Copyright 2005 RIANE EISLER
Exerpted and adapted from Riane Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future.
We stand at an evolutionary crossroads: breakdown or breakthrough. Ours is a time when the lethal power of the Blade – amplified a millionfold by megatons of nuclear or biochemical warheads – threatens to end all life. But there is another alternative: a way of life where the life-giving and illuminating power of the Chalice guides our world.
As co-creators of our own evolution, the path we take is ours to choose. There is the path of domination that at our level of technological development may take us to an evolutionary dead end. There is the path of partnership: a gylanic world based on mutual respect, mutual accountability, and mutual benefit.
In the world as it will be when women and men live in full partnership, there will, of course, still be families, schools, governments, and other social institutions. But like the emerging egalitarian family and social-action networks, the social structures of the future will be based more on linking than rankings of domination. Instead of requiring individuals to fit into pyramidal hierarchies, these institutions will be heterarchic, allowing for both diversity and flexibility in decision making and action.
The roles of both women and men will be far less rigid, allowing the entire human species a maximum of developmental flexibility. Practices like female sexual mutilation, wife beating, and all the other brutal ways through which androcracy has kept women “in their place” will be seen not as hallowed traditions but as what they are – crimes spawned by domination and cruelty. Wars, terrorism, and other forms of violence will no longer be glorified as ‘heroic” in epics and myths but condemned for what they are – the barbaric aberrations of a species turned against itself.
As the consciousness of our linking with one another and our natural environment firmly takes hold, we can expect to see the old nation-state as a self-absorbed political entity wither away. Many of our new institutions will be more global in scope, transcending national boundaries.
However, rather than more uniformity 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 to the sharing of knowledge and the advancement of the arts.
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 maybe better technologies 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 technologies 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 small- and large-scale methods of production will be utilized in ways that encourage, and indeed require, worker participation, rather than, as required in a dominator system, turning 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 on understanding and slowing down the aging process, ranging from already emerging techniques to replace worn-out body parts to means of regenerating body cells.
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 partnership 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.
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 cannibalize both social and ecological systems. Instead we can expect that the nonmonetized “informal” economy – of household production 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.
Through the reaffirmation and celebration of the transformative mysteries symbolized by the Chalice, new myths will 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, hierarchies of domination, and the ranking of male over female 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 modern 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 will be mutual companionship, sexual pleasure, and love. Having children will no longer be connected with the transmission of male names and property. 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. 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. Social policies and funding will support caring and caregiving.
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 to 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 and our great capacities for consciousness and caring – 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 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 evil 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.