Scott Noelle.com Inspiration and Coaching for Leading-Edge Parents, Partners, and Professionals.


(adj.) Control-oriented, rule-driven, and fear-based; characterized by a negative view of human nature, belief in scarcity, right/wrong thinking, win/lose competition, and the use of force to control people and nature.

I use the word dominator as an adjective in terms like dominator culture, dominator mindset, dominator values, etc., to describe the fear-based control orientation that currently permeates many aspects of human society and consciousness — especially parenting and schooling.

This is not our natural orientation; our ancient ancestors lived in partnership cultures where the collective well-being was maximized through the pleasure of empathic connection and mutual empowerment.

This distinction between a “dominator model” and a “partnership model” of human relations was coined by sociologist Riane Eisler in her bestselling book, The Chalice and the Blade (1987).

In my writing and coaching work, I emphasize the big-picture perspective that our dominator legacy is a temporary condition. It arose thousands of years ago as hunter/gatherer life was displaced by agriculture and “civilization” — like a collective tantrum during the “toddler phase” of the evolution of human consciousness. When our children have tantrums, we now know that dominator tactics only make matters worse; it is only through partnership that we can help them learn to regulate their emotions in a healthy way.

Likewise, spreading partnership consciousness is the key to transforming our dominator culture into a partnership culture that revives our ancient wisdom and integrates it with the lessons of the dominator era.

Dominator Lite is a term I coined to poke fun at parenting techniques that appear to be more gentle or reasonable on the surface but are really only subtler expressions of the dominator model. (Example: the Love and Logic approach.)

— Scott Noelle