That Think You Do
















Men Who Give Birth Get Along Better

It turns out its extremely easy to make men get along well with each other.

Get men pregnant and they'll get along just fineAll you have to do is get them pregnant. More precisely, you have to cause them to give birth.

The reason for this should be obvious. The extreme majority of women, regardless of where they’re from, what language they speak, their income level, their education level, their whatever, all share one thing and one thing only that’s denied to men: child birth. Child birth is so female oriented (duh!) and such a bonding element among women that there are birthing rituals and ceremonies going back to the dawn of time, all of them male exclusive.

The act of birth, of creation, creates a bond among those who experience it that can not be broken.

Men, it turns out, don’t have to be completely denied these kinds of bonds. Some readers may know of my anthropology studies with the GrandMothers of the Three Women’s Nations. One of those GrandMothers, an elderly Paiute Woman, taught me the ceremony that enables men to give birth. In truth, I suggest it to very few men. Very, very few. Most men, in all honesty, can’t go through with it. For one thing, it requires a complete abandonment of the male psyche and adoption/acceptance of a female psyche. Most modern males aren’t comfortable enough with their own sexuality to willingly accept a female sexuality for even the shortest period of time.

(and if you read the above and could only put it into a gay or homosexual context, I rest my case)

One method for helping men get along (not involving the Grandmothers’ training yet directly traceable to it) involves having men get together and take part in a communal creative experience.

What must be unique about the experience is that the creative output must be ephemeral, fleeting. It must be formless, shapeless and substanceless so that no one male or group of males can point to it or some part of it and say “I did that” or “I did that part”. Whatever is created must be done by all involved equally, so there’s also no ku-counting or notetaking or scorekeeping.

It can, of course, be something physical like a barn, a boat, even a box will do. The core element is that the shared, communal creative experience be remembered, not necessarily what that experience created.

Here’s the amazing (to me) part: Once this ceremonial birthing, this creation, is done and all have shared the birth pains and joy of it, the men involved are amazingly able to work communally on some real-world problem, anything from building a shed to creating a company.

And women can take part, too, birthing right beside the men, once the men have allowed themselves to have a shared creative experience.

Some readers may be thinking “He’s writing about team-building”. I appreciate that thought and what I’m describing does, yes, build teams but only much after the fact. Teams require leaders and followers, captains and soldiers. The experience I’m writing of does not. In fact, it rebukes them.

Everyone coming to the creation ceremony will have their own expertises and some may lead for a bit, but without equal partnership and equal input and equal levels of creativity, the ephemeral offspring will be misshapen and odd.

So, if you want to get along with the goal of getting something done, and if you can’t seem to get everybody together on it, maybe the real problem is that the men have never given birth.


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Be Honest with Yourself, Be Honest with Others, Be at Peace

What do you do when someone tells you, “I don’t have a problem lying to people.”?

It’s kind of like that old logic problem; you go to the Land of the Liars where everybody tells falsehoods. The first person you meet makes two statements:

  1. The next statement I make will be a lie.
  2. The last statement I made was a lie.

I’ve met only a few people who actually told me “I don’t have a problem lying to people”. One fellow’s wife, during a business dinner, quite openly told everyone at the table that her husband was a liar, couldn’t tell the truth and we should be advised of such. Their family life must have been interesting.

However I’m well aware that the “I don’t have a problem lying to people” attitude exists regardless of its being stated as such. And I’ll admit such attitudes pose a challenge to me because, as one friend confided to me, “Your commitment to the truth outweighs your commitment to people’s feelings — particularly when dealing with idiots or ?ssholes — but it’s a close race.

My first and greatest suggestion when dealing with such individuals is to separate yourself from them. Their reputations will eventually become blackened and so will yours (by association if nothing else) unless you create some psycho-social distance between yourself and them.

I also realize there are a variety of social and business reasons that would preclude one from such distancing.

Let me first offer ways to recognize habitual or professional liars, then some ways to protect yourself from their ways.
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Why did I get all the girls?

Male friends in college were often envious of my abilities with the womens. It was not uncommon to hear comments such as “How do you rate?”, “I knew you’d know her” and some less respectable phrases.

Even after Susan and I got together women had no problem sharing their intimacies with me, the secrets they’d normally only share with other women, seeking me out for this or that. Fortunately I’m amazingly dense and Susan usually has to let me know when girltalk becomes flirting (too much of an anthropologist, me).

What makes me so attractive to women?

In a word, I’m average.
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Rules of Competition

NextStage did a bunch of political research during this the ‘08 Presidential race, some of it was documented on my BizMediaScience blog. One of the questions that we still get with regularity involves the public’s perception of Senator Clinton versus Governor Palin.

The question being asked was asked about politics and the answer has little to do with politics. It really has to do with how people perceive another person’s hard work, ambition, drive, steadfastness, …, in a word, competitiveness, and especially how these traits are gender-biased.

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