Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
I.7 | Contents | I.9
Many people think of "history" as the time since the birth of Jesus, or as the period commencing about 24 centuries ago with the "ancient Greeks." Technically, "history" begins with the first written human historical records. The Greek Herodotus, ca. -485 to -425, has been described as "the father of history." I suggest, however, that if one wishes to gain an appreciation of the deep temporal context in which we find ourselves today, these are rather near-sighted views of the meaning of "history."
Contents of this section:
The chart depicts the most recent 245 million years, an interval combining two geological Eras, the Mesozoic (178.6 million years (m.y.)), and the Cenozoic (66.4 m.y.); which latter is the Era in which we are living today. The Mesozoic Era is divided into three Periods, the Triassic (37 m.y.), Jurassic (64 m.y.), and the Cretaceous (77.6 m.y.). The Cenozoic Era is divided into two Periods, the Tertiary (64.8 m.y.), and the Quaternary (1.6 m.y.). The Tertiary Period is subdivided into five Epochs: the Paleocene (8.6 m.y.), Eocene (21.2 m.y.), Oligocene (12.9 m.y.), Miocene (18.4 m.y.), and the Pliocene (3.7 m.y.). The Quaternary Period is occupied almost entirely by the Pleistocene (1.59 m.y.), and as a brief footnote, the Holocene, also called the Recent (10,000 years). This historians have traditionally subdivided into ten Millennia, eight preceding (BCE), and two included in the Common Era (CE); the last of which we have recently closed out, and entered into the Third Millennium CE.
The Miocene Epoch is noteworthy as that in which the large seagoing mammals flourished, such as the contemporary Sperm Whale (Physeter catodon), owner of the largest brain yet discovered on this planet, and may have evolved to its present form at the beginning of the Miocene.1 Not until the late Pliocene did our first protohuman ancestors make their appearance, and begin pioneering the uniquely human way of life.
Such is the myth of natural history, as represented by the best guesses and research of contemporary geologists and paleontologists. We are living today just beyond the lower-right corner of the chart, at this writing, during the first decade of the Third Millennium of the Common Era, Holocene Epoch, Quaternary Period, Cenozoic Era, in progress.
The Mesozoic Era is known generally as the "Age of Dinosaurs," and the Cenozoic Era, as the "Age of Mammals." There were actually mammals living during the Mesozoic Era. They were not very prominent, because the dinosaurs occupied all of the choice ecological niches during that immense span of time, and the mammals didn't have a chance to develop until something caused the environment on Earth to change so drastically that none of the dinosaurs survived. This gave the mammals an opportunity to fill the rich ecological niches left vacant by the now extinct dinosaurs; which occured about 66.4 million years ago, at what geologists call the "K-T boundary," the event that divides the Cretaceous and the Tertiary Periods.
The chart above is drawn to a sliding scale. That is, the relative durations of the Eras, Periods, and Epochs are accurately represented by their relative lengths on the chart, by means of "unfolding" and magnifying the relative lengths of the shorter, more recent Epochs, so they may be visually represented. By means of this device, it becomes clear that the 10,000-year Holocene Epoch – only the second half of which is believed to have been occupied by human civilization – is the thinnest "coat of paint" at the near end of an edifice stretching into unfathomable depths of time. The entire 245,000,000-year chart also occurs in the context of far earlier time-spans not represented here at all: in particular the 325,000,000-year Paleozoic Era; preceded in turn by the 1,930,000,000-year Proterozoic Eon, during which time the microbes discussed in section I.3 became prominent. They first appeared on Earth during an earlier Eon still, 3½ billion years ago. So even rolling back the tapestry of time to the beginning of the Mesozoic Era, we are only skimming the most recent 1/14 of the history of Life on Earth; to which our lives are linked in an unbroken chain.2
One thing should be quite clear from even a brief glance at the relative spans of time represented on the chart: the idea that...
...are the presumptuous conceits of the most inflated bunch of self-important snobs that have ever walked the Earth! I mean, where did these Jimmy-come-latelies come up with the infernal cheek even to imagine such ridiculous claims? It's absolutely infantile. The K-T boundary, for instance, which appears "instantaneous" on the chart, could easily have occupied the same amount of time, or even much longer, than the 5,000-year "moment" occupied, first to last, by the entire history of dominator civilization. Yet these contemporary humans, with such an inflated perception of the significance of their so-called "civilization," are the very ones who imagine they are "running things" today. They call to mind the ludicrous spectacle of a head-louse, say, standing in a forest of hair, squeaking noiselessly to the Universe, "My name is Ozymandias the Head-Louse, King of Kings. Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" Come on, get real. Who do you think you are? Anyhow?!
Although we weren't here to witness it, it seems the 243,400,000 years prior to the Quaternary Period went jogging along in a fairly "orderly fashion" – if you count "orderly" as including the reign of the dinosaurs; and whatever cosmic event (such as an 11km-diameter asteroid striking the Earth) caused the "changing of the guard" from the dinosaurs to the mammals at the end of the Cretaceous Period. And even during most of the Quaternary Period, life on Earth seems to have been "pretty good," most of the time, for most of its inhabitants. Including for us, genus Homo, who evidently made our appearance early in the Pleistocene Epoch, our Australopithecine forebears having evolved during the Upper Pliocene.3 Counting the development of Australopithecus, that's nearly three million years – not a "long time" in the context we are considering, yet still a substantial chunk of time – during which our earliest human forbears appeared on this planet, and seem to have evolved ways of living in relative harmony with one another, and with most other species. This evidently worked well enough – until some benighted soul came up with the idea behind dominator civilization, i.e. in essence, preemptive war on everyone and everything, eventually, on Earth.
I mean, in all that time – dinosaurs, volcanoes, earthquakes, and asteroids notwithstanding – life went on, and on, and on.... Individuals were born, lived, and perished; species rose and declined; continents drifted; yet nothing developed that the web of Life on Earth was not up to dealing with. And then, in the middle of the Holocene, there came among humans an astonishing and incomprehensible discontinuity. Someone, somewhere, somehow came up with the crazy idea of preempting the will of their fellows, and of enforcing their will by waging war upon all who opposed it, or were perceived as obstacles to it. And so, in the merest flash of 5,000 years, the entire globally integrated network of Life has been progressively divided up, fenced in, cut down, trashed, and annihilated by the expanding tide of preemptive, predatory, parasitic dominator civilization, which has swept all before it, and left a scorched and plundered Earth in its wake. Nice work, Homo sap. Who would have imagined it?
If you would like a detailed synopsis of where we stand today, "up to the minute," read Michael Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon.4 That'll put you straight about where we Earth-inhabitants stand after 245 million years – or if you prefer, 3½ billion years of Life on Earth; and particularly before and after the local events of 11 September 2001. We're red-lining, folks, and our nifty little idea of "civilization" that we've been taught to be so proud of, is blowing its gaskets, throwing its rods, and the wheels are coming off. Don't believe me? Stand by.... Or better yet, stand from under!
The grand sweep of history teaches that A generation comes, and a generation goes, but Earth abides. It also teaches that those who live in harmony with the web of Life may abide with her – for at least a time, and sometimes, for a good long time – and that those who do not, soon perish and are never even missed. To he who hath it shall be given. From he who hath not even what he hath shall be taken away. We Homo sapiens sapiens, as we have so presumptuously named ourselves, "wise, wise Man," are the new kid on the block here. Our ancestors seem to have gotten off to a good enough start a few million years ago, but we've run into a bit of a snag recently, which threatens to upset our whole apple cart. We may be able to put things right yet, but it isn't going to happen if at least some of us cannot sever our ties to dominator civilization, and take an entirely different approach to living.
As discussed earlier, our Pliocene and Pleistocene ancestors developed and came close to perfecting the tribal social pattern for humans, over the course of the 5.29 m.y. embraced by those two Epochs, and were going along nicely when the first dominator civilizations appeared about 5,000 years ago.5 This had evidently not been budgeted for by the metaconscious architects of the tribal pattern, or of the partnership pattern of the earliest civilizations. Tribes and partnership civilizations alike succumbed to dominator civilization everywhere it spread. Dominator civilization has been like a plague, in the face of which all prior cultures have been immunologically vacant; and so it has been, until the present moment. It remains to be seen if there is a future for humanity beyond dominator civilization.
[Return to contents of this section.]
The Prognosis for Humankind
The prognosis for the immediate "future history" of humankind is fairly simple. Of a certainty, so-called "civilization" – i.e. dominator civilization – is coming to an inglorious end, for the reason that it can no longer be sustained on Earth. At issue is the question as to whether any humans will survive the collapse of "civilization" – or indeed if anything will.
Life as a whole is extraordinarily resilient and survivable, and so is probably not in significant danger. We are today, thanks largely to "civilization," in the midst of one of the major "die-offs" that periodically punctuate geological history. Another example occurred at the end of the Cretaceous Period, as we have observed, which saw the extinction of the dinosaurs and many aquatic species. There have been other examples as well; yet, through it all, Life goes on, and on, and on....
Additionally, as I have argued in prior sections, Life itself is fundamentally metaconscious, and is able to deal with adversity in ways we might even recognize as intelligent and creative, or their analogs, if we broaden our vision somewhat. Therefore, short of the eventuality of a runaway greenhouse effect – which could end up duplicating on Earth the environment found today on Venus – I speculate that some living species are almost certain to survive the imminent collapse of "civilization." The greenhouse scenario is evidently a possibility, which for the moment we may reasonably hope will not materialize.
The prognosis for humanity then remains the single outstanding issue, and the vital question is whether some individuals and groups will manage to dig themselves out of the wreckage, after the masonry has ceased toppling. This is a highly speculative question, because pending human events are difficult to predict. We could have a nuclear or biological holocaust, whose outcome would lie entirely "in the hands of the gods." Indeed, the outcome of human events already in train seem to lie very significantly "in the hands of the gods;" yet because of the proven complementarity of parts and wholes, the choices of individual humans – so long as human choices remain possible – may have a surprisingly disproportionate influence upon the "final outcome" of human events.
In any case, I think it reasonable to assume, even in a "worst-case scenario," that if anything survives the collapse of "civilization," at least some humans will be among them. People occupy niches everywhere on Earth, and it is difficult, though not impossible, to imagine a man-made catastrophe so complete that no one survives it anywhere.
Given that people survive in sufficient numbers to gradually regenerate the race, I have a hunch (well, O.K., I hope) that such survivors will be effectively immunized against future outbreaks of the plague of dominator civilization. Unlike our Pleistocene ancestors, who had never imagined such a thing, we who survive6 will have drained to the dregs the bitter cup of "civilization," and will not be tempted to rebuild it. Many and long will be the stories we have to tell our children and grandchildren, of the horrors of the last days of "civilization," and those stories will be passed down the generations into the remote future. Additionally, the wreckage of "civilization" itself will be everywhere evident for centuries to come, and will bear mute and somber witness to future generations of the Dark Age finally come to an end. These factors and others, I imagine, will cement firmly into place the fundamental ethic of "post-civilized" tribes everywhere:
Such, anyway, is my hope and vision for the aftermath of dominator civilization, and the primary lesson I extract from "history."
[Return to contents of this section.]
Dominator and Partnership Civilizations
I would now like to draw further attention to a suite of ideas first introduced to me by Riane Eisler,7 and recommended to me by Ishmael 8 – although he didn't elaborate, and I neglected at first to follow up on his recommendation.
I began the present work on the assumption that civilization, from its inception, has been entirely identified with preemptive force and ceaseless war. The story we have been given, that is generally absorbed by the non-specialist "wo/man in the street," is that the first civilizations began to appear about 5,000 years ago in the "cradle of civilization" round about the Tigris-Euphrates River valley, characterized by the inventions of agriculture and walled cities. The Sumerian city-states, which flourished ca. -3000, are generally regarded as the prototypical exemplars of this strand of contemporary mythology. Prior to this, we are told, human culture, such as it was, consisted of stone-age barbarism and savagery, and is of little interest or relevance to the "high civilizations" that have emerged since that distant age.
In The Chalice and The Blade, Riane Eisler discloses evidence that this may be a gross oversimplification of our actual heritage. Scrutinized more closely, this period yields details – many discovered relatively recently – that add layers of surprising texture and color to the story of the earliest human civilizations. In particular, civilization – in the non-pejorative sense of a large and complex social system – does not seem after all to have emerged in a single localized "cradle." The earliest civilizations have rich Neolithic9 antecedents scattered widely throughout Anatolia (modern Turkey), the Middle East, and Eastern Europe; which, contrary to exhibiting "barbaric savagery," are noteworthy for their long-term peacefulness, and for their non-hierarchical, mutually cooperative social organization.
Eisler distinguishes between two strikingly contrasting types of civilization, or models of social organization, which she labels respectively, dominator and partnership models; or more esoterically, androcracy and and gylany.10 Androcracy derives from the Greek andros, man, and kratos, ruled; hence, androcracy is a man-ruled, or male-dominated social organization. Alternatively, the gy in gylany derives from the Greek word for woman, gyne; the l stands for link; and an refers to andros, man. Hence, gylany is a social partnership linking women and men non-hierarchically.11 Less specifically, a dominator culture can be a patriarchy, in which men rule women; or a matriarchy, in which women rule men. Both are hierarchical, and Eisler seems to agree with me that neither social structure works in practice. Androcracy is a loose synonym for patriarchy, the kind of social organism contemporary civilized mythology insists is the only right way to live.
Eisler emphasizes, on the contrary, that there is widespread archaeological evidence to support the contention that Neolithic cultures, and the early civilizations into which they evolved, were characteristically partnership cultures in which weaponry, warfare, and hierarchical organization were all conspicuous by their absence. They were also culturally rich – which is to say, they were prolific in the arts, invention, sophisticated agriculture, animal husbandry, expanding commerce, pottery, and in technologies for beautifying and enhancing the quality of life. The technologies of war and their cultural glorification, on the other hand, were conspicuously absent.
Another feature that characterized these early partnership cultures was the universal veneration of the Mother Goddess in varying, yet highly consistent forms; which gain prominence in the Paleolithic art of the late Pleistocene, and penetrate even into the contemporary androcratic civilization. Moreover, the priesthood of the Goddess usually consisted of women, or of women and men as cooperative peers, not hierarchically ranked. As bringers of Life into the world, and nurturers by nature, women were highly respected and honored, yet neither sought nor occupied positions of social domination.
In sum [Eisler writes], instead of being random and unconnected materials, the Paleolithic remains of female figurines, red ocher in burials, and vagina-shaped cowrie shells appear to be early manifestations of what was later to develop into a complex religion centering on the worship of a Mother Goddess as the source and regeneratrix of all forms of life. This Goddess worship, as James and other scholars note, survived well into historic times "in the composite figure of the Magna Mater of the Near East and the Greco-Roman world."12 We clearly see this religious continuity in such well-known deities as Isis, Nut, and Maat in Egypt; Ishtar, Astarte, and Lilith in the Fertile Crescent; Demeter, Kore, and Hera in Greece; and Atargatis, Ceres, and Cybele in Rome. Even later, in our own Judeo-Christian heritage, we can still see it in the Queen of Heaven, whose groves are burned in the Bible, in the Shekhina of Hebrew kabalistic tradition, and in the Catholic Virgin Mary, the Holy Mother of God.13
The gylanic cultural pattern predominated through the Neolithic settlements along the Aegean coasts nine thousand years ago. By -6500, as discovered at the southern Anatolian site of Çatal Hüyük, among others, Neolithic / quasi-civilized culture had achieved fully functional agriculture and animal husbandry, sophisticated architecture and planning, a flourishing commerce, and an advanced religion and mythology.14
In fact [Eisler writes], by circa 6000 B.C.E., not only was the agricultural revolution an established fact, but – to quote Mellaart – "fully agricultural societies began expanding into hitherto marginal territories such as the alluvial plains of Mesopotamia, Transcaucasia and Transcaspia on the one hand, and into southeastern Europe on the other." Moreover, "some of this contact, as in Crete and Cyprus, definitely went by sea," and in each case "the newcomers arrived with a fully fledged Neolithic economy."15
[Return to contents of this section.]
The Rise and Fall of Minoan Crete
The gylanic culture on the Mediterranean island of Crete, which being characterized by written language, survived by definition into historical, literate times, cannot be described in any other terms than as being "fully civilized"16 – again, in the non-pejorative sense of being a large and complex social system. The Cretan civilization had its inception around -6000, evidently through the immigration of Neolithic colonists from Anatolia. Their cultural and technological progress was steady, and the Minoan Crete civilization gradually took shape around a Goddess-worship characterized by an exuberant celebration of life and human creativity. Many useful arts were developed to a high state of refinement during the first 4,000 years of Cretan culture.
By -2000, well into the Bronze Age, while the rest of the civilized world were demoting their goddesses to subsidiary positions relative to the male gods of warlike androcratic invaders with strong affinities with the technologies of war; on Crete where the gylanic culture persisted, there were in this period still no signs of war. The arts continued to flourish, the economy remained sound, and Goddess-worship prevailed, even after the Mycenaean conquest of Crete in the fifteenth century.17
For here [Eisler writes] we have a rich technologically and culturally advanced civilization in which, as archaeologists Hans-Günther Buchholtz and Vassos Karageorghis write, "all the artistic media – in fact, life in its totality as well as death – were deeply entrenched in an all-pervasive, ubiquitous religion." But in marked contrast to other high civilizations of the time, this religion – centering on the worship of the Goddess – seems to have both reflected and reinforced a social order in which, to quote Nicolas Platon, "the fear of death was almost obliterated by the ubiquitous joy of living."18
The foundation, then, of the uniquely peaceful, life-loving, gylanic Cretan civilization was their Goddess-centered mythology; which produced a partnership culture, as opposed to the dominator cultures common to androcratic civilizations founded upon mythologies featuring male deities. This is a social pattern that Eisler highlights repeatedly: Peace prevails in gylanic cultures in which men and women are social peers. War prevails in androcratic cultures in which females are dominated by males. The former spring from Goddess-centered mythologies; the latter spring from God-centered mythologies. Is this not a profoundly illuminating insight?!
Crete, by the way, is noteworthy for another unique feature: there was evidently no poverty in Minoan Crete.
This is not to say that Crete was richer than, or even as rich as, Egypt or Babylon [writes Eisler]. But in view of the economic and social gulf between those on top and bottom that characterized other "high" civilizations, it is important to note that the way Crete used and distributed its wealth was apparently from the beginning markedly different.19
This is dangerous information, from the point of view of the prevailing androcracy, and no pains have been spared, over the millennia and centuries, to stamp it out utterly.20 How the well-established facts about gylanic partnership cultures have remained so universally ignored in the circles of anthropological and historical scholarship, and have been assiduously excluded from our popular cultural heritage, may be appropriately termed "the Grandmother of all conspiracy theories."
Were you ever taught in school, for instance, about the glorious, culturally rich, gylanic civilization on Crete, to which war was a stranger for over four thousand years? Ah yes, I remember now: something about how they used to entertain themselves with acrobatic displays, somersaulting over the horns of live bulls, wasn't it? I remember a picture of that in my Fourth Grade history text. Yes, and I remember a crack some Cretan is said to have made that "All Cretans are liars." But he was found later not to have been telling the truth. Anything about Goddess worship? Gosh, I don't remember anything like that.... Ho-hum, it must not have been important enough to warrant comment. Otherwise, our fine teachers would surely have mentioned it. Wouldn't they?
Yet I remember hearing plenty about the glories of Periclean Athens, and all their great philosophers, playwrights, architects, and sculptors. It turns out all those fellows – fellows, mind you, not women (although that wasn't particularly emphasized) – were supported by the labor of an enormous population of slaves (Athenian women were slaves too), conquered in distant lands by the (for a time) invincible Athenian navy. (That bit about the slaves wasn't particularly emphasized either.) And the Golden Age of Athens collapsed in the convulsion of the Peloponnesian War after only a single generation.
Now you tell me: which do you suppose is more historically significant, a civilization that enjoyed from its earliest antecedents over four thousand years of peace, or a civilization that flourished for a single generation, and then tore itself to pieces? Our histories are full of such meticulously selected stuff. It's the exclusive history of androcracy: the only right way to live, so we are told, in countless overt and covert ways, over, and over, and over, ad infinitum, ad nauseam. If androcracy really is the only right way to live, then why does it have to be so constantly, vigilantly, and painstakingly enforced? And why such a studied denial and deliberate evasion of the many gylanic partnership cultures that spontaneously arose before androcracy ever put in an appearance? There's something mighty fishy going on, don't you think so? Could it be there's some sort of a hidden agenda here?
[Return to contents of this section.]
The Revised History of Old Europe
Actually, the agenda isn't very well hidden, once it's been pointed out, as Riane Eisler, Marija Gimbutas, and others clearly have done. The revised history of the rise of civilization in what archaeologists call "Old Europe," on the basis of heretofore overlooked, ignored, and / or recently discovered evidence, goes something like this:
Along about 9,000 to 8,500 years ago, settled villages began to appear along the Aegean coasts, characterized by agricultural food production. These expanded into fully developed Neolithic settlements in the Aegean, Balkan, and Adriatic regions; featuring large villages of closely grouped adobe and timber houses, the first temples, extended commerce, coastal and blue-water navigation, agriculture, and domesticated animals, not including horses.
By 8,000 to 7,500 years ago, these gylanic cultures had spread into what is today Yugoslavia, Hungary, and Romania along the lower and middle Danube, and into central Bulgaria and the western Ukraine. Five hundred years later, villages were larger and had spread into Holland, Germany, southern Poland, Moravia, and Bohemia. Sacred scripts were employed in religious practices, and copper smithing appeared in Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria. During the following thousand years (-5000 to -4000) the gylanic cultures of Old Europe reached their peak. Two-story temples were built, pottery-making was perfected, trade expanded, and artifacts in copper and gold proliferated.21
Now, where exactly one should draw the line between Upper Neolithic and "fully civilized" cultures may not be easy to define with precision. The point to ponder here is that the evolutionary track being followed throughout this progression was established by a clear gylanic trend of Goddess-worshiping partnership cultures, distinct from the androcratic dominator cultures that followed them.
Then, starting at about -4300, all this began to change. Out of the Eurasian steppe there came, first a few, later multitudes of mounted invaders bearing something to which the settled and settling Neolithic gylanic cultures were quite unaccustomed: war, conquest, plunder, and rapine. Eisler and Gimbutas call them Kurgans.
The Kurgans [Eisler writes] 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.22
In three major waves, between ca. -4300 and -4200; ca. -3400 and -3200; and ca. -3000 and -2800, the Kurgans rode out of the East, and gradually brought the advance of gylanic civilization to a complete standstill.
Ruled by powerful priests and warriors [Eisler continues], 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.23
There were other warlike tribes, most notably the Hebrews who invaded Canaan, first in small numbers from Ur, and later in large numbers from Egypt. Whether they were related to the Kurgans is uncertain; yet it is clear that the Hebrews and the Kurgans were alike in one important respect: they were both warlike peoples led by androcratic priesthoods, in worship of angry, male deities; and they imposed their ideologies by force upon those they subdued.
The advance of the androcratic warrior-pastoralists into the Old European domains of the gylanic agriculturalists brought with it a gradual but profound cultural metamorphosis. Once-ubiquitous Goddess figurines disappeared, and images of weapons, and weapon-wielding male deities proliferated. Unprotected valley villages vanished, to be replaced by hill forts and fortified redoubts. Reverence for the power to engender and nurture Life was replaced by lust for the power to destroy. Women, who had been honored partners with men in an egalitarian celebration of la joie de vivre, were reduced to the status of slaves, and the property of men. And the Goddess, once universally recognized as She Who engendered all Life, was demoted to the War-God's consort.
In this changed atmosphere, culture languished: the arts died; sophisticated craftsmanship degenerated; beautiful pottery became merely adequate; the celebration of life was transformed into the worship of death. Now only the strongest and most brutal of men ascended into positions of power, wealth, and prestige, and the fluid social orders of the past were frozen into rigid hierarchies.
After the conquest of the partnership cultures by the dominator cultures was complete, the wheels of "progress" began turning once again, and what are generally recognized today as the "first civilizations" began their march toward an entirely different destiny than the one toward which their gylanic predecessors had been aimed. For the dominators were then, and have been ever since, at war with everything and everyone, even including themselves and each other; and that agenda can proceed only so far before it self-destructs. We live today in the time of that inevitable and final self-destruction.
[Return to contents of this section.]
Lessons From Old Europe
Nevertheless, we may extract some valuable lessons from this revised history, which has been kept hidden with meticulous care by the androcratic dominators; because they rely upon the carefully cultivated myth, or meme, that "civilization," as they have defined it, consisting of rigid hierarchies of domination and slavery, is the only right way to live, and is the only way "civilized people" have ever lived in this world. We have seen that this has always been a lie, and that, lo and behold! there have been cultures, and fully developed civilizations even, in our meticulously edited past that have evolved spontaneously along entirely different lines – and have enjoyed as a matter of course uninterrupted peace for thousands of years!
More than this, we have seen a clear and very simple difference in social pattern between dominator and partnership cultures, viz. that dominator cultures are hierarchical, starting at the most basic and fundamental level of the relationship between women and men; and that partnership cultures are based, first and foremost, upon co-equal partnerships between women and men. We may extract from this the very simple and practical lesson that we will continue to reap the results of our "history," namely war, chaos, and self-destruction, so long as we continue to support in any way the oppression of women by men; and that we may confidently expect to reap the reward of endless peace at such time, and no sooner, as we cease our hierarchical male / female social structures, and form social structures characterized at bottom upon co-equal partnerships between men and women.
For me, this is an insight of incalculable value, for it is simple, easily comprehended, and it furnishes a very specific point of focus for what we have to do, any of us who are really serious about leaving behind our legacy of war and self-destruction, and fully intend to live in a world of sustained and sustainable peace. Men, make your peace with the women in your life, near and far, within you and without. For without this vital component securely in place in the personal lives of individuals, couples, families, and tribes, no sustainable social pattern will emerge, and the ideals of peace, justice, and liberty will remain unattainable mirages in the war-torn lives of humans on Earth – until, if necessary, there are no humans at all left alive upon the Earth. "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Let's make Mama happy!
Women... you already know what to do, for you carry within you the nature, and the nurture, of the Goddess. Be who you are, and stop accepting the definition of yourselves given you by your male dominators; by those who have elevated the counterfeit "power" of "death" over the Absolute and Invincible Power of Life. You are by your inmost nature, already on the winning team! You are who you're supposed to be, and you're at the right place, at the right time, right here, right now!
Shucks. There just are not the words to express it. You know what to do; and I do; and we're doing it. It is sufficient. Participate fully in, and enjoy the miraculous metamorphosis of our dysfunctional dominator culture into the partnership with all Life that will transform our nightmare world into one of lasting peace – and Paradise on Earth.24
[Return to contents of this section.]
1. Mind in the Waters: A Book to Celebrate the Consciousness of Whales and Dolphins, assembled by Joan McIntyre, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco, 1974, p. 54. See also the poem, Deep Thoughts by J. Harmon Grahn.
2. For your amusement, and possible erudition, see the poem, Evolution by Langdon Smith, 1858-1908.
3. Grahame Clark, World Prehistory In New Perspective: An Illustrated Third Edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, London, New York, Melbourne, 1977, pp. 4-5.
4. Ruppert, 2004.
5. This mythological account does not consider alternative myths, such as that of Atlantis, and / or other possible "prehistoric" civilizations – more for the sake of simplicity and narrative consistency than for preference of the "scientific / rational myth" over others. It is entirely possible that the scourge of dominator civilization is not even of terrestrial origin: it may have originated with "lizards from outer space," for all I know. These possibilities are not essential to the present argument, however, and so are ignored. Thus the "5,000-year" figure attached here to the appearance of civilization may be more metaphorical than literal. Whenever dominator civilization appeared, and wherever it originated, it was, and remains, a plague; and if some among us do not find a "cure" for it pretty damn quick, our story on Earth is at an end. However, see subsection Dominator and Partnership Civilizations, below, and section II.2 for more in-depth consideration, especially of "prehistoric" partnership civilizations.
6. In imagining the collapse of civilization, and the lives of its survivors, why not include ourselves in the scenario? True, we may perish, and the probabilities may even be against us. Yet why assume so in anticipation? The very fact that you are reading this means you're at least thinking about it. Doesn't this give you a measurable advantage over the multitudes who are not even giving it a thought?
7. Riane Eisler, The Chalice and The Blade: Our History, Our Future, HarperSanFrancisco, A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1987.
8. Quinn, 1992, p. 247.
9. Characterized by the invention or discovery of agriculture.
10. Eisler, 1987, p. 105.
11. Loc. cit.
12. "James, Prehistoric Religion, 147-49. For more recent and comprehensive analysis of this religious evolution and the culture it reflected, see Marija Gimbutas, Evolution of Old Europe and Its Indo-Europeanization: The Prehistory of East Central Europe (unpublished manuscript).
"As used in this book, the term Goddess refers to the ancient conceptualization of the powers governing the universe in female form. Hence, Goddess and terms such as Great Mother and Creatrix are capitalized." (Eisler's footnote, italics in original.)
13. Eisler, 1987, pp. 6-7.
14. Ibid., p. 11.
15. Loc. cit., quoting James Mellaart, The Neolithic of the Near East, Scribner, New York, 1975, p. 275.
16. See Richard Rudgley, The Lost Civilizations of the Stone Age, THE FREE PRESS, A Division of Simon & Schuster Inc, New York, 1999, pp. 58-85 for an extensive discussion of Paleolithic and Neolithic precursors to the first "authoritatively acknowledged" examples of "true writing" during "civilized" times. See also Marija Gimbutas, The Language of the Goddess, HarperSanFrancisco, A Division of HarperCollinsPublishers, 1989 for an in-depth treatment of the evolution of written language.
17. Eisler, 1987, pp. 30-1.
18. Ibid., p. 32, quoting Hans GŁnther Buchholtz and Vassos Karageorghis, Prehistoric Greece and Cyprus: An Archaeological Handbook, Phaidon, London, 1973, p. 20; and Nicolas Platon, Crete, Nagel Publishers, Geneva, 1966, p.148.
19. Ibid., pp. 32-3.
20. See Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, Doubleday, New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Auckland, 2003, and Quinn, 1996, for fictional portrayals of the lengths to which the androcratic "authorities" will go in efforts to obliterate all traces of gylanic culture, and defend androcratic culture.
21. Paraphrased from Marija Gimbutas's Chronology of the Flowering and Destruction of Old European Culture (ca. 7000 B.C.E. to 2500 B.C.E.), Eisler, 1987, p. 250.
22. Eisler, 1987, p. 44. "Modern scholarship no longer uses the term Indo-European as racial identity," Eisler explains in her footnote. "Indo-European refers to a group of languages with common roots that are found from the British Isles to the Bay of Bengal. The more recent field research of physical anthropologists demonstrates that the so-called Indo-Europeans were of different racial stocks. The original use of the term by western European scholars in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to refer to both race and language was part of a commonly held ideology that sought to classify the world by race, placing great value on racial purity, which they saw affirmed by the Hindu caste system. See Louis Fisher, The Life of Mahatma Gandhi (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), 138-41, for an interesting discussion of the earlier culture." (Eisler's footnote.) See also Bloom, 1995, Worldviews as the Welding Torch of the Hierarchical Chain, pp. 210-14, for a description of the conquest of India.
23. Eisler, 1987, loc. cit.
24. It's a nice thought, perhaps; but there may be more to it than simply deciding to put to rights the warped relationships between the feminine and masculine elements of ourselves and our cultures. See the Inconclusion to section II.7 for a fuller discussion of what may be involved.
Metaconsciousness: Mythology for a Post-Civilized World
I.7 | Contents | I.9