On Perimeters and Pyramids
A couple graphics on the shift of male social status and responsibility
Most people assume that the rise of civilization has been to everyone’s benefit.
Yes, the massive economies of states allowed for advancements in technology, medicine, and various comforts.
But they also necessitated the subjugation of an “underclass”.
In Episode I: Sticks and Stones, I described how human society evolved such that the males became tasked with the external social functions: security and provisioning.
This was simply because 1) women already were handling the most important internal function (pregnancy and nursing, and 2) the testosterone-driven attributes that allowed males to compete with each other over mates was also extremely useful when it came to competing with other tribes for food and security.
This led to the concept of the men forming the perimeter, or metaphoric boundary between the tribe and the outside world.
But not every man took up equal “real estate” on the line.
The higher a man’s status, the more relative responsibility he was given in serving the perimeter. The greatest responsibility was given to the chief, or pack alpha.
The higher one’s status and responsibility, the higher one’s rewards were also.
In many cultures, the chief is the only one allowed multiple wives. (As discussed in Episode 0: The Winner Effect, humans are otherwise a monogamous pair-bonding species.)
Status, Responsibility, and Reward were all co-variant.
But even the lowest status male in the tribe still had his spot on the line. He still carried some responsibility, and therefore he has his autonomy.
And since it was a small, personal tribe, he still had a direct social connection to the highest status males.
In fact, part of what allowed the chief to be chief, was that he had the direct backing of his tribesmen.
However this all changed when tribes grew beyond the human ability to form intimate relationships (Dunbar’s Number or “The Law of 150”).
Tribes had to consolidate in order to keep up with the other tribes that were consolidating (Red Queen Theory).
As a dominance hierarchy can only be so “wide” if it is to maintain cohesion, the status differential between the alpha males and beta males became huge:
Note that its not so much that the high status were raised up, as much as the low status were pushed down.
Whereas the chief had to have a direct connection the lowest status in the tribe, the king couldn’t possibly have a connection to the lowest status in the state.
And so the classes divided into Nobles and Peasants.
The Nobles maintained the autonomy that their tribal ancestors each had. Whereas, the Peasants were forced inside of the perimeter:
Yes, technically the peasants were “under the protection” of nobles. But we all know they were really just there to fill in the bottom of the pyramid with their labor.
The peasants were even conscripted to fight in the nobles’ wars.
And as far as male psychology goes, this movement to the inside of the perimeter goes directly against what men evolved for.
As covered in Episode II: Chiefs to Kings, this divergence from nature is what led to the warped view of masculinity that Nietzsche called “Slave Morality”.
A man without autonomy is like a rat in cage.
This is the root of possibly all common “male mental health issues” from over-aggression, ‘Nice Guy Syndrome’, the problems of incels, and basically everything on 4chan.
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UPDATE: I’m busy working on Episode III on how the Greco-Persian Wars changed the view of the masculine “hero”.
Stay tuned for a preview on that!