Men and Civilization
Over a century ago, our society embarked on a great experiment. It's too early to definitely say whether the experiment was a success, but the signs so far are good.

There are also some side effects that aren't so good and that's my focus here.

Here are six human traits:

· agression
· compassion
· nurturing
· risk taking
· sensitivity
· violence

If you divide the list into good and bad, there wouldn't be much disagreement. If you divide the list into male and female, there wouldn't be much disagreement. There's a telling alignment between the traits marked female and good, and the traits marked male and bad.

The side effect that most concerns me is that labeling of male traits as bad. In its extreme form society tries to either feminize men or do away with them altogether. Less extreme but in some ways more damaging we attempt to civilize our behaviour and lessen the negative impact of the 'bad' traits.

And in doing so we throw out the baby.

We tell men, subliminally, that their core nature doesn't contribute to civilization. That these traits are childish and not for grownups.

Unlike many who have made trails in this territory, I don't see it affecting individual men that much. There is no "decline of men" as far as I can see. Our attitude may be a little like my friend who tells me that he gets to be the mean one. His wife can't discipline the kids so he's the one who says no and hands out punishment. That's okay, he says, he's got strong shoulders.

So we don't need a "movement" of men.

But we do need to look at the feminization of society. Everything from risk avoidance ("oh my goodness somebody might get hurt"), to orderliness ("now children, play nice"), to competition ("everybody gets a reward").

Look at the space program. This is exploration of the frontier and it is rocket science. However, heaven forbid somebody should die in the program. Can you imagine Columbus? "Yes Queen Isabella, I guarantee no one will die, as a matter of fact we will stay where you can see the ship and my men can row back to shore if anything happens." There's a recipe for never going anywhere.

How about instead, taking reasonable precautions but also understanding that dying a meaningful death, extending mankind's knowledge, is a good way to go?

Be warned, this is only an opening salvo.