Turning to men, chapter 8 delivers a penetrating, evolution-based diagnosis of the displacement and distortion of modern masculinity. From boyhood to manhood, we peer into the important stages of a man's life:

  • Education: The importance of early training and socialization
  • Sports: The role of athletics and male competition
  • Initiation: Rites of passage and the significance of ritual
  • Military: The crucial defense of family and community
  • Work: How career and resource provision define masculinity
  • Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: Well, sex anyway

For example, sport has always been pretty serious business. Our ancestors, who had little time for luxuries, used athletics as a way to assess and train future hunters and warriors, the youth and men who would help feed and defend the clan. Sport was the hunt, the chase. It is war by proxy, a productive way to channel male instincts of aggression and competition. In fact, the earliest athletic contests, archery and boxing, track and field, were drawn directly from the stalking, hunting and battleground preoccupations of early humans.

In our modern era, men are disconnected from the natural domains where the male role was both obvious and critical. Constructive avenues for innate masculine impulses have all but evaporated. Maleness, once treasured, has been softened, stifled and bleached out. Except for those few men who have scaled the heights, males, it seems, have become disposable.