So, I was asked to contemplate the page “It’s damn frustrating that girls always seem to go for the Asshole” (that post is just a link to the actual article, offsite). Actually, I was asked to contemplate the title (or something similar to it), and I was thinking “hey, just follow the link to the offsite article” but then I realized - it wouldn’t be consistent with what I’ve done a bit too much of already on this site - and that is invoke the EvolutionaryReasoningDisclaimer. So I donned my amateur evolutionary psychology hat and set to work. But first, a few disclaimers - especially if taken in context with another post, this can easily be construed to be racist. Or bigotted. Or something like that. I don’t mean it that way. I hope I’m wrong. But anyway, here goes:
I think I’d speculate that the attraction of girls for “bad guys” is because the “bad guys”, being more promiscuous, are more likely to procreate with more females (at least back in the old days, before birth control and whatnot) and thus, a woman who has a promiscuous son has her genes passed on to more people - and those genes survive better.
However, after learning the hard way about the agony of a first child (due to the “bad guy”), the intellect takes precedence over instinct, and women choose a man that will actually help raise children. Thus, genes for both promiscuous males and faithful males get selected for, but not genes for ambivalent males - which is why I’ve never heard a guy say “sure, I can help raise my child or not - it doesn’t matter to me one way or the other”.
Thus, I’d guess that in most societies, what I described above would have been the norm - first child by the promiscuous father, second child by the faithful father. In time, this might very well have been codified by social rules. In time, the faithful father would show fidelity by helping raise even that first child (which was not his own).
However, at the advent of the realization that a child does have a father (something I suspect was not understood prior to the agricultural revolution - that is, I believe that humans didn’t then intellectually grasp the concept of intercourse and procreation having anything to do with one another), the faithful fathers, part of the family/tribe/institution, instituted measures to prevent the expression of this instinct for the promiscuous male.
And that instinct (along with what parts of society that might have encouraged it and weren’t eradicated by the instituted measures) has survived, buried, in the female psyche -
until today. Now, with the falling away of many traditional institutions (a. k. a. “the decline of the family”) that would have kept up those measures, that instinct is allowed free reign - hence the “explosion” in teenage pregnancies in ghettos. And it is an instinct that perpetuates itself, because the male offspring carry that genetic predisposition for being the “bad guy” (the promiscuous guy who contains genes that will enable any son of his to procreate with more females), being more effective at procreating with more females, will have a feedback loop - each encouraging each other, causing the proportion of society possessing that gene to grow.
And now, the need for the “faithful father” is less - finances come through a variety of means, including welfare and other special support for single mothers, suggesting that we will have even more “bad guy” genes in future generations.
And that will only be countered by the fact that the two fastest growing religions in the world are quite adamant about those rules being in place: Islam and Mormonism.
It is a scary world in store for us. This is one reason I don’t like to invoke the EvolutionaryReasoningDisclaimer.
It suggests a world in which the dichotomy between a person’s instinct and what the institution would require of a person is even more and even greater than ever before.
Eventually, at some point, it snaps.
But we can stop this, perhaps, in time -
genetic modification to eradicate the genes for promiscuity and for having an instinct for promiscuous sexual partners. This reminds me of a ScienceFiction book I read a while ago - early 90’s, in which (and I’m giving away the punchline now) radical feminist scientists genetically engineer a retrovirus to transform the way men think to how females think - so that the man’s mind would be like a woman’s mind. Unfortunately I don’t have the book with me (it is at my parent’s place) and I can’t remember anything other than that it was a nominee, but not a winner, for a Hugo or Nebula. Feel free to search for it at Amazon, but I couldn’t find it, and I know what I’m searching for (or at least I would if I saw the title or cover art).
The thing is, I always kept it next to my copy of The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe because for me, those two books were somehow related.
But I digress. The point I wanted to come back to is that while we can anticipate a future “in which the dichotomy between a person’s instinct and what the institution would require of a person is even more and even greater than ever before” (quoting myself), we can change this, by changing a person’s instincts - yes, this means I’m advocating genetic engineering for the purpose for behavioral modification, something technology doesn’t presently allow, but which I’m all in favor of. If my predictions in this post are true, the ability of society to hold together depends on it - because otherwise there will be all sorts of problems, not the least of which are the ones that we are seeing now in which people are highly conflicted between what their instincts (”sinful nature”) and their learning (what they are taught is good by the institutions that have influence upon them).
What is worse is that some people, free enough from the realm of the institution’s influence, yet affluent enough to produce creative works, are doing so, and an entire subculture is being developed that celebrates and accepts this instinct for promiscuity. That wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the fact that those memes are, in turn, being spread to people with genes for faithfulness, causing them to become highly conflicted regarding how to “be themselves”. This, in turn, contributes to the “crisis in relationships” detailed in the second of the films that was shown in “375 An Evening with The National Film Board of Canada” which was a good session there to go to, albeit a bit long. This, in turn, feeds the destruction of the institutions that previously would have held the promiscuity in check.
It doesn’t look like society is heading down a very nice path. That issue of whether or not the mastodons (read the “society is heading” link in previous sentence) will trample people before society reaches a new steady-state is not entirely my concern. The mastodons (institutions) just have to last long enough for the inequity between the haves and have-nots to be potentially equalized as might happen or, the institutions have to reinforce boundaries between any set of people with genetic pre-dispositions towards faithfulness and others. It doesn’t look like that will happen either.
This has changed my agenda for the future. For while I previously advocated space exploration for the sake of ensuring we continually had new stimulus I realize now that it would be better for society to achieve a social steady-state first (which will no doubt take a long time - but by steady-state I mean not this post-sexual-revolution sort of era) before venturing off.
So we have a few potential options for the future here:
- institutions of sexual repression survive long enough and are powerful enough to change all humans to be more virtuous (in their eyes)
- technologies of communication enable all people to learn and share data with each other enough that there’s an effective hive-mind, and then institutions of technological development (presumably supported economically, indirectly, by institutions of sexual repression) fall away as the hive mind assumes the role
- the battle rages on, but in different contexts - the divisions get reinforced by space/time (as they used to, back before the advent of high-speed communications systems and jet airplanes and such) - because space exploration begins before society reaches a steady-state
- institutions of sexual repression do not survive long enough and society devolves into one in which there is absolutely no meaningful concept of family. Taking much time, eventually a viable alternative institution (one not based on sexual repression, yet none-the-less intensely with genetic predisposition and backing) emerges (perhaps Bonobo-like - mother and sons), and culture/civilization as we know it is able to resume/continue, technology is developed, and either the hive mind and/or the space exploration options come to fruition
The first and third are my preferences. If the timing is done just right, space exploration can begin just as the hive mind is forming, merging the second and third in what might be the most productive for the human race. The first does slow our rate of evolution, unless you count the conscious manipulation of our genes as evolution, in which case it could be said to be a leap forward. The last of those four options presented is one that I very much am opposed to - probably because I envision myself in the set of humans that would be selected out from that - I’d probably have more loyalty to a potentially cheating wife (and I might be dense enough to not catch on if/when a cheating wife cheated) than to my own mother. I hate to fancy myself obsolete.
So yeah, like I said, a scary future.
This is one reason I don’t like to invoke the EvolutionaryReasoningDisclaimer. I often don’t like what I see when I do.107a