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Re: Sexism etc

Dec 13, 1996 12:27 PM
by Tom Robertson

At 09:19 AM 12/13/96 +0000, Murray Stentiford <> wrote:

>Tom, I responded at length to some of your expressed ideas on 6 December 96,
>without anything I can conceive of as being personal insult or name-calling.
>Perhaps you did not receive that piece, or maybe it has receded in your mind
>in the dust of subsequent battle. I am not holding this up as a fault - just
>feel that it needs pointing out.

I read your article before, and just re-read it.  It was reasonable and
intelligent and I basically agreed with it.  It stressed the
complementariness of men and women and how inseparable thought and emotion
are.  One potential source of misunderstanding is that all of the
Theosophical education I have received draws a distinction between intuition
and emotion, which I began my participation in this list by assuming it is
generally agreed with.  But when statements are made such as "compassion is
a feeling," it makes me reconsider this assumption, since it makes me
believe that emotion and intuition are being lumped together, as they are by
most non-Theosophists.

>>I said that, in most marriages, the man is more of a leader than the woman
>>is.  No one responded to that by disagreeing with it.
>> [and later]
>> ... there was no sign of
>>anything like "I disagree; I believe that  .....
>I addressed this specific issue by providing an outline of an understanding
>which would take in differences of strength or development at different
>levels of being. Further, an understanding that would allow for time
>fluctuations of the relative strengths at each level, even complete
>reversals, and that broadened the field of application to more than just
>man-woman relationships. Implicit (at least in my intended meaning), was the
>idea of *equality of value* coexisting with differences both great and

That all made sense to me, but I am not sure you disagreed with my
generalization as much as you pointed out exceptions to it and added ideas
that I had not considered.

>I also tried to dissect out the negative associations inherent in
>words "weakness" and "dominate" by providing a (to me) judgment-free but
>much more expressive metaphor of complementary elements of polarity where to
>receive was not weakness, but could have strengths as great as giving, all
>participating in the universal economy of energy at every level.

My use of the word "dominate" was probably inappropriate and/or unfortunate,
since it was generally understood to have much more Neanderthal,
nonconsensual connotations than I intended.  I was referring more to,
specifically in their relationships with each other, how much more men take
the initiative than do women and how natural and preferable to both parties
this generally is.  The ideal relationship is between equals, and the main
reason I did not respond to your article is that I had no basic
disagreements with it and I thought of nothing I could have added to it in
your descriptions of how male and female energies complement each other.

In the aforementioned article, you wrote:

>"So then, "liking to be dominated" might become "enjoying the magnetically
>receptive role", and liking to dominate could be transformed into "enjoying
>the radiant transmissive role", in a context of freedom, empowerment and
>mutual respect far beyond those implicit in old terms like domination."

I never could have expressed it in this way, but this is closer to what I
meant by "dominate."  'Active" and "passive," as spirit is active and matter
is passive in their union with each other, would have been better words for
me to use.

You also mentioned Dion Fortune.  I have read "Esoteric Philosophy of Love
and Marriage" several times.

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