About Reciprocity Matters
“Western Consciousness is by no means the only kind of consciousness there is; it is historically conditioned and geographically limited, and representative of only one part of mankind. The widening of consciousness ought not to proceed at the expense of other kinds of consciousness.”
– C.G. Jung, Collected Works, Vol. 13
(Princeton University Press, 1967)
“Western science, following Roger Bacon, believed man could force nature to reveal its secrets; the Sioux simply petitioned nature for friendship.”
– Vine Deloria, Jr., C. G. Jung and the Sioux Traditions (Spring Journal, Inc., 2009)
Dominion and Reciprocity
Reciprocity Matters recognizes two primary psychic paradigms in how humans relate to the world—Dominion and Reciprocity. The Dominion paradigm is rooted in linear, traditionally rational thought. This psychological way of knowing the world tends to be exclusive, dualistic, and limited to surface facts. It prefers objectivity and reductive analysis. In contrast, the Reciprocity paradigm is about relating to the world and is rooted in opening to transrational ways of knowing. Reciprocity’s chief characteristic is revering and preserving the intrinsic and given balance in all life. We can trace this psychological dynamic to indigenous peoples and their practices of living in a reciprocal relationship with the world. Both dynamics are intrinsic and essential characteristics of psyche and neither can or need to be eliminated.
What We Do
Reciprocity Matters works with communities and corporations as well as educational, scientific, and governmental institutions to actively address the critical and pressing problems of society. We believe many prevailing issues in the world—particularly Climate Change and Ecocide—are rooted in a one-sided emphasis on the Dominion paradigm that leaves out the compensatory Reciprocity paradigm. We offer practical ways to approach this imbalance by educating individuals and groups in the practices of Reciprocity. These practices include noticing the inherent wisdom of the natural world, attuning to dreams and synchronicities, and exploring archetypal dynamics. Employing these practices, we develop models and Reciprocity-based projects to foster creative and reflective action regarding our relationships to each other and the planet.
Included in the Reciprocity Matters mission is addressing political polarization and social injustice as they contribute to Climate Change and Ecocide. These two issues currently pose immediate threats to the sustainability of the planet and our very existence. It is imperative that our society explore new means to deal with Climate Change and Ecocide. In particular, how do we overcome the institutional, sociological, and governmental paralysis and dysfunction that too often stymies critical and decisive action? We believe that engaging the Reciprocity psychic paradigm through the application of depth psychological techniques holds great promise for effective decision-making that fosters conscious recognition of our interdependent connection to Earth.
Principle Tenets of Reciprocity Matters
- Every culture, past and present, carries a defining story deep in its psycho-historical roots that not only reflects the history of that culture and its roots, but also its evolutionary telos as well as a roadmap for its future. The Biblical “Garden of Eden” story is the foundational myth of the evolution of Western civilization and Western consciousness.
- Psychologically, the Western ego has become overly-identified with this myth’s command to have “dominion” over all life. Thus, what was intended to be an ethical instruction to protect and preserve the sanctity of all life forms on this planet has fallen victim to a collective addiction to the Dominion aspect of psyche. This addiction shows up in our fascination with intoxicating and compassionless displays of power, in a preference for material wealth and consumerism, and in how we treat the natural world as if it were spiritless and dead.
- Most statements referring to the Global Climate Change and Ecocide Crisis refer to human behavior as the source of the crisis. In fact, it is human psychology and the psychodynamics of Western culture that is the source of the problem. Human behavior is symptomatic of those two sources. We will not be able to effectively remediate the crisis by focusing on human behavior alone. We must also focus on the psychological make-up that drives our self-destructive behavior.
- From early years of the Industrial Revolution in the 1880’s to the advent of the 21 st century, science and its offspring, technology, have become increasingly captive of their own inflation, hubris and one-sidedness. Science now seems to believe it can create a theory of everything, and that it alone can explain all phenomena, and that if it can’t explain something, then it must not be relevant. However, in The Descent of Man, Darwin wrote that organs and species that become over-specialized risk becoming extinct. The scientific method without an integrated approach to addressing human psychology is not sufficient to remediate our Ecocide Crisis.
- Critical theories of C. G. Jung are indispensable to encouraging the emergence of Reciprocity. Jungian theories and depth psychology techniques admit not only the importance of rational, reductive thought, but also the richness of transrational approaches to experiencing the world. They offer practical ways to bring us into a place of noticing that transcends the five senses. Essentially, these theories expose the Western consciousness to a path of living that embraces both the Dominion and Reciprocity aspects of psyche.
- The noun-dominant languages of the Dominion paradigm are inadequate for re-establishing dialogue between the Dominion and Reciprocity dimensions of psyche. We must work to develop a more verb-prominent meta-language, based in English, for public discourse that will psycho-dynamically reflect Eros-infused metaphorical language structure similar to oral traditional languages of Native American tribes. Oral traditional language structure is more compatible for communicating quantum reality, which is characteristic of the Reciprocity paradigm.