Thursday, January 9, 2014

Grand Unified Theory of Male Grieving Process - Revisited

I’ve been spouting my “grand unified theory of the male grieving process” for several years now, and over the years, I’ve had several people come back to me and reject my theory, since they claim that getting angry and desiring vengeance is not evolutionarily sound thinking, and that instead, it is proof of the irrationality of the angry male thought process. 

Not surprisingly, these were almost all feminists. 

Their argument, as it were, is this:

Imagine a tribe of cave people back in the cave people days.  Imagine that the tribe looks on helplessly from a distance as a pack of dire wolves attack and kill a young girl in the tribe.  This being tribal days, every man in the tribe would have viewed that girl as family (and she probably would have been related to most, if not all of them, anyway) and they get pissed.  They put together a party to go after the pack of dire wolves, track them down, and kill a bunch of them. 

Artist's rendition of described events

The feminist theory is that this is not productive, because the time spent tracking down dire wolves and killing them is a net loss to the tribe, since none of those men are spending their time hunting or trapping or gathering for the tribe, and maybe a man or two dies in the process of fighting the pack. 

I do not think that this is the case.  Evolutionarily speaking, there is nothing more productive than to go after a pack of animals that has taken to hunting your kin.  If you succeed in tracking them down, and killing as many of them as you can, you are modifying the behavior of those animals through negative reinforcement.  It doesn’t even matter if their primitive brains can tie killing the girl to the retribution; if you kill enough of them, the survivors will live the remainder of their lives knowing that it is best to avoid humans altogether, since humans have the ability to kill them.  They will teach this to their young, and in one retributive killing spree, you will have several generations of dire wolves that know not to fuck with human beings.  Oh, it will wear off eventually, and men will have to go teach them again, and there will always be the odd cases of desperation where starving dire wolves eat people because the alternative is to starve to death – better to be speared tomorrow than to starve today. 

But in the end, this, to me, is the only reason that humans rose to the level of apex predator. An apex predator is a predator that does not get preyed on as a general rule, by other predators.  Lions are apex predators, because noting kills and eats lions (by the by, lions are one of the only other species of animal that will seek revenge after one of their own is killed – coincidence?).  Great White sharks are apex predators, because nothing kills and eats Great White Sharks.  You don’t see wolves preying on Grizzly bears, or vice versa, and the reason is that there is too much risk.

Humans rose to the point of being apex predators specifically because of this male grief response.  We taught every other predator on Earth, early and often, that if you kill humans, we will vengeance stab the ever loving fuck out of you, so you’re better off just leaving us alone.  


  1. It makes perfect sense, if you accept that human society is built on and by predators. That defense doesn't work for sheep or deer. Wolves and bears, lions and tigers, however- they understand. One of the things that, by appearance, built mankind from the lower primates is the combination of herd instinct and ruthless predatory ability. To deny that we are predators is to deny the foundations of humanity. If the secret of humanity was to walk on all fours and eat grass, we'd all be cattle.

  2. Once upon a time I heard a story...

    Some country in Africa wanted to do a census of their lions. The lions refused to come out to be counted, so they staked a goat out in the open and a guy with a clipboard stood nearby to count lions.

    The lions came into sight and sat around, just out of easy rifle range, and stared at the goat waiting for the human to leave.

    The human didn't even have a gun. But years and years of trophy hunting had taught the lions that humans = death if you got too close.

    1. Maybe even more than that: over the years, one would imagine that the lions have learned that killing a human's livestock is a good way to get shot. Trophy hunting or not...

  3. Outstanding argument and one of the reasons I file feminism in the same bucket as communism and other "idealistic" constructs. It's called the round file.

    Male and female are equal but complimentary. Not the same.

    That and nature does not work in a way we want, we except and adapt to the way nature operates. To do otherwise is foolish.