suboMale leadership, patriarchal values and a few powerful men's ceaseless struggle for money and domination have subjected the Earth to environmental catastrophe and sparked a frightening nuclear arms race. Since the time of the suffragettes, women's influence on politics and economy is steadily growing. Not only in western democracies do women hold positions previously earmarked for men - but worldwide - the level of well-educated women is currently increasing at a notable rate. However, with this positive trend in mind, how much has fundamentally changed? One must question - have women wholly managed to really increase their political and economical influence? Furthermore is it enough to make a substantial difference? Progress is made, but the overall investment in male projects as armaments and the environmental degradation is steadily rising. In many cultures, women remain subordinate to their men, brothers and even their sons. Unprotected by law, locked up or kept as slaves, women still constitute cheap labor in households, industrial production, and the sex trade. Mindful people understand that the World is in dire need of an alternative to today's destructive male leadership. History shows that men in power will not in sufficient time be able to change their behavior to stop the emerging catastrophe. Could a radical increase in Female political power save the situation?
Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Liczba stron: 430
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostepny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacjach Legimi na:
To my Father who taught me about Fear and the use of
Power and Violence to Rule and Dominate!
To my Mother who taught me the Power of
Peace and Kindness!
To both of them who taught me love and respect for Nature.
To my brothers Per, Gunnar and Gustaf who showed me the effects of Fear and
accepted the use of Violence and
To my sister Carin who saw the cruelties but never dared to oppose the oppression.
To my two sons, Måns and Christian who taught
me the difficulties and limitations of Parenthood and Love.
To my grandsons Magnus and Theodor and all children of the World
to whom I leave a World I desired to change for the
better, an aspiration, which I have to leave for others to continue.
Writing this book has taken many years of hard work. Countless times, the text has been revised and there is probably not an opinion or line that has not been discussed, reformulated redrafted and reprinted, – many of which – being subsequently rejected. I feel enormous gratitude to all those who have patiently endured my constant trial and tiresome testing of various hypotheses. Writing it has been like a journey through the densest jungle, a sometimes daunting place full of biting insects, stinging plants, menacing animals and disagreeing humans. But every now and then, these have been replaced by scenic meadows with the most beautiful flowers, birds and helpful people. In fact, the tremendous support received, has proved most valuable and it is impossible to cite every individual contributor. Nevertheless, there are a few names that have been crucial for the final compilation of the text.
Firstly, I want to mention Francesca and Gunnar Dahl who, almost sixteen years ago, opened their home for my dedication to writing. Without their friendship, generosity and crucial support there would probably never have been any book.
The same strong gratitude goes to Mariana Alzamora and her family, who for six years have tirelessly read, questioned and discussed my ideas. Mariana’s personal engagement and contributions have led to some of the book’s most important conclusions. I also want to thank my two sons, Måns and Christian for reading, digesting and offering their supportive comments. To my sister Carin Hartmann for her guidance on young men and their beliefs and preferences. To Marisa, Kerstin and Therese who are organizing women to discuss their experience of men, patriarchy and the future of female influence on politics and the economy.
I want to thank my editor Barry Byrne for all his comments and his virtually endless efforts to make the text consistent, trustworthy and readable. My friend Jan Wisén who was the first person to read the full manuscript and his sound advice for some final changes. My gratitude also goes to the book designer, Samir Nezic, who put the text and pictures in order and reshaped the design of the two front and last pages.
Finally I thank Desiree Wardle for her necessary extensive proof-reading, polishing the text into its conclusive shine and Annie Walker for her conclusive work on the cover. Last, but not the least: to all of you women and men from Manila, Seoul, Amman, New York, Mallorca, Stockholm, San Jose in Costa Rica, Berlin, Saigon, Phnom Penh and many, many more destinations, who have all told me your story and lent me your ear for varying periods of time. You have not always agreed and some of you have been rather negative, but your comments have always been important and always taught me something – about you, my self and the world we share.
THANK YOU ALL!
6th of January 2019
Dear friends, two nights ago I learned that my book Empowering Women is now censored and banned in the following 16 states: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The reason: “it contains not allowed content"!
This happened at a time when the Saudi-American journalist Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside a Saudi consulate in Turkey, and two female Scandinavian tourists were beheaded in Morocco.
These deeds may not be linked to the murderers religion even if some executioners use their religious beliefs as an excuse and cover for their violence. From a distance, the deeds does not look connected, but a common denominator is the executioner’s self-appointed right to use violence when threatened. The excuse may be treason or religious values, but it is essentially all about men fearing loss of their power and dominance.
This book openly advocates the increased political and economic influence of women. Not only in specific countries, but everywhere. We now live in a global community, where we all share a common interest in survival. This, however, is not yet accepted world-wide; some nations continue to insist on doing things "their old traditional way". Alternatively they’re “just following traditions”, as I was told once when visiting an Arab country.
To enable change, I believe many more women must enter onto the political stage. We must leave tribal and national thinking behind. Solving conflicts with violence should belong to history and needs to be replaced with respect for the individual and Nature, with laws based on international agreements and United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights.
I do not know for sure if this is the main reason why my text has drawn such an aggressive and decisive response. Perhaps there are passages in the book that infuriate certain individuals. I can understand how the idea of dismantling patriarchy might cause fear and rejection among some men in some countries. However, for me, as a free-thinking human, as one who honors the value of equality in total; gender equality, freedom of speech, free elections, the right to vote, the right to education, fair trials and individual protection by universal laws for everyone, the time for change has come. Using violence to solve conflicts is an old male prerogative that has no place in contemporary societies. To all men and all women who may fear change, I say this: it is already happening! Men and patriarchy are losing influence. Moreover, this is both essential and urgent. Some may try to temporarily hinder change but it cannot be stopped. If we men are to avoid becoming irrelevant and obsolete, we have to change our values and start supporting change by supporting women. We all need to learn how to live with this new paradigm.
If you feel like supporting the movement http://empoweringwomen.world, please pass this link on to friend and foe alike!
Serving the future, all humankind, Nature and, above all, our grandchildren and the coming generations,
Björn Larsson Lindman
Part 1 Women´s Empowerment Reasons, Experience and Ideas
Chapter 1 Power – A background
Part 2 The Origin Of Power
Chapter 2 Aspects of Power – a new approach
Power and Evolution
Our Quest for Power
Power and Human Biology
Chapter 3 Power – A Philosophical and Theoretical Background
Old Definitions of Power – a Background
Power and Consciousness
The Roots of Conflicts
Part 3 Power - New Definitions
Chapter 4 Re-defining Power – A Discussion
New Definitions of Power
Part 4 Power in Action
Chapter 5 Power, Needs, Instincts, Drives, Desires and Motivation
Power and Basic Needs
Power and Derived Needs
Power and Freedom, Individual and Group
Power, Violence and Peace Work
Power over Life and Death
Power and Sexuality
Sexeconomy and Romanticism
Chapter 6 Power and Personal Assets
Erotic Assets and Erotic Power
Male Sexual Deficit (MSD)
Female Intimacy Deficiency (FID)
Part 5 Gender, Power, Values, Language and Change
Chapter 7 Power, Values and Change
Chapter 8 Power - Female Values and Female Attitudes
Female Values (1)
Female Values (2)
Female Values (3)
Power and Female Values (4)
Chapter 9 Power - Male Values and Masculine Attitudes
Power and Male Values
Violence and Death
Competition and Status
Chapter 10 Power, Values and Traditions
World Values Surveys: Inglehart–Welzel Global Cultural Value Map
How Cultures Vary
Aspirations to Democracy
Empowerment of Citizens
Globalization and Converging Values
Gender Equality Values
Power and Values
Values and Gender – and the Distribution of Power
Chapter 11 Power and Language
Power, Gender War and Language
Part 6 Democracy, Autocracy and Leadership
Chapter 12 Traditional (male) power play
The Desire and the Will to Power
Power Struggle in Nature
The Psychology of Power
The Magic of Power
Power and Responsibility
Chapter 13 The Law of Great Power
The Law of Great Power
Gaming for Power in Larger Contexts
Chapter 14 Traditional Power Struggle
Traditional (Male) Rules for Successful Power Struggle
Men, Power-hunger and Democracy
Part 7 Archo-Exousiomania: The Power Obsessed Personality
Chapter 15 Power and Psychopathology: The Power-Obsessed Personality
Diagnosing Excessive Hunger for Power and Domination
Chapter 16 Tools for Analyzing and Diagnosing the Power-Obsessed Personality
ArEx: An Obsession with Money and Domination
Chapter 17 Donald Trump, his voters and contemporary America - A case study
The Current State of Trump’s leadership
Trump’s War on Media
Part 8 Patriarchy and The Exercise of Power
Chapter 18 Power and Leadership
Exercising Power - Building Patriarchy through Traditional Male Domination
Power and Cooperation
Chapter 19 Male Power and Violence
Evolution and Violence
Chapter 20 Leaders on War, Nuclear Arms and the use of Violence
Part 9 Women’s Power and Leadership
Chapter 21 Women’s Power in History
Changing Gender Power Structures
Women’s Attitudes to Power, Domination and Control
Chapter 22 Women’s Power and Leadership
Introducing Female Leadership
The Demonization of Women
Women's Leadership: Disabling Patriarchy
Women as Leaders – an example
Leadership and Managerial Styles
A Perfect Society
Signs of a well-functioning society
Chapter 23 Male Attitudes to Women's Power
Part 10 Globalization and the Future of Society
Introduction to Globalization
Chapter 24 Globalization and Global Political Leadership
Globalization - A New Concept
The History of Globalization
Global Companies and Organizations
Future Global Leadership
Conscious Global Leadership
Chapter 25 Saving the Globe
A New Global Governance
New Screening Mechanisms
The Global Council of Women
Part 11 Conclusions
Contemplating the Present and the Future
About the Author
Books and Publications
The Doomsday Clock has been hanging on a wall in the office of the Chicago-based Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1947. From the very beginning, it represented the threat of a global nuclear war. Since 2007 it has also reflected the risks posed by climate change and new developments in life sciences and technology, which could inflict irrevocable harm on Nature and Humanity. The clock is monitored by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin, who, in turn, are advised by the Governing Board and the Board of Sponsors, including 18 Nobel Laureates. The closer they set the Doomsday Clock to midnight, the closer the scientists believe the World is heading for a global disaster. This ominous clock was set to three minutes to midnight on January 2015 due to “unchecked climate change, global nuclear weapons modernization and outsized weapons arsenals.” The Board changed this setting in January 2018 by moving it to two minutes to midnight. This setting was retained 24 of January 2019 (YouTube, 2019)
The idea that “the end is near” has haunted man since the dawn of humankind and the Internet is full of Doomsday predictions. Historically, we have seen Doomsday as something coming from the outside, such as a comet or an act of God’s wrath. Today, for the first time, humans have created a possible catastrophe by our own will and actions. Our ingenuity has caught up with us, and our limitless greed – fed by fear and innate aggression – thereby manifesting itself in self-destructive behavior. Just like a herd of elephants, destroying the land they feed from.
We overfish the seas and empty rivers and lakes for irrigation. In deed, we leave behind a poisonous legacy for future generations to tackle: mountains of garbage, deserts, undrinkable water and toxic soils.
In a vain effort to protect ourselves, we create weapons of immeasurable potency, which, if used, will destroy not only the enemy but also our possibility of survival.
Morally, passive scientists assist global companies in their quest for more money and power. Oblivious to the consequences, they tear apart nature, never fully appreciating that it has taken Evolution more than half a billion years to arrive at its present magnificence. Even the Atomic Scientists seem paralyzed by the fear of their Doomsday Clock.
Merely watching the unfolding destruction and announcing the coming annihilation of the world without trying to stop it is a bit like saying, “Oh, I believe our house is on fire,” then giving a sigh and a shrug, and going back to sleep again.
Having practiced as a psychologist and psychotherapist for more than forty years, I have become aware of our constructive as well as destructive sides and how they both work in parallel within each of us. I have seen what happens when a person’s destructive side is let loose. But I have also seen what happens when the good and constructive sides are affirmed.
I have also studied the differences between men and women in how they use their power to influence and lead.
“Men and women are different! We have different hormones and different sexual organs and different biological abilities – women can have babies, men cannot! 52% of the world’s population is female but men occupy most of the positions of power and prestige.”
(Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi, 2014)
My central theory is that the current imbalance in power between men and women accounts for many of the problems we see in most societies all over the world.
That there is such an imbalance is undeniable. In the 92 years since US women won the right to vote, just 313 women have been elected to Congress compared with about 12,000 men. According to the UN report, State of the World’s Women, which includes statistics from 157 countries (Inter-Parliamentary Union, National Parliaments 1. April 2016, Archive of statistical data), 50% of the world’s population is women. Women do two thirds of all jobs, own 1% of what men own and are paid a mere fifth of all salaries compared with men.
Of the world's 800 million illiterates 66% are women. In political institutions, such as parliaments and so on, women hold on the average less than 20% of the seats. According to data on Women in National Parliaments (2019) Rwanda scored highest, with women there holding 61% of the seats. The US ranks 79th out of 193 countries, with women holding 23.5% of the seats in Congress, close to Montenegro’s 23,5 % and Lesotho’s 23.3 %. Of the western democracies, Sweden, Finland and Iceland scored highest with about 40% of the seats held by women.
It is my considered opinion that behind the present dangerous situation, embodied in the ticking Doomsday Clock, are power obsessed men with extreme attitudes. From years of working as a mentor and advisor to CEOs in a wide range of enterprises, I have seen how men’s interest in power and domination renders most male top managers and leaders incapable of making any meaningful changes. Their fear of losing the race to the top or their top position is the main reason for their passivity. An evident and present danger might spur some of them to action, but the majority will do nothing to prevent an impending disaster.
Patriarchy is often questioned and discussed by many, and now and then there comes urgent calls for change. The dangers associated with excluding half of the world's population are becoming increasingly clear to more and more people. However, as there is no general agreement on what changes are needed, it would be optimistic in the extreme to expect any significant changes.
In summary, today’s leaders, mostly men, blinded and intoxicated by dreams of more money and more power, will never be able to change sufficiently to help save the world from impending catastrophes. I contend that families and personal relationships, as well as companies and institutions, would all benefit from a greater and more significant female influence. Therein, this book aims to champion the influence of women and feminine values in all societies worldwide.
The main barrier preventing career women from reaching positions of power and influence is all too often their lack of knowledge about how men obtain, exercise and retain control and how male-dominated institutions work on a more profound level. Women frequently tell me they know this, but from my male point of view, there remains, among women, a lack of crucial knowledge. And while men may not know everything about how male power operates, most will have a kind of intuitive feeling how patriarchy works. Born into its benefits, men automatically feel they should defend it. I aim to explain why the current situation needs to come to an end and how we might go about achieving this.
This book is addressed to women because, having worked with women leaders for over forty years, I am convinced that within many women, especially older women, there is an obvious “treasure” of wisdom, which may, if harnessed, help lead us away from the dangerous course in which we are heading.
As power issues have become increasingly global, I have interviewed women in power from many different cultures. All over the world, on a daily basis, women experience the injustice of how power is exercised and distributed. According to those interviewed, it is the societal values and cultural forces, or traditions, (as the Muslim women preferred to call them), that govern the division of power in their societies and permit injustice and violence such as the abuse of children, women, men, and Nature. 1
During the interviews, I discovered that many female leaders seemed guided by similar principles, regardless of the country or culture they lived in. These women’s adjustment to the usually male-driven forms of organization had not diminished their sense that “If I had it my way, things would be different...” My interviews with women exercising power, in mostly male-dominated organizations, have had a significant impact on the conclusions in the book.
Today, looking at women who exercise power, I find myself able to distinguish between different male and female principles for leadership. These findings are essential for the conclusions of this book and the possibilities of finding an alternative to male governance.
In our search for alternative leadership, some critical questions should be answered: Are there any significant biological and psychological differences between the sexes? And if so, compared with men, are there any differences in women's relationship to power and their use of power? And if this is the case, how are these differences manifested? And could a greater feminine influence, authority and leadership save the world from men’s destructive use of power?
Later in the book, I will be looking at these questions to see which values and ideas are required to create a sustainable future leadership.
While working on the book, I have occasionally met women who have questioned my role and objectivity. If we assume that a prerequisite for discussing female power issues should be neutrality and that a man would be biased when he talks about women, my critics are indeed correct.
Maybe the most thought-provoking reaction came from an Afro-Dutch woman accusing me of “whitesplaining” - a spin on the word “mansplaining”- used by women to question men playing “Mr Know It All.” Questioning my motives as a white male, she wanted to prevent me from explaining to women from other cultures how to live their lives. Disregarding the fact that accusing me of “whitesplaining” is both a sexist and a racist remark, at the time of her comment she had not yet read the book. Still, she may have a point. I come from a world engrained in patriarchy – where a father ruled his family – amidst a distinct social setting. When it comes to power and domination, basically everything I speak about is derived from that very source. From birth, I was trained to be a patriarch. A white patriarch! It’s a role I have been fighting against for the better part of my life, but into which I may slip into when “challenged”. Then, my behavior and “style” may turn somewhat “bossy” and arrogant. But we should not disregard the fact that we all are also capable of prejudice.
The more people that hear about and read this manuscript, the more aggressive they seem to get – there’s almost a cumulative effect. I also see a divide emerge. Between 20 and 30% of all men are resolutely negative because they believe it’s wrong to give away male secrets. More than 50% of women say they don’t like a man explaining to them what it is that he considers “all” women should know. Some also say “it is not really interesting!” Alternatively, they just say they are tired of “mansplaining!” and that they already know what I am about to say. Some have the attitude: “Do not for a second imagine you have anything to tell us that we don’t already know!” Or as my sister expressed it: “Don’t expect me to read your book!” When I asked “Why?” she answered, “I don’t think I want to know!”
Women ask for more humility from my side; a gentler, less authoritarian approach; less arrogant! They are right! Having been harassed and demeaned by men for centuries, I do understand women who might detect the wings of history when they read or hear what I have to say. Sometimes I listen to my tone of voice. No excuse, but when growing up, this is how I heard – and learned – how men express themselves. Getting rid of old, convenient habits is very hard. The protests also make me very curious. Which comes first? My gender and behavior or the message I wish to portray. A woman suggested I use a feminine pseudonym. Of course, it feels somewhat detrimental to be dismissed by people that haven't even read the text, such as, for example, the Arab censors.
I assume, when talking about the other sex, regardless of gender, that we are all destined to be biased and ignorant. What follows is my utterly subjective testimony, seen through the prism of my gender, upbringing and of course my white Scandinavian background.
Nevertheless, knowing all too well that the topic is very delicate and overcharged with emotions and prejudice I have endeavored to think and write as neutrally and humbly as I can. Whether I have succeeded in this, is for the reader to judge. I hope my gender does not discourage anyone from reading about how dangerously some men can manipulate in order to obtain and stay in power. I hope we all can work together to save us from the present perilous situation.
New York, Mallorca, San Jose, HCMC and Stockholm 2019
Björn Larsson Lindman
1 Out of respect for Nature, which is the origin of all life and all species, I write it with a capital letter, as well as Evolution, Consciousness and Awareness, which all are essential for the understanding of human nature
Studies of power and its social distribution have a long history and, until recently, almost all such studies invariably had been about the power of men. For millennia, scholars and laymen have discussed the possibilities of creating a just and well-functioning system. Literature concerning power is, except for a few sharp observations, mostly a mix of religious utopias, justifications for the rights of the strongest and fittest, tracts on laissez-faire, or codes on hard economic governance where a strong state and its elite distribute the resources.
Being born into a genuine patriarchy my understanding of how power works and how men use force to dominate, emerged early in my childhood and continued to develop through my work as a counselor and mentor to leaders. Becoming a father at the age of 24 was a significant turning point – that was when I began questioning the reigning male values and how these shaped the future of our societies.
I was the third child in a family of four, three boys and a girl. We lived in Nyköping, in Sweden, a small conservative town 100 kilometers south of the city of Stockholm. It had once been, albeit for a short time, the country’s capital. My father’s side of the family had been independent farmers for many generations. My grandfather was an entrepreneur as well as a farmer and had started a hardware store in a nearby town. When he died in a drowning accident, my father, then 16, together with his three sisters, inherited the small business. While his older sisters’ husbands jointly ran the business, my father was taken out of school and sent to another hardware store to be trained in how to manage his late father’s business. Two years later he returned to his hometown to work with his brothers-in-law. They did not get along well, and he borrowed to buy his sisters out for a generous amount of money.
The bank must have judged him correctly because as the great depression tightened its grip in the 1930s, he was already debt-free, and he and a friend began buying small farms, which they used as piggy banks. My father rarely expressed any feelings, but I did gather that he had been distraught by his sisters’ demands. At the same time, there was a palpable, barely concealed pride that the bank had shown confidence in him by lending him a substantial amount of money. Since my father was selling farming equipment, he also had good relations with the farmers in the area. Later, I learned that, as he was financing the modernization of their farms, they often owed him money, which gave him and his family privileged access to families with big estates, good hunting grounds and elegant parties. My father had soon made a name for himself in the town’s society and he was now climbing the local social pyramid. Eventually, he had developed his inheritance into a large and prosperous enterprise.
Meanwhile, my mother’s family had, since the 16th century, been made up principally of clergymen. Later, in the 20th century, they branched out and became intellectuals, mathematicians and astronomers. My mother, who’d wanted to become a veterinary nurse working with sick dogs and horses, was 11 years younger than my father. When they first met in 1936, she was 22, from a family of artists, and was working as a farmhand at the time. She was sporting a headscarf, wide stable trousers and a simple blouse; with shovel in hand, she was cleaning up after the horses. He, 33, and already an established businessman, elegant, with his own car, well groomed, and smartly dressed in a tailored suit, dark brown well-polished shoes and chamois leather gloves. The difference in status established a permanent inequality between them, with my father in the dominant role.
This was a position which became more and more accentuated with time and one which he would later misuse. My father was inevitably subject to the then prevailing societal values and he was very concerned about his social status. When my mother became pregnant before they were married, he forced her to have an abortion - despite all the risks that entailed in 1936.
After they married, they had four children in the space of five years. My mother was a very gentle person and had never been mentally stable. Being continually pregnant whilst being under constant criticism of her husband, the whole situation exacerbated her psychological condition and she eventually had a nervous breakdown. She told me, later in life, that she used to bite her nails down to the point where they started bleeding. This disgusted my father and left him feeling ashamed of her. She finally got help from the most prominent Swedish psychiatrist of the time, Sigmund Freud’s friend Dr. Poul Bjerre. He helped her get back on her feet, but it took many years and a dramatic divorce to restore her broken self-confidence.
My father’s authoritarian and violent attitudes were made tragically clear when he shot my mother’s beloved Great Dane, Pluto, the only thing she had actually brought with her into the marriage. She used to tell stories about how intelligent he was. If anyone called at the door, she wouldn’t have to get up and open it. She would ask Pluto to do so. He would go to the door, open it and take the visitor’s hand in his mouth and lead her or him to my mother. Pluto is the first dog I can remember, and to a child, he was immensely big. Of all the dogs we had in those days, he was the only one allowed indoors. I was three when he disappeared. My mother later told me how my father, without telling her, went for a walk in the forest with the dog and a gun. What he did with the body I do not know, but he probably threw it into the dung pit near the cowshed. My mother never saw her dog again. To my mother, he merely explained his deed by saying: “he was old and sick anyway!”
I spent my childhood and the wartime outside the town on a big farm. Being in the countryside, despite wartime rationing, we had plenty of food and even a secret room with contraband such as coffee, tea, and chocolate. In 1952, my father bought a big townhouse in the same town where he had his head office. He moved his family to the new house to make it easier for the children to attend high school.
I grew up in a society that was under the strong influence of the surrounding big estates and their owners. Despite 40 years of social-democratic government, the elites still dominated the area, as they had for centuries. The feudal structure was very much like the English system, with the eldest son inheriting the whole of the estate and the younger siblings having to seek their fortunes elsewhere.
The attitude towards children was mainly antagonistic and one of dominance. Children were regarded as women’s business, and any love and intimacy I experienced as a child was in the nursery and the kitchen. Fathers kept a distance from their children and rarely took any part in their upbringing and education.
Of course, these men must have had a need to feel both loved and to give love. However, a loving attitude was regarded with suspicion and as a weakness. Frustrated men would throw themselves into predominantly stereo-typical male activities such as hunting, guns, horses, dogs, visiting prostitutes and drinking. Young daughters might enjoy some affection, but for sons, aptly timed with the onset of puberty, often had to leave home and family to attend boarding schools or to be trained elsewhere.
Such boys were often treated violently, which created an atmosphere of hostility, fear and revenge. It was only when the boys reached an age where they could physically defend themselves that the mistreatment and abuse would finally cease. I vividly remember the last time my father gave me a box on the ear. I was 15 and had a heavy spade in my hand. When he saw me lift it to hit back, he quickly left the scene. Ironically, this incident, like all other occasions, were never mentioned.
Overall, male attitudes were invariably distant and aggressive and, ultimately, based on fear. I grew up in dread of my father who criticized not only me but also everyone else in the family. He rarely praised anyone or anything. My sister was the only exception, and as we all grew older, she rose in position in the family hierarchy till she eventually replaced our mother.
I have vivid memories of how my father regulated relationships and the flow of emotions. The boys were treated as enemies and competitors. In front of guests, he would complain about his inept sons, who, in his view, would never amount to anything. To ensure that distance was kept, he insisted that we all call him “Father.” Any other name was absolutely forbidden and would immediately result in a demand for rectification. As an adult I tried to call him by his first name, Sven, which immediately resulted in a stern look and the retort: “Father, you mean!”
I vividly remember when we, my mother and the four children, went to the local train station to pick up my father, who was arriving from Stockholm. He had probably been away for quite some time because we were all dressed up in our best clothes and my mother was wearing an expensive fur coat and a hat typical of the mid-Forties. I can still feel the tension and excitement as I watched my father stepping out of the train onto the platform and coming towards where we all stood, tightly grouped together. He was elegantly dressed in a camel coat, a matching brown hat, brown suit, white shirt, tie and, as always, his meticulously polished brown leather shoes.
Suddenly my oldest brother could no longer hold himself back and, with elated enthusiasm, began running towards our father to greet him with a big hug. We all felt and saw the bitter disappointment and loss of face my brother experienced when our father, with a raised hand, stopped him in his tracks and, metaphorically speaking, forced him down on his knees.
Without making a sound, my brother let his arms fall down to his sides. He kneeled slightly and hastily turned around. His eight-year-old feature were desolate and white as if he was about to faint, and I could clearly see tears in his eyes. His pained expression and loss of self-confidence were evident to all of us children.
Growing older, I saw a quasi-feudal society dominated by authoritarian men, a few of whom were friendly to us children, but who were mostly very assertive and stern. The women were, with a few exceptions, wholly subjugated by their husbands. They may well have been, in many ways more intelligent and more able than the men, but to keep the peace, they mostly backed off when it came to conflicts. Many of the women kept their heads bowed and learned tactics to cope with the oppression. They established a secondary ‘mother culture’ where we children could hide from our hard and frightening fathers. My mother developed one such effective escape strategy. Almost always and without any good reason, my father, upon returning home from the office would immediately criticize her and us children. So when she heard my father at the front door, she would often take the dog for a walk, silently sneaking out the back door. My mother’s fear resulted in a distant and ‘faceless’ father, who only became visible when he found reasons to criticize and punish us.
When I was 12, I was sent away to boarding school. The atmosphere at the school was very similar to the one I experienced at home. My memories of oppressive incidents and aggressive teachers are numerous, but I remember some particularly pertinent scenarios, because they so clearly reveal the values of the society, I was raised in.
A glass windowpane was found to be broken and the headmaster came down from his office to find the perpetrator. We were all lined up in the main hall and the headmaster called out loudly, demanding that the culprit step forward. With no confession forthcoming, he began to walk down the line of boys starting with the older boys and working his way down to the youngest, staring each of us in the eye and accusingly saying, “It was you!”. Suddenly a little boy, aged around ten, was so terrified by the situation that he acted guiltily. Without hesitation, the headmaster’s fist shot out striking the child’s face, knocking him unconscious to the floor. The boy was taken to the local hospital and I distinctly remember how, afterwards, I was ordered to help clean the blood from the floor.
The school had its own “court” consisting of 12 of the oldest pupils, elected by their teachers and the headmaster. Due to being late for supper three times, I was sentenced to three lashes from the court’s whip. With my hands tied and a bandana covering my eyes, my pants were pulled down and I was forced to lean forward over a school bench. After the beating, I was led out into the entrance hall with my eyes still covered. There I was left standing alone in the cold until someone permitted me to return to my dormitory.
As a child and a youth, my experience of forceful men and passive women made a deep impression upon me, and for many, many years, fear strongly tainted my relationships with adults. At 39, I finally confronted my father. He was having dinner and lost control completely. He dropped his fork and knife on the plate, as he kept on repeating: “You are accusing me, you are accusing me…” After a few attempts, I had to give up because his fear made me reluctant to hurt him. It was very difficult for me to look at him in this pitiful condition.
For many years the unresolved relationship with my father hampered my personal development and I can still, at 78, feel and see the negative result of my twisted upbringing. I felt very lonely and, to survive, I had to toughen up. As there was no good shelter or hiding place, I had to stand in the cold wind training myself to become my own hero, fighting for mere survival.
From the age of nine, I was allowed to carry my own gun. After all the confrontations with my father and my brothers, I used Nature, hunting and my dogs to recuperate. At 15, in the schoolyard, a boy, two years junior, and the son of some family friends, suddenly came up to me. With a demeaning tone, he said out of nowhere: “You will never, ever amount anything!” I was profoundly shocked; I remember how I immediately placed his comment into a bigger context.
They had been talking about me! I had been discussed by others and they saw my shortcomings! I was deeply hurt!
The defeat was intensified by the fact that I was in love with this particular boy’s sister. His older sister was the most beautiful of all the girls in the school. A student, leader of the school's girls’ gymnastics group and “majorette” for the school orchestra, she was almost like a superior being. Our families used to meet quite frequently at Christmas parties, and one winter, she taught me how to dance. I even kissed her once – or perhaps she kissed me? I do not remember, because, at that age, I was timid and insecure. So, it must have been her. I had been dreaming of getting closer to her, but now I realized she was unreachable. I would never dare to approach her again. The disgrace was complete. Probably the shame hit a deeper level of my self-image and my whole, basic existence. On top of my sad childhood, all these feelings increased, eventually leading to a turning point. Up to now, my mind had been like a windmill and a total mess. My grades were embarrassingly low and I had been sent away to a boarding school for a few years. As nothing seemed to help, I was eventually sent abroad for a year.
Indeed, her brother’s demeaning comment had set an alarm bell ringing – and it has been ringing since, although it gets weaker with passing every year. At that very moment I realized I had to begin fighting or lose it all. I had to create a self-restoration plan. I did not like other people seeing me as a loser and a clown. I looked for some way to save myself and, as I already felt at home with the forest, the sea and my dogs, I trained hard to reach the status of a good hunter. Nature, with its animals, forests, lakes and sea became my favorite habitat and my hideout.
My rehabilitation plan was never expressed to anybody. It was more on the subconscious level. Today, looking into the rearview mirror, I can see that I acted like a dog following an invisible trail.
I began working harder and my grades improved. To earn money I had an evening job at a local bar. My parents divorced and I stayed with my father, which, in hindsight was probably a mistake. There was never any recognition from him, even when I returned home from the school with the highest grades - results which eventually opened up the doors to the best universities.
To win my father’s approval, I began my academic career by attending The Stockholm School of Economics. Not because I found this subject particularly interesting, but because it was regarded as high in status and demanded the highest grades, I believed it would earn me my father’s approval. After all, he was a successful businessman. Not once did he make comment or acknowledge any of my achievements.
Looking back, I realize that trying to compensate for my father's lack of recognition, almost destroyed me. I purchased a centuries old estate and transformed it into a modern conference hotel with 83 bedrooms and an excellent kitchen. I hired staff, worked as a management consultant, offering workshops. I formed a family. However, it all became just too much. With the depression 1993, I was made bankrupt and had to give up, not only the beautiful estate my partner and I had worked on day and night for seventeen years, but also the beautiful home that we had created in the city.
Trying to compensate for the loss of my father’s love brought me to my knees and dragged down with me the rest of my family.
With my career as a businessman behind me, I noticed a change in my personality – a return to my own self, a self I regarded to be a better, healthier, and more sensitive individual.
For many years, the unresolved relationship with my father had hampered my work as a leadership counselor. At the beginning of my career, I was unreasonably hard on the men I was guiding. Later, after training to become a psychotherapist, I was able observe myself and men and women from a different and sounder position. I slowly discovered the vulnerability of dominant and authoritarian men, fighting for recognition. Inside our external, protective shells of aggressive behavior, I saw the shivering and abandoned boys driving the action.
Eventually, I realized, the time had come to develop a more nurturing and loving attitude.
Nowadays, meeting men, especially those who are authoritarian and dominant, awakens in me tender yet sad feelings, reminding me of my broken relationship with my father and my lost childhood. Had my father been a loving person, not driven by fear and need to control and dominate, all our lives would have been far more relaxed and more fruitful. Instead, his dictatorial attitude and negative behavior created a family and children with deep ruptures, internal competition and sad discord.
Today, to my great joy, patriarchy is breaking up and I can see my sons taking a very different attitude towards their spouses and their children, supporting their well-being every step of the way.
This promising attitude seems to follow an international trend. Everywhere I travel, regardless of the culture, country or continent, well-educated young fathers seem to accept new roles, where caring for their families and their partners’ equality is regarded as natural.
In Western countries, in many aspects, the situation has fundamentally changed in a positive direction. Many more women are gaining access to political power and, having had the first black man as a president in the USA, it’s only a matter of time before we see a woman president in the White House.
In Scandinavia, recent generations of men show more interested in sharing responsibility for the upbringing of their children, while the government in Sweden has legislated 480 days paid leave so parents can be at home with their children. 90 days of the 480 are reserved for the father and the mother respectively and cannot be transferred to the other parent. How the rest of the time is divided is left to the parents to decide. If they so choose, this theoretically means that a mother or father can have more than a year at home with their child without the risk of losing their jobs.
However, even if Sweden is on the right track, we are far from an ideal situation. A significant threat to increasing democratization and women’s growing influence is that wealthy and power-hungry men continue to dominate both local and World politics. Vast enterprises with global interests command more and more of the World’s economies, thus establishing a new World order similar to feudalism and colonialism. Their use of violence, bribes, and lobbying to protect their economic interests does untold harm to the democratization process – a process that is crucial for the empowerment of women.
Male values form the political and economic base in almost all societies around the World. Through traditions and old institutions, we are all programmed to believe that this is the ultimate immutable order. But if these male values remain unchanged and unchallenged, they represent a clear danger to the future and thus demand greater attention.
Changing established values seems to be the only enduring solution. For the most part, people are well aware that changes are necessary, but good ideas on how to bring about such moves are rare. One reason may be that most people do not understand how power-obsessed people think. We may see the result of their acts but by then it is most likely too late! We fail to understand their motives and values and how these individuals act to conquer and maintain their positions. Anyone who wants to encourage and bring about change should be made aware that the aspiration for power is addictive and very corruptive, and that the thirst for power can become a severe disease. This disease, along with our ignorance and unawareness of it, is probably the main reason for today’s dilemma.
A weakness with many democracies is that politically passive people are unconscious of the dangerous situation and thus fail to exercise their voting rights. If we are to prevent the rise of totalitarian rulers and safeguard Western Democracy, people must be taught, through massive international programs if need be, personal responsibility for protecting and maintaining democracy. We need to be shown how situations can be reversed. We need to know how we got ourselves here in the first place. We need to be made aware of what the future dangers and possibilities are. We all need to learn to respect Nature, to work for ecological sustainability and avoid violence by seeking peaceful solutions.
We need to work for international agreements overseen and safeguarded by a new global leadership entrusted with far-reaching powers, and controlled by the public. To enable progressive changes we need radical thinking and radical tools.
Even if it seems that men intellectually understand the need for peace and arms control, man’s biology requires him to seek status and domination, and many men regard violence as the most natural accessible means to this end. All too often, when men initiate changes, threats of force and violence are used. Now, if we are to make the World indeed a better place, violence is not an option. Using violence would be to submit to the same values that we want to change and would only lead us back to the same old male positions.
Male institutions are usually robust, impenetrable fortifications and to unlock them and finally dismantle them, we have to understand how they are built. And built, as they are, on archaic values, once we have broken through their defenses, they will fall more easily. To understand this situation, and, crucially, if we are to change it, we need to look in the rear view mirror, to see how this all came to be.
By now, it should be evident that my primary targets for change are male institutions, male values and attitudes, and above all, men in power. This is not to let women off the hook. Women’s passivity or adaptation to patriarchy may be explained, but should never be excused. Most women know very well men’s inbuilt destructive side and how men can use their aggressivity to destroy both family relations and the environment. Sadly, probably to avoid conflict, many women with the power to work for a change, too easily embrace patriarchal values. Changing old power structures, such as old male hierarchical institutions, demands great resoluteness. We cannot rely on men to lead the necessary changes because that would “disempower” them – something they would never voluntarily allow.
Any substantial change will require women to take an active and central role in the process of change. For sure, this change is urgent. It must come in time to prevent future global wars and climate change. And though changes are apace, the immediate, ongoing emancipation and empowerment of women is not happening fast enough. If we are to guarantee the future, we must organize, educate and inform ourselves, free our minds, increase our ingenuity and dare to think and act radically. Furthermore, we must crucially understand the very nature of power itself.
Theories on Power and Authority Domination, Control and Influence
Tysiące ebooków i audiobooków
Ich liczba ciągle rośnie, a Ty masz gwarancję niezmiennej ceny.
Napisali o nas:
Nowy sposób na e-księgarnię
Czytelnicy nie wierzą
Legimi idzie na całość
Projekt Legimi wielkim wydarzeniem
Spotify for ebooks