Thanks to The Wild Hunt for the obituary today of John Burnside and for bringing this essay to our attention.
But what of the society within the walls of total conformity? Who are these "men" and "women" in whom spontaneity is displaced by machine-like ritualizations? They represent specializations evolved over eons under selection pressures both biological and social that have shaped them into forms that assure their acceptance in tribal society and access to the resources of the group. For the male the archetype is the hunter-warrior, specialized for killing and for conflict. For the female the archetype is the bearer of young, specialized to nurture and preserve. Today, the hunter wrests bounty from nature by ruthless exploitation of natural resources, while the warrior carries weapons of absolute destruction. And the female, who is still expected to nurture and maintain, finds her powers as preserver mocked and overwhelmed.
Looking at these types, a Gay person of today asks why, in a world so polluted, so overpopulated, and in such grave danger of annihilation, since alternatives are still available for study among tribal people surviving in parts of the world where Stone Age conditions still in part prevail, the ancient archetypes have not been carefully examined and their meaning embodied in new forms. He asks of the men why the powers and strengths of the warrior are not employed against the forces of genuine evil that pervade the world and why as hunter the man is not custodian of nature, protector and enhancer of her bounty rather than waster and destroyer.