Other Alternate Realities

The Alpha Male

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Most of us think we know what this expression means and, for the most part, this will suffice. However, it needs to be understood that there are “Alpha Females” and “Alpha Pairs” as well. These “Alphas” possess a kind of power of presence that is respected by others and usually deferred to by most people. This is not necessarily a good thing as you will see.

The “Alphas” in primates are the first to eat and mate. Disrespecting this “social rule” can often result in expulsion or even death. In the animal kingdom, the Alpha is associated with the strongest and most aggressive behavior. Usually, the leader of any social group is an Alpha who “dethroned” the previous leader through direct personal combat.

That direct physical form of conflict still is with us in prisons and gangs. For the most part, politics has replaced the direct physical attach with any number of techniques used to discredit another and have them ousted from whatever position they hold.

One particular forty year study of a group of chimps observed that the Alphas died off suddenly because they ate some tainted food from a disposal site. This took place about half way through the study. In this situation, their position of privilege resulted in their deaths. The most interesting thing from the study was that over the next twenty years, the nature of the troop changed dramatically.

With the Alpha Males gone, aggression died off and there was a significant improvement in the relationships of all the members of the group. Almost no members exhibited signs of stress as had been the case before. Also, the dynamics of all members of the group included increased social interaction of a caring nature.

In other words, removal of the Alpha males was of great benefit for the group and made their interactions more civilized than those of humanity.

A couple of related thoughts…

The so-called “Bad Boy” is usually an Alpha Male. In mammalian society, sexual response to this personality type generally drives reproductive behavior. This is a nice way of explaining why so many women are drawn to “Bad Boys” with no apparent rhyme or reason. This is one of the primary downfalls of the failure of evolution to meat the needs of civilization. It is also one of the primary reasons why we will not succeed as a species.

I had always thought that the stories in the Bible about “killing the first born” (generally this meant males) was just vicious. In considering that the first born male was the most likely candidate for becoming an Alpha Male, it makes sense from a political point of view. The part about the “oxen" must have been rhetoric to drive home the threat.