Or something. The usual Friday ramble, which may be more entertaining than substantive.
Some things that don't possess material reality nevertheless have an enduring psychic reality. One might dismiss the latter realm by saying it is "only" psychic, but then you're going to exclude most of the content of reality, which is either in the mind or nowhere at all.
Which is not an argument for subjectivism or relativism. Rather, what we call reality has a kind of bipolarity such that it exists one way exteriorly and in another manner interiorly. What we call knowledge is the mode in which reality exists in the intellect; there is a humanoid trinity of knower, known, and the knowledge that links them.
It reminds me of the concept of maya, i.e., the idea that the world consists of appearances. This is true, except that the appearances are of reality, precisely. They are at once a veiling of reality and reality as veil. Irony is built into the nature of things: on the one hand, No man sees my face and lives, on the other, Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
Now, let's put forth the proposition that Whoever has seen a feminist has seen a witch. It may sound surprising, but this is why you experience that unpleasant feeling upon exposure to hideous women such as Joy Behar, Whoopie Goldberg, Nancy Pelosi, Kathy Hochul, Kamala Harris, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Chris Hayes, etc. Each of them triggers that creepy feeling that people in olden times identified with witches.
My argument is that modern-day feminists perform the same functions witches once did and accordingly are psychologically and even physically extremely similar. This is akin to the way in which... modern-day cultural institutions perform the same essential functions as tribal ones and are likewise comparable in salient respects (Dutton).
Going back to the persistence of psychic reality, the words we use are less important than the reality they signify. But if we eliminate the word and don't replace it with something equivalent, then the reality it signifies will obviously persist but be "unthinkable." It will just lay there in the psyche like an indigestible lump of concrete.
I'm not a Jungian, but Jung wasn't wrong about the concept of archetypes. For there is an enduring deep structure to the psyche that includes various preconceptual categories for the metabolism and storage of experience, one of which is the witch. Apparently, we have a witch archetype because there is a factory preset in the head to identify common forms of toxic femininity.
It's been a long time since I read any Jung. Let's see if we can dig out anything useful.
First of all, there is the anima archetype, which is "a personification of all feminine psychological tendencies in a man's psyche" (complementary to the animus, or male archetype in the female psyche).
However, in more enlightened times people understood that this archetype doesn't just consist of sugar and spice and everything nice. Rather, it could take on a quality of shrewish and spiteful and everything noxious, which is where the witch enters the picture, for it is hardly as if premodern man never encountered toxic femininity, or had no knowledge of ex-wives from hell. Indeed, some of the earliest art depicts them.
In fact, the anima "is often personified as a witch or a priestess -- women who have links with 'forces of darkness' and 'the spirit world.'" Jung points out that "the belief is still widespread that women are more receptive than men to the irrational," and cites the example of male shamans who would
even wear women's clothes, or have breasts depicted on their garments, in order to manifest their inner feminine side -- the side that enables them to connect with the "ghost land" (i.e., what we call the unconscious).
You don't say. I wonder which restroom they used.
Seems to me that this duality can be traced all the way down to the bottom of the psyche, where we find Eve on the one hand, and Mary on the other (and all they symbolize). Not to suggest that Eve was the first witch; however, it seems clear enough every witch enacts and valorizes Eve's poor choice, without the redemptive compensation of the Mary archetype.
Does this make any sense, or am I out here alone on this limb? Well, I'm reading a totally unrelated book called The Way Forward for Perennialism, by Charles Upton, and it has a section discussing the primordial feminine, which again, cuts both ways. It's a little convoluted, but I think I get it: the "Divine Feminine" has the power "to melt the hardness of the human ego"; however,
the dark side of the archetypal Feminine Principle... is necessarily also present -- the transpersonal petrifying-power -- the Head of the Medusa.
Again, this duality goes all the way down and up in the cosmos, and is "more primordial than Good and Evil, or even Truth and Error" -- which is to say, "Transcendence and Immanence." And it seems that the former is associated with male, the latter with female, which is why we have been known to call it the mamafestation (or sometimes mayaplicity), which in turn goes back to what we said above about the manifestation of reality via the veil:
The wavelike quality of manifestation, and consequently its nature as Maya or "truly-existing-illusion"... results from the fact that it exists in one sense and does not exist in another, which is why we see it as always coming into and departing from existence (Upton).
Apparently the cosmos is just like a flighty woman.
Now, an emotionally mature man does not burn witches, but nor does he allow them to take over the military, or the educational establishment, or congress, or anything else except for The View.
Ultimately, it seems that the male archetype serves as a kind of complementary axis for the cosmically enchanting and wandering ways of the primordial feminine (and vice versa -- she for his coldly rigid, analytic, and systematizing ways). Geometry + Music.
So, where does this leave us? I suppose with the idea that patriarchy is adaptive because it promotes values that enable the survival of the group. But wherever there is explicit patriarchy there is always implicit matriarchy, and we need to recognize the light and shadow in each archetype.
For just as there exists a toxic masculinity in the form of weak men impersonating strong men, there is a toxic femininity consisting of weak women imitating weaker men and calling it "empowerment."