The male war for survival of the fittest
by Judah Freed
Human civilization has been guided by a map of reality that makes sense of life and evolution as a male war for dominance, what’s called “the survival of the fittest,” which is founded on the old premise that might makes right.
This cynical vision of society, today widely called “Social Darwinism,” has caused much suffering on earth.
Let’s clear up some misconceptions about Charles Darwin’s findings on “natural selection.”
Many believe a willingness to lie, cheat, bully, and kill means we are the most fit to survive. The Origin of Species instead reports that the “fittest” are the ones who can best meet life’s changing conditions by adaptation to new circumstances. The survivors change what they eat, for instance, or evolve some traits that helps them to endure and thrive. The “survival of the fittest” really means adapting in the right way. In truth, right makes might.
If early human communities were wither matriarchal or egalitarian, as Riane Eisler contends in the Chalice and the Blade, did humanity adapt to the rise of male rule in the right way?
Study the social contract that men and women inherit. According to Warren Farrell in Why Men Are the Way They Are, the man agrees to be the best at something, anything, to prove he can reliably provide “home, family and security” for a beautiful and faithful wife. In exchange, she pledges total sexual fidelity with a promise to be modest in public and wanton in bed. The man becomes a walking wallet for the woman, but he must convince her of his valor or value in real or symbolic combat. This system requires men to compete for women.
Do you feel men got the better side of the barter? Herb Goldberg in The Hazards of Being Male and Warren Farrell in The Myth of Male Power report that men pay for being in charge of society by early death from wars, dangerous jobs, high stress, and inner conflicts.
Worse, men are falsely taught to measure our manhood by muscles or intellect or even the length of our beards. We accept beliefs about what it means to be a man that leave us ruled by shame. Society tells us a “real man” does not need anyone, for example, so we do not ask for support — or road directions. We suffer alone, in silence, hiding our souls behind a stoic wall of “strength.”
We men suffer from the “masculine mystique,” says Frank Pittman in Man Enough. Afraid of genuine emotional intimacy, we tend to become “philanderers” avoiding commitments, “contenders” driven to compete and “controllers” compelled to dominate others.
Look at the absurdity of men suppressing women. The men in some cultures make women dress demurely in public or wear robes to hide their beauty. Men unwilling to control their lust instead blame women for being attractive. That’s “blaming the victim,” like saying a pretty woman was responsible for being raped, as if it’s her fault a rapist could not control his animal impulses. In such ways, men seek to rule women rather than practice self rule.
In suppressing women, we men have suppressed our feminine traits. We’ve lost access to the full range of our emotions. We’ve learned to live from our necks up and our groins down. We’ve become cut off from our hearts, spiritually castrated, which is no life at all.
Hiding behind machismo pretensions, we are like Ralph Ellison’s invisible man in a superhero mask. No one can see our secret identity as vulnerable men, filled with love, ready to be generous.
Whether you are a man or a woman, what matters is that because we live in globally connected cultures, our lives are effected daily by wars for alpha male rule. The competition among combative men is ripping apart our societies and rendering our planet uninhabitable. A misguided male war for the survival of the fittest is increasingly making our world unfit for living. Given the high cost, does male rule make global sense?
|Judah Freed in Denver, CO, is the author of the award-winning book, Global Sense, from which this article is excerpted. A journalist since 1976, Judah serves as editor of The Mankind Project Journal.|
– is a deeply personal issue that everyone decides for himself. Sometimes the price is high, sometimes low. But this is not very important for life. Life is an interesting thing. And the price on Viagra – too.