The fundamental drive of human beings is [not] reproduction…

…and it’s a fundamental error to think that it is.

Yes, human beings have the various drives (desires, behavioral dispositions, or whatever) that they have because, at crucial points in our evolutionary past, those drives tended to maximize inclusive fitness.

So, roughly speaking, gals want to mate with high-status guys.

And guys want to achieve high status & take advantage of their position to, well, take advantage of every gal in sight.

But hardly anybody really wants to maximize the representation of his or her genes in  future generations.

9 thoughts on “The fundamental drive of human beings is [not] reproduction…

  1. Pingback: The fundamental drive of human beings is [not] reproduction… | @the_arv

  2. Pingback: The fundamental drive of human beings is [not] reproduction… | Reaction Times

  3. Charles Galton Darwin wrote in 1953:

    “In the essential matter of survival there are two things needed, the survival of the individual and the survival of the race. We are all very well endowed with deep instincts for both, and curiously enough we are ashamed of both these instincts. As to the survival of the individual we have a very strong, intimate and deep fear of death, evoked by any form of danger; it is not a thing we boast about, but it is certainly a very essential quality for survival, and as such it is to be regarded as important and valuable. For the reproduction of the race, there are two instincts needed, the sexual and the parental, and the way these are organized is to say the least curious. The sexual instinct, though much complicated by all sorts of taboos, is for most of mankind nearly as violent as the fear of death, though it has the advantage of being pleasant instead of unpleasant. Among animals it brings about the inevitable consequence of reproduction, and until very recently the same was true for man, so that the Malthusian increase of population was assured. This is still true for a large proportion of the human race, but the existence of birth-control has entirely altered the situation among the more highly developed peoples. The consequence has been to make reproduction depend for them not on an intense instinctive impulse, but rather on intellectual reasoning, and this for very many people is an exceedingly tepid motive.

    “The parental instinct is also somewhat ineffective, because for the majority it is only strongly stimulated by the presence of the children; that is to say, it is very important in preserving them, but it does not make any such clamant call on the emotions to beget them. It has
    not the same intensive compulsion as the sexual instinct, and this is not very surprising because of its very different function. No one can feel any very intense emotion continuously for more than a short time; whether it is pleasure or pain, anger or grief or fear, the sharp edge of it fades in a few days, whereas the parental instinct has got to work effectively for fifteen or twenty years, if it is to serve the survival of the race. It is therefore hardly surprising that it should be steady and continuous, but not so intense an instinct as the sexual instinct or as the fear of death.”

    A question he raises but does not answer is whether civilized people will evolve to desire children and beget an adequate number of them, or if we’re stuck in an endless cycle of civilization contracepting itself out of existence and, after a long Dark Age, being rediscovered or reinvented by barbarians.

    • There seem to be big individual differences on this score: some people have a strong, easily-triggered desire to have children, and some don’t. If, like most psychological traits, this is influenced by genetics, the broody types will soon take over the world in our new, contraceptive-rich environment, and the distinctly unbroody will go extinct.

  4. Thank you, Dave.

    All of our actions and conscious thoughts originate in the unconscious, and the actual motivation, or “want,” is usually never made conscious. So the desire of women for high-status men, and the desire of men for high-status is, in fact, an expression of the unconscious desire to maximize reproduction.

    Even Freud got that.

    • Freud got much wrong. He supposed that, in general, things were by default conscious, and had to be “repressed” to be unconscious, and that our unconscious impulses were generally attributable to early experiences, the memories of which had been repressed. This idea is an alternative to the idea of (inherited) instinct, and it caught on because it was compatible with blank-slatism (according to which, nothing is innate).

  5. Feudal Europe and Japan were both obsessed with reproduction and proto-eugenics. They made no bones about it. If white people no longer wish to reproduce, it is probably the result of forced outbreeding via the Church.

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