Claire's Reviews > Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future

Nurturing Our Humanity by Riane Eisler
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it was amazing
bookshelves: anthropology, nonfiction, social-science, psychology, inspirational

I'd been looking forward to reading this after reading The Chalice and The Blade. Bringing together these two authors has created an immensely readable work that describes how our societies and families and cultures, not to mention our brains, have been shaped by a system of domination that favours hierarchical structures, ranking of one kind over another, authoritarian parenting and leadership, fueled by fear, tamed by punishment, sustained by conditioning that makes silencing and oppression the norm.
"Where humans are controlled by powerful forces at the top of a domination hierarchy".

Despite the narratives that exist that suggest humanity is hardwired for ruthless selfishness and violence, there is abundant evidence, referenced here, that:
"Indicates that humans have also evolved powerful capacities, indeed proclivities, for empathy, equity, helping, caring and various other prosocial acts."

These examples existed in times past and are also present in contemporary Nordic societies, one of the significant differences being a greater sense of partnership and equality between couples and also in the value attributed to "caring industries", a sector of society that has been virtually ignored by academia, and undervalued, underfunded by governments worldwide.

Once we understand these dynamics, of domination versus partnership, and the characteristics of each, the imbalance in the world becomes glaringly obvious. This work gives multiple examples and acknowledges that pockets of the partnership approach do exist and are growing, but there are significant challenges to be addressed before we can truly begin to benefit from the improved standard of living that more 'caring societies' can bring.

I can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone at a loss to why the world seems to have become so divisive and uncaring, this deeply researched, erudite text stands back and shows us where we've been and where we could go, and what policies need to change to bring us to a more humane era.

"Understanding the origins, natures, and impacts of partnership and domination systems on human lives and societies is crucial to human well-being and survival."
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Quotes Claire Liked

Riane Eisler
“The main take-home lesson from a careful study of nomadic forager partnership societies, re-enforced by the recent Nordic experience, is that humans are capable of living in egalitarian social systems where neither dominates the other, where violence is minimized, and where prosocial cooperation and caring typify social life. This image is not a utopian fantasy but rather a set of potentials, if not inclinations, stemming from our evolutionary heritage.”
Riane Eisler, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future

Reading Progress

May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
May 12, 2019 – Shelved
May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: anthropology
May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: nonfiction
May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: social-science
May 12, 2019 – Shelved as: psychology
November 14, 2019 – Started Reading
November 14, 2019 – Shelved as: inspirational
April 7, 2021 –
page 45
April 9, 2021 –
page 170
45.21% "There isn't a page where I haven't highlighted a passage, reading this book makes one see the world differently, even though we already knew it. It makes me realise I've been working on evolving my own brain for years, undoing the conditioning, rewiring it for a better way to live and be."
April 10, 2021 –
page 245
65.16% "I realise how starved I am for stories/films that represent the partnership model of society, rather than the proliferation of narratives that continuously represent, adher to & promulgate the domination system.

It seems to have become worse in recent years to the point that I almost stop watching film altogether. Realising how viewing & absorbing these narratives changes our brains, it's a survival mechanism."
April 13, 2021 –
page 280
74.47% "Lifting the veil on the system behind so much of how our world works, to keep the domination system in place. Almost overwhelming, the gradient of the uphill battle before us, but we are most certainly on the way, and a new vision of future generations will embrace the partnership model more and more. The way we parent is so key."
April 18, 2021 – Finished Reading

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