Partnership Vision

In The Chalice & The Blade Riane Eisler introduced the distinction between two styles of human culture, Partnership Culture based on equality and cooperation and Dominator Culture based on hierarchy and violence. This group is about applying her insights and examining their intersection with new information about our inherent tendencies toward violence.

Location: Earth
Members: 10
Latest Activity: Feb 14

Sustainability calls for a New Partnership Culture

To survive the next few centuries we must embrace a new culture compatible with sustainability. Riane Eisler published The Chalice & the Blade in 1987, introducing our Partnership Culture history, the roots of a new possibility to nurture ourselves and our planet. But to replace the current Dominator Culture, which is inherently destructive, we need to apply her insights to today’s world.

The key to this necessary blossoming is authenticity. A cooperative egalitarian way of life makes encourages wholeness and being true to yourself. Everyone is worthy, treated with respect. It’s “I’m OK, You’re OK”. Hierarchy based on violence and coercion is inherently inauthentic. Self esteem is provisional, based on relative rank. It’s “I’m OK, you’re not OK”. Lesser humans and the natural world exist only for the exploitation of those ranked above. In a competitive hierarchical culture to admit limitations is self-destructive. Parts of the self must always be hidden.

Peace, in our contemporary Dominator Culture, is just a honeymoon. Conflict is suppressed and war atrocities become "invisible". But large conflicts between warrior cultures can only be settled by more war. This cycle is built into Dominator Culture because each phase fails to perform all needed functions. It's as if we are always split in half, manifesting part of who we are during this honeymoon peace and the rest of who we are during war.

The most difficult part of authenticity is integrating the most destructive, limiting, aspects of human nature into our self concepts and into culture constructively. Information about our appetitive aggression and our attraction to the most despicable aspects of war, must be accepted and taken into account. Only a culture based on actual human nature will work in the long term. We won't be able to find a cooperative, constructive way to settle our greatest conflicts over diminishing resources as long as we unconsciously depend upon war as a final solution.

For more information on appetitive aggression see An Appetite for Aggression.

Chris Hedges presents a gripping account of the way we all devolve during wars in War is a Force That Gives us Meaning.

Discussion Forum

Partnership to "Cure" the US Death Cult

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 3. 0 Replies

Recently it made no sense to me how citizens don't realize we're losing all of our rights and security, with the Trump impeachment acquittal. Chris Hedges helps. …Continue

Tags: Partnership Culture, authenticity, hierarchy, existential challenge, Trump cult

Face Our Pain to Embrace Our Climate Truth

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 7, 2019. 2 Replies

Jeff Turrentine’s article connects feminist consciousness and…Continue

Tags: limits of Dominator Culture, climate destabilization, facing anxiety

Unmooring from Reality

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 6, 2019. 10 Replies

Despite cellphones, internet, and space exploration, trusting the evidence of our senses (science) over faith never fully penetrated Western culture. The faith niche seemed nonthreatening as long as…Continue

Tags: self-checking, faith, epistemology, knowing truth, knowing what's real

Democracy Failure or Not in Brazil

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 1, 2019. 2 Replies

Travis Waldron discusses worldwide failures of democracy in the face of rising fascism. After a decade of Worker Party corruption and incompetence, Brazilians turned to the far right.…Continue

Tags: systemic cultural inequality, democracy failings, fascist takeover

Comment Wall


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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on February 14, 2020 at 10:59pm

My point about literacy came from Marshall McLuhan, on the different way media enable or impair thought and perception, not about personal face-to-face experience in comparison to reading publications. Maybe there's some connection, but I wouldn't know. That's too far a stretch.

Such a comparison could be made, for example comparing a highly charged speech or video to reading black and white text (that's not color illustrated) which both attempt to make the same argument.

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 14, 2020 at 9:10am

Ruth, didn't you tell us about how literacy -- learning to read and write -- may have prepared humans for handling complex and abstract thoughts without too much emotional baggage?

I too find it easier to focus on ideas when reading than when hearing a newscast or interview, much less seeing something on TV.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on January 3, 2020 at 4:24pm

Thank you for sharing that personal experience. It is often easier to deal with just ideas from reading, than from a person face to face, especially in challenging situations.

Comment by Joan Denoo on January 3, 2020 at 3:57pm

Ruth, you received so much more from Riane Eisler's thinking than I did. Even though I read her books, her writing inspired me, traveling with her through Turkey and Greece was an unpleasant experience for me. Her personality hit me in a way that I could not stand to be around her even as I admired and respected her intelligence. 

Marija Gimbutas was very different on that trip, very pleasant to be with and she had a smart mind. I was with her in the final period of her life and she celebrated every minute. I sat with her many times, usually on rocks, just discussing her research and its meaning. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on October 22, 2019 at 11:58pm

Riane Eisler's Center for Partnership Studies has reorganized their website yet again. Their new, improved, expanded introduction to partnership systems and domination systems is here: 

What is the Partnership System?

Comment by Grinning Cat on December 20, 2018 at 12:58am

I know we've talked before about the flipside to the "motivated reasoning" common in religions, about the prospect of using rituals, that we design and agree on and consent to (or can opt out of part of all) with our "new mammal" forebrains, to create "reasoned motivation".

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on December 17, 2018 at 4:22pm

PBS First Civilizations, the episode on religion, identifies religion as an essential cohesive element of civilization. This series identifies four cornerstones of civilization – war, religion, cities and trade. It claimed that of all ways to create social cohesion, to organize strangers for cooperation, religion was most powerful. Ritual was described as essential to making people trust one another and identify as one. One example was a Suffi ritual in which synchronous movement and voice created synchronous heart rhythms among participants, and ecstasy similar to a runner's high. <sigh>

So if we ever hope to get global cooperation to avoid self-extermination through Climate Heating, it seems as if we'll need to invent a secular analog which is more powerful than the religions (which have been inherently divisive). Perhaps some sort of global communication through the internet that's interactive could generate the physical and mental synchrony for us to reinvent ourselves sustainably.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on November 25, 2018 at 3:05pm

Thanks, Grinning Cat. Especially for "American conservatism...'s psychology... [is] driven by one urge, and one urge only: primitive social dominance posturing...." So succinct and after-the-fact obvious. Too bad there isn't a medium that diminishes reptile brain control and enhances forebrain activity. Printed books didn't seem to compete, too slow. As if media ecology favored faster "metabolism" than long-winded print.

Comment by Grinning Cat on November 24, 2018 at 11:39pm

Some comments on Joe.My.God.'s article "Macy's Parade Features its First Same-Sex Kiss", connecting conservative Christians' outrage over two women kissing to Dominator Culture, and worth repeating here:

Paula: "Why the outrage, haters? Lesbians are such nice people."

"It’s not lesbians. It’s having to think that throws them

Hates like a black and white world

Masculine and feminine

Man and woman

Good and evil

Right and wrong

Gay people upset that balance because men aren’t supposed to get fucked, women aren’t supposed to dominate, and god has a singular plan for us all

It’s why haters are so miserable all the time. If they’re one of those “others” they are taught to loathe themselves"

(((GC))) (who might look familiar):
"...In [Dominator Culture] there's no room for a relationship between equals. No man is supposed to give up any of his "god-given" male privilege; no woman is supposed to acquire any. We're all supposed to fit into straight-and-narrow traditional little boxes of how "real men" and "real women" are supposed to look and act...."

PD (also replying to Todd):
"Don't overthink this shit....

American conservatism...'s psychology... [is] driven by one urge, and one urge only: primitive social dominance posturing....

Rhetoric is always a distant second, used only as a weapon to...posture....

Trump is the personification of primitive social dominance posturing. It's literally all he does.

No wonder conservatives have crowned him their Idiot God King."

(Ellipses, bracketed bits, and bolding mine.)

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 18, 2016 at 2:55pm

There's a new and improved introduction to Dominator Culture, Partnership Culture, and shifting our lives and societies towards partnership:

Success and Survival in the post-industrial world requires an accelerated shift towards partnership. [Warrior wielding a spear, on a horse] 'Power over' and control [arrow, 'cultural transformation'] [spherical interconnected network] 'Empowerment and care'The page includes plenty of charts, links to further reading, and book recommendations, as well as clear prose:

Discover a new way of looking at who you now are and break free of limiting assumptions and stressful habits.

Each one of us can contribute to the partnership movement. We can change by example, education, and advocacy. We can shift our relations from domination to partnership -- starting with our day-to-day relations all the way to how we relate to our mother earth.


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