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Partnership relating

If the world, including  you and I, are going to change for the better, we need to become skilled at partnership relating.  This will require a huge shift in mindset and in our core values.  Here is an explanation of partnership versus dominator relating.

How power is distributed in societies

“[Rianne Eisler] … has argued that societies make choices about how they distribute power, that there is nothing natural or inevitable about oppressive hierarchies. She has looked at how values and beliefs are shared across social institutions, from intimate relationships to the state, and found a clear difference between what she calls “dominator” cultural patterns (societies marked by violence, authoritarianism, and gender inequity) and “partnership” orientations (societies that value cooperation, nurturing, and equality).

Dominator Cultures

A dominator culture seizes hold of human differences in order to rank people into more or less valued social positions; a partnership culture aims to link people into diverse communities where each contributes his or her strengths and finds aid and support as needed. In any dominator-oriented society, Eisler says, one finds “hierarchies of domination” that limit individual expression and crush resistance.

A partnership orientation

A partnership orientation supports “hierarchies of actualization”-ways of organizing institutions that maximize “the collective power to accomplish things together.”  (Retrieved from: http://www.pathsoflearning.net/articles_Toward_Participatory_Democracy.php, 1/10/10)

Andrew Gaines expands on Eisner’s ideas around partnership relating:

How to practice partnership relating

People who use a partnership mode of relating take pains to empathically understand other people, and they work collaboratively for the good of the whole.  People who use a dominator mode of relating work for their own agrandisement (or that of their group), and characteristically use force to achieve their ends.  Arguably it is people with dominator attitudes who shape the policies that are currently inducing increasing environmental and social deterioration.  If so, the fate of the world depends upon partnership values coming to set the tone.

We need to shift our emphasis from dominator to partnership to survive

The world has put an amazing amount of creative resources into building an astonishing industrial civilization.   Now it is time to shift our emphasis to creating a world where magnificent and vibrant well-being is our primary goal.  And the good news is: we know a vast amount about how to actually do this.  We have the technical design strategies that can vastly reduce adverse ecological impact.  We know how to support parents in becoming more nurturing.  We have effective means of helping adults resolve their childhood hurt and become more loving (and inwardly contented) people.

and — it is all about personal growth!

We have methods of personal growth that can help people shift from dominator relating to partnership relating − a shift that can make both governments and businesses work better, as well as improving personal wellbeing.  We know how to run successful institutions on partnership values. All in all these approaches can take as far towards an ideal of becoming so inwardly contented (and ecologically responsible) that excess consumption simply becomes uninteresting.

It is urgent

However, at the moment we have a society that is severely ecologically out of balance and getting worse.  We will suffer the effects of climate change and other environmental degradation; there are already happening.

To sum up, we have two options

To sum up, we have two options.  One is to continue on a path that is becoming increasingly dismal.  The other is to get excited about building a world of magnificent wellbeing – and invest in the intellectual, emotional and practical things necessary to actually build that world.  The option of muddling along making small piecemeal environmental improvements is not an option that will lead to future well-being for young people alive today.  The near future (within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren) will either be unspeakably horrible or, through a fundamental shift in social direction, surprisingly wonderful.  It will either be utopia or oblivion.  What do you want?




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