Men’s existence long puzzled scientists

Last updated 2017 09 20, to install link to interactive graph.

Men’s existence long puzzled scientists, asserts an article by Aamna Mohdin, ‘Why do men exist?’  Aamna Mohdin’s article falls short, on several levels, of being a piece of journalism that satisfactorily addresses the principle of the five Ws (Who, What, When, Where, and Why).  One must wonder about the lack of the journalistic integrity of the editors at IFLScience.  Then again, given that Aamna Mohdin’s article is flagged as being in the Environmental section of the IFLScience website, it is not surprising that it contains so much propaganda and preciously little science.

It seems that any ‘scientists‘ who are puzzled by the question, “Why do men exist?”, are not very smart.  They seem not even smart enough to ask the right question.  The question that would help to solve what puzzles them should be, “What did the existence of men bring about?”

In trying to answer the latter question, objectively and exhaustively, the scientists would soon discover that without the existence of men, humanity would not ever have experienced the emergence and existence of a thriving civilization.

Camille Paglia, who once — perhaps rightfully — asserted that she is the smartest feminist who ever lived, came to a conclusion that puts all ‘scientists‘ puzzled by the existence of men into their place and the answer to Aamna Mohdin’s question into a nutshell: “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.” (in ‘Sexual Personae’)

Men’s ‘guilt’ rooted in mythology

Men are as if they were Prometheus’ children, deserving only of the sort of punishment experienced by Prometheus, for giving fire to mankind, which motivated Zeus to impose a terrible punishment on Prometheus, but that is only in the second version of the legend.  The first version is no less terrible.  It involved collective punishment for all of mankind.

men's existence resulted in Prometheus being punished

“The Punishment of Prometheus”, Salvator Rosa, Oil on canvas, 1648-1650, Galeria Nazionale d ́Arte Antica Palazzo Corsini

Prometheusin Greek religion, one of the Titans, the supreme trickster, and a god of fire. His intellectual side was emphasized by the apparent meaning of his name, Forethinker. In common belief he developed into a master craftsman, and in this connection he was associated with fire and the creation of mortals.

The Greek poet Hesiod related two principal legends concerning Prometheus. The first is that Zeus, the chief god, who had been tricked by Prometheus into accepting the bones and fat of sacrifice instead of the meat, hid fire from mortals. Prometheus, however, stole it and returned it to Earth once again. As the price of fire, and as punishment for humankind in general, Zeus created the woman Pandora and sent her down to Epimetheus (Hindsight), who, though warned by Prometheus, married her. Pandora took the great lid off the jar she carried, and evils, hard work, and disease flew out to plague humanity. Hope alone remained within.

Hesiod relates in his other tale that, as vengeance on Prometheus, Zeus had him nailed to a mountain in the Caucasus and sent an eagle to eat his immortal liver, which constantly replenished itself; Prometheus was depicted in Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, who made him not only the bringer of fire and civilization to mortals but also their preserver, giving them all the arts and sciences as well as the means of survival. — The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica;
More on Prometheus at Encyclopedia Pritannica

On the other hand, men’s existence gave mankind much more than just life (yes, no one alive now would be so without a mother, but also not so without a father, a man) but much more.  Here are some of the things, and it is only a short list, far from being an exhaustive one, that men’s existence made happen:

The basic necessities of life

Water, air, a place to live and food.  Air is easy to come by, water and food not so much.  Caves are good places to live in, when there is little else to be had with no or only rudimentary tools.  Water was where it could be found, provided it was not too salty.  Food had to be gathered or hunted down.  Animals need water and food, too, therefore humans tried to settle where water and food could be found. When there was no food or water for animals, the animals moved, and humans moved along with them.

Another basic necessity is not mentioned in many textbooks but much required.  Wherever humans settled, they also needed to protect their existence.  Protection makes humans safe, even if it was only the entrance to their cave that needed to be protected.

The niceties of life

Life supported by nothing more than the basic necessities of life is short and brutish.  Improvements were sought, such as not having to run for water, but to have it running in the home.  Men’s existence ensured that a series of inventions eventually got that right and led to us being able to turn on a tap and having a virtually inexhaustible supply of water running right out of a tap whenever anyone turns it on.  A few more inventions, and we now can have the running water warm, and even hot, if we wish it to be.

Food that required gathering or to be hunted down used up a lot of effort.  Men put their minds to work and began to grow their food where they did not have to depend on luck to find it.  They began to farm.  They also began with domesticating animals, so that it was no longer necessary to spend so much time to hunt them down.

Men found life in caves to be a bit inconvenient as those had no mobility and were not available everywhere where food could be found or grown.  Men’s existence ensured that ways were found to build shelters, huts, houses, high-rise buildings, stadiums, hospitals, schools, theaters, airports, factories, bridges, hydro dams, etc..   Today, most people would have difficulty with finding their way to the nearest cave to live in.  Few would be able to survive living in them.  Many caves have no water, fewer have running water, and none of them have supermarkets in which to buy food, be it only vegetarian or not.

Men’s existence and inventiveness brought it about that in modern societies no more than about two percent of people are still directly involved with producing food by actually growing it for everyone else.  Most of the rest of the people buying it don’t have the slightest clue as to what would be required of them if they had to grow their own.  Surely, men deserve some credit for making that happen.

While all of that was going on, men were busy inventing ever new ways by which to tame fire and to put it to an increasing variety of practical uses, from cooking on open fires to heating their homes that way, to inventing stoves by which to do that, but not only that.  They also found ways to keep the air in their homes breathable, by designing ever better chimneys and stove pipes, to let the smoke of their fires escape outside rather than to pollute their indoor air.

Men eventually found ways to use fire to produce steam, by which to generate electricity with which to cook and to do many other things that would a little more than a hundred years ago have seemed like magic: lights, radio, television, music recorded in ever new and more convenient ways, communicating with practically anyone in the world or off it in outer space, all can be had at the flick of a switch or the touch of a fingertip.  Cooking, heating, air-conditioning, all available at the touch of a fingertip.  No more tree to fall to saw and to chop, no ashes to be carried out, no chimneys to clean, no more hot bricks rolled in a towel to warm up an ice-cold bed before going to sleep, no more dressing as if going outdoors when going anywhere in the house where the rooms are not heated.  Do men deserve a bit of credit for making all of that happen?

How about vacuüm cleaners, hair curlers, electric toothbrushes, food mixers and processors, refrigerators, ice cubes, freezers, washing machines, steam irons, escalators, elevators, cameras, computers, smart phones?  Let’s throw in a little more: cars and roads, airplanes, cruise ships, buses, trams, trains and rails, etc., is that enough to be grateful to men?

Let’s stop with listing things, except for one that is an absolute necessity for modern life.  It is hardly ever mentioned but used by everyone everyday: plumbing, not just the plumbing to bring water into our homes and places of work, but plumbing necessary to carry away our wastes, to places where it is being disposed of after first being made benign and harmless.

None of the things that keep us healthy, none of the advances in medicine, none of the vaccines invented, none of them — combined — have done as much as plumbing did to put an end to the frequent epidemics that ravaged humanity and killed people by the millions and even hundreds of millions at times.  Modern Plumbing for disposing of our wastes put an end to those frequent and often devastating epidemics, before vaccines were invented.  It is no accident that our sewers are being built, serviced, maintained and repaired by men.  Surely, gratitude is in order for those men’s existence and for what they do.

Men’s existence brought about all of the things  listed here as niceties.  All of those, when first brought into being, were thought of as luxuries.  The cheaper they became, the more they were used, the more we became used to them, the more we took them for granted.  Many people consider most of them to be necessities without which they no longer wish to or can live, but give men’s existence credit for them? No way!  Men need to be derogated, vilified and punished.

The luxuries in life

That leaves only one thing I can think of that is truly a luxury, diamonds (and other jewelry, well, make-up, maybe, but many women would rather forego eating and heating than not to use make-up).  Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, and men receive no thanks for mining, cutting, setting, selling and buying them.  The gratitude men receive who give them as presents to women often does not last long, but diamonds are forever.

Men’s existence is made out to be a curse, an affliction of mankind that needs eradicating, especially with some women who expect diamonds but don’t receive any.  Zeus’ wrath for Prometheus is too kind, when it comes to suitable punishment for men, merely for men’s existence, but especially for a man who dares not to buy a diamond or more for the woman of his heart.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that civilization would not have done as well without men inventing and making things and putting them to good use.  We now live much healthier, wealthier, comfortable and longer lives than most people could have imagined would be possible even a hundred years ago, everywhere!  Click on the following graph to access the web page where you can play around with this interactive graph and determine which country you would like best to live in.  The dark circle with the white triangle will show a progression over time.  You can stop that at any time and examine, for instance what country a given bubble presents (click on the bubble).

Energy use per capita over time versu life expectancies and per capita GDP

Energy use per capita over time versus life expectancy and per capita GDP

Cheap, abundant and universally accessible energy makes the improvements possible, the cheaper and more abundant, the better the living standards for a people.  That is real, not imaginary, and we have men to thank for to make that reality not only possible but happen.

Only feminists, male and female, would think that men deserve everlasting punishment for giving mankind what mankind has, a modern, well-functioning civilization that continuously and increasingly makes people — especially women — wealthier, healthier, more comfortable, and permits them to live ever longer lives, now about twice as long as they were just a little over a hundred years ago.  Men deserve gratitude, not vilification and punishment, with women on average living about ten percent longer lives than men.  Is that why the feminists want men to be vilified and punished, so that women’s lives can be as short as men’s are or even shorter? Does that make sense, any more sense than many of the other never-ending complaints by feminists?

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