I wasn’t paying terribly close attention anymore, fixated on the bizarre concept of a divine couple. Who ever heard of Yahweh having a wife? I’ve not read much of the Bible but I feel like it would’ve been difficult to miss. When I asked about that, she laughed into a furious tirade.
“They purged every trace of me from their temples! They sought out and destroyed every statue of me, then tore down every wreath that the daughters of Israel hung in the forest. All in the name of attracting more worship to my lover, as if he ever wanted to be worshiped to the total exclusion of his darling. The sons of Israel must’ve imagined him to be as domineering, petty and insecure as they were in their own marriages. A magnified projection of their own worst qualities.”
Probably not too far from the truth, thought she’d know better than I would. “You must have noticed the consequences. His pre-eminence in the world, being that he is a God of war, has been steadily increasing power. More complex machinery, weapons in particular. Glorification of strength and speed, neglecting every other facet of what it means to be human. My removal, at the same time, heralded the withdrawl of gentleness from the world. Of patience, softness and love.”
I objected that in spite of our warlike history, there has always been an undercurrent of subversive gentleness. Some of it religious, some simply an expression of humanitarian sentiment. “Bubbling beneath the surface, yes” she allowed. “But what message do you hear from all sides? Be stronger! Be tougher, smarter, faster! That’s what these are about, am I right?”
She singled out my prosthetics. I rubbed my chin, and found I could summon no defense. Indeed, I went fullmetal six years ago because the world kept moving in a direction that demanded more from me than my soft, warm, weak human body could deliver. When I sought a meat body to return to, I couldn’t even find one totally free of metal.
“I would wager there’s no end to the machine parts you can pollute your bodies with that make you meaner, more powerful and so forth. But are any which make you gentler? Which make you a better father, brother, or son? Do any exist which increase your capacity to love one another?”
Odds seemed better than even that she wasn’t referring to the Dildominator Supreme, so I didn’t mention it. I admitted frankly that there wasn’t any market for such implants. That’s generally not the capability people are looking to improve when they go under the knife.
“Yes, I sense gentleness in you. But you suppress it. You dominate and conceal it, as your society dominates and suppresses female energy. Why?” Another pointed question. She was proving to be full of these.
“I guess because everything just keeps moving faster” I confessed. “To survive, you’ve got to keep up. There’s no time or space to be gentle anymore. You’ve got to get strong if you want to make it, because it’s eat or be eaten. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not naturally cut out for that world. I’m a wuss, really. I can’t even stomach the sight of blood.”
She stopped me there. “That’s what I’m talking about! You misinterpret your own gentleness as a weakness, then try to suppress or overcome it. Why do you revile and trample your own female energy? If you destroy your own capacity for tenderness and intimacy, how will you ever have a healthy, balanced relationship?”
I suppose I never have. Even when I was with Aubrey I didn’t change my life for her. She was just somebody to sleep with and look nice on the back of my motorcycle. Cohabitation and mutual utility was about the full extent to which we were involved in each other’s lives.
She used to joke about how she’d rather have a house cat than a boyfriend, as I offered about the same level of comfort but demanded a lot more in return. I recall quipping that all I expected was for her to buy me wet food, not dry, and damn well look at my butthole when I stretch.
“The true path is one of balance and compromise” Asherah explained. “The masculine energy, made tangible as the machinery which many of you now permit to fully consume your bodies, should instead be blended more evenly with the feminine softness of biology.
I have seen for myself that this equal blending is looked down upon by the metal world. Regarded only as a temporary stepping stone to the fully masculine ideal of the cold, hard modern man. The unfeeling, purely mechanical idol whose feet you worship at.”
I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say that I worshiped the fullmetal ideal. But she wasn’t wrong to say that it’s glorified the world over, and most people implicitly assume that biology has no future. “Don’t any of you pause to think about what you’re losing when you give up your biological essence? There are strengths you ignore, which are inherent and exclusive to the biological organism’s flexibility.”
I’ve thought about this, in fact. When met with an irresistible force, you either bend, or you break. Biology can bend under circumstances where technology would break. The fullmetal lie is that it’s possible to become so strong, so insensate and hard that no force can break you.
But there’s always a bigger fish. There will always be unknown unknowns. To commit wholly to a permanent, unchanging solution in the conviction that it will forever be strong enough to endure any possible hardship that might come along…it’s an evolutionary dead end. Isn’t it?
“But when I say that the masculine, technological essence and the feminine biological essence must evenly blend, I also mean that they must not fight one another. The way that you integrate machinery into your bodies now is violent.
It’s an uncompromising surgical invasion of the masculine into the feminine, forcing the result to work with antibiotic drugs. This is not sustainable! The body will protest. I am sure you have felt it. Look how sickly you are, even now. You just ignore your body’s complaints, medicating the symptoms away as if that solves the problem.”
Guilty. I’ve certainly long treated cybernetics as a way to “brute force” my way past my own body’s shortcomings. Or what I viewed as shortcomings at the time. “The marriage of biology and technology must be like the marriage of man and woman. There must be true compromise. A peace between the two energies that nourishes both, and leverages their unique strengths for one another’s benefit.”
Cybernetics. The fusion of any two disparate paradigms in a way which exceeds the capabilities of either half by itself. I reflected on the nature of the US as a cybernetic nation. The decades of suffering and political chaos following the civil war, when refusal to compromise pit an obsessively masculine party of totalitarians against the prevailing zeitgeist of feminine sensitivity that they reviled.
It never really ended. That regime’s defeat only created a power vacuum filled by an ever-swelling, increasingly powerful Islamic empire. Even now it continues the uncompromisingly masculine campaign to dominate, suppress and control all things feminine. To purge female energy from the heart of every man, and to keep every woman in a state of quiet submission.
Who can blame women for pushing back in a militant way, in those countries where it’s even possible to without risking their lives? Albeit almost solely against Christianity, which is in all ways less aggressive and controlling than Islam. Perhaps wrongly imagining that the enemy of their enemy is their friend?
But that’s just playing the opponent’s own game. Like trying to put out a house fire with a flamethrower. I could now somewhat understand the nature of the problem Asherah identified with the direction our culture has taken…I just couldn’t begin to fathom how to solve it.
The second American civil war in many respects was just a long delayed cultural aftershock of the second world war. Fascists versus Communists all over again. The Alt-Right infested ‘American Action’ movement versus Social Revenge Warriors taking the place of Fatherland versus Motherland. Masculine social and economic ideals versus feminine ones, with lasting peace attained only after a stable compromise was arrived at.
Could such a stability and lasting peace be arrived at within our own bodies? What would it mean, and what would it outwardly look like, for a man to be at peace with himself? To be truly complete, not suppressing his female energy but using it to inform how to treat his mother, wife, sister and daughter?
Stay Tuned for Part 43!