Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?
Fri, 26 Jul 1996 22:52:35 -0700

Gerold Firl wrote:

> My image of the balance between instinctive and learned behavior has
> the percentage of unmodified instinctive behavior increasing for
> simpler organisms. How much room for learning is there in the life of
> a mollusc?

This is basically what I was trying to say. In general, the lower the
learning capacity, the more dependence on instinct.

> Humans, on the other hand, spend many years learning the rudiments of
> culture. Our instincts can be be dimly perceived beneath the complex
> surface layers of learned culture, but there is a difference in scale
> between the world of man and the world of an oyster.

Certainly. I was only responding to the concept of instinct as an
absolte determinant of behavior. I had not intended to disrupt your

> Here is a question for you: can you see the influence of any human
> instincts in our lack of matriarchal precedents?

I think that the need for social and political organization might be
instinctual. The initial form of this organization may be partly
determined by instinct, but I think learned behaviors, environment, and
many other factors play a larger role. I personally have not seen
anything that I would consider an instinct to look to a male for
corporate decisions. Since this thread began, I've examined many
theories regarding the tendency towards patriarchates, and I still find
physiology to be the major determinant. (ie women had to dedicate much
of their time to childbirth and infant care, etc...)