The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar is said to have uttered, “Veni, vidi, vici” after an easy victory at the Battle of Zela in what is now Turkey. It means, roughly, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”
Men who play the Seduction Game have turned this concept on its head: Vidi (I saw her); vici (I conquered her); veni (I came). The ultimate conquest is to get a woman into bed and have sex and a climax.
Conquest is defined as “the act of military subjugation of an enemy by force of arms.” It has been practiced for thousands of years – it may be as old as the first human civilizations. Tribal people set out to conquer other tribes and take over their territory, resources, and women. It is acquisition by force, with the goal of defeating those Other People, and being rewarded by taking ownership of those resources. “Booty” is one name for the acquired goodies, which also has a sexual connotation.
If we see a woman as a territory to conquer, as Pickup Artists teach (such as Neil Strauss’ The Game), we will use subtle (or not so subtle) manipulation to sway her to have sex with us. Or we may utilize force to dominate and subjugate her (rape).
We want to take ownership of her body – at least temporarily –and we treat her as an object – until we’re done, after which we toss her aside like a used Kleenex.
This practice has its advantages: we get our rocks off, we prove our seductive prowess, and we boost our self-esteem. The ego loves boost, and we get a dopamine rush that’s as good as cocaine, but like any drug, it’s temporary, and we need another hit quite soon. But this way of relating to women is obviously morally wrong. We are supposed to know better.
Our ego has the extraordinary ability to hide the truth from itself. It has a lot of tricks up its sleeve including subconscious blindness, confirmation bias, suppression of certain thoughts and feelings, and simple denial of the facts.
A man who sees women as objects to use, accumulate, and manipulate is blind to his own lack of maturity, integrity and humanity. Otherwise, how could he deny full humanity to women?
Conquest and subjugation have a long history, but that does not make it right or good. Groups of humans are still warring against other groups of humans. There are dozens of examples: the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Uyghurs in China, Muslims in the Middle East, religious minorities, gays, and the poor). You may have the power to control or manipulate others – it’s an effective strategy to gain more power and control – but that does not make it right, or good, or virtuous.
We are supposed to evolve as men, and as human beings, which means we can learn, mature and evolve. Might does not make right – regardless of what we’ve learned in school or from our culture. We have a responsibility to turn away from the old patterns of previous generations and cultures that have done harm to other people, groups, and the planet. We must find new and more enlightened ways to think, act, and live.
It is up to us, as Good Men, to change ourselves, to help our brothers change, and to change society. When we open our real eyes, we “realize” that every person is unique, beautiful, and worthy of our respect.
The first step is the awareness of the brotherhood of the human family: “You are my brother. You are my sister. You are my relatives. I will treat you as I want to be treated.”
The next step is a more enlightened, transcendent view that sees beyond our delusion of separateness: “You and I are One, two manifestations of the same Source, the Source of the earth and all of its creatures. We are all children of the One Creator. I love you as I love myself, because we are the same.”
From either of these views, treating women as objects or territories to be conquered keeps us locked into ancient patterns that are no longer useful. That view is childish, or adolescent at best. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (I Corinthians 13:11).
It’s time to put away the survival strategies we learned from previous eras: control, conquest, subjugation, diminishment, power-over and objectification.
It’s time to wake up from the old dream and create a new one – a society based on honor and mutual respect, recognizing our connection to the earth and all living things, and treating others as if they were our own self. Because they are.
This post is republished on Medium.
Photo credit: Shutterstock