In recent months there has been an increasing clamour, from well-meaning individuals all over the globe, to build ourselves some lifeboats. By this I mean, build space-ships that could transport human culture away from the Earth. This would be so that our culture might survive the planetary catastrophe that Stephen Hawking, amongst many others, is certain will happen within the next 1000 years.
The most immediate threats we face, however, are not natural but a direct result of human activity itself: global thermonuclear war and climate change. This has come about, in turn, because of the patriarchal culture that has come to dominate the Earth and humanity. And it is only that, patriarchal culture, the agent of our destruction, that would be preserved by the ‘space lifeboat’ scheme. Only the richest and most powerful would find places and the rest of us would be left to die. The patriarchy would escape.
We do not know when the patriarchy first appeared. Possibly as little as 5000 years ago, possibly 10,000, as the remains at Jericho seem to suggest. Maybe it has always been with us. What we can be absolutely sure of is that it was not alone. Matriarchal culture and Goddess-worship, which posited the spirit of the Earth as the primary deity and women as the centre of culture, was dominant throughout much of the world until around 4,500 years ago. We go into detail about this in ‘Why Men Made God’. There can be no question about the pre-eminence of the matriarchy in ancient cultures. It is obvious from the artefacts and mythology that persists from those eras. While patriarchal academics struggle to deny it, the proof is everywhere: before the patriarchy, people lived in peaceable societies with women and children at their centres.
Since the patriarchy appeared as a rival to, and eventual destroyer of, the matriarchy, humanity has lived in a perpetual state of war. At the same time it has poisoned its home with no thought for the future. The first examples of genocidal war that we know of appeared in Sumer in the 3rd millennium BCE, when successive patriarchal kings reigns havoc and destruction all around them. Under 150 years ago the United States of America was perpetrating genocide on those whose land it coveted. Today, USican imperialists arm fanatical patriarchal killers to kill, rape and enslave, and then fight to ‘liberate’ those who suffer from this — all for profit. Nothing has changed. The patriarchy cannot change. It is evil.
Faced with the prospect of destruction or adopting the patriarchal model, most societies changes and the status of women plummeted. There were a few exceptions, for example Sparta, which remained a matriarchy to the end, in Phrygia and in the Celtic world. But the burgeoning power of the patriarchy, which has never hesitated to enslave, kill, and rob from anyone in its path, has meant that today, matriarchies are restricted to tribal peoples. There are many of these but they are not representative of human culture; they give us a tantalising glimpse of what might have been. Again, ‘Why Men Made God’ documents some of these peoples and discussed their lifestyles.
If our space lifeboats are, indeed, ever constructed, they will not save many. A few thousand at most might survive a planetary disaster, on their way to another habitable planet, or wandering forever in space. The vast billions of Earth’s children will die.
So we should consider exactly what would be exported by such space lifeboats. It would be the culture that made them: the patriarchy. So the very same culture that has been killing, enslaving and plundering for thousands of years, would be spread, like a toxic miasma, elsewhere.
The Earth will not die because we do: the Earth will be perfectly fine. It is likely that humans, albeit in small numbers, will also survive. So let us consider what that means a moment.
The chances are that our space lifeboats will be lost forever, but if they are not, they risk doing two things. The first is that they might arrive at another habitable planet. Knowing what we do now, we may be pretty sure that such a planet would already have life. Perhaps it would already have intelligent life forms that live in cultures like ours. If it lies with a hundred light-years of Earth, we know they don’t have radio, or we would have heard them. So the chances are that if cultures on such planets do exist, they are living in hunter-gatherer groups, just as we did for roughly 150,000 years.
Now look at humanity’s record. Look at the Americas. Look at Asia and Africa. Our history tells us that we will seize any such planet as our own and kill or enslave the present occupants. It’s what we always do and no reassurance from Stephen Hawking will make that any less likely, because it will not be decent, sincere scientists who fund and control any such mission, but the same men of violence as have carried out genocide so often. They must not be allowed to do this.
Or, let’s imagine that the space life-boats fly off and then, after whatever catastrophe kills off human culture on Earth occurs, they come back.
Humans had a choice at least once before and we made the wrong one. We allowed the patriarchy to exist. We did not snuff it out completely as we should have. A post-cataclysmic human society on Earth would likely be comprised of hunter gatherer groups centred on women and children. They might, with a little luck, recreate the matriarchy as our distant ancestors knew it. They might live in peace, revering the Earth. If we’re lucky.
Are we then to countenance the return of the very patriarchal culture that had, once already, caused so much death and destruction? The one that made the nuclear bombs that killed us? The one that armed rival groups of men all over the Earth so that they could better kill, rape and plunder? The one that deliberately ignored the warnings of climate change and, even worse, spent vast sums doing everything it could first to deny them and then to impede progress to an alternative, so that today, disaster from climate change as an absolute certainty? This culture knows only greed, death, killing and war — why should it be permitted to survive the catastrophe of its own making? Perhaps our descendants will make the same mistake again, but they should be free to make it without the imposition of the patriarchy by men — and it will be men — with modern weapons and firepower and the willingness to use them as they always have. Men who return from space in the lifeboats we allowed them to build, to visit their nightmare on the innocent.
No. A thousand times no. The patriarchy has had its chance. It must not be allowed to escape the consequences of its own greed, cruelty and genocidal nature. It must face them and die.
So, no lifeboats. If they are built, they must be sabotaged. The patriarchy has destroyed the Earth and it cannot be allowed to get away unpunished, to infect another, innocent planet, or to re-infect this one.
Indeed, much that is beautiful will be lost. Our science and our art, our knowledge — these must all perish. The glories of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment…all must pass. This is sad. But far worse would be to allow the leering, green-eyed monster of the patriarchy to survive. It must be stamped out and if it does so itself, then fine, we must accept that, and our fate as its victims. We would die anyway; why allow our killer, the patriarchy, to live on? If there is an imperative left for a doomed culture it is this: we must deny the patriarchy the chance to survive the catastrophe it created itself. It must die with all that is fine and worthwhile in human culture.
No lifeboats. Ever.
Also published on Medium.