By Debra Moffitt
Women’s marches in Washington, D.C. and worldwide question relationships of power. But do we have a language to talk about power and our relationship to it? President Donald Trump exemplifies an extreme “domination” model of power. One person takes power and control over others. Collaboration and cooperation are unheard of in this model. But there is an alternative — partnership. And conscious of it or not, I believe this is what women and men marched for — a healthy partnership-based society. But it starts with each of us as individuals.
How we think and especially how we grew up can strongly impact the ways we view power. Riane Eisler, author of “The Power of Partnership” and founder of The Center for Partnership Studies, divides these into the “domination” model and the “partnership” model. But most people are not fully aware of how they relate to power. I believe that Eisler gives us a language and a framework to speak to what’s going on. “New thinking requires new language,” she says.
Basic Characteristics – (Copyright Debra Moffitt, 2017)
I bet if I ask most of you to list traits of domination versus partnership traits, you’d respond quickly and accurately. Here are some details:
Dominators take control over others. It’s top down authority. They limit exchanges and communication. Women and feminine strengths are devalued both in society and economically. They value might and military spending over caring professions, mothering, child care, birth, and caring for the elderly. Power resides in creating fear and threatening others to comply. Many traditional families were and are organized like this and children learn to grow up with fear of punishment.
Partners work in equality with others. Both men and women are equally valued. The people, groups and societies based on partnership value non-violence and caring. They derive pleasure and well-being from “power to” and “power with” as opposed to taking power over others. There’s a low degree of fear, coercion and threat. Some of the Scandinavian countries like Sweden rate high on the partnership model of society with many women elected to government positions and high levels of childcare and maternity leave. Children where parents share equal partnership are inspired to be more curious, creative, and happy.
Which kind of society do you consciously choose to create?
Now think about it. You have the power to create the world around you.
Dominators create the society like we have now in the U.S. where women, childcare, and mothering are undervalued. Caring for the aging is a way to make profit and healthcare is a means to make money from the ill. But imagine if the partnership model prevails and we make a full transition to what Eisler calls, “the caring economy.” Imagine if we spend less on military spending and more on education, children, women, and the elderly.
It starts with each of us making conscious choices and examining how we relate to people in our lives. Check in and ask yourself about the kind of model you create in your life. Do some self-inquiry and self-examination. This is important right now. “We can shift our relations from domination to partnership — starting with our day-to-day relations all the way to how we relate to our mother earth,” the Center for Partnership Studies says.
With the “domination” system, Mother Nature and humanity may literally not survive. But with a partnership model, I believe we can all not only survive, but thrive. Imagine if we all come together to resolve the problems facing humanity today? We’ll soon build paradise on earth.
Listen to my interview with Riane Eisler on Unity FM radio – “Divinely Inspired Living” with Debra Moffitt.
Copyright Debra Moffitt, January 2017. No portion of this blog or post may be reused, reprinted, or copied onto any other site or blog without prior written consent of author, Debra Moffitt.