Buddhism and the Myth of the Alpha Male…

Buddhism is a peaceful reaction to an aggressive world. And that is the beauty of it, of course, the fact that some 2500 years ago, situations were such that the increasing aggressivity of the world was obvious, and remedies would certainly need to be taken, better sooner than later, even if the worst were yet to come.

Because the paradigms are timeless, the aggressivity of men, in their quest to subdue nature to their needs of reproduction and nutrition and survival. So we worship the Alpha male as if there no other choice. But there is. That was then. This is now. The Alpha male is no longer ‘naturally selected’ for evolution the minute that women say ‘no’ and the other males say ‘me, too’. And that is that.

Cultural evolution trumps the biological survival of the fattest, and history proceeds on a more equal footing. But it was always cultural, wasn’t it? Even in the ranks of the ‘lesser animals’ the myth of the alpha male only rules to the extent that others are unwilling to step up to the fight, and to train themselves for it. But the fight is the problem, now, isn’t it?

Because fights are destructive, by definition, and many people are unwilling to submit to that, even when it means a possible increase to their dignity. And dignity is more than ego. Dignity is the inherent sense of self-worth that makes life worth living and fights worth fighting, even when they ultimately must be replaced by a better system of discourse.

Are we ‘psychologically evolved’ for a system that no longer is viable in a world soon to be ten billion souls? The question is circular, because natural selection cannot predict. Natural selection can only rationalize the past. Only free will can create the future, even if none of us are truly and absolutely free.

Use the illusion. And it doesn’t matter to me if we move backwards into that future with an eye to inclusion, rather than slashing and burning our way into that future with no reference to the past and its by-products, which includes most of the population of this world. Ten billion people slashing and burning will not a better world create, but only with careful and cautious movements designed for long-term sustenance, if not unrealistic permanence.

Our mistakes are the raw material of evolution, random mutations not a superior product in itself, but the clay from which a better piece of pottery will emerge, whether by conscious design or brilliant mistake. And that is what Buddhism does, suggesting a middle way between aggression and escape, being and nothingness. A better world awaits, neither north, south, east or west, but somewhere deep inside…