Sunday 15 January 2012

An Inconvenient Observation

Throughout history the great discoveries that have advanced the status of mankind from mere grubbing animals have been made by oddballs. And almost all of them solitary men. The misfits who labour away in sheds are responsible for virtually every kind of technology we have - engines, factories, bridges, ships, cars, aeroplanes, buildings, roads, railways, television, computers... few technically significant contributions have been made by anybody else. Even the creation of art, wealth and - ironically - social networks has  mostly been the work of socially inept men.

It seems to be an exclusive deal; have friends or be remembered in a hundred years.

In times past those inventors and visionaries would have had children as convention dictated they marry and procreate, sometimes prolifically, but little time was 'wasted' in family or social activities and much of that under duress. But at least by that arrangement there existed the mechanism for passing on any genetic tendencies toward genius.

I'm not sure that happens any more. Yes, the major finds are almost exclusively by solitary, misfit men, but those men are edged out of the gene pool by other notions of desirability exercised by the female prerogative of selection. Given an ability to survive, working or otherwise, outside of the traditional 'good' marriage, women are free to choose the pretty boys, the socialisers and those who prefer to poke around in places other than the workshop.

Maybe this is natural negative feedback putting the brakes on mass intellectual progress and curtailing, or at least delaying the possibility of flawed homo-super-sapiens genius spiralling out of control and the world being ended by one man at a keyboard.

But, I'm nothing if not utterly cynical. Men are not nurturing by nature; it really isn't our job and we only do it (if at all) because society expects it. But society no longer expects you to do what you don't want to and by the time you are far enough along the male autistic spectrum to have a crack at advancing the sum of mankind's knowledge you are generally too far along to care very much for the survival of the species.

So, what does this all mean? I have no idea*, but I do thank the god I definitely don't believe in that I won't be around long enough to find out.

(* Not true, but I have other things to do today.)

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