This article is not intended to stand alone (despite its significant length). It’s intended as a companion to my series on Authority in Marriage. I highly recommend you start at the beginning if you haven’t already.
Biology, Leadership, and Hormones
(Don’t shoot the messenger. I didn’t design the human body, I’m just reporting on how God created it. If you have a problem with the biological facts, please take it up with God.)
There is a hormone in the body that’s closely associated with being a good leader. It’s name is serotonin and Simon Sinek has an incredible video that talks about it in the context of the biology of leadership. It’s fascinating, informative, and will give you a better understanding of true leadership. (It’s from an evolutionary perspective, but other than that it’s great.)
The whole video is excellent, but the relevant parts are the opening story from 0:19 – 3:52, then you can skip to 21:16 – 27:24. (though again, the whole ~45 minute video is worth watching.)
Serotonin is the hormone that enables people to be like the pilot “Johnny Bravo” in the opening few minutes of the video. That’s leadership, and that’s (partially) why serotonin is the leadership hormone.
Besides what Simon Sinek says, serotonin does much more in the body. To quote Psychology Today:
As I described in my last post, serotonin is the molecule of will power, of delaying gratification. Decreased serotonin activity can lead to an inability to create and act on well-formed plans. That can mean having difficulty finishing things, or feeling a little down, or getting annoyed easily, or being unable to control your impulses.
In that author’s previous post (the link in the quote), he outlines a test involves rats. The rats were given a choice between two food pellets with easy and immediate access, or four food pellets but they had to wait 15 seconds to get them. Regular rats waited 15 seconds the four pellets, but rats who were given a serotonin blocking chemical went for the two pellets instead of waiting for the four pellets. Increasing the number of pellets (to 10) didn’t change the result.
Serotonin plays a crucial role in our ability to defer immediate gain now in favor of long term gain later. That’s partially why serotonin has been called the “leadership” hormone.
It should be obvious why the ability to delay gratification is tremendously beneficial in a leadership role. (and life in general)
For data on that claim, look no further than “The Marshmallow Experiment” published in 1972.
Similar to the rat study above, researchers set a child (age 4-5) alone in a room with a marshmallow. They told the child they could eat the marshmallow right away after the researcher left the room, but if they waited until the researcher returned they would get a second marshmallow. The researcher then left the room for 15 minutes.
Predictably, only a few children waited and received a second marshmallow. But what’s most interesting is what happened to those children later in life.
From an article on the study:
As the years rolled on and the children grew up, the researchers conducted follow up studies and tracked each child’s progress in a number of areas. What they found was surprising.
The children who were willing to delay gratification and waited to receive the second marshmallow ended up having higher SAT scores, lower levels of substance abuse, lower likelihood of obesity, better responses to stress, better social skills as reported by their parents, and generally better scores in a range of other life measures. (You can see the followup studies here, here, and here.)
The researchers followed each child for more than 40 years and over and over again, the group who waited patiently for the second marshmallow succeed in whatever capacity they were measuring. In other words, this series of experiments proved that the ability to delay gratification was critical for success in life.
My late father used to say that the ability to delay gratification was the biggest hallmark of maturity. Given those studies, I find it hard to disagree. Again, this is part of the function of serotonin; it’s helps up delay gratification, which improves nearly every aspect of our lives.
Why are we talking about serotonin?
Because serotonin levels are not the same between the genders.
In fact, men have an intrinsic advantage when it comes to the “leadership hormone”. This advantage enables men to better delay gratification and is a hallmark of success and maturity. (Again, don’t shoot the messenger. If you don’t like it, complain to God.)
Rates of serotonin synthesis were measured in the human brain using positron emission tomography. The sensitivity of the method is indicated by the fact that measurements are possible even after a substantial lowering of synthesis induced by acute tryptophan depletion. Unlike serotonin levels in human brain, which vary greatly in different brain areas, rates of synthesis of the indolamine are rather uniform throughout the brain. The mean rate of synthesis in normal males was found to be 52% higher than in normal females; this marked difference may be a factor relevant to the lower incidence of major unipolar depression in males.
Biologically, men produce far more of the “leadership hormone” (serotonin), which increases their ability to delay gratification and resist making impulse decisions. One way this bears itself out is in impulse control when shopping. (yes there are plenty of men who impulse buy, but as an overall average women are the worse offenders)
Several scientific studies bear this out and I’ll quote a few below. (so you know I’m not blowing smoke)
Males and females were significantly dissimilar in relation to the affective processes (positive buying emotion, and mood management) and cognitive components (cognitive deliberation, and unplanned buying) of impulse buying. Females browse to discover new products since they love shopping while men are guided with a particular purpose in mind. This depicts that women are thrilled while shopping and tend to purchase more impetuously than men.
A research project in the Journal of Product & Brand Management found the same thing:
– As hypothesized, women had higher levels of brand commitment (t(254)=2.32, p < 0.05, Cohen’s d=0.31), hedonic consumption (t(254)=4.19, p < 0.01, Cohen’s d=0.53), and impulse buying in comparison to men.
(Note: “hedonic consumption” is in contrast to “utilitarian consumption”. The former means purchasing products/services which are primarily for personal pleasure. Utilitarian consumption means purchasing products that have an actual use; like food, shelter, etc)
That women go shopping together just to enjoy shopping has become a cliche stereotype that is nonetheless very accurate. It was women who popularized the saying “it’s not shopping, it’s retail therapy“. Men typically go to the store to get something they need and come back. Women on the other hand…
Notice that “I needed something” doesn’t make the list.
According to one study, the average woman spends 399 hours, 45 minutes per year shopping. Food, toiletries, and books combined only accounted for 144 hours. So where do the other 256 hours every year go? (Hedonistic consumption perhaps?).
That’s a LOT of time shopping.
And even after all this spending and hundreds of items of clothing, 3 in 5 women complain on a daily basis that they can’t find anything suitable to wear in their wardrobe.
As a gross generalization, I’ve found the following to be true.
- Women ask: “How much can I spend?”
- Men ask: “How little can I spend?”
Need further proof?
“Women also have more trouble trouble controlling their debt than men, according to a study from National Debt Relief.
Specifically, 63 percent of women aged 18-24 carried some amount of credit card debt. Only 36 percent of men in the same age group had any credit card debt. Likewise, 66 percent of women aged 55-64 carried credit card debt. Just 33 percent of men aged 55-64 were in hock.
Not only do women carry more debt on average, women save less than men too according to an Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study:
When looked at on an individual basis, the average Retirement Savings Shortfall for those ages 60–64 ranges from $12,640 per individual for widowers to $15,782 for widows. It increases to $24,905 for single males and $62,127 for single females.
Single men are only ~$25k short of recommended savings; single women are ~$62k short.
This lack of self-control also appears when it comes to food. According to CDC data, More Women Than Men Are Obese In America, And Gap Is Widening.
There’s another factor which compounds this lack of serotonin in women: Stress and anxiety.
The lifetime rate of diagnosis of anxiety disorders is higher in women, with 33 percent experiencing an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, as compared with 22 percent of men.
Even without a clinical diagnosis of anxiety, women are more prone to stress than men. The American Psychology Association published an article that made it clear that not only are women more prone to stress than men, but they are more likely to have physical symptoms than men too.
Stress is bad by itself, but it also affects your serotonin levels.
Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.
So not only do women produce less serotonin, but they are more easily stressed which reduces their serotonin levels even further.
But wait; it gets worse (for women)
From a study entitled: “Sex Differences In The Brain’s Serotonin System“:
Their results, which are to be presented in a doctoral thesis by Hristina Jovanovic at the end of February, show that women have a greater number of the most common serotonin receptors than men. They also show that women have lower levels of the protein that transports serotonin back into the nerve cells that secrete it.
Not only do women produce less serotonin, but they also have more receptors. That means they use up the serotonin they do produce more quickly. (Personally, I suspect this is the reason women seem to hit “higher highs” and “lower lows” emotionally than men. More receptors mean a bigger jolt, but – like a sugar rush – bigger jolts come with bigger crashes.)
And then there’s the issue of fewer transport proteins…
Women are biologically disadvantaged when it comes to the “leadership hormone” (serotonin), and one way you can tell is their decreased ability to delay gratification.
(Again, don’t shoot the messenger; God designed the human body not I.)
Does this mean that women can’t ever be good leaders?
Not at all.
(Margret Thatcher comes to mind.)
However it does mean the average women is far less likely to be equipped with the serotonin they need to defer pleasure and thus be able to lead effectively. The ability to delay gratification is crucial to a good leader. While women can do it, on average men are far better at it.
Further, to re-quote the first quote of this article: “Decreased serotonin activity can lead to an inability to create and act on well-formed plans“.
A leader needs serotonin to both create and enact a good plan. Again, women are biologically disadvantaged here.
Woman have a reputation as “talkers” while men have a reputation as “doers”. There’s a biological reason for that difference and it allows men to be more decisive than their female counterparts. According to a study on the American Psychological Association’s website:
Indecisiveness can pose a threat to normal daily functioning. In addition, it has been associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Undergraduate students (N=135) completed the Indecisiveness Scale (Frost & Shows, 1993) and three other measures. It was found that women are more indecisive than men. Furthermore, indecisiveness correlated positively with several obsessive-compulsive complaints (e.g., checking and rumination), but negatively with life satisfaction. Finally, indecisiveness was associated with the number of do-not-know answers on a scale containing political statements that had to be evaluated by participants. The latter finding suggests that indecisive individuals not only need more time to reach a decision, but that they also actually fail to reach decisions
They aren’t the only ones who think that either.
The research, commissioned by swimming pool builders Origin Leisure, asked 2,000 men and women to evaluate their decisions in life and found women are much more likely to consider the opinions of friends and take time on their choices, while men adopt a more immediate process.
A quarter of women said their approach was often to spend a long time mulling over the details of a decision before making it – but less than a fifth of men take the same approach.
Psychologist Cliff Arnall said: ‘There are stark differences between how men and women make decisions. Women’s significant reliance on others plus a reluctance to make a wrong decision points to a measurable lack of confidence compared to men.’
‘Weighing up different outcomes and scenarios may seem like a good strategy but it appears to be accompanied by increasing levels of stress and uncertainty. Going round in circles soon becomes counterproductive and leads to decision paralysis and feelings of frustration.’
Again, the female tendency towards indecision is likely caused by a significant lack of serotonin. The ability to make snap decisions is vital in business, politics, and war. General George Patton (arguably one of the most brilliant generals of WWII) once said:
“A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.”
Serotonin is also linked to confidence; another factor in a good leader.
But that’s not all.
To re-quote (yet again) from the first quote of this article: “Decreased serotonin activity can lead to an inability to create and act on well-formed plans“. Again, this is the indecision we’ve been discussing. A leader needs serotonin to both create and enact a good plan. Again, women are biologically disadvantaged here.
That is not to say women can’t make good plans – they can – it’s just that on average women have a harder time both creating and enacting a plan… and that disadvantage is written into their biology. It’s not psychology, it’s not behavioral/cultural conditioning, and it’s not bad parenting; it’s biology.
It’s a biological difference that we can’t change.
God designed it into our DNA.
Now, Don’t misunderstand me here; I’m NOT saying women are incompetent. I’m NOT saying that at all. There are a LOT of very capable, competent women in the world.
However, they do have a God-given biological disadvantage in leadership roles because they have significantly less of the “leadership hormone” serotonin.
(Note: according to this study, approximately 95% of your body’s serotonin production happens in the gut; the remaining 5% happens in the brain. However, serotonin made in the gut doesn’t cross the blood/brain barrier, therefore only serotonin made in the brain counts toward the behavioral items we’ve discussed.)
Biology and Leadership Round 2: Testosterone and Success
Hold out your hand flat in front of you. Is you ring finger longer than your middle finger? If so, congratulations; you’re more likely to be successful in business (and life in general).
No, that’s not palm reading or anything mystical, it’s 100% based on science.
Here’s how it works:
When you were developing in the womb, the hormones testosterone and estrogen controlled the length of your fingers. Testosterone made them grow, estrogen retarded their growth. Your ring finger has many receptors for both hormones, while your index finger has fewer; thus the relative levels of those hormones affect the development (length) of those fingers differently.
More testosterone (and less estrogen) during development makes your ring finger grow longer than your index finger. This is because the ring finger has more testosterone receptors and the index finger has fewer. Thus, the length of your ring finger relative to your index finger is a reliable gauge of how much testosterone you received during development.
- Longer ring fingers = more testosterone
- Longer index fingers = less testosterone
It’s called the 2D:4D radio, because it uses the second and fourth digits (fingers).
Now here’s why this is bad news for women in leadership.
Remember we talked about how women were more stressed than men? Well the stress hormone is called “cortisol” and the ratio between cortisol and testosterone is huge predictor of business success. According to a Harvard study on Testosterone and success:
- Men with high testosterone levels and low cortisol levels had the most employees under them and so were the most profitable businesses.
- Men with high testosterone levels, but with HIGH cortisol had somewhat fewer employees and had somewhat less successful businesses.
- Men with LOW testosterone levels and HIGH cortisol had the LEAST number of employees and the least profitable businesses.
And this applies to women also, not just men.
There is an excellent article (written by an egalitarian) entitled “How To Tell If A Woman Is Going To Be Successful In Business” that deals with this topic. The author wanted to know why some women “break through” in the traditionally male-dominated world of business.
They hired a small army of 200 assistants to go out and interview over two thousand Italian men and women small-business owners and founders. In the middle of the interviews, the entrepreneurs were asked to hold out their right hands, palm up, so a photograph could be taken. Specifically, the scholars capturing an image to measure the length of their ring fingers relative to their index fingers.
Sure enough, their analysis of the photos found that the more successful the entrepreneur, the longer the ring finger compared to the index finger. The most successful entrepreneurs had ring fingers 10% to 20% longer than their index finger.
Normally, men’s ring fingers are a tad longer, and women’s index fingers are a tiny bit longer. But in the Italian study, the female entrepreneurs actually had more of a male pattern: their ring fingers were longer. In fact, it was more pronounced in that direction than the men’s. And it wasn’t just their ring fingers that were bigger: on average, they ran bigger companies, with higher growth rates. They also had greater ability to withstand enormous workloads.
This suggests that entrepreneurs are special, wired that way from the fetal stages of development. More men might be wired this way than women, but if you are wired this way, it transcends gender.
It’s not about gender; it’s about testosterone and cortisol (the stress hormone). We’ll talk about this more in the next section, but testosterone is vital to a society.
- Great civilizations are built on the backs of great business.
- Great business are built on the backs of great entrepreneurs .
- Great entrepreneurs have large amounts of testosterone.
Unfortunately for women in business, not only do they have more stress (cortisol, as we already discussed) but men have way more testosterone on average. According to Healthline.com, here are the average “normal” ranges for testosterone in men and women:
- Average adult male testoterone level: 270-1,070
- Average adult female testosterone level: 15-70
At the most wildly optimistic, the average man has nearly 4 times as much testosterone as the average woman. Testosterone has also been linked to increased levels of persistence, and it also Fuels Both Competition and Protectiveness. Those traits are absolutely crucial for the success of any enterprise; whether business, domestic, or political.
Let me say that again: more testosterone = more persistence, protectiveness, and competitiveness.
(and contrary to popular belief, more testosterone does NOT make men jerks. In fact, one study found that men with more testosterone were nicer to all women, not just their girlfriends/wives. They also said: “When with women, men with smaller ratios [higher testosterone] were more likely to listen attentively, smile and laugh, compromise or compliment the other person.” It’s the absence – not the presence – of testosterone that makes men jerks. I assume this is where the stereotype of the “gentle giant” came from. It’s almost like God designed it so the more capable a man was of hurt women, more more he would desire to protect them…)
In order for women to be successful at business, they NEED testosterone; the traditionally male hormone
Some women have it.
Some women were born with more testosterone and (possibly more serotonin), which enables them to compete against men.
But they are in the minority.
(Proof: look at the 100 richest people in the world; they are ~90% male. Further, there are no women on the top 10 richest people in the world.)
Men have traditionally dominated the arenas of business and politics because they are biologically better suited to it. If you don’t like that, please take it up with the designer (God). I didn’t create the system, I’m just reporting on what He created.
Men have more serotonin which gives them:
- More willpower
- Better impulse control
- Increased ability to delay gratification
- Increased ability to make decisions and execute plans
Men also have far more testosterone, which gives them:
- Much greater chance of success in business and politics
- More persistence in difficult tasks
Wouldn’t you agree those are good traits in a leader?
Again, this is on average. Of course some exceptional women were born with more testosterone or serotonin, and they’ve risen to success. However, that’s simply not the case for the vast majority of women. Most people fall under “average” and thus most women are biologically disadvantaged when it comes to leadership roles.
I have nothing against women at all. In fact, while I was writing/researching this article I’ve been talking to my older sister about some very deep (unrelated) Biblical stuff. I found her insights tremendously helpful and very insightful.
I have nothing against women at all.
However, there are intrinsic difference between men and women biologically speaking.
Why Men and Women are Wired Differently
I may have given the impression that I think men are “better wired” than women, but nothing could be farther from the truth. True men and women are wired differently, but there’s a very good reason for that. The way women are wired is incredibly important and absolutely vital to the very survival of the human race.
Jordan Peterson – who incidentally isn’t a Christian and very much believes in equal rights for women – has a wonderful presentation with the best explanation I’ve heard for the difference between men and women. (~13 minutes.)
The biologically hard-wired female bias toward short term gain at the expense of long-term gain is vital to the raising of young children, especially infants. Their intrinsic bias toward anxiety is very useful when you have infants and young children who are extremely fragile and helpless. Without that anxiety making the mother pay attention all the time, infant mortality would surely have been much higher. This is especially true in ages past without modern medicine.
Women are perfectly wired for raising children (especially infants); but they’re not wired well for leadership roles. You can’t have someone who’s perfectly wired for both, because:
- In order to be a good leader, you need confidence (serotonin/testosterone) and low stress
- In order to take care of an infant, you need to be slightly neurotic to attend to the helpless child’s needs or the child – especially an infant – could die.
BOTH are absolutely vital to civilization.
A Brief Interlude
In the first article of this series, I mentioned that women are the ones electing the Leftists/communist/socialists that are destroying this country. Typically, the leftists get elected by promising the voters “stuff” which will help in the short term, but be devastating in the long term. These are the kinds of politicians women tend to vote for.
The female bias toward short-term gain (that liberals/leftists promise) should have an obvious reason if you watched the Jordan Peterson video embedded above. Women are wired to think more short term because that’s vital to an infant’s safety. Infants can’t tolerate any kind of conflict because they are just too fragile. Women seem to be wired to pacify in order to eliminate the immediate threat to an infant. This makes them great caretakers, but less ideal as leaders.
On the contrary, men are better wired for long-term planning and strategic decision making, which accounts for their far greater success in both business and politics.
You need BOTH to build a society.
Speaking of Literally “Building” a Society…
There has been a noted absence of women in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The egalitarians have decried this as a great social injustice that must be remedied. However, it’s because of biology, not social conditioning.
On average women outperform men in linguistic skills (vocabulary, writing, etc), while men are significantly better in Visuospatial skills.
“Visuospatial skill is the ability to represent, analyze, and mentally manipulate objects.”
Obviously the ability to manipulate objects in your mind is a crucial skill for any design, engineering, or technology field. However, women are significantly disadvantaged in this area. The following excerpt is from a research article titled: “The Science of Sex Differences in Science and Mathematics“:
A large body of research conducted over the last 25 years has revealed substantial sex differences for some, but not all, of the measures that reflect visuospatial information processing. These differences begin to emerge around the time children enter kindergarten or begin first grade, which may be as early as children can reliably perform tasks that assess visuospatial abilities. The preschool literature on sex differences in spatial skills was reviewed by Levine, Huttenlocher, Taylor, and Langrock (1999). They found that, on average, preschool boys are more accurate than girls at spatial tasks that measure accuracy of spatial transformations (d 5 = .31) and score higher on the Mazes subtest of the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (d 5 = .30). They concluded that sex differences in favor of boys are present on spatial tasks by age 4½.
Mental rotation tasks that require maintaining a three-dimensional figure in working memory while simultaneously transforming it show very large sex differences, somewhere between .9 to 1.0 standard deviations (Masters & Sanders, 1993; Nordvik & Amponsah, 1998), although some researchers have reported smaller effect sizes (Voyer et al., 1995).
Women may be skilled at language, but men make better engineers. Because of how men’s brains are wired, they simply have an advantage over women in the area of design. From the same research paper:
Linkage of mathematical and visuospatial skill has important consequences, because high levels of both of these skills are required for careers in fields such as physics and engineering in which women are typically underrepresented. However, the precise relation between these variables is complex, varying with the specific visuospatial and mathematical measures considered (Tartre, 1990). In addition, these two variables appear to be more strongly linked in females than males, suggesting that females may be particularly hampered in mathematical domains if they have reduced visuospatial skill.
Put simply, men are better at designing things than women are, and this is written into our biology. As you saw above, the difference in ability typically appears before 5 years of age.
However, there’s yet another factor in the difference between men and women in the creation of a society.
Men and women typically show the same average level of skill in math. However, the bell curve looks different between them. That is, women typically have scores within a narrower range than men. From the same research paper:
As Hedges and Nowell (1995) stated, “Sex differences in variance and mean lead to substantially fewer females than males who score in the upper tails of the mathematics and science distributions and hence are poised to succeed in the sciences.
For example, let’s take a hypothetical test that grades math ability between 0 and 10. Both genders would have an average of 5. However, women might typically score 3 – 7, but men might typically score 2 – 8. While they are the same on average, the greater variability means more men will qualify for “gifted” status than women. (and of course, that also means more men would be math duds.)
Here’s the actual bell curve for male and female math ability.
But it’s the geniuses of math – like Newton, Einstein, and Pythagoras – who propel our understanding of science and math forward. While men might have far more math duds, we also have far more math geniuses; and it’s the geniuses that allowed us to build an advanced society (including the early ones like Pythagoras).
If you want to advance in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (the STEM fields) women are biologically disadvantaged (vs men).
If you don’t like that, talk to the designer (God).
(Men also typically do the actual building. Even in today’s egalitarian society, men make up more than 90% of construction workers because of their greater physical strength.)
Men, Women, and IQ distribution
The IQ distribution bell curve between men and women looks strikingly similar the math ability bell curve. The picture below simplifies and exaggerates, but gets the point across.
Breitbart ran an article on this topic a while back.
The higher someone’s IQ, the more likely they are to be a man. Although there is relative parity between men and women around the average IQ of 100, at IQs of 130-150 the male to female ratio is already 2.5:1
That’s 2.5 men to every 1 woman in the 130-150 IQ bracket, even with similar average intelligence. From the same article, the actual IQ distribution looks like this:
The average woman has similar intelligence as the average man, but that’s because women are more concentrated at the center of the IQ bell curve. There aren’t any women in the highest echelons of the IQ score, though they’re more rare in the lowest echelons too.
For those who care, below are the actual numbers from that same article. (Note: this chart doesn’t include the lower end of IQs below 70, which is where men start to outnumber women.)
Unsurprisingly, the Bible hints at the facts above.
1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
The word translated “weaker” is the Greek word “ἀσθενής” (asthenés) and it means:
772 asthenḗs (an adjective, derived from 1 /A “without” and sthenos, “vigor, strength”) – properly, without vigor, living in a state of weakness (depletion). 722 (arotrióō) refers to a lack of necessary resources (“insufficient“) – literally, “without adequate strength” and hence “frail, feeble (sickly).”
When it comes to politics, business, STEM fields, and leadership, women are “without adequate strength“.
Conversely, men are biologically better suited to the task. This is because of their far higher levels of testosterone (which fuels competitiveness and persistence) an serotonin (which allows them to defer pleasure). Couple that with the greater male talent for visuospatial tasks and math (necessary for the STEM fields) plus their far greater physical strength, and you can see why the Apostle Peter wrote what he did.
Conversely, women are perfectly suited to bearing/raising children and taking care of a home. Without their empathy and anxiety about child safety (especially infants) the human race would’ve died out long ago.
Men and women are different; but both are necessary.
For the next article in this series, we’ll look at the “why” of submission in marriage. I’d argue it’s the most important article of this series because without it, the rest won’t make much sense.