The Existential Fear – Men

You need to understand WOMEN HATE BETAS in fact they hate them so much that they would prefer to work soul destroying jobs to support themselves than attach themselves to a Beta provider that wants to fuck them and impregnate them with his shitty beta genetics.

Incubus Rising

This was a comment that I meant to include in last week’s essay, but I’m glad I saved it for today’s article. It serves as a good starting point for men’s Existential Fear. If there’s one buzz-term that’s been bandied around by women since the rise of feminism it is “fear“. Men fear this. Men fear that. Men feel “threatened” by a strong woman. More recently it’s, “Men fear working with women today over concerns of workplace sexual misconduct.” So, I want to state here from the outset that I’m using the term fear in both these essays for lack of a better one. But what really gets the point across?

“Rollo, why does it destroy my soul to imagine my ex-wife / ex-girlfriend banging another man? I can’t sleep because I’m imagining her giving up herself sexually to a new guy.”

Some variation of this question is something I get a lot from guys I counsel who are going through a breakup or divorce. Sometimes it’s from men who’ve been separated from the woman for a long time. This is to be expected from Blue Pill conditioned men, but even guys who are Red Pill Aware will still feel the rage of infidelity even after the breakup has been official for years. Guys will tell me they wont even go out socially or associate with friends so as not to be in the same space as their ex for fear that they would do something rash if they saw her with another guy. There’s just something in their DNA that’s unsettling about imagining their ex giving herself willingly to another man – and they’re conflicted because the fem-centric world tells him he’s “insecure in his masculinity” for his possessiveness.

I can remember the same anxiety after I’d mercifully split from my BPD girlfriend. Even years after it was all over I’d still have nightmarish dreams about her. What the hell was that all about? What is our subconscious trying to get across to us with this?…

“Why am I so jealous and suspicious of my wife / girlfriend cheating on me? Should I feel bad that I root through her texts and IMs? Am I just ‘insecure in my masculinity’ if I feel like that? Why am I so possessive?”

This is another common one I get from men I counsel. I detailed a bit of this in Gut Check. Our subconscious mind has a way of warning us when our ‘aware’ mind is unaware of, or ignoring, the inconsistencies in our peripheral awareness. We’re actually much more aware of our environment than we appreciate, we simply refuse to acknowledge these inconsistencies. More often than not that denial is conditioned into us for purposes that aren’t always in our best interests. And sometimes it’s outright manipulative of male nature.

In Gut Check I related a time in my life where I had instinctively been suspicious of my wife because my instinctual awareness turned on the warning lights in my head. I had no rational reason to believe my wife was cheating on me, but I had a very real, evolutionary, reason that my instinctive mind would be suspicious of infidelity. Millennia of evolution has written anti-cheating failsafes into our mental firmware.

“Why are DNA tests illegal in some countries? Why is it illegal for a doctor or their staff to tell a “father” that the child he thinks is his own really isn’t biologically his? Why do we legally protect women’s cuckoldry?”

More and more we are seeing feminine-primary social conventions and legislation crop up that can only have one purpose – the systemic disempowerment and disenfranchisement of men’s interests in the reproductive process. The cover story for this Removing of the Man from any semblance of reproductive authority is what I call the Cult of the Child. I’ll be publishing a full essay on this soon, but the short version is that anything that serves women’s sexual strategy is always deemed to be “in the best interests of the child.” The interests of children has become the shield of what is really the interests of women’s sexual strategy.

For decades now, feminist ideology has successfully convinced most western societies that what serves the female reproductive interests is always what serves the a child’s interests. Men are superfluous at best, and pose a danger to the child at worst. This presumption is rooted in the Duluth Model of feminism, but women’s sexual strategy always comes at the cost of the reproductive interests of the man/father. I wrote about this in Children of Men. There is an open war on paternity today, but as with all intersexual conflict we need to look deeper to determine what the latent purpose of that conflict is all about. What interests are served in unilaterally disenfranchising men from the reproductive process?

Existential Fear

The answer to all of these questions finds their root in men’s Existential Fear – All men have an evolved need to determine and ensure his paternity.

Ascertaining paternity, and ensuring his parental investment is vested in perpetuating his genetic legacy, is the prime directive of men’s existence. This is a male imperative that virtually all higher order animals share.

Despite what many blank-slate academics still promote, men and women are different. Contemporary thinkers would have us believe the sexes are more alike than not, but the truth of it is we are different in fundamental ways that most equalists are uncomfortable admitting. Yes, we are the same species, but the fact remains that our differences, and in particular our sexual strategies, conflict in profound ways.

The Cardinal Rule of Sexual Strategies:
For one gender’s sexual strategy to succeed the other
gender must compromise or abandon its own.

In last week’s essay I outlined the the Existential Fear women hold in their evolved unconscious – that of the Hypergamous doubt. “Is this guy the best I can do?” is the question that their hindbrains ask. Since the time of the Sexual Revolution, and the systemic Fempowerment that followed, women have collectively used this authority to ensure the preeminence of their sexual strategy (Hypergamy) in our social order. I outlined many of the resulting social changes we see were the result of this in last week’s post, but this preeminence came at the cost of men’s interests and influence in the larger, meta-conflict of the Cardinal Rule of Sexual Strategies.

Men’s evolved reproductive interest is very simple; ensure that the child a woman bears to him is his actually his own. Up until the last 60 or so years patriarchy, true, legitimate patriarchy has always been the order of society. Despite the ignorance of feminists protesting it, patriarchy has been a beneficial aspect of our advancement as a species since we formed tribal hunter-gatherer bands millennia ago. But that patriarchy depended on a simple doubt that formed men’s base sexual strategy – ensure his genes were passed into the next generation.

There are two ways a man can achieve this outcome. In The New Polyandry I explained men’s Strategic Pluralism Theory:

According to strategic pluralism theory (Gangestad & Simpson, 2000), men have evolved to pursue reproductive strategies that are contingent on their value on the mating market. More attractive men accrue reproductive benefits from spending more time seeking multiple mating partners and relatively less time investing in offspring. In contrast, the reproductive effort of less attractive men, who do not have the same mating opportunities, is better allocated to investing heavily in their mates and offspring and spending relatively less time seeking additional mates.

Essentially, men follow an ‘r’ or ‘K’ reproductive strategy according to their (perceived) sexual market value (SMV). Since a majority of men fall on the low SMV side of the reproductive equation social conventions that served those men’s reproductive interests had to be developed and standardized. The resolution of men’s Existential Fear needed to be instituted and standardized to ensure the largest number of men could be relatively certain that the children they sired were indeed their own.

A lot is made of women’s reproductive costs in academia. In a fem-centric social order it pays to focus on women’s suffrage/victimhood narrative. But, men bear reproductive costs in this equation as well. Men’s biological imperative is unlimited access to unlimited sexuality. Our best shot at sending our genes into the next generation is ‘spreading the seed’. Our biological hardware is made to do just this, but there are costs and obstacles to solving the reproductive problem. And the easiest solution for men has always been exercise their direct control over women’s sexual strategy. Imposing our natural strength (in many forms) on women has historically ensured that it’s women who were the ones to compromise their sexual strategy in favor of men.

Patriarchy & Monogamy

Socially enforced monogamy was the least barbaric of those compromises, but in this century destroying that monogamy has been a priority for the Feminine Imperative. In theory, socially enforced monogamy was the most beneficial mating strategy for largest number of (low SMV) men to solve their reproductive problem. But the fact remained that it was still an exercise of control over women’s Hypergamous natures. In essence, monogamy worked for men, and it was beneficial as a compromise in parental investment for women, but it also assumed direct a control over women’s sexual selection process.

Patriarchy and monogamy answered a woman’s Hypergamous doubt for her, and that is the crux of women’s Existential Fear – to have the control of her Hypergamy, her selection process, and ultimately the cost associated with that choice determined for her. This fear is exactly why the primary goal of feminism has always been the maximal unlimiting of women’s sexuality and the maximal restricting of men’s sexuality. It seeks to replace the social-scale compromise of the Cardinal Rule of Sexual Strategies with the total capitulation of the male strategy. Today, the Gynocracy has achieved this almost entirely.

But for one sex’s strategy to succeed, the other’s must be compromised or abandoned. For a gynocentric social order, only men’s abandonment of their own strategy is acceptable – and this abandonment insists men deny the evolved imperative of their own Existential Fear – insisting on paternity.

In the evolved scheme of things men’s reproductive best interest involves sacrifices. When a man commits to parental investment with a woman he takes on sunk cost risks. The time he spends investing himself committed to one woman and the children they produce comes at the cost of reproductive opportunities with other women. Women’s sexual strategy necessitates he compromise or abandon his biological imperative. Naturally, both men and women have adapted ways to circumvent monogamy to optimize their sexual strategies (infidelity, short-term breeding schema), but the basic equation is the same; if a man is invested in one woman it limits him from seeking other (potentially better) reproductive opportunities. If you want to know why Plate Theory irks women so much look no further.

The only way this compromise of sexual strategy can be advantageous to men is if he can be relatively assured that the child he’s raising is his own. This is where men’s Existential Fear of paternity fraud begins. He cedes his own strategy and the sunk opportunity cost for reproduction in exchange for the certainty that he’s invested in a child that bears his name and his blood.

I call this men’s Existential Fear because denying men the certainty of paternity presents the same existential anxieties as a woman’s control of Hypergamous doubt taken from her. Women fear the idea of being forced to birth and raise the child of a suboptimal man not of her choosing, while men fear the idea of being deceived into raising a child not of their own genetic lineage. And until the advent of DNA testing only a woman could be certain that the child was her own.

This is root level stuff here. So important was the determination of paternity for men that an obsessive concern for it was written into our mental firmware. The risks of falling for paternity deception was that important, and the men who evolved this compulsion were selected-for. The reason we Mate Guard, the reason our hindbrains default to jealous suspicions, the reason we cannot bear the thought of another man mating with our woman is rooted in the fear of investing ourselves in a child not our own.

In the previous essay I mentioned the natural revulsion response humans have towards things that are inherently harmful to us. A reservation or revulsion of snakes, spiders, feces, rot and necrosis are part of the evolved firmware we’re born with. I would also argue that the revulsion women feel towards “creepy” (low SMV, Beta) men and the revulsion men feel towards “slutty” women is part of this. Both these revulsions are adaptational protections against our respective Existential Fears. Each represents our Instinctual Interpretive Process letting us know what our ancestors had to avoid.

The Mentor

“But Rollo, isn’t it a noble thing to adopt or mentor a child that is not your own?”

I get this response a lot when I discuss this, and yes, it absolutely can be when the choice to do so is of your own making. In fact, the reason adoption/mentoring seems such a noble undertaking is exactly because it requires a man to repress his natural concern for his ow paternity. Kinship affinity will always play a role in men and women’s relationships with the next generation. Human beings are innately tribal and familial because tribalism promotes the advancement of selected genes. So repressing this innate predisposition is exceptional, maybe even noble depending on the social context, but it is so because it requires a man to ignore his natural wiring. For what it’s worth, I think multi-generational mentorship in Red Pill awareness is going to be a new imperative in the coming decades.

It’s just this pushing past our natural, evolved, concerns about paternity that’s been the operative dynamic of the Feminine Imperative in consolidating power. The human revulsion response can be molded. Usually this is through some form of operant conditioning. Revulsion can even be conditioned to be associated with pleasure. The Feminine Imperative has been remolding men’s evolved need for paternity to its own ends for some time now.

The popularization of ‘Poly Relationships is one of the more recent redirects of men’s paternity need. As I mentioned above, the goal state of the Feminine Imperative is ensuring that women’s sexual strategy – and anything that foments it – is the socially ‘correct‘ imperative. Men must become more like women if they want to be accepted by a social order defined by women’s experiences. Men’s sexual strategy is only acceptable when it serves a woman’s purpose, so men’s existential imperative of ensuring paternity is always going to be in conflict with women’s strategy. A man insisting on his own paternity and the perpetuation of his name is in direct conflict with women ensuring she chooses to breed with the best specimen and be provided for by the best male she can lock down.

This being the mechanics of it, it comes as no surprise that the social conventions of this era encourage men to abandon that evolved need. We make “heroes” of men who marry the single mother and assume the parental investment costs of the man she chose to breed with. A fem-centric society makes this a noble responsibility – “He Manned Up for the loser who wouldn’t take that responsibility” – all while ignoring the simple fact that this ‘hero’ is only completing women’s Hypergamous imperative. And it’s come to the point that a man abandoning his sexual strategy is part of women’s expectations and entitlements of Beta men.

For the men who insist on their own strategy, the message is one of shame. Only a man who’s “insecure in his masculinity” would think that a child would need to be his own. In fact, the very title of “father” is offensive to a social order based fulfilling women’s imperatives. Father’s Day must become, ‘special persons’ day‘. Men should never insist that a wife assume his last name. And of course, DNA testing to determine paternity (even in light of life threatening illness) is to be discouraged if not outlawed.

Now You Know

In The War on Paternity I explored a lot of the ways our feminine-primary social order ensures women’s sexual strategy stays the operative one. Our divorce laws, our child support and custody laws all center on one thing – making sure women’s imperatives supersede men’s need for paternity certainty. Even when a child is not biologically a man’s, he has no right to know the truth, but he has every expectation to be financially and emotionally responsible for the “best interests of the child.”

Going forward I think the Red Pill aware man must embrace his existential need for paternity – and do so fearlessly. If a new beneficent patriarchy is to take root then men will need to reject the social conventions that insist a woman’s sexual strategy be the preeminent one. I think mentorship of the next generations of young men should also be emphasized, but I think this needs to be a conscious decision of the men doing so. Today we have the decision to be a ‘cuckold’ made for us proactively and retroactively by women and a feminine-primary social narrative. If you’re an adoptive father then I salute you, but understand, at least you had the decision to make yourself. Most men’s decisions to be the step-dad only amounts to him acquiescing to supporting the decisions of women. 43% of births today are out of wedlock, either electively or based on a bad decision by that mother. We also call single mothers ‘heroes’.

My advice to men today is to be aware of the game you’re involved in with respect to how your need to know paternity is being used against you. That need is well known to the Feminine Imperative and has always been a threat to its interests. Make your own decisions to mentor based on that knowledge and never marry a single mother. If you do so understand that your sacrifices of this paternity need will never be appreciated by women. You may believe it’s the “right thing to do”, the moral choice, but in doing so you absolve both the woman who made her decision for you and the biological father of their total responsibility (and the underlying evolutionary reasons) to consequences of that decision.

Remember,…

WOMEN HATE BETAS in fact they hate them so much that they would prefer to work soul destroying jobs to support themselves than attach themselves to a Beta provider that wants to fuck them and impregnate them with his shitty beta genetics.

Are you really willing to accept that your paternity need counts for so little? Are you willing to accept this truth and fulfill a woman’s life strategy in spite of it because you believe it’s your moral imperative to do so?

Instinct, Emotion and Reason

Before I dig in here today I want to give credit where it’s due. I was inspired to consider what I’m about to go into here by a quick-hit Tweet from Illimitable Man. I didn’t bookmark it so I apologize for not linking it here today, but the general gist of it was about the mental processes humans go through when we’re presented with environmental stimuli that demands interpretation and a behavioral response. I considered this process quite a bit while I was studying behavioral psychology – Instinct, Emotion and Reason (or rationality if you prefer) – and I’m almost embarrassed that I haven’t covered this in terms of a Red Pill perspective in over 600 essays now.

The idea is fairly simple; when we are prompted by environmental (and sometimes internal) stimuli human beings process this information using three psychological mechanisms – our primal instincts, our emotional interpretations and our rational (reason) facilities. I’m not sure these processes get their proper due in Red Pill theory today.  I’ve detailed all of these processes individually for years on this blog, but generally they were outlined in the context of whatever topic I was focusing on. In this essay I’m going to elaborate on these aspects individually. Later, as part of this series, I’ll explore how they act in concert for our overall cognitive process, and then how they influence intersexual and intersocial dynamics. I think this is a useful exercise because a lot of foundational Red Pill ideas stem from these processes as well as the social conventions and interpretive priorities the Feminine Imperative relies on today.

For sake of clarity I am going to use a few behavioral psych terms like stimuli in this essay. This isn’t to throw $10 words at you, it’s just easier to elaborate on these processes with abstract terms. For example, when I use stimuli I mean any physical, environmental or cognitive prompt that our conscious or unconscious mind demands an interpretation, processing of and response to. That can be a wide variety of things so, stimuli serves as a general term.

Lastly, the following here is my interpretation of these processes. While a lot of this will align pretty well with established theories, this is my take on them and not some official, settled science of facts. If you think I’m full of shit please tell me why, this is still a work in progress for me.

Instinct

Instinct seems like the easiest of these processes to understand, but it’s really the cognitive aspect that’s most misunderstood, marginalized and often demonized. The reason for this is because our instincts reside in our subconscious (hindbrain) processing of stimuli. When I refer to men or women’s evolved mental firmware in my essays it’s our instinctual process that I’m referring to. These are the unlearned, inborn aspects of our human nature that influence the other processes and remain largely in our subconscious. Our instinctual processing is a direct result of our evolution. It evolved as a vitally necessary aspect of our cognitive processing in that it aided in our ability to survive in, and adapt to, a chaotic, primal environment when food was scarce, predators and rivals wanted us dead, and reproductive opportunities and raising a child to a survivable age were at a premium.

There are a lot of examples of our instinct level processing and each instinctual response triggers more complex processing up the cognitive chain through emotion and reason. If we were presented with a dangerous stimuli (a sabertooth tiger) our instinctual process triggers a fight or flight response physically in our bodies (adrenaline release). Needless to say this was an evolved adaptation that served our species well and was passed along genetically as part of our mental firmware. I’m going to use some simplistic examples here but, if you really want to dig into our preloaded mental firmware and how we developed it I would suggest looking into the earlier works of Dr. Steven Pinker and The Red Queen by Matt Ridley (I’ll post links in the comments).

Another example is human beings’ innate fear (reservations at least) of snakes and spiders – poisonous animals that looked easy to kill, but could kill humans without warning. That’s an example of relatively beneficial firmware, but the reason instinct gets a bad rep is due to the instincts that once were beneficial to us individually, but are less beneficial to us socially. Greed and gluttony were very practical, instinctually motivated behaviors that stemmed from a need to survive in a time when resources were scarce. Today greed is (mostly) seen as anti-social and a compulsion to overeat in a time when food is abundant is why we presently have an obesity epidemic.

Those are easily understood examples, but where things get more complex is in how our instinctual process influences the other processes (emotion and reason). Instinct gets demonized because in our ‘enlightened‘ era we like to believe that instinct is more trouble than it is beneficial. Most of that is due to a belief that our other processes are superior to (or at least should supersede) our instincts. Most of what we call sin or immoral behavior is motivated by the instinctual process. In fact, the only time our instinctual awareness and reactions are really credited with anything positive is when it gets us out of some life threatening situation or it leads to some prosocial outcome. For instance, the male instinct to protect women by putting ourselves between them and danger; that’s an instinct and resultant behavior (seemingly altruistic male self-sacrifice) that gets a lot of praise in our feminine-primary social order. However, for the most part, we tend to judge ‘baser instincts’ as a net negative.

The truth about the instinctual process is that none of our other processes function at full efficiency without it. Today, as a result of our feminine-primary acculturation, we want to relegate instinct’s influence to something “we’ve evolved beyond”. The popular consensus is we’ve raised ourselves above base instincts by either acknowledging the importance of the emotional process or that rationality and the self-control based on it immunizes us from its influence. Not only are these belief foolish and hubristic, they’re provably untrue. When it comes to concepts like the ‘selfish gene‘ and the physical differences in the evolved instinctual processes of men and women, it becomes necessary for a social order based on blank-slate equalism to demonize and marginalize the influence of, and behaviors attributed to, instinct.

The survival benefits and behaviors that make up the instinctual process were so necessary that they had to become part of our unconscious species firmware. Because the instinctual process is part of our animalistic hindbrain mental subroutines it’s something we have little or no direct control over until its effect is brought (often forced) into our conscious awareness. As such, and because we prefer to think of ourselves as emotional and rational beings, we tend to think of the influence of instinct as something we either have or need to have mastery over, and to a large extent this mastery makes sense. The truth is that instinct is an aspect of ourselves that needs to be controlled as well as embraced depending on circumstances.

Emotion

From an evolutionary perspective, the emotional process of interpreting stimuli is a mechanism of how our brains and biochemistry interact to affect our moods, demeanor and ’emotionality’ in response to both instinctual cues and the raw information of stimuli itself. Furthermore, the emotional process can also be influenced and/or modified by the rational process. I’m trying to be concise here, but our emotional response to information/stimuli is very much an evolved dynamic with latent purposes and practical functionalities. I’m making this distinction here because for millennia we’ve raised the effects of emotion to a mythical, metaphysical, importance.

While emotion often has immediate effects on us, emotion also has long term effect with regard to the stimuli it processes. There are dozens of definitions of emotions and there’s no way I’m going to lay them all out for you here. However, popular psychology asserts that there are as many as ten and as few as six base emotions:

  • Anger.
  • Disgust.
  • Fear.
  • Happiness.
  • Sadness.
  • Surprise.

Sometimes Contempt is added to this list. If these seem overly simplistic they are, again, abstracts to build more complex emotions on (some paleo-researchers insist there are only four base emotions across our evolved ethno-histories). For our purposes these base emotions will serve to show the connections between the instinctual process which prompts them and the rational process that modifies and sometimes informs them.

Each of these emotional responses is prompted by how our senses, brain and then instinctual process interprets a stimuli. Again, using our sabertooth tiger example, the instinctual process determines imminent danger and triggers a synaptic and hormonal response to that danger. As a result of that instinctual process an emotional process and response is triggered – likely fear (flight in most cases), but sometimes anger (fight).

Another example: you see an arousing woman (stimuli) at a party who is displaying behavioral cues and environmental indicators of interest (IOIs). Your instinctual process determines a high potential for a reproductive opportunity. From there the emotional process kicks in: hormones and dopamine (and not a small testosterone spike) that your instinctual process triggered flushes your system and serves as the basis for your emotional process to form an emotional response to the same stimuli. If it all passes the smell test that response (hopefully) will be happiness (and a little surprise mixed in).

There is a visceral biochemical interrelation between emotion and the stimuli/instinct relation that prompts the reaction. Adrenaline is one easy example, another is oxytocin or the “love hormone”. This is a bit of a mischaracterization of the hormone. Oxytocin induces feelings of trust and comfort and is thought to be a significant factor in human’s forming pair bonds and parental investments. There’s a lot more to oxytocin’s implications to our evolution than that, but for now lets look at how our biology influences the emotional process.

We proceed from stimuli to an instinctual response. If there is nothing mitigating that response (such as a rationally learned buffer to mitigate it) the next step in the chain is a biological reaction to that instinct – such as dumping adrenaline into our bloodstream or a post-orgasm flush of oxytocin after sex. From there the emotional process picks up the interpretation of this information as prompted by the cocktail of chemicals moving through our bloodstream and affecting our mental and physical interpretation of that stimuli. That biochemical factor prompts one, or a combination, of the base emotions listed above.

From there more complex emotions (feelings) and combinations thereof begin to form an emotional interpretation and response. This emotional response can be anything from a fast, reflexive one to a more nuanced and contemplative one. Furthermore, this emotional interpretation and response can also be modified by our rational mental process as well as our gendered capacity to process emotions. One thing to bear in mind about our emotional process is that it can imprint its interpretations into our ‘hard memory’ – sometimes so significantly that the memory of that stimuli can re-trigger that physical and emotional response.

Gender-modified interpretation of our emotion process is an important aspect to consider in Red Pill praxeology and one I’ll be elaborating on in the next part of this series. Until recently the accepted ‘science‘ about our emotional process has been based on a blank-slate equalist approach to emotion. In fact we still suffer from the outdated presumptions of academia that both men and women process emotion in the same manner, and, in theory, ought to be expected to have an equal capacity to interpret, respond and express emotion. In light of new technology and new research in a variety of interrelated disciplines we know this is old presumption is patently untrue. Men and women have different mental hardware and are born with different mental firmware. Both sexes interpret and process emotion in gender-specific manners.

I’ll be getting into the personal and social implications that the legacy of this (deliberate) misunderstanding presents in the next essay. For now it’s important to consider that human beings have an innate predisposition to elevate the emotional process above instinct and reason. Likely this is due the to the survival dependency we had on our feelings in our evolutionary past. In a time when we lacked the greater rational facilities and information we’ve developed in our more recent past, depending on and learning from emotion, and the latent purposes it serves, was a species-beneficial system. We depended on our emotions to guide our behaviors (long and short term) for us more in our prehistory when we lacked the more developed rational process we take for granted now. Emotions served latent evolutionary purposes for us in our prehistory and today are still overly emphasized – often to metaphysical attributes – as superior to reason. More on this soon.

Reason

The final piece of our interpretive process is reason, or rationality (I’ll use these interchangeably). Ironically, for all of the social preconceptions that our emotions have made us “more evolved” above instinct, it is our rational process that has evolved us above both instinct and emotion. From and evolutionary standpoint our rational process is a relatively recent development; pushing us past the limitations of instinct and emotion. The definition of rationality is the quality of being based on or in accordance with reason or logic. It is the quality of being able to think sensibly or logically and being endowed with the capacity to reason.

Biologically it’s postulated that our larger brains allowed us to develop a capacity for reason, but that doesn’t mean other animals lack the same facility, it’s just that the rational process is less developed (some would say less environmentally necessary) in those animals by order of degree. Dogs, for example, rely primarily on the instinctual process and the mental (vestigial) firmware they’re born with to solve most of their existential/environmental problems. That doesn’t mean that they lack the ability to learn and form novel (adaptive) behaviors using a rudimentary form of logic. Animals can be taught things, but their capacity to form novel ideas and behaviors is limited to their cognitive abilities. Humans, being the apex species on the planet, had the leisure to take the time necessary to evolve a capacity for logic and as such the rational process developed in us.

Of all our interpretive processes reason is the one that takes the longest to function. Our rational process forms our interpretation of stimuli based on information dissociated from the interpretations of instinct and emotion. Reason requires (accurate) knowledge derived from learning and experience, but there is also an improvisational element to the process.

Before I get too far in the weeds here I need to make a distinction; what I’m outlining is the rational mental process we employ to interpret and interact with stimuli, not rationality, the concept of reason or rationalism. That’s important because it’s all too easy to get lost in philosophical implications of reason when we look at the process of how we come to it.

As mentioned above, the rational process modifies the instinctual and emotional processes. Example, in high school, in drivers ed class, we’re taught to turn into a skid rather than turn with the skid. When we’re driving and we find ourselves in a skid our instinctive impulse is to slam on the the breaks and/or, worse still, to turn with the skid. Our self-preservation instincts tells us to do this, but all it does is make a precarious situation worse. However, when we’re taught, and we practice, not hitting the brakes and not turning into the skid, we make this our default reaction and we avoid disaster. This is the rational process interpreting a stimuli and forming a novel behavior that modifies the interpretation of the instinctual process.

The limitation of the rational process is in its necessity to take time to interpret information and develop a new apparatus. Where instinct and emotion are intimately linked with our biological hardware and psychological firmware, the rational process is dissociated from them in the same immediacy. Instinct and emotion are processes that evolved from a survival-need for fast interpretation and reaction. The rational process requires time, repetition and the right biological structures to be effective. Human beings are remarkably fast learners (even with complex challenges), but the learning that the rational process leads to is slow in comparison to instinct and emotion – which are essentially preloaded firmware in humans.

The rational process deals with the nuts and bolts of what we can understand of our reality. From there it can modify the other processes or it can serve to interpret stimuli on its own.

In the next part of this series I’ll be exploring how these cognitive processes interact and cooperate and conflict with each other. I will also consider the gendered advantages and disadvantages these processes represent to our individual experiences as men and women and the influence they play in intersexual and intersocial dynamics.