The Uneconomic Man of Natural Law and No Excuse (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 150)

Individuals who would otherwise be subordinated are clever enough to form a large and united political coalition, and they do so for the express purpose of keeping the strong from dominating the weak. Nomadic foragers are universally—and all but obsessively—concerned with being free of the authority of others.

-Christopher Boehm, Primatologist

An individual endowed with the passion for control would have been a social failure and without influence.

-Erich Fromm, Psychologist, referencing Prehistory

By now, everyone knows “there’s no free lunch.” But what would it mean if our species evolved in a world where every lunch was free? How would our appreciation of prehistory (and consequently, of ourselves) change if we saw that our journey began in leisure and plenty, only veering into misery, scarcity, and ruthless competition a hundred centuries ago?

Difficult as it may be for some to accept, skeletal evidence clearly shows that our ancestors didn’t experience widespread, chronic scarcity until the advent of agriculture. Chronic food shortages and scarcity-based economics are artifacts of social systems that arose with farming. In his introduction to Limited Wants, Unlimited Means, Gowdy points to the central irony: “Hunter-gatherers. . . spent their abundant leisure time eating, drinking, playing, socializing—in short, doing the very things we associate with affluence.”

Despite no solid evidence to support it, the public hears little to dispute this apocalyptic vision of prehistory. The sense of human nature intrinsic to Western economic theory is mistaken. The notion that humans are driven only by self-interest is, in Gowdy’s words, “a microscopically small minority view among the tens of thousands of cultures that have existed since Homo sapiens emerged some 200,000 years ago.” For the vast majority of human generations that have ever lived, it would have been unthinkable to hoard food when those around you were hungry. “The hunter-gatherer,” writes Gowdy, “represents uneconomic man.”

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

What If’s of Erotic Love (Love vs Sex 238)

First-born children often feel jealous when a younger sibling is born. Wise parents make a special point of reassuring the child that she’ll always be special, that the baby doesn’t represent any kind of threat to her status, and that there’s plenty of love for everyone. Why is it so easy to believe that a mother’s love isn’t a zero-sum proposition, but that sexual love is a finite source? Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins asks the pertinent question with  characteristic elegance: “Is it so very obvious that you can’t love more than one person? We seem to manage it with parental love (parents are reproached if they don’t at least pretend to love all their children equally), love of books, of food, of wine (love of Château Margaux does not preclude love of a fine Hock, and we don’t feel unfaithful to the red when we dally with the white), love of composers, poets, holiday beaches, friends…why is erotic love the one exception that everybody instantly acknowledges without even thinking about it?”

Why indeed? How would the prevalence and experience of jealousy be affected in Western societies if the economic dependence trapping most women and their children didn’t exist, leading female sexual access to be a tightly controlled commodity? What if economic security and guilt-free sexual friendships were easily available to almost all men and women, as they are in many of the societies we’ve discussed, as well as among our closest primate cousins? What if no woman had to worry that a ruptured relationship would leave her and her children destitute and vulnerable? What if average guys knew they’d never have to worry about finding someone to love? What if we didn’t all grow up hearing that true love is obsessive and possessive? What if, like the Mosuo, we revered the dignity and autonomy of those we loved? What if, in other words, sex, love, and economic security were as available to us as they were to our ancestors?

If fear is removed from jealousy, what’s left?

Human beings will be happier—not when they cure cancer or get to Mars or eliminate racial prejudice or flush Lake Erie but when they find ways to inhabit primitive communities again. That’s my utopia.

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

According to E. O. Wilson, “all that we can surmise of humankind’s genetic history argues for a more liberal sexual morality, in which sexual practices are to be regarded first as bonding devices and only second as a means of procreation.” We couldn’t have said it better. But if human sexuality developed primarily as a bonding mechanism in interdependent bands where paternity certainly was a nonissue, then the standard narrative of human sexual evolution is toast.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

 

 

Special Is as Special Does (The Veterinarian)

Today during surgery, an employee of mine was telling me about her previous experience working for one of the big corporate veterinary hospital chains. Her story is similar to a million others I have heard and in some cases, witnessed personally myself; business bastardizing the practice of veterinary medicine and mandating that veterinary support staff rigorously sell, intentionally misinform, and compromise their morals towards customers at the risk of being terminated by their employer if they fail to comply. This employee was told to falsely advertise, promote, and encourage “health plans” to customers, that were essentially lost leaders of misperception and increased cost (not savings). Furthermore, the worst part of the deal was in the fine print of the contract that the customer was required to sign. By signing, it locked the customer into being further exploited for an extended period of time without any recourse or escape. The employee was instructed just to sell the plan and not discuss or point out the fine print (all of the contractual obligations) to anyone. She chose instead to highlight the fine print and encourage careful review of the plan’s details by the customers, so that they might make a fully informed decision about their purchasing options. Eventually, she was unfairly terminated for being honest and forthright to the customers and despite having to undergo three trials in an attempt to block her deserved unemployment pay, she was finally found to be innocent of any crime, delinquency, or misdoings.

This is the type of employee that I have always preferred to have on my hospital team. Such an employee strengthens a hospital by acting for the betterment of all. Supporting, encouraging, and nurturing honesty, integrity, and empathy works in every direction. It isn’t too much to ask of anyone and it saddens me that so many see such an approach from an employee as an inconvenience or a negative character trait. No one is perfect and stones can be cast in any direction, but I want those truly trying; those fighting the good fight for everyone; those that believe it doesn’t have to be “us against them”, by my side, on my staff, and you should want them by your side too.

I am proud of the character of my entire staff and proud of the profound uniqueness of VCC in many regards. It is truly a special place that operates far beyond the expected and tolerated norm. I also do dearly appreciate all of our customers who know and get what I mean without any further explanation. It takes “special” to know “special.” These special customers give us the strength, hope, and faith to believe in ourselves, in others, and the amazing accomplishments that we can attain by continuing to work together in such “special” ways.

Dr. Cribb          2016

The Contorted, Twisted, and Bastardized Form of “Love”, We have All been Taught to Believe is Ideal (Love vs Sex 237)

Written by Percy Sledge and first recorded in 1966, “When a Man Loves a Woman” hit a cultural nerve. The song shot to the top of both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B charts. Another version, recorded twenty-five years later by Michael Bolton, also went straight to the top of the charts, and the song now sits at number 54 on Rolling Stone’s list of the five hundred greatest songs of all time. Nothing is more prominent than love and sex in Western media, and “When a Man Loves a Woman” is an example of the message whispered in romantic ears throughout the world.

What does Mr. Sledge have to say about a man’s love for a woman? What are the signs of true masculine love? Copyright restrictions won’t allow us to quote the song’s lyric in full, but most readers know the words by heart anyway. To review, when a man loves a woman:

  • He becomes obsessed and can’t think of anything else.
  • He’ll exchange anything, even the world, for her company.
  • He’s blind to any fault she may have, and will abandon even his closest friend if that friend tries to warn him about her.
  • He’ll spend all his money trying to hold her attention.
  • And last but not least, he’ll sleep in the rain if she tells him to.

We’d like to suggest an alternative title for this song: “When a Man Becomes Pathologically Obsessed and Sacrifices All Self-Respect and Dignity by Making a Complete Ass of Himself (and Losing the Woman Anyway Because Really, Who Wants a Boyfriend Who Sleeps Out in the Rain Because Someone Told Him Too?).”

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

Rendering the Normal and the Abnormal against our Natural State (Love vs Sex 236)

It bears repeating that we are not attributing any particular nobility or, for that matter, ignobility to foragers. Some behaviors that seem normal to contemporary people would quickly destroy many small-scale foraging societies, rendering them dysfunctional. Unrestrained self-interest in particular, whether expressed as food-hoarding or excessive sexual possessiveness, is a direct threat to group cohesion and is therefore considered shameful and ridiculous.

Is there any doubt that societies can reshape such impulses?

Right now, girl’s necks are being elongated ring by brass ring in parts of Thailand and Burma to make them more appealing to men. Clitorises are being cut away and labia sewn together in villages all over North Africa to dampen female desire, while in glamorous California, reduction labioplasty and other cosmetic vaginal surgeries have recently become a booming business. Elsewhere, the penises of boys are being circumcised or split open in ritualistic subincision. You get the point.

From savoring saliva beer or cow blood milkshakes to wearing socks with sandals, there is little doubt that people are willing to think, feel, wear, do, and believe pretty much anything if their society assures them it’s normal.

Social forces that convince people to stretch their necks beyond the breaking point, schmush the heads of their infants, or sell their daughters into sacred prostitution are quite capable of reshaping or neutralizing sexual jealousy by rendering it silly and ridiculous. By rendering it abnormal.

Sex at Dawn

Ryan and Jethá          2010

  

The Why Out of the Matrix (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 148)

The Why Out of the Matrix

Smith :

Why Mr. Anderson?

Why?

Why?

Why do you do it?

Why?

Why get up?

Why keep fighting?

Do you think you are fighting for something more than your survival?

Can you tell me what it is?

Do you even know?

Is it freedom…

or truth,

perhaps peace,

could it be for love? ….

illusions, Mr. Anderson,

vagaries of perception…

temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence

that is without meaning or purpose.

And all of them,

as artificial as the Matrix itself…

Although,

only a human mind could invent something as insipid as love…

You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson…

You must know it by now…

You can’t win.

It’s pointless to keep fighting.

Why Mr. Anderson?

Why?

Why do you persist?

Neo (at almost a whisper):

because

I

choose to

Matrix Revolutions

2003