Biology of behavior

By Serge Kreutz

I believe that some very basic facts of life, in our times, are not receiving adequate attention. I’d summarize these facts as the biology of behavior.

There are many aspects to the biology of behavior, and the topic bears similarity to the biology of thought as outlined in Darwin’s Descent of Man. However, this article shall concern itself only with that specific biological trait of the males of the species homo sapiens, which I shall call harem building.

It is a common trait among primates and, for that matter, among a large number of mammalian species.

We may have been to the moon, and we may be able to count the electrons of an atom, while some mere 500 years ago, we didn’t even know that the earth is a planet of the sun, and some mere 50000 years ago were still unclothed.

Most of the technological amenities we surround ourselves with have been invented only within the last 100 years. We ourselves don’t evolve that fast. We may learn to behave civilized, but the roots of our behavior are genetic, and the mechanisms by which they change are determined by mutation and natural selection, not by conscious action (unless this conscious action is genetic engineering).

The mechanism of natural selection, however, is negated by the system of state social security.

I am obviously not advocating such nonsense as state-supervised breeding of humans with traits desired by political leaders.

But I believe that the human society of the future should be more in accordance with the biological traits with which we, as primates, are born. I believe it is futile to try to engineer societies based on ideologies of the equality of all men. The communist experiment was an outright failure primarily because it was in opposition to some fundamental axioms of our social, or anti-social, behavior. We are not all brothers; we are competitors. We don’t want to work with each other; we want to defeat each other.

I believe that societies of the future should provide a frame for humans to live in accordance with their sexual biological traits, rather than civilizing them away.

In the past, social engineering often entered the stage in the form of religions. Imperatives that were in opposition to biological traits, such as sexual abstinence, were enforced because they were alleged to have been ordered by a god. Few people nowadays are willing to heed advice that draws its legitimacy primarily by referring to a god; too many people just don’t believe in his existence.

I imagine a society of the future much more polygamous than current society. Or rather, I imagine a society that has a much higher degree of acceptance of polygamous relationships.

The current Western moral standard still prescribes that we are in one monogamous relationship at the time. Which is absurd. Such moral standards are tolerable only when their implementation cannot be controlled, thus leaving ample of loopholes. Because social control requires economic resources, poor societies tend to allow a higher degree of personal sexual freedom than do rich societies.

If the level of control is low in a certain society, a large number of men definitely take the opportunity to have parallel sexual relationships. And the reason why other men don’t take the opportunity is: they don’t have the opportunity. I assume that in Western societies, 80 percent of all sexual relationships go on account of just 20 percent of all males.

Monogamy is the prescription of losers who speculate that their own chances of at least one sexual relationship are better if monogamy is strictly enforced. Enforcing monogamy thus presents itself as the sexual strategy of those who would otherwise go home empty-handed. Restriction of successful competitors also satisfies their envy.

But even for losers who try to get hold of their quota, monogamy is not the biologically encoded behavior. Their dream world is still: to possess their own harem. And I am sure that the prospect to have their own harem in paradise is a major incentive to Islamic suicide bombers.

While some hope for their dream to come true in a fictitious afterlife, others pursue it on earth. And with astonishing accuracy will men who climb on the ladder of success become more likely to look out for additional sexual conquests.

An agenda for a more sensible society would have to include the following points:

The recognition that sexual fulfillment is, genetically encoded, the only real purpose we have in life. Awareness that it is natural that males of our species aim for multiple parallel sexual relationships. No moral or social stigmatization of multiple parallel sexual relationships. Acceptance that multiple parallel sexual relationships are the primary reward for being successful in life.

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