This is a very strong article on gun violence in the United States read it.
Because of the thousands of hours of research and thought I’ve put into racism, always careful to relate EVERYTHING to universal human traits, it feels as if some of those conclusions can help to peek beyond the “Matrix” of illusions driving human behavior, the “emergent strategies”, simple commands that lead to complex results.
I could be twice as smart as I am, working with a team of a thousand people even smarter than me for a decade with a billion-dollar budget, and still not get to the end of this. I don’t pretend that I have. I cannot imagine a simple statement of such a complex subject that won’t be argued with. It is knowing that I could write a library of footnoted textbooks and still not cover my ass that allows me to say what I’m about to say. I APOLOGIZE IN ADVANCE. MEA CULPA.
But I do think that it is worthwhile for me to risk making a fool of myself and say what I think I see here. Why? Well, I’ll probably put that below.
(A “Matrix notion ‘ is a lie or fabrication so deeply engrained into our consciousness that it seems to be self-evident truth.)
And here are the core “Matrix” ideas that seem relevant.
- Men and women are basically of equal worth and value
- They are complementary, based on different biological/genetic functions and priorities
- Anger is fear
- Neither men nor women have ever been in control in the world–our genes have been. The real emergent instruction is: “get the maximum number of grandchildren into the next generation.”
- These instructions prevented extermination over the 250k+ years of our history, and have been deeply encoded in social principles, religions, and more, and explain much of the rigidity of social roles and principles about sexism, racism (tribal warfare), homophobia.
- There are two different basic human motivations: avoid pain, and gain pleasure. Most of our behavior, for most of our history, has been “avoid pain.”
- We have new options. But we have to forgive the past to embrace the future.
So…the best way to try to say this is to imagine a fantasy story. Imagine a world in which “humans” used to be a somewhat different being, call it a “Shmoo”, undifferentiated into gender or race. Each of these Shmoos was capable of reproducing, fighting enemies and animals, or living anywhere on the planet…more or less.
But just as a single Shmoo who made all his own clothes will own a single suit and a single pair of shoes, assembly-line specialization allows us to own a DOZEN complete outfits. Similarly, the Shmoos discovered that specializing into baby-makers and hunter/fighters was more efficient. The sexual dimorphism was relatively slight on a biological level, but social rules and fantasies reinforced and exaggerated the differences. Religions and laws evolved over time separated them even further.
The “males” and “females” were really pretty similar, except “females” could carry babies in their bodies, and “males” were more disposable on an individual (not a reproductive) level, which made it possible to kill off 90% of them without crashing the population. We could send them off to die fighting Lions and Mammoths, or march them into cannon fire. Over time, this dimorphism produced the maximum number of grandchildren, a situation that worked for everyone.
A problem, however: females and males selected each other for secondary sexual characteristics and willingness to play roles: nurturance, aggression, power…all sorts of things. As males grew larger (due to breeding) and more capable of aggression and repelling aggression, they would naturally begin to ask: “why the hell should we be the ones to go off and die?”
(And here allow me to step out of the storyteller voice. If you Google “have men always had shorter life spans than women?” you will get about ten times more agreement than disagreement. As this notion, that due to both natural, social, and behavioral factors male primates have shorter lifespans on average than females, makes sense to me on every level. You are of course welcome to believe the opposite contention: that women living longer is a relatively recent phenomenon. I believe you have to employ more epicycles to explain that one, but if it makes sense to you, so be it. This speculation simply won’t make sense to you.
So what happened? What became convenient? For males to consider themselves primary. More important. “We’re more important so its our obligation to die” is the really interesting contradictory set of instructions. Literally “we’re more important so we’re less important” is the functional result.)
The rule that produced the maximum grandchildren is “men’s lives and women’s dreams are disposable.” Both kept in their boxes, in a rather nasty game that really benefitted neither. One of the results is that the measures of racism and tribal domination include life span–the dominated group lives a shorter life, and dies more often due to violence.
On the other hand, the dominated group also has less access to power, earns less, and so forth.
What are YOUR priorities? I cannot tell you what they are. But if life is more important than money, I suggest that the claim that men are in control doesn’t wash. But neither does the notion that women are in control.
But it make perfect sense if NEITHER is in control, but we are designed to see direct rather than indirect power. Karate makes more sense than Aikido. “Positive Space” in art is easier to perceive than negative space. “Jazz is what happens between the notes.” We can’t see the Yin aspect with our eyes and intellects. We have to feel the pauses in our bodies. Our HEARTS can “feel” both.
Back to the story of Mankind. Created by Shmoos to make more Shmoo grandchildren, and damn the results to the “men” and “women” caught in the machine.
For a ten thousand generations, men and women, bifurcated versions of the Shmoos, built up civilization. Living, dying, having children, loving, fighting. Concentrating on the DIFFERENCES between them, even though babies and old people are pretty much Shmoos. Vive La Difference!
And we spread around the world, developed different phenotypes, and different cultures, each of which developed mythologies that they were the best. Just as men think they are the best. And women think that THEY are the best. It’s a big joke, and it keeps us asleep, and at odds. And serves our genes, but not us.
But there are two basic drives, remember? “Avoid Pain” and “Gain Pleasure”. Most of our history has been about avoiding pain…survival. Alcohol was a great co-evolved technology, because it serves both. Jewish culture has a great, really GREAT saying about this “Drink to be happier, not to be happy” is the basic rule. In other words, it is healthy to drink when you are already happy. But if you are in pain, WORK your way out of that pain, don’t drink your way out. Pain is important. It is a signal to do something different. If you take a drug to numb that pain, you won’t take the proper actions, and that will catch up with you one day.
The above is germane: we have rules that say that work is sacred. Necessary. Vital. Because it is related to survival. The tribe will starve if we stop hunting, freeze if we stop chopping wood. So we evolved rules that said idleness is EVIL. That’s the avoiding pain stuff, right?
But once we moved beyond hunter-gatherers to agriculturalists, we had whole seasons where humanity could pause after the harvest, and as a group ask an important question: what is it all about? Oh, we probably always asked that question, but about thirty thousand years ago, human beings started putting themselves into their cave paintings, and I kinda think that might represent a sea-change in our thought patterns.
The “I am” woke up. Who am I? What is true?
As these bifurcated Shmoos, programmed with useful lies, began to build sustained colonies and begin trade, those most directly on those trade routes began to exchange memes and genes most rapidly, develop the greatest complexity. And of course, because that’s how humans roll, they also claimed that complexity is superiority. No, it is complexity, that is all. Cultural bigotry was born.
But the questions about “who am I?” and “what is true?” were codified, written down, debated across cultures. As some members of those cultures became more specialized, philosophers and artists became separate classes, and could spend all their time asking these questions…and the notions of freedom, and democracy, the notion of human dignity and so forth became very real things. Power had originated from the root, humans selecting leaders. But in time the leaders became their own class, and like all other human beings began to believe their own bullshit, and claimed divine privilege.
Why were so many of these leaders men? Perhaps because those who organized most efficiently for hunting and war survived better, and the traditional way men choose leaders on the most basic level is “Who can kick my ass? I’ll follow him” (the more cynical would say that was actually “I can kick your ass. Follow me or else.” Because everyone has to sleep, and throats are easily cut, I choose to belief that there HAS to be collusion between leaders and led, or it simply doesn’t work.) The wrestling circle is one of the most universal human institutions. And the village’s best wrestler either became the leader or helped choose him/her. That’s just basic stuff.
But as the notion of human freedom began being debated, lurking just offstage was the fact that much of this world-spanning complex of human societies was based on lies: “men and women are vastly different. Different tribes are vastly different. God loves MY group best.”
Useful for the grandchildren, horrible for individuals.
Once upon a time there was a country called the United States. It represented one of the last major human migrations, to one of the last major chunks of fertile land, with such a difference in technology between the new and old immigrants that the natives were crushed. Of course, the new immigrants ascribed this to genetic superiority and “God loves us best” rather than the fractal nature of progress and innovation.
Humans are like that.
And these new immigrants felt they needed labor, and stole human beings from one of those “technology differential” areas, and hauled them in chains and misery to the new land, and declared them sub-human.
Setting up a basic conflict. Because this country was based on the mythology of human liberty, freedom, and equality. Oops. And the gap between the illusion and the reality blossomed into an incredibly violent and bloody war.
Waking up is hard to do.
The problem is that change effected through force doesn’t change the heart. The “losers” were able to continue to project their mythologies on the racial level. Why couldn’t these illusions be maintained for as long as the gender-based illusions?
Because “Gender Lies” benefit both males and females with their most basic programming of genetic and/or personal survival. Tribal or Racial lies do not. Men and women CANNOT exterminate each other. In fact, I would maintain that the actual drive is to connect, to once again become that undifferentiated creature with both attributes, and that explains both the energy of sex and the power of love.
But tribes? Can tribes actually exterminate each other? Ummm…have you seen any Neanderthals lately?
So racially, there was fantastic motivation to destroy those lies. It was survival. And it has been horrifically difficult, fought against at every turn.
But lies are interwoven. And once you begin to ask “what is true?” about one aspect of this, you either stimulate or join forces with other questions, questioners and questionings.
- Must women stay in their social boxes? Why or why not?
- Is homosexuality an ‘evil’ or merely labeled that way because of reproductive and social/psychological imperatives?
- Do we even need every female to make babies? If not, how does that change what we are and have been?
- Do we need every human being to work? What happens when our technology reaches the point where fewer people are needed to till the fields and work the factories?
- Does the notion of nations even make sense in a world with instant communication? Wasn’t that notion just a geopolitical convenience?
And if you start with a country that speaks of human equality, and we start telling ourselves that limiting human options is evil, but people have associated their identity with particular roles…what happens when that starts falling apart? Who am I? What is true?
The ego thinks it is us. If the ego is a construct, then when it begins to crack it responds as if it is dying. That triggers fear. We fear fear, so we mobilize and disguise it as anger. Anger leads to violence. Even the NOTION that anger is fear causes fear. The next time you are in a political discussion, and some politicized person says: “Those X’s are full of anger!” Ask:
“What are they afraid of?” And watch the most politicized refuse to accept the possibility. They cannot. Because the instant they do that they have to humanize their opponents. And acknowledge their own anger might be…ummm…that four-letter word that dare not speak its name.
See where this is all going?
Male violence. That was the subject. For tens of thousands of years, men have operated under the illusion that they were in control. It blinded them to the fact that they were programmed for self-destruction…and that women were complicit in that programming. Oh, yes.
Women aren’t more peaceful. Look up the domestic violence statistics in lesbian relationships. Or when women are larger than their male partners.
Nope, Shmoos are Shmoos.
Remember that pesky “equality” thing? That means you can’t take yourselves off the hook, ladies. You can’t say you weren’t involved in the decisions and actions. White people couldn’t keep black people in chains for more than 400 years before the lie broke down, even though they had a 10-fold power advantage.
Do you really think males could keep females in chains for THOUSANDS of years with a mere 30% upper-body strength advantage? Really? When men are just as afraid of death as you? Really? Remember that thing about people having to sleep, and throats being easy to cut?
The real rule is that we’ve been playing a game: women have pretended to be weaker than they really were. Males pretended to be stronger and braver than they really were.
It wasn’t good for either men or women. Great for the grandkids, though.
In almost ANY boxing match, equally matched contestant will trade winning rounds. If you ignore all the other rounds, you can say “We’re the best!!!” because you’re living in round 8, ignoring that you lost half the previous rounds and are likely to lose half the rounds to come. For hundreds of years, a blink in human history, Europeans were able to think themselves superior. Ding Ding!
Here comes round nine.
Yea, Team! Now…the largest single motivation of the Civil War was the gap between dream and reality, a dream that had existed for only a few centuries.
Guess what, lads and lasses…we are now dealing with a much, much larger illusion. One all tied together in a rotten bow. One that worked GREAT until now…but is coming to an end.
It’s that dream of male superiority. Of the primacy of the Working Man as the epitome of power, the exemplar. Of America as the ultimate nation, the richest, best, most Beloved of God.
Get that dollar, attract that female with impressive secondary characteristics (Melania Trump was asked if she would be with Donald were he not rich. She responded “would he be with me if I weren’t beautiful?” That’s more honesty that some people can handle, right there)
If I was a white, heterosexual male tied to what has worked in the past I’d think the sky was falling. All the rules that kept my ancestors alive are being challenged. If women are my equal, and can compete with me for jobs, and get those jobs, I just became less attractive. Less able to convince an attractive female to mate with me. Or, you know, come home, have a few drinks, and bump uglies.
If blacks are my equal, then they are going to want payback. So I have DESPERATE motivation to
- Believe they are not equal.
- Keep them in a position where they can never retaliate.
If we no longer need all human beings to reproduce, then those pesky homosexual impulses I’ve fought my entire life can come bobbing closer to the surface, triggering guilt and fear and questions about who and what I really am.
If not every worker is needed (globalization and automation)…but we still guilt-trip people for not having jobs…and that leads to people insisting that things like welfare and UHC and a social safety net are actually BAD for people…then what happens when America is the last country to implement a medical safety net for its citizens?
Could there, in other words, be a clue in that very fact? That “Lack of Safety Net” X “Income inequality” X “social upheaval” X “lots of Guns” might equal a problem?
Not all people will become violent, but…violence is caused by anger. Anger is a mask over fear. What “stuff” connected to basic shifts in our world could cause America to have an epidemic of violence, then…?
- The belief on both gun and anti-gun people that their position makes them safer (every shooting, “second amendment” people scream “the victims should have been armed!” and the gun control people scream “there should be fewer guns!”) Core disconnect, and they end up screaming at each other. Both afraid. That fear masking as anger. Tragic.
- The shifting role of women, destroying the balance of power/sex that has existed since…well, forever.
- The shifting role of minorities. Not the lip service about equality, but the implications of the reality. Whether you think “the monkeys are taking over the zoo” or “payback’s a bitch” if you have fear in your heart, it isn’t a pretty picture.
- The shifting role of workers as there are literally fewer jobs, while net wealth remains constant…but more collected at the top.
- The shifting role of reproduction in human survival. Rational arguments against homosexuality are just…well IMO non-existent.
Fear. Survival fear. Genetic fear. Sexual pleasure fear. Power fear. Ego fear. On every level, plus the utter terror that all you believe may be a lie. Surrounded by enemies who take from you everything you thought you were. Combine that with the availability of firearms, and America is in a uniquely bad position.
That’s where we are. Is there an answer? Of course there is, unless you are so egotistical you think you are important enough that you happen to have a front-seat at the end of the world. Oh, please.
From a billionth of a second after the “big bang” the history of the universe has been connection and complexity, with bumps along the way.
So it is easy for me to envision a world on the other side of ALL these current problems. One with gender and racial parity, one in which both men and women are functioning not “moving away from fear and pain” but “moving toward love and pleasure.” A world in which mankind, humankind is moving out of its adolescence and toward an intellectual and spiritual maturity.
All we have to do is love ourselves enough to admit to our flaws. Forgive ourselves for being driven by fear, however it masks. Forgive our ancestors, who were doing the best they could with the resources they had. For man and women, black and white, gay and straight…to love each other…while remaining strong enough to resist the violence of frightened people.
There is an amazing future out there waiting for us. If this generation of black folks is “the hope and the dream of the slave” then this generation of human beings is the hope and the dream of every ancient Shmoo terrified by the natural world, fearful of diseases and predators and weather, bifurcating into a separated being to fight back more efficiently, misunderstanding the gender opposite just as we rarely understand the Yin and Yang of our own personalities. Driven to work from fear rather than drawn by joy: the War of Art between management and artist.
America is in the Dark Night of the Soul. The way through is, as always, the Leap of Faith: Faith in ourselves, faith in our companions, and faith in whatever higher power or patterned universe you choose to hold sacred.
Faith that, if this is correct, freedom for women means freedom for men as well. There is nothing to fear, once we throw off the chains that bind our thoughts. It is possible that everyone born before effective birth control will have to die before we are relatively free of sexism. That everyone born prior to 1970 will have to die before racial equality is the real, dominant principle. Everyone born before a wide acceptance that the planet has reached peak population die before homosexuality is no longer stigmatized. Everyone born before Buckminster Fuller proposed that we accept a new paradigm for work and life before a Universal Basic Income becomes a human right.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, and the “Protestant Work Ethic” all make sense if they INCREASE survival. But the instant they DECREASE it, lead to more pain than pleasure our brains will “flip the switch” and the new possibility will seem less and less crazy.
I submit to you that that switch has flipped. But if you were born before the “flip” you may not be able to see it, feel it. But…I trust those grandchildren. The Shmoos always knew it was about the grandchildren, remember? And I think they’ll be just fine.
After more ugliness. Oh, yes. There will be more violence. Because people are angry. Because they are afraid. The world is changing.
Waking up is hard to do.
I see it, so clearly. And hope that however flawed these thoughts might be, they’ve served their purpose…and you see just a little more clearly as well.