Hello Cappy Cap readers.
While our inspirational entrepreneur and intrepid archaeologist is exploring South Dakota for fossilized remnants of extinct species, I shall regale you with a story of the evolution of an important survival tool for the human species: the Man Cave.
Pay close attention because if you take no heed, some other species may someday be searching a place formerly known as South Dakota for remnants of our fossilized remains.
Since the Dawn of Humanity, man has been a social creature. We formed small groups to cooperate in gathering food and defending our turf, females, and children from other groups of humans and predators. We huddled together for warmth in "fur piles" under the cover of trees. We generally had monogamous relationships and both parents were involved in the rearing of children. These primitive communal relationships were known as "dens".
Males of the species, though, have always been a restless, brooding, adventurous, inventive, and jealous bunch who would often squabble with other males for the choicest portion of food from the day's toil, stake claim to the most comfortable resting spot, and compete for the affections of the fairest of the less hairy gender of the species. The early dens were places of conflict as well as security.
At some point, mankind discovered the utility of caves. Caves offered shelter from the elements and a secure, defensible position. Caves were ideal for the collective species, but not for the individual male. Some men would find an isolated part of the cave where he could momentarily escape the din of communal activity. This nook was his "man-cave". In his man-cave, he could explore the deepest thoughts of his primitive intellect or scrawl crude pictures of people, animals and trees on the cave walls with chalk stone. Before long, he would invariably be interrupted by combative males, doting females, or screaming infants. No, the collective cave would not work and finding respite outside the cave would expose the pensive male to danger and discomfort.
Over time, humans developed an improvement to this situation. The nimble-fingered female companion sewed together the hides of slaughtered mammals with sinews twisted into tight threads, using bones or claws as a needle. Mankind had discovered a better dwelling place: the teepee. Now he could segregate his living space, his female, and her litter from other males. Therein, he could keep material possessions obtained through his own wit and wile. The mere presence of another male in his teepee was grounds for personal combat.
Alas, this solution was doomed to failure as well. Wherefore man achieved isolation from his fellow males, he was still relegated to share his space with the clinging female and the annoying younglings.
Over thousands of years, man learned to build semi-permanent dwellings made from sod, mud bricks, ice blocks, or animal dung. He learned how to fashion multiple compartments within his family-unit domicile. One part of the hut would be for sleeping and, occasionally, more intimate activities. Another part of the hut would be for eating which would keep insects and the smell of rotting foodstuffs apart from the sleeping area.
The mud dwelling community would have a latrine area away from the living spaces. Even in the age of ancient man, crap time was mutually understood to be a moment of isolation and quiet reflection. During this time, man's mind would be free to think deep thoughts. It is believed by anthropologists that during these brief potty periods, mankind developed its most innovative ideas and observations - a tradition which remains unbroken to this day.
This is not the end of the story of man's evolution of thought. While the toidy is a good place for thought, the moments are too brief and too smelly to dream big dreams. Man had to come up with a better solution.
Eventually, man developed better weapons for self defense and larger, more compartmentalized domiciles made from straw, grass, or logs. Agricultural production enabled him to sustain himself and his family without venturesome hunting and gathering. He now had the means and the time to construct places of solitude within his private home. The females of the species, occupied with the tasks of caring for the young and preparing meals, remained in the sleeping or eating quarters. The male, exhausted from the day's toil, found respite in his own room. There he would draw pictures, build tiny models of inventive ideas, and clear his mind for deep thoughts. In recognition of the safety and comfort man received from the original fur pile (but without all the scritching and clawing), he called his restful place a "den."
The den ushered in a renaissance of thought. Mankind developed written language from his drawings. Then he developed advanced tools and weapons, architecture, science, and eventually shopping malls.
But I get ahead of myself. Before the advent of the shopping mall, mankind developed productive commerce and trade. Through natural capitalism, the most industrious and resourceful of men (all of whom had dens) amassed wealth. With this wealth came the development of social classes.
Regardless of social class and attainment, men remained generally similar in their attitudes and aspirations. Wealthy men had private places called "libraries" or "studies" filled with books which he either wrote or read. Middle class men had their dens which contained a comfortable chair, a book, and some form of entertainment. Lower class men and their families were clustered in ghettoes so densely populated that they could not have a den or a library. For this reason, they invented the "pub."
Although the "pub" didn't have much privacy, it afforded men an opportunity to unwind and escape the screaming of the infants and the plump wife. There, comforted by pints of ale, he could commiserate with his chums, fantasize about sex with the barmaid, and immerse himself in cheerful songs and gay revelry with his fellow underachievers. This social adaptation, while functional as a relief of stress, afforded little opportunity for deep thoughts. Ergo, the lower class was stuck in a cycle of waking, working, eating, drinking, shagging, sleeping, waking, and wondering why there were so many screaming infants in his house.
The wealthiest of men built mansions or castles. In these edifices, man placed several hundred feet of wood or stone between himself and his wife and children while remaining under the same roof. With his wealth, he could temporarily placate his nagging and clingy partner. She would be given a "sewing room" in which she could cuss and pout and soothe her loneliness with each stitch. She might also have a "parlor" where she and other women could congregate. "Parlor" comes from the French word "to talk". Mind you, there was very little "thinking" going on in this room - just a lot of talking. The talk mostly concerned their husbands, the latest fashions, and gossip about women who were not in attendance.
As they died, the middle class tradesmen and upper class entrepreneurs and landowners passed on their assets to their sons. The youthful knaves had been neglected by both parents and showered with placating gifts; they possessed things they had not earned and could not appreciate. This is when mankind took an awful turn.
These spoiled, overgrown infants began to feel "entitled" to things they wanted. Feeling isolated and lonely, they emulated the behavior of the lower classes (but shunned their company). They formed establishments called "closed pubs" which was abbreviated as "clubs". The clubs of the foppish popinjays had libraries filled with thousands of books, none of which had been read or written by any of the club members. They smoked cigars, played games of billiards and golf (which they adopted from the poor), and drank refined beverages such as Scotch Whiskey, Gin, and Cognac. The middle class tradesmen had clubs too which became secret societies in which they emulated the ostentatious lifestyles of the wealthy. These clubs eventually evolved into trade unions, the Freemasons, the Elks, the Moose lodges, etc.
In the absence of men and secure in luxury of a home with nannies to care for the children, wealthy women became free to develop their own clubs too. They joined sewing circles, bridge clubs, relief societies, and temperance unions. Soon, with their newly acquired "deep thoughts" and with strength in numbers, women began to "flex their muscles."
It was all downhill from there. Women withheld sexual favors in exchange for concessions from their emasculated spouses. Then they acquired the right to vote and banned alcohol which was destroying their husbands' productivity and making them downright disagreeable. This move did not turn out as they had planned. Many men and even many women began to involve themselves in uncommitted sexual relationships lubricated by the Devil's Brew in hidden clubs. Men with tools called "Thompson submachineguns" began to kill one another.
Society's vices caught up with us. The lack of productive behavior and unwise decisions by privileged club members in high political office resulted in a Great War which was really just an excuse for millions of men to get out of the house. Then came the Great Depression which set us back several centuries in social and economic development. Next came a Greater War which kept men away from home for 4-10 years. One group of men, in an isolated den in New Mexico, invented the Atomic Bomb and ended the war.
At the conclusion of that war, men actually began to miss their spouses. They returned to their countries and bought pre-fabricated houses - a revival of the teepee but with aluminum siding. Next came some more working, drinking, shagging, and waking up to ever increasing numbers of screaming infants. Women, who previously had jobs during the war, missed the freedom and independence, thus causing more nagging. Men had to re-invent the den!
But society had changed forever. The 1960s came and women found ways to avoid churning out puppies and kittens on an annual basis. More and more marriages ended in divorce as men grated against the confinement with women in small apartments. Drugs replaced alcohol as a diversion. Then there were more wars. Then came Nixon, Ford, and Carter.
For the brief decade of the 1980s, it appeared that we might be getting ourselves back on track. Men became men again: prosperous, resourceful, and pensive. Women were entering college at ever increasing numbers, trying to think deep thoughts.
But then all the screaming infants from the post-war period came of age. The neglected, spiteful, and entitled little brats began to rob productive society of its resources. Armed with the power of democracy which they scarcely understood, they exercised freedom without responsibility and claimed that things which were formerly known as "privileges" are now considered "rights."
Human evolution has reached a dangerous precipice. The small cooperative groups called "family", which sustained us for millennia, began to vanish. The monogamous social arrangement which had heretofore been mutually worthwhile has disintegrated.
The pace of our work has accelerated in the futile attempt to service the ever-growing system of entitlements, leaving men no time to think or read or dream during waste excretion. The television became the central location where man and woman and child occupied their minds with empty images, robbing them of creative thoughts. Men again sought solace by engaging in diversionary activities in which their women were generally not interested, like football, video games, poker, and blogging. Individual men, working by themselves or in small groups with other men (but no women) thought the big thoughts which ushered in the internet age.
Now we find ourselves in a destructive equilibrium where men in a relationship seek privacy and cannot find it. Females relentlessly try to wrest men from secluded thinking spaces where they hope to find ways to make millions of dollars selling things nobody really wants but everybody absolutely must have.
Mankind's future is threatened because we have shunned our basic biological programming. Man has been four billion years in the making, having evolved from single-celled organisms to cell clusters to gastropods to fish to reptiles to amphibians to mammals to GEICO insurance salesmen. Although our social structure has evolved at an incredibly swift pace, as biological entities we are little changed from the creatures we were 10,000 years ago - a blink of the evolutionary eye. Man's mental capacity is no different now than it was when we were squatting over a hole in the African savannah, pushing out breakfast, and wondering which animal a particular cluster of stars reminded us of.
As a species, we mistakenly think men have outgrown the need for our own space - our den, our study, our library....our Man-Cave.