If Women Ruled the World
Is a matriarchal society the solution to our problems?
Posted Oct 09, 2014
What is also striking about the artwork and decorations are the beautiful natural images everywhere—colorful and vibrant images of flowers, birds, fish and other animals, together with beautiful symbols and patterns. These seemed to fill every piece of pottery and every wall space, expressing a deep connection to nature and a sense of its sacredness. The whole culture seemed to have an atmosphere of joy and lightness, a lack of oppression and fear.
In contrast to later cultures like Greece or Rome, the Minoans seem to have had little interest in war. There are no images of warfare or weapons, and a lack of actual weapons. In fact, many archaeologists believe that ancient Crete was a peaceful, egalitarian society, which avoided any significant damage through warfare for hundreds of years. This lasted until about 1500 BC, when Crete was invaded by warriors from mainland Greece, and its culture began a slow decline - which is painfully obvious from the shift in artwork, away from images of nature to images of warfare and anthropomorphic gods.
Perhaps, you might think, it’s not coincidental that ancient Crete was apparently a peaceful, nature- worshipping culture, since women were in positions of power. You could see this as a good model for our societies: if more women were in high status positions, there would be less conflict and competition, and more empathy and equality.
But this is probably rather simplistic. In fact, women who take on high status roles in our societies tend to take on typically ‘masculine’ characteristics of competitiveness and emotional hardness. They often don’t behave with the empathy which we often associate with the ‘feminine.’ Perhaps this isn’t their fault—if you want to succeed in a competitive society, then you obviously have to be competitive yourself.
The "Over-Developed Ego"
But for me, the wonderful thing about experiencing Minoan culture is the hope and optimism it has given me. It has made me realise that the world hasn’t always been such a discordant and destructive place, and that it’s not inevitable for societies to be ridden with conflict and oppression. It sounds utopian, but it’s at least conceivable that such cultures could come into existence again. And if they do, it won’t necessarily be because women are in power, but because the drive for power and the structures that support it are absent, replaced by an empathic connection with nature, other human beings and other living beings, and the whole cosmos.