Strategies are the most important part of human survival.
This is another Strategy discussion. Discussions of strategy in this book are about contrasting strategies for a tribal ecology to a civilization. The largest difference I consider is about the role of violence as a strategy. It worked fairly well in a tribal ecology, though there were limits. In a civilization though, it is far more dangerous to use as a strategy both because a civilization is composed of different peoples and because a civilization is a created ecology and so can be damaged by violence such as war. This discussion is about a different perspective on violence, but it is from the same source, the evolutionary imperative to compete. I first ran across a good discussion of this by Norah Vincent in her book The Self Made Man where she disguised herself as a man for a year and a half. What amazed her was the constant competition and challenges she encountered from other males. Well, that is how nature drives things and according to sociobiology, this is far more true for males than females. Recently I stumbled across an essay by Eduardo Marqués Collado that both summed up what she said and added an interesting point. He was answering the question: What are some things that many women do not know or understand about men? This is his essay.
Men are under a constant, huge, aggressive competition, trapped inside a social Darwinist game on such a scale that few women would understand.
The world that we inhabit is meaner, uglier, more aggressive, and more indifferent to you. It is all about status, power, competition, dominance. That’s the world men live in. We didn’t choose it. Most of us don’t like it at all. Only a very small slew of say, 1% of us, thrive on it. Most of us just endure it the best we can. A lot of us can’t bear it, hence why a very large number of men live lonely, depressed lives, and fall into depression and suicide in far larger numbers than women.
Women complain that they are not allowed to compete in many of the big leagues, even in our supposedly progressive modern world. And that’s a fair complaint. What a lot of them don’t understand is that men are forced to compete on said leagues by default and don’t have the option to opt out, nor do they get to choose anything about it. That’s simply not acceptable and not a possibility for men. Nobody expects it from you, and nobody will allow you to do so.
Sexism has the unintended consequence of making expectations for men greater (since sexist men will treat women like helpless, inept children) and the social punishment for failing to meet them is harsher. A fat man is an ugly man, not a herald of a new form of beauty. A stay at home dad is a parasite, not a caretaker. An unprofessional man with a good social life is not a “charming partner”, but a loser. And so on.
Our default state is a constant state of warfare so to speak, and you don’t get to take a break from it. The sexist commentaries that women routinely get are just part of this toxic game of “neutering the competence”. Believe it or not, we do also get our fair dose of toxic masculinity, just in a different form. Men don’t get comments on our asses or boobs, we just get direct insults, demeaning commentary, and a far more direct, even physical aggression, mostly coming from the very same type of imbeciles that will tell you to “smile more, honey”. They don’t have to pretend to have a “nice” facade with us, the gloves are always off. Always.
A romantic relationship with a woman offers us, men, something way more valuable than romance per se: It offers us a respite from all of that. It offers us a glimpse into a kinder, gentler, different world, where most of us would love to live in if given the chance. Or at least, we are given the possibility to retreat to it whenever we falter. Or at least, the possibility to be ourselves; kinder, gentler, tender and vulnerable.
Oh, to be able to be admired, cared, loved, without needing to do any other thing than existing. No need to fight. Just to care, and nourish one and each other.
The last thing that I would want to do with my partner would be to compete, to “one-up” her or fight with her. That’s the job of the rest of the world. Our relationship is, however, the secluded, sacred beating heart of a heartless world.
This is a fantastic description of the evolutionary imperative that Darwin described as being driven by Natural Selection. War may endanger our very ecology, our life support system, but the natural drive to violently compete makes us miserable and is part of the whole that we need to change. Competition is good, but the mindless competition driven by evolution will prevent us from developing the new ecology we need to survive.
Notice too that this discussion talks about strategy in a relationship. There will be competition and disagreement in a relationship, but a person must not instinctively compete as can be driven by evolutionary instincts. Women are quite capable of displaying that behavior.
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Please keep in mind that these strategies are described to give a background. They are part of a path to what I think will be the key to understanding a survival strategy we need to use in the ecology we are developing and will allow civilization to be a long term ecology, life support system, where humans can survive and develop long term. Oh, and for the moment please bear with me referring to the critical strategy as "M". There is a reason I am sneaking up on it.