Control and Restrict
For the sake of brevity in my first book, I want to fast forward our species' evolution and social behaviors and take us to the post-War World II era of the 1950s up to our present day in America. I want to make some suggestions as to what we could do to get ourselves out of the mess we find ourselves in. In this post-war era, we must review our society as one of males returning from a global battle against tyranny that nonetheless was much like all wars. It was organized, started, and fought by males from two polarities, with spoils to be taken by the victor. No matter which side of the fence one was on, the war was fought by males who believed that their higher representatives were doing the right thing, and were moved to action. I am not going to get into ideologies nor reasons for this or that war, but it seems very evident that, large or small, organized wars all have universities and have been fought for the same reasons since the beginning of civilization: To take away or protect natural resources and natural territorial boundaries controlled by, or sought by someone else. Slavery, America's horrid contradiction to its Constitution's claim of freedom and equality for all, could survive because the dominate culture found that the advantage of controlling and restricting the black African into submission was more advantageous in the form of resource accumulations than following aspiring words of eloquent greatness. Recognizing the advantage that strength had over frailty most likely stirred and took hold of male aggressiveness; the belief that the strong must rule over the vanquished found fertile soil. To the strong came control and restrictions; to the weak came submission and servitude. But that was our past, and will not be our future, because we will come to recognize through evolutionary psychology that our aggressiveness has no future in the global village that is approaching.
But, the most universal thing that you must remember about wars is that they are fought by males in the trenches. Of course, feminists will cite Rosie the Riveter, or the Women's Air Corps to counter claims of the superiority of the male domain, and they are correct. But it is perhaps the underlying historical premise of the "ultimate sacrifice" which has not been lost on the males who bonded together and fought in these wars; to those who risk limb and life, go the spoils (at least that appears to be their collective thought), and this has had a powerful influence on modern behavioral thought. And these spoils, or what we call resources in the evolutionary community, had obvious advantages in the normal chain of events within the socialization processes.
But bonding in war is just one aspect of male control; we have still have the evolution of elected bodies of policymakers who pass laws to further reinforce the business alliances of our modern societies and pass those resources along to family, cronies, and comrades alike. To me, there is no doubt that bonding in hunting evolved into the cultural equivalent of the "good 'ol boy networks" of modern societies sharing the spoils of the hunt or the business deal.
But, was it really just the male's strength that has shaped modern history? If images of females rallying in mass groups crying savagely for revenge at any possible enemy and then running enmass to the recruitment station to join in bonded military action just doesn't seem to compute, could it be that we are not hardwired to conjure them up in the first place? It is hardwired into our human behavior, instead, that it is the male who goes off and dies in any war. But we face a conundrum in the fact that males are no longer designed for modern war with its missile defense systems, biological warfare, and nuclear arsenals. Males must endure physical and mental training for a sort of war that did not exist in our deep history. (Don't get me wrong, I'm not a pacifist. I believe in a strong national defense to keep freedom's light burning bright. Freedom is not free).
But more important than understanding the male's motive for war, is the need to understand the male's exclusion of the female from combat. Is it true biological sense to "protect" the female and thus future gene transference? Or was it because the profit in spoils from males' aggressive tendencies was intended for attracting the highest-ranking female? We can not conclusively prove the biological basis for the male's natural aggressive tendencies toward war any more than we can state emphatically that rape by males is part of the sexual selection process.
You're a Real Drag Baby
There have been attempts in our recent past to build upon the common-sense but fragmentary evidence from cultural anthropology, paleoanthology, and evolutionary psychology, and one citation in the recent past that pops up the most is a 1969 academic conference in Chicago called "Man-The-Hunter." From that conference grew a paper by Sherwood Washburn and Chet Lancaster of the same title. The Hunting Apes, 1999. It's basic core belief, that modern man's intelligence, cooperative skills, and communication skills grew out of hunting by males, was the basis for much of the way modern man thinks. Of course, it's greatest flaw was that it completely overlooked the female's role in providing most of the protein in hunter-gatherer societies today, which lead to a well-deserved backlash from female academics. Lionel Tiger's book, Men in Groups continued to add to the controversial aspect of Man-the-Hunter theories by adding his observations that men in groups bonded while participating in the hunt. His now famous pro-male bias and anti-female bias leaves a stinging legacy:
Even unencumbered by pregnancy or infants, a female hunter would be
less fleet, generally less strong, possibly more prone to changes in
emotional tonus as a consequence of the estrous cycle, and less able to
adapt to changes in temperatures than males. Also, they could interfere-
with the co-operative nature of the group by stimulating competition for
sexual access. p45
It is not hard to see how such "knowledge" by a noted scientist became part of the conventional wisdom among those who created political policy. It is a perfect example of exclusionary thought that has evolved by males to excluded women from any military combat roles due to their perceived "cyclical weaknesses." It is an exclusionary mechanism that is a major aspect of "control and restrict." But it is here that I want to touch upon what I consider to be the evolutionary origin of modern societies. I believe that the genetic origin of the controlling patriarchal male began with the female genes selecting the best male gene to go forth and do battle on her behalf and return with resources to advance her genetic progeny. This means that the female had the option to "choose" her mate, whom she convinced to commit to her and to her children. We are not assuming the reverse: A female obeying male's every command; and if she refused, the result was angry reactions leading to coercion, violence and, ultimately, possible harm to her progeny. It is at this point that I am going to suggest something new in evolutionary perspectives: that the original sexual selection process that was once suitable for our ancestral females has spun out of control by variants in types of resources, and has created miscalculations in choosing males today. What has gone wrong is that we as a species have invented vast new forms of modern resources, and our modern females have gone too far in selecting aggressive males who accumulate far too many resources. Do I mean to say that nature made a mistake? No. Originally, it was not possible in our deep history to accumulate vast amounts of resources, because the invention of modern resource substitutes did not exist; hence a female barrier against the excessive accumulation of resources never developed. But in our modern world, variants of what we call resources abound, i.e., the stock market, tax-free municipal bonds, corporate welfare, government grants, tax exempt foundations, and of course, new and more sophisticated forms of electronic wealth. In the emerging New Economy, some resources are now reduced to electronic ones and zeros which zip around the planet in ever-increasing frequency under the command of financial brokers in search of the best rate of return for their owners. They are placed in "hiding places" our primate ancestors could never have imagined. Hiding a cache of fruit is not quite the same as "hiding" electronic funds in one country and the next day transferring those funds to another electronic server in another country.
Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime?
But, wait a minute. How can too many resources be wrong? I mean, doesn’t the accumulation of wealth insure that our progeny will be assured of the best in food, shelter, clothing, and education? Yes, that is correct. But what I am attempting to point out is that we have identified an evolutionary trait that has lead to serious disruptions in our evolutionary journey, and that is the accumulation of too much wealth, far beyond the amount necessary to give superior advantages to one's progeny. There are many in American society who could easily afford several houses, make multiple payments of college tuitions, create endowments to various institutions, and still have so much money left over that legal protective trusts are formed to distribute their money into infamy. It is these excesses that the female in the future will avoid in a prospective mate according to a new evolutionary criterion in choosing a mate which I will feel will develop. Relax, rich people. I am not suggesting for one minute that your wealth be taken away by a central government and distributed to those you consider to be "less desirable." In fact, I want you aggressive, wealthy males to keep on trucking and make as much money as possible. The wealth you create could mean that more resources could drift into the lower socioeconomic levels, and thus, could benefit children at those levels as well. There is no doubt that cultural biases and political alliances against controlling and restricting your resources have allowed you free rein in the past, but only when you are convinced that your wealth is secure can you consider releasing part of it. But I am going to attempt to convince you that releasing more of your wealth would be better for you; not just for you, but for our species as well. And it is my hope that the reason that you will release some of that wealth is that the high-ranking female will realize that her social ranking, and that of her children, could depend on the amount of resources that you will have given freely. It's wonderful to dream about a utopian society, but we will never achieve it unless we understand our biological origins and the cultural obstructions placed in our paths. Is our goal in life just to hoard as many toys as possible and be declared the winner? Is there more in store for Homo sapiens than just greed and survival?
At the beginning of chapter six I laid the framework for my belief concerning the protective positioning of a clan on the move with children at the center, and bachelor males at the outer circle. But that still does not explain how a "protective" behavior could have evolved into a harmful "control and restrict" pattern of males over females. It is my speculation that bachelor males, who were excluded from clans, or who left clans because there were no unmated females available stayed behind when their original clan moved on. They could have then drifted and merged with other clans as new waves approached the migrating herds. We must assume that those clans that survived and evolved accepted bachelor males that drifted into their camps, or allowed clan females to be allowed to leave to mate with males from other clans. Or, (and this is where control and restrict behaviors may have come into play), unfortunately -- be taken capture by unfriendly clans by force.
And how can I assume that if it were not for drifting bachelor males, females leaving clans, and the capturing of females by warring clans that their would be no survival for our early ancestors? Because, in nature's wisdom in seeking diversity, if the clans interbred and remained small in numbers, they would have been weakened genetically, and perhaps died out. History is full of evidence of inter-breeding by royalty attempting to remain "pure" and keeping "undesirables" away from their genetic line. Actually, since no one had any idea of genetics in our early histories, then the only conclusion that one must draw is that it must have been about controlling the resources that the clans accumulated. Thus, this strengthens my argument that comparison, accumulation, and retention of resources is innate.
This issue of interbreeding is a very important point because we have evidence where interbreeding genetic maladies such as thalassemia, (a hemoglobin deficiency), sickle cell anemia, diabetes, and reduced endurance capabilities are seen in populations today. On a national scale in Saudi Arabia, family lineages still have not taken precedence over any national sense of being. Intermarriage between first and second cousins within the Saudi peninsula averages 56.8%, with rates as high as 67.7% in the western provinces The Washington Post National Weekly Edition, January 24, 2000, p.17
Any weakening of the clan's united strength, of course, would have ultimately weakened the cohesion of the clan unit as a defense against outsiders. And along those same lines, let us also assume that weaker clans were overtaken by stronger ones. The males most likely were killed, but the women were taken captive into slavery and perhaps, were eventually interbred, hence giving strength to the theory of control and restrict in males. A captured enemy female of a different clan, like their male counterpart, could easily be considered subhuman and thus, would have no more privileges than a cow under the male's ownership. History is full of anecdotal evidence of warriors raping women of their enemies as a way of demoralizing them, and thus, affecting the self-esteem and fighting ability of their mates.
This is exactly what happens in the South American tribes amongst the Yanomano where the objective of raids upon rival villages are designed to kill the males of the enemy and capture their females. Yanamono: the last days of Eden, 1992. It is my suggestion that the one of the first stirrings of control and restriction by males may have developed among clans that held female slaves as prizes of conflict. We could also make another assumption about control and restrict, that when the Dutch began the slave trade in the 16th century, the salves they traded or purchased were from African tribes captured by other tribes or clans and held as slaves. The mechanisms of slavery were already possibly in place in Africa, but now it had a ready market. America's Journey through Slavery, 1998.
My Sheep Herd is Bigger Than Yours
Let's assume that emigration out of Africa was to the Mediterranean basin and eastward into modern Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Let's also jump forward in time to around 10,000 to 10,500 years ago. It is the time that many bible and evolutionary scholars cite as the beginnings of the domestication of plants and animals; it is also the approximate time that the first cities were established in the Middle East. Asimov's Guide to the Bible,, 1968-9. This is very important because crops and domestic animals represented the first accumulated resources of Homo sapiens and allowed our ancestors to settle into semi-permanent territories controlled by family clans. As the years developed, and our ancestors continued to remain in the Middle East, language continued to be developed, and writing began in the Mesopotamian region around 4,000 years ago. The ability to create resources increased as writing contributed to the concept of family lineage, cultural laws, and the concept of property ownership within territories. We know that our primate cousins the chimpanzees and the bonobos are territorial in their society, so it would also be an assumption that territoriality is an innate mechanism in humans.
Along with the creation of writing came what I consider the most important development in our search for the origins of male control and restrict behavior: The beginning of the patriarchal age with the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. As the ancient bible story tells us, Abraham is instructed to take his only begotten son Isaac, the son that he and his wife Sarah waited so long to have, into the wilderness. God instructs Abraham to sacrifice the young man. Abraham unflinchingly obeys, and at the last possible moment, God sends an angel to stop the hand of Abraham. As a reward for his devotion to Him, God speaks to Abraham and says:
"Because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son; I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven and as the sand upon the seashore, and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou has obeyed my voice." (Gen. 22:16-19)
The reason that this point in our biblical history is important is because, from the lions of Abraham, the cultures of three major religions on our planet have been formed. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Even if you are a non-believer, you still are affected by how the story has shaped all three of these religions with its exemplary meanings. The objective of the story is not just about faith and sacrifice of a son that you hold dear; it is to establish absolute belief in a higher authority; (in this case the male God of Abraham), and to show complete faith in whatever the authority commands you to do. One must became a instrument in the hands of the higher authority. Do you see where this is leading us? Abraham's God is the alpha male from our ancestral past, transformed from clan leader and Shaman of tribal elders of old. He is male, and he is the supreme controlling and restrictive influence on the family unit whose perpetuation one must be willing to sacrifice.
In her critically acclaimed book, Abraham on Trial: the Social Legacy of Biblical Myth, Princeton University Press, 1998, Carol Delaney raises an excellent question:
"What allowed Abraham to assume the child was his to sacrifice? At first blush, the question seems meaningless. God asked him. But could or would the all-knowing God ask only one parent for the child, knowing that the child belongs to both mother and father or, perhaps to neither? The story, however, conveys the impression that the child belonged to Abraham in a way he did not belong to Sarah." p. 7.
Delaney's question raises a very important point -- that patriarchal societies were already established before the story of Abraham, "because patriarchy means the power of fathers," (Ilib). In my interpretation, the capturing of females from enemy clans became the basis of control and restrict, the source of "male power." In Delaney's interpretation, paternity has meant the primary, creative, engendering role -- the "seed" of the male, while the ovum evolved as the nurturing medium in which the seed is planted. Her theory then lends support to those who believe that the concept of male authority over women and all that he possesses had already taken root at the beginning of animal and plant domestication and perhaps naturally evolved into the concept of "seed & soil." It also confirms and reflects the general behavior's of many of our societies today, and in particular middle eastern societies where patriarchal control still remains very strong. Considering only the male's seed as bearer of creativity and life and ignoring the female role is what Delaney calls, "monogenetic theory;" that the principal of creation only comes from one source, in this case, the male God of Abraham, Man, 1986. "Symbolically, it is the human analogue of divine, monotheistic creation. The life-giving abilities attributed to men allied them with God, and women became associated with what was created by God, namely the Earth." Abraham on Trial, 1998, p.18
Can you understand how powerful this is? Abraham story means that males today in a majority of populations have an alliance with the male God, while women are submissive and subservient -- despite our knowledge that both parents contribute equal amounts of genetic material. Also implicit in the story of Abraham is that by relinquishing some of his will to God, Arabram received it back a thousand fold. This then sets up the perfect conceptual circle of Man communicating and being allied with God while the wives, sons, and daughters were ranked behind the male of the family in order of importance. Delaney sums up her theory:
"God is symbolically masculine, imagined foremost as Creator; his divinity could easily be imagined as a denaturalized and reified male-paternal generativity. In the natural world that he created, that creativity is channeled through males and becomes part of the definition of masculinity. The religious aspects of the story lend an aura that naturalizes patriarchal power; it is seen as part of the natural order, an order that is, however, ordained by God. In other words, patriarchy is not just a secular social order, but an order at once sacred and secular, a point often missed in numerous social analyses" Ilib., 1998, pp. 18 & 19].
There is no doubts that patriarchal religious control over family lineages has been part of our modern history. Some, including Delaney, have suggested that strong religious patriarchs are more part of our societies problems than their cure. Richard Rhodes in his Why They Kill: The Discoveries of a Maverick Criminologist, 1999, suggests that the reason men kill is that they go through a four part "violentization" process including brutalization, belligerency, violent performances, and virulency. Included in this four step process is the control and restrict relationship that fathers have over their male children. It is Rhodes' belief that conservative Christianity acts as a support for violence against children in the guise of discipline. Is it possible that too much control and restriction by this gender has put us on a destructive path? Is religious fervor just a disguise that legitimizes brutalization to obtain one's will and leads to retention?
There is no doubt that controlling whom the female in the family will wed, and to whom her genetic line will be passed, has been part of the male's legacy of control and restrict. It has become the bedrock of some of the most contentious debates in American society today. The creation of the birth-control pill has freed the female from her procreative body, but that does not stop the male from blocking attempts by the female to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or make decisions on her own. It is this strong fundamental religious belief that the male's decisions are the best for society that begins with the control of his own family unit.
Let Them Eat Cake
Towards the beginning of this chapter I suggested that this strong patriarchal control would be loosened when females begin selecting males who give most of their resources back to society. Why do I feel that this will happen? Because if it does not, and we continue on our current path, the economic gap between the haves and the have-nots will continue to spread. Those members of the lower socioeconomic levels will become upset, they will rise up and take from the wealthy that which they feel they have a right to own and which enables them to contribute to the gene pool. What proof do I have? Just read your history books and read the daily papers. The French revolution in 1789 and the Russian revolution of 1917 were direct results of an abusive, dominate culture in which most of the resources were held by a closely knit unit to the exclusion of those in the lower classes. More recently, the collapse of many Asian currencies brought on the collapse of the Indonesian government in 1998. The government's collapse was the direct result of rioting in the streets over the quadrupling in price of their stable food, rice, putting it out of the reach of the majority’s population. The people in all these cases were motivated by resources in one form or another, and they came to the conclusion that there were only two choices: perish or overtake the controlling culture that dominated them.
Why is this? Given that the masses will rise up when they are given no other choice, why is it that no one has even quantified these behaviors? First or all, the behaviors mentioned have to do with group behaviors -- one of the least studied but most important of human behaviors. It is at this time that I want to introduce to you The Resource Differential Tolerance Ratio Theory. This theory states that within any given economic system one finds accumulated wealth in the hands of those who dominate in their high-rank positions, while those who are less fortunate are submissive and of lower rank. The Resource Differential Tolerance Ratio is a measure of the peaceful coexistence in which members of a lower, and submissive economic class allow the dominate wealthy class to continue to accumulate that wealth within a certain Cultural Longitude and Latitude. In this theory, it is OK to be wealthy, as wealth creates opportunities for those who work hard and play by the rules within the submissive classes. There are so many advantages to being wealthy that most workers in free capitalist societies wish for the same position and attempt to obtain it. In fact, in America, any attempt to remove benefits to the wealthy, such as home mortgage interest deductions, reductions in capital gain taxes or retirement account contributions, and the ability to pass inherited wealth, is considered political suicide for politicians.
Where's My Share?
But, just having a wealthy class is only half of the equation. There should be a concerted effort on the part of the wealthy to reverse any real or perceived economic gap. For those in the lower socioeconomic levels, there must be a perceived or actual movement toward improvement, or at least, no perceived increase in the differential. When one thinks one is about to lose, or actually loses his or her job, a basic behavioral mechanism occurs as to where and how one will survive. Common working people rely on their jobs to provide essential survival needs. One just can not pitch a tent in an orange grove to count on survival; rather, one must behave in a structured society in ways that do not resemble those of our deep history – Such as taking what we want, when we want it. On the other end of the spectrum, high-ranking people have more than adequate amounts of discretionary income and still the reverse occurs: They feel a superior air of achievement and are drowned in endorphins of self-congratulatory chemicals in the of knowledge that they will not only survive tomorrow, but most likely until a natural death approaches. It is in these economic ratio differences that the common person notices any changes in his or her social ranking by comparing himself with high-rankers who are the standard bearers of survivability. Whenever the peaceful balance of the ratio has been disturbed in a perceived negative direction by the submissives, this produces an increase in intolerance toward the dominates who are eating all the cake and are visable while doing it. The lower the skills of the submissive, the more desperate the angst, and the more desperate the decision to do something about the threat. Put enough lower socioeconomic people together in the same boat, and they will all arrive at the same consensus: that the wealthy have too much; and their poverty and impending death is due to the actions of the wealthy. The most likely emergence of the behavior is the reasoning, "what about us?" and the loss of fear of upsetting the dominates emerges. Whether the group action is correct or justified does not matter. It is anger that will be directed outwards, not inwards towards depressive thoughts that their low status is their fault. It is anger that will be directed at those symbols that have to do with wealth and survivability, which go hand in hand. In our deep history, it was the alpha male and his alliances that most likely controlled the resources. In modern society, the male-dominated economies of the world are still based on hierarchies, with an alpha group at the top surrounded by beta and charlie group alliances.
In our recorded historical past, we know that wealth creation has been mostly the result of aggressive males forming alliances with each other (the good-ol' boy connection) and sharing the spoils. This, in turn, produces more wealth distribution within similar groups, which in turn produces more competition for even greater wealth. Is it really all about the accumulation and retention of resources? In other words, is money truly the root of evil? If so, what can we do about it?
Man in the Mist: The Evolutionary Musings of the Blue-Collar Workers©
Copyright, Evolution's Voyage, 1995 - 2009