These are trends, characteristics rather specifics. History is littered with the specifics, and standing back from the present to look at the whole allows one to observe the patterns that emerge.
I am trying to get under the social institutional reality-as-it-is-ness, face value assumptions, to peer into its inner core, the bio-psycho-social mind of culture, if you will.
These two pages that follow are of a survey of behavioural characteristics of different modes of society - egalitarian at one end, hierarchically violent at the other. The rest of this essay is an exploration of what I think these comparisons reveal.
These Societal variations are to a very large degree confirmed by evidence and research emerging from the sciences of Anthropology, Neurology, Neuro-Chemistry, Biology, History and Developmental Psychology.
To be more precise : there exists a spectrum of societal behavioural characteristics, from Egalitarian to Hierarchically Violent, expressed by different societies, in different times, locations and times, all over our Earth.
What has been found is that there was a wide range of social and organisational activity such that 'hunter gatherer' is no long considered a viable generic descriptive term for egalitarian societies.
There is evidence of formal and informal agricultural activity, as much as there is evidence of nomads, traders, season followers, herd/swarm/food followers, mixtures of all these and more, organised from small bands to large sedentary living groups.
The picture emerges of a diversity of language identity based social groups who thrived, and exchanged goods and words, who intermarried at the edges, and who were stable for millennia.
This not a picture of a struggle for survival.
That said, the first contacts also met a few openly hostile and some profoundly violent societies as well. It's not all a Garden of Eden out there.
The healthy society nurtures the whole, together .
There are fewer rules required when innate empathy is functioning.
The healthy culture tend towards attachment parenting as the most natural and nurturing care of children. This is critical in developing the core biology of self regulation, awareness and mastery of one's emotions. They are able to deal with a wide variation of behaviours, for they give space to the diversity inherent in those variations. They tend towards non hierarchical communities.
We estimate that a total of 1 billion Australian Aboriginal people lived and died in the 60,000 years of their continued sustained healthy society. That's a lot of happiness.
Survivors are a potent voice, and must be listened to, and to be felt to have been heard and understood as part of a greater integration of the meaning of the lived experience.
It has to be recognised, not to be marketed. It's a question of heart. Empathy is the innate ability of any biological organism to 'read' or sense the elements within its habitat, the environment with some degree of accuracy.
Just the same dynamic can happen for a person, a family, an extended family....
Rapid Climate Change
There is evidence that correlates the emergence of hierarchy cultures around the timing of rapid climate shifts in different parts of Earth's habitats, and at different times.
This list of such events is of interest. Other trauma events could be Volcanoes, Earth Quakes, Floods and infectious diseases that harm entire groups.
What is also of equal interest to me is that we know that the Australian people's thrived for 66,000 years as egalitarian cultures, with 250 or more distinct language groups existing when the first Europeans arrived as an invasive culture. We know, from the genetic record, that they lived through at least two major rapid climate shifts without a major loss of population or a reduction in genetic diversity.
Parents are not the problem.
Most certainly, it's not that the parents are malignant, it's that this is what can happen when a person, or a community, is traumatised; the controlling behaviour patterns acquired in a moment of trauma remain, the body systems remain in fight or flight reactive mode.
Thus the feelings of threat and need for security are passed on, because their children will have only that psychology of their parents to work with, and the parents are in truth not the problem - the social setting that blocks recovery is the larger problem.
If the parents attention is distracted, if the child's needs are not met, due to external stress, then that can set up insecurity in the child.
With the limited power at their disposal, a child can develop attention gaining behaviours, where the power disparity between adult and child is so great, and the relationship can become a hard battle of wills. Not every child responds or reacts exactly the same way. This is how unhappy children learn about life the hard way, beneath cognition. Day by day habituation.
This is the driver; an emergent lack of empathy that will turn a community or society ever more hierarchical, rigid, rule based, punitive, and ultimately violent over generations.
A healthy society is traumatised, and unable to resolve the trauma, and enters into a collective cPTSD mode of survival.
In time that leads to hierarchy of power relationships normalised.
Obviously, it's a better option to avoid causing the damage in the first place. But we're not there, we're here. That leads me to identify two tasks.
As we step away from Power Relationships, we will inhibit the psychology of power relationships at home. We will decolonise in our hearts and minds, our bodies, our streets, amongst our neighbours, long before we permeate the power structures of the Dominant Culture. We have to.
We have to, because we must be clear that we cannot allow any co-opting influence succeed.