How does a man know he’s a man? According to cultural theorist Camille Paglia, it’s only when other men tell them they are men. Women, on the other hand, instinctively know they are women; they menstruate, they get pregnant, they give birth, they lactate; it’s unmistakable. It takes a massive advertising campaign to try to convince them to doubt their femininity. Advertising in the twentieth century succeeded in increasing female insecurity about looks and weight, but women continue to know that they are women.
Men, not so much.
Masculinity, according to this theory, is much more socially constructed than femininity…
I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome just after my fortieth birthday. After twenty years of living with this disease, I have accepted it without resentment. In fact, there are times that I am grateful for it.
For years I hoped that someone would find a cure for it. Or at least a drug that would magically give me energy.
Such a drug has not been found.
At age sixty, I am grateful that I know how to manage my life with this invisible illness.
How do I adapt? I don’t try to do too much. Even though I am…
Ever since humanity stopped living in small hunting and gathering packs and began planting crops and staying in one place, our way of life has been out of balance. Worse, we started unbalancing nature itself to suit our short term needs. And we started having more and more conflict with other human beings.
Ancient peoples understood this. The people who first composed the stories that make up the Judeo-Christian bible for example, felt this and theorized that humanity’s violence and conflict were the result of disobeying God. The first hint of conflict comes with the development of agriculture. The first…
For most of its history, Canada has enjoyed social stability and general prosperity. We are a cooperative, polite people. We have never had a revolution or a civil war. We never embraced slavery.
Nevertheless, injustice is certainly not unknown here. Canada, like the United States, committed genocide against its Indigenous population. Racism here is endemic much like in the U.S..
However, we have mostly kept to the middle ground between conservatism and progressivism.
But that might be changing. The pandemic has disrupted the Canadian economy. There are Canadians who embrace conspiracy theories and deny the need for masks and social…
In the system known as capitalism, being wealthy relies on people living in poverty. The two go together like a horse and carriage- the carriage is pulled and the horse does all the work. That’s how the wealthy world operates. The horse doesn’t get fed unless it does what the carriage owner says. It might even be whipped for showing too much independence. And if that doesn’t work, it can be sent to the slaughterhouse.
Horse burgers anyone?
That’s the choice most poor people have. …
Way back in the early twentieth century, Carl Jung declared that women and men each had a shadow of the opposite gender deep inside their psyches.
Men had a female anima, and women had a male animus.
This was back in the day when gender and sex were seen as more or less the same thing: someone with two X chromosomes was female, and someone with an XY chromosomal makeup was male.
In many ways, life was simpler then. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was better.
Scientific discoveries since then have muddied the waters on gender/sexuality considerably. And I…
Before the pandemic, I was a teacher. It was a good gig at a nice school where I had worked for twenty years. I was paid well and had a nice benefits package (thank you, Canadian teachers’ union). I taught nice students from all backgrounds (I live in the most multicultural city in North America). They had involved parents who cared about their educations. There were some entitled parents and students, but mostly everyone was kind, well behaved, and appreciated the work I did.
That was all I had to do: be a good teacher. Then I would come home…
My sister phoned me the other day, sobbing. She has been recovering her early childhood memories with the help of the drug DMT. Her “visions” under the influence of this drug consisted of emotions like terror and shame. She sobbed uncontrolledly and was afraid to look down a dark tunnel that someone was showing her.
She phoned to go over the experience with me. It was a short conversation because she became so agitated that she had to hang up so she could be physically comforted by her husband.
The experience was shattering. She had fifty-eight years of emotions to…
My first book was the bible. No wait, it was a cookbook entitled Joy of Jello.
The bible was my second book. It was a picture bible with the stories illustrated like a comic book, but with no dialogue balloons. The illustrations were black and white and in the centre of the book were colour plates of renaissance painting depicting key bible moments like the creation of Adam or Mary adoring the infant Jesus.
I still have both of those books.
I loved that illustrated bible. I studied the pictures and read the captions from about age four. When my…
Humans have a tendency to see things outside of themselves as real and to see inner things as imaginary.
I’m the opposite. I unabashedly live in my own inner world. Maybe that makes me weird. Much like a Zen Buddhist, I see the sensory world, the world of things we can see, hear, feel, smell and taste, as a parade of illusions.
As Shakespeare called it, “this insubstantial pageant.”
“Isms” like feminism or existentialism or romanticism (I refuse to capitalize them) are projections of the inner world of humans onto the unknowable, unfathomable material world. …