Acting Out Genetic Destiny

Human beings usually spend a lot of their time acting out of instinct and not in a reasonable manner. There are vast differences between individuals, but generally speaking, the only significant difference in behavior is between the sexes.

Males naturally tend toward a broadcast strategy of reproduction. Since their genitals produce an almost infinite supply of sperm and it cost them virtually nothing to deploy it. Their most sensible reproductive strategy is to copulate with every available female–and to make special efforts in regards to the healthiest females, the ones to most likely bring their offspring to adulthood. A male does best, reproductively, if he wanders and copulates as widely as possible.

The female strategy on the other hand, is just the opposite. Instead of millions and millions of sperm, they have only one egg a month, and each child represents an enormous investment of effort. So females need stability. They need to be sure there will be plenty food. Also, they spend large amounts of time relatively helpless, unable to find or gather food. Far from being wanders, females need to establish and stay. If she can’t get that, then her next best strategy is to mate with the strongest and healthiest males. But best of all, is to get a strong healthy male to stay with her and provide, instead of wandering and copulating profusely.

So there are two pressures on males. One is to spread their seed wide and far. The other is to be attractive to females by being stable providers–by suppressing their natural desire to wander and be polygamous. Likewise, there are two pressures on females. One is to get impregnated by the most virile males so her infants will have good genes, extensively by attracting the attentions of the strongest and most forceful males. The other is to get the more stable, nonviolent males to provide for and protect them and their infants so that as many as possible will reach maturity.

So strong is the instinct to procreate that many individuals seem incapable of acting rationally about it.  The most extreme examples of this phenomena is that of surrogacy.  Here, instead of adoption, a couple because of infertility or other reasons, opts for an alternative that is more costly, risky and less socially acceptable.

The best aspects of our civilizations are the social machines which create the ideal female setting, where women can count on stability; our legal and moral codes that try to abolish violence, promote permanence of ownership and enforce contracts–those represent the primary female strategy, the taming and domestication of the male.

The worst aspects of our civilizations are those of war.  It promotes the barbarism of those who follow the mainly male strategy. Where might makes right with hideous, monstrous behavior by large groups of primarily low-status males who are kept in line because the leaders send them to foreign lands and let them rape and pillage their brains out. They act out sexual desirability by proving themselves in combat. This appeals to many people because it is a primitive acting-out of genetic strategy.

If we as species continue acting out our genetic destiny as we have been, we will undoubtedly be constrained by the same natural forces that effect all living things.  Simply stated, any organism can only grow to the limit of its food supply.  In 1798 Thomas Malthus, a political economist working for the British Government, published An Essay on the Principle of Population, describing his theory of quantitative development of human populations.  Today, even thou relatively few people know the origin of the concept, no sane, educated person is not aware of it or doubt its validity.

In theory because instinctual behavior can be controlled by an individual, it can be by the entire population.  But despite all efforts, World population will exceed 7 billion before the end of next year!  It is clear that we are beyond the capacity of the Earth to support us any longer.  It’s not a matter of if or even when a cataclysmic die-off of humankind will occur.  At best, we can only mitigate the suffering there is and will be.


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