Tag Archives: Judith

Gender Dissolution

We live with a great deal of confusion regarding gender and the interplay of opposites. This play is far more subtle and complex than regularly acknowledged. The two basic poles in the dance of opposites are active and passive, and the third force is the mercurial element which reconciles the polarity into unity. A basic assumption of various lazy mysticisms which has translated itself into a broader cultural assumption equates the masculine with active and the feminine with passive. This is incorrect, or at least only half correct. The feminine may be viewed as receptive, but one can be actively receptive, in the sense of enveloping another, wherein that which is being enveloped is the passive masculine. It is a fairly simple and over-looked fact of nature that the feminine is regularly active. Further more, it is totally possible for the receptive to be received and therefore to be simultaneously masculine and feminine. For example, think of a cup, a vessel which receives water. In this interaction the cup is feminine and the water masculine, but stack the cup into another cup, and the 1st cup is now being received, as well receiving. To add more complexity, we could put a spoon into the water and the water which was masculine is now playing both roles.

The point here is not to create further complexity, but to point out the inadequacy of our current means of approaching polarities. The mistake is of a predominantly linear and reductionist thinking, in which we prefer to make fixed correspondances between our continuums (male/female, masculine/feminine, active/passive, light/dark, right/left, good/evil). This mode of thinking has been very hindering to our self-knowledge, as a collective and as individuals. The implication of a continuum is that it is a unity, expressing itself in endless variations of proportion and rhythm between two poles.

If we imagine male and female sexual intercourse, as a metaphor, when the sex is good, it is like a good conversation between the enveloping and penetrating principles of the universe, both are equally active and passive, sometimes one more than the other and other times meeting one another in perfect balance. In this way the sex act itself is the mercurial third created by the union of opposites. This is not to purvey some sort heterotypical sexual fundamentalism, but it is the mode of sexual expression which fascinates the author most.

We can translate this metaphor to look at the forces that make up an individual. Masculine and feminine principles are never fully predominant in a human. We are gendered only to the extent that we behave as a particular gender and that that behavior forms our identity. Being genderless does not necessarily imply that one changes one’s preferences regarding attraction or start dressing a different way. One can be heteronormative in behavior, and express oneself within the cultural norms and still have a fluid relationship with gender. However, our cultural norms are proving inadequate in dealing with the whole person regardless of sex or gender identification. And if, in order to express oneself authentically, a person must behave outside of gender norms, then they must feel safe to do so. We must express our sovereignty authentically. And that which is sovereign within the individual is genderless. Sovereignty, in this case, is the continuum itself, expressing itself in an endless transmutation of the masculine and feminine principles.

Tagged , ,

Your Behavior Creates Your Gender


When considering the difference between male and female, and masculine and feminine, consider the Yin Yang, the Taoist symbol of the union of opposites. In this symbol there are those two dots in the middle of the two shapes representing male and female. This implies a simplified fractal nature of “the whole.” We could imagine the dots inside the yin and the yang as microcosms, yin yangs within themselves.

In our society we have chosen to identify ourselves with one or the other sides of the yin yang. But if we were to recognize ourselves as reflected in the total system of this symbol, than we would not see ourselves as predominantly masculine or feminine, but as a totality of equal and opposite forces maintaining a perfect tension, so as to exist in the embodiment that we do, on this earth.

Tagged , , , ,