Feminine Foundations

Women think about relationships more than men.

From playing with dolls, pondering who is flirting with whom, personal hygiene, dress and makeup and adornments, in all areas women outperform men.

Why?

There are two main reasons.

First, we are all genetically programmed to want to be in a relationship (see yesterday’s post).  This is hard to fight, and it could be argued that the need for companionship is greater in a woman than a typical man, but I’m not going to do that here.

Second, women are smarter than men, for the most part.  As a result, they know that being in a relationship is better for them, and for the man (or other woman as the case may be, but for now we’ll stick with men).

Women, being smarter, recognize that they will bear the brunt of a long term relationship in terms of making children, managing a home, and foregoing earnings from not working.  As a result, we consider them “unemployed” while they know they are performing the most important job on the planet – creating the next generation.

Typically, men don’t get this.  Which means women have to work even harder to get men to realize the importance of being in a long term relationship.  So they invest heavily in clothes, makeup, jewelry, and emotions.

The flip side is that a woman also needs to know that the man is invested.  Which is why successful courtship SHOULD see the man making an equivalent investment on his part.

He should be the one traveling to see the woman, not the other way around.

He should be the one planning the dates and paying her way.  Why?  Because she has already paid in long term investment, such as dress and makeup.  He is only paying cash for the immediate expense.

And once she is in that relationship, what is she willing to do?  She is willing to bend more than he.  My husband wants me to cut all my hair so I’m not attractive to other men?  So be it.  My husband wants me to cover my entire body with a black cloth and nothing but a slit for my eyes?  So be it.  My husband wants me to stay at home and make babies?  So be it.

If a relationship fails, what are some women willing to do?  They take the blame.  They become outcasts, or worse, they make the ultimate sacrifice.  Women still set themselves alight in some places.

The romantic in me would like to see men step up their game, and learn to appreciate both the work and investment women make to create relationships.  I wish men would also be better taught to appreciate the value of relationships, after all it helps them live longer.

Finally, society needs to work on creating some of those old-fashioned rules we all used to abide, rules like treating people with respect, opening doors, and understanding the meaning of “no.”

 

Imaginary Loneliness

Hello Gentle Reader,

Have you ever felt lonely?

As babies we hug our parents, and we crave that.

If we have siblings they may hug us.  Sometimes they also hit.  Ouch.  Then we go back to hugging our parents.

Some of us grow up with dolls that we hug a lot.  The doll may be nothing more than a stuffed sock (my wife’s grandmother) or even a doll made of grass.

The point is that there is something within us making us want to be with someone else.  Finding someone is difficult.  Many times it doesn’t work out, ending badly.  If it’s bad enough, it makes the headlines.

This need for coupling is built into our biology, our deep biology.  As an intellectually liberated being, it would be nice to rise above that biology.  Let’s face it, rising above anything is tough, and fighting a billion years of biology is tougher yet.

At the very least we can better understand it by acknowledging its deep roots.  And if we accept those roots, then we can have fun with some of the following questions:

  • Why isn’t everyone multi-sexual?
    • After all, it increases your chances of finding someone.
  • Why aren’t there more homosexual relationships?
    • It makes sense, because someone of your gender is far more likely to share many of your same problems.
  • Why do women invest so much more into forming relationships than men?
    • Clothing, makeup, accessories, emotional and mental investment, all of these are many times greater than what men invest.  What’s going on there?

I’m going to try and tackle the last one for now.  Stay tuned!

 

 

 

Fiery Fears

Pains real. Fears not.
Pains denied, Fears alive.
Pains accepted, Fears rejected.           (anon)

There’s a pair of decent books tackling the tricky subjects of hate and fear. [1] I’ll say more about them later, but Rush Dozier makes one particularly provocative statement; humans are the only species that isn’t innately afraid of fire.

Is it true? An internet search doesn’t tell us very much. Maybe it’s one of those universal truths that modern science doesn’t deem interesting enough to verify. Scientists, like the rest of us, assume that it’s true because everyone else since the beginning of time has also assumed it’s true. I don’t want to make any waves, so let’s agree. Humans are the only species on Earth that isn’t afraid of Fire. We’ll take this as a fundamental truth, and call it axiom number one.

What I mean by innate is that there is nothing about not being afraid of fire that isn’t learned. In fact, what I’m saying is that babies like fire. I’m pretty sure that most parents teach their toddlers to avoid fire. It’s pretty, it’s red, it’s inviting, it goes snap crackle pop, it’s warm, and – WATCH OUT! You’ll get burned! Did this ever happen to you?

This is yet another statement that science should check into, using the same tried and true methods that have gotten us into skyscrapers and airplanes. Since it’s not a scientific fact, let’s make another bold statement; humanity’s lack of fear of fire is totally due to nature. This means that nurturing, or learning, has nothing to do with it.

Any behavior that is one hundred percent nature comes from our program. Our program is something we all know with no training required. Sucking mother’s nipple for food is something we want to do as soon as we get shoved out the birth canal. One hundred percent natural. And there’s axiom number two.

Biologists know that our program is written in DNA. That’s like saying this essay is written using letters of the alphabet. Our DNA program is extremely large, so it is divided into subroutines and extra apps, called genes. These are like the paragraphs and concepts in this essay. We have about thirty thousand genes, and they probably all work together. On top of this our genes have preferences, just like the apps on your phone. The settings are somewhat randomly chosen for us as soon as we’re conceived. There’s about three million settings for each of us. The professionals call these settings SNiPS – for single nucleotide polymorphisms.

Somehow, shared among all people, is a combination of genes and SNiPs telling us not to be afraid of fire. It’s one of the biggest things making humans totally distinct from all other animals. The same DNA, written differently, tells chimps, mice, birds and snakes to fear fire. We lack this trait, and all other animals have this trait. Yet, if you go back far enough in time, we will find an ancestor that links us to all other animals. Somewhere along the line, a bizarre combination of genes and SNiPs gave rise to us, modern man, with a new type of strange behavior. Biologists call distinct behaviors like this, phenotypes.

Here’s the craziest thing about fire. It’s powerful. It cooks meat and veggies so we can digest them more easily and stay healthier. Fire keeps bad animals away. Fire allows us to work when it’s dark outside. Fire changes ordinary Earth into extraordinary tools, like arrowheads, pottery, glass and steel. We are a species and a society born of fire. Yet, we take fire for granted. That’s too bad, because we should appreciate it for the great abilities it gives. So, the first step is to think back in time, to a period when we didn’t have this ability.

Go back far enough, say two hundred thousand years ago, and you’ll see our distant ancestors, hiding in trees, eating fruits and dirt, probably hanging about in small groups. They very likely acted much like today’s chimpanzees – our closest cousins. Let’s call this particular tribe ‘the standing up people,’ or Homo erectus. [2]

Now, as happens in successful tribes, there are babies. One particular baby was born with a set of genes and SNiPs that were very different from all the others in her tribe. It was a difference no one could see, but it was still there. She grows up, safe, sound, and happy. Then comes that fateful day.

The tribe is taking shelter from a storm, lightning and thunder surrounding them. They huddle together. Suddenly, nearby, a bolt of lighting ignites a pile of dead wood, bringing fire to life. The thunderclap, the light, the flare, and the living combustion of wood makes the tribe hoot, holler, and run away. That is, all but one. Our heroine has no fear, and has not learned to be afraid of fire. Instead of running, she gingerly approaches the bonfire rising before her.

She advances, observing everything in wonder. She picks up a long stick whose end is engulfed in flames, noting how it has acquired a smoldering sharpened point; the first hardened spear. Or she may have found a cooked squirrel, the first fast food.

Or, and this is the truly most wonderful moment in our ancestry, perhaps she looked up from her smoking spear and roasted squirrel and sees, across the flickering and snapping wood, another Homo erectus. He’s not from her tribe, and he, too, is not afraid of fire. The moment is right, she and he spend time together. And eventually you, I, and everyone we have ever known throughout history comes into existence.

In that moment, that Promethean portal gave birth to their love, their offspring, and an entirely new species. It’s quite possible that a single blaze sparked the rise of ‘people who think,’ or Homo sapiens. Our heroine was, in fact, Eve, the mother of all humans today.

What makes us so special? Our laugh? Dogs laugh, so not quite that. Our brains? Dolphins are bigger yet, and birds are proving to be pretty darn smart. Wars? Watch insects duking it out sometime. Our tools? Nope, birds and even some insects have those. Our high technology? There’s something to this. Where does all that technology ultimately come from? Fire.

We are a species forged in fire. It never would have happened if we hadn’t evolved the phenotype that describes not being afraid of fire. So, assuming that only one species, Homo erectus, isn’t afraid of fire, and assuming that behavior is one hundred percent natural, then we must conclude that this behavior is one of the most critical factors in differentiating us from all other life. Therefore, what made Eve so special was that she wasn’t afraid. It may be two hundred thousand years too late, but thank you Eve.

Think about that the next time you have to confront one of your own fears. Perhaps YOU could be the start of a whole new species.

[1] Fear Itself – Origin and nature of the powerful emotion that shapes our lives and our world.
and
Why we hate – understanding, curbing, and eliminating hate in ourselves and our world.     Both books by Rush Dozier. Published by McGraw-Hill, 1998 and 2002 respectively.

[2] Sequencing Y Chromosomes Resolves Discrepancy in Time to Common Ancestor of Males Versus Females, G. David Poznik, Brenna M. Henn, Muh-Ching Yee, Elzbieta Sliwerska, Ghia M. Euskirchen, Alice A. Lin, Michael Snyder, Lluis Quintana-Murci, Jeffrey M. Kidd, Peter A. Underhill, and Carlos D. Bustamante. Science 2 August 2013: 562-565.
and
Y Weigh In Again on Modern Humans, by Rebecca L. Cann. Science 2 August 2013: 465-467.

Hate. Part 5.

Hello there. Yes, you’re reading an essay about hate. No, I’m not a fringe lunatic, I promise. It’s an exploration of something we are all familiar with, but don’t talk about much. This is the fifth experiment in this series, and I’d appreciate your feedback as to whether it works. A good subtitle for this essay is, Understand hate and make more money, today!

Hate isn’t one of those things we joke about often. Don Rickles was great at making fun of hate, because his audience knew he was joking when he said that he hated everyone. He would then call them by every pejorative name known to man, and the audience would laugh.  He was a comedian during the Civil War.  Look him up.

Today, even though we live in an age of comedy, hate gets short shrift. Why is that? Are we afraid of it? Will the very mention of its name give it power, like Voldemort? Or are we paranoid? Let’s do a thought experiment and find out.

Got your lab coat on? No, not the one with long arms that nurses buckle in the back, the regular one. Alright, here we go.

Hello, Hate? How do you do. Let me introduce you to my friend, Mr. Reader. Gentle Reader. Gentle, this is Hate.

At this point you shake hands, and we all sit down for a drink. By the end of our chat you and he discover that you’re old friends! Turns out that we’ve all known each other for a long time. Well, perhaps not you and I, but we have Hate as a mutual acquaintance. Though I dare say, you and I certainly seem to becoming fast friends as well. But I digress.

It turns out that Hate has been with us since we were born! Surely, as wee babes we didn’t need his services much, Mum and Dad sheltered us enough. But as we grew and became mobile, more independent, and curious, his services were needed more. Mum had to prepare us infants for the real world.

She would say: Don’t touch that! Don’t go in there! Don’t put your fingers in the socket! Why, Mum, why? She’d explain, Because terrible things will happen. In the simplest of ways, Mum prepared us for survival. She taught us, in direct terms, to stay away from hot stoves, the stairs, electrical outlets, or trying to put pencils into our baby sister’s nose. Mum was brainwashing us! Some Mums continue even while we’re adults, but it’s particualrly important for a child to be properly brainwashed. Our brain is open and unorganized. We don’t know danger’s face.

Mum and Dad altered the way we think, without us having to know why. That’s the very essence of hate.

Hate, as we talk about him today, dresses like a Hollywood vampire (black or white hoodie, take your pick) and always has a darker side with a predilection for the dramatic and violent. Not so! This is not who Hate really is! Hate is a different animal than that charicature. Hate has depth and nuance, a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side, much like anyone else once you get to know them well enough.

Let’s go back to that electrical outlet, figuratively. To make this more exciting, you and I are toddlers, and you found a paper clip! First off, the paper clip was tested for edibility. Yuck! Double yuck! So, paperclip edibility test has been performed AND replicated. This is very important in science, even babies know this! That’s why you often see them repeating their experiments, like dropping the spoon off their high chair. Conclusion – not tasty! But now I’m holding the paperclip, dust-free and dripping with saliva.

Ooh! I spot the electrical outlet. Exciting! We share the joy of discovery as we toddle closer. We go towards the outlet because we like it. It looks interesting, and what we like we are drawn towards.

But wait. You remember a lesson from Mum. “No” she said. “Bad” she said, along with many other words we don’t understand. Even No and Bad are meaningless to us, because we’re still learning the lingo. But Mum looked upset, angry, even agitated. And even as a newborn we know when Mum is upset. It’s one of many instructions we receive from the DNA machine as it’s putting us together. It’s part of our toolkit as soon as we’re out of the womb. We HATE to see our Mum upset, it’s part of our genetic makeup!

So, we no longer like the outlet. In fact, our Mum’s remonstrations have convinced you to stay away from the outlet. I give you the greater share of common sense throughout this, Gentle Reader, because history proves that I would always be the one most likely to put something into an electrical outlet. You stop. You scream. I stop, bewildered. What’s wrong with you?, I think.

In that moment you have turned from liking the outlet to hating it. Your hate, without reason, says “avoid the outlet!” You communicate that information to me in your inimitable voice, I ponder. I still like the outlet, and head towards it. At that moment, our stalwart Mum appears, instantly seeing what happened, and saves the day. Along the way, she gives both of us yet another lecture on why we hate outlets, and paperclips. Of course, baby lectures are nothing like college lectures. For one thing, they are very short, and usually entail one word, “No!” Then again, a bably lecture is very much like a college lecture in that none of us take notes, and our retention is about 5 minutes, or until dinner is served, which ever comes first.

Hate, by its very nature, means to avoid something without reason. It is a way to influence our thinking in the most basic of ways. Stay away! Bad! Don’t ask questions! These are the slogans of the Hate family. And we all have friends in this family, whether we admit to it or not.

In the next essay, we’ll explore our deeper relationship with hate. Why? Because there’s a good chance you’ve grown up and , by way of example, are no longer afraid of electrical outlets. In fact, I’m willling to bet you’re sticking things into outlets all the time. Go on! Tell me it’s not true. See? Your ealiest introduction to hate is gone.

But other members of the Hate family are still your friends, perhaps without you even knowing that they’re still living in your mental house. We’ll talk about some of them next, so that we can get a better picture of how hate still lives with us in society.

Now, lest you forget, Gentle Reader, the real reason we need to get re-familiar with the family of Hate is because it is one of our most powerful emotions. And understanding how it plays out in our own minds is crucial in making good business decisions. Good writers, directors, and politicians know this and use our hate as a tool for their own success. Isn’t it time you capitalized on their secret? Step right up and make some money off your hate! Master it and make a fortune! Are you ready? Can you handle the truth?