Second Nature Home > Short Essays by Dan Bruiger >


Ascensionism is a masculine innovation, which has become the hallmark of all cultural expression under patriarchy. This corruption of spiritual intent magnified men and the masculine at the expense of women, the feminine, and nature; it thwarted whatever chance society had for a peaceful and balanced development. Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have justified male violence, the enslavement of one people or class by another, and the systematic exclusion and repression of women. These evils, of course, began long before the so-called axial religions, which only followed the shift to patriarchy. The subordination of women is already evident in Sumerian records of the third millennium B.C. While women were undoubtedly the first inventors and discoverers of the implements and processes upon which civilization is founded, they were also the first slaves. They developed horticulture and the fabrication of vessels for storing food, but these arts were quickly appropriated by men, following a pattern in which men envy, usurp and transform female functions, beginning with reproduction. But nothing could be more natural than the mother’s authority over the child and nature’s authority over the organism. Both possess us from within—nature through her laws and genetic programming, mother through early dependency. While the female can identify with both mother and nature, the male is disposed to rebel against both. He seeks on other ground to compensate a deficient identity, by mimicking and inverting the authority of the female and of nature over him and within him. He does this first by redefining everything in terms of the interior mental world, which is itself an imitation of the female’s interiority and the immanence of nature. The Ideal is his world, built parallel to hers. Not only is the male reproductive function decreed, as in Aristotle, to be the original and true power of generation, but all creative and generative abilities are redefined as masculine, while the woman is associated with “mere” matter, passivity, and the mortal weight of the flesh. In the beginning was the word, the Logos, the masculine principle of thought, the head, the realm of the spirit, from which the material world of nature is imperfectly copied or descended. Such as we have come to know it in patriarchal culture, ascensionsim is the key reversal through which the masculine has turned the tables on both nature and the feminine.

RELATED TAGS: [ascensionism, essence of religion, patriarchal/axial religion, misogyny, repression/exclusion of woman(en), female inventor, origin of slavery, feminine arts, nature’s authority, genetic program(ming), masculine rebellion against nature/woman, Logos, masculine principle (of thought), Aristotle’s misogyny, philosophical idealism]

© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.