Ever since I came to America I was fascinated by Freud's work in psycho-analysis. I read some of his work, and I eventually realized that I must also do something actively besides reading, which at the time occupied a big part of my life. This especially so since I was not that happy with the some of the social programming I had received, both in the Olde Country and here.
In Pittsburgh I found a good start in the Pittsburgh Men's Collective, which has become NOMAS - National Organization for Men Against Sexism. This is a group of men ( and women now, I believe) who wish to help each other become people who can express feelings, be more open with each other, be more affectionate, less sexist, less homophobic, less racist. The group met once a week, when we talked about various issues relating to the male role,like friendship, our relation to our fathers, to our mothers, the effect of patriarchical religions on ourselves, etc.. The structure of the group was such that we took turns facilitating the meetings so that everyone had a chance to lead. Out of this larger group some smaller groups developed, groups we called consciousness raising groups, like the early feminists did.
It was a conscious invocation of the feminist language, since we were coming to the issues of gender and social roles from a feminist perspective. It is a perspective which seeks to create people who wish to relate to each other on an equal footing, with neither women nor men assumed superior.
This is quite at odds with the prevailing (Western, American) culture, which says that men are superior, that they ought to lead. For a man to be able to relate to other men and to women as equals, a retraining in being human is required. The consciousness needs to be raised. One needs to realize that this view imbues one's whole outlook on life, and if one feels that to be necessary, which I did, then one has to figure out ways to change oneself.
Music is one way which worked for me.
Being in a group which
shares this idea also helps, as well as realizing that by relating to
others as equals I was using less of my energy on keeping up walls inside me,
so I had more energy to experience the world.
Not only that, but this release of energy had a strong effect on
my everyday life,
my physics research,
as well as my interest in
the beauty of the world.
This is not an end though, but a constant process. At one time I used to
think that once I have figured it out, then I can get
on with life. I have learned the folly of this view, in that we are never
there, together, so to speak. Consciousness is a process, not
a point to get to. I am still working on this.
Hey, even men on the Web are rasing their consciousness(es ?). Check out the men's page, out of Seattle.
(To the Ladder/Tree)