Monday, February 11, 2013

The Sky is falling!

I never thought I'd say this (at least not in public), but I really do sympathise with Chicken Licken...

After many hours of mini-hysteria, I have finally conceded that it was only an acorn, not the sky, that fell on my head earlier this afternoon.

My first thought on hearing that Papa Ben had shockingly resigned, was, rather (predictably?) solipsistically, 'Well, there goes my number!'

I was never going to be a one-pope girl the minute JP2 died. Now, my crush in The Vatican was hellbent on pushing my number up. :-)
It is afterall, all about me...

My next thought was, 'Is he alright? What really brought this on? Is he sick? Did something happen? Talk to me! Talk to me!


Well, it has been rather sudden. Even his closest aides apparently didn't know until this morning...

Then... panic set in.

Oh no. Was there something really constitutionally wrong with what Pope Benedict did?
I mean, no Pope had resigned for 700 years!

Was Popedom not for life?
Was it not 'till death us do part' like it is for marriage?

Were we witnessing the ultimate "catholic divorce" here, oxymoronic as it may sound?

I had smugly reacted to the recent abdication of Queen Beatrix of Holland in favour of her eldest son, Willem-Alexander, Prince of Orange, with the silent retort, 'Well, the Queen of England or The Pope would never do that!'


Head spinning, frenzied conversations and head scratching being the order of the day, it has been an interesting few hours.
A friendly priest provided much needed calm: No, it is not a sin for a Pope to resign. In fact, resignation in light of poor health is very much encouraged. JP2 was advised to step down long before he died.

Calmness restored, much in the manner of a well-known recently departed British film-maker's catchphrase of 'Calm down, dear!' thoughts now turn to...

Who is next in line?

Who will be my next alpha fix?
Who gets my religious affections?
Who will my hypergamous intent focus itself on next?

There is an impressive list of candidates already. they say, one enters the Conclave as a Pope and emerges as a Cardinal.
None of these highly-placed priests are guaranteed successors to 'God's Rottweiler'.
They are all fiercely conservative though, as Big Ben is known to be.

The Church will be safe in the hands of whoever emerges from the White Smoke: I am fairly confident of that.

In the meantime, I pray for the health of Papa Benni.

Long live The Pope!


This Old Man said...

I guess you have really known only two Popes. When you have seen several Popes come and go, you caome to the realization that, no matter how saintly, no matter how wise, no matter how charismatic, he is just the man filling the chair because somebody has to but that it is really the Holy Spirit whe ultimatly is steering the Church.

Spacetraveller said...


I can't get this cynical about The Pope!
It's a hypergamy thing...


This Old Man said...

I would not call it cynicism. There have been good Popes and bad Popes, saintly Popes and Popes I would rather not have been on their bad side if I had happened to have known them in their times. The Church is Holy because She transcends the virtues and the sins of those of us who are a part of it and even those who preside over it on this Earth. We trust Her with our Eternal Salvation because She is guided by the Holy Spirit and ultimately headed by Christ himself. No matter how saintly and great a Pope may be, he cannot stack up, being ultimately just a man. Think of it a little like growing up. You love, respect and admire your parents and they are both wonderful. Yet they are still just human beings and you no longer think they are as all-knowing and all-powerful as you knew them to be when you were three-years old.

Hypergamy – not real. Even you wrote a post about this.

Spacetraveller said...


I should not have used the word 'cynical'. I apologise.

Yes, although it is expected that I embrace the infallibility of The Pope, as a Catholic, I do also accept their 'humanness', including of course their physical, mental, even moral frailty, as all humans are prone to.

And absolutely true that throughout the ages, there has been such a thing as 'rogue Popes'.

But in the modern era, Popes are required more and more to adapt to the expectations of 'the people', don't you think?

I mean, I imagine that in centuries past, there was no such popularity contest that is rampant today.
People still go and on about Benedict not being 'sexy' enough, compared to John Paul II, for example.

Oh TOM, hypergamy so exists. The only difference between my and the typical Manospherian definition is that in mine, hypergamy stops once a woman picks a man out of the parade that she intends to breed with.
What the Manosphere call 'hypergamy' is just a lack of true bonding where a woman feels the need to find new adventures once the fire of initial passion has died down. The notion that a woman will always want a man to be bigger, stronger, cleverer and richer than her is biological fact, no?

In my case, The Pope will always be older and richer than me.
The day that I find myself older than a living Pope...dear Lord, I should hate to get to the stage where I would call a Pope 'that young man'!!!

So for now, yes Sir, I am definitely hypergamous about Il Papa, lol.

Who do you think will be the next of God's deputies?

This Old Man said...

What you describe is very real but it is not special enough to deserve a label of its own. It is just “trying to get the best deal you can.” It is not limited to women and it is not restricted to trying to find a mate. We all want the best house, the best job, the best friends, the best spouse and the best children, in short, the best life we can possibly have.

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for? (Robert Browning, “Andrea del Sarto”).

“Hypergamy” has been defined by the manosphere as – well, you know what – though sociologists use it to mean marrying a person of higher social class/status. Neither of these definitions agrees with yours.

“The notion that a woman will always want a man to be bigger, stronger, cleverer and richer than her is biological fact, no?”

Actually, no.

Evolution does not really work very much the way it is depicted in the popular press or the way Susan Walsh and her commenters talk about it in her site. Of the things you mention only intelligence is evolutionarily advantageous in man but the preference is not one-sided, otherwise most men would be considerable smarter than most women and that is not how it is (on the average, men and women are equally intelligent to the extent that the tools we have allow us to measure such things). I don’t doubt that the preferences you mention are real, you are much better positioned to be a judge of that, but I am afraid that they are cultural and biology has little to do with it. I can elaborate at great length if you want me to.

This Old Man said...

Who shall be God’s next deputy, you ask? I would not know. Such insights are not given to me so, I shall wait and, in due time, all will be revealed.

However, if someone from Africa or Latin America is elected, it will be most enjoyable to watch the liberal Church-haters in America turn themselves into pretzels trying to attack the Church and the popishness of the Pope while being duty bound to heap praise on him for being a “person of color.” It is very easy for them to hate Benedict XVI, a white, old man who is – shudder, shudder – a German but, decrying one of the “oppressed” people? I don’t think they can bring themselves to it.

Spacetraveller said...

@ TOM,

"I can elaborate at great length if you want me to."

Please do!

I am interested in this. Intelligence as the only biologically relevant trait that women want from men? This is new on me :-)

I would have thought it would be the least important from a purely biologcal point of view. But of course I get what you mean - the more intelligent a man, the more likely he will be a good provider, therefore the more attractive he is. I get that.

But surely fom the purely biological point of view, it is muscles, height, brawn, things like that, that are attractive to women? (I am talking primal drives here).

And...(Oh God, I am gonna get shot for this...) I do think that most men are 'smarter' than most women in the way that matters , i.e. economically, aka the kind of intelligence that makes more money. In general, I do not think this is a problem for women, per se, as a smart man is actually attractive, as we both agree above. The ways in which a woman is 'smart' is more in a 'social' way, a way in which men are generally lacking (sorry to say, and no offence intended).

Hm, I am sure there is someone with a more astute observation about this than I who could explain it better.

Perhaps you and I are both saying that men and women are both capable of intelligence, but in slightly different ways that are attractive to the opposite gender...but I am just splitting hairs as usual?

Re the Pope, TOM, I guarantee you, if they elect a non-White Pope, there would be the 'novelty' factor for all of three weeks, then the normal headaches of any Pope will quickly descend on the poor fella's head.

Political correctness is not sustainable, lol.

This Old Man said...

What I meant is that of the things you listed, intelligence is the only one which constitutes an adaptive trait. What women are congenitally attracted to (let’s call them “primal attractors”) and what they are attracted to by social conditioning are somewhat different things. I assume that by “biological” you mean “genetic,” otherwise environmental, culturally determined even social fads are all biology, but this is not a discriminating tenet.

It is not clear at all that attraction to intelligence is inborn. Intelligent women seem to prefer intelligent men but, if it were inborn, all women would prefer intelligent men. The last 50 years of the history of American romance would seem to argue strongly against this. For two generations the trope of the cheerleader and the quarterback or the homecoming queen and the quarterback (for non-Americans read: queen bees and sports heroes) has been a staple not only of fiction but of high-school (secondary school) and even college life. If intelligence were highly valued by all (or even most) women, Engineering Departments in Universities would have to beat the women back with sticks. There is no such worry.

The attractiveness of intelligent men to intelligent women may have more to do with compatibility in everyday life than genetic determinism. A woman who plays Go is not liable to be impressed by anybody whose idea of a complex, challenging game is dominoes. Contrary to a lot of what you read these days, marriage is not just about sex and childbearing it is also (I would say mostly) about domesticity. I have known many couples for whom passion and sex evaporated long ago and yet live in domestic bliss and would not have it any other way. A young woman would be wise to pick a mate with whom domestic life would be peaceful and enjoyable for the next 50 years over one who will provide romantic excitement for the next couple of years and heartbreak for 50.

Height, alternatively appears to be a primary attractor of sorts (maybe), though if it is, it most likely functions as a stand-in for something else.

Body size is not an intrinsic adaptation in man (read human being for the politically correct), we are (roughly) the size we are because we need to be a certain size to house and provide for our gigantic, energy-hungry brain, which is the true evolutionary adaptation. Unlike elephants or whales or rhinos, we derive no survival advantage from being bigger. In fact, depending on the environment we find ourselves in, it could be detrimental. A strapping man of 193 cm in height and 100 kg in weight (6’4”, 220 lb) would, according to the manosphere, clean up in bars in London or Wahington, D.C. Amongst the Bushmen of the Kalahari or the Yanomamö of southern Brazil, however, he would be an odd curiosity of no use to the women since, even if he managed to master the skills for survival, his calorie hungry physique would likely be the death of him in such marginal habitats.

This Old Man said...

Relative size within a population may be innately attractive not in itself but, as a marker of genetic fitness, nutritional success or immune system plasticity, all of which would influence the extent to which a genotype for height would express itself in actual height. This explanation, though, is marred by the fact that it should be equally applicable to female height and I am not aware of any population where taller women are preferred.

The female attraction to larger size could, alternatively, not be inborn but normative. Most men are taller and larger than most women so, as we are growing up we could imprint on the bigger man, smaller woman image for mating. Generally speaking, our dads are larger than our moms and this is also true for our friends and relatives and for couples we encounter routinely on the streets. The rare exceptions, if any, would not be expected to thwart the rule. If this is the case, instead of being genetic, the preference would be environmentally conditioned. This would be similar to people who, regardless of their own appearance, are reared in an environment with a numerically dominant ethnicity, say blondes with blue eyes or brunettes with brown eyes or redheads with green eyes, etc. They imprint on the people who surround them and come to see that kind of appearance as particularly desirable.

Richer is most definitely not genetic since, on the assumption that we have changed little in the roughly 10,000 years since the beginning of the Neolithic, such a concept would have been entirely meaningless before the advent of agricultural societies. By our standards (or even those of medieval peasants), people in the Paleolithic owned essentially nothing and that was mostly the necessities for survival and such extras as drums, bone flutes, talismans, etc. If you move from site to site for your livelihood, you may not own more than you can carry as you move along. It is also most likely that the concept of personal property did not exist or was limited to a very small set of article of routine personal use.

So you see, significant objections exist to the notion that the qualities you listed are genetically determined for women being attracted to men. Inborn attractors certainly exist but I don’t think these are amongst them.

Spacetraveller said...

Interesting thoughts, TOM,

Can't coherently argue with any of it, so I won't :-)

Intelligent women certainly desire intelligent men, yes (or so I observe).

But the reverse is not always true, or so I find. Intelligent men don't necessarily want an intelligent woman.

And yes, while tall women prefer yet taller men (in general), the reverse is not always true. (Tall men don't necessarily want tall women).

Perhaps because a man does not find height or intelligence in a woman absolutely *necessary* for his purposes (bearing his children and looking after his home - he may desire these traits but that is not a crucial factor) but a woman *needs* these traits in a potential mate?

But certainly interesting...

You opened a can of worms :-)