I did an interview with Laurie Huston and Evita Ochel and Donna Aveni a month or so ago and talked about a process for shifting need-based relationships to love-based relationships. This topic (a future chapter in a future book) was triggered by a note on my web site that states that I am working on a future book called “Primal Male, Primal Female” …..it promises to look at gender from a perspective with no cultural belief overlays. More of a fundamental view of the basic facts of gender and how these facts then play out in our culture (thus the chapter on relationships). I thought there was a big need for some “ground truth” on the subject of gender. A few weeks ago, Blue Sky Symposium tossed me this interview question: “When stripped back of our fears and belief systems, what remains of men & women? Differences and commonalities?” So I decided, since the cat was already wiggling out of the bag, to talk more about the “future book” below is an edited version of my reply to Blue Sky. Now that the cat is almost completely out of the bag concerning what this new book is all about, I thought I needed to get more serious about actually writing it. Thus, I decided to post it on the forum to get some feedback, a sense of what you think about the concepts (below are many of the basic ideas which I intend to explore the logical consequences of more fully). Your replies may help me decide how valuable you think it is (how hard I should work on it) and what direction I should take it in (what questions/issues it should answer). It is pretty sketchy at the beginning since I took it from my written interview notes. My audience was interested in feminist viewpoints, so it leans a bit toward addressing those particular issues. I filled in the outline after the interview to make it more readable.
Probably not a good idea to pass it around too much since it is not yet even developed to a good rough draft stage. Just a begining.... and I thought the forum readers might like the inside scoop
New book, "Primal Man - Primal Woman"
Susan (Question from Blue Sky Symposium): When stripped back of our fears and belief systems, what remains of men & women? Differences and commonalities?
Criteria for physical evolution: Survival and procreation: Since one must survive to procreate, these two become entangled, and their combined criteria become:
Forwarding ones genes in the gene-pool
That is generally agreed to by scientists to be the evolutionary imperative for all lifeforms in PMR.
Males and female humans each have evolved their own strategies (instincts evolved genetically over millions of years) to accomplish that evolutionary imperative.
Understanding the context:
Our Evolution has taken place over millions of years and all but the last eye-blink in time were very harsh. Shelter and food were hard to come by, survival was problematic, life span was about 35 years, puberty occurred at about 17 to 18 Kids were more or less independent and carrying their own weight very early. Life was simple and straightforward. There was little social stratification -- everybody was more or less in the same boat. Close intra-tribal relationships and cooperation were essential to both survival and successful procreation. Women probably outnumbered men (as they do today). Now, that is the situation for which we are genetically programmed.
Asymmetry in physical body size and sexual function leads to asymmetry in strategy for Forwarding ones genes in the gene-pool:
The two sexually related asymmetries are: Women are physically smaller and weaker than men. Men impregnate the women and the women have the babies. Pregnant Women and women nursing and caring for children are less able to take care of themselves and their children than if they were not pregnant or had children – they need some help to get by. It is these two asymmetries that create different evolutionary strategies in males and female.
Forwarding ones genes in the gene-pool -- Male evolutionary strategy: in the form of evolving genetic programs. A genetic program is also called an instinct.
Hardwired – Men 2 strategies:
1) A numbers game: Have sex with as many physically attractive (low standard – [1 criteria: basically good physical and genetic health] women as are available to him.
2) Secure highest quality available woman to invest in: Pair bond with as many physically attractive (higher standard) females as possible (1-because of challenges) to ensure their survival and the survival and success of their offspring. (pair bond implies he, because of his investment, expects her to limit her sexual activity to him and he will take care of her and he children). He is looking for a woman who commits herself to him (thus strengthening the genetic value of pair bonding)
Males problem: He wants to find women who will have sex with him and then later find an attractive woman with good reproductive potential) who will accept him as her mate. He is hardwired to initially see women as sex objects but also, at the same time (more as he matures), is looking for quality worth committing to and investing in. Also, after the children are self sufficient and no more are on the way, the original point of the sexual programming ends while the programming continues forever (mid life crisis).
One might think that a male would theoretically do better genetically if he could support and protect several female mates who remained faithful to him (father more children to carry his genetic material forward) …. However…. the resources to provide for and the ability to protect were very difficult to deliver at that time and, even if that problem were solved, it is likely that such a man would end up investing some of his resources to boost the genetic success of his competitors (taking care of children who are not his). Alll in all, the practical difficulties and risks make the potential benefits extremely unlikely. Because there is no significant practical advantage to such arrangements, there is no genetic imperative for, or against, this alternative.
Men, are attracted to (are pushed by their genetic programming to) have sex with any attractive female who might make herself available to him; also, men feel responsible to protect and take care of their wives and children. They expect their pair bonded mate to limit her sexual activity to him to protect his investment. They are somewhat competitive with each other to attract who they consider the best choice for mate but since they choose firstly on the criteria of satisfactory physical attractiveness – they usually have many potential choices. Men have a need for their women to demonstrate to them that they are valued as a sexual partner and a good provider/protector. (to validate their success at accomplishing their genetically driven mission)
Note, that though it is easier and less complicated to have a single woman satisfy both strategies, there is no evolutionary hard-wired requirement to do so. Thus, having a wife does not conflict fundamentally or primally with having a lover.]
Forwarding ones genes in the gene-pool -- Female evolutionary strategy: in the form of evolving genetic programs
Hardwired -- Female 3 strategies
1) Bear most survivable children -- Secure highest available quality sperm: Be sexually attractive as possible (to men in general) and induce the one that is most attractive (has best quality sperm = most attractive [2 criteria: good physical and genetic health, Plus would produce offspring with highest survival/success quality] to have sex with her thus optimizing survival/success of offspring.
2) Form pair bond with and remain attractive to a highly survivable/successful and reliable man so that he will take care of and protect both her and her children for the long term. (pair bond implies to her that he commits to her and to her children, that he thinks she is “special” (he is committed to her) and will put her above and ahead of other women and other women’s children)
3) Her numbers game: Have as many healthy and well cared for children as practical conditions allow
Females problem: she must find an attractive man (one with good reproductive potential -- and a man with good provider and protector potential. She is hardwired to be attractive (at least superficially look like a sex object) and to use that “female power” to secure both superior quality sperm and protection and support for herself and her children. Also, after the children are gone and no more are on the way, the original point of the sexual programming ends while the programming continues forever (mid life crisis and empty nest syndrome). She is looking for a man who commits herself to her (thus strengthening the genetic value of pair bonding).
One might think that Females and their children would do better if they could have several males cooperatively taking care of and protecting them. However…males find it genetically counterproductive to invest in other males offspring… and… She must meet all of their needs and keep the peace – maintain their cooperation -- (Males tend to fight which could lead to a steeper down side than upside --- more actual risk than potential benefit). Because there is no significant practical advantage to such arrangements, there is no genetic imperative for or against this alternative.
Note, that though it is easier and less complicated (more convenient) to have a single man satisfy strategies 1 and 2, there is no evolutionary hard-wired requirement to do so. Thus, having a husband does not conflict fundamentally or primally with having a lover.
Interestingly: Their evolutionary strategy drives both sexes to directly want/require a commitment from their mates (thus that desire/expectation is part of their programming) but there is no direct evolutionary advantage for either sex to have or keep a commitment to their mates -- other than pleasing (keeping) their mates (that motivation is driven by circumstance rather than direct genetic programming). Thus, if secrets could be kept, there is no direct genetic evolutionary penalty for (no direct primal programming against) either sex having a lover.
Summary: Women are driven (pushed by their hardwired genetic programming) to be as sexually attractive as possible (want men in general to want to have sex with them) while reserving the right to be able to choose who and when. Women are very competitive in their sexual attractiveness to get and keep a man. However, physically attractiveness is only half (the lesser half) of the “attractiveness criteria” they apply to men. More importantly, they also rate men on their internal and external “personal power” (a man who will father more survivable offspring and be a better provider -- Initiative, taking charge, strength, brightness, intelligence, confidence, social status, pecking order among peers, ability to provide and protect, physically fit, athletic, independent, aggressive, gumption, resourcefulness, competency, a plan for the future, ambition, knowledge, potential to accrue necessary resources, as well as depth of character, empathy, and sensitivity). Women have a need for their men to demonstrate to them that he is committed to her and see her as special and valued --- particularly above other women – (Thus validating her success at accomplishing her genetically driven mission).
Today, a minority of women (particularly if immature: young or unable to develop due to family, social, or cultural disadvantages) often have trouble translating their hardwired sense of male attractiveness from cave dweller days to apartment dweller days. Attributes such as aggressive, domineering, independent, secure, physically big/strong, wealth, social status, political power (office, home, or community), potential or actual financial power, or simple popularity (singers or movie stars) – may singly or in combination ring genetically programmed bells that turn out to be dysfunctional in today’s culture and have no relationship to either personal power, or quality of consciousness.
It is sometimes difficult for young women not to confuse their genetically programmed sense of what constituted attractive male personal power in the stone-age with contemporary male arrogance, confidence, condescension, dominance, bluster, and casual indifference. Many young women filter out the “nice guys” with real personal power and are attracted only to jerks, jocks, and hot shots -- self centered, self-promoting manipulators who know how to manipulate female hardwired genetic sexual programming – generally losers and duds with high opinions of themselves.
“Nice girls” and “nice guys” who have a higher quality of consciousness, are not into manipulating others to this extent because they want valuable relationships, not simply the ability to use another person to satisfy their needs. Consequently, nice guys with real personal power in our contemporary culture are often seen by younger females (who are lost in their genetic programming) as potential friends but not potential lovers or mates. Likewise, nice girls, often find out that the not-so-nice girls have a large competitive advantage in attracting the males of their choice because young males (lost in their genetic programming) seem unable to tell the difference. (The way this is broadened out in scope is helpful)
A million years of evolution has spawned different attitudes, approaches and ways of interpreting and dealing with the world:
These differences express successful variation within the evolutionary process and lead to a broad range of sometimes overlapping characteristics for both males and females. Due to this evolutionary diversity, probably no statement or description of any meaningful sort will universally apply to all women or to all men. However there are some female characteristics that do apply to many or most women and some male characteristics that do apply to many or most men. We will now explore a few of these typical female and male attributes to facilitate a discussion of several widely experienced contemporary gender issues.
Men are hardwired to direct their energy towards the mastery of the outside world. This exterior focus optimizes their ability to protect their tribe, mates, and children through team work and cooperation with other men. Male interaction is thus primarily with the outside environment and requires focus and attention to big picture outside strategy and little picture outside details.
He guides, forms, and manipulates his reality to suit him by asserting his skill and power in the outside world in order to take care of his tribe, mate, children and himself. Most of his interaction in the world is focused on manipulating the outside environment to provide for himself and those who depend on him.
Males apply their intellect to the outside environment in order to dominate the outside world with skill, power and force. However, they tend to stumble or feel their way through the inside environment of personal relationship.
Women are hardwired to direct their energy towards mastering the inside world of personal relationship -- building, maintaining, and networking with others – including her man and his family/social connections. These relationships optimize her ability to keep her man focused on her and her children – they represent the connectedness and responsibility that creates the nuclear family and the glue that holds it together. Additionally, such relationships and networks provide her with assistance as needed, generate a social system of encouragement, support, and solace, as well as bind the male to a shared responsibility within a meaningful set of family relationships.
She guides, forms, and manipulates her reality to suit her through the relationship she builds with her man, personal connections, and a network of friends. Most of her interaction and strategy in the world is focused on the inside environment of profitable connectedness (relationship).
A few characteristics, driven by her genetic programming, that fall under the fat part of the bell curve:
The need to spread her focus simultaneously over many tasks, necessitates the development of an ability to Parallel process.
She is nudged by her genetic programming to develop and maintain female support group, a clique of relationship “insiders” who encourage, console, and generally support each other.
Females tend to divide people into two groups: “Insiders” who are the special people in her life with whom she has developed a special bond. She protects and supports these insiders (her man, her friends, her children, all those who “belong” to her. Everyone else is classified together as “outsiders”. She is as sensitive and attentive to the needs and problems of her “insiders” as she is indifferent to the needs and problems of outsiders.
Relationship primarily depends on communication, thus females are prodigious communicators who typically speak nearly twice as many words each day than the average males does.
Females apply their intellect to the inside environment in order to create potential personal value/advantage for herself and her children though her relationship with those who could directly influence the lives of her and her children. She gets by in the outside environment with the assistance of those with whom she has established a relationship.
Thus, Women are said to be from Venus while men are from mars.
Women dominate and speak the language of the inside environment of personal relationship (the implicit or indirect power of personal relationship that is necessary for a physically smaller woman (with several children to care for) to genetically succeed in the evolution game).
On the other hand, men dominate and speak the language of the outside environment of personal power -- the explicit or direct power to succeed in the outside world in order to control and accumulate sufficient security and resources to ensure the survival and continuance of both the tribe and one’s family.
Note that the male, who, among other things, shoulders the task of defense (ensuring physical survival) has a first priority responsibility to the tribe because, during the time when these genetic programs were established, no nuclear family would likely survive for long without the cooperative efforts of the tribe. Today, this ancient genetic program nudges young men to leave their wives and families and go off to war.
Cultural consequences (all different for different women): fidelity, expectations and roles, limitations (men don’t cry and ladies don’t belch in public), fashion – also different value is given to men and women by our culture, and differing cultural values (taking charge, nurturing) drive gender behavioral expectations
Two facts: We have a male dominant culture. The great majority of males (and females) are very much fear and belief driven – insecure, immature, and lots of ego.
There is much cultural derived fear around both relationship and sexuality (and much of that is created by the dissonance between our genetic programming and our cultural values) – but because ours is a male dominant culture this fear takes a much larger toll on females than males. Women are confused (For example, the culture tells them to be Hot Hot Hot in some roles – and Not Not Not in other roles).
It would be interesting here also to explore what a non-male dominant culture would look like and how we might evolve to a Gender Equal Value System culture or something other.
Because of our cultures image of women (immature egoic male) -- Our culture sees women as sex objects who take care of children and do domestic work – women are culturally undervalued by this lopsided view. Women, of course, know, deep down (often beneath the intellect), that they have personal value, personal quality, beyond this limited vision. The result is that, in our culture, women form an underclass whose personal worth is not fully validated by male-made cultural feminine stereotypes. Cultural beliefs are absolute and accepted at the being level – which creates identity issues and self-worth issues and, for many, leaves a systemic low level tension between the sexes, because any underclass resents being an underclass even if they fully accept the situation as natural or as just “the way it is”. This tension, on one hand, creates a subtle subconscious chip on the shoulder attitude, a nonspecific uneasiness and less than total trust and appreciation of men and their cultural dominance – a fear of being used or taken advantage of – a wariness -- all usually simmering beneath the intellect. On the other hand it also creates identity confusion, self worth issues, feelings of inadequacy and insecurity.
Insecurity creates fear: of being too hot and too cold – a fear of being not exactly whatever it is a female should be – a model that is only shallowly provided by the culture. The value of Being female is defined in our culture primarily in terms a female’s expected services to others rather than in terms of her individual quality of being. Those “services to others” are mostly given to men and children)
Fear creates anxiety and ego-reactions (from: “don’t tread on me” to “I am only good for being tread on”) and confusion – all rolled up into an undefined stress and anxiety -- women feeling insecure and inadequate for reasons that they cannot quite put their finger on. Many eventually make an accommodation with their culture and their men -- but the solution never quite feels right or complete – something they learn to live with
A sizable minority begin to feel bad about themselves. One may counter feeling insecure and inadequate by trying to be perfect…. Which may lead to an ego needing to be perfect…. Being a perfectionist must lead to failure since no one can be perfect…. Which reinforces one’s feeling bad about one’s self and feeling inadequate…..— a vicious downwards spiral ending in great distress (personal dislike -- depression) and a prescription for Prozac. Why do so many more women than men take depression medication?
The mechanics of gender dominance within a culture:
There are two facts, or set of circumstances, that determine whether or not a culture has a dominant gender (the dominance factor), and if so, which sex is the dominant one (the sexual factor).
The dominance factor is a function of the quality of consciousness of the individuals (males and females) within the culture. If the quality of consciousness is generally low (decisions primarily based upon fear, ego, belief, needs, wants, desires, and expectations) then that sets the condition allowing one gender to dominate the other. If, on the other hand, the quality of consciousness is generally high, decisions will be primarily based upon love, caring about other, compassion, and, long term system optimization (i.e., cultural growth, value, productivity, creativity, high standard of living, happiness, etc.). This condition of a population with overall high consciousness quality sets the condition for a culture that is optimized for all of its members -- dominance is automatically discarded as a suboptimal, dysfunctional, high cost, low productivity social arrangement.
Given a dysfunctional culture populated by mostly low-quality-of-consciousness individuals, then, if that culture’s (and the individual’s within the culture’s) most pressing current and historical needs are safety, security, and the procurement of sufficient resources (outside environmental problems), then that culture will be dominated by males since they have the genetic hardwiring to address these issues (sexual factor). The value of being female will be defined within that culture primarily in terms of a male viewpoint (given the initial conditions of this example – that would be a fear, ego, belief and expectation driven male viewpoint). Such a male viewpoint would be in terms of the expected services that men would want and expect from females (mostly services supporting the needs of the men and their children).
The history of the human race has been primarily one of a struggle for survival. Certainly, that was the case during the time that our genetic programs evolved. Security and the procurement of adequate resources (food, shelter, etc.) for both individuals and groups has been the most pressing and challenging problem of humanity until very recently. Thus one would expect that human social history is primarily a history of male dominance. Likewise, one would expect that male dominated social structures would constitute the vast majority of present-day social structures throughout the world and within many diverse cultures. Also, one would expect that both males and females are well adapted to this condition. Thus male-dominate social structures have deep roots in history, tradition, and genetic proclivities applied to basic survival needs.
Trying to change this outcome at a fundamental level is unlikely to be more than superficially successful unless those “most pressing current and historical needs” change. By force of intellect and education we can make behavioural changes -- we act better, more gracious and civilized – but there is a big difference between being and acting. Acting for a long time might eventually “bleed through” to the being level superficially, but such “leakage” is unlikely solid for the long run and can be rolled back quickly. That is why it is said that polite civilized society represents a thin veneer covering a rougher, more violent and self-centered humanity lurking just beneath the surface. Cultural programming can run counter to genetic programming, but mostly only at a superficial (polite) level.
On the other hand, given a dysfunctional culture populated by mostly low-quality-of-consciousness individuals, then, if that culture’s (and the individual’s within the culture’s) most pressing current and historical needs are relationship and networking based issues (inside environmental problems), then that culture will be dominated by females. The value of being male will be defined within that culture primarily in terms of a female viewpoint (given the initial conditions of this example – that would be a fear, ego, belief and expectation driven female viewpoint). Such a female viewpoint would be in terms of the expected services that women would want and expect from the men (mostly services supporting the needs of the women and their children).
Consciousness quality has no gender association so it would be exceptionally unlikely that a culture would be populated by one gender with a predominately low quality of consciousness and the other gender with a predominately high quality of consciousness, especially since a low quality in one sex would tend to aggravate and thus develop a low quality in the other (such an unbalanced asymmetric state would not be stable (would not last long). There would be a very high probability that the males and females in any given culture would be of similar quality of consciousness. However, there are some inquisitive readers with good imaginations, or perhaps strong biases, who would like to explore the possibilities anyway.
In a hypothetical culture where only the females maintained a high quality of consciousness, the men would be treated with as much unconditional love and caring support as conditions would allow, much as the women might treat their young sons who run about the house in superman costumes pretending to save the world. High quality consciousness could not act in any other way. The men in such a loving and supportive environment would have an optimal situation in which to grow up and most would probably grow up very quickly to a high quality of consciousness similar to that of the women.
The opposite condition would work just the same way. The high quality of consciousness males would treat the low quality of consciousness women with as much unconditional love and caring support as conditions would allow, much as the men might treat their young daughters who often play house by serving and teaching a deserving family of rag dolls. The women in such a loving and supportive environment would have an optimal secure situation in which to grow up and most would probably grow up very quickly to a high quality of consciousness similar to that of the men.
Do you see why I suggest to those couples who wish to evolve their relationships from need based to love based that the men initiate this evolution by giving themselves up entirely to love (or whatever his female thinks love is), thus, giving their women a sincere, rock steady environment of unconditional love in which to flourish, to grow themselves? Because females in our male dominate culture are likely to be a tad insecure, uneasy and not entirely trusting of the beneficence of male intentions, it is not reasonable to ask females to be the initiator in this process of giving herself up entirely to love (or to whatever a male from a male-dominate culture thinks love is). Expecting her to initiate this process would, for most women, be asking too much. It is clearly the men who need to lead this process within our culture. More reasons follow:
Could a female lead this process? Of course! But it will be less likely that the male, in a male dominant culture will respond as quickly, or as productively as the female is likely to respond if the male is the initiator.
You see, in our culture, if the male initiates this process to move to a love based relationship, he is inviting the female to enter a relationship situation (her speciality) that she has dreamed of and hoped for her entire life (total commitment from him) and that resonates grandly with her genetic programming. Her immediate response, once she believes his invitation to be genuine and sincere, is to make sure that she will always be worth it to him, that he never changes his mind or sees her any other way. And to accomplish that, she will gladly grow and change to meet his needs – because that is smart relationship building.
If the female initiates the move to a love based relationship within this male-dominate culture, she is inviting the male to enter a new relationship situation (he has no solid sense what that means) that he has always assumed was his due, his birthright as a male. If his woman initiates, he thinks that things are now the way they should have been all along. Why should he change anything at this point? Life is now great on the home front – the rule is: don’t change what isn’t broken. His genetic program and cultural program are satisfied and no big internal push to grow is triggered at the being level or the intellectual level because all this relationship stuff just is however it is – there is really nothing anybody can do about it. Let the good times roll!
Now, as we move from the industrial age into the information age, our Western culture (mostly “first world” countries) has arrived at, or is approaching, the point where a majority of the population is no longer in a desperate struggle for survival. The struggle has moved to the quality and dignity of that survival rather than survival itself. The most pressing problems of our culture are in the process of changing from scarcity and security to getting along with each other productively (relationship building) -- or at least a mixture of the two. Thus, the initial conditions required for making fundamental progress toward a culture with no gender dominance have been steadily growing stronger over the last 200 years or so.
However, the inertia of a few million years of scarcity has institutionalized itself within our culture. Old habits and attitudes resist change. It is changing these habits and attitudes (beliefs) of scarcity and insecurity (both fearful attitudes) that hold the key to elimination of cultural male-dominance. Trying to force change in the symptoms of male-dominance rather than eliminate the cause may encourage a little more of that “thin veneer of polite civility”, but it will not fix the problem and is likely to aggravate it making things worse. It is a trick of the ego to believe that one can use hostility to end hostility. The only way to end hostility is with love (a higher quality of consciousness).
Focus on moving the culture from the mindset of scarcity and physical security, to the mindset or relationship building, and the male-dominance within our culture will slowly melt away on its own – and not cosmetically, but fundamentally. The genetic programming of both sexes will eventually ensure that result.
So what sort of gender neutral culture can we create given the general low quality of consciousness that we live in? And how do we go about creating it? First and foremost: We need to raise the level of consciousness in the general population. Secondly, we need to reduce the level of fear in our culture by reducing the level of fear in ourselves. As quality raises and fear diminishes, our agendas will automatically shift from fear of scarcity and lack of security to the now more important business of relationship building. In the short run (the immediate future), it would be good to ratchet down the contentious rhetoric on both sides and begin an effective educational program that starts with a basic understanding of our genetic programming and cultural-social programming. One must always begin with an understanding of the truth of the present situation.
Although manipulation of the outside world can potentially provide needed resources as well as safety and security, which is absolutely essential to everything else, we must understand that a continual culture of scarcity and of fear will generate and maintain a culture with a lopsided male-dominate viewpoint.
We must learn that our connectedness and interaction with others (relationship) is central to our evolution and growth. That it is relationship, not the manipulation of the material world, which provides the primary learning ground of consciousness evolution.
We, as individuals need to learn what it means and what it is like to be male and female in this culture -- to appreciate the view from both sides and begin to dismantle (gently over a long term view) the cultural (manmade) structures that stand in the way of optimizing our system/culture for all people.
We can improve our personal relationships by realizing that need-based relationships are but a scant shadow of the real thing (love-based relationship). As we put unconditional love back in our personal lives more and more, we will begin to accelerate our process of consciousness evolution, thus adding both fuel and fire to burn away the heavy stultifying dross of fear and belief that so limits us, our culture, and our species.
As was said above, first and foremost we must raise the level of consciousness in the general population – and we accomplish that best by raising our own consciousness quality.