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Ralph Abraham

patriarchal takeover. The repression of Chaos, Gaia and Eros is characteristic of the patriarchal paradigm, which turned out to be the dominant one in our recent history. And it could be that sexual repression is somehow its key.

Human society is an evolving system–including its psyche, its mythology, its cultural structure. This evolution is punctuated by bifurcations, mutations caused by the planetary equivalent of lightning: comets. Comets were probably very important in the history of consciousness; they still are. There are some mutations where changes are made in the memes, the cultural genetic structure. Then there’s a kind of natural selection which goes on when two societies are in conflict over a common goal, due to seasonal inundations and so on, and in this conflict one would be selected not just by military strength, but perhaps through the stability of its social structure.

And in the long run, in evolutionary history, there are dead ends. A lot of species become extinct without the necessity of a comet or of global catastrophe, but just because they’re the wrong idea to begin with. It seems likely that the human species is the wrong idea to begin with and may not succeed in having a stable long-lived civilization on this planet. We know that Egyptian society lasted for three thousand years and that’s a fine record for a society. Since the Renaissance we’re up to one thousand years now, and we’ll see how long this goes on. I’m not placing any bets. It may turn out that there are some structural flaws that are endangering the future of human habitation on this planet. The planet is in symbiosis with the human infection. This could be a very good symbiosis; it could mediate some sort of divine plan on a cosmic scale with the actual material of planet Earth, and that includes the consciousness of the human species. There is a certain promise there, I don’t deny it.

However, archaeologists coming from another star system in the future may say that a structural flaw in our society resulted in the advantage of patriarchy over the partnership model. It could be that the basis for the stability of our violent society is the nuclear family, so that the repression of Eros, Gaia and Chaos–the repression of the Bacchic, the Orphic, the Dionysian–by the patriarchy was chosen by people who had grown up in a nuclear family. And when two civilizations came into contact, the one that had the nuclear family won. This is just one possibility among many, in answer to your question why chaos was rejected.

The chaos societies had moon festivals such as we had in the sixties. This is no coincidence, because the sixties, the Italian Renaissance, the Renaissance of the troubadours in the twelfth century, the early Christianity, the Pythagorcan Academy in Croton–all these have the common aspect of temporary resurgence of Orphic ideals, followed by massive and violent repression by the conservative society. All these have been foci in history for burning people at the stake. Of all the forms of terrorism, burning people at the stake seemed to be the most appropriate for the patriarchal society, in repressing revivals of the preceding form involving the Goddess. In the sixties, which was one of these Orphic revivals, we got to experience what life was like in Minoan Crete, in the Garden of Eden. We had moon festivals, and people abandoned themselves to their feelings, to Chaos, to Gaia, to Eros. Many of these groups, which experienced the Garden of Eden, eventually broke up. The sixties came to an end. A number of breakups were caused by patriarchal, sexual jealousy.

RMN: The trend of science towards reductionism led quantum physicists to the realization that the whole does not equal the sum of its parts. Now chaos theory seems to clarify this statement by saying that this is because we cannot know the sum of all the parts. What do you think are the implications of this idea in how we may arrange and organize information in the future?

RALPH:¬†This is exactly the reason why I said that chaos theory isn’t very important, except as a kind of double negative, while on the other hand, dynamical systems theory does offer something very important. We need to understand whole systems, and whole systems cannot be understood by reduction. The terrific gains in understanding made by the reductionist scientist will, I’m sure, be used in the future to understand whole systems by means of some process of synthesis. The reduced understanding of the biochemistry of the adrenal cortex, for example, will be synthesized into models of whole systems, such as the stress response and the immune system. I

The technology for modeling whole systems is on the frontier of science at the moment; it is the crucial frontier for the solution of our global, planetary problems.

Dynamical systems theory, specifically the branch called complex dynamics offers a strategy for the re-synthesis of fractionalized

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