Systems Scientist, Cultural Historian, Attorney, Social Activist, Author
Psychologist, Evolutionary Systems Scientist, Author
Cole Hons: Greetings, fellow Homo sapiens. Cole Hons from The Symbiotic Podcast. Today's episode is part two of a conversation we recorded this summer with two remarkable systems scientists, Riane Eisler and David Loye. Their decades of research into the mechanics of social evolution has a lot to offer the global community right now. If the meta-crisis we're collectively enduring in 2020 holds any promise for us to progress to a higher order, rather than regressing to greater chaos and discord, we're going to need a truly holistic perspective on things. That's what these folks have to offer. Without further ado, here's part two of our conversation with Riane Eisler and David Loye.
David, you've dedicated a huge part of your life to this mission of helping society to recover the truth about Darwin, who is considered the father of evolutionary theory. And certainly, Darwin still looms large as the person everybody thinks about when they think about evolution. But, you have written about his vision of moral and cultural evolution, which is really, truly fascinating. As the host of this podcast about transdisciplinary science, in what ways did Darwin embody a transdisciplinary approach to science?
David Loye: Well, Darwin was the greatest naturalist, but then, before the chopping of science into separate categories, what was natural science and social science in its own little categories ... He had the broad view of everything put together. He had the most powerful multidisciplinary view of modern times. And what I discovered, I got a call to come to a secret meeting of scientists behind the Iron Curtain, back in Cold War days. Go behind the Iron Curtain and meet our Russian counterparts. It was a secret get-together on what to do about the fact that the US and Russia were getting ready to wipe us out. Unless, as long as the driving interest ... evolution was ideal, "survival of the fittest, survival of the fittest". How do you get off the "survival of the fittest" kick?
We were actually one of the co-founders of this little group that became a multidisciplinary group that extended out through Europe and Asia, and so on. Working on the idea of what kind of evolution theory do we need in our clique, as you would say, was that chaos theory was just coming in. It was the thing. We had some angle on chaos theory and so on. And Ervin Laslo, who was a top systems scientist then and now, laid on his proposal. He said, in effect, "I want you all together to launch the right update evolution theory." So we spent a decade, maybe it wasn't a full decade before ... we put in a lot of work and did a lot of work together in Europe and many different places. And after a certain number of time at this, I realized that we weren't getting anywhere. We were just swapping references and swapping jokes, and stuff like that. We weren't going anywhere.
And I got to thinking, what did Darwin actually write? So I found myself, as one of the few people empowered to read Darwin and understand his multidisciplinary viewpoint. We were onto self-organizing processes, and complexity theory, and that whole thing. I had a computerized version of The Descent of Man. So I thought, Well, I'll just ... social-scientific technique, word count. In other words, you simply analyze a document or something in terms of how many times they use the same word. I thought, I'll run this on Darwin.
So I thought, Well, I'll put in "survival of the fittest". What does he say about "survival of the fittest"? Twice. He only writes twice, referring to "survival of the fittest". I thought, That's peculiar. Because all this stuff, that's what we're sold as Darwin. Darwin is "survival of the fittest", and all that. And I thought, Well, I'll try an alternative. I thought, Well, what the hell, I'll try love. Ninety-five times he was writing about love! And there was only a single entry in the index, in that whole thing. And that index has been used now for over 100 years. In other words, you go and out any edition ... most editions of Descent of Man, you'll find one little, measly entry in the index for the word love. [crosstalk 00:06:03]
Cole: Yet it shows up 95 times and they only put it in the index once, and that's Descent of Man, which is the last work that Darwin wrote, is that correct? He wrote that after Origin of Species which is the one everybody cites all the time, correct?
David: He seems to be referring to the moral [inaudible 00:06:20] all the time but why haven't we ever heard this? I was viewing another book at the time in which I was looking into the backgrounds of the top people of our time on the moral question, none of them ever even mentioned Darwin as a moral theorist. I discovered he was, as far as I'm concerned, the greatest moral theorist that ever lived because he wrote 92 times about the moral science. One version or another asking what helps us tell good from bad, or right from wrong, and so on. And this opened the whole thing to me was there was something else going on. And then I went on from there to identify all the ramifications.
Cole: Thank you for that, yes. So that was the big aha moment for you. I want to ask you something Riane, where do you think our current society in the United States falls under your continuum between partnership and dominator systems? I know you say that it's possible to go forward and fall back, or go this way and go that way. No system or culture, I think you've said, is 100% dominate or 100% partnership, right but where do you see the United States right now?
Riane Eisler: Absolutely [crosstalk 00:07:49] it's always a matter of degree of continuum. Basically, I think that we are struggling between a very powerful movement towards partnership but not a coordinated movement. And a period of enormous regression towards the domination side because if you really look at modern history through the lens of the partnership/domination social scale you see that all the modern progressive movements have challenged one thing, the same thing, traditions of domination. Think about it, the so-called enlightenments, the so-called challenged to the divinely ordained right of kings to rule.
And then came the feminist movement challenging, again, the so-called divinely ordained right of men to rule over the women and children in the quote castles, military phrase, of their homes. Also, the so-called divinely ordained of a supposedly superior race to rule over supposedly inferior ones, through the abolitionists, civil rights, Black Lives Matter, etc. at colonial movements, as well as the anti-war movement. And today the movements to change traditions of intimate violence, there's a global pandemic that is part of the foundation of child-rearing in domination systems of abuse and violence against women and children. These are all the way to the environmental movement, challenging our once hallowed conquest of nature and of course the movements for economic justice against top-down rule because what we're protesting is really domination economics. It isn't capitalism, whether it's a feudal lord or a Chinese emperor, it's a long tradition of that. They've all challenged that.
But, and this is what I really ... if you take nothing else away, most of those movements have focused on dismantling the top of the domination pyramid. Politics and economics is conventionally defined. Far, far less attention has gone, and still is not going enough, into dismantling the foundations on which the system keeps rebuilding itself. And I've identified four cornerstones, the first two are very obvious, childhood and gender. Then economics, getting away from this pointless argument between capitalism and socialism, both of which came out of the 1700s and 1800s and we're now in the 21st century, but both came out of more rigid domination times, and changing our stories and our language because [crosstalk 00:10:58] change our language ...
Well look, linguistic psychologists tell us something that we had better pay attention to, which is that the categories provided by a language, a culture's language, channel our thinking and that's very, very true of our conventional social categories so that it is almost impossible caught in those old categories to envision an alternative.
Cole: That's very powerful. I can relate to that. If no one had seen the lake and the trees, if all you've seen is concrete, how can you love the lake and the trees? You know what I mean? And if that language isn't given to you and the conceptions of something else and you're in that rigid dominator family structure, system, whatever language you want to use, you have, in a sense, blinders on and language can do that, right?
Riane: Well and right and left, you can have domination regimes on both sides and have had. Religions and secular, same thing. Eastern/Western, Northern/Southern, Capitalist/Socialist. You've got to think about it. We need the new language and the language I've introduced is the domination or dominator system and the partnership system. Now I've also introduced words like hierarchies of domination versus hierarchies of actualization.
Cole: Yes, that fascinated me in your book that you're not saying that we can't have any leadership, we can't have hierarchies, but when you talk about hierarchies of actualization I think that's really beautiful language. It reminds me of some other work I've read on social justice and social evolution and using power to empower others. Being a positive leader that uses one's own ... even structural power in a system to empower those that you're leading so that they can be self-actualized as well.
Riane: But we haven't had words or phrases to make that distinction we all ... a lot of people just reject hierarchy but we need ... every society needs parents, teachers, managers, leaders. Yes, children have to have certain limits and they have to grow up considering other people, etc. etc. rules but there's a huge difference between authoritarian and violent parenting, modeling violence and authoritative, non-violent parenting etc. and the fact that we read about, in the management literature, about the leader no longer being the [inaudible 00:13:52] controller, facilitator eliciting from others their highest potentials. But we haven't had the conceptual frame. And if you don't have ... if you're still in the old frame it all is jumbled.
Cole: We're looking for new language and clarity on that. I ...
Riane: It's more than words. It's new ways of thinking, a new analysis.
Cole: Well you mentioned four pillars, you mentioned childhood and gender and economics and the new language and the new ways of thinking.
Riane: New stories.
Cole: New stories.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:14:42] live by stories. Like that takes us almost full circle to Darwin doesn't it? To the old story of Darwin that's been so much written about, and the actual story of Darwin who didn't have this language but who was saying, hey when you come to the human level ... and we have to leave also behind this male-centered language of man. Man does not include woman. Woman actually includes man, so it's vice versa, but we want a partnership society. And so many men, by the way, have given my books to women in their lives. Because I get a lot of mail from men saying, hey there's a place for me here in the partnership system.
So it's not about women against men or men against women it's ...
Cole: No I think that's a really important point because I think a lot of men ... there's this white male guilt thing too of like, oh god I'm the bad guy. Oh ... I remember when I went to college and feeling like I'm a terrible white male. I don't know how many people go through that, but you don't want to feel like the bad guy, you want to feel like an equal partner to work together in partnership to transform things.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:16:08] and so we have a lot of work ahead of us and I think that the meta-crisis that you describe is actually an opportunity. We can't, we shouldn't go back to the old normal. In the United States the old normal, almost one-fifth of children in this country live in poverty, many of them traumatized. What we're doing with really not only supporting mega-corporations and billionaires, but we're supporting the destruction of our natural habitat, of the air we breathe. And it's a crazy system but we can't change it if we're stuck in the old categories. We have to see the partnership alternative and that means also paying attention to this gendered system of values in which caring is not considered quote, "masculine".
And that changes something very interesting, what you see if you look at these Northern European nations, yes women are 40% of the national legislature. So it's almost parity. They have the lowest gender gaps. But it's not only women who vote for caring policies because as the status of women rises men no longer consider it such a threat to their status, to their quote, "masculinity" to also embrace more caring, so-called soft or feminine policies.
So if they have paid parental leave for both parents, if they have paid sick leave, if they have good parenting education, if they have elder care with dignity, if they have more environmentally caring policies, it's okay. It's not that as in domination systems, if you ... and women do this too. You're a wimp, you're a sissy, if you're like a woman. This is not about being a woman or a man, it's about being human.
Cole: Yeah and saying that human beings essentially do care for one another after all in our heart of hearts. We like to care for [inaudible 00:18:39]. Like one of the studies in your book was like a little kid, somebody drops something on the floor and the little kid will go pick it up and hand it to the person, just naturally like, I want to help you because you are a fellow human being. That's just innate in us. Somewhere we lose that in a dominator system. It gets beaten out of us or something.
Riane: Well nurturing our humanity really presents evidence based on solid studies. Showing again, and again, a very different picture of quote, "human nature".
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Cole: You mention Ervin Laslo and Chaos Theory and I know from reading your book that the group you were with were some really heavy-hitter scientists with these emergent ideas from Chaos Theory and systems science. Can you speak a little bit too what you discovered in terms of Darwin foreseeing these things, foreseeing Chaos Theory coming in principles of self-organization? For our listeners could you talk about self-organization and what that means, and what did Darwin actually have to say once you went back and looked at him?
David: In the 1980s, during the Cold War, and what was becoming really hot in science, at all levels, was Chaos Theory, it was complexity theory, it was basically the discovery of ... or the rediscovery of the fact of self-organizing. Well hell, after I identified things like his, the way he had been a director for love and oral sets and so on, then I began to encounter these quotes out of Darwin like this where he says, the most important of all causes of organic change is one which is almost independent of older and perhaps suddenly older physical conditions. Namely the mutual relation of organism to organism, the improvement of one organism in taming the improvement or extermination of others. That was actually in the Origin of Species originally.
And then in the Descent of Man he moves on, there is a large class of variations which may be provisionally called spontaneous or, to our ignorance, they appear to arise without any exiting exciting causes. It can, however, be shown that such variations depend much more on the constitution of the organism than on the nature of the conditions to which it has been subjected. In other words, and there are many other supporting quotes there, where what he's saying, over 100 years ahead of his time as this is where the action is people, self-organizing.
See, in our group there were four of the leading chaos, self-organizing theorists in our group. They were there so I was exposed to all this source of information on the self-organizing thing and seeing ... it was part of a huge shift that included in brain science, the whole ... all the sciences based on the idea ... it happens from outside. Climate changes or the people change, or this and that, everything that beats on you is required to move ahead. Well one of my friends, the great ... two of my friends, both dead now, Paul McClain and Karl Pribram, two of the top brain surgeons, brain specialists, of our time they ... and Karl Pribram, he was instrumental in getting across the proof of the active brain. Up to that time, everything ... the brain was just a passive thing and they were sitting there waiting for somebody to do something and made it change. Well he was able to show that, no, no, the brain is an active seeker. It's curious. It wants to know more. It's greedy.
That's part of what was so exciting then, and the excitement that I hope now lies ahead, that we're hopefully coming ... we're out of this meta-crisis that we're going to emerge and pick up ... and complete Darwin's theory, the whole thing that ... my whole mission that I felt at the time, and still feel was to help complete Darwin's theory. I could go through all the works of good people, Darcia and their About Us, Ervin Laslo, Ralph Abraham, [inaudible 00:25:27] on and on and on, Ken Wilber, Ken Wilber very powerfully. They were all working on aspects of what Darwin ... aspects of Darwin's vision without realizing that that was what they were doing.
Cole: I know that you helped to bridge those things, the more modern people who weren't even aware that they were sort of carrying on Darwin's tradition. You kind of discovered that by going back and trying to reclaim and recover what we lost. And for our listeners and viewers, when you say complete Darwin's vision, I know what you're talking about because I've read your book, or the last one from a couple years ago, about that second part having to do with, as you said, the brain and having to do with the brain being curious and wanting to go forward and not simply reacting, reacting, reacting like we're used to thinking about Darwin to say, oh this animal, this fish, gets longer fins because of these conditions, or a longer beak for a bird because of these conditions etc. etc. we're used to thinking of Darwin that way.
But he went on to write a whole lot more about human beings evolving through our brains, our mental faculties, correct? And you're saying that's what's been completely lost and it's sort of come back around in the 20th and 21st century. What would you tell people watching who want to be a part of evolving culture towards a more partnership-oriented system that is more caring? What do you think people, as individuals, can do to help move themselves and our broader culture in that more evolutionary partner direction?
Riane: Well you mentioned Einstein's quote that you can't solve problems with the same consciousness. He used the word consciousness, same thinking, that's consciousness that created them. So it really does start with changing your consciousness. However, to change our consciousness, we have to really step back and put aside so much of what we've been taught. You know I've often wondered, why do people who consider themselves progressive don't get what people who are pushing us back get? The importance of the primary relations. And I think part of the answer is that we've been more educated, and we've been taught that important knowledge and truth marginalizes or ignores anything to do with women and children.
So let's keep that in mind about what we've been taught as quote, "educated" people. And let's look at the whole picture and it's a fascinating picture. People who read my books say that they're full of aha experiences as was my research because, all of a sudden, things that made absolutely no sense fell into place.
So I think the first step is educate yourself in a different world view which is what a partnership domination, social scale, the bio-cultural partnership domination lens offers.
Cole: That's right and it maps the personal and the political together, that integrative, bigger picture.
Riane: Maps the biological and the cultural together because it isn't a question of genes, it's gene expression. Science is full of showing that but we ignore it, don't we? Because we have not really been able to see that these old stories are there for a reason. They maintain us frozen and maintain a fragmented consciousness.
Cole: New integrative stories. Thank you.
Riane: Because consciousness leads to action and changes and action then leads to new consciousness because we see that there are other possibilities, but we can't just wait and wait and wait. It's time to understand that these movements towards a partnership, towards the partnership side of the scale, that they're not disconnected and random. It's not that the women's movement is over here and the racial movement is over here. If children grow up in families where they internalize a model of our species in which one human form, the male form, is considered superior to, supposed to dominate the other, the female form, is supposed to be served by the other. They have the template for in-group versus out-group thinking. So, it's not coincidental that whether it's racism in the United States, or say in the Middle East, Shia versus Sunir, Sunir versus Shia, it's the in-group versus out-group isn't it?
Riane: It's connected. You can't just say, oh that's just a women's issue, or that's just a children's issue. Leave that kind of thinking behind. It is as really ... makes sense doesn't it? And now neuroscience shows it.
But the good news I want to say, as much as important as childhood is, we can change. And that's something else that's in nurturing our humanity, that studies show that even our synapses change once we begin to change our consciousness, and once we behave differently.
So we can do this. It's much harder. Let's start with giving kids a real start, right?
Cole: Right, yeah. Those values I think a lot about we put our value into money is what we consider the value. That's how we display what we value or don't value. And you think about ... I was a nursery school ... I was a pre-school teacher for a while. I used to think the crappiest pay I ever had was taking care of little kids and it just shows how little we value our children and raising children, the smallest children. And then like a football player's making millions and millions of dollars because we value somebody who fights against another guy and everybody watches it and gets excited and drinks and has a party. That's so valuable to us, whereas me taking care of your kids for 40 hours while you're working because you both have to work to make rent, and so you barely know me and I'm taking care of your little kid all week is worth almost nothing.
Riane: Childcare workers in the United States, according to the US department of labor, make less than dog walkers on average.
Cole: It boggles the mind, the value system right there.
Riane: I love dogs but so what? But the issue here really is what we've been taught to value and what we've been taught and what is rewarded. What is rewarded? You put your finger on it. So we can change that, we can put ... that's why we developed these social wills, economic indicators, that's why we're working on a social wealth index. GDP, as ridiculous as it is, because it measures as positives are making cigarettes, selling cigarettes, the resulting healthcare bills, the resulting funeral bills, they're all great for GDP, did you know that?
Cole: Right, yeah.
Riane: And it's like, what? That's why we developed these metrics. And they're very different from other alternatives to GDP by the way because they do take into account this gendered system of values.
Cole: It would be my hope that this breakdown, to put it in Barbara Marks-Hubbard's terms, because as I mentioned earlier I took a couple classes with her, she talked about these evolutionary moments where a breakdown can be a breakthrough and that our crisis can be a birth. And so having been through that, that's my lens that I walk around with. So when I've seen everything falling apart with the Coronavirus and then this uprising over the horrific murder of George Floyd etc. I think, okay, this is it. This is the meta-crisis breakdown and this is the opportunity for us to really evolve, for people to come out in the streets and go, wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute, stop. Like you say, step back. Let's look at this and what are we doing here, and where are we putting our money?
They're talking right now, as we have this conversation, there's the conversation in congress. They all took a knee ... the Democrats took a knee for eight minutes, 46 seconds before they announced they want to do a complete do-over on how we do policing in this country and all these things. So, this could be an evolutionary moment where we really ... because they're talking about the money, they're talking about taking money out of policing and putting it into social services, just like Martin Luther King talked about.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:35:26] much more profitable investment but it doesn't go along with the punitive policies that go with domination systems. Remember, why is there so much abuse and violence in domination systems? Because you have to maintain rankings don't you? And they're ultimately backed up by fear of [inaudible 00:35:45]. But people are socialized to do this and until people who consider themselves progressive, and I'm talking now both women and men, break free of the old ways of thinking, of the right/left, religious/secular, eastern/western, northern/southern, it really is not going to succeed because we'll keep fighting each other without understanding that we just have to think of societies in terms of this partnership, the bio-cultural partnership, domination lens.
And once we do that, everything falls into place. And then we see that the interventions are there. If we're talking about economics, of course, we would put ... we wouldn't spend billions as we have on militarizing the police. We would put that money so that children don't go to school hungry, so that people who care for little children get paid, paid parental leave, but more than that caregiver tax credits. All economics are human inventions. Slavery [crosstalk 00:37:09]
Cole: Yeah, money's imaginary, it's all ... they just printed up $2.2 trillion dollars this year to bail everybody out, out of nothing. It's not based on anything but an agreement. We got to get way more creative with money, I think.
Riane: We've got to be much more creative with our economy because if we have an incomplete map where the economy only consists of the market, the government, and the legal economy, and it leaves out the three life sustaining sectors of the household economy, the natural economy, and the volunteer community economy, you cannot build a new economic system. We're stuck with this over-consumption system where 70% of the economic system in the United States is held together by people buying and buying and buying, stuff they don't need, stuff that clutters up our environment that [crosstalk 00:38:06]
Cole: And it breaks down in two years and you need a computer because it's built to break.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:38:10] completely ... money is made by banks who give loans. This is nonsense. We can create money different ways and once we have [crosstalk 00:38:23]
Cole: Yeah, I'm with you there.
Riane: I don't know every single detail because I'm a systems person but I know that once we have this conceptual framework our creativity comes out, our consciousness, and then we can create a completely different economic system. I have introduced partnerism as a new economic system, a caring economics based on partnership. We can do this.
Cole: That sounds beautiful. Yeah.
Riane: But we have to enlist not only people on the ground, but leaders [crosstalk 00:39:05] part because it requires long-term as well as short-term thinking, but it can be done. It can be done. And that's why I'm still so very involved in teaching and in writing and in doing webinars and in speaking, now mostly online of course. In fact, all online.
Cole: Yeah, that's right. Well, you're not the only one. We've all been working from home, but I salute you. I am so happy that you continue the work, both of you. Just continue putting it out there to the world and taking part in this grand, human experiment of evolving and changing and growing, and doing it with more and more consciousness, and more and more partnership. And Riane I've got to ask you too, in your life, I asked David about his partnership with you, can I ask you the same question about how your partnership with David has influenced you in your work and your life?
Riane: It has influenced me enormously. David came into my life at a time of breakdown really. And he helped me make it a time of breakthrough. I gave up my law practice. I already had done that actually before I met David. And I started ... my first book was really the ... was based mainly on my experiences as an attorney. It's called Dissolution. D-I-S, you know, like the verse. Dissolution, and the subtitle was No-fault Divorce, Marriage, and the Future of Women. And it predicted the feminization of poverty actually because of what happened with [inaudible 00:41:08] but that's neither here nor there.
To get to your question, David is wonderful, has been wonderful, and he's 95 now and it's hard, hard, hard for him, hard for me, but we're so grateful, so grateful to be together, and if I have to be in lockdown with somebody, that's my choice.
Cole: That's a beautiful statement. Thank you.
Riane: I want to invite you, Cole, to become part of our group of the work being done by the center. We have a wonderful group now on the campaign for partnerism.
Cole: I'm all in. I'm absolutely all in. Yeah, I'm all in on that.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:42:02] I will ... because it's very hard. Why am I teaching this through the national foundation, science foundation, the Swiss Natural Science Foundation, because academia's a hard nut. People get their perks for being indoctrinated in domination law.
Cole: I know that.
Riane: What you're doing at Penn State is wonderful and I'd love to get more people from various disciplines who you think might be interested in this new conceptual framework. Nurturing our humanity is such a great textbook. All kinds of courses. It is multi-disciplinary, it's Oxford so it has that [inaudible 00:42:53] yeah, this must be Kosher right? And it is new thinking.
Cole: Yeah that's what we need right now.
Riane: So if we can get people from Penn State to start using it so that a new generation will have new tools and new conceptual framework, without it we're lost. But I will ask Rosie and Nyla who are really heading this campaign. But I'd like you be a liaison to the academic community. Would you be willing to ...
Cole: I'd be happy to do that. Things are still strange right now because we're trying to decide ... we're going to find out from our president in about a week if they're going to reopen campus in the fall. All the students have been taking online courses. Everything's been online since they went away for spring break and never came back.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:43:50] I think it should continue to be online really.
Cole: Yeah, second wave of infections and I work with infectious disease. We've made 50 videos about the Coronavirus since the lockdown, literally. Just taking public questions. So I've been swimming in it and yeah I'm afraid about everybody coming back for sure.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:44:10] here, my daughter just wrote a letter to one of our supervisors and I'm about to write another one, in [Selinas 00:44:18] which is where we have the very strong Latino and African-American community, in the last day there were 200 new cases. Why are they opening up?
Cole: Yeah, it's madness.
Riane: It's insane. But it's because we have an economic system that's crazy.
Cole: Yeah because the economy is more important than people's lives, right? And also, yeah we could get into that whole talk about how the farmers had crops just dying in the fields and just killing, slaughtering animals and they ... why not use the military to just get the food to people because food's real and money's imaginary, and just ... take care of people.
Riane: I know, it's nuts. It should have been done. And it [crosstalk 00:45:00] be done.
Cole: Yeah. There's a story about Einstein that says that if he had one hour to save the world, if the world was in peril of being destroyed and he had one hour to, quote, "save the world" he would spend 55 minutes framing the problem and then the last five allowing the solution to naturally emerge from the frame that he had constructed. And why is it so important to set up the correct frame to take on any big, complex societal problem?
Riane: Well that quote is so completely and absolutely applicable to why I have been working on a new conceptual framework for the past 30+ years because it's like the blind man and the elephant isn't it? What we've got going here with our analysis, social studies that leave out the majority of humanity, women and children, categories that do the same and that focus ... one focuses on economics and ... capitalist/socialist, the other one focuses on religion, is it or isn't it religious, etc. these are details that don't really matter. You can have repressive regimes that are religious or secular, that are capitalist or socialist. Look at the former Soviet Union, look at China.
The reframing, it is the consciousness. That's what Einstein understood. And if we don't look ... one of the principles of systems analysis is that you cannot understand a complex, living system, and that's what human societies are, by just looking at one component at a time, which is what the academy does by and large. Which is what the old social categories do by and large, right?
Riane: You will have to really look at the whole picture. You have to see how these components interconnect, how they mutually support each other, and why the four cornerstones. The four cornerstones is primary foundational intervention points are based on research using the partnership, the bio-cultural partnership/domination lens instead of these old ways that maintain domination systems intact. They keep rebuilding themselves on these four foundations.
I'll start with stories and language. The language fragments, our consciousness, the social categories, the analysis. The stories maintain this notion that human nature is bad. Got to be controlled from the top. And that's the domination system.
Economics has a gendered system of values running through it which relates to the devaluation of the so-called served or feminine gender, women, and of course childhood we know now even from neuroscience, what really makes sense, what children first experience and observe, affects nothing less than how our brains, and with it our feelings, our habits, our actions, including how we vote, how we work, and what we think is possible or impossible develop.
Cole: By putting our attention on those things and shifting away from the dominator models to a partnership model. Everything can be transformed.
Riane: And this is long-term. It doesn't mean that we don't have to also do short-term, like the shifting of resources, for example, from a militarized police, which is crazy, to feeding children, educating children, hearing for children, and breaking cycles of violent child-rearing, of punitive child-rearing. But you know, consciousness, making available parenting education as part of our schools, not only to adults, to parents, but to the kids as they grow up. We teach everything. I wrote a book on education called Tomorrow's Children which I would love people to use, but it's not just how we teach or the structure, it's what kind of stories we teach.
Cole: Yeah, I can completely relate. I taught some middle-school kids and I had a gaming thing where I gave them a future ... a version of the future that was a paradise. And they were like, that'll never, ever happen. I was like, how do you know? What do you mean it'll never happen? There could be peace on earth. They couldn't even believe it. These are kids. They're like, that's just impossible. I said 100 years ago there was no such thing as the internet or planes flying, jets flying, does that happen now? Yes. Do you think people back then thought it was possible? No. Did it happen? Yes. Right, I know what you mean about stories.
Riane: [crosstalk 00:50:51] is that scholars like Doug Fry, Michael [inaudible 00:50:56] nurturing our humanity have shown that in the last 100 years it has been non-violent change that has been the most lasting. Not violent. We're creeping towards it but we don't have time. We have to change our ... we're back to Einstein, change our analysis, change our frame.
Cole: You know, Riane writes so much about partnership societies and our cultural transformation theory but it strikes me that the two of you are partners and you have been for a good long time, and I wonder how's your partnership with Riane evolved you as an academic, a writer, and as a person?
David: It's my life. I was 52, she was 46 when we first met. We fell in love almost immediately. We'd both had previous marriages and so on and children, all that but it was not love on the first sight, it was probably love on the ... a few seconds had passed and we [inaudible 00:52:14] 43 years now we've been together and it's been the most glorious experience I can imagine. I just wish it could go on for thousands of years. As a matter of fact, I shouldn't even mention it but, I had a past life regression, I know that we were together in the past, I can prove it. You may not believe it but I can prove it. I know that we will be together again in the future because, with us, this very special thing happened. It's sort of the essence of partnership beyond words, beyond words. I've written 2200 love poems to her over the years and they just barely begin to express the profound feeling I have for her, and that she has for me.
I just can't get over it. There's this unbelievably wonderful woman and she is in love with me, this thing. It's fantastic. We live in this beautiful place.
Cole: Wow. Thank you. I could feel that. Yeah, there's the power of love, compassion, and partnership. We need more of that in the world. Thank you for sharing that.