In this model, or theory, which I’ve been calling the Theory of Waves, there are eight varieties of humans, four male and four female. These eight types of humans feature specific characteristics, or tendencies. Each type of human can be influenced by other types, and each is susceptible to specific features in the environment. Environmental influences can compel the progeny of these types of humans to transform into other types of humans. These environmental influences compel evolutionary currents, which can provoke a significant transformation within a single generation. More often, however, these transformations occur over the course of centuries or longer.
Similar to Watson and Crick’s double helix, a larger body is created from an assembly of component parts. In this case, societies are made up of eight types of human beings, each of whom represents one of the eight potential combinations derived from the hormonal extremes. The hormonal extremes form a structure that serves as a template for a majority of the individuals within a society. The majority of individuals within a society will exhibit some basic features associated with these hormonal extremes, yet they will exhibit these extremes to less of a degree than the eight prototype humans.
Imagine that the eight basic artist colors (purple, red, blue, yellow, orange, green, black and white) are all being blended in specific ways to paint the character of a society. Or, consider that instead of the two planets Mars and Venus, which represent the classic male/female dichotomy, there are eight planets—four female and four male—which together comprise a pantheon of eight gods and goddesses.
High testosterone, high estrogen (F TE)
High testosterone, low estrogen (F Te)
Low testosterone, high estrogen (F tE)
Low testosterone, low estrogen (F te)
High testosterone, high estrogen (M TE)
High testosterone, low estrogen (M Te)
Low testosterone, high estrogen (M tE)
Low testosterone, low estrogen (M te)
As in the double helix, there are natural complementary pairings. In this framework, opposite sexes are not only drawn to each other based on sexual attraction, but they are also drawn to each other based on the attraction to their complementary opposite hormonal counterparts.
Female te/Male TE
Female tE/Male Te
Female Te/Male tE
Female TE/Male te
The complementary counterparts naturally ally themselves into patrifocal and matrifocal social structures. There exist two variations within each.
F te/M TE Conventional Patrifocal
F tE/M Te Warrior Patrifocal
F Te/M tE Contemporary Matrifocal
F TE/M te Classic Matrifocal
Conventional Patrifocal: Domineering, caring and discriminating men who choose cooperative women.
Warrior Patrifocal: Domineering men who choose cooperative, caring and discriminating women.
Contemporary Matrifocal: Commanding women who choose creative, cooperative, caring and discriminating men.
Classic Matrifocal: Commanding, caring and discriminating women who choose creative and cooperative men.
These fundamental paradigms are flexile and have an ability to transform from one societal prototype into another over time. The human hormone thresholds can vary over time and can control the speed and direction of evolution. The thresholds can be influenced at three locations within two interlocking cycles, or feedback loops, as described below.
Mother’s testosterone level > progeny maturation rate > social structure proclivity > mother’s testosterone level.
Mother’s estrogen level > progeny ability to exercise aesthetic discrimination and caring behavior > social structure proclivity > mother’s estrogen level.
The environment can intervene at any of the three levels of these two loops by influencing both maturation rates and timing (via testosterone) or by influencing the intensity of mate selection criteria (via estrogen).
Level 1: A mother’s uterine hormonal levels are impacted by environmental influences, which in turn affect the child’s maturation and development. The hormonal levels of the mother influence the overall disposition of the social structure by predisposing certain tendencies of the progeny.
Level 2: The environment, through a variety of specific hormone-influencing prompts, impacts a person in society, thereby shifting social structure proclivities.
Level 3: Shifts in social structure influence mate selection criteria, which alter evolutionary trajectories.
Changes may occur at the level of the womb, individual ontogeny and/or at the level of society. The relationship among these three environmentally susceptible locations creates an interactive system, which directs evolutionary trajectory.
Central to this model are the environmental impact points, which compel the transformation of a society and our species. In a woman’s womb, testosterone levels decide her children’s testosterone levels (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987) and their maturation rates and social structure proclivity. Females (F) with high testosterone (T) give birth to high-testosterone (T) females and low-testosterone (t) males. F T = F T or M t. The reverse is true for low-testosterone females. Low-testosterone females give birth to low-testosterone females and high-testosterone males. F t = F t or M T. This is how societal prototypes are created and maintained and how the complementary opposite foundation of this thesis emerges.
This may be feeling rather dense. Bear with me. I will define some terms.
“Neoteny” refers to the prolonging of infant features over many generations so that eventually they appear in the adults of the descendants. For example, chimpanzee-like progenitor features, such as having a large head relative to body size, small chin, large eyes, upward stature, curiosity and affection, are all characteristics that over time manifest in the physiology and psychology of adults. Acceleration reverses the evolutionary trajectory, whereby processes featured by ancestor adults condense or withdraw over time and appear earlier in development in the characteristics of children as well as in the infants of future descendants.
Heterochronic dynamics (Gould, 1977) of evolution (i.e., neoteny and acceleration) are embedded in social structure and lead to the very specific mating of neotenous males with accelerated females in matrifocal social structures and accelerated males marrying neotenous females in patrifocal social structures. There is a direct connection between womb conditions, maturation rate directions (neoteny and acceleration) and social structure.
The net result is that not only are males and females mating with their hormonal complementary opposites, but also that societies are evolving with males and females trending evolutionarily in opposite directions by continuing selection for opposite proclivities in opposite sexes. It is conceivable that in human beings there exists a dynamic that demands eventual flipping of social structures, perhaps over periods as long as hundreds of thousands of years or as short as 6,000 years (Gimbutas, 1991). This provides an opportunity for the sexes to realign. It is also possible that this “flipping” is constantly occurring within different lineages in a society, which are taking turns performing the role of the hormonal outliers, or eight prototype humans.
Whereas the influence of a mother’s testosterone levels on her progeny has been established (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987), this model hypothesizes that the mother’s estrogen levels influence her children via an identical dynamic, which encourages and reinforces the sexually selected focus on partner choice and discrimination, as well as caring and care giving. In this case, the estrogen levels within a woman’s womb determine her children’s estrogen levels, their tendencies toward evaluation of nuance and their compulsion to care. A female (F) with high estrogen (E) gives birth to high-estrogen females and low-estrogen (e) males. F E = F E or M e. The reverse is true for low-estrogen females. F e = F e or M E. This is how estrogen-related societal prototypes are created and maintained. This dynamic also contributes to the complementary opposite foundation of this thesis.
Whether a male or female has high or low estrogen levels does not contribute to maturation rates. This makes it possible to have high or low-estrogen males and females in any social structure. Maturation rates inform heterochronic tendencies and social structure proclivities. Nevertheless, estrogen confers discrimination, an attention to detail that can exaggerate the proclivity of a social structure. In addition, estrogen focuses on the features of a child, attracting those with high estrogen toward individuals who exhibit childlike features. Assign high estrogen to a female with high testosterone and you achieve Classic Matrifocal social structure with commanding females prone to choosing cooperative males with neotenous, or child-like, characteristics. Assign high estrogen to a male and you get either a Scandinavian Contemporary Matrifocal paradigm (Eisler, 2007) with both sexes exhibiting neoteny in a matrifocal context, or you get an Asian Conventional Patrifocal paradigm with males who are focused on mating with females displaying highly neotenous features. When pairing high estrogen with high testosterone, you get an exaggerated intensity of sexual selection, not unlike Fisher’s runaway sexual selection (Fisher, 1930), which results in a powerful focus on neoteny. F TE = Matrifocal selection for neotenous males. M TE = Patrifocal selection for neotenous females.
The particular way that testosterone and estrogen align with individuals within a society compels both social structure and particular physical features of individuals. These two hormones, which influence heterochronic trajectories, also influence personality features, disease and condition proclivities, societal characteristics and even such societal mysteries as female infanticide.
Another way to view this is by noting that at the extremes, a society displays the highest and lowest hormonal thresholds. These thresholds exist in those with bodies and minds most impacted by the battle between somatic function and behaviors, which are both required for survival. Those at the hormonal extremes are at the front lines of what a body can easily survive. When the environment changes, the extremes are put under more intense distress as the societal balanced polymorphism (the established balance of social structures within a society) is pushed in a specific direction. The majority of society, which exists in the center of this spectrum and which also has a heterozygote advantage (Annett, 2002), are compelled to drift left or right, matrifocal or patrifocal, over the course of several generations. Those at the margins are under the most intense duress.
Even in a society characterized by one of the four foundation social structures, one or more of the other social structures are integrally involved. Assimilated within a society are representative individuals, couples and subcultures, who act as social structure opposites to the established paradigm. In this way, these couples and subcultures also contribute to the balanced polymorphism. Though we in the West have been living in patrifocal social structures, matrifocal elements are integrated within the larger society and occupy the “left” end of the spectrum. American society displays a combination of all four social structures. Together, all four of these form a balance that is changing, particularly now.
There are a number of repercussions, or implications, of this basic model, and details are explored below. The etiologies for a number of physical and mental diseases and conditions are suggested by understanding the eight human prototypes as hormonal outliers that exist on a continuum within social structures and are held in balance so that they create a heterozygote advantage. Those whose hormonal constellations exist at the center are not burdened by hormonal extremes. The engine behind human evolution can be examined in detail so that one may offer a number of predictions. This work will concentrate on conditions characterized by maturational delay and acceleration, and it will focus particularly on autism. The reader will be able to infer by this example how the principles in this Theory of Waves can be applied to a number of diseases and conditions.
Neuroscientists will recognize at the core of this thesis a variation of the Geschwind and Galaburda (1987) hypothesis that connects hormones, handedness, lateralization and debilitations. Evolutionary developmental biologists familiar with nineteenth century principles of heterochrony (the study of the effects of changing maturation and development rates and timing) will find heterochronic processes (Gould, 1977) manifesting in neuropsychological studies of the endocrine system (specifically, testosterone and estrogen). These evolutionary biologists will also recognize how sexual hormones influence maturation rates and timing (Hall, Person & Muller, 2004). Anthropologists will be able to observe the impact of social structure—and the forms of sexual selection that drive social structure (such as female sexual selection and female infanticide)—on how societies transform and our species evolves. Studies of human social structures are integrally tied to both the evolutionary biological principle of heterochrony and neuropsychological processes driven by testosterone and estrogen.
For example, I’m hypothesizing that in highly patrifocal hierarchical Asian societies, originally organized in ways that demanded large-scale cooperation in order to manage irrigation works spanning for hundreds of miles, males need to be high in testosterone relative to females, while simultaneously being low testosterone relative to other males. This would be necessary in order to better facilitate cooperation within a highly combative hierarchical and patrifocal society requiring male/male collaboration. In this hypothesis, I shift down both estrogen and testosterone levels to accommodate lower testosterone levels for males in a patrifocal society with cooperative undertones. A relatively high-estrogen Asian male is suggested by the highly aesthetic and visually discriminating Asian culture. Relatively low female estrogen level is implied by ubiquitous female infanticide. To fit this model, Asian females would have to exhibit the lowest recorded female estrogen levels. This would mean the normally low Conventional Patrifocal female estrogen would have to be shifted lower in order to accommodate Asian male patrifocal cooperation. And, indeed, studies support anomalously low female Asian estrogen levels (Diamond, 1986).
Female infanticide may be integrated into an understanding of patrifocal social structure—particularly the Conventional Patrifocal social structure of hierarchical Asian social structures, which exhibit long-term stability. When the number of females in the procreation pool is reduced, far fewer males are able to have children. A heavy emphasis is placed on the ideal male, the non-ideal males procreating far less. The result is a continuing selection of highly patrifocal traits in the male population. Because of this, left spectrum and older genotype features that accompany matrifocal social structure do not easily emerge. This would include left-handedness, an attraction to innovation and spontaneous creativity. Instead, status, hierarchy and tradition would be highly valued, as is the case with traditional Asian culture. Female infanticide is a powerful sexual selection tool providing long-term stability to Conventional Patrifocal societies. Very low incidence of autism would also be expected, as I will explain shortly.
With individuals congregating around the eight hormonal paradigms, we’d expect that many diseases, disorders and conditions would be assigned to those located at the extremes, or outlying positions of the balanced polymorphism. For example, Asian females with very low estrogen should have low rates of breast cancer, while matrifocal societies with high estrogen should exhibit high rates of breast cancer. One would expect the same pattern with prostate cancer. We’d expect to see relatively few cases of prostate cancer in Asian patrifocal societies but high rates of prostate cancer in patrifocal societies that exhibit little cooperation. In Contemporary Matrifocal Scandinavia, one would expect very low rates of prostate cancer, yet relatively high rates of male breast cancer. Social structures compel hormonal tendencies, suggesting disease and condition etiology.
For conditions like autism, Asperger’s, stuttering and phonetic dyslexia, we’d expect to see the four matrifocal categories trending toward these conditions, with a possible emphasis on M te and F TE if Classic Matrifocal is how we primarily evolved (see below). Autism, Asperger’s, stuttering and phonetic dyslexia are often accompanied by male maturational delay, which is a marker of matrifocal societies. Matrifocal societies feature low-testosterone males and high-testosterone females.
There is the possibility that certain mental conditions will trend toward these same hormonal extremes. I would estimate that borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, based upon their association with families exhibiting left-handers and maturational delay, will fit the same matrifocal profiles, again with a likely Classic Matrifocal emphasis.
Diseases and conditions may have multiple etiologies depending on the particular symptoms they are associated with. For example, Marian Annett and colleagues noted two types of dyslexia. She observed phonetic dyslexia trending toward the extreme left end of the balanced polymorphism and visual dyslexia trending toward the extreme right (Annett, Eglinton & Smythe, 1996).
Schizophrenia may display two radically different etiologies, which would appear in both patrifocal and matrifocal cultures. These two different etiologies would be based upon the hypothesis that hemispheric differentiation and corpus callosum size vary according to two extremes (Coger & Serafetinides, 1990). One etiology is reinforced by facility with language (Crow, 1995; Crow, Done & Sacker, 1996) and is accompanied by a surge in patrifocal social structures, while the other displays a familial and social structure identical to the familial and social structure of autism, characterized by matrifocal origins.
I am hypothesizing a five-step evolutionary continuum that begins with natural selection but then moves to sexual selection. In this continuum, animals focus on particular patterns when they choose a mate. Step three begins with crossing a bridge over to human sexual selection, where adept practitioners of novel pattern creation are selected as procreation partners by mates with sensitivity to these nuances (Miller, 2000). The fourth step is taken when novelty itself becomes desirable outside the partner selection process, and society is thus compelled to embrace in its productions countless nuances of the new. In the fifth stage, awareness of the creation process itself becomes a target experience.
1) natural selection
2) sexual selection (selecting for pattern when seeking a mate)
3) human sexual selection (selection for novel pattern when seeking a mate)
4) art and culture (selecting for novel pattern outside of mate selection)
5) awareness of the selection or creative process
Integrated into the sequence established above is the longer-term dynamic of humans, who evolved from random-handed non-speech users (Annett, 2002) with two equally large cerebral hemispheres and a wide corpus callosum (Witelson, 1991).
I hypothesize that step 3 of this sequence is compelled by long-term male maturational delay and reinforced by sexual selection in a matrifocal context, where child-like features attract more focus (Gould, 1971). Classic Matrifocal was likely our social structure at this stage (Knight, 1991). Stage 4 suggests a shift toward patrifocal social structure as well as a decrease in brain size (Wiercinski, 1979), culminating in the Warrior Patrifocal. This sequence suggests that Classic Matrifocal and Warrior Matrifocal preceded Contemporary Matrifocal as well as Conventional Patrifocal, with the possible emergence of Contemporary and Conventional in the last 5,000 years.
Deep societal change can occur quickly when there is a change in hormonal constellations. Sudden shifts can occur from matrifocal to patrifocal, or patrifocal to matrifocal. For example, if a matrifocal society is highly stressed over time by patrifocal incursions, the ideal male mate may shift from one displaying cooperative tendencies to a male who is quick to fight. Formerly highly valued aesthetic-oriented males may then find themselves outside the pool of highly valued potential mates. In mere generations, physiological, hormonal and neuropsychological transformations can occur.
Migrating populations exposed to changes in sunlight (Geschwind and Galburda, 1987) show radical fluctuations in social structure, which impacts evolution over time. Sunlight impacts the pineal gland, which directly influences the testosterone levels within the individuals of a population (Geschwind and Galburda, 1987). A variety of specific diseases and conditions acquired by the eight prototype hormonal outliers will emerge among these migrating peoples, including autism. In addition, changing diet can exaggerate hormonal changes.
A radical change in diet, such as an increase in high quality fats and nutrients, could raise a female’s estrogen and testosterone levels and lower a male’s testosterone levels (Ahluwalia, Jackson, Jones, Williams, Mamidanna & Rajguru, 1981). These changes in hormonal levels would compel a shift in social structure toward the direction of female choice. Females would then seek mates that were cooperators rather than warriors. Sudden dietary changes that drastically reduce access to high fat foods could compel a hormonal shift toward a patrifocal social structure. These hormonal shifts would be further accentuated if combative situations emerged. This is the variation of the Kuzawa (2007) thesis, which proposes that uterine environments can influence adult physiology. My Theory of Waves thesis suggests that the parent’s hormonal shifts can adjust a progeny’s hormonal constellations and shift a society’s hormonal spectrum in a particular direction, depending on environmental pressures. Such hormonal shifts thus result in modifications of social structure.
Eight environmental variables influence testosterone, including light (Geschwind & Galaburda, 1987), diet (Schmidt, Wijga, Von Zur Muhlen, Brabant & Wagner, 1997), body fat (Ross, Bernstein, Judd, Hanisch, Pike & Henderson, 1986; Glass, Swerdloff, Bray, Dahms & Atkinson, 1977), alcohol and drugs (Castilla-Garcia, Santolaria-Fernandez, Gonzalez-Reimers, Bastita-Lopez, Gonzalez-Garcia, Jorge-Hernandez & Hernandez-Nieto, 1987; Ahluwalia, Clark, Westney, Smith, James, & Rajguru, 1992), tobacco (MacMahon, Trichopoulos, Cole & Brown, 1982; Barrett-Connor & Khaw, 1987), touch, physical activity (MacConnie, Barkan, Lampman, Schork, & Beitins, 1986; Morville, Pesquies, Guezennec, Serrurier & Guignard, 1979) and stress (James, 1986). Estrogen has been far less studied, but diet has been repeatedly shown to dramatically influence estrogen levels (Ahluwalia, et al., 1981).
We can view evolution as both a dynamic and static process that is driven by social structure, environmental influences, maturation rate modifications and hormonal changes. The evolutionary developmental biological view, or the heterochronic perspective, offers a dynamic frame. Annett’s (2002) modern UK society is characterized by a balanced polymorphism, which exhibits an evenly balanced static spectrum view of left and right-handed individuals. On the far left side of this spectrum exist the extreme left-handed, as well as the random-handed, and on the far right side of this spectrum exist the extreme right-handed. Most people in a society exist somewhere in the middle. This spectrum of individuals is aligned along a gradated curve and offers a static snapshot of our society in the process of transition. The older anomalously dominant (both cerebral hemispheres close to the same size) matrifocal prototype is stationed at the left side and balances those with cerebral asymmetry designed for speech facility, the patrifocal prototype, on the right. Annett’s Right Shift Theory (Annett, 1985) argues that cerebral asymmetry with language proclivity offers a heterozygote advantage that allows the moderate right-handed to occupy the center of society. This Theory of Waves integrates social structure, maturation rates and a long-term evolutionary arc into Annett’s static snapshot in time.