Opposites attract for the simple reason that opposites attracting is massively beneficial on many many levels. It benefits us as individuals, it benefits children we have, it benefits society, so much more.
For example, imagine somebody who is really good at sourcing water but terrible at finding food, and that person gets with somebody who has identical traits. They would not have no trouble finding water, but they would most probably eventually starve to death.
On the flip side, imagine if they instead got with somebody who was brilliant at finding food but terrible at sourcing water. That would make for a highly beneficial relationship on many levels.
So really, it’s not opposites per se that attract, but complementary opposites that attract. And you can see this absolutely everywhere and in everything.
For example, to use a couple of clichés, men look for sex, women look for connections, add the two together and you get a sexual connection and thus the human race continues.
However, imagine if both men and women looked predominantly for sex, or predominantly for connections, what would happen? To know the answer all you have to do is look at the gay community. The promiscuity between gay men is massively high, and they have more sex than everyone.
Sounds great. Except imagine this level of promiscuity in a world without contraception, so a world where sexually transmitted diseases could be transmitted at a rate of about a zillion times greater than they are today. And then imagine the entire human race partaking in this level of promiscuity. It’s not going to end well.
On the flip side, look at the female gay scene, they have less sex than everyone else and by quite a large amount. And the longer they are together, the less frequently they have sex – the sex frequency rate dwindles far faster than with heterosexual couples.
Not a big deal though, right? Except it is. Historically – due to the crazy high child mortality rate – couples needed to continue trying to make babies until women could make babies no more. So relationships equalling a fast dwindling sex drive would be really bad for the future survival of the human race.
That means rather ironically, the male way would have seen the human race die off a long, long time ago probably due to some sexually transmitted disease, while the female way would have seen the human race die off long ago due to not having enough children.
Yet add the male way to the female way and you get what we have today, which is us still in existence. The reason being that when you combine complementary opposites you get an adaptable equilibrium. And an adaptable equilibrium is key for survival.
Why an adaptable equilibrium is so important
In a world without contraception, the right amount of sex for any given time is the amount that leads to the human race producing enough babies to ensure its continuance, while at the same time not producing too many babies so as to lead to overpopulation.
The opposing differences between men and women when it comes to forming relationships and maintaining sexual frequency in relationships is how we manage this. When we are having too many babies the female way – a rapidly falling sexual frequency – takes precedence, when we are having too few babies the male way – maintaining sexual frequency – takes precedence.
Meaning the constant battle between men and women over sexual frequency works to perfect the equilibrium for the present environment in which we exist, which works to make certain that we have just enough children to ensure the future of the human race.
The amount of sex we all have – and just to reiterate this is before the invention of contraception – was defined by the opposing traits between men and women. Men on average want it more than women and women on average want it less than men – the reason being men mostly seek sex because they want sex, women mostly seek sex because they want connections.
Or rather women like sex because they like connections, while men like sex because they like sex. That means on average once a woman has formed a strong connection, her desire for sex starts to dwindle – and the stronger and more secure the connection the more her sexual desire will dwindle, hence, the cliff drop of sexual frequency seen in lesbian relationships.
Men on the other hand, the strength of the connection has nothing to do with their desire to have sex, hence, the level of promiscuity seen amongst the male gay scene being so high.
That means men’s desire to have sex is based simply upon their desire to have sex. That means it’s absolute. Women’s desire to have sex on the other hand is based on their desire to build connections added to the environment in which they live.
That means it’s adaptable based upon the connections they have and the need they feel to empower those connections, along with how happy and stable they feel in the environment in which they are in.
All in all, what this means is that the average man’s absolute sexual desire is in permanent competition with the average woman’s interchangeable sexual desire.
As a result of this permanent battle between men and women over sexual frequency – the winner of which is always defined by our environment – the human race has survived as long as it has. Because this battle creates the optimal sexual frequency for whatever environment we are living in.
Note: due to the massive technological innovations we are less defined by this war over sexual frequency than we ever have been. But even now it still exists, just in different ways.
Opposites in permanent opposition with each other are everywhere
Everywhere you look, from politics to everywhere, you have two opposing sides which tend to work together, sometimes intentionally, sometimes begrudgingly, sometimes simply because they both exist.
And by having those opposing sides what we get is like said an adaptable equilibrium – which allows us to alter course depending on the world in which we live. If our environment favours one side more at one time we will end up at that side, if it favours another side we will end up at that side.
To use an example other than sexual frequency, think about war. Add a penchant for aggression, and the chaos it brings, to an aversion to aggression and the stability it brings, and what you get is stable chaos – the perfect recipe for growth.
But if you add aggression to aggression all you get is endless chaos. On the flip side if you add nonaggression to nonaggression all you get is stagnation. That’s why you need them both. Only by combining them both in permanent opposition of each other can you get stable chaos.
And stable chaos is a necessity for the human races continued future.
Stable chaos is the human race’s status quo
Stable chaos is exactly what it sounds like, a form of chaos that is stable. So it is chaos that is not out of control. So think of it as controlled chaos, things get built up, then when they stagnate, they get torn down, giving us a chance to rebuild better.
Using aggression versus nonaggression as an example. Sometimes the aggressive side becomes dominant for a while which takes us into conflict, but sometimes the non-aggressive side takes control for a while which helps us to avoid conflict.
The constant battle between the aggressive side and the non-aggressive side is a form of stable chaos. And is a greatly beneficial form, because if the aggressive side never had control, then if ever we were under threat we would be crushed. However, if the aggressive side was always in control, we would wipe ourselves out.
By constantly having both sides competing with each other we give ourselves the best chance of making the right decision over which action to take – aggression or nonaggression. It’s not a perfect science, but it gives us statistically speaking the best chance of getting it right.
So again, two opposing sides create a form of stable chaos which allows us to form an adaptable equilibrium, and that equilibrium will be defined by our environment. Meaning that we are able to adapt the best practices and actions to ensure our continued survival in whatever environment in which we are living.
There is no escaping it, things being in permanent opposition help ensure the survival of the human race.
Other examples of stable chaos
Add a high tendency to take risks to a low tendency to take risks and you get superior risk management. Add a left-winger to a right-winger, both of equal intelligence, and you get the middle. I could go on and on listing more and more examples of opposites benefiting society by creating a state of stable chaos.
Ask a hundred people a question, statistically speaking the answer that comes up the most will be the right one.
Open a room up to debate about what is the best course of action to take, lots of different people with lots of opposing traits and experiences will combine in one way or another to give us the best chance of selecting the right course of action. The reason being that the arguments between all the people will create stable chaos – that stable chaos will help us find the answer.
The downside of stable chaos
Statistically speaking, opposing traits when combined tend to create superior results. The reason being as said they create stable chaos, and stable chaos leads to an adaptable equilibrium which is able to optimise itself for the present environment in which it exists.
So we are all instinctually creating this world of complimentary opposites, because doing so gives us the best chance of ensuring the continued survival of ourselves and the human race.
But our instinctual efforts to create this world sometimes creates big problems. For example, let’s take relationships. When looking for a relationship, we are looking to create a form of stable chaos with that oh so desired adaptable equilibrium.
That means we look for people who have traits to complement our own, and frequently those traits that complement our own will be in opposition of each other.
This is where problems can occur. Most times that opposition works great. Sometimes though that opposition can lead to very unhappy relationships. And yet rather paradoxically just because the relationship is unhappy does not mean that it’s not beneficial to both parties and society from an evolutionary standpoint.
That’s why our lust for stable chaos can suck when it comes to finding happiness in a relationship.
For example, rather paradoxically someone who likes sex big style and wants it all the time, will often feel drawn to someone who would quite happily not have sex at all, and vice versa. The reason being the search for stable chaos. The extreme extrovert will often feel drawn to the extreme introvert, and vice versa. The reason being the search for stable chaos.
One extreme trait always looks for an opposing extreme trait so that the extreme traits can be equalised out. So to create stable chaos there has to be two equally strong opposing sides.
This is why people who tend to have extreme traits, like being extremely extroverted or extremely introverted, or really loving sex or really not loving sex, things like that, can struggle in relationships.
Because often the people they are instinctually drawn to are on the opposite side of the equation to them. So their relationships are extreme examples of our instinctual desire to create the stable chaos needed for the functioning of our societies.
Evolution likes extremism – but only a controlled version of it
A person who really really loves sex getting with a person who really really does not love sex may on an evolutionary level lead to a relationship with a more balanced amount of sex (if such a thing exists). Or rather by having two equally powerful opposing sexual desires, an amount of sex that matches the environment in which the couple is living.
And on a relationship level it may work out great. Sometimes people who love sex too much end up hating sex because they want it all the time, meaning someone who is less indulgent of their want of sex can benefit that person. Sometimes a person who doesn’t like sex finds that they are happier when they are having more sex.
But unfortunately, sometimes it means one person will not be getting as much sex as they want, while the other will be having more sex than they would prefer personally in an effort to appease their partner’s sexual appetite. When this happens, the inevitable outcome is two very unhappy people.
Even if they are unhappy, when considered from an evolutionary perspective, the two of them getting into a relationship and having children will be far better than say, for example, the one who loves sex getting with someone who also loves sex, and the one who doesn’t love sex getting with someone who also doesn’t.
The reason being, if two people who have an unhealthy appetite for sex have children, statistically speaking those kids will also have an unhealthy appetite for sex.
If those children do have an unhealthy appetite for sex and they go on to have children of their own with people who also share an unhealthy appetite for sex, those children statistically speaking will also have an unhealthy appetite for sex.
You can probably see where this is going. Disaster for the human race. Historically if we all wanted a lot of sex all the time, the human race would have been doomed to kill itself as a result of either a sexually transmitted disease or overpopulation.
That’s another reason why people who have the same likes tend to not attract, and the more you are like somebody the less likely you are to feel attracted to them.
To create the adaptable equilibrium that leads us to have the right amount of sex for the continuation of the human race, we need opposing sides. One group that wants a lot of sex, and another that doesn’t – and groups of everything in between.
This is yet another reason why we have evolved to be a society of opposites opposing each other. And for opposites to be attracted. It’s a way of levelling out the gene pool and making certain that traits that are detrimental to the continued survival of the human race are swiftly kicked into touch.
And everyone wanting sex too much is bad, just as bad as everyone not wanting sex enough is – evolutionary speaking that is in both cases. What we want evolutionary speaking is some people who want sex too much, some people who don’t want it enough, and everyone else somewhere in between.
The desire for opposites creates genetic equality
Opposites attracting is not just about creating stable chaos and removing detrimental traits from the gene pool, it’s about sharing good traits across the gene pool.
Imagine if super-intelligent people were only attracted to super-intelligent people. They would hoard the super-intelligent genetics, and so the super-intelligent people would end up evolving into a different species from everyone else.
That would be bad. The human race is a collective which is why we have evolved to be so successful. That means all the good traits need to be shared across the entire populace. It is an absolute must for our continued evolution that that happens.
And we have evolved to make certain that happens which is another reason why opposites attract. What we want is people who have strength where we have weakness and who have weakness where we have strength.
For example, take great footballers, how many great footballers marry other great footballers? In fact, how many great footballers marry people who even really have that great of an interest in football at all?
Great footballers – and I should add that this is an extraordinarily crude and simplified example – tend to have great sporting prowess and so they tend to be attracted to people who don’t have great sporting prowess so they can share their extreme talent across the human race.
Again, this is an extremely crude example and there’s a lot more to it than that, but the principle is key. We want to share the best genetics, and the best way to do that is not by sharing them with people who already have them, it is by sharing them with people who don’t.
So if a person who has great sporting prowess gets with another person who has great sporting prowess, and if all people who had great sporting prowess got with others who had great sporting prowess. The people with great sporting prowess would hoard the great sporting prowess genetics and eventually evolve into an entirely different species.
That is not a good thing. Every weakness they have would remain a weakness. So they may be great at sports but increasingly they will become terrible at everything else.
The key reason opposites attract, is because by doing so, we share everything with each other
To use a final cliché, imagine a sportsperson who is not super-intelligent but who has amazing sporting prowess. If that person got with a person who had terrible sporting prowess but was super intelligent, both would benefit each other greatly. Because the couple combined would have both super intelligence and great sporting prowess.
Also, any children they have would have a greater chance of having both great sporting prowess and superintelligence. So the couple benefits each other, and society is benefited by the couple, and the couple’s children benefits the gene pool.
And remember in the end relationships are primarily about making babies – even if due to overpopulation and contraception in the present world happiness is further up the equation than it has ever been.
It is inescapable, opposites attracting benefits us: it helps us create the strongest possible society, by helping us make the best decisions and by helping us adapt with greater ease to our environment.
All in all, opposites attracting simply benefits all of us and in many many ways. That’s why opposites attract. And though it sucks that because opposites attract some people are destined to live a lifetime of fraught relationships, and society is likely to always be at war with itself in some way or another.
It cannot be forgotten that because opposites attract, some are destined to live a lifetime of amazing relationships, and all are destined to live in a forever evolving society that can swiftly adapt to any environment.
That’s all from me, thanks for reading!