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Unlock your Inner Neanderthal to Become a More Caring Leader

Did you see the latest news about Neanderthals? The bit about at least 20% of human DNA is from Neanderthals? It seems to me that this raises a lot of questions. Like what this tells us about “modern” humans. Maybe there is something really insightful we can glean from this.

You know about the Neanderthals right? Went MIA around 60,000 years ago, presumed not smart enough to compete with the svelte, civilized and arriviste Homo Sapiens smoothies. The Neanderthals were ugly, brutish and just downright déclassé in the evolutionary scale of things.

Or that’s what we thought before other recent research. That shows a totally different picture.

According to this latest research Neanderthals were actually thoughtful and even spiritual people. We know they could talk in the same way as modern humans so they would have had language, oral traditions and so on. They buried their dead, sometimes with ornaments (did the uber-civilized Egyptians learn this from them?) and might even have been responsible for some of the exquisite cave paintings in European caves. They had a communal lifestyle which implies a high level of social functioning.

Neanderthals even made and used tools, meaning that we Homos were not the only pebble on the primeval beach in that regard.  So what gives here? Who gets the most brownie points for being civilized, us or those, er, Neanderthals?

Well I have a theory, based on absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of Anthropology or Neanderthals but drawing on my knowledge of what modern humans are like. Of course I wouldn’t presume to contradict the researchers, just to offer another view.

The modern view is that Neanderthals died out simply because they were unfit when compared with the more brainy and sophisticated Homo Sapiens. They were simply too crude and technologically backward to survive in this new and more competitive world.

I beg to differ. In my view the Neanderthals were actually a more advanced species, at least equal in brains and more advanced in technological and artistic sensibilities to the Homos.

But there was one big difference. They were peaceable and family-loving. The so-called Sapiens’ were warlike and cruel, just like we are today. In this view the Neanderthals were really like Margaret Mead’s Samoans or the Hopi Indians; caring, peaceable, spiritual, and harmonious. We humans soon made mincemeat of both of them just like we did to hundreds of other homo-like species (pace Jared Diamond minus the guns and steel).

You’ve only got to look at what’s happening in Syria now, the Holocaust then, the Killing Fields of Cambodia and a million other genocides to realize that it doesn’t take much for us humans to lose it, really badly, and to return to our instinctual tribal and predatory roots.

Occasionally a tribe, group or nation arises that manages to cast off these bad habits but then they invariably get eliminated. I think the Neanderthals might have been the (idealized) anthropological equivalent of the Jews, industrious, peaceable (then) and vulnerable. We all know what happens next.

My thesis is that the Neanderthals had much higher emotional intelligence than modern humans; we just haven’t been able to measure it yet but sooner or later we will even figure that one out to prove the case. It’s clear that, in order to become a better society, we need to be more like the Neanderthals, not less. To be better leaders we need to be closer to our caring side.

So the message is that we have to be in touch with our inner Neanderthal. That extends to our leadership. The way to get to a softer more peaceable style of leadership is to ape (pun intended) the Neanderthals.

So I propose a new leadership course which would be called “Lead like a Neanderthal”. It would be given to military leaders first, then politicians, then Wall Street Alphas. There would be a psychometric assessment to measure your degree of Neanderthality. This would be called the NQ for Neanderthal Intelligence (to be abbreviated by PhDs in psychology to Ntelligence). It would join the storied ranks of IQ and EQ.

In order to get into college and the professions you would need to have a minimum NQ. To get into the military or to become a politician you would need to have a higher NQ and make-up courses if you didn’t. The objective would be to increase national and global NQs. There would be a global NQ ranking with appropriate (non-corporal) punishment for nations that let their NQ fall too low.

In leadership and society, our goals would be to become as Neanderthalesque as possible. This could be extended to looking like Neanderthals to show that we are not biased towards the ways modern humans look; that is, we are not guilty of "lookism”. There could be a Neanderthal fashion industry, together with Neanderthal Gap or Neanderthal H&M.

Neanderthality would automatically set in train laudable movements to end global warming, stop eating meat and save other species from going extinct. It would stop all wars in their tracks, and lead rich people to give away their money. A Neanderthal society has no income inequality.

I think this would create a valuable new leadership approach and industry and in fact a new global social movement that would be even bigger and more important than gender neutrality. It could become bigger than religions even. Maybe Neanderthality is the new post-capitalist ideology we have all been looking for! 

Let’s get back to our caring roots and really save the whales. Become as sensitive as a Neanderthal now!

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