Monday, January 12, 2009

Rise of Patriarchal Society - V

In one of my previous posts I have argued that 'patriliny' is a conscious structure and matriliny is a non-conscious identity. Here I'm trying to understand the development of male creator gods in patriarchal society and female creator gods(?) in older societies and matrilineal societies.

I don't think patriarchal male gods have anything to do with the superiority of physical strength of males compared to females. Matrilineal males don't show any overly feminine attitudes or any attitudes that could be construed as feminine. Similarly, not all patriarchal religions were considered stereotypically masculine. I have come across views that Hinduism is a feminine religion. With this background I would think the development of male creator gods concept is a non-sexist philosophy. This has something to do with the way various societies understood sexual reproduction.

Fundamental idea behind male creator:

I have blogged about virgin birth of the Buddha. From the article I quoted:
Suddhodhana, means "pure-rice". But rice is also seed and symbolically means "semen". In many Indian languages the word for "seed" can also denote "rice", "egg"; or semen.

What we can see here, the understanding was that man's semen is complete by itself to create a life. There was no idea of female ovum and male sperm fertilization. So what is female's role in this? She's just a pot or earth where the seed turns into plant. It's been obviously observed that man can create seed without female's help. Therefore, female is important as a helper in subsequent growth but her role in fundamental creation is non-existent.

Fundamental idea behind female creator:
The concept of female creator hasn't been argued clearly. In this case, it is tough to argue for female only creation considering that conception clearly needed a male. However, I would guess the idea probably go back to remote times when people weren't clear about the role of intercourse in reproduction. I would guess the importance could be understood only in monogamous relationship. However, even then they needed to develop a role for semen. In my opinion, it was generally conceived as mere lubricant.

Case studies:
Jesus's virgin birth clearly shows people didn't understand female's contribution. Had they understood it they wouldn't have allowed his birth to be contaminated by human part. I think more than the impurity of sexual act it's the seed of man that would trouble people.

Buddha's parents of course have been made illusions. In fact, he had an unborn birth. Or maybe that's the way the truth has been secretly revealed by the wily wise men of the past.

Coming to linga-yoni, it appears they understood the importance of intercourse. But had no idea about the gametes. I would think semen has been taken to be lubricant (linga-yoni idols are generally bathed in milk, honey etc...). However, the things are complicated in India. Here two schools of thought where one considered semen was 'seed' and the other thought semen was 'lubricant' assimilated and created a convoluted philosophy.

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