Upgrading The Males Of The Tribe

Whenever there are not enough food resources, all animals fight over them. Whenever they are not scarce, males fight over females, of which there are never enough. “Women”, it has been said, “are the currency and reward of male violence”. Everything that men do is ultimately reducible to a struggle to gain access to women; they are like a raucous crowd trying to get hold of the last few tickets to a rock concert. But we do not then say that the fans are in charge of the band.

The conventional assumption is that these “rewards” have no say in the matter. This may be so, or else it may be a case of male bias in reporting; for observers of tribal warfare over women may have brought to their observations their own deep conceptual structure, namely that men are the agents and women are the acted-upon. This is a conviction that academic feminists are keen to challenge whenever it suits their book, but assiduous in reinforcing whenever that suits their book better. Given that double-barrelled assumption, I doubt that anyone has ever tried to view these matters through the spectacles of female agency. The chimp tribe attacks its neighbour, kills its males and seems (to the male-agency prejudice) to appropriate its females; or might this transaction with equal validity be seen in terms of a female tribe upgrading its stock of males?

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  1. Written by Mick Whitehead
    on April 19, 2013 at 12:55

    ‘Everything that men do is ultimately reducible to a struggle to gain access to women.’

    The vast majority of men’s actions, yes, but not all.

    Spinoza wrote ‘Ethics’ to get chicks? I don’t think so. ‘The Critique of Pure Reason’ emerged from Kant trying to enhance his sexual prowess?

    To be sure most people have only enough intellect to power their gullets and reproductive systems with little left over. I think with sublime intellects the story is different.

    There are more potential neuronal connections in our frontal lobes than atoms in the known universe. The brain’s initial function is to facilitate gene replication, to liaise between the organism and the outside world. But, in rare cases, the mind takes on a mind of its own. In the genius, neuronal connections multiply exponentially. This, combined with the rapidity and accuracy of the messaging system could lift the mind out of mere DNA business into unknown realms.

    As Schopenhauer noted, genius is nothing more than an excess of intellect. Whilst the common person is invariably focused on replicating its DNA, the genius is able to bring Existence into objective view temporarily, at least, superseding basic human drives such as sex.

    Indeed, since, as Kant showed, Time/Space is part of our perceptual mechanism, marked advances in the brain, such as with a genius, may alter the perception of reality–take such minds, even for brief periods, outside the place of ‘doggy style’ sex. Their minds pierce Maya, the ‘veil of illusion’ that most take for reality.

    Hence the visions of Swedenborg and many others, and the claim by Bruno that the Cosmos is full of intelligent life.

  2. Written by Hugo Grinebiter
    on April 19, 2013 at 19:50

    The sentence to which you object is a non-verbatim run-on from (or restatement of) the quote.

    As for Spinoza’s chick success, I don’t know enough about his life. Kant strikes me as the nearest thing to a disembodied intellect the world has seen, but perhaps he stopped off on those walks of his.

    But Schopenhauer was a happy whoremonger whenever he could get to Italy, which seems to have been the 19th-century philosopher’s Bangkok. I think the mind works better after satiation than frustration, and perhaps he did too.

    Otherwise yes, the leap from the animal agenda to the objective interest in Existence is a great mystery, as is any other kind of transcendence of that agenda

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