About the author
I am a hang glider pilot, photographer, and amateur philosopher.
My profession is software engineering. My last job was leading a team of technical authors tasked with writing online help for automotive software.
After we moved from north London, where my dad lived, to the central south coast of England, where my grandparents (on my mother’s side) had retired, at eight years old I was surrounded by fir trees, sandstone ridges and quarries, and disused air raid shelters – instead of (or rather, as well as) streets of houses and shops.
Crossing a plateau of waist-deep heather on a lower slope of a nearby hill in about 1965 with my brother and school friends one day, we were surrounded by buzzing and several thwacks – then the staccato of what sounded like automatic fire. (It was rifle and/or pistol fire by several shooters simultaneously, which the mind seems to perceive as automatic fire, likely from watching too many war films on television.) We lit out of there and they moved the firing range to a safer location soon after. To this day (2018) the cool still air of summer mornings carries the sound to us from that (safer) outdoor firing range.
While I believe I still hold a rifle accuracy record from sixth form college (all the bullets from the magazine went through the same ragged hole in the target – which I still have) shooting was not really my thing. Riding bikes off-road and, starting in 1974 at age 18, hang gliding became the main activities that defined my life up to the turn of the century.
I carried on hang gliding and mountain-biking but, in October 2000, Rebecca arrived in a wooden crate from California, initiating what was for me a new life surrounded by silicone rubber women.
In 2018, the full realisation that dolls are not enough hit me with such force as to qualify as a crisis. As of this writing, it is unresolved.
In provincial Britain during the 1960s, heavily-built types were assumed to be mentally dim. The occasional exception, like the science prodigy at our school who was a big lad wearing spectacles, paradoxically seemed to reinforce the stereotype, as did the one girl in our physics class who challenged the assumption that girls’ minds are ill-equipped for reasoning.
The discarding of those prejudices has undoubtedly improved society. However, there is a down-side. Now the pendulum has swung the other way and men are supposed to be ‘hunky’ rather than slim and have ‘social skills’ instead of intelligence of the technical kind.
The goalposts have been moved. (Who moved them?) Is it a side-effect of democracy? How do we correct it?
It is imperative that we fix this problem. Although humans are uniquely cultural among living things, we are nevertheless primarily genetic beings. Women who select gangsters and businessmen (or other dodgy geezers with ‘social capital’) as the fathers of their offspring cannot expect the panacea of education to stand in for technical intelligence. Neither should they expect artificial aids (automatically focusing spectacles, varipulse pacemakers, multiple heart bypass valves, and mobile phones that are more intelligent than they are…) to turn their sons into the proverbial brave men worthy of beautiful women living in sunny uplands. The genetic quality of humanity is at stake.
To be clear, I have failed in life not because of external causes, but because I failed to measure up. Nonetheless, I have yet to hear an argument that assuages my fears for the future of humankind.