The Truth About People: Our weakness is the key to our greatness
Part I – Accept who we are
In my article, “The Key Difference: The Truth About Women and Men,” I detailed the latest science on the genetic superiority of women and suggested that accepting the reality of our genetic weakness can actually be the basis of what makes men great . Here I want to provide guidance to men who want to understand how to live more fully, love more deeply, and make a positive difference in the world.
Like many young boys, I often felt vulnerable and weak, but did my best to hide it. I remember seeing ads no longer being “a 97 pound weakling” and getting as strong as Charles Atlas. The typical scenario, usually expressed in comic book form, depicts a skinny young man who is usually accompanied by a female companion who is threatened by a bully. The tyrant pushes him aside and the girlfriend joins in. The young man goes home getting angry and sends the free Atlas bodybuilding book. Shortly afterwards, the freshly muscled hero returns to the place of his original victimization, seeks out the bully and beats him up. He is rewarded by the quick return of his girlfriend and the admiration of many other female viewers.
I dreamed of becoming Charles Atlas, the strongest, dominant and seductive man in the world. It seemed that masculine strength resulted from constant competition with other men so that we could get rich and famous and get all the pretty girls to throw themselves at our feet. I followed the sporting dictum of UCLA Bruins soccer coach Henry Russell (“Red”) Sanders: “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing. ”
I grew up in Southern California and was the first in my family to go to college. I wanted to get away from home, but not too far away. I was admitted to UC Santa Barbara and aspired to go to medical school. I was a biology student but took a philosophy course because I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of humanity. We had a visiting professor, the great philosopher Paul Tillich. His class and thinking changed my life forever.
“Every serious thinker needs to ask and answer three basic questions:
- What is the matter with us? With men? Women? Society? What is the nature of our alienation? Our illness?
- How would we be if we were whole Cured? Updated? When our potential has been met?
- How do we move from our state of brokenness to wholeness? What are the means of our healing? “
Over the years I’ve learned that the key to answering the philosopher’s three questions has been to really know and accept who we are, and that starts with accepting who we are as men and women. In my previous article, The Essential Difference, I cited the research of David C. Page, MD, Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): “There are 10 trillion cells in the human body, and each and every one of them is gender specific. ”
I described the work of Dr. Sharon Moalem, MD, Ph.D., an award-winning scientist, physician, and author of numerous books, including The Better Half: On the Genetic Superiority of Women. Dr. Moalem offered the following facts of life:
- Women live longer than men.
- Women have stronger immune systems.
- Overall, women are better able to fight cancer.
- Women are simply stronger than men in every phase of life.
The question is why? The simple answer, which he describes at length in his book, is that women have two X chromosomes in each cell of their body, while men only have one. Of course, there is more to history than who we are than our genetics, but too often we neglect our biological heritage or try to separate nature (our biology) from care (our social influence). The truth is that our genes affect every aspect of our life and every aspect of our life affects the way our genes are expressed.
These interactions show up in our brain structure and function. In his book The Key Difference: The Truth About the Male and Female Brain, Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen: “The subject of the essential gender differences in the mind is clearly a very sensitive one. I could walk around on tiptoe, but I suspect you want to be clear about the theory of the book. So here it is:
The female brain is primarily hardwired for empathy. The male brain is predominantly hardwired to understand and build systems.
I hoped I would prove I had the best male brain in the world (or at least hook up with James Bond and Clint Eastwood). I couldn’t wait to complete the two tests in the appendix: The “Systemizing Quotient Test” (ie male brain type) vs. “Empathizing Quotient Test” (ie female brain type). I was surprised and disappointed with both of my scores would be a monumental understatement.
Dr. Simon Baron-Cohen made the following statement at the beginning of the book, which I read and immediately ignored (“just like a man”, I heard my wife scream in my brain):
“Not all men have the male brain and not all women have the female brain. In fact, some women have the male brain and some men have the female brain. The central claim of this book is just that more men than women have an S-type brain (systematization) and more women than men have an E-type brain (empathization). “
But my Empathizing (E) test scores were so high that not only was I higher than most men, but also higher than most women. And even more damaging to my macho male ego: I not only scored fewer points on the Systemizing (S) test than most men, but also fewer than most women.
In Part 2 of this article, I’ll show you how to use the work of Dr. Baron-Cohen can determine your own brain type. Knowing yourself starts with knowing what type of brain you have and how it works for you. I am always happy to receive your feedback. Come visit me here.
I’m interested in how people react to the idea that men are the weaker sex and that our weakness can actually be a source of strength.
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