The great historian Ian Morris maintains that, 12,000 years ago, all the peasants of the world reached the same conclusion; that the men had to work the fields, while the women stayed at home. Patriarchy has proven to be efficient and for that reason, throughout history, both men and women have accepted its values as fair. In fact, as the author points out, historical sources show that there was a marked absence of rebellion against patriarchal values. For biologists and zoologists, animal hierarchies work the same way. When a dominant ape gives a warning cry, or runs, the rest of the group flees without stopping to search for the cause of the danger. This is, then, the experience of a hierarchically superior individual and his domination, which constitutes an advantage for the whole group.
For SOCIOLOGISTS WITHOUT BORDERS, however, it is not so clear that there has been a lack of uprisings by women against the Patriarchy, and this could be the object of a deliberate oversight, since history is often written by the victors. We know of the existence of Spartacus from what the Roman sources tell about the Third Servile War, though we lack alternative information from the rebelling slaves. Similarly, what we know about the history of women voluntarily submitting to patriarchy are merely the stories told by the victors. Of the male stories about women, two culminating works stand out: The Hammer of Witches published in 1487 by the inquisitive monks Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare published in 1597.
The Hammer of Witches (Malleus Maleficarum), supported by the discovery of the printing press, achieved enormous popularity and was printed in more than thirty editions, as well as enjoying the support of Pope Innocent VIII. This one-sided JIHAD of the patriarchy against women unleashed a wave of indiscriminate terror in Western Europe that lasted 200 years. Over the course of the organized persecutions against women, between one hundred thousand and one million people were convicted, especially older women, who corresponded to the stereotype of the witch described in the book.
For the next assault on women’s freedom, the Patriarchy sought out the greatest of the writers of the Western canon, William Shakespeare, who wrote Romeo and Juliet for his patrons. The work is malicious, in a double sense. First, for wanting to confuse us with a story of rivalry between two families, the Montagues against the Capulets, when in reality their political function is to reaffirm the values of the Patriarchy and the right of a father to sell his daughter through a marriage contract. All the dramatic tension occurs in the Capulets’ house, where father and mother are cruelly employed in controlling the rebellious girl, whom they want to marry to Count Paris, by force, if necessary. Shakespeare tells us nothing of what happens in the Montagues’ house, for it is irrelevant to the purpose of the play. Second, the play misleads readers when it presents adolescent lovers as victims of fate, in order to win over the public. But when does fate exist in a work of fiction? The mathematical probability that Friar Lorenzo’s maneuvers fail in his mission is 100%, as is the mathematical probability that Little Red Riding Hood meets the Big Bad Wolf. Shakespeare and Perrault with their fictions, help us to cope with the complexity of human existence, and to get away from the chaos of perception. But we cannot forget that they were being paid by the powerful, and for this reason, Shakespeare blames random chance for the misfortune of the lovers, exonerating Juliet’s parents, the true executors of their daughter.
In what appears to be a coordinated cast of roles, the inquisitors terrorized the older women while Shakespeare shot the girls; Juliet is just 13 years old! Why has Romeo and Juliet been so lethal for women and their right to equality? Because, although any thirteen-year-old girl who tried to rebel against her parents might be lucky enough to escape Juliet’s fate, the fact that all adolescent girls in the West know that the same thing that happened to the young Capulet could happen to them, defines their relationships with their parents. The formal ceremonies that the Patriarchy has organized to celebrate and dramatize its rule over women are the exact representation of how the powers that be want public discourse to appear. And William Shakespeare, in the Golden Age of English literature, contributed decisively with this play in the perpetuation of the subordinate role of women, and his protectors (the Patriarchy) repaid him with fame.
Why has Romeo and Juliet triumphed? Critics such as Robert Evans or Harold Bloom often highlight the rhetorical resources of the work such as the frequent use of oxymorons. But today, more than four hundred years after its publication, Romeo and Juliet is old and laughable. How could you know that Cleopatra looked like a gypsy? Has anyone ever seen or imagined a “wolfish lamb”? And the comparison “faster than a ball” was obsolete after the Industrial Revolution, just two hundred years after the premiere of the work.
Why has Romeo and Juliet triumphed? Why did Delacroix, Franco Zeffirelli, Hector Berlioz, Tchaikovsky, Sergei Prokofiev, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and so many others turn to this work? Why is it still a safe bet, more than 400 years after its release? For the neuroscientist Elkhonon Goldberg, for a work to succeed, it must be in line with the principal cultural and social themes of the time, and for a work of art to survive, society must recognize its importance, otherwise it will disappear from history and from culture. Shakespeare, born in the Golden Age of British Literature, enjoyed the personal protection of the powerful in the kingdom, such as the Earl of Southampton, but this does not quite explain the endless success of Romeo and Juliet, which survives among the remains of the patriarchy that live among us.
In search of further explanations, we must turn to the financial world, where PYRAMID SCHEMES are endemic, occurring every time groups of greedy savers are tempted by unusually high returns in the short term. Marketing agents are usually close people who are part of a pyramid network, who in their day were also captured by people they trusted. The real gain for a participant is in attracting new victims, because the high returns are paid with the money of the new dupes captured by the network. In reality, there is NOTHING, there is no investment, there is no added value or mechanism that produces any benefit. There is only one STORY, told by close people which remains active, like a virus, as long as it continues to infect new greedy people. Although the success of these scams has traditionally been attributed to human greed, in reality the reason for their success is due to a deeper emotion, such as the DESIRE to BELONG, which we inherit from our hunter-gatherer ancestors and which makes us intensely tribal, prone to being part of groups, even at the risk of ending up scammed.
Famous pyramid schemes include those of Carlo Ponzi, Bernard Madoff, or Baldomera Larra. But we have all been agents of pyramid scams at some time or another, such as when visiting the Louvre or the Vatican, when we tell the wonders of the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel. Every time we praise a work of art, without having the knowledge to do so, we behave exactly like the networks of pyramidal schemers who sell their acquaintances and friends on the extraordinary returns of a financial asset that does not exist. As Charles Murray maintains in his work “Human Excellence”, only specialists have the criteria to assess a great work such as the Mona Lisa or the Sistine Chapel. And when tourists who have seen the work of Leonardo or Michelangelo, tell of the wonders they have seen (to their friends and loved ones), they act as propagators of a pyramid scheme. Let it be clear that there would be no fraud in the case of relating personal feelings, after a Maluma or Shakira concert.
What is the difference between the STORY of Madoff Investment Securities and that of Romeo and Juliet? Nothing. They are both pyramid schemes. In both cases, the audience applauds without stopping to first understand, just as when a dominant ape gives a warning cry or runs, and the rest of the group flees without stopping to look for the cause of the danger. In exchange for what? To be satisfied with our primal DESIRE TO BELONG, because as SOCIOLOGISTS WITHOUT BORDERS affirm, the person is not anything real, but rather an agreement between the individual and society about what man should appear to be.