Tuesday, 13 February 2007

The Chalice and the Blade

Artwork from Robin Wood

I've finished Riane Eisler's disturbing, disruptive book

This book made me angry.This book made me mad.

This book should be required reading for everyone.

See, Riane Eilser keeps telling you stuff you already knew-but she tells you so much of it that at times it's difficult to read what's on the page for the red mist before your eyes.

Then again, she tells you some stuff perhaps you didn't know, and you run off to learn more about it, all the while the red mist creeping back infront of you....

Well, OK, that's my experience of reading what is unarguably a very, very important book-which for some unaccountable reason I'd never gotten around to reading before.

The major point I took away with me was this-we aren't born violent.

And anyone who disagrees with me is going to see his guts on the ground in a steaming heap.


This site gives some startling insights to our closest cousins-the bonobos, as compared to the normal chimpanzee.

Though very close in genetic relationship and virtually next-door neighbors, chimpanzees and a less-well-known species called bonobos in Zaire are socially poles apart. Only identified as a species separate from chimps in 1929, bonobos intrigue biologists with their easygoing ways, sexual equality, female bonding, and zeal for recreational sex.

In contrast, bonobo society is marked by the strong bonds that develop between unrelated females and by almost constant sexual activity amongst all members of a group. Bonobos apparently use sex to reinforce bonds within the group and to resolve conflict. What evolutionary advantages do these behaviors offer?

Seeking the answer to that question, researchers noted that infanticide is almost unknown among bonobos. Their constant sexual activity obscures paternity, removing the incentive for infanticide, and the pervasive bonding of female bonobos, who form coalitions for mutual support and protection, removes the opportunity. Preventing infanticide is a huge evolutionary advantage for bonobo females, because more of their offspring will survive.

Since we're more closely related to Bonobos than Chimpanzees, this offers a lot of hope for humanity.