Recently I read a book (“Why Men Rule”, by S. Goldberg) which attempts to explain why men always occupy most of the high status positions in society. The answer was simple – because men are more strongly motivated to achieve status and overt power than women are.
But why are they striving for that? In the ‘sphere, they say it’s because women are attracted to power, and men’s reproductive success always depended on this. It certainly makes sense, even if men are not aware of this ultimate purpose for their striving. Most men don’t say “I strive because it will get me chicks”, they say “I strive because it feels right to achieve and gain respect of everyone” or “I just like activity X that much”.
The book also had a very interesting philosophical (but not very scientific) discussion in the last chapter. I suppose it was included partially to dissolve accusations of misogyny (the author explained in detail how many stupid misconceptions he had to battle). About men’s motivation for power:
“He can’t be the most important person in someone’s life for long, and must reassert superiority in enough areas often enough to justify nature allowing him to stay”
– “Why Men Rule”, Steven Goldberg
The idea seems to be that women find meaning easily (in babies) and men can’t do the same. They must compensate by doing all sorts of creative work, and striving for status. It’s a “surrogate meaning” to life. This makes it sound like men have it really rough and their life meaning is more subjected to failure, but I’m not sure they themselves think so.
I think I agree. What we find meaningful is partially based on our biology, so naturally we’d find meaning in babies, or whatever would lead to the best babies we can make. But men are less bound to their babies than women (I think in some tribes they still don’t understand that babies come from specific fathers), so they would evolve to find great meaning in other stuff too, because they have no other choice.