While it is true that the human nature represents a compilation of feelings, thoughts and characteristics all humans share, it is equally correct that accurately defining all of the above has been the oldest and most crucial quest of the Western philosophy. Even though thinkers have provided various answers to these fundamental questions, one thing remains constant, namely that human nature primes over the sum of norms established in different cultures and societies.
Interestingly enough, instead of going hand in hand, the social norms and our way of being are conflicting quite often. In fact, it is safe to state that at one point or another in your life you will come to agree with Alexander Woolcott’s famous quote “all the things I really like to do are either immoral, illegal or fattening”. In the following article we will explore the most common misconceptions about human nature people believe today.
1. The eternal fascination with the “Barbie look”
The appeal of the long, beautiful hair, blue eyes, a wasp waist and big breasts has not really emerged with Marilyn Monroe and in fact, it dates from approximately two millennia ago. The answer to this one is actually quite simply: women who boast these characteristics are perceived as younger, healthier and hence, they promote reproduction and the survival of the specie. However, ironically these things are not applicable in the modern society, where wigs, contact lens and the magic of cosmetic surgery is all it takes to reach the ideal female beauty.
2. We’re genetically programmed for polygamy
According to anthropologists, the simple fact that men are taller than women is a criterion that proves humans are essentially programmed for polygamy. Essentially, the male fitness factor plays a great role in finding more mating opportunities. Furthermore, a tall and strong man gives women a sense of financial and social security, sometimes to the point where women prefer to share the wealth of a single man than mate with a poor one. While in certain parts of the globe polygamy is still practiced, in Western society and industrialized countries this no longer applies because for modern man wealth is more consistent across the board, at least by comparison with their ancestors.
3. Couples who have at least one son are less likely to end up in divorce
In spite of the fact that the modern world promotes gender equality, apparently the men’s instinct to do anything in their power to ensure the continuation of the wealth, name and status is still lingering in the subconscious. While all the things a man has to offer can be inherited by his son, there is very little he can do to maintain his daughter’s beauty and youthfulness. It is true that this behavior is mostly noticeable in affluent families, but sociologists suggest that statistically couples who have sons are less likely to end up in divorce.
4. The middle-life crisis
Some call the middle-life crisis a myth and others are living it, or they think they do especially since they invested all their savings in a brand new car and a luxury home near the beach. This occurrence is linked to women reaching menopause. To put it simply, when the husband realizes that the reproduction cycle of his wife is close to an end, his anxiety levels will go through the roof and he will start spending a lot of cash in a subconscious attempt to attract younger women.
5. Male politicians are prone to risk everything for an affair
Granted, in the Western civilization monogamy reigned supreme, especially in times when the Roman Catholic Church held most of the power. On the other hand, that didn’t stop any wealthy man with a high status from having concubines, mistresses or female slaves for that matter. If you are curious as to why a male politician would risk it all, the answer might surprise you: some men strive for more power in order to expand their mating options.
6. The real reason men sexually harass women at work
An interesting, yet controversial theory about sexual harassment at work is that men tend to intimidate their female coworkers because they are not in fact sexist. In fact, according to some psychologists, such men are treating women in the same manner as their male coworkers and they are not really discriminating between genders and, as a consequence, they do not adjust their behavior during the interactions.
7. Men benefit the most from monogamy
Even though most men agree with polygamy, the truth is that they have a lot more advantages from monogamy. First off, most men would not stand a chance in a polygamous society, unless of course they are wealthy and currently have a high social status. Even if they get to marry a less desirable woman, it is still better than having nobody at all. But we’ll get to that in a bit.
8. Liberals are more intelligent than conservatives
Intelligent in this case refers to the ability of a person to adapt relatively quickly to a new behavior. While conservatives work on maintaining the old system, which may or may not work in certain circumstances, the liberals could very well be an evolutionary novelty. After all, some of them are well renowned for eccentric thinking, high flexibility to the needs of the current society and weird, but effective measures.
9. Women who have daughters become more attractive
Some psychologists suggest that beautiful women tend to have more daughters, at least by comparison with their plainer counterparts. Obviously, as the girls get older they “inherit” their mother’s beauty and hence, the pattern continues. However, while some experts claim that this behavior has made women in general more attractive, let’s not forget that nowadays they are also putting in more effort and paying more attention to their appearance.
10. The highest percentage of suicide bombers are…
…you guessed it, Muslims. Even though not all suicidal bombings have a religious motivation, when they do happen they are almost exclusively practiced by a person of Muslim religion. The explanation for this fact comes from the evolutionary psychologists, namely that the extreme behaviors are typical for societies who promote polygamy. For every man with several wives, there are at least two other younger males of lower status who will remain unmarried. Therefore, the lack of a spouse and the associated intimate relationships will naturally make a man more violent.