WOMEN’S HISTORY, Body TRIVIA: Ovarian-Egg Knowledge, Conception of Embryo, Our Bodies, Aristotle and his followers, 2300 years later …..
My Painting, The Female Sun Hidden in the Clouds – What does it mean?
First off, It does not mean THIS:
Man consequently plays a major part in reproduction; the woman is merely the passive incubator of his seed.” Aristotle
And not this:
We should look upon the female state as it were a deformity, though one that occurs in the ordinary course of nature. Aristotle
All have in their semen that which causes it to be productive; I mean what
is called vital heat. Aristotle
The mother is not the parent of the child which is called hers. She is the nurse who tends the growth of the young seed planted by its true parent, the male. Apollo
According to Aristotle, the female human didn’t ‘have’ eggs that were fertilized by sperm. The human ‘eggs‘, yes, eggs, were produced entirely from the conception of the menstrual coagulum (earthy dirt) of the female and the divine spirit or soul, ‘seed’ of the ‘rational= divine male. Men were understood as producing the egg from seed. Women didn’t have any. Men created them. An egg from seed and dirt.
This was a progressive idea originally, now conservative myth. Aristotle and
his ideas were taught for centuries – and still are. Aristotle is taught as an honored ‘philosopher’.
Remember there were no microscopes before this belief developed until 2000 years later to see microscopic human ‘eggs‘ or wiggly sperm seed. Seed? Eggs? How do such things in our bodies get named? Or do the names influence what we see now? Even still, new understandings about female anatomy are less than 70 – 30 years old and not a widely enforced area of public education. In fact, we still have many who believe such information about sexual bodies should not be taught to children and are unimportant in most of the honored male professions for policy and decision making.
Yet the beliefs of and about Aristotle and their lingering mutations have been reproduced for generations of males for centuries. Knowledge of women’s bodies, nope. Knowledge of women’s history, nope.
Thus, it was realized (unscientifically and yes, mythically, some 2300 years ago) that all the important gunk that made humans was in the seed of the male. I mean, earthy mense was plain dirt. Often cursed. Not divine. Unclean. Similar thoughts were also written in many scattered sacred books that were carried for centuries. Some known as religion. Some as philosophy. Some later as science. Often disproved over and over only to be resurrected again and again by yet some other writer investigating and honoring ancient text.
Men as a group – simply, nothing more than the non-birthing humans in reality – had no superior substance, separate divine, awesome power to produce humans. Women actually did – as they still do today. What was female anatomy that was called the Egg did and still does have the power. The female anatomy clones and reproduces the cells. Not men’s sperm. However men, had, instead, for centuries chose to believe that their contribution was greater, divine, and that the subsequent, sacred souls or divine substance of life was from man in the sperm – alone – and well, through a God in the image of man on top of it. That is, God often in the image of Aristotle.(See art history) A white old wise man. White Man was the standard. The original. The creator. The human power that reproduced. The female; none of the above, but a lesser, deformed offspring of male for his purpose of reproduction and use.
Actually, The belief about male divinity as superior and only kind in opposition to any female divinity was a reaction to the more obvious, fundamental daily fact that some humans with specific body parts actually do birth a human baby and others do not, and some actually had the power of reproducing, carrying the fetus and bringing a new child into the world through their labor and that ability might have some connection to some awesome power that goes beyond being normal human everyday activity. Originally there was no understanding that males had anything to do with that activity. They didn’t recognize that sex with men had to do with pregnancy. Yes, a time when men didn’t know and saw the ability to pop out a baby as awe-inspring -did exist. Knowing changed everything and they went extreme with it.
The original belief was that birthing humans (women), obviously, actually had some incredible godlike power to reproduce that was a mystery! So explanations were sought and created. Our culture was only one of many different mythologies about the origin of human reproduction.
In a certain place and at a certain time, one version claimed Truth began to be declared by those not busy birthing. After some intellectual debate among those who don’t actually birth humans, with the added fever to use tools that put a mark on a substance, words on papyrus and scrolls, stories on paper and in books, drawings and type in print and subsequent technologies, it was declared that women didn’t simply pop out eggs, um, humans, from nowhere or from Gods alone.
So let’s get real, which came first, the egg or the female human?
Neither, it was concluded in this myth and declared by ‘sacred’ writings by men that Man came first. Not egg. Not woman.
Thus The woman’s body was made myth. Around the same time, the ‘word’ in the activity of alphabets and writing became sacred. First in a step towards mythical virgin as divine, women’s bodies in childbirth were dishonored. That is, A virgin category as impossible for any pregnant female. Virgin as the only possible categorized divine woman IF she didn’t have sex with a man nor had any of her own human reproduction powers; only such a woman could actually give birth – according to this new intellectualizing philosophy. Therefore, she had to be touched by the gods themselves to give birth. The Virgin Birth story was one way to reconcile that. The virgin birth as the true, iconic one. Female actual births witnessed as everyday life were impossible to perceive and believe as divine …..and war and destruction of any belief as such…. warranted killing of the believers.
A further detailed explanation for such a belief about women and birthing thus had to exist and that explanation became logical sense – despite any actual witnessing of how humans were born. This logical sense was the exact opposite of what today we understand as reality about human female reproduction. Well, almost. But not yet. This basic myth was then coupled with another mythologicalized belief of the female.
The next part of the myth is that an actual human female that actually did have sex with a man was a disrespected, tainted and damaged sexually used object. Sound familiar? If you are female and have sex, you can’t go back to your supposedly pure, divine state. No longer divine. No longer virgin. Divinity and any beliefs that females carried divine concept of life was removed.
That way, and in only that way, Divinity began and remained in sexual male to the offspring and females could be perceived as nothing more than ‘incubators’.
Females, their bodies and reality excluded
Female in her powers of sex were dishonored – even cursed and made invisible and non existent by belief and story. These two myths about women were effective in moving women away from their own reality of their bodies and separating them from their larger physical purpose, life powers and roles in reproduction and sex reduced simply to be understood as a housing incubator for the ‘egg’ produced by the seed, not the dirt, – in other words, the seed soul – of man.
Woman’s egg had no human power, soul or substance from female alone. Thus man’s need to manhandle and control a woman for protection of his divine seed was a logical outcome. He had entitlement to a woman’s body because of his divine seed that she housed for him. This makes sense in many ways, right?
Well, let’s see.
Eggs of mammals usually come from a mix of earth and seed somehow, right?
I guess not. Science describes our lives on earth differently…..no science actually fits these myths. Well, except when it comes to human reproduction and women, we can still believe that female menstruation and hormones are a curse or sickness, male sperm as a seed with aggressive human energy or ‘soul’, and women actually have eggs – even when humans are grown within female anatomy and are born with no shell.
Anyway, Mention egg and you Immediately you get the mental image like a chicken egg, right?
In the days before internet and in days not so long ago, there was no way to google or
microscopically see inside females and see a female human ‘egg’. So it was easy to believe
women had eggs or whatever you wanted to make up because nobody could actually see or know what was happening in the body. Take a look yourself now on google. It’s not an egg at all. Not a bird egg or
a reptile egg. Not a mammal egg. Exactly 2 mammals, known as Monotremes, actually lay eggs. The platypus is one. Humans don’t and are not classified as monotremes. So we, kind of, know already the females don’t have eggs, but we still use the language and perceive females based partially on ancient myths.
What we call the egg is actually a part of the female anatomy that grows – no different than
our arms or hair. A part of us if we are female. We don’t see other body parts as added on features that we share as belonging to others – even if they are also part of female anatomy for reproduction. We use our arms for purposes of holding others, but in no way do we perceive our
arms as something that belonging to others missing a purpose for our own body. What is part of our
bodies is our bodies.
But we don’t think in that way – in terms of female anatomy of reproduction as absolutely connected and as part of the female body total function. We emphasize and think in terms of the result of female production as a separate baby and the beginning of female production as a separate being tied to creation and contact with man. The knowledge in between, that would be us, as part of female anatomy goes missing in conscious connection with mothers.
Recently with new fetus laws, we go more extreme than ever throughout history, legally declaring the fetus as it’s own being. As if we can legally separate the fetus from the ‘incubator’. thus Absolutely severing and deemphasizing the reality of female anatomy to the creation, sustenance and the importance of new life. Aristolian beliefs are most certainly part of the bedrock of such beliefs even today. The life that comes through man – only via sperm – that becomes new human life is mythologically believed to not be a part of female anatomy.
It echos Aristotle beliefs despite science about a woman’s body.
We think in terms of a female body as a male only with extra parts added on or taken away – As if females and babies could actually function separately and exist without those connected parts. We deemphasize the connections of mother and child growing as one for living.
Modern medicine actually practices transgendering with the rearrangement of parts as if there is absolutely no sacredness to the design as is. With beliefs about who we are up not built from fact, confusions exist that some people even believe they have a ‘wrong’ body. Nature is perceived as making a mistake rather than seeing that a correction in our thinking may be what is wrong. With sacredness, certain things are not – and are – allowed to be done to people and their bodies based on our beliefs about them. This is obvious. When something is honored, you follow with respect. Our present society functioning, even in medicine and law, rests on some ancient beliefs that are not, in reality, the science of our bodies as is widely known. We don’t think in terms of male bodies missing parts because they aren’t female. Nothing is missing or added either way in science.
But when you fall into fiction or use language that gives you wrong images of how things are,
you can believe that things are wrong or misplaced, that are not. And you can believe things are right when they are wrong. And science based on ancient errors, can also see a human as a female or male with parts to be taken away or added for one’s preferences when basic respect and honor is missing by a mistaken foundational belief about eggs and seeds. The mutations of the basic beliefs
spread and acted upon in strange ways.
So a normal image of an egg is a white 3-D oval object with a hard, yet fragile, shell with some goop inside. Divine goop that is the substance of white (although really clear) and yolk. The ones you crack for breakfast. Flash image. Well, no, the mind does stop, reads error for human eggs and then processes further (like any 30 second flash image scan and search), not quite that kind of egg it has to be admitted, but yes, well, that’s what an ‘egg’ is to us when we don’t know what a female human egg actually looks like.
What else would an egg look like if not like a chicken egg? How do you see female human anatomy to new life? There are no stories about how the ‘eggs’ are made. They are part of the female from birth
from the mother that was part of the mother from her birth from her mother….so what does that mean if we stop and think about it? What are these parts of ourselves that create life that we carry from birth from our mothers who carried them in her from her mother? Are they eggs?
Many of us have no real description or picture of the female human egg to go to nor adequate
knowledge of female anatomy. Certainly Aristotle didn’t.
The human female egg has not been a massively produced popular image anytime since Aristotle. It was
unimportant. Believe it or not. But we do get an image of what male sperm look like. A male sperm looks like dill seed and other varieties of seed and shapes in nature. But when we see an image, we don’t see any of the other possibilities in nature – we see the image as sperm. This is not what happens to the female egg. But a human female ‘egg’ wasn’t the subject of artists.
Michelango didn’t paint one. He instead painted his version of the conception of life built upon similar mythical ideas. He painted conception of life by a modern looking naked man as Adam with his finger touching God’s finger.
We know that this is not how human reproduction happens.
Mind you, many people still believe this idea of the ‘conception of life’.
That is, God, as an old white man with a white beard who looks, kind of, like, well, like Aristotle who creates life by his word – his story. And the story goes….
As a female artist, I sought to learn what a female human egg looks like cause I wanted to paint it. I wanted to explore female anatomy as men never did…and I questioned such images and descriptions of conception of life by male artists and male writers.
So I propose that for understanding conception of life and our relationship to Aristotle and his ideas, we might try to be a bit more consciously aware of our own human imaginings that maybe we’ve been taught or exposed to and will carry forward to our children.
So according to these ancients, an egg Miraculously formed from the earthy brownish terra cotta clay soil substance mixed with those tiny energetic, powerful live seeds, not eggs, moving in white foam. White foam, kind of like ocean spray from the motion. This we absolutely can and do imagine and teach our children. On top of it we conceptualize Aristotle’s idea of the female egg that starts the whole process of human life not as we know it through anatomists and mammals but like a seed put in the ground in the dark which creates a seedling. Female conception of life in her body is shrouded with a darkness we accept. This story. We make sense of it in our world paralleled with science. No matter the science. No matter the facts.
Out pops an egg in this story.
The egg of ovulation.
Well, actually, not quite but somewhat.
In the last 100 years children were taught storks bring the eggs that babies come from. It leaves an imprint on a child’s mind. Remember this might be what your grandparent’s parents were actually believing to social adherence for many years when women’s bodies were absolutely taboo to discuss or know anything about except in mythical ways.Childbirth was a secret. Children are still exposed to the story of the stork bringing a baby sister or brother from rerun cartoons or older literature. And Science still uses the term ‘egg’ without question. Women understand their ovulation as an egg in action being released from her body.
Of course, Not all eggs are oval with white shells. Actually, a round shaped substance with goop used for creating something doesn’t have to be called an egg especially if it’s not really one. Many substances gel into beaded small balls and we don’t necessarily call them eggs.
Mythically speaking and creatively imagining, we could call it many other things. Maybe, a glob of semi-hardened glue – epoxy with some chemical reactions, but that wouldn’t fit our archaic, still current mythical story of conception at all. It wouldn’t even fit for an updated version in the age of metal, iron or paper and the construct of human as machine from the 18th century that much of medical science still rests on today; a contribution of the industrial age. We would have to do an overhaul entirely – a new story. Updates are actually urgently needed.
Since, well, you know, in one of our most celebrated holidays with similar religious roots, for the celebration of the renewing of life in spring, we inform children that a rabbit brings eggs to symbolize spring, reproduction, rebirth of life. Yet Another egg story with the same egg theme
even though it makes no sense that a rabbit lays eggs, either. What it is is an inherited ancient story that is both part of our society’s traditions.
Yes, painted chicken eggs for Easter, for spring. And a mortal-god man who lived and died, renews our hope for continued life. Not female. Not human egg. Connections are there. It’s what we do with them.
Then we are taught some science of reproduction, if we are lucky. Sex education is still a debate.
So to proceed here, You have to clear your mind and open for new space, at least just a bit from our entrenched mosaic-like developed images and ideas we live from.
You most certainly have to clear our cultural lens about eggs and new life. Okay, let me cut to the chase. You have to point out blank remove the inherited image and text mosaic polluted picture we have today from our image polluted world if we want to understand Aristotle more clearly as he was and as he imagined and used words some 2300 years ago. Not to mention understanding ourselves. In truth.
Aristotle’s understanding of this ‘conception’ of the baby human with egg and seed you can imagine came about from, say, his simple observations of domestic chickens, seeds of plants and soil of the earth. You know, like any ancient, primitive mythmaker about life made stories from earth elements. Sounds like he had, at least, some farmer in him. Some earth tied existence. He created story; a story we define as primitive medical or that vague, mystified word – philosopher. An ancient wise man. He created a mixed story about humans and about elementary earth parts. Not at all the way children learn about human bodies and earth processes today. He was not a scientist. He is presented to us as intellectual. Non-white, indigenous ancient wise men who give such kind of similar stories aren’t given the same status.
Perhaps Aristotle did more than just read and write and engage in intellectual debate as a philosopher but that’s kind of denied as we think of him as strictly intellectual philosopher. But it is obvious that He knew something about chickens, the soil for growing and seeds that blew in the wind that influenced his thinking and writing. And he made story. You might even stretch the imagination that he was a man of nature, caveman in a robe instead of furs – like other legendary men, like oral storytellers of indigenous cultures. Possibly no different than a native american storyteller only with different tools to draw, different clothes, different stories.
An imaginary mind is an imaginary mind. A storyteller is a storyteller.
We exalt the literate man above the oral storyteller as superior.
But Was he just a literate man?
He didn’t survive on reading and writing alone.
Was he a hunter, too? a farmer?
George Washington was a farmer.
Did he eat eggs? Did he raise chickens?
How did that influence his perception of his wife?
What influenced ideas about the female sun that has been called, instead, the egg?
Oh, wait, whose called this supposed egg – that is, a female phenomenon
of energy and material producer of life – a ‘sun’? The female energy in action.
I think really nobody – yet – except Natalie Angier.
That’s My point.
Why call them eggs and seeds?
Because It makes sense to us, right?
We are taught it so It makes sense.
It makes sense because we are taught it.
End of discussion. No questions.
But rewind. It doesn’t make sense.
Some scientists say we are all born from ‘star’ material – the ingredients of light energy and from light energy. So why not see the female new life producing energy as a sun with star power?
So why not the conception of life as the ingredients of the ‘sun’.
We know scientifically our connection and our survivalis based on the sun in other ways.
It makes much more scientific sense with our current scientific understandings of how the sun creates life on earth.
Why not update our ancient ideas a bit to new stories that would make
our lives run more efficiently and aligned with the earth processes – and our own bodies’ realities?
But I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Let’s backup.
Aristotle’s imagination and story creation about the female was vivid and handed down to generations of mostly men until recent history (still ongoing with no end in sight, actually), especially our most highly educated men, as honored and respected philosophy.
There’s stereotypes embedded here – how we see ourselves as humans.
Aristotle was structured in our educational framework relatively in frame of reference as slightly medically scientific (at least, you have to admit, as rational objectivity and not as a creative imaginative, fiction writer) and, well, rational as any wise man is.
It’s not what he did, it’s the character that historians give him as opposed to wise men of other cultures and times. Or wise women. He gets this exalted category that exists for primarily white men alone.
Today a child improperly educated might slip up and imagine he wore a suit and tie until you know more of his time period. He wore a robe, like king. Not to be confused though quite like female dress. He would not have worn jeans cause they didn’t exist. So there’s no possible way to see him as a farmer or hippie through today’s attire. He isn’t clothed in feathers or furs of animals that indicate different men. In that way, we immediately announce the intelligence of men. We cloth intelligent men differently than men perceived as non-intellectual.
Aristotle’s ideas were never reduced to an inferior, less intelligent male status.
Many wise people through centuries are subjected to inferior stereotypes and supposedly worthy of less respect. That respect comes in a framed category of, say, plain anonymous storyteller. Mythical stories come from unknowns or legends.
Their names never ‘go down in history’, get lost, nor become part of the important people taught to children or given space in higher academic education. Despite any facts to the contrary, Aristotle’s stories are not perceived as embedded in a remote primitive earth based culture. His ideas about animal and earth understandings and himself as a non-scientific human producing creative myths are trumped by his followers and their creations of a stereotypical image we have of an old wise man. The same one we have of God. (See art history for what God looked like.) The same one we have that is the basis of all academic disciplines.
And I ask, why? Why not creative story? Weren’t they that – his knowledge productions?
Aristotle is perceived as a literate man perceived in a civilization- a particular kind of honored society.That is what sets apart our ideas about intelligent, intellectual men from the universality of the rest of humanity.
This man was never taught as suspected mythmaker but as a honored philosopher.
An intellectual among other non-intellectual cavemen, gypsies, indians, barbarians and savages. He was not even slightly perceived as carrying fanciful imaginings, irrational, or frankly, one could go as far as seeing him as delusional. But we only reserve delusional as a phrase for people who are much less respected and dishonored – no matter how accurate their beliefs. In fact, one doesn’t go harmoniously with the other.You are either honored and respected or you are considered delusional.
Aristotle won’t shake the epoxied attachment to the stereotype of a wise, objective, scientific, rational, white man. He’s not treated in the same way as many other cultures’ storytellers and their legends in the way others are classified as cultural myths – and thus, easily dismissed for their ideas. Kind of cute, but not to be taken seriously. No, our wise white men are never easily dismissed. Our cultural myths are classified ‘education’. He’s different than Davy Crockett because he read books and wrote language rather than live in the wild. But is this classification true and so easily divided? Was he really so different – so advanced? Or is that OUR myth by our beliefs about clothing, ways of living and social organization?
Aristotle somehow escaped the category of legend because he’s authenticated. Authenticated is simply Proved true. Oh, yeah? Well, that is, even when he’s not entirely accurate or true… and despite any actual error or falseness in our honored myths about man or men who have created men like as Aristotle as myth.
Aristotle, a simple storyteller?
Well, no. Never. We learn entirely about wise, ancient, rational, mostly white men in our ‘factual’ storytelling educational institutions today. Thus, these historical figures are always seen as much more than creative storytellers or mythmakers because our society believes we’re advanced beyond such primitive ways of learning and teaching members of our society. Our ways are built through image and word technologies that manufacture words and stories. Our stories are perceived as better quality and as much more than stories. We’ve divided story from story by something called Fact. Fact is the word we trip over to do that. Logic, research and science is the honored frame we rest on – despite any illogical, language problems, cognitive dissonance or contradiction in practices of those activities or despite imbalanced questionable results. And most certainly, despite any acknowledgement of emotionally driven passionate beliefs about rational men by rational men.
Let’s get clear. Science is always ‘advancing’ with new discoveries that prove
the older beliefs of wise men to be limited, incomplete and sometimes, laughable.
Despite this, wise men still repeat the mythologies about wise men. Not to mention a significant portion of the mistakes embedded in the traditions.
With the right words, our honored men of legends fall neatly into a special category as semi-primitive scientists considered real historical figures. Forever set apart from the ‘others’, we define them differently, almost, if not, beyond being ordinary human. They become demi-gods.
We claim our historical figures taught in public education as real never mind dead while other cultures’ same activities are considered a strange worship of ancestors. Don’t we worship these ‘ancestors’ too? Don’t we have a strange way of worship ourselves? When Hilary Clinton, denied this tradition of men for herself as a woman, said she ‘imagined’ and looked to Eleanor Roosevelt for
some guidance, she was told she better not say that or she would be seen as mentally ill. Women don’t have the same system so firmly established yet. Men, not only worship but live through
the teachings of ancestors, and do this without any accusation of being mentally ill. They honor men, write stories, teach children, create movies and film, statues and holidays to the point one doesn’t quite see the reality of men – those dead and those living. They merge. Lincoln as a story and Obama as a story and Michael Jackson as a story become all the same experience. Only numbers and details vary.
After some real questioning of my education from white males, I’m not convinced that our society is different in the ways believed. In fact, I’m convinced our mythologies, unlike native american and other indigenous cultures’ mythologies, cause massive destruction and horrible relations with the planet and each other as humans. We have some major oversights in the system. Our home, the earth, is filled with man’s creations that are harming us based on our belief system and actions from it. We are so entirely false and fragmented in our stories that we are in much worse shape as a community – except for how we honor our technologies and their advancements. Specializations of knowledge and profession has divided our communities to the point of different languages, extremes
of views and inability to communicate with each other. While we believe we are so advanced by our use of technologies, our science and our inventions of language and story, we have severe inabilities as a society to understand basics about who we are as humans and relations of humans to the rest of the earth. Our science not only has missing pieces, it has carried forward ancient beliefs and created mythologies of it’s own. I suspect it may be a case of too much of a good thing. Anything overdone can start losing its understood effectiveness. We have developed to extreme in
only certain areas and remain undeveloped in many others.
Entrenched in myths, intelligent men weren’t and still aren’t perceived as intellectually lacking cavemen or even earth-nature based uncivilized men. Those are farmers, or mountain men or hard core environmentalists.
Our men are stereotyped by characteristics that we need to understand. The Historical figure of the wise, rational, intellectual man grew out of the new technology of the ‘book’ and exists as a permanent first among the first of literate cultures. Literate cultures that grew math, science and philosophy from literacy itself. Literate culture, like digital cultures, thrived on the technology like a child obsessed with new christmas toy while avoiding any responsibility of the larger impact for the basic relationship of humans to the earth and all life; a relationship that can not be eradicated no matter how much image and text we produce. Technologies are exalted and economically profitable while the basics of earth based, life survival is lost. Einstein said that technology is like an ax in the hands of a caveman. It’s destruction to organized society dismissed in the value of aggressive ‘advancements’ on all fronts.
Technology of image and word production changed man and still does. The thinking, intellectualizing and literate abilities set human apart from human – from what? Other thinking? Non-literate men? From Plowing or herding sheep? Removed them from basic connections to earth living?
Rational wise men are perceived as objective observationists with rational, logical thoughts. That is, with the thoughts we are taught to think from them. That is, only, until you really question what we’ve been taught and what they really believed.
Remember Aristotle actually lived about 1800 years before our basic ideas of science we have today even began. He existed centuries before science and research as we know it took over mythmaking and storytelling. Somehow, though, that anachronistic thinking (out of historical order) fact does the opposite it should do. It makes him a non-myth maker. His words regarded as factual – or if in error, still worthy of consideration of his intelligent, intellectual thoughts. Other races do not get this same treatment. He is still perceived An intellectual with logic based on concrete facts even as we know different facts than what he believed – even when his stories don’t seem so much different than other ancient mythologies.
It’s quite well known that other ancient cultures and their legends don’t quite make it to such a level of honor. Legends don’t immediately Fast Forward to serious intellectual considerations…. and develop their legends as literal enough to build into the basis for science. But that’s what our society has done with specific beliefs from specific men.
For example, earth observations tied to Native Americans beliefs were and are often perceived with much less respect – as mere inventions of the primitive mind that supposedly were far removed from the science based, actual factual workings of our planet that we believe in.
Quite confusing and ironic when considered… and amusing, though, Native Americans actually had MORE harmonious lives with nature and less upheaval and destructiveness of the earth and fellow humans so something in their stories might actually be more accurate than our own! Science or not.
But we certainly don’t perceive that at all.
Their stories seemed MORE compatible with living on the earth, not less. Why, if we actually have more factual ‘science’ are our beliefs not environmentally harmonious and producing harmonious human relations?
The spider woman, in Native American beliefs, as the creator of the universe doesn’t fit the whole structure of an old wise man as the ultimate creator – and storymaker. Spider woman is understood as myth. Women’s collective knowledge completely classified as ‘old wives tales’ – even if coopted by wise men. Old husbands tales fall into a category of respect – no matter how factual or irrational. Old wise, logical, rational white man with sperm, is, nonetheless, intelligent creator with ‘real’ personhood and the basis for any basic rational order and understandings of the universe – religious or scientific. That is,in our belief system.
Even today, if some of Aristotle’s (and his followers) ideas are a clear case of ‘gone wrong’, they are simply perceived as amusing and harmless historical ‘mistaken thinking’. Not surprisingly, which is what ironically happens. In fact, happens generation after generation in the endless quest for deeper and advanced scientific understandings of our world – always on the edge of discovery. This adds another contradiction in our societal functioning.
Why still teach, debate and carry on with Aristotle’s ideas?
There are huge differences perceived in men simply by placing them categorically in an occupation or intellectual discipline. Man as farmer and man as intellectual scholar are different stereotypes of men. We perceive some men as rational and wise with some ‘mistakes in their thinking’ while classifying other men as completely non-intellectuals based on their life’s work like Walt Disney, as imaginative artist. This denies, even ever so slightly, that all humans have and do perform at intellectual capacities – no matter the occupation. We all have intellect and emotions. At the absolute worst description, any one different or free thinking can be known as’delusional’ a category that completely denies intellectual integrity, creativity and honor and never to be taken seriously. On the other hand, Storytellers in our present society are so honored and sophisticated their work is no longer seen as ‘story’ and they actually reside and fit a number of categories.Even if they write, they are not known as writers. Even if they create images, they are not known as artists. But they are.
Wise, rational honored men of our cultural belief structure and their work are not the Walt Disney or Grim’s Fairy Tales types of work. They are certainly Not classified as legends or given the status of an ancient storytelling and mythology which they were. In practice, they are still denied as a rooted part of our present society functioning and storytelling habits. Aristotle is often still taught as a ‘wise man’ to study seriously.
But wait, Here’s a quote about Aristotle.
“The “soil” of the female was thought to be the catamenia, or menstrual coagulum. Seed and soil united to produce an egg, which was therefore a product of conception; the egg then went on to develop into an embryo.
The chief objection to the idea that the egg could only arise as a product of conception was the domestic hen, which continues to lay eggs even in the absence of a cockerel. This perplexed Aristotle, who was forced to conclude that such eggs were formed by accident when a strong breeze blew into the vagina, and he called them “wind eggs.” ”
This is only one of many amusing Aristotelian ideas that we can laugh at today. I feel the urge to again remind my reader that Aristotle had no microscope. Never saw a female ‘egg’ in an unnamed and unknown body part called ovary as we are taught today. Eggs were in the womb and well, like the mind, it had no concrete place as an organ in the body. Still The word egg has ancient roots and remains unmoved and unquestioned today… all the while, for centuries, no observation was possible for what today we still call the egg of a woman.
This type of thinking, knowing, believing and resulting scientific conclusions formed about women’s bodies, without and with observation, based on creative thinking and previously constructed knowledge about either the earth, animals and men’s bodies has often served (and still does) to produce inaccurate information about women’s bodies and their reproductive functioning.
It’s no coincidence that some politicians have no modesty about inventing mythology about female anatomy today. These are men that never had to consider, let alone, study female anatomy as scientifically based knowledge. But these men, probably, did learn Aristotle philosophy.
There is another way of knowing about women’s bodies. But some things men do in the name of tradition is, still yet, never questioned and certainly not stopped.
I highly doubt that but few women, who actually experience and know their bodies, would go along with the theory that a strong breeze blows ‘accidently’ into the vaginal opening. One might conclude that Aristotle might not have observed a female closely. He was delusional about the female. Imagine believing a strong breeze can blow up your anal opening – accidently! I’d say instead that would require skill and excessive effort to accomplish.
Aristotle didn’t know women had ovaries either. Ovaries weren’t even named until 1650. What were later called ovaries were for a time considered inferior male testicles in a woman’s body in the one sex model of Man as Human. Female; an unheated and undeveloped male. Kind of how we perceive each other as undeveloped in various ways today. Undeveloped as an athlete or undeveloped as an artist or writer. Undeveloped emotionally, in literacy or in social skills.
That is, for quite a number of centuries, this special group of particular, elite ‘learned’ men of Aristolian thinking that were the roots of our present system, created fact about females and males.
According to their extended one sex theory (not opposite sex theory until much later); Man as the superior and one and only sex of human existed. Females were actually non-developed males, that is, a deformed version of male, which then lead to understanding that women have testicles inside their bodies and the theory that women simply didn’t have enough body heat to allow the testicles to move outside the body like men had. And along the same thinking, that women hadn’t developed fully as men nor had formed testicles nor developed entirely into a man. Childlike and emotional, prone to drama (as if men do not create frivolous drama) women were A Very strange idea. Women’s entire anatomy that was different than a male was perceived as a sickness and still a very rooted belief in traditions of the most advanced medical education.
And, That is, more, the opposite of a particular kind of Man; the good, right, proper, healthy Man as ‘Mankind’. Anything female non-man was spontaneously put in the category of defective male which followed into many character and bodily flaws as long as they were in a woman’s body.
Many of Aristotle’s beliefs, including the one sex theory as male superior, female inferior were perpetuated endlessly throughout centuries in the cult like environment of elite, ‘learned men’ which then ended up massed produced at some point. Versions in some twisted forms, even perpetuated to this day.
These versions build, and parallel as well as merge with the latter 18th century creations into a complex two sex model which forms the basis of the opposite sex theory we are all familiar with today. With the added exception, that now we have gone further and advanced to a 21st century model of more than two sexes. But the very basis of our ideas about sex not questioned.
Some groups are building from and moving beyond the archaic, 18th century opposite sex theory while others are maintaining it, reworking it, holding on to it and it’s predecessor, the one sex theory as foundations still in place in much of our belief and behavioral functioning. Reaching back to Aristotle and other recorded men of history is still a part of our society. All as if ancient myth isn’t that at all – ancient myth.
The result is the number of categories for which people are identified as a sex is continuing to grow as the number of categories for which people are identified by their activities or work continue to grow.
The idea that a third type of sex (within the opposite two sex era) could exist was and still is almost impossible to fathom for many people taught to think in strict terms. Moving from a one sex model to a two sex model to a many sex model has become a predictable pattern of behaviors. The strict two sex, opposite sex theory couldn’t actually coexist without contradictions, confusions and conflicts with the one sex theory. Those 3 C’s became part of the inheritance of the theories – unquestioned.
Thus many problems were never fully resolved but instead end up coexisting as if it’s all logical. Logical simply because we were taught it as logical. The same way it was logical to believe the earth was flat or thunder was the wrath of God.
Despite the social changes, contradictions, confusions and conflicts, the one and only (superior) one sex model as Male (and it’s mass evolution) continues to grow. In this theory, Heterosexual Male is the standard sex for understanding, valuing and measuring all other humans against when critiquing our bodies and minds and this continues on in some streams of thinking almost without any hesitation.
As the male was understood in terms of the seed, the male was also understood in terms of the Sun while the female was understood in terms of the soil and the earth itself as Mother and sometimes associated with the Moon.
I ask Why couldn’t female eggs be seen ‘metaphorically for a basis of science’ in terms of seeds or the sun? I mean, sexual equality here. Let’s get the thinking equal. In fact, why the word eggs and not seed for the female?
Why not the idea of a woman’s egg being understood in terms of the earth beyond the soil, maybe including clouds, or even a woman’s body as the universe itself? Developed into a creation story of humankind?
Isn’t that just as logical and plausible as what we’ve inherited? I mean, for a basis for how we apply language and ideas to SCIENCE and scientific observation.
Or are you still convinced that eggs are the most appropriate term and perception?
So much for the historical idea of objective science when it comes to interpreting images. LOL. I mean, take a look at a microscopic image of the female star material that forms the embryo and what would you say it looks like?
Fact is we build our scientific knowledge on the foundations of images and language of the world we already understand. The one already established we were born to. We can’t get away from what we already know that we bring to scientific observation…… Unless we are willing to enter a period of total confusion, maybe even address cognitive dissonance – a break in our entire mental functioning – and start all over with something new – with an open, objective mind.
Educated men for centuries are taught extensively about Aristotle’s beliefs often perpetuating them or versions of them, but never are required to engage in any women’s history or women’s studies – even in medicine. Through the 1st half of the 20th century, women’s bodies were off limits and well, not important, too – a taboo for conversation and a taboo for most areas of research or study. Certain studies were all seen as inferior. Study about women, laughable for some.
Even into the 1990’s, women bodies were not used for health research based on an old idea (from the same traditions) that men’s bodies were the standard; supposedly women’s hormonal system complicated research and men’s bodies made research more efficient and accurate. This even was the case for studying breast cancer! A congressional hearing was held as women presented this practice as problematic for women’s health and knowledge.
Seriously. I’m not kidding and this can be verified in records.
The social functioning about women’s health and women’s bodies only has changed ever so slightly by women themselves because at that time Women were moved slowly into a position to begin to protest this male education tradition and made inroads into ‘science’ and went to the government to correct it.
Our medical education institutions are highly steeped in faulty information even while women now go there to learn as students like never before. The basis of centuries is ancient myths about women. Think about the results of this. Heads up when someone quotes Aristotle.
Women studies was inspiration for me for painting. In this pre-internet image, I attempted to paint the female sun based on a description of the female body’s creation the anatomy that is responsible for all of future human life.
Maternal Factors create Life….
In Natalie Angier’s words in her Book Geography of a Woman, the following is said about the female egg.
This is a miscarriage of mythology, for a woman’s egg resembles nothing so much as the sun at its most electrically alive: the perfect orb, speaking in tongues of fire.
To think of the egg, think of the heavens, and of weather. The body of the egg is the sun; it is as round and as magisterial as the sun. It is the only spherical cell in the body.
Other cells may be shaped like cinched-in boxes or drops of ink or doughnuts that don’t quite form a hole in the middle, but the egg is a geometer’s dream. The form makes sense: a sphere is among the most stable shapes in nature. If you want to protect your most sacred heirlooms — your genes — bury them in spherical treasure chests. Like pearls, eggs last for decades and they’re hard to crush, and when they’re solicited for fertilization, they travel jauntily down the fallopian tube.
Carol-Ann Cook points out the details of the egg. Surrounding the great globe that glows silver-white on the screen is a smear of what looks like whipped cream, or the fluffy white clouds found in every child’s sketch of a sky. This is in fact called the cumulus, for its resemblance to a cloud.
The cumulus is a matting of sticky extracellular material that serves to bind the egg to the next celestial feature, the corona radiata. Like the corona of the sun, the corona of the egg is a luminous halo that extends out a considerable distance from the central orb. It is a crown fit for a queen, its spikes and phalanges emphasizing the unerring sphericity of the egg. The corona radiata is a dense network of interlocking cells called nurse cells, because they nurse and protect the egg, and it may also act as a kind of flight path or platform for sperm, steering the rather bumbling little flagellates toward the outer coat of the egg. That thick, extracellular coat is the famed zona pellucida — the translucent zone — the closest thing a mammalian egg has to a shell.
The zona pellucida is a thick matrix of sugar and protein that is as cunning as a magnetic field. It invites sperm to explore its contours, but then it repels what doesn’t suit it. It decides who is friend and who is alien. The zona pellucida can be considered the mother lode of biodiversity, the place where speciation in nature often begins, for it takes only a minor change in the structure of its sugars to make incompatible what before was connubial.
The genes of a chimpanzee, for example, are more than 99 percent identical to ours, and it is possible that if the DNA of a chimpanzee sperm cell were injected directly into the heart of a human egg, the artificial hybridization would produce a viable, if ethically repulsive, embryo. But under the natural constraints of sexual reproduction, a chimpanzee sperm could not breach the forbidding zona pellucida of a human egg.
The zona also thwarts the entry of more than one sperm of its own kind. Before fertilization, its sugars are open and genial and seeking similar sugars on the head of a sperm. Once the zona has attached to the head of a sperm, it imbibes the sperm, and then it stiffens, almost literally. Its sugars turn inward. The egg is sated; it wants no more DNA. Any sperm that remain at its threshold soon will die. Still, the zona’s task is not through. It is thick and strong, an anorak, and it protects the tentative new embryo during the slow descent down the fallopian tube and into the uterus. Only when the embryo is capable of attaching to the uterine wall, a week or so after fertilization, does the zona pellucida burst apart and allow the embryo to join its blood with mother blood.
The corona, cumulus, and zona all are extracellular, auxiliaries to the egg but not the egg. The egg proper is the true sun, the light of life, and I say this without exaggeration. The egg is rare in the body and rare in its power. No other cell has the capacity to create the new, to begin with a complement of genes and build an entire being from it. I said earlier that the mammalian egg is not like a bird’s egg, insofar as it lacks the nutrients to sustain embryonic development. A mammalian embryo must tether itself to the mother’s circulatory system and be fed through the placenta. But from a genetic perspective, the cytoplasm of a mammalian egg is complete, a self-contained universe. Somewhere in its custardy cytoplasm are factors — proteins, or bits of nucleic acid — that allow a genome to stir itself to purpose, to speak every word its species has ever spoken.
These maternal factors have not yet been identified, but their skills have been showcased in sensational ways. When Scottish scientists announced in 1997 that they had cloned an adult sheep and named her Dolly, the world erupted with babble about human clones and human drones and God deposed. The endless exercises in handwringing resolved very little of the ethical dilemma that surrounds the prospect of human cloning, if dilemma there be. But what the sweet ovine face of Dolly demonstrates without equivocation is the wonder of the egg. The egg made the clone.
In the experiments, the scientists extracted a cell from the udder of an adult sheep, and they removed the nucleus from the cell, the nucleus being the storehouse of the cell’s genes. They wanted those adult genes, and they could have taken them from any organ. Every cell in an animal’s body has the same set of genes in it. What distinguishes an udder cell from a pancreatic cell from a skin cell is which of those tens of thousands of genes are active and which are silenced.
The egg is democratic. It gives all genes a voice. And so the scientists harvested a sheep egg cell and enucleated it, taking the egg’s genes away and leaving behind only the egg body, the cytoplasm, the nonyolk yolk. In place of the egg nucleus they installed the nucleus of the udder cell, and then they implanted the odd chimera, the manufactured minotaur, into the womb of another sheep. The egg body resurrected the entire adult genome. It wiped the slate clean, washed the milky stains from the dedicated udder cell, and made its old genes new again. Maternal factors in the egg body allowed the genome to recapitulate the mad glory of gestation — to recreate all organs, all tissue types, the sum of sheep.
The egg alone of the body’s cells can effect the whole. If you put a liver cell or a pancreatic cell into a uterus, no infant would grow of it. It has the genes to make a new being, but it has not the wit. Small wonder, then, that the egg is such a large cell. It must hold the secrets of genesis. And perhaps the molecular complexity of the egg explains why we can’t produce new eggs in adulthood, why we are born with all the eggs we will ever have, when men can sprout new sperm throughout their lives. Scientists often make much of the contrast between egg and sperm, the prolificacy and renewability of the man’s gametes compared to the limitations and degradative quality of a woman’s eggs. They speak in breathless terms of sperm production. “Every time a man’s heart beats, he makes a thousand sperm!” Ralph Brinster burbled to the Washington Post in May of 1996. But a woman is born with all the eggs she’ll ever have, he continued, and they only senesce from there. Yet the mere ability to replicate is hardly cause for a standing ovation. Bacteria will double their number every twenty minutes. Many cancer cells can divide in a dish for years after their founder tumors have killed the patient. Perhaps eggs are like neurons, which also are not replenished in adulthood: they know too much. Eggs must plan the party. Sperm only need to show up — wearing top hat and tails, of course.