“All human unhappiness comes from not accepting the reality as it is” – Buddha
“And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free” – John, 8:32
“The truth will set you free, but first will set you angry” – Bruno Medicina
The relationship between couples is a virtually inexhaustible topic of debate, and in fact there is no transmission, magazine, interview, or just a simple conversation in which someone does not feel the need to tell his opinion about this or that aspect of male-female relationship . However, beyond the banal, the commonplace, the complaints and stereotypes, it is difficult to reach some kind of agreement, essentially, for two reasons:
-it’s rather difficult for us to accept some aspects of reality that we perceive as “negative”, that’s why there is much talk about how things “should” be and little about how they actually are.
-as each of us is directly implicated, it is virtually impossible to remain detached and objective, and we constantly find ourselves embroiled in an infinite web of denials, projections, rationalizations.
The result is – as it happens every time we deny the reality – that we can not create in our minds a good forecasting model; and as reality is very stubborn in its manifestations, we continue to fight with aspects of it that there seems mysterious and incomprehensible to us.
However, if we find the courage to change the paradigm and to reason with detachment, taking into account both the verifiable facts that we have available and the latest findings of evolutionary psychology, a series of seemingly “inexplicable” events can become not only clear, but also necessary and inevitable.
So, let’s begin with setting some points firm and indisputable that may perhaps seem annoying but – once accepted – may represent an important step in the understanding of self and others:
-any living thing in the universe has as its primary purpose surviving. And since death is inevitable, in consequence one aims to reproduce oneself and thus allow the survival of its genes.
-our bodies and our brains are the result of millions of years of evolution, during which they kept all the winning features, namely those that have allowed us to survive and reproduce. Civilization has taught us that violence, greed, selfishness, sexual desire, the need for power, dominance and so on are characteristic “negative”, but without them we would not be here.
-our bodies and our brains have remained virtually unchanged over the last 100,000 years, therefore has no sense to consider ourselves different from our ancestors: they used the club and we use the Kalashnikov, but the principles of behaviour remain the same.
(Note: whenever you try to talk about evolution, there is the risk to provoke a violent reaction from believers of different religions. This is not the place to talk about the subject, although I think evolution and religion are perfectly compatible. Eventually, to continue the conversation, the believers can imagine that we were created to live in the jungle, and that the God has programmed us with a lot of characteristics best suited to that type of environment, characteristics that we still have today.)
Consequently, although we like to believe that we are civilized men, very different from cave dwellers, the reality is that we carry with us all our genetic inheritance, ready to explode at the first opportunity. Just see what happens during war, fire, earthquake, or any other type of event that would jeopardize our physical survival: we have the same reactions of an animal attacked by a predator.
That having been said, it is clear that contemporary men and women have the same basic purpose, namely to survive and pass on their genes to the next generations, and they clearly need each other. However, the manner in which they pursue this goal is completely different, because of some fundamental biological differences, and this is precisely the main theme of this article.
-a male can produce a virtually unlimited number of children, while a female has an obvious physical limit. Not only that, a male (if he is in good shape…:-) can be ready for another female after a quarter of an hour, while the female – once fertilized – remains “locked” for one year and, from a genetic point of view, has no any benefit from further sexual partners.
The mere acceptance of this obvious truth shows us two completely different reproductive strategies: while the male has a genetic self-interest to maintain sexual contact with as many females as possible – without posing any major problems on their quality – the female has the interest in to be as selective as possible – and therefore hesitant …- to make the best possible choice.
What actually means” the best possible choice “: unlike young animals, human babies have a very long period of dependency from the mother, during which the female can not get away from them. This means that it is the male duty to leave the refuge in order to hunt / gather and bring the food home, and, if the female is unable to bind him to herself, she and her children will quite simply die of hunger. Consequently, the choice of a partner not only has to do with the level of physical attraction, but also and especially on the ability to procure food and to remain faithful.
– as it’s the female interest to make the best choice possible, inevitably she must maintain the right to refuse at any time the intercourse, in the case that it appears a better partner. This implies that the main characteristic of the female communication is ambiguity. A female will continue to transmit signals of availability, receiving in exchange a series of advantages in terms of attention and material benefit, while retaining the option of refusal at any moment, claiming to have been misunderstood.
It follows that the male is forced to lie to achieve his goal, because a direct request would force the female to a clear answer, which would make difficult any reconsideration (if you do not believe, imagine the possibilities of success of a stranger who tries to seduce a female with a phrase like “Hey, you’re a beautiful chick, why don’t you come to my place to get laid?” utmost sincerity, zero results …)
From here one can discover all the rituals of courtship, rituals which we encounter daily and that can often confuse us in the most absolute way.
Needless to add that – once it is established that the female is attracted by good genes, material availability and reliability, the male will do everything possible to simulate these characteristics …
-there is a clear difference from physical point of view: usually the male is stronger and faster. Therefore, to maintain balance, the female has developed an arsenal of psychological tools to get what he wants from the male. In fact, throughout human history the male was always “the boss” but, as self-respecting female knows, strictly ruled by a partner which directs his behaviour through petitions, victimise, allusions, tears, feelings of guilt and so on.
-Because one male can fertilize many females while the female remains unusable once fertilized, this unleashes as result competition among males (in fact, consider another obvious truth: monogamy is not derived from respect for females, but by an agreement between males to reduce the level of conflict in the group)
In this sense, the male put any effort to elevate its status among other males, to have the priority to choose the female.
Obviously, since this male was already selected by the struggle between males, the female has every incentive to “be chosen”, because she is guaranteed to get the best genes.
Thus, we can explain why the female – while accusing the men of being obsessed with sex – she’s the one devoting more attention to the hair, the makeup, the look in general: it is its obvious interest to be chosen from the best males. In this sense, while the personal preference may be wrong, the result of a struggle for selection can not be discussed.
-the female can fool the male with regard to paternity, and can put an unaware male in a position to maintain and nurture a child that’s not his (this is the reason why in the course of history, female infidelity has been severely punished, while males one tolerated, even by the females)
Incidentally, it is also the reason behind the “engagement”, a period during which you take away the chosen female from other males attention, without entertaining sexual relations with her: certainly not for respect for the female, but to be sure that the child is actually theirs.
-in this regard, the female has a particular problem: as she has every interest in having access to the best genes possible, it is also clear that the male beautiful, strong and vigorous will be tempted to mate with a large number of females, and be therefore rather unreliable; on the other hand, the male “faithful” have usually a genetic potential “so-so”.
Consequently, the situation of maximum benefit for the female is to be fertilized by a strong and handsome but untrustworthy guy, and then to put an ugly but faithful guy to nurture her and the child.
You can see if this is what happens …
It is clear that in a short article as this I can’t go too deep into the argument, and it is a pity because the issues that deserve attention are much more than these. However, even accepting and considering the little I have said, a series of behaviours that we consider negative or incomprehensible become immediately very clear and obvious.
Of course, it is possible that you don’t agree with some of my statements.
But before you show your disagreement, please note that while some aspects of today’s society apparently are no longer valid (I know that there are contraceptives and social assistance, that in many cases the wife earns more than husband and all other arguments that I usually hear as answer), this only shows how in recent decades we have distorted the social balance of nature.
This is not to say that this is a bad thing, I’m simply pointing to the fact that a number of situations that we now consider normal, are not normal at all, and they are not so much due to social development, but to technology. Just imagine if electricity disappeared, for example (and then no more washing machine, no more refrigerator, no more lifts ,..), and you see that the social structure would return to what it was for thousands of years (and what is still today – do not forget – for 80% of world population.)
One last consideration, not to be misunderstood: the things I said one can like them or not, but they are indisputable. Deny it for ideological reasons will only result of the clash constantly with a reality that will continue inexorably to recur.
I believe we can master and accept only what we know: what we don’t know or deny or will continue to influence and determine our behaviour.
And there is no greater obstacle to personal and spiritual development than to deny our genetic inheritance