Men would like to be lovable, but they have other priorities, like competing against other men and striving for greatness.
I just finished reading, Is There Anything Good About Men?: How Cultures Flourish by Exploiting Men by Roy F. Baumeister. In it, he goes into depth on many of the same themes he touches on in his speech that I discussed a few weeks ago.
In this book, which was so good that I plowed through it in about 2 days, I had a lot of the the same epiphany “Ah-ha!” moments that I experienced when I first read The Way of the Superior Man many, many years ago. As I read each chapter, Baumeister would point out something that was always right in front of me, something I always felt inside but was never able to put a finger on. Over and over again, I felt a deep sense of being understood and being able to see myself, my drives, as well as my behaviors and motivations much more clearly.
1. Men and women as a whole are the same in mental ability, but differ in interests and inclinations.
While the averages are so close as to be negligible, men have a lot more extremes in any of their attributes, weather it’s height, intelligence, or other genetically inherited traits. Because of the wide distribution in talents and attributes among men, men appear to be more successful and superior to women, but that is only because we ignore the men at the bottom – men who suffered from our sex’s higher rates of mental retardation, imprisonment, and work-related deaths, for example.
2. Men and women compete not against each other but against other groups of men and women.
Men and women act as partners in a culture group that competes with other culture groups. What is best for that culture may differ greatly from the individual desires and interests of the members of that culture and that the most successful culture survives and thrives and the losers get wiped out totally, assimilated, or deprived.
3. The different biological roles that men and women play when it comes to reproduction means that each individual man is less important than each individual woman and, therefore, men are expendable.
The size of the next generation depends on the number of women. If a society loses half it’s men in a war…no problem, the other half will be more than able to do the job. This is why men go to war, do dangerous jobs, and step in front of bullets for women. Baumeister also points out that despite the common belief that men “rule the world” pre feminism, the survival rate for the richest men on the Titanic was much lower than the survival rate for the poorest women.
That’s right, all these rich powerful men at the top of society stepped aside so that poor women at the bottom could have a seat on the life boat.
4. Things that are produced in the male sphere of competence are valued more highly by society and, therefore, men have been given the highest rewards.
Here, what he’s primarily talking about is that most of the large social structures, institutions, and innovations that have happened over the course of human history have been created by men, so men have benefited for it in every culture all around the world.
5. Marriage is an “exploitative” practice used to transfer wealth from men to women and children for the sake of society.
Marriage exists and has been supported and promoted by every culture because the larger their cultural group, the more likely it is to prevail over other culture groups. Because women spent much of their time either pregnant, or raising children, they He also points out that the feminist movement is, ironically, undermining this system and seems to be giving men more of what they want (ie. sex) and women less of what they want.
In the End
It’s a fascinating read, and I highly recommend it. First, because knowing these principles is really valuable when examining and thinking about the cultural shifts happening around the world and how they might play out in the coming decades. Secondly, because it allows us as men to, for the first time, evaluate our lives and actions from a perspective of pure self-interest – rather than those of culture – so that we can make the best possible decisions for ourselves going forward.
Amazon has it in stock now for about $10, which makes it a very cheap must-read.