Kage Baker was a humanist. It wasn’t in place of religion, as so many shallow conservatives seem to think; it wasn’t an article of faith, because it didn’t require any faith. She was a humanist the same way she was a gravitist – a solarist – a theobromist. She was a humanist because it was the way she was made; it was a physical fact of the world she loved. She was a humanist because she was a human being – as she used to slyly comment, “Some kind of human being, anyway.”
The world is not presently a good place for human beings. Sadly, there are 7 billion human beings on it, each of them a target for horror, hatred, grief. It’s more than can be endured without screaming. I don’t know any other way to express my sentiments right now, except that. I can barely stand to look out at the world right now, in this age of Man where there have never been more or more wondrous windows through which to look – looking at the world makes my eyes melt.
I can feel them melting on my cheeks.
Hide what you are, and you are castigated for hypocrisy and exiled. Stand proud with your beloveds and you are loathed as Others, and killed. Be modest, be quiet, be patient; worship meekly, speak softly, practice virtue – you are branded as strangers and hated. It doesn’t even matter what you are, or if anybody even knows; there is someone out there for each of us, and they hate everyone.
Now you are killed if you obey, and now you are killed if you disobey! The Star-cloaked in Kage’s House of the Stag cries this to the yendri, who rise and kill their slave masters. It’s the wrong response and it almost destroys them, but it’s the only survivable solution in that moment to the insurmountable, deadly paradox. But there has to be a better way. It shouldn’t have to reach that mortal tilting point.
A few days ago, one of the gentlest, kindest, most enlightened and most spiritual women I know said: “Time to smash the patriarchy.” Some folks thought she was joking, or striking an uncharacteristically ferocious pose, or expressing a dislike of men. She was doing none of those things. She is a woman of love and deep understanding and compassion. I think she was noting that patriarchy is a sick, twisted, outdated, unhealthy way to run a society – that it fosters division and hate – that it has done so for 8,000 years, to the point where almost no one is acceptable to it and its proponents: by its lights, we are all the Others,, and it is meet and proper to kill the Others. She was saying: This needs to stop. She was right.
I am not calling on women, or on men. I am calling out, pleading with all sentient beings, of any human species, of any gender or breed or faith or philosophy.
Smash the patriarchy. Smash all our shackles. This needs to stop.
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