You are invited to join Riane Eisler and Tim Seldin

This is your unique opportunity to spend eight weeks with best-selling author and meta-historian and advocate for humanity, Riane Eisler. Based on her new book with anthropologist Douglas P. Fry, Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future (Oxford University Press, 2019), Riane Eisler, with moderator, Tim Seldin, will guide us through an amazing journey on how children develop their humanity through a Montessori lens and a global perspective.

Riane shows us how neuroscience explains why and how children develop. It reveals relationships between climate change denial and strong-man rule, the fear-and-force-based discipline of children and warfare, subordination of women and racism (and other forms of discrimination). And with the causes revealed in these relationships and others, more creative solutions are possible. This course, which we cannot promise will be offered again, offers a unique and very rare opportunity to spend eight weeks learning together.

This course will be an extraordinary experience.

We will meet live on Zoom for eight weekly ninety-minute sessions scheduled at 7 PM eastern time (6 PM Central/5 PM Mountain/4 PM Pacific). 

The course will begin on September 20 and run through November 15 (taking the night of November 8 off for the American mid-term elections) and wrapping up the following week.

Sessions will be interactive. 

We will record each session, and you will have ongoing access to the recordings and the entire program.

The reading for this book will be Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future by Riane Eisler and  Douglas P. Fry, available through local bookstores, Amazon, and on Kindle.  There is also a new audiobook version available from Audible, but we recommend that you also have a print or digital copy where you can make notes and save references.

Be prepared to dig into it deeply. We encourage discussion during the sessions and in the online forum.

The cost will be just $375 with a discount to $325 if you or your school is a member of the  International Montessori Council or the  Montessori Family Alliance.

Here is just a glimpse of the course.

Everywhere we turn, from the news to books and movies, we are bombarded with the same hackneyed message: human nature is inherently bad. Just look at all the greed, murder, rape, and war. We are genetically wired, it seems, for selfish, cruel behavior. Or are we?


Challenging the notion that violence and greed are just “human nature,” Riane Eisler—International bestselling author of The Chalice and the Blade, social systems scientist and cultural historian—provides evidence that caring behavior is actually humanity’s default tendency, and that we can build more humane and sustainable societies. 

Neuroscience shows that the human brain is flexible. Through the interaction between genes and our lived experience, behavior patterns become woven into our individual and social fabric over time. To move toward the pro-social, cooperative, nurturing behavior (that brain scans show we are inclined toward) requires a shift from a system of “domination” to one of “partnership.”


In a domination system – whether Eastern or Western, ancient or modern – family, economic, and social structures support rigid top-down rankings. Historical examples are Genghis Khan’s, Hitler’s, or Stalin’s rule of terror and the autocratic family patriarch of earlier times. Nowadays, we see it in despotic rulers, religious fanatics, and at the family level in abusive parental behavior.

Nurturing Our Humanity sheds new light on our personal and social options in today’s world, showing how we can build societies that support our great human capacities for consciousness, caring, and creativity. It brings together largely overlooked findings from the natural and social sciences debunking the popular idea that we are hard-wired for selfishness, war, rape, and greed.  

We also learn from anthropologist Douglas Fry, a leading expert on foraging societies, that for millennia we lived in more egalitarian, gender-balanced, and peaceful ways in what he calls “the original partnership societies.”  

And as the evidence from archaeology shows, this partnership orientation lasted well into the early agrarian times and, in some places, even in so-called “high civilizations,” providing us with a blueprint for our future.

The book’s groundbreaking approach reveals connections between disturbing trends like climate change denial and regressions to strongman rule. 

Moving past right vs. left, religious vs. secular, Eastern vs. Western, and other familiar categories that do not include our formative parent-child and gender relations, it looks at where societies fall on the partnership-domination scale

On one end is the domination system that ranks man over man, man over woman, race over race, and humans over nature. 

On the other end is the more peaceful, egalitarian, gender-balanced, and sustainable partnership system. 

Nurturing Our Humanity explores how behaviors, values, and socio-economic institutions develop differently in these two environments, documents how this impacts nothing less than how our brains develop, examines cultures from this new perspective (including societies that for millennia were oriented toward partnership), and proposes actions supporting the contemporary movement in this more life-sustaining and enhancing direction. 

It shows how, through today’s ever more fearful, frenzied, and greed-driven technologies of destruction and exploitation, the domination system may lead us to an evolutionary dead-end. However, a more equitable and sustainable way of life is biologically possible and culturally attainable: we can change our course.

Riane and many of us in the Montessori community have long felt that there are powerful connections between her research and work, and Montessori education.

We share the vision that the two have much to learn from and offer to each other. As Tim Seldin puts it,

"Riane Eisler puts Montessori in a greater context that we all sense but have not always been able to articulate as clearly. Generations from now, future Montessori educators will study both Montessori and Eisler."

Riane work is both inspirational, deeply informative, and practical down to the level of the Montessori classroom, our curriculum, and school leadership.

We encourage you to take advantage of this very special opportunity to participate in this deep and uplifting conversation.

It will be a journey of rediscovery.

Register for this special course

Course curriculum

  • 01

    Welcome to the course!

    Show Content
    • Welcome and Zoom Links
    • How to use this course
    • Introduction
    • Riane Eisler - Her Life and Work
    • A conversation with Riane Eisler and Tim Seldin about the course
    • Research Shows That Caring - Not Greed And Violence - Is Humanity’s Default Tendency
    • A Message From Riane Eisler to Montessori Educators FREE PREVIEW
    • Montessori Education and the Partnership Way
    • Partnership Education In Action - A Brief Video
    • Keynote by Riane at One of Our Annual Conferences
  • 02

    Week One

    Show Content
    • This Week
    • Chapter One: Our Story
    • Chapter Two: Evolution, Ideology, and Human Nature
    • Nurturing Our Humanity - Session 1 Live Video Recording
    • Nurturing Our Humanity - Session 1 Live Audio Recording
    • The chat created during the first live session
    • What Is Partnership?
    • Riane Eisler Hierarchy of Actualization
    • Riane Eislers Domination Partnership Social Scale
    • Domination, Gender and Fear with Riane Eisler
    • Riane Eisler The opposite of patriarchy is not matriarchy
    • Riane Eisler: Partnerships in the Post Industrial Economy
    • Week One Discussion Forum
  • 03

    Week Two

    Show Content
    • This Week
    • Chapter 3: Love, the Brain, and Becoming Human
    • Chapter 4 The Biology of Experience
    • David Loye's book Darwin's Lost Theory of Love from the Christian Science Monitor
    • David Loye's most recent book on Darwin, Rediscovering Darwin
    • David Loye: A Conversation About Charles Darwin And Our New Understanding Of Evolution
    • Nurturing Our Humanity - Session 2 Live Video Recording
    • Nurturing Our Humanity - Session 2 Live Audio Recording
    • Nurturing Our Humanity - Session 2 Text of the Live Chat
  • 04

    Week Three

    Show Content
    • This Week
    • Chapter Five The Benefits of Partnership and the Costs of Domination
    • Chapter 6 Two Alternate Social Possibilities
    • Rising Eisler's Caring Economy
    • Riane Eisler's Research Infographic
    • Riane Eisler Power With Power To
    • What is Partnership?
    • GDP is a mess. Introducing the Social Wealth Index
    • TEDx Santa Cruz: Riane Eisler - Building A Caring Economy
    • Nurturing Our Humanity Session 3 Video
    • Nurturing Our Humanity Session 3 Audio
    • Nurturing Our Humanity Session 3 Text of the Saved Chat
  • 05

    Week Four

    Show Content
    • This Week
    • Chapter 7: The Original Partnership Societies
    • Chapter 8: Contracting or Expanding Consciousness
  • 06

    Week Five

    Show Content
    • This Week
    • Chapter 9: Touch, Intimacy, and Sexuality in Partnership and Domination Environments
    • Chapter 10: Love, Violence, and Socialization in Partnership and Domination Environments
    • Sexuality, Aggression and Partnership with Riane Eisler
    • The Bonobo: Kanzi - An Ape of Genius
    • Sexuality, Aggression and Partnership with Riane Eisler
  • 07

    Week Six: The Real Culture Wars

    Show Content
  • 08

    Week 7: A New Beginning

    Show Content
  • 09

    Week Eight: What's Next?

    Show Content
    • What we will be doing this week.
    • What's Next In Your Journey?
    • Riane Eisler: Caregiving Pays
    • Human Potential
  • 10

    Additional Resources

    Show Content
    • Conversation for Change with Dr Riane Eisler : Exploring the New Possible


Instructor Bio:

Riane Eisler is a social systems scientist, futurist, cultural historian, attorney, consultant, and speaker, whose work has transformed organizations, policies, and people worldwide. Her book Nurturing Our Humanity: How Domination and Partnership Shape Our Brains, Lives, and Future (co-authored with anthropologist Douglas Fry, Oxford University Press 2019) shows how to construct a more equitable, sustainable, and less violent world based on Partnership Systems rather than Domination Systems and her The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future is in over 57 US printings and 30 foreign editions.
Riane Eisler

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