Bringing Men and Women back together...before it too late. An exploration of why men have come to manage the world, why they do such a terrible job of it, and what we can do about it while there is still time. Religion, politics, media, art -- are all grist for this mill.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Religion is bad for the economy

A study by Harvard economist Robert J. Barrow and his wife Professor Rachel McCleary of the Harvard Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, found that less religiosity in a country correlated with more economic growth. Specifically, the study found that countries' economies performed best when people have relatively higher levels of religious belief than religious participation It also found that fear of hell correlates higher than hope for heaven with economic success. See

I have long held that religion has nothing to do with god; it is merely a social convention useful for providing money, power and sex (especially for Catholic priests who like children) to a male hierarchy. I see in the Barrow and McCleary research results that belief is not the problem, it is the hierarchy.

What this page is about

Mansworld.not covers the relationship between men and women and, occasionally dips into religion, politics, and other unrelated topics that really are related to the relati0onships between men and women. What do I mean by "the relationships between men and women? I mean all those things in a society that define whether men or women are in control, or whether neither is in control and they both contribute to the sustainability of the society. Why "sustainability"?

Because it is becoming increasingly obvious (to me) that a society in which either men or women are dominant cannot sustain itself in the long run. Actually, a society in which men are dominant cannot sustain itself -- as far as I know, all of the female or cooperative societies have been wiped out.

Men alone cannot run a society, although they have been trying for about 3000 years and failing. Civilizations dominated by men rise and collapsed, usually when attacked by another male-run society. After a great deal of suffering and destruction, a newer, better, usually more warlike society emerges, and the cycle begins again. The moderating influence of women’s skills in sustaining life, communities, and in general getting things done without breaking a lot of stuff and posturing, are suppressed.

So why? Since evolution trends toward species that can survive, how is it that humans continually go through these cycles of creation and self-imposed destruction – a cycle which may soon come to an end due to the confluence of nuclear war, global warming, resistance viruses and bacteria, and overpopulations and environmental destruction. How did we get here, we men who have been in charge for 3000 years? And why are we in charge?

There are numerous theories on this. My favorite is embedded in the book Sex, Time and Power which begins with the observation that the human female is only one of four mammals worldwide who are available for sex at any time (others all have seasons), and the human female is the only mammal continually losing iron through menstruation, birth, and nursing, and the human female is the only mammal who does not know when she is fertile. And the human male is the only mammal who desires sex any and all times. This led to a partnership in which men traded iron in the form of meat for sex and co-management of the tribe. About 3000 years ago, archeological record shows that something happened – men shifted the relationship from partnership to dominance. Why and what happened then are covered beautifully in the book, but suffice it say, the author does a very credible job of tracing that change to the violence and competitiveness that now dominates almost all societies and may destroy our world.

Other books, most notably, The Wimp Factor, play this out, describing the fear men have of the feminine, especially their feminine side, and react by brutalizing women and fighting each other to prove their manhood, physically, economically, and politically.

So this is what mansworld.not is all about – why do men fear the feminine, especially the feminine in themselves, what damage to themselves, women, society and the world does this cause, and how can we change the way men are raised to change this.

So where does religion come in? All monotheistic fundamentalist religions share one characteristic – they are scared to death of women, they hate the feminine, and they repress and suppress women. Why this should be is the subject of another post.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Why religion?

Why an interest in religion? Indeed, why must we have religion at all?

Religion is interesting because historically, it has been either the cause of or an excuse for most of the war, genocide, suffering, torture, repression of women, and other various evils humans inflict on other humans (and animals!), but it seems to be something than 85% - 90% of all humans cannot live without.

So my question is, how can a force that is so socially destructive be so personally necessary?

This question is especially true for monotheistic, revealed religions – those that postulate that there is one god and his (it always is “his”, never “hers”) word has been revealed to the prophet/savior/priest, etc.. While social destruction is certainly not limited to monotheistic revealed religions, they seem to have a particular hatred of females, often cloaked in an exaggerated veneration of the female as mother/wife (but never leader or even just person) and use this to warp societies so that women’s talents and energies are repressed or punished. An examination of their history, dogma, and practices, say to me that religion, or at lest monotheistic religions, have nothing to with god and everything to do with the leadership/hierarchy/clergy access to wealth, power and sex (especially, it appears, for Catholic priests).

I realize that at the neighborhood level, many people find church “fellowship” to be valuable and comforting, and that many churches (as opposed to religions) do wonderful things, and that churches and religions pass on values -- some of which help societies sustain themselves, but many of which are socially and personally destructive – but I can’t help but ask John Lennon’s question , what if there was no religion?


Patrick O'Heffernan, political activist, TV producer, college professor, fund raiser, father, husband, lover of strong women (and all others), fast bikes, world travel and the Internet. MIT International Relations and Technology Policy Ph.D., 1989, plus degrees in politiclal science, journalism and advertising photography. Former professor at Georgia Tech, former TV producer doing ads for the UN, former campaign manager for Democratic candidates. Currently doing research and writing with the Commonweal Institute.

Fascinated by two questions:
1) In a world in which almost all societies and cultures have been designed and managed by men to suppress the powers and talents of women so men won't be threatened, why and how are some men completely comfortahble with powerful women -- even married to women with more wealth and power than themselves.

2) In a world in which multinational corporations regulate sovereign nations, rather than the other way around, how can NGO's solidify their ad hoc status as corporate regulators.

I am also fascinated by religion. More on that in the posts.