Lefty Parent

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Circle of equals

Posts Tagged ‘hierarchy’

Moving Beyond Civilization’s Tools of Control

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

LeviathanThis is a follow-up on my previous piece, “From Civilization to a Circle of Equals”, where I put forward a view that human civilization, since its flowering 5000 years ago with the invention of literacy, appears to have been built around the control of the majority of people within its purview by a minority elite.  This piece focuses on some of the specific mechanisms of control, some developed in ancient times but continuing today, and others that are more recent “innovations”.

I think it is critical that progressive people understand this history and these continuing mechanisms of control, so we have more of a chance to rise above these manipulations by controlling elites.  It is equally critical that we avoid advocating for these manipulations ourselves, in our efforts to create a more egalitarian narrative for human society going forward into the future.  Control, even by the forces of egalitarian ends, is still control, and diminishes the natural human spirit to control ones own destiny.

So here’s my list of such mechanisms, certainly not a comprehensive one, but some of the obvious bigees and a few others you might not have thought of.

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Moving from Hierarchy to a Circle of Equals

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

When people ask me, “What do you do?” or “What kind of work do you do?”, they generally are asking me what kind of job I do to make a living. And particularly because I am a white male person of some economic and educational privilege (with a head full of gray hair), they often presume that that job is a fairly high-powered one, and a major part of how I define myself. My job is fairly high-powered, I am a “business process consultant” for Kaiser Permanente, specifically the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, which is a not for profit health insurance company. But nowadays, that is not how I answer the question of what I do or even what my “work” is.

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What is 21st Century Learning?

Saturday, February 5th, 2011

A recent Ed Week online article, “How Do You Define 21st Century Learning”, featured the thoughts of eleven people connected to the US education establishment as teachers, consultants or educrats. I was intrigued how each would frame this topic, relative to my own framing as a parent and more of a many educational paths (including unschooling) advocate. (FYI… to see my own thoughts on this topic click here.)

Here is the article author’s framing of the question…

The term “21st-century skills” is generally used to refer to certain core competencies such as collaboration, digital literacy, critical thinking, and problem-solving that advocates believe schools need to teach to help students thrive in today’s world. In a broader sense, however, the idea of what learning in the 21st century should look like is open to interpretation — and controversy.

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It’s the System!

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I got feedback from Blanche, my partner Sally’s mom, that the term “patriarchy” does not really resonate with her in terms of describing that model of society and its institutions that I keep referring to in many of my blog pieces. It was interesting that Blanche focused in on that term and made the point to share her thoughts with me. I have been wrestling with the term myself versus various other descriptive words for the same concept (like “hierarchy”, “us and them”, “pecking order” or “pyramid of control”). These to contrast this organizational model with the more egalitarian “circle of equals” (a good descriptive term that I’m more happy with using), which I believe to be the model our human society is evolving into.

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Challenging Patriarchy

Saturday, November 28th, 2009

Coop Headshot 1So once you define the contemporary manifestation of this ancient way of being, and maybe understand how it has managed to perpetuate itself through a couple hundred generations of parents to children, how then do we address challenging and working towards ending this (what I would call) perpetuated vestige of an archaic system for organizing society?

Allan Johnson, in his book The Gender Knot, says the solution starts with acknowledging patriarchy exists as a collective system with its own internal logic, conventional wisdom and “paths of least resistance”, rather than as bad behavior by a bunch of individual men towards women. A systemic problem is not resolved by trying to identify “bad apples” and somehow weed them out or limit their influence. Most men and women participate in this system without consciously intending to oppress or be oppressed, without even being aware perhaps that the system exists. (more…)

Perpetuating Patriarchy

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Toddler in StrollerSo how does a 5000 year old system of ranking and hierarchy with men inexorably at the top perpetuate itself through hundreds of generations and never get written off as archaic and crumble into the dust of history? Why was I so embarrassed in my late forties when I was deftly tossing a football with several slightly younger men (enjoying a moment of perhaps jocular camaraderie), who then threw it to my teenage son and were aghast when he threw it back to them, as it were, “like a girl”? What ancient warrior ethos had I violated in not properly training my son, an ethos that still somehow held sway somewhere in my subconscious? What gives this system its staying power, and does its longevity speak to its continuing merit? (more…)

Defining Patriarchy

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Patriarchal FamilyI was introduced to the word and the concept behind it as a teen by my mentor slash “guru” and “feminist aunt” Mary Jane. She was (and still is) a brilliant and radical feminist, disguised in the muggle world as a cookie-baking mom of four kids who befriended my mother in the late 1960s through a mutual friend. I recall Mary Jane, ever the provocateur, showing up at some of my mom’s numerous and boisterous parties dressed in a maroon monk’s robe wearing a large women’s liberation medallion (the women’s symbol with a clenched fist inside the circle) hanging from her neck where one might expect to see the Christian cross on a real monk. The words she made up to convey her arguments were just as calculatingly provocative, including her term, “patriarchal pimperialism” to describe male control of women’s sexual lives and behavior. (more…)