Paglia: Women Have To Stop Blaming Men For Their Malaise. Alkon: And Here's What Evolutionary Science Suggests Is The Answer
She thinks women are feeling a sense of displacement. I think men are, too. But it's women who lash out at men, thinking men are to blame. And I think women are pointing the finger in the wrong direction.
She points out something I've long thought was a problem -- the unnatural nuclear-family way we live, with women (for the most part) hard-focused on their children in a way they haven't been throughout human history.
I've long thought five families should band together in a sort of collective -- mimicking a hunter-gather group way of caring for children -- with one parent and maybe a babysitter/assistant helping. Ideally, the families would live in an sort of co-housing situation.
No, not some commie situation where everybody has to live under one roof -- unless people want that. (There could be a shared kitchen area and then private areas for each family.)
But maybe houses built around a green and shared areas for community. (Older people and single people could be -- and would ideally be -- in this community as well.)
It doesn't have to happen this way, but this sort of use of the environment to foster behavior is something that helps both in habit formation and maintenance and in -- I think -- in fostering a situation that is more conducive to psychological well-being and maybe even feelings of fulfillment.
Getting back to Paglia, and related to what I'm saying above, she also brings up -- very quickly -- the loss of community in modern society.
This is something my books are based on -- how we now live in vast, transient societies that are "too big for our brains," as my theory goes (based on the work of British anthropologist Robin Dunbar) for why we are experiencing so much rudeness. Read "Good Manners for Nice People Who Sometimes Say F*ck" for more on this.
And I explain that we've lost something more in my TED talk -- the community we had as a natural part of life in the past.
We evolved to live in small, continuous bands where we were interdependent, and the society we now live in seems problematic for us on many psychological levels. In fact, evolutionary psychologist and psychiatrist Randy Nesse believes the depression so many people experience today may stem from how our society now lacks the framework for the doing and experiencing of kindnesses we evolved to give and receive.
For more on the problems -- and how women are taking things -- the video from Paglia's talk.
She's calling for a stop to the anti-male-ism, the blaming of men. I'm absolutely, positively with her on that.
However, I offer an answer -- for both women and men -- and I include it in both my books and my TED talk, and it's to stop chasing happiness.
This is an empty pursuit, because, as psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky points out about "hedonic adaptation," we quickly become adapted to both positive and negative experiences in our life. Things that initially made us happy -- like new shoes or a new car or a new house -- pretty quickly stop giving us the boost they once did.
So, to be happy, we need to see pursuing happiness this way as a fool's errand. We instead need to pursue meaning, which we get from going outside ourselves, from extending ourselves for others. I call for us to do one kind act a day, which I see as our cover charge for living in this world.
Our society is already transient, so loss of community is built in, but to alleviate the psychological cost to us -- without moving -- we can at least reach out to strangers in small ways like I suggest.
Try it for a week -- extending yourself for strangers -- and I think you'll see (as I describe with examples in my talk) how great it feels to live interconnected instead of disconnected -- in tune with the evolution of human psychology.
Watch my whole talk here:
Paglia via @Mark_J_Perry