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Obsolete Use of Sex and Gender in Esoterism? Options
 
Voidmatrix
#1 Posted : 6/11/2022 3:08:50 PM

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This has been something on my mind for a very long time.

Within multiple different kinds of esoteric practices, there's the attribution of traits to various kinds of matters that are symbolically embedded. They are often reduced to some binary set.

What I feel has become outmoded and outdated is the utilization of gender as traits to explain and catrgorize certain kinds of esoteric matters.

In some practices, things observed as "dominant" and "powerful" are donned with the masculine quality, while that which is "passive and "nuturing" are coined feminine. But this seems to be an error in that it doesn't appear to accurately reflect reality, but moreso our societal structuring and modes that encourage, groom, and condition individuals to fit these roles. In looking at beings on the whole with gender attributes and considerations, this seems patently inaccurate, with different types of beings (species) trading and/or flipping some or all of these roles.

These esoteric models are intended to reflect and explain reality in a way, but with such attributions in question seems to lead us down a road of being too anthropocentric. Are these matters not about existence as a whole and not just humanity?

Should the masculine/feminine paradigm not reflect all gender based life, and not just societal humanity?

This comes up in my mind because I feel that it at this time only proliferates the issues we have around the world with regard to gender equity and equality. Because these practices are so archaic and old and held in a high regard because of their test through time, these negative ideals are deeply entrenched in thinking around the world. But they really seem to be mistaken. Could we not just leave the gender component out? There are still plenty of dichotomies we can use in our esoteric understandings without it.

With psychedelics, my gender understanding and position has changed so many times, having some experiences where my gender is not what I'm used to, if there at all...

Also, perhaps gender isn't as cut and dry and binary as we'd like to think.

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null24
#2 Posted : 6/11/2022 5:26:39 PM

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Gender as a concept in humans are socio/cultural constructs that relate to a society's views and way of life of it's peoples. The dominant paradigm in western culture has always been or has become, toxic and does not reflect the spectrum upon which we exist in modern society.I feel confident in saying that those concepts SHOULD be challenged as we as a whole are progreesing to be more inclusive. Well, maybe not a whole, but hopefully that will change.

That said, in Western esotericism (I don't know enough to speak at all on Eastern thought), the feminine and masculine represent the duality that exists in the universe. The separtion between opposites, as well as the unification of them within the divine which can be brought into one's being through practicing the precepts of, for example Kabbalah. All Western mystery traditions use these as illustrative tools. Yes, the feminine is dark, negative while the masculine is light, positive. Erasing the moralistic ideas that may arise from these terms used in this way is a way to create an internal model of the universe to explore the concepts of it's being, and our place within it.

As I am sure you know, many languages have built in gender for nouns, something that has always baffled me but which certainly serves some utility.

Not arguing with you, as I see and hear what you are saying. While I identify as a CIS-gender man, I most certainly do not represent the values of mascu;inity in my culture. I cooperate, instead of compete, and seek to be in compassion and understandig rather than conflit to get what I want out of life. But I do relate to the concepts of gender as presented in some of the philosophical tools I use to make sense of living in this three dimensional universe.
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Tomtegubbe
#3 Posted : 6/11/2022 6:56:53 PM

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I believe the feminine energy and masculine energy are real energies that are beyond the attributes we ascribe to them.

Sometimes you get a positive feminine vibe from someone, sometimes a positive masculine vibe and it gives power to your masculine and feminine aspects. The active and the receptive. I believe these archetypes are important for tying together traits that could be inspected separately but which provide a certain red thread you can follow and be in relationship with these primitive energies which give rise to beautiful phenomena when they work in unison. That's how at least we are born.
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dragonrider
#4 Posted : 6/11/2022 8:13:58 PM

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For a very long time, people have just been talking about gender, without actually having done any research on it.
I believe that it is only pretty recently, that brainresearch has been done on gender identification.

It could be a coincidence, although i don't realy think it is, but the only two studies done so far on this field, where done by two belgian universities.

They found that there realy is such a thing as typical male and female brains, and that the vast majority of people who identify as transgender (i don't recall the exact percentages), indeed do identify with the gender that corresponds to the type of brain activity they exhibit.

So that means that people who say that transgenders are just some crazy perverts who belong in a mental institution are clearly wrong. Because if you identify as a women or a man, you most likely áre, or at least, your mind is that with wich it identifies. The point is: you're nót wrong.
(Anyway, i don't think semantics is realy the issue).

But it also means that gender is not just, or not entirely, a social construct.
The perspective we have on the world, is probably in some way being being shaped by the type of animal we are. But it is also being shaped by our culture and upbringing, so that makes it kind of hard to distinguish or untangle the nature part from the nurture part.

I personally think that human sexuality is a wonderfull thing. Very deep and primal, yet extremely complex and sophisticated. To some extent sexuality is a universal part of the human experience, and yet it is also so deeply personal, individual.
Our sexuality is a reflection of every aspect of our being. From our biological instincts, to our early childhood memories, the culture we grew up in, the people we've met during our lives.

And yet we, humans, are basically just bald apes with udders.
 
dragonrider
#5 Posted : 6/12/2022 7:04:48 PM

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I want to add though, that i also had such thoughts while on psychedelics. That we indeed tend to project a masculine or feminine nature, on things to wich these labels do not realy apply. Sometimes even on things that aren't even biological, like mountains, buildings, or cities.

Another thing i would like to add, is that these days, and i think null was already refering to this, people sometimes talk about things like "toxic masculinity". But i think that in most of these cases, when people speak of toxic masculinity, they actually mean fake masculinity.

Because usually when men behave like this, it is just a lot of posturing to hide their underlying weakness. A pathetic attempt to look very masculine, without actually being it.

It is typical that all these so-called "masculine leaders", these supposedly "strong men", have only managed to create weak nations. If putin would have allowed liberal democracy to exist in russia, russia would have actually been the superpower it so desperately pretents to be. If victor orban would not have been such a "strong leader", the average income in hungary would have been 50% higher, like it is in the neighbouring Czech republic that started out with the same economy after the collapse of communism in europe. If mainland china would have adopted the same societal model as taiwan, it would have been the largest economy in the world already, and make up over 50% of the global economy, dwarving all of the western economies combined.

These "strong and masculine" leaders, all produce poor and weak nations, and on lower levels, poor and weak communities, or poor and weak families.

So they are not strong and masculine at all. They only pretent to be. And it is pathetic. If it would not have such horrible consequences like war, oppression and famine, we should probably feel sorry for them.

But i think it would be a mistake, and a very toxic one as well, to conflate this posturing with actual masculinity. Because both masculinity and femininity, are beautiful aspects of human existance.
 
Voidmatrix
#6 Posted : 6/12/2022 9:51:22 PM

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Thank you all for your thoughtful contributions. I really appreciate having a dialogue about this.

To clarify, I understand the utility of using these gender associated terms with regard to understanding parts of different kinds of dualities, and I don't deny that some energies can be feminine or masculine, and I do feel that gender is a biologically discernible thing. I am concerned with a) the scope in which these ideals are used in a two-fold way: 1. If these esoteric philosophies are focused on reality as a whole and not just humanity, then should there not be ultimate terms for each one of the elements of duality that are not centered on biological life? 2. How accurate are the associations that we categorize into each of these two categories? And b) what the implications are from the observations in investigating the questions above.

If we look at the animal kingdom, gender roles as we prescribe them in the esoteric milieus in question are not so binary. While a male lion is the dominant one by role, he is not so in action; it is the female lions that bring in the food, and that defend the pride. A mother bear is not passive... some female members of some species dominate and even kill and eat the males and it is generally one-sided, there are different varieties of sea life that change gender and sex.

There's a book on alchemy that I've been reading. At one point, the author states that the Sun is identified with the masculine dominant energy, but then later states that everything is born out of the sun. Everything being born out of the Sun says more to me than the sustaining power of the Sun and so I can't help but feel the Sun would fit moreso into the feminine aspect more than the masculine.

The implications in my mind, if I'm onto something, are that we still have some fundamental misunderstanding in our conceptions used for our understanding. The words we use have implications, associations, and connotations attached to them. It seems perfectly feasible to me to create or have created new terms when talking about the peak and complete categories of the "duality." I feel that humanity latched onto the feminine and masculine terms because in a more primitive state, were more anthropocentric.

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murklan
#7 Posted : 6/13/2022 12:03:51 AM

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Smile Another interesting and wonderfully complex topic Voidmatrix!

The subject is difficult to stay neutral around for me since it's interwoven with politics, ideology and things that triggers me. I understand that I have underlying views on the (mostly human) world that in some ways makes me biased, but I'll try to stay open and able to change my mind (isn't this is on a psychedelic forum anyways Pleased ).

Some time ago I use to get turned off by what I saw as a very unnecessary, false and boring binary logic around human genders and how it's put on almost anything. Very much including spirituality and 'esoteric matters' as you write VM. But I also realized that this red flag hindered me for seeing other things that were behind/beyond this very human terms. So now I try not to dismiss things to soon even if I still feel that these (actually quite fuzzy) biological terms with their heavy historical/ideological burden are a real limit and danger to a better life and more sound world. I don't have my perspective ready for sharing so I'm glad that you brought it up VM so that I can read and think more about it.

Voidmatrix wrote:
...
The implications in my mind, if I'm onto something, are that we still have some fundamental misunderstanding in our conceptions used for our understanding. The words we use have implications, associations, and connotations attached to them. It seems perfectly feasible to me to create or have created new terms when talking about the peak and complete categories of the "duality." I feel that humanity latched onto the feminine and masculine terms because in a more primitive state, were more .


I feel that the terms, words and concepts we use are by necessity based in the societies we live in (also the quite 'un-English-able' experiences sometimes encountered by people in this forum). And even if I perhaps would not say that those concepts you write about comes from a more primitive state it's certainly a state that has a more rigid view of the world based on a certain anthropocentric frame.

But if we still want to talk and (try to) understand the world and it's assumed polarities with our human minds, what concepts can we use that are less burdened? Just think of black <-> white and we have another complex polarity with political and personal dimensions.

Sorry if this is very unclear and/or basic to you. It's late here Smile





 
downwardsfromzero
#8 Posted : 6/13/2022 1:03:43 PM

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Voidmatrix wrote:
If we look at the animal kingdom, gender roles as we prescribe them in the esoteric milieus in question are not so binary. While a male lion is the dominant one by role, he is not so in action; it is the female lions that bring in the food, and that defend the pride. A mother bear is not passive... some female members of some species dominate and even kill and eat the males and it is generally one-sided, there are different varieties of sea life that change gender and sex.

There's a book on alchemy that I've been reading. At one point, the author states that the Sun is identified with the masculine dominant energy, but then later states that everything is born out of the sun. Everything being born out of the Sun says more to me than the sustaining power of the Sun and so I can't help but feel the Sun would fit moreso into the feminine aspect more than the masculine.

Here's my deranged and spontaneous thoughts on the matter, which had already began to coagulate before reading the above-quoted post. I was mulling over how, besides the dualistic masculine/feminine we also get the ternary classification both in alchemy and some other systems. Of course, in alchemy it's sulfur, salt and the mediator, alchemical mercury. Now lions, as much as hunting the occasional zebra, gazelle or wildebeest, do have a distinct habit of stealing most of their food from hyenas. The hyenas do most of the hard work of hunting. And females hyenas have a remarkable sexual physiology to the extent that they're almost intersex, with very high testosterone levels and an exceptionally large clitoris that resembles a penis - much as I recall, at least. This fortuitous example tempts me to draw parallels with the androgyny of the alchemical mercury.

All in all I would say you are correct to point out that whatever models of the universe we choose to underpin our conceptualisation of experience, do also tend to mould that experience.




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― Jacques Bergier, quoting Fulcanelli
 
Exitwound
#9 Posted : 6/13/2022 3:51:50 PM

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yes lets not forget that our interpretations of any framework, are constrained by our own bigger frameworks.
I have yet to meet anyone or read any explanation of how the universe works Smile
 
Homo Trypens
#10 Posted : 6/13/2022 8:08:38 PM

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null24 wrote:
As I am sure you know, many languages have built in gender for nouns, something that has always baffled me but which certainly serves some utility.


As a native speaker of German, it was always just normal to be this way. I can't think of any situation in my life where it was useful to have it. For me, the English way of not assigning genders to nouns is progress. If only for the fact that noun's genders differ between languages, and it's kind of a pain when learning a different language.

An example: In German, the sun is female "die Sonne", and the moon is male "der Mond". This is in contrast to any Latin languages, where it's the opposite.

So, unless we want to call some languages 'wrong', we'll have to conclude that the specific association we make isn't really important, because there's different valid ways to construct a world view. I'd argue that even if some were wrong and some were right, we're not in a position to determine which is which, because we can't perceive objective reality.
 
dragonrider
#11 Posted : 6/13/2022 11:15:20 PM

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Maybe you could see it as a sort of achilles heel for any spiritual practice, that it could easily escalate into dogmatism. Even the most essentially anti-dogmatic spiritual traditions, like buddhism, are often being practiced in a very rigid and dogmatic way.

And if there's one thing that religious or spiritual institutions tend to be dogmatic about, it is gender and sex related issues.

It seems to me, that flexibility instead of rigidity, is very much an essential part of how humans and other social animals function, socially.
Maybe in some very primitive species, gender roles actually are very rigid, but for any species that has such complex social interactions as humans, or even apes or wolves, it would be highly impractical to behave according to rigid role patterns.

So i personally think that we should see flexibility or fluïdity as an essential part of gender identity.

My reasoning would be that, though gender and sexuality are concepts that originate in biological reproduction, they play an important role in the social life of primates, and thus, complex social interactions have become an essential part of how biological reproduction tends to function in highly social animals. And therefore, a certain level of flexibility can probably be regarded as a sign of social intelligence and a strong evolutionary bonus as a consequence of this.

And though today, gender is about so much more than biology, i think it is certainly a reflection of human biology, wich is probably part of why it is such an important issue to so many people, because it has to do with feelings that go so deep and to such a great extent define who we are.

And from that biological point of view, as i've argued, i think very rigid gender roles probably contradict the whole purpose of having gender roles in the first place.
 
murklan
#12 Posted : 6/14/2022 12:42:49 AM

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Wow, well put dragonrider! Flexibility and adaptation seems to be quite fundamental to life itself. To have two sexes is also really dominant if you're a animal. But if you're mushroom, it's far more interesting Pleased
 
Voidmatrix
#13 Posted : 6/14/2022 2:27:28 AM

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Hm, there's a lot here Pleased

And sorry for my intermittent replies. It's summer, so I'm kinda moody often.

Any ways...

murklan wrote:
I feel that the terms, words and concepts we use are by necessity based in the societies we live in (also the quite 'un-English-able' experiences sometimes encountered by people in this forum). And even if I perhaps would not say that those concepts you write about comes from a more primitive state it's certainly a state that has a more rigid view of the world based on a certain anthropocentric frame.

But if we still want to talk and (try to) understand the world and it's assumed polarities with our human minds, what concepts can we use that are less burdened? Just think of black <-> white and we have another complex polarity with political and personal dimensions.

Sorry if this is very unclear and/or basic to you.


First thank you Smile

Second, not basic at all. I value your opinion Love

This is why I stated that some other terms could potentially be used that don't already exist; Thuly for what is considered the "masculine" and Ephindel for what is considered feminine. I just made those words up. But instead of subsuming certain qualities that do not possess enough weight to be applied to all instances with regard to male and female, we now have two new terms that can potentially lend us a better understanding of existence without the associations and connotations attached to the terms 'masculine' and 'feminine.'

To bring up Alchemy again, there are proponents that state that gender is found everywhere in the universe... I think this is inaccurate. Polarities are found everywhere in the universe, and gender is a specific subset of polarities. It's only through the manipulation of their own system and the choice to reduce things to gender that can make the sentiment "gender is found everywhere in the universe" to be accurate. But, in my opinion, it's a more accurate and full reduction if it's brought to the terms of 'binary' and 'polarity.' That is after all what they're trying to express.

DF0 wrote:

Here's my deranged and spontaneous thoughts on the matter, which had already began to coagulate before reading the above-quoted post. I was mulling over how, besides the dualistic masculine/feminine we also get the ternary classification both in alchemy and some other systems. Of course, in alchemy it's sulfur, salt and the mediator, alchemical mercury. Now lions, as much as hunting the occasional zebra, gazelle or wildebeest, do have a distinct habit of stealing most of their food from hyenas. The hyenas do most of the hard work of hunting. And females hyenas have a remarkable sexual physiology to the extent that they're almost intersex, with very high testosterone levels and an exceptionally large clitoris that resembles a penis - much as I recall, at least. This fortuitous example tempts me to draw parallels with the androgyny of the alchemical mercury.

All in all I would say you are correct to point out that whatever models of the universe we choose to underpin our conceptualisation of experience, do also tend to mould that experience.


Deranged? I'd have it no other way Smile

Thank you. This fuels the point that I'm trying to make. In the esoteric realm that I am referring to, the qualities assigned to the masculine and feminine become roles that are expected to be encountered in the real world, but it's not that cut and dry, and so to have these terms be a the forefront of certain esoteric philosophies only helps drive said philosophies in a derailed direction from what is trying to be understood.

And while alchemy states that every man has a feminine principle and every woman has a masculine principle, this doesn't remedy the issue in my mind. To me it would be better to say that every man and woman has masculine and feminine principles, in varying degrees by individual. Our societal structures shouldn't dictate this because they are happenstance; predicated by the roles we proliferate in different societies.

Exitwound wrote:
yes lets not forget that our interpretations of any framework, are constrained by our own bigger frameworks.
I have yet to meet anyone or read any explanation of how the universe works


Laughing And this is why in such conceptual matters perhaps we should tread more lightly.

Homo Trypens wrote:
An example: In German, the sun is female "die Sonne", and the moon is male "der Mond". This is in contrast to any Latin languages, where it's the opposite.

So, unless we want to call some languages 'wrong', we'll have to conclude that the specific association we make isn't really important, because there's different valid ways to construct a world view. I'd argue that even if some were wrong and some were right, we're not in a position to determine which is which, because we can't perceive objective reality.

Thank you for this example because it also shows how we allow associations in one level of thought to be applied to other levels of thought where there may be no such association to make.

[quote=dragonrider]And though today, gender is about so much more than biology, i think it is certainly a reflection of human biology, wich is probably part of why it is such an important issue to so many people, because it has to do with feelings that go so deep and to such a great extent define who we are.


It's just unfortunate that because of it's importance to us that we assume it is a property of the greater whole of existence.

And even if continued to be utilized, I agree with flexibility being included here as well.

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What if the "truth" is: the "truth" is indescernible/unknowable? Then the closest we get is through being true to and with ourselves.


Know thyself, nothing in excess, certainty brings insanity- Delphic Maxims

DMT always has something new to show you Twisted Evil

Question everything... including questioning everything... There's so much I could be wrong about and have no idea...
All posts and supposed experiences are from an imaginary interdimensional being. This being has the proclivity and compulsion for delving in depths it shouldn't. Posts should be taken with a grain of salt. 👽
 
Mitakuye Oyasin
#14 Posted : 6/14/2022 11:59:46 PM

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Held In Amber
#15 Posted : 6/15/2022 3:11:46 PM

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Mitakuye Oyasin wrote:

Surprised Big grin Smile

A funny example actually, milk production is probably one of the more easily changed sexual traits. Administration of certain medications (such as metoclopramide) are known to induce lactation in a variety of mammals. That drug specifically has actually been used for surrogate human mothers to breastfeed their adopted children, even transgender mothers.

Meme macros aside though, sex and gender are often used in obsolete ways in broader society, so such usage in esoteric circles doesn't much surprise me. There's no evidence of the masculine/feminine paradigm being some ontological constant; they're really just two groups of social behaviors and aesthetics at the end of the day, which I think is well illustrated when comparing the many different notions of masculinity, femininity, androgyny, and elsewise that cultures around the world have, as well as the existence of intersex people and animals. And really, I think if one wishes to engage with such paradigms, they'll be able to get more out of their experience of these things if they're willing to look beyond just inflexibly and unchangeably applying these traits to certain concepts and people, and instead use them as lenses that can reflect different facets of the same subject. But the last sentence is simply a suggestion of mine.
 
 
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