Carman, It’s always a pleasure to read your thoughts. Thank you for highlighting the parallels between Eisler on Partnership and Paul. I hadn’t fully appreciated this aspect of Paul. The opposition of “flesh” and “spirit” is a key theme in many theologies, so I read him more literally. I do hear and appreciate that you interpret Paul’s words differently, with an interesting result.
[12/8/09: Carman, I’ve been continuing to mull your interpretation of Paul, and see some strong parallels with my own [process] train of thought. If we use the idea of “small self'” in place of “flesh,” I agree that these ideas do begin to describe a holistic, Partnership approach. I think the original metaphor is problematic in that it is too limited and freezes an occassionally conflicting relationship between different aspects (or intelligences) of ourselves into permanent opposition. I think this core antagonism is paradigmatic, in a sense, of the ethic of opposition, domination and control towards others in a dominator system. If instead, we recognize difference rather than antagonism, we retain the possibility of a higher, creatively intelligent resolution which surpasses what we can imagine as individuals.]
Another area of concern for me, with regard to Paul, is his statement in Corinthians 14:34-35 which seems to promote the subordination of women to men, which would be contrary to an ethic of Partnership: “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” That said, I’ve also read that this is often or usually interpreted to refer to a specific situation rather than as a generalization http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/ministry/women9.htm
I know that you have some expertise on this subject. What are your thoughts?
I am interested to explore the key question that you have posed: “If a Partnership group were being infiltrated by dominator tendencies, how would you address the issue, especially if dissolution were imminent?”
I am drawn to the idea that a higher wisdom can emerge in groups where there is shared intention, trust, active listening, mutual encouragement and appreciation. I’ve found that in really healthy, collaborative groups there can be a kind of ” magic” — a very satisfying experience of co-creativity in which the result is clearly better than members might achieve alone.
Two quotes from Napolean Hill seem to speak to that notion:
“When two or more people coordinate in a spirit of harmony and work toward a definite objective or purpose, they place themselves in position, through the alliance, to absorb power directly from the great storehouse of the creative mechanism of each contributing mind.”
And: “No two minds ever come together without, thereby, creating a third, invisible, intangible force which may be likened to a third mind.”
For me, these quotes bring together the very compatible principles of Partnership and holism.
Would you like to consider a particular concrete situation and reason together?
P.S. I think we have your rain today! The skys just opened up.