Sometime 100,000 years ago, there was a man in a cave. He had a wife and a child. And he loved his wife and child very much.
They were safe in their cave, but they were also very hungry. The man realized he would have to venture into the wilderness to gather and hunt for his family. But he was afraid.
Armed only with a stick, he would have to go into the wild, where cave bears roamed. If he encountered one, he might very well be torn limb from limb and eaten alive. But he had no choice. After all, he wouldn’t want his wife to go into the wilderness alone. She was physically weaker than he, and besides, he had no breasts with which to feed their child. No, it must be him.
So he ventured forth. His love for his family overcame his fear. His wife tended to the child and ensured she was safe, fed, and loved while her husband was away. She prepared the fire to cook whatever food he returned with—if he returned at all. She too would be in danger if a beast or an enemy stumbled upon their cave. But there was no choice. If they wanted to survive the coming days, they must separate.
That scene is the great drama that is human existence. It is the incredible story of how men and women cooperated against a dangerous and hostile world to claw their way out of a cave and into the world we enjoy today.
The world of prehistoric man was filled with privation, hunger, and disease—where to merely survive required every bit of ingenuity humankind could muster. Often, they did not survive.
Today, we are almost assured of our survival. Disease can often be prevented or even cured by a trip to the doctors or a vaccine. Children grow up to live into old age and grocery stores are filled with endless quantities of food and drink.
For so long, the path men and women forged together was difficult and dangerous. As long journeys do, it included many mistakes and wrong turns. But, in the end, man and woman together created a world unimaginable to their ancestors.
We lose sight of this great tale. We take for granted the amazing success that men and women have created. Make no mistake, the journey would not have been successful without both men and women.
Male and female each possess innate talents and propensities, evolved by nature to form a complementary partnership. They could not have succeeded without the aid of the other.
If women are generally more compassionate, agreeable, and worried about the well-being of those they love than men, this is to be celebrated. We should marvel that these attributes formed to better care for children, to nurture their well-being, and provide the needed compassion that only a mother can provide.
Similarly, if men are more disagreeable, conscientious, and concerned with building, hunting, and creation, this was all the better to provide for their families and to protect them from a hostile world.
The symmetry and effectiveness of this union cannot be overstated. Men and women are perfectly matched together to create the necessary conditions for human flourishing. Throughout the progress of mankind’s great endeavor, the harmony of their particular talents and perspectives aided and supported the other.
Today, we have lost sight of this story. Instead of a wonderful symbiosis, today we are told that what played out in the cave was tyranny of the worst sort. What motivated the man was subjugation, not love. In this corrupted reading of history, what should be a tale of triumph is twisted into a sad and wicked narrative.
Our generational ignorance reveals itself in supposing prehistoric men and women were so unlike how we are today; so incapable of being motivated by love.
Just like today, man was undoubtedly motivated by love for his wife and child—to protect them and make their lives safer and better. Today, like then, the vast majority of men in the world are good and decent fathers who are trying earnestly to provide for and protect their families. They are not seeking to tyrannize or subjugate. They seek instead to provide and preserve the lives of their wives, daughters, and sons.
Certainly, evil men existed then and exist today, but they are the exception, not the rule. Most are like the father or husband or son you know—good men trying to do their best. It was love that motivated men and women, hand-in-hand, to move from the cave to the shining cities where we now live. Yet this has been turned into a story of despair.
In the backdrop of the narrative of men’s tyranny, we have ceased to be thankful for the unique gifts men and women bring to their mutual journey. Instead, we homogenize men and women. We insist that they are the same and teach that there are no differences between them. In losing the ability to speak about the distinctiveness of the sexes, we fail to be thankful for these beneficial oppositions.
It is easy to denigrate those most like us. When we are all viewed as the same in every way, it is easy to dismiss each other’s talents if for no other reason than we share them. When neither party brings anything unique to the journey, why celebrate our gifts at all? But when we realize what we cannot do without each other, it is easier to be thankful for what we cannot offer.
The modern narrative of “toxic” and “tyrannical” masculinity is misguided at best and a terrible lie at worst. If the modern narrative were in any way true, then why would the man in the cave venture forth into danger? Why would he not leave his wife to fight for her survival? The answer, of course, is the same as it is now—because he loved her.