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Chalice’s Restorant

by brittb on January 12th, 2008

A True Fable:

I was recently introduced to Riane Eisler’s seminal work, “The Chalice and the Blade“. Isabel Allende described it this way:

Some books are like revelations, they open the spirit to unimaginable possibilities. The Chalice and the Blade is one of those magnificent key books that can transform us and…initiate fundamental changes in the world. With the most passionate eloquence, Riane Eisler proves that the dream of peace is not an impossible utopia.

The book reports that most of Europe lived in peaceful, undefended villages before a series of invasions from the area of the Caucassas mountains. Before the invasion, as far back as the archeological record reveals, these societies were matriarchies. After the invasions, Europe became a patriarchy, enthralled by competition and conquest and male superiority. Eisler had suggested that these models of peacefulness are yet attainable, if we can back away from the Dominant Father model.

The Horse Race vs. the Village

Last Wednesday, Dave Winer wrote What if our political process became conscious? Doc Searls declares it to be “the best post on politics I’ve read in a long while. It concludes”,

I’m not expecting very much from people who live “Inside the Beltway.” I don’t live there, never have, don’t even like visiting the place. To me it’s much like the arrogance of Silicon Valley. You can’t pop out every four years, get us to vote for you and then go back into your nest. Politics belongs to all of us, in this country, the people are the government. We really lost our way, now it’s time to come back. It’s the change that’s happening in everything, decentralization, disintermediation. Obama speaks of a plurality, his campaign isn’t about a mere election, it’s about changing the way we do things.

My advice to candidates going back to Dean was and is to start implementing the change you seek before the election, while you have the full attention of the electorate. Ask us to give money, not to buy ads, but to buy health insurance for 50,000 uninsured people in a particular state, so we can see how powerful we are collectively, how we can do good, starting right now. We yearn for this, to feel our muscles flex collectively, and individually to make a difference, not just in your hype, but in real terms. Hillary Clinton could have gotten up yesterday and said “There’s no time to waste. We can’t wait until January 2009 to solve the problems. Let’s start right now.”

Maybe she won’t get elected, but getting us organized now would make it more likely.

JFK: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

See how that works??

You really should read all of Dave’s post and Doc’s last 3 paragraphs stressing the difference between elections and governance, quoting a point Dave made earlier in his post:

What the electorate needs is to hire someone to lead us for the four years between elections. It needs someone who will ground our collective behavior in something resembling reality.

In a conversation around this stage in the last presidential election, Phil Windley pointed out that democracies are about two things: elections and governance. We care disproportionately about the former, because elections make great stories, and are easy to explain with sports and war metaphors. But elections are how we hire those who run our governments. We need to care about what they’ll do in reality. Or what we’ll do in reality. The idea isn’t just to change how elections happen, but how governance works as well.

Easier said than done. But we need to do it.

In an email last week, a friend suggested that maybe the problem is that our society lacks the vocabulary and values to operate as a village rather than a sports event. Perhaps there’s a framework within which we can deploy ORGware to address the issues that Dave Winer and Doc Searls care so much about:

What if there were a council of remarkable women? By appropriately utilizing the natural talents and aptitudes of each gender, we strive to make sense of a world gone crazy.

A significant part of the impetus for such an initiative could be based on a broad consensus of the workability of the “partnership model” proposed by Riane Eisler, in the international bestseller, “The Chalice and the Blade” back in 1987. In this ground breaking work, Eisler suggests that much of the archeological evidence of prehistory (cave paintings, artifacts, etc) were interpreted by early scholars in an intellectual and philosophical atmosphere predisposed by their own cultural background to interpret their findings as a confirmation of the accepted view of Man as a dominating, warring animal. Eisler does a remarkable job of showing that the same physical evidence can be re-examined without that pre-conceived view of human nature and a very different picture emerges. The picture is of a partnership society, with men and women working together for the good of their families and their societies, doing best what each gender and each person does.

Such a council of wise women, supported by many other men and women, like minded and desperate to see America, as a world leader, could take up the mantle of caring about the continuance of humanity on our beloved earth and let it be known to our political institutions that we want them to do the same.

Sounds like an idea whose time has come. How do we know its time has come? We’ve tried every other idea and none of them work.

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