I’m not sure it’s possible to have a “modern society” without surrogate activities. In other words, isn’t what defines modernity a kind of facility and ease when it comes to meeting our basic needs? And therefore what humans engage with are a set of elaborate and self-important surrogate activities?

Furthermore, in modern times and thanks to the widespread availability of birth control, gender is a less important construct in choosing one’s mate than interestingness or the alignment of goals and values (which may include producing offspring).

If surrogate activities were somehow not part of the modern experience, mates might select each other for absolute status and means, or perhaps for non-reproductive purposes altogether. Of course, that might, in a few generations, lead to population contraction, as in Japan, but that’s not something we’ve had to deal with in the west — yet, at least.

Inventor of the hashtag. Ever-curious product designer and technologist. Previously: Google, Uber, Molly (YC W18).

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store