“All men are created equal” is an amazing puzzle explained away by casting it is an ideal to be achieved. Like all lofty aims, the thought clases with reality on earth.
Written about 250 years ago, the US Constituion was a legal document intended to evolve over time. The bill of rights set down the first 10 amendments that started the adaptation to the times. Those were rights reserved for the narrow definition of men at the time. Those were landownibg white men. It took nearly 100 years for blacks to be recognized as humans, and another 50 years until women were liberated from the category of chattel by being granted the right to vote. Obviously, change does not come easily however equal are the social benefits of change. The benefits, however, are often slow to be acknowledged, particularly by those who lost status as decision makers for others.
Control of others began in the cave days when men looted women by braining them with cudgels. Wars came next with concomittent enslavement of losers. As industious Europeans colonized parts of the world likly to develop into prime real estate, America broke off from world leader Great Britain and simultaneously became the seat of democracy and prime cash cow for the slave trade. That dual role continues to do battle in the 21st century alongside other major status rankers like ethnicity, gender, education and wealth.
Unlike older cultures that stretch back 1,000 years or more, the United States never had the traditional western grounding in hereditary royalty. Status in the US was determined by a sliding scale of factors easily manipulated in the land of opportunity. While money, lineage and social standing played a major role in status, the judgment of America on one of its own was based on surmounting obstacles like Horatio Alger did or the winners of the reality show Survivor. Both of those are fiction. Real life is harder.
An old saying states that behind every successful man is a woman who helped him. In Fogarassy’s experience, behind every successful woman is a slew of people and circumstances that tried to stop her.
The times they are a-changing, sang Bob Dylan, the Nobel Laureate rock legend. But for every member of a current power minority, which includes white men who are not invested in a standing entitlement as a birthright, the times are changing at a snail’s pace.
Like everyone, Fogarassy was born into a given situation at a particular time. She was born into a post-war communist Hungary and transported across Europe to a happy America. Her mother supported the family and as the only daughter during childhood, Fogarassy took up the domestic slack. Housework has been abhorrent to her ever since.
Combined with a fierce need to be independent, an intrinsic drive to express herself in words, a dogged insistence on honesty and a vulnerability due to the experience that high expectations would not be met, she has learned to be grateful for all the good that came her wa, which came in a bounty that enabled her to remain open to whatever life offered. That was particularly true when it came to love, the most status quo emotion among the vast majority of people not afflicted with hate, a destructive emotion also described by many as anger or rage.
According to child psychiatrist Margaret Mahler, all people start off as newborns who have no sense of self separate from that of the mother. Mahler theorizes that it takes three years for the child to become a truly separate person. During that process, development occurs by virtue of two drives. Boredom in the confining comfort of Mom rouses curiosity and causes the child to venture forth and reach for what it wants. When fear strikes, the child runs back to Mom until comforted enough to venture forth and indulge curiosity again.
Security and the urge to transcend limitations are two basic drives throughout life at every level from personal to social to global. They are the push and pull principles, the tension between entropy and enthalpy, the physical forces that impel an object to stay at rest until propelled into movement. With apologies to scientists for those gross characterizations, the principles pertain. Humans are filled with boundless energy that explodes when repressed or curtailed. When harnessed, that energy makes transformative art or transforms the world.
In the first two decades of the 21st century, the global world saw an enormous explosion of stored entropic energy into chaotic enthalpic action. A global pandemic raged to fuel social divides. Coups erupted and threatened in the most stable of the world’s near-200 countries. Autocracies kept an iron-fisted control over subjects while technology connected both the people hungering to go forward and those who wanted to stay with the well-known but stale world of the circumscribed past.
The status quo that was upended by the 9/11 attack on the US superpower pitted the western industrialized world against terrorists based in the Islamic east. The ensuing military-based mix of the two cultures opened an avenue for change. That was not in the direction of entropy or retreat to old methods but to enthalpy, the determination to have freedom, especially by those who’d had the least power.
By the 21st century, great strides were made in the western industrialized world to empower women. But women who grew up empowered by the circumstance of conflict as In much of the Islamic east, it was an affront to be deemed in need of empowerment. In the age of the internet, the women who went through a war protecting their children and taking up arms when husbands died knew there was support for them somewhere out in the world.
Men who knew they could rely on women to be their partners would never turn into the Taliban who had to steal wives to keep their way of life going along in entropy. Likewise, leaders at any level of government were secure only when they knew they were acting to move their people forward instead of keeping them suppressed into old ways.