Since the start of Homo sapiens’ existence, historical events and imagined myths have contrived to program the male to be dominant towards the female of the species and to the rest of creation. Because of the species’ superior intelligence over lower life forms, both male and female have had no problems imposing their will on the rest of creation. Our problems with climate change attest to that.
Some males, however, can and do have problems dominating females and other males for the simple reason that some females and males do have far superior intelligence and talents than theirs.
This makes them feel inferior. It so grates against their inner programming to dominate that they instinctively look for substitute sources of superiority. Many emotionally intelligent males are able to overcome their feelings of inferiority with a positive acceptance of their capabilities and limitations. Some others, however, simply let their instincts run loose towards substitute sources of superiority which often are of the physically and mentally violent variety.
In marriage, for instance, a man who feels inferior to a spouse who has higher educational attainment or a higher job position and earns more might find a substitute source of superiority in having a mistress and/or physically abusing the spouse, anything to make him the dominant alpha-male in the relationship.
Among the youth, males with an inferiority complex, possibly because of a physical or mental handicap, might find their feeling of superiority in a gang or school fraternity. There he glories in acting dominant with such machismo acts as bullying non-gang members or hazing neophytes.
In politics, male politicians who in reality feel inferior to rivals might want to hide this with the superior feeling of having a private army with which he imposes his will on rival politicians and their supporters.
This is the principle of substitution in human psychology. An emotional need must be filled; and if it is not filled properly it will be filled improperly, with anything that gives the feeling of dominance. Somebody who feels inferior or insecure but lacks psychological or spiritual restraints, often gets his need for dominance satisfied with replacement acts of physical and mental violence.
At the rate violence is happening with impunity in the country, it is clear that our menfolk need some serious reprogramming. If education is the goal and not just a basketful of useful knowledge and skills, the cultural system’s (education and religion) call is to shine more focus on enabling people to be mindful of personal abilities and limitations, positively accept them, and not compensate feelings of insecurity with acts of physical or mental violence towards others.
It’s a heck of a job for family, religious and educational institutions. But it has to be done if this society is to become less violent than it already is.
March 14, 2023
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