Are security and freedom incompatible?

Social and economic security as well as the ability to enjoy sexual freedom in a classic (patriarchal) relationship seem to be incompatible. Very few people are able to effectively balance these over the long term.

Women want security. Which is understandable, since women bear children and invest so much in their offspring. Thus the collapse of economic security and the social system is a nightmare for them. However, they would also like to have freedom – as long as it doesn’t endanger their security. This means women often sacrifice their freedom in favor of security. This can be frustrating.

Men also want security. But in general, freedom is their top priority. From a biological perspective, they invest less in their offspring. In most cases, they are also much less willing to invest money and time than women are. In classic couple relationships men often feel trapped, and they frequently sacrifice their entire economic security in order to regain their original freedom. This often takes the form of alimony, which is likewise frustrating.

In the traditional patriarchal couple relationship, the female looks for security precisely with somebody who prefers freedom – strange, isn’t it?

Indeed, those are two very different „business models“. But how can we solve this systematic relationship problem? Security and freedom are hard to blend!

In matriarchal or matrilinear families, each child – whether male or female – remains in the care of the mother, who provides lifelong security. Intimate relationships or friendships exist outside of the family: monogamous, polygamous or promiscuous; short or long-term, depending on one’s preference – it’s pure freedom!

Yours,

Robert Anatol Stein

(c) all rights reserved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013

 

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The perversion of evolution

On the morning news I saw a report about a car accident caused by deer crossing Germany’s streets. It’s mating season right now, when “love-crazy” animals may unexpectedly run across the street. The consequences of a collision between a vehicle and a roe buck were impressively demonstrated on a car. The unbelievable, official countermeasure is the proposed installation of warning signs on roads in danger zones. Then, all deer will be systematically caught, equipped with a collar with a radio signal and let go again. When an animal with the radio signal collar approaches a street, the warning signs are activated. This would at least allow cooperative drivers to reduce their speed, according to the plan.

I will not raise the question regarding what happens to the animals without these radio collars, nor what happens on the majority of the streets, which are not equipped with these warning signs. Neither will I ask what happens when the radio collars’ batteries wear out, or when collared animals get caught in branches or on fences.

Instead, I will ask: why is the primary patriarchal strategy always focused on changing the environment to suit humans’ needs, and not the other way around? What short-sighted nonsense! Again and again, we intervene in precisely the cause and effect relationship of a huge, naturally developed climate and ecosystem which are in balance. Then we wonder how we create several undesirable symptoms, usually in unexpected places. How little respect we show the basis of our existence, and how arrogant it is to believe that all the problems resulting from this disrespect can be kept under control!

Many of these interventions are even carried out against our better judgement; we know that the intensive use of oil and clearing the rainforest is an absolute death sentence for the world’s climate, but few people take action against it. We still drive petroleum-powered cars, we still take airplanes. Our journey along this road to ruin is nearly irrevocable. We can already see the consequences of climate change, and already the generations of our children and grandchildren will be faced with a hard struggle to secure living space and scarce resources.

The matriarchal attitude isn’t characterized by this ignorance. The laws of nature dictate that one must adapt to ones environment as best as possible in order to survive. The entire evolution of life progressed according to this principle. It is only the patriarchal system which tries to pervert this natural law. In contrast, matriarchal peoples adapt to their environment, not the other way around. They try to live in harmony and according to the rhythm of nature. They only take as much as is absolutely necessary, and as much as can be replenished, from our mother Earth (subsistence economy).

In that first example with car accidents due to deer crossings, this would have meant that –if one absolutely needs individual, motorized transport – at least technical changes would be made to the vehicles so that the vehicle would slow automatically when approaching animals crossing the street (as well as other mobile and immobile obstacles). Systems such as Doppler radar or thermal imaging are two possibilities which would not only prevent collisions with wild game; they could also prevent collisions with pedestrians or other vehicles. The technical requirements for such systems have already been developed, but certain lobbies have been able to successfully block such advancements for a long time…

Meanwhile, if you ask me,I’ll opt to go by train or bike and kindly leave our wild animals alone.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Anatol Stein

(c) all rights reserved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013

 


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The devaluation of the feminine

Patriarchal men perceive women and in particular mothers as having strange or different (other) behavior. A large portion of our gender-specific behavior is due to the “basic patriarchal injustices” or the different forms of upbringing and socialization which lead to the dissociation of precisely these personality traits, which are respectively considered to be typical of the opposite sex. However, it is certain that sex hormones also influence our behavior (see the article on testosterone poisoning).

The less men are integrated into a familial and social environment, for instance, and the more they are pressured to compete with each other, the higher their testosterone concentration is. Vice versa, higher testosterone values also lead to more dominant and aggressive behavior, which gives rise to competition and conflicts in the sensitive social fabric. When considered systematically and cyclically, an effect becomes a cause, which in turn strengthens the effect. Cause and effect blend together at some point: this is the well-known chicken and egg problem, a pattern which can also be found in the structure of relationships.

When a man produces very little testosterone, or none at all, he becomes „feminized“, according to the prevailing doctrine. This perspective is quite strange, since a man neither starts to produce estrogen, nor does his sexual orientation change, nor do his primary sexual organs disappear. Only his body hair and facial hair growth lessen, along with his musculature and fertility rate. Thus it is more of a “regressive” development or an “infantilization”. But where does this mistaken belief come from?

From the traditional patriarchal, male perspective, being female and being a child are nearly the same! A woman’s minimal body hair, particularly the lack of facial hair, the higher voice, the smaller body size, even the lack of muscle strength have contributed to this mistaken idea for centuries, likewise fed by the accumulation of power which men have attained through this. Women have been disempowered and, just like children, they have been declared to be property. In traditional patriarchies, the feminine never had a position of its own, separate from that of children, which more or less has created an omnipotent position for the masculine. Our language and its applications express this in countless ways. And language possesses great power, for it shapes thought, and thoughts shape and formulate language. Again it’s a cycle in which, from a systematic perspective, cause and effect blur together. In German, the omnipotence of the masculine is expressed in the forms of address “Herr Schulze”(master Schultze) and “Frau Schulze”(woman Schultze). Why not use the completely symmetrical “Mann Schultze”(man Schultze)? (see the initiative Anrede Mann for more on this).

The devaluation of the feminine to the infantile has not only been the greatest mistake of patriarchal man, it is also the seed of a repressive ideology which has persisted for a millenium. It was decisively shaped and reinforced by Biblical theology and metaphors, for example the metaphor in which women supposedly originated from Adam’s rib. It should be mentioned at this point that devaluation in and of itself is likewise only a consequence of patriarchal attitudes. In matriarchal societies, there are no “judgemental comparisons”. Each family member has the same value, whether child, woman or man, and whether they are healthy or disabled.

In contrast to the patriarchal ideology, the feminine possesses a completely unique, specific, creative and spiritual dimension. From an evolutionary-biological perspective, one must acknowledge that in its history of origin, the masculine emerged from the feminine, since the principle of sexuality is a more recent invention of our mother earth, which enables us to adapt faster and with more precision to changing life conditions. Thankful, respectful and at the same time full of love and devotion, we should once again restore the feminine to the position it deserves in our world and in our values system.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Anatol Stein

(c) all rights reseved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013


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Do women think differently than men?

In my experience, when it comes to emotional intelligence women are naturals. This is not only a widespread cliché; it can also be explained biologically.

In the human brain there are specific regions for emotions and rational thinking in each hemisphere of the brain. Among women, the two halves of the brain are better connected, which enables women to quickly translate emotions into purpose-driven, rational action. Vice versa, a rational thought can more easily lead to strong emotions among women. For example, a woman is much more likely to stop eating meat after seeing an appalling TV documentary about the conditions of slaughterhouses in Germany (emotion leads to rational action). On the other hand, the news that ones best friend is pregnant or finally got a higher paying job can elicit tears of joy (rational information leads to emotion). Among prototypical males, this type of behavior isn’t as common or pronounced.

It is not only the better cooperation of the two brain hemispheres which enables women to develop emotional intelligence, it is also thanks to the network of “mirror neurons”, which are located throughout the brain. These neurons have only one task: recognizing the emotional messages expressed by your communication partner and eliciting the same emotions in your own mind. However, normally there is “affective resonance”; i.e. you don’t just recognize the emotions of your vis-á-vis, you also feel the emotions yourself – sadness leads to empathized sadness, and anger leads to anger (sometimes we get angry in solidarity with the other person; sometimes our anger is directed towards our vis-á-vis). This is a biological mechanism which is responsible for the social phenomenon of empathy.

This system of the mirror neurons is trained through intensive social interaction with other people and in particular by interacting with small children and babies, who initially communicate almost exclusively with non-verbal, emotional messages. Young girls seem to often intuitively prefer social games (dolls, playing “house”), which train their mirror neuron systems; while boys, at least in our patriarchal world, frequently prefer technical toys or games based on movement, which train other brain skills. Empathy is the possibility to understand the needs of others without words. It is the trigger for understanding, compassion and the ability to consider things from a different perspective. It motivates us to help, protect, care for and to trust others.

Among other things, empathy explains why there is such a high percentage (over 90%)of women in social professions such as nursery school teachers, nurses and carers for the elderly. At the same time, in our patriarchal world, these career groups are among the lowest paid. What a telling symptom of the patriarchy, that the ability to operate and maintain machines and technical equipment is considered to be more valuable than the ability to care for people and look after their well-being. This is enough to make me sad, but it is only one of many unbelievably misanthropic symptoms of the patriarchy.

Is it simply a lack of empathy and affective resonance which prevents men from standing up against these forms of injustice towards women?

Sincerely yours,

Robert Anatol Stein

(c) all rights reserved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013

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Testosterone poisoning: myth or reality?

“Everyone knows that testosterone, the so-called male hormone, is found in both men and women. What is not so well known, is that men have an overdose… Until recently it has been thought that the level of testosterone in men is normal simply because they have it. But if you consider how abnormal their behavior is, then you are led to the hypothesis that almost all men are suffering from testosterone poisoning.”, 1975, Alan Alda, [1]

Something isn’t right with the world, everyone senses it. War, violence, destruction, reckless treatment of people, animals and natural resources is everywhere around us. But what causes people to hold fast to this tendency towards self destruction so convulsively? What stabilizes these patriarchal structures in such a seemingly irreversible way? Surely there are applicable explanations from the disciplines of sociology, psychology and even politics. Here I will mention two hypotheses:

From a psychological perspective, in the patriarchy there is a “pyschological murder of the mother” which leads to the drastic decay of motherly values (or matriarchal ideals) among young boys: caring attention, unconditional love, leniency, empathy, sense of community, emotionality, spirituality, connection with nature). Boys aredenied the patriarchal process of becoming a man if they do not separate themselves from these motherly values and thus separate themselves from the mother. It starts with the old adage “boys don’t cry …”. In compensation for these systematically “instilled” deficits, boys develop into patriarchal, aggressive, rationalizing and emotionally underdeveloped men, who live according to the survival of the fittest and have lost their connection to nature and the source of their existence.

From a sociological perspective, a patriarchal nuclear family does not offer a protective environment oriented towards children’s needs.Children often fall between the cracks, as their parents are constantly overwhelmed by their jobs, household and childcare responsibilities, and often come from dysfunctional or broken families themselves.

In addition, the constraints of the relationship and the lack of sexual self-empowerment are often the ruin of patriarchal nuclear families. Violence in the family, painful separations and the isolation chamber of the relationship produces powerless and emotionally damaged children who have never seen the ideal of social competence(which they are supposed to strive towards as adults) as well as those who try to fill their inner emptiness with consumption goods, drugs and diversions or with riches and power.
These conditions seem to perpetuate the patriarchy, although I still believe personally in another stabilizing factor, which I will explain in my hypothesis:
Body, mind and soul were already considered by Wilhelm Reich – the founder of body-psychotherapy –to be a unity. Conflicts, mental attitudes and spiritual conditions directly affect the body, and thus affect the body’s endocrine system. Testosterone is considered to be the masculine hormone. Among men, it is present in the blood at ten to twenty times the concentration found in women. Despite the differing concentrations, it is responsible for the sexual drive and pleasure impulses among both sexes. Among men, the much higher dosage affects the secondary sexual characteristics, such as a deeper voice, facial hair, body hair and a stronger musculature, as well as a higher metabolism and a slightly higher body temperature. Studies also confirm a positive correlation between testosterone and social dominance, aggression and a disposition to violence (for example, refer to Mazur, [2], McDermott, [3]).

These are characteristics which also correlate with the effects of this hormone among other male mammals, which (among other motives) also explains the frequent surgical castration of male farm animals (such as stallions, bulls) but also pets (e.g. male dogs and cats). The fighting disposition may have also meant an evolutionary advantage in choosing partners, since the position of “alpha male” actually ensured this individual a higher rate of reproduction.However, a high level of testosterone also means a higher risk of injury, higher energy consumption, a lower life expectancy and overall weaker group cohesion due to constant competition. For this reason alone, evolution has developed other strategies, such as those of our closest relatives, the bonobos, who are considered to live in a matriarchal system and who are suprisingly much more similar to us in many respects than the chimpanzees. For example, apart from humans bonobos are the only species which can mate face to face, and they can get sick easily from the same germs which make humans sick. Male bonobos are considered to be much less dominant and aggressive than those of their chimpanzee relatives. Whereas there is constant competition and infighting among chimpanzees, in which the females are the lowest ranked and often beaten up by the males in their group, among bonobos sex and intimate contact plays an important role in solving conflicts and reducing tension. However, there is possibly a biological reason for this different behavior: a research team at the Max Planck Institute, under the direction of zoologist and bonobo researcher Gottfried Hohmann, determined with a urine test that bonobo males have a much lower testosterone level on average than male chimpanzees (see [7]).

If this were the case, bonobo males would have a drastically different puberty process, and wouldn’t have the displays of dominance which are typical for young male chimpanzees. This evolutionary strategy means that only particularly peaceful males can reproduce, since the females (who have a higher rank) prefer mating with males with whom they are already friends.As we see, even among closely related species of apes there are completely different principles of cohabitation. Whether the different levels of testosterone are the cause or result of these differences, however, is difficult to say (the chicken or the egg dilemma).

However, it is relatively certain that the high or low testosterone levels stabilize the aggressive behavior of the chimpanzees and the more peaceful behavior patterns of the bonobos: testosterone leads to aggressive behavior, and aggressive behavior stimulates testosterone production, while low levels of testosterone lead to a de-escalating behavior. In turn, the binding hormone oxytocin is produced, which facilitates closeness and social connections, which in turn lowers the testosterone level. Studies from Harvard University and Northwestern University in Evanston (Illinois) have shown that men who are closely involved with their families and take on many social responsibilities have lower levels of testosterone than those who live alone, see [4] and [5].In matriarchies, men are always involved in the social life of the community.

Studies have also shown that a violent environment or situations of being in competition with others leads to a higher concentration of testosterone among men, and the man with the highest level of testosterone is the one with the highest social rank. This mechanism is completely counteracted by the bonobos, and it is perhaps possible for people to likewise counteract it with the right lifestyle. Due to the physical and genetic similarities between bonobos and humans, I assume that not only bonobo males, but also men who live according to matriarchal principles also produce less testosterone on average and, as a result, are less dominant and violent. On the other hand, when men are more closely integrated in low-conflict and low-violence, familial contexts, this makes them produce less testosterone. It is presumably difficult to find confirmation of this in practice, since the men in the last few existing matriarchal cultures are exposed to the strongly patriarchal influences of their surroundings. In addition, the most remaining matriarchal forms of family are unfortunately not “pure forms”, since they have adopted more and more patriarchal elements over the centuries.
Considering the points outlined above, the term „testosterone poisoning“, which Alan Alda coined in the 1970s, takes on a whole new meaning: it is perhaps not only a socially critical, provocative new concept; it may also have an element which is based on endocrinological facts. From everyday experience, we know of further strange asymmetries between the sexes, which at least point to hormonal causes:

  • Men reach their climax in coitus within 3-5 minutes, while women need 20 minutes on average.
  • In our Western culture, men seem more libidinous, which can sometimes lead to a conspicuous sexualization of the female sex.
  • Men die on average 5 years earlier than women, although this difference can only be accounted for with a less healthy lifestyle (i.e. higher tobacco and alcohol consumption) in approximately half of the cases.
  • Men tend to bald, since hair follicles are often hypersensistive to one of the substances which testosterone gets broken up into (DHT), while strangely enough body hair increases with age.
  • Men suffer from early „primary hypertension“ (i.e. hypertension without an identifiable cause) more often than women

We are already so used to most of these asymmetries that they seem normal to us, and seem to even be “typically manly” characteristics. But could they perhaps only be a consequence of a patriarchal overdose of testosterone in the male body?Some of the asymmetries listed above stubbornly contradict the laws of evolution:
Women would logically prefer to mate with men with whom they could reach their sexual climax. Therefore, the characteristic of holding back orgasm for more than 20 minutes should have become widespread since it is under natural selection pressure. But this is clearly not the case, at least not from a statistical point of view. A lower level of testosterone concentration in the blood of men would lengthen the time leading up to orgasm, since the sexual (over)excitability would be reduced overall. This would not impair men’s ability to have an erection, since the erectile tissue in the penis would be used to this low level of testosterone (even prepuberty, boys can bring their penises to erection). Results of a study from the University of Washington (Seattle) found that in Bolivia there is even an indigenous tribe, the Tsimane people, whose men have only 1/3 of the testosterone level of men in Western societies, see [9]. Clearly, these men are still capable of reproducing!

At least according to the cliché, men seem to be more libidinous than women in the Western world. If one looks to matriarchal societies which are still in existence, however, the sexual urges between men and women seem to be more equal. Usually it is even the woman who has to take the first step. Of course this may have cultural or sociological causes, but it is still certain that a high concentration of testosterone influences the sexual instinct.
According to the British geneticist Steve Jones, testosterone weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to illness, as well as provoking more risky behavior. In addition, Jones claims that male castrates live up to 13 years longer (see [8]). Is this also a sign of a patriarchal testosterone overdose? In other words, would men with half as high testosterone concentrations perhaps live to be as old as women?
People have only been sedentary for several thousand years. As nomads, hunters and gatherers, we spent a great part of the day in the elements. Although our ancestors have worn clothes for several thousand years, people still have full heads of hair because one can lose more warmth via the head than other parts of the body. Another reason is that even our ancestors considered full hair to be a sign of beauty and health – among men as well as women. Therefore, a full head of hair was an important selection characteristic for men as well as women. Then how can it be possible that male hair loss could spread as widely as it has in our culture if this were the case? This phenomenon also makes sense in my theory of patriarchal testosterone excess. In other words, I imagine that among men with normal testosterone concentrations (i.e. half as high) there would be no baldness with aging.

As a last indication I would like to mention the increased amount of young men with primary hypertension, i.e. the form which has no physiological or organic causes and thus cannot be treated in any way other than by prescribing blood pressure-lowering medications. As studies by the Berlin Charite hospital and the University of Birmingham have shown, testosterone influences the function of the kidneys and the body’s salt levels, so that more sodium is bound in the body, see [6].

The presence of more cooking salt in one’s blood raises the blood pressure. This fact could be a further indication of a real excess of testosterone in men in patriarchal society. The testosterone concentrations which we consider to be normal in Western culture are not necessary for biological maleness. Due to the patriarchal way of life which requires the separation from the parental family and a competitive stance from early childhood onwards in nearly all areas of life, the testosterone levels among men could have been changed to a high level since the first patriarchal structures took hold (since around the Bronze period). More recent studies have also shown that men who grow up in a socially disadvantaged environment where violence is common later display more testosterone in their blood than men from more sheltered backgrounds.

If this thesis is accurate, then patriarchal as well as matriarchal societies would thus not only be stabilized simply with sociological factors, but also with biological factors.For example, an interesting and provocative question is: would an artificial change in the hormone levels make it easier to transition to another societal or family structure, or perhaps even make another structure possible in the first place?In order to prevent misunderstandings, I want to emphasize that testosterone is not the only cause of aggression or destructive behavior. There are triggers for aggression in both sexes, and from a psychological standpoint, they both have the same cause: long-term unfulfilled needs (psychological, social, individual).

However, the progression of aggression is different under the influence of testosterone: for behavioral-biological reasons, this aggression tends more strongly towards physical violence and also correlates with dominant behaviorand the determination of social hierarchies (among mammals: the so-called ritualized fights). Insofar, testosterone is not necessarily a hormone conducive to consensus-oriented thinking, equal rights and nonviolence, but in high enough concentrations, it facilitates the opposite tendencies. This condition has which at least been long since confirmed on an intuitive level.

What if the term coined by Alan Alda in 1975 – „testosterone poisoning“ – turned out to be biologically confirmed?  If so, it could bring matriarchal research a good step forward and open entirely new horizons.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Anatol Stein

(c) all rights reserved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013

Sources and references:
[1] Alan Alda, “What Every Woman Should Know About Men”, Ms., New York, October 1975
[2] Mazur, A. & Booth, A. (1998) Testosterone and dominance in men. Behavioral & Brain Sciences 21:353–397.
[3] McDermott, R. (2007) “Testosterone and Aggression in a Simulated Crisis Game” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 614, No. 1, 15-33.(2007)
[4] http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/sexualhormon-ehemaenner-haben-weniger-testosteron-a-197795.html [5] http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/sexualhormon-vaterschaft-senkt-testosteronspiegel-im-blut-a-785935.html
[6] http://www.innovations-report.de/html/berichte/medizin_gesundheit/bericht-44241.html
[7] http://www.wdr.de/tv/quarks/sendungsbeitraege/2011/0301/002_mann.jsp
[8] Jones, Steve (2002) „Y. The Descent of Men“, Little, Brown, London
[9] http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/mensch/tsimane-maenner-haben-ueberraschend-wenig-testosteron-a-824087.html

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Love versus approval

Most of us first experience love from our mothers, who gave birth to us. A mother puts no conditions on her love and she loves us just the way we are, even if we can’t do anything on our own and have continual needs. Of course fathers love their children too, but in our patriarchal world something else often enters into the mix: expectations, a pressure to live up to certain standards. They compare and assess, correct and criticize. A child often responds with motivation, or an intense or vague feeling of not measuring up, not being perfect, and instead feeling ashamed of his or her (seeming) imperfection. These are damaging feelings, and their short-term antidote is approval. But the solution is only temporary. The destructive feelings quickly return, and a continual dependency sets in, because our self-worth is now dependent on success and approval. But where does the mother’s love end up in the midst of everything?

Unconditional love is considered to be of less value in our patriarchal world because it doesn’t cost anything. Only that which has a price can be valued in the patriarchal system of values. By contrast, approval takes a lot – it requires effort, dignity and vitality:

  • It takes effort to constantly bend ourselves to do things that we don’t actually want to do and to be someone we are not.
  • It takes our dignity when we are humiliated by constantly being evaluated and compared with others.
  • It takes our vitality, sapping our life energy through the process of accomodating, denying and enduring humiliation (“emotional detachment”)

Thus we learn to seek approval instead of love early on, and only later do we realize that we are being terribly deceived. Striving for approval, also approval of our selves by our own inner critic, makes us sick. The lost self-esteem and self love destabilizes us, wears us out and makes us age faster. Likewise, we project our inner lives onto the outer world, we assess and judge and use approval as a form of power by withholding or giving our approval sparingly. In doing so, our hearts harden and our ability to love diminishes.

Approval is just as impossible to sustain as our patriarchal world, since it is dependant on performing a service and making a sacrifice. Love, on the other hand, is sustainable. At the same time it’s a form of energy. Love is free, and it flows. Love can be neither kept nor accumulated. The love which you receive, you pass on or give back. If one doesn’t do so, the flow of love ceases. Therefore, love is completely pure and free from manipulation, deception and egotistic motives. Love can only flow when one begins to love oneself; otherwise love cannot circulate through us and we cannot pass it on. You can only truly love when you have a good relationship with yourself, when you love yourself. When you love yourself, you will be loved and be able to feel love for everyone else.

Sincerely,

Robert Anatol Stein
 
(c) all right reserved by Robert Anatol Stein, 2013
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