Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sexual Paradox



"[Sexual Paradox] gives rise to reproductive strategies which are polarized and divergent, although the roles are also highly complementary. There is thus a temptation for one sex to defect against the other and to try to assert reproductive dominance. Many religions and religious texts appear to be an attempt by males to gain control of culture and assert reproductive dominion over women by a variety of coercive and oppressive methods. These are contrary to nature and the evolutionary process. Although there are strong mutual and complementary forces in human sexual partnership, and male choice of female partners is a strong selective force, female reproductive choice is paramount in the sexual symmetry breaking. Astute female reproductive choice is the most powerful evolutionary dynamic in the flowering of human culture and super-intelligence and is key to human futures."

(pix of Christine Fielder & Chris King
authors of "Sexual Paradox")
Thanks to Iona Miller who briefly describes this book:
"This book is about sexual paradox, the nemesis of our pretensions, yet the genesis of our living destinies. It demonstrates that sexual paradox is at the core of all descriptions of reality, lurking in the quantum realm and in the relationship between body and mind as much as in our hormone-steeped bodies and rising pulses. It presents the idea of sexual paradox, not as an inscrutable icon for the vagaries of sexual intrigue, but as a cosmic principle spanning the widest realms, from physics, though biology, to our social futures."

2 comments:

Dave F. said...

Rather than being "contrary to nature and the evolutionary process," males who attempt to "gain control of culture and assert reproductive dominion over women" are responding in the way that Nature herself has identified, through trial and error, as the winning strategy for our species. Endowed with limited physical powers, human survival and prosperity in the wild was wholly dependent upon the tribe's ability to adapt to an ever-changing and competitive environment. Given biology's leisurely timeline, that survival became dependent on Nature's second most powerful gift to our species, that of social structure. By providing human groups with a social structure it became possible for those groups to read, react, and alter their behavior in accordance to the demands of their environment. Gender-related abilities and expectations are integral components of social structure.


Absent a hardwired social structure, the survival of our earliest ancestors would've been dependent upon chance and the whims of individual tribe members. The wisdom and prescient powers of the best and the brightest would've been no more influential -- and no more likely to be passed on to future generations -- than would the lethargy and disinterest of the laid-back and lackadaisical. Females would've mated without beneficial selection, the reckless and impulsive would've undermined the efforts of the deliberate and thoughtful, and the survival ability of the weak and vulnerable would've been left to fate.


Absent a hardwired social structure there would've been individuals living in the same vicinity but they would not have -- could not have -- functioned as a tribe. Absent the power of the tribe, our human ancestors, who weren't as fast or as strong as other predators and prey, would've gone down in the annals of survival as a tasty little experiment that failed.


But today, insulated from the reality check of the wild, we comfortable, arrogant humans have come to believe that we should think, act, and live as if we abandoned our tribal endowments back when we abandoned our caves. We have, through invention and experimentation, concealed from ourselves our tribal nature, at least enough to make any number of foolish ideas about ourselves seem plausible, even progressive.


Which leads us back to the issue of reproductive dominion.


The popular idea of a disparity in the sex roles is one of perspective: not of the behavior of males versus females, but of our identity as individuals versus members of a species. When examining any form of human behavior, those looking at it from the perspective of the individual will see disparities that are undeniable: males have almost unlimited reproductive potential, females do not; males are physically capable of fighting for dominance, females are not; females can pass along their genes with certainty, males can not; females attract mates, males compete for them; etc. And being that these gender disparities are so numerous, and that humans (especially females) are hardwired for comparison and envy, it is no surprise that, given enough idle time, someone has found something in it all to find unfair and offensive.


But when viewed from the perspective of the species, disparity becomes symmetry, culture becomes guardian, and reproductive dominion is returned to the rightful possession of the species. From the onset, males, endowed with physical aggression and power, were charged with confronting the challenging or changing environment with an assortment of strategies, and those males who demonstrated the best problem solving abilities took their place alongside the best warriors at the top of the tribal hierarchy. Females, hardwired to assess and select the best mates available to them (based on the value system in place), would reward successful males with sex and pass along their genes to the next generation (thus providing them with genes proven successful under the most current conditions).


From a day-to-day perspective, capable males were in charge, but from a generation-to-generation basis, it was the selective females who were doing the important work. If, for example, a tribe that had enjoyed generations of relative isolation and peace was confronted with a growing threat, the response of the males in charge would be to elevate strength and courage in the culture (through ceremony, praise, indoctrination of the young). The unmarried females of the tribe, sensing the new values, would be inclined, disproportionately, to value warriors as mates, thus providing additional incentive for male tribe members to slap on the war paint, as well as insuring an increased fierceness in the next generation. This is an example of culture doing what biology can only do at the microbiological level, which is to respond quickly to an urgent threat.


Living as we do in an environment that is more manufactured than natural, it is not surprising that there is confusion about gender. Males, proportionately inclined to follow when leadership is unattainable, look to their leaders for cues as to how to behave (the needs of the tribe, the latest definition of being a man). If the message is to work, raise a family, and be a good citizen, then the environment must reflect that at all levels, otherwise men are deprived of the feedback they are hardwired to receive, deprived of the sense of masculine satisfaction they crave, and rendered susceptible to malaise and confusion. Unfortunately, today's males have been bombarded with messages that question their physical preeminence as well as the importance of their ingrained core values: work (doing for the tribe), family (the reward for achievement), respect (for measuring up to tribal values). Today's males have been told that they have no unique abilities or power; that the traditional male role model was unfair, unnatural, and based on their abusive nature; that tribalism (nationalism, racial identity, etc.) is a weakness based on hatred and intolerance; and that maleness, so publicly associated with the evils of mankind, played no role in making possible the incredible achievements of science and invention.


I believe that this confusion accounts for the fact that so many males today act more like women than men. In a culture where one is "free" to choose his values, where leadership consists of only lying and arrogance and greed, and where female traits such as passivity and nurturing have been declared superior, is it really any surprise that soon-to-be fathers can be heard saying, "We're pregnant?"


Females, designed by Nature to read and respond to the social environment, are doomed to internal turmoil in a culture with ill-defined or unsettled values. What, exactly, are today's women supposed to look for in a mate? This is a question that they are not designed to answer via cognition, but one that should impact them at the subconscious level, stimulated by environmental cues. Nearly all young women yearn for a man of their own -- that's Nature soldering the wires and not jeopardizing our survival by relying on our innate wisdom. But the type of man, and the kind of relationship they should have with him were not hardwired in women, in order that they might achieve exactly the kind of survival adaptability I addressed previously. For the answers to those questions, Nature has wired females to extract and respond to the needs of the tribe (community, nation, species) via cues conveyed by the culture. But in the absence of clear signals, today's woman must do the unnatural: make the decision based on a mix of guesswork and hormones. From Nature's perspective, we have blindfolded our women and tasked them with the impossible: to feel their way to happiness and fulfillment. Given that all they have to operate with are the conflicting messages of feminism and their own biology, it is no surprise that so many wind-up plagued with self-doubt and confusion.


The culture that evolved after WWII, imperfect as it was and as all cultures are destined to be in diverse America, was rich with agreed upon values and reproductive cues. That culture was destroyed by those who, rather than nourish and repair it, replaced it with feminism, the two paycheck family, and the feminized male. It was an intellectual experiment conducted with complete disregard for human nature, one that benefited intellectuals and academics socially and financially, revealed the powerful link between culture and reproductive behavior, deprived our society of the benefits of true competition, emasculated a generation of males, robbed millions of children of their fathers, and sent women running between the pharmacy and the self-help aisle in the bookstore.

B. P. said...

dave f. --

If it weren't for intellectuals and academics, you wouldn't have been able to crank out that long-winded post.