Sunday, September 16, 2007

WANT UTOPIA? Get THE GODDESS ~ Pt. 3

This is the third of three-part series summarizing this weblog.

THE BEST EVIDENCE

The fact is, the best evidence today suggests that during the millennia-long Neolithic our ancestors revered a Great Goddess and at the same time lived in relatively utopian societies. Then at the end of the Neolithic, when Goddess was demoted, humans slid into a veritable hell of chronic warfare, conquest, violence, social ranking and despotic political regimes.

Let’s look at what no one disputes first. No one disputes that archaeologists have unearthed thousands of female figurines from Neolithic settlements all over the world.

Second most admit that the best explanation for most of these figurines is that they are goddesses.

Third most admit that while gods might have accompanied these Neolithic goddesses, the latter did not allow the former to push them around.

Fourth no one disputes that, compared to the Bronze Age that followed it, the Neolithic was a time of relative bliss – little war, little violence, little ranking and no despotism.

Fifth no one disputes that in the hellish Bronze Age most people were saddled with pantheons that included male gods at the top of a ranked system of deities. Although goddesses were included in these pantheons, as time went by they were increasingly pushed around by the gods. My guess is that just as Bronze-Age people were forced into “accepting” war, violence, ranking and despotic rulers, they were also forced into worshipping the new upstart power-over gods.

SO WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?

So what do people dispute? Well nothing really. Some military historians and even archaeologists still insist there’s always been war. Of course they conveniently “forget” a few key and telling pieces of evidence. Bonobos for example. And Neolithic towns like Abu Hureyra, which existed for millennia without any signs of warfare. Also they have a boatload of excuses for why various modern cultures such as the Semai, Copper Eskimo and others have never engaged in warfare.

Of course just because Goddess and utopia occur together doesn’t mean Goddess caused the utopia. However the data on oxytocin, bonobos and the Moso, Hopi and Basques provide excellent evidence of just such a causal relationship.

CONCLUSION

The idea that centering our societies around a goddess might put an end to war and other social ills is potentially threatening to many piddle-puddles who benefit from the status quo. Nevertheless several lines of evidence concur: centering societies around an honest and true unconditional-love archetype (Mother) – one modeled before us in both the human and the animal worlds on a daily basis – would give us what we need to produce the kinds of societies we all want to live in (but few of us do): peaceful, non-violent, equalitarian and democratic.
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The pic above is a goddess figurine from Neolithic Egypt

7 comments:

Aquila ka Hecate said...

Bravo, Athana! Bravo!
Keep speaking these truths.

Love,
Terri in Joburg

Morgaine said...

The fact that anyone is anything except warm and welcoming to the image of a benevolent Divine Mother just shows how really messed up modern culture is. We could all use a hug from our Mamma, whether we want to admit it or not.

Phillip said...

'Goddesses pushed about'.... I very doubt that. I don't think that anyone, man or god really pushed about Metis (though Zeus did eat her to be fair) or her daughter Athena - not even Ares himself possessed her cunning in the arts of warfare... so the story goes.

Plus are we sure that these alleged post-goddess societies were really all that bad? I'm not sure how one could go about ranking societies in such a manner. Didn't these societies provide us with our modern society, which as violent as it might be (and that question needs qualification), is still nonetheless the recipient of great achievements. I'm reminded of an Orson Welles quote: "In Italy for thirty years under the Borgia's they had murder, warfare, terror, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace. And what did they produce? The cuckoo-clock."

It also occurs to me that goddess believers have somehow gotten out of answering one important question - the problem of evil. Most would agree that only a good deity would be worthy of worship. If the goddess is good how can she allow evil? If she chooses not to prevent it, surely she is malevolent, if she cannot prevent it then she is impotent. In either case, why do you call her a goddess. Considering the random brutality of the natural world (its diseases, its mass extinctions and large scale destruction of human life in the past) i'm not all that keen to get 'hugged' by mama if she's going to give me an ebola virus as a gift. No real loving mother (or father for that matter) would give life to such a monster.

Athana said...

To me, Phil, being eaten alive qualifies as being ‘pushed about.’ And Athena: why would a woman be interested in being cunning in the arts of warfare? Does that really make any sense?

How about a society without the murder, warfare, terror and bloodshed but with adventure, risk-taking and constant mental and physical stimulation? Would there be anything wrong with that?

And I don’t see that the cycle of the Mama’s natural world has any evil in it. Without death there’d be no room for life. Also, part of the problem is that for the past six millennia we’ve been thumbing our noses at the Mama. We’ve been following war gods, who push dominance over everyone not young male and dominance over and violence toward the Mama and Her earth.

I can see where you’re coming from, though. It hurts on an individual level to think any one of us could be hit by a devastating disease. But maybe there’s always a reason why anyone is hit by your so-called ‘evil.’ Maybe it has something to do with the non-self-centered concern for the whole of us.

Athana said...

Morgaine, you are so right on!

Phillip said...

You do have wonderfully primitive sense of sexual dualism don't. Not quite sure why you insist upon dividing humanity upon the basis of the nonsensical dark age category of gender. As an anthropologist I know full well the ability for violence is a human condition, and not one partitioned out to one gender over another. The preeminence of Spartan women over their Athenian counter-parts did nothing to avert the Spartan taste for warfare - male or female. All humans have the capacity for violence.

As for dear Athena being into war... I can again see no absurdity. Countless thousands of Greek believed it. Can you call them false with any good reason? I mean she is their god after all. Just because you cannot imagine something doesn't mean its false... there are more things in heaven and earth... etc.

As for society, and the lack of your afore-mentioned evils... no there wouldn't per se. However I would contest your ability to deliever us these things without also leaving wide-open the possibility for violence, conflict and warfare. I like your American predilection for rish taking and adventure - an interesting way to see utopia.

If you don't see evil in the death of countless thousands from natural disaster and privation then you are either blind or perverse. Death is one thing, we all must die - at least for the time being - but to suffer destruction, pain and deprivation at the hands of the so-called natural cycles (whatever they are) is something else. And I would argue that the dominance and violence practiced by people 'toward the mama and her earth' pales into insignificance compared to the violence she rains down upon the Earth. Perhaps a child simply follows the example of its mother... mother nature kills indiscriminately and now so do we. I can see no difference between our violence and hers. Does she have some right to destroy her own children. Such immoral and inhumane primitivism show how your beliefs are simply those of death and fatalism.

"Also, part of the problem is that for the past six millennia we’ve been thumbing our noses at the Mama" - My you are sounding so Judeo-Christian again. So its our fault again... that all these horrors are visited upon the innocent (children and all). That's obscene. If I honestly believed a being like your goddess existed and was consciously responsible for the natural world, we would have to do everything in our power to destroy her and be from of her. Luckily for us such a nightmare as her doesn't exist, except as your religious projection.

"But maybe there’s always a reason why anyone is hit by your so-called ‘evil.’ Maybe it has something to do with the non-self-centered concern for the whole of us."
You must be joking... pain and evil are somehow explained by a phantom non-self-centred concern?! Tell that to the parents of a dying child. I doubt they would find much comfort. So what reason possibly justifies pain and suffering inflicted upon the innocent? You cannot even voice a specific reason; like the Christian apologist, you are forced to make vague motions in the direction of hidden cosmic 'rationalities' - the 'it'll all make sense in the end' kind of reassurances. 'Its all part of the god's/goddess's great plan'. These hollow platitudes mean nothing. The problem of evil lays waste to all thealogies.

Athana said...

PHIL: You do have wonderfully primitive sense of sexual dualism don't. Not quite sure why you insist upon dividing humanity upon the basis of the nonsensical dark age category of gender.

ATHANA: Okay Phil. Have it your way. Let’s divide us into mothers and not-mothers. I happen to belong in the group “not-mothers” even though I’m female. As a not-mother I think I have a lot to learn from the healthy mothers of the world. And I suspect you do too. I believe that when we use the Healthy Mother as the human role model, we create social paradises.

PHIL: As an anthropologist I know full well the ability for violence is a human condition, and not one partitioned out to one gender over another. The preeminence of Spartan women over their Athenian counter-parts did nothing to avert the Spartan taste for warfare - male or female. All humans have the capacity for violence.

ATHANA: Ahh! I’m glad you remembered to insert the words “ability for” in front of “violence,” Phil.

PHIL: As for dear Athena being into war... I can again see no absurdity. Countless thousands of Greek believed it. Can you call them false with any good reason? I mean she is their god after all. Just because you cannot imagine something doesn't mean its false... there are more things in heaven and earth... etc.

ATHANA: But which came first, the chicken or the egg? Warfare or war goddesses? Why is it that over the 10,000-year-long Neolithic there are no signs of war goddesses? You need to expand your mind beyond the ancient Greeks, Phil. There are millennia of humans out there who came before the Greeks – and were probably much, much smarter than the Greeks could ever have hoped to be.


PHIL: If you don't see evil in the death of countless thousands from natural disaster and privation…

ATHANA: The Mama isn’t the Daddy, Phil. It’s the Daddy who says he’s omnipotent and humans are impotent dirt under his feet. If we trash Her, the earth, She’s going to die. If we keep blowing out tens of thousands of children from the human womb every hour on the hour on this planet, when a natural disaster strikes it *will* be tons of people who die.

PHIL: "Also, part of the problem is that for the past six millennia we’ve been thumbing our noses at the Mama" - My you are sounding so Judeo-Christian again. So its our fault again... that all these horrors are visited upon the innocent (children and all). That's obscene.

ATHANA: Again, the Mama isn’t the Daddy. If we trash Her, the earth, She’s going to die. If we keep blowing out tens of thousands of children from the human womb every hour on the hour on this planet, when a natural disaster strikes it *will* be tons of people who die.

PHIL: "But maybe there’s always a reason why anyone is hit by your so-called ‘evil.’ Maybe it has something to do with the non-self-centered concern for the whole of us." You must be joking... pain and evil are somehow explained by a phantom non-self-centred concern?! Tell that to the parents of a dying child. I doubt they would find much comfort.

ATHANA: No, but maybe the “self-centered concern” of the parents isn’t as important as something that will arise as a result of that individual child’s death. Maybe the parents will gain an understanding of the pain of others; maybe they’ll become healers as a result and heal hundreds of other children in the future. Or something else positive might happen -- something that isn’t evident at the time of the child’s death.

PHIL: So what reason possibly justifies pain and suffering inflicted upon the innocent?

ATHANA: See above. I thought I handled that quite nicely. After all, since the war gods have spent millennia trying to stomp out every last trace of the healthy old Goddess religions, we 21st centuryites have to make it all up again.

ATHANA: So Phil, what explanation do you have for pain and suffering via natural disasters being experienced by the “innocent” (whatever that means)? It “just happens”? “Chance”? “Human interference with planetary processes”? How’d you rate your explanation on the “comforting parents losing a child” scale?