Sarah Xerta

Quantum Feminism: Radical Feeling

Sarah Xerta examines quantum physics research proving the power of intuitive knowledge that has for too long been pathologized by linear patriarchal thinking. It’s time we get in tune.

 

Traditionally, patriarchy has heralded linear scientific knowing as being superior to feminine intuitive knowing, often pathologizing and invalidating anything that cannot be “proven” via “the scientific method,” which makes it all the more wonderful that the power of intuitive knowing is now being proven by science. Quantum physics is showing that the heart’s electromagnetic field is even larger than that of the brain’s, and that not only do our thoughts affect our emotions but that both our thoughts and emotions are quantum energy, meaning they have an effect on the physical world because they are a part of the physical world. The energies of our thoughts and feelings, despite patriarchy’s desperate attempt to belittle and pathologize them, are very much real and very much powerful.

Being honest with myself and my feelings, then, is both the hardest and the most radically feminist thing I have ever done, no matter how that might appear on the outside. Radical in the most literal sense of the term, since quantum particles are, as far as we know, the root of universal matter. Yet people did not apply the term “feminist” to me or my politics until I was going through a period of severe disconnect from myself, a period of running from my true feelings because they were too painful to face and because I believed I was “crazy” for having them. During this period of disconnect I may have appeared, in the outer world, to be doing and saying feminist things, and maybe, in the outer world, I was, but how feminist really is a feminist discourse that was rooted in running from myself? How feminist is a feminist discourse that is rooted in the erasure and pathologization of my innermost self? Isn’t erasure and pathologization of the self the very thing I was screaming at the patriarchy for? And what sort of effect does this have on a subatomic level, on the very fibers that hold the entirety of our existence together?

I found that, no matter how much I criticized oppressive structures, no matter how much attention I brought to oppressive politics, no matter how fierce I may have appeared in these actions, at the end of the day I still didn’t know who I was, why I was here, and what the point of continuing was. At the end of the day I was still severely disconnected from myself, dragging myself through life because leaving my daughter motherless on Earth wasn’t an option. Clearly such an existence is not living.

How could politics that appeared so radically feminist and self-empowering still leave me feeling anything but that? What was I doing wrong? And further, how far can we take our ability to empathize with others if we are out of tune with ourselves? My current theory is that the violence of patriarchy has permeated not only our thoughts but also our thought systems so deeply that we can think all the feminist thoughts we want and still be reinforcing patriarchal structures on a quantum level, which, by the nature of physics and holographic properties of the universe, is a universal level.

By thought system, I mean the shape in which we think. Patriarchal thought systems are linear and emphasize the outer world. They insist on an objective reality and “observable proof.” Patriarchal thought systems are capitalist and product-oriented, and by virtue of being product-oriented they are not person-centered, since people are processes. Yet, how many of us walk around acknowledging and honoring ourselves as processes? And further, how many of us are actually in tune with these processes? How do we even know what that feels like when we live in a capitalist society that functions on keeping people out of tune?

A feminist thought system, on the other hand, is cyclical and acknowledges the inner world as a valid reality and integral part of being. A feminist thought system emphasizes processes and emotion, and recognizes a person as an energetic being, a channel of energetic processes. A feminist thought system values the power of personal intuition, but this intuition can only be empowered when a person is connected to themselves. To be disconnected from ourselves is to be disconnected from our inner knowing. A feminist discourse that focuses solely on the outer world, then, is fundamentally not a feminist discourse but a reinforcement of patriarchal thought systems.

This isn’t to say that the outer political world is not important or that material violence and oppression are not real and severe, but that our inner lives are equally as important and that the trauma from being disconnected from these inner worlds is also real and severe, and, most importantly, the two impact each other. Even the distinction between outer and inner realities can be lost to linear patriarchal thought if we don’t recognize that this distinction is not a straight line, that our inner lives are very much intertwined with our outer world and vice versa. Yet patriarchy and capitalism have so deeply normalized the disconnect from our inner selves that a reconnection can logically and even outwardly seem very wrong, even anti-feminist, leaving us confused and self-censoring for fear of being the wrong kind of feminist.

Because I am interested in living via feminist thought systems, I accept that feminism itself needs space to cycle through energetic changes, both personally and collectively. I used to berate and pathologize myself for not being radical enough, for having inner-world feelings that didn’t match my outer-world politics, for not being more “stable.” I thought myself weak for feeling anything other than anger (if that isn’t a burning example of internalized misogyny!), and I tried desperately to wrangle myself into some disciplined force, to follow some radical feminist script, all the while shouting, Down with the scripts! In focusing exclusively on making space for emotions in the outer world I gave myself no room to process my inner world, let alone be the process I am. In doing so I became my own worst patriarch.

It would be easy now to again berate myself for not coming to these realizations sooner, but a feminist thought system resists the patriarchal linear impulse of looking backward in time and seeing myself as less than in those moments, of dividing myself into two points of worse feminist then and better feminist now, with a straight line called time between them. A feminist thought system recognizes that I have always been me: a person, an energetic process, and while I now hold beliefs that differ from my prior beliefs, rather than focusing on the fact that I once had beliefs I no longer vibe with and feeling bad about it (this would be a patriarchal product-oriented focus), I am focusing on the movement between the beliefs, the fact that I have gone through a process and that this process has brought me closer to myself. The beliefs I had then were part of a cyclical energy process I needed to work through, and now that I have, I can release any beliefs and energies that are no longer in tune with myself. The beliefs I had back then were not necessarily bad and I am not bad for having had them. I have changed. A feminist thought system recognizes and allows for this movement, this continual process of death and rebirth of the self.

This can be scary. We crave security and stability, and justifiably so, especially in the wake of trauma, of which this world is not short. We resist change because we crave peace, yet how can we ever truly be at peace with ourselves while resisting our most fundamental cyclical nature? Resisting the processes we are is how we remain locked in the frozen energy that is pain. While the process of personal death and rebirth may appear any number of ways on the outside, perhaps even apolitical or apathetic in regards to politics, a feminist thought system recognizes that there is more to reality than the outer world, and that the energetic work we do with ourselves directly impacts the universe simply because we are the universe. This is romantic as much as it is physics. We do not exist singularly in an isolated vacuum space (though it can feel that way at times) but all together interconnectedly. Our energy affects the energy of others and vice versa.

When we heal our own disconnect from ourselves we make literal quantum space for this healing to happen in others, and I can’t help but wonder the collective power this has in the face of systems that function on keeping us disconnected. I won’t say it is the answer (probably because a feminist thought system resists any singular answer, as this would reinforce a linear product-oriented thought system), but I do think it opens ways to restore balance between the inner and outer worlds, the former of which is severely neglected and abused, the latter of which is rife with violence and chaos.

The personal is political. This is theoretically true as well as scientifically true. For people who are fighting against the status quo, it is common to feel hopeless when it comes to making much change in the outer political world, but maybe that’s because the very politics we’re fighting against have us so exclusively focused on the outer world that we’ve forgotten and perhaps don’t even believe in the power of our inner world. A feminist thought system is a return to ourselves, and in this return we are not only healing ourselves but also making a radical quantum leap toward dismantling fear-based systems of oppression and abuse. And the best thing about quantum leaps is that they don’t happen alone.

 

Sarah Xerta

Sarah Xerta is a poet, author, mother, teen mentor, and direct support professional for adults with developmental disabilities. She is the author of three chapbooks, all available for free download at her website, sarahxerta.com. She is also the author of the full-length poetry collection Nothing to Do with Me, available now from University of Hell Press. Follow her on Twitter: @sarahxerta. 

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