the meaning of K manhood isn’t clear to me. Are womanizers K or R? Promiscuity in women is definitely R, but it has a very different nature than in men.
There are a lot of womanizers and former womanizers in different walks of life, but I would think that’s R behavior. A past life of womanizing can have after-effects on your soul, even if the struggle to be a faithful family man is liberating. However, can we even change our R/K natures?
Bill Clinton is R, surely. John Edwards, Anthony Weiner, et al. What about Elliot Spitzer, or the younger GE, though?
Just looking for clarification. This shouldn’t be misconstrued as an attempt to start an argument or anything, though. Just seeking knowledge.
First, r and K are more population level quantities. At the individual level, traits can mix. And among men and women, there is the obvious issue of women’s eggs being a much more rare opportunity for women to reproduce, compared with men’s sperm. So there will be a difference in reproductive strategies with respect to mate sneaking and promiscuity among the sexes.
That said, I would not view r and K in people as set quantities. My own theory is the human machine is designed to feel out the environment it is growing up in, and adapt to it, in a very specific way. Namely, humans are designed to begin as nascent r’s, feel out the environment for the ability to be r, and if rejected, then mature into a K. Obviously as you look at the role amygdala plays in r/K, the mechanism is obvious. We are all born with undeveloped amygdalae, and in that state we want to be protected, we want everything given to us, and we want to be able to do what we want. You average teenager who has been given everything they want up until their teenage years, and never had to face adversity, will tend to be quite r at that age.
But that isn’t necessarily who they will be in twenty years. Amygdala-development happens if the environment is K. And as it does, I suspect you would also note a general shift toward all of the more K-traits in most people. Take that 19 year old player, drop him in a foxhole for a year fighting across Europe, and when he came back, I suspect the likelihood of him wanting to settle down and marry would increase tremendously.
Likewise, take that 19 year old player, hand him a winning $500 million Powerball lottery ticket, put him on a yacht with a harem of strippers, and I think you vastly up the chances that at 60 he is leading the life of Hugh Hefner, and he doesn’t feel as if he missed a thing.
We look at that and see it in human terms, as him being a different “person” in each case. But you can see if this were a state of nature, and there were no birth control or abortion, and you merely looked at his reproductive output in each case, how in each casehis reproductive output would be perfectly adapted to his environment. The warrior who had to fight would produce a small number of highly fit, carefully raised offspring, while the Heffner-guy would have produced hundreds of fatherless baby-makers released into the winds like some sort of spores.
Of course then there is the spectrum issue. r and K are not black and white, but rather a scale with ideals on each end, and all sorts of places in between. Vox comments in the same thread:
Depends. If they keep and support a harem, they are K. Think Donald Trump and his three wives and collection of children to whom he is close. If they are fly-by-nights, they are r. Think Travis Henry and his 11 kids by 10 different women.
A good answer, but I would just note the spectrum aspect. As things go more K, I think amygdala rises, and as it does so does triggerability, which will tend to drive a K to one wife. Whereas in one set of resource levels you could tolerate a harem, I think as things got harsher and an amygdala got more on edge a cacophony of nagging and whining from multiple wives would be too triggering. You would have to whittle that down, especially as outside problems, like hundreds of Huns launching a complex attack on your compound, were all wearing on your amygdala as well.
Then Jack Burroughs posited an interesting idea about Warren Beatty:
And then there are those lifelong womanizers who marry late, and become dedicated and monogamous husbands and fathers.
Warren Beatty is an extreme example. His biographer estimates that Beatty had sex with about 16,000 women. But then he settled down with Annette Bening in his 50s, and had four children with her.
To all appearances, he has been happily faithful to her for 26 years. In a recent interview he said that his marriage still “feels recent” to him, and that it is one of the best things that has ever happened to him.
Of his prior decades of relentless poonhoundery, Beatty says, “I was not afraid of marriage. I was afraid of divorce. I was right.”
The example of Beatty suggests that r/K selection theory’s association of promiscuity with r, and of monogamy with K, is a superficial misunderstanding of the psychobiological forces in play.
It really seems to be more rooted in low time preference (r) vs high time preference (K); as well as in your sense duty (r), or lack thereof (K), toward those you love, and for whom you feel responsible.
It’s easy to imagine a highly K-selected man like Beatty postponing marriage until his 50s, precisely because he doesn’t want to marry the wrong woman (high time preference).
In the meantime, why not fuck thousands of women?
Womanizers like Beatty who are careful not to knock anyone up, who have (presumably) avoided contracting any serious STDs; and who are able, moreover, to ruthlessly purge the disruptive drama queens from their life, show that there is indeed a K-selected way in which to be a world class poon hound.
My guess was Beatty, when his amygdala was young and undeveloped, followed the classic human pattern of sticking an r-toe in the r-water, seeing if it was warm, and then diving in and going r because conditions allowed. He hit it big in Hollywood as a young guy with a relatively undeveloped amygdala that imbued a high sex drive via its structural functioning. Women were everywhere, he was young, rich, and famous, there was never any pushback, and thus his amygdala never changed and his brain continued to drive a high sex drive and never acquired any aversive stimulus at the thought of promiscuity. That is not unnatural, it is how most young males are designed.
As he matured, my guess is his amygdala developed some sort of maturity in structure, and that imbued a desire for monogamy over promiscuity. You won’t convince me that at 22 he was banging girls because he was ardently searching for a suitable wife, nor will you convince me he married at 57 because he finally saw something in Annette Benning which he had never, ever, seen before in 16,000 women. Somewhere he experienced a change in brain structure which changed his strategy. Some sort of bond formed with her, the thought of losing her acted on that circuitry, and outweighed the drive to sleep with other women. Maybe he even had a craving to raise children. My guess is if you could take apart his brain structure all along his path and see how it was working, a key to understanding how r/K is imbued would lay somewhere in there.
That said, r and K are instincts, but they are instincts which are designed to produce a specific effect. In the case of K, the specific effect is the production of quality competitive offspring which will enjoy the world, and enjoy their own production of quality offspring in the next generation. Taken in whole, K is about producing a superior species.
It is no coincidence that a concept the left seems to hate, with visceral passion, is superiority, or exceptionalism. Race superiority, economic superiority, national superiority, personal superiority, American exceptionalism – they are all leftist triggers. K is about actively creating superiority, even as r is about destroying superiority. The recognition of this is so deep, I do not even think that as rabbits recoil from the idea, they understand why.
To the extent the r and K instincts are in many ways designed for a world which no longer exists due to technological advances in reproductive science and changes in the social fabric, there may be a new form of K that will gain advantage in the world by seeing the purpose of creating superiority, and chasing that purpose logically, regardless of what their instincts tell them. There is no doubt in a world where females become increasingly less prone to follow the K model themselves, and where pre-marital sex is the rule rather than the exception, K-males may be forced to adapt their own strategy to cull through chaff in their own search for a grain of K-strategy to instill in their own lives.
It is even more interesting to me to see where K is going to go (whether our present primitive K-instincts like it or not), than it is to see where K came from. It may be that the K’s of the future will be different from us, and that the change, even where it clashes with our more primitive instincts, is just part of the process. In the end, we are all here, on this globe, creating some sort of majestic greatness which none of us will live to see in this world, and which we may not be able to presently imagine, or even recognize as it reaches its peak 10 or 20,000 years from now.
Given that, we can only take the ride, and know that whatever we do, and even whatever our enemies do, it is all just part of the process.