So far, I have been studying patriarchy rather than matriarchy simply because
I consider myself to be a matriarchal woman who does not really understand
patriarchy. That is why I want to analyse it, which is just another way of
saying that it is not matriarchy but patriarchy which is the problem. My
analysis rests on the thesis that patriarchy is not an independent order
of society but, squatting on matriarchy, exploits, changes, and destroys
all formerly matriarchal ways of living and thinking. Binary and antagonistic
in its form, this thesis may appear to neglect society's complexity,
but it serves the purpose of working out as distinctly as possible the differences
between matriarchy and patriarchy. Only on this basis can the complexity
of society be adequately analyzed.
I. What is "Patriarchy"? Thesis
and Field of Research
According to my thesis and seen from a matriarchal viewpoint, patriarchy
is neither in itself nor of its own an order of society, culture, or civilization.
It is not independent of matriarchal forms of society but has developed out
of the negation of matriarchy. Seen as such, patriarchy has to be called
a delusion. The fact that it cannot exist or cannot have its own reality
in the sense of its own definition enhances its phantasmagoric character.
Patriarchy literally means "the father is the beginning", "father
origin" or "father uterus", because the Greek word arché,
which is part of the words "patriarchy" and "matriarchy",
originally means "beginning, origin, uterus". Only much later,
in times of patriarchy, "arché" acquires the meaning of "dominance" or "domination".
Patriarchy as such remains a perspective, an idea, a Utopia, the project
of a society that wants to be absolutely without a mother and independent
of nature, cut off from its inter-connectedness with all other forms of being.
Efforts to make this Utopia concrete are, however, under way and will result
in "patriarchy" or "the father's dominance" (that
is "arché" in the second, the patriarchal sense of the
word). The project of not only conceptualizing but also materializing patriarchy
or of "technically" realizing it, is a project of modern times.
Patriarchy in the original sense of the word was and still is scarce, if
it exists at all.
In the process of materializing the patriarchal project such an enormous
destruction of life, especially of women and nature, has occurred that patriarchy
appears to have reached its limits. It seems that the race of destruction
and "production", that is the construction of patriarchy, is
in its final stage and will probably be decided in the very near future.
Patriarchy, seen from this perspective, must be understood as a process which
continually extends its borders and which, at the same time, goes deeper
and deeper. This process obviously tends towards becoming a system but,
as basically never ending, cannot come to its conclusion. Its present phase
of capitalism as a global system ("globalization") appears to
be its, so far, last and most violent period in which many patriarchal tendencies
of history come to a peak or accumulate.
With this thesis I oppose and contradict those who understand
patriarchy as "the father's dominance" without asking for
the reasons of the will to dominate, as if domination were, per se, a male
need. I also oppose and contradict those who - literally standing at the
other end of my thesis - do not see the connections between patriarchy and
modernity but consider it to be a pre-modern or old-fashioned, "traditional",
and backward phenomenon, a phenomenon which - seen from the perspective of
technical progress - seems anachronistic and in the process of disappearing
- all by itself!
In general, I also oppose and contradict those who fight against any periodization
of history that goes beyond modern times, the middle ages or antiquity and
who refuse to look back upon "pre-historic" times or the predecessors
of patriarchy. This approach allows them to deny both the existence of matriarchies
and the origins of patriarchies and to consider the former as irrelevant.
Against that view let me warn with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:
Wer nicht von drei Tausend Jahren|
sich weiß Rechenschaft zu geben,
bleibt im Dunkeln, unerfahren,
mag von Tag zu Tage leben.
(West-Östlicher Divan, 1819)
Who never looks beyond|
more than three thousand years,
will stay in darkness, fond
living day by day in tears.
And finally, I certainly oppose and contradict those who simply think systemically
and do not want to see patriarchy as a historical phenomenon. Instead, they
consider it to be unhistorical, as if it had existed from times immemorial
as an independent, "necessary", or even "the best possible" order
of society, an order with the special capacity of "evolving" into "civilization",
the only relevant order worth noticing.
From my viewpoint, patriarchy is not only a general and vague term of political
combat but, more than anything else, it is a basic theoretical concept for
the global understanding of origin, development, and future of our present
order of society (C. v. Werlhof 2003).
Attacks on Matriarchal Studies and on the Critique of Patriarchy
It is not insignificant that feminist matriarchal studies and the
critique of patriarchy are presently under attack again
in the way they had been attacked at the time of national socialism (s.
AutorInnengemeinschaft 2003). National socialism was clearly interested
in these topics and used them for its own purposes. Of course, its leaders
did not pay attention to matriarchal studies or a feminist critique of
patriarchy. On the contrary, such studies were forbidden by them, while
they tried, with something like their own "critique" of patriarchy,
to patriarchally utilize matriarchal studies with the purpose of both,
defaming Jews and recruiting women for their national socialism. Of course,
they carefully avoided to apply their critique of patriarchy to national
At present, attacks on matriarchal studies and on the critique of patriarchy
come rather from the left and from women's groups that do not want
to have anything to do with feminism. Women's lobbies, neo-liberal
politicians, and, especially, post-modern as well as post-feminist "gender" researchers
(B. Röder et al. 1996) vehemently fight against the concepts of matriarchy
and patriarchy, and they probably do so because they could otherwise no longer
legitimate their politics of participating in the global project of patriarchy
(for a critique s. D. Bell/R. Klein 1999).
Certain left groups locate matriarchal studies and the critique of patriarchy
on the extreme right, because they have themselves formulated a critique
of capitalism. This critique, however, remains "within the system" by
still considering "socialism" to be an alternative to "capitalism" and
not as a component of one and the same "capitalist world system".
Since these critics include neither the so called "second", supposedly "post-capitalist" nor
the so called "third", supposedly "pre-capitalist" (not
to speak of a matriarchal) world, they are not interested in issues such
1. alternatives to the state/to systems of domination;
2. alternatives to technical progress/to the machine;
3. alternatives to modern relations to nature/the impact of the question
4. alternatives to patriarchy as the historical background or bearer of
and they are, finally, not interested in
5. a serious discussion of the so called women's question, although
only from such a discussion the above mentioned problems could be seen
within and as part of the patriarchal syndrome.
Accordingly, the fast points of this avoidance debate against matriarchal
studies and the critique of patriarchy are:
Technical progress, especially technology as machine, hostile relations
to nature, and (men's) domination must remain untouched, to the effect
that eco-feminists, feminist critics of domination, subsistence theorists,
and, even more so, subsistence practicians, or so called "spiritual" women
and matriarchal researchers, who plead for alternatives, are seen as "esoteric", "conservative",
and have to be, more or less, located on the right. Never mind, how much
critique of capitalism they may have formulated!
The bottom line of all this debate is: Capitalism must not really be criticized.
All that matters is the seizure of power by another group inside capitalism,
and the critique is valid only as long as no change of power has taken place.
As a consequence of this attitude, the concepts of capitalism and patriarchy
as well as their connections are taboo and must not be analysed to their
full extent. With the patriarchal - capitalist orderof
society moving toward its critical point, this taboo becomes even
stricter and it seems that a discussion of alternatives to capitalism and
to patriarchy must be avoided by all means (s. H. Göttner-Abendroth
Instead, I am pleading for understanding our social order as basically a
global patriarchy which has evolved over a period of 5 to 7000 years, with
global capitalism as its, so far, last and "highest" form of
expression which marks the limits of its development.
Thus, once again after the times of national socialism and, historically
for the first time within a global context, the question of alternative/s
to patriarchy - and not only to capitalism - is on the top
of the agenda. Matriarchal studies are, more than others, summoned to answer
the following questions: Would neo-matriarchal or generally
non-patriarchal and no longer capitalist social relations present
an alternative? What is already being done in this field? How could one conceptualize
this alternative and in which form should it be materialized?
Matriarchy as a "Second Culture" within Patriarchy
Accepting the reversal of the common view of things and considering the
problems of social development(s) within patriarchy as inter-connected, that
is by using a more powerful "telescope" to look upon pre- and
non-patriarchal times in order to learn for the present, two phenomena appear
very clearly: the phenomena of under- or overrating patriarchy.
1. Once we realize that patriarchy is not only a system of domination, especially
of that of men over women, it will no longer be underrated.
Patriarchy aims at much more than just the domination of men over women.
It has an objective which goes far beyond that form of domination.
2. Patriarchy has a beginning and it will, therefore, eventually have an
end. Seen from an evolutionary perspective, it is not "necessary" and
it should, therefore, not be overrated. In other words:
Societies organized according to "non-patriarchal" principles
must, simply for logical reasons, have existed. Therefore, they can and possibly
will, for the same logical reasons, develop again.
3. The fact that different matriarchies still exist today
proves that patriarchies have neither at all times nor everywhere been the
only form of society. At the same time, the existence of matriarchal societies
in our time or their survival within patriarchies point toward the danger
of continuous patriarchalization of still existing or newly formed matriarchal
4. There is, however, no easy answer to the question how and to what extent
new, no longer patriarchal societies, resemble historical and still existing "older
forms" of matriarchies. Living matriarchies can only give us clues
for alternatives just like global alternative movements do.
A glance at the etymology, at archaeology - which archaeologist could explain
what it means that the sphinx is about 14000 years old?! - as well as a glance
at societies of old or new living matriarchies, and finally a glance at non-patriarchal
social relations inside patriarchy prove: For very long periods of human
history there globally existed a many-faceted matriarchal world culture,
and patriarchy is, in its different forms of appearance, simply an evolutionary
error of very recent origin, although an extremely dangerous and violent
Against this background the following questions have to be asked: Why do
so many people still and in spite of patriarchy think in matriarchal forms
and find it so very hard to understand the patriarchal rules of thinking,
acting, feeling, and being - in spite of continuous social pressure? Is this
due to the fact that they "remember" matriarchal social relations,
or is it only because of their resistance to acute patriarchal oppression?
But even though the latter may be the case one has to ask: Where does this
resistance come from in a person who has had no experience with conditions
other than patriarchal ones? This question harbors a genuine problem of epistemology.
Is it possible that resistance to patriarchy or dissident thinking and behavior
goes back to some form of matriarchal experience or memory?
What would this question imply for the issue of "consciousness" in
general? How and to what extent does a matriarchal consciousness still
influence people's lives? To what extent can such influence be explained
by indicating that human consciousness not only comprises a person's
direct experience but also early stages of human existence as such? What
is the role of still surviving matriarchal social relations or relations
that point toward matriarchy as a 2nd culture within patriarchy
(R. Genth 1996)?
Only one thing is obvious: Matriarchal social relations and societies not
only existed in forgotten pre-historic times which no longer have any impact
upon our lives today and can, therefore, be neglected. On the contrary: The
question, whether they have existed or not, is more important than ever.
With every day matriarchal social relations or forms become more and more
vital, they may even have always run like a red thread through our experience,
our memories, and our states of consciousness; they may, as such, still influence
our impressions, behavior, social relations, desires, feelings, ideas, and
forms of thinking. From this perspective, it might be advisable, even wise,
to study matriarchal social relations and phenomena right in the
center of contemporary patriarchies. Such studies could help them
surface and make us aware of them to such a degree that we could use them
in our search of alternatives to patriarchy as immediate starting points.
II. Patriarchy as the Development of a War System
Matriarchal and Patriarchal Social Relations:
Patriarchy as a Process of Patriarchalization
According to the relevant literature, social relations probably lost their
matriarchal character in a situation of need, danger, or emergency that might
have occurred on account of climatic changes that were followed by "catastrophic" migrations in
the course of which matriarchal social relations were injured and spoilt
and finally destroyed (M. Gimbutas 1994; H. Göttner-Abendroth 1989;
J. de Meo 1997).
Let me define as matriarchal those social relations which
most suit the life of human groups and communities that are closely connected
with nature and other non-human forms of being and which best guarantee the
groups' or communities' survival wherever they may live. According
to this definition, such relations will have evolved in different forms all
over the world and in a long historical process. The common feature of potentially
manifold matriarchal cultures is - to take the word "culture" literally
- the care of life and there can hardly be any doubt that it was the long
history of the mother-child-relationship which led to the "evolution" of
matriarchy and toward matriarchy (see certain parallels in specific psychoanalytic
studies as the Melanie Klein-School). One may assume that, if there has ever
been anything like "evolution" in human history, it has to be
searched for in the mother-child-relationship.
In this sense indigenous matriarchal cultures in North America know, for
instance, two basic rules according to which they orient their lives: All
life comes from women. Life must not
Matriarchal societies all over the world and at all times would probably
stick to these two basic rules.
Patriarchal social relations will, according to the above
given definition of matriarchy, most probably not have developed out of a
project that arose within matriarchy against matriarchy. Such a development
would imply that there existed, within matriarchal societies, social contradictions
of a form in which they systematically only develop in long periods of violence,
domination, oppression or subordination, exploitation, robbery, class formation,
and the like. Such conditions are, however, only known to exist in patriarchies.
In fact, it is exactly such conditions which define patriarchy. Yet, there
are some researchers who suspect endogenous causes for the development of
patriarchy out of matriarchal societies (s. C. Meier-Seethaler 1992 (1988)).
It seems, however, much more likely that patriarchal social relations have
first developed in reaction to the fact that matriarchal social relations
could no longer be continued in the way they had existed before. This would
also explain why some societies, such as the Celts, for instance, preserved
a great number of matriarchal traditions long after they had changed to patriarchal
social relations (J. Markale 1984).
There are, in any case, many instances that indicate that matriarchal societies
could successfully prevent the endogenous development of
domination and that they were not naïve in regard of the potential danger
of power, domination, and violence developing within their own social order
(s. P. Clastres 1976; Ch. Sigrist 1979 (1994)).
Apart from all these considerations there is no doubt that the decision
to raid others comes about in a situation of emergency or a situation which
may be (even fraudulently) interpreted/defined as emergency. It is raid to
hunt animals that had previously been taboo, and/or to invade another human
community in order to get food supplies. Most probably, in many cases people
will have, in the long run, arrived at some kind of agreement. In any case,
according to Marija Gimbutas, the Kurgans needed hundreds of years of organized
waves of conquest until they finally erected a regular system of
domination, that is a state (see, for example,
the history of Sumer in Ancient Mesopotamia, modern Iraq, in the 4th millennium
"Oriental despotism" which arose in those areas largely determined
the rise and development of patriarchies in antiquity (s. K. Wittfogel 1977)
and thus also the rise and development of Western patriarchy which was later
established by means of Roman colonization and of violent waves of Christianization
starting from Rome (s. M. Mies 2003).
In any case, the tremendous use of violence which, right from the beginning,
characterizes patriarchal systems of domination (s. D. Wolf 1994) can hardly
be explained, if one assumes that patriarchy arose within matriarchal societies
as endogenous formation.
It does, however, make sense to speak of endogenous waves of patriarchalization
as the result of outside influences which continue inside and lead to more
and stronger waves of patriachalization within a matriarchal society. Such
an endogenous process within matriarchal societies, which I would like to
call "secondary patriarchalization", may have
been started as protection against violence, particularly against the threat
of war: "Protective or defensive forces" not only take over the
defense against outside enemies but they also produce a power system inside
society. This has been "the logic of war" up to present times.
The question when to call a certain society no longer matriarchal or when
to consider it to be primarily patriarchal is probably mostly a question
of periodization. If matriarchy is the first social order
and if the development of patriarchy comes after and out of the conquest
of matriarchy, it must follow that matriarchal social relations have outlived
patriarchalization, have developed as new, oppressed, pauperized forms, or
have been propagated only to veil domination or to legitimize it.
The "Logic" (of the Development) of Patriarchy
From our thesis that patriarchy is always based upon the
destruction of matriarchy and as such "squats on" originally
matriarchal social relations, it follows that there must be some basic principles
which are at least "necessary" for the formation of patriarchies
as long as they compete with and are opposed to matriarchies. To put it differently:
If patriarchies do not "as such" exist on their own but develop
only in opposition to matriarchal societies, then such basic principles should
state what a patriarchal society or a society on its way to patriarchy "logically" and
in any case requires in order to develop and to continue. As minimal
principles they would form the basis of any patriarchy, no matter
how different its social order in other respects may be, and, since they
are basic and necessary for any patriarchal society, they would have to be
defended by all means and at all costs. According to this "patriarchal
logic" any attack upon these principles would have to be seen as an
attack upon the basis of society itself.
Since most of us have come to consider patriarchy as the normal form of
society, the monstrosity of this logic and its fundamental opposition to
everything that was and still is considered normal in matriarchal societies
do not strike us as terrible. We become aware of its monstrosity only when
we are directly confronted with it or when we really experience the moment
when patriarchal logic bursts and suddenly turns its "structural" or
latent violence into direct violence.
In the following passages I will present the "logic" of patriarchy
as a "necessary" negation of matriarchal social relations.
Once the scandal of patriarchy has again become evident and entered our consciousness,
we will be able to clearly differentiate between patriarchal and matriarchal
principles. Then we will also realize that patriarchy always includes the
usurpation or robbery of matriarchal acquisitions and achievements which,
in the end, are presented to be genuinely patriarchal ones.
My analysis of this patriarchal logic is based on only one prerequisite:
Patriarchy wants to exist and wants to assure its existence against the matriarchal
society upon which it squats. This, however, is beyond doubt.
Patriarchy as "War System"
As far as we know today, patriarchy always and everywhere begins with war (R.
Eisler 1993; M. Mies 2003; C. v. Werlhof 2003 a). War develops out of armed
men on horseback raiding unarmed villages and towns, looting them, destroying
them, and conquering them (M .Gimbutas 1994). Only after conquering
strangers, the people of one's own clan or group, and especially the
women, can be conquered and enslaved. In this process, hostility
of the sexes, different classes, private property as the result of robbed
property (privare = rob), and the state are established.
"Violence" in patriarchy is not vague or some kind of incidental
phenomenon which only appears at the moment when it is socialized or legalized
and legitimized "from the top". In patriarchy, individual as
well as collective violence, ordered from the top of society, is always the
result of war and part of war. War is, in this process, not a temporary,
sudden outbreak of "generative violence" (s. R. Girard 1992),
it is rather continuous generative violence. Patriarchy,
according to our thesis, does, therefore, not only begin
with war, but takes war as its model for the time after
war and for all times, those of so called "peace" included.
1. In patriarchy social relations orient themselves
on war and imitate war as their model.It is only
the perspective on patriarchy as war which can explain its social relations
and which allows to analyse the latter adequately.
Violence in patriarchy must, according to this perspective, be characterized
as "legitimate" violence in so called "just" wars.
When we look at human history and at the world as it presents itself right
now to the socio-political observer, it is obvious that patriarchal forms
of violence are, as such, "invented" in war. War
is the "father" (and, indeed, not the "mother")
of patriarchy as a whole system of violence with thoroughly
planned – or "cold" -violence as one of
its inventions. Patriarchal violence, socially produced, organized, and institutionalized,
could not develop without war but arose with and in it: Violence is always
and foremost violence of war. For hundreds of centuries,
war as capital invention of patriarchy has supplied and still supplies the "necessary" empirical
knowledge for itself (s. Sunzi 500 B. C., 1999). This also explains the establishment
of violence as military and state monopoly, removing or
suppressing other forms of coercion, such as quasi "autonomous",
state independent violence.
2. If war not only marks the beginning of patriarchy but if
patriarchy, as such, is war, that is war at all times, everywhere,
in principle, and in all areas of life and society, then patriarchy
is not only a system of violence but a system of war (for this
new concept s. M. Mies 2004). War is the typical "order" of
patriarchy, even in times of so called peace. The immediate and early phase
of direct war will, in the course of time, have developed into patriarchy
proper. Accordingly, processes of patriarchalization work to the effect
that all social areas and relations are turned into "warlike",
militarized conditions which systematically refer to each other. In this
way, war will, step by step and always more deeply, penetrate all of society
(U. Bröckling 1997). Virilio would call such a state that of "pure
war" (s. Virilio/Lotringer 1984). It is a state in which
social development solely turns around the "logistics" of the "war
machine" (ibd., p. 121).
3. War as the method of patriarchy must be re-defined. War
in patriarchy, even though it may begin as a raid, is not only an attack
that passes or a momentary conquest, that is an "offensive war".
Nor is it anything like a more or less "fair" race or competition
among opponents of equal strength (s. C. Schmitt 1932). War, according to
its own logic, never ends with conquering what it wants to conquer, it always
remains as "method" for further conquest, and it will be continued
after the conquest inside the conquered area to prevent the conquered from
freeing themselves. Furthermore, war is not only about killing the "enemy",
it rather aims at subjecting the enemy to be used for the "victor's" purposes,
such as cheap labor or "producers" of human beings. War is, therefore,
not a kind of "continuation of politics by different means",
it rather is the other way round: Politics, the economy, the technology,
the relations to nature and the relationship between the sexes, and the strategies
of legitimization in science, ethics, and religion in patriarchy are the
continuation of war by - only partially - different means. What
follows after "hot" war is, in the best case, cold war or
equally "cold peace".
Since the return to peace would be a return to matriarchal social relations, there
is no peace in patriarchy. We are not aware of this, because we
have got used to considering as peace what is no more than the temporary
absence of direct murderous violence. What we take for peace is simply
the disappearance of obvious violence in our closer neighborhood. But when
it seems to be taboo or invisible, it is just hiding in the form of "cold" violence.
Because, from a patriarchal perspective society is seen
as something that has to be permanently conquered and subjected.
Since the groups or communities that were first conquered (and still are
being conquered) were women's cultures with close relations to nature,
it is no incident that the population of a country or the people are still
considered to be "feminine" or somehow "natural".
4. Patriarchy is a Utopia which systematically
uses war to become real and concrete. This war system paradoxically
legitimizes itself by claiming to be capable of bringing about a "nobler" and "higher" world,
a new creation of the world - by means of war and destruction. This "alchemical
project" (s. B. Easlea 1986; C. v. Werlhof 2003) aims at a "society" in
which women and nature are no more than matter to be transformed, that is mother-material seen
as dead matter or as matter to be killed. The outcome of this project would
be something like a "pure patriarchy" that finally
got rid of everything matriarchal and that would need neither women nor nature
any more. Only then patriarchy would have utterly emancipated itself from
matriarchal society and would, standing on its own feet, have become an independent
order of society. "Patriarchy" would then, in the fullest sense
of the word, have realized itself. . "Social formation" would
have given way to "technological formation" or to the "alchemical
system" (C. v. Werlhof 2003) that would finally exist ex nihilo.
This illusion might represent the last and final legitimization of patriarchy.
It would consist in the idea that patriarchy, in its proper form, wants to
create a new "paradise",a place
without scarcity and conflict. All forms of violence and war would be seen
as passing, yet "necessary", phenomena on this way to progress
which appears to be desired by god and nature, and even by the women.
III. Summarized Interpretation
Patriarchal Forms of Negating Matriarchy
1. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by pre-supposing itself as
its own origin. Social alternatives to patriarchy are ignored, ridiculed,
or demonized. Society is being reduced to patriarchy.
2. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by trying to usurp, appropriate,
and incorporate the acquisitions of matriarchal cultures which are then presented
as its very own creations. Accordingly, the lord, god, father presents himself
as the better mistress, goddess, creatrix, mother, and nature (natural power).
The ancient "mother right" is turned into the "father right" over
life and death.
3. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by turning its rules and
principles upside down or by perverting them. Matriarchal
society is literally turned over to stand on its head. To do so, matriarchal
taboos concerning food, sexuality, domination, exploitation, and killing
have to be broken. With war as "the father of all things" instead
of life as "the mother of all things", creation and wealth appear
to come from willful destruction instead of from the cooperation of all things
alive. War is considered to be beautiful, true, and good. Faith in the absurd
stands against knowledge of the world. Sarcasm and cynicism toward life are
considered as adequate and intelligent. Human intelligence is primarily used
for destructive purposes.
4. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by destroying the latter.
Murder of goddesses, mothers, and women become the rule. The sacrifice of
women, nature, and culture are at the center of society with internal and
external destruction as the result. The knowledge of subsistence, of life,
and of peace, wisdom in dealing with conflicts, and empirical knowledge of
nature, all these are, together with their witnesses, destroyed. Against
all these, patriarchy sets up its nihilism.
5. Patriarchy negates matriarchy by trying to transform matriarchal
societies into patriarchal ones. This leads to the "alchemical project" of
constructing and producing patriarchal "creations" on the basis
of a violent "divide et impera!" in all areas of life. Modern
times and capitalism are, more than other historical
periods, characterized by this project of direct material patriarchalization,
particularly in the form of the production of commodities, of money bearing
interest, and of machine technology ("the military industrial complex").
6. Patriarchy finally negates matriarchy by trying to replace matriarchal
society by patriarchal order. To do so it has to totally abstract from
matriarchal social relations or to absolutely set itself off from them. This
is possible only when the constructs and products of patriarchy
lead to an independent second "creation" which,
in fact, replaces the former creation to such an extent that one can do utterly
without it. Only with the establishment of such a "pure patriarchy" the
annihilation of women and nature can - in retrospect - be "legitimized". Such
hybris, that is the willingness to stake the entire life on earth, is
the true "secret" of patriarchy.
Toward a Neo-Matriarchal View of Inter-Connectedness
Alternative projects, even if they do not explicitly mention matriarchy,
globally start with equality, subsistence, mutuality, the affirmation of
life, and cooperation. The simple self-evident truth of life without dominance
is again right at the center of thinking, acting, and feeling. The relation
to internal and external nature is understood to be based on the idea of
all things alive and all phenomena being inter-connected. Such matriarchal
view on inter-connectedness does not transcend this world nor create another
world beyond it, but it goes right through it (transcendere) without disconnecting
the individual beings. On the contrary, it is transcending their limits and
sees every being connected with every other. Thus, the thoughts pick up the
threads of ancient wisdom woven by matriarchal cultures (s. C. v. Werlhof/Bennholdt-Thomsen/Faraclas
The delusion of patriarchy will, like a phantom, disappear from the surface
of the earth ...
If we then turn back upon the times of patriarchy and look at it with "archaeological eyes",
we shall soon wonder how it could ever have existed.
(translation by Dr. Ursula Marianne Ernst)
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Claudia von Werlhof was born in 1943 in Berlin; 1988 Professor of Political Science/Women's Studies, University Innsbruck (Austria); Latin American Studies, University Bielefeld (Germany); PhD 1974, Habilitation 1984. Empirical research: Central and South America; Theoretical contributions: Critical Theory of Patriarchy. She founded, with many others, the
Planetary Movement for Mother Earth and, more recently, the
BOOMERANG Journal for the Critique of Patriarchy.