Culturally, we cannot conceive of a well-adjusted man forgoing an income opportunity that requires no more burden on his life than his private pursuits. The common example are men spending time on role-playing video games. At least from my own experience, playing such games is just as difficult as many jobs. Our culture has a strong bias that it is irrational to turn down the income opportunity for the same level of effort.
The more sustainable model is that of the distant past civilizations of dramatic inequality in terms of male access to procreation. Those civilizations benefited from maximizing the fertility of their women with the fewest men, while encouraging the excess men to redirect their attentions and aspirations to take advantage of being free from attending to the needs of the females and their offspring.
Looks do matter a lot in social and professional success. What really matters is that our looks match our personalities and aptitudes. Many of us do not live up to our appearances. We can try to compensate with changing things we can control, but we can not escape the messages sent by our height, our skeleton, and especially our facial features. The alternative is to work on our personality, changing it to match what people expect from our features. Many of us do that, but we never convince ourselves so it is always an act, and that act will eventually be exposed for what it is, leaving us where we started, alone.
For men of the personality trait described here, this can be very devastating. The root of the pain is not merely the loss of intimacy with his wife, or of loss of custody to children, or of loss of wealth and income from the settlement. The pain is that there was an idea that started the relationship, that started the family.
The motivation of this post was the revelation that I recently experienced where I saw the sprouting of something I planted earlier. I don’t know where it will lead, but the exhilaration of seeing the first signs of independent of life is something that I also am left alone to experience.
Of the things that men bring to society, some of us plant seeds.
I suspect this idea has always been at the back of my mind as I contemplated the opportunity of starting a relationship. Even at a young age, I recognized that the project could not last the duration, and the concept of marriage sold to me is defined by going the duration. I was sold on something that I realized is something no longer available to purchase.
I live in a world that I must explore alone.
My hypothesis is that men do have a tendency to prefer male voices for topics of high interest or importance, and that tendency is a consequence of the opportunity for a fruitful counterargument when we disagree. I follow more male voices than female voices, because there are many more people I disagree with than I agree with. I will listen to both sexes if I agree with them, but I will only follow men if there is a potential that I will disagree with them. It is only with other men that I can have any chance of gaining anything through argument.
My discussion here is why I criticize my 17 year old self for not being more confident about my self-assessment. I don’t criticize my 13 year self who pretty much understood the same thing. It is reasonable to the 13 year old to treat the assessment as a hypothesis to be tested. The various tests attempted were all appropriate, if not not sufficient.
Had you had that confidence at the age of 17, I’m confident I would be in a very similar situation as I am right now but with a memory of a life lived differently. I can’t tell if it would be happier or not, but I do know I would have had more time for doing what I love most: solitude, contemplation, and living simply. I’m guessing I would be here similarly situated but with more stories that I would be eager to tell. My lack of confidence in what I knew to be true denied me those stories of living an authentic life.