There are different ways to categorize the history of human societies using different criteria. If, for example, we focus on the fundamental mode of thinking, then mythological, metaphysical, and positivist scientific ages is an important classification. Marxism, on the other hand, concentrates on class and divides the ages into primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism, and socialism and its aftermath. Another suggestion has been the division of ages into fundamental cultural civilizations.
I would like to suggest another division. Here I refer to dialectics with its triad of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, which was worked out by Hegel and became his main philosophical method. According to dialectics, all entities in the universe possess a dualist quality. It is this contradictory structure that enables movement. Of course, this movement is not a mechanical movement but, rather, a creative inner movement that brings about change and diversity. For example, we can describe the beginning of the universe as a contradiction between being and nonbeing. The contradiction between being and nonbeing gave rise to something new, movement itself. Being could not unfold without nonbeing, nor could it set itself in motion. The essence of becoming was the resistance of being against nonbeing. While being attempted to terminate nonbeing, and nonbeing attempted to terminate being, a third current, a kind of synthesis, the becoming universe, finally appeared.1 It is similar with the dualism of particle and wave. Particles and waves are both impossible on their own; every particle also has wave character, just as every wave also has particle character. Through the synthesis of these two contradictory properties, they can form movement and, therefore, also becoming. Another example is the contradiction between sameness and diversity. The concept of “sameness” only makes sense in contrast to diversity. Where there is no diversity, sameness is a sort of nonbeing, of nonexistence.
A more vivid contradiction is the one between animate and inanimate. The emergence of life represents an extraordinary leap in the development of the universe, which science, all its efforts notwithstanding, has not yet been able to fully explain. The fact that scientists are now able to sequence and chart genes and clone living beings does not mean that they have actually understood the phenomenon of life. The molecular structure of life alone cannot explain the phenomenon. A suitable external environment (atmosphere and hydrosphere) and corresponding molecular structures are prerequisites for the emergence of life, but these are only the structural building blocks of life, its material order. The decisive aspect is the relationship of this material order to immaterial facts, such as liveliness and sense. The most significant vulgar materialist error was to equate subjectivity—or liveliness and sense—with the material configuration. Even in quantum physics, this sameness is collapsing, and people feel compelled to resort to an intuition-like explanation.
The human intelligence (brain) among living beings is even more interesting. One definition of humans is “nature rendered self-conscious.”2 Here, we face the decisive question: Why does nature need self-reflection?Where does the real origin of the capacity of matter to think lie? In posing these questions, our intention is not to once again problematize the search for god. Rather, we have to analyze the phenomena of the universe, existence, and nature in conceptual terms that go far beyond such extremely simplistic explanatory attempts. My paradigm is based on the assumption that the universe is enormously rich, productive, and diverse, with unbounded developmental possibilities.
Peoples’ conception of the universe in previous ages, for example, the mythological, the metaphysical, or the positivist-science paradigms, led to totally different notions and attitudes. Whereas in mythology each phenomenon was correlated with a god, in metaphysics the Aristotelian concept of “God as the first mover,” the “unmoved mover,” was predominant. Positivist science, in turn, looked for vulgar materialist explanations for all phenomena and developed a philosophy of strict causality and linear development.
Of course, it would be interesting to know the approach in the animal world. I wonder with what feelings the reptiles, the birds, and the mammals perceive their surroundings. And the perception of stones and sand particles? They too have an attitude. The universe and the nature as a whole is an attitude—one that is in unlimited motion, at that.
The existence of humanity is also a phenomenon related to all things that developed before or after its emergence. For us, the most important question is: How can we construct the thesis, antithesis, and synthesis of this phenomenon? If we define the human and their society as a being with the most developed capacity to sense, determining the fundamental contradiction in this phenomenon, as well as the final synthesis, will allow us to achieve the highest stage of scientific conceptualization. Since the human being is at the center of our interest, we also want to know how the fundamental dialectics of this being proceed and what potential synthesis this being is moving toward or transforming into.
First and foremost, the social sciences have to analyze these fundamental notions. The most interesting state of being of the general universal becoming—the human attitude—cannot reach a correct social science without doing this and will drown in a sea of innumerable individual phenomena. This is one of the reasons for the lack of direction in today’s social science. The concepts, assumptions, and theories of social phenomena that people developed early on, since the mythological age, were not only insufficient for explaining the facts but were also grossly distorted. This was especially so as social phenomena became more complex and complicated with the onset of monotheistic religions and metaphysical philosophy and finally ended in the cul-de-sac with positive science. These explanatory patterns for social phenomena are largely responsible for a bloody and exploitative system like capitalism gaining power over humanity. If humans are unable to correctly analyze sociality—the form of their own being—they may well go the way of the dinosaur.
In the wake of two world wars, many social scientists attempted a renewal, but these efforts did not go beyond determining some limited facts. Even most aspiring schools of thought, including Marxism, made limited contributions to a solution. Marxism attached the world of the oppressed and exploited, in whose name it specifically spoke, to a new dogma and understanding of politics that functioned as a substitute for the ruling social system, and, this, as a result, is precisely why Marxism failed to reach its ideals.
That a whole number of other schools in the area of social science were no more successful than many philosophical or religious groups of the ancient world or the medieval age is clear in light of their contribution to what’s happening in the world of today. Social science and its institutions have played an important role in the genocidal dimensions of wars, unbridled greed for profit, and the ever-increasing destruction of the ecology. They serve those who hold political power and the forces of war in an unprecedented manner and must thus be assigned a major share of responsibility. Their inability to stop those who hold political power and their wars or to circumvent the unlimited greed for profit shows the bankruptcy of social science and its institutions and proves its betrayal of humanity. Therefore, a new and sufficient understanding and restructuring of social science suitable for and adapted to addressing the current fundamental problems of humanity remains especially important. This is a precondition for effective political action and organization.
These connections are the background for the kind of understanding of social science that we hope to develop here. The fundamental concepts and hypotheses I will be presenting should be seen as efforts in that direction. To the extent that efforts like this intensify and institutionalize themselves, the possibility of finding solutions to important problems will increase, and that is the approach that will be taken in this attempt to form a very general conceptualization.
The previous section represented my attempt to define the sense in which it is possible to speak of a “natural society.” After this excursion into the world of social science concepts and my own epistemological paradigm, we can now turn to the origins of hierarchical society.
The Advent of Hierarchy
The clan-type social organization spread over time and space, gradually gaining diversity and increasing in numbers. Over time, this community grew and perfected its identity around the mother-woman. In the Neolithic Age, the mother-woman took the lead in developing the domestic order. In this system, the women took care of food, clothing, and other daily-use items. Through observations made, the woman acquired knowledge and attained the position of a “wise woman.” She was also a powerful mother-woman to the extent that she succeeded in tightly integrating many of children and men close to her into this system. The widespread religious system of the goddesses, the feminine elements in the language, and the numerous female figures in artistic portrayals are all clear evidence of the mother-woman’s rising power. As such, we can speak of the development of an unbridled feminine cult.
There was probably a certain amount of dissatisfaction among men at that time. There was jealousy and anger toward the children who gathered around the mother-woman and toward the men who got more of the woman’s attention and supported her. In fact, a significant number of the men were, of course, distant from this system. It is likely that those the mother-woman did not find useful and the elderly men were largely left outside the system.
This contradiction was initially insubstantial, but over time it gradually developed. Developments in hunting not only increased men’s capacity to fight but also their knowledge. The old men who were excluded tended to develop a patriarchal ideology. The shamanist religion shows this tendency in a particularly striking way. Shamans were something like the prototype of the male priest. They worked systematically to develop a countermovement and a house order meant to undermine women.
In contrast to the mother-woman’s advanced domestic order, the men had lived in relatively simple huts in semi-wilderness, and, with shamanism, they were now able to form an opposing house order. The alliance of the shamans with older and more experienced men is an important development. By virtue of their ideological power over some of the young men who joined them over time, they grew increasingly powerful within the community. This made the sources of men’s power more important. Both hunting and the defense of the clan against external threats had a military character and were based on killing and wounding. This is the beginning of war culture. In life-or-death situations, there is always an automatic fixation on authority and hierarchy, with the most capable person taking on the position with the highest authority. This was the beginning of another culture that would predominate over the mother-woman cult.
The emergence of authority and hierarchy even before the development of class society represents one of the most important turning points in history. This authority and hierarchy were qualitatively distinct from the mother-woman culture, which was generally characterized by peaceful activities that did not necessitate war of any kind, including gathering and, later on, the cultivation of crops. Hunting, however, an activity that was based on the culture of war and harsh authority, was predominantly the purview of men. The result was that patriarchal authority took root.
Hierarchy and authority were fundamental components of patriarchal culture. The concept of “hierarchy” is the first example of the leadership approach of the authority that amalgamated with the sacred authority of the shaman. This institution of authority, which increasingly placed itself above society, would, with the eventual development of classes, transform itself into state authority. Hierarchical authority, however, was primarily tied to particular persons and not yet institutionalized. Therefore, it could not rule over society in the same measure as state institutions later would. Compliance was still half voluntary, and loyalty was determined by the interests of society. All the same, this process, once it began, was wide-open to the emergence of the state. Nonetheless, primordial communal society did resist this process for a very long time.
Those who accumulated produce enjoyed respect and loyalty only if they shared their surplus with the community. Personal accumulation was considered a major offense. Only those who redistributed what they had accumulated were considered to be good people. The concept of “generosity,” still so common among tribal societies, has its roots in this ongoing powerful tradition. Even feasts emerged as a kind of ritual for the distribution of the surplus. From the beginning, the community saw accumulation as the most significant threat it faced and turned resistance against it into the foundation of morality and religion. Traces of this tradition can be found in all religious and moral teachings.3 Society approved hierarchy only when its usefulness and generosity redounded to its benefit. This sort of hierarchy played a positive and useful role.
This quality of the mother-woman based hierarchy is also the historical basis of the concept of “mother,” which is still regarded with much respect and as authority in all societies. Being a mother meant giving birth and nurturing even under the harshest conditions. Not surprisingly, the culture, hierarchy, and authority formed on this basis gained great loyalty. The real explanation of the continuing power of the concept of “mother” is that it forms the foundation of social existence, not some abstract biological capacity to give birth. In this sense, we must understand “mother” and “mother-goddess” as the most important social phenomena and concepts. This culture was completely closed to the phenomenon of the state and embodied all the features that would prevent it from arising.
Against this background, we can locate natural society, which represented the initial thesis, at the beginning of human existence. Before that point, life had been animalistic. Thereafter, however, life was characterized by a development of hierarchical and statist forms of society that stood in contradiction to natural society and dislodged it. The antithetical character of this development is tied to the constant suppression and regression of the natural society.
Natural society, the thesis, existed wherever humans lived and was an effective social system until the end of the Neolithic Age (c. 4000 BCE in the Middle East). It continues to exist to this very day in all social pores, even though it has been suppressed. This continuity is clearly visible in fundamental social concepts. “Family,” “tribe,” “mother,” “fraternity,” “freedom,” “equality,” “friendship,” “generosity,” “solidarity,” “feasts,” “bravery,” “sacredness,” and many other phenomena and concepts are relics of that social system. The oppositional hierarchical and statist society has continued to cause regression and to suppress this system. This is the reason why it represents the antithesis to the older system. The nested and simultaneous existence of two social systems is in accord with the fundamental laws of dialectics.
On the basis of this interpretation of dialectics, the characters of thesis and antithesis don’t develop such that one annihilates the other but in the manner that leads to regression and suppression. As in nature overall, when social systems take the form of thesis and antithesis, these subsume one another within themselves. Nonetheless, the struggle between them undoubtedly leads to important upheavals. The thesis never remains in its old state, but the antithesis is also unable to totally devour the preceding thesis. It can only develop by nourishing itself upon it. It would be useful at this point to say a few more words about dialectics. During the period of dogmatic Marxism, society understood the dialectic as the annihilation of the thesis by the antithesis, but such an interpretation was a fundamental theoretical error. In all sciences, most of all in biology, we see that symbiosis is of great importance to the development and transformation of phenomena. Annihilation or similar developments occur only in exceptional cases. Rather, the symbiosis of thesis and antithesis is in the foreground. The simplest expression of that symbiosis is the relationship between mother and child. The child develops in dialectical contradiction to the mother. But this contradiction can’t be interpreted in such a way that the child annihilates the mother. Rather, there is a symbiosis, which is carried on through the succession of generations. An extreme example of this dialectic is the duality of the snake and the mouse.4 But even there, balance is retained between the extremely fast propagation of mice and the very slow propagation of snakes. Every day it becomes clearer that beings in nature are not meaningless, and that they all have a certain ecological meaning. Thus, even though “extremes” and “absolute limits” can be valid concepts within very limited parameters, it has by now become scientific common sense that mutual dependence is the fundamental law of nature.
One change I want to make when evaluating social systems relates to inevitableness and randomness. The idea of a linear and continuous progress and strict causality in the Western system of thought, which is rooted in the assumption of divine laws, has lost its validity because of the developments in quantum and cosmos physics mentioned above. In the dialectics of development, the “chaos interval” manifests itself in each phenomenon, and all qualitative changes require such an interval. This shows that continuity and continuous linear progress are intellectual abstractions and a metaphysical approach. It is not always possible for this chaotic interval to lead to linear progress. The interaction of numerous factors at that particular interval can lead to multiple and multifaceted developments.
In human societies, these intervals are called “times of crisis.” The social conditions that emerge from a crisis depend on the struggle of the forces involved. Many different systems can develop, with both progressive and regressive developments possible. Besides, concepts like “progress” and “regression” are relative. A permanent march forward actually doesn’t fit the universal theory. If this principle of universal progress were valid, metaphysical idealism would be correct, but the assumption of absolute truths is inconsistent with the principle of universal formation. Nature doesn’t develop in absolute qualities. Absoluteness means unalterability and sameness. The way our own species developed proves that no such thing exists.
Thus, we can deduce from the characteristics of the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology that the laws of nature are based on these chaotic intervals, and that, as we move toward the development of human beings, these laws take even more flexible forms. In human society in particular, the laws have a more flexible quality. This means that many new laws can emerge during these short intervals. From that perspective, a high level of freedom leads to an enormous diversity of human society. Flexibility creates freedom, and freedom creates diversity. In this sense, humans are a natural wonder who very frequently create their own laws in abundance.
This allows human society to constitute the laws of its own system with the same richness of frequency and abundance.
Thus, there is no law dictating an inevitable development of the hierarchical and statist society from natural society. Perhaps it is possible to speak of a tendency in that direction, but it would be completely wrong to assume that this tendency is compulsory, uninterrupted, and will go to the full possible extent. In the following chapters, I will occasionally talk about how the Marxist assumption that class society is imperative for development has been one of the biggest errors committed in the name of the oppressed and exploited. It meant that from the outset socialism was left to class domination.
In my view, this error was the main reason that Marxism, in the course of its 150-year history, became capitalism’s stand-in. Regarding the state, class, and violence as necessary phases of social development and progress belittles or even ignores the fantastic resistance of natural society that continues to this day. It automatically relinquishes history to the ruling forces. People who see the existence of classes as fate become unwitting ideologues of the ruling classes. In this sense, Marxism has played a very dangerous role and has done so in the name of the oppressed and exploited.
Hierarchy and class rule developed, but this was not an inevitable development. It was a development contrived by the forces that established hierarchy and statehood based on hierarchy and enforced it with tyranny and fraud. The core forces of natural society tirelessly resisted this process but were continuously pushed back and forced into the narrowest of areas and spaces. There were certain areas from which they were totally excluded. The politics and propaganda of the ruling system succeeded in convincing almost everyone that any society will consist of class and state hierarchies. The game called fate is the metaphysical epithet for this praxis. Practically all religious, confessional, philosophical, and scientific schools have played this game. This is the result of enormous physical and mental oppression and the policies and propaganda of priestly ideology and the god-king state, with roots that reach back thousands of years. Some have called this game mythology, others, philosophy, and still others, science. Finally, we have reached the current situation in which ideology and science are all but totally amalgamated with the state. The part Marxism has played in all of this cannot be stressed enough. I will try to show how this game was played and who the players were.
The first victim of hierarchical society was the domestic order of the mother-woman. Women were perhaps the very first social group to be oppressed in this system. As a result of the established and firmly rooted values of male-dominated society, this oppression, which essentially started even before the beginning of written history, has hitherto been all but ignored by the social sciences. Drawing women step-by-step into hierarchical society, with the loss of all of their prominent social attributes, was the first momentous counterrevolution in society. To this very day, if we examine the situation of women within the family, we will be horrified when we see the far-reaching dimensions of this repression and deception. For example, the so-called “honor killings” and “love killings” that are the monopoly of men are a small indicator of what is going on. It would be totally wrong to ascribe this process to biological differences between the sexes. The role or the laws of biology cannot determine the course of social relations. At most, the reciprocal relationships of female and male traits can be evaluated, as is the case for all species. The mother-woman cult was primarily subjugated for social reasons. The reasons for oppression and the accompanying ideology are, thus, essentially social in nature. Here, explanations based on the sex drive or other psychological phenomena are nothing more than perfidious diversionary maneuvers.
The “strongman” who developed his mettle in hunting and organized a group around him became aware of his power and made sure that it was accepted. Then he gradually took control of the mother-woman’s domestic order. This process took until the founding of the first Sumerian city-states in the fourth millennium BCE. On the basis of surviving cuneiform tablets, we can reconstruct the process surprisingly well. The Epic of Inanna, the goddess of Uruk, the first city-state, is particularly instructive. It describes an era when the woman cult and the patriarchal cult were in equilibrium but depicts a sharp dispute: Inanna, the goddess of Uruk, goes to see Enki, the god of the city of Eridu, at his palace. Once there, she demands the return of the 104 me, the fundamental discoveries and inventions of civilization, which she regards as her rightful property. By various means, she succeeds in bringing them back to Uruk. This legend is a key narrative that helps us to understand this period. In the epic, Inanna forcefully stresses the fact that the me, as the achievements of civilization, belong to the mother-goddess, and that the male god Enki had played no role in these achievements but had robbed them from her using violence and subterfuge. Inanna’s efforts are an attempt to reestablish the culture of the mother-goddess.
It is generally assumed that this and similar epics stem from around 3000 BCE, i.e., the point at which patriarchy and the influence of mother-woman were still in balance in the Middle East. Immediately thereafter, however, this mother-woman cult and culture went into a gradual decline and were subjected to extreme cruelty. As a result, women found themselves in temple prostitution in the ziggurat. The Sumerian priests created a harem for themselves and a bordello for the ordinary people. Nippur, then the center of the civilization and a kind of Sumerian New York City, saw the emergence of the world’s first brothel, the so-called musakkatdim.5
In the Babylonian creation myth Enuma Elish from the second millennium BCE,6 the goddess Tiamat is presented as a horrible witch and represents the woman who must literally be torn to pieces. This gruesome myth reflects a subjugation of women that actually took place. The monotheistic religions and the bourgeois social system continued this tradition of degrading women, and even intensified it by completing the picture with dolled up and caged woman with a sweet voice. The inferior status that had been—and is—assigned to women in these historical and social systems was always accompanied by such intense and far-reaching ideological propaganda that, for the most part, women themselves saw their situation as a matter of fate and regarded it as a necessity to fulfill its requirements. Greek philosophy regarded women as a source of weakness. In monotheistic religions, their secondary status is seen as a divine commandment. Women were described in a multiplicity of humiliating ways that designated them as “passive, indeterminate materiality,”7 a “field to be tilled by men,” and so on.8
Without a precise look at the changed status of women that began with hierarchical society, we can explain neither the structure of the class society on which the state is based nor the state itself, making the most fundamental misconceptions unavoidable. Women were ripped out of natural society and subjected to the most extensive slavery, not simply as a gender but as human beings. All other forms of slavery and serfdom developed as a consequence of the enslavement of women. That is why it is impossible to analyze the other forms of serfdom and slavery without first analyzing the enslavement of women. Nor will we be able to overcome other forms of slavery if we do not overcome the enslavement of women.
The wise women of natural society practiced the cult of the mother-goddess for thousands of years. The mother-goddess had always been seen as the highest value. How was it that this long-lasting and far-reaching social culture came to be suppressed, with women turned into today’s dolled up and caged nightingale? Men may adore this nightingale, but she is a prisoner. Without overcoming this longest-lasting and deepest captivity, no social system can talk about equality and freedom. So far, nobody has written a history of women that satisfactorily addresses these issues. None of the social sciences assign women their due place.
Whether or not freedom and equality prevail in a society depends on whether or not women enjoy freedom and equal rights. Even those men who allegedly respect women often only do so to the extent that women are the tool of their passions. Even today, women are rarely accepted by men simply as a human being and a friend beyond sexual interest. Friendship exists between men, but, for men, having women as friends all but immediately results in sexual scandal. One of the main steps toward freedom will be finding or creating men who are able to overcome this pattern. I will have more to say about this later.
We must also talk about the pressure and the dependency that experienced elders in hierarchical society bring to bear on the young. This is called gerontocracy. While the elders, on the one hand, become stronger by virtue of their experience, on the other hand, with old age, their physical strength decreases, making them increasingly weak. This induces them to put the young in their service. By bringing the youth under their intellectual influence, they make them dependent in all they do. This is also an important pillar of patriarchy. The old make the physically stronger youth do what they, the old, would like to see done. Establishing the dependency of the youth has continued, becoming more profound every day. The dominance of experience and ideology cannot be easily broken. The urge of the young for freedom is rooted in this historical phenomenon.
From the time of the sages long past to today’s scientists and their institutions, the youth have been deprived of decisive and vital strategic knowledge. The information that the young get tends to lull them to sleep, to euthanize them, and to make their dependence permanent. If knowledge is imparted at all, the recipients are deprived of the means to put it into practice. One constant tactic of the rulers consists of permanent delay. The strategies, tactics, and systems of oppression and ideological and political propaganda established against women are also employed against the youth. The urge for freedom on the part of the youth is not only due to their physical age but also to this specific social pressure. Notions such as “greenhorns” or “hooligans” are the basic propaganda terms used to humiliate the youth. The efforts to prevent the energy of the young from being directed against the system work in parallel to this. This and the shoring up of the social order are the real purpose of the early fixation on the sex drive, drugs, and the inculcation of rigid dogmas that the adolescents are subjected to.
Youth who strive for freedom are hard to stop. Youth are the social group that, more than any other, are a potential nuisance for the system. Because the powerful have always known this, the young, in the name of “education,” were spared nothing, from human sacrifices of young people to even more incomprehensible practices. Next to the subjugation of women, the subjugation of the youth played the decisive role in the emergence of hierarchical society. All subsequent statist societal systems have treated young people in a very similar manner. It is no coincidence that the systems that exert reliable control over their youth regard themselves as the strongest. A brainwashed youth can be induced to do any kind of work and to go into the most difficult professions, including warcraft. The youth continue to be kept dependent and under control, a fact that actually and paradoxically results from both the weakness and the strength of the old. This relationship still plays an important role in supporting the existing ruling systems without losing any of its speed and intensity. To emphasize it once more: just as with femininity, youth is not a physical but a social category. One important future task of social science should be to liberate these two phenomena from the distortions that supersede and mask them.
In this connection, it is also necessary to mention children. Anyone who turns women and the youth into captives will automatically, if indirectly, also integrate the children into the desired system. It is important to expose the distorted aspects of the approach the hierarchical and statist society takes to children. Because of the enslavement of the mother, children are deprived of a decent education, and this gives rise to a distorted and mendacious subsequent social development. In the final analysis, the educational system to which children are subjected is also based on repression and lies. Various methods are used right from the cradle to make children dependent on the system. Children are permitted to long for the freedom of natural society but never allowed to live this dream. One of the most noble tasks is to make sure that the children live in accordance with their dreams.
I want to emphasize once more that we must not regard the increasing dominance of patriarchal relations as a necessary outcome. It was not an innocent development that all but followed from natural law. It is especially important to show that patriarchy was a fundamentally important stage on the path to the emergence of classes and the state. It was in line with the essence of natural society that the relations established around the mother-woman were not founded on power and authority but were organic and based on solidarity. They were not an aberration or deviation and were totally closed for state authority. Because of the organic emergence of these relations, they do not rest on or resort to lies and violence. This latter point also explains why shamanism is a primarily male-dominated religion. If we take a close look at shamanism, we will immediately discover that it is a profession in which illusions and demonstrations of power play a huge role. It was here that the forms of power and mythology were carefully prepared for the crafty authority that later on came to dominate and strangle the innocence of natural society. The shaman was on the road to becoming a priest, a cleric. He strove to turn the relations with the ancestral elders into an alliance. Then, to complete and perfect their rule, the two needed the help of the mighty hunter and the men surrounding him. The group that was most confident in its strength and hunting skills had the tendency to gradually transform itself into the first military core unit. Then, step by step, this triad accumulated values and abilities. The system of mother-woman was gradually dismantled through malice and guile. Gradually, control was gained over the domestic order. Women had been an influential force whose word was also respected by men, but they were gradually subjected to the rule and control of the new authority.
It was no coincidence that the first strong authority established was over women. Women had been the voice and power of organic society. Without removing them from the scene, the system of patriarchy could not have triumphed, and it would also have been impossible to make a further transition to the institutions of the state. Thus, overcoming the power of women was strategic. The information we have from Sumerian sources clearly shows that this process led to intense conflicts. The female figures of Lilith and Eve, who were integrated into monotheistic religions, represent this process in a particularly succinct manner. Lilith represents the unrelenting woman,9 whereas Eve represents the woman who capitulated. The claim that she was created from a man’s rib only demonstrates the extent of the dependency into which she had been forced. On the other hand, the characterizations of Lilith as a rebellious, spiteful witch, a friend of Satan, and similar maledictions document what must have been a huge conflict. This reveals a lot about the culture of the following millennia, its convictions, and its articles of faith. Without analyzing how the women were socially overwhelmed, it is impossible to understand the fundamental particularities of the later male-dominated society culture, let alone the social construction of masculinity. And without understanding the social construction of masculinity, it is impossible to understand the institution of the state, making it impossible to correctly define the culture of war and power associated with the state. I am dealing with this topic in such detail to create real clarity about the horrible “divine personalities,” as well as all sorts of boundaries, exploitation, and massacres, that developed because of the later emergence of classes. The paradigm shift that led people to regard political power and the state, these two curses of humanity, as sacred represents the dirtiest mental counterrevolution in the history of humanity. Nonetheless, it did take place. To describe this counterrevolution as the inevitable consequence of progress is a dangerous error that Marxism also fell prey to. If we are unable to critically review and correct this interpretation from the perspective just sketched, no revolution will be able to avoid rapidly becoming a counterrevolution.
The world of natural society of, first, the women, and, with it, that of the youth and children, was destroyed and replaced by a hierarchy built on force and lies (mythology). This became the dominant form of the new society, but, simultaneously, there was another, second, deep-rooted counterrevolution: the process of alienation from nature, the process that began its destruction. It is incorrect to presume that society cannot survive or develop without a hunter or warrior approach. Animal species that do not feed on flesh are thousands of times more common than carnivores. Only a small number of species are carnivorous. When we take an in-depth look at nature, we see that, above all, animal life needs rich plant life for its continued existence. The development of animal life is the result of the development of plant life; this is a dialectical relationship. The first animal did not have another animal to eat. It fed on plants. Thus, eating meat should be viewed as an anomaly. If all animals ate one another, the animal species would not have formed at all. This would have been contrary to the developmental rule of evolution. There are always departures from a fundamental tendency, but if these departures from the norm replace the norm, then that species will die off. The most obvious example would be homosexuality, if it were the general rule the human species would, as a result, die off spontaneously.
The material and, even more so, immaterial and intellectual consequences of a culture of killing are grave. A community that develops a culture of killing animals and its own conspecifics “beyond necessary defense” will also begin to develop all the essential tools and institutions necessary for a war machine. As the state was increasingly shaped into the fundamental institution of power, more refined arrows, spears, and axes were developed for war and were increasingly seen as the most important tools of all. The development of a patriarchal society from the natural mother-oriented society was the most dangerous anomaly in history and laid the foundation for all of the later horrendous forms of killing and exploitation. But this was not fate, a natural development, or a necessity for progress but, rather, a complete anomaly. It resembles the snake and the mouse dialectic. Calling theories on state the “snake and mouse” theory is an evaluation that is closer to the truth. Most men are called lions, and this is something they long to be. But I ask, “Who will you eat?”
I don’t get much news about what is going on out there, but I just learned that the last film in The Lord of the Rings series, The Return of the King recently won an Oscar. The essence of the film, apparently, was the destruction of the ring that represents power. A virtual reality expected from the US. Perhaps it is a precautionary measure and brainwashing exercise to allow for even subtler implementations of power globally, as the mask obscuring power falls away. This is an era for forming new paradigms. They must have prepared for this to some degree. They are smart, and they know very well that if the true face of classical power is revealed, they will find themselves powerless. The dominant powers that rule the world consider doing what is necessary to maintain their divinity and further flawlessly develop it to be their most basic duty.
In the end, the culture of hunting and war led to a military form of organization, which developed to the degree that natural ethnic society fell apart. While the organization around the mother-woman builds the preliminary relationships in connection with ancestry, family, kin, and relatives, the military organization is dominated by the strongman who is detached from all of this. It is clear that ultimately no natural form of society could continue to exist once confronted with this form of power. Social violence has now begun to intrude into society—what people call civilized relations—and decisive power is always in the hands of those who control the means of violence.
This, in turn, paved the way for private property. It is quite clear that violence is the basis of property. The sense of self is excessively strengthened by seizure through violence and shedding of blood. Violence as a means could not be developed and used until dominance became part of human relationships. Dominance and rule have an immediate relationship with ownership—the ownership that is inherent in being ruled is a dialectical relationship. Ownership is central to all property regimes, and with it a new era had begun. The community, women, the youth, and children, as well as the fertile hunting grounds and gathering sites, were now regarded as property. The strongman increasingly came to the forefront in all his glory. From there, it was only a small step to the god-kings.
At the same time, the shaman-priest was at work to construct the mythology of this new process. His task was to anchor this new formation in the minds of the ruled, extolling it as a magnificent development. The struggle for legitimacy requires efforts at least as refined as those required for naked violence. To achieve his goal, the shaman-priest had to implant in the minds of the people a belief so strong that it could become an absolute law. Research into the history of religion tells us that this is when the concept of the “ruling god” arose.
The belief in the “totem” so omnipresent in natural society had nothing to do with ruling. As a symbol of the clan, the totem was taboo, sacred, sacrosanct. As a symbolic expression, it functioned as the precise reflection of the life of the clan, a life not closely bound to the clan and its rules was unthinkable. For that reason, the totem was regarded as the highest and loftiest expression of the clan’s existence, as untouchable and sacred. It was respected and enjoyed the highest veneration. In the process, some object of significance, an animal or a plant, is chosen as a totem. Anything in nature that gave life to the clan could be chosen as a symbol to be believed in. Thus, the religion of natural society is integrated with nature. It was not a source of fear but a fountain of strength that provided the people with character and fortitude.
The god that was venerated in the new society overcame and masked the totem. To locate this god, people looked for a place on the peak of the mountains, at the bottom of the sea, in the sky. They stressed his ruling power. How very much he resembled the newly emerging class of masters! One of the names of the God in the Old Testament, and therefore also in the Gospels and the Koran, is adonai, meaning lord, or Rab in the Koran. The new class emerged by idolizing itself. Two of the best-known additional names, Elohim and El,10 mean majesty and heralded the rule of a patriarch or sheikh over the nomadic desert tribes. In all holy scriptures, the birth of patriarchy and the birth of a new God are interwoven in a notable way. These connections are also present in Homer’s Iliad, the Indian Ramayana,11 and the Finnish Kalevala. The new society would have hardly been able to survive without establishing its legitimacy through a “struggle for the hearts and minds.” No social unit will tolerate being ruled for long without being convinced of its legitimacy. The effect of violence is generally short-lived—in the long run, it is belief that counts.
Investigating this state of affairs by looking at the example of the old Sumerians is particularly important, because they provide the first written record. The creation of the gods by the Sumerians was a grandiose affair. The essence of all epics is the overthrow of the mother-goddess and the imposition of the rule of the father-god. The struggles between Inanna and Enki, as well as, in later Babylonian versions, between Marduk and Tiamat, take up a lot of space in these epics. A sociological examination of these epics—whose content subsequently found its way into all epics and holy scriptures—provides an enormous amount of information. It is not for nothing that people say: “History begins at Sumer.”12 The analysis of religions, literary epics, the law, democracy, and the state using the cuneiform tablets of the Sumerians would perhaps provide one of the most fundamental approaches that could lead to some progress in social science.
The patriarchal counterrevolution sketched above is possibly the biggest distortion and aberration in history. Its roots in the mentality of both individuals and society run so deep that we are still far from even partially overcoming them. The Sumerian priests still rule us. The state institutions they invented and the gods they conjured up to legitimize these bodies still direct us without giving us a chance to recover; they dominate our perspectives and paradigms in very fundamental ways. It is as if Albert Einstein had tailored his famous statement, “It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom,” to describe these very relations.
Isn’t it this discourse that continues in the country of the ziggurats, in the sacred priest palaces of the Sumerians, between the Euphrates and the Tigris, in Iraq—the cradle of civilization and the birth of the state—and the ruthless wars and exploitation that have been raging uninterruptedly beyond any measure of humanity since their invention?
Patriarchal society and its transition into a state do not serve the well-being of humanity but, rather, represent its greatest plague. Since first arising, this new vessel has spread destruction like a snowball rolling downhill and has come close to making our planet—the sacred of all—uninhabitable. Thomas Hobbes famously chose the picture of the Leviathan—an Old Testament monster that rises from the sea—for the state,13 a truly fitting metaphor for this dangerous “creature.”
The geographical and historical bases of this culture, which I have tried to describe schematically, show themselves in their clearest form on the slopes of the mountain ranges of the Taurus-Zagros system in Upper Mesopotamia. In this region, researchers found many traces and artifacts of the mother-woman-oriented natural society that began to develop there at the end of the last Ice Age, around 20,000 BCE.14 In the statuettes that were found, the design of the habitations, the weaving tools, and the hand mills, we always find the traces of women.
Beginning in the fourth millennium BCE, we can observe an intensified spread of patriarchal authority. Archeologically detectable traces of annihilation and destruction demonstrate that military formations increasingly gained influence in the new society, and that there were intense feuds between the tribes. The fact that the tribes themselves still exist today may be seen as a sign of the extent of the resistance they put up at the time.
When patriarchy spread through the region, this was accompanied by the emergence of the classes and the state. Around 3000 BCE, history witnessed the birth of a city-state. The most splendid example for this was the city of Uruk. In fact, the oldest surviving literary work in the world, the epic of Gilgamesh, can be seen as the founding epic of the city of Uruk. One can even say that the largest transformation in history actually took place under the conditions of this city-state culture. The story of Inanna and Enki recounts the conflict between the mother-woman society and the patriarchal society in marvelously poetic language. The Gilgamesh epic is the original example of a work about the kind of “heroic age” that we find in every society. Here, we see the first conflict between city dwellers and “barbarians.” Women were still by no means defeated, but the “strongman,” accompanied by his military entourage, gradually habituated society to his rule and dominance. His ideological fictions, his religious institutions, and his initial dynasties and palaces heralded the advent of “civilization.”
1 “For as becoming is between being and not being, so that which is becoming is always between that which is and that which is not”; Aristotle, M etaphysics, trans by W.D. Ross, (Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 2008), Book 2, part 2).
2 Here, Öcalan quotes the definition of human nature rendered self-conscious in Murray Bookchin, The Philosophy of Social Ecology—Essays on Dialectical Naturalism (Montréal: Black Rose Books, 1995).
3 Similar value judgments are also found in sagas such as the Nibelungenlied (Song of the Nibelungs), where the ones who hoard treasures are evil dragons.
4 This example, familiar to readers in the Middle East, is based on the idea that snakes eat mice, and mice in their turn eat snake eggs, which in the end leads to an equilibrium.
5 The Inanna epic, the role of the Sumerian priests, and the function of the ziggurat are extensively treated and addressed in Abdullah Öcalan, S ümer Rahip Devletinden Demokratik Uygarlığa: AİHM Savunmaları I. Cilt. (Neuss: Mezopotamien Verlag, 2002); in English, see Prison Writings: The Roots of Civilization (London: Pluto Press, 2007).
6 Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation, trans. L.W. King (London: Luzac, 1902), accessed July 7, 2021, https://archive.org/details/seventabletsofcr02kinguoft/page/n12.
7 In classical Greek philosophy, men were seen as the actors who formed, while women were regarded as matter to be formed; see Genevieve Lloyd, The Man of Reason: “Male” and “Female” in Western Philosophy (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1993).
8 “Your wives are a tilth for you; so approach your wives when and how you like.” (Koran 2: 223).
9 In Jewish mythology, Lilith is regarded as the first wife of Adam, whom he repu-diated, because, according to one of the transmissions, she wanted to lie on top of him during sexual intercourse. Predecessors of this figure can also be found in the Sumerian transmissions.
10 El is the main god in the Canaanite pantheon.
11 One of the great Indian epics, along with the Mahabharata, was written between the fourth century BCE and the second century CE.
12 The title of one of the works of by the Sumerologist Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1988) Kramer.
13 Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Harmondsworth, UK: Penguin Classics, 2017 ).
14 This is the dating that Öcalan uses, but sources generally put the end of the most recent Ice Age at between ten and fifteen thousand years ago.