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The Values of Belonging: Rediscovering Balance, Mutuality, Intuition, and Wholeness in a Competitive World
     

The Values of Belonging: Rediscovering Balance, Mutuality, Intuition, and Wholeness in a Competitive World

by Carol L. Flinders
 

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The Values of Belonging breaks new ground by examining human value systems from the perspective of how we live, not our gender. "There is a way of being in the world that recoils from aggressiveness, cunning, and greed," writes bestselling author Carol Lee Flinders. This way of being arose out of the relationships our hunter-gatherer ancestors had with the

Overview

The Values of Belonging breaks new ground by examining human value systems from the perspective of how we live, not our gender. "There is a way of being in the world that recoils from aggressiveness, cunning, and greed," writes bestselling author Carol Lee Flinders. This way of being arose out of the relationships our hunter-gatherer ancestors had with the natural world, one another, and Spirit -- relationships that are most acutely understood in terms of trust, inclusion, and mutual reciprocity. This society's core values, which include intimate connection with the land, empathetic relationship with animals, self-restraint, balance, expressiveness, generosity, egalitarianism, playfulness, and nonviolent conflict resolution, are what Flinders calls the "values of Belonging."

But with the Agricultural Revolution, as people took charge of what they could grow and where, the nature of human society changed. Once we could produce enough food to have surpluses, food could be bartered. The concept of ownership took on new meaning; more complex economies evolved, and with them came social and economic inequities. Qualities that had been reviled, such as competitiveness, acquisitiveness, and ambition, became under these new conditions the means to success. God underwent a transformation as well, becoming masculine, supreme, and finally located above and beyond us in the heavens. Flinders observes that these "values of Enterprise" have played a crucial role in the development of human society, having given us our passion for innovation and exploration of our world. But, whether negative or positive, the values of Enterprise, which became associated with men, overwhelmed the values of Belonging, which were identified with women. This division has impoverished us all.

The values that shaped the hunter-gatherer's life reflected the need for connection, while those that fueled the Agricultural Revolution, and the subsequent rise of civilization as we know it, resulted in disconnection -- from nature, other people, and Spirit. The two value systems could not be more deeply at odds. Because the values of Enterprise have prevailed, the entire world stands in acute and perilous imbalance. And yet there are those who have managed to keep the values of Belonging alive, while successfully negotiating Enterprise culture.

In this fresh look at gender relationships, Flinders moves away from the dichotomy of male as oppressor and female as victim. She sees models for a new balance in the lives of visionaries, artists, and mystics such as the Buddha, Baal Shem Tov, Teresa of Avila, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, John Muir, and Martin Luther King Jr., each of whom mirrors the essence of Belonging values for the world. This thought-provoking book adds an exciting dimension to the debate about Western values and where we are headed.

Editorial Reviews

Vicki Robin
“An important and captivating book. Flinders writes exquisitely; you want to go with her into everything she explores.”
Toinette Lippe
“Flinders explores our conflict between independence and community; a valuable blueprint for the future of modern society.”
Sue Monk Kidd
“An inspired vision for individual and global wholeness. There is an irresistible boldness and wisdom in these pages.”
Christopher Kilmartin
“Historical scholarship, anthropological evidence, and political theory weave a compelling description of how core societal values evolve.”
Dr. Elizabeth Debold
“Flinders calls for a wholeness that is desperately needed in our increasingly fast-moving, superficial and fragmented postmodern world.”
Publishers Weekly
Flinders, who is best known as a coauthor of the bestselling vegetarian cookbook Laurel's Kitchen, has also taught religion and women's studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and now offers an earth-friendly, gender-neutral philosophy for repairing the world. Drawing inspiration from the traditions and cultures of the Native American Ohlone and Pomo Indian tribes that once flourished in her northern California community, she observes that although the tribes did not have a goddess culture, "these were a people who honored women, particularly their female elders... Men and women performed different tasks and played different kinds of games, but the things that concerned women most urgently concerned men also." Calling for a return to this Native American model, free of the restraints of what she calls "gender straightjacketing," Flinders laments the culture clash many people face today, in which the communal values of preagricultural "belonging" societies are at odds with the individualistic, competitive values of our current "enterprise" society. The tone in her loosely organized but entertaining chapters alternates between the academic (she teaches readers the Latin roots of the word "aboriginal") and the anecdotal (e.g., a minister's wife tells her that her husband is experiencing "parish envy" because he wants a bigger congregation). Despite Flinders's strong storytelling skills, though, readers may be disappointed with the book, which, although intriguing at times, presents few groundbreaking ideas in feminist studies. Agent, Candace Fuhrman. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062517364
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/1902
Edition description:
1ST
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.89(d)

Meet the Author

Carol Lee Flinders, author of the highly acclaimed Enduring Grace and At the Root of This Longing and coauthor of the million-copy-bestselling Laurel's Kitchen, holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and is a well-known speaker and teacher who has taught writing and mystical literature courses at the University of California, Berkeley.

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