What is a man?
Recently I told my friend:
I just came back from the nail polisher*
What?? I thought real men didn't do these kind of things
And he got me thinking. What is a man? Then I answered:
A man is someone who makes sure he can satisfy his needs-and-wants during his life
But that also applies to women. So maybe that is not specific to being a man after all.
Many people say: "this is being a man!". And they may be right for many types of behaviors. But from all the answers some seemed contradictory. For a long time, I've been listening to Frank Sinatra's
My Way. And there I thought I got much of what a man should be. But it would only give me examples or symptoms. Then many successful men believe in the No Regret Framework. And it is interesting because it is focused towards fear overcoming. But I had no formal proof that that is what a man should do.
What do we care right? For many, finding an answer to "What does it take to be a real man" stems from the willingness to get social validation and a sense of adequateness. For me the answer is crucial to know that my energy is well spent. Since I'm a man, I was wondering about men, but the reality is every living being must have a sense of that. Be it consciously or from physical conditioning (it's an artificial separation). Therefore I was not asking the right question (probably got cognition bias from the man vs. woman politics).
Honoring your genes
Whether you are a man / woman / dog / mosquito, we all have limited energy and non of us is immune to death (unless you believe you will have a life after you are dead. Yet still, death will come eventually). So now you are left with either nihilism ("nothing really matters"), or with:
What should I do with my energy while I'm alive?
Bear with me a bit more, I'm laying the axioms:
- Many species have disappeared, so natural selection happens.
- All living things have either:
- a) a deep survival instinct/ability and know how to replicate the genes before they disappear
- b) have a had a historic record of lucky gene combinations allowing them to passively go through the natural selection percolator. They have enjoyed the graces of nature
- Not all elements in one species are alike: there are mutations
1. implies that having survived so far is no guarantee of future success, 2. some people die without replicating genes. So even with 3. I have the intuition that my genes are not passively in the graces of nature :), so I must use my energy to replicate or accept my genes were no good. (3. all current people not willing to have kids are either a mutation or have been put in a mental state where they abandon the race).
All parents have the genes with ability to replicate. If their children die without replicating, all the energy spent raising them, will have been in vain.
Since nihilism does not seduce me that much (likely my biology does not allow me to favor that perspective of life, be it as valid as it is), I must use my energy to be the strongest candidate to natural selection that I can.
So now you have the proper question:
What does it take to be the strongest candidate to natural selection?
Answering that will definitely require lots of energy. But now you know you are looking in the right direction.
How do you choose the taxonomy to classify what your family of genes is? Will elephants help you or on the other hand will they lower your chances? Since you have limited time and energy to replicate focusing on real current threats to your genes might be a good path. Elephants do not play a big role in our lives, so having them around is cool but not a very important matter. If you believe they are essential for your happiness and that of your kids, you are very lucky, you must already have secured most of the path for your gene's survival.
Also who should I choose for mating? The answer to that can be answered now. Since you are trying to give your genes the best chance at natural selection, you have to determine what partner will maximize that. Tall, beautiful, smart, or short, ugly, dumb but kind to you and willing to have kids with you?
NOTE: *because I had my fingers full of epoxy resin after boat building (of course men don't go to the nail polisher! ;).