The Eros (Wo)manifesto
This is a manifesto, or you could call it a manifesta, or, better yet, a (wo)manifesto for all women who want to shoulder the responsibility to evolve culture and consciousness. Who sense the possibility of a new way of living, free of the roles and limitations that have held us in ways of being that stretch back to the beginning of time. Who have a growing hunger for something far deeper, freer, more dignified than anything that our culture has offered in the last many millennia. This is a (wo)manifesto for the future that is ours to create.
Creation is the realm of Eros. No, I don’t mean eros as in erotic. That is nothing new for women–being erotified, objectified, by men and, increasingly, by ourselves. Using our bodies as our selves, too much the measure of who we think we are. As Mary Wollstonecraft noted in the eighteenth century, “Taught from infancy that beauty is woman’s sceptre, the mind shapes itself to the body, and roaming round its gilt cage, only seeks to adorn its prison.” Of course the aspiration toward beauty is a transcendent ideal that illumines our humanity, but our fixation on appearance and sexuality has limited our expression of Eros to the realm of the erotic. Likewise, our creativity has mostly been expressed through procreation.
Why is this important? Because to create the future demands far more from us than the female capacities for sex and reproduction. Eros is not only the expression of erotic love, but more importantly was the first Greek deity to emerge from Chaos, coming into being simultaneously with the earth and the underworld. Creation couldn’t have happened without it. I’m referring to Eros as the primordial creative impulse, the Light that illumines all being and gives order to all creation.
This capacity of Eros to create, at the most primary level of consciousness itself, is what we women need to cultivate, develop, and express to create the new. What I am saying may be difficult to understand. But that is because the ability to do this is just emerging at the leading edge of human consciousness.
Eros is the dynamic source of a new spiritual liberation. Andrew Cohen, my spiritual teacher, speaks of it as a new and evolutionary enlightenment. Traditional enlightenment is based on the discovery, some few thousand years ago, that at the depth of each human being is a vast, limitless, and timeless realm of pure being that is the foundation of all manifest reality. (Think Eckhart Tolle and The Power of Now.) The new enlightenment that Andrew has pioneered is based on the discovery of Eros, or as he also calls it the evolutionary impulse, that is the purest form of the creativity that blasted the cosmos into manifestation fourteen billion years ago. In human beings, this creative drive has become conscious–it is what distinguishes us from all other forms of life. Liberating this pure force of Eros, this creative potential of consciousness, through us and as us, we find that we take on our shoulders the responsibility and capacity to create the very structures of consciousness that are the ground of who we are and can be.
It’s something that never has happened before. Only now, as human beings have become so sophisticated, self-reflective, and individuated, can we even begin to discriminate and align with this force in consciousness so that we can begin to guide evolution itself. (Yes, I mean it–this is enormous, and demands a purity of motivation that is ultimately challenging. Only then can we become fit vehicles for this creative intelligence to work through us.)
And it is particularly something that has never happened with or through women. In the thousands of years in which human culture has developed from foraging bands into technosophisticated globalization, women have not been the ones who have innovated the next breakthrough, put our lives on the line to stake new ground, or taken the risks that open up space in what was once unknown. We have not played a role in creating the new in culture. It’s not our fault. We were doing what needed to be done: bearing and raising children. And now, even after the noble struggle for equal rights in the 60s and 70s, we are not equal in our willingness to risk, to step off the edge of what we know, in order to create the future that we say we want.
Does that bug you? It has bugged me and the spiritual sisters with whom I have been engaged in a radical experiment with Andrew Cohen (and our spiritual brothers) to live on this edge and fly on the wings of Eros to create the new together. Women are much less identified with this impulse for the new.
In fact, in the postmodern spiritual world (which has been influenced by the feminist zeitgeist), women are seen as the new. The feminine–which emphasizes women’s traditional biological and nurturing role–is considered to be the solution to a world gone awry. Men are the problem; women are the answer. And in defining women in this way, we reinstate the old, tying women to all of the qualities that we developed during millennia of being subordinate. That subordination–the attentiveness to other’s needs, the need to look good in other’s eyes, the fear of standing out on our own–has shaped the structures of our selves at the deepest levels. It is the feminine.
And it is what we need to free ourselves from. This is the birth of a new women’s liberation–liberated from identification with the roles and structures in ourselves that were born in patriarchy and that have become who we think we are. This is our challenge, the edge we need to leap off of in order to grab onto Eros’s wing and take flight into a world that we don’t know, can’t quite imagine, and yet desperately long for.
Here’s to a new beginning, the start of a new world. I hope that you will join me and my sisters as we chronicle our progress in cultivating Eros and developing a new perspective on who we are in culture and where we need to go.