Life often puts us on a hamster wheel, where we are forever running in place, getting tired and used up, and we don’t even realize how we have been conditioned to think in ways that are unnatural to us and even work against the very stuff of our souls. We don’t realize our thoughts are unnatural and there is a game that has rigged things to favour certain people over others. We think we are idiots, but what we have been is secretly trained to believe things that actually harm us.
Storytelling is one of the ways we can enslave people, but it can also be used to liberate us.
As a storyteller, I agonize over subtext. I question structures of stories even more than content because structure is the silent and invisible prison that prevents true progress from happening.
I love Matriarchal Storytelling because its structure is fluid, not static. In fact, the emphasis is on the structure as much as content — and at times, it is the structure of the story that counts more than content.
Because the Patriarchal focuses exclusively on content, its structure is rarely questioned, but it should be questioned.
Because so much of society’s base assumptions dutifully follow the untested truisms based on the Patriarchal structure.
For example, why can’t we achieve equality in 2017? Considering how long humans have been interacting with one another, you’d think racism/sexism/homophobia would just be eradicated, yet every day, we have people getting harmed by authority figures (the city counsellor in my riding was hassled and carded by police last year, for instance, and Wyclef Jean was recently handcuffed by police. The only hassling either one of these men should get from police is for them to ask for autographs, but I digress).
We have people, to this day, not realize that being a woman is not a genetic defect.
How, on earth, have we absolutely not evolved by this time?
Because we have been conditioned since children to accept a very latent assumption that the Infinite is dystopia, while the One, by default is utopia.
In futuristic films and novels, a dystopian world is very, very bad. There is anarchy and chaos, and disharmony because there is some latent competition among people who just refuse to be part of the One.
But Utopia is all about harmony of the One. The hero swoops in, and after getting everyone to think just like he does, people become followers as the hero leads them to paradise.
Oh, nice try.
That is pure patriarchy talking. Why can’t people just give up their free will, hopes, dreams, and independent thinking, and go with the flow?
Aside from the fact that everyone’s life requirements are different, they really shouldn’t.
But stories told in the Patriarchal style absolutely reject this. To have plurality is considered evil, yet life is a mosaic: every piece has its place and contributes to the whole without losing its individuality.
In the Matriarchal, dystopia is not evil by default; in fact, we can all have a common thread (to embrace progress, freedom, individuality, kindness, happiness, and peace), yet how we achieve those shared qualities requires us to follow our own instincts. Far from being competitive, we are cooperative. We do not become threatened because a group of people progress. We, in fact, make certain that if a group starts to lag, we figure out the problem so that no one gets ahead at someone’s else’s expense.
It’s not hard, but there are seeds planted in us at a very early age where people who have different opinions from us are labelled “villains,” and when there is people following their own paths, we are to see it as “dystopia” — a place of ruin and misery.
The underlying message is simple: well, if these groups just all went lockstep with the hero, we’d all be united, and happy!
That is nothing but a lie and a scam used by people who are so petty and myopic, they think they cannot have any success in life unless they trick people into sacrificing themselves and not pursue their own dreams.
No wonder we cannot tell stories past Happily Ever After — we are too scared to contemplate that world of relinquishing our freedom to appease a control freak.
Where are the stories that embrace the beauty and excitement of multiplicity and does not see the Infinite as something to fear and despise?
Utopia can only be utopia if we embrace the different chords that all have a place and purpose. A patriarchy does everything it can to discourage the notion that we can have plurality. The patriarchal, when left unchecked, veers into monomania. When you become obsessed with always staying on top and dominating everybody and insist they all think and act like you, you miss an awful lot — problems simmer because all you see is The One.
We never learn to truly tolerate ideological differences, nor do we learn to navigate and negotiate when we reach impasses. We are trained to make other submit, rather than find the way for both (or more) parties to mutually benefit.
Matriarchal Storytelling is about connection with other people who are from different times and places.
That means the Patriarchy has been messing with us. It is not about conquering and submission. It is not about defeat and victory. We share this space, and those who are spending billions building flotillas, bunkers, and spaceships trying to run away, I have very bad news: you cannot run away from yourself.
Nor can you run away from the truth.
And the truth is we have been doing it wrong. We have become afraid and fear brings anger and hatred. We have been living in the dark ages where xenophobia thrives. It is time to put an end to those ridiculous lines in the sand, and start connecting to others in a genuine way.
The best way to bring people together is by starting with a very good story that weaves everyone in as it speaks to every heart in earnest truthfully. The meaning of life is different for each of us. We cannot expect progress if we force people to live an unnatural life.
We can have a world that is a paradise — but we can’t have it if we keep drilling it into future generations that everyone has to sacrifice their heart and soul to someone else to get there.