A few months ago, I decided that I wanted to share the non-mainstream information on history that I’ve come across in my years of learning. Originally, I wanted to focus on some of the “lost” history of women. I’ve been struggling, however, with this narrow focus. For one thing, I don’t want to portray myself as an angry feminist. Secondly, the picture that these ideas are painting for me show a much more balanced beginning of our species. So, I’m going to start by sharing some Unexpected Views on the Natural Order of Life.
For at least 150 years we have been told that there is a natural order to human life. This natural order supposedly dictates everything from marriage to societal structure. We’ve also been taught that it has always been thus.
I want to say, before continuing, that I’ve been happily married for 25 years, and am not looking to change that. The information that follows is fairly sexual in nature, and does not support the rules of morality that our society has been given. I do believe that it is important to share this information, if for no other reason than I have known people who have unnecessarily suffered from guilt and shame, under these rules.
Mating for Life
In the push to convince society that marriage for life is the natural order of things, we have been given examples of birds, and other animal species that mate for life. In their book, The Myth of Monogamy, David Brash and Judith Lipton share a number of scientific studies that show the exact opposite. DNA testing is showing that females in nearly every animal group studied, expand the gene pool on the sly. In many cases, they are so sly and quick about it, that the researchers have never actually witnessed it.
The need for a man to know that the children he is expending his energy to “raise” has long been the argument for monogamy and marriage. Supposedly,as a species, when we became smart enough to understand that sex begets babies, men have needed to know that the children in his family are his.
How many men do you know who raise children who are not their own? I’ve known several. Just as I know of many women who have raised children who aren’t their own. My observations have shown, that at least for a great many of us, loving one another is more important that blood lines.
What if the “Natural Order” of caring for children, at our very basic human core, is to just care for them?
It Takes a Community
In their book, Sex at Dawn, Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha unravel a great many misconceptions about how we are supposed to behave. For example, when explorers first came across native groups in South America and some parts of Africa, they were met by people who had no idea of paternity, marriage or monogamy. Instead, they believed the entire “village” was a marriage. They all shared the responsibilities of raising children and providing for the community as a whole. In some of these communities is was believed that women are always pregnant. So, for the best traits for her growing baby, she sleeps with many men in the village. As, they believe that each man contributes to the growing baby.
Stay at Home Motherhood
One of reasons that we are given for the need of marriage and paternity is the enormous amount of effort that goes into caring for human babies. I know, first hand, that raising children requires a great deal of effort. However, we are pretty creative and ingenious. Some societies figured out how to have it both ways.
The Amazons, warrior women of ancient times, actively participated in hunting and war, as well as motherhood. It is told that the Amazon women would put their babies into cradle boards and hang them safely in a tree, while they went hunting or taking care of other chores. Additionally, they figured out how to make a weak fermentation of mare’s milk that babies could digest, so they weren’t confined to the restraints of nursing babies.
Our Natural Tendency is Towards War
In both The Myth of Monogamy and Sex at Dawn, the authors suggest that our warring nature is a result of the tension that arises from trying to lay claim to each other. Ryan and Jetha share the example of the bonobos monkeys. Bonobos monkeys are anatomically the closest to humans of all primates. Humans and bonobos monkeys are the only primates that do not visually display when females are ovulating. Most other primates, including chimpanzees, show visual signs like reddening and swelling of the genitals. Humans and bonobos monkeys also copulate outside of the ovulation time.
Generally speaking, bonobos monkeys are pretty laid back and easy going. They share food, even to the point of alerting other nearby monkeys of a good find. When they meet up with neighboring groups of bonobos, they greet each other with grooming, mating and even kissing. As such, in good times their groups tend to be quite large. In lean times they break up into smaller groups.
A New Natural Order of the Future
Our future doesn’t have to be a repeat of the past. We have the ability to create our future. Opening our minds to new ways of understanding the basic workings of who we are will open new doors of possibility for us all. Our belief system does not have to be confined to our school text books and childhood teachings.
If you would like to read more about our history check out Problems With History: Manipulation and Interpretation and A Different Picture of Our Prehistoric Ancestors.