MEN AND MEMES
MALES IN SOCIETY
ME AND MY MOTHER
Here I project my personal experience onto the screen of males in general. At heart it is a "confession"--that is, an attempt to become more conscious about what I have learned about myself in regard to memes in society, personified to me in my mother. I have seen my situation duplicated often enough to easily imagine that what was/is true for me may also be true for many others. I find observations about myself to be confirmed in most all I see in other males I encounter, read about, or study. Still, unconscious selectivity of perceptions may have determined what I see "out there."
"My mother" implies my perceptions of the woman who birthed me, and not necessarily who she actually is. It is about the ways I learned to cope with her and what she represented, not about who she was/is. In other words, I know I am writing about my own perceptions which may or may not be accurate from her or anyone else's other perspective.
"My experience" means my learning; although I think it includes my actual, first-hand, knowledge, it may be but the activation of my unique genetic structures. Maybe I only give voice here to what my genes inform "me" of, trying to take credit for it being "personal" to some degree. Perhaps my own unique genetic structure, as is that of every other individual, is reflected in true differences between me and any other human--as is true for our fingerprints and DNA threading. But I think I am only common--like males in general, except possibly more devoted to consciousness than seems to be generally true for other males I know. Also, I have spent an unusual amount of time in supervised private analysis, time in personal therapy, academic study of humanity, genetics, and gender differences, as well as 35 years in private counseling practice along with public ministering to human needs. These somewhat unique experiences may have led me to give more conscious attention to the subject at hand; still, I surmise that my differences, if any, lie only in greater attention to the subject, not simply in "weird" genetics or isolated pathology.
The nature of my life-long attention to trying to live/do "for others," activated in my professions of preaching/counseling, inclines me to think in terms of others, as in my projections on to "males in society" or "men and memes," rather than simply writing directly about "me and my mother." I know, however, that when I speak or write as though what I say is objective or "for others," it is finally "for me"--that is, a part of my on-going effort to become more conscious and thereby more responsible for myself.
Finally, if my long-practiced mode of preaching peaks through, I trust a reader will shun it; my writing is literally for myself; "going public" is only for the expanded experience of finding out if I can stand being seen as my truer self without being moved from my "green spot." As noted elsewhere, I have discovered that the process of consciousness is furthered when it leads back to confrontation with "exposure" to the powerful meme of What They Think --whoever "they" may be.
In either case, this writing is not intended to tell anyone else what to do, how to see things, and certainly not "how it is"; rather it is how I now see things in regard to maleness in society, partially as objectively analyzed, but mostly as projected from personal experience.
Most of the subjects and poems were originally pages in my daily journal, written at the time like a diary, as my mind was seeing the subject at the time, and certainly not for revelation to any others. Here, for my own further clarification as well as reader convenience, I have edited a bit, made grammatical corrections, and attempted some order as related to the subject at hand.
Since my ordering may or may not correspond with any reader's interest, clicking subjects in the CONTENTS column on the left will easily allow skipping around.
INTRODUCTION TO MEMES
Before turning directly to my subject of men and memes, I include a brief introduction to memes in general--those equally applicable to both genders. This summary is taken from a previous manuscript, Memes and Genes (also included on this web page). For further clarification on cross-gendered memes a reader may wish to also see this first study. If the meaning and nature of memes is sufficiently clear, skipping the remainder of this introduction will save time.
Imagine a hurricane which is not only invisible to the human eye but also unmeasurable by any instrument, such as, a wind gage. With no warning whatsoever such a hurricane could, at any time and place, strike land with devastating force, uprooting trees, moving houses, destroying property. This is what a meme is like; it is an invisible force not subject to detection by eye or instruments, yet capable of wrecking havoc in any social situation or personal life. Unseen and therefore unpredictable, a meme can, for instance, "move in" at an unsuspecting moment in a human relationship--a family, friendship, or marriage, and do extended, sometimes irreparable, damage. Of course memes, like hurricanes, can also have positive effects (like pruning trees, cleaning out swamps, etc.). More about these later, but first I focus on the inherent dangers in any meme.
The problem arises, not because there may not be useful values in memes, but because when they are unrecognized they operate completely outside of any individual human's reason or "sense." Again, like hurricanes, they may appear at the most inopportune times, "right in the middle of a parade" or other delightful times in one's life, causing irrational effects and even dire consequences.
The point of attempting to see and name memes is to bring them into the arena of consciousness where some small degree of reason may be applied, where one may have a bit of personal choice in responding rather than simply reacting to such a force. Once a meme is recognized, the fragile human capacity for "making sense" instead of simply acting irrationally can be brought into play. Such "thinking" cannot erase a meme, any more than knowing that a hurricane is coming can dissolve its force; but once either is brought into awareness, certain preparations for "landfall" can be made. In the case of memes, unlike hurricanes, "sense" may even be used to divert if not dissolve the power of any particular one. Once I know about a meme, I can anticipate its appearance even if I cannot control its coming, and I can make preparations for protecting myself and acting in ways which are less destructive to others or to my relationships. In time, I have also discovered, I may even be able to diminish, if not erase, the power of certain memes which were previously not subject to any influence by me.
Now to specifics: mother is a meme; female breasts are memes to men, while cosmetics ("make-up") are memes to women. God and nudity are memes for most everyone; so is fuck, the American flag, and the Bible (on which we swear). Each of these and innumerable others which I point out and explore later, is a constellation of real forces centered around a certain human perception (seeing, for example, a breast), a word (such as, fuck), or an object (like a flag or Bible).
Definition: a meme is an invisible power which becomes operative in the presence of human perceptions--things sensed (seen, felt, smelled, heard, or even thought of). Power, by definition, is "that which moves" or "makes things happen." Power is a force, a collection of energies which cause effects in human experience. If I say fuck or fire in a crowd of people, most everyone who hears me will be moved in one way or another by these memes. Just saying these words, since they are also memes, "makes things happen." Once when I was growing up (a long time ago!) a friend of mine got a spanking for saying "pregnant" in front of his mother. In fact we had heard this meme (back then) voiced by a girl on the school bus and both wondered what it meant. My friend innocently asked his mother and only then discovered its power as a meme (long before this name or my study had come to be).
A meme is like a social gene; just as the name gene represents a constellation of forces in the body (actually a segment of DNA in a chromosome) which are invisible to the human eye, not subject to "reason," and operate regardless of what we think, so memes are powers outside the body, "out there" in the social world rather than "in here" inside my skin. They too exert their powers apart from the "reasoning" of any single person; they need not "make sense" in order to function. Although they may in fact be reasonable and useful for the group (country, community, family, etc.) as a whole, they are often dangerous and even destructive for individuals within the group where they operate. A meme, like a gene, can "make things happen" which are totally undesirable at the time. Just as genes can make long noses and green eyes when we may prefer shorter noses and blue eyes, or attractions and erections when we'd rather not be bothered, so memes can cause unwanted, unreasonable, unexpected, and often dangerous effects both in relationships as well as private life in any society.
Also like genes, memes are just now beginning to be studied by social scientists, while genes are being explored and named by physical scientists. Previously they have simply remained operative, like genes, mostly without human recognition. Not that their effects have not long been known; but that they have remained unnamed and unexamined in the mind's eye. We have always lived with memes, like genes and hurricanes; but have not tried to bring them into the light of consciousness through names and analysis (as I am attempting here). Certainly individuals, probably everyone, has "tried to figure out" and "make sense" of these seemingly irrational forces; but such private efforts have seldom, so far as I know, been brought into the public arena. We have been taught about genes in school; but who has had a course in memes?
The exploration of memes faces another difficulty. Unlike the case with genes, where we recognize that we all stand to win with scientific advancement, such as, the development of medicines to counteract some of the negative effects of certain genes, memes have an opposite problem. The fact is, memes operate better in the dark; they, if we personify these forces, "work better" for society when they are unrecognized, not brought into mind space. When we are not conscious of the existence of any meme, we are more easily and certainly dictated by its existence. For instance, patriotism is a social meme in most every society. Citizens more easily go to war for their country when this meme is blindly accepted. Bringing it into the light, as began to occur in the 60's during the Vietnam Conflict, can be disruptive in enlisting persons to "fight for their country."
But on the other hand, especially insofar as individual, if not group, well-being is concerned, looking into memes is the only way I know for carving into the dictatorial power which they otherwise hold over us. Thinking about them doesn't make them go away, but only when I "look at" a particular meme do I begin to have any degree of choice in regard to my reactions to its presence. Otherwise, as with an unexpected hurricane, I can only deal with the often devastating effects of its appearance.
THE BIG PICTURE
I am a
in the midst of two diverse, often contradictory,
constellations of powerful forces:
older biological genes and younger social memes
I, though but a smaller collection of temporal forces,
have no choice
but to continually carve out myself
in their midst, otherwise either one
or the other soon does me in
Two paths are open to me:
suppression and splitting or
seeing and mediating;
the first is quicker and easier,
needing no nerve;
the second is slower and difficult
requiring much faith
When I choose the first path
as I have most often done
I deafen myself to desire, the only voice of genes;
I disembody myself, denying that "they"
are an essential part of who I am;
I identify myself with selected memes
and expend the energies of life
maintaining an illusion of existence
apart from the biological ground of my being
Only seeing myself as "good memes,"
I must always be on guard and at war
against "bad genes" which constantly tempt me
to give in to "evil" desires, to do what I want to
rather than what I should do
Less often, when I dare the second course,
I listen carefully to ancient wisdom of genes
remaining always alert to messages of memes;
then, with the fragile but crucial gift of consciousness
I find myself in the faith-demanding challenges
of balancing on the high-wire between
the siren calls of the first and the virtuous demands
of the second, falling, unfortunately, more than I stand
But when my nerve is up I embrace my gift
of consciousness, decline the escapes of denial,
and carefully mediate between these secret allies,
who but appear to be at war with each other,
via the arts of deception inherent in genes
and the skills of acting taught early by memes
Firmly rooted in earthy instincts for survival
and pleasure-enhanced urges to reproduce myself
I fly freely among social invitations to sacrifice
and serve, delighting in the trophies they bring,
but I neither leave nor lose awareness of my primal self
while honoring the accolades of social success
knowing full well, through hard-earned experience,
the price of being "good" as memes alone define it
And in such awesome moments when I succeed
in remaining in the garden while living in the city
becoming both my genes and memes
without escaping into one or the other
surprise, surprise, God turns out
to be omnipresent after all
To be myself, in reality, is to exist as a fragile collection of forces in the midst of powerful genes and memes, both of which comprise the substance of who I am. "I," literally, am but a grammatical abstraction, a language device, for holding these personified forces in conscious awareness while I act or attempt to communicate with other such abstract illusions. Otherwise, when I am not being myself, the rampant powers of genes and memes are in continual conflict or collusion between cradle and grave, unmediated by the potential powers of "I" which are inherent in my enskinned/social "self," yet to be personified through the accepted gift of human consciousness.
On the surface these two constellations of powers, names here as genes and memes, are in continual conflict; like men and women who embody them, they seem at first glance to be "from different planets"--that is, diametric opposites of each other. The major directives of genes--to survive and reproduce oneself, are in sharp contradiction with the major directives of memes, which are equally diligent in training to sacrifice, serve others, and be strictly "moral" (which means: relatively non-sexual).
Beneath the surface, however, they are in consort; both are evolved with the same goals--staying alive and living well as long as possible, being as happy and eternal as we can be. Genes, of course, are much older, but at this point in human evolution no enskinned self (where genes reside) exists apart from social structures (where memes abide). We appear to be lone ones because the partition of skin is easy to see while the structures of society are less visible; but we are only alone in our mind's eye. In reality we are always both alone and with others, either near or far; we exist, literally, as individuals-in-groups (hyphenated to imply the inevitable connections between apparent "ones" and less obvious "others").
Though I am more easily aware, at least early in life before the common split occurs, of genetic forces which move me, I am also comprised and moved by social forces which are less visible to awareness. "I," I conclude now after a life time of believing that I was either a ghost (soul or self) in the "machine" of "my" body, or else only the summary of genes in my skin, think that I have been wrong in my assumptions. I now see that I am made both of genes and memes, and that a true sense-of-self includes identification with each as well as constant mediation between their apparent conflicts--which are many.
I am made from both the combination of genes initiated at conception of sperm and ovum from my father and mother and from the "sands of Saline"--that is, the social milieu of structures, mores, and patterns of acceptable behavior which existed in the place and time where I was born. The genes of mother and daddy, mixed with the memes of Saline (infused with memes brought from other places), make up the totality of who-I-am (at least potentially, if not yet in reality). To become myself, as best I can now tell, I have no choice but to accept/embrace "being an Evans" and "being from Saline" (not one or the other, but both/and), and to mediate between the conflicts which often occur when these two parts of myself bump against each other.
Since the best interests of my genetic self (the unique Evans that I am), and my Saline self (part and parcel of one another), are generally at odds (or so it has seemed all my life), I have no choice but to experience these conflicts whenever they occur. But I do have choice in how I respond or react to these different voices.
With the gift of hindsight I see that there are two major ways of dealing with conflicting messages of genes and memes. The more familiar path that I learned early and have long taken involves the ultimately futile attempt to repress the first and elevate the second; to identify myself with accepted memes and not with rejected/denied genes. This has resulted in a splitting of who-I-am (in the larger sense) in my mind's eye, if not in reality. "I" have come to see myself as the "good boy" trained mostly by my mother, and the "good person" I carved out of available memes after I left her teaching--and, consequently, not as the "bad" urges (mostly to be selfish and sexy) which "rear their ugly heads" whenever I am not careful in suppressing them. The cost of this continual and consistent splitting of myself is only now emerging into my clearer consciousness. And it is great.
The other alternative, which I am just now beginning to see and practice, involves an entirely different path: instead of splitting one's self through genetic denial and social identifications, this course involves acknowledging the older gifts of biological evolution, plus the newer offerings of social structures, including the capacity for consciousness (which I think must have evolved primarily to cope with differences between the two). Once both genes and memes are acknowledged as essential and inevitable parts of who-I-am (rather than opposing forces "I" am either caught between or identified with one or the other), then I face the excitement of mediating the merging powers which both make and move me, but which often seem to pull me in opposite directions. How can I be both selfish and sacrificial, sexy and moral, and not be grossly illogical if not torn apart?
This wonderfully demanding high-wire performance certainly calls for the best of both these major parts of myself, plus the fragile but crucial Johnny-Come-Lately on the human evolutional stage, namely, the gift of consciousness--the uniquely human capacity for stopping the flow of experience briefly in mind-space, and adding a small measure of choice to the infinitely larger directives of genes and memes. To the voices of would and should, through the exercise of consciousness, I can sometimes add the impetus of will--when my faith is strong. That is, when "what I want to do" and "what I ought to do" bump against each other (as so often they do), I can, with the wonder of consciousness, sometimes decide "what I will do."
Without ignoring, dishonoring, or judging
either desire or duty (the voices of genes and memes), I can, in these fortunate times,
say in effect: "I know what I want to do, and I know what I should do; but neither is
quite right for me (my larger self comprised of them both) just now. So, here is what I
will do." It is then, and only then, that I truly become myself and experience the
kingdom of God in the here and now.
Some of the uncommon, controversial, or
perhaps heretical notions which underlie and sometimes appear in my writings on this
subject include the following:
1. VAST MALE UNCONSCIOUSNESS
Primal maleness, as I have come to understand our genetic structuring and acquired modes of functioning in society, is still largely "in the dark," both in society and in the average man on the streets. My speculated content of natural male unconsciousness-that which can be expected to appear when any man is analyzed or dares to face his "darker side," includes these commonly denied elements. If any average male "gets honest with himself," these are my predictions about what he will discover about "who I am":
a. Female idolatry; primal experience of god as goddess.
b. Incestuous desires-that is, sexuality in family settings.
c. Homosexual attractions; same-sex interests which originate pre-puberty.
d. Projections of male power; masculine generated powers recognized only as mirrored in females, such as, "turn on" abilities.
e. Extent of dominance/submission-abuse and worship, of women as a way of surviving and coping with denied powers of femininity.
f. Lost sense of true male selfing which inevitably occurs when men identify ourselves with social memes, either for "good" or "bad" images of ourselves.
g. Lost awareness of the "female shadow" in every male--that is, capacities emerging from an X chromosome in each of our cells, the "female part" of who all we males also are.
h. Lost capacity for self-caring, which is
largely projected on to women, beginning with mother and continuing on to spouses and
femininity in general.
2. Bad shake in society
With good pragmatic reasons, natural maleness is primarily judged negatively in social circumstances. Only in war times, in the "jungle,"and in carefully ruled athletics, do male genes get invited into social circumstances. This is in sharp contrast to social acceptance of female genetics, which are inherently supportive of most functional social structures.
3. Power imbalance
Femininity, I conclude, is inherently more power-packed than masculinity. This power imbalance, weighted in favor of primal femininity over genetic masculinity, begins with the biological fact of two powerful XX chromosomes in each cell, contrasted with only one X in males, plus a weaselly Y, and is further supported by social structures ("memes") which have existed from the beginning of recorded history-focused in religions, laws, mores, and group rules recognized in etiquette, "polite behavior," and other subtle guidelines for socially acceptable behavior.
4. Mother/son experience
All parent/child encounters are significant as are sibling relationships-mother/son, father/daughter, brother/sister; but mother/son experience is, I conclude, vastly more determinative of childhood shaping and future behavior. It is, I believe, harder for a boy to reach relative maturity than for a girl, given the greater power of mother/son experience over father/daughter learning.
5. Incest taboo
The "incest taboo"-which I understand to be about conscious and overt sexuality in a family setting (where genes are shared), applies to all family members, but I think it is more consequential for males because of the differing nature of male and female sexuality.
6. Two major male modes of coping
Although feminine modes of survival and succeeding in family settings are quite diverse, male modes are far more limited; in fact they can be summarized in two main categories, with only slight variations on these major themes. Boys, to survive and cope, are largely limited to being "good" or "bad." The "good boy" mode (the one I took), involves "minding your mother," that is, accepting her memes and becoming compliant with them. This commonly leads to "loving your mother"-putting her on a pedestal, "behaving yourself," and constantly trying to "please women" who come to represent her. The corollary mode of "being bad" is simply the opposite side of the same coin-acting rebellious rather than compliant, condemning rather than adoring, putting down on females rather than elevating them, and trying to displease rather than please. Thus, whether in being "good" or "bad," we are still trying to cope with powerful memes personified first in mothers.
7. Unrecognized spiritual abuse
Historical and still prevalent male physical abuse of females, as in religion, the work place, the home, and in bed, is finally coming to public recognition; still hidden to social consciousness is all-too-common spiritual abuse of males by "well meaning" females. Physical abuse is certainly bad, but the consequences of spiritual abuse are often deeper, more far reaching, and worse in time. Cuts and bruises of the body tend to heal faster than metaphored "cutting" and "battering" of the heart-including, female abuse of masculinity, which is completely legal and even socially supported under the name of "love."
8. Religious and legal structures
On the surface religious orders and social laws are theoretically not gender-biased. In practice, and below the level of common recognition, I think that popular religions and prevailing legal structures unwittingly undermine masculinity and unduly support femininity-all this while appearing to do the opposite. I think that masculine unconsciousness (Number 1, above) is unwittingly projected into religion and politics in subtle ways which may protect both ourselves and vulnerable females outwardly, but with potentially devastating inward consequences.
9. Male cockiness/compliance
Macho males and hen-pecked husbands, brutes and wimps, cloak, mostly to ourselves, unseen capacities for individual independence, sans salvation via femininity.
WHY LOOK FOR MEMES?
Good citizenship, including family membership, is easier to achieve without awareness of memes; but good personhood is, I think, impossible without meme recognition. Memes are like hidden land mines scattered throughout the social arena. Not seen, they pose a constant spiritual danger to innocent victims who have no choice but to wander among them regularly. Even seen they may be unwittingly "stepped on," exploding in the face of hapless victims; still, knowing they are there and being constantly alert to their dangers as well as values increases the likelihood of successfully negotiating the ever-present meme mind field.
Because unrecognized memes seem to be absent and thus harmless, a jungle metaphor may help clarify. In the jungle, outside of human societies where memes are operative, circumstances and genes are the only prevailing forces. Each creature is constantly at life-threatening danger from unsafe circumstances or some other creature who "has learned (is genetically directed)" to feed on him. "Survival of the fittest," a jungle "law," points to the fact that only those creatures who are "fittest"-that is, constantly alert to ever-present physical dangers, are able to survive. Any little chick, for example, is in constant danger of flying hawks who may swoop down and take it from a "secure" nest.
Similar dangers to spirit are present in the social "jungle." Although civilization appears to be relatively safe for individuals, as long as they obey all laws and rules, the opposite is true insofar as spirit is concerned. In the social "jungle," no matter how safe and secure one may assume himself to be, constant spirit-threatening dangers lurk behind every social contact with another individual, especially "loved ones."
To mix my metaphors: all social circumstances are like a jungle laden with hidden land mines under every leaf-that is, life-threatening dangers are ever-present. "Ain't no hiding place down here!"
As noted, one who is blindly directed by memes in society may remain successfully alive and "socially healthy," just as a good gene-directed creature may survive well in the jungle. In fact, the less one knows about memes in the city (or, perhaps, genes in the jungle) the more likely he or she is to be socially successful. But my concern here is spiritual health, not simply social success. To become a healthy person is much more than being a good citizen (or son or daughter, mother or father). Personal well-being, living well as an individual-in-society rather than simply as an entity-for-society is a vastly different issue.
My goal, which I write about as a means of trying to reach, is to become both a good citizen and a good person-not just one or the other. I am no longer content to settle for social success only; genetic virtue is equally relevant to me, especially now that I am older. I want to be good both with others and alone, both when I am in contact with people, and "when the stage lights go off."
This dual goal requires, I belatedly see, attention both to genes and memes, to the "animal forces" operative in the wooded jungles as well as the human powers operative in the "blackboard and corporate jungles." I have no choice, I now realize, but to cope with the forces of genes and memes. I may do so blindly, since each remain operative whether or not I see or acknowledge their presence; but I have also found that recognition of the often contradictory forces of each can help in successfully confronting, coping with, and sometimes mediating their conflicts.
My purpose in seeing memes is not to judge
or try to defeat them-as though they were inherently evil, any more than genetic
recognition is for condemning the "evil forces of nature." Rather I try to bring
each into the light of consciousness so that I may respond more sanely and reasonably to
their impersonal demands. Paradoxically, the more attentive and careful I am to each, the
more successful I am with both.
The only way monkeys
ever evolved into men
(assuming the course of evolution
is forward rather than backward)
was by paying attention
to their emerging memes
And the way men turn back
to where we came from
is by forgetting the genes
which birthed us both
or the memes which invite
us to do so
WHY MEN SHOULD SEE MEMES
First, my projections: I, of course, don't know that other "men should see memes"; maybe they shouldn't. I simply use my long practiced preaching mode of thinking to clarify my own experiences related to meme recognition. Literally I am asking myself about why I should continue to do so? What has this search meant to me? What am I learning about myself from it? What good does it do me to keep on trying to clarify these powerful dark forces which I call memes?
So seeing, I continue: The first major reason is so that reason itself can be brought to bear on blind reaction. We have no choice but to live in the presence of memes and hence to cope with them one way or the other. If we don't see them it is like living in a house with an unrecognized elephant stalking around; we cannot but bump into him, or be run over by him. Seeing memes does not change their power, any more than recognizing my metaphored elephant would make him go away. But once we see memes, we can add reason to reaction in our inevitable confrontations. Better, I conclude (at least for myself), to be consciously sensible about these forces than to simply rely on genetic knowledge for dealing with memes which they haven't had evolutional time to learn about.
Blind reactions, without the light of conscious sense, are likely to lead to one or more of these debilitating results: first, we may be "done in" by the powerful unrecognized forces. The "elephant" may step on us if we don't see him and get out of his way. Many a man, I think, has been spiritually diminished, if not destroyed, by the power of these forces. Specifically, the familiar results I have seen and experienced include: blind and often unrecognized machoism--an exaggerated sense of male power, a kind of egotistical cockiness assumed for reasons of survival. We may cope with fearful challenges by acting like they are nothing, by pretending to ourselves and others that "there's nothing to it." "I'm a big man; I can handle anything." Such braggadocio does often work temporarily, when social forces are held at bay by macho stances. But the price of blind egotism, like that of pride, is often excessive in time.
Machoism is also counterproductive in many circumstances and with all discerning women. It tends to backfire, especially when females see through our Charles Atlas charades. Instead of gaining the sought after favor of such females, we more often find their contempt and/or rejection. Peacocking is only temporarily successful in certain instances. Mostly we males lose eventually when we cope with memes by blind bravery.
Many others, including myself, have attempted survival by the flip side of the macho coin-wimpism. Instead of acting like Charles Atlas who doesn't let anyone throw sand in his face, we act like the weakling he was assumed to replace. We cope by lying down rather than lording over; we give in before we can be done in; we act weaker than we are, just as macho men act stronger than they are. But in either case, even if we survive and thrive temporarily, the long term costs of both machoism and wimpism are substantial.
Also we cheat ourselves when we resort to egotism for survival. "A brain," as the Negro College Fund notes, "is a terrible thing to waste." When men try to cope by acting big rather than seeing clearly, we negate the activation of a vital human capacity, namely, conceive-ability or reason, the third stage of the Creative Process. We have fortunately evolved the capacity for decoding inevitably images, for seeing things in our mind's eye rather than simply reacting on the basis of past learning. When we do not look at memes, as I am attempting here, we cheat ourselves by denying a capacity which I think we all have. We "waste" our brains.
Not only do we squelch a natural gift, we unwisely fail to utilize a needed tool for improved survival and success. If I am correct in my observations about the reality of memes, including their immense powers, inevitable influences, and ever-present operation, we males need every available resource for wise confrontation. And brain-power is perhaps our best weapon.
There are also dangers in seeing, just as there are in blindness. I want to remain cognizant of these also, lest I fall for them too. Perhaps the greatest risk in recognition of the unfair shake which memes give to masculinity (if I am correct in my seeing), is falling for the opposite of pride, namely, shame-or worse, feeling sorry for oneself. If false pride assumed to compensate for deeply perceived weakness is bad, false shame must be even worse. Recognition of a factual imbalance in meme powers, with the favorable weight given to femininity, is one thing; but coping by false guilt is, I think, even more dangerous than false pride. While it is true that a shameful stance often works temporarily, just like proud peacocking, the additional temptation to play Poor Little Me, or Ain't It Awful, is terribly seductive. And just as "nobody likes a whiner," those who "feel sorry for themselves" are apt to suffer from social rejection as well as well as self negation.
So, we men are well advised (at least this one is), if we are going to take the chance seeing memes, to be careful to bypass the traps of self-pride or self-pity. The goal in clearer seeing is simply to acquire more data for sharper coping. The more we know, the better we may, potentially, handle the facts. Blindness, so often used as a defense or weapon, is more wisely replaced by insight with its possible utility in insightful behavior-living carefully, taking full account of all one knows and being reasonable about the facts of life.
Besides, as a song reminds us, "things get a little easier" sometimes "once you understand." We may, as another song voices, "understand it better bye and bye," but for me, I prefer now rather than later. And here, I project my preference.
Another good reason is in order to short-circuit our own projected reactions. As noted, encounter with memes is inevitable; we have no choice but to deal with memes in some manner. We will react, one way or the other. But if we remain blind, these reactions will inevitably be projected rather than handled sensible. Unrecognized reactions cannot but be projected-that is, we assume, as in all imaging, that the power we experience is "out there."
In the case of unacknowledged meme reactions, men typically project on women who do indeed seem to carry their power. When we fail to recognize that memes exist in the social milieu, "in the air" so to speak, we usually take them to reside in females who represent them. Common such projections include: blaming individual women for the meme imbalance which favors them--as though they, as persons, cause it, or resenting women for meme powers they don't in reality possess. Once blame and/or resentment are operative, following the projection of unrecognized meme powers, men typically engage in such fruitless endeavors as: putting down on women, trying to "keep them in subjection" as most religions do, or putting up on women and then looking to them for services or even salvation they are ill-equipped to provide.
The energies I and, I think, innumerable
other males have wasted in either condemning or adoring our own projected reactions to
memes would be impossible to overestimate. Females throughout the ages have, I only now am
able to recognize, borne the weight of such blind projections, while we unseeing males
have attempted to either negate their assumed-to-be magical powers or else wield them in
our own favor. All this while failing to recognize the meme powers which do exist in all
social structures, just as gene powers within our own physical structures, and not in the
individual women on whom we project our private reactions.
In summary, men need to recognize the presence and power of memes, especially those which smile on femininity while frowning at masculinity, lest we be defeated or destroyed by them. With recognition we then face the possibility of bringing reason to bear on forces which otherwise must be countered by blind reactions based on genetic knowledge which has hardly had time to get educated about present memes. With insight we may also avoid the traps of machoism and wimpism, each based on blind projections of our own dark reactions to dangerous memes.
If we succeed in facing these facts of life, without taking them personally or projecting them onto individual female persons, we then face the wider possibilities of affirming manhood as we find it to be, learning to relate more realistically to women in general, and perhaps of also learning to love ourselves and those we have previously only claimed to.
I begin by focusing on some of the more powerful memes which surround all our social living. First, Family Values. Widespread public adoration of Family Values at the present time is obviously about more than the nuclear family. What, I wonder, are the roots of this powerful social value which is often able to swing elections and elect candidates, even when it is only mouthed as being supported.
I think that male projection into this meme must be rooted in our common fear of the power of our own genetic male sexuality, especially the pervasive, irresponsible, ever-present nature of our sexual urges which are in largest measure sharply at odds with social values. For all our talk, dirty jokes, pea-cock type displays, obsessive thoughts, and occasional acting-out, I think that the real power inherent in genes initiating male sexuality as it naturally exists is rarely if ever embraced by any boy or man. We act sexy, I surmise, to cloak our deeper fear of being as sexual as we actually are, sans repression.
Current Republican Clinton bashing (1998), primarily focused on his sexual activities outside the virtues of Family Values, is, I think, largely a reaction to our common fear of our own tendencies to "act-out." We cannot tolerate anyone who "gets away with" doing what all males would be sorely tempted to do if we only had the chance, namely, be sexually catered to by a young, attractive female. Rather than face our own similar desires, we self-righteously try to suppress this expression of typical male urges whereever they appear, especially in high places (symbolic of denied parental sexuality).
To protect us from such socially dangerous "acting-out" we attempt to suppress it "out there" as a forerunner to protecting ourselves from desires "in here." Family Values are obviously useful in such attempts to protect us from ourselves. By touting these social virtues we shield ourselves from what we might do, given the chance, did they not exist.
Gay bashing is likewise, I think, but a reflection of our common male fears of another aspect of our own inclinations, namely, being overtly sexual with other males. Homophobia mirrors our deeper, unfaced fears of the pervasive nature of male sexuality which, in its most primal blind urges does not even discriminate between male and female objects. We males, as females sometimes note, "will fuck anything," animals and boys included.
Again, Family Values come to our rescue. Inclinations toward being sexual with members of our own gender are soundly condemned by the virtues of monogamous marriage (more about this later).
This meme, in summary, is a primary social counter weight to male genes whose sexual values seldom coincide with the best interests of our social groups.
From the female perspective a similar service is performed by this meme, except, perhaps even more powerfully. If male genetics cast us at odds with current social structures, female genes are, I think, even more dangerous for those whose sexual repressions are often greater than our own. Although male genes incline us to widespread "sperm spreading," an obvious threat to Family Values, female genes, I surmise, incline toward "best sperm selection." This, of course, ideally requires multiple partners, which are not allowed by social structures, and which also threatens a closely related female valuing of security. Women must be in a double bind with genes directing them both toward "best sperm" and "most security." Family Values may mitigate against multiple partners for finding the best sperm, but they must make up for what they cost in their support of "most security" in the long run.
Overall, I think that the true nature of female sexuality, including powers inherent in its activation, is the most commonly and deeply suppressed of all female capacities. In service of this denial Family Values must be an immensely useful meme. When it comes to comparison between the genders, I suspect that the utility of this meme in containing rampant, unembraced genes, is even more valuable for females than for males.
A second element in favor of female valuing of this meme lies in its usefulness in the leverage of power in relationships. If it serves females in maintaining their repression of natural sexual urges evolved for success in "best sperm" selection, it is more immediately practical in wielding power in encounters with men.
The male genetic urge to seek a woman's pleasure as a clue to her times of ovulation, though often perverted into psychologically-based efforts to get her permission to be ourselves, remains a powerful force in all cross-gender relationships. Aside from the many psychological motives underlying our various attempts to please woman, the fundamental genetic fact that the odds of reproduction are vastly increased when "she wants to," clued by her pleasure, remains a powerful source of male response to females.
In quest of her pleasure, males often go to great lengths to "do what she wants us to" so as to please her. Although the deeper motivation, when not for psychological reasons only, is about increasing our slim odds in self-replication, the very process easily plays into woman's hands as a means of wielding power over us. When we are "trying to please" we are more subject to "doing what she wants us to." And in such a responsive state, we are even more vulnerable to her already over-balanced repertoire of powers.
The relevance of this genetic issue to the meme of Family Values is that specific aspects of the meme easily play into woman's hands in wielding power for other purposes. For example, Family Values go far beyond the bedroom with all its sexual implications; they also include the keeping of all the other rooms of the house intact--and this includes clean as woman defines the word. Ah, there's the rub!
In man's efforts to please woman through participation in "keeping the house clean," he unwittingly opens himself to all sorts of power manipulations inherent in her secret definitions of just what clean means. "Doing it right" means "the way she wants it done;" but since this is seldom pinned down and is always subject to change, man can rarely figure out just what will please her in this regard. No matter how hard a man may try, given her hidden definitions and constantly changing values, he can rarely succeed in achieving her overt pleasure. "The rules," he may note, "are always changing." And even if he succeeds in all major regards, woman is always able to find some small way in which he has failed to please her.
The reason, I think, is that while woman biologically values cleanliness and order--an advance past nest-making, she is even more concerned, partially out of genes but mostly for psychological reasons, about maintaining power and control of her life and circumstances. In this latter quest, cleanliness is only an arena for exercising power. Man predictably fails in his efforts when he does not realize that the conflict is less about dirt and disorder (e.g., dishes not being put in the dishwasher "right," or the bed not made "right.") than about woman's sense of personal power. Flaws must be found in all his efforts to please because otherwise she would be out of control-through-ordering and into the scary arenas of pleasure where all control must eventually be lost.
Then too, there is the phenomenon of female resistance designed to evoke persistence; that is, playing hard to get (not yet pleased with a suitor) in order to "get it hard" to get. This is, I surmise, one of evolution's crowning achievements in the immensely effective Drama of Reproduction. The artful complementary interplay of woman's resistance countered by man's persistence, both aimed at best circumstances (her soft, him hard) for conception, remains a wonder to me.
I think though that what we mostly see today is more about wielding power for psychological reasons, such as, fear of letting go and losing control, than about the artistry of genetic reproduction.
WHAT THEY THINK
the while, I rebelled
against this most powerful of all memes;
thinking I was finding my own way,
I was unwittingly determined
by reacting against Theirs
Artfully, I see in hindsight, I reduced
THEY to Her, and then shifted Her image
to other Shes, who yet bore Her image, cloaked;
and still projecting my own powers to be
I looked to Them to confirm my seeing
through Their understanding, my passions
by Their pleasures, my love by Their loving,
indeed, my being by Their becoming
when I seek the faith
to see that I do see,
to think my own thoughts,
feel my own pleasures, love alone,
and thus become, not by Their Good Graces,
but only by the grace of God
A second powerful meme which may be but an aspect of Family Values, at least a complementary consort, is What They Think. Public opinion, the way others see you, outside affirmation, "being liked," getting approval, being understood--these and many other phrases are summarized in my name What They Think. Opposites, obviously, are the genetically based urges to think for oneself, to value one's own opinions, to do what one chooses to do rather than what others want you to do, to approve that which pleases one's own senses of pleasure, to be focused on "selfish" desires rather than social standards.
The power of this meme is so vast and pervasive that one can have almost every aspect of life dictated by these forces, especially when personified in a single individual (as in, romantic love), or a group (club, church, clan, country). Then, what She/He--a lover thinks, or what They (the members of the peer group or whatever the social group to which one feels identified) think becomes the omnipotent force directing all the minute decisions of daily life.
I believe that the power of What They Think, in all its diverse forms, which vary from the approval of a single person to the affirmation of everyone, begins in the cradle and is best summarized in its most primal roots with the symbol, Mother's Smile. In the womb and in the early days of exodus, mother's approval--her acceptance and affirmation which is best signed after birth by her smile, is indeed crucial to an infant's very existence. What She Thinks--that is, her approval in the forms of her breasts for milk, her arms for holding, her body for warmth, her hands for service (like diaper changes), her love for comfort--all symbolized in Her Smile, or its negative form, Her Frown, can only be viewed as crucial omnipotence in those primal times when our individual existence depends on it.
I further believe that primal memories of all human beings from the time when this was so are the basis of social phenomena, such as, the power of proverbial "apron strings," the saying, "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world," references to "the power behind the throne," "step on a crack, break your mother's back," "yo mamma," the sacredness of motherhood over fatherhood, etc.
I also think that deep memories of these immense early contacts with seemingly omnipotent female forces are unconsciously projected by all males on to femininity in general and selected females in particular. These projections become, I surmise, a large part of what is finally evidenced in the generalized social meme of What They Think. Powers which are at first really "out there" in the experience of an infant are internalized in memory and thereafter recognized (if at all) in projected form, most female in nature, but finally in the neutered They.
What begins as totally real in an infant's encounter with mother, symbolized in Her Smile (or Frown), is at last generalized into the largely imagined, ungendered meme, What They Think.
"Imagined" is intended to imply "in the mind of the believer," rather than "all in your head," or, "just your imagination." This meme is certainly real and ever present in all life circumstances which involve encounters with others. All laws of state, church, and community, including unwritten rules of etiquette, are but forms of this powerful meme which dictates almost all activity in society. Beginning with laws about clothes, there is no facet of life outside the bathroom which is not in some way dictated by this meme. And ignoring its powers inevitably leads to dangerous consequences beginning with disapproval, then to rejection and excommunication, even imprisonment and death. The point: we may or may not consciously image this meme, but its powers are real and far reaching in every aspect of our social relationships.
MEMES AND GENES ABOUT BEING
Core Issues are the heart of human matters; the deepest, most relevant challenges on the human agenda; the most universal, regular, and unending "problems" in life; not what's bad or good, but what's most inherent in the human condition--that is, "just is."
There are three prime subjects: being, doing, and gender, and three major questions: Who to be; what to do; and who-to-be/what-to-do about gender.
WHO TO BE?
The first major issue is the existential question: Who am I to be? To be myself or not to be myself? More particularly this means: to be my genes and memes, or to be an it--an entity, such as, a self, soul, ego, or personality, who resides in/among both. This is the "in house" issue (literally, in-skin). It is the least conscious but most important of all three.
WHAT TO DO?
Next comes: What am I to do with myself? If I choose to be me, then I face deciding what to do in each of the instants of the times of my life. First there is being; then there is doing. Being is essentially in-my-skin, while doing is in-the-world or outside-my-skin (literally, my in-skinned-self in the outside world). Being myself is about: desires, feelings, attitudes, and emotions; doing is about behavior: perceptions, movements, actions, and speech.
Of our 7 major questions, the first issue can only ask: Who? (Who am I to be?). In facing the second issue we do not ask Who?, but rather: What?, Where?, When?, How? How much?, and How long? The first is about "how I feel inside"; the second, about "what I do or say outside." The first is about "what I want to do"; the second is about "what I do about what I want to do."
The first issue concerns accepting or rejecting what is given or "comes to me"; with the second comes decision--"making up my mind," "deciding what to say or do or what not to."
WHO-TO-BE/WHAT-TO-DO WITH GENDER?
The third primary issue in life revolves around the question: what are we to do about/with X and Y chromosomes, plus the social memes which always surround them? Once born, we are soon dressed in pink or blue, symbolically and/or literally. How shall we relate to these inevitable gender differences, both anatomical and social? In questions 1 and 2 we deal with the oldest and first 44 chromosomes in each of our cells; in question #3 we confront the last 2 chromosomes which round out the whole 46-the problematic X and Y's.
Although the relative importance of each question is indicated by the number of chromosomes from which they emerge, the latter issue tends to be more conscious and therefore to command most immediate attention. We may ignore or delay facing the first two longer than this third issue. Even though it is the Johnny-Come-Lately, New-Kid-On-The-Genetic-Block, the sex question seems to hog center stage more often.
The gender question, like gender itself, inevitably has two parts: 1) What to do about one's own gender?, and 2) What to do about the opposite sex? First, we face whether or not to accept being gendered--to be male or female or somewhere in between. Shall I acknowledge my inherited sexuality in all its definitive wonder, or shall I try to be someone who is relatively non-sexual? Do I become and embrace being sexual, or do I repress sexuality and try to be "just a person"?
The second inevitable issue involves one's opposite sex: How are men to relate to women? And how are women to get along with men? What are we to do with each other? What shall be the overall place of gender itself in relation to the first two primary issues?
1. The three issues are, in reality, part and parcel of one united whole challenge; they are only divisible in the mind's eye and on paper--as I divide them here. There is no being separate and apart from doing and, insofar as we humans are concerned, from gender. In the real world we only exist and act as men and women; who-we-are, what-we-do, and sexuality are inevitably and inextricably intertwined. But, given the gift of potential consciousness, we can see phase-areas where one issue grades into another, where one is more clearly in focus than another. To look and think and write of each, one at a time, in linear fashion, is not to imply that they actually exist separately. Yet categories can be useful as well as dangerous.
2. If one only considers three questions in life, from among the myriads of puzzles which always surround us, I believe that these three are the most relevant. If I only get 3 things "right" in life, while getting all others "wrong," I think that success here will be more than sufficient for good living in the here and now. When I do well in these three arenas, I find that most others fall into line and seemingly take care of themselves.
If one goes into therapy, these are, I think, the most important of all issues "to be dealt with." If one goes to church ("is religious"), these are the most significant, I conclude, of all "ultimate subjects." If one goes neither to therapy or church, but only "goes it alone," then I have found these to most consistently matter above all else.
3. Their relative importance is in the order given: first, being, then doing, and finally, sex. But in practice, "meanwhile back at the ranch" where we all find ourselves living, the order is generally reversed. Consciously we tend to be more aware and therefore more attentive to gender issues first, leaving ordinary decisions about what to do and who to be either to habit or nonscious modes of functioning. On average I think we more consciously deal with sexual issues, then with behavior, and finally, if ever, with existential issues of selfing.
1. Number 1, being issues, seem to be "deeper" than #2 behavior matters. Who-we-are is given rather than chosen, while what-we-do falls more into realms of conscious choice. "You can't help how you feel," we say, "but you can help what you do." This speaks to the differing levels of #1 and #2 in normal awareness. Even so, we do have choices to make in regard to who-to-be; if not about our literal being, the "substance" of who-we-are, then certainly about whether or not we accept or try to reject our "givenness." As Shakespear voiced for us all, "To be or not to be,"--at least to "be ourselves" or to attempt to "be somebody different," is "the question."
More particularly, being questions break down into: being embodied or dis-embodied. Are we to literally be our physicalness, "the dust" from which we are made, the stuff inside our skins, or are we to exist as though we are its--entities which merely reside temporarily "in our bodies"? Am "I" a separable self, soul, or personality inhabiting "my" body, like a "ghost in a machine," or is "I" but a literary abstraction useful in private thought and public communication, but existentially nonexistent beyond embodied-self? Do "I" (however I conceive the "it" which I take to be myself) "go somewhere" after "my" body dies--such as, to a heaven or hell elsewhere, or to be reincarnated on earth later, or does the useful literary abstraction cease along with the breathing which is essential to "I"?
Even if we have no choice in the substance of our givenness (the genes and memes which make up our worlds), we do all have options in the terribly significant questions worded above. Even if "I can't help who I am," I confront whether or not I will identify myself with my genes and/or memes, or view myself as distinct from them.
Past the primary question of being or not-being genes and memes, we are certainly all confronted with whether or not we will see and acknowledge both, and if so, which we will accept or reject, activate or suppress, be dictated and determined by.
2. Gender issues, past the noted major questions, include these additional options:
a) Are we to be our maleness/femaleness? Or shall we strive to "just be persons" who are mostly neuter (devoid of gender differences)? And past basic male/female issues, shall we acknowledge "gayness,"--that is, opposite-gender traits in each of us? What do we do with the biological facts that all males also have an X chromosome in each of our cells, along with the distinguishing Y and its assorted manifestations, while all females also have male hormones even if they miss the weaselly Y chromosome?
b) Past choices related to how we confront our individual gender (whether we "have a thing" or don't; whether we can make or have babies), we then face issues of how to relate to our opposites. Traditional choices, long made in ancient history and still made today, mostly involve dominance and submission: Who will be on top? In charge? Who will control the other? In oldest history it seems that woman was dominant, "in charge," and men were mostly "useful servants," as in "The King Must Die" era; but for the last 4 or 5,000 years, men have been "on top," trying to be real Kings over second-class females. Shall we continue in this age-old "battle of the sexes"?
c) Then, even past options involving dominance and submission, one bossing the other, come the later-in-history choices activated in "romantic love," that is, attempts to find personal completion in the form of another person. This is the "better half" quest, the familiar (at least since the Middle Ages) effort to find individual wholeness by capturing one's "missing half" across gender lines. In this romantic option, rather than seeking to become one's self, as in issues #1 and 2, the first two arenas are evaded as one places all eggs in the one basket of "romantic love," seeking heaven on earth in the bliss of the arms of a faithful lover.
These issues of being, doing, and gender become significantly relevant when we seek to see and understand memes.
foolish for a man
to look to a woman
for affirmation of his sexuality,
to, that is, turn him on
or let him so be,
and I think it is,
then it must be ridiculous for a person
to look to another person
for approval of his selfing,
to become or be who he is
because, after and before all,
we all have vested interests
I am seeing more clearly what I have been theorizing lately about the relative powers of memes related to sexuality and selfing, namely, that those for the latter are even more powerful and deeper than those for the former. Forces which mitigate against "being ourselves"--that is, our genetic selves, are even more awesome than those which invite us to repress being naturally sexual. If I find withdrawing projections on to woman for permission-to-be-sexy difficult, and I certainly do, then I am finding facing others for being selfing to be even more so.
That's a rather convoluted sentence reflective of my previously denied thinking; what I am seeing/saying, sans projection, cutting out the "middle man (woman!)," is that I have long found being sexual in my society to be difficult; but I am now discovering that being selfing is even more challenging--that is, that for me, being my self-caring self is even harder than being my sex-loving self. Getting "hard," I suppose, must be easier than getting "soft." In this latter dimension I am seeing that "taking care of others," "doing what they want," "trying to please others,"--that is, honoring the selfingness (even selfishness) of others is easier than crossing over the line from them to me and becoming equally attentive to my own desires, wants, or even needs.
Specifically, I have found spending money on others for Xmas to be very easy, unthreatening, and fun; but turning now to spend even lessor amounts on myself--as in ordering the lathe I want, to be far more difficult. Why? Because, I think, when I spend for others I am but acting out the forces of an old and powerful meme I absorbed long ago, namely, one which says, "Be unselfish," "help others," and more pervasively, "please the woman you love,"--which began, I surmise with the power of "Mother's Smile."
When I began to see this yesterday, in regard to myself rather than "theoretically" only, my physical eyes got blurry also. For several hours I could not focus clearly; and I woke in the night still struggling with this "insight." I have recently confronted my long projections on mother's approval, and been in the process of seeing how I shifted them outwardly from mother to wife. Confronting these facts "made me go blind" temporarily. My embodied self (at least coming-to-be-so) personified the struggles of my mental self. Easier to "go blind" ala Oedipus, than to see what we do with Jocasta--and all her symbolic replacements.
But now my vision is returning, both physically and mentally. My eyesight is focused again and my insight is becoming more so. In this latter process, which I now know takes longer than the former, since insight is "harder to come by" than outsight, which is "only natural," I want now to resort to theorizing about what is happening. This use of "thinking" is my way of trying to absorb what I see into myself.
possess me, all the while
I think I have them "out there"
Only after digesting concrete images into abstractions,
de-coding pictures into the shapes and colors
which give them cryptic substance and character,
making conceptions from what began as perceptions,
do I face the possibility of
absorbing them into myself
knowing what I know and
becoming who I am
which is most of my time so far,
I remain blindly possessed,
constantly jerked around by memes
I don't even see, let alone confront openly;
and blaming others or fate for consequences
I deeply know I evoke upon myself
But some rare
times, thank God, I dare look
at forces which surround me, some real,
but mostly projected pictures, images
holding no power past that
which I blindly give them,
at, that is, persons-who-move-me,
beliefs and hopes that sustain me,
and ghosts who scare me--
Then, when my
nerve us up, which
most of the time it isn't,
I take the grander risks of standing up
to persons, withdrawing projections,
letting go of beliefs, returning from hoping,
eating my pictures, present tense
surprise, it turns out that God,
like they told me, is omnipresent after all
whenever I am
I recognize now that humans naturally think as easily and normally as we perceive, registering what we sense as images--pictures on the screens of mind. In this process we "come up with ideas," "have opinions," and "entertain notions." But they, so long as we stay in the real world, remain just that: ideas, opinions, and notions. Whenever we harden them into beliefs, principles, "the truth"--whenever, that is, we move from "just my thoughts" into the realm of "right" (certainty), permanent (static) truth, and "absolute knowledge," as though we "know for sure what we are talking (thinking) about," then we leave reality in favor of fantasy. Only in our mind's eye, in self-created egos or selves, can anything certain or permanent remain for long. Reality, I belatedly note, is continually changing--creating and then re-creating itself, evolving; God, literally, is Creating.
In reality we can, indeed most often are, thinking; but we cannot "have thoughts" except temporarily without freezing the continual process of thinking. Such brief stoppages, as though we press the Pause Button on the VCR of minding, are useful for reasoning, analysis, and communication; but held for long, such frozen notions become like shit in the body, blocking the process of continual digestion of "eaten" data. Beliefs, principles, Truth, and such like, become constipations of mind, finally defeating the very process of which they are but by-products.
So long as I remain in the real world, outside of La La Land, beyond the Enchanted Forest, and in Eden, the kingdom of God (or Goddess) which is here, I keep on perceiving, imaging, and conceiving--that is, "thinking." And each newly evolved thought, which always remains on the growing edge of what is unknown to me, becomes further data for revising any or all of my previous notions--even those which had become most sacred from long storage and unwitting worship. To keep on thinking thusly, I must "keep going to the bathroom" of the mind regularly, that is, "shitting" or letting go of old digested thoughts as soon as I have absorbed what value they brought to me.
Thinking in this continually new process, always digesting new sensations (perceptions) and excreting (often "sweating out") the "waste products" which don't fit in, I always stand on the edge of the unknown. Whenever I do not forget that my thinking is "just my thinking," rather than some "right," sacred, permanent, unchanging "truth"--that is, when I remain alert to what it truly is: an idea, opinion, or notion only, then I also keep knowing about the larger unknown which continually surrounds all my "knowns." I delight in the flickering candlelight of what I know, but I also stand in awe of the far vaster darkness which always surrounds, and often engulfs, the wonders of my present light.
I dare not become proud of what I know, self-righteous about any current "right-for-me-just-now" notion, because I have learned the hard way how crippling such rigidities eventually become. Nor do I, whenever I remain alert, escape reality in the opposite direction by being ashamed of my present knowledge. Avoiding the twin traps of pride and/or shame, I stand delighting in each current thought when I briefly press the Pause Button on Thinking--for sake of digesting a particularly tough bit of mental food, or analyzing some apparently conflicting pieces of information, or when I want to communicate with someone about what I have been "municating" on in private. I enjoy the fun of any notion that "adds up" at the time, that "makes sense" when weighted against what I have known before, or that tickles the fancy of my curiosity, inviting more exploration; but I try, when I can find the faith, not to get constipated on any idea that is hardening into a belief. I try not to forget what it means to be human rather than godly.
These regular challenges are particularly relevant in remaining alert to memes, especially those related to men.
We hurt, not so much from what we see or from seeing too much, as from not seeing what we do see. Pain is born of denied capacity, of trying to squinch or squelch what we are evolved to be/do--and therefore can, if only we dare. And seeing, as metaphor for thinking, as a name for acknowledging perceptions, creating images, and forming sensible conceptions from them, is but the latest-to-evolve human capacity--that, primarily, which distinguishes us from our ape cousins.
When, being our natural selves and seeing what we do see, we suffer little. As highly skilled creatures in seeking pleasure/avoiding pain, we use the gift of see-ability, our capacity for making sense and doing something about that which feels bad rather than good, to enhance pleasures and reduce pains to a minimum.
But, self-deprived of see-ability, living in the midst of blindness chosen so long ago that it now seems normal, we suffer much. Ignorant now of long forgotten seeing capacities, we consequently look for causes of our suffering "out there," in some external source which/who "makes us feel bad." We no longer see that the source of our suffering is mostly internal, born out of chosen blindness rather than caused by things out there.
To not-see what we do-see, not to acknowledge our knowledge, not to "let on" to ourselves what we are actually "on to," can only be accomplished by doing severe damage to natural wholeness. We must split ourselves, rive unity into pieces, rend the whole cloth, in order to accomplish such ig-norance. It's not natural and therefore not easy to ignore what is visible. As curious creatures we normally look for and hence see anything which is unusual, which seems out of place, is unfamiliar, or which doesn't at first glance "add up." And just as normally, seeing what we see, we then go about "adding it up," making as much sense as possible out of that which has come to our senses.
But not so when or after we have succumbed to memes which tell us not to look at things we are "not supposed to see." Then, torn between normal looking, seeing as our genes have evolved us to see, and the necessity of fitting in and remaining accepted by social powers-that-be which tell us on threat of rejection to not see--among memes, that is, which tell us not to look, we commonly opt for the temporarily easy out of splitting. We divide our naturally whole ourselves into two major parts, each one at war with the other, fighting tooth and toenail to either win one over the other, or else to be re-united, returned to the womb of unity.
And herein lies, I think, a major portion of all human suffering, not from the thorns among the roses, not from the "slings and arrows of cruel fate," not from dangerous and threatening forces "out there" which/who are "out to get us," but from the inevitable tension and grind between the divided halves of ourselves inevitably at war to win, or else in quest of the natural peace inherent in wholeness.
Because we can see, we want to see; and if we don't see what we can see but won't see, we hurt. It doesn't hurt to not see what we can't see, but it hurts a great deal to split ourselves in order to avoid seeing what we naturally would see if only we dared to look.
So, if I want to be pleasured and not pained, to feel good rather than bad, I am well behooved and hereby reminded to go ahead and see whatever it is that I happen to look upon, and to make whatever sense I reasonably can from my natural perceptions. I am equally well-advised to remain continually alert to memes which tell me not to see or warn me to at least not let on to seeing what I do see at risk of social rejection.
And then, with these two wealthy reservoirs of data at hand, held consciously in the privacy of my mind's eye, I will be wise to mix and match the two bodies of knowledge together in one sensible decision to either say what I see, or to keep my mouth shut; but in either case, to keep on seeing what I do see, privately and/or publically.
Otherwise, I expect to suffer.
MEMES OF FAITHFUL
Why can't we allow that Bill might truly have cared for Monica (1998), that he might have tried to get her a job because he wished her well even if he had finally come to his public senses rather than living by his private genes only? There is, I think, no greater correlation in male-type data than between sexual-attraction and falling-in-love, which translates into "taking care of" (which itself is the male version of "caring for"). We naturally "care for" and try to "take care of" those to whom we are sexually attracted. Paradoxically, we males are softest when we are hardest--that is, our hearts are softer when our pricks are harder. We love those we are in love with, and we fall in love with those our gene eyes see as lovely.
Which, in a complementary way, is what females do too; they fall in love with men who, at least to their gene eyes, show the best odds of being able to "take care of them." They too "care for" those who can "take care of them"--of so they imagine. Men, we sometimes say, marry for sex, while women marry for love; but when we analyze further the apparent differences are resolved in the complementary facts that "sex" for men leads to "caring for" and hence "taking care of," which is what "love" for women means to begin with, namely, "caring for" or nurturing and being nurtured.
So, why not allow (see) that given sexual attraction to Monica, Bill naturally was interested in "taking care of her," as in giving gifts and getting jobs. What is more natural when a male is attracted to a female? Why can we only see "hush money" involved? After all, neither of them wanted to be "found out," exposed in an illicit relationship.
Answer: the meme of faithful. We all exist in the presence of a powerful social force centered around the notion of faithful. "Oh, darling, you can't love but one." "You can't love two and your little heart be true." These and countless other versions of the meme, faithful, instruct us about the social fact that fooling around is not allowed. Married men and women must, socially speaking, "be faithful to their wives and husbands."
Because we all must affirm the meme of faithful, we cannot face the fact that genetic "caring for" (attraction to) is quite at odds with this social force. We are created capable of "caring for" all those to whom we are attracted, of "being interested in" and wanting to "take care of" whomever we feel drawn to; but, we both lack the resources to take really good care of more than one, and we have evolved social structures to support this statistical fact. So, we must live in the tension between being attracted to many but only able to openly "care for" one--between, that is, our genes and our memes.
The political problem of Bill and all other
men, including Republicans who now envy his power along with the sexual perks which
accompany a man with power, is that we cannot but live in this tension. It is inherent in
civilization. We do not want to see/allow that he cares for Monica because that would mean
being unfaithful to Hillary--and the meme is mostly all we dare see at the
The faithful meme is strong for both genders--yet different in its deeper focus. We each want to possess the other completely, but in quest of genetic replication, men are more concerned with sexual fidelity, women, with assurance of security. Men invented chastity belts; women, if they could, might have invented heart (or eye) belts. Men are less concerned with a woman's emotional affairs than about her fooling around; women don't want their man to fool around either, but they care more about his caring for another woman than merely sleeping with her. One Night Stands are less threatening to women than are emotional attachments. Men, conversely, are often relieved when a women finds emotional satisfactions which relieve him of being emotional with her; but pity the woman, or her consort, if he catches them in bed together.
Faithful matters both to men and women, but in differing ways.
Men are more
to bond ourselves with our words
while women bond with their hearts
each leaving ourselves cut off
from the wider world
beyond thoughts and feelings
course, it seems to me,
is to remember what we said
and listen to how we feel
but to bond ourselves only
to reality as we find it
whenever we dare look
WHAT TO DO
These, I think, are the ideal choices in regard to gender. They, at least, are the ones I am now trying to make:
1. See and acknowledge the natural power imbalance between genders, rather than blindly reacting as dictated either by genes or memes. The genes-alone reaction is, I surmise, to react by the fight/flight reflex-- that is, to either challenge and try to defeat or to run away from the threat. The fight option is that which has primarliy been taken by the long course of history, and seems to be the most common one still taken today by individual men. We react, most commonly, to female threat by trying to fight/dominate/get-the-best-of. Or, as has been my common path, by running away from it--that is, by avoiding recognition in awareness and by submitting in practice (blindly).
This later mode, the one I have taken, involves trading in our balls at the altar of our mothers' approval first, and then all females later. Instead of fighting female power outright, e.g., in trying to dominate, as has been primarily done in history, I took the opposite route of trying to appease/please females, rather than standing up to them. This is best accomplished, or so I have tried, by offering the best we have, namely, our masculinity ("balls"). We try to appease female wrath by removing what I think must be the ultimate threat to femininity, namely, masculinity. The one thing females can't acquire for themselves, given their favor on the power balance, is what males are born with, namely, the results of a Y chromosome in each cell--symbolized by our balls.
The good news is that it works, temporarily. When we first begin the sacrifice by becoming "good boys," balls don't matter that much anyway. They must seem like a small price to pay for Mother's Good Graces, which are so supremely important at the time. But the bad news is that what we gain from Her Smile is taken away from what is required for success: a) with other males, namely, fight/win abilities (without balls we cannot compete well), and b) for final success with females.
No matter how diligently and successfully females may be with feminizing males, the immediate delight in a "good boy" or "soft man" is in time undercut by genetic needs for a strong male--and this takes balls. Result: what we win at first by sacrificing out balls we pay for in the long run by losing out both in successful competition with males and eventually with good female relations too.
We have no choice but to cope with the power imbalance; but we do have options about seeing. Now that I am beginning to see what I have done, first by studying the long course of male history, and finally by decoding my projections on to Gaia, I realize some of my choices.
The first temptation I face, whenever I dare seeing rather than continuing to react blindly as my habits dictate, is to fall into the trap (sin) of judging--that is of playing God and judging the situation as bad/good, or playing games like Ain't It Awful, Poor Little Me, Bad Mother, etc. The same trap is present for plus rather than negative judgments. Even if one becomes egotistical and succumbs to pride rather than shame, still reality is evaded by judgment.
A significant part of my regular homework is to avoid this trap. I want instead to simply see the power imbalance as clearly as I can, whenever I confront it, without wasting energy in judging it to be good or bad, or me as good or bad because of how I have learned to react to it. Then my energies become available for more effective coping.
The next challenge, past judgment, is to evade the above noted reaction of fight/flight, that is, the genetic reflex to any threat. Attempting to defeat females, or to run away from them, is almost always counter-productive. This powerful gene-directive is in the social context of an equally powerful meme dictation to submit to female authority. I am just beginning to see this meme with some clarity. Its basic thrust, beginning with mothers' moves ostensibly to civilize sons, and continuing with all social norms related to basic masculine traits (compete/fight/win vs. cooperate/make peace/give in), is: sacrifice balls and feminize yourself.
Thus the temptation is to either be dictated by genes which say fight or flee, or by memes which say sacrifice your balls and submit. But whether a man fights women, runs away from them, or gives in to them, either way, both lose in the long run. I, of course, know much more about the latter than the first two. I have seldom fought with women, and have rarely run away from them (except temporarily in the heat of a conflict), but I have a long history--for as long as I can remember, of deference (submitting, trying to please, seeking their approval, and in effect bartering my balls for their smiles). I can see with others that fighting doesn't work; as all men know "you can never win an argument with a woman"--or, I think, anything else except a brute strength battle. Nor does running away, since we need them for sex and much much more. And I have well learned myself that submission is finally defeating also.
In summary, whether we cope with the power
imbalance (woman's natural superiority) by either dominance (gene direction) or submission
(meme dictation), whether we try to win, get the best of, stay on top, or whether we
choose to give in, try to please, get approval, and seek permission-to-be/do (as I
have)--either way we lose in the long run.
Past these gene/meme temptations there is the psychological trap which is perhaps even more dangerous than these first two. I refer to "complementary-ness"--that is, the quest for personal wholeness through ownership of a "missing half" in the form of an opposite gender person, the stuff of romantic love, the kind we "fall into." Because this path is taken by unconscious direction, "without a thought in the world" (let alone any reason), it becomes even more insidious than the gene/meme paths. Who has a clue to why we fall in love? At least at the time of such a fall. We just do so. Delightfully, at the time.
In hindsight, with diligent attention we may
be able to filter through some of the awesome powers of moonlight and roses, et al. Some
of my discoveries include: the hidden shadows of Mother's Smile, the wish for a local
Goddess, the fantasy of returning to the womb cloaked in illusions of "unqualified
love," escapes from the nerve to make up my mind as well as from the faith essential
for affirming my own existence. I have long looked to woman, especially cloaked in
romantic love, for permission--not only to do, but even to be. This, I think
looking back, must be the ultimate idiolatry as well as the grandest of all cop-outs.
So, aware of the tempting traps of dominance and/or submission (dictation by genes or memes) and the even more dangerous Hero Quest--seeking personal wholeness through a female "out there," cloaked in Prince/Princess roles and games, what am I now to do?
First, I want to honor the limited wisdom of genes and memes. Knowing fight/flight and submission are good things to know. Each is potentially effective in certain emergency situations. And surely I want to honor the wonders of romantic love. What normal events in everyday life can compare with fantasy trips into the Enchanted Forest of Loveland? These brief losses of ego experienced in illusions of acceptance/possession (self-acceptance and ownership of another person) must be our best glimpses at what it is like to exist as ourselves rather than caught up in assorted ego-trips.
But to honor is not to worship. Idolatry of genes, memes, or lovers is still idolatry; and the First Commandment is yet valid ("No other gods..."). I want to continually respect powers of my yet unconscious mind and unresolved psychological hang-ups-which may invite me to fall in love again, seeking resolution through some combinations of the three familiar modes; but if so, I want also to walk carefully through its ecstasies and mine fields. And never again do I want to choose "love" as a way out of self-becoming.
Nor do I want to fall for the modes and games of fighting/fleeing and sacrificing balls. Specifically, I want to avoid fighting by defense (the "best offense"), as in defending myself, explaining myself, and thereby raisin' ass. I want too to quit evading the challenges of making up my own mind by simply falling into habits of pleasing others or asking what to do rather than thinking for myself.
I want to fight only for survival, not in reaction or to win. I know there is no ultimate victory in any immediate win outside fights for survival. If I must fight, and am successful, I want to back off as soon as possible, acting benevolent in allowing a loser to save face in whatever way possible--even to participate in their survival rather than gloating in my wins.
Finally, I want to become artful in coping with the power imbalance in pragmatic ways which go beyond these noted short-term resolutions. Respecting the facts of gender life, including that two X chromosomes are always more power-packed than any XY combination (with all the reflected results of same), I want to learn to live gracefully and wisely with this observation. If at times of weakness or lack of faith I must resort to the given modes which require no thought or attention, then so be it. But as soon as possible I want to return to "thinking," to using my head, to being, that is, myself.
cloaked by diligent efforts
to put down on women or
to put them up; to dominate,
that is, or to idolize, and thereby
escape from their threats and
at the same time con them into
wielding their powers in our favor:
Fear of the
gaping vagina into which
we may fall, losing ourselves, or fail
in its breadth to find sufficient stimulation
for ejaculation and self-replication
Fear of our
own natural sexuality
projected onto females for reasons
of irresponsibility and lack of nerve;
responsibility, that is, for wielding
its forces wisely, and nerve for daring
to become who we are
outside the good graces
of Mother's Smile now reflected
in a Lover's Affirmation
the natural superiority of woman,
the limitations inherent in having
a Y chromosome in every cell,
and thus having to leave the security
of a fragile male ego in favor of
learning artistry for survival in
the ever-present Enchanted Forest
where woman's magic remains the
most of all, of threats inherent
in becoming persons in our own rights,
thereby facing the awesome possibility
of the wonders of love
Yesterday I wrote this poem; today I want to try to see more clearly what I was glimpsing then. I am trying to confront these major fears which I recognize as my own, and suspect are fairly common to other males also. Certainly they have been a significant part of my life so far.
First, the "gaping vagina." This familiar metaphor represents the deepest fear I have been able to glimpse. The physical picture stands for a primal fear of losing myself-who-I-am, my very being as an individual. Somehow my known sense-of-myself, quite apart or below my ego, stands in threat of this ancient symbol. It is as though my very existence as a separate individual, one who is apart from my mother, stands in threat of the huge vagina from which I came. Another historical male image--a toothed vagina, also represents this same fear. It is as though the vagina represents a huge toothed mouth which is capable of biting and consuming. Together these metaphors are merged into the obscene image of "cunt."
I think that the primary human agenda, of both males and females, insofar as growing up is concerned, is achieving individuality, that is, becoming one who is truly separate and apart from "mother" and the womb from which we all emerge physically if not spiritually. But I think the male version of this common fear must be greater, given the facts of sexual functioning. Or perhaps the "gaping vagina" simply becomes a better male metaphor for our shared challenges in achieving individuality. In either case, I can see that for me, both on thinking and feeling levels, "cunt" or "gaping vagina" is a truly apt symbol for a very primal fear of mine.
The sense I make of this irrational representation is this: first, I suspect that primal memories of the womb, of the vast cavern in which infantile life is first generated, easily become a literal representation of the true human quest for individuation. We do find ourselves, if at all, as pulled from or exited from the womb via a "gaping vagina." Is this memory of struggle primally etched in the cells of brain-being-formed? Its strength to me could well make it so.
Then as womb becomes vagina on the way to becoming mother on the way to becoming cunt or pussy after puberty when overt sex becomes real, perhaps the awesome cavern remains a reasonable symbol for the many emotional/spiritual challenges inherent in the individuation quest. The threats and dangers of "growing up," maturing as separate individuals, from, but no longer of, our mothers, may well be projected back on to this physical passageway from which we first struggled to become separate. Emotional challenges which in reality have no connection with the physical facts of birth or later threats related to sexual intercourse, may understandably become mirrored in what was in fact once real.
Our (my) predictable fear of becoming a separated, "cut-off," individual, completely on my own in the world, is perhaps most clearly and deeply recognized in dark images associated with a "gaping vagina." Forever, perhaps, it will graphically reflect any remnants of unresolved fears of becoming myself. Until I completely, if this should ever become so, become my separate self, probably this ancient memory/danger will aptly hold my projected fears.
A second or higher level of this fear of becoming my self, seen in the mirror of cunt, is perhaps rooted in what I suspect to be a common male fear of impotence, again projected on to woman and only recognized in images associated with her. Many positive male images focus on a "tight pussy," rather than a "gaping vagina." I suspect that the fears are inter-related, perhaps even the same; but at an upper level I think that fears of, or during, intercourse which may also be labeled "of getting and keeping it up ( maintaining an erection)," probably emerge from deeper self-becoming threats. But what we may more clearly differentiate are common male desires for a "tight pussy," perhaps cloaking threats of a "gaping vagina."
Physical facts about male need for tactile stimulation of the penis, whether in masturbation or intercourse, are no doubt involved in this conscious preference for a "tight" vagina. In masturbation we may choose an appropriate degree of hand pressure to provide "just right" stimulation; but in intercourse we must rely completely on pressure from vagina walls for an appropriate amount of tactile contact. If the vagina is "gaping" rather than close-fitting, thereby limiting the amount of physical contact and hence stimulation, then reaching an orgasm becomes increasingly difficult. Easier then to project and blame any impotence threats or erectile difficulties on the female than to face our own fears. "The woman, she..."
There may also be a real factor involved which is totally apart from fears of either self and/or impotence. A "tight pussy" is no doubt a better sign of virginity or youth than perhaps any other clue. It may be that male "gene eyes" in their age-evolved vision for best baby-makers have come to recognize that replication odds are increased with signs of virgin, young females, euphemistically recognized by "tight pussies." But even if this is so, still I suspect that most powers encountered in desires for highly stimulating vaginas, and comparable fears of their counterparts, are psychologically rather than biologically based--that is, we fear the "gaping vagina" more out of projected denials than out of wise genes.
My first fear, in summary, projected on to cunt, emerges from the challenges of becoming my separate self, cut-off from mother as surely as my umbilical cord was cut in my beginning citizenship in the world. For these challenges the vagina is simply an appropriately apt symbol for the spiritual counterpart of a real physical process. The second element of this same fear involves the sexual components of my masculine self, namely, becoming my male-self along with my human-being-self. Here the "gaping vagina" becomes even more graphic; well past any realistic dangers of not-enough tactile stimulation to elicit ejaculation, my fears of unembraced (or possibly non-existent, not present, or severely limited) libido forces are easily projected on to a vagina which I then blame for inadequate "help" in getting and maintaining an erection or "bringing me" to orgasm.
I also suspect that many male fantasies about or desire for anal intercourse are more deeply rooted in unfaced needs/wishes for "more stimulation." Rectums, being anatomically smaller than vaginas, may easily be imagined as "tight pussies" during the dark, private moments of intercourse.
A second major male fear, easily projected on to females, is of the socially dangerous power inherent in masculine sexuality--in particular, instinctual forces rooted in reproductive urges which are so elemental (related to Y chromosomes in every cell) that they are completely unconnected with consciousness. Other than instincts for survival, ingrained urges to above all else stay-alive, those for self-replication are, I think, the deepest and most powerful. And because genes for life ("staying alive") are older, they are hence more primally ingrained--that is, they evolved longer before consciousness appeared on the human scene. Sex genes (X and Y chromosomes), being younger, are consequently nearer to consciousness which is even younger than sex. The point: even though sexual urges are younger and weaker than life instincts, they tend to be closer to awareness. We think, that is, more about sex than about breathing, not because it is "more important," but because it is "easier to think about." Plus, logistical challenges require more conscious attention.
The powers, the BTU's of energy, normally generated by genes evolved for reproductive purposes long before consciousness ever entered the human scene are enormous, second only, I think, to those for survival. Energies associated with the massive production of sperm cells (there is nothing remotely comparable in the minimal female ovum production system), plus in strategies evolved for dispensing this vast reservoir of potential re-creations, are mind-boggling (literally) to contemplate. Studies indicate that an average male "thinks about sex" every 5-7 minutes. But If these forces rise into consciousness that frequently, imagine how pervasive and powerful they must be below the level of possible awareness. All statistics and speculations aside, I note, when I am honest with myself, that I know of no other constellation of forces/motivations/drives/instincts which so consistently move me as those which I may summarize as "about sex." Even motivations which seem far more benevolent and noble at the time often boil down, on analysis (when I dare), to emerge from primal drives more clearly seen as sexual in nature.
The point: males are, I think, natural generators of immense amounts of latent power which can best be conceived in sexual categories. We, like all creatures, are "driven" to stay alive; but past survival alone, we are, I conclude "possessed" of vast amounts of energy which, left in its natural state (not "sublimated"), would seek expression in various activities associated with "baby-making"--most focused in "doing it." Given air and food, filled lungs and stomach, more than all else, I think, we are moved to fuck.
But the problem is: what are we to do with such extensive "drives" outside the jungle where Mother Nature provides functional boundaries. Animals, I surmise, "don't have to worry" about "being too sexy"; natural constraints and opportunities provide workable limits. Male animals are free (bounded by circumstances) to "be as sexy" as they actually are (or so it seems to me). But civilization changes all that. Surviving social structures have evolved with severe constraints on animal-like sexual behavior. We guys are in a far different sexual arena than "them lions (and bulls and studs, etc.)." Probably we are born with similar sexual instincts, yet we find ourselves in distinctly different circumstances. Moves which result in success in the animal kingdom are more likely to lead to incarceration in human society.
Human males, though genetically like our animal ancestors, have necessarily evolved different strategies for managing our similar sexual "drives." The fears which I am now trying to face are a part, I believe, of the ways we have evolved to cope with these natural forces which are problematic in our social structures. These "strategies (coping devices) are what I wish to explore now.
First and foremost, I think that conscious denial, suppression, and eventual repression, are the most common of our male coping devices. We "try not to think about it." We "take" proverbial if not actual "cold showers." We come to disassociate our selves from these natural forces which, in reality, are part and parcel of who we literally are. Unable to completely "rule out" or consciously deny these powerful ingrained urges, we come to imagine ourselves to be separate from them, as "having" them--or, more particularly, "having to cope with" these forces which are eventually conceived as apart from "us." Once "out there (in our imaginations)," we may then place (project) the powers on to various objects (persons, places, or things) which we thereafter take to be "moving us" in sexual ways. Commonly these objects-for-projection include females (She "turns me on."), or, if one is religious, then the devil may be imagined to "make me do it (or want to)."
Then, rather than being sexual, as in reality we are, we exist as though our sexual powers are "out there" somewhere, as external forces to be denied, suppressed, or otherwise reckoned with. In either case, we exist cut-off-in-awareness from one of the two most powerful genetic forces which in fact, though not in our fancy, continue to "move us." It is this immensely vulnerable condition in which we are consciously separated from powers which unconsciously impel us that, I think, the fears I am beginning to face must arise. Like children waking up fearful in the night, we must look for various "ghosts" to bear the weight of our natural emotions. Women "turn us on" in the daylight, I now believe, just like ghosts once "scared us to death" in the night. But when it is happening, if I am correct, we never know about our projections at the time. We truly believe they "do it to (or for) us."
The condition is, of course, not complete; all men know a bit--some more than others, about our own sexual drives. We seldom if ever succeed in complete repression (as testified by monastic monks). Some of us even claim to be "totally aware" of our sexual natures; but these men, I speculate, are often fooling themselves or else are extremely rare. I don't think I have ever know such a man. Such "bragging" seems to me to be more ego than self, and more likely verbal compensation for unfaced, non-verbal fears. "Me thinks" such macho males "doth protest (brag) too much."
In summary I believe that most males, certainly this one, are in large measure cut-off in awareness from the true extent of our natural sexual instincts. Even when we protest to the contrary or secretly suspect ourselves to be latent Don Juans, I think that men-in-general are grandly disconnected from our nature--given sexual powers. Even when we "talk big," or unconsciously fear sexual omnipotence (or its cloaked side, impotence), I suspect that most all males today live at an existential distance from the true generative powers initiated by Y chromosomes. We often exist in illusionary egos ("fragile" as recognized by most females) which are an escape from self, created to protect us from real dangers "out there." We then live out our lives trying to protect, promote, or enhance these fragile mental constructs which are other than our existential selves ("who we truly are"). In these familiar male quests, we never even get around to the challenges inherent in being our sexual selves.
We are not
nearly as "sexy"
as we sometimes think we are
or fear we are not
but we are, I observe,
far more sexual than we deeply
believe ourselves to be
This fear of our own sexuality is first of all rooted in fear of the unknown; just as we commonly fear any dark space, so we are naturally afraid of the unknown nature of our sexual powers. Certainly we know them to be present and operative--blind urges tell us that, at night in wet dreams if not in day time fantasies and irrepressible impulses arising when females are around (or when they aren't!). But knowing the reality of sexuality is not the same as knowing its full and true nature, for example, whether or not we can contain, express, and mediate its powers wisely in the world. Because male suppression and hence projection begins so early in life, who among us has time to learn personal responsibility before society allows, indeed, encourages, us to thrust that requirement on to females.
We are like children who have the benefit of recognizing a ghost in the dark, bringing the temporary relief of naming to the terror of unnamed fears; but because our projections, especially on to females, remain so complete, we are left with the continual anxiety of living with the still scary ghosts--eerie shadows and reflections of our own unrecognized and hence unembraced sexuality. Wow, what a sentence! Not to mention the state-of-being.
Our current social situation which allows boys limited degrees of openness about sexual urges, while supporting girl's suppression and requiring female responsibility, easily gives males an unrealistic sense of our own sexuality. On the one hand, we can be somewhat conscious of our impulses without incurring social wrath; but because girls are traditionally charged with the responsibility for "how far we can go," we gain relatively little experience in sexual responsibility. We learn a bit about how to lust, but not how to "handle" our desires wisely in a society which is largely repressive of any overt sexuality. We are rather like "nice boys (sometimes)" who are aware of a "tiger in the tank" but are totally ignorant of its actual powers and especially of our unknown capacity for its wise management. It is somewhat like sitting on a time bomb which we know is there, but have no idea of when it may "go off."
But we do have much direct knowledge about the dangers to be encountered if and when it does. This information is acquired early in life with mother, and is continually reinforced in all social situations beyond her presence. By the time we are old enough to get away from her searching eyes, their powerful memory is already ingrained. "What if she should see or find out?," remains present, I suspect, in conscience if not in every room where we males find ourselves.
Information in this arena--a boy's emerging sexuality with his mother, is relatively skimpy. First it begins so early in life, indeed, at life's very beginning before speech is even possible; it proceeds in almost total silence yet with evident powers operative; and hardly anyone ever talks about it later. Boys may try, but mothers, so far as I know, never do. The end result is a huge dark space where immensely powerful and long-lasting forces are loosed but seldom examined.
Result: since "scientific data" is lacking, I can only rely on personal experience, very limited data from other males, almost none from mothers, and hence, considerable speculation. So, what do I think? First, I am convinced that male sexuality (probably female also) begins in the womb (erections are sometimes evident in sonograms) and continues to develop actively from birth onward. Sons are "sexy" first with our mothers. We don't wait till puberty to have urges and attractions as well as erections. And mother, I conclude, must be the first "object of our affections."
Secondly, I believe that all mothers participate, mostly unconsciously and more likely unintentionally, in the process of a child's emerging sexuality. Holding, touching, kissing, cooing, and regularly "cleaning" genitals and anus cannot but invite sensations which will later be recognized as "sexual" in nature. Without the language and thinking of sexuality, still its powers must be present and operative. Even when mothers consciously think and sincerely believe that "nothing sexual is going on," and infants have no language for naming their erotic perceptions, still, I surmise, sexuality is inevitably being experienced in the silence of body.
But while I think that mothers cannot but provide what boys cannot but take as sexual stimulation (e.g., by touching, nursing, cleaning, and bodily exposure), I am equally convinced that mothers must universally deny that they are "being sexual," and with almost the same degree of consistency, respond negatively to overt signs of a boy's sexuality. The whole operation, as it were, is carried out in strict secrecy--which probably exaggerates rather than diminishes its consequences. It is like living in a room with an elephant which certainly influences movement, but which no one acknowledges being present. "What sexuality?" I have read that in some primitive cultures mothers use sexual stimulation to soothe infants. Perhaps modern mothers may unwittingly do the same; but even if so, I surmise that it is done unconsciously and never "admitted" with a child.
By the time a boy has language and may overtly pursue his sexual interests--as in saying sex-related words, trying to "touch girls," "look at nudity," "show off" an erection, or openly "play with himself," surely negation from the goddess, by silent judgment if not verbal condemnation or physical punishment, is predictable. While the second most powerful of male instincts are emerging openly in the world, accompanied by mother's active stimulation (admitted or not), this critical developmental stage takes place in virtual silence (like a non-subject) and general denial if not negative judgment.
Small wonder that boys have so much trouble in warmly embracing this essential aspect of our male selves. We must do so almost totally alone, yet in the presence of powerful, unacknowledged stimuli and almost certain rejection if the process ever becomes overt. We may no longer "get our mouths washed out" for "talking dirty," but judgments and/or punishments for "acting dirty" must still be as widespread as they ever were.
The point: social conditions are still far from conducive for positive affirmation and parental reinforcement of emerging male sexuality. If we boys ever grow up sexually, rather than remaining trapped in small-boy modes of living, we must do so largely on our own (even peer talk is often more threatening than helpful), in the presence of the goddess's judgmental eyes (risking the powerful meme of Mother's Frown), often accompanied by punishments and/or rejection at the time. I, for one, am yet to out grow the powerful repressive habits I learned so early in life at Saline. I am beginning to see my way through the patterns I acquired for survival, but absorbing what I know is yet a significant part of my daily agenda.
GIANT OR PIGMY
If I am correct in identifying a significant part of male fear in regard to our own sexuality with its unknown nature, with the facts that we project so early and never learn to identify with and become responsible for this aspect of ourselves, how can I see into this unknown? What are its parameters? What is the content of the dark space which we "live on top of"?
I begin with size; for openers, we (I project) don't know the true size and hence power of our own sexuality. We know that we are sexual; that is hard to deny. But how sexual are we? What is the extent of our sexual potency? How strong/weak are these instincts which erect our penises but leave them without conscience? Is this dark, pervasive inner force a Sleeping Giant or a Noisy Pigmy? Is "it" more like a time bomb waiting to go off or a tiny firecracker with only a "pop"? A roman candle or a sparkler? Is it "all blow" with little "show," or a concealed monster just waiting for an inopportune time to do us in? Sexually speaking, are we nearer to omnipotence or impotence?
This unknown is compounded by the fact (as I surmise) that we commonly dis-identify our selves from our sexuality. In order to cope with these unknown powers we learn early to split ourselves into "I" and "it"; "I" who "have (or feel)" this force "within me"--but "it" is not the same as me. We thereafter see ourselves, for example, as "having" erections (wet dreams, attractions, urges, etc.) but not as being sexual. Erections then seem to "happen to us," or "come on us," but they are no longer perceived as us. Since they consequently seem to occur "in spite of ourselves," then "something" must be causing them--that is, the initiating power for my uncontrollable erections (or desires) must logically be elsewhere, "out there," for example, in the girls who always seem to be around, or in my dreams, when these strange desires and sensations "arise." Or else, perhaps "the devil made me do it (or want to)."
Though this psychic phenomenon called projection is never recognized except in hindsight, it serves to further darken our already clouded sexuality. Projection is, of course, pragmatic at the time; it helps us cope in difficult circumstances. But the utility of projecting does not diminish the darkness which inevitably accompanies it. We may feel temporarily safer when the cause of these strange forces is imagined to be external, after we have concluded, for instance, that girls "turn us on," but the fact remains: we are thereafter even more separated and hence out of control of innate sexuality. The power is partially manageable "out there" (we can avoid girls, not look, or only touch them by choice, which, of course, they severely restrict), yet the darkness born of projection is only amplified. Illusions of external control only cloak heightened degrees of internal loss of control.
The unknown extent of our dis-associated-from-self sexuality is thus magnified by the very psychic procedure we use to find safety and relief from "it." If we were "living on top" of a Casper-like ghost before, after the internal split and the external projection we are left with a dangerous ogre "down there" later.
And social circumstances which always threaten us with real and serious consequences for any breach of its powerful memes--rules of acceptable/polite/legal sexual behavior, are constantly present whenever we are around females or otherwise reveal any of our natural instincts. Just, for instance, the urge to look--to see female bodies, can, if not kept carefully secret, lead to social rejection if not legal consequences. Saying sexually explicit words is always impolite and usually obscene; and any "unwanted advances" can, as presidents and all other males know, be horrendously dangerous.
The point: internal dis-association of self from sexuality with inevitable projection of cause "out there," would be sufficient for a scary-enough unknown; but add the unknown dangers of extended social consequences for any breach of sexual etiquette (which boils down to almost complete denial) to a male's fear of any unknown, and the scope of this particular fear may begin to appear.
One further primal fear, which may actually be greater than these noted, is the possible resurrection of what I have surmised to be the oldest and deepest of all childhood terrors symbolized by the meme of Mother's Frown. In the earliest days of an infant's post-natal life, when ultimate powers of life/death and all measures of existence in between are posited in the Goddess who cares for us, then nothing in reality matters more than forces best recognized in Mother's Smile, or its potentially disastrous counterpart, Her Frown.
This universally real situation becomes relevant to a male's fear of the unknown extent of his own masculinity because of the way mothers commonly relate to boys' emerging sexuality. A mother, as noted before, may unconsciously affirm a son's sexuality since it is in fact her own best avenue to genetic-replication; but such deep affirmations, if they do exist, are more commonly shrouded with consistent messages of denial. Any non-sexual "affectionate" behavior in a boy may bring Her Smile, but when a son becomes overtly sexual Her Frown is seldom far behind. What son has ever experienced conscious affirmation of this innate aspect of himself from the most powerful force in his earliest life? Mothers' discernable "messages" about sons' sexuality must, I surmise in this scientifically dark space, be universally negative.
And when boys "grow up" without resolving this most powerful of all memes, it always remains in the wings of every adult stage. No matter how far we move away, or how long we are removed, the "shadow of Her Smile"--or more often of Her Frown, lurks menacingly around all later sexual experiences. The present unknowns, which are more than enough in themselves, are immeasurably darkened by primal memories never quite forgotten.
Theoretically, and perhaps even genetically speaking, the proverbial "incest taboo" is about the dangers of "inbreeding"--that is, some learned or ingrained prohibition against sexual activity which might (would?) eventually diminish the quality of future offspring. But existentially, as we individuals confront the phenomenon, I think the experience is far different. It is less about not fucking your mother or sisters (or sons and daughters), thereby reducing the odds of racial diversity, than about embracing a primal human capacity in the presence of powerful authorities.
It arose, I surmise, less out of long term genetic wisdom than out of short term pragmatic experience in embracing innate pleasure capacities (primarily experienced in selfish/sexual behavior) in the presence of dangerous authoritative parents. Emerging family structures, based on parental authority, spousal possession, and controlled children, were ill-served by natural sexual expression. Early suppression of sexual expressions, as I believe to be completely normal in even the youngest of infants, were easiest to manage by "nipping them in the bud," that is, by exercising parental authority later to be backed up by religious structures ("You shouldn't be doing that!"). And parental suppression leads naturally to personal repression; if they say "no" or "it's bad," and we children want to be "good" and accepted, then we too must learn to say the same within ourselves, learning, if we are smart, to "beat them to the punch" in suppressing ourselves before we run into trouble with their rejections and/or punishments.
We learn to avoid being sexual in our families, I conclude, less from genetic wisdom-though it is indeed that too, than from pragmatic sense at the time. It "pays off" more to suppress than to express. The long range benefits of genetic diversity evolve, I surmise, more from immediate pragmatics than from "smart genes."
Why are men so mad at women? On deep levels which we rarely face in consciousness I suspect that males in general harbor immense hostilities toward femininity emerging from threats beginning in childhood. Perhaps the near universal incest taboo is one clue to its beginning. My data for this speculation begins with the observation that at least one source of the major world religions has been male threat/anger at femininity. Most of the seminal philosophers of both religion and secular movements have, as best I can tell, had "mother problems," or evidenced fear/threat of women. Why? What could lie at the base of such an apparently universal, across time and culture, phenomenon?
I speculate, wildly, I realize, that perhaps the same primal issue lies at the genesis of both the incest taboo and this seemingly universal phenomenon of male anger/threat/fear of femininity. I refer to (how much I resist seeing/saying these guesses!) a possibility which is more basic than my previously noted notions of power differential (with femininity holding the greater powers). Perhaps this idea was the beginning of what is now becoming clearer to me, namely, how this "natural superiority" of XX chromosomes effects itself in early human relationships, most notably between a mother and son, or mother and other family members, including husbands.
I have also labored long in coming to the conclusion that selfing and sexuality are the two most primal life forces, and that the second, though lessor in power, is most commonly in male consciousness. We males are moved, I think, most deeply by survival instincts, as are all creatures, but only slightly less so by urges to reproduce--seen as "being sexy." And because sex is younger than life itself, these instincts are nearer to consciousness. And here the gender difference between males and females in regard to economy of "sexy" activity comes into play. Both genders have the same overall agenda: namely, reproduction of ourselves (literally, our DNA); but males with billions of available sperm and females with 420 available ova, reflecting in our vastly differing roles in conception and child rearing, leads to this notable difference between us.
Males are not basically more sexual, when "sex" is taken as a name for the Reproductive Drama, but we are more "sexy"--that is, are understandably more "interested in sex" or "want to do it" more often than females with their vastly greater responsibilities in overall reproduction. The relevance of these rather obvious facts here is that beginning in the nursery, where we first come into outside-the-womb contact with femininity, the conflict between our differing degrees of "sexiness" begins--long before any possible consciousness about the subject exists.
This is also the place where the incest taboo is first encountered. Do they share roots? I was beginning to speculate yesterday that something more than "genetic wisdom" may lie at the source of incest prohibitions. Now I am beginning to see how these two issues may intertwine at their roots. Two female issues may be involved: first, the extreme imbalance in our complentary roles in reproduction ("5 minutes of fun for the male; 18+ years of responsibility for the female"), resulting, as noted above, in males appearing to be far more "sexy" than females.
But another younger fact may also be relevant, namely, the later-to-evolve phenomenon of female repression of sexual awareness. I have also concluded after long observation and some speculation that females in general have dealt with their exceptional sexual capacities more by suppression in awareness than have males who have conversely come to exaggerate our own sexuality in awareness. Females tend to deny, while males tend to "peacock" our prolific in quantity but limited in reality "real sexiness." The point here is that evolved female repressions, beginning as personified in mothers and continuing with almost all later females which any average male encounters, are near universal in boys'/mens' experience. That is, we never, on average, encounter a female who even acknowledges, let alone affirms, our natural sexual differences.
This simple fact is compounded in significance in the typical family context where almost all essential affirmation-for-existence-- resources for food, comfort, nurture, and love, come from mother. In other words, we are not just dealing with boys' sexuality, but with all the more significant elements in both survival and well-being, even if sex did not exist. The same person who holds the "key to good living" in general also holds the key to sexual affirmation--or suppression, in primal, seminal, times of life-shaping. While "the twig is being bent," mostly by mother, sexual affirmation must be nearly universally absent, or worse, come in the form of conscious rejection.
What I am beginning to connect in awareness is the possible shared root of the incest taboo which in practice boils down to a prohibition on being sexual with family members, and the typical fact of mother-repression of sexuality, beginning within herself and certainly extending to other family members who are always under her powerful influence if not control. From the one who holds the primary keys to good living in general, we get no acceptance/affirmation of this second most major component in who-we-are. This must be extremely significant for both genders, girls as well as boys; but because male sexuality is so much more overt in practice as well as anatomy, its consequences on males may be inestimable.
Result: if a male accepts/affirms his natural sexuality--as it is rather than as females and society seem to want it to be--then he must do so entirely on his own. Even outside male confirmation, should it exist, is apt to be distorted and/or exaggerated. I suspect that it must be extremely rare for a male in our society, especially one who has been a "good boy" (as determined by mother/female values) as I have, to consciously accept/affirm his own sexuality as it is genetically determined. Either we, like females, suppress and deny, pretending to ourselves to be less sexual than we actually are, or else we, in more typical macho-male fashion, exaggerate, especially to ourselves, the extent of our sexiness.
Past these huge generalizations and speculations about "how it is," I certainly note the above observations to be true for me. Trying to become both conscious and honest about who-I-am, as distinguished from the roles I have learned to play and the sense-of-myself (the "ego") I have long held, in any regard--especially as selfing and sexual, is continually challenging. How easily I lie to myself and project my uncertainties on to others. How deeply my fears of "just being myself" must lie buried!
Certain inevitable challenges are inherent in being sexual in society. In broadest perspective these involve conflicts between genes and memes, or, literally, between older and newer genes. Ancient genes for survival and reproduction and newer genes for society (which I call memes) are, unfortunately, largely at odds with each other. Though they share the same ultimate goal, namely, the well being of individuals-in-groups, immediately they are consistently in conflict. When old and pre-conscious genes, often called instincts, instruct us to do "without thinking," newer memes, nearer to consciousness, commonly call for sharply differing actions.
Though this is the human situation across gender lines, particular challenges are present for both males and females. And these too are vastly different. They overlap in the large picture--that is, jungle imperatives are considerably different from city requirements; but in immediate relationships the challenges in being male are almost totally opposite of those for being female. Here I want to focus on issues related to being a sexual male in society.
If genetic values are often in conflict with memetic virtues in the overall picture--and they certainly are, these contradictions are even more distinctive in regards to male sexuality than with female sexuality. Natural female sexuality is more compatible with social values than is genetic male sexuality. Female challenges, as best I can tell, are considerable; but male challenges are, I think, even more so.
The ideal overall resolution for both genders involves an artful merging of genes and memes, honoring both without worshiping or attempting to negate either. Both count; each is an essential element of who-we-are. Even thought they, like siblings in a family, are often at immediate odds with each other, both "belong to the same family," that is, "have our best interests at heart." Ideally we don't identify ourselves with one or the other, creating an unresolvable Catch 22. We, when wisdom prevails (should it ever), recognize and embrace the fact that we, in reality, are a combination of both. To be ourselves in reality (vs. a quasi state of existence in La La Land) we accept and become all our genes, both older and younger; we embrace existence as a combination of ancient genes and Johnny-Come-Lately memes, including the inevitable conflicts which exist between them. "He's still my brother even if I don't like what he's doing sometimes." In good living, constant attention goes to artfully mediating regular conflicts between these bodily "siblings," favoring first one and then the other, as current circumstances call for.
Now to male challenges: in almost all regards I think that male sexual genes are regularly at odds with male memes. Even though the conflicts between genes for "being selfish" and memes for "being unselfish" are deeper and probably greater, those for "being sexy" and "being civilized" are more apparent because they are younger and nearer to consciousness. As with breathing and fucking, both count, but we tend to pay more attention to the latter than the former.
Turning to specifics: in the "jungle (or savannah)," where older genes evolved, efficient, maximum reproduction was the order of the day; but in civilization, where we all now live, "more babies" are not nearly as relevant as stabilizing structures for rearing those we already have. "Family values" matter far more than male desires.
Here are some of the overall conflicts. In reality they are seldom as clear cut as I enumerate them now; but in practice they often seem so to me. First, "indiscriminate" sex versus "faithfulness" to one mate. Human male sexual genes know naught about "fidelity" to one female. Memes highly value "being true to one woman," while genes favor maximum distribution of an abundant supply of sperm. "Fooling around" much of the time is natural for genes; "being faithful" all of the time is of prime importance to memes (as well as to females). A "good male," that is, one who accepts himself as being both his genes and memes, will predictably be in regular conflict between urges to "make babies" as often as possible with whomever he can and the "good sense" to know better than to try.
I put "indiscriminate" sex in quotes in the above paragraph to imply a specialized definition of the word. Male sexual interests are, in fact, highly discriminate; only not in line with memetic values. Only from a female perspective are males "indiscriminate" in our sexual desires. We are as finely evolved in our select-abilities from a male perspective as are females in their discriminations in mate-selection--just vastly different. If male values had become as socially identified as have female virtues, we might be saying that women are "indiscriminate" in their male attractions. But of course they haven't.
I have previously coined the phrase "gene eyes" to represent what male genes have evolved to "look for" in females. These "visions," our pre-conscious "attractions" to female "beauty," are extremely discriminatory. While it is also true, as amplified next in another conflict between genes and memes, that males "will do it with nearly anyone or anything," as females sometimes note, it is not true that what we innately "look for" is indiscriminate. Male "gene eyes" for "beauty" are finely tuned "search engines" which delineate sharply between the most and least desirable females, given our genetic goals of best self (DNA)-replication. At a glance, even with a whiff, and with no education at all, we can often "sense" which females are most likely to fit our finely tuned genetic goals.
Unfortunately for us, social evolution has veered far afield from our ingrained ideals. Most often, in order to be socially acceptable, we must carefully conceal if not negate our inherited wisdom about female beauty. It is simply too problematic for current social structures. What we are geared to look for and what we are structured to get--and "keep (remain faithful to)," are continually in conflict. Specifically, male gene eyes, as best I can tell, are highly discriminate within these categories: youth, physical perfection ("good figures"), ovulation signs (readiness to conceive), virginity ("innocence"), and willingness-to-be-sexual. Memes, in regular contrast, support ignoring youth in favor of aging femininity which rapidly loses its "good figure," seldom wants to "get pregnant," is only virgin once, and is rarely ready to have sex.
What male genes seek (are instinctively drawn to) in females and what social memes proffer are at odds, I calculate, about 99% of the time. In our commonly split condition where we are inevitably at war between one and the other--trying, for instance, to be our memes and not be our genes, or else to ignore memes and "give in" to genes, we often mediate poorly and must indeed "look dumb" to even casual female observers. It is a considerable challenge to honor eons of evolution which have perfected our gene eyes in social situations where we can "only have eyes for you," if we are at all "smart."
Frequency of sex--how often to "do it," is another major conflict between genes and memes, as well as between males and females who are "in touch" with them both. Males naturally, as we have evolved to maximize our own replication, "want to have sex," far more often than females who have evolved to maximize theirs. Males, we might say, can "fool around" responsibly (given our limited role in the shared Drama of Reproduction), while females can hardly afford to "fool around" at all (when responsive to their genetic responsibilities). We may appear, from a social perspective, to "be irresponsible" when we "screw around," but to our genes the opposite is the case.
The conflict then, is this: mediating between responsible desires and innate capacity for "doing it" several times most every day, while "being true" to one female whose genetic values are in distinct contrast, especially after a family is begun. Memes which strongly support "respecting female desires (or lack of same)" are commonly in conflict with male genes which have vastly expanded desires of their own. I suspect that "prostate problems" in well over half of older males are the inevitable result of underused and therefore atrophied glands for producing ejaculate for a wealthy supply of sperm which, in our long acquiescing to memes, must remain stymied and finally blocked.
I return to consider further the meme for faithfulness--exclusive sexual devotion to one mate, as popularly understood. I note first that while sexual exclusivity is not, I surmise, natural to the older genes of either gender (females are as evolved to seek "best sperm" as are males to find "most ova"), it is more compatible with present social memes for females than for males. Men are less served by the meme of faithfulness than are women. In the best interests of her offspring, given the imbalance in responsibilities for birthing and rearing children, a female is better served by a faithful male than by a good stud. Male gene interests, in contrast, once one child has been conceived, are better served by turning quickly to find other pregnable females--which, of course, means "being unfaithful."
The point: on an ancient genetic level, females may be equally geared to "be unfaithful" in their quest for best quality sperm, as are males in our search for most available ova; but in present social circumstances where males have better access to resources, a female does better to find and keep a faithful male so she can be freer to devote herself to rearing her self-replicating offspring. A male too may profit from keeping a female faithful to himself (in order to insure paternity); but once a female is pregnant and that risk no longer exists, male values are better served by turning quickly to "unfaithfulness."
In summary, the "temptation to be unfaithful (the 'evil' is related to memes rather than genes)" must be much greater for males than for females. And the urge to keep males faithful, must, given the extremely limited need for "best sperm" by females, be far more for wives than for husbands. Circumstances (less sperm need and more child rearing duties) almost dictate female faithfulness, while they (in work situations, for instance) contrastingly invite/promote male unfaithfulness.
The male challenge then, is how shall we honor our genes for "unfaithfulness" in social situations where memes for sexual fidelity are contrastingly powerful, and associated with far more immediate consequences than, say, prostate cancer?
MEN AND IMAGES
Why, I have long wondered, do men so fear images and so insist on the primacy of word? So much so that John would have written in the Bible that "in the beginning was the word," when we all know that birth comes before any language. And why have we created an image-less male god and made a 2nd commandment against all images. I have only recently recognized that the deeper meaning of "idolatry" is images. What male religions fear are images before the image-less male god. So, why this great male fear of images in the presence of words, which we want to make primary and first?
The answer, I now suspect, is this: in reality, that is, in ordinary human experience, which I have called the Creative Process, images naturally precede conceptions. First we perceive (Stage 1), then we image (Stage 2), and next we conceive (make or use words in Stage 3). This means that in all personal experience we create and encounter images before we can move on to de-coding them into words. Power, therefore, is more impersonal and less controllable at the image stage.
If we males are to "be in charge," that is, create and maintain the notion that we are "on top of things," then we can best (and only) do so if our Stage 3 notions (words) are more powerful than Stage 2 images. But since in reality they are not and never can be, we have taken the very illogical stance that "word comes first" and that "images are bad"--so bad that the 2nd of our ten Christian commandments is against them.
Further, it is the content of the images which is most threatening to us. Since in every human's actual, personal experience, mother is goddess--that is, the All Powerful Force in all our initial experience is female in the form of mother. We first encounter power in the one who creates, bears, and delivers us into the world, namely, mother. She is the Source of all that matters at first--food, holding, care, comfort, tending, and, hopefully, love. God for us all is first the Goddess we later call "Mother."
But at these earliest times, before the brain develops enough (so far as we know) to have discrete thoughts (at least to hold them in consciousness), and move to Stage 3 of the Creative Process, it must only process perceptions (feeling, hearing, tasting, touching, and seeing Mother) into images only. That is, the seemingly omnipotent power which we first know must be imaged around perceptions emanating from Mother. And these perceptions are first gained in relation to her body, especially her breasts where we are nourished, held, comforted, protected, and loved. I surmise that the first and deepest of all images which give experiential shape to every human's individual experience is a woman's breast.
Next, I surmise, come her facial expressions which become our best clues to her overall response to us as infants--her Smiles or Frowns. Probably smell images precede sight images, but because odors seem harder to image they may never achieve the mental status that visual images come to hold. In summary, I figure that in every infant's primary experience in the "outside world" (beyond the womb), his/her encounters with the "powers that be," personified in Mother, are first imaged in breasts (and holding), then in Mother's Smile/Frown--that is, her facial expressions which are clues to how the Omnipotent Powers may be exercised on us.
While I'm guessing logically, I imagine (I note that this word "imagine" is but a form of imaging too), I further suspect that since the womb precedes the world insofar as each infant is concerned, that our womb-experience, being even more primal than world-experience, may also be "known" in vague images which precede breasts/body/face. Surely the brain is operative in primal ways before birth; and if so, then the Creative Process must already be beginning. Perhaps the word "image" is too advanced for what is actually taking place in the pre-natal brain, but some organizing of uterine experience seems likely. Since there is no light and hence vision for any shaped image, it could only be a "felt" or sensed type of image--perhaps of "being-held-securely," or, "unqualified-acceptance," or, "everything-that-is-needed-coming-without-effort."
Since the connection between womb and world is cunt--vagina/passage or "pussy," I further guess that powers I experience but am unable to accurately place, save in my images of cunt, are from pre-natal times. I bet that "cunt" is simply the best, and closest to womb, image I have been able to devise to represent the powers which I experienced in my mother's womb.
To summarize: In every child's experience, males included, we first encounter/experience external power in female forms and shapes--first in our mother's womb, then at her breasts/body, and finally mirrored in her Smiles/Frowns. Later we may conjure up notions of male Gods, but at first, before we even have the capacity to conceive Gods or anything else, experientially we know Ultimate Power in forms of the Goddess we later call Mother.
Now I turn to consider what "growing up" means. What does "becoming a person," or coming to "be yourself" require? No element is more central to self-becoming than separating-self-from-mother. We begin literally as a-part-of her, connected with umbilical cord and confined within her womb. She and I are at first the same; then, with physical birth ("of the waters") we move to the next phase of individuation, moving toward the time when we may "stand on our own two feet," both literally and symbolically. Although many other elements are obviously involved, no other part of the process is more central or essential than separating-from-mother.
And this involves at heart the profound transfer of power sources from Her to me, from the Goddess to myself. I must, before I can truly be "born again" (in Jesus' imagery), find for myself sufficient powers for survival separate and apart from their first primary source, namely, her womb/breasts/body/face/self.
"Growing up," in summary, means most basically: finding powers for survival "out there" or "in here" after they are first found and experienced "in Her." "Cutting the cord," is too simple a metaphor for the profound experience of finding a whole "nother" source of power for "good living." Surely, as in physical birth, the cord must be cut; but simply cutting connections in no way assures re-finding powers essential for existence as were freely experienced in her womb and at her breasts, especially when accompanied by her Smile signifying her pleasure with me.
The lament, "sometimes I feel like a Mother-less child," must have been someone's (male's?) attempt to voice the profoundly challenging state of becoming sufficiently empowered as oneself past the realities of mother.
With these speculations in the background, I return to my original question: Why our ancient male fear of images, reflected in male religions? And why our illogical efforts to view word as primary ("and word was before God and word was God")? The answer lies, I think, in this profound challenge of becoming our male selves in the presence of females who still personify or reflect these omnipotent images of our beginning experiences in the world. Before we can ever truly become ourselves, we must find power-for-being apart from its original sources, namely associated with femininity and specifically recognized/symbolized in cunt/breasts/body/face/smile or frown.
And the easiest way to find these separate sources is outside her presence, in isolation from the images which so powerfully "inform" us of where all power once lay. If we must, in order to become male-persons, be sufficiently empowered sans femininity--and indeed we must, then removal of her images (all that "re-minds" us of our first minding) would be a seemingly sensible move. If the temptation is too great, then remove the temptation! And this is most easily accomplished by removing images which mirror what once was.
So, I conclude that male religions, with their powerful commandments against images of all sorts, and their irrational insistencies on primacy of words (concepts, ideas) over images, are born from our desperate attempt to find ourselves as individuals sufficiently empowered for "good living" apart from feminine sources where we first found existence itself.
One further fact I note about the nature of our female "temptations," of the images which so powerfully move us when we dare face such "evil forces": in the times when we are first encountering feminine images, they are all young; that is, "mother" as we first know her, is a girl or young woman whose body is youthful. Her breasts are full/firm; her skin is blossoming; her hair is healthy; her butt is perky. In a word, she is more like a 16 year old than a 36 or 46 year old as our conscious memories tend to place her. When the most powerful images are being formed for shaping the omnipotent forces we first encounter in life, the feminine shapes which mirror them are youth personified--not "mature" or older woman shapes.
The point: it reasonably follows to me that the focus of "gene eyes" as I have previously confessed and amplified the powers which most move me, would be primarily on young females, since mothers are young when we first know them, and then on the specific images of such young females, namely, breasts/figure/face and smiles. The most powerful images, logically, are those candidates present when we are in the process of imaging perceptions of early powers. Since all experience is immediate, present tense, if the Creative Process occurs swiftly as I note it does, then as soon as an infant perceives delightful and sustaining power he/she will surely image it from the shapes/forms present at the time. And these, obviously, are young cunt/breasts/body/face, especially in the expressions of smiles or frowns.
I pause in this exercise in reason to acknowledge that I know full well that this whole endeavor to answer the questions raised may but be a massive attempt at rationalization on my part. I have no "scientific" way of knowing that these speculations are true; and I live in a time when "science" or "objective evidence" is the only accepted mode of "proof." But I do intuit what I write to be true. It is, I surmise, "right-brain" knowledge, being brought over into the left-brain for conception's sake. I "feel like" it is true. I "think" it makes sense also.
But moving to pure confession, which is probably where I would begin and remain if I had the nerve to do so, I can confidently affirm that the most powerful images which move me, the mirrors for my purest consciousness, are not in realms of the left brain--not in words, abstractions, notions, concepts, beliefs, or any other mental formulations; rather they appear in my right brain and most often take shape in various female forms. As clearly as I can now recognize these images, ranked in terms of the powers they seem to personify or initiate for me, they are: cunt (woman's "pussy," that is, Mons Venus, clitoris and vagina, surrounded by pelvis and backed up by lovely ass); next there are breasts--shapely, full, mammary glands; followed by "pretty faces" but most powerfully by female Smiles of Frowns (I capitalize to indicate that woman's facially indicated pleasure or displeasure is still near omnipotent to me). Finally there is female "figure" which is a combination of the above, but is best summarized in healthy 14-18 year olds. Because "figure" is best recognized at a distance, even before possible smiles/frowns are evident, it commonly comes first, to be followed in reverse order as noted above.
"Figure"--as it moves me, includes these specifics: symmetry and proportion (rather than size alone), youthfulness, as was true when the images were first formed (implying, I reason, best odds for conception and child-bearing), clues to virginity (signs, I logically figure, for assured paternity), and finally facial "beauty" which is certainly evasive to reason. Best I can summarize, "pretty" means racial averages, symmetry, and some ill-definable clues to "refinement" or "like pure bred" animals. Dimples too, for some unknown reason, seem to image power for me. I surmise that these may appeal because they imply some deviation in symmetry which is provocative like a smile, yet not permanently asymmetrical.
I can further differentiate, sometimes when I am more alert, between images of power that are sexually related and others which are more primally about existence itself. Although "cunt" is about both the birth as well as the sexual passage way, its power is more deeply rooted in matters of existence and well-being than in overt sexuality. Perhaps in reality survival and sex can never be finally separated, but in terms of my perceptions of the powers of "cunt" versus "pussy," the first are more awesomely related to survival, while the second are vastly important and moving, yet are less "earthshaking" than the former.
I surmise, reasonably, that survival instincts are deeper and more powerful than sexual instincts; and that this possible fact accounts for the more profound and pervasive powers of "cunt" (symbol of womb?) over the lessor but wonderful powers of "pussy (overt sexuality)."
In conclusion: I project my personal perceptions formed into their most representative and consistent images first onto human-kind, then on to maleness, in terms of the questions: why do males so fear images and so want to view words (concepts) as original, even godly? I do this, I suspect, because "objective thinking" or wondering about contradictory data "out there" is easier and safer than simply facing my primary experience first hand. In other words, I approach myself through the safer door of others. I, as it were, back my way toward me.
But after "being reasonable" I eventually get around to confession--to self-seeing through self-saying; I in effect acknowledge right brain knowledge only after I can no longer keep left brain logic intact--that is, after all my "information" (conceptions) fail to truly "add up." Then, sometimes, I find the nerve to cross my corpus callosum and return to where I suspect women begin and all persons must eventually return before we can truly become persons, namely, to our whole brains.
My most powerful images, so far, are all feminine in nature; my moving notions are masculine, but these are never, when I am honest with myself, as passion-evoking as those shapes of my experience best recognized in female forms, beginning with cunt and culminating in pussy, the latter best signified in a shapely pelvis with fine curves and full/firm ass, followed by delightfully proportioned tits, and enhanced with a pretty face shaped into an open smile. On the opposite hand, the devil to me is neither male nor red nor forked-tailed: she is Woman's Frown.
So saying, may I now move on to further decoding of these powerful images so that I can withdraw continuing projections, absorb denied powers into my bones, truly become myself--and perhaps dare to love as well as live? I'll see...
A male mistake is splitting ourselves by using emerging capacities for consciousness to evade power projected on to images, esp. goddess images. Rather than remaining whole and truly becoming conscious now, we mainly use consciousness to cope with powers yet locked in images which reflect forces actually within ourselves.
The oldest icons yet found are of female bodies, exaggerated as a boy might realistically see his mother. I theorize that these early female body images were honest reflections of what remains true but denied today. We make totems of that which we realize and project, namely, powers we first encounter in goddesses.
SPIRITUAL ABUSE OF MALES
This is a theory about what I consider to be the most consequential of all abuses operative in current society. I call it a theory only because I have no scientific way of proving the observation; in fact, it represents my best analysis so far of a wealth of data which "doesn't make sense to me" otherwise. It is, in effect, the best explanation I am able to devise in "making sense" of wide ranging information which is currently puzzling to me.
There are, obviously, many abuses of individuals which are currently inherent in operative social structures--most evident are those on minorities by majorities, on children by adults, and on females by males. Present abuse of females is, however, primarily physical rather than spiritual--that is, focused on economic, political, and bodily abuse of the female half of the population by the male half. But with no intent to belittle the powerful elements of physical harm currently effected on females in general, and certainly more so on many individual spouses and single females in particular, I note that when the two are compared, spiritual abuse is always worse in time than physical abuse. All abuse is bad for the persons on whom it is effected; but spiritual abuse, I conclude, is even more devastating in the long run than physical abuse. Bodily pain, even damage, as bad as it is, is less destructive than "heart (soul or self)" injury insofar as individual salvation is concerned.
The point: I do not minimize in any way the many obvious abuses carried out on minorities or children or females everyday in current cultures; but I want here to acknowledge other abuses which I think go generally unnoticed and may be even more disastrous in comparison--namely, spiritual abuse of males.
By spiritual abuse I mean: harmful acts which effect the "emotional (spiritual) health" of an individual rather than one's physical well being only. In these abuses the spirit of the person is damaged, even if the body is unharmed. It might be compared to forms of physical torture, such as electric shock, which leave little or no outward signs, but may be even more painful than, say, obvious bodily beatings. Whereas physical abuse may be relatively short-lived, even forgotten after the pain is passed and healing occurs, spiritual abuse can be damaging for a life time.
Although the word spirit is often used to name an assumed-to-be-real ghost-like entity residing in one's body and leaving at death (as in popular religious theology), I use the word here in its more colloquial sense--as in, "he's got soul or spirit," or, as a synonym for "heart." Literally, I mean the essence of personhood, or the "heart" and "soul" of being oneself. In living well in the kingdom of God which is here, the Garden of Eden on earth (as opposed to an otherworldly heaven "in the sky"), there is no more relevant issue than spiritedness or "having soul (in its colloquial sense)." In this value system (as recognized in my Natural Theology) physical or bodily matters are certainly important; but spiritual or "heart" issues matter more.
I go through this lengthy definition and comparison only to note the importance which I attach to matters of spiritual abuse in general. Physical abuse issues are properly recognized and appropriately condemned in current society; unfortunately no such parallel attention is devoted to matters of spiritual abuse--which I consider to be even more significant for everyone in the long run and certainly for the immediate spiritual welfare of one so abused.
In summary, before exploring this theory in
detail, I am trying to acknowledge to myself just how significant I consider "scars
to the heart" or "spiritual wounds" to actually be. I do so because outside
of religion where an imaginary "soul" is presumed to be of supreme importance,
there seem to be relatively few places in current society where "spiritual
abuse" is even considered to be a reality, let alone taken seriously.
One other preface may be relevant, namely, a justification for the abuse. Even though I am trying to bring spiritual abuse into consciousness, to "see it more clearly," so that I may confront its devastations, I also recognize that it may have been evolutionally pragmatic while it has been occurring. That is, from the standpoint of the evolution of civilization, of structuring complex social groups beyond single families or small clans (of, say, 50 individuals or less), this theorized form of male abuse may have been practical, even necessary. Given the age and power of instincts on which the abuse is wielded, and the obvious difficulty of merging them successfully in a large social group, perhaps spiritual abuse was the only workable way to deal with the inherent threats of ingrained male sexuality--which is the subject of this theory.
Now to the theory: I hypothesize, that is, my current analysis of many obtuse pieces of diverse data is this: beginning shortly after birth, and perhaps indirectly through pre-natal influences, the true scope and nature of male sexuality is systematically and ruthlessly condemned, punished, and repressed by all major social forces, beginning with the most powerful of all: mothers. If "the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world" is true--and I believe it is, then the most poignant and significant application of this near omnipotent "hand" is where it touches on the natural, genetic, nature of a boy's inherited sexuality.
Of the many memes evolved to contain and structure older and more powerful genes in quest of stable social groups, none is, I conclude, more awesome and consequential than that meme which aims directly at squelching the fires of male sexuality. Many elements of social structure--religion, education, law, and mores, are united in this massive effort at containment; but none is more immediate and far-reaching than in the "hands" of that individual who brings a male child into the world, namely, a son's mother.
It is here, at the first omnipotent breasts
where the nutrients of life are found, and in the arms of the major source of warmth,
comfort, security, magic, and, hopefully, love, that this powerful social meme is also
hidden. Like an invisible ticking time-bomb in the body of the first goddess of every male
child, this anti-male-sexuality meme is inevitably to be encountered. Unawarely, and I
surmise, universally unconscious, every mother becomes the unwitting instrument of this
useful-but-dangerous meme. Blindly, as best I can tell, they must all become the first
social purveyors of this evolved social force. Without knowing what they do, so far as I
know, all mothers become the first and most effective social arm for wielding what I now
conceive as the most devastating of all forms of spiritual abuse.
ABUSE AND BLAME
In conventional thought abuse implies an abuser and an abusee, a "perpetrator" and a "victim." The first is guilty and to blame for damage of the victim, who is viewed as innocent and irresponsible for what happens to him/her. I intend no such implications here. I am thinking only about the reality of abuse, without assuming that there is anyone to blame or that males who "suffer" from the phenomenon are "innocent victims of the circumstances." Specifically, I do not blame mothers or society for the events I am trying to bring into the light of thought; nor do I think that we males who become spiritually scared in the process are irresponsible for the situation. Nor is the "meme" against male sexuality taken to be "bad," any more than the genes which instinctively inform us are viewed as inherently "good."
Both "just are," insofar as I understand the human situation. The powerful meme is certainly to be affirmed for its part in structuring societies as efficient as these in which we live today, just as the powerful genes it attempts to control are to be credited for helping humanity move from the jungle to the city. If rampant male sexual genes were allowed free reign--if we had society without the meme I am examining, then we would likely "be up to our proverbial asses in excessive babies," or else females would have died out long ago from loss of sleep, et al. If we could magically have one without the other today, I think I would opt for the meme without the gene rather than the other way around.
Furthermore, I also hold that males must
choose to participate in the abuse, even if mothers and society which wield the overt
powers are older and stronger at the time of its occurrences. We boys now grown,
diminished or damaged by early and extended spiritual abuse focusing on male sexuality,
are at least equally responsible for "what happened to us." If there is a common
sacrifice of male balls, as I think there is, we willing boys must bear a large part of
the responsibility for our trip to the sacrificial altar. Certainly we are not innocent
victims of bad mothers and a mean society. We all cooperate in the abuse I am trying to
now see more clearly.
NATURE OF ABUSE
If my theory about spiritual abuse of males is valid, how does it occur? What is the nature of the events or forces which lead to the damaging effects? Specifically, how does the abuse take place? What are the causative factors? Who/what mitigates the powers which result in the abusive state?
Those which I now see include: the silent
treatment; incest taboo; verbal treatment (Mother's Messages); evil eye; punishments;
female ambivalence; sexual memes--social dictums (including religious commandments, civil
laws, and community etiquette); plus other assorted memes.
Every man and child knows the operative power in woman's silent treatment--that is, the force wielded when significant females, e.g., mothers and lovers, withhold their verbal responses, especially affirmations. In every child's early experience, perceptual affirmation, especially by the yet omnipotent mother, is crucially important in learning to trust one's own senses. And, I think, this is especially true for sons who all lack one X chromosome in each of their cells. Internal "feelings," especially those which are most primal, are all at risk when brought into social arenas where they may or may not be approved. Urges which are affirmed may be easily accepted as a part of oneself and embraced as an element in the critically important growth of self confidence.
On the other hand, socially ignored or rejected instincts, especially for sensitive children, can easily become dissociated--that is, excluded from acceptance as a valued part of oneself. In order to "fit in" we learn early to be (to identify our sense-of-self) with those parts of our genetic heritage which are affirmed by the "powers that be." And for all infants, mother personifies God in early life; that is He is a She, a Goddess at first, long before we are even capable of conceiving of a male God.
Into this spiritually loaded scenario, where mother is in effect God, with all the influential if not determinative powers for shaping a son's sense-of-himself, comes one of the Goddesses representatives wielding the silent treatment on one of the two most powerful instincts in a male child's genetic heritage--namely, his masculine sexuality. For him, when he acknowledges his ingrained urges, it is as though there were a saber-toothed tiger in every room he enters, especially when feminine signs are evident; yet, if he is attentive to his Goddess-at-the-time, she in all likelihood silently ignores its awesome presence. She, it seems to a son, pretends it is not there! She acts and speaks as if the fearsome tiger is simply non-existent. Whereas he, when genetically honest, is almost constantly alert to this dangerous, ever-present "animal" force, She, with all the powers inherent in Other Affirmation (or Negation) acts like "It" is "all in his head," that he only imagines the existence of the tiger-like force "in his tank." She wields negatively all the powers inherent in the psychic device called the silent treatment.
Whereas she openly and lovingly affirms any evidences of kindness, supporting his acceptance of impulses to be "helpful" or a "good boy," she systematically responds to his even more predictable sexual instincts with silent denials. Whereas any physical pain is apt to be "treated" with tender holding and perhaps a magical kiss, any sexual arousal is more likely to elicit the silent treatment at best, and overt rejection at worst. Try to imagine a mother saying to a sexually aroused son who "suffers" from a "painful" erection, "Oh, let me kiss it and make it go away!"
The saber-toothed tiger, or so "it" must seem to every male child with budding sexual impulses so easily recognized in regular inclinations if not erections, is almost always present in every room of his existence; but to the Goddess to whom he continually looks for perceptual affirmation before any urge is openly allowed to become a part of his conscious self, the tiger is non-existent. She, via her silent treatment, says in loud effect, "It's just your imagination."
The effects of such reactions to young males in formative years is, I surmise, inestimable. Rare, if ever, is there a son who eventually heals from the deep wounds innocently inflicted by a Goddess's silent treatment of the "tiger in the tank" of all normal Y-chromosomed boys. It is, of course, illogical to call "nothing" by such a negative name as "spiritual abuse." How can simple silence be properly termed a treatment? Yet, I intuitively conclude, this is accurate language for the predictable results of a boy's growing up without sexual affirmation from the most powerful figure in his early life.
Certainly no mother must consciously intend
such effects on a son who is probably more unconsciously loved than any daughter can ever
can be (with good biological reasons); still, "I didn't know the gun was loaded"
can never erase the wounds resulting from "shots" fired from the powerful
spiritual weapon of the silent treatment.
Another powerful though unstated force operative in the realm of every boy's kingdom presided over by an unnamed Goddess called mother is the universally enacted and silently enforced "law" against incest. Although this commonly unacknowledged prohibition applies to all members of families--fathers and daughters, brothers and sisters, as well as sons and mothers, I think that its most powerful directives and long-lasting results lie in the latter relationships. It is, I think, the application of the incest taboo to sons and mothers which produces the deepest and most permanent spiritual wounds. That fathers and daughters or brothers and sisters seem more likely to step over the lines of this law does not mean that less overt disobedience by sons and mothers is not present and damaging.
The inevitable and near universal facts about mothering and child rearing may account for this speculative observation--specifically, the physical contact which always occurs between boys and mothers, beginning in the womb and continuing with nursing, holding, hugging, diaper changing, and bathing, with inevitable touching of anus and genitals where pleasurable nerve endings are most concentrated. Whereas no father, past the earliest days of a daughter's life, is permitted to even look at, let alone touch, his daughter's genitals without fierce social and legal dangers, every mother is not only allowed, but socially supported with no danger of legal consequences, in regularly "stroking" her son's "sexual parts" under cover of "necessary cleaning" or "just being tender." "After all, I am his mother!"
Although I have no way of knowing this, I speculate that few if any mothers ever consciously consider themselves to "be seductive" with their sons. Sex is probably "the farthest thing from their minds" as they routinely go about "taking care of their boys" and carrying out their familiar "duties" in "keeping them clean." "Someone must do it; after all, fathers often don't even keep themselves clean!" But in reality there is no necessary connection between consciousness and fact; in fact, the less conscious a phenomenon is the more easily and often it is predictably lived out blindly.
"Wiping rectums" and "stroking genitals" by any other names, and for whatever other reasons, is still stimulating to socially blind genes evolved for sexual pleasure. Boys cannot but "feel good" when mothers make contact with nerve endings with inherent "feel good" capacities. Even if no name for sex has yet been given, and the touching times are all "for other reasons," still these events of physical contact between mothers and sons cannot, I surmise, but be sexually stimulating.
And male "gene eyes" long evolved for efficient selection of pregnable females and wisely focusing on "pretty girls" must become partially activated long before Senior Proms and bikini bathing suits are even imagined. Mothers are themselves the first "pretty girls" boys see; and inevitably they "expose their breasts" regularly, sometimes appear nude in bathing, and are commonly in various stages of undress around their young sons. Because our society still blindly and illogically clings to notions of childhood "innocence" in regard to sexuality, preferring to believe that we don't "become sexual" until puberty, any possibility that "sexual things" are going on between mothers and sons is easily ignored.
But years of professional experience in counseling--the analysis of others, as well as myself, lead me to conclude otherwise on both counts. Children are, I now think, "born sexual and are never "innocent" as we parents are want to believe. Even in the womb, erections, thanks to imaging techniques, are now evident. "Being sexual" is a normal part of childhood as well as adulthood, only less acknowledged and affirmed by society. And even mothers, incest taboo and consciousness notwithstanding, are not immune, I surmise without their acknowledgment, from feeling natural sexual impulses with their sons.
My point: nonsciousness about sex (sex out of awareness) certainly does not "make it go away." The reality of sexuality in its natural forms is totally unrelated to "how we think about it," even in the presence of such near universal "laws" as the incest taboo. In fact, as we commonly know, prohibition has the psychological effect of exaggerating that which is denied. Just as "forbidden fruit tastes better" and "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence," so consciously denied sex is likely to enhance its inevitable presence. The supposed "facts" that "children are not sexual to begin with" and certainly that "mothers, even if children were, would never 'do anything sexual' with sons" may, in reality, further charge an already super-charged situation which is universally present.
Although it is commonly assumed (equally without proof) that the incest taboo is itself a genetic prohibition evolved to "prevent inbreeding," I speculate that its more immediate basis is the dangerous sexual situation present in all families, racial improvement notwithstanding. There are certain commonly ignored psychological tensions innate in nuclear family structures which could more than account, I think, for the power and near universality of the incest taboo, even without resorting to the logic of "genetic wisdom" against "inbreeding" to explain it.
This is especially true if my speculations about natural sexual feelings between sons and mothers are present, in spite of common denials by mothers and forgotten memories in sons. Relevant psychological factors include these: natural "familiarity" (regular touching between mothers and sons would "naturally" result in sexual stimulation both of the touched son and the touching mother. In overt sexual experience there is often more arousal inherent in touching the sexually related parts of a "lover" even than in being touched by another. There is no reason to conclude that the same situation does not occur in "unconscious" or unintended-to-be-sexual contact as regularly takes place in nursing and bathing sons.
Boys, assuming my observation of "childhood sexuality" is correct, would no doubt be sexually stimulated first in nursing, then later in seeing, touching, "kissing," or being touched by young breasts, and certainly by literal "stroking" of anus and genitals in "cleaning" events, plus visual contact with their young mother's body. And mothers, were it not for conscious denials, might be even more "turned on" by "dutiful cleaning" of fair skinned young males, especially when all the dangers inherent in overt sexuality are safely removed.
In almost every other contact with any males, even minor degrees of female sexuality must be carefully controlled for pragmatic reasons. Even with husbands, where social and legal permission exists, wives are at risk of "unwanted advances" at undesirable times if they become overtly sexual. But with sons, where "having sex" is not even an option, and contacts which would elsewhere be obviously taken as sexual even if not so intended are now "innocent," a mother has full freedom to privately "be sexy." I surmise that if only natural inclinations were operative, sans memes, a young mother's sexuality might be nowhere more subtly invited into activation, than with a beautiful son of her own creation. And aren't all mother's sons "beautiful" to them?
She, freed from threats and thrills of real intercourse, and tempted to worship the product of her own creation, which of course invites passion, must be strongly tempted to safely feel sexual in the privacy of their intimate encounters. Meanwhile he, yet with no guilt or shame to inhibit his genetic drives, and stimulated by her sight and touch plus the primal memory of her unqualified acceptance ("love") in the womb, and certainly with no knowledge of the taboo against incest, not to mention ability to screw, must be continually invited to the pure pleasure innate in sexual passion.
Nothing, I surmise, is more natural than incest--if not fucking, at least pleasures associated with feeling sexual with those who love us and whom we love, namely, our first family. Without the incest meme, we would, I suspect, all experience the emerging of sexuality naturally, in the world as we find it--sons with mothers, daughters with fathers, and siblings with each other, before growth makes possible and the wider world invites us to play the Reproductive Drama.
But into this natural love nest the taboo inevitably appears. And here's the rub: mothers are its primary personifications. Somehow She, the first Goddess, gets charged with the responsibility for effecting the unwritten law. Certainly we sons are unaware of its existence and without responsibility ourselves. Even fathers often seem to be ignorant of its import, or else irresponsible in its application. And siblings know naught of any law, save that of the jungle: survival of the fittest.
So, end result: She who must be most invited to feel sexual with him who most naturally feels his passion with her is also the one charged with policing the love nest. Predictably then, she must begin by repressing her own desires out of awareness, and systematically squelching those of her shameless lover, her son, lest they confront her with the social crimes of her own denied passions.
Nothing, I conclude, is more natural than love of a mother for her son, or a boy for his Creator; but at the same time, nothing is more denied or devastating-in-time than the severed sexual roots of all real passion. Herein lies the tragedy for which no one is reasonably to blame: mothers, blind to their own denials, don't mean to castrate; boys, ignorant of our yet undescended balls, don't mean to sacrifice them at the altar of the Goddess's approval.
And yet we both so often do.
I placed the silent treatment first because I consider what-is-not-said to be more powerful and influential than any verbal message. The effects of living with an ever-present but unacknowledged saber-toothed tiger are far greater, I surmise, than are any mere worded directives from mother or anyone else. "What you do," as the saying goes, "speaks so loud I can't hear what you say." Still, words do count; the powers parents wield with what they say, with their verbal exchanges with children, are great.
In this verbal arena there are several common messages to boys which I consider to be extremely relevant to the spiritual abuse I am trying to confront here. I call them mother's messages for two reasons: first, they are more often articulated by mothers than by fathers, and secondly, the power of what mother says in comparison with daddy's messages is commonly much greater. Fathers may be more harsh and overt in trying to enforce their dictums, but even quiet voices of mothers are, I think, far more significant in most children's up-bringing. The simple fact that mothers' messages, whatever they are, are more often heard and repeated than those of fathers is enough to make them weightier; but given the additional fact that mothers themselves are more influential overall in a child's early years makes their messages more significant than those of fathers.
For further clarity I call these "verbal treatments" mother's messages because they are more likely to be first heard and more often repeated by mothers than by any other person in a child's world. In reality I do not think they originate with any particular mother, but that mothers just happen to be the primary bearers of what in reality are social messages more likely to be repeated by female parents. Literally, they are meme messages--that is, social values into which we are all born. It just so happens that mothers have come to be more responsible for "civilizing" children than have fathers. They are the primary transmitters of social values to children. Adapting to one's given society is critically important in individual well-being, and mothers mostly assume this essential task. As conveyors of social messages which they seldom originate, mothers are like proverbial bearers of bad news who tend to be blamed for the news they only bring. In reality they are more like puppets in the hands of social ventriloquists.
Before considering specific mother messages which I believe unwittingly become instruments in the spiritual abuse of boys, I note that many of them do not focus directly on sex itself. They all, however, relate, even if indirectly, to the nature of male sexual instincts as I understand them. Aggression, for example, and cleanliness, the subjects of two of what I consider to be dangerous messages, are obviously not directly about sex. But male sexuality is at the root of much male aggression-for instance, forces evolved to acquire and keep "territories" which are primarily for the purpose of attracting and keeping females for reproductive purposes. Thus such aggressive instincts, which may appear in boys "fighting" each other, or in being fiercely competitive in sports and even table games, are rooted, I conclude, in emerging sexuality, even if reproduction is yet to be the direct subject.
Also I note again that I am not dealing with a mother's intentions--what she "means" when she delivers any of these messages. I do not believe that mothers consciously intend to abuse their sons (except in relatively rare pathological instances) even in these messages which may have that effect. Most often they are simply engaging in responsible "social training" or trying to civilize otherwise animal-like boys. Personal psychological issues may enter in when, for instance, a mother projects her own denied sexual attractions on to a son and then tries to repress them "out there" as a way of protecting herself from her own repressions; but even then, no "malicious intent" is likely.
But as I also noted, absence of evil intent, indeed even the presence of "good motives," is irrelevant to the actual effects of any physical force, be it shots from a supposedly unloaded gun, or verbal "shots" from an innocent mouth. Shot is still shot, no matter the motives of the shooter, and all mother's messages are verbal forces insofar as children are concerned.
Mothers, we might say, are simply the major medium for memes. They are the immediate voices through which these powerful social forces are mediated to children. Mothers do not, except in rare instances, create the memes whose messages they bear; they only deliver values which exist "out there" in the ethos of their culture. Unwittingly they become, as it were, spokespersons for social authority which existed before any particular mother was born, and which will continue to wield power long after she is dead.
Point: Mothers do not "cause" these effects I am noting, in the sense of creating the messages of spiritual abuse; they are but the innocent conveyors of "loaded" verbal time bombs which they place in the minds of boys, usually with present and long range serious consequences, both positive and negative. Here I focus only on the latter results.
Still, since boys are more likely to hear
these directives (repeatedly!) from mothers than from any one else, I call them mother's
messages. Later I will focus on the memes themselves, the values which
"innocent" mothers merely try to inculcate in reluctant-to-learn sons. But
first, the spiritually dangerous messages which boys are more likely to hear:
First, and perhaps most common, practical, sensible, and voiced, are messages which boil down to: Be careful; don't take chances, you may get hurt; don't gamble; that is dangerous; you may fall down, etc., etc. The danger of these messages, as pragmatic as they seem, is that they fly in the face of one of the most essential traits of sperm-bearers, namely, risk-taking. Ova-bearers are well behooved to be careful; but we boys with opposite genetic agendas are equally well advised, to take chances, something you seldom hear in childhood.
The physical wisdom of this common motherly message is obvious; the dangers of staying alive without bodily injury are pervasive--all the way from falling down when first walking, to later crossing the street, playing with fire, to etc., etc. Even so, this pragmatic physical advice is in opposition to the best of male genetic inclinations, rooted, I suspect, in what is required for successful genetic replication. Being careful, as popularly understood (don't take risks), is contrary to what every successful male must finally learn before he can become himself.
A second element of the danger, past its unwitting aim at primary negation of an ingrained male trait, is that it tends to backfire, to interfere with natural, right brained, nonscious learning. To be conscious of "being careful," as hearing the message requires, takes bodily attention away from the challenges of the task at hand, where it is most needed, and diverts it to the left brain mental arena, to cortex areas where consciousness functions, rather than keeping it centered at deep brain spaces which give direction to coordination.
For example, if a child is trying to walk on a curb, to balance himself on a small, straight line path, as children are inclined to try, all bodily attention is needed for learning the physical skill. But if mother says "be careful, you may fall," as is in fact true, the child who listens is then required to divide his attention between heeding the advice and the challenges of learning to keep balanced at the same time--a double challenge when either one is more than enough, and advice which tends to backfire or become a "self-fulfilling prophecy." Split-minded thusly, the odds of falling are increased; then, to put icing on the cake, what mother can avoid saying further, "See, I told you to be careful. You need to listen to your mother"?" What she rarely sees is how, in the interests of physical safety which are truly practical, she has set up a situation that undermines a child's natural learning process (how to stay balanced, coordinating muscles and movements). The child who listens, as I did, is hindered both in learning bodily coordination at critical times of development, as well as not learning how to more safely "take risks" and thus prepare for a life long male trait.
Concurrently, the "good boy" is tempted to learn more about dependency of mother's advice than on his own internal bodily directives; conversely, the "bad boy," one who rebels and disobeys his mother, is set up to take excessive risks which also invite attention away from bodily learning and into consciously rebelling against "being told what to do." In either case, the boy loses.
Be careful messages, in all their diverse forms, which are perhaps always well intended and truly relevant information, are, at least for a boy, also extremely dangerous, tempting him to turn away from what I believe to be one of the most critical elements in masculinity itself. It is impossible, I think, to be a "good man" without embracing the innate male inclination/capacity for taking chances, being, literally, a comfortable "risk taker." Since girls' agendas are radically different in regard to reproductive success, these messages are functional in feminine training (even if equally dangerous for learning bodily coordination); but not so for boys.
The boy who heeds these common motherly
directives in more than an act to please her, that is, the one who takes them into
himself, into his mode of living, is beginning, I think, the sacrifice of his own balls.
"Balls" are partially about risk-taking, not being-careful. Physical survival
certainly calls for massive care-full-ness in all physical arenas; but this literal
"taking care" in specific movements is to be sharply distinguished from the
familiar stance of "being careful" or "not taking risks." The first is
essential for living, but the second comes, I conclude, at the cost of a boy's balls.
This second familiar motherly directive certainly has many components. I focus here on those related to aggression--to assertiveness, fighting, getting mad (being angry), overt selfing (actively insisting on getting what one wants), in contrast with the opposite: being peaceful, passive, patient, and non-aggressive. If maleness is anything, it is aggressive; Y chromosomes, though comparatively weak in comparison to X's, do instill the "fighting instinct," the urge to assert, extend, force oneself, take and keep territory, seek diligently to secure "one's own way." The male erection, important in reproduction, the "hard on," the inclination, nay, the drive, to insert, to "poke it in," to penetrate, to forcibly enter, is both literal and symbolic of male nature.
To "be a man" is, as best I can tell, to be aggressive. It is this inherent trait of masculinity, Y chromosome induced I conclude, which is so at risk in the face of directives about "being nice." We good boys err in trying to incorporate its opposite; bad boys err in converse ways, namely, by exaggerating its power and ignoring the legitimate elements in "niceness."
Passivity--waiting, being patient and non-aggression, "nice," is indeed relevant in feminine agendas. Beginning at the ovum level, waiting for the sperm is the only real female possibility, just as aggressively trying to "get there" is a sperm's only chance for survival; and so it is with most other successful female and male stances. Femininity is best served in nearly all arenas by "being nice" ("sugar and spice and all things nice"); but masculinity eventually loses in most all situations past mother's approval when it fades into niceness, giving up its tendencies toward aggression.
Along with risk-taking, aggression is perhaps the most natural, ingrained, and essential characteristic of successful masculinity. The boy who sacrifices his contact, his self-identification, with this aspect of maleness is certainly beginning the process of castration. The danger of the be nice messages ("Settle down," "Don't cause trouble," "Don't make waves," "Don't be selfish," "Don't hurt anyone," etc.) is that a boy cut himself off from this primal male characteristic in quest of pleasing mother or fitting in with social groups which are indeed disrupted by any form of conflict.
This socially useful and family functional
message in all its diverse forms can be extremely dangerous for a growing boy on the way
to manhood. To fit in with most social circumstances he must learn to "act
nice"; but if he also learns to "be nice" he has cut himself off
from an essential aspect of who, I think, all males are.
This spin-off from "be nice" is dangerous for males (though practical for females) because it reflects on the male urge to compete rather than cooperate, to win the sperm race rather than "being nice" to competing sperm, including those who bear them. Fighting, which is certainly disruptive for peaceful circumstances and is therefore a social as well as female value in other than war times, is but a necessary part of competing at its boundaries, when other tactics fail.
For sperm-bearers, being #1 is the only thing that counts at the sperm level, since all other sperm except the "winning," impregnating one, die soon thereafter. For males evolved to bear them, the genetic agenda is not a "win-win" situation, as females like to seek; rather it is "winner take all." Only one can win within the male genetic game--and then later in competing for territories, for keeping females, for remaining Numero Uno.
Females, in sharp contrast, are geared for cooperativeness rather than competition, since the ova which doesn't cooperate dies just as do the millions of sperm who don't "win" the sperm race. And later, with ova-bearers, the same agenda of cooperating with other females remains a gender virtue as well as a social value in peace times. The point: females be themselves through cooperating; males don't. Only through being willing to fight and able to win, does maleness have a chance of success. Hence, for a boy to learn to fight, to practice fighting, and to engage in fights in order to win his place, are all essential in becoming one's-male-self. Even if the trait is dangerous and disruptive to females as well as society in general, still it remains a critical part of being a genetically good boy.
Whenever a boy succumbs to the female
message, don't fight, an element of his balls is at stake--not simply by
"minding his mother," but if he separates his sense-of-himself from his fighting
DON'T GET MAD
Related to these two male traits, competition and fighting, is the emotion of anger. The biological condition essential for bodily preparation to compete to win is the feeling we have come to call "getting mad," or angry. This "urge to kill," to outdo the competition, to destroy the enemy, is, ideally speaking, accompanied by anger. Without these feelings a male is ill prepared to compete with the diligence often required for success.
Anger or "getting mad" is the normal, evolved emotion accompanying aggression. Successful aggression--winning the ovum, the territory, the "game" of life, is fueled, we might say, by anger. Without this power-filled and power-producing emotion, aggression lacks what is required for the challenges of success.
The point: when a boy falls for the popular female, social, and religious message: "Don't get mad," or, "be nice" and "don't feel that way," then he is at male risk of losing an essential part of his masculine self, his balls, that is.
Physiologically speaking, feelings of anger and fear are but opposite ends of the same emotional spectrum. On the one hand, one gets angry; on the other, he becomes afraid. For success in all male endeavors, fear, the opposite side of anger, is the grandest enemy. Few if any of a boy's agendas surpass the necessity of "overcoming fear" or learning to stand fear without running away, on the way to manhood. With females, where this don't get mad message commonly originates, the opposite is the case--that is, femininity is not served well by anger; and females survive and succeed better when in conscious contact with the emotion of fear, which prepares one for "fleeing" rather than "fighting." The retiring, patient, fearful female is more likely to succeed in her agendas than is the aggressive, impatient, angry one; consequently, that females, for themselves, learn to be afraid rather than "get mad" is reasonable.
But not so for males. The boy who falls for
the female/social/religious message, don't get mad, is risking his balls. Of
course, controlling anger, "using it" practically rather than rashly without
thought, is another male agenda; but first we need, if we are ever to become real men with
balls, to consciously accept and embrace this emotional capacity for overt anger.
DON'T SHOW OFF
"Cockiness," a good, though female judged, metaphor implying penis display in displaced forms, is a needed masculine trait. Male power exits primarily in display or show rather than in actual BTU's of energy, either potential or kinetic--that is, masculine dominance is achieved not so much by physical fighting, except in emergencies, as by "showing off." The pea-cocking phenomenon, "showing off what we have," is biologically functional for males, including us so-called "higher animals," (birds of a different feather) both for successful achieving with other males (getting and keeping resources and territory) and with females also.
Males, to avoid the risks of losing a fight, which could include one's life, learn to appraise the strength of other males by "how they look" first--that is, by appearances, displays which are indicative of actual prowess. "Lower" male animals rarely kill each other, but rather maintain their spaces by various displays of power. Likewise have "lower" female animals learned to appraise male endowments (powers and resources for security-provision ) by male displays. Consequently, males who succeed, either with other males or with females, learn the arts of pea-cocking, of "showing off" wisely (their strengths with males, their strengths and resources with females).
Certainly many discretions are required for artful display rather than unwise revelations. Too much "cockiness" backfires; too little invites attack or rejection, both with other males and with females; but "just enough" is essential for male success, and is, I think, an evolved part of male capacity. We must eventually learn discretion; but first comes cockiness itself--being able to stand and display oneself, to risk exposure of finer attributes, to be open and "out front."
Femininity, again in sharp contrast, is best served by coyness rather than cockiness, by "dropping the handkerchief" (eyelids, head, etc.,) rather than by "showing off" how well she can pick it up on her own. If the aggressive male wins best by displaying strength, the submissive female wins best by displaying weakness; he by overstatement, she, by understatement. He pretends to be more powerful than he probably is; she to be more needy than she actually is.
So far, so good, evolutionally speaking; the system works. But when a boy, succumbing to female values, loses his capacity--that is, his conscious contact with the pragmatic masculine trait of displaying himself for purposes of power, then another critical element of his balls is at risk. Again, the danger is not the act of playing coy with display, as females do, but truly separating one's-male-self from inclinations to "cockiness," cutting one's self off from being capable of "showing off."
"Feelings" of pride and shame are the common names (not the spiritual states with the same names) for these two stances. Males, being themselves, "feel proud" of their powers and endowments, while female "feelings" are more akin to "shame,"--that is, display of prowess is more like pride, while display of coyness is more like shame.
Consequently, messages about "not
showing off," or, "not being proud of yourself," may be socially and
religiously consistent, as well as pragmatic for females; but the same memes are dangerous
for boys who take them to heart.
DON'T BE SEXY
This message is so socially ingrained, so much a part of our current social structures, that it functions as a powerful meme, comparable to a bodily gene. It "goes without saying." Beginning with the unwritten and thus unnecessary to be stated "incest taboo," there is also an unvoiced message to all children, "Don't be sexy," at least overtly. However, the success of our evolved social systems based on repressed sexuality need not prevent looking at some of the personal dangers associated with these memes.
Relevant here is the fact that the prevailing socio/religious messages about sex are more functional to femininity than to masculinity. The disparity between the number of male sperm (billions) generated by any single male and the number of usable ova (420?) in a female is indicative of this difference in potential "sexiness" (overt sexuality) between men and women. The issue, to be literal, is not sexuality itself, but rather its overt or covertness. Evolution has occurred in such a manner that overt male sexiness ("thinking about sex," "doing sexy things,") is, pragmatically speaking, far more essential, a part of "the way things are," than is obvious female sexuality.
In general terms, femininity is best served by coyness about sex as well as most else, by covert sexual behaviors, by pretending to be chaste (virginic), and subject to sexual possession by a single male; but not so for masculinity. Masculine success only comes through "hards"--erections which are obvious, rather than through "softs"--receptive genitals; and so with male sexuality in general.
Early sexual messages, made more powerful because they are so ingrained in society as to go relatively unstated in families, are consequently less dangerous for females than for males (given the difference in success by coyness rather than assertiveness). The shame commonly associated with "playing with yourself" (beginning to become personally responsible for sexual satisfactions) is certainly dangerous for both genders insofar as personal salvation is concerned; but more so, I think, for males than for females. Male "cockiness" in general (outward displays for brokering power) is most primally rooted before the metaphor is even possible--that is, in the cock or penis itself.
A man needs, I think, indeed must be able, to "be proud" rather than ashamed of his penis, including its erectile capacities, before he can become his masculine self. All social messages which invite him to the opposite place, to being ashamed of his male organ, his genitals, of playing with himself, and certainly of having erections and being overtly sexual in practice, come at risk of an essential element of masculinity. The pragmatics of social shame, which can be useful for females as a stance if not a feeling, can be disastrous for maleness which requires bringing sexuality into consciousness before a man can be successful as a male as well as social member.
There is a joke about a mother who opens the door to find her son masturbating, but quickly retreats, closing the door and saying, "Oh, I thought your were finished." What makes the joke is the near universal impossibility of its ever happening. First, what mother has ever affirmed a boy's "playing with himself," let alone consciously respected and participated in supporting events of masturbating? What a delightfully amusing thought! Mine, and I think, nearly all other sons' experiences with sex, certainly with females beginning with mother, are exactly the opposite. Sex, surely any overt sexuality, is cause for hiding, shame, and guilt, not affirmation, support, or pride.
The near universal (as best I can tell) male "inferiority feelings" about the size of our sexual organs is less about early comparisons with our fathers organs than about the common suppression of male sexuality itself, beginning with infantile erections and early "playing with ourselves." We may learn quite well to fit in with a sexually repressed society, but at cost of fitting in with our own genetics.
When a boy succumbs to the siren messages of
memes, mothers, or religions to don't be sexy ( don't play with yourself, don't
be proud of your penis, don't be attracted to your mother or sisters, don't try to touch
girls (to be sexual with them)--to don't be cocky, literally, then manhood
becomes an impossibility. The messages are good for learning social conformity, for
training in suppression and denial which make emasculated maleness easy to live out--but
still the cost.
DON'T GET DIRTY
"Cleanliness is next to godliness;" so goes a familiar social meme and female virtue. Cleanliness, rather than dirtiness, is certainly functional for social groups, for protection of all against wandering germs, and for the intricacies of female hygiene; it is pragmatic in conception, pregnancy, and child rearing in general. But not necessarily so for masculinity, either in its necessary competitions, fighting, struggles for power, and certainly not for its sexual pursuits. "Dirtiness" in common parlance means far more than absence from literal dirt; "down and dirty," for instance, means much more than "don't wash yourself."
The widespread identification of sexy and dirty gives the near universally accepted dogma (religious as well as social and female) that cleanliness and godliness are almost synonymous extremely dangerous implications in regard to maleness.
Most female type endeavors--from tending to menstrual periods, to dressing oneself, to keeping house, do indeed find cleanliness to be virtuous. But not so with most male-intensive activities. From learning to compete, to fight, to make war--with making love in between, maleness is, when push comes to shove, better served by both "getting dirty" in the "nitty gritty" activities of boys, and by "getting down and dirty" in the overt wonders of making love. When it comes to cleanliness, the old saying needs revision: "cleanliness is next to goddess-ness (female virtue)," but not necessarily to be associated with pure masculinity.
The harder a male strives to "be clean," the less likely he is to "be male." He may, thereby, achieve mother approval, and female compliment in general; but if "down and dirty" goes with the coming of "clean and upright" then a woman is more likely to get a wimp than a real man.
The point: DON'T GET DIRTY may be
good social and female advice; but boys are equally well advised to be wary when
confronted with the option of absorbing such directives past the surface of clothes and
skin. To "wash our hands before eating" and "stay clean" for germ
avoidance as well as female compliments is certainly practical for male learning in social
groups. But to go the next step and identify cleanliness with male virtue,
and certainly with God, is to risk a critically important masculine attribute, namely, to
get physically dirty in pursuit of male goals, including "down and dirty" in
DON'T TALK BACK
Or, "Don't sass your mother," or, "Do as I say and don't ask questions," or, "Children are to be seen and not heard." These messages boil down to: "Don't think for yourself." "Let your mother do your thinking."
Past muscles and physical strength, man's peculiar type of think-ability, of focused mental activity, is his greatest source of power. Males have evolved, perhaps through eons of practice at hunting game for food, the mental capacity for focused thought, for conscious aim-ability. This unique type of thinking requires emotional control and exclude-ability. First, one must cut himself off in some measure from awareness of feelings, primarily of deep brain reactions to threat and danger. The major emotion for this type of self protection is fear. Perhaps more than all else, males have evolved the capacity to overcome fear, to move in the face of danger without dictation by this primal emotional capacity.
The second requirement of focused thought or aim-ability is the capacity for excluding data which is apparently unrelated to the chosen goal at hand, such as, hunting game. All sights, sounds, smells--sense data, which does not fit in or support the focused goal is ignored in this type of thinking. It is like train-track mental movement, singleness of vision, movement in one direction only, undistracted or diverted by information which is "off track" or "not on the subject" at hand.
Perhaps the statistically smaller corpus callosum, the connecting link between right and left hemispheres of the brain, in men is one result (or the way itself) of male's long history of evolving focused thought abilities. However it happens, males can generate power through this type of mental functioning which is also called "being reasonable," "logical," or, "making sense of things."
In an overall sense, it seems to require or at least utilize consciousness more than nonsciousness (unconscious or right brain knowledge). When men are using this particular type of thought ability they are being more conscious of discrete bits of information and less attuned to deeper motivations such as emotions and human desires. Thinking thusly, we can in effect, forget ourselves and "get lost" in a pursuit at hand.
The downside, obviously (at least to most women, I suspect), is that focused thinking (man's "one-track mind," to women), though power effective, is also very limiting in scope. While it is extremely functional for certain types of human endeavors, such as, hunting, winning, tool making, technology, and other goal-focused movements, it is severely limited in an overall sense. In most arenas of life, goals are less relevant than other immediate issues such as, relating to fellow humans, rearing children, and making love vs. fucking only. While caught up in this type of mental activity, one is also less in contact, even less aware, of the wealth of human emotions normally evoked by life circumstances. Right brain type thinking, the dark knowledge which we have acquired through long history, mediated through "feelings," "guts," intuition, and the "sixth sense," is largely ignored when a man is devoted to left brain type focused thought.
And of course, as all women know, men face and usually fall for the fallacious notion that logic is better than feeling, that "right thinking" is the kind men do and women "hardly think at all." The fact is, I believe, that woman's thought power far exceeds, in an overall sense, that of man. Women can, literally, think circles around the limited mode of man's "logical thinking." The major reason "you can never win an argument with a woman" is not her sexual powers but rather her expansive mental powers which include logic, but are not so limited; they also include rapid and fuller contact with all the ancient knowledge now ingrained and mediated through the right brain or so called "feelings."
But the relevant point here is not the dangers or limitations of male type focused thinking, or even our long history of erroneously judging it to be "best" or the only kind of "real thinking." Rather it is the natural power which is inherent in its utilization, and the temptation to give it up in quest of Mother's Smile. The simple, common, and socially pragmatic advice of fathers and mothers, namely, "Don't talk back to me," invites the deeper danger of stopping the kind of thinking which most often leads to "talking back" or stating contrary opinions aloud in the presence of the functioning gods and goddesses.
Learning to "be quiet" and hold personal thoughts in private is, of course, immensely pragmatic in learning to become a separate person--a self in the presence of other selves. But the danger to boys is that we fall for the pragmatic advice and nip the risks of "talking back" in the bud of focused thinking--that is, that we sacrifice this source of male power which is a critical part of what I metaphor as balls. Aimed-thinking, which logically weighs immediate data, excludes "feelings," and ignores apparently contradictory information is, past muscular strength, a primal element in man's power arsenal.
In the presence of such directives as DON'T
TALK BACK, a boy runs the risk of going the next step in suppressing not only speech,
but more dangerously, his capacity for focused thought itself. When so, a major part of
his balls go with his acquiescing "good" behavior.
These and many other familiar types of parental advice to boys are obviously practical and needed in essential parental endeavors, such as, maintaining functional family circumstances and supplying physical protections and directions aimed at growing healthy children. Their practicality in these regards is beyond question. At issue here, however, is the often unrecognized danger, particularly to boys, of falling for these messages past the behavioral level only--that is, of "taking them to heart," of attempting not merely to act in these ways, but to be in accord with them. This requires a boy to cut off his sense-of-himself, his identification with critically important masculine capacities, in order to become such a "good boy."
Or, if he takes the opposite course, rebelling rather than giving in, the result is often the same or worse. Caught up in disobeying rather than obeying, being "bad" rather than "good," his energies may be consumed in "acting out (being dictated in reverse, but still directed by the advice)" rather than in acquiescing; in either case, conscious contact, self-identified awareness with these limited, given male capacities, is broken whether by denial or exaggeration. The hen-pecked husband and the macho male, for examples, are equally left ball-less, cut off from effective utilization of our limited-to-begin-with masculine options. Our XY disadvantages can ill afford such loses if we are to survive spiritually and live well with women, let alone come to love ourselves and them.
While each of these messages is more fitted for female direction, guiding girls in paths which are indeed pragmatic in extended success in female agendas, their dangers to boys call, I believe, for serious attention. I have, I realize in retrospect, fallen in various degrees for all of them. The difficulty and resistance I have faced in writing these words has been rooted, I think, in the challenges of becoming conscious and responsible for my own sacrifices made at the altar of female approval.
Here I focus on specific memes which I now recognize as operative in male spiritual abuse. First, however, I want to remember that I am only trying to see the social forces more clearly, not to judge them. This is not about whether these memes are good or bad, certainly not about blaming them or excusing men for socially deplorable behavior which may arise from male genes. Rather it is about seeing, so that both men and women can relate more reasonably, less reactively, to inclinations under social assault.
Recognizing memes is easier when the male genes which they confront are acknowledged first. My premises are: 1) male sexuality genes, and the power which they generate, are critically essential in personal and social well-being, as well as reproductive success. 2) almost all natural expressions of these genes-male inclinations, sans consciousness, sexually related behavior, is discordant with prevailing social norms. They are "anti social" in the sense of running counter to values which have evolved for group survival and success.
This is in sharp contrast with female genetic drives which conversely are most all well suited for productive social behavior. When females "do what comes naturally," they are likely candidates for social approval and success, all "without thinking." But males who simply act on their instincts "without thinking" will predictably land in jail. Instincts, which for her may result in award for Mother Of The Year, for him might well lead to Criminal Of The Decade. If women "think (function consciously)," their social success may be hindered; but unless men do, failure in society is almost certain. The same automatic pilot which is good for girls, is, socially speaking, bad for boys.
Point: I note these likelihoods not to play
"Poor Little Me," but unless both males and females are aware of these
differences many unnecessary conflicts are predictable, not the least of which are
unwitting female judgments ("bad mouthing") of men, and unwarranted male guilt
over god-given instincts. Normal femininity is a social asset, but corresponding
masculinity is a liability in group functioning. Maleness, unfortunately, gets a "bad
shake" in society.
If, as I note, male sexual genes are socially dangerous, predictably memes have evolved to curtail them. This is my summary observation: the most pervasive, weightier, immediately operative, and fiercely condemning of all memes--of which there are multitudes, are directed against natural male sexual instincts and their related behaviors, such as competition and aggression.
In summary, the specific memes I now focus on are in mass repressive; they are not only non-supportive, but fiercely rejective of natural urges inherent in every little boy and powerfully operative in all masculine men. Again, not bad, but operative. In the big picture they are ultimately positive; society as we know it would not, I conclude, have evolved without them. If either male sexual genes or their anti-memes had to be sacrificed, we would, I surmise, all fare better by sharp reduction of masculinity rather than curtailing the memes.
Some of the major arenas of social life where memes are repressive of male traits and supportive of corresponding female genetic attributes are:
1. OVERT VS. COVERT
First there is the broad, overarching meme against any overt sexuality in society. Covert sex is far less threatening in group circumstances (peacock vs. peahen; penis vs. vagina; showing vs. hiding). Society is sexually repressive for both genders, but the differing natures of peacocks vs. hens is negative for males and positive for females. Memes are less about sex itself, as about hiding it, keeping it under cover, in the dark--covert rather than overt. It is socially okay to be sexual, as long as you "don't act like it," "let on," or move from covert to overt.
Just as peacock-like showing is associated with bad pride or vanity, and peahen-like hiding with good humility and unselfishness, so with male and female sexuality. Her natural "in the dark" mode is far more socially acceptable than his "mirrors on the ceiling," lights on, natural approach to the subject of sex itself.
2. SEEING VS. HIDING
Then there are memes against visual display and supportive of hiding. Examples include: pornography vs. romance; Playboy vs. Danielle Steele; Hustler vs. Cosmopolitan; Playboy Channel vs. Home and Garden TV; Penthouse vs. House Beautiful.
Just as being sexual in the light is more socially unacceptable than sex in the dark, so seeing sexually related material--female bodies, seductive activities, having sex, etc., is more subject to social repression than is romance and home improvements.
3. TOUCHING OPPOSITE GENDER
Little boys as naturally want to touch little girls--and big girls, as much as little girls and big ones too "don't care," generally, to either touch or be touched, certainly not with any sexual implications; perhaps hugging or "innocent affection," is meme favored, but only if safely distanced from any seductive implications.
4. SELF TOUCHING
The nature of male masturbation in comparison with female sexual pleasure is sharply different. Boys have nerve endings focused on an exposed penis head, whereas more pervasive female pleasure centers may be focused in the clitoris, but are far more bodily diverse; so with male and female pleasure itself; we simply "are pleased" in distinctly different ways. The very "things" (touch included) which naturally please males are more likely to be naturally repulsive to females, even organ touch--penis vs. vagina.
Both genders confront "don't play with yourself (touch genitals pleasurably)," but for boys with evident, easy to touch penises (essentially every time we pee) vs. get peed on if do touch "self" in girls. The fact that genital touching inevitably puts girls in possible contact not only with urine, but also with blood related to periods, while boys have freedom to touch genitals without "dirty" possibilities, must tend to make female masturbation via genital touching even more unlikely.
Also the mechanics of penis touching, it being exposed, vs. clitoris touching, with its intimate connections with urine and blood, must radically change the event of self-pleasing, especially in cultures where pee and periods are considered "dirty."
But the import of the meme is far more pervasive and repressive for boys who want to "play with themselves" and girls with less urge to touch themselves because the whole nature of sex is more pervasive and attentive to security than focused on orgasm.
Its also harder for girls to play with their
5. IMAGE POWER
Males naturally rush to concepts and focus on ideas vs. feelings; on notions vs. emotions. We are evolved for killing game, being reasonable, and technology in general (weapon making, primarily); but such focusing--on game or ideas, is endangered by images. Males tend therefore to try to "get past images (their power)" and on to ideas, to rush from Step 2 to Step 3 in the Creative Process. Females, with less need for focus, more for diverse attention, linger longer and become far more comfortable with, and embracing of, power inherent in images. Meanwhile males rush forward, but are consequently left vulnerable to powers of images, especially female images.
End result: females are comfortable with what males are threatened by. Goddess images are commonly repressed and replaced with a single God image. Then "idolatry" which is any image in front of ("before") image-less (nothing there) male god, becomes "evil."
Finally, female comfort, indulgence, and practice with images leads to utility, while male denial, discomfort, rejection leads to vulnerability.
End result: invisible personal power generated in gonads is projected on female images, specifically, tits and ass, which then "turn us on/off," or so we think. Security, the female sexual value, is far less subject to projection in male images, and far more dispersed into real male qualities, well below or past images, such as, true strength, "personality," confidence, wealth, power, and love, rather than in mere pretty images, like peacock tails (male show-offs). These displays are more likely to be seen as "vanity" or signs of a "fragile male ego" than being truly appealing. While males try to "turn on" females by "showing off," females, far more focused on deeper qualities, are more likely to be "turned off" by such displays.
6. PRETTY GIRLS
While memes allow, support, and almost demand that females engage in creating and perpetuating images which appeal to male gene eyes--"pretty," young, exaggerated breasts, titillating exposures of cleavage, legs, thighs, asses, amplifying by show, materials which display body, etc, they at the same time mitigate against any natural male reaction to same. Ogling, let alone touching, acknowledging any arousal thereby or any overtly sexual (counter seduction) actions in response, are strongly condemned.
She can do everything to tempt through
visible images, amplifying her sexual qualities to a male, making avoidance near
impossible, but he, with dangerous consequences, better not acknowledge any natural
7. GENE EYE OBJECTS
What guys are geared to look for, namely,
sex rather than security, is generally considered "obscene" in society. In
contrast, what gals are geared to look for is socially acceptable, even socially supported
while what guys want to see is socially condemned. It is okay for girls to scope for what
their genes want, but far less so for boys. Girls can drool over evidences of security,
but conversely ogling males, e.g., on tits and ass, is predictably problematic.
8. FIDELITY VS. FOOLING AROUND
Fidelity is about being faithful vs. fooling around; true to one vs. drawn to many; roving eye vs. only have eyes for you. Females scope, as do males, but once successful, female genes are better served by amplifying (supporting) their present man than by seeking another; not so for husbands who, once a potential conceiver is in the fold, time, according to genes, to begin scoping again--even on the honeymoon.
Monogamy serves both genders in the long run, but polygamy is more attuned to natural masculinity; herd or harem fits our genes better than single mate or nuclear family.
LOOKS AND LOOKING
Memes related to these two primary biological functions are vastly different. Although each must have genetically evolved in intimate correlation with the other, since they are functionally interrelated and inter-dependent on each other, the related memes are in sharp contrast. In general, memes related to looks are all positive, while memes related to looking are negative.
On the genetic level, before the evolution of consciousness and the possibility of memes, both looks and looking must have been functional partners in a sensual dance designed to facilitate an eventual union of the two. Females, some-genetic-how, "learned" to attract males by "looking good," while males, in the same process, "learned" to scope for "good looking females" in their shared Drama of Reproduction. In these primal times, I surmise, when no human judgment was yet possible, each role in the process which guaranteed genetic continuation--the female role of attracting-by-looks and the corresponding male role of looking-for-attractions, were simply utilitarian opposites which evolved together because they worked.
For sex as a means of reproduction to work, some system of getting Y and X chromosome-bearers together was necessary. The "chemistry" of attracting/attraction somehow evolved. Y-bearers came to look for X-bearers who came to look good to Y-bearers; or, X-bearers learned that they could attract Y-bearers by looking good, while Y-bearers were evolving "gene eyes" for picking the best lookers.
However it happened, the results are more certain. For success in our shared Drama of Reproduction, females in time have come to focus on looks as a functional means of attracting males, who, conversely, have developed focused vision for looking in the corollary part of the same process. Females now, we might say, "try to look good" so males will "take a good look," or, males "try to take a good look" so they can find the "best looking (most desirable)" female, for cooperation in the process which is equally important to both.
Comparing evolutionary skills, females have perfected arts of "looking good," while males have developed skills in "goodly looking." In colloquial terms, "women are good looking" and "men are good lookers." Females are skillful in attracting-by-looks and males are artists in looking-for-lookers, that is, in discriminating female beauty (on the basis of reproductive possibilities). And we have evolved these complementary artistries because they work in our opposite but complementary roles in reproduction. "Opposites attract," as we say.
Conversely, for clarity, the opposites do not work as well. Females who try to succeed by ignoring their looks in favor of scoping good looking males are as likely to fail as are males who try to find conceive-able females by being passively attractive rather than by active looking. Of course some use of vision (literal seeing) is important in each contrasting role; but what is minimal for females is maximum for males, and vice versa. Females may slyly look, but the more successful ones major of on "looking good" and minor on looking. Males, in contrast, may properly give minimal attention to their looks, but the more successful ones focus more on looking than on their personal looks.
Also, females who are successful in self-replication must "go by" much more than appearance in their selection of a mate, since security is far more relevant in their long term role in child rearing in addition to conception (sex) only. Male values in this same process can be more easily discerned by appearances--that is, sexy signs are easier to determine by vision than are security clues. A "good looking" man may be desirable, but a "good providing" man who is capable of long-term security is far more critical for female success. Hence other factors, vaguely called "personality" or "tenderness," or more directly recognized in wealth, are more relevant than looks alone for potential mothers. But on the other hand, potential fathers are, understandably, more able to discern qualities essential for "baby-making" by looks alone. "Personality" and "brains" are nice, but "good looks" are genetically weighted far more heavily. Even "dumb blonds" who are pretty have greater chances of success with males than ugly "smart girls" with "good personalities."
The point: in the long course of evolution, somehow looks have evolved as the greatest female power in the primal Drama of Reproduction, while, conversely, looking has become the best way males have yet found for finding conceive-able females. We may or may not like the system, and many, no doubt, wish that it were different; but who can argue with the fact that it has surely evolved accordingly, and that it has worked for a long time.
So far, so good.
But here the rub begins in regard to my subjects of memes and male spiritual abuse. While genes seem to be equally accepting and certainly non-judgmental about either role, male or female, or these modes of getting together via looks and looking, later evolved memes have been far less fair in their evaluations. Ancient genes which support and tolerate each equally are now confronted with Johnny-Come-Lately memes which are highly prejudiced in their appraisals. In sharp contrast with accepting genes, present memes only smile favorable on the female role in the shared drama, while coming down harshly on the long-evolved male mode.
Looks and all the related activities are highly accepted and socially supported, while looking, if it ever moves past covert operation, is strongly rejected and even criminally punishable in certain cases. When females "do what comes naturally" in effecting their role in the Reproductive Drama, namely, try as hard as they can to look as good as they can, they are apt to be socially rewarded, certainly not punished. But if males are equally diligent in "following their natural bent" in overtly looking for the best lookers, they are at best frowned on in society, and at worst, put in jail.
"Beautifying" of self and surroundings, trying to make one's face, body, clothing, and all possessions as attractive as possible through make-up, dress, shopping, and buying adornments, is of course an intimate part both of social and economic life. No put downs here. But "ogling," "scoping," and "leering,"--all common terms for obvious looking are inherently judgmental. Each is socially "bad." "Don't stare" is an unwritten social law, especially at those who are most attractive. Other activities related to looking, like shopping is related to looks, such as, pornography and Peeping-Tom-ism, are not only socially "impolite," but often illegal and subject to arrest and criminal punishment.
There are, of course, other reasons for laws against pornography and "Peeping Toms," such as, "invasion of privacy," and inviting "unseemly elements" into a community, just as there are good economic reasons for supporting shopping--but the fact remains: looks and related social activities get good press by memes, while looking and corresponding activities are almost all judged harshly.
All judgment aside, it may well be that looks and its accompanying activities are in fact socially useful while looking and its means are truly dangerous for society, hence leading to the evolution of memes which are pro-looks and anti-looking. But even if so for society, my subject here is the potential spiritual dangers for individual males who are born and grow up in the midst of these powerful forces which favor natural female instincts while judging corresponding male urges as bad. Girls who but follow their inclinations to "be pretty," plus doing all that such beauty requires, receive consistent social support, while boys who follow their complementary genetic directives "to stare," et al, can expect no corresponding affirmation; indeed, unless they do so privately and with much deception, they will predictably be "put down on" if not rejected. The same mothers who support and train their daughters in "looking good," are more likely to undermine and even punish their sons if they are "caught (implying guilt for doing wrong)" taking good looks, as through key-holes or in stolen copies of Playboy.
IMAGES OF WOMAN
Perhaps I only confess; certainly I do confess here my own experience, but I think I also portray human history and the common lot of individual males today. Since I do not know, however, I pose this as but a theory which does accurately project my own knowledge on to mankind plus men-as-I-know-us today.
My "theory" is this: Men fear images in general because they are always more powerful than concepts and hence detract us from the difficult male challenge of "staying focused" on specific self-chosen goals--such as, hunting in days of old. When we do not "stay focused in our thinking" we are apt to be drawn back into emotional directives associated with images. Learning to "suppress emotions ('big boys don't cry')" in favor of "being reasonable," a familiar boy-directive in our society, is at heart about avoiding the powers evoked when images "come to mind."
While females tend to remain comfortable and largely operative from the image stage of human experience (Stage 2), males rush past this power-packed phase and into conceiving (Stage 3). Male religions have been primarily, I surmise, about this historical and present move so common with masculinity. We attempt to suppress powerful images by creating an image-less God, and then making it a sin to let any image (called "idol") come into mind or hand "before" the un-seeable God, which we imaged ("imagined") to begin with as an escape from real images.
But if we fear and run from images in general, we are doubly so with images of woman. Images themselves, being more moving than ideas, are dangerous to our attempts to "stay focused," but images of woman must be the most moving of all our images. The oldest "figurines"--clay images, I found in the museums of Crete and Greece were of female shapes. Generally they were small, hand-sized models of robust and voluptuous women, much as a boy might view his mother in early life.
I theorize that these images were fashioned by males in ancient matriarchal times before periods of male ascendency when feminine power was being successfully suppressed. Back before it became "bad" to "hold images," as in "practicing idolatry," I imagine that boys and men were simply "doing what comes naturally," namely, making tangible, hold-able, representatives of real present powers personified in powerful women. Perhaps they represent male's first attempts to "hold femininity" rather than being ruled or determined by it. I doubt that they were as much about "worship," as we commonly project back on to the pages of history, as about the simple delight which males normally take in responding to images of femininity.
They were, I speculate, more like ancient "pornography" without any judgment attached. Being able to walk around all day "holding" the image of a well-breasted, full-hipped woman must have been the next best thing to staying at mother's breast for a boy, or fondling a girl's breasts for a man. I imagine (make images of my own) that males would still do the same thing today if powerful memes were not now present to suppress our awareness of "female idols." The fun of ogling and looking at images, as in Playboy type magazines, would simply be expanded, I hypothesize, into more tangible forms, such as, ancient "figurines," were it not for repressive social forces.
In summary: I think that of all the images which men fear, as reflected in the genesis of male-oriented religions and every boy's "ancient" history since, images of woman must be the most powerful and "dangerous." In particular, these images focus on massive feminine forms, such as, huge hips and pendulous breasts as mother's body must be recognized by infants, and on voluptuous ("sexy") female shapes, as are "turn ons" for older boys and men.
The powers experienced in regard to female images may be analyzed into two major categories, the same two genetic imperatives which move us all, namely, survival and reproduction, staying alive and self-replication, being "selfish" and "sexy." The earliest and most primal powers experienced and hence imaged around the female body must be at times when all food, protection, care, and love are centered at mother's "huge" breasts and in her warm lap and arms. Perhaps even pre-natal "memories" (more bodily than mental) of womb are combined with "enfolding" experiences of lap/arms/breasts in evoking images about all that is essential for survival in early life.
Then, as our second strongest instincts for reproduction kick in, those parts of the female body which are associated with best odds for conception and baby-making are more likely to be imaged--namely, rounded pelvis for healthy pregnancy and rounded breasts for later nursing. What begins with images associated with survival is probably expanded into images (mostly the same) related to reproduction. The lap which once held us for comfort phases into the "pussy" which later invites us to pleasure; the breasts which once nourished our bodies now feed our fantasies. Together, "ass and tits" come to symbolize the fullest biological necessities and pleasures which are possible for us male creatures. Small wonder that images which reflect our two most powerful drives--for survival and reproduction, come to be viewed as the most powerful of all images.
And in the world where we must learn to "be focused" in order to survive, that is, to remain "goal oriented" rather than distracted by "emotions" (moved by images), it is predictable that we would come to fear most those images which most move us--namely, those of mother/woman. If all primal male activities may be summarized as "hunting for game" and "hunting for girls" (which are not, in practice, finally distinguishable), then "thinking about women (entertaining mental images)" becomes the worst distraction in the first, and the best, indeed essential, ingredient in the second. The same images which threaten us with defeat in the first types of endeavor impel us to success in the second.
Not surprisingly then, we become grandly ambivalent about the one most powerful set of images which so easily "come to mind." On the one hand they are our greatest enemy while engaged in male endeavors which require sharp mental focus (hunting, competing, winning, etc.). Who can think about making sterile money when images of "making" fertile girls come to mind? But on the other hand, when self-replication is the goal, sharp images of perfected female shapes become our grandest ally. Even wealth then, or other trophies, are distractions to "making love" instead of war or money.
Thus men who have dealt with the power of female images--and who in history hasn't, via suppression rather than creative encounter, are in constant danger of having our fragile sense of ourselves overturned by any wandering icon even vaguely reminiscent of comforting lap and nourishing breasts, not to mention provocative "tits and ass." Finally, insofar as raw power is concerned, given our long histories of denial, repression, and projection, plus ambivalence about our secret idolatries, we males are at eternal risk with images-in-general and images-of-woman in particular.
Small wonder that we have created religions and enacted laws to help with our suppressions, or that we become repressive if not abusive of those who threaten not only our male endeavors, but also our carefully constructed sense of ourselves (which so easily pass as "fragile egos"). The greater wonder will be a time when we--or any one of us, dare to face the scope of our denials, the ultimate futility of our "reasonable" efforts to cope with reality via fleeing icons, and finally return to honoring the images which truly and rightly move us.
Then, should such a time ever come, perhaps we will again be able to make and carry female "figurines" without shame or judgment, and even learn to love those we now so easily fear and adore.
IMAGES & GENDER
Reasons, as everyone knows, are relatively impotent in the face of ghosts. No amount of logic can erase the fear evoked by even a minor demon. This imbalance in power between concepts and images accounts for the fact that men fear images for the same reasons that women love them. Because males, with good reason, have come to major on Stage 3 of the Creative Process, trying to keep ourselves focused on concepts (game or goals), while females have, with equally good reason (I note my judgment of valuing reason even here!) tended to remain at Stage 2 imaging, we now find ourselves in conflict between the two.
Women love focusing on images as much as men love our attachments to "sense." Males value word ("keeping our word") as much as females value appearance (images of things). I, for instance, try to weigh all perceptions on the balance of reason before I even allow them into full awareness. I fear seeing that which I "can't make sense of"-that is, can't fit easily into my storehouse of prior reasoned data.
Ladies, I surmise, with equal regularity try to fit all their perceptual data in with their images--that is, their harmonious picture of reality, "things looking good." Conversely, when we men can't "make sense of things," we are in the same position as women who can't "make it look right (fit in with a harmonious whole picture)." Discordant images are as distasteful to women as discordant ideas are to men. Conversely, women live as easily with notions that don't fit as do men with, for instance, rooms out of balance or unmatched clothes.
On a deeper level, men are threatened by images which are inherently more powerful than any idea because they easily detract us from typical masculine agendas. They upset our reasonable applecarts! They "take us away" from chosen goals arising from our concepts; just, I imagine, as does "making sense" threaten women who are equally attentive to making harmonious appearances (images).
Finally, I generalize: men fear images and love ideas, while women fear ideas and love images. Men will do everything possible to keep our notions intact, just as women will make every effort to present a picture of themselves which is consistent with an inward sense of beauty.
We can never argue successfully because we are coming from these opposite perspectives: females are consistently trying to keep things "looking good (keeping their images of harmonious relationships intact)" while men who "don't care how things look" but are determined to "make sense of things," are equally determined to force women to "be reasonable." Which, of course, we can never do because pictures always matter more than concepts to primal female agendas.
Probably these differences evolved eons ago while men were hunters and women gatherers. The "whole picture" of where "everything was," that is, food supplies, herbs, as well as children, must have mattered as much to women as the single point--the game being sought, was to men who had to remain focused in order to kill. Healing, to take another agenda, was primarily the female role, while killing was designated to males. And healing is best accomplished with the "big picture" while slaying requires "small picture" focus.
Also, since Stage 2 precedes Stage 3, that is, because images are more primal than notions, along with their greater powers they are also emotionally (deep brain) rooted. That is, images and emotions are more closely connected in the body than are feelings and ideas. Emotions feed images while they undermine notions. If a man is to remain focused on any goal, such as an animal to be killed or fight to be won, he must carefully control his emotions lest they prevent his success in killing or winning; but at the same time a female can best improve her images (the appearance of things) when she is emotionally directed, when she "goes by her instincts" or makes things "feel right."
Thus the very emotions which support females in their primary mode undermine males in our basic stances. We try to be "unemotional" while women try to always "be feeling." We try to "not let our emotions get the best of us," while females seem, at least to us, to never let "sense" override "what feels right."
Thus, in the biggest picture, I summarize, males are as threatened by the power of images as females are resistant to the seductions of reason. We fear that which females love, while they love that which we fear.
And the conflict is never more focused or powerful as when the two forces--women and images, are combined. Of all the images we males fear/love, well past the academic idea of images-in-general, images of women are the most dangerous of all to our fragile "thinking." Nothing so easily distracts us from our self-chosen goals as power-packed female images, which themselves may be summarized as "pretty girls." "There is nothing you can name," the sailor well notes in South Pacific, "that is anything like a dame!"
Other than the inherent fact that females simply love images (appearances) for themselves alone ("they just make them feel good!"), no doubt the power which they wield with their presented images gives them an additional importance. The "way females look" to males is perhaps the greatest power they can ever wield. Small wonder they almost universally spend so much time, energy, and money on make up, clothing, and "how they look." Simply explained: because it works so well.
"Beauty," of course, to males analyzes down to "gene eyes" or clues to best odds of finest self-replication--that is, to signs of conceive-ability, best found in youth, health, sexiness, symmetry, etc. So, predictably, females strive diligently to perpetually present images of youthfulness, healthiness, sexual-desirability, etc. Images related to reproduction are also enhanced--perhaps even rooted in, those carried over from the womb or early infancy when "mother" was God. Images associated with self-survival are probably even more powerful than those related to self-replication; hence "mother" (female) images but add to the power of "pretty girl" images. Then, when they are combined, as they inevitably are (what boy can truly separate images of his female mother from those of his female girl friends? "I want a girl just like the girl who married dear old dad," pines in song a typical male who is more honest than most), female images with hints of both the goddess and a lover easily become a near omnipotent power in a male's world.
The typical male mode of dealing with images by rushing to concepts, "taking a cold shower" to "cool off" passions, and "trying not to get emotional" which is connected with imagery, backfires in time. We in effect leave ourselves more completely vulnerable to that which we try to avoid. I think that we will never move on to truly becoming reasonable, rather than simply using reason to evade the power of images, until we find the courage to return to our own image-level experience and truly grow up for the first time.
A more proper path in the long run, at least the one I am now trying to follow, is to stop fleeing the natural power of images by trying to use obviously fragile concepts to overcome them. Surely we all know that "what we see (images we hold)" are more innately more powerful than "what we think (notions we hold)." So, why not be reasonable in this larger sense of reason by ceasing unreasonable attempts to contain the more powerful by the less powerful? Why not, that is, return to Stage 2, see and accept the natural power of images, and try to embrace that innate emotional force within ourselves rather than "fighting city hall" by running from the very things which attract us the most?
Or, moving past my projections on to men-in-general, a more proper path for me seems to be this: First, to cease evading or belittling the powers which I obviously experience with images in general--in contrast with that of my ideas, and with female images in particular. I may try, and even accurately analyze the power of female images; but the larger issue is not "understanding (de-powering by reason)," but rather acknowledging (becoming more fully conscious) so that I have some capacity for withdrawing rather than fighting my projections.
I do not want to lose awareness of true power imbalances between the genders, nor to unreasonably value "sense" over "feeling," but rather to properly see "what I've already seen" (even if I don't like it!) and take it into account in my daily living. I want to regain awareness of my own imaging (my natural progress of experience from perception to images), so that I can embrace this innate power within myself, but also so I can recognize it more clearly when I encounter it in female images. Rather than simply fleeing and projecting, I want to stand honestly present, experiencing power however it manifests itself, and learn to withdraw my projections while I am owning my own images as mine alone.
Then, when true reason becomes possible--not just rationalization to evade powers which threaten me, I will de-code images, both mine and those which appear to me, and move on to honest concepts, that is, to being sensible as contrasted with using "making sense" to evade presence with images. While honoring images, I also want to be reasonable both about my natural attractions which I presume to be biologically ingrained, and about trying to force anyone else to either see or accept those which move me. In other words, I want to be reasonable while at the same time being as image-moved as I in reality am. I want to love the images I love without having to flaunt them or looking for outside affirmation of them.
I suppose I am saying, bottom line, that I now want to more fully become myself on the image level of experience as I have become on the concept level. Even if I have used conceiving to evade powers of imaging in the past, I did come to develop my thinking powers; now I want to establish more balance in my life by returning to the forces I have attempted to control through sense, and to embrace them when they are within while relating responsibly to them when they are without.
Image powers, here I come....
I return now to my attempt to become more consciousness of memes which I believe to support spiritual abuse of males. All these memes affect both genders, but I think that males suffer the most from them. They apply, in general, both to boys and girls; yet basic gender differences make them potentially more devastating to masculinity than to femininity. Also, even within the negative powers of these memes there are female advantages not present for males.
I also want to keep in mind that this focus is not about judging any memes to be inherently bad--as though we should attempt to do away with them; but only to try to see some of the possibly negative side effects which they may produce. As with medicines intended for one's overall best interests, one is also advised to be alert to undesirable side effects; so with these memes. My point is not to condemn them, since they must have been useful or they would not have survived so long; rather it is to try to see them clearly so I can relate more realistically to them, instead of simply reacting blindly.
Specifically, I explore further these memes:
incest memes; "privates" memes; vision memes; being-consciously-sexual memes;
touch memes; and talk memes.
The meme against family sex applies, of course, to all members of the family; both males and females are confronted with this prohibition which is so universal and powerful that it is seen (by those who dare look) as a "taboo." Yet its effects on males, I am beginning to see, is potentially more profound than on females for one obvious reason, namely, the extent of contact between mothers and children compared with that between fathers and children. Nine months of womb time plus countless hours of nursing at mother's breasts, being held in her arms, tended with her hands, and comforted with her kisses and love can never be approached with the minimal contact which even the most devoted of fathers has with his children.
If only womb time, compared with a few minutes (or seconds) of impregnation time, were involved, every child's physical contact with mother versus father would be unmatchable; but add the primary role of mothers in rearing children while fathers "go out and earn a living" and the occasions for sexual intimacy become even more disproportional. Furthermore, spin off memes related to touch (to be considered later) are supportive and tolerant for mothers with sons, but are harshly dangerous for fathers and daughters.
The summary result is that while sexuality between any family members other than father and mother is condemned by the incest meme, its effects on males is likely to be far more consequential. While boys are regularly, even intimately (as in nursing, bathing, kissing, etc.), in physical contact with mothers, girls remain relatively isolated from such intimacies with fathers. Since sexual genes seem to be innately activated via intimacy and touch, young males are being constantly invited to be sexual with their mothers; all the while, young females, kept comparable separated from fathers, are not regularly faced with these invitations.
Even if fathers are in company with daughters the intimacies which memes allow and support between mothers and sons are fiercely prejudiced against fathers and daughters. The same touching, for instance, which, if noted at all, is viewed as "just being affectionate" between mothers and sons may be taken as "perversion" or even "abuse" and "molestation" if it occurs between fathers and daughters. Boys are regularly in intimate situations which invite being sexual with mothers, while girls are rarely in similar circumstances with fathers. And even if in company with their fathers, the degrees of acceptable closeness--nudity, touch (called "affection" if by mothers, but "fondling" if by fathers), cuddling, etc., is severely restricted.
Another factor underlying sexuality becomes critically relevant in regard to incest, namely: safety and security. Although sexuality is instinctual and powerful, it is sharply undermined by any degree of fear. As everyone knows, you don't feel very sexy when you are afraid. On the other hand, security, which removes fear, allows sexual feelings to develop naturally. In complete safety, when no threat is present, sexuality is most likely to emerge from hiding.
Now back to family: Every child's primal experience with security begins in a female womb and almost always develops in a mother's presence; conversely, fathers obviously have no womb time, less tending time, and traditionally are the disciplinarians in families. Result: all children, boys and girls alike, tend to experience far more personal safety and security with mothers than with fathers who are likely to be both more absent and harsh when present. Personal fear, possibly the greatest of all deterrents to feeling sexual, is hence far more prevalent with fathers than with mothers.
Result: given time-in-contact, nature-of-touch and intimacy, plus the all important sense-of-security with mothers--all these factors being disproportionate with fathers, the incest meme is, I conclude, far more threatening to boys and fathers than to girls and mothers.
Extended effects of this meme against incest are also far reaching for males. Early learning about separating sex from love, as the meme promotes, is difficult to ever unlearn. Yet the division is inevitable if a boy is to consciously participate in intimate physical encounters with female family members. The meme, recall, is not against affection, only about any sexual components of love. Family members are encouraged by a positive meme to "love one another," but not to feel sexual with each other. When a boy learns this lesson well, that is, to "care for his mother and sisters" yet not to feel sexual with them, the later connection of passion and love, as marriage encourages, becomes predictably difficult. After years of practice at dividing sex and love, at "caring for" his mother and sisters, a man is supposed, after only a brief legal ceremony, to suddenly reconnect the two. Now, for the first time in his life, he is socially permitted to feel passion and affection for the same woman; indeed, he is expected to do so.
But years of practice at splitting himself in order to conform to the dictates of the incest meme are difficult to erase. Sex remains easier and more natural for a well trained son when he continues to divide the two--that is, to be chaste with loved ones as the meme taught, and to only feel sexual with those he "doesn't care for." Unfortunately, this by-now-ingrained learning often proves disastrous both for marriage and for the man. A marriage suffers from a husband's difficulty about sexual passion with a loved one, while he is regularly confronted with his own acquired ambivalence about combining the two. The familiar result is male infidelity--seeking sex outside marriage where there is no conflict with love, and resulting frustrations in wives threatened by "not being attractive" to their own husbands.
Of course women too pay for their acquired divisions between sex and love, best accomplished by splitting themselves, yet, I think, not as much as men. Marriage only needs a limited amount of sex, but for survival it takes lots of "caring." Males, in contrast, are more geared for overt sexuality than for affectionate tending; result: females evolved for child rearing ("mothering") find the confines of the institution more fitted to their biological imperatives than do their husbands who are more geared for "sperm-spreading (being sexual)" than for child rearing or "tending to."
The early split made to conform to the
incest meme hurts us both in time; but men, I think, are likely to pay the higher price in
time. Impelled by genetics to be sexual, and wanting deeply to love and "be
faithful" to our wives at the same time, our meme-encouraged divisions can become
truly disastrous both to sexual drives and love desires. Wives too may feel thwarted by
their husbands' ambivalence, but their own greater need for security than for sex, plus
opportunity to exercise caring capacities without threat, must make remaining split easier
This euphemism for genitals, our "private parts," is indicative of the power of this meme enforced on keeping them so. If it could only be limited to "private" as applicable in "public," that is, to keeping genitals covered in public, then its negative effects would be minimal; but alas, the spill over from seen-by-others on to seen-by-self seems inevitable. Somehow what we learn about not letting other persons see our genitals, not "getting caught with our pants down or slip showing," phases over into our own seeing of our sexual parts. If they are in effect "shameful" to others, then all-too-easily we come to "be ashamed of them" alone also.
Genital shame is perhaps universal. Although Adam and Eve's sin was ostensibly about a choice they made in their heads, we all know where the fig leaves were applied when God showed up. Few socialized humans, as best I can tell, escape attaching various degrees of guilt to genital "exposure," even to their own private looking. The naturalness of 2 year olds in regard to their "private parts" is rarely if ever regained by adults who have inevitably learned from this powerful meme. Unlearning any early learning is always difficult; but acquired shame about genitals must be exceptionally hard to overcome.
Such privacy is, of course, equally applicable to both genders; neither boys nor girls can escape, in time (past age 3), its power. But again, I think that its effect on males is far more spiritually devastating than on females for three major reasons. First, males with external rather than internal genitals--a visible penis and testicles in contrast with an enfolded clitoris and embodied ovaries, have more to be seen to begin with. It is obviously harder "not to look at" that which is obviously visible. Keeping ovaries "private" is no challenge at all, and even clitorises are hard to see; but a boy's "thing" is more difficult to "keep private." In urination, for instance, girls sit concealed while boys must stand exposed. Even when clothed, male genitals are still subject to a degree of exposure, especially if excitement occurs. Females, of course, face no such risks.
Past these physical facts, our differing roles in the ancient Drama Of Reproduction become a second relevant factor in effecting privacy about genitals. Like that of peacocks who must "strut their stuff" for success in reproduction, the human male's role is also more overt and therefore visible than the female's role. Masculinity, for success, must be active and "out front" (as are our genitals), while femininity is better served by covert (less visible) activities. Peahens may succeed without "showing off" what they have; and so with human "hens." Although direct genital display by males is not accepted in our society (as it has in many others), overt actions rooted in sexual arousal are far more essential for male than for female success in reproduction. Visible male genitals are illegal, but visible male sexuality which arises from them is essential in effective masculinity. Suppressing visible attention to the sources of an assigned social role cannot but place males in a difficult psychological position which females rarely face.
This spiritual dilemma is amplified by strict laws forbidding male "exposure," in social contexts which are far more liberal with visible female parts. We must all cover ourselves to some extent, but females are socially supported in using materials and designs which reveal or "show off" far more than they conceal. Silk underwear, uplifting bras, skin-tight skirts and pants, etc., all combine to allow females to reveal their "private parts" safely--that is, while pretending not to. Males, in contrast, must show far more discretion in genital visibility, or else both etiquette and law are soon upon them. Even when legal structures exist for both genders, female enforcement is far less likely than that applied to males. Policemen are more likely to wink and turn the other way, say with a topless lady, than with a man in a raincoat only.
A third factor is perhaps more significant than the first two combined--that is, the difference in power-potential of exposed male and female "private parts." Males wield little, if any, positive power in the revelation of sexual parts, while females have no other more immediately effective power source so readily available. Simply by "showing a little cleavage" any female can manipulate the favorable attention of most males. Just by dressing to reveal hips and breasts, without even showing off, females can command male response almost anywhere. Even if they try not to, as by dressing in baggy clothing, hints of a female body present are enough to call most males to attention.
Furthermore, the psychological paradox that concealment with a hint of revelation is more powerful than full exposure enhances the female position even more. Covert suggestion, it turns out, is more tempting than overt offering. More and longer power may be wielded through the hint of a promise than via an obvious invitation. Thus while in complete conformity to this meme against showing "private parts" females can, with equally acceptable social permission, display them to their most powerful advantages.
Male exposure, in sharp contrast, is more likely to elicit negative, if any, response from females. What is an ever-present source of positive power for women is at best a non-source for men, or more likely a negative force. Females "look down on" males who even hint at sexual exposures, while males "can't help but drool" over similarly revealed females. Female models, for instance, are highly in demand and richly paid, while male modeling is almost a non-profession. But apart from money, and in the safe confines of private relationships, the difference in power-potential for exposure of "private parts" is yet operative between men and women. Husbands, for example, are more likely to elicit rejection for revelations which wives may use for assorted manipulations far removed from overt sexual activity.
In summary, the meme against visible
"private parts" is, on the surface, cross-gendered; but in practice,
prohibitions are far more dangerous for males than for females. And because of the
psychological anomaly about "forbidden (or hidden) fruit," even the required
coverings of females may be used to further power advantages which I believe to be
naturally greater to begin with. When it comes to utility, where we all finally must live,
this essentially negative meme for males turns out to be generally positive for females.
Vision involves two components: one-who-sees and that-which-is-seen. First there must be a "looker" (one with eyes for seeing) and second there must be a "lookee" (an object or person for being looked at). Both are required for vision to be activated. Seeing cannot occur "in the dark"--that is, without that-which-is-seen, and while see-able objects may exist in the dark, vision does not take place until they are somehow seen.
As related to my subject of memes, this involves the activity of looking and the function of being-looked-at, the businesses of seeing and being seen. In colloquial language, these are called "taking a good look" and "looking good." The first is about "scoping" and the second about attracting "scopers." In summary, the first element in vision is active seeing, and the second part is passive beauty.
The relevant issues here are the memes which are attached to these two complementary components of the capacity for vision. There are memes related to seeing and others to being seen; certain memes focus on looking while others are about looks. Some memes are concerned with "scoping" and staring, while others relate to attraction and beauty. There are memes about "taking a good look" and others about "looking good enough to be taken."
And my summary observation is that memes in general are negative about the first and positive about the second. Those related to looking are mostly harsh and judgmental, while those concerned with looking good are gentle and affirming. It's bad to stare, but good to be pretty. "Scoping" is frowned on, while "beautifying" is smiled on. "Taking a good look" is impolite, but "looking good" is acceptable and affirmed anywhere. We can "be caught" staring, but guilt is seldom attached to being "stare-able." Shame only comes with "feeling ugly."
As related to reproduction, evolution at all levels--from plants to people, has primarily assigned the first activity to pollen and sperm carriers, and the second to seed and ova bearers. Bees look for flowers which evolve themselves to attract such lookers. And guys are geared to scope for girls who are in turn evolved to attract their looking. In the human Drama of Reproduction, men are "lookers" and women are "lookees." Males have evolved "gene eyes" for finding females most likely to be good mothers, while corresponding females have evolved attributes and skills for attracting good fathers. Over time, men have learned to be good scopers while women have become equally proficient at beautifying themselves so as to attract prospective mates.
But at this point in the shared drama, our differing agendas become relevant and problematic. The male role focuses primarily on spreading pollen and sperm, while females have the far more demanding roles of conception, gestation, birthing, and growing/rearing of offspring. Consequently, what we have learned over time to look for in co-players is vastly different; males simply seek good baby-makers, but females want, in addition to healthy sperm, males more likely to stick around after Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Mam and become "good providers" also. The male role, we might summarize, is primarily about sex, while the female role only begins with sex but finds it greater requirements in security--an attribute which is far more difficult to discern.
The relevant point of these biological facts here is their relationship to vision, looking and being-seen, scoping and attracting. Bottom line: the male role which focuses primarily on effective sperm-spreading is best and most easily accomplished by looking. The attributes of good baby-makers-healthy, well-proportioned bodies, are discernable by vision. Over time "gene eyes" have learned to discriminate conceive-able females quite well-based on looking alone. In primal times smell was probably a more discerning sense; but when estrus became hidden to male nostrils, eyes-for-estrus had to become sharpened. No longer able to smell females "in heat," and further deceived by female-acquired skills at deception-for-power, males had to become even more astute at potentially productive "scoping"--selecting females by looks alone.
Meanwhile, the female role in The Reproductive Drama, given its more demanding requirements, was less easily fulfilled by vision alone. Security is far more difficult to "smell out" or determine by looks alone. Sperm-potential may be more evidenced by physique and observable strength, but stay-ability, commitment, affection, patience, determination, wealth, and the many other components of security are less subject to visual recognition. Females, for success, have had to develop far more complex ways of evaluating potential mates than by sight alone.
Looking may be okay for openers, but since strength-of-character is more relevant in the long run than strength-of-sperm, women have predictably placed less emphasis on what appears to the eye alone. Perhaps peacocking works for peacocks who take no responsibility after conception, but gals who need guys long after the night before have learned to look below our outward displays. But on the other hand, observing how easily males are moved by certain looks associated with conceive-ability, females long ago learned skills in enhancing and mimicking the forms and shapes which appeal to male gene eyes. They perfected arts in "looking good" to appeal to those who have evolved to "goodly look."
And the system has worked well for a long time.
My concern here, however, is not the effectiveness of an ancient system based on looking and looking good, but on the memes which have come to be attached to each function. I am trying to become conscious of potential spiritual abuse of males arising from dictation by such memes. This requires recognizing the disparity between these two sets of memes--those related to seeing, and others, to being seen. And my summary observation is that here, as in many other situations, maleness gets a "bad shake" in society when it comes to our complementary biological roles in reproduction. Effective male "scoping" is, in all but its most discrete forms, subject to negative memes, while "beautifying" in all its diverse elements, is highly supported by favorable memes. What males have evolved to do well is "put down on," while corresponding female gifts-of-evolution are elevated and praised.
Good "scopers" are impolite at best ("staring" is bad), and criminal at worst (if looking phases into "peeping"; but "good lookers," welcome anywhere, are commonly rewarded for "doing what comes equally natural" for them. And so with various forms and activities related to each. Well past the primal quest for baby-makers, males have evolved pleasure in scoping-for-itself-alone--that is, our gene eyes take delight in exercising themselves even when sex is irrelevant or impossible. We "just like to look at pretty girls."
Correspondingly, females too, long evolved to "look good" must have also come to "enjoy being pretty" for itself alone also. They, apparently, "just like to look good" even when they have no interest in attracting males. "Looking good" must now feel as good to females as "taking good looks" does to males. That is, the genius of evolution in attaching pleasure to what works best must now be evidenced in both genders; males have evolved pleasure with what works for them, just as have females with their complementary successes. Men enjoy looking and women enjoy looking good. And some rare times the two are connected.
Most often, however, it seems to me that our current memes mitigate against male activation and regularly support female indulgence in our complementary roles in this shared biological process. Specifically this occurs in negative memes related to: pornography, girl-watching, "dirty" movies, "wandering eyes," looking for female nudity, seeing sex, and any other overt form of male vision arising out of "gene eye" evolution.
At the same time, positive memes are attached to every form of female beautifying--magazines revealing "secrets" of beauty as well as "how to do it;" industries producing materials related to female beauty--cosmetics, clothing, jewelry, and assorted adornments; catalogues for ordering such materials; malls for displaying and making all such aids readily available; shopping for items related to beautifying self and circumstances as a favored activity; behavior modes associated with attracting--wearing revealing clothing which either displays or shows off female "attributes" in their most desirable forms, demurring movements, inviting stances (learned so early as to be acted out unconsciously).
In summary, in the realm of vision, an equally existent human capacity in both genders, this meme is anti what males are most naturally inclined to do, namely, scope for potential sexual partners, and pro comparable female instincts--to invite scoping. Memes related to overt looking are all negative, while those related to "getting-lookable" are all positive. Male instincts activated through the sense of seeing are systematically curtailed by this meme. Female instincts for seeing males are inherently less powerful, given the more complicated demands of seeking security rather than sex alone, but are also less curtailed by a meme. The comparable instinct for "looks (looking good)" is highly favored socially, while the male counterpart is strongly condemned by society.
Result: here, with vision as elsewhere,
maleness gets a "bad shake" whereas femininity is socially supported.
ANTI-MALE TOUCH MEME
I name this meme "anti-male touch" because there is no female counterpart related to the capacity for touching. To the extent there is such a meme for females, it is pro-touch. In summary, this meme is against males touching females, but is not cross-gender applicable.
To see the import of this meme, our complementary biological roles in reproduction, the second strongest of all human drives, may be recalled. As we have evolved, primal females first signal times of estrus via odors and displays; males, in turn, seek out such conceive-able females first by sight, and then by smell (or vice versa). But in time, discernment by smell has receded, and now all initial determinations by males are made by sight alone--"scoping," as colloquially called.
At this first stage of the mating game, females attract by "looking good," and males respond by "taking good looks." Normally then, being-pretty-for-attraction and seeking-by-seeing, are followed up by forms of tactile contact. Primally, males, after finding-by-sight (and/or smell) proceed with touching-for-confirmation and further stimulation. Bulls, for instance, nuzzle cows for initial contact and then try to smell and lick their genitals. Lions nuzzle and nip at the neck of lionesses. Stallions do likewise. And finally, human males are also inclined to use touch as the second step in moving toward intercourse.
The nature of female arousal, seems to be less determined by the sight of males (the way we look) than by the touch of males (especially, the way-we-touch). "Give me a man with a slow hand," a recently popular tune implored. Tender touching--as in gentle contact, careful hugging, soft nuzzling (like animals do), must seem to engender a sense of security as females have evolved to seek when they come to procreation. Consequently, males have evolved to participate in this communication and expand female receptivity via various forms of touching.
Past scoping, nothing is more natural for a male in the company of a female than to proceed with touching (or wanting to). If we instinctively want to look--and we commonly do, then we are even more inclined to try to touch next. We can, as offended females sometimes say, "hardly keep our hands off." Happily, at least for us, such touching which is probably evolved more as a means of advancing female receptivity, is also self-stimulating. Already "turned on" by the sight of a desirable female, we males are further aroused by skin-contact.
There is also, I surmise, a second element in the male inclination to touch which is as deep or deeper than the sexual drive itself. This has to do with universal male experience of primal contact with the female body of a mother as source of food, comfort, and love. How can we ever forget our first heaven and the Goddess who made us full, safe, and happy? Or that all these wonders which magically fulfilled our most primal instinct for survival were somehow associated with a female body? We may be more consciously inclined to touch females for self-replication purposes, but in deep, unaware places our more primal urges may emerge from pre-natal and early infancy encounters which we also long to replicate.
Females, having similar experiences with mother's body, may also have comparable attractions; but, unfortunately for us males, no woman can ever have such primal memories related to a male body. She may, at times of estrus or desire, wish for "a slow hand" to enhance her sexual arousal, but she can never have what all men do, namely, magical associations with the body and skin of her opposite gender.
Whatever their source and meaning, the power of the male urge to touch females for purposes of self-replication and/or to resurrect memories of magical self-survival is obvious and incontrovertible. Conversely, with understandable reasons, females have no comparable inclinations. In general, if male contact with a female body is all favorable, female contact with a male body is more likely to be negative than positive. Not only are womb memories non-existent, but early tactile contacts with males--as in punishment by fathers, pinching or hitting by brothers, unwanted "advances" from relatives, friends, or strangers, and sexually related abuses, are more predictable than a wealth of positive experiences. End result: males have many reasons to want to touch females, while females apparently have relatively few such desires, and are more likely to have repulsive memories than warm fuzzies.
Two other factors--self-affirmation and power, are relevant to understanding this meme. If males are inclined to touch females for resurrection of infantile memories, we are even more driven, I surmise, to seek female touch of ourselves for the same reasons. Whereas touching another female is no doubt reminiscent of mother-contact, being touched by a female is even more likely to place us in contact with mother-memories of old magical times. I may vicariously return myself to infantile times through touching a female, but if a female chooses to touch me the trip down memory lane will certainly be speeded up. Again, unfortunately for them, females face no such possibility through the touch of a male.
But if males have a singular advantage in the deeper possibilities opened by female touch, females certainly hold the trump card when it comes to power. Probably for the above reasons, female touch is a source of positive power in dealing with a man. Almost any woman can favorably influence almost any man simply by placing a hand on his body at any place. Common male reaction to female touch, barring unusual traumatic experience for some individuals, must be deeply evocative of the primal memories noted above; for whatever reason, males in general react positively, without a thought in our heads, to touch initiated by almost any female in almost any circumstances. Just by reaching out and placing a hand, say on our arm or shoulder (safe places), a female not only invites favorable response, she also wields power in securing same.
We tend to react instinctively to appearances of female desire, beginning with any sign of need or distress (the proverbial "maiden in distress" syndrome, inviting the Prince-in-us-all to try to remove any pea from under any Princess's mattress--or wherever); but when "looks" are supported by words (stated desires) and the message of need is strengthened by even a casual touch--well, few of us males with even a remnant of Prince-ness remain free from operative powers. Whether we like it or not, we males are commonly moved--and that is power at work, by any female desires; but more by touch (which must evoke memories implying self-affirmation if not love) than ought else. All women, wittingly or not, hold, with their capacity for touch, a potential source of power over most men under most circumstances.
Furthermore, since none of the anti-male touch memes are present for them, they can freely wield this immense power in almost all social circumstances without threat of male rejection or legal consequences. Their only danger is "too much" reaction--that is, eliciting responses which are more--not less, than desired. Few males, I suspect, can even remotely imagine either the extent of this readily available female power, or the dangers in which it places them when wielded unwisely.
Unfortunately for us males, the situation is
most often reversed; that is, the readily available source of positive power for women is
usually a negative source for men. What works favorably for them, tends to backfire for
us. Even if we mean our touches positively and want them to evoke female favor, more often
than not they are taken negatively; desiring acceptance, we are more likely to get
rejection--simple avoidance at best and a police call at worst. Only in the rarest of
circumstances, such as, when a woman wants support, comfort, or sex, is male touch deemed
favorable; and even then it must be administered with the greatest of care, lest
touch-for-help contain even the slightest hints of unwanted sex.
All this background is relevant to understanding the spiritual importance of the anti-male touch meme. When a force is applied against so powerful a drive as this one for touching females, the consequences cannot but be significant. And when no such meme is even present, let alone operative for females, recognition becomes even more difficult. Can any female ever understand, given her contrasting gender history (both genetic and personal), either the extent of male urges to touch, or the power-of-her-touch which is thrust upon her, uninvited? And, having grown up without a corresponding meme to keep her constantly reminded, can any female ever appreciate the challenges of containment with which normal males constantly live? I doubt it.
Wise is the woman who confronts, accepts,
and uses well her capacities for being touched along with her unearned powers in touching.
And wiser still, I conclude, is the man who comes to recognize the power of the anti-male
touch meme, to accept its practical social values, and learns to live smartly with it
without splitting himself in the process.
I have examined memes against our senses of sight and touch; now I explore those directed against "feelings," specifically, against "feeling sexy." Literally I refer to being conscious of sexual instincts, as contrasted with repressing them. By "feeling sexy (a colloquial expression)" I mean "activating and being aware of genetic drives related to reproduction." Since all genetic forces are "given," that is, inherent in we creatures who are formed from them, we have no choice but to exist "with them." The "drive" to survive, for instance, another genetic "given," also operates without conscious awareness required. We "just want to stay alive" whether or not we "face the fact." And so with our instincts to reproduce ourselves; sexual "drives," like survival instincts, "just are." Literally, we be sexual and driven-to-survive, regardless of what we "think (consciously)."
Our options only enter with regard to awareness and actions--that is, whether we deny or acknowledge the inclinations, and what we do or don't do with them. I choose the colloquial expression, "feeling sexy," to name this arena of human experience because literal terms are more difficult to understand and come tainted with social judgments which color perception even before it moves into awareness. Most everyone has at least some idea about what "feeling sexy" means.
I mean for "feeling" to imply "consciousness of" these instincts. The memes I am seeking to bring into consciousness are anti my subject, namely, consciousness-of-being-sexual--which I call "feeling sexy." My summary observation is that some of the most powerful of all memes are directed against being consciously sexual, against allowing this second most forceful of all our instincts into the household of awareness, against knowingly "feeling sexy." These memes "don't care" that we be sexual, but they are fiercely opposed to our "letting on," even to ourselves. With other memes, only actions are mitigated against; we can feel whatever we will as long as we "don't act on it." But the nature of these memes being examined here is even more insidious because they aim not only at actions, but also at "feelings (awareness of wishes)" which underlie or give rise to possible deeds.
The summary message of these awesome memes is: Thou shalt not feel sexy, except with socially sanctioned partners. If there were only ten meme commandments, this would surely be number one. Of course in practice these memes, as most others, are seldom stated openly or directly as I do here. Their power is enhanced by covert operation which prevents direct confrontation. But if not stated overtly, like the ten religious commandments, how are they presented? How do we all fall so early and easily under their dictation?
Four social media are now evident to me: ethos, language, religion, and law. First, these anti sexual memes are written into the ethos of our society, into the very fabric of all the ways in which we are socially allowed to relate to one another. Before anything is said or done, as though it were a pale of smoke over the land, this powerful commandment floats and rests on all. Like the air we breath, these memes permeate the culture into which we are born. We "acquire them" as though by osmosis; if we breath or eat, if we see, smell, or hear, somehow these forceful directives find their way into our pre-conscious thinking as surely as genes lie at the genesis of our bodies.
Ethos, of course, includes language, which determines not only the ways we may communicate with each other, but also the ways we may personally think. Everyone knows that language determines verbal communication; less well recognized is the pervasive way in which language also dictates private thinking. We may be aware through pictures and/or language, but clear thinking (of the left brain variety) requires words. We are consequently limited in thought by those which are readily available. To deny words is in effect to prevent left brain type thoughts. We may still be aware through images, but sharp thinking, the basis for reasonable actions, is impossible without available language.
No other aspect of human capacity, certainly none which is so vital as this, is at the same time so language-deprived. Words about "being sexy" are severely limited to complicated academic or medical terms which ordinary persons seldom understand. Because symbols for signifying common perceptions are finally impossible to deny or eradicate completely (kids come up with some sound to represent whatever they perceive or feel), the second line of social attack is through condemning whatever words are coined to give voice to these experiences. These words, commonly "four letter," are all harshly judged as though evil were resident even in the words which stand for actions or feelings so named. Fuck, for instance, a name for the most basic of all sexual acts, is, as everyone knows, a "dirty word." Good boys and girls (wisely meme dictated) don't even think it, let alone say it. And so with all other non-academic or medical words for various aspects of sexuality.
The point: by carefully mediating language--first by limiting available words, and then by harshly judging those which somehow manage to creep through social barriers, society exercises powers even before thought becomes fully conscious. Rare, I conclude, is the good citizen, or son or daughter, who ever learns to think clearly about the rich spectrum of human capacities underlying the simple name, "feeling sexy." Not to mention, to act wisely.
Next comes religion. Ostensibly "religion and politics don't mix," that is, religion is about personal well-being and politics is about social well-being. Ideally, they conflict whenever society goes against deep religious (personal and ultimate) values. But in practice, religion, I reluctantly acknowledge after a lifetime devoted to its practice, is more often a servant of society than a corrector of its evils. Unwittingly (I justify my old profession), priests and preachers all too often become those who propound and support values which society has evolved to protect itself. We preach, that is, what is good for society with little regard to spiritual dangers to individual members of society.
This is nowhere more evident to me than in regard to these memes against feeling sexual. Organized religions are of course against many things, and their "evils" vary from one to the other; but no other "evils" seem to me to be more common in all major religions than those related to "feeling sexy" and consequently doing sexual things outside the fiercely constrictive laws of society. Religion artfully goes beyond mere practice alone--outward deeds deemed improper, and plunges right "to the heart of the problem," namely, to inward desires which underlie unacceptable actions. "Lust," for example, just "feeling sexy" in unapproved ways, is equally condemned along with "adultery" in which it is "acted out." "It is," as they say, "just as bad to think about it as it is to do it."
With astute psychological cleverness, long before the term psychology was coined, religions came to "nip sex in the bud" by condemning "feelings" as well as actions. In spite of stated doctrines about the "goodness of sexuality" as a human capacity, the summary result of generations of religious training is a general sense of "dirtiness" and evil about the whole subject. Only "the devil makes us do it," and surely it is he who tempts us to even think about things we all know without being told we shouldn't do. Who can even imagine Jesus fucking or God "fooling around"?
But past ethos, language, and religion, civil laws--of etiquette, proper behavior, and "on the books," exist to enforce any infractions which may slip through the cracks of the first three tightly bound enforcers of anti-sexual memes. Beginning with unwritten laws powerfully existent in the eyes of mothers and in unstated rules of acceptable group behavior, these forceful prohibitions are finally enacted into various civil codes which make any overt expressions of these feelings punishable-by-law. Civil laws, of course, cannot go as far as inward feelings; but they can pick up quickly when any fracture of rules against feelings emerges in related actions, such as, men touching girls, underage sex, peeping toms, and genital exposure.
To summarize: powerful memes against "feeling sexy" and doing any related deeds outside the limited confines of legal marriage are ever-present and continually operative at all levels of social exchange. "There ain't no hiding place down here" from the ethos, language, religions, and laws which combine as a formidable force against the second most natural of all human inclinations, namely, to "feel sexy."
The existential translation of the colloquial expression, "feel sexy," is be sexual. Although the term feel only implies "become conscious,"--that is, the prohibition is only about awareness: "Thou shalt not become aware of sexiness." But experientially, it is as though that which is not allowed in awareness is not allowed to exist. If we are "not supposed to feel sexy," then, insofar as self can determine, we are not supposed to be sexual (apart from socially approved circumstances, like monogamous marriage). And prohibitions against being are even more profound and consequential, spiritually speaking, than merely against feeling. We may have some slight control over emotions, "how we feel," but we have none at all over "how we be." We can hardly "help how we feel," but we can't "help at all how we are."
The point: Although this meme is, on the surface, just about one particular form of feeling, namely, sexy, in experience (the way we actually encounter its force) it strikes at the very heart of being itself. It is, in effect, not simply about a certain "emotion"; it is about who we are. The meme is ultimately saying: "Don't be who you are." Or in colloquial language: "Don't be yourself."
In regard to gender, the meme is indiscriminate; that is, it is directed both toward males and females. "Thou shalt not feel sexy (unless society says so)" is equally applicable to both genders; but its import for males, I think, is far different than its significance to females. It is spiritually dangerous for all, but far more potentially devastating for men than for women.
The reason lies in the nature of sexuality itself--the way each gender has evolved to fulfill its different, though complementary, role in the reproductive process. Females, with their far more comprehensive and responsible role in baby-making and child rearing, have consequently evolved with fewer resources for conception itself and vastly more for their greater extended responsibilities. Males, in contrast, have evolved with a truly amazing capacity for our role in conception, but with far fewer resources for the extended process in which females are so immensely well equipped.
In crudest summary, males are mostly evolved to "do it" while females are grandly evolved to "create and raise it." Essentially, if not ideally, males are only needed for impregnation, for supplying the sperm which fertilizes the ovum. But since this is only the barest of beginnings for a mother's role, females are limitedly equipped for making ova, but amazingly able to create babies and bring them to full growth. Given their rather profound and grossly unfair but inevitable responsibilities in the overall process, female potential has reasonably evolved to minimize production of ova and to maximize capacities for creating people.
Since, in the overall economy of people-making, females are rarely in need of sperm-for-conception--literally, only 2-10 times in a life time, males, in order to successfully reproduce ourselves, have evolved to be ready for these relatively rare times when ova are ripe. In the wisdom of evolution, men, we might say, are "always ready" for what women, biologically, are "rarely interested in."
Everyone knows, of course, that "men are more interested in sex than are women"; but the true extent of this more is, I surmise, rarely recognized. Although we as yet have no scientific way to measure strength of desire, and surely not its relative difference between men and women, I suspect that the biological facts which we can now measure are indicative of the desires which emerge from them.
The facts are: In the sperm factory (testicles) of a healthy male, some 3,000 sperm are cranked out every second, night and day. This adds up to 180,000 per minute, 10.8 million an hour, and some 8-10 trillion during an average male's lifetime.
During such a male's monthly production of some 15 billion sperm, his female counterpart is only making one ovum. For emphasis: that's 15,000,000,000 to 1. During her reproductive life, while he is making trillions of sperm, she produces a maximum of only 400 eggs. Usually, depending on pregnancies and other factors, the average number is closer to 40 than 400. Again, for emphasis, this might be in statistically average circumstances: 13,500,000,000,000,000 to 40, or: 337,500,000,000,000 to 1. No lottery has yet been established with such astronomical odds.
Comparing the two: an average male makes more sperm every one tenth (1/10) of a second than the average woman produces ova in her whole life time. This mind-boggling disparity is further complicated by the additional difference that while males are always creating sperm from puberty till old age, females are born with their complete supply of ova already intact in their miniature ovaries. Men, therefore, are in constant production, from puberty until old age, of what women are born with. Female bodies are "delivering" their limited number of ova, but male bodies are truly "making" sperm all the time.
Another related biological fact seems relevant: the astronomically high odds against genetic success for male sperm. The odds of a male sperm succeeding in fertilizing a female egg are even greater than the statistical differences between the numbers of each. Logistical challenges escalate the likelihood of sperm failure almost beyond all comprehension. These include: 1) The unlikely possibility of intercourse itself. Just to get his massive number of daily produced sperm into position for fertilizing an egg instead of dying within his own body, a male would have to "have sex" many times every day--an extremely unlikely possibility to begin with. 2) The high death rate of those relatively rare sperm which do make it into a female body. Although an average ejaculation includes from 4-500 million sperm, perilous conditions inside a woman's body reduce the number down to only 200-2,000 which ever reach proximity to an ovum. Finally, assuming an egg is there, the degree of "sperm competition" must be extremely fierce, given the fact that only one can win, all the rest to die even after reaching the goal line.
3) The rare times that an egg is even present after the race is finally won, after the millions of competitors are weeded down to a single winner. Even if a female were willing to "have sex" whenever a male had sperm available, only during a brief (generally 12 hour) period once every 28 days does the possibility of conception even exist. Even if all of a male's 15 billion per month sperm should miraculously enter a female body where only 1 ova is possibly present, timing would still be critical.
4) Hidden estrus. In other creatures a female's brief times of fertility, called estrus or heat, are commonly revealed to males via appearance, smell, and female "presentations." A bull, for instance, is well informed about when a cow is "in heat." Not so with us humans. Estrus, as some biologists have described this important change in humans, has "gone underground." Human males never know when a woman is able to conceive. Timing intercourse with times of fertility, even when it is possible by female permission, is now almost impossible. Even human females themselves are often in the dark about their fertile times.
Perhaps the relatively rare presence of female eggs accounts for the evolution of such an extremely high rate of male sperm production. With so few eggs to fertilize and such high odds of failure, Mother Nature would reasonably evolve males to seemingly "overproduce" sperm to increase the chances of an occasionally successful union. Or, while I play with logic, perhaps the mind-boggling odds against conception have themselves evolved because of what would happen in terms of world population if they hadn't. Only one mythical average male, with his 18 quarts of ejaculation containing 8 trillion sperm, could theoretically father about 500 times the number of people now living on our planet. With the present possibility of freezing sperm for preservation, alas, only one man would be needed for eons to come!
Now I turn to psychological processes related to these biological facts: All the noted numbers and statistics are about primal human evolution which preceded consciousness by a very long time. Reproduction by sex rather than cloning evolved some 600 million years ago. For most of the time since, and still in "lower animals," the system seems to work "automatically"--that is, naturally, without "thought" required. Instincts-without-consciousness obviously work quite well for other creatures. But with the evolution of human consciousness--perhaps 10-20,000 years ago, responsibility for sex-in-consciousness also arose, along with the possibility of memes. No longer was "just doing what comes naturally," as remained true for other animals, still possible. Now, we not only "do it"; we also may "think about it." (And, as males have long known, "you can think about more than you get.")
But it is this arena between instincts which we share with all "lower creatures," and human consciousness, which is my concern here. This is the space where memes have come to exist, including those dangerous to the spiritual health of males, my specific subject. Relevant psychological facts are these: instincts are mediated to consciousness through desire. Most genetic wisdom is operative below the level of consciousness; we digest food, for example, process air and liquids, and fight disease "without ever thinking about it." Genes for these essential functions "do their thing" without the benefits (and curses) of consciousness. "We," we might say, "just do them unconsciously"--literally, pre-consciously. Older than sex itself, these life essentials evolved and hence became inherent and ingrained long before consciousness was even possible.
But newer kids on the genetic block, such as, sex, are subject to consciousness. And the path lies through the door of desire-- "wants," urges, inclinations, "feelings," cravings, yens, inner-directives. Desire has many names. Perhaps colloquialisms are the best summary names. The presence of genetic dictations, which are mostly effected without thought, are sometimes available to consciousness through awareness of "feeling like I want to...'s" Sustenance directives, for example, come to consciousness with "feeling hungry." "I want to eat," such a gene-directed person may think or say. Or a gene-directed limitation may be brought to awareness with: "I want to rest," or, "I'm feeling sleepy."
And so with sexual instincts. We "know about them," when we dare, through "feelings of desire," "feeling sexy," "wanting to 'do it,'" or, "lusting," as it is judgmentally called. These same instincts, less clearly allowed into awareness, may be perceived as "attraction," "affection," or "feeling warm toward." Into nouns, these pre-conscious genetic urges brought into consciousness may be called "beauty" or "love."
Because the processes of sex are so old (600,000,000 years), they are, like those of breathing, digesting, and defecating, sufficiently ingrained to work quite well, baring dangers of society, without thought at all. "Just doing what comes naturally" is still possible for humans as well as animals. We could, theoretically, be sexually successful in reproduction "without ever thinking about it," just as with breathing for a life time. But because sex is dangerous in families and society, "thinking about it" has also evolved to become functional--especially, "not thinking about it."
But enough about facts. Now back to speculations. I theorize first that the grand disparity between numbers of male sperm and female ova is an evolved result of the male need to be constantly ready for the relatively rare times when an ovum is ripe and available. Next, this genetic readiness nudges itself into consciousness, which is so often required for coping with the logistics of sex, via desire. Sexual desire-- "thinking about sex," "wanting to do it," lust, etc., has arisen in time as man's way of knowing (being consciously aware) about his instincts so that he can more effectively play his role in the genetic Drama Of Reproduction.
I further theorize that the grand difference in numbers of available sperm in comparison to ripe and ready ova is also indicative of the differences between the regularity and strength of male sexual desires compared to comparable female desires. I read once about a study which concluded that men on average think about sex every 5 minutes. Perhaps so, but I suspect that "feeling sexy," in light of the above noted facts, is more constant than that--say, every second (during which some 3,000 sperm are being produced). Females, in sharp contrast, may be equally attentive and moved by matters related to security ("feelings" arising from their complementary role in the shared drama), but certainly not toward "feeling sexy all the time."
Logically and predictably, males will consistently "feel sexy" while females will, with equally regularity, "feel moved" to establish security--that is, "think about" issues related to success in their contrasting role in reproduction. Males, evolved to impregnate, are instinctively "interested in" activities related to conception, those associated with "feeling sexy." Females, evolved for baby-making and child-rearing, which, for success, involve a minimum of sex and a maximum of security, must with comparable intensity "be concerned" about the latter matters.
And this logic, as best I can tell, bears out in current circumstances. Healthy males are almost always, and certainly with more powerful urges, "interested in sex," while healthy females rarely share the same degree of interest, but are equally moved by concerns related to security. Security concerns, specifically focused on safe circumstances, adequate resources, stable and peaceful relationships, also have a secondary component, namely, attract-ability. In order to get and keep a security-providing male, a female must first attract such a rare one, and then keep him around. In both efforts beauty--"being pretty," is a major power. Nothing, as many aging females must certainly regret, moves a man like a "pretty girl." Yet recognizing the fact, women of all ages reasonably focus on "being pretty" as a power both in attracting and keeping the attentions of chosen males. Instinctual urges recognized as "feeling sexy" for males are probably comparable to equally powerful desires to "be pretty and secure" in females.
And here is where the rub begins. Activities related to beauty and security, such as, cosmetics, clothing, and jewelry industries, home building, acquiring wealth, fidelity, committed relationships, etc., are socially favorable and consequently supported by positive memes. In "doing what comes naturally" for them, females need only move into readily available and socially approved arenas. No harsh and negative judgments stand constantly before them in the open pursuit of beauty and security. Freely they may "feel urges to be pretty," think about how to create and maintain "the perfect home," and diligently seek, without any fear of reprisal, success in activities which support their primary genetic goals.
But males, in sharp contrast, find ourselves in societies which are fiercely repressive both of feelings and activities related to our complementary roles in reproduction. The female desire, for example, to "look good" has nothing but positive memes attached; but the corresponding male desire to "take a good look" is generally confronted with negative memes. Female urges to "feel secure" are universally supported by favorable memes; but comparable male inclinations to "feel sexy" are more likely to be socially condemned. Catalogues, shops, and malls full of items which cater to and serve to fulfill natural female desires are abundant and acceptable; but comparable sources of visual stimuli and places for purchase of satisfying objects for equally ingrained male desires are socially condemned at best and generally illegal at worst.
"Lusting" after personal beauty, the perfect home, and totally secure circumstances is acceptable and supported in societies around the world. But "lusting" after pretty girls, "houses of prostitution," and sexually exciting circumstances is contrastingly repressed and condemned by powerful memes continually operative in most groups. Favorable memes are no doubt beneficial to females in accepting and affirming their natural selves, as well as regularly pursuing supported goals fitted to their genetic agendas brought into society. But growing up and living in the presence of ever-present suppressive forces cannot but be threatening and dangerous to the spiritual well-being of males.
If these anti male memes were about actions only, leaving males free to feel without threat, the challenges of learning social responsibility would still remain. But alas, their forces only begin with negative social and legal consequences for unapproved actions; in the attempt to negate action before it ever begins, the memes are equally forcible in their condemnation of natural desires which might be expressed in some action. Males are not only condemned for acting on natural desires, but also for "feeling sexy" to begin with. Consequently, because desires are closer to "being (existential self)" than are deeds, the suppression of "feeling sexy" easily becomes repression of male selfing--of "being ourselves."
What begins with memes against natural male inclinations for seeing and touching, finds, I conclude, its most dangerous spiritual consequences in repressive forces against "feeling sexy" and consequently of being a significant part of our given selves.
Instincts, genetic directives which I now see, are rooted in two basic categories which are always intertwined, yet can be distinguished for thought purposes. First, accounting for about 80% of human movements, are drives to survive--"survival instincts." These are almost all seen, in social perspective, as "being selfish." I, to remove some of the implied judgments, coin the word "selfing" to stand for primal urges to stay alive and enhance personal circumstances.
The second major category, with, I speculate, 20% motivation, is about reproduction, making more of ourselves, creating babies, self-replication. First we are moved to keep ourselves alive, then to replicate ourselves. This latter urge is most clearly seen as "being sexual," yet with significant gender differences. Maleness focuses more on direct, overt sexual activity, while femaleness is more about baby-making and child-rearing than about fucking. In summary I distinguish these gender differences which are both about reproduction into sex for males and security for females. Men are more driven to "do it," while women are more moved by secure circumstances around the results of "doing it," namely, babies, houses, and resources.
From these two primal instincts many other supportive drives have evolved. First, there is kill-ability, an urge to destroy, to zap, anything/one who stands in the way of the first two. We are driven to eliminate what/whomever gets in the way of our best selfing and sexing. That which threatens life and babies, recognized through fear/anger, is most primally confronted with an urge to kill. Literally the drive is not about stopping the life of "enemies" as much as simply eliminating them from our presence. If we could magically zap one, as in computer games, that would be more than sufficient. Their staying alive is not a primal concern. "Enemies," of course, means anyone or thing which gets in the way of personal selfing and sexing.
Kill-ability, in regard to reproduction as distinguished from survival, emerges in such sex-related functions as: getting and maintaining territory for mating. Males are especially driven to kill in service of acquiring and keeping spaces which appeal to females as potential sex partners--necessary parts of self-replication. The comparable female drive, in service of child-rearing rather than territory-keeping, is toward peaceful circumstances which contribute to security-making.
Males have evolved to provide the security which females require for their roles in the reproductive drama, first through territory and then through resources, space and wealth. But in the process of getting territory which will appeal to females, inviting their sexual presence, getting rid of competing others is the first male order. We must "eliminate the competition" if we are to get space and thus invite females. Then, after we get space and females, we must defend what we have; this, of course, means killing to protect what we have acquired.
In practice this comes out most visibly in males inclined to war and females to peace. Men are willing to kill to get and keep space, while women are driven, even to kill, in order to maintain security (often seen as "peace" at any price, including killing). But out of these differing agendas in reproduction, men, I note, are more often in conscious touch with native kill-ability than females who "know more" about "making peace."
Next come instincts for competing, especially operative and visible in males. Competition, which in present life ranges far from its sources, is, I think, rooted in the two primal drives, namely, selfing and sexual. We are driven to compete, especially with other males, first for space, and then for females in that space. Or, more on the surface, we compete "for female attention," as a way of impressing females with our prowess (like peacocks do with their tails), which is to say, to impress them with our security-making capacities, so they will choose to mate with us.
Most basically then, we compete with other males for females and the resources for keeping them. Male competition is ultimately rooted in sperm competition, or is it the other way around? Any way you cut maleness, from the sperm to the body level, we are genetically geared to compete for ova, for the females who bear them, and for that which seems most likely to get and keep such females. Woman, therefore, is at the often hidden genesis and conclusion of our consistent, abiding, and seemingly unreasonable drive to compete.
Females also compete, yet not so visibly with other people. They compete with females, covertly most often, in quest of best males, and then later in keeping their security-makers at their service. But in daily life they are not innately threatened with other females as are males with most other males. Mostly females are geared to cooperate in their mutual endeavors of child-rearing and resource gathering. As of old, males are competing hunters and females are cooperative gatherers.
But the parallel female urge, the counterpart of male overt competition, is the drive to attract, to "win" the best resources for their own selfing and sexing--survival and reproduction. Their fierce competition is less visible as competition because its form is passive attraction rather than active "getting." Females are driven to "be gotten" rather than "to get." Males succeed when they "get," females, when they "are gotten" by the best available resource-providers. Female competition for best males is equal or greater than male competition for best females--but different in form.
Males compete most basically to "get girls" while females compete to "get guys"--but the ways we have evolved for best success in our complementary agendas are also complementary and, on the surface, opposite to each other. Not surprisingly, best males are "go getters" and most successful females have a "come hither" look which invites "go getters" to "come get" them. Males compete actively by overt striving; females compete passively by covert attracting.
Perhaps the complementary urges can be more clearly seen if I began from the female perspective rather than the male mode. Parallel names, as commonly understood, are: competition for what males are driven to do, and attraction for what females do with equal or greater drive. From woman's perspective, competition is hardly visible at all. Attraction, however, is a whole nother issue! If "winning"--the end result of successful competition, is the male goal, then "beauty"--being attractive must be the most conscious drive of equal force. Males universally "want to win," while females, with equal or greater intensity, "want to be attractive."
Males, correspondingly, are bothered by "losing"--which seems relatively irrelevant to females, while females are bothered by "losing beauty," or, "not being attractive"--which, in turn, does not bother males. What I call male competition might from this perspective best be seen as male efforts to attract females. We too are attracting, but with the device of competition; while females are also competing, but through the mode of attracting.
So, call it competing from the male perspective, or attracting from a female standpoint; but the instinctive drive I note here seems to have evolved primarily for success in complementary gender versions of the same drives for survival and reproduction--for selfing and self-replicating. Males compete to stay alive and reproduce; females attract for the same reasons. And, I conclude, with equally powerful instinctive urges.
In summary: from 80% survival and 20% sexual instincts, sub-categories of drives evolved to support these primary forces include kill-ability and competitive urges, most easily recognized in males, but equally present in females though cloaked with primary instincts for security which overlie their basic components. But when push comes to shove, when the fat hits the fan, at nut-cutting time, females are, I conclude, better equipped both for killing and competing than are males. Their kill-capacity is more often hidden by peace-making efforts, and their fierce competition urges are covered with cooperative activities; but males, beware when the more immediate female devotions to security are threatened by final failure! Then, in these emergency situations, females more easily kill and more fiercely compete than do males who simply do so more often and openly.
But on the surface these gender differences which I, being male, tend to see more clearly as about competition, are best seen from female perspectives as being about attraction rather than competition. If I were woman, I suspect that I would name and describe this same instinct in terms of "looking good" (or other names for beauty, "being pretty," appearing desirable, etc.). Women, one might say, are driven to "look good" with the same or greater intensity that men are driven to "win." Men must give as much attention to "trying to win" as women do to "trying to look good."
Call it what you will, competition or attraction, urge to "win" or urge to "be attractive," but I think each are but gender versions of the same human drive which is in service of more primal urges for selfing and reproduction
Another confusing factor is that survival instincts have had longer to evolve: 3.5 billion years, whereas sex instincts have only had about 600 million years. This means that the 80% selfing urges are more engened and less subject to consciousness. Like breathing, no thought is required for most survival drives. But reproduction by sex came later and is therefore nearer to consciousness and indeed requires more conscious attention for success. We stay alive easier "without thinking," but if we reproduce ourselves "more thinking" is necessary. End result: we tend to think (be conscious) more about reproductive matters than about selfing issues. This makes it appear in awareness that sex (for males) and security (for females) in our shared devotions to self-replication are more forceful than the less conscious but, I conclude, even more powerful urges for selfing.
On the surface then, it seems that the figures should be reversed: 80% drive for reproduction and 20% for selfing; but this is only because selfing is older and more operative "unconsciously" while sexing is younger and requires more conscious attention.
So, analyzed into greatest powers: On the surface we see male urges to compete with all males and female urges to attract in the presence of all males. But these instincts for winning and attracting, "being Number One" and "being Prettiest One," are but the major ways we have yet devised for achieving success in the two more primary drives for self survival and self replication, for selfing and sexing.
The relevance of these observations here is to point out another disparity between memes associated with the gendered versions of shared instincts for survival and reproduction. Female modes of activating these common human drives with their differing means of expression are all socially acceptable (favored with positive memes), while the male modes of seeking the same goals are nearly always negative, except in times of war or extreme circumstances.
With instincts, as in many other regards, powerful memes associated with female modes are favorable and supportive while those related to natural male ways are negative and repressive. Once again, alas, maleness and memes are powerfully at odds with one another.
GENES IN SOCIETY
I speculate on an ideal relationship between genes and society. How are genes and memes most likely to coexist harmoniously? In utopia, how would genetic directives be merged with social necessities? In the kingdom of God which is here, potentially, how does an individual best deal with instincts in groups which are meme rather than gene directed?
We have no choice but to deal with the two together, since no person exists without genes, nor does anyone now live outside the parameters of extended social groups. Genes are in society, just as society is finally composed of gene-directed citizens. So how are we best to cope with these often conflicting forces? How, ideally would a person cope with memes, and how would society most wisely deal with its members who are so powerfully moved by genes which are relatively "uneducated" about social rules?
Generalizations first: the historical answer so far has mainly involved a war between the two. Whenever genetic directives have been in conflict with social theories, societies have created memes which in large measure are diametrically opposed to genes. Memes, in mass, are like social troops at war with unruly genes. It is as though each views the other as a mortal enemy; if genes win, memes lose--and vice versa. In practice the primary modes of memes, the ways most established to deal with dangerous-to-society genetic forces, are first, denial, then suppression, and finally punishment. With a stance of genes-as-enemies, society has generally set about first to deny their existence if at all possible--that is, to cope on level one by trying to stop their entrance into society by preventing their presence in human awareness. But, denial failing, as it eventually does, society's next mode is to fiercely attack and try to suppress that which can no longer be denied. Finally, both modes failing, society then seeks to control the "outbreak" by punishments which range from mild to life-threatening, and even to life-taking.
Individuals, who have no choice but to cope with these social modes, have generally taken one of two major modes (more often, a combination of both): first, compliance, and then, rebellion. "Good" citizens (beginning as boys and girls) go along with the prevailing social directives--that is, they (we) begin by trying to deny the offensive instincts within ourselves. We learn to pretend to others that they are not there. "I could never do that." "I certainly didn't mean to..." "I don't feel like that." Etc.
But when denial breaks down, as it usually does in time, we then commonly seek to suppress the drive within ourselves. Soon, it seems, after a brief period when we are only trying to fool others, we begin to do the same with ourselves. We come to deny to ourselves the urges which society seeks to deny within its structures. Conscious denial phases into attempted suppression from awareness. We "try not to think about it," or, "try not to feel that way,"--that is, to rule unacceptable impulses out of consciousness.
Most folk, as best I can tell, live out their lives engaging in first one and then the other of these two familiar coping modes. Trying to "be good" in society, we follow social directives which themselves begin with denial and then suppression. We too, begin with denying within ourselves what is obviously denied "out there." That failing, should the "bad impulses rear their ugly heads" anyway, we try hard to push them back down from the higher realms of awareness. In psychological terms, we begin the process of repression--of relegating certain aspects of ourselves or our experience into "the unconscious mind."
Then if both procedures fall short of
success, rebellion is the next most common familiar mode of coping with
anti-genetic memes. "Acting out," it is often called. We switch from "being
good," that is, from complying with memes to "being bad" and "giving
in" to dark forces. Instead of conforming with meme directives, we move toward
becoming "nonconformists." At first, only small rebellions in isolated
circumstances may occur--as, when a child hits another sibling rather than "being a
good boy or girl." But in time, minor infractions may lead to major rebellions,
in which case society's third mode is apt to become operative. Minor punishments
by parents may be supplemented with more serious social consequences which range from
social rejection to loss of personal freedoms, finally from financial costs to
incarceration, even to loss of life.
From these obvious facts, I turn to consider consequences of these modes of coping with genes, first for individuals, then for society itself. What happens to persons who accept and follow these common paths? And what, in time, are the social results of promoting denial, suppression, and finally using punishment to quell the powers of genes?
Before I move to speculate on social consequences, I want to acknowledge the limits of my experience and the extent of my ignorance about the ideals I imagine. I know much about the effects of denial and suppression in individuals--myself and others I have known outside and inside of therapy. I also know a great deal, at least in hindsight, about the predictable consequences of personal rebellion. From this very limited perspective I have dared, usually in relative blindness, to project my own experience on to ideals about religion and society (when they happen to be different). I have assumed that my own experience is applicable to others; and even projected it further in face of social wisdom to the contrary.
And who is one person in the long course of human history? How presumptuous I have been (usually unconsciously so) to assume that "true for me" may also be "true for others." Obviously social evolution has been quite effective in our currently advanced stages of civilization. We have surely come a long way from the jungle. But I also see some of the dangerous side effects of our obviously successful social modes--such as, high school killers in Colorado, and Milosovich in Yugoslavia. With the benefits of hindsight, I am much less omniscient than when I was active in my professions of trying to change society and to help people.
I know now that I do not know for sure that my speculations are correct. Perhaps repressive memes are the only effective way we can successfully curtail the socially dangerous expressions of genes. Maybe what society now does is the absolutely best way. Maybe my own rebellions against social constraints have led to justifying theories which are truly "half baked" and can never work in the long run. The failure of Fellowship Church may be mute testimony to the craziness of my "different way of thinking."
But ignorance acknowledged, I do want to affirm what I have learned for myself and also speculate further on possible social changes, even to imagine utopian social structures.
I begin with myself. After a life time of "trying to be good,"--that is, of coping with genes by denial, suppression, and rebellion, I now seek an entirely different goal which, I acknowledge, could still be but an advanced form of continued rebellion. It is, indeed, diametrically opposed to the prevailing social mode I have just summarized. I can affirm that when I have been able to live my theories out, they have been successful for me in personal well-being and improved social relationships. I have much more experience in my head than in my living, but where break-throughs between theory and practice have occurred, I certainly like what I have learned "the hard way."
I also see in retrospect how my professions which were ostensibly for others and society were on a deeper level ways for me to continue exploring my theories in relative personal safety. Grandly I presumed, without much conscious awareness, that what "seemed good to me" would also be "good for others (the "foolishness of preaching"?), and that "heaven now" would also be functional for society. Most of my "out there" efforts obviously failed in time. But still I imagine my own insights may be applicable in a larger social context. Do I yet only project and rationalize? Time, I suppose, will tell.
I can see now what I was missing yesterday. In my analysis of social directives I was not recognizing the third phase of meme directives, namely, projection. After suppression, the next step is not punishment, as I was thinking yesterday, but is the inevitable result of "pushing down." Once any force is suppressed within, it cannot but "pop out"--that is, appear-to-be "out there." What we deny within ourselves cannot but be projected outside ourselves. Projection is inevitable following suppression.
This is the fact I was not seeing yesterday. I also confused punishment with a third step, when in reality it is more clearly seen as a social mode at each stage of the process. Punishment is a device or tool rather than a phase of a social process. It is a way of enforcing compliance at each stage, equally applicable at every step, even if more visible near the end of the process.
I now see the social process as beginning with denial, followed by suppression, but then concluding with projection rather than punishment. The meme directed process of coping with socially problematic genes is: 1) Denial, 2) Suppression, and 3) Projection. Various forms of punishment are socially applied for control at each step. When we fail to deny a natural urge (Step 1), we are often threatened with punishment by rejection. For instance, if an urge to hurt a sibling who stands in the way of selfing is not denied, a parent, after threatening with, "Oh, no, you don't want to hurt your baby sister," may punish further by sending a child to his/her room (rejection) or to "time out."
Projection, as noted, is but the natural, inevitable result of suppression. When we suppress an ingrained urge, the denied power associated with the drive does not magically "go away" with our act of will; still present, literally, within ourselves, its force (if not repressed via a complete split within) cannot but be encountered/recognized "out there"--that is, as though (metaphor) it exists externally rather than internally. We move, in effect, from the world of reality where real genetic urges exist, to the world of metaphor, where power-filled images seem to possess forces which "make us do" things we "don't really want to do."
This psychological process in which suppression inevitably results in projection is not a social creation. This is but the way "mental" phenomena occur, as surely as forces such as gravity occur in the physical world. If we jump up in the physical world, we come down; and if we push down in the mental realm, we project out. It's as simple and inevitable as that. But my observation here is less about this predictable result of any suppression of forces than about the memes which support and affirm it.
Memes don't create the physic phenomenon of projection any more than society creates gravity; but they do take full advantage of what happens naturally. Memes encouraging projection (which happens anyway, following suppression) are rampant in society. Our current generation of "victims" is but one result of these powerful memes which approve/support the projection of internal powers which inevitably follows suppressions which are encouraged by other memes.
"The devil made me do it," may be wearing thin as a socially supported and acceptable "reason" for gene-directed activities which are socially unacceptable, but countless other excuses for personal irresponsibility are readily supported in society outside religion (where the devil is still accepted as the "evil" force). Among these are: bad parents, early sexual "abuse," gang influence, peer pressure, drugs, racial discrimination, chemical imbalance, mental illness, amnesia, "out of my mind at the time," or, simply lack of conscious intention ("I didn't mean to do it; I just don't know what got into me at the time. I'm certainly sorry for hurting anyone.").
Any of these and numerous other outside "forces" are socially sanctioned "reasons" for behaviors which are, sans projection, but the honest expression of socially dangerous genetic directives. The memes which legitimize and affirm "causes" for personal actions as existing "out there" (as in "poor upbringing," the devil, or the "influence of drugs," etc., etc.) are how society supports the projections which are the inevitable result of suppressions it required in Stage 2 of the process under consideration here.
In summary: the current meme-directed process of coping with gene-directed actions which are socially dangerous is: 1) Denial, 2) Suppression, and 3) Projection.
Denial means "don't see." The first line of social defense against threatening genes is to not-see the urges which they initiate, for instance, to zap forces which stand in the way of healthy selfing. These memes say, in effect, "Don't look at, let on to (allow in awareness) any desires which are not socially approved (by other positive memes)." They say without saying, "Close your mental eyes to any urges or desires which we don't approve of." Such supported denials are essentially stoppages of the normal Creative Process of human experience which would otherwise move naturally from perception to imaging and on to conceiving (becoming conscious through decoding images). To "be who we are (genetically speaking)," is to be within the natural Creative Process continually; but memes supporting denial of creaturely processes invite inhumanity.
Sometimes denial works so well that no further steps are necessary. If we succeed in keeping any impulse completely out of awareness, living-as-though (a metaphored form of non-existence) the urge does not exist, then social conformity may remain operative. But, unfortunately for society, denial of genetic drives does not, in reality, make them go away. It only "drives them underground" from where they are likely to "pop up" at unexpected times. Then other memes for suppression, "pushing them down," keeping them "out of sight," "under cover," become operative. These include the social virtues of "being nice," "kind," "chaste," "faithful," "helpful," "patriotic," and certainly not "mean," "selfish," "harmful," "sexy," or "lustful."
But, as noted, suppression/projection
cannot finally be divided, any more than jumping up can be separated for long from coming
down. When we suppress, we inevitably project. There may be a greater
time lag between suppression and recognized projection than between jumping
up and coming down, but the eventual appearance of imagined external
"forces" is equally predictable. Just as "what goes up must come
down," so "what is pushed down will come up" somewhere "out
there" in a socially acceptable "cause" for any unacceptable action.
I turn now to focus on an alternative approach to genetic directives as I have come to understand them. I want to belatedly affirm the historical successes of the meme-established process which I have just described. After a life time of unconsciously rebelling against these evolved memes and toying with accepting genes, via preaching theories of "Natural Theology," trying to "help others" (through counseling) to accept their own genetic drives, and striving through my own therapy to face my internal givens, I want now to quit my blind rebellion and look more clearly at the overall picture.
To begin, I want both to see and acknowledge the present stage of memetic as well as genetic evolution, giving due credit to each. One is not better or worse than the other. Both have arrived at their present state in concert with each other. My public affirmation of genes while I was privately rebelling against memes (as my way of coping with their dangerous side-effects) has been off balanced. I have unwittingly (that is, blindly) judged genes as good and memes as bad; but judgment is judgment, whichever way it is applied, and, in my theology, equally sinful. I want now to repent and quit judging either, so that I can look more clearly at both.
I think that for all the successes of memetic evolution so far, the predictable side effects may have now become excessively dangerous both to society and us individual members as well. I hypothesize that we may have evolved far enough to begin an alternate course. This is what I want to amplify next. The regrettable side effects of denial, suppression, and projection, all supported by powerful memes, include such events as the recent Colorado high school disaster and the still operative Kosovo tragedy. Between these and similar national and international "events" there lie the innumerable personal tragedies resulting from the accepted social process, many of which are seen as "mental illness" in the secular world, and as "lostness" in the religious world.
Having been a big brother and preacher for so long, I still find it difficult to separate my own insights from the habit of projecting my visions "out there," as in attempts to "help others," or, as in this journaling, to theorize a new social way of dealing with "selfish genes." In trying to remain strictly personal, I am attempting--through these projections into a social theory, to more clearly see what I have learned for myself so far, and therefore want to amplify in my present and future living.
The path I am now attempting to follow more
openly, the one which has emerged first from my unconscious rebellions and later from my
pilgrimage in self-analysis, is this:
1) See, 2) Embrace, and 3) Become. This process, I recognize, is diametrically opposite to the prevailing socially approved way of coping with genes. Do I still rebel? Or is it only through long practice at denial, suppression, and projection, that I am able to seriously entertain their opposite possibilities? Maybe some of both. Whatever the answer to my uncertainties about origin, this is the way I am currently trying to go, and the projected social agenda I consider advocating (Will I ever be able to truly stop "preaching"?).
By seeing I mean the opposite of denying. Instead of "trying not-to-see"--that is, to become aware of genetic imperatives--instincts, drives, inclinations, urges, bodily "wants," desires, passions, etc., I am now "trying to-see" whatever "comes to me." This latter phrase, "comes to me," implies the split which is yet existent in my sense of myself. Me or "I," as I currently perceive myself is apart from these inner directives. "Comes to..." implies that "they" are outside or separate from me (as currently identified). This is the very split which I am attempting to heal through the contrasting process being amplified.
In the past, whenever an unacceptable-in-society (family, school, church, etc.) inclination "appeared"--such as, an impulse to "be selfish," to "hurt anyone," or to "feel sexy," I have dealt with "it" first by efforts to deny its very existence, to "say it isn't so" before I even "thought about it." This failing, as it generally has, I have next been diligent in suppression--that is, efforts to keep any socially unacceptable impulses "pushed down" out of my regular awareness and certainly out of any connected actions. I have, in effect, pretended to myself that urges I could no longer succeed in denying, were "bad," "evil," or "wrong," and certainly not to be consciously accepted as me or in any way "acted out."
This, I see in hindsight, was accomplished through fierce and consistent judgments (not mere discriminations) of "right and wrong," beginning with inward desires and culminating in any honest or expressive outward actions. These sins of judging resulted in the split within my naturally whole self, with me (my sense-of-myself) identified with the "good" and cut off from what I had judged as "bad." I ingested early a strong, healthy "conscience" which I only found much later to be but the learned "voice" of my mother and other authority figures I lived with. I was a "good student" of local memes.
And of course, as the process cannot but work, I projected the powers generated by natural urges denied and/or suppressed, "out there." At first an imagined devil was useful; but this image was too obviously "unreasonable" and easily decoded. So I had to move to more "advanced" forms of the same. After "the devil made me do it" was left behind, I was stuck for a time with predictable ambivalence; I wanted to accept "my" impulses, but feared "them" at the same time. Keeping my "demons" would have been easier, I surmise, had I been able to.
Consciously I tried to accept "being selfish," devising complicated theologies to support my fledgling (in awareness) desires; but old habits do die hard! Mostly I continued to live trapped between urges "to be bad" and intentions "to be good," that is, between my genes and memes. Meanwhile all my sexual urges, which I long "saw" in theory as "good," remained projected in practice "out there," primarily on "pretty girls" who "turned me on." I came to see (Stage 1 of the process I am amplifying here) my sexual impulses, along with my selfing urges, but I could not fully decode the images I had come to project these forces on to.
Now I attempt, whenever I can find the
nerve, to entertain every inward inclination, "feeling" or desire which nudges
its way into awareness. I try to remain attentive to all bodily urges which emerge in
conjunction with natural perceptions. And in concert, I try to perceive (see, hear, smell,
touch, taste) whatever these "wants" incline me toward. I try to so unite my
desires and perceptions that I sense-what-I-want-to and let-myself-want-whatever-I-sense.
Stage 2 of this alternative process is also an opposite; instead of suppressing urges, I am now trying to accept or embrace as a part of myself those inclinations which I previously attempted to rule out and consequently had to project. By embracing I mean accepting--taking-into-myself, impulses which I have previously been diligent in trying to rule-out. I try to transform old "enemies" into new "friends." I, when nervy, "befriend" my "bad" inclinations and, in effect, invite them to come on in, sit down, and talk. As worded in a song, I try to say, "come on in and let your hair hang down."
In terms of self, this is a second phase of the wholing process as I now understand it. Parts of myself previously split off and dis-identified with, or judged as "bad me," are, in Stage 2 "entertained" on the way toward re-acceptance as me. No longer are "they" seen as external forces which are "making me" do (or want to) unacceptable deeds; now they, after the challenges of befriending old "enemies," are acknowledged as parts of who-I-am. They, through embracing, become additional aspects of my being.
But at Stage 2, previously denied
and/or suppressed parts of myself are still in some measure distinct
entities--parts in the sense of elements-in-the-structure, but still more like
internal possessions rather than external enemies. They are still
"things-in-here" as contrasted for "forces-out-there."
The third, and so far as I now recognize, final, stage of my chosen process is also an opposing move to the socially approved way of dealing with genetics. Instead of projecting, I am now attempting what can also be called injecting--putting "back in" what was only seen before as "out there." More literally, I am trying to become what I see in Stage 1 and embrace at Stage 2. Past recognition of what was previously denied, and embracing as a part of myself what before had been demonized (in various degrees) as a way of keeping apart from "good me," I now try to absorb into me.
I want to literally become all the impulses and desires which genetic evolution has ingrained within the DNA making up this body called Bruce, which have been opposed and rejected by later evolved memes. If I can feel "it" or want "it," I want also to become "it." In other words, I want all my "its" to become I.
Two high school seniors in Colorado recently went into their school, killed 13 people, injured 15 more, and then killed themselves. Were they crazy (mentally ill), evil, "bad seeds," or predictable results of a social system based on denial and repression rather than awareness and self acceptance? I think the latter.
Yesterday I intuitively estimated that genes for selfing account for 80% of human motivations, with the remaining 20% devoted to reproduction. That surprised me, since my emerging awareness has largely focused on acknowledging sexually rooted drives, which do indeed appear on first glance to be the more powerful. But on reflection, I think my guesses about the greater influence of selfing genes are more likely to be accurate.
I want now to amplify what I imagine to be the specific components or forms of expression of these most primal and powerful of all our genetic endowments. What is the nature of selfing as evolved by this combination of basic genes? In general they are known as instincts for survival, for staying alive, for not being "done in" by external forces. I have previously amplified them to include "enhancing survival" also--that is, as urging us to make the very best of survival, to take good care of ourselves, to find and get all that is possible to make "staying alive" as wonderful as possible. In summary: I think that some 80% of our primal genetic instincts are evolved and devoted to keeping-on-breathing at all costs plus doing so in as fine a form as we can imagine--in other words: to being and well-being of our individual selves, of the unique combination of genes enskinned in body and known as "I."
Now, what do being (staying alive) and well-being mean in terms of daily living? How do these powerful urges at the core of every human manifest themselves in activities in the world? What does it mean in practice to literally be selfing? What is the nature of naturalness? If all the directives and constraints of society effected through memes could somehow be magically erased, what would the resulting "natural person," the highly evolved animal, be like? If a mythical person could have grown up "in the wild" isolated from civilization, including family training, such as, mother's influence, what would his/her existence be like? If I had no socially acquired "conscience" and no now-engrained habits learned for social survival, what would I be like?
I have long theorized a "Natural Theology" which is this-worldly rather than otherworldly as are most major religions; but I have never analyzed in detail what I think true naturalness is like. I begin now.
First, I affirm the huge generalizations: staying alive and enhancing self existence. This certainly must be the ball park of selfing. But once living is protected from life-threatening circumstances, such as, physical dangers--as is generally true in America today, what does "enhancing self existence" mean? What do urges to "well-being" imply?
I turn to consider human capacities as the arena for an answer. I surmise that just as survival means creating conditions harmonious with the requirements for physical life--such as, air, digestible food, temperatures suited to human life, and absence of other forces which would hurt or result in bodily death, so well-being, once living itself is secured, involves creating conditions fitted to the expressions of other human capacities. In other words, well-being is related to capacities inherent in human being itself. Well boils down to: that which correlates with what we can do. When human capacities are best and most activated, then we "feel well" and are more likely to be well also. Conversely, when capacities are denied, repressed, or otherwise prevented, we "feel bad" and indeed, being is bad.
Well-being, then, means being/doing what we have evolved capable of being/doing--activating and expressing innate capacities. Most primally these begin with perception--sensing our environment through our five major senses. Well-being, past survival only, begins with hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and touching our surroundings. We "feel good" and are truly "being good" when we are perceiving, when our basic senses are operative and in action.
Perception then, must be the first major selfing activity in the enhancement of life. To be selfing, at this primary level, is to be perceiving. At this most basic beginning, not-to-perceive would be to "not be oneself." If one can, for example, see and hear, then not-seeing and not-hearing are against the nature of selfing.
Imaging, I have previously concluded, is the second major "step" in natural human experience. First we perceive; then, if we remain ourselves, we image or form "pictures" which correlate with our perceptions. We make "mental pictures" of what we have seen, heard, etc. Thus, to be well, we proceed normally from perceiving to imaging. This process of forming sense impressions into mental shapes must be the second most basic activity of selfing. Our genes, as it were, must be "directing" us first to sense our surroundings, and then to make personal shapes from what we have sensed. Conversely, to not-make-images would be to negate selfing. If we "do what comes naturally,"genetic forces named here as selfing move us to form pictures which summarize our perceptions. And the better and more clearly and accurately the images, the "more we are being ourselves."
Conceiving is the next phase of natural human experience. We have also evolved capacities for further defined images--that is, for "breaking down" our mental pictures into various components or discernable elements. We can not only, for example, see (perceive with our eyes), we can also name what we see. We have evolved brain-capacity for symbolizing or letting mental forms "stand for" physical perceptions. We can view a "tall perception," for instance, and call it a "tree." What was at first only an image, a mental picture, can, if we remain selfing, be further experienced through the human capacity for conceiving. In this phase of natural humanity we in effect de-code or translate images which seem to be "out there" into concepts which seem to be "in here"--in some "internal space" which we will later learn to call "mind." "Oh," we can say, "I see now that it is a tree." Seeing with the eyes of the head is naturally followed by "seeing" with the metaphored "mind's eye." First we see (get the picture); then we can say, "I see," referring to a mental process which is past physical vision alone.
Conceiving, the third phase of natural experience and hence activity in selfing, is followed normally by minding. This is a coined word for the next natural step of absorbing our "thinking" into our selves, of literally becoming what we at first perceived, then imaged and conceived. In this final phase of selfing we come to exist as the sum of our personal experience, analyzed here into the three initial steps. What was at first only sensed--grasped via perception, and then imaged--pictured "out there," and next conceived--analyzed and held in "mind space," is finally absorbed "into the bones" of oneself. Through minding we become what we have experienced.
This, in summary, is, I think, the essence of selfing in its most primary elements. Some 80% of our genes have evolved, I speculate, to support, fuel, drive, cause-to-happen, "make us do," these operations which are themselves but the primary means of basic survival--"staying alive." We survive as human beings through selfing, that is, by perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and minding. These are the "ways" we "keep-on-living."
But being, obviously, is not simply "in-our-skins" where these four processes take place repeatedly from birth till death; all "internal being" is naturally "lived out" or "expressed" in "external doing." Only in our "mind's eye," where we analyze images into concepts, does being exist in "pure form" (as a mental construct only). In the real world all being is naturally formed in doing. To "be being oneself" is to be doing things which activate the substance ("body") of the unique-in-all-the-world combination of genes (strands of DNA) which is represented in language as "I."
The internal processes of perceiving/imaging/conceiving/minding are "lived out" in external activities which, ideally, correlate with each other. What we do, when we are truly "being ourselves" is an accurate expression of who we be. Being and doing, in this perfect union, are in effect the same. "What you see is what you get." The truly selfing individual is being/doing his natural, "given," unique combination of capacities.
The essence of what in society is called "selfishness," which I here name as "selfing" (in an effort to remove some of the associated negative judgments attached to the name), is to become and activate-in-the-world that set of chromosome combinations which was created in the magical moments of conception in some anonymous mother's Fallopian tube. It is, in simplest language, to be I.
To move past this academic analysis, I must now consider another evolved human capacity: consciousness, the human ability not only to be/do, but also to know that/what we be/do. Evolved brain size, I surmise, now permits a degree of holding-things-in-mind which is well beyond simple awareness that all animals seem to possess. Like lizards, etc., we can be aware; but unlike them (or so we think), we can "hold" our awarenesses in an enlarged "consciousness." Like lizards, for example, we too "are going to die"; but unlike other animals (as best we can tell), we are the only ones who also "know about death" ahead of time.
The point: To understand selfing, what it means to "be selfish," I must also deal with being/doing in the light of human capacity for consciousness. This, it turns out, is where the great conflict in society is rooted. We have come to deal with the massive forces evolved for selfing primarily through the capacity for consciousness--and its opposite, which I have named nonsciousness. Since the beginning of civilization (100,000? years ago), selfing genes have been highly problematic. Emerging societies which were dependent on group cooperation had no choice but to deal with the facts of genetic selfing. But how?
I will return to this challenge later, but first I want to look more clearly at how genes for being/doing are naturally related to this later-to-evolve capacity for also knowing what we be/do. In the absence of society, I surmise that all "selfish" urges would flow easily into awareness and then into full consciousness in accord with the evolved extent of this latter capacity. We would, I theorize, "know as much about our genetic urges" as our "brains have evolved capable of knowing." Surely there would remain vast stores of genetic directives, such as, how to digest food, heal wounds, and fight viruses, which remain locked in the darkness of nonsciousness; but we would be fully aware, I think, of all that our young and fragile capacity for consciousness is yet capable. If, for example, we had an urge to destroy some enemy of our own well-being, we would be fully conscious of same.
One further product of evolution becomes relevant here: the capacities for desire and pleasure, for "wanting" and "feeling good." In addition to blind urges, the gift of consciousness allows us to also "know what we want." As all parents can't help but know, children "want what they want when they want it," and don't hesitate to let you know what it is. But with an even greater stroke of genius, Mother Nature has been wise enough to evolve pleasure along with desire. Over the long haul, doing things "which worked"--fulfilling desires which turned out to be functional for human creatures, came to be associated with pleasure. If "it worked," it eventually began to "feel good." If, for example, eating red berries turned out to be healthy, then in time they came "to taste good." Or earlier, eating itself, essential for survival, must have evolved associated "feels goods" to accompany its operation. And elimination, also necessary, came to include "good feelings" along with its success.
The point: In the long eons of evolution, most human activities which proved to be favorable for survival and its enhancements also came to be rooted in desire and experienced as pleasurable-- that is, "what worked" eventually came to "feel good." Thus "wanting" and "feeling good" have come to be primary additions to human capacities, made possible through the gifts of expanded consciousness. Now, for examples, we "want to eat, shit, and play," and they all "feel good." In combination, the desire for pleasure, "wanting to feel good," is our best guide for "knowing about (becoming conscious of)" the finest genetic wisdom engened so far in regard to the 80% agenda for selfing.
With our evolved ways of experiencing the
world, namely, perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and minding, in
combination with our later-to-evolve capacity for consciousness (knowing what we
know), and their union through the doors of desire and pleasure, what we
"want to do," and "feel good" about are now our best clues to the
reality of selfing. In summary, if we want to "be ourselves" in purest
forms we listen to our given desires, "do what we want to," and are
guided by "what feels good."
In this natural state of maximum
consciousness, first attention would be directed toward elemental survival, "thinking
about" how to stay alive--get food, keep warm, and avoid being eaten or otherwise
killed by other life forms with similar selfing goals. Then, remaining available attention
would go to enhancing the above noted phases of the process of normal human
experience--that is, toward seeking perceptions which are most fitted and
therefore pleasurable to the various ranges of our senses. Next, forming images which
best match these perceptions would be the natural sequence of "feeling
good," followed by the expanded fun of de-coding images into concepts and
fitting these all together (called "being reasonable"). Finally, ultimate
pleasure would be achieved in Stage Four minding, in which all that one has perceived,
imaged, and "made sense of" is absorbed into oneself.
The instinct for survival may also be recognized in its negative or reverse form, namely, the urge to avoid its opposite, not-surviving. To be gene-directed to "stay alive" is, seen from the other side of the same coin, to be driven to "not die." We want, that is, to live, which means not to die. This negative side of the same urge appears in strong avoidance of any force which seems to be life threatening. If we are urged toward what is pleasurable and life-sustaining, we are equally directed away from what is painful and life-threatening. If the capacity for pleasure has evolved to support what works in survival, pain must have arisen for the same but opposite reason, namely, to protect us from what doesn't work. Pain, like its opposite, is an ingrained "clue" to what genes have learned to be potentially destructive rather than satisfying.
In terms of consciousness, looking at the two ends of the same scale, our ingrained desires are to "feel good," and not to "feel bad." Or, in familiar terms: to seek pleasure and to avoid pain, each of which are engrained clues to best survival and avoidance of death.
Emotions are evolved clues to these instincts coming into awareness. Pleasure is experienced as "feels good," joy, or happiness, while pain is known as "feels bad," hurt, or sorrow. Emotions associated with actions to cope with these opposing "feelings" are aggression and fear, the familiar fight/flight syndrome. We are genetically inclined to seek pleasure/avoid pain, and to either fight or run from anything which seems to flip the balance in the second direction.
I restate this common knowledge about basic drives and emotions because I need to have it in mind as I try to see the more difficult ramifications of these natural instincts, namely, the extent of what we are driven to do in quest of pleasure and survival, or in avoidance of pain and death. This is where our most basic genetic directives place us in greatest danger in society. Or, from the perspective of social groups, these two powerful urges, which are literally but opposite ends of the same scale of experience, have proven to be the most difficult to integrate into harmonious group functioning.
Society may affirm this survival instinct in theory, since finally it is dependent on the continued existence of its members; but in practice, the various expressions of the urge in any of its stronger degrees is problematic in relationships with others. For example, the inclination for indiscriminate aggression toward any force which interferes with personal pleasure is, except in times of war, dangerous to social harmony.
To see clearly the threat of pleasure instincts in society we must also look to the second most powerful of the basic drives, namely, reproduction (which I have guessed to be 20% of all motivations). Although we may, in theory, separate instincts for survival from those for self-replication, in practice they are always intertwined--and never more inextricably than when we come to the capacity for pleasure.
The genius of Mother Nature is, as noted, evident in Her encoding pleasure with what works; but if She has made self-survival satisfactions "feel good," She has out done Herself in pleasures associated with self-replication. Eating and defecating "feel good," but sex and orgasm "feel grand." So, when the internal guideline toward survival, namely, pleasure versus pain, is operative, it may begin with the search for satisfactions of food and comfort, but at its strongest it also moves us toward the greater pleasures associated with reproduction.
These rather obvious facts are relevant now in my attempt to acknowledge and understand the two most significant ramifications for genetics in society, namely, the threats of sex and aggression, especially as related to male genes. Most other genetic expressions have been incorporated into group living with relative ease, even becoming bed rocks of effective social structures--such as, the urge to acquire and keep resources useful in survival. Also, minor degrees of our urges to "have a good time," and to "not feel bad" have been socially useful as in, industries associated with vacations, and medical structures for improving bodily health.
But at their obvious extremes--when we are moved to seek the greatest degrees of pleasure or to avoid the larger threats, natural human instincts find their greatest challenges in social groups. Incomparable pleasures of orgasm and the strength of urges to destroy that which stands in the way of desire or threatens personal life are forces which must have challenged the best social minds since civilization began.
In plainest language these powerful selfing instincts which are so difficult in society are: kill-ability and fuck-ability--socially indiscriminate drives to eliminate any opposition to one's desires, and at the same time to replicate oneself in spite of all hazards. The male versions of these cross gender drives are even more socially dangerous than are their female counterparts. Natural male aggression, culminated in killing, and male urges to spread sperm, activated in fucking, must be the greatest of all threats to established social orders.
Aggression is a creaturely capacity, human creatures included, which has evolved, I surmise, in service of the two more primal drives for survival and replication. In pursuit of these forceful drives we need assertiveness in one form or another. These, I speculate, have now become ingrained. Two forms are evident: active and passive, or overt and covert. Alike, they share the goals of achieving survival and reproduction; but unalike, they have evolved with differing gender utility. Males have primarily come to cope by active assertion, females by passive assertion. Overt aggression has proven more effective in male success, while covert actions seem to work better for females. With the same goal, namely, wielding power in pursuit of personal interests, these opposite modes of practice are now, it seems, genetically ingrained.
The relevance of this obvious difference, to be amplified later, is that only the male mode is socially dangerous when it is not in service of society rather than individual males. The female mode of overt aggression is far less disruptive to every day social functioning. Consequently powerful memes have also evolved for suppressing male modes, while none have arisen for passive female aggression which is less threatening to group functioning.
Aggression and its various forms is not, I think, a primary drive in the same sense as the instincts for survival and reproduction. We are not "simply aggressive," either actively or passively, except in service of the fundamental urges to stay alive and make babies. The differing shapes of assertive activity are more like capacities which have evolved similar to arms and legs on the body--that is, as useful "tools" for effecting the deeper functions of supporting life and its continuation.
Aggression forms, past the general categories of active and passive, grade from simple assertive moves, such as, extending oneself in the world, pushing or moving objects or persons so as to enhance personal goals, all the way to removing or destroying any forces which get in the way of individual urges. We are aggressive, that is, in pursuit of what we have evolved to want. We want to get that which serves personal goals, and get rid of whatever stands in the way of such getting. Also we want to eliminate any forces which threaten us personally while in pursuit of these same two major goals.
The scale of degrees of assertion may be graded from mild "initiative" to forceful destruction; from gentle, outward movements, including nudges, all the way to killing "enemies." The most socially dangerous of these varying forms of the same capacity, except in war times, is, of course, the latter end of the scale. "Initiative" we need in society, but killing, we don't.
Kill-ability as a human capacity is to be distinguished, I think, from an instinct. In reality we do not have "killer-instincts" in the same sense as survival instincts. "Killerness" is more like a capacity which has involved for service in extreme situations related to survival and family. We can kill, for example, to protect ourselves and our children, or to eliminate forces, including other persons, who seem to be threatening to our pursuit of instinctive goals. But otherwise, I do not think we have ingrained urges to destroy. "Live and let live" is closer to the nature of all creatures. We only "get bothered" when some other creature or force threatens our own living.
In summary, kill-ability, both in males and females, is an innate capacity, but not a primal instinct apart from specific situations. Even then the capacity is less about actual death-of-other than about elimination-of-opposition. The current term, zapping, comes closer to accurately naming the ability. We are inclined to "zap" those who get in the way of instinctive urges. When small children sometimes say to offensive parents, "I wish you were dead," they are giving voice to the human capacity--at least desire, for "getting rid" of troubling forces. "Dead," unlikely to be understood by children, is only language for voicing the desire to remove offending forces at the time. As such, the ability, the extreme end of the scale of aggressiveness, does not necessarily involve emotions such as "hate." Certainly powerful feelings are operative at times when we are moved to confront oppositional powers, but the oft heard phrase, "nothing personal," even at times of elimination, may in truth be accurate.
The point: although events of "zapping," "elimination," or overt killing are sometimes, perhaps most often, accompanied by hatred or passionate "dislike," these emotions are not innate in the capacity for simply removing ("taking out an enemy," as it is sometimes called in war or in police work) an oppositional force. It may, in fact, be a dispassionate move which is literally "impersonal" to the zapping one, even though it is life-threatening to one being confronted.
Although kill-ability is more often evident in males who function by overt rather than aggression, the capacity is, I conclude, cross-gender. Even though females tend to seek success in shared goals primarily by covert means, they too have "cold-hearted" killer-capacities for use when passive means fail. For instance, as evidenced in "lower animals," even a mother can eliminate some of her own offspring when food supplies run short. And though "killing" by females is more often directed toward spirit than to body, and is consequently less visible to others, their potential ruthlessness is well known to alert males.
Summary: Our two primary instincts--that which genes literally urge us to "do," are backed up by an extensive cast of supporting "characters (human capacities)" which have evolved, I surmise, as "tools" for effecting the primal goals. These include, on the positive side, when oppositional forces are absent, engrained inclinations guided by desire and its associated pleasures. When we are not threatened, we want to do "what feels good." The nature of this "doing," can be broken down into four phases: perceiving, imaging, conceiving, and minding--which are immediately translated into outward actions correlating with these inward processes. In language usually directed at children but equally accurate about humans in general, we all "want what we want when we want it." From the social perspective, in meme-shaped language, we are all immensely "selfish." We are innately directed to "take care of Number One," to stay alive and "get the best for ourselves," that is, to do/acquire that which best serves our primal goals of survival and replication.
And when these basic urges are in any way
thwarted or threatened we have evolved powerful capacities for: a) persistence in the face
of opposition, and b) elimination of what/whomever stands in the way of our immensely
personal pursuits. Easily and naturally we move toward pleasure inherent in fulfilling
internal desires, away from any pain or disruption of pleasure, and finally toward zapping
any and all who interfere or endanger us.
Kill-ability, perhaps the most socially-suppressed of all our native capacities, is, paradoxically accompanied by an equally wonderful capacity for healing--primarily ourselves, but also others. More about the latter later, but first, the "selfish" capacity. Bodily heal-ability, commonly recognized and appreciated, is well-known. Completely below the level of all consciousness we have evolved amazingly wonderful capacities for "fighting disease and infection" and healing wounds and breaks. All but the most devastating of bodily disruptions tend to correct or "heal" themselves in time, even with minimal or no outside assistance.
Less well recognized, however, is our capacity for emotional or spiritual healing, for "repairing ourselves" from devastating invasions into the world of self as distinguished from body. Physical pains, though awful at the time, tend to abate rapidly. Emotional pains, when left in their natural state, seem to be equally short-lived. For instance, as all know, "it hurts to lose"--all the way from games (especially to males) to loved ones. Just as we hurt when pinched or pierced, so we are pained when separated from familiar and supportive external forces, such as, family members, friends, pets, or other agents in our personal worlds. But often unseen, I think, is, when we dare, for instance, to openly face loses and experience natural emotions, like grieving, how rapidly spirit is able regenerate itself.
Extended emotional pain, such as, grief, is less related to natural human heal-ability than to the way we learn in society to relate to self-hurt. More about the social aspects later; but first I want to note what I observe to be largely unseen, namely, how resilient we humans are to both physical and emotional pain. Human heal-ability of body and heart is as amazing to me as is human kill-ability when our instincts are threatened.
A prevailing premise is that love comes from suppressing or negating natural instincts--that is, from being "unselfish" rather than "selfish (selfing)." We become, according to this theory, more loving by being less attentive to self and more attentive to others. Ultimate love, called agape in Christianity, is thus seen as complete self-denial in service of total dedication to the needs of other persons or social systems in which we find ourselves. Finally, there is no greater love, based on this premise, than to lay down your life for your friends or country.
Self-sacrifice, beginning with "putting others first, self last," culminating in self-destruction, becomes the highest virtue in this meme-directed definition of greatest love. In practice this belief leads to an anti-gene, pro-meme value system, to suppression of natural instincts and elevation of contrived directives which are systematically opposed to "being yourself" as genetically inclined.
In sharp contrast, I propose, as I am discovering in my own experience, that whereas this prevailing belief is effective in maintaining social systems, and temporarily useful in rearing good citizens, it is inherently flawed both for utopian civilization and personal salvation in the here and now (heaven here).
What I am learning, at least for myself, is that I have failed in achieving personal well-being via self suppression/negation, and that my best love has emerged when I have dared/risked opposing this social mode and instead taken the chance of being gene-guided rather than meme-dictated.
From this experience I generalize the radical (to me) notion that agape ("true love" or "Christian love") is the apex of genetics, rather than the result of self denial. Greatest love emerges from becoming more selfing, not from trying to be "unselfish."
My memes, I conclude, have properly guided me in becoming a good social member (son, brother, friend, husband, father, soldier, and citizen), but have misled me both in my quest for personal well-being and for love, either of others or myself. I think now that fullest love of others and self, as well as personal happiness (well-being) is more predictable from following genetic directives to their fuller conclusion, than from perfecting ideal meme behaviors, as taught at home, school, and church.
Genes I have avoided, it turns out in my experience, are wiser in the long run than memes I have known. Body, I belatedly admit, is smarter than "my" conscience--which I finally recognize to be but a psychic reservoir of well-learned (absorbed) memes. Desire, it turns out, is a better overall guide in time, than should.
While growing up I sometimes heard when I said, "I don't want to do that...," "What's want got to do with anything?," implying that only what I was told to do mattered. I learned well and tried long to negate desire in favor of should/ought, only to lately learn that I have erroneously attempted to evade the best "teachers" available.
To now see and affirm the larger wisdom of wants over shoulds (genes vs. memes) is not to support willy nilly expression of all desires in social circumstances. Immediately doing what I want is not the same as always knowing what I want to do--that is, living in constant awareness of desire; being continually conscious of genetic guides does not mean ignoring meme directives. Shoulds are as real as woulds. To be conscious is to be aware both of wants and oughts--that is, inner urges as well as outer restraints.
Truly conscious decisions about what-to-do in any circumstance (place and time) take into account all that is known, not just "feelings" only. Once we have heard the voice of memes--and every child has, we, if conscious, "know" more than primal gene knowledge only. The path I am now pursuing, the uncommon notion I am clarifying here, is that real love is the culmination of genetic instincts consciously operative in social contexts where only memes are valued. Literally, love, as I now see it, can come only from a wise merging of primal genes (instincts) and younger genes (memes). And this is only possible through embracing the lately evolved human capacity for consciousness.
Agape is impossible, I think, either when genes are kept unconscious (when I don't know what I want to do), or when memes are excluded from my awareness. To be blind to either instincts or social directives--genes or memes, is to miss the possibility of agape as I now understand it.
In summary: The love ("agape") I now seek remains but an illusion, an impossible dream, when pursued in the way I learned from my memes--that is, through trying to be "unselfish (suppressing/negating genes)" and "giving my life in service of others (being 100% meme-directed)."
Love is still rare; but I glimpse God more often and clearly when I seek Her through the challenging path of consciousness, both of my genes and memes, choosing what I say and do with all others from the wealth of my desires tempered carefully in the fires of all my shoulds and oughts.
I fail at love, and fall from being-well ("well-being") whenever I am dead to desire and dictated by memes, or when I am ruled by lust and blind to laws. Consciousness, the only path I have found to true love, calls for knowing both and wisely merging each in a present moment.
The love I affirm and seek, in plainest language, comes not from sacrifices and self-denial, but from fuller self-becoming and "being myself" more completely in each here and now.
In general terms, the traditional way of coping with genetics in society is via non-sciousness--not-knowing what genes "tell us to do." In sharp contrast, the path I am now trying to follow is via con-sciousness--knowing all that I can know, both from genes and memes, and choosing what to say and do.
Instead of trying to "be good"--become-my-memes, I now try to "be myself"--embodied-genes, and to act appropriately. The former and familiar way involved a continual effort to negate or suppress genetics in favor of becoming "memetics." I tried to not-be who I am, and to be only who I should be.
The traditional way of non-sciousness in
practice involves, as previously noted: denial, suppression, and projection.
Con-sciousness, in contrast, includes: seeing, embracing, and becoming. Instead of trying
not to "see (feel/know)," and to push down ("control") what shows up
anyway (with projection inevitably following), I now try to acknowledge all
"feelings" and desires (instinctive inclinations), to re-embrace them as aspects
of myself, and finally to literally become this genetic heritage embodied in
This uncommon approach to reality has also required a re-thinking of learned ideals which I summarize as "love"--in particular, "highest love," "greatest love," or agape, as so-called in Christianity. The "love" I now seek is based on a distinctly different premise from my earlier goals.
This switch, also in general terms, is from "love" based on self-sacrifice (even self-negation), to love based on self-fulfillment; from "love" as an opposite of "selfishness," to agape as the apex of selfing. My older concept of love led, in practice, to dis-embodiment, to the belief that "I" (my "real self") was a soul (personality, mind, or it) which only inhabited "my" body temporarily, and would eventually leave to get to a "better place"--if I am "good" here.
My acquired belief affirms embodiment, indeed, bodily identification ("I" as "it"). Instead of trying to suppress, control, or get the best of "it," and hoping eventually to leave "it," I now strive to become embodied. Instead of viewing nature as evil and to be overcome, eventually escaped from, I now see nature as the source and substance of who I am. I want to become increasingly more, rather than less, natural.
DANGEROUS REPRESSION VERSUS BAD GENES
Another premise of this contrasting approach is that most social disruptions, even tragedies, such as, daily abuse, the Colorado killings, or Kosova, are predictable consequences of genetics-denied (the way of non-sciousness versus con-sciousness) rather than bad nature "acted out." Such social destructions are more related, I conclude, to meme-repressed genes, than to "evil" genes themselves.
They are more accurately "blamed" on the mode of non-sciousness than on activation of primal genes. They come more from the eruption of instincts long denied in consciousness than from ancient urges themselves.
Natural aggression suppressed, for example, is more likely to lead to socially destructive behavior than if it were accepted, embraced, and brought into con-sciousness. The powers of normal sexuality repressed and hence projected are more likely to be the source of abuse than is lust allowed in awareness.
Or so I have found it to be.
Even when suppression via non-sciousness does not result in disruptive social behavior, other personal prices must be paid. Traditionally virtuous "self-denial" (sacrificing self in service of others) is accomplished through self-splitting--that is, separating one's sense-of-self from his/her actual, given, genetic-self. Suppression of urges does not make them "go away" or magically disappear; it only leaves us split off from them in awareness. We create an illusion of "I" as distinct from "them," while in reality "they" remain operative in non-sciousness (without "our" knowledge).
Such internal divisions of self may be temporarily functional in emergency situations, as well as socially expedient in good citizenship (e.g., daily friendships or patriotism); but they predictably result, when extended, in personal unhappiness, psychological pathology, and/or socially destructive behavior as noted above.
All in all, the dangers and prices of coping with social realities via non-sciousness are, even when pragmatic in groups, excessive to me. Surely credit is due a system which has gotten civilization this far; but I believe there is a better way in the long run.
This is the course I am seeking for myself and which I try to amplify here.
NOTHING YOU CAN NAME
NAMES & IMAGES
Even before Eve appeared, Adam, in what would come to be typical male fashion, was coping with reality via naming. Names, of course, are the pre-requisite to language, which is itself required for concepts. Otherwise we cope by instincts and appearances and thus by images and the emotions they evoke.
Eve, had she been first (as in reality prior to Christian mythology, she was) would no doubt have gone straight to images and began rearranging the furniture of the garden--placing apple trees next other similar fruits, etc., so they would look better and feel right. Not to mention washing Adam's fig leaf!
And so on till now.
Men still cope primarily through names, concepts and "thinking," as do women via images and "feelings." My attention here goes to comparing these two modes in regard to inherent powers of each. Beginning at the bottom line: The innate power of concepts pales in comparison to that of images. The weakest of images is still more powerful than the strongest of concepts--at least in the short run. Even dull appearances move us all more quickly than sharp ideas.
The sailor in South Pacific was right: "There is nothing you can name that is anything like a dame." No names, or concepts conceived with them, is, for example, anything like the images of women, especially when it comes to the power which each may wield. PhD be damned, when a pretty girl enters the room, even the rooms of mind only. Who would want to write if a naked lady should walk in, let alone think?
The sense I make of these obvious comparisons--still practicing what I just preached, is this: First, images for both genders are more primal in evolutional experience. We learned to see (perceive) before we came to think (conceive). And perceiving evolved supportive emotions to effect its goals. Seeing dangerous figures, for instance, man-eating creatures like lions, we must have developed emotions of fear/anger in order to stay alive and not be eaten.
Ideas, however, which must have come much later as men began to figure out how to outsmart powerful creatures, back in our Hunter/Gatherer eras, haven't had time to evolve associated emotions to support them, especially since they change so often from tribe to tribe, place to place, and time to time.
A second biological fact may be even more relevant (as I continue trying to cope with reality via reasons): In the evolution of sex and hence gender (or was it the other way around?) male success in selection of best baby-makers came via visual discriminations; female "looks" became our best guideline, especially after estrus went underground, perfume was invented, males lost our noses for female heat, and women began to say, "Look, but don't touch."
Since then (whenever it was), males have necessarily learned to improve our odds of self-replication by sharpening our eyes for ova-makers--that is, for discrimination via images. Deprived of smell, touch, and obvious estrus, we have had to focus on the one remaining, socially acceptable mode of selection, namely, "girl watching"--looking at shapes, forms, colors--all the elements of images.
The challenge has been enhanced, setting the evolutional stage for even sharper male visual discrimination, by the corollary evolution of female deceive-ability to conceal her rapidly declining conceive-ability. If, as I suspect, the most powerful of all images in the eyes of male genes is a conceive-able female, and that wise women have forever known the value of managing the more limited powers of males, then reasonably (even without "thinking about it"), women would have long practiced the arts of appearing like baby-makers when it was in fact, not true. Both before puberty and after menopause, as well as most of the time in between when finding sperm is a non-issue, women would predictably evolve skill in image manipulation for their own survival, let alone the enhancements made possible by "having a man around the house" (not necessarily in bed).
However and whyever these two complementary skills--males for "goodly looking" and females for "looking good," based ultimately if not consciously on images (or illusions) of conceive-ability (in the biblical if not dictionary sense of knowing) has arisen, the obvious (to me) facts are:
1. Males since Adam have mainly tried to cope with reality through naming and concepts, while:
2. Females since Eve (or probably since Lilith and Gaia before her) have primarily managed via appearances and images--especially when it comes to male management.
3. But since images, gender-differences ignored, are more primal than concepts and have, unlike their Johnny-Come-Lately children of the mind, evolved supportive emotions, they are always more powerful than any mental theories (often confused by males with facts or even truth).
4. And for profoundly significant reasons of self-replication, not to mention, personal immortality, males have been largely left to image discriminations for survival success, while females, even with similar goals, have yet to become so dependent on concepts for survival.
5. So, given the innate power advantage of images over ideas, the dependence of males on images for hopes of immortality, the evolved deceive-ability of females in cleverly appearing to be conceive-able through image manipulation (e.g., looking pretty when they are ugly, not to mention native power advantages because of two X chromosomes in each cell), females hold an immense edge over males when we come to trying to manage each other.
6. Then we males are well-behooved to be mindful of such apparent facts as these, lest we be consistently done in by them--as in, a) overvaluing the power of our words and theories; b) under rating the power of images which move us whether we "know it" or not; c) being self-defeated by indiscretions in exercising scope-abilities; d) being unduly deceived by female skills in image manipulation (looking good) leading to such male tragedies as being "pussy whipped."
7. And females too, lest they over-kill in appropriate power management by blindly ignoring the real effects of their images.
EMOTIONS & MEMES
I want to explore what I think about genetic hierarchies, the various levels of biological development. In particular I am thinking about the relationship between emotions and memes. Most genetic activity which has evolved since cells began is, of course, pre-conscious and hence functions naturally, without "personal" involvement. It just happens. This includes most bodily functioning, especially those engened modes of "staying alive," such as, pumping blood, breathing, resisting disease and other bodily invasions. I estimate that about 80-90% of all genetic activity occurs "automatically," without any individuality or "self" involved.
But with the necessity of food as well as oxygen for creaturely survival, other additions have evolved. This next level, where the roots of self begin, may be called desire--or instinctual urges which phase into personal awareness through what will later be called "wants." Desires include various "urges" or "cravings," such as, yens for food and comfort. We naturally "want" to eat, stay warm, and be pleased versus pained.
This second primal level of desire, where cellular necessities for survival phase into personal awareness, is followed, I theorize, by emotions which have evolved in support of levels one and two. "Feelings," as they will later be called, must have arisen to enhance the success of desires which themselves evolved in support of staying alive necessities. We have developed e-motions (the word means that-which-moves) to set us in motion for reasons of satisfying desires and hence staying alive. They motivate or move us to action, for instance, in search of food and comfort.
Staying alive has two prime components: getting what we do want and not getting what we don't want--that is, acquiring favorable desires and avoiding unfavorable experiences, seeking pleasure and staying away from pain, getting what "feels good" and getting away from what "feels bad." We may call these positive and negative emotions--those related to "feels good" and others associated with "feels bad," or, for "feelings" of pleasure and pain.
"Feels good" emotions may also be called "happiness," "joy," or, "excitement." "Bad feelings" are their opposites: "unhappiness," "moodiness," "boredom," etc. Further subdivisions of evolved motivators ("e-motions") for staying alive and "feeling good" rather than "feeling bad," are anger and fear. These two ends of the same e-motion scale are evolved motivators for aggression or retreat--the familiar fight/flight instincts. When we are threatened with the possibility of pain rather than pleasure, we are moved (by emotions of anger or fear) to aggressively seek what we want (fight for what we desire) or, if the threat seems too great for success, to at least get away (flee) from what signals too much pain rather than pleasure.
But staying alive (genetic instincts for selfing) also includes the extended life of our genes past our individual bodies. Genes, as it were, want immortality--that is, to keep on living past the evolved life times of single bodies; they seem to want new bodies to carry them on after one wears out. This, of course, means reproduction, and in our case, by sexual means. We are genetically driven to stay alive as individuals and to reproduce our own selves. The two major genetic directives, not finally separable, are for self-survival and self-replication, for "being selfish" and "making babies," or, as I summarize: for selfing and sexing.
In service of this second part of the innate human agenda, desires become sexual in nature. Just as we want food for self-survival, so we want sex for self-replication. "Lust," it is called, or, "passion." We want to eat and we want to "do it." And if the evolved e-motions associated with individual survival are pleasurable, those movers for reproduction have out done themselves! Satisfying hunger (desire for food) "feels good," but satisfying sexual hunger "feels great." A "good meal" feels fine, but "good sex" feels finer. Stomach satiation is pleasurable, but orgasm is grandly so.
And because the whole dimension of self-replication--the evolution of reproduction by sex rather than simple cloning by cellular division, has occurred long after the evolution of life itself, its success requires far more personal awareness. We may "do it naturally," but, unlike, for example, digesting food, we must be far more alert personally if we are to succeed in "doing it." Self-replication, being much younger on evolution's calendar, has had less time to become purely automatic, like breathing. "Good sex" takes more attention than "good digestion."
For this reason, I surmise, greater degrees of pleasure ("feelings" or e-motivators) have evolved in support of this less-than-automatically successful urge toward self-replication, in comparison with lessor "good feelings" for those in service of self-survival alone. Orgasm, I speculate, "feels better" than digestion, not because it is more essential in the overall human agenda, but because it is rather like a Johnny-Come-Lately on the evolutional stage and thus needs more support for success. Or so I theorize.
In summary: We have evolved with two major biological agendas, both in service of genetic immortality--genes staying alive as long as possible. If we think of people as gene-machines, like hens as egg-laying-machines, that is, as bodies as carriers and servants of DNA (signified here as genes), rather than the more egotistical way we are accustomed to thinking of ourselves (if at all), then we come closer to biological facts. Be that as it may, we "selves" can mentally divide the overall biological agenda into self-survival and self-replication, into "staying alive" and "making babies," being selfing and sexual.
In service of these two merging agendas for staying alive, we have evolved desires at the second genetic level, and e-motions at level three. Emotions, we might say, are the most conscious servants of wants, which are themselves the slaves of genetic drives for their own survival.
Biological levels, then, are: 1) Staying
alive, 2) Desiring, and 3) Emoting. The latter two levels, which, I
guess, comprise only about 10-20% of genetic activity, are more subject to personal
awareness, the forerunner of consciousness. We "know more" about what we want
and what we feel than about how we resist disease, even though the latter may be
more important and require more genetic wisdom than the former. Examples of desires include:
wanting food, comfort, and sex. Emotions include: glad/sad
and mad/scared, or, "feeling good" when we get what we want, and
"feeling bad" (grieving) when we don't get or lose what we want. Mad is
anger, and scared, of course, is fear. These
"feelings" are supporters of aggressive activity in service of more basic desires.
They "provide the juices" for fighting to get or fleeing to avoid being gotten.
"Lust" is another "feeling" evolved in support of sexual desires,
just as anger/fear have evolved for survival desires.
Now I turn to thinking about how all these e-motions fit in with memes. I have analyzed their consort relationships with genes; now, how about with memes? They serve biological interests; but how to they fit in with social interests?
First, I want to further affirm their effectiveness on the biological level, apart from human civilization. "In the jungle," before families gathered into clans, tribes, ethnic groups, towns, etc., I surmise that "feelings" were immensely successful as an individual's primary guide in self survival and replication. Primal e-motions are, outside of society, well evolved to serve desires which function to keep us alive and reproducing ourselves. Anger, for instance, and the aggressive activities it promotes, is a good servant in getting what we need and desire for staying alive. Fear, likewise, is a grand guide for avoiding and getting away from life-threatening forces "out there." Joy ("feeling good") is a wonderful motivator for "good living," and sadness (grief) is quite effective in guiding us past significant losses in what we want. Lust (sexual feelings) is certainly effective motivation for all the joys and pains of baby-making.
I conclude that, sans civilization, emotions would be all we need for effective survival and self-replication. "Feelings" are grand guides for success in biological imperatives. But enter society. Once we began to emerge from the jungle into larger social groups, these very "feelings" which served us well as individual creatures began to prove problematic. Anger and its related aggressions in service of selfing instincts must have caused problems to begin with. Fear was less of a social problem, at least in peaceful times, but lust was surely disruptive, even in basic family groups, let alone in the clans comprised of them. "Wanting who I want when I want them" must have been as problematic as "wanting what I want when I want it."
Thus, I surmise, memes must have evolved in service of social groups, just as had genes long before them for cellular survival in the sea and jungle. Memes, the newest genes on the block, must have appeared because the older emotions were not only inadequate guides for complex social interactions, they were often downright problematic and disruptive.
Even though they both evolved with ultimately similar purposes, namely, life and its extensions, these later-to-evolve "genes," which are here called "memes" for intellectual distinction, must have found themselves to most often be in immediate conflict with their older cousins. When ancient genes, through the voices of emotions said, "Kill for self-survival," young memes had to scream, "No, don't kill; give in and cooperate instead." When primal genes said, "Me Tarzan, you Jane; let's fuck," social juniors had to counter with, "But no, Jane belongs with John."
In general, I surmise, the strongest of all memes must have evolved to set limits on the oldest and most powerful of all their jungle ancestors. At least this is the state of affairs as I now find it to be. Ultimately they are cousins in the same family of mankind, sharing similar final goals; but meanwhile, back here at the ranch were we all live, they are most often like siblings in the same family, that is, at odds with one another.
I exist as a combination of genes and memes, innate biological forces driving me toward survival and reproduction, and ingrained social forces urging me to cooperate and be relatively chaste. My genes say, "Be selfish and sexy," while my memes implore, "Be sacrificial and faithful."
From the many implications of these common, I surmise, conflicts, I want here to further explore only one: the ultimately harmful effects of "overkill," that is, excessive suppression by memes of genes which are dangerous in society, and the unwitting undermining of other healing e-motions, such as, grief. The final fault in these errors does not belong to the memes themselves, since they have also evolved for social protections, but rather to us individuals who fail in face of challenges to successfully merge the two into one "body" of self.
It is I who am at fault, for example, in failing to maintain awareness and connection with my primal instincts for aggression and sexuality (anger and lust), in favor of identifying myself with social directives for cooperation and sexual fidelity. I, in diligent attempts to be a "good boy" first, and "good citizen" later, opted for genetic suppression rather than e-motional awareness and deceptive social acting. I tried to be "good" and to not-be the contrary urges evolved for self-before-social survival. It is probably from a life time devoted to these ultimately unsuccessful (thankfully) efforts that I am now more able to see the ill effects of such errors as my own.
Jumping to generalizations: I now believe that most social disruptions (fights, abuses, infidelities, and various illegalities) result more from excessive suppression, such as I have attempted, than from dangerous genetic drives themselves. Instincts, I conclude, get a bad shake in society; memes are unnecessarily (I, of course, speculate) repressive of biological urges which might be more wisely directed in society were they not so systematically judged as "evil" and continually condemned--or, at least as interpreted by many individuals such as myself.
My previously analyzed path of non-sciousness as a means of surviving with memes, as contrasted with the way of con-sciousness, is the culprit I am trying to nudge into awareness. Specifically, the natural "feelings" which I think are most dangerously kept in non-sciousness are these: anger with resulting aggression; sadness with soon return to presence; and passion with inclinations to many forms of "anti-social" sexual behaviors. Feelings of fear, gladness, and mild excitement (especially when disassociated from any sexual roots)--the opposite ends of the same emotional scales, are less dangerous in society and therefore receive less meme attention.
The dangers, especially in terms of personal well-being (individual salvation), are across the gender board, yet are particularly far reaching, I conclude, for males in society. The more natural female urges, for instance, for cooperation rather than competing and thus for peace rather than war, and for curtailed sexuality rather than promiscuity, are more easily fitted into social structures. Natural male aggression, however, plus instincts for wide-spread "sperm-spreading," are obviously problematic in groups at all levels. The consequently stronger memes focused on potentially disruptive male urges are understandable, yet more dangerous for particular males such as me.
The problem is internal, when we choose the path of non-sciousness which leads to internal splitting and disassociation of self from body. We, when meme dictated, do indeed make better sons and citizens, temporarily, yet at considerable personal cost. Cut off, in awareness (as self-defined), from the powers evolved with biological urges, we find ourselves trying to cope with the dangerous "blackboard (and corporate) jungles" via grossly underpowered means, such as, logic and reason. Severed from native powers of anger and lust, for example, we may make "nice husbands," etc., who are conciliatory, "good providers," "helpful around the house," and faithful, but we also tend to end up as wimps at best, or "social offenders" at worst.
And social attempts, effected by memes, to curtail unwanted aggression and passion, often spill over into unwitting suppression of natural fear and grief as well. As noted, anger and fear are but opposite ends of one emotional scale. Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to suppress the first without curtailing the utility of the second. Cut off from anger (in awareness), we end up with abnormal fears--either unwisely absent or inappropriately present. Attempts to promote joy while eliminating sorrow are likewise counterproductive in time. They too are but extremes in one continuum; when we try to split the scale, to have only happiness and no sadness, we unwittingly cut ourselves off from a needed e-motion for all-too-familiar times of loss.
In America, I conclude, we have over-estimated the dangers of conscious anger, lust, and sadness, leaving ourselves cut off from biological advantages of each--namely, power generated by the first two, and self-heal-ability inherent in open, conscious, immediate grieving. Well intentioned efforts to repress anger, deny lust, and speedily eliminate sadness, when successful leave us far less than we potentially are as capable individuals. We presume "traumatic" consequences from painful events, such as, personal abuse and death-of-others, which may be more related to our socialized forms of "treatment" than to our native, e-motionally directed, forms of heal-ability. Perhaps we would need less "therapeutic help" in "getting over" difficult events if we were more in touch with e-motional capacities long evolved for coping with personal challenges.
This, at least, is the premise of my current quest in the path of con-sciousness as opposed to my longer pilgrimage in attempted non-sciousness.
CIVILIZATION & GENDER
As I come to see more clearly how much memes favor female values and oppose basic masculinity I am beginning to speculate again about the beginnings of civilization. I have previously presumed that masculinity was the driving force in the development of society, that men were the leaders in the ancient move from jungle to cave and on to clan. In traditional male chauvinistic fashion, I have credited males with civilization's "progress." Just as it has appeared to me that bulls and studs "organized" and maintained social groups of cows and horses, so I have presumed, without much thought, that macho men were the organizing force in what came to be cities.
I am beginning to think that I have been wrong. My studies in Crete, in which I came to realize that matriarchies probably preceded patriarchies, combined with my genetic studies in which I recognized differing gender powers and values, and now in meme studies in which I see the imbalance in favor of opposing gender values--all these now lead me to guess the following:
What if women were in fact the organizing element in human history? What if I have also been in error in seeing bulls and stallions as the "leaders" of herds? Perhaps this is closer to reality: More inherently powered females (with 2 X chromosomes in each cell), after the evolution of sex some 600 million years ago, found their awesome roles in baby-making, child-rearing to be better served by larger groups of females in proximity. The business of gathering food, sharing care of children as well as information about resources plus "how to do it" all, was best served with others, particularly older and wiser females with whom they would have had no problem in cooperation (as do males).
Men, in sharp contrast, first being lessor powered genetically, and secondly being prevented by competitive natures from cooperation beyond needed others in hunting or warring, had no biological need for larger groups. In fact their best genetic interests were likely to be threatened by more males in the group. Single males with many females gave them the best odds in self-replication; so why run the risk of gathering other males together in clans, other than for help in hunting or fighting?
So, maybe feminine values were the driving force in early civilization (100-150,000 years ago?). In these efforts, when territorial threats may have been less common, men were needed primarily for sperm and services, rather than for warring enemy tribes, which, if also female dominated, would be opposed to war to begin with. Without territorial concerns, the situation with males but not with females, the risks of war, or threat from other matriarchal groups would have been non-existent. Therefore males were needed mostly for hunting and protection. Small groups of them, moved by dominant females, would have been sufficient when game was plentiful.
Perhaps--I hesitate to look clearly at this possibility--the single stallion, many mares mode of grouping has been erroneously viewed as "male domination" or stud "leadership." Maybe even among lower animals the females were ultimately "in charge" and only one male was kept because he would have plenty of sperm, and competition would have kept him strong until a younger better-spermed male could depose him. Also one stud could sufficiently protect and move the powerful mothers to adequate feeding sites. Maybe a clearer picture would see stallion as slave rather than king, with rampant female powers covertly directing him to "take care of them," both with sperm, protection, and food supply.
Maybe as more males became needed for the better service of larger numbers of females these powerful matriarchies needed to increase the males from one stud to more than one, on the way to many. These necessities may have driven the expansion of what eventually came to be seen as "civilization." Perhaps from the beginning, as is often still true, women "let men think" they are in charge, as a ploy in the more effective wielding of covert female powers. Did stallions have egos too? Were lion "kings" also fooled by powerful lionesses into thinking they were in charge? Are harems, where a powerful male "keeps" many females only a male illusion, fostered by wise women who are themselves unthreatened by other females in proximity, even relieved to have the sexual desires of studs "spread around" so they will not be "bothered" when unready for conception?
Have we males come kicking and screaming into civilization, driven earlier even as now, to "try to act civilized" when in fact we never were and haven't evolved much closer yet? Certainly a single male's chances of replication are increased if he "owns" many females who are exclusively impregnated by him; but competition from other single males looking for a chance to "cash in"--as is still true, even with the married wives of other competitors, would make any male's "reign" short lived. Maybe we reluctantly accepted less powerful males because the needs of many females for more services than sexual only called for other males to help.
Once less threatening males were accepted as needed for shared help in hunting and satisfying other female desires ("helping around the cave/house"), maybe the swing toward many was on and given its value to females, could, like a pendulum on the move, not be stopped. Maybe we males had no choice, then as now, but to go against our genes and try to "fit in" to civilization which was and is essentially organized around female values and desires.
"It's a woman's world," I note,
insofar as civilization is presently arranged. Men must "fit in," having no
other choice, but we still do so reluctantly and with resistance because social structures
are primarily geared against basic masculinity and for genetic femininity.
I further surmise that legal systems have evolved primarily by male direction as a means of protection of ourselves both from each other (other competitive males) and from the excessive domination of more powerful females. On the surface laws appear to be "for the protection of females" as well as the social systems (such as, private property, form of government, etc.); but a closer look, along with the obvious fact that laws are enacted by males, reveals the "selfish" nature of most male-passed and male-enforced laws.
Evolved memes which I have been studying lately, are, I reluctantly acknowledge, mostly against masculinity-as-it-is, and for basic feminine values. Once I have gotten over "taking this personally," and moving past paranoia, even gloating in my "misfortunes" in society, I can see both the necessity of feminine values in groups, and why males need laws to help us keep them. It is precisely because group values, which also happen to be feminine values, are so essential in civilization, even though against primal masculinity, that men have needed supportive laws to keep us "obeying" social necessities.
Women don't need, want, or follow "laws" except with "tongue in cheek"--never seriously, self-righteously, or compulsively, as males so often do. Matriarchal groups, such as those in Crete, were not "ruled" (I surmise) like later males would attempt to do; female core groups probably dealt cooperatively with group concerns, via sharing wisdom, with no single "leader." Older and wiser females probably cooperated with younger child-bearing females in devising means of expanding "services" of less-smart males in doing what was needed for successful group well-being. Since other such matriarchies were not "territorial" as males would be, threats of war or attack from male-dominated clans was unlikely; therefore "fortifications" were not needed, as was found to be true in Knossos.
But once many males were forced into proximity in matriarchal societies, they must have needed the added force of laws to "keep them in line" when the powers of individual females failed. For women alone, "unwritten laws" of politeness, etc., would and still might suffice. But with yet-wild men, with powerful male genes as well as smaller corpus callosums and fiercely competitive natures, more stringent "written" laws must have been needed.
Then, after male dominance began to overrun matriarchal societies (another subject), men, now essentially trapped into civilized living whether we wanted it or not, were in position to pass laws to make it easier for us to remain in larger groups and at least "act civilized." These laws, which would never have been needed, indeed were difficult for females unaccustomed to control by male forces, must have been functional for males necessarily coping with evolving memes.
For instance, laws against murder helped us
curtail rampant urges to eliminate competition; laws against theft helped us protect
property we had already acquired; laws against various forms of sexual abuse of females,
such as, rape, helped protect us from instincts which move us toward forceful domination
and entry. Laws against prostitution and pornography protect us from natural desires which
are threatening in social groups where female values still dominate. All in all, laws, I
conclude, are primarily a male system which females, left on their own, would probably
never evolve. And in spite of their appearance and often stated intention of existing
"for the good of society" and its primarily female values, I think that we males
have enacted and still enforce laws mostly for self protection--from our own genetic
natures, the memes of society, and witchy powers of femininity gone awry.
In summary, I now speculate that civilization itself, with all its modern complexities in which males for the most part presently dominate, was initially a female "invention" which males, on our own, would never have evolved. Even though we have finally succeeded, through cruel wars, masculine religions, and male-run legal systems, in gaining the upper hand (at least on the surface), we are yet "civilized" in name only and would not now be here were it not for female guidance. The jungle, or even the sea, is still more fitted for male genetics. Only in sports, hunting, and war does native masculinity "fit in" with current society.
COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL
AN ANALYSIS OF VIOLENCE
kill-ability in tandem
with the gift of consciousness
is saner and safer
than niceness balanced
on repression of aggression
Better to be able to kill
and choose not to
than to be too good to kill
and lose all choice
Violence, as in the recent killings at Columbine High School in Colorado, obviously springs from human action--in this case the rampant firings of two teenage boys. But what is its motivation? If the actions could be accurately analyzed below the level of the obvious, what would we find? What are the causes behind the actions, the root factors which gave rise to the violence? Can we properly chalk the "incident" up to teen age depression (mental illness), drug use, irresponsible parents, bad school environment, sale of hand guns, violence on TV, video games (such as Doom, which the boys played often), quirks of fate, or "something which snapped, which we cannot explain"?
All these currently considered explanations fall short, I think, of other factors which seem more relevant to me, namely, the reality of human kill-ability and powerful memes directed at its denial. I think that kill-ability, especially in males, is an innate creaturely capacity naturally evolved in service of the most powerful of all drives, namely, those for selfing, commonly called "survival instincts." We do not, I think, literally have an instinct for killing, but we do have natural capacities for doing whatever is necessary, or even useful, in effecting values related to self-service. We have no "urge to kill," I conclude, but we do have capacities which include kill-ability when our deep primal instincts for survival and reproduction are threatened or limited by outside circumstances. More easily we see this capacity activated in killing game for food. Not that we are driven to simply kill animals, but we are driven to eat--and killing game is but one of the ways we effect this innate survival instinct.
And so with killing--actually, just "zapping" or eliminating, what or whomever stands in the way of powerful urges to stay alive and reproduce ourselves. These capacities for killing in service of deeper selfing instincts are more evident in males, where evolved social agendas are more overt than covert; but they exist equally, I think, in females--only less visibly and less often "acted out" in obvious ways. When, for instance, mothers are faced with protecting their offspring, kill-ability may be easily resurrected. Or, less obvious to social eyes is the female capacity for "killing with kindness," when destruction is spiritual rather than physical only; but killing-is-killing, no matter the medium or object, and I conclude that this capacity is innate in all creatures, humans as well, and is also cross-gendered even though less obvious in females.
The second major factor which is commonly overlooked is the power and extent of memes aimed at suppression, even denial, of the first. Pervasive social forces exist on all levels of communal existence for repressing the even more powerful selfing instincts. It seems that the only way we have yet evolved to deal with socially disruptive effects of natural kill-ability in service of self-interests is via brute force-trying to push it completely out of existence in society, not only in practice ("acted out" forms of violence), but also out of human awareness. We have come, in effect, to cope with the dangers of the capacity for killing by trying to rule it out of existence, both in action and mind (awareness).
And this latter factor, I think, is where we are now in most trouble. Dealing with potential violence in society is obviously necessary; we have no choice but to somehow contain forces which are socially dangerous or destructive. Any type of disruption, all the way from impolite behavior to murder, must necessarily be dealt with if social groups are to function effectively. Since before cave-man times, we have had to cope with the dangers of violence in clans, cities, etc. But the issue I am now trying to evaluate is: How? Is the evolved way of repression the only way? Or the best way?
I speculate: not so. Maybe overt suppression, both of action and awareness, was the only solution in pre-conscious times. Perhaps we could never have evolved to the current level of civilization were it not for the creation of powerful memes to counter the older genes for self-survival. My intent is not to judge memes aimed at repression, but to analyze their potential side-effects, and wonder about a possibly improved way of coping with the inherent conflict between self and group interests.
My first speculation is that random acts of violence, such as, the high school shootings, are more related to predictable side-effects of our social system of coping-by-repression, than to our kill-capacities themselves. We are, that is, dealing more with the results of continual suppression of what is natural than with "evils" of the human capacity for killing. It is not so much, I conclude, a problem of kill-ability itself, as it is the result of suppressing/denying the capacity as a means of coping with its social dangers.
All repressions, including this one, are perhaps temporarily functional. The physic phenomenon of coping-by-inward-denial and outward-projections, as seen in denial of fear and projection on ghosts, etc., is ancient and no doubt useful at first. But what about in time? When the practice of repression/projection (and the two cannot finally be separated) is continued past immediate circumstances (such as, a child caught scared and alone in the dark), then dangerous results become predictable. All repressions of the natural are, I conclude, only temporarily functional; in time such denials become destructive, either socially or personally--and eventually both. Such, I surmise, is the case with the school shooting and other acts of unreasonable social violence.
Certainly the capacities must be there to begin with, in this instance, kill-ability; but the greater dangers in time spring more from the mode of coping-by-repression than from the capability itself. Our memes, I conclude, are more at fault than are our genes. It's not so much that we can kill as it is that we create predictable disasters when we sever the capacity from awareness, leaving it as a blind (repressed-from-consciousness) possibility, cut off from sense.
There is an old adage and commonly practiced belief that "if you don't think about it, you can't do it," that is, that repression is functional. In relation to other instincts, such as sexual urges, the social practice has been to "nip the act in the bud" by suppressing the "lust" from which it arises. "Don't even think about is; just go take a cold shower." Obviously such acts of self-suppression, beginning at the level of desire, are immediately functional. But what about the long run? What are the eventual results of denying sexuality into consciousness? Or capacities for violence?
The stage is set for predictable problems, even social disasters, I conclude, when older capacities for killing are split off from younger capacities for consciousness. Socially destructive possibilities, such as, killing teachers and fellow students, need the tempering effects of conscious reasoning; but after a life time of separating the two, of coping with urges by ruling them out of awareness, then condemned capacities are left dormantly operative without any guidance from logical sense. Thus split within ourselves, with older capacities for killing denied and kept untempered by younger but needed capacities for "thinking about what we will do," we become unwitting sitting-ducks for various forms of "acting-out," even destructively.
Could it be otherwise? Given the immediate and ever-present necessity of controlling potential social violence, first by parents and then by all other social authorities, could we do ought else but condemn and punish (suppress) outward acts and support such constraints by inward denials (repressions)?
To objectively observe such a predictable psychic process as: denial/suppression/projection/and acting-out (in time) is not the same as confronting the critically important social situation which led to its operation as a means of coping with kill-ability. I want now to speculate further about other possible social options which might protect both social interests as well as individual integrity. Might it be possible both to protect society and the inner wholeness of us who make it up? Could we deal with kill-capacities without attempting to negate human nature, of which they are but one part? Is it possible that we might remain (or return to) personal wholeness, including selfing and sexual urges which are indeed socially dangerous, while at the same time carefully preserving effective social structures in which such individuals might grow and flourish?
I of course don't know. So far as I know, it has never happened yet. Warring genes and memes are the best we have come up with so far. Control by outward suppression, supported by attempts at inward repression (albeit, unwittingly), is our best resolution to date. But what I am finding our for myself may be a clue to potential social improvements in the long run. In either case, I know that I but borrow the social mirror (what is best for society?) as a way of trying to see more clearly what I am learning about myself. My speculations about "them" are but the way I have come to approach me.
So, what am I seeing? First, the parameters for potential social changes which I have found useful in my own healing: the re-connection of blind urges (primal instincts related to survival and reproduction) with the later-to-evolve human capacity for limited consciousness. Either staying in conscious touch with genetic inclinations--the goal I would project for an ideal society, or regaining awareness of such lost-in-consciousness urges, must be the primary basis for effective resolution to the inevitable conflict between individuals and the groups in which we live.
If my theory of heaven now, of the possibility of personal wholeness in social groups, is viable, then a prime prerequisite is consciousness in service of nonsciousness--that is, the Johnny-Come-Lately capacity for knowing-what-we-know in proximity with our ancient survival capacities, including kill-ability. We cannot, I think, survive well without both. Either blind instincts alone or conscious thinking devoid of urges is inadequate for truly being whole together. We cannot be "just instinctive" or "only reasonable"--that is, "just animals" or "good people," and still thrive in social groups. Both "body" and "mind" are essential for wholeness alone or in community. We need all our capacities, both primal and new, if we are ever to find personal salvation and ideal community. Just as we need to be able both to fuck and make love, so we need to be able to kill and to care--and such awesome demands require, as best I can tell so far, all the gifts of God via evolution to date.
So, my first speculation aimed at salvation for self and society turns out to be against the primary way we have all survived so far, namely, by attempts to repress kill (and fuck) abilities and exist as "good people" who not "so evil" as to want to "hurt anyone" or "sleep around." I am attempting to become more fully conscious of capacities I have learned to deny over a life time, while at the same time to improve the quality of my social memberships. And, I also recognize, I am daring to privately (here in my journal) project my difficult self-learning on to speculations about society as a whole. What I am finding to be true and functional for me just might be workable beyond myself.
I intend to continue this speculation later.
VIOLENCE AND EMOTIONS
The dangerous meme against all violence, including kill-ability, is supported/enhanced by another meme against emotions biologically associated with aggressive actions, namely, anger. As an effective (temporarily) means of "nipping the actions in the bud," the evolved emotional supports are also condemned. As with socially unacceptable sexual activity, where we have been taught that "it's just as bad to think about it as it is to do it," so with unacceptable kill-ability. Anger which may be expressed in violence or killing is itself condemned. "It's bad to get mad." If the inward emotion with moves an outward action, in this case anger which may lead to harming others, is disallowed, then it follows logically that the undesirable action will be relatively impossible. If we "don't get mad" we are not likely to "hurt anyone," let alone kill someone.
The pragmatics of controlling unacceptable actions at the initiating level of emotions, whether it is adultery by suppressing lust, or murder by suppressing anger, is obvious. If we never feel the motivating power for the forbidden deeds, we certainly are unlikely to perform them. Never mind the personal costs of such socially promoted repressions, or the predictable eruptions later on--which is my main subject in this speculation.
Before amplifying the personal and long range social dangers of action--control via emotional repression I want to re-affirm the valued goal of memes against both murder and anger. Murder is of course the most violent and final of all acts against other persons. No society could exist for long without trying to eliminate killing among its citizens. And if negating emotions which may lead to such socially destructive acts is helpful in curtailing the acts themselves, then so be it. However we may prevent murder in social groups, it certainly must be done for the safety of individuals as well as the community itself.
Memes aimed at stopping murder, supported by other memes directed at emotions which may lead to such violent acts, are obviously to be affirmed. Probably control of human kill-ability, followed closely by control of human sexuality, is the most essential basis for communal society at any level. The intent of such memes is unquestionably favorable; at issue here, however, is the dangerous side-effects of these blunt social forces, and the possibility of better means of accomplishing the same goals without their inherent dangers.
If we only had memes against murder--violent acts of killing other persons, without the supporting memes against anger, perhaps the dangers would be more limited; but joined together, the combination of both action and emotional control cannot but lead to grandly serious degrees of personal repression whenever they are effective. The primary danger of repression as a means of achieving socially desirable goals is that it unwittingly strikes directly at the heart of the only evolved human capacity which can properly mediate the primal capacity in social contexts--namely, the fragile possibility of consciousness, of holding emotions and notions in "mind space" while their consequences may be considered along with the urges to action.
When we try to control our undesirable actions by evading the emotions which move us to do them, we unfortunately do far more than intended. Emotional control via suppression-in-awareness can only be accomplished by negating the gift of human consciousness also. When we rule out feelings, any of them, we may temporarily be successful in the immediate goal of action-control; but unfortunately, and with extended consequences, we "throw out the baby with the bath water." If successful, we unwittingly maim or negate the only capacity we have yet evolved to give us balance and wisdom in effectively mixing personal and social life.
I surmise that the primal cause in the evolution of consciousness as a lately arrived human capacity is the innate challenge of surviving as individuals in social groups. The complex nature of relationships with more than one person (even with one!) requires more than survival genes and primal emotions for any degree of success. We truly need to be conscious if we are to even minimally master the complexities of the simplest group situations. And if we need "thinking" and "sense" to succeed in minor degrees of "getting along with others," how much more is consciousness required for mediating our more primal inclinations toward promiscuity and violence! Grand capacities for fucking and killing, evolved long before civilization was even a dream, certainly need the additional gift of consciousness for making reasonable decisions about effecting them in society.
And it is just this lately-to-evolve capacity, which is still fragile like any newly born genetic infant, that is the unfortunate victim of well-intentioned memes against sexual "acting-out" and social violence. The one creative gift of evolution for balancing the demands of self and community is sacrificed in the current mode of coping-by-repression.
This, I conclude, is the inherent flaw which is periodically revealed in random acts of violence such as the Colorado killings. That which is repressed, and consequently left unmediated by conscious thought, will, as all psychologists know, predictably erupt at some later time--and then in the most irrational of acts.
Current attempts at blame-placing only evade, I think, facing the major culprits which are the very memes we have evolved to protect ourselves and groups from our most primary human instincts, namely, urges to survive and reproduce, supported by emotions to guide actions aimed at success. Again, it is not well-meaning memes, but rather the crude nature of them along with their now predictable dangerous side effects. We must control violence in society. Human kill-ability left rampant with only emotional direction ("whenever we feel like it") would probably destroy the results of 50,000 plus years of social evolution within our own lifetimes--which would themselves likely be cut short. Sense added to impulse is essential for human progress; but natural impulses curtailed by repression which also cuts us off from sense is an inherently flawed tool of society.
Surely there must be a better way.
With these observations in mind, now back to my speculations about society emerging from my own experience. I begin with the emotion of anger which is the moving force for violent actions such as murder. Memes against murder, as noted, are commonly supported by other memes against anger. Urges for aggression and fighting, which may culminate in harm or destruction of others, are likewise suppressed. We are all trained to "be good," "don't get angry," and certainly, "don't hit, hurt, or harm anyone." In summary, memes against killing are initially put in effect with memes which condemn anger itself. Obviously, to note the prevailing theory, if you don't get mad at anyone to begin with, you are not likely to hit or hurt another person.
And, temporarily, this meme premise works. With anger repressed, aggression is curtailed and the ultimate harm of killing is virtually eliminated (until Columbines and Milosovichs come along). But what if appropriate memes against murder were expanded to include memes for consciousness, rather than unwittingly supporting repression? What if we were trained to bring all emotions into consciousness where they can be weighed in the light of reason, rather than pushed back into the darkness of nonsciousness where eruption-without-reason becomes predictable?
In contrast with a popular meme which might be summarized as: "Thou shalt not be angry," in support of the older meme, "Thou shalt not kill," what if a teaching of Jesus were substituted, namely, "Be ye angry and sin not"? Instead of training children to deny/repress primary emotions (e.g., "Don't get angry"), what if we encouraged them, as in Jesus' directive, to "Be ye angry, whenever you feel thusly" and also supported them in becoming more conscious about this and other feelings. "While angry, keep thinking; neither split thyself nor act unreasonably." Certainly we know that only when emotional urges are moved from the image stage of experience to the concept stage (Stages 2 and 3 in my understanding of the Creative Process) does reason even become possible. Even with conceiving in addition to feeling, we may not act sensibly, but certainly we have no chance of acting reasonably if our inclinations are denied access to awareness.
Jesus intent in the second half of his teaching, namely, "...and sin not," is surely open to debate given our assorted current definitions of sin; but his affirmation of the emotion itself is in sharp contrast with the traditional meme which condemns "feeling mad." Whatever Jesus may have meant, the stance I am now advocating based on my personal experience is an affirmation of natural emotions, anger included, along with an encouragement toward fuller consciousness rather than any degree of repression. My advice to myself, projected here toward society, is: "Be angry (or whatever I feel) and be conscious, both of feelings and predictable consequences." Or, "Feel whatever you feel, but keep thinking also." "Be emotional and sensible."
Specifically, in regard to this one emotion and its most primal expression: "Feel like killing whenever the emotion arises within you; entertain any thoughts which come to mind on how to do so ; and remember also what you have learned about social consequences of such deeds." In other words: "Be emotional and sensible at the same time." "Feel like killing; think about murder; and remember what you know about jail and freedom."
In this mode of coping with inevitable conflicts between personal and social interests, the integrity of individuals (harmony of body and mind) is maintained, while social values are also weighed on the balances of reason. This, of course, requires activation of the newer human gift of consciousness in addition to older survival instincts. But, I am finally learning, it is possible to be embodied, that is, to be both instinctively emotional and consciously reasonable at the same time. I can, I now see: feel like killing, think about doing so, keep my hands in my pockets, remember what-might-happen-if, do nothing, and smile--all in close proximity with each other, if not at the same time. What a gift--and hard learning!
Homophobia is but a thinly veiled cover for female-phobia--man's deep unfaced fear of woman and all she yet represents to our maintained blindness, namely: fear of absorption--loss of self, or more literally, of threats inherent in becoming our male selves in woman's presence. Then, over this deepest fear, lie various other covers which have become and remain operative within ourselves.
These upper level fears include: 1) woman power--the primal power imbalance between genders which males have long denied and coped with through attempts at overt dominance and "emotional" (spiritual) distance; 2) the X chromosome in each of our own cells--that is, degrees of femininity within our male selves; 3) denied/unembraced selfing capacities which we have long projected onto females--such as, self-care, sensitivity, emotionality, decide-abilities about immediate issues, bitch-ability (voicing immediate displeasures); and, 4) denial of male-powers in society.
Spin-offs of these major denials include: 1) fear of social structures with a male rather than female slant--that is, of deciding (figuring out) how to operate cooperatively, as society requires, without capitulating to feminine values; 2) surviving and coping as honestly male (with "gene eyes") in the presence of more powerful females, without falling back into ancient eras when "the king must die" annually; 3) fears of creating ourselves rather than limiting our creative capacities to "things out there"--technologies, philosophies, theologies, religions, etc.--all of which are protected from female dominance; 4) lack of faith for working out our own salvation rather than looking to self-created gods, either "out there" or imaged in woman, reminiscent of mother, when god truly was female.
I think that the deepest and most powerful of all male fears, most often covered by lessor dangers, are unfaced images of woman--variously formed into fragments of mother, of the female body, and of imagined powers of what females might do for us "if only they would."
THRILL AND SAFETY
Safety, about self-preservation (staying alive) is deeper (at least, the more prevailing genetic value); but urges for thrill are not far behind, and may be the deeper roots of survival instincts themselves--as essential for self-replication (gene-survival versus self-survival).
An error of present society, as reflected in current memes, is total attention to safety, making it the ultimate value (e.g., toy safety, product safety, seat belts, helmets on cycles, rated movies to "protect children from sex," etc.), while either ignoring or repressing the other side of the coin (or perhaps the deeper roots of safety itself).
Thrill is about danger, excitement, fun, pleasure--all of which are suppressed or avoided when safety is the only value. Long life (staying alive) gets all the attention, with none given to truly being alive now. All energy goes to quantity of existence with little left for quality of living, present-tense--which thrill focuses on. We obsess about safety when we deny urges for thrill.
In reality, I surmise, the two are inherently (genetically) intertwined; we are born with instincts for excitement and carefulness, for thrill and safety. We want both to "have fun" and to stay alive and uninjured so as to continue having "good times." Small children naturally seek experiences which thrill or excite them, almost constantly. Though their attention to what adults call safety seems non-existent, I believe that they learn quickly from pushing thrill urges too far for natural capacities to stand and enjoy.
Problems arise, I think, when adults become too diligent in separating the two, placing all attention on "being careful" and in so doing try to suppress natural urges to find thrill in life. Two major contributing factors in this attempted division are: 1) the realistic fact that technology has indeed brought dangers which genetic attention is yet to ingrain--e.g., sharp knives, fire works, automobiles, and countless other things which are truly dangerous to the existence of children. We are properly taught safety, e.g., staying out of traffic, because there is no room for error in such learning.
2) A second major factor is gender related, namely, the prevailing establishment of female values in social structures, with corresponding suppression of male values which tend to include more danger than safety. Femininity is properly more concerned with safety, given the challenges associated with motherhood, while masculinity, with such primal instincts as territory management, is understandably more inclined to activities which are physically dangerous.
But the problem now is that these two human concerns, thrill (danger) and safety (not taking chances) have become so divided in society that their underlying connections are largely lost. We Americans are very "safety conscious," especially when social memes and female presence are brought together, but relatively unconscious (or consciously negative) about the virtues of "thrill-seeking."
Two predictable psychological results follow such splitting. Generally they also come along gender lines, with males seeking thrills without equal attention to safety, and females seeking safety at all costs, including eliminating thrill. The greater the internal division within a person, the wider the split between male-guided thrill-seeking and female directed safety-concern, the more pathological the results. Males, for example, split off from carefulness, are a constant danger both to themselves and to those around them. In them, danger runs amuck, not properly balanced with sensitivity to safety. When females are cut off in awareness from their urges to thrill, they tend to become obsessed with safety and repressive of natural fun.
What happens in such familiar splits is that the created imbalance actually becomes more dangerous than the risks it was created to cope with. Male risk-taking devoid of care becomes more dangerous, even life-threatening, than the thrill oriented activities inherently are. Female compulsiveness about safety often leads to excessive dangers which would otherwise have been dissipated in normal thrill-related activities.
Past the risks of such splits to the persons in whom they exist, projections on to others in relationship with them further these dangers--for instance, safety-oriented mothers or fathers attempting to control thrill-oriented sons. Such "nervous" parents may try to keep their children away from all possible dangers, assuring their physical lives, but at cost of essential training in learning to balance thrill and safety on their own--as they will be for most of their lives. Natural development of the inter-related human capacity for thrill/safety is curtailed as such children try to please parents by "not taking any chances" or otherwise ingrain parental projections within themselves.
The ideal I seek is to honor both but to merge them into one whole where thrill is always being pursued, yet with careful attention to reasonable safety in the process. I want to get over my own split in which suppressed urges for thrill are apt to erupt in rebellion or engaging in dangerous activities without careful attention at the same time (such as, working with power tools, driving, fishing, competing, etc.). When I am in contact with children I want to bring these same values to them--that is, to provide occasions for reasonable thrills kept in balance with proper safety procedures.
Taking Bradley and Trey (age 9) fishing yesterday, I let them play in a canoe while I stayed on the pier. Soon they were standing, which was dangerous, but thrilling; I gambled on their swim abilities (and my own rescue capacities) and said nothing, on the premise that their learning bodily balance skills, while having fun, is more functional in the long run (under reasonably safe circumstances) than my applying strict safety rules now (as I am reasonably sure most females would have done).
This is the same type of learning which I
still need much later in life. I am most often "too careful," avoiding any
risks, or unwittingly dangerous in courting thrills blindly.
Since replication by sex is younger, not as deeply en-gened as drives for eating/shitting, etc. (staying alive as self), it (and its related drives) is nearer to consciousness. We are more aware, naturally, of these urges summarized here as thrill because they require more logistical maneuvering for success. But because safety is also more relevant to society (the urge to reproduction is strong enough to take care of itself no matter how repressive society becomes) memes have evolved to powerfully promote safety, while thrill values are completely left to individual activation.
I hope I can find the nerve and attention to continue learning a more proper and functional balance between these two powerful, inter-related human capacities for excitement and carefulness-thrill and safety.
MARRIAGE & MEMES
Memes in our society support monogamy--one husband, one wife--and only monogamy. Such marriages are viewed, as everyone knows, as sacred; that is, the meme has achieved such preeminence as to be elevated above the realm of common life and taken to be "ordained by God," as I used to say when I performed marriage ceremonies.
Here I want to examine marriage from the perspective of genes rather than memes. I accept monogamy as the apex of meme evolution so far--hence its "sacredness" in current society. Perhaps it is the best possible compromise for our evolved gender differences when we come to "raising families," and continuing our species. In either case, I leave idealizing about family structures to another time; now I am only examining marriage from the perspective of genetics in general and men and women in particular. More specifically I am focusing on the effects of current marriage memes on men.
First I affirm the social necessity of some compromise, given the differing natures of male and female sexuality in regard to child rearing and workable social structures. The currently popular political saw favoring "family values" points toward the fact that our differing gender roles in the Drama of Reproduction need strong outside support for effective management--and this means memes. Just "doing what comes naturally" is obviously inadequate for meeting the needs both of genes and memes--that is, of individuals bent on self-replication and social groups equally determined to survive. Somehow, someway, divergent gender drives for "making babies"--being sexual and rearing children, require compromise for co-existence.
Monogamy seems to be the best answer so far. But accepting this apparent fact, we may still think about relationships between genes and memes in this arena, plus their differing effects on each gender. So, what do I think?
Accepting monogamy as "best compromise so far," even if not viewing it as inherently sacred (any more than democracy is more sacred than communism as a form of government), I turn to think about how my understanding of genetic differences between the genders reflect in monogamous marriages.
Overall, I think that monogamy must have evolved primarily under female guidance, since it more closely aligns with woman's genetic needs than with man's. To be sure, monogamy is a compromise for both genders; each gender gives up some of its most natural satisfactions in service of the larger goals of replication. But the greater compromises, I surmise, are made by men. Monogamy from the one-husband perspective is more natural than monogamy from the one-wife perspective. From any single male's genetic perspectives, polygamy would be a more viable arrangement. Herds of horses, as with many other animal groups, have evolved with one stallion and many mares--"polygamy" in the wild, we might call it. In other times men with harems followed suit in human social arrangements.
But whereas such harems may have fitted the genetic needs of single powerful and resourceful males, plus the sexual needs related to servicing for reproduction for females in such polygamous relationships, other significant social problems were left unresolved. First, there must have been far more males than needed for such a social arrangement. This imbalance in access to available females would reasonably lead to fierce male competition and constant warring for harem leadership, as remains so in animal groups where "polygamy" is still the social mode.
A second major problem would be the limitations on female resources for child rearing. Few males would be wealthy and powerful enough to supply ideal materials, let alone fatherly assistance, for more than one mother. Even if sexual needs for reproduction in a group of females could be met by a single male, availability for sexual pleasure would be restricted in a harem of any size. Thus inevitable male competition, limited resources, and female desires beyond reproductive needs, must be among the factors which have moved societies past harems and into monogamous marriages. But however we got here, here we are.
How does "sacred" social monogamy fit with inherited genetic reality? How do the differing drives of males and females in playing out our complementary roles in the Drama of Reproduction correlate with the one-mate arrangement? If we are both compromising from the standpoint of genetics, and I think we are, then who must compromise the most? Is monogamy "better" for one gender than for the other? Is one-mate more desirable for men or for women? Having gotten to this time in history where monogamy is viewed as sacred, who must sacrifice more of their biological heritage to keep it so? In this genetic shakeup both genders get shook; each gives up certain things in search of other values. But who gets the best shake? And who the worst?
To understand our differing compromises I begin with considering genetic gender differences. Most primally males are sperm makers, females are ovum bearers; males fertilize eggs which females bear, leading to creation of embryos which females also grow. Biologically speaking, a male's most essential role is over at the very time a female's extended responsibilities are just beginning. Ideally he remains present for providing protection and resources ("making a living") while she is devoured with growing a baby and rearing a child. But while he is geared for fathering (seen as siring) and she is geared for mothering (making new persons), he is less driven for "being a good father" than is she for "being a good mother." "Wham bam, thank you m'am," says he, while she wisely wonders, "But will he love me in the morning." That is, men are more evolved for "having sex" while women too are evolved to "select sperm" at first, but then to give themselves to the far greater demands of baby making.
In summary, from the standpoint of genes, males are "more interested in sex," while females are "more interested in babies" plus all else that children inevitably require. After eons in the sea and jungle, experimenting, as it were, with other modes of reproductive relating, we have finally arrived at monogamy as our best resolution so far; still, older biological imperatives remain operative. Men, even though married, are still "more interested in sex" than in the finer arts of fathering, while women, after minimal sexual needs are met, are yet "more interested in children."
But male sexual drives, in spite of common female opinions to the contrary, are not so indiscriminate as "having sex" for sake of sex. Intercourse and orgasm may be the only obvious incentives, but self-replication is the deeper genetic goal. Males are geared, that is, for "making babies," not just for "having sex." We are evolved capable of multiple sex acts in minimal amounts of time; after one ovum is possibly fertilized, our gene eyes turn quickly to look for other prospects for more conceptions. We do want sex, but mostly we (as sperm-makers) want to impregnate multiple partners, thereby increasing our slim odds of self-replication.
Females, in sharp contrast, are probably geared for multiple partners before conception, in quest of best available sperm; but after that brief instant of impregnation, their genetic interests must quickly turn to the far greater demands of gestation. Like males, she may "want to be loved tonight," but unlike males, "But will he love me in the morning?" is of far greater biological concern. Sperm are relatively easy to get, but "a good man, nowadays, is," as all women know, "hard to find." And must always have been.
Enter potential modes of marriage on the genetic scene: basically there is polyandry, polygamy, and monogamy--one wife, many husbands; one husband, many wives; or one wife, one husband. All have been tried, but the latter is the obvious winner to date.
Now to the question: how does this surviving "sacred" form of cross-gender relating fit with the biological "needs" of each gender? At first glance it must appear ideal for both genders. Males with our consistent "interest in sex" theoretically gain relatively unlimited sexual favors, while females with prevailing "interest in children" gain--again theoretically, not only sperm for impregnation, but males singularly devoted to supporting them and their offspring. Bingo! Everybody wins!
These apparent victories perhaps account for the success of monogamy over polyandry and polygamy; but as all married persons must also know, along with the possible resolutions come a vast number of regular compromises. Such as: available husbands may not have the best sperm; available wives may not have the best sex; possessed males may not turn out to be "good providers," let alone good fathers; possessed females, once fertilization takes place, may soon forget "love making" in favor of "home making." And so on.
Obviously we both win some things and lose others; but who gets the best shake overall? Respecting the immense possibility of my unfaced male prejudices and latent male chauvinism, I conclude that monogamous marriage is far better suited for female genetic values than for male gene virtues. After all is said and done, after gains are counted and losses faced, I think that marriage as presently constituted is better for women, worse for men. What women lose in settling for one man is less, I believe, than what men risk sacrificing in "only having eyes for you." And male gains in sexual availability with one possessed female often turn out to be less than female gains in security potential with one devoted husband.
Males may gain "fucking rights"
with one female, but we lose socially approved access to impregnation possibilities with
all others, quite in contrast with our continuing process of sperm production. Females may
also gain "security rights" with one male, but they lose accepted access to
possibly better sperm and nearly always to "even better providers." But the
imbalance in values appears immediately, because even limited security from one male must
outweigh the total negation of options for self-replication with any other female. Wives
may get limited in-house security; but husbands, at least according to law, get no
This difference is obscured by the common misconception that males are only interested in fucking itself--that is, that "any available female (indeed, orifice) will do." It is further cloaked by the fact that males often rape females, indicating that even permission or participation doesn't matter to men. The general readiness of males to be sexual whenever possible, even if not permissible, also supports this misconception. It does often appear that males are completely indiscriminate about sex, that we will "fuck anyone or thing, anytime, anywhere."
But in spite of this conventional wisdom, even when supported by limited male consciousness about our own sexuality, I think that often repressed genetics are in fact far more sexually discriminate than the above observations indicate. We are, certainly, broadly interested in having intercourse much of the time; and given limited opportunities created by availability of willing females and powerful prohibiting memes, it may well appear that our only drive is "fucking for fucking's sake."
Were this the whole truth, one sexually available wife, lover, or prostitute would be more than enough to satisfy any man's genetic sexual desires. Monogamy with a willing wife, for instance, would then be an ideal male social arrangement. The possibility of, in effect, owning a sexual partner for a lifetime (assuming her willingness to have sex often) would be genetic heaven insofar as male sexuality is concerned. But alas, another socially unacceptable biological fact enters the pragmatic scene: no one female, no matter how continually available, can have enough babies to match any male's potential capacity for siring offspring. Even if she is "good in bed" and "always willing to have sex," still the urge for maximum replication, not merely fucking itself, would go unsatisfied.
Point: both female observation and male consciousness may indicate that male drive is only for sexual intercourse--that male discrimination does not go beyond "doing it" often. I think though that this is incorrect. That too, but even more than "interest in sex" for sex's sake (just fucking anybody), I believe that deeper male instincts are more directed toward self-replication than mere "sexual satisfaction (orgasm)" itself. We certainly do want to "have sex (and reach a climax)" often, but even more, I conclude, we want to replicate ourselves as much and as long as possible.
What this means in regard to monogamy and memes is that marriage as presently constituted can never, even with an ideal sexual relationship as many husbands dream, fulfill any male's genetic goals. Even with continually available "good sex," the baby-making possibilities of any single woman can never approach the real siring-potential of any healthy male, let alone our dreams of immortalizing ourselves via repeated replication. One woman may, ideally, satisfy a man's urges toward intercourse, but no one woman can fulfill any man's capacity for impregnation.
Quite in contrast, one healthy male with good sperm and considerable power and wealth can theoretically meet a woman's genetic needs for maximum self-replication. If she picks really well and her choice measures up to her expectations, a female may find monogamy to be almost completely satisfying from a genetic perspective.
FIDELITY & COMMITMENT
Two powerful memes relating to the above differences are fidelity and commitment--being sexually "faithful" and remaining devoted to one mate for life. These two great social forces direct us to put all our sexual eggs in one basket and to give all our resources and energies to the care of one person "for as long as you both shall live." The near omnipotent meme of monogamy is supported by these only slightly lessor powered directives.
Genetic compromise is required, I conclude, for both genders to live up to these memes; but the sacrifice for males must be far greater than that for females. First, given our extreme differences in sperm versus ovum production, with their resulting effects in our contrasting roles in the Drama of Reproduction, it is far less natural for a male to remain sexually "faithful" to one female than for a female to "be true" to one male.
Biologically speaking, after one fertilization a male is immediately ready, physically capable, and, I think, genetically inclined to move on to other conceive-able females. In sharp contrast an impregnated female has no more biological need for another sperm for at least nine months, and given the responsibilities of child rearing, perhaps for many years to come. Even to maximize her odds of self-replication, she will only need 2-10 or 15 more sperm at most for a life time. Meanwhile her mate is producing multiple billions which are "wasted" if he remains "faithful" to her.
Commitment is likewise far more compatible with the female role in reproduction than with the male role, given the latter's far lessor responsibilities. While continual devotion to "providing for" a mate who is tending one's own offspring is pragmatic for male as well as female replication, it, like sexual fidelity, is far more beneficial to a mother than to a father. Even if a male impregnates and leaves the next morning, his genetic heritage is relatively assured, given the physical necessity of female devotion to gestation.
Male values related to commitment are mostly psychological rather than biological. We too profit from the devotion of one mate, but our values are less about reproduction than about emotional support in extended "growing up" ourselves. We need women more for "love" for spiritual enhancement than for resources for physical survival. Women, again in sharp contrast, have far less psychological need for men, but far more need for our support---in protection, provisions, and assistance in child rearing.
Result: since physical needs are, biologically speaking, far more pressing than psychological needs, a pregnant female's need for male commitment is much more imperative than his need for her emotional support. Although many husbands do continue to rely on their wives for physical support in regard to meals, clean clothes, and comfortable homes, their dependence is far less realistic or essential than is a mother's need for basic necessities of life, such as, money for food, clothing, and shelter. She, in reality, needs his physical commitment much more than he needs hers.
And since the memes related to monogamy, fidelity, and commitment are more strongly weighted for physical than emotional needs, woman correspondingly benefits more. Commitment, for example, is almost exclusively related to physical matters. One can be "completely committed" physically, both sexually and otherwise, with only slight if any emotional commitment. A wife can withdraw, both sexually and emotionally, within the confines of marriage (after she "gets her man") and yet be "faithful and committed" to him, in full compliance with the memes.
Summary: for these and other reasons I conclude that marriage memes for commitment are significantly harsher on male than on female genes. Husbands, I think, get the worse shake, socially speaking, while wives are more favored. The pragmatic utility of monogamous marriage is obvious; it has worked for functional social structures for a long time. There may be other potential forms which are more in compliance with our genetic heritage, but such are not apparent to me yet.
In the meantime, until any better form evolves, I think it is wiser to look clearly at the present memes and adapt ourselves accordingly. As with other disparities in meme powers related to gender differences, I want to avoid the pointless trap of self-pity (feeling sorry for our male position, playing "Ain't It Awful," etc.) which inevitably leads to either looking to wives for relief, or blaming them for our more challenging situation--in either case, failing to relate responsibly to these apparent facts of social life.
Instead, I hope that my attempts at more
honest facing of marriage memes as they are, including their female favoritism, will allow
me to cope more reasonably and lovingly with these social disparities.
Past the major marriage memes related to exclusive physical commitment and sexual fidelity many other memes not specifically about marriage itself become operative within the confines of monogamy. Among these are memes for: fucking versus nurturing; overt versus covert sex; male versus female incest issues; and, House Beautiful versus House Practical.
While these latter memes are operative outside as well as inside marriage, and apply to both genders, my observation here is that each is harsher on male than on female genetics within monogamous marriages. For instance, powerful negative memes against fucking outside of marriage apply both to men and women; but men have a greater drive for extra-marital replication than do women. And positive memes for nurturing apply to both genders; but since females are better geared for the finer arts of "taking care of children" they more easily profit from the rewards of favorable nurturing memes.
Within the arena of sexuality itself, where overall memes apply to both genders, the modes of being and expressing sexual drives are obviously different and once again more favorable to female ways. Specifically, natural male sexuality, like our organs for participation are overt rather than covert. Female sexuality is, conversely, far more covert both in its native form and in its modes of expression. In practice, these complementary modes--overt and covert, work well in consort; but the rub comes in regard to related memes. Unfortunately for us males, memes are far more harsh and restrictive on overt than on covert sexuality. Blatant male sexuality (as in, "Let's fuck") is strongly condemned while subtle female sexuality (as in, provocative dress and movements which silently invite seduction) is socially acceptable. When males are naturally sexy in our genetic ways we face meme disapproval or rejection; but when females are equally natural they are socially approved, even rewarded.
Within the confines of marriage overall incest memes are equally applicable to wives as well as husbands. Sex between mothers and sons is just as condemned as intercourse between fathers and daughters. But prior to such overt sexual acts, countless other forms of pre-sexual behaviors which must be biologically connected to orgasm itself ("warm up," foreplay, or courting-type activities), such as, affection, tenderness, and touching, are far more acceptable for mothers than for fathers. Mothers, for example, can, with meme approval, continue to touch and kiss sons far more intimately and longer than can fathers and daughters. What commonly passes for "just being affectionate" touching between mothers and sons is open to being considered "sexual molestation" between fathers and daughters.
Past sexual arenas where the differing powers of memes are more obvious and favorable for females, the same imbalance of forces continues into living spaces beyond as well as in the bedroom. House Beautiful versus House Practical memes, for example, are far less apparent, but perhaps even more significant in everyday living. Time and energy expended in ordinary daily activities "around the house" certainly exceeds by far sexual times in the bedroom. But when we consider male versus female genetics in regard to "home making," vastly differing values tend to emerge. Beauty, for example, is a primal female value, perhaps comparable to utility for males. Of course females also care about function, just as males too value looks; but in comparison, the power of female concern for appearances is similar to male attention to practicality, while the opposite is seldom comparable--that is, males highly value function but are only minimally concerned with looks, while females devote far more attention to beauty than to utility.
The relevance of this apparently genetic difference is easily explainable when we consider evolution for "home making" versus for "game hunting." Looks are indeed important in many aspects of female "nest making" as well as keeping the attention of males. Conversely, pragmatics matter much more than appearances when it comes to hunting as well as providing security for females and families. Of concern here, however, is not explaining this difference, but rather noting its significance in daily living within the confines of one shared house, as monogamy requires. Although both beauty and utility (with differing gender values) matter in family homes, and ultimately function must take precedence over appearance, the pragmatic fact in most of the moments of time in houses is that powers related to looks are more operative than those related to use. After basic necessities of food, clothing, and shelter are provided, more attention is given to creating House Beautiful than to keeping House Practical. Once primal function needs are met, e.g., with a chair to sit in, "How does it look (fit in, match, appeal to the eye, etc.)?" becomes far more pressing than simple utility. And as all husbands know, practically arranged furniture is seldom satisfactory for long when a wife's eye for looks is operative.
The point here is that the power of female attention to appearances commonly receives far more significance than the contrasting focus of male attention to pragmatics ("Do we really need to spend that much on a chair?," for example). And in the daily-ness of the times of any marriage, this simple, explainable difference, with its manifold applications in all facets of mutual living in a shared house, can become a monumental source of attention in which female values consistently override equally important concerns of males. And while memes also support utility of household items as well as house structures, memes for beauty are far more prevalent and operative. When conflicts arise in immediate situations, such as, "making up the bed" for appearance versus "leaving it unmade" for the utility of saving time, looks are more likely to win most contests.
Conclusion: past powerful memes related to commitment and fidelity, many other forces which also operate outside marital circumstances become influential within the arenas of monogamy. As with the first two, these secondarily related memes seem to me to be far more supportive of genetic female values and far harsher on natural maleness. As noted in the beginning, I conclude that in almost all aspects monogamy, both in its basic structural requirements as well as in its daily operation, is more fitted to genetic femininity than to instinctive masculinity.
Compromise is inevitably whenever real differences are brought together, in marriage as elsewhere; but men, I think, must make the greater genetic sacrifices in monogamous marriages.
WHY HUSBANDS RESENT WIVES HEADACHES
"Not tonight, Henry; I have a headache." Headache, of course, is a metaphor for woman's "holding out" sexually (from a man's perspective), or more literally, a disinterest in sex at any given time. The question I want to explore here is: what is the deeper analysis of male anger at female unavailability for sexual intercourse. Why are husbands so often resentful at best and angry at worst at the familiar fact of differing degrees of interest in "having sex"? Why do we so regularly view wives negatively in regard to their willingness to participate in sexual activities? Why do we take proverbial headaches as simply resistance about being sexual with us? Why do we so seldom look below the surface of this obvious--and I think, shallow, "reasoning" for other potential underlying motivations, particularly our own unfaced participation in their headaches?
First of all, I now believe that husbandly dissatisfaction with wifely headaches, which we so easily conclude to be "resistance to our advances," or "holding out," or "frigidity," is about 90 percent projection and only 10% realistic. Certainly there are the biological facts that males have greater genetic reasons for fucking more often than do females, and the pragmatic fact that any marriage must involve real differing degrees of "interest in sex" between men and women in general. I doubt that any average wife would, in reality, ever want to "have sex" as often as any average husband, given different degrees of biological drives for intercourse itself.
But these real genetic facts do not adequately account for the extent of "headache" resentment of typical husbands in our society. True, wives in general are less often interested in intercourse than their husbands; and also true that all normal husbands who face these biological facts must also deal with these differences in some practical way. But 10 cents on the dollar for male anger which is rooted in these real facts, and 90 cents, I speculate, for other commonly unfaced male motivations.
Among my speculations are: quest for balls, permission to be sexual, need for affirmation, and lack of seduction skills. Actually it is the first--quest for balls, which, unfaced, results in the latter three. Natural male sexuality, which I symbolize with balls, unwittingly sacrificed at the altar of Mother's Smile/Frown, must lie at the source of our all-too-familiar griping about "uncooperative wives." I think that we sons so often offer our balls in quest of mother's approval, as mythologized in such tales as Attis and Cybele, that the resurrection of our near universal quest for reclaiming what we gave away, even before the time of conscious memory, is inevitable in most marriages today.
Wives have no choice but to bear the weight of our unconscious male mother-projections. Just as we who have learned to repress male sexuality at our mothers's knees have no choice but to project her dark images on to later women, notably our chosen mates, so current wives, like it or not, must deal with these significant male losses and the mother images they cannot but resurrect. Until we husbands get our balls back, unfortunate wives will inevitably continue to bear the weight of such hidden projections.
The deep unfaced repression of male sexuality in its true genetic form, which begins, I speculate, soon after every son's birth in the context of powerful anti-sexual memes personified in our mothers, cannot but be played out years later in the presence of lovers and wives who cannot help but represent our early goddesses--unless and until we boys in men's suits finally grow up, reclaiming the balls which we so pragmatically gave up long ago. (A long sentence for representing a long and deep process which I imagine to be near universal in present cultures.)
Son's sacrifices of balls, which I have written extensively on elsewhere, involve the suppression of natural male sexuality, which results in a split in male wholeness, with our sense-of-self cut off from powers inherent in genetic drives. We are left "without out balls," that is, with our selves-as-we-know-ourselves-to-be existing separately from the powerful testosterone-driven inclinations inherent in our genetic structures. These male "animal drives" are then left, as it were, free-floating--still real and present, but unaccepted and activated as real parts of our true selves. Projection thus becomes inevitable; and wives are the most predictable recipients with yet-to-grow-up sons now turned husbands.
In reality it is the shadow of our mother's denials which we now "see" (or so we think) in our wife's eyes. Her fears and true resistances may also be there, but the deeper component of what we take as her "holding out" must lie in our yet unfaced projections. We simply use her to stand for the darkness which still abides within our own split-off selves. The 10% of her real resistance about overt sexual behavior is amplified with 90% of our denied projections. This means that in terms of psychic facts, wives often are functionally 90% mothers and only 10% "girls we marry."
We blame them for physical resistances which are more related to our own psychic denials than to their actual behaviors in the sexual arena. We still "see our mothers" in our wives' behaviors when actually they are long gone in time though not in our unconscious minds. In such marriages as these, which are so common as to be proverbial, we now ball-less men with unconscious wisdom recreate childhood scenes in present relationships where we again face the possibility of growing up for the first time really. After, of course, we get over "blaming our wives."
Spin-offs from long forgotten ball-sacrifices include the secondary quest for permission to be sexual. This search, like the first for balls, is commonly denied and projected too. Rarely do we males recognize that we fear becoming overtly sexual in the presence of loved females, as we learned to be so long ago in the presence of powerful incest memes. Instead, we erroneously see ourselves as "highly sexed" but married to "cold women." We then try to "get them turned on," that is, to become overtly sexual themselves, so we in effect have permission to be as sexual as we think we are. Blindly we still look, as we must have done with our mothers so long ago, for Her Smile as permission to become this sexual part of ourselves openly in her presence.
The quest for permission is commonly accompanied by the further quest for affirmation. We want our wives to "let us" be sexual to begin with, granting what our mothers never would, and then to affirm what we have finally dared to become. "How'd I do? Was it good for you?" These common male wonderings, even when not vocalized, reflect our wishes for sexual affirmation from a female who now represents a long lost mother. Not satisfied with permission alone, we also want her to tell us "how good we did."
Finally there is also our common lack of skill in seductive arts which, unfaced, we also tend to project on to assumed-to-be "cold" wives. Rather than facing our ignorance of male artistry in sexual arenas, we project and blame our wives for our own crudeness. "If she were just more sexual," etc. etc., excuses us from our ignorance of natural seductive skills which would be easily operative if we only reclaimed our own balls first.
In summary, I think that the familiar complaints of husbands today about wives who "resist being sexual" are more deeply related to wimpy husbands than to frigid wives. Surely there are natural genetic differences resulting in males who want to fuck more often than females; also there are male "gene eyes" for more conceive-able females than any monogamous marriage can ever accommodate, even if one wife were always sexually available. But these biological facts do not adequately explain the extent of bitching husbands today. Deeper and more likely explanations lie, I conclude, in unembraced male sexual potential, which begins with the sacrifice of our balls at the altar of our first goddess, and leads to later projections of these denials on to unsuspecting wives.
In other words, "the fault dear Brutus, is not in the stars (or even our wives), but in ourselves--that we are underlyings..."
Is it mere coincidence that other is simply a shortened form of mother? Or could it be that my life long attention to others is but a projection of repressed attention to mother? Have I but cloaked my denied focus on mother by projecting it on to safer and more obvious realms of others? Has a life time of conscious devotion to "helping others" been an extended cover for unconscious remnants of early attempts to "help mother"--as in trying to be a "good boy" as a way of securing her favors (support and affirmation)?
Has my attention to "rebirth"--of myself and others, through seeking and promoting the religious experience of "being born again," or the psychological experience of "maturing," been one long attempt to avoid the challenges of being truly born the first time by imagining the possibility of a second birth later, and from "out there" rather than from her? Was Nicodemus simply more honest than me when he voiced the age old question in terms of one's own mother--"Can a man enter his mother's womb a second time...?" Do we in religion simply project every male child's unresolved first birth experience on to an imagined second birth possibility--one in which we are basically irresponsible, as in having God or Jesus or some outside force "give" us rebirth?
Is ancient--and ever new in every man--desire and hope for re-surrection, that is, "coming back" in some form of new life, but one more form of primal confusion about surrection or erection the first time? Do we give conscious attention to resurrection later as a mirror for unconscious attention to "first surrection" or present-tense living?
Do we dream of "good life" later--some heaven in one of countless imagined forms, as a way of avoiding/fearing goodly living now? Are fantasies of "pie in the sky" projections of fears about "desert on earth"? Do we conjure up assorted shapes of heavens in the hereafter to avoid facing the challenges of being heavenly here? Is Eden--Garden of Pleasure now, too much to confront, so we males have universally imagined our Heavens later, with the challenges of immediate living projected onto perpetual existence? Do we focus on and fear death, the end of life, because that is easier than daring to look at and face the beginning of life itself?
And more pressingly relevant: Is the social virtue of "helping others" but a grand conspiracy cloaking an innate urge to "help ourselves"--itself being but one form of an even more universal male desire to evade the precarious challenges of being born the first time as a separate self in the presence of a truly omnipotent, insofar as all infant sons are concerned, goddess?
Have I, in my professions, been "running away from home" all my adult life, beginning at age16, looking for the first birth of myself in the re-birth of others? Am I just now beginning to withdraw life-long projections on to others and see them where they began with mother, and even that mirror being but my earliest form of self-seeing? Has my secret quest for attention and approval of others--sought mainly through the role of Prince ("good boy") always cloaked my earlier quest for the same from mother, and even that shielding me from the grander grail quest of a true first birth, sans cords of any kind?
Has "other attention," beginning with mother attention, but shielded me from the faith which I now know is necessary for being attentive--that is, for seeing with my own eyes, rather than looking for affirmation of self through the eyes of others, following an earlier version of the same quest when all others were but one mother? Is the primary source of the power of What They Think, which began when all "Theys" were but one She, my projected power of self-thinking? Have/do I "worry about what they think (or might if they knew or did)" to escape the nerve necessary to think clearly myself?
Have I looked for "permission to
be"--beginning with mother and then shifting to many others and
some special other in particular to avoid mustering the faith essential for
simply/profoundly being myself?
The answer, I now think in the first light
of my 69th year, is yes.
Since birthdays long ago I have played with such observations as: "Here I am 30 (35, 40, 50, and 60) and don't know who I will be when (if?) I grow up." I can see now that these speculations about "growing up," including deeper religious ponderings about "rebirth"--either "later" or now (salvation in the sweet bye and bye or wholeness in any present moment), all protected me from the more serious matters of being born the first and probably only time.
My fascinations, if not outright searches,
for/with "Earth Mothers" have but reflected my dark knowledge, yet to be brought
into the light of consciousness, of my real birth mother and the true challenges of being
born from her womb into the joyous dangers of living well as a separate self in community
with others here in this earthly Eden.
So, at 69, I am wondering if I dare "grow down" rather than "up," and "become again as a little child," one who is truly born a first and only time...
When I'm wise
which isn't all that often
I accept the things
which can't be changed,
like genes and death,
make my peace with them
and cooperate lovingly
I look at things
which may be,
like memes and meanings,
analyze their elements,
make as much sense as I can
and relate pragmatically;
then, when there's any time left
I try to distinguish one from the other
lest I remain an automaton
for the rest of my life
missing Eden here
Back To Home Page