The Evolution of Love: From Role Mate to Soul Mate, Part I
On New Year’s Eve, I (and other speakers, such as Deepak Chopra) was honored to give one of the keynote presentations at an international conference of integral spiritual leaders, aligned with Ken Wilber’s pioneering work on integral thinking. The topic was “The Future of Love.” The presentation engendered an intense standing ovation, so I thought I’d share it with you. Let me know your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The Evolution of Love: from Role Mate to Soul Mate”
Warren Farrell, Ph.D.
ISE2 (Integral Spiritual Experience/The Future of Love)
Dec 31, 2010
Asilomar, Pacific Grove, Ca
Thanks to: Marc Gafni, Sally Kempton, Nicole Fegley, Diane Musho Hamilton, Robb Smith, and Ken Wilber
I’ll be talking about: Why, in the past, every society that survived did so by preparing its sons to be disposable–whether in war or at work. How this contributes to both sexes falling in love with the members of the other sex who are the least capable of loving.
We’ll see why men in industrialized nations today are psychologically about where women were a half-century ago. And why. And how that can change.
I’ll look at the evolutionary shift that is necessary to create not a woman’s movement, nor a men’s movement, but a gender transition movement?: making a transition from the rigid survival roles of the past to more flexible fulfillment roles in the future?
In the context of love, how we can make a transition from role mate to soul mate.
At ISE2, the question is “How do spiritual leaders lead the evolutionary shift of this gender transition?”
We’ll look at the Four Gender Transitions it will be necessary for spiritual leaders to facilitate:
1. the woman’s transition from rigid survival roles to flexible fulfillment roles;
2. the man’s transition from rigid survival roles to flexible fulfillment roles;
3. the society’s transition from infrastructures that support rigid survival roles to infrastructures that support flexible fulfillment roles.
4. Everyone’s transition from survival Communication to Empathy Communication to allow us to make the first three transitions with love rather than blame.
Because of the one hour time constraint, I will be giving you only “tip of the iceberg” explanations of why love today is such a mess–and yet, paradoxically, why it also has more potential than it ever has had. (Love today is like an adolescent.)
To understand why both sexes fell in love with the members of the other sex who were the least capable of loving, we must first understand the purpose of life historically.
The purpose of life was not love. It was survival. (see handout on the Evolution of Love) To survive inter-generationally, the first commandment of the Pentateuch of the Bible was “be fruitful and multiply.” Gay men and women were ostracized in part because they had sex without multiplying–without taking on a lifetime of responsibility in exchange for an hour of pleasure. Thus if gayness were romanticized, its sex-for-free component would undermine the incentive to take on a lifetime of responsibility in exchange for one act of sex. The first commandment of the Bible–of survival–would be undermined. The “sin” was not being gay per se; it was the fear by a group (e.g., Catholics) of not surviving.
Let’s connect the “be fruitful and multiply” commandment to why both sexes fell in love with the members of the other sex who were the least capable of loving. Men fell in love with women who were young enough to be fruitful and multiply for the most years (of course, we’re way beyond this nowadays, aren’t we!); women fell in love with men who were successful enough to protect them and their offspring.
Problem is, women get better at love as they get older, so boys and men falling in love with the 15 year old girls was falling in love with women who were the least capable of loving. Conversely, women fell in love with boys and men who were killer-protectors, not nurturer-connectors. The qualities it takes to kill and protect are inversely related to the qualities it takes to listen and love.
So both sexes were programmed historically to fall in love with members of the other sex who are the least capable of loving.
Women’s Love Advantage
That said, a woman’s traditional role gave her more love advantages–though that doesn’t mean she loved more.
Before I explain, a quick survey here
Stand up if you are a mother who worked outside the home more than forty hours a week each year of all of the first three years of your child’s life–or of all of your children’s lives.
Stand up if you are a dad who worked outside the home more than forty hours a week each year of all of the first three years of your child’s life–or of all of your children’s lives.
Dads learned to love the family by being away from the love of the family. The Father’s Catch-22.
Moms are more likely to love the family by loving the family
Women provided an emotional womb, akin to love; men provided a financial womb, that took men away from their purpose–loving and supporting the family, in order to achieve their purpose– loving and supporting the family.
Men loved the family by being disconnected; women loved the family by being connected. Women’s role had the love advantage.
Women’s traditional role had an emotional advantage
In love, when a man and woman divorce, a man is ten times as likely to commit suicide. And, when a woman dies, a husband is ten times as likely to commit suicide as she is when her husband dies.
Why? A traditional man’s weakness is his facade of strength.
When the traditional man expresses his vulnerability, it increases his vulnerability. For example, he may ask a colleague at work for help only to discover the colleague lets it be known that he could solve problems the man couldn’t. His vulnerability may lead to his demotion–more vulnerability. Which leads to his wife losing respect–more vulnerability…No wonder men can’t ask for directions!
In contrast, when women talk to women friends, they give each other support.
A successful man learns, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”–the tough don’t go to a therapist or a spirituality conference! Success means learning to repress feelings, not express feelings.
Men’s facade of invulnerability makes us less able to care about men’s problems or deaths. So few people know that men over 85 commit suicide 1350% as frequently as women over 85.
How can we change this?
Four Gender Transitions: How do spiritual leaders lead the evolutionary shift of Four Gender Transitions from love in the past to the future of love?
Gender Transition One: Women’s transition from rigid survival roles to flexible fulfillment roles.
Women are today where men were fifty years ago….
Three Stages of Women’s Movement that Led to Women Being a Half-Century ahead:
1. Equality is money/status: Problem: Women becoming Imitation Men
2. Equality is Options. Good, but often we select from options that give us approval.
3. Equality is Discovering Ourselves: Real power is control over our lives. Requires a Spiritual Journey.
Example: Female M.D. whose dad was a doctor, and felt she could get her dad’s approval best by becoming a doctor. Problem: she wanted to be a writer. She became a Doctor, but gave up her soul for approval of dad/society. The spiritual journey (Stage 3 of the women’s movement), requires our searching ourselves, asking, “Whose approval am I a prisoner of?” Knowing: the need for appreciation keeps the slave a slave.
Today, millions of middle class and upper class women are in Stage 3. We’ll see in a minute that men today are basically in Stage I–where women were in 1960 (think Mad Men). How did women grow as men remained stagnant?
The women who made the most progress were middle to upper class women married to successful men whose success allowed the women to go to psychologists, be introspective, and raise expectations about their marriage that would ultimately lead to their divorce.
Why divorce? One example: The women best able to afford the psychologists were the ones who had selected for successful men–that is, men who were repressing their feelings rather than expressing their feelings. And women can’t hear what men don’t say.
The successful men were men who had learned that earning money led to earning love. Why? Because it did. However, it didn’t sustain love–not with women’s new definition of love that, she thought, desired real communication. This, though, doesn’t erase the fact that the women best able to grow spiritually and psychologically were the ones who had selected men to marry who were the least able to grow. Thus divorce.
Now let’s look at this in the context of the family–as if the family were all in one “family boat.”
Prior to the women’s movement, women learned to row only from the right side of the family boat (raise children); men, only from the left (raise money). The women’s movement helped girls become women who could row from both sides; but without a parallel force for boys, boys became men who had still learned to row only from the left. The problem? If a woman tries to exercise her newfound ability to row from the left, and the man can still row only from the left, the boat goes in circles.
A family boat that goes in circles increases the family boat’s vulnerability to the sharp rocks of recession. For example…
Seventy-eight percent of the people losing their jobs since the recession are men. (“Mancession”; “Hecession.”)The men most likely to lose the high-paying jobs are called by a certain name. That name is ” dads.” As a nation, though, we haven’t socialized our sons to be dads full-time, so when moms have to produce more income, and dads aren’t socialized to be dads, then the family boat has a hole in it—neglected children.
Repairing this hole, though, requires some unfinished work in women’s development as well…
In the past half century, we have done a good job socializing men to be proud of wives and daughters with full-time careers; we have done a poor job socializing women to be proud of husbands and sons who are full-time dads. And that’s a problem. Why? As John Gottman’s research found, one of the strongest predictors of a happy marriage is a happy wife. A wife who thinks of a full-time dad as “my unemployed husband” will leave her husband feeling disgraced for being labeled “unemployed.” With an unhappy wife, the family boat sinks.
The evolutionary shift? It begins with women knowing that when children are raised predominantly by dads in an intact family, they do extremely well on more than thirty areas of measurement–including empathy. (I document these 30 areas in Father and Child Reunion.)
As wives work more, women and children today are often more in need of men who are nurturer-connectors than killer-protectors. But…
Both sexes rowing on both sides of the boat requires both sexes learning to love and respect the other when they do it. (If women loved and had sex with men who walk on their hands, men would be setting up hand-walking contests tomorrow!)
Gender Transition Two: the man’s transition from rigid survival roles to flexible fulfillment roles.
Our sons face a crisis today in five major areas (part of being 50 years behind):
· Education. Boys are behind girls in almost every subject, especially reading and writing. Yet boy-friendly programs (e.g., recess and vocational education) are being curtailed.
· Jobs. Our sons are not being prepared for jobs where the jobs will be. Yet women rarely marry men in unemployment lines.
· Fatherlessness. A third of boys are raised in father-absent homes; In neighborhoods where fathers are most scarce, more than half of boys don’t finish high school. [i]
· Physical health. Life expectancy has gone from one year less for males than females in 1920, to five years less for males today, yet federal offices of boys and men’s health are non-existent.
· Emotional health.
· prior to age nine, boys and girls commit suicide at equal rates.
· from ages 10 to 14, boys’ rate is twice as high[ii];
· from 15 to 19, four times as high [iii]; and
· from 20 to 24, more than five times as high. [v]
If a boy overcomes these barriers and he and his successful working wife get married, something happens when they have their first child:
His wife ponders three options:
–children full time
–some combination of both
(Census bureau data show: 40-40-20 percent, respectively.)
Not to be outdone, he also generates three options:
That is, we have evolved the Era of the Multi-Option Woman and the No-Option Man. The joys of heterosexuality!
These married men “with child” earn more, so we say they have the power. They earn more because, once children arrive, they feel the obligation to earn more. Some evidence? Women who have never been married and never had children earn 117% of what men earn who have never been married and never had children.
Men’s definition of power: “feeling obligated to earn money someone else spends while he dies sooner.”
Pay Paradox: Pay is about the power we forfeit to get the power of pay. For example, we forfeit the power to develop a spiritual life to get the power to pay for our children to have a spiritual life. The Pay Paradox, then, is “Pay is about the power we forfeit to get the power of pay.”
First step of transition: understanding male power vs. real power. Real power is control over our lives. Real power is stage 3 of the women’s movement.
How does the pay paradox apply to your life? To understand how much more your dad may have loved you than is apparent, and how differently he expressed his love from your mom, close your eyes.
I’ll lead you through a visualization of your dad’s life. The purpose will be to find a time when you noticed a Glint in your dad’s eye–a time he was completely relaxed, not focused on correcting you, or lecturing you. Search for that glint–maybe from playing a musical instrument, or playing with your children; maybe you saw it in pictures from your dad and mom’s honeymoon; maybe when he was singing, painting, writing, story-telling, gardening, hiking, mentoring….Search for that glint, for what ignited his spirituality; find your dad’s soul…
Now imagine your dad spending his life doing what he was doing that created that glint–say, playing with your children.
Now compare that to what your dad actually did for a living.
Now imagine, when you were born, your parents thinking about what your dad could do that would allow you and your siblings to have a better life than he had–to attend spirituality conferences, for example. Did they think they could accomplish that by your dad doing what he did for a living, or by your dad doing what created the glint (e.g., singing)?
Raise your hand if doing what your dad did made more money, but perhaps also led to his giving up what created the glint in his eye?
Think of whether being more spiritually integrated creates a glint in your eye.
Put this all together. For many–not all–of us, our dads gave up the glint in their eye to make it more likely we would be able to discover the glint in ours.
How do we change this for our sons? How do we help our sons become multi-option men?
For Part II, see www.warrenfarrell.com, Article of the Month, January, 2011
[i] “The Trouble with Boys,” Newsweek, January 30, 2006. p. 50.
[ii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File. 1999-2006. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2006 Series 20 No. 2L, 2009. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Mar 31, 2010 9:00:11 PM. SOURCE LINK
[iii] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File. 1999-2006. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2006 Series 20 No. 2L, 2009. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Mar 31, 2010 9:00:11 PM. SOURCE LINK
[iv] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Compressed Mortality File. 1999-2006. CDC WONDER On-line Database, compiled from Compressed Mortality File 1999-2006 Series 20 No. 2L, 2009. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/cmf-icd10.html on Mar 31, 2010 9:00:11 PM. SOURCE LINK
[v] US Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Health, United States, 2005, with Chartbook on Trends in the Health of Americans. Table 46 (page 1 of 3): Death rates for suicide, according to sex, race, Hispanic origin, and age: United States, selected years 1900-2003, p. 221. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus05.pdf#027.
[vi] The root of the word “hero” is “ser-ow.” In Greek, the connotation was “protector.” The Latin root word for “protector” is “servare.” From the same root word family comes the word “servire,” meaning “slave,” from which we get our word “serve.” See Julius Pokorny, Indogermanisches Etymologisches Worterbuch (Bern: Francke, 1959); or, for slightly easier reading, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (NY: American Heritage Publishing Co., Inc. & Houghton Mifflin Co., 1969), p. 1538.