There are many ways to kill a dragon. I counted several hundred strong-man dragon interventions in the almost one hundred books I read when I was snake-charmed by the subject. Courage, strength and cleverness were the qualities looked for in a dragon vanquisher. Many battles led to happy endings where the victor gained a wife.
Myths and legends are a little like spring garden catalogs, offering pictures of the ways a man can gain a mate along with instructions to society and its women on how to best encourage the man’s strong features. Our catalog of stories for the last few thousand years have offered guidance for the families of the women on how to pick strong, protective men for their grown-up little girls. When women began to pick their own husbands, they sought men with qualities that society respected, men with strength and streaks of independence, men who could be relied upon when dragons reared their heads.
Gilgamesh slew a dragon-like creature, a stand-in for the goddess, when records of these stories first emerged. Not just the Indo-Europeans, but Semitic, Asian and aboriginal peoples revel in these tales of acts of courage in gaining honor and a wife. Not incidentally, dragon slayers were crushing symbols of the old societies, the demonized serpent and the social structures that these symbols represented.
In goddess cultures, children were often raised by mothers and mothers’ brothers because they frequently had no idea who their father really was. Women controlled procreation. The exchange rate for acts of valor was depreciated by the fact that the man received no family in exchange for his courageous actions. To achieve the opportunity to have children, men had to impress the women in other ways. Women were not looking for the high testosterone guy who could fend off other tough guys, collect lots of stuff and make sure his wife did not dally around while she took care of the kids that he was sure were his own. Women were not looking for providers.
I am suggesting that before the Indo-Europeans, if a man sought a mating opportunity, he would have to dance his way into her heart. It is back when the women were strong and the men were good looking.
Well, those days are back again.
In just a little more than a single generation, there has been an extraordinary transformation in the criteria that a woman uses to pick a mate. We’d have to go back 6500 years, before the Indo-Europeans came barreling out of Southern Russia, to see anything like what has emerged of late. A host of factors have contributed to the transformation, including high divorce rates, high percentages of women employed in the work force, women with higher educations, increased leisure time, fewer children, children not dying of diseases, women not dying in childbirth and having children later in life. These are all factors contributing to a resurgence in an autonomous, self-assured female population confident that goals can be achieved without relying upon a dragon-slayer husband.
Add to that how few dragons there are left to slay. Strength and cunning are little needed in modern society, certainly far less than when life was arbitrary, short, cruel, brutal, etc. Many of the most successful men today are dancers of the mind, pattern manipulators, technical specialists, men that can find ways to be paid to encourage cooperation. Women are rejecting macho, seeking mucho. Mucho attention. What women want now is a man that offers a better quality of life in the form of a man that can contribute to her feeling loved and strong.
Hence the emergence of the autistic.
High testosterone females mating with low testosterone males created the foundation for matrifocal society, the goddess cultures. Vanquished for several thousand years, this societal hormonal constellation is making a major, sudden comeback. High testosterone males mating with low testosterone females, though still a powerful current in contemporary culture (visualize Republican), is a current on the wane. Three forces are converging, creating an environment where the autistic is returning, except that the world is not exactly prepared for his and her return.
High testosterone females produce maturational delayed, low testosterone males and maturational accelerated, high testosterone females. Maturation rate is determined on a day several weeks before birth, based upon the mother’s hormone levels. Male decelerating maturational delay, in combination with other variables, can lead to autism. For females, maturational acceleration can have the same result.
Choosing our mates in an ancient fashion draws from the past, favoring types of individuals with physiological/neurological features born perhaps over 100,000 years ago. Our challenge and opportunity is to provide an environment where those features can mature.