Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 16, No. 7, July 2020
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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From Obedience and Shame to Freedom and Belonging:
Transforming Patriarchal Paradigms of Child-Rearing
in the Age of Global Warming

Miki Kashtan

This is an abbreviated version of the same title in
The Fearless Heart, December 2017,
abbreviated by the author for Mother Pelican, July 2020

The core question I address in this article is: What will it take to reclaim our fundamental relatedness with all things alive, surrender our attempts to control nature, and find a way of living that averts or mitigates the worst possible catastrophes awaiting us while it’s still possible? I draw on Humberto Maturana’s investigations of the “biology of love” and on the growing field of matriarchal studies. I argue that our prospects for survival require turning around millennia of patriarchy and putting, again, love and human needs at the center. We can only do this if we find ways for children to conserve a biology of love rather than a patriarchal biology of dominance and submission. I highlight the principles of mothering, natural authority, gift economy and need orientation, nonviolence, and self-trust both bodies of literature point to. I look at how patriarchy started and reproduces itself despite humanity having evolved in the biology of love. I show patriarchy to be a system rather than any set of traits, a system that is parasitic on invisible gifting and that routinely utilizes coercion and shaming in child-rearing, thereby separating freedom from safety and compromising the lives of all of us. I end with a call to integration of past and present at systemic, community, and individual levels, including proposing dramatic changes in childrearing practices that prioritize freedom and belonging to put love and needs at the center of human life again.

We are at a crossroads as a species. After several thousand years, patriarchy consolidated its domination of the world in the last 100 years. In the last few decades, the intrinsic unsustainability of patriarchal economics and politics has been exposed. In the last decade, we started a global conversation about the question of our very survival as a species.

We face a critical choice: Will we continue on the suicidal path leading us to watch all that we love die within the foreseeable future? Or will we reclaim and restore our fundamental relatedness with all things alive, surrender our attempts to control life, and avert or mitigate the worst possible catastrophes if we still can?

Even if we succeed in containing the acute threat of global warming, without finding a way to preserve or restore the “biology of love”, we will remain in the throes of patriarchy. Since what drives evolution is what children learn and conserve, our future depends on supporting children to experience and then conserve love.[1]

Love thrives in the context of freedom and belonging. Love shrinks in the context of obedience and shame. Love is intertwined with gifting, and withers away in transactional contexts. Preserving love entails putting needs at the center; a radical departure from existing paradigms of patriarchal child-rearing. This is how patriarchy is directly related to our prospects for survival.

Patriarchy and Global Warming

Patriarchy is interwoven both with the effects and the causes of global warming. Global warming disproportionately affects the lives of women and girls, especially low income and Global South women and girls. Global warming is also a feminist issue because the mindset and systems that created it are both directly and indirectly patriarchal. Directly, because patriarchy originated from separation from and control over life. Indirectly, because capitalism, one of patriarchy’s core offspring, is based on maximizing profits through extractive capacity, with complete disregard for what are seen as “externalities.”

At the same time, much of the thinking about how to slow down or halt global warming remains focused on short-term coercive or transactional methods. Ultimately, fully turning around the march to destruction requires restoring connection to self, others, and life itself. Restoring connection means, respectively, shifting from obedience to freedom, from shame to belonging, and from scarcity and narrow self-interest to trust in natural abundance and care for the whole.

Our Origins: Love, Needs, and the Mothering Principle

Four strands converge in the framework I am presenting here: archeological/anthropological, biological, psychological, and social-theoretical. Archeologically, this framework begins with the pioneering work of archeologist Marija Gimbutas on the matriarchal societies of what she calls Old Europe. These societies flourished for at least hundreds of years, well into the agricultural revolution, until they were transformed into patriarchal societies in three waves of progressively more violent invasions by nomadic pastoralist Indo-Europeans. In parallel, either the same or other similar groups migrated eastward all the way to the Indus region, where similarly matriarchal societies existed. Other parts of the world remained partly or wholly matriarchal until the massive worldwide project of European colonization disrupted just about any semblance of egalitarian structures and imposed the order of patriarchy – dominance and submission – on most of the rest of the world, though small pockets of fully or partially matriarchal societies continue to exist and struggle against the continued encroachment of patriarchy.

What do such societies look like? This is where the idea of a “biology of love” put forth by Humberto Maturana meets the “maternal gift economy” of social theorist Genevieve Vaughan, Darcia Narvaez’s research in psychology, and my own explorations over years of learning, teaching, writing, and working with people within the framework of putting needs at the center.

The Biology of Love

Humberto Maturana has been a pioneer in rethinking how evolution works. He posits the framework of “genetic drift” that results rather than originates in natural selection, through an ongoing recursive relationship of mutual constitution between organism and environment within the context of epigenetic changes of mutual adaptation. Based on this framework, he and psychologist Gerda Verden-Zöller put love and cooperation at the center of human evolution. They see humans as being a different lineage from chimpanzees, despite how close we are genetically, because we have conserved the loving nature of mother-child relationship into adulthood.

Their detailed description of early societies is strikingly similar to the research into past and present matriarchal societies, although developed independently of each other’s work. The following composite and incomplete portrait of such a society description draws on both strands.

Mothering. The mothering relationship is central, revered, and paradigmatic beyond the progressively narrowing scope we currently associate with it in patriarchal capitalist societies. Its quintessential form is an orientation towards the needs of another, giving without expectation of receiving.

Cooperation. Matriarchal societies have no stratification: not between men and women, not between classes, and not between adults and children. Instead, through cooperation and ongoing gifting, everyone’s needs are included in the mix of decisions about resource allocation and social life.

Natural authority. In matriarchal societies, no coercion is necessary. Authority emerges naturally, and is generally in the hands of the clan mother, whose views are respected rather than obeyed.

Gift economy and need orientation. Matriarchal societies function largely in the gift. Gifting arises from the pervasive maternal orientation to everyone’s needs. Women generally manage basic goods collectively for the benefit of all, including men, within a subsistence economy. When accumulation happens at all, it is seasonal and collective.

Nonviolence. Matriarchal societies are fundamentally peaceful and stable. Despite colonial pressure, for example, the Iroquois confederacy, entirely based on nonviolent and cooperative principles, has been in continuous operation for about a thousand years ago.

Self trust. Children are surrounded by love and nurturance and witness pleasure, stable intimacy, and play, free of relational trauma. They are the recipients of unilateral and unconditional giving from their mothers and others, with much more continuity of experience into adult life. Both women and men are naturally trusting of self and other, relaxed, and life-loving.

Conflict. In matriarchal societies conflict is neither avoided nor fought. Rather, it is metabolized within a restorative paradigm primarily focused on the overall well-being of the community.

There is nothing more threatening for patriarchy than the debunking of the myth that dominance and submission are built into our nature, thus many are skeptical of the picture I just painted. Since I rely on a body of work that is contested and at times actively silenced, I want to urge readers to consult with the sources in the references before passing judgment.

The Shift to Patriarchy

“Selfish gene” or “homo economicus” theories of self-interest and competition are challenged to explain away the persistent presence of care, of connection, and of gifting. Similarly, accepting the matriarchal, egalitarian, peaceful, and stable lens that explains the archeological, biological, and mythological findings requires coming up with plausible explanations for how matriarchal societies turned globally into societies based on scarcity, separation, and powerlessness.

According to Heide Goettner-Abendroth, a founder of the matriarchal studies framework, no grand theory explains this transition. Patriarchy emerges because of local, specific reasons external to the spontaneous unfolding of the culture. This happens only when the stress and trauma interfere with the spontaneous unfolding of trusting relationships and love on a scale large enough to overwhelm the capacity of a group or culture to metabolize within its finite resources and resilience.

The emerging patriarchal societies are never stable because patriarchy goes against our biology, and require physical or economic force to sustain itself. Under patriarchy everyone suffers: men and women – though not alike; adults and children – though not alike; people of lighter and darker skin – though not alike; people of wealth and impoverished people – though not alike. Separation distorts everyone’s sense of self and capacity for well-being while making some of us the object of hatred, persecution, violence, and diminishment. Patriarchy shapes all relationships, institutions, mindsets, and everything else about our way of living. It runs independently of any one person’s attitudes or behaviors. All forms of domination, starting when patriarchal societies were formed through conquering the Old European stable agricultural settlements, and including capitalism, racism, exploitation, oppression, war, and now environmental degradation, have been the result of patriarchy and not its cause, and none of it is inherent to who we are.

If patriarchy is not specifically about men, why is it that this shift invariably results in men ruling women and not the other way around? A more detailed narrative of what happened in the European context might give us some clues. This is the patriarchal turn that had the most calamitous results for humanity; that left Europe as the only continent where no matriarchal societies survived.

Without ever being able to know exactly what happened, available data suggests that desertification and massive flooding around the Black Sea (encoded in the Biblical story) led significant numbers of people to revert to hunting for food to supplement the diminishing capacity of women to sustain the group through growing food. Eventually, unable to find food, men left to reduce the burden on the women and sustain the future of their society. With or without women, weakened groups of men continued to migrate from the steppes, where they could not feed themselves properly. Progressively more desperate, they would finally reach the urban and garden societies of eastern Europe, only to recognize that there was no place for them to settle peacefully because of population density. They could either return to the steppes and desert that could not sustain them, or cross a line, for the first time in that part of the world, and use their hunting weapons against other humans in an act of war.

It is almost impossible, I believe, for our modern minds to grasp the calamity of what the ensuing waves of invasions signified, because we no longer have the lived sensibility of what it was like before. Gimbutas discovered nearly 700 sites in which hundreds of years of peaceful existence, including agriculture and cities, were destroyed quite rapidly in the face of the invasions. Villages and cities were either destroyed, or became second class citizens ruled by foreign people. This is when patriarchy fully formed: when some men began to rule all others. From this moment on, European history is rife with unceasing trauma.

The short answer, then, to why it was men who became the carriers and symbols of the new social order is that it was men who killed, conquered, and dominated. And it was women who had to be dominated because unless they lost their power, they remained capable of organizing resistance to the new rulers. This is how patriarchy deepened its commitment to separation until it became a negation of life, of mothering and of children, and by extension of gifting and connection. Continued accumulation then created a push for more land, more resources, more labor power, and more markets. In that way, then, it was, indeed, inevitable that patriarchy would become a worldwide phenomenon.

Even as resistance to the encroachment of patriarchy and the diminishment of the biology of love has continued, patriarchy has expanded, and with it trauma, instability, and progressive destruction of life. At the same time, patriarchy has been immensely successful in hiding its inherent and necessary violence by othering larger and larger groups of people and inventing what theologian Walter Wink calls “the myth of redemptive violence.”

In order to sustain itself patriarchy, like any social order, is passed inter-generationally through socialization. Tragically, this is first done by women to both their daughters and their sons, before and alongside men. It is also all too often the case that women engage directly in cruel physical mutilations of their daughters’ bodies and in shunning behaviors towards children, women, and men who don’t conform to patriarchal norms.

The usurpation of gifts into the exchange paradigm

Systemic internalization also explains Vaughan’s insight that the gift economy continues without being visible, as host to the exchange economy that becomes its parasite. Three invisible forms of gifting sustain the workings and continued existence of patriarchy, most acutely in its capitalist form.

One is the gift of work done, mostly by women, outside the market economy: care for children, the sick, the home, families, and communities. A second is the unfree gifting of labor that is an essential building block of profit; what Karl Marx called “surplus value”. The third is the gift of nature and its silent incapacity to resist the mining and other forms of extraction.

Thus the gift continues, without being valued, without being recognized, allowing the mythology of market freedom and success to flourish while what sustains it remains invisible and often actively devalued.

Life under Patriarchy: when Extremes Become the Norm

Under patriarchy, three mechanisms shifted from being activated in extreme conditions only to being activated all the time or often. In order of their appearance they are fight/flight/freeze, coercion, and shame. Each of them has unfolded within the trauma-laden history of patriarchy.

Fight/flight/freeze. I tend to think of fight/flight/freeze as an ingenious response to an assessment of threat to survival, when control is transferred to (rather than “hijacked” by) parts of the brain that make rapid decisions by turning off the normal mechanisms of the biology of love, most especially care for the whole, and focusing, instead, just on survival. Under conditions of the biology of love, where trust in life and each other is the general flavor of living, this mechanism is rarely activated. With all the catastrophe that happened, loss of trust in life became endemic, intergenerational trauma isn’t metabolized, and incoming signals are more likely to be interpreted as danger.

Traumatized people are less likely to create optimal conditions for their children to grow up in the biology of love. We haven’t had – ever – the conditions to release trauma over time. Patriarchy has only continued, expanded, taken over more areas of life, spawned colonialism, capitalism, and racism, and brought us to near extinction. This, and ongoing bombardment of our senses, have left us in a semi-permanent activation of our fight/flight/freeze system, and a high propensity for full activation.

Coercion. Matriarchal societies rely on relationship, care for the whole, gifting, and natural authority to maintain cohesion and well-being. It is a rare event when actual coercion has to be exercised, and almost impossible in the absence of rulers and armies. Patriarchy, on the other hand, because it is always imposed against our biology, necessitates ongoing coercion, especially of children. Obedience is one of patriarchy’s ways of reproducing itself by making it possible to override the innate human aversion to inflicting harm on others, a point I elaborate in my article “The Freedom to Disobey.”

Shame. Shame evolved as part of humans becoming progressively more dependent on a loving group for our wellbeing. This vulnerability makes shame a perfect mechanism for protecting the group from the threat of an extreme individual action. Whether consciously or not, patriarchy mobilized this powerful social emotion for a different purpose: shame now protects the imposed order of the powerful; not the group as a whole. Under patriarchy shame becomes a primary mechanism of socialization just when a child most needs the loving context that allows for unhindered individual development.

Domination and Submission: Separating Freedom from Safety

Alice Miller, a pioneer in challenging child-reading practice, describes a human baby as “a bundle of needs.” In matriarchal societies, mothers and others orient directly to these needs, in a full and undifferentiated way: as many of the needs, as much as possible.

Following the discovery and articulation of my sister Arnina Kashtan, I now see patriarchy as interfering with individual development by separating and opposing two triangles of needs: security, including belonging and being seen, and freedom, including truth and presence. As children, we have to earn security by being obedient and “good.” The overwhelming majority of us accept this extremely difficult deal. We conclude that freedom is impossible, and keep longing for it while conforming for belonging. We are unlikely to challenge people in positions of authority or the system of patriarchy as a whole, internalizing and passing on patriarchy’s messages to our own children.


A very small minority of us choose the never-articulated option of freedom knowing that this means living without safety, belonging, or being seen. The isolation this entails becomes a cautionary tale for others. It also makes us less likely to band with others to stand up to patriarchy.


Either way, we come out of childhood fractured. Darcia Narvaez, a psychologist and theorist, has concluded that what goes for normal child-rearing goes directly against what is optimal for healthy development: that our upbringing primes us to compete and fight with others for the few positions of dominance, where those are even available, or to submit to others’ dominance. How? By making love absent or conditional, by shaming us, and by creating impossible choices that divide us internally and prepare us for external divisions between individuals and groups of people.

The global war-ning: will our children conserve the biology of love?

We have reached a state where the biology of love is at risk. To continue as loving human being will require us to want to preserve the biology of love. All the values and ways of being of matriarchal societies are now endangered.

In this tragic context, mothering itself is transformed from attending to present needs to shaping and controlling the child’s development for the future. The social structures separating home from work since by the industrial revolution foist impossible choices on women: either remove themselves from adult productive life and raise their children within an artificially intensified dyadic relationship (if they have that option in terms of their class standing), or join the labor market and entrust the child’s upbringing to a transactional context.

Cooperation, previously based on voluntary participation, is now mostly coerced. The majority of the people of the world are now involuntarily doing meaningless activities, for hours every day, designed to attend to some of the needs of the few. Mistrust and resentment predominate, feeding the next cycles of trauma and contributing to the perpetuation of patriarchy. Some groups’ needs are systematically prioritized in social contexts rife with power differences and mistrust.

Natural authority is largely replaced with imposed, structurally reinforced authority that is obeyed rather than listened to. Rising to more authority mostly correlates with less rather than more care for everyone.

The gift economy has gone underground, and need orientation is progressively less common as everything gets commodified. We are seduced into believing that those who have access to resources well beyond anyone’s capacity to spend and those who don’t get their basic needs met both deserve their conditions. The early imprint of gifting as free receiving clashes with the reality of exchange and we become divided against ourselves and numb to unimaginable and ongoing suffering in the world.

We all know, somewhere, that something is very wrong in a world where war is a constant affair, nonviolence is elusive, and structural and emotional violence affect almost everyone.

The self-trust that people raised within the biology of love experience, vital for caring action in times of challenge, is all but gone. People the world over struggle with extreme self-doubt and caution, relying on anything but their own inner guidance and clarity for making choices.

The state of globalized capitalist patriarchy in which we live makes it near impossible for a child to be surrounded by sufficient love. Perhaps for the first time ever, the possibility of conserving aggression instead of love is looming large. We can, still, reclaim, restore, and conserve our human lovingness, though not for long. Providing sufficient love would now need to be a conscious choice, not a spontaneous unfolding, given the trauma we all carry.

We are reaching the end of the road.

Integrating Our Past with Our Present

In 2002, when my beloved deceased sister Inbal first articulated her radical approach to parenting based on the principles and practices of Nonviolent Communication, she named this form of parenting an act of social change. Now, her call rings closer: at least some of us, somewhere, need to do the near-impossible to make a future truly possible. We do this, individually, by changing our story; by re-integrating the split between freedom and belonging; and by creating a different life for this generation of children. I leave the question of how we can possibly change the larger structures of society to other articles and venues.

Changing the Story

In some ways, this is the easiest part of the necessary transformation. There is no need to start from scratch. Information is available, and we can find it, with focused intention, outside mainstream sources. This article, in itself, is the result of years and years of study. Here, in concise form, is the summary version of what I have learned, including what’s already named in this article.

Most of our existence, at least 97% of it if not 99%, we lived in matriarchal societies in which we were thriving and enjoying life, fully connected to our bodies, to each other, and to life as a whole. The patriarchal shifts we have endured happened because of our vulnerability to certain extreme outside stressors, within which we revert to the biology of aggression. They are not intrinsic developments within cultures. Perhaps our biology of love had not evolved sufficiently to handle such conditions, since the capacity for dominance and submission had remained in our genetic makeup even if our manner of living had fully evolved into the biology of love.

If ever we manage to turn the tide, may we have a longer stretch of time to settle into the biology of love. First culturally, then physiologically and anatomically, and, finally, genetically.

Reclaiming Ourselves: A Personal Practice of Liberation

Personal liberation begins with love of self and acceptance of all that has happened and cannot be changed. This means reconnecting with our emotional selves and beginning to trust that our deepest longings are not destructive if we receive them with love.

Personal liberation requires the willingness to experience discomfort. There’s discomfort that comes from any shift in what’s familiar, especially when we occupy positions of privilege. There’s discomfort from looking deeply into our participation in our collective addiction to comfort, and from undoing that complicity. As we move further from established norms, we also bump up against existing structures of domination. Depending on our circumstances, this can range from social awkwardness to executions. The risks are not trivial.

The core aim of this practice is reclaiming wholeness. If we gave up freedom, it means risking belonging and safety in order to choose, freely, to show more of ourselves. If we gave up security, it means opening up to the potential disappointment of not being seen and loved instead of protecting ourselves by separating. This integration has a unique destination that my sister Arnina calls the star of life.


When integrated, our presence is connected with being seen, our truth is no longer at odds with belonging, and we can experience freedom and security at the same time. As individuals within the context of a patriarchal world, this subversive outcome may be as close to heaven as we can get.

On this foundation we rest our efforts to create the world we know is possible, extending ourselves in service to communities and groups and learning, collectively, how to transform patriarchy on the structural plane, without recreating domination.

On this foundation we can raise children by consciously choosing and embodying the matriarchal values and ways of being that we know are our lifeline and our evolutionary lineage.

Parenting for change: supporting the freedom to disobey

Our primary task when caring for children is to provide enough freedom and enough security for children to develop fully, without ever having to consider a tradeoff between core needs, and thus able to continue, perhaps with less effort, the path of love.

This means a full orientation to a child’s needs without giving up on the adults’ needs; no punishment or reward; encouragement of choice and responsibility without telling a child what to do; using force in only when imminent physical risk was present; and making decisions with the child and not for the child even in infancy.

The result of such upbringing is a person whose needs don’t need to be reintegrated; they simply are. I remain in mourning about how rare it is for adults to maintain an unwavering commitment to children’s freedom and power even while having witnessed exactly such parenting. Even with commitment, not many people have the material resources and the social environment to make it work. It’s too precarious to rely on the capacity of individual parents to manage.

The paradox we live in is that we are creatures that need love in order to give love, and we have created the worst conditions for us to be able to receive love. Somehow, we need to bootstrap ourselves to make our children’s lives more whole, and quickly.

This means, to me, that we consciously build community with other to spread and multiply the love. Such communities can also be the places of experimenting with restoring reverence for life so the flow of trust in abundance can resume, and with it the gifting ethos. If we succeed, and if we manage to avert the worst of global warming, then our children can bond with each other, freer than us. Perhaps their children will reach the image below, of many stars of life, in their multiple shapes corresponding to whole, unique, fully developed, not-necessarily-symmetrical humans, coming together with room for all in the large circle of life.


With that, we may complete a species journey evolutionary biologist Elisabet Sahtouris, describes as shifting from fierce competition to deep collaboration and interdependence.

Social Evolution in Summary

As part of writing this article, I created a table that summarizes the story this article captures: the matriarchal world of our past, suffused as it was in the biology of love; the world of capitalist patriarchy that we currently live in; and the possible world of the future, integrating what we learned on the way with our original legacy. Below are seven of the twenty six rows as a way to close the circle of this article. The full text of the table can be found here: Social Evolution in Summary.

Biology of Love – Origins

Patriarchy (especially under capitalism)

Biology of Love – Integration

Overall “Manner of Living”

Consistent with the biological lineage; spontaneous and conscious actions to continue and preserve the lineage in humility

Inconsistent with the biological lineage; active attempts to control and override the spontaneous; hubris to the point of threatening the continued existence of the Homo Sapiens-Amans (loving) lineage and drifting into a Homo Sapiens-Aggressans one

Consciously, through reflection and new choices, embracing the lineage of love we came from and mourning the loss and trauma; supporting children in having a spontaneous experience of the biology of love and therefore being able to conserve it

Mode of thinking / reasoning

Embedded systemic / analogical orientation towards the whole

Local linear causal reasoning; growing reductionism; fragmented or compartmentalized thinking interferes with systemic understanding

Integration of both modes through a conscious “double look”: reflection on whole / system and its composition / parts in tandem

Contribution to Humanity / Life

Ways of organizing human social life that sustain love and embeddedness within life, art, craft

Literature, analytic tools, philosophy, individual artistic and intellectual expression, individual spiritual practices (e.g. yoga and meditation), scientific knowledge

Conscious application of science and technology in service of regeneration, rebalancing, and stewarding planetary thriving; capacity for chosen reintegration of mind, heart, body, and spirit


Organic flow of responsiveness to self and others’ needs; all needs in harmony

Unruly, must be tamed (by authority and/or reason; through obedience and shame); divided into two triangles (safety and freedom) in either/or relationship with each other

Conscious integration of safety and freedom triangles into a “star of life” (triangles coming together) that is unique to each person

Response to Violent Attack

Varied; unprepared; vulnerable to takeover (e.g. original patriarchal invasions; European settling of North America)

Responding to violence with violence; war

Consciously learning to mobilize the power of nonviolent resistance for transcending the attack and including former opponents in the solution

View of children

Children as gift of continuity of life and support for all

Children as in need of being tamed; seen as liability and/or resource

Children as carriers of renewed love legacy into the future

Child rearing methods

Full integration, love, apprenticeship, support; all needs honored in an undifferentiated manner

Obedience, shame, segregation; conditional belonging for the obedient and normative along with constrained freedom for the powerful

Autonomy, contribution, multi-age groups, dialogic power-sharing; conscious cultivation of both safety and freedom


Cristina Biaggi (ed.). The Rule of Mars: Readings on the Origins, History and Impact of Patriarchy. Manchester, CT: Knowledge, Ideas & Trends, 2005

Silvia Federici. Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia, 2004.

Heide Goettner-Abendroth (ed.) Societies of Peace. Matriarchies Past, Present and Future. Toronto, Canada: Inanna Publications, 2009.

Heide Goettner-Abendroth (ed.) Matriarchal Societies: Studies on Indigenous Cultures Across the Globe. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2012.

Marija imbutas. The Civilization of the Goddess. San Francisco, Harper, 1991.

Miki Kashtan. Spinning Threads of Radical Aliveness: Transcending the Legacy of Separation in our Individual Lives. Oakland, CA: Fearless Heart Publications, 2014.

Miki Kashtan. Reweaving Our Human Fabric: Working together to create a nonviolent future. Oakland, CA: Fearless Heart Publications, 2014.

Miki Kashtan. “The Freedom to Disobey”

Joan Marler. “The Myth of Universal Patriarchy: A Critical Response to Cynthia Eller’s Myth of Matriarchal Prehistory”. Sage Journals, January 1, 2006.

Alice Miller. For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1983.

Humberto Maturana Romesin and Gerda Verden-Zöller. The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, 2008.

Elisabet Sahtouris. Celebrating Crisis: Towards a Culture of Cooperation at World Business Academy, which includes an image of the maturation cycle.

Genevieve Vaughan. The Gift in the Heart of Language: The Maternal Source of Meaning. Milan, Italy: Mimesis International, 2015

Genevieve Vaughan. “Homo Donans Materno”, paper given at the University of Naples Federico II, International conference on The Gift. From a distance. Naples, April 27-29, 2016. Proceedings forthcoming.

Genevieve Vaughan. With foreword by Robin Morgan. For-giving: a feminist criticism of exchange. Austin, TX: Plain View Press, 1997.


[1] This article is a shortened version of the original which is carefully documented with footnotes. See From Obedience and Shame to Freedom and Belonging: Transforming Patriarchal Paradigms of Child-Rearing in the Age of Global Warming


Miki Kashtan is the founder of The Fearless Heart, a source of inspiration and tools for creating the future we want, and courage to live it now.

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