It is humbling to realize that our individual actions do not significantly influence what is actually happening in our world. Instead, the influence of human beings becomes significant on a global scale only through our collective actions. This fact is related to how we evolved as mammals in small groups, similar to apes and monkeys. Essentially, we did not evolve to survive and thrive individually but rather to survive and thrive collectively.
Seeing as true power comes from synergy, we evolved as part of our communities through cooperative power dynamics. Because the universal power of love is energized by the polarity between the universal feminine and the universal masculine, we evolved to grow with the loving support of at least one masculine father figure and at least one feminine mother figure. This loving support not only takes the form of affection, presence, and resources; it also takes the form of rules and responsibilities.
The ancient reminder to “honor thy mother and father” is actually meant to encourage children to humbly accept the rules and responsibilities given to them by their parents, rather than selfishly exhaust their parents’ affection, presence, and resources. Just as a parent’s love does not diminish with the age of their child, the power dynamics of parental authority do not diminish even when the child has grown well into adulthood. During our evolution, high mortality rates meant that father figures and mother figures were often not a child’s biological parents but were instead other elders in the child’s community. This is why the power dynamics of parental authority are integral to how we evolved in community.
The terms we use for the power dynamics of parental authority are patriarchy and matriarchy. Coming from Latin, these terms literally mean “fatherly rule” and “motherly rule”. The difference between them is that, while patriarchy relies on the universal masculine to provide protection and structure by creating and enforcing rules, matriarchy relies on the universal feminine to support nourishment and sensitivity by allocating responsibilities. For example, creating and enforcing a rule for a child to return home before sunset is patriarchal. In comparison, giving a child the responsibility to keep a room clean is matriarchal.
Because we evolved to cooperate in community on the basis of both patriarchy and matriarchy, both are essential for human beings to facilitate communal cooperation. Similar to how rules without responsibilities lead to irresponsible behavior, responsibilities without rules lead to unreliable behavior. This is how individuals who reject rules or responsibilities create communal illness, through their inevitably unreliable or irresponsible behaviors.
What is actually happening is that the valuing of masculinity over femininity, as has occurred in industrial societies, has resulted in the valuing of patriarchy over matriarchy and subsequently encouraged reliability over responsibility. Yet, ensuring that women are part of existing power structures does not and cannot bring societies into balance, because the imbalance between patriarchy and matriarchy is one of gender rather than genitals.
As human civilizations began to grow beyond the size of single tribes, they required masculine structure in order to do so. In fact, the larger and more complex a civilization was, the more extensive its organizational structures needed to be. The more structured a society was, the more important patriarchy became to the functioning and survival of that society.
Of course, matriarchy was still needed at the level of families and communities. Yet, the ability of a matriarch to assign responsibilities and be aware of whether those responsibilities were being fulfilled was not able to scale up to the size of vast civilizations. This is why large-scale centralization of power always resulted in the prioritization of patriarchy over matriarchy. Additionally, without comparably powerful matriarchal oversight, patriarchal rulers tended to behave irresponsibly by valuing their own power over the universal power of love.
What is actually happening is that the centralized power of nation states and empires is beginning to dissolve into a decentralized network of communities made possible by our global communications networks. This process of decentralization is what will allow for the rebalancing of matriarchy with patriarchy to ensure both reliable and responsible behavior beyond individual families. However, this process will not be easy.
In the same way that a butterfly is formed from the dissolving and reforming of a caterpillar within a chrysalis, what is actually happening is that humanity is going through its own metamorphosis, resulting in the complete reshaping of human civilization. Although it may be hard to believe, the current centralized systems of governance will gradually give way to cooperative, distributed networks of communities that apply the universal power of love through elected and balanced matriarchal and patriarchal cascading power structures to support the wellness of themselves, our species, and our planet. This metamorphosis of humanity is so substantial that it will require four human generations, emerging over the course of a century or more, to fully take form. In the meantime, we’re in for a very wild ride.