The underlying cause of woke, cancel culture, and the need for mavericks and matrons
Imagine that you are the most creative, the most talented, the strongest, the bravest, or the most compassionate person among those you know, or know of.
Perhaps you’ve gained a medal at a recent Olympic Games, after years, or decades of training and discipline. Your successes, your resolve, your discipline in the face of adversity, have instilled in you a can-do attitude that empowers you, enabling you to push through difficulties, come what may.
Imagine though, that at some point you start identifying with some group. What would happen? If you primarily identify with a group – be it race, gender, age, spiritual – you immediately diminish yourself. You can no longer be the most creative, or the most compassionate, or the bravest. You can at best be the average of the group, since the group can only be known by its average, by its perceived reputation, by its perceived degree of, or perceived lack of compassion, strength, honesty, and creativity.
Even if you belong to some elite group, that group can’t fully reflect your unique abilities and strengths – your choices, successes, hair-style, fashion, and so on. Suffice to say, to be exceptional (in any particular field – sports, art, career, parenthood … whatever) you cannot primarily identify with some group, because if you really are exceptional, you are, by sheer definition, the exception to being average (of the group, collective etc.).
Group-ism, tribalism, socialism, collectivism – when used as a primary means of identity – all diminish the rambunctious, vibrant individuality of those within said groups, tribes and collectives.
Collectivism, in its various forms, as for example that which was applied in the Soviet Union, given its innate dis-empowerment of the citizens, can and must result in widespread mediocrity, in the form of poverty, crime, disability, starvation, violence and so forth.
Now, as to why we’ve seen a trend toward collectivism, in our Western culture, commonly called woke, or cancel culture, and identity politics – let’s start with a rudimentary understanding of life.
We know ourselves – we know our names, our likes, dislikes, and so on. We’re individuals, first and foremost, even when we primarily identify with some group, we do the identifying, we do the choosing, we do the association.
But we also experience, perhaps less obviously, a sense of belonging to, or being part of something greater than ourselves – be it a family, a loving relationship, a community, a nation. It’s a sense of togetherness, of camaraderie and unity that can’t be directly seen or touched, anymore than we can touch a forest. We can hug an individual tree, but we can only infer it belongs to something greater than itself – a forest.
That rudimentary understanding leads to an appreciation of what is perhaps most relevant to many, that there is, in life, a masculine tendency toward individuality, and a feminine tendency toward togetherness. Research reveals that across all cultures, males tend to be biased toward individuality, that is to say, the masculine, while females, again across all cultures, tend to be biased toward togetherness and unity, that is the to say, the feminine. For example, the sense of togetherness with, and love of a parent for their infant child is more readily apparent in women (as mothers), than it is in men. In terms of the trees and forests analogy, a masculine person (be they male or female) would say “I’m a tree”. A feminine person would prefer “we’re a forest”.
Separateness and togetherness: two elementary dimensions to life.
So then, why the tendency toward woke, cancel culture?
First of all, it’s helpful to recognize that any form of collectivism, tribalism etc, is a feminine impetus – to belong (to some group or tribe). Groucho Marx quipped that he would not belong to any club that would have him as a member. Males tend to be, far more often, the loners, the mavericks, the weirdos and the outlaws. Just look inside the vast majority of jails. As Camille Paglia has often said, "There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack-the-Ripper". As Dr Helena Cronin reports, "Among males the variance, that is the difference between the best and the worst, and the most and the least, or whatever it is – tallest and shortest, is far greater than among females. Females tend to cluster around the mean."1
Maverick thinkers are important for reasons not at first obvious. It’s not solely because of the oppression of women that historically the vast majority of inventions were originated by men. Technology, and the discovery thereof, is a masculine focus, a focus on things. Einstein who won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the photo-electric effect, now being used in solar panels throughout the world, was an individualist who saw no need to explain himself. He was a maverick thinker. He was someone who, by his own admission, did not work well in teams.
In times past, we needed a balance of both – the mavericks who made the discoveries, and the matrons who held families together.
But after centuries of masculine inventiveness, we’ve accumulated all those discoveries and sciences – dating back around 2,500 years ago to Pythagoras and others – to build our modern, technological world: the internet, computers, cell phones, motor vehicles, large passenger jet aircraft, and so on. It was in 1675 that Isaac Newton said, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants." Our modern technologies rest on the shoulders of many inventive giants across the centuries.
One might say, the modern technological world is the solidification of centuries of the masculine. In fact, in recent times it was quipped that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. True, if there’s plenty of masculine technology to compensate for what was once highly appreciated, and considered necessary – masculine inventiveness, industriousness and protection against invaders, wild carnivorous animals, harsh weather, and so on.
Modern women don’t need a man, like a fish not needing a bicycle, because of the embedded masculinity within our cities.
As a result in recent times, in the absence of war, we don’t need men to be masculine. Men can coast along on the embedded masculinity of our technologies, obsessively playing their computer games to exhaustion.
And that’s where and when “identity politics”, and woke, cancel culture steps in. The impetus toward being woke is due to the absence of strong masculine roles in our culture. A strong masculine energy allows people to be different, to be the mavericks, to be outspoken with the likelihood of offending some or many, to “go their own way” irrespective of what is considered politically correct.
A strong masculine energy “holds the line” – it affirms boundaries, it creates space, it provides firm structure, and it gave rise to our Western “rule of law” based democratic culture. A democratic rule-of-law culture is deeply reliant on individualism – the freedom and autonomy of individuals to build, create, contribute and behave however they wish, within the rules of that culture, save for those ardent mavericks who will do their own thing irrespective of etiquette and rules.
That freedom to be oneself, and to express oneself honestly even if it offends some or the great many, is being “cancelled” because it can, and often does, disrupt the expected obedience to group-think within various groups and collectives.
The ‘vacuum’ created in the absence of strong masculinity draws in seemingly paradoxical behaviors, for example in recent years, that of young Western women willingly leaving their comfortable lives in Australia, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, to join the harsh and strict warrior groups, such as ISIS who were openly misogynistic.
There’s a yearning in many young women, and young men, for strong leaders, for advocates of strong stoic masculinity. In recent years psychologist Professor Jordan Peterson regularly spoke to large attentive audiences in hundreds of cities across the globe, about the need for people to be, at times, in effect 'masculine' – to stand up straight, to take on responsibility, along with other advice. A strong, masculine individual is not easily, if at all, offended, for she or he has a firm sense of self - they take responsibility for their emotional responses to various comments, opinions, insults and barbs. They are not 'triggered', or 'victims' - they recognize their co-creation of events and circumstances, and work to improve, correct, or heal. They accept the aphorism of the late Jane Roberts (Seth), that "you create your reality according to your beliefs".2
However, strong masculinity doesn’t imply or tolerate meanness. A strongly masculine person respects and protects the complimentary feminine essence within themselves and in others. Using a castle analogy it has been said, in respect of historical gender biases, men build high walls with which to protect those inside from outside dangers, while the women inside arrange long tables around which everyone can share.
As a general rule, the problems we see in society will be due to an imbalance of the masculine and the feminine, and that is especially true in recent times, when we see the imbalance exemplified in highly feminine woke groups, including many corporations that have been known to fire employees who weren’t sufficiently subservient and passive, that is to say, “woke”.
I’ll have more to share on this, in due course, in particular the fundamental principles of quantum physics that elicit and necessitate a complementarity of the masculine and the feminine.
ps. the adage that "men build high walls ... while the women arrange long tables... " is in deference to cross-cultural gender biases. Women are, to whatever degree they choose, masculine, and men are, to whatever degree they choose, feminine. Some women are more masculine than many men, and vice versa. However, as Prof. Peterson and others point out, left alone with their free choice, for example in Scandinavian countries, men tend to prefer masculine "thing-orientated" professions, whereas women tend to prefer feminine "people-orientated" professions.
pps. The ideas presented in this article are expanded, and validated with research data, in my book "The Dynamics of Gender and Life: Timeless Principles of Quantum, Fractal and Natural Phenomena, and Human Social Dynamics."
Available at https://procreative.com.au/product/the-dynamics-of-gender-and-life
Some reviews of my work are available at https://beliefinstitute.com/reviews
Serpentine Galleries, Extinction Marathon 2014: Helena Cronin, ‘Sex at Work: The Tenacious Grip of Extinct Ideas’, Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, Nov 18, 2015. Web. Accessed 9 April 2018.
Jane Roberts, "The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book"