J. Bruce Evans
Morality, by definition, is a standard of right and wrong conduct which exists apart from any single person. Associated words include: virtue, ethics, good and bad (evil), should and ought. Virtuous, ethical, or good persons "live up to" moral standards. They "do what they should do." Unethical, immoral, or bad people fail to behave "like they ought to."
In popular understanding there is only one type of morality, one near universal standard for how people "ought to behave themselves"--at least broadly. Minor variations may of course be found from one ethnic, religious, or national group to another, but in general, accepted morality includes such primary principles as those stated in The Ten Commandments of Christianity: Thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, dishonor parents, etc. All behavior which falls outside accepted moral precepts is considered immoral, indecent, or wrong.
My premise here is that in reality there are two types of morality, two standards of right and wrong conduct which surround (exist apart from) any one individual. Although this second type of morality is commonly unlabeled except in negative terms of the first one (immoral, wrong, bad, or evil) or in non-ethical terms (such as, instincts, drives, urges, or desires), it is also a powerful set of directives with which every person must cope, like it or not. My intent here is to try to clarify this second "morality" and to consider how the two may be properly related to each other.
First, I needed names or distinguishing adjectives for differentiating the two. I have kept the same name (morality) and added different adjectives. For traditional morality I coin the adjective memetic, from the term meme, which is itself a fairly new name for social forces existing in all groups or communities of people. Memetic morality is my distinguishing name for codes of conduct which are commonly referred to only as "morality" (ethical or good and bad behavior), as though there were only one kind. For this second type being explored here I choose the familiar adjective genetic, and add the term genetic morality for a contrasting name.
morality is the type of ethics everyone
is familiar with, whether or not they follow or believe in it; genetic morality is
a new term for an ancient code of behavior which I think everyone deeply recognizes, but
which has, till now, gone mainly unnamed except in negative terms of the former or
biological names disassociated from morality.
A second premise is that while traditional morality has obviously been a powerful and perhaps necessary force in shaping civilization as we have come to know it, it also has many serious flaws, especially in regard to individual well-being or personal salvation in the midst of social groups which only recognize the one type of morality. We all reap the benefits of memetic morality; but, I submit, we also pay high personal prices for this one-sided approach to understanding and directing human behavior.
I propose here that recognizing both types of morality, honoring each, and artfully mixing the two in all social circumstances is a wiser approach to coping with the powerful forces of memes and genes which none of us ever lives without, at least for long. We have all learned about memetic morality since early childhood, while existing with its powerful forces; at the same time, we all arrive with innate knowledge of "genetic morality"--even if it has long gone unnamed and been generally suppressed by most societies since we left jungles and caves in the dark past.
My approach here, after coining the names, is to further distinguish the two types of morality, first as related to all individuals, then, more specifically, as related to males and females. We all share, I think, certain basic human directives, both meme and gene based; but then as men and women, with XY or XX chromosomes in each cell, we also share differing gender-based directives, both genetically and socially.
I skip over memetic morality because it is already well known, and focus mainly on genetic morality which is more unknown, suppressed, or otherwise kept in the darkness of human understanding, known only as "immorality" or "animal instincts." In broadest perspectives, genetic morality is characterized on the most primal end of a scale by urges toward survival and replication, and on the most advanced end of the same genetic scale by urges toward honest consciousness or "straight thinking."
Male "instincts" forming the basis of masculine genetic morality aimed at success in man's role in the universal human Drama of Reproduction can be summarized as a quest for ripe females. Female directives for success in the same dramatic process of human replication are summarized here as a search for rich males (at least one).
The latter section focuses on pragmatic issues of mixing these two types of morality which are so often contradictory on the surface. Traditionally, when only memetic morality is recognized and honored, the forces of genetic morality are confronted with negative judgments and broad attempts at suppression, even negation. Virtue is only achieved in this narrow perspective by success in "living up" to social morality and carefully denying or repressing contrasting forces of genetic morality.
After years of diligence in this latter quest I have finally concluded, at least for me, that the prices of memetic morality alone are excessive. I am now trying to recognize more clearly the genetic forces I have long tried to suppress and control (this writing, which is mainly pages from my journal, represents my effort). My personal aim is, as noted in general above, to see my instinctive directives clearly, to honor them equally, and to learn artful, even loving, mixing with memetic morals I have long know well (even when I failed to "live up to" them).
One last disclaimer: Aware of some of the challenges inherent in a venture of mixing moralities, in contrast with affirming one and trying to suppress the other, I note that this is essentially a sharing of my personal pilgrimage. Even recognizing "animal instincts" as genetic morality, let alone honoring and trying to mix the two, will certainly not be everyone's cup of tea. I share my thinking primarily as a means of personal clarification and learning to stand more openly with my honest beliefs. If it "turns you off," I hope any reader will simply flip to someone else's page rather than "putting down on me" for what I believe. After all is said and done, I still care for at least being accepted, if not loved.
There's good news and bad news (so what else is new?). The good news is that "genetic morality" affirms a path which is inherently exciting and may lead to heaven now rather than later. Becoming genetically moral, in addition to socially ethical, can lead to a kind of present tense well-being which is far more fun and satisfying than I have found in "memetic morality" alone.
The bad news is that primary instincts, the subject of genetic morality, are major problems in society, beginning with any human relationship with another person. A primary challenge of human history has been: how shall we deal with "base instincts" in civil circumstances. It turns out that the most powerful genetic forces--those related to survival and reproduction, plus the latest-to-evolve human possibility, namely, consciousness which allows us to "think honestly," are also the most difficult of our impulses to accommodate in society.
The historical answer to this challenge has long been: affirm values which promote group harmony (society) and suppress those which come from biological necessity. "Put up" on ways-of-acting which make socialization easier, and "put down" on instinctive urges which threaten social structures. Limit "virtue" to what seems to work best in relationships and groups, and judge primal instincts as "bad" if not evil.
And the systematizing of memetic morality, including attempted repression of genetic drives, has obviously worked. Otherwise, we'd still be in the jungle and caves, without computers, et al, like our ape cousins who are, genetically speaking, 98% like us. Who can argue with success?
But along with the wonders of civilization, including the effectiveness of social morality as we have all learned to know it, there are serious personal side-effects which regularly reflect in even more serious public effects (like Columbine or the Oklahoma City bombing, being memorialized today).
The first risks, those which have immediate costs in daily living, are, predictably, those which have most concerned me. The prices I have paid for attempted success in our prevailing one-sided morality are, I recognize in hindsight, immense. While blindly struggling with the challenges which I now see more clearly, I stumbled on to the moral stance which I am trying to articulate in these pages. No one ever told me, nor have I ever read, that there might be such a thing as "genetic morality," nor that mixing the two might be better than treating them like mortal enemies.
Even so, I am finding this to be true--at least for myself. I am much happier and more at peace now, after/while struggling with the alternate stance I affirm here, rather than burning precious energies in trying to be only memetically moral, as I have done for most of my life. I am also, I delight in realizing, more often capable of loving both myself and others than I ever was before. Not that I always do; but that I more often can!
Still the gamble. History, obviously, is on the side of memetic morality alone. The popular answer to the ancient human challenge of mixing genes and memes, a necessity no individual or group has yet been able to avoid, is to elevate memes and try to suppress/repress or at least control dangerous instincts which are still alive and well in us all. Perhaps the prices we pay in diminished personal well-being (salvation now, in my theology) are small in comparison to the values we get in workable societies (along with promises of heaven later). And it may also be that challenges inherent in facing, embracing, honoring, and mixing genetic urges with social demands are excessive--either not possible or not worth the price for many individuals.
Perhaps this challenge and gamble will be more clearly seen if I get specific now (as I will amplify in the following pages). The two most powerful and socially problematic of our genetic drives, namely, personal well-being ("selfishness") and self-replication ("sexiness") are, paradoxically, the most difficult in relationships and society because they also incline us toward some of the most powerful social no-nos--namely, stealing, killing, and "fooling around."
Probably the single most operative instinct is that toward getting necessary food and supplies, even when they "belong" to someone else. All animals easily and apparently without compunction "steal" from others when it comes to getting the necessities of life. They even kill, when functional, in quest of needed resources or self-protection (as when "cornered").
And, "God knows (as we say)," you can't have functional group harmony when stealing and killing are allowed.
But if theft and murder are bad, adultery can't be far behind when it comes to social stability. "Unfaithfulness" may not be as bad as killing, but in personal relationships it may be spiritually if not physically devastating. Consequently, controlling these socially dangerous urges has been both a personal and civil challenge since Day One out of the jungle. And suppression, making them morally as well as civilly wrong, has been the historical answer to these demands.
On the upper end of the evolutionary scale we find the human capacity for expanded consciousness, including the ability to reason sharply, make speech, and--and here's the rub, to "say what we think." Certainly theft, murder, and promiscuous sex are more outwardly dangerous, but, paradoxically (and less commonly recognized), "honest talk" is often even more threatening, especially in personal relationships (one aspect of social harmony), than are these outward acts.
But in combination, primal instincts coupled with later-to-evolve capacities--that is, steal/kill urges along with "say what you think" inclinations, become extremely dangerous human possibilities. No great wisdom was required to recognize long ago that these instincts, both old and new, require careful control if any relationship or group is to survive for long. The problem is: how shall we do it?
The traditional answer: memetic morality, along with social punishments and civil laws to support it.
In this context, I here affirm an alternate answer, one which involves honoring both genes and memes, along with the instincts and values inherent in each, and then mixing the two in pragmatic ways. I assume that this path has been followed by many before me, but I have never known of any to openly articulate some of the nitty gritty elements of its practice.
Maybe with good reasons--namely, that it is either won't work for groups (as in public/religious education), that it is "too hard" for individuals, or simply not everyone's cup of tea. In either case, there is an obvious gamble involved.
Specifically, the gamble is that evolution of human consciousness has advanced enough that we are now capable of holding instincts as well as ideas in mind space, thereby allowing a reasonable weighing of the two before any action is taken. This, of course, is an assumption yet to be proven by any extended study. Perhaps the suppression of "animal urges" in favor of affirming our younger and thus weaker social urges is still required for many individuals. Maybe it is yet too soon to try to affirm our older drives as a second "morality" for population in general.
I, obviously, have cast my lot with both "moralities" and the challenges of mixing them, rather than with the traditional single set of ethical standards. And, I am pleased, so far, with the results. Still, I begin by affirming the gamble which I know to be inherent in this new (to me) answer to our common ancient question, namely: how shall we cope with powerful internal urges, symbolized here in genes, and equally forceful external forces, named here as memes?
Maybe I am all wet. Or maybe I'm on to something good!
It's a gamble we all take-one way or the other.
This is a proposal for a new approach to dealing with genetics. With new genetic information emerging daily (cloned pigs yesterday), we find ourselves with only a negative policy about genetics in general. The potential value for improved health, i.e., animal transplants, is evident and already utilized; yet our ethical standards lag behind scientific discoveries.
I say "new approach" not because I think my proposal is original in practice; many, no doubt, have already seen and accepted what I propose. Yet I have never read of its open affirmation nor heard it articulated as I do here. Perhaps I should only say "new-to-me." It is, after all, confessional rather than preaching. At heart, before and past all proposals for others, I am writing about my own morality, the moral stance I have evolved for myself over a life time of struggling with ethics I acquired from society and those I viewed as practical but not commonly accepted by others.
I affirm my own experience as articulated here (it has been positive and freeing for me), and am audacious enough to commend it, at least for consideration, to some--but not all, others. My personal perspectives, projected here, are not for everyone, at least immediately. They are an ideal for society over an extended period of time, but not to be affirmed or "taught" to all persons now because of requirements essential for their positive activation (more about this later). Whereas it will perhaps be a useful construct for some who already practice it without conscious articulation, it could be dangerous for current society if adapted by individuals not yet ready to meet its demands.
Dangers of this proposed approach to genes for those who are not ready for its demands include: its becoming an excuse for blind rebellion against currently oppressive moral modes; an excuse for irresponsible "acting-out" on the basis of affirmed urges; risks of un-repressing powerful genetic forces before adequate consciousness has also been activated; an excuse for rejection of currently limited moral perspectives before reasonable alternatives (such as this) have been worked through.
But utilized by those who are more conscious than an average citizen, i.e, those who have either been in a form of therapy which invites expanded consciousness or who have otherwise given much energy to self-analysis, it may be affirming; or by those who have suffered from prevailing standards which are primarily repressive of all genetic forces and are ready for guidelines toward another way of living; or by secularists or religious rebels who do not (or no longer) accept prevailing moral principles as absolutes, but have not yet evolved a broader perspective (such as this) to replace traditional moral standards.
For brevity (and my own clarity) I use some terms not yet in common usage, i.e., memes and the adjective memetic. By memes I refer to social forces which exist and surround us, even as genes are biological forces which exist "in" us (for further clarification, see my other writings on GENES AND MEMES and MEN AND MEMES on my web page). I also use slang words, social obscenities, and many colloquialisms which may be offensive to some. These terms are chosen for two reasons: first, a shortage of readily available, socially accepted language for concepts I am attempting to clarify; and secondly, the clarity with which some off-scene and grammatically questionable terms have for immediate understanding. I want to be clear and succinct, and therefore run the risk of offense.
If my language--or the ideas I articulate with them are bothersome, I suggest that any reader stop whenever they feel like it (as though you wouldn=t anyway!). I have no wish to offend or disturb, but rather to propose an overall approach which I have found to be more functional with less bad side effects than the type of morality I learned in society. Still, as I said, it's not for everyone--just yet.
One further clarification: all of the paragraphs which follow were originally written for myself in my daily journal. Out of long habit and careers as a preacher and counselor, my personal style tends to have a "for others" bent; but I know better, even when I sound "preachery." The pages were written as I struggled to become conscious of my thinking on the subject. I have made some grammatical corrections to my spontaneous writings, and made a few attempts organize them into a logical order, which one should do when writing is truly for readers. Even so, skipping around, as the list of CONTENTS on the left makes easily possible, may be more fitted to any reader's interest. In either case, the entire document is more correctly seen as my confessions being shared--that is, what I happen to think on the subject of genetic morality.
Traditionally, perspectives on morality are limited to social or memetic morality alone. Forces which appear outside the realm of memes (socio/religious standards), namely, genetic urges, are all viewed as "im-moral (not-moral-at-all)" at best and anti-social or sociopathic at worst.
My chosen title, Genetic Morality, is a name for a currently dark place in common seeing. It is a name for a presently un-named (or not recognized) phenomenon. Surely the forces of genes ("nature") are well recognized, but viewing them from a perspective of morals is what may be new for many. When recognized, they are commonly seen as bad, even evil (of the devil), especially when they conflict with prevailing social morality (as is often the case). To view genes as "moral" at all will be a mental leap for many, especially in society which only sees them as "immoral."
Here are some of the observations and premises which will be amplified in the following pages:
1. We all live with (among) two powerful sets of forces--genes and memes (bodily "drives" or "instincts" and social values or rules).
2. Popularly, only the latter (social directives) are seen as moral; all other forces are left with labels of "immoral (not-moral)" or "amoral (without morals)."
3. This proposal adds the
term genetic morality for a concept which begins with the premise that genes have
their own morality, even as do memes, with guiding principles and specific directives of
4. A speculative premise is that memetic morals (the only kind most people consciously know about) have primarily evolved to control their older and more powerful distant cousins, genes.
5. The proposal posits that
co-existence, as is in fact the real situation, is more pragmatic than judging one to be
universally "good" and the other relatively "bad." Here each is recognized, and a workable balance
between the two is taken to be better in the long run than promoting spiritual
schizophrenia as an answer for living with both. This pragmatic perspective views both
moralities as real and necessary, but neither as sacred or better than the other, or
capable of independent existence alone.
6. Mixing the two reasonably is proposed rather than elevating one and denigrating the other, or worshiping one and condemning the other.
7. A premise of genetic morality is that we human beings are more than our animal cousins, but not better than. Evolution as understood in science is its basis, as contrasted with creationism as accepted in many religions. The 98% correlation of our genes with those of primates is taken to affirm our genetic kinship with all "lower creatures"--lower, again, taken to only mean lesser rather than qualitatively poorer. This philosophy and theology--with its dual moralities being amplified here, is about the ultimate in nature, the latest gifts of evolution, not about some imagined form of existence in any way set apart or separable from nature except in extent of capacities. It is about the culmination of genes so far, rather about some immaterial entity, such as a soul or ego, even a self, assumed to have existence independent of a genetic heritage.
Morality as popularly understood is memetic in origin--that is, all the "morals" which are taught in society (in family, school, and religion) are rooted in social values. Morals in the natural world are an unknown subject (actually, a non-subject). Morality rooted in genes rather than memes is commonly presumed to be non-existent. "Just acting like an animal (presumably animals are genetically moved)" is assumed to be "without morals." If a person acts outside of learned morality, violating any social rules, such as, those implied in "step on a crack, break your mother's back," etc., he is said to "have no morals."
I am positing here that there is a whole arena of morality--that is, set-of-guidelines for behavior, which is rooted in genes rather than memes, which is natural rather than unnatural, animal rather than "human," ingrained rather than learned. Although this is a non-subject in society (and especially in religion, when it can be distinguished from society), I am coming to see that it is crucially important in good-living in the here and now--that is, in any natural theology as distinguished from a "religious" theology.
Long ago I realized that most of the morals I knew were socially rooted, that they were based on my mother's values which were themselves acquired from her family, society, and religion. For example, shame of body (or its functions), I thought, was not natural, but learned from others. Although it is commonly assumed that Adam and Eve put fig leaves on their genitals, implying shame of body, I once had the weird notion (since we had no way of actually knowing where they put the fig leaves) that they may have placed them on their heads! I was realizing then that the "sin" in the Garden of Eden was somehow related to knowing (eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) rather than sex. In my reasoning it seemed more logical, if not acceptable, to imagine that they were covering their brains where assumed knowledge of right and wrong would originate.
But such speculations aside, it became clear to me that all the contents of conscience--the acts, feelings, thoughts, or words, which "made me feel guilty," which caused me to "be ashamed of myself," was socially based, mainly learned from my mother, et al. None of it seemed natural or "real" to me. Animals, for instance, were certainly not ashamed of their bodies, even of their sexuality. So, long ago I coined the phrase, "false guilt," to try to distinguish most of the shame I felt about things which offended parents, preachers, teachers, and society in general, from any "real" guilt which I thought might come from sins or faults which were more than social errors only.
The term was confusing because "false guilt" certainly feels "real." There was no debate about the shame I felt if "caught naked" or doing any deed which offended my mother, et al. Surely it was real to me. Even so, I recognized back then that the shames which seemed most real to me were actually learned rather than natural. They did not seem to exist in the world of nature, in the animal kingdom apart from human beings. They were"unreal" or "false" in the sense of non-existent in reality apart from human society.
But I never got much further than noting these differences; I never tried to see or articulate any alternative morality which existed apart from what we learn in society--from memes rather than genes. I did recognize that in popular beliefs there is no such thing as "morality" apart from what we learn from other people. If one were not "moral" as socially defined, then he was "immoral"--which means, without-any-morals. To transgress any meme (and I clearly saw how local many of them were, for instance, existing in Saline but not in Baton Rouge, or in my family but not in other families) was to be automatically guilty. And one with no allegiance to socially-defined values was "a-moral"--that is, moral-less (having none at all).
As I evolved over time a "natural theology (For further reading on Natural Theology see the index to my web page)," I explored many other dimensions of traditional beliefs from the perspective of "reality" as contrasted with "religion." I theologized about God, Jesus, Satan, good and evil, sin and salvation, etc.; but I never got much further than recognizing "false guilt" and thereby implying that there is, in fact, a phenomenon which can properly be called "true" or "real guilt"--in other words, a morality emerging from genes rather than memes alone.
Now I want to do that.
First, my premises: 1) There are two distinct types of morality (not just one, as I was taught or learned-by-osmosis); the first, and only accepted morality, is based on social values, which themselves vary from family to family, place to place, and time to time, yet are assumed to have universal, cross-cultural, even God-given sources. 2) The second type of morality, which I am exploring here, is natural rather than social, genetic rather than memetic. It is based on truly ingrained reality rather than socially learned "reality." We are born with this second type of genetic morality; we must acquire the first, familiar type.
When I call natural morality "real" rather than" learned," I do not infer that social values are not also "real" in the sense of truly existing "in the real world." Certainly civilization is as real as the jungle; human society is as real as the animal kingdom (all "lower forms" of life). My life is even more identified with and dependent on the social groups to which I belong than it is to my jungle heritage from long ago. Just as my long ago recognized "false guilt" was "really felt," that is, existed-in-reality, so meme-based morals are also "real." But my identifying genetic morality with "reality"--the "real world" apart from social structures, is also a legitimate distinction. Both are "real" in the sense of existing as actual perceptions; but genetic values are "more real" in that they are more universal in nature than are memetic morals which are acquired after birth.
We have recently learned that we share some 98% of our genes with the primates. We are, genetically speaking, almost "just like apes." It is this shared gene-pool which I take to be the source of the morality I am exploring here.
One other distinction may help clarify this difference. Although socio-religious beliefs assume that we all have, unless we are morally destitute, an ingrained "conscience," which truly "knows right from wrong," closer examination reveals (at least to me) that such consciences are socially informed, or, I believe, in effect "learned from our mothers (et al)." Only "totally depraved" people, those who can be labeled as "sociopaths," are "without a conscience." Animals, it is assumed in this perspective, "do not have a conscience."
I think this traditional perspective is wrong. I believe that there is a natural conscience just as there is a natural morality--existent in genes rather than memes only. But, within the popular view, "conscience" defined as an inherent moral gyroscope which lets us know right from wrong as socially or religiously determined, is entirely acquired, not at all inherited. Thus, using traditional definitions only, I may distinguish my subject here by saying that all the "little voices within" which we have learned to call "conscience" are unnatural and not at all real apart from social training. "A stiff prick," for example, and all other natural forms, "has no conscience,"--that is, as commonly understood.
I think this is wrong, as I will amplify next; but for now I note that what most people think of as their "conscience" is entirely different from the "voices" which are natural. If we could trace all the elements in a traditional conscience back to their source we would, I think, find them acquired from Mother's Smile, or more often, Mother's Frown--as symbols of a vast array of other osmosis-type learnings we all experience, even before the times of conscious memory. My "conscience" is more like a now-ingrained "voice of my mother (and other social authorities)" than it is inherent in my being. Without mothers and other social directors none of us would, I surmise, "have a conscience" at all. Babies, I observe, don=t seem to have one "until they are taught."
But be this as it may, my only point here is to distinguish "conscience" as commonly understood from "real" genetic morality. The familiar "small voice within" which "tells me what is right and wrong" is, I conclude, from my memes, not my genes.
Summary so far: There are two distinctively different types of morality, one rooted in genes, the other in memes; one is natural in the literal sense (of nature), the other "unnatural" or from society rather than the animal world. This difference is commonly unrecognized in every-day human experience. We all know much about memetic morality, that which is socially acquired, but little if anything has been written about genetic morality. My subject here is essentially a non-subject in popular thought. We are all taught about social morals, but who ever had a lesson in natural morality?
But to note two types of morality, and to recognize them as essentially different, is not to say that they are inherently at odds with each other. They are not, I think, "mortal enemies" even though they are vastly different. In practice, in everyday experience, they often overlap and appear as the same. But in principle they are distinctively at odds. In fact, the guiding principles of each are, I think, diametrically opposed to each other. What is right in memetic morals is often wrong in genetic morality; and vice versa. Practice may look very much the same in ordinary life situations, but principles are radically different.
Next I want to explore these similarities and differences.
First, similarities: because the ultimate values of nature and of society, namely, survival, reproduction, and enhancement of living, are quite similar, the ways we go about fulfilling each are also much alike. Animals, for example, value their own types of family structures, just as do we humans. All creatures (and life forms) "try to stay alive" and replicate ourselves. Nothing, as best we can tell "wants to die," at least ahead of its natural time. Thus "protecting ourselves" from outside destruction and "getting supplies" for staying alive are common goals both with animals and people, in nature and in society. Mother cats are as diligent in caring for their young as are mother humans.
Out of these and other shared values we (animals and people) have evolved morals which support and serve our common goals. Consequently, in many ways and in everyday circumstances, genetic and memetic moralities look much the same.
But, as we all know, looks can be deceiving. "You can=t tell a book by its cover." And so with these two types of morality. Although they often look much the same, beneath their covers, on the level of "principles" we might say, their contrasts become much more apparent. In fact, when I examine what I assume to be the guiding principles of each, taking accepted human morals to correspond with underlying principles, I find them to be 180 degrees different in most regards. Although practice of each looks much the same, supportive principles (deducted from nature and taught by society) seem to be radically unalike.
Since nature does not write nor teach in human languages, the whole idea of "principles of nature" is obviously a human projection. I can only imagine (or deduct from data) what, if any, are the principles of Mother Nature. Those of Mother Evans, and other humans, are far easier to determine. "They" make them quite clear: Thou shalt not kill, steal, commit adultery, etc., etc. But accepting that I must surmise natural principles while I can more clearly discern social guidelines, I can proceed with my comparisons.
In broadest strokes, the most distinct differences in principle which I can yet determine between genes and memes are related to self and sex, to "directives" about individual and species survival. Multitudes of specific morals can all be traced back to these two primary life arenas: 1) How shall we stay alive?, and 2) How shall we reproduce ourselves? What about self? What about sex? Animals and humans alike share these same concerns; but our life principles about them are radically different.
Because I know more about human morality, I begin here. If all other diverse memetic morals could be reduced to only two they might be stated as: 1) Don=t be selfish; be helpful and caring with others; put other people first, yourself last; and 2) Don=t be sexy; have children, of course, but otherwise be chaste, faithful-to-one mate, and certainly not "immoral"--which in common understanding mostly means adulterous, or "fooling around."
Hundreds of other specific moral directives can, I think, be carefully traced back to these two primary guidelines for social behavior today. Memes, more than all else, say: 1) Be unselfish, and 2) Be relatively unsexual. A selfless celibate like Mother Theresa personifies the ultimate in meme morality. She gave her life in helping others (being unselfish) and restricted her sexiness (if at all) to barest minimum. Or, Jesus, as a male example of highest social morality, never "fooled around" and even sacrificed his own life for others. He was the ultimate in unselfish, unsexual living.
Surely society must have a practical amount of reproduction. Without a continual supply of citizens and soldiers, etc., it cannot survive. And this necessarily requires some sex; but, and this is the crucial principle: only within the confines of other social structures (marriage) and only in ways approved by society at large. Also a certain minimal amount of "taking care of yourself" is required. We can=t but be "a little bit selfish." Yet even with these bare necessities in the background, Virgin Mary (i.e., Theresa) and Chaste Jesus are our grand icons--that is, we idolize being almost totally unselfish and as near to unsexy as we can get, while having enough babies to keep our social groups and religions alive.
In summary; social morality bubbles out to all dimensions of life, but finally boils down to: 1) Don=t be selfish, and 2) Don=t be sexy.
But in sharp contrast, the principles of nature, as best I can summarize them, are: 1) Be selfing*, and 2) Be sexy. If Mother Nature instructs her children at all, she must tell us: "Go out there and above all else take care of yourself. Be as selfing as you can be. And in the process replicate yourself as much as possible. Have as many babies as you can."
Nothing is more natural than being "selfish (trying to get what I want)" and being sexy. Surely She, via our genes, directs us in many other specific paths; but finally Mother Nature and Mother Evans, et al, have, in principle, directed me in opposing ways. My older Mother tells me one thing; my newer one taught me something else. When I am true to Mother Nature, I am untrue to her who birthed me. And vice versa. If I obey the one, I disobey the other--or so it seems when I only "listen to what I=m told" and go by the apparent principles of each.
* I use the coined word selfing here, rather than the familiar selfish, because I also want to imply a mode which is distinguishable from the common meaning of selfish. Mother Nature, I conclude, indeed instructs her creatures to be deeply moved by self-interests (hence my selfing), but not necessarily to be selfish (as socially/religiously defined). Unfortunately society has no comparable word which is devoid of social judgments. Everyone "just knows" that its good to be selfless and bad to be selfish. We do currently affirm an emerging theme which supports "being yourself" and encourages a certain amount of "self-esteem," but these cautious affirmations are carefully restricted by the older and deeper moral messages which place most all selfing endeavors in the category of selfish. It is more than coincidental or creative, I think, that I must coin a word to name "good selfishness." Amongst memes, there is no such creature. Our best heroes are self-sacrificial, certainly not selfish.
Another distinction between these two types of morality lies in their overall sources; genetic morality is "inward," that is, comes from within one's own skin--literally, of course, from genes. Memetic morality, in contrast, is all from "outside"--from sources apart from one's individual self. We are born with genetic morality; it is "a part of who we are." But we must acquire the kind of morality with which we are all so familiar, from society via other people.
Even though such acquirals may themselves become ingrained, as in "conscience" or ingested voices-from-without (beginning with mothers), still their true source is non-genetic. After the ingested voices, the deeply learned directives, the "cracks which will break your mother's back," are thoroughly taken in, even below the level of conscious thinking, we may "forget" where they came from. Often we even identify them with our selves, as though we truly, on our own, are inwardly directed to, say, not steal, or to put others first; still, their original source is "out there." Careful analysis may often trace the roots of even our strongest voices of conscience to something we learned from our parents or otherwise picked up from early social structures.
The point though is that even when outward directives have been so thoroughly "swallowed" so long ago that all memory of where they came from is gone, so that we truly believe that "my conscience bothers me about...," still, I conclude, all such specifics of memetic morality are originally from "out there."
Conversely, all genetic morals are more easily recognized as "arising within" or being rooted in our purer selves.
To note the 180 degree difference between genetic and memetic principles, i.e., be "selfish" versus be unselfish, is, as noted before, not to posit the practice of each in direct opposition also. In fact, most ordinary activation of the opposing principles of genes is quite in harmony with good practice of contradictory social messages. Being selfing, for example, and being unselfish often look very much alike. A mother bear tending her cubs will likely not appear any more "selfish" than will a human mother with her children. Both are relatively "selfless" in appearance, and regularly "sacrifice self interests" in favor of their offspring. A squirrel "selfishly" gathering nuts before winter is not necessarily different in practice from a "good moral husband" gathering supplies for his own family in winter. Selfing and "taking care of yourself and your own" aren't that easy to distinguish.
Also thoroughly sexual animals, gene-bent on maximum replication, will often appear to be quite chaste, faithful, and "disinterested in sex," even as "good Christian citizens" who are "of highest moral character." Circumstances in nature are as relevant as circumstances in the city--which results in amazingly similar, morally induced, behaviors between, say, apes and human beings.
Thus in practice, all principles laid aside, good genetic morality and good memetic morality are not inherently different. We can=t distinguish them by initial observation only.
Guilt is the fact of violating a moral imperative. If I transgress a moral directive, such as, "Thou shalt not steal," then I am guilty of immorality in this arena. Shame is the inward feeling associated with such an act of guilt. I would feel "ashamed of myself" if I were caught stealing--or committing adultery, or with my pants down--since each of these acts violates some section of the social morality code.
A sense of shame is like an internal gyroscope which wobbles and makes one feel "off center" whenever he violates a code ("steps on a crack"). Learning to "feel guilty" is a good way of being forewarned about the social dangers of breaking a group's codes of moral behavior.
To be a healthy member of any social group is to have so ingrained the moral directives which structure that group that any guilt which occurs from breaking one of its rules is accompanied by associated shame. A good group member "feels ashamed" whenever he is immoral, that is, violates the principles which form the group's sense of morality.
In a family group, for instance, where good members eat all the food on their plates, go to the bathroom in secret, never appear naked, and pick up their shoes before going to bed at night, one who leaves food uneaten, forgets to close the bathroom door, is "caught exposed," or gets in bed before he remembers that his shoes are still on the living room floor, will appropriately "feel ashamed of himself" in proportion to the place of the offense on the hierarchical scale. In my family "being caught naked" was worse than leaving shoes on the floor, so I learned to feel more shame about the former than the latter.
Shame, on analysis, results from "good learning" or deeply ingraining knowledge of the moral principles which structure whatever groups one belongs to. When that which at first exists only "out there," such as, a prohibition against nudity, is in effect "taken in (into one's conscience)," then one begins to feel ashamed along with the guilt of the offense. Before any moral principle is "ingested" into sub-conscious awareness, as when a young child takes his diaper or clothes off, there is no feeling of shame. Only after the family rule is "swallowed" into his sense of himself does such a child begin to "feel guilty" when someone "catches him with his pants down."
so on with other moral issues in one's given social groups. The "better the citizen
(or child)," the better he learns the rules of his or her group. A really good child,
for instance, ingests family rules so deeply that he automatically "feels ashamed" whenever he violates one of them--even if no
one "catches him." Best learners
are those who "feel most ashamed of
themselves" for code violations. "Bad children"--those who don=t learn quickly or well, never inculcate family rules
and consequently feel less (or no) shame for violations. In fact, they may even "feel
proud of themselves
Morality, obviously, also comes in degrees. Some offenses are worse than others. Stealing, for instance, is bad; but killing is worse. Public nudity is bad, but adultery is worse. Leaving food on one's plate was bad in my family, but hurting others or playing with yourself was far worse. Consequently, given awareness of the gradations of offenses in any group, the appropriate degrees of associated shame are also graded. Ideally one's degrees of felt guilt are proportionate to the social grading of offenses. One should thus feel less shame for lessor offenses (like leaving the door open when one goes out to play) and more shame for greater offenses (such as, hitting one's sister or biting one's mother).
But in summary, guilt is the act of breaking a moral code; shame is the associated feeling which serves as a warning about the dangers of the offense. Degrees of each vary, but the phenomenon is the same: "Step on a crack, break your mother's back"--and, of course, "feel bad about it." Or, break a commandment, like "Thou shalt not steal," and feel ashamed of yourself for doing so.
I also note that shame is a powerful force in undermining the quality of personal living. I find it impossible to truly enjoy life when I am feeling guilt about anything. Guilt is one of the surest of all killers of individual happiness. Whatever I feel ashamed of myself, I cannot fully participate in whatever endeavors evoke my feelings of guilt. I, consequently devote massive efforts to avoiding breaking any of the principles of morality which structure my social life.
This spelling out of the obvious is to set the stage for looking more clearly at what is most often hidden to me--and, I surmise, to countless others, namely, issues of guilt and shame as related to genetic morality. Evidently many or us "good people (good boys and girls, good club members, good citizens)" feel much guilt when we violate the principles and codes of memetic (social) morality; but what about genetic morality? How might the two be related? And, more relevantly still, what about pragmatics? What is the point of this whole exploration in terms of daily living?
These questions confront me next.
First, I reiterate my theory, since it is, so far as I know, not commonly recognized and apparently not believed in by anyone I know. I have never read about this subject nor heard it discussed even casually. Although I believe it to be true, I must call it a theory, given its non-subject status in ordinary understanding of morality. I think that popular understanding of morality ends at the edge of social codes. All genetic morality, if indeed there is such, is commonly viewed as "immorality (no-morality)"--or worse. Animals, we commonly assume, "have no morals." One who breaks a strong social code, such as, that against "illicit" sexual behavior, is often described as "just like an animal."
I posit however that just as there is obviously a phenomenon of considerable consequence which is commonly recognized as guilt related to social morality, with concomitant feelings of shame in those "good members" of a group who subscribe to the given memetic morality, so there is (or should be) a comparable guilt and sense of shame associated with genetic morality (if indeed such exists, as I theorize).
I believe that one who is deeply in touch (self-identified) with his or her genetic structures will feel a sense of shame about violation of genetic morality just as does one who is strongly identified with any social group and its related memetic morality. But how can I see and understand such a genetic guilt?
First, I think that I have learned about social guilts so deeply that most all of my awareness of shame is related to memetic morality. I do not often consciously feel what I imagine "real (about genes rather than memes)" guilt would be like had I not so long repressed its urges in service of my devotion to social morality. I "feel very ashamed" of breaking (or even being tempted to) the strong codes of social morality; but, regrettably, I do not often "feel bad about" violating comparable genetic codes. In fact, I can easily break gene directives and feel nothing at all. Because they are also often at odds with meme codes, I may even "feel proud of myself" when I have, in reality, obeyed memes and violated genes.
I digress to speculate about some of my habitual projections which I think may have been compensations for these inward denials. First, a gender generalization: I observe that females in general seem far more attuned to genetic directives although they outwardly act in compliance with social memes. Conversely, males, who seem to more easily break social rules, may be less in touch with bodily integrity, less sensitive, for example, to instincts for self-tending, even self-survival.
these facts, if true, are at the basis of some of my typical "admiration of women," along with the predictable
opposites, namely judgments and "put downs." My ambivalence toward femininity may be
partially related to projecting awareness of my own suppressed genetic attention on to
those who seem to do a better job of it. For example, I think (generalizing again) that in
spite of nurturing acts, of appearing to "be so concerned about others,"
Maybe I have admired/resented females for doing a better job of what I have regularly failed at, namely, carefully listening to genetic voices while at the same time acting in accord with memetic directives. Perhaps jealousy is more at the heart of my female adoration/condemnation than other more obvious motives.
Whatever the case, I note for openers that I am less consciously aware of genetic codes and more regularly attuned to memetic morality; therefore I must theorize more than confess when I next explore what I mostly imagine to be the content of "real guilt" as contrasted with the many "false guilts" which I experience in regard to ingrained (literally, >in-minded=) social rules.
Earlier I observed that the most basic principles of genetic morality seem to be in direct opposition to those of social morality. Where memes say "be unselfish" and "take care of others first," genes incline us to "be selfing" and "tend to yourself first." And when memes are telling us to "be chaste until marriage" genes are saying, "go ahead and have fun now"--that is, be sexual rather than be "a good girl."
From these primary differences in principles, I deduct that predictable urges to practice what is in accord with them will follow, that is, that we will naturally "want to do" what is fitting with genetic principles, and consequently "feel guilty" whenever we go contrary to genetic urges.
For instance, one element of healthy selfing is protecting and defending oneself from outside dangers, much as any wild animal will obviously do. Such self-protection begins with cautious defense when threatened and culminates in vicious counter-attack when cornered, even to the point of killing a dangerous "enemy" to one's own survival. With genes, if it comes down to you or me, its me. If there's room (and supplies) enough for both, fine; but otherwise, I will survive, whatever it takes.
So let's begin, for a specific example, with one of the strongest of all rules of social morality, namely, "Thou shalt not kill." Once this rule becomes ingrained we think that "killing is wrong," and certainly feel guilty if we get so angry that we "want to kill someone." Killing, under this social code, is cause for great shame. To kill "without remorse" is one of the surest paths to social condemnation if not incarceration and the death penalty.
But conversely, in nature, and I conclude, in human genetics, killing itself is morally neutral--not inherently bad. In the jungle (where genetics prevail) it's often "kill or be killed." The "big fish eat the little fish," and killing for food or self-protection is simply the "law of the jungle," that is, the way of genetic survival. The "law" out there is: "Survival of the fittest." Killing itself, therefore, has no inherent moral connotations apart from circumstances. In society, in contrast, we do make allowances for circumstances, such as, self-defense (or "by reason of insanity," etc.); but in the main, any killing when "not absolutely necessary (or legally permitted)" is a sign of moral bankruptcy. Only the a-moral (i.e., crazy psychopaths) could kill without guilt.
In broadest summary, if we imagine a many-branched tree with only two major tap roots, we may compare the primal sources, the life line, of these two forms of morality. The diverse specific ethical directives, the branches of the tree, are rooted in these two contradictory sets of tap roots. Memetic directives are rooted in: 1) be unselfish, and 2) be relatively unsexual, while the genetic directives have opposing tap roots; they say, in contrast, 1) be as selfing as possible, and 2) reproduce as often as you can.
OF THE TREES
If the roots are contradictory, what about the branches? How may we see the specific moral directives which grow and branch out from these differing bases?
In trying to see and articulate these differences, I begin by noting that memetic morals are far easier to point out because of the nature of their sources. Memetic morality is, as I noted earlier, from "out there," from society, while genetic morality is from "in here." "Out there" messages are most easily communicated by words and language; hence memetic directives are commonly found in verbal forms which we can easily "think about." "In here" messages, conversely, are non-verbal, existing in dark right brain (and lower brain stem) reservoirs where words have little traffic.
Consequently we may easily "know about"--that is, consciously think about memetic morals in what seems to be an objective sense. Literally, they do exist apart from any individual and are, in that sense, objective. Gene knowledge, again in sharp contrast, is always subjective; it is from within and exists entirely apart from the dimensions of left brain language. Certainly we may know both, but our ways-of-knowing each are radically different.
In general, public morals are mediated to personal awareness through verbal languages--spoken and written, plus other more subtle forms of non-verbal communication from "out there." Genetic morals, in contrast, are mediated to awareness entirely through non-verbal, and always internal, means. We know about social morals mainly because we "have been told (or otherwise learned 'by osmosis' from social circumstances)"; we know about genetic morals through the evolved media of internal desire.
Key descriptive words for each are: should and would, or "ought to" and "want to." We know about public morals via learned "should do's" but about private morals by what we "would do (if only we could!)." When we are being highly moral in the social sense we are "doing everything we ought to do." When we are being true to genetic morals, we are "doing exactly what we want to do." In summary, memetic morals are mediated to personal awareness through conscious knowledge of "what we should do" in each specific situation; genetic morals "come to awareness" through nonscious knowledge mainly recognized as inward desires or "wants."
In colloquial understanding, the words feelings and emotions may be added to the list of ways we bring genetic morals into consciousness. We "just feel like doing" what our personified genes "want to do." Emotions (literally meaning that-which-moves-us) are prime movers for good genetic morality. Anger, for example, is often a strong clue for genetic directions about self-protection. But I must hedge my words here, because colloquial understanding of "feelings" and "emotions" is not necessarily the same at text book definitions. Although "feel like doing" implies actual emotions, often an inward urge is simply that--an instinctive urge, which we simply use "feeling language" to express.
And even the word emotions needs further clarification in order to understand its proper application to genetic morals. Literal bodily emotions are our best clues to genetic morals. Mainly these are four: glad/sad plus mad/scared. But many other "psychological" emotions now cloud the basic e-motional scene. We have many "feelings" which are far afield from the basic bodily four--such as, "getting our feelings hurt," "feeling upset (or frustrated)," "feeling like you don=t like me," etc., which are rooted in psychological rather than genetic facts.
This expanded use of the words feelings and emotions makes their use as clues to genetic morality complicated. In general we may say that true genetic desires are mediated to awareness through feelings (as in, "I feel like fucking you"), but on the other hand many other so-called "feelings" are completely unrelated to biological urges (such as, "I feel like you are mad at me").
I leave this tricky use of emotional language for clues to instincts with this inconclusive statement: "real feelings"--when they come from actual biological drives, are good guidelines for genetic morality; but many so-called "emotions" are unconnected with instincts, coming more from ingrained "shoulds" than from given "woulds."
The relevance of these differences here, before I move to consider practical ramifications, is in regard to the difficulty of "putting genes into words." Memetic morality is easily worded because it comes to us primarily through language; but genetic morality exists entirely apart from ("below") any language; yet, if I am to "think about it" and write about it as I am doing here, I have no choice but to translate un-languaged urges into worded forms. I may know them clearly through the "information" of desire and pure emotions, but I can only think/write clearly if I translate "dark knowledge" into the light of language--which I attempt next.
The specific contents of "dark desires" are best worded, I conclude, with metaphors and colloquial expressions rather than dictionary-type "good English." The branches of the genetic tree which are nourished by the two tap roots of selfingness and sexuality (be yourself and replicate yourself) are as diverse as those more familiar morals which come from their own contrasting roots. But since public morals are well known, I concentrate here mostly on their genetic counterparts which are more often kept in the dark for good and practical social reasons.
I need to "say them" for myself, in order to bring them fuller into the light of my own consciousness. Mostly now, I still recognize them mainly in others, and in my own reactions which I know intellectually are rooted more in suppression/projection than in honest response. I "get mad" at others, I see in hindsight, when they come closer to mirroring my own similar-but-denied traits--in this case, genetic urges which I am yet to fully embrace and only dimly recognize when they are personified in others.
In the comparisons which follow I am trying to translate biological impulses which are inherently un-languaged (existing before and below the human capacity for symbolism) into their "foreign language" of words. Although the terms which I choose are necessarily literal, I mean them mostly in either their colloquial sense, or as a contrast from the memetic expressions which they oppose. Gene "language" is best understood, I conclude, when seen mirrored in meme language which is truly "speakable."
Just as I see my genetic self best when mirrored "out there," so I may say my genetic self best in language from "out there." I am trying, that is, to get what is and always remains "in the dark" of deep-brain knowledge "into the light" of conscious understanding. And for this, I take liberties with language in my attempt at clarification.
The most basic and consistent of all distinctions lie in the previously noted tap roots related to self. The gene root is forever "saying" be selfing--tend to yourself, take care of yourself, protect yourself, enhance yourself, put yourself first, last, and always, and so on. This is in contrast with the meme root which continually says: be for others--help others, take care of others, put others first, serve others, don=t be selfish, put yourself last, and so on.
From the perspective of memes, genes are "totally selfish"; in fact, a popular book on genetics is called The Selfish Gene. This is carefully in keeping with common understanding. My coined word selfing is to help me see beyond the social judgments inevitably attached to all pure self-attention. But for others yet to find a similar word for themselves, "selfish" is the most descriptive of all common words I know.
Gene morals are "selfish"; meme morals are "unselfish." Genes are for "taking care of Number One," while memes are for "taking care of others." In the memetic world, self-attention is only affirmed after full attention has been given to others, and only then when it does not conflict with a vast host of other moral directives which are indirectly related to others. For example, nudity (one essential expression of bodily selfing) is socially acceptable when carefully restricted to aloneness; but as soon as any possible eye of others just might be present, then any acceptance of nakedness disappears immediately.
Selfing is further spelled out in arenas related to self-protection and self-enhancement. In the genetic world survival most often and consistently focuses on self-protection--from any danger, harm, abuse, or "being eaten" by anything "out there." If creatures are always attentive to anything, it is to protecting themselves first. And so with natural human creatures. "Don=t get hurt," we might say, is prime genetic incentive. This urge is obvious with physical danger, such as, being killed or eaten, but is equally operative in regard to emotional dangers as are now more existent in civilization. We are in far less physical danger in society than we are in spiritual danger. Body is fairly protected by social structures, but soul is fair game everywhere, even in family and religious circumstances which are ostensibly "out to help you."
But even if genes are mostly evolved to focus on physical dangers, given our far longer time in the jungle than in the city, they are still out best clues to social dangers to self and soul, as well as body. When and if I am truly in touch with my genetic morals, I am extremely attentive to emotional as well as physical threats which are ever-present in current society. Such self-attention is to be distinguished from the look-a-like ego focus which is far more evident in the public world. Genetics are concerned with self-protection, both physical and spiritual, but not with ego-maintenance. The latter is purely psychological. And so with other images which are only of public concern. "What they think of you" is certainly a real and legitimate social issue; but it is relatively incidental in pure self-tending. What-I-am-thinking, for instance, matters far more to genes than does memetic concern with "their opinions of me."
Self-enhancement comes next; once threats to self, both physical and emotional, are warded off, genes incline us toward fulfilling our needs and wants--to getting supplies for self-maintenance (food, clothing, and shelter) and then getting the "extras" which make living better. First we are directed to build and maintain our "nests," and then to "feather" them. After survival needs are met, we want to enhance and beautify what we have, including what we do. First, they say, get and keep "the necessities (adequate goods for staying alive)," then attend to "the luxuries," the "icing on the cake." (I must use many quotes to indicate the colloquial or metaphorical meaning of these genetic "words.")
Memes also allow for decorations as well as necessities; but mostly when they support other social structures, such as, economics. Art, for example, in nature is "for itself alone," that is, "for the fun of making it." But when society supports art, which it rarely (or poorly) does, it must be in service of other more pressing social issues.
Taking the word in its colloquial sense, genetic morality can be summarized as play in contrast with work. Genes are always "at play," even when they are striving diligently to reach some goal, when, we might say from a social standpoint, they "are working at it." Just as we easily see that small children are "always playing," and older ones still "want to play all the time," so it is with genes for all ages.
Genetic urges are to "have fun" rather than to"work hard"--which is a major social directive. Even when genetic pleasures involve forceful effort, such outpourings of energy are seen ("felt to be") fun rather than work. Work as commonly understood, as in, "doing what you should to be a productive member of society" (i.e., in "supporting your family," or, "raising your children"), is a major social theme, in fact the only one which gets consistent affirmation.
Some play is allowed in society, especially in children too young to work, and for adults after all productive work is done (as, "on the weekends," or, "while on vacation"); but in the meantime, which is most of the time, only work is rewarded in society. Play is simply an unnecessary "luxury," and dangerous at that. "This is so much fun, it must be sinful!"
with genes the case is totally opposite. Genes have no concern with any "work"
which is not more clearly perceived as "play" which is inherently satisfying, and therefore
pleasurable to one doing it. We project and speak of
This observation is rooted in a fact which I have called the "genius of genetics," namely, the artful evolving of pleasure into all creaturely functions which serve their successful existence and replication. Some magically how, evolution has succeeded in making "what works" also "fun to do." And conversely, what "doesn't work" is not only "not fun," but often painful as well. Consequently, "having fun" ("play") is productively ingrained in genetic morality. But "work" isn't. Work is only virtuous when memes say it is. And genes always "know better."
Closely related (probably the same) is the genetic inclination to be self-expressive--that is, to "say who we are" in outward forms, such as, words, deeds, and artistic endeavors. Literally, I think, we instinctively create ourselves; we say and do things which give honest, true expression to who-we-are. When we are "being ourselves," which is rare in society which only rewards social conformity, not honest expression (even though it tacitly affirms "honesty"), we, as a Glenn Yarborough song words it, let our hearts be heard in every word we speak, and I add, in everything we do. We live, that is, self-expressively. The genetic life process, as I have written about elsewhere, can be called The Creative Process because creating ourselves out of the substance of body is an inherent genetic urge. We simply want to be, become, and "make something of ourselves"--literally, not just figuratively as is implied in the same social directive.
The second strongest genetic urge, after self-survival, is self-replication; after drives to "stay alive" come instincts for reproduction. The "will to live" is closely followed (if not the same as) by the "urge to reproduce." We may think of this second-strongest moral imperative as "reproducing ourselves," but literally it is about gene-replication, not "self" duplication. "We"--as illusionary selves, are literally "at service of" chemical structures which comprise bodies which we think of as housing separable "selves" (or souls). Genes themselves are metaphors for distinguishable segments of DNA which are also names for various chemical compounds finally reducible to atoms on the way to quarks, and so on; but for speech purposes we must stop somewhere, and genes are as good as any. So, for clarifying, we may think symbolically of "self-replication," but, bottom line, the inclination of genes, is genetic copying, not making more of our language-based selves.
This point of this nit-picking distinction becomes relevant later when I come to clarifying gender differences in "reproductive urges." Once I recognize that "I" am only a metaphor or language-form for what is literally "my genes" at work in replicating themselves, then some of the apparent conflicts between men and women when we come to being sexual are easily understood (as is so often not so in daily life between "selves").
But before confronting apparent gender differences, I note that both men and women alike, after "self survival" is as assured as possible, soon turn our attention to matters of reproduction--to "making and raising babies." Gender differences become immediately apparent, but shared goals are first. My choice of SEXY as a title reflects my male bias, but if taken to represent all aspects of reproduction, as I intend it, then any male chauvinism may be bypassed on the way to seeing the subject more clearly.
First, I reaffirm the primary distinctions between genetic and memetic morality. Obviously they both overlap in some major ways; but more critically, they are sharply different in many others. Both genes and memes are inherently concerned with replication. Just as genes need new bodies for "everlasting life," so memes (as symbols for social groups) require a continuing supply of new bodies to carry them on too. The Catholic church, for example, needs to continually keep a new supply (I know this sounds crass) of new Catholics to replace those who are dying; consequently church morality supports "having children" and opposes birth control and abortion whenever they interfere with Catholic perpetuity. And so it is with all families, clans, ethnic, and social groups (as well as other religions). Sex in service of society is necessarily an issue of memetic morality.
But not just "sex for sex's sake," or reproduction "for the fun of it," or "fooling around for pleasure," or "indiscriminate fornication." Whenever sex is brought into service of social groups, as it necessarily is in minimal degrees, it is always carefully governed and controlled by the social authorities who must regretfully (if you listen to them) strive to manage and "keep it clean" and hidden in its secret places (and ways).
With genetics, even with the overlap in practice (both are concerned with reproduction itself), the attitude, stance, and practice is radically at odds with all existing social structures known to me. Sex, in the realm of nature, is more like a celebration, an exaltation, a primal and essential function which lies at the apex of creaturely existence. It is pursued openly, honored, and engaged in as a "high art form," a source of reasonable pride and self-satisfaction, certainly nothing "to be ashamed of" or associated with guilt, embarrassment, and to be carefully kept in the dark hidden from all others, especially children who are socially assumed to be "damaged" by any conscious knowledge of sex.
In natural religions, procreation is at the heart of all rituals, celebrations, and other forms of worship--this in sharp contrast with social religions where the association of sex and sin is among the deepest of all connections. Even when "family values" are touted by present day religious groups (natural religions are all a thing of the past), family sex remains a darkly held secret which children "must be protected from" and adults can only approach through a cloak of well orchestrated shame.
Overlaps between memetic and genetic moralities do exist in the arena of reproduction; but the shared territory is purely physical, devoid of the joyful, celebratory, and therefore spiritual aspects of natural sex. Both aim at "making more of us," but along the way genes and memes take obviously different routes. Only at the points of basic baby-making essentials do the divergent ways of each happen to occasionally cross.
It is immensely obvious to me that memetic morality is primarily conveyed through words, while genetic principles come to awareness via feelings--and conversely, that words are relatively unconnected with instincts, while feelings are equally disconnected from social morality. Genes, I might say, "don=t care what you think," while memes "don=t care what you feel." Biology is as unmoved by language as is society by emotions. In society I am to be good no matter what I feel; but in my body I cannot be good when I ignore or suppress "how I feel."
I place this latter expression in quotes to imply its metaphorical meaning along with its obvious literal meaning. "Feelings," insofar as genetics are concerned, are both "real" and psychological--that is, messages of genetic morality are brought to awareness both through the basic 4 "animal" feelings (glad/sad, mad/scared) and through metaphors rooted in psychology rather than body alone. For example, genes "speak to us" via bodily emotions, such as anger (when adrenaline is flowing), but also by psychological (metaphorical) "feelings" like: "I feel like you are mad at me."
Physical anger is easy to understand, but with psychological anger, as in the latter statement, one must de-code the metaphor in order to get the meaning. Literally, one who is thinking clearly might say instead: "I think (reason) that you are upset with me," but in the heat of deep brain sensitivity the metaphorical expression is more predictable. "Feel like" understood metaphorically--"to me it is as though you are mad at me," or, "it seems to me that...," is quite clear; but once logic enters the scene, without taking metaphors into account, such a declaration becomes both unreasonable and problematic in communication. One can=t literally feel what another is feeling, and the metaphor itself is not a true emotion as the word feel implies.
But logic aside, biological morality is best brought to awareness through literal emotions first, and then, for refined awareness, through deep brain sensitivities best worded in metaphors such as, "I feel like such and such." For one who is truly in contact with such comprehensive perceptions, specific, logical words are rarely available at the time. If the awareness is to be expressed, given its vague source, it can best be done with words related to "intuition," a "sixth sense," or metaphors such as feels like.
The data which goes into such "impressions" as reading the emotions of another person is so diverse and comprehensive, involving attention to minute bits of non-verbal information (like facial expressions, tone of voice, bodily stance, as well as previous actions and personal predictions based on one's own experience, etc., etc.) that voicing such knowledge is challenging at best and impossible at worse. If pressed for explanation of "why do you feel that way?" one is commonly at a loss for words about something that is surely known. Oh, he or she may lamely, explain unsuccessfully, "I just feel it in my bones," or, "a little birdie told me so."
With these two usages of language in mind, literal emotions and metaphorical "feelings," I can now go ahead clarifying this difference in types of morality. In sharp contrast with this dependency on feeling-type words for bringing genetic morality into consciousness, the opposite is true for understanding social morality which is easily conveyed through words devoid of any emotional considerations. In fact, memetic morality may best be seen as word-based (a product of language) rather than emotion-based (a product of "feelings").
Taking these two words in their colloquial senses, as in, "a man's word is his bond," or, "a woman's heart is her bond," I may further distinguish these two modes or morality. Not only are memetic ethics best conveyed through literal words, they may also be recognized in the attachment of one's sense-of-self with words-said--as in, verbal statements, declarations, and especially, oaths or vows. This phenomenon of self-identified-with-words is evidenced in the personal dedication one may have after "giving his word." "I've given my word and now I can=t go back on it." Thus identified, one may even fight for "what I said I=d do." His sense of personal honor, indeed self-integrity, is tied up with a verbal declaration. Such men, for example, in times past would duel, even to death, to "protect their honor"--that is, some verbal statement, declaration, or worded principle they had previously affirmed by mouth.
We, fortunately, duel less today with pistols, et al, but the phenomenon of self-identification with words (and language, as in, "principles," "beliefs," and ideology of any type) is still alive and well, especially among males. Men yet tend to get attached to what we say (to our words) more than to what we feel. Try to imagine a man having a duel over a feeling!
I delay dealing with gender issues till later, but for now these well-known male/female differences illustrate my effort to distinguish biological and social moralities. When we note the more common female identification with heart or actions rather than words ("When you=re in love, show me," pines the female tired of male words in My Fair Lady), we are recognizing this difference in moralities as well. Heart, understood colloquially rather than literally, is about "feelings" or "emotional" realities which are essentially unconnected and totally different from a verbal expression, any literal word or symbolic word (as in representing one's self). When a woman is "being true to her heart" she is in conscious touch with her "feelings" and is as dedicated to "standing up for how she feels" as is a male who duels about what he or someone else has said.
Ignoring gender, these sharply contrasting modes of self-identification and motivation for action point clearly toward basic differences between memetic and genetic moralities. With memes, what is said is what counts; with genes what is felt (both literally and figuratively) is what counts. Meme morality comes through left-brain words (ideas, beliefs, etc.), while gene morality comes through right-brain "feelings (emotions, intuitions, etc.)." A man who would become genetically moral must first "get in touch with his feelings," else he will be self-limited to memetic morality--if at all.
This next statement will be less easily understood, especially by females, but the cross-gender situation is, I think, equally true: A woman who would become truly moral in a social sense must first "get in touch with her ideas," else she will be self-limited to genetic morals alone. The difficulty of this latter parallel statement lies in the commonly accepted notion that females are normally more moral than males, that males are by nature less moral (inclined to "fool around") than are females who are naturally more "faithful." But this latter observation is based on what I consider to be two common misunderstandings: first, a very limited concept of morality (mostly about sexual activity), and secondly, the extent of prevailing female nonsciousness.
The two most distinctive elements of genetic morality are the lower and upper ends of the evolution scale: primal instincts for survival and replication on one end, and conscious thinking on the other. The two are but discernable ends of a continuum which is not separable in reality; that is, consciousness itself, like all other human capacities, has evolved as an attribute or servant of its primal instinctive ancestors. We may see the two--instincts and consciousness, as distinct only in mind's eye; actually they remain intimately connected in reality.
Thrill and thinking are the roots and blossom of genetic morality. The powerful inclinations which form the thrust of what we "should do," genetically speaking, may be brought into focus by looking at what I believe are the most primal and latest of evolution's gifts to human beings.
Beginning at our most primal roots: the "pleasure reflex"--perhaps the deepest instinctual urge which lies at the basis of cellular division and extends to our most complex combination of cells, can be summarized as conscious humans know it with the word thrill. We are geared at every level of structural being to "seek pleasure (and avoid pain)," to be excited rather than bored--or, as I summarize here, to be thrilled.
On a pleasure continuum which begins with mild "good feelings" and moves on through "fun" and "excitement" on the way toward ecstasy, genes gear us to seek a wide variety of thrills. As I have observed elsewhere, I think the genius of evolution has lain in attaching pleasure to what works, in making genetic well-being "feel good." And intimately connected with pleasure, being thrilled in all its degrees, lies the generation of power. Excitement and creation of energy cannot in practice even be distinguished. "Feeling good" moves us.
But if seeking thrills lies at the root of genetic morality, thinking honestly must be the final blossom at the apex of the genetic plant. We are first of all directed to "feel good," to look for pleasure, to have fun, to seek thrills; but finally we are also naturally inclined to form congruent mental concepts out of the wealth of perceptions which make up the materials of pleasure. The Creative Process, my summary term for the natural direction of all human experience, begins with perception, especially pleasurable ones, and leads through imaging (Stage 2) on the way toward conceiving or "thinking" (Stage 3). Consciously thinking straight, although the top of the evolutionary process, is, I conclude, as genetically inclined as is feeling good. (For more on Creative Process, see my page index.)
By thinking, as I amplify elsewhere, I mean mental honesty--allowing perceptions to flow into images, concepts, and embodiment, thereby completing the Creative Process. It is as natural to "be reasonable"--that is, to "make sense" of experience as it is to activate perception capacities which allow for experience. And, as though to complete an evolutional circle, such honest thinking, like pleasure itself, feels good and generates power also.
In summary, the thrill capacity and the thinking capacity are the roots and blossom of human evolution so far. Most primally we seek pleasure; most optimally we think honestly. Both processes generate power, supplying the energy necessary for human well-being.
The problem with these directives of genetic morality is that each flies in the face of social stability. Although they properly guide us toward individual and species survival, they both are dangerous to social structures. The powers generated by thrills and thinking easily lead to "acting-out" in society. Consequently, society smartly suppresses thrill-seeking which is not carefully confined by existing social structures. Alcohol and drugs, for example, avenues toward quick thrills, are socially dangerous and reasonably condemned. Sexual thrills, lying at the apex of genetic evolution, being the ultimate biological ecstasy, are also suppressed for the same reasons.
Work rather than play is a social virtue, because the inclinations toward fun as well as the energies generated by pleasure soon become problematic in group stability. "Idle hands," as many have been taught, "are the devil's workshop." And when anything gets very pleasurable the common feeling: "this is so much fun, it must be evil" may kick in. Great ecstasy is still held as a theoretical virtue in some religious sects, but in practice all but minimal thrill seeking is severely limited in good citizenship as well as religious membership.
And if thrill seeking is sharply curtailed in society, honest thinking must be even more suppressed. Because all social groups are structured on established beliefs (both religious and secular), straight thinking based on genetically directed experience is a constant threat. We learn so early to "think the party line" of our families, communities, churches, and ethnic groups, that we commonly forget that "our" thoughts are parroted. Once established beliefs have become ingrained, they, like conscience, seem to be innate. When sacred beliefs (religious or secular) enter the mind, we truly believe we are thinking for ourselves.
This latter observation, the challenges of honest thinking, making sense of personal experience rather than believing what we are told, has been extremely difficult for me to confront. I have always believed I was "thinking for myself," only to discover years later that my assumed-to-be personal thoughts were often but an early learned "party line," or else a reactionary rebellion against established beliefs. In either case, what has long passed in my awareness for "honesty thinking" is, I now see, often but another fiction I have learned to live with.
When I come closer to natural sense-making, to thinking "as little children do," I realize how unnatural most all social talk and public thinking is. At least 95% of "polite conversation" is, I now think, contrived--that is, a suppression of genetic thinking. I believe that public awareness of suppressed thrill seeking is far greater than the equally dangerous denials of honest thinking in all social groups I have known. If society is ill equipped to deal with greater thrills, it must be even more threatened by honest thinking.
(This is a second version,
written later while I was still trying to see this distinction more clearly.)
Thrills and thinking represent the two most distinctive and powerful elements in genetic powers. Thrills lie at the most primal level of genetic inclinations, while thinking is at their highest. The urge toward seeking thrill is the oldest of our genetic capacities; that toward thinking is the youngest. Many other urges lie between these two powerful set of bodily directives, but these two are good windows for becoming aware of the entire scope of genetic initiatives.
By thrills I mean the genetic inclination toward pleasure or "feeling good." Genes have evolved knowledge of what works best for their own replication as embodied in human beings (and all other life forms); and this knowledge is conveyed to awareness via feelings of pleasure. Pleasure itself can be graded from small to great, from minor to maximum, from "feels okay" to "feels great," from "that's nice" to "it's wonderful," from minor elation to ecstasy. Pleasure knowledge--inherently knowing "what feels (looks, smells, tastes, sounds) good," we might say, represents the best wisdom of genes. They, as it were, tell us what they know about what is best for good living by making it "feel good,"--that is, by sensations of pleasure.
And pleasure is recognized in its highest form by thrills. We are thrilled by that which is most pleasurable to us, beginning with single sense satisfactions, like what "tastes good," to multiple sense pleasures which we call "fun," "excitement," "joy," or, as I summarize here, thrilling. Thrills then vary from small pleasures, such as, tasting ripe fruit, to engulfing experiences, like sexual orgasms.
We are geared, we might say, to "having fun" or seeking thrills as guidelines for activating the wisdom of genes. And, the more the merrier.
The relevance of this observation here is that one of the best clues to understanding genetic morality is through attention to genetic thrills--to "what feels good," is "fun," and otherwise "brings us personal pleasure." From the standpoint of older genes alone, "if it looks good, tastes good, smells good, feels good, then it is good. And the more thrilling it is, the better it is.
A secondary aspect of "being thrilled" is the production of power which is inherent in the process of "thrilling." Pleasure generates energy. "Do ability"--that is, power essential for action, is created in the experiences of "getting thrills" or "having a good time." "Feeling good," as we all know, energizes us. In contrast, "feeling bad" leaves no energy to do anything. Existentially speaking, this fact that power is generated in thrill is wonderful and personally "fulfilling"; but, and here's the rub, these same energies activated in "getting turned on" are among the most difficult for society to manage. What is literally good for self, namely, power-for-action generated via pleasure, is dangerous, even bad, for social structures among which we all find ourselves. Such energies, as society says, lead to "acting-out," that is, toward doing unsociable things which may be personally satisfying, but are problematic for group harmony.
More about this problem of conflicts in interest later, but for now I simply want to be aware of the fact that thrills (seeking greater degrees of pleasure) represent some of the oldest and deepest genetic knowledge of what is best for an organism's survival and well being.
At the lowest level of the continuum of pleasure, grading from small sense satisfactions to engulfing thrills like sexual orgasm, comes the matter of safety. Even before "feels good" can begin, "being safe" must be attended to. Survival which finds its fruition in salvation (the best of everything) begins with security--avoiding danger or threat to personal existence. Before I can seek pleasure, I must be safe (or believe myself to be so). This means that the most primal element in the larger capacity for thrill seeking is the inclination to "stay alive" at all costs. Breathing, for example, precedes and takes precedence over "breathlessness"--one sign of excitement. Only when breath, and other necessities summarized as "food, clothing, and shelter," are secure can one become actively involved in seeking the larger degrees of pleasure.
We don=t, for example, "feel like making love" when we have a stomach ache, because pain as a clue to survival danger, takes genetic preference over pleasure as a sign of greater well-being. The point: activation of thrill capacity begins with attention to safety (security, or freedom from immediate danger) and then escalates to increasing degrees of pleasure. Salvation, both secular and religious, begins with survival and its maintenance. First, genes incline us to protect our individuality from any outside danger to life itself, summarized here as safety; and then speedily on the heels of security, we instinctively turn to enhancing survival with added degrees of thrill. Once we=re fed and safe, then we want to have fun--at least insofar as genes are concerned.
If "feeling good" is at the oldest and deepest end of the genetic continuum, then "thinking good" is at the latest end of the same scale of instinctive capacities. Thinking, we might say, is the apex of thrilling. Just as we are genetically inclined to seek thrills, so we are directed by the youngest cousins of these oldest ancestors to think honestly. The latest-to-evolve capacity for consciousness, the crowning jewel of nonsciousness, is summarized here with the single word thinking.
But I mean it more in its colloquial senses than in the dictionary defined ways which favor male-type logic or "reason" over intuitive or expansive "thinking," which is more common of women than of men. By thinking I mean "making sense of your experience," "adding up what you have perceived" in a consistent or reasonable pattern. Thinking, as I intend the word here, is as much a capacity of small children as of learned adults--in fact, it is more likely to occur in "uneducated" children than in graduate school adults.
Thinking is but the third natural step in the Creative Process (See page index for more on this process) of being human. First we perceive; then we image (give shape to perceptions); and next we think or de-code our images into ideas. We transform perceptions into conceptions. Activating the gift of consciousness, the capacity for holding perceptions and ideas in mind space, we shape them together in consistent and concordant patterns--"thoughts" which "add up" or "make sense" given the data available for forming them. Perhaps honesty is the most descriptive trait of such natural thinking. When one is thinking in this natural way, then one is giving honest (true to his/her own experience) mental shapes to actual perceptions.
For example, a child whose sibling (or parent) is getting in his way, interfering with personal satisfactions, might honestly say (or think) "I wish you were dead." Such an expression, though socially unacceptable, might honestly represent his true desires at the time. Or, of a relative who is emotionally threatening, such an honest child might think: "Uncle Charlie is mean." Parents may try to explain away such spontaneous ideas with more socially acceptable reasons, but children still tend to "think honestly" as I am trying to understand the term here.
Summary: thinking is mental honesty, that is, allowing perceptions to flow into images which are then translated into concepts (ideas) which are consistent with the data which went into their formations--that is, are honest for the person who creates the thought. Thinking, as I understand this apex human capacity at the upper end of the thrill continuum, is "being reasonable" or "making sense" in the colloquial senses of these terms.
My point in trying to clarify thrills and thinking is that I believe these two human capacities which arise as the most primal and advanced stages of evolution give us the best clues to the nature of genes themselves. Scientific study will eventually lead to spelling out genetic codes in more detailed fashion, but I speculate that these two words will still summarize the major directives of all human genes. What we are thrilled by and what we think about--when each is honest, are our best clues to genetic wisdom--the basis of genetic morality.
Translated into actions: when I want to be embodied--that is, to exist in closest correlation with my genetic heritage as it may be distinguished from my social connections, I seek thrills (grading from "feels good" to ecstasy) and I think honestly. I "try to have fun" and I "try to be honest with myself." I "look for pleasure" and I "think about whatever comes to mind."
Genetic morality, which I have summarized earlier in terms of urges for physical survival and reproduction, for selfing and sexuality, can also be viewed from the mental standpoint as urges or inclinations toward thrills and thinking. In the processes of self-survival and self-replication, we are genetically directed to seek thrills and to think honestly.
What is natural thinking? How would we think were it not for memes? Without the addition of memetic thought patterns, what would be the nature of genes at work in mental activity? If I return to "thinking like an animal" or a small child, what would/will my mind activity be like? These are my clues and speculations so far:
First, natural thinking is not contrived. Whatever appears on the stage of mind is what one thinks about. Mental activity is a given, rather than something one chooses to do or not do. Any subject, without discrimination, is appropriate and accepted; if it "comes to mind" it is entertained freely. There is no prejudice against any notion or for another; no suppression, certainly no repression, takes place. Furthermore subjects change freely, naturally, without clinging or force.
There is no judgment in natural thinking. Discrimination--discerning this from that, and recognizing a near infinite number of differing qualities of each this and that, is at the heart of natural thinking; but judging is not. All judging which takes perceptions off the level plane of human experience, putting some up and others down, some good and others bad, some right and others wrong, etc. etc., is unnatural and non-existent in genetic thinking. Certainly all creatures with brains recognize, indeed survive and thrive, by making sharp discernments; but, and this is the crucial point here: without judging what they discern. Instead, data acquired via the capacity for discerning this from that is utilized in making pragmatic decisions about what-to-do (or not-do), but sans judgment of any perception. Mother Nature, I surmise, knows all her children, and all the "laws of nature," but none are "better" or "worse" (judgments) than any other. There is no judgment in the jungle, that is, in the natural world discriminations reign supreme, sans judgment. Whatever evolves or happens in the natural world is sharply discerned, but always "just is"--without being put up or down on.
Also, the natural world is inherently miraculous, but devoid of miracles.
There are no sacred ideas, only thinking--the on-going process of mental activity which easily shifts from one notion to another. Thus there is no "right thinking," only honest thinking. Nor is the language which shapes any thought "right or wrong," "good or bad." Thoughts are shaped in whatever words come to mind for the thinker. There are, for example, no obscene words in natural thinking. The only criterion for language is its fittingness to what the thinker has in mind. The "best" word may be four-letter or multi-syllabled, in the dictionary or not. Since the only function of natural language is to give shape to thoughts, whatever word works best is the one that is used.
The process of natural thinking is making sense of experience, of trying to fit together data that is diverse and not inherently connected into one harmonious whole. Most primally, sense data--perceptions via the five primary bodily senses, is compared and weighed against each other. How does what I see here fit with what I see there? How is, or is not, the tree related to the water? How are the branches related to the trunk?
Then "time" (literally, knowledge of changes in processes) enters in. The capacity to hold prior perceptions "in mind space," that is, in consciousness, allows comparing present experience with past experience. How does what I see now compare to what I saw yesterday? How does my current sensation differ from previous sensations in the similar circumstances? At the same time, space awareness is further data to be considered in comparing sensations. Where did this perception come from? Is this sight closer or further than that? Does this smell seem stronger than that?
Spatial recognitions also allow for size discriminations. How does the size of this object in space compare to the size of that one? Which is larger, which is smaller? Then when time and space or mixed in awareness, size changes in time become discernable. Is it the same size now as yesterday? Furthermore data from different senses can be compared. How do the size of the object and the sound it makes compare? Is this animal's noise louder or softer than that animal's sounds?
(In stating these attributes which I observe about natural thinking, I, limited to writing in English, have no choice but to use time and space words which are themselves non-existent in nature itself. More about this later.)
Natural "sense-making" is always reasonable and without rationalization--that is, data is weighed in accord with actual perceptions. No attempt is made to color or reshape images of experience into forms other than what they naturally seem to be. Reasons are simply what they appear to be. There is no reason to contrive reasons, that is, to create or "make up" untrue reasons. The "real reason" is always good enough.
Because natural thinking is inherently personal, that is, involves a weighting of one's personal experience, sensations that have come to one who is thinking, reasoning is always limited to "what makes sense to me," that is, what fits in with my own sensations. Honest sense-making may or may not make sense to any other person; but by nature of itself, it "makes sense to me." My own bodily sensations, expanded from simple sense data (from the basic five) to include "feelings (emotions)" and memories, are the material for good genetic sense making.
But one of the earliest sense-summaries which all creatures make must be the recognition that deception is practical in relating to others. What I think and what they think are obviously at odds on many occasions. And to mix these two conflicting notions, for instance, of what I "should do," I am faced with the decision of how to do it. When what I want and what they want from me are not the same, what am I to do? The obvious answer naturally calls for deception. To mix the two, I must hold both mine and theirs in mind space and arrive at some functional resolution of these opposites (whenever they are different), and then make a move which takes both into account. Even without names or language for this complicated process I must try to fool others without at the same time fooling myself--that is, I must hide my honest perceptions or desires, while appearing to "go along" with theirs. I must, that is, deceive them without deceiving myself at the same time.
When natural thinking of one individual is mixed with the thinking of another (or others), it seems to me that deception is the order of the day. Since our individual experiences are as different as our fingerprints, individual thinking, when done honestly, is also unique. What one person honestly thinks, given his different perceptions and experiences, and what any other equally honest person thinks, are almost certain to be different. In order to mix the two, as community requires, compromise is almost always called for. Hence the universal birth of pretending, of acting like what is true is not true, of saying one thing and meaning another, or trying to fool others without fooling oneself, occurs naturally.
Summary: Above all else, genetic thinking is reasonable--that is, all available data is entertained, accepted, and weighted together in an attempt to find the most compatible summary. Given what I know first hand, what sense can/do I make from this personal information? Anything which is unreasonable, which doesn't fit congruently with prior knowledge, is excluded in genetic thinking. "If it doesn't make sense to me, I don=t believe it," at least when I think genetically.
Memetic thinking, on the other hand, has no such requirement. Indeed the purest and best of memetic thoughts are often the most unreasonable. Instead of trying to "make sense" or be reasonable, in memetic thinking one only tries to make up reasons to support pre-accepted conclusions. For example, if a mother tells something which doesn't make sense to a child, the child simply takes mother's statement as true and then begins to construct reasons which would support this accepted-but-irrational statement.
If one's religious group proffers a belief which doesn't add up, for example, that Jesus walked on water, then in memetic thinking one learns or accepts this notion as truth, but then applies his mental capacities in making up reasons which would add a degree of sense to an otherwise irrational idea. Perhaps Jesus had magical powers to suspend the laws of gravity; or maybe he was standing on a submerged log which others could not see; or maybe this is a miracle which one should just "accept on faith" even though it doesn't make sense.
Technically, this process of creating reasons which are incongruent with personal experience is known as rationalization. The natural process of reasoning--of putting diverse bits of personal data together into one fitting whole, is suspended in favor of making up quasi-logical "reasons" to support some conclusion which on its own is out of harmony (doesn't make sense) with what one already knows. The process of fitting in acceptably with a social group (beginning with parents) is supported by suspending the natural capacity for genetic reasoning in favor of the socially accepted process of rationalizing.
Genetic thinking is given--that is, natural or inherent, while memetic thinking is learned from others. Babies are born with capacities for genetic thinking, and apparently begin thinking in this mode early in life. Memetic thinking, in contrast, is not inherited. Although the same brain structures are utilized in both modes, they are applied differently. With genetic thinking one simply "does what comes naturally," that is, allows the brain to work in its given way. Just as there is a natural way of breathing and swallowing, so with thinking.
But memetic thinking only begins when inherited brain capacities are applied to grasping the thinking of others rather than activating what is given. Instead of (or in addition to) "thinking one's own thoughts," memetic thinking shifts to discerning and incorporating the thoughts of others. Inclinations which would otherwise go to "making sense" of one's own experience are directed toward the notions or sense of others, especially, authority figures, such as, mother and father, in the beginning.
Memetic thinking begins with learning just what the beliefs, ideas, and "thinking" of others actually is. What, for example, does mother think about any given subject? What does she believe I should do? After one learns a particular notion from "out there," mental energies are diverted from genetic thinking to following its directives rather than discerning one's own wishes.
Instead of, "What do I want or choose to do?," one asks, "What do they want me to do?" The thinking of others is soon incorporated under the general umbrella of should or ought. The prevailing question of memetic thinking then becomes: what should I do? What do I want to do (directive from genetic thinking) is replaced by: what ought I to do? Instead of trying to figure out what I think on a particular subject, I then, when I think memetically, try to discern what "they" think--which is generally taken as what is "right" or what one "is supposed to think" about that subject.
Genetic thinking, since it involves personal sense making, is always creative--that is, thoughts are constructed by the individual doing genetic thinking. Conceptions are created from the actual perceptions of one who is thinking thusly. In contrast, memetic thinking is contrived or "made up." The individual appears to be thinking for himself, but is, in reality, using his brain powers to figure out either what others may be thinking or what the "right" (as socially determined) answers are. When a thought is finally completed and/or stated, it then represents one's best determination of external notions on that subject. If done well, such a thought conforms to the "party line" or beliefs of others.
Certainly thinking, in its literal sense of brain activity, goes on, but the mode of that thinking is contrived to discern an outside answer rather than to create one's own opinion based on personal perceptions or experience.
Genetic thinking is always creation-in-process. Each genetic thought is an honest current summary of data-to-date--that is, each notion created from past and present experience is a temporary conclusion representing best sense available. Since human experience is on-going, data coming next will then be weighed in with all prior conclusions. It may support or contradict or require revision of previous notions. In either case, no genetic thought is ever rigid or not subject to change, even dropping when contrary data is received. There are, in genetic thinking, no permanent beliefs which are not subject to revision if/when new information is received.
Memetic thinking, in contrast, is always rigid, fixed, and usually viewed as permanent. The "right answers" are assumed to be objectively so, and thus to "always be true." "The truth" is an apt title for memetic thinking; in fact, it is seldom recognized as "just someone's thinking." More often it is taken to be "gospel truth" or "right" within itself. One's relationship with such memetic ideas is only through accepting or rejecting them.
Genetic thinking is more clearly seen as "personal opinion" or "the way I see things" than as objective "truth." The truth of this type of mental activity is recognized as "true for me," regardless of what anyone else may or may not think.
Memetic thoughts, usually seen as "the truth" or "the right answers," exist independently of any individual and are always acquired from "out there"--that is, from other persons, either by word of mouth or word on page. Memetic "truth" is passed from person to person, or is written down and passed from generation to generation. We may acquire knowledge of memetic thinking from reading, going to school, or listening to what others say. Memetic thinking is the standard trade of traditional education and religion. Knowledge or beliefs of others are passed on and learned by new memetic thinkers. The sense or reasonableness of any memetic thought is totally irrelevant to an individual who accepts or adopts it.
Genetic thoughts, in contrast, can never be gotten from "out there"--either by word of mouth or by reading. No amount of public education or "book learning" can give one even the smallest degree of genetic thinking. Always natural thinking is given or done within the skin of a single individual. No one else can do genetic thinking for anyone. It can only be done by a person being honest about his own experience, adding up what he has "learned for himself."
Data for genetic thinking certainly includes available memetic thoughts, just as other perceptual information gained directly through the senses; but, and this is the critical difference: what is heard or read from "out there" has no sacred status in genetic thinking. It is simply one more source of information--often valuable and heavily weighed in the absence of personal experience in its arena, but still no more valuable than sense data.
Experientially speaking, pleasure is pleasure. Whatever feels good feels good. But on analysis, there are distinctively different types of pleasure, each with its own predictable consequences. Genetic pleasure ends one way; memetic pleasure in an entirely way.
First, what are the differences? Genetic pleasure is inherent in the activation of genetic capacities. As noted before, I think the genius of evolution is the incoding of pleasure with whatever proves in time to work best for genetic survival and replication. It "feels good," genetically speaking, because it serves some genetic purpose well. Conversely, pain, or what "feels bad," is what goes against some genetic grain.
Technically, memetic pleasure can be described in the same way. Memes offer rewards for meme compliance just as do genes. It "feels good" to follow memetic directives just as it does to activate genetic instincts. But here the comparison ends. Whereas genetic pleasures are physically rooted, memetic pleasures are psychologically based. The first involve bodily capacities; the second come from mental configurations. Genetic pleasures are "in your skin," whereas memetic "good feelings" are "all in your head."
Psychological pleasures themselves may be subdivided into two categories: first, those associated with compliance to memetic standards--with "being good," socially speaking. If, for instance, a child obeys his mother (her meme standards) she is likely to smile or otherwise show her approval; he then "feels good" in the light of her affirmation--like a "good boy." Other public affirmations, such as, friendships, social positions, and awards, come from being friendly, polite, helpful, or otherwise living up to social standards--being a "good person" or "good citizen," according to prevailing memes.
Conversely, others find psychological pleasure in rebelling against social standards, by being "bad children" or "bad citizens." If, for example, a mother tells such a child to do so and so, the child "feels good" about disobeying, by acting in an opposing manner. This form of feeling good about rebellion is sometimes called "perverse pleasure." Nevertheless, "feels good is feels good"; so, all in the ball park of psychological pleasure, both compliance and rebellion are sources of memetic pleasure.
Genetic pleasure is inherent in the activation of human capacities; it is therefore present tense--in the event of the activation itself. For instance, seeing (one human capacity) is inherently fun; hearing is pleasurable; smelling is fun; and so are the events which combine senses in operation. The pleasure lies or is found/experienced in whatever capacities are being activated, singular or in combination.
Memetic pleasure, conversely, is for something; it is goal related rather than presence related. Memetic pleasure, for example, is found in "living up to (reaching a goal)" some social principle--such as, "being good" or any of its elements (like: efficient, on time, polite, helping people, obeying laws, etc.). In this meme mode of trying to "feel good," I aim, usually without thinking, at striving for something, to reach a particular goal which is determined by memes. For instance, I have acquired the principle of eating all the food on my plate ("remember the starving children in China"). I also acquired the habit of trying to finish each part of my food at the same time, rather than eating one type at the time, as many others do. I therefore take pleasure (memetic) in eating everything on my plate and having the last bite be a combination of each food on my plate.
Genetic pleasure, in contrast, lies in the events of tasting, smelling, and eating--no principles involved. The bodily sensations, including an appropriate quantity, are the source of pleasure. Stopping "when enough is enough," for example, is more fun than "eating properly."
The fulfillment of genetic pleasure is in the event itself. The end result is physical satisfaction or bodily ease (relaxation). The process of being pleasured normally involves a build up of energies which culminate in some degree of climax (easiest to see in sexual pleasures where orgasm is the climax), followed by the additional pleasure of relaxed ease preceding some other pleasurable activity.
Memetic pleasure, in contrast, being psychologically rather than physically rooted, results in various psychological states, all of which are biologically dangerous. The most common results are: pride, shame, and stress. When I experience the memetic pleasure of reaching some goal, such as, being good or efficient or helpful or winning, then I inevitably feel proud of myself. Self-righteousness is, as best I can tell, an inherent characteristic of successful compliance with any memetic goal. However, because "excessive pride" is also socially condemned, one must often cloak self-righteousness with socially acceptable humility. Thus memetic pleasure experienced in successfully reaching any goal commonly leads to pride (a religious sin) which is often cloaked with a false sense of humility.
Or, if pleasure is taken in rebellion rather than compliance, in doing the opposite of what is socially approved, then shame (the flip side of pride), is likely to follow. I may have an immediate sense of delight in my "perverse pleasures," but soon I am likely to feel "ashamed of myself." Just as guilt follows failure to "live up" to accepted principles, so psychological shame is predictable when my pleasurable successes lie in rebellion. All we Adams and Eves, it seems, feel like covering up when we are "caught naked" or "disobeying" our various gods.
Somewhere in the midst of our assorted prides and shames, self-righteousness and guilt, psychological stress, with its serious bodily consequences, is likely to follow. If I succeed and feel proud, I am likely to be ashamed of my pride; or if I fail and feel ashamed of myself I am embarrassed and want to hide; or if I rebel and get caught I feel guilty. Whatever the case, stress is the common result.
With genetic pleasure none of these dangerous psychological states are the result. Because the fun is in the event rather than in the goal, the end of the process is far less critical. When one event is over, whether "successful" or not, one who is oriented to genetic rather than memetic pleasure, simply stops temporarily--without pride/shame or stress, and rests before beginning some new process.
Work is a memetic term useful in manipulating human activities in socially functional directions. Its opposite, play, was necessary for distinguishing "unnecessary" endeavors. In this social ploy, work is virtuous; "working hard" is good. Playing, in contrast, is non-virtuous, and only socially allowed after all good work is done. We must, if we are good, work to make a living and can only play when we have "done all we should." Being busy working, as everyone in society knows, is a very "good way to be." But to be "caught" playing (especially when one should be working) is bad. And surely we have all learned that "Idle hands are the devil's workshop."
I state the obvious only to set the stage for trying to see more clearly the genetic truth which these principles tend to cloak. Beyond memes, in the natural world, this distinction does not exist. It is equally accurate to describe genetic activity as work or play. When I am my natural self I am either playing at my work or working at my play--but in either case the labels strain at the point. Because all genetic activity involves activation of capacities, it is inherently pleasurable and therefore like play rather than work. But because one who is natural is always "serious" about whatever he is doing, it also looks like he is working.
Point: genetic pleasure is innate in genetic activity below the social distinctions of work or play. Memetic pleasure, in contrast, is not in an activity itself, but in achieving some goal via activity. And the goal, for example, work rather than play, determines the amount of memetic pleasure to be found in the activity. Paradoxically, one geared to memetic pleasure "feels good" about "working hard" and "feels guilty" about "playing easy"!
Major differences between these two types of pleasure can be summarized as: here versus there; now versus then; and seeing versus being seen.
First, genetic pleasure is always in "this place," that is, here, wherever one is; memetic pleasure is less about presence here than about arriving there. It is about "getting somewhere"--reaching a goal, such as, a destination (finishing a project, completing a task, accomplishing an aim). With genetic pleasure, bodily delight is in the event of whatever one is doing in the present place. "Arrival" is relatively incidental to being present in the process of going anywhere. "Getting there" is a psychological pleasure, not a biological delight. For instance, memetic pleasure lies in "getting the house clean," not in cleaning the house; it comes in "getting there" in the shortest amount of time (especially for males) rather than in "smelling the roses along the way." Elsewhere I have used the phrase "showing up" to represent the nature of heaven here as contrasted with the memetic notion of post-life heaven.
From the perspective of time, genetic pleasure is always now--in this present moment. It is existential rather than anticipational. The traditional idea of heaven later, of being rewarded at some future time, is of little consequence in biological delight. Genetic fun is always present tense. "I want it now." Memetic pleasure, in contrast, is often fearful of any immediate excitement. It comes in looking forward (in time) to what might be, rather than in what now is. Anticipating a possibility is more fun than experiencing this present time.
Seeing is intended both literally and figuratively in this third distinction. First, genetic pleasure is inherent in the activation of visual and other bodily senses. It if fun to simply see--to look at things, to smell, touch, hear, or otherwise encounter the physical world. In contrast, memetic pleasure is more related to being seen by others, in the events of favorable response from other persons rather in personal acts of actually encountering reality. In this latter quest one "works" for the pleasure of "what others may think" about what one does; how I see my work, for instance, if far less relevant than how "they" see what I have done. If no one else sees the results of my "labor" then that is exactly what it was, "lost labor" which was pointless because it went unrecognized.
Genetic pleasure exists in cognition literally--the personal act of cognizing the world; but memetic pleasure only comes in "re-cognition" by others. If "they" see and approve what I have done, then I "feel good." My events of seeing are empty without objective recognition. If no one "appreciates what I have done" then I "might as well have not done it." Trophies presented in recognition of one's personal acts--awards, accolades, compliments, are supremely important in memetic pleasure. With genetic delights they are relatively incidental, even distracting from the fullness of fun found in personal seeing/experiencing.
And what is true with literal seeing is even more true with mental "seeing,"--that is, insights drawn from "outsights." My "understandings" or "ways of seeing things" must be shared or also seen by others in order for me to experience memetic pleasure. The fun of privately creating conceptions from my perceptions is lost in this social quest which has so dominated my life so far. I have deeply wanted others (or some significant other) to "see what I see," as though my own seeing were impotent without authentication from without. My life long quest for "understanding" is rooted, I think, in my failure to embrace the human capacity for genetic pleasure in "mental seeing." As I have often noted in my journals over the years, "Do you see what I see," could well be the theme song of my life so far.
I also note that I seem to be far more attentive to accurate mental seeing, to "being reasonable" in the sense of trying to fit all available data into one consistent whole, than most others appear to be. I know I have been prophetic in seeing things just beginning to appear on the scene of social vision. I have also devoted much attention to "trying to get the big picture," to see the "whole forest," rather than "only the trees." I have long puzzled over how so many others can simply accept contradictory (to me) pieces of data with no necessity of harmonizing it. They have seemed "short-sighted" to me, paying high prices for failures to look at the "big picture" and act accordingly.
In retrospect I think that I must have adopted mental insight as my way of coping so early in life that it became ingrained and habitual. Whereas others more commonly cope either by force (common with males)--as in, fighting, demanding, and overt action, or by deception (common with females)--as in, pleasing, rationalizing, and otherwise fooling, I never became proficient in either. Perhaps the powerful memes against overt force (anger and fighting) and against conscious deception ("dishonesty") in my early home led me to look for other ways of survival. I know that I never saw my parents fighting or found anger to work in getting what I wanted. I also learned the memetic virtues of "honesty" so early that I am yet unable to be consciously deceptive without "feeling guilty."
I conclude now that my compulsive habits about analyzing all my information, trying to be mentally honest "to a fault," regularly looking carefully for any distinctions what may be missed by others--that is, to "see everything" sharply and reasonably, must have grown out of my early learning to cope by seeing (especially mental seeing) rather than by the more familiar modes of force and deception. If I had ever learned to "get mad" and fight for what I want, or "be dishonest" and cleverly con others (be a "good salesman" or "business man"), then perhaps I would not have fled so consistently and habitually in trying to achieve all my goals via the relatively impotent device of mental insights.
Would that I were simply "good at seeing things" clearly for the genetic fun and pleasure of looking, or were truly a seer with rare gifts of prophetic vision; but in hindsight I suspect that my self-righteous devotion to iconoclasm and "forest looking," to "being reasonable at all costs," to "trying to help others by getting them to see what I see," etc., etc., have been more related to my rather unique mode of trying to survive by seeing rather than by other ways of doing.
Genetic truth is honest thinking. As such, it is always personal--that is, related to the experience of an individual. It is, literally, "the truth as I see it." Seeing in this phrase is a metaphorical word for all perceptions. Sight is taken in its symbolic sense, representative of all other senses as well. "...as I see it" means "in the light of all my own perceptions--sight, but also sound, smell, touch, taste, and ESP. Genetic truth is the correlation of perceptions (including all senses) with conceptions. Ideas, notions, or thoughts which form one's conceptions are congruent with one's actual perceptions. With genetic truth the natural Creative Process is strictly followed: Stage 1 perceptions are shaped into Stage 2 images which are in turn de-coded into Stage 3 conceptions. These conceptions, the genetic truth, correspond accurately with the actual perceptions which form the basis for such truth.
In being truthful in this sense--"true to my genes," I believe what I see (hear, smell, etc.)--that is, the information that has come to my senses and awareness. What I am told (sensed via hearing the words of others) is one more source of information, but not inherently sacred or to be taken without correlation with other sense data. My thinking is my best correlation of data from all sources, the most sensible union of all my perceptions, including what I have heard from other people or read in books, etc. Honesty, as noted before, is the critical descriptive adjective for genetic truth. Above all else, it is honest--that is, fitted accurately with what one has personally perceived.
In sharp contrast, memetic truth--"the truth" out there in society, is objective rather than subjective. It is assumed to exist independently of individuals, as an "objective fact" no matter what any one person thinks. The Truth in society (capitalized to indicate its inherently sacred quality) is understood as "the facts," regardless of the perceptions of any person. "It's just the way things are." I may or may not agree with it; I may accept or reject and rebel against it, but nevertheless, memetic truth is taken as objective fact. Personal perceptions be damned, when they contradict memetic truth. No matter what I think, no matter how "the truth" contradicts my perceptions, still it is right, and I am wrong.
Memetic or "objective truth" may begin with the perceptions of a single individual, such as, a religious prophet or secular scientist, but it achieves its sacred status only through group acceptance. One person may begin it (in which case, if he is honest, it is also a genetic truth), but others must take it to be true before it assumes any objective quality. A prophet's vision, for example (or a scientist's discovery), may begin as genetic truth (an accurate translation of his or her honest perceptions); before it becomes memetic, however, it must "be proven" or accepted by others also. "Proof" is taken to be confirmation by "scientific experiments" or by other observers.
Comparing these two different senses of "the truth": genetic truth is and remains subjective--that is, of-the-subject (the one who sees or holds it); memetic truth may begin as genetic perceptions, but it must be objectified before it "can be believed in." Although the word sacred is primarily understood in a religious context, scientific "truth," once accepted by more than one person, is just as sacred as any religious dogma. Both are assumed to exist "out there" as objective facts in the "real world" apart from the experience of an individual person.
As such, memetic truths can be posited in words which are either told to others or written down and passed on in books. Once worded--shaped into language symbols, they assume objective qualities because they can be "held," in contrast with being "thought" in the genetic sense. Once "held," even if not told or written, a subjective genetic truth which is removed from reshaping in the light of further data has become an objective memetic truth. If it is in the mind of a single individual, it may be called a belief rather than a simple idea, to indicate its permanent quality. If in the public mind, it is called a fact or "the objective truth." In either case, the distinguishing quality of memetic truth is that it is removed from the bodily realm where every perception--and true conception, is continually subject to revision by further data.
Memetic truth, then, is sacred in the sense of its elevation beyond personal question. Genetic truth can never become sacred because, by the very nature of human perceptions, it is always in a context where further perceptions may either confirm or negate any original notion. Permanence is a quality of memetic truth only; genetic truth may remain consistent over a long period of time, thereby appearing to be permanent, but in fact body-truth is always subject to change when new or conflicting information is received via new perceptions.
With these observations in mind I can now return to clarifying the nature of thinking as a human genetic capacity in the same dimension as thrill ability. Genetic thinking is "the truth" as I see it, in sharp contrast with memetic "truth" which has nothing at all to do with what I see. Genetic truth must always and only be acquired first hand, from the subjective experiences of a single individual. It, unlike memetic or objective truth, cannot be pinned down, passed on, or "held" in any permanent mold. I may learn memetic truths from others, either from what "they" say, or from books written by other people, but I can only know genetic truth when I dare to be honest about my own perceptions--regardless of what anyone else says or has written.
I have clarified the process of forming genetic truth in my work on the Creative Process, done before I recognized the distinctions being seen here. Then I simply called it thinking--as Stage 3 of the natural process of assimilating personal experience. Here I only want to emphasize the personal nature of this process of forming conceptions out of perceptions which are distinctly honest for the one who creates them. Whenever I dare genetic thinking, as contrasted with accepting memetic truths from others, I "think for myself." I use the word dare because I find such honest thinking to be socially dangerous, beginning with the world-as-mother and extending to the world-of-all-others.
Social acceptance, beginning with society-as-one, namely, mother, is crucially important to any individual's existence, let alone, well-being. And thinking--"what I think," is a critical part of group acceptance. "Taking their word," beginning with mother's word, as "the truth" is a significant part of belonging to any group. This is fine, so long as "what they see" correlates with "what I see"; but when it doesn't, as is so often the case, then trouble is brewing. If I stick with what I see when what they see (or say they do) is different, then I risk social rejection--which is critical in early life and always matters throughout all of life; but if I accept what they see as "the truth" when my own perceptions contradict it, then I risk loss of personal integrity. I can only deny what I see in quest of group acceptance at the cost of splitting my self.
So, I use the word dare to describe genetic thinking because I believe that one who remains true to the Creative Process is in constant risk of rejection by others who have attached themselves to memetic truth. Finally, I think that personal integrity, which can only be found and kept through genetic thinking, is most important; but in the short run, where we seem to be most of the time, group acceptance found through accepting memetic truth, "the party line," seems most important.
But back to my clarification: genetic thinking, in spite of its risks, beginning with motherly conflicts in earliest life, involves a constant weighing of data gained through personal perceptions. Whenever I risk such thinking, I must first of all be attentive to the data of my senses--that is, sensitive to perceptions from without and within. I must be alert and conscious to what I see, hear, smell, etc. This hearing includes what I hear from other people (their truth), but only takes it as one more source of sound data--neither better or worse than any other sound I hear. For instance, if I feel pain--an internal sense perception, and someone says, "Oh, that didn't hurt," then I hear their information, but I remain true to my own perception. I conceive a plan of action based on what I feel rather than negating (or ignoring) my data in favor of what they say.
Or, in a religious context, if someone tells me a belief which "doesn't make sense to me"--that is, doesn't correlate with my sense data, then I hold their information in abeyance until I can either "make sense" of it, or else discard it later. I never blindly take what I hear as "gospel truth" unless or until I can fit it in reasonably with my own perceptions. In fact, even my own perceptions are all correlated only temporarily, in the present moment, rather than taken as "the truth" in a memetic sense. My own "beliefs" are accurate summaries of my perceptions at this time; but they are never permanent (like "gospel" or "absolute truth") because as long as I am alive and perceiving I will be receiving new data which may make any old belief unreasonable and hence to be laid aside in favor of new conceptions (beliefs).
The crucial point in genetic thinking is self-confidence or daring to trust one's own perceptions rather than believing others over oneself. When I am thinking genetically, I "believe whatever I see (hear, smell, taste, feel, or otherwise discern) personally." In colloquial language, I "trust my perceptions." I dare to believe what is true-to-me rather than taking what others say as my truth. All that I hear or read (one avenue of perception) is weighed on the scale of my own perceptions before it is accepted in the storehouse of my prior genetic beliefs.
Self-confidence in this mode is not the same as self-righteousness; nor is it be confused with automatic rebellion against the thoughts of others. To "know-what-I-know" in this sense of genetic thinking is not the same as "knowing-for-sure" or taking any genetic truth as absolute and unchanging. One can never become self-righteous with natural thinking because ideas are always recognized as temporary summaries which are honest at the time, yet are open to any new information (perceptions) which may either call for modification or even complete rejection.
For instance, I suppose that the world always seems flat (or mountainous) to personal perceptions. Thus one might honestly believe "that the world is flat" based on individual data alone. But once one opens his mind to scientific information in addition to personal perceptions then "round world" theory may become even more reasonable. In this or any other personal perception, no belief, i.e., a flat world notion, can ever become reasonably sacred. This may be easy enough to recognize with the example I have chosen, but the same principle applies to any other beliefs, such as, soul-existence, an after-life, resurrection later, or even the genetic theory itself.
The point: genetic thinking is always just that--thinking, an on-going process which regularly arrives at temporary summaries called thoughts, ideas, notions, or beliefs, but never camps down with either of them so that further thought on the same subject becomes impossible. There are no sacred beliefs in natural thinking. These remain the province of memetic truth only.
Nature knows naught
These belong exclusively
1. All creatures with brains think. From birds to humans, evolution of brains allows degrees of choice in translating perceptions into varied actions, with learning from experience possible. Learning is the ability to modify later actions in view of new perceptions, i.e., squirrels surviving in the city. The only major difference between "lower"creatures and humans is a matter of degrees; human thinking capacity is greater, but not essentially different.
2. Natural thinking is a critical part of genetic morality. We cannot be genetically moral without thinking naturally.
3. Although memetic thinking
utilizes the same brain as does genetic thinking, there are distinct differences
between the two. Social thinking involves many established concepts, including
moral precepts, the subject of this writing, which are non-existent in nature. Among these
are the 6 named above--promises, principles, names, numbers, time and space. Certainly
there are scores of others which emerge from these primary 6; but understanding these
throws light on all others.
4. Memetic thinking, which includes these concepts, is learned so early by humans and thus becomes so accepted and ingrained that genetic thinking is commonly suppressed, even as is genetic morality. The whole idea of natural thinking as different from social thinking is largely lost to everyday understanding. We learn memetic thinking so thoroughly that genetic thinking from which it arises is usually suppressed from awareness, even as are other natural instincts.
5. We cannot become genetically moral without reclaiming our innate capacity for natural thinking, any more than we be whole persons while cut off from genetic instincts. Yet most humans are so caught up in memetic concepts that natural thinking is lost from awareness and hence from conscious practice.
6. This writing is my attempt to tease natural thinking back into my awareness. I amplify dimly seen clues to honest thinking in an effort to more clearly recognize memetic modes of thought which have dominated most of my conscious living. Although these differences are, so far as I know, commonly unrecognized, the consequences of being caught up in and hence limited to memetic thinking are monumental. Like the loss of genetic morality itself, the loss of genetic thinking is devastating in regard to good living now.
Promises and principles, names and numbers, time and space are primary categories in memetic thinking which are non-existent in genetic thinking. Natural thinking, such as we might do were it not for memetic habits, is outside of each of these categories--not that what they represent is unrecognized, but they are not determinative of mental activity. These six categories, especially the last four, are so widely accepted, so ingrained in social thinking, that most people take them for real--that is, as facts about the natural world rather than mere mental constructs of memetic thinking.
For example, names for things, including people, are obviously mental constructs. Just as we parents may name our children anything we choose, so all other named things have been chosen with equal arbitrariness in times past by other persons. Yet we easily mistake them for what they represent, as though knowing a name is the same as knowing what it symbolizes. Less easy to see, because time and space are even more deeply accepted as facts about reality, is the truth that they too are only social constructs, useful in memetic thinking, but non-existent in the natural world. As James Taylor sang, "...the thing about time is that time isn't really real." But apart from genetic thinking, this truth goes largely unnoticed. We commonly treat time, like names and numbers, as though it is a natural fact.
Space is perhaps hardest of all to see as a mental construct rather than a fact about reality; yet it too is unnatural--not a genetic truth. Experientially, apart from socially learned notions, measurable space, like names and numbers, is also non-existent.
To note that time, for example, like the other five categories, exists only as a memetic construct, does not mean that natural thinking takes no note of moving processes, such as, seasons, day/night, or youth/old age. It only means that these observations exist outside the category with clocks and calendars can literally measure.
Promises and principles are products of memes; they do not exist in the world of genes. In nature many alliances are relatively permanent, but their basis is pragmatics, not promises. Some birds, of the feathered kind, do remain related for life; but none, I surmise, would every say "I do," even if they could. Monogamy is a human invention which would, I think, be weird to all other creatures including those who live together for a life time.
We humans commonly project our theories, like much else, out on to nature, which She graciously accepts without complaint, but, I fancy She smiles benevolently, knowing that Her real bond is only with heart and never with anything so fragile as words and notions.
So, to become embodied again is to rejoin those forces who know naught of promises and principles, even while living wisely among contracts and commitments.
Mother Nature makes no promises; there are no guarantees in nature. Many patterns, such as, seasons and sunrise/sunset, plus modes of social relating within a species, are regularly repeated, yet without promises. For example, some birds mate for life, like monogamous marriage for humans, but with one essential difference: no "I do" which promises that the relationship will be forever. If and when circumstances change, these birds are apt to change also. Their extended togetherness is based on evolution in continuing circumstances, not on promises to one another.
These and all other types of human promises, such as, oaths (promises to tell the truth), commitments to actions ("I'll be there at 8 o=clock"), giving one's word (promises to do what is said) etc., are functional modes in social thinking; yet they do not exist in natural thinking which is and remains circumstantially determined--that is, without promises of any kind.
A principle is a mental construct deducted from repeating patterns in nature or observed patterns of behavior in society, i.e., gravity (what goes up, comes down); monogamy (one husband, one wife); justice (acting fairly); or service (helping others). These and countless other principles are learned so early that we commonly assume they are natural rather than acquired from society. But just as Mother Nature makes no promises, so She has no principles.
Not that we humans can=t and don=t take our capacity for principle-making and project it on to nature; but it remains a human phenomenon acquired from memes, non-existing in nature apart from humans.
point is not to quibble over whether our projected principles are accurate, i.e., the
principles of evolution or creationism, but to catch the essential difference in types of
thinking. In natural thinking there are indeed many repeating patterns which humans may
usefully see as principles--but they don=t exist in the jungle, "out there" apart from
some human mind.
Names are nouns, the most basic element of language, the primary part of speech. Each noun symbolizes, represents, some perception or combination of same. Nouns are essential for human language, which is our major way of communicating; but, and this is the point here, whereas communication itself is natural, names (and symbolization) is not. It is a product of the natural capacity for consciousness, but not innate in genetic thinking.
All nouns are artificial in the sense of unnatural; some seem to correlate with nature better than others, i.e., meow for a cat sound, but cat itself, to name the feline creature, is more clearly arbitrary. We could as easily agree to call a cat a dog, and vice versa.
Point: all names, including those which seem to be identical as well as those obviously contrived (i.e., naming a child Rolinda or Jane) are social products, extremely useful because they form the basis of impersonal language--but still unnatural.
Animals, so far as we know, do not name things. This does not mean they don=t recognize familiar perceptions, like family, neighbors, and trees, but that they don=t give symbolic names. Recognition is natural; naming is not. Seeing is genetic; nouns are memetic. Mother Nature does not name Her children. Certainly She knows which ones are Hers; yet not by an arbitrary language symbol.
Numbers are easier to see as a human invention, but counting is learned so early that numbers are easily assumed to be natural. Two and two making four is only true because of numbering, and only then when a base of ten is accepted. With a numerical base of, say 12, 2 and 2 would add up to something else.
Animals, like children who have not yet learned to, don=t count. Numbers are certainly a useful human invention; the importance of mathematics in the evolution of civilization would be impossible to over-estimate. But, and this is the point here: they don=t exist in nature or in natural thinking. Not that natural thinking doesn't recognize differences in quantity, an observation which we symbolize as, say, 2 or 20, but that these distinguished perceptions are known without numbers. An ape or baby perceives, I surmise, more than one parent, but neither calls them "two." Only the human baby will later learn to call each 1 and add them up into 2.
Numbers, like names, are invaluable human concepts. How would we ever get along without them? But still, they are unnatural. Genetic thinking knows quantity, but not numbers. Certainly it knows differences which we summarize in language as few or many, but it knows naught of 2 or 200. Mother Nature must know all Her offspring, yet She does not, I surmise, number them.
These latter two concepts are so primary in society, learned so early and deeply that I find seeing beyond them to be almost impossible most of the time (i.e.!) These basic concepts, along with that of cause/effect which follows reasonably once they are accepted, are the premises of our language structure itself. They are so inherent in the sub-structures of our language that thinking without them, or outside them, cannot even be done in English. To think in words is to think in the language which makes them, and thus in the concepts which form the basis of that language--in our case, time/space plus cause/effect.
Some other ethnic groups, such as, Hopi Indians or Eskimos, have different language premises (i.e., Hopi's do not use time as a sub-structure); but once we learn our own ethnic language, thinking outside its premises is extremely difficult.
Even so, I note here that time and space, plus cause/effect, are memetic concepts, primal to our language and therefore our thought mode, but still unnatural, not inherent in genetic thinking. It is possible, I know but rarely do, to think outside or without these thought-structuring modes--that is, to see and know reality without timing "it" or placing "it" in space, or believing that one thing causes another.
But it's hard for me to do!
Even so, I think it is essential for genetic thinking and good living now.
Although "making love" is a euphemism for sexual intercourse, "true love" is commonly accepted as an entirely different phenomenon. When a boy is trying to seduce a girl he may ply her with "if you loved me you=d let me"; but she may also fend him off with "if you really loved me, you wouldn=t ask." In both instances "love" is seen as different from sex itself.
So what does "true love" or "real love" or "Christian love" have to do with biology, including its sexual components? If I "really love" someone, how do my genes enter into the event? What do "animal urges" have to do with this ultimate human ideal of "being truly loving"?
Other than the fact that bodies are necessarily involved in "being loving," I think that love in popular understanding may best be seen as a phenomenon quite distinct, indeed even opposed, to basic genetic instincts. Perhaps "motherly love" is accepted as instinctive, but "real love" past mothering is generally seen as opposed to biological drives for selfing and reproduction. In fact, it is more commonly taken to be a way-of-being which requires suppression or even negation of basic animal urges. To truly "be loving" is mostly seen as being completely "unselfish" and totally devoted to the well-being of the loved one, with self-interests put aside. You can=t be totally selfish and truly loving at the same time--or so goes traditional understanding. "Unqualified acceptance," in which all self-interests are laid aside, is often taken to be a major earmark of such "Christian love."
If sex does enter into such a "real love" type of relationship, it is carefully controlled by meme values with basic genetic drives either laid aside or strictly concealed to the loved one if not to oneself also. "Animal sex" or pure fucking, like obvious "selfishness," is certainly seen, especially by females, as distinctly different from "real love."
In summary, the popular understanding of ideal love places it mostly in opposition to genetic directives as I have outlined them above. The highest love, agape in Christian terminology, or "true love" in common parlance, would only be possible when urges toward self or sexual-satisfaction were either denied, suppressed, or best of all, negated. On the other hand, to be purely genetically moved, without memetic values, would, apart from mothering, never lead to love. Genes, in this familiar perspective, have no "real love" culmination past, possibly, "making love."
I belabor this common understanding of "real love" in order to set the stage for noting that I think it is grossly erroneous in the larger picture of human nature. "True love," I think, is not the opposite of good genetics as popular belief indicates; it is, I believe, the culmination of the best that genes have to offer. Meme-type love (the popular ideal) which can only occur with fierce suppression of genetic drives is a short-sighted view which is literally impossible and which finally backfires when pursued far enough.
In contrast, the ideal love I aspire to comes from an artful mixing of genetics and memetics rather than an elevation of the latter over the former. We don=t become truly loving by exaggerating meme values and suppressing gene drives. Although love does often appear to be, for instance, self-sacrificial, this is only a view from the outside; in reality it is the apex of selfing--the fullest activation of self-interests which can only be culminated when the best of self-alone is artfully mixed with the best of self-with-others.
And likewise with sexual urges; while real love (the type I advocate) does often appear to be non-sexual in nature, as though it were completely distinct from reproductive drives, it is in fact the highest apex of biological sexuality brought to fruition. We become loving, in my perspective, not by suppressing or negating genetic sexuality, but by daring to embrace it fully in its most primal forms. True transcendence, often seen as the apex of "Christian love," is not to be found by negation of bodily desires, but rather by the fullest activation of them. Orgasm, for example, is not merely an "animal function" which is totally foreign or unrelated to "real love"; rather it is an essential way-station on the longer path to agape. One does not reach "true love" via negation or avoidance of the biological capacity for orgasm, but rather through its fuller embracing and merging with additional human capacities for being sexual but must more also.
Selfingness and sexuality, representing the two most pervasive characteristics of genetic wisdom, are not enemies of real love, but rather its essential basis. Only when each natural drive is embraced, activated, and literally become (when we are embodied), does our larger capacity for being oneself-in-society even start to be possible. We indeed need all that genes have given us if we are to live well among memes in a mode which is other than self-repressive. We need, that is, both our oldest instincts for survival and reproduction, plus our latest-to-evolve capacity for consciousness. When we try to literally be loving, even as memes invite, without our oldest capacities at its base, we are limited to acting only. We may mimic agape (act self-sacrificial) while in denial of genetic urges, but we cannot truly be loving without the powers which only our "baser" instincts are able to generate. We truly need the powerful forces of selfing and sexuality to fuel the weaker drives of consciousness before we are able to love others in the real world.
Without "selfishness" and sex at its base, "unselfish love" is at best a sham and at worse a disaster in the making--both for the one attempting this impossibility and for those who are viewed as "loved ones." The popular ideal of true self-negation, even sacrifice, may look loving briefly, but in time it cannot but degenerate into the empty act which it always was when not rooted in primal genetics.
In common parlance, "loving others" is not the result of self-denial--it only looks this way; in reality it is the result of "self-love" brought to its fullest form. Only when selfingness is truly embraced does its larger fulfillment in healthy relationships with others become possible. "If you don=t love yourself, you can=t love others." Only when self-love reaches its finest dimensions, does "spill-over" love for others even become possible. And "self-love" includes both selfing and sexual instincts--that is, urges for both self-survival and self-replication. The fullest forms of love always include, even when they are hidden for pragmatic social reasons, consciousness about both self and sexual interests. "Lust for life" includes lust in all its forms.
Summary: "What's love got to do with it?" Answer: everything. Certainly sex without love is relatively empty in the long run; but also love which is cut off from its selfing and sexual roots is even more fruitless in time. The best of love, as I understand it, is a culmination of our oldest and strongest genes activated artfully in society, not an artificial stance acted out on the memetic stage. In "true love" genes and memes move past their apparent oppositions to each other and unite into one personal whole which combines the finest goals of each.
The grandest self-love is culminated in the finest love-of-others also. Then, as Jesus said, we "love our neighbors, even as we love ourselves."
GENDER AND GENETIC MORALITY
far I have focused on genetic "messages" embodied in the first 44 or our 46 chromosomes. Now I
turn to the last two: X and Y. First, though, perspective: I think that the number of
chromosomes in each human cell, those related t
first 44 are ancient and deeply ingrained, so much so that they function quite well
completely out of the limited sphere of human consciousness. We "just naturally," when not overwhelmed by memetic morality,
Two reasons for this, I think: first, these Johnny-Come-Lately chromosomes aimed at reproduction have seriously influenced their older relatives, much like children in a family tend to dictate what parents and grandparents do when they are around. And secondly, the logistics of sex and human relationships require far more conscious attention than do those of survival--which is relatively automatic anyway. Good sex and good relating are, as we all know, much harder to accomplish than are breathing, eating, and eliminating unneeded results of both.
Small wonder then that matters of reproduction--its initiation and process, demand so much of our conscious attention. Success in either, preferably both, is a high art requiring careful conscious creativity. Although survival may in fact be more important to the majority of our genes, reproductive success certainly claims the lion's share of conscious attention.
The next issue in understanding genetic morality as related to gender is the relationship between the goal and the dance, the destination, and the differing paths we are geared to travel while headed in the same direction. Both males and females, by virtue of an XY or an XX combination of chromosomes in each cell, are geared to go toward the same shared conclusion, namely, self-replication, which we cannot accomplish alone. So, for openers, I want to remember while I delve into significant differences that "we=re all, men and women, in this together." For one to succeed in replication, the ultimate goal of X and Y chromosomes and all the genes they embody and influence, is to make another one of us who is half like us.
But on the way to the same goal, namely, success in the shared Reproductive Drama, our paths are distinctly, and often, obviously, divergent. Being a good genetic male is grandly different from being a good genetic female, even if we both want the same end result. This is important for me to remember lest I get lost in my focus on our differences, which I will now attempt.
Now I turn to examine gender differences directly, rather than for illustration only. My earlier illustrative statements, namely, that "A man's word is his bond," but "A woman's heart is her bond," are also indicative of widespread moral differences. Man's self-identification with words rather than feelings also illustrates the common fact that males, in spite of popular understanding, are much more attuned to memetic morality (even if we no longer duel about it, with pistols) than to genetic guidelines. And females, even though commonly viewed as more basically moral than males in the social sense, are, by virtue of their identification with "heart" rather than words, actually more moved by genetic morals than by the social morals they consciously espouse.
This common female identification with "heart" rather words is further strengthened by female body-connections which parallel male head-connections. Whereas "heart" is rooted in body, words are based in mind or "head." Consequently, females in general are not only more connected with "feelings (heart)" or emotions; they are also more sensitively attuned to all bodily activity. Males, in contrast, with more "head," and hence word identifications, are less aware of our own bodies than we are of our "thinking." Result: by virtue of bodily consciousness, females tend to automatically be more alert to genetic morality, while males, so focused on words, think more about social morality and less about genetic directives--at least outside sex-only arenas.
Now back to familiar observations which, I think, emerge from these deeper differences: males, being word-identified rather than heart-identified, focus on and try to live more by principles (beliefs, theories, ideas, etc.) than by inherited urges. Females, as all men know, tend to "go by their feelings" even if, to us, they "don=t make any sense." Just as men, as all women know, "are too unemotional," and try too hard to "hide their true feelings." Even though other practical results of these differences are of more concern in relationships, they also point to deeper differences in basic moralities.
Women, I conclude, are in general more genetically moral--truer to their "hearts," bodies, and therefore genes, and less devoted to principles and "their word." Men, likewise, tend to be truer to our "words," our head, and thus our memes, than to the wealthy directives of body--to, for instance, being on time rather than timely. We airy males want 8:00 o=clock to mean 8:00 o=clock on the clock, even when earthy females more wisely strive to be timely regardless of the clock. We males obviously don=t always (rarely?) live up to our "lofty principles" any more than we always "keep our word," but we are, I think, far more devoted to the principle of principles, while females are more pragmatically devoted to practicing "what works"--which, understandably, is more often identified with ancient body-knowledge than with Johnny-Come-Lately conscious information.
For greater fullness of life most of us men need to add far more heart to our highly vaunted principles, while women with the same concern may seriously consider adding more principles to their already wealthy hearts.
This is true, I believe, with one exception in the arena of overt sexuality. Only in regard to sexy activity do males tend to be more attuned to bodily directives than to mental morality, than do females who, it seems to me, are more generally repressed in sexuality alone while far more open to other physical information. And even here, where men do indeed often ignore our stated social morality, we tend to err on the side or exaggeration rather than true sexual honesty. And although women may be more nonscious about their own sexual activities, they also, again, as it appears to me, tend to actually function more honestly in regard to their own biological imperatives. In other words, even in this one arena where males seem to be consciously truer to our genetics, we are less guided by overall body information than are females who, with perhaps less sexual consciousness, actually live more faithfully with their genetic morality.
In summary: principles and promises, oaths and verbal commitments are all the province of memes. Genes know naught of identifying self with any words; their binding is with "heart" (literally, body). Only in the realm of society, never in the jungle, is anything "regardless"--such as is intended in all promises. In the "real world" of genetics everything is always regarding--that is, taking new conditions into account; nothing is regardless. The virtue of "keeping your word," of "living up to what you said," of making a verbal promise and "sticking by it," of "swearing on a stack of Bibles" and then "telling the truth regardless," is only in the social world. Genes care little for either.
This does not mean that actions are not repeated, even repeated often, as long as they work, until they become ingrained, in the realm of genetics; indeed this is the essence of genetic evolution. But, and this is the distinction being noted here, principles or promises which require ignoring changing circumstances are never made in nature; only in society does it become virtuous to be so attached to words that changing is ruled out as an option.
I begin my attention to our differing roles in the same drama by searching for a single representative metaphor for each. After years of pondering, the best pair of illustrative metaphors I have found are ripe and rich. Each certainly has limitations and invites some misunderstanding; but overall, they are my single best metaphors so far. Male genes, more than all else, are driven toward ripe females, while female genes, with equal or greater urge, are moved toward rich males.
Ripe is a metaphor from real-world fruit; and rich, of course, is about wealth ("money"). In reality, apart from metaphors, the two are obviously unrelated. What does ripe have to do with rich, and vice versa? I must remember though, while I search for useful metaphors to aid my understanding, that these apparent disconnections are in fact complementary roles in the same drama. Ripe and rich are literally illogically, yet inevitably connected as metaphors for our often conflicting reproductive concerns.
I keep emphasizing that the words are metaphors because I so easily mistake them for facts when I plunge into practice. Practice comes next in my attention, but first I want to tease my dark knowledge of reproductive genes further into the light of consciousness; and for this these two metaphors are my clearest insight so far. If we males are geared for anything, we want, all logic aside, ripe females; and if females should ever become single-minded in their genetic quests for replication they would, I think, focus on rich (as a metaphor) males.
A recent television show, Who Wants To Marry A Millionaire?, featured dozens of females who were willing to blindly marry a millionaire male, and a rich man willing to take a wife on looks alone. The show has drawn considerable criticism along with its large audience. Why? Because, I surmise, it brought genetic forces too clearly into public attention. It focused on "what genes want," but in the public arena where memes have the final word. The shes were obviously in quest of a rich man; he, apparent to me, was after a ripe female.
Now I translate, for my further clarity, what I mean by these metaphors which invite such ambivalent public reactions. Ripe is a fruit metaphor which, translated into human capacities, means "ready for picking" (as colloquially understood), or conceive-able literally. The metaphor implies that the fruit is neither "green" nor "mushy," not "too young" or "too old" for healthy human consumption. If it is "not yet ripe," it "gives you a stomach ache," and if it's "past ripe" it also "makes you sick at your stomach." Ideally, fruit for picking is "just right"--that is, at the peak of ripeness.
Past the metaphor, conceive-able means: able-to-conceive and bear a child. In colloquial language this means "a good baby-maker." But the fuller process has two phases which may be distinguished in mind if not in fact: first there is conception--having a fertilizable egg plus place to nourish it once the splitting process begins; but then the main business of rearing ensues fairly soon. So sharp male genes must discern both best baby-maker and best child-rearer, that is, best "in bed," and best potential mother.
Turning to complementary female genes, the results of two X chromosomes rather than XY in each cell, rich, in a metaphor is about wealth, "money"--and lots of it. Rich means wealthy, in possession of, or with access to, many resources. It contrasts with poor which means needy or lacking in wealth. Unlike the fruit metaphor for male genes, the money metaphor seems to have no limits on the positive side. There is no comparison between "overly ripe" and "overly rich"; in fact, the richer the better, the "more the merrier." A wealthy man is good, but a millionaire is better, at least insofar as female genes are concerned.
But the metaphor is intended to imply more than money alone; its genetic translation is: support-able, that is, able-to-support a female through the long and demanding process which only begins with conception, but finds its fruition in the long nights inevitably associated with rearing a once-birthed child. "Woman's work is never done." For this, more than all else she needs a multitude of resources which do indeed begin with sperm and money, but extend far past physical wealth and into traits of character likely to result in long-range fidelity. As with male genes, the female counterpart in the shared process can be intellectually divided into two phases: conception and baby/making, then child-rearing. For the first, a good female needs rich (strong and healthy) sperm; for the second and far longer part of her process she needs wealth in its more literal sense, plus "wealthy" support--a man who is there to "help around the house" as well as "support the family."
These facts are of course obvious on reflection, but I must keep reminding myself of them lest I forget where we come from while caught up in the pragmatics of human relationships. Unless I am remain alert, the often conflicting directives of genes and memes leave me not only ambivalent, but also divided.
In summary: when genetics are at their best, as best I can now see these dark forces in the light of metaphors and facts, male genes focus first on ripe, while female genes, equally sharp, look for rich. Men, blind of all reason, are genetically drawn to seek best baby-makers/mothers, while women, equally "unthinking," are driven to find best sperm-makers/fathers. To attract such a male, "wiggle your butt"; to attract such a woman, "wiggle your wallet."
I will consider the pragmatics of mixing genes and memes later, but first I want to look more closely at how gender genes will predictably function while in quest of ripe and rich. For this clarification, I ignore memes--which we can never do in real life, and look at how I think gender genes might function were it not for memes.
How, that is, can male genes best determine ripe; and how do female genes go about finding rich--in the larger context of each, beyond metaphors alone? If we assume that genes with millions of years to perfect their skills have gotten sharp at what they do, as obviously they must, else we would not be here, what can I see about how they go about their complementary quests? Since the odds of genetic success for any single set of sperm and ova are so terribly small, the chances of successful replication relatively poor, how would a set of truly "smart genes" increase their statistical odds, without, of course, the help of mathematics which was yet to evolve?
Again, I can only guestimate, based on reason, observation, and most of all, awareness of my own inclinations. Understandably, I know more about "what men want," than about "what does a woman want?," since I am limited to only the first two tools in quest of the latter. So, if I am less accurate about discerning the specifics of female desires, it makes sense. Even Freud, we are told, could never adequately answer the latter. Still, I guess, based on logic and looking.
Male gene eyes, I conclude, in quest of ripe females "look" for these traits with best indications of likely success: youth, health, beauty, virginity, and nurturingness. The first three clues are signs of good ability-to-conceive; the fourth is about assurance of "my baby" rather than some other male's offspring. The latter is about "mothering," that is, traits needed for the extended process of child-rearing following a successful pregnancy.
Female gene eyes, I conclude logically since I lack internal data, are best able to determine rich males by looking first for youth, health, and strength as signs of best sperm, and then wealth plus a complex set of traits indicative of "kingliness"--strength of character as well as body, ability to cope and manage in the world, plus commitment and fidelity to one female. Since a "good sperm" is only of initial importance, for the first few seconds of an up-to-18 year (or longer?) process, and since they tend to be abundantly available, most female attention can reasonably be devoted to the quest for wealth and strength of character--someone to support and remain faithful and helpful for the long haul. Good fucking is fairly easy to find, I surmise, in comparison to good supporting and fathering, which involve a far more complicated combination of personality attributes in addition to brute strength and sexiness.
All in all, it is obvious to me that the challenge of female genes far exceeds that of male genes for individual success in our shared goal of self-replication. Given the additional fact that our social evolution has, with strong meme support, placed most responsibility for child-rearing in female hands (unlike some other animal species), the male challenge is even further lessened in comparison with that faced by all females.
it is for these reasons that females must necessarily be far more careful in mate
selection, while males can understandably focus mostly on good sex. And for the same
reasons, females have evolved far greater skills in male-deception (known to men as
"female wiles"). Long, long ago,
when alpha males guarded the females, and estrus was obvious to smell and sight, before
memes had inherited the land, choices may have been easier. But no longer is this so.
Males have lost our ability to know conception times by smell, and females have long known
how to fake both odors and sights which were formally signs of estrus. Both before and
after the relatively brief times of ripeness, females of all ages now know how to
appear young, healthy, pretty, and even virginic, along with
pretty, and even virginic, along with perpetually nurturing.
What may have once been quite simple for alpha males is now quite complex for boys on the paths of replication. Limited mostly to "looking," without any smell help and little opportunity for touch information, young males today face difficult odds in accurate determination of true (not fake or pretended) ripeness. Small wonder that, in spite of familiar female judgments about "no discrimination" and only "being interested in one thing," we males have evolved extremely sharp "noses" (I mix my metaphors) for "scoping out" pregnable females.
Memes as well as most females mitigate fiercely against our finer discriminations--and with good social and personal reasons; but still, I conclude, good genetic males (not self-split from acquiescing to memes) are sharply and accurately eagle-eyed in "sniffing out" conceive-able females. For other good and practical social and relational reasons we may hide or even repress conscious awareness of these evolved skills-at-discrimination; still, "scratch a Tartar, find a Russian." Behind our covers and below our split selves I think that good male genes are immensely wise about replication, even when we are obviously "ass holes" with women and act dumb in relationships.
Although the demands of successful female genes are greater (or perhaps just because they are), it also seems to me that female artistry in mate selection is appropriately higher. Several reasons contribute, I think, to the higher wisdom of women in the arena of genetic success. First, I believe that XX chromosomed people are inherently "smarter" in the sense of having greater brain use via larger corpus collosums, plus greater bodily sensitivity. Women, that is, quite apart from reproductive matters, "get the bigger picture" more easily than focused males, and are therefore wiser in overall functioning--including mate selection.
Secondly, women have evolved greater skills at deception, especially of their opposite gender. Males, in comparison, are relatively "easy to read" even by young, "unsophisticated" girls, let alone older and experienced if not jaded women. Females are, naturally I conclude, better at fooling males than are we rather transparent males good at hiding what we want. This difference in embraced deceive-ability gives females a considerable edge when we come to making mate selections.
Thirdly, for reasons which yet evade my understanding, current society has evolved memes which powerfully favor and support female genetic values, while at the same time standing in strict control, sharp judgment, and often fierce punishment of corresponding male genetic morals. What females naturally seek gets good support in society, while male gene eyes not only get bad press, religious condemnation, and social judgment (especially when openly espoused), but often lead to excommunication as well. Pardon me if I belly-ache; but really, 'tain't fair, Magee.
Perhaps this current imbalance in affirmation of cross-gender genetic values is appropriate and even wise in the larger picture--given the grand imbalance in reproductive responsibilities which have also evolved. Since five minutes of pleasure for him may mean nine months (or more) of misery for her, maybe it is only fair that female values receive an overbalance in social affirmation. Or is it that in our mutual gender struggles throughout the ages males have paid for our success in outward domination of social structures with inward prices which are only reasonable? Do "higher wages" at work, for example, inevitably come at greater cost at home and in the mall? Do we pay for outward domination with inward submission? Or have we inherently weaker males created self-constricting civil structures (i.e., passing laws which make crimes of our natural instincts) for protecting ourselves from ourselves? Or have we unwittingly been conned by Queens behind the throne into making civil structures which appropriately further their own genetic demands, even at cost of our own?
Obviously, I don=t know the answer to why it is so, but I do need to see and acknowledge facts about social injustices which favor female genes, lest I waste unnecessary energy hitting my head against a stone wall, bemoaning my fate, or otherwise be done in by them. Better, I conclude to be "sadder but wiser" than "dumber and deader (spiritually speaking)."
Now back to my subject. Summarizing so far: with shared reproductive goals, male and female genes take contrasting paths which often appear to be in direct contradiction with each other. The male way, the quest of male "gene eyes," can be summarized with a metaphor from the world of fruit, namely, ripe; female "eyes," true to their comparable quest, focus on rich. Ripe translates best in these female traits: young, healthy, pretty, virginic, and nurturing--that is, conceive-ability and mothering-capacity. Conversely, rich translates into youth, health, and strength, indicative of best sperm, plus wealth of resources necessary for child-rearing and "strength of character" for helpful fathering as well as "providing for."
Given the way evolution has progressed, males must now make our discriminations primarily via vision. We must become sharply discriminating "scopers" if we are to succeed in replicating ourselves. Females, again in contrast, may discern much by looking, but more wisely require information which can only come through more extended contact, such as, "romance" and "courting."
I also note as an aside which becomes relevant later when I delve into pragmatic considerations, that current social structures are heavily weighted on the side of genetic female values, and against many of our deeper male inclinations in regard to replication. Women, I might say, "get a better shake" in society. Present day memes side better with female genes.
If males are gene-bent in quest for ripe, and females similarly bent in search of rich--with all their assorted connections, how do these inward inclinations most naturally manifest themselves in the outside world? What are men most inclined to do in search of genetic success? What are women's most instinctive directions in their complementary role in the same drama?
The best summary words I know for female and male genes operating in service of reproduction are "looks" and looking. "Looks" are in quotes to imply the colloquial meaning of the term.) In the quirky way we have evolved for greater success in combining X and Y chromosomes, thereby initiating reproduction, females try to attract males (especially rich ones), while males are attracted to females (especially ripe ones.) In allegiance to this evolved mode of getting together, females strive to "look good," in order to get males to "take a good look" so then can, in turn "get a better look" at them. Or, from the other side of the gender coin, males are constantly looking for "good looking" females.
Males, we might say (since everyone who looks already sees this), are inveterate "scopers." Barring memetic (and/or psychological) suppression, we men are continually "scoping" for "pretty (metaphor for ripe) girls." Wherever we go, whenever it is, whatever else we are doing, some deep part of our male selves is always "on the look out" for the "best looking" females. Even on the honeymoon, following our strongest "I do" words and most sincere commitments, our gene eyes are apt to wander as though the ceremony never happened. And the primary meaning of "best looking" is ripe.
Females, not to be outdone in their opposite but complementary role in the dance of replication, are equally diligent in activating their ingrained urges to attract. If not totally repressed via psychological splitting, every genetically moved female is as driven to "be attractive" as any male is to" be attracted." Wherever they go (even to the market), whenever it is (even at mid-night,), whatever else they may be doing, some comparably deep part of femininity inclines "girls" of all ages to "be good looking," to beautify themselves as much as possible. On the same honeymoon, when, theoretically, further attraction is logically unnecessary, still make-up is predictable before going out. Once outside the bedroom (and often even there) she can no more help wanting to be pretty than can he help wanting to scope for beauty.
It's how the system works. In consort, "looking good" and "goodly looking" go (and get us) together. Females beautify to attract and males are attracted to beauty. Women do all they can to "be pretty" and men do all we can to find "pretty ones." Attracting and Scoping is the name of the game which is not really a game at all, but rather the wisest way evolution is yet to devise for effecting our deep instincts to replicate ourselves.
This, of course, is common knowledge, even if held sub-consciously in individuals, suppressed for good reason in public, and therefore goes without saying. But I say it here anyway, because seeing these pervasive instincts clearly is relevant to wisdom in practice, given the differing ways society has evolved to cope with each. I refer here to the above noted disparity in social acceptability, indeed, encouragement and support, given to our contrasting impulses.
Whereas female urges to beautify are meme and mall-supported, along with being socially and economically approved in all circumstances and places (beauty is welcome anytime, anywhere), corresponding male urges to respond in kind, to look for beauty, are far more vilified in all social and public sectors. "Just being a good female trying to look good" is affirmed everywhere, but "just being a good male trying to take a good look" is both socially dangerous and commonly judged bad.
As in society, so in relationships. Whereas females are favorably approved for continuing their same beautifying practices after a male relationship has been established, males are consistently disapproved for continuing their practices of consistent scoping. She may safely keep on trying to appeal to the eyes of every male, but he is thereafter supposed to "only have eyes for you." "'Tain't," as I've said, "fair."
But self-pity aside, back to my point: the operation of genetic inclinations toward ripe and rich is best recognized in male "scoping (looking for ripe females)" and in female "beautifying (trying to look ripe in order to attract rich lookers, even if unconsciously)." How do we do it? How do we go about seeking success in this first but critical phase of the reproductive process, the second most powerful of all genetic drives?
Answer: females' best odds are through attracting best mates; males' best odds are via finding most attractive mates--that is, through "looking good" and through "good looking."
Although our urges--women to beautify and men to scope for beauty, are comparable, the consequences of each are far from equal. I want to become more conscious of these differences so I can deal more wisely with them. First, a general observation: beautifying is meme supported; scoping is meme suppressed. What girls do naturally is socially approved; what boys do naturally is socially dangerous. The same mothers who teach their daughters "how to be pretty" teach their sons "not to be peeping." Looking delectable is fine, but lecherous looking is not. Inviting lusting is affirmed while lusting itself is condemned.
One common result of this contrasting social stance to active gender genes is the generation of pride and guilt. Quite apart from external pragmatics (to be considered next), the internal results of favorable and unfavorable memes are often of immense spiritual consequence. Whereas females are invited to feel proud of what they are genetically inclined to do, males are set up to feel guilty about activation of our comparable genes. Even if a girl cloaks her pride as such, it is hard to imagine one not feeling good about being attractive. Conversely, even if a boy hides his shame, we often feel bad about how attracted we are when "we know we shouldn't be."
I may label these familiar feelings as "false pride," and "false guilt," in an effort to clarify understanding; but in practice, "feeling proud" of beauty and "feeling ashamed" of lust-after-beauty are experientially real and of profound consequence in regard to spiritual well-being. In popular religion such pride "goeth before destruction," and is properly seen as a "mortal sin." In natural theology, as I understand reality to work, such shame is even more destructive because it has negative social impact as well as spiritual danger. Proud females (of their looks) need only attend to religious dangers; but shameful males (of our looking), must be attentive to social as well as religious rejection.
All projections (on to others) aside, the amount of such "false guilt" I have experienced in regard to what I now see as natural male instincts is yet difficult for me to consciously realize. And the consequences of repressing such drives in service of social acceptability are even more devastating when I am able to be reasonable about how I have long lived. Surely the positive social values of my acquired shames have been great; but the negative spiritual results must be far greater.
I want now to examine the existential states which are recognized in the activities of beautifying and scoping. What is the internal condition of a female engaged in being pretty? What is happening inside the skin of a male who is being attracted? Apart from the obvious outward activities associated with "getting pretty" and "girl watching," what is going on inside a woman or man so engaged?
Although both are ultimately aimed at self-replication, each is, I surmise, distinctively different at the time. A female who is in the process of either beautifying herself in order to be attractive, or going about being pretty following her efforts (which are often massive, I note), is, I think, not the same as that of a male either in search of or responding to such beauty. Existentially, I think, attracting and attracted are physically different. But how? And, if so, how may each be described or recognized?
I begin with the male state, which I obviously know more about. The internal state of an external scoper is like being "turned on." I use this metaphor "like") and the colloquial term ("turned on") because I cannot find a more apt and descriptive phrase. A scoping male, one who is in the active process of "looking for pretty girls," either in the outside world or in his imagination, is, in some degree "turned on." The lines between being cited--versus ex-cited (caused by something out there), being internally lusting versus literally "turned on" externally, are relevant here.
Although this male state is like being "turned on" or ex-cited, these are only descriptive metaphors. It is, literally, on or cited--that is, the existential state of an outwardly scoping male is inward "on-ness" or "citement." Sexually associated words may clarify further. "On-ness" is being lustful, being "cited-about-sex," in particular, about having sex. Another colloquial term, horny, is perhaps most descriptive of all. A male who is moved by scoping urges is horny in some degree. Although the genetic goal of horniness is obviously female oriented, the existential state is entirely personal. "Pretty girls,"or even images of "tits and ass," have no direct connection with this existential state.
The corresponding female state however (I surmise), is more focused on beauty itself, on simply being attractive, devoid of direct sexual implications (at least consciously). Sexually associated words are generally inaccurate in describing the existential state of beautifying females. Horniness, for instance, is more likely to be offensive than clarifying when it comes to describing the internal state of a beautifying or being-beautiful female. In fact, as soon as sexual associations are even implied, females are likely to say, "Oh, you=re just imagining things. I just enjoy being pretty. It has noting to do with sex."
And although I think there is massive female rejection of conscious sexuality, I also think that there is much honesty in such statements. Female urge, at its clearest, is less about sex itself and more about being attractive only. We males easily (and reasonably when we project) read far more sexual implications into beautifying than is inherent in femininity.
This is, I speculate, because of the gender differences noted above in regard to the overall nature of our differing roles in reproduction, namely, in starting-babies versus making-babies and rearing-children. Man's biological role is in fact more essentially focused on fucking alone, while woman's comparable role only begins with intercourse. Ideally we males are around for continual protection and support; but necessarily you females are around needing both. We may replicate via sex alone; but you must deal with pregnancy, birthing, rearing, et al, long after we are so often gone.
Point: given these functional if not ideal differences, men, I speculate, have evolved with more genetic urges for fucking only, while women have pragmatically evolved urges more related to security than to sex, with attracting-a-male-who-will-be-committed-over-the-long-haul, than with simply "finding a good lay." Thus, even though attracting and attracted are neatly comparable words for describing our contrasting roles in getting together for replication, the underlying goals of each are far different. Males, understandably, are better evolved for sex only, for finding and fucking "pretty girls (ripe females)," while females, even more understandably, are geared for finding and keeping "supportive men (rich males)."
If scoping is about "finding and fucking" ripe girls, beautifying is about "getting and keeping" rich men (not just boys who may have strong sperm, but cannot provide and support). And as all women have long known, a "good man nowadays is hard to find." Given these reasonable genetic imperatives, the existential states of us who are involved in their operation would reasonably be different. As, of course, we generally find them to be.
Back to my subject: the existential state of genetically inclined male scopers in quest of ripe females is clearly sexual in nature, while the comparable state of female beautifiers drawn toward rich males is less about sex and more about security. He mainly wants a conceive-able girl. She necessarily must have an active sperm, but she must biologically want far more than a fuck-able boy; even more so, she needs a dependable man.
The genius of genes, as I have amplified before, is the encoding of pleasure with whatever works. Any practice which proves to be of value to genes is eventually supported by pleasurable feelings. In time, workable options come to "feel good." And the more workable (compatible with genetic well-being) a function is, the greater the pleasure which is eventually associated with it.
Applied here, the result is that reproduction, the second strongest (or so I speculate) of our urges, has come to have extremely high degrees of pleasure associated with the process. Just as it "feels good" to eat, in satisfaction of genetic needs for bodily sustenance, so it "feels good" to fuck, initiating the reproductive process. So what else is new?
The relevance of this common knowledge here is to note that we are genetically encoded to seek such pleasures. We naturally "want to feel good," to experience the genetic states which are innately pleasurable--in this case, the existential modes described above. Men, that is, naturally desire and seek the "good feelings" associated with being "turned on," the way-we-are while in process of replication. And women, in parallel, naturally want the "good feelings" which are innate with their role in the same process, which initially involves beautifying. Males "just feel good" about/while being attracted; and females, while being attractive.
Now to the problem. In a completely natural world, as evidenced with animals, these states-of-being would naturally be experienced, I theorize, in harmony with inherent male urges and female hormonal tides related to estrus. But in a social world, where we all now live, memes are largely in outward control and regular domination of these instincts. We still enjoy "feeling that way," but social morals invite, indeed tend to require, dividing our instincts from their most natural forms of expression. Males cannot, without social rejection, be regularly focused on ripe any more than can females be openly diligent about rich. Our urges remain the same, but our practice of their activation must be sharply altered if we are to fit in with social structures, that is, be memetically moral.
So what are we to do? The common resolution has involved splitting awareness (literally, our selves) into two parts, one part conscious (still in awareness) and the other part unconscious (pushed from awareness). Divided thusly, we can, albeit in a schizophrenic manner, keep a working balance between the powerful forces of genes and memes. We pay with splitness, but we win some measure of aliveness in both conflicting arenas--our inward genetic world and our outward memetic world. Accordingly split between consciousness and unconsciousness, with genetic urges mostly in the latter, men can still yearn deeply for ripeness, while women can yet deeply crave richness; but at the same time, via suppression of these urges in awareness, we can function "as though it were not so." Fortunately for society, and ourselves in it, we can learn to act like what is genetically true is memetically false. The deeper spiritual problem is our common temptation to fall for our own acts--but that's another subject.
But in service of this semi-workable resolution of predictable conflicts between genes and memes in regard to reproduction, what we mostly find today are men and women with genes, as it were, "alive and well," but having to function dishonestly, cloaked by socially approved appearances to the contrary. This leads to a second problem which inevitably results from the first. Once we split ourselves in quest of survival with these powerful but conflicting forces, how are we to find the pleasures associated with the genes, yet still keep the rewards attached to social approval? With our deeper genetic eyes on ripe and rich, what are we to do with the eyes of head and mind--that is, what we look at and consciously think about?
Disassociation is the psychological name for the familiar resolution of these problems. First we disassociate our conscious sense-of-self from our true biological selves (with these ingrained urges), and then we reattach to some "object" where the denied powers have been projected. Suppression inevitably leads (or is synonymous with) projection. This is the way the psychological phenomenon of denial works.
In this case, when men split off from our genetic urges, our naturally innate on-ness, we commonly project (unconsciously, of course) the powers of sexual citement "out there"--most typically on to "pretty girls" who are thereafter assumed to "turn us on" or ex-cite us. Females (and here I obviously must speculate) less commonly make their similar projections on to specific "objects," such as "handsome men" or various of their body parts, but more often focus, as best I can tell, on the process of attraction, namely, beautifying themselves, or on romantic type situations which embody the fulfillment of their urges toward what I have summarized in the word rich.
In summary, after splitting to resolve the gene/meme conflict, men typically project our reproductive urges on to female beauty, while women project their comparable urges on to the process of beautifying themselves (plus romances associated with being beautiful). Then, once these projections are established, men "just feel good"--that is, exist in the existential state of reproductive on-ness, whenever in contact (real or imagined) with female beauty. And women, after their own comparable split, "just feel good"--are themselves cited, by beautification ("becoming/being attractive").
Then the pragmatic issue becomes: how can we, following these typical projections, achieve these complementary "feel good" states apart from their natural modes of activation? How can we be good genetic males and females, that is, experience the pleasures which are innate in gender activation, and yet be good citizens? How can we have the fun of genes and the freedoms of society at the same time?
For males the most common ways are: 1) get ripe females if possible; 2) get any available females; 3) get wealth in order to attract females; 4) get images of ripe females, either via eyes of head or mind (i.e., screen, word, or imagination). For females: 1) get a rich male if possible; 2) get an available male; 3) get images of romance situations (i.e., movies, romance novels or imagination); 4) get attractive in order to appeal to males.
Replication, not sex, is the genetic goal. We are driven to reproduce ourselves, not to have sex per se. Sex (doing it) is the way we initiate the process, but, biologically speaking, is only a means to an and, not the end itself. Replication is primary, the nature of the urge; sex is secondary, only a delightful step along the way.
The point of these obvious facts here is to clarify a significant gender difference. Male replication and female replication, our shared drive, is in fact quite a different matter. Whereas sex itself is essential to both males and females, its prime importance is primarily Y rather than X-oriented--that is, it is more beneficial to men than to women insofar as replication is concerned.
As far as I can tell, our shared instincts for reproduction are essentially the same in terms of drive and initiative. Females are as moved to replicate themselves as are males. Also, it seems to me that genes are aimed at maximum replication--producing as many offspring as we can under our given circumstances. Certainly food supplies, etc., set limits on the number of surviving offspring; but within these usually unrecognizable limitations, I surmise that the correct genetic answer to: How many copies of themselves do genes want to make? is: As many as we who bear them can possibly make. Memes may encourage us to set limits, but genes, I think, know naught of them. Men, I conclude, are genetically inclined to sire as many offspring as we are capable of producing sperm to initiate. And women, with the same drive for maximum replication of their genes, are inclined to copy their genetic selves to the max.
But here nature and society have perhaps combined to give males an unfair advantage in this shared urge to duplicate our genes as much as we can. Given the minimal fatherly role in baby-making, namely, impregnation only, and the massive additional requirements of gestation and delivery which fall to mothers, plus the current social mode which also places raising children primarily in female hands, replication is by far easier for males.
Just by having sex, an immensely pleasurable act in itself, males, if lucky, begin their own genetic replication; and odds being the way they are, the more often, the better the chances of success. And since any single female is limited to only a few babies and any male's supply of sperm is astronomically greater than the 2-10 needed by any one mother, he further increases his replicatory chances by having sex with as many conceive-able (ripe) females as he possibly can.
But with females the avenue to self-replication is limited to the relatively small number of children she can herself have and guide toward maturity where they may also reproduce 1/4 rather than 2 of her genes. All her children, sons and daughters alike, carry 2 of her genes, which are continued, though reduced by 2 in the next generation, assuming, of course that she has grandchildren also. But here, with her children, statistical odds favor her maximum replication through sons rather than daughters. Since sons may sire more children than daughters can give birth to, a mother's chances of extending her genetic self are considerably increased via her male heirs. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for the apparent favoring of sons over daughters by both fathers and mothers.
The relevance of these statistical facts here is their possible relationship with drives toward sex itself. Since male odds of replication are maximized by sex alone, by siring rather than extended fathering, and female odds are increased by families alone (with only the minimal amount of sex for impregnation), it is reasonable to imagine that male genes, personified into men, would be "mostly interested in sex," while female genes would be minimally "interested in sex," and mostly concerned about family--which, obviously, is what we generally find to be true.
Summary: given the facts of genetics and society as presently evolved, maximum male replication comes through maximum sex and minimum family, while maximum female replication is reversed; her odds of perpetuity are increased by her family, especially her sons, not by her sexual activity. If genes could talk, his would say, I conclude: "Have sex, have sex; do it as often as possible with as many as possible, especially the ripest ones. The more the merrier! Statistical odds of impregnation are so infinitesimally small and sperm number is so astronomically large, don=t worry about saving and wasting; get out there and spread sperm. The more you spread, the better our chances of eternal life."
Meanwhile hers might reasonably say: "Have family, have family; give your all to getting the best available male (richest you can find) and having the largest family possible. Sure, you must have a few good sperm; but these are fairly easy to get. Give most of your attention to security for yourself and your children, since you are the only one they can truly depend on. If we are to have a shot at immortality, it is through your kids; so above all else, certainly above sex, tend to your family."
These powerful urges rooted in our shared drive toward reproduction lead to obvious social threats. Widespread fucking by males, the most direct manifestation of good male genetics, is obviously problematic. No currently evolved social structure can reasonably support these natural male urges and yet remain intact and functional. Some form of sharp control of these ingrained instincts is certainly required.
Although comparable female drives more directed toward family than fucking, are socially acceptable, even meme supported, still there are major challenges to the most basic elements of primal female urges also. The end female goal of healthy children as woman's best path to self-replication is easily fitted into social structures; but the primal roots of these instincts are not, namely, best sperm and rich father.
The female problem comes in the fact that combining these two needed resources in the same male person can be difficult. Best sperm are more predictable in healthy young males, "studs" who biologically peak around 18-20 years of age. But best wealth, both of material and emotional support, is likely in older males who are well past peak sperm production. Ideally, apart from social constraints, a genetically wise female would get her sperm from one source and her security from another, namely, a young "stud" and an older, dependable "rich man."
This, however, is as socially impractical as is the male urge to "fuck around." The male social challenge may be obvious and difficult, but the female problem can, I surmise, be even more difficult in the long run. In some measure, both genders must find a workable way of compromising and coping with these conflicts between genes and memes. Within current social structures we cannot tolerate indiscriminate male sperm-spreading nor female sleeping around in quest of best sperm. Even the need for rich support must be reasonably concealed in a woman's quest for best combination of the two in one man. The proverbial fragile male ego, which seems to be near universally present today, can hardly tolerate that she just might "love me mostly for my money."
So, what are we to do? How can males best cope with our dilemma of being driven to wide-ranging sperm-spreading but at the same time socially restricted to one woman? And how can females best manage their problem of trying to find all they need in only one man?
I observe that the currently most popular modes of adaptation have been projection for males and suppression for females. We men have mainly learned to cope with our natural/social dilemma by projecting the powers of our own sexual urges on to women. First, we split our selves via denying (to ourselves) the innate powers which inevitably accompany our ingrained capacity for cranking out some 3,000 sperm every second, 6 million every hour, 15 billion per month. Instead of consciously owning, and therefore having to cope and be responsible for exercising these powers wisely in society, we have, historically, learned to deny/project these bodily forces on to females in general and various of their body parts in particular. It is not we, or so we mainly live-as-though, who are so pervasively "on," but they who so easily and regularly "turn us on."
The advantage of such familiar projections is obvious; we, though these acts of self-deception, become essentially irresponsible for a major portion of our own natural powers. "It's not my fault; she tempted me" (or in the opposite case, "turned me off"). Or, if males are religious, "the devil made me do it." In either case, whether by secular or religious excuse, males have near universally coped with the challenges of being sexually powered via the easy psychological trick of projection. Unfortunately the costly disadvantages of our long-practiced male mode are less immediately evident. The spiritual price we cannot but pay is not so easy to see at the time we males are learning the high arts of survival by projection rather than by personal responsibility.
Meanwhile, historically speaking, females seem to have avoided the trap of projecting the power inherent in their mode of self-replication. Perhaps this has been easier since powers for family-making are more diverse, less focused, than those for sperm-making. Or more likely, I just defend my half of the species, continuing to excuse us for what I theoretically take to be our own fault. Either way, females less-commonly project their capacity to be "on" as powered by reproductive instincts, on to males. You may like, even admire, some of our traits, such as, physical strength, mechanical abilities, etc., but I doubt that any male has ever achieved the ease of "turn on" ability that every female, following male projections which must be universal, "just comes with." Simply by virtue of being born with proverbial "tits and ass," no personal responsibility required, any female has far more functional "turn on" power than any male, even with diligent effort, can ever acquire.
The results of this imbalance in functional powers, resulting from massive male projections not paralleled by similar female projections, would, I calculate, be impossible to estimate with any reasonable degree of accuracy! It must contribute largely to a power imbalance which is already innate in having two X chromosomes in each cell, rather than only one powerful X and a relatively weak Y, as is so for all males.
But females, as best I can tell, are not without fault and considerable loss in their own evolved ways of coping with their version of the massive sperm challenge. Even though women seem to avoid projecting the powers innate in family-making capacities (like males do with sperm-making energies), they have (again I am obviously limited to male speculations in this conclusion), I think, historically made a compensatory move which is functional, but also costly in the long run. While continuing to own innate nurturing capacities--that is, to remain consciously in contact with family-making abilities without projecting on to males, they have dealt more harshly with their own natural sex-related instincts.
Although getting good sperm is but a minor part of any potential mother's overall responsibilities in pregnancy and child rearing, it remains a biologically crucial part of the extended drama. No matter how successful a female may be in all the post-conception challenges of person-making, the 23 chromosomes which come from some male sperm are crucially definitive of all else which she may supply and do. What happens in that split second when a single small sperm penetrates (or is taken in by) her massively large (in proportion) ovum, dictates much of the success of her perhaps 18 year effort devoted to her own replication. A good, healthy sperm gets her "half the way there"; a bad one (with weak or defective genes) undermines even super-human mothering.
Point: getting sperm is obviously easy enough; but getting the best possible one is biologically crucial for female success in our shared drama of reproduction. And we now know, given current advances in genetic research, what female genes may have long known, namely, that "just any sperm won=t do." There are certainly vast and significant genetic differences in male sperm.
While these facts are now obvious, I can only speculate about what may have occurred over the long span of female evolution since society began some 100,000 plus or minus years ago--which, you guessed it, is what I am doing here. I theorize, based on genetic logic (as outlined above) and personal/anecdotal evidence, that while females have remained attuned and in personal possession of nurturing (family-making) capacities, they have dealt with evolved powers for sperm-selection primarily by suppression. Males, I think, have made the major projection of overall reproductive powers, but females have made a smaller yet still significant minor projection, namely, of sexual awareness. Given the additional fact that social judgment of male "fooling around" looking for conceive-able females is far less harsh than of females who might be in search of best sperm, it follows, again logically, that female suppression of socially dangerous capacities would also be predictable.
I assume that females have evolved functional modes of optimal sperm selection, just as have males developed good "gene eyes" for conceivable ovum selection; but, given social dangers inherent in "sleeping around" in quest of best sperm, while support is given for family concerns, it seems understandable to me that females may well have learned to suppress the dangerous capacity while elevating the acceptable one.
In either case, evidence for my conclusion seems more certain. However it happened, I have come to believe that female suppression of awareness about overt sexual urges which might be related to better sperm selection, especially after marriage, is common. Whereas female attention to security, the second prime concern in child rearing, is evident and conscious, equally appropriate attention to sperm selection seems notably lacking. I conclude then, that general female consciousness (certainly a vast generalization!) includes considerable suppression of overt sexual awareness (the first important element in replication) and major attention to overt security awareness (the second and longest concern in extended genetic success).
It is taking me a long time to bring this observation into clear focus and thus language; but what I now think, in summary, is: whereas males have coped with society by major suppression/projection of powers evolved for sperm-spreading, females have adapted in the same process by suppression of only a minor (but significant) part of their reproductive powers, namely, the part related to overt sex. They have remained in conscious contact with inherent powers for the major part of the reproductive process, namely, gestation and child-rearing (family and security). Like males, females, if I am correct, do suppress/project the powers of their own natural sexuality; but the extent of female projection in comparison with male projection is minor.
I further speculate that in most females there is some inward balance attempted by exaggerating consciousness of the latter in compensation for denials of the former--that is, that suppressions of overt sexuality awareness are balanced by exaggerations of overt nurturing awareness. To protect themselves from imbalance which is psychologically inherent in any suppression, I surmise that females have wisely (at least for immediate utility) over-emphasized their sense-of-nurturing-self to achieve balance with their under-recognized sense-of-sexual-self.
Overall summary: In coping with the challenges of being genetic in social circumstances--where we all exist, of necessarily mixing genes and memes, males have largely done so by major projections of inherent sexual powers. Females, in sharp contrast, have only made minor projections of their major reproductive powers (namely, for baby-making and rearing), but have dealt with what I believe are expansive sexual capacities by huge amounts of personal suppression. Whereas males clearly (to me) suppress and project sexual powers in major proportions, females make major sexual suppressions with only minor projections in awareness. We males clearly believe (based on unacknowledged suppression/projection) that females possess the power to turn us on or off sexually. Females, however, while relatively unaware of their own genetic sexuality (as I understand it) have far less devotion to the ideas that males "turn them on" in any ways, especially via bodily or overt sexual seductions (as males view "groping," etc.).
Males, I conclude, cope with the gene/meme conflict by projection; females, by suppression.
On-ness is the natural state of existing with a capacity awarely activated; turned-on-ness is existing in that same state, but with the power for its activation projected "out there" so that one erroneously believes that (or lives-as-though) "it turns me on." On-ness is about citement; turned-on-ness is about ex-citement. The first is completely natural; the second requires the psychological process of suppression/projection. I want now to explore the relationship about living in these two distinguishable ways. How, in practice, in daily life, is on-ness different from "being tuned on"? And vice versa.
First, on-ness: I theorize that before or without suppression/projection on-ness, especially as related to reproductive instincts, is a pervasive existential state varying only in degrees of intensity or recession. Bulls, for example, or human males in our natural state, will be regularly attuned first to survival urges, and then to reproductive urges (in that order). They will, I theorize, be (literally) in an existential state of on-ness which varies from small to great, but is generally existent all the time. They will be most completely on when in the presence of a cow "in heat" (or a ripe--as previously defined, female person).
This natural on-ness will, I speculate, be triggered or more fully activated (as in males becoming erect) when the bodily senses of smell or sight related to evolved knowledge about estrus are engaged--as in bulls smelling cows in heat or boys seeing conceive-able girls; but, and this is the critical distinguishing issue, the power-of-activation will be internal with on-ness and external with turned-on-ness. When the cow-in-heat is present (or the ripe girl is visible), then the natural male will predictably escalate his on-ness; but this expanded "sexiness" in each instance will be internally motivated, not externally caused.
I belabor this point because of its relevance to other practical matters to be considered later.
Now, turned-on-ness: After habits of suppression/projection have been established, usually for good reasons of increased safety in society, awareness of pervasive on-ness as an existential state apart from external stimuli is lost. Surely the instincts are still genetically present, but consciousness of their activation is denied via suppression of awareness. Thereafter, initiation of the activated state, along with conscious attention to it, is "caused by" whatever one has learned to "get turned-on" by. It, he, she, or the devil "made me do it."
The phenomenon is the same for both males and females; following suppression, awareness-of-activation comes via "objects" on which the denied urges have been projected. But quantitative gender differences are immediately evident. We both, I observe, repress and project sexual urges; but in the overall reproductive instinct, overt sex is minor for females and major for males. The major portion of female reproductive drives are focused on family rather than fucking, that is, on issues related to security rather than sex. Consequently, the pragmatic results of major male projections are far more consequential than minor female projections in the same arena. Females may, in effect "give away" some of their innate powers; but we males, I note, project far more. In the larger sense of on-ness probably no female is as fully turned-on by any male as males regularly are by most any female. After our differing degrees of projection, males are far more vulnerable, I observe, to female turn-ons than are females to male peacocking.
But given these differences in degree, what are our most operative turn-ons? Both genders turn-ons are rooted, I surmise, in biological urges associated with ripe and rich; but in practice, the means of connection are different.
Male turn-ons may be grouped in three categories; sensory, tactile, and mental. In practice they overlap, and ideally, all three are combined in a continually shifting tapestry or experience; but for understanding we may break them down into distinguishable categories.
First, sensory--that is, physical events in the world which involve actively sensing external stimuli, such as, smells, sights, and sounds (not touch). In each instance the most powerful turn-ons are those which are either biologically rooted in ripeness or have been associated in one's individual experience with being sexual. These latter stimuli may be called fetishes, but, on analysis, they are usually found to be related to one's earlier experiences of becoming consciously sexual in the presence of such an "object (most commonly some female bodily part or practice)."
Most common such sensory experiences can be summarized with what a particular male perceives as "pretty" or beautiful, most specifically a "pretty (or beautiful) girl"--varying, of course, from male to male as well as culture to culture. Pretty commonly includes bodily forms we have evolved to associate with ripe--namely, youth, health, fullness, and symmetry. Associated sights include clues to virginity and desire--potential for exclusive male impregnation and willingness to be fucked. Facial expressions, such as smiles and "looks," plus willingness to make eye contact, are also associated with a male's sense of "pretty" or "attractive." Defining the female phenomenon of a "come-hither look" yet eludes me; but not to acknowledge the turn-on power of that "certain look" would be equally far from honesty.
Relevant smells are even harder to define, but can be generally characterized by distinctiveness, ease of perceiving, and probably with some long forgotten sense of male olfactory wisdom associated with female estrus. Sounds are likewise difficult to particularize. In general, however, they include noises related to female pleasure, which is itself a clue to ripeness or willingness to be sexual. These include non-verbal sounds like cooing, gasping, panting, laughing, and other spontaneous noises indicative of openness to male presence.
Verbal turn-ons are easier to specify; these include any form of "yes-saying" to a male--"Yes, I see you (hear you, understand you, admire you, like you)," or, most powerfully of all, "want you." In conversation these verbal turn-ons are expanded and amplified when subject matter implies, or most tantalizingly of all, becomes overtly sexual in nature. Often, of course, we err in identifying female-talk-about sex with female-being-sexual, but commonly we males err on the side of talk.
Mixing these types of sensory experience together--as in seeing a pretty, naked female who looks desirous (as well as desirable), smells good, sounds sexy, and says suggestive if not overtly sexual things, is the culmination of male turn-ons in the first category of stimuli.
Next comes tactile stimulation--physical touch. This, of course, is but another form of sensory experience, but differing degrees of social acceptability for non-contact forms of sensory perception as opposed to touch easily places it in a separate category insofar as male turn-ons are concerned. Touch, obviously, is of two varieties: touching another person and touching oneself. In terms of power to turn-on, tactile stimulation, especially of male touching female or vice versa, should probably be placed first in this list of categories. Following the briefest of visual recognitions which confirm the touching person to be female, and especially if she is viewed as attractive, any tactile contact is apt to be an immense turn-on for an average male.
Her permission for his touch is especially stimulating in our society, even beyond the stimuli inherent in tactile contact, because it implies some degree of female openness to further physical encounter, that is, serves as a clue to eventual fuck-ability.
Closely related, however, is her touch of him--which carries the above implications along with other powerful forms of stimulation associated more with blessing (as in early life with mother) than with fucking. When female touch carries both these associations, as it inevitably, I think, must do, then it becomes a powerful male turn-on which is only partially related to reproduction. Its greater power for evoking male on-ness may lie in its association with survival itself, that is, the deepest of our two major instincts. Whatever the actual division of roots may be, female touch of a male is commonly an extremely powerful force following our typical male projections not only of sexuality, but often in even larger measure, our capacity for selfing as well. I doubt that any female can ever understand these touch-powers which she so commonly has, given her differing degrees of sexual projection and general absence from self-affirmation by male touch.
Self-touch is the second form of stimulating tactile turn-ons. In this type of experience tactile contact occurs between parts of one's own body rather than between two bodies, i.e., leg against leg, arm against arm, or hand against body. The most sensitive areas are, of course, the most touched for turn-on. These areas are, as we all know, around the orifices and genitals. Highest turn-on generally comes from "playing with one's genitals," that is, touching/tickling penis and balls. (Why does a dog lick his balls? Because he can!)
Next, in terms of concentration of sense receptors, come mouth and anus; thus licking one's lips or touching one's ass hole follow closely behind genital touch in male turn-on capacity. Finally, since all skin areas have some degree of sensitivity, stroking the body anywhere may bring a degree of sexual stimulation.
I delay mentioning masturbation until last because, paradoxically, rushing to self-generated orgasm can be an evasion of fuller degrees of extended turn-on, even though climax, in itself, is the culmination of sexual citement ("ex-citement"). Even so, touching oneself (one's "privates") so as to cause ever increasing degrees of sexual on-ness on the path which begins with "feels good" and ends with "he greatest" of all bodily male pleasures is also the apex of tactile stimulation.
In what boils down to self-stimulation via a female body, i.e., woman's hand, mouth, or vaginal walls, rather than by one's own body or hands, the best of both worlds of touch is experienced. Tactile turn-on then includes the real, physical stimulation of touch without the sometimes distracting self-consciousness invited by "playing with oneself" in a society which generally condemns such "self-abuse."
However, whether by another person or by oneself or both, tactile contact is a second category of turn-ons.
Thirdly, there is the mental arena--various types of "thinking" which result in "getting turned-on." Mental stimulation is largely about images (imagined pictures) related to real situations in the first two categories--for example, imagining "pretty girls" or any image related to ripeness. Commonly, such a "good imagination" includes not only icon-type objects, such as, beautiful female bodies or various of its parts, but also imagined situations in which the above noted types of activities occur. Most consistently these seem to include dramas characterized by attractive females who "want to," that is, who consciously desire to have sex with the dreamer, or with someone else in the presence of the dreamer so that the imagining one is free to watch without the challenges of "having to perform."
Of course mind is necessarily involved in the first two categories also, since some measure of "thinking" is required for sensory data to be registered--that is, perceived. But this third arena is more mental than physical because conscious initiative rather than chance encounter is at its heart. We may think of it as "mental seeing," with physical sight taken as metaphor rather than fact only. "Thinking about sex," for instance, involves "seeing (in one's mind's eye)" such "sights" as may or may not exist in the outside world.
Pornography, or any other type of sexually related images, i.e., "suggestive" advertisements or screen dramas, are perhaps best examples of combining a small degree of physical sight with a large degree of mental imagination. With pornography (Playboy type magazines), ripe-like images are purchased ("captured") and are consequently "owned" by the purveyor himself. Initial selection and poses of the models are of course structured to appeal to typical male fantasies as well as biological desires.
Male mental focus-ability--that is, ability to exclude data not directly related to a present goal (like ignoring dangers in order to focus on wild game), is a grand asset in this type of mental stimulation. Females, it seems to me, with their more inclusive type of mental capacity, find pornography far less useful in mental turn-ons. We males, however, for whatever reason, can easily exclude such information as the artificiality of the whole pornographic phenomenon (it's all fake) in favor of our focus-ability on the desirable characteristics of the models or the situations they are photographed in. So what, we may say, if they are "all made up," are pretending to be desirous, and may even be gay or frigid themselves? Easily we can ignore such logical data in favor of their representational images as presented in pictures. So attuned through eons of evolution, both pre-historic and in recorded time, to any clues to female conceive-ability, we can easily imagine, all other evidence to the contrary, that "she is ripe and she sees me as rich"--that is, "she wants me."
This, as noted above, is the grandest of all genetic male turn-ons.
But since pornography is socially offensive, sometimes illegal, often expensive as well as hard to find, we males are lucky to have good imaginative capacities which allow us to conjure up the same (even better?) images without running the risks of finding and/or owning pornography. Safer, in present society, to use mental turn-ons, which pornographic images may support, but which, in the final analysis, are fueled and powered by our own imaginations devoid of any external pictures, either real or pornographic.
Mind, it turns out, after the psychic phenomenon of suppression/projection, is the ultimate male aphrodisiac. More and often better, certainly safer, images are readily available via imagination than through either sensing and/or tactile experience. Better, for sure, when the first two turn-ons occur in conjunction with the last; but given social and logistical challenges as they commonly are outside the jungle, mental turn-ons are perhaps best of all.
Summary: in reality "getting turned-on" is always some combination of sensing, touching, and thinking--with emphasis shifting from one to another. Sometimes a single sight is the precipitating and predominant stimulant; at other times, some form of touch gives ex-citement its "ex" component; and then again a mental image may be the major stimulation. But wherever the initiating stimulus may lie, the overall experience of being turned-on commonly includes sensing, touch, and thought, some combination of body and mind in fluctuating harmony. For thought and analysis purposes, as I attempt here, I may distinguish these or other categories of turn-ons; but in real life, they are but threads in a single tapestry, themes in a wonderful drama which is rooted in instincts for reproduction which have, because of inward denials, become more perceptible "out there."
Females, it seems to me, are far smarter about male turn-ons than are males about female turn-ons. Consequently, because I need to be wiser, I begin with a negative which I know intellectually, but often fail to acknowledge in practice, namely: whereas implications of overt sex are grand male turn-ons, the opposite is not, as best I can tell, the case for most females. In fact, the opposite is true; for good and practical, as well as understandable reasons, females are more likely to be turned off by obviously sexual displays by males. Commonly we males blindly project our own turn-ons, erroneously assuming that the same things which ex-cite us will also turn on females.
Unfortunately (for us), not so.
Readily observable facts about this female difference are easier to understand when I become sensible about other biological facts, namely: 1) overt sex ("doing it") is only about impregnation--possibly implanting a single sperm in an ovum. Although this is the crucial event in male replication, and consequently becomes of primary importance in male genetic concerns, it is a relatively minor part of female responsibility in her corresponding agenda. Certainly a few sperm are needed, say from one to ten in a woman's life time, but the facts about sperm availability in comparison with ova availability are so radically different as to defy logical understanding.
First there are the biological facts that an average male makes some 3,000 sperm every second, while a female is only producing one ovum per month--a truly amazing disparity in quantities of the two essentials for initiating replication of each of us. Given the further disparity in inevitable responsibilities following a successful union of sperm and ovum, small wonder that males with so many to waste and so much to gain would become almost entirely focused on having sex as often as possible, while females with so few to waste and so much to lose even when they are successfully impregnated would become so extremely careful about intercourse.
But of course!
Perhaps these are the facts which have also led to the social situation we find today, where finding a ripe ovum is the grandest of challenges for males, while finding a ready sperm is a non-challenge for females. In fact, the greater challenge for females is not finding a sperm at all, but rather avoiding getting unwanted ones. If "having sex" is the male challenge, "not having (unwanted) sex" is the comparable female problem. The evolution of rape potential may have been a boon for male genes, but its price to females is inestimable. Given this disparity in social challenges, it becomes easy to see, when I dare look beyond my own projections, why females may reasonably have evolved with overt sex as a turn-off rather than a turn-on.
However it happened, and for whatever reasons, we typical males who blindly project our own turn-ons which regularly back-fire, are well advised to note our obvious differences from females in general. What turns us on is far more likely to turn them off. If and when we get as smart as females already are in regard to what works with the opposite gender, we may find relational challenges considerably eased.
In amplifying these consequential differences I need not ignore the previously noted observation that females, like males, also seem to suppress their own sexual awareness in service of survival with the described social situation. And such denials inevitably result in female projections, just as do our male suppressions. But, and this is the relevant point here, the grand difference in genetic need for intercourse in service of replication makes female fucking almost a non-issue in comparison with a male essential. Females pay, I think, greatly for their own sexual denials; but their cost is small in comparison with what we males pay for our comparable projections of power. We males lose what we greatly need, while females lose something they can easily do without. In fact typical female denials of sexual interest, as commonly occur following suppression, often enhance a woman's already overbalanced sexual powers due to male projections.
Point: female suppression of what I theorize to be a powerful genetic drive for best sperm selection may be personally costly to a woman, but given over abundance of available sperm which often come even against her will, the replication costs are minor. Wisely a woman in today's society focuses her attention of the weightier matters of security which is hard to find, rather than on sperm which are all-too-easily available even when she least wants them.
Which leads me to my subject of positive turn-ons rather than negative turn-offs. If signs of overt sex are not female turn-ons, as is so for males, then what are they?
Before trying to clarify what I see, I acknowledge the limitations of any scientific data for what I note. And surely for any male to speak definitively for any female is presumptuous if not dangerous. Yet, for pragmatic if not theoretical purposes, all males have good genetic reason to try to discern the nature of female turn-ons. What it seems to me that females already know so much about, namely, how to turn-on males, for reasons of power if not sex, males need to learn more about for our own well-being as well as replication.
In broadest summary, female turn-ons are more related to facts than to fantasy--that is, they are "more realistic" and less imaginary than are those for males. Females are excited by what they truly need in the real world, while males are turned-on more by products of our own imaginations resulting from massive projections than by real world facts. Women are looking for what they actually need but do not have, while men are more turned on by what we actually have but have lost awareness of through our common projections. Consequently, the products of our imaginations are our finest turn-ons, while the reality of their actual needs are women's greater source of excitement.
If sex is the best summary word for "what turns men on," security is the best comparable female word. By security I refer to primary resources needed for woman's success in pregnancy and child-rearing. These include supplies, protection, support, service, and dependability--all the traits tacitly implied in the phrase "a good man," which, as a song from Porgy and Bess intoned, "nowadays is hard to find." I have amplified these qualities earlier in defining my use of the word rich. For good genetic reasons a female engaged in the immense personal responsibilities of baby-making and child-rearing needs, in addition to her own inherited qualities and capacities, "a good man" to "provide for and protect" her and her babies during the extended process of moving them toward maturity for further replication.
Predictably then, females "get turned on" by signs of success in meeting these real needs. (I put the phrase in quotes to imply its colloquial use which is more literally applicable to males than to females. Actually females become cited ("on") in processes related to finding and keeping "good males" rather than empowered by the objects of success, as is so for males).
For analysis, we may break down the female process of meeting her biological needs into two phases: 1) getting, and 2) keeping a "good man." In practice they can never be so neatly separated; but for thought purposes we may look first at one and then the other. In common they both involve wielding power with males. Given the powerful male urge to continually "spread sperm," rather than to be a "good husband" following impregnation, exercising power over males and our instincts must be among the deepest of all female "turn-ons." It is essential for female success in both parts of her reproductive drama.
Putting the two together--need for security and power for obtaining it, I can summarize this basic female turn-on as: power-for-security. It is not power for its own sake, as is true for males, but power needed for getting and keeping necessary security. This power-for-security has two elements, one internal and the other external, one personal, the other in others. Both involve control or influence-ability over resources and circumstances relevant to reproduction.
In this context, woman is "on" when she believes herself ("feels like she is") in charge of such power-for-security--that is, for getting and keeping a man who is capable of providing security needed for child-rearing.
First there is the necessary "getting"--finding, attracting, and "capturing" the best available rich in security-making potential male. Power for this initial quest is best wielded, contrary, I would imagine, to many female wishes, via "beauty"--that is, by presenting oneself as nearly as possible to male genetic images of ripe, by "looking like" an ideal baby-maker while "acting like" an ideal mother (nurturer). I can only imagine what this challenge must be like!
Such "getting" is best done via indirect attracting rather than direct capture, by passive appeal rather than active demand. In terms of power analysis, this is by covert rather than overt power-wielding. Such passive attracting is best accomplished by "beautifying"--that is, appearing to be what male gene eyes are most evolved to see, namely, ripe. As previously amplified this breaks down into: young, healthy, bodied-for-babies, and subtly sexy.
Through appearing to be thusly desirable, females wield power with males who are potentially capable of providing first, good sperm, but mainly, good security. This power to increase her odds if not confirm her control over what her genes most need for their own replication is, I think, a female's finest turn-on.
Given the power which female "beauty" obviously yields, even if a woman's desires may be different (as in, wishing he wanted "me" as much as "my" body), it seems predictable to me that woman would have evolved not only skills for mimicking ripeness but also pleasure in achieving "good looks. " This, at least, is what I find to be true, however it may have evolved. Woman's first greatest "turn-on," it seems to me, lies in the general ball park of "beautifying"--that is, in believing she is, and in being seen as "being pretty," which boils down, finally, to "attractive to males (especially the 'good ones')"
As with male categories which I broke down into physical (sensing and touching) and mental, female turn-ons may also be in the real world of actual physical senses, or in the fantasized world of mental images--imagined scenarios, stories, dramas, etc., which are best summarized as romantical. The general theme, understandably, is: beautiful girl gets powerful (able to provide security) male who is thereafter devoted completely to her.
What pornography is to males, romantic novels are to females--that is, good mirrors for reflecting desires which turn us both on. With males, the bottom line is sex; with females, security. Woo a man with sex; woo a woman with wealth.
Temptations to play mother/son in cross gender relationships are great because: 1) nurturing instincts are stronger than sexual urges in females; 2) they are less suppressed in females; 3) almost all men have powerful unresolved mother wishes, so we easily evade kingly sexuality in favor of little boy illusions.
(Disclaimer: I do not advocate this theory of mixing moralities for everyone until public consciousness is vastly increased from what I now observe to be a general level of massive nonsciousness.)
Since we all live in the midst of genetic and memetic moralities we have no choice but to deal with both. Unless one lives completely alone in the jungle or on a deserted island, the forces of both genes and memes, with their inherent moralities, are always at hand. If they were completely harmonized, of course there would be no conflict and no reason to face conflicts.
But alas! Even though these two powerful forces are ultimately aimed at the same or closely related goals, namely, the well-being of individuals and groups of individuals, in practice they are most often like oil and water which refuse to mix, or like mortal enemies that are forever at war with each other. On the surface this does seem to be true; in broadest perspectives genetic morality is based on being selfing and sexual, while memetic morality is founded on being unselfish and relatively non-sexual. They cannot but bump into each other on a regular basis. Just when I am inclined to look after my own interests, society tells me to try to help others. When I feel lust, memes strongly advise me to "cool it" and threaten severe consequences if I don't.
What's a human to do? How am I to wisely deal with inevitable forces which so often urge me in opposing directions?
The most familiar approach to this ageless human problem is to identify one's self with memes and to dis-identify with genes. Then memes are honored and obeyed while genes are dishonored and resisted. Internal war is the inevitable result of this approach; if one is to be good according to memetic morality, then one must be continually on guard against impulses which become, as it were, enemies of morality.
The urge to "be selfish," for example, must always be fought while in the presence of others. Sexual desires not strictly confined to socially approved relationships and mores must be fiercely resisted. Finally this approach becomes a constant battle between "good" social morality and "bad" genetic instincts. In fact, morality itself is, in this familiar approach, completely identified with memes only. Any acting outside of social morality is commonly viewed as "immoral"--that is, not-moral at all. The only two categories are moral (as socially defined) and immoral, which is to say "without any morals ('just like an animal')." My subject here, genetic morality, is a non-subject in this popular perspective. Either one is moral as society directs, or else one is immoral.
Because gene forces can never be completely banished, a typical human pattern involves oscillation between the two--trying hard to "live up to" social standards, but sometimes "giving in to base instincts." One on this see-saw battle between genes and memes "tries to be good" but sometimes "falls into sin (immorality)" at some level. Then, according to the ideal script, he "feels sorry" for his social errors ("repents" is he is religious), apologizes or makes restitution to those who may be offended, and returns to the boundaries of memetic morality, vowing, often, to "never slip up again."
But, of course, we usually do, in one degree or another.
A second familiar but socially condemned approach is the opposite of the first; rather than identifying one's self with memetic standards, one instead sides with genes and "just does what he wants to (as genes direct)" regardless of "what they say." This is commonly viewed as "being rebellious," as in disobeying parents, teachers, and other social authorities. "He's a bad boy; he never minds me," a mother may say. Or a teacher may note that "he breaks all the rules and won't do what he is told." If social compliance is "good," such a "rebellious child" is obviously "bad."
Most of us find ourselves somewhere in between. We are usually compliant with social standards and like to think of ourselves as "good people" who are basically moral; but occasionally we "get tired of being good" and "act out" a bit, disobeying some social rule. Soon, however, we "get back on track" and devote most of our energies to fitting in, trying to be helpful to others (unselfish) and certainly "moral" in the sexual sense of the word.
What about this approach--trying to be good and trying not to be bad as defined by memetic morality? Even though there may be internal conflicts which occasionally erupt into out and out war between "what I want to do" and "what I should do," still it seems to work most of the time.
I cannot but praise this familiar mode of coping with genes and memes via suppression and elevation because it has worked well for social advancement. It has, obviously, gotten us this far. Perhaps it is the best we can hope for. But I also cannot but note some of the serious consequences of this common way of living in the midst of these powerful forces.
First there is the issue of power. Although we seldom talk about it in society, personal power is obviously crucial in good living. At issue is: where are we to find this necessary power--the energies essential for coping with the world as we find it? Natural energies are genetically produced through the activation of biological drives. Selfing generates energy; sex is energizing. Both these genetic instincts are power-producing when embraced and activated.
On the other hand there is power "out there" in social authorities who may grant it to individuals who conform to social norms. When we are "good" they reward us with permission to act in ways they approve. They, in effect, empower us to behave according to memetic morality. They "let us" do many things which fit in with prevailing social standards. Consequently we may, when we are "good," get power from others and from established social structures, such as, leadership positions or roles which have power assigned to them (i.e., teachers, politicians, ministers, etc.).
A second source of power associated with "being good" by social standards comes from what is most clearly seen as "self-righteousness"--although those who exercise these powers almost never recognize themselves as such. Still, those who strongly identify with any moral code and diligently "live up to it," do evidently experience a sense of personal power rooted in their devotion to "good" as they define it. Although they may think of themselves as "servants" of their cause, whatever it may be, their wielded powers are often evident to those who contradict them Ideally, those "outside the faith" are viewed as potential converts and treated helpfully. More often, however, they are seen as enemies who are continually subject to the wrath of the self-righteous ones.
When these two power sources are combined--assigned power from the group (i.e., to a parent, teacher, or policeman) and internal power generated by self-righteousness, then others are well behooved to beware. Self-righteous "good" people are certainly a powerful force in society.
But alas, beneath the veneers of social roles and assumed righteousness, meme-oriented persons are often relatively impotent as individuals on their own. Because their "goodness" acquired from group conformity also requires genetic suppression, "true believers" are constantly at war within themselves. In order to remain loyal members they must continually "fight" against "evil desires" which tempt them to "be bad." Much of the power acquired from their social positions and assumed virtue must then be dissipated in private battles against genetic forces which are also always at hand, especially after the stage lights go off and public support is absent.
I conclude that while this most popular resolution of the gene/meme conflict has no doubt been socially advantageous for civilization so far, its personal consequences are often spiritually devastating. The emotional prices we "good people" regularly pay for maintaining social standing via memetic morality alone are truly immense. Perhaps it has been required over the long process of social evolution, given the ancient powers of genes which all social groups have necessarily had to confront for any measure of longevity. And maybe, given the results of long coping via suppression/projection, many persons are wisely bound to their learned way of survival.
Since the familiar mode of pitting one against the other, trying to be socially good, and not genetically bad ("immoral"), is best accomplished via the psychological process of suppression/projection, many today are so habituated at survival-by-splitting that finding another way is simply too challenging. Often, I know, it seems so for me; still, at least for myself, I think there is a better way of relating genetic and memetic moralities. This is what I want to explore next.
The key word in this alternative mode which I am attempting to embody is mixing. Rather than taking the familiar path of keeping them in opposition, as though they are truly like oil and water, namely, unmixable, or mortal enemies of which only one can prevail, I am trying to mix the two into one functional whole. I theorize that the shared ultimate goals of both genes and memes (human well-being in social groups) can be harmonized in a way which by-passes the familiar war. I believe that it is possible to avoid splitting ourselves, as required by the popular mode of coping (or to heal former splits), and instead, to unite these forces which do indeed seem contradictory into one workable whole.
This unfamiliar path begins with moving past judgments which are typically made in maintaining the fragile stability based on genetic suppression--namely, judging social values as good and genetic values as bad. Although only outwardly religious people may consciously voice these judgments, as in, identifying genetic drives as evil or immoral, secular populations also tend to treat conformity as good and "rebellion (living by desires)" as bad. Even without making conscious negative judgments about "anti-social" inclinations, such persons are, for instance, commonly ashamed of their bodies and/or natural sexual impulses. They live-as-though instincts are bad, even while consciously voicing genetic affirmations and thinking "there's certainly nothing wrong with basic drives."
But whether our judgments are conscious or unconscious, we must first face and move beyond their damaging effects before we can get on with the more serious business of mixing genetic and memetic moralities. All energies given to judgments which reflect in shame and pride cannot but be taken from powers needed for coping in a more effective manner.
Specifically, this initial move past former judgments involves coming first to see, and then to live-as-though, both genes and memes are "morally neutral" as popularly viewed. That is, neither one is good or bad. Memes are not good and genes bad, nor are genes good and memes bad. Both "just are." We cannot but live among both any more than we can live apart from the air we breath. To think of memes as "moral" and genes as "immoral" (or vice versa) is to miss reality as it is. Each has its own form of morality which does indeed often appear to be in opposition to the other; but neither is inherently good or bad. Only a move past these all-too-familiar judgments can allow an honest and wise mixing of the two.
For example, so long as I am ashamed (no matter what I think) of "my" body, and in effect judge nudity to be bad, then I am not in position to face and embrace any of the specific bodily inclinations in a neutral sense. Or if I am ashamed (or proud) of any sexual impulses, I cannot use my full reasoning capacity in choosing what I will do about them. Likewise with "being selfish" or any other genetic inclination.
Perhaps the greatest loss and danger inherent in the familiar mode of coping via condemning is the sacrifice of consciousness, which I believe to be the apex of human evolution so far. The one capacity which has been most instrumental in our advances over our ape cousins is the gift of consciousness. It is, I conclude, what has gotten us this far. Yet, paradoxically, it is what we must sacrifice first when we accede to the mode of suppression of genes in order to remain obedient to memes. By nature of itself, suppression requires "trying not to think about" what we would otherwise be inclined to bring into consciousness. We fight against problematic genetic urges by "pushing them out of awareness," which is the way suppression works. Unwittingly, in service of fitting in (which itself is crucially important), we become dishonest with ourselves, "not thinking" what we "do think" (or would if we allowed ourselves to). Eventually semi-conscious suppression leads to established repression, and internal splitting is the final result.
In this process the gift of consciousness, of holding multiple bits of data in "mind space," as is required for making truly reasonable decisions, is the sacrificial lamb. We in effect, drive away the very capacity which is most needed for resolving the inevitable conflicts between private knowledge and public acceptance. Thereafter we are regularly faced with making difficult and consequential decisions at every turn of the way with only a part of our actual mental capacities at our immediate disposal. Long term suppression of natural awareness leaves us effectively incapacitated in reason-ability just when we need it most.
A good human decision based on mixing genetic and memetic moralities (a "realistic decision") involves a careful weighing of all available data from each arena in the light of self-chosen goals at the time--all this in the context of a life devoted to heaven here rather than later.
The challenges include: 1) becoming as conscious of genetic morals as we commonly are of memetic morals, so as to effect a workable balance between the two; 2) ceasing judgment of either as good/bad so we can weigh each reasonably rather than prejudicially; 3) learning to feel genetic guilt along with social conscience, that is, ingrained memetic morality; 4) keeping cool and contained while weighing each in consciousness, i.e., memetic consciousness in the heat of sexual passion, anger, and the coldness of fear; 5) letting go of illusions of absolute knowledge, objective truth, "knowing right and wrong" in the sense of having an infallible conscience, or of "having God."
Gender different challenges include: females need to acknowledge their use of males
cloaked as love, plus abuse by males, i.e., "taking it" to evade knowing their
own strengths. Males challenges include: reawaken sexual capacities commonly sacrificed in
the cradle--that is, getting balls back which have been freely given in quest of Mother's
Smile, nonsciousness embraced at the altar of the incest taboo (capacity for
"sleeping with your mother").
I have lived most of my life self-identified with my memes and relatively disassociated in awareness from my genes. If I am to mix these two moralities, rejoining my genes is of first importance. I cannot use genetic knowledge in making wise decisions if I don't know it awarely.
But how? How am I to expand my self-knowledge from memes to genes? How am I to become as conscious of my ancient jungle knowledge as I am of my newer social knowledge?
Ball-park: I must become as embodied as I am en-societied. Genetic knowledge is from "in my skin"; memetic knowledge is from "out there." Memes speak through should; genes, through would. Desire is the voice of subjective, genetic knowledge, even as "oughts" give me the truth of objective memetic knowledge. Memes tell me what I "should do"; genes, what I "want to do." Social knowledge is what I "ought to," genetic knowledge is what "I feel like..."
Therefore to know-in-awareness, versus keeping my dark knowledge in the darkness of suppression, I must reconnect with what I have previously tried to not-know -- or ignore if I did. To my regular questions: What should I do? What do they want me to do? What is the "good" (social) thing to do? What do the rules say? What does my head say?-- to these I must add with equal attention: What do I want to do? What do I feel like doing? What would I do if no one were around or would find out? What does my body say?
When I was a little boy (long ago) my Aunt Irene, my mother's older sister who had no children, was, as I viewed her, very strict. Whenever I said, "But I don't want to...," she would always reply: "What's want got to do with anything?" I can answer now as I never could back then: "In genetics, everything."
I must re-learn to be as attuned to inside inclinations and urges as I have long been to outside suggestions and directives. I must, as it were, "become again as a little child," like I must have been before I shifted my identity to my memes. Past these general additions which are about personhood devoid of gender, I must embrace the influences of my YX chromosomes also. In addition to awareness of the 44 who know about survival, I must become attentive to the two aimed at replication--that is, to my male/femaleness in addition to my humanity.
I must know my gender urges along with my human urges. To "what does my bodied self know and want to do?" I must add: "What does my masculine self know and want to do?" I must know first about selfing-in-general (staying alive as a separate person), but also about maleness in particular. To what do I-as-person want?, I must add: What do I-as-male want?
Here, as best I can now tell, are the prevailing masculine urges: 1) always be scoping discretely; 2) feel passions whenever, where-ever, with or for whomever they arise naturally, but always contain, never reveal indiscriminately, or act-out irresponsibly; 3) touch oneself sensually as regularly as possible--that is, "play with yourself," evoke eroticism whenever you reasonably can; masturbate as often as desire arises, occasion permits, and a loving partner is not available or ready to share in your passion; 4) never rush to orgasm, whether in intercourse or private stimulation; let any flood arise and crest naturally; let sensuality bloom fully before it is dissipated in sexual climax; 5) allow natural deflating without self-recrimination whenever passion abates before or after climax.
The first and most general requirement for successful genetic morality, for reclaiming the innate capacity for consciously knowing genetic wisdom, and then to feel real guilt when ignoring what we innately know, is becoming embodied again--as we all once were before memes tempted us away from our primal selves.
The deepest issue in becoming embodied again is spiritual (or "emotional") rather than physical. Physical elements of the process are relatively easy to accomplish when the spiritual issue is being faced. On the other hand, no amount of physical attention alone can long succeed when equal or prior "emotional" issues are continually ignored. In other words, embodiment is a holistic move which necessarily includes both spiritual and physical components--and of the two, the "emotional" issues are deepest and most challenging.
By spiritual or "emotional" I literally mean existential as contrasted with physical acting only. I put "emotional" in quotes to imply its colloquial rather than literal meaning. Whereas real physical emotions (glad/sad, mad/scared) are certainly crucial in the process of embodiment, this first concern is about psychological "emotions"--which I see most clearly in spiritual terms.
In either case, my reference is to self-identity, the way we personally view our existential selves--who-we-are as distinguished from how-we-act or "behave" in the world. Self-identity is tricky to grasp because of systematic repressions. The way we truly "see ourselves" or "believe ourselves to be" can be denied in awareness for so long that we consciously forget "who-we-are." Thereafter, our actual sense-of-self is lost to our own awareness. Even so, self-identity remains operative, whether in consciousness or when "pushed out of awareness."
At issue here is how one identifies his or her existential self (either consciously or nonsciously)--the way one truly believes him/herself to be. More specifically, the critical concern is whether one identifies self-with-body or separate-from-body. The typical pattern in our society is to appease the power of memes by dis-identifying ourselves from our physical presence--"I" from "it," with "it" being body. Early-on we commonly learn that it is easier to fit in with social demands by disowning, that is, separating our sense-of-self from the bodily urges which are so problematic in social situations. In our appropriate and necessary quests for acceptance by the "powers which be"--beginning with all-powerful mother, we find that "being good," which begins with pleasing mother, is easier when we suppress bodily (genetic) instincts, i.e., for aggression and "selfishness."
While these denials of innate drives may at first be only hidden from dangerous authorities, such as, parents, in time the habit tends to become ingrained. What begins as "fooling others" commonly ends up with "fooling ourselves" as well--that is, the very bodily desires which were first concealed for good reason from mothers and others in time become concealed from ourselves as well. Denial leads to repression. The all-too-familiar end result is a state of existential splitness, a kind of spiritual schizophrenia, in which bodily-identity is lost in favor of an imagined dis-embodied "self" or "soul"--some type of non-physical entity which merely resides in the body but is not identified with body.
In colloquial language, we come to identify our selves (who-we-are) with an imagined-to-exist entity known variously as: self, soul, personality, ego, or simply "I." Whatever this "thing" which is I may be called, or even left unnamed, it replaces body as source of personal identity. If we are in religious communities this "real self" is commonly known as "soul," which is assumed to exist apart from body and "need saving" in order to exist eternally in a place of bliss. Or if we are more secularly oriented, this dis-embodied entity with whom we identify may simply be known as "self (as in, myself)," "mind," "personality," or "I."
But, whether religious or secular, in common this exodus from body into an assumed-to-exist immaterial-entity seems to occur almost universally in the presence of powerful memes which demand conformity for social acceptance. Such familiar dis-embodiment is perhaps the most common of all earmarks of successful citizens everywhere. It seems to occur so universally that it becomes a truism--a truth so "obvious" that it "goes without saying." Doesn't everyone "just know" they have a soul or self which somehow lives in "their" body, perhaps goes in and out, and may even go to some type of heaven or hell after the mortal body dies?
I belabor this observation of the obvious because somehow I--and I assume others also, must face my long split between body and self before I can participate in the re-embodiment which I believe to be essential for healthy genetic morality. So long as I remain identified with an intangible entity separate from body, no matter what "it" (which I live-as-though were "I") is called, I cannot but be out of touch with genetic imperatives to that same extent. Dis-embodiment, to whatever degree it exists, prevents existential identification with the wisdom of genes. As a "soul" or immaterial "self" I may be well educated and continually aware of memetic rules. In this state of inward division I may also have a strong "conscience" to warn me of dangers of breaking social rules; but, and this is the critical point here: I cannot but be dis-connected from ancient knowledge to whatever extent I am dis-embodied. Social success may come easier when instincts are repressed, but spiritual success is impossible when self and body are enemies.
If I am to become genetically moral, I must first become embodied so I can be as aware of inward drives as I already am of outward directives. No mixing is possible when I do not have immediate access to body-knowledge, even as I already do to social morality. In this quest I want to expand my identity back to where I believe it originally was, namely, enskinned. I do not want to lose my heightened awareness of the social aspects of self which I have learned well in becoming an essentially dis-embodied social creature; but I do want to more fully embrace the bodily wisdom I was born with, through the process of re-becoming embodied.
This expansion of self-identity is, as noted above, the major issue in embodiment. When I am able to move past my inward split (which continues to serve me well in society) and accept my embodied self once more, then the practice of embodiment comes fairly easily and quickly. When I don't, when I try to limit who-I-am to my social self only, it remains problematic at best and impossible at worst. But when I am embodied, even to lessor degrees, genetic morality becomes quickly evident through the physical media of desires and emotions.
Embodied, I become sensitive both to my surroundings and to my inwardness; my wealthy perceptions, focused without and within, easily take shape in emotionally charged images which move me toward an expanded awareness of conceptions formed from bodily experience. With honest ideas shaped from the substance of emotions and desires, themselves but the images of physical perceptions, I am then able to expand my conscious knowledge of the genetic wisdom which shapes my embodied self.
But enough of confession; my point here is only to note that I find embodiment, healing of the common split between body and mind (or soul, self, or I), to be an essential first requirement for success with genetic morality. So long as "I" am not "it"--or merely "have it," or am "living in it," I am to that same degree cut off from the wisdom "in my bones (body)." Only through embodiment--literally becoming physical as well as "mental," can I inherit the birthright of our common humanity, namely, genetic morality.
Mixing genetic and memetic powers wisely also requires a large measure of consciousness--the very gift we so regularly sacrifice in service of public approval. The more conscious I am, the better I am able to merge the forces of genes and memes when they bump against each other. The less conscious I am, the more predictable my disasters in the same process.
By consciousness I mean "being aware" as opposed to "not thinking." We all have enough ingrained knowledge, either from genes or memes, to function largely on automatic pilot after earliest childhood. We can "get by" with minimal awareness, being directed by wants and shoulds, by genetic directives and absorbed conscience. But not so if we are to wisely mix these two major powers. For this, sharp attention, sensitive awareness, careful observation, is necessary.
Consciousness as needed for mixing moralities means: "paying attention" to a) what is currently outside our skin--sensing surroundings; b) also what is inward, that is, body knowing, including 1) primal sensations, i.e., hunger/fullness; 2) emotions, as best genetic knowledge; 3) ESP or intuitive knowledge which is probably a combination of genetics and early learning, i.e., who to trust; 4) repressed memories, including early traumas denied for survival (too scary to stand), plus less powerful suppressions, such as, forbidden passions. All this is needed for good mixing.
The content of such consciousness is twofold: knowledge from without--information about how things work in the world, especially the social world. What are the prevailing social rules? What is the nature of memetic morality in the present locale? How can one best fit in and least evoke social rejection? Knowledge of "how the cow eats the cabbage" is essential for getting along in the relational world.
But if information from "out there" is essential, internal data is even more critical in mixing these two forces. Consciousness of internal directives--urges, instincts, emotions, "feelings," hunches, intuitions, etc., is equally important. One who is out of touch with bodily messages lacks major information essential for mixing genes and memes in worldly practice.
Consciousness is easy enough in small children yet to learn the modes of suppression as their way of adapting to social requirements; but after we split ourselves for relational survival, knowing bodily knowledge, the "dark knowledge" associated with the right hemisphere and lower brain stem, becomes a difficult challenge. To the degree of our suppressions of awareness of "how we feel" or "what we really want to do," we are correspondingly ignorant of what is necessary for good mixing. This means in practice that for us who have learned the skills of denial, "un-repressing" becomes a major prerequisite for attentive mixing of conflicting forces.
Making conscious that knowledge which has been previously denied into awareness, usually for good reason at the time, is critically important for making wise decisions in present times. Past repressions, no matter how functional they may have previously been, or how socially supported they may yet remain, all stand as major roadblocks to reasonable decisions about what-to-do, how-to-act, in any present moment. We truly need to consciously know all that in fact we do know, including what we have pragmatically denied in the past, if we are to approach mixing moralities with any degree of success.
Consciousness, both of present society and present "feelings," plus awareness
of prior experiences, is an essential requirement for artful mixing of genetic and memetic
For the challenges of becoming conscious in order to mix moralities one either needs therapy, the nerve for private analysis, or else a compulsion for seeing--preferable all three.
Each gender faces different challenges in the process of becoming conscious in order to make wise decisions in regard to mixing moralities.
For males these include: 1) recognizing projected sexuality; 2) unprojecting/unsuppressing natural innate urges, i.e., "fooling around" inclinations, multiple partner desires, pure fuck-ability as distinguished from "making love" ; 3) owning/containing pervasive passions with no projection, so as to make reasonable decisions with full consciousness; 4) right-brain intuitive knowledge; 5) emotional sensitivity previously suppressed in quest of being "hard male" only; 6) self-tending capacities, i.e., for emotional needs, inspiration, and self-understanding, which are typically projected on to females.
For females: 1) unsuppressing stud-appeal, that is, urges for best sperm; 2) owning
polymorphous sexuality responsibility; 3) acknowledging contempt for weak males, commonly
cloaked in praise for dependable wimps (hen-pecked husbands); 4)
unsuppressing/acknowledging/owning killer capacities commonly cloaked in indiscriminate
niceness--that is, cold-bloodedness as well as warm-heartedness; 5) toughness as well as
tenderness as natural capacity--that is, self-support abilities, i.e., to manage without
male support in today's world, an option more possible now than ever before and therefore
yet to be genetically ingrained; 6) left-brain capacities, such as, focused thought
abilities, i.e., to "resist sales."
Mixing moralities also requires a move beyond dependence on absolutes. Neither genetic drives nor memetic directives can be taken as absolute if the two are to be wisely melded. False security previously found in illusions of possessing absolute truth as revealed in social or religious beliefs which are themselves but memetic dictates must be abandoned. Wise decisions in the midst of the two require an open weighing of the values of each, especially when they seem to be in conflict. This, obviously, is impossible if either one or the other is taken as absolute truth. If impulses like, "what I feel like doing," are taken as absolutely right, then knowledge of social consequences must be ignored--usually, of course, with dangerous consequences in time. Conversely, if social shoulds, like, "thou shalt be polite (or not kill, etc.)," are taken as absolutes, then times when reason dictates otherwise must be equally ignored.
Either way, whether memetic morals or genetic morals are taken as absolutely right, one has no option of artfully mixing the two when they conflict--as so often they do. I must move beyond the seeming safety on any absolutes before I am in position to weigh all conscious data before any single decision in the real world.
This means in practice that all ethics, in this holistic sense, are situational rather than absolute. There are no absolute rules apart from specific situations when both genes and memes are taken as real and valued. Any rule, from either side of the whole arena, may at one time or another be right and useful; some rules may even be near universally applicable and wisely followed most of the time. But, and this is the critical distinction: none of them can be taken as absolutely right all the time--that is, regardless of circumstances.
In the "real world" circumstances are always a part of reality. We only exist in situations; hence, "situational ethics" are the only game in town. Always there are "things to be regarded"; never can any dictate, genetic or memetic, be followed "regardless"--if, that is, we are to remain realistically present in a context where both genes and memes are continually operative.
As comforting as the notion of eternal, always-right-everywhere, Rock of Gibraltar absolutes may be, ever-present reality, when even minimally considered, indicates that change is more predictable than permanence, and that "things are different" in each changing place and time. When this apparent "fact of life" is recognized and taken into account, then illusions of absolutes must be relinquished in favor of the delightful playfulness of continual evolution--even in our own life times.
A second requirement of mixing moralities, after consciousness is embraced, is accepting the demise of absolutes which can only exist when at least one half of human reality is ignored, in favor of the more challenging way of situational ethics.
Past absolutes, and the judgments which are inevitably associated with them, one is then freed to view each situation in the full light of reason. No "regardless" rules, either from the realms of would ("I want to") or should ("I ought to"), stand in the way of entertaining all information at hand, taking into account all that one knows, both from the outside social world and the inside genetic world. With the gift of consciousness embraced, rather than being turned in on itself in service of either genes or memes, one is then freed to take all that he knows, both from personal experience (in the School Of Hard Knocks) and from outside education, into active account.
Only then can true reason--where all data is freely weighed without prejudice or judgment, become operative. Otherwise, rationalization-in-the-name-of-reason is our only option--if conscious mind is used at all.
The guideline for situational ethics which takes genes and memes into honorable account then becomes: making sense of all available information (from within and without) in each immediate situation. This may colloquially be called, "being reasonable," or, "using your head," or, "making sense," rather than "hiding your head under the sand," "ignoring the facts of life," or, "being stupid for sake of principle."
Good decisions which mix the two moralities are: right-for-me in this situation, taking full account of: a) genetic knowledge, b) memetic knowledge, and c) my goals at the time. Neither a) nor b) can be absolute; truth/wisdom is always a mixture. There can be no absolute desire, feeling, or should/ought, i.e., no "I feel like killing and therefore I will," or, "Thou shalt not kill" regardless. Killing, like all else, is situationally determined in the real world.
Mixing moralities pragmatically, as is continually necessary for being a person in relationship with others, requires confronting a prevalent meme which views deception as bad.
Conscious deception is the art of fooling others (or another) without fooling oneself at the same time, of openly and pragmatically, even lovingly, pretending to be what one in fact is not. As intended here, conscious deception is to be distinguished from unconscious, malicious deception which is far more common. This necessity for effective mixing of moralities is inherent in the fact that genes and memes are so often in apparent conflict. Even when focused on shared goals, genes and memes, as previously pointed out, sometimes seem to be mortal enemies. In these times, if one is true to both, deception in social circumstances is an absolute necessity.
Artistic fooling of others, pretending to be what in fact one is not (or not to be what in fact one is), is required of all persons who effectively mix moralities; but gender differences enter quickly in. The fact that male and female roles in the evolved Drama of Reproduction are primarily different in regard to overt and covert--with males being more effective when we are the first, and females, the second, reasonably leads to different experiences in learning to be deceptive. Males, I conclude, for good genetic reasons, are more practiced at being overt in the replication process, as are females at being covert.
One result of this basic gender difference is that males in general have far less practice at being deceptive with females than have females with males. Females, I conclude, have practiced deception with males (for good biological reasons) for so long that it is relatively ingrained in habit if not engened. They do so "without thinking," I think--that is, female deception is generally unconscious, as best I can tell. Perhaps suppression or even repression leads to what I see; but the phenomenon is so consistent and widespread that I suspect it is now relatively natural. I think that females "just do so" without awareness most of the time. Not that great efforts aren't consciously extended in activities, such as beautifying, which are ultimately aimed at deception; but that the practice is so habitual in females that it is now done without conscious awareness of the resulting deception.
In either case, males, I note, are not nearly so skilled at fooling females as are females with deceiving males. One pragmatic result of this difference (if I am correct) is that our gender homework in regard to deception is basically different. Males have far more to learn about deception itself, getting past natural overtness, than do females who, with long practice at covertness, are already good at deception, even if unawarely. The greater female challenge, I think, is in becoming conscious about what they already do so well "without giving it a thought in the world." Males need practice in deception itself, while females need practice at consciousness-of-deception.
We males, so inclined to be overt about our desires (along with our long practice at projecting their powers), need to learn how to be secretive and deceptive; females, in contrast, already knowing how, need to learn awareness so as to practice their skills more wisely and less indiscriminately.
The male challenge with conscious deception is further increased because of our extended practice at projecting our own sexual powers. We are not only lacking in deception skills; but more deeply lacking in knowledge about self-containment and therefore personal responsibility. The prevailing social situation in which most all responsibility for setting sexual limits ("saying when") is placed in female hands leaves males relatively untrained both in owning our natural sexual powers and in responsibly exercising them.
Females, unfortunately, given their unfair degree of responsibility for sexuality, are overly trained at suppression as well as deception. Before we males can even approach learning artful deception, we must first re-learn self-containment--which is already well-known to females. After all, we can't be deceptive about what we don't have--at least, don't know that we have.
So, the male challenge in regard to conscious deception is twofold: first,
conscious ownership and responsibility for personal sexuality, and then conscious practice
in fooling females. The female challenge is primarily limited to matters of consciousness
only; they are already good at deception itself.
99.5% of memetic thinking and verbal social exchanges are rationalizations--that is, words-made-reasonable in service of unacceptable real (genetic) reasons. Almost nothing said in society is truly honest; what is verbally presented is rarely what it appears to be. In colloquial language, "it's nearly all bull shit."
Common talk is patently designed to deceive--both self and other. Primal motivations (genetic instincts) are cloaked in socially acceptable words and sentences creatively shaped to sound sensible, while yet in service of denied urges.
Actual honesty--saying-what-you-truly-mean, is as rare as hen's teeth in all social settings, including family gatherings and especially in loving relationships, both sexual and platonic. This common deception is further enhanced by self-deception of deceivers. The best of social deceivers are those who are most self-deceived; they truly believe themselves to be completely honest. "True believers" are the ultimate in self-deception. They more easily and effectively fool others because, sincerely believing themselves to be truthful, they need waste no energy in hiding their true motives; having already fooled themselves by long denial of genetic urges, they are thereby freed to devote all natural capacities to the arts of fooling others.
Those who are less self-deceived and thus more aware of their "baser instincts," are always ambivalent about deceptions--and consequently less effective in carrying them out.
Natural communication is also commonly deceptive, but with one major difference: it is consciously deceptive without self-deception; fooling others is attempted only when pragmatically feasible, otherwise natural talk is honest. Agape, the highest form of love, is the finest example of loving artistry in carefully fooling another with no degree of self-fooling.
Summary: Social communication is 99.5% deception (rationalization) accompanied with degrees of self-deception up to that same %. Natural talk is also pragmatically deceptive when feasible, yet without self-deception. Its highest arts are found in love; then the goal is complete honesty, but the path is characterized by pragmatic deception in service of love.
Memes are without limits; genes are strictly limited. In the memetic world, unlimited options are possible. With concepts such as infinity, perfection, immortality, and eternity, one may literally "reach for the stars." There are, for instance, no limits on the amount of wealth one may seek to acquire. In the memetic world there is no such thing as "too much money." Nor are there limits on how good one may strive to become. Perfection (unlimited goodness) is always a potential goal. There is no such thing as being "too good" (maybe "too good for one's own britches," but not literally too virtuous).
No amount of winning is too much for a male; space might be the only limitation on the number of trophies a memetic male might seek to collect. No amount of beauty is too much for a female. There is no such thing as being too pretty. But even space itself can be conceived as limitless, as can mortality. Even death is not inevitably final in the memetic world; life can be forever.
But in the genetic world, all reality is limited. Just as there is a natural intake of air, so there is a natural exhaling; just as there is a natural arising of desire, so there is a natural recession. Just as there is a natural beginning of life, so with its ending. All things in the genetic world "come and go." There is a rhythm, a rising and falling, a pulsation, an in and out, a beginning and end of all things in the natural world.
In the realm of memes one need not know, indeed fares better if he does not believe in, limits, that is, if he believes that "all things are possible (to those who believe)." Striving for unlimited wealth, goodness, perfection, security, beauty, and even tenure, is socially acceptable and memetically functional.
But in the genetic world a knowledge of limits is as functional and necessary--perhaps even more so, than a knowledge of beginnings. For instance, while knowing desire is crucial to almost all instinctive necessities, knowing the edges of desire may be even more relevant. It seems that urges to get what genes need may be more deeply ingrained, perhaps because they arise first, than are inclinations to stop getting "when enough is enough." Still, however, living well genetically calls for careful attention to the latter as well as the former.
And just as conscious acceptance of desire--inclinations to think, say, and do, is important, so is acceptance-without-judgment of its recession. Certainly knowing the genesis of want--whatever its object, matters; but knowing the abatement of desire, in the larger picture, may be even more relevant.
In either case, while memetic goals may reasonably be pursued without limits, genetic
goals all come with established parameters which, if one is to be moral, cannot be ignored
without dangerous consequences.
1. Be genetically moral; act memetically moral. Never try to reverse the two, because genetic morals are deeper and more critical to personal well-being.
Society is also a late evolutionary development; so to a minor degree we are social creatures; but most of our evolution occurred before human civilization began. Memes are a Johnny-Come-Lately on the long pages of genetic history. Therefore only a minor degree of one's self will reasonably be identified with social morality. We can, literally, be a tiny bit memetically moral; but our most powerful directives are genetic in nature. Thus, in keeping with facts-of-evolutionary-life, we more wisely identify mostly with genes and only to a small extent with memes. Result: in practice, in daily life, we largely identify self with genes, and strive to be genetically moral; to a much lessor (5%?) extent we are also our memes. But when we come to mixing, the general rule of thumb places most existential emphasis on the older and larger parts of who-we-are, namely genetic, and consequently acts socially moral when this is pragmatic.
2. Be overt about genetic morals in private and covert with them in public.
While alone, live-as-though memetic morals don't exist, because, apart from other people, then don't. But when with other persons, pretend to be memetically moral. Act-like genetic morals don't exist.
Again, the existential situation amplified in #1 applies first--that is, most
self-identification is, ideally, with genes, less with memes; hence the applications of being
and acting apply here to. But now, when mixing is called for, genetic morals
which are openly operative in private are reasonably kept under wraps in public. Overt
practice which is entirely in order outside of social scrutiny becomes equally
inappropriate when other people are present. Genetic morals, plus awareness of their power
and direction, do not go away when others appear; but living-them-out openly becomes
immediately inappropriate. Hence, covert exercise becomes the order of the day.
While being existentially moral in the genetic sense, one contains all
instinctual drives in a covert manner. Outward actions, plus physical signs of
inward directives, are carefully kept concealed--covert rather than overt.
Since 44 out of 46 of our chromosomes in each bodily cell are generally about selfing, most energies devoted to mixing the two powerful moralities which move us all are wisely given to applying the above guidelines to these selfing directives. The prevailing conflict, as amplified earlier, is that while genes direct us to be selfing--that is, to "take care of ourselves" and survive as individuals at all costs, memes are directing us in an opposing manner--namely, to be unselfish, to put others first and self last. The most pressing issue in mixing moralities is: how shall we combine these opposing moralities when it comes to being selfing and unselfish at the same time? How can we "take care of ourselves" while "putting others first"?
Applying the guidelines: First, we identify the largest portion of who-we-are with our instincts for selfing. Then we, in mind's eye, be "selfish" but act unselfish. While alone, we be "totally selfish"--that is, we live-like only genes exist. We "act like we want to"--that is, we do what desire directs, and arrange circumstances in ways most pleasing to us. For example, in taking a shower (presumably alone) we adjust the water temperature to the most pleasing degree; we soap and touch ourselves exactly as we want to, and we stay "until we are ready to get out."
And so with all other activities so long as we are apart from others. We exercise selfing to its fullest and finest degree. We "do exactly what we want to (what we 'feel like' doing)"--that is, we take our directions from genes which mediate their messages to awareness via desire and "feelings." Alone, all shoulds are laid aside.
But as soon as another person is present, or might be, we begin to contain our selfing instincts and act-as-though we are selfless rather than "selfish" (I use the colloquial term in quotes for clarity, since "selfing" is a coined word but is unintended in the common bad sense of the word). We remain consciously attentive to "taking care of ourselves" but we act-as-though we are "putting others first." We be selfing, but act unselfish. We always know, in private awareness, that we are being "selfish," yet we pretend to be devoted to the good of others first.
Memetic directives are relatively clear and well known; genetic morals, in contrast, are often suppressed in awareness in everyday life (at least, in mine). Here I want to articulate genetic directives as I presently see them:
1. Thou shalt be selfing. Thou shalt take care of thyself--protect and defend yourself, and seek to get all the resources needed for self-satisfaction. Thou shalt, once protection and supplies are secure, seek to enhance thy personal well-being. Thou shalt know thy desires and be guided by them--do what you want to do, act like you feel like acting, think what you honestly do, and say what you feel like saying.
2. Thou shalt be sexual. Thou shalt seek to replicate thyself as often as possible. Thou shalt embody, own, and activate thy natural sexual instincts. These are somewhat different for males and females, but alike, being as sexual as you naturally are is a genetic directive.
1. Thou shalt scope for ripe females continually, as guided by gene eyes.
2. Thou shalt fuck as often as desire arises and opportunity permits. Do not cloak fucking with "making love."
3. Thou shalt play with thyself as regularly as inclination directs. Thou shalt be sensual, touching yourself in whatever ways evoke passion. Thou shalt move toward orgasm, via self-stimulation, whenever desire arises and occasion allows.
1. Thou shalt scope for studs as led by gene eyes. Look for best sperm honestly as genes incline.
2. Thou shalt seek maximum security of circumstances--safety and supplies needed for personal and child well-being. Whenever possible, seek these resources through the best available male. Always be looking for rich males to make your world stable and your life comfortable. Do not cloak these natural desires in "love," mothering, or illusions of "needing a man" to live well.
3. Thou shalt beautify yourself and your surroundings to the maximum. Always look as good and desirable as possible, and create beauty in everything you touch.
1. Own your own natural sexuality, your inherent on-ness, as distinguished from its projection on to female images which thereafter seem to "turn you on." Become your given masculinity, completely apart from any female powers. To whatever degree you have sacrificed your balls (inherent masculinity) at the altar of Mother's Smile or any later Female Approval, reclaim them completely. Become sexually independent so that you can consciously choose appropriate sexual activity without dependence on female direction.
2. Separate being sexual from fidelity to any single partner, as though all sexual activity must be in partnership. Why? First, because it isn't; secondly, because it isn't practical, given differing degrees of natural gender interest in overt sexual activity. And thirdly, because it interferes with the larger issue of being loving in the sexual arena.
One's own sexual needs/desires not clearly seen as one's own are apt to result, in addition to dependency, in improper force--either physical or psychological, on a partner. If a female partner is honest, the natural overt sexuality of a male is likely to be seriously curtailed because it does not fit her genetic agenda most of the time. A male, given blindness to his own desires not seen as his own (blamed on a female for "turning him on"), is not open to seeing clearly the true sexual needs/desires of a partner. Also, typical male projections which result, when he is "good," in limiting his embraced sexuality to activation only in partnership, invite a female to sexual dishonesty, as in, "being a good wife" or "letting him," rather than coming to embrace her own natural sexuality.
1. Separate sex from love so you can give fuller attention to each in its appropriate time. Recognize primitive inclinations toward finding the best available sperm (stud appeal) for your precious few ova. Even though sperm-selection, as practiced by female snakes who copulate with several males before selecting a single sperm, is socially impractical, the instincts for finding the best must still remain. If so for you, try to become conscious of these ancient drives lest they lead to splitting of yourself. Even when activation of these instincts is impractical, even undesirable, still knowing them awarely may free your mind for greater reasonableness in all relationships.
2. Respect that your larger genetic drives, and hence morality, are more toward rich
men than for potent sperm. These too are socially problematic, since fragile male egos are
so wide-spread and socially unavoidable--especially in husbands. But if you become as
sexually conscious as possible, wasting little energy in the demanding process of sexual
repression, you will be more able to place nurturing in a proper perspective, both of
children and spouse. You will become, for instance, more successful in satisfying personal
sexual desires which may be genetically rooted in reproductive instincts but remain
operative even when baby-making is not feasible or long past its time. Then, more sexually
comfortable and satisfied yourself, you will be more able to effectively
"mother" without "smothering" your children, and at the same time to
adapt to differing sexual interests of males without wasting energies in judgments,
unnecessary defenses, or "dutiful acts." Traditional female bitchiness can thus
be transformed into normal womanly love--with careful diligence.
The pragmatic issue is how can I properly mix these two types of thinking? Since I exist with the capacity for genetic thinking in a social world dominated by memetic thinking, how am I to live with both? I, like all others, have been born with inherited "think-ability" and have also acquired a vast amount of social information--memetic thoughts commonly accepted as "the truth." I have no choice but to exist among both types thinking--that which I do privately "in here" and that which I have gotten from "out there." I have long tried to treat "objective truth (memetic thinking)" as though it were inherently sacred. In this process I have generally put down on genetic thinking whenever it contradicted socially accepted notions, and tried to believe what I was told to be "right."
I now think my prevailing habit is improper--not the best way to live among both possibilities. Some of my present thinking about a better way includes these observations: first, as noted previously, most public conversation (99.5%?) is meme dominated and properly so. Thus memetic thinking--saying what is socially shared, is the proper and primary focus of nearly all public talk. In sharp contrast, genetic thinking, also as described before, is without rationalization; it is "straight" and entirely honest. The challenge is how to mix reasonable genetic thinking with memetic rationalizations in social conversation.
Before thinking about practical mixing of the two modes of thinking/talking, I need to be clearer about the difficulty of acknowledging/recognizing my observation that social talk is perhaps 99.5% contrived rather than honest. To simply state categorically that natural thinking is totally reasonable, without any rationalization, while social thinking is almost 100% rationalization, is easy enough; but to see this fact (?) in real situations is quite another matter. In the midst of social exchanges we may never be aware of this observation. We tend to believe (at least I do) that we are mostly "being honest" in talking with others. "Bull shitting" or "bamboozling" commonly goes unrecognized, especially by those who do it best and most.
The problem is that habits of rationalization--creatively making up socially acceptable reasons which are in fact entirely contrived, are generally acquired so early in life and become so ingrained in practice that we hardly ever recognize what we are doing, especially when doing it well. Only later, if ever, may our attempts at social deception be seen as such. At the time we are thinking/speaking with others, we tend to take ourselves as "sincere" and "really meaning what we say."
Unrecognized rationalization (denied deceptions) are further cloaked by the fact that most of the things we actually say (i.e., the stories we tell) may be entirely true. Our stated observations, for example, about the weather, the kids, or "what's been happening," are often "completely honest." We tell the truth about the rain, our children's activities, and even about our emotional events. What is missing in awareness is our deeper motivations for what we so easily tell in such social exchanges. Are we telling, for instance, things which invite sympathy? Which promote ego? Which avoid conflict? Our rationalizations lie not so much in objective or stated lies as in unfaced habits, such as, currying social favor via those we select to tell (or not tell).
Even if catching on to the secretly deceptive nature of most social exchanges is difficult at the time, I believe that my theoretical observation (99.5% contrived conversations) is true. Furthermore, like oil and water, reason and rationalization are hard to mix. The easiest resolution is the one most commonly taken, namely, carefully exclude natural thinking from social talk and substitute denied rationalizations. In other words, be unconsciously deceptive while acting "completely sincere."
The success of this mode when done well, insofar as social success is concerned, goes without saying. It works "out there." But I seek a better way because of the prices we also pay "in here" for the self-deception which the popular way requires. The challenge of mixing good genetic thinking (instinctual honesty) with good memetic talking requires honoring both. I cannot be myself in social situations if I do not continue to think naturally; but neither can I be acceptably present if I simply "say whatever I think" and ignore the pragmatic necessity of carefully fitting what I say into the current social context.
To respect both conflicting realities, I must continue to think naturally (awarely), to reasonably fit all my data into sensible-to-me conceptions (as previously described), while at the same time shaping whatever I say into words and ideas congruent with the social context in which I find myself--that is, in keeping with my own goals and current circumstances. In broadest perspective this means that I will rarely be wise in simply voicing natural thinking in its most direct form ("saying whatever I feel like saying"). 99.5% of the time I will either contain my natural thinking in "mind space" and give voice to thoughts related to the current subject of conversation, or else carefully shape whatever I say, considering those with whom I am speaking.
When deception is called for in service of these guidelines (as is most often the case
with genetic thinking), the major rule in pragmatic mixing is to artfully fool others
without ever fooling oneself--never the other way around (as is so prevalent in memetic
thinking). Other-deception in service of personal goals and/or social harmony is often the
order of the day; but self-deception (denying genetic thinking in awareness) is never
acceptable. If I am to remain a natural person in any social context, even in the presence
of a single individual, I must remain carefully attuned to my own genetic awareness
without slipping into easy denials in quest of social acceptance. At the same time,
honoring social connections which also have their limits, I must remain equally attuned to
those around me--to their hear-ability, personal interests, and current state-of-being.
Then, respecting both my own as well as their goals at the time, I mix, when I am wiser,
the two as best I can.
Mother Nature has no ego. She is herself, and therefore always "true to herself." Before and after Shakespeare She conforms to his universally relevant advice: This above all else; to thy own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Consequently She is not subject to the human woes which inevitably result from genetic immorality, such as: dedication to a false self, having an ego, disembodiment, inner division (spiritual schizophrenia), willy nilly winning, rampant beautifying, etc. etc.
Translated past the metaphor of Mother Nature, this means that many of the all-too-familiar human problems, like trying to exist as a false self (i.e., smart, dumb, good, bad, etc.); getting stuck in an ego; or the many assorted troubles which cannot but follow from trying to be a self that is false, or supporting an illusionary ego--like irrational male quests for indiscriminate winning (being #1 at all costs) or compulsive female dedication to "being beautiful" regardless of circumstances.
If one becomes genetically moral, that is, true to older inherited instincts known as "genes," and equally attentive to memetic morality, and mixes the two pragmatically (as previously described)--then false selves so commonly created to evade these challenges will be abandoned.
Other common memetic concerns with vast consequences which are missing in nature
include shame and immortality. Mother Nature is not ashamed of anything real, including
Her body or any of its natural functions. Nor does She care about immortality. With Her
focus on mortal reality, She is more concerned with full presence now than with any
We actually are, I theorize, a combination of our older and younger genes--that is, those ancient genes evolved for self-survival (as a separate organism) plus their younger cousins newly (in evolutional time) evolved for survival and reproduction in groups. These latter Johnny-Come-Lately genes are more recognized in memetic categories. Memes, boiled down to their lowest common denominators, are but younger genes. Surely the meme category implies much more, such as, rampant social forces which totally ignore individual integrity; but basically, before memes "get out of hand," they represent our younger capacity for social membership--which is also a part, albeit smaller, of who we truly are.
In summary, I think, I am both my genes and my basic memes. My oldest and most powerful embodied forces are for self-survival and replication, other persons be damned; but 100,000 years or more out of the jungle and cave have also ingrained social instincts--albeit lesser powered but still a smaller part of who-I-am. I am, in summary, a combination of solitary and social genes, the latter being here recognized as basic memes.
It is no longer possible, as civilizations have evolved, to exist as solitary selves alone; now we are both individuals and group members. We are private, but we also belong. My true self, then, is a shifting combination of forces (genes and memes) which blindly (without much thought) guide me to be both alone and with--that to exist as a person-in-society. By far the larger portion of my instincts, I currently believe, incline me to survive and reproduce as one solitary organism, that is, alone; but a smaller yet significant part of my evolved inclinations also lead me to seek harmonious "with-ness" in the groups where I find myself. I want, that is, guided by older and younger genes, to be both myself alone and myself with others.
Whenever I am true to my larger self, I am true to both these powerful inclinations because I literally am both of them.
I amplify this awareness of whole-self made up of genes for survival and memes for social membership because it is essential for understanding the concept of "false self" which so easily seduces me away from being genetically moral. By false self I refer to all senses of oneself, both conscious and unconscious, which exist in contradiction to true self as described above (a combination of instincts for being both alone and with others). The shades of such falseness, which I have seen and tried to be, defy description, but they can be summarized with a few illustrations.
For me, the most comprehensive (and finally devastating) false self I have attempted to be can be summarized as "good boy" or "good person"--with "good" understood as personifying the virtues of my parents and the society in which I grew up. Other false selves include the opposite self-identification, namely, of "bad boy" or "bad person." Variations on these two major themes of falseness include characteristics such as: smart or dumb, pretty or ugly, fat or skinny, likable or unlikable, lovable or unlovable--and endlessly on. (Note: it is not simply the observation that I am, in comparison, smarter or dumber, fatter or skinnier, etc., than another person, but rather the identification of my self--who-I-am, with any of these trait comparisons.)
The distinguishing characteristic of all such false selves is that they involve self-identifications in some combination of these and other traits which do not match genetic gifts described above. False does not mean unreal, in the sense that when one has identified herself, for example, as being ugly, that the stance is not real for her. A false self may, in practice, be just as real as anything else, since one then lives-as-though what they believe is actually true.
When I lived-as-though I were a "good person"--that is, as one "above base instincts" such as, utter selfingness or pervasive sexiness, then this false self which I took to be true (I truly believed I was "good") was certainly real for me. But "real-to-me," or, "thinking it is so," does not qualify for true self as I am seeing it here. One's true self is true-to-real bodily structures, including genes for self and society, regardless of what he thinks (or doesn't). Even when a false self image is unconscious, as in the case of females who repress images of ugliness, or males who deny "feelings of unworthiness," and cloaked with conscious ideas of beauty and worth, still it is, in the larger world, false.
Any sense-of-self, conscious or unconscious, which does not conform to actual genetic structures, is, in this definition, false. We cannot, I conclude, be "true to ourselves" as implied in the familiar Shakespeare directive, when we either deny or live out-of-harmony with base genetic instincts and younger social instincts.
Although ego may technically be but one other version of a false self, its colloquial meaning of cocky or self-centered ("egotistical") calls for further clarification as related to true self. I noted above, metaphorically, that "Mother Nature has no ego." By this I mean that ego as popularly understood, is unnatural; it does not exist in nature. Animals, I surmise, have no ego; and neither do humans who are genetically moral. Ego is just one more self-created illusion, like all other versions of false selves, which stand in the way of re-becoming our true selves.
I pause to note again that I believe most all false selves, including ego versions, are originally devised wisely, as needed aids for surviving in the midst of powerful memes--social forces which threaten genetic existence. I learned, for example, to act "good" as a smart way of maintaining access to the best resources needed for my healthy self-survival. I truly needed my mother's "good graces" for my best living in early times. My problem was not in wisely learning to act "good" in quest of her favors, but that I eventually fell for my own act. I, in time, came to truly believe that I was a "good boy." What probably began as a clever ploy, based on good genetic directives, developed in time into a false self which was disconnected from the very instincts which called for its creation as an act only.
And so it is, I surmise, with most other false selves, including egos, which are more commonly recognized in competitive males.
My point here: one cannot literally be an ego, even though we males do typically identify ourselves with one of our own creation. All the familiar problems associated with male egos, which females commonly recognize as "fragile," in spite of male ignorance, result from not being our true male selves. Caught up in promoting and maintaining our "fragile" male egos, we easily fall, for example, into indiscriminate competition--striving to win at all costs, to be Number One, regardless of circumstances.
Females, in parallel erroneous quests, may easily get caught up in equally indiscriminate "beautifying"--unconscious competition with all other females in vain quests for beauty. Even though ego may be denied in these compulsive efforts to "be pretty," the vanity of many females is as apparent to males as are the fragile egos of males to most females.
Some of the ramifications of knowing these distinctions include: presence as heaven,
versus a place in time; being "timely" versus only on time; gaining excessive
wealth; winning; social shame; cleanliness as a virtue; compulsive winning or beautifying;
existence of a soul; notions of immortality--and rather endlessly on.
I am trying to imagine myself back into primal experiences when I was still thinking naturally, that is, as gene guided only. What is primary thinking like before the traditional split (at least in my case) occurs as a mode of surviving well amidst powerful memes? How do animals and babies think? What was my mental activity like before I learned to suppress genetic morality in favor of social acceptance? Who am I, really--mentally speaking?
I imagine that the most primal element in genetic mental activity--which obviously occurs without the crutch of language, is being seeing, that is, one's being (the essence of self) is synonymous with one's seeing. We must, I speculate, literally be what we see. The substance of self is sight personified. "What you see is what you get," meaning: "what I see is who I am."
Seeing, as I intend the word here, is both literal and metaphorical. It represents ocular vision with the eyes of the head, as in, seeing light/dark first, and eventually, objects. But I also intend seeing as a metaphor for all other senses as well; seeing literally means per-ceiving--that is, "grasping reality" via sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. My literal title would therefore be being per-ceiving. And perceiving itself means more than single-sense bits of data, such as sights and sounds; it also includes combinations of sensations which are from both without and within. These inward perceptions will later be called "feelings," "urges," "desires," "delights," and "discomforts,"--pleasures and pains, generally speaking.
I think (speculate with good clues) that in the beginning, before the traditional inward division which makes social adaptation easier, we are our per-ceptions, or as I summarize here, we are our seeings. We, as it were, "believe what we see," or, "trust our senses." But these adult words, believe and trust, can only be accurate descriptions after the division has occurred, after one's sense-of-self has already been split off in some degree from his actual perceptions. Initially, I speculate, there is no question of believing what we see, with the option of disbelief; we must simply be whatever we perceive, visually or otherwise. We do not then literally trust our senses, as though there were the option of distrusting them; we are, an adult might say, trusting our own perceptions rather than doubting them--but this begs the fact. Babies don't trust either themselves (their perceptions) or their mothers; they simply are their actual perceptions.
From an adult perspective, after one has become divided within, then these observations, projecting back on to babies, become accurate. For myself, already split within, I would be believing my seeing, or trusting my perceptions if I were childlike. So reasonably I assume the same to be true or descriptive for babies. But my point is not to quibble with words, but to try to see the actual primal state of thinking. This said, I return to using whatever adult words seem to best describe what I imagine natural thinking, before the split, to be like.
I introduce the concept of time for descriptive purposes; but in reality the event of being seeing is immediate; no time passes in the process. What is seen (literally and metaphorically) is instantaneous (in the in-stance or event-of-seeing itself). Although time is only a concept, it seems so universally conceived that I may usefully think of it as real--which I do here. In this light (of conceived time) I may say for clarification that a child becomes (implying time) what he sees (perceives). Perceptual experiences are assimilated directly into a developing self. With each new sight (thing seen in space and time) the infant self grows a bit, just as with each new swallow of mother's milk the infant's body grows.
But it is in this process, when mother's milk is being expanded into mother's presence as a person, that an infant's challenge in being seeing begins to appear. Naturally when he, as adults might say, "thinks for himself," he assimilates his seeing into his being instantaneously; but even in earliest days mother's "thinking" is another perception in every child's world. She, we might say, is another "object" for seeing; except unlike other inanimate objects, she is one with perceptions (and ideas) of her own. And since she is the "goddess figure" who both embodies and symbolizes the resources and powers of the outside world, every child must of necessity confront her seeing along with his own. How she sees things is perhaps the most powerful of forces when it comes to his own seeing. If, for instance, a child perceives hunger but his Goddess Mother perceives otherwise ("You can't be hungry again; I just nursed you 15 minutes ago!"), then his inherent perceptions are fiercely challenged.
What's an infant to do? Believe his own perceptions, or believe those of his seemingly-omnipotent mother?
I leave generalizing here to simply imagine my personal experience. I think that my choices in the primal arena of my own nursery in Saline (described in general above) were to weigh her perceptions far more heavily than my own. Perhaps in the very beginning, when there was a conflict of perceptions, I, like I theorize all children must be like, "be-d" what I saw." But very soon, even before the time I can now consciously remember, I must have begun to either mistrust my own perceptions (not believe what I saw), or else defer so quickly to those I perceived from my mother (probably both), that in time I either suppressed inward awareness or habituated in looking first to mother's eyes for clues to acceptable seeing.
However it happened, I left being seeing and came to either ignore or distrust my own perceptions whenever any possible conflict with mother or other authority figures occurred. I could, as it were, only see clearly (think naturally) in private. Whenever mother--or eventually, any other person, were around, my own seeing was, as it were, laid aside in favor of my attention to their seeing. Privately, and longingly, I sometimes asked: "Do you see what I see?" Rereading my earlier journals, I can see that I must have effectively adopted this as my theme song.
The critical element in my experience, however, was somehow, someway, coming to lose conscious contact with much of my own seeing (outward and inward perceptions) in favor of an exaggerated (as I now see it) focus on the seeing of others. Not that I actually abandoned looking or completely repressed what I see, but that I came to live-as-though "their" seeing, beginning with mother and extending to all significant others, was more important, powerful, or essential than was/is my own--especially when any possible conflict occurs. It came to be that I either don't believe much that I actually see, or else by long habit defer to the seeing of others (real or imagined) whenever there is any possible conflict--which, of course, is most of the time.
Time now to amplify the last metaphorical meaning of seeing, namely, its colloquial usage for mental seeing as distinguished from physical seeing along. Seeing in this final mode means "how I see things" or how one summarizes his own experience in conceptual terms. This type of seeing is implied in such phrases as: "I see what you mean," or, "The way I see it is...so and so," or, "Do you see what I am saying?" Such mental seeing begins with physical perceptions (summarized as "personal experience"), but is only culminated in conceptions through the Creative Process (perception-image-conception). This is full blown thinking (in its colloquial sense)--when seeing with the eyes (and other senses) is transformed into seeing with the mind (via decoding images formed from perceptions). In colloquial language, this means "coming to one's own conclusions about things," or, "being reasonable" in the light of personal experience rather than group thinking or sacred beliefs.
Returning now to confession: my experience which probably began with doubting my physical seeing when it conflicted with the seeing of mother (and others), as in the proverbial messages, "Jump up; it didn't hurt," when my body knew differently, or, "You don't really want to do that," when I felt like I did, soon spread to doubting my mental seeing as well. If I had trouble "believing what I felt (saw inwardly)," when it conflicted with what "I should feel," then surely I had even more trouble "being reasonable (as I saw things)" when my conclusions or conceptions were out of harmony with those around me--for example, at church where unverified beliefs were supposed to be "taken on faith."
I cannot now tell whether this change, this shift from being my seeing to looking outwardly for direction or confirmation of seeing, occurred because of: a) fear of a powerful mother figure; b) cowardice in remaining true to myself; c) smartness in learning the most effective way to survive and thrive in early life, with what began as a trick then turning into a habit which was finally lost to consciousness; d) an old habit which I am simply too lazy to stop or, e) a near universal human switch for which I am not unique at all. Does everybody do it? Do we all, in varying degrees come to look to memes for what to think rather than continuing to trust our own thinking as all small children seem to do? I do not know whether I have simple been more fearful than others, opting for cowardice over courage, or whether I have been smarter than many by looking more consistently to memetic morality while turning away from genetic thinking (insofar as community living is concerned), or whether most everyone else does the same thing I did and I am simply more aware of my own changes than I am of those in others.
However or whyever it occurred, I am far more sure of the fact of my inward divisions which leave me more attentive to "what they see"--especially significant others in my relationships, than to what I see--whenever there is any possible conflict between the two, which is, predictably, most of the time. I am in the process of trying to decode my obvious images of "their power" which are more in my head than in reality, on the way back to honoring my seeing, which I find to be a prerequisite for any re-becoming what I see.
I want, that is, to be my seeing, that is, to exist as self-affirming rather than remaining in this long habit of looking for or "needing" external affirmation before I dare returning to that early way of being seeing.
Do I have the nerve/faith to do so?....