An edition of Andrea Dworkins brilliant book titled Intercourse that was re-released in 2007 (the book was first printed back in 1987) contains a preface written by Andrea herself in August 1995, Brooklyn, New York and I want to write this post with the start of a sentence that she has written in there. A question that I think a whole lot of us need to ask ourselves; ”…If one’s sexual experience has always and without exception been based on dominance –not only overt acts but also metaphysical and ontological assumptions–how can one read this book? The end of male dominance would mean–in the understanding of such a man–the end of sex.” I will just add a few things here to make it all clear where I want to go with this. If a persons (or the collective understanding for a group of people ie society as we know it for example) experience and perception is from the very start based on dominance in life in general not only sexual but also economic, religious, political, scientific, social and so on how can one explain to such a person (or group of people) that dominance is not ‘natural’? How does one explain there is meaning in the world that is not based on dominance, not based on exploitation, not based on the cultural notion that ”everything exists in so far I (we) can violate it”.
For so many generations now we civilised humans, born and raised and enslaved, in this culture has been subject to this understanding. This perception of life of who we are as a species has been around for thousands of years in various forms of civilised power. It is easy to see how people can write off us humans (and we males more so than females) as aggressive and warlike and dominant. The very ”pinnacle of human evolution” (no sign of narcissism here) industrial civilisation would collapse very quickly without it. It is based on this. It is a very central piece on how it came to be. With this much invested in our very (modern) industrial lifestyle–especially in the industrial ‘privileged’ part of the world–how can one explain this is not proof to say that this is how we evolved as a species to be? That there is very little proof in the actual real world (what we call nature) to back this up. That it more seems like creatures, including the human species, that has existed for a long time has done so through co-operation not dominance and exploitation. That it is pretty evident that for most of our human existence we too participated in this web of life. As a species we were loyal to the landbase not to abstract sky gods or abstract economic systems. We were not ‘civilised’. There has been thousands of human cultures across the planet that simply did not perceive the world as we are taught to do in this culture. And yes there has also been other warlike cultures as well. Not saying this has been the only one. But this one became the biggest because it could organise male violence more efficient than anybody else and in the process has eradicated so many vibrant nonwarrior like human cultures that simply were left with the options of 1) flee; in which the dominant culture expanded into, and occupied, the territory 2) succumb; in which the dominant culture expanded into, and occupied ,the territory or 3) defend themselves; In which the dominant culture expanded into, and occupied, the territory unless someone had a way to stop the dominant culture’s way of organising male violence. This is not an achievement to be proud of as a member of this culture. Its shameful and disgusting to say the least. We live by turning everyone and everything around us into dead commodities and resources.
We are born into a culture that has invested everything it is into making sure we perceive ourselves as being all this and especially us males. That we males are ‘naturally’ dominant and there is nothing we can do about that. That it goes as deep within us as our very sexual behaviours, as Andrea lays out in the wonderfully important book Intercourse. How convenient for abusers, exploiters, colonisers, fascists, capitalists, imperialists, empires, Abrahemitic religions and everything in between huh? If this patriarchy, this male dominant society, with everything connected to it is something we evolved into (rather than being socially enforced and hence can be changed) then nothing can ever change does it? Free will is obsolete. With such an understanding of the world even who we are becomes based on the notion there is always a ”fucker” and a ”fuckee” and it’s important to always strive to be the ”fucker” rather than be ”fucked”. As I type this I come to think of a piece of lyric from a finish traditional doom metal band called Reverend Bizarre that on their last album had an excellent song called Caesar forever. In one segment of the song they sing ”…Those who are about to die, make sure that you will learn. Trumpets sing and children cry when fires of Mars will burn. Christs may come and Christs may go but Caesar is forever. Come, my son, and you shall know: Tonight we hunt together”. They sum up the problem with this entire culture right there. I too disagree, of course, with this cultures understanding of the place we live in, reality if you will. It has gone on for generations sure, but still fabricated. Some (not all) humans came up with this insanity at one point. It was not handed to us by God/Allah or evolution even though a lot is invested to tell us that this is exactly what have happened. To me it is clearly cultural.
Cultures can be picked apart, cultures can (and has in the past) collapsed, changed and been re-written. Without a fight? Well this late in the stage as Civilisation is going through its trashing endgame I don’t think so. There won’t be any ”mass awakening” that a lot of new age people seem to hold close to their heart. To me that belief looks more like a reaction to an overwhelming problem and one wants to shelter oneself from the grim reality that we live in. We do live in insane times, in an insane culture with a lot of insane members. The ones who directly (even if in short term) benefits from having this lifestyle won’t just give this up. If they have a say, and right now they hold the economic, military and social power, they will not change course.
But Life wants to live