The marble depiction of Laocoön and his Sons stands in the Vatican Museum, riveting in all its terrible beauty. The reason for his punishment by the gods is unclear. Some say it was for warning the Trojans about the infamous Greek horse in Troy. Others believe it was for copulating in a temple in front of a statue of some minor deity. Whatever the reason, it’s clear Laocoön’s end was anything but easy or pretty.
But hey – what else do we expect from life?
We’re trained from birth to believe life is a struggle. In fact, ever since Louis XVI of France decided that in order to watch his mistress giving birth she should lie on her back (instead of using the age-old birthing stool which allowed women to squat, letting gravity do its job) birth itself has become a struggle; an unnatural process designed to make it easy on the doctors (modern “kings” of our world?) and hell on the drugged women trying to shove eight pound babies out a narrow horizontal gateway while lying supine on a table, legs spread apart for all the world to see.
Today, the most powerful and fundamental of all feminine creative acts no longer has much natural feminine expression to it, and neither does the rest of our modern life.
Appreciation for beauty, individuality, sensitivity, ethics, critical thinking and out of the box reasoning are devalued and ignored. Educational systems inform children of the “facts” in life, but don’t teach them how to live life well, happily or humanely. Students are pitted against each other to win top spots in the nation’s elite schools so they can get the credentials to win the top earning spots at corporations that compete in a global economic rat-race based in scarcity that insures more competition.
Despite the abundance of Earth’s resources, corporations corner markets and hoard resources, artificially driving up prices to take the profits in a system designed to insure that the top 1% of the world’s population gets richer on the backs of the other 99% who scrap like dogs over the remains.
Science and technology are elevated above all other subjects, for conquering the air, the earth, the sea, even space itself guarantees us greater comforts, more stuff to buy, and more profits. Yes, the Earth is dying under this dominate/manipulate/exploit approach to life, but who cares? Our entire global social system is based in the struggle for survival and the acquisition of power.
And isn’t it true that, “He who dies with the most toys wins?”
It may not be politically correct to say it, but we live in a man’s world, shaped by and for mankind. A world focused on toys and winning is the inevitable result of the masculine paradigm left completely unbalanced and unmitigated by input from its necessary counterpart, the feminine.
Simply writing about this world is exhausting. Living it… well, frankly, it reminds me of the statue of Laocoön and his Sons.
All I have to do is go to a shopping mall around Christmas and watch the faces of the parents and their children passing by to see it: the terrible internal struggle of the parents over how to make ends meet while still giving their children a better life; the unconscious bitterness of buying “stuff” to make up for the lack of personal spiritual sustenance; the despair as the dollars in their pockets shrink while their media-induced consumer needs exponentially expand; the sullenness of the children, unhappy despite the incredible richness of their lives.
And then I think of my friend Amantha (see In Memoria), and a light shines on a very different way to live; a life where the feminine holds equal sway and importance; a life where struggle and acquisitiveness no longer dominate; a life where grace and love have the time and space to be expressed and appreciated. And I am in awe at the difference in the quality of life I see.
This is not to say my friend didn’t ever worry, chew her nails or have her crappy moments. We all do. But for the most part, Amantha’s life reflected the abundance that comes from surrendering to life instead of battling it. Her home was filled with beauty, her eyes glowed with love, her friends and family adored her and stayed close, her table overflowed with culinary bounty. And her death was swift, merciful, peaceful, and filled with meaning for the many who were there at her passing.
She neither lived nor died like Laocoön. She lived and died like a Goddess. And that’s a page from life we all could stand to read.