The disposable male – Michael Gilbert

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The Disposable Male puts forward the view that the individual and collective detachment from our natural heritage is the primary culprit behind the marginalization of men, the overburdening of women, and the failings of modern relationships. Today’s social disarray and many of the everyday anxieties of our time result from being out of touch with our natural inheritance—our innate biology and evolutionary anchors. Estranged from our earthly foundations, nature has become something we visit on the weekend. Primitive creatures adrift in a sea of modern abstraction, we have lost our natural compass.

When we examine today’s social problems and the challenges of contemporary life through the lens of our natural history, we begin to discover an important, perhaps unintended, modern predicament: we are not getting the best from men and we are asking too much of women. Except in the upper-most alpha male perches, boys and men are being systematically neutered, disparaged, and displaced. Masculinity is being bleached out.

As it fades away, we are exposed to a backlash—unhealthy parodies of male overcompensation and destructive acting out. Down in the ranks, men find themselves bewitched by the presence of women in their traditional domains, bothered by the itch of enduring hormones, and bewildered by a lack of clear roles and a definitive purpose.

How does modern masculinity look through the eyes of evolution? Why are men sexually oriented and driven toward resource acquisition while most women seek committed relationships? Why do women tend to build supportive social networks while men compete for power and status? Can ordinary men and women use evolutionary viewpoints to improve their lives and their relationships? We can. And we can use this deeper perspective to understand so much more—from flirtation to fidelity, childrearing, and family matters, as well as modern workplace behavior.

In the pages ahead we zero in on these universal subjects of intense personal concern—who we find attractive, why we fall in love, how we feel about blood ties and why we go to work every day. We explore the source of today’s intimate dilemmas by unearthing the secrets of sex, love, and the human motivations buried within our natural history. By retracing the story of the sexual bond from its archaic roots to the tattooed kids with tongue-studs at the local coffeehouse, we will discover how ancient primal forces continue to influence the psychology and behavior of twenty-first century men and women and explore what they can teach us about achieving harmony in today’s troubled intimate relations.

An evolutionary point of view holds the promise of alleviating many of the anxieties and confusions weighing down today’s young men and women. By summoning the deep-seated, still vibrant forces that continue to shape our modern thinking, we can develop a better understanding of our own nature, dreams, and desires. Reconciling our evolutionary heritage with the realities of modern life can also help us reinforce the health of our families, stabilize our communities, and make sense of the chaotic world around us. Most of all, reclaiming our natural inheritance can help us improve our intimate relationships and launch a lifelong adventure of self-discovery.

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