The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade demonstrates incredible indifference to women of this country by eliminating agency over their own bodies. As long as there is gender inequity in the accountability for pregnancy, women are not seen or heard. Legislators have been indifferent toward the plight of those women who have been raped, or find themselves carrying an inviable fetus. Those who support this decision claim no human is fit to decide on the ultimate fate of a fertilized egg, yet humans have decided on the fate of an adult female who finds herself in the unenviable position of an unwanted pregnancy. This is not about unborn babies, it’s about power and control over women’s bodies.
I wrote those words in a letter to the editor of my local newspaper about a week ago, in the wake of the Roe v. Wade decision by the Supreme Court. I wish the decision had been a shock, wish it had been something that blind sided us all. But unless one has been comatose for the past several years, this was no surprise. It has been open warfare on women and women’s bodies for quite a while now.
I would love to say there was once a time when a woman could say no and enjoy the support of society for their decision, but that hasn’t really ever been the case. Women have collectively not been able to love on their own terms, marry as they please, experience pleasure as they wish, or choose not to propagate the species. We have been convinced that we don’t know what we want, don’t know what’s desirable, and that we are here to care for the future of the hunters and gatherers. There are a few holes in that paradigm, I would say.
If one looks at our society in terms of systems theory and organizational design, women are certainly not seen as apex resources. Our physical strength is seen as inferior, but we are the apex of the reproductive effort. Instinctually, mammals protect their ability to radiate and propagate. That works very well for bats and lemurs, but not so well for humans since we have more complex brain functions. Those complexities are coarsely mixed with our basic instincts, and we’re a lumpy mixture of desire and survivalism that is not terriblly adaptive.
Or maybe I sell our adaptivity short. Perhaps we are making a conscious choice to be non-adaptive, to maintain the low viscosity of our current state. It’s easier to stay inert, particularly when hormones fuel desire and lower us to our lowest common denominator – that of want. Not need, but want. We want what we want, and some of us will do anything to get it, because that brings in the power dynamic.
Most beings have a power dynamic – insects have it, birds have it, mammals certainly have it, even plants have something of a dominance trait. Survival of the fittest. If we chose to stay at the lower echelon of brain function, that would be enough for homo sapiens, but our brains are a blessing and a curse. We are capable of thinking our way into creature comforts and longer life spans. We are, however, not capable of conscious adaptation for the betterment of the species.
That’s a tall order, I suppose. We don’t understand where instinct separates from intellect, where progress diverges from power. Where democracy splits from a good idea to something far too painful to achieve. Where the needs of the many truly do outweigh the desires of the few.
Where are we to go from here? I’m not sure, but we will go on, and some day it will be very different. I predict the difference will manifest after we have lost a great deal, come very close to annihilation, tried and failed many times to change the current paradigm. That will be many lifetimes past this one, it seems, if indeed there are other lifetimes. My individual consciousness will be lost in about twenty-five years from now so…what do I care?
I suppose I care because if any clump of my essential life force recombines with any bit of another force, I’d like to ensure the most providential environment for that to occur. Environment well beyond the physical confines of this planet – this one is just where I happened to manifest, I believe. The Universe is a flat plane of creativity, and we can make it incredibly toxic if we resist change very much longer. Perhaps that’s what the Big Bang really was – a resistance to change so great that it (whatever It is) imploded. All that energy at war with itself, just as we humans war with ourselves over matters we seek to control but ultimately cannot. Our brains are complex, but our vision is limited. As Mr. Scott warned in nearly every other episode of Star Trek, “If the anti-matter mixes with the matter, Captain, the ship is gonna blow!”
Are we the matter, or the anti-matter? I’d say we are both, but that’s way too much complicated discourse for a non-scientist. For a wonderer, and a wanderer, I can leave it at the simplistic model that we are both the substance and the anti-thesis, the yin and the yang, the black and the white and everything in between. In us lies the light of the Sun and the darkness of the Void. Extremes are far simpler to navigate than the hazy zones where they meet. I’d like to think we’re coming a bit closer, though – that’s why things seem so uncertain and unreliable right now. No worries. That’s how we got here.