When your day is going badly, just think, you could have been born a reptile, or a bird. In the first case, you would hatch out of your egg without any help, your cold-blooded mother having left right after she laid you, and you would have to fend for yourself from day one. The best you could hope for would be survival thanks to the sheer number of siblings hatching right alongside you making the odds longer that you would be eaten by predators.
Birds at least get fed regurgitated stuff until they’re ready leave the nest, for better or worse. Although bird siblings tend to be pushy if not downright fratricidal when it comes to sharing the parent-provided upchuck.
But we mammals get to snuggle up to our warm, fuzzy parents, we suckle our mother’s warm milk and we get to play with our siblings between meals, as we slowly learn the business of growing up. When danger comes, at least one parent will be there to warn you and fight off predators. Comparatively speaking, not bad.
And when you add the advantages of being a human being on top of being a mammal—big brain, opposable thumbs, on top of most food chains, adaptable, inventive—you’ve got to admit that, theoretically, we’ve got it pretty easy.
The question is, if we’ve got it so good, how come we’re messing up so badly? We seem intent on putting ourselves in danger of slow, painful extinction as a species, and on making ourselves sick in as many ways as we can dream up. All the while espousing the progress of our civilization.
Some evolutionary scientists would say it was partly because of the choices men make in getting ahead. Men are built to display their best traits to females in order to keep the family tree growing by being chosen for mating. When women need men that can defend them from predators, they choose the ones with the best spear-throwing arms and the intelligence and forethought to know when and where danger is likely to lurk. Anti-lurking skills require some heavy thinking, so the men who were selected for these criteria mated with the women with a preference for them, giving birth to children with those criteria and with a preference for them.
So it all snowballed down through the generations—humans gradually increased their brain size, became more able to outwit predators, invent language, create tools and weapons, paint pictures, sing songs, invent the wheel, guns, rockets, pesticides, cars, computers and Veg-o-matics—whatever it took for men to show women how suitable they were for mating.
Men’s impetus to display intelligence, adaptability and ingenuity, and their urge to explore, create, invent and compose stem from the need to pass their DNA to the next generation. Such characteristics would be not only a ticket to the boudoir, but, if applied to the well-being of our species and the natural systems that support us, an enhancement to life. Unfortunately, the past tells us that men’s inventiveness was too often applied to the destruction of fellow humans and other species.
Men operate in hierarchies, which spawn sub-hierarchies to keep the underlings from penetrating the master hierarchies. After thousands of years in which men have been running societies and creating cultures, hierarchy has become the accepted norm of life. It is essential to the view that allows humans to wipe out other species, and exclude, enslave or slaughter humans that are not deemed part of an acceptable hierarchy (and therefore less than human), by considering human beings (especially light-skinned male human beings) as the peak of creation. And when a (male) God gets thrown in the mix, righteousness and zealotry take control.
Some of that righteous exclusion was directed at the female half of our species, for thousands of years considered inferior. Or that’s the story men would tell themselves. Another side of the story might be that men were and are afraid of the influence that the Feminine has on male behavior. (Imagine a house in which a dozen young men have been living. Now imagine that house with just one woman’s presence.) Men have become so accustomed to doing things the Guy Way for so long, that any ‘interference’ from the female side would spoil all the fun. But things are changing.
Thanks to the feminist movements of the twentieth century and the general change of heart that is slowly taking place in Western societies, women have a greater public presence than ever. And the feminine influence over men, while confusing in these early stages, cannot help but change the mindset of Might is Right. Once men start to realize that the behaviors they have exhibited for so long, the over-aggressive, macho, violent, coercive, warlike behaviors, are in reality not attractive to women, and may cost them the chance of getting laid, the behaviors will soon change.
That’s the great thing about sexual selection by females; it can turn drab male birds into peacocks, bald-headed deer into antlered stags, and it can turn the only species in which males kill each other to please their “gods” into mindful, conscious and resourceful members of the natural world.
It can’t be soon enough, and we owe it to the memory of all our furry little predecessors that survived the age of the dinosaurs and helped us attain the power to choose how good we can be.
For more on evolution, mating display, seduction, Alphas, Betas, Mindful Males and Sexual Selection, buy our book, Seduction Redefined: A Guide to Creative Collaboration of the Feminine and Masculine.