On Puerarchy and Bully Boys
‘I strive for an education that teaches us to think, and against an education that trains us to obey…’
I saw this on the wall of a school building in Puerto Escondido, Mexico earlier this year.
I have thought to share it for a while. One idea it prompts in me is about the puerarchy we need to dissolve… what do I mean? In recent years, many people talk about ‘the patriarchy’, but often in ways I don’t find entirely convincing. I would suggest that we do not really live in a ‘patriarchy’. For me, that would imply responsible fatherhood, patrimony, the respectful passing on of culture, building on inheritance in positive, evolutionary ways. Instead, I would suggest, we are dominated not by a paradigm of the mature masculine, but of immature, boorish bully boys, a puerarchy. The mentality of throwing weight around, ‘dominating’ others to ostensibly ‘show off their strength’, but really to mask their fear and weakness.
One of the playground bully’s classic tactics is to get others to do things that don’t make sense, that make the bullied victim look (and feel) stupid while validating and pumping up the bully’s sense of power and domination. As the bullies humiliate and terrorise the other, they syphon some of the others’ power and this adds padding to the bullies’ armour.
‘Why am I doing what I am doing?’
This is one of the most important questions in yoga practice.
It is also the question prompted by one of the most important lessons of my schooling:
‘Because s/he told me to’,
‘because everyone else is/was doing it’, are NOT good reasons to do anything.
‘Does it accord with my conscience?’ ‘Is it the right thing to do?’ These are the questions we need to check in with.
How to deal with these bullies?
Do not comply with their impositions.
Do not dance to their tune.
Do your own dance, fearless, looking them in the eye and letting them know that your will is not subject to being dominated by a fear-driven bully, so craven that he has to throw his weight around to feel safe. Demonstrate that you will not let your power be siphoned off to prop up their false, deluded construct of dominion. See through the bullies’ veneer, their sickening schtick, see the scared little boys. See them with firmness, with pity, with compassion, and with unshaking resolve to stay true to the pilot of your conscience.
James Boag | Whole Life Yoga
The yoga of the whole human being. Practical philosophy, storytelling, movement, inquiry, looking in ways that reach beyond our habitual ways of looking.
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