You Don’t Lose Love Just Because A Relationship Is Over

Wise words.

Thought Catalog

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In seventh grade science class, I learned that matter always is: it can never be created, lost or destroyed. It is simply transformed or recycled into something new, something unrecognizable.
 
A month ago, my relationship came to an end. This was a person that I had loved blindly and unconditionally while we were together. This past month, I had been feeling such sadness and anger over all of the love I put into a black hole never to see again that I had forgotten a very important lesson that I had learned in the seventh grade: love is like matter. It can never be created or destroyed, it is just recycled or transferred, but it is always present if we open our eyes to our other relationships in our lives.
 
Often times we get hung up on the selfish love, the love where our ego is involved…

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Cultural Schemata: The Reason We Are Who We Are

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Considering where we are today, we would notice that there are so many different answers to where humans came from. In a religious aspect (mostly Christianity, Islam, Judaism) humans came from the myth of Adam and Eve. The story begins with God (the upper most powerful creature in the universe) who created man from mud. The mud formed Adam’s muscles, organs and brain but most importantly his bones. Eve was then created when one of Adam’s ribs was broken off and thus Eve was transformed into a woman. Now, no one has seen this occur because Adam and Eve were the first humans to have lived on earth. This assumption makes the answer a myth; basically a story that is thought to be true and told by the word of mouth from one generation to the next. However, this myth is only believed by a vast number of people because it was mentioned in various religious books. Otherwise, it would have seemed ridiculous to anyone who came across it.

Then comes the scientific aspect that clearly states that the universe was made from the Big Bang theory, which is basically a huge explosion that occurred in space creating tiny atoms and energy that over the timeline of billions of years combined to produce planets. And in terms of Earth, the explosion created the atmosphere, then the hydrosphere, then the lithosphere and finally the biosphere, which are all living organisms and plants. So one answer states that we are originally creatures of the mud and the other states that we are composed of billions of atoms that have combined over the years. However, Agustin Fuentes argues that both of those assumptions might be true, but their probability is very low. His answer to the question of human origin is based on Darwin’s theory of human evolution, which basically states that humans are better and improved versions of monkeys, apes, and gorillas; basically that humans are homo sapiens.

The reason as to why Fuentes agrees with this is because of the evidence. Over the years archeologists and anthropologists have worked together to debunk all the other myths and prove that humans are originally wild animals in their nature (in terms of their skeletal structures and some evidence left behind such as drawings, potteries, and tools). Fuentes proves this when he states “humans without society and laws become beasts.”[1]. He is basically trying to strip down humans to their core nature and show the world that what we think is “natural” is actually acquired through something anthropologists like to call “cultural schemata”[2]. This concept is basically acquiring anything through culture and the environment around us and examples of cultural schemata are: learning a native language, knowing your family members (knowing not to marry your siblings) and finally knowing your gender: if whether you are a man or woman.

What does it mean to be of a “gender”? Gender, as defined in Fuentes’ book; Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You, is the characteristics that humans give to one another in the purpose of differentiation. Most people confuse the term “gender” with the term “sex” which is the biological definition that includes chromosome composition and whether it’s XX – Female or XY – Male. But what is gender in society and how do we know?

Growing up as a woman in the Arab society, you learn that you are not a “man” pretty early on in your childhood despite if your learning is subconscious or conscious. For example: when I was first born, my parents dressed me up in pink, yellow, purple, and red, which are all considered and known to be “girly colors” in society. The reason behind this is: a) to show to the public that I am a girl; b) because they had gone through the same thing when they were born. I would say that colors and types of clothing is a major factor in acquiring gender. Also, I was taught while growing up that women should try to wear feminine clothes such as: skirts, dresses and shorts to differentiate them from the men. Who were restricted to the colors blue, black, grey and navy and were expected to wear pants and shorts lengthened specifically under the knee. This is how I subconsciously was introduced to womanhood.

Also being from a village called Irbid, which is a couple of hours outside the city of Amman in Jordan, an area that used to encourage men to wear dress-like traditional attire otherwise, known as “Dish-Da-She”, they would not approve if the women of their village switched clothing and wore pants instead. Here comes a little thing called sexism. They would not approve of the woman to do such a move because: a) they would appear as a man in men-like clothes; b) the pants would accentuate the woman’s curves. And as we all know, men just like apes are territorial of their properties (yes, women to them, being a type of property). And that is how the women of Irbid consciously learn what being a woman really means; basically that they are the property of the man. I associate such behavior with ignorance because most of the men in Irbid have very little to basic education and a lot of cultural schemata. Knowing that about my origin and then later on moving to the Gulf, I also saw the men there dressed in white-like dresses and the women dressed in black-like dresses that also covered their hair completely. In America this color combination wouldn’t be “normal” because in a traditional American wedding, the men wore black suits and the women wore white dresses. This way of viewing things opened my eyes to the importance of cultural schemata in terms of color and type of clothing that has taken over various regions of the world and has influenced them so differently from one another.

Another reason I know that I am a woman is because of the difference in the female and male body, the way in which men and women interact with one another, and how society distributes the power and capability of each gender. Let’s start off by the difference in the bodies. Needless to say that we are evident of the first differences, that women have breasts and vaginas while men have penises. However, those are the protruding and evident differences. In specificity, women have smaller skeletal structures due to their evolutionary role as the home keeper, women have a larger pelvic bone enabling them to carry a child for 9 months, women have breasts enabling them to breast feed, women are more emotionally sensitive to specific issues and the list goes on. But if we actually breakdown and observe the differences between the two genders, we would notice that there aren’t that many to begin with. However, because of the culture around us and because of the human evolution over time, we have acquired many reasons to why we think we are different.

In general, if we observe how women and men interact we would see that women with women are very calm and compassionate to one another. Men with men are very loud, rough and behave in a joking manner. However, that is the case if the environment is at equilibrium; meaning that the environment is calm but that doesn’t mean that women can’t get hostile and men can’t be sensitive if the conditions allow them to be. But society has transformed our mentality to think that men are tough creatures with no emotions while woman are “emotional by nature”[3]. In reality, both of these assumptions are not true because we are all humans made up of the same bones, organs and brains (the shapes and sizes might differ but not due to gender). The only obvious difference between men and women are the genitals. And at the end of the day, those are also composed of the same biological tissue. Thus, men and women are the same.

Society, mainly focusing on the Arab region, has played such an important role in our acquisition of cultural schemata in terms of gender and it has caused many to think this way because it facilitates life. It is easier to have the women stay at home and be the parent, while the man is the breadwinner of the family. This mentality is there because of our ancestors through evolution and it has been passed down to every generation since. Example: I would expect in my great-great grandmother’s time that it was normal for her to be a stay at home wife raising 9 children, the majority of which should be male. Because boys back then were favored by the parents due to the fact that men hold the family name for the future (This is how I acquired my last name), men could go on and become anything they wanted to be; doctors, engineers, and architects. And this cycle would go on to the sons and daughters of the next generation until someone would say enough is enough.

I don’t think that anyone really stops learning about gender in life. This is because there are so many things in the environment around us that make us perceive issues differently everyday. As an example of a mentality change would be pants and their role in the female society. Women were once forbidden to wear pants, and now every woman owns at least 3 pairs in her closet. This just goes to show, that time + culture = change. That nothing in this world is stable; basically we will continue to change the way we think and get influenced by our culture. And this constant change is what Augustin Fuentes focused on because it is the basis to our human evolution.


[1] Agustin Fuentes, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)

[2] Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature

[3] Agustin Fuentes, Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You : Busting Myths About

                  Human Nature (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012)