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Posts tagged “Social Structure

Part 2: How Human Nature Shapes Society

On the off-chance you haven’t yet read Part 1 yet, you should. We both know you’re a person who takes the initiative to understand what’s going on around you, and going back to read it is proof. But if you’re not someone who likes to understand what’s going on around you, then you’re probably the kind of person who usually trips on the curb awkwardly when walking, which is embarrassing.

Whichever type you are, you’ve come this far, and that makes you a determined person, though possibly an awkward and oblivious determined person.

If you read Part 1, you should already know that our ancestors weren’t stupid.

Not only were our ancestors not stupid, they did smart things and took advantage of sexual differences between men and women. Whether or not you’re a creationist or an evolutionist, you know that these sexual differences existed naturally even before human history began, resulting in traditional gender roles that have persisted until today.

You also know, because you read Part 1, that 100 years isn’t long enough to reverse billions of years of evolution, nor will it do anything to change a fixed creation. The last 100 years is unique because technology has advanced so far and so quickly. Our technology has enabled men to become more feminine and women to become more masculine, but it is still not enough to change our basic human nature.

Whether you are a creationist or an evolutionist, you’ve already decided that human nature has been roughly the same for all of recorded history.

Of course you can disagree, but if you do, you probably haven’t read many old stories. A whole bunch of smart people, scholars and historians, have read these old stories, and they would all tell you the same thing: People who lived thousands of years ago were just like us. All of them.

Our ancestors were smart, and they were just like you. Their human nature was the same as your human nature.

Because they were smart and because their human nature was the same as ours, our ancestors almost certainly knew as much about human nature as you do. In fact, they probably knew more about human nature than you do. You may be thinking “Yeah right, that can’t be true,” just like numerous foreigners thought that some of the most mundane things about America couldn’t be true until they visited. The past, too, is like a foreign culture to us, filtered through its art and literature like any modern day culture. Just as Canadians understand more about U.S. culture than Africans do due to their closer proximity, our ancestors likely knew more about human nature than we do simply because they were closer to its origin than we are. If you disagree, by all means use your totally legitimate working time machine to visit the past and prove me wrong.

Most agree that at a basic level human nature is shaped by needs such as hunger, pain, and sex. These needs shape how humans behave on a larger scale and how they act together as a society.

The way our society is structured is influenced by how people meet basic needs, such as how they get food, how they stay healthy, and who they have sex with.

Knowing this, and knowing that our ancestors were both smart and likely knew more about human nature than we do, it is not difficult to put the information together to get a new picture of history.

But before we paint that picture, lets add into the mix a theory (one not even feminists believe in, it seems) that in prehistoric times the earliest development of human societies began as matriarchal societies, which are societies led by women. The theory goes that these matriarchal societies then disappeared and were replaced by patriarchal societies led by men.

From then on, throughout recorded history patriarchal societies dominated and ruled the world.

Now let’s summarize what we know. What we know is this: 1) Our ancestors took advantage of human sex differences. They played to their strengths because they were smart. 2) They understood human nature better than we modern humans do, because they were closer and more exposed to it. 3) Human nature has been the same throughout human history, and it is shaped by fundamental needs like food, health and sex. Further, the methods used to meet these needs naturally shape social structure. Finally, 4) We will be generous and agree with the dubious theory that human societies were matriarchies in prehistoric times, which then turned into patriarchies when people started writing things down.

What conclusion do you draw from your knowledge?

The conclusion is that societies led by women are not as effective as societies led by men.

Right about now you’re probably getting a little offended, maybe thinking I’m a sexist, or a misogynist, someone who hates or looks down on women. If so, aren’t you a little worried that your false accusations are limiting your thinking? I would be worried if I was falsely accusing myself as well, but instead I didn’t get offended at my thoughts and followed the tracks. The tracks led me to a reasonable conclusion. If you followed the same tracks I did, you made it to the reasonable conclusion. You weren’t derailed by the unreasonable or false accusations, which means you have a clear head on your shoulders.

The track is easy to follow, and you likely don’t need me to explain because you followed them too, but just for fun I will.

Our first track is our first piece of knowledge, that our ancestors were smart and played to their strengths, taking advantage of human sex differences. This means they did smart things and knew what worked well and what didn’t work well. They knew men were better at doing physical labor, and women were better at raising children, and that it didn’t work as well the other way around.

Add to this our second track, which is that they understood human nature better than we do. They understood that our human behavior was based on meeting our fundamental needs like hunger and sex, and that people used what worked best for them to meet those needs.

For their fundamental needs to be met, to have food, to be healthy, and to have sex, they needed to use the best system available to meet those needs by doing what worked well and by not doing what didn’t work well.

The best systems were different for men and women. Woman used less physical and more indirect means to get food, avoid pain, and have sex, while men used more physically direct methods. But what else do we know about the methods used to meet fundamental needs like hunger and sex?

The answer is our third track: The methods used to meet fundamental needs naturally shape social structure. These methods are different for men and women, and since a society led by women would primarily use less physical and indirect methods to meet these needs, we can safely say that a matriarchal society would do the same. Likewise, a patriarchal society would use more physically direct methods because they are led by men.

Finally we arrive at our conclusion with the addition of the fourth track. Though questionable, it is possible that long ago in prehistoric times human societies were led by women. But we know from actual recorded history that these matriarchal societies were soon replaced by societies led by men. At any rate, throughout history there are very few instances of matriarchal societies, and what few examples do exist did not last for very long. The cause for this is none other than human nature itself.

While women had to use the methods of persuasion, deception and even submission to survive, the more physically intimidating men would use direct physical means to survive. For example, in a food scarce environment, any woman who wanted to survive would have to hide or quietly steal their food (deception), persuade someone more powerful to give them food, or submit to someone more powerful in exchange for food. In contrast, a man would simply take food from someone weaker. Women could not directly compete with men, and instead had to rely on a male benefactor for both protection and provision.

The same dynamic is true for social structure.

A patriarchal society will use physically direct methods to survive, while a matriarchal society will use indirect means.

In other words, when competing for resources, a matriarchal society would quickly find itself at the mercy of a patriarchal society. In order to survive, a society led by women would need to use trade (persuasion), swear fealty (submission), or somehow trick the competing patriarchal society which would otherwise take the resources by direct force. For a weaker society, all of these options are a death sentence. Trade favors the stronger party, submission is to live under the conqueror’s rules, and tricks are hard to pull off. The result is that matriarchal societies disappeared almost as soon as they came into contact with a patriarchal society.

Societies led by women are just not as effective as societies led by men.

Societies led by women simply couldn’t compete with societies led by men due to their fundamentally different ways of surviving. The patriarchal societies, once they showed up in prehistoric times, were like the jockey who brought a Ferrari to a horse race. The horses just can’t compete with the natural speed and power of a sports car. If you want your society to survive, if you want your society to win the race, don’t bet on the losing horse. Bet on the Ferrari, and support a patriarchal society. You want men in power, because you want to win. You want men in power because matriarchies are way out of date and way to slow to keep up with other patriarchy.

Or you can stick with your horse. Don’t be too sad when it dies.

**This is the second installment of a several part series. The series will progress from early man to modern civilization, and draw conclusions about gender roles, society and culture. I will post links to each part in the series as they are completed.**

Part 1: Creationist or Evolutionist, You Need Traditional Gender Roles
Part 2: How Human Nature Shapes Society