Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Gender Confusion

Man and woman. We have, at our most basic, defined ourselves along those line since the rise of Homo sapiens. Our outer covering, our biological form, our morphology, was the most obvious division that could be made between human beings. That difference was used time-and-again to create rules, tell stories, and try and mold human societies, large and small. Women were often placed in the inferior position, treated more like cattle than people, prized for their power to create children and for their beauty. Men, bigger and stronger, took on the tasks of hunting, scouting, and providing. At the time of the evolution of true humans, these differentiations perhaps provided the necessary framework for the growth of humanity. But now they are an impediment, in more ways than one.

It is not enough that advances in knowledge and nutrition and conditioning have begun to erase many of the primitive differences between men and women, if society does not move along with these changes. Worse still, the failure of society to adapt is causing greater problems still for homosexuals and the trans-gendered, who are finding the entrenched definitions of male and female obstacles to their acceptance in the milieu of humanity on an equal level. Our seemingly innate need to hang on by our fingernails to the incoherent, ignorant, and nonsensical patterns of the distant past in spite of all we know, is the most perplexing and frustrating trait in modern humans.

Natural selection operates on the idea that the species that is most adaptable is more likely to survive. Given simple natural forces, we see this in the realm of animals like insects, which have spread across the globe, to almost every distant outpost. We see it in birds, whose proliferation has caused them to spread in their many and varied kinds, everywhere, even in forms so bizarre that they no longer have the capacity for flight. Homo sapiens would seem to be the greatest of all adaptable species, having amassed a neural capacity that has allowed us to overcome the limitations of our flesh to the extent of being able to leave the Earth completely.

But that advantage of neural capacity, they very hardware that gives us our adaptability, is riddled with flaws, that express themselves in many detrimental ways. Far beyond the simple issues of genetic defects that lead to schizophrenia, autism, bipolar disorder, and the like, there is the predisposition of the more primitive parts of our brain to enforce million-year-old directives on the relatively modernized cerebral cortex. These impulses from our deep history, far from being overridden by our superior mentality, run as a droning bass note below the surface, driving us to acts that our species should be far beyond by now. We seem incapable of forcing our will upon our own mentality, succumbing to the hidden demons that lurk beneath.

Perhaps that is why we cannot let go of this dogged determination to treat gender as an immutable framework, a blueprint that represents a fixed form and not the detached morphology it is. The body is the vessel that carries, protects, and nourishes the brain; what machinery it carries is incidental to that task. The genitalia serve only as a means to consummate procreation, and moderate sexual impulses in the brain via hormones, to initiate breeding. The combination of the impulse toward sex, the morphology of gender, and the fluctuation that is the surging activity of the human brain, cause us to look at ourselves not as a unified species, but as peculiar segments and polar opposites.

Gender differentiation may have proven some use as our species rose up from its beginning, but now it only serves as an impediment to our continued growth into a unified culture. We can no longer ignore the fact, that what is without and what is within are two completely different things, two aspects of what a human being is. To say that a heterosexual male or female, or homosexual male or female, or trans-gendered male or female is anything but a person, is to deny that person their dignity as a member of the human race. It is bad enough when we seek to divide humans by race, or religion, or any other artificial measure, but to deny the actuality of the living human body and the soul contained within, is a travesty.

If there is ever to be true equality for humanity, then we must drop all pretense, and cease allowing our primitive past to continue to have free reign over us, seeding our thoughts with unwarranted fears and doubts. We can, if we apply reason, determine to fight these things, to tamp them down, to cut ourselves loose from them. There must become a day when we look another in the eye and see nothing but the depths of a human being, not the surface. The library that is the human race has many books, filled with variate knowledge, and we can no longer afford to judge their worth solely by the covers.

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