think this would have on areas such as ecology, nationalism, and the distribution of wealth, for example?
RIANE: I love your question, and I could spend a day on it. I think that one thing that we’re beginning to see is that we’ve been taught to think of leadership as power over. And now we’re beginning to understand, even in the corporate sector, that a really good leader is a person who inspires people, who can get from them their highest productivity, their highest creativity. Women have been used to doing this, because that’s part of the training we get for child rearing. So I think that the role of women in leadership is indispensable. And I think that it will affect everything! Take for example ecology. Men are socialized in the dominator system not to clean up after themselves. So that’s exactly what they’ve done with nuclear waste, they’ve just put it out there with no notion of what in the world to do with it. Women would never do this because, you see, a man is brought up in the dominator system to think there’s always going to be someone to clean up after him–namely a woman.
DJB: How have your personal relationships, particularly your marriage, inspired your theories of global evolution?
RIANE: I really want to honor David here. Without his partnership, I couldn’t have done it. It’s just that simple. He has been my friend, my mentor, my sounding board. He has sometimes critiqued me, made me worry about what I was doing, and he always gave me tremendous amounts of information. Above all, he gave me tremendous amounts of support.
DAVID L: From my point of view, it’s been extremely important to me to interact with a woman who is able to love me as I’m able to love her on some basis of equality. Rather than have the old superior-inferior relationship, which many men and women have. It takes up so much of a lifetime, so many marriages, and so many affairs these days to work through all these difficulties of the dominator-dominated patterning that’s built into us. It’s just wonderful to me to reach a stage in life where all that, at least, is in the past. But of most importance to me is the intellectual advantage. I often think I was tremendously fortunate to happen to link up with a woman so important in making this breakthrough we’ve been talking about. Women are making this breakthrough and they’ve begun to see out beyond this cage that every male is still encased in, almost without exception. I feel fortunate in that I happened to link up with a woman at the forefront in her time in getting outside that cage and seeing it for what it was and is. You see, Riane took these insights, added to them, and built them into this forceful new theoretical framework. It hangs together as a theory of cultural evolution, of historical development, and as a weltanschauung or world-view; once you’ve grasped it, you can actually re-evaluate the whole of your intellectual experience. You can turn your head clear around and for the first time see life and it’s possibilities in a balanced perspective. In my own intellectual development, five systems of thought have been important to my mental growth. The first was the Christian mythos. The second was the Freudian. The third was the Marxian. The fourth was the field theoretical perspective of Kurt Lewin and the fifth has been systems science. Each reoriented my whole intellectual universe. But the sixth was Riane’s perspective, and I now find it by far the most useful because it embraces more than any other, more questions, and corrects the imbalances of these perspectives. I feel it’s very much a weltanschauung for the twenty-first century.