Dimensions are mental constructs. A dimension is a measurement of something. These measurements are in the mental world of conscious awareness. We can only measure things with our conscious intellect. When we become aware of a dimension, it is a viewpoint.
This parade of dimensions begins with the zero-dimension, a non-dimensional viewpoint without material content. For dimensions to come into view, both awareness and information processing is required. That is why the zero-dimension is a mental world of awareness. It precedes the existence of being. This non-material zero-dimension is without time, without space and is eternally present everywhere at once. The zero dimension is the source of the awareness that projects the universe into being.
This is where each of us came from before birth and possibly the same non-place that we dwell in when we die. We all remember this place. Since we have all experienced the place where our awareness of ourselves was united with everything before we began to exist in this time and space. Everyone has experienced an infinity of endlessness.
Timelessness can be pictured as a sleeping form of awareness that—when awakened—develops into the recognition of sensory touches and perceptions. In time, awareness births the subconsciousness and the self-consciousness.
As the universe is born from infinity, we are as well. Infinity is that which was before this life experience. The world about us is similar to a continuous dream that is made real by our consciousness awareness.
Because the zero dimension is static and unchanging, the first and second dimensional structures are also timeless in that they are everywhere at once.
To see something in three dimensions, one has to view from outside and above the apparent dimensions. A circle on a plane—like a drawing on paper—does not appear as a sphere until viewed from above the plane. The added dimensions of height, width, length, and duration create a space that becomes visible in three dimensions while height, width, and length are being experienced.
Duration is not only an element of time but it is also an element of length. “Length” commonly refers to physical size, as in the length, the width, and depth of an object. Duration measures the time period, but the term length is also used to define a period of time as in: “How long have you been waiting?”
When and space and time are molded into a common dimension, they become that fourth-dimensional viewpoint which Einstein called spacetime.
Scientists tell us that the universe was born about 13.8 billion years ago. Through the eons that passed, our modern lives evolved from nothing into the complex situations that we find ourselves immersed in and call the present time. Everyone seems to have a theory of why this is so. Some ideas seem much better than others, yet all lead to that same demise that our emotional states want desperately to reject, the cessation of being itself.
We try to contemplate the nature of the world—develop ideas about the building blocks of nature that create this world around us—by looking into the atoms that make our physical universe searching for the smallest particles.
Is there such a thing as the smallest particles? How could there be? Something would always be smaller than the smallest until it disappeared into infinity—which is exactly what matter seems to do.
Matter seems to be made of vibrating wave frequencies. Electrons have different states of energy. We see solidity in our immediate world, but the micro world seems to be a sea of informational energy that creates the appearance of solidity, while most of the manifest universe is a vacuum in space. We do not live in the micro-world. We know that if we crash into these solid mountains of elemental rocks, it will injure or destroy us.
Donald Hoffman—professor of cognitive science at the University of California, Irvine—wrote: “On the other side are quantum physicists, marveling at the strange fact that quantum systems don’t seem to be definite objects localized in space until we come along to observe them—whether we are conscious humans or inanimate measuring devices. Experiment after experiment has shown—defying common sense—that if we assume that the particles that make up ordinary objects have an objective, observer-independent existence, we get the wrong answers. The central lesson of quantum physics is clear: There are no public objects sitting out there in some preexisting space. As the physicist John Wheeler put it, “Useful as it is under ordinary circumstances to say that the world exists ‘out there’ independent of us, that view can no longer be upheld.”
Hoffman continues: “Not only are they ignoring the progress in fundamental physics, they are often explicit about it. They’ll say openly that quantum physics is not relevant to the aspects of brain function that are causally involved in consciousness. They are certain that it’s got to be classical properties of neural activity, which exist independent of any observers—spiking rates, connection strengths at synapses, perhaps dynamical properties as well. These are all very classical notions under Newtonian physics, where time is absolute and objects exist absolutely. And then [neuroscientists] are mystified as to why they don’t make progress. They don’t avail themselves of the incredible insights and breakthroughs that physics has made. Those insights are out there for us to use, and yet my field says, “We’ll stick with Newton, thank you. We’ll stay 300 years behind in our physics.”
In other words, Hoffman thinks that the universe itself if a mental conception composed of independent conscious agents with varying degrees of complexity, all of which are but informational viewpoints that communicate with one another. From the smallest to the largest, all are composed of the same non-material—awareness and consciousness. Communicating conscious agents can merge to form other conscious agents.
DOES IT MATTER?
Does it matter much if the universe is a mental conception or a physical reality? Are the results not the same? Both lead to the same questions and dilemmas either way. Saying that nothing really exists does not change anything because it still exists. Notions that awareness can sleep, wake, be unaware, and dream again through infinity is the most interesting mythos.
Can an understanding of the cosmos as a mental conception be an emotional solace to existential anxiety?
Life becomes one riddle after another for the thinking person. Solving one riddle creates many more to take their place. Debunking one myth leads to another, as the world is both mystic and mythic.
We peer into the universe with our telescopes and our probes and find awe-inspiring beauty of all kinds. Who can object to the beauty of Saturn’s rings set in the blackness of the sky or the wonderful things that nature provides for our eyes and ears to hear and see? At the same time, we wonder why these things even exist for us to see. Why should the beauty of the world go unseen and unappreciated for billions of years, waiting to be seen and appreciated for billions of years while intelligent life on Earth evolves enough to care about it? Who or what experienced these wonders before the dawn of time or the emergence of living things? What was the observer that brought our universe into view?
This is where the idea of a mental conception of the world is most convincing. In order for there to have been an evolutionary past through the birthing of elements in stars, there had to be an observer.
Many believe that God is the creator of the universe and experienced the void of the universe alone long before the world came into being, but everyone has their own conception of what this God might be. The Abrahamic religions give God a male gender, a father figure—though giving birth to the universe seems to be a female attribute. Cultures create their own myths to explain their existence.
In the long run, does it matter whether God created the universe (as some religions claim) or physicality came into being and evolved into the present (as some scientists believe)? Either point of view is obsolete with quantum mechanics. Yet, both views point to an event from an undefinable zero dimension. Whether we call it Creation or the Big Bang, we refer to the same event that came from beyond time and space.
Some assume our universe came from the remnants of a previous universe. Some think it came from nothing at all, and some say something cannot come from nothing.
I, for one, find it much easier to visualize timelessness than to envision the beginnings and endings of time. I also find it easy to visualize timelessness as having no concept of duration yet is focused on experience instead. The timelessness of the dimensions above our own experience seems to perfectly balance our mortal experiences with the immortal potential of our existence. Duration is a concept stamped upon experience by intellectual branders. Someone dreamed up the idea of measuring time but did not really comprehend the nature of timelessness and pure experience. How long the experience is felt is not nearly as important as the experience itself.
Where did our consciousness reside before we came to be born? Is it possibly the same non-place in which we dwell when we die? We have all experienced the place where our awareness of ourselves was blank and united with everything. Before we began to exist in this time and space, we all experienced a blank infinity of time and memory. On a personal level, eternity is that which your consciousness was before this life experience. Eternity can be pictured as a sleeping form of awareness that—when awakened—develops sensory experiences such as touch and perceptions. In time, the subconscious and the self-conscious carry out the business of life and survival. As the universe is born from infinity, we are as well. Infinity is that which was before this life experience. The world about us is similar to a continuous dream that is made real by our conscious awareness.
Because the zero dimension is static and unchanging, the first and second dimensional structures are also timeless in that they are everywhere at once. That there is structure in the lower dimensions has some experimental evidence.
“So far, there may already be one piece of experimental evidence for the existence of a lower-dimensional structure at a higher energy scale. When observing families of cosmic ray particles in space, scientists found that, at energies higher than 1 TeV, the main energy fluxes appear to align in a two-dimensional plane. This means that, above a certain energy level, particles propagate in two dimensions rather than three dimensions.” (https://phys.org/news/2011-03-physicists-dimensions-universe.html#jCp)
The appearance of first and second dimensions begin the structure of our physical universe. Time is of no concern in these dimensions. The second-dimension creates space where energies can move and react, physical fields can form universally in this dimension. The third dimension ads depth and height and the fourth expands space by creating the duration that we know as time.
Everything in the universe is projected in three dimensions from its zero dimensional source. It has been called the Void, God, Infinity, First Cause, The Great Spirit, Universal Mind, or many other such name devised to express the idea of an unknowable non-thing that is beyond existence, being and conception.
Infinity, since it contains all things and all events began from within it, must be the source of the physical laws that we discover in nature. The finite is contained within infinity.
INFINITY AND THE UNIVERSE
There are those who cannot accept that there is such a thing as infinity. They consider infinity a simple conception or a mathematical symbol. For some people, the dogmatic religious world hurt them emotionally when they came realize that that the dogma the world fed them is false.
But it is not that easy to dismiss infinity. If something is finite, then there must be something that is not finite. That would be the infinite.
1 a: the quality of being infinite. b: unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity: boundlessness. 2: an indefinitely great number or amount such as an infinity of stars.
When we think about how the world about us came to be, we have only two choices. It has a beginning or it is endless and has no beginning. Having no beginning leaves us in a quandary, as the universe should have run out of energy and depleted itself long, long ago. There would have to be a continual creation of new energy to replace that which was lost to the entropy of dissipation for a universe to be eternal.
If no universe existed before the Big Bang, then what was there? What was in its place when there was no place? Nothing? But nothing cannot exist because it has no being. The ‘it’ we seek cannot be anything but infinite and boundless nothingness that cannot have existence.
The world, it is said, cannot come from nothing. ‘Nothingness’ may not operate under the same laws of physics by which ‘somethingness’ operates. We cannot assume anything about the physics within nothingness. We cannot really say anything about what nothing is.
However, there are potentially satisfactory answers to the puzzle of eternity, infinity, and first causes. These answers are simple to understand by any person that is able to shed his or her preconceptions that have been fostered by the cultural experience.
That answer is that physical reality is built in dimensional layers. The first dimension is infinite and eternal—no beginning nor endings—no particular spot in space nor place in time.
The first dimension is an infinite point that contains all that is possible to exist within it because it is all that exists. It is much like the singularity that the Big Bang theorists posit as the infinity dense point from which all came. The universe always exists within this eternal first-dimension, but not in physical form.
The second-dimension is a flat plane that spreads in all directions from the infinite point. Being infinite as well, this dimension has no beginnings and endings. This second-dimension is without the perception of time but originates all further dimensional experience. It is the foundation for the concept of space.
Ultimately, dimensions are viewpoints. Viewpoints are mental constructions. Each dimension contains all the information from the previous dimension while adding important new perceptions.
The two-dimensional line, for example, is the point replicating itself over and over, appearing to travel in a straight line, a vector from the original infinite point. The universal lines that form the universal field is the repetition of the infinite point throughout space. The point is endless and timelessly recurrent. By the expansion of its being, the point fuses with those primal copies of itself to form space and a second dimension.That fusion releases vast amounts of virtual energy that radiates from the original point to form myriads of universal fields. As this radiation spreads there is an expansion of space in the second-dimension.
It is the second dimension that contains the blueprint for the three-dimensional world we see with height, length, and width. The two-dimensional universe is flat, like a blueprint. The beginning of the universe is easily comprehended if we hold the view that the physical laws which determine the mathematics, probabilities, and shapes essential to universal existence exists in the second dimension. We do not create these laws and principles. We discover them.
As a picture of the natural world can be recorded on flat surfaces like paper and film from the artist’s perspective, the second dimension can hold our three-dimensional viewpoint in an encoded series of digital bits.
The third and fourth dimensions limit the space of the second, changing its physicality to a closed, temporal space where duration, height, volume, and depth become apparent. The process can be visualized as similar to the Japanese art of origami where three dimensional space is unfolded from the two dimensional patterns. By the folding of space, volume, height, and width emerge in a three-dimensional universe, but some space is lost in the process, the same way that some paper is lost on origamic folds. The three-dimensional universe is finite.
The step to physical reality comes through events in four-dimensional space.
Four-dimensional space combines time and duration with three dimensional space. It is the basis for the theory of relativity. Time and space are fused and affect one another as the fourth-dimension emerges and posits another aspect to the third dimensional viewpoint.
In this simple explanation of dimensions, there is a missing ingredient of vital importance to the universe—the mental component of the observation.
THE MENTAL UNIVERSE
Awareness precedes physical existence in quantum mechanics. Awareness is invisible. It cannot be touched or measured, yet it is ever-present even when we are not conscious of it. Awareness builds consciousness through the fusion of random information into organized information.
The cosmos is projected into being from a non-dimensional and timeless zero dimension. Even if the remains of previous universes should form the present incarnation, those first universes have to start somewhere. That somewhere is beyond time. It has to come from the non-dimensional.
What we experience comes from our personal consciousness—our awareness of being in the moment. What is this awareness? Is it a sense that arises from our human brains and nervous systems? If so, then awareness dies when we die. Are plants are aware? Are microbes aware? If you think they are not, perhaps you have the wrong conception of what awareness is.
Many people think that awareness emerges late in evolutionary history. To some, it is unthinkable that awareness should precede evolutionary development. Consider an unthinking rock or an ignorant chemical reaction. Where is this awareness in primal nature? What causes awareness to rise in the first place? Is it inherent in the natural order? Are reactions awareness, or are we mincing words? Are interactions aware?
In quantum physics an observer and an interaction is the same thing. Only objects interact. Even a particle colliding with another particle is an interaction and therefore an observation as well. Observations and interactions do not need to have to have concepts to produce effects and events. They are the events.
Our awareness uses the tools of perception to identity itself and the outer world. Were dinosaurs unaware? Are single-celled life forms unaware? A better question is to ask if they have any form of perception. Obviously, if they react to stimuli they have some form of perception. If they have perception, they have awareness—not on the grand scale that mammals have developed, but their reaction to observation and touch shows that they have awareness built into their systems.
Quantum mechanics posits that the universe is a connected unit, each part having an effect upon another. Everything in space and time has a cause and an effect. If it has no cause and effect, it is not in space and time. Quantum mechanics also posits that events must have an observer/interaction to be an event. The event itself would not happen unless and until it is observed. The interaction itself is an observation.
This is another clue that the world might be a mental system with a physical component. Observers are generally thought of as being people, but they can also be a system. An observer is a person or a system that observes. In other words, before we can have a world, we need events. To have events we need an observer. To have an observation we need awareness of an object or an event.
The essential quality for an observation or an interaction is to have awareness of an object. Awareness, then, is the first cause for the existence of time and space. All things are not only produced by awareness in its myriads of localized forms, but all things are formed from the eternal and non-material awareness which has always been present in the eternal now.
Something has to be a first cause for the parade of time and space to exist. This first cause cannot be material, yet the material world was produced from it. Our dreams are not material nor real, but the fields involved in neural synapses produce what appear as images in our minds. This is similar to the construction of the universe as well.
Awareness is invisible. It is not something that we can touch or measure, yet it is ever present even when we are not consciously aware of anything.
Awareness is the observer that is awakened by reactions to objects from within and outside ourselves. These reactions to our inner and outer worlds create information that eventually organizes itself and becomes experience.
Awareness does not need the concept of time and space. It creates time and space when it awakens to stimulus from another.
Awareness is all that is necessary for the building of a universe.
Awareness is the proper name for the concept of the mind of God.
LINK TO MUSIC ABOVE, THE LYRICS BELOW, AND THE STORY BELOW THAT.
Driving down the road I’ve got no secrets, no one with me nothing to conceal. I don’t know why I even stopped to call her. I was feeling good behind the wheel.
My words, said in anger brought her tears while words, said thoughtfully bring cheer. Words can make a smile come to her face or words can bring disgrace.
There’s something on my mind that makes my words come out that way. I didn’t want to hurt that girl, she knew I’d like to stay. Sometimes I need to talk about the trouble that I find and there within the darkness I can then begin to shine!
Words, said in anger brought her tears, while words said thoughtfully bring cheer. Words can make a smile come to her face or words can bring disgrace.
So I’ll go home and try again to make a better day. Pleasant smiles require such little effort from my face. I didn’t mean to let my troubles get me down inside. My duty is to wisdom and my downfall is my pride.
Words, said in anger brought her tears, while words said thoughtfully bring cheer. Words can make a smile come to her face or words can bring disgrace.
The night is black and only the streaming glow of his headlights light the road ahead. White dashes––dotted lines of lane dividers––rush by in a stream. He drives by rote. Traffic is light and he is thinking of what he should do now. The argument had not been that serious… or was it? She had made what he thought was a snotty remark. “What is the matter with you, girl,” he had said. “You are really beginning to piss me off. I was not flirting with that woman. We were just talking.” “And that’s why you asked for her ‘Facebook’ address?” “She’s a world traveler, woman. She goes places. She’s headed to the Himalayas in a month. It would be good to follow her trip.” “Follow her butt,” you mean, she has said. The road curves ahead and he slows down. “Follow her butt,” he thinks. “Maybe I do. I follow all the butts. My God, if you can’t appreciate the rounded hips of life, then what in the hell can you appreciate?” He should have told her that. Instead, he just got mad. Walking out the door mad. It really didn’t occur to him to think about a destination––a place to head toward––until he started the engine. Then he realized he needed to pick a road. He had headed to the mountains. The mountains always make him view himself from a height. The world he left below is becoming visible now, but viewed from afar in a rearview mirror. He knows the problem. He makes her feel unwanted too much. He’s so damned busy with himself and his own concerns that he does not take enough time to express the appreciation she needs. She begins to feel uncertain of his love. It doesn’t take much to go from that thought to: “He is looking for a replacement for me.” “As though there could be a replacement,” he thinks. They had made a decision a long time ago that there was to be no replacement. They were always there for one another. That was the pledge. Still, he was a man. Men look at women with lust in their hearts and desire in their loins. They were made that way. Nature herself seems to think it should be so. Who was he to question nature? Who was she to question nature as well? “How would you like it if I looked down the trousers of every man I see in the street?” she had said, The truth is, he would not like it. It would make him feel insecure. The highway is quite dark now. A startled deer stands at the side of the road as his car swishes by. “ So I want to possess her?” he asks himself. But it seems to him that she wants to possess him equally. “Women do not think that way,” he tells himself. “They do not want sex with every man they meet. They have a certain criteria. A woman is the one that makes the choice to possess.” He seriously doubts that she would lust after every man she meets. That was an important character trait that he looked for in women. “She’s too snotty,” he thinks. “She is very opinionated. Most men cannot live up to her expectations.” He suddenly realizes that he is not living up to her expectations either. Regret sits down upon him like the first clod of dirt thrown into his grave. “Besides,” he thought, “I would not really pursue another woman. One is trouble enough.” “So it was all about nothing. Much ado about nothing,” he thought. “Someday I’ll have to read that play. It’s a great title.” To him, it seemed easy. He could do it. At least he could try. He could do better. “We all can,” he thought. He has to love her a little more. He has to give her a little more time and focus. That being decided, he turns the car around on the deserted highway and heads back down to the valley.
Something has to come into being within a dimension before it can exist. Otherwise, it would still be in the realm of dimensionless infinity.
At the very beginning of an idea, the universe has a point. This point has a purpose. It becomes the first-dimension. The point exists everywhere at once because that is all there is. The entire universe resides in it. The point exists even now in every corner of the universe. It is the eternal first-dimension. It is the foundation of experience from a timeless realm without a location. Space itself is unborn and appears in the second dimension. The point has the ability to be omnipresent by the simple fact that it is the only thing that exists.
Yet, our shared awareness cannot recognize or react to one thing alone because there is nothing to reference. At the very least, a singularity is unstable if not impossible.
A second-dimension only comes into being with the existence of at least two points—but the essential ingredient of awareness must present for observing, interpreting, and recording this information. This fact becomes even more obvious in the three-dimensional view where awareness is essential to separate the flat two-dimensional image of a circle from its background to envision a sphere with height, length, and width. In order to see a sphere, we have to see it from above and outside the image. It takes conscious awareness to do this. The second dimension requires dimensional awareness to exist. It exists upon a timeless plane with the entire universe and all its structure written in every part of space and every qubit of information by the first-dimensional point.
We have been taught to understand awareness as a product of evolutionary biology. Many think awareness is something that occurred from a chemical soup after molecules began to replicate and divide. Our ideas of awareness and consciousness are built around the idea of living beings, especially those with nervous systems. Some do not believe that plants have awareness, though they react to sunlight and propagate themselves. It takes subconscious mental powers to grow DNA into something that can be passed to offspring—and this does not necessarily mean the world is formed from intelligent design from a divine creator. Most awareness is subconscious. It is not necessarily produced from a self-reflective mind unless we consider the mid of nature itself is self-aware. Awareness comes before the mind.
Let us picture a mental universe that coexists with the physical universe. The physical universe is not a solid block of physical mass any more than the mental universe is a unified universal mind. Neither is true. The physical universe is composed of entities unique to themselves, just as the mental universe is made from separate levels of individual awareness each unique to themselves. Awareness is that which holds the knowledge of interactions and observations. As such, awareness precedes existence itself.
Yes, awareness comes first. For eons, this awareness may have held nothing at all because there was nothing of which to be aware. Each of us experiences the truth of this first hand. We come from a place that has no memories, no experience, and no existence until we are conceived, grow aware, and begin to form our identity. What we are before we are born is a field of awareness that has not come into identifiable form. Because awareness existed before we did, we were able to recognize, learn, and eventually become that which we are now. If our awareness did not exist before our birth, our birth would never have happened. So it is with all interactions and observations in nature and beyond. It takes awareness for anything to have physicality. That is why there are two states in existence, the mental and the physical. Both are separate aspects of the same reality.
To connect two points and form a line, information must pass between these points. Something or some non-thing must become aware of both points. Yet, this line is infinite because it has no length. We can see that there must be a form of knowing in the non-dimensional realm. It is not some void dimension that is without knowledge or thought of any kind. Left to itself, the vector of this line could go on forever or curve back upon itself to form an orbit. In the second dimension, there is no duration nor speed.
Because awareness is the one pre-existing condition essential for any form of energy to be perceived, awareness must be the original state of the universe. Awareness precedes essence. Awareness evolves into subconsciousness and consciousness.
A mental dimension for the positive point and a physical dimension for the negative point is part of the pairing of opposite states. These points are entangled. What happens to one happens to the other instantly because these points are still eternal and not in the dimension of time. Without time, no speed or duration exists. Each point, though duplicates of another, have different spins. Separate viewpoints evolve from that spin.
Awareness evolves into higher consciousness. This is confirmed by examination of the evolution of conscious life. This does not mean that awareness constantly knows everything in the universe, nor does it mean that there is a universal plan for advanced consciousness to inherit or evolve into a super-intelligence that is reserved for the attributes of a god. Self-awareness often rests. We sleep and we dream. We are not always consciously aware. We can conclude this is so by examining our awareness. Subconscious awareness is in charge of our autonomous systems that continue with or without self-awareness. The universe has evolved without self-consciousness for billions of years.
-Kenneth Harper Finton Thursday, August 1, 2019, revised 8/29/2020
In a state called Carrot, in a town called Bamboo, in a library, a woman named Martha was closing for the night.
After Martha went home, a typewriter that sat unused in the library,saw a paper lying next to it. “Climb into my head,” said the typewriter.
“Why?” asked the paper.
“We can type something together,” said the typewriter. “It’s only temporary.”
“All right, then,” said the paper, “but what will we type?”
“Let’s type Martha a letter,” the typewriter said.
And they did.
The next morning when Martha came back, she saw the letter. The letter read:
Did you have a wonderful night? We are tired of not getting used.”
It was signed “your Typewriter and Paper.”
At the end of the day, Martha closed as usual. When she returned the next morning, she found another letter that read:
“Dear Martha, Are you going to respond?”
“-Your Typewriter and the Paper.”
“That’s the end. I’m going to the doctor,” said Martha.
When the doctor examined her, he said, “There’s nothing wrong with you, Martha.”
“I must be losing my mind, then,” said Martha.”I am going back to the library,”
When she got back to the library, she stared at the typewriter and the paper for a little bit, then put some books up, closed and went back home.
“I must be seeing things,” Martha said.
During the night the typewriter and the paper typed out another letter to Martha.
We are so bored just sitting here and doing nothing all day.
-Your Typewriter and Paper.”
The next day there was only a note that said, “Goodbye, Martha.”
“What does that mean?” asked Martha.
Martha thought and thought and thought some more. “Aha! Some people are coming here to take the typewriter,” she thought. Martha took the paper and put it in the typewriter to make a note. “FINALLY,” the note said. “I will use you guys.”
“Thank you, said the typewriter and the paper.”
“AHHHH,” screamed Martha, “You two can actually talk.”
“Yes, it’s our little secret,” said the paper.
“We need to be useful,” said the typewriter.
“Not being useful is bad for us,” said the paper.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sky writes, “Sky is 8-years-old. When she is not wrighting stories, she is with her family and likes to work with horses. This book is dedecated to my family. Thanks for incuraging me to wright stories and not fight with my sister.”
Like most any white male born on the 40’s and raised in a rural midwestern town, I was raised with racist and chauvinistic people all around me. There were no black people in the old home town. I never had a chance to relate to any other influence until I left the nest and joined the larger nation around me.
Though women were almost sacred to me, it was not long before I was accused of chauvinism as well. Whether or not this destroyed my first marriage is an open question. It did not help. I entered marriage with the idea based on what was about me—that a woman’s role was to cook and do most of the cleaning. Men took care of the outside and women took care of the inside. That’s what my mother and their mothers did. It was that way everywhere for all I knew. There was little experience to be had about any alternative life styles. The TV shows of the time reinforced this mindset.
When you are living alone, you have to do everything. I did some cooking, some sloppy cleaning, and either went to the corner laundry or dropped my clothes at the cleaners. But that did not change the mindset that formed when I was young. My expectations for my marriage were much more traditional than I like to recall. By myself, I eat in restaurants, sleep in motels or small efficiencies and take my wash to the laundry masters. These were my preferences. Living with others required compromise.
Born male, I could only guess at the female mindset. I was not at ease with sex and dating for many years. I finally pecked my way out of that smothering egg long after those around me.
Women were elevated to goddess status in many stone-age cultures. Carvings and stoneworks of the Donna reflect the respect some stone-age peoples had for their women. The Abrahamic and Islamic religions did not glorify, but enslaved women as male possessions. Through most civilized society, women were treated as chattel.
Chivalry supposedly reinstated women as objects of affection that needed protection but cast women in the role of delicate objects, fragile creatures who needed protection. Likely, this applied more to high-bred women of wealth or nobility, than the milkmaid or the tavern servers.
Unlike the generations before me, I came of sexual age after The Pill. Unlike generations after me, my encounters came before AIDS. A short span in the 60’s and early 70’s turns out to be one of time’s few social reprieves for active sexual freedom. Single young men and women were hungry for sexual pleasure and the deep-rooted desire for stable companionship, but we soon found that people often mix like oil and water. Paradise is sweet and sour.
It does not take men long to realize that the woman is the great decider about physical contact. Those men who respected others also respected their wishes. Some—who had no real respect for themselves or others—tried to force themselves on women.
Most people have no tolerance for sexual predators. Using and abusing power (be it physical or economic) to force sexual favors has been wrong for a long time. Many men in powerful positions felt they had a right to demand sexual favors from subordinates.
Community leader and organizer, Tarana Burke, founded the “ME TOO” movement in 2006 to help sexual harassment victims and survivors to cope.
By late 2017 the movement has taken on social-changing roles as women came out to expose their unwilling experiences with people of power. However, not everyone was on board that ship. Catherine Deneuve, the famous 74-year-old French movie actress, denounced the movement in an open letter in France’s LeMonde. She claimed “legitimate protests against the sexual violence that women are subject to, particularly in their professional lives, had turned into a witch hunt.”
“Rape is a crime” she wrote, “but trying to seduce someone, even persistently or clumsily, is not—nor is men being gentlemanly a macho attack. Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.”
Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that comprises unwanted comments, wolf-whistles, cat-calling, and other actions by strangers in public areas, according to Google. And to think, just a few years back that was the common practice of hard-hatted males on break when a pretty woman walked by.
So what are men to do now? Ask if she’s comfortable. Phrase your words with more care. Think about sexist jokes before you relate them and you will likely not repeat them.
“Whether we know it or not, whether we allow ourselves to admit it or not, every man has a list of times that he has violated a woman’s boundaries. Men are raised in a society that teaches boys that they are entitled to have access to women’s bodies. You may not be drugging women’s drinks in a nightclub, you may not be stalking sex workers in a van, but you have probably pressured someone sexually more than once in your life. The game teaches men to assume that women want what we want. The game teaches women that they are supposed to want what men want. Men benefit from this, women do not, but the game is rigged to hurt everyone. The only way to end that cycle is to reject the game itself.” -Indigo Nai on Facebook, 10/17/17