Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Sunday, November 8, 2015

It's the man's job to die.

Hold my beer and watch this!
It's us against the rocks, us being any kind of life.

Mother Nature's best weapon in this war, assuming she is on our (life's) side, is proliferation, i.e. the production of as many offspring as possible.

You never know what's going to happen, especially where rocks are concerned. Mostly they just lie there, but sometimes the get upset and leap into the air (volcanos, for instance), or their underpinnings get washed away and gravity drags them down, down, down, and they crush all in their path (avalanches). I mean you just never know. And it doesn't have to be just rocks. Water, air, and weather can all have fatal effects. And we haven't even started on surfeit of vicious techniques other living creatures may bring to bear on your precious skin.

People have been around for a long time, at least in people terms, and we mostly operate in groups. One person by alone might survive for years, but they need a partner, at least temporarily, in order to for life to produce the next generation.

People living in groups developed ways of operating. Many of those ways have continued to the present. Some of them make sense, some of them have a rational basis. For some we have even uncovered a scientific reason behind them. Some don't make any sense, have no rational basis, and no scientific reason has so far been discovered. But we use them because they appear to work. Our ancestors used this method and they survived, so it must be a good thing. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.

When somebody doesn't want to follow the rules, it is not just a harmless lark, it could be a hazard to the whole community. When you don't know how the world works, you don't know what kinds of actions might precipitate a catastrophe that could envelope not just the actor, but everyone in the vicinity. So you better follow the rules or we'll cast you out and you can face the demons you may have called all by your lonesome.

The more established people became, the more comfortable they became with their way of life. When groups got bigger and cities started growing, casting out became less viable. The bigger the city, the more porous the borders, so punishment became the favored method of dealing with non-conformists.

But non-conformists do bring something positive to the party. They try new things. Many of these new things don't work, or if they do they might not provide any benefit. They might even have fatal consequences for some. On the other hand, some might prove to be beneficial. The benefit might be great or small, but if it's in any way positive, that's great! We're making progress!

So we have a conflict here. Conformity is safe, safe as we know how anyway. Non-conformity is risky. Bad things could happen. But there is a slight chance there might be a benefit. So you are not going to make any progress unless you are willing to take some risk. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. So to speak.

I read some stuff recently that about the glass ceiling and why women were disproportionately shut out of leadership positions. Intelligence didn't seem to have any bearing, lots of very intelligent women had not managed to break on through to the other side. The one thing that did seem to matter was confidence. Leaders are not necessarily smarter than anyone else, oftentimes they are no smarter than the average bear. They may not even be competent. They may lead their group into disaster from which they never escape. But they are confident, they are making decisions and they are telling people that these are the right decisions and this is the way we should go. And people follow them.

The ability to make a confident decision can be critical. Oftentimes a situation will arise where a decision needs to be made. You're in the path of an oncoming train. You can jump left or right or even straight up, but you need to choose and you need to choose now or there assuredly won't be any later. Combat is a continuous stream of such situations. Victory depends on numerous factors, but all the preparation in world won't do you any good if you can't make a decision at crunch time.

Producing the next generation of people is a time consuming business. Human children are dependent on their parents for years, much longer than any other animal. Mothers, for whatever reason, have gotten the job of caring for them. Men have gotten the job of providing for their families and protecting them. Since raising children is the number one job of any community, our methodology is well honed. Conformity is the way, new, novel techniques are not to be trusted. Stick to the well trod path and all will be well.

Protection sometimes involves combat, and combat is principally about destruction. The well trod path is not what you want here. If you know the technique, your enemy is likely to know it as well and will be able to counter it. If you can devise a new technique, then it is likely one that your enemy has not seen before and it might gain you some advantage. But to try a new technique in a crisis situation, that requires confidence.

So women, in general, are better suited to staying home and raising kids, and men, in general, are better suited to going out into the world and bending it to their will.

The whole thing about women's rights would not be such an issue if all men were perfect husbands. So maybe, instead of demanding equal rights for women, we should be asking why so many men are worthless shits when it comes to family responsibilities? Maybe it's just the nature of the beast, but I suspect the structure of our society is largely to blame.

P.S. Googling the title ("It's the man's job to die.") produced a glut of images with the slogan "It's a man's job to respect a woman, but it's a woman's job to give him something to respect." WTF? I'm talking about life and DEATH and you give me respect? Stupid Google.


bensonbiz said...

Extremely wise. I almost referenced this in regards to the "feminism" topic that came up on fb recently with you. Remembering how you said it back in 1981--"It's the man's job to die." So funny, I thought, and so true. I still think so. Very clever and your own discerning insight with all the socio-political connotations it calls forth.

Chuck Pergiel said...

1981!?! Really? Did you really remember the year, or did you have to figure it out?