A chap sees a lot of oversimplification on Men’s Activism sites regarding who are smarter, men or women, and the issue of the primacy of emotion or logic as the better way of conducting one’s self. Usually it is along the lines of, “women can’t think like a man, they are too emotional, whereas men are logical”. Indeed I have even heard people say that women ‘should’ think logically like men do, but just can’t. Some chaps get quite emotional about it.
Whilst it may be a ‘truism’ that some women may have a tendency toward being somewhat more ’emotional’ than men, as well as taking into consideration many extraneous issues that, to a man, have nothing to do with the issue at hand; and some men tend toward being more ‘logical’ and focused than women, the overlap in the usage of both of these ‘tools’ of humanity are such that not only are they rarely seen one without the other but in most instances a judgment cannot possibly be made without the contribution of both, and particularly emotion. Often logic can assist in reaching a more appropriate judgment.
During our evolution, emotion came first. Logic much later. So we are to understand by our academic betters. Indeed, many men and women don’t have the slightest notion of what logic is, still, and emotions remain rulers of the roost. Many, me included, may see this as an informal proof that logic is a recent and higher order mental skill.
Emotion is a visceral response to an environmental stimulus, whether that is an external or an internal stimulus. It is autonomic. That is we have no control over its arising as it is a built-in response. Emotion arises as a first step, unconscious and unsought. Part of the follow-on response is awareness of its arising and an internal assessment of what our autonomic response is actually doing to us, physiologically. We ‘feel’ something. We then, cognitively, give a name to that feeling – anger, disgust, fear, in the case of threats, and like-wise we give names to the positive feelings. So far, logic has nothing to do with it. We react.
“Huh!”, I can hear the Men’s Movement readers saying. “Taking the women’s side, eh. Running dog, feminist lackey!”
Bear with me a little. You may even find the roots of Feminism here.
We then think about what we would best do in the specific circumstance and start to make a reasoned assessment, gathering the facts surrounding the environmental initiator, (which may in some instances be an internal ‘thought’), and assessing those facts against a logical template. This template is not simply built into humans but learned. Some learn better and more than others. Some not at all. What appears ‘logical’ to one is far from what appears logical to another. Anyone who has actually studied logical truth tables quickly becomes aware of the difference between what logic is and what is personal preference or even bias!
In making any judgment we must as a matter of course give any outcome a value. This value is rarely a matter of logic or fact but of feeling – back to the emotion again. A sort of ‘how much do I like this’ or, ‘what’s in it for us’ as a sentient being. We take our knowledge and understanding of the facts of the issue (cognition) and combine these with how we feel about it (emotion) in making a judgment.
“See!” more will say, “he really has been taken in by the ‘women are superior’ line!”
Bear with me a bit longer. It gets worse.
Sometimes the ‘facts’ are pretty well unnecessary at all. The emotion however is necessary. Without the necessity of the emotional response we have no drive toward cognitive assessment. The emotion can also be sufficient. Indeed, the subsequent cognitions might actually hamper action with disastrous result.
It has always been thus.
For example. Look back to our long past yesterdays. Back in the cave days.
A non-ancestor of ours was walking through a jungle one day and he did not see a sabre-toothed tyger. It was a well known threat in the area, having killed scores of cave-men. Due to his not picking up this environmental stimulus, he had no emotional response. The tiger waylaid him and ate him. As usual.
Another guy who was also not our ancestor saw the tyger and whist quite afraid called upon his courage and developing thinking skills and looked carefully for facts to assess. He gauged the size of the tiger, holding up his thumb and doing a rapid estimation. A real big bugger, this one. And he also noted that it was the more ferocious male of its species. He wondered whether the tyger was hungry.
He was pondering this when the tiger jumped upon him. And ate him.
A third guy saw the tyger and ran like the fury in the opposite direction, not thinking and caring not a whit about the tyger’s breakfast schedule or sex or size or higher math measurement. In fact he had a sudden and pressing urge to go to the toilet-cave.
He was our ancestor.
It took him a while, sitting on the toilet rock, mulling over just how he could increase his speed if ever caught short again, to invent the wheel. And he liked it.
“Ahha!”, I can hear the women amongst us cry out, getting het up, even as I defend emotion over logic. “That’s all very sexist”, some of them might say. “Look at you, talking about men all the time. Attributing invention just to men and excusing their toilet habits. What if had been women walking in the jungle? Huh. Go on ! How would she have dealt with it? Where’s the woman’s view ? Things would have been very different”.
OK. Let a woman’s voice be heard.
An non-ancestor of ours was walking through a jungle one day and she did not see a sabre-toothed tyger. It was a well known threat in the area, having killed scores of careless, thoughtless cave-men over the previous year or three, who had no one to blame but themselves, the useless dorks. But, due to her not picking up an environmental stimulus, which that man could have pointed out to her if he had any consideration at all, even though she was a caring and observant girl who enjoyed and felt more at home in the natural world, the flowers, the trees, the heady scents hanging in the air, as opposed to man-hewn caves, ugh ! She was practicing focusing diligently on working through her emotions from three days ago.
The tyger waylaid her and ate her. It made a real mess of her hair. The Beast!
Her best girlfriend, since pebble school, who was also not our ancestor, saw the tiger and whilst quite afraid and almost in tears at the sight of the beast, – indeed her eyes did fill and the sight of her poor distressed state would have tugged at the heart-strings of even the most hard-hearted Cave Family Judge – called upon her developing cognitive resources and her quite advanced education for the day – ever since all that brouhaha about more educational choices for cave-girls – and looked carefully for facts to assess.
She gauged the size of the tiger, holding up her thumb and her forefinger, moving them this way and that, as her favourite teacher had demonstrated to her after class one day in a close and private, one-to-one tuition period in a secluded corner of the school-cave where the Women’s Resources Centre was later to be inaugurated. She always felt safe there. Special.
Anyway. Using her special female awareness and intuition, of which cave-guys were notoriously deficient – she’d been told and there was no reason she could see to disbelieve it – she did some rapid calculations, the way the ‘women’s perspective’ math’s tutor had taught her, and noted immediately that it had a penis. What a clever girl.
It was not an erect penis, she observed to herself with some wistfulness, turning the words over in her mind and even letting her tongue linger, forming the words, silently, – ‘penis, penis’ – automatically developing her communication skills. But she was afraid nonetheless of the likelihood of being sexually harassed, even abused by the tyger – she was after all a very pretty cave-girl and knew that others were jealous of her long eyelashes and firm womanly curves and her long shiny hair, and why should tygers be any different – as she knew it was the more ferocious male of its species.
She quite admired his rippling flanks actually.
‘Cute butt’ she thought, then cast it from her mind with a shake of her ringlets.
She wondered whether the tyger had had breakfast and whether it preferred whole-grains or proteins. A good start to the day stops skin problems. Tygers have skin problems too, she thought. She was pondering this when the tyger jumped upon her.
And had his wicked way with her.
A third girl saw the tyger and ran like a banshee in the opposite direction, screaming at the top of her pretty lungs and trying hard to get the right tonal quality as befitted her fantasy of a scared cave-girl, and, accidentally scaring the tyger so much that it promptly evacuated itself and left the evidence behind, making a disgusting mess on the forest floor ( which, incidentally, was much later excavated –oddly, a few metres away – and they didn’t even have metres in those days – as a fossil,) she caring not a whit about the tyger’s breakfast schedule or gender or state of arousal.
It did cross her mind as she ran that the tyger hadn’t flossed his teeth since chewing on the other two ‘victims’. But she definitely didn’t consider the higher math lessons from the school–cave, that she had ignored anyway because of that hunky guy from the cave down the hill.
Later, she told him all about her fright and he was very caring, comforting and consoling. The less said about that the better, pervert !
She was our ancestor-mother.
After a good rogering session which left her quite out of breath and with a warm feeling ‘down there’ where she NEVER looked, honestly, she sent him off with a broom to clear up the tiger-mess and the body-remains, as it was men’s work.
Her new boyfriend took a few months to invent the wheel. And he liked it. He never went to the toilet at all. He didn’t ever fart either.
So, you see, logic and reason picked off a lot of potential back in those days. It was a bit of a liability. Emotion kept you alive!
“That’s it”, you ask? “Logic and reason are no good? How did they ever develop then?”
Well, guess what happened next.
The old story I am sad to relate.
The x-girlfriend of the consoling lad was really peeved. Everyone was talking about the third girl for months, how lucky she was and how her woman’s skills had saved her, how her cries had not only alerted the tribe but initiated the whole idea of a choir-club, and commenting on what a lovely couple she and the lad were. She – the x – they hadn’t invented ‘e’ in those days – organised a plot to rubbish him.
She recalled the time when he used to whack her across the head and give her a lovely rogering in his cave. He’d promised to love her ‘til the next hunt and now just look. Whacking that squeaky-voiced bitch every night, instead of her. Unfaithful Brute!
She wasn’t going to take it lying down – not that she was getting the opportunity much any more. No, she was going to take a stand. She got a few girlfriends together and they painted signs on skins and along with lots of other women they marched on the Chief’s cave.
They wanted a thorough investigation into the deaths of the two girls, they said. Huh! TWO girls ! This year ! It was an epidemic of male tyger violence, they said.
The Chief and his brother were in charge of the cave-site, Patriarchy Hills. It was a new development that had set them back a shell or two, I can tell you, and they were hanging onto the cave-guys’ rent-slates. The x set up a ‘tryst’ with the Chief’s brother, who was the younger of the two and had the longer loin-skin. So he was now secretly having it off with the x. Just once or twice a week in the traveler-cave on the next hill. He and the Chief caved in to the women’s demands and set up a Board of Enquiry, funded by extra rent shells. (They even invented a capital E just for the occasion).
The full circumstances were discussed, all the relevant issues raised and almost all the relevant evidence presented (they couldn’t find the tiger-turd), including:
- the poor quality, male-oriented education for girls:
- the propensity for sabre-toothed tygers to be ferocious;
- the EQUAL ferociousness of some of the cave- MEN who COULD have put a stop to cave-girl eating but DIDN’T !!”;
- the clear FACT that men have penises just like male tygers do; and
- in passing it was revealed that the third cave-girl’s new lad spent much of his day by himself chipping stones !
The little bastard!! The women demanded that the lad be punished for not having speared the tyger and so saved the first two girls.
That spears had yet to be invented was glossed over and when it did get an airing near the end of the last day of the Enquiry, it was ‘suggested’ that his time “SHOULD have been better spent and he COULD have invented the spear instead”.
In his pathetic attempt at a defence and despite the women’s counsel’s strong objections, he produced a prototype wheel to show it was not just a ‘boy’s-toy’ as the women called it. He demanded an opportunity to show it’s usefulness. It was determined by the Chief’s brother – at the urging of his girlfriend that evening as she ‘lay’ with him – that the lad should go and kill the tyger with it.
Have you tried throwing a 150lb rock wheel at a pissed-off tyger? Go down to the zoo and give it a go, THEN come back here to whine that it’s difficult. The lad clearly “didn’t try hard enough.
He didn’t come back. Proof, if ever it was needed, that he was a ‘Dead-Beat’.
The outcome was a victory for the women and the Board of Enquiry was forced to issue a rock-note saying it was all the lad’s fault and that all men were useless ’cause they had penises too.
Without a father now for her unborn cave-child, the first single-mother-of-us-all came about. A Women’s Resources Centre and a new Single Mother’s Collection Officer position were set up with a new wheel tax to fund them. A Dead-Beat Dad task force was set up too, just for the chaps.
And logic? It took a long, long while, and an uncountable number of guys sitting in the toilet-cave for logic to be invented.
Thank God for men. They got to plumbing on, early on.
And by the Lord Harry, did we ever need that with all the shit we’ve had to put up with!