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Chapter 1 Where to Start

Chapter 2 Language and Giving

Chapter 3 Reciprocity

Chapter 4 Definitions and Exchange

Chapter 5 The Concept of Man

Chapter 6 'Marksist' Categories

Chapter 7 The Collective Source

Chapter 8 Castration Envy

Chapter 9 Is = $

Chapter 10 Value 157

Chapter 11 Shifting into Exchange

Chapter 12 Giving Value to Exchange

Chapter 13 Market and Gender

Chapter 14 Deserving to Exist

Chapter 15 Pointing and Patriarchy

Chapter 16 The Point of the Ego

Chapter 17 What Does Democracy Re-Present?

Chapter 18 The Unmasculated Agents of Change

Chapter 19 Dreaming and Reality

Chapter 20 Giving and Love

Chapter 21 From the Garden to the Grail

Chapter 22 Cosmological Speculations

Chapter 23 After Words Practicing the Theory

Index of Figures

Selected Bibliography

Return to Home Page

Chapter 18

The Unmasculated Agents of Change

Women do give freely from their breasts to their children (and in infinitely many other ways) but, since the penis is over-emphasized, we are seen as giving from a 'lack' of the 'mark' and, since scarcity has been created to privilege having, we are often actually giving in an economic situation of lack. All of this is exacerbated because men give up the gift economy. Exchange 'gives' the gift of not-giving, while breasts embody the gift of giving.

We could speculate that the breasts are the original model for the index: the nipple is the index, and the baby's mouth is the 'object' which is singled out for attention. Then the 'points' of view are turned around. For the baby, her mouth is the center of attention, and the nipple is the 'object' that is singled out. Then the 'object' does actually point back--and gives milk. Or for the mother, if the 'object' is not pointing back with mouth and tongue, it at least 'gets the point' and receives milk.

Let us look at having as having breasts, having something to give.1 We are mammals. Though males have small breasts, there are, of course, many ways in which they and women who are not nursing babies can nurture others. (The penis is only actually 'given' to another person when boys become adults, but it is given to view and to comparison much earlier.)

These ways have been misread, hidden and disguised by the discrediting and isolation of mothering in infancy and by the patriarchal focus on the sample, exchange, reflection, having and keeping. The ways of giving include, among other things, language, problem solving, and producing goods and services as a supply for needs without the intermediate mechanism of exchange--itself derived from masculation. 'Having' is also having hands, the instruments which can be used for giving and for giving care. They do not serve only for tool-making (or worse, arms-making).

The Self-replication of the Sample

The gift the father appears to give to the boy (the gift of the penis) is the gift of similarity or equality, and the value given to equality--to the equation itself, to the boy as equal to the father as the non-nurturing norm who was related to the grandfather in the same way. It is a loaded gift because its psychological use in the society, its misinterpretation, creates an artificial need. Then the child has to try to satisfy the need by becoming like the father. Moreover, the father needs the son to be similar to him, so that he can achieve his position as sample, his own gender mandate as the equivalent to which not only all women but other (smaller) males are relative.

In patriarchy, the father has to show that he has reproduced himself. He has to show that, with the penis index-sample, and being himself the male sample he also has the creative power to make others like himself (showing that the creative power is not all in the mother sample whom he has eclipsed.) It is thus not just the relation of possession that is at the basis of men's obsession with paternity, but carrying out the mandate of the concept form as the realization of their individual, gender and species identities. Although this 'logic' functions across generations, it makes for an altogether false agenda.2

I think it is probably the superimposition of the different one-many incarnations of the concept upon each other that has been the Frankenstein which has created the white monster of patriarchy. In societies where the mother's brother has the educational paternal function, the phallus does not have to be emphasized as the sample which actually 'creates' the boy. In these societies the transmission of culture through teaching and discipline is distinguished from sexuality; the person playing the disciplinary role (the mother's brother) does not have to require that the boy be like him. In societies where this is the case, it appears that there is little violence, and that rape is almost unknown.3

Males, like females, need to remain in a giftgiving and receiving mode, so that their identities can be formed by material and sign co-munication, creating a subjectivity constructed upon an ever-changing nurturing interaction with others (an interaction which also includes a great deal of reciprocal modeling and turn-taking), rather than upon an artificial and absurd injunction to achieve an abstract position of equality with the sample. To make matters worse, this position of equality has hidden within it in a contradictory way two levels of superiority (inequality). It creates a superior category of those who are unlike giftgivers and like the sample (and might, therefore, become samples), and those who are superior because they are already samples. The injunction instates competition where it need not have been, and makes dominance and over-taking the validated mode of behavior for half of humanity.

Because it imposes itself as norm, this mode then extends to all of humanity, making those with other values subservient, invisible and not quite human. It places those who are 'equal' in a category which is given to then by the giftgivers, and which appears to confer upon the 'members' a right to make others give to them by the use of violence and/or organized hierarchies--armies or police. By reapplying the same concept logic (which requires a 'one-to-many' relation to develop generality) to this situation, we find that what is most appropriate to the logic, though not to the happiness of human beings, is that a few be the general samples for their different categories--which means, of course, that the many do not become 'samples.' Thus we have, for example, many people organized into national groups, each of which has internal hierarchies led by a few men, with one man at the head.

By taking the agenda of the concept form as the logic of the species, and those who succeed in it as the sample for the species (forgetting that women are doing things differently), dominance, over-taking and the attempt to become the concept sample and the species sample become the validated forms of behavior.

Sadly, women have nurtured this state of affairs and the efforts of the sons and husbands who are trying to succeed in it. Now, we have begun to participate in it ourselves. Fortunately, our lack of the penis has shown once more that it is not the species sample and is not necessary for success in the system. While this may have rendered suspect male superiority, it has not dismantled the agenda and the logic, but only displaced them onto other categories. Now, for example, all the people in privileged nations can consider themselves as privileged, or 'samples,' regarding those from other nations who 'should' therefore give to and serve them. All those of one race, both males and females, can consider themselves superior to other races, and they can 'prove' it by dominating other races (and by making them give to them, taking on 'womanly' nurturing tasks).

While all of this may produce horrible and opprobrious behavior of individuals of one group against others, they are all carrying out a male mandate that has been considered 'human' by Western European and many other societies for centuries. It is thus a system based on a false logic that must be held responsible, not the individuals, and it is the system that must be dismantled. Changing the individuals without changing the logic and the agenda only leaves room for other individuals to pick it up. As the old saw has it: "If everybody started out with the same amount, a few people would always get to the top." This just means that, until we understand the sickness and heal it, some people will continue to act out the agenda to the detriment of the others who don't have the 'drive' or 'ambition' (read: 'who don't have the need to be samples'). The sickness is a kind of self-replicating 'virus' (deriving perhaps from 'vir,' the Latin word for 'man').

Dominator 'Marks'

An example of the imposition of one group as sample upon others is the European invasion of the Americas. It was not just the technological superiority of the Europeans that caused their genocide of the Native people, but the fact that the Europeans were carriers of masculation at many levels: misogyny, private property, language, economics, religion, philosophy, child rearing, law, architecture, agriculture, etc.--all of which were very different in Native cultures. It could have gone the other way. The Europeans could have learned from the Native peoples instead of destroying them.

After imposing themselves as the 'superior' category with regard to a whole hemisphere, our forefathers also took on the one-many property of other human beings as slaves, forcing them to give the gifts which created their profit and allowed for the slave owners' (phallic) capital accumulation. The category of 'superiors' needs to be easily identifiable by large numbers of people. This is the function having a penis has served in categorization. White skin serves the same purpose. In both cases, the 'mark' of 'superiority' reverses the role of the mother, making the deviant become the norm, and the giftgiver appear to be inferior and deviant. In a society in which masculation and exchange are not the modes of life, this dynamic would not exist.

The hypermasculated Europeans killed and enslaved the less masculated peoples of the Americas and Africa, thereby 'proving' that they were in a 'superior'(more masculine) category, which was the norm and which permitted their infinite symbolic priapic growth--which masculated them again into an upper class of the 'superior' category. Having a lot of money also allowed them to buy and produce and build objects by which they could again be identified as belonging to the 'superior' category--the privileged among the privileged. Houses, vehicles, clothes, jewelry, skyscrapers, guns, education, travel can all be bought and are perceptually clear and macroscopic evidence of 'having,' which locates the 'havers' in the privileged category again and again.

Now I believe that the so-called 'First World' countries have become the 'superior categories,' identifiable by their physical location and citizenship documents, and they are forcing the 'Third World' countries to give to them through political, cultural and economic mechanisms, which are generally invisible to the citizenry. The exploitation that is occurring might continue to be invisible were it not for the influx of immigrants who are wisely trying to locate themselves in the geographically privileged category. The danger is that, through the mechanisms of the 'Free Market,' we will intensify the pattern of male-dominating countries and female-serving countries--finally developing into slave countries and slave master countries. Masculation is being writ large on the earth. (And I have always marveled at the appropriateness of Castro's name.)

Existence Quantified

Mothers' other-tending gives us, among other things, bodies, language and socialization towards our gender roles. The possibility of receiving more through definition motivates us, like the possibility of being named 'male.' Profit-takers make others into their masculating mothers. They make others give to them, showing they 'deserve' the profit by giving to others conditionally, using them as means.

Perhaps it is also because of the lack of access to the system of a qualitatively diverse langue, and thus our inability to explore a variety of enunciatable values in their relation to each other, that money and exchange value maintain their social hegemony--while appearing and disappearing very quickly, as they change hands in the exchange process itself. The thing 'signified' by the material word 'money' is the product (the would-be gift) undergoing the shift of the substitution of the logic (and the act) of substitution for the logic (and the act) of giving, i.e. the exchange. The value-in-communication of that 'signified' is exchange value, expressed in a particular quantity of money. Although the langue is not present to maintain a totality of qualitatively different value-mediators, the self-similarity of the substitution of the money for the product and of the logic of exchange for giving creates a self-validating mechanism which continually puts exchange in evidence while hiding giftgiving.4

Capitalism unites masculation and exchange, giving each a new goal. For masculinity, the new goal is to accumulate wealth priapically; for exchange, it is to repeat the process of masculation again and again, thus accumulating and having 'more,' deserving an ever-greater quantitative equivalent or masculating 'name,' and putting the owner into the category to which ever-more unseen free gifts are given.

Existence is identified with masculation, and thus becomes quantifiable. This gives people an incentive to have more, so as to be more. Power and potency are merged in a negative upward spiral, by which some 'successful' men (and women) can become more masculated than others--exist more--by having more quantitative 'value.' This makes them seem to deserve to exist more, which allows the upper class to self-validate and to judge those whom they exploit as 'less deserving to exist,' or perhaps already 'less existing.'

Thinking is taken as the basis for the adversarial authoritarian (exchange) identity. The capacity to perform definitions and substitutions is a recognizable constant process, which provides internal constancy (I = I) and focus in the situation of mutual exclusion necessary for private property, and also for the success of competition and ego-oriented activity. (A positive internal identity would otherwise be created through the repeated and variegated processes of giftgiving and receiving.) Exchange instrumentalizes the satisfaction of the needs of others for the satisfaction of one's own needs, and it is valued again and again above giving. Those whose will is involved in having (and having more than others) appear to think and to be rational, while those who are still practicing giftgiving (and deriving their identities from it) appear 'irrational.'

Capital is Masculated Will

Capitalism is masculation by accumulation. It is less sexist than the definition of gender because it allows some women to be 'haves' (even 'self-made haves'). However, even successful women may still seem to exist--and to deserve to exist--less than masculated men. Their greater contact with emotions, which we might call the internal presentation of needs, places women partly outside the rationality of capitalism. Then emotions appear to be the 'reason' why women (and men) who have the emotions are not well adapted to the exchange economy.

In a situation in which humans are adversarial and dominating as a community, using each other as means, human e-motion is only a sketch of what might have been possible outside the self-similar 'ratios.' It is our ir-ratio-nal emotion that continues to go out to others' needs, even when we are blocked, cut off from the actions that could fulfill the needs. Perhaps women do continue to feel these feelings more than masculated men because we are still doing giftgiving. They are a way of plotting a course towards a better world. Joy is the celebration of needs fulfilled, the divinely-paced dance of the soul freed from the cage of exchange, living in harmony with itself and others at last.

Emotion--rage--also surrounds harm, which is the damaging creation of new needs, and much emotion opposes injustice as institutionalized harm. However, the question of justice is bound up with the need to define some kinds of actions as harmful. It would be possible to create such definitions without the reprisal that is part of the exchange paradigm, and instead to prevent crimes by satisfying the needs that cause them before the motivation to commit them has had a chance to develop. This kind of solution is made impossible by the scarcity required by the exchange paradigm, and by the glaring injustices that remain un-defined or appear to be part of an unchangeable system.

Capital is the masculated ego. It is incarnate value-attribution to the shift into exchange, the masculated will, which directs energy towards amassing more wealth and power. It is the desire and ability to be more. In fact, more money is more being (more ability to substitute, to take-the-place-of). The 'free will' of capital, like the free market, isn't really free. It is channeled towards the survival and supremacy of itself, according to the mandate of masculation. In other words, it is not free to practice giftgiving and nurturing (contradicting itself, self-sacrificing, not creating scarcity for others, not creating its own increase of abundance). Giftgiving is irrelevant to it. No value is given to giftgiving because value for exchange is caught in its self-similarity, and the irrelevance of giftgiving covers up the oppressiveness of exploitation through 'equal' exchange.

Both the free market and capitalistic free will are oxymorons, if you consider the term 'free' as 'gratis.' (Even shopping is free labor, but unrecognized--the labor of 'free' choice. We are not free not to shop and not to choose--because we will not eat. If we do not have the money, we are not free to shop and to buy. We do not 'deserve' to be.) But even understanding 'free' as 'liberated from constraint,' the market and the will are free for their practicers at the cost of greater constraint for their victims. The perpetrators of the free market and of capitalistic free will are free from 'other-orientation,' from the commitment to serve others' needs, and they have to be if they are to succeed. Some of our multinationals are even more masculated than our individual sons.

What we think of as the ethical stance of free will is just the possibility of individual masculated egos to choose according to gentler values in contradiction to their socialization to power, or allow themselves to be restrained by the equations of 'justice' (while most women already choose according to a 'different voice'). By availing themselves of their discarded ability to nurture, men contradict their masculated wills to dominate, and to be more, accepting the 'constraints' of other-orientation.

Meanwhile, those who have been socialized to nurture are free to imitate masculated ways, adapting to a sick society. They can develop an exchange ego through working within the social projections of masculation like the market, espousing the values of patriarchy. However, women continue to be socialized differently, towards nurturing and, therefore, are always potentially in a situation of dis-ease within the system and in conflict with themselves internally.

Women also tend to choose 'humility,' criticizing themselves for a masculation that does not apply to them, ridding themselves of a defect they do not have. They criticize masculation as if it were a part of themselves, rather than recognizing it as, at most, their own internalization of a self-similar pattern of males (with whom they are not 'equal') and of the society at large. Thus, women fill churches, therapy sessions and self-help groups, inspecting their souls for trace-elements of arrogance and power-tripping, when in fact they are the victims of that masculated behavior by husbands, bosses, schools, universities, businesses, governments, and other patriarchal institutions. While providing a community and common values, most 'healing' approaches still hide the giftgiving values which give them life behind a male-dominant smoke screen of the masculated values of individual independence, responsibility, guilt and retribution.

If we look at capital as the masculated will, we see it as free to gain power, to 'be more' at others' expense to infinite accumulation. The practice of philanthropy allows the capitalist to make the 'free' choice of 'other-orientation' after the fact, while s/he continues to 'make money.' Charity allows the capitalist to become a 'more complete' person, balancing exchange with giftgiving and, at the same time, satisfying some of the needs that have been created by masculated patriarchal ways and institutions.5 While these attitudes may be better than unmitigated exploitative moneymaking, they only improve the lot of a few individuals, while making the individual charity-giver a better individual. The ego-orientation of the system captures our giftgiving as it encourages us to use our gifts to others for our own self-improvement.

It is only by giving to social change from a meta level--with a meta message that says, "This co-municative gift is made to change the system towards giftgiving," that the capital-will becomes general, liberated and liberating--giving to change the (exchange) system that created it. This choice frees capitalism from masculation and, by providing the financial resources, frees everyone finally to be nurturing, to practice a gift economy, a women's way. Those who are in positions of privilege cannot create change by pretending they are not privileged, or by simply giving away their 'marks' to become individually unprivileged. Rather, they need to find ways to use their privileges at a meta level to validate the model and logic of giving rather than the model of exchange.

There is a phrase which I heard as attributed to Winston Churchill: "The point is not to distribute poverty equally but to distribute wealth equally." Apart from the use of the word 'equally,' I think that the idea is very important. What we need to focus on is wealth for all, not a new system of poverty for all. It is not by making ourselves equally poor that we will change the system for the good of all. In fact, only abundance allows giftgiving to flourish. Therefore, we must use our wealth of resources, the money accumulated in capital, our land, our education, experience, communicative skills, political, psychological, and business savvy, our groups and networks to create an intelligent, non-violent transition from the system based on exchange to a system based on giftgiving in abundance.

A step in the right direction would be to stop the waste spending that is now taking place on armaments and the military worldwide. Another step would be to for-give the so-called 'Third World' debt, realizing that the debt is an artificial, exploitative mechanism which has actually already been paid back many times over. At the same time, stopping the destruction of the environment would ensure that abundance could continue to accrue in the future, rather than disappearing into an artificially impoverished and toxic ecosystem. The well-planned reduction of exploitation and waste would allow the accumulation of wealth which would permit giftgiving among individuals, as well as among groups and nations.

Women's Leadership

Because of the way the categories of masculation have proliferated, many of us belong to several different categories. We are privileged as white, but unprivileged as poor. We are privileged as wealthy, but unprivileged as women. We are privileged as male, but unprivileged as persons of color. We need to unite across the unprivileged categories because we are conscious of suffering, but we also need to unite from within privileged categories to remedy the suffering, to change the system for all. In fact, if we re-establish the mothering model and equip ourselves with the logic of the gift economy, we will give attention to others' needs and satisfy them, not only at an individual, but at a social level. The true overturning is not to put one category in a privileged position in place of another, but to put into effect the general norm-al mother-based other-orientation that bridges and breaks down categories altogether.

Masculation validates self-interest at all levels (even group or category self-interest). We must also be able to validate other-interest at all levels. The answer does not lie in categories at all, but in giving and receiving, co-municating with each other as human beings, and collaborating to solve the general problems, the needs of all, by changing the system built on masculation.

This is the paradigm shift that the New Age and other spiritual movements have been longing for. It is not based only on consciousness--though consciousness plays an important part in the necessary change of perspective--but on the real and practical satisfaction of needs and solutions to problems. Such a practice must be aided by cultural sensitivity and foresight, devising ways of satisfying psychological and spiritual needs, such as the needs for dignity and respect, for the independence and self determination of everyone who is transitioning out of the exchange and into the gift mode. The paradigm shift can be created by women, crossing all categories. Its operators are already everywhere in the international women's movement. The unmasculated agents of change are already planted in every household.

1Is that why we are required to cover them, because they bring up the issue of abundance and the gift paradigm?

2Women can also follow their father's footsteps here, by competing with and eclipsing other women who are in a mother role. They are themselves, then, usually eclipsed by men. Feminists need to realize that it is not by taking more hidden gifts and obliterating the giver that we will ever make the world a better place. Rather, we should promote the gift logic and honor the model of those who practice it in all areas of life.

3See Maria-Barbara Watson-Franke, "The Lycian Heritage and the Making of Men," in Women's Studies International Forum, 16, 6, 1993, pp. 569-579.

4Money is attached to an image of itself. The president or king's face on coins is perhaps the very image of self-similarity.

5Even groups like United Way which collect millions of small contributions from the many funnel them into projects that take care of individuals and do not rock the boat.

For-Giving Chapter 19

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