Martyrdom is the ultimate expression of social proof.
After I finished my Chivalry vs. Altruism post, I had to kind of pause for a moment to consider the impact of ‘women & children first’ as an operative social convention. Even before the overt rise of the feminine imperative, this female protectionism was in effect, and I’m fairly certain that this was a result of our primal hind-brain wiring to protect our families. Most higher order animals have evolved this instinct so I don’t see that as much of a stretch. However, human’s being a much more complex species, I think that the social convention of WaCF goes a bit deeper than a simplistic protectionism. In fact, I’d argue that ‘familial protectionism’ is more of a convenient foil for women (and sympathetic men) who’d rather see men’s mortal sacrifice in honorific terms than the much uglier truth.
Tits for Tat
In its rawest form, the sexual marketplace of our early ancestors would’ve been one where feminine hypergamy and Alpha dominance would’ve been more or less in balance. Obviously men being the stronger sex would’ve forcibly put women into a weaker position in the earliest incarnations of the SMP, but also consider that men fought and killed each other for access to those breeding rights – short version; men were disposable. As our species began to socialize, collectivize and cooperate, our earliest social conventions would’ve revolved around the environmental prompts and biological stimuli that were essential to the survival of their more feral ancestors.
The earliest form of proto-Game would’ve been a sexual quid pro quo. Can’t figure out how to seduce that hot, hunter-gatherer woman in the tribe? Save her ass from being torn limb from limb by a sabre tooth tiger and she’ll reciprocate her gratitude with open legs. In other words, risk your life and women will reward you with sex in gratitude. Today that may not be a reality in practice, but it’s the A+B=C logic that’s led to the psychological internalization and the social doctrines that follow it. It’s such a primal, male-deductive-logic principle that’s worked so successfully, for so long, that social contingencies were evolved to both mitigate it and exploit it. Don’t believe me? Promise a young middle eastern girl 70 virgins in heaven and see if she’ll strap explosives to herself. The downside to this is that men often do “die trying.”
All of this kind of brought me around to thinking about the psychological ‘software’ that’s been evolved into our species as a result of environmental adaptations of the past. In War Brides I went into detail about the Stockholm Syndrome women seem to have an inborn propensity for, which logically makes them predisposed to abandoning emotional investments more readily than men. Considering the brutality of our feral past, evolving a capacity for quick emotional abandonment and reinvestment would’ve been a valuable survival trait for women (thus insuring a perpetuation of the species), however, in the present it serves to complicate newly developed social dynamics in terms of parental and ethical considerations.
Likewise, men have evolved into the disposable sex as a result of that same feral past. In today’s environment it’s very easy for men to draw upon ethical indignation about our disposable status, but it’s not primarily due to social influences. To be sure, social influence has definitely exploited men’s disposability, but the root of that devaluation (in contrast to women’s) really lies in our evolutionary past and our biological make up. Men have always been disposable – so much so that women evolved psychological contingencies (War Brides) to cope with that disposability.
As socialization and acculturation progressed, so too did the social rationales for men’s disposability. It became honorable to sacrifice oneself, ostensibly for a greater cause, but subversively as a means to recognition.
Martyrdom is the ultimate expression of social proof.
Appreciating the Sacrifice
Unfortunately, as is women’s biological imperative, once a man’s martyred himself women seek a suitable substitute within the week. I’m still getting a lot of response on my Appreciation post, and predictably most of the criticism is rooted in assuming my intent was to illustrate women being inferior to men in terms of sincerely appreciating the sacrifices he must make to facilitate her reality. The inability of women appreciating men’s sacrifices isn’t an issue of who’s better than who, it’s merely an observation of facts and corollaries. What I think critics fail to recognize is that I’m simply relating the observed mechanics; any conditionality they choose to apply to those mechanics are their own opinions and biases.
“Yeah Rollo, it’s pretty fucked up that women have some inborn ability to ‘switch off’ their emotions for you in favor of a higher SMV male…”
You’re right it’s pretty messed up. It’s also unethical, insincere and duplicitous when you also consider the planning involved in dissociating her emotional investment in favor of a new investment; but all of these are social conditions we apply to the underlying mechanic. It’s also pretty fucked up that men’s lives intrinsically have less value than women’s – but we can apply esoteric principles of honor, duty and courage to men killing themselves and engaging in the dynamic of their own disposability. We can also apply principles of cowardice and betrayal to men who refuse that sacrifice in favor of self-preservation, but these are qualification of social conventions that we establish as a culture.
The biomechanics are what they are, irrespective of the social paint we color them with. It’s not that women lack an intellectual capacity to appreciate men’s sacrifices, it’s that this isn’t their evolved psychological predisposition. The social constructs which tells her to expect a man’s sacrifice, which normalizes his martyrdom, have evolved to better dissociate her own investment in her biological imperatives (i.e. Hypergamy). In English this means evolution has prepared her socially and psychologically for his sacrifice, and readies her to move to a better provisioning should one present itself in her surroundings. Likewise, men putting themselves in harms way is rooted in our competing for resources – in this case breeding rights.
Ravenous wolves tearing apart a moose aren’t evil; they’re doing what nature has prepared them to do in order to survive. This isn’t to give anyone, male or female, some biologically determined free pass for bad behavior, it’s just to understand where this behavior originates and how it came to be what we make of it today.