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.
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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.
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