Friday, January 27, 2006


"According to the geographical isolation theory, speciation begins with the accidental geographical division of a single ancestral species into separate populations. No longer able to interbreed, the two populations drift apart, or are pushed by natural selection in different evolutionary directions. Then, if they subsequently meet after this divergence, they either can't interbreed or don't want to. They often recognize their own species by some particular feature, and studiously avoid similar species who lack it. Natural selection penalizes mating with the wrong species, especially where the species are close enough for it to be a temptation, and close enough for hybrid offspring to survive, to consume costly parental resources, and then turn out to be sterile, like mules. Many zoologists have interpreted courtship displays as aimed mainly against miscegenation. This may be an exaggeration, and there are other important selection pressures bearing upon courtship. But it is still probably correct to interpret some courtship displays, and some bright colours and other conspicuous advertisements, as 'reproductive isolation mechanisms' evolved through selection against hybridization." —Richard Dawkins, THE ANCESTOR'S TALE, p. 339

Speaking of courtship rituals. For a good part of my life I was attracted to women who had been victims of various sorts of abuse in their lives, from sexual through psychological to physical abuse. I was sexually attracted to women I feared. Part of every sexual urge I'd feel would be hyped up or under girded with fear. I feared those I was attracted to because women who have been badly mistreated by men aren't likely to like men very much. My own mother was beaten with coat hangers and locked in closets as a young girl is southern Ohio. And this is the woman who "raised" me the first four years of my life. What feelings about myself and women in general did I pick up in my relationship with her? Theory has it that we learn who and how to love from our relationships with our mothers or whatever woman might be closest to us when we're pretty tiny things. Makes sense to me. My mother could be pretty dangerous and my stepmother was another horse of the same color, physically and psychologically abusive and a damn fine body too. Ah—talk about sex and fear!

Took me a long time to feel the fear which underlay all my attractions, but I got there eventually. I confronted my fears and worked through them in counseling. (Aside: Now I'll never be able to run for public office because conservatives have contempt for those who go in for counseling. That's because they also have fears and emotional twists in their own pasts which they're afraid to confront. See Rove and Delay and so many others. There are some psychological theories which predict that many politicians seek political power because they have felt so powerless in their pasts that they want to control their environment for safety's sake. O, well!)

In short, watch who you dance with. Now, let me also explain, this does no in any way imply that women who have been abused are not fit subjects to marry. Just like me, if they have worked on their problems, they can become the "great a wonderful partner" I have become in my current marriage. Only took me four tries to get it close to right, and better to work with a damaged partner who realizes he's damaged than to hook up with a damaged person who won't or can't face his/her fears, those who'd rather seek salvation in somebody outside themselves like Jesus or become president rather than deal with his/her deepest fears. How do you think we got Stalin and Hitler?

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