Abstract for a paper being prepared for presentation/publication
Though feminists claim to have opened up the world for women, numerous positive and life enhancing qualities of the feminine aspect of human nature, especially the spiritual dimension of the feminine, has been denigrated by the very feminist leaders who claim to speak for all women. A serious negative outcome of the movement has been a gross trivialization of motherhood. When mothering becomes a chore due to environmental stressors, the potential of the infant, and of successive generations, is choked off with serious consequences and this affects the universal feminine aspects of existence.
The paper explores the emerging trends of masculinization of society, feminization of poverty and the socio-politico-cultural devaluation of the feminine that reveals itself in the troubled state of the world today. The children, rendered fatherless through easy dissolution of marital commitments, becoming partially motherless through the absence of the mother who now has to work for economic and social independence, are hurried into self sufficiency, which impacts their psychosocial and psychosexual development, also affecting their spiritual essence – their intelligence developing at the cost of a holistic, multidimensional development, an intelligence that defends against deeper connections, an intelligence that is increasingly finding use in socially unethical and destructive ways.
The paper tracks effects of these distortion of early object representations in children, young adults and the society in context of a lack of masculine containment that informs a general disrespect for the feminine. The generation dismembers the goddess within and without, seeking personal inviolability because the adults that it needs to depend upon are no longer perceived as dependable. When these young adults come of age, they have had no role models to make them aware of their responsibility towards dependent others. This lack is causing a narcissistic socio-economic nightmare in the world that has increasing number of aging adults, foster children, disabled, war victims and veterans, ecological disasters, disappearing wild and plant species and a very contaminated earth – all requiring nurturance and compassion – and a humanity that seems disconnected from these problems. The inner spaces of the psyche that posit tenderness, spontaneity, and aliveness, the relational and healing aspects of the psyche, appear dead, this inner deadness being vehemently defended by Fairbairn’s internal saboteur, symbolized by the killer in dreams and works of art, the ruthless murderer that severs significant connections to ensure self survival.
The paper uses the Depth Psychology approach and argues for an urgent need for policies and reforms that restore the nurturing and regenerative aspects of the goddess in the psyche of the society. It argues for re-membering of the archetypal energies of the Great Mother, restoring the power of Shakti, Hestia and Gaia, among others – internally and externally. It posits that our saviors, the heros and the gods of the modern world, lose their potency, their nurturing altruism, their protective powers through the devaluation of the feminine, and are being forced into malevolence, anarchy and chaos through this denial. It discusses ways in which the dual issues of respecting the ways of nature and respecting women are ultimately inseparable concerns intractably linked to the welfare of the children, and thus to human existence, health and the well being of society.