A young priest asked his bishop, “May I smoke while praying?” The answer was an emphatic “No!”
Later, when he sees an older priest puffing on a cigarette while praying, the younger priest scolded him, “You shouldn’t be smoking while praying! I asked the bishop, and he said I couldn’t do it!”
“That’s odd,” the old priest replied. “I asked the bishop if I could pray while I’m smoking, and he told me that it was okay to pray at any time!”
As this joke shows, the way you frame a problem profoundly influences the solutions you get. The same problem, when seen from a different angle can lead to a directly opposite interpretation! This little essay is going to re-frame the “problem” of womens inferiority. I think that most people, and especially most women, will like and agree with the results.
I have been wondering how to start this. Where exactly is the beginning? How about this: How many of you think that you are more stupid than Einstein?
Well good. In this little talk I will attempt to have well and clearly defined meanings for the words that I use. In particular when I use the word stupid, I will not mean devoid of intellectual gifts or abilities, but rather I will mean the inability or unwillingness to learn. By that definition almost everyone is stupid, and that includes Einstein. Let me give you a couple of examples to support that assertion, then let me tell you why evolution must have selected us to be stupid since being willing to learn from any sources other than elders, after a certain age, would doom a tribe to early extinction.
The two examples related to Einstein are first his quote, often mis-stated:
“Striving for peace and preparing for war are incompatible with each other, and in our time more so than ever.”
~Einstein, speaking in U.N. radio interview, June 16, 1950, recorded in Einstein’s home in Princeton, NJ.
This is remarkable since Einstein spend 13 years of his life, from 17 to 30 living in the most heavily armed country on the planet on a per-capita basis. And this country managed to go through two world wars, yet remained neutral for over 135 years at the time of the quote. It has now avoided war for almost 200 years.
Clearly Einstein was not one to learn from experience.
He won his nobel prize for his work in quantum mechanics, yet because of his personal pre-dispositions, he was unable to accept the implications of his work. Here is how some of his contemporaries discussed this situation: Wolfgang Pauli wrote to Werner Heisenberg that “Einstein has once again expressed himself publicly on quantum mechanics (together with Podolsky and rosen—no good company, by the way), as is well known, this is a catastrophe every time it happens.” In fact, Einstein, Podolsky and Rosen proposed a thought experiment to demonstrate that there must be some hidden variables, otherwise there would be some kind of action at a distance. This is known as the EPR conjecture. It was finally refuted experimentally in 1972. In other words, because Einstein was wedded to his “common sense” version of the world, he refused to accept the implications of his own early experimental work in quantum mechanics
You can be intellectually giftet and still be stupid, refusing to look at, or accept the evidence.
Robert Heinlein once said that there is only one punishment for stupidity and that is death. The evidence would say that he is wrong, and that in fact nature creates a very well choreographed evolutionary dance between explore/learn, stupid, and live/die. Children are cheap. The line that it is unnatural for parents to bury their children has, historically, been untrue. That was, in fact, the most common thing in the world. Parents almost always buried some, if not most of their children.
Consider this quote from this Wired Magazine Web page
“But there’s another region of the brain that can be activated as we go about editing reality. It’s called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC. It’s located just behind the forehead and is one of the last brain areas to develop in young adults. It plays a crucial role in suppressing so-called unwanted representations, getting rid of those thoughts that don’t square with our preconceptions. For scientists, it’s a problem.”
Now if you do searches on words or phrases that embody learn, faster, children, adults you will find many articles about why children learn faster than adults. A great deal of what you read will be foolish, with exactly zero actual evidence or facts to back up this allegation about children learning faster than adults. More importantly, there will be almost nothing on the fact that our brains are designed to not learn new stuff (except from authority) once we reach reproductive maturity.
Experiments have shown that children learn better and faster than adults. They often do this even if the learning involves complex inferences. I have a hypothesis (not a theory) about this. In the past, children explored, they learned something new, they died. Occasionally a child learned something new and it did not kill him and what he learned had enough value to be useful to the tribe. Before a couple of hundred years ago, one of the quickest ways to die was to “learn something new by experience”. Like, that new berry tastes good. Think of this phrase: there are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old bold mushroom hunters. People lived because they did what elders who had survived until reproducing, did. Obedience to elders / authority was a very good survival trait. Learning from the elders almost guaranteed your survival and that of the tribe, to a greater extent than learning on your own. You could be in error. By virtue of your elders being alive they were probably correct. This may even be the source of ritual. Passing down knowledge from the elders.
The most important lesson you can learn from this essay is that nature breeds for stupid, which is just another way of saying to be obedient to authority. Until 10 or so generations ago this is what worked. Now, not so much, because evolution works on time scales of hundreds of generations, so if we do not learn to ignore evolution in our current state, our species may end up extinct at worst, or in deep doo-doo at best.
Lets consider an example:
The tribe is in a new area and there is a river. You camp near the river while almost everyone else camps up 50 feet and 500 feet away. You spend less time gathering water, so you have more time to gather food and have fun. You prosper as does your family as do a few virgins who are attracted by the wealth. All is good until the rest of the tribe awakens the morning after an unusually spectacular lightening storm and looks down to see your campsite and you and your entire family gone. Thunder gods angry.
Refusing to learn the “new way” of being closer to water saved the lives of those in the tribe who were “to stupid” to see the advantages of living near the stream. A great example in todays world is Warren Buffett who refused to learn the “new economy” and avoided the dot com bust.
I myself am particularly stupid in areas of human interaction. And my memory sucks. Now having demonstrated that you are all likely to be stupid and resist learning, let me proceed to the main topic, the inferiority of women.
First off, who says women are inferior? Actually you all do. Imagine a man on stage dressed in — a dress. Better, imagine an eight year old girl in pants an a T-shirt. Now think eight year old boy in a dress. What exactly is the problem?
What exactly does that mean? Well to begin with there is the whole notion of inferior / superior, but what does that mean? We so often hear comments of X is better than Y, but seldom do we ever hear the context in which that judgment is made, and without that context such statements are nothing more than feel good sounds. That is the human equivalent of our more hairy cousins grooming each other. For example John is better than Bob. Well, maybe if John is taller than Bob and for our standard we are referencing basketball. Not so much if we are referencing horse racing.
In the first part of this paper about the inferiority of females, I will, as much as possible, avoid any references to contemporary cultures or society. Rather, I will set forth my premises in terms of our most ancient well known culture as reflected by the bible, which, like it or not, is the model planted in the brains of most children in the first world, and in how different tribes of primates behave. As much as possible I will rely on facts that most who are knowledgable in the relevant area accept as well established.
By almost every measure and standard created by man, women are inferior to men. That of course is at the core of the problem. You would be hard pressed to find something that can be measured where men are not better than women. And who decides what can be measured? Why men of course. While women are doing things, men are having contests and measuring who is the best, after having established the standards against which best is measured. Women have children, nurse children, feed children, clean children, the men sign the children up to play games, and “win” after which women repair the damage. Men compete, get damaged and win or loose. The only thing that women do is fix the damage, which men try desperately to pretend does not exist.
Some of you are resisting with every fiber of your being the idea that women are inferior to men. You certainly do not believe that you yourselves hold such a view. Consider these facts then:
What do you call a female child who acts like a boy?
What do you call a male child who acts like a girl?
What general action or behavior that can be done or engaged in by both sexes is most associated with Males ? Make it a word if possible, or a short phrase.
What general action or behavior that can be done or engaged in by both sexes is most associated with females?
In the area of entertainment, both live and video, the male activity, fighting, mayhem, killing is glorified and a box office success, as well as very widely advertised. The female activity, You know SEX, while a box office success, is hidden, considered shameful, done behind closed doors, and thought to emotionally damage children or more generally, non-adults. Think about that. Watching one person carve up another (a male activity) is not emotionally harmful but watching a females boobs bounce (clearly a female activity) is emotionally harmful. If men and male activity were not superior to women and female activity, this would not be the case.
Name as many words or phrases as you can that are slang for sex (NOT synonyms
like “making love”) that do not have a connotation of dirty or violent.
As soon as a woman decides to compete with men she looses since the basic idea of compete is a male thing done in a sandbox built by men with rules set by men. Men win.
Again lets go back to the beginning. I have found that to understand something it is a good idea to go back to beginnings, and of course by beginning I do not mean the bible, that font of almost endless misogyny, of which I give an example here:
1 Tim. 2:11-14:
Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
If you want more on the attitude of the bible towards women, you can read the old testament about uncleanliness, or better, read the Talmud and associated commentaries.
There are apologists that will say that the bible does not treat women as
inferior to men, but those are people who can tease any meaning that they want
out of words. Where do women rank in the bible? If we look at the foundations of western law, the 10 commandments, we can peg the value of a women as somewhere between a manservant and a house.
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s
wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any
thing that [is] thy neighbour’s.” If you google the status of women in the
old testament you will see many explicit references of their inferiority, and only a
few references that could be interpreted as references to equality. NONE to
Let us go back to first life and to nature herself. Nature has but one game: Copy yourself. The only measurement with which nature is concerned is survive or not. This is a game played out on multiple levels with different entities competing and cooperating with each other at different times and places. Unless otherwise noted, I will be referring to humans and not to other animals, though what I have to say about humans is usually true of animals. To name but four entities that are important to us, and there may be more, there are genes, cells, bodies, and tribes. Tribes can be any collective of humans, such as cultures, companies, states etc.
You may not like the game or how she plays it. She does not care, and as Richard Feynman said in his minority report on the Challenger Explosion, nature will not be fooled.
These four entities all try to replicate themselves in some way, and they do it in the context of the next largest entity, so cells attempt to replicate themselves within bodies, and bodies within tribes etc. As you know, sometimes things can go terribly wrong. A cell becomes so good at replicating itself, that it kills the host in which it lives.
Nature does not care. The value of nature, replicate, is just a small part of our values. Good and bad, moral and immoral have no place in nature. Nature has no standards and so can not fail or succeed. Nature just is. So when I say that things go horribly wrong, I do not mean by natures standards, for she has none, I mean by ours.
So, we have things competing for millions of years and along come primates with Really Big brains. Unique among all mammals a survival strategy emerges among these primates with RBB that involves the hunting and killing of others of their kind, and carrying off their women. Another successful strategy that evolved was social sex. Sex for fun. Sex as a commodity. From the evolutionary tree, this would seem to have happened about six or seven million years ago when Humans separated from chimps. We have both of those major attributes, while the chimps specialized. The common chimps make war, and the bonobo chimps make love. All sex, all ways, all the time. No war.
All very interesting, but what does this have to do with the inferiority of women?
Well, among living organisms two of the variables involved in evolution are environmental pressures, and costs. If a trait grows, thrives and spreads, then it must confer upon those who have it some advantage. This is especially true if that trait is expensive. And by expensive I mean in terms of calories to maintain it, or in terms of risk.
The brain is extremely costly in both of these currencies. Comprising just 2% of body weight, it consumes 20% of the calories. Its size makes child birth uniquely risky for human females compared to the females of other mammals. In fact its size is so great that a human female is on the verge of being incapable of running, and the infant is born very premature with a plastic head, and requiring years of close attention in order to survive. Why these costs? All other life forms manage quite well without having nearly as much computing power, none of the associated costs, and none are coming close to killing themselves as a species.
One answer, and the only one of which I am aware, was mentioned above. Big brained apes are competing in a life and death way against other big brained apes for available resources. The “smartest” / biggest brains win. They kill the losers and steal their resources among which are egg containers.
The girls of course know where their best chance of safety and that of their offspring lies. It lies with the meanest SOB in the troop. Strong and brutish. Kills other males, kills females children, Take females. Makes females hot. How hot. For an interesting lesson look up groupies of murderers.
About 4 million years after humans branched off, the bonobo chimps branched off from the common chimps. Bonobos are not pacifists, but their disagreements are almost always resolved with little violence followed by a lot of makeup sex. Among common chimps issues of sex are resolved by power, while among bonobo chimps, issues of power are resolved via sex. In bonobos, women survive, not by mating with the strongest SOB of the tribe, but by having a lot of social sisters. With whom, by the way, they have a lot of fun sex. Lesbian sex is a survival trait among bonobos. If some big male SOB decides the will force his attentions on a disinterested female who is likely smaller and weaker than he is, well, she and her sisters will beat the snot out of him. Serious female bonding is hot. We can see evidence of this evolutionary tendency in the masturbatory fantasies of females. More often than not they involve sex with another woman rather than sex with a man. http://doubleclickheaven.com/
We humans have maintained both of those traits.
So we have briefly glanced at the origins of female inferiority. Very briefly, they are centered in two constructs: Primate hierarchical / authoritarian systems going back to our primate ancestors, and the fact that women live while men compete and play games. It is men who design the games and set the rules.
Bad News: In almost every culture in the world, in almost all ways, women are inferior to men. Worse news. They are wired to go along with and abet this inferiority. When women make an attempt to show that they are just like men and can do “better” than men, they simply show that they are inferior to men. Even worse news. If women do not start taking control of major institutions in our culture then we are doomed.
Good news. By many measures women are beginning to take control In America today,when a marriage happens, she usually is earning as much as or more money than than the man. About 2/3 of the people in college today are women. More and more managers are women. Surprise, they have much better people and networking skills than men.
If you were to look at maps of the world today and evaluate various societies and countries by most standards that most people agree on, such as incarceration rates, gdp per person, life expectancy, education levels, infant mortality etc. you are going to find that by such metrics, those countries that do the best are the ones where women are the most empowered, and the ones that do the worst are the ones where the women are the least empowered. Europe on the one hand, The Muslim world on the other, America slightly below Europe/
In preparing this paper I did a lot of research. Perhaps the one thing that was consistent was that all those stereotypes you have heard about regarding men and women are true. So, if men are better than women, then why, if men continue to run things, are we doomed? In other words, why should women “be running things”?
The answer is that in todays world, with the tools that humans possess, the only way to “win” is to destroy the planet. A process which we are doing at an ever faster rate.
Here is a quote that pretty much sums up what I see as the current situation:
I got it from this website:
While few if any men can understand how a woman sees the world of human interactions. The average woman walking into a room full of people reads a complexity than most men cannot even fathom exists.
We are pattern recognition creatures. Both sexes are quite good at recognizing patterns. The theory of evolution and survival predicts that we are much more likely to see patterns that are not there than to not see patterns that are there. Because our brains get good at what they practice, mens brains have become very good at seeing patterns in nature, and in conflict situations while womens brains have become very good at seeing patterns in people, both in conflict and outside of conflict.
When put into stress situations, men respond with fight or flight. Women respond with tend and befriend. Women are much less likely to benefit form war, and more likely to bear the costs
I have a hypothesis that women have a different time frame than men. This probably has to do with the time involved in reproduction. In extreme terms it is 15 min vs 15 years. This may be one of the reasons that women run businesses tend to be more successful then men run businesses.
Read more: A Nasty Mother – The Scientist – Magazine of the Life Sciences