You Are Hunter
I was sorting through this old stack of books I have, in order to see which ones I want to keep, and which ones I want to get rid of. I’m getting ready to move in a few days, and I don’t want to bring too much extra junk with me.
I found this interesting book I bought a couple years ago called “Why Men Don’t Listen And Why Women Canâ€™t Read Maps,” by Barbara And Allan Pease. I remembered reading it and was amazed at some of the cool things I learned. It was basically the differences that exist between men and women, differences that go far beyond basic plumbing.
It all stems from our evolutionary past. While men would be out hunting every day, women would take care of the cave. And taking of the cave meant keeping all the kids together, protecting them from predators, and finding whatever edible roots and other foods they could find.
Humans existed this way for hundreds of thousands of years. We’ve only been living in agricultural based societies for about ten thousand years or so, so we are still carrying around our basic programming and wiring.
One of the ways that manifests itself today is how we communicate. Women had to learn to communicate on many different levels at the same time, while men never evolved such a skill. Since women were taking care of kids, they developed an ability to read facial expressions much better than men. An interesting study, which was cited in the above book, showed this pretty convincingly. They showed a bunch of women a bunch of kids’ faces, and then had them guess at their mood. The women came up with several different descriptions, and combinations thereof. The men, on the other hand, either said “happy,” “sad,” or “angry.”
Another interesting thing was how our respective vision evolved. Since men were out hanging all the time, males developed vision that was really good at seeing things far off in the distance, but crappy at seeing things up close in our peripheral vision. Women, on the other hand, have much better peripheral vision, but not such great vision for looking at things off in the distance. That’s why sometimes men can’t see things that are literally right in front of them, to the exasperation of their partners or spouses.
That’s another reason why men rubber neck so much when we’re at the mall, and we see something in our peripheral vision that may or may not be an attractive female. We actually have to turn our heads in her direction to see. Women, on the other hand, are capable of checking out every guy in the place, including evaluating their fashion sense, without even moving their eyeballs.
There are tons of other really interesting and eye opening (get it?) revelations in that book. If you are at all interested in scientifically recognized differences between men and women (many of them politically incorrect), I highly recommend that book.
One thing that struck me was that in our evolutionary past, it seems that humans spent their days in two different “modes” of operation. Hunting, and resting. The whole day, if you were a man, was spent out hunting and finding food. Once the sun started to set, you’d head back to the cave and stare into the fire for a few hours, and then sleep. If you were a woman, the day was spent foraging around looking for things to eat, and watching over the kids. When it became dark, and nocturnal predators came out, it was time to head back to the cave, and keep everybody safe for the night.
It seems that even in our modern society, we can break down our activities along those lines. We are either hunting, or trying to achieve some goal, or resting, or recovering, or taking a break until we can get back in the game and go after the prize, whatever that may be.
It seems that humans were built specifically to hunt, or seek. Resting isn’t nearly as rewarding unless it’s after we’ve achieved some goal. If you’ve read Psycho Cybernetics, then you know that Dr. Maltz compares the human mind to a self-correcting missile. Choose a target, fire away, and correct your course based on the feedback you get.
The interesting thing is that no matter what you do, it will always be directed at some goal. For many people, that goal is chosen by somebody else. Your boss, your company, your commanding officer if you are in the military.
Of course, as in the cave example, these goals can frequently overlap. Many times our main goal is to get enough resources so that we can effectively rest and recuperate when we need to, so that we can get out and achieve more goals.
If you are going after a goal that’s not really your choice, this can quickly seem like a vicious circle. You go to work go make money to pay for your house and your necessities so you can get enough rest every night in order to go to work so you an make money to pay for your house etc etc.
These can seem like a relentless treadmill if you are always making money for somebody else. But when you take the time to choose a goal that is really important to you, and you make consistent progress, there’s not much that feels better.
It would seem that the human mind was designed to feel enormous pleasure to see a goal on the horizon, chase after it, track it down, and kill it. We were built to hunt, built to achieve.
Of course, it can be difficult to hunt completely for yourself. Even in our past we had to form groups and alliances and sometimes give our efforts to the achievements of others. Getting to the point in life where most of your efforts are toward your own personal goals and choices can take a lifetime of effort. But if you only start small, choose small goals that are important to you, and only you, you can slowly build on your successes. And once you get a taste of the kill, there’s no going back.
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