"Vision of A New Culture"
The Great Learning

Matricentrism*

1. The mother has always been the center of the family, the group and the community. She bears the child in her body, is giving birth, nurtures and raises the child. She is the life-supporting factor in society. Most men can't match with the spontaneous self-sacrificing attitude of women. Even if the former are taking part in "education", it is the women, who possess the natural talent in dedicating themselves entirely to their offspring. There "seems to be" a joint space between mothers and children. Fathers can learn to participate, but never replace a good mother. The bond between mother and child includes all levels of existence: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and cultural. This dependency from the mother - obviously - bears a great danger in it as well. It can easily turn into an obstacle in growing up and becoming independent. With regard to this problem the father's role is crucial. He has to give the child the possibility of identification. Something which unfortunately is less and less the case. The bond with the mother is the foundation though. She provides the basics without which life cannot develop. The feminine represents the life-pole, whereas masculinity has its emphasis on the death-pole. In a healthy society this is serving the balance of life. In a society like ours however, harmony has been lost, with terrible consequences. The first step in trying to restore wholeness is the re-organization of the foundation of life: maternal care and consequently the position of women. This can be achieved by the recognition of the mother as the central figure - the heart - of the family, the group and the community. This implies, that these institutions should be restructured, in such a way, that women regain authoritative power in these areas. Matrilinearity would be only one instrument among others. More important is maternal self-organization on all levels of the community. Community understood as the sum-total of social life on the level of the family, the group, the street, the neighborhood and the commune. In practical terms this would mean, that women should join in order to become as self-governing as possible, reclaiming all areas of life, which they are deciding to belong under their jurisdiction. They should take the lead in e.g. health care, child raising, education, religion and spirituality, decision-making, social structure, the environment etc.**

* The Divine, world view and society based on motherly/feminine/holistic values.  

** See also Kees Boeke "Sociocracy", Han Marie Stiekema "The Self-Sovereign Society" (currently in Dutch only) and "Vision Quest" (to be translated soon).  

2. The priority is thus the healing and organizing of the community. The latter has been neglected, exploited or purposely broken down after all. The theme of community building is the mother, it is matricentral. It is the expression of the fact, that women are the bearer, while men are (should be...) the servants of life. It is about surveyable communities, well-organized according to streets, neighborhoods, communes, districts and regions. The clue is the fact of the increasing number of singles in our (disintegrating) society, among them countless one-parent families, consisting mostly of mothers and children exclusively. In Holland this is called the "Caribbean model", especially because of the children being increasingly begotten by different fathers. Instead of seeing this as "negative", this development can also be considered as promising. Once the old is broken down to its basics, the germ of a new social structure - that of matricentrism - becomes visible. Of course this will not be automatically the case. The conditions for such a new direction are manifold. First of all, mothers should be able to see their situation as an opportunity, rather than a failure. A certain spiritual-cultural-feminist- social-political awareness is needed. Subsequently, the single mothers of a particular street, neighborhood etc. should show solidarity toward each other, both ideologically and practically. This would proof to be badly needed, since social security will quickly crumble (or worse), leaving the mothers alone in the front. Thirdly, these mothers should bring together the various fathers, partners and/or male boyfriends. Through regular meetings these males should be "educated" in feeling responsible (which for each of them would be different) toward the basic mother-children group. Don't think this isn't possible. Once the significance of a particular situation becomes clear, together with a well defined responsibility, men may develop a surprising sense of commitment! The advantages are clear: restoration of the central position of the mother e.g. the female, better protection of the children, a new solidarity between men (thus less aggression) and a shared responsibility between them (with the advantage of more individual freedom compared to the oppressive burden of monogamous fatherhood!), while there will be also space for "cross-fertilization": men who also "visit" other women. Such interwoveness may at a certain moment become structured, leading to the formation of modern-style "clans". The paradox is this: once women have regained their legitimate position in the community, men "automatically" get empowered as well. Being freed of patriarchal oppression they may rediscover their original mission: that of servants of life*.

* See also: Women and men

Because of the danger of AIDS, in Hongkong twenty families recently decided
to become a clan, with free relationships within the group

Article:
E.Fromm "The Theory of Mother Right and its
Relevance for Social Psychology"

"Die sozialpsychologische Bedeutung der Mutterrechtstheorie"
available through:

Dr. Rainer Funk
archives@erichfromm.de

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  2003 Copyright Han Marie Stiekema
Last revising: 12/13/04

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