Before my retirement I worked in the high-tech industry of Silicon Valley. It was my observation that most successful professional women I’ve known were more assertive and goal oriented, characteristics largely attributed to men. But they were few in numbers. I keep returning to Of Modern Times and the Caveman where I describe how the caveman in us is still ever present. The cave women stayed at the cave to raise the cave family and take care of domestic tasks like skinning game and caring for the cave kids while the cavemen went out hunting for food. So socially and genetically women were more adept at social activities and caregiving for their cave family and community. Cavemen on the other hand were genetically more athletic as required for good hunters and more adept at focusing on the kill. Estrogen is associated with mild temperament suitable for domestic social interactive life while Progesterone is associated with much more physical and aggressive focus for the kill of the hunter. So there are genetic factors that differentiate temperament and drive between men and women based upon skills needed for cave day survival.
The key words are temperament and focus. In the modern world high level jobs have become largely related to mental focus and aggressive temperament. It is an extremely competitive working world. To get ahead one must be the best or have the drive to fight to be best. That killer instinct is what employers are looking for when hiring or promoting one person over another, all other thing being about equal. That is why women do not do well in such jobs so lacking in social skill requirements. This may seem a reasonable expectation for advanced high tech societies but I’d like to challenge this conventional wisdom.
Our aggressive pursuit of technology and advancements in industry have had many undesirable consequences. We have given up life at home for existence on the job. We have strayed too far from the ways of the caveman which our bodies and minds were most adept at. As cavemen we used to go hunting perhaps once every four days. So cavemen spent most of their time back in the cave with his cave women and cave children in a fairly social and low stress environment.
Today’s modern high tech man works 10 to 16 hours per day away from home in an environment that is constantly at moderate to high stress levels. His aggressive drive is equally constant and elevated. Even at home the working man is thinking about work and doesn’t even know how to function there which creates more stress and aggressive behavior. This takes a physically and mentally toll both at work and at home with the family. No rest for the wicked. Men’s dysfunction at home is due to the lack of spending quality time there as well as not making it a high priority. Home is largely a relic of the stone age caveman days.
Women have strayed much less from their cave women natures. Until the last 20-30 years they had previously stayed home and taken care of the family. However in the last 20 years they have started to migrate in increasing numbers to the workplace simply because most families require a double income to make ends meet. But their presence in professions where social skills are less important and aggressive focus is high they still have not made significant inroads such as in engineering and software jobs. They generally do not have the natural temperament and drive needed for such jobs. Only the most aggressive and focused do.
Though technological advances have made life much more convenient it has created its own set of social and ecological disasters. Divorce rates have skyrocketed. We as a society no longer know how to relate to one another. It’s now all about texting in short and random micro-conversations. We can be sitting next to each other not speaking a word but texting each other like crazy. Social networks are just as bad. Technology is developing at such a rapid pace that socially we cannot keep pace with it so we have succumb to its domination over our lives. Then there are all the green house gases and pollution generated by power plants and factories manufacturing all these gadgets and conveniences that spoil us.
Is this a healthy environment to work, live, and exist in? To what end is technology truly serve us? Are we really in control of technology or are we its slave? Does all this technology aid us in being better human beings or are we becoming increasingly more like the machines we have created? I think the caveman in us demands that we take a step back and ask ourselves what do we honestly want out of life or is this question even relevant to us any more?
I believe that if this world were run by women this would be a far better and more harmonious and meaningful world. When I say women I don’t mean the aggressive over achieving male like women. This has nothing to do with being feminine or intelligent. The things men lack most in bringing us closer to our true caveman nature is greater emphasis on human interactions such as interpersonal relationships and empathy, attributes that women have in spades above men. Men have created a world where human interactions will soon become extinct and machines will reign supreme.
Relationships between other people and even other nations would be more cordial and give and take with women in charge. Wars would be rare to non-existent since women would rather resolve their differences peacefully. Technical advancements would still occur but would be far more about making life easier and enhancing human interactions, not less personal, and would be at a far slower pace. There would be far more vacation time and emphasis on being with the family and enjoying life. Societies would be far more homogenous since being competitive to get ahead of others would not be a social priority. Instead service to others would. Government would be more about social justice instead of foreign policy. Industries would exist but would be smaller and more geared towards satisfying the customer than make the most profits. Social development would evolve at a slower pace and better adjust to technological change. The arts would be more emphasized than technology.
It sounds much like utopia but I think women think more selflessly and cooperatively and are more about a harmonious coexistence than men. Men simply want to exercise their aggressiveness in the most aggressive ways to achieve domination over others. But such a world could not exist because aggressive behavior always strive to dominate over the meek. But if men could dial down their aggressive tendencies by half, the world would be a far better place to live.