In an oral culture — one that is not written down — mythology evolves as it is passed from storyteller to storyteller. The Jesus myth was created in exactly this way, pasted together from earlier sources. This process is called ‘syncretisation.’
There is no fixed record of an oral tradition, by definition. In an oral culture or tradition, myths grow and develop to reflect the lived experiences and cultures of the people telling them. It was only when writing was invented that these traditions could be codified and by that time, they had been evolving for thousands of years. This means that there are many versions of the same myth, as different peoples carried it forward.
There is a difference between sex and gender; I am going to begin with sex (you’ll see why.) Sex refers to our physical, biological bodies. Usually, it’s how we are identified as babies, by the sex of our genitalia.
So are the sexes unequal? Yes, absolutely. Women are many many times more important than men. This is because the success, indeed the survival, of any population is dependent on the number, not of men, but of fertile mothers.
In China right now, a disaster is unfolding because of decades of legal restriction of family size to one, and a cultural misogyny which has seen female foetuses routinely aborted. This means that China simply doesn’t have enough women and it is facing financial — and possibly existential — collapse as its population ages. Doubtless the Chinese will soon be seeking net immigration on a huge scale; whether they’ll be able to persuade anyone is less sure.
One man can father hundreds or thousands of babies, but a woman can only carry perhaps 20 or so children in her lifetime and very few do that. Most women have far fewer children, which makes each individual mother more important. We explain how human society developed around core groups of women and children in Why Men Made God. Without children, humans cannot survive and the key to this is not men but women. This is why we developed a ‘two-group’ social structure, based around the mothers and children, with the men in a peripheral role. Continue reading Are the sexes unequal?→