I was watching a lecture of Jordan Peterson’s recently – from his personality series at Toronto University. This particular video: https://youtu.be/G1eHJ9DdoEA discusses the 5 factor psychometric profiling that he has been so involved in promoting.
The characteristic he was discussing was Agreeableness, which is comprised of the two sub-characteristics of politeness and compassion. He talked about how, while there is a large overlap in agreeableness traits between males and females, at the extreme outlier end of the distribution, all of the most agreeable people are women, while on the other end, all of the most disagreeable people are men.
He points out how this is borne out by the fact that the overwhelming majority of prison inmates are men, and that the single psychometric variable that most characterises them is scoring low on agreeableness – in other words a lack of compassion – which is translated as callousness. You know, the kind of trait necessary to kill someone in hand to hand combat on a battlefield, or take on an intruder in your home.
He goes on to describe how another trait of agreeableness is the strong desire to avoid confrontation. His theory is that confrontation which could potentially lead to violence not only disturbs social harmony, but endangers the infants in the group who could become casualties. So agreeableness, according to Peterson is an evolutionary trait whose central role is to promote group harmony and protect the young.Thinking about this idea, if Peterson is right, I can’t help concluding that agreeableness then is an essentially feminine behavioural characteristic, given that it concerns itself with nurturing, safety and non-competitiveness. Something, again that Peterson backs up with his discussion on the normal statistical distribution of Agreeableness across the genders and standard deviations from the mean.
Jordan Peterson says that of all the personality traits, Agreeableness seems to carry the broadest range of both positive and negative consequences. If you are inclined toward scoring highly on a scale of agreeableness, there are going to be consequences that you need to be aware of. Such as:
• You tend to be very polite
• You tend to be highly compassionate and empathic towards the needs and suffering of others
• You will consistently put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own
• You will make all your decisions based on conflict avoidance
• You always think win-win in any interaction
• You will tend to submit to domination and injustice, in the interests of maintaining peace
• You tend to live a life of appeasement and tolerate disrespect
• You will not negotiate strongly enough on your own behalf
• You won’t be a risk taker
• You will have a tendency to become resentful and unhappy (because others won’t reciprocate your thoughtfulness and advocacy)
Many women can identify with being in a situation such as this, but increasingly we are seeing men also fall victim to the consequences of excessive agreeableness within not just their relationships, but also the workplace.
A further consideration besides the sociological is the hormonal. Peterson raises the subject when discussing creativity in males, and how research shows a strong correlation between creativity (and for that matter, musical ability) and low testosterone levels- it appears that the higher a man’s testosterone levels, the poorer their creative or artistic abilities. There has even been some research suggesting that the sudden onset of human art over 50,000+ years ago correlates with evidence of lower testosterone levels as seen in skeletal remains of hunter gatherers. Testosterone levels also decrease whenever a man hears crying – both of his wife and his children, largely due to surging oxytocin levels. This seems to be an evolutionary adaptation to condition males to be less independent.
Conversely testosterone increases whenever a man perceives a rise in his value (which equates to a rise on the dominance hierarchy), at work, in the home or in competitive sport. So a man subjected to long years of put downs, humiliation and emotional blackmail is literally being set up to have plummeting levels of testosterone – which is strongly correlated to depression.
To make a bad situation worse, as levels of testosterone drop, cortisol levels go up, which leads to adrenal fatigue and stress coping failure. All ingredients in the epidemic of male suicide, particularly in the middle-aged divorced man with poor access to his children. In those that don’t end their lives, studies have begun to show a relationship between low testosterone levels and other co-morbidities such as high triglycerides, high blood pressure and insulin resistance- three of the biggest contributors to chronic disease and death in men. All this would suggest that middle aged men should be screened for testosterone levels and managed with the same attention placed on hormonal balance as menopausal and perimenopausal women are; and yet hormone replacement therapy for men with low levels of testosterone is almost a taboo subject, made murky by false association to the abuse of hormones by bodybuilders. Its as though society is so obsessed with toxic masculinity that the mere mention of testosterone evokes waves of revulsion and stereotyping.
What the West seems to want is their men to have as little testosterone as possible. It wants us meek and manageable, presenting the false and gynocentric idea that improving men’s hormone profile will make them aggressive, violent, wife-bashing gorillas. The growing body of evidence that shows low testosterone to be a significant cause of cardiovascular and diabetic disease which may be responsible for a substantial rate of deaths is irrelevant to anyone obsessed with “dismantling” the patriarchy. Interestingly, several recent studies have emerged that showed men injected with testosterone actually showed higher levels of social co-operation and altruism than people with lower levels of testosterone. It seems that by increasing their physical and psychological levels of dominance, men were also primed to co-operate more and lead team alliances. There is not a shred of evidence that normalising men’s hormone health would result in a Hulk Armageddon for women and children. Its high time that middle aged men and their doctors began investigating serum testosterone levels and having the conversation that addresses a subject which is of critical importance to the health and quality of life of males.