All of us now alive are at the end of a very long chain of successful pregnancies and nurturing well past weaning. That unbroken chain is tens of thousands of mothers long and then it goes back through to pre-humans of some type. According to Lord Robert Winston in comparison with other mammals and their weights, our pregnancy should last 21 months. Because of our large heads we must be born somewhat immaturely. We need a lot of care by mothers to survive infancy. Men have a small important and initial role but because of inclination or obligations they do not help the development of offspring to the same extent as the mothers. Too often they are just the providers, not teachers.
Down that long path, there must have been siblings that ended a chain. The offspring of butterflies, turtles, and spiders get no help from their parents but the human mammal requires a very long process of nurture until adulthood and is much longer in proportion than any other mammal.
At about 25 years we have finished developing and have reached a maturity although we can breed earlier than this. Thus humans caring for each other is a very natural feature of our biology. Humans are social animals. Smiles generate more smiles in a positive association. People have no trouble telling strangers the time of day or help them find an unfamiliar place. Help others is natural. There are many examples of people going to extremes to save others and often say that they acting from their instinctive ideas of humanity. In catastrophes people rally round to help the victims. Everything that has been developed to bring us to a high level of culture and material benefit has resulted from us working together in a cooperative activity. This is natural humanity. Mutuality of purpose makes for efficient results. Activities that do not follow this nature are called inhuman. We normally gather round other people and set up homes there and create a human society.
While humans take a long time to mature compared to other animals, humans have some exceptional abilities. Our brains consume a disproportionate share of the body’s energy for our intellectual advantages. We cant run as fast as some predators, but we can run fast for short distances and we can run for very long distances. Our hands have wonderful abilities to throw objects quite far, and to make and manipulate complex tools. We have been able to inhabit a wide variety of ecological niches and survive on a wide variety of foods. We have developed the power of speech that outperforms any other animals to communicate. That ability is enhanced by our abstract thinking abilities that allow logic and mathematical reasoning to develop to an extra-ordinary level. We can compose stories that capture the past, invent stories that explain the unknown and consider in stories what the future might bring. All this supports our social behaviour which extends our power to create entities that help us together as social animals. Our empathy for others assists our beneficial behaviour.
There is some unfortunate propaganda abroad that falsely believes that acting selfishly in our own interest somehow benefits other people. This absurd theory has been falsified over a long period of history. Immoral businessmen have often adulterated their products in order to profit themselves to the cost of consumers. Hence the necessity for regulations. We have a Commerce Commission to help regulate business and a Consumer Watchdog to prevent commercial deceit because businesses do not act with morals like people. The most extreme version of this is the noxious objectivism of Ayn Rand whose fiction promoted antisocial selfishness. Margaret Thatcher was reviled for her suggestion that there is no such thing as society. The application of an economic system based on a competitive, selfish approach to dealings has proved by it results to be a noxious anti-human system. Famous economist John Maynard Keynes said of the economics of selfish capitalism: “the astonishing belief that the nastiest motives of the nastiest men somehow or other work for the best results in the best of all possible worlds.” Oh that businesses would take the aim of serving their customers interest before their own selfish interests.
The ‘neo-liberal’ idea of economics where there should be deregulation, privatisation of public services, minimum services paid by taxes for public benefit, is supposed to bring a trickle-up of wealth and benefit is a proven theory failure just by considering the results.
While men have been on the sidelines while we grow up, their feeling of being left out a bit has resulted in a process where they have taken control by other means. Leaders have made a political system which controlled the population and managed to keep women out. They also concoct stories about spirits and agents that are causal agents and further develop into authoritarian Gods. This has converged into a process that excludes women and treats them as property. Considering the role of women in the human creation process, you would think that the imagined Gods are female. Male control of women extends to individual domination in the home even with physical domination.
I think that women confronting these systems will result in benefits to human development.