Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 48

essence of patriarchy. 2 As they remind us, for any mammalian species it is what the young learn and then conserve that drives evolution, since everything else dies off. This means that our very survival depends, in part, on how we raise our children. My father raises his voice: “NO!!!” he says. Again. Then he gives me his look. My father, my protector, on whom my very existence depends, is angry. What can I, a small human child, full of fear, make of that look? Being born into the only paradigm known to humans for generations—that of “Right/ Wrong” thinking, I know from very early on that, in such circumstances, one of us must be wrong. The moment of illusory choice arrives, similar to countless others throughout my childhood and to millions of moments throughout human history: Who will be the “bad guy” and—of course—pay the price? Like most children un- der patriarchy, I took the blame upon myself. 3 As this simple story illustrates, under condi- tions of patriarchy, we raise children in an environment of obedience, shame, scarcity, and often narrow self-interest, fully interfering with the flow of love and with children’s abil- ity to experience freedom, belonging, natural abundance, and genuine care for the whole. Each new generation’s innate trust in life and, specifically, in the adults who care for them is broken many times over. Patriarchy and its main educational institu- tions (parenting and schooling) have achieved this feat of maintaining domination over so many generations through direct coercion when possible, and through indirect coercion in the form of shaming when not. The result is twofold. One is an activation of the fight/flight/ 48 W W W .T I K K U N . O R G freeze mechanism in a way it wasn’t designed for and the other is a residue of internalized shame. Both of these serve to reproduce the dominant patriarchal paradigm. These mechanisms were not invented by pa- triarchy. Rather, patriarchy has moved them from margin to center. Instead of being used in extreme conditions, where the survival of an individual or group calls for exit from the biol- ogy of love into temporary adoption of poten- tially traumatizing measures, patriarchy has elevated them to the norm. It’s no surprise that patriarchy requires coer- cion, since it fundamentally goes against our evolutionary makeup. This is why coercion is particularly directed at children. If you think about the core value of patriarchy in relation to children, it’s, sadly, obedience. It’s seen as a virtue rather than as a traumatic experience. The results go far beyond our collective well- WINTER 2019