(Warning; this post may trigger you if you are unable to look outside your current reality tunnel. Read until the end.)
I’m working on downloading Evolutionary Psychology onto my consciousness hardrive, and I’m feeling like Neo; I want more. Currently, I’m reading “The Moral Animal,” by Robert Wright. I think he could say in 15 pages what he says in 80, but the rambling is helpful for a novice. I get to see how a mind drenched in the evolutionary waters’ swims.
I finished the first section of his book today. The focus was on sex and romance, both filtered through Darwinian lenses. In this post, I’ll summarise how these two social aspects of Homo Sapiens are understood evolutionarily.
The crux of evolution is that when a new trait arises in individuals of a species, if this trait increases the survivability and reproductive success of the individuals, after multiple generations, this trait will change a subgroup of the species so much so that it will become a new species. So naturally, the most basic and important aspect of a species is how it goes about reproducing.
Males and females are biologically classified by the difference in their sex cells. The male sex cell is energetically cheap to produce, and created in abundance. The female sex cell is energy expensive and created in drastically lower proportions. It is this simple and subtle difference that creates the massive differences between the sexes.
On top of this, the male’s time and energy investment in successfully uniting sex cells is insanely lower than the investment of the female. A male can impregnate a female and leave, the female homo sapien does not have this option. This basic difference sets the stage for the sexual games we play. The females are the choosers, and the males are the competitors.
Maximizing Men’s Genetic Fitness
Evolutionarily, the way for a man to maximize his genetic fitness is be good at convincing women his genetic fitness is higher than it actually is, to have sex with as many women as possible, and to be damn sure that the female he commits to raising children with is faithful; because the greatest loss for a male in the eyes of evolution is to invest his energy and resources in raising a child that is not his.
Men will act in ways that demonstrate their resources and status (watches, cars, suits, Alpha displays.) They will often, consciously or unconsciously, lie to women in order to sleep with them. They are more likely to cheat on their partners with “easy” women. And they are less likely to forgive a partner of cheating compared to women forgiving a partner for cheating.
Maximizing Women’s Genetic Fitness
For the female, she must be skilled at detecting when a man is bullshitting her of his genetic fitness. She needs to find a man of good genetic health that will stick around to help raise the children, and once she has found this, when she is ovulating, sneak off to get impregnated by a man of superior genetic fitness (who likely won’t commit to her and help raise the child), and convince the male she has domesticated to raise this other man’s child.
Women will seek to display youthfulness (this equates to reproductive fitness), through wearing makeup and dress. They must be adept at detecting the falsehoods men will whisper. They must look for signals of a man’s long-term commitment and his resources if she is going to allow him to have sex with her, and in order for the man to want to invest in her, she will need to display that she is a faithful partner (this is the basis of the Madonna-whore dichotomy.) And once she has found a man to invest in her long-term, when she is ovulating, she should go find the most genetically fit male she can to copulate with and have the committed man at home care for it.
Summary and Disclaimer
Both of these strategies are the ones that maximizes the sexes’s chances of extending their genetic information into the future. It is important to note here that just because this is the evolutionary pressure does not mean it is “right,” or that we are destined to behave this way. What is massively important is that we understand this so we can have understanding compassion when we feel the urges in ourselves to behave in ways that align with our genetic fitness’s interest. We have free will and choice, but its helpful to know what we are up against.
We are the forgetting gods, with crowns of consciousness that rest upon an animal body that has been molded by the forces of evolution. If you seek to “understand thyself,” you’ll need to understand evolution. It is not deterministic, but it helps explain our instinctual urges.
Hope you enjoyed the synopsis. I love you and namasteezy.