06 August 2008

The conquering archetype and the nurturing archetype

This is part two of "A field guide to Chauvinism". You may find the other parts here:
  1. A field guide to chauvinism, part 1

  2. The conquering archetype and the nurturing archetype, part 2.

  3. Why we still need chauvinism, part 3.

  4. The singularity age, part 4.

A field guide to chauvinism, part 2

When times are tough, the conquering alpha male archetype rules. When times are comfy, the nurturing alpha female archetype rules. You need the alpha male to scare away lions and tigers and bears. You need the alpha female to ensure we don't use our nucelur bams on each other when the lions and tigers and bears are no longer a threat. Perhaps male and female are unfortunate terms in this regard. Let's call the alpha male the conquering archetype and the alpha female the nurturing archetype, since a male may very well fall victim to retail therapy maggoty faggotry and a female may well fall victim to the conquering ways of dungarees and chewing tobacco.

Patriarchy: The extreme of the conquering archetype

When most individuals in a society are conquering types, you get a patriarchy. This has nothing to do with fatherhood, although gender roles tend to enforce the overriding national character of a society. This is also not necessarily oppressive, because in some societies it is crucial for slow runners to be fed to the wolves, no questions asked. Naturally, you can get an oppressive patriarchy, which usually results in a revolution that causes the overwhelming character of a society to evolve into a more nurturing matriarchy again.

Singapore central business district. Naked Asian girls.

Singapore. Civilisation, something I have never seen.

An example of such a society where the conquering archetype needs to rule is Singapore, which is a meritocracy. Fastest runners get the rewards, slowest runners are figuratively fed to the wolves in their thriving free market capitalist society. It works, because their capitalism is in a position where it exploits their natural and human resources in an effective way with no clear sign of running out of resources any time soon.

Matriarchy: The extreme of the nurturing archetype

When most individuals in a society are nurturing types, you get a matriarchy. Again, this has nothing to do with gender, but gender roles do serve to affirm the overriding characteristics of a society. It is likewise absolutely crucial in some societies to stick with the berries.

An example of such a society is Zimbabwe. They are going to have to get rid of their hunter-gatherer nurturer leader in favour of an agrarian nurturing leader who can restore their agrarian age society and put it on course to develop into an industrial age nation, and thereafter into an information age nation. More on that later.

Conquering and nurturing archetypes are always in equilibrium. If your society is unsure of its place on the conquering/nurturing equilibrium, it tends to get androgynous. Androgynous creatures make their appearance whenever a society is bound to go from one extreme to the next. Think of the monster nurturing Victorian zeitgeist that the androgen Oscar Wilde had to battle in his day right before the Industrial revolution.

Oscar Wile image picture
Oscar Wilde. Not that Wilde by today's standards. Also not that effeminate by today's standards.

Coincidentally, in emerging economies like India and China, people are starting to eat more meat and less berries, while simultaneously turning from societies ruled by nurturing archetypes into societies ruled by conquering archetypes, but for the time being I'll assume this is a case where correlation does not imply causality.

The waves of civilisation

Alvin Toffler's famous book the Third Wave describes three waves of civilisation:
  1. The first wave was agrarian civilisation, which replaced hunter-gatherer society. Hunger-gatherers try to conquer by taking from their environment with little regard for anything except the booty. That's booty as in bounty and not booty as in tits and ass. Hunter-gatherer societies were tough and called for blundering, conquering archetypes. Cave kids who were slow runners were fed to the wolves. Cave women were big, strong, mean and probably grew beards as frequently as men did. However, cave women somehow felt warm and fuzzy over cave kids who could not run fast, and tried to prevent feeding them to the wolves. Conquering cavemen refused, because hunting and gathering required fast runners. Women argued that they could find a way to sustain the lousy hunters without hunting. Cave men said: “Over my dead body!”.

    I imagine a particularly conquering type of bearded cave woman took this to heart, got a cave woman style divorce with the aid of a spiked club and fed the entrails of her cave divorcee to the wolves. She then taught the slow running child more gathering than hunting, which meant more staying where the berries were. She also learned that where they crapped out their berries, more berries grew, thus the slow running kids were not reliant on a nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyle. Slowly but surely, this lead to the agrarian revolution, which caused the hunter-gatherer style conquering to fall out of favour.

  2. The second wave is industrial civilisation, brought about by the industrial revolution. During the first wave, the nuclear family with the big bad farming dad that could sustain a modern slow running kid tinkering with mechanics in the shed over weekends and the self-sacrificing cooking mother in the kitchen creating the necessary society to give rise to the industrial revolution.

    The first wave called for a nurturing archetype, until the industrial revolution. The cut-throat capitalism which resulted due to the industrial revolution called for the conquering archetype again, and developing nations still need to free themselves from the nurturing bondage of the agrarian society by embracing free market capitalism if they are to develop into an industrial society and beyond.

    By contrast, conquering in a capitalist sense is not sustainable if it doesn't give heed to the lessons learnt by the nurturing agrarian society. These lessons include not exploiting your environment to the point of barrenness, but harnessing natural processes in order to make you more fit to conquer.

    The first wave favours running, the second wave favours learning. In an industrial society, slow learners become employed by the military, the church or the government, which is the equivalent of feeding them to the wolves, only much worse.

  3. The third wave is the information age, which is created by the information revolution. The information revolution started with the printing press (although some trace it back to the invention of writing), and it calls for the nurturing archetype again.

    Actually there are societies which are already past the information revolution. These societies are in trouble once more thanks to the bondage of the nurturing archetype in the shape of an overly zealous ever watching Big Brother. If the pattern of civilisations so far is anything to go by, these societies are going to have to breed conquering archetypes again if they are to bring about the revolution to ride the fourth wave.

    An information society favours innovation. Slow innovators end up spending daddy's industrialist fortune on a cookie cutter politically correct humanities degree, a mass produced Mercedes Slk, vacuous overseas trips which stray far from anywhere culturally significant like the Beyreuth Festspielhaus, donations to Peta and Che Guevara T-shirts to dampen their feelings of guilt for having access to all this wealth without earning it. They feel that buying a Che Guevara T-shirt entitles them to claim solidarity with socialist nurturing nanny states without realising the irony. That is, slow innovators usually end up in management.

Bayreuth Festpspielhaus designed by Richard Wagner himself
Bayreuth Festspielhaus. Designed by Richard Wagner himself. You can get your ambrosia at the door after Der Ring des Nibelungen. That is if you can still walk after that many multiple eargasms.

What do the third waves of civilisation have to do with chauvinism? Plenty.


petra said...

I'm especially liking the spiked club and feeding his entrails to the wolves. That sounds fun!

Astrid said...


Your writing borders on genius. Great posting. Though, for me Oscar is still pretty Wilde today. This might have something to do with the fact that the man never hesitated to employ his grey matter and was never afraid to force it onto the knee-clenching Victorian society. Result - brilliant work.

I saw this website and thought of you - perhaps you know it?
www.makesomenoise.co.za check it out



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