The Barter System©

The following is an excerpt from Dr. Eigen’s upcoming book: Women-The Gods of Wisdom.

In the “Fairytales” the princess gives the hero, her kingdom. This is symbolically true, but the material reality, the patriarchal reality is that wealth was kept from women. In fact women were considered property themselves. This has changed in some parts of our world where women are gaining in this arena, but not all.
However, women are still taught to look to men for material support. My oldest daughter recently went through an exhausting period of schoolwork (she’s in the top of her class), social life, gymnastics, and student government. She realized that life, especially as a successful petroleum engineer (her goal) would be real work, not necessarily fun at all! Her response was, “maybe I will just get married and raise a family.”
First, know that I consider raising children God’s most important job. However, I didn’t hear her say she wanted to take care of kids because it was her calling. What I heard was that she saw it as the easy way out. I just said, “Hmm, boys don’t have that option.” She replied sympathetically, “I know!”
Women inherently know this option. And they are not being forced into it either. They are being lured into it.
Recent statistics say that the percentage of women in their twenties who are extremely or highly likely to marrying for money is sixty-one percent. This source went on to further say that the percentage of women in their thirties who are is seventy-four percent. **
“Well, what’s wrong with that?” said a friend. “Isn’t that the way it is? Isn’t that wisdom to choose a better provider? Doesn’t evolution dictate that a wealthier husband would be a better provider?” He continued, “If it weren’t for these instinctual evolutionary dictates mankind would not have survived.” In other words, the caveman that brought home the most brontosaurus burgers won. He was the best provider, therefore the best choice for a mate, right?
Maybe, maybe not, but what seems true is that not much has changed with this underlying belief system that may predate the patriarchy. The question is who are we really? Are we just cave men and women, Neanderthals in modern-day costumes, or are we something with the potential to be more, to be more evolved? And either way, does our living based on these old beliefs leave us feeling fulfilled? In the U.S. the fifty percent plus divorce rate would indicate it doesn’t.
OK, there was and maybe still is truth in the need to raise children and have help with this. True, a provider can be useful. But at the cost of pretending a feeling relationship exists where it doesn’t, bartering one’s soul, losing one’s integrity? This is the state of a majority of relationships, and men know and are deeply damaged by it. It is extremely disheartening to think that as a man, I have no value other than to provide a lifestyle for an actress feigning relationship.
Worse yet, most men and I resent being seen as “Johns” in a bartered-for relationship. We know we are not really seen for who we are, not truly cared about. Of course, there is the “show,” the illusion of caring, but its not real, its just part of the bartered-for arrangement. To participate in this lie we men further shutdown, walling off what little access to our hearts we have left after our patriarchal training. Its like the pink elephant in the living room that no one wants to speak of.
How does this come about? WE HAVE BECOME ADDICTED TO THESE BELIEFS. These addictions of ours so distract us from living a “real” life that we’ve become unaware who we really are.
IT IS IMPORTANT to know that the basis for all addictions, why we created these addictions in the first place, is our desire to distract ourselves from certain uncomfortable feelings. These may later become chemical dependencies, and are definitely habitual, but they all start out as distractions from something we don’t want to feel, don’t understand, or can’t stomach. Or we simply were too lazy to deal with the responsibility of maturing, so we chose to find something else to focus on.
OK, so we know a little more about addictions, but what does it have to do with bartering? Women have clearly been placed in dependent positions, and at the same time, they have used these positions to encourage their continuation. It is the dance that men and women both participate in. What is important is that neither sees a way out of the situation they feel trapped in and many don’t want to attempt change, the unknown, or at least are unwilling to do the work necessary to grow and change. They have become too good at it, and it is too comfortable.
But slowly, as we age, we have this voice, at first its way off in the back of our beings, but it grows, gnaws at our contentment. It will not be silenced, try as we may. What’s a woman, or man for that matter, to do? Keep distracting? Or face it? But face what and go where, what are the options. And to make it worse, we have all been taught to fear the unknown and change, instead of welcoming them.
How can a women balance all these forces. It takes wisdom to do this; luckily, this is women’s heritage. Balancing the needs to survive and provide for offspring, with the needs of the soul.

**Harper’s Magazine “INDEX”, March 2008, citing: Prince and Associates, Redding, Connecticut.

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