Testosterone Sucks. Why are Men Needed?

Women are better than men. I hate to say it, but it’s true. Look around dude. Historically, men have dominated women since the beginning, which still continues today. That’s bad enough. But women outmatch men on just about every moral indicator: crime rates, rape, domestic violence, murder, (“murders by women are so rare that they don’t even show up meaningfully in the crime statistics” p.78), ability to trust, giving, sharing, and empathy. Men are psychopaths, sociopaths, and serial killers. These are generalizations of course but they are true as such.

The explanation, according this this wonderful book by Paul Zak, is testosterone. It turns men into assholes, risk takers, sex fanatics, and punishers. To anyone who has entered a college bar, this should be no surprise. How many women hunters do you know? Predictable, as men get older they lose testosterone and get better.

Why Women are Better

Women not only have very low levels of testosterone, but they have an extra special hormone that promotes good behavior: Oxytocin. A multitasker, this hormone is released during sex, pregnancy, breast feeding, and whenever a person shows trust or goodwill. Oxytocin has been linked to many pro-social behaviors in many experiments (detailed in the book), mostly empathy and trust. Women are more empathetic, and empathy is the basis of all moral systems.

Why Men are Needed

The obvious answer is that men are needed to make babies (although with the advent of science that’s probably not true anymore). But more interestingly, testosterone has a nice side-effect: justice. Ironically, testosterone-filled men are needed to keep society in check, to judge and to punish wrongdoers. Natural selection allowed testosterone to hang on for this very reason. We are the enforcers and punishers of a functioning society (and the risk takers). Women, pumped with oxytocin, are too damn nice to punish people. It’s important to know that men do have oxyticin in smaller amounts, but the problem with that: testosterone actually cancels out oxyticin. So when testosterone levels are high, we actually enjoy punishing people for their transgressions, rather than cringing. Who shall throw the first stone?, said Jesus. Crack her fucking skull! shouted some dick.

The good news, of course, is that we can and do transcend these biological limitations. Too much testosterone must be kept in check, and the same goes with oxytocin (too much can lead to too much trust). It’s about balance. With knowledge, critical self-reflection, and love we can become better. Love can be learned, and it comes naturally for most of us.

Testosterone Sucks. Why are Men Needed?

John Stewart is a modern Socrates

Socrates (not John Stewart)

Socrates lived in a time when people thought they knew a lot. Socrates realized that real truth was hard to find. His life was dedicated to finding it. He died for it. I like to call him the “Jesus of Truth” (whereas Jesus died for love, Socrates died for the right to seek the truth wherever it may lead). Although he was humble about it, he exposed people by simply asking them questions; questions which led to contradictions. At the end of his life, he was put to death for “corrupting the youth of Athens.” He apparently asked too many questions.

In the same way that Socrates pointed out hypocrisy, The Daily Show exposes the awful hypocrisy, corruption, and stupidity of our entire political system. He spares no one: Republicans, Democrats, and the media itself (which has rightly been called the fourth branch of our government). While making fun of it, he actually covers the news. Unfortunately people my age probably get much of their news from this show.

The only thing bad I have to say about it: I’m thoroughly depressed and disgusted after watching a few shows. Mr. Stewart, finding little evidence for hope, leaves us with little hope. Perhaps our only hope is that the show itself will someday create real, honest political leaders.

John Stewart is a modern Socrates

Why Politics Makes me Sick

Unless money is taken out of politics, and elections are paid for by our taxes (or something close to that), I honestly have little hope for a thriving democracy. This is a no-brainer. Not only are politicians bought and paid for by large corporations and individuals, but legislation is literally being written by rich people (that is, “think tanks”).

War is morally, socially, and politically abhorrent. It is the worse. It destroys lives. It should be the final measure. It never is. I elected Obama on the hope that he would never go to war; I was wrong. Historically, war is how rich people to use poor people as political tools to fight political wars. We haven’t had a so called “just war” since WWII (if such a war even exists: that’s debatable).

Two Party System
A healthy democracy (no, representative republic) requires choices. We have two slightly different flavors. The American public are apathetic, sick, and tire. We have been voting for the “lesser of two evils” for decades now. We need more parties, multiple legitimate candidates, voted on based on the merits of their positions. We need debates that ask real questions and demand real answers. Stop the horrendously emotional propaganda and start debating. Publicly funded elections would solve this.

Most people realize that the media is no longer news but entertainment. It’s not only partisan, but it’s Jerry Springer. Sure I like NPR, but sometimes in their zeal to not be so liberal they actually pander to absurd opinions. Sadly, the only news I trust is the Daily Show with John Stewart. The stakes are high. The Media has rightly been called the fourth branch of government (legislative, executive, judicial are the others). They are the ultimate “check and balance” on government power. Don’t get my wrong: I think it’s always been this way. In fact, I think technology gives us the tools to be more informed than ever before.

Income Inequality
This is destroying our nation and eliminating the middle class, but nobody wants to do anything about it. The rich want to be richer, and they have all the power. We will not get a progressive tax code anytime soon, and millions of people will continue to suffer under the cruel reality of generational poverty, joblessness, non-living wages, weak collective bargaining, part time work, inadequate health care, expensive child care, access to unhealthy food, under-funded and unbalanced school systems…all of this when the rich are getting richer and corporate profits rise.

Women make up half of our nation but a small fraction of  people who write our laws. It’s a shame. It’s no wonder that some of our laws are blatantly sexist, like the new Michigan “rape insurance” law that literally brought Michigan women lawmakers to tears on the floor. Racism has a horrible and lasting history in American, but so does discrimination against women.

Why Politics Makes me Sick

Does Marriage Require Conflict?

Love is hard, right? We’ve heard this a million times. I’ve even heard preachers say it. Wrong. After three years of marriage, I’m here to say that marriage can be almost entirely without conflict, without arguments, without sacrifice, without fighting. Full of love, intimacy, and all the good stuff.

I never thought it would be this easy, this graceful, this organic. Both Katie and I had our doubts from the beginning. Looked at objectively, we had some real compatibility issue (mostly religion, but others like music, art, social group, family upbringing). Frankly, she thought I was a little weird from the beginning, and vice versa. Yet, somehow despite that, as if living in some magical alternate universe, we have what I consider to be a perfect marriage – about as perfect as it gets. I enjoy every single day. Perhaps it’s rare. Perhaps I’m blessed. So be it. Carl Jung once said that we exist in order to explain ourselves. Let me try.

Main Ingredients

Respect. Most importantly by far, we genuinely respect each other, morally and professionally. We are good people, we have empathy for others, and we both support the people in society who are the proverbial “least of these”. Having similar ethics is crucial, even if those ethical systems have different foundations. This usually means similar politics as well. Yet we respect each other as independent, different people with different ideas. She has her goals, I have mine; we pursue them together.

Reading. This is our passion. This is how we first met. I was working security, she was at a book group discussing Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse at the library. This was one of my favorite books, so I began discussing it with the group, as I was kicking them out of the library. Reading promotes an intellectual life; a life of learning, growth and conversation.

Money. We don’t need much, we don’t want much, and our hobbies don’t cost much. Thus, it’s nothing to fight about. We both save money rather than spend it. We are fortunate to have jobs that we can actually live on.

If you are reading this and still looking for a partner, don’t settle for anything less. If you are reading this and feel unsatisfied with your boyfriend or girlfriend, either fix it or say goodbye. If you are in a dangerous or violent marriage, leave out of respect for yourself. If you are in an unhappy marriage, try your very best to fix it before saying goodbye. You owe it to yourself and your partner. Marriage should be like living with a best friend. It’s usually not, and that’s very sad.

Does Marriage Require Conflict?