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The Intelligence Bottleneck

“While our minds may have evolved, our bodies have not.”


I recently discovered that the reason why moths fly into an open flame is because they were engineered by nature to navigate by night using the light of the moon. However, when men came around and invented fire, it messed with the moth’s navigation system – which 70,000 years later, has not yet been upgraded by natural evolution. The same problem also affects humans.

It is why men are capable of being in love with more than one woman, why several women are mutually inclined to gravitate towards one man, why a teen girl who knows about unwanted pregnancy would still have unprotected sex, and why boys aware of the outcome of truancy will still drop out of school.

We’re making these observations not because they’re strange, but because our society has made them seem that way after many centuries of cognitive evolution. The vast disparity between intellect and nature that results creates what I would like to call an Intelligence Bottleneck. This is a perfectly good explanation for some of the inexplicably stupid things rational humans still do.

When Evolution Leaps Forward

According to the Human Genome project, humanity has not had any significant evolutionary changes to our physical bodies for much of the last 70,000 years. However, over the last 10,000 years, human intelligence has evolved with such aggressive ferocity, that men 200 years ago would call us gods today.

In fact, our intelligence is expanding at such an exponential rate, that if our cognitive evolution were to be plotted on an IQ / Time graph, the last 9800 years would look like a slowly rising curve, while the last 200 years would look almost like a straight vertical line – and it has not stopped from ever since.

In fact, if our physical bodies evolved at the same rate as our minds did, we would probably have already conquered much of our galaxy by now. This extremely rapid rate of development could only have happened when our physical brain evolved to a point where this cognition could be possible.

But there is a catch.

Theoretically, our bodies are still evolving. It’s just that this age in which we live is the first time that our cognitive evolution has outpaced our physical evolution. We’re becoming smarter much faster than our bodies can adjust. We’re still physically animals, even though we have become a lot like gods.

The Intellectual Feedback Loop

There is a cognitive function called an “intellectual feedback loop” that all humans have. It is what causes our intelligence to evolve. Basically, it is where humans observe an outcome and think about it outside of the context of its occurrence, thereby developing the full capacity to permanently change it.

By comparison, other animals do not have this capacity. When other animals face an undesirable outcome, they simply modify their behavior to avoid it. This is because they are still only driven by raw instinct, completely bereft of any intelligent thought. That is why animals can only at best mimic our intelligence.

When humans repeatedly face an undesirable outcome, not only is our behavior modified to avoid the outcome (as are all other animals), but we also develop the capacity to change the circumstances that would cause that outcome. That’s how we then invented condoms, vaccines and government.

…not necessarily in that order.

The problem however, is that every once in a while, we instinctively fall back on our animal instinct, and consciously ignore the information provided by our intelligence feedback loop. We know that smoking kills – but we still smoke anyway. We know not to destroy our environment – but we abuse it anyway.

A second example of this phenomenon, is where we use the information provided by our intellectual feedback loop to create an awareness that causes intellectual modification. It however does not necessarily create the required behavior modification. This is why people are still racist, sexist, religious, etc.

The following is a non exhaustive list of cases where intelligence bottlenecks are to blame for the curious, and in some cases inexplicable behavior. These are all cases where either our innate intelligence was betrayed by our own instinct, or where society creates rules that eventually force that betrayal.

When Men acquire things they do not need

I know a lot of guys whose apartments are chock full of tech gadgets, tools and other electronics that they only used once. I’ve similarly met a lot of dudes who have wallets full of women’s telephone numbers they have no intention of calling. Men are instinctively hunter / gatherers – hence this curious behavior.

The Bottleneck:

Now that men live in a society where the hunt has been automated (and thus the thrill removed) by the instant gratification of electronic commerce and of digital entertainment, they have thus simply learned to reapply their instinct  accordingly – even if it creates an annoyed wife and a maxed out credit card.

When several women indulge one man

Just weeks ago, I wrote that there is no honor among women. I was wrong. I failed to observe to the usefulness of the biological imperative. It has nothing to do with honor. Women do this to facilitate polygamy – which comes natural to every man. Polygamy encouraged a greater production of progeny, thus promoting the the survival of the human species in the age before medicine.

The Bottleneck:

Now that vaccines and antibiotics have been invented, we now live in a world where polygamy is impractical and illegal due to the explosion of the world’s population and its indiscriminate consumption of scarce natural resources. In its place, we’ve invented marriage, a system that relies on a human instinct that doesn’t exist – to sexually desire one person for the rest of our lives.

While that quietly fails, men continue to welcome the extra attention from women “on the side” even when they’re married. Even when women are fully aware of a man’s marital status, it doesn’t always act as a deterrent to such intrigue. All of this happens because we are still animals – married or not.

When men engage in pissing contests

Between Republicans who filler buster a bill they don’t like (even if it serves a useful purpose) and the men who get into heated debates over trivial issues from anywhere between sports, religion and their mothers, men have quite a fascinating talent for disagreeing just to defend their ego. That’s when they will typically do something stupid for nothing more than to win an argument.

The Bottleneck:

Civilized society doesn’t provide room for settling pissing contests without very strict rules. In ancient Rome, you could do that in a Gladiatorial match where the victor could slay his opponent. In Feudal Japan, a duel with Samurai swords put an end to such disputes. In the wild west, a gun and a stand off in the streets facilitated this. Whoever shot first determined who was right.

Not so today. Today, the closest thing we have by contrast is Ultimate Fighting Championships, American Football, International Rugby, World Cup Football and the like. Even with these full contact blood sports that enable men to act out these urges, they still have to demonstrate good sportsmanship at the end of it all. Everything else is illegal. That’s when the cops become necessary.

When young girls become teen mothers

In ancient times, women were selected for sexual partnership from as early as age 12 in some cultures. The average age is 15. Either way, women were able to become sexually active from these young ages, because that’s when their nubile bodies become sexually mature and most suitable for breeding children.

The Bottleneck:

We have become so evolved as a species, that now everyone has to wait until after their 18th birthday (21st in some cultures) before they can be legally considered suitable for sexual activity. This puts incredible pressure on today’s teens, because their bodies say it’s ready, when our society’s laws disagree.

That’s why there are still so many young girls getting pregnant (even though they know they should use a condom) and why so many men are still being surreptitiously entrapped for statutory rape. While there is still a very useful purpose for the law, some of us are still too animal to comply – even if in love.

When bad boys don’t grow up

In ancient societies, most men were socially engineered to be warriors. It was a necessary right of passage for every male and is a key reason why societies that maintain this element tend to have far more mature men (such as Israel) than in those that don’t (like much of western civilization). Today, it’s different.

The Bottleneck:

Ancient societies made quite good use of the natural warrior instinct most men naturally possess, thereby absorbing and focusing the energies of even the most beastly of the lot. Now that society has changed its focus to something less fierce, this leaves men who have that instinct with far fewer social roles.

In every society on earth, there are some men who despite the best efforts to educate, matriculate and integrate, will fall through the cracks. This new and improved version of society has less use for troglodytes, truants and dropouts. If they do not become army grunts or sports athletes, they become criminals.

When women are drawn to bad boys

Until very recently, women picked their mates based on what at the time may amount to a quanlitative measure of their masculinity. So a suitable man not only had to be handsome, but he also had to be physically and emotionally strong, he would preferably be wealthy and had a suitable attitude to match.

The Bottleneck

Now that feminists have effected social and economic equity for women, the nature of gender relations changed dramatically right at the point when our society was reforming how men thought about their roles. Today’s men are not warriors as was before. They’re bankers, scientists, engineers and politicians.

The large majority of this new breed of “thinking” men have exchanged their soldier’s uniforms for business suits and their swords for laptops. They would largely be considered wimps in comparison to the football jock type, that still maintained the full essence of their masculinity. That is why men who are more valued for their intelligence in this new age are not more desirable to women.

So here’s the moth’s flame:

The men who maintain a strong warrior instinct are also more likely to be bad for women in every conceivable way. They’re the type that potentially become dangerously promiscuous, criminals, physically or emotionally abusive to their women and finally, have an increased propensity to be absentee fathers.

However, the sex appeal on these types men is usually unmatched by their thinking peers. While there is enough variation between these two extremes to suit every woman, much of the other higher grade men have long since tamed their masculinity in the name of cognitive evolution. They only act out their warrior instinct when watching the game on television, or via XBOX.

As men have evolved, the propensity for exuberant displays of masculinity have largely been downplayed by an increasingly feminized society that looks down upon that behavior outside the context of sport. This is why young women who can’t tell the difference always seem to be drawn to men who embody this overly masculine propensity in an age that no longer needs it.

When powerful men fail at marriage

I’ve mentioned this before, so it needs no explanation. Any man who could command the attention of a wide number of females whether by way of fame or fortune (as do ancient kings and generals) are largely unfit for marriage. Rock stars have groupies for all the same reasons Kings had concubines.

The Bottleneck

Unlike much of Europe, western society places quite a premium on marriage to the point where everybody wants it, even if it doesn’t suit them. This is how men like Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan and Paul McCartney all lost half their kingdom to one estranged woman. Silly rabbits. You’re forgetting something:

Powerful men don’t need wives. That’s what the power is for.

With a kingdom that size, being tied down to one woman is more torture than pleasure. Kings of old with great power had the ability to pick any of their kingdom’s choice females. This is because women are very likely to give it up to any man with power – even if they’re already smart, intelligent and beautiful.

With great power comes great irresponsibility. That’s why powerful men should avoid using their power to create temptation. Most of the men with power, fame and or fortune will not retain the capacity to be faithful – not with so many hot young women with dripping thighs waiting for their turn in line.

When women remain in loveless relationships

Remember that bit about polygamy? Back in the day, a King could have a queen and yet many concubines – not that his queen would say anything about it. This proves that cognitive dissonance is much stronger in women. Back then, women unwillingly capitulated to facilitate a man’s privilege.

The Bottleneck

Now that women hold the reins of the domain of sex, we still see situations where men indulge their promiscuous propensities, and women stick around anyway. Some of them even stick around in abusive relationships. Even where feminists are getting louder, women are still enslaving themselves to men.

Recently I had a very disturbing conversation with a close friend. She suspects that her husband is cheating on her. Distraught, she confided to me that she doesn’t trust him. Apparently, a bevy of young females are providing him with very effective temptation – females that are quite aware of his marital status.

I advised that she should not enslave herself to a possibly loveless marriage and that she should consider her happiness above else. Besides, she is still young. Needless to say, she declined. Thus, she will probably join a statistic of women who are stuck in loveless marriages, fueled by cognitive dissonance.

That is why, despite the efforts of feminists to expose the innate hypocrisy of marriage, the social intelligence to do so will still be lost on most women. This is particularly true if they think they’re in love. But the fatal flaw with love is that it was not designed to identify problems. It’s designed to ignore them.

When people bend to peer pressure

Thousands of years ago, when we were still exploring the earth on foot, it was wise to stick to your migratory group and heed the words of your elders. More often than not, these two things kept you alive, even when they appeared to be drenched in mysticism. For danger we had yet to fully understand lurked in every corner. Thus, blind submission to these teachings is what kept us alive.

The Bottleneck

In today’s society, groups no longer keep you alive any better than you could on your own. We have conquered much of the earth and we now understand much of its mysteries. So we no longer need to blindly submit to group politics, teachings or practices – yet we still do, even when impractical or dangerous.

For example:

Kids submit to peer pressure for all the same reasons some politicians pledge blind allegiance to a political party. It’s the same reason why religious people who have a health issue are prevented from imbibing a cure because of their beliefs and why some kids start doing drugs when compelled by their friends.

I once asked a friend if everyone of his colleagues jumped off a cliff, if he would jump too. His answer (surprisingly) was “yes”. He claims that he doesn’t want to be left alone. I found this interesting, since it would explain why people stick with religions that abuse them, and why young people pick up deadly vices from bad company. It’s because we instinctively want to belong somewhere.

I’m not saying that we no longer need groups for any particular reason at all. Rather, I am suggesting that we will develop a need to belong, and we will ultimately fill that need, whether or not we’ve done so satisfactorily. The need is usually far greater than our ability to rationalize it and that is the problem.

So long after we’ve evolved past our need for group membership, humans are still being drawn into potentially dangerous groups by our ancient, outdated genetic programming. It appears that we’re not very different from the ancient moth caught in a man made world, that is navigating its way to certain death.


I’ve unknowingly documented a lot of this behavior on this blog before. Oddly enough, I once wrote that we have obsolete DNA. However, now I realize the sheer macroscopic scale of the phenomena – for the issue is not simply limited to just obsolete DNA. It’s considerably much bigger than that. Consider this:

While our minds have evolved, our bodies have not. That is why much of the tenets of modern society are learned responses. Interestingly, religion has taken this idea to the next level, making demands of our bodies that require almost zen-like concentration – leading many to question religious virtues.

What is interesting though, is that as our ability to reason advances, we are slowly putting away the tenets that make such impractical demands on our flesh (such as remaining celibate before marriage – and even marriage itself) and slowly putting away the religious institutions that bound us to them.

Just think about it; only 20 years ago, Ultimate Fighting Championships would have been illegal in most places. Today, more and more young couples are opting to cohabit instead of getting married. In November, California will vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana. What will we choose to liberate next?

We are slowly making concessions in our social construct to accommodate the raw animal instinct that we still possess. Religious groups will no doubt be  putting up resistance to much of this change – but it is inevitable, isn’t it? As we got smarter, we would have realized that many of our social tenets are simply impractical, because our bodies haven’t yet caught up with our minds.

At least, not yet anyway.

  1. Doug
    June 15, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Intelligence hasn’t increased. The ancient Greeks were far superior on average to the modern human. We only have more efficient means for geniuses to fulfill their potential through communicating with each other. All that is required for high civilization to thrive is for the incidence of inherent genius to be high. The printing press most easily allowed the ideas of geniuses to propagate, and the internet is now doing it even more effectively. I even venture to say intelligence is decreasing among the great masses, while the productive output of geniuses is increasing, thus making it appear that the world overall is getting smarter. I think monogamy is unnatural since it allows the lower end of the IQ curve to still have a mate, but nature would dictate that the higher males have the females that might otherwise end up reproducing with the lower male.

    • Matt
      August 16, 2010 at 1:34 pm

      Of course it has not – I mean, Greeks have, after all, constructed a computer or an aeroplane.

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