Riane Eisler and David Loye
Their story is part of our ‘World of Equals’ series celebrating egalitarian partnerships throughout history and today.
Riane Eisler and David Loye met forty two years ago, fell in love, and have been partners in life and work ever since.
Riane was a child refugee from the Nazis. She and her parents fled her native Vienna at night after Krystal Night, so called because of all the glass shattered in Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues during that deadly pogrom. They were on one of the last ships admitted to Cuba, where Riane grew up in the cockroach-infested industrial slums of Havana and learned first-hand what dire poverty means.
These were traumatic experiences, but they led to the questions that years later would animate her research, writing, speaking, educating, and activism: Why, when we humans have such a great capacity for consciousness, caring, and creativity has there been so much insensitivity, cruelty and destructiveness?
These questions stayed with Riane when she came to the United States, went to university to study sociology and anthropology, married and had two daughters, went back to law school and obtained her Juris Doctor (JD) degree, and later embarked on the decades of multidisciplinary, cross cultural and historical research that eventually led to The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future (now in 57 US printings and 26 foreign editions). She is author of other critically acclaimed books, including Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth, and the Politics of the Body, Tomorrow’s Children: A Blueprint for Partnership Education, and The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, as well as hundred of articles, providing evidence that for most of prehistory (until a shift to domination about 5,000 years ago) women and the ‘feminine’ were highly valued, that there has been strong movement towards partnership punctuated by periodic regressions in recent centuries, and that advanced technologies in service of conquest and domination could take us to an evolutionary dead end.
Riane has dedicated her life to empowering women’s voices in the legal system, the social sciences, and the world at large to bring about a better society for everyone, showing how the status of women and children (the majority of humanity) is not “just a women’s or children’s issue,” but key to the construction of all our relations and institutions – from the family, education, and religion to politics and economics – as well as to our guiding system of values.
As Riane’s partner, David Loye shares her commitment to empowering women worldwide. When they attended the 1985 UN Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, David was a panelist on how men can support women’s struggle against oppression, prejudice, discrimination, and traditions of domination and violence in both family and society at large.
Indeed, David has been a strong supporter of Riane’s research and writing, and she has been a strong supporter of his work, which, like hers, stems from a passion to help build a more equitable and caring world. David wrote the national award-winner The Healing of a Nation on race relations in the United States, three books on predicting and shaping the future, and a pioneering series of books uncovering Charles Darwin’s long-ignored writings about moral evolution rather than “survival of the fittest” as the prime driver for our cultural evolution, most recently Rediscovering Darwin: The Rest of Darwin's Theory and Why We Need it Today.
His book 3,000 Years of Love is a more personal work that tells the story of his life- partnership with Riane. Sometimes humorous, always inspiring, this is the love story of two unusual people whose lives span almost a century of history and social action, a story that helps us see how each of us can make a difference in the world.
Before David turned to applying scholarship to human and planetary advancement, he was an early television newsman, a test developer, and the director of a project at the UCLA School of Medicine showing the effect of television on adult behavior. He is also the only man who can play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on a one-inch harmonica, which was part of how he wooed Riane when they first met.
Riane is now in her eighties and David in his nineties, but they are both still writing up a storm. Riane still travels and speaks worldwide, teaches online, and as editor-in-chief of the Interdisciplinary Journal of Partnership Studies and president of the Center for Partnership Studies, continues working to accelerate the shift from domination to partnership in all aspects of our lives and our world. Her new book, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future, is coming out in 2019 with Oxford University Press. David is putting final touches on his illustrated Grandfather’s Garden, a book for children of all ages that came out of whimsical tales he would tell Riane at bedtime to help her fall asleep.
Riane and David are both grateful every day for having found each other, for their years of partnership, and for the love and support they give each other in helping make ours a better world.