Crete: An Agrarian Model of Peaceful Co-existence and Partnership
Crete was an agrarian civilization that existed about 7000 years ago on a series of Islands off the coast of Greece. It was a highly advanced society that promoted equality of the sexes, power and wealth. The Goddess figure was prominent in their culture as the source of everything and constituted the basis for their religious beliefs. Women were instrumental in all aspects of social, political and religious activities, held important religious positions and were honored as the source of life. Men were treated equally and were not dominated or controlled by women and were perceived as a compliment to the birth process and a fitting companion for women in all aspects of social life.
Crete civilization is known for its beautiful architecture, palaces, arts, crafts, music, writings, and religious rituals that united the populous and their technological prowess manifest in their agriculture and urban planning. Respect of the natural world was an important value and the impetus for the eco friendly lifestyles and practices of its inhabitants. Life was seen as a celebration and their social values were liberal and open ended. Their culture was peaceful and lasted for about 1500 years. Weapons and defense were not a consideration and the cities were unfortified against the possibility of outside attack. Indeed, their peaceful existence did not include a consciousness for aggression and their values can be viewed as an example of a highly sophisticated and enlightened society.
Many other advanced agrarian and peaceful civilizations existed as well in Europe and Asia and maybe elsewhere and had rather sophisticated social structures and technologies. It is often thought that technological advances corrupted modern societies. The plausibility of this notion should be questioned since we have found so much evidence to the contrary.
Despite the fact that Crete was destroyed and replaced by a divergent philosophy that has led us into an age of continued conflict and aggression, it can be viewed as a cultural model that actually worked well for a substantial period of time and had many utopian values and practices. It certainly had its problems and deficits too, but it supports the fact that people can live in harmony with nature and each other and thrive in large numbers together. It goes against the commonly thought idea that humans are naturally aggressive and self-interested and cannot live a peaceful existence without social restraints and control by some form of governing body.
The Partnership Model
In chapter four, I described the environmental and cultural events that led to the development of patriarchy and how the male dominator model came to influence the Western world. It is that model that has contributed dramatically to our ecological crisis and promotes the continued exploitation of men, women and nature.
The Partnership model is based on equality between the sexes, cooperation, collaboration, deep engagement and love and a desire to attain a cultural heritage that views humanity as an evolving entity in a symbiotic relationship with the biosphere. It incorporates feminine values and practices that have been undercut by our present dominator paradigm. Such a model of living, if attained again, would create a shift in values and attitudes that would encompass sustainable lifestyles and allow us to continue our evolutionary journey. To continue operating within the dominator model will soon facilitate the collapse of all human societies and inflict considerable damage to all the planet’s ecosystems.
From history, we know that egalitarian societies lived for over five thousand years in Old Europe successfully before the Kurgan invasions. Early hunters and gatherers also lived peaceful partnership lifestyles for most of human history. Why is it that we with all our accumulated wisdom and sophisticated technologies cannot throw off the chains of domination, aggression and exploitation of each other and of wild nature?
It appears that there is a significant resistance by men to incorporate feminine values into their dominator mindset. The need to rank and control others and nature appears to be motivated by the fear of losing control or an internal sense of insecurity. Maybe males still are envious of the important role women have in giving birth and have not acknowledged their contribution to the birth process or there may be other psychological issues that men have not come to grips with. I think that nature is so powerful that males feel insignificant and try to overcome their insecurities by domination, thereby obliterating their greatest fears. Whatever the reason is, it has certainly wreaked havoc on females and the biosphere and poses a continued threat to the evolution of society.
Presently, there is a resurgence of partnership values and behaviors that is permeating the globe. People are questioning our societal values, attitudes and behaviors and are critically examining our lack of progress toward a world of peace and actualization. Spirituality is being sought and practiced more emphatically and people all over the world are demanding changes in the way we run our societies. This movement is gaining critical momentum and is creating a shift in consciousness that can accelerate a shift towards a holistic paradigm that will acknowledge our special relationship with each other and our evolving world.
Deep Ecology: Living as if Nature Mattered by Bill Devall and George Sessions, 1985 by Gibbs M. Smith, Inc. Ecotopia: The Vision Defined, pp.161-177. Accessed 16 June 2020.
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, Harper San Francisco, 1995, pp. 29-57. Accessed 16 June 2020.
The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler, Harper San Francisco, 1995, Breakthrough in Evolution: Toward a Partnership Future, pp. 185-203. Accessed 16 June 2020.