Neural Subversion

The melodies of male songbirds have been described as “neural subversion”, hacking the operating systems of the females. There is no necessary benefit to the female in this, any more than there is a benefit to the Windows user in having his computer turned into a proxy spammer. However it originally got started, for example a fortuitous exploit of some pre-existent accident of brain wiring, a gene for hacking into female sexual preference could hardly fail to spread until all the birds were doing it. On the other hand, musical ability might well be correlated with other traits desirable in the father of one’s eggs or children. Being able to sing loudly suggests general good health; being able to hold a tune is dependent on muscular control, which is a very good thing in itself; and having a wide repertoire proves the possession of a good memory.

At any rate, the trick works with human beings too, for example the rock concerts where there is “not a dry seat in the house”. There may indeed be a purely biological mechanism of neural subversion here, but the same phenomenon can be equally well explained without it. Neural subversion may be merely the pretence, the troubadour’s song is giving the woman social permission to have sex. She can thus appeal to the fact of having been serenaded by the troubadour to justify her “surrender”, as women so charmingly term their selection of partners. This approach derives its power from our ruling cultural myth of deeper female emotionality; women can justify their sexual choices against “society” (i.e., one another) in terms of being emotionally moved by officially-designated artistic phenomena.

Are there, then, human hacks apart from music? We are only just beginning to understand the role of pheromones in sexual attraction; or rather, we are beginning to put on a scientific basis what we have always known about sexual “chemistry”, namely that it has its own agenda entirely. It is possible, for example, that tears contain pheromones that stimulate those parts of the brain that are activated in the first stages of infatuation. Female crying is therefore an excellent hacking strategy. Then there is voice; one thinks of Tomas in The Unendurable Lightness of Being, who can say to a woman, “Take off your clothes” and lo and behold, she does. Perhaps it is a combination of pitch, speed, timbre and complete self-confidence, not unrelated to the military “command voice”.

It has been said that the most effective seduction technique is the assumption that it has been settled in advance that woman will come to bed. If this is so, it must be a special application of a general principle of human leadership; you do not look round to see if others are following, much less ask whether they would like to – you step out, and assume that they will be right behind you. If they aren’t, then you are no leader, and are not long for this world. Humans go weak at the knees in the face of someone with sufficient self-confidence to treat our obedience as an inevitability of natural law.

Alternatively, the secret of extreme human charisma, sexual and otherwise, may lie in the appearance of the pupil. Those who have visible whites all around the pupil appear to be able to command others, whether it be to take off their clothes or go to war. Can it really be so easy? Apparently it is. The next question is whether this is a heritable quality or not. Perhaps it is a phenotypic accident that is associated with sterility or other weakness; for we have never heard of Rasputin or Hitler fathering children. Otherwise we would be overrun with the offspring of such mutants.

Posted on September 11, 2012 at 11:45 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink
In: WHAT WOMEN WANT, All The Nice Girls Love An Arsehole

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