Behind Every Successful Man
Now, this leads us to an important point that feminists (whom I hold in high regard) always seem reluctant to bring to the fore: That behind every aggressive and successful man is a woman. It has been my argument that it will be the emancipated and well-educated female that will save our species from destroying the planet, and I will conclude this book with the declaration that it has always been the female that has influenced our evolutionary direction, despite the apparent impression that the opposite is the truth. But for a moment, I must shake my finger reprovingly and state: The well-educated female is as much to blame as the male for the circumstances that have placed our human species in danger of extinction. I write these words because I feel that they are the truth. I write them because I care about the future of our planet and all who dwell upon its surface. I write them because I know that the truth will always prevail and be acted upon. And I write them because I know that humans will reach their evolutionary destiny, as Jane Goodall concluded in her book, Reason for Hope, and will find compassion and understanding for all. I write these words because I know that it will be the female who will lead us there.
I know that the above paragraph will leave some of the more radical feminists livid with anger, and I don't blame them. They are correct that it has been the male that has kept them controlled and restricted; excluded and abused; raped and thrown away as a worn rag doll. Yes, that is all true, but something else is occurring at the same time that feminists always seem to shy away from, or refuse to admit: Women who reside in the higher ranks of our social system are mostly satisfied with males being the controlling force in society. But their satisfaction comes with a cost: The majority of these women ignore the plight of their fellow females in the lower socioeconomic levels. This is because the high-ranking male that they have chosen benefits her genes and her children. The aggressive male that accumulates wealth, connections, power and political allies while excluding, dominating, and abusing others in his quest for power and wealth, is to the female's advantage. The aggressive, assertive, and successful male puts her ahead in the evolutionary race, and she does all that she can to perpetuate the advantage. Is it all milk and honey for the high-ranking female? No, because there is a price. I will let the feminists fill in the details for you concerning verbal abuse, alcoholism, prescription dependence, rampant depression, and quiet desperation among their ranks as their beauty fades.
I suggest that high-ranking females, unless born into higher socioeconomic levels, may change their perspective when a successful alpha male dumps them for the younger, more nubile "trophy" wife. The Monica Lewinskis of our society are a constant challenge to the female in keeping her mate committed. But in her youth, the high-ranking female may have been in the same position, and said, "Screw you sister, I have the beauty and body that men want. I have the family connections and wealth that other high-ranking males seek in their upward climb socially; recognize that I am a "prize" to be fought over." Is it so hard to believe that females could be self-serving and intolerant of other females? Have we not been told over and over again that women are compassionate, inclusive, non-aggressive and not at all like their male counterparts? For the majority of women, that is correct, but it only takes a small minority to hold the high hill of resource advantage, to bond and form alliances with others through marriages and societal connections. Unfortunately, the higher one's family, political or business connections, the easier it is to influence events down the socioeconomic scale.
Both the males and females in the higher ranks of any society are basically saying to those of us in the lower social ranks: "Too bad, but we have ours, and that is the way life goes; cream floats to the top -- survival of the fittest and all that -- learn to deal with it." And those of us at the lower rungs of society say in return. "Not for a New York second pal. I know that you are a gatekeeper and exclude those of us that you do not want around, but I'll figure out a way to get around your system -- I don't need your social connections." Let us pause for a brief moment and give silent praise to the American entrepreneurial spirit.
But to further cement the perspective of the "successful female," I want to relate to you a local Denver TV news interview I witnessed several years ago. It was 1995, and The Promise Keepers were having their first annual convention Denver's Mile-High stadium. A male reporter was interviewing one of the women who was married to a Promise Keeper. The reporter asked if the woman felt demeaned that no females were allowed to become members of Promise Keepers and that none were allowed to attend the rally inside the 75,000-seat stadium; he also asked her if she thought that her freedoms were restricted at all as a women? The woman's reply was cheery and enthusiastic; she saw nothing wrong in the male taking the lead in providing her family with all the good things in life, while she remained behind the scenes to tend to the children and the home. Her final quote on the arrangement: "I don't mind at all if my husband takes the lead in the responsibility department for our family. It's the greatest thing since sliced bread." (I regret, that I can't provide you with the date and the Denver TV station involved, so the quote will have to remain anecdotal). I bring up this point to bring home the point that majority of the population in our social system "is satisfied" with the way things are. But, of course, their decisions are based upon the latest scientific, social, and political thought that dominates our culture. If there is any dissatisfaction, it is on the part of majority of us who reside outside of the statistical bell curve of the highest 10% of Americans who own 90% of the wealth in our country. What is needed to make decisions is the scientific truth; but the truth will not be well received, because the "new" information may be a disservice to those who control the resources in the higher reaches of our society. How do I know this? One merely has to remember the saga of the American tobacco companies in the 1960s and how, for many years, the truth with was beaten back with biased "scientific" findings, outright deception, and coercion of individuals to remain silent within the system. One still has the image of the seven tobacco executives, "The Seven Dwarfs," swearing before Congress that cigarettes were not addictive. Ultimately, its about the resources.
Group Selection: Stationary and Non-stationary Resource Considerations
I suppose what I am attempting to identify is the sociobiological mechanism behind the segregated societies on the planet. It is those who think the system stinks and believe it is about to implode unless things change who get excluded from the top rung of society because of their family origins, social standing, and territorial origins. As for location, all real estate is nothing more than attachments on top of soil located within one's territory. Soil has the same "value" when assigned a molecular-based value system around the planet -- it's all "dirt cheap"; it's the value attached and recognized by the seller and buyer of the real property that gives it its monetary value. To further assist their progeny's future hierarchical standings, most in our society attach value to attendance at certain elementary and high schools that have achieved performances coveted by those in the higher echelons. In fact, it is a assumption that the majority of families who are concerned about the education of their children are highly focused on which territory to settle in and raise a family. This perceived value attached to educational institutions within a certain territory continues even when young family members leave home to attend institutions of higher learning. It is common knowledge that attending and graduating from certain Ivy League schools almost always guarantees advancement into the higher reaches of America's industrial, financial, medical, and political hierarchies. The schools, of course, respond to this demand by rising tuition as high as the market will bear, which in turn closes the door to more and more students as full scholastic scholarships become fewer and fewer. This is no different than the cultural transmitted social structures that we inherited from England, our political and social ancestral parents. Attending and graduating from Eaton, Oxford, and Cambridge all ensures passage into the highest reaches of English society.
Those are some of the resources that flow from stationary, established institutions with protected territories. "Non-stationary" resources, those behaviors that humans use to form alliances to exclude others for their personal advantages, (discrimination) are then used to further isolate and segregate those who have the advantages against those that do not have. It is the handicapped, the wheelchair-bound individuals, who are the first to bear the sting of exclusion. Our ancestral brains immediately know that a handicapped or visibly injured person will soon be prey to the predators, and with the dark fears of usurpation that lurk around the ancestral hunter-gatherer campsite, such selfish individuals do not hesitate to leave them to their biological fate. Ridiculous? Not really. Consider this: Congress passed The Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, outlawing discrimination and providing guidelines for employers in regards to the handicapped. Since America is 224 years old, that means the United States has not had a federal law on the books protecting and assisting the handicapped for 99.95% of its established timeline. Statistics are cold, but they assist us in providing the truth.
It also is not hard to find people who turn their heads away from the homeless lying in the street or ignore scribbled messages on cardboard placards for assistance from a street corner while you sit uncomfortably in your comfortable, climate-controlled automobile, torn between your altruism and selfishness. "How sad," most of us say. We step on the accelerator and move on to our next destination extremely certain that when we arrive home, we will look in both directions as we open our front door and see none of the poverty and disparity that we left behind. We are home in our territory -- our turf. This is the territory in which we raise our children and plan our dreams, and, I hazard to guess, render the suffering and poverty invisible from our living room windows so as to help remove any trait of impoverishment -- out of sight, out of mind. The reverse also holds true: What we see in our territory is what we believe to be real and the truth. We think our way is the best way to raise our families; the way that our species evolved. But that, obviously, is not quite correct.
Can't We All Be Tall or Beautiful?
I sometimes have wondered how the life of astrophysicist Steven Hawking, would have developed if fate stuck him down before his genius was established. What path would he be placed upon if he was totally dependent on decisions made by healthy individuals who knew nothing of astrophysics? Would he have been allowed to even enter the halls of higher learning in the first place? Would his twisted body and hardly audible mumbling lead people to ignore the genius that dwelt inside? I think you know the answer. But being shunned by most of society for being visibly handicapped or a beggar on the street is just the first hurdle our species must jump in order to reach the caches of resources held by others. Success in American males is not all defined by the education one receives or the work one does; in American society today, males who are short and fat are tremendously disadvantaged in climbing business and social hierarchies. Tall and handsome almost always beats short, dumpy, and ugly. On average, tall men make $600 more per annum per inch than their shorter competition. The phrase "leader" means "big man" in many tribal societies. In 19 of the last 24 American presidential elections the taller of the two candidates has won. How the Mind Works, 1997, pp. 495-6). Polish and British scientists studied the medical records of 3,200 Polish men ages 25 to 60 and found that childless men were on average 1.2 inches shorter than men who had at least one child. This is the first study to confirm reproductive success of taller men over shorter men. "Taller men luckier in love, study finds," Associated Press, January 13, 2000 as published in the 1-13-00 issue of the journal Nature.
This should not be, but alas, due to the lack of understanding of our biological psychology, our innate behavioral algorithms, the practice of picking males based solely on their physical stature and "handsomeness" are still entrenched today. Without any knowledge of a male's mental abilities, credentials, social position, or personal achievements, we still most likely make decisions based on survival criteria established in deep history. This brain classification mechanism usually selects one of two quick major categories: friend or foe? Ally or enemy? Fight or flight? As our brains continued to develop, our ancestors required further positive "credentials" to answer the friend or foe question? Can this person before me be trusted? After answering the fight or flight question, I suggest that the brain then does quick recalls to its memory banks to find secondary characteristics developed through local cultural environmental criteria, because alliances are more profitable than violent confrontations. Peace is preferable to war but, unfortunately, there still remains vigilance, as deception also developed as a environmental survival mechanism. Perhaps third down in this brain classification system were the superficial categories that hunter-gather groups, and later, ethnic and then races developed to assist in their classifications of "others": Body height, skin color, body hair covering, then facial hairs, nose shapes, language spoken, (and perhaps a major requirement of our ancestors, smell); and in more modern times, breaking classifications further down (or up, or sideways inside the brain), into perceived values of cars driven; clothes worn; handsome or beautiful. I am not even going to go into areas devoted to the female body and the beauty questions that swirl around that subject.
Now, if we were to go into the offices of any Fortune 500 company and ask if being a women or a man whom is, short, black, brown, or Jewish or of any other ethnic minority, would it have any effect on his or her chances of obtaining that corner office, becoming the CEO, and receiving the high salaries that go with that position, what would be the answer? Listen, don't get me wrong -- this is not an open and shut case of conscious discrimination on the part of an elite group of wealthy white males. What I am telling you is that these behaviors are biases that have evolved to benefit those individuals who control and restrict the resources around them. Ultimately, its the resources.
By following the now-irrelevant cultural criteria that have evolved, the transfer of resources to those deemed "suitable," and their ability to control future genetic paths, seems natural. In a way, it is natural selection -- but it is a highly evolved and subtlety injurious form of the mechanism. Is it what Nature really intended? Is it moral? Is it what Jesus would do? No, I don't believe so. We all know that Jesus, or for that matter any great religious leader on the planet today, would make a lousy capitalist.
Mr. Know It All
I wish to complete this book of musings and speculations by focusing on the future of our evolutionary possibilities. Before we do so, we must look at one the "latest" views in evolutionary thought regarding sex roles of our species. It is from one of the evolutionary community’s more respected scholars, Kingsley Browne:
At bottom, much of the feminist case is based upon a normative vision of what women should want, rather than on what they do want. To deny the existence of choice because of the way it is exercised is ultimately an authoritarian response. In a very real sense, the patterns we now see are themselves a product of female choice; over thousands of generations, women have chosen men who display the traits that many feminists now claim to disdain. Divided Labours, 1999.
Once again, my gender, the male, pretends to make all-encompassing pronouncements about what women in our modern society want. Somehow, this male scientist relegates the desired evolutionary "wants" of dissatisfied women to the category of "female nonsense" and strongly believes that how we evolved is the best way to proceed into the future because natural selection has made it so. Buffalo droppings. But, everything that Mr. Browne has written is correct. Our society does reflect how women have based their behaviors on what is best for their children and their immediate families. What transpires today developed throughout our long history, and springs from the biological instructions found in the female genes. The innate algorithms of the past, in combination with the local culture found at her particular longitude and latitude, have produced the modern female's behavior and has created the modern sex roles we see today.
The fatal flaw of Mr. Browne's argument is that he believes men and women who reside in the middle or on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder are equally satisfied as those whom sit atop it -- both are naturally selected and resigned to their roles. Mr. Browne likes the way the world currently moves because it validates his biological right to a semblance of authority. His message is so typical of comfortable, male academics. But Mr. Browne is merely adapting to his local environment. It places him and other male scientists above the crowded and merciless masses whose cries for injustice go unheard; those for whom financial ruin is only one paycheck away, for whom the horror of deprivations runs close to the skin. I have never met the man, and perhaps my hostile tone is unjustified, but I do believe that he would not want to see any changes in his world. Why should he? To do so would be disadvantageous to his position
Our society has created this world because those that dominate the culture are satisfied with the way things are, while those on the lower socioeconomic rungs of society want what the dominants have. Hence, criticisms of the higher classes are weak and frequently do not shift into political change. In some cases, events coincide to produce an immigrant or poor individual who stumbles unto a better way to, say, haul or bury garbage, that lifts him or her into higher financial status. But the major thrust of evolutionary change in our species occurs when evolutionary disadvantaged populations out-produce the haves, and then develop their own dominate culture merely by taking over the territories originally controlled, and then abandoned, by the haves. The have-nots get to remain in their territories because they perform job tasks that the dominates consider beneath their dignity. The haves merely shift to other locations where perceived real estate values are climbing; that is, adjusting to their social rankings.
Coming from Colorado, my favorite story of a have-not attempting to assimilate into the social hierarchies of Denver's high society is the one about The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Born into poverty, she found riches by marrying the owner of a silver mine and she attempted to assimilate into Denver’s high society by buying real estate near other rich Coloradians near Capital Hill. But despite her new found wealth and bravado, she was never accepted into the social circles of high society in Denver until after her "fame" arrived with the sinking of the Titanic. Wealth was only one of several road blocks that Denver's high society placed in front of Molly Brown's entrance to their inner circle. The dominates in her time and place used the same techniques our ancestors most likely used, and we ourselves still practice: Group selection to dictate social cohesion and direction of their identified group. Each group is influenced by certain individuals who dominate and then dictate which territory is theirs and which rules should be followed: a consensus then forms among the group through discussions and alliances and action is then taken that benefits that group.
Once again, this is not a conspiracy, nor is it a deliberate act of violent rejection. It is the innate and subtle mechanisms that have evolved through thousands of years of interacting with others in our hunter-gatherer group; forming and losing alliances, bonding with our genders, and establishing a group identity. We pass these rules of behavior to our young by teaching them, or they learn through observing and then imitating the adults' movements and emotions. If I have any major complaints about our current societies, is that they steadfastly ignore group influences on individuals while focusing on the "failures" of individuals to be accepted within the group. Molly Brown's "failure" to be accepted by Denver's high society was not of her doing. It, does, however set the stage for our understanding of racial and ethnic discriminations by dominate groups and a partial understanding of why there is no punishment for the dominate group's "crimes." So getting back to Mr. Browne, could it be that scientists are slow to discover the causes of these social ills because they are human also? Do they want their genes and their children to reach the higher socioeconomic rungs if possible and can't quite see the problem?
What Direction Human Destiny?
If these group selection mechanisms of rejection and exclusion have been found to have a biological origin, does that make them right? Not to me. Even Darwin himself is quoted as saying about nature: "What a book a devil's chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering, low, and horridly cruel works of nature." [An Open letter to Prince Charles, Richard Dawkins, www.edge.org, May 21, 2000]. Is Nature being moral when males rape females because they are a bit less than enthusiastic about mating with a male she prefers not to be with? No still means no. Choice is the supreme female act of nature, not force by male aggression.
There are many in evolutionary psychology who believe that our mental capacities can overcome these obstacles; it is, after all, the gift and the curse of Homo sapiens' mental capabilities. If human behavior today is based upon the entwinement of nature and nurture (genes and culture), then once the common people, who are at the bottom of the social pyramid, become totally aware of their biological predispositions and cultural influences, they will create new directions for social groups above them entirely based on these findings. It will not be the other way around. Why do I think that? Because of the increasing availability to the common people of information and knowledge to make well-researched decisions about themselves, their families, and their political futures. The human animals that sit atop the pyramid of our society believe that it is their genius, their labors, their industries, and their politics that dictate direction, and that they have to take care of the "child-like" poor below them. But the truth of the matter is that the wealthy of our society must bow to the dictates of the poor. If there are too many poor, they will merely outgrow the wealthy populations and overtake them -- unless of course, the elite use armies to protect their gated communities, or send out death squads to destroy the poor and "unacceptable," as allegedly what happens in Brazil today.
For those who manage to remain aloof or ignorant of the flood of information regarding the logic of evolutionary psychology, they will be lost even more than they are now. For it is the open secret in the evolutionary community that the "crème-de-la-creme" of our society reproduces at a far lower rate than do the "meek" and "powerless." We merely have to be reminded of Darwin's true meaning of natural selection in its simplest form: The subspecies that leaves the most children behind wins the evolutionary race. What "floats to the top" are merely individuals who have the advantages of resource "wealth" over those who do not. The requirements of our deep history are not the requirements of today. Instead, the reinvented view of "survival of the fittest" seems to have evolved to fit the delusion of warrior minds attached to soft bodies and deep pockets.
The Devil Made Me Do It
It has been my belief, and that of others in this field, that while we are under the influence of genetic predispositions, we are still in command of our innate feelings in over 99% of our actions. Examples are all around us. The male priest, who may still be young and virile, takes the oath of celibacy. In the overwhelming majority of these priests the feat has continued for thousands of years, and if we do become aware of any indiscretions, we are alarmed at the mere presence of them instead of focusing on the huge statistical fact of compliance by the majority. If the male is inclined to be sexually perverse and violent between the ages of 16 and 25, does this mean that males are out there raping women and killing off rivals at an alarming everyday rate? Or is the occurrence of such behavior so rare from a statistical standpoint that the reverse behaviors are actually the norm?
Again, it is my argument that the female will be the savior of our species. How will the process begin? What ideas can I bring forward to help nudge the process along? If the entire basis behind female choice in gene transference up till now has been commitment from the male in raising her children, what if, after being consciously aware of our biological heritage, the female can and does seek alternatives? What if we can convince females to seek males who give the most back to society instead of seeking males who collect the biggest pile of toys or money? What if, in our vision of the future, we have weekly magazines picturing the most generous people on the planet instead of the 50 most beautiful people? How about a magazine list of the 500 top philanthropist instead of the 500 richest people in the world. (An excellent example would be the Time magazine cover story of July 24, 2000, "The New Philanthropists").
I've Got the Evolutionary Blues
Several years back, Robert Wright, wrote a cover story for Time magazine about the psychology of our modern world not fitting our biological origins and creating despair among many who were not adapting well to those inherent differences. I agree. ("The Evolution of Despair", Time magazine, August 28, 1995). Imagine for a moment a modern world society that is truly based upon the hunter-gatherer societies of our biological ancestors, yet fine-tuned to the needs and understandings of our modern world. Caution flags must be raised as, perhaps, the greatest mistake those in evolutionary psychology can make is to assume that everything around us is in place because natural selection dictated that this is the best way survive. But If I were an engineer or computer systems analyst, would I really create a brain that's structure and operation is exactly the way the human brain functions today atop our heads? The answer would be a resounding no. Nature took the path that it did by building the brain atop the old systems that evolved before it; it did not have a choice as to location, location, location. This is similar to Henry Ford building new and more efficient manufacturing plants on top of old ones through succeeding generations just because that is the way it always was. Instead, what we have done is consciously made new decisions that we thought were the best direction; while still depending on our stored information of the past. Still the same mechanism, but different transference devices.
If we find the prospect of building new automobile plants atop old ones ridiculous, why do we assume that our human psychological behaviors, which evolved from our genetic heritage and reinforced by cultural environments, are the most effective and productive manner in which to pop out babies to pass our genetic heritage? In its first edition of the new millennium, the Wall Street Journal interviewed the esteemed and highly-credentialed E.O. Wilson. In the interview, Wilson told the readers that human behavior has changed little in the past 100,000 years and most likely would not change that much in the future. He listed a few of the human behaviors that he thought would not change:
Well, I agree entirely. But, suppose we decide that we don't like the way we evolved and attempt to re-engineer ourselves? What if we decided that the way natural selection evolved still left us with too much war, ethnic hatred, racial discrimination and economic disparity based upon these three traits found above? With the advent of genetic engineering, could we begin to reprogram ourselves to achieve the best results? Did nature really program us to be the best on the planet with our abilities to make great advances in electronic gizmos and taller and taller skyscrapers? Or does the prospect of our engineering successes make the air so unfit to breath that we will surely perish under our own stench? What if we decided that instead of hierarchically based societies dominated by individual alpha males and the females attached to them, we should switch things around? Suppose in this imaginary evolutionary setting that our future alpha people went out of their way to make sure that none of the people in their immediate local environments were left behind? Instead of pushing these poor people aside, taking control of resources and restricting their disbursements to those who pass their litmus tests of who was in and who was out, what if the alpha people suddenly decided that it would advance their species more if they helped others gain what they have? What if diversity as opposed to exclusiveness became the goal to seek and not shun? What if, suddenly, the alpha people realized that all creatures on the planet are part of the same family, and evolved from the same evolutionary origins? What if "inclusive fitness" suddenly became global in its definition and perspective?
Returning to Wilson's views, the question that we have to ask here is, if our species becomes compassionate and altruistic, does that mean we will eliminate hierarchies? Not likely, because despite new consciousness that it would benefit our species to a larger extent, it would be still be totally voluntary, and not written into law books. Empathy and altruism cannot be dictated or enforced by any law or edict. We know from the collapse of the Soviet Union that ownership of individual property can not be abandoned, and that, even in its most rigidly communist period, hierarchies still formed within the Soviet system that benefited all too few at the top. But, that is the past. Suppose that our new method of self-selection, which includes all talents and abilities, did come to pass and was passed culturally down through the eons? How long would it take for the new cultural behavior patterns to find their way into the genetic code of our DNA? Would it take another 100,000 years as Wilson suggests? Or do developing technologies make it possible to reduce the timeline to under100 years?
In the long view, would voluntarily abandoning competitive hierarchies and replacing them with altruistic hierarchies make us a stronger or weaker species? Morally and compassionately, we would win the evolutionary race hands down and many would hail the accomplishment as preordained by our religious elders. But if we concluded that traveling the road of selfish ambitions and competitions between ourselves and other countries made us a tougher and therefore a more durable species, where would it lead us? By staying on our current tract, pretending that accumulating individual and national wealth as the only evolutionary path and ignoring others as they starve to death, or die of HIV, we invite calamity. But, that of course, is my personal opinion. I don't live in a fantasy world, but I do want you to know that I believe we can change our behaviors if we feel that it is in our best interests. Isn't that what we do every day?
Well, even auto batteries need an occasional boost on cold mornings. Where will the spark come from to ignite this great global epiphany of behavioral change from competition to compassion? Who will scramble our DNA and make sure we develop along the proper track? Who will teach us by example that compassion and altruism are better for our species than individual, group, or national competition? The same group that got us where we are today: the female of our two sexes. For she is the vessel into which all sperm and egg are combined, nurtured, and then transmitted.
I know that some of what I suggest will be strongly debated, so let me frame my arguments by using the same questioning technique for the female's future role as I have done for our species as a whole. I like the fact that whenever we enter new beginnings, such as the field of evolutionary psychology, for every question that we answer, it seems to raise more questions Isn't science fun? That, to me, is what life is all about: providing answers to questions and creating new ones to keep the processes moving forward.
Now, concentrate, and take the mental perspective of a young female entering puberty in our imaginary future society. I want you to put yourself in her shoes; look around her local environment and make mental notes of what you see in this possible world. Now, create a perspective that clears a path to assist this young female in achieving her maximum potential, a perspective contrary to the current slanting of assistance towards the young male. Assume in this new place that the world considers the female the default gene, and creates a new conventional wisdom that the male gene was created by the female gene to extend the female's reach. Create new assumptions that this future female no longer needs the male in the same violent and aggressive degree that she once required. The Decline of Males, 1999. Assume a world where decisions that affect her will be the same problems as today; history and traditions from family; socialization techniques amongst friends; body self-image; mate availability criteria; mate availability; courtships; sex, childbirth survivability; child healthcare, and the most important of all, child care. All these concerns existed with her deep history ancestral sister. Today, the only additional question that she might need to ask is what future opportunities are there for herself and her children as they prepare to leave the nest.
Life Without Sex?
Now we all ready know that in this imaginary future, our young female learns from her family and friends that females are treated as the ultimate vessel in which genes are transmitted. Because of this honor she must make intelligent, thoughtful decisions with whom she will mate based upon accurate science. What if our young female was taught that our cultural norm to avoid "others" is wrong and that she should be taught that treating all peoples with dignity and respect should be a golden rule?, Taking a cue from nature reveals that diversity, not exclusiveness, is vital in our species survival. When a man and a women conceive a child, 50% of their genes go into the child. 50%!! Why there is only a 1.4% differential between us and the chimpanzees! What "selfish" genes is Dawkins writing about? If our genes were exclusive and selfish, would it not seem more logical that we would have evolved asexually? (If that were the case, then would we get pregnant when we masturbated? -- now that would put a damper on our species’ idea of having fun).
If raising and nurturing children has been the ultimate goal of genes, and females have attempted to surround the child with the optimum supply of resources, what if our society changes the availability of childcare? Suppose, in our young female's local environment, she attended an elementary school that was attached to a nursing home where part of the day she, and young males, were watched and cared for by elders during non-educational time periods? A sort of elder/day care mix at the elementary school level? Would it be a natural process? Would it work? Think of this: What was it like in our hunter-gatherer's deep history? Do you think that our ancestors pushed our elders to the outer edges of the clans and allowed them to die thinking that they were a useless drain to society? Or, do you think that our ancestors used every bit of resources -- including elders nurturing the young -- as a survival technique? In our close families today, we know that the elderly are not useless and that the very young have a bond that develops deep impressions, so why do some treat them with disdain and as a drain? In our future world, will we reverse the situation and put our retired elderly to work caring for the very young to put an end to "the day-care crisis" that never should have evolved?
But why should we stop the mix at elementary schools? Why not elder-care institutions attached to high schools as well? Perhaps there are elders who would prefer to use their talents to teach part time in our high schools as well. Supposing as part of future high school curriculum young people would be required to assist in elder care during the day time so that they could experience natural death as a part of life. Perhaps some young high school student would be so moved by one elder as her or his mentor, that this young person would decide to end old age as we know it from a biological venue. As for the elders in our society, why would we assume that their talents and creativity end at a certain age? Doctors, lawyers, mailmen, and grocery clerks -- all bring something to the table of knowledge that we could all feast upon. All this knowledge of human toil and soaring excellence is currently just sitting around, split in diverse locations, just waiting for us to tap. (For an excellent citation along these lines, see Time magazine, Time Select Lifestyles section, July 24, 2000, "A Home More Like Home." The article discusses the Eden Alternative, which has taken hold in over 300 rest homes nationwide that rejects the current culture of old-age homes based too strictly to the hospital model with their rigid hierarchies, overdependence on medication and sterile cultures).
Now, what if in return, our young female knew that elders where given subsidized health care, housing and boarding in exchange for teaching, tending, and watching the young? Suppose our young female of the future saw this exchange on a daily basis from her young, pre-school days? Would this knowledge affect her child-bearing years and give new her new mating criteria? Would the young female, knowing the that the best emotional and physical care would be given to her child for at least 12 years, change her focus from nurturing her young to experiencing and expanding her own future talents? Would the knowledge of the prevailing culture that getting old and dying would not be a lonely and despicable thing free her and all children from the current system of finding males with the most resources?
Hey Sailor, New in Town?
Now, this next section is very controversial, and I want you to view it with extremely critical eyes. I debated long and hard with myself whether to include this viewpoint. I decided that it should be given an airing, but if I offend anyone, please forgive me. I'm going to talk about that old bugaboo, sex. Despite the feminist vision that males may soon be extinct because females will be able to pick up sperm at any local bank, we males still have many years of useful generations before us. But try to imagine a world in which we all understand that the aggressive tendencies of males are uniquely attuned to acquiring resources in order to attract the female in order to pass one’s genes. We can not get away from this but, the bottom line to our species’ continued existence is that genes are passed through sex.
From my blue-collar perspective, when I study statistics about spousal abuse and dominate male control, I can easily see the frustrations of the male in his perceived "failure" to achieve more resources and higher rank. Usually, anger that could easily be placed upon himself, is all too often aggressively directed outward to the wife and their children. And, woe unto any stepchild who gets in the way. (Daly, Martin & Margo Wilson., The Truth about Cinderella: A Darwinian View of Parental Love, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1998).
It all still comes down to mixing the DNA of both parents in the incubator of the female. Currently, the system that prevails is the economic aggressive competition between males in resource accumulation. But what if our society understood, based on scientific evidence, that making the sexual act widely available for the male would greatly lower the male’s aggressive tendencies? Yes, I’m talking about legalized pay-for-sex programs. Would it eliminate the aggressive forces that push males in our current society? In studying the bonobos, who copulate with each other like we shake hands for friendship, we know that extreme violence is very rare. Now, don't get hostile, but I really want you to think about this from an evolutionary perspective and the beneficial impact it could have on eliminating violence in males. If the invention of the birth control pill gave the female greater ability to control her reproductive process, what affect would the open availability of the male’s access to female sexuality have on our society as a whole?
In viewing the disorders of anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosa, can you imagine a world where the young female is no longer tied to the cultural need to have a perfect body to attract the best of the best males with the most resources because the male can get sex anytime, elsewhere? If the male did have access to female sex at all economic levels, does it not mean that the male the female finally does attract is truly the optimal male to assist her in raising her children? Suppose, that a woman can't find a man to mate with, or, egad! does not want to mate with a man? Do we exclude her from the human species? Do we throw her in the reject pile? Or, in our new world, do we revel in her individuality and genius of spirit because her mind is no longer attached to the body needed to seek critical resources in our current societies? (Oh, by the way, in my version of the male sexual-access-to-the-female industry of the future, it would be only the females allowed to run the business end, and the police efforts now focused on stopping prostitution would be used exclusively to hunt down males who sexually abuse children, a plan suggested by the highly respected Economist magazine). ("Giving the customer what he wants," The Economist; February 14, 1998)
OK, so our future young female may or may not find a male to help support her. She knows in either case that the culture will assist her in raising her children. But where will she live? Perhaps we should frame the question another way: Does the current system of single families homes truly reflect the innate ancestral families of the past? Do Ozzie and Harriet or the Cleaver clan really represent the best way to evolve our families? Or did these ideals reflect the perfect imaginary world of the patriarch of the past, as king of the castle and lord over all? Well, the debate on this point would also be contentious, as the religious patriarchal forces of our recent historical past will fight to their last breath to remain in its control and restrict heaven to those who refuse to be part of their herd.
A rebirth of communal living might just hold the answer. Since, home is where the heart is, imagine a world in which, instead of single family homes, our countryside were dotted with the communal concepts found in the book, Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves, 1994. The concept is simple. Ten to fifteen single-family homes attached in one large circle, with all the homes sharing a common backyard. Somewhere in this large circle of homes is one very large communal house structure in which most of the families in this take turns preparing the large evening meals. What is important here is that no one can occupy this large communal house and thereby claim possession (ownership). The large house is only used for communal eating, for young children to play out of the elements, and for "town hall" meetings held to plan the direction of the community. This is important because it places all the families on the same ranking in the hierarchy, and no family becomes the "first family" by occupying the largest structure in the circle. What is so interesting about this living arrangement, is that it most likely duplicates the living conditions of our hunter-gatherer deep history, and hence could be in true alignment with our evolved behaviors (or at least, what we think the living arrangements were like). In an in-depth report on one of these communal groups, Time magazine noted that "gossip runs rampant," and quoting one Pam Silva: "There have been three romances in the community. They were great topics of conversation and entertainment." (Time, December 20, 1999, p.G3) And that, ladies and gentlemen, most accurately describes our deep history ancestors. They evolved into groups that watched each other incessantly for thousand and thousand of years. To me, there can be no doubt that the fascination we modern humans have with celebrities and the popularity of soap operas comes by watching "real life" television shows that lights up the part of our innate brain connections concerning alliances of those in our herds. It used to be -- I said, used to be important as to who is up and who is down in the hierarchy.
But what about our society in general? Will we always be driven by rank and status and the trappings of wealth? Suppose our young female grew up in a society in which philanthropy was such a part of our lives that she could read a daily paper and know how much money was given freely by the wealthy on a given date? Imagine a world where every April, People magazine would sing the praises of the 50 most philanthropic people on the planet before the annual May issue of the 50 most beautiful people on the planet. (Perhaps similar to the Time cover story of July 24, 2000? "The New Philanthropists"). Would such constant exposure to daily philanthropic events change the monetary balance of resource distribution around us? Would resources be so plentifully available for all that we finally relax our hold on greed and the competitive drive to make money?
I can imagine such a world, and wish that I could wave my hand and make it so. But I am not the person who will see it fulfilled. It must be done by the female. Ladies, its up to you. We will follow you. We always have, because that is the way things have evolved. Some men will not see it the way that I do, but don't be fooled for a moment that you need to rely on one male if you have the support of your gender and your species. If you want change, it must come from the female's determination. Dear sisters, you must remember that in the circle of life, from birth, to death, to rebirth, you are at the head of the parade, not behind it. Once knowing this, assert yourselves.
I would like to end this book with a pray, a poem, a muse, to ask forgiveness, or whatever literary types choose to call it.
Rise up, oh gallant female.
Empathy, compassion, altruism, and inclusion are your legacy,
and the future of our species.
If there is a God that is both masculine and fearful,
compassionate and female, I would like to know the gentler side of my God.
Forgive us males, and teach us.
For we are ignorant of your ways.
William A. Spriggs
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Man in the Mist: The Evolutionary Musings of a Blue-Collar Worker©
Copyright, Evolution's Voyage, 1995 - 2009