would we live?

How would we learn?

How would we care for children , the elderly?

How would we work?

What sort of government would we have?

Sadly so many of us know how absolutely patriarchy has reduced our senses and minds


In The Women Centred Economy: Ideals, Reality, and the Space in BetweenSonia Johnson has written:

‘I chanced one day upon what may have been the world women knew before patriarchy, that world of wholeness and unity so lost to us as I gazed upon a beautiful wood so green and intense, the vision of which burned along every nerve and bone and muscle.’ As she gazed Johnson felt released from time with the timelessness affecting her deeply. She was awed by everything around her and wanted to clap, laugh and weep. ‘I wanted to remain the rest of my life in that state of complete knowledge of myself and of intimate, loving participation with the earth,’ wrote Johnson. Recollecting that blazing green, timeless forest she is reminded of the possibilities for her life. She questions why we choose to endure the patriarchal life when all around us there is an alternative world for us to enter.

In order to establish hierarchy, patriarchy needed to create scarcity of respect, honour, food but most of all of time.

Johnson  writes that most of us constantly complain about the lack of time.  But Johnson doesn’t just complain and endeavours to understand this concept of time that she says is very strange. ‘There is an infinite supply of time on the universe, and time is life’, she writes. If there is much time and I don’t have it then, where is it, who has it, and how can I get some.

As we moan about being constantly time poor let’s try to make some sense of how this has come about. Patriarchy tyrannises us all by taking our time from us. It does this by making us believe that we must spend most of our time working. We have been indoctrinated with the belief that we are ‘good’ if we are working, and ‘bad’ if we are not and that paid work is superior to work done freely.

The concept of time was absolutely necessary for patriarchy to take control of our minds and therefore run and ruin the world. Our adherence to these patriarchal assumptions of time, put us ‘at the mercy of the cruelest taskmaster of all fathers – ‘father time’.

Johnson suggests that we need to cease this reverence for the eight or more hours work a day, and asks us to consider what would it be like to not feel so hurried. But then change is not easy and although we know that working in patriarchy every day is ‘killing us’, we are terrorised by money scarcity.

But women haven’t always lived according to patriarchal rule according to Judy Foster’s research featured in her new book:

Invisible Women of Prehistory

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This book is an opening to histories rarely written about in Australia. Based on several years research into ancient history and prehistory, Judy Foster takes on the world. She argues that three million years of peace, a period when women’s position in society was much higher than it is now, preceded the last six thousand years of war in which men have come to hold power.
Her work is based on close readings of archaeological evidence from around the world, much of it appearing in the last decade or two. She also writes about the academic resistance to these ideas and to the archaeological work of Marija Gimbutas. Beginning with an examination of Old Europe, Judy asks questions about how archaeology is used. She looks at theories of matriarchy and the invention of writing and ‘civilisation’. The role of language and the transmission of mythic knowledge are looked at alongside visual and symbolic histories.
So we have the distant memory of a better life for women. May we revisit such a peaceful time.
Feminist and peace activist Genevieve Vaughan  advocates the overt establishment of a gift-giving society. Such a society is already in existence but remains a covert system which patriarchy ensures remains so by overvaluing paid labour and awarding status to people according to monetary value.
Sonia Johnson imagines a small town where the health and joy of all the citizens is the foremost desire of all. To achieve this state of bliss everyone in the town does what they want to do all the time but connected and concerned about the welfare of everyone else. For example when a young women arrives in the town and she doesn’t know what she might enjoy doing, she looks about the  community to see what talents are in short supply. Perhaps the town needs s shoemaker and she becomes one but she isn’t expected to be a shoemaker all her life unless she wants to. When she makes shoes for her community she is not given anything in return, for everyone has a function in the community from which she will benefit when she needs.

Because everyone in the town works at what they enjoy, when a poet has haircut she can be assured that the hairdresser who is attending her isn’t forced into doing this job because she has to feed her kids but that she likes to cut hair.
May we all continue to imagine a better way to live.

Categories: books, feminism, history, womens rights

Tags: , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. For the Spinifex FB page, S

    From: Zohl de Ishtar Reply-To: Allthenewsthatmatter’s blog Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2013 11:03 AM To: Susan Hawthorne Subject: [New post] Imagining a better life allthenewsthatmatters posted: “The following question was posted on an email list that I subscribe to arousing my interest and therefore this posting. What would women be like if we had not become Greer’s “subjugated caste” for thousands of years ? How would we live? How would we “

  2. What we have is a predator society based on misogyny, racism, and capitalistic competition and that predation fosters aggression and manifests itself in our “culture of rape.” That we lead the world in producing serial killers speaks truth to power about the casualties of male privilege, patriarchy and capitalism. It is not the perpetrators who are solely responsible for our inequality but also those who are sitting on the sidelines doing nothing about it except covering their own asses by excluding themselves from wrongdoing. Doing nothing in situations of injustice is the same as being an enabler. Silence is consent.

  3. There are now countless women working together for fundamental, not just incremental, change all over the world, women scientists, politicians, grass-roots workers, nurses, weavers, students, mothers, and artists. Many who might not identify themselves as radical feminists are nevertheless attacking the System with great courage. We are forming global alliances, and the Internet is key to this work. We have this distinct tradition of action and theory to work from.

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