In just the way that human evolution has twisted and turned with varying emphases on patrifocal vs. matrifocal social structure, the transformations of societies can be observed as they mirror how humans choose their mates.

Though humans have been propelled in a neotenous direction over the last several million years, we could surmise that this trajectory has not been a seamless surge in one direction.  Just as we observe the contemporary sudden surge in maturational delay among our males and maturational acceleration with females, ancient precursors to our current species no doubt produced progeny that skewed off from the maturation rate convention.  Different bands exhibited different maturation rate proclivities based upon environmental influences, band interbreeding and sexual selection aesthetics.  The dramatic variations in the fossil record of even relatively contemporary finds testify to the breadth of variation among our ancestors.

We did not arrive here via the evolution express but via a very fast vehicle that made numerous stops and that took many routes along the way.

A highly refined aesthetic developed during millions of years of runaway sexual selection characterized by performers (dancers and singers) being chosen by discriminating mates.  Having arrived at language, our ancestors got off the evolution express, departed Africa and boarded the societal accelerator.  Evolution continued–our bodies and minds continued to be molded–but now in the context of a symbol-making ability mated to an ancient aesthetic compulsion.  These massive brain-based sensibilities became assigned to any and everything around them as speech sexualized the environment, propelling humans to evaluate everything they came in contact with as if they displayed the features of a potential mate.

And so society began with a deep appreciation for detail.  By the Neolithic, craft was life.

Just as matrifocal and patrifocal social structures form the foundation for the relational structures of many species in biology and form the matrix from which we as a species have evolved, this same hormonal dance characterizes how our societies have evolved, providing an impersonation of a teleological trajectory.  When the shift from matrifocal to patrifocal occurred that led to males being chosen for their commanding qualities and females for cooperative, neotenous features, a shift also occurred in how societies translated the new hormonal constellation.  With the rise in male testosterone, hierarchy took hold.  The ancient female-centric cultures were horizontal, transparent and egalitarian.  The new male-centered cultures grew increasingly stratified, with resources controlled by fewer and fewer men.

At no time does the influence of the matrifocals completely disappear.  Though the societies grow hierarchically taller with time, the artists and others with matrifocal tendencies make grounding contributions that keep the patrifocal edifices from toppling.  Until now.

The towers are tumbling as the matrifocals return in force.  Maturational-delayed males and maturational-accelerated females are the new convention.  Or, the old convention, depending on how far back you go.  Whereas we’ve been experiencing the acceleration of society for several thousand years with maturational-accelerated males informing the speed and direction of our societal evolution, now we are experiencing the neotenization of society as transparency, diversity and horizontal communication surge into our everyday.

A collapsing hierarchical society is a society becoming horizontal.  We’ve been here before.  As we return to the horizontal, we carry with us thousands of years of art, experience and knowledge of the repercussions of our actions.  It’s time to be horizontal for a while.  It’s time to integrate with our environment, appreciate our surroundings.  Maybe in ten thousand years we’ll be ready to start social climbing once again.


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