Male and Female. Biological Evolution of Relationship.
The first vector is the relationship between a man and a woman as a male and female of a biological species. Lets see how our species is different from others, and what natural laws govern our behavior. To illustrate the points, we will use the following pictures-schemes.
Lets travel several hundred thousand years ago, to the Lower Paleolithic. This is the time when our species just appeared and the Hominini-soon-to-be-human evolved new instincts to conform to the changing conditions of both the new environment and the new abilities of the human body. The distinctive feature of all human species are bipedalism and large brain size. Since the upper limbs were designated for things other than walking, a human is less agile than other animals. To compensate, humans had the brain to learn, to make tools, and to use a wider variety of behaviors, such as various hunting stratgies. The brain came at a hefty price. A large head required a long period of both prenatal and neonatal development. The difficulty of passing through the birth channels and pelvis necessitated wider hips in a female, and other manifestations of sexual dimorphism, thus making her even less agile. Longer period of caring and teaching the newborns further tied the female to the children — for a very long period of time — which rendered the female more or less helpless and unable to exist on her own surrounded by saber-tooth cats, cave bears and other dangers of the time.
The sexual dimorphism led to narrow specialization of male and female — the strict separation of gender roles. Female focused on feeding and raising the young. Males focused on protecting and providing for the females and the young.
Powerful brain gave our ancestors a huge advantage over other animals. Once humans learned to use weapons and fire, they started to grow in numbers and expand their territory. Biological evolution or the human species accelerated, and there was not enough time between then and now to change and overhaul the instinctive base of a specimen. A contemporary man has both pack animal instincts from before the stone age, and human-specific instincts acquired later. To illustrate, when we invite friends over, we offer them food. To finalize a business deal, we often invite the partner to a restaurant. Why are we offering to eat food, rather than use a restroom? It is our instinct that we only share food with those of our pack. In the animal world, only the family members have access to food — others are driven away. So we eat together in order to create trusting relationship. We use the ancient instinct. Same goes for for alcohol, or Indian’s peace pipe. The law of the jungle is ‘You can only relax among your friends’, for if you relax among non-friends, you will be torn to pieces. Same goes for fire, with difference being that fire is a more recent, human-specific instinct. This is why, when meeting with friends, we often light something up — fireplace, candles, barbeque. Sometimes, we mix everything together: an aforementioned barbeque often involves all the elements — alcohol, food, fire — which work to reinforce each other. Once there is enough alcohol to shut the mind off, we start dancing around the fire, just like we did tens of thousands years ago. Speaking of the mind, what it normally does is merely serving the instinctive behaviors. For example, in a dangerous situation, the self-preservation instinct dictates, via an emotion (fear), to run and find a safe place. The mind decides on which direction to run and what place to hide in.
Likewise, the instincts control and direct relationship between a man and a woman. For example, the primal reproductive instinct of a young and inexperienced girl (young, sexually mature female human specimen) has determined that a particular cool and tough (high rank qualities) guy is a good survivalist and a top genetic material (according to stone age criteria). Therefore, it is his genes that have to be passed on to the next generation. The instinct then turns on the emotion known as ‘love’, which should eventually make the female to conceive from that particular male. The mind is either shut off completely, or is busy finding rationalizations, such as ‘I am with him because he is cool, fun, drives a motorcycle, and he will soon stop drinking, stealing and fighting’. Any rational advice ‘wake up! he is a loser and and and asshole, he will end up in prison as soon as the legal age permits, and you will be stuck destitute with a difficult child on your hands’ is ignored — love seems to be all powerful.
In a sense, a human, which is controlled by ancient instincts, is much like an old computer, which had newer programs installed side by side with the old ones. The programs compete for resources — the rational mind at times resists, and at times works to serve the instincts. ‘Love is evil — it can force you to love anyone’ — a popular saying goes. Basically, these conflicts, interpretation of relationship between genders in the context of animal as well as human instincts is what the book is about. The influence of the most basic animal instincts on the partner selection process is described in ethology works by A. Protopopov. We will cover the summary of his works in the first chapter and focus on the younger, human specific instincts in the rest of the book. Of special interest are the instincts that control and direct a man and a woman in a bonded pair — pair relationships have existed for long enough for new instincts to appear. For example, any more or less isolated social group soon breaks into pairs. At the same time, people in pairs often have partners on the side — the animal instincts did not go away, they still exist alongside.
Instincts in our brain do not live separately, they are tied and interact constantly. Together, they form a unified program of instinctive behavior. To continue the computer analogy, any operating system is a monolithic block of opcodes in memory, which is logically broken into modules and blocks for ease of understanding and development. Self-preservation instinct is a set of all instincts responsible for keeping the human being safe. Gender, or reproductive instinct set is responsible for everything to do with reproduction, hierarchical instinct is responsible for interaction within a group, and so long and so forth. Again, the division is logical, and serves the purpose of better and easier understanding.
Instincts control human behavior through certain physiological states — various emotions and desires. If you feel something, and feel strongly, this is probably an instinct controlling you. Desire of sex with a woman is a manifestation of reproductive instinct, while anger at your boss is manifestation of hierarchical instinct.
Instincts differ in intensity. When a woman orders her husband to stop a sexual act — in the middle of the process — the man might react in a number of ways. If the man’s reproductive instinct is stronger, he will not stop, and will face prosecution for ‘marital rape’. If the man’s self preservation instinct is stronger, he will not only stop, but start avoiding the women all together and might even develop impotency.
Having a specter of conflicting and collaborating instincts and groups of instincts, with added effect from cultural tradition and topped with brain’s rational thinking process makes a human’s behavior contradictory and difficult to analyze. This is, however, only a surface view — armed with the knowledge of evolution and history of humankind we can break down the motivations and understand the driving force behind human behavior. For example, we know, that at different stages in humankind development, the human was unarmed, weakly armed and strongly armed species. Every stage left corresponding instincts in the human psyche, which controls the behavior through emotions when the conditions are right. When walking unarmed in a wild forest — with real predators — a man feels danger and fear, he feels like a potential victim, prey. Under influence of these emotions, he treads lightly, keeps the eyes open and avoids potentially dangerous places. If he finds a stick, he picks it up — and feels more confident right away. With a stick and a hunting knife, the man feels prepared to fight off any attack, he spreads his shoulders, makes noise walking to show that he is not a prey and to scare away any would be predators. With a gun, the man feels he himself is the predator. He starts sneaking, and constantly scans environment looking for a prey. All this I experienced personally while being in taiga for the first time — human ‘firmware’ has instinctive programs for three situations described.
So, let us unravel this most interesting ball by pulling on the thread we grabbed — biological evolution of our species. In the context of primal instincts, we will examine the system of relationship between people at the level of basic biological unit, which was, at different stages in our history, a pack, a tribe, a clan and a family.