Monday, January 14, 2013

Traditional Dating Advice: Theory and Practice.

The other day, Dalrock linked to a commentator at Zippy's blog who was taking the manosphere to task:
…the problem is that the roissysphere stands on the shoulders of giants and claims to feel the soil beneath it’s feet. These nonsense, sloppy terms like solipsism, feminine imperative, team woman, “game” are ideas with no rigor, as imprecise as the dull minds that conjure them up.
Yet all across the roissysphere no single red pill person ever recommends learning the precise terms of the great works of the ages, instead offering a bag of bullsh&t and telling you to read the rantings of a keyboard warrior from DC.
What a hollow existence it is to work oneself into a fey mood inventing tools (which they call game) to climb a mountain only to find the mountain was already home to greater men then they, and could have used tools of higher quality if they had bothered to look.
Comments like these give me a fair of hope since they indicate the beginnings of a shift in some of the traditionalist positions on Game.  As some wag once said, when a theory is first proposed, it is denied initially, accepted gradually and finally accepted as a self-evident truth. Now it appears that some of the traditionalists, whilst still shouting at the manosphere, are claiming that the knew about hypergamy all along. Implied in this position is that if only men read the "classics" they wouldn't have to go to places like Roissy's and the reason why men are in there current predicament is because they have forgotten their heritage.  To which I reply--- bullshit.

Literature is not my strong point and I have to defer to others on the subject, particularly commentator Thursday, who over at Roissy's, in replies to two posts,  gave a good explanation of why the classics are deficient in practical advice with regard to "woman management". (Some of the comments I've taken out of chronological order but not out of context.)
Thursday comments:
I’ve posted before on my own former blog about how game insights were few and far between in classic literature.
I think a lot of it came down to a couple facts:
1. Being a provider used to matter a lot.
2. Objective social status (king, nobleman, knight, yeoman, peasant) mattered a lot.
3. Basically everything was social circle game. You would know everybody in your local community (or in you social strata if you were a higher up).
Not that game didn’t matter, but more on the margins. Who needs game when you’re a nobleman and you want to bang one of your serfs? Who needs game when you are a middle class farmer and your only chance with a girl is to convince her father you’d be a good husband? So, the game insights remained fragmentary.
and responding to GBFM:
Keep on digging, little man. Game is more than just confidence, it’s a highly specific skill set. Saying, “Act like a Homeric hero” ain’t gonna cut it.
From personal experience, given the choice between The Mystery Method and the entire Western Canon, a man who wants a pretty wife or a girlfriend had best go for The Mystery Method. Even Robert Greene who found inspirtation for his power book in Machiavelli, and for his strategy book in Sun Tzu, said that he basically had to start from scratch with his seduction book.
A lot of the canon is actually counterproductive. Dante is the king of oneitis and he has had many, many followers.
Having read most of the Canon, the most helpful works would be Madame Bovary and Casanova’s Memoirs. A sprinkle of Byron doesn’t hurt. Even Ovid advocates a kind of provider game (lots of presents):
But that’s what worked in those days. It used to be the most efficient way to get a pretty woman was to get rich or go into a prestigious profession, so that’s what people focussed on. Duh.
In reply to Hugh G Reaction:
I’d say the attitudes that allow you to succeed with women often will allow you to succeed in other pursuits as well.
Yes and no, we’ve all known successful men who underperform with or get taken to the cleaners by women. Doing well with women is, to a certain extent, a highly specific skill set.[Ed]
Finally, to quote Thursday again:
“Just read the classics” is the traditionalist version of “Just be yourself.”
A Superior Type, taking offence at Thursday's comments pushed back:
Philistine. You are a monkey with just enough knowledge to know which books in the library to smear feces over for maximum vandalism. Yes, there are manuals for every practical need, from dating in this modern age to fixing the leak in your toilet. But the prissy assumption that proles beneath you can only absorb bullet lists and abbreviated tips is a commentary on your inferior station. The human mind responds to challenge, especially men, when they are sufficiently motivated and properly educated.

Your Vo-Tech utilitarian approach dispenses with the idea of freedom itself, positive no one can handle it because you can’t handle it. An introduction to the deep concepts of human nature liberates men from the need for the step-by-step manuals to life that you are hawking. Those who look at The Divine Comedy and see more than “oneitis” are simply freer than you. They need less specific instruction and more general wisdom, because, as I said above, it’s not rocket science to translate that knowledge, once truly gained, into working tactics applicable to any social milieu. That’s the easiest part.
I want to make a couple of comments with regard to the highlighted bits in this last comment. Firstly, it's front loaded with the liberal idea that there really is no difference in intelligence and ability between men; all that you need to do is provide enough teaching and resources and even the most stupid man will divine what to do in an appropriate circumstance given a thorough and basic theoretical knowledge about women. It's the standard liberal cure for all ills. It is refuted by science and common sense. Secondly, this is a refutation of the Ancient Greek idea of praxis--experience matters, and there is a world of difference between booksmarts and streetsmarts. Thirdly, a lot of guys do have a problem translating booksmarts into streetsmarts and they need things like bullet lists, mentorship and experience to gain mastery of the Techne of love. From the Wiki entry on Techne:
Aristotle defines techne in the following manner:
[S]ince (e.g.) building is an art [techne] and is essentially a reasoned productive state, and since there is no art that is not a state of this kind, and no state of this kind that is not an art, it follows that art is the same as a productive state that is truly reasoned. Every art is concerned with bringing something into being, and the practice of an art is the study of how to bring into being something that is capable either of being or of not being ... For it is not with things that are or come to be of necessity that art is concerned [this is the domain of episteme] nor with natural objects (because these have their origin in themselves) ... Art ... operate[s] in the sphere of the variable.[3]
As an activity, techne is concrete, variable, and context-dependent. As one observer has argued, techne "was not concerned with the necessity and eternal a priori truths of the cosmos, nor with the a posteriori contingencies and exigencies of ethics and politics. [...] Moreover, this was a kind of knowledge associated with people who were bound to necessity. That is, techne was chiefly operative in the domestic sphere, in farming and slavery, and not in the free realm of the Greek polis."
It appears that our Superior Type also needs to re-read his Aristotle. I also think it was Aquinas, in arguing the case for revelation, who stated explicit demonstration of divine truths (and for that matter other truths) was necessary since most men had neither the time nor intellectual capacity to discern these things for themselves. The idea that everyman can work these things out for himself is false. Game is not concerned with the theoretical knowledge of women but of practical aspects of dealing with them.

Thursday makes a strong case against this "traditional wisdom" type of approach.
I said it before in the other thread that while the classics have plenty to say about about how perfidious female nature can be, they have precious little insight into how to get and keep the girl. Dante famously didn’t get the girl and pined after her for 40 years. (He was also, like Plato, a fabulously inept politician.) He was also famously Milton’s first wife left him while his second was a holy terror. He also managed to thoroughly alienate his daughters. All of his vivid warnings about female malice and treachery were not enough to give him any insight as to how they should be handled in real life. So, two of the greatest writers in the Western tradition, writers steeped in the Shakespeare, the Bible and the classics were total betas in their love life.
A good analogy is politics. No doubt there is much wisdom in political writers from Plato to Aristotle to Hobbes and Burke and beyond. But all that doesn’t mean that reading those guys will make you into a good statesman. You fucking need practical knowledge on the ground on how to deal with people.[Ed] And in fact you might be a better statesman if you have some good instincts and read Steven Covey, Dale Carnegie, Robert Greene and Robert Cialdini.
Besides if reading the classics were enough, we’d see Classics majors and Shakespeare and Biblical scholars should be getting the hot chicks. I laugh at that to scorn.
Here are a few more thoughts:
1. In general, it is unwise to assume the ancients were fools and that we are so much better than them, but it is also untrue that we can never learn anything new about human nature.
2. The best game ideas come from relatively minor writers like Ovid (though he’s a bit beta), Castiglione, Casanova. The best of them are probably Byron and Flaubert.
3. I have a theory that patriarchal social structures were set up, at least in part, so that men wouldn’t have to learn game.
I don't agree with Thursday's last point but he's on the ball when it comes to understanding the problem with the Western Canon and intersexual relations. The ideas and insights from the great books were distilled in a time where a woman's ability to freely to chose a mate was severely restricted. As I have argued before on this blog, women were so disenfranchised in the past that all a man had to do was show up--and show that he was available--to have a very good chance at getting a mate. The whole culture was an affirimative action program for non-alpha males.

Thursday recognises the change that female emancipation has made, and of the increasing irrelevance the classics have with regard to practical advice on how to attract a mate.
The modern era is a kind of natural experiment to see how women behave when they don’t have to consider what kind of father/provider a man is when choosing who to mate with. It ain’t your father’s world. Sexual attraction is now the sole criteria. That is a radical change.
Here are some lyrics from Gracie Fields’ song Walter Walter to put this in perspective:[Ed: With regard to women's choices in the past]
Walter, Walter, lead me to the altar
I don’t cost much to keep in food
Walter-er, Walter, mother says you oughta
So take me while she’s in the mood
Walter, Walter, lead me to the altar
And make all me nightmares come true
Walter, Walter, lead me to the altar
It’s either the workhouse or you.
Personally, I think women evaluate there mate choices more holistically. I'd actually rephrase this by saying that the modern era is a time when "feelings" justify all actions and what we are seeing now is the raw expression of female sexuality, essentially unhindered by any type of social restraint.  What's changed now is that men have to work to be attractive because, unlike in the past, women today are free to pass over men whom they don't. It's a problem men haven't had to face before and one the Classics don't seem to give much practical advice on.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Marx and the Feminine Imperative.

Cultural Marxism is a term bandied about quite loosely in the manosphere and the imprecision in it's use causes much confusion. For some, Cultural Marxism is a term to describe the progressive leftward shift of culture, for others it's an analytic approach used to understand the world. In this latter instance, the term that really should be used is Conflict Theory (itself heavily influenced by Marxism). If you want to know why Feminists, Fat Advocates  and MRA's sound the same it's because they both explain the world with near identical variants of the same approach.

In essence, Conflict Theory posits the existence of identifiable groups who exist to exploit others for their own benefit. It's akin to the Marxist notion of the bourgeois setting up society in order to exploit the workers. Note, Conflict Theory doesn't admit the existence of any legitimate theory of social structures, seen also such structures as exploitative, hence the person who uses this approach will be profoundly anti-authoritative. Conflict theory can thus count on anyone who wants to push radical equality (Communists, Femminsts, Anarchaists, Libertarians etc) for a sympathetic hearing.

As a theory of social analysis, it's a tailor made cognitive solution for the simpleton common man in trying to understand his troubles. It absolves any responsibility for any problem because it's always someone else's fault. They after all are "oppressed." The solution to all problems involves getting rid of the oppressors and once that happens, a nirvana of happiness will ensure. When it doesn't, the task at hand is to find another group that is doing the oppressing, and thus the circle of conflict continues.

Now, the reason why I've bought this subject up, is because the term has been bandied about with respect to the phenomenon of the Feminine Imperative. Critics of the the concept of the Feminine Imperative have labeled it a product of Cultural Marxism, by which I think they mean Conflict Theory. Now, I've actually had  a hard time trying to grasp what exactly this Feminine Imperative is, so has SunshineMary, but I'm going to go with Rollo's definition of it;
For one gender to realize their sexual imperative the other must sacrifice their own [Ed] This is the root source of power the feminine imperative uses to establish its own reality as the normative one. From this flows the rules of engagement for dating / mating, operative social conventions used to maintain cognitive dominance, and laws and legalities that bind society to the benefit of the feminine. From this is derived men’s default status as the ‘disposable’ sex, while women are the protected sex. It’s this root that the imperative uses to excuse (not apologize for) the most blatant inconsistencies and atrocities of women.
In a nutshell, it's women getting what they want at the expense of men. Being an imperative, this desire for female dominance must originate from women themselves (Class Consciousness), even though women themselves may be unaware of process (False Consciousness). To quote Rollo once again:
One issue many of my critics have is that in exposing these inconsistencies, these operative social conventions and the latent purposes behind them, my writing (really most of the manosphere) seems to take on a conspiratorial tone. I can fully appreciate this, and it might shock a few readers to know that I reject much of the popularized MRA perspective in this respect. I agree with an MRA perspective in a rational analysis to a certain degree, but there is no grand conspiracy, no secret mysterious cabal pushing a negative perception of masculinity – and this is exactly why what I outline on this blog is so pervasive. There doesn’t need to be a unitary group of ‘anti-men’ bent on some melodramatic goal of world domination; because this feminized ideal is already embedded in our socialization. Fem-centrism IS our collective social consciousness.
I've got to admit, to me it appears a classic Marxist analysis of the situation and I reckon that the charge, that this understanding of the relationship between the sexes is classically Marxist in nature, stand.

The problem with this approach is that it intrinsically pits women against men and tars all women with the same brush. Now, I do think that the Feminine imperative holds true, especially for the avowed feminists, but for the average woman,  I don't think she wakes up in the morning desiring to consciously or unconsciously screw men over.

But..... Rollo and Dalrock's highlighting of the subject did get me thinking and I think something else is happening. I do think that the effects of the feminine imperative are real but what is enabling this is not some underlying power conflict but something more complex and therefore harder to understand and tackle.

Our current Western Culture is a product of many historical influences, influences which taken together absolve women of moral responsibility (and protect them) when they act badly. What women are doing at the moment is not imposing some sort of imperative, rather, the worst elements of female-kind (and there is a hell of a lot of them) are exploiting a sort of cultural loophole to their advantage and, as such, Dalrock  is more correct than Rollo when he says that the feminine imperative "just happens".

To keep this brief, I'll just go through a few of these influences in Western thought and how they help the worst elements of womanhood escape moral culpability.
  • Classical Greek thought. It taught that women were inferior beings devoid of full moral agency and hence were little more than moral children.
  • This synched with traditional Christianity with the husband being the moral head of the household and the woman under his control (and therefore by implication  not fully morally responsible.)
  • Puritanical Christianity which taught that flesh was bad.
  • The chivalric code. It's corruption resulted in the pedestalisation of women. More importantly, if a man compelled a woman to do anything it was seen as the moral fault of a man.
  • Romanticism. The theory that feelings were justified moral ends in themselves.
  • Atheism. Which stripped away any moral objectivity.
  • Protestantism. This is a biggie and I know I'm going to get some heat on this one. When Catholic practice becomes corrupted it becomes superstitious and idolatrous. But when Protestant practice goes bad it becomes preoccupied with being nice and non-judgmental(tolerant) instead of being good. i.e Churchianity.
  • Feminism. The theory that women are victims and can do whatever they like to obtain "justice" and that morality is an instrument of oppression.
  • Modern psychiatry (especially the legacy of Freud), which taught that repression of feelings was bad and that self-esteem was good.
  • Modern Medicine which tends push mechanistic explanations of human behaviour and therefore negates the concept of moral agency.
So let's take our Girl Scouts at the Christmas party who do nothing to reciprocate the boy's gentlemanly behaviour.  Let's look at the strains of thought in our current culture which provide unscrupulous women with ready made excuses (and allies)to evade any moral responsibility

Any question about reciprocal behaviour can be countered along the lines of:
1)Gentlemen expect nothing in reward(Chivalry).
2) We shouldn't have to do anything for you(Feminism).
Or let's say a woman who cheats on her husband. She can draw on a whole host of cultural memes to justify herself:
(1) We were  in love (Romanticisim).
(2) Don't judge me (Churchiantiy, Atheism).
(3) He seduced me (Churchiantiy, Puritancial Christianity, Chivalry, Feminism).
(4) I was depressed (Modern Psychiatry and Medicine).
Suffering the consequence of thug loving:
(1) Low self esteem (Modern Psychiatry and Medicine).
(2)) He abused me (Chivalry, Churchianity).
(3) I didn't know what I was getting into. (Denial of moral agency:Traditional Christianity, Classical Greek Thought.  Exploitation:Feminism).
Women who write love letters to serial killers.
(1) Low self Esteem (Modern Psychiatry, Medicine).
(2) I want to save him. ( Churchianity, Traditional Christianity).
The list could go on. I really don't think there is such a thing as the feminine imperative, what I do think though, is that Western Women are privileged to enjoy moral indulgence--it's their get out of jail free card, and currently, Western Women are exploiting this phenomenon en mass to avoid moral responsibility. When a woman does something consciously dumb, rude or evil, there are many resources in Western Culture she can draw on. Sure, men can access some of these resources, and criminals frequently do, but women have far deeper pool of cultural "treasure" to get out of jail.

The other interesting things to note is that jumping to defense are ideas which come from two totally different streams of thought. For example, Atheism, with its moral relativism "meshes" nicely with churchiantiy with it's imperative "not to judge". It's like fighting a hydra.

Here is an interesting cartoon from the 40's which illustrates the get out of jail free card. Bugs, a male, has to assume a female persona in order to obtain the help of chivalrous male. As a man he could never get the assistance.

Bugs Bunny - Mississippi Hare

Vezi mai multe video din animatie

Framing this advantage as an sexual imperative, slurs the women who would not dream of using it. The woman who loves her husband would be insulted at the notion that she is planning to screw him over, and I imagine the hostility many women have to this notion of an imperative stems from this. This cultural get-out-of-jail-free card is not omnipresent but is there if a woman decides to use it. There is nothing in Western Culture stopping a woman from assuming moral responsibility for their actions, it's just that in real life women, like all the male bankers involved in the GFC, want to evade responsibility.

Western Culture is largely a male product. The loopholes that have been created in it have been created by men who thought badly and are perpetuated now by men and women who don't want things to change. By chasing an imperative that is not really there, we fail to tackle the problem that is. Conservatives have got to stop treating women like moral saints(and therefore privileged) or moral idiots(and therefore excusable) and recognise them as moral equals. The solution to female bad behaviour lays not in searching for some imaginary imperative, or in trying to assert some male version of it, but in ensuring that we cut through the bullshit and ensure female moral accountability.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

A tale of two massacres.

I was going to put down some thoughts on the Newtown school massacre but felt that the subject had been covered to death by the other bloggers and my contribution wouldn't add much to the subject. Still, it did pique my interest in the subject of school shootings and Wiki has a good entry on rampage killers.  Unfortunately, these events are not that uncommon and there appears to be a long history of them. Still, two cases caught my eye which seem to well illustrate the crisis of masculinity in our current culture.

The fist case is that of the Virginia Tech Massacre.  Roissy's comments at the time were, I felt, particularly pertinent.
The killer of 32 people at Virginia Tech used a .22 caliber and a 9mm pistol.
Why wasn’t this guy rushed by anyone?  He’s calmly picking people off.  Bloodshed all around.  Imagine you’re there, trapped in that classroom.  You know you’re as good as dead if you just sit immobile like a juicy target, so you may as well lunge for him and drive your thumbs in his eyes.  You might still die, but you’ve improved your odds dramatically, especially if you go at him during a reload.  He’ll maybe get off one or two shots at you but handguns are notoriously inaccurate, especially when a person is running into your face disturbing your zen-like aiming.  You’d stand a good chance of him missing or you incurring a non-fatal flesh wound.

So a rude thought intrudes.  Engineering campus.  Nerds.  A taxonomy of guys who’ve probably run from fights their whole lives.  Total inexperience with summoning the warrior animal spirits.
There are times of crisis when brainy deliberation or pavlovian avoidance response will do a man no good.

Maybe the bullets were flying so fast, the killer so accurate (from marathon sessions of video gaming I bet), the timeframe so compressed, that in the chaos no one had an opportunity to do anything.  Well, except for this guy.

But if that’s not the case, then I’ll be uncharitable and ask…
did nerdiness cost lives?
yeah, i’ve changed my thinking on this. i think passivity is a systemic problem with men in the West, [ED]not just relegated to nerds. i’m pissed that one guy was able to calmly kill 30 people without anyone at least trying to subdue him, so that colored my reaction.

i talked to a guy recently who went through nyc police training and he told me that a certain percentage of people will go into shock and do nothing in the event of a crisis. the nypd trains their recruits by having them walk around corners and get “shot” unexpectedly with harmless plastic caps. the first few times it happens the recruits stand motionless in shock.

after a few rounds of this training the recruits are able to think better on their feet and react quickly.
Compare this with another school shooting, this time in Bremen, in 1913. From the Wiki Entry;
At approximately 11:00 a.m. Heinz Schmidt entered St. Mary's Catholic School, armed with six to ten revolvers or Browning pistols (depending on sources) and about 1000 rounds of ammunition, which he had bought several weeks prior to the shooting. Because of the large number of rounds, the owner of the gun-shop, where Schmidt had bought his arsenal, deemed it necessary to contact police, though the incident was not found to be important and thus not investigated any further.

In the hallway on the first floor Schmidt encountered Marie Pohl, a teacher at the school, who was just stepping out of classroom 8b, and, seeing his agitated appearance, questioned him about his business at school. Without answer, Schmidt proceeded to shoot at her, barely missing her head. While Miss Pohl fled into a classroom nearby Schmidt entered room 8b, which was occupied by 65 girls, most of them being 6 or 7 years old, and immediately began firing at them. Also shooting at the children after they hid under their tables the gunman instantly killed two of them and wounded another 15. When the girls fled out of the classroom, Schmidt followed them, still shooting. While trying to escape, one of the girls fell down the stairs, broke her neck and died.
The gunman then went back and unsuccessfully tried to enter another classroom that had been locked by a teacher who had realized what had been happening. Schmidt shot at the school janitor, Butz, who attempted to apprehend him, hitting him in the face, before going upstairs where he was tackled by teacher Hubert Möllmann. When Schmidt managed to break free from Möllmann's grip he shot the teacher twice, hitting him in the stomach and shoulder, whereupon he proceeded to shoot out of a window at the children on the schoolyard, injuring five boys. The shots also wounded a roofer working nearby, who, together with his colleagues and other people alarmed by the shooting, then rushed into the school building, though as they arrived on the first floor the gunman had already been subdued by janitor Butz and a teacher named Hartlage. When Schmidt was led away by police he was met by an angry crowd outside, which beat him up and attempted to lynch him, until the police officers managed to hold the mob at bay with their sabres.
In total, Schmidt had fired 35 rounds, three girls died instantly, while two more later succumbed to their wounds – the last victim dying some time in mid-July – and 18 children, as well as three other persons were injured

At Virginia Tech in 2007, the only people who seemed to offer any resistance to the shooter were an old Guy and middle aged female teacher. Where where the young men? (Apparently a student named Henry Lee was assisting the female teacher barricade the room but no one was rushing the shooter.)

On the other hand, back in 1913, the janitor, the teachers, even the roofer working next door and his mates--who had ample time and opportunity to run away--all rushed the bastard. Butz, the janitor, even went back for seconds after being shot in the face!!  Balls of steel I tell you.

(Picture of German Reservists from 1911. Pretty much the same type of guys who would have tackled the shooter.)

Somewhere between then and now, the manhood died.

The older I get, the more convinced I am that the First World War was the dividing line between the old and modern world.