Saturday, April 24, 2010

Selfishness And Courtship

I was reading The Selfish Gene - 30th Anniversary Edition recently and went over the battle of sexes chapter a little more closely than I had in my initial reading. I wondered what Dawkins would say of courtship rituals in the world where connections are mostly made online and there is room for both males and females to court any number of prospects at the same time. The theoretical maximum only subject to how many suitors a man or a woman can juggle simultaneously without losing their sanity.
According to Dawkins of an extended courtship period benefits both the man and the woman for different reasons - specially where the woman was more coy than fast and the man more faithful than philanderer. Such a pair in today's world could be checking out a number of other suitable matches within a long courtship window and still not become fast or philandering - they would merely be doing due diligence by checking out the offerings in the market. There seems to be no great benefit accruing to either party in the process except feeling confused by the choices available and the feeling frustrated by the lack of progress towards intermediate goals in the larger domestic-bliss strategy.
Assuming the fundamental premise of the selfish gene, how would humans adapt to the forces of cyberculture and social media that are getting more and more twined with their relationships. Do they not need to update their battle strategies or are we as a race going through a period of evolution where our genes have not quite figured out the best way forward. Would love to see more detailed analysis and discussion on this theme.

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