Riane Eisler, The Gaia Tradition and the Partnership Future
AN ECOFEMINIST MANIFESTO
THE LEADING-EDGE social movements of our time-the peace, feminist, and ecology movements, and ecofeminism, which integrates all three-are in some respects very new. But they also draw from very ancient traditions only now being reclaimed due to what British archaeologist James Mellaart calls a veritable revolution in archaeology. These traditions go back thousands of years. Scientific archaeological methods are now making it possible to document the way people lived and thought in prehistoric times. One fascinating discovery about our past is that for millennia a span of time many times longer than the 5,000 years conventionally counted as history -prehistoric societies worshipped the Goddess of nature and spirituality, our great Mother, the giver of life and creator of all. But even more fascinating is that these ancient societies were structured very much like the more peaceful and just society we are now trying to construct. This is not to say that these were ideal societies or utopias. But, unlike our societies, they were not warlike. They were not societies where women were subordinate to men. And they did not see our Earth as an object for exploitation and domination. In short, they were societies that had what we today call an ecological consciousness: the awareness that the Earth must be treated with reverence and respect. And this reverence for the life-giving and life-sustained powers of the Earth was rooted in a social structure where women and "feminine" values such as caring, compassion, and nonviolence were not subordinate to men and the so-called masculine values of conquest and domination. Rather, the life-giving powers incarnated in women's bodies were given the highest social value. In the words of Greek archaeologist Nicolas Platon, who for 50 years excavated the civilization of Minoan Crete where this type of social organization survived until approximately 3,300 years ago, it was a social organization where "the whole of life was pervaded by an ardent faith in the goddess Nature, the source of all creation and harmony."I
THE GAIA TRADITION
Most accounts of Western civilization start with Sumer or with the Indo-European Greeks. These accounts generally describe anything prior to Judeo-Christian religion as "pagan." And they usually leave us with the impression that prior societies were both technologically and morally 11 primitive." But the new knowledge now accumulating from archaeology shows that this is a highly misleading view.
The Paleolithic period, about 25,000 years ago, is generally considered to mark the beginning of Western culture. It is thus the logical place to begin the re-examination of our past. And it is also a good place to begin to reassess our present-and potential future-from a new perspective. Under the conventional view of Paleolithic art as the story of "man the hunter and warrior," the hundreds of highly stylized carvings of large-hipped, often pregnant women found in Paleolithic caves were dubbed "Venus figurines"-objects in some ancient, and presumably obscene, "fertility cult." They were often viewed as obese, distorted erotic symbols; in other words, as prehistoric counterparts of Playboy centerfolds.
But if we really look at these strangely stylized oval figures, it becomes evident that they are representations of the life-giving powers of the world. As UCLA archaeologist Marija Gimbutas and other archaeologists now point out, they are precursors of the Great Goddess still revered in historic times as Isis in Egypt, Ishtar in Canaan, Demeter in Greece, and later, as the Magna Mater of Rome and the Catholic Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.
Similarly, earlier scholars kept finding in Paleolithic drawings and stone and bone engravings what they interpreted as barbed weapons. But then they could not figure out why in these pictures the arrowheads
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or barbs were always going the wrong way. Or why these "wrongway weapons" regularly seemed to miss their mark. Only when these pictures were re-examined by an outsider to the archaeological establishment (someone not conditioned to see them as "failed hunting magic") did it become clear that these were not pictures of weapons. They were images of vegetation: trees and plants with their branches going exactly the right way.
This same view of human nature-or "man's nature"-as a self-centered, greedy, brutal, "born killer" has long shaped what we have been taught about the next phase of human culture: the Neolithic or agrarian age (approximately 8000-1500 B.C.). The conventional view, still perpetuated by most college survey courses, is that the most important human invention -the development of the technology to domesticate plants -was also the beginning of male dominance, warfare, and slavery. That is, with "man's" invention of agriculture -and thus the possibility of sustaining civilization through a regular and even surplus food supply-came not only male dominance but also warfare and a generally hierarchic social structure.
But once again, the evidence does not bear out the conventional view of civilization as the story of "man's" ever more efficient domination over both nature and other human beings. To begin with, anthropologists today generally believe that the domestication of plants was probably invented by women. Indeed., one of the most fascinating aspects of the current reclamation of our lost heritage is the enormous contribution women have made to civilization. If we look closely at the new data we now have about the first agrarian or Neolithic societies, we actually see that all the basic technologies on which civilization is based were developed in societies that were not male dominated and warlike.
As James Mellaart writes, we now know that there was not one cradle of civilization in Sumer about 3,500 years ago.2 Rather, there were many cradles of civilization, all of them thousands of years older. And thanks to far more scientific and extensive archaeological excavations, we also know that in these highly creative societies women held important social positions as priestesses, craftspeople, and elders of matrilineal clans. Contrary to what we have been taught of the Neolithic or first agrarian civilizations as male dominated and highly violent, these were generally peaceful societies in which both women and men lived in harmony with one another and nature. Moreover, in all these peaceful cradles of civilization, to borrow Merlin Stone's arresting phrase from the book of the same title, "God was a woman" (New York: Dial Press, 1976).
There is today much talk about the Gaia hypothesis (so called because Gaia is the Greek name for the Earth). This is a new scientific theory proposed by biologists Lynn Margulis and James Lovelock that our planet is a living system designed to maintain and to nurture life. But what is most striking about the Gaia hypothesis is that in essence it is a scientific update of the belief system of Goddess-worshipping prehistoric societies. In these societies the world was viewed as the great Mother, a living entity who in both her temporal and spiritual manifestations creates and nurtures all forms of life.
This consciousness of the essential unity of all life has in modern times been preserved in a number of tribal cultures that revere the Earth as our Mother. It is revealing that these cultures have often been described as "primitive" by anthropologists. Equally revealing is that frequently in these cultures women traditionally hold key public positions, as shamans or wise women and often as heads of matrilineal clans. This leads to an important point that once articulated may seem obvious. The way a society structures the most fundamental human relations -the relations between the female and male halves of humanity without which our species could not survive-has major implications for the totality of a social system. It clearly affects the individual roles and life choices of both women and men. Equally important, though until now rarely noted, is that it also profoundly affects all our values and social institutions-whether a society will be peaceful or warlike, generally egalitarian or authoritarian, and living in harmony with or bent on the conquest of our environment.
MYTH AND REALITY
Previously unknown pre-patriarchal societies have been coming to light since World War II. Rich evidence has been yielded by the excavation of important sites such as Catal Huyuk in Turkey (the largest neolithic site ever excavated) and what Marija Gimbutas calls the civilizations of Old Europe in the Balkans and Greece (which even had a written language thousands of years before Sumer, which she is now deciphering). But perhaps most fascinating is that, in fact, we actually have known about these societies all along. That is, almost all societies have legends about an earlier, more harmonious time. For example, one of
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the most ancient Chinese legends comes to us from the Tao Te Ching, which tells of a time when the yin or feminine principle was not yet subservient to the male principle or yang, a time when the wisdom of the mother was still honored above all. Hesiod, the Greek poet (ca. 800 B.C.), also writes of an age when the Earth was inhabited by a golden race who "tilled their fields in peaceful ease" (in other words, the Neolithic) before a lesser race brought with them Ares, the Greek god of war.
Not so long ago people rejected the scientific finding that the Earth is round rather than flat even though, according to ancient records, Greek scholars had come to this conclusion centuries earlier. Similarly, the new archaeological findings of a more harmonious and peaceful past are today viewed by some people as impossible, even though they, too, are verified by ancient records.
In fact, we all know of this earlier time from no less a source than the best known story of Western civilization: the story of the Garden of Eden. This biblical story explicitly tells us there was an earlier time when woman and man (Adam and Eve) lived in harmony with one another and with nature. The Garden is probably a symbolic reference to the Neolithic period, since the invention of agriculture made possible the first gardens on Earth. Even the question of what ended this peaceful era is explicitly answered in the biblical story. This lost paradise was a time when society was not male dominated: as the Bible has it, it was a time before a male god decreed woman to be subservient to man.
We have been taught that our fall from paradise is an allegory of God's punishment of man and particularly woman for the sin of disobeying the command not to eat from the tree of knowledge. But what the archaeological evidence reveals is that this story (like the Babylonian myths from which it derives) is based on folk memories of a time before (as the Bible also tells us) brother turned against brother and man trod woman down under his heel.
If we look at both the archaeological and mythic record from this new perspective, we begin to understand many otherwise incomprehensible aspects of the Garden of Eden. Why, for example, would Eve take advice from a serpent? The answer is that the serpent was in ancient times a symbol of oracular prophecy (as in the Greek temple of Delphi, where a woman, the high priestess or Pythoness, was still in historical times inspired by a serpent, the Python, to prophesy the future). Moreover, because the serpent was for millennia associated with the worship of the Goddess (as a symbol of cyclic regeneration, since it sheds and regrows its skin), Eve's continued association with the serpent also represents a refusal to give up the old Goddess-centered religion. The punishment of Eve for her refusal to acknowledge Jehovah's monopoly of the tree of knowledge is a mythical device to justify male dominance and authoritarian rule. But the underlying story-with critical significance for our time-is that it records a major social shift. This shift, now being extensively verified by the archaeological evidence, is the dramatic change that occurred in our prehistory from an egalitarian and peaceful way of living to the violent imposition of male dominance.
THE LOST CIVILIZATION
Even in the nineteenth century, when archaeology was still in its infancy, scholars found evidence of societies where women were not subordinate to men. But their interpretation of this evidence was that if these societies were not partriarchies, they must have been matriarchies. In other words, if men did not dominate women, then women must have dominated men. However, this conclusion is not borne out by the evidence. Rather, it is a function of what I have called a dominator society worldview. The real alternative to patriarchy is not matriarchy, which is only the other side of the dominator coin. The alternative, now revealed to be the original direction of our cultural evolution, is what I call a partnership society: a way of organizing human relations in which beginning with the most fundamental difference in our species the difference between female and male diversity is not equated with inferiority or superiority.
What we have until now been taught as history is only the history of dominator species-the record of the male dominant, authoritarian, and highly violent civilizations that began about 5,000 years ago. For example, the conventional view is that the beginning of European civilization is marked by the emergence in ancient Greece of the Indo-Europeans. But the new archaeological evidence demonstrates that the arrival of the Indo-Europeans actually marks the truncation of European civilization. That is, as Marija Gimbutas extensively documents, there was in Greece and the Balkans an earlier civilization, which she calls the civilization of Old Europe.3 The first Indo-European invasions (by pastoralists from the and steppes of the northeast) foreshadow the end of a matrifocal, matrilineal, peaceful agrarian era. Like fingerprints in the archaeological record, we see evidence of how wave after wave of barbarian invaders from the barren fringes of the globe leave in their wake destruction and what archaeologists call cultural impoverishment. And what characterizes these invaders is that they bring with them male dominance along with their angry gods of thunder and war.
The archaeological record shows a dramatic shift after these invasions. We see the disappearance of millennial traditions of art and pottery, a sharp decrease in the size of settlements, the appearance of 11 suttee" chieftain tombs (so called because with the male skeleton are sacrificed women, children, and animals to serve him even after death). Warfare now becomes endemic, along with "strongman" rule, since these invaders, as Gimbutas writes, "worshipped the power of the lethal blade."
One of the most striking manifestations of this change is found in the art. Now begins something dramatically absent before: the idealization of male violence and male dominance in an art that glorifies killing (scenes of "heroic" battles) and rapes (as in Zeus's fabled rapes of both mortal women and goddesses). And equally striking is the transformation of myth. Here, too, "strongman" rule is idealized and even presented as divinely ordained, as the bards, scribes, and priests of the ruling men systematically distort and gradually expunge the myths and images of the civilization of Old Europe from their sacred and secular tales. But although these, too, become distorted, memories of an earlier and better time still linger in folk stories and legends.
In the nineteenth century, the archaeological excavations of Sophia and Heinrich Schliemann established that the Homeric story of the Greek sacking of Troy was historically based. Similarly, the probable historical basis for the legend of Atlantis is now being revealed by twentieth century archaeological excavations. The fabled civilization of Atlantis was said to have ended when large land masses sank into the sea. What geologists and archaeologists now reveal is that approximatelY 3,500 years ago massive earthquakes and tidal waves in the Mediterranean caused large land masses to sink into the sea. For example, as in the legend of Atlantis, most of the island of Thera, or Santorini, was swallowed by the sea.
These cataclysmic events seem to have marked the end of what scholars call Minoan civilization, a highly technologically developed Bronze Age civilization centered in the Mediterranean island of Crete. Minoan Crete had the first paved roads in Europe, and even indoor plumbing. In sharp contrast to other "high civilizations" of antiquity (such as Sumer and dynastic Egypt), Crete had a generally high standard of living, with houses built for both beauty and comfort. Its art, too, is very different from that of Sumer and Egypt: it is so natural, so free, so full of the celebration of life in all its forms, that sober scholars have described it as unique in the annals of civilization for its grace and exuberant joy.
But what really makes Minoan Crete unique is that it was neither a male-dominant nor warlike culture. Archaeologist Nicolas Platon, the former head of the Acropolis Museum and director of antiquities in Crete, notes that this was a "remarkable peaceful society." He also notes that here descent was still traced through the mother and that "the influence of women is visible in every sphere. 114 For example, the only Minoan fresco of tribute is not the conventional picture of an aggrandized king with a sword in his hand and kneeling figures at his feet characteristic of male-dominant ancient civilizations. It is rather the picture of a woman. And instead of sitting on an elevated throne, she is standing with her arms raised in a gesture of benediction as men approach with offerings of fruits, wine, and grains.
In other words, in this highly creative and peaceful society, masculinity was not equated with domination and conquest. Accordingly, women and the "soft" or "feminine" values of caring, compassion, and nonviolence did not have to be devalued. Power was seen as actualizing power -as the capacity to create and nurture life. It was power to, rather than power over: the power to illuminate and transform human consciousness (and with it reality) that is still in our time symbolized by the "feminine vessel," the chalice or Holy Grail.
NATURE, CULTURE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SPIRITUALITY
We have been taught that in "Western tradition," religion is the spiritual realm and that spirituality is separate from, and superior to, nature. But for our Goddess-worshipping ancestors, spirituality and nature were one. In the religion of Western partnership societies, there was no need for the artificial distinction between spirituality and nature or for the exclusion of half of humanity from spiritual power.
In sharp contrast to "traditional" patriarchal religions (where only men can be priests, rabbis, bishops, lamas, Zen masters, and popes),
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we know from Minoan, Egyptian, Sumerian, and other ancient records that women were once priestesses. Indeed, the highest religious office appears to have been that of high priestess in service of the Goddess. And the Goddess herself was not only the source of all life and nature; she was also the font of spirituality, mercy, wisdom, and justice. For example, as the Sumerian Goddess Nanshe, she sought justice for the poor and shelter for the weak. The Egyptian Goddess Meat was also the goddess of justice. The Greek Goddess Demeter was known as the lawgiver, the bringer of civilization, dispensing mercy and justice. As the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen, she was the goddess of intelligence and knowledge. And it is Gaia, the primeval prophetess of the shrine of Delphi, who in Greek mythology is said to have given the golden apple tree (the tree of knowledge) to her daughter, the Goddess Hera. Moreover, the Greek Fates, the enforcers of laws, are female. And so also are the Greek Muses, who inspire all creative endeavor.
In fact, this association of woman with the highest spirituality with both wisdom and mercy -survived well into historical times. Even though women were by then already barred from positions of spiritual power, Sophia (the Greek word for wisdom) is still female. So also is the Hebrew word for wisdom, hochmah. And even though we have not been taught to think of her this way, the Catholic Virgin Mary (now the only mortal figure in the Christian holy family of divine Father and Son) still perpetuates the image of the Goddess as the Merciful Mother.
We also know from a number of contemporary tribal societies that the separation between nature and spirituality is not universal. Tribal peoples generally think of nature in spiritual terms. Nature spirits must be respected, indeed, revered. And we also know that in many of these tribal societies women as well as men can be shamans or spiritual healers and that descent in these tribes is frequently traced through the m er. In sum, both nature and woman can partake of spirituality in societies oriented to a partnership model. In such societies there is no need for a false dichotomy between a "masculine" spirituality and a "feminine" nature. Moreover, since in ancient partnership societies woman and the Goddess were identified with both nature and spirituality, neither woman nor nature were devalued and exploited.
It is often said that the answer to our mounting environmental crises is a "return to nature." According to this view, the roots of our ecological problems lie in the shift from a religious to a secular or scientific/technological worldview. We are told that with the Renaissance, and later the Enlightenment, "modern man" became alienated from both himself and nature.
But if we carefully examine both our past and present, we see that many peoples past and present living close to nature have all too often been blindly destructive of their environment. While many indigenous societies have a great reverence for nature, there are also both non-Western and Western peasant and nomadic cultures that have over-grazed and over-cultivated land, decimated forests, and, where population pressures have been severe, killed off animals needlessly and indifferently. And while there is much we can learn today from tribal cultures, it is important not to indiscriminately idealize all non-Western cultures and/or blame all our troubles on our secular-scientific age. For clearly such tribal practices as cannibalism, torture, and female genital mutilation (which continue into our time under the guise of ethnic or religious tradition) antedate modern times. And some indigenous and/or highly religious societies (whether in reaction to an extremely harsh environment or to conquest by a foreign culture) have been as barbarous as the most "civilized" Roman emperors or the most "spiritual" Christian inquisitors.
Another widely held notion is that technology is causing our global problems. But technology is integral to the human condition. Indeed, the story of human culture is to a large extent the story of human technology. It is the story not only of the fashioning of material tools but also of the fashioning of our most important and unique non-material tools: the mental tools of language and imagery, of human-made words, symbols, and pictures. Advanced technologies are the extension of human functions, of our hands' and brains' capacity to alter our environment, and ourselves. Indeed, technology is itself part of the evolutionary impulse, the striving for the expansion of our potential as human beings within both culture and nature.
Once we look at technology from the new perspective provided by the gender-holistic analysis of our past and present, it is clear that the problem is not now nor has it ever been simply that of technology. The same technological base can produce very different types of tools: tools to kill and oppress other humans or tools to free our hands and minds from dehumanizing drudgery. The problem is that in dominator societies, where "masculinity" is identified with conquest and domination, every new technological breakthrough is basically seen as a tool for more effective oppression and domination. That is, what led to the nineteenth century's exploitation of women, children, and men in sweat shops and mines and the twentieth century factories of dehumanizing assembly lines where workers became cogs in industrial machines was not the invention of machines. Rather, it was the use to which that mechanization was put in a dominator system. Similarly, the use of modern technologies to devise ever more effective and costly weapons is not a requirement of modern technology. It is, however, a requirement of dominator systems, where throughout recorded history the highest priority has been given to technologies fashioned not to sustain and enhance life, but technologies to dominate and destroy.
In sum, the basic issue is not one of technology versus spirituality or nature versus culture. The fundamental issue is how we define nature, culture, technology, and spirituality -which in turn hinges on whether we orient to a dominator or a partnership model of society.
It is not science and technology, but the numbing of our innate human sensibilities that makes it possible for men to dominate, oppress, exploit, and kill. What passes for "scientific objectivity" in a dominator society is the substitution of detached measuring for an inquiry designed to enhance and advance human evolution. Even beyond this, what often passes for "higher" spirituality in a dominator society is equally stunted and distorted. For what this system requires is that spirituality be equated with a detachment that often condones and encourages indifference to avoidable human suffering -as in most Eastern religions. Or it leads to the Western dualism that justifies the domination of culture over nature, of man over woman, of technology over life, and of high priests and other so-called spiritual leaders over "common" women and men.
RECLAIMING OUR PARTNERSHIP TRADITIONS
In ancient times the world itself was one. The beating of drums was the heartbeat of the Earth-in all its mystery, enchantment, wonder, and terror. Our feet danced in sacred groves, honoring the spirits of nature. What was later broken asunder into prayer and music, ritual and dance, play and work, was originally one.
For many thousands of years, millennia longer than the 5,000 years we count as recorded history, everything was done in a sacred manner. Planting and harvesting fields were rites of spring and autumn celebrated in a ritual way. Baking bread from grains, molding pots out of clay, weaving cloth out of fibers, carving tools out of metals -all these ways of technologically melding culture and nature were sacred ceremonies. There was then no splintering of culture and nature, spirituality, science, and technology. Both our intuition and our reason were applied to the building of civilization, to devising better ways for us to live and work cooperatively.
The rediscovery of these traditions signals a way out of our alienation from one another and from nature. In our time, when the nuclear bomb and advanced technology threaten all life on this planet, the reclamation of these traditions can be the basis for the restructuring of society: the completion of the modern transformation from a dominator to a partnership world.
Poised on the brink of eco-catastrophe, let us gain the courage to look at the world anew, to reverse custom, to transcend our limitations, to break free from the conventional constraints, the conventional views of what are knowledge and truth. Let us understand that we cannot graft peace and ecological balance on a dominator system; that a just and egalitarian society is impossible without the full and equal partnership of women and men.
Let us reaffirm our ancient covenant, our sacred bond with our Mother, the Goddess of nature and spirituality. Let us renounce the worship of angry gods wielding thunderbolts or swords. Let us once again honor the chalice, the ancient symbol of the power to create and enhance life-and let us understand that this power is not woman's alone but also man's.
For ourselves, and for the sake of our children and their children, let us use our human thrust for creation rather than destruction. Let us teach our sons and daughters that men's conquest of nature, of women, and of other men is not a heroic virtue; that we have the knowledge and the capacity to survive; that we need not blindly follow our bloodstained path to planetary death; that we can reawaken from our 5,000-year dominator nightmare and allow our evolution to resume its interrupted course.
While there is still time, let us fulfill our promise. Let us reclaim the trees of knowledge and of life. Let us regain our lost sense of wonder and reverence for the miracles of life and love, let us learn again to live in partnership so we may fulfill our responsibility to ourselves and to our Great Mother, this wondrous planet Earth.
From: Riane Eisler 1987 The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future.
Harper & Row, San Francisco. ISBN 0-06-250287-5
Thumbnail Sketch Review:
The Chalice and the Blade is a classic work in the complementary relationship between masculine and feminine in human society and the evolutionary existential dilemma caused to human culture by the passage from the nurturing chalice of feminine fertility - partnership society - to the violent blade of patriarchal dominator society. Eisler hightlights this by reviewing social history from the Paleolithic through the patriarchail take-over to the present and future of society. The transition from the feminine partnership chalice to the male dominator blade is typified by the overthrow of the Minoan culture in Crete by male cultures associated by Eisler with a change in metallurgy in her landmark chapter 'dark order out of chaos'.
Eisler's work has an uncanny relation to the Genesis. I first heard of her through Terrence McKenna's writing to which I have an affinity through the heritage of the sacraments. When I first researched it when beginning the Genesis I found it so parallel that for many months or even a year I kept the Chalice and the Blade almost unread in a kind of tapu state forgotten in the haste of writing, until prompted by a chance E-mail comment on 'ecofem' just as I completed it, I disintered it only to find all the lines had converged, arriving at exactly the same destination and fitting hand in glove with the Renewal as the liberation of religion in relationship and as verdant chaos refertilizing the rule of order. Even the chapter on 'Jesus and Gylany' is an echo of the springtime Bridegroom of reconciliation put in true perspective.
I have chosen this passage and Riane's future view of the healing of evolution in partnership. Again this is uncanny, because I have, only over the last few days, quite independently, come, through completing the Genesis writing, to a clear view of relationship itself as the immortal 'religion'.
Riane stands out as the pioneer of the chaos-order synthesis of the chalice and blade of social history of gender reconciliation - the quantum complementarity principle in human society.
Chris King 2 Sept 1998
Dark Order Out of Chaos: From the Chalice to the Blade
We measure the time we have been taught is human history in centuries. But the span for the earlier segment of a much different kind of history is measured in millennia, or thousands of years. The Paleolithic goes back over 30,000 years. The Neolithic age agricultural revolution was over 10,000 years ago. Catal Huyuk was founded 8500 years ago. And the civilization of Crete fell only 3200 years ago.
For this span of millennia - many times as long as the history we measure on our calendars from the birth of Christ - in most European and Near Eastern societies the emphasis was on technologies that support and enhance the quality of life. During the thousands of years of the Neolithic great strides were made in the production of food through farming, as well as in hunting, fishing, and the domestication of animals. Housing was advanced through innovations in construction, the making of rugs, furniture, and other household articles, and even (as in Catal Huyuk) town planning.' Clothing had left the time of skins and furs far behind with the invention of weavin' and sewing. And, 9 as both materially and spiritually the foundations for higher civilization were being laid, the arts also flourished.
As a general rule, descent was probably traced through the mother. The elder women or heads of clans administered the production and distribution of the fruits of the earth, which were seen as belonging to all members of the group. Along with common ownership of the principal means of production and a perception of social power as responsibility or trusteeship for the benefit of all came what seems to have been a basically cooperative social organization. Both women and men-even sometimes, as in Catal Huyuk, people of different racial stocks-worked cooperatively for the common good.1 Greater male physical strength was here not the basis for social oppression, organized warfare, or the concentration of private property in the hands of the strongest men. Neither did it provide the basis for supremacy of males over females or of "masculine" over "feminine" values. On the contrary, the prevailing ideology was gynocentric, or woman-centered, with the deity represented in female form. Symbolized by the feminine Chalice or source of life, the generative, nurturing, and creative powers of nature-not the powers to destroywere, as we have seen, given highest value. At the same time, the function of priestesses and priests seems to have been not to serve and give religious sanction to a brutal male elite but to benefit all the people in the community in the same way that the heads of the clans administered the communally owned and worked lands.3 But then came the great change-a change so great, indeed, that nothing else in all we know of human cultural evolution is comparable in magnitude.
The Peripheral Invaders
At first it was like the proverbial biblical cloud "no bigger than a man's hand"-the activities of seemingly insignificant nomadic bands roaming the less desirable fringe areas of our globe seeking grass for their herds. Over millennia they were apparently out there in the harsh, unwanted, colder, sparser territories on the edges of the earth, while the first great agricultural civilizations spread out along the lakes and rivers in the fertile heartlands. To these agricultural peoples, enjoying humanity's early peak of evolution, peace and prosperity must have seemed the blessed eternal state for humankind, the nomads no more than a peripheral novelty. We have nothing to go by but speculation on how these nomadic bands grew in numbers and in ferocity and over what span of time.' But by the fifth millennium B.C.E., or about seven thousand years ago, we begin to find evidence of what Mellaart calls a pattern of disruption of the old Neolithic cultures in the Near East.' Archaeological remains indicate clear signs of stress by this time in many territories. There is evidence of invasions, natural catastrophes, and sometimes both, causing large-scale destruction and dislocation. In many areas the old painted pottery traditions disappear. Bit by devastating bit, a period of cultural regression and stagnation sets in. Finally, during this time of mounting chaos the development of civilization comes to a standstill. As Mellaart writes, it will be another two thousand years before the civilizations of Sumer and Egypt emerge.6 In Old Europe the physical and cultural disruption of the Neolithic societies that worshiped the Goddess also seems to begin in the fifth millenniUM B.C.E., with what Gimbutas calls Kurgan Wave Number One. "Thanks to the growing number of radiocarbon dates, it is now possible to trace several migratory waves of steppe pastoralists or 'Kurgan' people that swept across prehistoric Europe," reports Gimbutas. These repeated incursions and ensuing culture shocks and population shifts were concentrated in three major thrusts: Wave No. 1, at c. 43004200 B.C.E.; Wave No. 2, c. 3400-3200 B.C.E.; and Wave No. 3, c. 30002800 B.C.E. (dates are calibrated to dendrochronology).' The Kurgans were of what scholars call Indo-European or Aryan language-speaking stock, a type that was in modern times to be idealized by Nietzsche and then Hitler as the only pure European race. In fact, they were not the original Europeans, as they swarmed down on that continent from the Asiatic and European northeast. Nor were they even originally Indian, for there was another people, the Dravidians, who lived in India before the Aryan invaders conquered them.8 But the term Indo-European has stuck. It characterizes a long line of invasions from the Asiatic and European north by nomadic peoples. Ruled by powerful priests and warriors, they brought with them their male gods of war and mountains. And as Aryans in India, Hittites and Mittani in the Fertile Crescent, Luwians in Anatolia, Kurgans in eastern Europe, Achaeans and later Dorians in Greece, they gradually imposed their ideologies and ways of life on the lands and peoples they conquered.9
There were other nomadic invaders as well. The most famous of these are a Semitic people we call the Hebrews, who came from the deserts of the south and invaded Canaan (later named Palestine for the Philistines, one of the peoples who lived in the area). The moral precepts we associate with both Judaism and Christianity and the stress on peace in many modern churches and synagogues now obscures the historical fact that originally these early Semites were a warring people ruled by a caste of warrior-priests (the Levite tribe of Moses, Aaron, and Joshua). Like the Indo-Europeans, they too brought with them a fierce and angry god of war and mountains (Jehovah or Yahweh). And gradually, as we read in the Bible, they too imposed much of their ideology and way of life on the peoples of the lands they conquered.
These striking similarities between the Indo-Europeans and the ancient Hebrews have led to some conjecture that there may here be some common origins, or at least some elements of cultural diffusional' But it is not the bloodlines or cultural contacts that cannot be found that are of such interest. It is what seems most definitely to unite these peoples of so many different places and times: the structure of their social and ideological systems. The one thing they all had in common u7as a dominator model of social organization: a social system in which male dominance, male violence, and a generally hierarchic and authoritarian social structure was the norm. Another commonality was that, in contrast to the societies that laid the foundations for Western civilization, the way they characteristically acquired material wealth was not by developing technologies of production, but through ever more effective technologies of destruction.
Metallurgy and Male Supremacy
In that classic Marxist work The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, Friedrich Engels was one of the first to link the emergence of hierarchies and social stratification based on private property with male domination over women. Engels further linked the shift from matriliny to patriliny with the development of copper and bronze metallurgy.11 However, though this was a pioneering insight, it was only crudely on the mark. For it is only in light of recent research that we can see the specific-and sociologically fascinating-ways copper and bronze metallurgy radically redirected the course of cultural evolution in Europe and Asia Minor. What brought about these radical changes does not seem to relate to the discovery of these metals. Rather it relates to a fundamental point about technology we have been making: the uses to which these metals were put. The assumption under the prevailing paradigm is that all important early technological discoveries must have been made by "man the hunter" or "man the warrior" for the purpose of more effective killing. In college courses and popular modern epics like Arthur C. Clarke's film 2001, we are taught this has been so starting with the very first crude wood and stone implements, which by this logic were clubs and knives for killing others. 12 Hence it has also been assumed that metals were first and foremost used for weapons. However, the archaeological evidence shows that such metals as copper and gold had long been known to the people of the Neolithic. But they used them for ornamental and religious purposes and for the manufacture of tools.13
New dating techniques not available in Engels's time indicate that metallurgy in Europe first appears in the sixth millennium B.C.E. among people living south of the Carpathian Mountains and in the region of the Dinaric and Transylvanian alps. These first metal finds are in the form of jewelry, statuettes,' and ritual objects. By the fifth and early fourth millennium copper also seems to have come into general use for manufacturing flat axes and shaft-hoe axes, wedge-shaped tools, fishhooks, awls, needles, and double-spiral pins. But as Gimbutas points out, the copper axes of Old Europe "were wood-working tools, not battle axes or symbols of divine power as they were known to be in protoand historic Indo-European cultures."Il The archaeological evidence thus supports the conclusion that it was not metals per se, but rather their use in developing ever more effective technologies of destruction, that played such a critical part in what Engels termed "the world historical defeat of the female sex.1115 Nor did male dominance become the norm in Western prehistory, as Engels implies, when gathering-hunting peoples first begin to domesticate and breed animals (in other words, when herding became their main technology of production). Rather, it happened much later, during the millennia-long incursions of pastoral hordes into the more fertile lands where farming had become the main technology of production. As we have seen, technologies of destruction were not important social priorities for the farmers of the European Neolithic Age. But for the warlike hordes that came pouring down from the and lands of the north, as well as up from the deserts of the south, they were. And it is at this critical juncture that metals played their lethal part in forging human history: not as a general technological advance, but as. weapons to kill, plunder, and enslave. Gimbutas has painstakingly reconstructed this process in Old Europe. She begins with the fact there was no copper in the regions where the pastoralists came from, the and steppes north of the Black Sea. 'This leads to the hypothesis," she writes, "that the horse-riding Kurgan people of the steppe were aware of the metal technology which existed in the fifth and fourth millennia B.C.E. south of the Caucasus Mountains. Probably by no later than 3500 B.C.E. they had leamed metallurgical techniques from the Transcaucasians, and soon afterward, they were exploiting the ores of the Caucasus."l' Or more specifically, soon afterward they were forging more lethally effective weapons out of metal.11
Gimbutas's data are based on large-scale post-World War 11 excavations as well as on the introduction of new dating techniques. To condense radically, they indicate that the transition from the Copper to the Bronze Age (when copper-arsenic or copper-tin alloys first made their appearance) occurred in the period between 3500 and 2500 B.C.E. This is considerably earlier than the date of circa 2000 B.C.E. traditionally given by earlier scholars. Moreover, the rapid spread of bronze metallurgy over the European continent is linked with the evidence of now increasingly massive incursions of the extremely mobile, warlike, hierarchic, and male-dominated pastoralist peoples from the northern steppes whom Gimbutas calls the Kurgans. "The appearance of bronze weapons-daggers and halberds-together with thin and sharp axes of bronze and maceheads and battle-axes of semi-precious stone and flint arrowheads, coincides with the routes of dispersal of the Kurgan people," writes Gimbutas.",
The Shift in Cultural Evolution
This is by no means to say that the radical change in the cultural evolution of Western society was simply a function of wars of conquest. As we shall see, the process was far more complex. However, there seems little question that from the very beginning warfare was an essential instrument for replacing the partnership model with the dominator model. And war and other forms of social violence continued to play a central role in diverting our cultural evolution from a partnership to a dominator direction. As we will see, the shift from a partnership to a dominator model of social organization was a gradual, and after a while predictable, process. However, the events that triggered this change were relatively sudden, and at the time, unpredictable. What the archaeological record tells us is startlingly congruent with the new scientific thinking about unpredictable change-or how long-established states of systems equilibrium and near equilibrium can with relative rapidity shift to a far from equilibrium, or chaotic, state. Even more remarkable is how this radical change in our cultural evolution in certain respects fits the nonlinear evolutionary model of "punctuated equilibria" proposed by Eldredge and Gould, with the appearance of "peripheral isolates" at critical "bifurcation points."Il The "peripheral isolates" that now emerged from what are literally the fringes of our globe (the barren steppes of the north and the and deserts of the south) were not a different species. But, interrupting a long stretch of stable development guided by a partnership model of society, they brought with them an entirely different system of social organization. At the core of the invaders' system was the placing of higher value on the power that takes, rather than gives, life. This was the power symbolized by the "masculine" Blade, which early Kurgan cave engravings show these Indo-European invaders literally worshiped. For in their dominator society, ruled by gods-and men-of war, this was the supreme power.
With the appearance of these invaders on the prehistoric horizonand not, as is sometimes said, with men's gradual discovery that they too played a part in procreation-the Goddess, and women, were reduced to male consorts or concubines. Gradually male dominance, warfare, and the enslavement of women and of gentler, more "effeminate" men became the norm.
How fundamentally different these two social systems were, and how cataclysmic were the norm-changes forced by these "peripheral isolates"-now become "peripheral invaders"-is summarized in the following passage from Gimbutas's work:
"The Old European and Kurgan cultures were the antithesis of one another. The Old European were sedentary horticulturalists prone to live in large wellplanned townships. The absence of fortifications and weapons attests the peaceful coexistence of this egalitarian civilization that was probably matrilinear and matrilocal. The Kurgan system was composed of patrilineal, socially stratified, herding units which lived in small villages or seasonal settlements while grazing their animals over vast areas. One economy based on farming, the other on stock breeding and grazing, produced two contrasting ideologies. The Old European belief system focused on the agricultural cycle of birth, death, and regeneration, embodied in the feminine principle, a Mother Creatrix. The Kurgan ideology, as known from comparative Indo-European mythology, exalted virile, heroic warrior gods of the shining and thunderous sky. Weapons are nonexistent in Old European imagery; whereas the dagger and battle-axe are dominant symbols of the Kurgans, who like all historically known IndoEuropeans, glorified the lethal power of the sharp blade."Il
Warfare, Slavery, and Sacrifice
Perhaps most significant is that in the representations of weapons engraved in stone, stelae, or rocks, which also only begin to appear after the Kurgan invasions, we now find what Gimbutas describes as "the earliest known visual images of Indo-European warrior gods."Il Some figures are "semi-anthropomorphic," reports Gimbutas about the excavations of a series of rock carvings in the Italian and Swiss alps; they have heads and arms. But the majority are abstract images "in which the god is represented by his weapons alone, or by weapons in combination with a belt, necklace, double-spiral pendant, and the divine animal-a horse or stag. In several of the compositions a sun or stag antlers occur in the place where the god's head should be. In others, the god's arms are represented as halberds or axes with long shafts. One, three, seven, or nine daggers are placed in the center of the composition, most frequently above or below the belt."" "Weapons obviously represented the god's functions and powers," writes Gimbutas, "and were worshipped as representations of the god himself. The sacredness of the weapon is well evidenced in all IndoEuropean religions. From Herodotus we know the Scythians made sacrifices to their sacred dagger, Akenakes. No previous engravings or images of weapon-carrying divinities are known in the Neolithic Alpine region. 124
This glorification of the lethal power of the sharp blade accompanied a way of life in which the organized slaughter of other human beings, along with the destruction and looting of their property and the subjugation and exploitation of their persons, appears to have been normal. Judging from the archaeological evidence, the beginnings of slavery (the ownership of one human being by another) seem to be closely linked to these armed invasions. For instance, these findings indicate that in some Kurgan camps the bulk of the female population was not Kurgan, but rather of the Neolithic Old European population .25 What this suggests is that the Kurgans massacred most of the local men and children but spared some of the women, whom they took for themselves as concubines, wives, or slaves. Evidence that this was standard practice is found in Old Testament accounts from several mfllennia later, when the nomadic Hebrew tribes invaded Canaan. In Numbers 31:32-35, for example, we read that among the spoils of war taken by the invaders in their battle against the Midianites, there were, in this order, sheep, cattle, asses, and thirty-two thousand girls who had had no intercourse with a man. The violent reduction of women, and thus also of both their female and male children, to the status of mere male possessions is also documented in Kurgan burial practices. As Gimbutas notes, among the first known evidences of "Kurganization" are a number of graves dating from sometime before the fourth millennium B.C.E.-in other words, shortly after the first wave of Kurgan invaders swept into Europe.26
These are the "chieftain graves" characteristic of Indo-European dominator rankings, indicating a radical shift in social organization, with a strongman elite at the top. In these graves-in Gimbutas's words clearly an "alien cultural phenomenon"-a marked change in burial rites and practices is also evident. In contrast to Old European burials, which showed little indication of social inequality, there are here marked differences in the size of the graves as well as in what archaeologists call "funerary gifts": the contents found in the tomb other than the deceased .21
Among these contents, for the first time in European graves, we find along with an exceptionally tall or large-boned male skeleton the skeletons of sacrificed women-the wives, concubines, or slaves of the men who died. This practice, which Gimbutas describes as "suttee" (a term borrowed from the Indian name for the immolation of widows, which continued there into the twentieth century), was apparently introduced by the Indo-European Kurgans into Europe. It appears for the first time west of the Black Sea at Suvorovo in the Danube delta.28 These radical innovations in burial practices are, moreover, characteristic of all three of the Kurgan invasions. For example, in the socalled Globular Amphora culture that dominated in northern Europe almost a thousand years after the first wave of Kurgans arrived, the same brutal burial practices, reflecting the same type of social and cultural organization, prevail. As Gimbutas writes, "The possibility of coincidental deaths is over-ruled by the frequency of these multiple burials. Generally, the male skeleton is buried with his gifts at one end of the cist grave, while two or more individuals are grouped at the other end.... Male dominance is confirmed by Globular Amphora tombs. Polygyny is documented by the cist grave at Vojtsekhivka in Volynia, where a male skeleton was flanked in heraldic order by two women and four children, a young man and a young woman lay at his feet. 1129
These high-status graves are also repositories of other articles deemed important to these ruling-class men not only in life but in death. "A warrior-consciousness previously unknown in Old Europe," reports Gimbutas, "is evidenced in equipment recovered from Kurgan graves: bows, and arrows, spears, cutting and thrusting 'knives' (protodaggers), antler-axes, and horse bones."' Also found in these graves are symbolic objects such as pig or boar mandibles and tusks, dog skeletons, and auroch or cattle scapulae, providing further archaeological evidence that there has been not only a radical social shift but a radical ideological shift as well. These burials show the great social value now placed on technologies for destruction and domination. They also contain evidence of a strategy for ideological obliteration and takeover we are to see more and more of: the appropriation by men of important religious symbols that their subject peoples once associated with women in the worship of the Goddess. "The tradition of placing boar and pig mandibles, dog burials, and aurochs or cattle scapulae exclusively in male graves," notes Gimbutas, "can be traced to Kurgan I-II (Srednij Stog) graves in the Pontic steppe. The economic importance attached to pigs and boars as a food source is overshadowed by religious implications of the bones of these animals found solely in association with high-ranking males 6f the community. The symbolic ties now evidenced between men and the boar, pig, and dog are a reversal of the religious significance these animals held in Old Europe, where the pig was the sacred companion of the Goddess of Regeneration. 1131
The Truncation of Civilization
Spreading westward and southward, the archaeological landscape of Old Europe is now traumatically altered. "Millennial traditions were truncated," writes Gimbutas, "towns and villages disintegrated, magnificent painted pottery vanished; as did shrines, frescoes, sculptures, symbols, and scri pt. 1131 At the same time there now comes into play a new living war machine, the armed man on a horse-which in its time must have had the impact a tank or an airplane has among primitives in ours. And in the wake of the Kurgan devastation, we find their typical warrior-chieftain graves, with their human sacrifices of women and children, their animal sacrifices, and their caches of weapons surrounding the dead chiefs .33
Writing before the excavations of the 1960s and 70s, and before Gimbutas systematically organized both the old and new data using the latest carbon and dendrochronology dating techniques, the European prehistorian V. Gordon Childe describes the same general pattern. Childe characterizes the culture of early Europeans as "peaceful" and "democratic," with no hint of "chiefs concentrating the communities' wealth."34 But then he notes how all this gradually changed, as warfare, and particularly the use of metal weapons, is introduced.
Like Gimbutas, Childe observes that as weapons increasingly appear in the excavations, so do chief's tombs and houses that clearly evidence social stratification, with strongman rule becoming the norm. "Settlements were often planted on hill tops," writes Childe. Both there and in the valleys they are now "frequently fortified." Moreover, he too emphasizes that, as "competition for land assumed a bellicose character, and weapons such as battle-axes became specialized for warfare," not only the social, but also the ideological organization of European society underwent a fundamental alteration.31 Even more specifically, Childe notes how as warfare becomes the norm "the consequent preponderance of the male members of the communities may account for the general disappearance of female figurines." He remarks how these female figurines, so ubiquitous in the earlier levels, are now "no more in evidence" and then concludes: "The old ideology has been changed. That may reflect a change from a matrilineal to patrilineal organization of society." Gimbutas is even more specific. Based on the systematic study of Old European chronologies, drawing from her own work and that of other archaeologists, she painstakingly describes how in the wake of each new wave of invasions there is not only physical devastation but what historians call cultural impoverishment. Already in the wake of Wave Number One the destruction is so massive that only pockets of Old European settlement survive-for example, the Cotofeni complex of the Danube valley of Oltenia, western and northwestern Muntenia, and the south of Banat and Transylvania. But even here there are signs of significant change, notably the appearance of defense mechanisms such as trenches and ramparts.17 For the majority of Old European settlements, such as the Karanovo farmers of the lower Danube basin, the Kurgan invasions were, in Gimbutas's words, catastrophic. There is wholesale material destruction of houses, of shrines, of finely crafted artifacts and works bf art, which have no meaning or value to the barbarian invaders. Masses of people are massacred, enslaved, or put to flight. As a result, chain reactions of population shifts are set in motion.' Now what Gimbutas calls "hybrid cultures" begin to appear. These cultures were based on "the subjugation of remaining Old European groups and their rapid assimilation into the Kurgan pastoral economy and agnatically-linked [patrilinear], stratified societies."3' But these new hybrid cultures are far less technologically and culturally advanced than the cultures they replaced. The economy is now based primarily on breeding. And though some of the Old European techniques are still in evidence, the pottery is now strikingly uniform and inferior. For example, in the Cernavoda Ill settlements that appear in Romania after Kurgan Wave Number Two, there is no trace of pottery painting or of the Old European symbolic designs. In east Hungary and western Transylvania the pattern is similar. "The diminished size of communities-no larger than 30 to 40 individuals-indicates a restructured social system of small herding units," writes Gimbutas.1 And fortifications now begin to appear everywhere, as gradually the acropolis or hill fort replaces the old unwalled settlement. And so, as prehistoric excavations evidence, the archaeological landscape of Old Europe is transformed. Not only do we find increasing signs of physical destruction and cultural regression in the wake of each wave of invasions; the direction of cultural history is also profoundly altered. Slowly, as the Old Europeans, for the most part unsuccessfully, try to protect themselves from their barbaric invaders, new definitions of what is normal for both society and ideology begin to emerge. Everywhere now we see the shift in social priorities that is like an arrow shot through time to pierce our age with its nuclear tip: the shift toward more effective technologies of destruction. This is accompanied by a fundamental ideological shift. The power to dominate and destroy through the sharp blade gradually supplants the view of power as the capacity to support and nurture life. For not only was the evolution of the earlier partnership civilizations truncated by armed conquests; those societies that were not simply wiped out were now also radically changed. Now everywhere the men with the greatest power to destroy-the physically strongest, most insensitive, most brutal-rise to the top, as everywhere the social structure becomes more hierarchic and authoritarian. Women-who as a group are physically smaller and weaker than men, and who are most closely identified with the old view of power symbolized by the life-giving and sustaining chalice-are now gradually reduced to the status they are to hold hereafter: male-controlled technologies of production and reproduction. At the same time the Goddess herself gradually becomes merely the wife or consort of male deities, who with their new symbolizations of power as destructive weapons or thunderbolts are now supreme. In sum, through the gradual process of both social and ideological transformation we will examine in more detail in the chapters that follow, the story of civilization, of the development of more advanced social and material technologies, now becomes the familiar bloody span from Sumer to ourselves: the story of violence and domination.
The Destruction of Crete
The violent end of Crete is particularly haunting-and instructive. Because it was an island to the south of the European mainland, Crete was walled off for a time from the warlike hordes by the mothering sea. But at last here too the end came, and the last civilization based on a partnership rather than a dominator model of social organization fell.
The beginning of the end followed the mainland pattern. During the Mycenaean period, controlled by the Indo-European Achaeans, Cretan art becomes less spontaneous and free. And now clearly visible ip the Cretan archaeological record is a much greater concern with, and emphasis on, death. "Before they came under Achaean influence the Cretans characteristically did not make much of death and funerary rites," notes Hawkes. "The attitude of the Achaean elite was quite otherwise."' Now we find evidence of great expenditures of wealth and labor on provisions for the royal and noble dead. And, most tellingly, due partly to the Achaean influence and partly to the mounting threat of another wave of invasions from the European continent, there are clear signs of a growing martial spirit. Just when and how the Mycenaean period began and ended in Crete is still the subject of much controversy. One theory is that the Achaean takeover, both of Crete itself and of what appear to have been khnoan settlements on the Greek mainland, came in the wake of a series of earthquakes and tidal waves that so weakened Minoan civilization it could no longer resist the barbarians pressing down from the north. The difficulty is that the time usually assigned to these disasters is circa 1450 B.C.E., and there is at that time no evidence of an armed invasion of Crete." Nevertheless, whether it was by actual conquest following earthquakes, by a coup brought about by military pressures, or by Achaean chieftains marrying Cretan queens, we do know that during the final centuries of Cretan civilization the island came under the rule of Greek-speaking Achaean kings. And although those men adopted many of the more civilized Minoan ways, they also brought with them a social and ideolbgical organization oriented more toward death than life.
Some of our knowledge about the Mycenaean period comes to us from the so-called Linear-B tablets found in both Crete and the Greek mainland, which have now been deciphered. In the tablets found in both Knossos and Pylos (a Mycenaean settlement on the southern tip of Greece) names of divinities are listed. To the profound satisfaction of those who had long contended there was continuity between Crete and classical Greece, these reveal that the deities of the later Olympian pantheon (Zeus, Hera, Athena, Artemis, Hermes, etc.) were already worshiped, albeit in different forms and contexts, centuries before we next hear of them in Hesiod and Homer.11 In conjunction with the archaeological evidence, these tablets also reveal, as Hawkes put it, "a well-balanced marriage between the Cretan and Achaean divinities." But this Mycenaean marriage of Minoan and Achaean culture was to be short-lived. From the Pylos tablets, many of which were, in Hawkes's words, "drawn up during the last days of peace as part of a vain effort to avert catastrophe," we learn that the Mycenaean wanax, or king, had received advance warning that Pylos was to be attacked. "The emergency was faced without panic," writes Hawkes. "The clerks remained at their benches patiently recording all that was done." Dispositions of rowers were made to provide a defensive fleet. Masons were sent out, presumably to begin to build fortifications along the long unfortified coastline. To equip the soldiers, about a ton of bronze was collected, and nearly two hundred bronzesmiths assembled. Even bronze belonging to sanctuaries of the Goddess was requisitioned in what Hawkes calls "a moving testimony to the crisis of turning from peace to war."Il But it was all to no avail. "There is no sign that the much-needed walls ever went up at Pylos," writes Hawkes. "From the tablets that record the effort to save the kingdom one must turn to the fabric of the royal hall to discover that it failed. The barbarian warriors broke in. They must have been astonished by the painted rooms and the treasure they contained.... When they had finished looting they cared nothing for the building with its unwarlike foreign embellishments. They set fire to it and it burned furiously.... The heat was so great that some of the pottery vessels in the pantries melted into vitreous lumps, while stone was reduced to lime.... In the storerooms and the tax office by the entrance the abandoned tablets were fired to a hardness that was to preserve them for all time."46 And so, one by one, both on the Greek mainland and islands and in Crete, the achievements of this civilization that reached an early high point for cultural evolution were destroyed. "Probably the Story was everywhere much the same, as Mycenae, Tiryns and all the other royal strongholds except Athens were engulfed by the barbarian tide," writes Hawkes. "Dorians in time took all the Peloponnese except Arcadia and went on to dominate Crete, Rhodes and all the adjacent islands. The most venerable of all the royal houses, Knossos, may have been among the last to fall.""
By the eleventh century B.C.E. it was all over. After taking to the mountains, from where for a time they waged guerrilla war against the Dorian settlements, the last pockets of Cretan resistance collapsed.' Along with masses of immigrants, the spirit that had once made Crete, in Homer's words, "a rich and lovely land" now fled the island that had for so long been its home." With time even the existence of the self-confident women-and men-of Minoan Crete was to be forgotten, as was peace, creativity, and the life-sustaining powers of the Goddess.
A Disintegrating World
The fall of Crete approximately three thousand years ago can be said to mark the end of an era. It was an end that, as we have seen, began millennia earlier. Beginning in Europe somewhere around 4300 or 4200 B. C. E., the ancient world was battered by wave after wave of barbarian invasions. After the initial period of destruction and chaos, gradually there emerged the societies that are celebrated in our high school and college textbooks as marking the beginnings of Western civilization.
But concealed within this purportedly grand and glorious beginning was the flaw that has widened into the most dangerous of chasms in our time. After millennia of upward movement in our technological, social, and cultural evolution, an ominous split was now underway. Like the deep cracks left by violent movements of the earth in that time, the breach between our technological and social evolution on the one hand and our cultural evolution on the other would steadily widen. The technological and social movement toward greater complexity of structure and function resumed. But the possibilities for cultural development were now to be stunted-rigidly caged in a dominator society.50
Everywhere society was now becoming male dominant, hierarchic, and warlike. In Anatolia, where the people of Catal Huyuk had lived in peace for thousands of years, the Hittites, an Indo-European people mentioned in the Bible, took over. And although their archaeological remains, such as the great sanctuary at Yazilikaya, show the Goddess was still worshiped, she was increasingly relegated to the status of the wife or mother of new male gods of war and thunder. The pattern was similar in Europe, Mesopotamia, and Canaan. Not only was the Goddess no longer supreme, she was also being transformed into a patroness of war. Indeed, to the people living through these terrifying times, it must have seemed as though the very heavens, once thought to be the abode of a bountiful Goddess, had been captured by antihuman supernatural forces allied with their brutal representatives on earth. Not only was "divinely-ordained" strongman rule and chronic warfare everywhere becoming the norm; there is also considerable evidence that the period from c. 1500 to 1100 B.C.E. was one of uncommonly intense physical as well as cultural chaos. It was during this time that a series of violent volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and tidal waves rocked the Mediterranean world. Indeed, so profoundly was the physical environment shaken and rearranged that what happened may account for the tale of Atlantes, an entire continent that supposedly sank during an inconceivably vast and devastating natural disaster. Coupled with these natural terrors came still further man-made terror. From the north the Dorians were pushing deeper and deeper into Europe. Finally Greece and even Crete fell under the onslaught of their iron weapons. In Anatolia, the warlike Hittite empire collapsed under the pressure of new invaders. This move in turn drove the Hittites southward into Syria. The lands of the Levant were also invaded during this period, by both land and sea, by displaced peoples, including the Philistines we read about in biblical accounts. Farther south, Assyria now suddenly became a world power, pushing into Phrygia, Syria, Phoenicia, and even as far as Anatolia and the Zagros Mountains to the east. The extent of their barbarity can still be seen today in the bas reliefs commemorating the "heroic" exploits of a later Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser. Here what look like the populations of whole cities are stuck alive on stakes running through the groin and out the shoulders. Even as far south as Egypt there were repercussions, as invaders called in hieroglyphics the People from the Sea (believed by many scholars to be Mediterranean refugees) tried to take over the Nile Delta at the beginning of the eleventh century B.C.E. They were defeated by Ramses 111, but we can still see them today on the murals of his funerary temple in Thebes, where they stream past us in ships, chariots, and on foot with families and ox carts.
In Canaan, in what biblical scholars believe were three migratory waves, the Hebrew tribes, now consolidated under the rule of the Levitic warrior-priests, began a series of wars of conquest." As we can still read in the Bible, despite their war god Jehovah's promises of victory, it took them hundreds of years to overcome the Canaanite resistancewhich is variously explained in the Bible as decreed by God to provide his people practice in warfare, to test and punish them, or to keep cultivated areas from desolation until the invaders' numbers would be sufficiently increased." As we can also still read in the Bible, for example in Deuteronomy 3:3-6, the practice of these 'divinely inspired' invaders was of "utterly destroying the men, women, and children of every city. "
All over the ancient world populations were now set against populations, as men were set against women and against other men. Wandering over the width and breadth of this disintegrating world, masses of refugees were everywhere fleeing their homelands, desperately searching for a haven, for a safe place to go. But there was no such place left in their new world. For this was now a world where, having violently deprived the Goddess and the female half of humanity of all power, gods and men of war ruled. It was a world in which the Blade, and not the Chalice, would henceforth be supreme, a world in which peace and harmony would be found only in the myths and legends of a long lost past.
The Other Half of History: Part I
Like travellers through a time warp, we have, through archaeological discoveries, journeyed into a different reality. On the other side we found not the brutal stereotypes of an eternally depraved 'human nature" but amazing vistas of possibilities for a better life. We saw how in the early days of civilization our cultural evolution was truncated and then completely turned around. We saw how when our social and technological evolution resumed it was in a different direction. But we also saw how the old roots of civilization were never eradicated. The old love for life and nature and the old ways of sharing rather than taking away, of caring for rather than oppressing, and the view of power as responsibility rather than domination did not die out. But, like women and qualities associated with femininity, they were relegated to a secondary place. Neither did the human yearning for beauty, truth, justice, and peace disappear. Rather, it was submerged and suppressed by the new social order. The old yearning would still occasionally struggle for expression. But increasingly it would be without any clear sense that the underlying problem was a way of structuring human relations (beginning with the relation between the two halves of humanity) into rigid, force-based rankings. So successful had the transformation of reality been that this seemingly self-evident fact-that the way a society structures the most fundamental of human relations profoundly affects all aspects of living and thinking-was in time almost totally obscured. As a result, even our complex modem languages, with technical terms for everything one can and cannot imagine, have no gender-specific words to describe the profound difference between what we have until now called a dominator and a partnership society. At best, we have words like matriarchy to describe the opposite of patriarchy. But these words only reinforce the prevailing view of reality (and 'human nature") by describing two sides of the same coin. Moreover, by bringing to mind emotion-laden and conflicting images of tyrannical fathers and wise old men, patriarchy does not even accurately describe our present system. Partnership and dominator are useful terms to describe the two contrasting principles of organization we have been examining. But though they capture an essential difference, they do not specifically convey one critical point: there are two contrasting ways of structuring the relations between the female and male halves of humanity that profoundly affect the totality of a social system. We are now at the point where for both clarity and economy of communication we need more precise terms than those offered by our conventional vocabulary in order to continue probing how these two alternatives affect our cultural, social, and technological evolution. We are also about to take a close look at the civilization of ancient Greece, which was noted for the first precise expression of scientific thinking. The two new terms I propose, and will in certain contexts be using as alternatives to dominator and partnership, draw from this precedent. For a more precise term than patriarchy to describe a social system ruled through force or the threat of force by men, I propose the term androcracy. Already in some use, this term derives from the Greek root words andros, or "man," and kratos (as in democratic), or "ruled." To describe the real alternative to a system based on the ranking of half of humanity over the other, I propose the new term gylany.' Gy derives from the Greek root word gyne, or "woman." An derives from andros, or "man." The letter I between the two has a double meaning. In English, it stands for the linking of both halves of humanity, rather than, as in androcracy, their ranking. In Greek, it derives from the verb lyein or lyo, which in turn has a double meaning: to solve or resolve (as in analysis) and to dissolve or set free (as in catalysis). In this sense, the letter 1 stands for the resolution of our problems through the freeing of both halves of humanity from the stultifying and distorting rigidity of roles imposed by the domination hierarchies inherent in androcratic systems. This leads to a critical distinction between two very different kinds of hierarchies that is not made in conventional usage. As used here, the term hierarchy refers to systems of human rankings based on forceor the threat of force. These domination hierarchies are very different from a second type of hierarchy, which I propose be called actualization hierarchies. These are the familiar hierarchies of systems within systems, for examples, of molecules, cells, and organs of the body: a progression toward a higher, more evolved, and more complex level of function. By contrast, as we may see all around us, domination hierarchies characteristically inhibit the actualization of higher functions, not only in the overall social system, but also in the individual human. This is a major reason that a gylanic model of social organization opens up far greater evolutionary possibilities for our future than an androcratic one.
The Other Half of History: Part 2
Almost two thousand years ago on the shores of Lake Galilee a gentle and compassionate young Jew called Jesus denounced the ruling classes of his time-not just the rich and powerful but even the religious authorities-for exploiting and oppressing the people of Palestine. He preached universal love and taught that the meek, humble, and weak would some day inherit the earth. Beyond this, in both his words and actions he often rejected the subservient and separate position that his culture assigned women. Freely associating with women, which was itself a form of heresy in his time, Jesus proclaimed the spiritual equality of all. Not surprisingly, according to the Bible, the authorities of his time considered Jesus a dangerous revolutionary whose radical ideas had to be silenced at all cost. How truly radical these ideas were from the perspective of an androcratic system in which the ranking of men over women is the model for all human rankings is succinctly expressed in Galatians 3:28. For here we read that for those who know the gospel of Jesus, "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Some Christian theologians, such as Leonard Swidler, have asserted that Jesus was a feminist, because even from the official or "sacred" texts it is clear that he rejected the rigid segregation and subordination of women of his time.' But feminism has as its primary aim the liberation of women. So to call Jesus a feminist would not be historically accurate. lt would seem more accurate to say that Jesus' teachings embody a gylanic view of human relations.
This view was not new and was, as we have noted, also contained in those portions of the Old Testament congruent with a partnership society. But it was obviously most forcefully-indeed, in the eyes of the religious elites of his time, heretically-articulated by this young carpenter from Galilee. For although the liberation of women was not his central focus, if we look at what Jesus preached from the new perspective of cultural transformation theory, we see a startling, and unifying, theme: a vision of the liberation of all humanity through the replacement of androcratic with gylanic values.
Jesus and Gylany
The writings in the New Testament attributed to disciples who had ostensibly known Jesus, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are generally considered the best source on the "real" Jesus. Although they too were written years after Jesus died, and were undoubtedly heavily edited, they are probably still a more accurate reflection of Jesus' teachings than other portions, such as Acts or Corinthians. Here we find that the cornerstone of dominator ideology, the masculine-superior/feminine-inferior species model is, but for a few exceptions, conspicuous by its absence. Instead, permeating these writings is Jesus' message of spiritual equality. Even more striking-and all-pervasive-are Jesus' teachings that we must elevate "feminine virtues" from a secondary or supportive to a primary and central position. We must not be violent but instead turn the other cheek; we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us; we must love our neighbors and even our enemies. Instead of the "masculine virtues" of toughness, aggressiveness, and dominance, what we must value above all else are mutual responsibility, compassion, gentleness, and love. When we look closely, not only at what Jesus taught but at how he went about disseminating his message, time and time again we find that what he was preaching was the gospel of a partnership society. He rejected the dogma that high-ranking men-in Jesus' day, priests, nobles, rich men, and kings-ate the favorites of God. He mingled freely with women, thus openly rejecting the male-supremacist norms of his time. And in sharp contrast to the views of later Christian sages, who actually debated whether woman has an immortal soul, Jesus did not preach the ultimate dominator message: that women are spiritually inferior to men.
Whether Jesus ever actually existed has long been debated. The argument (very well documented) is that there is absolutely no corroborating evidence of his existence in documents other than highly suspect Christian sources. Analysts also note that practically all the events of Jesus' life, as well as many of his teachings, appear in the lives and utterances of mythical figures of other religions. This would indicate that Jesus was manufactured from borrowings from elsewhere to serve the purposes of early church leaders. Curiously, perhaps the most compelling argument for the historicity of Jesus is his feminist and gylanic thought and actions. For, as we have seen, the overriding requirement of the system has been the manufacture of gods and heroes that support rather than reject androcratic values. It is thus hard to see why a figure would have been invented who, as we read in John 4:7-27, violated the androcratic customs of his time by talking openly with women. Or whose disciples "marveled" that he should talk at all with women, and then at such great length. Or who would not condone the customary stoning to death of women who, in the opinion of their male overlords, were guilty of the heinous sin of having sexual relations with a man who was not their master. In Luke 10:38-42, we read how Jesus openly included women among his companions-and even encouraged them to transcend their servile roles and participate actively in public life. He praises the activist Mary over her domestic sister Martha. And in every one of the official Gospels we read about Mary Magdalene and how he treated her-a prostitute-with respect and caring. Even more astonishing, we learn from the Gospels that it is to Mary Magdalene that the risen Christ first appears. Weeping in his empty sepulchre after his death, it is Mary Magdalene who guards his grave. There she has a vision in which Jesus appears to her before he appears in visions to any of his much-publicized twelve male disciples. And it is Mary Magdalene whom the risen Jesus asks to tell the others that he is about to ascend .2 it is not surprising that in his time the teachings of Jesus had-as they still have-great appeal to women. Although Christian historians rarely refer to this, even in the official scriptures or New Testament, we find women who are Christian leaders. For example, in Acts 9:36 we read of a disciple of Jesus called Tabitha or Dorcas, conspicuous for her absence from the well-known, official count of twelve. In Romans 16:7 we find Paul respectfully greeting a woman apostle named Junia, whom he describes as senior to himself in the movement. "Greet Mary, who bestowed labor on us," we read. "Salute Andronicus and junia, my kin and my fellow prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me" (emphasis added). Some scholars believe that the New Testament epistle Hebrews may actually have been written by a woman named Priscilla. The wife of Aquila, she is described in the New Testament as working with Paul, with her name usually mentioned before that of her husband. And as the historical theologian Constance Parvey points out, in Acts 2:17 we find the explicit designation of women as prophets. Here we read, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy" (emphases added). So, clearly, despite the very strong social pressures of that time for rigid male dominance, women took leading roles in the first Christian communities. As the theologian Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza points out, this is further confirmed by the fact that so many meetings of early Christians mentioned in the New Testament were in women's houses. In Colossians 4:15, for example, we read of the church in the house of Nympha. In 1 Corinthians 1:11 we read of the church in the household of Chloe. In Acts 15:14, 15 and 40 we read that the church in Philippa began with the conversion of the businesswoman Lydia. And so on and on .4 As already noted, in this same New Testament we keep reading about Mary Magdalene. This woman who, as a prostitute, has violated that most fundamental androcratic law that she should be the sexual chattel of her husband or master is clearly an important member of the early Christian movement. In fact, as we shall see, there is compelling evidence that Mary Magdalene was a leader of the early Christian movement after Jesus died. Indeed, she is portrayed in one suppressed document as sharply resisting the reimposition within some Christian sects themselves of the kinds of rankings Jesus challenged-evidence that would obviously not be included in the scriptures the leaders of these sects were to put together as the New Testament. To the androcratic mind the idea that Jesus was involved in a gylanic counter-revolution is inconceivable. To paraphrase the parable, it would seem easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for such a notion to enter the minds of fundamentalists whose cars today bear bumper stickers exhorting others to "get right with Jesus." To begin with, why would Jesus have concerned himself with the elevation of women and feminine values from their subservient place? To them it would seem obvious that, being who he was, Jesus would have been consumed by far more important concerns-which, by conventional definition, rules out anything that could be called women's issues. It is, in fact, remarkable that Jesus taught what he did. For Jesus was himself an androcratic product, a Jew born into a time when Judaism was still rigidly male dominant. This was a time when, as we read in John 8:3-11, women were still regularly stoned to death for adultery, in other words, for violating their husband's or master's sexual property rights. It is in this instance most revealing that Jesus not only prevented such a stoning but in so doing defied the scribibs and Pharisees who deliberately set up this situation to trap him into revealing himself as a dangerous rebel. There is, however, a way in which Jesus' gylanic teachings are not so remarkable. Jesus has long been recognized as one of the greatest spiritual figures of all time. By any criterion of excellence, the figure portrayed in the Bible displays an exceptionally high level of sensitivity and intelligence as well as the courage to stand up to established authority and, even at the risk of his life, speak out against cruelty, oppression, and greed. So it is not surprising that Jesus should have been aware that the "masculine" values of dominance, inequality, and conquest he could see all around him debasing and distorting human life must be replaced by a softer, more 'feminine" set of values based on compassion, responsibility, and love. Jesus' recognition that our spiritual evolution has been stunted by a way of structuring human relations based on violence-backed rankings could have led to a fundamental social transformation. It could have freed us from the androcratic system. But as in other times of gylanic resurgence, the system's resistance was too strong. And in the end the church fathers left us a New Testament in which this perception is often smothered by the superimposition of the completely contradictory dogmas required to justify the Church's later androcratic structure and goals.
The Suppressed Scriptures
The reality of old masterpieces has often been revealed by art restorers, who must scrape away layer upon layer of distorting overpainting, grime, and old shellac. In the same way, the gylanic Jesus is now being revealed by the new scholarship of theologians and religious historians probing beneath and beyond the New Testament. To gain a better understanding of the real nature of early Christianity, we have to go outside the official scriptures contained in the New Testament to other ancient Christian documents, some of which have only recently been found. Of these, the most important-and revealing-are the fifty-two Gnostic gospels unearthed in 1945 in Nag Hammadi, an outlying province of Upper Egypt.-I Elaine Pagels, a professor of religious studies at Princeton, writes in her book The Gnostic Gospels, that "those who wrote and circulated these texts did not regard themselves as 'heretics.' "I Nonetheless, much of what has been previously known about such "heretic" scriptures came from the men who attacked them-which would hardly be calculated to give us an objective view. In fact, the men who starting about 200 C.E. took control of what later was called the 'orthodox," or only true, church ordered all copies of such texts destroyed. But, as Pagels writes, "Someone, possibly a monk from the nearby monastery at St. Pachomius, took the banned books and hid them from destruction-in the jar where they remained buried for almost 1600 years."I And duefo a series of events that read like a detective story, it took another thirty-four years after the discovery of these suppressed Gnostic gospels before scholars completed their study and Pagels's.book at last brought them to public attention in 1979. According to Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University, some of these recently discovered sacred Christian writings are older than the Gospels of the New Testament. He writes that they date to "possibly as early as the second half of the first century (50-100)-as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and john."I The Gnostic gospels were thus written at a time when androcracy had already been the Westem norm for a very long time. They are not gylanic documents. And yet, what we find in them is a powerful challenge to the norms of a dominator society. The term gnostic derives from the Greek word gnosis, or knowledge. This is in contrast to the still widely used term agnostic, for one who believes such knowledge cannot be known with certainty, or is unknowable. Like other mystical Westem and Eastern religious traditions, Gnostic Christianity held the seeming unheretical view that the mystery of higher or divine truth is knowable to all of us through religious discipline and moral living. What then was so heretical about Gnosticism that it had to be banned? Specifically, what we find in these Gnostic gospels is the same idea that caused the Hebrew priesthood to revile and seek to do away with Jesus. This is that access to the deity need not go through a religious hierarchy headed by a chief rabbi, high bishop, or pope. It is, rather, available directly through gnosis, or divine knowledge-without having to pay homage or tithes to an authoritarian priesthood. What we also find in these scriptures that were suppressed by the "orthodox" Christian priesthoods is the confirmation of something long suspected both from a reading of the official scriptures and from Gnostic fragments discovered earlier. This is that Mary Magdalene was one of the most important figures in the early Christian movement. In the Gospel of Mary we again read that she was the first to see the risen Christ (as is also recorded in passing in the official Gospels of Mark and John).' Here we also read that Christ loved Mary Magdalene more than all the rest of the disciples,,,as is also confirmed in the Gnostic Gospel of Philip." But just how important a part Mary may have played in the history of early Christianity only comes to light in these suppressed scriptures. What we read in the Gospel of Mary is that after the death of Jesus Mary Magdalene was the Christian leader who had the courage to challenge the authority of Peter as the head of a new religious hierarchy based on the claim that only he and his priests and bishops had a direct line to the godhead." 'Consider the political implications of the Gospel of Mary," comments Pagels"As Mary stands up to Peter, so the gnostics who take her as their prototype challenge the authority of those priests and bishops who claim to be Peter's successors."" There were other related, and equally fundamental, doctrinal differences between the emerging and increasingly hierarchic church headed by Peter and other early Christian communities, such as most Gnostics and sects hke the Montanists and Marcionites. Not only did these sects, in contrast to the men now described as the fathers of the church, honor women as disciples, as prophets, and as founders of Chrisfianity; as part of their finn commitment to Jesus' teachings of spiritual equality, they also included women in their leadership. To even further emphasize the basic gylanic principle of linking and to avoid permanent rankings some Gnostic sects chose their leadership at each meeting by lot. This we actually know from the writings of such enemies of Gnosticism as Bishop Irenaeus, who supervised the church in Lyons circa 180 C.E." 'At a time when the orthodox Christians increasingly discriminate between clergy and laity," writes Pagels, "this group of gnostic Christans demonstrated that, among themselves, they refused to acknowledge such distincfion. Instead of ranking their members into superior and inferior 'orders' within a hierarchy, they followed the principle of strict equality. All initiates, men and women alike, participated equally in the drawing: anyone might be selected to serve as priest, bishop, or prophet. Furthermore, because they cast lots at each meeting, even the distinctions established by lot could never become permanent ranks.' For the androcratic Christians who were everywhere seizing power on the basis of rank, such practices were horrible abominations. For example, Tertullian, who wrote circa 190 C.E. for the "orthodox" position, was outraged that "they all have access equally, they listen equally, they pray equally-even pagans if they happen to come." He was similarly outraged that "they also share the kiss of peace with all who come."" But what outraged Tertullian most-as ell it might, since it threatened the very foundation of the hierarchic infrastructure he and his fellow bishops were trying to impose in the church-was the equal position of women. "Tertullian protests especially the participation of 'those women among the heretics' who shared with men positions of authority," notes Pagels. " 'They teach, they engage in discussion; they exorcise; they cure'-he suspects that they might even baptize, which meant that they also acted as bishops!' " To men like Tertullian only one "heresy" was even greater than the idea of men and women as spiritual equals. This was the idea that most fundamentally threatened the growing power of the men who were now setting themselves up as the new "princes of the church": the idea of the divine as female. And this-as we can still read in the Gnostic gospels and other sacred Christian documents not included in the official or New Testament scriptures-was precisely what some of the early followers of Jesus preached. Following the earlier, and apparently still remembered, tradition in which the Goddess was seen as the Mother and Giver of All, the followers of Valentinus and Marcus prayed to the Mother as the "mystical and eternal Silence," as "Grace, She who is before all things," and as "incorruptible Wisdom.""I In another text, the Trimorphic Protennoia (literally translated, the Triple-Formed Primal Thought) we find a celebrafion of such powers as thought, intelligence, and foresight as feminine-again following the earlier tradition in which these powers were seen as attributes of the Goddess. The text opens as a divine figure speaks: "I am Protennoia the Thought that dwells in the Light ... She who exists before the All.... I move in every creature.... I am the Invisible One within the All.... I am perception and Knowledge, uttering a Voice by means of Thought. I am the real Voice." '
In another text, attributed to the Gnostic teacher Simon Magus, par adise itself-the place where life began-is described as the Mother's womb.11 And in teachings attributed to Marcus or Theodotus (circa 160 C.E.), we read that "the male and female elements together constitute the finest production of the Mother, Wisdom."Il Whatever form these "heresies" took, they clearly derived from the earlier religious tradition when the Goddess was worshiped and priest esses were her earthly representatives. Accordingly, almost uniformly divine wisdom was personified as female-as it still is in such feminine words as the Hebrew hokma and the Greek sophia, both meaning "wisdom" or 'divine knowledge," as well as in other ancient mystical traditions, both Eastem and Western. Another form these heresies took was the "unorthodox" way they depicted the holy family. "One group of gnostic sources claims to have received a secret tradition from Jesus through James and through Mary Magdalene," reports Pagels. "Members of this group prayed to both the divine Father and Mother: 'From Thee, Father, and through Thee, Mother, the two immortal names, Parents of the divine being, and thou, dweller in heaven, humanity, of the mighty name.' " Similarly, the teacher and poet Valentinus taught that although the deity is essentially indescribable, the divine can be imaged as a dyad consisting of both the female and the male principles. Others were more literal, insisting that the divine is to be considered androgynous. Or they described the holy spirit as feminine, so that in conventional Catholic Trinity terms, out of the union of the Father with the Holy Spirit or Divine Mother, came their Son, the Messiah Christ.
The Gylanic Heresies
These early Christians not only threatened the growing power of the "fathers of the church"; their ideas were also a direct challenge to the male-dominated family. Such views undermined the divinely or dained authority of male over female on which the patriarchal family is based. Biblical scholars have frequently noted that early Christianity was perceived as a threat by both Hebrew and Roman authorities. This was not just because of the Christians' unwillingness to worship the em peror and give loyalty to the state. Professor S. Scott Bartchy, former director of the Institute for the Study of Christian Origins at Tiibingen, West Germany, points out that an even more compelling reason the chings of Jesus and his followers were perceived as dangerously radical was that they called into question existing family traditions. They considered women persons in their own right. Their fundamental threat, Bartchy concludes, was that the original Christians "disrespected" both the Roman and the Jewish family structures of their day, both of which subordinated women.1' If we look at the family as a microcosm of the larger world-and as the only world a small and pliable child knows-this "disrespect" for the male-dominated family, in which father's word is law, can be seen as a major threat to a syst,em based on force-backed ranking. It explains why those who in our time would force us back to the "good old days" when women and 'lesser men" still knew their place make a return to the "traditional" family their top priority. It also sheds new light on the struggle that tore apart the world two thousand years ago when Jesus preached his gospel of compassion, nonviolence, and love. There are many interesting similarities between our time and those turbulent years when the mighty Roman Empire-one of the most powerful dominator societies of all time-began to break down. Both are periods of what "chaos" theorists call states of increasing systems disequilibrium, times when unprecedented and unpredictable systems changes can come about. If we look at the years immediately before and after the death of Jesus from the perspective of an ongoing conflict between androcracy and gylany, we find that, like our own time, this was a period of strong gylanic resurgence. This is no great surprise, for it is during such periods of great social disruption that, as the Nobel-Prize-winning thermodynamicist Ilya Prigogine writes, initially small "fluctuations" can lead to systems transformation .27 If we look at early Christianity as an initially small fluctuation that first appeared on the fringes of the Roman Empire (in the little province of judaea), its potential for our cultural evolution acquires new meaning and its failure an even greater poignancy. Moreover, if we look at early Christianity within this larger framework, which views what happens in all systems as interconnected, we may also see there were other manifestations of gylanic resurgence, even within Rome itself. In Rome, for example, educafion was changing so that aristocratic girls and boys were sometimes offered the same curriculum. As the historical theologian Constance Parvey writes, "within the Roman Empire in the first century A.D. many women were educated, and some were highly influenfial and exercised great freedom in public life."I There were still legal restricfions. Roman women had to have male guardians and were never given the right to vote. But, parficularly in the upper classes, women increasingly entered public life. Some took up the arts. Others went into professions such as medicine. Sill others took part in business, court, and social Iffe, engaged in athlefics, went to theaters, sporing events, and concerts, and traveled without being required to have male escorts. In other words, as both Parvey and Pagels note, there was during this period a movement toward the "emancipafion" of women. There were other challenges to the androcratic system, such as slave rebellions and rebellions of outlying provinces. There was the Jewish uprising under Bar Kokhba (132-135 C.E.) that was to mark the end of Judaea.1 But as androcracy's force-based rankings were challenged, as early Chrisfians espoused nonviolence and spoke of compassion and peace, Rome became even more despofic and violent. As the excesses of its emperors (including the Chrisfian Constanfine) and the famous circuses of the Roman Empire all too hideously reveal, the gylanic challenge to this bloody dominator society failed. Indeed, even within Chrisfianity itself, gylany was not to succeed.
The Pendulum Swings Back
'Despite the Orevious public activity of Christian women," Pagels observes, "by the year 200, the majority of Christian communities endorsed as canonical the pseudo-Pauline letter of Timothy, which stresses (and exaggerates) the anfi-feminist element in Paul's views: 'Let a woman leam in silence with all subn-dssiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men: she is to keep silent.'. . . By the end of the second century, women's participation in worship was explicitly condemned: groups in which women continued on to leadership were branded as herefical."" As Pagels further writes, "Whosoever investigates the early history of Chrisfianity (the field called 'patristics'-that is, study of 'the fathers of the Church') will be prepared for the passage that concludes the Gospel of Thomas: 'Simon Peter said to them (the disciples): Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of Life.' Jesus said, 'I myself shall lead her, in order to make her male, so that she too may become a living spirit, resembling you males. For every woman who will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.' "
Such an outright exclusion of one half of humanity from being worthy of life-even more ironically, the half from whose body life itself comes forth-makes sense only in the context of the androcratic regression and repression that now set in. It serves to verify what so many of us have known deep inside without being able to pinpoint just what it was: something went terribly wrong with Christianity's original gospel of love. How otherwise could such a gospel be used to justify afl the torture, conquest, and bloodletting carried out by devout Christians against others, and against one another, that makes up so much of our Westem history? For in the end, there was in the Western world an unpredictable and dramatic systems change. Out of the chaos of the breakdown of the classical world of Rome, a new era took form. What began as a minor mystery cult became the new Western religion. But although its continual message was of the transformation of both self and society, instead of transforming society this "peripheral invader" was itself transformed. Like others before it and most since then, Christianity became an androcratic religion. The Roman Empire was replaced by the Holy Roman Empire. Already by 200 C.E., in this classic case of spirituality stood on its head, Christianity was well on its way to becon-dng precisely the kind of hierarchical and violence-based system Jesus had rebelled against. And after Emperor Constantine's conversion, it became an official arm, that is, the servant, of the state. As Pagels writes, when 'Christianity became an officially approved religion in the fourth century, Christian bishops, previously victimized by the police, now commanded them. "I According to Christian histories, it is said that in 312 C.E., on the day before Constantine defeated and killed his rival Maxentius and was proclaimed emperor, he saw in the setting sun a divinely sent vision: a cross inscribed with the words in hoc signo victor seris (in this sign you will be victor). What Christian historians usually fail to report is that it is also said that this first Christian emperor had his wife Fausta boiled alive and ordered the murder of his own son Crispus. 34 Butthe bloodshed and repression that ushered in the Christianization of Europe was not confined to Constantine's private acts. Nor was it confined to his public acts and those of his Christian successors, such as later edicts that heresy to the Church was now a treasonous act punishable by torture and death. It was now to become standard practice for Church leaders themselves to command the torture and execution of all who would not accept the 'new order." It was also to become standard practice to methodically suppress all "heretical" information that could conceivably threaten this new androcratic hierarchy's rule. Rather than being pure spirit and both mother and father, God was now explicitly male. And, as Pope Paul Vi was still to assert nearly two thousand years later, in 1977, women were barred from the priesthood "because our Lord was a man." At the same time, the Gnostic gospels and other texts like them, which had circulated freely in the Christian communities at the beginning of the Christian era, were de nounced and destroyed as heresies by those who now called them selves the orthodox, that is, the only legitimate, church. As Pagels writes, all these sources-'secret gospels, revelations, mystical teachings-are among those not included in the select list that constitutes the New Testament collection.... Every one of the secret texts which gnostic groups revered was on-dtted from the canonical collection, and branded as heretical by those who called themselves orthodox Christians. By the time the process of sorting the various writings ended-probably as late as the year 200-virtually all the fem inine imagery for God had disappeared from orthodox tradition. This branding as heretical by Christians of Christians who believed in equality is particularly ironic in view of the fact that in the early apostolic communifies women and men had lived and worked as Jesus had commanded, practicing agape, or brotherly and sisterly love. It is even more ironic if we consider that many of these women and men who lived and worked hand in hand had gone to their death as Chris tian martyrs. gut for the men who were now everywhere using Chris tianity to establish their rule, Christian fife and Christian ideology had to be made to fit into the androcratic mold. As the years went by, the Christianization of Europe's heathens became the excuse for once again firmly reinstating the dominator tenet that might makes light. This not only required the defeat or forceful conversion of all who did not embrace official Christianity; it also re quired the systematic destruction of -pagan" temples, shrines, and "idols" and the closing of the ancient Greek academies where "heretic" inquiry was still pursued. So successful was the Church's proof of "moral" right by might that until the Renaissance, over a thousand years later, any artistic expression or pursuit of empirical knowledge that was not 'blessed" by the Church was practically nonexistent in Europe. And so thorough was the systematic destruction of all extant knowledge, including the mass burning of books, that it even spread outside of Europe, to wherever Christian authority could reach. Thus, in 391 C.E., under Theodosius 1, the now thoroughly andro craticized Christians burned the great library in Alexandria, one of the last repositories of ancient wisdom and knowledge. And aided and abetted by the man who was later to be canonized Saint Cyril Christian bishop of Alexandria) Christian monks barbarously hacked to pieces with oyster shells that remarkable mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher of Alexandria's school of Neoplatonic philosophy, Hyatia. For this woman, now recognized as one of the greatest scholars of all time, was according to Cyril an iniquitous female who had even presumed, against God's commandments, to teach men. In the officially sanctioned writings, Paulist-or as scholars are increasingly discovering, pseudo-Paulist-dogmas authoritatively reasserted that woman and all that is labeled feminine is inferior and so dangerous that it must be strictly controlled. There were still a few exceptions, notably the writings of Clement of Alexandria, who still characterized God as both feminine and masculine and wrote that "the name 'humanity' is common to both men and women."I But in the main, the model for human relations proposed by Jesus in which male and female, rich and poor, Gentile and Jew are all one was expurgated from the ideologies as well as the day-to-day practices of the orthodox Christian Church. The men in control of the new orthodox Church might in ritual raise the ancient Chalice, now become the cup of Holy Communion filled with the symbolic blood of Christ, but in fact the Blade was once again ascendant over all. Under the sword and fire of the alliance of Church and ruling class fell not only pagans, such as Mithraists, Jews, or devotees of the old mystery religions of Eleusis and Delphi, but also any Christian who would not knuckle under and accept their rule. They still claimed their goal was to spread Jesus' gospel of love. But through the savagery and horror of their holy Crusades, their witch-hunts, their Inquisition, their book burnings and people burnings, they spread not love but the old androcratic staples of repression, devastation, and death. And so, ironically, Jesus' revolution of nonviolence, in the course of which he died on the cross, was converted into rule by force and terror. As the historians Will and Ariel Durant noted, in its distortion and perversion of Jesus' teachings, medieval Christendom was actually a moral setback. Rather than being any longer a threat to the established androcratic order, Christianity became what practically all this earth's religions, launched in the name of spiritual enlightenment and freedom, have also become: a powerful way of perpetuating that order. Nonetheless, the struggle of gylany against androcracy was far from over. At certain times and places during the dark centuries of androcratic Chrisfianity-and the despofic kings and popes who ruled Europe in its name-the gylanic urge to resume our cultural evolution would reemerge. As we shall see in the chapters that follow, this continuing struggle has been the major unseen force shaping Westem history and is once again in our time corning to a head.
Breakthrough in Evolution: Toward a Partnership Future
Science fiction writers' visions of the future are filled with incredible technological inventions. But by and large, theirs is a world singularly bereft of new social inventions. In fact, more often than not, what they envision takes us backward while seeming to go forward in time. Be it in Frank Herbert's Dune' or George Lucas's Star Wars, what we frequently find is actuall' the social organization of feudal emperors and medieval overlords transposed to a world of intergalactic high-tech wars. After five thousand years of living in a dominator society, it is indeed difficult to imagine a different world. Charlotte Perkins Gilman tried in Harland. Written in 1915, this was a tongue-in-cheek utopia about a peaceful and highly creative society in which the most valued and rewarded work-and the top social priority-was the physical, mental, and spiritual development of children. The catch was that this was a world where all the men had wiped themselves out in a final orgy of war, and the handful of surviving women had, in an amazing mutation, saved their half of humanity by teaming to reproduce themselves all by themselves. But as we have seen, the problem is not men as a sex, but men and women as they must be socialized in a dominator system. There were men and women in the Neolithic and in Crete. There are men and women among the peaceful !Kung and BaMbuti. And even in our male-dominated world not all women are peaceful and gentle, and many men are. Clearly both men and women have the biological potential for many different kinds of behaviors. But like the external armor or shell that encases insects and other arthropods, androcratic social organization encases both halves of humanity in rigid and hierarchic roles that stunt their development. If we look at our evolution from the perspective of androcracy and gylany as the two possibilities for human social orga nization, we see that it is not by accident that the sociobiologists who are today trying to revitalize androcratic ideology with yet another in fusion of nineteenth-century social Darwinism so frequently cite insect societies to support their theories. Neither is it accidental that their writings reinforce the view that the normative model for rigidly hier archic social rankings-the male-dominator/female-dominated model of human relations-is preprogrammed in our genes. As many scientists have pointed out, evolution is not predeter mined.1 On the contrary, from the very beginning we have been active co-creators in our own evolution. For example, as Sherwood Washburn wrote, our invention of tools was both the cause and effect of the bi-pedal locomotion and erect posture that freed our hands to fashion ever more complex technologies.' And, as both technology and society have grown more complex, the survival of our species has become increasingly dependent on the direction, not of our biological, but of our cultural evolution. Human evolution is now at a crossroads. Stripped to its essentials, the central human task is how to organize society to promote the survival of our species and the development of our unique potentials. In the course of this book we have seen that androcracy cannot meet this requirement because of its inbuilt emphasis on technologies of destruction, its dependence on violence for social control, and the tensions chronically engendered by the dominator-dominated human relations model upon which it is based. We have also seen that a gylanic or artnership society, symbolized by the life-sustaining and enhancing Chalice rather than the lethal Blade, offers us a viable alternative. The question is how do we get from here to there?
A New View of Reality
Scientists like Ilya Prigogine and Niles Eldredge tell us that bifurcations or evolutionary branchings in chemical and biological systems involve a large element of chance.' But as the evolutionary theorist Erwin Laszlo points out, bifurcations in human social systems also involve a large element of choice. Humans, he points out, "have the ability to act consciously, and collectively," exercising foresight to choose their own evolutionary path." And he adds that in our "crucial epoch" we "cannot leave the selection of the next step in the evolution of human society and culture to chance. We must plan for it, consciously and purposefully." Or as the biologist Jonas Salk writes, our most urgent and pressing need is to provide that wonderful instrument, the human mind, with the wherewithal to image, and thereby create, a better world .8 Initially this may seem an impossibly difficult task. But as we have seen, our views of reality-of what is possible and desirable-are a product of history. And perhaps the best proof that our ideas, symbols, myths, and behaviors can be changed is the evidence that such changes were in fact effected in our prehistory. We have seen how the image of woman was once venerated and respected in most of the ancient world and how images of women as merely sexual objects to be possessed and dominated by men became predominant only after the androcratic conquests. We have also seen how the meaning of symbols such as the tree of knowledge and the serpent that sheds its skin in periodic renewal were completely reversed after that critical bifurcation in our cultural evolution. Now seemingly firmly associated with terrible punishment for questioning male dominance and autocratic rule, these same symbols were not so long ago in evolutionary time seen as manifestations of the human thirst for liberation through higher or mystical knowledge. We have seen that even after the imposition of androcratic rule, the meaning of our most important symbols has often shifted radically through the impact of gylanic resurgence or androcratic regression. A striking example is the cross. The original meaning of the crosses incised on prehistoric figurines of the Goddess and other religious objects appears to have been her identification with the birth and growth of plant, animal, and human life. This was the meaning that survived into Egyptian hieroglyphics, where the cross stands for life and living, forming part of such words as health and happiness.' Later, after impaling people on stakes became a common way to execute them (as shown in Assyrian, Roman, and other androcratic art), the cross became a symbol of death. Later still, the more gylanic followers of Jesus again tried to transform the cross on which he was executed into a symbol of rebirth-a symbol associated with a social movement that set out to preach and practice human equality and such "feminine" concepts as gentleness, compassion, and peace.11 In our time, centuries after this movement was co-opted by the androcratic/dominator system, the way we interpret ancient symbols and myths still plays an important part in how we shape both our present and our future. At the, same time that some of our religious and political leaders would have us believe a nuclear Armageddon may actually be the will of God," we are seeing a vast reaffirmation of the desire for life, not death, in an accelerated, and indeed unprecedented, movement to restore ancient myths and symbols to their original gylanic meaning. For instance, artists like Imogene Cunningham and Judy Chicago are for the first time in recorded history using female sexual imagery in ways that are strikingly reminiscent of Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Cretan symbolisms of birth, rebirth, and transformation. Also for the first time in recorded history, images from nature, such as seals, birds, dolphins, and the green forests and grasses-in earlier times symbols of the unity of all life under the Goddess's divine power-are being used by the ecology movement to reawaken in us the consciousness of our essential link with our natural environment.
Often unconsciously, the process of unraveling and reweaving the fabric of our mythical tapestry into more gylanic patterns-in which masculine" virtues such as 'the conquest of nature" are no longer realized-is in fact already well under Way.
What is still lacking is the 'critical mass" of new images and myths that is required for their actualization by a sufficient number of people. Perhaps 'most important is that women and men are increasingly questioning the most basic assumption of androcratic society: that both male dominance and the male violence of warfare are inevitable. Among studies by anthropologists bearing on this point, a cross-cul tural study conducted by Shirley and John McConahay found a sig nificant correlation between the rigid sexual stereotypes required to maintain male dominance and the incidence of not only warfare, but wife beating, child beating, and rape." As will be detailed in a second book continuing our reports, these systems correlations are verified by a growing number of new studies undertaken precisely because scientists in many disciplines are beginning to question the prevailing models of reality." Moreover, by studying both halves of humanity, scientists are today in ground-breaking ways expanding our knowledge about the possibilities for human society, as well as for the evolution of human consciousness. Indeed, from the perspective of cultural transformation theory, the much written about modern 'revolution in consciousness" can be seen s the transformation of androcratic to gylanic consciousness.'9 An im portant index of this transformation is that, for the first time in recorded history, many women and men are frontally challenging destructive myths, such as the "hero as killer. "'O They are becoming aware of what "heroic" stories ranging from those of Theseus to Rambo and james Bond actually teach us and demanding that children of both Aexes be taught to value caring and affiliation instead of conquest and domination." In Sweden, laws have already been enacted to phase out the sale of war toys, which have traditionally served to teach boys lack of empathy with those they hurt, as well as all the other attitudes and behaviors that men require for killing others of their kind.1 And peace demonstrations by millions of people all over this planet are dramatic evidence of a renewed consciousness of our connectedness with all of humanity. Women and men all over the world are, for the first time in such large numbers, frontally challenging the male-dominator/female-dominated human relations model that is the foundation of a dominator worldview.23 At the same time that the idea of the "war of the sexes" is being exposed as a consequence of this model, its further result of seeing "the other" as "the enemy" is also being challenged. There is, most significantly, a growing awareness that the emerging higher consciousness of our global "partnership" is integrally related to a fundamental reexamination and transformation of the roles of both women and men.' As the psychiatrist Jean Baker Miller writes, in society as presently constituted only women are "geared to be carriers of the basic necessity for human communion"26-and to in fact value their affiliations with others more highly than even themselves. In contrast to men, who are generally socialized to pursue their own ends, even at the expense of others, women are socialized to see themselves primarily as responsible for the welfare of others, even at the expense of their own well-being.21 This dichotomization of human experience, as Miller extensively documents, creates psychic distortions in both women and men. Women tend to be so overidenfified with others that the threatened loss, or even disruption, of an affiliation can be, as she writes, "perceived not as just a loss of a relationship but as something closer to a total loss of self." Men, on the other hand, often tend to see their human need for affiliation as "an impediment" or "a danger." Thus, they can perceive service to others not as something central but rather secondary to their self-image, something a man "may desire or can afford only after he has fulfilled the primary requirements of manhood. These views of gender roles and of reality are, as we have seen, fundamental to androcratic society. But, as Miller writes, "it is extremely important to recognize that the pull toward affiliation that women feel in themselves is not wrong or backward.... What has not been recognized is that this psychic starting point contains the possibilities for an entirely different (and more advanced) approach to living and functioning-very different, that is, from the approach fostered by the dominant culture.... It allows for the emergence of the truth: that for everyone-men as well as women-individual development proceeds only by means of affiliation." These new ways of imaging reality for both women and men are giving rise to new models of the human psyche. The older Freudian model saw human beings primarily in terms of elemental drives such as the need for food, sex, and safety. The newer model proposed by Abraham Maslow and other humanistic psychologists takes these elemental "defense" needs into account but also recognizes that human beings have a higher level of "growth" or 'actualization" needs that distinguish us from other animals.' This shift from defense needs to actuazation needs is an important key to the transformation from a dominator to a partnership society. Hierarchies maintained by force or the threat of force require defensive habits of mind. In our type of society, the creation of enemies for man begins with his human twin, woman, who in prevailing mythology is blamed for nothing less than our fall from paradise. And for both men and women, this ranking of one half of humanity over the other, as Alfred Adier noted, poisons all human relations.11 Freud's observations bear out that the androcratic psyche is indeed a mass of inner conflicts, tensions, and fears . But as we move from androcracy to gylany, more and more of us can begin to move from defense to growth. And as Maslow observed in studying self-actualizing and creative people, as this happens, rather than becoming more selfish and self-centered, more and more of us will move toward a ifferent reality: the "peak-experience" consciousness of our essential interconnectedness with all of humanity.'
A New Science and Spirituality
This theme of our interconnectedness-which Jean Baker Miller calls affiliation, Jessie Bemard calls the "female ethos of love/duty, " and Jesus, Gandhi, and other spiritual leaders have simply called love-is today also a theme of science. This developing "new science"-of which "chaos" theory and feminist scholarship are integral parts-is for the first time in history focusing more on relationships than on hierarchies. As the physicist Fritjof Capra writes, this more holistic approach is a radical departure from much of Western science, which has been characterized by a hierarchic, overcompartmentalized, and often mechanistic approach.' It is in many ways a more "feminine" approach, as women are said to think more "intuitively," tending to draw conclusions from a totality of simutaneous impressions rather than through step-by-step "logical" thinking. Salk writes of a new science of empathy, a science that will use both reason and intuition "to bring about a change in the collective mind that will constructively influence the course of the human future. This approach to science-successfully used by the geneticist Barbara McClintock, who in 1983 won a Nobel Prize-will focus on human society as a living system of which all of us are a part . 31 As Ashley Montagu said, it will be a science congruent with the true, and original, meaning of education: to draw forth and cause to grow the innate potenfialities of the human being .31 Above all else, as Hillary Rose writes in "Hand, Brain, and Heart: A Feminist Epistemology for the Natural Sciences," it will no longer be a science "directed toward the domination of nature or of humanity as part of nature. Evelyn Fox Keller, Carol Christ, Rita Arditti, and other scholars point out how, under the protective mantle of "objectivity" and "fieldindependence," science has often negated as "unscientific" and "subjective" the caring concerns considered overly feminine by the traditonal view.' Thus, science has until now generally excluded women as scientists and focused its study almost entirely on men. It has also excluded what we may call "caring knowledge": the knowledge that, as Salk writes, we now urgently need to select those human forms that are "in cooperation with evolution, rather than those that are antisurvival or antievolutionary."Il This new science is also an important step toward bridging the modern gap between science and spirituality, which is in large part the product of a worldview relegating empathy to women and "effeminate" men. Scienfists are further beginning to recognize that-like the artificial conflict between spirit and nature, between woman and man, and between different races, religions, and ethnic groups fostered by the dominator mentality-the way we view conflict itself needs to be reexamined. As Miller writes, focusing her research on actualization rather than defense, the question is not how to eliminate conflict, which is impossible. As individuals with different needs and desires and interests come into contact, conflict is inevitable. The question directly bearing on whether we can transform our world from strife to peaceful coex istence is how to make conflict productive rather than destructive.42 As a result of what she terms productive conflict, Miller shows how individuals, organizations, and nations can grow and change. Ap proaching each other with different interests and goals, each party to the conflict is forced to reexamine its own goals and actions as well as those of the other party. The result for both sides is productive change rather than nonproductive rigidity. Destructive conflict, by contrast, is the equation of conflict with the violence required to maintain domi nation hierarchies.
Under the prevailing system, Miller points out, "conflict is made to look as if it alu)ays appears in the image of extremity, whereas, in fact, it is actually the lack of recognition of the need for conflict and pro vision of appropriate forms for it that leads to danger. This ultimate destructive form is frightening, but it is also not conflict. It is almost the reverse; it is the end result of the attempt to avoid and suppress conflict."'
Although this suppressive dominator approach to conflict still over whelmingly prevails, the success of less violent and more "feminine" or "passive" approaches to conflict resolution offers concrete hope for change. These approaches have ancient roots. In recorded history Soc rates and later Jesus both used them. In modern times they are best known as embodied by men like Gandhi and Martin Luther long, Jr. whom androcracy handled by killing and canonizing. But by far their most extensive use has been by women. A notable example is how in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries women nonviolently fought against unjust laws. For access to family planning information, birth control technologies, and the right to vote, they permitted themselves to be arrested and chose to go on hunger strikes, rather than using force or the threat of force to gain their ends.' This use of nonviolent conflict as a means of attaining social change is not merely passive or nonviolent resistance. By refusing to cooperate with violence and injustice through the use of violent and unjust means, it is the creation of the positive transformative energy Gandhi called satyagraha or "truth force." As Gandhi said, the aim is to transform conflict rather than to suppress it or explode it into violence.11 just as critical in recharting the course of cultural evolution is the current reexamination of the way we define power. Writing about the still prevailing view of power, Miller notes how the so-called need to control and dominate others is psychologically a function not of a feeling of power but rather of a feeling of powerlessness. Distinguishing between "power for oneself and power over others," she writes: "The power of another person, or group of people was generally seen as dangerous. You had to control them or they would control you. But in the realm of human development, this is not a valid formulation. Quite the reverse. In a basic sense, the greater the development of each individual the more able, more effective, and less needy of limiting or restricting others she or he will be."46 A central motif of twentieth-century feminist literature has been the probing not only of existing power relations but also of alternative ways of perceiving and using power: of power as affiliation. This theme has been explored by Robin Morgan, Kate Millett, Elizabeth Janeway, Berit Aas, Peggy Antrobus, Marielouise Janssen-jurreit, Tatyana Mamonova, Kathleen Barry, Devaki Jain, Caroline Bird, Birgit Brock-Utne, Diana Russell, Perdita Huston, Andrea Dworkin, Adrienne Rich, to name but a few.11 Described in such phrases as "sisterhood is powerful," this nondestructive view of power is one that women are increasingly bringing with them as they move into the "men's" world from their "women's" place. It is a "win-win" rather than a "win-lose" view of power, in psychological terms, a means of advancing one's own development without at the same time having to limit the development of others. In visual or symbolic terms, this is the representation of power as linking. It has from time immemorial been symbolized by the circle or oval-the Goddess's cosmic egg or Great Round-rather than by the jagged lines of a pyramid where, as gods or as the heads of nations or families, men rule from the top. Long suppressed by androcratic ideology, the secret of transformafion expressed by the Chalice was in earlier rimes seen as the consciousness of our unity or linking with one another and all else in the universe. Great seers and mystics have continued to express this vision, describing it as the transformative power of what early Chrisfians called agape. This is the elemental linking between humans that in the distorfion characteristic of androcracy is called 'brotherly" love. In essence, it is the kind of selfless love a mother has for her children, once mythically expressed as the divine love of the Great Mother for her human children. In this sense, our reconnection with the earlier spiritual tradition of Goddess worship linked to the partnership model of society is more than a reaffirmation of the dignity and worth of half of humanity. Nor is it only a far more comforfing and reassuring way of imaging the powers that rule the universe. It also offers us a positive replacement for the myths and images that have for so long blatantly falsified the most elementary principles of human relations by valuing killing and exploiting more than giving birth and nurturing. In the early chapters of this book we saw how at the outset of our cultural evolution the feminine principle embodied,in the Goddess was the image not only of the resurrection or regeneration of death into life, but also of the illumination of human consciousness through di vine revelation. As the Jungian psychoanalyst Erich Neumann notes, in ancient mystery rites the Goddess represented the power of physical transformation of the "godhead as the whirling wheel of life" in its 'birth-bringing and death-bringing totality." But she was also the sym bo] of spiritual transformation: 'the force of the center, which within this cycle passes toward consciousness and knowledge, transformation and illumination-the higher goals of humanity from time immemorial."'
A New Politics and Economics
In our time, a good deal is being said and written about transfor mation. Futurists like Alvin Totter write of great technological trans formations from "first wave," or agragrian, to "second wave," or in dustrial, and now to "third wave," or postindustrial society.11 Indeed, we have in recorded history seen major technological transformations. But within the perspective of the cultural transformation theory we are developing, it can be seen that what have often been described as major cultural transformations-for example, the shift from classical to Chris tian times and more recently to the secular or scientific age-have only been changes within the androcratic system from one type of domi nator society to another. There have been other bifurcation points, points of social disequi libxium when a fundamental systems transformation could have oc curred, when new fluctuations or more gylanic pattems of functioning appeared. But these have never gone beyond the nucleation thresholds that would signal a shift from androcracy to gylany. To use a familiar analogy, until now the androcratic system has been like a rubber band. During periods of strong gylanic resurgence, for example, in Jesus' time, the band has stretched quite far. But always in the past, when the boundaries or limits of androcracy were reached, it snapped back toward its original shape. Now, for the first time in recorded history, instead of snapping back this band may break-and our cultural evolution may at last transcend the confines that have for millennia held us back. What, at our level of technological development, would be the political and economic implicafions of a complete shift from a dominator to a partnership society? We have the technologies that in a world no longer governed by the Blade could vastly accelerate our cultural evolution. As Ruth Sivard records in her yearly report World Military and Social Expenditures, the cost of developing one intercontinental ballisfic missile could feed 50 million children, build 160,000 schools, and open 340,000 health care centers. Even the cost of a single new nuclear submarine-equal to the annual education budget of twenty-three developing countries in a world where 120 million children have no school they can go to and 11 million babies die before their first birthdaycould open new opportunifies for millions of people now doomed to live in poverty and ignorance.' What we lack, as futurist writings stress again and again, is the social guidance system, the governing values, that would redirect the allocafion of resources, including our advanced technological know,'how, to higher ends. Willis Harman, who has headed major futurist studies at the Stanford Research Institute, writes that what is needed-and evolving-is a "metamorphosis in basic cultural premises and all aspects of social roles and institutions." He describes this as a new consciousness in which compefition will be balanced with cooperation and individualism will be balanced with love. It will be a "cosmic consciousness," a "higher awareness," which "relates self-interest to the interests of fellow man and of future generafions." And it will entail nothing short of a fundamental transformafion of "truly awesome magnitude." Similarly, in the second Club of Rome report we read that in order "to avoid major regional and ultimately global catastrophe," we must develop a new world system "guided by a rational master plan for longterm organic growth," held together by "a spirit of truly global cooperation, shaped in free partnership. This world system would be governed by a new global ethic based on a greater consciousness of and idenfificafion with future as well as present generations and will require that cooperafion, rather than confrontafion, and harmony with, rather than conquest of, nature become our normative ideals.
A striking aspect of these projections is that these futurists do not see technology or economics as the main determinants of our future. They recognize instead that our roads to the future will be shaped by human values and social arrangement, in other words, that our future will be primarily determined by the way we human beings conceive its possibilities, potentials, and implications. In the words of the futurist John McHale, 'Our mental blueprints are its basic action programs." But what is most remarkable is that what many futurists are actually saying-practically in so many words-is that we must leave behind the hard, conquest-oriented values traditionally associated with "masculinity." For is not the need for a 'spirit of truly global cooperation, shaped in free partnership," "a balancing of individualism with love," and the normative goal of "harmony with rather than conquest of nature," the reassertion of a more "feminine ethos"? And to what end could 'drastic changes in the norm stratum" or a "metamorphosis in basic cultural premises and all aspects of social institutions" relate if not to the replacement of a dominator with a partnership society? The transformation from a dominator to a partnership society would obviously bring with it a shift in our technological direction: from the use of advanced technology for destruction and domination to its use for sustaining and enhancing human life. At the same time, the waste fulness and overconsumption that now robs those in need would also begin to wane. For as many social commentators have observed, at the core of our Western complex of overconsumption and waste lies the fact that we are culturally obsessed with getting, buying, building and wasting-things, as a substitute for the satisfactory emotional re lationships that are denied us by the child-raising styles and the values of adults in the present system. Above all, the shift from androcracy to gylany would begin to end the politics of domination and the economics of exploitafion that in our world still go hand in hand. For as John Stuart Mill pointed out over a century ago in his ground-breaking Principles of Political Economy, the way economic resources are distributed is a function not of some inex orable economic laws, but of political-that is, human-choices. Many people today recognize that in their present form neither capitalism nor communism offers a way out of our growing economic and political dilemmas. To the extent that androcracy remains in place, a just political and economic system is impossible. Just as Western na tions like the United States, where slates of candidates are financed by powerful special interests, have not yet reached political democracy, nations like the USSR, ruled by a powerful, privileged, and mostly male managerial class, are stfll far from economic democracy. In particular, the politics of domination and the economics of exploitation are in all androcracies exemplified by a 'dual economy" in which women's unpaid, or at best low paid, productive activities are systematically exploited. As the United Nations State of the World's Women 1985 points out, globally women are half the population, perform two thirds of the world's work in terms of hours, earn one tenth as much as men eam, and own one hundredth the property that men own. Moreover, the unpaid labor of women-who in Africa do most of the food growing and who worldwide provide as many health services for free as all formal health care sectors combined-is routinely excluded from calculations of national productivity. The result, as the futurist Hazel Henderson points out, is global economic projections based on "statistical illusions. In The Politics of the Solar Age, Henderson describes a positive economic future in which the roles of women and men are fundamentally rebalanced. This will entail facing up to the fact that our "masculine" militarism is the "most energy-intensive entropic activity of humans, since it converts stored energy directly into waste and destruction without any useful intervening fulfillment of basic human needs." Following the present period "marked by the decline in systems of patriarchy," Henderson predicts neither economic nor ecological reality will be governed by the "masculinized" values "now deeply associated with male idenfity." Similarly, in The Sane Alternative, the British writer james Robertson contrasts what he terms the "hyper-expansionist" or HE future with a "sane, humane, ecological" or "SHE future." And in Germany Professor Joseph Huber describes his negative economic scenario for the future as "patriarchic." By contrast, in his positive scenario, "the sexes are on a socially equal standing. Men and women share in paid positions, as well as household tasks, child rearing, and other social actiVitieS. The central theme unifying these and other economic analyses, though of critical importance for our future, still remains largely unarficulated. This is that traditional economic systems, be they capitalist or communist, are built upon what, borrowing from Marxist analyses, may be called the alienation of caring labor. As this caring labor-the life-sustaining labor of nurturing, helping, and loving others-is fully integrated into the economic mainstream, we will see a fundamental economic and political transformafion. 64 Gradually, as the female half of humanity and the values and goals that in androcracy are labeled feminine are fully integrated into the guidance mechanisms of society, a polifically and economically healthy and balanced system will emerge. Then, unified into the global family envisioned by the feminist, peace, ecology, human potential, and other gylanic movements, our species will begin to experience the full potential of its evolution.
The move to a new world of psychological and social rebirth will entail changes we cannot yet predict, or even envision. Indeed, because of so many failures following earlier hopes for social betterment, pro ections of a positive future elicit skepticism. Yet we know that changes in structure are also changes in function. Just as one cannot sit in the corner of a round room, as we shift from a dominator to a partnership society, our old ways of thinking, feeling, and acting wfll gradually be transformed. For millennia of recorded history, the human spirit has been im prisoned by the fetters of androcracy. Our minds have been stunted, and our hearts have been numbed. And yet our striving for truth, beauty, and justice has never been extinguished. As we break out of these fetters, as our minds, hearts, and hands are freed, so also will be our creative imagination. For me, one of the most evocative images of the transformation from androcracy to gylany is the caterpillar metamorphosed into the butter fly. It seems to me a particularly fitting image to express the vision of humanity soaring to the heights it can attain, as the butterfly is an ancient symbol of regeneration, an epiphany of the transformative powers attributed to the Goddess. Two further books, Breaking Free and Emergence, will explore this transformation in depth. They will lay out a new blueprint for social actualization-not for a utopia (which literally means "no place" in Greek), but for a pragmatopia, a realizable scenario for a partnership future. Though a few pages obviously cannot even begin to cover what wig be developed in two books, I would like to close this chapter by briefly sketching some of the changes I envision as we resume our interrupted cultural evolution.' The most dramatic change as we move from a dominator to a part nership world will be that we, and our children and grandchildren, will again know what it means to live free of the fear of war. In a world rid of the mandate that to be "masculine" men must dominate, and along with the rising status of women and more "feminine" social priorities, the danger of nuclear annihilation will gradually diminish. At the same time, as women gain more equality of social and economic opportunities-so that birthrates can come into better balance with our resources-the Malthusian "necessity" for famine, disease, and war will progressively lessen. Since they also are to a large extent related to overpopulation, to "man's conquest of nature," and to the fact that environmental "housekeeping" is not in androcracies a "masculine" policy priority, our problems of environmental pollution, degradation, and depletion should likewise begin to lessen during the years of transformation. So also should their consequences in shortages of energy and other natural resources and in health problems from chemical pollution. As women are no longer systematically excluded from financial aid, land grants, and modernization training, Third World economic development programs for advancing education and technology and raising standards of living will become much more effective. There will also be far less economic inefficiency and less of the terrible human suffering that is the lot of millions of people, in both the developed and developing world today. For, as women are no longer treated as breeding animals and beasts of burden and have greater access to health care, education, and political participation, not only the female half of humanity, but all of humanity will benefit. Along with more rational measures aimed at successfully reducing the poverty and hunger of the mass of the world's poor-women and children-the growing consciousness of our linking with all other members of our species should gradually also narrow the gulf between rich and poor nations. Indeed, as billions of dollars and work hours are rechanneled from technologies of destruction to technologies that sustain and enhance life, human poverty and hunger could gradually become memories of a brutal androcratic past. The changes in woman-man relations from the present high degree of suspicion and recrimination to more openness and trust will be reflected in our families and communities. There will also be positive repercussions in our national and international policies. Gradually we will see a decrease in the seemingly endless array of day-to-day problems that now plague us, ranging from mental illness, suicide, and divorce to wife and child battering, vandalism, murder, and international terrorism. As research to be detailed in the second book of our report shows, these types of problems in large part derive from the high degree of interpersonal tension inherent in a male-dominated social organization and from dominator child-rearing styles heavily based on force. Thus, with the move to more equal and balanced relations between women and men and the reinforcement of gentler, more pro-human and caring behavior in children of both sexes, we may realistically expect fundamental psychic changes. These, in a relatively short time, will in turn exponentially accelerate the tempo of transformation. In the world as it wfll be when women and men hve in full partnership, there will, of course, still be fan-lilies, schools, governments, and other social institutions. But like the already now emerging institutions of the equalitarian family and the social-action network, the social structures of the future wfll be based more on linking than ranking. Instead of requiring individuals that fit into pyramidal hierarchies, these institutions will be heterarchic, allowing for both diversity and flexibility in decision making and action. Consequently, the roles of both women and men wfll be far less rigid, allowing the entire human species a maximum of developmental flexibility.10 In keeping with present trends, many of our new institutions will also be more global in scope, transcending national boundaries. As the consciousness of our linking with one another and our environment firn-dy takes hold, we can expect to see the old nation-state as a selfabsorbed political entity wither away. However, rather than more unifomiity and conformity, which is the logical projection from the dominator system viewpoint, there will be more individuality and diversity. Smaller social units will be linked in matrices or networks for a variety of common ends, ranging all the way from the cooperative cultivation and harvesting of oceans and space exploration to the sharing of knowledge and the advancement of the arts .71 There will also be other, as yet unforeseeable, global ventures to develop more equitable and efficient ways of utilizing all our natural and human resources, as well as new material and social inventions that we at this point in our development cannot yet foresee. With the global shift to a partnership society will come many technological breakthroughs. There will also be adaptations of existing techniques to new social requirements. Some of these may, as Schumacher, and others have predicted, be better, more labor-intensive technologies in areas of craft-for example, a return to the pride of creativity and individuality in weaving, carpentry, pottery, and other applied arts. But at the same time, since the goal is to free humanity from insectlike drudgery, this will not mean a return to more labor-intensive technologles in all fields. On the contrary, allowing us the time and energy to actualize our creative potentials, we can expect that mechanization and automation will play an even more life-supporting role. And both smalland large-scale methods of production will be utilized in ways that encourage, and indeed require, worker participation, rather than, all required in a dominator system, tuming workers themselves into machines or automatons. The development of safer and more reliable birth control methods will be a top technology priority. We will also see much more . research t)n understanding and slowing down the aging process, ranging from already emerging techniques to replace worn-out body parts to means (if regenerating body cells. We might also see the perfection of laboratory-created life. But rather than replacing women, or converting women into incubators for artificially developed cells, such new technologies of reproduction would be carefully evaluated by both women and men to ensure they serve to actualize both sexes' full human potential." Since technologies of destruction would no longer consume and destroy such a vast portion of our natural and human resources, as yet undreamed (and presently undreamable) enterprises will be economically feasible. The result will be the generally prosperous economy foreshadowed by our gylanic prehistory. Not only will material wealth be shared more equitably, but this will also be an economic order in which amassing more and more property as a means of protecting oneself from, as well as controlling, others will be seen for what it is: a form of sickness or aberration. In all this, there will be a number of economic stages. The first of these, already emerging, will be what is termed a mixed economy, combining some of the best elements of capitalism and communismand in the sense of a variety of decentraued cooperative units of producfion and distribufion-also anarchism.11 The socialist concept that human beings have not only basic political but basic economic rights will certainly be central to a gylanic economy based on caring rather than domination. But as a partnership society replaces a dominator one, we can also expect new economic inventions. At the heart of this new economic order will be the replacement of the presently failing "dual economy," in which the male-dominated economic sector that is rewarded by money, status, and power must in its industrial stages, as Henderson documents, "cannibalize both social and ecological systems." Instead we can expect that the nonmonetized "informal" economy-of household producfion and maintenance, parenting, volunteer community service, and all the cooperative activities that permit the now "over-rewarded competitive activities to appear successful"-will be appropriately valued and rewarded. This will provide the now-missing basis for an economic system in which caring for others is not just given lip service but is the most highly rewarded, and therefore most highly valued, human activity.
Practices like female sexual mutilation, wife beating, and all the other more or less brutal ways through which androcracy has kept women "in their place" will of course be seen not as hallowed traditions but as what they are-crimes spawned by man's inhumanity to woman." As for man's inhumanity to man, as male violence is no longer glorified by "heroic" epics and myths, the so-called male virtues of dominance and conquest will also be seen for what they are-the brutal and barbaric aberrations of a species tumed against itself. Through the reaffirmation and celebration of the transformative mysteries symbolized by the Chalice, new myths wfll reawaken in us that lost sense of gratitude and the celebration of life so evident in the artistic remnants of the Neolithic and Minoan Crete. By reconnecting us with our more innocent psychic roots-before warfare, hierarchism, and male dominance became our ruling norms-this mythology will not move us back psychically to the world as it was in the technological childhood of our species. On the contrary, by intertwining our ancient heritage of gylanic myths and symbols with modem ideas, it will move us forward toward a world that will be much more rational, in the true sense of the word: a world animated and guided by the consciousness that both ecologically and socially we are inextricably linked with one another and our environment. Along with the celebration of life will come the celebration of love, including the sexual love between women and men. Sexual bonding through some form of what we now call marriage will most certainly continue. But the primary purpose of this bonding wfll be mutual companionship, sexual pleasure, and love. Having children will no longer be connected with the transmission of male names and property. And other caring relationships, not just heterosexual couples, will be fully recognized. ' All institutions, not only those specifically designed for the socialization of children, will have as their goal the actualization of our great human potentials. Only a world in which the quality rather than the quantity of human life is paramount can have such a goal. Hence, as Margaret Mead predicted, children will be scarce, and thus highly valued.' The life-formative years of childhood will be the active concern of both women and men. Not just biological parents, but many other adults will take various responsibilities for that most precious of all social products: the human child. Rational nutrition as well as physical and mental exercises, such as more advanced forms of yoga and meditation, will be seen as elementary prerequisites for healthy bodies and minds. And rather than being designed to socialize a child to adjust tc) her or his place in a world of rank orderings, learning will be-as we are already beginning to see-a lifelong process for maximizing flexibility and creativity at all stages of life. In this world, where the actualization of our higher evolutionary potentials-our greater freedom through wisdom and knowledge-will guide social policy, a primary focus of research will be the prevention of personal and social illness, of both body and mind. Beyond this, our as yet untapped, but increasingly recognized, mind powers will be extensively researched and cultivated. The result will be that as yet undreamed of mental and physical potentials will be uncovered and developed.' For above all, this gylanic world will be a world where the minds of children-both girls and boys-will no longer be fettered. It will be a world where limitation and fear will no longer be systematically taught us through myths about how inevitably evfl and perverse we humans are. In this world, children will not be taught epics about men who are honored for being-violent or fairy tales about children who are lost in frightful woods where women are malevolent witches. They will be taught new myths, epics, and stories in which human beings are good; men are peaceful; and the power of creativity and love symbolized by the sacred Chalice, the holy vessel of life-is the governing principle. For in this gylanic world, our drive for justice, equality, and freedom, our thirst for knowledge and spiritual illumination, and our yearning for love and beauty will at last be freed. And after the bloody detour of androcratic history, both women and men will at last find out what being human can mean.
Riane Eisler 1996 Sacred Pleasure
Sex, Myth and the Politics of Society
HarperSanFrancisco, SF ISBN 0-06-250283-2
- Our Sexual and Social Choices:
- Toward a Politics of Partnership:
Our Choices for the Future
Our Sexual and Social Choices: An Introduction
Sacred Pleasure is a book that quite unexpectedly demanded to be written. My plan, as I mentioned in the closing pages of The Chalice and the Blade, was to write a different book.' But fortunately the creative process is guided not only by our conscious plans but by far deeper stirrings. So gradually, though not without a struggle, I began to shift from what I thought I wanted to write to what I now see I needed to write.
As I was putting together the materials and notes for the book I was originally planning, there was one chapter that kept getting bigger and bigger. This was the chapter called "From Chaos to Eros: Dominator or Partnership Sexuality." First the materials started to overflow from one to two, and then three, four, and five file folders. In a very short time, there was a whole box. Then a second, a third, and a fourth.
At that point, I began to see that this was not a chapter. It was the book I was going to write. Moreover, as I got more deeply into it, it turned into a book that not only challenges many of our most basic assumptions about sex; it also puts at issue much of what we have been taught about love, spirituality, politics, and even pain and pleasure.
Sacred Pleasure explores the past, present, and potential future of sex. It looks at both sex and the sacred in the larger context of our cultural and biological evolution. It demystifies much in our sexual history that has been confusing, indeed incomprehensible, shedding new light on matters still generally shoved under the rug of religious dogma or scientific jargon. It shows that the struggle for our future is not just political in the conventional sense of the word, but revolves around fundamental issues of pain and pleasure. Above all, it helps us better understand-and thus break free of-the agonies we chronically suffer in our search for healthier and more satisfying ways of living and loving. For me, writing this book was an exciting journey of continually amazing discoveries. Sometimes it was a deeply troubling journey, as I had to come to grips with all that in our culture to this day links sexuality with violence and brutality. Other times what I found was so strange and funny it made me laugh out loud. And as I read everything I could lay my hands on about sex, ultimately what I found led to a whole new theory not only about the evolution of sex, but about the evolution of pleasure, politics, consciousness, and love.
Sex, Pleasure, and Pain
I should say from the beginning that although I think much that I deal with is universal, my focus has been on Western society. Even here, though we will also look at homosexual relations, I have focused primarily on heterosexual relations and how these affect, and are in turn affected by, different social forms-already in itself a huge subject. I should also say that my aim has not been to accumulate knowledge just for its own sake. I was strongly motivated by the increasingly critical need for transformative knowledge: for the new tools for personal and social transformation that our time of mounting ecological, political, and economic crises requires if we are to have a better future, perhaps a future at all. Thus, my research was set up to try to answer questions that for most of us are far from being just matters of intellectual curiosity. Why, when avoiding pain and seeking pleasure are such primary human motivations, have we for so long been taught that the pleasures of sex are sinful and bad? Why, even when sex is not condemned as evil (as in modern pornography), do we so often find it associated not with erotic love but with the marketing of women's bodies or with sadism and masochism, with dominating or being dominated? Was it always so? Or was there a time before sex, woman, and the human body were vilified, debased, and commodified? What really lies behind rape, incest, and other forms of sexual violence? How and why did these practices arise? Most important, what personal and social changes can help us move toward a healthier, less dysfunctional, less hurtful way of structuring sexual (and more generally, human) relations?
My search for answers to these questions took me into fields ranging from biology, psychology, sexology, and sociology to economics, archaeology, art history, literature, and mythology. Time and time again I kept coming back to the profound human yearning for connection, for bonds forged by love and trust through both sexuality and spirituality. I became particularly interested in the ecstatic experience, and in the at first seemingly incongruous erotic imagery in so many Eastern and Western religious traditions. Gradually I began to see that this connection between sex and spirituality was not accidental; that in fact it has very ancient roots. I also began to understand why love is the key word not only in romantic but also in mystical literature, and why the poetry of mystics, like that of lovers, is so often erotic. The more I probed, the deeper the questions went. Eventually I began to look at not only sex and spirituality, but also pain and pleasure in a completely different way-hence the (to some people) heretical book title Sacred Pleasure. I began to see that neither human society nor human history can be understood without taking into account the very different ways a society can use pain or pleasure to motivate human behavior. Even beyond this, I began to see the central, though amazingly ignored, role pain and pleasure have had in the evolution of culture, and even of life. I also saw how the evolution of our highly developed human capacities for sexual pleasure and for the intense pleasures of love was a potential turning point in the extraordinary history of this planet. At that moment, it was as if a hundred light bulbs had just gone on. For I began to see that much that is happening in our time is about what for shorthand I have come to think of as the pain to pleasure shift: the shift to a social system that can support, rather than chronically block, these highly pleasurable human capacities. This in turn made it possible for me to see that it is not coincidental that so much of our traditional religious imagery sacralizes pain rather than pleasure, or that the capacity to inflict pain, rather than to give pleasure, has been idealized in so many of our epics and classics. It helped me understand how and why our lives came to be poisoned by notions like "pain and pleasure are two sides of the same coin," "spirituality and sexuality are at opposite poles," and "the war of the sexes is inevitable." Most important, I began to understand that to overcome the pain and guilt, the exploitation and alienation, the tragic and often comic obstacles that have so embittered both women's and men's lives will require fundamental changes not only in how we view sex, spirituality, and society, but in how we view the human body, power, pleasure, and the sacred.
No subject arouses more curiosity than sex. It is indeed fascinating, as we will see in the pages that follow, how varied sexual attitudes and behaviors can be. But this book does not just present a pastiche of intriguing sexual tidbits from many cultures over thousands of years. It organizes what otherwise appears to be random information into patterns. Sex is one of our most basic human drives. Moreover, sexual relations are more physically intense, and often more fully felt, than any other personal relations. This is why the way sexual relations are constructed influences all other relations. But this is not just a one-way process. How sex and sexual relations are defined is in turn also profoundly influenced by a society's economic, religious, and political structure. Sacred Pleasure contrasts two different ways of constructing human sexuality within the larger framework of two very different ways of organizing human relations: one relying more on pain and the other more on pleasure. In the pages that follow we will see how beneath the great variety of sexual customs and mores are two underlying possibilities for our species: what I have called the dominator and partnership models.2 In the dominator model-beginning with the ranking of one half of humanity over the other-rankings backed up by fear or force are primary. Hence, societies orienting primarily to this model rely heavily on pain or the fear of pain to maintain themselves. Moreover, to maintain relations of domination and submission, the natural bonding of the give and take of sexual pleasure and love between the female and male halves of humanity has to be blocked or distorted. This is why societies orienting primarily to the dominator modelwhich have historically ranked men over women, kings over subjects, and man over nature-have built into their basic social structure a number of devices that distort and repress sexuality. One, with which most of us are all too painfully familiar, is the vilification of sex and woman. A second, which has only in recent years begun to attract scholarly and popular attention, is the equation in both heterosexual and homosexual relations of sexual arousal with domination or being dominated. The most familiar example of the first is of course the Western religious dictum that sex is dirty and evil. In this view, sex is for only one purpose: conception. And those who violate this dictum-be it through masturbating, homosexual sex, or heterosexual sex for pleasure-are to be punished, not only through temporal means here on earth but for all eternity by God.
Moreover, as in the biblical story of Eve's causing humanity's Fall and the Christian Malleus Maleficarum (a book blessed by the fifteenth-century Church as the manual for witch-hunters), woman is sinful, a "carnal" creature suitable only for propagation, for providing men with sons. Therefore woman, along with human sexuality, must be rigidly, indeed violently, controlled. But it is important to stress, as I will in this book, that this way of interfering with the sexual relations between the female and male halves of humanity-without which our species could not go on-is not just something we find in our Western religious traditions. Rather, it is a mind-set found in a number of rigidly male-dominant societies. We find it, for example, in fundamentalist Islamic Iran, where, at the orders of "moral" men like the late Ayatollah Khomeini and his mullahs, people have been executed for "sexual crimes"-and the "necessity" of controlling woman "for her own good" has actually been made part of the curriculum at the University of Teheran.3 This embedding of mistrust and control into the sexual relations between women and men has been an extremely effective way of ensuring that not only our most intimate relations but all our relations are tense and mistrustful. For if God created a world where man cannot even trust woman-the person with whom through both sex and birth he has the most intimate physical relations-how can he be expected to trust anyone? If women are so inherently untrustworthy, how can they trust each other, or even themselves? Moreover, if God decreed that men must control and dominate women, why-as in the all-too-familiar "holy wars" where to this day killing and pillaging are said to be God's will-should not the same also apply to other men and other nations? All this leads directly to the second major device for using sex as a way of conditioning both women and men to fit into a social system based on force-and-fear-backed rankings. This is the conditioning of both women and men to equate sexual arousal with the domination of woman by man (and in homosexual sex, of the individual who plays the feminine role). Of course, even in the most rigid dominator societies, there are men and women who manage to avoid these patterns. And, as we will see, in the last few decades both men and women have frontally challenged these and other gender stereotypes, with the growing recognition by many men that they too are losers in the dominator "war of the sexes," that in the end it prevents them from getting what they really need and want. But the fact that so much in our society still eroticizes domination has, to varying degrees, tended to condition men to think of sex in terms of domination and control rather than affiliation and caring, and to even see domination and control as integral to their basic "masculinity" or sense of self. And what better way of unconsciously programming women to accept subservience and domination than through the erotization of female submission? The modern pornography industry offers the most dramatic contemporary example of this kind of conditioning. For while some of what it markets is erotica-that is, materials depicting the giving and receiving of erotic pleasure-it tends to dehumanize both women and men and to confuse sexual pleasure with the sadomasochistic inflicting or experiencing of pain. However, this way of maintaining and reinforcing dominator relations is hardly new. It most probably goes back to the time in our prehistory when, as we are now learning, there was a major shift in the mainstream of our cultural evolution-from a partnership to a dominator model for all relations.4 As we will see, both women and sex were viewed very differently in our earlier prehistory. For there is mounting evidence from archaeological excavations that for thousands of years women and men lived in societies where the norm not only for sexual relations but for all relations-from those between parents and children to those between humans and nature-was not domination and exploitation. But even though there was in our prehistory a fundamental change, I want to emphasize that what we are talking about here is always a matter of degree. No society conforms completely to a partnership or dominator model. In fact, no society, no matter how rigid its rankings of domination, can survive without at least some partnership elements. However, as the historian Mary Elizabeth Perry points out, in societies that orient primarily to a dominator model, these elements are co-opted.5 They are exploited at the same time that they are distorted and suppressed, with caring and nonviolent behaviors relegated to "inferior" groups such as women and "effeminate" men-in other words, to those who are dominated rather than those who dominate. I also want to emphasize that in a partnership model all is not peace, love, and cooperation, with never any violence, pain, conflict, or fear. But it is a type of social organization where chronic violence, pain, and fear do not have to be built into the basic or institutionalized social structure. Therefore, societies primarily orienting to partnership rather than domination can rely more on pleasure than on punishment (or fear of pain) to maintain social cohesion. For-once again beginning with the fundamental difference in our species between women and men-in a model of social organization difference is not automatically equated with inferiority or superiority, with in-groups versus out-groups, with dominating or being dominated. Hence this type of social organization does not require the misogyny, or hatred of woman, that serves to justify the subordination of one half of humanity by the other. There is here no need to vilify woman as a camal and dangerous temptress so much less spiritually evolved than man that she is even excluded from the priesthood (or direct access to the divine). Neither is there a cultural need to rank man and spirituality over woman and nature, or to inhibit the sexual bonding between women and men through religious dogmas of "carnal sin." Nor does domination have to be eroticized to perpetuate the "war of the sexes." Quite the contrary, the innate human impulse toward enjoying the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure can be encouraged through partnership sexuality-and so also can bonding through the mutually fulfilling giving and receiving of affection. Indeed, in partnership-oriented societies, sex can be a form of sacrament, a peak experience, as here the sexual union of two human beings can be a reminder of the oneness of all life, a reaffirmation of the sacred bond between woman and man and between us and all forms of life. Once again, this is not to say that partnership sex is always an act involving love or what we call higher consciousness, or that in the partnership model there are no rankings of any kind.6 But in societies that orient primarily to partnership rather than domination there is no structural requirement to implant the kinds of attitudes and behaviors needed to maintain a system based on rankings backed by force and the fear of pain. Consequently, here sex can be a means of linking based on the giving and receiving of pleasure and it can also be both spiritual and natural.
Sex, Spirituality, and Society
The view that sex has a spiritual dimension is so alien to everything we have been taught that it takes most people completely aback. But actually this view is rooted in ancient traditions vividly expressed in prehistoric art that earlier scholars often found too embarrassing to deal with, and in some cases to even fully see. These traditions not only provide important information about our past, but have profound implications for our present and future. And they are traditions about which we in fact have long had many clues. For example, in Western mythology we find many references to the sacred sexual union scholars call the hieros gamos. This probably was an ancient partnership rite before it was distorted into a means for kings to legitimize their rule through union with a high priestess as the representative of the ancient Goddess. Another clue is what nineteenth-century scholars termed temple prostitution. This was the practice we read about in Mesopotamian records where priestesses apparently initiated men through erotic rites into mystery cults in which giving and receiving pleasure-rather than enduring pain, as in many dominator religions-was viewed as an important spiritual experience. 7 Thus, in the Sumerian narrative of Gilgamesh, hailed by scholars as the first Western epic, we read that a woman (whom translators alternately call a "love-priestess" of the Goddess, a "temple whore," or a "temple courtesan") transforms the wild Enkidu from a beast to a human being by having sex with him-thereby helping him "become wise, like a god.
There are also strong vestiges of sex as a religious rite in Eastern religious traditions-for instance, in Indian erotic iconography and Tantric yoga. But here-as in the Mesopotamian stories where love-priestesses are reduced to "prostitutes"-the use of erotic pleasure as a means of raising consciousness (or attaining higher spirituality) for both partners has also already been largely co-opted by a male-centered dominator view. In the pages that follow we will examine many other fascinating examples, such as May Day celebrations, which most probably derived from prehistoric sexual rites and in which lovemaking was still customary well into the twentieth century. And we will also see how throughout recorded history there have been attempts to reconnect us with our prehistoric partnership roots. For example, there were the troubadours, and their female counterparts, the trobaritzes. Flowering in the twelfth century courts of southern France (the same area where millennia earlier woman's sexual power was venerated in Paleolithic cave art), their poetry celebrated both woman and love. This courtly romantic love they sang about was in some ways a resurgence of partnership sexuality, of sexual love as both sensual and spiritual. It was also during this time that Mariology flourished. This was the veneration of the Virgin Mary, which from this perspective can be seen as a return to the worship of the prehistoric Goddess in her aspect of the merciful and compassionate Mother. Also prominent at this time were unusual Christian sects such as the Cathars, who, in sharp contrast to the Roman Church, accorded women high status in religious affairs. 9
But the Cathars, like other "heretics" who rejected the notion that woman is of an inferior and nonspiritual order, were mercilessly persecuted by Church authorities. So also were the so r women who still clung to vestiges of the prehistoric worship of a Great Goddess and her divine son, the Bull God (who by then had become the horned and hoofed devil of Christian iconography). Most thought provoking to us now, these women who were tortured and burned at the stake were often also healers who still knew ancient methods of birth control and taught them to other women.
The emerging new knowledge about our past also sheds new light on today's search for a new spirituality and a new sexuality. For in terms of the conceptual framework of the partnership and dominator models, the two are not unrelated. Rather, they are integral parts of the strong contemporary movement to shift to a society that orients primarily to partnership rather than domination-and with this, to healthier, more satisfying, and more sustainable ways of structuring our relations with one another and with nature.
The Opportunity and the Challenge
According to Freud, who correctly assessed the key importance of sex in all human relations-but who unfortunately tended to confuse dominator sexuality with human sexuality-"man" must at all times be wary and controlling of nature, including his own.10 But ours is a time when "man's conquest of nature" threatens all life on our planet, when a dominator mind-set and advanced technology are a potentially lethal mix, when all around us institutions designed to maintain domination and exploitation are proving incapable of coping with the massive social, economic, and ecological problems they have created.
It is a time of epochal crises. But for this same reason, it is also a time of epochal opportunities-a time when, as we struggle to create for ourselves and our children new ways of thinking and living, women and men all over the world are challenging many of our most basic assumptions.
In this book we will take a close look at some of these assumptionsand at our sexual, social, and spiritual alternatives. In "How Did We Get Here?" (Part 1), we start by contrasting contemporary sexual images (along with the often brutal practices they reflect) with ancient erotic images, as we begin to look at the sometimes amazingly obvious clues to an earlier and very different spirituality, sexuality, and society. After this brief overview we will go back even farther, to what anthropologists call protohistory, to take a fresh look at an extraordinary yet generally neglected and often misunderstood evolutionary development: the first emergence of hominid and human sex. From there we move on to prehistory, to a time when sexual attitudes-along with all aspects of women's and men's lives-were very different from how we have been taught things always were, and by implication always must be. We will see how both sex and spirituality were, during a time of great chaos and dislocation, drastically altered. And in the closing chapters of Part I-as we move from prehistory to early Western history; to ancient Greece, BabyIon, Palestine, and Rome, and from there to the Christian Middle Ageswe will see how, in a vivid alternation of horror story and tragicomedy, both sexuality and spirituality became distorted in dominator societies. But we will also see how, even despite this, earlier partnership traditions such as the ancient sacred marriage survived-although often in truly bizarre forms. In "Where Are We and Where Do We Go From Here?" (Part 11), we shift to our own time to examine the modem sexual and spiritual revolutions as part of a larger revolution in consciousness, which in turn is integral to the modern struggle to create a less painful and violent world. We will start by taking a fresh look at some basics: the human body, pain, pleasure, power, love, and the sacred. We will explore what (borrowing the Chilean biologist Humberto Maturana's term) we may call the biology of love-and how a dominator social and sexual organization at every turn distorts and blocks the profound human yearning for connection, for bonds forged through love and trust rather than fear and force. We will also take a fresh look at politics from a perspective that takes into account our intimate relations-between parents and children as well as women and men-and probe in depth how dominator sex is still a major obstacle to both personal and social health. Most important, we will see that the more fulfilling, pleasurable, passionate, and at the same time more spiritually satisfying relations we all want are possible, once we leave behind a fundamentally imbalanced system, with all its built-in obstacles to human fulfillment and actualization. In short, following the general sequence of human cultural evolution, Part I takes us from protohistory to the end of the Middle Ages, and Part 11 covers the period from the Middle Ages to present times-focusing on the unprecedentedly powerful contemporary partnership movement and the strong resistance to it. Nonetheless, ours will not be a linear course, either in time sequences or in themes. For Sacred Pleasure is above all a book about connections, a book that, like our lives, keeps recombining basic elements in different ways in different contexts. In this sense, it is very different from books that, in line with the compartmentalized and specialized approach of much of contemporary scientific thinking, tend to focus on one thing, or at best, one thing at a time, I have chosen this more holistic approach because only by as much as possible looking at the whole picture can we change the lens through which we evaluate what is or is not "reality." I have also chosen it because it flows from the cultural transformation theory I introduced in The Chalice and the Blade, which provides the conceptual framework for this book. To briefly summarize, cultural transformation theory proposes that, in the language of nonlinear dynamics, the dominator and partnership models have for the whole span of our cultural evolution been two basic "attractors" for social and ideological organization. Drawing from chaos theory and other contemporary scientific theories that show how living systems can undergo transformative change in a relatively short time during states of extreme disequilibrium, cultural transformation theory shows how these same principles apply to social systems. Specifically, it shows that many beliefs and practices we today recognize as dysfunctional and antihuman stem from a period of great disequilibrium in our prehistory when there was a fundamental shift from partnership to dominator model ascendency. And it proposes that in our chaotic time of escalating disequilibrium we have the possibility of another fundamental cultural shift: this time in a partnership rather than dominator direction.11 This book expands cultural transformation theory by grounding it in the experience-and politics-of the body. It also expands its scope by going farther back in time and probing the evolution of both sex and consciousness, as well as by focusing on the foundational matter of pain and pleasure as levers for human motivation. It shows that the degree to which a society orients to a dominator rather than a partnership model profoundly affects the degree to which it relies on pain rather than pleasure for its maintenance. It examines how through a variety of means, including the sacralization of pain rather than pleasure, dominator systems have idealized the institutionalization of pain. And it shows that much that is happening in our time can be seen as an attempt to shift to a system where pleasure-not in the sense of a short-term escape or distraction, but in the sense of healthy, long-term fulfillment-can instead be institutionalized, and even sacralized. This book also further expands the templates of the partnership and dominator models by focusing on the interconnections between different approaches to both sex and spirituality and whether a society is more authoritarian and warlike or more peaceful and democratic. Conversely, it shows that successfully challenging and replacing unhealthy assumptions about sex and spirituality requires that we understand how both are interwoven into a larger whole that encompasses economics, politics, family, literature, music, and all other aspects of social and cultural life. For only by trying to simultaneously look at how all these elements interconnect can we see the underlying patterns-and thus move toward more satisfying and equitable alternatives.
It is my hope that through its in-depth exploration of our sexual and social alternatives, Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body can be a useful tool for the many women and men today struggling to finally free ourselves from a basically antipleasure and antilove system. I am convinced that we can regain the lost sense of wonder about human sexuality, the ecstasy of pleasure, and the miracle of love. I am also convinced that the still-ongoing modern sexual revolution, with all its upheavals of accepted norms, offers us an unprecedented opportunity not only for a much more satisfying sexuality but for fundamental personal and social change. To the extent that in its earlier stages this sexual revolution made it possible for us to talk openly about sex and to look at sex as a legitimate source of human pleasure, it has already been partly successful in taking us toward healthier and more pleasurable ways of living and loving.12 But to the extent that it did not unlink sex from violence and domination-and did not offer us any viable alternatives-it has failed to bring us closer to these goals. Now we have the opportunity to move to a second phase, to a real sexual revolution. This is the opportunity to go deeper, to the sexual, spiritual, and social choices before us. It is an opportunity to at long last break free of the fetters that have so long distorted our most basic relations: with one another, with our natural habitat, and even with ourselves, with our own bodies. Above all, it is the opportunity, and the challenge, for both women and men to construct for ourselves and our children a world where pleasure rather than pain can be primary-a world where we can be both more free and more interconnected, integrating spirituality and sexuality in a new, more evolved understanding of and reverence for the miracles of life and love.
Toward a Politics of Partnership: Our Choices for the Future
Today it seems strange that three hundred years ago there were hardly any democratic governments. Perhaps three hundred years from now it will seem just as strange that matters so profoundly affecting our lives as sexual violence, child sexual abuse, reproductive freedom, freedom from sexual harassment, and freedom of sexual choice were not always considered of political importance. But just as three hundred years ago there were attempts to suppress public debate about representative governments as alternatives to monarchies, there are people today who argue that intimate relations-particularly sexual relations-are not fit subjects for public discourse, much less political debate.
This kind of suppression is an effective way of obscuring the fact that we have choices in how we structure human relations. It is also an effective way of preventing collective action aimed at broadening our life choices-which is what modern politics have basically been about.
To illustrate, a central theme in Western history texts is the modern struggle for freedom to choose how and whether to worship, rather than being forced to worship in a particular way.1 Another major theme is the struggle for freedom to choose a representative government, rather than being forced to live under hereditary or militarily imposed rule. Still another theme in modern Western history has been the struggle for freedom to choose one's means of livelihood, rather than being forced into that prescribed by one's caste, class, or gender.
So the struggle for sexual freedom of choice (rather than being coerced to have sex through fear, force, or lack of access to other means of economic support), the struggle for freedom to choose heterosexual or homosexual relations (rather than compulsory heterosexuality), and the struggle for reproductive freedom of choice (rather than being forced to reproduce or coercively prevented from reproducing) follow earlier precedents. They are actually only the latest chapter in the still-unfolding story of how during the last few centuries masses of people all over the world have joined together to challenge the power imbalances inherent in dominator systems. Historically, all renegotiations to achieve a greater balance of powerbe they by nobles, merchants, workers, colonized peoples, or members of minority races or religions-have only begun to be successful when they shifted from individual action to group action. In other words, issues that were once considered nonpolitical-and thus not to be included in public discourse or debate-have to become political (in the sense of being collectively discussed and negotiated) if successful power renegotiations are to take place. So what is different in our time is not that some of our most controversial political issues are matters that were formerly considered outside the sphere of political or organized group action. What is different is that for the first time in recorded history, many of these issues revolve around people's intimate relations: the relations that most directly involve our bodies. And what this signals is a shift into a second, integrated stage in the modern movement toward a partnership society. Until now, most of the organized political action to create a more equitable and truly free society has focused primarily on the top of the dominator pyramid: on the so-called public sphere in which relations have been primarily between men, since women and children were traditionally excluded from participation. And far too little attention has been given to changing the foundations on which this pyramid rests: the day-to-day relations involving women, men, and children in the so-called private sphere. As we have seen, there were changes in these relations, as there had to be for any social progress to be made. But even though these changes were a major factor in both the modern revolution in consciousness and the sexual revolution, they did not go deep enough. Moreover, large segments of the population have remained relatively unaffected by them. Hence there has not evolved a solid foundation for an integrated partnership social and ideological structure-in sharp contrast to the stillpowerful dominator infrastructure, which is all of one cloth, with authoritarian families and dominator-dominated sexual and gender relations, bolstered by authoritarian religious dogmas, providing a solid base for an integrated dominator system. As a result, even where there have been partnership gains, these have been extremely vulnerable to co-option. For instance, even democratically elected governments are still largely controlled by powerful economic interests such as weapons and gun lobbies, which spread propaganda blaming governments for all social ills. Similarly, now under the mantle of sexual freedom and freedom of speech, propaganda for hate and violence against institutionally disempowered groups continues unabated. Not only that, but in places where dominator family relations and gender stereotypes have been most resistant to change, partnership gains have all too often been wiped out. Here, particularly during periods of severe economic stress, the movement toward partnership has been reversed by dominator regressions that, be it under fascism, communism, nationalism, capitalism, or most recently religionism, have brought a return to less equity, more violence, and a more firmly entrenched male-superior female-inferior in-group versus out-group species model.2 These are some reasons we today sometimes hear of the death of liberalism and other progressive ideologies. 3 It iS certainly true that unless we succeed in building the foundations for a fundamentally transformed system, the contemporary partnership thrust will continue to be co-opted and reversed. But just as Mark Twain once termed a false notice of his death "highly exaggerated," these obituaries too are premature. In fact, there are important signs that despite the dominator backlash, we stand at the threshold of a new stage in politics that takes the struggle for freedom from coercive controls to its most basic level: to the choices that most directly impact our bodies. It is still very much a politics in the making, only just beginning to come together in stops and starts. But it has as its aim nothing less than a fundamental reconceptualization of power in all spheres of life, from our individual families to the family of nations. And in this it holds the promise that we may one day avoid further dominator regressions-and in the process create social institutions that can support, rather than impede, the more satisfying and pleasurable intimate relations we humans so need and want .4
The Emerging Politics of Intimate Choice
The most publicized aspect of the new politics focusing on the right to freedom of choice in matters that directly impact our bodies is the contemporary struggle by women for reproductive freedom. But before we go on to this struggle and to other aspects of the new politics of intimatechoice, I want to pause a moment to say that contrary to what we are sometimes told, technologies of family planning are not just a modernphenomenon. Condoms and pessaries (precursors of the modern diaphragm) go back long before modern history.5 A precursor to a technology we consider supermodern, the intrauterine device or IUD, already seems to have been used in ancient Egypt.6 There are even indications that in rudimentary form family planning may go all the way back to the Paleolithic, to the prehistoric association of menstruation and the moon.
As Beth Ann Conklin writes, medical research indicates that in the absence of artificial lighting moonlight tends to synchronize women's reproductive cycles-with ovulation associated with the full moon and the onset of menstruation associated with the new moon.7 So given the fact that becoming pregnant just before, just after, or during menstruation is highly unlikely, Conklin proposes that the careful attention our Paleolithic ancestors paid to the movements of the moon may be connected with women's attempts to prevent or promote conception by attuning their sexual activities to lunar rhythms-and that this may be part of the story behind the Venus of Laussel's notched crescent moon. 8
A way of preventing conception that undoubtedly goes back to very ancient times is sex where the man does not ejaculate inside the vagina. Herbal birth control technologies (which are still found in a number of non-Western cultures) undoubtedly also go back to ancient times, although it is hard to know how effective they were. As I noted earlier, contraceptive and abortive herbs were apparently also still dispensed by the "witches" or Wiccan wise women who in Europe served as healers and midwives until they were forcibly replaced by Church-trained male physicians.9 So contraception and abortion are hardly new. What is new is the organized political struggle of women, and men, for reproductive freedom of choice. And this struggle is not unrelated to the contemporary struggle of women to reenter medicine and science-as well as to reclaim positions of religious, political, and economic policymaking. For it is in all these places that determinations are made as to whether or not contraceptive and abortive technologies will be developed and marketed, and under what circumstances and by whom they may be used. As we have seen, the control of women's bodies by men (both as individuals and as makers of religious edicts and/or secular laws) is a mainstay of dominator ideology and society.10 Reproductive freedom of choice threatens this control, which is why the struggle to obtain it is so fundamental for women. Moreover, as a World Health Organization report put it, "without fertility regulation women's rights are mere words," since "a woman who has no control over her fertility cannot complete her education, cannot maintain gainful employment ... and has very few real choices open to her." ll But men's and children's life choices are also radically limited by the unavailability of family planning-as we tragically see in regions where birthrates, and with this poverty rates, are highest. In fact, unless family planning technologies are available, the very future of our species is endangered, as every day there is further evidence that present population growth rates are ecologically disastrous. Moreover, as with other issues in today's new politics of intimate choice, something else is at stake here that assumes even greater importance at a time when scientists are developing technologies such as in vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, and even technologies that may in the very near future replace birth with laboratory-created life. This is whether people's most intimate life choices should be in the hands of a small group of men (be they scientists or heads of religious, economic, and government institutions), or whether people should be able to make their own choices in matters that directly affect the human body in its most personal and basic functions and activities. This question of who should control a person's most intimate life choices also underlies another matter that has only become a major political issue in recent years: sexual harassment. Like man-made policies about contraception and abortion, sexual harassment has been a socially condoned expression of the notion that women's bodies should be under male control. Or to borrow a term coined by the social psychologist David Loye, sexual harassment expresses a cultural construction of sex in which women's bodies are a form of symbolic property: property that men have a right to by virtue of being male.12 In the work place, sexual harassment asserts this "right" in relation to the very women who, sometimes at the cost of enormous effort, stress, and pain, have begun to see their bodies as their own by finding a means of surviving other than complete dependency on marital or other sexual relations with men. So whether it succeeds or not, sexual harassment has been a way of taking that hard-won sense of independence away by again forcing women to view their bodies through the eyes of others rather than their own. On a very practical and immediate level, sexual harassment has also been a means of excluding women from the male-dominated higher-paying trades by creating a work environment that is hostile, even dangerous, to women. It has often served to block women's professional career advancement, as noncompliance with unwanted sexual advances has been used by men to deprive women of promotions, and has even led to women being fired. But most fundamentally, sexual harassment is an infringement of the right to freedom of choice. For it is designed to coerce women to make their bodies available to men with whom they would otherwise not choose to have sex. In this sense, women's struggle against the assertion of male entitlement to their bodies is not so different from the struggle for freedom that led to the establishment of the United States of America by what were once British colonies. For ultimately involved in both cases is not only the right to be seen by oneself and others as belonging to oneself rather than someone else, but the right to self-determination. This same basic issue of self-determination also underlies the contemporary political battle over lesbian and gay rights. As with the right to freedom from sexual harassment, just a generation ago the idea of the right of heterosexual or homosexual freedom of choice as a political issue would have seemed beyond the pale. Yet just as the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings led to an unprecedented number of American women running for national, state, and local office in 1992, during the 1992 presidential campaign, gay men and lesbians came out of the political closet, forming fund-raising networks for sympathetic candidates.13 Again, just as with freedom of reproductive choice and freedom from sexual harassment, the struggle over freedom to choose homosexuality rather than, or in addition to, heterosexuality goes far deeper than at first meets the eye. For it too threatens the very foundations of a society in which men are supposed to control women and a small elite of men are supposed to control the mass of women and men. To begin with, homophobia-the fear, hate, and all too often persecution of gay men and lesbians-is basically about the preservation of dominator masculine and feminine stereotypes and relations. The ridicule of "sissy" or "effeminate" gay men is still one more way of maintaining the tough, unempathic "macho" stereotype of masculinity appropriate for a dominator society. Not only that, but for an adult man to relate to another man by taking the stereotypically feminine role of wife or mistress challenges the whole notion that the only natural role for a man is to be the dominant party in intimate relations. 14
Although in different ways, lesbian relations also threaten the traditiotial construction of gender roles. They offer women an alternative to the so-called traditional family: the male-dominated, procreationoriented family that is the cornerstone of dominator society. Moreover, because they promote bonding between women, they can lead to what many lesbian groups in fact are today engaged in-social and political action for fundamental structural and ideological change.15
But homophobia is also inherent in dominator societies in still another way. It stems from the in-group versus out-group thinking characteristic of these societies, a kind of thinking that automatically equates difference with inferiority or superiority. So the persecution of gay men and lesbians has also served the same scapegoating function as sexism, racism, and anti-Semitism, of deflecting repressed fear and pain against disempowered out-groups. Today in the United States the most rabid denunciations of homosexuality come from the rightist-fundamentalist alliance. Here we sometimes even find preachers quoting biblical passages prescribing death as the punishment for such "abominations." And tragically, as with other incitements of hate against socially disempowered groups, such pronouncements are not without effect-as shown by recent press reports of a young man who was beaten to death by a shipmate (while others just looked on) simply because he openly declared he was gay. What can happen when this hate is incorporated in government policies has also recently been shown by press reports that the government of Iran "celebrated the new year" with the public beheading of three homosexual men and the even more prolonged and excruciatingly painful stoning to death of two women accused of being lesbians executions which often last many hours, since according to Iranian law they have to be with stones "small enough so they don't kill the victim instantly.,,16 Ironically, as the columnist jack Anderson writes, this was the government headed by Hashemi Rafsanjani, whom "both George Bush and Ronald Reagan have called 'moderate."'17 But again, I want to emphasize that what we are here dealing with is not a matter of conventional political labels such as radical, moderate, or conservative, much less Republican or Democrat. What we are here dealing with are fundamental issues of hiaman rights. Even more specifically, what we are dealing with-as with the increasingly violent resistance to women's reproductive freedom-is one of the most entrenched, and basic, aspects of dominator politics: the view that one individual or group can legitimately coerce another individual or group through institutionally condoned threats or acts of violence.
The Old Politics of Violence
I have over the past several decades written and lectured extensively about human rights. I started in 1969, with a Friend of the Court brief to the Supreme Court of the United States urging it to interpret the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that women are included under the definition of persons in its equal protection clause.18 Most recently, through a series of articles written from 1987 to 1993, 1 have proposed that governments and international organizations such as Amnesty International change their definition of human rights. My proposal is for what to my knowledge is the first truly integrated approach to human rights, one that no longer splits off the rights of the majority from human rights as merely "women's rights" and "children's rights" and recognizes that coercive violence is no less political in the place where we first learn about human relations-our homes. 19 But it was only in the last year of writing this book that I began to probe the connection between this new integrated approach to human rights and issues relating directly to the human body. I asked myself what would happen if such issues became part of the discourse on constitutional law and human rights. An immediate answer was that protections regarding matters that directly affect the human body-such as protection from child beating, child sexual abuse, rape, compulsory childbearing, and other infringements of the basic human right of bodily integrity-would not only be constitutionally protected, but considered central to human rights theory. I also realized that if constitutional and human rights theory had been framed in a partnership rather than dominator context, these protections would have been there from the start. Because it is precisely the lack of bodily self-determination-be it for men as conscripted soldiers or for women as conscripted mothers-that is basic to dominator rather than partnership societies. Even beyond this, I have come to see that constitutional and human rights theories need to be expanded to include in their conceptual frameworks the most basic of human rights: the right to live free of the fear of violence. Because as long as violence is not only accepted as appropriate but actually institutionalized-be it through warfare in international relations or wife and child beating in intimate relations-there is no realistic way we can build a society where the capacity to inflict pain on others is not the basis for power. This is not to say that all violence would come under the purview of this right. For example, defensive violence or the violence of yanking a child back from running into traffic would not. But it would apply to the violence that is institutionalized to maintain rankings of domination. As we have seen, in dominator societies this violence starts very early, with the confluence of caring and coercive touch in a child rearing where obedience to authority is a condition for parental love. It continues through the erotization of domination and violence that is characteristic of the social construction of sexuality in such societies. And until modem times in the West, and in many places still today, it has also been through broadcasters claim, merely "what people want. ,22
Understandably, given the high U.S. crime rates (and particularly the increase in random violence among the young during the last generation), most public discourse about this barrage of violence in the media is still focused on whether it leads to violent crimes by presenting violence as a way of dealing with life's conflicts, problems, and frustrations that is not only common, but exciting. There certainly is no lack of studies confirming that the exponential rise in American violence during the decades after television was first introduced is not just coincidental. For example, the University of Washington epidemiologist Dr. Brandon Centerwall's ground-breaking studies of epidemics of violence show that in both the United States and Canada violent crimes increased almost 100 percent within a generation after television was introduced. By contrast, during some of those same years in South Africa violent crime rates actually dropped-only to also more than double after the introduction of television in 1975 .23 There are also hundreds of studies confirming the obvious: that television programming affects not just buying behaviors (the explicit goal of the advertisers who fund it) but all kinds of behaviors, including children's level of aggression (which not surprisingly increases when children, particularly boys, since most violence modeled on television is by males, watch TV)24 and even whether adults behave in hurtful or helpful ways (as shown by a research project directed by David Loye during the 1970s at the UCLA School of Medicine) .25
So the growing public perception that television teaches children (and adults) not only violence but insensitivity as a way of life is extremely important. But as George Gerbner (the former dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and founder of the Cultural Environment Movement) notes, what is as yet not generally discussed-and urgently needs to be-is how the way our world is portrayed on television serves to maintain entrenched power imbalances. 26
As Gerbner and others point out, there is in television "an overall pattern of programming to which total communities are regularly exposed over long periods of time" in which repetitive themes that cut across all kinds of programming are "inescapable for the regular (and especially heavy) viewers."27 For example, the disproportionate ratio of male to female characters on television (with two-thirds male and only one-third female) all too graphically, though subliminally, communicates the message that men are more important than women. Similarly, the fact that the victims of television violence are disproportionately women, minorities, and other socially disempowered groups communicates to the viewer who is, and is not, fair game for victimization. That members of such groups are generally restricted to a stereotypical range of roles and activities where they have, again in Gerbner's words, "less than their share of success and power" further helps to mold people's perceptions and expectations. 28 Perhaps most important, as Gerbner, Gross, Morgan, and Signorielli write, is that in this symbolic world into which children are born, which they begin viewing before they can read or even talk, our world is presented as a "mean place"-one that requires "good violence" to combat the "bad violence" that would otherwise destroy us all. This, as Gerbner points out, inculcates in people a sense that "law and order" can only be maintained through brutal means. Not only that, it inculcates in people a simplistic in-group versus out-group mentality, which, as he,also notes, serves to even further promote conservative values and gender stereotypes. 29 And of course, just as violent pornography desensitizes men to the real pain of rape victims, all our media violence (like the ritualized public executions of old) conditions people to be spectators to other people's pain without empathizing with them, much less taking action to stop it-and even (as in children's cartoons, where there are on the average no less than twenty-five violent incidents per hour)30 to view the causing of pain to others as funny. Yet despite all this pressure to deaden our human capacity for empathy-which is obviously successful with some-as part of the ongoing revolution in consciousness, the challenge to violence as a normal and legitimate means of attaining and maintaining power (be it in intimate or international relations) continues to mount. Indeed, although this too is still rarely noted in most contemporary political analyses, one of the most important developments in modern politics has been the unprecedented phenomenon of masses of people organizing, not just against those who violently oppress them, but against the oppression of others-and even against the use of violence itself.
The New Politics Against Violence
The condemnation of violence is age-old, as is nonviolent resistance to violence, as exemplified by the teaching of Jesus that we turn the other cheek. But collective political action to challenge the institutionalization of violence is a relatively recent phenomenon. Although the Quakers (or Friends, as they prefer to be called) were already pacifists back in the seventeenth century, it was not until the nineteenth century that pacifism began to emerge as a social movement in the West. And not until the twentieth century-as exemplified by the numerous anti-Vietnam War protests-did rallies of many thousands of people protesting against the use of violence as a means of resolving international conflict become commonplace. Similarly, while there have always been people who have condemned violence against religious, racial, and ethnic minorities, it was not until the twentieth century-as exemplified by the Nuremberg war crime trials of Nazis for genocide, the U.S. civil rights movement to stop racial violence, and the huge demonstrations in Germany during the 1990s against violence to foreigners-that large masses of people began organizing against the violence of ethnic, racial, and religious scapegoating. And even though many world governments continue to use force to maintain their power, increasingly-as evidenced by the United Nations' condemnation of the Chinese government's brutal suppression of nonviolent student protests in Tiananmen Square-we also see the rejection by people all over the world of this once generally accepted political violence as legitimate. Not only that, but for the first time, violence in intimate relations is today becoming a major political issue. Again, there have always been people who opposed violence against children and women. But until recent times this violence has generally been considered a private or family matter that should not brook outside interference. And it has not, until now, been the focus of collective political action by large organized groups of people dedicated to exposing and ending what is sometimes accurately called terror in the home. For instance, it is only because of this organized political action that today in the United States the reporting by physicians of child abuse is strongly supported by both privately and governmentally funded education programs. It is only because of the continuing efforts of many women's organizations that laws against assault and battery are at least in some places being applied to what was traditionally dismissed as mere "domestic violence." Similarly, it is only due to organized pressure that rape is today more frequently prosecuted even though judges and juries still often expect rape victims to "fight back," something not expected of anybody else threatened by a knife, a gun, or just a large attacker. Due to such organized efforts, shelters for battered women have also begun to be funded by both private and government agencies, particularly in North America and Europe. Again, at this writing there are still far too few such shelters-as evidenced by studies indicating that a large proportion of homeless women on our streets are fleeing violent homes. 31 And again, there is even here strong political opposition. One of the most jarring examples was the so-called Family Protection Act introduced by Senator Paul Laxalt, which-highlighting what kind of family the senator was trying to protect-would have drastically cut funding for shelters for battered women. Nonetheless, the organized political action to end the worldwide violence against women is having important results. For example, the World Health Organization, which a few decades ago still ignored the enormous health costs to women from the violence of genital mutilation, in 1992 announced that it would call for "tougher action" against what it once ignored as merely a "traditional practice." In India, laws against the traditional practice of bride burning are also beginning to be more frequently invoked, thanks to pressure from women's organizations. And because male violence against women is now beginning to be perceived as a social, rather than purely personal, problem, attention is also gradually being given to its astronomic economic costs-which in the United States alone are estimated at more than three billion dollars per year.32 As a result, once again against strong resistance," in 1994 the U.S. Congress as part of a larger crime bill adopted a milestone piece of legislation: the Violence Against Women Act.34 In addition to family violence against women and children, family violence against the elderly and disabled is also beginning to be systematically addressed, thanks in large part to the organized efforts of groups such as the Older Women's League. For example, in 1984 California began requiring agencies such as departments of social services and legal services to report incidents of elder abuse. The abuse of domestic workers by their employers is also increasingly addressed by national and international organizations. For instance, after the Gulf War, reports of abuse (including rape) of women imported to work in Kuwaiti households (long reported in the feminist press) began to attract international media attention. As already noted, violence against women and children in the international sex trade is also beginning to get more media coverage. In fact, what is beginning to come together in bits and pieces is something I and others have for many years called for: an international campaign against all forms of intimate violence through organized and coordinated education and political action.35 This campaign still needs far more political, moral, and financial support, particularly from the heads of the world's governments, religions, and international bodies such as the United Nations. But that all these hitherto ignored forms of intimate violence are today beginning to be challenged through organized political action is of pivotal, often life-anddeath, importance for millions of children, women, and men worldwide. A,nd it is also of critical importance in what it tells us about the emergence of a new kind of politics: a politics of empathy, based not on the in-group versus out-group thinking characteristic of a dominator worldview, but on the capacity to feel at one with others, particularly with members of traditionally disempowered groups.
Empathy, Gender, and the "Feminization" of Politics
Since empathy is one of our most important human attributes, there were undoubtedly even in the most rigid dominator societies people sensitive to the pain of others, as well as to the social injustices that make it possible for some people to cause other people so much pain. But the translation of this sensitivity into political action guided by the vision of a better society, as distinguished from individual rebellions and numerous e arlier slave and peasant revolts, is relatively recent. And it too has gone through a number of stages. In its first stage, the empathy animating progressive social movements was (except in the case of feminism) primarily by men for other men. This is not to say that there was no empathy for the suffering of women and children. But it was largely focused on their suffering due to class-based and race-based inequities. 36 For example, during the nineteenth century men of the more privileged classes (such as the socialist philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels) wrote with great feeling about the plight of the poor or "working-class man." Similarly, members of the primarily white and male "intelligentsia" wrote with great feeling about the suffering of men of the oppressed races, as exemplified by books such as Gunnar Myrdal's An American Dilemma and David Loye's The Healing of a Nation.37 But what distinguishes this second stage in the emergence of an organized politics of empathy is that it increasingly focuses on hitherto invisible groups such as children and women. This is a fundamental breakthrough. Indeed, in its focus on the prototypical out-groupwomen-it signals the gradual abandonment of the male-superior female-inferior, in-group versus out-group model of our species that is the basic model for racism, anti-Semitism, and all the other ways people unconsciously learn to think of "inferior" out-groups as not fully human. And it also takes the contemporary revolution in consciousness to a new level: one where the hidden subtext of gender we have been examining comes into plain sight. As we have seen, the power through greater strength or force to dominate or control others, thereby restricting their life choices, has stereotypically been associated with masculinity. And the power to care for others, to nurture them through caring touch, thereby empowering them to develop and effectively broaden their life choices, has stereotypically been associated with femininity Again, this does not mean that these gender differences are natural. Women can be vory disempowering to others, and seemingly enjoy it. And men can derive great pleasure from nurturing and empowering behaviors-for example, the many men who are today caring for children. But while men have traditionally been socialized to derive pleasure from power over others (as in Henry Kissinger's famous statement that power is the greatest aphrodisiac), women have generally been socialized to derive pleasure from a very different kind of power: the power to enable others, particularly their children and husbands, to actualize their potentials. In other words, the power stereotypically associated with femininity has been the power to care for others, while the power stereotypically associated with masculinity has been the power to control others. And even though all women and all men have by no means conformed to this socialization, these differences in gender socialization have for most of recorded or dominator history been reinforced by a social organization in which men have received rewards and encouragement when they equate power with control (the traditional definition of a leader being a man who has the power to give orders that will be obeyed) and women have been generally discouraged, and even punished, for trying to exercise this kind of power. So a politics of empathy, or sensitivity to others, is basically a more stereotypically feminine politics-which helps explain why, in a world that still tends to devalue anything stereotypically associated with women, its emergence is still largely unremarked in mainstream progressive political discourse. Yet, ironically, it has begun to be discussed in precisely these terms by rightist-fundamentalist theorists who accurately perceive it as a threat to a system based on ranking rather than linking. Thus, in an article called "The Ideology of Sensitivity" he wrote for the rightist-fundamentalist publication Imprimis, Charles Sykes ridicules the "absurdity" of feelings figuring in politiCS.38 But actually, as his title highlights, what outrages him is the idea that "soft" or stereotypically feminine feelings such as sensitivity should figure in politics. For it is very clear from his article that Sykes has no trouble with stereotypically masculine feelings such as contempt and anger being part of politics. Quite the contrary, his prose drips with contempt as he excoriates those who assert that unequal opportunities rather than unequal capabilities account for discrimination. He is angrily disdainful of what he calls the "whining" of African Americans, other minorities, and women, all of whom he dismisses as "fabricating" victimization. He even more snidely dismisses the idea that hurtful and insensitive patterns of behavior that rob people of a sense of self-worth are effective means of denying out-groups equal opportunities. 39 And, along with his denial of the pain of others, so characteristic of those who believe it their God-given right to be superior, he scornfully denies that there is any connection between what he calls "private and public acts." But his angriest rhetoric is reserved for the idea that nurturance should have any place in politics through what he derisively calls a politics of sensitivity-lest, as he sarcastically puts it, "Big Nanny" replace "Big Brother."40 Sykes's view that sensitivity must at all costs be kept out of politics undoubtedly stems from his socialization for a masculinity that, as we have seen, requires the suppression in men of stereotypically feminine feelings such as empathy. And, albeit probably more on the unconscious than conscious level, it also stems from his unquestioning acceptance of the dominator dictum that women-and with this, anything associated with the feminine-have no place in politics. So it is not surprising that he is horrified that politics be contaminated by anything so "unmanly" as a more stereotypically feminine sensitive and empathic ethos. Nonetheless-and once again, on a scale much larger than ever before-such a political ethos is beginning to gain momentum worldwide. Much of it is still rhetoric-as in former President George Bush's slogan of a "kinder and gentler" nation, which so sharply contrasted with his "hard," stereotypically masculine emphasis on weaponry and his continuation of the Reagan policies of slashing funds for health, education, and welfare. But some of it is beginning to affect both the substance and the style of political leadership in many world regions. Certainly President Clinton's political style emphasizing health, education, and welfare as well as nonviolent conflict resolution, is far more stereotypically feminine than that of his predecessors-which undoubtedly accounts for some of the virulence of the attacks against him.41 As Steven Stark writes in his analysis of political styles from a gendered perspective: "If other presidents tend to speak by lecturing us ('we have nothing to fear but fear itself' or 'ask not what your country can do for you'), Clinton often communicates by listening ('l feel your pain'). Whereas other presidents tended to address the country most effectively from above at a rostrum ... the maternal hug and the 'all ears' attentive body language are the characteristics of this President.,,42 As Stark also notes, Clinton is not alone in this new style of leadership-or in his discomfort with military aggression and his relative ease with strong women such as his own partner, Hillary Rodham Clinton. Stark writes how "many baby boomers exhibit a more feminine style of leadership and rhetoric than previous generations." And of course, a key part of the movement toward a more stereotypically feminine or empathic political style is the ascendancy of women to high political office. Not that all women who enter politics bring with them this new leadership style. Some, such as Margaret Thatcher, Indira Ghandi, and Benazir Bhutto, have tried to prove that they are not too "soft" or feminine through stereotypically masculine or "hard" leadership styles. However, as the sociologist Jessie Bernard, the psychologist Carol Gilligan, and the psychiatrist jean Baker Miller note, because women are socialized to make relationships their primary priority, and because they are expected to intemalize what Bernard calls a "female ethos of love/duty," they tend to be more sensitive to human needs. 43 Or as the president of the German Bundestag (Parliament), Professor Rita Silssmuth, said in a recent interview with a German newspaper, "we can expect from women different approaches and solutions to a number of problems connected with people living together" because "women tend to approach problems in a more pragmatic and action-oriented way which is more closely related to real life."44 Moreover, it is only as women rise in status that men can more comfortably themselves exhibit stereotypically feminine styles of behavior without feeling a loss in their own status. Thus, a number of well-known leaders who have strong women as partners in their personal lives, such as the Costa Rican ex-president Oscar Arias (winner of the Nobel Peace Prize) and the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, also have exhibited more empathic leadership styles. Not only that, men and women all over the world are increasingly recognizing, as Siissmuth succinctly put it, that what is needed is not to push "Mijtterlichkeit" (a mothering, nurturing ethos) back into the confines of the household, but rather to fully incorporate it into politics, and thus social policy.
The Groundswell for Transformation
If we look only at what is conventionally considered political-governments and political parties, terrorism and armed revolutions, international agencies like the United Nations-the prospects for what Siissmuth proposes seem slim. Indeed, there are today signs of massive dominator systems' resistance and regression, be it the election of rightists and even fascists in the West, the mounting fundamentalist terrorism, the "ethnic cleansings" of Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, the huge concentration of economic power in transnational corporate giants, or the loss of women's right to reproductive freedom in some of the former Eastern bloc nations. But if we also look at what is happening on the grass-roots level, despite press reports of growing alienation and apathy, we find that there are worldwide more people today involved in groups and organizations to create a more just and equitable society than ever before in recorded history. In countries where there are electoral processes, these groups and organizations are essential to revitalize democracy, to support progressive political candidates, and to educate people to be politically active rather than to abandon politics to highly organized regressive interests-as happened in the 1994 U.S. elections when only one third of those eligible to do so voted .45 But as essential as this is, when viewed from the perspective of cultural transformation theory, these grass-roots organizationsand their global networking through conferences on everything from the environment, economic justice, and peace to the empowerment of indigenous peoples, colonized peoples, women, and children, as well as through newsletters and/or electronic networks such as PEACE NET and ECONET-are also crucial for the foundational change we are here exploring. For increasingly their focus is not on just reforming existing social and cultural patterns, but rather on fundamental personal and social transformation. To begin with, many of these groups are either explicitly or implicitly beginning to recognize the interconnection between the so-called private and public spheres. Hence many are beginning to integrate women's and children's rights, as well as sexual and spiritual issues, into their activities. Not only that, many are taking a much more holistic approach to politics, integrating activities to promote greater social justice, economic equity, and environmental consciousness with activities designed to empower people to right power imbalances in their day-to-day lives. And by so doing, they are beginning to provide the much needed nuclei for an emerging intemational partnership movement based on a new integrated politics of partnership: a politics aimed at nothing less than transforming our familial and sexual relations, our economic and work relations, our intranational and international relations, our relations with nature, and even our relations with our own bodies. For example, the women in the Green Belt movement in Kenya and the Chipko movement in India have successfully organized nonviolent environmental actions, such as large groups of women hugging trees to save forests from being cut down. 46 But at the same time that these kinds of organized grass-roots actions are bringing many Kenyan and Indian women into environmental politics, they are also empowering these women to work toward bettering the lives of all Kenyan and Indian women. Another organization that combines an environmental focus with basic human concerns is the Ladakh Ecological Development Group, one of the most influential nongovernmental organizations in this remote Himalayan region. Its main focus is on protecting the people's indigenous lifestyle from both colonial exploitation and environmental degradation. But in the words of its founder Helena Norberg-Hodge, one of its aims is also that "equal voice should be given to female perspectives and values.,,47 Other grass-roots organizations focus primarily on the economic and social conditions that underlie wars and other forms of institutionalized violence. For instance, the Hawaii-based Center for Global Nonviolence, the Danish-based Center for Conflict Resolution, and the International Quaker American Friends Service Committee all address the economic injustices that have often led to the deflection of people's misery and frustration into civil and other wars. But they are also beginning to recognize that effectively dealing with poverty requires that stereotypically feminine activities such as feeding and caring for children receive adequate government support and, even beyond this, that if there is to be less violence both women and men need to learn nonviolent, rather than violent, conflict resolution. Also helping to raise world consciousness about the human costs of a male socialization for violence-and particularly about how military training serves to brutalize men-are grass-roots groups such as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina and Mothers of El Salvador, both composed of women who organized to protest against terrorist regimes that have "disappeared" their children. This too is an important focus of grass-roots men's groups such as the Oakland Men's Project, an organization that, as Paul Kivel (one of its founders) writes in Men's Work, was specifically formed to help men learn to leave behind patterns of thinking and behaving that lead not only to wife battering but to the acceptance of violent behaviors as legitimate in all kinds of relations.48 Similarly, women's antinuclear groups such as those at Greenham Common in England, Comiso in Italy, and Pine Gap in Australia, Women for Meaningful Summits in the United States, and the Shibo Kusa women of Mount Fuji in Japan focus not only on international peace treaties and other traditional approaches but also on raising consciousness about what both women and men are taught about masculinity and femininity.49 Then there are organizations whose primary focus is on the shift from a dominator to a partnership sexuality. They too recognize that this will require fundamental changes in both women's and men's attitudes and national and international policies. For example, the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women headquartered at Pennsylvania State University works with women's organizations all over the world to raise public consciousness about the values and institutions that lie behind the sexual trade in women, and to lobby the United Nations and other international agencies to pressure governments to more vigorously enforce laws against it. Organizations of survivors of incest and other forms of childhood sexual abuse, as well as rape survivors, are also beginning to form worldwide, as are groups working against genital mutilation, child marriage, and other traditional customs in which sex is molded to fit the requirements of a dominator form of social organization. To give just one example, in Tanzania the Institute for Development and Training in 1993 introduced initiatives for the prevention of the genital and sexual mutilation of females.50 Other organizations are working for government policies that promote rather than prevent reproductive freedom of choice, again not only in the United States but all over the world. And many organizations are working against the media erotization of violence, as well as the portrayal of women in degrading and dehumanizing ways; for example the California-based Media Watch founded by Ann Simonton (a former Miss California) for these ends. A myriad of organizations focusing on the rights of children are also working to change both attitudes and government policies. Examples in the United States are the National Center for Children in Poverty at the Columbia University School of Public Health, which has focused both public and official attention on the shocking fact that during the last twenty years in the United States poverty rates have increased so steeply for children that by 1991 nearly one out of every four children under six lived in poverty, 51 and the Children's Defense Fund in Washington, DC, which works assiduously to bring the need for family policies that truly value children to public consciousness. Similarly, the Inter-American Children's Institute in Montevideo, Uruguay, and Defense for Children International are working to change both political and economic policies to improve the condition of children (and with this, society) worldwide. And some of these organizations specifically address issues of violence and abuse against children. For example, Healthy Families America, which is now operating out of more than fifty sites in sixteen states, provides help to overburdened young mothers and/or helps mothers who were themselves abused so they will not repeat this pattern with their own children.52 These kinds of organized efforts are of foundational importance to the emergence of an integrated partnership movement, since as we have seen, it is in our family relations that we first learn to respect human rights or to accept human rights violations as only natural and right. So also is the fact that in the wake of the first United Nations Decade for Women (1975-1985), there are today thousands of groups worldwide specifically dedicated to the empowerment of women. These groups are in many ways in the forefront of the much-needed integrated politics of partnership that no longer splits off issues of sex and gender from politics and economics. For instance, a whole host of women's organizations-from the Indian Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and the Honduran Federation of Peasant Women to the Women and Development Unit (WAND) in the Caribbean and the African Association of Women for Research and Development (AAWORD) in West Africa-focus on the fact that worldwide poverty is to a disproportionate extent a "women's issue.',53 The Women's Rights Committee of the European Parliament recently called for studies to assess the economic and social value of women's unpaid work, particularly in respect to pensions. 54 In Hong Kong, five women's groups started a women's voter education program and are working on a women's platform.55 From Prague, Czechoslovakia, comes an announcement of an ambitious new East-West Gender Studies Center.51 The Maryam Babangida National Center for Women's Development is a self-sustaining and incomegenerating resource center for research, training, and mobilizing women toward self-emancipation. Women Living Under Muslim Laws (based in France), as well as the U.S.-based Sisterhood Is Global, the Center for Global Issues and Women's Leadership, Women's International Network (WIN) News, and the International Women's Rights Action Watch gather and publicize information about the human rights (and violations of these rights) of women worldwide.57 These and many other organizations worldwide have as their goal the implementation of the three interconnected goals of the first United Nations Decade for Women: equality, development, and peace.58 And often these groups, particularly in the South, are supported by foundations from the North, including foundations specifically dedicated to funding womlen's groups, such as the Ms. Foundation, the Shaler-Adams Foundation, and the Global Fund for Women (which gives approximately two hundred grants per year to organizations dedicated to the empowerment of women worldwide). There are also many organizations worldwide working to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, such as the intemational Indian Tribal Council and Women of All Red Nations (WARN). And there are thousands of organizations worldwide developing new approaches to economic development in which human development-and particularly the long-ignored needs, problems, and aspirations of women-is central. These range from more conventional politically oriented think tanks like the Washington DC-based Center for Policy Alternatives to alternative economics networks like the Other Economic Summit (TOES), and Development Alternatives With Women for a New Era (DAWN).59 Along similar lines, and again integrating both the so-called private and public spheres in their activities, are groups like GOLUBKA and the Ecopolis Culture and Health Center in Moscow, dedicated to bringing into former Soviet-bloc countries an economic and social vision that goes beyond both communism and capitalism-one that includes equitable and fulfilling family and other personal relations. A new economic and social vision guided by more stereotypically feminine values is also starting to infiltrate the world of business and finance. Organizations such as the World Business Academy, the Social Ventures Network, Business for Social Responsibility, and Students for Responsible Business are being formed to fundamentally transform the way business is done-in the words of the purpose statement of Students for Responsible Business, to foster a new generation of business leaders who "will achieve financial success while contributing to the creation of a more humane, just, and sustainable world.,,60 There are also a growing number of foundations funded by these kinds of business leaders dedicated to empowering people on the grass-roots level-for example, the Katalysis and Earth Trust foundations' North/South Development Partnerships, which make village loans in Central America, particularly to entrepreneurial women. Not only that, but in the last decade investment funds have appeared on the world stock markets, such as the Calvert Social Investment Fund, the Parnassus Fund, and the Women's Equity Mutual Fund, which include in their criteria for their investment portfolios the social and environmental impact of how business is conducted as well as how companies treat their employees, including their inclusiveness of women and minorities.61 Moreover, these funds typically do not invest in companies that either make or sell weaponry, in other words, companies thatas is so dramatically reflected by the epidemic of violence in the United States associated with the proliferation of handgun and other weapons sales-do not make or sell products that have as their aim the causing of pain to others. There is even an International Partnership Network now being organized, with a Partnership Research Group at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing exploring partnership roots in Asia and Centers for Partnership Education being formed in Germany in addition to those in the United States. And for these groups, catalyzed by the integrated partnership vision introduced in The Chalice and the Blade and The Partnership Way, as for a growing number of other empowerment-oriented organizations, the way relations between the female and male halves of humanity are structured in both the private and public spheres is central to any fundamental social and ideological transformation.
Spirituality, Justice, and the Body Politic
Another interesting feature of many of the organizations today springing up as potential nucleations for an international partnership movement-including even some of the new business organizations I mentioned earlier-is that they have a strong spiritual component. But it is not the old-style spirituality of either detachment from all that is of this world or of charitable endeavors that, while important, focus only on ameliorating the pain of poverty and illness. It is rather a spirituality that recognizes the responsibility of every one of us to do what we can to eradicate what the Norwegian sociologist Johan Galtung has called structural violence: not only the institutionalized use of physical violence, but also oppressive, exploitive, and discriminatory structures that deny people the food, shelter, health care, and education they need to maintain their bodies and develop their minds, or threaten to do so if they organize to change existing values and institutions.62
In short, it is a spirituality that puts into actual practice the partnership teachings that lie at the core of most world religions: the teachings of compassion, nonviolence, and caring. Even beyond this, it is a spirituality dedicated to empowering people so they can take action against oppression, exploitation, and discrimination, rather than passively accepting injustice in the hope of a better hereafter in which those who are unjust will be punished and those who patiently accept injustice will be rewarded. Because it is a spirituality that does not consider what is of this world secondary, this new spirituality of empowerment also recognizes that politics can no longer ignore matters that directly impact the human body-that, as Michael Rossman writes, "the repression of bodily energies is a key element in the functioning of authoritarian social systems, and the freeing and rebalancing of our bodily vitality is essential to the struggle against them, as well as for the recreation of a freer order. "63 This also is the guiding philosophy of Capacitar, an organization whose name in Spanish means "to enable, encourage, or bring forth." Capacitar operates on many levels. For example, it collects funds and materials for groups of Latin American women and offers workshops on parenting, health care, and other skills that will enable them to make changes in their own lives and to work together for social change. But one of the main ways Capacitar helps women organize and form mutual support and social action networks is through spiritually oriented bodywork, including massage, guided imagery, and Tai Chi-methods involving direct, caring, pleasurable touch of the body Obviously this approach does not fit into the conventional model of activism as organizing for political confrontations, even though part of what Capacitar does is to empower people to stand up against injustice. But it fits well into a new partnership model of political organizing that recognizes the connection between politics and the body, as well as, to again borrow Rossman's words, the need to stop "making arbitrary boundaries between the practices of social therapy, personal psychological therapy, and bodily therapy."64 As Hillary Bendon writes in "Partnership: An Alternative to the Classic Bureaucratic Management Model," what Capacitar offers are "alternatives to suffering."65 This phrase "alternatives to suffering" sums up an essential element of the new politics of partnership. For it takes the definition of political rights to its most basic level: to the right to be free from pain inflicted by the domination of others. And it also takes us back to cultural transformation theory and to what I have called the pain to pleasure shift-and to how this is integral to the shift from a dominator to a partnership social organization.66 Because what basically distinguishes the politics of domination and partnership are two very different ways of conceptualizing power: one that requires the institutionalization of pain and one that does not.67 Of course, this does not mean that if the new grass-roots politics of empowerment ultimately attains its gcyal of social, economic, and cultural transformation there will no longer be any pain. But ultimately our choices for the future are between a social system that requires pain for its maintenance and one that does not. These choices are today reflected in two very different kinds of politics that transcend the conventional differences between left and right, liberal and conservative, capitalist and communist, and even religious and secular. One, following the old rule through terror or alternately the terrorist-armed revolution pattern, is still the old politics of violence. The other is a new politics of transformation, not from the top down but from the ground up, through nonviolent and empathic means that can provide real alternatives to suffering. But despite the fact that this new politics of partnership is today gathering mottientum in all parts of our globe, it still does not get the attention of front-page headlines and lead stories on television that the old-style politics based on the power to inflict pain gets. Indeed, most of what is still reported as news in the world media is about suffering-be it the pain people suffer during natural disasters or the pain inflicted on them by other humans.
Accordingly, most of the leaders we still read about in our papers or see on television are the old-style "strong-man" types. Even the leaders of movements for social justice or political liberation that get mainstream media attention are generally those who still rely primarily on violence to effect change. And the far more interesting, and really new, news of the many thousands of organizations that have leaders who display a very different kind of strength-the strength of not only nonviolent resistance but of going against entrenched beliefs and institutions-are, except in small presses and alternative newsletters, still given only the most cursory coverage, if they are given any coverage at all .68
All of which takes us to the next, and final, chapter of this book, where we come full circle to what we began with: the myths and images that shape how we see ourselves and our world. For one of the great challenges we face today is to create and disseminate new myths and images that make it possible for us to see that we do have choices, that we are not doomed to eternal misery by "selfish genes" or "original sin"-and most important, that in the last analysis the choice of our future is up to us.