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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010
The Power of Partnership

I vividly remember the late sixties and early seventies. We knew we were changing the world; it was obvious to nearly everyone, except for the completely oblivious. A vision of new ways of relating to each other was emerging on a global scale, and the world would never be the same.

Yet those years were times of great confusion as well, on a mass scale. We knew that some of the new beliefs we were embracing were powerful agents of change, essential to the health of the planet. But there were so many other things — the conflicting ideologies, the strident violence — that muddied and clouded our vision.

Protest the war in Vietnam? That was certainly a good idea. Give respect and human rights — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — to all people, regardless of creed or color or sex or sexual orientation? That was obviously a good idea. Blow up a bridge? (Something a drunken friend suggested.) I didn’t think so. That didn’t seem like a good idea at all.

It wasn’t until many years after the sixties that it became clear which things were part of the solution and which things were part of the problem. It wasn’t until I read The Power of Partnership by Riane Eisler that I finally realized, in simple words, what we need to do to effectively change our lives and our world as well.

She gives us a lens (in her words) to see ourselves and our world. When we look through this lens, we can clarify our perception of ourselves, and of the world. We can see what works and what doesn’t. We’re no longer confused in the face of so many conflicting issues.

The only thing we need to do is to observe human events — both in our personal lives and those great events that shape our world. We can look at the whole broad spectrum of human activity and put it on a scale: on one side is perfect partnership — the cup, the chalice of life. On the other is total exploitation and domination — the blade of death. Most of our activities are somewhere in between: less than perfect partnership, but not total domination and violent exploitation either.

The reason for doing all this is simple and obvious:

The more we live and work in partnership,
the happier, healthier, and more fulfilled we are.

The essence of The Power of Partnership is this: One of the most valuable and powerful things we can do is to see whether there’s partnership or domination at work in our relationships — and where there’s any type of domination or exploitation or any need to control, we can do our best to create a more harmonious relationship, based on partnership and respect.

Are we using the power of partnership in our lives? Look at every area of our lives — Riane divides it into seven essential relationships:

  1. Our relationship with ourselves.
  2. Our personal, intimate, and family relationships.
  3. Our community and working lives.
  4. Our nation.
  5. Our world.
  6. Our relationship with nature.
  7. Our relationship with our spirit.
It is only through partnership with all others
that we can create peace and prosperity for all.

Domination leads to misery, conflict, pain, and violence. Partnership leads to harmony, happiness, and fulfillment.

In the long run, partnership is far more powerful
than exploitation or domination.

Be well, be in peace,

Marc Allen


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