Eisler begins to discuss the role of written texts and language in her Cultural Transformation theory. What is your opinion of her explanations (specifically "The Metamorphosis of Myth")? How does this phenomenon help create a new reality in the dominator model?

Eisler's "cultural transformation theory" essentially states that a patriarchal ruling class, most notably the church, engineered a detrimental shift from a "partnership" civilization to a "dominator" one, though the evidence behind her theories is disputed by some.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Riane Eisler first introduced "cultural transformation theory" to the masses in her 1987 work The Chalice and the Blade. She essentially posits that our modern-day idea that we as a species have evolved in linear fashion from barbaric to civilized is untrue. Instead, she sets forth a thesis that some of mankind's earliest civilizations were actually more advanced than those in present day because they were centered on a sort of "partnership system" that facilitated advancement.

She then postulates that periods of upheaval, chaos and confusion shifted society's direction to one in which some citizens are "dominators" and some are "dominated." Her argument is essentially that we must reverse course from "domination" back to "partnership" before this change becomes permanent and ultimately destructive to the civilization.

Eisler discusses the comparisons between biological and cultural evolution, the first occurring over thousands of years while the latter occurs much quicker. Biologically, human brains have evolved into complex machines capable of processing the adverse effects of a domineering society on our economy, environment and social strata, which she argues gives us the tools to reverse a process that she says is not sustainable.

In chapter 6 ("Reality Stood On Its Head: Part One"), she proclaims that the acceptance of a "dominator" society was wholly unnatural, brought about through manipulation in books, art, religion (the priesthood is one of the guilty parties through its revisionist literature), and what she calls "the metamorphosis of myth," wherein a patriarchal culture shaped society's narrative through storytelling. She uses as an example how a woman with a serpent was a vestige of wisdom until the bible rewrote the serpent as "evil."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Are you a teacher? Sign up now