James DeMeo’s and archeological research into the ecological bases of patriarchal societies revealed “Patrism, perpetuated by trauma-inducing social institutions, first developed among Homo sapiens in Saharasia, under the pressure of severe desertification, famine, and force migrations” (p. 247). There are later links between desertification and the appearance of oppressive social structures in Arabia, Central Asia, and South America. In Saharasia, drought and associated famine led to changes in family and social structure that both reflected and reproduced trauma. These traumatic cultural practices then spread through the world via violent conquest.
Pastoralism (animal herding) originally arose as an effort to ward off starvation by ensuring a steady source of food, and ideas about human superiority arose to counteract guilt feelings about the everyday violence associated with the enslavement of animals whose intelligence and emotions were very evident to the people now in contact with them. The tension can be seen in stories like those in Genesis, where the fear that animals have of humans is described as a punishment and where the tragic story of Cain and Abel begins with a jealous deity’s irrational preference for blood sacrifice over a vegetable offering. In any event, pastoralism is a very bad strategy for the avoidance of famine in dry regions, since grazing animals exacerbate desertification and consume scarce water during drought. Thus, yet again, a reaction to trauma leads to more trauma. Many generations later, we live in a world where every year farmers produce more than enough plants to feed everyone but millions of children die due to hunger and malnutrition. Billions of farmed animals live and die in misery, consuming many pounds of plant protein and many gallons of water for every pound of flesh made into meat and warming up the atmosphere with the methane they expel. Diet-related heart disease and cancers kill off the people who eat them. And the cycle of trauma continues.