British zoologist Dr. Desmond Morris’ 1969 sociobiological book The Human Zoo made a huge impression on me upon discovering it back in the late nineties. Morris makes the undeniable point that modern people live in an unnatural environment. Biologically and psychologically, we are ultimately built for a close-knit hunter-gatherer tribal lifestyle. We are not evolved for the relatively new industrialized urban environment of today with its limited physical territory and unnatural cultural constructs. He mentions that in our overpopulated and overdeveloped world men are more likely to suffer from poor social relationships and ironically boredom and isolation as well. Today we live in “the human zoo” as captives of a sort, the zoo is overcrowded and heavily regulated.
We are part of a global mega tribe which consequently means that we are part of no tribe whatsoever. Likely due to innate yearning for being part of a tribe, gang culture is attractive to young men...perhaps men of all ages in fact. The appeal is evident in the success of shows such as the documentary series Gangland or even the fictional Sons of Anarchy and Walking Dead shows. Violence, power, and pussy are attractive, adding to the appeal of gang lifestyle. Gangs provide that primal male need of belonging and tribal hierarchy. We now live it out vicariously through entertainment. Most everyday guys are tribeless, disconnected, likely have no place in any hierarchy, and probably no satisfying role in life. Obviously, we cannot have our entire population divided into factions and gangs that wage war on one another; structure and order are preferable to chaos and anarchy. Of course, there are benefits to modern life for both genders, perhaps there is less homicide and disorder in favor of more safety and security than in our more lawless past (or the war-torn regions of today).
There is a price to be paid for civilization however, and I contend that men suffer more paying that price than do women. As mentioned in my first book Ethos of Men, we no longer hunt the mammoth or defend the tribal territory. Historically we males brought some order and security to our tribes out of the chaos of the natural world; that gave us purpose. That purpose gave male lives meaning, and that meaning I dare say gave men happiness. Instead, we now labor in the salt mines then quietly gather at the zoo’s trough to receive our poisonous ration of factory produced fast food, alcohol, drugs, media, and porn to fill that void. We are domesticated. Simple economics indicates that the value of our labors is now converted into currency, which is more easily extracted from us. Most will first be transferred to females, from there to corporations and governments. It can then be consolidated by elites, providing them enormous wealth beyond our comprehension.
We are branded with a social security number at birth that marks us for the rest of our life. We labor not for barter, but for currency, which is taxed by the zookeepers. We are taxed once again when we spend it. If we buy property, be it a vehicle or home, taxes are again levied along with recurring mandatory insurance and registration fees. Our phones and vehicles track our location with GPS. Big tech has full access to every keystroke we make and the geographic coordinates of each photo we take. We belong to the nation where we have citizenship, only allowed to travel from it with approval of our masters. We need a license to drive, multiple licenses to start a business, and even permits to work on our own home. Depending on which state we reside, arbitrary mandates could hamper our businesses or ability to work, threating our ability to provide. The plantation has many rules to navigate, men that step too far off the hamster wheel may find themselves homeless or incarcerated. Not to say that social order is a bad thing. Anarchists believe in some lawless utopia; that is a fiction. We absolutely do need structures in place for our overcrowded society to function, so my critique is more an examination of our extreme circumstance and less a judgment of it.
Of course, females live in the zoo as well, but they generally welcome the security, resources, and favorable legal protection that it provides them versus the more unstable patriarchal version that men provided before the zoo existed. The zookeepers find the females more compliant and agreeable and thus ally with and reward them in many ways; easy divorce, favorable family court rulings, alimony, child support, and otherwise swiftly punishing males that step out of line. Government has this interesting dual role; it has replaced old traditional tribal male leadership (while driving a wedge between the genders). At the same time, it seeks to maintain and gain power by setting and enforcing its preferred framework upon us all. The Gentlemen’s Book of Enlightenment by Oheen Imara points out that “this civilization is based on the sacrifices of men.” Imara says corporations and governments portray a strong image that conveys how important they are and how much we need them; he adds that in fact “you are their means of survival.” As captives, I argue that our natural male drives and needs go largely unmet in this system, the goal of which is primarily the transfer of wealth from men to our keepers. If we behave and are productive then we are permitted “freedom” (amusement, novelty, and mate seeking privileges) within the confines of the zoo (or plantation if you prefer). What are the long-term effects of such extreme male domestication generation upon generation?
My first book briefly mentioned the steadily declining average testosterone levels in males over the last few decades; it is massive double-digit percentages in fact. There could be several contributing factors. Vaulthealth.com mentions phthalates, plastic compounds that act as anti-androgens. Plastics are everywhere in modern life, including vehicles, homes and even food and beverage packaging. Essentially these compounds, when present in the male body, directly counteract free testosterone which then negatively affects libido and fertility. BPA is another plastic compound found in the linings of most canned foods that has been linked to lower sperm counts, weight gain, and lower testosterone. A seven-year-old article on Live Science by Rachel Rettner mentions BPA and how most Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their urine. Men need to pay attention and avoid products packaged with BPA in favor of BPA and phthalate free products. These shitty chemicals leach into the food products they contain and act as synthetic estrogen when ingested. Most soaps, fragrances, sunscreens, pesticides, and soy also contain estrogenic compounds that are further crushing testosterone levels of the common man.
Estrogen mimicking chemicals aside, there are powerful psychological forces at work within the confines of the zoo. Chronic and sustained stress is fairly normalized today; after all, we just discussed the level of exploitation men are dealing with today. In his 2018 book 12 Rules For Life, Clinical psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson mentions that our brains are quite responsive to social status and the related circumstances. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter produced within the body. Peterson says that it helps create a better mood and serotonin levels are naturally high in males that are more successful and dominant in life. Low status males tend to produce lower levels of serotonin and testosterone, likely linkable to their depression. What if the explosion of prescribed antidepressant use is due less to a mysterious “chemical imbalance” in our bodies and instead is a direct result of the shitty circumstances we live in? I think the chemical imbalance is strongly the result of these circumstances.
For that very reason, men today must resist participating in the “race to the bottom”; that long term victim mentality “woe is me” bullshit that we see everywhere. We must walk the line between the earnest study of how circumstances are generally stacked against us (politically and chemically) and the slippery slope of personal victimhood. Men cannot gain power or respect by identifying as victims. Even within the confines of the zoo, there is ample opportunity to navigate success and otherwise kick ass. There simply must be, or life is not worth living.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of improving our state of mind and by extension our physical and mental health. It is vital that we limit our exposure to estrogenics and begin to restore our male hormone levels through lifestyle change. We must build better circumstances into our experience of reality; we need to raise our awareness, develop our masculinity, and experience more success. Life is most certainly worth living, let us live it well and help other men do the same.