Masculine & Feminine Modes of Being

I have learned recently, or am at least considering the idea that I sometimes have problems with relationships in which I am not in control. This has been a tough reflection for me. I have begun to think more explicitly about control. What control is and how it functions in my life. Control, like anger, is an expression of will. Will, it seems, is a way of seeing life or a mode of operating within it. It seems that the holy will chooses freely to surrender and say to God "Thy will be done" while at the very least the will demands "To thine own self be true." It is willfulness that i so genuinely feel is authenticity. It shapes the way I see the world. I control my own life that way and the mistake one makes is trying to extend will beyond oneself in interpersonal relationships. This striving for control beyond ones own being often creates codependent tenancies with must be countered with the accepting the truth that I am powerless over others. (I will try to wrestle with the tension that exists in regard to personal will, struggling with control and healthy leadership relationships a bit more in a later post.)

The will to control makes it very hard to receive, submit or surrender in any situation. This concept of control in my mind seems to be somehow related to masculinity. The Masculine tends to be aggressive, defensive, domineering and controlling and also strong, directing, sure and constructive. I do not intend masculine to imply value or superiority in any way and also realize the need to state that explicitly given the machismo of our patriarchal society. I am using masculine and feminine symbolically rather than technically if that is not already obvious.

So if I use this dichotomy for the sake of comparison, the opposite on masculine would obviously be feminine. But how would feminine relate to seeing the world, as I have described the masculine?

Feminine might get sad rather than angry. I know that I tend to get mad when things happen in my life and I know a lot of people that get sad. We all get both but really we all get one, predominantly

I said above that I genuinely feel my will plays a major role in my authenticity. I wouldn't, however, contrast authenticity to in-authenticity as the opposite but rather want to ask the question 'how are these poles (masculine & feminine) authentic?' You see there is another dimension that is being measured. Feminine authenticity is open and receiving. This is the idealist philosopher whereas the masculine in contrast would be the existentialist. The feminine holds onto hope, is open to the future, more of a P than a J in Myers Briggs terms. (that means (P) perceiving, taking in the world, and being open to more input vs. (J) Judging, the quick to name, categorize, asses, and/or judge.) It seems obvious why one of these types might typically do better in relationships than the other. In other parts of life, however, being a J makes for great leaders, great ER surgeons and possibly a good hunters i imagine. They say some people are farmers and others are hunters. Now, I rarely need to scout prey for dinner but I am convinced I would be great at it. If it hasn't been made clear I definitely tend, sometimes for better and often for worse, toward the masculine controlling mode. 

So these contrasting forms that I have been calling male and female I will call existentialist and idealist modes of being.

Existentialism is a view of the world in which my reason to believe in god, my meaning and very being are wrapped up completely in my experiences in this world. I must find, make, and build that world around me. I also experience it as a gift that I have freely received. Well most days i do...or somedays, I guess....Well I do sometimes. I can't deny those very real and tangible treasures which are those personal experiences in which I sense life as a gift and God as a personal reality. They are pieces in this puzzle that i am toiling with. As Richard Beck would say they are shards, pieces and chunks of this broken mirror that I am piecing back together with hurting finger tips.

Idealism on the other hand holds onto another world altogether. Plato called it the world of the forms. This is the abstract creative feminine giftings. This is a world of intuition. Where one senses the presence of God everywhere. I so envy and long to be one of them. There is, for the idealist, hope and heaven and eternity. There is a form, 'out there', a perfect form Plato would say. You see this table and you see that table, one has four legs and the other has a center post. One is rectangular and the other a circle. How do you recognize both of them as a table? Well Plato might say that its because there is 'This Table', this perfect concept, that IS table and therefore we recognize it as table.

The poet in me knows exactly what that means.....and thinks its 'deep'.
Now the linguist in me, in contrast with the poet, wants to make more linear sense of this, explain, control, will.....existentialism. Language is always symbolic, the artist uses language to express the poetic and the abstract while the existential linguist wants to use symbolic language as in formal logic. They will turn phrases and words into symbols which can be approached mathematically to determine soundness, validity and precision. 

I am both. we are all both....most of us have strong leanings.

And the good news is that God is both....Its also the challenge.

*This post is only the beginning of what I feel like will need some developing and exploring. It is a personal reflection as I explore my own modes of being in this world, being with others and being before God. I hope it makes a little sense to those who might read it and it is offered in just that open, vulnerable and sharing spirit that I so long to and need to develop within myself.