Collective Motherhood – The Historical Recipe to Peace, by Ernest Dempsey
Collective Motherhood – The Historical Recipe to Peace
by Ernest Dempsey
The word ‘mother’ is like a soother for a lifetime; no matter how much older we grow, the presence of mother has a soothing, assuring influence on our sense of existence. And yet, our knowledge about motherhood is just beginning to grow wide enough so as to encompass the concept of motherhood in its entirety and through the history of humanity. Reading Mothers and Others, by world-famous anthropologist Sarah B. Hardy, I am amazed with the research on primates (including humans) that points to the fact that humans made it through history because they were lucky to have care-giving women other than their own biological mothers.
In the scientific jargon, they call it allomothers – non-maternal infant-caring individuals, which can be males in the family or mostly are women, usually elderly women like grandmothers. In older times, it was crucial for mothers to take time off caring for babies so as to be able to gather food (in hunting-gathering societies) enough to meet the feeding needs of herself and her family. Infants who had allomothers had a better chance of survival and healthy upbringing than those who had no allomothering available. Humanity has thus flourished through collective mothering. We are the children of not one woman but of all and we our existence to them.
So our obligation to respect and care for goes beyond our biological mothers. Being brought up by collective mothering, we are meant to be collective children. This concept, if realized and heeded, is the potential solution to the peace crisis in our world today. All we need do is realize that we can’t hurt someone because he/she is the child of one of our mothers, and then we will see the most beautiful heaven right here on this planet.
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