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Celebrating The Female Sensibility: "We Are Different!"

Jan 27, 2008
From Chapter XII

Jean: We have to die at least once every three or four years. Some of us die once a year. Death -- thanatos -- is a very deep instinct of the human race. We've always had rituals of death, transition, and resurrection. We're the first civilization since the Renaissance that has not had a viable mode of catharsis and death; of dying to ourselves -- and then being reborn. Who is to say how much of the neurosis of psyche and history in the twentieth century -- all of the catastrophes, the genocides and historical debacle -- are due to the fact that we could not die and had to objectify and project it with the genocides of millions?

And you, Barbara, want to die, and your time has come to die. It isn't that you won't remember -- you will. But something has got to be let go of. One of the great male problems is that they've forgotten how to die. That's why there is so much killing; that's why they backslide. Probably once a year we need rituals -- nice easy blowouts of death --

Hazel: Purge!

Jean: Yes. And you have to go to a place where you can die. When you come back, having died, then all the old tapes in the world cannot play loud enough to drown out the power of your new being. So you leave for a while; so they backslide; so they create this monolith to the GNP. So what?

Barbara: But they're not doing that, by the way.

Hazel: No, of course not, but they do have big visions of grandeur.

Jean: But you will have died and the power of that creates new life. I personally don't think that Jesus himself died on the cross. I think it was probably someone else up there. But they needed that image in order to create the seeding. There is nothing like someone who has dropped out of time and space and then come back again. Everything you're saying points to the fact that you're dying -- but you're trying to do it amidst a parade!


Hazel: And they won't let you do it!

Jean: But you're also going to be reborn because that's the nature of the beast. It follows as night the day.

Barbara: Well, I should have died after the Bicentennial!


Jean: Well, I'm sorry, you're dying now. You'd better get out of the parade and do it with dignity in Uganda or -- Greece is the great place to die if I may say so. The isles of Greece!

Hazel: The part of you, Barbara, that doesn't want to just slip quietly away from that whole thing is the part of you that feels responsible and on the spot. You may be starting something just because you feel you ought to be starting something. It feels better. Everybody looks to you, because are you not the vision of the starter? They all call you a spark plug, and spark plugs are supposed to start things. When you get back to Washington they'll all rush to you and try to infuse you with this thing that they want you to do. And you feel a responsibility to them. I've found myself in that position so many times. It's also a very "mother" sort of function. But the mother role is to push the chicks out of the nest.

Barbara: I have an instinct about this thing. I think that if I were to just pull out, that it would go on. In a way, I'm in the way. I'm really on another level.

Jean: You're on another level and you're not relevant. It's like a bunch of ions trying to congregate around a zany atom, an atom that has gone its own way. Coherence cannot happen unless you get out.

(Reprinted with permission from The Power of Yin).

(Note to editor: We have permission from the three co-authors, Hazel Henderson, Jean Houston and Barbara Marx Hubbard, to run excerpts from their book with the byline The Power of Yin - they are all referenced in the about the author box).
About the Author
The Power of Yin by evolutionary economist Hazel Henderson; Human Potential Movement founder Jean Houston; and social innovator Barbara Marx Hubbard, is an empowering invitation to help evolve the human community. Visit The Power of Yin .
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