In the classical manner of scientific advances, the discrepant data proved most informative, the evidence that did not fit the reigning patriarchal construction. Thus women's voices were privileged in informing psychologists about aspects of the human condition that by being tagged feminine and associated with women had been at once ignored and devalued. A paradigm shift followed from this research, joining what had been cast asunder. Whereas in the old paradigm, women were seen as emotional not rational, as having relationships but no self, and men, conversely, were considered rational insofar as they were unemotional, autonomous in their sense of self, the new paradigm in its reframing undid the splits. But the old patriarchal values crept back in: "feminine” qualities were taken as modifiers of "masculine” strengths – hence, "emotional intelligence," "relational self," and most recently, "the feeling brain.” ...This is all nonsense. Students are paying a lot of money to take classes in junk like this, and their world view is being warped.
Patriarchy's error lies in wedding us, men and women alike, to a false story about human nature and then characterizing our resistance to this story as a sign of pathology or sin. The long-standing divisions of mind from body, thought from emotion, and self from relationships enforce a kind of moral slavery in that they erode a resistance grounded in the core self and cause us to lose touch with our experience. Damasio's research demonstrated how the severing of thought from emotion leaves the capacity for deductive reasoning intact (the ability to deduce thought from thought) but impairs our capacity to navigate the human social world, which depends on an integration of thought and emotion. The associative methods of psychoanalysis were able to break through dissociations that were psychologically induced and/or culturally enforced, leading to a release of voice and a recovery of relational capacities, and imbuing psychoanalysis with a liberatory potential. But it is by looking through a gender lens that we are able to see the problem whole: not as a problem of women or men, or of women versus men, but rather a problem with the framework we have used in thinking about these questions. The artists to whom we now turn anticipated these insights, serving as early warning signals. Their associative methods broke through dissociation and allowed them to see the framework.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Women emotional in the old paradigm
Here is an academic essay on patriarchy: