“The Road,” and Individual and Collective Mindsets

I made a big mistake.  Really big.  I deferred to chivalry a few months ago when I wrote the following as part of a review of “The Road,” starring Viggo Mortensen: “Incidentally, I would not recommend this film to women, as it touches too strongly on what I believe a great many women fear the most.”
I take it back.  I wouldn’t call it a “must-see” for women, but when I’m through here, I hope you’ll understand why I am correcting myself.  (And just in case you don’t get it, I will spell it out later on, so sit tight.)
Several months ago I published an article at “Strike The Root” called “Coercion Is Death” that many people are probably sick of me linking to, but unfortunately for the nauseated who have heard me say it ad nauseam, I will continue to link to it until I am given a fact to the contrary (or until I nauseate myself, whichever comes first).
Actually, that’s already happened.  (Not the nausea; the correction.)  Not long after the article was published, one of my friends contacted me, giving me a contradictory idea, as I feared.  Nothing terribly conflicting, but an interesting idea nonetheless, one that I think is worth considering: In the article, I stated, “Individuality exists, and collective does not.”  My buddy posited that collectives do indeed exist in nature.  In one sense, he’s entirely correct, and I’m glad he brought it up, because I think this is one more way in which men and women, in general, think differently.  I will also refrain from putting the word “collective” in quotes from here on out, even though I think this is a gray area worthy of closer inspection.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, children are quite fragile, both boys and girls.  The toughest of small boys is virtually helpless outside the home, unless he rapidly develops better ways of communicating with complete strangers.  In this sense, developing individuals cannot be left on their own.  The design of a woman’s body, unlike a man’s, indicates that she has the material for nurturance of these developing individuals, if not the desire.  The provision of nurturance can be done just as well by men, for certain, but we’re not talking about individual ability, we are talking about biological facts.  The simple truth is that nutritious breast milk comes out of women and not men.
Beyond that, there appear to be overarching factors at play in every culture throughout the world, where women in general volitionally tend to the needs of children while men in general volitionally look after the needs of both women and children.  I have no problem with this, or any variation on it.  It is division of labor based on generalized physical traits, plain and simple.  It can go in the opposite direction, or in an entirely new direction according to individual circumstances, as long as the concerns of developing individuals within the voluntary collective are taken under careful consideration.
This is oftentimes where women shine, and where a great many women want to be.  This is as close as I can get, in my own mind, to accepting a collective as fact: the family.  Both men and women are capable of thinking in the collective, otherwise we wouldn’t bother having a word for it.
To think collectively is not necessarily coercive or death-oriented.  The trouble with thinking in the collective, however, is that it tends to rapidly outmaneuver the crucial recognition of the individual as supreme, a phenomenon which, upon the onset of adulthood, is an undeniable fact.  Within each collective, after all, is an individual with a brain and his own volition.  The leap into that which kills comes about when one or more individuals in an otherwise voluntary or naturally occurring collective decides that she knows what certain others in the collective need, and sets about taking away their choices.
This can be accomplished in various ways: emotional manipulation, threats, confiscation of property, violence, or a false sense of obligation, honor, or tradition.  It can be done for various reasons: fear, calculation of probable adverse outcome, envy, deep-seated hurt, jealousy, or out of a false sense of duty.  The reasons why coercion over the collective is used, the means by which it is brought about, or the sex of the individual who sparks the war against the volition of others, does not concern me.  What does concern me is the probable predisposition of the female mind versus the male mind.
I propose that women are far more likely to think in the collective as opposed to the individual.  I do not believe that this is a chauvinistic or derogatory statement, mainly because I have tried to stress thus far that collective thinking can be beneficial to the individual, as well as in whatever group of people those individuals are found.  To think collectively, or to be predisposed to think collectively, shows elements of empathy, which can be expressed in both masculine and feminine ways.  It also takes under consideration the supreme importance of relationships to the proper development of the supreme individual.
The trouble with the collective mindset, however, is not only that there is no such thing as a collective mind within the human race.  It seems to start with simple, benign things: What if you are dependent on others in the group to get certain tasks done, and you suddenly find that those in charge of these important tasks have decided to do them in a way with which you disagree?  What if this was a rather contentious disagreement?  What if, in the absence of the completion of this task in the manner to which you are accustomed, you were made to stare into the very face of death?  What if it wasn’t merely the death of tradition or a favorite luxury?  What if it had to do with how crops are sown or where shelter is built?  In what part of this emotional thought process does coercion first tempt the individual?
I posit that it begins in an infinitesimal place in the brain, and exactly where will probably never be known (although I continue to hold to the idea that Alice Miller has the key).  My only hope for humanity is that individuals in every collective throughout this world will someday realize where the individual ends up if power over the collective is sought.
If we can take as a premise that women are more likely to think collectively, for the evolutionary sake of the humans that push their way out of women’s bodies, we can also conclude that, where collective thinking easily runs into the implementation of coercion (and therefore death), we are going to have trouble.  It is ironic that concern for preventable and avoidable death runs so very quickly to the very thing that was preventable and avoidable, but based on my observations, this is always the outcome.
Unfortunately, this also means that women are, perhaps, less dependable in matters of individuality and freedom than men.
This does not mean there isn’t crossover: I have read plenty of well-informed writers in the cause of freedom that are women.  This also doesn’t mean that women should be subservient to men, as I will once again point out the benefits of collective thought.  After all, if we lived in my anarchist fantasy world, I would be able to voluntarily sign up for my own security service, which enterprise would presumably be oriented toward thinking of their customers both collectively and individually to ensure repeat business.
What it does mean is that women are more likely to worry about the collective, and in matters where physical strength is called for – defense of the outer perimeter, laying the roads, clearing the forest, building the houses – these same worriers are going to look to men to assuage their fears.  It is a short leap from here to the withholding of that which men seek from women – their bodies –and, finally, to jumping on the nearest alpha male in order to get him to point a gun.  (Boy.  That’s another great movie!)
Which brings me to my recantation once more.  I will not review the movie again, as the curious reader can just follow the link above.  However, I will restate the essential story here for the lazy (Welcome!), so that I can explain why I shouldn’t have said what I did: Viggo Mortensen plays a father who must lead his son through a world in which civilization has suddenly disappeared in a great conflagration.  They go through sadness and many perils, and there are quite a lot of frightening situations in the film.
When I recommended that women stay away from the movie, I believe I was reflecting on my own high level of sensitivity, its tenuous tie to the “female” mindset, and I ran with it.  That was a mistake.  Here’s why.  Telling women to stay away from a movie because I’m afraid it will appeal too much to their fears implies too many things I can no longer ignore, given the above facts and conclusions:
1. It is chauvinistic and collectivist to assume what women in general are going to think.
2. It is condescending to women who can, when so roused, think and act as the most profound individuals.
3. It is an appeal to traditional, collectivist thinking that is death-oriented, where it is naturally assumed that women should get in the lifeboats and the men should fuck themselves, content while freezing water stabs them from all angles with the hope that their goddamned names will end up on a plaque that someone’s kid doesn’t understand.
4. I am not a woman.
In short, it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
Well, that’s taken care of.  Now, what should women do about this movie?
Whatever you want, ladies.  If you choose to see it, I sincerely hope you won’t falter when it gets to the part where an innocent woman and her child are shot down in collective fashion.  What I do hope, instead, is that you will understand what this movie has to say about the essential nature of manhood for the purposes of civilization, and respect it.  Not worship it, not think of it as superior, but merely indispensible.  I hope you will understand that the growth of any civilization is going to be manifest in the physical presence of men: building, planting, reaping, cutting, welding, hammering, clearing, plotting, sketching, ruminating, and just plain living.  Women are also visible, but their visibility, due to their own choices based on the natural tendencies of a great many of them, will more often be voluntarily confined to the little collectives that women enjoy making.  The much more visible women who tend to shine out like men, as long as they haven’t embraced misandry (which is identical to the hatred of freedom), will probably knock my socks off.
So, if you’re a woman who still believes in the myth of equality, go ahead and watch it.  It’s not pretty seeing how civilization can crumble and threaten your children.  As more and more of your sex embrace feminism and misandry, more and more of the men portrayed by Mortensen will end up in prison for doing nothing wrong.  Who will defend you when the cannibals come for you and your kids?  Think about it.
And for women with squeamish tendencies like mine who have no intention of watching something so depressing, I can recommend the wonderful chick flick “Enchanted April” instead, where four women learn to get over themselves and enjoy the company of men without any bloodletting.
Peace out.
B.R. Merrick writes for “Strike The Root“ and “A Voice for Men,” lives in the Northeast, is proud to be a classical music reviewer at Amazon.com and iTunes, and in spite of the poisonous nature of television, God Himself will have to pry his DVDs of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” out of his cold, dead hands, under threat of eternal damnation.

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