Cultural layers and compensation mechanisms. Religion as the Great Balancer.
We have descrobed the pack and the tribe stages of human historical development, but it is not enough to achieve our goal — the modern world looks nothing like it. We see vague patterns in the relationship between a man and a women, while details differ and depend on time, place, culture and other factors. Our goal is to understand everything, so lets look at how the human society evolved from a stone age tribe to the plethora or different structures we see today.
In its daily life, a tribe has to fulfill both the reproductive functions, and thus act in the interests of the women, and to fulfill the hunting/defensive functions, and thus act in the interest of men. I.e. the tribe needs two power systems, which act in parallel. Every tribe has a chieftain, and a council of elders — the men’s controlling structure. The chieftain is a young and strong warrior. He commandeers the men during the hunt and in battle, he takes care of all the tactical decisions when the tribe interacts with the environment. The wise elders, who keep the experience and traditions of the tribe, do the strategical planning.
But every elder, the chieftain and most of the warriors have wives. And if the chieftain’s wife moaned during sex that she is dreaming about a leopard skin rug, you can be rest assured that the chieftain will lead his band to hunt a boar to the place leopards are known to frequent. To please his wife, if luck is willing. And if the elders’ wives, at their meeting at the creek, decide that the children will have more fun playing with stones at the river shore, the wise elders will make a decision to move their summer camp to the river because there is a lot of fish in the river, and it is easier to hunt big game at the watering place. The decision made by women is conveyed to men, who “make” the decision. If the decision is bad, it the one who made it the second time who is responsible. In both [USSR] party bureaucracy and in contemporary corporations, in order to be promoted to high ranks, a man not only has to be married, but be a good husband as well. He should be controllable by his wife, and through her — controllable by the entire women’s community. Nowadays, this system can be observed in isolated military structures that copy the tribal structure, for example, garrisons in Siberia and Far East. The commander’s wife in such garrisons is an uncrowned queen who solves most social problems and conflicts. Women of the garrison bring their problems directly to her, rather than to the officials. It is more effective. This way, the women form an additional, horizontal branch of power in a society. In men’s presence, the women’s does not have a hierarchy as well-defined as men’s. Although the woman’s status depends on the status of the men she controls, and women do compete for men, they are a lot more interested in making the me n provide for them and their children than in to establishing a pecking order. This is why women support each other and instantly unite against men when their common female interests are involved, this is called women’s corporate solidarity. Men can’t do that.
The power functions are somewhat diffused in the presence of parallel connections, and in two-gender groups the hierarchy is not as strict as in single-gender communes. Any gender-based division of labor leads to division of managerial, power function. In prisons, both men’s and women’s, and in the army, the hierarchy is very strict, similar to the one we see in animals.
The bigger and more powerful the tribe is, the safer the women feel, the easier their life is, and, consequentially, the less fear they feel toward the world, the stronger their domination is, and the more power they take from the chieftain and the elders. At some point, the chieftain feels the competition and opposition to his power. For example, when the chief gathers his men to go hunting, a wife might not let her men go, she wants him to stay and play with the children. Or, a warrior, instead of being fully focused on the coming combat, thinks instead about the pots and scandal his wife threw at him. This all is relevant today. Any manager, when dealing with workers, has to account for the worker’s woman influence on the worker. As the song goes:
In this example, due to the woman’s influence, the army lost a soldier. I.e. a woman, who did not provide the rearguard for the man, worked as an enemy combatant. Not in the interests of the victory, but the in the opposite interests. The commander probably wasn’t happy about the death of his soldier…. The tradition to bury widows with their late husbands does not look so barbaric now — it puts a real responsibility on the woman, responsibility for life of her man. And she should carry that responsibility.
Naturally, our chieftain is strongly disinterested in his platoon losing combat efficiency as the result of women’s influence. But, faced with the unity of the women’s commune, he has few options. He can’t beat up some other man’s woman for obvious reason — such conflict will attract every woman in the tribe, and they will throw a scandal the chief can’t withstand. Furthermore, the women will incite every man they can. At the same time, a man who is dominated by his wife can’t handle the problem alone, for he is afraid of her. This is where the elders, and the shaman come into play. The elders with low hormonal background are “wise”, i.e. are not controllable by women, and can use their authority to influence the woman. The know how the ancestors lived, and they keep the tribe’s traditions. The shaman can tell the woman that her ignominious behavior has angered the goddess of the fireplace, and the ancestor spirits are unhappy with her as well. Everyone knows not to mess with gods and spirits. They are not they type the woman played stones together in childhood, as she did with the future chieftain. Of course, the elders and the shaman will demand a fat cut of the catch, but this is not a problem — if the platoon is united, and every hunter and warrior is focused and is in peak condition, the catch will be large enough for everyone.
This how the two compensating mechanisms, the matriarchy counter balances — religion and cultural tradition — were born. As the result of natural selection in struggle for natural resources, and struggle for survival with competitors, only those societies survived that had the mechanisms strong enough to balance the power inside the society, the mechanisms that constantly, daily battled the animalistic pack level instincts. For this reason, any society larger than a tribe had a temple or something similar at the center. The moment the compensatinary mechanisms failed — the women submitted the men, raised boys not as strong warriors, but as their servants, the society degraded into a matriarchy, became ineffective and perished under the clubs, stone axes, and, later, swords of the strong men of neighboring tribes with a balanced system.
But if the compensating mechanism was effective, the tribe flourished.
Of course, the compensation and neutralizing of harmful instinctive programs is not just about the relationship between a man and a woman. As we mentioned earlier, the strongly armed species are also armed with biological moral to avoid inter-group murders. I.e. armed with ingrained instinctive programs that prevent the murder. For example, a wolf, who can easily bite off a deer’s leg, will not use his full strength, and his teeth, when fighting for a position in the pack hierarchy. Furthermore, if the wolf he is fighting with will take a pose of submission, he will stop immediately. Poisonous snakes “fight” each other without opening their mouths, and facing away from each other to avoid any possibility of bites.
Human, as a species, started as a weakly armed one, and had no ingrained biological moral. Once armed and having transformed into a new species, human could not advance further without the moral. Having no time to acquire it via evolutionary ways, human societies invented an artificial moral as an imitation, replacement for biological one and started inoculating it during upbringing and through religion. We repeat this again, because it is very important for understanding of the narrative.
Looking at animals, for example, at a flock of sparrows, we see some irrational behavioral patterns. When being fed bread crumbs, the sparrows constantly fight over one large crumb — when a sparrow grabs one, the others try to take it away. This is instinctive animalistic behavior, we call it “steal” instinct. All the sparrows spent time and energy, but only one will eat the crumb — in the best case, in the average case a larger bird, a pigeon, attracted by the commotion, comes and takes the crumb. Effort is wasted. Once I witnessed a hen, who caught a small lizard. The lizard was not small enough to be eaten in one bite. The hens ran one after another for a whole hour, taking the lizard away from each other. Finally, the lizard was eaten by the rooster. As the result, all hen got hungry and tired. If that hour was spent searching and gathering of worms and other food, everyone would be fed. Fortunately, being an unarmed species, the hens did not kill each other.
Imagine, for a second, that this is how people around us behave. No morals, no laws, no police — nothing that could neutralize the animalistic instincts, everyone mugs everyone else, steals and kills. See the picture? The society will break down into small bands, where all power belongs to the leader. Structures analogous to the paleolithic packs. To prevent this, a religion comes up with “do not steal, do not kill” maxims and creates a psychological barrier that does not allow to steal and to kill. A purely legal ban simply won’t work anywhere outside a policeman’s line of sight. Besides, the policeman himself has the very same instincts and has no biological moral.
The situation is different when the animalistic instincts are neutralized. The efforts of every human are focused on something useful for a society — creation of resources, procurement from the environment, instead of something harmful, such as taking resources from each other. This makes a society a lot more effective and viable (numerous, stronger and richer). This is why no society in the world could develop without a religion and tradition. Without them, it simply can’t compete with the neighbors who had themn.
Here is an example of the simplest compensating mechanism, that can be misinterpreted as female oppression (as told by a geologist, my acquaintance):
“When we were prospecting for ores in Taiga, in Yakutia, we hired and middle aged woman as a guide from one of a local tribe. One night, we were sleeping at the tribe’s compound, and we noticed that the men only allow woman to have small scraps of food. We were outraged at such discrimination, and voiced our opinion. Then, we were explained…
A man is a hunter and a warrior. He can fight off a predator. A woman’s only option is to run, or climb a tree. A fat woman can’t run, or climb trees, and any taiga predator will catch her easily. And since a woman can not keep herself on a diet, the men took care of her. This is how the men extended woman’s life..”
Here is a description of Tasmanians, when the first Europeans arrived:
“The Tasmanians ate mollusks and crustaceans, to get them, the women dived into the see and searched the shore rocks. They had no nets, no hooks and no fishing lines. The women of the tribe weren’t treated with much respect, and, while the men hunted, the women had to do all the other work. At the table, the women sat behind their masters, who, lying on one elbow, like Romans, gave their obedient spouses the rougher bits of food.”
Here, the Tasmanian women could participate in procuring food. Although unable to hunt, they could gather mollusks and to cook. If a woman useful to a society beyond her child bearing functoin, the society is more viable as a whole. This is why women were protected from obesity. Can you imagine a “paleolithic Venus” diving for mussels, or gather any other type of food, if the man does not return from a hunting trip? A clumsy obese womanfigure also can’t do any household chores, nor she can take care of children, she is a ballast for the tribe. Some modern civilized woman are capable of limiting their own food intake and keep themselves on a diet. But high-instinct-drive women of stone age tribes can’t resist the food instinct, they need help, as barabaric as it sounded to low-instinct-drive Europeans.
Patriarchy is viewed by feminists, who live in large metropolises, as system of women’s slavery, but actually is a society that liberated itself from the ballast of obese, parasitic women. Increased its viability. Improved its odds in struggle for survival.