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The Term Matriarchy
Description of Matriarchy
The Emotional Background of the Patriarchal Paradigm

Emergence of a Paradigm

This essay is an invitation to reflect about modern world by studying our emotional fundamentals which create the characteristics of culture and inversely are formed by culture themselves.

I assume that human life as animal is lived in a flowing emotional dynamic, which builds the basic scenario in every moment where all our actions start out.

Further I assume that all human actions are determined not by ratio but by emotions (whishes, preferences, fears, ambitions). If we claim to be rational, then we suppress - to ourselves and others - the emotional sources on which our rational arguments ground.
At the same time I think, that living, acting or moving inside a given culture is carried by various configurations of emotions which determine what humans of this culture see or do not see. These configurations or patterns of emotions set up the meanings of their actions, establish the content of their symbolization and the course of their thinking in a way that settles in fact the identity of their culture. 
Finally I believe that our understanding of what we do or omit will improve, if we study the emotional fundamentals of our culture. And maybe we can change our actions by becoming conscious of these cultural fundamentals.

What is a culture?

Historically we started as humans in the family of two legged primates when language came up as form of interconnection of actions on the basic of consent. This defined our line. Language works only with agreement of everybody (consent), because otherwise there is no mutual understanding. Our line emerged when this consent of language was maintained from generation to generation and became a standard among a certain group of primates.

While this happened the historical process of emotional imprint was initiated, because every new generation learned language and put it into action of consent, like instituted in culture. Actually humankind was brought into existence when our ancestors began to live in conversation by weaving together emotional imprint with actions of language. The complex term 'conversation' includes also, exchanges of thoughts, ideas and opinions, dialogues, discussions etc.

Intercultural changes

If we assume, a culture as a way of life which is a closed net of manners (conversations), than a culture arises as soon as a society begins to conserve this way of life. And vice versa it disappears or changes if the net of manners is not preserved anymore.
Let us focus now on two special issues. One is the European patriarchal paradigm including all individuals of industrial countries. The other is the culture that preceded the newer paradigm and which is called matriarchal.  Both of them distinguish in their nets of manners and consequently distinguish in their emotions and resultant actions.

Our wishes lead us

What happened in humans' history? The history of humankind follows the way of humanly wishes, preferences and favors. These wishes, preferences and favors determine in every given moment, what we do. Our actions are not influenced by the availability of natural resources or the economic possibilities or whatever external circumstances.

The intertwinement of our biology with our culture produces in every moment our whishes and preferences and determines at the very same moment our actions and consequently what appears to us as possibilities or chances.
That also is the case when we seem to act under compulsion of circumstances. We always do, what we will, either directly, because we want this to do, or indirectly because we want the outcome of what we do, even if we do not like our doing so.

We have to understand these correlations; otherwise we cannot be aware of what we do as cultural beings, because we do not realize that our emotions lead us and that they are the source of our actions inside of the cultural paradigm. The history of humankind stays unexplainable, too, if we do not recognize that the course of human actions follows the course of human desires.

The patriarchal paradigm

The sheer patriarchal aspects of our way of life in all industrial countries are characterized through a closed network of manners, what we call patriarchy. This network of patriarchal conversations performs a kind of life where fight, competition, hierarchy, authority, power, growth, development, control of natural resources, rational justification of control and domination of others through the possession of the truth is significant.

For instance, in our patriarchal nations we speak of fighting against poverty and exploitation, if we want correct social inequity. Or we call it fight against pollution of the environment, if we want to keep our surroundings clean. Or we say that we defy natural force when we confront a natural phenomenon that means a catastrophe to us.

Possession is fundamental in the patriarchal paradigm. We live with ownership and we act starting from there, as if it was legitimately to limit the mobility of others in certain fields, while we retain the privileges of the freedom of action for ourselves. We do so with the entitlement of the ownership rights of which we name natural resources, ideas or the truth.

In patriarchy we distrust the self determination of other individuals, especially children's. But permanently we claim for ourselves the right to make decisions about what is right or wrong for others. This is a continuous attempt to control life of anyone else. We live hierarchical, demand obedience from each other and proclaim that it would not be possible to live together orderly without authority and subordination.

The Matriarchal Culture

The members of matriarchal cultures had - and still have in some regions of the world - a completely unique network of manners. The evidence and discoveries of archaeology, anthropology, ethnology and modern studies of matriarchy enables us nowadays to study these societies' way of life and gives us direct access to them.

We can reconstruct the principles of their network of conversation: first from the archaeological discoveries of ancient matriarchies, second from the knowledge of peoples who still live in such cultures and third from non-patriarchal manners which still exist in the mesh of our net of manners today.

The humans who lived for example in Europe, Africa or Minor Asia before 5000 B.C.E. have been gatherers and farmers and of course they knew all kinds of crafts. They did not fortify their cities and did not know hierarchical differences between men and women, men and men, women and women or old and young. Ancient matriarchal cities had had a size up to approximately 10,000 inhabitants, just not more to stay autarkic. Matriarchal economics is always the economy of subsistence.

How did matriarchal people live?

To describe matriarchal societies is difficult for several reasons.

First our language and system of writing is linear and can spread out only vertically or horizontally. Our writing is unable to represent the world of ideas of the ancient, which is indicated by a shape of a circle implicating a magic dimension (Example: The Indian Medicine Wheel).

Second: Not every matriarchal society - ancient or current - looks the same on first sight, although they all have an identical network of conversation. Therefore I will use an example of a still living society, which is very good documented by its member Makilam: The Kabyles, which belong to the people of Berbers and live in the North of Algeria. (see The Magical Life of Berber Women in Kabylia and Symbols and Magic in the Arts of Kabyle Women

The cultivation of the earth

Characteristically a closed matriarchal society produces everyday sustenance only for their own inhabitants, on the land in and around their village. The very high civilized late matriarchies (Old Egypt, Crete, Old Sumer, etc.) also traded worldwide. Worries about productivity, rentability or competition are unknown.

Inside the kin, who is spread over the village, people exchange goods and services. So the village is place of production, consumption and reproduction and is completely independent.

In matriarchal tribes private ownership is unknown. Housing and land belong to all members, because the earth represents a holy good, inherited from the ancestors, that has to be passed on to the next generation. In addition the cultivation of land is a ritual act in harmony within the cycle of the seasons, in order not to speed up harvests and not to disturb the natural development.

All activities of traditional societies are determined by rituals in balance with nature. After an old down handed ritual of gestures - passed on from generation to generation by the mothers to the daughters - the women are modelling pottery, create woven goods or transform products of earth into food.

Division of labor does not exist, but a wholeness of temporal successive steps, which depend on the cycle of sun and moon. The matriarchal people are living in a daily symbiosis with nature and the relationship of humans to nature is determined by a view that includes the whole.

Cult of family and ancestors

Matriarchal societies keep very often unrecognized as such, because one of the men's jobs is to represent the clan outside. Since foreigners negotiate only with men and see women merely at work if ever, they are not and cannot be aware of the different social structure of a matriarchal people.

The politics are made in the houses on the principle of consent where every single person has a voice. If more extensive decisions are due, smaller groups like a family find consent and send a representative to the gathering of the clan, they do the same on behalf of the family and send one to the gathering of the tribe and so on. The representatives go forth and back until everybody agrees. In this political structure judges, policemen or prisons do not exist.

It is not known, that a matriarchal kin tried to subdue a neighbour. Personal affairs are managed verbally, because registry offices, administration or land offices do not exist.

A person lives hers or his social identity as a part of the group, while individuality is not only respected but supported. His or hers responsibility is directed to the family and for his/her defence one always knows the clan behind her/him.

As a result of this collective consciousness, nobody ever feels isolated, but rather protected.

Matriarchal life could and can never be centered around actions, which ground on ownership of the truth. Everything is obvious and visible for those, who live in an always steady way of a constantly returning cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Earth nourishes everybody and everything in that way. Death, by the way, always determines the passage of one phase to the next. For instance fire ends the circle of pottery making and also transforms food, which has to be cooked before eating.

Culture is conservative

Cultures are conservative because they are the media which bring forth their members throughout growing up and these members establish culture through their process of life. It is obvious, that the network of conversations in matriarchal cultures are not based on war, fight, mutual rejection in competition, excluding, ownership, capture, authority and obedience, power and control, good and bad, tolerance and intolerance, violence, aggression and exploitation.

It is quite the opposite: it is participation, solidarity, collaboration, sharing, understanding, agreement, respect und common inspiration.

The fact that these words still exist in our modern patriarchal languages indicates that the corresponding actions are part of today's life, too. But they are reserved for special occasions; anyhow they are not used to describe our general way of life. They are used to conjure up utopian situations, visions, and are rather appropriate for pupils than for an adults 'real' life.

We live in competition, i.e. we lead a fight with the goal of mutual deactivation. That way we establish hierarchies of privileges und claim that this would guarantee social progression, where the best will select themselves and rise up. The patriarchal paradigm teaches us that different opinions means fight or quarrel and arguments are weapons.

Above all we describe harmonious relations as peaceful, i.e. the opposite of war, as if war would be the essential human activity!

The emotional imprint

In their earliest matriarchal childhood girls and boys grow up with deeply physical contact with their mothers, incorporated into the biological process to become integrated human beings with functional self-consciousness and awareness of their bodies.

So the children experience reappearing physical encounters in total trust and acceptance which are the basics of an individual's future social life. Cooperation not competition, respect not rejection, sharing not possession, are the emotional fundamentals.

Patriarchy is different for our kids: Due to the expectations of mother and father demands turn up, which are supposed to prepare children for 'real' life - adult life. Such demands negate the children's emotions.

Demands, which will be justified as religious truths or traditional values. Demands, which are postulated to be legitimate or will be 'proved' with rational arguments based on the same emotions that they shall justify. 

Children have to learn to defend their possessions, to accept limits for their liberty of action, which do not originate in harmony of life, but in accomplishment of ownership rights by force.

Further: In the beginning of life children experience their bodies as pleasant and beautiful within the fondling of their mother and full of playful joy in physical encounters with their siblings. But soon the mother refuses the kids fondling as not only just in the way but as obscene activities one has to feel shame about.

Kids do not understand, but have no possibilities of withstanding, what happens to them without being turned down or be punished as stubborn, stupid or wayward. And obediently they take over the cultural imprint themselves including what is demanded.

Increasingly they learn to compete, take in possession, governing and control other people as expression of power and autonomy. They start to attach more value to tolerance than respect, appearance more than integrity, hierarchy and authority more than honesty and trust, growth and wealth more than harmony and balance.

And finally they consider reproduction as a transcendent value for woman to achieve herself.

Biologically becoming a human being is built on growing into language and into emotion, where social coexistence will be based on love; otherwise the process of socialization will be heavily disordered.

According to the report of monk Salimbene of Parma Frederick the Great, King of Prussia ask the question of which language would be the primal language. In an experiment babies were provided only with the absolutely necessary and tried to be raised without love and without speaking in their presence. The result was that all children died after a while. 

As insane that experiment was, it shows that we become social beings within the intimacy with our mothers in our childhood. Children who do not grow up from early age within total confidence and acceptance of their mother do not develop to a well integrated social being.

'When all the shelter and stimulus of his experience in arms have been given in full measure, the baby can look forward, outward, to the world beyond his mother, sure of himself and accustomed to a well-being that his nature tends to maintain. He is expectant of the next set of appropriate experiences.' (Liedloff) 

The way of growing up in early childhood makes all the differences between different habits.

Therefore life in a matriarchal culture cannot be lived as a non-stopping fight and war for domination and power, because control and taking possession do not exist. If we have a look to the cult of ancient matriarchies, we will see figurines or rock painting which speak the language of dynamical harmony of existence.

Power, authority and domination simply do not fit. Human life in a Matriarchy is always part of a network of processes and relations and never depends on a singular characteristic. Anything that exists is nothing in itself or comes from itself; it is what it is only in relatedness with everything else.

The baby grows up in a process of life where the world is getting more and more complex, with new activities and responsibility that broadens, but always in joyful participation of every aspect of the world as a whole.

Matriarchal people live their lives in total responsibility. Acting responsible means to be completely conscious about the own actions and their consequences and act from the acceptance of these consequences.

Patriarchal thinking is linear by its nature. It happens on a background of taking possession and control and moves primarily to certain result or outcome and is blind for the relatedness of all that is. Therefore patriarchal thinking is systemic irresponsible. It excludes.
To live in fully relatedness and responsibility requires the emotional openness to the multi-dimensions of life that only comes from the biology of love.

The beginning of a new paradigm

Earlier I mentioned networks of conversation, which are preserved as way of life by the community. To understand how paradigm change can happen we have to look at the circumstances who initiate the alteration of the network of conversation that determines the alteration.

Also the change cannot happen without change of the emotional imprint. So let us reconstruct, what has happened in history.

Archaeology tells us, that pre-patriarchal European cultures have been conquered and destroyed brutally by Indo-European nomads, which came 6500 years ago from east. At this time or later patriarchal societies emerged in different places all over the world. As an example I will use James DeMeos impressive study, the Saharasia-Theses.

'A massive climate change shook the ancient world, when approximately 6000 years ago vast areas of lush grassland and forest in the Old World began to quickly dry out and convert into harsh desert. The vast Sahara Desert, Arabian Desert, and the giant deserts of the Middle East and Central Asia simply did not exist prior to 4000 B.C.E.' (DeMeo).  

The global warm-up after the Ice-Ages forced the drying-out of this vast desert region, which is since DeMeo established as 'Saharasia', and the drier conditions created social and emotional havoc among developing human agricultural societies in these same regions.

Other researchers, like Heide Göttner-Abendroth, Wilhelm Reich, Riane Eisler or Humberto Maturana came to similar conclusions.

From harmony to traumatization

To experience one or two poor crops is one thing, to see your starving kin, your village, or cities disappear is another.

'Recent eyewitness reports of culture-change occurring during famine and starvation conditions indicate a resultant breakdown of social and family bonds. Under the most severe famine conditions, husbands often leave their wives and children in search of food; they may or may not return. Starving children and elderly family members are eventually abandoned to struggle on their own, or to die. Children may form roving bands dedicated to stealing food, and the remaining social fabric may be utterly torn apart. The maternal-infant bond appears to endure the longest, but eventually starving mothers will also abandon their young.' (DeMeo)

Patriarchal origins

People who lived before in a harmonious situation with a 'giving earth' suddenly had to confront the quick dry up of land and forest. For a certain time and several generations they moved to fertile regions and started settlement over again. But the dryness caught up. They had to keep moving, starting over again and again until they could not plant and harvest any more crops.

The society could not fall back into the stage of gatherers and hunters, because there was nothing to gather and nothing to hunt in dry land. So they became nomads who followed the yearly migration of wild animal herds to have food like the Laplanders hike with the reindeer herds until today.

In 4000 and later dryness and resulting rural migration become obvious. In Central Asia the settlements transferred to the plains and river beds, that indicates the comedown of big societies.

These people were no herdsmen because they did not own these animals which they followed, although they lived on them. They did not limit the mobility of these herds so other animals like wolves, co-eaters, had access to them, too. With other words: at this time our matriarchal ancestors have not been herdsmen, because they did not restrict the access to the herds they lived on, and they did not do this because the emotional imprint of possession was not part of their way of life.

From hunting to murder

Raising domesticated animals asks for a different way of life, like caring and fostering, and they are the main characteristics of emotional imprint which determines the bringing up of domestic animals and not to possess them.

Therefore the culture of herdsmen - the pastoral network of conversation - emerges, when members of a human society start to prohibit the customary access to the food resources (the herds which were followed) to other regular joining eaters, like predators.

And if they did this on a regular everyday behaviour this became a habit through upbringing the children and passing it on from one generation to the next.

The herdsmen's way of life cannot have emerged without fundamental emotional changes, which made it possible, and these emotional changes must have happened in the process of the acceptance of herdsmen ship itself.

What exactly happened during the process of acceptance to be herdsmen? The first step was the unconscious action of occupation, i.e. fixing a limit for co-eaters to disallow access to their regular food, the herd.

The realization of setting such an operational boundary must have led to kill the participating predators. To take the life of an animal was nothing new for our ancestors; hunters did it always to feed their families. But to kill an animal to have something to eat or to kill animals to keep them away from their natural food resources systematically are actions with very different emotional preconditions.

In the first case the hunter executes a sacred rite, an act which belongs to the context of life: A life will be taken in order that another can live.

In the second case the murderer aims directly at the life of the killed animal and the reason is not, that a life is taken to support another one. In the second case life is destroyed to acquire possession; and possession is defined just by this act.

The emotions which constitute these completely different actions are diametrical opposed. In the first case the hunter who takes the life of an animal is thankful. In the second case the killed animal is a threat for a man-made order established by becoming herdsmen, where the person who kills the animal is proud. Therefore I use the term hunting for the first case and murder for the second.

Note that in that moment when the emotions which define those actions (thankfulness, pride) become visible also comes in sight, that the first action makes the animal a friend, the second an enemy.

So the enemy came into being with herdsmanship, the enemy as the one whose life is taken to secure the new order, by fighting to get in possession of something.

In addition a loss of confidence happened as a result of keeping permanent necessary attention to protect the herd and exclude other eaters. The emotion of insecurity emerged.

But more: with this insecurity another emotion of security became apparent when killing and excluding other animals. With this change of emotional imprint and the connected actions, a further alteration was brought about: enmity, as the recurrent desire to negate the other. With enmity emerged the enemy and therewith the instruments of hunting became weapons, because they were used now to kill the joining eaters.

By hindering others to access natural resources herdsman ship emerged. In this process this habit became a characteristic of the normal life of these families und had been passed from generation to generation. The network of conversation founded in pastoral patriarchal life became the regular way of life in the new paradigm, independent of currently lived herdsmanship.

The consequences are: because new habits changed the emotions and following actions, the network of conversation changed accordingly. If these are passed down from generation to generation, i.e. they will be preserved, than we have a paradigm change.

Friend or enemy?

Human actions and emotions as such can be lived in different fields, i.e. what one learns in one part of living and being can be easily transferred to another part. As soon as enmity and possession had been learned, they could be lived as well in relation to land, ideas or convictions, if the circumstances allowed that.

If 'the other' is the enemy, individualism is impossible. Confidence and trust into the natural harmony of life got lost and was replaced by worries about the availability of livelihood.

The longing for security was satisfied by expansion of the herds. In that process three further changes in the dynamics of emotions happened: permanent desire of accumulation of things, which give security; the high esteem of growth as form of getting security, and the fearful look at the death as source of pain and total loss.

In fact, the esteem of growth results in actions, which open the floodgate to exponential growth of population: every kind of birth control is prohibited - opposed to the matriarchal view of fertility as a cyclic system of life and dead. With time also women and children lost their freedom and became possessions due to their connection to sexuality and reproduction and became a source of wealth and with that security. At the same time they are 'the other' and therefore 'the enemy'.

Synopsis: Inside the matriarchal culture another paradigm could emerge as a result of vast changes of climates. The nurturers and caretakers, the women, were substituted by men, who were more mobile in a state of emergency and had the ability of linear thinking, what was necessary at the edge of life or dead.

There was no room for integrating or ethical thoughts and they did their job of surviving. By becoming herdsmen the male kin members saved their existence - not more, not less. The price was to become murderers.

Therefore 'matriarchy' is a taboo. Patriarchy is not a culture and neither a way of life of its own; it is based on and defined by matriarchal elements, just twisted and bended and perverted into the opposite, but still reconstructible.

The patriarchal paradigm has no tradition, no mythology, and no cult, that does not lead to matriarchal roots. We live in a pseudo-society that sits on its history like a parasite on a tree.

The current matriarchal societies show us: without massive pressure from outside no other paradigm will emerge. It is just the natural continuum that moves on from one generation to the next for thousands of years.   

 

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