Starting September 20th, Riane Eisler and Tim Seldin are teaching a special eight week interactive, virtual course.
Based on her newest book with anthropologist Douglas P. Fry, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future (Oxford University Press, 2019), Riane Eisler, with moderator, Tim Seldin, will guide us through an amazing journey on how children develop their humanity through a Montessori lens and a global perspective.
Riane shows us how neuroscience explains why and how children develop. It reveals relationships between climate change denial and strong-man rule, the fear-and-force-based discipline of children and warfare, subordination of women and racism (and other forms of discrimination). And with the causes revealed in these relationships and others, more creative solutions are possible. This course, which we cannot promise will be offered again, offers a unique and very rare opportunity to spend eight weeks learning together.
Where: Live on Zoom for eight weekly 90 minute sessions
When: Every Tuesday starting September 20th - November 15 from 7-8:30 PM Eastern (6 PM Central/5 PM Mountain/4 PM Pacific) 9.20 |
Dates: 9.27| 10.4| 10.11| 10.18| 10.25| 11.1| 11.15
- The reading for this book will be Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future by Riane Eisler and Douglas P. Fry available at this link. There is also a new audiobook version available from Audible, but it is recommended that you also have a print or digital copy where you can make notes and save references.
- Sessions will be interactive.
- Each session will be recorded and you will have ongoing access to the recordings and the entire program.
- Be prepared to dig into it deeply. We encourage discussion during the sessions and in the online forum.
A Unique Opportunity to Spend Eight Weeks with Riane Eisler
A Glimpse of the Eight Week Course with Riane Eisler
Everywhere we turn, from the news to books and movies, we are bombarded with the same hackneyed message: human nature is inherently bad. Just look at all the greed, murder, rape, and war. We are genetically wired, it seems, for selfish, cruel behavior. Or are we?
Challenging the notion that violence and greed are just “human nature,” Riane Eisler—International bestselling author of The Chalice and the Blade, social systems scientist and cultural historian—provides evidence that caring behavior is actually humanity’s default tendency, and that we can build more humane and sustainable societies.
Neuroscience shows that the human brain is flexible. Through the interaction between genes and our lived experience, behavior patterns become woven into our individual and social fabric over time. To move toward the pro-social, cooperative, nurturing behavior (that brain scans show we are inclined toward) requires a shift from a system of “domination” to one of “partnership.”
In a domination system – whether Eastern or Western, ancient or modern – family, economic, and social structures support rigid top-down rankings. Historical examples are Genghis Khan’s, Hitler’s, or Stalin’s rule of terror and the autocratic family patriarch of earlier times. Nowadays, we see it in despotic rulers, religious fanatics, and at the family level in abusive parental behavior.
Nurturing Our Humanity sheds new light on our personal and social options in today’s world, showing how we can build societies that support our great human capacities for consciousness, caring, and creativity. It brings together largely overlooked findings from the natural and social sciences debunking the popular idea that we are hard-wired for selfishness, war, rape, and greed.
We also learn from anthropologist Douglas Fry, a leading expert on foraging societies, that for millennia we lived in more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and peaceful ways in what he calls “the original partnership societies.”
And as the evidence from archaeology shows, this partnership orientation lasted well into the early agrarian times and, in some places, even in so-called “high civilizations,” providing us with a blueprint for our future.
The book’s groundbreaking approach reveals connections between disturbing trends like climate change denial and regressions to strongman rule.
Moving past right vs. left, religious vs. secular, Eastern vs. Western, and other familiar categories that do not include our formative parent-child and gender relations, it looks at where societies fall on the partnership-domination scale.
On one end is the domination system that ranks man over man, man over woman, race over race, and humans over nature.
On the other end is the more peaceful, egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable partnership system.
Nurturing Our Humanity explores how behaviors, values, and socio-economic institutions develop differently in these two environments, documents how this impacts nothing less than how our brains develop, examines cultures from this new perspective (including societies that for millennia were oriented toward partnership), and proposes actions supporting the contemporary movement in this more life-sustaining and enhancing direction.
It shows how, through today’s ever more fearful, frenzied, and greed-driven technologies of destruction and exploitation, the domination system may lead us to an evolutionary dead-end. However, a more equitable and sustainable way of life is biologically possible and culturally attainable: we can change our course.
Riane and many of us in the Montessori community have long felt that there are powerful connections between her research and work, and Montessori education.
We share the vision that the two have much to learn from and offer to each other. As Tim Seldin puts it:
Riane Eisler puts Montessori in a greater context that we all sense but have not always been able to articulate as clearly. Generations from now, future Montessori educators will study both Montessori and Eisler.
Riane work is both inspirational, deeply informative, and practical down to the level of the Montessori classroom, our curriculum, and school leadership.
We encourage you to take advantage of this very special opportunity to participate in this deep and uplifting conversation.
It will be a journey of rediscovery.