“Part of the tension of marriage lies in its fulfillment of the woman and its narrowing and emptying of the man. When a man woos a woman he offers to give all the world for her; and when she marries him he does; he must forget the world as soon as the child comes; the altruism of love becomes the egoism of the family. Honesty and innovation are luxuries of celibacy. Where the highest philosophical thinking is concerned, all married men are suspect. It seems to me absurd that one who has chosen for his sphere the assessment of existence as a whole should burden himself with the care of a family, with winning bread, security, and social position for wife and children. Many a philosopher has died when his child was born.”-Friedrich Nietzsche
Despite the fact that he died at age 20, Galois made a large number of significant contributions to mathematics. (His work was integral to Andrew Wiles’ celebrated proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem in 1994.) Galois was involved in an affair, and the woman’s fiancÈe challenged him to a duel. The night before the duel, Galois stayed up all night and wrote down all of his mathematical ideas on paper. (It is due to these notes, written on the last night of his life, that many of Galois’ ideas survived to the posterity.) From other comments written on the paper, next to a series of mathematical notations, however, it is clear that Galois spent the night, intensely thinking about the woman over whom he was to have a duel the next morning. Something compelled this young man of 20 to produce so many brilliant mathematical ideas in one night and then go to a duel the next morning, ready to kill or be killed over a woman. It is my contention that the same psychological mechanism was responsible for both. If the age–crime curve and the age–genius curve have similar shapes, and if marriage has the desistance effect on both crime and genius, then it is highly unlikely that social control theory of criminal behavior and desistance (Laub et al., 1998; Sampson & Laub, 1993), or, for that matter, any theory that is specific to criminal behavior, can hold the whole key to why men commit crimes and why they desist. Following Daly and Wilson (1988) and Kanazawa and Still (2000), I argue that a single psychological mechanism is responsible for making young men highly competitive during early adulthood and then quickly making them desist after their marriage in later adulthood. It is my contention that both crime and genius are manifestations of young men’s competitive desires to gain access to women’s reproductive resources, which, in the ancestral environment, would have increased their reproductive success.