- Vincent Sell
Civilization is the artificial structuring of society. Examples of the opposite—the organic structuring of society—exist in the tribal communities of our past and, in some cases, our present. Civilizations first emerged when agriculture became the dominant form of subsistence. In these first civilizations, there is evidence that a matriarchy existed. The hunter had lost his prestige, as domestication took over. But then there was a change. These first civilizations were vulnerable to barbarians and warring people. Their existence made the barbarian possible. And now warring became the dominant form of subsistence, and fertility lost its prestige. A patriarchy was established, which still exists to this day. Both of these methods of structuring society represent an imbalance. For the vast majority of human existence, we lived in a tribal society. The organic structuring of a tribal society represents health and a balance between masculine and feminine forces. The first civilizations, as we know, came from the Middle East. And there we see the transition from matriarchal to patriarchal society, exhibited in the way those societies were structured and the deities they worshipped. Greek civilization was greatly influenced by the civilizations in the Middle East, first, perhaps, through trade and cultural exposure, and, second, by war and conquest. Since the transition from matriarchal society to patriarchal society occurred much later in Greece than it did in the Middle East, we can see much more clearly this process. This transition may have been considered a lamentable occurrence by many, but within that transition a balance was achieved. It is no coincidence that this also coincided with the Greeks' most vibrant period. Greece owes its cultural richness not to the emergence of a patriarchy, but to the fact that the pendulum had swung back and, for a moment in time, it achieved a balance and tasted the health that marked the basis of our tribal ancestry.