THE MASCULINITY CONSPIRACY

07: Spirituality cont’d

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The Solution

There are two streams of thought that comprise the solution: one simple, the other less so. First, as we have seen above, a good deal of the conspiracy in the context of spirituality is exactly the same as we saw in the previous chapter in the context of archetypes. As such, the jumping off point of the solution involves not thinking archetypally. A small tweak to meaning—as we saw with Fox—is insufficient. It is not enough to offer a slightly less pathological archetype or change the word from archetype to metaphor and hope this will solve the problem. It requires radically shifting how we think about archetypes to mobilize the nuance suggested by the archetypal or elemental field, rather than the pathologically simplistic models of masculinity they otherwise suggest. Or you may just want to abandon all reference to archetypes or metaphors in relation to masculinity (my personal preference).

This rejection of archetypal thinking also extends to the Bible. Whether or not the stories of the Bible are real, we read them today mediated through a text that has been culturally and politically constructed over many hundreds of years. I really rather like the idea that Jesus was real and kicked ass in the temple with the moneychangers, but that account has to be seen for what it is: a Chinese whispers snapshot of Jesus’ character in the moment, not a representation of his full self (human, divine, or otherwise). And of course, if you are going to read the Bible as inspiration, it is rather poor reasoning to cherry pick conspiratorially masculine images of Jesus being wild, when there are just as many moments of humility and feet-washing. Further still, the story of men in the Bible is so much bigger than Jesus: what a glorious spectrum of masculine characters it contains: betrayers, doubters, lovers and any number of other positions that make men the diverse, broken and visionary things that they are. In short, the solution lies in reading the Bible with greater depth and sophistication.

CONTINUE >>>

Written by Joseph Gelfer

August 7, 2011 at 2:40 pm

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