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Marcus Bolt - Watch Your Language

For all Mankind?? Watch your language!. From Hassanah Briedis, June 10, 2011. Time 11:11

Hi Marcus, thanks for the article, well said. And yes, language IS important, it does have power, and can be used to either empower or disempower.

I draw your attention to the sentence which you end with 'especially since Subud is meant to be 'for all of Mankind'. I read that sentence (perhaps incorrectly) that you are not questioning the word Mankind. That word excludes all of womenkind. It may seem to some readers that this is nitpicking, but language IS important. It would not be difficult to substitute Mankind with Humankind, which includes women.

The interesting thing is that it is easy to not see these things when you are on the side of the power privilege. Whereas for me it sticks out like a neon light!

Keep up the good work, with kind regards, Hassanah Briedis


From marcus Bolt, June 12, 2011. Time 18:7

Hi Hassanah

Thanks for the comment, and thanks for your sublime article 'The Latihan and Dissociation' - I have been meaning to write and say how much I enjoyed, and appreciated, it for a long time... will post a comment soon.

Yes, 'mankind' is a tricky one. The dictionary definition is 'the human species; humanity'; and the definition of 'man' (of which there are dozens) can be 'a human being', 'the spiritual and human parts of a human being' as well as 'an adult male person'.

It crops up as mann, mon, manna throughourt the Old French, Dutch and German (esp, in tribal names such as the Allemanni) and is related to thge Sanskrit 'manu'' - a human (I think that's Indonesian as well).

But of course, in English, the word 'man' turns up in both 'human' and 'woman' as well, making meaning even more obscure, unless one is prepared to do the research. I guess the use of 'man' as the male adult reflects the masculine dominance of society since the early Christian leaders removed, or downgraded, the female deities inherited from Paganism (and replaced them with Christ's mother, Mary). Things are changing in society, but slowly. If only PC had been gentler, less finger-waggingly 'in yer face', the deep, underlying effect of these inbuilt prejudices might have been lessened sooner.

I also point out (in my defence ;-) that I used the phrase 'all of mankind' in quotes; however, I'll change it to 'all of humanity' in my text. Wonder if the translators of Bapak's talks would do the same? I can here them scoffing now...


From Hassanah Briedis, June 13, 2011. Time 0:33

Hi Marcus, very interesting discussion. Etymology. I love etymology, it is the history of language. I do agree that the word 'mankind' IS used in the present to refer to all of humanity, but that doesn't mean we should not challenge it.

It is a huge area of discussion, the relative weight or value of the etymology of a word, versus the current usage, versus the implied meaning of the current usage, versus the implicit agenda, and so on.

I see now that your usage was quite acceptable in current terminology, and so I appreciate your kind willingness to alter the word (I'm smiling as I write this). The messages we give by making these changes are subtle, but they do, gradually, alter people's awareness of social power issues.

I think one of the really unusual things about Subud, as it was set up originally, was its structure of equality between men and women, even though that equality could only be implemented by demarkation and separation of the sexes. Nevertheless each 'branch' was equal in the structure.

Thanks for the discussion Marcus, nice to have chatted. Very best, Hassanah


From marcus Bolt, June 13, 2011. Time 11:35

Hi Hassanah

Yes, the good thing about the Subud organisation is that it is not racist (on the whole*) or ageist. It is rarely sexist (except in the early days when a woman had to 'get her husband's permission' to join - this has now been changed and I believe it works both ways now) but, as you point out, there are culturally sexist 'echoes'.

The organisation is still homophobic deep down, however, and mildly 'religionist' (Bapak has made what could be perceived as derogatory remarks about homosexuals, Buddhism and tribal Africans* in his 1500+ published talks).

And it doesn't tolerate too well mavericks, outsiders, non-conformists, the outspoken, critical analysis etc. It also tends to relish its hierarchical levels (local, regional, national, zonal, international), all of which is integral to the Founder's 'teachings' - refer to the 'levels' construct that purportedly make up 'reality'.

It is only when people who understand the issues (and take them seriously) are in positions of influence that this will change, I guess.

Marcus


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