[M]ales can be kind of pathetic.Evidence of this "darker side"? One study showed that the presence of women made men more likely to make "loud blasts of noise" while playing competitive games. Another showed that the presence of women made men "more likely to endorse aggressive stances about war."
When women are present or when men are prompted to think about women, they act differently, research shows. Well, duh. But in unexpected ways. A 2008 study in the journal Evolutionary Psychology showed that in the mere presence of women as witnesses, men become more likely to jaywalk and to wait until the last second to dash on to a bus. This reflects, no doubt, the well-known belief among men that jaywalking means you're a Roman gladiator of irrepressible virility. As I said, pathetic....
There is also a darker side to the tendency of men to show off in the presence of women....
Now, other research shows that the presence of women also moves men toward more charitable giving and service. So Sapolsky concludes that "There's an important point here":
The allure of the opposite sex makes men more violent, but only, it seems, in circumstances where violence is rewarded with higher status.That's a weird way to talk about football games, but let's continue.
When status can be achieved in a more socially desirable way, things work differently.What's not socially desirable about athletic success? Why be dismissive of that? Because:
In short, with the right social arrangements, this ludicrous tendency of men can be harnessed not only to encourage a ferocious goal-line stand but to make the world a kinder place.Harnessed! So maleness has (or tends to have) a psychological structure to it, but the point of understanding that psychology is to craft it into a harness so society as a whole can most successfully turn male energy into benefits for the group. This idea of manipulating men is supposed to seem justified because the male psychology is ludicrous. Meanwhile, females are the means to the end. They too are useful for these manipulations. But somehow this harnessing and exploitation of the individual makes the world "a kinder place."
It's not kinder to think about human individuals this way. Our deepest sexual urges are not ludicrous. They are fundamental to the beauty and meaning of our lives. To ridicule our minds and bodies like that and to throw away what is most basic and real because it seems possible to extract more charitable giving and service, that is beyond ludicrous. It's evil.