When Women Ruled the Earth

Dr. Leonard Shlain was a surgeon who wrote weird, wonderful books that theorized about practically everything (but not that much at all about medicine). How stuff got the way it is interested him and he was boldly original in the way he interwove conceptual comparatives few others considered.

His book “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess” for instance, makes a damn interesting case for why patriarchal dominance came about. Women in prehistory were shamans and leaders (their buried remains outnumber males at Stonehenge where recent digs indicate it was a burial site for the highest status individuals). The nuanced female expertise in identifying healing herbs and edible vs. poisonous plants came from their immunity to color-blindness and their naturally acute visual processing. There was that intuition thing too, which was phenomenally good at abstract problem solving.

Then written language came along and prejudicially re-wired our brains to linear, sequenced thinking. The holistic, visual “right brain” got suppressed and relegated to second class citizenship. The status of women went south as a new male priest class went nuts destroying remnant effigies of women as anything other than subservient baby-makers. Shlain goes into fascinating depth and detail on culture, language and sexual nature you’ll never see anywhere else. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but trust me, it’s not all glum.

Below is a page of note-taking that evidences why I have natural predisposition to Dr. Shlain’s message.

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