Saturday, June 04, 2005

Sadness a girl magnet

I'm clever. Indeed, I claim to be the discoverer of the purpose of sadness. Observation seems to indicate that people are sad when things don't turn out as well as they expect. Why should this be such an obvious emotion when for the most part people like to show off by displaying their successes and hiding their failures? The answer is subtle, and involves genetic crossover.

What matters in a chromosome region is not only the value of the individual alleles of the genes that make it up, but how these alleles harmonize with each other. Selection selects for this harmony just as it selects for the fitness of the individual alleles. (This is why horse breeders care not just about the performance of a horse, but also about the performance of his relatives--a horse may have performed badly just because his genes don't harmonize well with one another, and harmony being less genetically transmittable, it is less of a consideration to horse breeders than the actual fitness of the genes in the horse.) A chromosome is not just its parts, it is also how well the parts fit together. Because selection selects for how well alleles at different genes harmonize, genes that are close together on the same chromosome will tend in any given individual to harmonize more than one would expect from mere chance (i.e., compared with two alleles picked at random with probabilities in proportion to their frequency in the population). This is especially important because a little careful thought (which I won't outline here) shows that a gene whose alleles would tend to have harmonious or disharmonious relationships with the alleles of some other particular gene would more likely tend to arise or to become repositioned near and on the same chromosome as that latter particular gene.

As is taught in high school biology, during the meiosis that occurs in sperm and egg development, each pair of chromosomes may swap from one member of the pair to the other genetic material in a process called genetic crossover. Harmony that has been selected for between alleles on one side of the crossover point and alleles on the other side of the crossover point is destroyed. Accordingly, children from gametes in which much crossover has occurred are less likely to have (alleles of) genes which harmonize well with each other. Such children are less likely to be fit. So Why, then, does crossover occur at all? The answer lies in what Einstein supposedly called the most powerful force in the universe, compound interest.

True, usually genetic crossover tends to lead to a gamete less fit than the average fitness of the chromosomes from which it was composed. But on occasion, a gamete as a result of crossover is more fit. And a more fit chromosome region, because it is more fit, is likely to increase in frequency over the generations. With each generation, the expected population of the chromosome region becomes greater and greater. Like compound interest on an investment, the growth in population occurs mainly in the distant future, and can be enormous if the region stays intact frequently enough. A loss, on the other hand, can never be greater than total. And the loss is likely to be in the short-term. Genetic crossover occurs because sometimes it leads to new combinations that can lead to large long-term advantages. These occasional long-term advantages, by their occasionally being enormous, make up for the short-term losses that genetic crossover is more likely to bring. Genetic crossover has a large chance of giving to descendants short-term losses and a small chance of giving to descendants long-term gains. Since the long-term gains can be enormous while the short-term losses never are worse than total, crossover has evolved to happen.

The key point to note is that the gains from crossover, being long-term, are not very much able to be shared by the mate of the person in the gametes of whom the crossover has occurred. True, it is advantageous to mate with someone with genetic fitness, since this fitness is likely to make for more fit children, grandchildren, etc. But before very many generations, the genetic material of mates will mostly be separate from one another. In fact, it can be shown (assuming constant populations and an average amount of crossover) that about one-half of the consequence in descendants to your genetic material from your mate's genetic material will occur in your children. In other words, half the advantage to your mating well will occur because your children are worthier than otherwise. (The rest will occur because your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, etc., are worthier than otherwise.)The advantages of mating well are mostly short-term. The advantages of having worthy genetic material can, however, be very long-term indeed. It is rewarding to be fertilized by genetic material in which little genetic crossover has lately occurred.

It follows that your mate could be rewarded by discouraging genetic crossover in your gametes prior to fertilization. Females presumably can't do this since it is believed that genetic crossover is determined in the fetus in females. But I think males can. If a male loves a female well, she is holy to him, and this holy emotion in the male I posit is significant because it discourages genetic crossover during spermatogenesis. Selfishly, what matters to the male is having the correct rate of genetic crossover over the generations, so his genetic material can mix with other genetic material to try new combinations, etc. It is of no harm to him if he and his male descendants over the generations encourage or discourage crossover according as a prospective mate deserves it or not. And the advantages to groups whose males vary their crossover rates thus would be enormous, it allowing females to be rewarded more according as is just, thereby encouraging evolution. And moral qualities too would be advanced, since it may be presumed females would quickly evolve an ability to detect such holiness, and good females would more tend to be rewarded by (likely good) mates according to their worth while bad females would more tend to be rewarded by holiness according to how much her mate deemed it necessary to attract her with it.

Fate, too, is important, however. Sometimes a male should and would be quite successful, but alas, he has had bad luck. Evolution works better to the extent selection is determined by fitness rather than luck. Accordingly, it is reasonable that if a male feels he is likely on account of past bad luck to have been less reproductively successful than he would otherwise have been, he is going to want to give himself an advantage. He can do this by restricting crossover in gametes. This is no real harm to himself. If a gene acts to restrict or encourage crossover according to bad or good fortune, that gene won't suffer--it will still have the same average rate (over the generations) of crossover, which is what mostly matters to it. When a man feels he has had bad fortune, his genes will make up for it a little by reducing a little his possibility of distant gain by making him sad. Sadness I suggest, like holiness, discourages crossover, and therefore is a girl magnet. Genes don't mind switching the girl magnet to SAD/ATTRACT in a male with bad luck so long as they are allowed to turn the magnet to HAPPY/REPEL in a male with good luck. Indeed, the genes' success will improve if they do so. Sadness in a male is a sexual turn on to females.

Lately it has been occurring to me that girls often try to make males sad. This is why girls like to surprise males when they give gifts. If you think a girl is going to have sex with you, it is hard for that not to make you happy. So more fun for the girl to make out like she doesn't feel anything for you, and to try to make you sad, and then after you've been sad for a few months, "Surprise! Time for sex." Or something like that. (A couple months or so elapse between the stage of crossover in spermatogenesis and ejaculation.) A lot of males make out like females like sometimes to make males sad because sadness hurts, but I like my explanation better, and do trust and hope I am correct. To be sure bad males are forever trying to give girls false understandings of their own (the girls', that is) tendencies, but that is another matter, I suppose. I guess I should point out that I am not really bothered by females hiding their affections in this manner, to make affection when it comes a surprise. No, on the contrary, if a male is quite good morally, I can see how it would be moral of her to in fact encourage him to be sad. The genetic material that will be together with his in future generations can't be expected to on average be so good as the average of his genetic material, so discouraging crossover in really good individuals at the expense of their likely good (but less good) descendants, seems a pretty good thing to do on the whole. Yes, probably girls are more moral about wanting really good males to be sad than the really good males themselves are. Alas, when like the clever fox one understands girls, one is rather too wise to be tricked by girls into being sad. Yes, this thought of girls manipulating me into sadness rather makes me feel a male fox standing on his hind feet dancing about in glee. I am clever, perhaps too clever at times for my own good or even the good. But then the fox really feels he has got something if he understands the female fox's manipulations to make him sad. I? I don't understand what the dancing fox has got. It is difficult for me to be otherwise than the sum of my parts. I think I could be sad just to attract a girl or girls, but it wouldn't be easy. My guess is that I could do it to the extent I'm pious, but not otherwise. Piety also discourages crossover, and I take it to do so because being moral attracts girls more than older females, and so if you mainly attract girls, you'd might as well do what girls want to the nth-degree by discouraging crossover and being pious (which piety is no real disadvantage if you really are so much into moral philosophy that understanding moral rightness is almost a continual quest). Piety take a lot of concentration and isn't the easiest thing to maintain in this busy world--I mean, unless you are a monk, but then monks aren't supposed to have sex with girls, which is the whole point of piety IMO.

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