Tuesday, October 20, 2020

To commune or to control?

That is the question, more than "to be or not to be". And unlike the Hamletian question, the answer is not binary.

We have both these impulses within us, in common with all living things. So many of our motivations and actions can be at least partially reduced to control or communion, sometimes a mixture of both. Many originators of religious movements have urged us to let go of control in order to achieve communion with each other, with nature, or with a deity. Buddha wanted us to commune with the source of being, by letting go the controlling nature of our egos and minds. Jesus wanted us to let go of the instruments of control (monetary savings, material possessions, religious rules) in order to commune with each other and with God. And yet, control has proven hard to eradicate. 

Control is needed to avoid being predated by opportunistic freeloaders from within our family, village, company or nation. The early Christians had to learn that "he who does not work does not eat". A loving church that focuses only on communion is a good breeding ground for freeloading behavior. 

Control is also needed to avoid being over-run by competing groups or individuals from outside. The early Christians had to learn to convince the Romans to join them and then to mount a military response (not always defensive) to the muslims. 

And control is needed for scientific and technical mastery of nature.  Here we see that absolute control of nature is not possible or desirable, because we are part of nature. We must also commune with it in order to survive and thrive.

From hunter-gatherers who learned how to control wood, bone and rock in order to fashion simple tools that increased their efficiency in hunting, gathering, staying warm and safe, to scientists and engineers who learned to control genomes and nuclei to accomplish amazing feats that go beyond survival and comfort, we have an increase in control, but not so much in communion. Hunter gatherers had to learn to commune with animals in order to not drive them to extinction, and also because there were benefits to communing with them. Some of the benefits were spiritual, for example learning to embody strength, loyalty, freedom, determination and courage that we can learn from some species of animals. Other benefits were more mundane, such as having dogs for protection, cats for rodent control an so on with all domesticated animals. Note the difference between hunter gatherers spiritual relationship to animals (and plants) and modern farmers, who see the animals (and plants) as tools to be controlled. Things have evolved towards less communion, more control. And this has metastasized into the human realm, where now most people treat each other as tools to be controlled rather than holy beings to be communed with. This we can call the instrumental mentality. Fear and social anxiety are the result.

Of course there are exceptions: Einstein valued imagination over knowledge, and awe over logic. Schrodinger thought there was only one mind that could be accessed by all individuals.  But in general, people today see each other as tools for career advancement, money and safety acquisition, sex, social status, and as potential rapists, suers, zombies, terrorists, or other various enemies and incarnations of evil that can be used to project unto one's anger, hatred and unprocessed traumas.

Men yearn to commune with a feminine archetype of pleasure, inspiration, abundance, mirth, justice, nurturing and ecstasy. Women yearn to commune with a masculine archetype of strength, confidence, big picture vision, courage and persistence. But the instrumental mentality ruins it. The desire for sex, especially, because of its overwhelming nature, especially in young men, can ruin the potential for communion, when the desire or its intensity is not reciprocated. And conversely, when women see men as mostly instruments for money, status, comfort and security, and also see them as disposable when they are not good enough instruments, there can be no hope of communion between the sexes, or even in gay relationships where people see each other in these ways.  On the other hand, when the masculine and feminine want to commune with each other, sex can be a great instrument for such a communion.

Not only are couple relationships trampled by the instrumental mentality, but higher levels of human organization are destroyed or made extremely unpleasant, such as villages, workplace communities, intentional communities, nations.

Even if we are able to restore a mentality of communion, it may be equally important to create activities that encourage communion because humans do not live by stories alone. Can we start valuing the kinds of games, dances and rituals that encourage communion? We already have group sing-alongs, music jams, bands and choirs. We need more of them and have them be more common instead of being relegated to specialists. We can add discussion groups (of books, movies and suggested topics), storytelling and dancing and music around campfires, hot tubs, sweat lodges, and ecstatic, ego-transcending, entheogen-assisted bacchanalian rituals. Ah, my heart hurts when I think of the gap between how we could commune with each other vs how we are. At least we have dogs and gods, rivers, oceans, prairies, deserts and lakes to commune with. But nothing beats our own species for communion.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

the 5th wave of feminism

The original promise of feminism was to transcend genetic, epigenetic and cultural evolution and to provide more opportunity and happiness for everyone, maybe with some birthing pains. It was supposed to be a liberatory ideology. What has happened instead is to continue further along the tracks set after patriarchy started, of gynocentrism, pedo-centrism (i.e. "women and children first"), alpha-male-centrism, and most (beta) men's perceived disposability unless they devote all their energy to providing for women's and children's needs and keeping their place in the hierarchy (yes, I know that this seems blasphemous and absurd to most people who have been indoctrinated in mainstream feminist ideology), as well as some ugly views of women that lead to nastiness towards them (such as rape and general disrespect of their boundaries).

Part of the problem was that most feminists did not learn about cultural and genetic evolution (or else thought that culture was much easier to tweak than genes, and that Darwinian mechanisms of variation, competition and selection did not apply to it) and thought that patriarchy was some kind of a conspiracy by men to oppress women (e.g. EO Wilson, the founder of socio-biology, had ice water poured over his head by feminists, during a speech), instead of a system that gave certain alpha males an advantage in wealth and sexual opportunity, most women an advantage as far as safety and peace, and certain groups that adopted patriarchy an advantage in warfare, productivity and genetic diversity. To change a cultural system can be just as difficult as to change a genetic system. The source of variation is not just random mutation but conscious ideas about how the system works and how it would respond to change. Even if we were extremely skilled at such modeling (which we're not), living systems are an intricate web of interdependencies, and most single (or even double or triple) changes are not going to lead to an improvement. An evolutionary stable equilibrium is hard to change, whether genetically or culturally. Another issue was that many feminists thought that the oppression of women that happened in most agrarian societies (there are still a few existing) was going to carry forth into industrial and post-industrial societies, despite the fact that patriarchy gave no evolutionary fitness advantage (but was vestigial) to most individuals in, and to these societies in competition with other societies. This made their claims of being oppressed by men or patriarchy in post-industrial cultures seem non-sequitur at best, and like vicious, self-serving lies at worse.

At some point in our pre-history, when resources were plentiful, population low and competition scarce, our ancestors were non-patriarchal and non-monogamous. Most of them were hunter-gatherers, though perhaps Minoan civilization is an exception. The divine feminine was able to express itself in art and loving one's tribe. But at some point as population increased, groups that invented patriarchy were able to outcompete groups that didn't in both war and agricultural productivity. Alpha males found it helpful to repress female sexuality in the masses with the help of the church, burkas, female genital mutilation, witch burning, and general violence-induced stress, and to confine any remnant left to monogamous marriages for the masses. That way most non-alpha men would be docile, pacified, kept from too much competition with each other which would weaken the state or the fiefdom. A bit of sex with the wife would keep them from outright rebellion during their youth, when they are most likely to rebel. And a bit of respect for their natural tendencies to serve and protect women and children was a win-win for the village and for the beta men. The situation wasn't so bad for most women, as they were protected from warring nations, unsolicited sexual advances, dangerous or back-breaking work, and had much opportunity for creativity in the domestic sphere. The divine feminine was hiding, but not totally banished.

On the transition from an agrarian patriarchy/monogamy to the present, with the help of feminism: With the industrial revolution, new opportunities arose for work that did not require much upper body strength, so now women were initially prevented by tradition from partaking in this work that men had no particular advantage doing (unlike agrarian work). Most men who are not alpha got even more competitive with each other and also now with women, and also garnered less respect from everyone, because masculinity was not as valuable, and some feminists made it appear toxic. They were even more marginalized than before (in the military, dangerous or stressful jobs, family court, #metoo type witch hunts), even more disposable. They were made into debt slaves, killed, genitally mutilated, had to endure the shame of being unemployed, separated from their children, had to endure living without much empathy or love from anyone unless they fell in line with the program of dedicating all their life energy to a wife and children no matter what the cost to themselves. They had to repress their feelings and just be useful and productive, or at least pretend to be productive doing shit work, when there were jobs to be had. Men's feelings and life just do not matter unless they are alpha or fall in line. My personal situation has not been so bad as for most men, but I was till able to see through the deception of it.

Most women became more unhappy because they have more responsibilities and are put in competitive stressful careers which they thought they might like, but didn't. Also, they became more unhappy because they are not usually as turned on by men who are not confident and decisive and able to be aggressive at times. The divine feminine went into hiding and women became more masculine.

There were feminists who tried to make the point that the problem is patriarchy, not men, but that was too abstract for most people. Especially since Patriarchy etymologically means rule by fathers. Not just the 0.01% alpha fathers. And also because patriarchy in the west seemed to be declining, yet men seemed to be worse off than in countries where patriarchy was still strong.

There are a few asymmetries in the relationship between men and women under non-tribal conditions that are not usually talked about in feminist circles. First, most young men are much more needy of sex than most young women, for proximal biological reasons having to do with testosterone, and for evolutionary reasons as well having to do with the fact that men can impregnate many women at a time, whereas women can only be impregnated by one man and then there is a long waiting period before they can be impregnated again. As anyone who has studied negotiation knows, if one side needs something more from the other side, the more needy side is at a disadvantage and the less needy side has power over the more needy side. It's also something that is seen on the population level, not just individual negotiation level, as an example of supply and demand. There is not as much demand for sex (from men) by the population of (heterosexual) women, as there is demand for sex (from women) by the population of (heterosexual) men (women want provisions and protection more than sex). Since the supply of sex by men to women exceeds the demand, the "price" or value of male sex will be low as far as the population of women is concerned. Whereas since the supply of sex by women to men is far below demand, the value of female sex will be high as far as the population of men is concerned. 

The second asymmetry is that though women can get most of their emotional needs met from other women, pets, and children, the same is not true for men in non-tribal conditions. In non-tribal cultures most men are not very good in being nurturing and kind, especially towards other men or pets. As I've mentioned in another post, monogamy thus forces them into an emotional prison with one sole emotional connection to their partner.

The third asymmetry is that on the average, and also for evolutionary reasons, women value safety more than men and are less willing to take risks than men, and especially during childbearing years are less interested in taking on themselves the risks and competition for resources that it takes to obtain food and possibly shelter, and defending against marauders (all these things now represented by ability to make money). Combine this with lower upper body strength and spatio-temporal reasoning (which were more needed in defense and farming in agrarian cultures) and its not hard to see  how the ugly trade of sex/emotional intimacy for material resources evolved. The same supply and demand reasoning that leads women to have more power in sexual negotiations gave men more power in money negotiations. And of course men and women have tried to compensate for these imbalances by making prostitution or more subtle modern equivalents such as some forms of marriage possible and lucrative for both sexes. But in industrial and post-industrial cultures, men no longer have this bargaining power, except where it is vestigial. Safety is not much of an issue (except when a feminized culture over-reacts to various threats, from pandemics to terrorists to white supremacists, to communists, welfare mothers, child molesters, etc), upper body strength mostly isn't in high demand, and spatio-temporal reasoning might only be needed in a few STEM fields and trades (where men outcompete women, despite the fact that everyone in these fields wants more women to join them, and misguided beliefs about discrimination). Thus this asymmetry is already addressed in post-industrial culture.

In tribal cultures, the first asymmetry is mitigated by sex being more available for men from many women. Women do not pin all their economic hopes on one man, but on the tribe as a whole, and feel much safer (when there is no inter-tribal warfare at least) and do not need to guard their sexuality as an economic bargaining chip in exchange for safety and provisions. Sex can even become a way to ease tensions and increase group cohesion, as in bonobos. Also in tribal conditions, there is more connection to the sensual natural world and to other ego-transcending rituals besides sex, which mitigates the need for sex as the only mechanism of ego-transcendence. Last, in non-patriarchal tribal cultures there is much emotional bonding among all tribe members, also mitigating the need for sex, which is partially an emotional need, not just a physical need. This addresses the second asymmetry above. The asymmetries are still there (and are even celebrated), but they don't lead to the same prostitutional ugliness in tribal cultures (at least before they come into competition with other more violent tribes, or modernity) as they do in agrarian, industrial or post-industrial cultures.

The fact that we live in a post-industrial culture, not a tribal one is the first obstacle to transcending our evolution. The second obstacle is that trauma from the past is still determining to a large extent our present behavior, feelings and outlook. There is the past trauma of genocides, broken treaties, mass die-offs during epidemics, wars, forced relocations, kidnappings, slavery, witch burnings, normalized rape, beta male disposability in everyday life. Until that is addressed and integrated there is little hope for transcendence. We already mentioned the third obstacle to transcending evolution: the immense interdependence of parts of a culture.

The problem for MRAs is that they acknowledge the evolutionary pressures for women to get certain privileges and for most men to be disposable but they still think it's unfair and they won't admit that they are traumatized by the past. Most of them have no trouble with women having equal opportunities as men. I doubt most of them would want to live in a Handmaid's Tale kind of world. I think most MRAs share the original feminist desire to be treated as if they matter, not as being disposable or only valued for their use to women and alpha males. Their hatred of feminism is of the injustice that has only increased as a result of certain kinds of feminism, the hijacking of the original liberatory ideology by power hungry women and alpha men. But also that they don't want to recognize the female trauma of the past, during real patriarchal times, or of the present in cultures that still are patriarchal.

We need another wave. A wave of love for all people, letting them find what their gifts are, and helping them match them to the needs of their community, regardless of their biology, but not in spite of it. We need to rebuild communities, relocalize economies, and revalue the positive aspects of masculinity and femininity, instead of being immersed in the toxic aspects of both. But it won't happen without grief and trauma work and the recognition of the other genders' or culture's trauma, which might be different than our own.  And it won't happen without recognizing something sacred in life, that goes beyond evolutionary motives and economic transactions. It also won't happen without an understanding of social, psychological and biological evolution and the deeply ingrained cognitive habits of our culture which has proximally served the evolutionary trajectory it has taken. It may not be necessary for most people to have this understanding, but it would help if at least the leaders and pioneers of the 5th wave developed such an understanding.

Pioneers can be women like Cassie Jaye, Karen Straughan, Christina Sommers-Hoff and Janice Fiamengo, if they can team up with the more spiritual feminists like Starhawk, Sue Monk Kidd and Pema Chodron.

Monday, August 24, 2020

the 6 values for resilient, temperamentally liberal communities

In Alanon, the first step towards recovery from alcoholism is to recognize that there is a problem and the alcoholic's current strategies of dealing with it are not working. We have a tendency (unless we've done some inner work) to try to pretend that we don't have a problem, that the problem is with something or someone else (and sometimes it is!) or to distract ourselves with other pseudo-problems which give us a dopamine rush, but do not address the real problem (e.g. addictions). Such is the case, I believe with the liberal (I don't mean classic liberal) intentional communities movement. There is large turnover, there is a low community survival rate, but instead of learning from conservative (or rather more precisely, traditionalist) ICs that have much smaller turnover and much larger surivial rate, we pretend that we don't have a problem, for example to redefine community to mean what already exists everywhere in cities or workplaces or rural homesteads, or to define success in purely subjective terms that are independent of retention, survival or turnover rate. We pretend moreover that we can't learn from conservative ICs because we think their success is due to religious brainwashing, or we pretend that the real problem is racism, or patriarchy, or capitalism or individualism. It's not that these other things are not potential problems, but the fact that there are conservative ICs that have figured out how to keep members, tells us that these can be dealt with and surmounted. Or we keep hoping that somehow all the other people who have left were just not a good fit to our community (but nobody fits for very long except the original founder or founding couple, except when people get stuck and can't leave), that they need something else (but no community is able to provide for their needs), or are wounded (but everyone is wounded). I've talked previously about how conservatives do better on the so-called unifying values of respect for authority, group solidarity and rallying around the sacred/keeping out harmful-to-community (profane) behaviors, whether from internal free riders or external threats. Liberals in ICs would be wise to learn how to embody these values better. I want to re-examine these values, not just the 3 conservative ones, but the other 3, from the perspective of how they can be used to create strong communities that are offering an alternative to our declining mainstream culture. Jonathan Haidt looked at care/compassion on a national or international scale or in the abstract. He did not try to ask in his survey about care/compassion in the family, or in intentional communities. If he had surveyed questions on the smaller levels, I doubt he would have found liberals score higher than conservatives on care/compassion. I'm going to look at each one of these, how they can help a community and how they support each other. 

1. Care/compassion for others: is easy to feel in the abstract, but hard when other people's needs conflict with one's own. It can definitely help create group cohesion when individuals feel valued by others. The group that values its individuals is the group that has its own individuality and cohesion. It can happen at the level of the family, or the level of the community. It even happens when individuals value themselves, because those individuals are a community of different cells and organs, different gut bacteria, different brain/personality parts. As the size gets larger than a village of 100 or so people, it is harder for the humans to care much about all the other individuals and care/compassion decreases beyond that level, though liberals are able to have care/compassion in the abstract for outgroup memebers better than conservatives. Coming from western culture as it has developed lately, most people have trouble even within a small family of 2. In many liberal ICs people have trouble making eye contact with each other, or being vulnerable and responding to each other's feelings if the feelings are too deep. But looking at communities like the Bruderhof, the 12 tribes, the Brotherhood of Christ or other traditionalist communities, it is apparent (even without formal surveys) that there is much love between the members of these communities. A religion or ideology can encourage care and compassion for others, but at the root this must be a choice that people make when they join. It can happen that people are too absorbed in their own trauma to either extend love to others or be open to it from others. This can be negotiated, as long as it's not the default. Being open to support from community members in times of trauma is a skill that can be learned with much positive benefit. Many people coming from mainstream culture are not skilled at this. Also being open to supporting others emotionally can be beneficial for getting out of a personal funk. 

2. Group solidarity: "Conservative" rituals that require practice and coordination, and sometimes hierarchy and a sense of the sacred, like folk dancing, animal sacrifice/hunting, playing orchestral or choral music, and participating in church services can create hive-like states of consciousness, where the parts/individuals become a super-organism/individual. But there are liberal equivalents in ecstatic/improv dance and jazz or improvisational folk music or "cult-like" group spiritual or entheogenic ceremonies and services that can do just as well. Also certain games and group activities can encourage group solidarity. Another important ingredient is having a common mission that is ongoing and where progress towards it can be monitored. Apocalyptic missions are self-extinguishing when the apocalypse consistently fails to show up. Common enemies can unify, as can hardship and competition with other groups, but they are not sustainable (unless the competition is not too extreme). 

3. Individual autonomy: It's a no-brainer that if people only focus on this one and don't understand the tradeoff with group solidarity, that it will destroy any community. However, the tradeoff can be minimized if individual gifts are actively matched to community needs, so there is more individual autonomy with work. Also the tradeoff can be mimimized if people are free to have their domestic sphere only with people they choose and feel most comfortable with, and then invite (or be invited by) others into their sphere. The danger here is sliding into "homesteadization" where there is not enough other community glue besides sharing meals. Children can help with community glue, but a culture that centers around children is a dead culture because the adults have no life apart from the children. Children need to learn that there is a life that they can aspire to, not just one they leave once they are adults. In addition people could have individual occupations that may not be useful to many in the community and yet still contribute to their own happiness. Happy individuals are a solid foundation for a community. 

4. A sense of the sacred and the profane: A sense of the sacred could be due to a unifying religion or ideology, and/or a unifying mission. It is most effective when it imbues all of daily life, as well as marking special occasions with such solidarity-encouraging activities discussed in # 2 above. For liberal communities, patriarchal gods are not a good idea. More appropriate are nature spirits, or pan-entheistic deities. Humanism seems to be too cerebral and not sensual enough, so such values as pacifism, no usury, organic food, population control and diversity are fine but not in the category of the sacred and the inspiring on a communal level. A mission needs to keep being sexy, cool and inspirational for many generations. A sense of the profane is important to prevent internal (free riding) as well as external threats. Liberals tend to prefer gentle rehabilitation to punishment of free riding, but either way the important thing is to impose a cost on free riding to dis-incentivize it. 

5. Justice--this is partially about preventing free riding and jealousy and encouraging conflict transformation. Justice is about having small Gini coefficient in the distribution of ratio of each individual's benefit to cost. Many liberals don't understand this and think justice is about equality of benefits or of costs. Having good arbitration processes like restorative justice and good communication like NVC is important. Justice is something that many more warlike tribes did not implement--it was the alpha male and his consorts that got most of the benefits and the least costs. Most of the gentler tribes that had more internal justice did not get to pass on their genes and memes to us and so we are mostly wired for chimp-like hierarchical injustice, instead of bonobo-like justice. One would naively think that liberal feminist values would remedy this kind of evolved injustice, but the opposite happens. Most men's needs (except the alpha) become secondary to most women's needs, and people are not even aware this is happening. Most men sacrifice their health and put themselves in danger for the community. Most women in communities are not even aware that men have much needs and feelings, as men are encouraged to repress those. This kind of injustice is not sustainable, though most are blind to it. These things also happen in conservative communities but the difference is that there men get respect, gratitude, and other benefits for their sacrifices, so the benefit to cost ratio is more equal between men and women in conservative communities (more justice). However some conservative communities like the amish have injustice for women....

6. Respect for authority. It's fine to have gentler, flatter hierarchies than in mainstream, but even bonobos have hierarchies, mostly based on social capital competence. Hierarchies need not be oppressive. Leaders need to be supported and monitored. More experience and competence should translate into more weight in decision making (topic specific) if the community is to survive and thrive. Liberals who don't get this are not community material and should go work in a mainstream company where they will feel totally oppressed. Many liberals bring leaders down, even competent ones. Communities should not waste the talents of good leaders by getting rid of them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Witch Hunts (part II): Blacks, Jews and "Racists"

In the first installment of this series (part I), I talked about a rather outlandish and rare witch hunt and its corresponding group of maleficiaries (as opposed to beneficiaries), or alleged conspirators (or sometimes alleged lone actors), child molesters. It's not like people who are accused of child molestation (and might even be child molesters) have it easy. Their lives can be ended or ruined, but it happens relatively rarely. In contrast, the maleficiaries that this essay describes have been historically much more commonly scapegoated, and like accused child molesters, the consequences can be dire for them.

I'm thinking of Jews and Blacks. We'll start with Blacks, because at least on the surface of the Zeitgeist, their scapegoating seems much more relevant, but we'll see that the shadow of Jews lurks right underneath our collective subconscious.

Before we go on, I must state that I am a cultural (but not religious) Jew, and have no ill (and mostly good) will towards anyone, or any group, including Jews, Blacks, liberals, conservatives, alt-right, alt-left, etc.  (but I hope that the alt right people don't stop reading here as a result of this confession and virtue signaling). I also have much respect for (but not much knowledge of) native african Black cultures (all native cultures, actually), as well as the incredibly resilient Black culture that grew out of white american enslavement of african Blacks. This caveat is necessary to avert the inevitable accusations of being a third type of current scapegoat and Jungian shadow projection, whenever one deviates from the culturally accepted narrative of race, the "racist". Even if one does not deviate, mere accusations of "racist" can be used strategically to blacklist (no pun intended, but the word hearkens back to when Blacks were the equivalent of the current "racists") someone or demolish their reputation, something in common also with the "molester" category of scapegoat. Unlike many people today, I don't care if I am blacklisted due to this essay, because I hope to soon be independent of the mainstream system of economic enslavement that makes people afraid to speak their minds. It is more complicated when it comes to my reputation. My friends, who know my heart, will not be fooled by any sort of accusations against me. But I do hope to reach others who do not know me with these ideas, and so I do want to protect my reputation, as much as is possible under the circumstances, from accusations of racism, which might limit the extent of the reach of these ideas Probably in vain, alas, because Jungian Shadows can't be reasoned with. Like the greek Cassandra, I have warned about these shadows in this blog for a while, that one can't deal with them on the rational plane, but that deep psychological work is required in order to integrate them and avoid a positive feedback where one person triggers the shadow in another, and where a mob amplifies all its individuals' shadows. So I realize that the only people who will be able to read this will be ones who have done some inner shadow work.

Also, before we talk about Jews and Blacks, I'd like to talk more about calling out "racists" as defined by cancel culture. I haven't studied it much, but it seems like Stalinism, Maoism, or shunning in anabaptist communities (like Amish, some Mennonites, Hutterites, or Bruderhof) had similar mechanisms, though instead of "racist", they had "capitalist, regressive, bourgeois, class enemy, counterrevolutionary,  English", etc. Perhaps similar also to the reign of terror of the french revolution. Someone is accused of being evil/other, they have to make a public confession, if they don't, the pressure increases (whether by threats on life, livelihood or reputation) and then they are punished in some way, either shunned, sent out to the gulag, imprisoned, tortured or killed. The anabaptists are able to forgive,  less so with the Stalinists or Maoists. Not so sure about the SJWs, are they able to forgive? Also, the SJWs so far have only tried to get people fired or blacklisted, or tarnish people's reputation in some way, not imprisoned or killed (though the mob that went around with baseball bats looking for Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein might have had homicidal intent, and the killer of Marc Angelucci is still on the loose and may have been an SJW). See the caveat at the bottom of this essay.

Many times those making the accusations have righteous anger, which I do not want to dismiss. However the system of giving an immediate benefit to accusers (of racism, sexism, rape, molestation, whatever the lucrative witch du jour is), without a proportional cost, is a system that is unstable to a productive, sustainable and collaborative group structure, instead being taken over by what game theorists like Elinor Ostrom call free riding. Tragedies of various sort ensue: ecological tragedies such as the Tragedy of The Commons and Global Warming, Sociological Tragedies such as Reigns of Terror and Gulags, and economic tragedies such as externalization of costs.

Interestingly, the mechanisms operating in more right wing environments seem to be different, for example in Nazi Germany, ante-bellum south or McCarthyist US. There, it is very clear who belongs to the evil group (Jews, Blacks and Communists in the 3 examples above), whereas in these left wing environments this needs to be sorted out. I think this might be because leftists have more trouble with boundaries than rightists (according to Jonathan Haidt's empirical research), so establishing the boundaries is more messy, and anyone is suspect of not belonging, though everyone is in principle welcome if they just do the right ritual (which usually involves adopting a religion or an ideology and confessing one's sins). Eventually clear self-from-other recognition mechanisms do evolve (perhaps the whole attempt to label all white people as evilly-evil "other" is an example of evolving boundary simplification and self-from other recognition). There are probably analogue mechanisms operating in biological systems with evolution of immune systems. It is also possible that some of the white liberal people who are using "racist" callouts as a strategy are seeking to uphold the status quo and maintain power. This was discussed here https://archdruidmirror.blogspot.com/2017/06/american-narratives-rescue-game.html

The other hypothesis I have is that the leftist movements, being initially much more inclusive, compassionate and egalitarian than the rightist ones, are more prone to be taken over by free riders in the form of dictators, unless (like the anabaptists) they develop some form of punishment or withholding of rewards, and the calling out is an evolution towards effective methods of punishment.

So we have, going back to native people in Africa, tribes who are nomadic or semi-nomadic. As with most such tribes (not only in Africa), there is a strong bond to the rest of the tribe and the nature around. Life is to be enjoyed in the present, or near future, not the far future at the expense of the present. A big part of the enjoyment comes from relationship with others in the tribe, and with the natural world. This cultural connection to land and tribe of Blacks is mostly severed (by the actions of real racists, not by people whom one might merely dislike and snarl at with the use of the word "racist") upon arrival as slaves in the New World, and into a culture which values the far future (even past physical death into a life of a future in heaven in its theology). The severing of connection to land and tribe is not completed in the rural ante-bellum south, but progresses even more upon immigration to cities and even more as the unifying enemy of the white plantation culture is removed, and many of the men being incarcerated with the remaining men (due to decreased competition for mates) now having incentive to "play the field" instead of commiting to a family (I'm not a fan of monogamous marriage, but I do see it as a stabilizing social force in the kind of culture we find ourselves in the west. Most tribal cultures, including african ones, are not monogamous) . What is left from the vibrant culture of tribe and land, is a present-discounting religion and the pale ghost of a nuclear family, to share food, music, worship, love and conversation with (but no longer work), things that were previously shared with the whole tribe or community. And then, even that last social glue and source of pleasure in the present and near future is weakened by drugs (a source of pleasure in the present, but also of pain in the future, naturally appealing to tribal propensities for present enjoyment) and insufficient availability of good work for most Black men, because that good work, which is limited in present system, mostly goes to white men, who for systemic historical reasons (having nothing to do with genetic racial traits, but do sometimes have a connection to the cultural differences mentioned above, or systemic discrimination like less investment in Black schools) are sometimes more qualified for it (as in most blacks may not be as good at ruthless capitalism, because they care too much about other people, unless they're gangsters), and sometimes not, with the Black men personally (not systemically) discriminated against by white racists. By "good work", I mean work which does not separate a man from his family, allows for self-respect, the expression of natural masculine gifts (such as upper body strength, strategizing, and spatio-temporal skills), and the appreciation of those gifts by family and direct beneficiaries of that work (not only through monetary compensation).

Discrimination against Black women also happens, but is less deadly (as in affecting life and livelihood), and limited to symbolic acts like not being allowed a seat at a restaurant or bus. Racist laws gradually change towards less discrimination, and greater opportunity for Blacks is aided by affirmative action laws. Some Blacks adapt to white culture and get out of poverty.

For sure, systemic and personal racism contributed to this situation (as described in previous paragraph) and still has echoes into the present. But to continue this situation, it is not necessary for white individuals who have anything to do with poor Black people to possess any sort of personal racism against Black people; or for any white person to be more "racist" than a baseline of xenophobia common to Homo Sapiens, that has evolved for thousands of years from living in tribes and coming up against other tribes who saw or did things differently and sometimes threatened or killed our ancestors. It is only necessary for the external economic system and internal poor Black culture that depends on it for survival to continue as before. To ease the pain of poor Black people, liberals tend to want to change the external economic system to a more socialist one, whereas conservatives want to change the poor Black culture (by, e.g. strengthening the family through positive economic myths of bootstrapping and opportunity, and Christian ideology). When liberals see Black people rebelling, their inclination is to feel guilty and afraid, and alleviate those feelings with self-confessions of imagined personal sins and ill-understood subconscious motives. They have a model based on altar calls in protestant churches, or confessions with catholic priests. Whereas conservatives are afraid and get ready to defend themselves. And the SJWs want to back them up against the wall further, ironically creating the very white supremacy they initially were afraid of (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1sJgjG5AF4 for a brief video analysis of this).

That is not the only conservative response to Black rebellion, and the dissatisfaction with life they might feel as their culture, like Black tribal culture, also disintegrates with the relentless onslaught of modernity and the depletion of natural resources that previously helped create abundance. The alt-right also start theorizing about how the frustrated and sometimes violent Blacks might be foot soldiers for some nefarious conspiracy, of.... You guessed it, history's favorite scapegoat, The Dreaded Ashke-nazi Jew (sic, you can't make this s**t up) Cabal of Financiers/Bankers, working to promote the dreaded New World Order, with the help of big (aka "socialist") government, Academia, Feminists, Liberals, the United Nations and Big Liberal Corporations like Google and Facebook. Yes, folks, "They" are coming to take away our freedom, houses, land and livelihoods. I worry that the "a few bad jewish apples in the financial world" meme, might mutate into "kill all the Jews", as it has a few times in the history of western civilization, but my conservative friends assure me it isn't so, or at least I will be spared, especially if I stay away from finance (or any kind of abstract mental activity), keep to agriculture and give them good deals on meat (just kidding about the latter).

Before you liberals shrug off this alt-right way of thinking, consider that the alt-right is not totally crazy, and actually have some intellectuals in their midst. There IS an over-representation of Jews in finance/banking, science, liberals, high managerial posts of big corporations. A taboo subject in today's cultural climate, but one which I want to dig up, shine light on, and integrate into our consciousness, in the Jungian tradition, with the hopes of also unifying the right and left parts of our body politic.

The western Jews (ashkenazi, and the sephardics who did not migrate to the muslim world), like the american Blacks, also have a unique cultural story. After being expelled from Israel about 2000 years ago, some were able to find a niche making a living during the middle ages by lending money, which was a forbidden occupation for Christians at the time. They also were frequently ousted and were not able to bring many belongings with them, so money and jewelry were convenient for a high value to weight ratio. Not allowed to own land and sometimes not allowed to join craft guilds, they instead developed more intellectual occupations, lived more often in cities and developed a more cosmopolitan outlook, whose natural outcome is towards a globalist outlook, whereas Jews that have become settled on land (e.g. in Israel and in Brooklyn;-)) tend to become more parochial and sometimes more conservative as well, and the "best" Jews are the one who experienced both worlds, since then they can empathize with both conservatives and liberals and be peacemakers and unifiers. Women were unusually (for the times) respected and valued not just as breeders or family peacemakers, but also for their intellectual gifts. And the Jews had, even before the diaspora, a culture which valued scholarship and intellectual debate (more accurately, collaborative dialectic conversation) as a way to hone the intellect and improve the search for truth, a precursor to the scientific method (which also includes observation and experimentation). There need not be genetic components to this constant intellectual improvement; cultural mechanisms of variation, heredity and selection may suffice. There might be genetic components to "Yidishe Kopf" as well (though I am not aware of evidence for a genetic component to intelligence), which would benefit from inter-breeding and having the smartest men (rabbis) bred to the most fertile women (as well as strong community support for the rabbi's family), both cultural practices in Jewish culture. IQ tests do not establish anything about genetics, and cultural mechanisms (and sometimes biases in how the questions are phrased, or what kinds of questions are picked) are sufficient to explain variation among cultures, but I wanted to include the possibility that there are genetic factors operating as well, hopefully without upsetting liberals. So we see that all these conversationally taboo aspects of Jewish culture have mundane explanations and that allowing for variation among cultures is not racist at all.

Besides the polarizing and potentially violence-inducing aspects of the 3 witch hunts discussed here, the problem with witch hunts in general is that they distract from solving real problems, instead giving a momentary relief. The real problems I see with our culture are the following (7 deadly sins):
1. Depletion of cheap petroleum (inability of renewables to power industrial levels of consumption)
2. Overpopulation (too many individual and social resources going towards competition over scarce natural resources)
3. Too much inequality, which has been shown to lead to social strife and instability, and to psychological stress in certain primate species such as H sapiens. You might still think this is at its root caused by Blacks, Jews or racists, but this essay is a first step to refuting that belief.
4. Not enough community to commune with, and to provide meaning to one's work
5. An educational system that does not promote deep historical learning, so as to enable avoiding repeating mistakes of the past
6. feedbacks for human actions are too long and too slow, allowing for externalization to others, or others and oneself in distant future. Global warming is an example. Would be better to have local feedbacks because they affect the people causing the disturbances in a fast and direct way, allowing for correction.
7. Unprocessed trauma (ideologies that promote a lack of personal responsibility to process it, and unavailability of local community to help individuals process it through grief rituals), leading to Jungian shadows and their projection unto mutually created and imagined enemies

Given all this, I would hope that SJWs would stop focusing on racism and consider other sources for their own problems and those of poor Blacks, that poor Blacks would think about other options besides turning the tables of wealth and privilege within the current economic system (as in creating alternative systems to become independent of current system, including learning from their ancestral tribal cultures), and that alt-right people would stop fearing Blacks and the alleged cabal of Jews, and instead focus on recreating some of their heritage village cultures. I would also hope that more Jews would learn more about how globalization has hurt many people and whether its disadvantages might outweigh its advantages, or perhaps think about how to address the disadvantages while keeping at least some of the advantages.

A supporting video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHGt733yw3g

CaveatI am using the terms SJW and cancel culture in a non-derogatory way here, contrary to the common usage. I do not condone demonizing/zombifying these human beings (that would be hypocritical, since the whole series of posts argues against witch hunts), though I think they are currently hurtful and destructive, ignorant of world history, and seem ideologically possessed, without offering a constructive, practical alternative. They over-simplify a complex external, multi-causal situation by finding one cause, systemic racism (or white privilege, patriarchy, colonialism, etc), for the present problems of poor black people (or our civilization in general), that is easy to rally around, and one common enemy, personal racists (or white supremacists, men, Europeans, etc). So much easier than trying to understand the complexity of the situation and then from that understanding to do something to actually change the lives of poor black people (or all of us) for the better. Or to understand their own internal shadows that they project onto the "racists" (and the other "enemies") . Still, I think a human to human conversation with them is possible if they are separated from the mob.

Friday, May 22, 2020

peace through polyamory

I'd like to understand better how monogamy evolved because I think it's one of those tragic cases that the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt talks about, where something that has evolutionary fitness value does not necessarily make us happy, or only makes some of us happy at the expense of others (in the case of monogamy, women may be happier than men with how it works). J. Haidt¹ was referring to status seeking and how it's a zero sum evolutionary game, whereby those who gain more status do it at the expense of others who thereby have less status. Also though seeking status can give one a momentary dopamine rush, and winning at the status game might give us a momentary euphoria (and for men it's also an indirect way to obtain a mate), it fails to give us a more lasting feeling of satisfaction even when we win. These observations work also for monogamy, as we will see later. But before we get there, I want to revisit the empirical claims/hypotheses I made in this previous post , because they are not satisfactory as they stand.

Here is the main hypothesis I want to revisit and test against what we know: monogamy is correlated with more violence than polyamory, where polyamory* is defined as the mating system where both polyandry and polygyny are socially permissible (aka polygynandry), AND where women and men have roughly equal sexual choice (as distinguished from a patriarchy where men make most of the sexual decisions, or a matriarchy where women make most of the sexual decisions). I'm going to fine tune this hypothesis:  monogamy has a selective advantage in times of war and scarcity, while polyamory has a selective advantage in times of peace and resource abundance. The rationale for this is as follows: At root, offensive war and other kinds of violence occur partially because of male sexual frustration, either as an alternative outlet, or because it is a strategy to gain (compete against other males) or protect sexual mates for men (if war was just about acquiring non-sexual resources, women would be just as interested in waging offensive wars as men, even if they are not the combatants themselves). Concomitantly, when men are sexually satisfied, they are not only less aggressive (which makes them less effective in war, if all other factors remain unchanged), but also less interested in hard work with delayed gratification, which makes them less productive (and hence also less effective in war). The proximate mechanism might be testosterone levels, but it may be more complicated⁵. Lower productivity is not a problem in times of peace and abundance, but in times of war and/or scarcity, lower productivity means being outcompeted by more aggressive and/or productive tribes/nations (and in non-egalitarian cultures, being individually, not just tribally or nationally outcompeted). In times of peace on the other hand, polyamory offers the advantage of multiple men and women all teaming up to raise children and other cooperative endeavor,  and reducing intra-sexual competition for mates (compared to both monogamy and patriarchal polygyny). Why should polyamory reduce sexual frustration in men compared to polygyny and monogamy? In polygyny the lower status/wealth men can't find wives (they are taken up by the higher status/wealth men), whereas in monogamy, initial satisfaction is followed by frustration and cheating because of the evolved yearning for variety and adventure in men⁵. Without the norms of egalitarianism, polyamory too would become a system where only the high status males and the attractive and motherly women would get to have sex. And without cheating, sublimation and female prostitution (and pornography in the modern era), monogamous men would be even more violent than they are.

The argument for the advantage in warfare of monogamy over polyamory is not taking into account that though polyamorous men might be less aggressive than monogamous men, they might also be able to cooperate better in battle, because of their higher egalitarianism, and the evolved function of sex as a social lubricant or glue, something we share with the bonobos ( in monogamous systems the social unit is just the family). Roman legionnaires were less aggressive than celtic fighters, but still defeated them due to their stronger cooperative abilities (and there are other examples of how cooperation and organization in battle can override fierceness). So it's not true that a culture with a monogamous mating system will always win as far as warfare over a culture with a polyamorous mating system.

And there are other factors such as sheer numbers of soldiers--monogamous societies probably had more soldiers than polyamorous tribes.

The kind of polyandry where brothers share a woman is usually patriarchal, having to do with a scarcity of women due to infanticide of girls and/or where women are a commodity like cattle. Also the kind of polygyny where men are scarce due to death in warfare is usually patriarchal.

Testing these ideas at face value against Pinker's data² seems absurd, and partially why I said my previous discussion was unsatisfactory. Didn't he show that hunter gatherers were more violent than modern or even agrarian state run societies, at least as far as homicide? And if Ian Morris³ and others⁴ are correct that hunter gatherers were more egalitarian, and if I am correct that this extended to sharing of sexual and emotional "resources", then Pinker seems to have shown the reverse of what I'm proposing. However, the devil is in the details... Pinker's ethnographic data (which were originally from Lawrence Keeley) were not about hunter-gatherers at all, or were about hunter-gatherers that were partially agrarian or horticultural (and indeed as I discuss below, less sexually egalitarian than even our modern western cultures). Pinker's archaeological data (also from Keeley?) are consistent with a totally different interpretation than that hunter gatherers were more violent than state societies (though statehood could also be a factor in reducing violence). It could be, and I will argue that this makes sense in other self-consistent ways as well as tests of empirically testable predictions, that the violence found in the bones of these hunter gatherers was due to violence committed AGAINST them by more violent tribes, ones that were less polyamorous, or that they were such themselves, starting on a transition to less egalitarian mating strategies, driven by inter-tribal competition for resources and warfare.
Wouldn't we then expect to find layers under the archaeological carnage that showed more peaceful times? No, because hunter gatherers were nomadic.

My claims that monogamy is correlated with increases of violence compared to polyamory and that it has a selective advantage in warfare also seem at odds with this paper from Joseph Henrich, Robert Boyd and Peter Richerson⁶, who (using GROUP selection) find that monogamy actually decreases INTRA-tribal crime rates. But it isn't at odds because what they are comparing monogamy to is patriarchal polygyny, or single men in a monogamous society (that's like saying Buchenwald is better than Auschwitz). And consistent with my hypotheses, they find a correlation between effectiveness in INTER-tribal competition (which includes winning in warfare and higher productivity) and monogamy. This makes sense because compared to patriarchal polygyny, there are less sexually frustrated men in monogamous societies, and since they are competing less for females, they can spend more time cooperating on productive or military endeavors against other nations, villages or tribes. The least sexual frustration among men should be (if I'm correct) in a polyamorous culture though. Monogamy is OK at first, but after a while most men get frustrated with it and either sublimate their evolved tendency for variety into productive or violent endeavors (though not as violently or frequently as in patriarchal polygyny), or simply cheat, which can lead to further violence.

Also consistent with my hypothesis that polyamory has a selective advantage in times of peace and abundance is this paper from L. Fortunato and M. Archetti⁷ that (using KIN selection) makes a case that monogamy evolved (at least partially) as a result of optimization of private property and scarce land allocation to the next generation, i.e. in the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering to agriculture. As Keeley discusses in the book that Pinker bases his thesis on, nomadic hunter-gatherers had no incentive for warfare, with abundant resources/sparse population, and no resource-intensive housing or other property that they were attached to either for themselves or for the next generation. Their main source of security was from a sense of belonging to nature and to the tribe. If resources were sufficient there was no incentive for hoarding of any kind, including mates. Sharing with the tribe would be the preferred strategy for obtaining security. If resources were scarce or if another tribe was competing for resources, going somewhere else would usually incur less costs than warfare. Language made it possible to gang up on alpha males who tried to hoard females or non-human resources, and children were the responsibility of the whole tribe, thus egalitarian polyamory had an advantage over patriarchal polygyny as far as rearing children. But if the temptation for getting resources from another tribe or the land occupied by another tribe arose and was acted on, those tribes that had more sexually frustrated males would win in war or pillage, hence patriarchal polygyny would win over egalitarian polyamory. And later, during agrarian times, those nations or city-states that were more productive in food production and war implement design and construction would win over those who were less productive, with one of the reasons for the lower productivity being higher average male sexual satisfaction, hence monogamy would win over polygyny in other agrarian cultures and over polyamory in hunter gatherer tribes. I wonder if some of this can be tested against historical and archaeological data.

Check whether all the ethnographic data of violent horticulturalists (from Pinker) is consistent with either monogamy or patriarchal polygyny. The following are "positive controls":
Jivaro- It seemed to be a patriarchal polygyny, more recently (due to Christianity) a patriarchal monogamy. This book⁸suggests that men have most of the power in matters of marriage and sexual relations. The only power a woman has in an unhappy marriage in Jivaro culture is to commit suicide, which is quite common.
Yanomamo- These guys are a patriarchal polygyny on steroids. The more alpha a man is, the more women he can marry. Women have not much power, not only in sexual matters.
Mae Enga- Patriarchal monogamous or polygynous
Dugum Dani- Same as above, with a long period (4-5 years) of post-partum sexual abstinence
Murngin-patriarchal polygyny
Huli-patriarchal polygyny where women are treated like commodities (paid for with pigs and more recently with cash)
Gebusi--not sure yet. Awaiting a paper. They seem egalitarian, even in sexual matters, though "(wives) may be sporadically beaten without reprisal by husbands"⁹. Polygyny is only in 7% of men and mostly due to levirate (upon death of the husband, wife and other property go to brothers of husband).  On the other hand, they ARE mostly monogamous and highly jealous. This could be an exception to my hypotheses which is fine, since perfect agreement between theory and data is virtually non-existent in social science, due to multiple factors, as discussed below. Or else, their seeming sexual eglitarianism may be the reason (modulo other factors) that they have the lowest violent death frequency of all the other tribes in Pinker's dataset. The men may still be more sexually frustrated than in a polyamorous culture (none of the above is that), but less frustrated than the polygynous cultures above.

Having shown that my hypotheses are (mostly) consistent with already analyzed data, let's move on to NEW empirical evidence to test my hypothesis, that polyamory can thrive (outcompeting other mating strategies) in times of peace. What we need to look at are societies which are known to be polyamorous and compare their rates of self-violence or offensive violence to other societies. For now we only look for correlation, not causation. Besides the already discussed problem of distinguishing innate violence vs defensive, externally caused violence, testing the hypothesis is complicated by four things:
1. There are other factors besides mating strategy, such as whether the society has a "Leviathan"/state to potentially reduce violence (one of Pinker's factors), population density, the degree of egalitarianism in non-sexual matters (another of Pinker's factors), the religious views about the value of human life of people from the in-group vs the out-group, the cultural views on other people outside the tribe, gentle vs harsh child-rearing, being an immediate return hunter-gatherer vs settled horticultualists, agrarians, industrialists etc.
2. Some of these factors may not be independent. For example, being an immediate return hunter-gatherer (IRHG) does not overlap with a state society (but there are non IRHGs without a state), has a high influence on egalitarianism and mating strategy.
3. The violence has not been quantified for many of these.
4. In some cases, it might be difficult to tell if the mating strategy is patriarchal or egalitarian or somewhere in between, especially as historical circumstances change.

The first two complications can be dealt with by a proper factor analysis, which I might do at some point. The last two await some anthropologists with more resources than me. For now we'll have to content ourselves with a crude qualitative analysis of cultures that are listed in wikipedia as having polyandry.
                                          violence (as far as I can tell)
Piraha in Brazil                   low
ancient Minoan civilization low
Mosuo in China                 low
Masaai in Africa                low
Bhutan                               low
Tibet                                  low
Northern Nepal                 low
Rajasthan                          low until modern times, polyandry is patriarchal
Ladakh                              war is prevalent throughout history, polyandry may be patriarchal
Zanskar                             much defensive war, patriarchal polyandry
ancient Sparta                   high defensive, patriarchal polyandry
Trobrianders                     low
Aleut                                 high, patriarchal polyandry
Inuit                                  medium, patriarchal polyandry and polygyny
kanak                                defensive war, patriarchal polyandry
Marquesans                       high violence, at least since colonial times. Hard to tell if polyandry was/is patriarchal or not

So my hypothesis is supported by this crude analysis of the data.

After all this, I still get the feeling that I and all these evolutionary psychologists have missed something. What is missing is the observation that monogamy seems to work much better for women than men. This seems to be consistent with the INDIVIDUAL selection model of evolution, the one that I referred to in my previous post as ugly and somewhat false (because it doesn't take into account group selection). I don't understand why it is better for women, as this model claims, to have one highly devoted man, rather than several (less) devoted men and women in a tribe, if passing property onto next generation is not an issue (it isn't in a hunter-gatherer tribe). So maybe this model partially explains why it's better for women to have monogamy today, rather than cheating or patriarchal polygyny. But it doesn't explain how monogamy evolved from hunter-gatherer polyamory, or why monogamy is better for women today than polyamory (indeed polyamory seems to be gaining traction in the relatively peaceful, wealthy and somewhat sexually egalitarian western middle classes).  There is something else going on, which I think has to do with women generally caring more than men about peace and safety, their own and their children's. Perhaps the recent upsurge in polyamory is partially due not only to relative peace and abundance, but also contraceptives, which have made it safer for women to have sex, so they don't have to worry about having children every time they want a sexual connection. Also having economic means that are not making them fully dependent on men can also encourage more egalitarianism in the sexual domain.

In hunter-gatherer tribes women might have had peace and safety from being polyamorous but in modern times, polyamory usually leads to drama and conflict. Safety in modern times comes from having more money and a nuclear family, not from belonging to a tribe. So I suspect poly-pioneering women are going to have a hard time of it (and I have anecdotal data to support this). On the one hand, polyamory is encouraged by the relative abundance and peace (on a macro level). But on the other hand polyamory is discouraged by the (micro level) vestigial conflict that arises when people brought up in a monogamous culture try to be more tribal.

I recently also read this paper⁹ (based on INDIVIDUAL selection for both men and women) which suggests that IF the advantages of polyandry are small, then female sexual fidelity in exchange for male provisioning decreases the occurrence of "free riding" males that invest mostly in acquiring female sexual partners through competition with other males, and this clears a previously blocked (by free riding males) evolutionary path towards monogamy. This model, like other individual selection models for the evolution of monogamy focuses on competition among males for females (and hence progeny of their own) and female selection for provisioning males, in other words men see women as sex objects and women see men as meal, home and status tickets. Not a pretty picture for monogamists.

Another possible reason for why pair bonding (and later monogamy as a social institution) evolved from polyamorous tribal systems might be that pair bonding systems produce higher selectivity for mates (in both males and females) and hence according to this paper higher variability ensues in both males and females. And higher variability might be more evolutionarily fit.

Whatever model we ascribe to for the evolution of monogamy, whether individual, kin or group selection, the picture is not pretty. It's time to stop pretending that monogamy is just a neutral "choice" in a free market of ideas. A choice requires that the person is not conditioned by their early childhood imprinting and later social propaganda to "choose" with overwhelming probability. It's the same delusion that people who are born into a religion have when they think they chose that religion.  It's actually like a hurtful ideology that people have no better choice about in the present environment.  It's like saying that colonialism is just a choice. If we want a world that is based on peace, love and respect for life, we should do everything we can to discourage monogamy and encourage polyamory (not through ideology, but through providing for a larger personal sphere than the nuclear family, as in a village or a tribe). If in that kind of cultural environment someone still chooses monogamy, and not just to rebel, then it might be closer to a choice and we should encourage that as well.
* The more common definition of polyamory is consensual non-monogamy.
1. The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt
2. The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Stephen Pinker
3. Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels, by Ian Morris
4. http://peterturchin.com/cliodynamica/the-z-curve-of-human-egalitarianism/
5. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/action/downloadSupplement?doi=10.1098%2Frstb.2011.0290&file=rstb20110290supp1.pdf
6. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B (2012) 367, 657–669 
7. Evolution of monogamous marriage by maximization of inclusive fitness, J. Evo. Bio. 23, L. FORTUNATO*1 & M. ARCHETTI

8. Sexual Paradox: Complementarity, Reproductive Conflict and Human Emergence by Christine Fielder and Chris King

9. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1200717109 PNAS | June 19, 2012 | vol. 109 | no. 25 | 9923–9928 

Monday, April 27, 2020

Witch Hunts Part I: Child Molestation

Here in the SS (Splintered States) The Left wants to blame the conservatives, Trump, the "1%", Capitalism and Patriarchy for all our troubles. The Right wants to blame the liberals, SJWs (aka snowflakes), Obama, Soros, welfare mothers, drug addicts, Socialists, Communists, Feminists. But both Right and Left agree that the pedophiles are a big threat to "our way of life" and the purity and safety of our children. Maybe the SS will be united by the fight against pedophilia to become the US again?

I've had two intimate relationships with women who were molested as young girls. As adults, one had trouble with certain sexual acts and would get angry about sex in general. Another dissociated and heard voices later in her life and was insanely jealous and traumatized if I even talked to another woman. I'm sure sometimes the effects of being raped as a child (molestation is a euphemism for rape) can be worse than these two experienced. Why does being raped, especially as a child, produce so much psychological damage?

A friend of mine (who was molested as a young boy) thinks that not only are pedophiles lurking everywhere, but that COVID-19 is a covert operation (part of Trump's swamp clearance) to find them and arrest them. According to him (and how many others?) the pope and 100 cardinals or so have already been arrested, and Hollywood and the Clintons are next. Weinstein and Epstein were just the beginning. And they're Jews which proves to some modern day witch hunters that history's favorite scapegoat is still at the root of all perceived evil ;-). What is the source of the belief that someone is to blame for all our problems?

Another friend (who is in his late 60s) was arrested for possession of underage porn (I don't know how old the women or girls were, whether they were post puberty or not). He is one of the gentlest and caring people I know. He would never rape a child or an adult. He was just curious and downloaded stuff for free. He was also lonely and missing intimacy and sex. He spent 8 months in jail with mostly unsavory characters and was suicidal at times. He is a gardener and was confined in a concrete building. He now bears the stigma of having to register as a sex offender and is not welcome into many communities thus exacerbating his loneliness. In the 2013 Danish movie The Hunt, a school teacher is wrongly accused of child molestation and is subject to brutal violence from his friends and co-villagers. Where does the desire to severely punish and hurt people who are perceived as child molesters come from? Is it the same as the medieval desire to burn women who have gifts of healing and are less repressed than catholic priests with their sexuality? Why hasn't the same level of violence been directed towards the catholic priests who recently almost certainly did molest boys? Why is the catholic church such a breeding ground for child molestation? Why do actual child molesters do what they do? What motivates them? And how does rape of a pre-pubescent boys and girls evolve, if sex is mostly about reproduction and these children can't produce offspring?

An acquaintance who was a competent green builder and longtime member at a neighboring intentional community was accused of child molestation by a child known to confabulate and who had other cognitive issues. Some of the other children got on the bandwagon and accused him too. There were things like unintentional touching of genitals while throwing kids into the water, with everyone naked as was the community norm while bathing in the lake in summer, which immediately incriminated him with the police. He swears he never molested any of the children and is believed by half the community, while most of the other half hates him. He left and his life, the life of the children (even if they were not molested) and the community will probably never be the same again. I do not know if he molested anyone or not, and I am not condoning child molestation. I am curious about the hatred he experienced, where does it come from? Is it the same in other kinds of witch hunts? Is it just an immune response of the community to a perceived threat?

I will attempt to answer these questions with proposed hypotheses, some of which have some support, some of which are not supported by available evidence, and some which need testing.

1. Could the SS be united by pedophilia? That was a sarcastic question. The answer is almost certainly no. Though common enemies do offer sources of unification throughout history. Even if there was unification, it would only be temporary, as there are too many sources of real differences that will remain. Maybe if Jesus came back, or even Thomas Jefferson, we could become the US again.
2. Why does being raped, especially as a child, produce so much psychological damage? For two reasons:
A. Rape in general is psychologically damaging to a soul. Sharing our bodies and souls during sex is a sacred gift that is violated by rape, taken without consent. For children it may be especially damaging since they have not learned of the sacred aspect of sex yet, and so now all they know is this desecration of their bodies and souls. They do not know yet what it means to consent to sharing the gift of themselves.
B. The natural development of children proceeds towards individuation away from their mother and family. Sex on the other hand goes the other direction, towards a unification of two bodies and souls. So raping a child interferes with this natural process. However, the age of consent depends on the individual child. Government burocrats try to simplify their lives by coming up with a one size fits all age (18 in US, but it varies in other countries). I think if a post-pubescent child understands what sex involves, beyond the physical aspects of it,  and if their individuation process is mature, then they could consent to having sex, and this should not be legislated on a national scale, but on a small community scale. In some cultures, children under 18 are taught (by practice) about sex from more experienced adults. I'm not advocating breaking the law, but I think we'd have a healthier society if the law was changed, allowing small communities to legislate this.
3. What is the source of the belief that someone is to blame for all our problems?
Scapegoating is a useful way for people to feel better about themselves, to avoid personal responsibility for their shitty lives, and as mentioned before, to unify around a common enemy. But sometimes it really isn't people's fault, at least not fully, that they have shitty lives. In those instances, it's still easier and more satisfying to find somebody to blame instead of blaming a system. If the problem is a person or a group, it's easier to think that one could punish or reform them. The highest level of sophistication is action informed by in-depth analysis, not blame, even of a system. Analyzing systems one often finds that they have evolved as a way to solve problems and have had to make some tradeoffs. The conditions that led to their evolution may have changed, and some of those tradeoffs may no longer be necessary or acceptable.  This way of looking at things leads to tolerance, compassion and humility, instead of blaming, which leads to hatred. It also leads to a chance of actually being able to change things if one really understands the root of the problem. Otherwise one is likely to just cause more suffering without significant change.

Of course, if someone is molested as a child, they are more likely to want to blame child molesters for their problems than say, gypsies. So our early traumas influence our choice of scapegoats.
4. Where does the desire to severely punish and hurt people who are perceived as child molesters come from ?
Once we hate someone, we want to hurt them. It's a primal strategy that has served individuals and groups in survival situations and hence evolved, though hatred is not always about survival. On an individual level, the person who was molested and traumatized might grow up to hate all child molesters, not just the one(s) who molested her, at least until she is able to forgive. On a group level, hatred of child molesters is an immune response that has evolved to prevent free riders from destroying the group, and to keep the group competitive against other groups. Child molesters are a sort of free riders: they want the benefits of living in a group, without willing to pay the costs (e.g. reigning in their primal desires towards children). Or else being willing to do what is good for the group (not molesting the children), rather than what seems good to them in the moment (molesting the children).
5.  Is the desire to severely punish the child molesters the same as the medieval desire to burn women who have gifts of healing and are less repressed than catholic priests with their sexuality? 
Yes and no. Yes because they are both the same primal emotion for protecting either oneself or one's group from a perceived threat. But no, because child molesters actually hurt individuals and groups, whereas "witches" usually healed people, and only threatened the twisted egos of repressed priests.
6. Why hasn't the same level of violence been directed towards the catholic priests who recently almost certainly did molest boys? 
I'm hypothesizing because males in most cultures are perceived as being disposable (also for evolutionary, not moral, reasons). If the priests had been molesting young girls, they would have been metaphorically hung by their testicles. Males are disposable in war, in having dangerous or stressful jobs that kill them at a higher rate then women, in not getting nearly as much emotional support from social workers as women, in being massacred and not cared about when they are(see Boka Haram),  in not being cared about when they are genitally mutilated (aka circumcision), and in not being cared about as much when they are molested.
7. Why is the catholic church such a breeding ground for child molestation?
Secrecy, repression and loneliness. A free flow of information would discourage child molestation. Shame (from violating taboos) leads to secrecy for both victims, perpetrators, and the superiors of perpetrators who are thinking they are protecting the church from scandal. If people were able to freely express sexual desires with adults or even to have them (for adults or children) without shame and to either sublimate them into another creative activity (such as prayer) or masturbate, and were at least sometimes able to have sex with adults, they would be less motivated to have it with children, not always, but sometimes. I suspect that other times pedophilia is a particular kink or taste that some people have, and in those instances it may not help them even if they were able to have sex with adults. But surely there are cases where these men are not able to have sex with adults, and are able to have sex (albeit through rape) with children, and if only they could have sex with adults, the desire to have sex with children would be diminished. And maybe sometimes these men would be even satisfied with more intimate contact with adults that did not involve sex, to relieve their loneliness. Perhaps God can relieve some loneliness but not all?
8. Why do actual child molesters do what they do? What motivates them?
I suspect it's because they are lonely addicts, they have very little sources of non-destructive pleasure in their lives, and they are craving some sort of self-transcending pleasure that at least won't hurt them in the short run (like any addiction), and also because they are lured by the taboo/dangerous nature of child molestation (men are wired for adventure and novelty). The addict does not care about long term consequences to themselves, let alone to someone else. But before you think that you are somehow better than these poor folks, think about ways that you are addicted and seek short term pleasure despite long term costs to you or someone else.
9.  How does rape of a pre-pubescent boys and girls evolve, if sex is mostly about reproduction and these children can't produce offspring?
I recently heard the following hypothesis from a criminologist, but I haven't checked the source: Early sexual action lowers the age of fertility (puberty). This would not give a male who raped a pre-pubescent child (male or female) any evolutionary selective advantage, but it would make the child be able to have offspring earlier, and hence give the group/tribe an advantage relative to other tribes where child molestation did not happen, as far as the number of offspring in the tribe. But sex for humans is not just about reproduction, it has other evolutionary and spiritual functions. That's why we also evolved immune responses to child molestation, as mentioned above. Because it also damages individuals' and  hence groups' psychological and spiritual health (which should have evolutionary repercussions as well).
10. What should we do about child molesters and false accusations?
We should create conditions where people (including children) are getting their basic needs for connection and non-destructive pleasure met (see previous post). We should not have child molestation be a taboo, but talk about it openly to create better understanding. We should educate the children about it, instead of scaring them against boogeymen. If a child accuses a man of molestation, we need to investigate what happened without being motivated by panic and vengeance. We need to convince children that they are safe to tell the truth (even if a molester told them not to, or told them that bad things would happen to them or their family/friends if they told), and that they don't have the power to create drama or hurt someone just to get attention or because other needs are not being met (thus creating safety for men). We should provide healing (as opposed to punishment) for victims and perpetrators both if child molestation still happens. But resources for healing are not always available.
If a community can't provide healing, it should expel the child molester. The problem with that is that the child molester becomes someone else's problem and is likely to molest again unless they are incarcerated, which probably takes more resources than healing in the community.

In part II, I discuss a few other kinds of witch hunts.

Saturday, April 11, 2020

monogamy: sacred or profane?

The sacred
In the movie A Hidden Life (based on a true story), an Austrian farmer (Franz) refuses to collaborate with the Nazis. There is no benefit to him in this decision: he is subject first to humiliation and abuse by his fellow villagers, then to torture and indignity in prison, and finally death. His wife also does not benefit, but suffers greatly from his decision, first by having to farm without a strong man to help her (yes, pre-industrial farming is one of those occupations where the average man's superior upper body strength and spatiotemporal abilities make a difference), missing her husband and finally having to live without her soul-mate. The children will also suffer after his death, not having the loving father that he was. Why did he make such an apparently foolish decision, against his and his family's self interest? He repeatedly says that it's not because of ideological stubbornness, because he thinks his ideology is better or wiser than anyone else's, or that he is morally superior to anyone else. I think he did this because he was protecting something sacred in him that would be compromised if he agreed to collaborate with the Nazis. The domain of the sacred is outside of the domain of economic bargaining and contracts ("just work in a hospital and you can live"). It transcends self interest and even one's own life. It is not something most moderns understand, though it goes beyond most concepts of the God that Frantz and Fani (Franz's wife) had, and that modernity killed. It is something some monogamists refer to when they talk about the sacredness of their relationship, but they attach economic bargaining ("I'll give you sex and/or economic support if you are sexually loyal and exclusive with me") to it.  They attach self-interest to this supposedly sacred relationship: it should provide them with safety, a sense of control and entitlement of the other's energy. And they are not willing to suffer much for it (as in go through jealousy to figure out what is underneath it). A contract makes things simple, safe, and self-serving, but kills the sacred. To say to one's lover: I trust that you love me and that you know I love you, and that you will care about me as much as you care about yourself or anyone else you love, and therefore do everything you can to protect the sacred in you and in me--that is what Fani did at the end when she said "no matter what you do, I am with you". And though Franz and the earthly part of their relationship died, the sacred love part did not. That is why some polyamorist people are willing to suffer derision, ridicule, loneliness, celibacy. Because they believe that there is something sacred about love and sexuality in humans and that agreeing to monogamy kills it. And without the sacred there is not much reason to live, so they, like Frantz, prefer the suffering to killing the sacred. Now it may be true, as we discuss below, that most people, especially during the early stages of a romantic relationship are unable to engage in an equally intense way with more than one lover. And it may be that some people can never engage with more than one lover, but if they care about the sacred, they would not impose a contract on their lover. What good would the contract do when the sacred is killed? In such a culture there is a high rate of cheating, of relationships dying  To believe that someone cares so much about you that your pain is also theirs--that is part of the sacred, and would in practice create more security and more pair-bonding (at least given where we are coming from, where most people have deep insecurities and abandonment trauma, hence their lovers will be less likely to go off with someone else once the sacred is protected).

In the following I will focus on heterosexual relationships, though one could generalize to homosexual ones. I don't know enough about trans people to say whether the following can be generalized to their situation.

Spiritual growth and genetic/cultural evolution
There are currently two hypotheses for monogamy that I'm aware of:
1. It is a function of early brain development, like sexual preference. Some people develop as monogamous and some as polyamorous, based on genetics and environment, similar to how some people are gay, straight or bisexual. This can be later regulated through hormones such as oxytocin. Aka "wiring".
2. It is a strategy that can benefit individuals and/or groups that adopt it, such as enabling them to survive in certain environments better than other strategies (and other individuals or groups that adopt different strategies).

These are not necessarily in opposition to each other, as often what is evolutionarily selected for has proximal causes. But the practical implications can be very different. If it's a function of early brain development, then it may not be easy to change, and then there is potential for tragedy when two people fall in love and they are not both monogamous or both polyamorous (as in I'm poly, she's mono, she wants a monopoly on my energy, and I want a mono-poly relationship ;-)). On the other hand, if it's a strategy that benefitted individuals and groups at one time when the environment was different, but may actually be harmful now, then there is much hope that it can change as to avoid misery, for example in the case of a mono/poly relationship. And of course the same can be said about polyamory: it may be that being polyamorous is not selected for in the current environment and it would behoove the poly person to change their strategy to monogamy, if the first hypothesis is not true.

However, there is evidence that hunter gatherer cultures are more egalitarian than agrarian cultures and also more than industrial ones ^^^, and it would also follow that this egalitarianism would extend to sexual satisfaction as well. Sexually frustrated men are more violent ^^^^^. If in addition there is not much competition for resources with neighboring tribes (as was the case throughout most of pre-history), there is not much reason for war. In theory, monogamy could lead to sexual satisfaction, but men are wired for diversity and so it usually doesn't. Polygyny could also lead to sexual satisfaction for men, but it can also lead to only the alpha males getting laid, the other men being frustrated, and unhappy women(which implies unhappy men). The system leading to most sexual satisfaction should be an egalitarian one, combining both polygyny and polyandry, aka polyamory ***. In addition, if people have ego-transcending, intimate, non-sexual experiences on a daily basis by communing either with their tribe members or with nature, sex becomes less important and obsessive.

People often get so immersed in their own culture that they are blinded to the fact that certain things (like monogamy) are not universal and that different cultures see what we consider sacred differently. It is not pleasant then to see a correlation between what we consider sacred and violence (which most of us consider profane). Jealousy may be universal, but its intensity and the way different cultures deal with it are not. For some cultures it doesn't have the emotional intensity that it has for us, and it can be easily diffused^. The old testament on the contrary thought jealousy was an emotion worthy of God. 

It's tricky to discuss this with people who believe that monogamy is either a choice they make that represents a sacred expression of their deepest selves or that it is ordained by God. One must tread lightly and with care to not hurt these people. I want to assure you, dear reader, if you are one of those people, that I mean no disrespect to either your deepest core or to God. I recognize that most of us, not just monogamous people, have a deep yearning for a deep love commitment, for someone who will adore us and let us adore them, for someone who will understand our deepest core and will allow us to reciprocate in an environment of safety, for someone who will grow with us and even challenge us spiritually, will stick with us despite our ugly parts and uplift our innate goodness, beauty and truth. And it may be that for some or even most people, such an ambitious goal can only practically be accomplished with one other person at a time, given the short time that we are given in this life, and how our bodies and souls break down with age and just living in a harsh and traumatic world. 

Even if all that is true, can we not try to let other relationships have more breathing space, and allow them to seek their own expression, at least once we have gotten through the initial "new relationship energy" with our life partners and we don't feel compelled to spend all our time with them anymore? Can we not try to deal with jealousy within ourselves (with help from our partner) rather than eliminating the possibility of it, or projecting our anger and insecurity onto others? Could jealousy have some value to teach us? I'm not talking only about sexual relationships, but also emotional or intellectual ones. Monogamous people are threatened by the intensity of the connection with others, not just sex per say, though sex can be very intense emotionally and many monogamous people (perhaps more in certain sub-cultures like French, or Yuppie) sometimes are willing to accept their partners having sex without much emotional bonding with others.

Why do we want to encourage good will, generosity, kindness, and consideration (this is an analogy, I'm not saying polyamory encourages these more than monogamy)? Two reasons:
1. They are good for group cohesion and we are creatures that live in groups (even if they are nations or global economies). They are useful, adaptive, selectively advantageous traits for the groups of which we are a part. They sometimes conflict with our more selfish needs, but on the whole the existence of these groups is also good for the individuals in them, even if there are particular discrepancies with traits that are good for the group but not the individuals.
2. There may be a tendency of life for more complexity and integration of disparate parts into wholes, and these qualities encourage that integration. This is what some people might call spiritual growth (or, mistakenly, evolution). Sometimes complexity is not adaptive though, so unless the previous evolutionary condition is met, spiritual growth will probably not happen. Also, sometimes more complexity at one level may be harmful to complexity at lower levels. There might be sweet spots to complexity.

We sometimes encourage people to outgrow narcissistic tendencies, or sociopathic ones that are natural in 2 year olds (but not always^^^^). We usually want the 2 year olds to become more generous, kind and considerate. Not always: some people glorify the greed that drives some people and can have a selective advantage in capitalistic economies (I'm not saying there are not other, more noble motivations for succeeding in capitalism). Another example is in our monogamous tendency to want to be adored by our lovers exclusively and possess and adore them exclusively. There is more to monogamy than that, as mentioned above, but a few psychologists have traced the jealousy and possessiveness to the primary relationship between a mother and her baby, up till 2-3 years*, (and sometimes later, if there are no siblings). As mentioned above, there is also a longing for safety, depth, reliability and spiritual growth, to understand more about one’s own system and the other’s through the relationship, and to build and grow the relationship, which is a higher order system than the 2 people in it.

However, this spiritual longing has not much to do with being able to love other people deeply or have sex with them, except in harsh environments where we just don't have time for such things because we are too busy surviving. People confuse this longing with the reptilian-brain-dominated, narcissistic tendencies of 2 year olds and fail to grow out of it, as we do in other areas of life. We can learn to love other people besides mom, we can learn that mom can love our siblings, and that we are not the center of the world. But unless we can create conditions that encourage higher fitness at the group level for loving more than one lover, it will not happen. There is no selective advantage to polyamory (though there is to polygyny) at the individual level, only at the group level, and only under certain conditions (mentioned below).

Given what I said above, I do not think of monogamy as just a choice that some people can make. I think of it as a currently advantageous adaptation at the group level (though maybe things are changing in certain environments and a certain kind of shallow polyamory is becoming trendy)**, that is spiritually a disaster for most people (but some people may not be able to help it if the "wiring" hypothesis is true, like being gay or straight), unlike some other choices like what clothes to wear or what color to paint the walls, which do not cause much harm either way one chooses. It contributes to unnecessary suffering for everyone, even people who consider themselves monogamous, though they adapt by trying to make meaning out of their suffering. It persists because of the advantages it confers to couples and higher order groups like nations and companies and armies, basically guns, germs, and steel (refer to the book by the same name by J. Diamond). Groups that were/are monogamous (or sometimes polygamous, but only the wealthy men are able to obtain one ore more wives) were also more sexually/emotionally frustrated and tended to be more warlike, as a way to work out sexual frustration, not just through killing, but through rape, and also through camaraderie (guns. There is much about the connection between violence and sexuality which I won't go into here, such as the amygdala being the center of both sexuality and violence especially for males, and the amygdala being more easily activated by disgust in conservatives). They also tended to be more productive (steel), valuing power relationships and productivity over more collaborative and connective relationships, or being able to just relax alone or with friends and lovers. And they would be able to socially isolate into the nuclear family instead of everyone in the tribe being exposed to an epidemic.

Advantages of Polyamory (in the right environment, not the current one)
If the environmental conditions of peace/safety, sufficiency of resources, and smaller scale economies are present, then it is possible that polyamory can have a selective advantage over monogamy. What advantages can polyamory have in such an environment? Mostly about more happiness and joy, which hopefully will make people want to join those groups rather than stay in the miserable groups (but maybe the price would be that we will lose great art because all the miserable, conflicted artists will now be too happy to compensate with art^^). Here are my 12 reasons for polyamory:

1. Sexuality does not need to die and/or be repressed, especially for older people who can be inspired by younger ones to also be more sexually interested in their primary life partners. For older men this is especially dire, because with their sexuality dying, their testosterone drops and so does their motivation, which can lead to depression. There are examples of other cultures where men used to be able to have sex with younger women, and then when it was taken away by monogamy they became depressed in their old age***.
2. More love and connection can flourish, not expecting one person to fill all our needs. For example what if one falls in love with and is compatible with a life partner in all ways except sexually? intellectually? emotionally?
3. Sensitive men especially do not have to be socially/emotionally isolated with only their primary partners, which is the current situation in monogamous societies. Less sensitive men, which are in the majority,  can bond with each other over sports, cars and sexual fantasies. Currently, sensitive men rarely find each other due to their scarcity, and can only bond with other women, but they are prevented from doing so by their partners or cultural norms (even if it's just about an emotional connection). Such men are faced with a Faustian bargain: either be alone, or sell one's soul and at least have deep connection with one person. Women  in monogamous relationships, on the contrary usually are able to bond with other women, their children or pets to satisfy their needs for intimate connection with others besides their husbands. 
4. Dealing with our childhood abandonment traumas of e.g. losing our mother's primary interest to siblings, disease or other competition, or our adolescent traumas of losing our fathers' time (especially for girls, because the fathers feel sexually uncomfortable with their daughters' emergent sexuality, but in general with fathers who are too busy outside the family either for survival reasons or because they are trying to escape the misery of the nuclear family) can be dealt with instead of repressed or shoved under the rug. 
5. Learning that we are not the center of the universe and we can be patient with our lovers. 
6. Learning how to self-soothe, and express to our lovers our need for love, sex and connection rather than lashing out in anger or jealousy at them.
7. Sexuality can be honored and celebrated as a spiritual force instead of repressed or becoming distorted into anger, control and violence****(yes, I know you monogamists will say that this can be done within monogamous relationships, and to some extent you're right. But I think especially for men who still have a libido, repression and sublimation into productive activities are the ways to deal with sexual energy in a monogamous relationship, though monogamous women would like to believe the fantasy that their men are totally satisfied.)
8. With sex not being repressed and distorted, people can focus on more or equally important things like other forms of love, depth, spiritual growth, community, grief, creativity, good work and building trust. Some things (like food, sex, water) only become obsessive and overly important when they are repressed or when there is a shortage, aka supply and demand. I don't mean to de-sacralize sexuality when making market analogies. Things that are sacred are usually out of the domain of markets. Still market analogies can be helpful for understanding.
9. Women can feel safe in other environments besides at home with their life partner, to not always be on guard against rapists and gossip, or need to focus so much of their energy on being attractive to men (if they're not already partnered).
10. A loyalty based on love can flourish, instead of one based on fear. Coming back to the same primary partner(s) not because of fear of legal repercussions or social sanctions, but out of love for the partner(s).
11. I am going out on a limb on this one, and may be totally off, but in a footnote here, and in a future post I'm going to mention several benefits that may follow if we had a different attitude towards child molestation, and I think this is connected to a polyamorous attitude***.
12.  Another market analogy: if we eliminate the monopoly of polyamory over our partner's energy, then friendly competition can improve the primary relationship(s) instead of people being stuck with an inferior behavior pattern. Friendly competition does not mean that we don't have "brand loyalty" to our primary partner(s), they just have more incentive to improve.

Even in environments which are not too harsh, these benefits above may not happen if only the most attractive people get selected for polyamorous relationships (which is what might be happening now with yuppie polyamorists. What about everyone else? they may not get any partners at all). It might take environments that have small tribes where people are selected based on other traits besides sexual attractiveness (which generally correlates with fecundity in women and ability to provide resources in men), or where there is a large variance in what's considered sexually attractive. I don't think the current environment (where people travel to work, are not interdependent with other people they know for their survival and thriving, are part of government and economic structures which are too big to promote interdependence for most people, and are not directly immersed in nature) will result in most of the 12 benefits above.

See this essay for more on the empirical basis of my claims in this paragraphs

Faustian bargains and high cost signals
Sociologists have found that groups sometimes establish commitment and build trust by asking members for "high cost signaling". Examples include genital mutilation, praying towards Mecca 5 times per day, self-flagellation in some medieval monastic orders, saying grace before the meal or reading the whole Hagadah at Passover (even if one is really hungry or thirsty), and sexual exclusivity in monogamous pairs. If this cost was balanced by a benefit to the group, it would be worth it, but the main benefits are in times of war and scarcity as we mentioned above. And the cost is also to both partners' spiritual growth, not just their evolutionary fitness. Why ask for giving up something so sacred as sexuality with others or trying to monopolize it, one of the only transcendent Dyonisian expressions we have left (music and art being two others), and one of the best ways of connecting to other peope's souls and sharing our own? It is similar to asking each other to give up one's joy with others or one's faith. Similar to the jealous monotheistic God, who wants to be worshipped exclusively, coming from the same sort of evolutionary environment and the same sort of traumatized spiritual consciousness. Loving one god does not mean one could not love another god (as in Dionysus and Apollo), or a different aspect of the Deity (as in the father, son and holy spirit). Loving one parent does not mean one could not love another parent. Loving Mozart does not mean one could not love Beethoven (did Einstein actually say that?). The difference between these examples and sexual exclusivity is the trauma associated with sex, both individual and collective (for a better understanding of how sex was used to control people on a larger scale than within monogamous relationships, see ****). Another apt analogy to how monogamous people behave is Gollum from Lord of The Rings who wants the one ring all for himself. Well, maybe not the best analogy, since sexuality it not a tool for a malevolent being that wants to dominate the world, except maybe in some Greco-Christian mythology of Satan. Let's just stick to the utterly selfish infantile behavior of Gollum and his jealousy.

The monogamists try to make it sound like they are making sacrifices in order to keep their relationship special and have more depth. I have not seen one monogamous relationship of more than 10 years where the people are happy in their relationship. Whereas there are a few cultures that encourage polyamory that seem happy. Happy polyamory within this late stage western Faustian (to use Oswald Spengler's term) culture also is hard to achieve for the reasons above, though supposedly some people do achieve it (*** and ****). The people who think they are monogamous also say things like: it's hard enough to make a relationship work with just 2 people, so how do you think limited humans can make it work with more than 2? That's like saying we should have a body with only 2 cells. Part of the REASON it's hard with 2 people is because of the social isolation of the nuclear family. Tribal cultures tend to be polyamorous and happier than us. For sure we are limited, but there are synergies of having more people whom one is emotionally (and/or sexually) intimate with, that can help ease those limitations. And it may still be that for most people, a certain level of depth and commitment is only possible with one other. Even in those cases, what if one person has only enough energy for 1 other person at a certain level of depth, while their partner has energy for 2 people at that level of depth? Why should the first person forbid the second from living up to their full potential?

Gender issues
I hypothesize that besides the ugly (and somewhat false, because it ignores group selection) standard explanation for monogamy, i.e. individual selection for such traits as promiscuous cheating and novelty seeking in men and seeking to suck out and monopolize men's energy and resources by conniving women (** and ***) there is the issue of safety. Cultures that are relatively peaceful with a sense of village or tribal belonging tend to be polyamorous, while more individualistic and violent cultures tend to be more monogamous (and this seems to be true of our closest primate relatives as well, the Bonobos and Chimps). So it's not that women are naturally more monogamous, but that in our culture women don't feel safe and monogamy is one strategy for increasing safety. Not just the safety of more resources, but of being protected by the husband from predatory men (the predations of the husband can usually be tolerated in exchange for all the other safety benefits). It used to be that women needed men for other forms of protection, from wild beasts, from marauding tribes, from hunger.... The dangers have changed, men are not needed in the same way, and yet there is still something in the feminine psyche that longs for that protection and sense of safety and being provided for in the form of a masculine partner. But then by that argument, more male partners would offer more safety. Unless male competition prevented more than one male partner at a time. Except that male competition is not as effective as sperm competition as a selection mechanism,at least in tribal environments. So more research is needed to figure out these matters.

Conversely, men generally need more variety in sex (for evolutionary reasons) and males of most species seem to need more adventure (not just in sex) than women/females, which is traded off with safety. Hopefully the variety and adventure offered in polyamory is sufficient for men, though of course they will seek out variety and adventure in other areas of life. Perhaps one upside to monogamy is that men learn the art of sexual sublimation, channeling sexual energy into other creative endeavors. Except sometimes they are just violent, not at all creative.

The cozy safety of the primary relationship: if we could really trust each other, we wouldn't need monogamy to guarantee that we won't leave each other for another person, or not care about each other if we feel like we need more energy from our partner due to their energy being spent on someone else. But it's easier to just be monogamous and not deal with such vulnerabilities.

I already mentioned that women can usually find other women to get their need for non-sexual intimacy outside of a monogamous relationship met, whereas sensitive men are more rare, and there are also taboos around it, so they will not generally find other sensitive men to get their intimacy.

Women might also generally be able to turn off sexual feelings outside the monogamous relationship. Though once they feel a deep connection with a man who is also attractive, they are just as pained by not being able to have sex with him as men are by the converse situation.

In polyamory there is no automatic boundary (enforced not only through verbal and written social norms, but through physical things like rings). It is even more important to be able to say no to either sexual or emotional advances with polyamory than with monogamy though. And if sex and intimacy are not scarce, then saying no is not the end of the world, shattering someone's ego. Saying yes might also be easier, even if it's to someone who is not physically appealing, because one knows that this is not a prison (or "crucible" in mono-euphemistic speak) and showing love and kindness to one person in one way, does not prevent us from showing it in other ways to other people.

How monogamy is maintained
I mentioned some of the evolutionary causes for monogamy. But what are the proximal causes? Obviously there are many cultural pressures from family, church, law, school, media and gossip to encourage people to be jealous, to think jealousy is good and a sign of true love, to think that there are no ethical alternatives to monogamy, and to think that anything else leads to tragedy. But there is something even more powerful that I learned about recently *****. This is the so-called "one source imprint" that happens to babies in monogamous cultures, where the main source of love and safety is from the mother, as opposed to in polyamorous cultures, where it is from the clan or village. In the adult's mind there now is an association between safety and sex with only one person. There are probably strong neuro-hormonal signals (e.g. oxytocin and dopamine) that reinforce this association. I'd love to see some research about it. There is also the possibility that the one source imprint happens earlier, in utero, in which case there is nothing we can do about changing it. But I doubt it, since then how could some people be polyamorous? It would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between polyamory and an early childhood which involved being raised by multiple people. So one early caretaker produces monogamy, more than one produces polyamory, but It could be that having less than one early caretaker can produce either monogamy or polyamorous people (not only monogamous ones) who are unhealthy (unable to make commitments and love deeply)
Hope for the future
Many years from now I hope people will look back at monogamy as they look back at slavery, patriarchy (I know some folks think patriarchy is still a thing in western cultures, I think it's mostly vestigial in those cultures, though the 0.01% alpha males still have much power, but we won't get into that here), global industrialism or genocide, shake their heads and think: "how could people not only have tolerated, but ennobled monogamy?" How could people think that acting like 2 year olds was a good thing? How could they confuse the need for depth, safety and reliability with sexual or emotional exclusivity? And the answer is the same as for other mass human tragedies: they could because they were human, with all their fears and traumas and immaturities (some of which became hardwired into their brains early on), and because there was a time when evolution rewarded those things, in order to survive. Yes, I think for most people today, monogamy is still a better deal than polyamory, and it might take suffering for a few pioneers in order to change this.

* I don't know much about child molestation (but see here), except I've had two girlfriends who were molested as young girls (and were traumatized by it into adulthood). I hope I don't incur the wrath of those who wake up the dragons of their society's taboos. But I think that if we were able to be polyamorous then much less children would get molested. I think men who can have good, connective, intimate sex with women, would not be as attracted to children. And even if they were, they wouldn't feel compelled to act on it. The very nature of a taboo makes it more alluring for some people. Also, even if a child were molested in a polyamorous society, they would get less messed up by it than in our culture, because our culture does not offer much healing for such things (for both the children and the molesters). Instead, as with most taboos, people either don't talk about it, or use it to project their shadows onto the molesters, scapegoating them and expressing pent up anger and violence towards them.  Also, there would be less false accusations destroying people's lives who didn't do anything if there was no taboo around child molestation, but instead there was information on how harmful non-consensual sex (children can't really consent to sex since they don't understand it) can be for someone, and how children need to psychologically differentiate, which sex goes against, messing up their psychological development. If we had this attitude towards child molestation, it would be safe for men to express affection towards children(in a non-sexual way), who are naturally very affectionate and are hurt and confused when men rebuff their natural tendencies for affection. OK, I just watched the Hunt, with Mads Mikkelsen (so I am a bit shook up over this). And a good friend of mine (who was molested as a young boy) is falling for conspiracy theories about child molesters being the root of everything that's wrong, as well as the target of a covert operation by Trump, using COVID-19 as an excuse to arrest all the alleged molesters in Hollywood, as well as the Pope and hundreds of Cardinals (well, at least that last part has SOME basis in reality, given what was found out about the Catholic Church. But the repression of sexuality in the Catholic Church just supports my hypothesis). And my friend is not alone! So many people are going for this insanity! Where does it go next? Epstein and Weinstein were Jews! Aha! It's the Jews as scapegoats again! Not only are they disproportionately represented in the 1% and the liberals, but "they" are also the child molesters! The right and left can at last unify over this. Q.E.D. I also have a friend who spent 9 months in a horrible jail and now is black listed because he downloaded some free child porn (he would never molest anyone). The punishment is brutal and incommensurate with the crime. And someone I know from an intentional community also had his life ruined probably due to false accusations. So maybe I also have my scapegoat (monogamy), though as far as I am aware my critique is rationally based, not trauma-based. OK, end of self-disclosure and attempt at humor (I am jewish, btw, for those who don't know me)...And then there is the possibility that taboos actually serve a protective function for groups, preventing their disintegration, and that their violation elicits a sort of immune response. I hypothesize that in a polyamorous society, the taboo against child molestation would not be necessary, as there would be much lower incentive for molestation, and even if it happened, it would not destroy the family, tribe, village of nation, because it would be dealt with in a better way that offered healing for both the victims and perpetrators.


^^ There are other motivations for art besides the need for thwarted self-expression. See https://www.ecosophia.net/this-flight-from-failure/ and https://www.ecosophia.net/what-is-art-for/

^^^ Ian Morris, in Foragers, Farmers and Fossil Fuels.
^^^^https://www.haaretz.com/life/.premium.MAGAZINE-polyamory-a-product-of-deprivation-or-a-cure-for-a-monogamous-rut-1.5422186 where the author not only seems to encourage narcissism but suggests that polyamory can be a personality disorder when one is not treated as the center of the universe in childhood and hence does not feel like they deserve to be narcissistic in adulthood, or else has masochistic tendencies to deny themselves the narcissism they should be entitled to.
^^^^^ https://medium.com/@radoje.cerovic/the-history-of-violence-beyond-pinker-the-better-archangels-of-our-nature-50786fe627f2,

* Stephen Snyder, in Love Worth Making: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship, explains this as the 2 year-old-narcissistic-tendency of the "sexual self" (I think reptilian brain), and the Freudian psychologist Leo Bersani talks about this in his article Against Monogamy. Erich Fromm also hints that monogamous love is immature in The Art of Loving, an "egotism for two".
** At the individual level, some people have tried to explain monogamy in terms of advantages to individual males' genes, but the relative importance of those explanations can be at least reduced, because group fitness is at least equally important as individual fitness and for other reasons having to do with even lower level competition than individual males, e.g. sperm competition, see for example my comment on Brett Weinstein's talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zg7iBAgMT5Y&lc=Ugz8yJya2_NZTqbQbWR4AaABAg

*** Sex At Dawn by Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jethá. They give examples of many societies that are polyamorous.  The archaeological data is consistent with warlike tribes (the ones where the men are not all sexually satisfied?) massacring more peaceful tribes, and warlike tribes being sedentary and having scarce resources to fight over, but I don't think we can know for sure whether they were monogamous, polygynous or polyamorous. The more recent ethnographic data needs to be analyzed, paying close attention to those people defending from western encroachment. The most warlike People in Keeley's (and Pinker's) charts turn out not to be hunter gatherers at all, but sendentary, monogamous or polygynous patriarchal horticulturists. This is data begging to be analyzed. Here is a first qualitative try.

**** And They Knew Each Other by the founders of Tamera, for a perspective on this

***** True Human Freedom by Ano Hanamana.