In part 1 of this series, I covered the basics of human sexual strategies and how they worked out in the state of nature. To say that this system has its problems is an understatement of epic proportions. To carry over just a little bit of the previous post:
To realize the disparity in this system, look down at the Beta and Gamma men. Beta, in order to get a woman, is forced to look all the way down to the 4s. Gamma men have to go all the way down to the 2s. They have no choice but to take women at the extreme range of who they will have sex with. Of course, this still leaves them better off than the bottom two tiers of men, Delta and Epsilon, who get no opportunity to mate at all.
In a state of nature, without any culture or social constructs to inhibit or restrain human behavior, polygamy is the name of the game. At least, for the top tier men in any social group (such as a tribe). The rest are lucky if they actually have any mates.
This social order has significant drawbacks. The bottom tier of men, with no opportunity to mate, are likely to be resentful to the men above them, especially the Alpha tier. Without this opportunity such men have no incentive to work harder for the benefit of the group. They will contribute only what they need to survive, and no more. After all, what is the point of risking their lives under such a system? They have no guarantee of sex or progeny, the two main impulses of men. Even the Beta and Gamma tier are going to be unhappy with the system, as they are forced to mate with women of a lower SMV (Sexual Market Value) than themselves. So why would such a system last at all? Wouldn’t the lower tier men realize they could gang up on the Alpha tier men and force the creation of a more equitable system?
Fluidity of Male SMV
I think part of the reason why it wouldn’t necessarily be eliminated quickly is that male SMV fluctuates. Male SMV is based on the LAMPS vectors, most of which are not fixed in place (in fact only Looks is). Plus male SMV value is relative, not absolute, like female SMV. A woman’s SMV is based on youth (an objective measure), and beauty, which is largely objective with some cultural overlay. However, that beauty is measured against a perfect ideal, which is largely fixed. So a woman is beautiful or ugly irrespective of how she compares to other women. Men, on the other hand, are contrasted with one another by women. So a man is measured against the other men in the social grouping. A man, in order to increase his attractiveness, just has to have a higher LAMPS value than the other men in the social group. Ultimately, this means that men do theoretically have a chance to be elevated to the Alpha tier, depending on their own abilities and random chance. So while the original system might look like this:
It could also end up, as a result of an accident, and a newly discovered talent or ability by a man, looking like this:
Here we can see that an accident has hurt Alpha, and pushed him down just below Beta. And Epsilon discovered a new talent or ability which has boosted one of his LAMPS vectors, perhaps Money, and now he is in the middle of the pack. Consequently, Gamma and Delta are forced down as well. This change in the pecking order has significant impacts, because while women don’t have as much power in a polygamous system as the men do, they still have some choice in their sexual partners. So as a result this:
Will change into this:
The women have adjusted their mating preferences accordingly. Beta is now the winner, and Alpha is runner up. Epsilon, who was bereft of female companionship before, now finally has some female attention (albeit from the 2s). Because Beta is now the top tier male, he has adjusted his mate preferences accordingly. Alpha will have to adjust as well.
This fluidity is a large reason why many men probably would stick with the system. Like a lottery, they would continue to play, on the small chance that they could actually win. Even though the odds are stacked against them. The truth is, though, that even though there is some fluidity in the system, there isn’t enough to make the odds worth playing the game. Eventually, a lower tier man will realize that there is a simple solution to most of the problems which polygamy creates: monogamy.
The simple solution alluded to earlier is monogamy, or restraining human behavior such that one man can only have one women. To repeat: monogamy is a restraint on human behavior. A social construct. It is not in keeping with the state of nature. For monogamy to be the norm, it requires that society enforce it. Otherwise, human beings will revert to the state of nature. More on this in my next post. The visualization of a system where monogamy is the norm is easy enough:
The Alpha tier men still get the best women, but they no longer dominate the top three tiers of women. That tier of men are the only losers. The rest of the men are much better off. Beta is now with the 8, or his SMP (Sexual Marketplace) equals. And so on all the way down. Now every tier of men in the system has a mate, even the lowly Epsilon. Sure Epsilon men are stuck with 2s, but that is an improvement over no woman at all (or is it?). Men have a much stronger incentive to be productive under this system. Because more women tend to be born than men, a man is pretty much assured a chance at having a mate under this system. Since the quality of woman a man can “claim” is determined heavily by his LAMPS vectors, and productivity plays a role in both Money and Status, men have a good reason to do their best. Rollo has written an excellent post, found here, explaining how men are defined by their ability to produce more than they consume. From the standpoint of society, especially other men in the system, anything which encourages men to be more productive is valuable, and to be encouraged.
For women the situation is quite a bit different. The top tier women, the 10s, are in a great position. They now have the best men, the Alpha tier, all to themselves. This is a huge improvement for them, but not so much for the remaining women. The 8s are now with the Beta tier, whom they are probably not sexually attracted to. On the other hand, they get to enjoy all of the resources of the Beta tier men (although that total is likely less than the total of the Alpha tier men). So not a complete loss for them. The 6s, however, are not as well off. They are stuck with Gammas, a much lower class of men than they enjoyed before. Then there is the fact that the Gamma men probably have less resources than the Alpha tier men, so they aren’t much better off then they were sharing the resources of the Alpha tier with the other top tier women. The situation is even worse for the 4s and 2s, who are now with much lower tier men, and have much less resources available to them then they had before. For them, this isn’t an improvement. Indeed, while they may prefer a system where monogamy is the norm, it turns out to be less advantageous for lower tier women than a system where polygamy is the norm. The relevance of this will be amongst the subjects of the third post in the series.
Monogamy is a compromise. Lower tier men benefit by more or better sexual access, while the highest tier men lose sexual access. However, the top tier men don’t have to worry about the lower tier men ganging up on them. So it is a compromise. A compromise… between men. Not women. With the possible exception of the top tier women, who get the top tier men all to themselves.
It should be noted that what I have explained above is simple monogamy, that is, a simple restriction against one man having more than one woman. What it doesn’t do is take into account how women will react to such a system.
Monogamy and Women
Of course, monogamy isn’t necessarily anything new, as it is the preferred female form of socio-sexual strategy. Or at least serial monogamy is. So far I haven’t talked much about what a system operating under female rules looks like. On the surface, it would look just like a monogamous system. However, the key difference is that the women are not bound to the men in any way. So when the status of men changes, then women will change their mates accordingly. At this point there is nothing men can do about it. To use the same shift in male status as before, under a system based on serial monogamy you end up with this:
Now, on the surface this may seem like the same sort of response which occurred under the polygamous system. And it is. Female mating behaviors haven’t changed. What has changed is male mating behaviors.
Male Impulses and Monogamy
To form a socio-sexual system based on monogamy, men had to give up something important. Men have two main impulses when it comes to mating behaviors, and both are somewhat at odds with one another. I speculate that they operate on something of a sliding scale, where a man can shift back and forth between which impulse they choose to cater towards at any time.
The first impulse is what I and most others call Sexual Variety: the desire to mate with as many different (attractive) women as possible. From an evolutionary perspective, this is a strategy aimed at playing the odds. The more women you have sex with, the more children you are likely to sire. The more children you sire, the more likely your genetic lineage will continue.
The second impulse, on the other hand, is what I call Paternity: the desire to raise certain specific children whom you are confident that you are the father of. Applying that same evolutionary filter, this impulse is an application of quality over quantity. Rather than try and have as many children as possible, you invest in those you do have to ensure their success, and therefore the success of your genetic lineage.
The two impulses aren’t terribly compatible. If other men are practicing Sexual Variety, then it is more difficult for an individual man to practice Paternity, as he can be less sure that the children are his. Under the state of nature, where polygamy is the norm, it is very difficult to practice Paternity. However, under a system where monogamy is the norm, then Sexual Variety can no longer be practiced. As such, Paternity becomes the impulse that drives men. Unfortunately for men, female mating behavior makes this a shaky proposition. After all, women are not locked into men. They can shift their allegiance as the SMV of men rises and falls. This poses a problem for men: how to be certain that the child the woman you are with is actually yours? Without the benefit of DNA testing and diverse genetic backgrounds, a man most likely won’t be able to tell. When women switch mates often enough, Paternity is no sure thing.
Women of course don’t worry about Paternity. That doesn’t matter to them, because they have no trouble knowing if the child is theirs or not when they give birth to it. All they care about is receiving provision and protection (and having sex with the best available male). Since serial monogamy is the preferred socio-sexual strategy for women, they don’t see any problems at all with this kind of system.
For men its a different matter. Since no man wants to expand resources to raise a child that is not his own (at least, not without gaining some benefit from it), something must be done ensure that men can serve their Paternity impulse. The answer was “Hard” Monogamy.
The phrase “Hard Monogamy” is just another way of saying lifetime mating, or where a man and woman who mate cannot switch mates during their lifetime together. In Manosphere parlance, this would be known as “Marriage 1.0” or traditional marriage. Under a system of Hard Monogamy women cannot switch their loyalty to men; men and women are bound for life. Under Hard Monogamy, women are stuck with their men, for better and for worse. Some women will benefit when their man moves up in value, and some women will lose out. The same applies to men, however. Men who rise up in value cannot trade out their old wives for new ones; they are stuck with whomever they chose to mate with in the past. It is an even greater restriction on human behavior than simple monogamy, and requires even more effort for society to enforce it. Initially the visualization is the same as the simple monogamy graphic.
However, when you factor in changes in male SMV, then you can see the difference:
Here the 10, the 6 and the 4 have lost out. All of their men have gone down in value, and there is nothing they can do about it. On the other hand, the 8 and the 2 have both seen improvements in their men, and so are better off. Beta cannot count on the attentions of the 10 now, and so must make do with the 8, which is not ideal but still satisfactory from his perspective. For Epsilon tier males, however, things are much less fair. They are still stuck with 2s, despite having moving up in value significantly. The other men are all benefiting from the system, because they are retaining their mates despite dropping in SMV. All in all, Hard Monogamy is a compromise. And as I mentioned before, a compromise between men, not women.
Cheating the System
While Hard Monogamy might be the product of a compromise between men, that doesn’t mean that it is a compromise that will be easily agreed upon. Like every system, it has its rules, and rules were meant to be broken. There will always be those who try to cheat the system, men and women alike. The principle problem with a system of Hard Monogamy is that it runs counter to the mutual attraction between top tier men and the middle to top tier women.
The top tier men (Alpha) still have that impulse for Sexual Variety, and may be tempted to act upon it. Likewise, the 8s and 6s are also under their own set of impulses, of which they have three. The first and foremost is the desire to have sex with the highest value man available. In context, this would be the Alpha tier men. Thus there is mutual temptation for the top tier men and the mid to high tier women to “cheat” the system on the sly. In the context of marriage, this cheating is known as adultery.
The dotted lines represent illicit relationships. Here the Alpha tier men get to fulfill both of their impulses: they have sexual variety through illicit sexual relationships with lower tier women, and are assured paternity through the highest tier women. Meanwhile, the 8s and 6s still enjoy the benefits of the resources and protection of their mates, while having sex with the top tier men. Evolutionarily, they now have a chance of having the best available men father their children. So they too can satisfy their three base impulses. Unfortunately for the poor, hapless Betas and Gammas, they might well be put in the situation of raising the children of the top tier men without realizing it. For them that might be the worst possibility, but from the perspective of the social grouping as a whole, the worst outcome involves the discovery by of them the of the cheating between their mates and the top tier men.
To understand why pretty much every culture which had marriage punished adultery severely, consider the consequences of Beta discovering that his wife was having an affair with Alpha. From Beta’s perspective, the betrayal threatens him on a base, instinctive level. Remember, men have two impulses: Sexual Variety and Paternity. Beta has given up on Sexual Variety in accepting a monogamous system, and so only has Paternity available to him. Adultery by his wife threatens that remaining impulse, because he can no longer be certain that any children she has will be his. Essentially, his genetic lineage is in danger. The resulting rage which Beta will experience is a perfectly natural and reasonable response evolutionarily, after all his genetic future is at stake. This rage, absent social controls and restraints, will probably lead Beta to attempt to kill Alpha, and possibly 8 as well. The likely result is that one of the men dies, and possibly both. 8 is also under grave peril as well. Even assuming that Beta doesn’t kill her, he is unlikely to trust her again and will not support her and her children from this point forward.
Without some sort of restraint on Beta’s behavior, the unity and safety of the social group is severely weakened. One or two males are likely to die. If only Beta dies, then his wife and her (not necessarily his) children are now bereft of support. Without the protection and provision of a male, they must depend on the generosity of the group to survive. Without it, they are likely to die. If Alpha dies, on the other hand, then both 10 and 8 are without support, and the consequences to the social group double. However this situation is resolved, it is going to weaken the social group as a whole. So society has a strong incentive to control and restrain this type of behavior. Hence, the development of laws against adultery. By punishing those who commit adultery, either with death or exile (usually a slower and more painful death), society aimed to keep the act as rare as possible. It was simple social self-preservation. Without such laws, a culture was likely to fragment and fall apart. They are yet another social construct resulting from compromise… between men.
While not universal, monogamy was the norm in many civilizations for a long time. In many, it still is. Some cultures still practice polygamy, as they have for generations. There are a number of reasons why polygamy could have lasted in those cultures. If the male mortality rate was high enough, then polygamy would be necessary to maintain population numbers (and because there would be enough women for even the lowest of men). If the top tier men in a culture were sufficiently more powerful than the lower tier men, then they could get away with keeping a polygamous system.
In what we know as Western Civilization, Hard Monogamy has been the norm for centuries. In the last few generations, however, the system seems to be falling apart. This collapse is a popular subject in the manosphere, and has been discussed in length. In my next post I am going to offer my thoughts on what is really happening, and why.