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Archetypal, Mythic Strong Women and Patriarchy -- A Conversation with Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD-- Transcript

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storycon.org H4'ed 12/14/15
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Rob: Wow. You know, one last question....one last question I've been wanting to...I thought about would be interesting -- ISIL or ISIS -- ISIL, we'll go with ISIL because ISIS was a goddess, so we'll go with ISIL. What's your take on the people in this group in the middle east?

JSB: Well first of all, I am so glad it's not referred to as ISIS, because she was the goddess, ancient Greek goddess -- not Greek, Egyptian goddess who gathered the dismembered pieces of Osiris together and put them back together again. And so ISIL is doing just the opposite -- it's disrupting things. And the only reaction that men seem to have, because we're all alpha males, is more force, bigger guns, challenging the leadership of anybody who's being thoughtful about what might work since this hasn't worked before. And the one solution is always bigger and more powerful aggression back. And it's like, 'Oh here we go again.' It's the same idea -- that famous saying that, "We who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." And I don't think that the solution is in military might, that it has to be a change...it has to involve the people who are affected and that means the women as well as men.

Rob: They're saying that ISIL is backed by Saudi Arabia, which doesn't allow women to even drive on their own.

JSB: Well it's a fractri...all of these are fratricidal wars. And the other thing -- whether it's in Palestine, Israel or whether it's in Syria -- wherever it is -- whether it's Sunnis and the other side...

Rob: Shias...Shias.

JSB: Yeah, it's very much like what's happening in western Europe between the hundred years wars of religion -- it's a theological based....and it goes back to the basic fratricidal story of Abel and Cain. I mean we are living out tribal warfare as embodied in Genesis. I mean, really, to think that it would be possible to evolve into doing it differently. And I know it's not possible until women are involved, because right now, for example, after the genocidal wars in Rwanda and where the males of both sides were either dead or had fled, it was women who took over the governance of Rwanda and it's the only country right now in Africa where childhood mortality is way down and lots of good things are happening.

So I don't know how to get from one place to another in a linear way, but I know it always starts by women themselves valuing what we have, expressing what is needed by our children, and making it possible for men who know better to not lose face by adopting the solutions that are recommended. And the United Nations in its Women, Peace and Security Resolution, 1325, it's called the Security Council Resolution 1325....if we did that -- if every conflict had women involved as it was building up to try to end it while it was going on and afterwards at the peace table, in sufficient empowered numbers, then solutions would be different than, okay...Round 3, Round 10. Right now, yes we're going to have a diplomatic discussion, but the loser will come back with another round after that.

Rob: Well let me just take one step back because you brought up a concept that I just wanted...I have to know more about, this idea of fratricide that is tied to Able and Cain. Sounds like there are archetypes there too.

JSB: There very much so is archetypes, and this is the...I mean here are the first family of the bible. And one was a tiller of the field and the other one was the...raised cattle or sheep. And Yahweh was the Father God at that point -- tribal Father God. Each young man brought the best that he had grown or nurtured to Yahweh. And the words are, 'He had disdain for the gifts of the field,' so that Cain's gift, Abel's gift were disparaged. And the one who raised sheep was blessed. And then when the two young men -- one who had been favored and the other one who had been disdained -- were together, the one who had been disdained killed his brother. So we begin with fratricide as the first act of brothers in the bible. What if both were given their due and differences were valued? What if brother were not set against brother?

My...the equivalent of the Yahwehs that head their various religions or their various governments or...this is a kind of appreciation that I'm mostly talking about for recognizing and valuing women. It's like valuing the different types of men. We don't...it isn't what you do so much in our culture, it is if you are a hyper-masculine male versus a overly-sensitive male, and most men are somewhere in between, you still know which ones are favored by success and which ones are not.

Rob: It's interesting because, you know, you can really go dig into this. So you're saying that Yahweh favored the one who gave him the sheep, which is basically controlling animals and killing them for the service of man, versus the one who was a vegetarian who worked an nurtured the earth. (Laughs) You can really parse this out in some odd ways.

JSB: (Laughs) It still, yeah, that is the value, you know. And also, the Nomadic peoples were the ones who came with their weapons and sky gods into old...what's called old Europe. They came down with their sky gods and their horses and could dominate the goddess worshipping people who grew things in the field and probably raised some sheep as well, but they didn't...or maybe they did, maybe they didn't -- it's just that the Nomadic tribes require the animals often do in the land and they have to move on. So they're always moving on into other people's property. And because they were superior and their ability to dominate, and had contempt for people that didn't fight back as well as they could dominate, that's sort of a repeated history over and over again.

Rob: And those Nomadic people basically survived by being predators.

JSB: Yes, they did.

Rob: Well, keep on going Jean. Dr. Jean Bolen, the author of Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Every Woman. We're going to wrap now because we've gone way over time but it was worth it. Thank you so much. I'm going to stop the recording now, but hang on a second, okay?

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