Military leadership is not a popular option for most women. The military is a foreign culture to many Americans and to women attending college in particular. Many reasonable, very intelligent men and women are strongly opposed to war in general and against women serving in combat in particular. The Art of Primal Politics is a way to learn why other reasonable, well-educated people feel strongly that women ought to be allowed to serve in combat. The skills you learn during The Women’s Leadership Challenge can be used to understand all sorts of global problems, not just issues involving national and global security. Global problems exceed in scope any problems you have ever had to face. But your life experiences will serve as the starting point. Our focus will be “survival” cultures. A family that tolerates spousal abuse, a violent inner city, violent border towns, and Afghanistan are all examples of survival cultures. The only significant difference is the scale of the culture.
We began our journey into complexity theory at the personal level. We talked about the mental models, beliefs, theories that filter our understanding of the world around us. We will use the word “script” to signify these mental models. We mentioned the television producer’s attempt to get all IWRTW program participants to follow the same script. The producer apparently wanted to convey a unified message of what issues women ought to address if they had significant global power. Presumably the target audience for the documentary was western, educated, middle class women. No doubt the producer and most of the participants thought the program was a success from that perspective. But we mentioned other perspectives, global perspectives that are not in their script. The term “veil” will signify the way our mental scripts make it difficult to see other perspectives if the other perspective is outside our experience. As Atticus Finch said “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view – until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
ACT II discussed how we might react if we encounter threats to “scripts” that are especially valued by our ego. These scripts serve to define who we believe we are, our identity as a human being. In terms of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs these scripts fulfill a need for “Esteem”, a need to feel significant. An “esteem” script, even if entirely secular in nature, is a “sacred” script. We talked about the primal, visceral reaction one can have if your sacred script is threatened by data, facts, or logical arguments that contradict it. The thought of losing a script, a way of looking at the world that you have invested the time of your life believing, is extremely painful. And if you are a public figure, a famous advocate known for defending your flawed script you are likely to defend it to the death. That is what Thomas Kuhn found, scientists from the old school usually die believing in their old scientific paradigm. Younger scientists, those who still have an open mind, are able to accept new ways of thinking without having an existential crisis. If you are forced to confront a view of reality incompatible with your sacred script you tend to believe there are very few options. You can fight, you can flee to a safer environment, you can convert or you can give up fighting altogether, perhaps commit suicide.
What is “The End” or goal of the script for the Women’s Leadership Challenge. The end we seek is an encompassing global vision of why the scripts of so many cultures view women as inferior leaders, especially military leaders. But before we get to that point we must understand why so many cultures, historically, have considered women as “Other” than fully human, as somehow, in essence, inferior to men. The end of the Challenge is to teach you how to see farther, how to bring the facts of the whole world into the scope of your mind’s eye when addressing problems that are global in scope.
Sir Isaac Newton famously wrote about vision and the ability to see farther than others. I’ll paraphrase his comment to Robert Hooke, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” It is our natural tendency to focus our mental energy on those people who are near and dear to us. In order to improve our understanding of global problems we will learn, imaginatively, how to stand on the shoulders of giants, four giants to be precise. In the 17th Century an English philosopher, named Thomas Hobbes, wrote a book called Leviathan that described Hobbes’ conception of one giant social being (the Leviathan) composed of all individuals within a nation. At the head of this nation/giant was one man who ruled over all the others. But in order to gradually improve our global vision, Hobbes’ Leviathan concept will be modified. There will be four of them and their size (the number of people contained within each social group) will gradually be increased from one person per group, up to billions of people.
The four giants represent four key characters in a model of social aggression developed by Dan Olweus, PhD. In 1970, Dr. Olweus started a large-scale project that is generally regarded as the first scientific study of bully/victim problems in the world. http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/index.page We will simplify his Bully Circle model reducing the number of participants to just four roles; the Defender, the Bully, the Bystander and the Victim. http://www.violencepreventionworks.org/public/bullying_effects.page Synonyms for each role will enrich our understanding of their characteristics. The four roles will also be much more abstract. For example, the “Bully” role is anything, anybody, any social group or “script” that is perceived by the “Victim” or “Defender” to threaten the survival of the “Victim”. One of the synonyms for the “Victim” role is the “Other” role. The victim can be an individual, a social group, a nation, a civilization or even a “sacred script”. Using these roles we will evaluate the themes of various films to see if we can identify these same four roles again and again and again. The name for this role-playing game is Darwinian Drama, or for purposes of the Women’s Leadership Challenge, The End Game.